Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 24 in total

  1. Azila A, Chong VC
    Mar Environ Res, 2010 Jul;70(1):13-25.
    PMID: 20338631 DOI: 10.1016/j.marenvres.2010.02.004
    Marine organisms comprised about 70% of the total impinged materials by weight at water intake screens in the Kapar Power Station (KPS), Malaysia. The general groupings of 'fish', 'shrimp', 'crab', 'cephalopod' and 'others' contributed 26% (87 species), 65% (29), 2% (17), 2% (3) and 5% (42) of the total number of impinged organisms, respectively. In general, higher impingement occurred during spring tide, at nighttime and in shallow water. The glass perchlet, anchovies, ponyfishes, mojarra, catfishes, hairtail, scat and young croakers were the most vulnerable fishes. Vulnerable invertebrates included cephalopods, sea urchin, rockshells and jellyfishes, but penaeid shrimps were the most susceptible in terms of both mortality and body injury. Annually, KPS is estimated to kill 8.5 x 10(6) marine organisms (42 tons) by impingement. This amount, however, is minimal compared to commercial fishery harvests. Multispecies impingement at Malaysian power plants poses the problem of finding the best mitigation options for tropical situations.
  2. Chew LL, Chong VC
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e2052.
    PMID: 27257540 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2052
    Background. Climate change concurrent with anthropogenic disturbances can initiate serial changes that reverberate up the food chain with repercussions for fisheries. To date, there is no information available concerning the combined effects of global warming and human impacts on tropical marine food webs. While temperate copepods respond differently to warming and environmental stressors, the extent to which tropical copepods can adapt to rising temperature of already warm waters remains unknown. We hypothesize that sea warming and other anthropogenic disturbances over the long term will have the greatest impact on the copepod community in nearshore waters where their effects are accentuated, and therefore vulnerable and resilient species could be identified. Methods. Zooplankton samples were collected during two time periods (1985-86 and 2014-15) interposed by marked anthropogenic disturbances, and at the same five stations located progressively from inshore to offshore in Klang Strait, Malaysia, following the asymmetrical before-after-control-impact (BACI) design. Copepods were identified to species, and results were interpreted by univariate (ANOVA) and multivariate (PERMANOVA, PCO) analyses of the computed species abundance and diversity measures. Results. Copepod total abundance was not significantly different among stations but higher after disturbance than before disturbance. However, changes in the abundance of particular species and the community structure between time periods were dramatic. Coastal large-bodied calanoid species (e.g., Acartia spinicauda, Calanopia thompsoni, Pseudodiaptomus bowmani and Tortanus forcipatus) were the most vulnerable group to disturbance. This however favored the opportunistic species (e.g., Oithona simplex, O. attenuata, Hemicyclops sp., Pseudomacrochiron sp. and Microsetella norvegica). Small-bodied copepods (e.g., Paracalanus sp., Parvocalanus crassirostris and Euterpina acutifrons) were unaffected. Centropages tenuiremis was likely an introduced species. There was no significant loss in species richness of copepods despite the dramatic changes in community structure. Discussion. Sea warming and other human-induced effects such as eutrophication, acidification and coastal habitat degradation are likely the main factors that have altered copepod community structure. The large-bodied estuarine and coastal calanoid copepods are surmised to be vulnerable to eutrophication and hypoxia, while both resilient and opportunistic species are largely unaffected by, or adaptable to, degraded coastal environments and observed sea surface temperature (SST) rise. It is forecasted that SST rise with unmitigated anthropogenic impacts will further reduce large-bodied copepod species the favoured food for fish larvae with dire consequences for coastal fish production.
  3. Lim AC, Chong VC, Wong CS, Muniandy SV
    PeerJ, 2015;3:e1471.
    PMID: 26734507 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1471
    Background. Syngnathid fishes produce three kinds of sounds, named click, growl and purr. These sounds are generated by different mechanisms to give a consistent signal pattern or signature which is believed to play a role in intraspecific and interspecific communication. Commonly known sounds are produced when the fish feeds (click, purr) or is under duress (growl). While there are more acoustic studies on seahorses, pipefishes have not received much attention. Here we document the differences in feeding click signals between three species of pipefishes and relate them to cranial morphology and kinesis, or the sound-producing mechanism. Methods. The feeding clicks of two species of freshwater pipefishes, Doryichthys martensii and Doryichthys deokhathoides and one species of estuarine pipefish, Syngnathoides biaculeatus, were recorded by a hydrophone in acoustic dampened tanks. The acoustic signals were analysed using time-scale distribution (or scalogram) based on wavelet transform. A detailed time-varying analysis of the spectral contents of the localized acoustic signal was obtained by jointly interpreting the oscillogram, scalogram and power spectrum. The heads of both Doryichthys species were prepared for microtomographical scans which were analysed using a 3D imaging software. Additionally, the cranial bones of all three species were examined using a clearing and double-staining method for histological studies. Results. The sound characteristics of the feeding click of the pipefish is species-specific, appearing to be dependent on three bones: the supraoccipital, 1st postcranial plate and 2nd postcranial plate. The sounds are generated when the head of the Dorichthyes pipefishes flexes backward during the feeding strike, as the supraoccipital slides backwards, striking and pushing the 1st postcranial plate against (and striking) the 2nd postcranial plate. In the Syngnathoides pipefish, in the absence of the 1st postcranial plate, the supraoccipital rubs against the 2nd postcranial plate twice as it is pulled backward and released on the return. Cranial morphology and kinesis produce acoustic signals consistent with the bone strikes that produce sharp energy spikes (discrete or merged), or stridulations between bones that produce repeated or multimodal sinusoidal waveforms. Discussion. The variable structure of the sound-producing mechanism explains the unique acoustic signatures of the three species of pipefish. The differences in cranial bone morphology, cranial kinesis and acoustic signatures among pipefishes (and seahorses) could be attributed to independent evolution within the Syngnathidae, which warrants further investigation.
  4. Chong VC, Lee PK, Lau CM
    J Fish Biol, 2010 Jun;76(9):2009-66.
    PMID: 20557654 DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.2010.02685.x
    A total of 1951 species of freshwater and marine fishes belonging to 704 genera and 186 families are recorded in Malaysia. Almost half (48%) are currently threatened to some degree, while nearly one third (27%) mostly from the marine and coral habitats require urgent scientific studies to evaluate their status. Freshwater habitats encompass the highest percentage of threatened fish species (87%) followed by estuarine habitats (66%). Of the 32 species of highly threatened (HT) species, 16 are freshwater and 16 are largely marine-euryhaline species. Fish extinctions in Malaysia are confined to two freshwater species, but both freshwater and marine species are being increasingly threatened by largely habitat loss or modification (76%), overfishing (27%) and by-catch (23%). The most important threat to freshwater fishes is habitat modification and overfishing, while 35 species are threatened due to their endemism. Brackish-water, euryhaline and marine fishes are threatened mainly by overfishing, by-catch and habitat modification. Sedimentation (pollution) additionally threatens coral-reef fishes. The study provides recommendations to governments, fish managers, scientists and stakeholders to address the increasing and unabated extinction risks faced by the Malaysian fish fauna.
  5. Salimi N, Loh KH, Kaur Dhillon S, Chong VC
    PeerJ, 2016;4:e1664.
    PMID: 26925315 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1664
    Background. Fish species may be identified based on their unique otolith shape or contour. Several pattern recognition methods have been proposed to classify fish species through morphological features of the otolith contours. However, there has been no fully-automated species identification model with the accuracy higher than 80%. The purpose of the current study is to develop a fully-automated model, based on the otolith contours, to identify the fish species with the high classification accuracy. Methods. Images of the right sagittal otoliths of 14 fish species from three families namely Sciaenidae, Ariidae, and Engraulidae were used to develop the proposed identification model. Short-time Fourier transform (STFT) was used, for the first time in the area of otolith shape analysis, to extract important features of the otolith contours. Discriminant Analysis (DA), as a classification technique, was used to train and test the model based on the extracted features. Results. Performance of the model was demonstrated using species from three families separately, as well as all species combined. Overall classification accuracy of the model was greater than 90% for all cases. In addition, effects of STFT variables on the performance of the identification model were explored in this study. Conclusions. Short-time Fourier transform could determine important features of the otolith outlines. The fully-automated model proposed in this study (STFT-DA) could predict species of an unknown specimen with acceptable identification accuracy. The model codes can be accessed at http://mybiodiversityontologies.um.edu.my/Otolith/ and https://peerj.com/preprints/1517/. The current model has flexibility to be used for more species and families in future studies.
  6. Lim KC, Lim PE, Chong VC, Loh KH
    PLoS One, 2015;10(4):e0120518.
    PMID: 25867639 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120518
    Elucidating the phylogenetic relationships of the current but problematic Dasyatidae (Order Myliobatiformes) was the first priority of the current study. Here, we studied three molecular gene markers of 43 species (COI gene), 33 species (ND2 gene) and 34 species (RAG1 gene) of stingrays to draft out the phylogenetic tree of the order. Nine character states were identified and used to confirm the molecularly constructed phylogenetic trees. Eight or more clades (at different hierarchical level) were identified for COI, ND2 and RAG1 genes in the Myliobatiformes including four clades containing members of the present Dasyatidae, thus rendering the latter non-monophyletic. The uncorrected p-distance between these four 'Dasytidae' clades when compared to the distance between formally known families confirmed that these four clades should be elevated to four separate families. We suggest a revision of the present classification, retaining the Dasyatidae (Dasyatis and Taeniurops species) but adding three new families namely, Neotrygonidae (Neotrygon and Taeniura species), Himanturidae (Himantura species) and Pastinachidae (Pastinachus species). Our result indicated the need to further review the classification of Dasyatis microps. By resolving the non-monophyletic problem, the suite of nine character states enables the natural classification of the Myliobatiformes into at least thirteen families based on morphology.
  7. Alongi DM, Chong VC, Dixon P, Sasekumar A, Tirendi F
    Mar Environ Res, 2003 May;55(4):313-33.
    PMID: 12517423
    The impact of floating net cages culturing the seabass, Lates calcarifer, on planktonic processes and water chemistry in two heavily used mangrove estuaries in Malaysia was examined. Concentrations of dissolved inorganic and particulate nutrients were usually greater in cage vs. adjacent (approximately 100 m) non-cage waters, although most variability in water-column chemistry related to water depth and tides. There were few consistent differences in plankton abundance, production or respiration between cage and non-cage sites. Rates of primary production were low compared with rates of pelagic mineralization reflecting high suspended loads coupled with large inputs of organic matter from mangrove forests, fishing villages, fish cages, pig farms and other industries within the catchment. Our preliminary sampling did not reveal any large-scale eutrophication due to the cages. A crude estimate of the contribution of fish cage inputs to the estuaries shows that fish cages contribute only approximately 2% of C but greater percentages of N (32-36%) and P (83-99%) to these waters relative to phytoplankton and mangrove inputs. Isolating and detecting impacts of cage culture in such heavily used waterways--a situation typical of most mangrove estuaries in Southeast Asia--are constrained by a background of large, highly variable fluxes of organic material derived from extensive mangrove forests and other human activities.
  8. Wong JY, Chu C, Chong VC, Dhillon SK, Loh KH
    J Fish Biol, 2016 Aug;89(2):1324-44.
    PMID: 27364089 DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13039
    Combined multiple 2D views (proximal, anterior and ventral aspects) of the sagittal otolith are proposed here as a method to capture shape information for fish classification. Classification performance of single view compared with combined 2D views show improved classification accuracy of the latter, for nine species of Sciaenidae. The effects of shape description methods (shape indices, Procrustes analysis and elliptical Fourier analysis) on classification performance were evaluated. Procrustes analysis and elliptical Fourier analysis perform better than shape indices when single view is considered, but all perform equally well with combined views. A generic content-based image retrieval (CBIR) system that ranks dissimilarity (Procrustes distance) of otolith images was built to search query images without the need for detailed information of side (left or right), aspect (proximal or distal) and direction (positive or negative) of the otolith. Methods for the development of this automated classification system are discussed.
  9. Rizman-Idid M, Farrah-Azwa AB, Chong VC
    Zool Stud, 2016;55:e35.
    PMID: 31966180 DOI: 10.6620/ZS.2016.55-35
    Mohammed Rizman-Idid, Abu Bakar Farrah-Azwa, and Ving Ching Chong (2016) Scientific enquiries into jellyfish blooms and associated problems are often deterred by the lack of taxonomical and ecological studies worldwide. Taxonomic difficulty is attributed to the high degree of morphological variations among and within species. To date, only two scyphozoan jellyfish species have been documented from field surveys in Malaysian waters, whereas another four Malaysian scyphozoan and two cubozoan jellyfish species have been mentioned in toxicological studies. None of these species have; however, been verified. This study thus aimed to document and resolves the uncertainty of earlier identified species in the region using morphology and molecular DNA sequencing. Jellyfish specimens were collected from Malaysian waters in the Straits of Malacca, South-China Sea and the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea over two years (June 2008 to October 2010), and their DNA sequences were compared with those from the Atlantic and Pacific regions. Ten scyphozoan and two cubozoan species were recorded in Malaysian waters (South China Sea and Straits of Malacca). These jellyfish included eight species from the order Rhizostomeae (Rhizostomatidae, Lobonematidae, Mastigiidae, Catostylidae and Cepheidae), two species from Semaestomeae (Pelagiidae and Cyaneidae) and two species from class Cubozoa; one from order Carybdeida (family Carukiidae) and another from order Chirodropida (family Chiropsalmidae). Molecular identification of species using phylogenetic approaches was based on DNA sequences of partial cytochrome oxidase I (COI), 16S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS1) regions. The COI phylogenetic tree of Cubozoa and Scyphozoa species from the Atlantic and Pacific regions showed distinct clustering of six Malaysian jellyfish species. However, most of the deeper divergences and relationships between the families were unresolved, which were also observed in the 16S and ITS1 phylogenetic trees. The Malaysian edible species Lobonemoides robustus, Rhopilema hispidum and Rhopilema esculentum were grouped within Rhizostomeae, whereas other scyphozoans showed phylogenetic affinities to Semaestomeae and Kolpophorae. Chrysaora and Cyanea appeared non-monophyletic; however their paraphyly was not confirmed. This study has provided the much needed baseline information on the taxonomy of Malaysian jellyfish species which have been substantiated by partial COI, 16S and ITS1 sequences. A total of 12 putative species of jellyfish were identified, which encompassed 12 genera.
  10. Azad SA, Vikineswary S, Chong VC, Ramachandran KB
    Lett Appl Microbiol, 2004;38(1):13-8.
    PMID: 14687209
    Rhodovulum sulfidophilum was grown in settled undiluted and nonsterilized sardine processing wastewater (SPW). The aims were to evaluate the effects of inoculum size and media on the biomass production with simultaneous reduction of chemical oxygen demand (COD).
  11. Azad SA, Vikineswary S, Ramachandran KB, Chong VC
    Lett Appl Microbiol, 2001 Oct;33(4):264-8.
    PMID: 11559398
    AIMS: Rhodovulum sulfidophilum was grown in sardine processing wastewater to assess growth characteristics for the production of bacterial biomass with simultaneous reduction of chemical oxygen demand.

    METHODS AND RESULTS: Growth characteristics were compared in diluted and undiluted, settled and non-settled wastewater growing in anaerobic light and aerobic dark conditions; and also at different agitation speeds. The highest biomass (8.75 g l(-1)) and a reduction in chemical oxygen demand of 71% were obtained in unsettled, undiluted wastewater after 120 h culture with 15% inoculum. In settled wastewater, highest biomass (7.64 g l(-1)) and a COD reduction of 77% was also obtained after 120 h. Total biomass was higher (4.34 g l(-1)) after 120 h culture in anaerobic light compared to (3.23 g l(-1)) in aerobic dark growth.

    CONCLUSIONS, SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY: Better performance, mean of total biomass (6.97 g l(-1) after 96 h), total carotenoids (4.24 mg g(-1) dry cell from 24 h) and soluble protein (431 microg ml(-1) after 96 h) were obtained from aerobic dark culture at 300 rev min(-1). The COD reduction, however, was lower (69%) after 96 h culture. Thus, the benefits in the production of bacterial biomass in non-sterilized sardine processing wastewater with the reduction of chemical oxygen demand could be achieved.

  12. Lawson JM, Foster SJ, Lim AC, Chong VC, Vincent AC
    J Fish Biol, 2015 Jan;86(1):1-15.
    PMID: 25307290 DOI: 10.1111/jfb.12527
    Life-history variables for three incidentally captured species of seahorse (Kellogg's seahorse Hippocampus kelloggi, the hedgehog seahorse Hippocampus spinosissimus and the three-spot seahorse Hippocampus trimaculatus) were established using specimens obtained from 33 fisheries landing sites in Peninsular Malaysia. When samples were pooled by species across the peninsula, sex ratios were not significantly different from unity, and height and mass relationships were significant for all species. For two of these species, height at physical maturity (HM ) was smaller than the height at which reproductive activity (HR ) commenced: H. spinosissimus (HM = 99·6 mm, HR = 123·2 mm) and H. trimaculatus (HM = 90·5 mm, HR = 121·8 mm). For H. kelloggi, HM could not be estimated as all individuals were physically mature, while HR = 167·4 mm. It appears that all three Hippocampus spp. were, on average, caught before reproducing; height at 50% capture (HC ) was ≥HM but ≤HR . The results from this study probe the effectiveness of assessment techniques for data-poor fisheries that rely heavily on estimates of length at maturity, especially if maturity is poorly defined. Findings also question the sustainability of H. trimaculatus catches in the south-west region of Peninsular Malaysia, where landed specimens had a notably smaller mean height (86·2 mm) and markedly skewed sex ratio (6% males) compared with samples from the south-east and north-west of the peninsula.
  13. Ghaderpour A, Mohd Nasori KN, Chew LL, Chong VC, Thong KL, Chai LC
    Mar Pollut Bull, 2014 Jun 15;83(1):324-30.
    PMID: 24820641 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.04.029
    The deltaic estuarine system of the Matang Mangrove Forest Reserve of Malaysia is a site where several human settlements and brackish water aquaculture have been established. Here, we evaluated the level of fecal indicator bacteria (FIB) and the presence of potentially pathogenic bacteria in the surface water and sediments. Higher levels of FIB were detected at downstream sampling sites from the fishing village, indicating it as a possible source of anthropogenic pollution to the estuary. Enterococci levels in the estuarine sediments were higher than in the surface water, while total coliforms and E. coli in the estuarine sediments were not detected in all samples. Also, various types of potentially pathogenic bacteria, including Klebsiella pneumoniae, Serratia marcescens and Enterobacter cloacae were isolated. The results indicate that the Matang estuarine system is contaminated with various types of potential human bacterial pathogens which might pose a health risk to the public.
  14. Ghaderpour A, Ho WS, Chew LL, Bong CW, Chong VC, Thong KL, et al.
    Front Microbiol, 2015;6:977.
    PMID: 26483759 DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2015.00977
    E.coli, an important vector distributing antimicrobial resistance in the environment, was found to be multi-drug resistant, abundant, and genetically diverse in the Matang mangrove estuaries, Malaysia. One-third (34%) of the estuarine E. coli was multi-drug resistant. The highest antibiotic resistance prevalence was observed for aminoglycosides (83%) and beta-lactams (37%). Phylogenetic groups A and B1, being the most predominant E. coli, demonstrated the highest antibiotic resistant level and prevalence of integrons (integron I, 21%; integron II, 3%). Detection of phylogenetic group B23 downstream of fishing villages indicates human fecal contamination as a source of E. coli pollution. Enteroaggregative E. coli (1%) were also detected immediately downstream of the fishing village. The results indicated multi-drug resistance among E. coli circulating in Matang estuaries, which could be reflective of anthropogenic activities and aggravated by bacterial and antibiotic discharges from village lack of a sewerage system, aquaculture farms and upstream animal husbandry.
  15. Chew LL, Chong VC, Wong RCS, Lehette P, Ng CC, Loh KH
    Mar Pollut Bull, 2015 Dec 15;101(1):69-84.
    PMID: 26581817 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.11.022
    Zooplankton samples collected before (1985-86) and after (2013-14) the establishment of Kapar power station (KPS) were examined to test the hypothesis that increased sea surface temperature (SST) and other water quality changes have altered the zooplankton community structure. Elevated SST and reduced pH were detected between before and after impact pairs, with the greatest impact at the station closest to KPS. Present PAHs and heavy metal concentrations are unlikely causal factors. Water parameter changes did not affect diversity but community structure of the zooplankton. Tolerant small crustaceans, salps and larvaceans likely benefited from elevated temperature, reduced pH and shift to a more significant microbial loop exacerbated by eutrophication, while large crustaceans were more vulnerable to such changes. It is predicted that any further rise in SST will remove more large-bodied crustacean zooplankton, the preferred food for fish larvae and other meroplankton, with grave consequences to fishery production.
  16. Yap FC, Wong WL, Maule AG, Brennan GP, Chong VC, Lim LH
    Sci Rep, 2017 03 22;7:44980.
    PMID: 28327603 DOI: 10.1038/srep44980
    Although there have been extensive studies on the larval adhesion of acorn barnacles over the past few decades, little is known about stalked barnacles. For the first time, we describe the larval adhesive systems in the stalked barnacle, Octolasmis angulata and the findings differ from previous reports of the temporary (antennulary) and cement glands in thoracican barnacles. We have found that the temporary adhesives of cyprid are produced by the clustered temporary adhesive glands located within the mantle, instead of the specialised hypodermal glands in the second antennular segment as reported in the acorn barnacles. The temporary adhesive secretory vesicles (TASV) are released from the gland cells into the antennule via the neck extensions of the glands, and surrounded with microtubules in the attachment disc. Cement glands undergo a morphological transition as the cyprid grows. Synthesis of the permanent adhesives only occurs during the early cyprid stage, and is terminated once the cement glands reach maximum size. Evidence of the epithelial invaginations on the cement glands supports the involvement of exocytosis in the secretion of the permanent adhesives. This study provides new insight into the larval adhesives system of thoracican barnacles.
  17. Chu C, Loh KH, Ng CC, Ooi AL, Konishi Y, Huang SP, et al.
    Zool Stud, 2019;58:e30.
    PMID: 31966331 DOI: 10.6620/ZS.2019.58-30
    Larval descriptions of tropical marine and coastal fishes are very few, and this taxonomic problem is further exacerbated by the high diversity of fish species in these waters. Nonetheless, accurate larval identification in ecological and early life history studies of larval fishes is crucial for fishery management and habitat protection. The present study aimed to evaluate the usefulness of DNA barcodes to support larval fish identification since conventional dichotomous keys based on morphological traits are not efficient due to the lack of larval traits and the rapid morphological changes during ontogeny. Our molecular analysis uncovered a total of 48 taxa (21 families) from the larval samples collected from the Klang Strait waters encompassing both spawning and nursery grounds of marine and estuarine fishes. Thirty-two (67%) of the larval taxa were identified at the species level, two taxa (4%) at the genus level, and 14 taxa (29%) at family level. The relatively low rate of species-level identification is not necessarily due to the DNA barcoding method per se, but a general lack of reference sequences for speciose and non- commercial fish families such as Gobiidae, Blenniidae, and Callionymidae. Larval morphology remains important in species diagnoses when molecular matches are ambiguous. A lower ethanol percentage (50%) for larva preservation is also useful to keep the body of larvae intact for morphological identification, and to preserve DNA for subsequent molecular analyses. The 10% Chelex resin used to extract DNA is also cost- effective for long term monitoring of larval fishes. Hence, the DNA barcoding method is an effective and easy way to aid the identification of estuarine larval fishes at the species level.
  18. Tsuboi M, Lim AC, Ooi BL, Yip MY, Chong VC, Ahnesjö I, et al.
    J Evol Biol, 2017 Jan;30(1):150-160.
    PMID: 27748990 DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12995
    Brain size varies greatly at all taxonomic levels. Feeding ecology, life history and sexual selection have been proposed as key components in generating contemporary diversity in brain size across vertebrates. Analyses of brain size evolution have, however, been limited to lineages where males predominantly compete for mating and females choose mates. Here, we present the first original data set of brain sizes in pipefishes and seahorses (Syngnathidae) a group in which intense female mating competition occurs in many species. After controlling for the effect of shared ancestry and overall body size, brain size was positively correlated with relative snout length. Moreover, we found that females, on average, had 4.3% heavier brains than males and that polyandrous species demonstrated more pronounced (11.7%) female-biased brain size dimorphism. Our results suggest that adaptations for feeding on mobile prey items and sexual selection in females are important factors in brain size evolution of pipefishes and seahorses. Most importantly, our study supports the idea that sexual selection plays a major role in brain size evolution, regardless of on which sex sexual selection acts stronger.
  19. Low JSY, Chew LL, Ng CC, Goh HC, Lehette P, Chong VC
    J Therm Biol, 2018 May;74:14-22.
    PMID: 29801619 DOI: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2018.02.012
    Heat shock response (HSR), in terms of transcription regulation of two heat shock proteins genes hsp70 and hsp90), was analysed in a widespread tropical copepod Pseudodiaptomus annandalei. The mRNA transcripts of both genes were quantified after copepods at a salinity of 20 underwent an acclimation process involving an initial acclimation temperature of 29 °C, followed by gradual thermal ramping to the target exposure temperature range of 24-36 °C. The respective cellular HSR and organismal metabolism, measured by respiratory activity at exposure temperatures, were compared. The fold change in mRNA expression for both hsp70 and hsp90 (8-9 fold) peaks at 32 °C, which is very close to 32.4 °C, the upper thermal optimum for respiration in the species. Unexpectedly, the modelled HSR curves peak at only 3 °C (hsp90) and 3.5 °C (hsp70) above the mean water temperature (29.32 °C) of the copepod in the field. We propose that copepods in tropical waters adopt a preparative HSR strategy, early at the upper limit of its thermal optimum, due to the narrow thermal range of its habitat thus precluding substantial energy demand at higher temperatures. However, the model suggests that the species could survive to at least 36 °C with short acclimation time. Nevertheless, the significant overlap between its thermal range of hsp synthesis and the narrow temperature range of its habitat also suggests that any unprecedented rise in sea temperature would have a detrimental effect on the species.
  20. Lim AC, Chong VC, Chew WX, Muniandy SV, Wong CS, Ong ZC
    J Acoust Soc Am, 2015 Jul;138(1):404-12.
    PMID: 26233039 DOI: 10.1121/1.4923153
    Acoustic signals of the tiger-tail seahorse (Hippocampus comes) during feeding were studied using wavelet transform analysis. The seahorse "click" appears to be a compounded sound, comprising three acoustic components that likely come from two sound producing mechanisms. The click sound begins with a low-frequency precursor signal, followed by a sudden high-frequency spike that decays quickly, and a final, low-frequency sinusoidal component. The first two components can, respectively, be traced to the sliding movement and forceful knock between the supraorbital bone and coronet bone of the cranium, while the third one (purr) although appearing to be initiated here is produced elsewhere. The seahorse also produces a growling sound when under duress. Growling is accompanied by the highest recorded vibration at the cheek indicating another sound producing mechanism here. The purr has the same low frequency as the growl; both are likely produced by the same structural mechanism. However, growl and purr are triggered and produced under different conditions, suggesting that such "vocalization" may have significance in communication between seahorses.
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