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Die Naturwissenschaften

Chanjuan Qu, Kathryn A Stewart
While conservation management has made tremendous strides to date, deciding where, when and how to invest limited monitoring budgets is a central concern for impactful decision-making. New analytical tools, such as environmental DNA (eDNA), are now facilitating broader biodiversity monitoring at unprecedented scales, in part, due to time, and presumably cost, of methodological efficiency. Genetic approaches vary from conventional PCR (cPCR; species presence), to metabarcoding (community structure), and qPCR (relative DNA abundance, detection sensitivity)...
February 18, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Željko Savković, Miloš Stupar, Nikola Unković, Žarko Ivanović, Jovana Blagojević, Jelena Vukojević, Milica Ljaljević Grbić
The study addresses in vitro degradation potential of airborne Aspergillus and Penicillium/Talarmyces species originating from cultural heritage conservation premises. A series of rapid, cost effective biodegradation assays were performed to assess production of extracellular pigments, acids, and enzymes. Most of the isolates have demonstrated positive growth in at least one of the preformed tests. Strongest overall degradation potential was demonstrated for Penicillium brevicompactum, P. glabrum, and Talaromyces sayulitensis while Aspergillus domesticus, A...
February 8, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Gergely Horváth, László Zsolt Garamszegi, Judit Bereczki, Tamás János Urszán, Gergely Balázs, Gábor Herczeg
Most studies on animal personality evaluate individual mean behaviour to describe individual behavioural strategy, while often neglecting behavioural variability on the within-individual level. However, within-individual behavioural plasticity (variation induced by environment) and within-individual residual variation (regulatory behavioural precision) are recognized as biologically valid components of individual behaviour, but the evolutionary ecology of these components is still less understood. Here, we tested whether behaviour of common pill bugs (Armadillidium vulgare) differs on the among- and within-individual level and whether it is affected by various individual specific state-related traits (sex, size and Wolbachia infection)...
February 7, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Joanna Sudyka, Edyta Podmokła, Szymon M Drobniak, Anna Dubiec, Aneta Arct, Lars Gustafsson, Mariusz Cichoń
Parasitic infections potentially drive host's life-histories since they can have detrimental effects on host's fitness. Telomere dynamics is a candidate mechanism to underlie life-history trade-offs and as such may correlate with observed fitness reduction in infected animals. We examined the relationship of chronic infection with two genera of haemosporidians causing avian malaria and malaria-like disease with host's telomere length (TL) in a longitudinal study of free-ranging blue tits. The observed overall infection prevalence was 80% and increased with age, constituting a potentially serious selective pressure in our population...
January 30, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Peggy Vincent, Glenn W Storrs
This paper offers a re-description of one of the oldest (Lower Hettangian, Lower Jurassic) plesiosaurians (Reptilia: Sauropterygia) from Germany and discusses its phylogenetic relevance. Lindwurmia thiuda, new genus and species, is a moderately sized plesiosaur (estimated size between 2 and 3 m long) exhibiting several plesiomorphic features. Although it presents a short and robust premaxillary rostrum, constricted at the premaxilla-maxilla suture as observed in Rhomaleosauridae, its skull and skeleton share a great number of characters with basal sauropterygians and basal plesiosaurians: premaxillae and maxillae in contact posterior to the external nares, absence of contact between the vomers and the maxillae posterior to the internal nares, cervical zygapophyses wider than the vertebral centrum width and curved anterior border of the humerus...
January 28, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Daniela Römer, Flavio Roces
Social insects often use olfactory cues from their environment to coordinate colony tasks. We investigated whether leaf-cutting ants use volatiles as cues to guide the deposition of their copious amounts of colony refuse. In the laboratory, we quantified the relocation of a small pile of colony waste by workers of Atta laevigata towards volatiles offered at each side of the pile as a binary choice, consisting of either waste volatiles, fungus volatiles, or no volatiles. Fungus volatiles alone did not evoke relocation of waste...
January 8, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Prashant Waiker, Saman Baral, Anissa Kennedy, Shilpi Bhatia, Anika Rueppell, Kevin Le, Esmaeil Amiri, Jennifer Tsuruda, Olav Rueppell
Exceptional natural phenomena, such as those that occur during a total solar eclipse, provide unique opportunities to study animal behavior outside the naturally evolved context, which can be informative in more general terms. Circumstantial descriptions of abnormal animal behavior during solar eclipses abound, although scientific studies conducted during an eclipse are relatively rare due to inherent logistical difficulties. Here, honey bee foraging and homing behavior were studied during the total solar eclipse of August 21, 2017...
January 8, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Kirstin S Brink, Mark J MacDougall, Robert R Reisz
The Early Permian Richards Spur locality is unique in preserving a highly diverse faunal assemblage in a cave system, composed of synapsids, reptiles, and anamniotes. However, the presence of Dimetrodon, the most common synapsid of Early Permian localities of the southwestern USA, has never been recorded from the site. Here, we describe for the first time the morphology and histology of a small neural spine with the distinctive figure-8 shape attributable to Dimetrodon. Additionally, histological analysis of previously described sphenacodontid teeth suggests the presence of a derived species of Dimetrodon at the Richards Spur locality...
January 4, 2019: Die Naturwissenschaften
Lucía Del Carmen Salas-Arcos, Carlos Lara, Citlalli Castillo-Guevara, Mariana Cuautle, Juan Francisco Ornelas
The pollination syndrome concept implies that flowers evolved with particular sets of characteristics, such as colors, shapes, orientations, and rewards, as a means of attracting pollinators. However, these traits may have also evolved to deter unwanted visitors. The North American genus Penstemon exhibits a great floral diversity that is mainly associated with bumblebee and hummingbird pollination. Evolutionary shifts from insect pollination to hummingbird pollination have occurred in Penstemon repeatedly, but some species maintain mixed-pollination systems and intermediate floral traits between bee- and hummingbird-pollination modes...
December 17, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Eva Landová, Petra Poláková, Silvie Rádlová, Markéta Janovcová, Miroslav Bobek, Daniel Frynta
Aesthetic preferences for animals correspond with the species' presence in the worldwide zoos and influence the conservation priorities. Here, we investigated the relationship between the willingness of respondents to protect mammals and some attributed characteristics such as their aesthetic beauty. Further, several methodological aspects of measuring mammalian beauty were assessed. Animal beauty was associated not only with the respondents' willingness to protect the species but also with its attributed dangerousness and usefulness...
November 28, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
S Rouifed, M Cottet, M de Battista, Y-F Le Lay, F Piola, P Rateau, A Rivière-Honegger
Choices have to be made to manage invasive species because eradication often is not possible. Both ecological and social factors have to be considered to improve the efficiency of management plans. We conducted a social study on Fallopia spp., a major invasive plant taxon in Europe, including (1) a survey on the perception of a landscape containing Fallopia spp. using a photoquestionnaire and (2) an analysis of the social representations of Fallopia spp. of managers and users in one highly invaded area and one less invaded area...
November 22, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Milan Vrtílek, Jakub Žák, Radim Blažek, Matej Polačik, Alessandro Cellerino, Martin Reichard
Senescence in wild populations was long considered negligible but current evidence suggests that it is widespread in natural populations of mammals and birds, affecting the survival and reproductive output of older individuals. In contrast, little is known about reproductive senescence in species with asymptotic growth that can keep increasing their reproductive output as they grow older and larger. Using a cross-sectional study, we tested age-related decline in fecundity and relative allocation to reproduction in five wild populations of an annual killifish, Nothobranchius furzeri (Cyprinodontiformes)...
November 22, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Mark Vicari, Adriana Puentes, Gustaf Granath, Jennifer Georgeff, Fiona Strathdee, Dawn R Bazely
Grazing can induce changes in both plant productivity and nutritional quality, which may subsequently influence herbivore carrying capacity. While research on Soay sheep (Ovis aries L.) dynamics on Hirta Island in the St. Kilda archipelago has elucidated the complexity of population drivers, including parasites, the role of herbivore-generated feedbacks as an intrinsic regulating factor remains unclear. The sheep lack large predators and every 3-9 years undergo population crashes (overcompensatory mortality)...
November 20, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Kim Jensen, Jakob V Michaelsen, Marie T Larsen, Torsten N Kristensen, Martin Holmstrup, Johannes Overgaard
Predatory arthropods are used for biological control in greenhouses, but there is increasing interest to extend their use to the outdoor environment where temperatures are typically lower. Acclimation at low temperature increases the ability of ectotherms to cope with subsequent more extreme cold, but may involve costs or benefits to other performance traits. A recent study in mesostigmatid mites (Gaeolaelaps aculeifer) showed that starvation tolerance was improved following a period of cold exposure. However, the physiological mechanisms that underlie improved starvation tolerance following cold exposure were not investigated...
November 19, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Tomer J Czaczkes, Ana María Bastidas-Urrutia, Paolo Ghislandi, Cristina Tuni
Increased urbanisation is leading to a rise in light pollution. Light pollution can disrupt the behaviour and physiology of animals resulting in increased mortality. However, animals may also benefit from artificial light sources, as these may aggregate prey or signal suitable environments. For example, spiders are commonly seen congregating around artificial light sources. Changes in selective pressures engendered by urban environments are driving changes in urban organisms, driving better adaptation to these environments...
October 30, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Cleia Detry, João Luís Cardoso, Javier Heras Mora, Macarena Bustamante-Álvarez, Ana Maria Silva, João Pimenta, Isabel Fernandes, Carlos Fernandes
New finds of bones of the Egyptian Mongoose (Herpestes ichneumon), one from Portugal and one from Spain, were directly 14 C dated to the first century AD. While the Portuguese specimen was found without connection to the Chalcolithic occupation of the Pedra Furada cave where it was recovered, the Spanish find, collected in the city of Mérida, comes from a ritual pit that also contained three human and 40 dog burials. The finds reported here show that the Egyptian mongoose, contrary to the traditional and predominant view, did not first arrive in the Iberian Peninsula during the Muslim occupation of Iberia...
October 11, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Nian Xu, Bin Zhu, Fang Shi, Ke Shao, Yanfu Que, Weitao Li, Wei Li, Wenjing Jiao, Hua Tian, Dongmei Xu, Jianbo Chang
Monitoring dynamic distribution is crucial to conservation management of anadromous sturgeons, but traditional survey methods are less efficient for low-density populations in a large river. Natural propagation of Chinese sturgeon has been monitored annually mainly at the spawning ground using netting for eggs and hydroacoustics for broodstock. However, absence of spawning was observed sporadically in recent years, indicating further crises for the declining population. We analyzed eDNA of water samples collected from 24 sites across 1360 km of the migratory route of anadromous Chinese sturgeon in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River...
October 10, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Romain Vullo, Jean-Claude Rage
Borioteiioidea are an enigmatic group of Cretaceous lizards widely distributed in northern continents (Laurasia). Here, we describe the first borioteiioid lizard from Gondwana, represented by a new species of the polyglyphanodontine genus Bicuspidon, B. hogreli sp. nov., from the Cenomanian Kem Kem beds of Morocco. The discovery of Bicuspidon hogreli sp. nov., which is one of the oldest known member of Polyglyphanodontini, challenges previous assumptions on the center of origin and dispersal of the group. In addition, the known distribution of Bicuspidon (Cenomanian of Utah and Morocco, and Santonian-Maastrichtian of eastern Europe) suggests a complex palaeobiogeographical history for the genus...
October 5, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Mei Jin, Ming Cao, Qian Cao, Jun Piao, Fengqin Zhao, Jing'ai Piao
Cashmere produced from Liaoning cashmere goat is highly valuable. Melatonin is an important factor affecting cashmere growth and can regulate the growth cycle via effects on gene expression. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression, but detailed studies of their effect on hair growth are lacking. To explore how lncRNA mediates the effects of melatonin on cashmere growth, we used RNA-Seq including a control condition (C) and three melatonin treatments (1.0 g/L 24 h (M1_24H), 0.2 g/L 24 h (M2_24H), 0...
September 26, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
Sylvain Giroud, Alina L Evans, Isabelle Chery, Fabrice Bertile, Georg Tascher, Justine Bertrand-Michel, Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch, Jon M Arnemo, Jon E Swenson, Etienne Lefai, Stéphane Blanc, Chantal Simon
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) exert several important functions across organ systems. During winter, hibernators divert PUFAs from oxidation, retaining them in their tissues and membranes, to ensure proper body functions at low body temperature. PUFAs are also precursors of eicosanoids with pro- and anti-inflammatory properties. This study investigated seasonal changes in eicosanoid metabolism of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos). By using a lipidomic approach, we assessed (1) levels of specific omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids involved in the eicosanoid cascade and (2) concentrations of eicosanoids in skeletal muscle and blood plasma of winter hibernating and summer active bears...
September 17, 2018: Die Naturwissenschaften
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