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Ecology and Evolution

Rebeka Strah, Tanja Kunej
Molecular-based methods for identifying sex in mammals have a wide range of applications, from embryo manipulation to ecological studies. Various sex-specific or homologous genes can be used for this purpose, PCR amplification being a common method. Over the years, the number of reported tests and the range of tested species have increased greatly. The aim of the present analysis was to retrieve PCR-based sexing assays for a range of mammalian species, gathering the gene sequences from either the articles or online databases, and visualize the molecular design in a uniform manner...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Yuqiu Wei, Guicheng Zhang, Ju Chen, Jing Wang, Changling Ding, Xiaodong Zhang, Jun Sun
Picophytoplankton were investigated during spring 2015 and 2016 extending from near-shore coastal waters to oligotrophic open waters in the eastern Indian Ocean (EIO). They were typically composed of Prochlorococcus ( Pro ), Synechococcus ( Syn ), and picoeukaryotes ( PEuks ). Pro dominated most regions of the entire EIO and were approximately 1-2 orders of magnitude more abundant than Syn and PEuks . Under the influence of physicochemical conditions induced by annual variations of circulations and water masses, no coherent abundance and horizontal distributions of picophytoplankton were observed between spring 2015 and 2016...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Ricardo J Lopes, Catarina J Pinho, Bárbara Santos, Mariana Seguro, Vanessa A Mata, Bastian Egeter, Raquel Vasconcelos
Trophic networks in small isolated islands are in a fragile balance, and their disturbance can easily contribute toward the extinction vortex of species. Here, we show, in a small Atlantic island (Raso) in the Cabo Verde Archipelago, using DNA metabarcoding, the extent of trophic dependence of the Endangered giant wall gecko Tarentola gigas on endemic populations of vertebrates, including one of the rarest bird species of the world, the Critically Endangered Raso lark Alauda razae . We found that the Raso lark (27%), Iago sparrow Passer iagoensis (12%), Bulwer's petrel Bulweria bulwerii (15%), and the Cabo Verde shearwater Calonectris edwardsii (10%) are the most frequent vertebrate signatures found in the feces of the giant wall gecko...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Tal Caspi, Lauren A Hartz, Alondra E Soto Villa, Jenna A Loesberg, Colin R Robins, Wallace M Meyer
Non-native plant invasions can alter nutrient cycling processes and contribute to global climate change. In southern California, California sage scrub (hereafter sage scrub), a native shrub-dominated habitat type in lowland areas, has decreased to <10% of its original distribution. Postdisturbance type-conversion to non-native annual grassland, and increasingly to mustard-dominated invasive forbland, is a key contributor to sage scrub loss. To better understand how type-conversion by common invasive annuals impacts carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) storage in surface soils, we examined how the identity of the invader (non-native grasses, Bromus spp...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Gemma E Collins, Ian D Hogg, Janine R Baxter, Gillian Maggs-Kölling, Don A Cowan
Aim: To assess spatial patterns of genetic and species-level diversity for Namib Desert Collembola using mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequences. Location: Namib Desert gravel plains. Taxon: Collembola (springtails). Methods: A total of 77 soil samples were collected along NE-SW (60 km) and E-W (160 km) transects from within a 4,000 km2 area of the Namib Desert gravel plains. We extracted 434 springtails from the 37 samples which contained Collembola and sequenced them at the COI gene locus...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Naoki Ohnishi, Takeshi Osawa, Toshiaki Yamamoto, Reina Uno
Context: Genetic diversity is one of the most important facets of biological diversity, and changes in the spatial pattern of habitats, often modified by human activity, are believed to have affected the genetic diversity of resident natural populations. Objectives: We undertook a landscape genetic analysis in order to determine which landscape features influence gene flow within Asian black bear populations and to identify the underlying processes. Methods: In our evaluation of gene flow, we estimated four parameters of resistance with regard to landscape elevation: the mean, the difference between the highest and lowest, the standard deviation, and the coefficient of variation of elevation among individuals...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Daisuke Satomi, Chiharu Koshio, Haruki Tatsuta, Shin-Ichi Kudo, Yasuoki Takami
Sexual traits are subject to evolutionary forces that maximize reproductive benefits and minimize survival costs, both of which can depend on environmental conditions. Latitude explains substantial variation in environmental conditions. However, little is known about the relationship between sexual trait variation and latitude, although body size often correlates with latitude. We examined latitudinal variation in male and female sexual traits in 22 populations of the false blister beetle Oedemera sexualis in the Japanese Archipelago...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Andrew W Griffith, Matthew J Harke, Elizabeth DePasquale, Dianna L Berry, Christopher J Gobler
Global ocean change threatens marine life, yet a mechanistic understanding of how organisms are affected by specific stressors is poorly understood. Here, we identify and compare the unique and common transcriptomic responses of an organism experiencing widespread fisheries declines, Argopecten irradians (bay scallop) exposed to multiple stressors including high p CO2 , elevated temperature, and two species of harmful algae, Cochlodinium (aka Margalefidinium ) polykrikoides and Aureococcus anophagefferens using high-throughput sequencing (RNA-seq)...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Héctor Zumbado-Ulate, Adrián García-Rodríguez, Vance T Vredenburg, Catherine Searle
Numerous species of amphibians declined in Central America during the 1980s and 1990s. These declines mostly affected highland stream amphibians and have been primarily linked to chytridiomycosis, a deadly disease caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). Since then, the majority of field studies on Bd in the Tropics have been conducted in midland and highland environments (>800 m) mainly because the environmental conditions of mountain ranges match the range of ideal abiotic conditions for Bd in the laboratory...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Elizabeth Croose, Florent Bled, Nicholas L Fowler, Dean E Beyer, Jerrold L Belant
Understanding the mechanisms of coexistence between ecologically similar species is an important issue in ecology. Carnivore coexistence may be facilitated by spatial segregation, temporal avoidance, and differential habitat selection. American martens Martes americana and fishers Pekania pennanti are medium-sized mustelids that occur sympatrically across portions of North America, yet mechanisms of coexistence between the two species are not fully understood. We assessed spatial and temporal partitioning in martens and fishers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA, using camera trap data collected during winter 2013-2015...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Henri Caron, Jean-François Molino, Daniel Sabatier, Patrick Léger, Philippe Chaumeil, Caroline Scotti-Saintagne, Jean-Marc Frigério, Ivan Scotti, Alain Franc, Rémy J Petit
We investigate chloroplast DNA variation in a hyperdiverse community of tropical rainforest trees in French Guiana, focusing on patterns of intraspecific and interspecific variation. We test whether a species genetic diversity is higher when it has congeners in the community with which it can exchange genes and if shared haplotypes are more frequent in genetically diverse species, as expected in the presence of introgression.We sampled a total of 1,681 individual trees from 472 species corresponding to 198 genera and sequenced them at a noncoding chloroplast DNA fragment...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Sangeet Lamichhaney, Leif Andersson
Inversions may contribute to ecological adaptation and phenotypic diversity, and with the advent of "second" and "third" generation sequencing technologies, the ability to detect inversion polymorphisms has been enhanced dramatically. A key molecular consequence of an inversion is the suppression of recombination allowing independent accumulation of genetic changes between alleles over time. This may lead to the development of divergent haplotype blocks maintained by balancing selection...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Paul A De Luca, Stephen Buchmann, Candace Galen, Andrew C Mason, Mario Vallejo-Marín
Body size is an important trait linking pollinators and plants. Morphological matching between pollinators and plants is thought to reinforce pollinator fidelity, as the correct fit ensures that both parties benefit from the interaction. We investigated the influence of body size in a specialized pollination system (buzz-pollination) where bees vibrate flowers to release pollen concealed within poricidal stamens. Specifically, we explored how body size influences the frequency of buzz-pollination vibrations...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Pankaj Koparde, Prachi Mehta, Shomita Mukherjee, V V Robin
Aim: The nested pattern in the geographical distribution of three Indian owlets, resulting in a gradient of endemicity, is hypothesized to be an impact of historical climate change. In current time, the Forest Owlet Athene blewitti is endemic to central India, and its range is encompassed within the ranges of the Jungle Owlet Glaucidium radiatum (distributed through South Asia) and Spotted Owlet Athene brama (distributed through Iran, South and Southeast Asia). Another phylogenetically close species, Little Owl Athene noctua, which is largely Palearctic in distribution, is hypothesized to have undergone severe range reduction during the Last Glacial Maximum, showing a postglacial expansion...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Victoria L G Todd, Laura D Williamson
Distributions of Daubenton's bat ( Myotis daubentonii ), common pipistrelle, ( Pipistrellus pipistrellus ), and soprano pipistrelle ( Pipistrellus pygmaeus ) were investigated along and altitudinal gradient of the Lledr River, Conwy, North Wales, and presence assessed in relation to the water surface condition, presence/absence of bank-side trees, and elevation. Ultrasound recordings of bats made on timed transects in summer 1999 were used to quantify habitat usage. All species significantly preferred smooth water sections of the river with trees on either one or both banks; P...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Chanchan Xu, Yimeng Ge, Jianbo Wang
Dissecting complex connections between cytogenetic traits (ploidy levels) and plant invasiveness has emerged as a popular research subject in the field of invasion biology. Although recent work suggests that polyploids are more likely to be invasive than their corresponding diploids, the molecular basis underlying the successful invasion of polyploids remains largely unexplored. To this end, we adopted an RNA-seq and sRNA-seq approach to describe how polyploids mediate invasiveness differences in two contrasting cytotypes of Solidago canadensis L...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Elizabeth M Phillips, John K Horne, Jeannette E Zamon, Jonathan J Felis, Josh Adams
Studies estimating species' distributions require information about animal locations in space and time. Location data can be collected using surveys within a predetermined frame of reference (i.e., Eulerian sampling) or from animal-borne tracking devices (i.e., Lagrangian sampling). Integration of observations obtained from Eulerian and Lagrangian perspectives can provide insights into animal movement and habitat use. However, contemporaneous data from both perspectives are rarely available, making examination of biases associated with each sampling approach difficult...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Mika Zagrobelny, Lene Dalsten, Axel Hille
Northern and mountainous ice sheets have expanded and contracted many times due to ice ages. Consequently, temperate species have been confined to refugia during the glacial periods wherefrom they have recolonized warming northern habitats between ice ages. In this study, we compare the gene CYP405A2 between different populations of the common burnet moth Zygaena filipendulae from across the Western Palearctic region to illuminate the colonization history of this species. These data show two major clusters of Z...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Lucy Naud, Johannes Måsviken, Susana Freire, Anders Angerbjörn, Love Dalén, Fredrik Dalerum
Environmental gradients are caused by gradual changes in abiotic factors, which affect species abundances and distributions, and are important for the spatial distribution of biodiversity. One prominent environmental gradient is the altitude gradient. Understanding ecological processes associated with altitude gradients may help us to understand the possible effects climate change could have on species communities. We quantified vegetation cover, species richness, species evenness, beta diversity, and spatial patterns of community structure of vascular plants along altitude gradients in a subarctic mountain tundra in northern Sweden...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
Carolyn A Bergstrom, JoMarie Alba, Julienne Pacheco, Trevor Fritz, Sherry L Tamone
Phenotypic polymorphisms often differ in multiple correlated traits including morphology, behavior, and physiology, all of which can affect performance. How selection acts on these suites of traits can be complex and difficult to discern. Starry flounder ( Platichthys stellatus ) is a pleuronectid flatfish that exhibits rare polymorphism for the direction of eye migration and resulting whole-body asymmetry. P. stellatus asymmetry morphs differ subtly in several anatomical traits, foraging behavior, and stable isotope signatures, suggesting they may be ecologically segregated, yet performance and metabolic differences are unknown...
April 2019: Ecology and Evolution
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