• Discovery of an extensive deep-sea fossil serpulid reef associated with a cold seep, Santa Monica Basin, California

      Georgieva, M; Paull, CK; Little, CTS; McGann, M; Sahy, D; Condon, D; Lundsten, L; Pewsey, J; Caress, DW; Vrijenhoek, RC (Frontiers Media, 2019-03-19)
      Multibeam bathymetric mapping of the Santa Monica Basin in the eastern Pacific has revealed the existence of a number of elevated bathymetric features, or mounds, harboring cold seep communities. During 2013–2014, mounds at 600 m water depth were observed for the first time and sampled by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute’s ROV Doc Ricketts. Active cold seeps were found, but surprisingly one of these mounds was characterized by massive deposits composed of fossil serpulid worm tubes (Annelida: Serpulidae) exhibiting various states of mineralization by authigenic carbonate. No living serpulids with equivalent tube morphologies were found at the site; hence the mound was termed “Fossil Hill.” In the present study, the identity of the fossil serpulids and associated fossil community, the ages of fossils and authigenic carbonates, the formation of the fossil serpulid aggregation, and the geological structure of the mound are explored. Results indicate that the tubes were most likely made by a deep-sea serpulid lineage, with radiocarbon dating suggesting that they have a very recent origin during the Late Pleistocene, specifically to the Last Glacial Maximum 20,000 years ago. Additional U-Th analyses of authigenic carbonates mostly corroborate the radiocarbon dates, and also indicate that seepage was occurring while the tubes were being formed. We also document similar, older deposits along the approximate trajectory of the San Pedro Basin Fault. We suggest that the serpulid tube facies formed in situ, and that the vast aggregation of these tubes at Fossil Hill is likely due to a combination of optimal physical environmental conditions and chemosynthetic production, which may have been particularly intense as a result of sea-level lowstand during the Last Glacial Maximum.
    • Changes in technology and imperfect detection of nest contents impedes reliable estimates of population trends in burrowing seabirds

      Lavers, JL; Hutton, I; Bond, A (Elsevier, 2019-03-01)
      One of the most fundamental aspects of conservation biology is understanding trends in the abundance of species and populations. This influences conservation interventions, threat abatement, and management by implicitly or explicitly setting targets for favourable conservation states, such as an increasing or stable population. Burrow-nesting seabirds present many challenges for determining abundance reliably, which is further hampered by variability in the quality of previous surveys. We used burrow scopes to determine the population status of Flesh-footed Shearwaters (Ardenna carneipes) at their largest colony on Lord Howe Island, Australia, in 2018. We estimated a breeding population of 22,654 breeding pairs (95% CI: 8159–37,909). Comparing burrow scope models used in 2018 found more than half of burrow contents (20/36 burrows examined) were classified differently. If this detection probability is applied retroactively to surveys in 2002 and 2009, we estimate that the Flesh-footed Shearwater population on Lord Howe has decreased by up to 50% in the last decade, but uncertainty around previous surveys’ ability to reliably determine burrow contents means a direct comparison is not possible. The decline in burrow density between 2018 and previous years adds further evidence that the population may not be stable. Our results highlight a need for regular surveys to quantify detection probability so that as video technology advances, previous population estimates remain comparable. We urge caution when comparing population counts of burrowing seabirds using different technologies, to ensure comparisons are meaningful.
    • The Lyell Collection at the Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London (UK)

      Sendino, MCSL (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-02-19)
      This paper provides a quantitative and general description of the Lyell Collection kept in the Department of Earth Sciences at the Natural History Museum of London. This collection started to be built by the eminent British geologist Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875) in 1846 when the first specimen reached the Museum. The last one entered in 1980 donated by one of Lyell’s heirs. There are more than 1700 specimens, mainly hand specimens with 93% of the fauna and flora from the Cenozoic of the Macaronesian archipelagos of the Canaries and Madeira. Those specimens that belong to the Lyell Collection with certainty have been databased and imaged. Currently they are being geo-referred automatically with the rest of the site geo-references at the NHM. This collection could be increased by a couple of dozen more specimens with those specimens located in the same drawers, but they do not have collector details. The work of data collection of these specimens was implemented over a year from 2016 to 2017, including annelids; brachiopods; bryozoans; echinoderms; scyphozoans; bivalves; gastropods; scaphopods; trilobites; plants; reptiles; fishes; and mammals. Access to the specimen-level data is available through the NHM data portal with the images associated. This is the first time that a description of the Fossil Lyell Collection dataset is available in the literature.
    • Trace element concentrations in feathers of seven petrels (Pterodroma spp.)

      Philpot, SM; Lavers, JL; Nugegoda, D; Gilmour, ME; Hutton, I; Bond, A (Springer (part of Springer Nature), 2019-02-07)
      Gadfly petrels (Pterodroma spp.) are one of the most threatened and poorly studied seabird groups, and as marine predators, are exposed to biomagnified and bioaccumulated chemical pollutants from their prey.We quantified trace element concentrations in breast feathers of seven petrel species that breed in the southern hemisphere to quantify current concentrations. Selenium (Se) concentrations were significantly lower in chicks than adults; this was not observed for zinc (Zn) or lead (Pb). Overall, the species examined here exhibited similar concentrations of Se, with Pb and Zn concentrations more variable among species. The mean Se concentration in adult birds exceeded those thought to be potentially deleterious, and three species had concentrations that were above the assumed threshold for Pb toxicity. Further investigation of potentially toxic trace elements in gadfly petrels is warranted.
    • Evolutionary Ecology of Fish Venom: Adaptations and Consequences of Evolving a Venom System.

      Harris, RJ; Jenner, RA (MDPI, 2019-01-22)
      Research on venomous animals has mainly focused on the molecular, biochemical, and pharmacological aspects of venom toxins. However, it is the relatively neglected broader study of evolutionary ecology that is crucial for understanding the biological relevance of venom systems. As fish have convergently evolved venom systems multiple times, it makes them ideal organisms to investigate the evolutionary ecology of venom on a broader scale. This review outlines what is known about how fish venom systems evolved as a result of natural enemy interactions and about the ecological consequences of evolving a venom system. This review will show how research on the evolutionary ecology of venom in fish can aid in understanding the evolutionary ecology of animal venoms more generally. Further, understanding these broad ecological questions can shed more light on the other areas of toxinology, with applications across multiple disciplinary fields.
    • Glastonbury Lake Village Revisited: A Multi-proxy Palaeoenvironmental Investigation of an Iron Age Wetland Settlement

      Hill, T; Hill, G; Brunning, R; Banerjea, R; Fyfe, R; Hogg, A; Jones, J; Perez, M; Smith, D (Taylor & Francis, 2019-01-14)
      Glastonbury Lake Village is one of the most iconic late prehistoric wetland settlements in Europe. A new excavation in the core of Glastonbury Lake Village, for the first time since 1907, provided the opportunity for sampling of deposits associated with occupation of the site and for reconstructing the environmental conditions before the settlement was constructed. The results of a detailed multiproxy study are presented, including palaeoecological proxies (Coleoptera, plant macrofossils, diatoms, pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs), geoarchaeological methods (soil micromorphology), supported by new radiocarbon determinations. The results highlight how the difficult process of creating a settlement in a wetland was achieved, both within structures and in the spaces around them. Evidence for grain storage within the macrofossil assemblages, and the presence of animals on the settlement reflected in coleopteran assemblages and non-pollen palynomorphs has refined our understanding of the interaction between the settlement and the neighbouring dryland.
    • The alteration history of the Jbilet Winselwan CM carbonaceous chondrite: An analog for C-type asteroid sample return

      King, A; Russell, S; Schofield, P; Humphreys-Williams, E; Strekopytov, S (Wiley, 2018-12-13)
      Jbilet Winselwan is one of the largest CM carbonaceous chondrites available for study. Its light, major, and trace elemental compositions are within the range of other CM chondrites. Chondrules are surrounded by dusty rims and set within a matrix of phyllosilicates, oxides, and sulfides. Calcium‐ and aluminum‐rich inclusions (CAIs) are present at ≤1 vol% and at least one contains melilite. Jbilet Winselwan is a breccia containing diverse lithologies that experienced varying degrees of aqueous alteration. In most lithologies, the chondrules and CAIs are partially altered and the metal abundance is low (<1 vol%), consistent with petrologic subtypes 2.7–2.4 on the Rubin et al. (2007) scale. However, chondrules and CAIs in some lithologies are completely altered suggesting more extensive hydration to petrologic subtypes ≤2.3. Following hydration, some lithologies suffered thermal metamorphism at 400–500 °C. Bulk X‐ray diffraction shows that Jbilet Winselwan consists of a highly disordered and/or very fine‐grained phase (73 vol%), which we infer was originally phyllosilicates prior to dehydration during a thermal metamorphic event(s). Some aliquots of Jbilet Winselwan also show significant depletions in volatile elements such as He and Cd. The heating was probably short‐lived and caused by impacts. Jbilet Winselwan samples a mixture of hydrated and dehydrated materials from a primitive water‐rich asteroid. It may therefore be a good analog for the types of materials that will be encountered by the Hayabusa‐2 and OSIRIS‐REx asteroid sample‐return missions.
    • People and plants: the unbreakable bond

      Knapp, S (New Phytologist Trust, 2018-12-05)
      Societal Impact Statement Plants are crucial for human survival, providing nutrition, warmth, clothing, and shelter, as well as the air that we breathe. Plants also enhance our environment by making it more beautiful and thereby enriching our lives and increasing our wellbeing. We need to study plants more and better understand their biodiversity so that we can conserve and safeguard their future to create an ecological civilization. Plant scientists must work together with other members of human societies to ensure the survival of these crucial organisms upon which we are reliant. Summary We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, which will have unknown but potentially devastating consequences for the Earth's planetary systems. Before we can conserve biodiversity, however, we must understand it, both as a concept and by performing an assessment of the diversity of life on our planet. Here, I highlight and explore the relationships between people and plants. Plants perform a diverse array of ecosystem processes, which provide us with a huge number of ecosystem services. We have domesticated a relatively tiny number of plant species to better optimize some of the products they provide us, including food, fiber, and fuel, but our relationships even with these few species are complex. Using the Solanaceae as an example, I explore the cultural, societal, economic, and nutritional aspects of our relationships with crop plants, as well as our use and knowledge of the genetic diversity stored in their wild relatives. Conserving plant biodiversity is vital for ourselves and for the rest of the biosphere, but plant scientists cannot achieve this alone. Highlighting the importance of biodiversity is key to attract public support and collaboration, enabling us to better map diversity and understand the impacts of our local behaviors on a global scale.
    • A molecular, morphological, and physiological comparison of English and German populations of Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae).

      Limsopatham, K; Hall, MJR; Zehner, R; Zajac, BK; Verhoff, MA; Sontigun, N; Sukontason, K; Sukontason, KL; Amendt, J (PLOS, 2018-12-03)
      The bluebottle blow fly Calliphora vicina is a common species distributed throughout Europe that can play an important role as forensic evidence in crime investigations. Developmental rates of C. vicina from distinct populations from Germany and England were compared under different temperature regimes to explore the use of growth data from different geographical regions for local case work. Wing morphometrics and molecular analysis between these populations were also studied as indicators for biological differences. One colony each of German and English C. vicina were cultured at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Frankfurt, Germany. Three different temperature regimes were applied, two constant (16°C & 25°C) and one variable (17-26°C, room temperature = RT). At seven time points (600, 850, 1200, 1450, 1800, 2050, and 2400 accumulated degree hours), larval lengths were measured; additionally, the durations of the post feeding stage and intrapuparial metamorphosis were recorded. For the morphometric and molecular study, 184 females and 133 males from each C. vicina population (Germany n = 3, England n = 4) were sampled. Right wings were measured based on 19 landmarks and analyzed using canonical variates analysis and discriminant function analysis. DNA was isolated from three legs per specimen (n = 61) using 5% chelex. A 784 bp long fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene was sequenced; sequences were aligned and phylogenetically analyzed. Similar larval growth rates of C. vicina were found from different geographic populations at different temperatures during the major part of development. Nevertheless, because minor differences were found a wider range of temperatures and sampling more time points should be analyzed to obtain more information relevant for forensic case work. Wing shape variation showed a difference between the German and English populations (P<0.0001). However, separation between the seven German and English populations at the smaller geographic scale remained ambiguous. Molecular phylogenetic analysis by maximum likelihood method could not unambiguously separate the different geographic populations at a national (Germany vs England) or local level.
    • Biesiespoort revisited: a case study on the relationship between tetrapod assemblage zones and Beaufort lithostratigraphy south of Victoria West

      Day, M; Rubidge, BS (University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg, 2018-12)
      The relationship between the tetrapod assemblage zones of the South African Karoo Basin and the lithostratigraphic divisions of the Beaufort Group is well-established, and provides an independent means of dating fossil occurrences. However, this relationship may not be consistent across the basin; a discrepancy exists between the historical tetrapod assemblages in the vicinity of Victoria West, Northern Cape Province, and the expected tetrapod assemblage zones based on mapped geology. In order to examine this disconnect, we collected fossils at two localities close to Biesiespoort railway station, a locality that was visited on a number of occasions by Robert Broom. Our fossil samples support the biostratigraphic determinations of Broom and thus confirm that the stratigraphic extent of the biozones at these localities differs from their type areas further south. The reasons for this are unclear but could be related to the northward younging of the lithological units, implying complex depositional processes, or result from difficulties in mapping. Nevertheless, caution should be exercised when using mapped geology near Victoria West as a guide to the age of fossils found there.
    • Deep-sea anthropogenic macrodebris harbours rich and diverse communities of bacteria and archaea

      Woodall, LC; Jungblut, AD; Hopkins, K; Hall, A; Robinson, LF; Gwinnett, C; Paterson, GLJ (PLOS, 2018-11-28)
      The deep sea is the largest biome on earth, and microbes dominate in biomass and abundance. Anthropogenic litter is now almost ubiquitous in this biome, and its deposition creates new habitats and environments, including for microbial assemblages. With the ever increasing accumulation of this debris, it is timely to identify and describe the bacterial and archaeal communities that are able to form biofilms on macrodebris in the deep sea. Using 16S rRNA gene high throughput sequencing, we show for the first time the composition of bacteria and archaea on macrodebris collected from the deep sea. Our data suggest differences in the microbial assemblage composition across litter of different materials including metal, rubber, glass, fabric and plastic. These results imply that anthropogenic macrodebris provide diverse habitats for bacterial and archaeal biofilms and each may harbour distinct microbial communities.
    • Managing a sustainable deep-sea 'blue economy' requires knowledge of what actually lives there

      Glover, AG; Wiklund, H; Chen, C; Dahlgren, TG (2018-11-27)
      Ensuring that the wealth of resources contained in our oceans are managed and developed in a sustainable manner is a priority for the emerging 'blue economy'. However, modern ecosystem-based management approaches do not translate well to regions where we know almost nothing about the individual species found in the ecosystem. Here, we propose a new taxon-focused approach to deep-sea conservation that includes regulatory oversight to set targets for the delivery of taxonomic data. For example, a five-year plan to deliver taxonomic and genomic knowledge on a thousand species in regions of the ocean earmarked for industrial activity is an achievable target. High-throughput, integrative taxonomy can, therefore, provide the data that is needed to monitor various ecosystem services (such as the natural history, connectivity, value and function of species) and to help break the regulatory deadlock of high-seas conservation.
    • Assessing Thallium Elemental Systematics and Isotope Ratio Variations in Porphyry Ore Systems: A Case Study of the Bingham Canyon District

      Fitzpayne, A; Prytulak, J; Wilkinson, JJ; Cooke, DR; Baker, MJ; Wilkinson, CC (MDPI AG, 2018-11-26)
      The Bingham Canyon porphyry deposit is one of the world’s largest Cu-Mo-Au resources. Elevated concentrations of thallium (Tl) compared to average continental crust have been found in some brecciated and igneous samples in this area, which likely result from mobilization of Tl by relatively low temperature hydrothermal fluids. The Tl-enrichment at Bingham Canyon therefore provides an opportunity to investigate if Tl isotope ratios reflect hydrothermal enrichment and whether there are systematic Tl isotope fractionations that could provide an exploration tool. We present a reconnaissance study of nineteen samples spanning a range of lithologies from the Bingham district which were analysed for their Tl content and Tl isotope ratios, reported as parts per ten thousand (ε205Tl) relative to the NIST SRM997 international standard. The range of ε205Tl reported in this study (−16.4 to +7.2) is the largest observed in a hydrothermal ore deposit to date. Unbrecciated samples collected relatively proximal to the Bingham Canyon porphyry system have ε205Tl of −4.2 to +0.9, similar to observations in a previous study of porphyry deposits. This relatively narrow range suggests that high-temperature (>300 °C) hydrothermal alteration does not result in significant Tl isotope fractionation. However, two samples ~3–4 km away from Bingham Canyon have higher ε205Tl values (+1.3 and +7.2), and samples from more distal (~7 km) disseminated gold deposits at Melco and Barneys Canyon display an even wider range in ε205Tl (−16.4 to +6.0). The observation of large positive and negative excursions in ε205Tl relative to the mantle value (ε205Tl = −2.0 ± 1.0) contrasts with previous investigations of hydrothermal systems. Samples displaying the most extreme positive and negative ε205Tl values also contain elevated concentrations of Tl-Sb-As. Furthermore, with the exception of one sample, all of the Tl isotopic anomalies occur in hydrothermal breccia samples. This suggests that ε205Tl excursions are most extreme during the migration of low-temperature hydrothermal fluids potentially related to sediment-hosted gold mineralization. Future investigation to determine the host phase(s) for Tl in breccias displaying both chalcophile element enrichment and ε205Tl excursions can potentially provide new information about hydrothermal fluid composition and could be used to locate sites for future porphyry exploration.
    • Microbial-tubeworm associations in a 440 million year old hydrothermal vent community

      Georgieva, M; Little, CTS; Bailey, RJ; Ball, AD; Glover, AG (Royal Society, The, 2018-11-14)
    • Occurrence of Schistosoma bovis on Pemba Island, Zanzibar: implications for urogenital schistosomiasis transmission monitoring

      Pennance, T; Ame, SM; Amour, AK; Suleiman, KR; Allan, F; Rollinson, D; Webster, BL (2018-11)
    • Occurrence of Schistosoma bovis on Pemba Island, Zanzibar: implications for urogenital schistosomiasis transmission monitoring - CORRIGENDUM (vol 145, pg 1727, 2018)

      Pennance, T; Ame, SM; Amour, AK; Suleiman, KR; Allan, F; Rollinson, D; Webster, BL (Cambridge University Press, 2018-11)
    • The use of anthropogenic marine debris as a nesting material by brown boobies (Sula leucogaster)

      Grant, ML; Lavers, JL; Stuckenbrock, S; Sharp, PB; Bond, AL (Elsevier, 2018-10-11)
      Marine debris is pervasive worldwide, and affects biota negatively. We compared the characteristics of debris incorporated within brown booby (Sula leucogaster) nests throughout their pantropical distribution by assessing the type, colour and mass of debris items within nests and in beach transects at 18 sites, to determine if nests are indicators of the amount of debris in local marine environments. Debris was present in 14.4% of nests surveyed, with the proportion of nests with debris varying among sites (range: 0–100%). There was minimal overlap between the type or colour of debris found in nests and on adjacent beaches at individual sites. This suggests that brown boobies do not select debris uniformly across their distribution. We propose that the nests of brown boobies can be used as a sentinel of marine debris pollution of their local environment.
    • Cerromojonite, CuPbBiSe3, from El Dragon (Bolivia): A New Member of the Bournonite Group

      Foerster, H-J; Bindi, L; Grundmann, G; Stanley, CJ (2018-09-21)