• 100 years of deep-sea tubeworms in the collections of the Natural History Museum, London

      Sherlock, E; Neal, L; Glover, AG (2014-12-18)
      Despite having being discovered relatively recently, the Siboglinidae family of poly- chaetes have a controversial taxonomic history. They are predominantly deep sea tube- dwelling worms, often referred to simply as ‘tubeworms’ that include the magnificent me- tre-long Riftia pachyptila from hydrothermal vents, the recently discovered ‘bone-eating’ Osedax and a diverse range of other thin, tube-dwelling species. For a long time they were considered to be in a completely separate Phylum, the Pogonophora, but with the discovery of a segmented posterior and then conclusive DNA evidence, they were re- stored to the Phylum Annelida. In this project curation and research teams have com- bined to enhance the Museum’s collection. This has been facilitated through targeted donation requests, comprehensive digitisation, a location move to the rightful taxonomic place and teaming up with global database initiatives to promote the collection.
    • 262 Voyages Beneath the Sea: a global assessment of macro- and megafaunal biodiversity and research effort at deep-sea hydrothermal vents

      Thaler, AD; Amon, Diva (PeerJ, 2019-08-06)
      For over 40 years, hydrothermal vents and the communities that thrive on them have been a source of profound discovery for deep-sea ecologists. These ecosystems are found throughout the world on active plate margins as well as other geologically active features. In addition to their ecologic interest, hydrothermal vent fields are comprised of metallic ores, sparking a nascent industry that aims to mine these metal-rich deposits for their mineral wealth. Here, we provide the first systematic assessment of macrofaunal and megafaunal biodiversity at hydrothermal vents normalized against research effort. Cruise reports from scientific expeditions as well as other literature were used to characterize the extent of exploration, determine the relative biodiversity of different biogeographic provinces, identify knowledge gaps related to the distribution of research effort, and prioritize targets for additional sampling to establish biodiversity baselines ahead of potential commercial exploitation. The Northwest Pacific, Southwest Pacific, and Southern Ocean biogeographic provinces were identified as high biodiversity using rarefaction of family-level incidence data, whereas the North East Pacific Rise, Northern East Pacific, Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and Indian Ocean provinces had medium biodiversity, and the Mid-Cayman Spreading Center was identified as a province of relatively low biodiversity. A North/South divide in the extent of biological research and the targets of hydrothermal vent mining prospects was also identified. Finally, we provide an estimate of sampling completeness for each province to inform scientific and stewardship priorities.
    • 3D virtual histology at the host/parasite interface: visualisation of the master manipulator, Dicrocoelium dendriticum, in the brain of its ant host

      Martin-Vega, D; Garbout, A; Ahmed, F; Wicklein, M; Goater, CP; Colwell, DD; Hall, MJR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2018-06-05)
      Some parasites are able to manipulate the behaviour of their hosts to their own advantage. One of the most well-established textbook examples of host manipulation is that of the trematode Dicrocoelium dendriticum on ants, its second intermediate host. Infected ants harbour encysted metacercariae in the gaster and a non-encysted metacercaria in the suboesophageal ganglion (SOG); however, the mechanisms that D. dendriticum uses to manipulate the ant behaviour remain unknown, partly because of a lack of a proper and direct visualisation of the physical interface between the parasite and the ant brain tissue. Here we provide new insights into the potential mechanisms that this iconic manipulator uses to alter its host’s behaviour by characterising the interface between D. dendriticum and the ant tissues with the use of non-invasive micro-CT scanning. For the first time, we show that there is a physical contact between the parasite and the ant brain tissue at the anteriormost part of the SOG, including in a case of multiple brain infection where only the parasite lodged in the most anterior part of the SOG was in contact with the ant brain tissue. We demonstrate the potential of micro-CT to further understand other parasite/host systems in parasitological research.
    • A 5-Year intervention study on elimination of urogenital schistosomiasis in Zanzibar: Parasitological results of annual cross-sectional surveys

      Knopp, S; Ame, SM; Person, B; Hattendorf, J; Rabone, M; Juma, S; Muhsin, J; Khamis, IS; Hollenberg, E; Mohammed, KA; et al. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2019-05-06)
      Background The Zanzibar Elimination of Schistosomiasis Transmission (ZEST) project aimed to eliminate urogenital schistosomiasis as a public health problem from Pemba and to interrupt Schistosoma haematobium transmission from Unguja in 5 years. Methodology A repeated cross-sectional cluster-randomized trial was implemented from 2011/12 till 2017. On each island, 45 shehias were randomly assigned to receive one of three interventions: biannual mass drug administration (MDA) with praziquantel alone, or in combination with snail control or behavior change measures. In cross-sectional surveys, a single urine sample was collected from ~9,000 students aged 9- to 12-years and from ~4,500 adults aged 20- to 55-years annually, and from ~9,000 1st year students at baseline and the final survey. Each sample was examined for S. haematobium eggs by a single urine filtration. Prevalence and infection intensity were determined. Odds of infection were compared between the intervention arms. Principal findings Prevalence was reduced from 6.1% (95% confidence interval (CI): 4.5%-7.6%) to 1.7% (95% CI: 1.2%-2.2%) in 9- to 12-year old students, from 3.9% (95% CI: 2.8%-5.0%) to 1.5% (95% CI: 1.0%-2.0%) in adults, and from 8.8% (95% CI: 6.5%-11.2%) to 2.6% (95% CI: 1.7%-3.5%) in 1st year students from 2011/12 to 2017. In 2017, heavy infection intensities occurred in 0.4% of 9- to 12-year old students, 0.1% of adults, and 0.8% of 1st year students. Considering 1st year students in 2017, 13/45 schools in Pemba and 4/45 schools in Unguja had heavy infection intensities >1%. There was no significant difference in prevalence between the intervention arms in any study group and year. Conclusions/Significance Urogenital schistosomiasis was eliminated as public health problem from most sites in Pemba and Unguja. Prevalence was significantly reduced, but transmission was not interrupted. Continued interventions that are adaptive and tailored to the micro-epidemiology of S. haematobium in Zanzibar are needed to sustain and advance the gains made by ZEST.
    • Abyssal fauna of polymetallic nodule exploration areas, eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone, central Pacific Ocean: Annelida: Capitellidae, Opheliidae, Scalibregmatidae, and Travisiidae

      Wiklund, H; Neal, L; Glover, AG; Drennan, Regan; Rabone, M; Dahlgren, TG (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-10-28)
      We present DNA taxonomy of abyssal polychaete worms from the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), central Pacific Ocean, using material collected as part of the Abyssal Baseline (ABYSSLINE) environmental survey cruises ‘AB01’ and ‘AB02’ to the UK Seabed Resources Ltd (UKSRL) polymetallic nodule exploration contract area ‘UK-1’, the Ocean Mineral Singapore exploration contract area ‘OMS-1’ and an Area of Particular Environmental Interest, ‘APEI-6’. This is the fourth paper in a series to provide regional taxonomic data with previous papers reporting on Cnidaria, Echinodermata and Mollusca. Taxonomic data are presented for 23 species from 85 records within four polychaete families: Capitellidae, Opheliidae, Scalibregmatidae and Travisiidae, identified by a combination of morphological and genetic data, including molecular phylogenetic analyses. Two taxa (genetically separated from one another) morphologically matched the same known cosmopolitan species, Ophelina abranchiata that has a type locality in a different ocean basin and depth from where no genetic data was available. These two species were assigned the open nomenclature ‘cf.’ as a precautionary approach in taxon assignments to avoid over-estimating species ranges. Twelve (12) taxa are here described as new species, Ammotrypanella keenani sp. nov., Ammotrypanella kersteni sp. nov., Ophelina curli sp. nov., Ophelina ganae sp. nov., Ophelina juhazi sp. nov., Ophelina martinezarbizui sp. nov., Ophelina meyerae sp. nov., Ophelina nunnallyi sp. nov., Oligobregma brasierae sp. nov., Oligobregma tani sp. nov., Oligobregma whaleyi sp. nov. and Travisia zieglerae sp. nov. For the remaining nine taxa, we have determined them to be potentially new species, for which we make the raw data, imagery and vouchers available for future taxonomic study. The CCZ is a region undergoing intense exploration for potential deep-sea mineral extraction from polymetallic nodules. We present these data to facilitate future taxonomic and environmental impact study by making both data and voucher materials available through curated and accessible biological collections.
    • Abyssal fauna of the UK-1 polymetallic nodule exploration area, Clarion-Clipperton Zone, central Pacific Ocean: Cnidaria

      Dahlgren, T; Wiklund, H; Rabone, M; Amon, D; Ikebe, C; Watling, L; Smith, C; Glover, AG (2016-06-30)
    • Abyssal fauna of the UK-1 polymetallic nodule exploration area, Clarion-Clipperton Zone, central Pacific Ocean: Mollusca

      Wiklund, H; Taylor, JD; Dahlgren, TG; Todt, C; Ikebe, C; Rabone, M; Glover, AG (2017-10-10)
    • Abyssal fauna of the UK-1 polymetallic nodule exploration claim, Clarion-Clipperton Zone, central Pacific Ocean: Echinodermata

      Glover, AG; Wiklund, H; Rabone, M; Amon, D; Smith, C; O'Hara, T; Mah, C; Dahlgren, Thomas (2016-01-25)
      We present data from a DNA taxonomy register of the abyssal benthic Echinodermata collected as part of the Abyssal Baseline (ABYSSLINE) environmental survey cruise ‘AB01’ to the UK Seabed Resources Ltd (UKSRL) polymetallic-nodule exploration claim ‘UK-1’ in the eastern Clarion-Clipperton Zone (CCZ), central Pacific Ocean abyssal plain. Morphological and genetic data are presented for 17 species (4 Asteroidea, 4 Crinoidea, 2 Holothuroidea and 7 Ophiuroidea) identified by a combination of morphological and genetic data. No taxa matched previously published genetic sequences, but 8 taxa could be assigned to previously-described species based on morphology, although here we have used a precautionary approach in taxon assignments to avoid over-estimating species ranges. The Clarion-Clipperton Zone is a region undergoing intense exploration for potential deep-sea mineral extraction. We present these data to facilitate future taxonomic and environmental impact study by making both data and voucher materials available through curated and accessible biological collections.
    • Access to Marine Genetic Resources (MGR): Raising Awareness of Best-Practice Through a New Agreement for Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ)

      Rabone, M; Harden-Davies, H; Collins, JE; Zajderman, S; Appeltans, W; Droege, G; Brandt, A; Pardo-Lopez, L; Dahlgren, TG; Glover, AG; et al. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-09-03)
      Better scientific knowledge of the poorly-known deep sea and areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ) is key to its conservation, an urgent need in light of increasing environmental pressures. Access to marine genetic resources (MGR) for the biodiversity research community is essential to allow these environments to be better characterised. Negotiations have commenced under the auspices of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to develop a new treaty to further the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in ABNJ. It is timely to consider the relevant issues with the development of the treaty underway. Currently uncertainties surround the legal definition of MGR and scope of related benefit-sharing, against a background of regional and global governance gaps in ABNJ. These complications are mirrored in science, with recent major advances in the field of genomics, but variability in handling of the resulting increasing volumes of data. Here, we attempt to define the concept of MGR from a scientific perspective, review current practices for the generation of and access to MGR from ABNJ in the context of relevant regulations, and illustrate the utility of best-practice with a case study. We contribute recommendations with a view to strengthen best-practice in accessibility of MGR, including: funder recognition of the central importance of taxonomy/biodiversity research; support of museums/collections for long-term sample curation; open access to data; usage and further development of globally recognised data standards and platforms; publishing of datasets via open-access, quality controlled and standardised data systems and open access journals; commitment to best-practice workflows; a global registry of cruises; and lastly development of a clearing house to further centralised access to the above. We argue that commitment to best-practice would allow greater sharing of MGR for research and extensive secondary use including conservation and environmental monitoring, and provide an exemplar for access and benefit-sharing (ABS) to inform the biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ) process.
    • Accumulation and Dissolution of Magnetite Crystals in a Magnetically Responsive Ciliate

      Monteil, CL; Menguy, N; Prévéral, S; Warren, A; Pignol, D; Lefèvre, CT; Kelly, RM (American Society of Microbiology, 2018-02-09)
      Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) represent a group of microorganisms that are widespread in aquatic habitats and thrive at the oxic-anoxic interfaces. They are able to scavenge high concentrations of iron thanks to the biomineralization of magnetic crystals in their unique organelle, the so-called magnetosome chain. Although their biodiversity has been intensively studied in recent years, their ecology and impact on iron cycling remain largely unexplored. Predation by protozoa was suggested as one of the ecological processes that could be involved in the release of iron back into the ecosystem. Magnetic protozoa have previously been observed in aquatic environments, but their diversity and the fate of particulate iron during grazing are poorly documented. In this study, we report the morphological and molecular characterization of a magnetically responsive MTB-grazing protozoan able to ingest high quantities of MTB. This protozoan is tentatively identified as Uronema marinum, a ciliate known to be a bacteria predator. Using light and electron microscopy, we investigate in detail the vacuoles in which lysis of phagocytized prokaryotes occurs. We carried out high-resolution observations of aligned magnetosome chains and ongoing dissolution of crystals. Particulate iron in the ciliate represented about 0.01% of its total volume. We show the ubiquity of this interaction in other types of environments and describe different grazing strategies. These data contribute to the mounting evidence that interaction between MTB-protozoan might play a significant role in iron turnover in microaerophilic habitats. IMPORTANCE Identifying participants of each biogeochemical cycle is a prerequisite to our understanding of ecosystems functioning. Magnetotactic bacteria (MTB) participate to iron cycling by concentrating large amounts of biomineralized iron minerals into their cells, which impacts their chemical environment at or below the oxic-anoxic transition zone in aquatic habitats. It was shown that some protozoa inhabiting this niche could become magnetic with the ingestion of magnetic crystals biomineralized by grazed MTB. In this study, we show that magnetic MTB-grazers are commonly observed in marine and freshwater sediments and can sometimes accumulate very large amounts of particulate iron. Using magnetic particles from MTB as tracers after their ingestion by the protozoa, different phagocytosis strategies are described. This study paves the way for potential scientific or medical applications using MTB-grazers as magnetosome-hyperaccumulators.
    • Adakite-like granitoids of Songkultau: A relic of juvenile Cambrian arc in Kyrgyz Tien Shan

      Konopelko, D; Seltmann, Reimar; Dolgopolova, Alla; Safonova, I; Glorie, S; De Grave, J; Sun, M (Elsevier BV, 2020-09-01)
      The early Paleozoic Terskey Suture zone, located in the southern part of the Northern Tien Shan domain in Kyrgyzstan, comprises tectonic slivers of dismembered ophiolites and associated primitive volcanics and deep-marine sediments. In the Lake Songkul area, early-middle Cambrian pillow basalts are crosscut by the Songkultau intrusion of coarse-grained gneissose quartz diorites and tonalites with geochemical characteristics typical for high-SiO2 adakites (SiO2 ​> ​56 ​wt.%, Al2O3 ​> ​15 ​wt.%, Na2O ​> ​3.5 ​wt.% and high Sr/Y and La/Yb ratios). The Songkultau granitoids have positive initial εNd (+3.8 to +6.4) and εHf (+12.3 to +13.5) values indicating derivation from sources with MORB-like isotopic signature. Volcanic formations, surrounding the Songkultau intrusion, have geochemical affinities varying from ocean floor to island arc series. This rock assemblage is interpreted as a relic of an early-middle Cambrian primitive arc where the adakite-like granitoids were derived from partial melting of young and hot subducted oceanic crust. An age of 505 ​Ma, obtained for the Songkultau intrusion, shows that hot subduction under the Northern Tien Shan continued until middle Cambrian. The primitive arc complexes were obducted onto the Northern Tien Shan domain, where the Andean type continental magmatic arc developed in Cambrian and Ordovician. Formation of the Andean type arc was accompanied by uplift, erosion and deposition of coarse clastic sediments. A depositional age of ca. 470 Ma, obtained for the gravellites in the Lake Songkul area, is in agreement with the timing of deposition for lower Ordovician conglomerates elsewhere in the Northern Tien Shan, and corresponds to the main phase of the Andean type magmatism. The Songkultau adakites in association with surrounding ocean floor and island arc formations constitute a relic of a primitive Cambrian arc and represent a juvenile domain of substantial size identified so far within the predominantly crustal-derived terranes of Tien Shan. On a regional scale this primitive arc can be compared with juvenile Cambrian arcs of Kazakhstan, Gorny Altai and Mongolia.
    • Ahead of the curve: three approaches to mass digitisation of vials with a focus on label data capture

      Dupont, Steen; Humphries, Josh; Butcher, Alice Jenny; Baker, E; Balcells, L; Price, BW (Pensoft Publishers, 2020-04-27)
      There has been little research on novel approaches to digitising liquid-preserved natural history specimens stored in jars or vials. This paper discusses and analyses three different prototypes for high-throughput digitisation using cheap, readily available components. This paper has been written for other digitisation teams or curators who want to trial or improve upon these new digitisation approaches in liquid preserved collections.
    • The air-abrasive technique: a re-evaluation of its use in fossil preparation.

      Graham, M; Allington-Jones, L (Coquina Press, 2018-08)
      This paper outlines the history of air-abrasion (also known as airbrasion) as a palaeontological preparation technique and evaluates various powders and their properties. It explores the rationale behind the selection of abrasive powders and presents, for the first time, trench-scatter experiments through Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) photography and three-dimensional (3-D) profiling. This article also offers general practical advice and details the results of an international survey of practising fossil preparators
    • The Airless Project

      Allington-Jones, L; Trafford, A (Natural Sciences Collections Association, 2017-04-20)
      A project to combat pyrite oxidation at the NHM (London, UK) is currently in its second year. The project aims to undertake conservation treatments and store highest risk specimens in low oxygen microenvironments. An emergent benefit of the conservation-driven project has been the digitisation of specimens on the collection management system KE Emu, through the use of barcodes and web-based applications.
    • Alkali-rich replacement zones in evolved NYF pegmatites: metasomatic fluids or immiscible melts?

      Muller, A; Spratt, J; Thomas, R; Williamson, BJ; Seltmann, Reimar (International Mineralogical Association, 2018-08-13)
      IMA2018 Abstract submission Pegmatite mineralogy, geochemistry, classification and origins IMA2018-1337 Alkali-rich replacement zones in evolved NYF pegmatites: metasomatic fluids or immiscible melts? Axel Muller* 1, John Spratt2, Rainer Thomas3, Ben J. Williamson4, Reimar Seltmann2 1Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway, 2Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom, 3Chemistry and Physics of Earth Materials, German Research Centre for Geoscience GFZ, Potsdam, Germany, 4Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter, Penryn, United Kingdom What is your preferred presentation method?: Oral or poster presentation : Replacement zones (RZ), which are a common feature of evolved granitic pegmatites, are irregular, commonly alkali-rich zones superimposing, cross-cutting and replacing the primary zonation in almost all consolidated pegmatite bodies. RZ are widely considered to result from late-stage metasomatism even though little is known about the melts and/or fluids involved in their formation. However, the observed textures and mineral paragenesis of RZ cannot be explained by metasomatism in a strict sense. In this study, the nature of the late stage silicate melt forming “cleavelandite” RZ is assessed from textural, mineralogical, chemical and melt inclusion studies of evolved, Proterozoic Niobium-Yttrium-Fluorine (NYF) rare metal pegmatites from Evje–Iveland, southern Norway. These were studied as they are mineralogically simple, compared with RZ in evolved Lithium-Caesium-Tantalum (LCT) pegmatites. Silicate melt inclusions in RZ-forming topaz and “cleavelandite” document high H2O contents of up to18 wt.% of the F-rich silicate melt from which the RZ crystallized. In addition, from mineral compositions (“cleavelandite”, “amazonite”, white mica, garnet, columbite group minerals, topaz, fluorite, and beryl), they must have also been strongly alkaline (Na-dominated) with enrichments in F (at least 4 wt.%), Cs, Rb, Ta, Nb, Mn, Ge, Bi, As, and in some cases also Li compared with host pegmatites. These elements are concentrated in a few RZ-forming minerals resulting in very distinctive mineral-trace element signatures. “Amazonite” is strongly enriched in Cs and Rb and often white mica and beryl in Li and Cs. To acquire these mineral compositions, the overall Li-Cs-Ta-poor Evje-Iveland original pegmatite melt must have undergone extreme internal chemical differentiation resulting in melt/melt immiscibility aiding rheology contrasts and resulting in RZ formation. The resulting RZ-forming H2O-F-rich silicate melt would have shown large differences in viscosity and density, and therefore physical flow/transport properties, to the host pegmatite melt resulting in discordant contacts. The mineralogy and melt inclusion data from the Evje-Iveland pegmatites document a gradient of crystallization temperatures within the investigated pegmatite bodies with highest temperatures at the pegmatite margin (during initial emplacement, ~680°C) and lowest temperatures within the RZ (<500°C). Considering the temperature and pressure conditions of the host rocks gneisses and amphibolites (~650°C, up to 5 kbar) at the time of pegmatite emplacement and the crystallization conditions of the RZ, the Evje- Iveland pegmatites and RZ likely formed over a period of 2.2 million years, assuming an exhumation rate of 1.5 mm per million years and a geothermal gradient of 45°C km-1. Such a long crystallization time contradicts the classical view that pegmatites represent strongly undercooled melts which crystallize relatively fast.
    • All Our Eggs In One Basket: Challenges of High Resolution X-Ray Micro-Computed Tomography of Great Auk Pinguinus impennis Eggshell

      Russell, D; Bernucci, A; Scott-Murray, A; Jackson, D; Ahmed, F; Garbout, A; Birkhead, T (2018-06-13)
    • The All-Data-Based Evolutionary Hypothesis of Ciliated Protists with a Revised Classification of the Phylum Ciliophora (Eukaryota, Alveolata)

      Gao, F; Zhang, Q; Gong, J; Miao, M; Sun, P; Xu, D; Huang, J; Yi, Z; Song, W; Warren, A (2016-07)