• Laboratory based feeding behaviour of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Varunidae): fish egg consumption (De Haan, 1835)

      Webster, J; Clark, P; Morritt, D (Regional Euro-Asian Biological Invasions Centre, 2015-06)
      Dispersal of Eriocheir sinensis from its native habitat is a worldwide concern. As one of the most invasive species known, this crab causes significant disruption to foreign ecosystems. In particular, populations in the United Kingdom (UK) are increasing in number and E. sinensis has been reported from many river catchments. The ecological implications of this invasion are not fully understood. One aspect of concern lies in the potential for mitten crabs to predate fish eggs which, if realistic, could contribute to the decline of riverine populations. In this study, 100 mitten crabs from the River Thames were used in experimental feeding trials to 1) investigate foraging ability on a variety of fish eggs and 2) establish whether crab size affected foraging potential. Eggs ranged from 1–6 millimetres (mm) in diameter from one of four species of marine and freshwater fish; zebrafish, lumpfish, Pacific salmon and trout. Predation by crabs varied with egg type; crabs were capable of foraging 1mm zebrafish eggs, but the majority consumed eggs 2–6mm in diameter. The most attractive eggs were apparently lumpfish, where the median proportion consumed was 100%. Crab size did not appear to govern foraging potential, though variation was observed in the size range of juvenile crabs consuming the different eggs with the largest, salmon, being consumed by crabs of the broadest size range. E. sinensis does have the potential to predate on a range of fish eggs, and the results are used to infer the risk presented to specific groups of UK fish stocks.
    • Large reorganizations in butterfly communities during an extreme weather event

      De Palma, A; Dennis, RLH; Brereton, T; Leather, SR; Oliver, TH (2017-05)
    • A Late Miocene methane-seep fauna from Kalimantan, Indonesia

      Kiel, S; Reich, S; Renema, W; Taylor, JD; Wesselingh, FP; Todd, JA; Anon (Instytut Paleobiologii PAN.Warsaw, 2016-06-13)
    • Late Silurian zircon U–Pb ages from the Ludlow and Downton bone beds, Welsh Basin, UK

      Catlos, EJ; Mark, DF; Suarez, S; Brookfield, ME; Giles Miller, C; Schmitt, AK; Gallagher, V; Kelly, A (Geological Society of London, 2020-09-21)
      The Ludlow Bone Bed (Welsh Basin) is a critical stratigraphic horizon and contains a rich assemblage of fish scales. Units above provide insights into the early evolution of animal and plant life. The bed has not yet been radioisotopically dated. Here, we report 207 secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) ages from 102 zircon (ZrSiO4) grains from the Ludlow (n = 2) and stratigraphically higher Downton (n = 1) bone beds. SIMS ages are middle Ordovician (471.6 ± 20.7 Ma) to late Devonian (375.7 ± 14.6 Ma, 238U–206Pb, ±1σ analytical uncertainty). Cathodoluminescence images show that the youngest ages appear affected by alteration. Chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry (CA-ID-TIMS) U–Pb geochronology was utilized to improve precision. Detrital zircon grains from Downton yield 424.91 ± 0.34/0.42/0.63 Ma and from Ludlow 424.85 ± 0.32/0.41/0.62 Ma (n = 5 each, 238U–206Pb, ±2σ analytical, tracer or systematic uncertainty). These ages provide a maximum deposition age. Results overlap the basal Přídolí age (423.0 ± 2.3 Ma) in its stratotype (Požáry Section, Reporyje, Prague, Czech Republic). The Ludlow Bone Bed marks the base of the local Downton Group, which has previously been correlated with the base of the Přídolí Series. The CA-ID-TIMS ages are older than those for other land arthropod-bearing sediments, such as the Cowie Harbour Fish Bed and Rhynie Chert.
    • Latitudinal diversity gradients in Mesozoic non-marine turtles

      Nicholson, DB; Holroyd, PA; Valdes, P; Barrett, PM (2016-11)
    • Lead-antimony sulfosalts from Tuscany (Italy). XVII. Meerschautite, (Ag,Cu)5.5Pb42.4(Sb,As)45.1S112O0.8, a new expanded derivative of owyheeite from the Pollone mine, Valdicastello Carducci: occurrence and crystal structure

      Biagioni, Cristian; Moëlo, Yves; Orlandi, Paolo; Stanley, Christopher (Cambridge University Press, 2016-06-01)
      The new mineral species meerschautite, ideally (Ag,Cu)5.5Pb42.4(Sb,As)45.1S112O0.8, has been discovered in the baryte + pyrite ± (Pb-Zn-Ag) deposit of the Pollone mine, near Valdicastello Carducci, Apuan Alps, Tuscany, Italy. It occurs as black prismatic crystals, striated along [100], up to 2 mm long and 0.5 mm thick, associated with baryte, boulangerite, pyrite, quartz and sphalerite. Meerschautite is opaque with a metallic lustre and shows a black streak. In reflected light, meerschautite is white in colour, weakly bireflectant and non pleochroic. With crossed polars, it is distinctly anisotropic with grey to dark grey rotation tints with brownish and greenish shades. Reflectance percentages for COM wavelengths [λ (nm), R air (%)] are: 470: 39.7/41.4; 546: 38.3/39.9; 589: 37.4/39.0; 650: 35.8/37.2. Electron-microprobe data collected on two different samples gave (wt.%): Cu 0.22, Ag 3.15, Tl 0.07, Pb 48.54, Sb 25.41, As 2.82, S 19.74, Se 0.14, Cl 0.03, sum 100.12 (# 1) and Cu 0.22, Ag 3.04, Tl 0.13, Pb 48.53, Sb 25.40, As 2.93, Bi 0.06, S 19.82, Se 0.13, Cl 0.05, sum 100.31 (# 2). On the basis of 112 anions (S+Se+Cl) per formula unit, the empirical formulae are (Ag5.29Cu0.63)∑5.92(Pb42.43Tl0.06)∑42.49(Sb37.80As6.82)∑44.62(S111.53Se0.32Cl0.15)∑112 (# 1) and (Ag5.08Cu0.62)∑5.70(Pb42.22Tl0.12)∑42.34(Sb37.61As7.07Bi0.05)∑44.73(S111.45Se0.30Cl0.25)∑112 (# 2). Main diffraction lines, corresponding to multiple hkl indices, are [d in Å (relative visual intensity)]: 3.762 (m), 3.663 (s), 3.334 (vs), 3.244 (s), 3.016 (m), 2.968 (m), 2.902 (m), 2.072 (ms). The crystal structure study gave a monoclinic unit cell, space group P21, with a = 8.2393(1), b = 43.6015(13), c = 28.3688(8) Å, β = 94.128(2)°, V = 10164.93(2) Å3, Z = 2. The crystal structure has been solved and refined to a final R 1 = 0.122 on the basis of 49,037 observed reflections. The structure is based on two building blocks, both formed by a complex column with a pseudotrigonal Pb6S12 core and two arms of unequal lengths (short and long arms, respectively). Two different kinds of short arms occur in meerschautite. One is an Ag-rich arm, whereas the other shows localized Sb–O–Sb bonds. Meerschautite is an expanded derivative of owyheeite and has quasi-homeotypic relationships with sterryite and parasterryite.
    • The life and times of Pteridinium simplex

      Darroch, Simon AF; Gibson, Brandt M; Syversen, Maggie; Rahman, Imran; Racicot, Rachel A; Dunn, Frances S; Gutarra Diaz, Susana V.; Schindler, Eberhard; Wehrmann, Achim; Laflamme, Marc (Cambridge University Press (CUP), 2022-05-17)
      Pteridinium simplex is an iconic erniettomorph taxon best known from late Ediacaran successions in South Australia, Russia, and Namibia. Despite nearly 100 years of study, there remain fundamental questions surrounding the paleobiology and paleoecology of this organism, including its life position relative to the sediment–water interface, and how it fed and functioned within benthic communities. Here, we combine a redescription of specimens housed at the Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt with field observations of fossiliferous surfaces, to constrain the life habit of Pteridinium and gain insights into the character of benthic ecosystems shortly before the beginning of the Cambrian. We present paleontological and sedimentological evidence suggesting that Pteridinium was semi-infaunal and lived gregariously in aggregated communities, preferentially adopting an orientation with the long axis perpendicular to the prevailing current direction. Using computational fluid dynamics simulations, we demonstrate that this life habit could plausibly have led to suspended food particles settling within the organism's central cavity. This supports interpretation of Pteridinium as a macroscopic suspension feeder that functioned similarly to the coeval erniettomorph Ernietta, emblematic of a broader paleoecological shift toward benthic suspension-feeding strategies over the course of the latest Ediacaran. Finally, we discuss how this new reconstruction of Pteridinium provides information concerning its potential relationships with extant animal groups and state a case for reconstructing Pteridinium as a colonial metazoan.
    • Linking mineralogy and spectroscopy of highly aqueously altered CM and CI carbonaceous chondrites in preparation for primitive asteroid sample return

      Bates, HC; King, AJ; Donaldson Hanna, KL; Bowles, NE; Russell, Sara (Wiley, 2019-11-19)
      The highly hydrated, petrologic type 1 CM and CI carbonaceous chondrites likely derived from primitive, water‐rich asteroids, two of which are the targets for JAXA's Hayabusa2 and NASA's OSIRIS‐REx missions. We have collected visible and near‐infrared (VNIR) and mid infrared (MIR) reflectance spectra from well‐characterized CM1/2, CM1, and CI1 chondrites and identified trends related to their mineralogy and degree of secondary processing. The spectral slope between 0.65 and 1.05 μm decreases with increasing total phyllosilicate abundance and increasing magnetite abundance, both of which are associated with more extensive aqueous alteration. Furthermore, features at ~3 μm shift from centers near 2.80 μm in the intermediately altered CM1/2 chondrites to near 2.73 μm in the highly altered CM1 chondrites. The Christiansen features (CF) and the transparency features shift to shorter wavelengths as the phyllosilicate composition of the meteorites becomes more Mg‐rich, which occurs as aqueous alteration proceeds. Spectra also show a feature near 6 μm, which is related to the presence of phyllosilicates, but is not a reliable parameter for estimating the degree of aqueous alteration. The observed trends can be used to estimate the surface mineralogy and the degree of aqueous alteration in remote observations of asteroids. For example, (1) Ceres has a sharp feature near 2.72 μm, which is similar in both position and shape to the same feature in the spectra of the highly altered CM1 MIL 05137, suggesting abundant Mg‐rich phyllosilicates on the surface. Notably, both OSIRIS‐REx and Hayabusa2 have onboard instruments which cover the VNIR and MIR wavelength ranges, so the results presented here will help in corroborating initial results from Bennu and Ryugu.
    • Local biodiversity is higher inside than outside terrestrial protected areas worldwide

      Gray, CL; Hill, SL; Newbold, T; Hudson, L; Börger, L; Contu, S; Hoskins, AJ; Ferrier, S; Purvis, A; Scharlemann, JP (2016-07-28)
    • Local extinctions of insular avifauna on the most remote inhabited island in the world

      Bond, AL; Carlson, CJ; Burgio, KR (Springer, 2018-08-13)
      The overwhelming majority of avian extinctions have occurred on islands, where introduced predators, habitat loss, disease, and human persecution have resulted in the loss of over 160 species in the last 500 years. Understanding the timing and causes of these historical extinctions can be beneficial to identifying and preventing contemporary biodiversity loss, as well as understanding the nature of island ecosystems. Tristan da Cunha (henceforth “Tristan”), the most remote inhabited island in the world, has lost three species from the main island since permanent human settlement in 1811—the Tristan Moorhen (Gallinula nesiotis), Inaccessible Finch (Nesospiza acunhae acunhae), and Tristan Albatross (Diomedea dabbenena). We used recently developed Bayesian methods, and sightings of mixed certainty compiled from historical documents, to estimate the extinction date of these three species from Tristan based on specimens. We estimate that all three species were likely extirpated from Tristan between 1869 and 1880 following a period of significant habitat alteration and human overexploitation, and only the albatross had a high probability of persistence when Black Rats (Rattus rattus) arrived in 1882, the previously assumed cause of extinction for all three species. Better estimates of extinction dates are essential for understanding the causes of historical biodiversity loss, and the combination of historical ecology with modern statistical methods has given us novel insights into the timing and therefore the causes of extinctions on one of the most isolated islands in the world.
    • Location of chlorogenic acid biosynthesis pathway and polyphenol oxidase genes in a new interspecific anchored linkage map of eggplant

      Gramazio, P; Prohens, J; Plazas, M; Andujar, I; Javier Herraiz, F; Castillo, E; Meyer, RS; Vilanova, S; Knapp, S (2014-12)
    • The locomotion of extinct secondarily aquatic tetrapods

      Gutarra, Susana; Rahman, Imran (Wiley, 2021-09-06)
      The colonisation of freshwater and marine ecosystems by land vertebrates has repeatedly occurred in amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals over the course of 300 million years. Functional interpretations of the fossil record are crucial to understanding the forces shaping these evolutionary transitions. Secondarily aquatic tetrapods have acquired a suite of anatomical, physiological and behavioural adaptations to locomotion in water. However, much of this information is lost for extinct clades, with fossil evidence often restricted to osteological data and a few extraordinary specimens with soft tissue preservation. Traditionally, functional morphology in fossil secondarily aquatic tetrapods was investigated through comparative anatomy and correlation with living functional analogues. However, in the last two decades, biomechanics in palaeobiology has experienced a remarkable methodological shift. Anatomy-based approaches are increasingly rigorous, informed by quantitative techniques for analysing shape. Moreover, the incorporation of physics-based methods has enabled objective tests of functional hypotheses, revealing the importance of hydrodynamic forces as drivers of evolutionary innovation and adaptation. Here, we present an overview of the latest research on the locomotion of extinct secondarily aquatic tetrapods, with a focus on amniotes, highlighting the state-of-the-art experimental approaches used in this field. We discuss the suitability of these techniques for exploring different aspects of locomotory adaptation, analysing their advantages and limitations and laying out recommendations for their application, with the aim to inform future experimental strategies. Furthermore, we outline some unexplored research avenues that have been successfully deployed in other areas of palaeobiomechanical research, such as the use of dynamic models in feeding mechanics and terrestrial locomotion, thus providing a new methodological synthesis for the field of locomotory biomechanics in extinct secondarily aquatic vertebrates. Advances in imaging technology and three-dimensional modelling software, new developments in robotics, and increased availability and awareness of numerical methods like computational fluid dynamics make this an exciting time for analysing form and function in ancient vertebrates.
    • The London Workshop on the Biogeography and Connectivity of the Clarion-Clipperton Zone

      Glover, AG; Dahlgren, T; Taboada, S; Paterson, G; Wiklund, H; Waeschenbach, A; Cobley, A; Martínez, P; Kaiser, S; Schnurr, S; et al. (2016-09-16)
    • Long-lived magnetism on chondrite parent bodies

      Shah, J; Bates, HC; Muxworthy, AR; Hezel, DC; Russell, Sara; Genge, MJ (2017-10)