Now showing items 1-20 of 478

    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Horizon scanning for invasive alien species with the potential to threaten biodiversity in Great Britain

      Roy, HE; Peyton, J; Aldridge, DC; Bantock, T; Blackburn, TM; Britton, R; Clark, P; Cook, E; Dehnen-Schmutz, K; Dines, T; Dobson, M; Edwards, F; Harrower, C; Harvey, MC; Minchin, D; Noble, DG; Parrott, D; Pocock, MJO; Preston, CD; Roy, S; Salisbury, A; Schönrogge, K; Sewell, J; Shaw, RH; Stebbing, P; Stewart, AJA; Walker, KJ (Wiley, 2014-05-19)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 review of the alderfly genus Leptosialis Esben-Petersen (Megaloptera, Sialidae) with description of a new species from South Africa

      Price, B; Liu, X; de Moor, F; Villet, M (Pensoft, 2012-06-14)
      The monotypic South African alderfly genus Leptosialis Esben-Petersen, 1920 is reviewed and Leptosialis africana Esben-Petersen, 1920 is redescribed. In the process a new species of alderfly Leptosialis necopinata sp. n. from the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces of South Africa is recognised and described. Within Sialidae the new species most closely resembles L. africana. A key to the two species of Leptosialis using both adult and larval characters is provided.
    • Whole genome amplification and exome sequencing of archived schistosome miracidia

      Le Clec'h, W; Chevalier, FD; McDew-White, M; Allan, F; Webster, BL; Gouvras, AN; Kinunghi, S; Tchuem Tchuenté, L-A; Garba, A; Mohammed, KA; Ame, SM; Webster, JP; Rollinson, D; Emery, AM; Anderson, TJC (Cambridge University Press, 2018-05-28)
      Adult schistosomes live in the blood vessels and cannot easily be sampled from humans, so archived miracidia larvae hatched from eggs expelled in feces or urine are commonly used for population genetic studies. Large collections of archived miracidia on FTA cards are now available through the Schistosomiasis Collection at the Natural History Museum (SCAN). Here we describe protocols for whole genome amplification of Schistosoma mansoni and Schistosome haematobium miracidia from these cards, as well as real time PCR quantification of amplified schistosome DNA. We used microgram quantities of DNA obtained for exome capture and sequencing of single miracidia, generating dense polymorphism data across the exome. These methods will facilitate the transition from population genetics, using limited numbers of markers to population genomics using genome-wide marker information, maximising the value of collections such as SCAN.
    • Halloween genes in panarthropods and the evolution of the early moulting pathway in Ecdysozoa

      Schumann, I; Kenny, NJ; Hui, J; Hering, L; Meyer, G (The Royal Society, 2018-09-12)
      Moulting is a characteristic feature of Ecdysozoa—the clade of moulting animals that includes the hyperdiverse arthropods and less speciose groups, such as onychophorans, tardigrades and nematodes. Moulting has been best analysed in arthropods, specifically in insects and crustaceans, in which a complex neuroendocrine system acts at the genomic level and initiates the transcription of genes responsible for moulting. The key moulting hormones, ecdysone and 20-hydroxyecdysone, are subsequently synthesized from cholesterol ingested with food. Their biosynthesis is regulated by the Rieske-domain protein Neverland and cytochrome P450 enzymes encoded by the so-called ‘Halloween’ genes. Ecdysone is then released into the haemolymph and modified into 20-hydroxyecdysone, which binds to the nuclear receptor EcR/USP and initiates transcription of the Early genes. As little is known about the moulting pathway of other ecdysozoans, we examined the occurrence of genes involved in ecdysteroid biosynthesis and the early moulting cascade across ecdysozoan subgroups. Genomic and transcriptomic searches revealed no Halloween genes in cycloneuralians, whereas only shadow (CYP315A1) is present in onychophorans and tardigrades, suggesting that the Halloween genes evolved stepwise in panarthropods. These findings imply that the genes which were responsible for the ecdysteroid biosynthesis in the last common ancestor of Ecdysozoa are currently unknown.
    • 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.
    • Two European Cornus L. feeding leafmining moths, Antispila petryi Martini, 1899, sp. rev. and A. treitschkiella (Fischer von Röslerstamm, 1843) (Lepidoptera, Heliozelidae): an unjustified synonymy and overlooked range expansion

      van Nieukerken, EVN; Lees, DC; Doorenweerd, C; Koster, SJC; Bryner, R; Schreurs, A; Timmermans, MJTN; Sattler, K (Pensoft Publishers, 2018-01-26)
      Antispila treitschkiella (Fischer von Röslerstamm, 1843) and A. petryi Martini, 1899, sp. rev. were regarded as synonymous since 1978, but are shown to be two clearly separated species with different hostplants, life histories, DNA barcodes and morphology. Antispila treitschkiella feeds on Cornus mas L., is bivoltine, and has, by following its ornamentally planted host, greatly expanded its range in north-western Europe. In contrast A. petryi feeds on the widespread native C. sanguinea L., is univoltine, and is one of only two Antispila species previously resident in the British Isles, the Netherlands and northern Europe. Consequently, the increase in abundance of A. treitschkiella in the Netherlands since the early 1990s and in Great Britain in recent years must be regarded as part of a recent expansion into north-western Europe, whereas the native A. petryi is hardly expanding and less abundant. In Britain, detailed surveys of parks and living collections confirmed the monophagy of these two species. A search of British herbarium samples provided no evidence for an earlier date of establishment. Information on recognition of all stages, including DNA barcodes, and distribution is provided, and these two species are compared with the third European Cornus L. leafminer, A. metallella (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775).
    • 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.
    • 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 Phoenix: The Role of Conservation Ethics in the Development of St Pancras Railway Station (London, UK)

      Allington-Jones, L (Ubiquity Press Ltd., 2013-09-02)
      St Pancras Railway Station, London (UK), has recently undergone alterations that have variously been described as conservation, restoration, refurbishment and rejuvenation, to become the new terminal for Eurostar. This article aims to evaluate the recent changes and relate them to current conservation ethics. Observations were made on site, derived from research in published literature and were assessed according to principles of conservation. The article concludes that, in the recent developments, conservation ethics have been drawn upon in an inconsistent fashion, and that the best description for the rebirth of the station is ‘recycling’. Investigation of the ‘conservation’ of significant items of national heritage, like St Pancras, is essential for formulating future standards and evaluating our own perceptions and the diversity of possible interpretations of conservation terminology.
    • 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.
    • 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.