• Early colonisation of urban indoor carcasses by blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae): An experimental study from central Spain

      Martin-Vega, D; Martín Nieto, C; Cifrián, B; Baz, A; Díaz-Aranda, LM (Elsevier, 2017-09-01)
      Due to their ubiquity and synanthropy, blow flies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) are generally the first colonisers of cadavers and, therefore, frequently used to estimate a minimum post-mortem interval (minPMI). Whereas in outdoor situations blow flies are expected to locate and colonise exposed cadavers within hours or even minutes after death, it is usually assumed that the colonisation of a cadaver indoors might be delayed for an uncertain period of time. This uncertainty severely limits the informativity of minPMI estimates based on entomological evidence. Moreover, these limitations are emphasised by the lack of experimental data on insect colonisation of indoor carrion and by the fact that most of the forensic cases involving entomological evidence have been reported to occur indoors. In this study we investigate the early colonisation of pig carcasses placed indoors in a building located in the centre of an urban environment in central Spain. Three carcasses were placed in three equal rooms with a window half opened during five experimental trials: summer 2013, autumn 2013, winter 2014, spring 2014 and summer 2014. The species composition and their contribution to the carrion colonisation differed among seasons. Calliphora vicina Robineau–Desvoidy was the sole coloniser of carcasses in winter and colonised the carcasses within the first 24–48 h in every season, although Lucilia sericata (Meigen) was the first coloniser of most summer carcasses. On the other hand, Calliphora vomitoria (L.) and Chrysomya albiceps (Wiedemann) colonised the carcasses significantly later in spring and in spring and summer, respectively, with a delay of several days. In autumn, however, there were no significant differences in the colonisation times by C. vicina, L. sericata and Ch. albiceps. C. vicina and L. sericata showed a clear preference for ovipositing in the natural orifices of the carcasses, whereas Ch. albiceps oviposited more frequently on the trunk and legs.
    • Early consequences of allopolyploidy alter floral evolution in Nicotiana (Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Landis, JB; Kurti, A; Lawhorn, AJ; Chase, MW; Knapp, S; Le Comber, SC; Leitch, AR; Litt, A (BMC, 2019-04-27)
      Background: Polyploidy has played a major role in angiosperm evolution. Previous studies have examined polyploid phenotypes in comparison to their extant progenitors, but not in context of predicted progenitor phenotypes at allopolyploid origin. In addition, differences in the trends of polyploid versus diploid evolution have not been investigated. We use ancestral character-state reconstructions to estimate progenitor phenotype at allopolyploid origin to determine patterns of polyploid evolution leading to morphology of the extant species. We also compare trends in diploid versus allopolyploid evolution to determine if polyploidy modifies floral evolutionary patterns. Results: Predicting the ancestral phenotype of a nascent allopolyploid from reconstructions of diploid phenotypes at the time of polyploid formation generates different phenotype predictions than when extant diploid phenotypes are used, the outcome of which can alter conclusions about polyploid evolution; however, most analyses yield the same results. Using ancestral reconstructions of diploid floral phenotypes indicate that young polyploids evolve shorter, wider corolla tubes, but older polyploids and diploids do not show any detectable evolutionary trends. Lability of the traits examined (floral shape, corolla tube length, and corolla tube width) differs across young and older polyploids and diploids. Corolla length is more evolutionarily labile in older polyploids and diploids. Polyploids do not display unique suites of floral characters based on both morphological and color traits, but some suites of characters may be evolving together and seem to have arisen multiple times within Nicotiana, perhaps due to the influence of pollinators. Conclusions: Young polyploids display different trends in floral evolution (shorter, wider corolla tubes, which may result in more generalist pollination) than older polyploids and diploids, suggesting that patterns of divergence are impacted by the early consequences of allopolyploidy, perhaps arising from genomic shock and/or subsequent genome stabilization associated with diploidization. Convergent evolution in floral morphology and color in Nicotiana can be consistent with pollinator preferences, suggesting that pollinators may have shaped floral evolution in Nicotiana.
    • Ecological traits affect the sensitivity of bees to land-use pressures in European agricultural landscapes

      De Palma, A; Kuhlmann, M; Roberts, SPM; Potts, SG; Boerger, L; Hudson, L; Lysenko, I; Newbold, T; Purvis, A; Kaplan, I (2015-12)
    • Ecology and biogeography of megafauna and macrofauna at the first known deep-sea hydrothermal vents on the ultraslow-spreading Southwest Indian Ridge

      Copley, JT; Marsh, L; Glover, AG; Hühnerbach, V; Nye, VE; Reid, WDK; Sweeting, CJ; Wigham, BD; Wiklund, H (2016-12)
    • The effect of polyploidy and hybridization on the evolution of floral colour in Nicotiana (Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Arnold, SEJ; Chittka, L; Le Comber, SC; Verity, R; Dodsworth, S; Knapp, S; Kelly, LJ; Chase, MW; Baldwin, IT; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015-05-15)
      Background and Aims - Speciation in angiosperms can be accompanied by changes in floral colour that may influence pollinator preference and reproductive isolation. This study investigates whether changes in floral colour can accompany polyploid and homoploid hybridization, important processes in angiosperm evolution. Methods - Spectral reflectance of corolla tissue was examined for 60 Nicotiana (Solanaceae) accessions (41 taxa) based on spectral shape (corresponding to pigmentation) as well as bee and hummingbird colour perception in order to assess patterns of floral colour evolution. Polyploid and homoploid hybrid spectra were compared with those of their progenitors to evaluate whether hybridization has resulted in floral colour shifts. Key Results- Floral colour categories in Nicotiana seem to have arisen multiple times independently during the evolution of the genus. Most younger polyploids displayed an unexpected floral colour, considering those of their progenitors, in the colour perception of at least one pollinator type, whereas older polyploids tended to resemble one or both of their progenitors. Conclusions - Floral colour evolution in Nicotiana is weakly constrained by phylogeny, and colour shifts do occur in association with both polyploid and homoploid hybrid divergence. Transgressive floral colour in N. tabacum has arisen by inheritance of anthocyanin pigmentation from its paternal progenitor while having a plastid phenotype like its maternal progenitor. Potentially, floral colour evolution has been driven by, or resulted in, pollinator shifts. However, those polyploids that are not sympatric (on a regional scale) with their progenitor lineages are typically not divergent in floral colour from them, perhaps because of a lack of competition for pollinators.
    • The effect of polyploidy and hybridization on the evolution of floral colour inNicotiana(Solanaceae)

      McCarthy, EW; Arnold, SEJ; Chittka, L; Le Comber, SC; Verity, R; Dodsworth, S; Knapp, S; Kelly, LJ; Chase, MW; Baldwin, IT; et al. (Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015-06-01)
      Background and Aims: Speciation in angiosperms can be accompanied by changes in floral colour that may influence pollinator preference and reproductive isolation. This study investigates whether changes in floral colour can accompany polyploid and homoploid hybridization, important processes in angiosperm evolution. Methods: Spectral reflectance of corolla tissue was examined for 60 Nicotiana (Solanaceae) accessions (41 taxa) based on spectral shape (corresponding to pigmentation) as well as bee and hummingbird colour perception in order to assess patterns of floral colour evolution. Polyploid and homoploid hybrid spectra were compared with those of their progenitors to evaluate whether hybridization has resulted in floral colour shifts. Key Results: Floral colour categories in Nicotiana seem to have arisen multiple times independently during the evolution of the genus. Most younger polyploids displayed an unexpected floral colour, considering those of their progenitors, in the colour perception of at least one pollinator type, whereas older polyploids tended to resemble one or both of their progenitors. Conclusions: Floral colour evolution in Nicotiana is weakly constrained by phylogeny, and colour shifts do occur in association with both polyploid and homoploid hybrid divergence. Transgressive floral colour in N. tabacum has arisen by inheritance of anthocyanin pigmentation from its paternal progenitor while having a plastid phenotype like its maternal progenitor. Potentially, floral colour evolution has been driven by, or resulted in, pollinator shifts. However, those polyploids that are not sympatric (on a regional scale) with their progenitor lineages are typically not divergent in floral colour from them, perhaps because of a lack of competition for pollinators.
    • The eggs of the extinct Egyptian population of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla.

      Maurer, G; RUSSELL, DGD; Woog, F; Cassey, P (British Ornithologists' Club, 2010)
      Little is known concerning the biology of the now extinct Egyptian population of White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla, and few specimens remain in museums to assess its alleged subspecific status. Here we describe three eggs collected near Lake Manzala and review the collection data and anecdotal reports about this species, to provide a better understanding of the biology of White-tailed Eagles in this southernmost part of their former breeding range.
    • Eggshell pigment composition covaries with phylogeny but not with life history or with nesting ecology traits of British passerines

      Brulez, K; Mikšík, I; Cooney, CR; Hauber, ME; Lovell, PG; Maurer, G; Portugal, SJ; Russell, D; Reynolds, SJ; Cassey, P (2016-03)
    • Elevational richness patterns of sphingid moths support area effects over climatic drivers in a near‐global analysis

      Bärtschi, F; McCain, CM; Ballesteros‐Mejia, L; Kitching, I; Beerli, N; Beck, J (Wiley, 2019-03-03)
      Aim We test hypotheses on the environmental control of elevational richness patterns of sphingid moths for their global applicability and generality. Specifically, we compare effects of area with climate‐related drivers, such as primary productivity and temperature, while also considering direct effects of precipitation. Major taxa Sphingid moths (Lepidoptera). Location Eighty‐six mountain ranges of the Old World and the Australia/Pacific region, from Scandinavia and Siberia through the African and Australasian tropics to South Africa and Southern Australia. Methods We used a large compilation of point locality records for 744 species, in addition to fine‐grained range maps derived from species distribution modelling of these records, to characterize the elevational pattern of species richness in 86 custom‐delineated mountain regions. For both types of data, we compared the effects of environmental drivers on richness by comparing standardized coefficients of multivariate models for pooled data after accounting for between‐region variation in richness. Results We observed varying patterns of elevational richness across the research region, with a higher prevalence of midpeaks in arid regions. We found overwhelming support for area as a main determinant of richness, modulated by temperature and productivity, whereas we detected no effect of precipitation. Main conclusions Area, productivity and temperature are the main environmental predictors explaining a large proportion of variability in sphingid richness. This is consistent not only with other elevational studies, but also with empirical and theoretical biodiversity research in a non‐elevational context (with the caveat of some unresolved issues in elevational area effects). However, distinct differences in elevational patterns remain even within the same mountain ranges when comparing with other Lepidoptera, that is, geometrid moths, which highlights the importance of understanding higher clade differentiation in ecological responses, within insects and in other groups.
    • Entomological aspects and the role of human behaviour in malaria transmission in a highland region of the Republic of Yemen

      Al-Eryani, SMA; Kelly-Hope, L; Harbach, RE; Briscoe, AG; Barnish, G; Azazy, A; McCall, PJ (2016-12)
    • Entrapment in plastic debris endangers hermit crabs

      Lavers, JL; Sharp, PB; Stuckenbrock, S; Bond, AL (Elsevier BV, 2019-11-16)
      Significant quantities of plastic debris pollute nearly all the world’s ecosystems, where it persists for decades and poses a considerable threat to flora and fauna. Much of the focus has been on the marine environment, with little information on the hazard posed by debris accumulating on beaches and adjacent vegetated areas. Here we investigate the potential for beach debris to disrupt terrestrial species and ecosystems on two remote islands. The significant quantities of debris on the beaches, and throughout the coastal vegetation, create a significant barrier which strawberry hermit crabs (Coenobita perlatus) encounter during their daily activities. Around 61,000 (2.447 crabs/m2) and 508,000 crabs (1.117 crabs/m2) are estimated to become entrapped in debris and die each year on Henderson Island and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, respectively. Globally, there is an urgent need to establish a clear link between debris interactions and population persistence, as loss of biodiversity contributes to ecosystem degradation. Our findings show accumulating debris on these islands has the potential to seriously impact hermit crab populations. This is important for countless other islands worldwide where crabs and debris overlap, as crabs play a crucial role in the maintenance of tropical ecosystems.
    • Environmental control on the distribution of metabolic strategies of benthic microbial mats in Lake Fryxell, Antarctica

      Dillon, ML; Hawes, I; Jungblut, Anne D.; Mackey, TJ; Eisen, JA; Doran, PT; Sumner, DY (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-04-13)
      Ecological theories posit that heterogeneity in environmental conditions greatly affects community structure and function. However, the degree to which ecological theory developed using plant- and animal-dominated systems applies to microbiomes is unclear. Investigating the metabolic strategies found in microbiomes are particularly informative for testing the universality of ecological theories because microorganisms have far wider metabolic capacity than plants and animals. We used metagenomic analyses to explore the relationships between the energy and physicochemical gradients in Lake Fryxell and the metabolic capacity of its benthic microbiome. Statistical analysis of the relative abundance of metabolic marker genes and gene family diversity shows that oxygenic photosynthesis, carbon fixation, and flavin-based electron bifurcation differentiate mats growing in different environmental conditions. The pattern of gene family diversity points to the likely importance of temporal environmental heterogeneity in addition to resource gradients. Overall, we found that the environmental heterogeneity of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and oxygen concentration ([O2]) in Lake Fryxell provide the framework by which metabolic diversity and composition of the community is structured, in accordance with its phylogenetic structure. The organization of the resulting microbial ecosystems are consistent with the maximum power principle and the species sorting model.
    • Environmental Predictors of Diversity in Recent Planktonic Foraminifera as Recorded in Marine Sediments

      Fenton, IS; Pearson, PN; Dunkley Jones, T; Purvis, A; Gillikin, DP (2016-11-16)
    • Epidemiological Interactions between Urogenital and Intestinal Human Schistosomiasis in the Context of Praziquantel Treatment across Three West African Countries

      Knowles, SCL; Webster, BL; Garba, A; Sacko, M; Diaw, OT; Fenwick, A; Rollinson, D; Webster, JP; Raso, G (2015-10-15)
    • Erratum to: Development of novel multiplex microsatellite polymerase chain reactions to enable high-throughput population genetic studies of Schistosoma haematobium

      Webster, BL; Rabone, M; Pennance, T; Emery, AM; Allan, F; Gouvras, A; Knopp, S; Garba, A; Hamidou, AA; Mohammed, KA; et al. (2015-12)