• 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)
    • DeWorm 3: Charting a path towards STH elimination.

      DWorm3 (Natural History Museum, 2020-01-30)
    • Dichotomous keys to the species of Solanum L. (Solanaceae) in continental Africa, Madagascar (incl. the Indian Ocean islands), Macaronesia and the Cape Verde Islands

      Knapp, S; Vorontsova, Maria; Särkinen, T (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-07-19)
      Solanum L. (Solanaceae) is one of the largest genera of angiosperms and presents difficulties in identification due to lack of regional keys to all groups. Here we provide keys to all 135 species of Solanum native and naturalised in Africa (as defined by World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions): continental Africa, Madagascar (incl. the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, La Réunion, the Comoros and the Seychelles), Macaronesia and the Cape Verde Islands. Some of these have previously been published in the context of monographic works, but here we include all taxa. The paper is designed to be used in conjunction with the web resource Solanaceae Source (www.solanaceaesource.org) and hyperlinks provide access to online descriptions, synonymy and images (where available) of each species. All taxa treated and specimens seen are included in searchable Suppl. material 1, 2.
    • Digest: Shape-shifting in Solanaceae flowers: The influence of pollinators*

      Dodsworth, S; Orejuela, A; Peréz-Escobar, O; Särkinen, T; Knapp, S (2018-01-30)
    • Dimensions of biodiversity loss: Spatial mismatch in land-use impacts on species, functional and phylogenetic diversity of European bees

      De Palma, A; Kuhlmann, M; Bugter, R; Ferrier, S; Hoskins, AJ; Potts, SG; Roberts, SPM; Schweiger, O; Purvis, A; Beggs, J (2017-12)
    • Dinosaur diversification rates were not in decline prior to the K-Pg boundary

      Bonsor, Joseph; Barrett, PM; Raven, Tom; Cooper, N (The Royal Society, 2020-11-18)
      Determining the tempo and mode of non-avian dinosaur extinction is one of the most contentious issues in palaeobiology. Extensive disagreements remain over whether their extinction was catastrophic and geologically instantaneous or the culmination of long-term evolutionary trends. These conflicts have arisen due to numerous hierarchical sampling biases in the fossil record and differences in analytical methodology, with some studies identifying long-term declines in dinosaur richness prior to the Cretaceous–Palaeogene (K-Pg) boundary and others proposing continued diversification. Here, we use Bayesian phylogenetic generalized linear mixed models to assess the fit of 12 dinosaur phylogenies to three speciation models (null, slowdown to asymptote, downturn). We do not find strong support for the downturn model in our analyses, which suggests that dinosaur speciation rates were not in terminal decline prior to the K-Pg boundary and that the clade was still capable of generating new taxa. Nevertheless, we advocate caution in interpreting the results of such models, as they may not accurately reflect the complexities of the underlying data. Indeed, current phylogenetic methods may not provide the best test for hypotheses of dinosaur extinction; the collection of more dinosaur occurrence data will be essential to test these ideas further.
    • Discovery of a single male Aedes aegypti (L.) in Merseyside, England

      Harbach, RE; Dallimore, T; Hunter, T; Medlock, JM; Vaux, AGC; Strode, C (2017-12)
    • 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.
    • Disparities in the analysis of morphological disparity

      Guillerme, T; Cooper, N; Brusatte, SL; Davis, KE; Jackson, AL; Gerber, S; Goswami, A; Healy, K; Hopkins, MJ; Jones, MEH; et al. (The Royal Society, 2020-07-01)
      Analyses of morphological disparity have been used to characterize and investigate the evolution of variation in the anatomy, function and ecology of organisms since the 1980s. While a diversity of methods have been employed, it is unclear whether they provide equivalent insights. Here, we review the most commonly used approaches for characterizing and analysing morphological disparity, all of which have associated limitations that, if ignored, can lead to misinterpretation. We propose best practice guidelines for disparity analyses, while noting that there can be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. The available tools should always be used in the context of a specific biological question that will determine data and method selection at every stage of the analysis.
    • Distinct Genetic Diversity of Oncomelania hupensis, Intermediate Host of Schistosoma japonicum in Mainland China as Revealed by ITS Sequences

      Zhao, QP; Jiang, MS; Littlewood, T; Nie, P (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2010-03-02)
      Background Oncomelania hupensis is the unique intermediate host of Schistosoma japonicum, which causes schistosomiasis endemic in the Far East, and especially in mainland China. O. hupensis largely determines the parasite's geographical range. How O. hupensis's genetic diversity is distributed geographically in mainland China has never been well examined with DNA sequence data. Methodology/Principal Findings In this study we investigate the genetic variation among O. hupensis from different geographical origins using the combined complete internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) and ITS2 regions of nuclear ribosomal DNA. 165 O. hupensis isolates were obtained in 29 localities from 7 provinces across mainland China: lake/marshland and hill regions in Anhui, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi and Jiangsu provinces, located along the middle and lower reaches of Yangtze River, and mountainous regions in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. Phylogenetic and haplotype network analyses showed distinct genetic diversity and no shared haplotypes between populations from lake/marshland regions of the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and populations from mountainous regions of Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. The genetic distance between these two groups is up to 0.81 based on Fst, and branch time was estimated as 2–6 Ma. As revealed in the phylogenetic tree, snails from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces were also clustered separately. Geographical separation appears to be an important factor accounting for the diversification of the two groups of O. hupensis in mainland China, and probably for the separate clades between snails from Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. In lake/marshland and hill regions along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River, three clades were identified in the phylogenetic tree, but without any obvious clustering of snails from different provinces. Conclusions O. hupensis in mainland China may have considerable genetic diversity, and a more complex population structure than expected. It will be of significant importance to consider the genetic diversity of O. hupensis when assessing co-evolutionary interactions with S. japonicum.
    • Distributional Patterns of Polychaetes Across the West Antarctic Based on DNA Barcoding and Particle Tracking Analyses

      Brasier, MJ; Harle, J; Wiklund, H; Jeffreys, RM; Linse, K; Ruhl, HA; Glover, AG (2017-11-16)
      Recent genetic investigations have uncovered a high proportion of cryptic species within Antarctic polychaetes. It is likely that these evolved in isolation during periods of glaciation, and it is possible that cryptic populations would have remained geographically restricted from one another occupying different regions of Antarctica. By analysing the distributions of nine morphospecies, (six of which contained potential cryptic species), we find evidence for widespread distributions within the West Antarctic. Around 60% of the cryptic species exhibited sympatric distributions, and at least one cryptic clade was found to be widespread. Additional DNA barcodes from GenBank and morphological records extended the observed range of three species studied here, and indicate potential circum-Antarctic traits. Particle tracking analyses were used to model theoretical dispersal ranges of pelagic larvae. Data from these models suggest that the observed species distributions inferred from genetic similarity could have been established and maintained through the regional oceanographic currents, including the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) and its coastal counter current. Improved understanding of the distribution of Antarctic fauna is essential for predicting the impacts of environmental change and determining management strategies for the region.
    • Diversity of Anopheles mosquitoes in Binh Phuoc and Dak Nong Provinces of Vietnam and their relation to disease

      Ngo, C; Dubois, G; Sinou, V; Parzy, D; Le, H; Harbach, RE; Manguin, S (2014)
    • The Diversity of Venom: The Importance of Behavior and Venom System Morphology in Understanding Its Ecology and Evolution

      Schendel; Rash; Jenner; Undheim (MDPI AG, 2019-11-14)
      Venoms are one of the most convergent of animal traits known, and encompass a much greater taxonomic and functional diversity than is commonly appreciated. This knowledge gap limits the potential of venom as a model trait in evolutionary biology. Here, we summarize the taxonomic and functional diversity of animal venoms and relate this to what is known about venom system morphology, venom modulation, and venom pharmacology, with the aim of drawing attention to the importance of these largely neglected aspects of venom research. We find that animals have evolved venoms at least 101 independent times and that venoms play at least 11 distinct ecological roles in addition to predation, defense, and feeding. Comparisons of different venom systems suggest that morphology strongly influences how venoms achieve these functions, and hence is an important consideration for understanding the molecular evolution of venoms and their toxins. Our findings also highlight the need for more holistic studies of venom systems and the toxins they contain. Greater knowledge of behavior, morphology, and ecologically relevant toxin pharmacology will improve our understanding of the evolution of venoms and their toxins, and likely facilitate exploration of their potential as sources of molecular tools and therapeutic and agrochemical lead compounds.
    • DNA barcoding and morphology reveal two common species in one: Pimpla molesta stat. rev. separated from P. croceipes (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae)

      Veijalainen, A; Broad, G; Wahlberg, N; Longino, J; Sääksjärvi, I (Pensoft, 2011-08-18)
      Correct species identification is the basis of ecological studies. Nevertheless, morphological examination alone may not be enough to tell species apart. Here, our integrated molecular and morphological studies demonstrate that the relatively widespread and common neotropical parasitoid wasp Pimpla croceipes Cresson, 1874 (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae) actually consists of two distinct species. The name Pimpla molesta (Smith, 1879) stat. rev. is available for the second species. The two species were identified by DNA barcoding and minor differences in morphology and colouration. Our results support the previous notions that DNA barcoding can complement morphological identification and aid the discovery of cryptic species complexes.
    • Does Micro-CT scanning damage DNA in museum specimens?

      Hall, A; Sherlock, E; Sykes, D (Natural Science Collections Association, 2015)
      X-ray micro-computed tomography and DNA sequencing are useful and increasingly common tools in taxonomy and collections research. Whilst the benefits of each method are continually evaluated and debated individually, how the methods impact each other requires more attention. We compared DNA fragment length and the barcode sequence CO1 in samples throughout a CT-scanning protocol, for a range of X-ray exposures and energies. We found no evidence of DNA damage, but advise caution when using precious or archival material, highlighting the need for further investigations and considering potential areas for research.