• Effects of storage temperature on the change in size of Calliphora vicina larvae during preservation in 80% ethanol

      Richards, CS; Rowlinson, CC; Hall, MJR (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2012-03-08)
      The size of immature blowflies is a common measure to estimate the minimum time between death and the discovery of a corpse, also known as the minimum post-mortem interval. This paper investigates the effects of preservation, in 80% ethanol, on the length and weight of first instar, second instar, feeding third instar, and post-feeding third instar Calliphora vicina larvae, at three different storage temperatures. For each larval stage, the length of larvae was recorded after 0 h, 3 h, 6 h, 9 h, 12 h, 24 h, 72 h, 7 days, 14 days, 30 days, 91 days, 182 days, 273 days, and 365 days of storage in 80% ethanol, at −25°C, 6°C and 24°C. Storage temperature had no statistically significant effect on the change in larval length and weight for all larval stages, but larval length and weight were significantly affected by the duration of preservation for first, second, and feeding third instar larvae, but not for post-feeding larvae. Generally, first and second instar larvae reduced in size over time, while feeding third instar larvae increased slightly in size, and post-feeding larvae did not change in size over time. The length of blowfly larvae preserved in 80% ethanol is not affected by constant storage temperatures between −25°C and +24°C, but we recommend that forensic entomologists should use the models provided to correct for changes in larval length that do become apparent over time.
    • 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)
    • Eight urgent, fundamental and simultaneous steps needed to restore ocean health, and the consequences for humanity and the planet of inaction or delay

      Laffoley, D; Baxter, JM; Amon, Diva; Currie, DEJ; Downs, CA; Hall‐Spencer, JM; Harden‐Davies, H; Page, R; Reid, CP; Roberts, CM; et al. (Wiley, 2019-07-23)
      The ocean crisis is urgent and central to human wellbeing and life on Earth; past and current activities are damaging the planet's main life support system for future generations. We are witnessing an increase in ocean heat, disturbance, acidification, bio‐invasions and nutrients, and reducing oxygen levels. Several of these act like ratchets: once detrimental or negative changes have occurred, they may lock in place and may not be reversible, especially at gross ecological and ocean process scales. Each change may represent a loss to humanity of resources, ecosystem function, oxygen production and species. The longer we pursue unsuitable actions, the more we close the path to recovery and better ocean health and greater benefits for humanity in the future. We stand at a critical juncture and have identified eight priority issues that need to be addressed in unison to help avert a potential ecological disaster in the global ocean. They form a purposely ambitious agenda for global governance and are aimed at informing decision‐makers at a high level. They should also be of interest to the general public. Of all the themes, the highest priority is to rigorously address global warming and limit surface temperature rise to 1.5°C by 2100, as warming is the pre‐eminent factor driving change in the ocean. The other themes are establishing a robust and comprehensive High Seas Treaty, enforcing existing standards for Marine Protected Areas and expanding their coverage, especially in terms of high levels of protection, adopting a precautionary pause on deep‐sea mining, ending overfishing and destructive fishing practices, radically reducing marine pollution, putting in place a financing mechanism for ocean management and protection, and lastly, scaling up science/data gathering and facilitating data sharing. By implementing all eight measures in unison, as a coordinated strategy, we can build resilience to climate change, help sustain fisheries productivity, particularly for low‐income countries dependent on fisheries, protect coasts (e.g. via soft‐engineering/habitat‐based approaches), promote mitigation (e.g. carbon storage) and enable improved adaptation to rapid global change.
    • 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.
    • Ensuring tests of conservation interventions build on existing literature

      Sutherland, WJ; Alvarez‐Castañeda, ST; Amano, T; Ambrosini, R; Atkinson, P; Baxter, JM; Bond, AL; Boon, PJ; Buchanan, KL; Barlow, J; et al. (Wiley, 2020-08-11)
    • 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 impacts of the deep-water oil and gas industry: a review to guide management strategies

      Cordes, EE; Jones, DOB; Schlacher, TA; Amon, Diva; Bernardino, AF; Brooke, S; Carney, R; DeLeo, DM; Dunlop, KM; Escobar-Briones, EG; et al. (Frontiers, 2016-09-16)
      The industrialization of the deep sea is expanding worldwide. Increasing oil and gas exploration activities in the absence of sufficient baseline data in deep-sea ecosystems has made environmental management challenging. Here, we review the types of activities that are associated with global offshore oil and gas development in water depths over 200 m, the typical impacts of these activities, some of the more extreme impacts of accidental oil and gas releases, and the current state of management in the major regions of offshore industrial activity including 18 exclusive economic zones. Direct impacts of infrastructure installation, including sediment resuspension and burial by seafloor anchors and pipelines, are typically restricted to a radius of ~100 m on from the installation on the seafloor. Discharges of water-based and low-toxicity oil-based drilling muds and produced water can extend over 2 km, while the ecological impacts at the population and community levels on the seafloor are most commonly on the order of 200–300 m from their source. These impacts may persist in the deep sea for many years and likely longer for its more fragile ecosystems, such as cold-water corals. This synthesis of information provides the basis for a series of recommendations for the management of offshore oil and gas development. An effective management strategy, aimed at minimizing risk of significant environmental harm, will typically encompass regulations of the activity itself (e.g., discharge practices, materials used), combined with spatial (e.g., avoidance rules and marine protected areas), and temporal measures (e.g., restricted activities during peak reproductive periods). Spatial management measures that encompass representatives of all of the regional deep-sea community types is important in this context. Implementation of these management strategies should consider minimum buffer zones to displace industrial activity beyond the range of typical impacts: at least 2 km from any discharge points and surface infrastructure and 200 m from seafloor infrastructure with no expected discharges. Although managing natural resources is, arguably, more challenging in deep-water environments, inclusion of these proven conservation tools contributes to robust environmental management strategies for oil and gas extraction in the deep sea.
    • 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)
    • Estimating crime scene temperatures from nearby meteorological station data

      Hofer, IMJ; Hart, AJ; Martín-Vega, D; Hall, MJR (Elsevier BV, 2019-10-30)
      The importance of temperature data in minimum postmortem interval (minPMI) estimations in criminal investigations is well known. To maximise the accuracy of minPMI estimations, it is imperative to investigate the different components involved in temperature modelling, such as the duration of temperature data logger placement at the crime scene and choice of nearest weather station to compare the crime scene data to. Currently, there is no standardised practice on how long to leave the temperature data logger at the crime scene and the effects of varying logger duration are little known. The choice of the nearest weather station is usually made based on availability and accessibility of data from weather stations in the crime scene vicinity. However, there are no guidelines on what to look for to maximise the comparability of weather station and crime scene temperatures. Linear regression analysis of scene data with data from weather stations with varying time intervals, distances, altitudes and microclimates showed the greatest goodness of fit (R2), i.e. the highest compatibility between datasets, after 4–10 days. However, there was no significant improvement in estimation of crime scene temperatures beyond a 5-day regression period. The smaller the distance between scene and weather station and the higher the similarity in environment, such as altitude and geographical area, resulted in greater compatibility between datasets. Overall, the study demonstrated the complexity of choosing the most comparable weather station to the crime scene, especially because of a high variation in seasonal temperature and numerous influencing factors such as geographical location, urban ‘heat island effect’ and microclimates. Despite subtle differences, for both urban and rural areas an optimal data fit was generally reached after about five consecutive days within a radius of up to 30 km of the ‘crime scene’. With increasing distance and differing altitudes, a lower overall data fit was observed, and a diminishing increase in R2 values was reached after 4–10 consecutive days. These results demonstrate the need for caution regarding distances and climate differences when using weather station data for retrospective regression analyses for estimating temperatures at crime scenes. However, the estimates of scene temperatures from regression analysis were better than simply using the temperatures from the nearest weather station. This study provides recommendations for data logging duration of operation, and a baseline for further research into producing standard guidelines for increasing the accuracy of minPMI estimations and, ultimately, greater robustness of forensic entomology evidence in court.
    • Eutrophication erodes inter-basin variation in macrophytes and co-occurring invertebrates in a shallow lake: combining ecology and palaeoecology

      Salgado, J; Sayer, CD; Brooks, SJ; Davidson, TA; Okamura, B (Springer, 2017-03-13)
      Aquatic biodiversity is commonly linked with environmental variation in lake networks, but less is known about how local factors may influence within-lake biological heterogeneity. Using a combined ecological and multi-proxy palaeoecological approach we investigated long-term changes in the pathways and processes that underlie eutrophication and water depth effects on lake macrophyte and invertebrate communities across three basins in a shallow lake—Castle Lough, Northern Ireland, UK. Contemporary data allow us to assess how macrophyte assemblages vary in composition and heterogeneity according to basin-specific factors (e.g. variation in water depth), while palaeoecological data (macrophytes and co-occurring invertebrates) enable us to infer basin-specific impacts and susceptibilities to nutrient-enrichment. Results indicate that variability in water depth promotes assemblage variation amongst the lake basins, stimulating within-lake macrophyte assemblage heterogeneity and hence higher lake biodiversity. The palaeo-data indicate that eutrophication has acted as a strong homogenising agent of macrophyte and invertebrate diversities and abundances over time at the whole-lake scale. This novel finding strongly suggests that, as eutrophication advances, the influence of water depth on community heterogeneity is gradually eroded and that ultimately a limited set of eutrophication-tolerant species will become homogeneously distributed across the entire lake.