• Evolution of Impatiens (Balsaminaceae) in the Albertine Rift – The endemic Impatiens purpureoviolacea complex consists of ten species

      Fischer, Eberhard; Abrahamczyk, Stefan; Holstein, Norbert; Janssens, Steven B (Wiley, 2021-09-06)
      The Albertine Rift harbours a highly diverse flora with numerous endemic species. An important component of the forestunderstorey is the herbaceous genusImpatiens. Fieldwork in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda as well asmorphological studies indicated that the Albertine Rift endemicImpatiens purpureoviolacearepresents a species complex. We ana-lyzed the hidden diversity of the complex using morphological and molecular data supplemented by herbarium studies. We found thattheImpatiens purpureoviolaceacomplex can be divided into morphologically and phylogenetically well characterized clades contain-ing ten species and a natural hybrid. We describe all of these species, provide a species key and analyze their evolutionary history.BesideImpatiens purpureoviolaceaandI. gesneroidea, the already describedI. urundiensisis resurrected from synonymy. Two va-rieties,Impatiens purpureoviolaceavar.longicalcarataandI. gesneroideavar.superglabraare raised to species status, and five newspecies (Impatiens elwiraurzulae,I. lotteri,I. ludewigii,I. lutzmannii,I. versicolor) and a new natural hybrid (I. ×troupinii) are de-scribed. Within the mostly insect-pollinated species of the clade, two bird-pollinated species (Impatiens gesneroidea,I. super-glabra) evolved independently. The clade split from its sister taxon in the Pliocene and started diversifying during the Pliocene/Pleistocene transition in parallel to an increased mountain uplifting and volcanic activity in the Albertine Rift. It further diversifiedduring the Pleistocene, likely due to the changes in forest cover and connectivity induced by climatic fluctuations.
    • Evolution of reproductive strategies in the species-rich land snail subfamily Phaedusinae (Stylommatophora: Clausiliidae)

      Mamos, Tomasz; Uit de Weerd, Dennis; von Oheimb, Parm Viktor; Sulikowska-Drozd, Anna (Elsevier, 2020-12-28)
      Most of the present knowledge on animal reproductive mode evolution, and possible factors driving transitions between oviparity and viviparity is based on studies on vertebrates. The species rich door snail (Clausiliidae) subfamily Phaedusinae represents a suitable and unique model for further examining parity evolution, as three different strategies, oviparity, viviparity, and the intermediate mode of embryo-retention, occur in this group. The present study reconstructs the evolution of reproductive strategies in Phaedusinae based on time-calibrated molecular phylogenetics, reproductive mode examinations and ancestral state reconstruction. Our phylogenetic analysis employing multiple mitochondrial and nuclear markers identified a well-supported clade (including the tribes Phaedusini and Serrulinini) that contains species exhibiting various reproductive strategies. This clade evolved from an oviparous most recent common ancestor according to our reconstruction. All non-oviparous taxa are confined to a highly supported subclade, coinciding with the tribe Phaedusini. Both oviparity and viviparity occur frequently in different lineages of this subclade that are not closely related. During Phaedusini diversification, multiple transitions in reproductive strategy must have taken place, which could have been promoted by a high fitness of embryo-retaining species. The evolutionary success of this group might result from the maintenance of various strategies.
    • Evolutionary Analysis of Mitogenomes from Parasitic and Free-Living Flatworms

      Solà, E; Álvarez-Presas, M; Frías-López, C; Littlewood, T; Rozas, J; Riutort, M; Escriva, H (2015-03-20)
    • Evolutionary Ecology of Fish Venom: Adaptations and Consequences of Evolving a Venom System

      Harris, Richard J; Jenner, Ronald (MDPI AG, 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.
    • 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.
    • Evolutionary history of the Galápagos Rail revealed by ancient mitogenomes and modern samples

      Chaves, Jaime A; Martinez-Torres, Pedro J; Depino, Emiliano A; Espinoza-Ulloa, Sebastian; García-Loor, Jefferson; Beichman, Annabel; Stervander, Martin (MDPI, 2020-11-12)
      The biotas of the Galápagos Islands are one of the best studied island systems and have provided a broad model for insular species’ origins and evolution. Nevertheless, some locally endemic taxa, such as the Galápagos Rail Laterallus spilonota, remain poorly characterized. Owing to its elusive behavior, cryptic plumage, and restricted distribution, the Galápagos Rail is one of the least studied endemic vertebrates of the Galapagos Islands. To date, there is no genetic data for this species, leaving its origins, relationships to other taxa, and levels of genetic diversity uncharacterized. This lack of information is critical given the adverse fate of island rail species around the world in the recent past. Here, we examine the genetics of Galápagos Rails using a combination of mitogenome de novo assembly with multilocus nuclear and mitochondrial sequencing from both modern and historical samples. We show that the Galápagos Rail is part of the “American black rail clade”, sister to the Black Rail L. jamaicensis, with a colonization of Galápagos dated to 1.2 million years ago. A separate analysis of one nuclear and two mitochondrial markers in the larger population samples demonstrates a shallow population structure across the islands, possibly due to elevated island connectivity. Additionally, birds from the island Pinta possessed the lowest levels of genetic diversity, possibly reflecting past population bottlenecks associated with overgrazing of their habitat by invasive goats. The modern and historical data presented here highlight the low genetic diversity in this endemic rail species and provide useful information to guide conservation efforts.
    • Evolutionary recruitment of flexible Esrp-dependent splicing programs into diverse embryonic morphogenetic processes

      Burguera, D; Marquez, Y; Racioppi, C; Permanyer, J; Torres-Mendez, A; Esposito, R; Albuixech-Crespo, B; Fanlo, L; D'Agostino, Y; Gohr, A; et al. (2017-12)
      Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are crucial for the development of numerous animal structures. Thus, unraveling how molecular tools are recruited in different lineages to control interplays between these tissues is key to understanding morphogenetic evolution. Here, we study Esrp genes, which regulate extensive splicing programs and are essential for mammalian organogenesis. We find that Esrp homologs have been independently recruited for the development of multiple structures across deuterostomes. Although Esrp is involved in a wide variety of ontogenetic processes, our results suggest ancient roles in non-neural ectoderm and regulating specific mesenchymal-to-epithelial transitions in deuterostome ancestors. However, consistent with the extensive rewiring of Esrp-dependent splicing programs between phyla, most developmental defects observed in vertebrate mutants are related to other types of morphogenetic processes. This is likely connected to the origin of an event in Fgfr, which was recruited as an Esrp target in stem chordates and subsequently co-opted into the development of many novel traits in vertebrates.
    • Examination of types in the Fragilaria vaucheriae–intermedia species complex

      Tuji, A; Williams, DM (National Museum of Science and Nature, 2013-02-22)
      In a previous paper, we presented the results of type examination of the Fragilaria pectinalis–capitellata species complex, species which have a unilateral central area and fine striae. Here, we present the results of type examination of the Fragilaria vaucheriae–intermedia species complex, species which have a unilateral central area and coarse striae (<13 striae per 10 µm). Synedra vaucheriae var. doformis Grunow and S. vaucheriae var. distans Grunow are synonyms of F. vauchriae (Kütz.) J.B.Petersen. F. intermedia Grunow is also a synonym of F. vauchriae. However, some of the figures for F. intermedia that were published by Van Heurck are a new taxon sometimes identified as F. intermedia. This new taxon is described here as Fragilaria neointermedia.
    • Exploration of the Mid-Cayman Rise

      German, CR; Tyler, PA; McIntyre, C; Amon, Diva; Cheadle, M; Clarke, J; John, B; McDermott, JM; Bennett, SA; Huber, JA; et al. (The Oceanography Society, 2012)
    • Exploration of the Southern California Borderland

      Cormier, M-H; Bell, KLC; Sharuga, SM; Castillo, C; Conrad, J; Amon, Diva; Legg, M; Brennan, ML; Barnhill, K; Lovell, LL; et al. (The Oceanography Society, 2017-03-01)
    • Exploring molecular variation in Schistosoma japonicum in China

      Young, ND; Chan, K-G; Korhonen, PK; Chong, TM; Ee, R; Mohandas, N; Koehler, AV; Lim, Y-L; Hofmann, A; Jex, AR; et al. (2015-12)
    • Extended Pelagic Life in a Bathybenthic Octopus

      Villanueva, Roger; Laptikhovsky, Vladimir V; Piertney, Stuart B; Fernández-Álvarez, Fernando Ángel; Collins, Martin A; Ablett, J; Escánez, Alejandro (Frontiers Media SA, 2020-11-20)
      Planktonic stages of benthic octopuses can reach relatively large sizes in some species, usually in oceanic, epipelagic waters while living as part of the macroplankton. These young octopuses appear to delay settlement on the seabed for an undetermined period of time that is probably longer than for those octopus paralarvae living in coastal, neritic waters. The reason for this delay is unknown and existing information about their biology is very scarce. Here we report on the presence of juvenile and subadult forms of the bathybenthic octopus Pteroctopus tetracirrhus in oceanic waters of the South and North Atlantic and its association with the pyrosomid species Pyrosoma atlanticum, apparently used by the octopus as a refuge or shelter. The relatively large size of the P. tetracirrhus living in oceanic waters as the individuals reported here, together with the morphological characteristics of this bathybenthic species including its gelatinous body, minute suckers embedded in swollen skin and the deep interbrachial web, indicates that P. tetracirrhus may be considered a model of a transitional octopus species that is colonizing the pelagic environment by avoiding descending to the bathyal benthos. This process seems to occur in the same way as in the supposed origin of the ctenoglossan holopelagic octopods of the families Amphitretidae, Bolitaenidae, and Vitreledonellidae, which have arisen via neoteny from the planktonic paralarval stages of benthic octopuses.
    • Extensive sampling and thorough taxonomic assessment of Afrotropical Rhyssinae (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae) reveals two new species and demonstrates the limitations of previous sampling efforts

      Hopkins, T; Roininen, H; van Noort, S; Broad, G; Kaunisto, K; Sääksjärvi, IE (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-10-07)
      Tropical forest invertebrates, such as the parasitoid wasp family Ichneumonidae, are poorly known. This work reports some of the first results of an extensive survey implemented in Kibale National Park, Uganda. A total of 456 individuals was caught of the subfamily Rhyssinae Morley, 1913, which in the Afrotropical region was previously known from only 30 specimens. Here, the six species found at the site are described and the Afrotropical Rhyssinae are reviewed. Two new species, Epirhyssa johanna Hopkins, sp. nov. and E. quagga sp. nov., are described and a key, diagnostic characters, and descriptions for all 13 known Afrotropical species are provided, including the first description of the male of Epirhyssa overlaeti Seyrig, 1937. Epirhyssa gavinbroadi Rousse & van Noort, 2014, syn. nov. is proposed to be a synonym of E. uelensis Benoit, 1951. Extensive sampling with Malaise traps gave an unprecedented sample size, and the method is recommended for other poorly known tropical areas.
    • Extensive Uncharted Biodiversity: The Parasite Dimension

      Okamura, B; Hartigan, A; Naldoni, J (Oxford University Press, 2018-09-18)
      Parasites are often hidden in their hosts and exhibit patchy spatial distributions. This makes them relatively difficult to detect and sample. Consequently we have poor knowledge of parasite diversities, distributions, and extinction. We evaluate our general understanding of parasite diversity and highlight the enormous bias in research on parasites such as helminths and arthropods that infect vertebrate hosts. We then focus on Myxozoa as an exemplary case for demonstrating uncharted parasite diversity. Myxozoans are a poorly recognized but speciose clade of endoparasitic cnidarians with complex life cycles that have radiated to exploit freshwater, marine, and terrestrial hosts by adopting strategies convergent to those of parasitic protists. Myxozoans are estimated to represent some 20% of described cnidarian species—greatly outnumbering the combined species richness of scyphozoans, cubozoans, and staurozoans. We summarize limited understanding of myxozoan diversification and geographical distributions, and highlight gaps in knowledge and approaches for measuring myxozoan diversity. We close by reviewing methods and problems in estimating parasite extinction and concerns about extinction risks in view of the fundamental roles parasites play in ecosystem dynamics and in driving host evolutionary trajectories.
    • Family-Level Sampling of Mitochondrial Genomes in Coleoptera: Compositional Heterogeneity and Phylogenetics

      Timmermans, MJTN; Barton, C; Haran, J; Ahrens, D; Culverwell, CL; Ollikainen, A; Dodsworth, S; Foster, PG; Bocak, L; Vogler, AP (Oxford University Press, 2016-01-01)
      Mitochondrial genomes are readily sequenced with recent technology and thus evolutionary lineages can be densely sampled. This permits better phylogenetic estimates and assessment of potential biases resulting from heterogeneity in nucleotide composition and rate of change. We gathered 245 mitochondrial sequences for the Coleoptera representing all 4 suborders, 15 superfamilies of Polyphaga, and altogether 97 families, including 159 newly sequenced full or partial mitogenomes. Compositional heterogeneity greatly affected 3rd codon positions, and to a lesser extent the 1st and 2nd positions, even after RY coding. Heterogeneity also affected the encoded protein sequence, in particular in the nad2 , nad4 , nad5 , and nad6 genes. Credible tree topologies were obtained with the nhPhyML (“nonhomogeneous”) algorithm implementing a model for branch-specific equilibrium frequencies. Likelihood searches using RAxML were improved by data partitioning by gene and codon position. Finally, the PhyloBayes software, which allows different substitution processes for amino acid replacement at various sites, produced a tree that best matched known higher level taxa and defined basal relationships in Coleoptera. After rooting with Neuropterida outgroups, suborder relationships were resolved as (Polyphaga (Myxophaga (Archostemata + Adephaga))). The infraorder relationships in Polyphaga were (Scirtiformia (Elateriformia ((Staphyliniformia + Scarabaeiformia) (Bostrichiformia (Cucujiformia))))). Polyphagan superfamilies were recovered as monophyla except Staphylinoidea (paraphyletic for Scarabaeiformia) and Cucujoidea, which can no longer be considered a valid taxon. The study shows that, although compositional heterogeneity is not universal, it cannot be eliminated for some mitochondrial genes, but dense taxon sampling and the use of appropriate Bayesian analyses can still produce robust phylogenetic trees.
    • Far from a distraction: Plastic pollution and the planetary emergency

      Lavers, Jennifer L; Bond, AL; Rolsky, Charles (Elsevier BV, 2022-07-04)
      Pollution of the environment with plastics has garnered significant public attention, but the topic has also been the focus of controversy, including assertions that resources are better spent on other topics, such as global warming. Here, we argue that plastic pollution and climate change are fundamentally linked, from the extraction of fossil fuels to the production of plastics, and eventual disposal. We demonstrate how plastics research and funding currently lag significantly behind that of climate change and conclude by advocating for a more integrated approach to addressing pressing conservation issues in the time of a planetary emergency.