The subphylum Myriapoda included four extant classes (Chilopoda, Symphyla, Diplopoda and Pauropoda), but very little work has been done to explore their phylogenetic relationships. Herein, we determined the complete mitochondrial genome of Polydesmus sp. GZCS-2019 (Myriapoda: Polydesmida) and the mitochondrial genomes are circular molecules of 15,036 bp, with all genes encoded on + strand. The A+T content is 66.1%, making the chain asymmetric, and exhibits negative AT-skew (-0.236). Several genes rearrangements were detected and we propose a new rearrangement model: “TD (N\R) L + C” based on the genome-scale duplication + (non-random/random) loss + recombination. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that Chilopoda and Symphyla both were monophyletic group, whereas Pauropoda was embedded in Diplopoda to form the Dignatha. Divergence time showed the first split of Myriapoda occurred between the Chilopoda and other classes (Wenlock period of Silurian). We combine phylogenetic analysis, divergence time, and gene arrangement to yield valuable insights into the evolutionary history and classification relationship of Myriapoda and these results support a monophyletic Progoneata and the relationship (Chilopoda + (Symphyla + (Diplopoda + Pauropoda))) within Myriapod. Our results help to better explain the gene rearrangement events of the invertebrate mitogenome and lay the foundation for further phylogenetic study of Myriapoda.
This study compared the microhabitat use, daily activity pattern and diet of Liolaemus etheridgei Laurent 1998 in two Polylepis woodlands: El Simbral (fragmented) and Tuctumpaya (unfragmented), in Arequipa, Southern Peru. In both populations, we did not detect positive selection for any microhabitat; however, the population at El Simbral showed a negative selection for Polylepys trees while the Tuctumpaya population showed negative selection for Polylepis trees and non-thorny bushes. In El Simbral, active individuals were detected between 9:00 and 15:59h, whereas in Tuctumpaya, we detected active individuals from 8:00 to 17:59h. In both populations, observations of active individuals dropped between 11:00 and 11:59h. We recorded 17 and 23 prey categories in the El Simbral and Tuctumpaya populations respectively. The most important animal prey category in each population was found to be Lygaeidae: Hemiptera, and was the only animal prey category that was selected for in El Simbral and Tuctumpaya. In addition, due to the proportions of plant material found, the El Simbral was found to be omnivorous, whereas the Tuctumpaya population was herbivorous. Trophic niche breadth was broader in Tuctumpaya (B_a= 0.202) than the El Simbral (B_a= 0.147) population, despite there being no significant differences in diet (Permanova: F = 1.036, P = 0.409, permutations = 9999), which is coherent with the high value of trophic niche overlap (O_(j,k) = 0.963). Our compiled data reveal that L. etheridgei shows no selection for any of the resources we define in Polylepis woodlands, on the contrary, it selects negatively against Polylepis trees and non-thorny bushes. The daily activity patterns indicate a bimodal pattern with peaks at 9:00-10:59 and 13:00-13:59 h. The diet of L. etheridgei consists mainly of plants (%W: 66.373), and the most important animal prey category is Lygaeidae: Hemiptera (%IRI = 55.3), which is selected positively.
Species traits influence their response to environmental conditions and the match between phenotypes and environment mediates spatial changes in species composition. These trait-environment linkages can be disrupted in human-modified landscapes. Human land-use creates habitat fragments where dispersal limitation or edge effects can exclude species that may otherwise suit a given macro-scale environment. Furthermore, stressful micro-environments in fragments may limit viable trait combinations resulting in stronger trait covariance compared to contiguous forest, especially in harsher macroenvironments. In a wet tropical forest landscape in the Western Ghats Biodiversity Hotspot of peninsular India, I compared fragments with adjacent contiguous forest for signatures of trait-mediated assembly of tree communities along macroenvironmental gradients. Using four key plant traits—seed size, specific leaf area (SLA), wood density, and maximum height—I evaluated changes in trait-mediated abundances and trait covariance across environmental gradients. Trait-mediated abundances primarily changed along the elevation gradient in contiguous forest, smaller-seeded, shorter, thinner-leaved species increased at higher elevations. In fragments, higher SLA species increased in more seasonal climate and decreased with higher precipitation, and larger seeds decreased at warmer sites. However, traits only weakly predicted abundances and only contiguous forests experienced significant compositional change via traits, driven by trait syndromes varying along a composite environmental gradient defined by elevation, water deficit, and soil C:N ratio. Covariance of seed size and maximum height along gradients of precipitation and temperature revealed divergent constraints on viable phenotypes in fragments and contiguous forest. Notably, local biotic conditions (functional diversity) had stronger effects than environment in explaining trait covariance. Overall, the results imply that trait syndromes and trait covariance, rather than single traits, determine the phenotypes best suited to different macroenvironmental conditions and should inform management or restoration goals in fragments.
Although insect herbivores are known to evolve resistance to insecticides through multiple genetic mechanisms, resistance in individual species has been assumed to follow the same mechanism. While both mutations in the target site insensitivity and increased amplification are known to contribute to insecticide resistance, little is known about the degree to which geographic populations of the same species differ at the target site in a response to insecticides. We tested structural (e.g. mutation profiles) and regulatory (e.g. the gene expression of Ldace1 and Ldace2, AChE activity) differences between two populations (Vermont, USA and Belchow, Poland) of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata in their resistance to two commonly used groups of insecticides, organophosphates, and carbamates. We established that Vermont beetles were more resistant to azinphos-methyl and carbaryl insecticides compared to Belchow beetles, despite a similar frequency of resistance-associated alleles (i.e. S291G) in the Ldace2 gene. However, the Vermont population had two additional amino acid replacements (G192S, F402Y) in the Ldace1 gene, which were absent in the Belchow population. Moreover, the Vermont population showed higher expression of Ldace1 and was less sensitive to AChE inhibition by azinphos methyl oxon than the Belchow population. Therefore, the two populations have evolved different genetic mechanisms to adapt to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides.
The impact of rising global temperatures on survival and reproduction is putting many species at risk of extinction. In particular, it has recently been shown that thermal effects on reproduction, especially limits to male fertility, can underpin species distributions in insects. However, the physiological factors influencing fertility at high temperatures are poorly understood. Key factors that affect somatic thermal tolerance such as hardening, the ability to phenotypically increase thermal tolerance after a mild heat shock, and the differential impact of temperature on different life stages, are largely unexplored for thermal fertility tolerance. Here, we examine the impact of high temperatures on male fertility in the cosmopolitan fruit fly Drosophila virilis. We first determined whether temperature stress at either the pupal or adult life-history stage impacts fertility. We then tested the capacity for heat-hardening to mitigate heat-induced sterility. We found that thermal stress reduces fertility in different ways in pupae and adults. Pupal heat stress delays sexual maturity, whereas males heated as adults can reproduce initially following heat stress, but lose the ability to produce offspring. We also found evidence that while heat-hardening in D. virilis can improve high temperature survival, there is no significant protective impact of this same hardening treatment on fertility. These results suggest that males may be unable to prevent the costs of high temperature stress on fertility through heat-hardening which limits a species' ability to quickly and effectively reduce fertility loss in the face of short-term high temperature events.
Climate change has the potential to alter plant reproductive success directly and indirectly through disruptions in animal pollination. Climate models project altered seasonal precipitation patterns and thus the effects of climate change on available resources and pollination services will depend on the season. Plants have evolved reproductive strategies to minimize pollen and resource limitations, and therefore we expect that the disruption of climate change might cause plants to be more pollen limited in seasons that become wetter than they were historically. In this study, we conducted a pollen supplementation experiment within the Global Change Experiment Facility (GCEF) in Central Germany. The GCEF experimentally manipulates future climate based on a realistic scenario of climate change for the region (drier summers and wetter springs and falls) in a native grassland ecosystem. We quantified seed production of two perennial species Dianthus carthusianorum and Scabiosa ochroleuca in response to pollination treatments (control, supplement), climate treatments (ambient and future) and season (summer and fall). Dianthus carthusianorum produced more seeds in future climate conditions independent of the season, but only when given supplemental pollen. Both species showed an increased reproduction in summer compared to the fall. We did not find any evidence for our expectation of higher pollen limitation in the future climate and fall season (i.e. no three-way interaction pollination x season x climate), which might be explained by the high drought tolerance and generalized pollination of our focal plant species. We conclude that plant reproductive success might be limited by the services of animal pollinators in future climates, and have many suggestions for future studies that are necessary to understand the context-dependence and underlying mechanisms of plant reproductive responses to climate.
The trade-off between within-host infection load and transmission to new hosts is predicted to constrain pathogen evolution, and to maintain polymorphism in pathogen populations. The life-history stages and their correlations that underpin infection development may change under coinfection with other parasites as they compete for the same limited host resources. Cross-kingdom interactions are common among pathogens in both natural and cultivated systems yet their impact on disease ecology and evolution are rarely studied. Host plant Plantago lanceolata is naturally infected by both Phompopsis subordinaria, a seed killing fungus, as well as Plantago lanceolata latent virus (PlLV) in the Åland Islands, SW Finland. We performed an inoculation assay to test whether coinfection with PlLV affects performance of two P. subordinaria strains, and the correlation between within-host infection load and transmission potential. The strains differed in the measured life-history traits and their correlations. Moreover, we found that under virus coinfection, within-host infection load of P. subordinaria was lower but transmission potential was higher compared to strains under single infection. The negative correlation between within-host infection load and transmission potential detected under single infection became positive under coinfection with PlLV. In wild populations, within-host infection load was positively associated with within-population disease prevalence. Jointly, our results suggest that the trade-off between within-host infection load and transmission may be strain specific, and that the pathogen life-history that underpin epidemics may change depending on the diversity of infection, generating variation in disease dynamics.
The characteristics of macroinvertebrate community structure can effectively reflect the health status of lake ecosystem and the quality of the lake ecological environment. It is of great significance to identify the limiting factors of macroinvertebrate community structure for the maintenance of lake ecosystem health. In this study, the community composition of macroinvertebrate assemblages and their relationships with environmental variables in 13 small lakes within Linhuan Lake was investigated. Self-organizing map, K-means clustering analysis, principal component analysis, pearson correlation analysis, and redundancy analysis were used to analyze the correlation and variability between macroinvertebrates community index and environmental factors. The results showed that the environmental variables (pH, total phosphorus, nitrate, water temperature, dissolved oxygen, conductivity, chemical oxygen demand, and ammonium) had a significant effect on the classification of macroinvertebrate community. Molluscs were significantly negatively correlated with pH and chlorophyll a, while annelids and aquatic insects were significantly positively correlated with chlorophyll a and dissolved oxygen. Species richness and Shannon’s diversity of macroinvertebrates were significantly negatively correlated with total phosphorus while biomass of macroinvertebrates was significantly negatively correlated with pH. High alkalinity characteristics and eutrophication of the lake have a serious impact on the macroinvertebrate community. Human interference and unreasonable industrial and surface runoff from agricultural farms destroy the ecological environment and affect the community structure of macroinvertebrate. Thus, the improvement of the macroinvertebrate’s community structure should be carried out by improving the Lianhuan Lake watershed ecological environment and controlling watershed environmental pollution.
Investigating the determinants of reproductive biology of fishes is an essential component of biological research. Breeding pattern was investigated to determine the impact of exotic Oreochromis niloticus on the native congeneric Oreochromis macrochir in the upper Kabompo River. Gonado-somatic index and sex ratio was used to investigate the breeding pattern in both invaded (where O. niloticus is present) and uninvaded (where O. niloticus is absent) sections of the river. Oreochromis macrochir was the only native congeneric species found in both sections. Results showed that the overall gonado-somatic index means for both sexes of O. macrochir in both sections were similar. For O. niloticus in invaded section indicated all year reproduction though reduced spawning in cold season (May-June), but with increased spawning activity in wet season (February-March). In O. macrochir, males and females were found breeding in both dry and wet seasons only, as for cold season no reproduction was recorded. Sex ratio (females: males) was 1:1.3 and 1:1.7 for O. niloticus and O. macrochir respectively, and both significantly deviated from the sex ratio of 1:1 (ꭓ2=8.42 and 9.37; p<0.05). Oreochromis niloticus formed the most abundant fish caught 221(63.5%) than O. macrochir 127(36.5%). Our study has revealed that O. niloticus was able to spawn in all seasons with 23% higher breeding population than O. macrochir, which explains the suppression in the abundance. We expect O. niloticus to invade further downstream of the Kabompo River due to natural dispersion.
Abstract Predator/Parasitoid functional response is one of the main tools used to study predation behaviour, and in assessing the potential of biological control candidates. It is generally accepted that predator learning in prey searching and manipulation can produce the appearance of type III functional response. Holling proposed that in the presence of alternative prey, at some point the predator would shift the preferred prey, leading to the appearance of a sigmoid function that characterized that functional response. This is supported by the analogy between enzyme kinetics and functional response that Holling used as the basis for developing this theory. However, after several decades, sigmoidal functional responses appear in the absence of alternative prey in most of the biological taxa studied. Here, we propose modelling the effect of learning on the functional response by using the explicit incorporation of learning curves in the parameters of the Holling functional response, the attack rate (a), and the manipulation time (h). We then study how the variation in the parameters of the learning curves causes variations in the shape of the functional response curve. We found that the functional response product of learning can be either type I, II or III, depending on what parameters act on the organism, and how much it can learn throughout the length of the study. Therefore the presence of other types of curves should not be automatically associated with the absence of learning. These results are important from an ecological point of view because when type III functional response is associated with learning, it is generally accepted that it can operate as a stabilizing factor in population dynamics. Our results, to the contrary, suggest that depending on how it acts, it may even be destabilizing by generating the appearance of functional responses close to type I.
Habitat alterations that often accompany land-use change are one of the major drivers of global biodiversity losses. In Africa, these threats are especially severe, as this continent has the most rapidly growing of all human populations. Inevitably, increasing areas of land are being transformed for agriculture, including drought-prone drylands in southern and central Africa, despite often having poor soils. In Zimbabwe, a land reform programme provided a unique opportunity to study the biodiversity response to abrupt habitat modification in an extensive dryland area of mixed grassland and woodland savannah. Small-scale subsistence farms were created rapidly during 2001-2002 in formerly semi-natural savannah. We measured the changing compositions of bird communities in transformed and untransformed land over an 8-year period, commencing one decade after subsistence farms were established. Over the study period, repeated counts were made along identical transects in order to assess species' population changes that may have resulted from trait-filtering responses to habitat disturbance. We recorded significantly increased abundances in both land-use areas, accompanied by increases in species diversity and functional redundancy. Temporal trends showed increased abundances across all feeding guilds, and in species of virtually all sizes. Influxes of new species did not increase functional traits' diversity, and no species with distinctive traits appear to have been lost as a result of land-use change. Nearly two decades after habitat transformation, the bird communities in the transformed and untransformed areas had become more similar in composition. The broadly benign impact on birds of land conversion into subsistence farms is attributed to the relatively low-level of human activities and disturbance in the transformed land, and the large regional pool of non-specialist bird species.
In land plants, heteroblasty broadly refers to a drastic change in morphology during growth through ontogeny. Juniperus flaccida and Pinus cembroides are conifers of independent lineages known to exhibit leaf heteroblasty between the juvenile and adult life stage of development. Juvenile leaves of P. cembroides develop spirally on the main stem and appear decurrent, flattened and needle-like; whereas adult photosynthetic leaves are triangular or semi-circular needle-like, and grow in whorls on secondary or tertiary compact dwarf shoots. By comparison, J. flaccida juvenile leaves are decurrent and needle-like, and adult leaves are compact, short, and scale-like. Comparative analyses were performed to evaluate differences in anatomy and gene expression patterns between developmental phases in both species. RNA from twelve samples was sequenced and analyzed with available software. They were assembled de novo from the RNA-Seq reads. Following assembly, 63,741 high quality transcripts were functionally annotated in P. cembroides and 69,448 in J. flaccida. Evaluation of the orthologous groups yielded 4,140 shared gene families among the four references (adult and juvenile from each species). Activities related to cell division and development were more abundant in juveniles than adults in P. cembroides, and more abundant in adults than juveniles in J. flaccida. Overall, there were 509 up-regulated and 81 down-regulated genes in the juvenile condition of P. cembroides and 14 up-regulated and 22 down-regulated in J. flaccida. Gene interaction network analysis showed evidence of co-expression and co-localization of up-regulated genes involved in cell wall and cuticle formation, development, and phenylpropanoid pathway, in juvenile P. cembroides leaves. Whereas in J. flaccida, differential expression and gene interaction patterns were detected in genes involved in photosynthesis and chloroplast biogenesis. Although J. flaccida and P. cembroides both exhibit leaf heteroblastic development, little overlap was detected, and unique genes and pathways were highlighted in this study.Keywords : Heteroblasty, RNA-seq analysis, cell wall and cutin biosynthesis, conifer leaf development, Juniperus flaccida, Pinus cembroides.
Because of their range expansion across North America, coyotes (Canis latrans) now occur sympatrically with numerous other predator species, including red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). This raises several interesting ecological questions, including if and how sympatry affects the diet and gut microbiomes of coyotes and red foxes. We examined the gut microbiomes of sympatric populations of coyotes and red foxes within two different National Parks in Virginia, USA, that differ in land use, vegetation, and anthropogenic disturbance: Prince William Forest Park (PRWI) and Manassas National Battlefield Park (MANA). From 2012 to 2017, scat samples from PRWI and MANA were collected and analyzed. Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) amplification of a region of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene followed by restriction enzyme digestion of the PCR product was used to determine the origin of each scat sample. Next-Generation DNA sequencing of a hypervariable 16S rRNA gene region was used to determine gut microbiome information about the scat samples. There was no evidence for a difference between the gut microbiomes of red foxes in either location, or for a difference between the gut microbiomes of red foxes at either location and coyotes at the location with lower human disturbance, PRWI. However, the gut microbiomes of coyotes at the location with higher anthropogenic disturbances, MANA, revealed a marked change from those found in red foxes at either location and from those in coyotes at the location with lower disturbances. The gut microbiomes of coyotes subjected to greater human impact revealed clear evidence of dysbiosis, indicative of increased physiological stress and reduced health. We discuss our observations in the context of understanding anthropogenic impacts on coyote and red fox interactions. Our results suggest that physiological stress in the form of human disturbance may play an important role in the composition of the gut microbiome of coyotes, which can affect their overall health.
Plant competition experiments commonly suggest that larger species have an advantage, especially in light acquisition. However, within crowded natural vegetation, where competition evidently impacts fitness, most resident species are relatively small. It remains unclear, therefore, whether the size-advantage observed in controlled experiments is realized in habitats under intensive competition. We tested for evidence of a size-advantage in competition for light in an old-field plant community composed of herbaceous perennial species. We investigated whether larger species contributed to reduced light penetration (i.e., greater shading), and examined the impact of shade on smaller species by testing whether their abundance and richness were lower in plots with less light penetration. Light penetration in plots ranged from 0.3-72.4%. Plots with greater mean species height had significantly lower light penetration. Plots with lower light penetration had significantly lower small species abundance and richness. However, the impact of shade on small species abundance and richness was relatively small (R2 values between 8% and 15%) and depended on how we defined “small species”. Significant effects were more common when analyses focused on individuals that reached reproduction; focusing on only flowering plants can clarify patterns. Our results confirm that light penetration in herbaceous vegetation can be comparable to levels seen in forests, that plots with taller species cast more shade, and that smaller species are less abundant and diverse in plots where light penetration is low. However, variation in mean plot height explained less than 10% of variation in light penetration, and light penetration explained 5-15% of variation in small species abundance and richness. Coupled with the fact that reproductive small species were present even within the most heavily shaded plots, our results suggest that any advantage in light competition by large species is limited. One explanation is that some small species in these communities are shade tolerant.
Comparing genome scans among species is a powerful approach for investigating the patterns left by evolutionary processes. In particular, this offers a way to detect candidate genes that drive convergent evolution. We compared genome scan results to investigate if patterns of genetic diversity and divergence are shared among divergent species within the stickleback order (Gasterosteiformes): the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitus) and tubesnout (Aulorhynchus flavidus). Populations were sampled from the southern and northern edges of each species’ range, to identify patterns associated with latitudinal changes in genetic diversity. Weak correlations in genetic diversity (FST and expected heterozygosity) and three different patterns in the genomic landscape were found among these species. Additionally, no candidate genes for convergent evolution were detected. This is a counterexample to the growing number of studies that have shown overlapping genetic patterns, demonstrating that genome scan comparisons can be noisy due to the effects of several interacting evolutionary forces.
This paper aims to investigate the ecological role of Merlucicius merluccius, Linnaeus, 1758, in the southern and central Tyrrhenian Sea (GSA 10, Resolution GFCM/33/2009/2 General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean), analysing ontogenetic diet shift, geographical variations on prey composition and feeding habits. A sample of 734 hake specimens between 6 cm and 73 cm of total length (TL) were collected in 2018. To value the ontogenetic shifts in prey composition, five size-classes were created from the sample and for each class were calculated quantitative feeding indices. The cluster and MDS analysis, based on the % IRI, resulted in three trophic groups of hake size classes. The most abundant preys for small hake (size class I) were the Euphausiids, Stylocheiron longicorne and Mysidacea, while for hake with size over 10.5 cm of TL were crustaceans and fish. Engraulis encrasicolus was the most abundant prey fish for hake, followed by Boops boops and Myctophids. The mesopelagic fauna had a relevant role in the European hake diet in the southern zone. The high presence of Euphausiids, Mysids, Myctophidae and Sternoptychidae in the gut content of juvenile hakes (6-23 cm) showed the importance of organic matter and energy flowed from the mesopelagic environment to the epipelagic. Important is also the presence of decapod crustaceans in hake with size over 36 cm TL considering that our study area includes an important Gulf for the fishing of decapod crustacea.
Understanding the impacts and constraints of climate change on the potential geographic distribution of wild Akebia trifoliata is crucial for its sustainable management and economic development as a medicinal material or fruit. In this study, according to the first-hand information obtained on-the-spot investigation, the geographic distribution and response to climate factors of Akebia trifoliata were studied by the MaxEnt model and ArcGIS. The genetic diversity and population structure of 21 natural populations of Akebia trifoliata were studied by SSR markers. The results showed that precipitation and temperature were the two most important climatic factors that restrict the geographic distribution of Akebia trifoliata. Under the current climate scenario, the suitable growth regions of Akebia trifoliata in China were 91.7-121.9 °E and 21.6-37.5 °N. Combined with the evolutionary relationship and prediction results, 21 populations of Akebia trifoliata tended to migrate to the north. In the scenarios (SSP2-4.5, SSP3-7.0, and SSP5-8.5) of higher greenhouse gas emission concentration, the distribution area of Akebia trifoliata continued to expand, while in the low concentration greenhouse gas emission scenario (SSP1-2.6), the distribution area of Akebia trifoliata remained stable. The distribution center of Akebia trifoliata in China will shift to high latitude regions with the increase of temperature in the future. The results evaluated the impact of climate factors on the spatial distribution of wild Akebia trifoliata, displayed the possible changes of geographical distribution of Akebia trifoliata under different climate scenarios, and provided scientific evidence for durative protection and supervise of Akebia trifoliata.
Despite many studies showing biodiversity responses to warming, the generality of such responses across taxonomic groups remains unclear. Very few studies have tested for evidence of bryophyte community responses to warming, even though bryophytes are major contributors to diversity and functioning in many ecosystems. Here we report an empirical study comparing long-term change of bryophyte and vascular plant communities in two sites with contrasting long-term warming trends, using “legacy” botanical records as a baseline for comparison with contemporary resurveys. We hypothesized that ecological changes would be greater in sites with a stronger warming trend, and that vascular plant communities, with narrower climatic niches, would be more sensitive than bryophyte communities to climate warming. For each taxonomic group in each site, we quantified the magnitude of changes in species’ distributions along the elevation gradient, species richness, and community composition. We found contrasted temporal changes in bryophyte vs. vascular plant communities, which only partially supported the warming hypothesis. In the area with a stronger warming trend, we found a significant increase of local diversity and beta-diversity for vascular plants, but not for bryophytes. Presence absence data did not provide sufficient power to detect elevational shifts in species distributions. The patterns observed for bryophytes are in accordance with recent literature showing that local diversity can remain unchanged despite strong changes in composition. Regardless of whether one taxon is systematically more or less sensitive to environmental change than another, our results suggest that vascular plants cannot be used as a surrogate for bryophytes in terms of predicting the nature and magnitude of responses to warming. Thus, to assess overall biodiversity responses to global change, abundance data from different taxonomic groups and different community properties need to be synthesized.