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Article Reference Highly polymorphic mitochondrial DNA and deceiving haplotypic differentiation: implications for assessing population genetic differentiation and connectivity
Background Hyperdiverse mtDNA with more than 5% of variable synonymous nucleotide sites can lead to erroneous interpretations of population genetic differentiation patterns and parameters (φST, DEST). We illustrate this by using hyperdiverse mtDNA markers to infer population genetic differentiation and connectivity in Melarhaphe neritoides, a NE Atlantic (NEA) gastropod with a high dispersal potential. We also provide a recent literature example of how mtDNA hyperdiversity may have misguided the interpretation of genetic connectivity in the crab Opecarcinus hypostegus. Results mtDNA variation surveyed throughout the NEA showed that nearly all M. neritoides specimens had haplotypes private to populations, suggesting at first glance a lack of gene flow and thus a strong population genetic differentiation. Yet, the bush-like haplotype network, though visually misleading, showed no signs of phylogeographic or other haplotype structuring. Coalescent-based gene flow estimates were high throughout the NEA, irrespective of whether or not mtDNA hyperdiversity was reduced by removing hypervariable sites. Conclusions Melarhaphe neritoides seems to be panmictic over the entire NEA, which is consistent with its long-lived pelagic larval stage. With hyperdiverse mtDNA, the apparent lack of shared haplotypes among populations does not necessarily reflect a lack of gene flow and/or population genetic differentiation by fixation of alternative haplotypes (DEST ≈ 1 does not a fortiori imply φST ≈ 1), but may be due to (1) a too low sampling effort to detect shared haplotypes and/or (2) a very high mutation rate that may conceal the signal of gene flow. Hyperdiverse mtDNA can be used to assess connectivity by coalescent-based methods. Yet, the combined use of φST and DEST can provide a reasonable inference of connectivity patterns from hyperdiverse mtDNA, too.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Article Reference What keeps them from ingling? - A reply to a comment on Van Belleghem et al. 2016
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Article Reference New discoveries of tetrapods (ichthyostegid-like and whatcheeriid-like) in the Famennian (Late Devonian) localities of Strud and Becco (Belgium).
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016
Article Reference Micropalaeontological dating of the Prémontré mammal fauna (MP10, Prémontré Sands, EECO, early late Ypresian, Paris Basin).
At their type locality the Prémontré Sands contain fairly well-diversified organic-walled microfossil assemblages attributable to the lower part of dinoflagellate cyst Zone D9 and indicating a transition from an estuarine to a lagoonal depositional regime, up-section as well as laterally. Identical assemblages have been recorded in the inner to mid-neritic Merelbeke Clay Member in Belgium, allowing the Prémontré Sands to be positioned within lower NP13 and early Chron C22r. The deposition of the MP10 Prémontré mammal fauna is estimated to postdate the onset of both NP13 and Chron C22r, which are nearly coincident, by about 200 to 300 kyr. The biostratigraphic dating refers this deposit to the early late Ypresian and to the final phase of the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum (EECO) at about 50.4 to 50.3 million years ago. The Prémontré Sands, as well as their distal equivalent the Merelbeke Clay Member, were deposited following a major sea-level rise, the highest of the late Ypresian in the southern North Sea Basin s.l. (including the Paris Basin). They are separated from the overlying “Glauconie grossière” (zone NP14; middle part of zone D9) by a hiatus of approximately 2.5 myr.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016
Article Reference Change in Historical Range of the Ural Owl in Europe
A carpometacarpus recovered during archaeological excavations in the town of Quaregnon is the westernmost find ever reported in Europe of a Ural Owl (Strix uralensis), and the first occurrence for Belgium. Both the morphology of the skeletal element and its measurements rule out an identification as any of the other Strigiformes from the Western Palearctic. The provenance of this specimen, that dates to the medieval period (10th-12th centuries AD), is discussed. It is hypothesized that the bird was a wild animal, but the available evidence does not unequivocally determine whether it belonged to a local, breeding population that went extinct or if it came from a more distant population. However, a survey of other zooarchacological finds of Ural Owl in Europe shows that the species occurred farther west in the past, outside the present natural breeding range. This suggests that Ural Owl may have found suitable nesting biotopes in Belgium and northern France during the medieval period.
Located in Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References
Article Reference The Holocene occurrence of the European catfish (Silurus glanis) in Belgium: the archaeozoological evidence
An overview is given of the skeletal remains of the European catfish Silurus glanis found thus far in Belgian archaeological sites. These finds demonstrate that the species is autochthonous and allow documenting its occurrence and disappearance during the Holocene in the Scheldt and Meuse basins Possible causes for the local extinction of this catfish are discussed.
Located in Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References
Article Reference Fitness-heterozygosity associations differ between male and female winter moths Operophtera brumata L.
The association between heterozygosity and fitness is positive but weak on average and varies between studies. inbreeding has been invoked as the driving force between the positive heterozygosity-fitness associations, yet in spatio-temporally stable environments a negative correlation is expected. Furthermore, different patterns can arise because of the effects of natural selection on different loci and variation can be expected among groups of individuals that experience different levels of stress. In this paper we report on fitness-heterozygosity associations in the winter moth for six allozyme loci. The relationship is estimated for males and females separately, in four areas differing in their degree of fragmentation, and variation among loci is modelled. We introduce a linear mixed model framework to achieve this analysis. This approach differs from more traditional (multiple) regression analyses and allows testing specific interactions. We show that fitness, as estimated by body size, is negatively correlated with heterozygosity, but only so in females. This association does not vary significantly among loci and the four areas. We speculate that a trade-off between fitness-consequences of inbreeding and outbreeding at different stages of the winter moth life cycle could explain the observed patterns.
Located in Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References
Article Reference A comparison of gene flow estimates based on private allele frequencies.
The frequency of private alleles is often used to assess the amount of gene flow (Nm) between populations, with the equations proposed by SLATKIN (1985b) and by SLATKIN and BARTON (1989). Although these equations express the same relationship, they may yield different estimates of gene flow for the same data. These differences increase with decreasing frequencies of private alleles. Comparisons of Nm estimates, based on different equations can therefore be misleading. It is advisable to use these equations method only to distinguish between Nm > 1 and Nm < 1.
Located in Associated publications / Belgian Journal of Zoology / Bibliographic References
Article Reference The EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Opportunities and challenges on the path towards biodiversity recovery
The European Union (EU) has committed to an ambitious biodiversity recovery plan in its Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Green Deal. These policies aim to halt biodiversity loss and move towards sustainable development, focusing on restoring degraded habitats, extending the network of protected areas (PAs), and improving the effectiveness of management, governance, and funding. The achievement of conservation goals must be founded on understanding past successes and failures. Here, we summarise the strengths and weaknesses of past EU biodiversity conservation policies and practices and explore future opportunities and challenges. We focus on four main aspects: i) coordination among and within the EU Member States, ii) integration of biodiversity conservation into socio-economic sectors, iii) adequacy and sufficiency of funds, and iv) governance and stakeholder participation.Whilst past conservation efforts have benefitted from common rules across the EU and funding mechanisms, they have failed at operationalizing coordination within and across the Member States, integrating biodiversity conservation into other sectoral policies, adequately funding and effectively enforcing management, and facilitating stakeholder participation in decision-making. Future biodiversity conservation would benefit from an extended and better-managed network of PAs, additional novel funding opportunities, including the private sector, and enhanced co-governance. However, it will be critical to find sustainable solutions to potential conflicts between conservation goals and other socio-economic objectives and to resolve inconsistencies across sectoral policies.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference patternize: An R package for quantifying colour pattern variation
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2018