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Article Reference Grasping ecological opportunities: not one but five paedophagous species of Haplochromis (Teleostei: Cichlidae) in the Lake Edward system
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2019
Article Reference Paropeas achatinaceum (Pfeiffer, 1846) and other alien Subuline and Opeatine land snails in European greenhouses (Gastropoda, Achatinidae)
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference Extension of the phasmid genus Presbistus to Cambodia with a new species and notes on genitalia and captive breeding (Phasmida, Aschiphasmatidae, Aschiphasmatinae)
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA
Inproceedings Reference Brain evolution of early placental mammals: the impact of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction on the the neurosensory system of our distant relatives
The end-Cretaceous mass extinction, 66 million years ago, profoundly reshaped the biodiversity of our planet. After likely originating in the Cretaceous, placental mammals (species giving live birth to well-developed young) survived the extinction and quickly diversified in the ensuing Paleocene. Compared to Mesozoic species, extant placentals have advanced neurosensory abilities, enabled by a proportionally large brain with an expanded neocortex. This brain construction was acquired by the Eocene, but its origins, and how its evolution relates to extinction survivorship and recovery, are unclear, because little is known about the neurosensory systems of Paleocene species. We used high-resolution computed tomography (CT) scanning to build digital brain models in 29 extinct placentals (including 23 from the Paleocene). We added these to data from the literature to construct a database of 98 taxa, from the Jurassic to the Eocene, which we assessed in a phylogenetic context. We find that the Phylogenetic Encephalization Quotient (PEQ), a measure of relative brain size, increased in the Cretaceous along branches leading to Placentalia, but then decreased in Paleocene clades (taeniodonts, phenacodontids, pantodonts, periptychids, and arctocyonids). Later, during the Eocene, the PEQ increased independently in all crown groups (e.g., euarchontoglirans and laurasiatherians). The Paleocene decline in PEQ was driven by body mass increasing much more rapidly after the extinction than brain volume. The neocortex remained small, relative to the rest of the brain, in Paleocene taxa and expanded independently in Eocene crown groups. The relative size of the olfactory bulbs, however, remained relatively stable over time, except for a major decrease in Euarchontoglires and some Eocene artiodactyls, while the petrosal lobules (associated with eye movement coordination) decreased in size in Laurasiatheria but increased in Euarchontoglires. Our results indicate that an enlarged, modern-style brain was not instrumental to the survival of placental mammal ancestors at the end-Cretaceous, nor to their radiation in the Paleocene. Instead, opening of new ecological niches post-extinction promoted the diversification of larger body sizes, while brain and neocortex sizes lagged behind. The independent increase in PEQ in Eocene crown groups is related to the expansion of the neocortex, possibly a response to ecological specialization as environments changed, long after the extinction. Funding Sources Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, European Research Council Starting Grant, National Science Foundation, Belgian Science Policy Office, DMNS No Walls Community Initiative.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Inproceedings Reference Phylogenetic position of Olbitherium (Mammalia, Perissodactyla) based on new material from the early Eocene Wutu Formation
The genus Olbitherium was originally described in 2004 from the early Eocene of the Wutu Formation in China as a ‘perissodactyl-like’ archaic ungulate. Described material of Olbitherium consists of partial dentaries with lower cheek teeth, isolated upper molars, and an isolated upper premolar. Subsequent collaborative fieldwork by Belgian and Chinese researchers discovered new material including a partial skull, the anterior portion of the dentary, and associated postcrania. In their general form, the skull and postcrania are similar to those of early perissodactyls. The new material provides a more complete picture of the upper dentition, and the anterior dentary demonstrates the presence of three lower incisors and a large canine, both ancestral features for perissodactyls. A phylogenetic analysis was conducted to test the affinities of Olbitherium, using a matrix of 321 characters and 72 taxa of placental mammals emphasizing perissodactyls and other ungulates. The results produced four shortest trees of 1981 steps. In all four trees, Olbitherium is the sister-taxon to all perissodactyls except Ghazijhippus. In contrast, when scoring was restricted to the originally described material, the results produced 16 shortest trees of 1970 steps, and Olbitherium nests well within Perissodactyla as sister-taxon to a clade including Lambdotherium and the brontotheriids Eotitanops and Palaeosyops. The new material not only supports the identification of Olbitherium as a perissodactyl, but it also suggests that it is significant for understanding the ancestral perissodactyl morphotype. Funding Sources U.S. National Science Foundation (DEB1456826), Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2009DFA32210), and Belgian Science Policy Office (BL/36/C54).
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2020
Article Reference Is the vertical distribution of meiofauna similar in two contrasting microhabitats? A case study of a macrotidal sandy beach
Tides are an important forcing factor of macrotidal sandy beaches because they are directly responsible for the local morphodynamic conditions. Macrotidal beaches may harbor different microhabitats such as sandbars and runnels. We evaluated the influence of tides on the vertical distribution of meiofaunal organisms, particularly nematodes, in these two microhabitats at De Panne Beach, on the North Sea coast of Belgium. The 11 meiofaunal groups found were Acari, Amphipoda, Copepoda, Gastrotricha, Nematoda, Oligochaeta, Ostracoda, Polychaeta, Rotifera, Tardigrada and Turbellaria. The nematodes were identified to species level; the 147 species found included 112 in the sandbar and 117 in the runnel. Only turbellarians and nematodes migrated upward during low tide in the sandbar. The response of the nematodes was species-specific; during low tide, they migrated upward in the sandbar and downward toward deeper layers of the sediment in the runnel. These migration patterns were attributed to the feeding strategies in the sandbar (i.e. possible increase of diatom biomass in the surface layer due to high solar incidence), while environmental variables best explained the migration patterns in the runnel (i.e. preferred grain size and amount of total organic carbon). These results suggest a dissimilar vertical migration of the meiofauna over the tidal cycle in the two microhabitats. We attribute the vertical distribution of nematode species and some other meiofaunal groups to active migration toward preferred sites with more food or better environmental conditions. This study also indicated that other variables such as predation and competition, rather than the commonly studied physical variables should be included in future sampling designs of sandy-beach meiofauna assessments, since the environmental variables measured here could not fully explain the vertical distributions of the major meiofaunal groups or the community as a whole.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2017
Proceedings Reference Effects of Offshore Wind Farms on the Early Life Stages of Dicentrarchus labrax
Anthropogenically generated underwater noise in the marine environment is ubiquitous, comprising both intense impulse and continuous noise. The installation of offshore wind farms across the North Sea has triggered a range of ecological questions regarding the impact of anthropogenically produced underwater noise on marine wildlife. Our interest is on the impact on the "passive drifters," i.e., the early life stages of fish that form the basis of fish populations and are an important prey for pelagic predators. This study deals with the impact of pile driving and operational noise generated at offshore wind farms on Dicentrarchus labrax (sea bass) larvae.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2016
Article Reference Identifying Elusive Prehistoric Land Use by Integrating Electromagnetic and Invasive Survey Approaches
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference 2500 years of charcoal production in the Low Countries: the chronology and typology of charcoal kilns and their relation with early iron production.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021
Article Reference Early and High Medieval (c. 650 AD - 1250 AD) charcoal production and its impact on woodland composition in the Northwest-European lowland: a study of charcoal pit kilns from Sterrebeek (Central Belgium).
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2021