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Article Reference Tremadocian and Floian (Ordovician) linguliformean brachiopods from the Stavelot–Venn Massif (Avalonia; Belgium and Germany)
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference Grey wolf genomic history reveals a dual ancestry of dogs
The grey wolf (Canis lupus) was the first species to give rise to a domestic population, and they remained widespread throughout the last Ice Age when many other large mammal species went extinct. Little is known, however, about the history and possible extinction of past wolf populations or when and where the wolf progenitors of the present-day dog lineage (Canis familiaris) lived1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Here we analysed 72 ancient wolf genomes spanning the last 100,000 years from Europe, Siberia and North America. We found that wolf populations were highly connected throughout the Late Pleistocene, with levels of differentiation an order of magnitude lower than they are today. This population connectivity allowed us to detect natural selection across the time series, including rapid fixation of mutations in the gene IFT88 40,000–30,000 years ago. We show that dogs are overall more closely related to ancient wolves from eastern Eurasia than to those from western Eurasia, suggesting a domestication process in the east. However, we also found that dogs in the Near East and Africa derive up to half of their ancestry from a distinct population related to modern southwest Eurasian wolves, reflecting either an independent domestication process or admixture from local wolves. None of the analysed ancient wolf genomes is a direct match for either of these dog ancestries, meaning that the exact progenitor populations remain to be located.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference One to host them all: genomics of the diverse bacterial endosymbionts of the spider Oedothorax gibbosus
Bacterial endosymbionts of the groups Wolbachia , Cardinium and Rickettsiaceae are well known for their diverse effects on their arthropod hosts, ranging from mutualistic relationships to reproductive phenotypes. Here, we analysed a unique system in which the dwarf spider Oedothorax gibbosus is co-infected with up to five different endosymbionts affiliated with Wolbachia , ‘Candidatus Tisiphia’ (formerly Torix group Rickettsia ), Cardinium and Rhabdochlamydia . Using short-read genome sequencing data, we show that the endosymbionts are heterogeneously distributed among O. gibbosus populations and are frequently found co-infecting spider individuals. To study this intricate host–endosymbiont system on a genome-resolved level, we used long-read sequencing to reconstruct closed genomes of the Wolbachia , ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ and Cardinium endosymbionts. We provide insights into the ecology and evolution of the endosymbionts and shed light on the interactions with their spider host. We detected high quantities of transposable elements in all endosymbiont genomes and provide evidence that ancestors of the Cardinium , ‘Ca. Tisiphia’ and Wolbachia endosymbionts have co-infected the same hosts in the past. Our findings contribute to broadening our knowledge about endosymbionts infecting one of the largest animal phyla on Earth and show the usefulness of transposable elements as an evolutionary ‘contact-tracing’ tool.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Challenges and a call to action for protecting European red wood ants
Red wood ants (RWAs) are a group of keystone species widespread in temperate and boreal forests of the Northern Hemisphere. Despite this, there is increasing evidence of local declines and extinctions. We reviewed the current protection status of RWAs throughout Europe and their International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) threat classification. Only some RWA species have been assessed at a global scale, and not all national red lists of the countries where RWAs are present include these species. Different assessment criteria, inventory approaches, and risk categories are used in different countries, and data deficiency is frequent. Legislative protection is even more complex, with some countries protecting RWAs implicitly together with the wildlife fauna and others explicitly protecting the whole group or particular species. This complexity often occurs within countries, for example, in Italy, where, outside of the Alps, only the introduced species are protected, whereas the native species, which are in decline, are not. Therefore, an international, coordinated framework is needed for the protection of RWAs. This first requires that the conservation target should be defined. Due to the similar morphology, complex taxonomy, and frequent hybridization, protecting the entire RWA group seems a more efficient strategy than protecting single species, although with a distinction between autochthonous and introduced species. Second, an update of the current distribution of RWA species is needed throughout Europe. Third, a protection law cannot be effective without the collaboration of forest managers, whose activity influences RWA habitat. Finally, RWA mounds offer a peculiar microhabitat, hosting a multitude of taxa, some of which are obligate myrmecophilous species on the IUCN Red List. Therefore, RWAs’ role as umbrella species could facilitate their protection if they are considered not only as target species but also as providers of species-rich microhabitats.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference Octet Stream Is vertebral shape variability in caecilians (Amphibia: Gymnophiona) constrained by forces experienced during burrowing?
Caecilians are predominantly burrowing, elongate, limbless amphibians that have been relatively poorly studied. Although it has been suggested that the sturdy and compact skulls of caecilians are an adaptation to their head-first burrowing habits, no clear relationship between skull shape and burrowing performance appears to exist. However, the external forces encountered during burrowing are transmitted by the skull to the vertebral column, and, as such, may impact vertebral shape. Additionally, the muscles that generate the burrowing forces attach onto the vertebral column and consequently may impact vertebral shape that way as well. Here, we explored the relationships between vertebral shape and maximal in vivo push forces in 13 species of caecilian amphibians. Our results show that the shape of the two most anterior vertebrae, as well as the shape of the vertebrae at 90% of the total body length, is not correlated with peak push forces. Conversely, the shape of the third vertebrae, and the vertebrae at 20% and 60% of the total body length, does show a relationship to push forces measured in vivo. Whether these relationships are indirect (external forces constraining shape variation) or direct (muscle forces constraining shape variation) remains unclear and will require quantitative studies of the axial musculature. Importantly, our data suggest that mid-body vertebrae may potentially be used as proxies to infer burrowing capacity in fossil representatives.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference On a small collection of sea cucumbers from the Mediterranean continental slope with the first record and re-description of Pseudothyone serrifera (Oestergren, 1898) (Holothuroidea: Dendrochirotida), a new species for the Mediterranean Sea
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022 OA
Article Reference Pterosaur melanosomes support signalling functions for early feathers
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022
Article Reference The ants of the Galápagos Islands (Hymenoptera, Formicidae): a historical overview, checklist, and identification key
The Galápagos ant fauna has long been understudied, with the last taxonomic summary being published almost a century ago. Here, a comprehensive and updated overview of the known ant species of the Galápagos Islands is provided with updated species distributions. The list is based on an extensive review of literature, the identification of more than 382,000 specimens deposited in different entomological collections, and recent expeditions to the islands. The ant fauna is composed of five subfamilies (Dolichoderinae, Dorylinae, Formicinae, Myrmicinae, and Ponerinae), 22 genera, 50 species, and 25 subspecies, although three species (Crematogaster crinosa Mayr, 1862, Camponotus senex (Smith, 1858), and Solenopsis saevissima (Smith, 1855)) are considered dubious records. Finally, an illustrated identification key of the species found in the archipelago is presented.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023
Article Reference Dispersal capacity underlies scale-dependent changes in species richness patterns under human disturbance
Changes in the species richness of (meta-)communities emerge from changes in the relative species abundance distribution (SAD), the total density of individuals, and the amount of spatial aggregation of individuals from the same species. Yet, how human disturbance affects these underlying diversity components at different spatial scales and how this interacts with important species traits, like dispersal capacity, remain poorly understood. Using data of carabid beetle communities along a highly replicated urbanization gradient, we reveal that species richness in urban sites was reduced due to a decline in individual density as well as changes in the SAD at both small and large spatial scales. Changes in these components of species richness were linked to differential responses of groups of species that differ in dispersal capacity. The individual density effect on species richness was due to a drastic 90% reduction of low-dispersal individuals in more urban sites. Conversely, the decrease in species richness due to changes in the SAD at large (i.e., loss of species from the regional pool) and small (i.e., decreased evenness) spatial scales were driven by species with intermediate and high dispersal ability, respectively. These patterns coincide with the expected responses of these dispersal-type assemblages toward human disturbance, namely, (i) loss of low-dispersal species by local extinction processes, (ii) loss of higher-dispersal species from the regional species pool due to decreased habitat diversity, and (iii) dominance of a few highly dispersive species resulting in a decreased evenness. Our results demonstrate that dispersal capacity plays an essential role in determining scale-dependent changes in species richness patterns. Incorporating this information improves our mechanistic insight into how environmental change affects species diversity at different spatial scales, allowing us to better forecast how human disturbance will drive local and regional changes in biodiversity patterns.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2023 OA
Article Reference QWIP: A Quantitative Metric for Quality Control of Aquatic Reflectance Spectral Shape Using the Apparent Visible Wavelength
The colors of the ocean and inland waters span clear blue to turbid brown, and the corresponding spectral shapes of the water-leaving signal are diverse depending on the various types and concentrations of phytoplankton, sediment, detritus and colored dissolved organic matter. Here we present a simple metric developed from a global dataset spanning blue, green and brown water types to assess the quality of a measured or derived aquatic spectrum. The Quality Water Index Polynomial (QWIP) is founded on the Apparent Visible Wavelength (AVW), a one-dimensional geophysical metric of color that is inherently correlated to spectral shape calculated as a weighted harmonic mean across visible wavelengths. The QWIP represents a polynomial relationship between the hyperspectral AVW and a Normalized Difference Index (NDI) using red and green wavelengths. The QWIP score represents the difference between a spectrum’s AVW and NDI and the QWIP polynomial. The approach is tested extensively with both raw and quality controlled field data to identify spectra that fall outside the general trends observed in aquatic optics. For example, QWIP scores less than or greater than 0.2 would fail an initial screening and be subject to additional quality control. Common outliers tend to have spectral features related to: 1) incorrect removal of surface reflected skylight or 2) optically shallow water. The approach was applied to hyperspectral imagery from the Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean (HICO), as well as to multispectral imagery from the Visual Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) using sensor-specific extrapolations to approximate AVW. This simple approach can be rapidly implemented in ocean color processing chains to provide a level of uncertainty about a measured or retrieved spectrum and flag questionable or unusual spectra for further analysis.
Located in Library / RBINS Staff Publications 2022