ResearchPad - Nature and Landscape Conservation https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Evolutionary history of rat-borne Bartonella: the importance of commensal rats in the dissemination of bacterial infections globally]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff40e40307c3e67a7d99c

Emerging pathogens that originate from invasive species have caused numerous significant epidemics. Some bacteria of genus Bartonella are rodent-borne pathogens that can cause disease in humans and animals alike. We analyzed gltA sequences of 191 strains of rat-associated bartonellae from 29 rodent species from 17 countries to test the hypotheses that this bacterial complex evolved and diversified in Southeast Asia before being disseminated by commensal rats Rattus rattus (black rat) and Rattus norvegicus (Norway rat) to other parts of the globe. The analysis suggests that there have been numerous dispersal events within Asia and introductions from Asia to other regions, with six major clades containing Southeast Asian isolates that appear to have been dispersed globally. Phylogeographic analyses support the hypotheses that these bacteria originated in Southeast Asia and commensal rodents (R. rattus and R. norvegicus) play key roles in the evolution and dissemination of this Bartonella complex throughout the world.

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<![CDATA[Identification of molecular and physiological responses to chronic environmental challenge in an invasive species: the Pacific oyster, Crassostrea gigas]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41b40307c3e67a7d9a2

Understanding the environmental responses of an invasive species is critical in predicting how ecosystem composition may be transformed in the future, especially under climate change. In this study, Crassostrea gigas, a species well adapted to the highly variable intertidal environment, was exposed to the chronic environmental challenges of temperature (19 and 24°C) and pH (ambient seawater and a reduction of 0.4 pH units) in an extended 3-month laboratory-based study. Physiological parameters were measured (condition index, shell growth, respiration, excretion rates, O:N ratios, and ability to repair shell damage) alongside molecular analyses. Temperature was by far the most important stressor, as demonstrated by reduced condition indexes and shell growth at 24°C, with relatively little effect detected for pH. Transcriptional profiling using candidate genes and SOLiD sequencing of mantle tissue revealed that classical “stress” genes, previously reported to be upregulated under acute temperature challenges, were not significantly expressed in any of the treatments, emphasizing the different response between acute and longer term chronic stress. The transcriptional profiling also elaborated on the cellular responses underpinning the physiological results, including the identification of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway as a potentially novel marker for chronic environmental challenge. This study represents a first attempt to understand the energetic consequences of cumulative thermal stress on the intertidal C. gigas which could significantly impact on coastal ecosystem biodiversity and function in the future.

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<![CDATA[Genetic structure and demographic history of the endangered tree species Dysoxylum malabaricum (Meliaceae) in Western Ghats, India: implications for conservation in a biodiversity hotspot]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41440307c3e67a7d99f

The impact of fragmentation by human activities on genetic diversity of forest trees is an important concern in forest conservation, especially in tropical forests. Dysoxylum malabaricum (white cedar) is an economically important tree species, endemic to the Western Ghats, India, one of the world's eight most important biodiversity hotspots. As D. malabaricum is under pressure of disturbance and fragmentation together with overharvesting, conservation efforts are required in this species. In this study, range-wide genetic structure of twelve D. malabaricum populations was evaluated to assess the impact of human activities on genetic diversity and infer the species’ evolutionary history, using both nuclear and chloroplast (cp) DNA simple sequence repeats (SSR). As genetic diversity and population structure did not differ among seedling, juvenile and adult age classes, reproductive success among the old-growth trees and long distance seed dispersal by hornbills were suggested to contribute to maintain genetic diversity. The fixation index (FIS) was significantly correlated with latitude, with a higher level of inbreeding in the northern populations, possibly reflecting a more severe ecosystem disturbance in those populations. Both nuclear and cpSSRs revealed northern and southern genetic groups with some discordance of their distributions; however, they did not correlate with any of the two geographic gaps known as genetic barriers to animals. Approximate Bayesian computation-based inference from nuclear SSRs suggested that population divergence occurred before the last glacial maximum. Finally we discussed the implications of these results, in particular the presence of a clear pattern of historical genetic subdivision, on conservation policies.

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<![CDATA[Tropical rain forest conservation and the twin challenges of diversity and rarity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41840307c3e67a7d9a1

Data from a global network of large, permanent plots in lowland tropical forests demonstrate (1) that the phenomenon of tropical tree rarity is real and (2) that almost all the species diversity in such forests is due to rare species. Theoretical and empirically based reasoning suggests that many of these rare species are not as geographically widespread as previously thought. These findings suggest that successful strategies for conserving global tree diversity in lowland tropical forests must pay much more attention to the biogeography of rarity, as well as to the impact of climate change on the distribution and abundance of rare species. Because the biogeography of many tropical tree species is poorly known, a high priority should be given to documenting the distribution and abundance of rare tropical tree species, particularly in Amazonia, the largest remaining tropical forested region in the world.

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<![CDATA[Spatial phenotypic and genetic structure of threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in a heterogeneous natural system, Lake Mývatn, Iceland]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41240307c3e67a7d99e

Eco-evolutionary responses of natural populations to spatial environmental variation strongly depend on the relative strength of environmental differences/natural selection and dispersal/gene flow. In absence of geographic barriers, as often is the case in lake ecosystems, gene flow is expected to constrain adaptive divergence between environments – favoring phenotypic plasticity or high trait variability. However, if divergent natural selection is sufficiently strong, adaptive divergence can occur in face of gene flow. The extent of divergence is most often studied between two contrasting environments, whereas potential for multimodal divergence is little explored. We investigated phenotypic (body size, defensive structures, and feeding morphology) and genetic (microsatellites) structure in threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) across five habitat types and two basins (North and South) within the geologically young and highly heterogeneous Lake Mývatn, North East Iceland. We found that (1) North basin stickleback were, on average, larger and had relatively longer spines than South basin stickleback, whereas (2) feeding morphology (gill raker number and gill raker gap width) differed among three of five habitat types, and (3) there was only subtle genetic differentiation across the lake. Overall, our results indicate predator and prey mediated phenotypic divergence across multiple habitats in the lake, in face of gene flow.

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<![CDATA[Distinct subspecies or phenotypic plasticity? Genetic and morphological differentiation of mountain honey bees in East Africa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41040307c3e67a7d99d

Identifying the forces shaping intraspecific phenotypic and genotypic divergence are of key importance in evolutionary biology. Phenotypic divergence may result from local adaptation or, especially in species with strong gene flow, from pronounced phenotypic plasticity. Here, we examine morphological and genetic divergence among populations of the western honey bee Apis mellifera in the topographically heterogeneous East African region. The currently accepted “mountain refugia hypothesis” states that populations living in disjunct montane forests belong to a different lineage than those in savanna habitats surrounding these forests. We obtained microsatellite data, mitochondrial sequences, and morphometric data from worker honey bees collected from feral colonies in three montane forests and corresponding neighboring savanna regions in Kenya. Honey bee colonies from montane forests showed distinct worker morphology compared with colonies in savanna areas. Mitochondrial sequence data did not support the existence of the two currently accepted subspecies. Furthermore, analyses of the microsatellite data with a Bayesian clustering method did not support the existence of two source populations as it would be expected under the mountain refugia scenario. Our findings suggest that phenotypic plasticity rather than distinct ancestry is the leading cause behind the phenotypic divergence observed between montane forest and savanna honey bees. Our study thus corroborates the idea that high gene flow may select for increased plasticity.

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<![CDATA[Spatial and temporal changes in bird assemblages in forest fragments in an eastern Amazonian savannah]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5b9ff41640307c3e67a7d9a0

We investigated the effects of forest fragmentation on bird assemblages in an Amazonian savannah landscape with forest fragments that have been isolated for more than 100 years. The study was conducted in areas surrounding the village of Alter do Chão (2°31'S, 55°00'W), Santarém, Brazil. Bird surveys and measurements of tree density were undertaken in 25 areas, with 19 plots in forest fragments of different sizes and six in an area of continuous forest. Data on forest-fragment size, perimeter, and isolation were obtained from a georeferenced satellite image. Variation in number of bird species recorded per plot was not related to vegetation structure (tree density). The number of bird species recorded per plot increased significantly only with fragment area, but was not influenced by fragment shape or degree of isolation, even when considering species from the savannah matrix in the analysis. Fragments had fewer rare species. Multivariate ordination analyses (multiple dimensional scaling, [MDS]) indicated that bird species composition changed along a gradient from small to large forest fragments and continuous-forest areas. In the Amazonian savannah landscapes of Alter do Chão, the organization and composition of bird assemblages in forest fragments are affected by local long-term forest-fragmentation processes. Differences in the number of bird species recorded per plot and assemblage composition between forest fragments and continuous forest were not influenced by forest structure, suggesting that the observed patterns in species composition result from the effects of fragmentation per se rather than from preexisting differences in vegetation structure between sites. Nevertheless, despite their long history of isolation, the forest fragments still preserve a large proportion (on average 80%) of the avifauna found in continuous-forest areas. The fragments at Alter do Chão are surrounded by natural (rather than planted) grassland, with many trees in the savannah matrix and the landscape has vast areas covered by forest, which may have helped to ameliorate the influences of forest fragmentation.

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<![CDATA[Historical and recent processes shaping the geographic range of a rocky intertidal gastropod: phylogeography, ecology, and habitat availability]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5adaebdb463d7e4e93362038

Factors shaping the geographic range of a species can be identified when phylogeographic patterns are combined with data on contemporary and historical geographic distribution, range-wide abundance, habitat/food availability, and through comparisons with codistributed taxa. Here, we evaluate range dynamism and phylogeography of the rocky intertidal gastropod Mexacanthina lugubris lugubris across its geographic range – the Pacific coast of the Baja peninsula and southern California. We sequenced mitochondrial DNA (CO1) from ten populations and compliment these data with museum records, habitat availability and range-wide field surveys of the distribution and abundance of M. l. lugubris and its primary prey (the barnacle Chthamalus fissus). The geographic range of M. l. lugubris can be characterized by three different events in its history: an old sundering in the mid-peninsular region of Baja (∼ 417,000 years ago) and more recent northern range expansion and southern range contraction. The mid-peninsular break is shared with many terrestrial and marine species, although M. l. lugubris represents the first mollusc to show it. This common break is often attributed to a hypothesized ancient seaway bisecting the peninsula, but for M. l. lugubris it may result from large habitat gaps in the southern clade. Northern clade populations, particularly near the historical northern limit (prior to the 1970s), have high local abundances and reside in a region with plentiful food and habitat – which makes its northern range conducive to expansion. The observed southern range contraction may result from the opposite scenario, with little food or habitat nearby. Our study highlights the importance of taking an integrative approach to understanding the processes that shape the geographic range of a species via combining range-wide phylogeography data with temporal geographic distributions and spatial patterns of habitat/food availability.

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<![CDATA[Identifying species of moths (Lepidoptera) from Baihua Mountain, Beijing, China, using DNA barcodes]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ad9c0e7463d7e519969ed40

DNA barcoding has become a promising means for the identification of organisms of all life-history stages. Currently, distance-based and tree-based methods are most widely used to define species boundaries and uncover cryptic species. However, there is no universal threshold of genetic distance values that can be used to distinguish taxonomic groups. Alternatively, DNA barcoding can deploy a “character-based” method, whereby species are identified through the discrete nucleotide substitutions. Our research focuses on the delimitation of moth species using DNA-barcoding methods. We analyzed 393 Lepidopteran specimens belonging to 80 morphologically recognized species with a standard cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) sequencing approach, and deployed tree-based, distance-based, and diagnostic character-based methods to identify the taxa. The tree-based method divided the 393 specimens into 79 taxa (species), and the distance-based method divided them into 84 taxa (species). Although the diagnostic character-based method found only 39 so-identifiable species in the 80 species, with a reduction in sample size the accuracy rate substantially improved. For example, in the Arctiidae subset, all 12 species had diagnostics characteristics. Compared with traditional morphological method, molecular taxonomy performed well. All three methods enable the rapid delimitation of species, although they have different characteristics and different strengths. The tree-based and distance-based methods can be used for accurate species identification and biodiversity studies in large data sets, while the character-based method performs well in small data sets and can also be used as the foundation of species-specific biochips.

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<![CDATA[Evaluating the carbon balance estimate from an automated ground-level flux chamber system in artificial grass mesocosms]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ad18f20463d7e12a7450ed0

Measuring and modeling carbon (C) stock changes in terrestrial ecosystems are pivotal in addressing global C-cycling model uncertainties. Difficulties in detecting small short-term changes in relatively large C stocks require the development of robust sensitive flux measurement techniques. Net ecosystem exchange (NEE) ground-level chambers are increasingly used to assess C dynamics in low vegetation ecosystems but, to date, have lacked formal rigorous field validation against measured C stock changes. We developed and deployed an automated and multiplexed C-flux chamber system in grassland mesocosms in order rigorously to compare ecosystem total C budget obtained using hourly C-flux measurements versus destructive net C balance. The system combines transparent NEE and opaque respiration chambers enabling partitioning of photosynthetic and respiratory fluxes. The C-balance comparison showed good agreement between the two methods, but only after NEE fluxes were corrected for light reductions due to chamber presence. The dark chamber fluxes allowed assessing temperature sensitivity of ecosystem respiration (Reco) components (i.e., heterotrophic vs. autotrophic) at different growth stages. We propose that such automated flux chamber systems can provide an accurate C balance, also enabling pivotal partitioning of the different C-flux components (e.g., photosynthesis and respiration) suitable for model evaluation and developments.

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<![CDATA[The importance of selection at the level of the pair over 25 years in a natural population of birds]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ad08269463d7e1b94a21066

Knowledge of the pattern of selection in natural populations is fundamental for our understanding of the evolutionary process. Selection at higher levels has gained considerable theoretical support in recent years, and one possible level of selection is the breeding pair where fitness is a function of the pair and cannot be reduced to single individuals. We analyzed the importance of pair-level selection over 25 years in a natural population of the collared flycatcher. Pair-level selection was significant in five and probably in another 9 years. The relative importance of pair-level selection varied over years and can have stronger or the same strength as directional selection. This means that selection can act on the combination of the breeding pair in addition to selection on each individual separately. Overall, the conservative estimates obtained here show that this is a potentially important form of selection.

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<![CDATA[Functional similarity and molecular divergence of a novel reproductive transcriptome in two male-pregnant Syngnathus pipefish species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ad07224463d7e14c51a9396

Evolutionary studies have revealed that reproductive proteins in animals and plants often evolve more rapidly than the genome-wide average. The causes of this pattern, which may include relaxed purifying selection, sexual selection, sexual conflict, pathogen resistance, reinforcement, or gene duplication, remain elusive. Investigative expansions to additional taxa and reproductive tissues have the potential to shed new light on this unresolved problem. Here, we embark on such an expansion, in a comparison of the brood-pouch transcriptome between two male-pregnant species of the pipefish genus Syngnathus. Male brooding tissues in syngnathid fishes represent a novel, nonurogenital reproductive trait, heretofore mostly uncharacterized from a molecular perspective. We leveraged next-generation sequencing (Roche 454 pyrosequencing) to compare transcript abundance in the male brooding tissues of pregnant with nonpregnant samples from Gulf (S. scovelli) and dusky (S. floridae) pipefish. A core set of protein-coding genes, including multiple members of astacin metalloprotease and c-type lectin gene families, is consistent between species in both the direction and magnitude of expression bias. As predicted, coding DNA sequence analysis of these putative “male pregnancy proteins” suggests rapid evolution relative to nondifferentially expressed genes and reflects signatures of adaptation similar in magnitude to those reported from Drosophila male accessory gland proteins. Although the precise drivers of male pregnancy protein divergence remain unknown, we argue that the male pregnancy transcriptome in syngnathid fishes, a clade diverse with respect to brooding morphology and mating system, represents a unique and promising object of study for understanding the perplexing evolutionary nature of reproductive molecules.

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<![CDATA[Did southern Western Ghats of peninsular India serve as refugia for its endemic biota during the Cretaceous volcanism?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ace9db0463d7e320581a71c

The Western Ghats (WG) of south India, a global biodiversity hotspot, has experienced complex geological history being part of Gondwana landmass and encountered extensive volcanic activity at the end of Cretaceous epoch. It also has a climatically and topographically heterogeneous landscape. Thus, the WG offer a unique setting to explore the influence of ecological and geological processes on the current diversity and distribution of its biota. To this end, three explicit biogeographical scenarios were hypothesized to evaluate the distribution and diversification of wet evergreen species of the WG – (1) southern WG was a refuge for the wet evergreen species during the Cretaceous volcanism, (2) phylogenetic breaks in the species phylogeny would correspond to geographic breaks (i.e., the Palghat gap) in the WG, and (3) species from each of the biogeographic subdivisions within the WG would form distinct clades. These hypotheses were tested on the centipede genus Digitipes from the WG which is known to be an ancient, endemic, and monophyletic group. The Digitipes molecular phylogeny was subjected to divergence date estimation using Bayesian approach, and ancestral areas were reconstructed using parsimony approach for each node in the phylogeny. Ancestral-area reconstruction suggested 13 independent dispersal events to explain the current distribution of the Digitipes species in the WG. Among these 13 dispersals, two dispersal events were at higher level in the Digitipes phylogeny and were from the southern WG to the central and northern WG independently in the Early Paleocene, after the Cretaceous Volcanism. The remaining 11 dispersal events explained the species’ range expansions of which nine dispersals were from the southern WG to other biogeographic subdivisions in the Eocene-Miocene in the post-volcanic periods where species-level diversifications occurred. Taken together, these results suggest that southern WG might have served as a refuge for Digitipes species during Cretaceous volcanism.

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<![CDATA[What remains from a 454 run: estimation of success rates of microsatellite loci development in selected newt species (Calotriton asper, Lissotriton helveticus, and Triturus cristatus) and comparison with Illumina-based approaches]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ace8968463d7e26ebafaece

The development of microsatellite loci has become more efficient using next-generation sequencing (NGS) approaches, and many studies imply that the amount of applicable loci is large. However, few studies have sought to quantify the number of loci that are retained for use out of the thousands of sequence reads initially obtained. We analyzed the success rate of microsatellite loci development for three amphibian species using a 454 NGS approach on tetra-nucleotide motif-enriched species-specific libraries. The number of sequence reads obtained differed strongly between species and ranged from 19,562 for Triturus cristatus to 55,626 for Lissotriton helveticus, with 52,075 reads obtained for Calotriton asper. PHOBOS was used to identify sequences with tetra-nucleotide repeat motifs with a minimum repeat number of ten and high quality primer binding sites. Of 107 sequences for T. cristatus, 316 for C. asper and 319 for L. helveticus, we tested the amplification success, polymorphism, and degree of heterozygosity for 41 primer combinations each for C. asper and T. cristatus, and 22 for L. helveticus. We found 11 polymorphic loci for T. cristatus, 20 loci for C. asper, and 15 loci for L. helveticus. Extrapolated, the number of potentially amplifiable loci (PALs) resulted in estimated species-specific success rates of 0.15% (T. cristatus), 0.30% (C. asper), and 0.39% (L. helveticus). Compared with representative Illumina NGS approaches, our applied 454-sequencing approach on specifically enriched sublibraries proved to be quite competitive in terms of success rates and number of finally applicable loci.

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<![CDATA[Are heat waves susceptible to mitigate the expansion of a species progressing with global warming?]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ace16c5463d7e6d4a3bbe35

A number of organisms, especially insects, are extending their range in response of the increasing trend of warmer temperatures. However, the effects of more frequent climatic anomalies on these species are not clearly known. The pine processionary moth, Thaumetopoea pityocampa, is a forest pest that is currently extending its geographical distribution in Europe in response to climate warming. However, its population density largely decreased in its northern expansion range (near Paris, France) the year following the 2003 heat wave. In this study, we tested whether the 2003 heat wave could have killed a large part of egg masses. First, the local heat wave intensity was determined. Then, an outdoor experiment was conducted to measure the deviation between the temperatures recorded by weather stations and those observed within sun-exposed egg masses. A second experiment was conducted under laboratory conditions to simulate heat wave conditions (with night/day temperatures of 20/32°C and 20/40°C compared to the control treatment 13/20°C) and measure the potential effects of this heat wave on egg masses. No effects were noticed on egg development. Then, larvae hatched from these egg masses were reared under mild conditions until the third instar and no delayed effects on the development of larvae were found. Instead of eggs, the 2003 heat wave had probably affected directly or indirectly the young larvae that were already hatched when it occurred. Our results suggest that the effects of extreme climatic anomalies occurring over narrow time windows are difficult to determine because they strongly depend on the life stage of the species exposed to these anomalies. However, these effects could potentially reduce or enhance the average warming effects. As extreme weather conditions are predicted to become more frequent in the future, it is necessary to disentangle the effects of the warming trend from the effects of climatic anomalies when predicting the response of a species to climate change.

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<![CDATA[Genetic by environment interactions affect plant-soil linkages]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5acd0500463d7e6aed8cb5d0

The role of plant intraspecific variation in plant–soil linkages is poorly understood, especially in the context of natural environmental variation, but has important implications in evolutionary ecology. We utilized three 18- to 21-year-old common gardens across an elevational gradient, planted with replicates of five Populus angustifolia genotypes each, to address the hypothesis that tree genotype (G), environment (E), and G × E interactions would affect soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics beneath individual trees. We found that soil nitrogen and carbon varied by over 50% and 62%, respectively, across all common garden environments. We found that plant leaf litter (but not root) traits vary by genotype and environment while soil nutrient pools demonstrated genotype, environment, and sometimes G × E interactions, while process rates (net N mineralization and net nitrification) demonstrated G × E interactions. Plasticity in tree growth and litter chemistry was significantly related to the variation in soil nutrient pools and processes across environments, reflecting tight plant–soil linkages. These data overall suggest that plant genetic variation can have differential affects on carbon storage and nitrogen cycling, with implications for understanding the role of genetic variation in plant–soil feedback as well as management plans for conservation and restoration of forest habitats with a changing climate.

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<![CDATA[Physical disturbance shapes vascular plant diversity more profoundly than fire in the sagebrush steppe of southeastern Idaho, U.S.A]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5acc3fe1463d7e3e7e4f7360

Fire is thought to profoundly change the ecology of the sagebrush steppe. The Idaho National Laboratory provides an ideal setting to compare the effects of fire and physical disturbance on plant diversity in high-native-cover sagebrush steppe. Seventy-eight 1-hectare transects were established along paved, green-striped, gravel, and two-track roads, in overgrazed rangeland, and within sagebrush steppe involving different fire histories. Transects were sampled for the diversity and abundance of all vascular plants. Alpha, beta, and phylogenetic beta diversity were analyzed as a response to fire and physical disturbance. Postfire vegetation readily rebounds to prefire levels of alpha plant diversity. Physical disturbance, in contrast, strongly shapes patterns of alpha, beta, and especially phylogenetic beta diversity much more profoundly than fire disturbance. If fire is a concern in the sagebrush steppe then the degree of physical-disturbance should be more so. This finding is probably not specific to the study area but applicable to the northern and eastern portions of the sagebrush biome, which is characterized by a pulse of spring moisture and cold mean minimum winter temperatures. The distinction of sagebrush steppe from Great Basin sagebrush should be revised especially with regard to reseeding efforts and the control of annual grasses.

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<![CDATA[Genetic structure of introduced populations: 120-year-old DNA footprint of historic introduction in an insular small mammal population]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5aca620d463d7e0b9430178c

Wildlife populations have been introduced to new areas by people for centuries, but this human-mediated movement can disrupt natural patterns of genetic structure by altering patterns of gene flow. Insular populations are particularly prone to these influences due to limited opportunities for natural dispersal onto islands. Consequently, understanding how genetic patterns develop in island populations is important, particularly given that islands are frequently havens for protected wildlife. We examined the evolutionary origins and extent of genetic structure within the introduced island population of red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) on the Channel Island of Jersey using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region sequence and nuclear microsatellite genotypes. Our findings reveal two different genetic origins and a genetic architecture reflective of the introductions 120 years ago. Genetic structure is marked within the maternally inherited mtDNA, indicating slow dispersal of female squirrels. However, nuclear markers detected only weak genetic structure, indicating substantially greater male dispersal. Data from both mitochondrial and nuclear markers support historic records that squirrels from England were introduced to the west of the island and those from mainland Europe to the east. Although some level of dispersal and introgression across the island between the two introductions is evident, there has not yet been sufficient gene flow to erase this historic genetic “footprint.” We also investigated if inbreeding has contributed to high observed levels of disease, but found no association. Genetic footprints of introductions can persist for considerable periods of time and beyond traditional timeframes of wildlife management.

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<![CDATA[Phylogeography of the ant Myrmica rubra and its inquiline social parasite]]> https://www.researchpad.co/product?articleinfo=5ac1faa6463d7e4d499fe64e

Widely distributed Palearctic insects are ideal to study phylogeographic patterns owing to their high potential to survive in many Pleistocene refugia and—after the glaciation—to recolonize vast, continuous areas. Nevertheless, such species have received little phylogeographic attention. Here, we investigated the Pleistocene refugia and subsequent postglacial colonization of the common, abundant, and widely distributed ant Myrmica rubra over most of its Palearctic area, using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The western and eastern populations of M. rubra belonged predominantly to separate haplogroups, which formed a broad secondary contact zone in Central Europe. The distribution of genetic diversity and haplogroups implied that M. rubra survived the last glaciation in multiple refugia located over an extensive area from Iberia in the west to Siberia in the east, and colonized its present areas of distribution along several routes. The matrilineal genetic structure of M. rubra was probably formed during the last glaciation and subsequent postglacial expansion. Additionally, because M. rubra has two queen morphs, the obligately socially parasitic microgyne and its macrogyne host, we tested the suggested speciation of the parasite. Locally, the parasite and host usually belonged to the same haplogroup but differed in haplotype frequencies. This indicates that genetic differentiation between the morphs is a universal pattern and thus incipient, sympatric speciation of the parasite from its host is possible. If speciation is taking place, however, it is not yet visible as lineage sorting of the mtDNA between the morphs.

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