ResearchPad - islands https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Vaccination and monitoring strategies for epidemic prevention and detection in the Channel Island fox (<i>Urocyon littoralis</i>)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15750 Disease transmission and epidemic prevention are top conservation concerns for wildlife managers, especially for small, isolated populations. Previous studies have shown that the course of an epidemic within a heterogeneous host population is strongly influenced by whether pathogens are introduced to regions of relatively high or low host densities. This raises the question of how disease monitoring and vaccination programs are influenced by spatial heterogeneity in host distributions. We addressed this question by modeling vaccination and monitoring strategies for the Channel Island fox (Urocyon littoralis), which has a history of substantial population decline due to introduced disease. We simulated various strategies to detect and prevent epidemics of rabies and canine distemper using a spatially explicit model, which was parameterized from field studies. Increasing sentinel monitoring frequency, and to a lesser degree, the number of monitored sentinels from 50 to 150 radio collared animals, reduced the time to epidemic detection and percentage of the fox population infected at the time of detection for both pathogens. Fox density at the location of pathogen introduction had little influence on the time to detection, but a large influence on how many foxes had become infected by the detection day, especially when sentinels were monitored relatively infrequently. The efficacy of different vaccination strategies was heavily influenced by local host density at the site of pathogen entry. Generally, creating a vaccine firewall far away from the site of pathogen entry was the least effective strategy. A firewall close to the site of pathogen entry was generally more effective than a random distribution of vaccinated animals when pathogens entered regions of high host density, but not when pathogens entered regions of low host density. These results highlight the importance of considering host densities at likely locations of pathogen invasion when designing disease management plans.

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<![CDATA[A tale of textiles: Genetic characterization of historical paper mulberry barkcloth from Oceania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15748 Humans introduced paper mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) from Taiwan into the Pacific over 5000 years ago as a fiber source to make barkcloth textiles that were, and still are, important cultural artifacts throughout the Pacific. We have used B. papyrifera, a species closely associated to humans, as a proxy to understand the human settlement of the Pacific Islands. We report the first genetic analysis of paper mulberry textiles from historical and archaeological contexts (200 to 50 years before present) and compare our results with genetic data obtained from contemporary and herbarium paper mulberry samples. Following stringent ancient DNA protocols, we extracted DNA from 13 barkcloth textiles. We confirmed that the fiber source is paper mulberry in nine of the 13 textiles studied using the nuclear ITS-1 marker and by statistical estimates. We detected high genetic diversity in historical Pacific paper mulberry barkcloth with a set of ten microsatellites, showing new alleles and specific genetic patterns. These genetic signatures allow tracing connections to plants from the Asian homeland, Near and Remote Oceania, establishing links not observed previously (using the same genetic tools) in extant plants or herbaria samples. These results show that historic barkcloth textiles are cultural materials amenable to genetic analysis to reveal human history and that these artifacts may harbor evidence of greater genetic diversity in Pacific B. papyrifera in the past.

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<![CDATA[<i>Toxocara</i> species environmental contamination of public spaces in New York City]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14754 Toxocara canis and Toxocara cati are helminth worms that infect dogs and cats, respectively. Infected dogs and cats will defecate thousands of Toxocara eggs into the environment. Humans are incidental hosts and are exposed when consuming contaminated soils via the fecal-oral route. After leaving the gastrointestinal tract, the Toxocara larvae will enter the vasculature and can migrate to any major organ system, including lungs, ocular, and central nervous system. Symptoms can range from mild muscle aches to severe asthma, blindness, and encephalitis. Humans are not definitive hosts of the parasite and cannot transmit Toxocara eggs to the environment or other humans. There is a need for research on the sanitary impact of Toxocara for both humans and animals, especially in large urban cities such as New York City. Poverty is also associated with higher rates of toxocariasis, with more contamination in poorer neighborhoods where animal control, deworming of pets, and less sanitary conditions exist. This study aims to understand further the disparity of lower socioeconomic areas having higher rates of contaminated parks and playgrounds, comparing the five boroughs of New York City.

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<![CDATA[Assessing entomological risk factors for arboviral disease transmission in the French Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13872 The French overseas Territory of the Wallis and Futuna Islands, located in the South Pacific, has been affected by several dengue epidemics, but did not face Zika or chikungunya outbreaks, unlike other neighboring islands. The near-exclusive presence of the Aedes polynesiensis mosquito in the islands of Wallis and Futuna confirmed the role played by this mosquito as a vector of dengue fever. A local Ae. polynesiensis population was recently shown to be able to transmit the Zika virus under experimental conditions, but its susceptibility to the chikungunya virus was still unknown, and recent data on the presence of other potential arbovirus vectors were missing. Therefore, we investigated the entomological risk factors for the transmission of arboviral diseases in the Wallis and Futuna Islands. We reported the occurrence and distribution of different Aedes species, especially the abundant presence of Ae. polynesiensis across the territory and the spread of Ae. aegypti in the island of Wallis. Our results demonstrated the ability of local Ae. polynesiensis populations to transmit the chikungunya virus. These findings highlight the risk of arbovirus transmission in the Wallis and Futuna Islands and provide relevant data to guide prevention and vector control strategies in the territory.

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<![CDATA[Communication is key: Mother-offspring signaling can affect behavioral responses and offspring survival in feral horses (Equus caballus)]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nfc9766a8-2564-4088-9a49-707302d05531

Acoustic signaling plays an important role in mother-offspring recognition and subsequent bond-formation. It remains unclear, however, if mothers and offspring use acoustic signaling in the same ways and for the same reasons throughout the juvenile stage, particularly after mutual recognition has been adequately established. Moreover, despite its critical role in mother-offspring bond formation, research explicitly linking mother-infant communication strategies to offspring survival are lacking. We examined the communicative patterns of mothers and offspring in the feral horse (Equus caballus) to better understand 1) the nature of mother-offspring communication throughout the first year of development; 2) the function(s) of mother- vs. offspring-initiated communication and; 3) the importance of mare and foal communication to offspring survival. We found that 1) mares and foals differ in when and how they initiate communication; 2) the outcomes of mare- vs. foal-initiated communication events consistently differ; and 3) the communicative patterns between mares and their foals can be important for offspring survival to one year of age. Moreover, given the importance of maternal activity to offspring behavior and subsequent survival, we submit that our data are uniquely positioned to address the long-debated question: do the behaviors exhibited during the juvenile stage (by both mothers and their young) confer delayed or immediate benefits to offspring? In summary, we aimed to better understand 1) the dynamics of mother-offspring communication, 2) whether mother-offspring communicative patterns were important to offspring survival, and 3) the implications of our research regarding the function of the mammalian juvenile stage. Our results demonstrate that we have achieved those aims.

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<![CDATA[How “simple” methodological decisions affect interpretation of population structure based on reduced representation library DNA sequencing: A case study using the lake whitefish]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N3bb2bc39-24d6-4fe3-98ed-f97dea058c57

Reduced representation (RRL) sequencing approaches (e.g., RADSeq, genotyping by sequencing) require decisions about how much to invest in genome coverage and sequencing depth, as well as choices of values for adjustable bioinformatics parameters. To empirically explore the importance of these “simple” methodological decisions, we generated two independent sequencing libraries for the same 142 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) using a nextRAD RRL approach: (1) a larger number of loci at low sequencing depth based on a 9mer (library A); and (2) fewer loci at higher sequencing depth based on a 10mer (library B). The fish were selected from populations with different levels of expected genetic subdivision. Each library was analyzed using the STACKS pipeline followed by three types of population structure assessment (FST, DAPC and ADMIXTURE) with iterative increases in the stringency of sequencing depth and missing data requirements, as well as more specific a priori population maps. Library B was always able to resolve strong population differentiation in all three types of assessment regardless of the selected parameters, largely due to retention of more loci in analyses. In contrast, library A produced more variable results; increasing the minimum sequencing depth threshold (-m) resulted in a reduced number of retained loci, and therefore lost resolution at high -m values for FST and ADMIXTURE, but not DAPC. When detecting fine population differentiation, the population map influenced the number of loci and missing data, which generated artefacts in all downstream analyses tested. Similarly, when examining fine scale population subdivision, library B was robust to changing parameters but library A lost resolution depending on the parameter set. We used library B to examine actual subdivision in our study populations. All three types of analysis found complete subdivision among populations in Lake Huron, ON and Dore Lake, SK, Canada using 10,640 SNP loci. Weak population subdivision was detected in Lake Huron with fish from sites in the north-west, Search Bay, North Point and Hammond Bay, showing slight differentiation. Overall, we show that apparently simple decisions about library construction and bioinformatics parameters can have important impacts on the interpretation of population subdivision. Although potentially more costly on a per-locus basis, early investment in striking a balance between the number of loci and sequencing effort is well worth the reduced genomic coverage for population genetics studies. More conservative stringency settings on STACKS parameters lead to a final dataset that was more consistent and robust when examining both weak and strong population differentiation. Overall, we recommend that researchers approach “simple” methodological decisions with caution, especially when working on non-model species for the first time.

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<![CDATA[A δ2H Isoscape of blackberry as an example application for determining the geographic origins of plant materials in New Zealand]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/Nea2d9f77-f900-4107-8de8-5a146688a563

In this investigation, two previously reported precipitation δ2H isoscapes for New Zealand were used to develop a δ2H isoscape for blackberry (Rubus sp.) leaf. These isoscapes were calibrated using the measured δ2H values of 120 authentic blackberry leaf samples collected from across the country. A regression model based on environmental variables available for New Zealand was also determined to predict δ2H values measured from blackberry leaves without initially modelling the precipitation δ2H values. The three models were compared for their accuracy and precision when assigning 10 samples of blackberry leaves for their geographic location based on their measured δ2H values. One of the models based on a precipitation isoscape was similar in accuracy and precision of assignment to the model determined from the environmental variables and provides an approach for determining valid isoscapes for future plant materials.

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<![CDATA[Biogeography of the endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (Symbiodiniaceae) community associated with the brooding coral Favia gravida in the Atlantic Ocean]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c8c1937d5eed0c484b4d1a6

Zooxanthellate corals live in symbiosis with phototrophic dinoflagellates of the family Symbiodiniaceae, enabling the host coral to dwell in shallow, nutrient-poor marine waters. The South Atlantic Ocean is characterized by low coral diversity with high levels of endemism. However, little is known about coral–dinoflagellate associations in the region. This study examined the diversity of Symbiodiniaceae associated with the scleractinian coral Favia gravida across its distributional range using the ITS-2 marker. This brooding coral endemic to the South Atlantic can be found across a wide range of latitudes and longitudes, including the Mid-Atlantic islands. Even though it occurs primarily in shallower environments, F. gravida is among the few coral species that live in habitats with extreme environmental conditions (high irradiance, temperature, and turbidity) such as very shallow tide pools. In the present study, we show that F. gravida exhibits some degree of flexibility in its symbiotic association with zooxanthellae across its range. F. gravida associates predominantly with Cladocopium C3 (ITS2 type Symbiodinium C3) but also with Symbiodinium A3, Symbiodinium linucheae (ITS2 type A4), Cladocopium C1, Cladocopium C130, and Fugacium F3. Symbiont diversity varied across biogeographic regions (Symbiodinium A3 and S. linucheae were found in the Tropical Eastern Atlantic, Cladocopium C1 in the Mid-Atlantic, and other subtypes in the Southwestern Atlantic) and was affected by local environmental conditions. In addition, Symbiodiniaceae diversity was highest in a southwestern Atlantic oceanic island (Rocas Atoll). Understanding the relationship between corals and their algal symbionts is critical in determining the factors that control the ecological niches of zooxanthellate corals and their symbionts, and identifying host-symbiont pairs that may be more resistant to environmental changes.

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<![CDATA[The long journey of Orthotrichum shevockii (Orthotrichaceae, Bryopsida): From California to Macaronesia]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca01d5eed0c48452a691

Biogeography, systematics and taxonomy are complementary scientific disciplines. To understand a species’ origin, migration routes, distribution and evolutionary history, it is first necessary to establish its taxonomic boundaries. Here, we use an integrative approach that takes advantage of complementary disciplines to resolve an intriguing scientific question. Populations of an unknown moss found in the Canary Islands (Tenerife Island) resembled two different Californian endemic species: Orthotrichum shevockii and O. kellmanii. To determine whether this moss belongs to either of these species and, if so, to explain its presence on this distant oceanic island, we combined the evaluation of morphological qualitative characters, statistical morphometric analyses of quantitative traits, and molecular phylogenetic inferences. Our results suggest that the two Californian mosses are conspecific, and that the Canarian populations belong to this putative species, with only one taxon thus involved. Orthotrichum shevockii (the priority name) is therefore recognized as a morphologically variable species that exhibits a transcontinental disjunction between western North America and the Canary Islands. Within its distribution range, the area of occupancy is limited, a notable feature among bryophytes at the intraspecific level. To explain this disjunction, divergence time and ancestral area estimation analyses are carried out and further support the hypothesis of a long-distance dispersal event from California to Tenerife Island.

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<![CDATA[Serological evidence of infection with dengue and Zika viruses in horses on French Pacific Islands]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c65dccdd5eed0c484dec265

New Caledonia and French Polynesia are areas in which arboviruses circulate extensively. A large serological survey among horses from New Caledonia and French Polynesia was carried out to investigate the seroprevalence of flaviviruses in the horse population. Here, 293 equine sera samples were screened for flaviviruses using a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA). The positive sera were then confirmed using a flavivirus-specific microsphere immunoassay (MIA) and seroneutralization tests. This serosurvey showed that 16.6% (27/163) and 30.8% (40/130) of horses were positive for cELISA tests in New Caledonia and French Polynesia, respectively, but the MIA technique, targeting only flaviviruses causing neuro-invasive infections in humans and horses (i.e. West Nile virus [WNV], Japanese encephalitis virus [JEV] and tick-borne encephalitis virus [TBEV]), showed negative results for more than 85% (57/67) of the cELISA-positive animals. Seroneutralization tests with the main flaviviruses circulating in the South Pacific revealed that 6.1% (10/163; confidence interval [95% CI] 3.0%-11.0%) of sera in New Caledonia and 7.7% (10/130; 95% CI 3.8%-13.7%) in French Polynesia were positive for dengue virus serotype 1 (DENV1) and 4.3% (7/163; 95% CI 1.7%-8.6%) in New Caledonia and 15.4% (20/130, 95% CI 9.7%-22.8%) in French Polynesia were found positive for Zika virus (ZIKV). Seroprevalence of the JEV and WNV flaviviruses on the 293 samples from both island groups were comparatively much lower (less than 2%). This seroprevalence study in the horse population shows that horses can be infected with dengue and Zika viruses and that these infections lead to seroconversions in horses. The consequences of these infections in horses and their role in ZIKV and DENV epidemiological cycles are two issues that deserve further investigation.

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<![CDATA[Hidden fungal diversity from the Neotropics: Geastrum hirsutum, G. schweinitzii (Basidiomycota, Geastrales) and their allies]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c648cc2d5eed0c484c81713

Taxonomy of Geastrum species in the neotropics has been subject to divergent opinions among specialists. In our study, type collections were reassessed and compared with recent collections in order to delimit species in Geastrum, sect. Myceliostroma, subsect. Epigaea. A thorough review of morphologic features combined with barcode and phylogenetic analyses (ITS and LSU nrDNA) revealed six new species (G. neoamericanum, G. rubellum, G. brunneocapillatum, G. baculicrystallum, G. rubropusillum and G. courtecuissei). In additon, the presence of hairs on the exoperidium, a commonly used feature to diagnose Geastrum species, proved to be ineffective because it is a derived character within subsect. Epigaea.

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<![CDATA[High spatio-temporal variability in Acroporidae settlement to inshore reefs of the Great Barrier Reef]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b52e4d5eed0c4842bd212

Recovery of coral reefs after disturbance relies heavily on replenishment through successful larval settlement and their subsequent survival. As part of an integrated study to determine the potential effects of water quality changes on the resilience of inshore coral communities, scleractinian coral settlement was monitored between 2006 and 2012 at 12 reefs within the inshore Great Barrier Reef. Settlement patterns were only analysed for the family Acroporidae, which represented the majority (84%) of settled larvae. Settlement of Acroporidae to terracotta tiles averaged 0.11 cm-2, representing 34 ± 31.01 (mean ± SD) spat per tile, indicating an abundant supply of competent larvae to the study reefs. Settlement was highly variable among reefs and between years. Differences in settlement among locations partly corresponded to the local cover of adult Acroporidae, while substantial reductions in Acroporidae cover caused by tropical cyclones and floods resulted in a clear reduction in settlement. Much of the observed variability remained unexplained, although likely included variability in both connectivity to, and the fecundity of, adult Acroporidae. The responsiveness of settlement patterns to the decline in Acroporidae cover across all four regions indicates the importance of supply and connectivity, and the vulnerability towards region-wide disturbance. High spatial and temporal variability, in addition to the resource-intensive nature of sampling with settlement tiles, highlights the logistical difficulty of determining coral settlement over large spatial and temporal scales.

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<![CDATA[Effects of moderate thermal anomalies on Acropora corals around Sesoko Island, Okinawa]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c5b5279d5eed0c4842bc91d

Over the past several decades, coral reef ecosystems have experienced recurring bleaching events. These events were predominantly caused by thermal anomalies, which vary widely in terms of severity and spatio-temporal distribution. Acropora corals, highly prominent contributors to the structural complexity of Pacific coral reefs, are sensitive to thermal stress. Response of Acropora corals to extremely high temperature has been well documented. However, studies on the effects of moderately high temperature on Acropora corals are limited. In the summer of 2016, a moderate coral bleaching event due to moderately high temperature was observed around Sesoko Island, Okinawa, Japan. The objective of this study was to examine thermal tolerance patterns of Acropora corals, across reefs with low to moderate thermal exposure (degree heating weeks ~2–5°C week). Field surveys on permanent plots were conducted from October 2015 to April 2017 to compare the population dynamics of adult Acropora corals 6 months before and after the bleaching events around Sesoko Island. Variability in thermal stress response was driven primarily by the degree of thermal stress. Wave action and turbidity may have mediated the thermal stress. Tabular and digitate coral morphologies were the most tolerant and susceptible to thermal stress, respectively. Growth inhibition after bleaching was more pronounced in the larger digitate and corymbose coral morphologies. This study indicates that Acropora populations around Sesoko Island can tolerate short-term, moderate thermal challenges.

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<![CDATA[Atlantic West Ophiothrix spp. in the scope of integrative taxonomy: Confirming the existence of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c52183fd5eed0c4847978e8

We re-describe and confirm the validity of Ophiothrix trindadensis Tommasi, 1970 (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea). This is a native species from Brazil, however it lacked a type series deposited in scientific collections. The recognition of O. trindadensis was made possible using integrative taxonomy applied to many specimens from the type locality (Trindade Island) as well as from different locations along the Brazilian coast (Araçá Bay and Estuarine Complex of Paranaguá). Initially, 835 specimens were studied and divided into four candidate species (CS) inferred from external morphological characters. Afterwards, the CSs were compared using integrative taxonomy based on external morphology, arm microstructures morphology (arm ossicle), morphometry, and molecular studies (fragments of the mitochondrial genes 16S and COI). Analyses indicated CS1 and CS2 as O. trindadensis, and CS3 as O. angulata, both valid species. CS4 remains O. cf. angulata as more data, including their ecology and physiology, are needed to be definitively clarified. Our integrative investigation using specimens from the type locality overcame the lack of type specimens and increased the reliable identification of O. trindadensis and O. angulata.

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<![CDATA[Socio-economic status and behavioural and cardiovascular risk factors in Papua New Guinea: A cross-sectional survey]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c521856d5eed0c484797c80

Background

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD) are negatively correlated with socio-economic status (SES) in high-income countries (HIC) but there has been little research on their distribution by household SES within low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Considering the limited data from LMICs, this paper examines the association between behavioural and cardiovascular risk factors and household SES in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Methods

Reported here are results of 671 participants from the 900 randomly selected adults aged 15–65 years. These adults were recruited from three socioeconomically and geographically diverse surveillance sites (peri-urban community, rural Highland and an Island community) in PNG in 2013–2014. We measured their CVD risk factors (behavioural and metabolic) using a modified WHO STEPS risk factor survey and analysis of blood samples. We assessed SES by education, occupation and creating a household wealth index based on household assets. We calculated risk ratios (RR) and their 95% confidence intervals (CI) using a generalized linear model to assess the associations between risks and SES.

Findings

Elevated CVD risk factors were common in all SES groups but the CVD metabolic risk factors were most prevalent among homemakers, peri-urban and rural highlands, and the highest (4th and 5th) wealth quintile population. Adults in the highest wealth quintile had high risks of obesity, elevated HbA1c and metabolic syndrome (MetS) that were greater than those in the lowest quintile although those in the highest wealth quintiles were less likely to smoke tobacco. Compared to people from the Island community, peri-urban residents had increased risks of increased waist circumference (WC) (RR: 1.67, 95%CI: 1.21–2.31), hypertension (RR: 2∙29, 95%CI: 1∙89–4.56), high cholesterol (RR: 2∙22, 95%CI: 1∙20–4∙10), high triglycerides (RR: 1∙49, 95%CI: 1∙17–1∙91), elevated HbA1c (RR: 5∙54, 95%CI: 1∙36–21∙56), and Metabolic syndrome (MetS) (RR: 2∙04, 95%CI: 1∙25–3∙32). Similarly, Rural Highland residents had increased risk of obesity (Waist Circumference RR: 1∙70, 95%CI: 1∙21–3∙38, Waist-Hip-Ratio RR:1∙48, 95%CI: 1∙28–1∙70), hypertension (RR: 2∙60, 95%CI: 1∙71–3∙95), high triglycerides (RR: 1∙34, 95%CI: 1∙06–1∙70) and MetS (RR: 1∙88, 95%CI: 1∙12–3∙16) compared to those in the rural Island site.

Interpretation

CVD risk factors are common in PNG adults but their association with SES varies markedly and by location. Our findings show that all community members are at risk of CVD weather they are part of high or low SES groups. These results support the notion that the association between CVD risk factors and SES differ greatly accordingly to the type of SES measure used, risk factors and the population studied. In addition, our findings contribute further to the limited literature in LMIC. Longitudinal studies are needed to monitor changes in rapidly changing societies such as PNG to inform public health policy for control and prevention of NCDs in the country.

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<![CDATA[Rapa Nui (Easter Island) monument (ahu) locations explained by freshwater sources]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7d9d5eed0c484386ad7

Explaining the processes underlying the emergence of monument construction is a major theme in contemporary anthropological archaeology, and recent studies have employed spatially-explicit modeling to explain these patterns. Rapa Nui (Easter Island, Chile) is famous for its elaborate ritual architecture, particularly numerous monumental platforms (ahu) and statuary (moai). To date, however, we lack explicit modeling to explain spatial and temporal aspects of monument construction. Here, we use spatially-explicit point-process modeling to explore the potential relations between ahu construction locations and subsistence resources, namely, rock mulch agricultural gardens, marine resources, and freshwater sources—the three most critical resources on Rapa Nui. Through these analyses, we demonstrate the central importance of coastal freshwater seeps for precontact populations. Our results suggest that ahu locations are most parsimoniously explained by distance from freshwater sources, in particular coastal seeps, with important implications for community formation and inter-community competition in precontact times.

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<![CDATA[Benthic reef assemblages of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, tropical South-west Atlantic: Effects of depth, wave exposure and cross-shelf positioning]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f79ad5eed0c484386471

Oceanic islands can be relatively isolated from overfishing and pollution sources, but they are often extremely vulnerable to climate and anthropogenic stress due to their small size and unique assemblages that may rely on a limited larval supply for replenishment. Vulnerability may be especially high when these islands bear permanent human populations or are subjected to regular or intermittent fishing. Since the late 1970's, Brazil has been establishing marine protected areas (MPAs) around its four oceanic island groups, which concentrate high endemism levels and are considered peripheral outposts of the Brazilian Biogeographic Province. In 2018, the Brazilian legally marine protected area increased >10-fold, but most of the ~1,000,000 km2 of MPAs around Brazil's oceanic islands are still unknown and unprotected. Here, we provide the first detailed quantitative baseline of benthic reef assemblages, including shallow and mesophotic zones, of the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (FNA). The archipelago is partially protected as a no-take MPA and recognized by the UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, but also represents the only Brazilian oceanic island with a large permanent human population (3,000 people), mass tourism (up to 90,000 people per year) and a permanent small-scale fishing community. The influence of depth, wave exposure, and distance from the island and shelf edge on the structure of benthic assemblages was assessed from benthic photoquadrats obtained in 12 sites distributed in the lee and windward shores of the archipelago. Unique assemblages and discriminating species were identified using Multivariate Regression Trees, and environmental drivers of dominant assemblages’ components were evaluated using Boosted Regression Trees. A total of 128 benthic taxa were recorded and 5 distinct assemblages were identified. Distance to the insular slope, depth and exposure were the main drivers of assemblages’ differentiation. Our results represent an important baseline for evaluating changes in benthic assemblages due to increased local and global stressors.

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<![CDATA[Network of small no-take marine reserves reveals greater abundance and body size of fisheries target species]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f7b9d5eed0c48438674f

No-take marine reserves (NTRs), i.e. areas with total fishing restrictions, have been established worldwide aiming to promote biodiversity and ecosystem conservation. Brazil has 3.3% of its exclusive economic zone protected by 73 different NTRs, however, most of them currently lack scientific knowledge and understanding of their ecological role, particularly regarding rocky reefs in subtropical regions. In this context, this study aimed to contrast a network of NTRs with comparable fished sites across a coastal biogeographic gradient to investigate the effect of fishing and habitat variability on the abundance and body size of rocky reef fish. We used Baited Remote Underwater stereo-Video (stereo-BRUVs) and Diver Operated stereo-Video (stereo-DOVs) systems to simultaneously sample reef fish and habitat. Model selection and results identified habitat and biogeographic variables, such as distance from shore, as important predictor variables, explaining several aspects of the fish assemblage. The effect of protection was important in determining the abundance and body size of targeted species, in particular for epinephelids and carangids. Conversely, species richness was correlated with habitat complexity but not with protection status. This is the first study using these survey methods in the Southwestern Atlantic, demonstrating how a network of NTRs can provide benchmarks for biodiversity conservation and fisheries management.

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<![CDATA[Molecular phylogeny and diversification timing of the Nemouridae family (Insecta, Plecoptera) in the Japanese Archipelago]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c42439ed5eed0c4845e085b

The generation of the high species diversity of insects in Japan was profoundly influenced by the formation of the Japanese Archipelago. We explored the species diversification and biogeographical history of the Nemouridae Billberg, 1820 family in the Japanese Archipelago using mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA markers. We collected 49 species among four genera: Indonemoura Baumann, 1975; Protonemura Kempny, 1898; Amphinemura, Ris 1902 and Nemoura Latreille, 1796 in Japan, China, South Korea and North America. We estimated their divergence times—based on three molecular clock node calibrations—using Bayesian phylogeography approaches. Our results suggested that Japanese Archipelago formation events resulted in diversification events in the middle of the Cretaceous (<120 Ma), speciation in the Paleogene (<50 Ma) and intra-species diversification segregated into eastern and western Japan of the Fossa Magna region at late Neogene (20 Ma). The Indonemoura samples were genetically separated into two clades—that of Mainland China and that of Japan. The Japanese clade clustered with the Nemouridae species from North America, suggesting the possibility of a colonisation event prior to the formation of the Japanese Archipelago. We believe that our results enhanced the understanding both of the origin of the species and of local species distribution in the Japanese Archipelago.

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<![CDATA[Stomach contents of long-finned pilot whales, Globicephala melas mass-stranded in Tasmania]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c466578d5eed0c48451953b

New data are reported from analyses of stomach contents from 114 long-finned pilot whales mass-stranded at four locations around Tasmania, Australia from 1992–2006. Identifiable prey remains were recovered from 84 (74%) individuals, with 30 (26%) individuals (17 females and 13 males) having empty stomachs. Prey remains comprised 966 identifiable lower beaks and 1244 upper beaks, belonging to 17 families (26 species) of cephalopods. Ommastrephidae spp. were the most important cephalopod prey accounting for 16.9% by number and 45.6% by reconstructed mass. Lycoteuthis lorigera was the next most important, followed by Ancistrocheirus lesueurii. Multivariate statistics identified significant differences in diet among the four stranding locations. Long-finned pilot whales foraging off Southern Australia appear to be targeting a diverse assemblage of prey (≥10 species dominated by cephalopods). This is compared to other similar studies from New Zealand and some locations in the Northern Hemisphere, where the diet has been reported to be primarily restricted to ≤3 species dominated by cephalopods. This study emphasises the importance of cephalopods as primary prey for Southern long-finned pilot whales and other marine vertebrates, and has increased our understanding of long-finned pilot whale diet in Southern Ocean waters.

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