As the oldest extant lineages of land plants, bryophytes provide a living laboratory in which to evaluate morphological adaptations associated with early land existence. In this paper we examine reproductive and structural innovations in the gametophyte and sporophyte generations of hornworts, liverworts, mosses and basal pteridophytes. Reproductive features relating to spermatogenesis and the architecture of motile male gametes are overviewed and evaluated from an evolutionary perspective. Phylogenetic analyses of a data set derived from spermatogenesis and one derived from comprehensive morphogenetic data are compared with a molecular analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial small subunit rDNA sequences. Although relatively small because of a reliance on water for sexual reproduction, gametophytes of bryophytes are the most elaborate of those produced by any land plant. Phenotypic variability in gametophytic habit ranges from leafy to thalloid forms with the greatest diversity exhibited by hepatics. Appendages, including leaves, slime papillae and hairs, predominate in liverworts and mosses, while hornwort gametophytes are strictly thalloid with no organized external structures. Internalization of reproductive and vegetative structures within mucilage-filled spaces is an adaptive strategy exhibited by hornworts. The formative stages of gametangial development are similar in the three bryophyte groups, with the exception that in mosses apical growth is intercalated into early organogenesis, a feature echoed in moss sporophyte ontogeny. A monosporangiate, unbranched sporophyte typifies bryophytes, but developmental and structural innovations suggest the three bryophyte groups diverged prior to elaboration of this generation. Sporophyte morphogenesis in hornworts involves non-synchronized sporogenesis and the continued elongation of the single sporangium, features unique among archegoniates. In hepatics, elongation of the sporophyte seta and archegoniophore is rapid and requires instantaneous wall expandability and hydrostatic support. Unicellular, spiralled elaters and capsule dehiscence through the formation of four regular valves are autapomorphies of liverworts. Sporophytic sophistications in the moss clade include conducting tissue, stomata, an assimilative layer and an elaborate peristome for extended spore dispersal. Characters such as stomata and conducting cells that are shared among sporophvtes of mosses, hornworts and pteridophytes are interpreted as parallelisms and not homologies. Our phylogenetic analysis of three different data sets is the most comprehensive to date and points to a single phylogenetic solution for the evolution of basal embryophytes. Hornworts are supported as the earliest divergent embryophyte clade with a moss/liverwort clade sister to tracheophytes. Among pteridophytes, lycophytes are monophyletic and an assemblage containing ferns, Equisetum and psilophytes is sister to seed plants. Congruence between morphological and molecular hypotheses indicates that these data sets are tracking the same phylogenetic signal and reinforces our phylogenetic conclusions. It appears that total evidence approaches are valuable in resolving ancient radiations such as those characterizing the evolution of early embryophytes. More information on land plant phylogeny can be found at: http: //www.science.siu.edu/ landplants/index.html.
Functional diversity has been postulated to be critical for the maintenance of ecosystem functioning, but the way it can be disrupted by human-related disturbances remains poorly investigated. Here we test the hypothesis that habitat fragmentation changes the relative contribution of tree species within categories of reproductive traits (frequency of traits) and reduces the functional diversity of tree assemblages. The study was carried out in an old and severely fragmented landscape of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. We used published information and field observations to obtain the frequency of tree species and individuals within 50 categories of reproductive traits (distributed in four major classes: pollination systems, floral biology, sexual systems, and reproductive systems) in 10 fragments and 10 tracts of forest interior (control plots). As hypothesized, populations in fragments and control plots differed substantially in the representation of the four major classes of reproductive traits (more than 50% of the categories investigated). The most conspicuous differences were the lack of three pollination systems in fragments-pollination by birds, flies and non-flying mammals-and that fragments had a higher frequency of both species and individuals pollinated by generalist vectors. Hermaphroditic species predominate in both habitats, although their relative abundances were higher in fragments. On the contrary, self-incompatible species were underrepresented in fragments. Moreover, fragments showed lower functional diversity (H' scores) for pollination systems (−30.3%), floral types (−23.6%), and floral sizes (−20.8%) in comparison to control plots. In contrast to the overwhelming effect of fragmentation, patch and landscape metrics such as patch size and forest cover played a minor role on the frequency of traits. Our results suggest that habitat fragmentation promotes a marked shift in the relative abundance of tree reproductive traits and greatly reduces the functional diversity of tree assemblages in fragmented landscapes.
Due to their wall-associated pectin metabolism, growing plant cells emit significant amounts of the one-carbon alcohol methanol. Pink-pigmented microbes of the genus Methylobacterium that colonize the surfaces of leaves (epiphytes) are capable of growth on this volatile C1-compound as sole source of carbon and energy. In this article the results of experiments with germ-free (gnotobiotic) sporophytes of angiosperms (sunflower, maize) and gametophytes of bryophytes (a moss and two liverwort species) are summarized. The data show that methylobacteria do not stimulate the growth of these angiosperms, but organ development in moss protonemata and in thalli of liverworts is considerably enhanced. Since methylobacteria produce and secrete cytokinins and auxin, a model of plant-microbe-interaction (symbiosis) is proposed in which the methanol-consuming bacteria are viewed as coevolved partners of the gametophyte that determine its growth, survival and reproduction (fitness). This symbiosis is restricted to the haploid cells of moisture-dependent “living fossil” plants; it does not apply to the diploid sporophytes of higher embryophytes, which are fully adapted to life on land and apparently produce sufficient amounts of endogenous phytohormones.
epiphytes; coevolution; symbiosis; methylobacteria; phytohormones; phyllosphere; plant-microbe interaction
Infectious diseases can cause deleterious effects on bird species, leading to population decline and extinction. Haemosporidia can be recognized by their negative effects on host fitness, including reproductive success and immune responses. In captivity, outbreaks of haemosporidian infection have been observed in birds in zoos and aviaries. The endemic Brazilian Atlantic rainforest species Aburria jacutinga is one of the most endangered species in the Cracidae family, and wild populations of this species are currently found mainly in conservation areas in only two Brazilian states. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of avian haemosporidia on hematological and biochemical parameters in two captive populations of A. jacutinga. Forty-two animals were assessed, and the haemosporidian prevalence was similar for males and females. The occurrence of haemosporidian infection in captive A. jacutinga observed in this study was similar to results found in other captive and wild birds in Brazil. We found three different lineages of haemosporidia. Two lineages were identified as Plasmodium sp., one of which was previously detected in Europe and Asia, and the other is a new lineage closely related to P. gallinaceum. A new third lineage was identified as Haemoproteus sp. We found no significant differences in hematological and biochemical values between infected and non-infected birds, and the haemosporidian lineage did not seem to have an impact on the clinical and physiological parameters of A. jacutinga. This is the first report on an evaluation of natural haemosporidian infections diagnosed by microscopic and molecular methods in A. jacutinga by hematology, blood biochemistry, and serum protein values. Determining physiological parameters, occurrence and an estimation of the impact of haemosporidia in endangered avian species may contribute to the management of species rehabilitation and conservation.
Avian malaria; Plasmodium; Haemoproteus; Captive; Conservation
The Indo-pacific panther grouper (Chromileptes altiveli) is a predatory fish species and popular imported aquarium fish in the United States which has been recently documented residing in western Atlantic waters. To date, the most successful marine invasive species in the Atlantic is the lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles), which, as for the panther grouper, is assumed to have been introduced to the wild through aquarium releases. However, unlike lionfish, the panther grouper is not yet thought to have an established breeding population in the Atlantic. Using a proven modeling technique developed to track the lionfish invasion, presented is the first known estimation of the potential spread of panther grouper in the Atlantic. The employed cellular automaton-based computer model examines the life history of the subject species including fecundity, mortality, and reproductive potential and combines this with habitat preferences and physical oceanic parameters to forecast the distribution and periodicity of spread of this potential new invasive species. Simulations were examined for origination points within one degree of capture locations of panther grouper from the United States Geological Survey Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database to eliminate introduction location bias, and two detailed case studies were scrutinized. The model indicates three primary locations where settlement is likely given the inputs and limits of the model; Jupiter Florida/Vero Beach, the Cape Hatteras Tropical Limit/Myrtle Beach South Carolina, and Florida Keys/Ten Thousand Islands locations. Of these locations, Jupiter Florida/Vero Beach has the highest settlement rate in the model and is indicated as the area in which the panther grouper is most likely to become established. This insight is valuable if attempts are to be made to halt this potential marine invasive species.
Conversion of tropical forests into agriculture may present a serious risk to amphibian diversity if amphibians are not able to use agricultural areas as habitat. Recently, in Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Yunnan Province – a hotspot of frog diversity within China – two-thirds of the native tropical rainforests have been converted into rubber plantation agriculture. We conducted surveys and experiments to quantify habitat use for breeding and non-breeding life history activities of the native frog species in rainforest, rubber plantation and other human impacted sites. Rubber plantation sites had the lowest species richness in our non-breeding habitat surveys and no species used rubber plantation sites as breeding habitat. The absence of breeding was likely not due to intrinsic properties of the rubber plantation pools, as our experiments indicated that rubber plantation pools were suitable for tadpole growth and development. Rather, the absence of breeding in the rubber plantation was likely due to a misalignment of breeding and non-breeding habitat preferences. Analyses of our breeding surveys showed that percent canopy cover over pools was the strongest environmental variable influencing breeding site selection, with species exhibiting preferences for pools under both high and low canopy cover. Although rubber plantation pools had high canopy cover, the only species that bred in high canopy cover sites used the rainforest for both non-breeding and breeding activities, completing their entire life cycle in the rainforest. Conversely, the species that did use the rubber plantation for non-breeding habitat preferred to breed in low canopy sites, also avoiding breeding in the rubber plantation. Rubber plantations are likely an intermediate habitat type that ‘slips through the cracks’ of species habitat preferences and is thus avoided for breeding. In summary, unlike the rainforests they replaced, rubber plantations alone may not be able to support frog populations.
Rainforest frogs are classified into nine ecological guilds based on features of reproduction, habitat use, temporal activity, microhabitat and body size. The largest ecological differences are between the microhylid frogs and the rest of the frog species. Within the non-microhylids, there are two primary groups consisting of (i) regionally endemic rainforest specialists, and (ii) a more ecologically diverse group of species that are less specialized in their habitat requirements. Most of the regionally endemic rainforest specialists, which includes species in three ecological guilds, have declined or gone missing in recent years. Multivariate analyses of the ecological characteristics of these species show that it is not a single characteristic that isolates those species that have declined from those which have not. The guilds that have undergone significant population declines in the Wet Tropics are all characterized by the combination of low fecundity, a high degree of habitat specialization and reproduction in flowing streams. These results have important implications for the determination of the causal factors in the unexplained global decline of many amphibian species.
• Backgrounds and Aims The reproductive biology of a community can provide answers to questions related to the maintenance of the intraspecific pollen flow and reproductive success of populations, sharing and competition for pollinators and also questions on conservation of natural habitats affected by fragmentation processes. This work presents, for the first time, data on the occurrence and frequency of plant sexual systems for Caatinga communities, and a review of the breeding system studies of Caatinga species.
• Methods The sexual systems of 147 species from 34 families and 91 genera occurring in three Caatinga areas in north-eastern Brazil were analysed and compared with worldwide studies focusing on reproductive biology of different tropical communities.
• Key Results The frequency of hermaphrodite species was 83·0 % (122 species), seven of these (or 4·8 % of the total) being heterostylous. Monoecy occurred in 9·5 % (14) of the species, and andromonoecy in 4·8 % (seven). Only 2·7 % (four) of the species were dioecious. A high percentage of hermaphrodite species was expected and has been reported for other tropical ecosystems. With respect to the breeding system studies with species of the Caatinga, the authors' data for 21 species and an additional 18 species studied by others (n = 39) revealed a high percentage (61·5 %) of obligatory self-incompatibility. Agamospermy was not recorded among the Caatinga studied species.
• Conclusions The plant sexual systems in the Caatinga, despite the semi-arid climate, are similar to other tropical dry and wet forest communities, including those with high rainfall levels, except for the much lower percentage of dioecious species. The high frequency of self-incompatible species is similar to that reported for Savanna areas in Brazil, and also for dry (deciduous and semideciduous) and humid tropical forest communities.
Sexual systems; breeding systems; dry forests; Caatinga; north-eastern Brazil
Background and Aims
Expected life history trade-offs associated with sex differences in reproductive investment are often undetected in seed plants, with the difficulty arising from logistical issues of conducting controlled experiments. By controlling genotype, age and resource status of individuals, a bryophyte was assessed for sex-specific and location-specific patterns of vegetative, asexual and sexual growth/reproduction across a regional scale.
Twelve genotypes (six male, six female) of the dioecious bryophyte Bryum argenteum were subcultured to remove environmental effects, regenerated asexually to replicate each genotype 16 times, and grown over a period of 92 d. Plants were assessed for growth rates, asexual and sexual reproductive traits, and allocation to above- and below-ground regenerative biomass.
The degree of sexual versus asexual reproductive investment appears to be under genetic control, with three distinct ecotypes found in this study. Protonemal growth rate was positively correlated with asexual reproduction and sexual reproduction, whereas asexual reproduction was negatively correlated (appeared to trade-off) with vegetative growth (shoot production). No sex-specific trade-offs were detected. Female sex-expressing shoots were longer than males, but the sexes did not differ in growth traits, asexual traits, sexual induction times, or above- and below-ground biomass. Males, however, had much higher rates of inflorescence production than females, which translated into a significantly higher (24x) prezygotic investment for males relative to females.
Evidence for three distinct ecotypes is presented for a bryophyte based on regeneration traits. Prior to zygote production, the sexes of this bryophyte did not differ in vegetative growth traits but significantly differed in reproductive investment, with the latter differences potentially implicated in the strongly biased female sex ratio. The disparity between males and females for prezygotic reproductive investment is the highest known for bryophytes.
Bryum argenteum; silver moss; bryophyte; sex ratio; reproductive investment; ecotype; trade-off; gender specific fitness; asexual reproduction; sexual reproduction; protonema; inflorescence
• Background and Aims Oncidium hookeri is a neotropical species of epiphytic Orchidaceae found in the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest at the top of the Mantiqueira Range of mountains. The genetic variation of O. hookeri was studied to assess the distribution of genetic variability within and among six populations localized in Atlantic rainforest remnants. Gene flow among populations and the occurrence of recent bottlenecks were investigated in order to infer the degree of isolation of these populations.
• Methods Thirteen polymorphic loci were used for allozyme electrophoresis. The data were analysed by means of standard statistical approaches, to estimate gene diversity and the genetic structure of the populations.
• Key Results The mean gene diversity and allelic richness were He = 0·099 and A = 1·75, respectively. F-statistics revealed high heterozygote deficiencies in all populations (FIS = 0·43–0·82). Several rare alleles were found in all the populations, and three populations presented private alleles. Low genetic differentiation among O. hookeri populations was detected (FST = 0·029); natural selection may be involved in PGM locus differentiation among populations. The genetic differentiation between paired populations was low, bearing no correlation with geographic distance (Mantel test: r = −0·34, P = 0·72). Only two populations showed signs of recent bottlenecks.
• Conclusions The heterozygote deficiency found seems to be caused by pollinator behaviour; the low frequencies of several alleles of different loci can be maintained due to clonal propagation. Despite the stochastic nature of the wind-dispersal of seeds to long distances, this process may promote an effective gene flow among populations, thus avoiding genetic differentiation.
Orchidaceae; Oncidium hookeri; allozyme; genetic variability; genetic structure; tropical Atlantic rainforest; wind-dispersed seeds; vegetative propagation; insect-pollination
While bryophytes greatly contribute to plant diversity of semi-natural grasslands, little is known about the relationships between land-use intensity, productivity, and bryophyte diversity in these habitats. We recorded vascular plant and bryophyte vegetation in 85 agricultural used grasslands in two regions in northern and central Germany and gathered information on land-use intensity. To assess grassland productivity, we harvested aboveground vascular plant biomass and analyzed nutrient concentrations of N, P, K, Ca and Mg. Further we calculated mean Ellenberg indicator values of vascular plant vegetation. We tested for effects of land-use intensity and productivity on total bryophyte species richness and on the species richness of acrocarpous (small & erect) and pleurocarpous (creeping, including liverworts) growth forms separately. Bryophyte species were found in almost all studied grasslands, but species richness differed considerably between study regions in northern Germany (2.8 species per 16 m2) and central Germany (6.4 species per 16 m2) due environmental differences as well as land-use history. Increased fertilizer application, coinciding with high mowing frequency, reduced bryophyte species richness significantly. Accordingly, productivity estimates such as plant biomass and nitrogen concentration were strongly negatively related to bryophyte species richness, although productivity decreased only pleurocarpous species. Ellenberg indicator values for nutrients proved to be useful indicators of species richness and productivity. In conclusion, bryophyte composition was strongly dependent on productivity, with smaller bryophytes that were likely negatively affected by greater competition for light. Intensive land-use, however, can also indirectly decrease bryophyte species richness by promoting grassland productivity. Thus, increasing productivity is likely to cause a loss of bryophyte species and a decrease in species diversity.
The Atlantic rainforest ecosystem, where bromeliads are abundant, provides an excellent environment for Kerteszia species, because these anophelines use the axils of those plants as larval habitat. Anopheles (K.) cruzii and Anopheles (K.) bellator are considered the primary vectors of malaria in the Atlantic forest. Although the incidence of malaria has declined in some areas of the Atlantic forest, autochthonous cases are still registered every year, with Anopheles cruzii being considered to be a primary vector of both human and simian Plasmodium.
Recent publications that addressed ecological aspects that are important for understanding the involvement of Kerteszia species in the epidemiology of malaria in the Atlantic rainforest in the Neotropical Region were analysed.
The current state of knowledge about Kerteszia species in relation to the Atlantic rainforest ecosystem was discussed. Emphasis was placed on ecological characteristics related to epidemiological aspects of this group of mosquitoes. The main objective was to investigate biological aspects of the species that should be given priority in future studies.
Relationships between events in one period of the annual cycle and behaviour in subsequent seasons are key determinants of individual life histories and population dynamics. However, studying such associations is challenging, given the difficulties in following individuals across seasons, particularly in migratory species. Relationships between breeding performance and subsequent winter ecology are particularly poorly understood, yet are likely to be profoundly important because of the costs of reproduction. Using geolocation technology, we show that black-legged kittiwakes that experienced breeding failure left their colony in southeast Scotland earlier than successful breeders. Moreover, a greater proportion of unsuccessful breeders (94% versus 53% successful) travelled over 3000 km to the West Atlantic, whereas fewer visited the East Atlantic (31% versus 80% successful), less than 1000 km from the colony. The two groups did not differ in the timing of return to the colony the following spring. However, 58 per cent of males made a previously undescribed long-distance pre-breeding movement to the central Atlantic. Our results demonstrate important links between reproductive performance and winter distribution, with significant implications for population dynamics. Furthermore, macro-scale segregation associated with breeding outcome is relevant to defining important wintering areas, in particular among declining species experiencing increasingly regular breeding failure.
annual cycle; carry-over effects; reproductive success; wintering distribution; pre-breeding exodus
Reproductive strategies, sexual selection, and their relationship with the phenotype of individuals are topics widely studied in animals, but this information is less abundant for plants. Variability in flowering phenology among individuals has direct impact on their fitness, but how reproductive phenology is affected by the size of the individuals needs further study. We quantified the flowering intensity, length, and reproductive synchronization of two sympatric dioecious Wild Nutmeg tree species (Virola, Myristicaceae) in the Brazilian Atlantic forest, and analyzed its relationships with tree size. Two distinct strategies in flowering timing and intensity were found between species (annual versus biennial flowering), and among individuals in the annual flowering species (extended versus peak flowering). Only for the annual flowering species the reproductive output is related to tree size and large trees present proportionally higher flower coverage, and lower synchronization than smaller ones. Flowering is massive and highly synchronized in the biennial species. Sex ratios are not different from 1:1 in the two species, and in the two segregated reproductive subgroups in the biennial flowering species. The biennial flowering at individual level is a novelty among reproductive patterns in plants, separating the population in two reproductive subgroups. A proportional increase in the reproductive output with size exists only for the annual flowering species. A biennial flowering can allow resource storage favouring massive flowering for all the individuals diluting their relationship with size.
Dioecy; floral display; reproductive phenology; reproductive strategy; resource allocation; sex ratio
Species range boundaries often form along environmental gradients that dictate the success of the phenotypes present in each habitat. Sociality may allow colonization of environments where related species with a solitary lifestyle cannot persist. Social spiders in the genus Anelosimus appear restricted to low- and mid-elevation moist environments in the tropics, while subsocial spiders, common at higher elevations and latitudes, appear to be absent from the lowland tropical rainforest. Here, we seek factors that may simultaneously prevent subsocial Anelosimus species from colonizing the lowland rainforest while favouring species with large social groups in this habitat. To this end, we transplanted small groups of a subsocial species, which contain the offspring of a single female, from cloud forest habitat in the centre of its natural range to lower montane rainforest on the range margin and to lowland rainforest outside of the species range. Groups transplanted at the range margin and below their range limit were less likely to disperse and experienced increased mortality. This was correlated with greater rainfall intensity and ant abundance. We show that protection from rainfall enhances the performance of small groups of spiders in the lowland rainforest, and suggest that predation or disturbance by ants may influence the geographical range limits of this species.
cooperation; dispersal; local adaptation; predation; rain exclosure; Theridiidae
Bryophytes, including the mosses, liverworts, and hornworts, occur in a variety of habitats with high concentrations of metals and have other characteristics that are advantageous for studies of metal tolerance. Mosses may evolve genetically specialized, metal-tolerant races less frequently than flowering plants. Some species of mosses appear to have inherently high levels of metal tolerance even in individuals that have not been subjected to natural selection in contaminated environments. Scopelophila cataractae, one of the so-called copper mosses, not only tolerates extremely high concentrations of metals in its substrates, but requires these substrates for optimum growth. This species should be included in mechanistic studies of tolerance at the cellular and molecular levels.
Loss and alteration of habitats by human actions are the largest worldwide hazard to biodiversity and viability of populations. In boreal forests of Eurasia and North America the natural habitat is changing, mainly because of forestry practices and agriculture. Although there is evidence that the diversity and abundance of animal species are lower in intensively managed than in natural forests, very little is known about how the changes in habitat composition affect reproduction and survival. The best available measure of individual performance in the wild is lifetime reproductive success (LRS), the number of offspring produced during a lifetime, because it combines both survival and reproductive success to a single measure. We show that the LRS of forest-dwelling Tengmalm's owls (Aegolius funereus) increases with the proportion of old forest in the territory because of a higher number of breeding attempts, whereas it decreases with the proportion of agricultural land because of declining fledging success in years when prey populations crashed during owl breeding. These unique results provide an interesting insight into how human influence on the landscape can affect life-history traits of animals through various pathways.
The structure and functioning of decomposer systems heavily relies on soil moisture. However, this has been primarily studied in temperate ecosystems; little is known about how soil moisture affects the microfaunal food web in tropical regions. This lack of knowledge is surprising, since the microfaunal food web controls major ecosystem processes. To evaluate the role of precipitation in the structure of soil food web components (i.e., microorganisms and testate amoebae), we excluded water input by rain in montane rainforests at different altitudes in Ecuador. Rain exclusion strongly reduced microbial biomass and respiration by about 50 %, and fungal biomass by 23 %. In testate amoebae, rain exclusion decreased the density of live cells by 91 % and caused a shift in species composition at each of the altitudes studied, with ergosterol concentrations, microbial biomass, and water content explaining 25 % of the variation in species data. The results document that reduced precipitation negatively affects soil microorganisms, but that the response of testate amoebae markedly exceeds that of bacteria and fungi. This suggests that, in addition to food, low precipitation directly affects the community structure of testate amoebae, with the effect being more pronounced at lower altitudes. Overall, the results show that microorganisms and testate amoebae rapidly respond to a reduction in precipitation, with testate amoebae—representatives of higher trophic levels—being more sensitive. The results imply that precipitation and soil moisture in tropical rainforests are the main factors regulating decomposition and nutrient turnover.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00442-012-2360-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Rain exclusion; Testate amoebae; Ergosterol; Microbial biomass; Food web
The physical habitat used during spawning may potentially be an important factor affecting reproductive output of broadcast spawning marine fishes, particularly for species with complex, substrate-oriented mating systems and behaviors, such as Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. We characterized the habitat use and behavior of spawning Atlantic cod at two locations off the coast of southwestern Iceland during a 2-d research cruise (15–16 April 2009). We simultaneously operated two different active hydroacoustic gear types, a split beam echosounder and a dual frequency imaging sonar (DIDSON), as well as a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV). A total of five fish species were identified through ROV surveys: including cusk Brosme brosme, Atlantic cod, haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus, lemon sole Microstomus kitt, and Atlantic redfish Sebastes spp. Of the three habitats identified in the acoustic surveys, the transitional habitat between boulder/lava field and sand habitats was characterized by greater fish density and acoustic target strength compared to that of sand or boulder/lava field habitats independently. Atlantic cod were observed behaving in a manner consistent with published descriptions of spawning. Individuals were observed ascending 1–5 m into the water column from the bottom at an average vertical swimming speed of 0.20–0.25 m s−1 and maintained an average spacing of 1.0–1.4 m between individuals. Our results suggest that cod do not choose spawning locations indiscriminately despite the fact that it is a broadcast spawning fish with planktonic eggs that are released well above the seafloor.
Molecular phylogeny has resolved the liverworts as the earliest-divergent clade of land plants and mosses as the sister group to hornworts plus tracheophytes, with alternative topologies resolving the hornworts as sister to mosses plus tracheophytes less well supported. The tracheophytes plus fossil plants putatively lacking lignified vascular tissue form the polysporangiophyte clade.
This paper reviews phylogenetic, developmental, anatomical, genetic and paleontological data with the aim of reconstructing the succession of events that shaped major land plant lineages.
Fundamental land plant characters primarily evolved in the bryophyte grade, and hence the key to a better understanding of the early evolution of land plants is in bryophytes. The last common ancestor of land plants was probably a leafless axial gametophyte bearing simple unisporangiate sporophytes. Water-conducting tissue, if present, was restricted to the gametophyte and presumably consisted of perforate cells similar to those in the early-divergent bryophytes Haplomitrium and Takakia. Stomata were a sporophyte innovation with the possible ancestral functions of producing a transpiration-driven flow of water and solutes from the parental gametophyte and facilitating spore separation before release. Stomata in mosses, hornworts and polysporangiophytes are viewed as homologous, and hence these three lineages are collectively referred to as the ‘stomatophytes’. An indeterminate sporophyte body (the sporophyte shoot) developing from an apical meristem was the key innovation in polysporangiophytes. Poikilohydry is the ancestral condition in land plants; homoiohydry evolved in the sporophyte of polysporangiophytes. Fungal symbiotic associations ancestral to modern arbuscular mycorrhizas evolved in the gametophytic generation before the separation of major present-living lineages. Hydroids are imperforate water-conducting cells specific to advanced mosses. Xylem vascular cells in polysporangiophytes arose either from perforate cells or de novo. Food-conducting cells were a very early innovation in land plant evolution. The inferences presented here await testing by molecular genetics.
Bryophytes; cuticle; homoiohydry; mycorrhizas; phylogeny; poikilohydry; polysporangiophytes; shoot apical meristem (SAM); stomata; stomatophytes; tracheophytes; vascular tissues
In many species mature individuals delay independent reproduction and may help others to reproduce. This behaviour is often explained through ecological constraints, although recently attention has also been paid to the variation in habitat quality. If the quality of vacant habitat influences the fitness trade-off between delaying reproduction and breeding independently, individuals should delay reproduction when conditions for breeding are poor. Yet, no study has experimentally manipulated habitat quality or the conditions experienced during the breeding period to test this assertion conclusively. We report results from an experiment conducted on a colonial cooperative bird with no territory constraints on reproduction. We artificially improved breeding conditions in several colonies of sociable weavers, Philetairus socius, through the provision of an easily obtainable and unlimited supply of food. We provide experimental evidence showing that under enhanced conditions some individuals reduce their age at first reproduction, a greater proportion of colony members engage in independent breeding and proportionally fewer birds act as helpers. Hence, these results also provide evidence for a direct influence of reproductive costs on life-history decisions such as age at first reproduction and breeding and helping behaviours.
Habitat selection and dispersal behaviour are key processes in evolutionary ecology. Recent studies have suggested that individuals may use the reproductive performance of conspecifics as a source of public information on breeding patch quality for dispersal decisions, but experimental evidence is still limited for species breeding in aggregates, i.e. colonial species. We addressed this issue by manipulating the local breeding success of marked individuals and that of their neighbours on a series of breeding patches of a colonial seabird, the black-legged kittiwake (Rissa tridactyla). Based on previous observations in this species, we predicted that individuals that lost their eggs on successful patches would attend their nest and come back to it the year after at a higher rate than individuals that lost their eggs on patches where their neighbours were also in failure. As predicted, the attendance of breeders and prospectors was strongly affected by the local level of breeding success, resulting in differential site fidelity and recruitment. This suggests that individuals used information conveyed by conspecific breeding performance to make decisions relative to breeding site selection. This process can amplify the response of these populations to environmental change and may have contributed to the evolution of colonial breeding.
breeding habitat selection; coloniality; prospecting; conspecific performance
A novel karyotype with 2n = 50, FN = 48, was described for specimens of Thaptomys collected at Una, State of Bahia, Brazil, which are morphologically indistinguishable from Thaptomys nigrita, 2n = 52, FN = 52, found in other localities. It was hence proposed that the 2n = 50 karyotype could belong to a distinct species, cryptic of Thaptomys nigrita, once chromosomal rearrangements observed, along with the geographic distance, might represent a reproductive barrier between both forms. Phylogenetic analyses using maximum parsimony and maximum likelihood based on partial cytochrome b sequences with 1077 bp were performed, attempting to establish the relationships among the individuals with distinct karyotypes along the geographic distribution of the genus; the sample comprised 18 karyotyped specimens of Thaptomys, encompassing 15 haplotypes, from eight different localities of the Atlantic Rainforest. The intra-generic relationships corroborated the distinct diploid numbers, once both phylogenetic reconstructions recovered two monophyletic lineages, a northeastern clade grouping the 2n = 50 and a southeastern clade with three subclades, grouping the 2n = 52 karyotype. The sequence divergence observed between their individuals ranged from 1.9% to 3.5%.
Atlantic Rainforest; cytochrome b; endemism; molecular phylogeny; Thaptomys
A recent life-history model has challenged the importance of the operational sex ratio and the potential reproductive rates of males and females as the factors most important for the control of sexual selection, arguing that the cost of breeding, interpreted as the probability of dying as a consequence of the current breeding attempt, is the single most important factor that best predicts a mating system. In one species of bushcricket, the mating system can be reversed by resource manipulation. Here, we examine the costs of breeding in this system. Consistent with the model, increased costs of breeding can explain female competition and increased male choosiness under resource limitation. However, this is due to differences in the time required for a breeding attempt, rather than differences in breeding mortality which did not differ between the sexes. In general, males lived longer than females and we discuss the possible reasons behind this pattern of sex-biased non-breeding mortality.
cost of breeding; direction of sexual competition; choosiness; sex roles; tettigoniids; sex-biased mortality
A life history involving alternation of two developmentally associated, multicellular generations (sporophyte and gametophyte) is an autapomorphy of embryophytes (bryophytesphytes + vascular plants). Microfossil data indicate that Mid Late Ordovician land plants possessed such a life cycle, and that the origin of alternation of generations preceded this date. Molecular phylogenetic data unambiguously relate charophycean green algae to the ancestry of monophyletic embryophytes, and identify bryophytes as early-divergent land plants. Comparison of reproduction in charophyceans and bryophytes suggests that the following stages occurred during evolutionary origin of embryophytic alternation of generations: (i) origin of oogamy; (ii) retention of eggs and zygotes on the parental thallus; (iii) origin of matrotrophy (regulated transfer of nutritional and morphogenetic solutes from parental cells to the next generation); (iv) origin of a multicellular sporophyte generation; and (v) origin of non-flagellate, walled spores. Oogamy, egg/zygote retention and matrotrophy characterize at least some modern charophvceans, and are postulated to represent pre-adaptative features inherited by embryophytes from ancestral charophyceans. Matrotrophy is hypothesized to have preceded origin of the multicellular sporophytes of' plants, and to represent a critical innovation. Molecular approaches to the study of the origins of matrotrophy include assessment of hexose transporter genes and protein family members and their expression patterns. The occurrence in modern charophyceans and bryophytes of chemically resistant tissues that exhibit distinctive morphology correlated with matrotrophy suggests that Early-Mid Ordovician or older microfossils relevant to the origin of land plant alternation of generations may be found.