Plectostoma is a micro land snail restricted to limestone outcrops in Southeast Asia. Plectostoma was previously classified as a subgenus of Opisthostoma because of the deviation from regular coiling in many species in both taxa. This paper is the first of a two-part revision of the genus Plectostoma, and includes all non-Borneo species. In the present paper, we examined 214 collection samples of 31 species, and obtained 62 references, 290 pictures, and 155 3D-models of 29 Plectostoma species and 51 COI sequences of 19 species. To work with such a variety of taxonomic data, and then to represent it in an integrated, scaleable and accessible manner, we adopted up-to-date cybertaxonomic tools. All the taxonomic information, such as references, classification, species descriptions, specimen images, genetic data, and distribution data, were tagged and linked with cyber tools and web servers (e.g. Lifedesks, Google Earth, and Barcoding of Life Database). We elevated Plectostoma from subgenus to genus level based on morphological, ecological and genetic evidence. We revised the existing 21 Plectostoma species and described 10 new species, namely, P. dindingensis
sp. n., P. mengaburensis
sp. n., P. whitteni
sp. n., P. kayiani
sp. n., P. davisoni
sp. n., P. relauensis
sp. n., P. kubuensis
sp. n., P. tohchinyawi
sp. n., P. tenggekensis
sp. n., and P. ikanensis
sp. n. All the synthesised, semantic-tagged, and linked taxonomic information is made freely and publicly available online.
Sundaland; karst habitat; shell; e-taxonomy; tropical; semantic tag; taxonomic impediment
The centipede genus Eupolybothrus Verhoeff, 1907 in North Africa is revised. A new cavernicolous species, Eupolybothrus kahfi Stoev & Akkari, sp. n., is described from a cave in Jebel Zaghouan, northeast Tunisia. Morphologically, it is most closely related to Eupolybothrus nudicornis (Gervais, 1837) from North Africa and Southwest Europe but can be readily distinguished by the long antennae and leg-pair 15, a conical dorso-median protuberance emerging from the posterior part of prefemur 15, and the shape of the male first genital sternite. Molecular sequence data from the cytochrome c oxidase I gene (mtDNA–5’ COI-barcoding fragment) exhibit 19.19% divergence between Eupolybothrus kahfi and Eupolybothrus nudicornis, an interspecific value comparable to those observed among four other species of Eupolybothrus which, combined with a low intraspecific divergence (0.3–1.14%), supports the morphological diagnosis of Eupolybothrus kahfi as a separate species. This is the first troglomorphic myriapod to be found in Tunisia, and the second troglomorph lithobiomorph centipede known from North Africa. Eupolybothrus nudicornis is redescribed based on abundant material from Tunisia and its post-embryonic development, distribution and habitat preferences recorded. Eupolybothrus cloudsley-thompsoni Turk, 1955, a nominal species based on Tunisian type material, is placed in synonymy with Eupolybothrus nudicornis. To comply with the latest technological developments in publishing of biological information, the paper implements new approaches in cybertaxonomy, such as fine granularity XML tagging validated against the NLM DTD TaxPub for PubMedCentral and dissemination in XML to various aggregators (GBIF, EOL, Wikipedia), vizualisation of all taxa mentioned in the text via the dynamically created Pensoft Taxon Profile (PTP) page, data publishing, georeferencing of all localities via Google Earth, and ZooBank, GenBank and MorphBank registration of datasets. An interactive key to all valid species of Eupolybothrus is made with DELTA software.
Eupolybothrus kahfi sp. n.; Eupolybothrus nudicornis; North Africa; barcoding; cytochrome c oxidase I gene; troglomorphism; habitat preferences; interactive key; cybertaxonomy; semantic tagging; semantic enhancements
Australian stiletto flies of the sister-genera Acupalpa Kröber, 1912 and Pipinnipons Winterton, 2001 (Diptera: Therevidae: Agapophytinae) are revised. Twelve new species of Acupalpa are described, while Acupalpa imitans (White, 1915), comb. n. is transferred from Pipinnipons and Acupalpa albimanis (Kröber, 1914), comb. n. is transferred from Ectinorhynchus Macquart as a senior synonym of Acupalpa pollinosa Mann. The total number of species of Acupalpa is therefore increased to 19: Acupalpa albimanis (Kröber), comb. n., Acupalpa albitarsa Mann, Acupalpa boharti sp. n., Acupalpa divisa (Walker), Acupalpa dolichorhyncha sp. n., Acupalpa glossa sp. n., Acupalpa imitans (White), comb. n., Acupalpa irwini Winterton, Acupalpa melanophaeos sp. n., Acupalpa miaboolya sp. n., Acupalpa minuta sp. n., Acupalpa minutoides sp. n., Acupalpa notomelas sp. n., Acupalpa novayamarna sp. n., Acupalpa rostrata Kröber, Acupalpa semirufa Mann, Acupalpa westralica sp. n., Acupalpa yalgoo sp. n. and Acupalpa yanchep sp. n. Three new species of Pipinnipons are described, increasing the total number of species to five: Pipinnipons chauncyvallis sp. n., Pipinnipons fascipennis (Kröber), Pipinnipons kampmeierae sp. n., Pipinnipons kroeberi Winterton, and P. sphecoda sp. n. Pipinnipons and Acupalpa are rediagnosed in light of the new species presented herein and revised keys to species are included. A dichotomous key to genera of Australasian Therevidae is included. As an empirical example of cybertaxonomy, taxonomic descriptions were composed using a character matrix developed in Lucid Builder (in Structured Descriptive Data (SDD) format) to generate natural language descriptions supplemented by online specimen and image databases. Web resources are provided throughout the document including: a) links to high resolution colour images of all species on Morphbank, b) registration of authors, publications, taxon names and other nomenclatural acts in Zoobank, with assignment of Life Science Identifiers (LSIDs) for each, c) links to Genbank accession records for DNA sequences, and d) assignment of LSIDs to specimen records with links to respective records in an online Therevidae specimen database.
cybertaxonomy; LSID; character matrix; natural language description
Storck, Roger (The University of Texas, Austin). Nucleotide composition of nucleic acids from fungi. II. Deoxyribonucleic acids. J. Bacteriol. 91:227–230. 1966.—The nucleotide composition of the deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA) present in extracts of 30 species of fungi was determined. The results were analyzed, together with those in the literature. It was found that the content, in moles per cent of guanine plus cytosine (GC content), varied from 38 to 63% in a distribution composed of 9 species of zygomycetes, 14 of ascomycetes, and 9 each of deuteromycetes and basidiomycetes. The GC content ranges were: 38 to 48% for the zygomycetes, 38 to 54% for the ascomycetes, 47 to 62% for the deuteromycetes, and 44 to 63% for the basidiomycetes. The GC content ranged from 38 to 40% for four Mucor species. The base composition of fungal DNA appears, therefore, to have a taxonomic and phylogenetic significance.
A large part of our knowledge on the world's species is recorded in the corpus of biodiversity literature with well over hundred million pages, and is represented in natural history collections estimated at 2 – 3 billion specimens. But this body of knowledge is almost entirely in paper-print form and is not directly accessible through the Internet. For the digitization of this literature, new territories have to be chartered in the fields of technical, legal and social issues that presently impede its advance. The taxonomic literature seems especially destined for such a transformation.
Plazi was founded as an association with the primary goal of transforming both the printed and, more recently, "born-digital" taxonomic literature into semantically enabled, enhanced documents. This includes the creation of a test body of literature, an XML schema modeling its logic content (TaxonX), the development of a mark-up editor (GoldenGATE) allowing also the enhancement of documents with links to external resources via Life Science Identifiers (LSID), a repository for publications and issuance of bibliographic identifiers, a dedicated server to serve the marked up content (the Plazi Search and Retrieval Server, SRS) and semantic tools to mine information. Plazi's workflow is designed to respect copyright protection and achieves extraction by observing exceptions and limitations existent in international copyright law.
The information found in Plazi's databases – taxonomic treatments as well as the metadata of the publications – are in the public domain and can therefore be used for further scientific research without any restriction, whether or not contained in copyrighted publications.
BioNames is a web database of taxonomic names for animals, linked to the primary literature and, wherever possible, to phylogenetic trees. It aims to provide a taxonomic “dashboard” where at a glance we can see a summary of the taxonomic and phylogenetic information we have for a given taxon and hence provide a quick answer to the basic question “what is this taxon?” BioNames combines classifications from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and GenBank, images from the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), animal names from the Index of Organism Names (ION), and bibliographic data from multiple sources including the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and CrossRef. The user interface includes display of full text articles, interactive timelines of taxonomic publications, and zoomable phylogenies. It is available at http://bionames.org.
Taxonomy; Database; Nomenclature; Phylogeny; Data integration
Evolutionary cytogenetic comparisons involved 5 species of birds (California condor, chicken, zebra finch, collared flycatcher and black stork) belonging to divergent taxonomic orders. Seventy-four clones from a condor BAC library containing 80 genes were mapped to condor chromosomes using FISH, and 15 clones containing 16 genes were mapped to the stork Z chromosome. Maps for chicken and finch were derived from genome sequence databases, and that for flycatcher from the published literature. Gene content and gene order were highly conserved when individual condor, chicken, and zebra finch autosomes were compared, confirming that these species largely retain karyotypes close to the ancestral condition for neognathous birds. However, several differences were noted: zebra finch chromosomes 1 and 1A are homologous to condor and chicken chromosomes 1, the CHUNK1 gene appears to have transposed on condor chromosome 1, condor chromosomes 4 and 9 and zebra finch chromosomes 4 and 4A are homologous to chicken chromosome arms 4q and 4p, and novel inversions on chromosomes 4, 12 and 13 were found. Condor and stork Z chromosome gene orders are collinear and differentiated by a series of inversions/transpositions when compared to chicken, zebra finch, or flycatcher; phylogenetic analyses suggest independent rearrangement along the chicken, finch, and flycatcher lineages.
Avian molecular cytogenetics; California condor; Z chromosome in birds
Carboxymethylcellulase (CMCase)-producing obligate anaerobes were isolated from the intestinal tract contents but not the feeding habitat of seagrass-consuming pinfish. Taxonomic characterization of these CMCase-producing strains revealed four taxonomic clusters; three were clostridial and one was of unknown taxonomic affinity. Our results demonstrated that the CMCase-producing obligate anaerobe community from pinfish differed from functionally similar microbial communities in terrestrial herbivores.
Signature genes are genes that are unique to a taxonomic clade and are common within it. They contain a wealth of information about clade-specific processes and hold a strong evolutionary signal that can be used to phylogenetically characterize a set of sequences, such as a metagenomics sample. As signature genes are based on gene content, they provide a means to assess the taxonomic origin of a sequence sample that is complementary to sequence-based analyses. Here, we introduce Signature (http://www.cmbi.ru.nl/signature), a web server that identifies the signature genes in a set of query sequences, and therewith phylogenetically characterizes it. The server produces a list of taxonomic clades that share signature genes with the set of query sequences, along with an insightful image of the tree of life, in which the clades are color coded based on the number of signature genes present. This allows the user to quickly see from which part(s) of the taxonomy the query sequences likely originate.
Motivation: Datasets from high-throughput sequencing technologies have yielded a vast amount of data about organisms in environmental samples. Yet, it is still a challenge to assess the exact organism content in these samples because the task of taxonomic classification is too computationally complex to annotate all reads in a dataset. An easy-to-use webserver is needed to process these reads. While many methods exist, only a few are publicly available on webservers, and out of those, most do not annotate all reads.
Results: We introduce a webserver that implements the naïve Bayes classifier (NBC) to classify all metagenomic reads to their best taxonomic match. Results indicate that NBC can assign next-generation sequencing reads to their taxonomic classification and can find significant populations of genera that other classifiers may miss.
Availability: Publicly available at: http://nbc.ece.drexel.edu.
Motivation: Metagenomics is a recent field of biology that studies microbial communities by analyzing their genomic content directly sequenced from the environment. A metagenomic dataset consists of many short DNA or RNA fragments called reads. One interesting problem in metagenomic data analysis is the discovery of the taxonomic composition of a given dataset. A simple method for this task, called the Lowest Common Ancestor (LCA), is employed in state-of-the-art computational tools for metagenomic data analysis of very short reads (about 100 bp). However LCA has two main drawbacks: it possibly assigns many reads to high taxonomic ranks and it discards a high number of reads.
Results: We present MTR, a new method for tackling these drawbacks using clustering at Multiple Taxonomic Ranks. Unlike LCA, which processes the reads one-by-one, MTR exploits information shared by reads. Specifically, MTR consists of two main phases. First, for each taxonomic rank, a collection of potential clusters of reads is generated, and each potential cluster is associated to a taxon at that rank. Next, a small number of clusters is selected at each rank using a combinatorial optimization algorithm. The effectiveness of the resulting method is tested on a large number of simulated and real-life metagenomes. Results of experiments show that MTR improves on LCA by discarding a significantly smaller number of reads and by assigning much more reads at lower taxonomic ranks. Moreover, MTR provides a more faithful taxonomic characterization of the metagenome population distribution.
Availability: Matlab and C++ source codes of the method available at http://cs.ru.nl/˜gori/software/MTR.tar.gz.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Supplementary information: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
Not only seasonality but also taxonomic resolution of prey categories has been shown to affect diet studies. We analyzed the stomach contents of three sympatric species, Stellifer rastrifer, S. brasiliensis and S. stellifer, sampled monthly from August 2003 to October 2004 in Caraguatatuba Bay, southeastern Brazil. General characteristics and similarities among their diets were evaluated by considering high taxonomic ranks of all prey groups, and also the lower taxonomic ranks of the main prey groups. Dietary similarity was relatively high among species and low between seasons, and both evaluation criteria gave the equivalent results. The rare items, however, provided information about resource partition, and the species compositions of the most important groups were apparently good indicators of food availability.
Taxonomy or biological systematics is the basic scientific discipline of biology, postulating hypotheses of identity and relationships, on which all other natural sciences dealing with organisms relies. However, the scientific contributions of taxonomists have been largely neglected when using species names in scientific publications by not citing the authority on which they are based.
Consequences of this neglect is reduced recognition of the importance of taxonomy, which in turn results in diminished funding, lower interest from journals in publishing taxonomic research, and a reduced number of young scientists entering the field. This has lead to the so-called taxonomic impediment at a time when biodiversity studies are of critical importance.
Here we emphasize a practical and obvious solution to this dilemma. We propose that whenever a species name is used, the author(s) of the species hypothesis be included and the original literature source cited, including taxonomic revisions and identification literature - nothing more than what is done for every other hypothesis or assumption included in a scientific publication. In addition, we postulate that journals primarily publishing taxonomic studies should be indexed in ISISM.
The proposal outlined above would make visible the true contribution of taxonomists within the scientific community, and would provide a more accurate assessment for funding agencies impact and importance of taxonomy, and help in the recruitment of young scientists into the field, thus helping to alleviate the taxonomic impediment. In addition, it would also make much of the biological literature more robust by reducing or alleviating taxonomic uncertainty.
Taxonomy crisis; taxonomic impediment; impact factor; original species description; citation index; systematics
Myelochroa (Asahina) Elix & Hale is a common foliose lichen genus found on the Korean Peninsula. Since it was first recorded nearly two decades ago, no detailed taxonomic or revisionary study of the genus has been conducted. Thus, the current study was conducted to carry out a detailed taxonomic and revisionary study of Myelochroa in South Korea. This study was based on specimens deposited in the Korean Lichen Research Institute (KoLRI). Detailed taxonomic studies and a literature review confirmed the presence of twelve species of Myelochroa from S. Korea, including one new record, Myelochroa xantholepis (Mont. & Bosch) Elix & Hale. Descriptions of each species with their morphological, anatomical and chemical characters together with a key to all known Myelochroa species are presented.
Key; Myelochroa; New record; Parmeliaceae; South Korea
Hypotrachyna (Vainio) Hale is a somewhat rare lichen genus found on the Korean Peninsula. Since it was first recorded more than two decades ago, no detailed taxonomic or revisionary study of the genus has been conducted. Thus, the present study was conducted to carry out a detailed taxonomic and revisionary study of Hypotrachyna in South Korea. This study was based on specimens deposited in the Korean Lichen Research Institute (KoLRI). Detailed taxonomic studies and a literature review confirmed the presence of seven species of Hypotrachyna from South Korea, including one new record, Hypotrachyna nodakensis (Asahina) Hale. Descriptions of each species with their morphological, anatomical and chemical characters together with a key to all known Hypotrachyna species are presented.
Hypotrachyna; Key; New record; Parmeliaceae; South Korea
Sexual dimorphism occurs frequently in Chrysomelidae Latreille, 1802 and is particularly variable in subfamily Galerucinae Latreille, 1802. This diversity has been early noted by authors a potential source of taxonomic characters. The section Diabroticites (Luperini Gistel, 1848) is one of the largest assemblies of chrysomelid genera with currently 823 valid species in 17 genera (12 based on dimorphic characteristics), being most diverse in the neotropical region. Apart from a revision work on the type specimens for the section, there are no general taxonomic studies for this group. The occurrence of sexually dimorphic characteristics in the section Diabroticites is revised and their practical taxonomic relevance evaluated. A total of 240 species was studied (145 species with males available), representing 15 out of the 17 genera included in Diabroticites. The analysis of characters was based on the study of specimens in south-american collections, literature and the aid of photos in online databases. Sexual dimorphism occurred in most species analyzed. Dimorphic features were divided in general (i. e., occur in higher taxa) and special characters (those that support the definition of species and genera). Special dimorphism was observed in every tagma, and most modifications occur in antennae. Characters used as diagnostic of genera often do not correspond to the modifications present in species included in them. Many modifications were considered by earlier authors as a single character, probably due to vague definitions. Most generic definitions are, therefore, inaccurate. The study of morphology and the homology assessment of characters are needed to increase understanding of the genera in Diabroticites.
Taxonomy of Coleoptera; rootworms; review; leaf-beetles
Understanding the microbial content of the air has important scientific, health, and economic implications. While studies have primarily characterized the taxonomic content of air samples by sequencing the 16S or 18S ribosomal RNA gene, direct analysis of the genomic content of airborne microorganisms has not been possible due to the extremely low density of biological material in airborne environments. We developed sampling and amplification methods to enable adequate DNA recovery to allow metagenomic profiling of air samples collected from indoor and outdoor environments. Air samples were collected from a large urban building, a medical center, a house, and a pier. Analyses of metagenomic data generated from these samples reveal airborne communities with a high degree of diversity and different genera abundance profiles. The identities of many of the taxonomic groups and protein families also allows for the identification of the likely sources of the sampled airborne bacteria.
The development of DNA sequencing methods for characterizing microbial communities has evolved rapidly over the past decades. To evaluate more traditional, as well as newer methodologies for DNA library preparation and sequencing, we compared fosmid, short-insert shotgun and 454 pyrosequencing libraries prepared from the same metagenomic DNA samples. GC content was elevated in all fosmid libraries, compared with shotgun and 454 libraries. Taxonomic composition of the different libraries suggested that this was caused by a relative underrepresentation of dominant taxonomic groups with low GC content, notably Prochlorales and the SAR11 cluster, in fosmid libraries. While these abundant taxa had a large impact on library representation, we also observed a positive correlation between taxon GC content and fosmid library representation in other low-GC taxa, suggesting a general trend. Analysis of gene category representation in different libraries indicated that the functional composition of a library was largely a reflection of its taxonomic composition, and no additional systematic biases against particular functional categories were detected at the level of sequencing depth in our samples. Another important but less predictable factor influencing the apparent taxonomic and functional library composition was the read length afforded by the different sequencing technologies. Our comparisons and analyses provide a detailed perspective on the influence of library type on the recovery of microbial taxa in metagenomic libraries and underscore the different uses and utilities of more traditional, as well as contemporary ‘next-generation' DNA library construction and sequencing technologies for exploring the genomics of the natural microbial world.
454 pyrosequencing; DNA sequencing; metagenomics; fosmid; shotgun library
Revisionary taxonomy is frequently dismissed as merely descriptive, which belies its strong intellectual content and hypothesis-driven nature. Funding for taxonomy is inadequate and largely diverted to studies of phylogeny that neither improve classifications nor nomenclature. Phylogenetic classifications are optimal for storing and predicting information, but phylogeny divorced from taxonomy is ephemeral and erodes the accuracy and information content of the language of biology. Taxonomic revisions and monographs are efficient, high-throughput species hypothesis-testing devices that are ideal for the World Wide Web. Taxonomic knowledge remains essential to credible biological research and is made urgent by the biodiversity crisis. Theoretical and technological advances and threats of mass species extinctions indicate that this is the time for a renaissance in taxonomy. Clarity of vision and courage of purpose are needed from individual taxonomists and natural history museums to bring about this evolution of taxonomy into the information age.
The composition of the bacterial communities in the contents of the foregut and hindgut of the sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus and in the ambient surface sediment was surveyed by 16S rRNA gene 454-pyrosequencing. A total of 188,623 optimized reads and 15,527 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were obtained from the ten gut contents samples and four surface sediment samples. The sequences in the sediments, foregut contents, and hindgut contents were assigned to 38.0±4.7, 31.2±6.2 and 27.8±6.5 phyla, respectively. The bacterial richness and Shannon diversity index were both higher in the ambient sediments than in the gut contents. Proteobacteria was the predominant phylum in both the gut contents and sediment samples. The predominant classes in the foregut, hindgut, and ambient sediment were Holophagae and Gammaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria and Gammaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria, respectively. The potential probiotics, including sequences related to Bacillus, lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus, Lactococcus, and Streptococcus) and Pseudomonas were detected in the gut of A. japonicus. Principle component analysis and heatmap figure showed that the foregut, hindgut, and ambient sediment respectively harbored different characteristic bacterial communities. Selective feeding of A. japonicus may be the primary source of the different bacterial communities between the foregut contents and ambient sediments.
Molecular taxonomic and electron microscopy studies were performed on four bacterial isolates obtained from different sources of San Francisco sourdough (SD). These bacteria were first isolated by Kline and Sugihara who tentatively described them as a previously unreported species of heterofermentative Lactobacillus; they suggested the name Lactobacillus sanfrancisco. The guanine plus cytosine base composition (%GC) of the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) ranged from 38 to 40%. The possible genetic relatedness of these SD isolates to five known species of Lactobacillus with comparable GC contents was assessed in the present work by means of DNA-DNA hybridization competition experiments. Little or no DNA homology was observed between the SD bacteria and the known species. The SD bacteria exhibited a high degree of homology (>88%) among themselves, suggesting that the four isolates were identical taxonomically. Also, the electron photomicrographs revealed structures similar to those of gram-positive bacilli. Accordingly, since these SD isolates have the characteristic phenotypic and morphological properties of the genus Lactobacillus and are not related genetically to any known species, the tentative characterization by the above workers of these isolates as a new species is substantiated.
Proterosuchidae are the most taxonomically diverse archosauromorph reptiles sampled in the immediate aftermath of the Permo-Triassic mass extinction and represent the earliest radiation of Archosauriformes (archosaurs and closely related species). Proterosuchids are potentially represented by approximately 15 nominal species collected from South Africa, China, Russia, Australia and India, but the taxonomic content of the group is currently in a state of flux because of the poor anatomic and systematic information available for several of its putative members. Here, the putative proterosuchid Tasmaniosaurus triassicus from the Lower Triassic of Hobart, Tasmania (Australia), is redescribed. The holotype and currently only known specimen includes cranial and postcranial remains and the revision of this material sheds new light on the anatomy of the animal, including new data on the cranial endocast. Several bones are re-identified or reinterpreted, contrasting with the descriptions of previous authors. The new information provided here shows that Tasmaniosaurus closely resembles the South African proterosuchid Proterosuchus, but it differed in the presence of, for example, a slightly downturned premaxilla, a shorter anterior process of maxilla, and a diamond-shaped anterior end of interclavicle. Previous claims for the presence of gut contents in the holotype of Tasmaniosaurus are considered ambiguous. The description of the cranial endocast of Tasmaniosaurus provides for the first time information about the anatomy of this region in proterosuchids. The cranial endocast preserves possibly part of the vomero-nasal ( = Jacobson’s) system laterally to the olfactory bulbs. Previous claims of the absence of the vomero-nasal organs in archosaurs, which is suggested by the extant phylogenetic bracket, are questioned because its absence in both clades of extant archosaurs seems to be directly related with the independent acquisition of a non-ground living mode of life.
Background and Aims
The genus Eucalyptus occupies a broad ecological range, forming the dominant canopy in many Australian ecosystems. Many Eucalyptus species are renowned for tolerance to aridity, yet inter-specific variation in physiological traits, particularly water relations parameters, contributing to this tolerance is weakly characterized only in a limited taxonomic range. The study tests the hypothesis that differences in the distribution of Eucalyptus species is related to cellular water relations.
Six eucalypt species originating from (1) contrasting environments for aridity and (2) diverse taxonomic groups were grown in pots and subjected to the effects of water deficit over a 10-week period. Water potential, relative water content and osmotic parameters were analysed by using pressure–volume curves and related to gas exchange, photosynthesis and biomass.
The six eucalypt species differed in response to water deficit. Most significantly, species from high rainfall environments (E. obliqua, E. rubida) and the phreatophyte (E. camaldulensis) had lower osmotic potential under water deficit via accumulation of cellular osmotica (osmotic adjustment). In contrast, species from low rainfall environments (E. cladocalyx, E. polyanthemos and E. tricarpa) had lower osmotic potential through a combination of both constitutive solutes and osmotic adjustment, combined with reductions in leaf water content.
It is demonstrated that osmotic adjustment is a common response to water deficit in six eucalypt species. In addition, significant inter-specific variation in osmotic potential correlates with species distribution in environments where water is scarce. This provides a physiological explanation for aridity tolerance and emphasizes the need to identify osmolytes that accumulate under stress in the genus Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus; water potential; osmotic adjustment; water deficit
Metagenomics has transformed our understanding of the microbial world, allowing researchers to bypass the need to isolate and culture individual taxa and to directly characterize both the taxonomic and gene compositions of environmental samples. However, associating the genes found in a metagenomic sample with the specific taxa of origin remains a critical challenge. Existing binning methods, based on nucleotide composition or alignment to reference genomes allow only a coarse-grained classification and rely heavily on the availability of sequenced genomes from closely related taxa. Here, we introduce a novel computational framework, integrating variation in gene abundances across multiple samples with taxonomic abundance data to deconvolve metagenomic samples into taxa-specific gene profiles and to reconstruct the genomic content of community members. This assembly-free method is not bounded by various factors limiting previously described methods of metagenomic binning or metagenomic assembly and represents a fundamentally different approach to metagenomic-based genome reconstruction. An implementation of this framework is available at http://elbo.gs.washington.edu/software.html. We first describe the mathematical foundations of our framework and discuss considerations for implementing its various components. We demonstrate the ability of this framework to accurately deconvolve a set of metagenomic samples and to recover the gene content of individual taxa using synthetic metagenomic samples. We specifically characterize determinants of prediction accuracy and examine the impact of annotation errors on the reconstructed genomes. We finally apply metagenomic deconvolution to samples from the Human Microbiome Project, successfully reconstructing genus-level genomic content of various microbial genera, based solely on variation in gene count. These reconstructed genera are shown to correctly capture genus-specific properties. With the accumulation of metagenomic data, this deconvolution framework provides an essential tool for characterizing microbial taxa never before seen, laying the foundation for addressing fundamental questions concerning the taxa comprising diverse microbial communities.
Most microorganisms inhabit complex, diverse, and largely uncharacterized communities. Metagenomic technologies allow us to determine the taxonomic and gene compositions of these communities and to obtain insights into their function as a whole but usually do not enable the characterization of individual member taxa. Here, we introduce a novel computational framework for decomposing metagenomic community-level gene content data into taxa-specific gene profiles. Specifically, by analyzing the way taxonomic and gene abundances co-vary across a set of metagenomic samples, we are able to associate genes with their taxa of origin. We first demonstrate the ability of this approach to decompose metagenomes and to reconstruct the genomes of member taxa using simulated datasets. We further identify the factors that contribute to the accuracy of our method. We then apply our framework to samples from the human microbiome – the set of microorganisms that inhabit the human body – and show that it can be used to successfully reconstruct the typical genomes of various microbiome genera. Notably, our framework is based solely on variation in gene composition and does not rely on sequence composition signatures, assembly, or available reference genomes. It is therefore especially suited to studying the many microbial habitats yet to be extensively characterized.
A metagenomic analysis of the dynamic changes of the composition of the
intestinal microbiome of five participants of the MARS-500 experiment was
performed. DNA samples were isolated from the feces of the participants taken
just before the experiment, upon 14, 30, 210, 363 and 510 days of isolation in
the experimental module, and two weeks upon completion of the experiment. The
taxonomic composition of the microbiome was analyzed by pyrosequencing of 16S
rRNA gene fragments. Both the taxonomic and functional gene content of the
microbiome of one participant were analyzed by whole metagenome sequencing
using the SOLiD technique. Each participant had a specific microbiome that
could be assigned to one of three recognized enterotypes. Two participants had
enterotype I microbiomes characterized by the prevalence of
Bacteroides, while the microbiomes of two others, assigned to
type II, were dominated by Prevotella. One participant had a
microbiome of mixed type. It was found that (1) changes in the taxonimic
composition of the microbiomes occurred in the course of the experiment, but
the enterotypes remained the same; (2) significant changes in the compositions
of the microbiomes occurred just 14-30 days after the beginning of the
experiment, presumably indicating the influence of stress factors in the first
stage of the experiment; (3) a tendency toward a reversion of the microbiomes
to their initial composition was observed two weeks after the end of the
experiment, but complete recovery was not achieved. The metagenomic analysis of
the microbiome of one of the participants showed that in spite of variations in
the taxonomic compositions of microbiomes, the “functional” genetic composition
was much more stable for most of the functional gene categories. Probably in
the course of the experiment the taxonomic composition of the gut microbiome
was adaptively changed to reflect the individual response to the experimental
conditions. A new, balanced taxonomic composition of the microbiome was formed
to ensure a stable gene content of the community as a whole without negative
consequences for the health of the participants.
metagenomics; intestinal microbiota; stressful influences; enterotypes