The Isthmus of Tehuantepec has played an important role in shaping the avian diversity of Mexico, as well as the rest of the Western Hemisphere. It has been both a barrier and a land connector between North and South America for many groups of birds. Furthermore, climatic change over the Pleistocene has resulted in ecological fluctuations that led to periods of connection and isolation of the highlands in this area. Here we studied the divergence of two species of orioles whose distribution in the highlands is separated by the lowlands of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec: Icterus graduacauda (west of the Isthmus) and Icterus chrysater (east of the Isthmus). We sequenced multiple loci (one mitochondrial gene and six nuclear introns) and performed coalescent analyses (Isolation with Migration) to test whether their divergence resulted from prior occupancy of the ancestral area followed by a vicariant event or recent dispersal from one side or the other of this Isthmus. Results strongly indicate a vicariant event roughly 300,000 years ago in the Pleistocene followed by little or no gene flow. Both mitochondrial and nuclear genes show that the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is a strong barrier to gene flow. Thus, these two species appear to not exchange genes despite their recent divergence and the close geographic proximity of their ranges.
coalescent; Icterus; Isolation with Migration; Isthmus of Tehuantepec; multilocus
Animal personalities, composed of axes of consistent individual behaviors, are widely reported and can have important fitness consequences. However, despite theoretical predictions that life-history trade-offs may cause and maintain personality differences, our understanding of the evolutionary ecology of personality remains poor, especially in long-lived species where trade-offs and senescence have been shown to be stronger. Furthermore, although much theoretical and empirical work assumes selection shapes variation in personalities, studies exploring the genetic underpinnings of personality traits are rare. Here we study one standard axis of personality, the shy–bold continuum, in a long-lived marine species, the wandering albatross from Possession Island, Crozet, by measuring the behavioral response to a human approach. Using generalized linear mixed models in a Bayesian framework, we show that boldness is highly repeatable and heritable. We also find strong differences in boldness between breeding colonies, which vary in size and density, suggesting birds are shyer in more dense colonies. These results demonstrate that in this seabird population, boldness is both heritable and repeatable and highlights the potential for ecological and evolutionary processes to shape personality traits in species with varying life-history strategies.
Animal model; Bayesian environment; individual behavioral differences; personality; quantitative genetics; wandering albatross
Organic aggregates provide a favorable habitat for aquatic microbes, are efficiently filtered by shellfish, and may play a major role in the dynamics of aquatic pathogens. Quantifying this role requires understanding how pathogen abundance in the water and aggregate size interact to determine the presence and abundance of pathogen cells on individual aggregates. We build upon current understanding of the dynamics of bacteria and bacterial grazers on aggregates to develop a model for the dynamics of a bacterial pathogen species. The model accounts for the importance of stochasticity and the balance between colonization and extinction. Simulation results suggest that while colonization increases linearly with background density and aggregate size, extinction rates are expected to be nonlinear on small aggregates in a low background density of the pathogen. Under these conditions, we predict lower probabilities of pathogen presence and reduced abundance on aggregates compared with predictions based solely on colonization. These results suggest that the importance of aggregates to the dynamics of aquatic bacterial pathogens may be dependent on the interaction between aggregate size and background pathogen density, and that these interactions are strongly influenced by ecological interactions and pathogen traits. The model provides testable predictions and can be a useful tool for exploring how species-specific differences in pathogen traits may alter the effect of aggregates on disease transmission.
Aquatic pathogens; attached bacteria; microbial population dynamics; organic aggregates; stochastic extinction; waterborne disease
China has frequently been questioned about the data transparency and accuracy of its energy and emission statistics. Satellite-derived remote sensing data potentially provide a useful tool to study the variation in carbon dioxide (CO2) mass over areas of the earth's surface. In this study, Greenhouse gases Observing SATellite (GOSAT) tropospheric CO2 concentration data and NCEP/NCAR reanalysis tropopause data were integrated to obtain estimates of tropospheric CO2 mass variations over the surface of China. These variations were mapped to show seasonal and spatial patterns with reference to China's provincial areas. The estimates of provincial tropospheric CO2 were related to statistical estimates of CO2 emissions for the provinces and considered with reference to provincial populations and gross regional products (GRP). Tropospheric CO2 masses for the Chinese provinces ranged from 53 ± 1 to 14,470 ± 63 million tonnes were greater for western than for eastern provinces and were primarily a function of provincial land area. Adjusted for land area troposphere CO2 mass was higher for eastern and southern provinces than for western and northern provinces. Tropospheric CO2 mass over China varied with season being highest in July and August and lowest in January and February. The average annual emission from provincial energy statistics of CO2 by China was estimated as 10.3% of the average mass of CO2 in the troposphere over China. The relationship between statistical emissions relative to tropospheric CO2 mass was higher than 20% for developed coastal provinces of China, with Shanghai, Tianjin, and Beijing having exceptionally high percentages. The percentages were generally lower than 10% for western inland provinces. Provincial estimates of emissions of CO2 were significantly positively related to provincial populations and gross regional products (GRP) when the values for the provincial municipalities Shanghai, Tianjin, and Beijing were excluded from the linear regressions. An increase in provincial GRP per person was related to a curvilinear increase in CO2 emissions, this being particularly marked for Beijing, Tianjin, and especially Shanghai. The absence of detection of specific elevation of CO2 mass in the troposphere above these municipalities may relate to the rapid mixing and dispersal of CO2 emissions or the proportion of the depth of the troposphere sensed by GOSAT.
Carbon dioxide mass; China; emission estimates; satellite sensing; troposphere
Fidelity rates of pair-bonded individuals are of considerable interest to behavioral and population biologists as they can influence population structure, mating rates, population productivity, and gene flow. Estimates of fidelity rates calculated from direct observations of pairs in consecutive breeding seasons may be biased because (i) individuals that are not seen are assumed to be dead, (ii) variation in the detectability of individuals is ignored, and (iii) pair status must be known with certainty. This can lead to a high proportion of observations being ignored. This approach also restricts the way variation in fidelity rates for different types of individuals, or the covariation between fidelity and other vital rates (e.g., survival) can be analyzed. In this study, we develop a probabilistic multievent capture–mark–recapture (MECMR) modeling framework for estimating pair fidelity rates that accounts for imperfect detection rates and capture heterogeneity, explicitly incorporates uncertainty in the assessment of pair status, and allows estimates of state-dependent survival and fidelity rates to be obtained simultaneously. We demonstrate the utility of our approach for investigating patterns of fidelity in pair-bonded individuals, by applying it to 30 years of breeding data from a wild population of great tits Parus major Linnaeus. Results of model selection supported state-dependent recapture, survival, and fidelity rates. Recapture rates were higher for individuals breeding with their previous partner than for those breeding with a different partner. Faithful birds that were breeding with the same partner as in the previous breeding season (i.e., at t − 1) experienced substantially higher survival rates (between t and t + 1) and were also more likely to remain faithful to their current partner (i.e., to remain in the faithful state at t + 1). First year breeders were more likely to change partner than older birds. These findings imply that traditional estimates, which do not account for state-dependent parameters, may be both inaccurate and biased, and hence, inferences based on them may conceal important biological effects. This was demonstrated in the analysis of simulated capture histories, which showed that our MECMR model was able to estimate state-dependant survival and pair fidelity rates in the face of varying state-dependant recapture rates robustly, and more accurately, than the traditional method. In addition, this new modeling approach provides a statistically rigorous framework for testing hypothesis about the causes and consequences of fidelity to a partner for natural populations. The novel modeling approach described here can readily be applied, either in its current form or via extension, to other populations and other types of dyadic interactions (e.g., between nonpaired individuals, such as parent–offspring relationships, or between individuals and locations, such as nest-site fidelity).
Great tit; heterogeneous recapture rates; multievent mark–recapture modeling; survival
Because transplant experiments show that performance usually decreases across species range boundaries, some range limits might develop from factors and processes that prevent adaptation to stressful environments. Here, we determined whether an ecological cost of plant defense involving stress associated with changes in the local plant community may contribute to range limit development in the upland mustard species Boechera stricta. In a common garden experiment of 499 B. stricta plants, performance decreased and a multivariate axis of community structure increased across the boundary, indicating increased stress associated with the community change. There was also significant genetic variation (evolutionary potential) among marker-inferred inbred lines of B. stricta for tolerance to the stress; however, lines with high basal levels of glucosinolate toxins had lower tolerance to the change in community structure. We suggest that defense allocation, which is also needed across the range, may impede adaptation to the stress associated with the community change and thus contribute to range limit development.
Ecological defense costs; glucosinolates; plant community; range limits
To conserve habitat for disturbance specialist species, ecologists must identify where individuals will likely settle in newly disturbed areas. Habitat suitability models can predict which sites at new disturbances will most likely attract specialists. Without validation data from newly disturbed areas, however, the best approach for maximizing predictive accuracy can be unclear (Northwestern U.S.A.). We predicted habitat suitability for nesting Black-backed Woodpeckers (Picoides arcticus; a burned-forest specialist) at 20 recently (≤6 years postwildfire) burned locations in Montana using models calibrated with data from three locations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. We developed 8 models using three techniques (weighted logistic regression, Maxent, and Mahalanobis D2 models) and various combinations of four environmental variables describing burn severity, the north–south orientation of topographic slope, and prefire canopy cover. After translating model predictions into binary classifications (0 = low suitability to unsuitable, 1 = high to moderate suitability), we compiled “ensemble predictions,” consisting of the number of models (0–8) predicting any given site as highly suitable. The suitability status for 40% of the area burned by eastside Montana wildfires was consistent across models and therefore robust to uncertainty in the relative accuracy of particular models and in alternative ecological hypotheses they described. Ensemble predictions exhibited two desirable properties: (1) a positive relationship with apparent rates of nest occurrence at calibration locations and (2) declining model agreement outside surveyed environments consistent with our reduced confidence in novel (i.e., “no-analogue”) environments. Areas of disagreement among models suggested where future surveys could help validate and refine models for an improved understanding of Black-backed Woodpecker nesting habitat relationships. Ensemble predictions presented here can help guide managers attempting to balance salvage logging with habitat conservation in burned-forest landscapes where black-backed woodpecker nest location data are not immediately available. Ensemble modeling represents a promising tool for guiding conservation of large-scale disturbance specialists.
Black-backed Woodpeckers; forested habitat management; habitat suitability models; Mahalanobis D2 models; Maxent models; model prediction in no-analogue environments; Picoides arcticus; resource selection models; species distribution models; wildfire
Forestry is continually changing the habitats for many forest-dwelling species around the world. The grey-sided vole (Myodes rufocanus) has declined since the 1970s in forests of northern Sweden. Previous studies suggested that this might partly be caused by reduced focal forest patch size due to clear-cutting. Proximity and access to old pine forest and that microhabitats often contains stones have also been suggested previously but never been evaluated at multiple spatial scales. In a field study in 2010–2011 in northern Sweden, we investigated whether occurrence of grey-sided voles would be higher in (1) large focal patches of >60 years old forest, (2) in patches with high connectivity to surrounding patches, and (3) in patches in proximity to stone fields. We trapped animals in forest patches in two study areas (Västerbotten and Norrbotten). At each trap station, we surveyed structural microhabitat characteristics. Landscape-scale features were investigated using satellite-based forest data combined with geological maps. Unexpectedly, the vole was almost completely absent in Norrbotten. The trap sites in Norrbotten had a considerably lower amount of stone holes compared with sites with voles in Västerbotten. We suggest this might help to explain the absence in Norrbotten. In Västerbotten, the distance from forest patches with voles to stone fields was significantly shorter than from patches without voles. In addition, connectivity to surrounding patches and size of the focal forest patches was indeed related to the occurrence of grey-sided voles, with connectivity being the overall best predictor. Our results support previous findings on the importance of large forest patches, but also highlight the importance of connectivity for occurrence of grey-sided voles. The results further suggest that proximity to stone fields increase habitat quality of the forests for the vole and that the presence of stone fields enhances the voles' ability to move between nearby forest patches through the matrix.
Boreal forest; connectivity; conservation; forest patch size; grey-sided vole; Myodes; population ecology; small mammals; stone fields
Whether hybridization can be a mechanism that drives phenotypic diversity is a widely debated topic in evolutionary biology. In poison frogs (Dendrobatidae), assortative mating has been invoked to explain how new color morphs persist despite the expected homogenizing effects of natural selection. Here, we tested the complementary hypothesis that new morphs arise through hybridization between different color morphs. Specifically, we (1) reconstructed the phylogenetic relationships among the studied populations of a dart-poison frog to provide an evolutionary framework, (2) tested whether microsatellite allele frequencies of one putative hybrid population of the polymorphic frog O. histrionica are intermediate between O. histrionica and O. lehmanni, and (3) conducted mate-choice experiments to test whether putatively intermediate females prefer homotypic males over males from the other two populations. Our findings are compatible with a hybrid origin for the new morph and emphasize the possibility of hybridization as a mechanism generating variation in polymorphic species. Moreover, because coloration in poison frogs is aposematic and should be heavily constrained, our findings suggest that hybridization can produce phenotypic novelty even in systems where phenotypes are subject to strong stabilizing selection.
Admixture; aposematism; coloration; hybridization; microsatellites; phenotypic variation; phylogenetics; poison frogs
In polygynous species, variance in reproductive success is higher in males than females. There is consequently stronger selection for competitive traits in males and early growth can have a greater influence on later fitness in males than in females. As yet, little is known about sex differences in the effect of early growth on subsequent breeding success in species where variance in reproductive success is higher in females than males, and competitive traits are under stronger selection in females. Greater variance in reproductive success has been documented in several singular cooperative breeders. Here, we investigated consequences of early growth for later reproductive success in wild meerkats. We found that, despite the absence of dimorphism, females who exhibited faster growth until nutritional independence were more likely to become dominant, whereas early growth did not affect dominance acquisition in males. Among those individuals who attained dominance, there was no further influence of early growth on dominance tenure or lifetime reproductive success in males or females. These findings suggest that early growth effects on competitive abilities and fitness may reflect the intensity of intrasexual competition even in sexually monomorphic species.
Cooperative breeders; early development; female competition; reproductive success
The prey range of the invasive Asian paper wasp, Polistes chinensis antennalis, was studied using molecular diagnostics. Nests of paper wasps were collected from urban residential and salt marsh habitats, larvae were removed and dissected, and DNA in the gut of the paper wasp larvae was amplified and sequenced with cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI). Seventy percent of samples (211/299) yielded medium-to high-quality sequences, and prey identification was achieved using BLAST searches in BOLD. A total of 42 taxa were identified from 211 samples. Lepidoptera were the majority of prey, with 39 taxa from 91% of samples. Diptera was a relatively small component of prey (three taxa, 19 samples). Conclusive species-level identification of prey was possible for 67% of samples, and genus-level identification, for another 12% of samples. The composition of prey taken was different between the two habitats, with 2.5× more native prey species being taken in salt marsh compared with urban habitats. The results greatly extend the prey range of this invasive species. The technique is a more effective and efficient approach than relying on the collection of “prey balls”, or morphological identification of prey, for the study of paper wasps.
Asian paper wasp; diagnostics; diet; Polistes; predator
In plant species, control of flowering time is an important factor for adaptation to local natural environments. The Vrn1,
FT1 and CK2α genes are key components in the flowering-specific signaling pathway of grass species. Meadow fescue is an agronomically important forage grass species, which is naturally distributed across Europe and Western Asia. In this study, meadow fescue flowering-time-related genes were resequenced to assess nucleotide diversity in European and Western Asian subpopulations. Identified sequence polymorphisms were then converted into PCR-based molecular genetic markers, and a meadow fescue germplasm collection was genotyped to investigate global allelic variation. Lower nucleotide diversities were observed for the Vrn1 and CO orthologs, while relatively higher values were observed for the FT1 and casein kinase II α-subunit (CK2α) orthologs. The nucleotide diversity for FT1 orthologs in the Western Asian subpopulation was significantly higher than those of the European subpopulation. Similarly, significant differences in nucleotide diversity for the remaining genes were observed between several combinations of subpopulation. The global allele distribution pattern was consistent with observed level of nucleotide diversity. These results suggested that the degree of purifying selection acting on the genes differs according to geographical location. As previously shown for model plant species, functional specificities of flowering-time-related genes may also vary according to environmental conditions.
Casein kinase II α-subunit; CONSTANS (CO); FT1 (Vrn3); MADS-box (Vrn1); natural selection
Predators of parasites have recently gained attention as important parts of food webs and ecosystems. In aquatic systems, many taxa consume free-living stages of parasites, and can thus reduce parasite transmission to hosts. However, the importance of the functional and numerical responses of parasite predators to disease dynamics is not well understood. We collected host–parasite–predator cooccurrence data from the field, and then experimentally manipulated predator abundance, parasite abundance, and the presence of alternative prey to determine the consequences for parasite transmission. The parasite predator of interest was a ubiquitous symbiotic oligochaete of mollusks, Chaetogaster limnaei limnaei, which inhabits host shells and consumes larval trematode parasites. Predators exhibited a rapid numerical response, where predator populations increased or decreased by as much as 60% in just 5 days, depending on the parasite:predator ratio. Furthermore, snail infection decreased substantially with increasing parasite predator densities, where the highest predator densities reduced infection by up to 89%. Predators of parasites can play an important role in regulating parasite transmission, even when infection risk is high, and especially when predators can rapidly respond numerically to resource pulses. We suggest that these types of interactions might have cascading effects on entire disease systems, and emphasize the importance of considering disease dynamics at the community level.
Commensalism; community dynamics; disease ecology; host–parasite interactions; mutualism
Nest success is a critical determinant of the dynamics of avian populations, and nest survival modeling has played a key role in advancing avian ecology and management. Beginning with the development of daily nest survival models, and proceeding through subsequent extensions, the capacity for modeling the effects of hypothesized factors on nest survival has expanded greatly. We extend nest survival models further by introducing an approach to deal with incompletely observed, temporally varying covariates using a hierarchical model. Hierarchical modeling offers a way to separate process and observational components of demographic models to obtain estimates of the parameters of primary interest, and to evaluate structural effects of ecological and management interest. We built a hierarchical model for daily nest survival to analyze nest data from reintroduced whooping cranes (Grus americana) in the Eastern Migratory Population. This reintroduction effort has been beset by poor reproduction, apparently due primarily to nest abandonment by breeding birds. We used the model to assess support for the hypothesis that nest abandonment is caused by harassment from biting insects. We obtained indices of blood-feeding insect populations based on the spatially interpolated counts of insects captured in carbon dioxide traps. However, insect trapping was not conducted daily, and so we had incomplete information on a temporally variable covariate of interest. We therefore supplemented our nest survival model with a parallel model for estimating the values of the missing insect covariates. We used Bayesian model selection to identify the best predictors of daily nest survival. Our results suggest that the black fly Simulium annulus may be negatively affecting nest survival of reintroduced whooping cranes, with decreasing nest survival as abundance of S. annulus increases. The modeling framework we have developed will be applied in the future to a larger data set to evaluate the biting-insect hypothesis and other hypotheses for nesting failure in this reintroduced population; resulting inferences will support ongoing efforts to manage this population via an adaptive management approach. Wider application of our approach offers promise for modeling the effects of other temporally varying, but imperfectly observed covariates on nest survival, including the possibility of modeling temporally varying covariates collected from incubating adults.
Autoregressive model; Bayesian analysis; black fly; Culicidae; daily nest survival; dynamic occupancy; Grus americana; reintroduction; Simuliidae; Tabanidae; whooping crane
DNA sequence data from mitochondrial cytochrome-b (Cytb) and Y-linked structural maintenance of chromosomes (SmcY) genes were combined with 478 nuclear loci obtained from amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) to assess the extent of hybridization and genetic spatial structure of populations in two hybridizing species of ground squirrel (Ictidomys parvidens and Ictidomys tridecemlineatus). Based on AFLP analyses of 134 individuals from 28 populations, 10 populations were identified that possessed hybrid individuals. Overall estimates of FST values revealed strong support for population structure in the Cytb data set; however, analyses of the SmcY gene and the AFLP data indicated ongoing gene flow between species. Pairwise FST comparisons of populations were not significant for the SmcY gene; although they were significant for the Cytb gene, indicating that these populations were structured and that gene flow was minimal. Therefore, gene flow between I. parvidens and I. tridecemlineatus appeared to be restricted to populations that exhibited hybridization. In addition, the fragmented nature of the geographic landscape suggested limited gene flow between populations. As a result, the distributional pattern of interspersed parental and hybrid populations were compatible with a mosaic hybrid zone model. Because ground squirrels display female philopatry and male-biased dispersal, the ecology of these species is compatible with this hypothesis.
Amplified fragment length polymorphism; cytochrome-b; Ictidomys; mosaic hybrid zone; secondary contact; Y-linked structural maintenance of chromosomes
In subtropical China, large-scale phylogeographic comparisons among multiple sympatric plants with similar ecological preferences are scarce, making generalizations about common response to historical events necessarily tentative. A phylogeographic comparison of two sympatric Chinese beeches (Fagus lucida and F. longipetiolata, 21 and 28 populations, respectively) was conducted to test whether they have responded to historical events in a concerted fashion and to determine whether their phylogeographic structure is exclusively due to Quaternary events or it is also associated with pre-Quaternary events. Twenty-three haplotypes were recovered for F. lucida and F. longipetiolata (14 each one and five shared). Both species exhibited a species-specific mosaic distribution of haplotypes, with many of them being range-restricted and even private to populations. The two beeches had comparable total haplotype diversity but F. lucida had much higher within-population diversity than F. longipetiolata. Molecular dating showed that the time to most recent common ancestor of all haplotypes was 6.36 Ma, with most haplotypes differentiating during the Quaternary. [Correction added on 14 October 2013, after first online publication: the timeunit has been corrected to ‘6.36’.] Our results support a late Miocene origin and southwards colonization of Chinese beeches when the aridity in Central Asia intensified and the monsoon climate began to dominate the East Asia. During the Quaternary, long-term isolation in subtropical mountains of China coupled with limited gene flow would have lead to the current species-specific mosaic distribution of lineages.
atpI-atpH; chloroplast DNA; comparative phylogeography; Fagus longipetiolata; Fagus lucida; ndhJ-trnF; subtropical China
Within a metacommunity, both environmental and spatial processes regulate variation in local community structure. The strength of these processes may vary depending on species traits (e.g., dispersal mode) or the characteristics of the regions studied (e.g., spatial extent, environmental heterogeneity). We studied the metacommunity structuring of three groups of stream macroinvertebrates differing in their overland dispersal mode (passive dispersers with aquatic adults; passive dispersers with terrestrial adults; active dispersers with terrestrial adults). We predicted that environmental structuring should be more important for active dispersers, because of their better ability to track environmental variability, and that spatial structuring should be more important for species with aquatic adults, because of stronger dispersal limitation. We sampled a total of 70 stream riffle sites in three drainage basins. Environmental heterogeneity was unrelated to spatial extent among our study regions, allowing us to examine the effects of these two factors on metacommunity structuring. We used partial redundancy analysis and Moran's eigenvector maps based on overland and watercourse distances to study the relative importance of environmental control and spatial structuring. We found that, compared with environmental control, spatial structuring was generally negligible, and it did not vary according to our predictions. In general, active dispersers with terrestrial adults showed stronger environmental control than the two passively dispersing groups, suggesting that the species dispersing actively are better able to track environmental variability. There were no clear differences in the results based on watercourse and overland distances. The variability in metacommunity structuring among basins was not related to the differences in the environmental heterogeneity and spatial extent. Our study emphasized that (1) environmental control is prevailing in stream metacommunities, (2) dispersal mode may have an important effect on metacommunity structuring, and (3) some factors other than spatial extent or environmental heterogeneity contributed to the differences among the basins.
Active dispersal; aquatic macroinvertebrates; community structure; environmental filtering; headwater streams; Moran's eigenvector maps; partial redundancy analysis; passive dispersal; variation partitioning
Little is known about the natural history of the Sphaerodactylus species endemic to the three islands located in the Mona Passage separating the Greater Antillean islands of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. In this study, parts of two mitochondrial genes, 16S rRNA and 12S rRNA, were sequenced to determine the relationships between the sphaerodactylids that live in the Mona Passage and other Caribbean species from the same genus. While the main goal was to identify the biogeographical origin of these species, we also identified a genetically distinct type of dwarf gecko that warrants future evaluation as a possible new species. According to the reconstructed phylogenies, we propose a stepwise model of colonization wherein S. nicholsi from southwestern Puerto Rico or a very close ancestor gave rise through a founder event to Sphaerodactylus monensis on Mona Island. In a similar fashion, S. monensis or a very close ancestor on Mona Island gave rise to S. levinsi on Desecheo Island. This study also suggests that the most recent common ancestor between the species from the islands in the Mona Passage and Puerto Rico existed approximately 3 MYA.
Caribbean; Desecheo; island biogeography; Mona; mtDNA; Sphaerodactylus.
Some introduced populations thrive and evolve despite the presumed loss of diversity at introduction. We aimed to quantify the amount of genetic diversity retained at introduction in species that have shown evidence of adaptation to their introduced environments. Samples were taken from native and introduced ranges of Arctotheca populifolia and Petrorhagia nanteuilii. Using microsatellite data, we identified the source for each introduction, estimated genetic diversity in native and introduced populations, and calculated the amount of diversity retained in introduced populations. These values were compared to those from a literature review of diversity in native, confamilial populations and to estimates of genetic diversity retained at introduction. Gene diversity in the native range of both species was significantly lower than for confamilials. We found that, on average, introduced populations showing evidence of adaptation to their new environments retained 81% of the genetic diversity from the native range. Introduced populations of P. nanteuilii had higher genetic diversity than found in the native source populations, whereas introduced populations of A. populifolia retained only 14% of its native diversity in one introduction and 1% in another. Our literature review has shown that most introductions demonstrating adaptive ability have lost diversity upon introduction. The two species studied here had exceptionally low native range genetic diversity. Further, the two introductions of A. populifolia represent the largest percentage loss of genetic diversity in a species showing evidence of substantial morphological change in the introduced range. While high genetic diversity may increase the likelihood of invasion success, the species examined here adapted to their new environments with very little neutral genetic diversity. This finding suggests that even introductions founded by small numbers of individuals have the potential to become invasive.
Asteraceae; biological invasions; caryophyllaceae; genetic diversity; microsatellite; rapid evolution
Eyespots are conspicuous circular features found on the wings of several lepidopteran insects. Two prominent hypotheses have been put forth explaining their function in an antipredatory role. The deflection hypothesis posits that eyespots enhance survival in direct physical encounters with predators by deflecting attacks away from vital parts of the body, whereas the intimidation hypothesis posits that eyespots are advantageous by scaring away a potential predator before an attack. In the light of these two hypotheses, we investigated the evolution of eyespot size and its interaction with position and number within a phylogenetic context in a group of butterflies belonging to the genus Junonia. We found that larger eyespots tend to be found individually, rather than in serial dispositions. Larger size and conspicuousness make intimidating eyespots more effective, and thus, we suggest that our results support an intimidation function in some species of Junonia with solitary eyespots. Our results also show that smaller eyespots in Junonia are located closer to the wing margin, thus supporting predictions of the deflection hypothesis. The interplay between size, position, and arrangement of eyespots in relation to antipredation and possibly sexual selection, promises to be an interesting field of research in the future. Similarly, further comparative work on the evolution of absolute eyespot size in natural populations of other butterfly groups is needed.
Butterflies; deflection; eyespots; intimidation; Junonia; Junonia almana
A general understanding of the links between atmospheric CO2 concentration and the functioning of the terrestrial biosphere requires not only an understanding of plant trait responses to the ongoing transition to higher CO2 but also the legacy effects of past low CO2. An interesting question is whether the transition from current to higher CO2 can be thought of as a continuation of the past trajectory of low to current CO2 levels. Determining this trajectory requires quantifying the effect sizes of plant response to low CO2. We performed a meta-analysis of low CO2 growth experiments on 34 studies with 54 species. We quantified how plant traits vary at reduced CO2 levels and whether C3 versus C4 and woody versus herbaceous plant species respond differently. At low CO2, plant functioning changed drastically: on average across all species, a 50% reduction in current atmospheric CO2 reduced net photosynthesis by 38%; increased stomatal conductance by 60% and decreased intrinsic water use efficiency by 48%. Total plant dry biomass decreased by 47%, while specific leaf area increased by 17%. Plant types responded similarly: the only significant differences being no increase in SLA for C4 species and a 16% smaller decrease in biomass for woody C3 species at glacial CO2. Quantitative comparison of low CO2 effect sizes to those from high CO2 studies showed that the magnitude of response of stomatal conductance, water use efficiency and SLA to increased CO2 can be thought of as continued shifts along the same line. However, net photosynthesis and dry weight responses to low CO2 were greater in magnitude than to high CO2. Understanding the causes for this discrepancy can lead to a general understanding of the links between atmospheric CO2 and plant responses with relevance for both the past and the future.
CO2; glacial; growth; meta-analysis; photosynthesis; plant traits; subambient CO2
Trophically polymorphic species could represent lineages that are rapidly diverging along an ecological axis or could phenotypically mark the collapse of species through introgressive hybridization. We investigated patterns of introgression between the trophically polymorphic cichlid fish Herichthys minckleyi and its relative H. cyanoguttatus using a combination of population genetics and species tree analyses. We first examined the distribution of mitochondrial haplotypes within the alternative H. minckleyi pharyngeal jaw morphotypes that are endemic to the small desert valley of Cuatro Ciénegas. We recovered two clusters of mitochondrial haplotypes. The first contained a number of slightly differentiated cytochrome b (cytb) haplotypes that showed some phylogeographic signal and were present in both jaw morphotypes. The other haplotype was monomorphic, highly differentiated from the other cluster, present in equal frequencies in the morphotypes, and identical to H. cyanoguttatus haplotypes found outside Cuatro Ciénegas. Then, we investigated whether H. minckleyi individuals with the H. cyanoguttatus cytb were more evolutionarily similar to H. cyanoguttatus or other H. minckleyi using a species tree analysis of 84 nuclear loci. Both H. minckleyi pharyngeal morphotypes, regardless of their cytb haplotype, were quite distinct from H. cyanoguttatus. However, hybridization could be blurring subdivision within H. minckleyi as the alternative jaw morphotypes were not genetically distinct from one another. Accounting for introgression from H. cyanoguttatus will be essential to understand the evolution of the trophically polymorphic cichlid H. minckleyi.
Gene flow; Mexico; pharyngeal jaw; trophic adaptation
Zooplankton are an important link between primary producers and fish. Therefore, it is crucial to address their responses when predicting effects of climate change on pelagic ecosystems. For realistic community-level predictions, several biotic and abiotic climate-related variables should be examined in combination. We studied the combined effects of ocean acidification and global warming predicted for year 2100 with toxic cyanobacteria on the calanoid copepod, Acartia bifilosa. Acidification together with higher temperature reduced copepod antioxidant capacity. Higher temperature also decreased egg viability, nauplii development, and oxidative status. Exposure to cyanobacteria and its toxin had a negative effect on egg production but, a positive effect on oxidative status and egg viability, giving no net effects on viable egg production. Additionally, nauplii development was enhanced by the presence of cyanobacteria, which partially alleviated the otherwise negative effects of increased temperature and decreased pH on the copepod recruitment. The interactive effects of temperature, acidification, and cyanobacteria on copepods highlight the importance of testing combined effects of climate-related factors when predicting biological responses.
antioxidant capacity; copepod egg production; hatching success; nauplii development; ocean acidification; oxidative stress; toxic algae; warming
In the past decade, the study of dispersal of marine organisms has shifted from focusing predominantly on the larval stage to a recent interest in adult movement. Antitropical distributions provide a unique system to assess vagility and dispersal. In this study, we have focused on an antitropical wrasse genus, Semicossyphus, which includes the California sheephead, S. pulcher, and Darwin's sheephead, S. darwini. Using a phylogenetic approach based on mitochondrial and nuclear markers, and a population genetic approach based on mitochondrial control region sequences and 10 microsatellite loci, we compared the phylogenetic relationships of these two species, as well as the population genetic characteristics within S. pulcher. While S. pulcher and S. darwini are found in the temperate eastern Pacific regions of the northern and southern hemispheres, respectively, their genetic divergence was very small (estimated to have occurred between 200 and 600 kya). Within S. pulcher, genetic structuring was generally weak, especially along mainland California, but showed weak differentiation between Sea of Cortez and California, and between mainland California and Channel Islands. We highlight the congruence of weak genetic differentiation both within and between species and discuss possible causes for maintenance of high gene flow. In particular, we argue that deep and cooler water refugia are used as stepping stones to connect distant populations, resulting in low levels of genetic differentiation.
Antitropicality; microsatellites; Semicossyphus; sheephead wrasse; speciation; stepping stones