- Biodiversität und Klima Forschungszentrum (BiK-F) (65)
Risikovorsorge im chemischen Pflanzenschutz : wie sich Anwendungsinteressen und Schutzanforderungen in Einklang bringen lassen
Population dynamics and genetic changes of Picea abies in the South Carpathians revealed by pollen and ancient DNA analyses
Enikö K. Magyari
- Background: Studies on allele length polymorphism designate several glacial refugia for Norway spruce (Picea abies) in the South Carpathian Mountains, but infer only limited expansion from these refugia after the last glaciation. To better understand the genetic dynamics of a South Carpathian spruce lineage, we compared ancient DNA from 10,700 and 11,000-year-old spruce pollen and macrofossils retrieved from Holocene lake sediment in the Retezat Mountains with DNA extracted from extant material from the same site. We used eight primer pairs that amplified short and variable regions of the spruce cpDNA. In addition, from the same lake sediment we obtained a 15,000-years-long pollen accumulation rate (PAR) record for spruce that helped us to infer changes in population size at this site. Results: We obtained successful amplifications for Norway spruce from 17 out of 462 pollen grains tested, while the macrofossil material provided 22 DNA sequences. Two fossil sequences were found to be unique to the ancient material. Population genetic statistics showed higher genetic diversity in the ancient individuals compared to the extant ones. Similarly, statistically significant Ks and Kst values showed a considerable level of differentiation between extant and ancient populations at the same loci. Lateglacial and Holocene PAR values suggested that population size of the ancient population was small, in the range of 1/10 or 1/5 of the extant population. PAR analysis also detected two periods of rapid population growths (from ca. 11,100 and 3900 calibrated years before present (cal yr BP)) and three bottlenecks (around 9180, 7200 and 2200 cal yr BP), likely triggered by climatic change and human impact. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the paternal lineages observed today in the Retezat Mountains persisted at this site at least since the early Holocene. Combination of the results from the genetic and the PAR analyses furthermore suggests that the higher level of genetic variation found in the ancient populations and the loss of ancient allele types detected in the extant individuals were likely due to the repeated bottlenecks during the Holocene. This study demonstrates how past population size changes inferred from PAR records can be efficiently used in combination with ancient DNA studies. The joint application of palaeoecological and population genetic analyses proved to be a powerful tool to understand the influence of past population demographic changes on the haplotype diversity and genetic composition of forest tree species.
Snake bite in South Asia: a review
Sanjib Kumar Sharma
Himmatrao Saluba Bawaskar
- Snake bite is one of the most neglected public health issues in poor rural communities living in the tropics. Because of serious misreporting, the true worldwide burden of snake bite is not known. South Asia is the world's most heavily affected region, due to its high population density, widespread agricultural activities, numerous venomous snake species and lack of functional snake bite control programs. Despite increasing knowledge of snake venoms' composition and mode of action, good understanding of clinical features of envenoming and sufficient production of antivenom by Indian manufacturers, snake bite management remains unsatisfactory in this region. Field diagnostic tests for snake species identification do not exist and treatment mainly relies on the administration of antivenoms that do not cover all of the important venomous snakes of the region. Care-givers need better training and supervision, and national guidelines should be fed by evidence-based data generated by well-designed research studies. Poorly informed rural populations often apply inappropriate first-aid measures and vital time is lost before the victim is transported to a treatment centre, where cost of treatment can constitute an additional hurdle. The deficiency of snake bite management in South Asia is multi-causal and requires joint collaborative efforts from researchers, antivenom manufacturers, policy makers, public health authorities and international funders.
A genomic approach to examine the complex evolution of laurasiatherian mammals
Björn M. Hallström
- Recent phylogenomic studies have failed to conclusively resolve certain branches of the placental mammalian tree, despite the evolutionary analysis of genomic data from 32 species. Previous analyses of single genes and retroposon insertion data yielded support for different phylogenetic scenarios for the most basal divergences. The results indicated that some mammalian divergences were best interpreted not as a single bifurcating tree, but as an evolutionary network. In these studies the relationships among some orders of the super-clade Laurasiatheria were poorly supported, albeit not studied in detail. Therefore, 4775 protein-coding genes (6,196,263 nucleotides) were collected and aligned in order to analyze the evolution of this clade. Additionally, over 200,000 introns were screened in silico, resulting in 32 phylogenetically informative long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE) insertion events.
The present study shows that the genome evolution of Laurasiatheria may best be understood as an evolutionary network. Thus, contrary to the common expectation to resolve major evolutionary events as a bifurcating tree, genome analyses unveil complex speciation processes even in deep mammalian divergences. We exemplify this on a subset of 1159 suitable genes that have individual histories, most likely due to incomplete lineage sorting or introgression, processes that can make the genealogy of mammalian genomes complex.
These unexpected results have major implications for the understanding of evolution in general, because the evolution of even some higher level taxa such as mammalian orders may sometimes not be interpreted as a simple bifurcating pattern.
Molecular phylogeny of the acanthocephala (class palaeacanthocephala) with a paraphyletic assemblage of the orders polymorphida and echinorhynchida
Harry W. Palm
- Acanthocephalans are attractive candidates as model organisms for studying the ecology and co-evolutionary history of parasitic life cycles in the marine ecosystem. Adding to earlier molecular analyses of this taxon, a total of 36 acanthocephalans belonging to the classes Archiacanthocephala (3 species), Eoacanthocephala (3 species), Palaeacanthocephala (29 species), Polyacanthocephala (1 species) and Rotifera as outgroup (3 species) were analyzed by using Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of nuclear 18S rDNA sequence. This data set included three re-collected and six newly collected taxa, Bolbosoma vasculosum from Lepturacanthus savala, Filisoma rizalinum from Scatophagus argus, Rhadinorhynchus pristis from Gempylus serpens, R. lintoni from Selar crumenophthalmus, Serrasentis sagittifer from Johnius coitor, and Southwellina hispida from Epinephelus coioides, representing 5 new host and 3 new locality records. The resulting trees suggest a paraphyletic arrangement of the Echinorhynchida and Polymorphida inside the Palaeacanthocephala. This questions the placement of the genera Serrasentis and Gorgorhynchoides within the Echinorhynchida and not the Polymorphida, necessitating further insights into the systematic position of these taxa based on morphology.
Adaptive radiation within marine anisakid nematodes: a zoogeographical modeling of cosmopolitan, zoonotic parasites
- Parasites of the nematode genus Anisakis are associated with aquatic organisms. They can be found in a variety of marine hosts including whales, crustaceans, fish and cephalopods and are known to be the cause of the zoonotic disease anisakiasis, a painful inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract caused by the accidental consumptions of infectious larvae raw or semi-raw fishery products. Since the demand on fish as dietary protein source and the export rates of seafood products in general is rapidly increasing worldwide, the knowledge about the distribution of potential foodborne human pathogens in seafood is of major significance for human health. Studies have provided evidence that a few Anisakis species can cause clinical symptoms in humans. The aim of our study was to interpolate the species range for every described Anisakis species on the basis of the existing occurrence data. We used sequence data of 373 Anisakis larvae from 30 different hosts worldwide and previously published molecular data (n = 584) from 53 field-specific publications to model the species range of Anisakis spp., using a interpolation method that combines aspects of the alpha hull interpolation algorithm as well as the conditional interpolation approach. The results of our approach strongly indicate the existence of species-specific distribution patterns of Anisakis spp. within different climate zones and oceans that are in principle congruent with those of their respective final hosts. Our results support preceding studies that propose anisakid nematodes as useful biological indicators for their final host distribution and abundance as they closely follow the trophic relationships among their successive hosts. The modeling might although be helpful for predicting the likelihood of infection in order to reduce the risk of anisakiasis cases in a given area.
Forest fragmentation and selective logging have inconsistent effects on multiple animal-mediated ecosystem processes in a tropical forest
Marcell K. Peters
Wolfram M. Freund
Mary Wanjiku Gikungu
Francisco Hita Garcia
Godfrey Hurbby Kagezi
Clas M. Naumann
J. Wolfgang Wägele
- Forest fragmentation and selective logging are two main drivers of global environmental change and modify biodiversity and environmental conditions in many tropical forests. The consequences of these changes for the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems have rarely been explored in a comprehensive approach. In a Kenyan rainforest, we studied six animal-mediated ecosystem processes and recorded species richness and community composition of all animal taxa involved in these processes. We used linear models and a formal meta-analysis to test whether forest fragmentation and selective logging affected ecosystem processes and biodiversity and used structural equation models to disentangle direct from biodiversity-related indirect effects of human disturbance on multiple ecosystem processes. Fragmentation increased decomposition and reduced antbird predation, while selective logging consistently increased pollination, seed dispersal and army-ant raiding. Fragmentation modified species richness or community composition of five taxa, whereas selective logging did not affect any component of biodiversity. Changes in the abundance of functionally important species were related to lower predation by antbirds and higher decomposition rates in small forest fragments. The positive effects of selective logging on bee pollination, bird seed dispersal and army-ant raiding were direct, i.e. not related to changes in biodiversity, and were probably due to behavioural changes of these highly mobile animal taxa. We conclude that animal-mediated ecosystem processes respond in distinct ways to different types of human disturbance in Kakamega Forest. Our findings suggest that forest fragmentation affects ecosystem processes indirectly by changes in biodiversity, whereas selective logging influences processes directly by modifying local environmental conditions and resource distributions. The positive to neutral effects of selective logging on ecosystem processes show that the functionality of tropical forests can be maintained in moderately disturbed forest fragments. Conservation concepts for tropical forests should thus include not only remaining pristine forests but also functionally viable forest remnants.
Alpine crossroads or origin of genetic diversity? : Comparative phylogeography of two sympatric microgastropod species
Alexander M. Weigand
- The Alpine Region, constituting the Alps and the Dinaric Alps, has played a major role in the formation of current patterns of biodiversity either as a contact zone of postglacial expanding lineages or as the origin of genetic diversity. In our study, we tested these hypotheses for two widespread, sympatric microgastropod taxa - Carychium minimum O.F. Müller, 1774 and Carychium tridentatum (Risso, 1826) (Gastropoda, Eupulmonata, Carychiidae) - by using COI sequence data and species potential distribution models analyzed in a statistical phylogeographical framework. Additionally, we examined disjunct transatlantic populations of those taxa from the Azores and North America. In general, both Carychium taxa demonstrate a genetic structure composed of several differentiated haplotype lineages most likely resulting from allopatric diversification in isolated refugial areas during the Pleistocene glacial periods. However, the genetic structure of Carychium minimum is more pronounced, which can be attributed to ecological constraints relating to habitat proximity to permanent bodies of water. For most of the Carychium lineages, the broader Alpine Region was identified as the likely origin of genetic diversity. Several lineages are endemic to the broader Alpine Region whereas a single lineage per species underwent a postglacial expansion to (re)colonize previously unsuitable habitats, e.g. in Northern Europe. The source populations of those expanding lineages can be traced back to the Eastern and Western Alps. Consequently, we identify the Alpine Region as a significant 'hot-spot' for the formation of genetic diversity within European Carychium lineages. Passive dispersal via anthropogenic means best explains the presence of transatlantic European Carychium populations on the Azores and in North America. We conclude that passive (anthropogenic) transport could mislead the interpretation of observed phylogeographical patterns in general.
Spatial variations of nitrogen trace gas emissions from tropical mountain forests in Nyungwe, Rwanda
Nasrin Gharahi Ghehi
Landry Cizungu Ntaboba
Jean Jacques Mbonigaba Muhinda
Eric Van Ranst
- Globally, tropical forest soils represent the second largest source of N2O and NO. However, there is still considerable uncertainty on the spatial variability and soil properties controlling N trace gas emission. To investigate how soil properties affect N2O and NO emission, we carried out an incubation experiment with soils from 31 locations in the Nyungwe tropical mountain forest in southwestern Rwanda. All soils were incubated at three different moisture levels (50, 70 and 90% water filled pore space (WFPS)) at 17 °C. Nitrous oxide emission varied between 4.5 and 400 μg N m−2 h−1, while NO emission varied from 6.6 to 265 μg N m−2 h−1. Mean N2O emission at different moisture levels was 46.5 ± 11.1 (50% WFPS), 71.7 ± 11.5 (70% WFPS) and 98.8 ± 16.4 (90% WFPS) μg N m−2 h−1, while mean NO emission was 69.3 ± 9.3 (50% WFPS), 47.1 ± 5.8 (70% WFPS) and 36.1 ± 4.2 (90% WFPS) μg N m−2 h−1. The latter suggests that climate (i.e. dry vs. wet season) controls N2O and NO emissions. Positive correlations with soil carbon and nitrogen indicate a biological control over N2O and NO production. But interestingly N2O and NO emissions also showed a negative correlation (only N2O) with soil pH and a positive correlation with free iron. The latter suggest that chemo-denitrification might, at least for N2O, be an important production pathway. In conclusion improved understanding and process based modeling of N trace gas emission from tropical forests will not only benefit from better spatial explicit trace gas emission and basic soil property monitoring, but also by differentiating between biological and chemical pathways for N trace gas formation.
Impact of carnivory on human development and evolution revealed by a new unifying model of weaning in mammals
- Our large brain, long life span and high fertility are key elements of human evolutionary success and are often thought to have evolved in interplay with tool use, carnivory and hunting. However, the specific impact of carnivory on human evolution, life history and development remains controversial. Here we show in quantitative terms that dietary profile is a key factor influencing time to weaning across a wide taxonomic range of mammals, including humans. In a model encompassing a total of 67 species and genera from 12 mammalian orders, adult brain mass and two dichotomous variables reflecting species differences regarding limb biomechanics and dietary profile, accounted for 75.5%, 10.3% and 3.4% of variance in time to weaning, respectively, together capturing 89.2% of total variance. Crucially, carnivory predicted the time point of early weaning in humans with remarkable precision, yielding a prediction error of less than 5% with a sample of forty-six human natural fertility societies as reference. Hence, carnivory appears to provide both a necessary and sufficient explanation as to why humans wean so much earlier than the great apes. While early weaning is regarded as essentially differentiating the genus Homo from the great apes, its timing seems to be determined by the same limited set of factors in humans as in mammals in general, despite some 90 million years of evolution. Our analysis emphasizes the high degree of similarity of relative time scales in mammalian development and life history across 67 genera from 12 mammalian orders and shows that the impact of carnivory on time to weaning in humans is quantifiable, and critical. Since early weaning yields shorter interbirth intervals and higher rates of reproduction, with profound effects on population dynamics, our findings highlight the emergence of carnivory as a process fundamentally determining human evolution.