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24 Feb 2021 at 01:41
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Bibliography on: Invasive Species


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 24 Feb 2021 at 01:41 Created: 

Invasive Species

Standard Definition: Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Although that definition allows a logical possibility that some species might be non-native and harmless, most of time it seems that invasive species and really bad critter (or weed) that should be eradicated are seen as equivalent phrases. But, there is a big conceptual problem with that notion: every species in every ecosystem started out in that ecosystem as an invader. If there were no invasive species, all of Hawaii would be nothing but bare volcanic rock. Without an invasion of species onto land, there would be no terrestrial ecosystems at all. For the entire history of life on Earth, the biosphere has responded to perturbation and to opportunity with evolutionary innovation and with physical movement. While one may raise economic or aesthetic arguments against invasive species, it is impossible to make such an argument on scientific grounds. Species movement — the occurrence of invasive species — is the way the biosphere responds to perturbation. One might even argue that species movement is the primary, short-term "healing" mechanism employed by the biosphere to respond to perturbation — to "damage." As with any healing process, the short-term effect may be aesthetically unappealing (who thinks scabs are appealing?), but the long-term effects can be glorious.

Created with PubMed® Query: "invasive species" OR "invasion biology" OR "alien species" OR "introduced species" NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2021-02-23

Mantoani MC, BA Osborne (2021)

Alien plant introductions and greenhouse gas emissions: Insights from Gunnera tinctoria invasions.

The Science of the total environment, 775:145861 pii:S0048-9697(21)00928-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Plant invasions represent a major global change in land/vegetation cover with the potential to significantly modify greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. To get a better understanding of the impacts of terrestrial invasive plants on soil GHG emissions we report, firstly, on experiments conducted on invasive populations of the N-fixing herbaceous species Gunnera tinctoria in Ireland, and secondly, compare our results with published information based on a systematic review of the literature. For G. tinctoria populations, there was a >50% reduction in soil CO2 emissions, mainly due to a reduction in autotrophic respiration, but with little impact on annual N2O or CH4 budgets. One year after the removal of G. tinctoria, soil GHG emissions returned to values comparable to uninvaded areas and this was associated with the reestablishment of the vegetation and an increased root biomass per unit area. If G. tinctoria covered 10% of abandoned agricultural land in Ireland, this could be associated with a reduction of approximately 8% (or 4.988 Mt CO2eq y-1) of the country's national CO2 emissions. Comparisons of these results with literature values were difficult because of the often low and limited sampling effort of previous investigations, a failure to assess all three major GHGs and because of marked seasonal variations. We found 46 studies that documented results for 16 species. From the studies that measured soil respiration, it was enhanced in only 45% of cases, questioning the assumption that invasive plants always increase soil CO2 emissions. In 25 cases that analysed methane, CH4 emissions increased in 76% of them, but all of these were conducted in wetlands. In only two cases were N-fixing species associated with enhanced N2O emissions. Our results argue for more detailed and comprehensive assessments of the effect of plant invasions on GHG emissions and their global impact.

RevDate: 2021-02-23

Bonk M, R Bobrek (2021)

Does river channelization increase the abundance of invasive crayfish? Survey of Faxonius limosus in small Central European streams.

Environmental science and pollution research international [Epub ahead of print].

The aim of this study was to assess whether regulated river reaches show higher numbers of the spiny cheek crayfish Faxonius limosus, a common freshwater invader in Europe. Man-made alterations of riverine habitats may increase their susceptibility to biological invasions. This phenomenon is commonly studied in the context of dam reservoirs; however, the impact of river channelization and the resulting riverine habitat homogenization on the success of invasive species are mostly lacking. Surveys were conducted in natural and channelised river stretches in five rivers of south-central Poland. General linear mixed model analysis showed that crayfish abundance is usually higher at sites located within regulated reaches. The likely reason for the detected differences in abundance of crayfish may be related to decreased food-web complexity and lack of predators in a homogenised habitat. The results suggest that the channelization of small watercourses may increase the abundance of invasive species F. limosus and its pressure on native European crayfish. However, due to limited data obtained in field, our study should be considered as a pilot one.

RevDate: 2021-02-23

Pless E, Saarman NP, Powell JR, et al (2021)

A machine-learning approach to map landscape connectivity in Aedes aegypti with genetic and environmental data.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(9):.

Mapping landscape connectivity is important for controlling invasive species and disease vectors. Current landscape genetics methods are often constrained by the subjectivity of creating resistance surfaces and the difficulty of working with interacting and correlated environmental variables. To overcome these constraints, we combine the advantages of a machine-learning framework and an iterative optimization process to develop a method for integrating genetic and environmental (e.g., climate, land cover, human infrastructure) data. We validate and demonstrate this method for the Aedes aegypti mosquito, an invasive species and the primary vector of dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and Zika. We test two contrasting metrics to approximate genetic distance and find Cavalli-Sforza-Edwards distance (CSE) performs better than linearized FST The correlation (R) between the model's predicted genetic distance and actual distance is 0.83. We produce a map of genetic connectivity for Ae. aegypti's range in North America and discuss which environmental and anthropogenic variables are most important for predicting gene flow, especially in the context of vector control.

RevDate: 2021-02-23
CmpDate: 2021-02-23

Agha SB, Alvarez M, Becker M, et al (2020)

Invasive Alien Plants in Africa and the Potential Emergence of Mosquito-Borne Arboviral Diseases-A Review and Research Outlook.

Viruses, 13(1):.

The emergence of arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) as linked to land-use changes, especially the growing agricultural intensification and expansion efforts in rural parts of Africa, is of growing health concern. This places an additional burden on health systems as drugs, vaccines, and effective vector-control measures against arboviruses and their vectors remain lacking. An integrated One Health approach holds potential in the control and prevention of arboviruses. Land-use changes favour invasion by invasive alien plants (IAPs) and investigating their impact on mosquito populations may offer a new dimension to our understanding of arbovirus emergence. Of prime importance to understand is how IAPs influence mosquito life-history traits and how this may affect transmission of arboviruses to mammalian hosts, questions that we are exploring in this review. Potential effects of IAPs may be significant, including supporting the proliferation of immature and adult stages of mosquito vectors, providing additional nutrition and suitable microhabitats, and a possible interaction between ingested secondary plant metabolites and arboviruses. We conclude that aspects of vector biology are differentially affected by individual IAPs and that while some plants may have the potential to indirectly increase the risk of transmission of certain arboviruses by their direct interaction with the vectors, the reverse holds for other IAPs. In addition, we highlight priority research areas to improve our understanding of the potential health impacts of IAPs.

RevDate: 2021-02-23
CmpDate: 2021-02-23

Montesinos D, RM Callaway (2020)

Soil origin corresponds with variation in growth of an invasive Centaurea, but not of non-invasive congeners.

Ecology, 101(10):e03141.

Why only a small proportion of exotic species become invasive is an unresolved question. Escape from the negative effects of soil biota in the native range can be important for the success of many invasives, but comparative effects of soil biota on less successful exotic species are poorly understood. Studies of other mechanisms suggest that such comparisons might be fruitful. Seeds of three closely related Centaurea species with overlapping distributions in both their native range of Spain and their nonnative range of California were grown to maturity in pots to obtain an F1 generation of full sibling seeds with reduced maternal effects. Full sibling F1 seeds from both ranges were subsequently grown in pots with inoculations of soil from either the native or nonnative ranges in a fully orthogonal factorial design. We then compared plant biomass among species, regions, and soil sources. Our results indicate that escape from soil pathogens may unleash the highly invasive Centaurea solstitialis, which was suppressed by native Spanish soils but not by soils from California. In contrast, the two non-invasive Centaurea species grew the same on all soils. These results add unprecedented phylogenetically controlled insight into why some species invade and others do not.

RevDate: 2021-02-23
CmpDate: 2021-02-23

Gomez DF, Skelton J, De María M, et al (2020)

Influence of Temperature and Precipitation Anomaly on the Seasonal Emergence of Invasive Bark Beetles in Subtropical South America.

Neotropical entomology, 49(3):347-352.

Several invasive bark beetle species have caused major economic and ecological losses in South America. Accurate predictions of beetle emergence times will make control efforts more efficient and effective. To determine whether bark beetle emergence can be predicted by season, temperature, or precipitation, we analyzed trapping records for three introduced pest species of bark beetles in Uruguay. We used trigonometric functions as seasonal predictors in generalized linear models to account for purely seasonal effects, while testing for effects of temperature and precipitation. Results show that all three beetle species had strong but unique seasonal emergence patterns and responded differently to temperature and precipitation. Cyrtogenius luteus (Blandford) emerged in summer and increased with precipitation but was not affected by temperature. Hylurgus ligniperda (Fabricius) emerged in winter and increased with temperature but was not affected by precipitation. Orthotomicus erosus (Wollaston) had a primary emergence in spring, and a smaller emergence in early summer, but showed no significant relationship with temperature or precipitation. This study shows that the emergence of these bark beetle species in Uruguay is influenced by seasonality more than by temperature and precipitation fluctuations. It also shows how seasonality can be easily incorporated into models to make more accurate predictions about pest population dynamics.

RevDate: 2021-02-22

Braga MDA, Paiva SV, Gurjão LM, et al (2021)

Retirement risks: Invasive coral on old oil platform on the Brazilian equatorial continental shelf.

Marine pollution bulletin, 165:112156 pii:S0025-326X(21)00190-9 [Epub ahead of print].

The objective of this study was to report, for the first time, the presence of an invasive coral (Tubastraea tagusensis) in an oil platform on the Brazilian equatorial continental shelf. This structure is located more than 1200 km north from other oil and gas structures colonized by this coral. We also discussed the retirement and decommissioning of old biofouling-encrusted oil and gas platforms (~62 platforms) from decreased production and the current oil crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This presents an ecological concern due invasive coral range expansion and potential impacts to poorly studied ecosystems such as marginal shallow-water coral reefs and mesophotic ecosystems. It is imperative that mindful risk analysis and rigorous environmental studies must precede the installation of new oil and gas platforms. In addition, decommissioning of retired structures should take into consideration marine restoration and non-indigenous species dispersal, and more specifically, Tubastraea bioinvasion.

RevDate: 2021-02-22

Devegili AM, Lescano MN, Gianoli E, et al (2021)

Evidence of indirect biotic resistance: native ants decrease invasive plant fitness by enhancing aphid infestation.

Oecologia [Epub ahead of print].

The biotic resistance hypothesis asserts that native species may hinder the invasion of exotic species, which can occur either directly or indirectly by influencing interactions between exotic and local species. Aphid-tending ants may play a key role in the indirect biotic resistance to plant invasion. Ants may protect aphids, thus increasing their negative effect on exotic plants, but may also deter chewing herbivores, thus benefiting exotic plants. We studied native aphid-tending ants (Dorymyrmex tener, Camponotus distinguendus, and Dorymyrmex richteri) on exotic nodding thistles (Carduus thoermeri), which are attacked by thistle aphids (Brachycaudus cardui) and thistle-head weevils (Rhinocyllus conicus). We evaluated the impact of ants, aphids, and weevils on thistle seed set. We compared ant species aggressiveness towards aphid predators and weevils and performed ant-exclusion experiments to determine the effects of ants on aphid predators and weevils. We analysed whether ant species affected thistle seed set through their effects on aphids and/or weevils. The ant D. tener showed the most aggressive behaviour towards aphid predators and weevils. Further, D. tener successfully removed aphid predators from thistles but did not affect weevils. Excluding D. tener from thistles increased seed set. Analyses supported a negative indirect pathway between the aggressive D. tener and thistle seed set through aphid populations, while the other ant species showed no indirect effects on thistle reproduction. Therefore, aggressive aphid-tending ants may enhance biotic resistance by increasing aphid infestation on exotic invasive plants. This study highlights the importance of indirect biotic resistance in modulating the success of invasive species.

RevDate: 2021-02-22

Dweck HK, Talross GJ, Wang W, et al (2021)

Evolutionary shifts in taste coding in the fruit pest Drosophila suzukii.

eLife, 10: pii:64317.

Although most Drosophila species lay eggs in overripe fruit, the agricultural pest Drosophila suzukii lays eggs in ripe fruit. We found that changes in bitter taste perception have accompanied this adaptation. We show that bitter-sensing mutants of Drosophila melanogaster undergo a shift in egg laying preference toward ripe fruit. D. suzukii has lost 20% of the bitter-sensing sensilla from the labellum, the major taste organ of the head. Physiological responses to various bitter compounds are lost. Responses to strawberry purées are lost from two classes of taste sensilla. Egg laying is not deterred by bitter compounds that deter other species. Profiling of labellar transcriptomes reveals reduced expression of several bitter Gr genes (gustatory receptors). These findings support a model in which bitter compounds in early ripening stages deter egg laying in most Drosophila species, but a loss of bitter response contributes to the adaptation of D. suzukii to ripe fruit.

RevDate: 2021-02-22

Pettit L, Brown GP, Ward-Fear G, et al (2021)

Anthropogenically modified habitats favor bigger and bolder lizards.

Ecology and evolution, 11(4):1586-1597 pii:ECE37124.

Anthropogenic activities often create distinctive but discontinuously distributed habitat patches with abundant food but high risk of predation. Such sites can be most effectively utilized by individuals with specific behaviors and morphologies. Thus, a widespread species that contains a diversity of sizes and behavioral types may be pre-adapted to exploiting such hotspots. In eastern Australia, the giant (to >2 m) lizard Varanus varius (lace monitor) utilizes both disturbed (campground) and undisturbed (bushland) habitats. Our surveys of 27 sites show that lizards found in campgrounds tended to be larger and bolder than those in adjacent bushland. This divergence became even more marked after the arrival of a toxic invasive species (the cane toad, Rhinella marina) caused high mortality in larger and bolder lizards. Some of the behavioral divergences between campground and bushland lizards may be secondary consequences of differences in body size, but other habitat-associated divergences in behavior are due to habituation and/or nonrandom mortality.

RevDate: 2021-02-22

Young RG, Milián-García Y, Yu J, et al (2021)

Biosurveillance for invasive insect pest species using an environmental DNA metabarcoding approach and a high salt trap collection fluid.

Ecology and evolution, 11(4):1558-1569 pii:ECE37113.

With the increase in global trade and warming patterns, the movement, introduction, and establishment of non-native insect species has increased. A rapid and effective early detection biosurveillance program to identify species of concern is needed to reduce future impacts and costs associated with introduced non-native species. One of the challenges facing insect surveillance trapping methods is the sheer volume of individual specimens in the collections. Although molecular identification methods are improving, they currently have limitations (e.g., destructive processing of specimens) and a protocol addressing these limitations can support regulatory applications that need morphological evidence to corroborate molecular data.The novel protocol presented here uses a metabarcoding approach to amplify environmental DNA from a saturated salt solution trap fluid, which retains trap specimens for downstream morphological identifications. The use of a saturated salt solution to preserve specimens in traps addresses issues with the high evaporation rate of ethanol in traps, and public safety concerns with other fluid preservation options with unattended traps in public settings.Using a metabarcoding approach, a 407-nucleotide segment of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) animal barcode region was successfully amplified from Lindgren funnel trap collection fluids. These traps were placed in forested areas to survey for wood-boring beetles of regulatory concern. Our results displayed successful amplification of target taxa, including the molecular identification of the Japanese Beetle Popillia japonica, a species regulated in Canada. A second species, Anisandrus maiche, recently introduced to North America, was identified in every trap. The genus Lymantria, which contains numerous species of concern to North American woodlands, was also detected. Also, there were six other species identified of interest due to their potential impacts on native and crop flora and fauna.Our results show how this protocol can be used as an efficient method for the surveillance of insects using a trap with a saturated salt solution and eDNA metabarcoding to detect species of regulatory concern.

RevDate: 2021-02-20

Vimercati G, Kruger N, J Secondi (2021)

Land cover, individual's age and spatial sorting shape landscape resistance in the invasive frog Xenopus laevis.

The Journal of animal ecology [Epub ahead of print].

The description of functional connectivity is based on the quantification of landscape resistance, which represents species-specific movement costs across landscape features. Connectivity models use these costs to identify movement corridors at both individual and population levels and provide management recommendations for populations of conservation interest. Typically, resistance costs assigned to specific land cover types are assumed to be valid for all individuals of the population. Little attention has been paid to intraspecific variation in resistance costs due to age or dispersal syndrome, which may significantly affect model predictions. We quantified resistance costs in an expanding invasive population of the African clawed frog Xenopus laevis in Western France. In this principally aquatic amphibian, juveniles, sub-adults and adults disperse overland. The enhancement of dispersal traits via spatial sorting has been also observed at the range periphery of the population. Resistance costs, and thus connectivity, might vary as a function of life stage and position within the invaded range. We assessed multiple dimensions of functional connectivity. On various land cover types, we measured locomotion, as crossing speed, in different post-metamorphic age classes, and dehydration, sensitivity of locomotion to dehydration, and substrate preference in juveniles. We also tested the effect of the position in the invaded range (core vs. periphery) on individual performances. In juveniles, general trends toward higher resistance costs on grass and lower resistance costs on bare soil and asphalt were observed, although not all experiments provided the same cost configurations. Resistance to locomotion varied between age classes, with adults and subadults facing lower costs than juveniles, particularly when crossing structurally complex land cover types like grass and leaf litter. The position in the range had a minor effect on landscape resistance, and only in the dehydration experiment, where water loss in juveniles was lower at the range periphery. Depicting functional connectivity requires: i) assessing multiple dimensions of behavioural and physiological challenges faced by animals during movement; ii) considering factors, such as age and dispersal syndrome, that may affect movement at both individual and population level. Ignoring this complexity might generate unreliable connectivity models and provide unsupported management recommendations for conservation.

RevDate: 2021-02-20

Bennett JM, Sunday J, Calosi P, et al (2021)

The evolution of critical thermal limits of life on Earth.

Nature communications, 12(1):1198.

Understanding how species' thermal limits have evolved across the tree of life is central to predicting species' responses to climate change. Here, using experimentally-derived estimates of thermal tolerance limits for over 2000 terrestrial and aquatic species, we show that most of the variation in thermal tolerance can be attributed to a combination of adaptation to current climatic extremes, and the existence of evolutionary 'attractors' that reflect either boundaries or optima in thermal tolerance limits. Our results also reveal deep-time climate legacies in ectotherms, whereby orders that originated in cold paleoclimates have presently lower cold tolerance limits than those with warm thermal ancestry. Conversely, heat tolerance appears unrelated to climate ancestry. Cold tolerance has evolved more quickly than heat tolerance in endotherms and ectotherms. If the past tempo of evolution for upper thermal limits continues, adaptive responses in thermal limits will have limited potential to rescue the large majority of species given the unprecedented rate of contemporary climate change.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Mata L, Andersen AN, Morán-Ordóñez A, et al (2021)

Indigenous plants promote insect biodiversity in urban greenspaces.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

The contribution of urban greenspaces to support biodiversity and provide benefits for people is increasingly recognised. However, ongoing management practices favour vegetation oversimplification - often limiting greenspaces to lawns and tree canopy rather than multi-layered vegetation that includes under- and midstorey - and the use of nonnative species. These practices hinder the potential of greenspaces to sustain indigenous biodiversity, particularly for taxa like insects, that rely on plants for food and habitat. Yet, little is known about which plant species may maximise positive outcomes for taxonomically and functionally diverse insect communities in greenspaces. Additionally, while cities are expected to experience high rates of introductions, quantitative assessments of the relative occupancy of indigenous vs. introduced insect species in greenspace are rare - hindering understanding of how management may promote indigenous biodiversity while limiting the establishment of introduced insects. Using a hierarchically replicated study design across 15 public parks, we recorded occurrence data from 552 insect species on 133 plant species - differing in planting design element (lawn, midstorey and tree canopy), midstorey growth form (forbs, lilioids, graminoids and shrubs) and origin (nonnative, native and indigenous) - to assess: (1) the relative contributions of indigenous and introduced insect species; and (2) which plant species sustained the highest number of indigenous insects. We found that the insect community was overwhelmingly composed of indigenous rather than introduced species. Our findings further highlight the core role of multi-layered vegetation in sustaining high insect biodiversity in urban areas, with indigenous midstorey and canopy representing key elements to maintain rich and functionally diverse indigenous insect communities. Intriguingly, graminoids supported the highest indigenous insect richness across all studied growth forms by plant origin groups. Our work highlights the opportunity presented by indigenous understory and midstorey plants - particularly indigenous graminoids - in our study area to promote indigenous insect biodiversity in urban greenspaces. Our study provides a blueprint and stimulus for architects, engineers, developers, designers, and planners to incorporate into their practice plant species palettes that foster a larger presence of indigenous over regionally native or nonnative plant species, whilst incorporating a broader mixture of midstorey growth forms.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Flanagan BA, Krueger-Hadfield SA, Murren CJ, et al (2021)

Founder effects shape linkage disequilibrium and genomic diversity of a partially clonal invader.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

The genomic variation of an invasive species may be affected by complex demographic histories and evolutionary changes during the invasion. Here, we describe the relative influence of bottlenecks, clonality, and population expansion in determining genomic variability of the widespread red macroalga Agarophyton vermiculophyllum. Its introduction from mainland Japan to the estuaries of North America and Europe coincided with shifts from predominantly sexual to partially clonal reproduction and rapid adaptive evolution. A survey of 62,285 SNPs for 351 individuals from 35 populations, aligned to 24 chromosome-length scaffolds indicate that linkage disequilibrium (LD), observed heterozygosity (Ho), Tajima's D, and nucleotide diversity (Pi) were greater among non-native than native populations. Evolutionary simulations indicate LD and Tajima's D were consistent with a severe population bottleneck. Also, the increased rate of clonal reproduction in the non-native range could not have produced the observed patterns by itself but may have magnified the bottleneck effect on LD. Elevated marker diversity in the genetic source populations could have contributed to the increased Ho and Pi observed in the non-native range. We refined the previous invasion source region to a ~50km section of northeastern Honshu Island. Outlier detection methods failed to reveal any consistently differentiated loci shared among invaded regions, likely because of the complex A. vermiculophyllum demographic history. Our results reinforce the importance of demographic history, specifically founder effects, in driving genomic variation of invasive populations, even when localized adaptive evolution and reproductive system shifts are observed.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Simón-Porcar VI, Silva JL, M Vallejo-Marín (2021)

Rapid local adaptation in both sexual and asexual invasive populations of monkeyflowers (Mimulus spp.).

Annals of botany pii:6144755 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Traditionally, local adaptation has been seen as the outcome of a long evolutionary history, particularly with regard to sexual lineages. By contrast, phenotypic plasticity has been thought to be most important during the initial stages of population establishment and in asexual species. We evaluated the roles of adaptive evolution and phenotypic plasticity in the invasive success of two closely related species of invasive monkeyflowers (Mimulus) in the UK that have contrasting reproductive strategies: M. guttatus combines sexual (seeds) and asexual (clonal growth) reproduction while M. × robertsii is entirely asexual.

METHODS: We compared the clonality (number of stolons), floral and vegetative phenotype, and phenotypic plasticity of native (M. guttatus) and invasive (M. guttatus and M. × robertsii) populations grown in controlled environment chambers under the environmental conditions at each latitudinal extreme of the UK. The goal was to discern the roles of temperature and photoperiod on the expression of phenotypic traits. Next, we tested the existence of local adaptation in the two species within the invasive range with a reciprocal transplant experiment at two field sites in the latitudinal extremes of the UK, and analysed which phenotypic traits underlie potential local fitness advantages in each species.

KEY RESULTS: Populations of M. guttatus in the UK showed local adaptation through sexual function (fruit production), while M. × robertsii showed local adaptation via asexual function (stolon production). Phenotypic selection analyses revealed that different traits are associated with fitness in each species. Invasive and native populations of M. guttatus had similar phenotypic plasticity and clonality. M. × robertsii presents greater plasticity and clonality than native M. guttatus, but most populations have restricted clonality under the warm conditions of the south of the UK.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides experimental evidence of local adaptation in a strictly asexual invasive species with high clonality and phenotypic plasticity. This indicates that even asexual taxa can rapidly (<200 years) adapt to novel environmental conditions in which alternative strategies may not ensure the persistence of populations.

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Gladstone NS, Niemiller ML, Hutchins B, et al (2021)

Subterranean Freshwater Gastropod Biodiversity and Conservation in North America.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology [Epub ahead of print].

Many taxonomic groups have successfully exploited groundwater environments and adapted to a subterranean (stygobiotic) existence. Among these groups are freshwater gastropods (stygosnails), which represent a widespread and taxonomically diverse component of groundwater ecosystems in the United States and Mexico; no stygosnails are known from Canada. North American stygosnails have convergently evolved a miniaturized body plan compared to their surface relatives and have independently colonized a variety of groundwater habitats ranging from cave passages to deep, human-inaccessible aquifers. Owing to sampling difficulty and lack of targeted study, stygosnails remain among the most understudied of all subterranean groups. Compared to their surface relatives, of which over 75% are already considered threatened in North America, stygosnails may face additional stressors. As currently understood, most stygosnails exhibit extreme narrow-range endemism, resulting in a high risk of extinction from a single catastrophic event, particularly when combined with increasingly modified underground habitats. Anthropogenically-driven changes to surface environments have led to changes in local hydrology and degradation of groundwater systems through increased sedimentation, introduction of invasive species, groundwater extraction, and/or physical collapse of water-bearing passages. Consequently, 32 of the 39 described North American stygosnail species have been assessed as imperiled under NatureServe criteria, and 10 species have been assessed as threatened under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria. Although imperilment rates of stygosnails and above-ground freshwater snails in North America are similar, stygosnail conservation is uniquely hindered by difficulties associated with accessing subterranean habitats for monitoring and active management. Furthermore, only three species are afforded federal protection in either U.S. or Mexico, and current law regulating water pollution may be inadequate for protecting stygosnail habitats. Here, we review the biology of stygosnails in North America and discuss conservation needs and policy considerations that will aid in their protection. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-02-18

Majure LC, Barrios D, Díaz E, et al (2021)

Pleistocene aridification underlies the evolutionary history of the Caribbean endemic, insular, giant Consolea (Opuntioideae).

American journal of botany [Epub ahead of print].

PREMISE: The Caribbean islands are in the top five biodiversity hotspots on the planet; however, the biogeographic history of the seasonally dry tropical forest (SDTF) there is poorly studied. Consolea consists of nine species of dioecious, hummingbird-pollinated tree cacti endemic to the West Indies, which form a conspicuous element of the SDTF. Several species are threatened by anthropogenic disturbance, disease, sea-level rise, and invasive species and are of conservation concern. However, no comprehensive phylogeny yet exists for the clade.

METHODS: We reconstructed the phylogeny of Consolea, sampling all species using plastomic data to determine relationships, understand the evolution of key morphological characters, and test their biogeographic history. We estimated divergence times to determine the role climate change may have played in shaping the current diversity of the clade.

RESULTS: Consolea appears to have evolved very recently during the latter part of the Pleistocene on Cuba/Hispaniola likely from a South American ancestor and, from there, moved into the Bahamas, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Florida, and the Lesser Antilles. The tree growth form is a synapomorphy of Consolea and likely aided in the establishment and diversification of the clade.

CONCLUSIONS: Pleistocene aridification associated with glaciation likely played a role in shaping the current diversity of Consolea, and insular gigantism may have been a key innovation leading to the success of these species to invade the often-dense SDTF. This in-situ Caribbean radiation provides a window into the generation of species diversity and the complexity of the SDTF community within the Antilles.

RevDate: 2021-02-19

Marohomsalic JS, Macas Nuñeza O, Michalski M, et al (2021)

Alien and native tree species having extrafloral nectaries as favorite hunting area for arboreal endemic Philippine tiger beetles (Coleoptera: Cicindelidae) in human-disturbed habitat in Lanao del Sur Province, Mindanao, Philippines.

Ecology and evolution, 11(3):1093-1099.

To document a relation between abundance of arboreal, predatory tiger beetles, their ant prey, and extrafloral nectaries attracting the ants, we gathered data from more than 10 species of native and introduced trees and large, tree-like perennial plants in Lanao del Sur Province, Mindanao, Philippines. All specimens of tiger beetles (two Tricondyla and two Neocollyris species, all endemic to the country) were noted on five tree species characterized by presence of extrafloral nectaries, including three alien/invasive and two native ones. Invasive Spathodea campanulata and native Hibiscus tiliaceus were the most inhabited ones (respectively, 56% and 19% of beetles). Presence of tiger beetles on these trees most probably depends on high abundance of ants, which are typical prey for arboreal Cicindelidae, while occurrence of ants can result from presence of extrafloral nectaries on different parts of the plants. This suggests a new mutualistic insect-plant interaction between native and invasive species.

RevDate: 2021-02-19
CmpDate: 2021-02-19

Landy JA, Oschmann A, Munch SB, et al (2020)

Ancestral genetic variation in phenotypic plasticity underlies rapid evolutionary changes in resurrected populations of waterfleas.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(51):32535-32544.

The role of phenotypic plasticity in adaptive evolution has been debated for decades. This is because the strength of natural selection is dependent on the direction and magnitude of phenotypic responses to environmental signals. Therefore, the connection between plasticity and adaptation will depend on the patterns of plasticity harbored by ancestral populations before a change in the environment. Yet few studies have directly assessed ancestral variation in plasticity and tracked phenotypic changes over time. Here we resurrected historic propagules of Daphnia spanning multiple species and lakes in Wisconsin following the invasion and proliferation of a novel predator (spiny waterflea, Bythotrephes longimanus). This approach revealed extensive genetic variation in predator-induced plasticity in ancestral populations of Daphnia It is unlikely that the standing patterns of plasticity shielded Daphnia from selection to permit long-term coexistence with a novel predator. Instead, this variation in plasticity provided the raw materials for Bythotrephes-mediated selection to drive rapid shifts in Daphnia behavior and life history. Surprisingly, there was little evidence for the evolution of trait plasticity as genetic variation in plasticity was maintained in the face of a novel predator. Such results provide insight into the link between plasticity and adaptation and highlight the importance of quantifying genetic variation in plasticity when evaluating the drivers of evolutionary change in the wild.

RevDate: 2021-02-18
CmpDate: 2021-02-18

Yang AL, Chen L, Fang K, et al (2021)

Remotididymella ageratinae sp. nov. and Remotididymella anemophila sp. nov., two novel species isolated from the invasive weed Ageratina adenophora in PR China.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 71(1):.

To determine if Ageratina adenophora can accumulate diverse pathogens from surrounding native plants, we intensively sampled fungal communities, including endophytes, leaf spot pathogens and canopy air fungi, associated with Ag. adenophora as well as native plants in its invasive range. In total, we collected 4542 foliar fungal strains from 10 geographic sites, including 1340 from healthy leaves of Ag. adenophora, 2051 from leaf spots of Ag. adenophora and 1151 from leaf spots of 56 species of native plants and crops. Taxonomically, the common fungal genera included Colletotrichum, Diaporthe, Alternaria, Nemania, Xylaria, Neofusicoccum, Nigrospora, Epicoccum, Gibberella, Pestalotiopsis, Irpex, Schizophyllum and Clonostachys. We also isolated the cultivable fungi from 12 air samples collected from six areas in Yunnan Province, PR China. Among the total of 1255 air fungal isolates, the most common genera were Cladosporium, Trichoderma and Epicoccum. Among them, two new Remotididymella species, Remotididymella ageratinae from leaf spot of Ag. adenophora and Remotididymella anemophila from canopy air of Ag. adenophora were found. The two species showed both asexual and sexual reproductive structures. The conidia of R. ageratinae and R. anemophila are larger than those of R. anthropophila and R. destructiva. The size of ascospores of R. ageratinae and R. anemophila also differ from R. bauhiniae. Phylogenetic analysis of the combined ITS, LSU rRNA, rpb2 and tub2 sequences showed that R. ageratinae and R. anemophila each formed a distinct clade, separated from all species previously described in Remotididymella and confirmed them as new species belonging to Remotididymella. Full descriptions of R. ageratinae and R. anemophila are provided in this study.

RevDate: 2021-02-16
CmpDate: 2021-02-16

Raick X, Huby A, Kurchevski G, et al (2020)

Yellow-eyed piranhas produce louder sounds than red-eyed piranhas in an invasive population of Serrasalmus marginatus.

Journal of fish biology, 97(6):1676-1680.

Serrasalmus marginatus is a piranha species native from the lower Paraná River basin and has been invasive in the upper Paraná River basin since the 1980s. In piranhas, sounds of different species have different features. The aim of this study was to investigate if the sounds produced by this species could be used to distinguish two morphotypes: red- and yellow-eyed S. marginatus from the Araguari River (upper Paraná River basin). All the temporal and frequency features of the sounds were equivalent in both groups of eye colour; it corresponds to the species-specific signature described for S. marginatus. Nonetheless, the amplitude features were all statistically different between red- and yellow-eyed piranhas. Yellow-eyed specimens produced louder sounds. In different fish species, colour change in eyes can be due to the absence or the presence of a dominant allele. It can also be involved in social rank or during reproduction. Different hormones and neuropeptides can modulate vocal features. It is hypothesized that a mutation or different hormonal concentrations could explain both sound amplitude and eye colour playing a role in animal communication in S. marginatus.

RevDate: 2021-02-18
CmpDate: 2021-02-18

Liu D, Chen L, Chen C, et al (2020)

Full-length transcriptome analysis of Phytolacca americana and its congener P. icosandra and gene expression normalization in three Phytolaccaceae species.

BMC plant biology, 20(1):396.

BACKGROUND: Phytolaccaceae species in China are not only ornamental plants but also perennial herbs that are closely related to human health. However, both large-scale full-length cDNA sequencing and reference gene validation of Phytolaccaceae members are still lacking. Therefore, single-molecule real-time sequencing technology was employed to generate full-length transcriptome in invasive Phytolacca americana and non-invasive exotic P. icosandra. Based on the transcriptome data, RT-qPCR was employed to evaluate the gene expression stability in the two plant species and another indigenous congener P. acinosa.

RESULTS: Total of 19.96 Gb and 19.75 Gb clean reads of P. americana and P. icosandra were generated, including 200,857 and 208,865 full length non-chimeric (FLNC) reads, respectively. Transcript clustering analysis of FLNC reads identified 89,082 and 98,448 consensus isoforms, including 86,989 and 96,764 high-quality ones. After removing redundant reads, 46,369 and 50,220 transcripts were obtained. Based on structure analysis, total 1675 and 1908 alternative splicing variants, 25,641 and 31,800 simple sequence repeats (SSR) as well as 34,971 and 36,841 complete coding sequences were detected separately. Furthermore, 3574 and 3833 lncRNA were predicted and 41,676 and 45,050 transcripts were annotated respectively. Subsequently, seven reference genes in the two plant species and a native species P. acinosa were selected and evaluated by RT-qPCR for gene expression analysis. When tested in different tissues (leaves, stems, roots and flowers), 18S rRNA showed the highest stability in P. americana, whether infested by Spodoptera litura or not. EF2 had the most stable expression in P. icosandra, while EF1-α was the most appropriate one when attacked by S. litura. EF1-α showed the highest stability in P.acinosa, whereas GAPDH was recommended when infested by S. litura. Moreover, EF1-α was the most stable one among the three plant species whenever germinating seeds or flowers only were considered.

CONCLUSION: Full-length transcriptome of P. americana and P. icosandra were produced individually. Based on the transcriptome data, the expression stability of seven candidate reference genes under different experimental conditions was evaluated. These results would facilitate further exploration of functional and comparative genomic studies in Phytolaccaceae and provide insights into invasion success of P. americana.

RevDate: 2021-02-18
CmpDate: 2021-02-18

Šubrtová Salmonová H, Marchi M, Doskočil I, et al (2020)

Pathogenic profile and cytotoxic activity of Aeromonas spp. isolated from Pectinatella magnifica and surrounding water in the South Bohemian aquaculture region.

Journal of fish diseases, 43(10):1213-1227.

Pectinatella magnifica is an invasive freshwater bryozoan that has expanded in many localities worldwide, including fishing areas. It contains microbial communities, predominantly consisting of Aeromonas bacteria that are frequently associated with fish infections. The objective of this study was to investigate the potential pathogenicity of Aeromonas spp. associated with P. magnifica and evaluate the health risks for fish. Aeromonas strains were isolated from P. magnifica (101 strains) and from surrounding water (29 strains) in the South Bohemian region and investigated for the presence of 14 virulence-associated genes using PCR. We demonstrated high prevalence of phospholipase GCAT, polar flagellin, enolase, DNAse, aerolysin/cytotoxic enterotoxin, serine protease and heat-stable cytotonic enterotoxin-coding genes. Further, all twelve isolates that were analysed for cytotoxicity against intestinal epithelial cells were found to be cytotoxic. Six of the isolates were also tested as co-cultures composed of pairs. Enhanced cytotoxicity was observed when the pair was composed of strains from different species. In conclusion, P. magnifica is colonized by Aeromonas strains that have a relatively high prevalence of virulence-associated genes and the ability to provoke disease. Results also suggest a possibly increased risk arising from mixed infections.

RevDate: 2021-02-17

Rendall AR, Sutherland DR, Baker CM, et al (2021)

Managing ecosystems in a sea of uncertainty: invasive species management and assisted colonizations.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

Managing ecosystems in the face of complex species interactions, and the associated uncertainty, presents a considerable ecological challenge. Altering those interactions via actions such as invasive species management or conservation translocations can result in unintended consequences, supporting the need to be able to make more informed decisions in the face of this uncertainty. We demonstrate the utility of ecosystem models to reduce uncertainty and inform future ecosystem management. We use Phillip Island, Australia, as a case study to investigate the impacts of two invasive species management options and consider whether a critically endangered mammal is likely to establish a population in the presence of invasive species. Qualitative models are used to determine the effects of apex predator removal (feral cats) and invasive prey removal (rabbits, rats, and mice). We extend this approach using Ensemble Ecosystem Models to consider how suppression, rather than eradication influences the species community; and consider whether an introduction of the critically endangered eastern barred bandicoot is likely to be successful in the presence of invasive species. Our analysis revealed the potential for unintended outcomes associated with feral cat control operations, with rats and rabbits expected to increase in abundance. A strategy based on managing prey species appeared to have the most ecosystem-wide benefits, with rodent control showing more favourable responses than a rabbit control strategy. Eastern barred bandicoots were predicted to persist under all feral cat control levels (including no-control). Managing ecosystems is a complex and imprecise process. However, Qualitative Modelling and Ensemble Ecosystem Modelling address uncertainty and are capable of improving and optimising management practices. Our analysis shows that the best conservation outcomes may not always be associated with the top -down control of apex predators, and land managers should think more broadly in relation to managing bottom-up processes as well. Challenges faced in continuing to conserve biodiversity mean new, bolder, conservation actions are needed. We suggest that endangered species are capable of surviving in the presence of feral cats, potentially opening the door for more conservation translocations.

RevDate: 2021-02-17

Hougardy E, BN Hogg (2021)

Host Patch Use and Potential Competitive Interactions Between Two Egg Parasitoids From the Family Scelionidae, Candidate Biological Control Agents of Bagrada hilaris (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae).

Journal of economic entomology pii:6141179 [Epub ahead of print].

Two egg parasitoids from Pakistan, Gryon sp. nr. gonikopalense Sharma (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) and Trissolcus hyalinipennis Rajmohana & Narendran (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), are currently being investigated as potential classical biocontrol agents for Bagrada hilaris Burmeister. The former is the most promising because of its ability to attack B. hilaris eggs in soil, but the latter was recently discovered in California. This study detailed the patch use and oviposition behavior of both species and assessed their relative foraging efficiency. We also investigated possible competitive interactions by assessing 1) the occurrence of intra- and interspecific host discrimination, 2) mutual interference between females (extrinsic competition), 3) the outcome of multiparasitism (intrinsic competition), and 4) the effect of competition on host suppression. Our results showed that T. hyalinipennis females tended to probe repeatedly in the same hosts leading to longer host patch time and lower foraging efficiency. Both species avoided conspecific superparasitism, but not multiparasitism. When the two species foraged simultaneously, G. sp. nr. gonikopalense seemed to be slightly superior in extrinsic competition, while neither species seemed to have an advantage in intrinsic competition. Also, neither species could develop as a facultative hyperparasitoid, but they inflicted non-reproductive mortality on eggs containing 4-d-old larvae of their competitor. Lastly, host mortality inflicted by G. sp. nr. gonikopalense and T. hyalinipennis when acting together appeared to be additive. These results suggest that the presence of T. hyalinipennis in California is unlikely to reduce G. sp. nr. gonikopalense efficiency, but will instead improve the biological control of B. hilaris.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

De-la-Torre GE, Rakib MRJ, Pizarro-Ortega CI, et al (2021)

Occurrence of personal protective equipment (PPE) associated with the COVID-19 pandemic along the coast of Lima, Peru.

The Science of the total environment, 774:145774 pii:S0048-9697(21)00841-X [Epub ahead of print].

The use and disposal of face masks, gloves, face shields, and other types of personal protective equipment (PPE) have increased dramatically due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Many governments enforce the use of PPE as an efficient and inexpensive way to reduce the transmission of the virus. However, this may pose a new challenge to solid waste management and exacerbate plastic pollution. The aim of the present study was to report the occurrence and distribution of COVID-19-associated PPE along the coast of the overpopulated city of Lima, Peru, and determine the influence of the activities carried out in each study site. In general terms, 138 PPE items were found in 11 beaches during 12 sampling weeks. The density was in the range of 0 to 7.44 × 10-4 PPE m-2. Microplastic release, colonization of invasive species, and entanglement or ingestion by apex predators are some of the potential threats identified. Recreational beaches were the most polluted sites, followed by surfing, and fishing sites. This may be because recreational beaches are many times overcrowded by beachgoers. Additionally, most of the PPE was found to be discarded by beachgoers rather than washed ashore. The lack of environmental awareness, education, and coastal mismanagement may pose a threat to the marine environment through marine litter and plastic pollution. Significant efforts are required to shift towards a sustainable solid waste management. Novel alternatives involve redesigning masks based on degradable plastics and recycling PPE by obtaining liquid fuels through pyrolysis.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

Bolton LG, Piñero JC, BA Barrett (2021)

Olfactory Cues From Host- and Non-host Plant Odor Influence the Behavioral Responses of Adult Drosophila suzukii (Diptera: Drosophilidae) to Visual Cues.

Environmental entomology pii:6137786 [Epub ahead of print].

While trapping methods for Drosophila suzukii Matsumura (Diptera: Drosophilidae) have typically relied on fermentation volatiles alone or in association with a visual stimulus, the relative contribution of visual and olfactory stimuli to the food- and host-seeking behavior of D. suzukii is poorly understood. This study quantified the type of response exhibited by male and female D. suzukii to color and the effects that volatiles (fermentation, fresh fruit, and leaf) exert on the outcome. Seven-, four- and two-choice assays were used to quantify interactions between visual and olfactory cues. When no volatiles were present in a seven-choice assay, D. suzukii preferred red, black, and green pigments. Black and red were preferred when yeast odors were present, and black alone was the most attractive color when blueberry odor was present. A strawberry leaf terpenoid, β-cyclocitral, seemed to have overridden the flies' response to color. In four-choice assays, blueberry odor was more likely to interact synergistically with color than yeast or β-cyclocitral. This study demonstrates that D. suzukii modulates the response to multimodal sensory modalities (vision and olfaction) depending, to some extent, on the type of olfactory stimuli. Our findings also provide insight into the relative importance of vision as a function of odor quality in this invasive species.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

Barnes EE, Usborne R, Stone A, et al (2021)

Lessons From a 10-yr Invasive Species Webinar Program: Emerald Ash Borer University.

Environmental entomology pii:6137805 [Epub ahead of print].

Information about invasive species needs to be spread rapidly across a wide geographic area following an invasion. However, in-person events can be time-consuming and costly for the participants, organizers, and presenters. Online programming like webinars can bridge this gap, but there is limited published data on how best to run these programs. We report on a 10-yr webinar program, Emerald Ash Borer University, and offer suggestions for improving their effectiveness as a communication tool. Webinar participants viewed the webinars positively and undertook recommended management actions. In addition, most of our survey respondents extended the reach of this program by widely sharing the information from the webinars. Posting the webinars on popular streaming platforms greatly extended their reach long after the live viewing event. Despite their longevity, viewers of recorded videos watched them differently than those viewing live events. We suggest modifying the format of future webinar presentations to accommodate these differences to improve information transfer.

RevDate: 2021-02-16

Rosana ARR, Pokorny S, Klutsch JG, et al (2021)

Selection of entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana (Deuteromycotina: Hyphomycetes) for the biocontrol of Dendroctonus ponderosae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Scolytinae) in Western Canada.

Applied microbiology and biotechnology [Epub ahead of print].

The mountain pine beetle, Dendroctonus ponderosae, has infested over ~16 Mha of pine forests in British Columbia killing >50% of mature lodgepole pine, Pinus contorta, trees in affected stands. At present, it is functionally an invasive species in Alberta, killing and reproducing in evolutionarily naïve populations of lodgepole pine (P. contorta), novel jack pine (P. banksiana), and their hybrids. The entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana has shown some potential as a biocontrol agent of several bark beetle species. In this study, nine isolates of B. bassiana were examined for insect virulence characteristics, including conidiation rate, pigmentation, and infection rate in laboratory-reared D. ponderosae, to assess for their potential as biocontrol agents. The strains were categorized into three phenotypic groups based on pigmentation, conidial density, and myceliation rate. Virulence screening utilizing insect-based agar medium (D. ponderosae and European honeybee Apis mellifera carcasses) revealed no difference in selection of fungal growth. However, infection studies on D. ponderosae and A. mellifera showed contrasting results. In vivo A. mellifera infection model revealed ~5% mortality, representing the natural death rate of the hive population, whereas laboratory-reared D. ponderosae showed 100% mortality and mycosis. The LT50 (median lethal time 50) ranges from 2 to 5 ± 0.33 days, and LT100 ranges from 4 to 6 ± 0.5 days. We discuss the selective advantages of the three phenotypic groups in terms of virulence, pigmentation, conidial abundance, and tolerance to abiotic factors like UV and host tree monoterpenes. These results can further provide insights into the development of several phenotypically diverse B. bassiana strains in controlling the spread of the invasive D. ponderosae in Western Canada. KEY POINTS: • Three B. bassiana morphotype groups have been demonstrated to kill D. ponderosae. • A range of effective lethal times (LT50 and LT100) was established against D. ponderosae. • Variable tolerance to UV light and pine monoterpenes were observed in B. bassiana.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Zhang L, Hua Y, S Wei (2021)

High Genetic Diversity of an Invasive Alien Species: Comparison between Fur-Farmed and Feral American Mink (Neovison vison) in China.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(2): pii:ani11020472.

Genetic characteristics play an important role in alien species for achieving high adaptation and rapid evolution in a new environment. The American mink (Neovison vison) is one of the best-known and most widespread invasive species that has successfully invaded the Eurasian mainland over quite a short period, including most parts of northeastern China. However, genetic information on farmed and feral American mink populations introduced in China is completely lacking. In this study, we combined mitochondrial DNA sequences and polymorphic microsatellites to examine the genetic divergence and genetic diversity of farmed and feral American mink populations. Our results suggest that there is admixture of individuals of different genetic characteristics between farmed and feral populations of mink. Furthermore, the genetic diversity of both farmed and feral American mink populations was high, and no bottleneck or population expansion was detected in most of the populations. These findings not only highlight the genetic characteristics of American mink in northeastern China but also contribute to the general understanding of the invasiveness of farmed species.

RevDate: 2021-02-16
CmpDate: 2021-02-16

Popkin G (2021)

Dismay greets end of U.S. effort to curb devastating forest pest.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 371(6525):111-112.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Gagne RB, Crooks K, Craft ME, et al (2021)

Parasites as conservation tools.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology [Epub ahead of print].

Parasite success is typically dependent upon a close relationship with one or more hosts; therefore, attributes of parasitic infection have the potential to provide indirect details of host natural history and are biologically relevant to animal conservation. Characterization of parasite infections has been useful in delineating host populations and has served as a proxy for assessment of environmental quality. In other cases, the utility of parasites is just being explored, for example as indicators of host connectivity. Here, we outline how innovative studies of parasite biology can provide information to manage major conservation threats, including overexploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation, invasive species, and climate change. Article Impact statement: Studies of parasites provide insights for conservation of animals threatened by overexploitation, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Chen X, Liu W, Pennings SC, et al (2021)

Plasticity and selection drive hump-shaped latitudinal patterns of flowering phenology in an invasive intertidal plant.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Patterns of flowering phenology can affect the success of plant invasions, especially when introduced species spread across a wide range of latitude into different climatic conditions. We combined a 4-year field survey and a 3-year common garden experiment with the invasive grass Spartina alterniflora that is now widespread along the coast of China to document the latitudinal pattern of flowering phenology, determine if phenology was related to climate or oceanographic variables, and determine whether phenology patterns were fixed versus plastic. In the field, first flowering day displayed a hump-shaped relationship with latitude, with low- and high-latitude plants flowering 100 days and 10 days earlier than plants at middle latitudes, respectively. Peak flowering day showed a similar hump-shaped relationship with latitude, with the interval between first and peak flowering day decreasing with increasing latitude. First flowering day had a hump-shaped relationship with annual growing-degree days but a linear positive relationship with tidal range. In the common garden, first flowering day decreased linearly with increasing latitude of origin, as did peak flowering day, and the interval between first and peak flowering day increased with increasing latitude. First flowering day in the common garden had weak or no relationships with abiotic variables at the sites of origin. In both the field and common garden, first flowering day was later in site-years for which plants were taller. These results indicate a high degree of plasticity in flowering phenology, with plants flowering later in the field at sites with intermediate temperatures and high tide ranges. Common garden results indicate some selection for earlier flowering at sites with low temperatures, consistent with a shorter growing season. Consistent with life-history theory, plants flowered later under conditions favoring vigorous growth. Earlier flowering and smaller size of plants at high and low latitudes suggests that S. alterniflora has already occupied much of the geographic range favorable for it on the East Coast of Asia.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Scolari F, Sandionigi A, Carlassara M, et al (2021)

Exploring Changes in the Microbiota of Aedes albopictus: Comparison Among Breeding Site Water, Larvae, and Adults.

Frontiers in microbiology, 12:624170.

The mosquito body hosts highly diverse microbes, which influence different physiological traits of both larvae and adults. The composition of adult mosquito microbiota is tightly linked to that of larvae, which are aquatic and feed on organic detritus, algae and prokaryotic microorganisms present in their breeding sites. Unraveling the ecological features of larval habitats that shape the structure of bacterial communities and their interactions with the mosquito host is still a poorly investigated topic in the Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus, a highly invasive species that is vector of numerous arboviruses, including Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika viruses. In this study, we investigated the composition of the bacterial community present in the water from a natural larval breeding site in which we separately reared wild-collected larvae and hatched eggs of the Foshan reference laboratory strain. Using sequence analysis of bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicons, we comparatively analyzed the microbiota of the larvae and that of adult mosquitoes, deriving information about the relative impact of the breeding site water on shaping mosquito microbiota. We observed a higher bacterial diversity in breeding site water than in larvae or adults, irrespective of the origin of the sample. Moreover, larvae displayed a significantly different and most diversified microbial community than newly emerged adults, which appeared to be dominated by Proteobacteria. The microbiota of breeding site water significantly increased its diversity over time, suggesting the presence of a dynamic interaction among bacterial communities, breeding sites and mosquito hosts. The analysis of Wolbachia prevalence in adults from Foshan and five additional strains with different geographic origins confirmed the described pattern of dual wAlbA and wAlbB strain infection. However, differences in Wolbachia prevalence were detected, with one strain from La Reunion Island showing up to 18% uninfected individuals. These findings contribute in further understanding the dynamic interactions between the ecology of larval habitats and the structure of host microbiota, as well as providing additional information relative to the patterns of Wolbachia infection.

RevDate: 2021-02-15

Neto AIA, Parente MI, Tittley I, et al (2021)

Marine algal flora of Flores and Corvo Islands, Azores.

Biodiversity data journal, 9:e60929 pii:60929.

Background: The algal flora of the western group of the Azores archipelago (Islands of Flores and Corvo) has attracted the interest of many researchers on numerous past occasions (such as Drouet 1866, Trelease 1897, Gain 1914, Schmidt 1929, Schmidt 1931, Azevedo et al. 1990, Fralick and Hehre 1990, Neto and Azevedo 1990, Neto and Baldwin 1990, Neto 1996, Neto 1997, Neto 1999, Tittley and Neto 1996, Tittley and Neto 2000, Tittley and Neto 2005, Tittley and Neto 2006, Azevedo 1998, Azevedo 1999, Tittley et al. 1998, Dionísio et al. 2008, Neto et al. 2008). Despite this interest, the macroalgal flora of the Islands cannot be described as well-known with the published information reflecting limited collections preformed in short-term visits by scientists. To overcome this, a thorough investigation, encompassing collections and presence data recording, has been undertaken for both the littoral and sublittoral regions, down to a depth of approximately 40 m, covering a relatively large area on both Islands (approximately 143 km2 for Flores and 17 km2 for Corvo).This paper lists the resultant taxonomic records and provides information on species ecology and occurrence around both these Islands, thereby improving the knowledge of the Azorean macroalgal flora at both local and regional scales.

New information: For the Island of Flores, a total of 1687 specimens (including some taxa identified only to genus level) belonging to 196 taxa of macroalgae are registered, comprising 120 Rhodophyta, 35 Chlorophyta and 41 Ochrophyta (Phaeophyceae). Of these taxa, 128 were identified to species level (80 Rhodophyta, 22 Chlorophyta and 26 Ochrophyta), encompassing 37 new records for the Island (20 Rhodophyta, 6 Chlorophyta and 11 Ochrophyta); two Macaronesian endemics (Laurencia viridis Gil-Rodríguez & Haroun and Millerella tinerfensis (Seoane-Camba) S.M.Boo & J.M.Rico); six introduced (the Rhodophyta Asparagopsis armata Harvey, Neoizziella divaricata (C.K.Tseng) S.-M.Lin, S.-Y.Yang & Huisman and Symphyocladia marchantioides (Harvey) Falkenberg; the Chlorophyta Codium fragile subsp. fragile (Suringar) Hariot; and the Ochrophyta Hydroclathrus tilesii (Endlicher) Santiañez & M.J.Wynne and Papenfussiella kuromo (Yendo) Inagaki); and 14 species of uncertain status (10 Rhodophyta, two Chlorophyta and two Ochrophyta).For the Island of Corvo, a total of 390 specimens distributed in 56 taxa of macroalgae are registered, comprising 30 Rhodophyta, nine Chlorophyta and 17 Ochrophyta (Phaeophyceae). Whilst a number of taxa were identified only to the genus level, 43 were identified to species level (22 Rhodophyta, eight Chlorophyta and 13 Ochrophyta), comprising 22 new records for the Island (nine Rhodophyta, four Chlorophyta and nine Ochrophyta), two introduced species (the Rhodophyta Asparagopsis armata and the Chlorophyta Codium fragile subsp. fragile and seven species of uncertain status (five Rhodophyta and two Ochrophyta).

RevDate: 2021-02-12

Kumar PL, Cuervo M, Kreuze JF, et al (2021)

Phytosanitary Interventions for Safe Global Germplasm Exchange and the Prevention of Transboundary Pest Spread: The Role of CGIAR Germplasm Health Units.

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 10(2): pii:plants10020328.

The inherent ability of seeds (orthodox, intermediate, and recalcitrant seeds and vegetative propagules) to serve as carriers of pests and pathogens (hereafter referred to as pests) and the risk of transboundary spread along with the seed movement present a high-risk factor for international germplasm distribution activities. Quarantine and phytosanitary procedures have been established by many countries around the world to minimize seed-borne pest spread by screening export and import consignments of germplasm. The effectiveness of these time-consuming and cost-intensive procedures depends on the knowledge of pest distribution, availability of diagnostic tools for seed health testing, qualified operators, procedures for inspection, and seed phytosanitation. This review describes a unique multidisciplinary approach used by the CGIAR Germplasm Health Units (GHUs) in ensuring phytosanitary protection for the safe conservation and global movement of germplasm from the 11 CGIAR genebanks and breeding programs that acquire and distribute germplasm to and from all parts of the world for agricultural research and food security. We also present the challenges, lessons learned, and recommendations stemming from the experience of GHUs, which collaborate with the national quarantine systems to export and distribute about 100,000 germplasm samples annually to partners located in about 90 to 100 countries. Furthermore, we describe how GHUs adjust their procedures to stay in alignment with evolving phytosanitary regulations and pest risk scenarios. In conclusion, we state the benefits of globally coordinated phytosanitary networks for the prevention of the intercontinental spread of pests that are transmissible through plant propagation materials.

RevDate: 2021-02-11

Chichizola GA, Gonzalez SL, AE Rovere (2021)

Alien plant species on roadsides of the northwestern Patagonian steppe (Argentina).

PloS one, 16(2):e0246657 pii:PONE-D-20-07377.

The introduction of alien species represents one of the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide. Highway construction increases the dispersal and invasion of exotic plant species. This study examined the assembly process of the plant communities to determine whether the roadsides of the Patagonian steppe represent a reservoir and dispersal source of invasive exotic species. We analyzed the composition of exotic and native species and functional groups present in the established vegetation and seed banks of roadsides and reference areas nearby. The type of dispersal of exotic and native species at the roadsides was also evaluated. Total cover and that of exotic and native species was lower at the roadsides than in the reference areas; however, at the roadsides the cover and seed abundance of exotic species was higher than that of native species. In the roadsides vegetation, native shrubs such as Acaena splendens predominated, along with exotic perennial herbs and grasses which were mainly represented by Rumex acetosella. In the seed bank the predominant species were exotic perennial herbs, also represented by R. acetosella, annual exotic species such as Epilobium brachycarpum and Verbascum thapsus, and annual native species such as Heliotropium paronychioides. No exotic shrubs were found either at the roadsides or in the reference areas. The species at the roadsides did not present a dominant type of dispersal. The abundance of exotic species at the roadsides, both in the aboveground vegetation and the seed bank, may be due to the stressful environment and the characteristics of the species themselves, such as the ability to form seed banks. This work revealed that the roadsides of the Patagonian steppe constitute reservoirs of invasive exotic species, highlighting the importance of identifying them and controlling their spread, with a view to generating ecosystem management programs.

RevDate: 2021-02-11

Annas GJ, Beisel CL, Clement K, et al (2021)

A Code of Ethics for Gene Drive Research.

The CRISPR journal [Epub ahead of print].

Gene drives hold promise for use in controlling insect vectors of diseases, agricultural pests, and for conservation of ecosystems against invasive species. At the same time, this technology comes with potential risks that include unknown downstream effects on entire ecosystems as well as the accidental or nefarious spread of organisms that carry the gene drive machinery. A code of ethics can be a useful tool for all parties involved in the development and regulation of gene drives and can be used to help ensure that a balanced analysis of risks, benefits, and values is taken into consideration for the interest of society and humanity. We have developed a code of ethics for gene drive research with the hope that this code will encourage the development of an international framework that includes ethical guidance of gene drive research and is incorporated into scientific practice by gaining broad agreement and adherence.

RevDate: 2021-02-11

Lucía CA, Jacqueline BR, Alberto BL, et al (2021)

Actualized inventory of medicinal plants used in traditional medicine in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, 17(1):7.

BACKGROUND: Oaxaca is one of the most diverse states in Mexico from biological and cultural points of view. Different ethnic groups living there maintain deep and ancestral traditional knowledge of medicinal plants as well as traditional practices and beliefs about diseases/illnesses and cures. Previous ethnobotanical research in this state has helped document this knowledge, but with the addition of more studies, more records appear. We updated the inventory of medicinal knowledge between the different ethnic groups that inhabit the Oaxacan territory.

METHODS: A database was constructed from two sources: (1) original data from a 3-year project in 84 municipalities of Oaxaca inhabited by eight ethnic groups and (2) different electronic databases.

RESULTS: Records of 1032 medicinal plants were obtained; 164 families were registered, with Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Rubiaceae being the most commonly used. A total of 770 species were reported in 14 vegetation types; the most important species came from temperate forests. Only 144 species corresponded to introduced species, and 272 were listed in a risk category. Illnesses of the digestive and genitourinary systems as well as culture-bound syndromes were treated with high numbers of medicinal plants. The Mestizo, Mixe, Mixtec, and Zapotec ethnic groups exhibited the greatest number of recorded medicinal plants. The 17 species that were used among almost all ethnic groups in Oaxaca were also used to cure the highest number of diseases.

DISCUSSION: Inventories of medicinal plants confirm the persistence of traditional knowledge and reflect the need to recognize and respect this cosmovision. Many species are gathered in wild environments. The most important illnesses or diseases recorded in the present inventory are also mentioned in different studies, suggesting that they are common health problems in the rural communities of Mexico.

CONCLUSIONS: Medicinal plants are essential for ethnic groups in Oaxaca. It is necessary to recognize and understand the complex ancestral processes involved in the human-nature interaction and the role of these processes in the conservation of biodiversity and in the survivorship of ethnic groups that have persisted for centuries. Finally, this study serves as a wake-up call to respect those worldviews.

RevDate: 2021-02-10

Brock RE, Crowther LP, Wright DJ, et al (2021)

No severe genetic bottleneck in a rapidly range-expanding bumblebee pollinator.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1944):20202639.

Genetic bottlenecks can limit the success of populations colonizing new ranges. However, successful colonizations can occur despite bottlenecks, a phenomenon known as the genetic paradox of invasion. Eusocial Hymenoptera such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) should be particularly vulnerable to genetic bottlenecks, since homozygosity at the sex-determining locus leads to costly diploid male production (DMP). The Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) has rapidly colonized the UK since 2001 and has been highlighted as exemplifying the genetic paradox of invasion. Using microsatellite genotyping, combined with the first genetic estimates of DMP in UK B. hypnorum, we tested two alternative genetic hypotheses ('bottleneck' and 'gene flow' hypotheses) for B. hypnorum's colonization of the UK. We found that the UK population has not undergone a recent severe genetic bottleneck and exhibits levels of genetic diversity falling between those of widespread and range-restricted Bombus species. Diploid males occurred in 15.4% of reared colonies, leading to an estimate of 21.5 alleles at the sex-determining locus. Overall, the findings show that this population is not bottlenecked, instead suggesting that it is experiencing continued gene flow from the continental European source population with only moderate loss of genetic diversity, and does not exemplify the genetic paradox of invasion.

RevDate: 2021-02-10
CmpDate: 2021-02-10

Shuman-Goodier ME, Singleton GR, Forsman AM, et al (2021)

Developmental assays using invasive cane toads, Rhinella marina, reveal safety concerns of a common formulation of the rice herbicide, butachlor.

Environmental pollution (Barking, Essex : 1987), 272:115955.

Identifying the adverse impacts of pesticide exposure is essential to guide regulations that are protective of wildlife and human health. Within rice ecosystems, amphibians are valuable indicators because pesticide applications coincide with sensitive reproductive and developmental life stages. We conducted two experiments using wild cane toads (Rhinella marina) to test 1) whether environmentally relevant exposure to a commercial formulation of butachlor, an acetanilide herbicide used extensively in rice, affects amphibian development and 2) whether cane toad tadpoles are capable of acclimatizing to sub-lethal exposure. First, we exposed wild cane toads to 0.002, 0.02, or 0.2 mg/L of butachlor (Machete EC), during distinct development stages (as eggs and hatchlings, as tadpoles, or continuously) for 12 days. Next, we exposed a subset of animals from the first experiment to a second, lethal concentration and examined survivorship. We found that cane toads exposed to butachlor developed slower and weighed less than controls, and that development of the thyroid gland was affected: exposed individuals had smaller thyroid glands and thyrocyte cells, and more individual follicles. Analyses of the transcriptome revealed that butachlor exposure resulted in downregulation of transcripts related to metabolic processes, anatomic structure development, immune system function, and response to stress. Last, we observed evidence of acclimatization, where animals exposed to butachlor early in life performed better than naïve animals during a second exposure. Our findings indicate that the commercial formulation of butachlor, Machete EC, causes thyroid endocrine disruption in vertebrates, and suggest that exposure in lowland irrigated rice fields presents a concern for wildlife and human health. Furthermore, we establish that developmental assays with cane toads can be used to screen for adverse effects of pesticides in rice fields.

RevDate: 2021-02-09
CmpDate: 2021-02-09

Alarcón-Elbal PM, Rodríguez-Sosa MA, Newman BC, et al (2020)

The First Record of Aedes vittatus (Diptera: Culicidae) in the Dominican Republic: Public Health Implications of a Potential Invasive Mosquito Species in the Americas.

Journal of medical entomology, 57(6):2016-2021.

Aedes vittatus Bigot is distributed throughout Africa, tropical Asia, and southern Europe and occurs in sylvatic as well as peridomestic environments where it readily feeds on humans. Although the vectorial capacity of Ae. vittatus is not well understood, this species is known to play a role in the maintenance and transmission of yellow fever, Zika, chikungunya, and dengue virus within its native range. In October 2019, after a routine inspection of mosquito-breeding containers in Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic, two Ae. vittatus females were captured via human landing catch method. After this finding, a CDC miniature light trap was deployed at the point of initial detection from 18:00 to 08:00 h, 2 d/wk from 3 to 31 October 2019. Potential larval habitats were also sampled via traditional dip method once per week spanning a 150 m radius from point of initial detection. In addition to the 2 adult females, 10 female and 2 male Ae. vittatus were captured. One Ae. vittatus larva also was found in a small puddle formed by an animal hoof print. Conventional PCR and Sanger sequencing were used to confirm morphological identification of collected specimens. This is the first detection of Ae. vittatus in the Dominican Republic as well as the Americas. Therefore, enhanced surveillance is needed to better understand the range and public health risks this potential invasive mosquito species may pose in the Dominican Republic, other Caribbean Islands, and/or the Americas.

RevDate: 2021-02-10
CmpDate: 2021-02-10

César Fassoni A, D Carvalho Braga (2019)

Resilience Analysis for Competing Populations.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 81(10):3864-3888.

Ecological resilience refers to the ability of a system to retain its state when subject to state variables perturbations or parameter changes. While understanding and quantifying resilience is crucial to anticipate the possible regime shifts, characterizing the influence of the system parameters on resilience is the first step toward controlling the system to avoid undesirable critical transitions. In this paper, we apply tools of qualitative theory of differential equations to study the resilience of competing populations as modeled by the classical Lotka-Volterra system. Within the high interspecific competition regime, such model exhibits bistability, and the boundary between the basins of attraction corresponding to exclusive survival of each population is the stable manifold of a saddle point. Studying such manifold and its behavior in terms of the model parameters, we characterized the populations resilience: While increasing competitiveness leads to higher resilience, it is not always the case with respect to reproduction. Within a pioneering context where both populations initiate with few individuals, increasing reproduction of one population leads to an increase in its resilience; however, within an environment previously dominated by one population and then invaded by the other, an increase in the resilience of a population is obtained by decreasing its reproduction rate. Besides providing interesting insights for the dynamics of competing populations, this work brings near to each other the concepts of ecological resilience and the methods of differential equations and stimulates the development and application of new tools for ecological resilience.

RevDate: 2021-02-10
CmpDate: 2021-02-10

Köhnke MC (2019)

Invasion Dynamics in an Intraguild Predation System with Predator-Induced Defense.

Bulletin of mathematical biology, 81(10):3754-3777.

Intraguild predation systems describe food webs in which an omnivorous predator competes with an intermediate prey for a basal resource. The classical intraguild predation system with Holling type II predation terms has the limitation of not being able to reproduce coexistence between predators in resource-rich environments despite its ubiquity in ecological systems. In this study, adaptive predator-induced and fitness-dependent defense of the intermediate predator is included into the model. In contrast to previous studies, this is done without an artificial bounding term. Numerical bifurcation software is used to show that adaptive defense mechanisms can significantly enhance parameter regimes leading to coexistence. Two different adaptation parameters are distinguished and linked to adaptations under different environmental conditions. The results indicate that the form of the reactivity-accuracy trade-off depends on the state of the environment. Finally, it is shown that an impact of adaptivity on dispersal abilities can considerably change shape and speed of invasion waves on a one-dimensional domain, which is important as those are the main measurable variables when examining data from biological invasions. The results indicate that a locally perfectly adaptive system can be globally (transient) maladaptive.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Qu T, Du X, Peng Y, et al (2021)

Invasive species allelopathy decreases plant growth and soil microbial activity.

PloS one, 16(2):e0246685 pii:PONE-D-20-31348.

According to the 'novel weapons hypothesis', invasive success depends on harmful plant biochemicals, including allelopathic antimicrobial roots exudate that directly inhibit plant growth and soil microbial activity. However, the combination of direct and soil-mediated impacts of invasive plants via allelopathy remains poorly understood. Here, we addressed the allelopathic effects of an invasive plant species (Rhus typhina) on a cultivated plant (Tagetes erecta), soil properties and microbial communities. We grew T. erecta on soil samples at increasing concentrations of R. typhina root extracts and measured both plant growth and soil physiological profile with community-level physiological profiles (CLPP) using Biolog Eco-plates incubation. We found that R. typhina root extracts inhibit both plant growth and soil microbial activity. Plant height, Root length, soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and AWCD were significantly decreased with increasing root extract concentration, and plant above-ground biomass (AGB), below-ground biomass (BGB) and total biomass (TB) were significantly decreased at 10 mg·mL-1 of root extracts. In particular, root extracts significantly reduced the carbon source utilization of carbohydrates, carboxylic acids and polymers, but enhanced phenolic acid. Redundancy analysis shows that soil pH, TN, SOC and EC were the major driving factors of soil microbial activity. Our results indicate that strong allelopathic impact of root extracts on plant growth and soil microbial activity by mimicking roots exudate, providing novel insights into the role of plant-soil microbe interactions in mediating invasion success.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Elliott M, Rollins L, Bourret T, et al (2021)

First report of leaf blight caused by Phytophthora ramorum on periwinkle (Vinca minor) in Washington State, USA.

Plant disease [Epub ahead of print].

Phytophthora ramorum (Werres, De Cock & Man in't Veld) was recovered from symptomatic foliage of periwinkle at a botanical garden in WA in March 2015. Symptoms were tan colored lesions with a dark brown margin visible on both surfaces of the leaf and were found on wounds or around leaf margins. Periwinkle is native to Europe and is commonly used for ground cover in ornamental landscapes. It is known to be invasive in US forests near the urban/wildland interface. Potential spread of P. ramorum into WA forests is of regulatory concern, as well as long distance spread to other states via nursery stock (7 CFR §301.92-2). Phytophthora ramorum was isolated from symptomatic foliage by excising leaf pieces 4-6 mm in diameter and surface-sterilizing in 0.6% sodium hypochlorite followed by two rinses in sterile water. Leaf pieces were plated on PARP medium (Ferguson and Jeffers 1999) and after 2-3 days at 20°C, slow-growing dense colonies with coralloid hyphae were isolated onto V8 agar. Colony morphology and chlamydospore production were consistent with descriptions of P. ramorum (Werres et al. 2001), except that the isolate was slower growing and had irregular, non-wildtype morphology (Elliott et al. 2018) compared to other isolates of P. ramorum. ITS and COX1 regions of mycelial DNA was amplified and sequenced to confirm the identity of P. ramorum using primers ITS1/ITS4 (White et al. 1990) and COX1F1/COX1R1 (Van Poucke et al. 2012). Sequences were submitted to GenBank (accession nos. ITS MT031975, COX1 MT031974). BLAST results showed at least 98% similarity with sequences of P. ramorum (ITS, MN540640 [98%]; COX1, EU124920 [100%]), and belonged to the NA1 clonal lineage. Pathogenicity of P. ramorum to periwinkle was confirmed by completing Koch's Postulates. Inoculum was grown on V8 agar plates at 20°C for two weeks until sporangia were abundant. A zoospore suspension was produced by flooding plates with 7 ml sterile water, incubating for 2 hours at 5°C, then for an additional hour at 24°C. Zoospores were observed under the microscope and quantified with a hemocytometer, then diluted to 2 x 105 zoospores/ml. A 10 µl droplet of inoculum was placed at one wounded and one unwounded site on six leaves on each of four plants. In addition, a set of four plants was inoculated by dipping foliage on one branch per plant into the zoospore suspension for 30 seconds. A set of four control plants were mock inoculated in the same manner using sterile water. The trial was repeated once. Inoculated plant materials were incubated in a moist chamber for 3-5 days and free moisture was present on foliage upon removal. Plants were held in a biocontainment chamber (USDA-APHIS permit # 65857) at 20C and symptom development assessed after 7 days (Figure S1). . Symptoms developed on foliage inoculated using both methods in both trials. Phytophthora ramorum was isolated once from droplet inoculated foliage at a wounded site on one plant. Reisolation onto PARP and then V8 agar was conducted from surface-sterilized symptomatic tissue and the presence of P. ramorum confirmed by observation of colony morphology and chlamydospore production. The presence of P. ramorum was also confirmed with DNA extraction from symptomatic foliage from plants from each of the two trials followed by PCR and sequencing of the COX1 gene (EU124920, 100%) (Figure S2). None of the water-inoculated controls were positive for P. ramorum. Low isolation success could be attributed to reduced pathogenicity due to being a non-wildtype isolate. Acknowledgements This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, McIntire-Stennis project 1019284 and USDA APHIS Cooperative Agreement AP17PPQS&T00C070.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Elfekih S, Metcalfe S, Walsh TK, et al (2021)

Genomic insights into a population of introduced European rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus in Australia and the development of genetic resistance to Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease virus (RHDV).

Transboundary and emerging diseases [Epub ahead of print].

The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is one of the most devastating invasive species in Australia. Since the 1950s, myxoma virus (MYXV) and Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (RHDV) have been used to manage overabundant rabbit populations. Resistance to MYXV was observed within a few years of the release. More recently, resistance to lethal RHDV infection has also been reported, undermining the efficiency of landscape-scale rabbit control. Previous studies suggest that genetic resistance to lethal RHDV infection may differ locally between populations, yet the mechanisms of genetic resistance remain poorly understood. Here, we used genotyping by sequencing (GBS) data representing a reduced representation of the genome, to investigate Australian rabbit populations. Our aims were to understand the relationship between populations and identify possible genomic signatures of selection for RHDV resistance. One population we investigated had previously been reported to show levels of resistance to lethal RHDV infection. This population was compared to three other populations with lower or no previously reported RHDV resistance. We identified a set of novel candidate genes that could be involved in host-pathogen interactions such as virus binding and infection processes. These genes did not overlap with previous studies on RHDV resistance carried out in different rabbit populations, suggesting that multiple mechanisms are feasible. These findings provide useful insights into the different potential mechanisms of genetic resistance to RHDV virus which will inform future functional studies in this area.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Mercer NH, Obrycki JJ, RT Bessin (2021)

Altering Planting Date to Manage Melanaphis sacchari (Hemiptera: Aphididae) Populations in Sweet Sorghum.

Journal of economic entomology, 114(1):197-200.

Melanaphis sacchari Zehntner is a new pest of sweet sorghum in the United States, with the potential to cause complete crop failure. In Kentucky, sweet sorghum is normally planted in early May and harvested in late August or September. Planting sweet sorghum earlier in the season may avoid damaging levels of M. sacchari that develop in late summer. In a 2-yr field study, three different planting dates separated by a month (April, May, and June) were tested for their effect on M. sacchari densities and sweet sorghum yield. April (early) planted sweet sorghum was grown in greenhouses and transplanted to the field. May (mid) and June (late) planted sweet sorghum were direct seeded in the field. Melanaphis sacchari population densities were evaluated weekly starting in June. Sweet sorghum was harvested at the onset of the hard dough stage. Plots were split into two subplots, insecticide or noninsecticide, in the second year to control for planting date effect on yield. Early-planted sweet sorghum had lower aphid densities, but had lower yield relative to mid-planting date, which had the highest yield. Insecticide drenches in 2019 reduced cumulative aphid days in mid-plantings and late plantings, but did not significantly affect yield within planting dates. Seeding sweet sorghum earlier can reduce M. sacchari densities; however, this method alone may not provide the highest yields. We documented that the recommended planting date (May) for Kentucky produced the highest yield.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Solano A, Rodriguez SL, Greenwood L, et al (2021)

Firewood Transport as a Vector of Forest Pest Dispersal in North America: A Scoping Review.

Journal of economic entomology, 114(1):14-23.

Native and nonnative insects and diseases can result in detrimental impacts to trees and forests, including the loss of economic resources and ecosystem services. Increases in globalization and changing human behaviors have created new anthropogenic pathways for long distance pest dispersal. In North America, literature suggests that once a forest or tree pest is established, the movement of firewood by the general public for recreational or home heating purposes is one of the primary pathways for its dispersal. Understanding human perceptions and behaviors is essential to inform the most effective strategies for modifying firewood and pest dispersal by humans. This scoping review seeks to assess trends and gaps in the existing literature, as well as patterns in behavior related to forest pest dispersal through firewood movement in North America. We identified 76 documents that addressed this topic to which we applied inclusion and exclusion criteria to select articles for further analysis. Twenty-five articles met the inclusion criteria and were categorized based on five identified themes: 1) insect incidence in firewood, 2) insect dispersal via firewood, 3) recreational firewood movement, 4) firewood treatments, and 5) behavior and rule compliance. The selected articles show trends that suggest that firewood movement presents a risk for forest insect dispersal, but that behavior can be modified, and compliance, monitoring, and treatments should be strengthened. This scoping review found limited research about western United States, Mexico, and Canada, various insect species and other organisms, regulation and management, awareness, and behavioral dimensions of firewood movement.

RevDate: 2021-02-09

Arnan X, Angulo E, Boulay R, et al (2021)

Introduced ant species occupy empty climatic niches in Europe.

Scientific reports, 11(1):3280.

Exploring shifts in the climatic niches of introduced species can provide significant insight into the mechanisms underlying the invasion process and the associated impacts on biodiversity. We aim to test the phylogenetic signal hypothesis in native and introduced species in Europe by examining climatic niche similarity. We examined data from 134 ant species commonly found in western Europe; 130 were native species, and 4 were introduced species. We characterized their distribution patterns using species records from different databases, determined their phylogenetic relatedness, and tested for a phylogenetic signal in their optimal climatic niches. We then compared the introduced species' climatic niches in Europe with their climatic niches in their native ranges and with the climatic niches of their closest relative species in Europe. We found a strong phylogenetic signal in the optimal climatic niches of the most common ant species in Europe; however, this signal was weak for the main climatic variables that affect the distributions of introduced versus native species. Also, introduced species occupied different climatic niches in Europe than in their native ranges; furthermore, their European climatic niches did not resemble those of their closest relative species in Europe. We further discovered that there was not much concordance between the climatic niches of introduced species in their native ranges and climatic conditions in Europe. Our findings suggest that phylogenetics do indeed constrain shifts in the climatic niches of native European ant species. However, introduced species would not face such constraints and seemed to occupy relatively empty climatic niches.

RevDate: 2021-02-09
CmpDate: 2021-02-09

Orlando-Bonaca M, Lipej L, G Bonanno (2021)

Non-indigenous macrophytes in Central Mediterranean ports, marinas and transitional waters: Origin, vectors and pathways of dispersal.

Marine pollution bulletin, 162:111916.

Non-indigenous species are confirmed to be among the biggest threats for marine biodiversity. Among them, non-indigenous macrophytes (NIM) are well known to have local negative effects, especially in coastal ecosystems. Since transitional waters (TWs), ports and also marinas are recognized as very vulnerable coastal ecosystems, greatly subjected to biological invasions, the present study analysed the available scientific literature on NIM in such areas in the Central Mediterranean Sea (CMED), in the period 1970-2019. The analysis underlined that 27 NIM were recorded in CMED TWs, marinas and ports. Around 37% of them (10 species) are marked as invasive, while about 11% (3 species) are considered as potentially invasive. Maricultural activities resulted the key vector of introduction, while the primary pathway of NIM dispersion is related to maritime activities. The paper also discusses why in CMED TWs, marinas and ports, currently, less NIM were detected than in similar Adriatic areas.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Jobe JGD, K Gedan (2021)

Species-specific responses of a marsh-forest ecotone plant community responding to climate change.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Ecotones are responsive to environmental change and pave a path for succession as they move across the landscape. We investigated the biotic and abiotic filters to species establishment on opposite ends of a tidal marsh-forest ecotone that is moving inland in response to sea level rise. We transplanted four plant species common to the ecotone to the leading or trailing edge of the migrating ecotone, with and without caging to protect them from ungulate herbivores. We found that species exhibited an individualistic response to abiotic and biotic pressures in this ecotone; three species performed better at the leading edge of the ecotone in the coastal forest, whereas one performed better at the trailing edge in the marsh. Specifically, grass species Phragmites australis and Panicum virgatum grew more in the low light and low salinity conditions of the leading edge of the ecotone (forest), whereas the shrub Iva frutescens grew better in the high light, high salinity conditions of the trailing edge of the ecotone (marsh). Furthermore, of the four species, only P. australis was affected by the biotic pressure of herbivory by an introduced ungulate, Cervus nippon, which greatly reduced its biomass and survival at the leading edge (forest). P. australis is an aggressive invasive species and has been observed to dominate in the wake of migrating marsh-forest ecotones. Our findings detail the role of lower salinity stress to promote and herbivory pressure to inhibit the establishment of P. australis during shifts of this ecotone, and also highlight an interaction between two non-native species, P. australis and C. nippon. Understanding migration of the marsh-forest ecotone and the factors controlling P. australis establishment are critical for marsh conservation in the face of sea level rise. More generally, our findings support the conclusion that the abiotic and biotic filters of a migrating ecotone shape the resulting community.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Moo-Llanes DA (2021)

Inferring Distributional Shifts of Asian Giant Hornet Vespa mandarinia Smith in Climate Change Scenarios.

Neotropical entomology [Epub ahead of print].

Vespa mandarinia Smith is a species with native distribution in Asia and with the potential distribution of invasion in the Americas. We use ecological niche models to be able to predict their potential distribution in Asia and their projection in the Americas using KUENM in R in climate change scenarios. The ecological niche of V. mandarinia is potentially distributed in Asia and is expected with invasion potential in the east coast of USA, part of the México, Central America, and South America, while for 2050 it is projected with dispersion in North and Central of USA and rest of the Americas. The realized niche expanded in the Americas. Ecological niche modeling helps us infer the distribution of this species in Asia and its possible establishment of invasion in the USA, México, Central America, and South America.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Mushegian AA, Neupane N, Batz Z, et al (2021)

Letter: Ecological mechanism of climate-mediated selection in a rapidly evolving invasive species.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

Recurring seasonal changes can lead to the evolution of phenological cues. For example, many arthropods undergo photoperiodic diapause, a programmed developmental arrest induced by short autumnal day length. The selective mechanisms that determine the timing of autumnal diapause initiation have not been empirically identified. We quantified latitudinal clines in genetically determined diapause timing of an invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus, on two continents. We show that variation in diapause timing within and between continents is explained by a novel application of a growing degree day (GDD) model that delineates a location-specific deadline after which it is not possible to complete an additional full life cycle. GDD models are widely used to predict spring phenology by modelling growth and development as physiological responses to ambient temperatures. Our results show that the energy accumulation dynamics represented by GDD models have also led to the evolution of an anticipatory life-history cue in autumn.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Shin J, J Jung (2021)

Complete mitochondrial genome of Aedes flavopictus (Yamada, 1921) (Diptera: Culicidae) collected in South Korea.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part B, Resources, 6(1):265-267 pii:1863164.

In this study, we determined for the first time the mitochondrial genome sequence of an Aedes flavopictus specimen collected in South Korea. Its mitochondrial genome was 16,060 bp in length, consisting of 13 protein-coding, 22 tRNA, and 2 rRNA genes and a non-coding A + T rich region. The overall base composition in the heavy strand was 39.7, 8.6, 12.7, and 39% of A, G, C, and T, respectively, and the G + C content was 21.2%. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that Aedes spp. formed a monophyletic clade.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Codd-Downey R, Jenkin M, Dey BB, et al (2020)

Monitoring Re-Growth of Invasive Plants Using an Autonomous Surface Vessel.

Frontiers in robotics and AI, 7:583416 pii:583416.

Invasive aquatic plant species, and in particular Eurasian Water-Milfoil (EWM), pose a major threat to domestic flora and fauna and can in turn negatively impact local economies. Numerous strategies have been developed to harvest and remove these plant species from the environment. However it is still an open question as to which method is best suited to removing a particular invasive species and the impact of different lake conditions on the choice. One problem common to all harvesting methods is the need to assess the location and degree of infestation on an ongoing manner. This is a difficult and error prone problem given that the plants grow underwater and significant infestation at depth may not be visible at the surface. Here we detail efforts to monitor EWM infestation and evaluate harvesting methods using an autonomous surface vessel (ASV). This novel ASV is based around a mono-hull design with two outriggers. Powered by a differential pair of underwater thrusters, the ASV is outfitted with RTK GPS for position estimation and a set of submerged environmental sensors that are used to capture imagery and depth information including the presence of material suspended in the water column. The ASV is capable of both autonomous and tele-operation.

RevDate: 2021-02-08

Sammet K, Martin M, Kesküla T, et al (2021)

An update to the distribution of invasive Ctenolepisma longicaudatum Escherich in northern Europe, with an overview of other records of Estonian synanthropic bristletails (Insecta: Zygentoma).

Biodiversity data journal, 9:e61848 pii:61848.

Background: Previously, two species of Zygentoma have been reported as synanthropic in Estonia (Lepisma saccharinum Linnaeus, 1758 and Thermobia domestica (Packard, 1873)). Ctenolepisma longicaudatum Escherich, 1905 is an invasive species that is currently expanding its range in Europe, but had no published records from the northern Baltic Region.

New information: Ctenolepisma longicaudatum was first found in Estonia in 2018. It has currently several established populations in public buildings in Tartu and Tallinn, but has not been found in private households, nor in other places in Estonia. A brief overview of its invasion history in northern Europe is given.

RevDate: 2021-02-07

Lehmann P, Javal M, Du Plessis A, et al (2021)

Using µCT in live larvae of a large wood-boring beetle to study tracheal oxygen supply during development.

Journal of insect physiology pii:S0022-1910(21)00009-3 [Epub ahead of print].

How respiratory structures vary with, or are constrained by, an animal's environment is of central importance to diverse evolutionary and comparative physiology hypotheses. To date, quantifying insect respiratory structures and their variation has remained challenging due to their microscopic size, hence only a handful of species have been examined. Several methods for imaging insect respiratory systems are available, in many cases however, the analytical process is lethal, destructive, time consuming and labour intensive. Here, we explore and test a different approach to measuring tracheal volume using X-ray micro-tomography (µCT) scanning (at 15 µm resolution) on living, sedated larvae of the cerambycid beetle Cacosceles newmannii across a range of body sizes at two points in development. We provide novel data on resistance of the larvae to the radiation dose absorbed during µCT scanning, repeatability of imaging analyses both within and between time-points and, structural tracheal trait differences provided by different image segmentation methods. By comparing how tracheal dimension (reflecting metabolic supply) and basal metabolic rate (reflecting metabolic demand) increase with mass, we show that tracheal oxygen supply capacity increases during development at a comparable, or even higher rate than metabolic demand. Given that abundant gas delivery capacity in the insect respiratory system may be costly (due to e.g. oxygen toxicity or space restrictions), there are probably balancing factors requiring such a capacity that are not linked to direct tissue oxygen demand and that have not been thoroughly elucidated to date, including CO2 efflux. Our study provides methodological insights and novel biological data on key issues in rapidly quantifying insect respiratory anatomy on live insects.

RevDate: 2021-02-08
CmpDate: 2021-02-08

Descombes P, Pitteloud C, Glauser G, et al (2020)

Novel trophic interactions under climate change promote alpine plant coexistence.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 370(6523):1469-1473.

Herbivory and plant defenses exhibit a coupled decline along elevation gradients. However, the current ecological equilibrium could be disrupted under climate change, with a faster upward range shift of animals than plants. Here, we experimentally simulated this upward herbivore range shift by translocating low-elevation herbivore insects to alpine grasslands. We report that the introduction of novel herbivores and increased herbivory disrupted the vertical functional organization of the plant canopy. By feeding preferentially on alpine plants with functional traits matching their low-elevation host plants, herbivores reduced the biomass of dominant alpine plant species and favored encroachment of herbivore-resistant small-stature plant species, inflating species richness. Supplementing a direct effect of temperature, novel biotic interactions represent a neglected but major driver of ecosystem modifications under climate change.

RevDate: 2021-02-08
CmpDate: 2021-02-08

Dell B, Newman SJ, Purple K, et al (2020)

Retrospective investigation of Echinococcus canadensis emergence in translocated elk (Cervus canadensis) in Tennessee, USA, and examination of canid definitive hosts.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):330.

BACKGROUND: Few reports of Echinococcus spp. have been described in the USA; however, the geographical distribution of Echinococcus spp. in wild hosts is increasing consequent to human activities. In the early 2000's, 253 elk (Cervus canadensis) originating from Alberta, Canada were released into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area in an effort to re-establish their historical range.

METHODS: We investigated the prevalence of Echinococcus spp. in re-established elk populations in the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via a retrospective analysis of banked elk tissues and helminth examinations on intestinal contents from coyotes (Canis latrans) from the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.

RESULTS: Four elk were PCR and sequence positive for E. canadensis. Each sequence had 98% or greater coverage and identity to multiple E. canadensis genotypes on GenBank. Adult Echinococcus spp. were not detected in any of the coyotes examined in this study.

CONCLUSIONS: Continued surveillance of this disease in susceptible species in these areas is warranted, and these data further underscore the risk of zoonotic pathogen introduction secondary to wildlife translocation.

RevDate: 2021-02-08
CmpDate: 2021-02-08

Monroy-Vilchis O, GonzÁlez-Maya JF, Balbuena-Serrano Á, et al (2020)

Coyote (Canis latrans) in South America: potential routes of colonization.

Integrative zoology, 15(6):471-481.

During the last century, the coyote (Canis latrans) has increased its distribution in Central America. Before the 1980s, it had not been recorded in Panama. New records show that coyotes have crossed the Panama Canal, indicating that continues to expand; therefore, there is a possibility that it will reach northern South America. Our objectives were to identify potential coyote colonization routes to South America, and the variables that favor its expansion. We hypothesized that habitat fragmentation benefits coyote expansion. We applied 7 algorithms to model the potential distribution of the coyote, using 196 presence records and 12 variables. The models with better performance were used to generate a consensus model. Using our consensus model and the areas with highest probability of presence, a potential colonization route was generated between Central America and northern South America. This route lies through southern Costa Rica, along the Pacific coast of Panama to the south, to the Andean mountains in northern Colombia. The variables that explained potential coyote distribution were human population density, altitude, and percentage of crops with positive influence, and tropical broadleaf forests with negative influence. These results indicate that human activities and deforestation are related to coyote distribution expansion. Actions can be implemented within the identified route to improve environmental management, in order to avoid the presence of the coyote in the ecosystems of northern South America.

RevDate: 2021-02-06

Geertsma IP, Françozo M, van Andel T, et al (2021)

What's in a name? Revisiting medicinal and religious plants at an Amazonian market.

Journal of ethnobiology and ethnomedicine, 17(1):9.

BACKGROUND: In spite of an increasing number of ethnobotanical market surveys in the past decades, few studies compare changes in plant species trade over time. The open-air market Ver-o-Peso (VOP) in Belém, located near the mouth of the Amazon River in the state of Pará, Brazil, is known for its wide variety of medicinal plants. A survey of VOP was published in 1984, but it remains unknown to what extent its botanical composition changed over 34 years. Furthermore, in northern Brazil, little attention has been given to the origins of the vernacular names of these plants. Our aim is to give an up-to-date overview of the VOP medicinal plant market, concentrating on changes in species composition and vernacular names over time.

METHODS: We collected medicinal plants and vernacular names at VOP in August 2018. We identified most plants at the Museo Paraense Emilio Goeldi Herbarium, where we also deposited vouchers and specimen labels. We compared our species composition data to the 1984 inventory by Van den Berg. Furthermore, we investigated the etymologies of the vernacular plant names.

RESULTS: We recorded 155 plant specimens and 165 corresponding vernacular names, and collected 146 specimens from the medicinal and ritual stalls of VOP reporting 86 species formerly not recorded at this market. Vernacular names had mostly Portuguese roots, followed by Tupi and African ones. We found 30 species also documented in 1984, and vernacular names that overlapped between both surveys were used for the same botanical species or genus, indicating that vernacular names have changed little in the past decades. Lastly, we found 26 more introduced species sold at VOP compared to 1984.

CONCLUSIONS: Forest degradation and deforestation, prevalence of diseases, and methodological factors may play a role in the differences we found in our survey compared to 1984. Of the plants that did overlap between the two surveys, vernacular names of these plants were hardly different. Lastly, the lingual origins of the vernacular names in our survey and the origins of the plant species reflect the history of the intricate syncretism of medicinal plant practices of indigenous, Afro-Brazilian and European origins in Belém.

RevDate: 2021-02-06

Lanner J, Gstöttenmayer F, Curto M, et al (2021)

Evidence for multiple introductions of an invasive wild bee species currently under rapid range expansion in Europe.

BMC ecology and evolution, 21(1):17.

BACKGROUND: Invasive species are increasingly driving biodiversity decline, and knowledge of colonization dynamics, including both drivers and dispersal modes, are important to prevent future invasions. The bee species Megachile sculpturalis (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae), native to East-Asia, was first recognized in Southeast-France in 2008, and has since spread throughout much of Europe. The spread is very fast, and colonization may result from multiple fronts.

RESULT: To track the history of this invasion, codominant markers were genotyped using Illumina sequencing and the invasion history and degree of connectivity between populations across the European invasion axis were investigated. Distinctive genetic clusters were detected with east-west differentiations in Middle-Europe.

CONCLUSION: We hypothesize that the observed cluster formation resulted from multiple, independent introductions of the species to the European continent. This study draws a first picture of an early invasion stage of this wild bee and forms a foundation for further investigations, including studies of the species in their native Asian range and in the invaded range in North America.

RevDate: 2021-02-05

Bertelsmeier C (2021)

Globalization and the anthropogenic spread of invasive social insects.

Current opinion in insect science pii:S2214-5745(21)00007-9 [Epub ahead of print].

Social insects are among the worst invasive species and a better understanding of their anthropogenic spread is needed. I highlight recent research demonstrating that social insects have been dispersed since the early beginnings of globalized trade and in particular after the Industrial Revolution, following two waves of globalization. Many species have complex invasion histories, with multiple independent introduction events and frequent secondary spread. The major source and recipient regions differ markedly across ants, wasps, termites and bees, probably linked to their different introduction pathways. At a more local scale, anthropogenic factors such as irrigation, urbanization or the presence of railways facilitate invasions. In the future, social insect invasions could further accelerate due to intensifying global trade and novel introduction pathways.

RevDate: 2021-02-06

Castillo ML, Schaffner U, van Wilgen BW, et al (2021)

Genetic insights into the globally invasive and taxonomically problematic tree genus Prosopis.

AoB PLANTS, 13(1):plaa069.

Accurate taxonomic identification of alien species is crucial to detect new incursions, prevent or reduce the arrival of new invaders and implement management options such as biological control. Globally, the taxonomy of non-native Prosopis species is problematic due to misidentification and extensive hybridization. We performed a genetic analysis on several Prosopis species, and their putative hybrids, including both native and non-native populations, with a special focus on Prosopis invasions in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania). We aimed to clarify the taxonomic placement of non-native populations and to infer the introduction histories of Prosopis in Eastern Africa. DNA sequencing data from nuclear and chloroplast markers showed high homology (almost 100 %) between most species analysed. Analyses based on seven nuclear microsatellites confirmed weak population genetic structure among Prosopis species. Hybrids and polyploid individuals were recorded in both native and non-native populations. Invasive genotypes of Prosopis juliflora in Kenya and Ethiopia could have a similar native Mexican origin, while Tanzanian genotypes likely are from a different source. Native Peruvian Prosopis pallida genotypes showed high similarity with non-invasive genotypes from Kenya. Levels of introduced genetic diversity, relative to native populations, suggest that multiple introductions of P. juliflora and P. pallida occurred in Eastern Africa. Polyploidy may explain the successful invasion of P. juliflora in Eastern Africa. The polyploid P. juliflora was highly differentiated from the rest of the (diploid) species within the genus. The lack of genetic differentiation between most diploid species in their native ranges supports the notion that hybridization between allopatric species may occur frequently when they are co-introduced into non-native areas. For regulatory purposes, we propose to treat diploid Prosopis taxa from the Americas as a single taxonomic unit in non-native ranges.

RevDate: 2021-02-04

Russo L, de Keyzer CW, Harmon-Threatt AN, et al (2021)

The managed-to-invasive species continuum in social and solitary bees and impacts on native bee conservation.

Current opinion in insect science pii:S2214-5745(21)00002-X [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive bee species have negative impacts on native bee species and are a source of conservation concern. The invasion of bee species is mediated by the abiotic environment, biotic communities, and propagule pressure of the invader. Each of these factors is further affected by management, which can amplify the magnitude of the impact on native bee species. The ecological traits and behavior of invasive bees also play a role in whether and to what degree they compete with or otherwise negatively affect native bee species. The magnitude of impact of an invasive bee species relates both to its population size in the introduced habitat and the degree of overlap between its resources and the resources native bees require.

RevDate: 2021-02-04

Norton BB, SA Norton (2021)

Lionfish envenomation in Caribbean and Atlantic waters: Climate change and invasive species.

International journal of women's dermatology, 7(1):120-123 pii:S2352-6475(20)30110-6.

The concept of emerging diseases is well understood; however, the concept of emerging injuries is not. We describe the introduction of two species of lionfish, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, into the warm shallow coastal waters of the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Lionfish thrive in the same coastal waters that attract recreational swimmers, snorkelers, and divers. Because lionfish have ornate colors, people often swim close to have a better look. Lionfish have venomous spines and, in a defensive reaction, frequently envenomate curious humans. The fish are voracious predators and disrupt the coral ecosystems of the Atlantic. Furthermore, their range is spreading through a combination of lack of natural predators and the expansion of hospitable warm waters into higher latitudes as part of climate change.

RevDate: 2021-02-04

Grainger TN, Rudman SM, Schmidt P, et al (2021)

Competitive history shapes rapid evolution in a seasonal climate.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(6):.

Eco-evolutionary dynamics will play a critical role in determining species' fates as climatic conditions change. Unfortunately, we have little understanding of how rapid evolutionary responses to climate play out when species are embedded in the competitive communities that they inhabit in nature. We tested the effects of rapid evolution in response to interspecific competition on subsequent ecological and evolutionary trajectories in a seasonally changing climate using a field-based evolution experiment with Drosophila melanogaster Populations of D. melanogaster were either exposed, or not exposed, to interspecific competition with an invasive competitor, Zaprionus indianus, over the summer. We then quantified these populations' ecological trajectories (abundances) and evolutionary trajectories (heritable phenotypic change) when exposed to a cooling fall climate. We found that competition with Z. indianus in the summer affected the subsequent evolutionary trajectory of D. melanogaster populations in the fall, after all interspecific competition had ceased. Specifically, flies with a history of interspecific competition evolved under fall conditions to be larger and have lower cold fecundity and faster development than flies without a history of interspecific competition. Surprisingly, this divergent fall evolutionary trajectory occurred in the absence of any detectible effect of the summer competitive environment on phenotypic evolution over the summer or population dynamics in the fall. This study demonstrates that competitive interactions can leave a legacy that shapes evolutionary responses to climate even after competition has ceased, and more broadly, that evolution in response to one selective pressure can fundamentally alter evolution in response to subsequent agents of selection.

RevDate: 2021-02-03

Albano PG, Steger J, Bakker PAJ, et al (2021)

Numerous new records of tropical non-indigenous species in the Eastern Mediterranean highlight the challenges of their recognition and identification.

ZooKeys, 1010:1-95 pii:58759.

New data on 52 non-indigenous mollusks in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea is reported. Fossarus sp. (aff. aptus sensu Blatterer 2019), Coriophora lessepsiana Albano, Bakker & Sabelli, sp. nov., Cerithiopsis sp. aff. pulvis, Joculator problematicus Albano & Steger, sp. nov., Cerithiopsis sp., Elachisina sp., Iravadia aff. elongata, Vitrinella aff. Vitrinella sp. 1 (sensu Blatterer 2019), Melanella orientalis, Parvioris aff. dilecta, Odostomia cf. dalli, Oscilla virginiae, Parthenina cossmanni, Parthenina typica, Pyrgulina craticulata, Turbonilla funiculata, Cylichna collyra, Musculus coenobitus, Musculus aff. viridulus, Chavania erythraea, Scintilla cf. violescens, Iacra seychellarum and Corbula erythraeensis are new records for the Mediterranean. An unidentified gastropod, Skeneidae indet., Triphora sp., Hypermastus sp., Sticteulima sp., Vitreolina cf. philippi, Odostomia (s.l.) sp. 1, Henrya (?) sp., and Semelidae sp. are further potential new non-indigenous species although their status should be confirmed upon final taxonomic assessment. Additionally, the status of Dikoleps micalii, Hemiliostraca clandestinacomb. nov. and H. athenamariaecomb. nov. is changed to non-indigenous, range extensions for nine species and the occurrence of living individuals for species previously recorded from empty shells only are reported. Opimaphora blattereri Albano, Bakker & Sabelli, sp. nov. is described from the Red Sea for comparison with the morphologically similar C. lessepsiana Albano, Bakker & Sabelli, sp. nov. The taxonomic part is followed by a discussion on how intensive fieldwork and cooperation among institutions and individuals enabled such a massive report, and how the poor taxonomic knowledge of the Indo-Pacific fauna hampers non-indigenous species detection and identification. Finally, the hypothesis that the simultaneous analysis of quantitative benthic death assemblages can support the assignment of non-indigenous status to taxonomically undetermined species is discussed.

RevDate: 2021-02-03
CmpDate: 2021-02-03

Bédry R, de Haro L, Bentur Y, et al (2021)

Toxicological risks on the human health of populations living around the Mediterranean Sea linked to the invasion of non-indigenous marine species from the Red Sea: A review.

Toxicon : official journal of the International Society on Toxinology, 191:69-82.

The Mediterranean region is, by far, a prime travel destination, having hosted more than 330 million tourists in 2016, mostly for seaside holidays. A greatly increased influx of thermophilic Red Sea species, introduced through the Suez Canal in a process referred to as Lessepsian invasion (in honor of Ferdinand de Lesseps who instigated the building of the Suez Canal), have raised awareness among scientists, medical personnel, and the public, of health risks caused by some venomous and poisonous marine species. The main species of concern are the poisonous Lagocephalus sceleratus, and the venomous Plotosus lineatus, Siganus luridus, Siganus rivulatus, Pterois miles, Synancea verrucosa, Rhopilema nomadica, Macrorhynchia philippina and Diadema setosum. Recognizing that the main factors that drive the introduction and dispersal of Red Sea biota in the Mediterranean, i.e., Suez Canal enlargements and warming seawater, are set to increase, and international tourist arrivals are forecasted to increase as well, to 500 million in 2030, an increase in intoxications and envenomations by alien marine species is to be expected and prepared for.

RevDate: 2021-02-02

Chen M, Mei Y, Chen X, et al (2021)

A chromosome-level assembly of the harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis as a genomic resource to study beetle and invasion biology.

Molecular ecology resources [Epub ahead of print].

The harlequin ladybird, Harmonia axyridis (Pallas), is a well-known model organism for genetic studies and is also a well-studied natural enemy used for pest control. It became an invasive species after being introduced to North America and Europe as a pest control agent. Though two genome assemblies for this insect have been previously reported, a high-quality genome assembly at the chromosome-level is still not available. Here, we obtained a new chromosome-level genome assembly of H. axyridis by combining various sequencing technologies, namely Illumina short reads, PacBio long reads, 10X Genomics, and Hi-C. The chromosome-level genome assembly is 423 Mb with a scaffold N50 of 45.92 Mb. Using Hi-C data 1,897 scaffolds were anchored to eight chromosomes. A total of 730,068 repeat sequences were identified, making up 51.2% of the assembled genome. After masking these repeat sequences, we annotated 22,810 protein-encoding genes. The X chromosome and Y-linked scaffolds were also identified by resequencing male and female genomes and calculating the male to female coverage ratios. Two gene families associated with environmental adaptation, odorant receptor and cytochrome P450, were analyzed and showed no obvious expansion in H. axyridis. We successfully constructed a putative biosynthesis pathway of harmonine, a defense compound in the hemolymph of H. axyridis, which is a key factor for H. axyridis strong immunity. The chromosome-level genome assembly of H. axyridis is a helpful resource for studies of beetle biology and invasive biology.

RevDate: 2021-02-02

Russell MC, Qureshi A, Wilson CG, et al (2021)

Size, not temperature, drives cyclopoid copepod predation of invasive mosquito larvae.

PloS one, 16(2):e0246178 pii:PONE-D-20-25464.

During range expansion, invasive species can experience new thermal regimes. Differences between the thermal performance of local and invasive species can alter species interactions, including predator-prey interactions. The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is a known vector of several viral diseases of public health importance. It has successfully invaded many regions across the globe and currently threatens to invade regions of the UK where conditions would support seasonal activity. We assessed the functional response and predation efficiency (percentage of prey consumed) of the cyclopoid copepods Macrocyclops albidus and Megacyclops viridis from South East England, UK against newly-hatched French Ae. albopictus larvae across a relevant temperature range (15, 20, and 25°C). Predator-absent controls were included in all experiments to account for background prey mortality. We found that both M. albidus and M. viridis display type II functional response curves, and that both would therefore be suitable biocontrol agents in the event of an Ae. albopictus invasion in the UK. No significant effect of temperature on the predation interaction was detected by either type of analysis. However, the predation efficiency analysis did show differences due to predator species. The results suggest that M. viridis would be a superior predator against invasive Ae. albopictus larvae due to the larger size of this copepod species, relative to M. albidus. Our work highlights the importance of size relationships in predicting interactions between invading prey and local predators.

RevDate: 2021-02-02

Bremer LL, DeMaagd N, Wada CA, et al (2021)

Priority watershed management areas for groundwater recharge and drinking water protection: A case study from Hawai'i Island.

Journal of environmental management pii:S0301-4797(20)31547-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Worldwide, water utilities and other water users increasingly seek to finance watershed protection and restoration in order to maintain or enhance water quality and quantity important for drinking water supply and other human use. Hydrologic studies which characterize the relative effectiveness of watershed management activities in terms of metrics important to water users are greatly needed to guide prioritization. To address this need, we worked with a local water utility in Hawai'i to develop a novel framework for prioritizing investments in native forest protection and restoration for groundwater recharge and applied it in the utility's priority aquifers and recharge areas. Specifically we combined land cover and water balance modeling to quantify the 50-year cumulative recharge benefits of: 1) protection of native forest from conversion to non-native forest, and 2) restoration of native forest in non-native grasslands. The highest priority areas (80th percentile of benefits) for native forest protection are projected to prevent the loss of over 48,600 m3 per hectare of recharge over 50 years. Incorporating land cover change modeling (versus assuming all areas are equally susceptible to invasion) shifts prioritization towards low to mid-elevation mesic forest areas at the highest risk of invasion by invasive canopy species as well as to high elevation, cloud forest areas at high risk of conversion to non-native grassland or bare ground. We also find that, in the highest priority areas with substantial fog interception, native forest restoration is projected to increase recharge by over 88,900 m3 per hectare over 50 years, but that decreases in recharge occur in areas with low fog interception. This study provides a framework for prioritizing investments in forest protection and restoration for groundwater recharge in a way that incorporates both the threat of conversion as well as changes in hydrologic fluxes. The framework and results can be utilized by current managers and updated as new ecohydrological data become available. The results also provide broad insights on the links between watershed management and groundwater recharge, particularly on islands and in other regions where species invasions threaten source watersheds and where groundwater is a primary water source.

RevDate: 2021-02-02
CmpDate: 2021-02-02

Winterhoff ML, Achmadi AS, Roycroft EJ, et al (2020)

Native and Introduced Trypanosome Parasites in Endemic and Introduced Murine Rodents of Sulawesi.

The Journal of parasitology, 106(5):523-536.

The Indonesian island of Sulawesi is a globally significant biodiversity hotspot with substantial undescribed biota, particularly blood-borne parasites of endemic wildlife. Documenting the blood parasites of Sulawesi's murine rodents is the first fundamental step towards the discovery of pathogens likely to be of concern for the health and conservation of Sulawesi's endemic murines. We screened liver samples from 441 specimens belonging to 20 different species of murine rodents from 2 mountain ranges on Sulawesi, using polymerase chin reaction (PCR) primers targeting the conserved 18S rDNA region across the protozoan class Kinetoplastea. We detected infections in 156 specimens (10 host species) with a mean prevalence of 35.4% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 30.9-39.8%). Sequences from these samples identified 4 infections to the genus Parabodo, 1 to Blechomonas, and the remaining 151 to the genus Trypanosoma. Within Trypanosoma, we recovered 17 haplotypes nested within the Trypanosoma theileri clade infecting 117 specimens (8 host species) and 4 haplotypes nested within the Trypanosoma lewisi clade infecting 34 specimens (6 host species). Haplotypes within the T. theileri clade were related to regional Indo-Australian endemic trypanosomes, displayed geographic structuring but with evidence of long-term connectivity between mountains, and had substantial phylogenetic diversity. These results suggest T. theileri clade parasites are native to Sulawesi. Conversely, T. lewisi clade haplotypes were recovered from both endemic and introduced rodents, demonstrated complete geographic separation between clades, and had low genetic diversity. These results suggest that the T. lewisi clade parasites invaded Sulawesi recently and likely in 2 separate invasion events. Our results provide the first records of metakinetoplastids in Sulawesi's rodents and highlight the need for more extensive sampling for pathogens in this biodiversity hotspot.

RevDate: 2021-02-02
CmpDate: 2021-02-02

Ronai I, Tufts DM, MA Diuk-Wasser (2020)

Aversion of the invasive Asian longhorned tick to the white-footed mouse, the dominant reservoir of tick-borne pathogens in the U.S.A.

Medical and veterinary entomology, 34(3):369-373.

The Asian longhorned tick (Haemaphysalis longicornis) was reported for the first time in the U.S.A. in 2017 and has now spread across 12 states. The potential of this invasive tick vector to transmit pathogens will be determined through its association to hosts, such as the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), which is the primary reservoir for the causative agent of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) and other zoonotic pathogens. Larval H. longicornis were placed on P. leucopus; 65% of the larvae (n = 40) moved off the host within a short period of time, and none engorged. By contrast, larval blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) did not move from where they were placed in the ear of the mouse. A laboratory behavioural assay was then conducted to assess the interaction of H. longicornis with the hair of potential mammalian host species in the U.S.A. H. longicornis larvae were significantly less likely to enter the hair zone of P. leucopus and humans compared to the hair of domestic cats, domestic dogs and white-tailed deer. This study identifies a tick-host interaction behaviour, which can be quantified in a laboratory assay to predict tick-host associations and provides insights into how ticks select a host.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Terêncio DPS, Pacheco FAL, Sanches Fernandes LF, et al (2021)

Is it safe to remove a dam at the risk of a sprawl by exotic fish species?.

The Science of the total environment, 771:144768 pii:S0048-9697(20)38301-7 [Epub ahead of print].

The longitudinal dimension of river connectivity has been significantly disrupted by barriers to compensate for water demand in the long periods of water scarcity in the Iberian Peninsula. The scale of this modification is widespread in the Portuguese part of Douro River network where, side to side with agriculture water demand, there is a constant increase in hydropower production. Thus, native species in Iberian freshwater systems, performing reproductive migrations along the rivers, are strongly affected by the amplification of fragmentation caused by the tremendous density of transversal obstacles in this river basin. We aimed to prioritize dam removal in the Portuguese part of Douro River, mainly considering obsolete barriers (small dams, weirs) based on a spatial multicriteria decision analysis (GIS-MCDA) based on a prioritization procedure. A diversity of parameters were used to prioritize (rank) the dam's suitability for removal, considering the losses of connectivity and fish biodiversity, habitat degradation, negative effects on water quality and ecological conditions, and socio-economic factors. Different weights were assigned to the different attributes in each criterion according to their importance. The analysis also included a significant constraint: the potential spreading of exotic invasive fish species if connection was reestablished through dam removal. This procedure started with the georeferencing of 1201 transversal obstacles that were further characterized for their relative permeability to fish migration. In conclusion the model used allowed to identify 158 priority barriers, as well as the 5 most fragmented tributaries, which means the most impacted by river regulation. In 8 cases the barriers were big dams (> 15 m), whereas in the remaining 150 were weirs. From a final rank of 20 most impacting structures, the MCDA results also identified two cases where potential removal could trigger the additional impact to native fish species related to the sprawl of alien populations.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Stewart PS, Hill RA, Stephens PA, et al (2021)

Impacts of invasive plants on animal behaviour.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

The spread of invasive species is a threat to ecosystems worldwide. However, we know relatively little about how invasive species affect the behaviour of native animals, even though behaviour plays a vital role in the biotic interactions which are key to understanding the causes and impacts of biological invasions. Here, we explore how invasive plants - one of the most pervasive invasive taxa - impact the behaviour of native animals. To promote a mechanistic understanding of these behavioural impacts, we begin by introducing a mechanistic framework which explicitly considers the drivers and ecological consequences of behavioural change, as well as the moderating role of environmental context. We then synthesise the existing literature within this framework. We find that while some behavioural impacts of invasive plants are relatively well-covered in the literature, others are supported by only a handful of studies and should be explored further in the future. We conclude by identifying priority topics for future research, which will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach uniting invasion ecology with the study of animal behaviour and cognition.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Barbieri DM, Lou B, Passavanti M, et al (2021)

Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mobility in ten countries and associated perceived risk for all transport modes.

PloS one, 16(2):e0245886 pii:PONE-D-20-33270.

The restrictive measures implemented in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have triggered sudden massive changes to travel behaviors of people all around the world. This study examines the individual mobility patterns for all transport modes (walk, bicycle, motorcycle, car driven alone, car driven in company, bus, subway, tram, train, airplane) before and during the restrictions adopted in ten countries on six continents: Australia, Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Norway, South Africa and the United States. This cross-country study also aims at understanding the predictors of protective behaviors related to the transport sector and COVID-19. Findings hinge upon an online survey conducted in May 2020 (N = 9,394). The empirical results quantify tremendous disruptions for both commuting and non-commuting travels, highlighting substantial reductions in the frequency of all types of trips and use of all modes. In terms of potential virus spread, airplanes and buses are perceived to be the riskiest transport modes, while avoidance of public transport is consistently found across the countries. According to the Protection Motivation Theory, the study sheds new light on the fact that two indicators, namely income inequality, expressed as Gini index, and the reported number of deaths due to COVID-19 per 100,000 inhabitants, aggravate respondents' perceptions. This research indicates that socio-economic inequality and morbidity are not only related to actual health risks, as well documented in the relevant literature, but also to the perceived risks. These findings document the global impact of the COVID-19 crisis as well as provide guidance for transportation practitioners in developing future strategies.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Rainville V, Filion A, Lussier I, et al (2021)

Does ecological release from distantly related species affect phenotypic divergence in brook charr?.

Oecologia [Epub ahead of print].

Ecological opportunity occurs when a resource becomes available through a decrease of interspecific competition and another species colonizes the vacant niche through phenotypic plasticity and intraspecific competition. Brook charr exhibit a resource polymorphism in some Canadian Shield lakes, where a littoral ecotype feeds mainly on zoobenthos and a pelagic ecotype feeds mostly on zooplankton. The objectives of this study were to test that (i) resource polymorphism is common in these brook charr populations, (ii) the presence creek chub and white sucker, two introduced species competing with brook charr for littoral resources, will decrease the phenotypic divergence between the two brook charr ecotypes, and (iii) the ecological release from introduced species will increase population and/or individual niche widths in brook charr. The study was based on 27 lakes and five indicators of resource use (stomach content, liver δ13C, muscle astaxanthin concentration, pyloric caecum length, and gill raker length). Our results indicate that within-lake differences in resource use by both ecotypes are common and stable through time. When facing interspecific competition, both littoral and pelagic brook charr incorporated more pelagic prey into their diet but maintained the amplitude of their differences in resource use, which contradicts our second prediction. Finally, we did not find any significant effect of introduced species on population and individual niche widths of brook charr. We suggest that the difference in feeding mode among distantly related competitors could prevent the complete exclusion of a species from a given niche and explain the lack of response to the ecological release.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Nuñez-Penichet C, Osorio-Olvera L, Gonzalez VH, et al (2021)

Geographic potential of the world's largest hornet, Vespa mandarinia Smith (Hymenoptera: Vespidae), worldwide and particularly in North America.

PeerJ, 9:e10690 pii:10690.

The Asian giant hornet (AGH, Vespa mandarinia) is the world's largest hornet, occurring naturally in the Indomalayan region, where it is a voracious predator of pollinating insects including honey bees. In September 2019, a nest of Asian giant hornets was detected outside of Vancouver, British Columbia; multiple individuals were detected in British Columbia and Washington state in 2020; and another nest was found and eradicated in Washington state in November 2020, indicating that the AGH may have successfully wintered in North America. Because hornets tend to spread rapidly and become pests, reliable estimates of the potential invasive range of V. mandarinia in North America are needed to assess likely human and economic impacts, and to guide future eradication attempts. Here, we assess climatic suitability for AGH in North America, and suggest that, without control, this species could establish populations across the Pacific Northwest and much of eastern North America. Predicted suitable areas for AGH in North America overlap broadly with areas where honey production is highest, as well as with species-rich areas for native bumble bees and stingless bees of the genus Melipona in Mexico, highlighting the economic and environmental necessity of controlling this nascent invasion.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Jung J, Do HDK, Hyun J, et al (2021)

Comparative analysis and implications of the chloroplast genomes of three thistles (Carduus L., Asteraceae).

PeerJ, 9:e10687 pii:10687.

Background: Carduus, commonly known as plumeless thistles, is a genus in the Asteraceae family that exhibits both medicinal value and invasive tendencies. However, the genomic data of Carduus (i.e., complete chloroplast genomes) have not been sequenced.

Methods: We sequenced and assembled the chloroplast genome (cpDNA) sequences of three Carduus species using the Illumina Miseq sequencing system and Geneious Prime. Phylogenetic relationships between Carduus and related taxa were reconstructed using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian Inference analyses. In addition, we used a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the protein coding region of the matK gene to develop molecular markers to distinguish C. crispus from C. acanthoides and C. tenuiflorus.

Results: The cpDNA sequences of C. crispus, C. acanthoides, and C. tenuiflorus ranged from 152,342 bp to 152,617 bp in length. Comparative genomic analysis revealed high conservation in terms of gene content (including 80 protein-coding, 30 tRNA, and four rRNA genes) and gene order within the three focal species and members of subfamily Carduoideae. Despite their high similarity, the three species differed with respect to the number and content of repeats in the chloroplast genome. Additionally, eight hotspot regions, including psbI-trnS_GCU, trnE_UUC-rpoB, trnR_UCU-trnG_UCC, psbC-trnS_UGA, trnT_UGU-trnL_UAA, psbT-psbN, petD-rpoA, and rpl16-rps3, were identified in the study species. Phylogenetic analyses inferred from 78 protein-coding and non-coding regions indicated that Carduus is polyphyletic, suggesting the need for additional studies to reconstruct relationships between thistles and related taxa. Based on a SNP in matK, we successfully developed a molecular marker and protocol for distinguishing C. crispus from the other two focal species. Our study provides preliminary chloroplast genome data for further studies on plastid genome evolution, phylogeny, and development of species-level markers in Carduus.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Saba AO, Ismail A, Zulkifli SZ, et al (2021)

Economic contribution and attitude towards alien freshwater ornamental fishes of pet store owners in Klang Valley, Malaysia.

PeerJ, 9:e10643 pii:10643.

Malaysia is one of the top ten countries in the world that produce freshwater ornamental fishes. This industry can offer better livelihood opportunities to many poor households. However, most of the produced ornamental fishes are alien to Malaysia. In this study, we explore the contribution of alien freshwater fishes to the income of ornamental fish store owners and their attitude towards alien freshwater fishes within Klang Valley, Malaysia. Using a structured questionnaire, we surveyed 70 pet stores out of which 54 (81.42%) store owners responded. Most of the pet store owners were male (72%), Chinese (83%), and the highest educational level was at the secondary level (79%). Most of the pet store owners reported a monthly income of RM 2001-RM 5000 (78%) and were married (73%). Using Chi-square (χ2) test, significant relationships (p < 0.05) existed between the attitude of store owners towards alien ornamental fish species versus educational level (χ2 = 16.424, p = 0.007) and contribution of alien ornamental fishes to the pet store owners' income (χ2 = 27.266, p = 0.003). Fish sales as the main income source also related significantly with the impact of fish selling business on income level (χ2 = 10.448, p = 0.007). This study showed that the ornamental fish sales contributed over half of the income (51-100%) from the businesses of store owners. Almost half of the respondents (42%) reported that alien ornamental fish was the highest contributor to their income from the ornamental fish sale. While the mismanagement of alien ornamental fishes could give various negative ecological impacts, the socio-economic benefits of these fishes cannot be denied.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Fisher JT, AC Burton (2021)

Spatial structure of reproductive success infers mechanisms of ungulate invasion in Nearctic boreal landscapes.

Ecology and evolution, 11(2):900-911 pii:ECE37103.

Landscape change is a key driver of biodiversity declines due to habitat loss and fragmentation, but spatially shifting resources can also facilitate range expansion and invasion. Invasive populations are reproductively successful, and landscape change may buoy this success.We show how modeling the spatial structure of reproductive success can elucidate the mechanisms of range shifts and sustained invasions for mammalian species with attendant young. We use an example of white-tailed deer (deer; Odocoileus virginianus) expansion in the Nearctic boreal forest, a North American phenomenon implicated in severe declines of threatened woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus).We hypothesized that deer reproductive success is linked to forage subsidies provided by extensive landscape change via resource extraction. We measured deer occurrence using data from 62 camera traps in northern Alberta, Canada, over three years. We weighed support for multiple competing hypotheses about deer reproductive success using multistate occupancy models and generalized linear models in an AIC-based model selection framework.Spatial patterns of reproductive success were best explained by features associated with petroleum exploration and extraction, which offer early-seral vegetation resource subsidies. Effect sizes of anthropogenic features eclipsed natural heterogeneity by two orders of magnitude. We conclude that anthropogenic early-seral forage subsidies support high springtime reproductive success, mitigating or exceeding winter losses, maintaining populations. Synthesis and Applications. Modeling spatial structuring in reproductive success can become a key goal of remote camera-based global networks, yielding ecological insights into mechanisms of invasion and range shifts to inform effective decision-making for global biodiversity conservation.

RevDate: 2021-02-01

Yang L, Huang Y, Lima LV, et al (2020)

Rethinking the Ecosystem Functions of Dicranopteris, a Widespread Genus of Ferns.

Frontiers in plant science, 11:581513.

Dicranopteris is an ancient and widespread genus of ferns in pantropical regions. Some species of the genus can form dense thickets, and dominate the understory, which are common and key species in tropical and subtropical ecosystems. However, they were mostly cut or burned in forest management because of forming dense thickets which were considered to interfere with forest regeneration and succession. In the current review, we argue that the Dicranopteris species which are able to rapidly colonize barren areas may contribute to ecosystem recovery, resistance to environmental stress, and succession control. Rapid colonization involves prolific spore production, rapid clonal growth, the generation of high surface cover, and the ability to fill gaps; stress resistance includes resistance to abiotic stress, and the ability to reduce soil erosion from rainfall, alien species invasion, and soil contamination and toxicity; and succession facilitation consists of carbon and nutrient sequestration in soil, moderation of the microclimate, alteration of the soil microbial and faunal communities, and determination of which plant species to be established in the next successional stage. All of these ecosystem functions may be beneficial to ecosystem resilience. We expect that the distribution of Dicranopteris will expand in response to global warming, changes in precipitation patterns, increases in soil pollution, deforestation, and land degradation. We recommend that Dicranopteris, as a pioneer fern and a valuable component of tropical and subtropical ecosystems, needs more attention in future research and better management practices to promote forest regeneration and succession.

RevDate: 2021-01-30

Martínez-Vázquez RM, de Pablo Valenciano J, JL Caparrós Martínez (2021)

Marinas and sustainability: Directions for future research.

Marine pollution bulletin, 164:112035 pii:S0025-326X(21)00069-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Marinas have ceased to be ports dedicated exclusively to recreational boating and nautical sports. Nowadays, marinas offer a variety of services that complement the tourist offering of its locality in addition to auxiliary activities that arise from its main activity. There are considerable economic and social resources generated by these types of facilities that benefit their localities, but they can also have negative effects such as compromising the sustainability of the environment. The objective of this article is to examine the terms related to changes in the ecosystem derived from marinas through the Keywords Plus and the Author Keywords extracted from the WoS database and obtain results that explain how several themes have evolved and how these concepts relate to each other and to other variables. In this way, it will be possible to critically examine the selection of terms that appear in scientific documents. The results show that pollution, antifouling paints, and invasive species are the terms of greatest concern and on which particular emphasis should be placed for future lines of research.

RevDate: 2021-01-30

Saylor RK, Schofield PJ, WA Bennett (2021)

Non-native Asian swamp eel, Monopterus albus/javanensis (Zuiew, 1973/Lacepede, 1800), responses to low temperatures.

Fish physiology and biochemistry [Epub ahead of print].

Asian swamp eel, Monopterus albus/javanensis [Zuiew, 1973/Lacepede 1800], has been established in the southeastern USA since at least 1994, yet little is known about its ability to survive low winter temperatures. We use standard thermal methodologies to quantify low temperature responses and provide a detailed description of swamp eel reactions to cold temperatures. When exposed to chronic temperature decreases of 1.0 °C day-1, swamp eel ceased foraging at 15.0 °C, markedly diminished movements below 11.0 °C, and became incapacitated near 9.6 °C. During critical thermal minima trials, swamp eel exposed to acute temperature drops (0.25 °C min-1) tolerated temperatures as low as 6.2 °C. Swamp eel exhibited a moderate cold acclimation response, gaining 0.23 °C in cold tolerance for every 1 °C drop in acclimation temperature. Progressive time-series critical thermal minimum temperatures (CTmin) estimates for eel acclimated to 20.5 °C followed by an acute temperature decrease to 16.0 °C, revealed that cold acclimation may occur in only 8 days. Fringe populations of swamp eel in their native range periodically experience colder winter temperatures, which may explain the ability of introduced populations to survive winter cold fronts in Florida. Understanding Asian swamp eel acute and chronic thermal limits may be useful in assessing dispersal risk and range expansion in the southeastern USA.

RevDate: 2021-01-30

Keet JH, Ellis AG, Hui C, et al (2021)

Impacts of Invasive Australian Acacias on Soil Bacterial Community Composition, Microbial Enzymatic Activities, and Nutrient Availability in Fynbos Soils.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive plants often impact soil conditions, notably through changes in soil chemistry and microbial community composition, potentially leading to altered soil functionality. We determine the impacts of invasive nitrogen-fixing Australian Acacia trees on soil chemistry and function (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling) in South Africa's Core Cape Subregion, and whether any differences in soil function are linked to differences in soil chemical properties and bacterial community composition between neighbouring acacia-invaded and uninvaded sites. We do so by using Illumina MiSeq sequencing data together with soil chemistry and soil enzyme activity profiles. Acacias significantly increased levels of soil nitrogen (NO3-, NH4+, and total N), C, and pH. Although we did not find evidence that acacias affected soil bacterial community diversity, we did find them to alter bacterial community composition. Acacias also significantly elevated microbial phosphatase activity, but not β-glucosidase, whilst having contrasting effects on urease. Changes in soil chemical properties under acacia invasion were found to correlate with changes in enzyme activities for urease and phosphatase. Similarly, changes in soil bacterial community composition were correlated to changes in phosphatase enzymatic activity levels under acacia invasion. Whilst we found evidence for acacias altering soil function by changing soil chemical properties and bacterial community composition, these impacts appear to be specific to local site conditions.

RevDate: 2021-01-30

Liu X, Feng Y, Bai X, et al (2021)

Comparative multi-omics analyses reveal differential expression of key genes relevant for parasitism between non-encapsulated and encapsulated Trichinella.

Communications biology, 4(1):134.

Genome assemblies provide a powerful basis of comparative multi-omics analyses that offer insight into parasite pathogenicity, host-parasite interactions, and invasion biology. As a unique intracellular nematode, Trichinella consists of two clades, encapsulated and non-encapsulated. Genomic correlation of the distinct differences between the two clades is still unclear. Here, we report an annotated draft reference genome of non-encapsulated Trichinella, T. pseudospiralis, and perform comparative multi-omics analyses with encapsulated T. spiralis. Genome and methylome analyses indicate that, during Trichinella evolution, the two clades of Trichinella exhibit differential expansion and methylation of parasitism-related multi-copy gene families, especially for the DNase II members of the phospholipase D superfamily and Glutathione S-transferases. Further, methylome and transcriptome analyses revealed divergent key excretory/secretory (E/S) genes between the two clades. Among these key E/S genes, TP12446 is significantly more expressed across three life stages in T. pseudospiralis. Overexpression of TP12446 in the mouse C2C12 skeletal muscle cell line could induce inhibition of myotube formation and differentiation, further indicating its key role in parasitism of T. pseudospiralis. This multi-omics study provides a foundation for further elucidation of the mechanism of nurse cell formation and immunoevasion, as well as the identification of pharmacological and diagnostic targets of trichinellosis.

RevDate: 2021-01-29

Mozsár A, Árva D, Józsa V, et al (2021)

Only one can remain? Environmental and spatial factors influencing habitat partitioning among invasive and native crayfishes in the Pannonian Ecoregion (Hungary).

The Science of the total environment, 770:145240 pii:S0048-9697(21)00306-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Biological invasions have increasingly threatened indigenous species, influence metacommunity organisation and consequently, global biodiversity. World-wide expansion of non-indigenous crayfish (NICS) is associated with dramatic changes in species poor indigenous crayfish (ICS) assemblages challenging conservation planning. We analysed long-term changes of crayfish occurrences from the pre-invasion state, through the first appearance of NICS, to their intensive spread in Hungarian waters. Further, we analysed present-day crayfish metacommunity patterns for co-occurrences and influence of spatial and environmental factors. Historic data revealed a marked pre-invasion decline in indigenous noble crayfish Astacus astacus and stone crayfish Austropotamobius torrentium populations, but not in the narrow-clawed crayfish Pontastacus leptodactylus. Historic data provided no direct evidence for the impact of NICS on ICS, rather it supported that NICS often entered areas where ICS had been extinct or were not present at all. Crayfish species extremely rarely co-occurred which could indicate their strong competition and be related to utilization of empty sites by NICS. Crayfish metacommunities were predominantly spatially structured indicating the primary influence of ongoing invasion. Crayfish species also exhibited different environmental preferences mainly along the altitude and temperature gradients. We conclude that the invasion is still in the expanding phase and without an effective conservational program the future of ICS is doubtful in Hungary. Conservation policy should focus on the preservation and reintroduction of the stone and noble crayfishes in highland refugees. Expansion of NICS should be prevented in refugee areas by utilizing possibilities provided by natural and artificial barriers, and education and strict ban should be simultaneously applied to prevent further illegal releases by aquarists.

RevDate: 2021-01-29

Yang P, Wang D, Guo W, et al (2021)

FAWMine: An integrated database and analysis platform for fall armyworm genomics.

Insect science [Epub ahead of print].

Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda), a native insect species in the Americas, is rapidly becoming a major agricultural pest worldwide and is causing great damage to corn, rice, soybeans, and other crops. To control this pest, scientists have accumulated a great deal of high-throughput data of fall armyworm, and nine versions of its genomes and transcriptomes have been published. However, easily accessing and performing integrated analysis of these omics data sets is challenging. Here, we developed the Fall Armyworm Genome Database (FAWMine, to maintain genome sequences, structural and functional annotations, transcriptomes, co-expression, protein interactions, homologs, pathways, and single-nucleotide variations. FAWMine provides a powerful framework that helps users to perform flexible and customized searching, present integrated data sets using diverse visualization methods, output results tables in a range of file formats, analyze candidate gene lists using multiple widgets, and query data available in other InterMine systems. Additionally, stand-alone JBrowse and BLAST services are also established, allowing the users to visualize RNA-Seq data and search genome and annotated gene sequences. Altogether, FAWMine is a useful tool for querying, visualizing, and analyzing compiled data sets rapidly and efficiently. FAWMine will be continually updated to function as a community resource for fall armyworm genomics and pest control research.

RevDate: 2021-01-29

Meng CR, Zhang Q, Yang ZF, et al (2021)

Lasiodiplodia syzygii sp. nov. (Botryosphaeriaceae) causing post-harvest water-soaked brown lesions on Syzygium samarangense in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Biodiversity data journal, 9:e60604 pii:60604.

Background: Syzygium samarangense (Wax apple) is an important tropical fruit tree with high economic and nutrient value and is widely planted in the tropics or subtropics of Asia. Post-harvest water-soaked brown lesions were observed on mature fruits of ornamental wax apples in Chiang Rai Province, Thailand. A fungus with morphological characters, similar to Lasiodiplodia, was consistently isolated from symptomatic fruits. Phylogenetic analyses, based on ITS, LSU, TEF1-a and tub2, revealed that our isolates were closely related to, but phylogenetically distinct from, Lasiodiplodia rubropurpurea.

New information: Morphological comparisons indicated that pycnidia and conidiogenous cells of our strains were significantly larger than L. rubropurpurea. Comparisons of base-pair differences in the four loci confirmed that the species from wax apple was distinct from L. rubropurpurea and a new species, L. syzygii sp. nov., is introduced to accommodate it. Pathogenicity tests confirmed the newly-introduced species as the pathogen of this post-harvest water-soaked brown lesion disease on wax apples.

RevDate: 2021-01-29
CmpDate: 2021-01-29

Hidalgo J, Álvarez-Vergara F, Peña-Villalobos I, et al (2020)

Effect of salinity acclimation on osmoregulation, oxidative stress, and metabolic enzymes in the invasive Xenopus laevis.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology, 333(5):333-340.

Aquatic animals often display physiological adjustments to improve their biological performance and hydrosaline balance in saline environments. In addition to energetic costs associated with osmoregulation, oxidative stress, and the activation of the antioxidant system are common cellular responses to salt stress in many species, but the knowledge of osmoregulation-linked oxidative homeostasis in amphibians is scarce. Here we studied the biochemical responses and oxidative responses of Xenopus laevis females exposed for 40 days to two contrasting salinities: hypo-osmotic (150 mOsm·kg-1 ·H2 O NaCl, HYPO group) and hyper-osmotic environments (340 mOsm·kg-1 ·H2 O NaCl, HYPER group). We found an increase of plasma osmolality and plasma urea concentration in the animals incubated in the HYPER treatment. Increases in electrolyte concentration were paralleled with an increase of both citrate synthase and cytochrome c oxidase activities in liver and heart. Interestingly, HYPO group had higher catabolic activity of the skin and liver total antioxidant capacity (TAC), compared with animals from the HYPER group. Moreover, there was an inverse relationship between liver TAC and plasma osmolality; and with the metabolic enzymes from liver. These findings suggest that salinity induces changes in urea metabolism and specific activity of metabolic enzymes, which appears to be tissue-dependent in X. laevis. Contrary to our expectations, we also found a moderate change in the oxidative status as revealed by the increase in TAC activity in the animals acclimated to low salinity medium, but constancy in the lipid peroxidation of membranes.

RevDate: 2021-01-28

Foster JG, Gervan CA, Coghill MG, et al (2021)

Are arthropod communities in grassland ecosystems affected by the abundance of an invasive plant?.

Oecologia [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive plants cause changes to native plant communities and nutrient cycling, and by doing so, may alter the amount and quality of habitat available for animals at multiple trophic levels, including arthropods. Arthropods are generally abundant, diverse, and contribute to energy flow and nutrient cycling and are, therefore, an important group to study as a way of determining the effects of changes to ecosystem functioning. Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe L.), a perennial forb native to Eastern Europe, is considered one of the most ecologically harmful invasive species in Western North America. Here, we test if spotted knapweed alters plant community, ground litter and ground temperature, and arthropod functional group structure and biomass in grassland habitats in British Columbia, Canada. Pitfall traps, installed at 20 sites that differed in spotted knapweed density, were sorted into herbivores, omnivores, predators, detritivores, and parasites. Decreases in herbivore and detritivore biomass was associated with increasing spotted knapweed density. The first two coordinates of a Principle Coordinates Analysis explained a cumulative 60% of the variation, and herbivores were separated from predators on both axes. The results suggest that spotted knapweed density may affect arthropod functional groups through changes in plant community composition, and surface soil temperatures. The results suggest that in terms of relative abundance and biomass, increasing knapweed density had positive effects on some arthropod functional groups, neutral effects on others, and negative effects on others. Thus, not all arthropod functional groups responded equally to knapweed invasion, and knapweed invasion does not necessarily decrease arthropod functional group diversity.

RevDate: 2021-01-28

Miller AD, Inamine H, Buckling A, et al (2021)

How disturbance history alters invasion success: biotic legacies and regime change.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

Disturbance is a key factor shaping ecological communities, but little is understood about how the effects of disturbance processes accumulate over time. When disturbance regimes change, historical processes may influence future community structure, for example, by altering invasibility compared to communities with stable regimes. Here, we use an annual plant model to investigate how the history of disturbance alters invasion success. In particular, we show how two communities can have different outcomes from species introduction, solely due to past differences in disturbance regimes that generated different biotic legacies. We demonstrate that historical differences can enhance or suppress the persistence of introduced species, and that biotic legacies generated by stable disturbance history decay over time, though legacies can persist for unexpectedly long durations. This establishes a formal theoretical foundation for disturbance legacies having profound effects on communities, and highlights the value of further research on the biotic legacies of disturbance.

RevDate: 2021-01-28
CmpDate: 2021-01-28

Rettig JE, GR Smith (2021)

Relative strength of top-down effects of an invasive fish and bottom-up effects of nutrient addition in a simple aquatic food web.

Environmental science and pollution research international, 28(5):5845-5853.

Introduction of exotic predators or runoff of fertilizers can alter aquatic food webs, in particular zooplankton communities, through top-down and bottom-up effects. In a mesocosm experiment, we manipulated the density of Western Mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) and nutrient levels (nitrate and phosphate independently) and observed effects on zooplankton and phytoplankton in a fall, temperate zone system. If top-down regulation were important, we expected mosquitofish predation to reduce zooplankton abundance, which would indirectly benefit phytoplankton. If bottom-up regulation were important, we expected nutrient addition to increase both primary producers and zooplankton. Western Mosquitofish predation significantly decreased the abundance of several zooplankton taxa, resulting in a trophic cascade with increased chlorophyll a (i.e., primary productivity). This effect did not differ between mesocosms with 5 or 10 fish. Nutrient addition had no significant effects on zooplankton; however, chlorophyll a was positively affected by both nitrogen addition and phosphorus addition. Our results suggest weak bottom-up regulation in our experimental community, but strong top-down regulation, emphasizing the potential consequences of introducing non-native Western Mosquitofish to native aquatic ecosystems.

RevDate: 2021-01-27

Luz BLP, Miller DJ, MV Kitahara (2021)

High regenerative capacity is a general feature within colonial dendrophylliid corals (Anthozoa, Scleractinia).

Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution [Epub ahead of print].

The regenerative capacity of cnidarians plays an essential role in the maintenance and restoration of coral reef ecosystems by allowing faster recovery from disturbances and more efficient small-scale dispersal. However, in the case of invasive species, this property may contribute to their dispersal and success in nonnative habitats. Given that four Indo-Pacific members of the coral genus Tubastraea have invaded the Atlantic, here we evaluated the ability of three of these species (Tubastraea coccinea, Tubastraea diaphana, and Tubastraea micranthus) to regenerate from fragments of undifferentiated coral tissue to fully functional polyps in response to differences in food supply and fragment size. For comparative purposes, another colonial dendrophylliid (Dendrophyllia sp.) was included in the analyses. All dendrophylliids displayed regenerative ability and high survival rates that were independent of whether or not food was supplied or fragment size. However, regeneration rates varied between species and were influenced by fragment size. Temporal expression of key genes of the regenerative process (Wnt and FGF) was profiled during whole-body regeneration of T. coccinea, suggesting a remarkable regenerative ability of T. coccinea that points to its potential use as a laboratory model for the investigation of regeneration in colonial calcified anthozoans.

RevDate: 2021-01-27

Shanovich HN, Ribeiro AV, RL Koch (2021)

Seasonal Abundance, Defoliation, and Parasitism of Japanese Beetle (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Two Apple Cultivars.

Journal of economic entomology pii:6121549 [Epub ahead of print].

The Japanese beetle, Popillia japonica Newman, is an invasive insect to the United States that feeds on turfgrass roots as a larva and the foliage, flowers, and fruit of many major ornamental and agricultural crops, such as apple, as an adult. Despite its generalist feeding behavior, P. japonica shows preferences for certain plant species and cultivars. Classical biological control for P. japonica, including release of Istocheta aldrichi (Mensil), has been pursued in Minnesota. This study was conducted to assess the effects of apple cultivar on season-long abundance of adult P. japonica and their defoliation; and to assess effects of apple cultivar and P. japonica abundance and sex on parasitism of P. japonica by I. aldrichi. Sampling occurred during the summers of 2017 and 2018 on Zestar! and Honeycrisp cultivars in four different apple orchards. Abundance and defoliation of P. japonica was higher on Honeycrisp than Zestar!. Parasitism of P. japonica by I. aldrichi was higher for females than for males. In 2018, the relationship between parasitism of P. japonica and host density varied by cultivar. These findings may help growers determine which apple cultivars should be prioritized for scouting and management efforts and may provide an estimate of potential biological control by I. aldrichi in agricultural areas in the Midwest.

RevDate: 2021-01-27

Boult VL, LC Evans (2021)

Mechanisms matter: predicting the ecological impacts of global change.

Global change biology [Epub ahead of print].

Climate change, the conversion of natural landscapes, anthropogenic exploitation, pollution and invasive species have caused global declines in biodiversity (Díaz et al., 2019), with the impacts of climate change expected to intensify throughout the 21st century (Urban, 2015). Ecosystems will be hit by a combination of stressors, in many cases experiencing conditions outside those observed in their recent history. A crucial task for ecologists and conservationists is to understand how these novel conditions will impact populations, communities, and ecosystem function. Only with this understanding can society effectively target conservation and management interventions for the protection of biodiversity.

RevDate: 2021-01-27

Hickmann F, Savaris M, Corrêa AS, et al (2021)

Euschistus crenator (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae): a New Invasive Species on Soybean Fields in Northern Brazil.

Neotropical entomology [Epub ahead of print].

The expansion of soybean Glycine max (L.) Merrill in South America has provided an abundant host to the native arthropod fauna. Stink bugs (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) are severe pests on soybean crops due to their feeding activities. Several native species have been recorded on this crop, with the widespread Neotropical brow stink bug Euschistus heros (Fabricius) recognized as the key pest in most of its distribution. Here, we report for the first time Euschistus crenator (Fabricius) as a new invasive species on soybean fields in Northern Brazil. We collected the species at Pará state (2°38'32.2″S 54°55'56.1″W and 4°06'31.2″S 54°55'01.9″W) and Roraima state (2°39'41.3″N 60°46'58.9″W and 3°00'44.6″N 60°22'32.9″W). The latter represents a new state record, and the first represents new locality records, however, both representing the first soybean host record for the species. The distribution of E. crenator ranges from southern US (AZ, CA, FL, and TX) to north South America, mostly between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Despite overlap in distribution, we did not find E. crenator and E. heros simultaneously on soybean crops in the North region (Amazon Forest) of Brazil. Euschistus crenator was able to complete its life cycle and had viable offspring on soybean plants, with development parameters similar to E. heros.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )