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14 Nov 2022 at 02:05
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Bibliography on: Species Concept


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 14 Nov 2022 at 02:05 Created: 

Species Concept

Wikipedia: The species problem is the set of questions that arises when biologists attempt to define what a species is. Such a definition is called a species concept; there are at least 26 recognized species concepts. A species concept that works well for sexually reproducing organisms such as birds is useless for species that reproduce asexually, such as bacteria. The scientific study of the species problem has been called microtaxonomy. One common, but sometimes difficult, question is how best to decide which species an organism belongs to, because reproductively isolated groups may not be readily recognizable, and cryptic species may be present. There is a continuum from reproductive isolation with no interbreeding, to panmixis, unlimited interbreeding. Populations can move forward or backwards along this continuum, at any point meeting the criteria for one or another species concept, and failing others. Many of the debates on species touch on philosophical issues, such as nominalism and realism, and on issues of language and cognition. The current meaning of the phrase "species problem" is quite different from what Charles Darwin and others meant by it during the 19th and early 20th centuries. For Darwin, the species problem was the question of how new species arose. Darwin was however one of the first people to question how well-defined species are, given that they constantly change.

Created with PubMed® Query: "species concept" NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2022-10-27

Peçanha PM, Peçanha-Pietrobom PM, Grão-Velloso TR, et al (2022)

Paracoccidioidomycosis: What We Know and What Is New in Epidemiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 8(10): pii:jof8101098.

Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is a systemic mycosis endemic to Latin America caused by thermodimorphic fungi of the genus Paracoccidioides. In the last two decades, enhanced understanding of the phylogenetic species concept and molecular variations has led to changes in this genus' taxonomic classification. Although the impact of the new species on clinical presentation and treatment remains unclear, they can influence diagnosis when serological methods are employed. Further, although the infection is usually acquired in rural areas, the symptoms may manifest years or decades later when the patient might be living in the city or even in another country outside the endemic region. Brazil accounts for 80% of PCM cases worldwide, and its incidence is rising in the northern part of the country (Amazon region), owing to new settlements and deforestation, whereas it is decreasing in the south, owing to agriculture mechanization and urbanization. Clusters of the acute/subacute form are also emerging in areas with major human intervention and climate change. Advances in diagnostic methods (molecular and immunological techniques and biomarkers) remain scarce, and even the reference center's diagnostics are based mainly on direct microscopic examination. Classical imaging findings in the lungs include interstitial bilateral infiltrates, and eventually, enlargement or calcification of adrenals and intraparenchymal central nervous system lesions are also present. Besides itraconazole, cotrimoxazole, and amphotericin B, new azoles may be an alternative when the previous ones are not tolerated, although few studies have investigated their use in treating PCM.

RevDate: 2022-10-19

Rocchini D, Santos MJ, Ustin SL, et al (2022)

The Spectral Species Concept in Living Color.

Journal of geophysical research. Biogeosciences, 127(9):e2022JG007026.

Biodiversity monitoring is an almost inconceivable challenge at the scale of the entire Earth. The current (and soon to be flown) generation of spaceborne and airborne optical sensors (i.e., imaging spectrometers) can collect detailed information at unprecedented spatial, temporal, and spectral resolutions. These new data streams are preceded by a revolution in modeling and analytics that can utilize the richness of these datasets to measure a wide range of plant traits, community composition, and ecosystem functions. At the heart of this framework for monitoring plant biodiversity is the idea of remotely identifying species by making use of the 'spectral species' concept. In theory, the spectral species concept can be defined as a species characterized by a unique spectral signature and thus remotely detectable within pixel units of a spectral image. In reality, depending on spatial resolution, pixels may contain several species which renders species-specific assignment of spectral information more challenging. The aim of this paper is to review the spectral species concept and relate it to underlying ecological principles, while also discussing the complexities, challenges and opportunities to apply this concept given current and future scientific advances in remote sensing.

RevDate: 2022-10-12

Bradshaw MJ, Braun U, DH Pfister (2022)

Phylogeny and taxonomy of the genera of Erysiphaceae, part 1: Golovinomyces.

Mycologia [Epub ahead of print].

Powdery mildews are a monophyletic group of obligate plant pathogenic fungi in the family Erysiphaceae. Powdery mildews are economically important in that they cause damage to many agriculturally significant crops and plants in ecologically important habitats. In this contribution, we introduce a new series of publications focusing on the phylogeny and taxonomy of this group, with an emphasis on specimens collected from North America. The first part of the series focuses on the genus Golovinomyces and includes a section detailing the powdery mildew species concept. We conducted analyses of Golovinomyces spp. with available rDNA sequence data from GenBank and supplemented the data set with rDNA (ITS, 28S, IGS) as well as protein-coding (GAPDH) data from 94 North American collections. Many of the species evaluated are included in phylogenetic and morphological analyses for the first time, including the American species G. americanus, G. brunneopunctatus, G. californicus, G. greeneanus, G. hydrophyllacearum, and G. sparsus. A special emphasis was placed on acquiring ex-type or ex-epitype sequences or presenting reference sequences for phylogenetic-taxonomic purposes. Three new species, G. eurybiarum, G. galiorum, and G. malvacearum, are described, and the new combinations G. fuegianus, G. mutisiae, and G. reginae are introduced. Ex-holotype sequences of Erysiphe sparsa (≡ G. sparsus) reveal that it should be reduced to synonymy with G. ambrosiae, and ex-epitype sequences of G. valerianae reveal that it should be reduced to synonymy with G. orontii. Multiple epitypes are designated with ex-epitype sequences.

RevDate: 2022-10-11

Wallingford JC, Neve Myers P, CM Barber (2022)

Effects of addition of 2-fucosyllactose to infant formula on growth and specific pathways of utilization by Bifidobacterium in healthy term infants.

Frontiers in nutrition, 9:961526.

Oligosaccharides in human milk support health via intestinal microbiome. We studied effects of addition of 2-fucosyllactose (2'FL) to the infant formula on infant growth, occurrence of adverse events (AE), and infant microbiome, including expression of microbial genes that metabolize 2'FL. Our hypothesis was that while 2'FL would not affect growth, it would cause changes in microbiome metabolism. In a double-blinded randomized controlled study fashion, the infant formula ± 2'FL or human milk was fed to healthy term infants for 16 weeks. Fecal samples obtained at baseline and week 16 were analyzed for microbial populations, metagenomic species concept (MGS), and genetics of gut metabolic modules (GMMs). There were no effects of addition of 2'FL on growth or AEs. There were no significant differences by feeding group in MGS richness or Shannon diversity at baseline, but formula groups each had significantly greater richness (p < 0.05) and diversity (p < 0.05) after 16 weeks of feeding than the breastfed group. While two glycosyl hydrolase (GH) families (GH42 and GH112) were significantly increased, two other GH families (GH20 and GH2) were significantly decreased in the test formula group compared to the control formula group; although modest, addition of 2'FL resulted in changes in microbiome in the direction of breastfed infants, consistent with internal metabolism of HMOs by Bifidobacterium.

RevDate: 2022-09-14
CmpDate: 2022-09-14

Lair X, Ropars L, Skevington JH, et al (2022)

Revision of the genus Pelecocera Meigen, 1822 (Diptera: Syrphidae) from France: taxonomy, ecology and distribution.

Zootaxa, 5141(1):1-24.

The occurrence and distribution of the various species of the genus Pelecocera Meigen, 1822 (Diptera: Syrphidae) occurring in France are revised and a new species, Pelecocera garrigae Lair Nve, 2022 sp. nov., is described from Mediterranean France. Distribution and ecological data of the six French species of Pelecocera are provided and an identification key is given to all these species. Sequences of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) from all European Pelecocera species support the morphological species concept, except for Pelecocera scaevoides (Falln, 1817). The binomen Pelecocera lugubris Perris, 1839 is recovered to name the Pelecocera lusitanica (Mik, 1898) of authors in France.

RevDate: 2022-10-11
CmpDate: 2022-10-11

Lachance MA (2022)

Phylogenies in yeast species descriptions: In defense of neighbor-joining.

Yeast (Chichester, England), 39(10):513-520.

The neighbor-joining (NJ) method of tree inference is examined, with special attention to its use in yeast species descriptions. How the often-vilified method works is often misunderstood. More importantly, given the right kind of data, its output is a phylogram that illustrates a hypothetical phylogeny that is just as credible as that obtained by any other method. And as with any other method, the result is greatly affected by sampling intensity, particularly the number of aligned positions used for analysis. I address various allegations, including the claim that the method is phenetic, and, therefore, not phylogenetic. I argue that NJ is the most suitable tree inference method to use in yeast species descriptions, primarily because it is best at visually preserving the extent of sequence divergence between close relatives, which continues to be the primary criterion for yeast species delineation. The relevance of bootstraps in the application of the phylogenetic species concept is discussed.

RevDate: 2022-10-20
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Mallet J, SP Mullen (2022)

Reproductive isolation is a heuristic, not a measure: a commentary on Westram et al., 2022.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 35(9):1175-1182.

Reproductive isolation is the heuristic basis of the biological species concept, but what is it? Westram et al. (this issue) propose that it is a measurable quantity, "barrier strength," that prevents gene flow among populations. However, their attempt to make the concept of reproductive isolation more scientific is unlikely to satisfy the diverse opinions of all evolutionary biologists. There are many different opinions about the nature of species, even under the biological species concept. Complete reproductive isolation, where gene flow is effectively zero, is regarded by some biologists as an important end point of speciation. Others, including Westram et al., argue for a more nuanced approach, and they also suggest that reproductive isolation may differ in different parts of the genome due to variation in genetic linkage to divergently selected loci. In contrast to both these approaches, we favour as a key criterion of speciation the stable coexistence of divergent populations in sympatry. Obviously, such populations must be reproductively isolated in some sense, but neither the fraction of the genome that is exchanged, nor measures of overall barrier strength acting on neutral variation will yield very precise predictions as to species status. Although an overall measure of reproductive isolation is virtually unattainable for these reasons, its early generation components, such as assortative mating, divergent selection, or hybrid inviability and sterility are readily measurable and remain informative. For example, we can make the prediction that to remain divergent in sympatry, almost all sexual species will require strong assortative mating, as well as some sort of ecological or intrinsic selection against hybrids and introgressed variants.

RevDate: 2022-09-20
CmpDate: 2022-08-11

Leducq JB, Sneddon D, Santos M, et al (2022)

Comprehensive Phylogenomics of Methylobacterium Reveals Four Evolutionary Distinct Groups and Underappreciated Phyllosphere Diversity.

Genome biology and evolution, 14(8):.

Methylobacterium is a group of methylotrophic microbes associated with soil, fresh water, and particularly the phyllosphere, the aerial part of plants that has been well studied in terms of physiology but whose evolutionary history and taxonomy are unclear. Recent work has suggested that Methylobacterium is much more diverse than thought previously, questioning its status as an ecologically and phylogenetically coherent taxonomic genus. However, taxonomic and evolutionary studies of Methylobacterium have mostly been restricted to model species, often isolated from habitats other than the phyllosphere and have yet to utilize comprehensive phylogenomic methods to examine gene trees, gene content, or synteny. By analyzing 189 Methylobacterium genomes from a wide range of habitats, including the phyllosphere, we inferred a robust phylogenetic tree while explicitly accounting for the impact of horizontal gene transfer (HGT). We showed that Methylobacterium contains four evolutionarily distinct groups of bacteria (namely A, B, C, D), characterized by different genome size, GC content, gene content, and genome architecture, revealing the dynamic nature of Methylobacterium genomes. In addition to recovering 59 described species, we identified 45 candidate species, mostly phyllosphere-associated, stressing the significance of plants as a reservoir of Methylobacterium diversity. We inferred an ancient transition from a free-living lifestyle to association with plant roots in Methylobacteriaceae ancestor, followed by phyllosphere association of three of the major groups (A, B, D), whose early branching in Methylobacterium history has been heavily obscured by HGT. Together, our work lays the foundations for a thorough redefinition of Methylobacterium taxonomy, beginning with the abandonment of Methylorubrum.

RevDate: 2022-07-31

Ott T, Schall M, Vogt R, et al (2022)

The Warps and Wefts of a Polyploidy Complex: Integrative Species Delimitation of the Diploid Leucanthemum (Compositae, Anthemideae) Representatives.

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 11(14):.

Species delimitation-owing to the paramount role of the species rank in evolutionary, ecological, and nature conservation studies-is an essential contribution of taxonomy to biodiversity research. In an 'integrative taxonomy' approach to species delimitation on the diploid level, we searched for evolutionary significant units (the warps and wefts) that gave rise to the polyploid complex of European ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum; Compositae-Anthemideae). Species discovery and validation methods based on genetic, ecological, geographical, and morphometric datasets were applied to test the currently accepted diploid morpho-species, i.e., morphologically delimited species, in Leucanthemum. Novel approaches were taken in the analyses of RADseq data (consensus clustering), morphometrics of reconstructed leaf silhouettes from digitized herbarium specimens, and quantification of species-distribution overlaps. We show that 17 of the 20 Leucanthemum morpho-species are supported by genetic evidence. The taxonomic rank of the remaining three morpho-species was resolved by combining genealogic, ecologic, geographic, and morphologic data in the framework of von Wettstein's morpho-geographical species concept. We herewith provide a methodological pipeline for the species delimitation in an 'integrative taxonomy' fashion using sources of evidence from genealogical, morphological, ecological, and geographical data in the philosophy of De Queiroz's "Unified Species Concept".

RevDate: 2022-07-22

Smith LT, Magdalena C, Przelomska NAS, et al (2022)

Revised Species Delimitation in the Giant Water Lily Genus Victoria (Nymphaeaceae) Confirms a New Species and Has Implications for Its Conservation.

Frontiers in plant science, 13:883151.

Reliably documenting plant diversity is necessary to protect and sustainably benefit from it. At the heart of this documentation lie species concepts and the practical methods used to delimit taxa. Here, we apply a total-evidence, iterative methodology to delimit and document species in the South American genus Victoria (Nymphaeaceae). The systematics of Victoria has thus far been poorly characterized due to difficulty in attributing species identities to biological collections. This research gap stems from an absence of type material and biological collections, also the confused diagnosis of V. cruziana. With the goal of improving systematic knowledge of the genus, we compiled information from historical records, horticulture and geography and assembled a morphological dataset using citizen science and specimens from herbaria and living collections. Finally, we generated genomic data from a subset of these specimens. Morphological and geographical observations suggest four putative species, three of which are supported by nuclear population genomic and plastid phylogenomic inferences. We propose these three confirmed entities as robust species, where two correspond to the currently recognized V. amazonica and V. cruziana, the third being new to science, which we describe, diagnose and name here as V. boliviana Magdalena and L. T. Sm. Importantly, we identify new morphological and molecular characters which serve to distinguish the species and underpin their delimitations. Our study demonstrates how combining different types of character data into a heuristic, total-evidence approach can enhance the reliability with which biological diversity of morphologically challenging groups can be identified, documented and further studied.

RevDate: 2022-07-19

Burbrink FT, Crother BI, Murray CM, et al (2022)

Empirical and philosophical problems with the subspecies rank.

Ecology and evolution, 12(7):e9069.

Species-level taxonomy derives from empirical sources (data and techniques) that assess the existence of spatiotemporal evolutionary lineages via various species "concepts." These concepts determine if observed lineages are independent given a particular methodology and ontology, which relates the metaphysical species concept to what "kind" of thing a species is in reality. Often, species concepts fail to link epistemology back to ontology. This lack of coherence is in part responsible for the persistence of the subspecies rank, which in modern usage often functions as a placeholder between the evolutionary events of divergence or collapse of incipient species. Thus, prospective events like lineages merging or diverging require information from unknowable future information. This is also conditioned on evidence that the lineage already has a detectably distinct evolutionary history. Ranking these lineages as subspecies can seem attractive given that many lineages do not exhibit intrinsic reproductive isolation. We argue that using subspecies is indefensible on philosophical and empirical grounds. Ontologically, the rank of subspecies is either identical to that of species or undefined in the context of evolutionary lineages representing spatiotemporally defined individuals. Some species concepts more inclined to consider subspecies, like the Biological Species Concept, are disconnected from evolutionary ontology and do not consider genealogy. Even if ontology is ignored, methods addressing reproductive isolation are often indirect and fail to capture the range of scenarios linking gene flow to species identity over space and time. The use of subspecies and reliance on reproductive isolation as a basis for an operational species concept can also conflict with ethical issues governing the protection of species. We provide a way forward for recognizing and naming species that links theoretical and operational species concepts regardless of the magnitude of reproductive isolation.

RevDate: 2022-10-11
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Barrett CF, Santee MV, Fama NM, et al (2022)

Lineage and role in integrative taxonomy of a heterotrophic orchid complex.

Molecular ecology, 31(18):4762-4781.

Lineage-based species definitions applying coalescent approaches to species delimitation have become increasingly popular. Yet, the application of these methods and the recognition of lineage-only definitions have recently been questioned. Species delimitation criteria that explicitly consider both lineages and evidence for ecological role shifts provide an opportunity to incorporate ecologically meaningful data from multiple sources in studies of species boundaries. Here, such criteria were applied to a problematic group of mycoheterotrophic orchids, the Corallorhiza striata complex, analysing genomic, morphological, phenological, reproductive-mode, niche, and fungal host data. A recently developed method for generating genomic polymorphism data-ISSRseq-demonstrates evidence for four distinct lineages, including a previously unidentified lineage in the Coast Ranges and Cascades of California and Oregon, USA. There is divergence in morphology, phenology, reproductive mode, and fungal associates among the four lineages. Integrative analyses, conducted in population assignment and redundancy analysis frameworks, provide evidence of distinct genomic lineages and a similar pattern of divergence in the extended data, albeit with weaker signal. However, none of the extended data sets fully satisfy the condition of a significant role shift, which requires evidence of fixed differences. The four lineages identified in the current study are recognized at the level of variety, short of comprising different species. This study represents the most comprehensive application of lineage + role to date and illustrates the advantages of such an approach.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Brunke AJ (2022)

Revision of rove beetle genus Bolitogyrus Chevrolat (Staphylininae, Cyrtoquediini). Supplement 1.

ZooKeys, 1096:1-16.

Bolitogyrus is a moderately diverse genus of 78 species that are widely disjunct in the subtropical and tropical forests of the Neotropical and Oriental regions. Following recent revisions of both the Neotropical and Oriental species, this study provides new distributional data, a revised species concept for Bolitogyrusstrigifrons (Wendeler) sensu nov., and the description of B.pseudostrigifrons sp. nov. and B.nigropolitoides sp. nov., bringing the total number of Bolitogyrus species to 80. Several keys are updated to reflect the newly available data and new species.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Cavender JC, Vadell EM, Perrigo AL, et al (2022)

Four New Species of Dictyostelids from Soil Systems in Northern Thailand.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 8(6):.

Dictyostelid cellular slime molds (dictyostelids) are ubiquitous microorganisms found in the uppermost layers of most soils. Reports on the species diversity of dictyostelids in Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, are few in number. A survey for dictyostelids performed in northern Thailand in 2008 recovered 15 distinctive forms, including several common species and a number of forms morphologically different from anything already described. Five of the latter were formally described as new to science in a previous paper. An additional five isolates appeared to be morphologically distinct, and this was supported by DNA sequence data and phylogenetic analysis. These isolates representing four species are described herein as species new to science. Detailed descriptions and illustrations of these new species are provided.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Melekhin M, Yakovleva Y, Lebedeva N, et al (2022)

Cryptic Diversity in Paramecium multimicronucleatum Revealed with a Polyphasic Approach.

Microorganisms, 10(5):.

Paramecium (Ciliophora) systematics is well studied, and about twenty morphological species have been described. The morphological species may include several genetic species. However, molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that the species diversity within Paramecium could be even higher and has raised a problem of cryptic species whose statuses remain uncertain. In the present study, we provide the morphological and molecular characterization of two novel Paramecium species. While Paramecium lynni n. sp., although morphologically similar to P. multimicronucleatum, is phylogenetically well separated from all other Paramecium species, Paramecium fokini n. sp. appears to be a cryptic sister species to P. multimicronucleatum. The latter two species can be distinguished only by molecular methods. The number and structure of micronuclei, traditionally utilized to discriminate species in Paramecium, vary not only between but also within each of the three studied species and, thus, cannot be considered a reliable feature for species identification. The geographic distribution of the P. multimicronucleatum and P. fokini n. sp. strains do not show defined patterns, still leaving space for a role of the geographic factor in initial speciation in Paramecium. Future findings of new Paramecium species can be predicted from the molecular data, while morphological characteristics appear to be unstable and overlapping at least in some species.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Chang JT, Chao CT, Nakamura K, et al (2022)

Divergence With Gene Flow and Contrasting Population Size Blur the Species Boundary in Cycas Sect. Asiorientales, as Inferred From Morphology and RAD-Seq Data.

Frontiers in plant science, 13:824158.

The divergence process of incipient species is fascinating but elusive by incomplete lineage sorting or gene flow. Species delimitation is also challenging among those morphologically similar allopatric species, especially when lacking comprehensive data. Cycas sect. Asiorientales, comprised of C. taitungensis and C. revoluta in the Ryukyu Archipelago and Taiwan, diverged recently with continuous gene flow, resulting in a reciprocal paraphyletic relationship. Their previous evolutionary inferences are questioned from few genetic markers, incomplete sampling, and incomprehensive morphological comparison by a long-term taxonomic misconception. By whole range sampling, this study tests the geographic mode of speciation in the two species of Asiorientales by approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The individual tree was reconstructed to delimit the species and track the gene-flow trajectory. With the comparison of diagnostic morphological traits and genetic data, the allopatric speciation was rejected. Alternatively, continuous but spatially heterogeneous gene flow driven by transoceanic vegetative dispersal and pollen flow with contrasting population sizes blurred their species boundary. On the basis of morphological, genetic, and evolutionary evidence, we synonymized these two Cycas species. This study highlights not only the importance of the Kuroshio Current to species evolution but also the disadvantage of using species with geographically structured genealogies as conservation units.

RevDate: 2022-07-19
CmpDate: 2022-06-14

Ennes Silva F, Valsecchi do Amaral J, Roos C, et al (2022)

Molecular phylogeny and systematics of bald uakaris, genus Cacajao (Primates: Pitheciidae), with the description of a new species.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 173:107509.

Bald uakaris, genus Cacajao, are Amazonian primates currently classified as one species and four subspecies based on the patterns of pelage coloration. In this study, we test if their current taxonomy is represented by the phylogenetic relationship of the main lineages retrieved from molecular data. We included, for the first time, all bald uakari taxa in a mitochondrial (cytochrome b) and genome-wide (ddRAD) phylogenetic analyses. We also examined the pattern of pelage colouration in specimens from zoological collections. Having determined the number of lineages using Maximum Likelihood and the species tree using coalescent analyses, we test their divergence time using a Bayesian approach. While the cytochrome b analysis only recovered two clades, the ddRAD analysis supported the reciprocal monophyly of five lineages of bald uakaris, with all clades including only individuals with distinct and exclusive diagnostic phenotypic characters. We found that species diversification in Cacajao occurred during the last 300 Kya and may have been influenced by the formation of rivers and flooded forests in western Amazonia. We propose that the four bald uakari subspecies currently recognised can be upgraded to species level and we describe the white uakaris from the basin of the Rio Tarauacá as a new species.

RevDate: 2022-05-17

Bugarski-Stanojević V, Stamenković G, Jojić V, et al (2022)

Cryptic Diversity of the European Blind Mole Rat Nannospalax leucodon Species Complex: Implications for Conservation.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 12(9):.

We explored the cryptic speciation of the Nannospalax leucodon species complex, characterised by intense karyotype evolution and reduced phenotypic variability that has produced different lineages, out of which 25 are described as chromosomal forms (CFs), so many cryptic species remain unnoticed. Although some of them should be classified as threatened, they lack the official nomenclature necessary to be involved in conservation strategies. Reproductive isolation between seven CFs has previously been demonstrated. To investigate the amount and dynamics of genetic discrepancy that follows chromosomal changes, infer speciation levels, and obtain phylogenetic patterns, we analysed mitochondrial 16S rRNA and MT-CYTB nucleotide polymorphism among 17 CFs-the highest number studied so far. Phylogenetic trees delineated 11 CFs as separate clades. Evolutionary divergence values overlapped with acknowledged higher taxonomic categories, or sometimes exceeded them. The fact that CFs with higher 2n are evolutionary older corresponds to the fusion hypothesis of Nannospalax karyotype evolution. To participate in conservation strategies, N. leucodon classification should follow the biological species concept, and proposed cryptic species should be formally named, despite a lack of classical morphometric discrepancy. We draw attention towards the syrmiensis and montanosyrmiensis CFs, estimated to be endangered/critically endangered, and emphasise the need for detailed monitoring and population survey for other cryptic species.

RevDate: 2022-10-14
CmpDate: 2022-10-14

DeRaad DA, McCormack JE, Chen N, et al (2022)

Combining Species Delimitation, Species Trees, and Tests for Gene Flow Clarifies Complex Speciation in Scrub-Jays.

Systematic biology, 71(6):1453-1470.

Complex speciation, involving rapid divergence and multiple bouts of post-divergence gene flow, can obfuscate phylogenetic relationships and species limits. In North America, cases of complex speciation are common, due at least in part to the cyclical Pleistocene glacial history of the continent. Scrub-Jays in the genus Aphelocoma provide a useful case study in complex speciation because their range throughout North America is structured by phylogeographic barriers with multiple cases of secondary contact between divergent lineages. Here, we show that a comprehensive approach to genomic reconstruction of evolutionary history, i.e., synthesizing results from species delimitation, species tree reconstruction, demographic model testing, and tests for gene flow, is capable of clarifying evolutionary history despite complex speciation. We find concordant evidence across all statistical approaches for the distinctiveness of an endemic southern Mexico lineage (A. w. sumichrasti), culminating in support for the species status of this lineage under any commonly applied species concept. We also find novel genomic evidence for the species status of a Texas endemic lineage A. w. texana, for which equivocal species delimitation results were clarified by demographic modeling and spatially explicit models of gene flow. Finally, we find that complex signatures of both ancient and modern gene flow between the non-sister California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma woodhouseii) result in discordant gene trees throughout the species' genomes despite clear support for their overall isolation and species status. In sum, we find that a multi-faceted approach to genomic analysis can increase our understanding of complex speciation histories, even in well-studied groups. Given the emerging recognition that complex speciation is relatively commonplace, the comprehensive framework that we demonstrate for interrogation of species limits and evolutionary history using genomic data can provide a necessary roadmap for disentangling the impacts of gene flow and incomplete lineage sorting (ILS) to better understand the systematics of other groups with similarly complex evolutionary histories. [Gene flow; genomics; introgression; phylogenomics; population genetics; species delimitation; species trees; systematics.].

RevDate: 2022-04-09

Koide RT (2022)

On Holobionts, Holospecies, and Holoniches: the Role of Microbial Symbioses in Ecology and Evolution.

Microbial ecology [Epub ahead of print].

My goal in writing this is to increase awareness of the roles played by microbial symbionts in eukaryote ecology and evolution. Most eukaryotes host one or more species of symbiotic microorganisms, including prokaryotes and fungi. Many of these have profound impacts on the biology of their hosts. For example, microbial symbionts may expand the niches of their hosts, cause rapid adaptation of the host to the environment and re-adaptation to novel conditions via symbiont swapping, facilitate speciation, and fundamentally alter our concept of the species. In some cases, microbial symbionts and multicellular eukaryote hosts have a mutual dependency, which has obvious conservation implications. Hopefully, this contribution will stimulate a reevaluation of important ecological and evolutionary concepts including niche, adaptation, the species, speciation, and conservation of multicellular eukaryotes.

RevDate: 2022-04-11
CmpDate: 2022-04-11

Hodda M (2022)

Phylum Nematoda: trends in species descriptions, the documentation of diversity, systematics, and the species concept.

Zootaxa, 5114(1):290-317.

This paper summarizes the trends in nematode species description and systematics emerging from a comparison of the latest comprehensive classification and census of Phylum Nematoda (Hodda 2022a, b) with earlier classifications (listed in Hodda 2007). It also offers some general observations on trends in nematode systematics emerging from the review of the voluminous literature used to produce the classification. The trends in nematodes can be compared with developments in the systematics of other organisms to shed light on many of the general issues confronting systematists now and into the future.

RevDate: 2022-06-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-08

Davies M, Galazzo G, van Hattem JM, et al (2022)

Enterobacteriaceae and Bacteroidaceae provide resistance to travel-associated intestinal colonization by multi-drug resistant Escherichia coli.

Gut microbes, 14(1):2060676.

Previous studies have shown high acquisition risks of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) among international travelers visiting antimicrobial resistance (AMR) hotspots. Although antibiotic use and travelers' diarrhea have shown to influence the ESBL-E acquisition risk, it remains largely unknown whether successful colonization of ESBL-E during travel is associated with the composition, functional capacity and resilience of the traveler's microbiome. The microbiome of pre- and post-travel fecal samples from 190 international travelers visiting Africa or Asia was profiled using whole metagenome shotgun sequencing. A metagenomics species concept approach was used to determine the microbial composition, population diversity and functional capacity before travel and how it is altered longitudinally. Eleven travelers were positive for ESBL-E before travel and removed from the analysis. Neither the microbial richness (Chao1), diversity (effective Shannon) and community structure (Bray-Curtis dissimilarity) in pretravel samples nor the longitudinal change of these metrics during travel were predictive for ESBL-E acquisition. A zero-inflated two-step beta-regression model was used to determine how the longitudinal change in both prevalence and abundance of each taxon was related to ESBL acquisition. There were detected increases in both the prevalence and abundance of Citrobacter freundii and two members of the genus Bacteroides, in association with remaining uncolonized by ESBL-E. These results highlight the potential of these individual microbes as a microbial consortium to prevent the acquisition of ESBL-E. The ability to alter a person's colonization resistance to a bacterium could be key to intervention strategies that aim to minimize the spread of MDR bacteria.

RevDate: 2022-03-29

Salvador-Montoya CA, Elias SG, Popoff OF, et al (2022)

Neotropical Studies on Hymenochaetaceae: Unveiling the Diversity and Endemicity of Phellinotus.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 8(3):.

Phellinotus, a neotropical genus of wood-decay fungi commonly found on living members of the Fabaceae family, was initially described as containing two species, P. neoaridus and P. piptadeniae. The members of this genus, along with six other well-established genera and some unresolved lineages, are the current representatives of the 'phellinotus clade'. On the other hand, based on a two-loci phylogenetic analysis, some entities/lineages of the 'phellinotus clade' have been found in Fomitiporella s.l. In this work, we performed four-loci phylogenetic analyses and based on our results the genera of the 'phellinotus clade' are shown to be monophyletic groups. In addition to the natural groups confirmed as different genera, morphological revisions, phylogenetic relationships, and host distribution of different specimens resembling P. neoaridus and P. piptadeniae revealed three new species in the Phellinotus genus, referred to here as P. magnoporatus, P. teixeirae and P. xerophyticus. Furthermore, for P. piptadeniae a narrower species concept was adopted with redefined morphological characters and a more limited distribution range. Both P. neoaridus and P. teixeirae have a distribution range restricted to seasonally dry tropical forests in South America. Additionally, based on detailed morphological revisions Phellinus&nbsp;badius, Phellinus&nbsp;resinaceus, and Phellinus&nbsp;scaber are transferred to the Phellinotus genus. The geographic distribution and host range of the genus are then discussed.

RevDate: 2022-03-07
CmpDate: 2022-03-07

Costa MM, Saleh AA, Melo MP, et al (2022)

Fusarium mirum sp. nov, intertwining Fusarium madaense and Fusarium andiyazi, pathogens of tropical grasses.

Fungal biology, 126(3):250-266.

Many species in the Fusarium fujikuroi Species Complex (FFSC) have an affinity for grass species, with whom they live in an endophytic association or cause disease. We recovered isolates of Fusarium from agriculturally important grasses in Africa and Brazil, and characterized them with morphological markers, mating type, and Amplified Fragment Length Polymorphisms (AFLPs). We also conducted multi-locus phylogenetic analyses based on partial DNA sequences of translation elongation factor-1α (TEF1), β-tubulin (TUB), and the second largest subunit of RNA polymerase (RPB2) gene regions. Sexual cross fertility was used to test the biological species concept and the sexual stage of F. madaense is described. A novel species within the FFSC, Fusarium mirum, that is different from the other known species in the complex, was formally described. Fusarium mirum, F. madaense, and Fusarium andiyazi are a tightly intertwined species trio that are morphologically identical, but phylogenetically distinguishable, and amongst whom interspecific genetic exchange may still occur. These three species are so close that they cannot be reliably distinguished if only sequences of the TEF1 gene are used. In pathogenicity tests, all tested isolates of F. madaense from sugarcane, sorghum, maize, millet and Brachiaria could induce stalk rot in sorghum, maize and millet, and pokkah boeng in sugarcane. This study increases our understanding of the diversity of species within the FFSC that cause disease in tropical grasses or act as endophytes, and their geographic distributions. The genetically close relationship between F. mirum, F. madaense, and F. andiyazi provides an opportunity to study and identify factors underlying their limited inter-specific cross-fertility and sympatric speciation.

RevDate: 2022-05-12
CmpDate: 2022-04-15

Cannon CH, M Lerdau (2022)

Asking half the question in explaining tropical diversity.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 37(5):392-393.

RevDate: 2022-03-04
CmpDate: 2022-03-04

Saetang T, Marrone F, Vecchioni L, et al (2022)

Morphological and molecular diversity patterns of the genus Tropodiaptomus Kiefer, 1932 (Copepoda, Calanoida, Diaptomidae) in Thailand.

Scientific reports, 12(1):2218.

Tropodiaptomus is one of the most specious genera in the family Diaptomidae, but it is often rare in terms of distribution and abundance. Moreover, Tropodiaptomus species show a noteworthy variability in some of the morphological characters considered of prime importance in diaptomid taxonomy, and the presence of cryptic or pseudocryptic species is likely. Thus, through a geographically-wide sampling in Thailand, we aimed to investigate the local diversity of the genus and to compare the morphological and molecular diversity pattern based on mitochondrial and nuclear genes sequences. DNA taxonomy was also implemented in order to check whether the Tropodiaptomus lineages were independent species according to the "evolutionary genetic species concept". Six Tropodiaptomus morphospecies were found, three of which are putative species new to Science pending a formal description. The finding of such a high incidence of undescribed species stresses the existence of a significant "Linnean shortfall" affecting Thai diaptomids. The molecular results showed that most of the studied species could be identified consistently with their morphology-based taxonomy. However, Tropodiaptomus vicinus and T. cf. lanaonus showed a high level of genetic diversity, suggesting that traditional morphological techniques might be inadequate for correctly assessing their taxonomical status.

RevDate: 2022-03-10
CmpDate: 2022-03-10

Mortelliti A, Brehm AM, BE Evans (2022)

Umbrella effect of monitoring protocols for mammals in the Northeast US.

Scientific reports, 12(1):1893.

Developing cost-effective monitoring protocols is a priority for wildlife conservation agencies worldwide. In particular, developing protocols that cover a wide range of species is highly desirable. Here we applied the 'umbrella species' concept to the context of ecological monitoring; specifically testing the hypothesis that protocols developed for the American marten would contextually allow detecting occupancy trends for 13 other mammalian species (i.e., an umbrella effect). We conducted a large-scale four-year camera trapping survey across a gradient of forest disturbance in Maine, USA. We sampled 197 sites using a total of 591 cameras and collected over 800,000 photographs to generate detection histories for the most common terrestrial species. By combining multi-season occupancy modelling and power analyses, we estimated the required sampling effort to detect 10%, 25% and 50% declines in the fourteen species. By conducting a spatially explicit comparison of sampling effort, we found evidence that monitoring protocols for American marten would provide an umbrella effect for up to 11 other mammal species. The capacity of the umbrella effect varied among species, with fisher, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, and black bear consistently covered under several scenarios. Our results support the application of the umbrella species concept to monitoring (here defined as 'umbrella monitoring species'), providing empirical evidence for its use by management agencies.

RevDate: 2022-03-23
CmpDate: 2022-03-07

Cazzolla Gatti R, Reich PB, Gamarra JGP, et al (2022)

The number of tree species on Earth.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(6):.

One of the most fundamental questions in ecology is how many species inhabit the Earth. However, due to massive logistical and financial challenges and taxonomic difficulties connected to the species concept definition, the global numbers of species, including those of important and well-studied life forms such as trees, still remain largely unknown. Here, based on global ground-sourced data, we estimate the total tree species richness at global, continental, and biome levels. Our results indicate that there are ∼73,000 tree species globally, among which ∼9,000 tree species are yet to be discovered. Roughly 40% of undiscovered tree species are in South America. Moreover, almost one-third of all tree species to be discovered may be rare, with very low populations and limited spatial distribution (likely in remote tropical lowlands and mountains). These findings highlight the vulnerability of global forest biodiversity to anthropogenic changes in land use and climate, which disproportionately threaten rare species and thus, global tree richness.

RevDate: 2022-07-16
CmpDate: 2022-04-27

Conrad RE, Viver T, Gago JF, et al (2022)

Toward quantifying the adaptive role of bacterial pangenomes during environmental perturbations.

The ISME journal, 16(5):1222-1234.

Metagenomic surveys have revealed that natural microbial communities are predominantly composed of sequence-discrete, species-like populations but the genetic and/or ecological processes that maintain such populations remain speculative, limiting our understanding of population speciation and adaptation to perturbations. To address this knowledge gap, we sequenced 112 Salinibacter ruber isolates and 12 companion metagenomes from four adjacent saltern ponds in Mallorca, Spain that were experimentally manipulated to dramatically alter salinity and light intensity, the two major drivers of this ecosystem. Our analyses showed that the pangenome of the local Sal. ruber population is open and similar in size (~15,000 genes) to that of randomly sampled Escherichia coli genomes. While most of the accessory (noncore) genes were isolate-specific and showed low in situ abundances based on the metagenomes compared to the core genes, indicating that they were functionally unimportant and/or transient, 3.5% of them became abundant when salinity (but not light) conditions changed and encoded for functions related to osmoregulation. Nonetheless, the ecological advantage of these genes, while significant, was apparently not strong enough to purge diversity within the population. Collectively, our results provide an explanation for how this immense intrapopulation gene diversity is maintained, which has implications for the prokaryotic species concept.

RevDate: 2022-08-19
CmpDate: 2022-03-31

Finger N, Farleigh K, Bracken JT, et al (2022)

Genome-Scale Data Reveal Deep Lineage Divergence and a Complex Demographic History in the Texas Horned Lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) throughout the Southwestern and Central United States.

Genome biology and evolution, 14(1):.

The southwestern and central United States serve as an ideal region to test alternative hypotheses regarding biotic diversification. Genomic data can now be combined with sophisticated computational models to quantify the impacts of paleoclimate change, geographic features, and habitat heterogeneity on spatial patterns of genetic diversity. In this study, we combine thousands of genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) loci with mtDNA sequences (ND1) from the Texas horned lizard (Phrynosoma cornutum) to quantify relative support for different catalysts of diversification. Phylogenetic and clustering analyses of the GBS data indicate support for at least three primary populations. The spatial distribution of populations appears concordant with habitat type, with desert populations in AZ and NM showing the largest genetic divergence from the remaining populations. The mtDNA data also support a divergent desert population, but other relationships differ and suggest mtDNA introgression. Genotype-environment association with bioclimatic variables supports divergence along precipitation gradients more than along temperature gradients. Demographic analyses support a complex history, with introgression and gene flow playing an important role during diversification. Bayesian multispecies coalescent analyses with introgression (MSci) analyses also suggest that gene flow occurred between populations. Paleo-species distribution models support two southern refugia that geographically correspond to contemporary lineages. We find that divergence times are underestimated and population sizes are overestimated when introgression occurred and is ignored in coalescent analyses, and furthermore, inference of ancient introgression events and demographic history is sensitive to inclusion of a single recently admixed sample. Our analyses cannot refute the riverine barrier or glacial refugia hypotheses. Results also suggest that populations are continuing to diverge along habitat gradients. Finally, the strong evidence of admixture, gene flow, and mtDNA introgression among populations suggests that P. cornutum should be considered a single widespread species under the General Lineage Species Concept.

RevDate: 2021-11-24
CmpDate: 2021-11-24

Rengifo-Correa L, Juan Luis Tllez-Rendn JLX, Esteban L, et al (2021)

The Triatoma phyllosoma species group (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), vectors of Chagas disease: Diagnoses and a key to the species.

Zootaxa, 5023(3):335-365.

The Triatoma phyllosoma species group includes 17 species of kissing bugs, most of them implicated in the transmission of Chagas disease in the Americas. The species of this group are T. bassolsae Alejandre-Aguilar, Nogueda-Torres, Cortz-Jmenez, Jurberg, Galvo Carcavallo, 1999, T. brailovskyi Martnez, Carcavallo Pelaez, 1984, T. dimidiata (Latreille, 1811), T. gerstaeckeri (Stl, 1859), T. gomeznunezi Martnez, Carcavallo Juberg, 1994, T. hegneri Mazzotti, 1940, T. huehuetenanguensis Lima-Cordn, Monroy, Stevens, Rodas, Rodas, Dorn Justi, 2019, T. indictiva Neiva, 1912, T. longipennis Usinger, 1939, T. mazzottii Usinger, 1941, T. mexicana (Herrich-Schaeffer, 1848), T. mopan Dorn, Justi, Dale, Stevens, Galvo, Lima-Cordn Monroy, 2018, T. pallidipennis (Stl, 1872), T. phyllosoma (Burmeister, 1835), T. picturata Usinger, 1939, T. recurva (Stl, 1868), and T. sanguisuga (LeConte, 1855). The validity of some species of the group was uncertain, because of both cryptic species and hybrid occurrence. Species exhibiting these particularities were formerly classified in the T. dimidiata and T. phyllosoma complexes. Although we recognize the historical value of these species complexes, we do not recommend their further use. Instead, we recognize the T. phyllosoma species group here reviewed, considering the current knowledge of the systematics and reproductive behavior of the group. We implement the cohesion species concept, validating the species status of T. bassolsae, T. longipennis, T. mazzottii, T. pallidipennis, T. phyllosoma, and T. picturata. We also provide diagnoses, photographs and a taxonomic key including the recently described species.

RevDate: 2021-11-24
CmpDate: 2021-11-24

Sayyadzadeh G, HR Esmaeili (2021)

Does the Garra population (Teleostei: Cyprinidae: Labeoninae) from the Kol River drainage, Persian Gulf basin merit formal description?.

Zootaxa, 5048(2):265-278.

Recognizing and defining a species has been a controversial concern for a long time. To define the variation and the limitation between different species, especially closely related taxa in a complex species group, several concepts have been proposed which may lead to different taxonomic decisions. When a taxonomist studies a specific taxon, she/he should adopt a species concept and provide a species limitation to define the studied taxa. Garra population from the Kol River drainage, Persian Gulf basin has already been considered as Garra sp., based on molecular data, and to date no taxonomic decision has been made to provide a specific name for it. The Kol population presents several morphological characters that distinguish it from congeners: fully scaled breast; 78 branched dorsal-fin rays; caudal fin with 1617 branched rays and well-developed mental disc with free lateral and posterior margins. It is also distinguished from all other congeners in the Garra rufa group in Iran, by having two fixed, diagnostic nucleotide substitutions in the mtDNA COI barcode region. Furthermore, the Kol population demonstrates some distinct osteological characteristics in comparison to its closest species G. mondica. Based on the integrative molecular phylogenetic and species delimitation analyses, and morphological, osteological and distribution range data presented here, we think that the Kol River population merits formal description and can be considered as a distinct taxonomic unit (species).

RevDate: 2022-05-18
CmpDate: 2022-04-12

Martinez-Hernandez F, Diop A, Garcia-Heredia I, et al (2022)

Unexpected myriad of co-occurring viral strains and species in one of the most abundant and microdiverse viruses on Earth.

The ISME journal, 16(4):1025-1035.

Viral genetic microdiversity drives adaptation, pathogenicity, and speciation and has critical consequences for the viral-host arms race occurring at the strain and species levels, which ultimately impact microbial community structure and biogeochemical cycles. Despite the fact that most efforts have focused on viral macrodiversity, little is known about the microdiversity of ecologically important viruses on Earth. Recently, single-virus genomics discovered the putatively most abundant ocean virus in temperate and tropical waters: the uncultured dsDNA virus vSAG 37-F6 infecting Pelagibacter, the most abundant marine bacteria. In this study, we report the cooccurrence of up to ≈1,500 different viral strains (>95% nucleotide identity) and ≈30 related species (80-95% nucleotide identity) in a single oceanic sample. Viral microdiversity was maintained over space and time, and most alleles were the result of synonymous mutations without any apparent adaptive benefits to cope with host translation codon bias and efficiency. Gene flow analysis used to delimitate species according to the biological species concept (BSC) revealed the impact of recombination in shaping vSAG 37-F6 virus and Pelagibacter speciation. Data demonstrated that this large viral microdiversity somehow mirrors the host species diversity since ≈50% of the 926 analyzed Pelagibacter genomes were found to belong to independent BSC species that do not significantly engage in gene flow with one another. The host range of this evolutionarily successful virus revealed that a single viral species can infect multiple Pelagibacter BSC species, indicating that this virus crosses not only formal BSC barriers but also biomes since viral ancestors are found in freshwater.

RevDate: 2022-02-18

Boekhout T, Aime MC, Begerow D, et al (2021)

The evolving species concepts used for yeasts: from phenotypes and genomes to speciation networks.

Fungal diversity, 109(1):27-55.

Here we review how evolving species concepts have been applied to understand yeast diversity. Initially, a phenotypic species concept was utilized taking into consideration morphological aspects of colonies and cells, and growth profiles. Later the biological species concept was added, which applied data from mating experiments. Biophysical measurements of DNA similarity between isolates were an early measure that became more broadly applied with the advent of sequencing technology, leading to a sequence-based species concept using comparisons of parts of the ribosomal DNA. At present phylogenetic species concepts that employ sequence data of rDNA and other genes are universally applied in fungal taxonomy, including yeasts, because various studies revealed a relatively good correlation between the biological species concept and sequence divergence. The application of genome information is becoming increasingly common, and we strongly recommend the use of complete, rather than draft genomes to improve our understanding of species and their genome and genetic dynamics. Complete genomes allow in-depth comparisons on the evolvability of genomes and, consequently, of the species to which they belong. Hybridization seems a relatively common phenomenon and has been observed in all major fungal lineages that contain yeasts. Note that hybrids may greatly differ in their post-hybridization development. Future in-depth studies, initially using some model species or complexes may shift the traditional species concept as isolated clusters of genetically compatible isolates to a cohesive speciation network in which such clusters are interconnected by genetic processes, such as hybridization.

RevDate: 2021-11-24
CmpDate: 2021-11-24

Ellepola G, Herath J, Manamendra-Arachchi K, et al (2021)

Molecular species delimitation of shrub frogs of the genus Pseudophilautus (Anura, Rhacophoridae).

PloS one, 16(10):e0258594.

Sri Lanka is an amphibian hotspot of global significance. Its anuran fauna is dominated by the shrub frogs of the genus Pseudophilautus. Except for one small clade of four species in Peninsular India, these cool-wet adapted frogs, numbering some 59 extant species, are distributed mainly across the montane and lowland rain forests of the island. With species described primarily by morphological means, the diversification has never yet been subjected to a molecular species delimitation analysis, a procedure now routinely applied in taxonomy. Here we test the species boundaries of Pseudophilautus in the context of the phylogenetic species concept (PSC). We use all the putative species for which credible molecular data are available (nDNA-Rag-1; mt-DNA- 12S rRNA, 16S rRNA) to build a well resolved phylogeny, which is subjected to species delimitation analyses. The ABGD, bPTP, mPTP and bGMYC species delimitation methods applied to the 16S rRNA frog barcoding gene (for all species), 12S rRNA and Rag-1 nDNA grouped P. procax and P. abundus; P. hallidayi and P. fergusonianus; P. reticulatus and P. pappilosus; P. pleurotaenia and P. hoipolloi; P. hoffmani and P. asankai; P. silvaticus and P. limbus; P. dilmah and P. hankeni; P. fulvus and P. silus.. Surprisingly, all analyses recovered 14 unidentified potential new species as well. The geophylogeny affirms a distribution across the island's aseasonal 'wet zone' and its three principal hill ranges, suggestive of allopatric speciation playing a dominant role, especially between mountain masses. Among the species that are merged by the delimitation analyses, a pattern leading towards a model of parapatric speciation emerges-ongoing speciation in the presence of gene flow. This delimitation analysis reinforces the species hypotheses, paving the way to a reasonable understanding of Sri Lankan Pseudophilautus, enabling both deeper analyses and conservation efforts of this remarkable diversification. http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:DA869B6B-870A-4ED3-BF5D-5AA3F69DDD27.

RevDate: 2022-07-31

Tierney BT, Szymanski E, Henriksen JR, et al (2021)

Using Cartesian Doubt To Build a Sequencing-Based View of Microbiology.

mSystems, 6(5):e0057421.

The technological leap of DNA sequencing generated a tension between modern metagenomics and historical microbiology. We are forcibly harmonizing the output of a modern tool with centuries of experimental knowledge derived from culture-based microbiology. As a thought experiment, we borrow the notion of Cartesian doubt from philosopher Rene Descartes, who used doubt to build a philosophical framework from his incorrigible statement that "I think therefore I am." We aim to cast away preconceived notions and conceptualize microorganisms through the lens of metagenomic sequencing alone. Specifically, we propose funding and building analysis and engineering methods that neither search for nor rely on the assumption of independent genomes bound by lipid barriers containing discrete functional roles and taxonomies. We propose that a view of microbial communities based in sequencing will engender novel insights into metagenomic structure and may capture functional biology not reflected within the current paradigm.

RevDate: 2022-01-28
CmpDate: 2022-01-28

Kollár J, Poulíčková A, P Dvořák (2022)

On the relativity of species, or the probabilistic solution to the species problem.

Molecular ecology, 31(2):411-418.

For centuries, both scientists and philosophers have discussed the nature of species resulting in c. 35 species concepts proposed to date. However, in our opinion, none of them incorporated neither recent advances in evolutionary genomics nor dimensionality of species in befitting depth. Our attempt to do so resulted in the following conclusions. Due to the continuous nature of evolution (regardless of its rate and constancy), species are inevitably undefinable as natural discontinuous units (except those originating in saltatory speciation) whenever the time dimension is taken into consideration. Therefore, the very existence of species as a natural discontinuous entity is relative to its dimensionality. A direct consequence of the relativity of species is the duality of speciators (e.g., incipient species) meaning that, in a given time, they may be perceived as both being and not being a species. Finally, the most accurate way to reflect both the relativity of species and the duality of speciators in species delimitation is probabilistic. While the novelty of these ideas may be questionable, they still deserve more extensive attention from the biological community. Here, we hope to draw such attention by outlining one of the possible pathways towards a new kind of probabilistic species delimitation methods based on the probability of irreversible divergence of evolutionary lineages. We anticipate that our probabilistic view of speciation has the potential to facilitate some of the most serious and universal issues of current taxonomy and to ensure unity of the species-level taxonomy across the tree of life.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Voigt K, James TY, Kirk PM, et al (2021)

Early-diverging fungal phyla: taxonomy, species concept, ecology, distribution, anthropogenic impact, and novel phylogenetic proposals.

Fungal diversity, 109(1):59-98.

The increasing number of new fungal species described from all over the world along with the use of genetics to define taxa, has dramatically changed the classification system of early-diverging fungi over the past several decades. The number of phyla established for non-Dikarya fungi has increased from 2 to 17. However, to date, both the classification and phylogeny of the basal fungi are still unresolved. In this article, we review the recent taxonomy of the basal fungi and re-evaluate the relationships among early-diverging lineages of fungal phyla. We also provide information on the ecology and distribution in Mucoromycota and highlight the impact of chytrids on amphibian populations. Species concepts in Chytridiomycota, Aphelidiomycota, Rozellomycota, Neocallimastigomycota are discussed in this paper. To preserve the current application of the genus Nephridiophaga (Chytridiomycota: Nephridiophagales), a new type species, Nephridiophaga blattellae, is proposed.

RevDate: 2021-10-01

Wijayawardene NN, Bahram M, Sánchez-Castro I, et al (2021)

Current Insight into Culture-Dependent and Culture-Independent Methods in Discovering Ascomycetous Taxa.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 7(9):.

Culture techniques are vital in both traditional and modern fungal taxonomy. Establishing sexual-asexual links and synanamorphs, extracting DNA and secondary metabolites are mainly based on cultures. However, it is widely accepted that a large number of species are not sporulating in nature while others cannot be cultured. Recent ecological studies based on culture-independent methods revealed these unculturable taxa, i.e., dark taxa. Recent fungal diversity estimation studies suggested that environmental sequencing plays a vital role in discovering missing species. However, Sanger sequencing is still the main approach in determining DNA sequences in culturable species. In this paper, we summarize culture-based and culture-independent methods in the study of ascomycetous taxa. High-throughput sequencing of leaf endophytes, leaf litter fungi and fungi in aquatic environments is important to determine dark taxa. Nevertheless, currently, naming dark taxa is not recognized by the ICN, thus provisional naming of them is essential as suggested by several studies.

RevDate: 2022-03-22
CmpDate: 2021-10-05

Adkins-Jablonsky SJ, Clark CM, Papoulis SE, et al (2021)

Market forces determine the distribution of a leaky function in a simple microbial community.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(39):.

Many biological functions are leaky, and organisms that perform them contribute some of their products to a community "marketplace" in which nonperforming individuals may compete for them. Leaky functions are partitioned unequally in microbial communities, and the evolutionary forces determining which species perform them and which become beneficiaries are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the market principle of comparative advantage determines the distribution of a leaky antibiotic resistance gene in an environment occupied by two "species"-strains of Escherichia coli growing on mutually exclusive resources and thus occupying separate niches. Communities comprised of antibiotic-resistant cells were rapidly invaded by sensitive cells of both types. While the two phenotypes coexisted stably for 500 generations, in 15/18 replicates, antibiotic sensitivity became fixed in one species. Fixation always occurred in the same species despite both species being genetically identical except for their niche-defining mutation. In the absence of antibiotic, the fitness cost of resistance was identical in both species. However, the intrinsic resistance of the species that ultimately became the sole helper was significantly lower, and thus its reward for expressing the resistance gene was higher. Opportunity cost of resistance, not absolute cost or efficiency of antibiotic removal, determined which species became the helper, consistent with the economic theory of comparative advantage. We present a model that suggests that this market-like dynamic is a general property of Black Queen systems and, in communities dependent on multiple leaky functions, could lead to the spontaneous development of an equitable and efficient division of labor.

RevDate: 2022-03-17
CmpDate: 2022-03-17

Sabbag AF, Thomé MTC, Lyra ML, et al (2022)

Sympatric and independently evolving lineages in the Thoropa miliaris - T. taophora species complex (Anura: Cycloramphidae).

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 166:107220.

Species delimitation can be challenging and affected by subjectivity. Sibling lineages that occur in sympatry constitute good candidates for species delimitation regardless of the adopted species concept. The Thoropa miliaris + T. taophora species complex exhibits high genetic diversity distributed in several lineages that occur sympatrically in the southeastern Atlantic Forest of Brazil. We used 414 loci obtained by anchored hybrid enrichment to characterize genetic variation in the Thoropa miliaris species group (T. saxatilis, T megatympanum, T. miliaris, and T. taophora), combining assignment analyses with traditional and coalescent phylogeny reconstruction. We also investigated evolutionary independence in co-occurring lineages by estimating gene flow, and validated lineages under the multispecies coalescent. We recovered most previously described lineages as unique populations in assignment analyses; exceptions include two lineages within T. miliaris that are further substructured, and the merging of all T. taophora lineages. We found very low probabilities of gene flow between sympatric lineages, suggesting independent evolution. Species tree inferences and species delimitation yielded resolved relationships and indicate that all lineages constitute putative species that diverged during the Pliocene and Pleistocene, later than previously estimated.

RevDate: 2021-08-27
CmpDate: 2021-08-27

Aziz S, Altaf J, Ramzan A, et al (2021)

Characterization of the species of genus Physa on the basis of typological species concept from Central Punjab.

Brazilian journal of biology = Revista brasleira de biologia, 83:e246934 pii:S1519-69842023000100165.

Physids belong to Class Gastropoda; Phylum Mollusca have important position in food web and act as bio indicators, pests and intermediate host. Being resistant these are called cockroaches of malacology. Physid snails were collected from different water bodies of Faisalabad (Punjab) and were identified up to species using morphological markers. The morphometry of the specimens was carried out with the help of a digital Vernier caliper in millimeters (mm) using linear measurement of shell characters. Linear regression analysis of the AL/SW ratio vs AL and SL/SW ratio vs AL indicated that allometric growth exists only in Physa acuta when compared with P.gyrina and P. fontinalis. This study will lead to assess the status of the Physid species in Central Punjab. The Principal component analysis shows that the Component 1 (Shell Length) and component 2 (Shell Width) are the most prolific components and nearly 80 percent of the identification. The distance between P. acuta and P. fontinalis is 5.4699, P. acuta and P. gyrina is 7.6411, P. fontinalis and P. gyrina is 16.6080 showing that P. acuta resembles with P. fontinalis, and both these specimens donot resemble with P. gyrina. P.acuta is an invasive species and shows bioactivity making it a potent candidate for bioactive substances.

RevDate: 2021-08-26

van Valkenburg JLCH, Costerus M, M Westenberg (2021)

Pennisetum setaceum or Pennisetum advena cultivars, what ornamental do we have in our garden.

Ecology and evolution, 11(16):11216-11222.

Pennisetum Rich. or following recent taxonomic insights Cenchrus L. is a genus with some 120 species worldwide, especially in warm areas. The genus includes some crops, some ornamentals but mostly species that are considered weedy. The name of one of the weedy species Pennisetum setaceum (Forssk.) Chiov. is also found on labels of ornamental grasses as P. setaceum "Rubrum." It has been debated to belong to a species on its own Pennisetum advena Wipff & Veldkamp or Cenchrus advena (Wipff & Veldkamp) Morrone, only known from cultivation, whereas others still adhere to a broader species concept of P. setaceum. The recent inclusion of P. setaceum on the EU List of Union concern has revitalized the discussion on this issue for commercial reasons. Based on a morphological and molecular comparison (ITS, rbcL, and the trnh-psbA intergenic spacer sequences) of the type specimen of P. advena, five of its "cultivars" in trade and collections of P. setaceum from different regions of the world we conclude that plants currently in trade in Western Europe belong to a separate species P. advena. A drooping inflorescence is consistent as is the difference in width of the leaf blade, the leaf blade being flat or involute, the central vein being swollen or not, and the length of the stipe being 0.3-1.1 mm in P. advena and 1.1-3.1 mm in P. setaceum. On the chloroplast markers rbcL and trnH-psbA, the species consistently differ in 2 and 4 base pairs, respectively. On the nuclear ITS sequence, there is only 90% overlap between the two species. This justifies these ornamentals to be excluded from the List of Union concern of EU regulation 1143/2014.

RevDate: 2021-07-05

Wolf M (2021)

How to Teach about What Is a Species.

Biology, 10(6):.

To ask students what a species is always has something rhetorical about it. Too quickly comes the rote answer, often learned by heart without ever thinking about it: "A species is a reproductive community of populations (reproductively isolated from others), which occupies a specific niche in nature" (Mayr 1982). However, do two people look alike because they are twins or are they twins because they look alike? "Two organisms do not belong to the same species because they mate and reproduce, but they only are able to do so because they belong to the same species" (Mahner and Bunge 1997). Unfortunately, most biology (pre-university) teachers have no opinion on whether species are real or conceptual, simply because they have never been taught the question themselves, but rather one answer they still pass on to their students today, learned by heart without ever thinking about it. Species are either real or conceptual and, in my opinion, it is this "or" that we should teach about. Only then can we discuss those fundamental questions such as who or what is selected, who or what evolves and, finally, what is biodiversity and phylogenetics all about? Individuals related to each other by the tree of life.

RevDate: 2021-11-25
CmpDate: 2021-11-25

Pfingstl T, Lienhard A, Baumann J, et al (2021)

A taxonomist's nightmare - Cryptic diversity in Caribbean intertidal arthropods (Arachnida, Acari, Oribatida).

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 163:107240.

There has been a long controversy about what defines a species and how to delimitate them which resulted in the existence of more than two dozen different species concepts. Recent research on so-called "cryptic species" heated up this debate as some scientists argue that these cryptic species are only a result of incompatible species concepts. While this may be true, we should keep in mind that all concepts are nothing more than human constructs and that the phenomenon of high phenotypic similarity despite reproductive isolation is real. To investigate and understand this phenomenon it is important to classify and name cryptic species as it allows to communicate them with other fields of science that use Linnaean binomials. To provide a common framework for the description of cryptic species, we propose a possible protocol of how to formally name and describe these taxa in practice. The most important point of this protocol is to explain which species concept was used to delimitate the cryptic taxon. As a model, we present the case of the allegedly widespread Caribbean intertidal mite Thalassozetes barbara, which in fact consists of seven phenotypically very similar but genetically distinct species. All species are island or short-range endemics with poor dispersal abilities that have evolved in geographic isolation. Stabilizing selection caused by the extreme conditions of the intertidal environment is suggested to be responsible for the morphological stasis of this cryptic species complex.

RevDate: 2022-05-31
CmpDate: 2021-10-12

Ng CK, J Tan (2021)

Cryptic species and grey zone speciation of the Barbodes binotatus complex (Teleostei, Cyprinidae) in Sundaland.

Journal of fish biology, 99(4):1256-1273.

Morphology-based taxonomy of freshwater fish is effective when there are representative specimens covering large regions. However, in Sundaland, where the presence of cryptic species is high, the technique has its limitations. This is compounded by uncritical descriptions of holotypes in old literature. We demonstrate the problem using Barbodes binotatus first described from an ink drawing. Several species in the Barbodes genus of Sundaland exhibit morphological similarity to B. binotatus. We applied new DNA sequences of 16S, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), cytochrome b (Cytb) and recombination-activating gene 1 (RAG1), and pigmentation markers to clarify species complex boundaries in the Malay Peninsula, namely B. aff. binotatus "Malay Peninsula", Barbodes cf. banksi and Barbodes rhombeus. Results suggest B. binotatus-like specimens in the Malay Peninsula are B. rhombeus based on a threshold of 3% COI genetic divergence. B. aff. binotatus recorded in Sumatra, Borneo and the Philippines are likely valid but undescribed species. However, if the 2% COI threshold is applied, some populations in the northern Malay Peninsula would qualify as new and undescribed species. The implications of the 2% threshold and the likelihood of "grey zone" incipient populations are discussed. We further found a rapid visual method, not reported previously, to delineate B. aff. binotatus and B. cf. banksi, but it requires further validation. Additionally, we offer fresh perspectives by discussing the roles of biological species concept, morphological species concept, genetic species concept and mate recognition concept in the B. binotatus complex. Our findings reinforce the standpoint that species delineation is not entirely a binary process, but there is a spectrum to consider, especially in biogeography intersection regions.

RevDate: 2021-10-15
CmpDate: 2021-10-15

Athreya S, A Hopkins (2021)

Conceptual issues in hominin taxonomy: Homo heidelbergensis and an ethnobiological reframing of species.

American journal of physical anthropology, 175 Suppl 72:4-26.

Efforts to name and classify Middle Pleistocene Homo, often referred to as "Homo heidelbergensis" are hampered by confusing patterns of morphology but also by conflicting paleoanthropological ideologies that are embedded in approaches to hominin taxonomy, nomenclature, and the species concept. We deconstruct these issues to show how the field's search for a "real" species relies on strict adherence to pre-Darwinian essentialist naming rules in a post-typological world. We then examine Middle Pleistocene Homo through the framework of ethnobiology, which examines on how Indigenous societies perceive, classify, and name biological organisms. This research reminds us that across human societies, taxonomies function to (1) identify and classify organisms based on consensus pattern recognition and (2) construct a stable nomenclature for effective storage, retrieval and communication of information. Naming Middle Pleistocene Homo as a "real" species cannot be verified with the current data; and separating regional groups into distinct evolutionary lineages creates taxa that are not defined by readily perceptible or universally salient differences. Based on ethnobiological studies of this kind of patterning, referring to these hominins above the level of the species according to their generic category with modifiers (e.g., "European Middle Pleistocene Homo") is consistent with observed human capabilities for cognitive differentiation, is both necessary and sufficient given the current data, and will allow for the most clear communication across ideologies going forward.

RevDate: 2022-04-05
CmpDate: 2022-04-04

Novick A, WF Doolittle (2021)

'Species' without species.

Studies in history and philosophy of science, 87:72-80.

Biological science uses multiple species concepts. Order can be brought to this diversity if we recognize two key features. First, any given species concept is likely to have a patchwork structure, generated by repeated application of the concept to new domains. We illustrate this by showing how two species concepts (biological and ecological) have been modified from their initial eukaryotic applications to apply to prokaryotes. Second, both within and between patches, distinct species concepts may interact and hybridize. We thus defend a semantic picture of the species concept as a collection of interacting patchwork structures. Thus, although not all uses of the term pick out the same kind of unit in nature, the diversity of uses reflects something more than mere polysemy. We suggest that the emphasis on the use of species to pick out natural units is itself problematic, because that is not the term's sole function. In particular, species concepts are used to manage inquiry into processes of speciation, even when these processes do not produce clearly delimited species.

RevDate: 2021-06-15

Kartavtsev YP (2021)

Some Examples of the Use of Molecular Markers for Needs of Basic Biology and Modern Society.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 11(5):.

Application of molecular genetic markers appeared to be very fruitful in achieving many goals, including (i) proving the theoretic basements of general biology and (ii) assessment of worldwide biodiversity. Both are provided in the present meta-analysis and a review as the main signal. One of the basic current challenges in modern biology in the face of new demands in the 21st century is the validation of its paradigms such as the synthetic theory of evolution (STE) and biological species concept (BSC). Another of most valuable goals is the biodiversity assessment for a variety of social needs including free web-based information resources about any living being, renovation of museum collections, nature conservation that recognized as a global project, iBOL, as well as resolving global trading problems such as false labeling of species specimens used as food, drug components, entertainment, etc. The main issues of the review are focused on animals and combine four items. (1) A combination of nDNA and mtDNA markers best suits the identification of hybrids and estimation of genetic introgression. (2) The available facts on nDNA and mtDNA diversity seemingly make introgression among many taxa obvious, although it is evident, that introgression may be quite restricted or asymmetric, thus, leaving at least the "source" taxon (taxa) intact. (3) If we consider sexually reproducing species in marine and terrestrial realms introgressed, as it is still evident in many cases, then we should recognize that the BSC, in view of the complete lack of gene flow among species, is inadequate because many zoological species are not biological ones yet. However, vast modern molecular data have proven that sooner or later they definitely become biological species. (4) An investigation into the fish taxa divergence using the BOLD database shows that most gene trees are basically monophyletic and interspecies reticulations are quite rare.

RevDate: 2021-09-17
CmpDate: 2021-09-17

Wang H, Jiang B, Gu J, et al (2021)

Molecular phylogeny and species delimitation of the genus Tonkinacris (Orthoptera, Acrididae, Melanoplinae) from China.

PloS one, 16(4):e0249431.

Tonkinacris is a small group in Acrididae. While a few species were occasionally sampled in some previous molecular studies, there is no revisionary research devoted to the genus. In this study, we explored the phylogeny of and the relationships among Chinese species of the genus Tonkinacris using the mitochondrial COI barcode and the complete sequences of ITS1 and ITS2 of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. The phylogeny was reconstructed in maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference frameworks, respectively. The overlap range between intraspecific variation and interspecific divergence was assessed via K2P distances. Species boundaries were delimitated using phylogenetic species concept, NJ tree, K2P distance, the statistical parsimony network as well as the GMYC model. The results demonstrate that the Chinese Tonkinacris species is a monophyletic group and the phylogenetic relationship among them is (T. sinensis, (T. meridionalis, (T. decoratus, T. damingshanus))). While T. sinensis, T. meridionalis and T. decoratus were confirmed being good independent species strongly supported by both morphological and molecular evidences, the validity of T. damingshanus was not perfectly supported by molecular evidence in this study.

RevDate: 2022-04-09
CmpDate: 2021-08-06

Li Y, O'Donnell AC, H Ochman (2021)

Discriminating arboviral species.

The Journal of general virology, 102(4):.

Mosquito-borne arboviruses, including a diverse array of alphaviruses and flaviviruses, lead to hundreds of millions of human infections each year. Current methods for species-level classification of arboviruses adhere to guidelines prescribed by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV), and generally apply a polyphasic approach that might include information about viral vectors, hosts, geographical distribution, antigenicity, levels of DNA similarity, disease association and/or ecological characteristics. However, there is substantial variation in the criteria used to define viral species, which can lead to the establishment of artificial boundaries between species and inconsistencies when inferring their relatedness, variation and evolutionary history. In this study, we apply a single, uniform principle - that underlying the Biological Species Concept (BSC) - to define biological species of arboviruses based on recombination between genomes. Given that few recombination events have been documented in arboviruses, we investigate the incidence of recombination within and among major arboviral groups using an approach based on the ratio of homoplastic sites (recombinant alleles) to non-homoplastic sites (vertically transmitted alleles). This approach supports many ICTV-designations but also recognizes several cases in which a named species comprises multiple biological species. These findings demonstrate that this metric may be applied to all lifeforms, including viruses, and lead to more consistent and accurate delineation of viral species.

RevDate: 2021-10-26
CmpDate: 2021-10-26

Stankowski S, M Ravinet (2021)

Defining the speciation continuum.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(6):1256-1273.

A primary roadblock to our understanding of speciation is that it usually occurs over a timeframe that is too long to study from start to finish. The idea of a speciation continuum provides something of a solution to this problem; rather than observing the entire process, we can simply reconstruct it from the multitude of speciation events that surround us. But what do we really mean when we talk about the speciation continuum, and can it really help us understand speciation? We explored these questions using a literature review and online survey of speciation researchers. Although most researchers were familiar with the concept and thought it was useful, our survey revealed extensive disagreement about what the speciation continuum actually tells us. This is due partly to the lack of a clear definition. Here, we provide an explicit definition that is compatible with the Biological Species Concept. That is, the speciation continuum is a continuum of reproductive isolation. After outlining the logic of the definition in light of alternatives, we explain why attempts to reconstruct the speciation process from present-day populations will ultimately fail. We then outline how we think the speciation continuum concept can continue to act as a foundation for understanding the continuum of reproductive isolation that surrounds us.

RevDate: 2021-12-14
CmpDate: 2021-12-14

Pröschold T, Rieser D, Darienko T, et al (2021)

An integrative approach sheds new light onto the systematics and ecology of the widespread ciliate genus Coleps (Ciliophora, Prostomatea).

Scientific reports, 11(1):5916.

Species of the genus Coleps are one of the most common planktonic ciliates in lake ecosystems. The study aimed to identify the phenotypic plasticity and genetic variability of different Coleps isolates from various water bodies and from culture collections. We used an integrative approach to study the strains by (i) cultivation in a suitable culture medium, (ii) screening of the morphological variability including the presence/absence of algal endosymbionts of living cells by light microscopy, (iii) sequencing of the SSU and ITS rDNA including secondary structures, (iv) assessment of their seasonal and spatial occurrence in two lakes over a one-year cycle both from morphospecies counts and high-throughput sequencing (HTS), and, (v) proof of the co-occurrence of Coleps and their endosymbiotic algae from HTS-based network analyses in the two lakes. The Coleps strains showed a high phenotypic plasticity and low genetic variability. The algal endosymbiont in all studied strains was Micractinium conductrix and the mutualistic relationship turned out as facultative. Coleps is common in both lakes over the whole year in different depths and HTS has revealed that only one genotype respectively one species, C. viridis, was present in both lakes despite the different lifestyles (mixotrophic with green algal endosymbionts or heterotrophic without algae). Our results suggest a future revision of the species concept of the genus Coleps.

RevDate: 2022-03-11
CmpDate: 2021-05-20

Curveira-Santos G, Sutherland C, Tenan S, et al (2021)

Mesocarnivore community structuring in the presence of Africa's apex predator.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 288(1946):20202379.

Apex predator reintroductions have proliferated across southern Africa, yet their ecological effects and proposed umbrella benefits of associated management lack empirical evaluations. Despite a rich theory on top-down ecosystem regulation via mesopredator suppression, a knowledge gap exists relating to the influence of lions (Panthera leo) over Africa's diverse mesocarnivore (less than 20 kg) communities. We investigate how geographical variation in mesocarnivore community richness and occupancy across South African reserves is associated with the presence of lions. An interesting duality emerged: lion reserves held more mesocarnivore-rich communities, yet mesocarnivore occupancy rates and evenness-weighted diversity were lower in the presence of lions. Human population density in the reserve surroundings had a similarly ubiquitous negative effect on mesocarnivore occupancy. The positive association between species richness and lion presence corroborated the umbrella species concept but translated into small differences in community size. Distributional contractions of mesocarnivore species within lion reserves, and potentially corresponding numerical reductions, suggest within-community mesopredator suppression by lions, probably as a result of lethal encounters and responses to a landscape of fear. Our findings offer empirical support for the theoretical understanding of processes underpinning carnivore community assembly and are of conservation relevance under current large-predator orientated management and conservation paradigms.

RevDate: 2021-03-16

Jia TZ, Caudan M, I Mamajanov (2021)

Origin of Species before Origin of Life: The Role of Speciation in Chemical Evolution.

Life (Basel, Switzerland), 11(2):.

Speciation, an evolutionary process by which new species form, is ultimately responsible for the incredible biodiversity that we observe on Earth every day. Such biodiversity is one of the critical features which contributes to the survivability of biospheres and modern life. While speciation and biodiversity have been amply studied in organismic evolution and modern life, it has not yet been applied to a great extent to understanding the evolutionary dynamics of primitive life. In particular, one unanswered question is at what point in the history of life did speciation as a phenomenon emerge in the first place. Here, we discuss the mechanisms by which speciation could have occurred before the origins of life in the context of chemical evolution. Specifically, we discuss that primitive compartments formed before the emergence of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) could have provided a mechanism by which primitive chemical systems underwent speciation. In particular, we introduce a variety of primitive compartment structures, and associated functions, that may have plausibly been present on early Earth, followed by examples of both discriminate and indiscriminate speciation affected by primitive modes of compartmentalization. Finally, we discuss modern technologies, in particular, droplet microfluidics, that can be applied to studying speciation phenomena in the laboratory over short timescales. We hope that this discussion highlights the current areas of need in further studies on primitive speciation phenomena while simultaneously proposing directions as important areas of study to the origins of life.

RevDate: 2021-11-08
CmpDate: 2021-11-08

Martin BT, Chafin TK, Douglas MR, et al (2021)

The choices we make and the impacts they have: Machine learning and species delimitation in North American box turtles (Terrapene spp.).

Molecular ecology resources, 21(8):2801-2817.

Model-based approaches that attempt to delimit species are hampered by computational limitations as well as the unfortunate tendency by users to disregard algorithmic assumptions. Alternatives are clearly needed, and machine-learning (M-L) is attractive in this regard as it functions without the need to explicitly define a species concept. Unfortunately, its performance will vary according to which (of several) bioinformatic parameters are invoked. Herein, we gauge the effectiveness of M-L-based species-delimitation algorithms by parsing 64 variably-filtered versions of a ddRAD-derived SNP data set collected from North American box turtles (Terrapene spp.). Our filtering strategies included: (i) minor allele frequencies (MAF) of 5%, 3%, 1%, and 0% (= none), and (ii) maximum missing data per-individual/per-population at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% (= no filtering). We found that species-delimitation via unsupervised M-L impacted the signal-to-noise ratio in our data, as well as the discordance among resolved clades. The latter may also reflect biogeographic history, gene flow, incomplete lineage sorting, or combinations thereof (as corroborated from previously observed patterns of differential introgression). Our results substantiate M-L as a viable species-delimitation method, but also demonstrate how commonly observed patterns of phylogenetic discordance can seriously impact M-L-classification.

RevDate: 2021-07-26
CmpDate: 2021-07-26

Zhao L, Sakornwimon W, Lin W, et al (2021)

Early divergence and differential population histories of the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Integrative zoology, 16(4):612-625.

The currently recognized Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin occurs in estuaries and surrounding shallow waters from the South China Sea to the Asian coast of the Indian Ocean. However, a recent study suggested that the humpback dolphin from the Bay of Bengal may represent a distinct phylogenetic species. In this study, we sequenced 915-bp mtDNA segments from five geographic populations in both Chinese and Thai waters; together with previously published sequences, these data revealed that the ancestral Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin might have split during the transition from the Oligocene to Miocene (23.45 Mya, 95% HPD: 16.65-26.55 Mya), and then dispersed along the Pacific and Indian Ocean coasts of Asia. Genetic differentiation was detected between most of the examined populations, except for only a few pairwise populations in the northern South China Sea. Genetic differentiation/distance between the humpback dolphins from the northern and southern South China Sea met the sub-species threshold value proposed for marine mammals, whereas that between the humpback dolphins in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean was above the species threshold. Bayesian inference of historic gene flow indicated low but constant northward gene flow along the Indian Ocean coast; however, there was a recent abrupt increase in gene flow in the Pacific region, likely due to the shortening coastline at the low stand of sea level. Our results revealed that the current taxonomic classification of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins may not reflect their phylogeography.

RevDate: 2021-09-06
CmpDate: 2021-09-06

Tibayrenc M, FJ Ayala (2021)

Models in parasite and pathogen evolution: Genomic analysis reveals predominant clonality and progressive evolution at all evolutionary scales in parasitic protozoa, yeasts and bacteria.

Advances in parasitology, 111:75-117.

The predominant clonal evolution (PCE) model of pathogenic microorganisms postulates that the impact of genetic recombination in those pathogens' natural populations is not enough to erase a persistent phylogenetic signal at all evolutionary scales from microevolution till geological times in the whole ecogeographical range of the species considered. We have tested this model with a set of representative parasitic protozoa, yeasts and bacteria in the light of the most recent genomic data. All surveyed species, including those that were considered as highly recombining, exhibit similar PCE patterns above and under the species level, from macro- to micro-evolutionary scales (Russian doll pattern), suggesting gradual evolution. To our knowledge, it is the first time that such a strong common evolutionary feature among very diverse pathogens has been evidenced. The implications of this model for basic biology and applied research are exposed. These implications include our knowledge on the pathogens' reproductive mode, their population structure, the possibility to type strain and to follow up epidemics (molecular epidemiology) and to revisit pathogens' taxonomy through a flexible use of the phylogenetic species concept (Cracraft, 1983).

RevDate: 2021-10-25
CmpDate: 2021-10-25

Padial JM, I De la Riva (2021)

A paradigm shift in our view of species drives current trends in biological classification.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 96(2):731-751.

Discontent about changes in species classifications has grown in recent years. Many of these changes are seen as arbitrary, stemming from unjustified conceptual and methodological grounds, or leading to species that are less distinct than those recognised in the past. We argue that current trends in species classification are the result of a paradigm shift toward which systematics and population genetics have converged and that regards species as the phylogenetic lineages that form the branches of the Tree of Life. Species delimitation now consists of determining which populations belong to which individual phylogenetic lineage. This requires inferences on the process of lineage splitting and divergence, a process to which we have only partial access through incidental evidence and assumptions that are themselves subject to refutation. This approach is not free of problems, as horizontal gene transfer, introgression, hybridisation, incorrect assumptions, sampling and methodological biases can mislead inferences of phylogenetic lineages. Increasing precision is demanded through the identification of both sister relationships and processes blurring or mimicking phylogeny, which has triggered, on the one hand, the development of methods that explicitly address such processes and, on the other hand, an increase in geographical and character data sampling necessary to infer/test such processes. Although our resolving power has increased, our knowledge of sister relationships - what we designate as species resolution - remains poor for many taxa and areas, which biases species limits and perceptions about how divergent species are or ought to be. We attribute to this conceptual shift the demise of trinominal nomenclature we are witnessing with the rise of subspecies to species or their rejection altogether; subspecies are raised to species if they are found to correspond to phylogenetic lineages, while they are rejected as fabricated taxa if they reflect arbitrary partitions of continuous or non-hereditary variation. Conservation strategies, if based on taxa, should emphasise species and reduce the use of subspecies to avoid preserving arbitrary partitions of continuous variation; local variation is best preserved by focusing on biological processes generating ecosystem resilience and diversity rather than by formally naming diagnosable units of any kind. Since many binomials still designate complexes of species rather than individual species, many species have been discovered but not named, geographical sampling is sparse, gene lineages have been mistaken for species, plenty of species limits remain untested, and many groups and areas lack adequate species resolution, we cannot avoid frequent changes to classifications as we address these problems. Changes will not only affect neglected taxa or areas, but also popular ones and regions where taxonomic research remained dormant for decades and old classifications were taken for granted.

RevDate: 2021-02-01
CmpDate: 2021-02-01

Friedman WE, PK Endress (2020)

Alexander Moritzi, a Swiss Pre-Darwinian Evolutionist: Insights into the Creationist-Transmutationist Debates of the 1830s and 1840s.

Journal of the history of biology, 53(4):549-585.

Alexander Moritzi (1806-1850) is one of the most obscure figures in the early history of evolutionary thought. Best known for authoring a flora of Switzerland, Moritzi also published Réflexions sur l'espèce en histoire naturelle (1842), a remarkable book about evolution with an overtly materialist viewpoint. In this work, Moritzi argues that the (then) generally accepted line between species and varieties is artificial, that varieties can over time give rise to new species, and that deep time and turnover of species in the fossil record clearly support an evolutionary interpretation of biological diversity. Moritzi was also a gradualist and viewed relationships between taxa as best represented by a ramifying tree. Although Réflexions was the first full book to be written on the topic of evolution following Lamarck's Philosophie zoologique (1809), Moritzi's evolutionist contribution was stillborn, read by almost no one in his lifetime and ultimately absent from the many historiographies of evolutionary thought. This is unfortunate since many of the arguments Moritzi marshaled on behalf of an evolutionary explanation of life can be found in subsequent transmutationist writings by Frédéric Gérard, Robert Chambers, Henri Lecoq, Baden Powell, Charles Naudin, Herbert Spencer, Alfred Russel Wallace, and Charles Darwin-none of whom is likely to have ever known of the existence of Réflexions. Finally, Moritzi's arguments, along with those found in Darwin's private essay on evolution of the same year, provide an excellent window into the state of evolutionary thought and debate over the nature of species at the beginning of the 1840s.

RevDate: 2021-02-22
CmpDate: 2021-02-22

Roos C, Helgen KM, Miguez RP, et al (2020)

Mitogenomic phylogeny of the Asian colobine genus Trachypithecus with special focus on Trachypithecus phayrei (Blyth, 1847) and description of a new species.

Zoological research, 41(6):656-669.

Trachypithecus, which currently contains 20 species divided into four groups, is the most speciose and geographically dispersed genus among Asian colobines. Despite several morphological and molecular studies, however, its evolutionary history and phylogeography remain poorly understood. Phayre's langur (Trachypithecus phayrei) is one of the most widespread members of the genus, but details on its actual distribution and intraspecific taxonomy are limited and controversial. Thus, to elucidate the evolutionary history of Trachypithecus and to clarify the intraspecific taxonomy and distribution of T. phayrei, we sequenced 41 mitochondrial genomes from georeferenced fecal samples and museum specimens, including two holotypes. Phylogenetic analyses revealed a robustly supported phylogeny of Trachypithecus, suggesting that the T. pileatus group branched first, followed by the T. francoisi group, and the T. cristatus and T. obscurus groups most recently. The four species groups diverged from each other 4.5-3.1 million years ago (Ma), while speciation events within these groups occurred much more recently (1.6-0.3 Ma). Within T. phayrei, we found three clades that diverged 1.0-0.9 Ma, indicating the existence of three rather than two taxa. Following the phylogenetic species concept and based on genetic, morphological, and ecological differences, we elevate the T. phayrei subspecies to species level, describe a new species from central Myanmar, and refine the distribution of the three taxa. Overall, our study highlights the importance of museum specimens and provides new insights not only into the evolutionary history of T. phayrei but the entire Trachypithecus genus as well.

RevDate: 2021-06-24
CmpDate: 2021-06-24

Ionescu D, Zoccarato L, Zaduryan A, et al (2021)

Heterozygous, Polyploid, Giant Bacterium, Achromatium, Possesses an Identical Functional Inventory Worldwide across Drastically Different Ecosystems.

Molecular biology and evolution, 38(3):1040-1059.

Achromatium is large, hyperpolyploid and the only known heterozygous bacterium. Single cells contain approximately 300 different chromosomes with allelic diversity far exceeding that typically harbored by single bacteria genera. Surveying all publicly available sediment sequence archives, we show that Achromatium is common worldwide, spanning temperature, salinity, pH, and depth ranges normally resulting in bacterial speciation. Although saline and freshwater Achromatium spp. appear phylogenetically separated, the genus Achromatium contains a globally identical, complete functional inventory regardless of habitat. Achromatium spp. cells from differing ecosystems (e.g., from freshwater to saline) are, unexpectedly, equally functionally equipped but differ in gene expression patterns by transcribing only relevant genes. We suggest that environmental adaptation occurs by increasing the copy number of relevant genes across the cell's hundreds of chromosomes, without losing irrelevant ones, thus maintaining the ability to survive in any ecosystem type. The functional versatility of Achromatium and its genomic features reveal alternative genetic and evolutionary mechanisms, expanding our understanding of the role and evolution of polyploidy in bacteria while challenging the bacterial species concept and drivers of bacterial speciation.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Gonzalez JM, Puerta-Fernández E, Santana MM, et al (2020)

On a Non-Discrete Concept of Prokaryotic Species.

Microorganisms, 8(11):.

The taxonomic concept of species has received continuous attention. A microbial species as a discrete box contains a limited number of highly similar microorganisms assigned to that taxon, following a polyphasic approach. In the 21st Century, with the advancements of sequencing technologies and genomics, the existence of a huge prokaryotic diversity has become well known. At present, the prokaryotic species might no longer have to be understood as discrete values (such as 1 or 2, by homology to Natural numbers); rather, it is expected that some microorganisms could be potentially distributed (according to their genome features and phenotypes) in between others (such as decimal numbers between 1 and 2; real numbers). We propose a continuous species concept for microorganisms, which adapts to the current knowledge on the huge diversity, variability and heterogeneity existing among bacteria and archaea. Likely, this concept could be extended to eukaryotic microorganisms. The continuous species concept considers a species to be delimited by the distance between a range of variable features following a Gaussian-type distribution around a reference organism (i.e., its type strain). Some potential pros and cons of a continuous concept are commented on, offering novel perspectives on our understanding of the highly diversified prokaryotic world, thus promoting discussion and further investigation in the field.

RevDate: 2020-11-26

Wagner L, Stielow JB, de Hoog GS, et al (2020)

A new species concept for the clinically relevant Mucor circinelloides complex.

Persoonia, 44:67-97.

Mucor species are common soil fungi but also known as agents of human infections (mucormycosis) and used in food production and biotechnology. Mucor circinelloides is the Mucor species that is most frequently isolated from clinical sources. The taxonomy of Mucor circinelloides and its close relatives (Mucor circinelloides complex - MCC) is still based on morphology and mating behaviour. The aim of the present study was a revised taxonomy of the MCC using a polyphasic approach. Using a set of 100 strains molecular phylogenetic analysis of five markers (ITS, rpb1, tsr1, mcm7, and cfs, introduced here) were performed, combined with phenotypic studies, mating tests and the determination of the maximum growth temperatures. The multi-locus analyses revealed 16 phylogenetic species of which 14 showed distinct phenotypical traits and were recognised as discrete species. Five of these species are introduced as novel taxa: M. amethystinus sp. nov., M. atramentarius sp. nov., M. variicolumellatus sp. nov., M. pseudocircinelloides sp. nov., and M. pseudolusitanicus sp. nov. The former formae of M. circinelloides represent one or two separate species. In the MCC, the simple presence of well-shaped zygospores only indicates a close relation of both strains, but not necessarily conspecificity. Seven species of the MCC have been implemented in human infection: M. circinelloides, M. griseocyanus, M. janssenii, M. lusitanicus, M. ramosissimus, M. variicolumellatus, and M. velutinosus.

RevDate: 2020-12-26

Gostinčar C (2020)

Towards Genomic Criteria for Delineating Fungal Species.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 6(4):.

The discussion of fungal species delineation has yet to reach a consensus, despite the advancements in technology, which helped modernise traditional approaches. In particular, the phylogenetic species concept was one of the tools that has been used with considerable success across the fungal kingdom. The fast rise of fungal genomics provides an unprecedented opportunity to expand measuring the relatedness of fungal strains to the level of whole genomes. However, the use of genomic information in taxonomy has only just begun, and few methodological guidelines have been suggested so far. Here, a simple approach of computationally measuring genomic distances and their use as a standard for species delineation is investigated. A fixed threshold genomic distance calculated by the quick and easy-to-use tools Mash and Dashing proved to be an unexpectedly widely applicable and robust criterion for determining whether two genomes belong to the same or to different species. The accuracy of species delineation in an uncurated dataset of GenBank fungal genomes was close to 90%-and exceeded 90% with minimal curation. As expected, the discriminative power of this approach was lower at higher taxonomic ranks, but still significantly larger than zero. Simple instructions for calculation of a genomic distance between two genomes and species similarity thresholds at different k-mer sizes are suggested. The calculation of genomic distance is identified as a powerful approach for delineating fungal species and is proposed-not as the only criterion-but as an additional tool in the versatile toolbox of fungal taxonomy.

RevDate: 2020-10-19
CmpDate: 2020-10-19

Jaschhof M, C Jaschhof (2020)

Reevaluation of species richness in Winnertzia (Diptera, Cecidomyiidae, Winnertziinae), with descriptions of 37 new species from Sweden, Peru and Australia.

Zootaxa, 4829(1):zootaxa.4829.1.1 pii:zootaxa.4829.1.1.

Tentative studies of Malaise trap samples from different geographic regions and habitats indicate unanimously that Winnertzia, a genus of mycophagous gall midges (Cecidomyiidae), is exceptionally speciose, but hard data in proof of that were previously unavailable. A taxonomic inventory of mycophagous cecidomyiids in Sweden has now revealed that, of 751 species found in total, 93 are Winnertzia. A preliminary census in 2013 had identified only 26 different Winnertzia in Sweden. Two factors are responsible for this increment: the inclusion of large amounts of fresh material to study and the application of a narrower species concept. The latter results from the reevaluation of male morphological characters in the light of COI sequence (DNA barcoding) data. With the inclusion of 37 new Winnertzia described here, the genus now contains 136 extant species. New Winnertzia discovered in Sweden are described here under the following names: W. acutistylus sp. nov., W. angustistylus sp. nov., W. arctostylus sp. nov., W. bicolor sp. nov., W. brachytarsus sp. nov., W. dentata sp. nov., W. egregia sp. nov., W. ekdalensis sp. nov., W. fraxinophila sp. nov., W. grytsjoenensis sp. nov., W. hamatula sp. nov., W. hemisphaerica sp. nov., W. imbecilla sp. nov., W. incisa sp. nov., W. inornata sp. nov., W. lapponica sp. nov., W. lobata sp. nov., W. longicoxa sp. nov., W. normalis sp. nov., W. oelandica sp. nov., W. ombergensis sp. nov., W. parvidens sp. nov., W. pilosistylus sp. nov., W. pratensis sp. nov., W. pustulatula sp. nov., W. quercinophila sp. nov., W. rickebasta sp. nov., W. ruliki sp. nov., W. serri sp. nov., W. setosa sp. nov., W. silvestris sp. nov., W. smalandensis sp. nov., W. sundini sp. nov., W. tumidoides sp. nov., and W. upplandensis sp. nov. Additionally, W. panguana sp. nov. is the first Winnertzia described from the Neotropical region (Peru), and W. warraensis sp. nov. is the first member of the genus described from the Australasian region (Tasmania). Parwinnertzia Felt, 1920 syn. nov. is revealed to be a junior synonym of Winnertzia Rondani, 1860, implying the recombinations of Winnertzia notmani (Felt) comb. nov. and Winnertzia italiana (Mamaev Zaitzev) comb. nov. The intrageneric classification of Winnertzia is reviewed and developed further, with the W. setosa group introduced for species whose gonostylar claw is conspicuously long and exposed, and whose gonocoxal emargination is bordered by dense, large setae. Winnertzia feralis Mamaev, revived here from synonymy with W. tridens Panelius, and W. fusca Kieffer are new faunistic records in Sweden. Swedish records published in the past of W. brachypalpa Mamaev and W. pravdini Mamaeva Mamaev rest on misidentifications, and both species are deleted from the Swedish checklist.

RevDate: 2020-10-22
CmpDate: 2020-10-22

Polhemus DA (2020)

Nine new species of Enithares (Heteroptera: Notonectidae) from New Guinea, with distributional notes on other species and an updated world checklist.

Zootaxa, 4772(1):zootaxa.4772.1.5 pii:zootaxa.4772.1.5.

Nine new species of Enithares are described from New Guinea and immediately adjacent islands: E. peninsularis from the Owen Stanley Mountains of the Papuan Peninsula, E. bosavi and E. papua from southern Papua New Guinea, E. orsaki from northern Papua New Guinea, E. insularis from the D'Entrecasteaux Islands, E. tagula from the Louisiade Archipelago, E. ziwa from the central mountains of western New Guinea, E. arfak from the Arfak Mountains of the eastern Vogelkop Peninsula, and E. kasim from the western Vogelkop Peninsula. Enithares bakeri is newly recorded from New Guinea, and in combination with the new species described above brings the total number of species of Enithares in New Guinea to 16, and the regional total to 19 when including nearby islands of Waigeo, Biak, the D'Entrecasteaux group, and the Louisiade Archipelago. The species concept of E. atra is clarified and geographically restricted to southeastern New Guinea; specimens previously recorded under this name from northern New Guinea are shown to represent the new species E. orsaki. Additional distribution records for 15 previously described Enithares species are provided for many localities in the Malay Archipelago and mainland Southeast Asia, including the first records of E. bakeri from Lombok, Flores, Timor, Halmahera, and Obi; the first record of E. paramegalops from Ambon; the first records of E. gibbera from Kolombangara and Malaita in the Solomon Islands; the first record of E. intricata from Bali; the first records of E. lombokensis from Flores and Sumba; the first records of E. ripleyana from Halmahera, Ternate and Tidore; and the first record of E. ciliata from Borneo. Photomicrographs of key characters and distribution maps are provided for all new species described, accompanied by an updated world checklist for the genus with distributional notes and associated references.

RevDate: 2021-11-08
CmpDate: 2021-11-08

Dos Reis YV, KCC Alevi (2020)

Hybridization in Phlebotominae (Diptera: Psychodidae): A mini-review.

Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases, 86:104593.

Taxonomy based only on morphology, although extremely important for the classification of sandflies, has been shown to be insufficient for the delimitation of some taxa. Thus, integrative taxonomy could play a fundamental role in clarifying these and other taxonomic issues, since data from different areas are used to aggregate greater reliability in species classification. Experimental crosses are important taxonomic tools, since the presence of reproductive barriers when associated with divergence between two evolutionary lineages, confirms the specific status of taxa based on the biological species concept. In the subfamily Phlebotominae, experimental crosses were mostly focused on the study of the Lutzomyia longipalpis complex, which helped to identify different evolutionary lineages for that group of vectors. Considering the difficulty of classifying some Phlebotominae species and the importance of hybridization studies for taxonomy, we grouped all the information associated with experimental crosses in sandflies in a mini-review. In view of the results grouped in this review, it is evident that i) experimental crossings are important tools to aggregate studies of integrative taxonomy in the Phlebotominae subfamily; ii) these analyses should be applied in the taxonomic studies of cryptic species; iii) Lu longipalpis populations have pre and/or post-zygotic reproductive barriers; iv) Lu. longipalpis represents more than one species and efforts must be applied to differentiate the taxa of the Lu. longipalpis complex; v) Phlebotomus populations do not present intraspecific reproductive barriers; vi) the absence of reproductive barriers between Ph. sergenti from Israel and Turkey (representing populations of the same evolutionary lineage) does not rule out the possible existence of cryptic species, it being necessary to perform experimental crosses between the different strains indicated by the molecular markers; and finally, vii) different species of Phlebotomus have post-zygotic barriers, confirming the specific status of Ph. duboscqi, Ph. papatasi, and Ph. bergeroti.

RevDate: 2022-03-02
CmpDate: 2021-10-20

Sandstedt GD, Wu CA, AL Sweigart (2021)

Evolution of multiple postzygotic barriers between species of the Mimulus tilingii complex.

Evolution; international journal of organic evolution, 75(3):600-613.

Species are often defined by their ability to interbreed (i.e., Biological Species Concept), but determining how and why reproductive isolation arises between new species can be challenging. In the Mimulus tilingii species complex, three species (M. caespitosa, M. minor, and M. tilingii) are largely allopatric and grow exclusively at high elevations (>2000 m). The extent to which geographic separation has shaped patterns of divergence among the species is not well understood. In this study, we determined that the three species are morphologically and genetically distinct, yet recently diverged. Additionally, we performed reciprocal crosses within and between the species and identified several strong postzygotic reproductive barriers, including hybrid seed inviability, F1 hybrid necrosis, and F1 hybrid male and female sterility. In this study, such postzygotic barriers are so strong that a cross between any species pair in the M. tilingii complex would cause nearly complete reproductive isolation. We consider how geographical and topographical patterns may have facilitated the evolution of several postzygotic barriers and contributed to speciation of closely related members within the M. tilingii species complex.

RevDate: 2020-11-05
CmpDate: 2020-11-05

Van Regenmortel MHV (2020)

A brief history of the species concept in virology and an opinion on the proposal to introduce Linnaean binomial virus species names.

Archives of virology, 165(12):3073-3077.

The species concept used in virology is based on the logic of the Linnaean hierarchy, which views a species class as the lowest abstract category that is included in all the higher categories in the classification, such as genera and families. As a result of this class inclusion, the members of a species class are always less numerous than the members of higher classes, which become more numerous as one moves up in the hierarchy. Because species classes always have fewer members than any of the higher classes, logic requires that they need more qualifications for establishing membership than any of the higher classes. This invalidates the claim that a species could be defined by a single property present in all its members. Species were only accepted in virus classification in 1991, because virologists assumed that it would lead to the use of Latin species names, which they rejected. Anglicized binomial species names have been used by virologists for more the 40 years and are popular because they consist of a virus name followed by a genus name that most virologists are familiar with. The ICTV has proposed to introduce a new Latinized virus species binomial nomenclature using the genus name followed by a hard-to-remember Latinized species epithet that bears little resemblance to the name of the virus itself. However, the proposal did not clarify what the advantage is of having to learn hundreds of new unfamiliar virus species names. In 2013, the ICTV changed the definition of a virus species as an abstract class and defined it as a group of physical objects, which induced virologists to believe that a virus species could be defined by a few characteristics of the viral genome. In recent years, thousands of viral sequences have been discovered in metagenomic databases, and the ICTV has suggested that it should be possible to incorporate these sequences in the current ICTV virus classification. Unfortunately, the relational properties of these hypothetical viruses that result from their biological interactions with hosts and vectors remain in the vast majority of cases totally unknown. The absence of this information makes it in fact impossible to incorporate these metagenomic sequences in the current classification of virus species.

RevDate: 2021-04-05
CmpDate: 2021-04-05

Malabarba LR, Chuctaya J, Hirschmann A, et al (2021)

Hidden or unnoticed? Multiple lines of evidence support the recognition of a new species of Pseudocorynopoma (Characidae: Corynopomini).

Journal of fish biology, 98(1):219-236.

Species delimitation is a permanent issue in systematics. The increasing recognition of geographically isolated populations as independent lineages allowed by new methods of analysis has inflated the species-populations dilemma, which involves deciding whether to consider separate lineages as different species or structured genetic populations. This is commonly observed between fishes of adjacent river basins, with some lineages being considered allopatric sister species and others considered isolated populations or variants of the same species. Pseudocorynopoma doriae is a characid diagnosed from its single congener by the number of anal-fin rays and sexually dimorphic characters of males, including distinct fin colouration. The authors found variation in the colour pattern between isolated populations previously identified as P. doriae but no variation in scale or fin-ray counts. They analysed molecular evidence at the population level and morphological differences related to life history (e.g., colour dimorphism related to inseminating behaviour). The results provide compelling evidence for the recognition of a new species of Pseudocorynopoma despite the lack of discrete differences in meristic data. The recognition of the new species is consistent with biogeographical evidence for the long-term isolation of the respective river drainages and with differences between the ichthyofaunal communities of these rivers.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Sterling KA, ML Warren (Jr) (2020)

Description of a new species of cryptic snubnose darter (Percidae: Etheostomatinae) endemic to north-central Mississippi.

PeerJ, 8:e9807.

Many subclades within the large North American freshwater fish genus Etheostoma (Percidae) show brilliant male nuptial coloration during the spring spawning season. Traditionally, perceived differences in color were often used to diagnose closely related species. More recently, perceived differences in male nuptial color have prompted further investigation of potential biodiversity using genetic tools. However, cryptic diversity among Etheostoma darters renders male nuptial color as unreliable for detecting and describing diversity, which is foundational for research and conservation efforts of this group of stream fishes. Etheostoma raneyi (Yazoo Darter) is an imperiled, range-limited fish endemic to north-central Mississippi. Existing genetic evidence indicates cryptic diversity between disjunctly distributed E. raneyi from the Little Tallahatchie and Yocona river watersheds despite no obvious differences in male color between the two drainages. Analysis of morphological truss and geometric measurements and meristic and male color characters yielded quantitative differences in E. raneyi from the two drainages consistent with genetic evidence. Morphological divergence is best explained by differences in stream gradients between the two drainages. Etheostoma faulkneri, the Yoknapatawpha Darter, is described as a species under the unified species concept. The discovery of cryptic diversity within E. raneyi would likely not have occurred without genetic tools. Cryptic diversity among Etheostoma darters and other stream fishes is common, but an overreliance on traditional methods of species delimitation (e.g., identification of a readily observable physical character to diagnose a species) impedes a full accounting of the diversity in freshwater fishes in the southeastern United States.

RevDate: 2020-10-14
CmpDate: 2020-10-14

Gu J, Jiang B, Wang H, et al (2020)

Phylogeny and species delimitation of the genus Longgenacris and Fruhstorferiola viridifemorata species group (Orthoptera: Acrididae: Melanoplinae) based on molecular evidence.

PloS one, 15(8):e0237882.

Phylogenetic positions of the genus Longgenacris and one of its members, i.e. L. rufiantennus are controversial. The species boundaries within both of L. rufiantennus+Fruhstorferiola tonkinensis and F. viridifemorata species groups are unclear. In this study, we explored the phylogenetic positions of the genus Longgenacris and the species L. rufiantennus and the relationships among F. viridifemorata group based on the 658-base fragment of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) barcode and the complete sequences of the internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS1 and ITS2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. The phylogenies were reconstructed in maximum likelihood framework using IQ-TREE. K2P distances were used to assess the overlap range between intraspecific variation and interspecific divergence. Phylogenetic species concept and NJ tree, K2P distance, the statistical parsimony network as well as the generalized mixed Yule coalescent model (GMYC) were employed to delimitate the species boundaries in L. rufiantennus+F. tonkinensis and F. viridifemorata species groups. The results demonstrated that the genus Longgenacris should be placed in the subfamily Melanoplinae but not Catantopinae, and L. rufiantennus should be a member of the genus Fruhstorferiola but not Longgenacris. Species boundary delimitation confirmed the presence of oversplitting in L. rufiantennus+F. tonkinensis and F. viridifemorata species groups and suggested that each group should be treated as a single species.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Campbell DL, Thessen AE, L Ries (2020)

A novel curation system to facilitate data integration across regional citizen science survey programs.

PeerJ, 8:e9219.

Integrative modeling methods can now enable macrosystem-level understandings of biodiversity patterns, such as range changes resulting from shifts in climate or land use, by aggregating species-level data across multiple monitoring sources. This requires ensuring that taxon interpretations match up across different sources. While encouraging checklist standardization is certainly an option, coercing programs to change species lists they have used consistently for decades is rarely successful. Here we demonstrate a novel approach for tracking equivalent names and concepts, applied to a network of 10 regional programs that use the same protocols (so-called "Pollard walks") to monitor butterflies across America north of Mexico. Our system involves, for each monitoring program, associating the taxonomic authority (in this case one of three North American butterfly fauna treatments: Pelham, 2014; North American Butterfly Association, Inc., 2016; Opler & Warren, 2003) that shares the most similar overall taxonomic interpretation to the program's working species list. This allows us to define each term on each program's list in the context of the appropriate authority's species concept and curate the term alongside its authoritative concept. We then aligned the names representing equivalent taxonomic concepts among the three authorities. These stepping stones allow us to bridge a species concept from one program's species list to the name of the equivalent in any other program, through the intermediary scaffolding of aligned authoritative taxon concepts. Using a software tool we developed to access our curation system, a user can link equivalent species concepts between data collecting agencies with no specialized knowledge of taxonomic complexities.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Wu CI, Wang X, He Z, et al (2020)

Replies to the commentaries on the question of 'Is it time to abandon the biological species concept?'.

National science review, 7(8):1407-1409.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Butlin RK, S Stankowski (2020)

Is it time to abandon the biological species concept? No.

National science review, 7(8):1400-1401.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Gao L, LH Rieseberg (2020)

While neither universally applicable nor practical operationally, the biological species concept continues to offer a compelling framework for studying species and speciation.

National science review, 7(8):1398-1400.

RevDate: 2021-10-26

Wang X, He Z, Shi S, et al (2020)

Genes and speciation: is it time to abandon the biological species concept?.

National science review, 7(8):1387-1397.

The biological species concept (BSC) is the cornerstone of neo-Darwinian thinking. In BSC, species do not exchange genes either during or after speciation. However, as gene flow during speciation is increasingly being reported in a substantial literature, it seems time to reassess the revered, but often doubted, BSC. Contrary to the common perception, BSC should expect substantial gene flow at the onset of speciation, not least because geographical isolation develops gradually. Although BSC does not stipulate how speciation begins, it does require a sustained period of isolation for speciation to complete its course. Evidence against BSC must demonstrate that the observed gene flow does not merely occur at the onset of speciation but continues until its completion. Importantly, recent genomic analyses cannot reject this more realistic version of BSC, although future analyses may still prove it wrong. The ultimate acceptance or rejection of BSC is not merely about a historical debate; rather, it is about the fundamental nature of species - are species (and, hence, divergent adaptations) driven by a relatively small number of genes, or by thousands of them? Many levels of biology, ranging from taxonomy to biodiversity, depend on this resolution.

RevDate: 2022-10-05
CmpDate: 2021-03-01

McCoy SJ, Krueger-Hadfield SA, N Mieszkowska (2020)

Evolutionary Phycology: Toward a Macroalgal Species Conceptual Framework.

Journal of phycology, 56(6):1404-1413.

Species concepts formalize evolutionary and ecological processes, but often conflict with one another when considering the mechanisms that ultimately lead to species delimitation. Evolutionary biologists are, however, recognizing that the conceptualization of a species is separate and distinct from the delimitation of species. Indeed, if species are generally defined as separately evolving metapopulation lineages, then characteristics, such as reproductive isolation or monophyly, can be used as evidence of lineage separation and no longer conflict with the conceptualization of a species. However, little of this discussion has addressed the formalization of this evolutionary conceptual framework for macroalgal species. This may be due to the complexity and variation found in macroalgal life cycles. While macroalgal mating system variation and patterns of hybridization and introgression have been identified, complex algal life cycles generate unique eco-evolutionary consequences. Moreover, the discovery of frequent macroalgal cryptic speciation has not been accompanied by the study of the evolutionary ecology of those lineages, and, thus, an understanding of the mechanisms underlying such rampant speciation remain elusive. In this perspective, we aim to further the discussion and interest in species concepts and speciation processes in macroalgae. We propose a conceptual framework to enable phycological researchers and students alike to portray these processes in a manner consistent with dialogue at the forefront of evolutionary biology. We define a macroalgal species as an independently evolving metapopulation lineage, whereby we can test for reproductive isolation or the occupation of distinct adaptive zones, among other mechanisms, as secondary lines of supporting evidence.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Bangs MR, Douglas MR, Chafin TK, et al (2020)

Gene flow and species delimitation in fishes of Western North America: Flannelmouth (Catostomus latipinnis) and Bluehead sucker (C. Pantosteus discobolus).

Ecology and evolution, 10(13):6477-6493.

The delimitation of species boundaries, particularly those obscured by reticulation, is a critical step in contemporary biodiversity assessment. It is especially relevant for conservation and management of indigenous fishes in western North America, represented herein by two species with dissimilar life histories codistributed in the highly modified Colorado River (i.e., flannelmouth sucker, Catostomus latipinnis; bluehead sucker, C. (Pantosteus) discobolus). To quantify phylogenomic patterns and examine proposed taxonomic revisions, we first employed double-digest restriction site-associated DNA sequencing (ddRAD), yielding 39,755 unlinked SNPs across 139 samples. These were subsequently evaluated with multiple analytical approaches and by contrasting life history data. Three phylogenetic methods and a Bayesian assignment test highlighted similar phylogenomic patterns in each, but with considerable difference in presumed times of divergence. Three lineages were detected in bluehead sucker, supporting elevation of C. (P.) virescens to species status and recognizing C. (P.) discobolus yarrowi (Zuni bluehead sucker) as a discrete entity. Admixture in the latter necessitated a reevaluation of its contemporary and historic distributions, underscoring how biodiversity identification can be confounded by complex evolutionary histories. In addition, we defined three separate flannelmouth sucker lineages as ESUs (evolutionarily significant units), given limited phenotypic and genetic differentiation, contemporary isolation, and lack of concordance (per the genealogical concordance component of the phylogenetic species concept). Introgression was diagnosed in both species, with the Little Colorado and Virgin rivers in particular. Our diagnostic methods, and the agreement of our SNPs with previous morphological, enzymatic, and mitochondrial work, allowed us to partition complex evolutionary histories into requisite components, such as isolation versus secondary contact.

RevDate: 2021-07-21
CmpDate: 2021-06-15

Quilodrán CS, Montoya-Burgos JI, M Currat (2020)

Harmonizing hybridization dissonance in conservation.

Communications biology, 3(1):391.

A dramatic increase in the hybridization between historically allopatric species has been induced by human activities. However, the notion of hybridization seems to lack consistency in two respects. On the one hand, it is inconsistent with the biological species concept, which does not allow for interbreeding between species, and on the other hand, it is considered either as an evolutionary process leading to the emergence of new biodiversity or as a cause of biodiversity loss, with conservation implications. In the first case, we argue that conservation biology should avoid the discussion around the species concept and delimit priorities of conservation units based on the impact on biodiversity if taxa are lost. In the second case, we show that this is not a paradox but an intrinsic property of hybridization, which should be considered in conservation programmes. We propose a novel view of conservation guidelines, in which human-induced hybridization may also be a tool to enhance the likelihood of adaptation to changing environmental conditions or to increase the genetic diversity of taxa affected by inbreeding depression. The conservation guidelines presented here represent a guide for the development of programmes aimed at protecting biodiversity as a dynamic evolutionary system.

RevDate: 2021-11-18
CmpDate: 2021-11-18

Jiao X, Z Yang (2021)

Defining Species When There is Gene Flow.

Systematic biology, 70(1):108-119.

Whatever one's definition of species, it is generally expected that individuals of the same species should be genetically more similar to each other than they are to individuals of another species. Here, we show that in the presence of cross-species gene flow, this expectation may be incorrect. We use the multispecies coalescent model with continuous-time migration or episodic introgression to study the impact of gene flow on genetic differences within and between species and highlight a surprising but plausible scenario in which different population sizes and asymmetrical migration rates cause a genetic sequence to be on average more closely related to a sequence from another species than to a sequence from the same species. Our results highlight the extraordinary impact that even a small amount of gene flow may have on the genetic history of the species. We suggest that contrasting long-term migration rate and short-term hybridization rate, both of which can be estimated using genetic data, may be a powerful approach to detecting the presence of reproductive barriers and to define species boundaries.[Gene flow; introgression; migration; multispecies coalescent; species concept; species delimitation.].

RevDate: 2021-06-14
CmpDate: 2021-06-14

Xu J (2020)

Fungal species concepts in the genomics era.

Genome, 63(9):459-468.

The 140 000 or so fungal species reported so far are heterogeneously defined based on varying criteria such as morphological, physiological, mating, and (or) molecular features. Incongruences are common among traits used to separating closely related species and it is often difficult to compare fungal taxonomic groups defined based on different species recognition criteria. Though DNA sequence-based classification and identification have been made, a consensus has not been reached, primarily due to intrinsic limitations in the proposed one or a few genes. Here, I argue that the fundamental reason for the observed inconsistencies is that speciation is a stochastic process with the emergence and fixation of different traits influenced differently by many non-deterministic factors such as population size, random mutation, mode(s) of reproduction, selection imposed by interacting biotic and abiotic factors, and chance events. Each species concept attempts to capture one or a few traits emerged in the continuous process of speciation. I propose that a genome sequence-based classification and identification system could unify and stabilize fungal taxonomy and help integrate taxonomy with other fields of fungal biology. The genomic species concept could be similarly argued for other groups of eukaryotic microbes as well as for plants and animals.

RevDate: 2021-06-04
CmpDate: 2021-06-04

Newton LG, Starrett J, Hendrixson BE, et al (2020)

Integrative species delimitation reveals cryptic diversity in the southern Appalachian Antrodiaetus unicolor (Araneae: Antrodiaetidae) species complex.

Molecular ecology, 29(12):2269-2287.

Although species delimitation can be highly contentious, the development of reliable methods to accurately ascertain species boundaries is an imperative step in cataloguing and describing Earth's quickly disappearing biodiversity. Spider species delimitation remains largely based on morphological characters; however, many mygalomorph spider populations are morphologically indistinguishable from each other yet have considerable molecular divergence. The focus of our study, the Antrodiaetus unicolor species complex containing two sympatric species, exhibits this pattern of relative morphological stasis with considerable genetic divergence across its distribution. A past study using two molecular markers, COI and 28S, revealed that A. unicolor is paraphyletic with respect to A. microunicolor. To better investigate species boundaries in the complex, we implement the cohesion species concept and use multiple lines of evidence for testing genetic exchangeability and ecological interchangeability. Our integrative approach includes extensively sampling homologous loci across the genome using a RADseq approach (3RAD), assessing population structure across their geographic range using multiple genetic clustering analyses that include structure, principal components analysis and a recently developed unsupervised machine learning approach (Variational Autoencoder). We evaluate ecological similarity by using large-scale ecological data for niche-based distribution modelling. Based on our analyses, we conclude that this complex has at least one additional species as well as confirm species delimitations based on previous less comprehensive approaches. Our study demonstrates the efficacy of genomic-scale data for recognizing cryptic species, suggesting that species delimitation with one data type, whether one mitochondrial gene or morphology, may underestimate true species diversity in morphologically homogenous taxa with low vagility.

RevDate: 2020-09-23
CmpDate: 2020-09-23

Mosier SL (2019)

Policies as species Viewing and classifying policy from an evolutionary biology perspective.

Politics and the life sciences : the journal of the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, 38(2):117-131.

This article proposes equating policies as species to develop a better understanding of how policies emerge, change, and diffuse across policymaking environments. Scholars have long shown an interest in understanding policy change and reinvention, whether incremental or nonincremental. The two subfields of public policy that can answer how and why policies change are not unified, leading to difficulty in comprehensively assessing policy emergence and change. The policy species concept bridges knowledge of the policy process and knowledge in the policy process by creating an operationalized definition of public policy and suggesting a process for classifying policies to observe subsequent behavior. Drawing from the field of biology, the policy species framework outlines how policies possess genotypes and phenotypes, which dictate what a policy is and how it can change. In tracing genotypic and phenetic change over time, policy evolution and change is more easily discernible. In turn, a more precise picture of how policies function is painted.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Sterling KA, Nielsen SV, Brown AJ, et al (2020)

Cryptic diversity among Yazoo Darters (Percidae: Etheostoma raneyi) in disjunct watersheds of northern Mississippi.

PeerJ, 8:e9014.

The Yazoo Darter, Etheostoma raneyi (Percidae), is an imperiled freshwater fish species endemic to tributaries of the Yocona and Little Tallahatchie rivers of the upper Yazoo River basin, in northern Mississippi, USA. The two populations are allopatric, isolated by unsuitable lowland habitat between the two river drainages. Relevant literature suggests that populations in the Yocona River represent an undescribed species, but a lack of data prevents a thorough evaluation of possible diversity throughout the range of the species. Our goals were to estimate phylogenetic relationships of the Yazoo Darter across its distribution and identify cryptic diversity for conservation management purposes. Maximum likelihood (ML) phylogenetic analyses of the mitochondrial cytochrome b (cytb) gene returned two reciprocally monophyletic clades representing the two river drainages with high support. Bayesian analysis of cytb was consistent with the ML analysis but with low support for the Yocona River clade. Analyses of the nuclear S7 gene yielded unresolved relationships among individuals in the Little Tallahatchie River drainage with mostly low support, but returned a monophyletic clade for individuals from the Yocona River drainage with high support. No haplotypes were shared between the drainages for either gene. Additional cryptic diversity within the two drainages was not indicated. Estimated divergence between Yazoo Darters in the two drainages occurred during the Pleistocene (<1 million years ago) and was likely linked to repeated spatial shifts in suitable habitat and changes in watershed configurations during glacial cycles. Individuals from the Yocona River drainage had lower genetic diversity consistent with the literature. Our results indicate that Yazoo Darters in the Yocona River drainage are genetically distinct and that there is support for recognizing Yazoo Darter populations in the Yocona River drainage as a new species under the unified species concept.

RevDate: 2020-10-29
CmpDate: 2020-10-29

Karasiewicz S, Chapelle A, Bacher C, et al (2020)

Harmful algae niche responses to environmental and community variation along the French coast.

Harmful algae, 93:101785.

Distribution, frequency and intensity of harmful phytoplanktonic species are impacted by changes in environmental conditions. In the Bay of Brest, Alexandrium minutum has been responsible for several harmful algal blooms (HABs) associated with toxin production causing paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Additionally, Lepidodinium chlorophorum causes green water and hypoxia locally in the Bay of Biscay. Previous studies revealed that L. chlorophorum's success was related to possible competitive exclusion. Therefore, the phytoplankton composition and the environmental conditions should be taken into account. This study aims to assess the combined effect of changes in habitat conditions and community structure with the occurrence of HAB species, on a spatial-temporal scale. For the investigation we first used the Hutchinson's niche concept by means of the Outlying Mean Index (OMI) analysis. The OMI analysis enable us to observe the environmental variables defining the ecological niche of the harmful species among the community. Secondly, we used the subniche theory to highlight the environmental variables defining the subniches in cases of high and low abundance of HABs with an estimation of the biological constraint restricting the species' subniche. This was undertaken using the Within Outlying Mean indexes (WitOMI) calculated under environmental conditions promoting high (H) and low (L) abundance bloom. Thirdly, we used the Indicator Species Concept from the Indicator Species Analysis (ISA) to link the biological restriction with potential competing or indicator species. We combined a data set from the French National Phytoplankton and Phycotoxin Monitoring Network (REPHY), the Velyger network (oyster monitoring program) and satellite imagery. A total of 44 stations, over the period of 1998-2017 using 50 taxonomic units. 36 taxa had significant niche and were mostly distributed along nutrient and salinity gradients. The two species of interest L. chlorophorum and A. minutum seemed to have similar affinity for summer-like environmental conditions and both used a marginal habitat compared to the rest of the community. A. minutum had a larger niche due to a greater affinity to the estuarine-like conditions. The subniche of the two species had a similar response to the environmental variation; their respective abundance was partly caused by greater environmental restrains. Their success in abundance appeared to be linked to local hydrodynamics which increases or reduces resources. On the other hand, the biotic pressure exerted upon A. minutum and L. chlorophorum were antagonistic. A possible competitor assemblage was exposed but the analysis was inconclusive. The methodological limitations were discussed as well as a perspective for future similar studies.

RevDate: 2021-01-05
CmpDate: 2021-01-05

Seifert B (2020)

The Gene and Gene Expression (GAGE) Species Concept: An Universal Approach for All Eukaryotic Organisms.

Systematic biology, 69(5):1033-1038.

The Gene and Gene Expression (GAGE) species concept, a new version of the Pragmatic Species Concept of Seifert (2014), is proposed as a concept applicable to any described recent or fossil eukaryotic organism independent from its mode of reproduction or evolutionary history. In addition to presenting the concept as such, the article also provides practical recommendations for taxonomists when delimiting species and describing taxa. The wording of the new concept contains a heading core sentence plus five attached sentences addressing essential conditions for its translation into a sound taxonomic practice: "Species are separable clusters that have passed a threshold of evolutionary divergence and are exclusively defined by nuclear DNA sequences and/or their expression products. Nuclear DNA sequences and their expression products are different character systems but have a highly correlated indicative function. Character systems with the least risk of epigenetic or ontogenetic modification have superior indicative value when conflicts between character systems of integrative studies arise. All character systems have to be described by an adequate numerics allowing cluster formation and determination of thresholds. Thresholds for each character system should be fixed by consensus among the experts under the principle of avoiding oversplitting or lumping. Clusters must not be the expression of intraspecific polymorphism." Recognizing the distortions and conflicts caused to taxonomy through barcoding or through assessment on the basis of association with other organisms, the GAGE species concept strongly downgrades the use of cytoplasmic DNA of endosymbiotic origin (mtDNA, cpDNA) or DNA of closely associated microbes (e.g., Wolbachia bacteria) for final taxonomic decision-making. Recognizing the distortion of phylogenies by the high frequency of reticulate evolution, it is argued that delimiting and naming species has to be separated from constructing bifurcating phylogenetic trees. [Cytoplasmic DNA; lumping; nuclear DNA; numeric taxonomy; oversplitting; reticulate evolution.].

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Corduneanu A, Ursache TD, Taulescu M, et al (2020)

Detection of DNA of Babesia canis in tissues of laboratory rodents following oral inoculation with infected ticks.

Parasites & vectors, 13(1):166.

BACKGROUND: Babesia spp. are apicomplexan parasites which infect a wide range of mammalian hosts. Historically, most Babesia species were described based on the assumed host specificity and morphological features of the intraerythrocytic stages. New DNA-based approaches challenge the traditional species concept and host specificity in Babesia. Using such tools, the presence of Babesia DNA was reported in non-specific mammalian hosts, including B. canis in feces and tissues of insectivorous bats, opening questions on alternative transmission routes. The aim of the present study was to evaluate if B. canis DNA can be detected in tissues of laboratory rodents following oral inoculation with infected ticks.

METHODS: Seventy-five questing adult Dermacentor reticulatus ticks were longitudinally cut in two halves and pooled. Each pool consisted of halves of 5 ticks, resulting in two analogous sets. One pool set (n = 15) served for DNA extraction, while the other set (n = 15) was used for oral inoculation of experimental animals (Mus musculus, line CD-1 and Meriones unguiculatus). Blood was collected three times during the experiment (before the inoculation, at 14 days post-inoculation and at 30 days post-inoculation). All animals were euthanized 30 days post-inoculation. At necropsy, half of the heart, lung, liver, spleen and kidneys were collected from each animal. The presence of Babesia DNA targeting the 18S rRNA gene was evaluated from blood and tissues samples. For histopathology, the other halves of the tissues were used. Stained blood smears were used for the light microscopy detection of Babesia.

RESULTS: From the 15 pools of D. reticulatus used for the oral inoculation, six were PCR-positive for B. canis. DNA of B. canis was detected in blood and tissues of 33.3% of the animals (4 out of 12) inoculated with a B. canis-positive pool. No Babesia DNA was detected in the other 18 animals which received B. canis-negative tick pools. No Babesia was detected during the histological examination and all blood smears were microscopically negative.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate that B. canis DNA can be detected in tissues of mammalian hosts following ingestion of infected ticks and opens the question of alternative transmission routes for piroplasms.

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

Tatarenkov A, Earley RL, Taylor DS, et al (2021)

Extensive hybridization and past introgression between divergent lineages in a quasi-clonal hermaphroditic fish: Ramifications for species concepts and taxonomy.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 34(1):49-59.

Extreme inbreeding is expected to reduce the incidence of hybridization, serving as a prezygotic barrier. Mangrove rivulus is a small killifish that reproduces predominantly by self-fertilization, producing highly homozygous lines throughout its geographic range. The Bahamas and Caribbean are inhabited by two highly diverged phylogeographic lineages of mangrove rivulus, Kryptolebias marmoratus and a 'Central clade' closely related to K. hermaphroditus from Brazil. The two lineages are largely allopatric, but recently were found in syntopy on San Salvador, Bahamas, where a single hybrid was reported. To better characterize the degree of hybridization and the possibility of secondary introgression, here we conducted a detailed genetic analysis of the contact zone on San Salvador. Two mixed populations were identified, one of which contained sexually mature hybrids. The distribution of heterozygosity at diagnostic microsatellite loci in hybrids showed that one of these hybrids was an immediate offspring from the K. marmoratus x Central clade cross, whereas the remaining five hybrids were products of reproduction by self-fertilization for 1-3 generations following the initial cross. Two hybrids had mitochondrial haplotypes of K. marmoratus and the remaining four hybrids had a haplotype of the Central clade, indicating that crosses go in both directions. In hybrids, alleles of parental lineages were represented in equal proportions suggesting lack of recent backcrossing to either of the parental lineages. However, sympatric populations of two lineages were less diverged than allopatric populations, consistent with introgression. Results are discussed in terms of applicability of the biological species concept for isogenic, effectively clonal, organisms.

RevDate: 2020-08-14
CmpDate: 2020-08-14

Li ZZ, Ngarega BK, Lehtonen S, et al (2020)

Cryptic diversity within the African aquatic plant Ottelia ulvifolia (Hydrocharitaceae) revealed by population genetic and phylogenetic analyses.

Journal of plant research, 133(3):373-381.

Revealing cryptic diversity is of great importance for effective conservation and understanding macroevolution and ecology of plants. Ottelia, a typical example of aquatic plants, possesses extremely variable morphology and the presence of cryptic diversity makes its classification problematic. Previous studies have revealed cryptic Ottelia species in Asia, but very little is known about the molecular systematics of this genus in Africa, a center of species diversity of Ottelia. In this study, we sampled Ottelia ulvifolia, an endemic species of tropical Africa, from Zambia and Cameroon. We used six chloroplast DNA regions, nrITS and six polymorphic microsatellite markers to estimate the molecular diversity and population genetic structure in O. ulvifolia. The phylogenetic inference, STACEY and STRUCTURE analyses supported at least three clusters within O. ulvifolia, each representing unique flower types (i.e., bisexual yellow flower, unisexual yellow flower and bisexual white flower types). Although abundant genetic variation (> 50%) was observed within the populations, excessive anthropogenic activities may result in genetic drift and bottlenecks. Here, three cryptic species of O. ulvifolia complex are defined, and insights are provided into the taxonomy of Ottelia using the phylogenetic species concept.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Wang P, Chen B, Zheng J, et al (2020)

Fine-Scale Population Genetic Structure and Parapatric Cryptic Species of Kuruma Shrimp (Marsupenaeus japonicus), Along the Northwestern Pacific Coast of China.

Frontiers in genetics, 11:118.

The kuruma shrimp (Marsupenaeus japonicus) includes two cryptic species, which are distributed mostly allopatrically but co-occur in the northern South China Sea (from Huilai to Beihai). To obtain a better understanding of the fine-scale genetic structure and parapatric diversification of these two varieties in the northwestern Pacific region, we used a genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) and comparative transcriptomics approach to establish their phylogenetic relationships. Using the GBS technique, we genotyped 28891 SNPs in 160 individuals in the Northwest Pacific. The results supported two highly diverged evolutionary lineages of kuruma shrimp (var. I and II). The ND and XM populations showed complex genetic patterns, which might be affected by the complex environment of the Taiwan Strait. In addition, the migration rates and inbreeding coefficients of XM and BH were much lower than those of the other populations, which might be related to the land-sea changes and complex ocean currents in the Taiwan Strait and Qiongzhou Strait. Based on the synonymous substitution rates (ds) of 2,491 candidate orthologs, we estimated that the divergence time between the two varieties was 0.26~0.69 Mya. Choice and no-choice interbreeding experiments provided support for the biological species concept, by showing the existence of reproductive isolation or incompatibility. In view of these differences between the two Marsupenaeus species, we believe that it is essential and urgent to establish a genetic database for each and reevaluate their ecological suitable conditions in order to improve species-specific culturing techniques. Moreover, this research can serve as a case study for future research on speciation and hybridization.

RevDate: 2020-06-02
CmpDate: 2020-06-02

Malavin S, L Shmakova (2020)

Isolates from ancient permafrost help to elucidate species boundaries in Acanthamoeba castellanii complex (Amoebozoa: Discosea).

European journal of protistology, 73:125671.

Acanthamoeba castellanii species complex (genotype T4) comprises of more than ten species with unclear synonymy. Its molecular phylogeny has several conflicts with published morphological data. In this paper, we analyze morphometric traits and temperature preferences in six new strains belonging to A. castellanii complex isolated from Arctic permafrost in the framework of molecular phylogeny. This integrative approach allows us to cross-link genotypic and phenotypic variability and identify species-level boundaries inside the complex. We also analyze previously known and newly found discrepancies between the nuclear and mitochondrial gene-based phylogenies. We hypothesize that one reason for these discrepancies may be the intragenomic polymorphism of ribosomal RNA genes.

RevDate: 2021-02-26
CmpDate: 2021-01-18

Cheng JY, T Mailund (2020)

Ancestral Population Genomics with Jocx, a Coalescent Hidden Markov Model.

Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2090:167-189.

Coalescence theory lets us probe the past demographics of present-day genetic samples and much information about the past can be gleaned from variation in rates of coalescence event as we trace genetic lineages back in time. Fewer and fewer lineages will remain, however, so there is a limit to how far back we can explore. Without recombination, we would not be able to explore ancient speciation events because of this-any meaningful species concept would require that individuals of one species are closer related than they are to individuals of another species, once speciation is complete. Recombination, however, opens a window to the deeper past. By scanning along a genomic alignment, we get a sequential variant of the coalescence process as it looked at the time of the speciation. This pattern of coalescence times is fixed at speciation time and does not erode with time; although accumulated mutations and genomic rearrangements will eventually hide the signal, it enables us to glance at events in the past that would not be observable without recombination. So-called coalescence hidden Markov models allow us to exploit this, and in this chapter, we present the tool Jocx that uses a framework of these models to infer demographic parameters in ancient speciation events.

RevDate: 2020-04-08
CmpDate: 2020-04-07

Martin D, Gil J, Zanol J, et al (2020)

Digging the diversity of Iberian bait worms Marphysa (Annelida, Eunicidae).

PloS one, 15(1):e0226749.

During a visit to polychaete-rearing facilities in the vicinity of Bay of Cádiz (SW Iberian Peninsula, Atlantic Ocean), we sampled two populations of Marphysa (Annelida, Eunicidae) originally occurring at nearby intertidal soft bottoms, one being more than twice as long as the other at the same age. We analysed them using partial sequences of two mitochondrial genes, 16S rDNA and Cytochrome Oxidase I, and classical morphological observations. Our molecular results confirmed that the two populations corresponded to two different species, with PTP species delimitation values ranging from 0.973 (long-bodied species) to 0.999 (short-bodied species). Morphologically, the short-bodied species resembles the recently redescribed M. sanguinea (Montagu, 1813), but differs mainly in having some parapodia with two subacicular hooks (one bidentate and one unidentate) and three types of pectinate chaetae, Two isodont present all along the body, and one particularly large anodont asymmetric appearing only from mid-posterior parapodia. The long-bodied species resembles Marphysa aegypti Elgetany, El-Ghobashy, Ghoneim and Struck, 2018 both in size and in having very robust, unidentate subacicular hooks (single in most parapodia, two-both similar in size and form-in some posterior parapodia), but differs, among other features, in the maxillary formula, the number of acicula per parapodia and the number and shape of pectinate chaetae. Accordingly, we are here fully illustrating and formally describing the two Iberian populations as Marphysa gaditana sp. nov. (short-bodied) and Marphysa chirigota sp. nov. (long-bodied) and we are emending the description of M. aegypti based on our revision of the type material. Also, we discuss on the distribution of the species of the sanguinea-group and on the relevancy of taxonomically robust studies when dealing with species of commercial interest having the potential of being globally spread through human activities, as well as on the misunderstandings caused by the incorrect use of the "cosmopolitan species" concept.

RevDate: 2020-09-28

Walther G, Wagner L, O Kurzai (2019)

Updates on the Taxonomy of Mucorales with an Emphasis on Clinically Important Taxa.

Journal of fungi (Basel, Switzerland), 5(4):.

Fungi of the order Mucorales colonize all kinds of wet, organic materials and represent a permanent part of the human environment. They are economically important as fermenting agents of soybean products and producers of enzymes, but also as plant parasites and spoilage organisms. Several taxa cause life-threatening infections, predominantly in patients with impaired immunity. The order Mucorales has now been assigned to the phylum Mucoromycota and is comprised of 261 species in 55 genera. Of these accepted species, 38 have been reported to cause infections in humans, as a clinical entity known as mucormycosis. Due to molecular phylogenetic studies, the taxonomy of the order has changed widely during the last years. Characteristics such as homothallism, the shape of the suspensors, or the formation of sporangiola are shown to be not taxonomically relevant. Several genera including Absidia, Backusella, Circinella, Mucor, and Rhizomucor have been amended and their revisions are summarized in this review. Medically important species that have been affected by recent changes include Lichtheimia corymbifera, Mucor circinelloides, and Rhizopus microsporus. The species concept of Rhizopus arrhizus (syn. R. oryzae) is still a matter of debate. Currently, species identification of the Mucorales is best performed by sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. Ecologically, the Mucorales represent a diverse group but for the majority of taxa, the ecological role and the geographic distribution remain unknown. Understanding the biology of these opportunistic fungal pathogens is a prerequisite for the prevention of infections, and, consequently, studies on the ecology of the Mucorales are urgently needed.

RevDate: 2020-09-29

Cabarroi-Hernández M, Villalobos-Arámbula AR, Mabel Gisela Torres-Torres , et al (2019)

The Ganoderma weberianum-resinaceum lineage: multilocus phylogenetic analysis and morphology confirm G. mexicanum and G. parvulum in the Neotropics.

MycoKeys, 59:95-131.

Many species of Ganoderma exhibit a high phenotypic plasticity. Hence, particularly among them, the morphological species concept remains difficult to apply, resulting in a currently confused taxonomy; as a consequence, the geographical distribution range of many species also remains very uncertain. One of the areas with a strong uncertainty, as far as morphological species concept is concerned, is the Neotropics. It is common that names of species described from other regions, mainly from northern temperate areas, have been applied to Neotropical species. The aim of the present study was to determine which species might lay behind the G. weberianum complex in the Neotropics, using morphological studies and phylogenetic inferences based on both single (ITS) and multilocus (ITS, rpb2, and tef1-α) sequences. The results indicated that G. weberianum sensu Steyaert, which is the usually accepted concept for this taxon, was absent from the Neotropics. In this area, G. weberianum sensu Steyaert encompassed at least two phylogenetic species, which are tentatively, for the time being, identified as belonging to G. mexicanum and G. parvulum. These two species could be distinguished morphologically, notably by the ornamentation or its absence on their chlamydospores. The results also showed that additional species from the Neotropics might still exist, including, e.g., G. perzonatum, but their circumscription remains uncertain until now because of the paucity of material available. Furthermore, it was found that the current concept of G. resinaceum embraced a complex of species.

RevDate: 2020-01-08
CmpDate: 2019-11-18

Smith BP, Cairns KM, Adams JW, et al (2019)

Taxonomic status of the Australian dingo: the case for Canis dingo Meyer, 1793.

Zootaxa, 4564(1):zootaxa.4564.1.6 pii:zootaxa.4564.1.6.

The taxonomic status and systematic nomenclature of the Australian dingo remain contentious, resulting in decades of inconsistent applications in the scientific literature and in policy. Prompted by a recent publication calling for dingoes to be considered taxonomically as domestic dogs (Jackson et al. 2017, Zootaxa 4317, 201-224), we review the issues of the taxonomy applied to canids, and summarise the main differences between dingoes and other canids. We conclude that (1) the Australian dingo is a geographically isolated (allopatric) species from all other Canis, and is genetically, phenotypically, ecologically, and behaviourally distinct; and (2) the dingo appears largely devoid of many of the signs of domestication, including surviving largely as a wild animal in Australia for millennia. The case of defining dingo taxonomy provides a quintessential example of the disagreements between species concepts (e.g., biological, phylogenetic, ecological, morphological). Applying the biological species concept sensu stricto to the dingo as suggested by Jackson et al. (2017) and consistently across the Canidae would lead to an aggregation of all Canis populations, implying for example that dogs and wolves are the same species. Such an aggregation would have substantial implications for taxonomic clarity, biological research, and wildlife conservation. Any changes to the current nomen of the dingo (currently Canis dingo Meyer, 1793), must therefore offer a strong, evidence-based argument in favour of it being recognised as a subspecies of Canis lupus Linnaeus, 1758, or as Canis familiaris Linnaeus, 1758, and a successful application to the International Commission for Zoological Nomenclature - neither of which can be adequately supported. Although there are many species concepts, the sum of the evidence presented in this paper affirms the classification of the dingo as a distinct taxon, namely Canis dingo.

RevDate: 2020-04-30
CmpDate: 2020-04-30

Chase AB, Arevalo P, Brodie EL, et al (2019)

Maintenance of Sympatric and Allopatric Populations in Free-Living Terrestrial Bacteria.

mBio, 10(5):.

For free-living bacteria and archaea, the equivalent of the biological species concept does not exist, creating several obstacles to the study of the processes contributing to microbial diversification. These obstacles are particularly high in soil, where high bacterial diversity inhibits the study of closely related genotypes and therefore the factors structuring microbial populations. Here, we isolated strains within a single Curtobacterium ecotype from surface soil (leaf litter) across a regional climate gradient and investigated the phylogenetic structure, recombination, and flexible gene content of this genomic diversity to infer patterns of gene flow. Our results indicate that microbial populations are delineated by gene flow discontinuities, with distinct populations cooccurring at multiple sites. Bacterial population structure was further delineated by genomic features allowing for the identification of candidate genes possibly contributing to local adaptation. These results suggest that the genetic structure within this bacterium is maintained both by ecological specialization in localized microenvironments (isolation by environment) and by dispersal limitation between geographic locations (isolation by distance).IMPORTANCE Due to the promiscuous exchange of genetic material and asexual reproduction, delineating microbial species (and, by extension, populations) remains challenging. Because of this, the vast majority of microbial studies assessing population structure often compare divergent strains from disparate environments under varied selective pressures. Here, we investigated the population structure within a single bacterial ecotype, a unit equivalent to a eukaryotic species, defined as highly clustered genotypic and phenotypic strains with the same ecological niche. Using a combination of genomic and computational analyses, we assessed the phylogenetic structure, extent of recombination, and flexible gene content of this genomic diversity to infer patterns of gene flow. To our knowledge, this study is the first to do so for a dominant soil bacterium. Our results indicate that bacterial soil populations, similarly to those in other environments, are structured by gene flow discontinuities and exhibit distributional patterns consistent with both isolation by distance and isolation by environment. Thus, both dispersal limitation and local environments contribute to the divergence among closely related soil bacteria as observed in macroorganisms.

RevDate: 2020-10-01

König K, Zundel P, Krimmer E, et al (2019)

Reproductive isolation due to prezygotic isolation and postzygotic cytoplasmic incompatibility in parasitoid wasps.

Ecology and evolution, 9(18):10694-10706.

The reproductive barriers that prevent gene flow between closely related species are a major topic in evolutionary research. Insect clades with parasitoid lifestyle are among the most species-rich insects and new species are constantly described, indicating that speciation occurs frequently in this group. However, there are only very few studies on speciation in parasitoids. We studied reproductive barriers in two lineages of Lariophagus distinguendus (Chalcidoidea: Hymenoptera), a parasitoid wasp of pest beetle larvae that occur in human environments. One of the two lineages occurs in households preferably attacking larvae of the drugstore beetle Stegobium paniceum ("DB-lineage"), the other in grain stores with larvae of the granary weevil Sitophilus granarius as main host ("GW-lineage"). Between two populations of the DB-lineage, we identified slight sexual isolation as intraspecific barrier. Between populations from both lineages, we found almost complete sexual isolation caused by female mate choice, and postzygotic isolation, which is partially caused by cytoplasmic incompatibility induced by so far undescribed endosymbionts which are not Wolbachia or Cardinium. Because separation between the two lineages is almost complete, they should be considered as separate species according to the biological species concept. This demonstrates that cryptic species within parasitoid Hymenoptera also occur in Central Europe in close contact to humans.


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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The complex idea of “species” has evolved over time, yet its meaning is far from resolved. This comprehensive work takes a fresh look at an idea central to the field of biology by tracing its history from antiquity to today. John S. Wilkins explores the essentialist view, a staple of logic from Plato and Aristotle through the Middle Ages to fairly recent times, and considers the idea of species in natural history―a concept often connected to reproduction. Tracing “generative conceptions” of species back through Darwin to Epicurus, Wilkins provides a new perspective on the relationship between philosophical and biological approaches to this concept. He also reviews the array of current definitions. Species is a benchmark exploration and clarification of a concept fundamental to the past, present, and future of the natural sciences.

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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

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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