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16 Nov 2018 at 01:40
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Bibliography on: Species Concept


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 16 Nov 2018 at 01:40 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: 2018-11-11

Schuler GA, Tice AK, Pearce RA, et al (2018)

Phylogeny and Classification of Novel Diversity in Sainouroidea (Cercozoa, Rhizaria) Sheds Light on a Highly Diverse and Divergent Clade.

Protist, 169(6):853-874 pii:S1434-4610(18)30085-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Sainouroidea is a molecularly diverse clade of cercozoan flagellates and amoebae in the eukaryotic supergroup Rhizaria. Previous 18S rDNA environmental sequencing of globally collected fecal and soil samples revealed great diversity and high sequence divergence in the Sainouroidea. However, a very limited amount of this diversity has been observed or described. The two described genera of amoebae in this clade are Guttulinopsis, which displays aggregative multicellularity, and Rosculus, which does not. Although the identity of Guttulinopsis is straightforward due to the multicellular fruiting bodies they form, the same is not true for Rosculus, and the actual identity of the original isolate is unclear. Here we isolated amoebae with morphologies like that of Guttulinopsis and Rosculus from many environments and analyzed them using 18S rDNA sequencing, light microscopy, and transmission electron microscopy. We define a molecular species concept for Sainouroidea that resulted in the description of 4 novel genera and 12 novel species of naked amoebae. Aggregative fruiting is restricted to the genus Guttulinopsis, but other than this there is little morphological variation amongst these taxa. Taken together, simple identification of these amoebae is problematic and potentially unresolvable without the 18S rDNA sequence.

RevDate: 2018-11-09

Samson RA, Hong SB, JC Frisvad (2006)

Old and new concepts of species differentiation in Aspergillus.

Medical mycology, 44(Supplement_1):S133-S148.

The classification of the genus Aspergillus has been studied by many taxonomists. The most important monograph on which most taxonomies are derived from is strictly based on phenotypical characters. Later revisions of certain Aspergillus sections have been predominantly nomenclatural changes and primarily used morphological criteria. Many new taxa were added particularly in the genera Emericella and Neosartorya. Identification of the most common and often important species remains problematic due to the variability in the phenotypic characters. This has caused errors in the literature, especially concerning the links to mycotoxin formation. The new taxonomies are based on a polyphasic approach using phenotypical characters together with multigene DNA sequences. In a polyphasic approach micro- and macromorphology, physiology, metabolites produced and molecular data are all important, and in principle no particular method should be overemphasized. In particular extrolite profiles have proven to be specific for the taxa and this has contributed to a stable species concept, but DNA sequence data have also been very valuable in critical revisions of species and their taxonomy and phylogeny. Examples of new classifications for species in section Circumdati, Flavi,Fumigati and Nigri are presented. Although the polyphasic approach might reveal clear cut species, problems may arise for some species if they are to be separated based only on their microscopic features and few physiological features. Suggestions for new methods in order to carry out more fast and precise identifications will be discussed. Full genome sequencing and DNA arrays offers exciting new bases for identifying the Aspergilli, but recent methods based on image analysis of accurately fingerprinted phenotypes are also very promising. However both methods require a stable and well resolved taxonomy and nomenclature. Validated careful phenotypic classification (taxonomy) together with phylogenetic treatment of DNA sequence data is a prerequisite for reliable rapid identification methods and database formation. Concerning identification, DNA bar coding will be possible in the future, either based on molecular methods or certain phenotypic features.

RevDate: 2018-11-06

Meziti A, Tsementzi D, Rodriguez-R LM, et al (2018)

Quantifying the changes in genetic diversity within sequence-discrete bacterial populations across a spatial and temporal riverine gradient.

The ISME journal pii:10.1038/s41396-018-0307-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Recent diversity studies have revealed that microbial communities of natural environments are dominated by species-like, sequence-discrete populations. However, how stable the sequence and gene-content diversity are within these populations and especially in highly dynamic lotic habitats remain unclear. Here we quantified the dynamics of intra-population diversity in samples spanning two years and five sites in the Kalamas River (Northwest Greece). A significant positive correlation was observed between higher intra-population sequence diversity and longer persistence over time, revealing that more diverse populations tended to represent more autochthonous (vs. allochthonous) community members. Assessment of intra-population gene-content changes caused by strain replacement or gene loss over time revealed different profiles with the majority of populations exhibiting gene-content changes close to 10% of the total genes, while one population exhibited ~21% change. The variable genes were enriched in hypothetical proteins and mobile elements, and thus, were probably functionally neutral or attributable to phage predation. A few notable exceptions to this pattern were also noted such as phototrophy-related proteins in summer vs. winter populations. Taken together, these results revealed that some freshwater genomes are remarkably dynamic, even across short time and spatial scales, and have implications for the bacterial species concept and microbial source tracking.

RevDate: 2018-10-30

Castorani MCN, Reed DC, RJ Miller (2018)

Loss of foundation species: disturbance frequency outweighs severity in structuring kelp forest communities.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Disturbances often cause the disproportionate loss of foundation species but understanding how the frequency and severity of disturbance to such organisms influence biological communities remains unresolved. This gap in knowledge exists in part because of the rarity of ecologically meaningful studies capable of disentangling different elements of disturbance. Hence, we carried out a long-term (9 yr), large-scale (2,000 m2 plots), spatially replicated (4 sites) field experiment in which we manipulated disturbance to a globally distributed marine foundation species, the giant kelp Macrocystis pyrifera, and tracked community responses over time. To distinguish the effects of disturbance frequency and severity on the biodiversity and composition of temperate rocky reef communities, we simulated the repeated loss of giant kelp from destructive winter waves across a background of natural variation in disturbance. By following the response of over 200 taxa from the surrounding community, we discovered that the frequency of disturbance to giant kelp changed the biomass, diversity, and composition of community guilds in a manner commensurate with their dependence on the physical (i.e., benthic light and space), trophic (i.e., living and detrital biomass), and habitat (i.e., biogenic structure) resources mediated by this foundation species. Annual winter disturbance to giant kelp reduced living and detrital giant kelp biomass by 57% and 40%, respectively, enhanced bottom light by 22%, and halved the seafloor area covered by giant kelp holdfasts. Concomitantly, the biomass of understory algae and epilithic sessile invertebrates more than doubled, while the biomass of rock-boring clams, mobile invertebrates, and fishes decreased 30-61%. Frequent loss of giant kelp boosted understory algal richness by 82% and lowered sessile invertebrate richness by 13% but did not affect the biodiversity of mobile fauna. In contrast to changes driven by disturbance frequency, interannual variation in the severity of disturbance to giant kelp had weaker, less consistent effects, causing only modest changes in assemblages of sessile invertebrates, mobile invertebrate herbivores, and fishes. Our results broaden the foundation species concept by demonstrating that repeated disturbance to a dominant habitat-forming species can outweigh the influence of less frequent but severe disturbances for the surrounding community.

RevDate: 2018-10-30

Haelewaters D, De Kesel A, DH Pfister (2018)

Integrative taxonomy reveals hidden species within a common fungal parasite of ladybirds.

Scientific reports, 8(1):15966 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-34319-5.

Our understanding of fungal diversity is far from complete. Species descriptions generally focus on morphological features, but this approach may underestimate true diversity. Using the morphological species concept, Hesperomyces virescens (Ascomycota, Laboulbeniales) is a single species with global distribution and wide host range. Since its description 120 years ago, this fungal parasite has been reported from 30 species of ladybird hosts on all continents except Antarctica. These host usage patterns suggest that H. virescens could be made up of many different species, each adapted to individual host species. Using sequence data from three gene regions, we found evidence for distinct clades within Hesperomyces virescens, each clade corresponding to isolates from a single host species. We propose that these lineages represent separate species, driven by adaptation to different ladybird hosts. Our combined morphometric, molecular phylogenetic and ecological data provide support for a unified species concept and an integrative taxonomy approach.

RevDate: 2018-10-29

Zink RM, H Vázquez-Miranda (2018)

Species limits and phylogenomic relationships of Darwin's finches remain unresolved: potential consequences of a volatile ecological setting.

Systematic biology pii:5146315 [Epub ahead of print].

Island biotas have become paradigms for illustrating many evolutionary processes. The fauna of the Galapagos Islands includes several taxa that have been focal points for evolutionary studies. Perhaps their most famous inhabitants, Darwin's finches, represent a go-to icon when thinking about how species originate and adapt to the environment. However, unlike other adaptive radiations, past morphological and molecular studies of Darwin's finches have yielded inconsistent hypotheses of species limits and phylogenetic relationships. Expecting that idiosyncrasies of prior data and analytic methods explained different proposed classifications, we were surprised to observe that three new phylogenetic hypotheses derived mostly from the same genomics data were topologically inconsistent. We found that the differences between some of these genomics trees were as great as one would expect between two random trees with the same number of taxa. Thus, the phylogeny of Darwin's finches remains unresolved, as it has for more than a century. A component of phylogenetic uncertainty comes from unclear species limits, under any species concept, in the ground finches (Geospiza) and tree finches (Camarhynchus). We suggest that past authors should have tested the species limits of Lack, rather than uncritically accepting them. In fact, the impressive amount of genomics data do not provide unambiguous hypotheses of the number of species of Geospiza or Camarhynchus, although they imply greater species diversity than Lack's taxonomy. We suggest that insufficient sampling of species populations across islands (35.6% for morphometrics and 20.4% for genomics) prevents accurate diagnoses of species limits. However, it is unknown whether samples from a greater number of islands might result in bridging differences between species, or reveal many new ones. We conclude that attempts to interpret patterns of variation among the finches under standard evolutionary paradigms have obscured some major messages, most specifically the ongoing reciprocal interactions between geographic isolation and lineage divergence, and dispersal and gene flow caused by the volatile ecological conditions in the islands. Although the finches provide textbook examples of natural selection, better understanding of species limits and a robust phylogenetic hypothesis are required to corroborate past hypotheses of speciation and adaptive radiation in the finches of the Galapagos.

RevDate: 2018-10-27

Vernygora OV, Davis CS, Murray AM, et al (2018)

Delimitation of Alosa species (Teleostei: Clupeiformes) from the Sea of Azov: integrating morphological and molecular approaches.

Journal of fish biology [Epub ahead of print].

Shads of the genus Alosa are essential to commercial fisheries across North America and Europe, but in some areas their species boundaries remain controversial. Traditional morphology-based taxonomy of Alosa spp. has relied heavily on the number of gill rakers and body proportions, but these can be highly variable. We use mitochondrial (mt)DNA (coI and cytb) and genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) along with morphological characters to assess differentiation among endemic Ponto-Caspian shads in the Sea of Azov. Morphological species assignments based on gill-raker number were not congruent with genetic lineages shown by mtDNA and SNPs. Iterative analysis revealed that genetic lineages were associated with sampling location and several other morphometric traits (caudal peduncle depth, pre-anal length and head length). Phylogenetic analysis of the genus placed Ponto-Caspian Alosa spp. in the same evolutionary lineage as endangered Alosa spp. endemic to Greece, highlighting the importance of these findings to conservation management. We conclude that gill-raker number is not reliable for delimiting species of Alosa. This taxonomic uncertainty should be addressed by examining type material to provide a robust integrative classification for these commercially important fishes. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2018-10-22

Dantas-Torres F (2018)

Species Concepts: What about Ticks?.

Trends in parasitology pii:S1471-4922(18)30213-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Since ancient times, philosophers and taxonomists have tried to classify forms of life. This is what taxonomy is about: the science of identifying, naming, classifying, and describing organisms. In this article I address the issue of the species concept in tick taxonomy. While the typological species concept is still the most widely used, the biological and phylogenetic species concepts are growing in popularity among tick taxonomists. The integrative approach is increasingly being used, but the question is how to define a tick species when using this approach, particularly if data are incongruent. The adoption of an integrative species concept is discussed, in light of recent advances in our understanding of the genetics, morphology, and biology of ticks.

RevDate: 2018-10-20

Suga H, Arai M, Fukasawa E, et al (2018)

Genetic Differentiation Associated with Fumonisin and Gibberellin Production in Japanese Fusarium fujikuroi.

Applied and environmental microbiology pii:AEM.02414-18 [Epub ahead of print].

Fusarium fujikuroi is a pathogenic fungus that infects rice. It produces several important mycotoxins such as fumonisins. Fumonisin production has been detected in strains of maize, strawberry, and wheat, whereas it has not been detected in strains from rice seedlings infested with bakanae disease in Japan. We investigated the genetic relationships, pathogenicity, and resistance to a fungicide-thiophanate-methyl (TM)-in 51 fumonisin-producing strains and 44 non-producing strains. Phylogenetic analyses based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers and two specific genes-combined sequence of translation elongation factor 1α (TEF1α) and RNA polymerase II second largest-subunit (RPB2)-indicated differential clustering between the fumonisin-producing and non-producing strains. One of the AFLP markers, EATMCAY107, was specifically present in the fumonisin-producing strains. A specific single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) between the fumonisin-producing and non-producing strains was also detected in RPB2, in addition to an SNP previously found in TEF1α Gibberellin production was higher in the non-producing than in the producing strains according to an in vitro assay, and the non-producing strains had the strongest pathogenicity with regard to rice seedlings. TM resistance was closely correlated with the cluster of fumonisin non-producing strains. The results indicate that intraspecific evolution in Japanese F. fujikuroi is associated with fumonisin production and pathogenicity. Two subgroups of Japanese F. fujikuroi-designated G-group and F-group-were distinguished based on phylogenetic differences, and the high production of gibberellin and fumonisin, respectively.ImportanceFusarium fujikuroi is a pathogenic fungus that cause rice bakanae disease. Historically, this pathogen has been known as Fusarium moniliforme, along with many other species based on a broad species concept. Gibberellin which is currently known as a plant hormone is a virulence factor of F. fujikuroi Fumonisin is a carcinogenic mycotoxin posing a serious threat to food and feed safety. Although it has been confirmed that F. fujikuroi produces gibberellin and fumonisin, production varies among strains, and individual production has been obscured by the traditional appellation of F. moniliforme, difficulties in species identification, and variation in the assays used to determine the production of these secondary metabolites. In this study, we discovered two phylogenetic subgroups associated with fumonisin and gibberellin production in Japanese F. fujikuroi.

RevDate: 2018-09-28

Zachos FE (2018)

(New) Species concepts, species delimitation and the inherent limitations of taxonomy.

Journal of genetics, 97(4):811-815.

The species problem, despite decades of heated debates, has not been resolved yet. Recently, two new species concepts have been published, the mitonuclear compatibility species concept and the inclusive species concept. I briefly discuss them, together with a recent attempt at standardizing taxonomic decisions, in the broader framework of what I believe is an inherent limitation of taxonomy-imposing a discrete system on a continuous process (evolution) that leads to fuzzy boundaries in nature. In the light of this, taxonomists, biologists in general and conservationists alike will have to accept the fact that completely nonarbitrary species delimitation is impossible. This has serious ramifications in all disciplines that rely on species, and particularly species counts, as a basic currency for quantitative analyses (ecology, evolutionary biology) and practical decision-making (conservation and environmental policy).

RevDate: 2018-09-04

Waters AJ, Capriotti P, Gaboriau DCA, et al (2018)

Rationally-engineered reproductive barriers using CRISPR & CRISPRa: an evaluation of the synthetic species concept in Drosophila melanogaster.

Scientific reports, 8(1):13125 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-31433-2.

The ability to erect rationally-engineered reproductive barriers in animal or plant species promises to enable a number of biotechnological applications such as the creation of genetic firewalls, the containment of gene drives or novel population replacement and suppression strategies for genetic control. However, to date no experimental data exist that explores this concept in a multicellular organism. Here we examine the requirements for building artificial reproductive barriers in the metazoan model Drosophila melanogaster by combining CRISPR-based genome editing and transcriptional transactivation (CRISPRa) of the same loci. We directed 13 single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) to the promoters of 7 evolutionary conserved genes and used 11 drivers to conduct a misactivation screen. We identify dominant-lethal activators of the eve locus and find that they disrupt development by strongly activating eve outside its native spatio-temporal context. We employ the same set of sgRNAs to isolate, by genome editing, protective INDELs that render these loci resistant to transactivation without interfering with target gene function. When these sets of genetic components are combined we find that complete synthetic lethality, a prerequisite for most applications, is achievable using this approach. However, our results suggest a steep trade-off between the level and scope of dCas9 expression, the degree of genetic isolation achievable and the resulting impact on fly fitness. The genetic engineering strategy we present here allows the creation of single or multiple reproductive barriers and could be applied to other multicellular organisms such as disease vectors or transgenic organisms of economic importance.

RevDate: 2018-08-17

Lay CY, Hamel C, M St-Arnaud (2018)

Taxonomy and pathogenicity of Olpidium brassicae and its allied species.

Fungal biology, 122(9):837-846.

The classification and physiology of the zoosporic plant-pathogen Olpidium brassicae and its relationships with the closely-related species are often confusing. This review focuses on these species and intends to differentiate them based on the literatures published since the discovery and establishment of the species by Woronin in 1878 under the name of Chytridium brassicae to current molecular era. The goal of this review is to help researchers better understand the taxonomy, the host range, and the potential role in plant health of O. brassicae-related species. To reach the goal, we reviewed the rationales behind the creation or reduction in synonymy of the different names for O. brassicae and its allied species in order to elucidate the evolution of the species concept on them based on the traditional morphological studies. Furthermore, the studies by molecular biology methods improve our knowledge and perspectives on O. brassicae and its host specificity. In particular, we clarify the differences between O. brassicae and Olpidium virulentus, and propose potential new research avenues. We therefore hope that this review will give a better perspective on Olpidium spp. and their potential role in the root microbiome of plants in natural environments and in agricultural settings.

RevDate: 2018-08-12

Skovmand LH, Xu CCY, Servedio MR, et al (2018)

Keystone Genes.

Trends in ecology & evolution pii:S0169-5347(18)30148-4 [Epub ahead of print].

The keystone species concept is used in ecology to describe individual species with disproportionately large effects on their communities. We extend this idea to the level of genes with disproportionately large effects on ecological processes. Such 'keystone genes' (KGs) would underlie traits involved in species interactions or causing critical biotic and/or abiotic changes that influence emergent community and ecosystem properties. We propose a general framework for how KGs could be identified, while keeping KGs under the umbrella of 'ecologically important genes' (EIGs) that also include categories such as 'foundation genes', 'ecosystem engineering genes', and more. Although likely rare, KGs and other EIGs could dominate certain ecological processes; thus, their discovery and study are relevant for understanding eco-evolutionary dynamics.

RevDate: 2018-08-01

Grodwohl JB, Porto F, CN El-Hani (2018)

The instability of field experiments: building an experimental research tradition on the rocky seashores (1950-1985).

History and philosophy of the life sciences, 40(3):45 pii:10.1007/s40656-018-0209-y.

In many experimental sciences, like particle physics or molecular biology, the proper place for establishing facts is the laboratory. In the sciences of population biology, however, the laboratory is often seen as a poor approximation of what occurs in nature. Results obtained in the field are usually more convincing. This raises special problems: it is much more difficult to obtain stable, repeatable results in the field, where environmental conditions vary out of the experimenter's control, than in the laboratory. We examine here how this problem affected an influential experimental research tradition in community ecology, the study of the ecology of the rocky seashores. In the 1960s, a handful of North-American ecologists, most notably Joseph Connell, Robert Paine and Paul Dayton, made the rocky seashores a model study system for experimenting in the field. Their experiments were deceptively simple: they removed species living on the seashore and described the resulting effects on the local ecology. These experiments exerted a deep influence on community ecology. They provided evidence for speculative developments concerning the theory of interspecific competition, the factors responsible for species richness and the ecology of food webs. They also stimulated novel conceptual developments. In particular, Paine developed the predation hypothesis, which states that the presence of predators can favour species richness, before introducing the keystone species concept, according to which some species exert disproportionate effects on ecological systems. More broadly, these experiments gave support to a methodological trend in favour of field experimentation. Only controlled perturbations in the field, it seemed, provided a reliable method to get insights into the structure of ecological communities. However, as experiments were continued in time and repeated in different sites, divergent results appeared. We analyse here how intertidal researchers coped with the variability of environmental conditions and tried to stabilize their results. In the process, they reconsidered not only their early conclusions, but also the exclusive status given to field experiments. Expanding on this case study, we discuss some significant differences between laboratory and field experiments.

RevDate: 2018-07-30

Korhonen A, Seelan JSS, O Miettinen (2018)

Cryptic species diversity in polypores: the Skeletocutis nivea species complex.


We propose a taxonomic revision of the two closely related white-rot polypore species, Skeletocutis nivea (Jungh.) Jean Keller and S. ochroalba Niemelä (Incrustoporiaceae, Basidiomycota), based on phylogenetic analyses of nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer (ITS) and translation elongation factor EF-1α sequences. We show that prevailing morphological species concepts of S. nivea and S. ochroalba are non-monophyletic and we delineate new species boundaries based on phylogenetic inference. We recognise eleven species within the prevailing species concept of S. nivea (S. calidasp. nov., S. coprosmae comb. nov., S. futilissp. nov., S. imperviasp. nov., S. ipuletiisp. nov., S. lepidasp. nov., S. nemoralissp. nov., S. nivea sensu typi, S. semipileata comb. nov., S. unguinasp. nov. and S. yuchengiisp. nov.) and assign new sequenced epitypes for S. nivea and S. semipileata. The traditional concept of S. ochroalba comprises two independent lineages embedded within the S. nivea species complex. The Eurasian conifer-dwelling species S. cummatasp. nov. is recognised as separate from the North American S. ochroalba sensu stricto. Despite comprehensive microscopic examination, the majority of the recognised species are left without stable diagnostic character combinations that would enable species identification based solely on morphology and ecology.

RevDate: 2018-07-20

Niu YT, Jabbour F, Barrett RL, et al (2018)

Combining complete chloroplast genome sequences with target loci data and morphology to resolve species limits in Triplostegia (Caprifoliaceae).

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution pii:S1055-7903(18)30060-5 [Epub ahead of print].

Species represent the most basic unit of taxonomy. As such, species delimitation represents a crucial issue for biodiversity conservation. Taxonomic practices were revolutionized in the last three decades due to the increasing availability of molecular phylogenetic data. The genus Triplostegia (Caprifoliaceae) traditionally consists of two species, T. glandulifera and T. grandiflora, distinguishable mainly based on quantitative morphological features. In this study, we sequenced nine chloroplast loci (i.e., accD, psbK-psbI, rbcL-accD, rpoB-trnC, rps16-trnQ, trnE-trnT, trnF-ndhJ, trnH-psbA, trnS-trnG) and one nuclear locus (ITS) of 16 individuals of Triplostegia representing the entire distribution range of both species recognized. Furthermore, we also obtained whole chloroplast sequences for 11 of the 16 individuals for which silica gel-dried leaves were available. Our phylogenetic analyses integrating chloroplast genome sequences and multiple loci data revealed that Triplostegia includes four main clades that largely match geography. Neither T. grandiflora nor T. glandulifera were recovered as monophyletic and no diagnosable differences in leaf, flower, and pollen traits were detected between the two species, indicating the need for a revised species circumscription within Triplostegia. Our study highlights the importance of combining data from different sources while defining species limits.

RevDate: 2018-07-15

Tsang CC, Tang JYM, Lau SKP, et al (2018)

Taxonomy and evolution of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces in the omics era - Past, present and future.

Computational and structural biotechnology journal, 16:197-210 pii:S2001-0370(17)30115-0.

Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces are diverse, phenotypically polythetic genera encompassing species important to the environment, economy, biotechnology and medicine, causing significant social impacts. Taxonomic studies on these fungi are essential since they could provide invaluable information on their evolutionary relationships and define criteria for species recognition. With the advancement of various biological, biochemical and computational technologies, different approaches have been adopted for the taxonomy of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces; for example, from traditional morphotyping, phenotyping to chemotyping (e.g. lipotyping, proteotypingand metabolotyping) and then mitogenotyping and/or phylotyping. Since different taxonomic approaches focus on different sets of characters of the organisms, various classification and identification schemes would result. In view of this, the consolidated species concept, which takes into account different types of characters, is recently accepted for taxonomic purposes and, together with the lately implemented 'One Fungus - One Name' policy, is expected to bring a more stable taxonomy for Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces, which could facilitate their evolutionary studies. The most significant taxonomic change for the three genera was the transfer of Penicillium subgenus Biverticillium to Talaromyces (e.g. the medically important thermally dimorphic 'P. marneffei' endemic in Southeast Asia is now named T. marneffei), leaving both Penicillium and Talaromyces as monophyletic genera. Several distantly related Aspergillus-like fungi were also segregated from Aspergillus, making this genus, containing members of both sexual and asexual morphs, monophyletic as well. In the current omics era, application of various state-of-the-art omics technologies is likely to provide comprehensive information on the evolution of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces and a stable taxonomy will hopefully be achieved.

RevDate: 2018-07-20

De Decker S, Vanormelingen P, Pinseel E, et al (2018)

Incomplete Reproductive Isolation Between Genetically Distinct Sympatric Clades of the Pennate Model Diatom Seminavis robusta.

Protist, 169(4):569-583 pii:S1434-4610(18)30048-8 [Epub ahead of print].

Incomplete reproductive isolation between genetically distinct taxa provides an interesting opportunity for speciation and adaptation studies. This phenomenon is well-described in macro-organisms, but less experimental evidence is available for unicellular eukaryotes. Here, we document the sympatric occurrence of genetically differentiated populations of the pennate model diatom Seminavis robusta in coastal subtidal biofilm communities and show widespread potential for gene flow between them. Based on sequence variation in the plastid-encoded rbcL gene, three distinct clades were identified. Morphological variation between the clades reflected their phylogenetic relationships, with subtle differences in valve morphology in the most distant clade compared to the other two clades, which were indistinguishable. Using a large number of experimental crosses we showed that, although reproductive output was significantly lower compared to the majority of within-clade crosses, approximately 34.5% of the inter-clade crosses resulted in viable and fertile progeny. While the nature of the incomplete reproductive isolation remains unknown, its occurrence in natural diatom populations represents an additional mechanism contributing to population genetic structuring and adaptation and can spur further research into the mechanisms of species divergence and the maintenance of species identity in the presence of gene flow.

RevDate: 2018-07-10

Tatarenkov A, Earley RL, Taylor DS, et al (2018)

Natural hybridization between divergent lineages in a selfing hermaphroditic fish.

Biology letters, 14(6):.

By definition, mating between individuals is infrequent in highly selfing organisms, and so too, therefore, hybridization should be rare between genetically divergent lineages in predominantly self-fertilizing species. Notwithstanding these expectations, here we report a remarkable case of natural hybridization between highly diverged phylogeographic lineages of the mangrove rivulus, a small killifish that reproduces predominantly by self-fertilization and typically is found as highly homozygous lines in most parts of its extensive geographical range. Two distinctive genetic lineages (Kryptolebias marmoratus and a 'Central clade' closely related to K. hermaphroditus) previously were not known in sympatry, but were found by us to co-occur on San Salvador, Bahamas. Genetic analyses of a mitochondrial and multiple nuclear markers determined the direction of a cross producing a hybrid fish. Furthermore, we show that this hybrid individual was viable, as it successfully reproduced by self-fertilization for two generations. Additional sampling of this population will be necessary to determine if backcrossing of hybrids to the parental lineages occurs in nature and to analyse whether such backcross progeny are viable. Application of the biological species concept (BSC) is traditionally difficult in clonally reproducing organisms. Our results show that although mangrove rivulus fish are mostly highly selfing in nature (resulting in isogenic, effectively clonal and homozygous progeny), classification within this taxonomic complex need not be incompatible with the BSC.

RevDate: 2018-06-22

Sutherland C, Fuller AK, Royle JA, et al (2018)

Large-scale variation in density of an aquatic ecosystem indicator species.

Scientific reports, 8(1):8958 pii:10.1038/s41598-018-26847-x.

Monitoring indicator species is a pragmatic approach to natural resource assessments, especially when the link between the indicator species and ecosystem state is well justified. However, conducting ecosystem assessments over representative spatial scales that are insensitive to local heterogeneity is challenging. We examine the link between polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination and population density of an aquatic habitat specialist over a large spatial scale using non-invasive genetic spatial capture-recapture. Using American mink (Neovison vison), a predatory mammal and an indicator of aquatic ecosystems, we compared estimates of density in two major river systems, one with extremely high levels of PCB contamination (Hudson River), and a hydrologically independent river with lower PCB levels (Mohawk River). Our work supports the hypothesis that mink densities are substantially (1.64-1.67 times) lower in the contaminated river system. We demonstrate the value of coupling the indicator species concept with well-conceived and spatially representative monitoring protocols. PCBs have demonstrable detrimental effects on aquatic ecosystems, including mink, and these effects are likely to be profound and long-lasting, manifesting as population-level impacts. Through integrating non-invasive data collection, genetic analysis, and spatial capture-recapture methods, we present a monitoring framework for generating robust density estimates across large spatial scales.

RevDate: 2018-07-11

Bobay LM, H Ochman (2018)

Biological species in the viral world.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(23):6040-6045.

Due to their dependence on cellular organisms for metabolism and replication, viruses are typically named and assigned to species according to their genome structure and the original host that they infect. But because viruses often infect multiple hosts and the numbers of distinct lineages within a host can be vast, their delineation into species is often dictated by arbitrary sequence thresholds, which are highly inconsistent across lineages. Here we apply an approach to determine the boundaries of viral species based on the detection of gene flow within populations, thereby defining viral species according to the biological species concept (BSC). Despite the potential for gene transfer between highly divergent genomes, viruses, like the cellular organisms they infect, assort into reproductively isolated groups and can be organized into biological species. This approach revealed that BSC-defined viral species are often congruent with the taxonomic partitioning based on shared gene contents and host tropism, and that bacteriophages can similarly be classified in biological species. These results open the possibility to use a single, universal definition of species that is applicable across cellular and acellular lifeforms.

RevDate: 2018-05-21

Laurimäe T, Kinkar L, Moks E, et al (2018)

Molecular phylogeny based on six nuclear genes suggests that Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato genotypes G6/G7 and G8/G10 can be regarded as two distinct species.

Parasitology pii:S0031182018000719 [Epub ahead of print].

Tapeworms of the species complex of Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato (s. l.) are the cause of a severe zoonotic disease - cystic echinococcosis, which is listed among the most severe parasitic diseases in humans and is prioritized by the World Health Organization. A stable taxonomy of E. granulosus s. l. is essential to the medical and veterinary communities for accurate and effective communication of the role of different species in this complex on human and animal health. E. granulosus s. l. displays high genetic diversity and has been divided into different species and genotypes. Despite several decades of research, the taxonomy of E. granulosus s. l. has remained controversial, especially the species status of genotypes G6-G10. Here the Bayesian phylogeny based on six nuclear loci (7387 bp in total) demonstrated, with very high support, the clustering of G6/G7 and G8/G10 into two separate clades. According to the evolutionary species concept, G6/G7 and G8/G10 can be regarded as two distinct species. Species differentiation can be attributed to the association with distinct host species, largely separate geographical distribution and low level of cross-fertilization. These factors have limited the gene flow between genotypic groups G6/G7 and G8/G10, resulting in the formation of distinct species. We discuss ecological and epidemiological differences that support the validity of these species.

RevDate: 2018-05-17

Bobay LM, Ellis BS, H Ochman (2018)

ConSpeciFix: Classifying prokaryotic species based on gene flow.

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England) pii:4996595 [Epub ahead of print].

Summary: Classification of prokaryotic species is usually based on sequence similarity thresholds, which are easy to apply but lack a biologically-relevant foundation. Here, we present ConSpeciFix, a program that classifies prokaryotes into species using criteria set forth by the Biological Species Concept, thereby unifying species definition in all domains of life.

ConSpeciFix's webserver is freely available at www.conspecifix.com. The local version of the program can be freely downloaded from https://github.com/Bobay-Ochman/ConSpeciFix. ConSpeciFix is written in Python 2.7 and requires the following dependencies: Usearch, MCL, MAFFT and RAxML.

Contact: ljbobay@uncg.edu.

RevDate: 2018-05-10

Stock SP, Campos-Herrera R, El-Borai FE, et al (2018)

Steinernema khuongi n. sp. (Panagrolaimomorpha, Steinernematidae), a new entomopathogenic nematode species from Florida, USA.

Journal of helminthology pii:S0022149X18000081 [Epub ahead of print].

In this study, molecular (ribosomal sequence data), morphological and cross-hybridization properties were used to identify a new Steinernema sp. from Florida, USA. Molecular and morphological data provided evidence for placing the novel species into Clade V, or the 'glaseri-group' of Steinernema spp. Within this clade, analysis of sequence data of the rDNA genes, 28S and internal transcribed spacer (ITS), depicted the novel species as a distinctive entity and closely related to S. glaseri and S. cubanum. Additionally, cross-hybridization assays showed that the new species is unable to interbreed with either of the latter two species, reinforcing its uniqueness from a biological species concept standpoint. Key morphological diagnostic characters for S. khuongi n. sp. include the mean morphometric features of the third-stage infective juveniles: total body length (average: 1066 μm), tail length (average: 65 μm), location of the excretory pore (average: 80.5 μm) and the values of c (average: 16.4), D% (average: 60.5), E% (average: 126) and H% (average: 46.6). Additionally, males can be differentiated from S. glaseri and S. cubanum by the values of several ratios: D% (average: 68), E% (average: 323) and SW% (average: 120). The natural distribution of this species in Florida encompasses both natural areas and citrus groves, primarily in shallow groundwater ecoregions designated as 'flatwoods'. The morphological, molecular, phylogenetic and ecological data associated with this nematode support its identity as a new species in the S. glaseri-group.

RevDate: 2018-05-28
CmpDate: 2018-05-28

Webb JM, Jacobus LM, SP Sullivan (2018)

The state of systematics of North American Baetis Leach, 1815 (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae), with recommendations for identification of larvae.

Zootaxa, 4394(1):105-127 pii:zootaxa.4394.1.6.

The North American species of Baetis Leach (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae) are reviewed. Nearly one-third of species are either unknown or inadequately described in the larval stage, a fact not reflected in most keys or standard taxonomic efforts for bioassessment, which typically recommend species-level identifications of larvae. Furthermore, our new observations indicate that some previously published stage associations should be viewed as only tentative, and molecular evidence suggests that current species taxonomy does not reflect biological species. In order to acknowledge these deficiencies, but at the same time provide a degree of higher taxonomic resolution beyond the genus level, we recommend a scheme for identifications incorporating previously established species groups and the species complexes and species included within them. Species complexes are proposed for instances when there are either multiple species that cannot be differentiated in the larval stage or when multiple lines of evidence indicate more than one actual species is included in a single species concept. Complexes include B. flavistriga complex (B. flavistriga McDunnough + B. phoebus McDunnough + B. rusticans McDunnough), B. intercalaris complex (B. intercalaris McDunnough), B. vernus complex (B. brunneicolor McDunnough + B. vernus Curtis), B. bicaudatus complex (B. bicaudatus Dodds), B. tricaudatus complex (B. tricaudatus Dodds), and B. piscatoris complex (B. piscatoris Traver + B. palisadi Mayo + B. persecutus McDunnough [=B. persecutor McCafferty n. obj. syn]). A new larval identification key incorporating the B. piscatoris complex is provided.

RevDate: 2018-04-26

Aldhebiani AY (2018)

Species concept and speciation.

Saudi journal of biological sciences, 25(3):437-440.

Defining and recognizing a species has been a controversial issue for a long time. To determine the variation and the limitation between species, many concepts have been proposed. When a taxonomist study a particular taxa, he/she must adopted a species concept and provide a species limitation to define this taxa. In this paper some of species concepts are discussed starting from the typological species concepts to the phylogenetic concept. Positive and negative aspects of these concepts are represented in addition to their application.

RevDate: 2018-07-14

Vaidya G, Lepage D, R Guralnick (2018)

The tempo and mode of the taxonomic correction process: How taxonomists have corrected and recorrected North American bird species over the last 127 years.

PloS one, 13(4):e0195736 pii:PONE-D-17-25551.

While studies of taxonomy usually focus on species description, there is also a taxonomic correction process that retests and updates existing species circumscriptions on the basis of new evidence. These corrections may themselves be subsequently retested and recorrected. We studied this correction process by using the Check-List of North and Middle American Birds, a well-known taxonomic checklist that spans 130 years. We identified 142 lumps and 95 splits across sixty-three versions of the Check-List and found that while lumping rates have markedly decreased since the 1970s, splitting rates are accelerating. We found that 74% of North American bird species recognized today have never been corrected (i.e., lumped or split) over the period of the checklist, while 16% have been corrected exactly once and 10% have been corrected twice or more. Since North American bird species are known to have been extensively lumped in the first half of the 20th century with the advent of the biological species concept, we determined whether most splits seen today were the result of those lumps being recorrected. We found that 5% of lumps and 23% of splits fully reverted previous corrections, while a further 3% of lumps and 13% of splits are partial reversions. These results show a taxonomic correction process with moderate levels of recorrection, particularly of previous lumps. However, 81% of corrections do not revert any previous corrections, suggesting that the majority result in novel circumscriptions not previously recognized by the Check-List. We could find no order or family with a significantly higher rate of correction than any other, but twenty-two genera as currently recognized by the AOU do have significantly higher rates than others. Given the currently accelerating rate of splitting, prediction of the end-point of the taxonomic recorrection process is difficult, and many entirely new taxonomic concepts are still being, and likely will continue to be, proposed and further tested.

RevDate: 2018-06-15

Zhou W, Ji X, Obata S, et al (2018)

Resolving relationships and phylogeographic history of the Nyssa sylvatica complex using data from RAD-seq and species distribution modeling.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 126:1-16.

Nyssa sylvatica complex consists of several woody taxa occurring in eastern North America. These taxa were recognized as two or three species including three or four varieties by different authors. Due to high morphological similarities and complexity of morphological variation, classification and delineation of taxa in the group have been difficult and controversial. Here we employ data from RAD-seq to elucidate the genetic structure and phylogenetic relationships within the group. Using the genetic evidence, we evaluate previous classifications and delineate species. We also employ Species Distribution Modeling (SDM) to evaluate impacts of climatic changes on the ranges of the taxa and to gain insights into the relevant refugia in eastern North America. Results from Molecular Variance Analysis (AMOVA), STRUCTURE, phylogenetic analyses using Maximum likelihood, Bayesian Inference, and Splittree methods of RAD-seq data strongly support a two-clade pattern, largely separating samples of N. sylvatica from those of N. biflora-N. ursina mix. Divergence time analysis with BEAST suggests the two clades diverged in the mid Miocene. The ancestor of the present trees of N. sylvatica was suggested to be in the Pliocene and that of N. biflora-N. ursina mix in the end of the Miocene. Results from SDM predicted a smaller range in the southern part of the species present range of each clade during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). A northward expansion of the ranges during interglacial period and a northward shift of the ranges in the future under a model of global warming were also predicted. Our results support the recognition of two species in the complex, N. sylvatica and N. biflora, following the phylogenetic species concept. We found no genetic evidence supporting recognitions of intraspecific taxa. However, we propose subsp. ursina and subsp. biflora within N. biflora due to their distinction in habits, distributions, and habitats. Our results further support movements of trees in eastern North America in response to climatic changes. Finally, our study demonstrates that RAD-seq data and a combination of population genomics and SDM are valuable in resolving relationship and biogeographic history of closely related species that are taxonomically difficult.

RevDate: 2018-07-08

Klishko OK, Lopes-Lima M, Bogan AE, et al (2018)

Morphological and molecular analyses of Anodontinae species (Bivalvia, Unionidae) of Lake Baikal and Transbaikalia.

PloS one, 13(4):e0194944 pii:PONE-D-18-02793.

The diversity and taxonomy of anodontine species in Lake Baikal and Transbaikalia region has been contentious since it is based on a typological species concept, the so called "Comparatory Method". Using this method, six Comparatory anodontine species have been described for the study area as belonging to the genus Colletopterum. This genus was separated from Anodonta based on shell characteristics and further split into two subgenera, i.e. Colletopterum sensu stricto and Colletopterum (Piscinaliana). However, many authors do not recognize this separation maintaining all Colletopterum forms within Anodonta. The current study clarifies the taxonomy and systematics of Anodontinae in this region, using a combination of molecular, morphological and anatomical data. All previously recognized Comparatory forms are here recognized as a single species, i.e. Anodonta anatina.

RevDate: 2018-06-03

Lherminier P (2018)

[Informative predation: Towards a new species concept].

Comptes rendus biologies, 341(4):209-218.

We distinguish two types of predations: the predation of matter-energy equals the food chain, and the informative predation is the capture of the information brought by the sexual partners. The cell or parent consumes energy and matter to grow, multiply and produce offspring. A fixed amount of resources is divided by the number of organisms, so individual growth and numerical multiplication are limited by depletion resources of the environment. Inversely, fertilization does not destroy information, but instead produces news. The information is multiplied by the number of partners and children, since each fertilization gives rise to a new genome following a combinatorial process that continues without exhaustion. The egg does not swallow the sperm to feed, but exchange good food for quality information. With the discovery of sex, that is, 1.5 Ga ago, life added soft predation to hard predation, i.e. information production within each species to matter-energy flow between species. Replicative and informative structures are subject to two competing biological constraints: replicative fidelity promotes proliferation, but limits adaptive evolution. On the contrary, the offspring of a couple obviously cannot be a copy of both partners, they are a new production, a re-production. Sexual recombination allows the exponential enrichment of the genetic diversity, thus promoting indefinite adaptive and evolutionary capacities. Evolutionary history illustrates this: the bacteria proliferate but have remained at the first purely nutritive stage in which most of the sensory functions, mobility, defense, and feeding have experienced almost no significant novelty in three billion years. Another world appeared with the sexual management of information. Sexual reproduction actually combines two functions: multiplicative by "vertical transfer" and informative by "horizontal transfer". This distinction is very common: polypus - medusa alternations, parasite multiplication cycles, the lytochal and deuterotochal parthenogenesis of aphids, and the innumerable para- and pseudo-sexual strategies of plants opportunistically combine the two modes of asexual replication and sexual combination. However, for the majority of animals and multicellular plants that produce many gametes, numerical proliferation by descendants and informative diversity by sexuality are mutually implicated, for example in the seed. The true discovery of eukaryotes may not be the "true nucleus", as their name implies, but an orderly informative function. The field of recombinations circumscribes a class of partners genetically compatible with each other, each simultaneously prey and predator of the DNA of the other. The mythical Maxwell demon capable of tracing entropy by sorting molecules according to their state does exist: each mate is the other's Maxwell's demon. While a sexless bacterium is simply divided into two cells, two sexual parents work together to produce a single offspring a time. Added to this are the burdens involved in meiosis and crossing-over, cellular diploidy, and mating. Sex produces an information gain that is paid for by a cost of energy-material, and this barter must be fair to survive. The domains of sexual intercourse are very diverse: uniparental reproduction, alternation of asexual proliferation and sexual information, self-fertilization, endogamy, exogamy, panmixis, diffuse or structured polymorphism, fertile or sterile hybridization, horizontal transfers. Each species is a recombination field between two domains, cloning and hybridization. Multiplicative descent and informative fertilization are organically distinct, but selectively associated: the information produced by the parents' sexuality favors the predation of matter-energy and therefore the proliferation of offspring, and this proliferation in turn favors the sexed producers of information. The equation specific to each species is: enough energy to proliferate, enough information to diversify. Alternatively, two other reproductive modes obtain or transmit less information at lower cost: not enough recombinations=repetitive clonal proliferation, and too many recombinations=disordered hybridization. But these marginal modes have poor prospects, as the model of the species is successfully attractive. Better discriminate to better inform. In bacteria, the exchanged and incorporated DNA segments are directly identified by the parity of the complementary strands, which determines simultaneously the similarity, the offspring, and the pairing. In eukaryotes, on the contrary, somatic growth and germinal information are segregated. During speciation, adaptive information is compacted, delocalized, codified and published to inform the species about its own state: the prezygotic relationship governs viable mating. Under the effect of sexual selection, the runaway and the reinforcement of the characters related to courtship testifies to their identifying function, which explains the paradox of the singularity and luxuriance of the sexual hypertrophies. The speciation discretizes a balanced recombination field and validates the informative relations. The species is without degree. Mates of a species recognize each other quickly and well because the logic of coding disengages from the ecological game of adaptations. The system of mate recognition has a function of cohesion and its regularity allows the adaptations of the less regular being, it is neither elitist nor normative, it is subjected neither to a level of aptitudes, nor to sexual performances, but permissive; it protects the variability and polymorphism. Two mutually irreducible relationships triggered the debate between the taxonomists who support the phyletic definition of the species by the descendance, and the proponents of the definition by interfertility. Such a taxonomic disagreement is not insurmountable, but the issue is deeper than taxonomic concepts, because these concepts relate to two different modes of evolution. According to the phyletic model, each species is a lineage passively isolated by external circumstances; on the contrary, in the sexual model each species is actively produced by an internal process of adjustment between replicative costs and informative gains. Each species develops a solution of the equation that matches material-energy expenditures with informative gains. A species concept based on a lasting relationship between these two quantities or on the limits of certain values or their equilibrium is therefore legitimate. It is this equilibrium that all couples resolve, without our formulation being as clearly as biology desires and as physics demands. Energy expenditures and informative gains in sexuality are almost impossible to measure, yet observation and experience allow an approximate ranking of the energy/information ratio. For example, endogamy is more economical, but less diversifying than exogamy, polymorphism increases information, the reinforcement of sexual isolation limits the rate of unproductive fertilization, between neighboring species hybridization allows certain genetic contributions, etc. A closed species evolves naturally towards another just as closed. On the contrary, the artificial transfer of DNA opens the species. The natural boundaries that isolate the species are easily trespassed as energy costs and constraints of sexual recognition are easily controlled; and the perspectives of manipulations are visible, whereas natural selection never anticipates and thus works blindly. Informative, artificially directed predation stimulates the evolution of species.

RevDate: 2018-03-19

Gutiérrez EE, GST Garbino (2018)

Species delimitation based on diagnosis and monophyly, and its importance for advancing mammalian taxonomy.

Zoological research [Epub ahead of print].

A recently proposed taxonomic classification of extant ungulates sparked a series of publications that criticize the Phylogenetic Species Concept (PSC) claiming it to be a particularly poor species concept. These opinions reiteratively stated that (1) the two fundamental elements of the "PSC", i.e., monophyly and diagnosability, do not offer objective criteria as to where the line between species should be drawn; and (2) that extirpation of populations can lead to artificial diagnosability and spurious recognitions of species. This sudden eruption of criticism against the PSC is misleading. Problems attributed to the PSC are common to most approaches and concepts that modern systematists employ to establish species boundaries. The controversial taxonomic propositions that sparked criticism against the PSC are indeed highly problematic, not because of the species concept upon which they are based, but because no evidence (whatsoever) has become public to support a substantial portion of the proposed classification. We herein discuss these topics using examples from mammals. Numerous areas of biological research rest upon taxonomic accuracy (including conservation biology and biomedical research); hence, it is necessary to clarify what are (and what are not) the real sources of taxonomic inaccuracy.

RevDate: 2018-05-08
CmpDate: 2018-05-08

Hubka V, Nováková A, Jurjević Ž, et al (2018)

Polyphasic data support the splitting of Aspergillus candidus into two species; proposal of Aspergillus dobrogensis sp. nov.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 68(4):995-1011.

Aspergillus candidus is a species frequently isolated from stored grain, food, indoor environments, soil and occasionally also from clinical material. Recent bioprospecting studies highlighted the potential of using A. candidus and its relatives in various industrial sectors as a result of their significant production of enzymes and bioactive compounds. A high genetic variability was observed among A. candidus isolates originating from various European countries and the USA, that were mostly isolated from indoor environments, caves and clinical material. The A. candidus sensu lato isolates were characterized by DNA sequencing of four genetic loci, and agreement between molecular species delimitation results, morphological characters and exometabolite spectra were studied. Classical phylogenetic methods (maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference) and species delimitation methods based on the multispecies coalescent model supported recognition of up to three species in A. candidus sensu lato. After evaluation of phenotypic data, a broader species concept was adopted, and only one new species, Aspergillus dobrogensis, was proposed. This species is represented by 22 strains originating from seven countries (ex-type strain CCF 4651T=NRRL 62821T=IBT 32697T=CBS 143370T) and its differentiation from A. candidus is relevant for bioprospecting studies because these species have different exometabolite profiles. Evaluation of the antifungal susceptibility of section Candidi members to six antifungals using the reference EUCAST method showed that all species have low minimum inhibitory concentrations for all tested antifungals. These results suggest applicability of a wide spectrum of antifungal agents for treatment of infections caused by species from section Candidi.

RevDate: 2018-02-13

Johnson LA, D Gowen (2017)

Ex uno, multis: taxonomic revision in Navarretia divaricata (Polemoniaceae) and the recognition of four additional cryptic or near-cryptic species.


Navarretia divaricata, endemic to western North America and most recently considered a single species with two subspecies, was re-examined in light of field work, DNA sequences, comparative morphology, and a review of herbarium specimens including types. From these studies, we lectotypify the material on which N. divaricata is based, elevate N. divaricata subsp. vividior, which is an allotetraploid, to species rank (as N. vividiorcomb. et stat. nov.), and recognize three additional species: N. modocensissp. nov., N. aeroidessp. nov., and N. torreyellasp. nov.Navarretia modocensis, the diploid paternal progenitor of N. vividior, is morphologically cryptic with respect to its allotetraploid offspring and difficult to distinguish on herbarium sheets. Navarretia aeroides, the diploid maternal progenitor of N. vividior, is nearly cryptic, but more easily distinguished from both N. modocensis and N. vividior by its smaller, more glandular inflorescences. Navarretia torreyella is readily distinguished from all of these species, but has been generally mistaken for N. divaricata subsp. vividior given its colored corolla tube and rare co-occurrence with the other vividior-like species. Conservation assessments, an identification key, and table of comparative morphological features are provided for each species, emended descriptions for N. divaricata and N. vividior, and a discussion of the syntypes for Gilia divaricata Torr. ex A.Gray.

RevDate: 2018-02-27
CmpDate: 2018-02-27

Petkevičiūtė R, Stunžėnas V, G Stanevičiūtė (2018)

Comments on species divergence in the genus Sphaerium (Bivalvia) and phylogenetic affinities of Sphaerium nucleus and S. corneum var. mamillanum based on karyotypes and sequences of 16S and ITS1 rDNA.

PloS one, 13(1):e0191427 pii:PONE-D-17-17786.

Chromosome, 16S and ITS1 rDNA sequence analyses were used to obtain reliable diagnostic characters and to clarify phylogenetic relationships of sphaeriid bivalves of the genus Sphaerium. The species studied were found to be diploid, with modal number 2n = 28 in S. nucleus and 2n = 30 in S. corneum var. mamillanum. Small, biarmed, C- negative B chromosomes were found in all studied populations of both species. Karyological and molecular markers revealed no differences between S. corneum s. str. and S. corneum var. mamillanum. No intraspecific differences were found in the basic karyotype of S. nucleus. Molecular analyses, however, uncovered three genetically distinct ITS1 lineages: one comprised of samples from Lithuania, Slovakia, and Russia, another from Czech, and a third from Ukraine. Additionally to known 16S haplotype from Ukraine, three new 16S haplotypes of S. nucleus were detected: one in the samples from Lithuania and Russia, one in Slovakian and one in Czech population. In the ITS1 phylogenetic tree, all branches of S. nucleus clustered in one clade. In the 16S phylogenetic tree, however, the haplotype of Czech S. nucleus formed a separate branch, distant from three other haplotypes of S. nucleus. Molecular results indicate that in the context of the Evolutionary Species Concept the S. nucleus morphospecies may represent a complex of separate taxa, however referring on the Biological Species Concept the genetic lineages could represent the intraspecific variability.

RevDate: 2018-03-26

Fišer C, Robinson CT, F Malard (2018)

Cryptic species as a window into the paradigm shift of the species concept.

Molecular ecology, 27(3):613-635.

The species concept is the cornerstone of biodiversity science, and any paradigm shift in the delimitation of species affects many research fields. Many biologists now are embracing a new "species" paradigm as separately evolving populations using different delimitation criteria. Individual criteria can emerge during different periods of speciation; some may never evolve. As such, a paradigm shift in the species concept relates to this inherent heterogeneity in the speciation process and species category-which is fundamentally overlooked in biodiversity research. Cryptic species fall within this paradigm shift: they are continuously being reported from diverse animal phyla but are poorly considered in current tests of ecological and evolutionary theory. The aim of this review is to integrate cryptic species in biodiversity science. In the first section, we address that the absence of morphological diversification is an evolutionary phenomenon, a "process" counterpart to the long-studied mechanisms of morphological diversification. In the next section regarding taxonomy, we show that molecular delimitation of cryptic species is heavily biased towards distance-based methods. We also stress the importance of formally naming of cryptic species for better integration into research fields that use species as units of analysis. Finally, we show that incorporating cryptic species leads to novel insights regarding biodiversity patterns and processes, including large-scale biodiversity assessments, geographic variation in species distribution and species coexistence. It is time for incorporating multicriteria species approaches aiming to understand speciation across space and taxa, thus allowing integration into biodiversity conservation while accommodating for species uncertainty.

RevDate: 2017-12-20

Sepúlveda VE, Márquez R, Turissini DA, et al (2017)

Genome Sequences Reveal Cryptic Speciation in the Human Pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum.

mBio, 8(6): pii:mBio.01339-17.

Histoplasma capsulatum is a pathogenic fungus that causes life-threatening lung infections. About 500,000 people are exposed to H. capsulatum each year in the United States, and over 60% of the U.S. population has been exposed to the fungus at some point in their life. We performed genome-wide population genetics and phylogenetic analyses with 30 Histoplasma isolates representing four recognized areas where histoplasmosis is endemic and show that the Histoplasma genus is composed of at least four species that are genetically isolated and rarely interbreed. Therefore, we propose a taxonomic rearrangement of the genus.IMPORTANCE The evolutionary processes that give rise to new pathogen lineages are critical to our understanding of how they adapt to new environments and how frequently they exchange genes with each other. The fungal pathogen Histoplasma capsulatum provides opportunities to precisely test hypotheses about the origin of new genetic variation. We find that H. capsulatum is composed of at least four different cryptic species that differ genetically and also in virulence. These results have implications for the epidemiology of histoplasmosis because not all Histoplasma species are equivalent in their geographic range and ability to cause disease.

RevDate: 2017-12-19

Wallin H, Kvamme T, J Bergsten (2017)

To be or not to be a subspecies: description of Saperda populnea lapponica ssp. n. (Coleoptera, Cerambycidae) developing in downy willow (Salix lapponum L.).


A new subspecies of the European cerambycid Saperda populnea (Linnaeus, 1758) is described: Saperda populnea lapponicassp. n. based on specimens from Scandinavia. The male genitalia characters were examined and found to provide support for this separation, as well as differences in morphology, geographical distribution and bionomy. The preferred host tree for the nominate subspecies S. populnea populnea is Populus tremula L., whereas S. populnea lapponicassp. n. is considered to be monophagous on Salix lapponum L. DNA sequence data of mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (COI) was generated from Scandinavian specimens of S. populnea populnea and specimens representing S. populnea lapponicassp. n. The two subspecies were not reciprocally monophyletic and genetic distances in COI were small. All synonyms of S. populnea populnea have been considered, and species similar to S. populnea populnea have been examined, and not found to be related to S. populnea lapponicassp. n. A male lectotype has been designated for each of the two following synonyms: Cerambyx decempunctatus De Geer, 1775, and Saperda salicis Zetterstedt, 1818. The synonymised species from Asia, S. balsamifera (Motshulsky, 1860), is elevated to subspecies: S. populnea balsamiferastat. n. We end with a discussion on the definition of subspecies under the unified species concept.

RevDate: 2018-03-14
CmpDate: 2018-03-09

Segatto ALA, Reck-Kortmann M, Turchetto C, et al (2017)

Multiple markers, niche modelling, and bioregions analyses to evaluate the genetic diversity of a plant species complex.

BMC evolutionary biology, 17(1):234 pii:10.1186/s12862-017-1084-y.

BACKGROUND: The classification of closely related plants is not straightforward. These morphologically similar taxa frequently maintain their inter-hybridization potential and share ancestral polymorphisms as a consequence of their recent divergence. Under the biological species concept, they may thus not be considered separate species. The Petunia integrifolia complex is especially interesting because, in addition to the features mentioned above, its taxa share a pollinator, and their geographical ranges show multiple overlaps. Here, we combined plastid genome sequences, nuclear microsatellites, AFLP markers, ecological niche modelling, and bioregions analysis to investigate the genetic variability between the different taxa of the P. integrifolia complex in a comprehensive sample covering the entire geographical range of the complex.

RESULTS: Results from molecular markers did not fully align with the current taxonomic classification. Niche modelling and bioregions analyses revealed that taxa were associated with different ecological constraints, indicating that the habitat plays an important role in preserving species boundaries. For three taxa, our analyses showed a mostly conserved, non-overlapping geographical distribution over time. However, for two taxa, niche modelling found an overlapping distribution over time; these taxa were also associated with the same bioregions.

CONCLUSIONS: cpDNA markers were better able to discriminate between Petunia taxa than SSRs and AFLPs. Overall, our results suggest that the P. integrifolia complex represents a continuum of individuals from distant and historically isolated populations, which share some morphological traits, but are established in four different evolutionary lineages.

RevDate: 2018-01-10

Ruiz-García M, Pinedo-Castro M, JM Shostell (2017)

Small spotted bodies with multiple specific mitochondrial DNAs: existence of diverse and differentiated tigrina lineages or species (Leopardus spp: Felidae, Mammalia) throughout Latin America.

Mitochondrial DNA. Part A, DNA mapping, sequencing, and analysis [Epub ahead of print].

We analysed two sets of mitochondrial (mt) DNA data from tigrinas (traditionally, Leopardus tigrinus) we sampled in Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, northwestern and northeastern Argentina and southern Brazil. Additionally, the analysis included some GenBank sequences from southern, central and northeastern Brazil. The first mt set (mt ATP8+mt 16S rRNA with 41 tigrina) revealed the existence of seven different tigrina-like haplogroups. They could represent, at least, 4-6 different tigrina species following the Phylogenetic Species Concept (PSC). In the second mt set (mitogenomics with 18 tigrinas), we detected six different tigrina-like haplogroups. They could represent 4-5 different tigrina species - including a possible full new species, which has gone previously unnoticed to the world of science both morphologic and molecularly. Coat patterns of several of these different tigrinas support the molecular differences. We also detected intense hybridization in many Andean tigrina with margays (Leopardus wiedii) and ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) as well as hybridization of one Bolivian tigrina with Leopardus geoffroyi. Similar hybridization was found for many of the southern Brazilian tigrina (Leopardus guttulus). All of the temporal split estimates for these tigrina haplogroups, together with those of the Leopardus species recognized to date, began in the late Pliocene but mostly occurred during the Pleistocene. In agreement with the existence of multiple species within the traditional L. tigrinus species, we detected strong and significant spatial structure in the two mt data sets. There were clear circular clines. A major part of the analyses detected more genetic resemblance between the Central American + trans Andean Colombian and Ecuadorian tigrina (L. oncilla) with the most geographically distant tigrina from central and southern Brazil (L. guttulus; pure individuals not hybridized with L. geoffroyi). In comparison, the Andean tigrina taxa had intermediate geographical origins but were highly genetically differentiated both from the Central American + trans Andean Colombian-Ecuadorian tigrina and from the central and southern Brazilian tigrina.

RevDate: 2018-05-04

Shadwick JDL, Silberman JD, FW Spiegel (2018)

Variation in the SSUrDNA of the Genus Protostelium Leads to a New Phylogenetic Understanding of the Genus and of the Species Concept for Protostelium mycophaga (Protosteliida, Amoebozoa).

The Journal of eukaryotic microbiology, 65(3):331-344.

Members of the genus Protostelium (including P. mycophaga, P. nocturnum, and P. okumukumu) are protosteloid amoebae commonly found in terrestrial habitats on dead plant matter. They, along with the closely allied nominal genus Planoprotostelium, containing the single species Pl. aurantium, all have an amoeboid trophic stage with acutely pointed subpseudopodia and orange lipid droplets in the granuloplasm. These amoebae form stalked fruiting bodies topped with a single, usually deciduous spore. The species are identified based on their fruiting body morphologies except for Pl. aurantium which looks similar to P. mycophaga in fruiting morphology, but has amoebae that can make flagella in liquid medium. We built phylogenetic trees using nuclear small subunit ribosomal DNA sequences of 35 isolates from the genera Protostelium and Planoprotostelium and found that (1) the nonflagellated P. nocturnum and P. okumukumu branch basally in the genus Protostelium, (2) the flagellate, Pl. aurantium falls within the genus Protostelium in a monophyletic clade with the nominal variety, P. mycophaga var. crassipes, (3) the cultures initially identified as Protostelium mycophaga can be divided into at least three morphologically recognizable taxa, P. aurantium n. comb., P. apiculatum n. sp., and P. m. rodmani n. subsp., as well as a paraphyletic assemblage that includes the remainder of the P. mycophaga morphotype. These findings have implications for understanding the ecology, evolution, and diversity of these amoeboid organisms and for using these amoebae as models for other amoeboid groups.

RevDate: 2017-12-19

Gama R, Aguirre-Gutiérrez J, M Stech (2017)

Ecological niche comparison and molecular phylogeny segregate the invasive moss species Campylopus introflexus (Leucobryaceae, Bryophyta) from its closest relatives.

Ecology and evolution, 7(19):8017-8031 pii:ECE33301.

The delimitation of the invasive moss species Campylopus introflexus from its closest relative, Campylopus pilifer, has been long debated based on morphology. Previous molecular phylogenetic reconstructions based on the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers (ITS) 1 and 2 showed that C. pilifer is split into an Old World and a New World lineage, but remained partly inconclusive concerning the relationships between these two clades and C. introflexus. Analyses of an extended ITS dataset displayed statistically supported incongruence between ITS1 and ITS2. ITS1 separates the New World clade of C. pilifer from a clade comprising C. introflexus and the Old World C. pilifer. Ancestral state reconstruction showed that this topology is morphologically supported by differences in the height of the dorsal costal lamellae in leaf cross-section (despite some overlap). ITS2, in contrast, supports the current morphological species concept, i.e., separating C. introflexus from C. pilifer, which is morphologically supported by the orientation of the hyaline hair point at leaf apex as well as costal lamellae height. Re-analysis of published and newly generated plastid atpB-rbcL spacer sequences supported the three ITS lineages. Ecological niche modeling proved a useful approach and showed that all three molecular lineages occupy distinct environmental spaces that are similar, but undoubtedly not equivalent. In line with the ITS1 topology, the C. pilifer lineage from the New World occupies the most distinct environmental niche, whereas the niches of Old World C. pilifer and C. introflexus are very similar. Taking the inferences from ecological niche comparisons, phylogenetics, and morphology together, we conclude that all three molecular lineages represent different taxa that should be recognized as independent species, viz. C. introflexus, C. pilifer (Old World clade), and the reinstated C. lamellatus Mont. (New World clade).

RevDate: 2018-05-18
CmpDate: 2018-05-18

Hoetzinger M, MW Hahn (2017)

Genomic divergence and cohesion in a species of pelagic freshwater bacteria.

BMC genomics, 18(1):794 pii:10.1186/s12864-017-4199-z.

BACKGROUND: In many prokaryotic genera a clustered phylogeny is observed, akin to the occurrence of species in sexually reproducing organisms. For some taxa, homologous recombination has been invoked as the underlying mechanism providing genomic cohesion among conspecific individuals. Whether this mechanism is applicable to prokaryotes in freshwaters with low habitat connectivity - i.e. elevated geographic barriers to gene flow - is unclear. To investigate further we studied genomic trends within the globally abundant PnecC cluster (genus Polynucleobacter, Betaproteobacteria) and analyzed homologous recombination within the affiliated species P. asymbioticus.

RESULTS: Comparisons among 20 PnecC genomes revealed a clearly discontinuous distribution of nucleotide sequence similarities. Among the nine conspecific individuals (P. asymbioticus) all average nucleotide identity (ANI) values were greater than 97%, whereas all other comparisons exhibited ANI values lower than 85%. The reconstruction of recombination and mutation events for the P. asymbioticus core genomes yielded an r/m ratio of 7.4, which is clearly above estimated thresholds for recombination to act as a cohesive force. Hotspots of recombination were found to be located in the flanking regions of genomic islands. Even between geographically separated habitats a high flux of recombination was evident. While a biogeographic population structure was suggested from MLST data targeting rather conserved loci, such a structure was barely visible when whole genome data was considered. However, both MLST and whole genome data showed evidence of differentiation between two lineages of P. asymbioticus. The ratios of non-synonymous to synonymous substitution rates as well as growth rates in transplantation experiments suggested that this divergence was not selectively neutral.

CONCLUSIONS: The high extent of homologous recombination among P. asymbioticus bacteria can act as a cohesive force that effectively counteracts genetic divergence. At least on a regional scale, homologous recombination can act across geographically separated ecosystems and therefore plays an important role in the evolution and consistency of bacterial freshwater species. A species model akin to the biological species concept may be applicable for P. asymbioticus. Nonetheless, two genetically distinct lineages have emerged and further research may clarify if their divergence has been initiated by reinforced geographical barriers or has been evolving in sympatry.

RevDate: 2018-03-25

Borg Dahl M, Brejnrod AD, Unterseher M, et al (2018)

Genetic barcoding of dark-spored myxomycetes (Amoebozoa)-Identification, evaluation and application of a sequence similarity threshold for species differentiation in NGS studies.

Molecular ecology resources, 18(2):306-318.

Unicellular, eukaryotic organisms (protists) play a key role in soil food webs as major predators of microorganisms. However, due to the polyphyletic nature of protists, no single universal barcode can be established for this group, and the structure of many protistean communities remains unresolved. Plasmodial slime moulds (Myxogastria or Myxomycetes) stand out among protists by their formation of fruit bodies, which allow for a morphological species concept. By Sanger sequencing of a large collection of morphospecies, this study presents the largest database to date of dark-spored myxomycetes and evaluate a partial 18S SSU gene marker for species annotation. We identify and discuss the use of an intraspecific sequence similarity threshold of 99.1% for species differentiation (OTU picking) in environmental PCR studies (ePCR) and estimate a hidden diversity of putative species, exceeding those of described morphospecies by 99%. When applying the identified threshold to an ePCR data set (including sequences from both NGS and cloning), we find 64 OTUs of which 21.9% had a direct match (>99.1% similarity) to the database and the remaining had on average 90.2 ± 0.8% similarity to their best match, thus thought to represent undiscovered diversity of dark-spored myxomycetes.

RevDate: 2018-07-09
CmpDate: 2018-05-29

Rooney-Latham S, Lutz M, Blomquist CL, et al (2017)

Entyloma helianthi: identification and characterization of the causal agent of sunflower white leaf smut.

Mycologia, 109(3):520-528.

White leaf smut is a minor foliar disease of sunflower (Helianthus annuus) in the United States. The disease occurs primarily in greenhouse-grown sunflowers in California and causes leaf spot, defoliation, and a reduction in yield and crop value. Historically, many Entyloma specimens with similar morphological characters, but infecting diverse plant genera including Helianthus, were called Entyloma polysporum. Recent comparative morphological and molecular work has shown that Entyloma species infect hosts within a single genus or species, suggesting that the sunflower Entyloma species may not be E. polysporum. In 2015, sunflower leaf smut material was collected from ornamental sunflowers in a greenhouse in Santa Barbara County, California. Morphologically, this species differed from E. polysporum in having smaller, more regular-shaped teliospores and prominently developed conidiophores with cylindrical conidia. The rDNA ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 (internal transcribed spacer [ITS]) region of the sunflower leaf smut was phylogenetically distinct from all previously sequenced Entyloma species and found only on H. annuus. This study confirms that the sunflower leaf smut pathogen represents a novel species, Entyloma helianthi. Possible misidentification of the anamorphic stage of Entyloma helianthi as another leaf spot pathogen, Ramularia helianthi, is also discussed.

RevDate: 2017-08-16

Österblom H (2017)

Reimagining ocean governance using the keystone species concept.

Nature ecology & evolution, 1(5):133 pii:s41559-017-0133.

RevDate: 2018-04-23
CmpDate: 2018-04-23

Shanker K, Vijayakumar SP, KN Ganeshaiah (2017)

Unpacking the species conundrum: philosophy, practice and a way forward.

Journal of genetics, 96(3):413-430.

The history of ecology and evolutionary biology is rife with attempts to define and delimit species. However, there has been confusion between concepts and criteria, which has led to discussion, debate, and conflict, eventually leading to lack of consistency in delimitation. Here, we provide a broad review of species concepts, a clarification of category versus concept, an account of the general lineage concept (GLC), and finally a way forward for species discovery and delimitation. Historically, species were considered as varieties bound together by reproduction. After over 200 years of uncertainty, Mayr attempted to bring coherence to the definition of species through the biological species concept (BSC). This has, however, received much criticism, and the last half century has spawned at least 20 other concepts. A central philosophical problem is that concepts treat species as 'individuals' while the criteria for categorization treats them as 'classes'. While not getting away from this problem entirely, the GLC attempts to provide a framework where lineage divergence is influenced by a number of different factors (and correlated to different traits) which relate to the different species concepts. We also introduce an 'inclusive' probabilistic approach for understanding and delimiting species. Finally, we provide aWallacean (geography related) approach to the Linnaean problem of identifying and delimiting species, particularly for cases of allopatric divergence, and map this to the GLC. Going one step further, we take a morphometric terrain approach to visualizing and understanding differences between lineages. In summary, we argue that while generalized frameworks may work well for concepts of what species are, plurality and 'inclusive' probabilistic approaches may work best for delimitation.

RevDate: 2017-08-10
CmpDate: 2017-08-10

Loughman ZJ, Henkanaththegedara SM, Fetzner JW, et al (2017)

A case of Appalachian endemism: Revision of the Cambarus robustus complex (Decapoda: Cambaridae) in the Kentucky and Licking River basins of Kentucky, USA, with the description of three new species.

Zootaxa, 4269(4):460-494 pii:zootaxa.4269.4.4.

The amazing levels of freshwater biodiversity found in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States are among the highest recorded globally. Localized endemics make up much of this diversity, with numerous fish, freshwater mussels, salamanders and crayfish often being restricted to a single watershed, and in some instances, subwatersheds. Much of this diversity is the product of the processes of vicariance and historical stream drainage patterns. Herein, we describe three new crayfish species, all previously members of the Cambarus robustus complex, which occur in the Appalachian portion of the Kentucky and Licking river basins in Kentucky, USA. All three species differ from each other morphologically, genetically, and zoogeographically, fulfilling the requirements of the integrated species concept. Cambarus guenteri occurs in the southern tributaries of the Kentucky River mainstem as well as throughout the South Fork Kentucky River. Cambarus taylori is a narrow endemic, which only occurs in the Middle Fork Kentucky River. Cambarus hazardi, which has the widest distribution of the three new species, occurs in the North Fork Kentucky River, Red River, and upper reaches of the Licking River basin. Stream piracy events between the Cumberland and South Fork Kentucky River, as well as the Licking, Red and North Fork Kentucky rivers, are theorized to be important in the evolution of this complex. Cambarus guenteri is proposed as currently stable, though both C. taylori and C. hazardi are considered imperiled at this time due to habitat destruction throughout both of their respective ranges.

RevDate: 2017-08-09
CmpDate: 2017-08-09

Molinari J, Bustos XE, Burneo SF, et al (2017)

A new polytypic species of yellow-shouldered bats, genus Sturnira (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae), from the Andean and coastal mountain systems of Venezuela and Colombia.

Zootaxa, 4243(1):75-96 pii:zootaxa.4243.1.3.

Sturnira is the most speciose genus of New World leaf-nosed bats (Phyllostomidae). We name Sturnira adrianae, new species. This taxon is born polytypic, divided into a larger subspecies (S. a. adrianae) widespread in the mountains of northern and western Venezuela, and northern Colombia, and a smaller subspecies (S. a. caripana) endemic to the mountains of northeastern Venezuela. The new species inhabits evergreen, deciduous, and cloud forests at mainly medium (1000-2000 m) elevations. It has long been confused with S. ludovici, but it is more closely related to S. oporaphilum. It can be distinguished from other species of Sturnira by genetic data, and based on discrete and continuously varying characters. Within the genus, the new species belongs to a clade that also includes S. oporaphilum, S. ludovici, S. hondurensis, and S. burtonlimi. The larger new subspecies is the largest member of this clade. The two new subspecies are the most sexually dimorphic members of this clade. The smaller new subspecies is restricted to small mountain systems undergoing severe deforestation processes, therefore can be assigned to the Vulnerable (VU) conservation category of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

RevDate: 2017-08-09
CmpDate: 2017-08-09

Zoysa HKS, Ukuwela KDB, Wickramasinghe S, et al (2017)

Reinstatement of Spirostreptus kandyanus Humbert, 1865 and deletion of Thyropygus allevatus (Karsch, 1881) and Sphaeropoeus hercules (Brandt, 1833) in the checklist of Sri Lankan Diplopoda.

Zootaxa, 4247(3):333-335 pii:zootaxa.4247.3.8.

The Diplopoda have been studied for some 250 years, but until the later part of the nineteenth century most descriptions were rather cursory and neither the species concept nor type concept were well established (Hoffman 2009). Even for well-explored regions like Europe, the description of the Diplopoda saw a proliferation of synonyms (Enghoff 1976) while the complexity of Diplopoda systematics was severely underestimated until very recently (Brewer et al. 2012).

RevDate: 2018-04-30
CmpDate: 2017-11-29

Zimmers JC, Thomas M, Yang L, et al (2017)

Species boundaries in the Astragalus cusickii complex delimited using molecular phylogenetic techniques.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 114:93-110.

Understanding the source of phenotypic variability is a challenge in the biological sciences. Variation in phenotypes is the result of variation in the genetics and environment the organism experiences, but elucidating the relative contribution of these two parameters can pose problems, especially in the field of systematics. Systematists are challenged to classify biological diversity into groups that share common ancestry. Phenotypic variation can be useful to demonstrate common ancestry, but only when the primary contributor to the variation is under strong genetic control, and thus heritable. Cusick's milkvetch (Astragalus cusickii) is a perennial forb endemic to the northwestern intermountain region of the United States. The species currently comprises four varieties based on subtle morphological dissimilarities, such as leaf size and density, and the size and shape of the seed pods. The taxonomic organization of the varieties of A. cusickii and related species of Astragalus were reexamined through phylogenetic analysis of low copy nuclear, nuclear-ribosomal, and chloroplast gene regions. Maximum parsimony, maximum likelihood, Bayesian inference, the genealogical sorting index, and an approximately unbiased test were used to determine appropriate species boundaries under the phylogenetic species concept. The results support reclassification of A. cusickii var. packardiae and A. cusickii var. sterilis as separate species. Additionally, evidence suggests a chloroplast capture event may have occurred in one population of A. cusickii var. packardiae.

RevDate: 2017-08-16

Singh SP, Groeneveld JC, Al-Marzouqi A, et al (2017)

A molecular phylogeny of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus highlights a separately evolving lineage from the Southwest Indian Ocean.

PeerJ, 5:e3356 pii:3356.

Accurate species description in the marine environment is critical for estimating biodiversity and identifying genetically distinct stocks. Analysis of molecular data can potentially improve species delimitations because they are easily generated and independent, and yield consistent results with high statistical power. We used classical phylogenetic (maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference) and coalescent-based methods (divergence dating with fossil calibrations and coalescent-based species delimitation) to resolve the phylogeny of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus subspecies complex in the Indo-West Pacific. Analyses of mitochondrial data and combined nuclear and mitochondrial data recovered Panulirus homarus homarus and Panulirus homarus rubellus as separately evolving lineages, while the nuclear data trees were unresolved. Divergence dating analysis also identified Panulirus homarus homarus and Panulirus homarus rubellus as two distinct clades which diverged from a common ancestor during the Oligocene, approximately 26 million years ago. Species delimitation using coalescent-based methods corroborated these findings. A long pelagic larval life stage and the influence of ocean currents on post-larval settlement patterns suggest that a parapatric mode of speciation drives evolution in this subspecies complex. In combination, the results indicate that Panulirus homarus rubellus from the Southwest Indian Ocean is a separately evolving lineage and possibly a separate species.

RevDate: 2017-08-16

Giles GI, Nasim MJ, Ali W, et al (2017)

The Reactive Sulfur Species Concept: 15 Years On.

Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), 6(2): pii:antiox6020038.

Fifteen years ago, in 2001, the concept of "Reactive Sulfur Species" or RSS was advocated as a working hypothesis. Since then various organic as well as inorganic RSS have attracted considerable interest and stimulated many new and often unexpected avenues in research and product development. During this time, it has become apparent that molecules with sulfur-containing functional groups are not just the passive "victims" of oxidative stress or simple conveyors of signals in cells, but can also be stressors in their own right, with pivotal roles in cellular function and homeostasis. Many "exotic" sulfur-based compounds, often of natural origin, have entered the fray in the context of nutrition, ageing, chemoprevention and therapy. In parallel, the field of inorganic RSS has come to the forefront of research, with short-lived yet metabolically important intermediates, such as various sulfur-nitrogen species and polysulfides (Sx2-), playing important roles. Between 2003 and 2005 several breath-taking discoveries emerged characterising unusual sulfur redox states in biology, and since then the truly unique role of sulfur-dependent redox systems has become apparent. Following these discoveries, over the last decade a "hunt" and, more recently, mining for such modifications has begun-and still continues-often in conjunction with new, innovative and complex labelling and analytical methods to capture the (entire) sulfur "redoxome". A key distinction for RSS is that, unlike oxygen or nitrogen, sulfur not only forms a plethora of specific reactive species, but sulfur also targets itself, as sulfur containing molecules, i.e., peptides, proteins and enzymes, preferentially react with RSS. Not surprisingly, today this sulfur-centred redox signalling and control inside the living cell is a burning issue, which has moved on from the predominantly thiol/disulfide biochemistry of the past to a complex labyrinth of interacting signalling and control pathways which involve various sulfur oxidation states, sulfur species and reactions. RSS are omnipresent and, in some instances, are even considered as the true bearers of redox control, perhaps being more important than the Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) or Reactive Nitrogen Species (RNS) which for decades have dominated the redox field. In other(s) words, in 2017, sulfur redox is "on the rise", and the idea of RSS resonates throughout the Life Sciences. Still, the RSS story isn't over yet. Many RSS are at the heart of "mistaken identities" which urgently require clarification and may even provide the foundations for further scientific revolutions in the years to come. In light of these developments, it is therefore the perfect time to revisit the original hypotheses, to select highlights in the field and to question and eventually update our concept of "Reactive Sulfur Species".

RevDate: 2017-12-04
CmpDate: 2017-12-04

Pušić B, Gregorić P, D Franjević (2017)

What do Biologists Make of the Species Problem?.

Acta biotheoretica, 65(3):179-209.

The concept of species is one of the core concepts in biology and one of the cornerstones of evolutionary biology, yet it is rife with conceptual problems. Philosophers of biology have been discussing the concept of species for decades, and in doing so they sometimes appeal to the views of biologists. However, their statements as to what biologists think are seldom supported by empirical data. In order to investigate what biologists actually think about the key issues related to the problem of species, we have conducted a survey on the sample of 193 biologists from the population of biologists from over 150 biology departments at universities in the US and the EU. This article presents and discusses the results of the survey. Some results confirm and others falsify the reiterated statements of philosophers of biology as to what biologists think, but all results we obtained should be informative and relevant for future discussions of the problem of species.

RevDate: 2018-01-16

Gippoliti S, Cotterill FPD, Zinner D, et al (2018)

Impacts of taxonomic inertia for the conservation of African ungulate diversity: an overview.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 93(1):115-130.

We review the state of African ungulate taxonomy over the last 120 years, with an emphasis on the introduction of the polytypic species concept and the discipline's general neglect since the middle of the 20th century. We single out negative consequences of 'orthodox' taxonomy, highlighting numerous cases of neglect of threatened lineages, unsound translocations that led to lineage introgression, and cases of maladaptation to local conditions including parasitic infections. Additionally, several captive breeding programmes have been hampered by chromosome rearrangements caused by involuntary lineage mixing. We advocate that specimen-based taxonomy should regain its keystone role in mammal research and conservation biology, with its scientific values augmented with genomic evidence. While integration with molecular biology, ecology and behaviour is needed for a full understanding of ungulate alpha diversity, we stress that morphological diversity has been neglected despite its tremendous practical importance for some groups of 'utilizers' such as trophy hunters, wildlife tourists and conservationists. We conclude that there is no evidence that purported 'taxonomic inflation' has adverse effects on ungulate conservation: rather, it is taxonomic inertia that has such adverse effects. We stress that sound science, founded on robust taxonomy, should underpin effective sustainable management (hunting, ranching, captive breeding and reintroduction programmes) of this unique African natural resource.

RevDate: 2018-02-20
CmpDate: 2018-02-20

Venton D (2017)

Highlight: Applying the Biological Species Concept across All of Life.

Genome biology and evolution, 9(3):502-503.

RevDate: 2018-02-14
CmpDate: 2018-02-14

Lefebvre KE, Hamilton PB, FR Pick (2017)

A comparison of molecular markers and morphology for Neidium taxa (Bacillariophyta) from eastern North America.

Journal of phycology, 53(3):680-702.

Historically, a morphological species concept has applied shape subjectively in the delimitation of diatom species. This has led to confusion between taxa within the benthic diatom genus Neidium. Samples from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland (Canada) and New York (USA) were examined for Neidium taxa under LM and SEM. Fourier shape analysis showed that shape as a taxonomic character was not able to discern all species. Isolated individuals from the samples were amplified and sequenced for three chloroplast molecular markers (rbcL, psbC, and psbA) and one nuclear ribosomal molecular marker (18S). Phylogenetic reconstructions were completed with the concatenated chloroplast and 18S dataset using Maximum Likelihood and Bayesian analyses. The concatenated chloroplast dataset exhibited a species-level resolution phylogeny of Neidium taxa. The 18S dataset had a lower level of sequence divergence and was unable to differentiate between Neidium taxa. We present emended species descriptions and sequence data for four previously described species: Neidium sacoense, N. longiceps, N. fossum, and N. affine. We describe three novel species (Neidium lowei, N. promontorium, and N. potapovae) and identify two forms with unique molecular signatures. The distinguishing features of N. lowei are its size, valve shape, and longitudinal canal structure. Distinguishing features of N. promontorium are its valve shape, longitudinal canal and apex formation, and surface depression along the axial area. Neidium potapovae is distinguished by its size, formation of valve and apices and single longitudinal canal. This paper demonstrates how future phylogenetic treatments using single cell multigene sequencing can help resolve taxonomic confusion within diatoms.

RevDate: 2018-04-11
CmpDate: 2018-04-11

Venuleo M, Raven JA, M Giordano (2017)

Intraspecific chemical communication in microalgae.

The New phytologist, 215(2):516-530.

Contents 516 I. 516 II. 518 III. 518 IV. 521 V. 523 VI. 523 VII. 526 526 References 526 SUMMARY: The relevance of infochemicals in the relationships between organisms is emerging as a fundamental aspect of aquatic ecology. Exchanges of chemical cues are likely to occur not only between organisms of different species, but also between conspecific individuals. Especially intriguing is the investigation of chemical communication in microalgae, because of the relevance of these organisms for global primary production and their key role in trophic webs. Intraspecific communication between algae has been investigated mostly in relation to sexuality and mating. The literature also contains information on other types of intraspecific chemical communication that have not always been explicitly tagged as ways to communicate to conspecifics. However, the proposed role of certain compounds as intraspecific infochemicals appears questionable. In this article, we make use of this plethora of information to describe the various instances of intraspecific chemical communication between conspecific microalgae and to identify the common traits and ecological significance of intraspecific communication. We also discuss the evolutionary implications of intraspecific chemical communication and the mechanisms by which it can be inherited. A special focus is the genetic diversity among conspecific algae, including the possibility that genetic diversity is an absolute requirement for intraspecific chemical communication.

RevDate: 2018-01-19
CmpDate: 2017-09-26

Cruywagen EM, Slippers B, Roux J, et al (2017)

Phylogenetic species recognition and hybridisation in Lasiodiplodia: A case study on species from baobabs.

Fungal biology, 121(4):420-436.

Lasiodiplodia species (Botryosphaeriaceae, Ascomycota) infect a wide range of typically woody plants on which they are associated with many different disease symptoms. In this study, we determined the identity of Lasiodiplodia isolates obtained from baobab (Adansonia species) trees in Africa and reviewed the molecular markers used to describe Lasiodiplodia species. Publicly available and newly produced sequence data for some of the type strains of Lasiodiplodia species showed incongruence amongst phylogenies of five nuclear loci. We conclude that several of the previously described Lasiodiplodia species are hybrids of other species. Isolates from baobab trees in Africa included nine species of Lasiodiplodia and two hybrid species. Inoculation trials with the most common Lasiodiplodia species collected from these trees produced significant lesions on young baobab trees. There was also variation in aggressiveness amongst isolates from the same species. The apparently widespread tendency of Lasiodiplodia species to hybridise demands that phylogenies from multiple loci (more than two and preferably four or more) are compared for congruence prior to new species being described. This will avoid hybrids being incorrectly described as new taxa, as has clearly occurred in the past.

RevDate: 2017-08-10
CmpDate: 2017-08-10

Cole JA (2017)

A new species of Megatibicen endemic to Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands (Hemiptera: Auchenorrhyncha: Cicadidae).

Zootaxa, 4236(3):zootaxa.4236.3.9 pii:zootaxa.4236.3.9.

Megatibicen harenosus sp. n. is described from the Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands of New Mexico and Texas, U.S.A. The new species is diagnosed from similar species, especially M. tremulus which it resembles closely, by male genital morphology, color pattern, calling song, and ecology. Seven characters from the male calling song are described from analysis of field recordings, of which all four temporal song characters are significantly different from M. tremulus. With one of the most southwestern distribution of any Megatibicen species, M. harenosus is a new addition to the rich, endemic, and understudied Mescalero-Monahans shinnery sands biota. The possibility that M. harenosus and M. tremulus are sister species is raised. The ecological, biological, and evolutionary species concepts support species status for M. harenosus, and an hypothesis of peripatric speciation in peripheral isolation is advanced.

RevDate: 2017-08-02
CmpDate: 2017-08-02

Lopes LE (2017)

Variation of plumage patterns, geographic distribution and taxonomy of the Unicolored Blackbird (Aves: Icteridae).

Zootaxa, 4221(4):zootaxa.4221.4.2 pii:zootaxa.4221.4.2.

The Unicolored Blackbird Agelasticus cyanopus (Vieillot, 1819) is a marsh bird with four allopatric subspecies restricted to lowlands in South America east of the Andes. I conducted a taxonomic revision of the species based on analysis of external morphological characters of 288 study skins, including all types available. My revision shows that: 1) Leistes unicolor Swainson, 1838, is a senior synonym of A. c. xenicus (Parkes, 1966) and, therefore, the correct name of the taxon should be A. c. unicolor (Swainson, 1838); 2) the range of A. c. unicolor (Swainson, 1838) is much wider than previously thought, extending from the mouth of the Rio Amazonas to the state of São Paulo, in southeastern Brazil, where it intergrades with A. c. atroolivaceus (zu Wied-Neuwied, 1831); 3) A. c. atroolivaceus extends its range well beyond the coast of Rio de Janeiro, reaching the coast of São Paulo, the central part of Minas Gerais, Bahia and Espírito Santo; and 4) specimens attributed to A. c. beniensis are highly variable, so this name must be considered a subjective junior synonym of the nominotypical taxon. Under the Biological Species Concept, two broadly parapatric species should be recognized, A. cyanopus and A. atroolivaceus (including unicolor as a subspecies). Under the Phylogenetic Species Concept or the General Lineage Concept of Species, the best taxonomic treatment is to recognize three species: A. cyanopus, A. atroolivaceus, and A. unicolor.

RevDate: 2017-08-02
CmpDate: 2017-08-02

Mizsei E, Jablonski D, Roussos SA, et al (2017)

Nuclear markers support the mitochondrial phylogeny of Vipera ursinii-renardi complex (Squamata: Viperidae) and species status for the Greek meadow viper.

Zootaxa, 4227(1):zootaxa.4227.1.4 pii:zootaxa.4227.1.4.

Meadow vipers (Vipera ursinii-renardi complex) are small-bodied snakes that live in either lowland grasslands or montane subalpine-alpine meadows spanning a distribution from France to western China. This complex has previously been the focus of several taxonomic studies which were based mainly on morphological, allozyme or immunological characters and did not clearly resolve the relationships between the various taxa. Recent mitochondrial DNA analyses found unexpected relationships within the complex which had taxonomical consequences for the detected lineages. The most surprising was the basal phylogenetic position of Vipera ursinii graeca, a taxon described almost 30 years ago from the mountains of Greece. We present here new analyses of three nuclear markers (BDNF, NT3, PRLR; a first for studies of meadow and steppe vipers) as well as analyses of newly obtained mitochondrial DNA sequences (CYT B, ND4).Our Bayesian analyses of nuclear sequences are concordant with previous studies of mitochondrial DNA, in that the phylogenetic position of the graeca clade is a clearly distinguished and distinct lineage separated from all other taxa in the complex. These phylogenetic results are also supported by a distinct morphology, ecology and isolated distribution of this unique taxon. Based on several data sets and an integrative species concept we recommend to elevate this taxon to species level: Vipera graeca Nilson & Andrén, 1988 stat. nov.

RevDate: 2018-04-16
CmpDate: 2018-04-16

Lafon-Placette C, Johannessen IM, Hornslien KS, et al (2017)

Endosperm-based hybridization barriers explain the pattern of gene flow between Arabidopsis lyrata and Arabidopsis arenosa in Central Europe.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(6):E1027-E1035.

Based on the biological species concept, two species are considered distinct if reproductive barriers prevent gene flow between them. In Central Europe, the diploid species Arabidopsis lyrata and Arabidopsis arenosa are genetically isolated, thus fitting this concept as "good species." Nonetheless, interspecific gene flow involving their tetraploid forms has been described. The reasons for this ploidy-dependent reproductive isolation remain unknown. Here, we show that hybridization between diploid A. lyrata and A. arenosa causes mainly inviable seed formation, revealing a strong postzygotic reproductive barrier separating these two species. Although viability of hybrid seeds was impaired in both directions of hybridization, the cause for seed arrest differed. Hybridization of A. lyrata seed parents with A. arenosa pollen donors resulted in failure of endosperm cellularization, whereas the endosperm of reciprocal hybrids cellularized precociously. Endosperm cellularization failure in both hybridization directions is likely causal for the embryo arrest. Importantly, natural tetraploid A. lyrata was able to form viable hybrid seeds with diploid and tetraploid A. arenosa, associated with the reestablishment of normal endosperm cellularization. Conversely, the defects of hybrid seeds between tetraploid A. arenosa and diploid A. lyrata were aggravated. According to these results, we hypothesize that a tetraploidization event in A. lyrata allowed the production of viable hybrid seeds with A. arenosa, enabling gene flow between the two species.

RevDate: 2017-02-20

Wilk RJ, L Horth (2016)

A genetically distinct hybrid zone occurs for two globally invasive mosquito fish species with striking phenotypic resemblance.

Ecology and evolution, 6(23):8375-8388 pii:ECE32562.

Hybrid zones allow for the investigation of incipient speciation and related evolutionary processes of selection, gene flow, and migration. Interspecific dynamics, like competition, can impact the size, shape, and directional movement of species in hybrid zones. Hybrid zones contribute to a paradox for the biological species concept because interbreeding between species occurs while parental forms remain distinct. A long-standing zone of intergradation or introgression exists for eastern and western mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki and G. affinis) around Mobile Bay, AL. The region has been studied episodically, over decades, making it perfect for addressing temporal dynamics and for providing a deeper understanding of the genetics of these periodically reclassified fishes (as species or subspecies). We used six microsatellite markers to assess the current population structure and gene flow patterns across 19 populations of mosquito fish and then compared our results with historical data. Genetic evidence demonstrates that the current hybrid zone is located in a similar geographic region as the historical one, even after three decades. Hybrid fish, however, demonstrate relatively low heterozygosity and are genetically distinct from western and eastern mosquito fish populations. Fin ray counts, sometimes used to distinguish the two species from one another, demonstrate more eastern (G. holbrooki) phenotype fish within the molecular genetic hybrid zone today. Mosquito fish are globally invasive, often found on the leading edge of flooded waters that they colonize, so the impact of hurricanes in the wake of climate change was also evaluated. An increase in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the hybrid region has occurred, and this point warrants further attention since hurricanes are known to move these aggressive, invasive species into novel territory. This work contributes to our classical understanding of hybrid zone temporal dynamics, refines our understanding of mosquito fish genetics in their native range, evaluates important genotype-phenotype relationships, and identifies a potential new impact of climate change.

RevDate: 2017-04-24
CmpDate: 2017-04-24

Bocalini F, LF Silveira (2016)

A taxonomic revision of the Musician Wren, Cyphorhinus arada (Aves, Troglodytidae), reveals the existence of six valid species endemic to the Amazon basin.

Zootaxa, 4193(3):zootaxa.4193.3.5 pii:zootaxa.4193.3.5.

Cyphorhinus arada, an Amazonian endemic, shows considerable geographic variation in plumage that has led to the recognition of eight subspecies. These include C. a. arada, C. a. salvini, C. a. modulator, C. a. transfluvialis, C. a. interpositus, C. a. griseolateralis, C. a. urbanoi and C. a. faroensis. However, a thorough taxonomic revision of the Cyphorhinus arada complex has never been undertaken, so we revise the taxonomy based on morphological and vocal characters. We analyzed a total of 515 museum specimens and 146 voice recordings representing and encompassing the distributions of all named taxa, including those currently considered not valid. Vocal analyses showed major variation within the complex, from which several trends could be identified between populations. We concluded that six species (C. arada, C. transfluvialis, C. modulator, C. salvini, C. interpositus and C. griseolateralis) should be recognized under the Phylogenetic Species Concept based on the diagnosis of stable plumage and vocal patterns of each.

RevDate: 2017-04-21
CmpDate: 2017-04-21

Schuchmann KL, Weller AA, D Jürgens (2016)

Biogeography and taxonomy of racket-tail hummingbirds (Aves: Trochilidae: Ocreatus): evidence for species delimitation from morphology and display behavior.

Zootaxa, 4200(1):zootaxa.4200.1.3 pii:zootaxa.4200.1.3.

We analyzed geographic variation, biogeography, and intrageneric relationships of racket-tail hummingbirds Ocreatus (Aves, Trochilidae). Presently, the genus is usually considered monospecific, with O. underwoodii including eight subspecies (polystictus, discifer, underwoodii, incommodus, melanantherus, peruanus, annae, addae), although up to three species have been recognized by some authors. In order to evaluate the current taxonomy we studied geographic variation in coloration, mensural characters, and behavioral data of all Ocreatus taxa. We briefly review the taxonomic history of the genus. Applying the Biological Species Concept, species delimitation was based on a qualitative-quantitative criteria analysis including an evaluation of character states. Our results indicate that the genus should be considered a superspecies with four species, the monotypic Ocreatus addae, O. annae, and O. peruanus, and the polytypic O. underwoodii (including the subspecies underwoodii, discifer, incommodus, melanantherus, polystictus). In this taxonomic treatment, O. annae becomes an endemic species to Peru and O. addae is endemic to Bolivia. We recommend additional sampling of distributional, ethological, and molecular data for an improved resolution of the evolutionary history of Ocreatus.

RevDate: 2017-06-27
CmpDate: 2017-06-27

Barrowclough GF, Cracraft J, Klicka J, et al (2016)

How Many Kinds of Birds Are There and Why Does It Matter?.

PloS one, 11(11):e0166307 pii:PONE-D-16-19136.

Estimates of global species diversity have varied widely, primarily based on variation in the numbers derived from different inventory methods of arthropods and other small invertebrates. Within vertebrates, current diversity metrics for fishes, amphibians, and reptiles are known to be poor estimators, whereas those for birds and mammals are often assumed to be relatively well established. We show that avian evolutionary diversity is significantly underestimated due to a taxonomic tradition not found in most other taxonomic groups. Using a sample of 200 species taken from a list of 9159 biological species determined primarily by morphological criteria, we applied a diagnostic, evolutionary species concept to a morphological and distributional data set that resulted in an estimate of 18,043 species of birds worldwide, with a 95% confidence interval of 15,845 to 20,470. In a second, independent analysis, we examined intraspecific genetic data from 437 traditional avian species, finding an average of 2.4 evolutionary units per species, which can be considered proxies for phylogenetic species. Comparing recent lists of species to that used in this study (based primarily on morphology) revealed that taxonomic changes in the past 25 years have led to an increase of only 9%, well below what our results predict. Therefore, our molecular and morphological results suggest that the current taxonomy of birds understimates avian species diversity by at least a factor of two. We suggest that a revised taxonomy that better captures avian species diversity will enhance the quantification and analysis of global patterns of diversity and distribution, as well as provide a more appropriate framework for understanding the evolutionary history of birds.

RevDate: 2018-01-28
CmpDate: 2017-08-09

Henrich T, M Kalbe (2016)

The role of prezygotic isolation mechanisms in the divergence of two parasite species.

BMC evolutionary biology, 16(1):245 pii:10.1186/s12862-016-0799-5.

BACKGROUND: The formation of reproductive barriers in diverging lineages is a prerequisite to complete speciation according to the biological species concept. In parasites with complex life cycles, speciation may be driven by adaptation to different intermediate hosts, yet diverging lineages can still share the same definitive host where reproduction takes place. In these cases, prezygotic isolation mechanisms should evolve very early and be particularly strong, preventing costly unfavourable matings. In this study, we investigated the importance of prezygotic barriers to reproduction in two cestode species that diverged 20-25mya and show an extraordinary degree of specificity to different intermediate hosts. Both species share the same definitive hosts and hybridize in the laboratory. Yet, natural hybrids have so far not been detected.

METHODS: We used a combination of different experiments to investigate the role of prezygotic barriers to reproduction in the speciation of these parasites. First, we investigated whether hybridization is possible under natural conditions by exposing lab-reared herring gulls (Larus argentatus, the definitive hosts) to both parasites of either sympatric or allopatric combinations. In a second experiment, we tested whether the parasites prefer conspecifics over parasites from a different species in dichotomous mate choice trials.

RESULTS: Our results show that the two species hybridize under natural conditions with parasites originating either from sympatric or allopatric populations producing hybrid offspring. Surprisingly, the mate choice experiment indicated that both parasite species prefer mates of the different species to conspecifics.

CONCLUSIONS: Neither fundamental constraints against hybridization in a natural host nor assortative mate choice sufficiently explain the persistent segregation of the two tapeworm species in nature. Hence, postzygotic ecological selection against hybrids is presumably the more important driving force limiting gene flow between the two parasite sister species.

RevDate: 2018-06-21
CmpDate: 2017-09-15

Schutze MK, Virgilio M, Norrbom A, et al (2017)

Tephritid Integrative Taxonomy: Where We Are Now, with a Focus on the Resolution of Three Tropical Fruit Fly Species Complexes.

Annual review of entomology, 62:147-164.

Accurate species delimitation underpins good taxonomy. Formalization of integrative taxonomy in the past decade has provided a framework for using multidisciplinary data to make species delimitation hypotheses more rigorous. We address the current state of integrative taxonomy by using as a case study an international project targeted at resolving three important tephritid species complexes: Bactrocera dorsalis complex, Anastrepha fraterculus complex, and Ceratitis FAR (C. fasciventris, C. anonae, C. rosa) complex. The integrative taxonomic approach has helped deliver significant advances in resolving these complexes: It has been used to identify some taxa as belonging to the same biological species as well as to confirm hidden cryptic diversity under a single taxonomic name. Nevertheless, the general application of integrative taxonomy has not been without issue, revealing challenges that must be considered when undertaking an integrative taxonomy project. Scrutiny of this international case study provides a unique opportunity to document lessons learned for the benefit of not only tephritid taxonomists, but also the wider taxonomic community.

RevDate: 2017-04-11
CmpDate: 2017-04-11

Bowie RC, Fjeldså J, Kiure J, et al (2016)

A new member of the greater double-collared sunbird complex (Passeriformes: Nectariniidae) from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Africa.

Zootaxa, 4175(1):23-42 pii:zootaxa.4175.1.3.

We document the discovery of the first population of greater double-collared sunbird (Cinnyris afer complex) from the Eastern Arc Mountains of Tanzania. We assessed phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic rank based on mtDNA sequence data, nine microsatellite loci and morphology. This new taxon, locally distributed in the Rubeho and Udzungwa Highlands, has close affinities (< 1% uncorrected sequence divergence) with C. whytei (split here from C. ludovicensis) of the Nyika Plateau in Malawi, but differs in having longer tarsi and in subtle plumage details. Although the birds from Nyika and Udzungwa-Rubeho are reciprocally monophyletic for mitochondrial DNA, coalescent analyses of the microsatellite data and the total molecular dataset could not reject the possibility of continued gene flow between the two populations. Thus, although we favour the phylogenetic species concept, we adopt a cautious approach and formally describe the Rubeho and Udzungwa greater double-collared sunbird population as a subspecies of Cinnyris whytei. This new sunbird taxon has been recorded only above 1700 m in scrub on the forest/grassland ecotone in a very restricted area in the Rubeho and Udzungwa Highlands of Tanzania. The effects of human settlement and agriculture threaten this taxon.

RevDate: 2017-04-18
CmpDate: 2017-04-18

Buainain N, Brito GR, Firme DH, et al (2016)

Taxonomic revision of Saffron-billed Sparrow Arremon flavirostris Swainson, 1838 (Aves: Passerellidae) with comments on its holotype and type locality.

Zootaxa, 4178(4):547-567 pii:zootaxa.4178.4.6.

The Saffron-billed Sparrow (Arremon flavirostris) complex occurs in the undergrowth of deciduous woodlands and forests from the Andes of Bolivia and northern Argentina to Paraguay and southern, mid-western and interior eastern Brazil. Currently four subspecies are recognized: A. f. flavirostris, A. f. polionotus, A. f. devillii and A. f. dorbignii. We review the taxonomy of this complex by analyzing coloration and morphometrics of a series of 234 skins, and by comparing 101 sound recordings. Our results suggest that under both the Phylogenetic and Biological Species Concept, three species should be recognized in this complex: A. flavirostris, A. polionotus and A. dorbignii. On the other hand, A. devillii should be considered a junior synonym of A. polionotus since these two have no constant differences in morphology and vocalization. These species are diagnosable by their coloration characters, but not by morphometrics. Vocalizations are useful in diagnosing A. flavirostris from A. dorbignii, but do not diagnose A. polionotus from the others. We show that part of the previous taxonomic confusion can be attributed to variation in back color of adult and immature A. polionotus. Finally, we comment on the recently located holotype of A. flavirostris, which was believed to be lost, and its type locality.

RevDate: 2018-02-26
CmpDate: 2018-01-29

Freudenstein JV, Broe MB, Folk RA, et al (2017)

Biodiversity and the Species Concept-Lineages are not Enough.

Systematic biology, 66(4):644-656.

The nature and definition of species continue to be matters of debate. Current views of species often focus on their nature as lineages-maximal reproductive communities through time. Whereas many authors point to the Evolutionary Species Concept as optimal, in its original form it stressed the ecological role of species as well as their history as lineages, but most recent authors have ignored the role aspect of the concept, making it difficult to apply unambiguously in a time-extended way. This trend has been exacerbated by the application of methods and concepts emphasizing the notion of monophyly, originally applied only at higher levels, to the level of individuals, as well as by the current emphasis on molecular data. Hence, some current authors recognize units that are no more than probable exclusive lineages as species. We argue that biodiversity is inherently a phenotypic concept and that role, as manifested in the organismal extended phenotype, is a necessary component of the species concept. Viewing species as historically connected populations with unique role brings together the temporal and phenotypic natures of species, providing a clear way to view species both in a time-limited and time-extended way. Doing so alleviates perceived issues with "paraphyletic species" and returns the focus of species to units that are most relevant for biodiversity.

RevDate: 2018-01-23
CmpDate: 2018-01-23

Darienko T, Gustavs L, T Pröschold (2016)

Species concept and nomenclatural changes within the genera Elliptochloris and Pseudochlorella (Trebouxiophyceae) based on an integrative approach.

Journal of phycology, 52(6):1125-1145.

The genera Elliptochloris and Pseudochlorella were erected for Chlorella-like green algae producing two types of autospores and cell packages, respectively. Both genera are widely distributed in different soil habitats, either as free living or as photobionts of lichens. The species of these genera are often difficult to identify because of the high phenotypic plasticity and occasional lack of characteristic features. The taxonomic and nomenclatural status of these species, therefore, remains unclear. In this study, 34 strains were investigated using an integrative approach. Phylogenetic analyses demonstrated that the isolates belong to two independent lineages of the Trebouxiophyceae (Elliptochloris and Prasiola clades) and confirmed that the genera are not closely related. The comparison of morphology, molecular phylogeny, and analyses of secondary structures of SSU and ITS rDNA sequences revealed that all of the strains belong to three genera: Elliptochloris, Pseudochlorella, and Edaphochlorella. As a consequence of the taxonomic revisions, we propose two new combinations (Elliptochloris antarctica and Pseudochlorella signiensis) and validate Elliptochloris reniformis, which is invalidly described according to the International Code for Nomenclature (ICN), by designating a holotype. To reflect the high phenotypic plasticity of P. signiensis, two new varieties were described: P. signiensis var. magna and P. signiensis var. communis. Chlorella mirabilis was not closely related to any of these genera and was, therefore, transferred to the new genus Edaphochlorella. All of the taxonomic changes were highly supported by all phylogenetic analyses and were confirmed by the ITS-2 Barcodes using the ITS-2/CBC approach.

RevDate: 2017-10-20
CmpDate: 2017-02-13

Adebowale A, Lamb J, Nicholas A, et al (2016)

ITS2 secondary structure for species circumscription: case study in southern African Strychnos L. (Loganiaceae).

Genetica, 144(6):639-650.

Recently developed computational tools in ITS2 sequence-structure phylogenetics are improving tree robustness by exploitation of the added information content of the secondary structure. Despite this strength, however, their adoption for species-level clarifications in angiosperms has been slow. We investigate the utility of combining ITS2 sequence and secondary structure to separate species of southern African Strychnos, and assess correlation between compensatory base changes (CBCs) and currently recognised species boundaries. Combined phylogenetic analysis of sequence and secondary structure datasets performed better, in terms of robustness and species resolution, than analysis involving primary sequences only, achieving 100 and 88.2 % taxa discriminations respectively. Further, the Strychnos madagascariensis complex is well-resolved by sequence-structure phylogenetic analysis. The 17 Strychnos species corresponded to 14 ITS2 CBC clades. Four of the five taxa in section Densiflorae belong to a single CBC clade, whose members tend to form natural hybrids. Our finding supports the application of ITS2 as a complementary barcoding marker for species identification. It also highlights the potential of comparative studies of ITS2 CBC features among prospective parental pairs in breeding experiments as a rapid proxy for cross compatibility assessment. This could save valuable time in crop improvement. Patterns of CBC evolution and species boundaries in Strychnos suggests a positive correlation. We conclude that the CBC pattern coupled with observed ITS2 sequence paraphyly in section Densiflorae points to a speciation work-in-progress.

RevDate: 2018-07-16
CmpDate: 2016-09-20

Paterson ID, Mangan R, Downie DA, et al (2016)

Two in one: cryptic species discovered in biological control agent populations using molecular data and crossbreeding experiments.

Ecology and evolution, 6(17):6139-6150 pii:ECE32297.

There are many examples of cryptic species that have been identified through DNA-barcoding or other genetic techniques. There are, however, very few confirmations of cryptic species being reproductively isolated. This study presents one of the few cases of cryptic species that has been confirmed to be reproductively isolated and therefore true species according to the biological species concept. The cryptic species are of special interest because they were discovered within biological control agent populations. Two geographically isolated populations of Eccritotarsus catarinensis (Carvalho) [Hemiptera: Miridae], a biological control agent for the invasive aquatic macrophyte, water hyacinth, Eichhornia crassipes (Mart.) Solms [Pontederiaceae], in South Africa, were sampled from the native range of the species in South America. Morphological characteristics indicated that both populations were the same species according to the current taxonomy, but subsequent DNA analysis and breeding experiments revealed that the two populations are reproductively isolated. Crossbreeding experiments resulted in very few hybrid offspring when individuals were forced to interbreed with individuals of the other population, and no hybrid offspring were recorded when a choice of mate from either population was offered. The data indicate that the two populations are cryptic species that are reproductively incompatible. Subtle but reliable diagnostic characteristics were then identified to distinguish between the two species which would have been considered intraspecific variation without the data from the genetics and interbreeding experiments. These findings suggest that all consignments of biological control agents from allopatric populations should be screened for cryptic species using genetic techniques and that the importation of multiple consignments of the same species for biological control should be conducted with caution.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-09-12

Lombard L, Houbraken J, Decock C, et al (2016)

Generic hyper-diversity in Stachybotriaceae.

Persoonia, 36:156-246.

The family Stachybotriaceae was recently introduced to include the genera Myrothecium, Peethambara and Stachybotrys. Members of this family include important plant and human pathogens, as well as several species used in industrial and commercial applications as biodegraders and biocontrol agents. However, the generic boundaries in Stachybotriaceae are still poorly defined, as type material and sequence data are not readily available for taxonomic studies. To address this issue, we performed multi-locus phylogenetic analyses using partial gene sequences of the 28S large subunit (LSU), the internal transcribed spacer regions and intervening 5.8S nrRNA (ITS), the RNA polymerase II second largest subunit (rpb2), calmodulin (cmdA), translation elongation factor 1-alpha (tef1) and β-tubulin (tub2) for all available type and authentic strains. Supported by morphological characters these data resolved 33 genera in the Stachybotriaceae. These included the nine already established genera Albosynnema, Alfaria, Didymostilbe, Myrothecium, Parasarcopodium, Peethambara, Septomyrothecium, Stachybotrys and Xepicula. At the same time the generic names Melanopsamma, Memnoniella and Virgatospora were resurrected. Phylogenetic inference further showed that both the genera Myrothecium and Stachybotrys are polyphyletic resulting in the introduction of 13 new genera with myrothecium-like morphology and eight new genera with stachybotrys-like morphology.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-09-12

Wang XW, Lombard L, Groenewald JZ, et al (2016)

Phylogenetic reassessment of the Chaetomium globosum species complex.

Persoonia, 36:83-133.

Chaetomium globosum, the type species of the genus, is ubiquitous, occurring on a wide variety of substrates, in air and in marine environments. This species is recognised as a cellulolytic and/or endophytic fungus. It is also known as a source of secondary metabolites with various biological activities, having great potential in the agricultural, medicinal and industrial fields. On the negative side, C. globosum has been reported as an air contaminant causing adverse health effects and as causal agent of human fungal infections. However, the taxonomic status of C. globosum is still poorly understood. The contemporary species concept for this fungus includes a broadly defined morphological diversity as well as a large number of synonymies with limited phylogenetic evidence. The aim of this study is, therefore, to resolve the phylogenetic limits of C. globosum s.str. and related species. Screening of isolates in the collections of the CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre (The Netherlands) and the China General Microbiological Culture Collection Centre (China) resulted in recognising 80 representative isolates of the C. globosum species complex. Thirty-six species are identified based on phylogenetic inference of six loci, supported by typical morphological characters, mainly ascospore shape. Of these, 12 species are newly described here. Additionally, C. cruentum, C. mollipilium, C. rectum, C. subterraneum and two varieties of C. globosum are synonymised under C. globosum s.str., and six species are resurrected, i.e. C. angustispirale, C. coarctatum, C. cochliodes, C. olivaceum, C. spiculipilium and C. subglobosum. Chaetomium ascotrichoides is segregated from C. madrasense and the genus name Chaetomidium is rejected. Five species, including C. globosum s.str., are typified here to stabilise their taxonomic status. A further evaluation of the six loci used in this study as potential barcodes indicated that the 28S large subunit (LSU) nrDNA and the internal transcribed spacer regions and intervening 5.8S nrRNA (ITS) gene regions were unreliable to resolve species, whereas β-tubulin (tub2) and RNA polymerase II second largest subunit (rpb2) showed the greatest promise as DNA barcodes for differentiating Chaetomium species. This study provides a starting point to establish a more robust classification system for Chaetomium and for the Chaetomiaceae.

RevDate: 2017-08-02
CmpDate: 2017-08-02

Matson PG, Ladd TM, Halewood ER, et al (2016)

Intraspecific Differences in Biogeochemical Responses to Thermal Change in the Coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi.

PloS one, 11(9):e0162313 pii:PONE-D-16-16942.

The species concept in marine phytoplankton is defined based on genomic, morphological, and functional properties. Reports of intraspecific diversity are widespread across major phytoplankton groups but the impacts of this variation on ecological and biogeochemical processes are often overlooked. Intraspecific diversity is well known within coccolithophores, which play an important role in the marine carbon cycle via production of particulate inorganic carbon. In this study, we investigated strain-specific responses to temperature in terms of morphology, carbon production, and carbonate mineralogy using a combination of microscopy, elemental analysis, flow cytometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Two strains of the cosmopolitan coccolithophore E. huxleyi isolated from different regions (subtropical, CCMP371; temperate, CCMP3266) were cultured under a range of temperature conditions (10°C, 15°C, and 20°C) using batch cultures and sampled during both exponential and stationary growth. Results for both strains showed that growth rates decreased at lower temperatures while coccosphere size increased. Between 15°C and 20°C, both strains produced similar amounts of total carbon, but differed in allocation of that carbon between particulate inorganic carbon (PIC) and particulate organic carbon (POC), though temperature effects were not detected. Between 10°C and 20°C, temperature effects on daily production of PIC and POC, as well as the cellular quota of POC were detected in CCMP3266. Strain-specific differences in coccolith shedding rates were found during exponential growth. In addition, daily shedding rates were negatively related to temperature in CCMP371 but not in CCMP3266. Despite differences in rates of particulate inorganic carbon production, both strains were found to produce coccoliths composed entirely of pure calcite, as established by solid-state 13C and 43Ca NMR and X-ray diffraction measurements. These results highlight the limitations of the species concept and the need for a trait-based system to better quantify diversity within marine phytoplankton communities.

RevDate: 2017-12-06
CmpDate: 2017-09-29

Yassin A (2017)

Drosophila yakuba mayottensis, a new model for the study of incipient ecological speciation.

Fly, 11(1):37-45.

A full understanding of how ecological factors drive the fixation of genetic changes during speciation is obscured by the lack of appropriate models with clear natural history and powerful genetic toolkits. In a recent study, we described an early stage of ecological speciation in a population of the generalist species Drosophila yakuba (melanogaster subgroup) on the island of Mayotte (Indian Ocean). On this island, flies are strongly associated with the toxic fruits of noni (Morinda citrifolia) and show a partial degree of pre-zygotic reproductive isolation. Here, I mine the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes and provide a full morphological description of this population. Only 29 nuclear sites (< 4 × 10-7 of the genome) are fixed in this population and absent from 3 mainland populations and the closest relative D. santomea, but no mitochondrial or morphological character distinguish Mayotte flies from the mainland. This result indicates that physiological and behavioral traits may evolve faster than morphology at the early stages of speciation. Based on these differences, the Mayotte population is designated as a new subspecies, Drosophila yakuba mayottensis subsp. nov., and its strong potential in understanding the genetics of speciation and plant-insect interactions is discussed.

RevDate: 2018-03-08
CmpDate: 2017-05-26

Caldararo N (2016)

Denisovans, Melanesians, Europeans, and Neandertals: The Confusion of DNA Assumptions and the Biological Species Concept.

Journal of molecular evolution, 83(1-2):78-87.

A number of recent articles have appeared on the Denisova fossil remains and attempts to produce DNA sequences from them. One of these recently appeared in Science by Vernot et al. (Science 352:235-239, 2016). We would like to advance an alternative interpretation of the data presented. One concerns the problem of contamination/degradation of the determined DNA sequenced. Just as the publication of the first Neandertal sequence included an interpretation that argued that Neandertals had not contributed any genes to modern humans, the Denisovan interpretation has considerable influence on ideas regarding human evolution. The new papers, however, confuse established ideas concerning the nature of species, as well as the use of terms like premodern, Archaic Homo, and Homo heidelbergensis. Examination of these problems presents a solution by means of reinterpreting the results. Given the claims for gene transfer among a number of Mid Pleistocene hominids, it may be time to reexamine the idea of anagenesis in hominid evolution.

RevDate: 2018-05-21
CmpDate: 2018-05-21

Mende MB, Bartel M, AK Hundsdoerfer (2016)

A comprehensive phylogeography of the Hyles euphorbiae complex (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) indicates a 'glacial refuge belt'.

Scientific reports, 6:29527 pii:srep29527.

We test the morphology based hypothesis that the Western Palaearctic spurge hawkmoths represent two species, the Eurasian H. euphorbiae and Afro-Macaronesian H. tithymali. It has been suggested that these species merged into several hybrid swarm populations, although a mitochondrial phylogeography revealed substructure with local differentiation. We analysed a three-gene mt-dataset (889 individuals) and 12 microsatellite loci (892 individuals). Microsatellite analyses revealed an overall weak differentiation and corroborated the superordinate division into two clusters. The data indicate that the populations studied belong to only one species according to the biological species concept, refuting the opening hypothesis. A future taxonomic revision appears necessary to reflect the division into two subgroups. Ancestral mitochondrial polymorphisms are retained in H. euphorbiae, indicating gene flow within a broad 'glacial refuge belt' and ongoing postglacial gene flow. Diverse patterns of extensive mito-nuclear discordance in the Mediterranean and the Middle East presumably evolved by more recent processes. This discordance indicates introgression of H. tithymali-related mitochondrial haplogroups, accompanied (to a lesser degree) by nuclear alleles, into Italian and Aegean H. euphorbiae populations as recently as the late Holocene. The complex mosaic of divergence and reintegration is assumed to have been influenced by locally differing environmental barriers to gene flow.

RevDate: 2017-10-14
CmpDate: 2017-05-17

Serrano-Villavicencio JE, Vendramel RL, G Siniciato Terra Garbino (2017)

Species, subspecies, or color morphs? Reconsidering the taxonomy of Callicebus Thomas, 1903 in the Purus-Madeira interfluvium.

Primates; journal of primatology, 58(1):159-167.

There have been recent disagreements as to how many taxa of titi monkeys, genus Callicebus, occur in the region between the Purus and Madeira rivers in western Brazilian Amazonia. Three parapatric taxa were proposed for the area: Callicebus caligatus, Callicebus stephennashi, and Callicebus dubius, but the latter has recently been considered a synonym of C. caligatus, even though both form monophyletic groups and are morphologically distinct. We analyzed the geographic variation in the pelage of Callicebus occurring between the Madeira and Purus rivers and concluded that the phenotypes attributed to C. caligatus and C. dubius are not individual morphs, but rather well-marked and geographically restricted varieties. For this reason, we classify Callicebus caligatus as a polytypic species with two subspecies: Callicebus caligatus caligatus and Callicebus caligatus dubius. This classification is corroborated by molecular evidence as well. The morphological and distributional data indicate that Callicebus stephennashi is a hybrid form of C. c. caligatus and C. c. dubius, due to the presence of intermediate characters. Therefore, until more precise locality records are provided and further evidence is presented, we consider Callicebus stephennashi to be a homonym of the two parental forms.

RevDate: 2017-07-24
CmpDate: 2017-07-24

Roberts A, Austin W, Evans K, et al (2016)

A New Integrated Approach to Taxonomy: The Fusion of Molecular and Morphological Systematics with Type Material in Benthic Foraminifera.

PloS one, 11(7):e0158754 pii:PONE-D-15-53464.

A robust and consistent taxonomy underpins the use of fossil material in palaeoenvironmental research and long-term assessment of biodiversity. This study presents a new integrated taxonomic protocol for benthic foraminifera by unequivocally reconciling the traditional taxonomic name to a specific genetic type. To implement this protocol, a fragment of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene is used in combination with 16 quantitative morphometric variables to fully characterise the benthic foraminiferal species concept of Elphidium williamsoni Haynes, 1973. A combination of live contemporary topotypic specimens, original type specimens and specimens of genetic outliers were utilised in this study. Through a series of multivariate statistical tests we illustrate that genetically characterised topotype specimens are morphologically congruent with both the holotype and paratype specimens of E. williamsoni Haynes, 1973. We present the first clear link between morphologically characterised type material and the unique SSU rRNA genetic type of E. williamsoni. This example provides a standard framework for the benthic foraminifera which bridges the current discontinuity between molecular and morphological lines of evidence, allowing integration with the traditional Linnaean roots of nomenclature to offer a new prospect for taxonomic stability.

RevDate: 2018-06-15
CmpDate: 2017-12-18

Walker LM, SL Stephenson (2016)

The Species Problem in Myxomycetes Revisited.

Protist, 167(4):319-338.

Species identification in the myxomycetes (plasmodial slime molds or myxogastrids) poses particular challenges to researchers as a result of their morphological plasticity and frequent alteration between sexual and asexual life strategies. Traditionally, myxomycete morphology has been used as the primary method of species delimitation. However, with the increasing availability of genetic information, traditional myxomycete taxonomy is being increasingly challenged, and new hypotheses continue to emerge. Due to conflicts that sometimes occur between traditional and more modern species concepts that are based largely on molecular data, there is a pressing need to revisit the discussion surrounding the species concept used for myxomycetes. Biological diversity is being increasingly studied with molecular methods and data accumulates at ever-faster rates, making resolution of this matter urgent. In this review, currently used and potentially useful species concepts (biological, morphological, phylogenetic and ecological) are reviewed, and an integrated approach to resolve the myxomycete species problem is discussed.

RevDate: 2018-03-01
CmpDate: 2018-01-11

Mutanen M, Kivelä SM, Vos RA, et al (2016)

Species-Level Para- and Polyphyly in DNA Barcode Gene Trees: Strong Operational Bias in European Lepidoptera.

Systematic biology, 65(6):1024-1040.

The proliferation of DNA data is revolutionizing all fields of systematic research. DNA barcode sequences, now available for millions of specimens and several hundred thousand species, are increasingly used in algorithmic species delimitations. This is complicated by occasional incongruences between species and gene genealogies, as indicated by situations where conspecific individuals do not form a monophyletic cluster in a gene tree. In two previous reviews, non-monophyly has been reported as being common in mitochondrial DNA gene trees. We developed a novel web service "Monophylizer" to detect non-monophyly in phylogenetic trees and used it to ascertain the incidence of species non-monophyly in COI (a.k.a. cox1) barcode sequence data from 4977 species and 41,583 specimens of European Lepidoptera, the largest data set of DNA barcodes analyzed from this regard. Particular attention was paid to accurate species identification to ensure data integrity. We investigated the effects of tree-building method, sampling effort, and other methodological issues, all of which can influence estimates of non-monophyly. We found a 12% incidence of non-monophyly, a value significantly lower than that observed in previous studies. Neighbor joining (NJ) and maximum likelihood (ML) methods yielded almost equal numbers of non-monophyletic species, but 24.1% of these cases of non-monophyly were only found by one of these methods. Non-monophyletic species tend to show either low genetic distances to their nearest neighbors or exceptionally high levels of intraspecific variability. Cases of polyphyly in COI trees arising as a result of deep intraspecific divergence are negligible, as the detected cases reflected misidentifications or methodological errors. Taking into consideration variation in sampling effort, we estimate that the true incidence of non-monophyly is ∼23%, but with operational factors still being included. Within the operational factors, we separately assessed the frequency of taxonomic limitations (presence of overlooked cryptic and oversplit species) and identification uncertainties. We observed that operational factors are potentially present in more than half (58.6%) of the detected cases of non-monophyly. Furthermore, we observed that in about 20% of non-monophyletic species and entangled species, the lineages involved are either allopatric or parapatric-conditions where species delimitation is inherently subjective and particularly dependent on the species concept that has been adopted. These observations suggest that species-level non-monophyly in COI gene trees is less common than previously supposed, with many cases reflecting misidentifications, the subjectivity of species delimitation or other operational factors.

RevDate: 2017-03-30
CmpDate: 2017-03-29

Groves C (2016)

Systematics of the Artiodactyla of China in the 21(st) century.

Dong wu xue yan jiu = Zoological research, 37(3):119-125.

In this paper, I have introduced the concept of the Evolutionary Species, and shown how it affects the taxonomy of the Artiodactyla of China. The "traditional" taxonomy of the Artiodactyla, which has remained almost unchanged for 100 years, relies on ill-formulated notions of species and subspecies, only slightly modified by the population-thinking of the 1930s. Species are populations (or metapopulations) differentiated by the possession of fixed heritable differences from other such populations (or metapopulations). In the Artiodactyla, there are many more species than "traditionally" recognised; this is by no means a drawback, as it enables the units of biodiversity to be identified in a testable fashion, and brings the taxonomy of large mammals into line with that long practised for small mammals. Species are likely to differentiate where there are natural gaps in the distribution of a genus, such as mountain blocks (for example in the genus Budorcas) or otherwise dissected habitat (for example in the genus Cervus). Natural hybridisation between distinct species is not an uncommon phenomenon, again illustrated well in the genus Cervus, where hybridisation between the elaphus and nippon groups occurs today and evidently occurred in the past, as shown by the distribution of mtDNA.

RevDate: 2017-11-16
CmpDate: 2016-06-14

Bichet O, Dupuch A, Hébert C, et al (2016)

Maintaining animal assemblages through single-species management: the case of threatened caribou in boreal forest.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America, 26(2):612-623.

With the intensification of human activities, preserving animal populations is a contemporary challenge of critical importance. In this context, the umbrella species concept is appealing because preserving a single species should result in the protection of multiple co-occurring species. Practitioners, though, face the task of having to find suitable umbrellas to develop single-species management guidelines. In North America, boreal forests must be managed to facilitate the recovery of the threatened boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus). Yet, the effect of caribou conservation on co-occurring animal species remains poorly documented. We tested if boreal caribou can constitute an effective umbrella for boreal fauna. Birds, small mammals, and insects were sampled along gradients of post-harvest and post-fire forest succession. Predictive models of occupancy were developed from the responses of 95 species to characteristics of forest stands and their surroundings. We then assessed the similarity of species occupancy expected between simulated harvested landscapes and a 90 000-km2 uncut landscape. Managed landscapes were simulated based on three levels of disturbance, two timber-harvest rotation cycles, and dispersed or aggregated cut-blocks. We found that management guidelines that were more likely to maintain caribou populations should also better preserve animal assemblages. Relative to fragmentation or harvest cycle, we detected a stronger effect of habitat loss on species assemblages. Disturbing 22%, 35%, and 45% of the landscape should result, respectively, in 80%, 60%, and 40% probability for caribou populations to be sustainable; in turn, this should result in regional species assemblages with Jaccard similarity indices of 0.86, 0.79, and 0.74, respectively, relative to the uncut landscape. Our study thus demonstrates the value of single-species management for animal conservation. Our quantitative approach allows for the evaluation of management guidelines prior to implementation, thereby providing a tool for establishing suitable compromises between economic and environmental sustainability of human activities.

RevDate: 2017-11-09
CmpDate: 2016-09-14

Han JG, Hyun MW, Kim CS, et al (2016)

Species identity of Phellinus linteus (sanghuang) extensively used as a medicinal mushroom in Korea.

Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea), 54(4):290-295.

Sanghuang is a medicinal mushroom that has gained particular attention in Korea. It has been extensively studied for the past few decades as a natural immune booster and cancer suppressor. Although the scientific name, Phellinus linteus, has been commonly used to refer to the sanghuang mushroom, the species identity of sanghuang has been called into question due to the ambiguity of its circumscription and the inadequacy of morphological distinctions within allied species. Because the species concept of sanghuang has been elucidated by recent molecular phylogenetic studies, it has become necessary to clarify the taxonomic positions of sanghuang strains extensively utilized in Korea. We conducted a phylogenetic analysis of 74 strains belonging to the P. linteus-baumii complex based on ITS nrDNA sequences. Parental stains of sanghuang varieties formally registered in the Korea Seed & Variety Service, including ASI 26046 (Corea sanghuang), 26114 (Boolro), and 26115 (HK 1-ho) were grouped with Sanghuangporus sanghuang instead of P. linteus in the inferred phylogeny.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-08-08

Malavasi V, Škaloud P, Rindi F, et al (2016)

DNA-Based Taxonomy in Ecologically Versatile Microalgae: A Re-Evaluation of the Species Concept within the Coccoid Green Algal Genus Coccomyxa (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta).

PloS one, 11(3):e0151137 pii:PONE-D-15-51238.

Coccomyxa is a genus of unicellular green algae of the class Trebouxiophyceae, well known for its cosmopolitan distribution and great ecological amplitude. The taxonomy of this genus has long been problematic, due to reliance on badly-defined and environmentally variable morphological characters. In this study, based on the discovery of a new species from an extreme habitat, we reassess species circumscription in Coccomyxa, a unicellular genus of the class Trebouxiophyceae, using a combination of ecological and DNA sequence data (analyzed with three different methods of algorithmic species delineation). Our results are compared with those of a recent integrative study of Darienko and colleagues that reassessed the taxonomy of Coccomyxa, recognizing 7 species in the genus. Expanding the dataset from 43 to 61 sequences (SSU + ITS rDNA) resulted in a different delimitation, supporting the recognition of a higher number of species (24 to 27 depending on the analysis used, with the 27-species scenario receiving the strongest support). Among these, C. melkonianii sp. nov. is described from material isolated from a river highly polluted by heavy metals (Rio Irvi, Sardinia, Italy). Analyses performed on ecological characters detected a significant phylogenetic signal in six different characters. We conclude that the 27-species scenario is presently the most realistic for Coccomyxa and we suggest that well-supported lineages distinguishable by ecological preferences should be recognized as different species in this genus. We also recommend that for microbial lineages in which the overall diversity is unknown and taxon sampling is sparse, as is often the case for green microalgae, the results of analyses for algorithmic DNA-based species delimitation should be interpreted with extreme caution.

RevDate: 2017-01-11
CmpDate: 2017-01-10

Spalding HL, Conklin KY, Smith CM, et al (2016)

New Ulvaceae (Ulvophyceae, Chlorophyta) from mesophotic ecosystems across the Hawaiian Archipelago.

Journal of phycology, 52(1):40-53.

Ulvalean algae (Chlorophyta) are most commonly described from intertidal and shallow subtidal marine environments worldwide, but are less well known from mesophotic environments. Their morphological simplicity and phenotypic plasticity make accurate species determinations difficult, even at the generic level. Here, we describe the mesophotic Ulvales species composition from 13 locations across 2,300 km of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Twenty-eight representative Ulvales specimens from 64 to 125 m depths were collected using technical diving, submersibles, and remotely operated vehicles. Morphological and molecular characters suggest that mesophotic Ulvales in Hawaiian waters form unique communities comprising four species within the genera Ulva and Umbraulva, each with discrete geographic and/or depth-related distributional patterns. Three genetically distinct taxa are supported by both plastid (rbcL and tufA) and nuclear (ITS1) markers, and are presented here as new species: Umbraulva kaloakulau, Ulva ohiohilulu, and Ulva iliohaha. We also propose a new Umbraulva species (Umbraulva kuaweuweu), which is closely related to subtidal records from New Zealand and Australia, but not formally described. To our knowledge, these are the first marine species descriptions from Hawai'i resulting from the collaboration of traditional Hawaiian nomenclature specialists, cultural practitioners and scientists. The difficulty of finding reliable diagnostic morphological characters for these species reflects a common problem worldwide of achieving accurate identification of ulvalean taxa using solely morphological criteria. Mesophotic Ulvales appear to be distinct from shallow-water populations in Hawai'i, but their degree of similarity to mesophotic floras in other locations in the Pacific remains unknown.

RevDate: 2016-03-18
CmpDate: 2016-07-26

Darienko T, T Pröschold (2015)

Genetic variability and taxonomic revision of the genus Auxenochlorella (Shihira et Krauss) Kalina et Puncocharova (Trebouxiophyceae, Chlorophyta).

Journal of phycology, 51(2):394-400.

The monotypic genus Auxenochlorella with its type species A. protothecoides is so far only known from specific habitats such as the sap of several tree species. Several varieties were described according to physiological performances in culture on different organic substrates. However, two strains designated as Auxenochlorella were isolated from other habitats (an endosymbiont of Hydra viridis and an aquatic strain from an acidic volcano stream). We studied those isolates and compared them with six strains of Auxenochlorella belonging to different varieties. The integrative approach used in this study revealed that all strains showed similar morphology but differed in their SSU and ITS rDNA sequences. The Hydra endosymbiont formed a sister taxon to A. protothecoides, which included the varieties protothecoides, galactophila, and communis. The variety acidicola is not closely related to Auxenochlorella and represented its own lineage within the Trebouxiophyceae. In view of these results, we propose a new species of Auxenochlorella, A. symbiontica, for the Hydra symbiont, and a new genus Pumiliosphaera, with its type species, P. acidophila, for acidophilic strain. These results are supported by several compensatory base changes in the conserved region of ITS-2 and ITS-2 DNA barcodes.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-03-09

Lombard L, Chen SF, Mou X, et al (2015)

New species, hyper-diversity and potential importance of Calonectria spp. from Eucalyptus in South China.

Studies in mycology, 80:151-188.

Plantation forestry is expanding rapidly in China to meet an increasing demand for wood and pulp products globally. Fungal pathogens including species of Calonectria represent a serious threat to the growth and sustainability of this industry. Surveys were conducted in the Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan Provinces of South China, where Eucalyptus trees in plantations or cuttings in nurseries displayed symptoms of leaf blight. Isolations from symptomatic leaves and soils collected close to infected trees resulted in a large collection of Calonectria isolates. These isolates were identified using the Consolidated Species Concept, employing morphological characters and DNA sequence comparisons for the β-tubulin, calmodulin, histone H3 and translation elongation factor 1-alpha gene regions. Twenty-one Calonectria species were identified of which 18 represented novel taxa. Of these, 12 novel taxa belonged to Sphaero-Naviculate Group and the remaining six to the Prolate Group. Southeast Asia appears to represent a centre of biodiversity for the Sphaero-Naviculate Group and this fact could be one of the important constraints to Eucalyptus forestry in China. The remarkable diversity of Calonectria species in a relatively small area of China and associated with a single tree species is surprising.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-02-19

Barrett PZ (2016)

Taxonomic and systematic revisions to the North American Nimravidae (Mammalia, Carnivora).

PeerJ, 4:e1658 pii:1658.

The Nimravidae is a family of extinct carnivores commonly referred to as "false saber-tooth cats." Since their initial discovery, they have prompted difficulty in taxonomic assignments and number of valid species. Past revisions have only examined a handful of genera, while recent advances in cladistic and morphometric analyses have granted us additional avenues to answering questions regarding our understanding of valid nimravid taxa and their phylogenetic relationships. To resolve issues of specific validity, the phylogenetic species concept (PSC) was utilized to maintain consistency in diagnosing valid species, while simultaneously employing character and linear morphometric analyses for confirming the validity of taxa. Determined valid species and taxonomically informative characters were then employed in two differential cladistic analyses to create competing hypotheses of interspecific relationships. The results suggest the validity of twelve species and six monophyletic genera. The first in depth reviews of Pogonodon and Dinictis returned two valid species (P. platycopis, P. davisi) for the former, while only one for the latter (D. felina). The taxonomic validity of Nanosmilus is upheld. Two main clades with substantial support were returned for all cladistic analyses, the Hoplophoneini and Nimravini, with ambiguous positions relative to these main clades for the European taxa: Eofelis, Dinailurictis bonali, and Quercylurus major; and the North American taxa Dinictis and Pogonodon. Eusmilus is determined to represent a non-valid genus for North American taxa, suggesting non-validity for Old World nimravid species as well. Finally, Hoplophoneus mentalis is found to be a junior synonym of Hoplophoneus primaevus, while the validity of Hoplophoneus oharrai is reinstated.

RevDate: 2017-10-30
CmpDate: 2017-04-03

Rezaei-Matehkolaei A, Rafiei A, Makimura K, et al (2016)

Epidemiological Aspects of Dermatophytosis in Khuzestan, southwestern Iran, an Update.

Mycopathologia, 181(7-8):547-553.

Dermatophytosis is among the most common superficial mycoses in Iran. The purpose of this report was to update the clinical and mycological features of human dermatophytosis in the Khuzestan, southwestern Iran. In the framework of a one-year survey, a total of 4120 skin, hair and nail samples obtained from the outpatients with symptoms suggestive of tinea were analyzed by using direct microscopy, culture and molecular identification methods. Strains isolated from cultures were subjected to amplification of the nuclear rDNA ITS regions in a PCR assay followed by an early established RFLP analysis. For confirmation of species identification, 100 isolates as representatives of all presumable species were subjected to ITS sequencing. Infection was confirmed in 1123 individuals (27.25 %) in the age range of 1-89 years by direct microscopy and/or culture including 603 males versus 520 females. Frequencies of infections were the highest and the lowest in age groups of 21-30 and 11-20 years, respectively. Tinea corporis was the most prevalent clinical manifestation followed by tinea cruris, tinea capitis, tinea manuum, tinea pedis, tinea unguium, tinea faciei and tinea barbae. Trichophyton interdigitale (58.7 %) was the most dominant isolate followed by Epidermophyton floccosum (35.4 %), Microsporum canis (3 %), T. rubrum (1.5 %), T. species of Arthroderma benhamiae (0.5 %), T. tonsurans (0.3 %) and T. violaceum (0.3 %). Other species included M. gypseum, M. fulvum and T. verrucosum (each one 0.1 %). Such a high occurrence of infection with T. interdigitale, which has not been reported from Iran, is due to the use of accurate molecular methods based on new species concept in dermatophytes. The prevalence of dermatophytoses caused by zoophilic species remarkably increased and Trichophyton species of A. benhamiae has emerged as a new agent of dermatophytosis in southwestern Iran, while infections due to anthropophilic species, except E. floccosum, took a decreasing trend.

RevDate: 2016-12-30
CmpDate: 2016-12-13

Jarvis ED (2016)

Perspectives from the Avian Phylogenomics Project: Questions that Can Be Answered with Sequencing All Genomes of a Vertebrate Class.

Annual review of animal biosciences, 4:45-59.

The rapid pace of advances in genome technology, with concomitant reductions in cost, makes it feasible that one day in our lifetime we will have available extant genomes of entire classes of species, including vertebrates. I recently helped cocoordinate the large-scale Avian Phylogenomics Project, which collected and sequenced genomes of 48 bird species representing most currently classified orders to address a range of questions in phylogenomics and comparative genomics. The consortium was able to answer questions not previously possible with just a few genomes. This success spurred on the creation of a project to sequence the genomes of at least one individual of all extant ∼10,500 bird species. The initiation of this project has led us to consider what questions now impossible to answer could be answered with all genomes, and could drive new questions now unimaginable. These include the generation of a highly resolved family tree of extant species, genome-wide association studies across species to identify genetic substrates of many complex traits, redefinition of species and the species concept, reconstruction of the genomes of common ancestors, and generation of new computational tools to address these questions. Here I present visions for the future by posing and answering questions regarding what scientists could potentially do with available genomes of an entire vertebrate class.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2017-01-02

Jiang W, He H, Li Y, et al (2016)

Taxonomic status and molecular phylogeography of two sibling species of Polytremis (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae).

Scientific reports, 6:20820 pii:srep20820.

The skipper Polytremis theca species complex is widely distributed in the south of the Qinling Mountains in China. A recent study of the Polytremis genus suggested that this species might encompass two differentiated lineages. We tested this hypothesis, by carrying out a phylogenetic study of this agricultural pest based on nationwide sampling and the evaluation of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers. We show that this species is actually an amalgamation of two sibling taxa (P. t. theca and P. t. fukia), which displayed levels of genetic divergence as great as those generally found between sister species in the Polytremis genus, suggesting that they actually correspond to two distinct species. The Divergence time estimates suggest that an active period of speciation within Polytremis occurred within the Pleistocene eras. Based on its distinct phylogenetic placement and geographical isolation, we suggest that the subspecies should be elevated to full species status under the phylogenetic species concept, which has significant management implications.

RevDate: 2017-02-20
CmpDate: 2016-02-02

Melendrez MC, Becraft ED, Wood JM, et al (2015)

Recombination Does Not Hinder Formation or Detection of Ecological Species of Synechococcus Inhabiting a Hot Spring Cyanobacterial Mat.

Frontiers in microbiology, 6:1540.

Recent studies of bacterial speciation have claimed to support the biological species concept-that reduced recombination is required for bacterial populations to diverge into species. This conclusion has been reached from the discovery that ecologically distinct clades show lower rates of recombination than that which occurs among closest relatives. However, these previous studies did not attempt to determine whether the more-rapidly recombining close relatives within the clades studied may also have diversified ecologically, without benefit of sexual isolation. Here we have measured the impact of recombination on ecological diversification within and between two ecologically distinct clades (A and B') of Synechococcus in a hot spring microbial mat in Yellowstone National Park, using a cultivation-free, multi-locus approach. Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) libraries were constructed from mat samples collected at 60°C and 65°C. Analysis of multiple linked loci near Synechococcus 16S rRNA genes showed little evidence of recombination between the A and B' lineages, but a record of recombination was apparent within each lineage. Recombination and mutation rates within each lineage were of similar magnitude, but recombination had a somewhat greater impact on sequence diversity than mutation, as also seen in many other bacteria and archaea. Despite recombination within the A and B' lineages, there was evidence of ecological diversification within each lineage. The algorithm Ecotype Simulation identified sequence clusters consistent with ecologically distinct populations (ecotypes), and several hypothesized ecotypes were distinct in their habitat associations and in their adaptations to different microenvironments. We conclude that sexual isolation is more likely to follow ecological divergence than to precede it. Thus, an ecology-based model of speciation appears more appropriate than the biological species concept for bacterial and archaeal diversification.

RevDate: 2016-04-22
CmpDate: 2016-09-12

Machado Pagani D, Brandão LR, Santos AR, et al (2016)

Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. and Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov., two tremellaceous yeast species from Brazil.

International journal of systematic and evolutionary microbiology, 66(4):1799-1806.

Two yeast species, Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. and Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov., in the family Rhynchogastremataceae of the Tremellales are proposed. The two species are related to six species of the genus Papiliotrema: Papiliotrema aureus, P. flavescens, P. terrestris, P. baii, P. ruineniae and P. wisconsinensis. The novel species are proposed on the basis of the sequence-based phylogenetic species concept with analysis of the D1/D2 region of the large subunit (LSU) rRNA gene and the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. A total of 16 strains of Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. were obtained from freshwater and bromeliad leaves collected in Brazil. Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. differs by 11, 12, 16, 14, 11 and 13 substitutions in the D1/D2 domain from the related species P. aureus, P. flavescens, P. terrestris, P. baii, P. ruineniae and P. wisconsinensis, respectively. Differences of 11 substitutions and 21 or more substitutions in ITS regions were found when the sequences of Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. were compared with P. wisconsinensis and its closest relatives. The type strain of Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. is UFMG-CM-Y374T (=CBS 13918T). Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov. is represented by two strains isolated from a flower of Miconia sp. and a water sample in Brazil. Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov. differs from the related species P. aureus and P. ruineniae by eight substitutions, from P. flavescens and P. terrestris by 11 substitutions, from P. baii by 10 substitutions and from P. wisconsinensis by 6 substitutions in the D1/D2 domain, and by 7 substitutions from P. wisconsinensis and more than 19 substitutions in the ITS region from its closest relatives. The type strain of Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov. is CBS 8358T (ML 3666T=DBVPG-4492T). The MycoBank numbers for Papiliotrema leoncinii sp. nov. and Papiliotrema miconiae sp. nov. are MB 813594 and MB 814882, respectively.

RevDate: 2017-07-30
CmpDate: 2016-10-21

Koch EL, Neiber MT, Walther F, et al (2016)

Presumable incipient hybrid speciation of door snails in previously glaciated areas in the Caucasus.

Molecular phylogenetics and evolution, 97:120-128.

Homoploid hybrid speciation, speciation by hybridization without a change in chromosome number, may be the result of an encounter of closely related species in a habitat that is different from that usually occupied by these species. In the northwestern Caucasus the land snail species Micropontica caucasica and M. circassica form two distinct entities with little admixture at low and intermediate altitudes. However, at higher altitudes in the Lagonaki plateau, which were repeatedly glaciated, Micropontica populations with intermediate characters occur. Admixture analyses based on AFLP data demonstrated that the populations from the Lagonaki plateau are homoploid hybrids that now form a cluster separate from the parental species. The Lagonaki populations are characterized by a mtDNA haplotype clade that has been found in the parental species only once. The fixation of this haplotype clade in most hybrid populations suggests that these haplotypes are better adapted to the cooler conditions in high altitude habitats and have replaced the haplotypes of the parental species in a selective sweep. The fixation of a presumably adaptive mitochondrial haplotype clade in the Lagonaki populations is an important step towards speciation under the differential fitness species concept.

RevDate: 2015-12-02
CmpDate: 2016-09-27

Lafon-Placette C, Vallejo-Marín M, Parisod C, et al (2016)

Current plant speciation research: unravelling the processes and mechanisms behind the evolution of reproductive isolation barriers.

The New phytologist, 209(1):29-33.

RevDate: 2015-12-02
CmpDate: 2016-08-11

Boano G, Vinals N, Durante A, et al (2015)

Apparent sympatry of Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus Schmidt & Angehr, 2008 and S. xanthogaster Sharpe, 1903 (Passeriformes: Muscicapidae) in Gabon, and taxonomic implications.

Zootaxa, 4032(1):127-133 pii:zootaxa.4032.1.7.

We report the occurrence of the recently-described Stiphrornis pyrrholaemus in the Makokou area, northeastern Gabon, more than 600 kilometers NE from its type locality, in areas covered by dense primary to secondary forest. The previous records of Stiphrornis from the same area were referred to S. xanthogaster. We confirm this attribution on the basis of museum specimens. Although several recent sources treat all Stiphrornis as a single species, our findings strongly suggest the sympatric coexistence of two Stiphrornis species and thus that they should be treated as separate species under the Biological Species Concept.


RJR Experience and Expertise


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

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

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

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

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

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