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The Chihuahuan Desert includes many endemic angiosperm species, some having very restricted geographic ranges. One of these species is Oreocarya crassipes (I. M. Johnst.) Hasenstab & M. G. Simpson, an endangered distylous gypsophile from the Trans-Pecos region in southern Brewster County, Texas, USA. The species is known from 10 populations, and this small number of populations, human development in the area, a distylous breeding system, and edaphic requirements threaten the long-term viability of the species. Using both hundreds of single nucleotide polymorphisms identified via tunable genotyping-by-sequencing (tGBS) and 10 microsatellite loci, patterns of genetic diversity, demography, selection, and migration were examined for 192 individuals from four populations of O. crassipes. From the sampled individuals, two populations (clusters) were identified via multiple methodologies and with both types of data. With SNP data, population substructure was further resolved among one of these populations to identify two distinct groups of individuals. Multiple individuals recognized as having mixed ancestry, along with Fst values and AMOVA results, provide evidence of genetic exchange among populations, which is less common for gypsophiles than non-gypsophiles, and the rate of migration among populations has been increasing recently. The Fst values for O. crassipes are more similar to those of other rare species than to other gypsophiles. Additionally, while distyly specifically does not necessarily impact the population genetics of the species, allogamy, which is facilitated by distyly, seems to have played a role in the genetic structure of O. crassipes.
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1. Plantation silviculture is increasing globally and is particularly intensive in temperate coniferous forests, where densely planting trees requires practices common to non-conifer systems that can alter forest floor microhabitat, and potentially threaten amphibian persistence. Most declining amphibian species depend on specific forest microhabitats as terrestrial refugia, but amphibian extirpation associated with tree harvest alone appears unlikely, suggesting that impacts of planting forests on groundcover might better predict recent declines in amphibian occupancy. 2. We repeatedly sampled larval presence or absence of 10 amphibian species native to temperate coniferous forest in the Southeastern United States for one year at 62 isolated wetlands located in either naturally regenerating or planted forest (plantation) to assess three direct ways that planted forests might reduce amphibian breeding site occupancy by: 1) increasing conifer densities, 2) decreasing groundcover, and 3) an indirect pathway, whereby increased tree densities at plantations might reduce groundcover and thus amphibian site occupancy. 3. After controlling for wetland traits and accounting for differences in detection, breeding site occupancy for 8/10 amphibian species was dependent upon whether forests were planted surrounding wetlands (within 300 m). Herbaceous groundcover, not canopy, most commonly influenced occupancy and increased occupancy for declining surface active or fossorial amphibians. 4. Path analyses showed that, by directly and indirectly reducing groundcover (via conifer densities), plantations had significantly lower occupancy of two declining surface active or fossorial frog species, whereas two common aquatic frog species were tolerant to planting conifers. Among declining species, salamanders showed a greater reduction in occupancy than anurans, likely because of greater vulnerability to the drier forest floor conditions of plantation than naturally regenerating forests. 5. Synthesis and applications: Direct negative impacts of coniferous plantation on amphibians can be addressed by limiting groundcover and soil impacts, including switching from high intensity practices, such as mechanical chopping vegetation or bedding soil, to lower intensity site preparation treatments that are less likely to significantly disturb groundcover. Indirect negative effects of dense canopy cover at planted forests could be lowered by periodically thinning canopies prior to final harvest, thus increasing intact forest groundcover and the conservation of both common and declining amphibians.
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Although genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) is a well-established marker technology in diploids, the development of best practices for tetraploid species is a topic of current research. We determined the theoretical relationship between read depth and the phred-scaled probability of genotype misclassification, conditioned on the true genotype, which we call Expected Genotype Quality (EGQ). If the GBS method has 0.5% allelic error, then 17 reads are needed to classify simplex tetraploids as heterozygous with 95% accuracy (EGQ = 13) compared with 61 reads to determine allele dosage. We developed an R script to convert tetraploid GBS data in Variant Call Format (VCF) into diploidized genotype calls and applied it to 267 interspecific hybrids of the tetraploid forage grass Urochloa (syn. Brachiaria). When reads were aligned to a mock reference genome created from GBS data of the U. brizantha cultivar ‘Marandu’, 25,678 bi-allelic SNPs were discovered, compared to approximately 3000 SNPs when aligning to the closest true reference genomes, Setaria viridis and S. italica. Cross-validation revealed that missing genotypes were imputed by the Random Forest method with a median accuracy of 0.85, regardless of heterozygote frequency. Using the Urochloa spp. hybrids, we illustrated how filtering samples based only on GQ creates genotype bias; a depth threshold based on EGQ is also needed, regardless of whether genotypes are called using a diploidized or allele dosage model.
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C. elegans is an animal with few cells, but a striking diversity of cell types. Here, we characterize the molecular basis for their specification by profiling the transcriptomes of 86,024 single embryonic cells. We identify 502 terminal and pre-terminal cell types, mapping most single cell transcriptomes to their exact position in C. elegans’ invariant lineage. Using these annotations, we find that: 1) the correlation between a cell’s lineage and its transcriptome increases from mid to late gastrulation, then falls dramatically as cells in the nervous system and pharynx adopt their terminal fates; 2) multilineage priming contributes to the differentiation of sister cells at dozens of lineage branches; and 3) most distinct lineages that produce the same anatomical cell type converge to a homogenous transcriptomic state.
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Our understanding of the ecology and phylogenetic relationships of Pachycormiformes, a group of Mesozoic stem teleosts including the iconic Leedsichthys, has often been hindered by a lack of comprehensive morphological information. Micro‐CT scanning of an articulated, although flattened, cranium of the edentulous Martillichthys renwickae from the Middle Jurassic (Callovian) Oxford Clay of the UK reveals previously unknown internal details of the most complete suspension‐feeding pachycormiform skull known, including the palate, braincase and branchial skeleton. The latter preserves gill rakers with elongate, pointed projections similar to those of Asthenocormus, in contrast to the finer fimbriations associated with Leedsichthys. We also reinterpret some previously described features, including dermal bone patterns of the snout, skull roof and lower jaw, and the morphology of the ventral hyoid arch. These new anatomical data reinforce the phylogenetic placement of Martillichthys as part of the Jurassic clade of edentulous pachycormiforms. The elongate skull geometry of these Jurassic taxa is strikingly similar to that of Ohmdenia, the sister taxon to edentulous pachycormiforms, but contrasts sharply with the morphology of the Late Cretaceous edentulous pachycormiform Bonnerichthys, raising questions over the phylogenetic relationships among these taxa. Most significantly, Martillichthys shows specialized characters with a restricted phylogenetic distribution among suspension‐feeding pachycormiforms, including the distinctive gill rakers and a greatly extended occipital stalk. Our analysis of Martillichthys supports past interpretations of a close relationship with Asthenocormus, and provides a model for interpreting the less complete remains of other members of this enigmatic group of fishes.
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Analysing genomic variation within and between sister species is a first step towards understanding species boundaries. We focused on two sister species of cold-resistant leaf beetles, Gonioctena quinquepunctata and G. intermedia, whose ranges overlap in the Alps. A previous study of DNA sequence variation had revealed multiple instances of mitochondrial genome introgression in this region, suggesting recent hybridizations between the two species. To evaluate the extent of gene exchange resulting from these hybridization events, we sampled individuals of both species inside and outside the hybrid zone and analysed genomic variation among them using RAD-seq markers. Individual levels of introgression in the nuclear genome were estimated first by defining species-specific SNPs (displaying a fixed difference between species) a priori, and second by using model-based methods. Both types of analyses indicated little gene exchange, if any, between species at the level of the nuclear genome. While the first method suggested slightly more gene flow, we argue that it has likely overestimated introgression in the phylogeographic context of this study. We conclude that strong intrinsic barriers prevent genetic exchange at the level of the nuclear genome between the two species. The apparent discrepancy observed between introgression occurring in the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes could be explained by selection acting in favour of the latter. Also, these results have consequences for the phylogeographic study of each species, since we can assume that genetic diversity in the overlapping portion of their ranges is not the product of introgression.
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Identifying correlates of extinction risk is important for understanding the underlying mechanisms driving differential rates of extinction and variability in the temporal durations of taxa. Increasingly, it is recognized that the effects of multiple, potentially interacting variables and phylogenetic relationships should be incorporated when studying extinction selectivity to account for covariation of traits and shared evolutionary history. Here, I explore a variety of biological and ecological controls on genus longevity in the global fossil record of diplobathrid crinoids by analyzing the combined effects of species richness, habitat preference, body size, filtration fan density, and food size selectivity. I employ a suite of taxic and phylogenetic approaches to (1) quantitatively compare and rank the relative effects of multiple factors on taxonomic longevity, and (2) determine how phylogenetic comparative approaches alter interpretations of extinction selectivity. I find controls on diplobathrid genus duration are hierarchically structured, where species richness is the primary predictor of duration, habitat is the secondary predictor, and a combination of ecological and biological traits are tertiary controls. Ecology plays an important but complex role in the generation of crinoid macroevolutionary patterns. Notably, tolerance of environmental heterogeneity promotes increased genus duration across diplobathrid crinoids, and the effects of traits related to feeding ecology vary depending on habitat lithology. Finally, I find accounting for phylogeny does not consistently decrease the significance of correlations between traits and genus duration, as is commonly expected. Instead, the strength of relationships between traits and duration may increase, decrease, or remain statistically similar, and both the magnitude and direction of these shifts are generally unpredictable. However, traits with strong correlations and/or moderately large effect sizes (Cohen’s f2 > 0.15) under taxic approaches tend to remain qualitatively unchanged under phylogenetic approaches.
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Information on how migratory populations are genetically structured during the overwintering season of the annual cycle can improve our understanding of the strength of migratory connectivity and help identify populations as units for management. Here, we use a genotype-by-sequencing approach to investigate whether population genetic structure exists among overwintering aggregations of the Pacific Dunlin subspecies (Calidris alpina pacifica) sampled at two spatial scales (i.e. within and among overwintering sites) in the eastern Pacific Flyway. Genome-wide analyses of 874 single nucleotide polymorphisms across 80 sampled individuals revealed no evidence for genetic differentiation among aggregations overwintering at three locations within the Fraser River Estuary (FRE) of British Columbia. Similarly, comparisons of aggregations in the FRE and those overwintering in southern sites in California and Mexico indicated no genetic segregation between northern and southern overwintering areas. These results suggest that Pacific Dunlin residing within the FRE, Sacramento Valley (California) and Guerrero Negro (Mexico) are genetically homogeneous, with no evident genetic structure between sampled sites or regions across the overwintering range. Despite no evidence for differentiation among aggregations, we identified a significant effect of geographical distance between sites on the distribution of individual genotypes in a redundancy analysis; however, a small proportion of the total genotypic variance (R2 = 0.036, P = 0.011) was explained by the combined effect of latitude and longitude, suggesting weak genomic patterns of isolation-by-distance that are consistent with chain-like migratory connectivity between breeding and overwintering areas. Our study represents the first genome-scale investigation of population structure for a Dunlin subspecies and provides essential baseline estimates of genomic diversity and differentiation within the Pacific Dunlin.
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Animal personality traits are often heritable and plastic at the same time. Indeed, behaviors that reflect an individual's personality can respond to environmental factors or change with age. To date, little is known regarding personality changes during a wild animals' lifetime and even less about stability in heritability of behavior across ages. In this study, we investigated age‐related changes in the mean and in the additive genetic variance of exploratory behavior, a commonly used measure of animal personality, in a wild population of great tits. Heritability of exploration is reduced in adults compared to juveniles, with a low genetic correlation across these age classes. A random regression animal model confirmed the occurrence of genotype–age interactions (G×A) in exploration, causing a decrease in additive genetic variance before individuals become 1 year old, and a decline in cross‐age genetic correlations between young and increasingly old individuals. Of the few studies investigating G×A in behaviors, this study provides rare evidence for this phenomenon in an extensively studied behavior. We indeed demonstrate that heritability and cross‐age genetic correlations in this behavior are not stable over an individual's lifetime, which can affect its potential response to selection. Because G×A is likely to be common in behaviors and have consequences for our understanding of the evolution of animal personality, more attention should be turned to this phenomenon in the future work.
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Mathematical models of childhood diseases date back to the early twentieth century. In several cases, models that make the simplifying assumption of homogeneous time-dependent transmission rates give good agreement with data in the absence of secular trends in population demography or transmission. The prime example is afforded by the dynamics of measles in industrialized countries in the pre-vaccine era. Accurate description of the transient dynamics following the introduction of routine vaccination has proved more challenging, however. This is true even in the case of measles which has a well-understood natural history and an effective vaccine that confers long-lasting protection against infection. Here, to shed light on the causes of this problem, we demonstrate that, while the dynamics of homogeneous and age-structured models can be qualitatively similar in the absence of vaccination, they diverge subsequent to vaccine roll-out. In particular, we show that immunization induces changes in transmission rates, which in turn reshapes the age distribution of infection prevalence, which effectively modulates the amplitude of seasonality in such systems. To examine this phenomenon empirically, we fit transmission models to measles notification data from London that span the introduction of the vaccine. We find that a simple age-structured model provides a much better fit to the data than does a homogeneous model, especially in the transition period from the pre-vaccine to the vaccine era. Thus, we propose that age structure and heterogeneities in contact rates are critical features needed to accurately capture transient dynamics in the presence of secular trends.
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