51 Works

Precision mapping of snail habitat provides a powerful indicator of human schistosomiasis transmission

Chelsea Wood, Susanne Sokolow, Isabel Jones, Andrew Chamberlin, Kevin Lafferty, Armand Kuris, Merlijn Jocque, Skylar Hopkins, Grant Adams, Julia Buck, Andrea Lund, Ana Garcia-Vedrenne, Evan Fiorenza, Jason Rohr, Fiona Allan, Bonnie Webster, Muriel Rabone, Joanne Webster, Lydie Bandagny, Raphael Ndione, Simon Senghor, Anne-Marie Schacht, Nicolas Jouanard, Gilles Riveau & Giulio De Leo
Recently, the World Health Organization recognized that efforts to interrupt schistosomiasis transmission through mass drug administration have been ineffective in some regions; one of their new recommended strategies for global schistosomiasis control emphasizes targeting the freshwater snails that transmit schistosome parasites. We sought to identify robust indicators that would enable precision targeting of these snails. At the site of the world’s largest recorded schistosomiasis epidemic—the Lower Senegal River Basin in Senegal—intensive sampling revealed positive relationships...

Ancient mitogenomics clarifies radiation of extinct Mascarene giant tortoises (Cylindraspis spp.)

Christian Kehlmaier, Eva Graciá, Patrick D. Campbell, Margaretha D. Hofmeyr, Silke Schweiger, Albert Martínez-Silvestre, Walter Joyce & Uwe Fritz
The five extinct giant tortoises of the genus Cylindraspis belong to the most iconic species of the enigmatic fauna of the Mascarene Islands that went largely extinct after the discovery of the islands. To resolve the phylogeny and biogeography of Cylindraspis, we analysed a data set of 45 mitogenomes that includes all lineages of extant tortoises and eight near-complete sequences of all Mascarene species extracted from historic and subfossil material. Cylindraspis is an ancient lineage...

Revisiting a landmark study-system: no evidence for a punctuated mode of evolution in Metrarabdotos

Kjetil Voje, Emanuela Di Martino & Arthur Porto
Is speciation generally a ‘special time’ in morphological evolution or are lineage splitting events just ‘more of the same’ where the end product happens to be two separate lineages? Data on evolutionary dynamics during anagenetic and cladogenetic events among closely related lineages within a clade are rare, but the fossil record of the bryozoan genus Metrarabdotos is considered a textbook example of a clade where speciation causes rapid evolutionary change against a backdrop of morphological...

Data from: Fine-scale appendage structure of the Cambrian trilobitomorph Naraoia spinosa and its ontogenetic and ecological implications

Dayou Zhai, Gregory Edgecombe, Andrew Bond, Huijuan Mai, Xianguang Hou & Yu Liu
Trilobitomorphs are a species-rich Palaeozoic arthropod assemblage that unites trilobites with several other lineages that share similar appendage structure. Post-embryonic development of the exoskeleton is well documented for some trilobitomorphs, especially trilobites, but little is known of the ontogeny of their soft parts, limiting understanding of their autecology. Here we document appendage structure of the Cambrian naraoiid trilobitomorph Naraoia spinosa by computed microtomography, resulting in three-dimensional reconstructions of appendages at both juvenile and adult stages....

Origin and adaptive radiation of the exceptional and threatened bembidiine beetle fauna of St Helena (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

David Maddison, John Sproul & Howard Mendel
The central peaks of the isolated island of St Helena (in the south Atlantic Ocean) are home to an extraordinary set of ground beetles of the tribe Bembidiini, and belong to three endemic genus-group taxa. These beetles are strikingly different in overall body form from the many bembidiines found elsewhere in the world. At least some of the St Helena species are likely extinct, and all are threatened by habitat destruction and invasive species. Through...

Data from: To remain or leave: dispersal variation and its genetic consequences in benthic freshwater invertebrates

Paolo Ruggeri, Ellen Pasternack & Beth Okamura
Variation in dispersal capacity may influence population genetic variation and relatedness of freshwater animals and hence provide insights on patterns and processes that influence biodiversity. The majority of studies addressing this issue have focused on dispersal variation in in fish inhabiting riverine systems whose dendritic nature and upstream/downstream gradients facilitate characterizing populations along networks. We undertook extensive, large-scale investigations of two freshwater bryozoans species whose dispersive propagules (statoblasts) are either attached to surfaces (Fredericella sultana)...

Data from: Diet variability among insular populations of Podarcis lizards reveals diverse strategies to face resource-limited environments

Maxime Taverne, Anne-Claire Fabre, Nina King-Gillies, Marija Krajnović, Duje Lisičić, Louise Martin, Leslie Michal, Donat Petricioli, Anamaria Stambuk, Zoran Tadić, Chloé Vigliotti, Beck Wehrle & Anthony Herrel
Access to resources is a dynamic and multi-causal process that determines the success and survival of a population. It is therefore often challenging to disentangle the factors affecting ecological traits like diet. Insular habitats provide a good opportunity to study how variation in diet originates, in particular in populations of mesopredators such as lizards. Indeed, high levels of population density associated with low food abundance and low predation are selection pressures typically observed on islands....

Data from: The first skeletal record of the enigmatic Cretaceous sawfish genus Ptychotrygon (Chondrichthyes, Batoidea) from the Turonian of Morocco

Eduardo Villalobos-Segura, Charlie Underwood & David Ward
A new fossil batoid (ray) Ptychotrygon rostrispatula sp. nov. is described from five exceptionally well-preserved, three-dimensional skeletal remains from the Turonian (Late Cretaceous) of Morocco. These specimens represent the first known skeletal remains for the genus Ptychotrygon and allow an almost complete description of the genus providing a new insight to its phylogenetic relations and validate its taxonomic status as a member of the Sclerorhynchoidei. Mechanical preparation of the fossil remains revealed a relatively large...

Data from: Interspecific interactions through 2 million years: are competitive outcomes predictable?

Lee Hsiang Liow, Emanuela Di Martino, Kjetil Lysne Voje, Seabourne Rust & Paul D. Taylor
Ecological interactions affect the survival and reproduction of individuals. However, ecological interactions are notoriously difficult to measure in extinct populations, hindering our understanding of how the outcomes of interactions such as competition vary in time and influence long-term evolutionary changes. Here, the outcomes of spatial competition in a temporally continuous community over evolutionary timescales are presented for the first time. Our research domain is encrusting cheilostome bryozoans from the Wanganui Basin of New Zealand over...

Data from: Lepidosaurian diversity in the Mesozoic–Paleogene: the potential roles of sampling biases and environmental drivers

Terri J. Cleary, Roger B.J. Benson, Susan E. Evans, Paul M. Barrett & Roger B. J. Benson
Lepidosauria is a speciose clade with a long evolutionary history, but there have been few attempts to explore its taxon-richness through time. Here we estimate patterns of terrestrial lepidosaur genus diversity for the Triassic–Paleogene (252–23 Ma), and compare observed and sampling-corrected richness curves generated using Shareholder Quorum Subsampling and classical rarefaction. Generalized least-squares regression (GLS) is used to investigate the relationships between richness, sampling and environmental proxies. We found low levels of richness from the...

Data from: No deep diving: evidence of predation on epipelagic fish for a stem beaked whale from the late Miocene of Peru

Olivier Lambert, Alberto Collareta, Walter Landini, Klaas Post, Benjamin Ramassamy, Claudio Di Celma, Mario Urbina-Schmitt & Giovanni Bianucci
Although modern beaked whales (Ziphiidae) are known to be highly specialized toothed whales that predominantly feed at great depths upon benthic and benthopelagic prey, only limited palaeontological data document this major ecological shift. We report on a ziphiid–fish assemblage from the Late Miocene of Peru that we interpret as the first direct evidence of a predator–prey relationship between a ziphiid and epipelagic fish. Preserved in a dolomite concretion, a skeleton of the stem ziphiid Messapicetus...

Data from: Body mass estimates of an exceptionally complete Stegosaurus (Ornithischia: Thyreophora): comparing volumetric and linear bivariate mass estimation methods

Charlotte A. Brassey, Susannah Maidment, Paul Barrett, P. M. Barrett & C. A. Brassey
Body mass is a key biological variable, but difficult to assess from fossils. Various techniques exist for estimating body mass from skeletal parameters, but few studies have compared outputs from different methods. Here, we apply several mass estimation methods to an exceptionally complete skeleton of the dinosaur Stegosaurus. Applying a volumetric convex-hulling technique to a digital model of Stegosaurus, we estimate a mass of 1560 kg (95% prediction interval 1082–2256 kg) for this individual. By...

Data from: A phylogenetic backbone for Bivalvia: an RNA-seq approach

Vanessa L. González, Sónia C. S. Andrade, Rüdiger Bieler, Timothy M. Collins, Casey W. Dunn, Paula M. Mikkelsen, John D. Taylor, Gonzalo Giribet, S. C. S. Andrade, G. Giribet, V. L. Gonzalez, T. M. Collins, J. D. Taylor & R. Bieler
Bivalves are an ancient and ubiquitous group of aquatic invertebrates with an estimated 10 000–20 000 living species. They are economically significant as a human food source, and ecologically important given their biomass and effects on communities. Their phylogenetic relationships have been studied for decades, and their unparalleled fossil record extends from the Cambrian to the Recent. Nevertheless, a robustly supported phylogeny of the deepest nodes, needed to fully exploit the bivalves as a model...

Data from: Spatial heterogeneity in the Mediterranean Biodiversity Hotspot affects barcoding accuracy of its freshwater fishes

Matthias F. Geiger, Fabian Herder, Michael T. Monaghan, Vitor Almada, Roberta Barbieri, Michel Bariche, Patrick Berrebi, Jörg Bohlen, Miriam Casal-Lopez, Gaël P. J. Denys, Agnès Dettai, Ignacio Doadrio, Elena Kalogianni, Heiko Kärst, Maurice Kottelat, Marcelo Kovačić, Martin Laporte, Massimo Lorenzoni, Zoran Marčić, Müfit Özuluğ, Anabel Perdices, Silvia Perea, Henri Persat, Stefano Porcellotti, Cesare Puzzi … & G. B. Delmastro
Incomplete knowledge of biodiversity remains a stumbling block for conservation planning, and even occurs within globally important Biodiversity Hotspots. Although technical advances have boosted the power of molecular biodiversity assessments, the link between DNA sequences and species and the analytics to discriminate entities, remain crucial. Here, we present an analysis of the first DNA barcode library for the freshwater fish fauna of the Mediterranean Biodiversity Hotspot (526 spp.), with virtually complete species coverage (498 spp.,...

Data from: The monophyly of Euparkeriidae (Reptilia: Archosauriformes) and the origins of Archosauria: a revision of Dorosuchus neoetus from the Mid-Triassic of Russia

Roland B. Sookias, Andrey G. Sennikov, David J. Gower & Richard J. Butler
Euparkeria capensis is resolved as the sister taxon to crown Archosauria in many cladistic phylogenies and provides a key outgroup which may approximate the ancestral archosaur morphology. Several other taxa have been referred to the family Euparkeriidae, but the monophyly of this taxon remains doubtful and largely untested. In order to test this monophyly, the archosauriform and putative euparkeriid Dorosuchus neoetus from the Mid-Triassic of Russia is reexamined in light of recent work on the...

Data from: Molecular phylogenetics of Gobioidei and phylogenetic placement of European gobies

Ainhoa Agorreta, Diego San Mauro, Ulrich Schliewen, James L. Van Tassell, Marcelo Kovačić, Rafael Zardoya & Lukas Rüber
Gobioidei is one of the largest suborders of teleost fishes, with nearly 2000 extant species currently recognized. They have a worldwide distribution and show a spectacular variety in morphology, ecology, and behavior. Despite their importance, phylogenetic relationships among many groups of gobioids (including some of the major lineages) still remain poorly understood. In this study, we analyze sequence data of five molecular markers (two mitochondrial and three nuclear) averaging 6000 bp for 222 species of...

Data from: A congruent phylogenomic signal places eukaryotes within the Archaea.

Tom A. Williams, Peter G. Foster, Tom M. W. Nye, Cymon J. Cox, T. Martin Embley, T. M. W. Nye, T. A. Williams, P. G. Foster, T. M. Embley & C. J. Cox
Determining the relationships among the major groups of cellular life is important for understanding the evolution of biological diversity, but is difficult given the enormous time spans involved. In the textbook 'three domains' tree based on informational genes, eukaryotes and Archaea share a common ancestor to the exclusion of Bacteria. However, some phylogenetic analyses of the same data have placed eukaryotes within the Archaea, as the nearest relatives of different archaeal lineages. We compared the...

Data from: Episodic radiations in the fly tree of life

Brian M. Wiegmann, Michelle D. Trautwein, Isaac S. Winkler, Norman B. Barr, Jung-Wook Kim, Christine Lambkin, Matthew A. Bertone, Brian K. Cassel, Keith M. Bayless, Alysha M. Heimberg, Benjamin M. Wheeler, Kevin J. Peterson, Thomas Pape, Bradley J. Sinclair, Jeffrey H. Skevington, Vladimir Blagoderov, Jason Caravas, Sujatha Narayanan Kutty, Urs Schmidt-Ott, Gail E. Kampmeier, F. Christian Thompson, David A. Grimaldi, Andrew T. Beckenbach, Gregory W. Courtney, Markus Friedrich … & B. J. Sinclair
Flies are one of four superradiations of insects (along with beetles, wasps, and moths) that account for the majority of animal life on Earth. Diptera includes species known for their ubiquity (Musca domestica house fly), their role as pests (Anopheles gambiae malaria mosquito), and their value as model organisms across the biological sciences (Drosophila melanogaster). A resolved phylogeny for flies provides a framework for genomic, developmental, and evolutionary studies by facilitating comparisons across model organisms,...

Data from: Increases in sampling support the southern Gondwanan hypothesis for the origin of dinosaurs

Júlio C. A. Marsola, Gabriel S. Ferreira, Max C. Langer, David J. Button & Richard J. Butler
Dinosaurs were ubiquitous in terrestrial ecosystems through most of the Mesozoic and are still diversely represented in the modern fauna in the form of birds. Recent efforts to better understand the origins of the group have resulted in the discovery of many new species of early dinosaurs and their closest relatives (dinosauromorphs). In addition, recent re-examinations of early dinosaur phylogeny have highlighted uncertainties regarding the interrelationships of the main dinosaur lineages (Sauropodomorpha, Theropoda and Ornithischia),...

Data from: Phylogeny of Anophelinae using mitochondrial protein coding genes

Peter G. Foster, Tatiane M.P. De Oliveira, Eduardo S. Bergo, Jan E. Conn, Denise C. Sant'Ana, Sandra S. Nagaki, Silvio Nihei, Carlos E. Lamas, Christian González, Caio C. Moreira & Maria-Anice M. Sallum
Malaria is a vector-borne disease that is a great burden on the poorest and most marginalized communities of the tropical and subtropical world. About 41 species of Anopheline mosquitoes can effectively spread species of Plasmodium parasites that cause human malaria. Proposing a natural classification for the subfamily Anophelinae has been a continuous effort, addressed using both morphology and DNA sequence data. Monophyly of the genus Anopheles, and phylogenetic placement of the genus Bironella, subgenera Kerteszia,...

Data from: Molecular clocks indicate turnover and diversification of modern coleoid cephalopods during the Mesozoic Marine Revolution

Alastair R. Tanner, Dirk Fuchs, Inger E. Winkelmann, Thomas P. Gilbert, M. Sabrina Pankey, Angela M. Ribeiro, Kevin M. Kocot, Kenneth M. Halanych, Todd H. Oakley, Rute R. Da Fonseca, Davide Pisani, Jakob Vinther & M. Thomas P. Gilbert
Coleoid cephalopod molluscs comprise squid, cuttlefish and octopuses, and represent nearly the entire diversity of modern cephalopods. Sophisticated adaptations such as the use of colour for camouflage and communication, jet propulsion and the ink sac highlight the unique nature of the group. Despite these striking adaptations, there are clear parallels in ecology between coleoids and bony fishes. The coleoid fossil record is limited, however, hindering confident analysis of the tempo and pattern of their evolution....

Data from: Terrestrial reproduction as an adaptation to steep terrain in African toads

H. Christoph Liedtke, Hendrik Müller, Julian Hafner, Johannes Penner, David J. Gower, Tomáš Mazuch, Mark-Oliver Rödel & Simon P. Loader
How evolutionary novelties evolve is a major question in evolutionary biology. It is widely accepted that changes in environmental conditions shift the position of selective optima, and advancements in phylogenetic comparative approaches allow the rigorous testing of such correlated transitions. A longstanding question in vertebrate biology has been the evolution of terrestrial life histories in amphibians and here, by investigating African bufonids, we test whether terrestrial modes of reproduction have evolved as adaptations to particular...

Data from: From success to persistence: Identifying an evolutionary regime shift in the diverse Paleozoic aquatic arthropod group Eurypterida, driven by the Devonian biotic crisis

James C. Lamsdell & Paul A. Selden
Mass extinctions have altered the trajectory of evolution a number of times over the Phanerozoic. During these periods of biotic upheaval a different selective regime appears to operate, although it is still unclear whether consistent survivorship rules apply across different extinction events. We compare variations in diversity and disparity across the evolutionary history of a major Paleozoic arthropod group, the Eurypterida. Using these data, we explore the group's transition from a successful, dynamic clade to...

Data from: Assessment of available anatomical characters for linking living mammals to fossil taxa in phylogenetic analyses

Thomas Guillerme & Natalie Cooper
Analyses of living and fossil taxa are crucial for understanding biodiversity through time. The total evidence method allows living and fossil taxa to be combined in phylogenies, using molecular data for living taxa and morphological data for living and fossil taxa. With this method, substantial overlap of coded anatomical characters among living and fossil taxa is vital for accurately inferring topology. However, although molecular data for living species are widely available, scientists generating morphological data...

Data from: Computer simulations show that Neanderthal facial morphology represents adaptation to cold and high energy demands, but not heavy biting

Stephen Wroe, William C.H. Parr, Justin A. Ledogar, Jason Bourke, Samuel P. Evans, Luca Fiorenza, Stefano Benazzi, Jean-Jacques Hublin, Chris Stringer, Ottmar Kullmer, Michael Curry, Todd C. Rae, Todd R. Yokley & William C. H. Parr
Three adaptive hypotheses have been forwarded to explain the distinctive Neanderthal face: 1) an improved ability to accommodate high anterior bite forces, 2) more effective conditioning of cold and/or dry air, and, 3) adaptation to facilitate greater ventilatory demands. We test these hypotheses using three-dimensional models of Neanderthals, modern humans, and a close outgroup (H. heidelbergensis), applying finite element analysis (FEA) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This is the most comprehensive application of either approach...

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