43 Works

Data from: Specific MHC class I supertype associated with parasite infection and colour morph in a wild lizard population

Jessica D. Hacking, Devi Stuart-Fox, Stephanie S. Godfrey & Michael G. Gardner
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a large gene family that plays a central role in the immune system of all jawed vertebrates. Non-avian reptiles are under-represented within the MHC literature and little is understood regarding the mechanisms maintaining MHC diversity in this vertebrate group. Here, we examined the relative roles of parasite-mediated selection and sexual selection in maintaining MHC class I diversity of a colour polymorphic lizard. We discovered evidence for parasite-mediated selection acting...

Data from: Molecular phylogeny and phylogeography of the Australian freshwater fish genus Galaxiella, with an emphasis on dwarf Galaxias (G. pusilla)

Peter J. Unmack, Justin C. Bagley, Mark Adams, Michael P. Hammer & Jerald B. Johnson
The freshwater fauna of Southern Australia is primarily restricted to the southwestern and southeastern corners of the continent, and is separated by a large, arid region that is inhospitable to this biota. This geographic phenomenon has attracted considerable interest from biogeographers looking to explain evolutionary diversification in this region. Here, we employed phylogenetic and phylogeographic approaches to evaluate the effect of this barrier on a group of four galaxiid fish species (Galaxiella) endemic to temperate...

Data from: Palaeoecological inferences for the fossil Australian snakes Yurlunggur and Wonambi (Serpentes, Madtsoiidae)

Alessandro Palci, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael W. Caldwell, John D. Scanlon, Michael S.Y. Lee & Michael S. Y. Lee
Madtsoiids are among the most basal snakes, with a fossil record dating back to the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian). Most representatives went extinct by the end of the Eocene, but some survived in Australia until the late Cenozoic. Yurlunggur and Wonambi are two of these late forms, and also the best-known madtsoiids to date. A better understanding of the anatomy and palaeoecology of these taxa may shed light on the evolution and extinction of this poorly...

Data from: Sustained miniaturization and anatomical innovation in the dinosaurian ancestors of birds

Andrea Cau, Gareth J. Dyke, Michael S. Y. Lee & Darren Naish
Recent discoveries have highlighted the dramatic evolutionary transformation of massive, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into light, volant birds. Here, we apply Bayesian approaches (originally developed for inferring geographic spread and rates of molecular evolution in viruses) in a different context: to infer size changes and rates of anatomical innovation (across up to 1549 skeletal characters) in fossils. These approaches identify two drivers underlying the dinosaur-bird transition. The theropod lineage directly ancestral to birds undergoes sustained miniaturization...

Data from: Modular tagging of amplicons using a single PCR for high-throughput sequencing

Laurence J. Clarke, Paul Czechowski, Julien Soubrier, Mark I. Stevens & Alan Cooper
High-throughput sequencing (HTS) of PCR amplicons is becoming the method of choice to sequence one or several targeted loci for phylogenetic and DNA barcoding studies. Although the development of HTS has allowed rapid generation of massive amounts of DNA sequence data, preparing amplicons for HTS remains a rate-limiting step. For example, HTS platforms require platform-specific adapter sequences to be present at the 5′ and 3′ end of the DNA fragment to be sequenced. In addition,...

Data from: Multiple morphological clocks and total-evidence tip-dating in mammals

Michael Lee & Michael S. Y. Lee
Morphological integration predicts that correlated characters will coevolve; thus, each distinct suite of correlated characters might be expected to evolve according to a separate clock or ‘pacemaker’. Characters in a large morphological dataset for mammals were found to be evolving according to seven separate clocks, each distinct from the molecular clock. Total-evidence tip-dating using these multiple clocks inflated divergence time estimates, but potentially improved topological inference. In particular, single-clock analyses placed several meridiungulates and condylarths...

Run and output files from: Holocene population expansion of a tropical bee coincides with early human colonisation of Fiji rather than climate change

James B. Dorey, Scott V.C. Groom, Alejandro Velasco-Castrillón, Mark Stevens, Michael S.Y. Lee & Michael P. Schwarz
There is substantial debate about the relative roles of climate change and human activities on biodiversity and species demographies over the Holocene. In some cases, these two factors can be resolved using fossil data, but for many taxa such data are not available. Inferring historical demographies of taxa has become common, but the methodologies are mostly recent and their shortcomings often unexplored. The bee genus Homalictus is developing into a tractable model system for understanding...

Radiation of tropical island bees and the role of phylogenetic niche conservatism as an important driver of biodiversity

James B Dorey, Scott SVC Groom, Elisha Freedman, Cale Matthews, Olivia K Davies, Ella Deans, Celina Rebola, Mark I Stevens, Michael SY Lee & Michael P Schwarz
Island biogeography explores how biodiversity in island ecosystems arises and is maintained. The topographical complexity of islands can drive speciation by providing a diversity of niches that promote adaptive radiation and speciation. However, recent studies have argued that phylogenetic niche conservatism, combined with topographical complexity and climate change, could also promote speciation if populations are episodically fragmented into climate refugia that enable allopatric speciation. Adaptive radiation and phylogenetic niche conservatism therefore both predict that topographical...

Data from: Phylogeography of the Australian freshwater turtle Chelodina expansa reveals complex relationships among inland and coastal bioregions

Kate Hodges, Arthur Georges, Steve Donnellan & Stephen Donnellan
We examined range-wide mitochondrial phylogeographic structure in the riverine freshwater turtle Chelodina expansa to determine if this species exhibits deep genetic divergence between coastal and inland hydrological provinces as seen in co-distributed freshwater taxa. We sequenced two mitochondrial loci, genealogical relationships were assessed using a network approach, and relationships among biogeographic regions were tested using analyses of molecular variance. Population history was evaluated using neutrality tests, indices of demographic expansion, and mismatch analyses. Twenty one...

Data from: Diversification rates and phenotypic evolution in venomous snakes (Elapidae)

Michael S. Y. Lee, Kate L. Sanders, Benedict King & Alessandro Palci
The relationship between rates of diversification and of body size change (a common proxy for phenotypic evolution) was investigated across Elapidae, the largest radiation of highly venomous snakes. Time-calibrated phylogenetic trees for 175 species of elapids (more than 50% of known taxa) were constructed using seven mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Analyses using these trees revealed no evidence for a link between speciation rates and changes in body size. Two clades (Hydrophis, Micrurus) show anomalously high...

Data from: The morphology of the inner ear of squamate reptiles and its bearing on the origin of snakes

Alessandro Palci, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael W. Caldwell & Michael S. Y. Lee
The inner ear morphology of 80 snake and lizard species, representative of a range of ecologies, is here analysed and compared to that of the fossil stem snake Dinilysia patagonica, using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. Inner ear morphology is linked to phylogeny (we find here a strong phylogenetic signal in the data that can complicate ecological correlations), but also correlated with ecology, with Dinilysia resembling certain semi-fossorial forms (Xenopeltis and Cylindrophis), consistent with previous reports. We...

Data from: Experimental manipulation suggests effect of polyandry but not mate familiarity on within-pair aggression in the social skink, Liopholis whitii

Thomas Botterill-James, Jacinta Silince, Tobias Uller, David G. Chapple, Michael G. Gardner, Erik Wapstra, Geoffrey M. While & Jacinta Sillince
Long-term monogamy is a key characteristic of family living across animals. The evolutionary maintenance of long-term monogamy has been suggested to be facilitated by increased reproductive coordination as a result of mate familiarity, leading to increased reproductive success. However, such effects can be compromised if females mate outside the pair bond (e.g. female polyandry), introducing conflicts of interest between the male and female. Here, we experimentally test the effects of both mate familiarity and female...

Data from: Breakdown of phylogenetic signal: a survey of microsatellite densities in 454 shotgun sequences from 154 non model eukaryote species

Emese Meglécz, Gabriel Nève, Ed Biffin & Michael G. Gardner
Microsatellites are ubiquitous in Eukaryotic genomes. A more complete understanding of their origin and spread can be gained from a comparison of their distribution within a phylogenetic context. Although information for model species is accumulating rapidly, it is insufficient due to a lack of species depth, thus intragroup variation is necessarily ignored. As such, apparent differences between groups may be overinflated and generalizations cannot be inferred until an analysis of the variation that exists within...

Data from: Cytonuclear evidence for hybridogenetic reproduction in natural populations of the Australian carp gudgeon (Hypseleotris: Eleotridae).

Daniel J Schmidt, Nicholas R Bond, Mark Adams & Jane M Hughes
Although most vertebrates reproduce sexually, a small number of fishes, amphibians, and reptiles are known in which reproduction is asexual i.e. without meiotic recombination. In fishes, these so-called “unisexual” lineages usually comprise only females, and utilize co-occurring males of a related sexual species to reproduce via gynogenesis or hybridogenesis. Here we examine patterns of microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variation in a widespread group of freshwater fishes (carp gudgeons; Hypseleotris spp.) to investigate a long-standing...

Ediacara growing pains: Modular addition and development in Dickinsonia costata

Scott Evans, James G. Gehling, Douglas Erwin & Mary Droser
Constraining patterns of growth using directly observable and quantifiable characteristics can reveal a wealth of information regarding the biology of the Ediacara Biota – the oldest macroscopic, complex community forming organisms in the fossil record. However, these rely on individuals captured at an instant in time at various growth stages, and so different interpretations can be derived from the same material. Here we leverage newly discovered and well-preserved Dickinsonia costata Sprigg 1947 from South Australia,...

The evolution of broadly polylectic behaviour in Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) (Halictidae, Apoidea)

Trace Akankunda, Carlos Rodriguez Lopez, Remko Leijs & Ken Walker
Based on the number of pollen hosts utilised, bees have been categorised as generalists (polylectic) or specialists (oligolectic). Faced with a changing habitat, polylectic bees can diversify their pollen ‘portfolio’, while oligolectic bees cannot and therefore may go locally extinct. Research into the evolution and maintenance of broad polylecty is scant. Instead, research has mainly focussed on the factors that constrain oligolectic species to a narrow diet. Here, we developed a molecular phylogeny of a...

Data from: Recent rapid speciation and ecomorph divergence in Indo-Australian sea snakes

Kate L. Sanders, Arne R. Rasmussen, , Johan Elmberg, Anslem De Silva, Michael L. Guinea, Michael S.Y. Lee & Michael S. Y. Lee
The viviparous sea snakes (Hydrophiinae) are a young radiation of at least 62 species that display spectacular morphological diversity and high levels of local sympatry. To shed light on the mechanisms underlying sea snake diversification, we investigated recent speciation and eco-morphological differentiation in a clade of four nominal species with overlapping ranges in Southeast Asia and Australia. Analyses of morphology and stomach contents identified the presence of two distinct ecomorphs: a ‘macrocephalic’ ecomorph that reaches...

Data from: Opsin transcripts of predatory diving beetles: a comparison of surface and subterranean photic niches

Simon M. Tierney, Steven J. B. Cooper, Kathleen M. Saint, Terry Bertozzi, Josephine Hyde, William F. Humphreys & Andrew D. Austin
The regressive evolution of eyes has long intrigued biologists yet the genetic underpinnings remain opaque. A system of discrete aquifers in arid Australia provides a powerful comparative means to explore trait regression at the genomic level. Multiple surface ancestors from two tribes of diving beetles (Dytiscidae) repeatedly invaded these calcrete aquifers and convergently evolved eye-less phenotypes. We use this system to assess transcription of opsin photoreceptor genes among the transcriptomes of two surface and three...

Data from: Avian predation intensity as a driver of clinal variation in colour morph frequency

Genevieve Matthews, Celine T. Goulet, Kaspar Delhey, Zak S. Atkins, Geoffrey M. While, Michael G. Gardner & David G. Chapple
1) Phenotypic variation provides the framework for natural selection to work upon, enabling adaptive evolution. One of the most discernible manifestations of phenotypic variability is colour variation. When this variation is discrete, genetically-based colour pattern morphs occur simultaneously within a population. 2) Why and how colour polymorphisms are maintained is an evolutionary puzzle. Several evolutionary drivers have been hypothesized as influencing clinal patterns of morph frequency, with spatial variation in climate and predation being considered...

Data from: Resources for phylogenomic analyses of Australian terrestrial vertebrates

Jason G. Bragg, Sally Potter, Ke Bi, Renee Catullo, Stephen C. Donnellan, Mark D. B. Eldridge, Leo Joseph, J. Scott Keogh, Paul Oliver, Kevin C. Rowe & Craig Moritz
High-throughput sequencing methods promise to improve our ability to infer the evolutionary histories of lineages and to delimit species. These are exciting prospects for the study of Australian vertebrates, a group comprised of many globally unique lineages with a long history of isolation. The evolutionary relationships within many of these lineages have been difficult to resolve with small numbers of loci, and we now know that many lineages also exhibit substantial cryptic diversity. Here, we...

Data from: Landscape genetics informs mesohabitat preference and conservation priorities for a surrogate indicator species in a highly fragmented river system

James Lean, Michael P. Hammer, Peter J. Unmack, Mark Adams & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Poor dispersal species represent conservative benchmarks for biodiversity management because they provide insights into ecological processes influenced by habitat fragmentation that are less evident in more dispersive organisms. Here we used the poorly dispersive and threatened river blackfish (Gadopsis marmoratus) as a surrogate indicator system for assessing the effects of fragmentation in highly modified river basins and for prioritizing basin-wide management strategies. We combined individual, population and landscape-based approaches to analyze genetic variation in samples...

Data from: Panmixia supports divergence with gene flow in Darwin’s small ground finch, Geospiza fuliginosa, on Santa Cruz, Galápagos Islands

Toby H. Galligan, Stephen C. Donnellan, Frank J. Sulloway, Alison J. Fitch, Terry Bertozzi & Sonia Kleindorfer
The divergence-with-gene-flow model of speciation has a strong theoretical basis with a growing number of plausible examples in nature, but remains hotly debated. Darwin’s finches of the Galápagos Archipelago have played an important role in our understanding of speciation processes. Recent studies suggest that this group may also provide insights into speciation via divergence with gene flow. On the island of Santa Cruz, recent studies found evidence for adaptive divergence in Darwin’s small ground finch,...

Phylogeography, historical demography and systematics of the world’s smallest pythons (Pythonidae, Antaresia)

Damien Esquerré, Stephen Donnellan, Carlos Pavón-Vázquez, Jéssica Fenker & Scott Keogh
Advances from empirical studies in phylogeography, systematics and species delimitation highlight the importance of integrative approaches for quantifying taxonomic diversity. Genomic data have greatly improved our ability to discern both systematic diversity and evolutionary history. Here we combine analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequences, thousands of genome-wide SNPs and linear and geometric morphometrics on Antaresia, a clade of four currently recognised dwarf pythons from Australia and New Guinea (Antaresia childreni, A. stimsoni, A. maculosa and A....

Comparative phylogeography reveals consistently shallow genetic diversity in a mitochondrial marker in Antarctic bdelloid rotifers

Diego Fontaneto, Zeyneb Vildan Cakil, Giuseppe Garlasché, Nataliia Iakovenko, Andrea Di Cesare, Ester M. Eckert, Roberto Guidetti, Lina Hamdan, Karel Janko, Dzmitry Lukashanets, Lorena Rebecchi, Stefano Schiaparelli, Tommaso Sforzi, Eva Štefková Kašparová, Alejandro Velasco-Castrillón & Elizabeth Walsh
Aim: The long history of isolation of the Antarctic continent, coupled with the harsh ecological conditions of freezing temperatures could affect the patterns of genetic diversity in the organisms living there. We aim (1) to test whether such pattern can be seen in a mitochondrial marker of bdelloid rotifers, a group of microscopic aquatic and limno-terrestrial animals, and (2) to speculate on the potential mechanisms driving the pattern. Location: focus on Antarctica. Taxon: Rotifera Bdelloidea....

Data from: Deep phylogeographic structuring of populations of the trapdoor spider Moggridgea tingle (Migidae) from southwestern Australia: evidence for long-term refugia within refugia

Steven J.B. Cooper, Mark S. Harvey, Kathleen M. Saint & Barbara Y. Main
Southwestern Australia has been recognized as a biodiversity hotspot of global significance, and it is particularly well known for its considerable diversity of flowering plant species. Questions of interest are how this region became so diverse and whether its fauna show similarly diverse patterns of speciation. Here we have carried out a phylogeographic study of trapdoor spiders (Migidae: Moggridgea), a presumed Gondwanan lineage found in wet forest localities across southwestern Australia. Phylogenetic, molecular clock and...

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