Sponges show the highest diversity of associated bacteria among marine invertebrates. Immunological evidence traces the origin of the sponge bacterial symbioses to the Precambrian era. Hence, sponges appear to be ideally suited for studying the evolutionary origins of prokaryote-metazoan associations. Sponges produce either calcareous or siliceous skeletons, which only coexist in a relict group of demosponges, the sclerosponges. We report here, for the first time, intensive calcification in non-sclerosponge siliceous demosponges. Calcification is mediated by...
Although coevolution is widely recognized as an important evolutionary process for pairs of reciprocally specialized species, its importance within species-rich communities of generalized species has been questioned. Here we develop and analyze mathematical models of mutualistic communities, such as those between plants and pollinators or plants and seed-dispersers to evaluate the importance of coevolutionary selection within complex communities. Our analyses reveal that coevolutionary selection can drive significant changes in trait distributions with important consequences for...
The study of animal communication systems is an important step towards gaining greater understanding of the processes influencing diversification because signals often play an important role in mate choice and can lead to reproductive isolation. Signal evolution can be influenced by a diversity of factors such as biophysical constraints on the emitter, the signalling environment, or selection to avoid heterospecific matings. Furthermore, because signals can be costly to produce, trade-offs may exist between different types...
Microorganisms mediating ammonia oxidation play a fundamental role in the connection between biological nitrogen fixation and anaerobic nitrogen losses. Bacteria and Archaea ammonia oxidizers (AOB and AOA, respectively) have colonized similar habitats worldwide. Ammonia oxidation is the rate-limiting step in nitrification, and the ammonia monooxygenase (Amo) is the key enzyme involved. The molecular ecology of this process has been extensively explored by surveying the gene of the subunit A of the Amo (amoA gene). In...
BACKGROUND: Some neotropical, fleshy-fruited plants have fruits structurally similar to paleotropical fruits dispersed by megafauna (mammals >103 kg), yet these dispersers were extinct in South America 10–15 Kyr BP. Anachronic dispersal systems are best explained by interactions with extinct animals and show impaired dispersal resulting in altered seed dispersal dynamics. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We introduce an operational definition of megafaunal fruits and perform a comparative analysis of 103 Neotropical fruit species fitting this dispersal mode. We...
Data from: Polyploidy and microsatellite variation in the relict tree Prunus lusitanica L.: how effective are refugia in preserving genotypic diversity of clonal taxa?Carlos García-Verdugo, Juan Antonio Calleja, Pablo Vargas, Luis Silva, Orlanda Moreira & Fernando Pulido
Refugia are expected to preserve genetic variation of relict taxa, especially in polyploids, because high gene dosages could prevent genetic erosion in small isolated populations. However, other attributes linked to polyploidy, such as asexual reproduction, may strongly limit the levels of genetic variability in relict populations. Here, ploidy levels and patterns of genetic variation at nuclear microsatellite loci were analysed in Prunus lusitanica, a polyploid species with clonal reproduction that is considered a paradigmatic example...
Understanding the origin of diversity is a fundamental problem in biology. Evolutionary diversification has been intensely explored during the last years due to the development of molecular tools and the comparative method. However, most studies are conducted using only information from extant species. This approach probably leads to misleading conclusions, especially because of inaccuracy in the estimation of extinction rates. It is critical to integrate the information generated by extant organisms with the information obtained...
Data from: Genetic basis of adaptation in Arabidopsis thaliana: local adaptation at the seed dormancy QTL DOG1Ilkka Kronholm, F. Xavier Picó, Carlos Alonso-Blanco, Jérôme Goudet & Juliette De Meaux
Local adaptation provides an opportunity to study the genetic basis of adaptation and investigate the allelic architecture of adaptive genes. We study DELAY OF GERMINATION 1 (DOG1), a gene controlling natural variation in seed dormancy in Arabidopsis thaliana and investigate evolution of dormancy in 41 populations distributed in four regions separated by natural barriers. Using F_ST and Q_ST comparisons, we compare variation at DOG1 with neutral markers and quantitative variation in seed dormancy. Patterns of...
Data from: Genetic characterization of the endangered and endemic anchialine squat lobster Munidopsis polymorpha from Lanzarote (Canary Islands): management implicationsPatricia Cabezas, Fernando Alda, Enrique Macpherson & Annie Machordom
Anchialine species show restricted geographic ranges, high habitat specificity and small population sizes. These factors make them particularly vulnerable to human activities, yet little is known about their ecology and evolutionary history. Munidopsis polymorpha is a decapod endemic to an anchialine cave system of the Corona lava tube in Lanzarote (Canary Islands). The present study, the first genetic survey conducted on this largely unknown species, was designed to characterize its genetic diversity, population structure and...
Data from: Among- and within-population variation in flowering time of Iberian Arabidopsis thaliana estimated in field and glasshouse conditionsBelén Méndez-Vigo, Nasr H. Gomaa, Carlos Alonso-Blanco & F. Xavier Picó
The study of the evolutionary and population genetics of quantitative traits requires the assessment of within- and among-population patterns of variation. We carried out experiments including eight Iberian Arabidopsis thaliana populations (10 individuals per population) in glasshouse and field conditions. We quantified among- and within-population variation for flowering time and for several field life-history traits. Individuals were genotyped with microsatellites, single nucleotide polymorphisms and four well-known flowering genes (FRI, FLC, CRY2 and PHYC). Phenotypic and...
Spanish National Research Council10
Estación Biológica de Doñana2
Sao Paulo State University1
University of Extremadura1
University of Lausanne1
University of California, Berkeley1
Autonomous University of Madrid1
University of the Azores1
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research1