Steller’s sea cow, an extinct sirenian and one of the largest Quaternary mammals, was described by Georg Steller in 1741 and eradicated by humans within 27 years. Here, we complement Steller’s descriptions with paleogenomic data from 12 individuals. We identified convergent evolution between Steller’s sea cow and cetaceans but not extant sirenians, suggesting a role of several genes in adaptation to cold environments. Among these are inactivations of lipoxygenase genes, which in humans and mouse...
Plant and soil history jointly influence the selection environment for plant species in a long-term grassland biodiversity experimentPeter Dietrich, Nico Eisenhauer, Peter Otto & Christiane Roscher
Long-term biodiversity experiments have shown increasing strengths of biodiversity effects on plant productivity over time. However, little is known about rapid evolutionary processes in response to plant community diversity, which could contribute to explaining the strengthening positive relationship. To address this issue, we performed a transplant experiment with offspring of seeds collected from four grass species in a 14-year old biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment). We used two- and six-species communities and removed the vegetation of...
Context-dependent dispersal determines relatedness and genetic structure in a patchy amphibian populationBianca Unglaub, Hugo Cayuela, Benedikt R. Schmidt, Kathleen Preißler, Julian Glos & Sebastian Steinfartz
Dispersal is a central process in ecology and evolution with far reaching consequences for the dynamics and genetics of spatially structured populations (SSPs). Individuals can adjust their decisions to disperse according to local fitness prospects, resulting in context-dependent dispersal. By determining dispersal rate, distance, and direction, these individual-level decisions further modulate the demography, relatedness, and genetic structure of SSPs. Here, we examined how context-dependent dispersal influences the dynamics and genetics of a Great Crested Newt...
Canopy structure is an important driver of the energy budget of the grassland ecosystem and is, at the same time, altered by plant diversity. Diverse plant communities typically have taller and more densely packed canopies than less diverse communities. With this, they absorb more radiation, have a higher transpiring leaf surface, and are better coupled to the atmosphere which leads to cooler canopy surfaces. However, whether plant diversity generally translates into a cooling potential remains...
Keratin intermediate filaments are an essential and major component of the cytoskeleton in epithelial cells. They form a stable yet dynamic filamentous network extending from the nucleus to the cell periphery, which provides resistance to mechanical stresses. Mutations in keratin genes are related to a variety of epithelial tissue diseases. Despite their importance, the molecular structure of keratin filaments remains largely unknown. In this study, we analyzed the structure of keratin 5/keratin 14 filaments within...
Data from: Opsins in Onychophora (velvet worms) suggest a single origin and subsequent diversification of visual pigments in arthropodsLars Hering, Miriam J. Henze, Martin Kohler, Almut Kelber, Christoph Bleidorn, Maren Leschke, Birgit Nickel, Matthias Meyer, Martin Kircher, Paul Sunnucks & Georg Mayer
Multiple visual pigments, prerequisites for color vision, are found in arthropods, but the evolutionary origin of their diversity remains obscure. In this study, we explore the opsin genes in five distantly related species of Onychophora, using deep transcriptome sequencing and screening approaches. Surprisingly, our data reveal the presence of only one opsin gene (onychopsin) in each onychophoran species, and our behavioral experiments indicate a maximum sensitivity of onychopsin to blue–green light. In our phylogenetic analyses,...
Proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS) as a tool for studying animal volatile organic compound (VOC) emissionsMiguel Portillo-Estrada, Charlotte Van Moorleghem, Sunita Janssenswillen, Richard Joseph Cooper, Claudia Birkemeyer, Kim Roelants & Raoul Van Damme
1. Chemical sensing in vertebrates is crucial in their lives, and efforts are undertaken towards deciphering their chemical language. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a group of chemicals believed to play an essential role in a wide variety of animal interactions. Therefore, understanding what animals sense themselves and untangling the ecological role of their volatile cues can be accomplished by analysing VOC emissions. A Proton-Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) is an instrument that measures...
1. Abandonment of agricultural land is widespread in many parts of the world, leading to shrub and tree encroachment. The increase of flammable plant biomass, i.e. fuel load, increases the risk and intensity of wildfires. Fuel reduction by herbivores is a promising management strategy to avoid fuel build-up and mitigate wildfires. However, their effectiveness in mitigating wildfire damage may depend on a range of factors, including herbivore type, population density and feeding patterns. 2. Here...
University of Zurich3
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research2
German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research2
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology2
Vrije Universiteit Brussel1
University of Antwerp1
University of Hamburg1
University of Queensland1