• Captive rearing of the deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula from the Red Sea demonstrates remarkable physiological plasticity

      Roik, Anna; Röthig, Till; Roder, Cornelia; Müller, Paul J.; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST); Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; Coastal and Marine Resources Core Lab, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Thuwal, Saudi Arabia; et al. (2015-01-20)
      The presence of the cosmopolitan deep-sea coral Eguchipsammia fistula has recently been documented in the Red Sea, occurring in warm (>20 ◦C), oxygen- and nutrient-limited habitats. We collected colonies of this species from the central Red Sea that successfully resided in aquaria for more than one year. During this period the corals were exposed to increased oxygen levels and nutrition ad libitum unlike in their natural habitat. Specimens of long-term reared E. fistula colonies were incubated for 24 h and calcification (G) as well as respiration rates (R) were measured. In comparison to on-board measurements of G and R rates on freshly collected specimens, we found that G was increased while R was decreased. E. fistula shows extensive tissue growth and polyp proliferation in aquaculture and can be kept at conditions that notably differ from its natural habitat. Its ability to cope with rapid and prolonged changes in regard to prevailing environmental conditions indicates a wide physiological plasticity. This may explain in part the cosmopolitan distribution of this species and emphasizes its value as a deep-sea coral model to study mechanisms of acclimation and adaptation.
    • The cause of late Cenozoic mass extinction in the western Atlantic: insights from sclerochronology

      Johnson, Andrew L. A.; Valentine, Annemarie; Leng, Melanie J.; Surge, Donna; Williams, Mark; University of Derby (The Palaeontological Association, 2014-12)
      Heavy late Cenozoic extinction amongst marine molluscs in the western Atlantic has traditionally been interpreted as a consequence of climatic deterioration. However, the pattern of extinction was not the same in the eastern Atlantic, where conditions also became colder. A fall in primary productivity, suggested by a decline in phosphate deposition, may be the real explanation for western Atlantic extinctions. Evidence in support comes from isotopic- and increment-based (sclerochronological) indications of growth rate in Pliocene scallops. A western Atlantic genus that has survived to the present (Placopecten) had the same moderate growth rate in the Pliocene as now, while two genera that became extinct (Carolinapecten and Chesapecten) had growth rates as fast as any known amongst living scallops. Such rapid growth implies abundant food. Selective extinction of a fast-growing species has also been documented amongst Pliocene oysters in the Caribbean region and attributed to a decline in primary productivity. The likely cause of this is the development of the Central American Isthmus and the consequent reorganization of oceanic circulation in the Gulf of Mexico and wider North Atlantic.
    • A century of Shope Papillomavirus in museum rabbit specimens

      Duch, Clara Esucdero; Williams, Richard; Timm, Robert M; Perez-Tris, Javier; Benitez, Laura; Department of Microbiology III, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid,; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid,; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology & Natural History Museum, University of Kansas (Public Library of Science, 2015-07-06)
      Sylvilagus floridanus Papillomavirus (SfPV) causes growth of large horn-like tumors on rabbits. SfPV was described in cottontail rabbits (probably Sylvilagus floridanus) from Kansa and Iowa by Richard Shope in 1933, and detected in S. audubonii in 2011. It is known almost exclusively from the US Midwest. We explored the University of Kansas Natural History Museum for historical museum specimens infected with SfPV, using molecular techniques, to assess if additional wild species host SfPV, and whether SfPV occurs throughout the host range, or just in the Midwest. Secondary aims were to detect distinct strains, and evidence for strain spatio-temporal specificity. We found 20 of 1395 rabbits in the KU collection SfPV symptomatic. Three of 17 lagomorph species (S. nuttallii, and the two known hosts) were symptomatic, while Brachylagus, Lepus and eight additional Sylvilagus species were not. 13 symptomatic individuals were positive by molecular testing, including the first S. nuttallii detection. Prevalence of symptomatic individuals was significantly higher in Sylvilagus (1.8%) than Lepus. Half of these specimens came from Kansas, though new molecular detections were obtained from Jalisco—Mexico’s first—and Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas, USA. We document the oldest lab-confirmed case (Kansas, 1915), predating Shope’s first case. SfPV amplification was possible from 63.2% of symptomatic museum specimens. Using multiple methodologies, rolling circle amplification and, multiple isothermal displacement amplification in addition to PCR, greatly improved detection rates. Short sequences were obtained from six individuals for two genes. L1 gene sequences were identical to all previously detected sequences; E7 gene sequences, were more variable, yielding five distinct SfPV1 strains that differing by less than 2% from strains circulating in the Midwest and Mexico, between 1915 and 2005. Our results do not clarify whether strains are host species specific, though they are consistent with SfPV specificity to genus Sylvilagus.
    • Cetacean frustration: the representation of whales and dolphins in picture books for young children

      Beaumont, Ellen S.; Mudd, Phillipa; Turner, Ian J.; Barnes, Kate M.; University of Derby (Springer, 2016-09-03)
      To enable children to develop towards becoming part of the solution to environmental problems, it is essential that they are given the opportunity to become familiar with the natural world from early childhood. Familiarity is required to develop understanding of, care for and, ultimately, action in terms of protecting the natural world. As adult-led reading of picture books is a common form of indirect exposure to the natural world for young children, this study examines the biological accuracy of the representation of whales and dolphins in the images and text of picture books. Of the total of 116 books examined, 74 (63.8 %) had errors in the representation of cetaceans in the images and/or text. Errors were identified in both fictional (mean = 8.0 errors/book, SD = 11.1, n = 55) and nonfictional (mean = 2.3 errors/book, SD = 4.9, n = 61) books. The potential impact of the errors is discussed, and suggestions are made as to how the impact could be reduced and how the biological accuracy of picture books could be improved.
    • Changing place: palm oil and sense of place in Borneo

      Lindsay, Ellie; Convery, Ian; Ramsey, Andrew; Simmons, Eunice; University of Cumbria (2012)
      The conservation of tropical ecosystems is complex and contested, not least in terms of cultural and political perspectives between developed and developing nations (Bawa & Seidler, 1998; Colchester, 2000; Brosius & Hitchner, 2010). In Sabah, on the island of Borneo, Malaysia much of the forest has recently been converted to oil palm plantations. The plantations cover vast areas and leave relatively little space for native flora and fauna. Whilst efforts are underway to enhance biodiversity within the plantations, there is no clear consensus as to how this might best be achieved and this has led in part to divisions opening up amongst stakeholders (Othman & Ameer, 2009). A range of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) working within Sabah endeavour to conserve threatened biodiversity; at the Governmental level there are significant drivers for development and economic stability; while the plantation owners are trying to improve their yields and increase their global market. There is also increasing consumer pressure in Europe and North America linked to concerns about the survival of iconic rainforest species such as orang-utans. This paper considers these issues within a context of globalisation and profound economic and social change within Malaysia.
    • Characterisation of the bacterial and fungal communities associated with different lesion sizes of Dark Spot Syndrome occurring in the Coral Stephanocoenia intersepta

      Sweet, Michael J.; Burn, Deborah; Croquer, Aldo; Leary, Peter; Bereswill, Stefan (2013-09-24)
      The number and prevalence of coral diseases/syndromes are increasing worldwide. Dark Spot Syndrome (DSS) afflicts numerous coral species and is widespread throughout the Caribbean, yet there are no known causal agents. In this study we aimed to characterise the microbial communities (bacteria and fungi) associated with DSS lesions affecting the coral Stephanocoenia intersepta using nonculture molecular techniques. Bacterial diversity of healthy tissues (H), those in advance of the lesion interface (apparently healthy AH), and three sizes of disease lesions (small, medium, and large) varied significantly (ANOSIM R = 0.052 p,0.001), apart from the medium and large lesions, which were similar in their community profile. Four bacteria fitted into the pattern expected from potential pathogens; namely absent from H, increasing in abundance within AH, and dominant in the lesions themselves. These included ribotypes related to Corynebacterium (KC190237), Acinetobacter (KC190251), Parvularculaceae (KC19027), and Oscillatoria (KC190271). Furthermore, two Vibrio species, a genus including many proposed coral pathogens, dominated the disease lesion and were absent from H and AH tissues, making them candidates as potential pathogens for DSS. In contrast, other members of bacteria from the same genus, such as V. harveyii were present throughout all sample types, supporting previous studies where potential coral pathogens exist in healthy tissues. Fungal diversity varied significantly as well, however the main difference between diseased and healthy tissues was the dominance of one ribotype, closely related to the plant pathogen, Rhytisma acerinum, a known causal agent of tar spot on tree leaves. As the corals’ symbiotic algae have been shown to turn to a darker pigmented state in DSS (giving rise to the syndromes name), the two most likely pathogens are R. acerinum and the bacterium Oscillatoria, which has been identified as the causal agent of the colouration in Black Band Disease, another widespread coral disease.
    • Characterisation of the environmental impact of the Rodalquilar Mine, Spain by ground-based reflectance spectroscopy

      Ferrier, Graham; Hudson-Edwards, K.; Pope, Richard J. J.; University of Hull; Birkbeck University; University of Derby (Elsevier Ltd., 2008-05)
      This study has investigated the utility of using field-based reflectance spectroscopy to characterise the distribution and nature of the dispersion of tailings material from the Rodalquilar mine, Spain. Field spectral measurements covering the visible to shortwave infrared wavelengths (0.35 to 2.5 m) and laboratory analyses were performed on samples collected along the length of the main river within the Rodalquilar valley. The nature and degree of contamination at locations within the river channel were calculated by a range of spectrometric analyses. The resulting mineral maps identified that tailings material with significant amounts of hematite with minor jarosite, ferrihydrite and goethite, and clays, primarily alunite and kaolinite, with minor smectite and illite, had been dispersed along the length of the river. These results have been used to improve understanding of the erosion and remediation history of the Rodalquilar mine. This study has shown the potential of field-based reflectance spectroscopy, integrated with ground positioning and digital mapping systems, as a real-time mapping methodology enabling immediate, accurate characterisation of the nature and scale of tailings material dispersion.
    • Characterising the vulnerability of fishing households to climate and environmental change: Insights from Ghana

      Koomson, Daniel; Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Raha, Debadayita; University of Derby (Elseiver, 2020-07-27)
      Rural coastal communities in the global south are mostly natural resource-dependent and their livelihoods are therefore vulnerable to the impacts of climate and environmental changes. Efforts to improve their adaptive capacity often prove mal-adaptive due to misunderstanding the dynamics of the unique socioeconomic factors that shape their vulnerability. By integrating theories from climate change vulnerability and the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, this study draws upon household survey data from a fishing community in Ghana to assess the vulnerability of fishing households to climate change and explore how their vulnerability is differentiated within the community. The findings suggest that household incomes in the last decade have reduced significantly, attributable to an interaction of both climatic and non-climatic factors. Analysis of the characteristics of three vulnerability groups derived by quantile clustering showed that the most vulnerable household group is not necessarily women or poorer households as expected. Rather, it is dynamic and includes all gender and economic class categories in varying proportions depending on the success or failure of the fishing season. The findings suggest furthermore that the factors that significantly differentiates vulnerability between households differ, depending on whether households are categorised by economic class, gender of household-head or vulnerability group. Consequently, the study highlights the importance of looking beyond existing social categorizations like gender and economic classes when identifying and prioritizing households for climate change adaptive capacity building.
    • Characteristics of the peanut chain in Europe – Implications for peanut allergy

      Prusak, Anna; Schlegel-Zawadzka, Małgorzata; Boulay, Annabelle; Rowe, Gene; Jagiellonian University; Jagiellonian University; University of Exeter; Gene Rowe Evaluation (University of Life Sciences in Poznań - Poland, 2014-10-03)
      Background. Peanuts are one of the main food allergens, occasionally responsible for life-threatening reactions. Thus, many studies have tried to find a connection between peanut allergy prevalence and processes in the peanut chain that may contribute to the peanut allergenicity. To inform this discussion, this paper outlines experiences in peanut cultivation, trade and processing in Europe, focusing on four European countries with different peanut experiences (Poland, Bulgaria, Spain and the UK). Material and method. Results here are based on documentary analysis and semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with 32 experts involved in various stages of the peanut chain, including peanut farmers, processors, traders, food technologists and manufacturers. Results. A common peanut chain diagram has been drawn considering shelled and in-shell peanuts. The analysis of each stage of peanut processing has been made in accordance with this peanut chain schema. Thermal and mechanical processes are discussed alongside the resultant end peanut products available for European consumers. The paper also analyses the main trends of peanut trade in Europe. The results suggest that the majority of peanut products in Europe are roasted, implying enhanced exposure of the population to more allergenic peanuts. Conclusion. The presented schema and related discussion bring together diverse aspects of peanut production, trade and processing. The main factor associated with the increased allergenicity of peanuts appears to be high temperature roasting. Frying and boiling are also thermal processes, but fried and boiled peanuts have been associated with reduce peanut allergenicity. Neither country of origin nor cultivar type appear to be related to differential peanut allergenicity. More research is needed as regards the impact of various additives, such as chocolate (which is also considered an allergen) on the allergenicity of peanut products. The use of peanuts in non-food products also needs more investigation.
    • Children of divorce: effects of adult replacements on previous offspring in Argentinean owl monkeys

      Huck, Maren; Fernández-Duque, Eduardo; University of Pennsylvania; Centro de Ecologia Aplicada del Litoral, CONICET (Springer, 2012)
      According to the Evolutionary Theory of the Family, the replacement of one pair-member by an intruder may have profound consequences for the existing offspring. Step-parents are expected to provide less care towards unrelated immatures than to genetic offspring, unless caring also serves as a mating strategy. Furthermore, because an intruder will be a potential mate for opposite-sexed offspring, relationships between offspring and same-sex parents are predicted to deteriorate. To test these predictions, we studied an Azara’s owl monkey (Aotus azarai) population in Argentina exhibiting serial monogamy and biparental care. Since 1997, we have collected demographic data from ca. 25 groups and inter-individual distance data from ca. 150 marked individuals. First, we compared survival and dispersal age of immatures in groups with and without replacements to investigate whether parental care serves as a mating strategy. Second, we compared sexspecific age at dispersal for groups with replacement of opposite-sex parents, same-sex parents, or in stable groups in order to test whether relationships between offspring and same-sex parents deteriorated after the replacement of the other parent. Survival and dispersal ages were not negatively associated with replacements, suggesting that male care might serve, at least partly, as a mating strategy. The time lag between a replacement and the subsequent dispersal of female offspring was greater if the intruder was a male, while the offspring and same-sex parents were less often nearest neighbors after replacements than before. Our results suggest that family disruption through the replacement of a parent is not associated with decreased offspring survival or early dispersion of juveniles, but deteriorates parent–offspring relationships.
    • Chromite in the mantle section of the Oman Ophiolite: Implications for the tectonic evolution of the Oman Ophiolite

      Rollinson, Hugh; Adetunji, Jacob; University of Derby (Wiley, 2015-12)
      Chromite in the Oman ophiolite is located in the mantle section of the ophiolite sequence and forms abundant small podiformdeposits throughout the length of the ophiolite (Rollinson, 2005).The Oman ophiolite has an exposed mantle section of ca 10 000 km2, and contains ca 200 chromitite bodies. Most are less than 10 000 tonnes and a only a few are >30 000 tonnes (Boudier and Al-Rajhi, 2014). We have examined these deposits in eight different areas of the ophiolite (Figure 1, Rollinson and Adetunji, 2013a), two of which we have studied in great detail – in WadiRajmi in the north of Oman (Rollinson, 2008) and atMaqsad in the south(Rollinson and Adetunji, 2013b).
    • A chronology of alluvial fan response to Late Quaternary sea level and climate change, Crete

      Pope, Richard J.J.; Candy, Ian; Skourtsos, Emmanuel; University of Derby; Royal Holloway, University of London; University of Athens (2017-01-20)
      To better understand how fluvial systems respond to late Quaternary climatic forcing OSL and U-series dating was applied to stratigraphically significant sedimentary units within a small (<6.5 km) alluvial fan system (the Sphakia fan) in southwest Crete. The resultant chronology (comprising 32 OSL and U-series ages) makes Sphakia fan one of the best dated systems in the Mediterranean and suggests that Cretan fans responded to climate in two ways. First, during the transitions between Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 5a/4 and MIS 2/1 Sphakia fan was characterised by significant entrenchment and distal shift in the zone of deposition. It is proposed that the phases of entrenchment were driven by sea level induced base level fall during MIS 5a/4 and landscape stabilisation during the onset of the current interglacial (MIS 2/1). Second, with the exception of these two entrenchment episodes fan alluviation occurred across the entire last interglacial/glacial cycle in all climatic settings i.e. interglacials, interstadials and stadials. It is likely that the topographic setting of the catchment supplying sediment to Sphakia fan maintained high sediment transfer rates during most climatic settings enabling fan aggradation to occur except during major climatic driven transitions i.e. major sea level fall and postglacial vegetation development.
    • Ciliate communities consistently associated with coral diseases

      Sweet, Michael J.; Séré, Mathieu G.; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2015-06)
      Incidences of coral disease are increasing. Most studies which focus on diseases in these organisms routinely assess variations in bacterial associates. However, other microorganism groups such as viruses, fungi and protozoa are only recently starting to receive attention. This study aimed at assessing the diversity of ciliates associated with coral diseases over a wide geographical range. Here we show that a wide variety of ciliates are associated with all nine coral diseases assessed. Many of these ciliates such as Trochilia petrani and Glauconema trihymene feed on the bacteria which are likely colonizing the bare skeleton exposed by the advancing disease lesion or the necrotic tissue itself. Others such as Pseudokeronopsis and Licnophora macfarlandi are common predators of other protozoans and will be attracted by the increase in other ciliate species to the lesion interface. However, a few ciliate species (namely Varistrombidium kielum, Philaster lucinda, Philaster guamense, a Euplotes sp., a Trachelotractus sp. and a Condylostoma sp.) appear to harbor symbiotic algae, potentially from the coral themselves, a result which may indicate that they play some role in the disease pathology at the very least. Although, from this study alone we are not able to discern what roles any of these ciliates play in disease causation, the consistent presence of such communities with disease lesion interfaces warrants further investigation.
    • Clarifying stages of alluvial fan evolution along the Sfakian

      Pope, Richard J. J.; Wilkinson, K.; Skourtsos, E.; Triantaphyllou, M.; Ferrier, Graham; University of Derby; University of Winchester; University of Athens; University of Hull (2013-05-20)
      Analysis of fan sediments and post-incisive soils was combined with luminescence dating to re-assess Nemec and Postma's [Nemec, W., Postma, G., 1993. Quaternary alluvial fans in southwestern Crete: sedimentation processes and geomorphic evolution.In: Marzo, M., Puigdefábregas, C. (Eds.), Alluvial Sedimentation. Special Publication of the International Association ofSedimentologists, vol. 17, pp. 235–276] model of fan evolution on the Sfakian piedmont, southern Crete. Field mapping supportsthe assertion that sedimentation occurred in three developmental stages. Stage 1 sediments comprise angular debris flows formingsmall cone-like deposits; stage 2 fluvial gravels form large, relatively steep streamflow-dominated telescopic fans; and stage 3sediments consist of coarse sieve-type alluvium, localised mudflows and hyperconcentrated flow deposits. Irrespective of gradient, fan surfaces are capped by post-incisive soils that form a chronosequence comprising remnant chromic luvisols. The most developed profiles, highest redness rating, and greatest concentrations of Fed and magnetic minerals are associated with soils formed on stage 1 surfaces. The stage 2 and 3 soils record progressively lower redness rating, Fed, and magnetic values, indicating that the stage 1 soils and fan surfaces formed first, followed by stage 2 and 3 soils and fan surfaces. Nanofossil data strongly suggest that stage 1 sedimentation commenced no earlier than the Early Pleistocene. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) results suggest that sedimentation responsible for stage 2 surfaces occurred between Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 6 and MIS 2, while archaeological data indicate that stage 3 sedimentation is of Holocene age. The re-investigation of fan sediments and morphology corroborates the sedimentary and morphological elements of Nemec and Postma's model. The soil data support the model's assumptions that sedimentation was broadly synchronous across the piedmont development and controls fan incision. Local uplift resulted in variable rates of incision that culminated in differential fan segmentation across the piedmont. and the locus of deposition progressively shifted away from the range-front zone. OSL dating suggests that previous age estimates assigned to fan stages 1 and 2 are too old. Climate appears to exert a fundamental control over fan development, with sedimentation occurring during cold stages and cold stage-interglacial transitions. Tectonic activity provides the relief required for fan development and controls fan incision. Local uplift resulted in variable rates of incision that culminated in differential fan uplift
    • Climate change impact and adaptation: Lagoonal fishing communities in west Africa

      Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Raha, Debadayita; Koomson, Daniel; University of Derby (Springer, 2021-01-08)
      Lagoons are a common feature of the low-lying West African coastline. These lagoons are resource-rich and biodiverse. The small-scale fishing communities, which border them, are dependent on the resources and ecosystem services for their livelihoods and well-being. Climate change has had significant and diverse effects on both the lagoons and their surrounding communities. Sea level rise has caused erosion of the coast and increased the risk of floods. Changes to rainfall patterns have caused shifts in lagoon ecosystems and physical cycles. Of particular relevance to lagoon fishing communities is the fluctuation in quantity and distribution of fish catch that they rely upon for economic livelihood. Understanding the vulnerability of these communities to the effects of climate change is critical to supporting and developing successful adaptations. Using a case study from Ghana, sustainable livelihoods approach (SLA) and vulnerability framework are used to characterize the community vulnerability, giving insight into the temporal and spatial dynamics of vulnerability and how subsections of the community may be identified and prioritized for adaptation interventions. A scalar analysis of the relevant coastal and environmental frameworks and policy to support climate change adaptation in coastal communities reveals the common challenges in implementing adaptation interventions and strategies in the region. A policy gap exists between high level, institutional coastal, and climate directives and implementation of climate adaptations at the local level. That gap might be bridged by a participatory approach that places coastal communities at the center of creating and enacting climate change adaptations.
    • Climate, dust, and fire across the Eocene-Oligocene transition, Patagonia

      Selkin, Peter. A.; Stromberg, Caroline. A. E.; Dunn, Regan.; Kohn, Matthew. J.; Carlini, Alfredo. A.; Davies-Vollum, K. Siân; Madden, Richard. H.; Sheffield Hallam University (Geological Society of America, 2015-05-19)
      The Eocene-Oligocene transition (EOT) is typically interpreted as a time of drastic global cooling and drying associated with massive growth of a glacial icecap in Antarctica and the shift to an “icehouse” climate. The effects of this transition on the terrestrial environments, floras, and faunas of the Southern Hemisphere, however, have been unclear. Here we document simultaneous changes in fire regime and plant community in Patagonia, Argentina. Decreases in the concentration of magnetite in loessites from the Eocene-Oligocene Vera Member of the Sarmiento Formation correlate with decreases in the fraction of burnt palm phytoliths as well as more consistently palm-dominated phytolith assemblages. Association of magnetite and burnt palm phytoliths suggests intense wildfires, which appear to have been suppressed for ~200 k.y. shortly after the EOT. The disappearance of fire-related characteristics near the EOT is possible if changes in regional wind patterns—consistent with observed changes in sediment particle sizes—caused changes in seasonal precipitation. These results imply a more important role for fire in structuring Eocene-Oligocene landscapes than previously thought
    • Coercive copulation in the alpine bushcricket anonconotus alpinus yersin (Tettigoniidae: Tettigoniinae: Platycleidini)

      Vahed, Karim; University of Derby (Wiley Blackwell, 2002-12)
      Sexual coercion in the form of forced copulation is widespread in the animal kingdom and has been documented in several insect taxa. In crickets and bushcrickets (sub-order Ensifera), however, mating typically involves luring acts as opposed to forcing acts. The mating behaviour of the tettigoniid Anonconotus alpinus Yersin, which is described in this paper, appears to be unique amongst the Tettigoniidae (and possibly amongst the Ensifera) in that it is coercive, involving forced matings. Males did not stridulate immediately prior to mating but instead leapt on passing females, using their anal cerci as pincers to maintain a hold on the female's abdomen (which was sometimes damaged in the process). Males appeared to lack a sexual refractory period and attempted to copulate again as little as 18 s following the previous mating.
    • Combining ddPCR and environmental DNA to improve detection capabilities of a critically endangered freshwater invertebrate

      Mauvisseau, Quentin; Davy-Bowker, John; Bulling, Mark; Brys, Rein; Neyrinck, Sabrina; Troth, Christopher; Sweet, Michael; University of Derby; Freshwater Biological Association, Dorset; Natural History Museum, London; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2019-10-01)
      Isogenus nubecula is a critically endangered Plecoptera species. Considered extinct in the UK, I. nubecula was recently rediscovered (in one location of the River Dee, Wales), after 22 years of absence. In a similar way to many other species of Perlodidae, I. nubecula could be utilised as a bio-indicator, for assessing water quality and health status of a given freshwater system. However, conventional monitoring of invertebrates via kick-sampling, is invasive and expensive (time consuming). Further, such methods require a high level of taxonomic expertise. Here, we compared the traditional kick-sampling method with the use of eDNA detection using qPCR and ddPCR-analyses. In spring 2018, we sampled eDNA from twelve locations on the River Dee. I. nubecula was detected using kick-sampling in five of these locations, three locations using both eDNA detection and kick-sampling and one location using eDNA detection alone – resulting in a total of six known and distinct populations of this critically endangered species. Interestingly, despite the eDNA assay being validated in vitro and in silico, and results indicating high sensitivity, qPCR analysis of the eDNA samples proved to be ineffective. In contrast, ddPCR analyses resulted in a clear detection of I. nubecula at four locations suggesting that inhibition most likely explains the large discrepancy between the obtained qPCR and ddPCR results. It is therefore important to explore inhibition effects on any new eDNA assay. We also highlight that ddPCR may well be the best option for the detection of aquatic organisms which are either rare or likely to shed low levels of eDNA into their environment.
    • Comment on ‘Podiform chromitites do form beneath mid-ocean ridges’ by Arai, S. and Miura, M.

      Rollinson, Hugh; Adetunji, Jacob; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2016-06)
    • A community-based evaluation of population growth and agro-pastoralist resilience in Sub-Saharan drylands

      Karaya, Rebecca; Wernersson, Julia E.V.; Egberth, Mikael; Lokorwa, Benjamin; Nyberg, Gert; Alfred, Burian; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2018-12-14)
      Human population growth is considered together with climate warming as major driver of change in Sub-Saharan Africa. Research on the implications of increased population densities often utilises community knowledge but without incorporating the view of local stakeholders. In this study, we applied a community-centred approach to assess direct and indirect consequences of population growth in drylands of north-western Kenya. Combined social, agricultural and geo-spatial analyses allowed us to identify major system transitions, determine their linkage to population growth and deduce consequences for local livelihoods and community resilience.Community-members reported positive and negative consequences of fourfold population growth since 1974 but evaluated its overall effect as clearly beneficial. This overall positive effect was based on both, positive developments and the successful mitigation of potential system stressors. First, food security was maintained despite high growth rates because a shift from migratory pastoralism to a more labour-intensive agro-pastoralist system helped to increase agricultural productivity. Additionally, land-use changes were linked to land privatisation and improved erosion protection on private land, decoupling population growth from environmental degradation.We detected, however also early warning signs of reduced community resilience as households were unable to fully recover livestock densities after catastrophic events. A population-growth driven reduction in household land-sizes and the decreased monetary value of agricultural production were identified as drivers of this development. The extrapolation of our results to establish a general relationship between population densities, land-use and household resilience in Sub-Saharan drylands suggest that further system transformations will be required to ensure regional food-security.