• Of apples and oranges? The evolution of “monogamy” in non-human primates

      Huck, Maren; Di Fore, Anthony; Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo; University of Derby, Environmental Sustainability Research Centre; University of Texas at Austin; Yale University (Frontiers, 2020-01-10)
      Behavioral ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and anthropologists have been long fascinated by the existence of “monogamy” in the animal kingdom. Multiple studies have explored the factors underlying its evolution and maintenance, sometimes with contradicting and contentious conclusions. These studies have been plagued by a persistent use of fuzzy terminology that often leads to researchers comparing “apples with oranges” (e.g., comparing a grouping pattern or social organization with a sexual or genetic mating system). In this review, we provide an overview of research on “monogamy” in mammals generally and primates in particular, and we discuss a number of problems that complicate comparative attempts to understand this issue. We first highlight why the muddled terminology has hindered our understanding of both a rare social organization and a rare mating system. Then, following a short overview of the main hypotheses explaining the evolution of pair-living and sexualmonogamy, we critically discuss various claims about the principal drivers of “monogamy” that have been made in several recent comparative studies.We stress the importance of using only high quality and comparable data. We then propose that a productive way to frame and dissect the different components of pair-living and sexual or genetic monogamy is by considering the behavioral and evolutionary implications of those components from the perspectives of all participants in a species’ social system. In particular, we highlight the importance of integrating the perspective of “floater” individuals and considering their impacts on local operational sex ratios, competition, and variance in reproductive success across a population. We stress that pair-living need not imply a reduced importance of intrasexual mate competition, a situation that may have implications for the sexual selection potential that have not yet been fully explored. Finally, we note that there is no reason to assume that different taxa and lineages, even within the same radiation, should follow the same pathway to or share a unifying evolutionary explanation for “monogamy”. The study of the evolution of pair-living, sexual monogamy, and genetic monogamy remains a challenging and exciting area of research.
    • On the importance of the microbiome and pathobiome in coral health and disease

      Sweet, Michael J.; Bulling, Mark T.; University of Derby (Frontiers, 2017-01-20)
      The term “microbiome” was first coined in 1988 and given the definition of a characteristic microbial community occupying a reasonably well defined habitat which has distinct physio-chemical properties. A more recent term has also emerged, taking this one step further and focusing on diseases in host organisms. The “pathobiome” breaks down the concept of “one pathogen = one disease” and highlights the role of the microbiome, more specifically certain members within the microbiome, in causing pathogenesis. The development of next generation sequencing has allowed large data sets to be amassed describing the microbial communities of many organisms and the field of coral biology is no exception. However, the choices made in the analytical process and the interpretation of these data can significantly affect the outcome and the overall conclusions drawn. In this review we explore the implications of these difficulties, as well as highlighting analytical tools developed in other research fields (such as network analysis) which hold substantial potential in helping to develop a deeper understanding of the role of the microbiome in disease in corals. We also make the case that standardization of methods will substantially improve the collective gain in knowledge across research groups.
    • Ontogeny of juvenile freshwater pearl mussels, Margaritifera margaritifera (Bivalvia: Margaritiferidae).

      Lavictoire, Louise; Ramsey, Andrew; Moorkens, Evelyn; Souch, Graham; Barnhart, M. Christopher; University of Cumbria; University of Derby; Trinity College Dublin; Missouri State University (Public Library of Science (PLOS), 2018-03-28)
      The gills of juvenile freshwater bivalves undergo a complex morphogenesis that may correlate with changes in feeding ecology, but ontogenic studies on juvenile mussels are rare. Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine the ultrastructure and ontogeny of 117 juvenile freshwater pearl mussels (Margaritifera margaritifera) ranging in age from 1–44 months and length from 0.49–8.90 mm. Three stages of gill development are described. In Stage 1 (5–9 inner demibranch filaments), only unreflected inner demibranch filaments were present. In Stage 2 (9–17 inner demibranch filaments), inner demibranch filaments began to reflect when shell length exceeded 1.13 mm, at 13–16 months old. Reflection began in medial filaments and then proceeded anterior and posterior. In Stage 3 (28–94 inner demibranch filaments), outer demibranch filaments began developing at shell length > 3.1 mm and about 34 months of age. The oral groove on the inner demibranch was first observed in 34 month old specimens > 2.66 mm but was never observed on the outer demibranch. Shell length (R2 = 0.99) was a better predictor of developmental stage compared to age (R2 = 0.84). The full suite of gill ciliation was present on filaments in all stages. Interfilamentary distance averaged 31.3 μm and did not change with age (4–44 months) or with size (0.75–8.9 mm). Distance between laterofrontal cirri couplets averaged 1.54 μm and did not change significantly with size or age. Labial palp primordia were present in even the youngest individuals but ciliature became more diverse in more developed individuals. Information presented here is valuable to captive rearing programmes as it provides insight in to when juveniles may be particularly vulnerable to stressors due to specific ontogenic changes. The data are compared with two other recent studies of Margaritifera development.
    • Ophyiulus in Victoria: results of millipede surveys from south-eastern Australia

      Norton, Briony, A.; Thomson, Linda, J.; Nash; Michael A.; University of Sheffield; University of Melbourne (CSIRO, 2015-08-12)
      The composition and ecology of the millipede fauna of Victoria remain poorly understood. We collected millipedes as part of a series of ecological arthropod surveys across south-eastern Australia, focusing mainly on Victoria. These samples almost exclusively contained millipedes from the introduced order Julida. We pursued species identification of the julids when it became apparent there were species other than the well-recorded Ommatoiulus moreleti (Lucas, 1860) (Portuguese millipede) in the samples. The majority of specimens were O. moreleti, but we also detected at least one species of Cylindroiulus Verhoeff, 1894, as well as an Ophyiulus Berlese, 1884, species, specimens of which have been identified as Ophyiulus cf. targionii. These are the first Ophyiulus records for Victoria to our knowledge. We present preliminary data on the abundance through the year of Ophyiulus. This is the first study to examine this species in Victoria and little is currently known about its likely impact on agriculture or on native species. Monitoring and research of the species in the future is therefore warranted.
    • Optimization of water content for the cryopreservation of allium sativum In vitro cultures by encapsulation-dehydration

      Lynch, Paul; Souch, Graham; Zamecnik, Jiri; Harding, Keith; University of Derby (CryoLetters, 2016-10)
      BACKGROUND: There is a general requirement to determine and correlate water content to viability for the standardization of conservation protocols to facilitate effective cryostorage of plant germplasm. OBJECTIVE: This study examined water content as a critical factor to optimize the cryostorage of Allium sativum. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Stem discs were excised from post-harvest, stored bulbs prior to cryopreservation by encapsulation-dehydration and water content was determined gravimetrically. RESULTS: Survival of cryopreserved stem discs was 42.5%, with 22.5% exhibiting shoot regrowth following 6 h desiccation. Gravimetric data demonstrated a correlation between water content corresponding with survival / regrowth from desiccated, cryopreserved stem discs. For encapsulated stem discs a 25% residual moisture and corresponding water content of 0.36 g H2O g-1 d.wt correlated with maximal survival following ~6.5 h of desiccation. CONCLUSION: The data concurs with the literature suggesting the formation of a stable vitrified state and a ‘window’ for optimal survival and regrowth that is between 6 – 10 h desiccation. Further studies using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) are suggested to substantiate these findings
    • Oxygen and carbon isotopic composition of Quaternary meteoric carbonates from western and southern Europe: their role in palaoenvironmental reconstruction

      Candy, I.; Adamson, K.; Gallant, C.E.; Whitfield, E.; Pope, Richard J. J.; University of Manchester; University of London, Royal Holloway; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Derby (2013-05-20)
      The relationship between environmental conditions and the δ18O and δ13C values of soil and groundwater carbonates in Europe is poorly understood. Consequently, the use of the isotopic composition of these carbonate palaeoclimatic indicators in European sedimentary sequences is restricted. In this study we examine the δ18O and δ13C values of soil and groundwater carbonates from western and southern Europe. In western Europe there is no relationship between carbonate δ18O values and carbonate δ13C values. The δ18O values of soil carbonate appears to be driven by temperature, whilst the δ13C value of soil and groundwater carbonate reflects the persistent dominance of C3 vegetation in this region during the Quaternary. The δ18O and δ13C values of soil carbonates from Spain and Crete show a strong degree of co-variance suggesting that they are being controlled by the same environmental factor. This is suggested to be aridity. δ18O values are controlled by soil moisture evaporation whilst δ13C value is controlled by soil moisture degassing, vegetation abundance and possible C3/C4 vegetation inputs. The paper concludes by highlighting the fact that, although currently under-utilised, the δ18O and δ13C values of soil and groundwater carbonates have a huge potential for providing important palaeoenvironmental information from sites across Europe.
    • Paternity analysis of wild-caught females shows that sperm package size and placement influence fertilization success in the bushcricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera

      Parker, Darren James; Zaborowska, Julia; Ritchie, Michael Gordon; Vahed, Karim; University of Lausanne; University of St Andrews; University of Derby; Centre for Biological Diversity; University of St Andrews; St Andrews KY16 9TH UK; Centre for Biological Diversity; University of St Andrews; St Andrews KY16 9TH UK; Centre for Biological Diversity; University of St Andrews; St Andrews KY16 9TH UK; et al. (Wiley, 2017-04-07)
      In species where females store sperm, males may try to influence paternity by the strategic placement of sperm within the female’s sperm storage organ. Sperm may be mixed or layered in storage organs and this can influence sperm use beyond a ‘fair raffle’. In some insects, sperm from different matings is packaged into discrete packets (spermatodoses) which retain their integrity in the female’s sperm storage organ (spermatheca), but little is known about how these may influence patterns of sperm use under natural mating conditions in wild populations. We examined the effect of the size and position of spermatodoses within the spermatheca and number of competing ejaculates on sperm use in female Dark bushcrickets (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) that had mated under unmanipulated field conditions. Females were collected near the end of the mating season and seven hypervariable microsatellite loci were used to assign paternity of eggs laid in the laboratory. Females contained a median of 3 spermatodoses (range 1-6) and only 6 of the 36 females contained more than one spermatodose of the same genotype. Both the size and relative placement of the spermatodoses within the spermatheca had a significant effect on paternity, with a bias against smaller spermatodoses and those further from the single entrance/exit of the spermatheca. A higher number of competing males reduced the chances of siring offspring for each male. Hence both spermatodose size and relative placement in the spermatheca influence paternity.
    • Paternity and kinship patterns in polyandrous moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax)

      Huck, Maren; Löttker, Petra; Böhle, Uta-Regina; Heymann, Eckhard W.; Abteilung Soziobiologie, Deutsches Primatenzentrum, Göttingen, Germany; Abteilung für Verhaltensforschung, Universität Bielefeld, Germany; Institut für Neuro- & Verhaltensbiologie, Abt. Verhaltensbiologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany; Arbeitsgruppe Primatengenetik, Deutsches Primatenzentrum (DPZ), Göttingen, Germany (2005)
      We studied patterns of genetic relatedness and paternity in moustached tamarins, small Neotropical primates living in groups of 1–4 adult males and 1–4 adult females. Generally only one female per group breeds, mating with more than one male. Twin birth are the norm. In order to examine the genetic consequences of this mating pattern, DNA was extracted from fecal samples collected from two principal and six neighboring groups. DNA was characterized at twelve microsatellite loci (average: seven alleles/locus). We addressed the following questions: Do all adult males have mating access to the reproductive female of the group? How is paternity distributed across males in a group? Can polyandrous mating lead to multiple paternity? Are nonparental animals more closely related to the breeders than to the population mean? And, are mating partners unrelated? Breeding females mated with all nonrelated males. In at least one group the father of the older offspring did not sire the youngest infant although he was still resident in the group. We also found evidence for multiple paternity in a supposed twin pair. Yet, within each group the majority (67–100%) of infants had the same father, suggesting reproductive skew. Relatedness within groups was generally high (average R 0.31), although both nonrelated males and females occurred, i.e., immigrations of both sexes are possible. Mating partners were never found to be related, hence inbreeding seems to be uncommon. The results suggest that while the social mating system is polyandry, paternity is often monopolized by a single male per group.
    • Peanut exposure during pregnancy, breastfeeding and complementary feeding: perceptions of practices in four countries

      Boulay, Annabelle; Gancheva, Vyara; Houghton, Julie; Strada, Anna; Sora, Beatriz; Sala, Roser; Rowe, Gene; University of Exeter; Department of Geography; College of Life and Environmental Sciences; University of Exeter; Exeter UK; Association APPEL EUROPA; Sofia Bulgaria; et al. (Wiley, 2015-01)
      Food allergy is an increasing problem worldwide. Allergy to peanuts is a particular concern, given that this is rarely outgrown and may be associated with life-threatening anaphylaxis. However, it is unclear what factors are responsible for a perceived increase in prevalence rates. One matter on which scientists agree, however, is that exposure to peanuts early in life is significant – although whether early exposure protects or sensitizes to allergy is unclear. There is no significant research that currently records differences in early life exposure either within or between populations. This exploratory study makes a first step in this direction using focus groups conducted in four countries with disparate ‘peanut experiences’ to characterize early exposure in these. The ultimate aim is to help in the development of a survey instrument to attain nationally representative samples of consumers and hence to use the results from this to compare with allergy prevalence data collected in other parts of the European Union-funded ‘EuroPrevall’ project. The results in this study not only reveal considerable similarities across countries (e.g. in terms of lack of knowledge of guidelines; lack of changes in feeding behaviour during/after pregnancy, feelings that diet variety in children is important) but also one or two interesting and potentially important differences, such as increased consumption in Bulgarian (and some Spanish) breastfeeding mothers because of the ability of peanuts to facilitate lactation. Study limitations and future study intentions are also discussed.
    • Performance of aquatic plant species for phytoremediation of arsenic-contaminated water

      Jasrotia, Shivakshi; Kansal, Arun; Mehra, Aradhana; University of Derby (Springer, 2015-06-17)
      This study investigates the effectiveness of aquatic macrophyte and microphyte for phytoremediation of water bodies contaminated with high arsenic concentration. Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) and two algae (Chlorodesmis sp. and Cladophora sp.) found near arsenic-enriched water bodies were used to determine their tolerance toward arsenic and their effectiveness to uptake arsenic thereby reducing organic pollution in arsenic-enriched wastewater of different concentrations. Parameters like pH, chemical oxygen demand (COD), and arsenic concentration were monitored. The pH of wastewater during the course of phytoremediation remained constant in the range of 7.3–8.4, whereas COD reduced by 50–65 % in a period of 15 days. Cladophora sp. was found to survive up to an arsenic concentration of 6 mg/L, whereas water hyacinth and Chlorodesmis sp. could survive up to arsenic concentrations of 2 and 4 mg/L, respectively. It was also found that during a retention period of 10 days under ambient temperature conditions, Cladophora sp. could bring down arsenic concentration from 6 to <0.1 mg/L, Chlorodesmis sp. was able to reduce arsenic by 40−50 %; whereas, water hyacinth could reduce arsenic by only 20 %. Cladophora sp. is thus suitable for co-treatment of sewage and arsenic-enriched brine in an algal pond having a retention time of 10 days. The identified plant species provides a simple and cost-effective method for application in rural areas affected with arsenic problem. The treated water can be used for irrigation.
    • Permeability of intertidal sandflats: impact of temporal variability on sediment metabolism

      Zetzche, E.; Bulling, Mark T.; Witte, U. (2013-05-24)
      The effects of sediment permeability on sediment oxygen consumption (SOC) in an intertidal permeable sandflat were studied over a 1-year period. Our study demonstrates that temporal variation in sediment metabolism was not only driven by temperature, but also changes in sediment permeability and total carbon content over time. High SOC rates in the summer months (seasonal mean 36.5 mmol m−2 d−1) could be attributed to high temperatures affecting metabolic processes, the rapid turnover of labile organic material and the presence of large amounts of microphytobenthos and their exudates in interstitial pore spaces. The resultant clogging of pores lowered sediment permeabilities and led to the observation of increasing SOC rates at decreasing permeabilities. Despite higher permeabilities, oxygen consumption rates in winter (seasonal mean 17.3 mmol m−2 d−1) were less than half those measured in the summer, reflecting the presence of more persistent refractory material and lower temperatures. During the winter, a major storm event reworked the sediment and significantly changed the permeability, affecting SOC rates. As sediment permeability rose by ∼25%, SOC rates were increased by ∼35% in the month after the event compared to the previous month. Our results show that temporal variation, not only in temperature and carbon content, but also in sediment permeability, affects sediment metabolism and that resuspension and storm events are necessary to unclog systems and maintain high remineralisation rates in organically poor permeable sands.
    • Planning for cooler cities: A framework to prioritise green infrastructure to mitigate high temperatures in urban landscapes.

      Norton, Briony, A.; Coutts, Andrew M.; Livesley, Stephen J.; Harris, Richard J.; Hunter, Annie M.; Williams, Nicholas S. G.; University of Melbourne; Monash University (Elsevier, 2014-11-11)
      Warming associated with urban development will be exacerbated in future years by temperature increases due to climate change. The strategic implementation of urban green infrastructure (UGI) e.g. street trees, parks, green roofs and facades can help achieve temperature reductions in urban areas while delivering diverse additional benefits such as pollution reduction and biodiversity habitat. Although the greatest thermal benefits of UGI are achieved in climates with hot, dry summers, there is comparatively little information available for land managers to determine an appropriate strategy for UGI implementation under these climatic conditions. We present a framework for prioritisation and selection of UGI for cooling. The framework is supported by a review of the scientific literature examining the relationships between urban geometry, UGI and temperature mitigation which we used to develop guidelines for UGI implementation that maximises urban surface temperature cooling. We focus particularly on quantifying the cooling benefits of four types of UGI: green open spaces (primarily public parks), shade trees, green roofs, and vertical greening systems (green walls and facades) and demonstrate how the framework can be applied using a case study from Melbourne, Australia.
    • Plant species or flower colour diversity? Identifying the drivers of public and invertebrate response to designed annual meadows.

      Hoyle, Helen; Norton, Briony, A.; Dunnett, Nigel; Richards, J. Paul; Russell, Jean M.; Warren, Philip H.; University of Sheffield (Elsevier, 2018-09-01)
      There is increasing evidence of the benefits of introducing urban meadows as an alternative to amenity mown grass in public greenspaces, both for biodiversity, and human wellbeing. Developing a better understanding of the meadow characteristics driving human and wildlife response is therefore critical. We addressed this by assessing public and invertebrate response to eight different annual meadow mixes defined by two levels of plant species diversity and two levels of colour diversity, sown in an urban park in Luton, UK, in April 2015. On-site questionnaires with the visiting public were conducted in July, August and September 2015. Invertebrate responses were assessed via contemporaneous visual surveys and one sweep net survey (August 2015). Flower colour diversity had effects on human aesthetic response and the response of pollinators such as bumblebees and hoverflies. Plant species diversity, however, was not a driver of human response with evidence that people used colour diversity as a cue to assessing species diversity. Plant species diversity did affect some invertebrates, with higher abundances of certain taxa in low species diversity meadows. Our findings indicate that if the priority for sown meadows is to maximise human aesthetic enjoyment and the abundance and diversity of observable invertebrates, particularly pollinators, managers of urban green infrastructure should prioritise high flower colour diversity mixes over those of high plant species diversity. Incorporating late-flowering non-native species such as Coreopsis tinctoria (plains coreopsis) can prolong the attractiveness of the meadows for people and availability of resources for pollinators and would therefore be beneficial.
    • Polymerase chain reaction detection of avipox and avian papillomavirus in naturally infected wild birds: comparisons of blood, swab and tissue samples

      Williams, Richard; Escudero Duch, Clara; Pérez-Tris, Javier; Benítez, Laura; Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain; Natural Sciences, Saint Louis University, Madrid, Spain; Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain (Taylor & Francis Group, 2014-03-04)
      Avian poxvirus (avipox) is widely reported from avian species, causing cutaneous or mucosal lesions. Mortality rates of up to 100% are recorded in some hosts. Three major avipox clades are recognized. Several diagnostic techniques have been reported, with molecular techniques used only recently. Avipox has been reported from 278 different avian species, but only 111 of these involved sequence and/or strain identification. Collecting samples from wild birds is challenging as only few wild bird individuals or species may be symptomatic. Also, sampling regimes are tightly regulated and the most efficient sampling method, whole bird collection, is ethically challenging. In this study, three alternative sampling techniques (blood, cutaneous swabs and tissue biopsies) from symptomatic wild birds were examined. Polymerase chain reaction was used to detect avipoxvirus and avian papillomavirus (which also induces cutaneous lesions in birds). Four out of 14 tissue samples were positive but all 29 blood samples and 22 swab samples were negative for papillomavirus. All 29 blood samples were negative but 6/22 swabs and 9/14 tissue samples were avipox-positive. The difference between the numbers of positives generated from tissue samples and from swabs was not significant. The difference in the avipox-positive specimens in paired swab (4/6) and tissue samples (6/6) was also not significant. These results therefore do not show the superiority of swab or tissue samples over each other. However, both swab (6/22) and tissue (8/9) samples yielded significantly more avipox-positive cases than blood samples, which are therefore not recommended for sampling these viruses.
    • The potential of fatty acid isotopes to trace trophic transfer in aquatic food-webs

      Burian, Alfred; Nielsen, Jens M.; Hansen, Thomas; Bermudez, Rafael; Winder, Monika; University of Derby; Stockholm University; Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR), Kiel, Germany; Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral, ESPOL, Guayaquil, Ecuador (The Royal Society, 2020-06-15)
      Compound-specific isotope analyses (CSIA) of fatty acids (FA) constitute a promising tool for tracing energy flows in food-webs. However, past applications of FA-specific carbon isotope analyses have been restricted to a relatively coarse food-source separation and mainly quantified dietary contributions from different habitats. Our aim was to evaluate the potential of FA-CSIA to provide high-resolution data on within-system energy flows using algae and zooplankton as model organisms. First, we investigated the power of FA-CSIA to distinguish among four different algae groups, namely cyanobacteria, chlorophytes, haptophytes and diatoms. We found substantial within-group variation but also demonstrated that δ13C of several FA (e.g. 18:3ω3 or 18:4ω3) differed among taxa, resulting in group-specific isotopic fingerprints. Second, we assessed changes in FA isotope ratios with trophic transfer. Isotope fractionation was highly variable in daphnids and rotifers exposed to different food sources. Only δ13C of nutritionally valuable poly-unsaturated FA remained relatively constant, highlighting their potential as dietary tracers. The variability in fractionation was partly driven by the identity of food sources. Such systematic effects likely reflect the impact of dietary quality on consumers' metabolism and suggest that FA isotopes could be useful nutritional indicators in the field. Overall, our results reveal that the variability of FA isotope ratios provides a substantial challenge, but that FA-CSIA nevertheless have several promising applications in food-web ecology. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The next horizons for lipids as ‘trophic biomarkers’: evidence and significance of consumer modification of dietary fatty acids’.
    • Potential of Retrofitting Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems Using an Integrated Geographical Information System Remote Sensing Based Approach

      Ferrier, G.; Milan, D.; Keat Yew, C.; Pope, R.J.; University of Hull; University of Derby (2018-12-06)
      Flooding is a major problem in urban areas worldwide. Methodologies that can rapidly assess the scale and identify the reasons causing these flooding events at minimal cost are urgently required. This study has used the City of Kingston-upon-Hull to evaluate the capability of an integrated remote sensing and geographical information system based approach to provide the critical information on the spatial extent of flooding and flood water volumes and overcome the limitations in current monitoring based on ground-based visual mapping and household flooding surveys. Airborne and Terrestrial LiDAR datasets were combined with digital aerial photography, flood assessment surveys, and maps of housing, infrastructure and the sewer network. The integration of these datasets provided an enhanced understanding of the sources and pathways of the flood water runoff, accurate quantification of the water volumes associated with each flooding event and the identification of the optimum locations and size of potential retrofit Sustainable Urban Drainage systems.
    • Predictable waves of sequential forest degradation and biodiversity loss spreading from an African city

      Ahrends, Antje; Burgess, Neil D.; Milledge, Simon A. H.; Bulling, Mark T.; Fisher, Brendan; Smart, James C. R.; Clarke, G. P.; Mhoro, Boniface E.; Lewis, Simon L. (2013-05-24)
      Tropical forest degradation emits carbon at a rate of ~0.5 Pg·y−1, reduces biodiversity, and facilitates forest clearance. Understanding degradation drivers and patterns is therefore crucial to managing forests to mitigate climate change and reduce biodiversity loss. Putative patterns of degradation affecting forest stocks, carbon, and biodiversity have variously been described previously, but these have not been quantitatively assessed together or tested systematically. Economic theory predicts a systematic allocation of land to its highest use value in response to distance from centers of demand. We tested this theory to see if forest exploitation would expand through time and space as concentric waves, with each wave targeting lower value products. We used forest data along a transect from 10 to 220 km from Dar es Salaam (DES), Tanzania, collected at two points in time (1991 and 2005). Our predictions were confirmed: high-value logging expanded 9 km·y−1, and an inner wave of lower value charcoal production 2 km·y−1. This resource utilization is shown to reduce the public goods of carbon storage and species richness, which significantly increased with each kilometer from DES [carbon, 0.2 Mg·ha−1; 0.1 species per sample area (0.4 ha)]. Our study suggests that tropical forest degradation can be modeled and predicted, with its attendant loss of some public goods. In sub-Saharan Africa, an area experiencing the highest rate of urban migration worldwide, coupled with a high dependence on forest-based resources, predicting the spatiotemporal patterns of degradation can inform policies designed to extract resources without unsustainably reducing carbon storage and biodiversity.
    • Predicting European badger Meles meles sett distribution in urban environments

      Huck, Maren; Davison, John; Roper, Timothy J.; University of Sussex (the Nordic Council for Wildlife Research, 2008)
      Natural England receives an increasing number of complaints about problems caused by badgers Meles meles in urban and suburban environments, most of which concern problems caused by the digging of burrows (setts). The aim of our study was to identify factors related to the presence of badger setts in urban and suburban areas, in order to provide information relevant to the development of an urban badger management strategy. We identified habitat factors (including human population density) associated with the presence of badger setts in four extensively surveyed towns or cities in England, in a GIS-based approach using binary logistic regression analysis. Badger sett densities in urban areas were comparable to sett densities in most rural parts of the UK. Thus, badgers can achieve relatively high population densities in urban environments, despite the potential for human-badger conflict. The single most important factor predicting sett location was the type of habitat in which the sett in question was located, followed by the slope of the ground at that location. Sett presence was also predicted by the proximity of other setts, and badgers preferred areas with intermediate human population densities. The population density of badgers in urban and suburban environments appears to be mainly related to the availability of suitable places for locating setts, rather than to factors that would be expected to reflect food availability. This information will help to predict potential sites of badger-related problems and may be relevant to understanding the ecological requirements of other carnivore species that inhabit urban environments, such as red fox Vulpes vulpes, stone marten Martes foina and racoon Procyon lotor.
    • Prevalence and genetic diversity of Avipoxvirus in house sparrows in Spain

      Ruiz-Martinez, Jorge; Ferraguti, Martina; Figuerola, Jorge; Martinez-de la Puente, Josue; Williams, Richard; Herrera-Duenas, Amparo; Aguirre, Jose I; Soriguer, R; Escudero-Duch, Clara; Moens, Mikael, AJ; et al. (Public Library of Science, 2016-12-22)
      Avipoxvirus (APV) is a fairly common virus affecting birds that causes morbidity and mortality in wild and captive birds. We studied the prevalence of pox-like lesions and genetic diversity of APV in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) in natural, agricultural and urban areas in southern Spain in 2013 and 2014 and in central Spain for 8 months (2012±2013). Overall, 3.2% of 2,341 house sparrows visually examined in southern Spain had cutaneous lesions consistent with avian pox. A similar prevalence (3%) was found in 338 birds from central Spain. Prevalence was higher in hatch-year birds than in adults. We did not detect any clear spatial or temporal patterns of APV distribution. Molecular analyses of poxvirus-like lesions revealed that 63% of the samples were positive. Molecular and phylogenetic analyses of 29 DNA sequences from the fpv167 gene, detected two strains belonging to the canarypox clade (subclades B1 and B2) previously found in Spain. One of them appears predominant in Iberia and North Africa and shares 70% similarity to fowlpox and canarypox virus. This APV strain has been identified in a limited number of species in the Iberian Peninsula, Morocco and Hungary. The second one has a global distribution and has been found in numerous wild bird species around the world. To our knowledge, this represents the largest study of avian poxvirus disease in the broadly distributed house sparrow and strongly supports the findings that Avipox prevalence in this species in South and central Spain is moderate and the genetic diversity low.
    • Prevalence and Incidence of Black Band Disease of Scleractinian Corals in the Kepulauan Seribu Region of Indonesia

      Johan, Ofri; Zamani, Neviaty P. Zamani; Smith, David; Sweet, Michael J.; University of Derby (2016-04-28)
      Black band disease (BBD) is the oldest recognised disease associated with scleractinian corals. However, despite this, few BBD surveys have been conducted in the Indonesian archipelago,one of the world’s hot spots for coral diversity. In this study, we show that BBD was recorded in the reefs of Kepulauan Seribu, Indonesia, at the time of surveying. The disease was found to mainly infect corals of the genus Montipora. In some instances, upwards of 177 colonies (31.64%) were found to be infected at specific sites. Prevalence of the disease ranged from 0.31% to 31.64% of Montipora sp. colonies throughout the archipelago. Although BBD was found at all sites, lower frequencies were associated with sites closest to the mainland (17.99 km), as well as those that were furthest away (63.65 km). Despite there being no linear relationship between distance from major population centers and BBD incidence, high incidences of this disease were associated with sites characterized by higher levels of light intensity. Furthermore, surveys revealed that outbreaks peaked during the transitional period between the dry and rainy seasons. Therefore, we suggest that future surveys for disease prevalence in this region of Indonesia should focus on these transitory periods.