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Bibliography on: Invasive Species

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ESP: PubMed Auto Bibliography 03 Dec 2020 at 01:44 Created: 

Invasive Species

Standard Definition: Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm. Although that definition allows a logical possibility that some species might be non-native and harmless, most of time it seems that invasive species and really bad critter (or weed) that should be eradicated are seen as equivalent phrases. But, there is a big conceptual problem with that notion: every species in every ecosystem started out in that ecosystem as an invader. If there were no invasive species, all of Hawaii would be nothing but bare volcanic rock. Without an invasion of species onto land, there would be no terrestrial ecosystems at all. For the entire history of life on Earth, the biosphere has responded to perturbation and to opportunity with evolutionary innovation and with physical movement. While one may raise economic or aesthetic arguments against invasive species, it is impossible to make such an argument on scientific grounds. Species movement — the occurrence of invasive species — is the way the biosphere responds to perturbation. One might even argue that species movement is the primary, short-term "healing" mechanism employed by the biosphere to respond to perturbation — to "damage." As with any healing process, the short-term effect may be aesthetically unappealing (who thinks scabs are appealing?), but the long-term effects can be glorious.

Created with PubMed® Query: "invasive species" OR "invasion biology" OR "alien species" OR "introduced species" NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2020-12-02

Ginal P, Mokhatla M, Kruger N, et al (2020)

Ecophysiological models for global invaders: Is Europe a big playground for the African clawed frog?.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology [Epub ahead of print].

One principle threat prompting the worldwide decline of amphibians is the introduction of nonindigenous amphibians. The African Clawed Frog, Xenopus laevis, is now one of the widest distributed amphibians occurring on four continents with ongoing range expansion including large parts of Europe. Species distribution models (SDMs) are essential tools to predict the invasive risk of these species. Previous efforts have focused on correlative approaches but these can be vulnerable to extrapolation errors when projecting species' distributions in nonnative ranges. Recent developments emphasise more robust process-based models, which use physiological data like critical thermal limits and performance, or hybrid models using both approaches. Previous correlative SDMs predict different patterns in the potential future distribution of X. laevis in Europe, but it is likely that these models do not assess its full invasive potential. Based on physiological performance trials, we calculate size and temperature-dependent response surfaces, which are scaled to geographic performance layers matching the critical thermal limits. We then use these ecophysiological performance layers in a standard correlative SDM framework to predict the potential distribution in southern Africa and Europe. Physiological performance traits (standard metabolic rate and endurance time of adult frogs) are the main drivers for the predicted distribution, while the locomotor performance (maximum velocity and distance moved in 200 ms) of adults and tadpoles have low contributions.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Zhao M, Wickham JD, Zhao L, et al (2020)

Major ascaroside pheromone component asc-C5 influences reproductive plasticity among isolates of the invasive species pinewood nematode.

Integrative zoology [Epub ahead of print].

Pheromones are communication chemicals and regulatory signals used by animals and represent unique tools for organisms to mediate behaviors and make "decisions" to maximize their fitness. Phenotypic plasticity refers to the innate capacity of a species to tolerate a greater breadth of environmental conditions across which it adapts to improve its survival, reproduction, and fitness. The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, an invasive nematode species, was accidentally introduced from North America into Japan, China and Europe, however few studies have investigated its pheromones and phenotypic plasticity as a natural model. Here, we demonstrated a novel phenomenon, in which nematodes under the condition of pheromone presence, triggered increased reproduction in invasive strains (JP1, JP2, CN1, CN2, EU1 and EU2), while it simultaneously decreased reproduction in native strains (US1 and US2). The bidirectional effect of fecundity, mediated by presence/absence of pheromones, is henceforth termed pheromone-regulative reproductive plasticity (PRRP). We further found that synthetic ascaroside asc-C5 (ascr#9), the major pheromone component, plays a leading role in PRRP and identified two candidate receptor genes, Bxydaf-38 and Bxysrd-10, involved in perceiving asc-C5. These results suggest that plasticity of reproductive responses to pheromones in pinewood nematode may increase its fitness in novel environments following introduction. This opens up a new perspective for invasion biology and presents a novel strategy of invasion, suggesting that pheromones, in addition to their traditional roles in chemical signaling, can influence the reproductive phenotype between native and invasive isolates. In addition, this novel mechanism could broadly explain, through comparative studies of native and invasive populations of animals, a potential underlying factor behind of the success of other biological invasions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-12-02

Cebrián-Camisón S, Martínez-de la Puente J, J Figuerola (2020)

A Literature Review of Host Feeding Patterns of Invasive Aedes Mosquitoes in Europe.

Insects, 11(12): pii:insects11120848.

Aedes invasive mosquitoes (AIMs) play a key role as vectors of several pathogens of public health relevance. Four species have been established in Europe, including Aedes aegypti, Aedesalbopictus, Aedes japonicus and Aedes koreicus. In addition, Aedes atropalpus has been repeatedly recorded although it has not yet been established. In spite of their importance in the transmission of endemic (e.g., heartworms) and imported pathogens (e.g., dengue virus), basic information of parameters affecting their vectorial capacity is poorly investigated. The aim of this study is to review the blood feeding patterns of these invasive mosquito species in Europe, summarizing available information from their native and introduced distribution ranges. The feeding patterns of mosquitoes constitute a key parameter affecting the contact rates between infected and susceptible hosts, thus playing a central role in the epidemiology of mosquito-borne pathogens. Our results highlight that these mosquito species feed on the blood of different vertebrate groups from ectotherms to birds and mammals. However, humans represent the most important source of blood for these species, accounting for 36% and 93% of hosts identified for Ae. japonicus and Ae. aegypti, respectively. In spite of that, limited information has been obtained for some particular species, such as Ae. koreicus, or it is restricted to a few particular areas. Given the high vector competence of the four AIM species for the transmission of different emerging arboviruses such as dengue, Chikungunya, Zika or Yellow fever viruses and their high feeding rates on humans, these AIM species may have an important impact on the vectorial capacity for such pathogens on urban and periurban areas. Finally, we propose directions for future research lines based on identified knowledge gaps.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Jackson MV, Fuller RA, Gan X, et al (2020)

Dual threat of tidal flat loss and invasive Spartina alterniflora endanger important shorebird habitat in coastal mainland China.

Journal of environmental management, 278(Pt 2):111549 pii:S0301-4797(20)31474-2 [Epub ahead of print].

China's coastal wetlands are critically important to shorebirds. Substantial loss of tidal flats, shorebirds' primary foraging grounds, has occurred from land claim and other processes, and is driving population declines in multiple species. Smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora was intentionally introduced to the coast of China in 1979 to promote conversion of tidal flats into dry land and has since spread rapidly. The occurrence of S. alterniflora reduces the availability of foraging and roosting habitat for shorebirds, and may be particularly detrimental in places that have experienced other tidal flat loss. However, the extent to which S. alterniflora is encroaching upon important shorebird habitat throughout coastal mainland China, and its intersection with tidal flat loss, has not been quantified. Here, we i) estimate change in the spatial extent of tidal flats between 2000 and 2015 in coastal mainland China where internationally important numbers of shorebirds have been recorded; ii) map the extent of S. alterniflora coverage in 2015 at the same set of sites; and, iii) investigate where these two threats to important shorebird habitat intersect. Our analysis of remote sensing data indicated a 15% net loss in tidal flat area between 2000 and 2015 across all sites, including a net loss in tidal flat area in 39 of 53 individual sites (74%). Spartina alterniflora occurred at 28 of 53 sites (53%) in 2015, of which 22 sites (79%) also had a net loss in tidal flat area between 2000 and 2015. Combined pressures from tidal flat loss and S. alterniflora invasion were most severe in eastern coastal China. Species highly dependent on migrating through this region, which include the Critically Endangered Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Endangered Nordmann's Greenshank and Far Eastern Curlew, may be particularly impacted. Our results underscore the urgent need to arrest tidal flat declines and develop a comprehensive control program for S. alterniflora in coastal areas of mainland China that are important for shorebirds.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Vythalingam LM, Hossain M, S Bhassu (2020)

Rapid in-situ Detection Kit (RisK): Development of Loop-mediated Isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for the rapid identification of selected invasive alien fish in Malaysian freshwaters.

Molecular and cellular probes pii:S0890-8508(20)30572-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive alien fish species have become a silent treat towards the ecosystem especially the native fish population in Malaysia. There has been a need to develop rapid identification methods that can aid management teams in identifying fish species that are not native to our ecosystem. Current visual identification methods are highly tedious and require time, delaying action towards curbing the invasion. The LAMP assay successfully identified six popular invasive fish species in Malaysia. None of the LAMP assays showed false positives and the Limit of Detection of the LAMP primers were highly sensitive and could detect DNA samples up to 1x 10-15 ng/μl. The LAMP primers designed were highly specific to the target species and did not amplify non target species. DNA sequencing was done to ensure the accuracy of LAMP assay results. This study demonstrates that LAMP is a suitable tool in species identification efforts of invasive fish species in Malaysia.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Dexter E, Katz SL, Bollens SM, et al (2020)

Modeling the trophic impacts of invasive zooplankton in a highly invaded river.

PloS one, 15(12):e0243002 pii:PONE-D-20-19436.

The lower Columbia River (Washington and Oregon, USA) has been heavily invaded by a large number of planktonic organisms including the invasive copepod Pseudodiaptomus forbesi and the planktonic juveniles of the invasive clam, Corbicula fluminea. In order to assess the ecological impacts of these highly abundant invaders, we developed a multivariate auto-regressive (MAR) model of food web dynamics based upon a 12-year time-series of plankton community and environmental data from the Columbia River. Our model results indicate that plankton communities in the lower Columbia River are strongly impacted by the copepod P. forbesi at multiple trophic levels. We observed different ecological effects across different life stages of P. forbesi, with nauplii negatively impacting ciliates and autotrophs, and copepodite stages negatively impacting Daphnia and cyclopoid copepods. Although juvenile C. fluminea were highly abundant in the summer and autumn of each year, our best fit MAR model did not show significant C. fluminea impacts. Our results illustrate the strong ecological impact that some zooplankton invaders may cause within rivers and estuarine systems, and highlight the need for further research on the feeding ecology of the planktonic life-stage of C. fluminea. Overall, our study demonstrates the manner in which long-term, high resolution data sets can be used to better understand the ecological impacts of invasive species among complex and highly dynamic communities.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

da Silva CRB, Beaman JE, Dorey JB, et al (2020)

Climate change and invasive species: a physiological performance comparison of invasive and endemic bees in Fiji.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:jeb.230326 [Epub ahead of print].

Anthropogenic climate change and invasive species are two of the greatest threats to biodiversity, affecting the survival, fitness and distribution of many species around the globe. Invasive species are often expected to have broad thermal tolerances, be highly plastic, or have high adaptive potential when faced with novel environments. Tropical island ectotherms are expected to be vulnerable to climate change as they often have narrow thermal tolerances and limited plasticity. In Fiji, only one species of endemic bee, Homalictus fijiensis, is commonly found in the lowland regions, but two invasive bee species, Braunsapis puangensis and Ceratina dentipes, have recently been introduced to Fiji. These introduced species pollinate invasive plants and might compete with H. fijiensis and other native pollinators for resources. To test whether certain performance traits promote invasiveness of some species, and to determine which species are the most vulnerable to climate change, we compared the thermal tolerance, desiccation resistance, metabolic rate, and seasonal performance adjustments of endemic and invasive bees in Fiji. The two invasive species tended to be more resistant to thermal and desiccation stress than H. fijiensis, while H. fijiensis had greater capacity to adjust their CTMAX with season, and H. fijiensis females tended to have higher metabolic rates, than B. puangensis females. These findings provide mixed support for current hypotheses for the functional basis of the success of invasive species, however, we expect the invasive bees in Fiji to be more resilient to climate change due to their increased thermal tolerance and desiccation resistance.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Christensen EAF, Norin T, Tabak I, et al (2020)

Effects of temperature on physiological performance and behavioral thermoregulation in an invasive fish, the round goby.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:jeb.237669 [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive species exert negative impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems on a global scale, which may be enhanced in the future by climate change. Knowledge of how invasive species respond physiologically and behaviorally to novel and changing environments can improve our understanding of which traits enable the ecological success of these species, and potentially facilitate mitigation efforts. We examined the effects of acclimation to temperatures ranging from 5 to 28°C on aerobic metabolic rates, upper temperature tolerance (critical thermal maximum, CTmax), as well as temperature preference (Tpref) and avoidance (Tavoid) of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), one of the most impactful invasive species in the world. We show that round goby maintained a high aerobic scope from 15 to 28°C; that is, the capacity to increase its aerobic metabolic rate above that of its maintenance metabolism remained high across a broad thermal range. Although CTmax increased relatively little with acclimation temperature compared to other species, Tpref and Tavoid were not affected by acclimation temperature at all, meaning that round goby maintained a large thermal safety margin (CTmax-Tavoid) across acclimation temperatures, indicating a high level of thermal resilience in the species. The unperturbed physiological performance and high thermal resilience was likely facilitated by high levels of phenotypic buffering, which can make species readily adaptable and ecologically competitive in novel and changing environments. We suggest that these physiological and behavioral traits could be common for invasive species, which would only increase their success under continued climate change.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Ludwick DC, Patterson J, Leake LB, et al (2020)

Integrating Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead, 1904) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) into Management Programs for Halyomorpha halys (Stål, 1855) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) in Apple Orchards: Impact of Insecticide Applications and Spray Patterns.

Insects, 11(12): pii:insects11120833.

Halyomorpha halys (Stål, 1855) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) is an invasive species in the United States, where it has caused significant damage to specialty crops, including apples. While integrated pest management techniques have been developed for H. halys in apple, including spray application techniques, it is unknown how these techniques affect foraging, adventive Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead, 1904) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae), and its offspring. In this study, egg masses (unparasitized and 2 and 7 day parasitized pre-treatment) were placed in apple orchards in treated and untreated locations that received full block insecticide applications or reduced application techniques, including border row or alternate row middle applications. Bifenthrin, thiamethoxam + λ-cyhalothrin, clothianidin, and methomyl were evaluated. Egg masses were retrieved 24 h after spray applications. For 2 and 7 day parasitized pre-treatment, adult T. japonicus emergence was recorded from each egg mass. For unparasitized egg masses, T. japonicus females were given 24 h to forage and oviposit on post-treatment egg masses with female survivorship, and adult emergence from egg masses was recorded. Female survivorship was significantly lower on post-treatment egg masses retrieved from areas receiving bifenthrin applications. Emergence from post-treatment egg masses was affected by thiamethoxam + λ-cyhalothrin, bifenthrin, and methomyl in some treated areas, whereas less impact was observed on 2 and 7 day pre-treatment parasitized egg masses in general. These data provide further insights into H. halys management and the potential impact of T. japonicus in sprayed orchard agroecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

De-la-Torre GE, Dioses-Salinas DC, Pizarro-Ortega CI, et al (2021)

New plastic formations in the Anthropocene.

The Science of the total environment, 754:142216.

Plastic pollution is one of the major challenges in the Anthropocene. Upon reaching the marine environment, plastic debris is subject to anthropogenic and environmental conditions that result in novel items that vary in composition, physical and chemical characteristics. Here, we reviewed and discussed the potential fate and threat to the environment of four recently described plastic formations: Plastiglomerates, pyroplastics, plasticrusts, and anthropoquinas. The threats identified were mostly related to the release of toxic chemicals and plastic ingestion. Transportation of alien invasive species or microbial pathogens and fragmentation of larger plastics into microplastics (<5 mm), potentially reaching marine trophic webs, are suspected as potential impacts based on the characteristics of these plastic formations. Some plastic forms may persist in the environment and voyage across the ocean, while others are denser and less likely to enter the plastic cycle or interact with biota. In the latter case, plastics are expected to become buried in the sediment and incorporate into the geological record. It is necessary to establish sampling protocols or standards that are specific to each plastic formation and start reporting the occurrence of these new plastic categories as such to avoid underestimating plastic pollution in marine environments. It is suggested that monitoring plans include these categories and identify potential sources. Further research must focus on investigating whether the suspected impacts are a matter of concern. In this sense, we have suggested research questions to address the knowledge gaps and have a better understanding of the impacts and distribution of the new plastic forms.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Popovic I, Bierne N, Gaiti F, et al (2020)

Pre-introduction introgression contributes to parallel differentiation and contrasting hybridisation outcomes between invasive and native marine mussels.

Journal of evolutionary biology [Epub ahead of print].

Non-native species experience novel selection pressures in introduced environments and may interbreed with native lineages. Species introductions therefore provide opportunities to investigate repeated patterns of adaptation and introgression across replicated contact zones. Here, we investigate genetic parallelism between multiple introduced populations of the invasive marine mussel, Mytilus galloprovincialis, in the absence (South Africa and California) and presence of hybridisation with a native congener (Mytilus planulatus in Batemans Bay and Sydney Harbour, Australia). Repeatability in post-introduction differentiation from native-range populations varied between genetically distinct Atlantic and Mediterranean lineages, with Atlantic-derived introductions displaying high differentiation (maxFST>0.4) and parallelism at outlier loci. Identification of long non-coding RNA transcripts (lncRNA) additionally allowed us to clarify that parallel responses are largely limited to protein-coding loci, with lncRNAs likely evolving under evolutionary constraints. Comparisons of independent hybrid zones revealed differential introgression most strongly in Batemans Bay, with an excess of M. galloprovincialis ancestry and resistance to introgression at loci differentiating parental lineages (M. planulatus and Atlantic M. galloprovincialis). Additionally, contigs putatively introgressed with divergent alleles from a closely related species, Mytilus edulis, showed stronger introgression asymmetries compared to genome-wide trends and also diverged in parallel in both Atlantic-derived introductions. These results suggest that divergent demographic histories experienced by introduced lineages, including pre-introduction introgression, influences contemporary admixture dynamics. Our findings build on previous investigations reporting contributions of historical introgression to intrinsic reproductive architectures shared between marine lineages and illustrate that interspecific introgression history can shape differentiation between colonising populations and their hybridisation with native congeners.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Cowie BW, Byrne MJ, ETF Witkowski (2020)

Feasible or foolish: Attempting restoration of a Parthenium hysterophorus invaded savanna using perennial grass seed.

Journal of environmental management pii:S0301-4797(20)31611-X [Epub ahead of print].

The annual herb Parthenium hysterophorus L. (Asteraceae), remains one of Southern Africa's most significant invasive weeds, commonly invading savannas, and their rangelands, causing severe losses to agriculture, livestock production and native biodiversity. Previous studies have suggested that perennial grasses may act as useful competitive species, capable of suppressing the growth and invasion of P. hysterophorus. To explore this, a total of 48 plots were established within an invaded savanna, using a randomised block design, and included treatments with and without the clearing of P. hysterophorus, as well as with and without the sowing of native perennial grass seed (Anthephora pubescens, Chloris gayana, Cynodon dactylon, Digitaria eriantha, Eragrostis curvula, Panicum maximum and Themeda triandra). Plots were assessed yearly in terms of P. hysterophorus density and growth as well as grass species composition, basal cover, and biomass over a three-year period. Clearing alone was found to exacerbate invasion, increasing P. hysterophorus density by 40%. Whereas the sowing of grass seed, in both the cleared and uncleared plots, increased the abundance of perennial grass species by 28%, subsequently reducing the size, reproductive output and density of P. hysterophorus over the three years. In addition, these sowing efforts contributed towards partial restoration of the plots, enhancing grass basal cover by ~15% and biomass production by 17%. Overall, this research suggests that sowing of native grass species, with or without clearing, may be a useful supplementary control or restoration tool towards the long-term management of P. hysterophorus invasions in managed savannas and rangelands in Southern Africa.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Broadley HJ, Gould JR, Sullivan LT, et al (2020)

Life History and Rearing of Anastatus orientalis (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae), an Egg Parasitoid of the Spotted Lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae).

Environmental entomology pii:6008156 [Epub ahead of print].

To support efforts to manage and contain spotted lanternfly (SLF), Lycorma delicatula White (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), research is being conducted to develop classical biological control methods. To date, two potential biocontrol agents from China have been identified: an egg parasitoid, Anastatus orientalis, and a nymphal parasitoid, Dryinus sinicus Olmi (Hymenoptera: Dryinidae). The research detailed here focuses on investigating the biology and rearing of A. orientalis to assess its potential efficacy in a biocontrol program and optimize its rearing. Female wasps lived significantly longer than male wasps (68 and 23 d, respectively) and females produced an average of 94 total progeny that successfully emerged as adults, with most progeny produced between weeks one and four of the females' lives. The sex ratio of the progeny, with no re-mating, was initially highly female-biased but became progressively more male-biased, likely due to sperm depletion. There was no evidence of additional mortality to SLF eggs from wasp host feeding, but the data were highly variable and the sample size was small. There was high parasitoid emergence when oviposition conditions mimicked mid-September Beijing temperature and photoperiod; however, there was little emergence under 25°C and long-day conditions because most progeny entered a diapause. Storage of parasitized eggs in 5°C chill lowered parasitoid emergence rates. Lastly, there was no evidence that storing field-collected SLF egg masses in 5°C for 10 mo prior to parasitization affected parasitism rates. These findings inform our rearing protocol for A. orientalis and facilitate our testing of this species as a potential biological control agent for SLF.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Kleitou P, Crocetta F, Giakoumi S, et al (2020)

Fishery reforms for the management of non-indigenous species.

Journal of environmental management pii:S0301-4797(20)31615-7 [Epub ahead of print].

Marine ecosystems are undergoing major transformations due to the establishment and spread of Non-Indigenous Species (NIS). Some of these organisms have adverse effects, for example by reducing biodiversity and causing ecosystem shifts. Others have upsides, such as benefits to fisheries or replacing lost ecological functions and strengthening biogenic complexity. Stopping the spread of NIS is virtually impossible and so the societal challenge is how to limit the socioeconomic, health, and ecological risks, and sustainably exploit the benefits provided by these organisms. We propose a move away from the notion that NIS have only negative effects, and suggest a turn towards an Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management approach for NIS (EBFM-NIS) in the Mediterranean Sea, the world's most invaded marine region. A structured, iterative, and adaptive framework that considers the range of costs and benefits to ecosystems, ecosystem services, and fisheries is set out to determine whether NIS stocks should be managed using sustainable or unsustainable exploitation. We propose fishery reforms such as multiannual plans, annual catch limits, technical measures for sustainable exploitation, and legitimization of unlimited fishing of selected NIS and introduction of a radical new license for NIS fishing for unsustainable exploitation. Depending on local conditions, investment strategies can be included within the EBFM-NIS framework to protect/enhance natural assets to improve ecosystem resilience against NIS, as well as fishery assets to improve the performance of NIS fisheries. Examples of the former include the enhancement of Marine Protected Areas, harvesting of invasive NIS within MPAs, and protection of overfished predators and key species. Examples of the latter include market promotion and valorisation of NIS products, development of novel NIS products, and innovative/alternative NIS fishing such as fishery-related tourism ('pescatourism'). The application of the suggested EBFM-NIS would create jobs, protect and enhance ecosystem services, and help to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Mathai PP, Bertram JH, Padhi SK, et al (2020)

Influence of Environmental Stressors on the Microbiota of Zebra Mussels (Dreissena polymorpha).

Microbial ecology pii:10.1007/s00248-020-01642-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Host-associated microbiota play a critical role in host fitness by providing nutrition, enhancing digestion capabilities, and by providing protection from pathogens. Here, we investigated the effects of two environmental stressors, temperature, and salinity, on the microbiota associated with zebra mussels (ZMs), a highly invasive bivalve in North America. To examine this in detail, lake-collected ZMs were acclimated to laboratory conditions, and subjected to temperature and salinity stress conditions. The impact of these stressors on the diversity, composition, and dynamics of ZM-associated microbiota were assessed by using amplicon- and shotgun-based sequencing, and qPCR-based approaches. Elevated temperature was found to be the primary driver of ZM mortality, although salinity alone also increased its likelihood. Stressor-induced ZM mortality, which ranged between 53 and 100%, was concomitant with significant increases in the relative abundance of several genera of putative opportunistic pathogens including Aeromonas. These genera were only present in low relative abundance in ZMs obtained from the control tank with 0% mortality. Shotgun sequencing and qPCR analyses indicated that the relative and absolute abundances of pathogenic Aeromonas species (particularly A. veronii) were significantly greater in temperature-induced dead ZMs. Taken together, our results show that environmental stress, especially elevated temperature (> 25 °C), is associated with the rapid mortality of ZMs as well as the proliferation of putative opportunistic bacterial pathogens.

RevDate: 2020-11-26

Koch FH, Yemshanov D, Haight RG, et al (2020)

Optimal invasive species surveillance in the real world: practical advances from research.

Emerging topics in life sciences pii:227002 [Epub ahead of print].

When alien species make incursions into novel environments, early detection through surveillance is critical to minimizing their impacts and preserving the possibility of timely eradication. However, incipient populations can be difficult to detect, and usually, there are limited resources for surveillance or other response activities. Modern optimization techniques enable surveillance planning that accounts for the biology and expected behavior of an invasive species while exploring multiple scenarios to identify the most cost-effective options. Nevertheless, most optimization models omit some real-world limitations faced by practitioners during multi-day surveillance campaigns, such as daily working time constraints, the time and cost to access survey sites and personnel work schedules. Consequently, surveillance managers must rely on their own judgments to handle these logistical details, and default to their experience during implementation. This is sensible, but their decisions may fail to address all relevant factors and may not be cost-effective. A better planning strategy is to determine optimal routing to survey sites while accounting for common daily logistical constraints. Adding site access and other logistical constraints imposes restrictions on the scope and extent of the surveillance effort, yielding costlier but more realistic expectations of the surveillance outcomes than in a theoretical planning case.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Rewicz A, Myśliwy M, Adamowski W, et al (2020)

Seed morphology and sculpture of invasive Impatiens capensis Meerb. from different habitats.

PeerJ, 8:e10156.

Impatiens capensis is an annual plant native to eastern North America that is currently spreading across Europe. In Poland, due to this plant's rapid spread in the secondary range and high competitiveness in relation to native species, it is considered a locally invasive species. The microstructure of seeds is an important tool for solving various taxonomic problems and also provides data useful for determining the impact of various environmental factors on the phenotypic variability of species. This issue is particularly important in regard to invasive species which occupy a wide range of habitats in the invaded range. There are few reports on seed size and thus far no descriptions of the seed ultrastructure of I. capensis in the analyzed literature. We present new data on the seed morphology of I. capensis growing in different habitats and conditions in the secondary range of the species. The studied populations differed significantly in each of the investigated traits (seed length, width, circumference, area, roundness, and mass). Our findings showed that anthropogenic disturbances in habitats and some soil parameters (presence of carbonates, potassium, loose sand, and moisture) were statistically significant with various seed sizes and morphology in the studied populations of I. capensis. Moreover, our studies showed maximum seed length (5.74 mm) and width (3.21 mm) exceeding those values given in the available literature. For the first time, we also provide a detailed SEM study of the ultrastructure of the seed coat of I. capensis. There are two types of epidermal cells on the seeds: (a) between the ribs (elongated with straight anticlinal walls, slightly concave outer periclinal walls, and micropapillate secondary sculpture on the edges with anticyclic walls), and (b) on the ribs (isodiametric cells with straight anticlinal walls and concave outer periclinal walls). Unlike the variability of size and weight of seeds, the coat ornamentation has turned out to be a steady feature within the studied secondary range of I. capensis.

RevDate: 2020-11-27

Justine JL, Gey D, Thévenot J, et al (2020)

The land flatworm Amaga expatria (Geoplanidae) in Guadeloupe and Martinique: new reports and molecular characterization including complete mitogenome.

PeerJ, 8:e10098.

Background: The land flatworm Amaga expatria Jones & Sterrer, 2005 (Geoplanidae) was described from two specimens collected in Bermuda in 1963 and 1988 and not recorded since.

Methods: On the basis of a citizen science project, we received observations in the field, photographs and specimens from non-professionals and local scientists in Martinique and Guadeloupe. We barcoded (COI) specimens from both islands and studied the histology of the reproductive organs of one specimen. Based on Next Generation Sequencing, we obtained the complete mitogenome of A. expatria and some information on its prey from contaminating DNA.

Results: We add records from 2006 to 2019 in two French islands of the Caribbean arc, Guadeloupe (six records) and Martinique (14 records), based on photographs obtained from citizen science and specimens examined. A specimen from Martinique was studied for histology of the copulatory organs and barcoded for the COI gene; its anatomy was similar to the holotype, therefore confirming species identification. The COI gene was identical for several specimens from Martinique and Guadeloupe and differed from the closest species by more than 10%; molecular characterisation of the species is thus possible by standard molecular barcoding techniques. The mitogenome is 14,962 bp in length and contains 12 protein coding genes, two rRNA genes and 22 tRNA genes; for two protein genes it was not possible to determine the start codon. The mitogenome was compared with the few available mitogenomes from geoplanids and the most similar was Obama nungara, a species from South America. An analysis of contaminating DNA in the digestive system suggests that A. expatria preys on terrestrial molluscs, and citizen science observations in the field suggest that prey include molluscs and earthworms; the species thus could be a threat to biodiversity of soil animals in the Caribbean.

RevDate: 2020-11-29

Edgington MP, Harvey-Samuel T, L Alphey (2020)

Split drive killer-rescue provides a novel threshold-dependent gene drive.

Scientific reports, 10(1):20520.

A wide range of gene drive mechanisms have been proposed that are predicted to increase in frequency within a population even when they are deleterious to individuals carrying them. This also allows associated desirable genetic material ("cargo genes") to increase in frequency. Gene drives have garnered much attention for their potential use against a range of globally important problems including vector borne disease, crop pests and invasive species. Here we propose a novel gene drive mechanism that could be engineered using a combination of toxin-antidote and CRISPR components, each of which are already being developed for other purposes. Population genetics mathematical models are developed here to demonstrate the threshold-dependent nature of the proposed system and its robustness to imperfect homing, incomplete penetrance of toxins and transgene fitness costs, each of which are of practical significance given that real-world components inevitably have such imperfections. We show that although end-joining repair mechanisms may cause the system to break down, under certain conditions, it should persist over time scales relevant for genetic control programs. The potential of such a system to provide localised population suppression via sex ratio distortion or female-specific lethality is also explored. Additionally, we investigate the effect on introduction thresholds of adding an extra CRISPR base element, showing that this may either increase or decrease dependent on parameter context.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Bieńkowski AO, MJ Orlova-Bienkowskaja (2020)

Invasive Agricultural Pest Drosophila suzukii (Diptera, Drosophilidae) Appeared in the Russian Caucasus.

Insects, 11(11):.

Spotted-wing drosophila Drosophila suzukii (Matsumura) is one of the most important invasive pests of fruit and wine production worldwide. This species feeds on Prunus spp., Rubus spp., Fragaria spp. (Rosaceae), Vaccinium spp. (Ericaceae), Vitis spp. (Vitaceae), and other soft fruits. It causes significant damage because, unlike most other Drosophila species, it oviposits and feeds on healthy fruits. Drosophila suzukii is a quarantine pest that is included on the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization (EPPO) A2 List. This species is native to East Asia and has been rapidly spreading through Europe since 2008. Herein, we report the first records of D. suzukii in European Russia. In 2017 and 2020, we placed baited traps in different districts of the resort city of Sochi (Black sea Coast of the Caucasus, Krasnodar Territory, Russia). Three specimens of D. suzukii were collected in June 2017, two specimens in September 2017, and 44 specimens in September 2020. Specimens were identified by the typical female ovipositor, spotted wings of the males, and other morphological characters. Krasnodar Territory is one of the main fruit-producing regions of Russia. Therefore, populations of this pest should be monitored and measures to minimize economic damage should be taken.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Bieńkowski AO, MJ Orlova-Bienkowskaja (2020)

History of the Biodiversity of Ladybirds (Coccinellidae) at the Black Sea Coast of the Russian Caucasus in the Last 120 Years-Does the Landscape Transformation and Establishment of Harmonia axyridis Have an Impact?.

Insects, 11(11):.

Studies of the history of regional insect fauna are important for understanding the changes in ecosystems. We analyzed the dynamics of ladybird fauna at the main sea resort of Russia over a period of 120 years to determine the following: (1) what species disappeared and what species appeared during landscape transformation; (2) what alien species introduced for pest control have been observed to date; and (3) whether the establishment of the global invader Harmonia axyridis (Coccinellidae) caused the extinction of some ladybird species in the Caucasus. We examined specimens collected by us and 54 other collectors including specimens from old museum collections and detected 62 species, 50 of which were collected in recent years (2011-2020). Landscape transformation and recreational use have caused not a decrease but an increase in ladybird biodiversity. Twenty-nine of 34 species recorded before 1930 have been observed in the region to date. Twenty-three other species have spontaneously spread to the region between 1930 and 2020 because of the creation of suitable anthropogenic habitats or because of unintentional introduction. Rodolia cardinalis, Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, Lindorus lophanthae, and Serangium montazerii were released for pest control, and they occur in gardens and streets but not in natural habitats. Harmonia axyridis, which appeared approximately 10 years ago, is abundant in urban and natural habitats, but there is no evidence that it caused the elimination of any ladybird species.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Colesie C, Stangl ZR, V Hurry (2020)

Differences in growth-economics of fast vs. slow growing grass species in response to temperature and nitrogen limitation individually, and in combination.

BMC ecology, 20(1):63.

BACKGROUND: Fast growing invasive alien species are highly efficient with little investment in their tissues. They often outcompete slower growing species with severe consequences for diversity and community composition. The plant economics trait-based approach provides a theoretical framework, allowing the classification of plants with different performance characteristics. However, in multifaceted background, this approach needs testing. The evaluation and prediction of plant performance outcomes in ecologically relevant settings is among the most pressing topics to understand and predict ecosystem functioning, especially in a quickly changing environment. Temperature and nutrient availability are major components of the global environmental change and this study examines the response of growth economic traits, photosynthesis and respiration to such changes for an invasive fast-growing (Bromus hordaceus) and a slow-growing perennial (Bromus erectus) grass species.

RESULTS: The fully controlled growth chamber experiment simulated temperature-and changes in nitrogen availability individually and in combination. We therefore provide maximum control and monitoring of growth responses allowing general growth trait response patterns to be tested. Under optimal nitrogen availability the slow growing B. erectus was better able to handle the lower temperatures (7 °C) whilst both species had problems at higher temperatures (30 °C). Stresses produced by a combination of heat and nutrient availability were identified to be less limiting for the slow growing species but the combination of chilling with low nutrient availability was most detrimental to both species.

CONCLUSIONS: For the fast-growing invader B. hordeaceus a reduction of nitrogen availability in combination with a temperature increase, leads to limited growth performance in comparison to the slow-growing perennial species B.erectus and this may explain why nutrient-rich habitats often experience more invasion than resource-poor habitats.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Lin S, Qin D, Zhang Y, et al (2020)

Toxicity and Sublethal Effects of Autumn Crocus (Colchicum autumnale) Bulb Powder on Red Imported Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta).

Toxins, 12(11):.

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale L.) is a medicinal plant as it contains high concentrations of colchicine. In this study, we reported that the ground powder of autumn crocus bulb is highly toxic to invasive Solenopsis invicta Buren, commonly referred to as red imported fire ants (RIFAs). Ants fed with sugar water containing 5000 mg/L of bulb powder showed 54.67% mortality in three days compared to 45.33% mortality when fed with sugar water containing 50 mg/L of colchicine. Additionally, the effects of short-term feeding with sugar water containing 1 mg/L of colchicine and 100 mg/L of autumn crocus bulb powder were evaluated for RIFAs' colony weight, food consumption, and aggressiveness, i.e., aggregation, grasping ability, and walking speed. After 15 days of feeding, the cumulative colony weight loss reached 44.63% and 58.73% due to the sublethal concentrations of colchicine and autumn crocus bulb powder, respectively. The consumption of sugar water and mealworm (Tenebrio molitor L.) was substantially reduced. The aggregation rates decreased 48.67% and 34.67%, grasping rates were reduced to 38.67% and 16.67%, and walking speed decreased 1.13 cm/s and 0.67 cm/s as a result of the feeding of the two sublethal concentrations of colchicine and autumn crocus bulb powder, respectively. Our results for the first time show that powder derived from autumn crocus bulbs could potentially be a botanical pesticide for controlling RIFAs, and application of such a product could be ecologically benign due to its rapid biodegradation in the environment.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Achury R, Holway DA, AV Suarez (2020)

Pervasive and persistent effects of ant invasion and fragmentation on native ant assemblages.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Biological invasions are a leading cause of global change, yet their long-term effects remain hard to predict. Invasive species can remain abundant for long periods of time, or exhibit population crashes that allow native communities to recover. The abundance and impact of non-native species may also be closely tied to temporally variable habitat characteristics. We investigated the long-term effects of habitat fragmentation and invasion by the Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) by resurveying ants in 40 scrub habitat fragments in coastal southern California that were originally sampled 21 years ago. At a landscape scale, fragment area, but not fragment age or Argentine ant mean abundance, continued to explain variation in native ant species richness; the species-area relationship between the two sample years did not differ in terms of slope or intercept. At local scales, over the last 21 years we detected increases in the overall area invaded (+36.7 %, estimated as the proportion of occupied traps) and the relative abundance of the Argentine ant (+121.95 %, estimated as mean number of workers in pitfall traps). Argentine ant mean abundance also increased inwards from urban edges in 2017 compared to 1996. The greater level of penetration into fragments likely reduced native ant richness by eliminating refugia for native ants in fragments that did not contain sufficient interior area. At one fragment where we sampled eight times over the last 21 years, Argentine ant mean abundance increased over time while the diversity of native ground-foraging ants declined from 14 to 4 species. Notably, native species predicted to be particularly sensitive to the combined effect of invasion and habitat loss were not detected at any sites in our recent sampling, including the army ant genus Neivamyrmex. Conversely, two introduced ant species (Brachymyrmex patagonicus and Pheidole flavens) that were undetected in 1996 are now common and widespread at our sites. Our results indicate that behaviorally and numerically dominant invasive species can maintain high densities and suppress native diversity for extended periods.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Bang A, F Courchamp (2020)

Industrial rearing of edible insects could be a major source of new biological invasions.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

The recent upsurge in the edible insect market has seen industrialisation and intensification without adequate regulatory policy guidelines in place. The species being reared and sold are often non-native, in rearing centres not equipped to contain the species, and in areas without regional or national pre-entry regulations, post-entry monitoring guidelines and early response programmes to address escapee species. Such unregulated transport, trade and rearing of species, compounded by the policy and implementation loopholes at the regional, national and international levels will most likely lead to new biological invasions, as has been witnessed with other unregulated trade practices. To avoid this, it is necessary to monitor and regulate the species to be reared, to improve the quarantine guidelines of the rearing centres, and to be more stringent about the policies and practices that allow movements of non-native species across international borders.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Orden JA, García-Meniño I, Flament-Simon SC, et al (2020)

Raccoons (Procyon lotor) in the Madrid region of Spain are carriers of antimicrobial-resistant Escherichia coli and enteropathogenic E. coli.

Zoonoses and public health [Epub ahead of print].

The role of wildlife in the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistance is unclear. Raccoons in North America can carry a variety of enteric bacteria, with associated antimicrobial resistance, that could infect humans and livestock. The potential for raccoons to carry these bacteria in Europe, where they are an invasive species, has not been explored. Our objectives were to determine the prevalence of Escherichia coli with associated antimicrobial resistance in raccoons from the Madrid region of Spain and to determine whether they are carriers of potential human pathogens, including verotoxin-producing E. coli (VTEC) and enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC). In total, we tested 237 E. coli isolates from the faeces of 83 euthanized raccoons for susceptibility to 14 antimicrobial agents and the presence of VTEC and EPEC. Antimicrobial resistance to at least one antimicrobial was detected in the faeces of 51% (42/83; 95% CI, 40.1-61.1) of the raccoons tested. A high percentage of raccoons carried, in their faeces, E. coli isolates resistant to ampicillin (33%), streptomycin (33%), tetracycline (30%), sulphafurazole (31%) and trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole (23%). We detected one isolate of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing E. coli from the faeces of one raccoon. We detected VTEC in the faeces of one raccoon, and EPEC in the faeces of 12% (10/83) of the raccoons. Of the raccoons that carried EPEC in their faeces, 60% (6/10) carried EPEC isolates that exhibited characteristics associated with pathogenicity in humans. Raccoons in Madrid can carry pathogenic and antimicrobial-resistant E. coli in their faeces and may be a risk to public health because of their potential to contaminate food and the environment with their faeces.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Reeves LE, Medina J, Miqueli E, et al (2020)

Establishment of Aedes (Ochlerotatus) scapularis (Diptera: Culicidae) in Mainland Florida, With Notes on the Ochlerotatus Group in the United States.

Journal of medical entomology pii:5998585 [Epub ahead of print].

Aedes scapularis (Rondani), a widespread neotropical vector mosquito species, has been included in the mosquito fauna of Florida on the basis of just three larval specimens that were collected in the middle Florida Keys in 1945. Here, we report numerous recent collections of immature and adult Ae. scapularis from multiple locations in two counties of southern Florida. These specimens represent the first records of Ae. scapularis from mainland Florida and the first records of the species in the state since the initial detection of the species 75 yr ago. Collections of both larvae and adults across several years indicate that Ae. scapularis is now established in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. These contemporary records of this species in Florida may represent novel dispersal and subsequent establishment events from populations outside the United States or a recent reemergence of undetected endemic populations. To confirm morphological identification of Ae. scapularis specimens from Florida, the DNA barcoding region of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene (COI) was sequenced and compared to all other Ochlerotatus Group species from the United States, specifically Aedes condolescens Dyar and Knab (Diptera: Culicidae), Aedes infirmatus Dyar and Knab (Diptera: Culicidae), Aedes thelcter Dyar (Diptera: Culicidae), Aedes tortilis (Theobald) (Diptera: Culicidae), and Aedes trivittatus (Coquillett) (Diptera: Culicidae). Molecular assays and sequencing confirm morphological identification of Ae. scapularis specimens. Maximum likelihood phylogenetic analysis of COI and ITS2 sequences place Florida Ae. scapularis in a distinct clade, but was unable to produce distinct clades for Florida specimens of Ae. condolescens and Ae. tortilis.

RevDate: 2020-11-24

Senator S, Tretyakova A, D Vorontsov (2020)

Distribution of alien plant species of the Middle Volga Region (South-East of the European part of Russia): a dataset.

Biodiversity data journal, 8:e59125.

Background: The dataset presented in the current study contains information regarding alien vascular plant species found in the Middle Volga Region (South-East of the European part of Russia). The dataset overall includes 413 species belonging to 247 genera and 67 families. The described dataset is based on the data published during floristic studies from 1851 to 2019. The dataset does not include alien vascular plant species that have presently disappeared from the territory of the region. It contains a total of 7,782 records of occurrences, extracted from the Salix system of information and analytics, developed in the Institute of Ecology of the Volga River Basin of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

New information: A total of 7,782 records were published on the occurrence of alien vascular plants in the Middle Volga Region. Each entry includes information regarding the place of occurrence of the alien plant species, the year of occurrence, the person who recorded the alien plant and who identified it, status of the species (introduced or invasive), link to the herbarium, which contains the specimen and the literary source. If it were impossible to establish the names of the persons who collected the samples and (or) their identification in the identifiedBy and recordedBy fields, the names of the authors of the publication given in the associatedReferences field were entered. The presented dataset supplements the information on the distribution of alien plant species in the whole European part of Russia and specifies the places of their findings in the Middle Volga Region.

RevDate: 2020-11-21

Nishimoto M, Miyashita T, Yokomizo H, et al (2020)

Spatial optimization of invasive species control informed by management practices.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

Optimization of spatial resource allocation is crucial for the successful control of invasive species under a limited budget but requires labor-intensive surveys to estimate population parameters. In this study, we devised a novel framework for the spatially explicit optimization of capture effort allocation using state-space population models from past capture records. We applied it to a control program for invasive snapping turtles to determine effort allocation strategies that minimize the population density over the whole area. We found that spatially heterogeneous density dependence and capture pressure limit the abundance of snapping turtles. Optimal effort allocation effectively improved the control effect, but the degree of improvement varied substantially depending on the total effort. The degree of improvement by the spatial optimization of allocation effort was only 3.21% when the total effort was maintained at the 2016 level. However, when the total effort was increased by 2, 4, and 8 times, spatial optimization resulted in improvements of 4.65%, 8.33%, and 20.35%, respectively. To achieve the management goal for snapping turtles in our study area, increasing the current total effort by more than 4 times was necessary, in addition to optimizing the spatial effort. The snapping turtle population is expected to reach the target density one year after the optimal management strategy is implemented, and this rapid response can be explained by high population growth rate coupled with density-dependent feedback regulation. Our results demonstrated that combining a state-space model with optimization makes it possible to adaptively improve the management of invasive species and decision-making. The method used in this study, based on removal records from an invasive management program, can be easily applied to monitoring data for wildlife and pest control management using traps in a variety of ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Zhang Y, Xu L, Chen S, et al (2020)

Transcription-mediated tissue-specific lignification of vascular bundle causes trade-offs between growth and defence capacity during invasion of Solidago canadensis.

Plant science : an international journal of experimental plant biology, 301:110638.

Allocation of more resources to growth but less to defense causing growth vigor of invasive alien plant populations contributes to successful invasion. However, few studies has addressed to relationship between vascular development variation and this mechanism. In this study, a common garden experimentwas established to compare the growth and vascular bundle development between native and introduced populations of Solidago canadensis, which is a wide-distributed invasive species in China. Our results suggested that the rapid growth of introduced populations could be explained by the well-developed and highly lignified xylem; while native populations present more developed and highly lignified phloem, which contributed more resistance to the infection of Sclerotiun rofsii compared with introduced populations. This difference was resulted from tissue-specific tradeoff distribution of lignification related gene expression between xylem and phloem, which is regulated by upstream MYB transcription factors. Our study gives a novel insight of mechanism that explain invasion success: lignin-related gene transcription-mediated tissue-specific lignification of vascular bundle contributes tradeoffs in resource allocation between growth and defence capacity during successful invasion of S. canadensis.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Cuthbert RN, Bacher S, Blackburn TM, et al (2020)

Invasion costs, impacts, and human agency: response to Sagoff 2020.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, 34(6):1579-1582.

Article impact statement: In an era of profound biodiversity crisis, invasion costs, invader impacts, and human agency should not be dismissed.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Kelly LT, Giljohann KM, Duane A, et al (2020)

Fire and biodiversity in the Anthropocene.

Science (New York, N.Y.), 370(6519):.

Fire has been a source of global biodiversity for millions of years. However, interactions with anthropogenic drivers such as climate change, land use, and invasive species are changing the nature of fire activity and its impacts. We review how such changes are threatening species with extinction and transforming terrestrial ecosystems. Conservation of Earth's biological diversity will be achieved only by recognizing and responding to the critical role of fire. In the Anthropocene, this requires that conservation planning explicitly includes the combined effects of human activities and fire regimes. Improved forecasts for biodiversity must also integrate the connections among people, fire, and ecosystems. Such integration provides an opportunity for new actions that could revolutionize how society sustains biodiversity in a time of changing fire activity.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Marini G, Manica M, Arnoldi D, et al (2020)

Influence of Temperature on the Life-Cycle Dynamics of Aedes albopictus Population Established at Temperate Latitudes: A Laboratory Experiment.

Insects, 11(11):.

The mosquito species Aedes albopictus has successfully colonized many areas at temperate latitudes, representing a major public health concern. As mosquito bionomics is critically affected by temperature, we experimentally investigated the influence of different constant rearing temperatures (10, 15, 25, and 30 °C) on the survival rates, fecundity, and developmental times of different life stages of Ae. albopictus using a laboratory colony established from specimens collected in northern Italy. We compared our results with previously published data obtained with subtropical populations. We found that temperate Ae. albopictus immature stages are better adapted to colder temperatures: temperate larvae were able to develop even at 10 °C and at 15 °C, larval survivorship was comparable to the one observed at warmer conditions. Nonetheless, at these lower temperatures, we did not observe any blood-feeding activity. Adult longevity and fecundity were substantially greater at 25 °C with respect to the other tested temperatures. Our findings highlight the ability of Ae. albopictus to quickly adapt to colder environments and provide new important insights on the bionomics of this species at temperate latitudes.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Iqbal MF, Liu MC, Iram A, et al (2020)

Effects of the invasive plant Xanthium strumarium on diversity of native plant species: A competitive analysis approach in North and Northeast China.

PloS one, 15(11):e0228476 pii:PONE-D-20-01129.

Xanthium strumarium is native to North America and now has become one of the invasive alien species (IAS) in China. In order to detect the effects of the invader on biodiversity and evaluate its suitable habitats and ecological distribution, we investigated the abundance, relative abundance, diversity indices, and the number of the invasive and native plants in paired invaded and non-invaded quadrats in four locations in North and Northeast China. We also analyzed the effects of monthly mean maximum and minimum temperatures, relative humidity (%), and precipitations (mm). Strong positive significant (P < 0.01) correlation and maximum interspecific competition (41%) were found in Huailai between invaded and non-invaded quadrats. Shannon's Diversity Index showed that non-invaded plots had significantly (P < 0.05) more diversified species than invaded ones. The significant (P < 0.05) Margalef's Richness Index was found in Huailai and Zhangjiakou in non-invaded recorded heterogeneous nature of plant communities. Similarly, significant (P < 0.05) species richness found in Huailai and Zhangjiakou in non-invaded quadrats compared to invaded ones. Maximum evenness of Setaria feberi (0.47, 0.37), Seteria viridis (0.43) found in Fushun and Zhangjiakou recorded more stable in a community compared to other localities. Evenness showed positive relationship of Shannon Entropy within different plant species. The higher dissimilarity in plant communities found in Huailai (87.06%) followed by Yangyuan (44.43%), Zhangjiakou (40.13%) and Fushun (29.02%). The significant (P < 0.01) value of global statistics R (0.943/94.3%) showed high species diversity recorded in Huailai followed by Zhangjiakou recorded by non-metric multidimensional scaling and analysis of similarity between invaded and non-invaded plots. At the end it was concluded that the diversity indices reduced significantly (P < 0.05) in invaded quadrats indicated that native plant species become less diverse due to X. strumarium invasion. The degrees of X. strumarium invasion affected on species richness resulted to reduce diversity indices significantly in invaded quadrats.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Li G, Zhang T, Yu Z, et al (2020)

An efficient Oligo-FISH painting system for revealing chromosome rearrangements and polyploidization in Triticeae.

The Plant journal : for cell and molecular biology [Epub ahead of print].

A chromosome-specific painting technique has been developed which combines the most recent approaches of the companion disciplines of molecular cytogenetics and genome research. We developed seven oligonucleotide (oligo) pools derived from single copy sequences on chromosomes 1 to 7 of barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and corresponding collinear regions of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). The seven groups of pooled oligos comprised between 10,986 and 12,496 45bp monomers, and these then produced stable fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) signals on chromosomes of each linkage group of wheat and barley. The pooled oligo probes were applied to high-throughput karyotyping the chromosomes of other Triticeae species in the genera Secale, Aegilops, Thinopyrum and Dasypyrum, and the study also extended to some wheat - alien amphiploids and derived lines. We demonstrated that a complete set of whole-chromosome oligo painting probes facilitated the study of inter-species chromosome homoeologous relationships and visualized non-homologous chromosomal rearrangements in Triticeae species and some wheat-alien species derivatives. When combined with other non-denaturing FISH (ND-FISH) procedures using tandem-repeat oligos,, the newly developed oligo-painting techniques provide an efficient tool for the study of chromosome structure, organization, and evolution among any wild Triticeae species with non-sequenced genomes.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

MacLeod A, S Lloyd (2020)

The emergence of prioritisation systems to inform plant health biosecurity policy decisions.

Emerging topics in life sciences pii:227001 [Epub ahead of print].

The management of risk is fundamental to biosecurity. Potential pest risks must be recognised early, with appropriate measures taken to prevent or reduce the potential damage a non-native species can cause. Risk registers are a recognised tool to support risk management, especially in project management or governance of corporate risk. The use of risk registers and risk prioritisation systems in the plant health biosecurity sphere has emerged in recent years driven by the recognition that resources to assess pest risks in detail are scarce, and biosecurity actions need to be targeted and prioritised. Individual national plant protection organisations have consequently developed a variety of tools that prioritise and rank plant pests, typically taking likelihood of pest entry, establishment, spread and impact into account. They use expert opinion to give scores to risk elements within a framework of multi-criteria decision analysis to rank pests based on the prioritisation aims of users. Knowing that biosecurity extends beyond national borders we recognise that such systems would add value to global efforts to detect and share information on emerging pests to better target actions against pests to protect plant biosecurity.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Gleditsch JM, JH Sperry (2020)

Ecomorphological relationships and invasion history of non-native terrestrial bird species on O'ahu, Hawai'i, suggest ecological fitting during novel community assembly.

Ecology and evolution, 10(21):12157-12169.

The widespread introduction of species has created novel communities in many areas of the world. Since introduced species tend to have generalized ecologies and often lack shared evolutionary history with other species in their communities, it would be expected that the relationship between form and function (i.e., ecomorphology) may change in novel communities. We tested this expectation in a subset of the novel bird community on O'ahu, Hawai'i. By relating foraging behavior observations to morphology obtained from live birds at four sites across the island, we found many relationships between species' morphology and foraging ecology that mirrored relationships found in the literature for native-dominated bird communities. Both movement and certain foraging behaviors were related to a species' tarsus-to-wing ratio. Further, bill morphology was related to gleaning, frugivory, and flycatching behaviors. The commonness of significant ecomorphological relationships suggests that, within O'ahu's novel bird community, form is strongly related to function. We hypothesize that ecological fitting likely played a major role in the assembly of this novel community conserving the relationships between form and function found in many other bird communities. To further support this hypothesis, we used niche data from EltonTraits 1.0 to determine whether the establishment of bird species introduced to O'ahu was related to the distinctiveness of their ecological niche from the incumbent community. Introduced species were more likely to establish on O'ahu if their diets were less similar to the bird species already present on the island. Our results support the idea that ecological fitting is an important mechanism in shaping ecological communities, especially in the Anthropocene, thereby influencing novel community assembly and functioning.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

EFSA Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), Naegeli H, Bresson JL, et al (2020)

Adequacy and sufficiency evaluation of existing EFSA guidelines for the molecular characterisation, environmental risk assessment and post-market environmental monitoring of genetically modified insects containing engineered gene drives.

EFSA journal. European Food Safety Authority, 18(11):e06297.

Advances in molecular and synthetic biology are enabling the engineering of gene drives in insects for disease vector/pest control. Engineered gene drives (that bias their own inheritance) can be designed either to suppress interbreeding target populations or modify them with a new genotype. Depending on the engineered gene drive system, theoretically, a genetic modification of interest could spread through target populations and persist indefinitely, or be restricted in its spread or persistence. While research on engineered gene drives and their applications in insects is advancing at a fast pace, it will take several years for technological developments to move to practical applications for deliberate release into the environment. Some gene drive modified insects (GDMIs) have been tested experimentally in the laboratory, but none has been assessed in small-scale confined field trials or in open release trials as yet. There is concern that the deliberate release of GDMIs in the environment may have possible irreversible and unintended consequences. As a proactive measure, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been requested by the European Commission to review whether its previously published guidelines for the risk assessment of genetically modified animals (EFSA, 2012 and 2013), including insects (GMIs), are adequate and sufficient for GDMIs, primarily disease vectors, agricultural pests and invasive species, for deliberate release into the environment. Under this mandate, EFSA was not requested to develop risk assessment guidelines for GDMIs. In this Scientific Opinion, the Panel on Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) concludes that EFSA's guidelines are adequate, but insufficient for the molecular characterisation (MC), environmental risk assessment (ERA) and post-market environmental monitoring (PMEM) of GDMIs. While the MC,ERA and PMEM of GDMIs can build on the existing risk assessment framework for GMIs that do not contain engineered gene drives, there are specific areas where further guidance is needed for GDMIs.

RevDate: 2020-11-25

Dematteis B, Ferrucci MS, JP Coulleri (2020)

Morphological differentiation across the invasive range in Senecio madagascariensis populations.

Scientific reports, 10(1):20045.

Invasive species are characterized by their ability to colonize new habitats and establish populations away from their native range. In this sense, these plants are expected to have plastic responses to adapt to the environmental pressures during the invasion process. Hence, the role of natural selection is essential because it might favor the occurrence of advantageous traits. However, gene flow can counteract natural selection because immigrants introduce genes adapted to different conditions, with these introductions tending to homogenize allelic frequencies. In this work, we explore the effect of natural selection in invasive populations of S. madagascariensis in Argentina. We quantified leaf area, head number, and length of internodes and inflorescence from material spanning 54 years (1962-2016) and then compared between the edge versus established ranges. Our results show differences in all the measured plant traits among the sampled areas. However, only leaf area was statistically significant, which evidences different responses under the same environmental pressures in the areas located in the edge and established ranges. On the other hand, unlike homogeneous areas, the areas characterized by phenotypically diverse individuals were related to higher dispersal ability. In this sense, long-distance dispersal between neighboring areas may have had an important role in the recorded values. Furthermore, the implications of natural selection and founder effect in the invasion of S. madagascariensis are discussed.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Belgeri A, Bajwa AA, Shabbir A, et al (2020)

Managing an Invasive Weed Species, Parthenium hysterophorus, with Suppressive Plant Species in Australian Grasslands.

Plants (Basel, Switzerland), 9(11):.

Parthenium weed has been invading native and managed Australian grasslands for almost 40 years. This study quantified the potential of selected plant mixtures to suppress the growth of parthenium weed and followed their response to grazing and their impact upon plant community diversity. The first mixture consisted of predominantly introduced species including Rhodes grass, Bisset bluegrass, butterfly pea and green panic. This mixture produced biomass rapidly and showed tolerance to weed species other than parthenium weed. However, the mixture was unable to suppress the growth of parthenium weed. The second mixture of predominantly native pasture species (including forest bluegrass, Queensland bluegrass, Buffel grass and siratro) produced biomass relatively slowly, but eventually reached the same biomass production as the first mixture 12 weeks after planting. This mixture suppressed parthenium weed re-establishment by 78% compared to the control treatment. Its tolerance to the invasion of other weed species and the maintenance of forage species evenness was also superior. The total diversity was five times higher for the mixture communities as compared to the plant community in the control treatment. Therefore, using the suppressive pasture mixtures may provide an improved sustainable management approach for parthenium weed in grasslands.

RevDate: 2020-11-23

Katiski da Costa Stuart A, Lee Furuie J, Aparecida Cassilha Zawadneak M, et al (2020)

Increased mortality of the European pepper moth Duponchelia fovealis (Lepidoptera:Crambidae) using entomopathogenic fungal consortia.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 177:107503 pii:S0022-2011(20)30209-3 [Epub ahead of print].

The European pepper moth (Duponchelia fovealis) is an invasive pest affecting crops in many countries. The use of chemicals to control D. fovealis is not only ineffective but is hazardous to the environment. The most effective way to reduce this invasive species is biological control using entomopathogenic fungi. Furthermore, the use of combining entomopathogenic fungi is a novel and underexplored approach in the field of biocontrol research. The compatibility of different strains of Beauveria bassiana, Purpureocillium lilacinum, and Isaria javanica was evaluated by forming two-fungi consortia. The pathogenicity of these consortia against D. fovealis, as well as the related enzymatic activities, were investigated. Seven consortia increased D. fovealis mortality, showing synergistic activity. One consortium formed by two strains of B. bassiana produced highest control. Moreover, these consortia also demonstrated increased chitinase and lipase activities. Higher mortality of D. fovealis by these consortia was mainly associated with enzyme production. One consortium, also formed by two strains of B. bassiana, was unique in producing lower D. fovealis mortality than the two strains alone. The potential use of entomopathogenic fungal consortia is a promising alternative approach for biological control. Most of the consortia used in this study improved control of D. fovealis, showed synergistic activity and could be a suitable strategy to control this pest.

RevDate: 2020-11-18

Baharmand I, Coatsworth H, Peach DAH, et al (2020)

Molecular relationships of introduced Aedes japonicus (Diptera: Culicidae) populations in British Columbia, Canada using mitochondrial DNA.

Journal of vector ecology : journal of the Society for Vector Ecology, 45(2):285-296.

Aedes japonicus japonicus (Theobald) is a relatively recent immigrant to the Pacific Northwest, having been collected in Washington State in 2001 and in British Columbia (BC) since 2014. We applied a molecular barcoding approach to determine the phylogenetic relationship of Ae. j. japonicus populations in BC with those from around the world. We sequenced a 617 base-pair segment of the cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene and a 330 base-pair region of the NADH dehydrogenase 4 gene to find genetic variation and characterize phylogenetic and haplotypic relationships based on nucleotide divergences. Our results revealed low genetic diversity in the BC samples, suggesting that these populations arose from the same introduction event. However, our approach lacked the granularity to identify the exact country of origin of the Ae. j. japonicus collected in BC. Future efforts should focus on detecting and preventing new Ae. j. japonicus introductions, recognizing that current molecular techniques are unable to pin-point the precise source of an introduction.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Torrini G, Paoli F, Mazza G, et al (2020)

Evaluation of Indigenous Entomopathogenic Nematodes as Potential Biocontrol Agents against Popillia japonica (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae) in Northern Italy.

Insects, 11(11):.

The natural presence of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) has been investigated in the Piedmont region (Northern Italy) in areas infested by the Japanese beetle Popillia japonica. Thirty-nine out of 155 soil samples (25.2%) were positive for EPNs. Most of the samples contained only steinermatids (92.3%), 5.1% contained heterorhabditids, and one sample (2.6%) contained both genera. All the recovered isolates were identified at species level both morphologically and molecularly. Steinernema carpocapsae was the most abundant and it was mainly distributed in open habitats, such as perennial meadows, uncultivated soils, and cropland, characterized by sandy loam soil texture and acidic pH. Steinernema feltiae has been found associated mainly with closed habitats such as coniferous and deciduous woodland, characterized by sandy loam-texture and extremely acidic soil. The three isolates of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora were collected only in open habitats (perennial meadows and uncultivated fields) characterized by strongly acidic soils with sandy loam texture. The virulence of all EPN natural strains was evaluated by laboratory assays against P. japonica third-instar larvae collected during two different periods of the year (spring, autumn). The results showed that larval mortality was higher for pre-wintering larvae than post-wintering ones. The five more promising EPN isolates were tested in the semi-field assay in which H. bacteriophora natural strains have been shown to be more efficient in controlling P. japonica grubs. All of these results are finally discussed considering the use of these natural EPNs as biological control agents against P. japonica, within an eco-friendly perspective of management.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Baxter-Gilbert J, Riley JL, Wagener C, et al (2020)

Shrinking before our isles: the rapid expression of insular dwarfism in two invasive populations of guttural toad (Sclerophrys gutturalis).

Biology letters, 16(11):20200651.

Island ecosystems have traditionally been hailed as natural laboratories for examining phenotypic change, including dramatic shifts in body size. Similarly, biological invasions can drive rapid localized adaptations within modern timeframes. Here, we compare the morphology of two invasive guttural toad (Sclerophrys gutturalis) populations in Mauritius and Réunion with their source population from South Africa. We found that female toads on both islands were significantly smaller than mainland counterparts (33.9% and 25.9% reduction, respectively), as were males in Mauritius (22.4%). We also discovered a significant reduction in the relative hindlimb length of both sexes, on both islands, compared with mainland toads (ranging from 3.4 to 9.0%). If our findings are a result of natural selection, then this would suggest that the dramatic reshaping of an amphibian's morphology-leading to insular dwarfism-can result in less than 100 years; however, further research is required to elucidate the mechanism driving this change (e.g. heritable adaptation, phenotypic plasticity, or an interaction between them).

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Yeeles P, Strain A, Lenancker P, et al (2020)

Low reduction of invasive ant colony productivity with an insect growth regulator.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Insect growth regulators (IGRs) are generally considered to have safer eco-toxicological profiles than the more commonly used neurotoxins and metabolic inhibitors, and are extremely effective against several insect groups, including some invasive ant species. However, use of an IGR product in a large-scale eradication program for a widespread invasive ant (Anoploepis gracilipes; yellow crazy ant) was ineffective. We tested the IGR in question (active ingredient: (S)-methoprene) on A. gracilipes colonies in a laboratory environment to evaluate efficacy.

RESULTS: We found that treatment with (S)-methoprene resulted in lower egg production with subsequently decreased numbers of larvae, pupae, and workers over the 135 days of the experiment. None of the treated colonies died, and the number of worker ants in treated colonies was 36% of that seen in control colonies 135 days post-treatment. Treated queen egg production was 39% lower than queens in control colonies, but we saw no effect of treatment on the internal physiology of dissected queens. Treatment had no effect on worker activity levels.

CONCLUSION: Our results show that while (S)-methoprene treatment reduced production of larvae, pupae, and workers in treated colonies, the magnitude of reduction was lower than might be expected considering the responses of other species against which this IGR has been tested. Our findings highlight a need for testing species-specific responses to IGR-based insecticides in a controlled environment, prior to broad scale field applications that could result in sub-optimal management of the target species. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Lenda M, Skórka P, Kuszewska K, et al (2020)

Misinformation, internet honey trading and beekeepers drive a plant invasion.

Ecology letters [Epub ahead of print].

Biological invasions are a major human induced global change that is threatening global biodiversity by homogenizing the world's fauna and flora. Species spread because humans have moved species across geographical boundaries and have changed ecological factors that structure ecosystems, such as nitrogen deposition, disturbance, etc. Many biological invasions are caused accidentally, as a byproduct of human travel and commerce driven product shipping. However, humans also have spread many species intentionally because of perceived benefits. Of interest is the role of the recent exponential growth in information exchange via internet social media in driving biological invasions. To date, this has not been examined. Here, we show that for one such invasive species, goldenrod, social networks spread misleading and incomplete information that is enhancing the spread of goldenrod invasions into new environments. We show that the notion of goldenrod honey as a "superfood" with unsupported healing properties is driving a demand that leads beekeepers to produce goldenrod honey. Social networks provide a forum for such information exchange and this is leading to further spread of goldenrod in many countries where goldenrod is not native, such as Poland. However, this informal social information exchange ignores laws that focus on preventing the further spread of invasive species and the strong negative effects that goldenrod has on native ecosystems, including floral resources that negatively impact honeybee performance. Thus, scientifically unsupported information on "superfoods" such as goldenrod honey that is disseminated through social internet networks has real world consequences such as increased goldenrod invasions into novel geographical regions which decreases native biodiversity.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Snow NP, Wishart JD, Foster JA, et al (2020)

Efficacy and Risks from a Modified Sodium Nitrite Toxic Bait for Wild Pigs.

Pest management science [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND: Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are a destructive invasive species throughout many regions of the world. In 2018, a field evaluation of an early prototype of a sodium nitrite (SN) toxic bait in the USA revealed wild pigs dropped large amounts of the toxic bait outside the pig-specific bait stations while feeding, and subsequent hazards for non-target animals. We modified the SN-toxic bait formulation, the design of the bait station, and the baiting strategy to reduce dropped bait. We tested the modifications in Queensland, AU (Dec 2018), Alabama, USA (Aug 2019), and Texas, USA (Mar 2020) under differing climatic and seasonal conditions for one night.

RESULTS: Cumulatively we found 161 carcasses of all age classes of wild pigs using systematic transects. Remote camera indices indicated high lethality for wild pigs, achieving population reductions of 76.3-90.4%. Wild pigs dropped only small particles of SN-toxic bait (average = 55.5 g per bait site), which represented a 19-fold decrease from the previous trial. Despite this reduction, we found three Australian ravens (Corvus coronoides) in Queensland, two Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana) in Alabama, and 35 granivorous-passerine birds (mostly dark-eyed juncos [Junco hyemalis]) in Texas dead from consuming the dropped bait. We did not detect any population-level effects for those species.

CONCLUSION: Our modifications were effective at reducing populations of wild pigs, but the deaths of non-target species require further steps to minimize these hazards. Next steps will include evaluating various deterrent devices for birds the morning after SN-toxic bait has been offered. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-18

Imamura A, Hayami K, Sakata MK, et al (2020)

Environmental DNA revealed the fish community of Hokkaido Island, Japan, after invasion by rainbow trout.

Biodiversity data journal, 8:e56876.

In freshwater ecosystems, invasive salmonid fishes can have a significant impact on native fish species. Detecting the invasion and its negative effects is critical for the conservation of native fish communities. We examined the species composition and seasonal changes in the freshwater fish community, including salmonids, on the Kamikawa Plain, Hokkaido Island, Japan, using environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding. We detected 23 fish species in 176 samples collected from 16 sites over 12 months (October 2018 - August 2019). Between 11 and 20 species were detected at each site, including five native salmonids (Oncorhynchus masou, Oncorhynchus keta, Parahucho perryi, Salvelinus leucomaenis leucomaenis and Salvelinus malma krascheninnikova). The invasive alien rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss was detected at all 16 sites and it was the most commonly detected salmonid. Although we found no obvious competitive exclusion of native salmonids by rainbow trout in the study area, the invasive species occurred more often and at more sites than any of the natives. We also determined the occurrence and seasonal changes in the fish community, classified as native salmonids, invasive rainbow trout, Cypriniformes and other benthic fishes. There were fewer species overall in winter, but the sites with higher species richness in winter were on the lower reaches of the river. In addition, we detected domestic invaders, such as the topmouth gudgeon, Pseudorasbora parva, although they were less prevalent than rainbow trout. These results show the effectiveness of eDNA metabarcoding, which can be used for surveying species richness at an ecosystem scale. In particular, the detection of the early stages of establishment and spread of invasive species can be achieved by eDNA monitoring.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Kiew R, L Chung-Lu (2020)

Checklist of vascular plants of Klang Gates Quartz Ridge, Malaysia, a 14-km long quartz dyke.

PhytoKeys, 166:57-77 pii:55778.

The Klang Gates Quartz Ridge (KGQR) is proposed for protection as National Heritage and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its spectacular size, exceptional beauty and significant biodiversity. The checklist of vascular plants documents 314 species that comprise a unique combination that grows on lowland quartz and that is distinct from the surrounding lowland equatorial rain forest by the absence of orchids, palms, gingers and tree canopy families. The Rubiaceae, Gramineae, Moraceae, Apocynaceae, Melastomataceae and Polypodiaceae are the most speciose families. The summit vegetation at 200-400 m elevation is dominated by Baeckea frutescens (Myrtaceae) and Rhodoleia championii (Hamamelidaceae) and shows similarities to the plant community on rocky mountain peaks above 1500 m. About 11% of its species are endemic in Peninsular Malaysia and four are endemic to KGQR: Aleisanthia rupestris (Rubiaceae), Codonoboea primulina (Gesneriaceae), Spermacoce pilulifera (Rubiaceae), and Ilex praetermissa (Aquifoliaceae). All four are provisionally assessed as Critically Endangered. Two, Eulalia milsumi (Gramineae) and Sonerila prostrata (Melastomataceae), are endemic to KGQR and a few neighbouring smaller quartz dykes. They are assessed as Endangered. The KGQR is a fragile habitat and conservation management is urgently required to halt the spread of the aggressive alien grass, Pennisetum polystachion and to prevent further habitat degradation from visitors. Based on KGQR being a threatened habitat, its biodiverse flora, and endangered species, it qualifies as an Important Plant Area.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Ayala AJ, Yabsley MJ, SM Hernandez (2020)

A Review of Pathogen Transmission at the Backyard Chicken-Wild Bird Interface.

Frontiers in veterinary science, 7:539925.

Habitat conversion and the expansion of domesticated, invasive species into native habitats are increasingly recognized as drivers of pathogen emergence at the agricultural-wildlife interface. Poultry agriculture is one of the largest subsets of this interface, and pathogen spillover events between backyard chickens and wild birds are becoming more commonly reported. Native wild bird species are under numerous anthropogenic pressures, but the risks of pathogen spillover from domestic chickens have been historically underappreciated as a threat to wild birds. Now that the backyard chicken industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, it is imperative that the principles of biosecurity, specifically bioexclusion and biocontainment, are legislated and implemented. We reviewed the literature on spillover events of pathogens historically associated with poultry into wild birds. We also reviewed the reasons for biosecurity failures in backyard flocks that lead to those spillover events and provide recommendations for current and future backyard flock owners.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Qu YF, Wu YQ, Zhao YT, et al (2020)

The invasive red-eared slider turtle is more successful than the native Chinese three-keeled pond turtle: evidence from the gut microbiota.

PeerJ, 8:e10271.

Background: The mutualistic symbiosis between the gut microbial communities (microbiota) and their host animals has attracted much attention. Many factors potentially affect the gut microbiota, which also varies among host animals. The native Chinese three-keeled pond turtle (Chinemys reevesii) and the invasive red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) are two common farm-raised species in China, with the latter generally considered a more successful species. However, supporting evidence from the gut microbiota has yet to be collected.

Methods: We collected feces samples from these two turtle species raised in a farm under identical conditions, and analyzed the composition and relative abundance of the gut microbes using bacterial 16S rRNA sequencing on the Roach/454 platform.

Results: The gut microbiota was mainly composed of Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes at the phylum level, and Porphyromonadaceae, Bacteroidaceae and Lachnospiraceae at the family level in both species. The relative abundance of the microbes and gene functions in the gut microbiota differed between the two species, whereas alpha or beta diversity did not. Microbes of the families Bacteroidaceae, Clostridiaceae and Lachnospiraceae were comparatively more abundant in C. reevesii, whereas those of the families Porphyromonadaceae and Fusobacteriaceae were comparatively more abundant in T. s. elegans. In both species the gut microbiota had functional roles in enhancing metabolism, genetic information processing and environmental information processing according to the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes database. The potential to gain mass is greater in T. s. elegans than in C. reevesii, as revealed by the fact that the Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio was lower in the former species. The percentage of human disease-related functional genes was lower in T. s. elegans than in C. reevesii, presumably suggesting an enhanced potential to colonize new habitats in the former species.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Haelewaters D, Hiller T, Kemp EA, et al (2020)

Mortality of native and invasive ladybirds co-infected by ectoparasitic and entomopathogenic fungi.

PeerJ, 8:e10110.

Harmonia axyridis is an invasive alien ladybird in North America and Europe. Studies show that multiple natural enemies are using Ha. axyridis as a new host. However, thus far, no research has been undertaken to study the effects of simultaneous infection by multiple natural enemies on Ha. axyridis. We hypothesized that high thallus densities of the ectoparasitic fungus Hesperomyces virescens on a ladybird weaken the host's defenses, thereby making it more susceptible to infection by other natural enemies. We examined mortality of the North American-native Olla v-nigrum and Ha. axyridis co-infected with He. virescens and an entomopathogenic fungus-either Beauveria bassiana or Metarhizium brunneum. Laboratory assays revealed that He. virescens-infected O. v-nigrum individuals are more susceptible to entomopathogenic fungi, but Ha. axyridis does not suffer the same effects. This is in line with the enemy release hypothesis, which predicts that invasive alien species in new geographic areas experience reduced regulatory effects from natural enemies compared to native species. Considering our results, we can ask how He. virescens affects survival when confronted by other pathogens that previously had little impact on Ha. axyridis.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Cruz A, da Costa F, Fernández-Pérez J, et al (2020)

Genetic variability in Ruditapes decussatus clam combined with Perkinsus infection level to support founder population selection for a breeding program.

PeerJ, 8:e9728.

Clam farmers worldwide face several challenges, including irregular seed supply and high mortalities due to pathogenic organisms such as Perkinsus olseni. In Europe, there is a high unmet consumer demand for native clam species such as Ruditapes decussatus. The high market value of R. decussatus makes the culture of this species potentially more attractive than that culture of the alien species Ruditapes philippinarum. Thus, there is a market opportunity in breeding and producing R. decussatus at an industrial scale. A selective breeding program to improve R. decussatus performance will be carried out in Portugal; and the first critical step to develop such a breeding program is the establishment of a founder population. In this study, intra- and interpopulation genetic diversity was assessed using 13 microsatellite markers in eight natural beds located in Portugal, Spain and Italy. Also, allele and genotypic frequencies of each microsatellite locus were assessed discriminating between clams infected and non-infected by P. olseni. All locations showed similar values for several genetic diversity parameters. Analyses of population differentiation (FST, Bayesian clustering and AMOVAs) revealed five genetically differentiated regions: Rías Altas and Rías Baixas (NW Spain), North/Central Coast of Portugal, Gulf of Cadiz and Adriatic Sea. Significant differences in the allelic and genotypic frequency distribution between infected clams and non-infected ones at four microsatellite loci are reported suggesting that resistance to the disease could have a genetic basis. Moreover, a positive or negative relationship between the frequency of certain alleles and the parasite infection was inferred. Further studies should confirm the potential use of those alleles as genetic markers for P. olseni infection. Integrating results of genetic diversity within and between populations and Perkinsus infection levels, a founder population for a R. decussatus breeding program is proposed, composed by individuals from Barallobre (Rías Altas), Pontevedra or Cangas (Rías Baixas), Óbidos (North/Central Coast of Portugal), Algarve (Gulf of Cadiz) and Venice (Adriatic Sea).

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Grattarola F, González A, Mai P, et al (2020)

Biodiversidata: A novel dataset for the vascular plant species diversity in Uruguay.

Biodiversity data journal, 8:e56850.

Background: South America hosts some of the world's most prominent biodiversity hotspots. Yet, Uruguay - a country where multiple major ecosystems converge - ranks amongst the countries with the lowest levels of available digital biodiversity data in the continent. Such prevalent data scarcity has significantly undermined our ability to progress towards evidence-based conservation actions - a critical limitation for a country with a strong focus on agricultural industries and only 1.3% of the land surface guarded by protected areas. Under today's rapid biodiversity loss and environmental changes, the need for open-access biodiversity data is more pressing than ever before. To address this national issue, Biodiversidata - Uruguay's first Consortium of Biodiversity Data - has recently emerged with the aim of assembling a constantly growing database for the biodiversity of this country. While the first phase of the project targeted vertebrate biodiversity, the second phase presented in this paper spans the biodiversity of plants.

New information: As part of the second phase of the Biodiversidata initiative, we present the first comprehensive open-access species-level database of the vascular plant diversity recorded in Uruguay to date (i.e. all species for which data are currently available and species presence has been confirmed). It contains 12,470 occurrence records from across 1,648 species and 160 families, which roughly represents 60% of the total recorded flora of Uruguay. The primary biodiversity data include extant native and introduced species from the lycophytes, ferns, gymnosperms and angiosperms groups. Records were collated from multiple sources, including data available in peer-reviewed scientific literature, institutional scientific collections and datasets contributed by members of the Biodiversidata initiative. The complete database can be accessed at the Zenodo repository:

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Soreng RJ, Sylvester SP, Sylvester MDPV, et al (2020)

New records and key to Poa (Pooideae, Poaceae) from the Flora of Southern Africa region and notes on taxa including a diclinous breeding system in Poa binata.

PhytoKeys, 165:27-50.

Four species of Poa L. are newly reported for sub-Saharan Africa and southern Africa, Poa compressa L., P. iconia Azn., P. infirma Kunth and P. nemoralis L. This is the first report of P. iconia from Africa. Vouchers at PRE of P. bulbosa L. all belong to var. vivipara Koeler, those of P. iconia belong to var. iconia and the one of P. trivialis L. belongs to var. trivialis. Two subspecies are recognised in P. pratensis L.: subsp. irrigata (Lindm.) H.Lindb. and subsp. pratensis. We also designate a lectotype for P. iconia and second-step lectotype for P. leptoclada Hochst. ex A.Rich. and report the first recording of a diclinous breeding system in P. binata Nees. Our account updates the treatment in Identification Guide to Southern African Grasses (Fish et al. 2015) including a key to the taxa and notes on infrageneric taxonomy, DNA subtypes, ecology, chromosome numbers and breeding systems.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Boer P, Loss AC, Bakker F, et al (2020)

Monomorium sahlbergi Emery, 1898 (Formicidae, Hymenoptera): a cryptic globally introduced species.

ZooKeys, 979:87-97.

The discovery in the Netherlands in a shipping container of the ant Monomorium sahlbergi Emery, 1898, a species similar to the invasive pharaoh ant M. pharaonis (Linnaeus, 1758), led to a quest to better define the distribution of this species, which was initially obscure due to uncertain specimen identifications. Here it is shown that M. sahlbergi, like M. pharaonis, is found worldwide, almost certainly as a result of introductions. Including quarantine interceptions, this species is recorded from seven global biogeographic regions, but its established outdoor distribution is currently limited to the tropics and subtropics. Monomorium dichroum Forel, 1902 is here presented as a junior synonym of M. sahlbergisyn. nov. based on morphometric and CO1 analyses.

RevDate: 2020-11-29

Smit C, Javal M, Lehmann P, et al (2020)

Metabolic responses to starvation and feeding contribute to the invasiveness of an emerging pest insect.

Journal of insect physiology, 128:104162 pii:S0022-1910(20)30306-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Metabolic rate, and the flexibility thereof, is a complex trait involving several inter-linked variables that can influence animal energetics, behavior, and ultimately, fitness. Metabolic traits respond readily to ambient temperature variation, in some cases increasing relative or absolute energetic costs, while in other cases, depending on the organism's metabolic and behavioral responses to changing conditions, resulting in substantial energy savings. To gain insight into the rapid recent emergence of the indigenous South African longhorn beetle Cacosceles newmannii as a crop pest in sugarcane, a better understanding of its metabolic rate, feeding response, digestion times, and aerobic scope is required, in conjunction with any behavioral responses to food availability or limitation thereof. Here, we therefore experimentally determined metabolic rate, estimated indirectly as CO2 production using flow-through respirometry, in starved, fasted, and fed C. newmannii larvae, at 20 °C and 30 °C. We estimated multiple parameters of metabolic rate (starved, standard, active, and maximum metabolic rates) as well as aerobic scope (AS), specific dynamic action (SDA), and the percentage time active during respirometry trials. Additionally, in individuals that showed cyclic or discontinuous gas exchange patterns, we compared rate, volume, and duration of cycles, and how these were influenced by temperature. Standard and active metabolic rate, and AS and SDA were significantly higher in the larvae measured at 30 °C than those measured at 20 °C. By contrast, starved and maximum metabolic rates and percentage time active were unaffected by temperature. At rest and after digestion was complete, 35% of larvae showed cyclic gas exchange at both temperatures; 5% and 15% showed continuous gas exchange at 20 °C and 30 °C respectively, and 10% and 0% showed discontinuous gas exchange at 20 °C and 30 °C respectively. We propose that the ability of C. newmannii larvae to survive extended periods of resource limitation, combined with a rapid ability to process food upon securing resources, even at cooler conditions that would normally suppress digestion in tropical insects, may have contributed to their ability to feed on diverse low energy resources typical of their host plants, and become pests of, and thrive on, a high energy host plant like sugarcane.

RevDate: 2020-11-14

Tagawa K, M Watanabe (2020)

Can sticky plants reduce herbivory of neighboring plants?.

Ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Plants are sessile organisms and are under serious threat of herbivory. In response to herbivory, plants have evolved physical, chemical, and/or biological defenses to protect themselves from herbivores. Plants are not only protected by their own defenses, but also by the existence of neighboring plants, the so called "associational resistance" (Tahvanainen and Root 1972).

RevDate: 2020-11-14

Franco ACS, García-Berthou E, LND Santos (2020)

Ecological impacts of an invasive top predator fish across South America.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(20)36827-3 [Epub ahead of print].

Peacock bass Cichla ocellaris is a piscivorous cichlid native from the Amazon and Orinoco river basins, which has been broadly introduced into tropical areas worldwide, leading to several adverse local effects. However, predictors of its invasibility and assessments of its ecological impacts over large spatial scales are still lacking. The importance of different environmental factors in explaining the relative abundance of peacock bass in 62 sites across South America (30 native and 32 invaded systems) was investigated. The impacts of peacock bass on fish assemblages were appraised, using years since introduction as a proxy of its cumulative impacts and modern statistical techniques, such as random forests, and negative binomial regression models. Random forests highlighted maximum depth, introduced status, and ecosystem type as the best predictors of the peacock bass relative abundance, which ranged 0.01-26.0%, increased with maximum depth, was highest in invaded reservoirs but decreased with depth in native riverine populations. Other factors such as climate or limnological features were less important in explaining C. ocellaris abundance, which did not vary markedly with years since introduction. Introduction year was not related to latitude but varied among hydrographic regions, indicating invasion pathways not linked to geographical proximity. Variation partitioning of different fish assemblage metrics showed that hydrographic region followed by limnological and reservoir features accounted for most explained variation, indicating a strong historical and local influence. Introduction time accounted for 5-8% of variation in species composition and diversity, independently of limnological features. Our results suggest that the ecological effects of introduced C. ocellaris on native fish fauna are likely but small compared to large geographical and environmental gradients. Although experiments and before-after designs are probably more sensitive in detecting the ecological impacts of invasive species, large-scale compilations of available data are more feasible and can provide invaluable information, especially for large-sized invaders that are often illegally introduced.

RevDate: 2020-11-29

Zina V, Branco M, JC Franco (2020)

Impact of the Invasive Argentine Ant in Citrus Agroecosystems: Effects on the Diversity and Frequency of Native Ant Species Foraging on Tree Canopy.

Insects, 11(11):.

The invasion of the Argentine ant, Linepithema humile (Mayr) (Hymenoptera, Formicidae) can alter the entire ecosystem with serious impacts on the native community structure (e.g., ant diversity) and processes (e.g., trophic interactions) leading to biodiversity loss and pest outbreaks. Most studies addressing these impacts have been conducted in natural or semi-natural areas, few are those conducted in agricultural ecosystems, such as citrus orchards. These are dominant agricultural ecosystems in Mediterranean landscapes. Furthermore, most studies have been conducted in a short span, not evidencing seasonal fluctuations. In this work, we assessed the ecological impact of the Argentine ant on the native ant communities in citrus orchards, in the region of Algarve, southern Portugal. By using principal response curve, we compared seasonal variation on ant assemblages in invaded and uninvaded citrus orchards foraging on tree canopy from a two-year sampling. The Argentine ant had a marked negative impact on the native ant community foraging on citrus canopy. In the uninvaded orchards, the native ant community had a rich assemblage composed of 16 ant species, in its majority (72%) controlled by the dominant species Lasius grandis Forel, Tapinoma nigerrimum (Nylander) and/or Pheidole pallidula (Nylander). In the invaded orchards, the native ant community was poorer and highly modified, mostly dominated by the Argentine ant (80%). Apparently, the only native ant species not affected by the presence of the Argentine ant was Plagiolepis pygmaea (Latreille). A significant negative effect was found between the proportion of infested trees by L. humile and the number of native ant species per orchard. Differences in the native ant community in the invaded and uninvaded orchards persisted over seasons and years. However, negative impacts were higher in the spring and summer, and less pronounced in the autumn. We discuss implications for citrus pest management.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Howse MWF, Haywood J, PJ Lester (2020)

Bioclimatic Modelling Identifies Suitable Habitat for the Establishment of the Invasive European Paper Wasp (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) across the Southern Hemisphere.

Insects, 11(11):.

Species distribution models (SDMs) are tools used by ecologists to help predict the spread of invasive species. Information provided by these models can help direct conservation and biosecurity efforts by highlighting areas likely to contain species of interest. In this study, two models were created to investigate the potential range expansion of Polistes dominula Christ (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in the southern hemisphere. This palearctic species has spread to invade North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and more recently New Zealand. Using the BIOCLIM and MAXENT modelling methods, regions that were suitable for P. dominula were identified based on climate data across four regions in the southern hemisphere. In South America areas of central Chile, eastern Argentina, parts of Uruguay, and southern Brazil were identified as climatically suitable for the establishment of P. dominula. Similarly, southern parts of South Africa and Australia were identified by the model to be suitable as well as much of the North Island and east of the South Island of New Zealand. Based on outputs from both models, significant range expansion by P. dominula is possible across its more southern invaded ranges.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Loeza-Quintana T, Crookes S, Li PY, et al (2020)

Environmental DNA detection of endangered and invasive species in Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site.

Genome [Epub ahead of print].

The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) allows the early detection of aquatic species at low densities (e.g. elusive and invasive species), which otherwise could be challenging to monitor using conventional techniques. Here, we assess the ability of eDNA sampling to detect the presence/absence of one species-at-risk (Blanding's Turtle) and two invasive species (Chain Pickerel and Smallmouth Bass) in Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic site, Nova Scotia, where the aquatic system is highly acidic and rich in organic compounds. Five replicates of 1L water samples were taken per sampling site. Water filtration and eDNA extractions were performed on-site, while qPCR reactions were performed in the laboratory using species-specific assays. Samples were treated with an inhibition removal kit and analyzed pre- and post-inhibition removal. Despite the low pH and PCR inhibitors in water samples, our results showed positive eDNA detections in almost all expected positive sites (except in one site for Blanding's Turtle). Detections of the target species were also observed at sites where their presence was previously unknown. Our study supports the advantage of eDNA to monitor species at low densities, revealing new distributions or recently invaded areas. We also demonstrate how eDNA can directly instruct management strategies in Kejimkujik.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Navratil O, Brekenfeld N, Puijalon S, et al (2020)

Distribution of Asian knotweeds on the Rhône River basin, France: A multi-scale model of invasibility that combines biophysical and anthropogenic factors.

The Science of the total environment pii:S0048-9697(20)36525-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Biotic and abiotic factors are important drivers of the introduction, dispersal and establishment of an invasive species in fluvial corridors. In this study, we propose to better understand the spatial distribution of Asian knotweeds and to model their invasibility at the river basin scale in the Rhône Mediterranean and Corsica regions, France. We implemented a multiscale analysis of biophysical and anthropogenic factors related to the presence of knotweeds. Subbasins were sampled (50-600 km2), a large dataset on knotweed occurrence and biotic/abiotic factors was collected, and logistic regression was applied. A robust logit model (accuracy: 90%; false positive rate: 13%) estimated the probability of the occurrence of knotweeds at the river basin scale. We found clear evidence of: i) spatial scale-dependent water availability for knotweed implantation (e.g., summer vs. winter rainfalls > 250 mm); ii) an important role of hydrogeomorphic forces in dispersal; and iii) interspecific competition in riparian areas. The occurrence of knotweeds is also closely related to human-derived pressures. The management of knotweeds on roads and railways in the vicinity of rivers may be a major source of propagules. Hydraulic infrastructures (dikes and mill weirs) may also have served as locations of knotweed introduction since the end of the nineteenth century and may play a major role in the propagule transfer of knotweed; to date, these infrastructures have provided favourable conditions for knotweed establishment. Despite local water authorities' increasing awareness of invasive plants, local management practices for flood mitigation, low awareness of roads/railway managers, and negative representations of knotweeds have probably largely contributed to their dispersion over decades. The final model intends to integrate these biophysical and human factors by providing an operational tool to help river managers determine the sensitivity of their river basins to knotweed invasion.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Zakardjian M, Geslin B, Mitran V, et al (2020)

Effects of Urbanization on Plant-Pollinator Interactions in the Tropics: An Experimental Approach Using Exotic Plants.

Insects, 11(11):.

Land-use changes through urbanization and biological invasions both threaten plant-pollinator networks. Urban areas host modified bee communities and are characterized by high proportions of exotic plants. Exotic species, either animals or plants, may compete with native species and disrupt plant-pollinator interactions. These threats are heightened in insular systems of the Southwest Pacific, where the bee fauna is generally poor and ecological networks are simplified. However, the impacts of these factors have seldom been studied in tropical contexts. To explore those questions, we installed experimental exotic plant communities in urban and natural contexts in New Caledonia, a plant diversity hotspot. For four weeks, we observed plant-pollinator interactions between local pollinators and our experimental exotic plant communities. We found a significantly higher foraging activity of exotic wild bees within the city, together with a strong plant-pollinator association between two exotic species. However, contrary to our expectations, the landscape context (urban vs. natural) had no effect on the activity of native bees. These results raise issues concerning how species introduced in plant-pollinator networks will impact the reproductive success of both native and exotic plants. Furthermore, the urban system could act as a springboard for alien species to disperse in natural systems and even invade them, leading to conservation concerns.

RevDate: 2020-12-01

Divari S, Pregel P, Zanet S, et al (2020)

Molecular Evidence of Bartonella spp. in Rodents: A Study in Pianosa Island, Italy.

Animals : an open access journal from MDPI, 10(11):.

Wild rodents are reservoirs of several Bartonella species that cause human bartonellosis. The aim of this study was to assess the presence of Bartonella spp. DNA in wild rodents in Pianosa island, Italy. Rats (Rattus spp.; n = 15) and field mice (Apodemus spp.; n = 16) were captured and spleen DNA tested for the presence of Bartonella spp. by means of an initial screening using a qPCR amplifying a short segment of the 16S-23S rRNA gene intergenic transcribed spacer region (ITS, ~200 bp) followed by conventional PCR amplification of a longer ITS fragment (~600 bp) and of a citrate synthase (gltA, ~340 bp) gene segment. A total of 25 spleen DNA samples obtained from 31 rodent carcasses (81%) yielded positive qPCR results. Bartonella genus was confirmed by amplicon sequencing. By conventional PCR, eight out of 25 samples (32%) yielded bands on gels consistent with ITS segment, and 6/25 (24%) yielded bands consistent with the gltA locus. Amplicon sequencing identified B. henselae and B. coopersplainsensis in 1/25 (4%), and 4/25 (16%) samples, respectively. Moreover, 5/25 (20%) of Bartonella spp. positive samples showed gltA sequences with about 97% identity to B. grahamii. These results provide support to recently published observations suggesting that B. henselae circulates in wild rodent populations.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Grabowska J, Tarkan AS, Błońska D, et al (2021)

Prolific pioneers and reserved settlers. Changes in the life-history of the western tubenose goby (Proterorhinus semilunaris) at different invasion stages.

The Science of the total environment, 750:142316.

The western tubenose goby is one of the most wide-spread invasive fish species in European freshwaters, though information of its life-history in relation to its invasion success is limited. We compared the reproductive traits, growth rate and condition of three populations that differed in their stage of invasion in its expanding range in the River Vistula: core - the oldest population established at the centre of the invasive range; intermediate - long established by downstream dispersal from the core area but continuously supplemented by drifting specimens; front - new population at the edge of the invasive range, upstream from the core area. Pronounced differences in life-history traits were found between the 'core' and the 'front' populations. The 'front' population displayed high investment in reproduction and had heavier gonads, higher fecundity, higher batch fecundity though smaller eggs than the 'core' population. The 'core' population was characterized by the lowest fecundity, the largest eggs, the highest condition after spawning, and the highest maximum age of males. The 'intermediate' population was intermediate between the 'front' and the 'core' populations regarding reproductive traits, but showed the highest growth rates. The life-history traits that varied most among populations were gonad weight, fecundity, gonado-somatic index, condition and growth in the first years of life. Inter-individual variability of life-history traits was lower in the front of the invasive range than in the core and intermediate area. The observed plasticity in life-history appears to favour production of large numbers of offspring in newly-colonised areas in the initial stages of invasion and at the edge of the expanding range. In longer-established populations, at the core of invasive range, a strategy for greater competitiveness under intra-specific competition appears to be favoured.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Mantelatto MC, Póvoa AA, Skinner LF, et al (2020)

Marine litter and wood debris as habitat and vector for the range expansion of invasive corals (Tubastraea spp.).

Marine pollution bulletin, 160:111659.

Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1830 and T. tagusensis Wells 1982 are azooxanthellate corals non-native to Brazil and introduced through fouling on oil platforms, the primary vector. They first invaded the tropical rocky reefs at Ilha Grande Bay (southwest Atlantic Ocean), during the early 1990s. Currently, at some Brazilian locations these species occupy 80% of the benthos of the shallow subtidal. They cause economic and environmental impacts by fouling shipping and modifying native communities. This study provides observations of an additional mechanism of secondary dispersal by T. coccinea and T. tagusensis that were seen attached to floating wood debris and marine litter, which are highly abundant in the region. Such rafting corals have been found adjacent to invaded reefs and stranded on beaches. These observations indicate that transport by rafting over long distances may be another mechanism of range expansion and secondary introduction of these invasive species within the region.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Ibabe A, Borrell YJ, Knobelspiess S, et al (2020)

Perspectives on the marine environment and biodiversity in recreational ports: The marina of Gijon as a case study.

Marine pollution bulletin, 160:111645.

Recreational ports are known to be sources of pollution to the coastal marine environment due to the pouring of pollutants or the transfer of invasive species to neighboring areas. Nonetheless, the responsibility of protecting the marine environment does not lie solely on the users of the ports, but also affects the rest of citizens. Thus, an effective communication is necessary between scientists and citizens to avoid the lack of knowledge and boost cooperation against these environmental problems. In this study, (focused on the marina of Gijon, Northwestern Spain) citizens set education and social media as the main sources of information, rarely considering science outreach. Also, their environmental knowledge showed to be based on a visual perception, rather than on a cognitive one, as marine litter was considered a great environmental problem, while invasive species and biofouling went unnoticed, remarking the lack of an effective communication from scientific sources.

RevDate: 2020-11-16
CmpDate: 2020-11-16

Devi SS, Sreedevi AV, AB Kumar (2020)

First report of microplastic ingestion by the alien fish Pirapitinga (Piaractus brachypomus) in the Ramsar site Vembanad Lake, south India.

Marine pollution bulletin, 160:111637.

This study reports on the ingestion of microplastics by the alien fish Pirapitinga, Piaractus brachypomus (Characiformes; Serrasalmidae) that escaped Vembanad lake, the largest brackish water lake in the south-west coast of India, from the aquaculture systems during flooding. Microplastics separated from the gut of 32 out of the 123 fishes (26%) examined were identified using Attenuated Total Reflectance - Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR), and Raman Spectroscopy. In total, 69 microplastic particles, represented by fibers, foam and fragments were recovered from the fish, with sizes ranging from 0.89 to 4.85 mm. The ATR-FTIR spectral analyses revealed the presence of polymers polyethylene and Nylon 6. The occurrence of PP, Nylon 6, PET and PBT were confirmed using Raman spectroscopy. The presence of MPs in the gut content of alien fish P. brachypomus could be a reflection of the increasing microplastics pollution in the estuaries and backwaters along the south-west coast of India.

RevDate: 2020-11-19

Reyserhove L, Desmet P, Oldoni D, et al (2020)

A checklist recipe: making species data open and FAIR.

Database : the journal of biological databases and curation, 2020:.

Species checklists are a crucial source of information for research and policy. Unfortunately, many traditional species checklists vary wildly in their content, format, availability and maintenance. The fact that these are not open, findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) severely hampers fast and efficient information flow to policy and decision-making that are required to tackle the current biodiversity crisis. Here, we propose a reproducible, semi-automated workflow to transform traditional checklist data into a FAIR and open species registry. We showcase our workflow by applying it to the publication of the Manual of Alien Plants, a species checklist specifically developed for the Tracking Invasive Alien Species (TrIAS) project. Our approach combines source data management, reproducible data transformation to Darwin Core using R, version control, data documentation and publication to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). This checklist publication workflow is openly available for data holders and applicable to species registries varying in thematic, taxonomic or geographical scope and could serve as an important tool to open up research and strengthen environmental decision-making.

RevDate: 2020-11-12

Tran LT, Bafort Q, Steen F, et al (2020)

Dictyota cyanoloma (Dictyotales, Phaeophyceae), A newly introduced brown algal species in California.

Journal of phycology [Epub ahead of print].

Here we report for the first time the presence of Dictyota cyanoloma in southern California. Dictyota cyanoloma is conspicuous in harbors and bays by its distinctive bright blue-iridescent margins. This species was originally described from Europe but subsequent studies have revealed that it represented an introduction from Australia. The current distribution of D. cyanoloma comprises southern Australia and the North East Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea and the Macaronesian islands. The presence of D. cyanoloma in southern California is supported by molecular cox1 and psbA gene sequences. A reconstruction of the invasive history based on nine polymorphic microsatellite markers reveals a close affinity of the Californian specimens with European populations. Dictyota cyanoloma in the United States appears to be (so far) restricted to the Californian coast from San Diego Bay in the south to Santa Catalina Island and Long Beach Harbor in the north. A correlative species distribution model suggests gradually declining habitat suitability north of the Southern Californian Bight and high suitability in Baja California, including the Gulf of California. Finally, its widespread abundance in bays and harbors suggests shipping is a likely transport mechanism.

RevDate: 2020-11-23
CmpDate: 2020-11-23

Saebi M, Xu J, Curasi SR, et al (2020)

Network analysis of ballast-mediated species transfer reveals important introduction and dispersal patterns in the Arctic.

Scientific reports, 10(1):19558.

Rapid climate change has wide-ranging implications for the Arctic region, including sea ice loss, increased geopolitical attention, and expanding economic activity resulting in a dramatic increase in shipping activity. As a result, the risk of harmful non-native marine species being introduced into this critical region will increase unless policy and management steps are implemented in response. Using data about shipping, ecoregions, and environmental conditions, we leverage network analysis and data mining techniques to assess, visualize, and project ballast water-mediated species introductions into the Arctic and dispersal of non-native species within the Arctic. We first identify high-risk connections between the Arctic and non-Arctic ports that could be sources of non-native species over 15 years (1997-2012) and observe the emergence of shipping hubs in the Arctic where the cumulative risk of non-native species introduction is increasing. We then consider how environmental conditions can constrain this Arctic introduction network for species with different physiological limits, thus providing a tool that will allow decision-makers to evaluate the relative risk of different shipping routes. Next, we focus on within-Arctic ballast-mediated species dispersal where we use higher-order network analysis to identify critical shipping routes that may facilitate species dispersal within the Arctic. The risk assessment and projection framework we propose could inform risk-based assessment and management of ship-borne invasive species in the Arctic.

RevDate: 2020-11-17

Jones EP, Conyers C, Tomkies V, et al (2020)

Managing incursions of Vespa velutina nigrithorax in the UK: an emerging threat to apiculture.

Scientific reports, 10(1):19553.

Vespa velutina nigrithorax is an invasive species of hornet accidentally introduced into Europe in 2004. It feeds on invertebrates, including honey bees, and represents a threat to European apiculture. In 2016, the first nest of this hornet was detected and destroyed on mainland UK. A further 8 nests were discovered between 2016 and 2019. Nest dissection was performed on all nests together with microsatellite analyses of different life stages found in the nests to address the reproductive output and success of nests found in the UK. None of the nests had produced the next generation of queens. Follow-up monitoring in those regions detected no new nests in the following years. Diploid males were found in many UK nests, while microsatellite analysis showed that nests had low genetic diversity and the majority of queens had mated with one or two males. All UK nests derived from the European zone of secondary colonisation, rather than from the native range of the species. None of the nests discovered so far have been direct offspring of another UK nest. The evidence suggests that these nests were separate incursions from a continental population rather than belonging to a single established UK population of this pest.

RevDate: 2020-11-30

Sagoff M (2020)

Fact and value in invasion biology: reply to Cuthbert et al. 2020.

Conservation biology : the journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, 34(6):1583-1585.

RevDate: 2020-11-11

Sandland GJ, JP Peirce (2020)

Patterns of Sphaeridiotrema pseudoglobulus infection in sympatric and allopatric hosts (Bithynia tentaculata) originating from widely separated sites across the USA.

Parasitology research pii:10.1007/s00436-020-06949-0 [Epub ahead of print].

In circumstances where populations of invasive species occur across variable landscapes, interactions among invaders, their parasites, and the surrounding environment may establish local coevolutionary trajectories for the participants. This can generate variable infection patterns when parasites interact with sympatric versus allopatric hosts. Identifying the potential for such patterns within an invasive-species framework is important for better predicting local infection outcomes and their subsequent impacts on the surrounding native community. To begin addressing this question, we exposed an invasive snail (Bithynia tentaculata) from two widely separated sites across the USA (Wisconsin and Montana) to the digenean parasite, Sphaeridiotrema pseudoglobulus, collected from Wisconsin. Parasite exposures generated high infection prevalences in both sympatric and allopatric snails. Furthermore, host survival, host growth, the proportion of patent snails, and the timing of patency did not differ between sympatric and allopatric combinations. Moreover, passaging parasites through snails of different origins had no effect on transmission success to subsequent hosts in the life cycle. However, the number of parasites emerging from snails and the pattern of their release varied based on snail origin. These latter observations suggest the potential for local adaptation in this system, but subsequent research is required to further substantiate this as a key factor underlying infection patterns in the association between S. pseudoglobulus and B. tentaculata.

RevDate: 2020-11-11

Friday B, Holzheuser C, Lips KR, et al (2020)

Preparing for invasion: Assessing risk of infection by chytrid fungi in southeastern plethodontid salamanders.

Journal of experimental zoology. Part A, Ecological and integrative physiology [Epub ahead of print].

Understanding the responses of naïve communities to the invasion of multihost pathogens requires accurate estimates of susceptibility across taxa. In the Americas, the likely emergence of a second amphibian pathogenic fungus (Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans, Bsal) calls for new ways of prioritizing disease mitigation among species due to the high diversity of naïve hosts with prior B. dendrobatidis (Bd) infections. Here, we applied the concept of pathogenic potential to quantify the virulence of chytrid fungi on naïve amphibians and evaluate species for conservation efforts in the event of an outbreak. The benefit of this measure is that it combines and summarizes the variation in disease effects into a single numerical index, allowing for comparisons across species, populations or groups of individuals that may inherently exhibit differences in susceptibility. As a proof of concept, we obtained standardized responses of disease severity by performing experimental infections with Bsal on five plethodontid salamanders from southeastern United States. Four out of five species carried natural infections of Bd at the start of the experiments. We showed that Bsal exhibited its highest value of pathogenic potential in a species that is already declining (Desmognathus auriculatus). We find that this index provides additional information beyond the standard measures of disease prevalence, intensity, and mortality, because it leveraged these disease parameters within each categorical group. Scientists and practitioners could use this measure to justify research, funding, trade, or conservation measures.

RevDate: 2020-11-11

Guo W, Weiperth A, Hossain MS, et al (2020)

The effects of the herbicides terbuthylazine and metazachlor at environmental concentration on the burrowing behaviour of red swamp crayfish.

Chemosphere pii:S0045-6535(20)32851-4 [Epub ahead of print].

Despite their low concentrations in many aquatic environments, evidence exists to suggest that herbicides do affect non-target organisms. Given that burrowing is a primary life-history trait in crayfish, herbicides could potentially have serious negative effects on these ecologically important freshwater macroinvertebrates. In this study, we exposed the red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii to terbuthylazine (a triazine) and metazachlor (a chloroacetanilide) at an environmental concentration of 2.0 μg/L for 28 days, and then observed their burrowing behaviour for two days. The metazachlor-exposed males excavated a greater number of burrows than the other tested groups, with comparable depths and volumes relative to individual specimen weight. The relative depth and volume of female burrows were identical in all groups. The natural habit of female crayfish of constructing deeper burrows than males was marginally significant in the control and META groups but was not significant for relative volume. The hypothesized adverse effects of chronic exposure to real environmental concentrations of herbicides were not documented in terms of either relative depth or volume. However, the increased number of burrows in metazachlor-exposed animals may mean that this invasive species will cause greater damage to embankments and river banks. The mechanisms behind these effects require closer study.

RevDate: 2020-11-28

Tarusikirwa VL, Machekano H, Mutamiswa R, et al (2020)

Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) on the "Offensive" in Africa: Prospects for Integrated Management Initiatives.

Insects, 11(11):.

The South American tomato pinworm Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) has aggressively invaded the African continent. Since its first detection in North Africa in Morocco and Tunisia in 2008, it has successfully invaded the entire southern, eastern and western Africa, where it has been on the offensive, causing significant damage to Solanaceous food crops. While control of this prolific invader is primarily based on conventional synthetic pesticides, this form of control is consistently losing societal approval owing to (1) pesticide resistance development and consequential loss of field efficacy; (2) growing public health concerns; (3) environmental contamination and loss of biological diversity and its associated ecological services; and (4) unsustainable costs, particularly for resource-poor African farmers. As such, more ecologically sound pest management strategies, e.g., the use of natural substances (NSs), may offer a more sustainable approach to tackling this offensive. A systematic literature search through digital libraries and online databases (JSTOR, PubMed, Web of Science, SCOPUS and Google Scholar) was conducted using predetermined keywords on T. absoluta, e.g., South American tomato pinworm. We use this to explain the invasion of T. absoluta in Africa, citing mechanisms facilitating African invasion and exploring the potential of its control using diverse biological control agents, natural and low-risk substances. Specifically, we explore how botanicals, entomopathogens, semiochemicals, predators, parasitoids, host plant resistance, sterile insect technique and others have been spatially employed to control T. absoluta and discuss the potential of these control agents in African landscapes using more integrated approaches. We discuss the use of NSs as assets to general insect pest control, some potential associated liabilities and explain the potential use and barriers to adoption in African systems from a legislative, economic, ecological and social standpoint.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Hudson CM, Vidal-García M, Murray TG, et al (2020)

The accelerating anuran: evolution of locomotor performance in cane toads (Rhinella marina, Bufonidae) at an invasion front.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 287(1938):20201964.

As is common in biological invasions, the rate at which cane toads (Rhinella marina) have spread across tropical Australia has accelerated through time. Individuals at the invasion front travel further than range-core conspecifics and exhibit distinctive morphologies that may facilitate rapid dispersal. However, the links between these morphological changes and locomotor performance have not been clearly documented. We used raceway trials and high-speed videography to document locomotor traits (e.g. hop distances, heights, velocities, and angles of take-off and landing) of toads from range-core and invasion-front populations. Locomotor performance varied geographically, and this variation in performance was linked to morphological features that have evolved during the toads' Australian invasion. Geographical variation in morphology and locomotor ability was evident not only in wild-caught animals, but also in individuals that had been raised under standardized conditions in captivity. Our data thus support the hypothesis that the cane toad's invasion across Australia has generated rapid evolutionary shifts in dispersal-relevant performance traits, and that these differences in performance are linked to concurrent shifts in morphological traits.

RevDate: 2020-11-10

Tang F, DC Aldridge (2020)

Using osmotic shock to control invasive aquatic species.

Journal of environmental management pii:S0301-4797(20)31529-2 [Epub ahead of print].

Coastal estuaries are especially vulnerable to the arrival and establishment of invasive aquatic species (IAS) as they are often the receiving locations of ship-based introductions. Rapid response tools, such as mechanical or chemical treatments to capture, remove, and contain of IAS, are needed to prevent subsequent spread into adjacent marine and freshwater systems. Abrupt salinity change, created when infrastructure in estuaries situated at the proximity of river mouths is operated, offers a novel, low-cost and environmentally friendly method for potentially controlling IAS. We investigated the use of osmotic shock to control the invasive brackish water clam Rangia cuneata that is quickly spreading through Europe. Clams were exposed in the laboratory to eight salinity concentrations ranging from 0.5 to 32.0‰ and monitored for 60 days. Saline shock, but not freshwater shock, could control R. cuneata. Salinities >26‰ killed 95% R. cuneata in two weeks. All specimens exposed to full strength seawater (32‰) were killed within 30 days. At lower salinities, clams collected from the most freshwater locality (1.2‰) showed lower mortality than clams from the most saline site (3.1‰). Furthermore, even modest increases in salinity during spawning periods of R. cuneata may prevent recruitment. Given the vulnerability of coastal estuaries to introduction of IAS, saline flushing presents a novel and effective management tool for many species.

RevDate: 2020-11-09

Donihue CM, Daltry JC, Challenger S, et al (2020)

Population increase and changes in behavior and morphology in the Critically Endangered Redonda ground lizard (Pholidoscelis atratus) following the successful removal of alien rats and goats.

Integrative zoology [Epub ahead of print].

Redonda is a small volcanic Caribbean island that is home to at least four endemic lizard species, including the Critically Endangered ground lizard, Pholidoscelis atratus. Black rats (Rattus rattus) and domestic goats (Capra hircus) were introduced to the island at some time after its discovery by Europeans in the late 1500s. They had a devastating effect on the island, resulting in the loss of nearly all trees and most of the ground vegetation. Point count surveys of P. atratus in 2012 indicated low densities, and the invasive rats were observed hunting and preying on the lizards. Both populations of rats and goats were successfully removed in 2017 as part of an ecological restoration program, and native vegetation and invertebrate populations have increased rapidly since. Population surveys in 2017, 2018, and 2019 show the lizard population has increased by more than six-fold. In 2017, as rats and goats were being removed, we evaluated the morphology and escape behavior of this species and repeated these measurements one year later. We observed that P. atratus had become bolder, with a reduced flight distance. We also detected changes in limb morphology related to locomotion and suggest possible explanations that will need to be further investigated in the future. These results show how the removal of invasive species can rapidly affect lizard population recovery and behavior, potentially restoring island ecosystems to their pre-human interference dynamics. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

RevDate: 2020-11-12

Barbieri DM, Lou B, Passavanti M, et al (2020)

A survey dataset to evaluate the changes in mobility and transportation due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Australia, Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Norway, South Africa, United States.

Data in brief, 33:106459.

COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the global community. To curb the viral transmission, travel restrictions have been enforced across the world. The dataset documents the mobility disruptions and the modal shifts that have occurred as a consequence of the restrictive measures implemented in ten countries: Australia, Brazil, China, Ghana, India, Iran, Italy, Norway, South Africa and the United States. An online questionnaire was distributed during the period from the 11st to the 31st of May 2020, with a total of 9 394 respondents. The first part of the survey has characterized the frequency of use of all transport modes before and during the enforcement of the restrictions, while the second part of the survey has dealt with perceived risks of contracting COVID-19 from different transport modes and perceived effectiveness of travel mitigation measures. Overall, the dataset (stored in a repository publicly available) can be conveniently used to quantify and understand the modal shifts and people's cognitive behavior towards travel due to COVID-19. The collected responses can be further analysed by considering other demographic and socioeconomic covariates.

RevDate: 2020-11-12

Wappl C, Cimadom A, Filek N, et al (2020)

Under adverse conditions, older small tree finch males (Camarhynchus parvulus) produce more offspring than younger males.

Ethology : formerly Zeitschrift fur Tierpsychologie, 126(10):966-975.

Females of many bird species prefer mating with older males, presumably because they provide superior parental care and possibly superior genes. A previous study found that female small tree finches (Camarhynchus parvulus) preferred pairing with old males and had a higher breeding success when paired with old males because their nests were more concealed, higher up in the canopy and therefore less likely to be depredated. However, causes for brood loss have changed over the last decade: predation of small tree finch nests has decreased, whereas brood losses due to parasitism by the invasive parasitic fly Philornis downsi have increased. In the present study, we investigated (a) how the change in predation and parasitism by P. downsi influenced the breeding success of small tree finches, (b) whether there were still differences in breeding success between young and old males, (c) whether P. downsi infestation had a differential effect on nests of young and old males and (d) whether young and old males differed in foraging success. During 2012-2016, we found an overall low influence of predation and a high influence of P. downsi, but neither differed between nests of young and old males. Nests of old males had more fledglings than those of young males. However, the difference in breeding success disappeared when P. downsi numbers were experimentally reduced by injecting an insecticide into nests. This indicates that older males were able to compensate for the detrimental effects of parasitism.

RevDate: 2020-11-26

Pagac BB, Spring AR, Stawicki JR, et al (2020)

Incursion and establishment of the Old World arbovirus vector Aedes (Fredwardsius) vittatus (Bigot, 1861) in the Americas.

Acta tropica, 213:105739 pii:S0001-706X(20)31652-1 [Epub ahead of print].

Routine biosurveillance efforts at the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on 18 June 2019, detected two unusual mosquitos in a CO2-baited CDC light trap. Morphological and molecular analysis confirmed the presence of Aedes (Fredwardsius) vittatus (Bigot, 1861) - the first record of the Old World dengue, chikungunya, Zika and yellow fever virus vector into the Americas - and provides evidence for its establishment in Cuba. Newly submitted GenBank sequences from Dominican Republic further evidence its establishment in the Caribbean, and a median-joining network analysis using mitochondrial COI gene sequences clearly supports multiple introductions of Ae. vittatus into the Caribbean from the Indian subcontinent. It was determined that many Ae. vittatus COI barcode sequences in GenBank are currently misidentified as Aedes (Fredwardsius) cogilli Edwards, 1922.

RevDate: 2020-11-07

Wang M, Tang X, Sun X, et al (2020)

An invasive plant rapidly increased the similarity of soil fungal pathogen communities.

Annals of botany pii:5960110 [Epub ahead of print].

BACKGROUND AND AIMS: Plant invasions can change soil microbial communities and affect subsequent invasions directly or indirectly via foliar herbivory. It has been proposed that invaders promote uniform biotic communities that displace diverse, spatially variable communities ("Biotic Homogenization Hypothesis"), but this has not been experimentally tested for soil microbial communities, so the underlying mechanisms and dynamics are unclear. Here, we compared density-dependent impacts of the invasive plant Alternanthera philoxeroides and its native congener A. sessilis on soil fungal communities, and their feedback effects on plants and a foliar beetle.

METHODS: We conducted a plant-soil feedback (PSF) experiment and a lab bioassay to examine PSFs associated with the native and invasive plants and a beetle feeding on them. We also characterized the soil fungal community using high-throughput sequencing.

KEY RESULTS: We found locally differentiated soil fungal pathogen assemblages associated with high densities of the native plant Alternanthera sessilis but little variation in those associated with the invasive congener A. philoxeroides, regardless of plant density. In contrast, AM fungal assemblages associated with high densities of the invasive plant were more variable. Soil biota decreased plant shoot mass but their effect was weak for the invasive plant growing in native plant conditioned soils. PSFs increased the larval biomass of a beetle reared on leaves of the native plant only. Moreover, PSFs on plant shoot, root and beetle mass were predicted by different pathogen taxa in a plant species-specific manner.

CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that plant invasions can rapidly increase the similarity of soil pathogen assemblages even at low plant densities leading to taxonomically and functionally homogeneous soil communities that may limit negative soil effects on invasive plants.

RevDate: 2020-11-07

Eppinga MB, Baudena M, Haber EA, et al (2020)

Spatially explicit removal strategies increase the efficiency of invasive plant species control.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

Effective management strategies are needed to control expansion of invasive alien plant species and attenuate economic and ecological impacts. While previous theoretical studies have assessed optimal control strategies that balance economic costs and ecological benefits, less attention has been paid to the ways in which the spatial characteristics of individual patches may mediate the effectiveness of management strategies. We developed a spatially explicit cellular automaton model for invasive species spread, and compared the effectiveness of seven control strategies. These control strategies used different criteria to prioritize the removal of invasive species patches from the landscape. The different criteria were related to patch size, patch geometry and patch position within the landscape. Effectiveness of strategies was assessed for both seed-dispersing and clonally expanding plant species. We found that for seed dispersing species, removal of small patches and removal of patches that are isolated within the landscape comprised relatively effective control strategies. For clonally expanding species, removal of patches based on their degree of isolation and their geometrical properties comprised relatively effective control strategies. Subsequently, we parameterized the model to mimic the observed spatial distribution of the invasive species Antigonon leptopus on St. Eustatius (northern Caribbean). This species expands clonally and also disperses via seeds, and model simulations showed that removal strategies focusing on smaller patches that are more isolated in the landscape would be most effective and could increase the effectiveness of a ten-year control strategy by 30-90%, as compared to random removal of patches. Our study emphasizes the potential for invasive plant species management to utilize recent advances in remote sensing, which enable mapping of invasive species at the high spatial resolution needed to quantify patch geometries. The presented results highlight how this spatial information can be used in the design of more effective invasive species control strategies.

RevDate: 2020-11-06

Moura RF, Queiroga D, Vilela E, et al (2020)

Polyploidy and high environmental tolerance increase the invasive success of plants.

Journal of plant research pii:10.1007/s10265-020-01236-6 [Epub ahead of print].

Ploidy level and genome size (GS) could affect the invasive capacity of plants, although these parameters can be contradictory. While small GS seems to favor dispersion, polyploidy-which increases the GS-also seems to favor it. Using a phylogenetic path analysis, we evaluated the effects of both factors on the environmental tolerance and invasive success of plants. We selected 99 invasive plant species from public online databases and gathered information about invasive capacity (number of non-original countries in which each species occurs), tolerance to environmental factors, ploidy level, and GS. The invasive capacity varied depending on the ploidy level and tolerance to environmental factors. Polyploids and species with increased tolerance to elevated temperatures and rainfall values exhibited high invasive capacity. We found no evidence that GS affects the invasive capacity of plants. We suggest that the genetic variability provided by polyploidization has a positive impact on plant competitiveness, which may ultimately lead to an increased ability to colonize new environments. In a global warming scenario, integrative approaches using phenotypic, genetic, epigenetic, and ecological traits should be a productive route to unveil the aspects of invasive plants.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Dunlop MJ, Clemons C, Reiner R, et al (2020)

Towards the scalable isolation of cellulose nanocrystals from tunicates.

Scientific reports, 10(1):19090.

In order for sustainable nanomaterials such as cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) to be utilized in industrial applications, a large-scale production capacity for CNCs must exist. Currently the only CNCs available commercially in kilogram scale are obtained from wood pulp (W-CNCs). Scaling the production capacity of W-CNCs isolation has led to their use in broader applications and captured the interest of researchers, industries and governments alike. Another source of CNCs with potential for commercial scale production are tunicates, a species of marine animal. Tunicate derived CNCs (T-CNCs) are a high aspect ratio CNC, which can complement commercially available W-CNCs in the growing global CNC market. Herein we report the isolation and characterization of T-CNCs from the tunicate Styela clava, an invasive species currently causing significant harm to local aquaculture communities. The reported procedure utilizes scalable CNC processing techniques and is based on our experiences from laboratory scale T-CNC isolation and pilot scale W-CNC isolation. To our best knowledge, this study represents the largest scale where T-CNCs have been isolated from any tunicate species, under any reaction conditions. Demonstrating a significant step towards commercial scale isolation of T-CNCs, and offering a potential solution to the numerous challenges which invasive tunicates pose to global aquaculture communities.

RevDate: 2020-11-14

Tsuji LJS, Tsuji SRJ, Zuk AM, et al (2020)

Harvest Programs in First Nations of Subarctic Canada: The Benefits Go Beyond Addressing Food Security and Environmental Sustainability Issues.

International journal of environmental research and public health, 17(21):.

By breaking down barriers that impacted the ability of subarctic First Nations people to harvest waterfowl, the Sharing-the-Harvest program provided a safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food (i.e., geese) to James Bay Cree communities while also helping to protect the environment by harvesting overabundant geese. However, the impacts extend beyond those described above. Thus, the objectives of the present paper are twofold: to document the food sharing networks of the Sharing-the-Harvest program; and to examine the benefits associated with the harvest program beyond food security and environmental sustainability issues, as revealed through semi-directed interviews. In the regional initiative, harvested geese were shared with all James Bay communities; sharing is an important part of Cree culture. Where detailed information was collected, the goose-sharing network reached 76% of the homes in one of the communities. Likewise, in the local initiative, the goose-sharing network had a 76% coverage rate of the homes in the community. Although decreasing food insecurity was an important focus of the harvest-sharing programs, there were other benefits, from an Indigenous perspective, of being on the land, as identified by the Cree harvesters through semi-directed interviews (e.g., the transmission of Indigenous knowledge, the strengthening of social networks, and the feeling of wellness while out on-the-land). Thus, by participating in the on-the-land harvest programs, the Cree gained benefits beyond those solely related to strengthening food security and contributing in part to environmental sustainability. The Sharing-the-Harvest protocol has the potential to be adapted and employed by other Indigenous (or marginalized) groups worldwide, to help improve health and wellness, while, also protecting the environment from overabundant and/or invasive species.

RevDate: 2020-11-20

Robichaud CD, RC Rooney (2020)

Title: Low concentrations of glyphosate in water and sediment after direct over-water application to control an invasive aquatic plant.

Water research, 188:116573 pii:S0043-1354(20)31108-8 [Epub ahead of print].

When an invasive wetland grass degrades a Ramsar wetland and Important Bird Area, decisive management action is called for. To limit the extent and spread of European Phragmites australis, the Ontario government began the first, large-scale application of glyphosate (Roundup CustomⓇ) over standing water to control an invasive species in Canadian history. Between 2016 and 2018, over 1000 ha of marsh were treated. To assess the concentration, movement and longevity of this herbicide in treated marshes, we measured the concentration of glyphosate, its primary breakdown product aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), and the alcohol ethoxylate-based adjuvant AquasurfⓇ in water and sediments in areas of the highest exposure and up to 150 m into adjacent bays. The maximum observed concentration of glyphosate in water was 0.320 mg/L, occurring within 24 hr of application. The maximum glyphosate concentration in sediment was 0.250 mg/kg, occurring within about 30 days of application. AMPA was detectable in water and sediment, indicating microbial breakdown of glyphosate in the marsh, but at low concentrations (maxwater = 0.025 mg/L, maxsed = 0.012 mg/kg). The maximum distance from the point of application that glyphosate was detected in the water was 100 m, while AMPA was detectable only at the edge of where glyphosate was applied (0 m). Concentrations in water returned to pre-treatment levels (0.005 mg/kg) for over one year but less than two years. Concentrations of alcohol ethoxylates were variable in space and time, following a pattern that could not be attributed to AquasurfⓇ use. The direct, over-water application of Roundup CustomⓇ with AquasurfⓇ to control invasive P. australis did not reach concentrations deemed to pose toxicological concern to aquatic biota by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Qu XJ, SJ Fan (2020)

First report of the parasitic invasive weed field dodder (Cuscuta campestris) parasitizing the confamilial invasive weed common morning-glory (Ipomoea purpurea) in Shandong, China.

Plant disease [Epub ahead of print].

Common morning-glory (Ipomoea purpurea (L.) Roth, Convolvulaceae), an annual herbaceous vine native to South America, was first recorded to be cultivated in China in 1890, and since then it has invaded all provinces of China. It was one of the 18 alien invasive species in China (MEE. 2014). As an invasive weed, it can readily invade dry lands, orchards, and nurseries and compete for sunlight by wrapping other plants. On 20 September 2019 and 18 July 2020, I. purpurea was found to be parasitized by a dodder species (also Convolvulaceae) in Lushan Mountain (36°21'N, 118°3'E, 569 m elevation), Shandong province, China (Fig. S1). Within and area of ca. 100 m2, dozens of individuals of common morning-glory were parasitized by the leafless stems of dodder. After removal of the haustrial connection of the dodder stem from the I. purpurea stem, brownish black lesions around uneven holes were visible on the I. purpurea stem, with broken haustoria clearly visible to our naked eye remaining in the I. purpurea stem (Fig. S1). Anatomical results showed that the haustoria of dodder penetrate I. purpurea stem and xylem elements connect the vascular systems of both the parasitic and host plant (Fig. S1). Based on morphological characteristics of stems, inflorescences, calyx, corolla, stamens, and capsules as described in Costea et al. (2006), this dodder was identified as Cuscuta campestris Yunck. (i.e., field dodder). Field dodder is readily distinguished from C. chinensis and C. australis in China by the capsules with persistent corollas enveloping 1/3 or less of its base and the spreading and inflexed corolla lobes with acute to acuminate apices. In order to further confirm the identity of the species, total genomic DNA was extracted and sequenced using genome-skimming method as described in Qu et al. (2019). An 831-bp region of 18S-ITS1-5.8S-ITS2-26S for the dodder studied was assembled, examined, and deposited in GenBank under accession number MN718805. The new sequence has 100% similarity with other available sequences of C. campestris (accession number: KT383104, KT383150, KY968857). Phylogenetic analysis also placed the new dodder accession with other accessions of C. campestris (Fig. S2a). In addition, the plastome sequence of the dodder studied was assembled (86,727 bp in length) and deposited in GenBank under accession number MN708214, and a BLAST analysis found that it was 99.98% similar to that of C. gronovii (accession number: AM711639). The plastome of C. gronovii was published by Funk et al. (2007). However, Costea et al. (2015) indicated that Funk et al. (2007) misidentified C. campestris as C. gronovii. Furthermore, our phylogenetic tree strongly supported the identification of the dodder studied as C. campestris (Fig. S2b). Therefore, the dodder on common morning-glory in Shandong province was finally identified as C. campestris according to morphological and molecular evidence. The specimen of C. campestris on I. purpurea was deposited at the herbarium of the College of Life Sciences, Shandong Normal University (voucher number: 092012B). Field dodder, the second most common dodder species in North America, is the most widespread Cuscuta weed in the world and has been found in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America (Holm et al. 1997). To our knowledge, this is the first report of the parasitic invasive weed C. campestris parasitizing the invasive weed I. purpurea in Shandong of China. This is also the first report of Cuscuta species parasitizing confamilial Ipomoea species, which is especially noteworthy given that the genus Cuscuta is sister to the genus Ipomoea. This study provides a good model for exploring gene flow between species of closely related genera with different lifestyle. Another implication of this study is that customs and departments of inspection and quarantine need to quarantine the seeds or plants of both dodders and common morning-glories.

RevDate: 2020-11-26

Eckert S, Herden J, Stift M, et al (2020)

Manipulation of cytosine methylation does not remove latitudinal clines in two invasive goldenrod species in Central Europe.

Molecular ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Invasive species frequently differentiate phenotypically in novel environments within a few generations, often even with limited genetic variation. For the invasive plants Solidago canadensis and S. gigantea, we tested whether such differentiation might have occurred through heritable epigenetic changes in cytosine methylation. In a 2-year common-garden experiment, we grew plants from seeds collected along a latitudinal gradient in their non-native Central European range to test for trait differentiation and whether differentiation disappeared when seeds were treated with the demethylation agent zebularine. Microsatellite markers revealed no population structure along the latitudinal gradient in S. canadensis, but three genetic clusters in S. gigantea. Solidago canadensis showed latitudinal clines in flowering phenology and growth. In S. gigantea, the number of clonal offspring decreased with latitude. Although zebularine had a significant effect on early growth, probably through effects on cytosine methylation, latitudinal clines remained (or even got stronger) in plants raised from seeds treated with zebularine. Thus, our experiment provides no evidence that epigenetic mechanisms by selective cytosine methylation contribute to the observed phenotypic differentiation in invasive goldenrods in Central Europe.

RevDate: 2020-11-06

Gubanova A, Drapun I, Garbazey O, et al (2020)

Pseudodiaptomus marinus Sato, 1913 in the Black Sea: morphology, genetic analysis, and variability in seasonal and interannual abundance.

PeerJ, 8:e10153.

Calanoid copepod Peudodiaptomus marinus Sato, 1913 was first recorded in Sevastopol Bay in the northern Black Sea in September 2016. We performed regular observations of this new invasive species between October 2016 and December 2018. We conducted bi-weekly plankton sampling at three stations located within or adjacent to Sevastopol Bay. This is the first paper to combine (i) a detailed morphological study, (ii) molecular genetic analysis, and (iii) an investigation of P. marinus seasonal dynamics and interannual abundance variability in the coastal Black Sea. Our morphological research showed similarities between Pseudodiaptomus specimens and existing P. marinus illustrations and descriptions. Our morphological analysis results were confirmed using molecular genetic studies. Based on the genetic variability of ITS2 and cytb, we found that all investigated specimens from Sevastopol Bay belonged to P. marinus. Investigations of P. marinus seasonal and interannual abundance variability showed the same seasonal patterns throughout the studied period, with a higher seasonal abundance from October to November and one pronounced density peak in autumn. The highest abundances (2,000 ind m-3 at the mouth of the bay and more than 5,000 ind m-3at its centre) were recorded in November 2018. In the samples, we found adults of both sexes, including ovigerous females, copepodites I-V, and nauplii, suggesting that the species reproduce in Sevastopol Bay. Our research indicated that P. marinus is a new non-indigenous species (NIS) in the Black Sea, and we will discuss a possible vector of its introduction into this basin.

RevDate: 2020-11-16

Jarnevich CS, Young NE, Cullinane Thomas C, et al (2020)

Assessing ecological uncertainty and simulation model sensitivity to evaluate an invasive plant species' potential impacts to the landscape.

Scientific reports, 10(1):19069.

Ecological forecasts of the extent and impacts of invasive species can inform conservation management decisions. Such forecasts are hampered by ecological uncertainties associated with non-analog conditions resulting from the introduction of an invader to an ecosystem. We developed a state-and-transition simulation model tied to a fire behavior model to simulate the spread of buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris) in Saguaro National Park, AZ, USA over a 30-year period. The simulation models forecast the potential extent and impact of a buffelgrass invasion including size and frequency of fire events and displacement of saguaro cacti and other native species. Using simulation models allowed us to evaluate how model uncertainties affected forecasted landscape outcomes. We compared scenarios covering a range of parameter uncertainties including model initialization (landscape susceptibility to invasion) and expert-identified ecological uncertainties (buffelgrass patch infill rates and precipitation). Our simulations showed substantial differences in the amount of buffelgrass on the landscape and the size and frequency of fires for dry years with slow patch infill scenarios compared to wet years with fast patch infill scenarios. We identified uncertainty in buffelgrass patch infill rates as a key area for research to improve forecasts. Our approach could be used to investigate novel processes in other invaded systems.

RevDate: 2020-11-09
CmpDate: 2020-11-09

Collado GA, Vidal MA, Torres-DÍaz C, et al (2020)

Morphological and molecular identification of the invasive freshwater snail Physa acuta (Gastropoda: Physidae) into Llanquihue Lake, Chilean Patagonia.

Anais da Academia Brasileira de Ciencias, 92(suppl 2):e20181101 pii:S0001-37652020000400746.

The sewage snail Physa acuta, native to North America, is an effective invasive species around the world. In Chile, it was first reported in 2014 in the north central area of the country. So far, the species has not been recorded in southern Chile. Sampling performed in 2015 in three localities from Llanquihue Lake, Chilean Patagonia, only provided native freshwater snails. However, new collections performed in February 2018 in the same three sites were successful for physid specimens suggesting a biological invasion entailing a large southward range expansion of these snails. Here we performed morphological, microstructural and phylogenetic analyses to investigate whether the new samples belong to Physa acuta. The shell morphology, male copulatory complex and radula microstructure of the new material agree with those of the sewage snail. The molecular phylogenetic analyses using the cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (COI) gene confirmed morphological identification. We suggest to take prompt measures to prevent the expansion of Physa acuta in Llanquihue Lake or nearby aquatic ecosystems.

RevDate: 2020-11-04

Kaul AD, BJ Wilsey (2020)

Exotic species drive patterns of plant species diversity in 93 restored tallgrass prairies.

Ecological applications : a publication of the Ecological Society of America [Epub ahead of print].

A primary goal of restoration ecology is to understand the factors that generate variability in species diversity and composition among restorations. Plant communities may assemble deterministically towards a common community type, or they may assemble stochastically, ending differently because of weather conditions during establishment, soil legacy effects, or exotic species propagule pressure. To test these alternative hypotheses, we sampled plant communities and soil at 93 randomly selected restored prairies distributed throughout Iowa, USA. Five remnant sites were sampled as a reference. We tested our hypotheses using multiple regressions and investigated the strength of direct and indirect effects on species diversity and richness using structural equation models. The prairie restorations were highly variable in their age, size, diversity, soil characteristics, and how they were managed post-seeding. The strongest predictor of plant species richness and diversity was the degree of invasion, as measured by the abundance of exotic species. Restorations planted with species-rich seed mixes had reduced exotic species abundance, which led indirectly to higher species richness of restorations. Sites with higher organic matter and a more linear shape had a direct positive effect on exotic abundance, which in turn decreased diversity. We found little support for deterministic assembly, and diversity did not increase with the age of planting. Our results indicate that restored prairie communities tend to assemble into states of high or low diversity, driven by invasion from exotic plant species. Management of exotic species is essential for maximizing species diversity in temperate grassland restorations.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Bickford WA, Zak DR, Kowalski KP, et al (2020)

Differences in rhizosphere microbial communities between native and non-native Phragmites australis may depend on stand density.

Ecology and evolution, 10(20):11739-11751.

Microorganisms surrounding plant roots may benefit invasive species through enhanced mutualism or decreased antagonism, when compared to surrounding native species. We surveyed the rhizosphere soil microbiome of a prominent invasive plant, Phragmites australis, and its co-occurring native subspecies for evidence of microbial drivers of invasiveness. If the rhizosphere microbial community is important in driving plant invasions, we hypothesized that non-native Phragmites would cultivate a different microbiome from native Phragmites, containing fewer pathogens, more mutualists, or both. We surveyed populations of native and non-native Phragmites across Michigan and Ohio USA, and we described rhizosphere microbial communities using culture-independent next-generation sequencing. We found little evidence that native and non-native Phragmites cultivate distinct bacterial, fungal, or oomycete rhizosphere communities. Microbial community differences in our Michigan survey were not associated with plant lineage but were mainly driven by environmental factors, such as soil saturation and nutrient concentrations. Intensive sampling along transects consisting of dense monocultures of each lineage and mixed zones revealed bacterial community differences between lineages in dense monoculture, but not in mixture. We found no evidence of functional differences in the microbial communities surrounding each lineage. We extrapolate that the invasiveness of non-native Phragmites, when compared to its native congener, does not result from the differential cultivation of beneficial or antagonistic rhizosphere microorganisms.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Landsman AP, Burghardt KT, JL Bowman (2020)

Invasive grass (Microstegium vimineum) indirectly benefits spider community by subsidizing available prey.

Ecology and evolution, 10(20):11133-11143.

Invasive plant species cause a suite of direct, negative ecological impacts, but subsequent, indirect effects are more complex and difficult to detect. Where identified, indirect effects to other taxa can be wide-ranging and include ecological benefits in certain habitats or locations.Here, we simultaneously examine the direct and indirect effects of a common, invasive grass species (Microstegium vimineum) on the invertebrate communities of understory deciduous forests in the eastern United States. To do this, we use two complementary analytic approaches to compare invaded and reference plots: (a) community composition analysis of understory arthropod taxa and (b) analysis of isotopic carbon and nitrogen ratios of a representative predatory spider species.Invaded plots contained a significantly greater abundance of nearly all taxa, including predators, herbivores, and detritivores. Spider communities contained over seven times more individuals and exhibited greater species diversity and richness in invaded plots.Surprisingly, however, the abundant invertebrate community is not nutritionally supported by the invasive plant, despite 100% ground cover of M. vimineum. Instead, spider isotopic carbon ratios showed that the invertebrate prey community found within invaded plots was deriving energy from the plant tissue of C3 plants and not the prevalent, aboveground M. vimineum. Synthesis and applications. We demonstrate that invasive M. vimineum can create non-nutritional ecological benefits for some invertebrate taxa, with potential impacts to the nutritional dynamics of invertebrate-vertebrate food webs. These positive impacts, however, may be restricted to habitats that experience high levels of ungulate herbivory or reduced vegetative structural complexity. Our results highlight the importance of fully understanding taxon- and habitat-specific effects of invading plant species when prioritizing invasive species removal or management efforts.

RevDate: 2020-11-05

Higgins SI, Larcombe MJ, Beeton NJ, et al (2020)

Predictive ability of a process-based versus a correlative species distribution model.

Ecology and evolution, 10(20):11043-11054.

Species distribution modeling is a widely used tool in many branches of ecology and evolution. Evaluations of the transferability of species distribution models-their ability to predict the distribution of species in independent data domains-are, however, rare. In this study, we contrast the transferability of a process-based and a correlative species distribution model. Our case study uses 664 Australian eucalypt and acacia species. We estimate models for these species using data from their native Australia and then assess whether these models can predict the adventive range of these species. We find that the correlative model-MaxEnt-has a superior ability to describe the data in the training data domain (Australia) and that the process-based model-TTR-SDM-has a superior ability to predict the distribution of the study species outside of Australia. The implication of this analysis, that process-based models may be more appropriate than correlative models when making projections outside of the domain of the training data, needs to be tested in other case studies.

RevDate: 2020-11-13

Cano-Barbacil C, Radinger J, Argudo M, et al (2020)

Key factors explaining critical swimming speed in freshwater fish: a review and statistical analysis for Iberian species.

Scientific reports, 10(1):18947.

Swimming performance is a key feature that mediates fitness and survival in aquatic animals. Dispersal, habitat selection, predator-prey interactions and reproduction are processes that depend on swimming capabilities. Testing the critical swimming speed (Ucrit) of fish is the most straightforward method to assess their prolonged swimming performance. We analysed the contribution of several predictor variables (total body length, experimental water temperature, time step interval between velocity increments, species identity, taxonomic affiliation, native status, body shape and form factor) in explaining the variation of Ucrit, using linear models and random forests. We compiled in total 204 studies testing Ucrit of 35 inland fishes of the Iberian Peninsula, including 17 alien species that are non-native to that region. We found that body length is largely the most important predictor of Ucrit out of the eight tested variables, followed by family, time step interval and species identity. By contrast, form factor, temperature, body shape and native status were less important. Results showed a generally positive relationship between Ucrit and total body length, but regression slopes varied markedly among families and species. By contrast, linear models did not show significant differences between native and alien species. In conclusion, the present study provides a first comprehensive database of Ucrit in Iberian freshwater fish, which can be thus of considerable interest for habitat management and restoration plans. The resulting data represents a sound foundation to assess fish responses to hydrological alteration (e.g. water flow tolerance and dispersal capacities), or to categorize their habitat preferences.


ESP Quick Facts

ESP Origins

In the early 1990's, Robert Robbins was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins, where he directed the informatics core of GDB — the human gene-mapping database of the international human genome project. To share papers with colleagues around the world, he set up a small paper-sharing section on his personal web page. This small project evolved into The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Support

In 1995, Robbins became the VP/IT of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Soon after arriving in Seattle, Robbins secured funding, through the ELSI component of the US Human Genome Project, to create the original ESP.ORG web site, with the formal goal of providing free, world-wide access to the literature of classical genetics.

ESP Rationale

Although the methods of molecular biology can seem almost magical to the uninitiated, the original techniques of classical genetics are readily appreciated by one and all: cross individuals that differ in some inherited trait, collect all of the progeny, score their attributes, and propose mechanisms to explain the patterns of inheritance observed.

ESP Goal

In reading the early works of classical genetics, one is drawn, almost inexorably, into ever more complex models, until molecular explanations begin to seem both necessary and natural. At that point, the tools for understanding genome research are at hand. Assisting readers reach this point was the original goal of The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project.

ESP Usage

Usage of the site grew rapidly and has remained high. Faculty began to use the site for their assigned readings. Other on-line publishers, ranging from The New York Times to Nature referenced ESP materials in their own publications. Nobel laureates (e.g., Joshua Lederberg) regularly used the site and even wrote to suggest changes and improvements.

ESP Content

When the site began, no journals were making their early content available in digital format. As a result, ESP was obliged to digitize classic literature before it could be made available. For many important papers — such as Mendel's original paper or the first genetic map — ESP had to produce entirely new typeset versions of the works, if they were to be available in a high-quality format.

ESP Help

Early support from the DOE component of the Human Genome Project was critically important for getting the ESP project on a firm foundation. Since that funding ended (nearly 20 years ago), the project has been operated as a purely volunteer effort. Anyone wishing to assist in these efforts should send an email to Robbins.

ESP Plans

With the development of methods for adding typeset side notes to PDF files, the ESP project now plans to add annotated versions of some classical papers to its holdings. We also plan to add new reference and pedagogical material. We have already started providing regularly updated, comprehensive bibliographies to the ESP.ORG site.


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This is a must read book for anyone with an interest in invasion biology. The full title of the book lays out the author's premise — The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation. Not only is species movement not bad for ecosystems, it is the way that ecosystems respond to perturbation — it is the way ecosystems heal. Even if you are one of those who is absolutely convinced that invasive species are actually "a blight, pollution, an epidemic, or a cancer on nature", you should read this book to clarify your own thinking. True scientific understanding never comes from just interacting with those with whom you already agree. R. Robbins

Electronic Scholarly Publishing
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Bellingham, WA 98226

E-mail: RJR8222 @

Papers in Classical Genetics

The ESP began as an effort to share a handful of key papers from the early days of classical genetics. Now the collection has grown to include hundreds of papers, in full-text format.

Digital Books

Along with papers on classical genetics, ESP offers a collection of full-text digital books, including many works by Darwin (and even a collection of poetry — Chicago Poems by Carl Sandburg).


ESP now offers a much improved and expanded collection of timelines, designed to give the user choice over subject matter and dates.


Biographical information about many key scientists.

Selected Bibliographies

Bibliographies on several topics of potential interest to the ESP community are now being automatically maintained and generated on the ESP site.

ESP Picks from Around the Web (updated 07 JUL 2018 )