Phenotypic differentiation plays an important role in the formation and maintenance of reproductive barriers. In some cases, variation in a few key aspects of phenotype can promote and maintain divergence; hence, the identification of these traits and their associations with patterns of genomic divergence is crucial for understanding the patterns and processes of population differentiation. We studied hybridization between the alba and personata subspecies of the white wagtail (Motacilla alba), and quantified divergence and introgression of multiple morphological traits and 19,437 SNP loci on a 3,000 km transect. Our goal was to identify traits that may contribute to reproductive barriers and to assess how variation in these traits corresponds to patterns of genome-wide divergence. Variation in only one trait-head plumage patterning-was consistent with reproductive isolation. Transitions in head plumage were steep and occurred over otherwise morphologically and genetically homogeneous populations, whereas cline centres for other traits and genomic ancestry were displaced over 100 km from the head cline. Field observational data show that social pairs mated assortatively by head plumage, suggesting that these phenotypes are maintained by divergent mating preferences. In contrast, variation in all other traits and genetic markers could be explained by neutral diffusion, although weak ecological selection cannot be ruled out. Our results emphasize that assortative mating may maintain phenotypic differences independent of other processes shaping genome-wide variation, consistent with other recent findings that raise questions about the relative importance of mate choice, ecological selection and selectively neutral processes for divergent evolution.
We investigated how population changes and fluctuations in the pink-footed goose might have been affected by climatic and anthropogenic factors. First, genomic data confirmed the existence of two separate populations: western (Iceland) and eastern (Svalbard/Denmark). Second, demographic inference suggests that the species survived the last glacial period as a single ancestral population with a low population size (100-1,000 individuals) that split into the current populations at the end of the last glacial maximum with Iceland being the most plausible glacial refuge. While population changes during the last glaciation were clearly environmental, we hypothesize that more recent demographic changes are human-related: (1) the inferred population increase in the Neolithic is due to deforestation to establish new lands for agriculture, increasing available habitat for pink-footed geese, (2) the decline inferred during the Middle Ages is due to human persecution, and (3) improved protection explains the increasing demographic trends during the 20th century. Our results suggest both environmental (during glacial cycles) and anthropogenic effects (more recent) can be a threat to species survival.
Few ecotoxicological studies exist for rare earth elements (REEs), particularly field-based studies on their bioaccumulation and food web dynamics. REE mining has led to significant environmental impacts in several countries (China, Brazil, U.S.), yet little is known about the fate and transport of these contaminants of emerging concern. Northern ecosystems are potentially vulnerable to REE enrichment from prospective mining projects at high latitudes. To understand how REEs behave in remote northern food webs, we measured REE concentrations and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (?15N, ?13C) in biota from marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems of the eastern Canadian Arctic (N = 339). Wildlife harvesting and tissue sampling was partly conducted by local hunters through a community-based monitoring project. Results show that REEs generally follow a coherent bioaccumulation pattern for sample tissues, with some anomalies for redox-sensitive elements (Ce, Eu). Highest REE concentrations were found at low trophic levels, especially in vegetation and aquatic invertebrates. Terrestrial herbivores, ringed seal, and fish had low total REE levels in muscle tissue (?REE for 15 elements
Many Alaska Native communities rely on a traditional marine diet that contains persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The indoor environment is also a source of POPs. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) are present both in the traditional diet and the home indoor environment.
We assessed exposure to PBDEs and PFASs among residents of two remote Alaska Native villages on St. Lawrence Island. Ninespine stickleback (Pungitious pungitious) and Alaska blackfish (Dallia pectoralis) were used to detect accumulation of these compounds in the local environment.
Concentrations of PBDEs and PFASs were measured in dust collected from 49 households on St. Lawrence Island, as well as in blood serum from 85 island residents. Resident ninespine stickleback and Alaska blackfish were used as sentinels to detect accumulation of PBDEs and PFASs in the food web.
Serum concentrations of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) and perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) were elevated, despite low concentrations of PFASs in dust samples. Concentrations of PBDEs in dust and serum were similar to those from the contiguous United States. Statistical associations between dust and serum concentrations are apparent for a small number of PBDEs, suggesting a possible route of exposure. Predominant compounds were similar between human sera and stickleback; however, blackfish accumulated PFASs not found in either stickleback or human sera.
Household dust contributes to PBDE exposure, but not PFAS exposure. Elevated concentrations of long chain PFASs in serum are likely due to exposure from traditional foods. The presence of both PFASs and PBDEs in sentinel fish species suggests atmospheric deposition and bioaccumulation, as well as local environmental contamination.
This study focuses on plerocercoids of the cestode Diphyllobothrium ditremum in brown trout Salmo trutta from the subalpine lake Øvre Heimdalsvatn in south-central Norway. Salmo trutta was the only fish species in this lake until European minnow Phoxinus phoxinus was registered in 1969. The P. phoxinus population increased substantially in the following years. In contrast with the 1969-1972 period, when plerocercoids of D. ditremum were practically absent in S. trutta, there was a high prevalence and intensity of infection in the 2013 S. trutta samples. Because the life cycle of D. ditremum involves two larval stages, in copepods and salmonids and mature worms in piscivorous birds, such as mergansers and loons, a change in feeding ecology of S. trutta or changes in population densities of copepods, fish or birds might have influenced the infection pattern. No relationships between D. ditremum infection and muscle-tissue d15 N signature or Hg concentration were found, indicating that infection is not a result of piscivory or cannibalism. Furthermore, consumption of copepods by S. trutta during summer and autumn was low. On the other hand, the number of piscivorous birds has increased, probably due to the presence of P. phoxinus as a new and numerous prey. An increased number of final D. ditremum hosts may have produced a higher output of cestode eggs, resulting in more infected copepods that in turn are consumed by S. trutta. Indirectly, P. phoxinus may therefore have caused the observed increased infection in S. trutta and thereby imposed further negative effects on S. trutta in high mountain areas.
The Ixodes pavlovskyi tick species, a member of the I. persulcatus/I. ricinus group, was discovered in the middle of the 20th century in the Russian Far East. Limited data have been reported on the detection of infectious agents in this tick species. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence and genetic variability of a wide range of infectious agents in I. pavlovskyi ticks collected in their traditional and recently invaded habitats, the Altai Mountains and Novosibirsk Province, respectively, which are both located within the Western Siberian part of the I. pavlovskyi distribution area.
This study reports the novel discovery of Borrelia bavariensis, Rickettsia helvetica, R. heilongjiangensis, R. raoultii, "Candidatus Rickettsia tarasevichiae", Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia muris, "Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis" and Babesia microti in I. pavlovskyi ticks. In addition, we confirmed the previous identification of B. afzelii, B. garinii and B. miyamotoi, as well as tick-borne encephalitis and Kemerovo viruses in this tick species. The prevalence and some genetic characteristics of all of the tested agents were compared with those found in I. persulcatus ticks that were collected at the same time in the same locations, where these tick species occur in sympatry. It was shown that the prevalence and genotypes of many of the identified pathogens did not significantly differ between I. pavlovskyi and I. persulcatus ticks. However, I. pavlovskyi ticks were significantly more often infected by B. garinii and less often by B. bavariensis, B. afzelii, "Ca. R. tarasevichiae", and E. muris than I. persulcatus ticks in both studied regions. Moreover, new genetic variants of B. burgdorferi (sensu lato) and Rickettsia spp. as well as tick-borne encephalitis and Kemerovo viruses were found in both I. pavlovskyi and I. persulcatus ticks.
Almost all pathogens that were previously detected in I. persulcatus ticks were identified in I. pavlovskyi ticks; however, the distribution of species belonging to the B. burgdorferi (sensu lato) complex, the genus Rickettsia, and the family Anaplasmataceae was different between the two tick species. Several new genetic variants of viral and bacterial agents were identified in I. pavlovskyi and I. persulcatus ticks.
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The variability of osteological characters has been investigated in cyprinid fish of the genus Oreoleuciscus (Potanin Altai osman) from the river Zavkhan; this fish species is endemic for water bodies of Central Asia. Multivariate analysis of 13 quantitative parameters of the size of the cerebral and visceral skull and the pectoral girdle and the construction of ontogenetic channels allowed the detection of morphologically distinct forms in the fluvial habitats. The result obtained provides additional proof of the possibility of sympatric diversification of fish in river ecosystems. One of the two fluvial forms discovered has been shown to be identical (with regard to the osteological characters) to a previously described herbivorous form of O. potanini from the standing water bodies of the Great Lakes Hollow (Western Mongolia).
Using the model of dark stress caused by animal maintenance at dimmed light we showed that Trametin (product obtained during liquid-phase culturing of Trametes pubescens xylotroph fungi) effectively prevented oxidative stress under conditions of light deprivation. The preparation increased the level of unsaturation of lipids, reduced the concentration of primary and end-products of LPO, and increases both the integral parameter of the antioxidant defense system (total antioxidant activity) and its components (activity of superoxide dismutase and reduced glutathione).
The Aamjiwnaang First Nations community is located in Canada's 'Chemical Valley' situated in southwest Ontario near Sarnia. Mercury pollution in the region has been known since the 1940s but little is known about levels in the environment and area residents. The current study, using ecological and human exposure assessment methods, was conducted at the community's request to help fill these gaps. First, Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory and the U.S. Toxics Release Inventory were queried to investigate mercury releases from area facilities. In 2010, 700 pounds of mercury were emitted into the air, 25 pounds were released into water bodies, and 93 thousand pounds were disposed of on-site via underground injections or into landfills, and together these show continued releases into the region. Second, mercury levels were measured in stream sediment and nearby soil from sites at Aamjiwnaang (n = 4) and off Reserve (n = 19) in Canada and the U.S. during three seasons that spanned 2010-2011. Total mercury in sediment across all sites and sampling seasons ranged from 5.0 to 398.7 µg/kg, and in soils ranged from 1.2 to 696.2 µg/kg. Sediment and soil mercury levels at Aamjiwnaang were higher than the reference community, and Aamjiwnaang's Talfourd Creek site had the highest mercury levels. Third, a biomonitoring study was performed with 43 mother-child pairs. Hair (mean ± SD of all participants: 0.18 ± 0.16 µg/g) and blood (1.6 ± 2.0 µg/L) mercury levels did not differ between participants studied on- and off-Reserve, likely because of limited seafood intake (
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Adult Ixodes persulcatus were collected in highly populated districts in Irkutsk city, Russia, and in popular recreational and professional areas in its neighboring territories. Borrelia miyamotoi infection in I. persulcatus was examined using multiplex Taqman-PCR targeting 16S rDNA, and nested PCR and sequencing analyses targeting flaB and 16S rDNA. B. miyamotoi and Lyme disease Borrelia species were detected in 13 (infection rate, 2.9%) and 77 (17.3%) out of 445 I. persulcatus ticks, respectively, collected from 4 sites around the Baikal Lake. The 16S rDNA and flaB sequences of these amplicons were closely related to those of B. miyamotoi detected and/or isolated from I. persulcatus in Japan and Far Eastern Russia, and clustered separately from those of Europe and North America. These results indicate that additional surveillance for B. miyamotoi infection is needed in order to determine how it affects human health in Irkutsk City and its neighboring territories.