Although at least 30 novel hantaviruses have been recently discovered in novel hosts such as shrews, moles and even bats, hantaviruses (family Bunyaviridae, genus Hantavirus) are primarily known as rodent-borne human pathogens. Here we report on identification of a novel hantavirus variant associated with a rodent host, Major's pine vole (Microtus majori). Altogether 36 hantavirus PCR-positive Major's pine voles were identified in the Krasnodar region of southern European Russia within the years 2008-2011. Initial partial L-segment sequence analysis revealed novel hantavirus sequences. Moreover, we found a single common vole (Microtusarvalis) infected with Tula virus (TULV). Complete S- and M-segment coding sequences were determined from 11 Major's pine voles originating from 8 trapping sites and subjected to phylogenetic analyses. The data obtained show that Major's pine vole is a newly recognized hantavirus reservoir host. The newfound virus, provisionally called Adler hantavirus (ADLV), is closely related to TULV. Based on amino acid differences to TULV (5.6-8.2% for nucleocapsid protein, 9.4-9.5% for glycoprotein precursor) we propose to consider ADLV as a genotype of TULV. Occurrence of ADLV and TULV in the same region suggests that ADLV is not only a geographical variant of TULV but a host-specific genotype. High intra-cluster nucleotide sequence variability (up to 18%) and geographic clustering indicate long-term presence of the virus in this region.
Many plant species comprising the present-day Arctic flora are thought to have originated in the high mountains of North America and Eurasia, migrated northwards as global temperatures fell during the late Tertiary period, and thereafter attained a circumarctic distribution. However, supporting evidence for this hypothesis that provides a temporal framework for the origin, spread and initial attainment of a circumarctic distribution by an arctic plant is currently lacking. Here we examined the origin and initial formation of a circumarctic distribution of the arctic mountain sorrel (Oxyria digyna) by conducting a phylogeographic analysis of plastid and nuclear gene DNA variation. We provide evidence for an origin of this species in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau of southwestern China, followed by migration into Russia c. 11 million yr ago (Ma), eastwards into North America by c. 4 Ma, and westwards into Western Europe by c. 1.96 Ma. Thereafter, the species attained a circumarctic distribution by colonizing Greenland from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Following the arrival of the species in North America and Europe, population sizes appear to have increased and then stabilized there over the last 1 million yr. However, in Greenland a marked reduction followed by an expansion in population size is indicated to have occurred during the Pleistocene.
Understanding the origin of ecosystems and their changes through time is important. Two mutually contrasting types of grasslands existed in the Arctic: dry- and cold-adapted grasslands of the Pleistocene dominated by Poaceae species, and presently dominating graminoid grasslands composed of sedges and rushes. We studied the taxon recruitment of the Arctic flora for Carex, the most species-rich and widespread genus of the Arctic. In this study we explore the possible geographical and altitudinal origins of the species, their ecological provenance in terms of soil moisture and light requirements, and salt tolerance.
We addressed these questions in a phylogenetic context using the latest megaphylogeny of Carex comprising almost all Arctic species and about half of the genus' total species diversity. Ecological data were extracted from the literature and analyzed for each clade comprising Arctic species.
Arctic Carex species were observed in 48 independent lineages. Almost all areas north of the meridional zone of the Northern Hemisphere may have served as sources of Arctic lineages. Source areas are unrelated to the distribution within the Arctic. Arctic species evolved in lowland and high mountain clades; mostly in wet, rarely in dry adapted clades that occur principally in open conditions. Salt tolerant Arctic species occur in five clades.
Many independent lineages of different geographical areas and ecological backgrounds provided species for the northernmost ecosystem; clear main sources were not discernible. Carex shows the whole dynamic of ecosystem assembly from a seemingly simple immigration of preadapted species, evolution in geographical distant areas, to species radiations in the North.
Haemaphysalis concinna is the second most common tick species attaching to birds in Hungary. Recently, Babesia genotypes, found in Siberia and the Far East, have been detected in this tick species collected from the vegetation in Hungary and Slovakia. The aim of this study was to molecularly investigate if these piroplasms also occur in H. concinna carried by migratory birds, which might explain their occurrence in the western Palaearctic. During a 2-year period, 321 H. concinna larvae and nymphs were collected from 121 passerine birds (of 19 species) in Hungary. These were molecularly investigated for the presence of piroplasm DNA with PCR and sequencing. The prevalence of PCR positive ticks was 15.9% (51 out of 321). Piroplasm PCR positivity of H. concinna ticks was significantly more frequent during the summer and autumn compared to spring, suggesting that migratory birds arriving in Hungary from the north or north east are the most important in the dispersal of H. concinna-associated piroplasms. Three genotypes, i.e. Babesia sp. "Irk-Hc133", "Irk-Hc130" (originally found in Irkutsk, Siberia) and "Kh-Hc222" (originally found in Khabarovsk, Far East) were detected. Phylogenetically all these belonged to the group formed by Babesia spp. of ruminants. Four bird species, which had 14-60% prevalence of PCR positive ticks, are known to be associated with northeast to southwest autumn migration. In conclusion, the presence of Central and East Asian Babesia genotypes in Central Europe are most likely related to bird species with known eastern migratory habit and/or phylogenetically substantiated connections between their eastern and western Eurasian populations.
Since its first isolation in 1996 in Guangdong, China, the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (HPAIV) H5N1 has circulated in avian hosts for almost two decades and spread to more than 60 countries worldwide. The role of different avian hosts and the domestic-wild bird interface has been critical in shaping the complex HPAIV H5N1 disease ecology, but remains difficult to ascertain. To shed light on the large-scale H5N1 transmission patterns and disentangle the contributions of different avian hosts on the tempo and mode of HPAIV H5N1 dispersal, we apply Bayesian evolutionary inference techniques to comprehensive sets of hemagglutinin and neuraminidase gene sequences sampled between 1996 and 2011 throughout Asia and Russia. Our analyses demonstrate that the large-scale H5N1 transmission dynamics are structured according to different avian flyways, and that the incursion of the Central Asian flyway specifically was driven by Anatidae hosts coinciding with rapid rate of spread and an epidemic wavefront acceleration. This also resulted in long-distance dispersal that is likely to be explained by wild bird migration. We identify a significant degree of asymmetry in the large-scale transmission dynamics between Anatidae and Phasianidae, with the latter largely representing poultry as an evolutionary sink. A joint analysis of host dynamics and continuous spatial diffusion demonstrates that the rate of viral dispersal and host diffusivity is significantly higher for Anatidae compared with Phasianidae. These findings complement risk modeling studies and satellite tracking of wild birds in demonstrating a continental-scale structuring into areas of H5N1 persistence that are connected through migratory waterfowl.
Leaf life span is an important plant trait associated with interspecific variation in leaf, organismal, and ecosystem processes. We hypothesized that intraspecific variation in gymnosperm needle traits with latitude reflects both selection and acclimation for traits adaptive to the associated temperature and moisture gradient. This hypothesis was supported, because across 127 sites along a 2,160-km gradient in North America individuals of Picea glauca, Picea mariana, Pinus banksiana, and Abies balsamea had longer needle life span and lower tissue nitrogen concentration with decreasing mean annual temperature. Similar patterns were noted for Pinus sylvestris across a north-south gradient in Europe. These differences highlight needle longevity as an adaptive feature important to ecological success of boreal conifers across broad climatic ranges. Additionally, differences in leaf life span directly affect annual foliage turnover rate, which along with needle physiology partially regulates carbon cycling through effects on gross primary production and net canopy carbon export. However, most, if not all, global land surface models parameterize needle longevity of boreal evergreen forests as if it were a constant. We incorporated temperature-dependent needle longevity and %nitrogen, and biomass allocation, into a land surface model, Community Atmosphere Biosphere Land Exchange, to assess their impacts on carbon cycling processes. Incorporating realistic parameterization of these variables improved predictions of canopy leaf area index and gross primary production compared with observations from flux sites. Finally, increasingly low foliage turnover and biomass fraction toward the cold far north indicate that a surprisingly small fraction of new biomass is allocated to foliage under such conditions.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 23;111(38):13721-625225412
Cites: Tree Physiol. 2003 Jun;23(9):591-60112750052
Cites: Science. 2003 Jun 6;300(5625):1560-312791990
Cites: Proc Biol Sci. 2012 Jun 7;279(1736):2128-3422279168
Species of the genus Bidens that have invaded natural communities in Europe were observed. Fourteen species have been introduced in European botanical gardens since the 18th century, but only two of them have become invasive in Russia-Bidensfrondosa and B. connata. B.frondosa demonstrates microevolutional ability in the second distribution range. Nevertheless, it has a low ability of hybridization. B. frondosa has higher competitiveness compared with that of B. connata.
Bloodsucking mosquitoes were collected in Tula and its Region in May to August 2013-2014. The fauna included 17 species from 5 genera in the subfamily Culicinae and Anopheles maculipennis complex in the subsystem Anophelinae. Ochlerotatus cantans was a dominant species in the collections. The dominant species also included Aedes einereus, Ae. vexans, Ae. geniculatus, Och. diantaeus, Och. intrudens, Och. Cataphylla, and Culex pipiens. The possible value of different mosquito species Dirofilaria repens and D. immitis as vectors of dirofilarasis was discussed.
Ixodes ricinus is the main vector in Europe of human-pathogenic Lyme borreliosis (LB) spirochaetes, the tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) and other pathogens of humans and domesticated mammals. The results of a previous 1994 questionnaire, directed at people living in Central and North Sweden (Svealand and Norrland) and aiming to gather information about tick exposure for humans and domestic animals, suggested that Ixodes ricinus ticks had become more widespread in Central Sweden and the southern part of North Sweden from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. To investigate whether the expansion of the tick's northern geographical range and the increasing abundance of ticks in Sweden were still occurring, in 2009 we performed a follow-up survey 16 years after the initial study.
A questionnaire similar to the one used in the 1994 study was published in Swedish magazines aimed at dog owners, home owners, and hunters. The questionnaire was published together with a popular science article about the tick's biology and role as a pathogen vector in Sweden. The magazines were selected to get information from people familiar with ticks and who spend time in areas where ticks might be present.
Analyses of data from both surveys revealed that during the near 30-year period from the early 1980s to 2008, I. ricinus has expanded its distribution range northwards. In the early 1990s ticks were found in new areas along the northern coastline of the Baltic Sea, while in the 2009 study, ticks were reported for the first time from many locations in North Sweden. This included locations as far north as 66°N and places in the interior part of North Sweden. During this 16-year period the tick's range in Sweden was estimated to have increased by 9.9%. Most of the range expansion occurred in North Sweden (north of 60°N) where the tick's coverage area doubled from 12.5% in the early 1990s to 26.8% in 2008. Moreover, according to the respondents, the abundance of ticks had increased markedly in LB- and TBE-endemic areas in South (Götaland) and Central Sweden.
The results suggest that I. ricinus has expanded its range in North Sweden and has become distinctly more abundant in Central and South Sweden during the last three decades. However, in the northern mountain region I. ricinus is still absent. The increased abundance of the tick can be explained by two main factors: First, the high availability of large numbers of important tick maintenance hosts, i.e., cervids, particularly roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) during the last three decades. Second, a warmer climate with milder winters and a prolonged growing season that permits greater survival and proliferation over a larger geographical area of both the tick itself and deer. High reproductive potential of roe deer, high tick infestation rate and the tendency of roe deer to disperse great distances may explain the range expansion of I. ricinus and particularly the appearance of new TBEV foci far away from old TBEV-endemic localities. The geographical presence of LB in Sweden corresponds to the distribution of I. ricinus. Thus, LB is now an emerging disease risk in many parts of North Sweden. Unless countermeasures are undertaken to keep the deer populations, particularly C. capreolus and Dama dama, at the relatively low levels that prevailed before the late 1970s--especially in and around urban areas where human population density is high--by e.g. reduced hunting of red fox (Vulpes vulpes) and lynx (Lynx lynx), the incidences of human LB and TBE are expected to continue to be high or even to increase in Sweden in coming decades.
Cites: Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Feb;108(2):119-2310656851
Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a natural focal viral neuroinfection that is widespread in the temperate zone of Eurasia. Knowledge of the genetic structure of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) populations is important for understanding, not only the origin and evolution of the virus, but also the formation and maintenance of natural foci. A new approach to the differentiation of TBEV strains within subtype, with clusterons as the basis of analysis, has recently been proposed. In the present study, the genetic structure of TBEV-Sib populations has been investigated based on 387 strains isolated in the Middle Urals (Sverdlovsk region). Fourteen of the 18 currently known TBEV-Sib clusterons were identified. They belong to the Asian and Eastern European (Baltic) groups. It was shown that each TBE foci could be characterized by a unique clusteron profile. Three clusterons that emerged within the last 50 years have been identified which implies an active evolutionary process in the TBEV-Sib populations. The greatest diversity of clusterons was observed in the south of the Middle Urals along the Trans-Siberian Way. Such a pattern could reflect the history of colonization of the area and is closely related to the roads passing from Siberia to the European part of Russia through the Urals. In this article, the principles of continuous monitoring in the regional and local TBE foci are proposed, based on the quantitative and qualitative analysis of TBEV-Sib clusteron profiles.