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    Impaired Focal Adhesion Kinase-Grb2 Interaction during Elevated Activity in Hippocampal Neurons
    (MDPI, 2015-07-10) Murase, Sachiko
    Excitatory/inhibitory imbalances are implicated in many neurological disorders. Previously, we showed that chronically elevated network activity induces vulnerability in neurons due to loss of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling in response to the impairment of the serine/threonine kinase, extracellular-signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (Erk1/2) activation. However, how phosphorylation of Erk1/2 decreases during elevated neuronal activity was unknown. Here I show the pErk1/2 decrease induced by 4-aminopyridine (4-AP), an A-type potassium channel inhibitor can be blocked by a broad-spectrum matrix-metalloproteinase (MMP) inhibitor, FN-439. Surface expression levels of integrin β1 dramatically decrease when neurons are challenged by chronically elevated activity, which is reversed by FN-439. Treatment with 4-AP induces degradation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), the mediator of integrin signaling. As a result, interactions between FAK and growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2), the adaptor protein that mediates Erk1/2 activation by integrin, are severely impaired. Together, these data suggest the loss of integrin signaling during elevated activity causes vulnerability in neurons.
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    Membrane Affinity of Platensimycin and Its Dialkylamine Analogs
    (MDPI, 2015-08-04) Rowe, Ian; Guo, Min; Yasmann, Anthony; Cember, Abigail; Sintim, Herman O.; Sukharev, Sergei
    Membrane permeability is a desired property in drug design, but there have been difficulties in quantifying the direct drug partitioning into native membranes. Platensimycin (PL) is a new promising antibiotic whose biosynthetic production is costly. Six dialkylamine analogs of PL were synthesized with identical pharmacophores but different side chains; five of them were found inactive. To address the possibility that their activity is limited by the permeation step, we calculated polarity, measured surface activity and the ability to insert into the phospholipid monolayers. The partitioning of PL and the analogs into the cytoplasmic membrane of E. coli was assessed by activation curve shifts of a re-engineered mechanosensitive channel, MscS, in patch-clamp experiments. Despite predicted differences in polarity, the affinities to lipid monolayers and native membranes were comparable for most of the analogs. For PL and the di-myrtenyl analog QD-11, both carrying bulky sidechains, the affinity for the native membrane was lower than for monolayers (half-membranes), signifying that intercalation must overcome the lateral pressure of the bilayer. We conclude that the biological activity among the studied PL analogs is unlikely to be limited by their membrane permeability. We also discuss the capacity of endogenous tension-activated channels to detect asymmetric partitioning of exogenous substances into the native bacterial membrane and the different contributions to the thermodynamic force which drives permeation.
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    Supplementary materials for Plasmodium vivax antigen candidate prediction improves with the addition of Plasmodium falciparum data
    (2023) Chou, Renee Ti; Ouattara, Amed; Takala-Harrison, Shannon; Cummings, Michael P.
    Intensive malaria control and elimination efforts have led to substantial reductions in malaria incidence over the past two decades. However, the reduction in Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases has led to a species shift in some geographic areas, with P. vivax predominating in many areas outside of Africa. Despite its wide geographic distribution, P. vivax vaccine development has lagged far behind that for P. falciparum, in part due to the inability to cultivate P. vivax in vitro, hindering traditional approaches for antigen identification. In a prior study, we have used a positive-unlabeled random forest (PURF) machine learning approach to identify P. falciparum antigens for consideration in vaccine development efforts. Here we integrate systems data from P. falciparum (the better-studied species) to improve PURF models to predict potential P. vivax vaccine antigen candidates. We further show that inclusion of known antigens from the other species is critical for model performance, but the inclusion of unlabeled proteins the other species can result in misdirection of the model toward predictors of species classification, rather than antigen identification. Beyond malaria, incorporating antigens from a closely related species may aid in vaccine development for emerging pathogens having few or no known antigens.
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    Genomic Characterization of a B Chromosome in Lake Malawi Cichlid Fishes
    (MDPI, 2018-12-05) Clark, Frances E.; Conte, Matthew A.; Kocher, Thomas D.
    B chromosomes (Bs) were discovered a century ago, and since then, most studies have focused on describing their distribution and abundance using traditional cytogenetics. Only recently have attempts been made to understand their structure and evolution at the level of DNA sequence. Many questions regarding the origin, structure, function, and evolution of B chromosomes remain unanswered. Here, we identify B chromosome sequences from several species of cichlid fish from Lake Malawi by examining the ratios of DNA sequence coverage in individuals with or without B chromosomes. We examined the efficiency of this method, and compared results using both Illumina and PacBio sequence data. The B chromosome sequences detected in 13 individuals from 7 species were compared to assess the rates of sequence replacement. B-specific sequence common to at least 12 of the 13 datasets were identified as the “Core” B chromosome. The location of B sequence homologs throughout the genome provides further support for theories of B chromosome evolution. Finally, we identified genes and gene fragments located on the B chromosome, some of which may regulate the segregation and maintenance of the B chromosome.
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    Distribution and Community Assembly of Trees Along an Andean Elevational Gradient
    (MDPI, 2019-09-05) Worthy, Samantha J.; Jiménez Paz, Rosa A.; Pérez, Álvaro J.; Reynolds, Alex; Cruse-Sanders, Jennifer; Valencia, Renato; Barone, John A.; Burgess, Kevin S.
    Highlighting patterns of distribution and assembly of plants involves the use of community phylogenetic analyses and complementary traditional taxonomic metrics. However, these patterns are often unknown or in dispute, particularly along elevational gradients, with studies finding different patterns based on elevation. We investigated how patterns of tree diversity and structure change along an elevation gradient using taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity metrics. We sampled 595 individuals (36 families; 53 genera; 88 species) across 15 plots along an elevational gradient (2440–3330 m) in Ecuador. Seventy species were sequenced for the rbcL and matK gene regions to generate a phylogeny. Species richness, Shannon–Weaver diversity, Simpson’s Dominance, Simpson’s Evenness, phylogenetic diversity (PD), mean pairwise distance (MPD), and mean nearest taxon distance (MNTD) were evaluated for each plot. Values were correlated with elevation and standardized effect sizes (SES) of MPD and MNTD were generated, including and excluding tree fern species, for comparisons across elevation. Taxonomic and phylogenetic metrics found that species diversity decreases with elevation. We also found that overall the community has a non-random phylogenetic structure, dependent on the presence of tree ferns, with stronger phylogenetic clustering at high elevations. Combined, this evidence supports the ideas that tree ferns have converged with angiosperms to occupy the same habitat and that an increased filtering of clades has led to more closely related angiosperm species at higher elevations.
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    Cooperativity and Steep Voltage Dependence in a Bacterial Channel
    (MDPI, 2019-09-11) Lin, Shang H.; Chang, Kai-Ti; Cherian, Nuval; Wu, Benjamin; Phee, Hyo; Cho, Christy; Colombini, Marco
    This paper reports on the discovery of a novel three-membrane channel unit exhibiting very steep voltage dependence and strong cooperative behavior. It was reconstituted into planar phospholipid membranes formed by the monolayer method and studied under voltage-clamp conditions. The behavior of the novel channel-former, isolated from Escherichia coli, is consistent with a linearly organized three-channel unit displaying steep voltage-gating (a minimum of 14 charges in the voltage sensor) that rivals that of channels in mammalian excitable membranes. The channels also display strong cooperativity in that closure of the first channel permits the second to close and closure of the second channel permits closure of the third. All three have virtually the same conductance and selectivity, and yet the first and third close at positive potentials whereas the second closes at negative potentials. Thus, is it likely that the second channel-former is oriented in the membrane in a direction opposite to that of the other two. This novel structure is named “triplin.” The extraordinary behavior of triplin indicates that it must have important and as yet undefined physiological roles.
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    Interactions with a Complex Microbiota Mediate a Trade-Off between the Host Development Rate and Heat Stress Resistance
    (MDPI, 2020-11-13) Slowinski, Samuel; Ramirez, Isabella; Narayan, Vivek; Somayaji, Medha; Para, Maya; Pi, Sarah; Jadeja, Niharika; Karimzadegan, Siavash; Pees, Barbara; Shapira, Michael
    Animals and plants host diverse communities of microorganisms, and these microbiotas have been shown to influence host life history traits. Much has been said about the benefits that host-associated microbiotas bestow on the host. However, life history traits often demonstrate tradeoffs among one another. Raising Caenorhabditis elegans nematodes in compost microcosms emulating their natural environment, we examined how complex microbiotas affect host life history traits. We show that soil microbes usually increase the host development rate but decrease host resistance to heat stress, suggesting that interactions with complex microbiotas may mediate a tradeoff between host development and stress resistance. What element in these interactions is responsible for these effects is yet unknown, but experiments with live versus dead bacteria suggest that such effects may depend on bacterially provided signals.
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    Fisher vs. the Worms: Extraordinary Sex Ratios in Nematodes and the Mechanisms that Produce Them
    (MDPI, 2021-07-15) Van Goor, Justin; Shakes, Diane C.; Haag, Eric S.
    Parker, Baker, and Smith provided the first robust theory explaining why anisogamy evolves in parallel in multicellular organisms. Anisogamy sets the stage for the emergence of separate sexes, and for another phenomenon with which Parker is associated: sperm competition. In outcrossing taxa with separate sexes, Fisher proposed that the sex ratio will tend towards unity in large, randomly mating populations due to a fitness advantage that accrues in individuals of the rarer sex. This creates a vast excess of sperm over that required to fertilize all available eggs, and intense competition as a result. However, small, inbred populations can experience selection for skewed sex ratios. This is widely appreciated in haplodiploid organisms, in which females can control the sex ratio behaviorally. In this review, we discuss recent research in nematodes that has characterized the mechanisms underlying highly skewed sex ratios in fully diploid systems. These include self-fertile hermaphroditism and the adaptive elimination of sperm competition factors, facultative parthenogenesis, non-Mendelian meiotic oddities involving the sex chromosomes, and environmental sex determination. By connecting sex ratio evolution and sperm biology in surprising ways, these phenomena link two “seminal” contributions of G. A. Parker.
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    Apical Sperm Hook Morphology Is Linked to Sperm Swimming Performance and Sperm Aggregation in Peromyscus Mice
    (MDPI, 2021-09-01) Hook, Kristin A.; Wilke, Lauren M.; Fisher, Heidi S.
    Mammals exhibit a tremendous amount of variation in sperm morphology and despite the acknowledgement of sperm structural diversity across taxa, its functional significance remains poorly understood. Of particular interest is the sperm of rodents. While most Eutherian mammal spermatozoa are relatively simple cells with round or paddle-shaped heads, rodent sperm are often more complex and, in many species, display a striking apical hook. The function of the sperm hook remains largely unknown, but it has been hypothesized to have evolved as an adaptation to inter-male sperm competition and thus has been implicated in increased swimming efficiency or in the formation of collective sperm movements. Here we empirically test these hypotheses within a single lineage of Peromyscus rodents, in which closely related species naturally vary in their mating systems, sperm head shapes, and propensity to form sperm aggregates of varying sizes. We performed sperm morphological analyses as well as in vitro analyses of sperm aggregation and motility to examine whether the sperm hook (i) morphologically varies across these species and (ii) associates with sperm competition, aggregation, or motility. We demonstrate inter-specific variation in the sperm hook and then show that hook width negatively associates with sperm aggregation and sperm swimming speed, signifying that larger hooks may be a hindrance to sperm movement within this group of mice. Finally, we confirmed that the sperm hook hinders motility within a subset of Peromyscus leucopus mice that spontaneously produced sperm with no or highly abnormal hooks. Taken together, our findings suggest that any adaptive value of the sperm hook is likely associated with a function other than inter-male sperm competition, such as interaction with ova or cumulous cells during fertilization, or migration through the complex female reproductive tract.
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    Chronic Monocular Deprivation Reveals MMP9-Dependent and -Independent Aspects of Murine Visual System Plasticity
    (MDPI, 2022-02-23) Murase, Sachiko; Robertson, Sarah E.; Lantz, Crystal L.; Liu, Ji; Winkowski, Daniel E.; Quinlan, Elizabeth M.
    The deletion of matrix metalloproteinase MMP9 is combined here with chronic monocular deprivation (cMD) to identify the contributions of this proteinase to plasticity in the visual system. Calcium imaging of supragranular neurons of the binocular region of primary visual cortex (V1b) of wild-type mice revealed that cMD initiated at eye opening significantly decreased the strength of deprived-eye visual responses to all stimulus contrasts and spatial frequencies. cMD did not change the selectivity of V1b neurons for the spatial frequency, but orientation selectivity was higher in low spatial frequency-tuned neurons, and orientation and direction selectivity were lower in high spatial frequency-tuned neurons. Constitutive deletion of MMP9 did not impact the stimulus selectivity of V1b neurons, including ocular preference and tuning for spatial frequency, orientation, and direction. However, MMP9−/− mice were completely insensitive to plasticity engaged by cMD, such that the strength of the visual responses evoked by deprived-eye stimulation was maintained across all stimulus contrasts, orientations, directions, and spatial frequencies. Other forms of experience-dependent plasticity, including stimulus selective response potentiation, were normal in MMP9−/− mice. Thus, MMP9 activity is dispensable for many forms of activity-dependent plasticity in the mouse visual system, but is obligatory for the plasticity engaged by cMD.
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    New Sex Chromosomes in Lake Victoria Cichlid Fishes (Cichlidae: Haplochromini)
    (MDPI, 2022-04-30) Kocher, Thomas D.; Behrens, Kristen A.; Conte, Matthew A.; Aibara, Mitsuto; Mrosso, Hillary D. J.; Green, Elizabeth C. J.; Kidd, Michael R.; Nikaido, Masato; Koblmüller, Stephan
    African cichlid fishes harbor an extraordinary diversity of sex-chromosome systems. Within just one lineage, the tribe Haplochromini, at least 6 unique sex-chromosome systems have been identified. Here we focus on characterizing sex chromosomes in cichlids from the Lake Victoria basin. In Haplochromis chilotes, we identified a new ZW system associated with the white blotch color pattern, which shows substantial sequence differentiation over most of LG16, and is likely to be present in related species. In Haplochromis sauvagei, we found a coding polymorphism in amh that may be responsible for an XY system on LG23. In Pundamilia nyererei, we identified a feminizing effect of B chromosomes together with XY- and ZW-patterned differentiation on LG23. In Haplochromis latifasciatus, we identified a duplication of amh that may be present in other species of the Lake Victoria superflock. We further characterized the LG5-14 XY system in Astatotilapia burtoni and identified the oldest stratum on LG14. This species also showed ZW differentiation on LG2. Finally, we characterized an XY system on LG7 in Astatoreochromis alluaudi. This report brings the number of distinct sex-chromosome systems in haplochromine cichlids to at least 13, and highlights the dynamic evolution of sex determination and sex chromosomes in this young lineage.
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    Triplin: Functional Probing of Its Structure and the Dynamics of the Voltage-Gating Process
    (MDPI, 2022-11-09) Colombini, Marco; Barnes, Kevin; Chang, Kai-Ti; Younis, Muhsin H.; Aguilella, Vicente M.
    Gram-negative bacteria have a large variety of channel-forming proteins in their outer membrane, generally referred to as porins. Some display weak voltage dependence. A similar trimeric channel former, named Triplin, displays very steep voltage dependence, rivaling that responsible for the electrical excitability of mammals, and high inter-subunit cooperativity. We report detailed insights into the molecular basis for these very unusual properties explored at the single-molecule level. By using chemical modification to reduce the charge on the voltage sensors, they were shown to be positively charged structures. Trypsin cleavage of the sensor eliminates voltage gating by cleaving the sensor. From asymmetrical addition of these reagents, the positively charged voltage sensors translocate across the membrane and are, thus, responsible energetically for the steep voltage dependence. A mechanism underlying the cooperativity was also identified. Theoretical calculations indicate that the charge on the voltage sensor can explain the rectification of the current flowing through the open pores if it is located near the pore mouth in the open state. All results support the hypothesis that one of the three subunits is oriented in a direction opposite to that of the other two. These properties make Triplin perhaps the most complex pore-forming molecular machine described to date.
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    Incorporating multidimensional behavior into a risk management tool for a critically endangered and migratory species
    (Wiley, 2023-05-19) Barbour, Nicole; Shillinger, George L.; Gurarie, Eliezer; Hoover, Aimee L.; Gaspar, Philippe; Temple-Boyer, Julien; Candela, Tony; Fagan, William F.; Bailey, Helen
    Conservation of migratory species exhibiting wide-ranging and multidimensional behaviors is challenged by management efforts that only utilize horizontal movements or produce static spatial–temporal products. For the deep-diving, critically endangered eastern Pacific leatherback turtle, tools that predict where turtles have high risks of fisheries interactions are urgently needed to prevent further population decline. We incorporated horizontal–vertical movement model results with spatial–temporal kernel density estimates and threat data (gear-specific fishing) to develop monthly maps of spatial risk. Specifically, we applied multistate hidden Markov models to a biotelemetry data set (n = 28 leatherback tracks, 2004–2007). Tracks with dive information were used to characterize turtle behavior as belonging to 1 of 3 states (transiting, residential with mixed diving, and residential with deep diving). Recent fishing effort data from Global Fishing Watch were integrated with predicted behaviors and monthly space-use estimates to create maps of relative risk of turtle–fisheries interactions. Drifting (pelagic) longline fishing gear had the highest average monthly fishing effort in the study region, and risk indices showed this gear to also have the greatest potential for high-risk interactions with turtles in a residential, deep-diving behavioral state. Monthly relative risk surfaces for all gears and behaviors were added to South Pacific TurtleWatch (SPTW) (, a dynamic management tool for this leatherback population. These modifications will refine SPTW's capability to provide important predictions of potential high-risk bycatch areas for turtles undertaking specific behaviors. Our results demonstrate how multidimensional movement data, spatial–temporal density estimates, and threat data can be used to create a unique conservation tool. These methods serve as a framework for incorporating behavior into similar tools for other aquatic, aerial, and terrestrial taxa with multidimensional movement behaviors.
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    Central projections of auditory nerve fibers in the western rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus)
    (Wiley, 2023-05-28) Han, Dawei; Carr, Catherine E.
    Despite the absence of tympanic middle ears, snakes can hear. They are thought to primarily detect substrate vibration via connections between the lower jaw and the inner ear. We used the western rat snake (Pantherophis obsoletus) to determine how vibration is processed in the brain. We measured vibration-evoked potential recordings to reveal sensitivity to low-frequency vibrations. We then used tract tracing combined with immunohistochemistry and Nissl staining to describe the central projections of the papillar branch of the VIIIth nerve. Applications of biotinylated dextran amine to the basilar papilla (homologous to the organ of Corti of mammals) labeled bouton-like terminals in two first-order cochlear nuclei, a rostrolateral nucleus angularis (NA) and a caudomedial nucleus magnocellularis (NM). NA formed a distinct dorsal eminence, consisted of heterogenous cell types, and was parvalbumin positive. NM was smaller and poorly separated from the surrounding vestibular nuclei. NM was distinguished by positive calbindin label and included fusiform and round cells. Thus, the atympanate western rat snake shares similar first-order projections to tympanate reptiles. Auditory pathways may be used for detecting vibration, not only in snakes but also potentially in atympanate early tetrapods.
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    Specific resistance prevents the evolution of general resistance and facilitates disease emergence
    (Wiley, 2023-03-27) Hulse, Samuel V.; Antonovics, Janis; Hood, Michael E.; Bruns, Emily L.
    Host-shifts, where pathogens jump from an ancestral host to a novel host, can be facilitated or impeded by standing variation in disease resistance, but only if resistance provides broad-spectrum general resistance against multiple pathogen species. Host resistance comes in many forms and includes both general resistance, as well as specific resistance, which may only be effective against a single pathogen species or even genotype. However, most evolutionary models consider only one of these forms of resistance, and we have less understanding of how these two forms of resistance evolve in tandem. Here, we develop a model that allows for the joint evolution of specific and general resistance and asks if the evolution of specific resistance drives a decrease in the evolution of general resistance. We also explore how these evolutionary outcomes affect the risk of foreign pathogen invasion and persistence. We show that in the presence of a single endemic pathogen, the two forms of resistance are strongly exclusionary. Critically, we find that specific resistance polymorphisms can prevent the evolution of general resistance, facilitating the invasion of foreign pathogens. We also show that specific resistance polymorphisms are a necessary condition for the successful establishment of foreign pathogens following invasion, as they prevent the exclusion of the foreign pathogen by the more transmissible endemic pathogen. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering the joint evolution of multiple forms of resistance when evaluating a population's susceptibility to foreign pathogens.
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    Long-term monitoring of Mount St. Helens micrometeorology
    (Wiley, 2022-12-09) Che-Castaldo, Christian; Crisafulli, Charlie M.
    The 1980 volcanic eruption of Mount St. Helens had profound impacts on the geology, hydrology, and ecology of its surrounding landscapes. Consequently, the event provided a unique opportunity to study ecological change over time in relation to abiotic factors. To better assess the role localized environmental conditions play in these larger processes, we have monitored micrometeorological conditions across six disturbance zones on Mount St. Helens created by the eruption. We deployed 823 environmental sensors at 191 sites from 1997 to 2022 to measure the temperature and relative humidity of aquatic (temperature only) and terrestrial habitats in these areas, collecting over 4.2 million measurements in total. Measurements were typically recorded every 30 min from late spring through mid-fall, with the exception being Spirit Lake, where temperatures have been measured hourly on a year-round basis since 2002. These data have been used to address two broad research questions: (1) how small-scale environmental conditions influence patterns of survivorship and/or establishment on Mount St. Helens post-eruption for a range of organisms, including plants, small mammals, birds, amphibians, arthropods, fish, and other aquatic biota, and (2) to quantify and compare these environmental conditions across different disturbance zones, which vary in disturbance type, intensity, and history of post-eruption secondary disturbances. Due to the repeatability of these measurements over many years, these data lend themselves to exploring the relationship between forest succession and microclimate, especially with respect to forest-dwelling organisms whose spread and demography are sensitive to temperature and relative humidity. In addition, this dataset could be used to investigate additional questions related to early succession, disturbance ecology, climate change, or volcano ecology. This dataset is available in the R data package MSHMicroMetR, which also includes an R Shiny data visualization and exploration tool. There is no copyright on the data; please cite this data paper Ecology when using these data.
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    Sampling bias and the robustness of ecological metrics for plant–damage-type association networks
    (Wiley, 2022-11-22) Swain, Anshuman; Azevedo-Schmidt, Lauren E.; Maccracken, S. Augusta; Currano, Ellen D.; Dunne, Jennifer A.; Labandeira, Conrad C.; Fagan, William F.
    Plants and their insect herbivores have been a dominant component of the terrestrial ecological landscape for the past 410 million years and feature intricate evolutionary patterns and co-dependencies. A complex systems perspective allows for both detailed resolution of these evolutionary relationships as well as comparison and synthesis across systems. Using proxy data of insect herbivore damage (denoted by the damage type or DT) preserved on fossil leaves, functional bipartite network representations provide insights into how plant–insect associations depend on geological time, paleogeographical space, and environmental variables such as temperature and precipitation. However, the metrics measured from such networks are prone to sampling bias. Such sensitivity is of special concern for plant–DT association networks in paleontological settings where sampling effort is often severely limited. Here, we explore the sensitivity of functional bipartite network metrics to sampling intensity and identify sampling thresholds above which metrics appear robust to sampling effort. Across a broad range of sampling efforts, we find network metrics to be less affected by sampling bias and/or sample size than richness metrics, which are routinely used in studies of fossil plant–DT interactions. These results provide reassurance that cross-comparisons of plant–DT networks offer insights into network structure and function and support their widespread use in paleoecology. Moreover, these findings suggest novel opportunities for using plant–DT networks in neontological terrestrial ecology to understand functional aspects of insect herbivory across geological time, environmental perturbations, and geographic space.
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    Sexual selection drives the coevolution of male and female reproductive traits in Peromyscus mice
    (Wiley, 2022-12-08) Weber, William David; Fisher, Heidi S.
    When females mate with multiple partners within a single reproductive cycle, sperm from rival males may compete for fertilization of a limited number of ova, and females may bias the fertilization of their ova by particular sperm. Over evolutionary timescales, these two forms of selection shape both male and female reproductive physiology when females mate multiply, yet in monogamous systems, post-copulatory sexual selection is weak or absent. Here, we examine how divergent mating strategies within a genus of closely related mice, Peromyscus, have shaped the evolution of reproductive traits. We show that in promiscuous species, males exhibit traits associated with increased sperm production and sperm swimming performance, and females exhibit traits that are predicted to limit sperm access to their ova including increased oviduct length and a larger cumulus cell mass surrounding the ova, compared to monogamous species. Importantly, we found that across species, oviduct length and cumulus cell density are significantly correlated with sperm velocity, but not sperm count or relative testes size, suggesting that these female traits may have coevolved with increased sperm quality rather than quantity. Taken together, our results highlight how male and female traits evolve in concert and respond to changes in the level of post-copulatory sexual selection.
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    Integrative biology of injury in animals
    (Wiley, 2022-09-29) Rennolds, Corey W.; Bely, Alexandra E.
    Mechanical injury is a prevalent challenge in the lives of animals with myriad potential consequences for organisms, including reduced fitness and death. Research on animal injury has focused on many aspects, including the frequency and severity of wounding in wild populations, the short- and long-term consequences of injury at different biological scales, and the variation in the response to injury within or among individuals, species, ontogenies, and environmental contexts. However, relevant research is scattered across diverse biological subdisciplines, and the study of the effects of injury has lacked synthesis and coherence. Furthermore, the depth of knowledge across injury biology is highly uneven in terms of scope and taxonomic coverage: much injury research is biomedical in focus, using mammalian model systems and investigating cellular and molecular processes, while research at organismal and higher scales, research that is explicitly comparative, and research on invertebrate and non-mammalian vertebrate species is less common and often less well integrated into the core body of knowledge about injury. The current state of injury research presents an opportunity to unify conceptually work focusing on a range of relevant questions, to synthesize progress to date, and to identify fruitful avenues for future research. The central aim of this review is to synthesize research concerning the broad range of effects of mechanical injury in animals. We organize reviewed work by four broad and loosely defined levels of biological organization: molecular and cellular effects, physiological and organismal effects, behavioural effects, and ecological and evolutionary effects of injury. Throughout, we highlight the diversity of injury consequences within and among taxonomic groups while emphasizing the gaps in taxonomic coverage, causal understanding, and biological endpoints considered. We additionally discuss the importance of integrating knowledge within and across biological levels, including how initial, localized responses to injury can lead to long-term consequences at the scale of the individual animal and beyond. We also suggest important avenues for future injury biology research, including distinguishing better between related yet distinct injury phenomena, expanding the subjects of injury research to include a greater variety of species, and testing how intrinsic and extrinsic conditions affect the scope and sensitivity of injury responses. It is our hope that this review will not only strengthen understanding of animal injury but will contribute to building a foundation for a more cohesive field of ‘injury biology’.
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    Can disease resistance evolve independently at different ages? Genetic variation in age-dependent resistance to disease in three wild plant species
    (Wiley, 2022-07-16) Bruns, Emily B.; Hood, Michael H.; Antonovics, Janis; Ballister, Indigo H.; Troy, Sarah E.; Cho, Jae-Hoon
    Juveniles are typically less resistant (more susceptible) to infectious disease than adults, and this difference in susceptibility can help fuel the spread of pathogens in age-structured populations. However, evolutionary explanations for this variation in resistance across age remain to be tested. One hypothesis is that natural selection has optimized resistance to peak at ages where disease exposure is greatest. A central assumption of this hypothesis is that hosts have the capacity to evolve resistance independently at different ages. This would mean that host populations have (a) standing genetic variation in resistance at both juvenile and adult stages, and (b) that this variation is not strongly correlated between age classes so that selection acting at one age does not produce a correlated response at the other age. Here we evaluated the capacity of three wild plant species (Silene latifolia, S. vulgaris and Dianthus pavonius) to evolve resistance to their anther-smut pathogens (Microbotryum fungi), independently at different ages. The pathogen is pollinator transmitted, and thus exposure risk is considered to be highest at the adult flowering stage. Within each species we grew families to different ages, inoculated individuals with anther smut, and evaluated the effects of age, family and their interaction on infection. In two of the plant species, S. latifolia and D. pavonius, resistance to smut at the juvenile stage was not correlated with resistance to smut at the adult stage. In all three species, we show there are significant age × family interaction effects, indicating that age specificity of resistance varies among the plant families. Synthesis. These results indicate that different mechanisms likely underlie resistance at juvenile and adult stages and support the hypothesis that resistance can evolve independently in response to differing selection pressures as hosts age. Taken together our results provide new insight into the structure of genetic variation in age-dependent resistance in three well-studied wild host–pathogen systems.