- Institut für Ökologie, Evolution und Diversität (27)
Fördersituation ökotoxikologischer und umweltchemischer Forschung in Deutschland – Ergebnisse einer Online-Befragung
- In den vergangenen Jahren gab es verschiedene Initiativen, die auf die unzureichende Fördersituation der Schadstoffbezogenen Umweltwissenschaften in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aufmerksam gemacht haben. Um eine objektive Analyse über die Fördersituation der Ökotoxikologie und Umweltchemie in Deutschland zu erhalten, wurde eine anonyme Online-Befragung ausgearbeitet. Mit Unterstützung der Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) – German Language Branch und der Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh) – Fachgruppe für Umweltchemie und Ökotoxikologie wurde eine Einladung zur Teilnahme an der Befragung an alle Mitglieder dieser beiden maßgeblichen Verbände der Ökotoxikologie und Umweltchemie im deutschsprachigen Raum versendet. Nur leitende Mitarbeiter aus den Bereichen Forschung, Behörden und Industrie sollten an der Befragung teilnehmen. Die Befragung gliedert sich in eine Sektion zur sozioökonomischen Charakterisierung der Teilnehmer, eine zur Förderung der Forschung durch die DFG und eine zur Förderung durch andere Geldgeber. Insgesamt haben 71Wissenschaftler und Wissenschaftlerinnen in leitenden Positionen aus verschiedenen Sparten an der Befragung teilgenommen. Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Teilnehmer als sehr leistungsstark eingestuft werden können. 48,5 % der Befragten hatten bereits einen Antrag bei der DFG gestellt. Ein Drittel der Befragten gaben an, eine Förderung durch die DFG erhalten zu haben. 64 % sind mit der Förderung Schadstoffbezogener Umweltwissenschaften durch die DFG nicht zufrieden, nur 7 % sind zufrieden. Es zeigte sich, dass die Anträge insgesamt sehr heterogen auf verschiedene Fachbereiche der DFG verteilt sind. Geowissenschaften, Wasserforschung und Chemie nehmen die ersten Ränge ein, vor Biologie und Ökologie. Im Gegensatz dazu gaben 91,2 % der Befragten an, dass Sie bereits Drittmittelanträge bei anderen Förderinstitutionen (außer der DFG) gestellt haben, und 83,6 % wurden bereits entsprechende Drittmittelanträge bewilligt. 62,3 % der Befragten sind der Meinung, dass sich die Fördersituation für die Schadstoffbezogenen Umweltwissenschaften in den letzten Jahren insgesamt verschlechtert oder sogar deutlich verschlechtert hat. Der überwiegende Anteil der Befragten (60,9 %) ist mit der Fördersituation durch Drittmittelgeber unzufrieden, nur 10,9 % sind damit zufrieden. Auf die Frage „Ist die Forschungsförderung im europäischen Ausland insgesamt besser als in Deutschland?“ antworteten 30 % mit „ja“, 9 % mit „nein“ und 61 % mit „ich weiß nicht“. Zusammenfassend ergab die Befragung, dass die Fördersituation der Ökotoxikologie und Umweltchemie in Deutschland insgesamt als steigerungsbedürftig, bei der DFG jedoch als problematisch zu bewerten ist. Die auffällige Unterrepräsentation der DFG im Vergleich zu anderen Drittmittelgebern verdeutlicht, dass die wichtigste Förderinstitution Deutschlands den Bedürfnissen der Schadstoffbezogenen Umweltwissenschaften nicht hinreichend Rechnung trägt. Insbesondere die Antworten auf die offenen Fragen bezüglich Verbesserungsmöglichkeiten der Forschungsförderung sollten als Grundlage für einen offenen Dialog der Schadstoffbezogenen Umweltforschung mit den Drittmittelgebern DFG, BMBF und DBU bzw. den entsprechenden Institutionen in CH und A genutzt werden.
Simulated climate change conditions unveil the toxic potential of the fungicide pyrimethanil on the midge Chironomus riparius: a multigeneration experiment
Lucas S. Jagodzinski
Joao B. Diogo
- Although it has been suggested that temperature increase may alter the toxic potential of environmental pollutants, few studies have investigated the potential risk of chemical stressors for wildlife under Global Climate Change (GCC) impact. We applied a bifactorial multigeneration study in order to test if GCC conditions alter the effects of low pesticide concentrations on life history and genetic diversity of the aquatic model organism Chironomus riparius. Experimental populations of the species were chronically exposed to a low concentration of the fungicide pyrimethanil (half of the no-observed-adverse-effect concentration: NOAEC/2) under two dynamic present-day temperature simulations (11.0–22.7°C; 14.0–25.2°C) and one future scenario (16.5–28.1°C). During the 140-day multigeneration study, survival, emergence, reproduction, population growth, and genetic diversity of C. riparius were analyzed. Our results reveal that high temperature and pyrimethanil act synergistically on the midge C. riparius. In simulated present-day scenarios, a NOAEC/2 of pyrimethanil as derived from a life-cycle toxicity test provoked only slight-to-moderate beneficial or adverse effects on C. riparius. In contrast, exposure to a NOAEC/2 concentration of pyrimethanil at a thermal situation likely for a summer under GCC conditions uncovered adverse effects on mortality and population growth rate. In addition, genetic diversity was considerably reduced by pyrimethanil in the future scenario, but only slightly under current climatic conditions. Our multigeneration study under near-natural (climatic) conditions indicates that not only the impact of climate change, but also low concentrations of pesticides may pose a reasonable risk for aquatic insects in future.
A new species of Thecadactylus from Sint Maarten, Lesser Antilles (Reptilia, Squamata, Gekkonidae)
- We describe a new species of Thecadactylusfrom the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. The new species differs from all other species in the genus by having a distinct dorsal pattern of numerous irregular but sharply deliminated black spots and blotches on an otherwise almost patternless background.
Divergent Evolution of Male Aggressive Behaviour: Another Reproductive Isolation Barrier in Extremophile Poeciliid Fishes?
- Reproductive isolation among locally adapted populations may arise when immigrants from foreign habitats are selected against via natural or (inter-)sexual selection (female mate choice). We asked whether also intrasexual selection through male-male competition could promote reproductive isolation among populations of poeciliid fishes that are locally adapted to extreme environmental conditions [i.e., darkness in caves and/or toxic hydrogen sulphide (H(2)S)]. We found strongly reduced aggressiveness in extremophile P. oecilia mexicana, and darkness was the best predictor for the evolutionary reduction of aggressiveness, especially when combined with presence of H(2)S. We demonstrate that reduced aggression directly translates into migrant males being inferior when paired with males from non-sulphidic surface habitats. By contrast, the phylogenetically old sulphur endemic P. sulphuraria from another sulphide spring area showed no overall reduced aggressiveness, possibly indicating evolved mechanisms to better cope with H(2)S.
Dental tissue proportions in fossil orangutans from mainland Asia and Indonesia
Tanya M. Smith
Kim Thuy Nguyen
John de Vos
John P. Zermeno
- Orangutans (Pongo) are the only great ape genus with a substantial Pleistocene and Holocene fossil record, demonstrating a much larger geographic range than extant populations. In addition to having an extensive fossil record, Pongo shows several convergent morphological similarities with Homo, including a trend of dental reduction during the past million years. While studies have documented variation in dental tissue proportions among species of Homo, little is known about variation in enamel thickness within fossil orangutans. Here we assess dental tissue proportions, including conventional enamel thickness indices, in a large sample of fossil orangutan postcanine teeth from mainland Asia and Indonesia. We find few differences between regions, except for significantly lower average enamel thickness (AET) values in Indonesian mandibular first molars. Differences between fossil and extant orangutans are more marked, with fossil Pongo showing higher AET in most postcanine teeth. These differences are significant for maxillary and mandibular first molars. Fossil orangutans show higher AET than extant Pongo due to greater enamel cap areas, which exceed increases in enamel-dentine junction length (due to geometric scaling of areas and lengths for the AET index calculation). We also find greater dentine areas in fossil orangutans, but relative enamel thickness indices do not differ between fossil and extant taxa. When changes in dental tissue proportions between fossil and extant orangutans are compared with fossil and recent Homo sapiens, Pongo appears to show isometric reduction in enamel and dentine, while crown reduction in H. sapiens appears to be due to preferential loss of dentine. Disparate selective pressures or developmental constraints may underlie these patterns. Finally, the finding of moderately thick molar enamel in fossil orangutans may represent an additional convergent dental similarity with Homo erectus, complicating attempts to distinguish these taxa in mixed Asian faunas.
Adaptive radiation within marine anisakid nematodes: a zoogeographical modeling of cosmopolitan, zoonotic parasites
- Parasites of the nematode genus Anisakis are associated with aquatic organisms. They can be found in a variety of marine hosts including whales, crustaceans, fish and cephalopods and are known to be the cause of the zoonotic disease anisakiasis, a painful inflammation of the gastro-intestinal tract caused by the accidental consumptions of infectious larvae raw or semi-raw fishery products. Since the demand on fish as dietary protein source and the export rates of seafood products in general is rapidly increasing worldwide, the knowledge about the distribution of potential foodborne human pathogens in seafood is of major significance for human health. Studies have provided evidence that a few Anisakis species can cause clinical symptoms in humans. The aim of our study was to interpolate the species range for every described Anisakis species on the basis of the existing occurrence data. We used sequence data of 373 Anisakis larvae from 30 different hosts worldwide and previously published molecular data (n = 584) from 53 field-specific publications to model the species range of Anisakis spp., using a interpolation method that combines aspects of the alpha hull interpolation algorithm as well as the conditional interpolation approach. The results of our approach strongly indicate the existence of species-specific distribution patterns of Anisakis spp. within different climate zones and oceans that are in principle congruent with those of their respective final hosts. Our results support preceding studies that propose anisakid nematodes as useful biological indicators for their final host distribution and abundance as they closely follow the trophic relationships among their successive hosts. The modeling might although be helpful for predicting the likelihood of infection in order to reduce the risk of anisakiasis cases in a given area.
Molecular phylogeny of the acanthocephala (class palaeacanthocephala) with a paraphyletic assemblage of the orders polymorphida and echinorhynchida
Harry W. Palm
- Acanthocephalans are attractive candidates as model organisms for studying the ecology and co-evolutionary history of parasitic life cycles in the marine ecosystem. Adding to earlier molecular analyses of this taxon, a total of 36 acanthocephalans belonging to the classes Archiacanthocephala (3 species), Eoacanthocephala (3 species), Palaeacanthocephala (29 species), Polyacanthocephala (1 species) and Rotifera as outgroup (3 species) were analyzed by using Bayesian Inference and Maximum Likelihood analyses of nuclear 18S rDNA sequence. This data set included three re-collected and six newly collected taxa, Bolbosoma vasculosum from Lepturacanthus savala, Filisoma rizalinum from Scatophagus argus, Rhadinorhynchus pristis from Gempylus serpens, R. lintoni from Selar crumenophthalmus, Serrasentis sagittifer from Johnius coitor, and Southwellina hispida from Epinephelus coioides, representing 5 new host and 3 new locality records. The resulting trees suggest a paraphyletic arrangement of the Echinorhynchida and Polymorphida inside the Palaeacanthocephala. This questions the placement of the genera Serrasentis and Gorgorhynchoides within the Echinorhynchida and not the Polymorphida, necessitating further insights into the systematic position of these taxa based on morphology.
A genomic approach to examine the complex evolution of laurasiatherian mammals
Björn M. Hallström
- Recent phylogenomic studies have failed to conclusively resolve certain branches of the placental mammalian tree, despite the evolutionary analysis of genomic data from 32 species. Previous analyses of single genes and retroposon insertion data yielded support for different phylogenetic scenarios for the most basal divergences. The results indicated that some mammalian divergences were best interpreted not as a single bifurcating tree, but as an evolutionary network. In these studies the relationships among some orders of the super-clade Laurasiatheria were poorly supported, albeit not studied in detail. Therefore, 4775 protein-coding genes (6,196,263 nucleotides) were collected and aligned in order to analyze the evolution of this clade. Additionally, over 200,000 introns were screened in silico, resulting in 32 phylogenetically informative long interspersed nuclear elements (LINE) insertion events.
The present study shows that the genome evolution of Laurasiatheria may best be understood as an evolutionary network. Thus, contrary to the common expectation to resolve major evolutionary events as a bifurcating tree, genome analyses unveil complex speciation processes even in deep mammalian divergences. We exemplify this on a subset of 1159 suitable genes that have individual histories, most likely due to incomplete lineage sorting or introgression, processes that can make the genealogy of mammalian genomes complex.
These unexpected results have major implications for the understanding of evolution in general, because the evolution of even some higher level taxa such as mammalian orders may sometimes not be interpreted as a simple bifurcating pattern.
Shared and unique patterns of embryo development in extremophile poeciliids
R. Brian Langerhans
- Background: Closely related lineages of livebearing fishes have independently adapted to two extreme environmental factors: toxic hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and perpetual darkness. Previous work has demonstrated in adult specimens that fish from these extreme habitats convergently evolved drastically increased head and offspring size, while cave fish are further characterized by reduced pigmentation and eye size. Here, we traced the development of these (and other) divergent traits in embryos of Poecilia mexicana from benign surface habitats (“surface mollies”) and a sulphidic cave (“cave mollies”), as well as in embryos of the sister taxon, Poecilia sulphuraria from a sulphidic surface spring (“sulphur mollies”). We asked at which points during development changes in the timing of the involved processes (i.e., heterochrony) would be detectible.
Methods and Results: Data were extracted from digital photographs taken of representative embryos for each stage of development and each type of molly. Embryo mass decreased in convergent fashion, but we found patterns of embryonic fat content and ovum/embryo diameter to be divergent among all three types of mollies. The intensity of yellow colouration of the yolk (a proxy for carotenoid content) was significantly lower in cave mollies throughout development. Moreover, while relative head size decreased through development in surface mollies, it increased in both types of extremophile mollies, and eye growth was arrested in mid-stage embryos of cave mollies but not in surface or sulphur mollies.
Conclusion: Our results clearly demonstrate that even among sister taxa convergence in phenotypic traits is not always achieved by the same processes during embryo development. Furthermore, teleost development is crucially dependent on sufficient carotenoid stores in the yolk, and so we discuss how the apparent ability of cave mollies to overcome this carotenoid-dependency may represent another potential mechanism explaining the lack of gene flow between surface and cave mollies.
The contribution of vegetation and landscape configuration for predicting environmental change impacts on Iberian birds
Miguel B. Araújo
- Although climate is known to be one of the key factors determining animal species distributions amongst others, projections of global change impacts on their distributions often rely on bioclimatic envelope models. Vegetation structure and landscape configuration are also key determinants of distributions, but they are rarely considered in such assessments. We explore the consequences of using simulated vegetation structure and composition as well as its associated landscape configuration in models projecting global change effects on Iberian bird species distributions. Both present-day and future distributions were modelled for 168 bird species using two ensemble forecasting methods: Random Forests (RF) and Boosted Regression Trees (BRT). For each species, several models were created, differing in the predictor variables used (climate, vegetation, and landscape configuration). Discrimination ability of each model in the present-day was then tested with four commonly used evaluation methods (AUC, TSS, specificity and sensitivity). The different sets of predictor variables yielded similar spatial patterns for well-modelled species, but the future projections diverged for poorly-modelled species. Models using all predictor variables were not significantly better than models fitted with climate variables alone for ca. 50% of the cases. Moreover, models fitted with climate data were always better than models fitted with landscape configuration variables, and vegetation variables were found to correlate with bird species distributions in 26–40% of the cases with BRT, and in 1–18% of the cases with RF. We conclude that improvements from including vegetation and its landscape configuration variables in comparison with climate only variables might not always be as great as expected for future projections of Iberian bird species.