• Maintaining natural spawning timing in Acropora corals following long distance inter-continental transportation.

      Craggs, Jamie; Guest, James R.; Brett, Aaron; Davis, Michelle; Sweet, Michael J.; University of Derby; Horniman Museum and Gardens; Newcastle University; SECORE International, Inc.; Resorts World Sentosa (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, 2018-04-29)
      The majority of research focusing on coral reproductive biology (e.g. spawning timing and synchrony) is carried out in facilities adjacent to reefs that the corals originated from. This is in part because transporting corals for long distances by air leads to sub-lethal stress that may confound the results of any experimental study. However, these constraints often mean research associated with coral reproductive timing is restricted to relatively few locations. To assess the potential for studying environmental drivers of spawning timing in corals in captivity (defined here as ex situ closed aquaria), we aimed to transport 14 large (16-37 cm) Acropora hyacinthus colonies from reefs in Singapore to a closed aquarium system in London (a journey time of ~34 hours). Collection was purposefully timed to occur just before the predicted annual mass spawning event and on the day of transportation it was noted that 12 of the 14 corals contained large visible oocytes. The ‘inverted submersion method’ was applied and the water used for transport was buffered to ensure the colonies remained healthy throughout their travel time. At the end location all colonies were placed into a purpose built aquarium research system which allowed for the approximation of the environmental conditions found on the fringing reefs south of Singapore (the original location). While three colonies appeared partially bleached (visibly pale) and one colony suffered from partial tissue loss, all colonies (i.e. 100% of those collected) were still alive at the time of writing (28 months post collection). More importantly, all corals that were gravid at the time of collection spawned ex situ within the same lunar month as those in the wild (within 3-4 nights of each other). This paper describes the procedures for carrying out long distance transportation of large gravid broadcast spawning coral colonies from reef sites to public aquariums or research facilities around the world for the purpose of ex situ spawning research.
    • Major evolutionary transitions of life, metabolic scaling and the number and size of mitochondria and chloroplasts.

      Okie, J.; Smith, V.; Martin-Cereceda, M; University of Kansas, USA; University of Madrid, Spain; Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA (The Royal Society Publishing, 2016-05-25)
      We investigate the effects of trophic lifestyle and two types of major evolutionary transitions in individuality—the endosymbiotic acquisition of organelles and development of multicellularity—on organellar and cellular metabolism and allometry. We develop a quantitative framework linking the size and metabolic scaling of eukaryotic cells to the abundance, size and metabolic scaling of mitochondria and chloroplasts and analyse a newly compiled, unprecedented database representing unicellular and multicellular cells covering diverse phyla and tissues. Irrespective of cellularity, numbers and total volumes of mitochondria scale linearly with cell volume, whereas chloroplasts scale sublinearly and sizes of both organelles remain largely invariant with cell size. Our framework allows us to estimate the metabolic scaling exponents of organelles and cells. Photoautotrophic cells and organelles exhibit photosynthetic scaling exponents always less than one, whereas chemoheterotrophic cells and organelles have steeper respiratory scaling exponents close to one. Multicellularity has no discernible effect on the metabolic scaling of organelles and cells. In contrast, trophic lifestyle has a profound and uniform effect, and our results suggest that endosymbiosis fundamentally altered the metabolic scaling of free-living bacterial ancestors of mitochondria and chloroplasts, from steep ancestral scaling to a shallower scaling in their endosymbiotic descendants.
    • Male genital titillators and the intensity of post-copulatory sexual selection across bushcrickets

      Lehmann, Gerlind; Gilbert, James D. J.; Vahed, Karim; Lehmann, Arne W.; University of Derby; University of Hull; Humbolt University Berlin (Oxford University Press, 2017-07-10)
      Animal genitalia are diverse and a growing body of evidence suggests that they evolve rapidly under post-copulatory sexual selection. This process is predicted to be more intense in polyandrous species, although there have been very few comparative studies of the relationship between the complexity of genital structures in males and measures of the degree of polyandry. In some bushcricket families, males possess sclerotised copulatory structures known as titillators, which are inserted into the female’s genital chamber and moved rhythmically. Like other genital structures, bushcricket titillators are widely used as important taxonomic characters and show considerable variation across species in structure, shape and the extent to which they are spined. Here, we examine relationships between the presence/absence of titillators, titillator complexity and both mating frequency and the degree of polyandry in bushcrickets, using phylogenetic comparative analyses. Using published sources combined with original observations, data were obtained for the mean level of polyandry, the duration of the male and female sexual refractory periods and the level of complexity of titillators. To analyse data, we fitted phylogenetic generalised least squares models. No significant relationships were found between titillator presence or complexity and either the level of polyandry, duration of the male’s sexual refractory period or the ratio of the female and male sexual refractory periods. The duration of the female’s refractory period, however, was positively associated with titillator presence and negatively associated with titillator complexity. The data therefore partially support the hypothesis that post-copulatory sexual selection drives genital evolution in this taxon.
    • Male gryllus bimaculatus guard females to delay them from mating with rival males and to obtain repeated copulations

      Wynn, Helen; Vahed, Karim; University of Derby (Springer, 2004-01)
      Three hypotheses for the function of postcopulatory mate guarding were tested in the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus De Geer. The duration of spermatophore attachment was greater in the absence than in the presence of a guarding male. The ejaculate protection hypothesis was, therefore, rejected. The duration of mate guarding was found to be equal to the interval between copulations, supporting the spermatophore renewal hypothesis. In support of the rival exclusion hypothesis, the presence of a guarding male did increase the duration of spermatophore attachment when a rival male was also present. The presence of a guarding male also delayed the female from mating with the rival male. Female mating status had a significant effect on the duration of spermatophore attachment. Females mating for the first time retained the spermatophore for a significantly longer period of time than females that had mated previously.
    • Mammals and their activity patterns in a forest area in the Humid Chaco, northern Argentina

      Huck, Maren; Juarez, Cecilia P.; Rotundo, Marcelo; Dávalos, Victor; Fernandez-Duque, Eduardo; University of Derby; Universidad Nacional de Formosa; Proyecto Mirikiná; Yale University (Pensoft, 2017-08-25)
      The Humid Chaco has a high mammalian biodiversity. As habitats are threatened due to exploitation and environmental degradation, protected areas can act as refuges for wild animals. In 2006, ca 1,100 ha of gallery forest were established as the “Owl Monkey Reserve” within the private cattle ranch “Estancia Guaycoléc”. The mammalian species richness and composition of the reserve was determined using direct observations, camera traps, and indirect evidence. The camera traps also allowed us to determine the activity periods of 20 of the species. Forty-two species were recorded. A fourth of those species (24%) are categorized under some risk of extinction in Argentina. While most species showed usual activity periods, 2 species (Mazama americana and Tayassu pecari) were not as exclusively nocturnal as reported from other sites, possibly due to reduced hunting pressure. The presence of various endangered species highlights the importance of protected private reserves.
    • The many faces of helping: possible costs and benefits of infant carrying and food transfer in wild moustached tamarins (Saguinus mystax)

      Löttker, Petra; Huck, Maren; Heymann, Eckhard W.; Abteilung Soziobiologie, Deutsches Primatenzentrum, Göttingen, Germany; Lehrstuhl für Verhaltensforschung, Universität Bielefeld, Germany; Institut für Neuro- & Verhaltensbiologie, Abt. Verhaltensbiologie, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Germany (2004-07-01)
      Various hypotheses about adaptive and non-adaptive mechanisms of non-parental infant care have been put forward for different taxa (Emlen et al., 1991). The Neotropical callitrichid primates are renowned for their cooperative care of the twin litters. None of the studies conducted in the wild included information on genetic relationships within groups. This, however, is indispensable to evaluate the relevance of competing hypotheses concerning direct or indirect fitness gains. We studied two groups of wild moustached tamarins with known genetic relationships over a one-year period to examine individual time-budgets and contributions to infant carrying and food-transfer. With these data we tested whether helping behaviour might be a non-adaptive trait and, if not, whether indirect benefits via kin-selection could be excluded as an evolutionary force maintaining it. Other hypotheses on direct fitness benefits were discussed as far as (anecdotal) data permitted. Changes in time-budgets suggest costs, thus clearly refuting hypotheses assuming non-adaptivity. High within-group relatedness suggests kin-selection to be one driving force of maintaining the trait. However, non-parental individuals may help despite low relatedness. Data were not sufficient to decide which possible direct benefits most likely play a role in inducing non-relatives to help. Yet, two (non-exclusive) explanations seem to be the most probable ones: The chance to inherit the main-breeding position, and a certain chance of own direct reproductive success (the latter only for male helpers) due to polyandrous mating by the female. Other adaptive mechanisms may enhance benefits but are unlikely to be major selective forces since fitness gains are presumably rather small or uncertain.
    • Mapping a super-invader in a biodiversity hotspot, an eDNA-based success story

      Baudry, Thomas; Mauvisseau, Quentin; Goût, Jean-Pierre; Arqué, Alexandre; Delaunay, Carine; Smith-Ravin, Juliette; Sweet, Michael; Grandjean, Frédéric; Route de la Pointe de Jaham - BP7212, Schoelcher 97274, Martinique, France; Fort-de-France, Martinique, France; et al. (Elsevier BV, 2021-04-02)
      The lesser Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean is known as a biodiversity hotspot, hosting many endemic species. However, recent introduction of a highly invasive species, the Australian redclaw crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus), has led to significant threats to this fragile ecosystem. Here we developed, validated, and optimized a species-specific eDNA-based detection protocol targeting the 16S region of the mitochondrial gene of C. quadricarinatus. Our aim was to assess the crayfish distribution across Martinique Island. Our developed assay was species-specific and showed high sensitivity in laboratory, mesocosm and field conditions. A significant and positive correlation was found between species biomass, detection probability and efficiency through mesocosm experiments. Moreover, we found eDNA persisted up to 23 days in tropical freshwaters. We investigated a total of 83 locations, spread over 53 rivers and two closed water basins using our novel eDNA assay and traditional trapping, the latter, undertaken to confirm the reliability of the molecular-based detection method. Overall, we detected C. quadricarinatus at 47 locations using eDNA and 28 using traditional trapping, all positive trapping sites were positive for eDNA. We found that eDNA-based monitoring was less time-consuming and less influenced by the crayfishes often patchy distributions, proving a more reliable tool for future large-scale surveys. The clear threat and worrying distribution of this invasive species is particularly alarming as the archipelago belongs to one of the 25 identified biodiversity hotspots on Earth.
    • Marine biodiversity-ecosystem functions under uncertain environmental futures

      Bulling, Mark T.; Hicks, Natalie; Murray, L.; Paterson, David M.; Raffaelli, D.; White, Piran C. L.; Solan, Martin (2013-05-24)
      Anthropogenic activity is currently leading to dramatic transformations of ecosystems and losses of biodiversity. The recognition that these ecosystems provide services that are essential for human well-being has led to a major interest in the forms of the biodiversity – ecosystem functioning relationship. However, there is a lack of studies examining the impact of climate change on these relationships and it remains unclear how multiple climatic drivers may affect levels of ecosystem functioning. Here, we examine the roles of two important climate change variables, temperature and concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, on the relationship between invertebrate species richness and nutrient release in a model benthic estuarine system. We found a positive relationship between invertebrate species richness and the levels of release of NH 4 -N into the water column, but no effect of species richness on the release of PO 4 -P. Higher temperatures and greater concen- trations of atmospheric carbon dioxide had a negative impact on nutrient release. Importantly, we found significant interactions between the climate variables, indicating that reliably predicting the effects of future climate change will not be straightforward as multiple drivers are unlikely to have purely additive effects, resulting in increased levels of uncertainty.
    • Marine climate and hydrography of the Coralline Crag (early Pliocene, UK): isotopic evidence from 16 benthic invertebrate taxa.

      Vignols, Rebecca M.; Valentine, Annemarie M.; Finlayson, Alana G.; Harper, Elizabeth M.; Schöne, Bernd R.; Leng, Melanie J.; Sloane, Hilary J.; Johnson, Andrew L. A.; University of Derby; University of Cambridge; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-05-24)
      The taxonomic composition of the biota of the Coralline Crag Formation (early Pliocene, eastern England) provides conflicting evidence of seawater temperature during deposition, some taxa indicating cool temperate conditions by analogy with modern representatives or relatives, others warm temperate to subtropical/tropical conditions. Previous isotopic (δ18O) evidence of seasonal seafloor temperatures from serial ontogenetic sampling of bivalve mollusk shells indicated cool temperate winter (< 10 °C) and/or summer (< 20 °C) conditions but was limited to nine profiles from two species, one ranging into and one occurring exclusively in cool temperate settings at present. We supplement these results with six further profiles from the species concerned and supply seven more from three other taxa (two supposedly indicative of warm waters) to provide an expanded and more balanced database. We also supply isotopic temperature estimates from 81 spot and whole-shell samples from these five taxa and 11 others, encompassing ‘warm’, ‘cool’ and ‘eurythermal’ forms by analogy with modern representatives or relatives. Preservation tests show no shell alteration. Subject to reasonable assumptions about water δ18O, the shell δ18O data either strongly indicate or are at least consistent with cool temperate seafloor conditions. The subtropical/tropical conditions suggested by the presence of the bryozoan Metrarabdotos did not exist. Microgrowth-increment and δ13C evidence indicate summer water-column stratification during deposition of the Ramsholt Member, unlike in the adjacent southern North Sea at present (well mixed due to shallow depth and strong tidal currents). Summer maximum surface temperature was probably about 5 °C above seafloor temperature and thus often slightly higher than now (17–19 °C rather than 16–17 °C), but only sometimes in the warm temperate range. Winter minimum surface temperature was below 10 °C and possibly the same as at present (6–7 °C). An expanded surface temperature range compared to now may reflect withdrawal of oceanic heat supply in conjunction with higher global temperature.
    • Masirah – The other Oman ophiolite: A better analogue for mid-ocean ridge processes?

      Rollinson, Hugh; University of Derby (Elsevier, 2017-05-17)
      Oman has two ophiolites – the better known late Cretaceous northern Oman (or Semail) ophiolite and the lesser known and smaller, Jurassic Masirah ophiolite located on the eastern coast of the country adjacent to the Indian Ocean. A number of geological, geochronological and geochemical lines of evidence strongly suggest that the northern Oman ophiolite did not form at a mid-ocean ridge but rather in a supra-subduction zone setting by fast spreading during subduction initiation. In contrast the Masirah ophiolite is structurally part of a series of ophiolite nappes which are rooted in the Indian Ocean floor. There are significant geochemical differences between the Masirah and northern Oman ophiolites and none of the supra-subduction features typical of the northern Oman ophiolite are found at Masirah. Geochemically Masirah is MORB, although in detail it contains both enriched and depleted MORB reflecting a complex source for the lavas and dykes. The enrichment of this source predates the formation of the ophiolite. The condensed crustal section on Masirah (ca 2 km) contains a very thin gabbro sequence and is thought to reflect its genesis from a cool mantle source associated with the early stages of sea-floor spreading during the early separation of eastern and western Gondwana. These data suggest that the Masirah ophiolite is a suitable analogue for an ophiolite created at a mid-ocean ridge, whereas the northern Oman ophiolite is not. The stratigraphic history of the Masirah ophiolite shows that it remained a part of the oceanic crust for ca 80 Ma. The chemical variability and enrichment of the Masirah lavas is similar to that found elsewhere in Indian Ocean basalts and may simply reflect a similar provenance rather than a feature fundamental to the formation of the ophiolite.
    • Mass mortality hits gorgonian forests at Montecristo Island.

      Turicchia, Eva; Abbiati, Marco; Sweet, Michael J.; Ponti, Massimo; University of Bologna; Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca per le Scienze Ambientali (CIRSA); Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa); Polytechnic University of Marche; Istituto di Scienze Marine (ISMAR); University of Derby (Inter Research, 2018-10-16)
      Mediterranean gorgonian forests are species-rich habitats, and like many other marine habitats they are threatened by anthropogenic disturbances and mass mortality events. These mortality events have often been linked to anomalies in the temperature profiles of the Mediterranean region. On 5 September 2017, colonies of the gorgonians Eunicella singularis and Eunicella cavolini exhibited rapid tissue loss, down to a depth of 30 m along the steep cliffs of Montecristo Island, Tuscan Archipelago National Park, Tyrrhenian Sea, Italy. Interestingly, Montecristo has previously been identified as a reference site for the ecological quality assessment of the western Mediterranean benthic assemblages on rocky bottoms. The observed mortality event occurred during a period of increased sea temperature. By utilising a combination of high-resolution oceanographic analysis, forecast models and citizen science initiatives, we propose that an early warning system for the concomitance of heat waves and mortality events can be put in place. A temperature-based coral disease surveillance tool could then be established for the entire Mediterranean Sea. Such a tool would allow for the timely study of mass mortality phenomena and the implementation of prompt mitigation and/or restoration initiatives. Finally, this specific mortality event, in a Marine Protected Area, offers a unique opportunity to monitor and assess the resilience of gorgonian populations and associated benthic assemblages in the absence of other, more directly, anthropogenic disturbances such as pollution and land runoff.
    • Metabolic and neuroprotective effects of dapagliflozin and liraglutide in diabetic mice

      Millar, Paul; Pathak, Nupur; Parthsarathy, Vadivel; Bjourson, Anthony J.; O'Kane, Maurice; Pathak, Varun; Moffett, Charlotte; Flatt, Peter R.; Gault, Victor A. (Society for Endocrinology, 2017-06-23)
      This study assessed the metabolic and neuroprotective actions of the sodium glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitor dapagliflozin in combination with the GLP-1 agonist liraglutide in dietary-induced diabetic mice. Mice administered low-dose streptozotocin (STZ) on a high fat diet received dapagliflozin, liraglutide, dapagliflozin-plus-liraglutide (DAPA-Lira) or vehicle once-daily over 28 days. Energy intake, body weight, glucose and insulin concentrations were measured at regular intervals. Glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, hormone and biochemical analysis, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry densitometry, novel object recognition, islet and brain histology were examined. Once-daily administration of DAPA-Lira resulted in significant decreases in body weight, fat mass, glucose and insulin concentrations, despite no change in energy intake. Similar beneficial metabolic improvements were observed regarding glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, HOMA-IR, HOMA-β, HbA1c, and triglycerides. Plasma glucagon, GLP-1 and IL-6 levels were increased and corticosterone concentrations decreased. DAPA-Lira treatment decreased alpha cell area and increased insulin content compared to dapagliflozin monotherapy. Recognition memory was significantly improved in all treatment groups. Brain histology demonstrated increased staining for doublecortin (number of immature neurons) in dentate gyrus and synaptophysin (synaptic density) in stratum oriens and stratum pyramidale. These data demonstrate that combination therapy of dapagliflozin and liraglutide exerts beneficial metabolic and neuroprotective effects in diet-induced diabetic mice. Our results highlight important personalised approach in utilising liraglutide in combination with dapagliflozin, instead of either agent alone, for further clinical evaluation in treatment of diabetes and associated neurodegenerative disorders.
    • Metabolome-mediated biocryomorphic evolution promotes carbon fixation in Greenlandic cryoconite holes

      Cook, J. M.; Edwards, Arwyn; Bulling, Mark T.; Mur, Luis A .J.; Cook, Sophie; Gokul, Jarishma K.; Cameron, Karen A.; Sweet, Michael J.; Irvine-Fynn, Tristram D. L.; University of Derby; et al. (2016-04-26)
      Microbial photoautotrophs on glaciers engineer the formation of granular microbial-mineral aggregate stermed cryoconite which accelerate ice melt, creating quasi-cylindrical pits called ‘cryoconite holes’. Theseact as biogeochemical reactors on the ice surface and provide habitats for remarkably active and diverse microbiota. Evolution of cryoconite holes towards an equilibrium depth is well known, yet inter-actions between microbial activity and hole morphology are currently weakly addressed. Here, we experimentally perturbed the depths and diameters of cryoconite holes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.Cryoconite holes responded by sensitively adjusting their shapes in three dimensions (‘biocryomorphic evolution’) thus maintaining favourable conditions for net autotrophy at the hole floors. Non-targeted metabolomics reveals concomitant shifts in cyclicAMP and fucose metabolism consistent with photo-taxis and extracellular polymer synthesis indicating metabolomic-level granular changes in response to perturbation. We present a conceptual model explain-ing this process and suggest that it results in remarkably robust net autotrophy on the Greenland Ice Sheet. We also describe observations of cryocon-ite migrating away from shade, implying a degree of self-regulation of carbon budgets over mesoscales. Since cryoconite is a microbe-mineral aggregate, itappears that microbial processes themselves formand maintain stable autotrophic habitats on the sur-face of the Greenland ice sheet.
    • Metal-based nanoparticles; size, function and areas for advancement

      Sweet, Michael J. (2013-09-24)
      Nanoparticles (NPs) are attracting increased attention in commerce and applied microbiology due to their antimicrobial activity, high electrical conductivity, and optical properties. For example, silver NPs have broad spectrum antimicrobial properties against a wide range of bacteria and fungi, making them ideal for minimizing biofouling. By controlling the size, shape, surface, and agglomeration state of the NPs, specific ion release profiles can be developed for any given application. Currently, NPs are formed in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes including spheres, plates, and wires. This review looks at both commercially and naturally produced NPs with a focus on silver NPs and addresses how these are formed. Furthermore, potential areas for improving these techniques will be highlighted, focusing on advancing shape and structure formation using modern applications. Finally, the review evaluates the feasibility of bioengineering microorganisms to synthesize particles of defined shape and size, by examining genes associated with NP production.
    • Microbial communities associated with healthy and White Syndrome-affected Echinopora lamellosa in aquaria and experimental treatment with the antibiotic Ampicillin

      Smith, David; Leary, Peter; Craggs, Jamie; Bythell, John C.; Sweet, Michael J.; University of Derby (2015-03-20)
      Prokaryotic and ciliate communities of healthy and aquarium White Syndrome (WS)-affected coral fragments were screened using denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). A significant difference (R =0.907, p < 0.001) in16S rRNA prokaryotic diversity was found between healthy (H), sloughed tissue (ST),WS-affected (WSU) and antibiotic treated(WST) samples. Although 3 Vibrio spp were found in WS-affected samples, two of these species were eliminated following ampicillin treatment, yet lesions continued to advance, suggesting they play a minor or secondary role in the pathogenesis.The third Vibrio spin-creased slightly in relative abundance in diseased samples and was abundant in non-dis-eased samples. Interestingly, a Tenacibaculum sp showed the greatest increase in relative abundance between healthy and WS-affected samples, demonstrating consistently high abundance across all WS-affected and treated samples, suggesting Tenacibaculum sp could be a more likely candidate for pathogenesis in this instance. In contrast to previous studies bacterial abundance did not vary significantly (ANOVA,F2, 6=1.000,p= 0.422) be-tween H, ST,WSU or WST. Antimicrobial activity(assessed on Vibrio harveyi cultures) was limited in both H and WSU samples (8.1% ± 8.2 and8.0% ± 2.5, respectively) and did not differ significantly (Kruskal-Wallis, χ 2 (2) =3.842, p= 0.146). A Philaster sp, a Cohnilembus sp and a Pseudokeronopsis sp. were present in all WS-affected samples, but not in healthy samples. The exact role of ciliates in WS is yet to be determined, but it is proposed that they are at least responsible for the neat lesion boundary observed in the disease.
    • Microbial community composition of deep-sea corals from the Red Sea provides insight into functional adaption to a unique environment

      Röthig, Till; Yum, Lauren K.; Kremb, Stephan G.; Roik, Anna; Voolstra, Christian R.; King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) (Nature Research, 2017-03-17)
      Microbes associated with deep-sea corals remain poorly studied. The lack of symbiotic algae suggests that associated microbes may play a fundamental role in maintaining a viable coral host via acquisition and recycling of nutrients. Here we employed 16 S rRNA gene sequencing to study bacterial communities of three deep-sea scleractinian corals from the Red Sea, Dendrophyllia sp., Eguchipsammia fistula, and Rhizotrochus typus. We found diverse, species-specific microbiomes, distinct from the surrounding seawater. Microbiomes were comprised of few abundant bacteria, which constituted the majority of sequences (up to 58% depending on the coral species). In addition, we found a high diversity of rare bacteria (taxa at <1% abundance comprised >90% of all bacteria). Interestingly, we identified anaerobic bacteria, potentially providing metabolic functions at low oxygen conditions, as well as bacteria harboring the potential to degrade crude oil components. Considering the presence of oil and gas fields in the Red Sea, these bacteria may unlock this carbon source for the coral host. In conclusion, the prevailing environmental conditions of the deep Red Sea (>20 °C, <2 mg oxygen L−1) may require distinct functional adaptations, and our data suggest that bacterial communities may contribute to coral functioning in this challenging environment.
    • Microsatellites for microbiologists

      Sweet, Michael J.; Scriven, Lucinda A.; Singleton, Ian (2012)
      Microsatellites are repeating sequences of 2–6 base pairs of DNA. Currently, they are used as molecular markers in many organisms, specifically in genetic studies analyzing kinship and population structure. In addition, they can be used to study gene duplication and/or deletion. Although they are used in studies on microorganisms including fungi, bacteria, protists, and archaea, it appears that these genetic markers are not being utilized to their full microbiological potential. Microsatellites have many advantages over other genetic markers currently in use as they are in general species specific, and therefore, cross-contamination by nontarget organisms is rare. Furthermore, microsatellites are suitable for use with fast and cheap DNA extraction methods, with ancient DNA or DNA from hair and fecal samples used in noninvasive sampling, making them widely available as a genetic marker. Microsatellites have already proven to be a useful tool for evolutionary studies of pathogenic microorganisms such as Candida albicans and Helicobacter pylori, and the onset of new sequencing techniques (such as 454, PACBIO, and mini-ion sequencing) means the ability to detect such markers will become less time consuming and cheaper, thus further expanding their potential to answer important microbial ecology questions.
    • Migration

      Huck, Maren; University of Derby; University of Derby; United Kingdom (Wiley, 2017-04)
      Primate societies are not static. Group composition changes due to births and deaths, and also by emigration and immigration of individuals between different groups. These transfers, while considered costly for the individual, have important implications for the individual itself and the population as a whole. While, generally speaking, dispersal is male-biased in strepsirrhine and catarrhine primates and female-biased in platyrrhines, variations even between different populations of the same species become increasingly apparent. This indicates that dispersal is a conditional strategy that depends on numerous external and internal proximate factors, as well as individual cost–benefit calculations. Although the advent of more advanced molecular techniques has started to provide more insights into dispersal patterns, the life of dispersing floaters remains a challenging topic, but is fundamental in order to not only understand the general behavioral ecology and evolution of a species but also help evaluate the viability of populations.
    • Mineralogical and geochemical characterisation of warm-water, shallow-marine glaucony from the Tertiary of the London Basin

      Huggett, Jennifer; Adetunji, Jacob; Longstaffe, Fred; Wray, David; Natural History Museum, London; University of Derby; University of Western Ontario; University of Greenwich (Mineralogical Society, 2017-11-27)
      Glaucony is present in the Palaeocene sediments of the London Basin, from the Thanet Sand Formation to the gravel beds at the base of the Lower Mottled Beds of the Reading Formation. The Upnor Formation glaucony is a rare example of formation in warm, shallow, brackish water and this, combined with the ready availability of fresh material from boreholes, make this study important in developing our understanding of this mineral. Glaucony comprises up to 50% of the Upnor Formation, a grey to green sandstone, of variable thickness and composition, which was deposited in a warm, shallow, marine to estuarine environment, ∼55.6–56.2 Ma. Using morphological criteria, X-ray diffraction data and K+ abundance, the Upnor glaucony may be defined as evolved. The underlying shallow marine Thanet Sand contains <5% of nascent to slightly evolved glaucony. The rare earth element (REE) data for the Upnor Formation suggest more than one source for the sediment from which the Upnor glaucony formed, while the Thanet REE data are consistent with a large detrital clay component. In the Upnor Formation, the large proportion of glaucony that occurs as granule fragments rather than whole granules, and the high-energy estuarine to shallow-marine environment of deposition, are indicative of reworking. The Upnor glaucony is inferred to be intraformationally reworked, rather than derived from the Thanet Sand Formation. The glaucony may have formed in sediments deposited away from the main estuarine channel, and been subsequently reworked into higher-energy sediments. Warm seas with freshwater mixing are more typically characteristic of verdine formation than of glaucony. The shallow, brackish environment of deposition suggests that there is not a clear distinction between the environmental requirements of verdine (or odinite) and glaucony (or glauconite), as is often proposed. The highly fractured, delicate nature of some granules indicates that they have experienced some maturation in situ, after reworking. The oxygen and hydrogen isotopic compositions of Upnor Formation shark teeth and glaucony point to formation in low-salinity water at ∼23 ± 3°C, also consistent with formation in the Upnor Formation, rather than in a fully marine sediment and subsequent reworking. A higher than normal temperature of formation may have increased the rate of evolution of glaucony. Our multidisciplinary study considers many of the factors relating to depositional environment that must be considered when glaucony-rich facies are encountered in comparable palaeo-environmental settings elsewhere in the geological record.
    • Minimum drift times infer trajectories of ghost nets found in the Maldives

      Stelfox, Martin; Lett, Christophe; Reid, Geraldine; Souch, Graham; Sweet, Michael; University of Derby; Olive Ridley Project, Bramhall, Stockport, Cheshire; MARBEC, IRD, Ifremer, Univ Montpellier, CNRS, Sète, France; National Museums Liverpool (Elsevier BV, 2020-03-07)
      This study explores methods to estimate minimum drift times of ghost nets found in the Maldives with the aim of identifying a putative origin. We highlight that percentage cover of biofouling organisms and capitulum length of Lepas anatifera are two methods that provide these estimates. Eight ghost nets were collected in the Maldives and estimated drift times ranged between 7.5 and 101 days. Additionally, Lagrangian simulations identified drift trajectories of 326 historical ghost nets records. Purse seine fisheries (associated with Korea, Mauritius, the Philippines, Spain, France and Seychelles) and gill nets from Sri Lanka were identified as 'high risk' fisheries with regard to likley origins of ghost nets drifting into the Maldives. These fisheries are active in areas where dense particle clusters occured (drift trajectories between 30 and 120 days). Interestingly, ghost nets drifting less than 30 days however, remained inside the exclusive economic zone of the Maldivian archipelago highlighting potential illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activity is occuring in this area. This study therefore points to the urgent need for gear loss reporting to be undertaken, especially by purse seine and gill net fisheries in order to ascertain the source of this major threat to marine life. This should also be coupled with an improvment in the data focused on spatial distribution of the abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear originating from both large- and small-scale fisheries.