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Abstract

Through their ephemeral reproductive structures (fruiting bodies), ectomycorrhizal forest soil fungi provide a resource for a plethora of organisms. Thus, resolving what biotic and abiotic factors determine the occurrence and abundance of fruiting bodies is fundamental for understanding the dynamics of forest trophic networks. While the influence of abiotic factors such as moisture and temperature on fungal fruiting are relatively well established, little is known about how these processes interact with the evolutionary history of fungal species to determine when, where, and in which abundance fungal fruiting bodies will emerge. A specific knowledge gap relates to whether species' responses to their environment are phylogenetically structured. Here, we ask whether related fungal taxa respond similarly to climatic factors and forest habitat characteristics, and whether such correlated responses will affect the assembly of fungal fruiting communities. To resolve these questions, we fitted joint species distribution models combining data on the species composition and abundance of fungal fruiting bodies, environmental variation, and phylogenetic relationships among fungal taxa. Our results show that both site-level forest characteristics (dominant tree species and forest age) and climatic factors related to phenology (effective heat sum) greatly influence the occurrence and abundance of fruiting bodies. More importantly, while different fungal species responded unequally to their shared environment, there was a strong phylogenetic signal in their responses, so that related fungal species tended to fruit under similar environmental conditions. Thus, not only are fruiting bodies short-lived and patchily distributed, but the availability of similar resources will be further aggregated in time and space. These strong constraints on resource availability for fungus-associated taxa highlight the potential of fungus-based networks as a model system for studies on the ecology and evolution of resource–consumer relations in ephemeral systems of high spatiotemporal patchiness.

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Abstract

Resource specialization and ecological speciation arising through host-associated genetic differentiation (HAD) are frequently invoked as an explanation for the high diversity of plant-feeding insects and other organisms with a parasitic lifestyle. While genetic studies have demonstrated numerous examples of HAD in insect herbivores, the rarity of comparative studies means that we still lack an understanding of how deterministic HAD is, and whether patterns of host shifts can be predicted over evolutionary timescales. We applied genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism and mitochondrial DNA sequence data obtained through genome resequencing to define species limits and to compare host-plant use in population samples of leaf- and bud-galling sawflies (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Nematinae) collected from seven shared willow (Salicaceae: Salix) host species. To infer the repeatability of long-term cophylogenetic patterns, we also contrasted the phylogenies of the two galler groups with each other as well as with the phylogeny of their Salix hosts estimated based on RADseq data. We found clear evidence for host specialization and HAD in both of the focal galler groups, but also that leaf gallers are more specialized to single host species compared with most bud gallers. In contrast to bud gallers, leaf gallers also exhibited statistically significant cophylogenetic signal with their Salix hosts. The observed discordant patterns of resource specialization and host shifts in two related galler groups that have radiated in parallel across a shared resource base indicate a lack of evolutionary repeatability in the focal system, and suggest that short- and long-term host use and ecological diversification in plant-feeding insects are dominated by stochasticity and/or lineage-specific effects.

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Abstract

Fragmentation of isolated populations increases the risk of inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity. The endemic Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is one of the most endangered pinnipeds in the world with a population of only ~ 400 individuals. The current genetic diversity of this subspecies, isolated in Lake Saimaa in Finland for ca. 1000 generations, is alarmingly low. We performed whole-genome sequencing on Saimaa ringed seals (N = 30) and analyzed the level of homozygosity and genetic composition across the individual genomes. Our results show that the Saimaa ringed seal population has a high number of runs of homozygosity (RoH) compared with the neighboring Baltic ringed seal (Pusa hispida botnica) reference population (p < 0.001). There is also a tendency for stillborn seal pups to have more pronounced RoH. Since the population is divided into semi-isolated subpopulations within the Lake Saimaa exposing the population to deleterious genomic effects, our results support augmented gene flow as a genetic conservation action. Based on our results suggesting inbreeding depression in the population, we recommend Pihlajavesi as a potential source and Southern Saimaa as a potential recipient subpopulation for translocating individuals. The Saimaa ringed seal is a recognized subspecies and therefore translocations should be considered only within the lake to avoid an unpredictable risk of disease, the introduction of deleterious alleles, and severe ecological issues for the population.

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Abstract

Studies on host–parasite systems that have experienced distributional shifts, range fragmentation, and population declines in the past can provide information regarding how parasite community richness and genetic diversity will change as a result of anthropogenic environmental changes in the future. Here, we studied how sequential postglacial colonization, shifts in habitat, and reduced host population sizes have influenced species richness and genetic diversity of Corynosoma (Acanthocephala: Polymorphidae) parasites in northern European marine, brackish, and freshwater seal populations. We collected Corynosoma population samples from Arctic, Baltic, Ladoga, and Saimaa ringed seal subspecies and Baltic gray seals, and then applied COI barcoding and triple-enzyme restriction-site associated DNA (3RAD) sequencing to delimit species, clarify their distributions and community structures, and elucidate patterns of intraspecific gene flow and genetic diversity. Our results showed that Corynosoma species diversity reflected host colonization histories and population sizes, with four species being present in the Arctic, three in the Baltic Sea, two in Lake Ladoga, and only one in Lake Saimaa. We found statistically significant population-genetic differentiation within all three Corynosoma species that occur in more than one seal (sub)species. Genetic diversity tended to be high in Corynosoma populations originating from Arctic ringed seals and low in the landlocked populations. Our results indicate that acanthocephalan communities in landlocked seal populations are impoverished with respect to both species and intraspecific genetic diversity. Interestingly, the loss of genetic diversity within Corynosoma species seems to have been less drastic than in their seal hosts, possibly due to their large local effective population sizes resulting from high infection intensities and effective intra-host population mixing. Our study highlights the utility of genomic methods in investigations of community composition and genetic diversity of understudied parasites.

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Abstract

The Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis) is endemic to Lake Saimaa in Finland. The subspecies is thought to have originated when parts of the ringed seal population of the Baltic region were trapped in lakes emerging due to postglacial bedrock rebound around 9000 years ago. During the 20th century, the population experienced a drastic human-induced bottleneck. Today encompassing a little over 400 seals with extremely low genetic diversity, it is classified as endangered. We sequenced sections of the mitochondrial control region from 60 up to 125-years-old museum specimens of the Saimaa ringed seal. The generated dataset was combined with publicly available sequences. We studied how genetic variation has changed through time in this subspecies and how it is phylogenetically related to other ringed seal populations from the Baltic Sea, Lake Ladoga, North America, Svalbard, and the White Sea. We observed temporal fluctuations in haplotype frequencies and loss of haplotypes accompanied by a recent reduction in female effective population size. In apparent contrast with the traditionally held view of the Baltic origin of the population, the Saimaa ringed seal mtDNA variation also shows affinities to North American ringed seals. Our results suggest that the Saimaa ringed seal has experienced recent genetic drift associated with small population size. The results further suggest that extant Baltic ringed seal is not representative of the ancestral population of the Saimaa ringed seal, which calls for re-evaluation of the deep history of this subspecies.

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Abstract

Large areas of forests are annually damaged or destroyed by outbreaking insect pests. Understanding the factors that trigger and terminate such population eruptions has become crucially important, as plants, plant-feeding insects, and their natural enemies may respond differentially to the ongoing changes in the global climate. In northernmost Europe, climate-driven range expansions of the geometrid moths Epirrita autumnata and Operophtera brumata have resulted in overlapping and increasingly severe outbreaks. Delayed density-dependent responses of parasitoids are a plausible explanation for the 10-year population cycles of these moth species, but the impact of parasitoids on geometrid outbreak dynamics is unclear due to a lack of knowledge on the host ranges and prevalences of parasitoids attacking the moths in nature. To overcome these problems, we reviewed the literature on parasitism in the focal geometrid species in their outbreak range and then constructed a DNA barcode reference library for all relevant parasitoid species based on reared specimens and sequences obtained from public databases. The combined recorded parasitoid community of E. autumnata and O. brumata consists of 32 hymenopteran species, all of which can be reliably identified based on their barcode sequences. The curated barcode library presented here opens up new opportunities for estimating the abundance and community composition of parasitoids across populations and ecosystems based on mass barcoding and metabarcoding approaches. Such information can be used for elucidating the role of parasitoids in moth population control, possibly also for devising methods for reducing the extent, intensity, and duration of outbreaks.

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Abstract

Host-specialist parasites of endangered large vertebrates are in many cases more endangered than their hosts. In particular, low host population densities and reduced among-host transmission rates are expected to lead to inbreeding within parasite infrapopulations living on single host individuals. Furthermore, spatial population structures of directly-transmitted parasites should be concordant with those of their hosts. Using population genomic approaches, we investigated inbreeding and population structure in a host-specialist seal louse (Echinophthirius horridus) infesting the Saimaa ringed seal (Phoca hispida saimensis), which is endemic to Lake Saimaa in Finland, and is one of the most endangered pinnipeds in the world. We conducted genome resequencing of pairs of lice collected from 18 individual Saimaa ringed seals throughout the Lake Saimaa complex. Our analyses showed high genetic similarity and inbreeding between lice inhabiting the same individual seal host, indicating low among-host transmission rates. Across the lake, genetic differentiation among individual lice was correlated with their geographic distance, and assignment analyses revealed a marked break in the genetic variation of the lice in the middle of the lake, indicating substantial population structure. These findings indicate that movements of Saimaa ringed seals across the main breeding areas of the fragmented Lake Saimaa complex may in fact be more restricted than suggested by previous population-genetic analyses of the seals themselves.

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Abstract

Interactions among fungi and insects involve hundreds of thousands of species. While insect communities on plants have formed some of the classic model systems in ecology, fungus-based communities and the forces structuring them remain poorly studied by comparison. We characterize the arthropod communities associated with fruiting bodies of eight mycorrhizal basidiomycete fungus species from three different orders along a 1200-km latitudinal gradient in northern Europe. We hypothesized that, matching the pattern seen for most insect taxa on plants, we would observe a general decrease in fungal-associated species with latitude. Against this backdrop, we expected local communities to be structured by host identity and phylogeny, with more closely related fungal species sharing more similar communities of associated organisms. As a more unique dimension added by the ephemeral nature of fungal fruiting bodies, we expected further imprints generated by successional change, with younger fruiting bodies harboring communities different from older ones. Using DNA metabarcoding to identify arthropod communities from fungal fruiting bodies, we found that latitude left a clear imprint on fungus-associated arthropod community composition, with host phylogeny and decay stage of fruiting bodies leaving lesser but still-detectable effects. The main latitudinal imprint was on a high arthropod species turnover, with no detectable pattern in overall species richness. Overall, these findings paint a new picture of the drivers of fungus-associated arthropod communities, suggesting that latitude will not affect how many arthropod species inhabit a fruiting body but, rather, what species will occur in it and at what relative abundances (as measured by sequence read counts). These patterns upset simplistic predictions regarding latitudinal gradients in species richness and in the strength of biotic interactions.

Abstract

We determined the mitogenome of Cyclopterus lumpus using a hybrid sequencing approach, and another four closely related species in the Liparidae based on available next-generation sequence data. We found that the mitogenome of C. lumpus was 17,266 bp in length, where the length and organisation were comparable to those reported for cottoids. However, we found a GC-homopolymer region in the intergenic space between tRNALeu2 and ND1 in liparids and cyclopterids. Phylogenetic reconstruction confirmed the monophyly of infraorders and firmly supported a sister-group relationship between Cyclopteridae and Liparidae. Purifying selection was the predominant force in the evolution of cottoid mitogenomes. There was significant evidence of relaxed selective pressures along the lineage of deep-sea fish, while selection was intensified in the freshwater lineage. Overall, our analysis provides a necessary expansion in the availability of mitogenomic sequences and sheds light on mitogenomic adaptation in Cottoidei fish inhabiting different aquatic environments.

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Abstract

Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) are semi-domesticated animals adapted to the challenging conditions of northern Eurasia. Adipose tissues play a crucial role in northern animals by altering gene expression in their tissues to regulate energy homoeostasis and thermogenic activity. Here, we perform transcriptome profiling by RNA sequencing of adipose tissues from three different anatomical depots: metacarpal (bone marrow), perirenal, and prescapular fat in Finnish and Even reindeer (in Sakha) during spring and winter. A total of 16,212 genes are expressed in our data. Gene expression profiles in metacarpal tissue are distinct from perirenal and prescapular adipose tissues. Notably, metacarpal adipose tissue appears to have a significant role in the regulation of the energy metabolism of reindeer in spring when their nutritional condition is poor after winter. During spring, genes associated with the immune system are upregulated in the perirenal and prescapular adipose tissue. Blood and tissue parameters reflecting general physiological and metabolic status show less seasonal variation in Even reindeer than in Finnish reindeer. This study identifies candidate genes potentially involved in immune response, fat deposition, and energy metabolism and provides new information on the mechanisms by which reindeer adapt to harsh arctic conditions.

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Abstract

Three subspecies of the ringed seal (Pusa hispida) are found in northeastern Europe: P. h. botnica in the Baltic Sea, P. h saimensis in Lake Saimaa in Finland, and P. h. ladogensis in Lake Ladoga in Russia. We investigated the poorly-known cestode helminth communities of these closely related but ecologically divergent subspecies using COI barcode data. Our results show that, while cestodes from the Baltic Sea represent Schistocephalus solidus, all worms from the two lakes are identified as Ligula intestinalis, a species that has previously not been reported from seals. The observed shift in cestode communities appears to be driven by differential availability of intermediate fish host species in marine vs. freshwater environments. Both observed cestode species normally infect fish-eating birds, so further work is required to elucidate the health and conservation implications of cestode infections in European ringed seals, whether L. intestinalis occurs also in marine ringed seals, and whether the species is able to reproduce in seal hosts. In addition, a deep barcode divergence found within S. solidus suggests the presence of cryptic diversity under this species name.

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Abstract

Broad tapeworms (Diphyllobothriidea) are parasites whose adults are capable of infecting a wide range of freshwater, marine and terrestrial tetrapods including humans. Previous works examining the evolution of habitat and host use in this group have been hampered by the lack of a well-resolved phylogeny. In order to produce a robust phylogenetic framework for diphyllobothriideans, we sequenced the complete mitochondrial genome of 13 representatives, carefully chosen to cover the major clades, and two outgroup species representing the Spathebothriidea and Haplobothriidea. In addition, complementary data from the nuclear ribosomal operon was sequenced for 10 representative taxa. Mitogenomes and ssrDNA and lsrDNA were used towards elucidating the phylogenetic framework for the Diphyllobothriidea. The Cephalochlamydidae is confirmed as the earliest diverging diphyllobothriidean lineage, and Solenophoridae and Diphyllobothriidae are sister groups. We infer a probable freshwater origin of the diphyllobothriideans. The ancestral condition for life cycle complexity could not be unambiguously resolved. However, we infer exclusive use of a three-host life cycle following the origin of the Solenophoridae + Diphyllobothriidae. Regarding definitive host use, although we infer reptiles as the most likely ancestral condition, this result should be revisited with a more densely sampled phylogeny in future studies. Freshwater habitat is used by the early diverging lineages within the Solenophoridae + Diphyllobothriidae clade. For the latter, habitat use shifts between freshwater and marine environments, and definitive host use includes marine and terrestrial mammals and birds. We use mitochondrial genomes to distinguish Schistocephalus species occurring in different species of sticklebacks and demonstrate conspecificity of Ligula cf. intestinalis specimens collected from two Fennoscandian ringed seal subspecies.

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Abstract

Aim It is generally assumed that the degree of resource specialization in herbivorous insects increases towards lower latitudes. However, latitudinal patterns in herbivore diet breadth at large spatial scales remain poorly understood. In this work, we investigated the drivers of latitudinal variation in lepidopteran ‘fundamental’ resource specialization, which we defined as the host breadth when not limited by interspecific interactions at the same trophic level. Location The Japanese archipelago (22°N–45°N), including hemiboreal, temperate and subtropical zones. Taxon Herbivorous butterflies. Methods Species-specific fundamental host breadth was calculated based on pooled host-use records. We investigated the latitudinal pattern and significant drivers of the degree of specialization in regional species pools at a 10-km grid level. As potential drivers, we focused on geography, current climate and diversity and body size of butterflies. Through Bayesian structural equation modelling, we investigated the complicated relationships between these variables and community-level resource specialization represented by three different indices of host breadth. Results We found that the fundamental resource specialization of butterfly communities increases towards higher latitudes. This pattern is contrary to the presumed general trend found in studies based on realized resource specialization within local communities. We found that the observed pattern is driven mainly by factors related to climate, butterfly diversity and body size in each community. Above all, annual mean temperature most strongly drove community-level fundamental host breadth of herbivorous butterflies. Main conclusions Our findings suggest that the fundamental resource specialization may show different latitudinal patterns from the conventional prediction based on knowledge of realized resource specialization. Our results emphasize the importance of the current climate as a major factor regulating butterfly morphology and fundamental host breadth, regardless of whether the impact is direct or indirect.

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Abstract

Hymenoptera is a hyperdiverse insect order represented by over 153,000 different species. As many hymenopteran species perform various crucial roles for our environments, such as pollination, herbivory, and parasitism, they are of high economic and ecological importance. There are 99 hymenopteran genomes in the NCBI database, yet only five are representative of the paraphyletic suborder Symphyta (sawflies, woodwasps, and horntails), while the rest represent the suborder Apocrita (bees, wasps, and ants). Here, using a combination of 10X Genomics linked-read sequencing, Oxford Nanopore long-read technology, and Illumina short-read data, we assembled the genomes of two willow-galling sawflies (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae: Nematinae: Euurina): the bud-galling species Euura lappo and the leaf-galling species Eupontania aestiva. The final assembly for E. lappo is 259.85 Mbp in size, with a contig N50 of 209.0 kbp and a BUSCO score of 93.5%. The E. aestiva genome is 222.23 Mbp in size, with a contig N50 of 49.7 kbp and a 90.2% complete BUSCO score. De novo annotation of repetitive elements showed that 27.45% of the genome was composed of repetitive elements in E. lappo and 16.89% in E. aestiva, which is a marked increase compared to previously published hymenopteran genomes. The genomes presented here provide a resource for inferring phylogenetic relationships among basal hymenopterans, comparative studies on host-related genomic adaptation in plant-feeding insects, and research on the mechanisms of plant manipulation by gall-inducing insects.

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Abstract

While free-living herbivorous insects are thought to harbor microbial communities composed of transient bacteria derived from their diet, recent studies indicate that insects that induce galls on plants may be involved in more intimate host–microbe relationships. We used 16S rDNA metabarcoding to survey larval microbiomes of 20 nematine sawfly species that induce bud or leaf galls on 13 Salix species. The 391 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) detected represented 69 bacterial genera in six phyla. Multi-variate statistical analyses showed that the structure of larval microbiomes is influenced by willow host species as well as by gall type. Nevertheless, a “core” microbiome composed of 58 ASVs is shared widely across the focal galler species. Within the core community, the presence of many abundant, related ASVs representing multiple distantly related bacterial taxa is reflected as a statistically significant effect of bacterial phylogeny on galler–microbe associations. Members of the core community have a variety of inferred functions, including degradation of phenolic compounds, nutrient supplementation, and production of plant hormones. Hence, our results support suggestions of intimate and diverse interactions between galling insects and microbes and add to a growing body of evidence that microbes may play a role in the induction of insect galls on plants.

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Abstract

While interspecific variation in microbiome composition can often be readily explained by factors such as host species identity, there is still limited knowledge of how microbiomes vary at scales lower than the species level (e.g., between individuals or populations). Here, we evaluated variation in microbiome composition of individual parasites among infrapopulations (i.e., populations of parasites of the same species living on a single host individual). To address this question, we used genome-resolved and shotgun metagenomic data of 17 infrapopulations (balanced design) of the permanent, bloodsucking seal louse Echinophthirius horridus sampled from individual Saimaa ringed seals Pusa hispida saimensis. Both genome-resolved and read-based metagenomic classification approaches consistently show that parasite infrapopulation identity is a significant factor that explains both qualitative and quantitative patterns of microbiome variation at the intraspecific level. This study contributes to the general understanding of the factors driving patterns of intraspecific variation in microbiome composition, especially of bloodsucking parasites, and has implications for understanding how well-known processes occurring at higher taxonomic levels, such as phylosymbiosis, might arise in these systems.

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Abstract

Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is predicted to reduce both genetic diversity and gene flow in ice-dependent species, with potentially negative consequences for their long-term viability. Here, we tested for the population-genetic impacts of reduced sea ice cover on the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sampled across two decades (1995–2016) from the Svalbard Archipelago, Norway, an area that is affected by rapid sea ice loss in the Arctic Barents Sea. We analysed genetic variation at 22 microsatellite loci for 626 polar bears from four sampling areas within the archipelago. Our results revealed a 3–10% loss of genetic diversity across the study period, accompanied by a near 200% increase in genetic differentiation across regions. These effects may best be explained by a decrease in gene flow caused by habitat fragmentation owing to the loss of sea ice coverage, resulting in increased inbreeding of local polar bears within the focal sampling areas in the Svalbard Archipelago. This study illustrates the importance of genetic monitoring for developing adaptive management strategies for polar bears and other ice-dependent species.

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Abstract

Wildlife species living in proximity with humans often suffer from various anthropogenic factors. Here, we focus on the endangered Saimaa ringed seal (Pusa hispida saimensis), which lives in close connection with humans in Lake Saimaa, Finland. This unique endemic population has remained landlocked since the last glacial period, and it currently consists of only ~400 individuals. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the Saimaa ringed seal, identify the main risk factors and discuss the efficacy of conservation actions put in place to ensure its long-term survival. The main threats for this rare subspecies are bycatch mortality, habitat destruction and increasingly mild winters. Climate change, together with small population size and an extremely impoverished gene pool, forms a new severe threat. The main conservation actions and priorities for the Saimaa ringed seal are implementation of fishing closures, land-use planning, protected areas, and reduction of pup mortality. Novel innovations, such as provisioning of artificial nest structures, may become increasingly important in the future. Although the Saimaa ringed seal still faces the risk of extinction, the current positive trend in the number of seals shows that endangered wildlife populations can recover even in regions with considerable human inhabitation, when legislative protection is combined with intensive research, engagement of local inhabitants, and innovative conservation actions. Such multifaceted conservation approaches are needed in a world with a growing human population and a rapidly changing climate.

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Abstract

The effective size of a population (Ne), which determines its level of neutral variability, is a key evolutionary parameter. Ne can substantially depart from census sizes of present-day breeding populations (NC) as a result of past demographic changes, variation in life-history traits and selection at linked sites. Using genome-wide data we estimated the long-term coalescent Ne for 17 pinniped species represented by 36 population samples (total n = 458 individuals). Ne estimates ranged from 8,936 to 91,178, were highly consistent within (sub)species and showed a strong positive correlation with NC (R2adj = 0.59; P = 0.0002). Ne/NC ratios were low (mean, 0.31; median, 0.13) and co-varied strongly with demographic history and, to a lesser degree, with species’ ecological and life-history variables such as breeding habitat. Residual variation in Ne/NC, after controlling for past demographic fluctuations, contained information about recent population size changes during the Anthropocene. Specifically, species of conservation concern typically had positive residuals indicative of a smaller contemporary NC than would be expected from their long-term Ne. This study highlights the value of comparative population genomic analyses for gauging the evolutionary processes governing genetic variation in natural populations, and provides a framework for identifying populations deserving closer conservation attention.

Abstract

The lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus is commercially exploited in numerous areas of its range in the North Atlantic Ocean, and is important in salmonid aquaculture as a biological agent for controlling sea lice. Despite the economic importance, few genetic resources for downstream applications, such as linkage mapping, parentage analysis, marker-assisted selection (MAS), quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis, and assessing adaptive genetic diversity are currently available for the species. Here, we identify both genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites loci from C. lumpus to facilitate such applications. Across 2,346 genomic contigs, we detected a total of 3,067 microsatellite loci, of which 723 were the most suitable ones for primer design. From 116,555 transcriptomic unigenes, we identified a total of 231,556 microsatellite loci, which may indicate a high coverage of the available STRs. Out of these, primer pairs could only be designed for 6,203 loci. Dinucleotide repeats accounted for 89 percent and 52 percent of the genome- and transcriptome-derived microsatellites, respectively. The genetic composition of the dominant repeat motif types showed differences from other investigated fish species. In the genome-derived microsatellites AC/GT (67.8 percent), followed by AG/CT (15.1 percent) and AT/AT (5.6 percent) were the major motifs. Transcriptome-derived microsatellites showed also most dominantly the AC/GT repeat motif (33 percent), followed by A/T (26.6 percent) and AG/CT (11 percent). Functional annotation of microsatellite-containing transcriptomic sequences showed that the majority of the expressed sequence tags encode proteins involved in cellular and metabolic processes, binding activity and catalytic reactions. Importantly, STRs linked to genes involved in immune system process, growth, locomotion and reproduction were discovered in the present study. The extensive genomic marker information reported here will facilitate molecular ecology studies, conservation initiatives and will benefit many aspects of the breeding programmes of C. lumpus.

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Abstract

Interspecific brood parasitism is common in many animal systems. Brood parasites enter the nests of other species and divert host resources for producing their own offspring, which can lead to strong antagonistic parasite–host coevolution. Here, we look at commonalities among social insect species that are victims of brood parasites, and use phylogenetic data and information on geographical range size to predict which species are most probably to fall victims to brood parasites in the future. In our analyses, we focus on three eusocial hymenopteran groups and their brood parasites: (i) bumblebees, (ii) Myrmica ants, and (iii) vespine and polistine wasps. In these groups, some, but not all, species are parasitized by obligate workerless inquilines that only produce reproductive-caste descendants.We find phylogenetic signals for geographical range size and the presence of parasites in bumblebees, but not in ants and wasps. Phylogenetic logistic regressions indicate that the probability of being attacked by one or more brood parasite species increases with the size of the geographical range in bumblebees, but the effect is statistically only marginally significant in ants. However, non-phylogenetic logistic regressions suggest that bumblebee species with the largest geographical range sizes may have a lower likelihood of harbouring social parasites than do hosts with medium-sized ranges. Our results provide new insights into the ecology and evolution of host–social parasite systems, and indicate that host phylogeny and geographical range size can be used to predict threats posed by social parasites, as well to design efficient conservation measures for both hosts and their parasites. This article is part of the theme issue ‘The coevolutionary biology of brood parasitism: from mechanism to pattern’.

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Abstract

Habitat discontinuity, anthropogenic disturbance, and overharvesting have led to population fragmentation and decline worldwide. Preservation of remaining natural genetic diversity is crucial to avoid continued genetic erosion. Brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) is an ideal model species for studying anthropogenic influences on genetic integrity, as it has experienced significant genetic alterations throughout its natural distribution range due to habitat fragmentation, overexploitation, translocations, and stocking. The Pasvik River is a subarctic riverine system shared between Norway, Russia, and Finland, subdivided by seven hydroelectric power dams that destroyed about 70% of natural spawning and nursing areas. Stocking is applied in certain river parts to support the natural brown trout population. Adjacent river segments with different management strategies (stocked vs. not stocked) facilitated the simultaneous assessment of genetic impacts of dams and stocking based on analyses of 16 short tandem repeat loci. Dams were expected to increase genetic differentiation between and reduce genetic diversity within river sections. Contrastingly, stocking was predicted to promote genetic homogenization and diversity, but also potentially lead to loss of private alleles and to genetic erosion. Our results showed comparatively low heterozygosity and clear genetic differentiation between adjacent sections in nonstocked river parts, indicating that dams prevent migration and contribute to genetic isolation and loss of genetic diversity. Furthermore, genetic differentiation was low and heterozygosity relatively high across stocked sections. However, in stocked river sections, we found signatures of recent bottlenecks and reductions in private alleles, indicating that only a subset of individuals contributes to reproduction, potentially leading to divergence away from the natural genetic state. Taken together, these results indicate that stocking counteracts the negative fragmentation effects of dams, but also that stocking practices should be planned carefully in order to ensure long‐term preservation of natural genetic diversity and integrity in brown trout and other species in regulated river systems.

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Abstract

The insect order Hymenoptera originated during the Permian nearly 300 Mya. Ancestrally herbivorous hymenopteran lineages today make up the paraphyletic suborder ‘Symphyta’, which encompasses c. 8200 species with very diverse host-plant associations. We use phylogeny-based statistical analyses to explore the drivers of diversity dynamics within the ‘Symphyta’, with a particular focus on the hypothesis that diversification of herbivorous insects has been driven by the explosive radiation of angiosperms during and after the Cretaceous. Our ancestral-state estimates reveal that the first symphytans fed on gymnosperms, and that shifts onto angiosperms and pteridophytes – and back – have occurred at different time intervals in different groups. Trait-dependent analyses indicate that average net diversification rates do not differ between symphytan lineages feeding on angiosperms, gymnosperms or pteridophytes, but trait-independent models show that the highest diversification rates are found in a few angiosperm-feeding lineages that may have been favoured by the radiations of their host taxa during the Cenozoic. Intriguingly, lineages-through-time plots show signs of an early Cretaceous mass extinction, with a recovery starting first in angiosperm-associated clades. Hence, the oft-invoked assumption of herbivore diversification driven by the rise of flowering plants may overlook a Cretaceous global turnover in insect herbivore communities during the rapid displacement of gymnosperm- and pteridophyte-dominated floras by angiosperms.

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Abstract

Biogeography has traditionally focused on the spatial distribution and abundance of species. Both are driven by the way species interact with one another, but only recently community ecologists realized the need to document their spatial and temporal variation. Here, we call for an integrated approach, adopting the view that community structure is best represented as a network of ecological interactions, and show how it translates to biogeography questions. We propose that the ecological niche should encompass the effect of the environment on species distribution (the Grinnellian dimension of the niche) and on the ecological interactions among them (the Eltonian dimension). Starting from this concept, we develop a quantitative theory to explain turnover of interactions in space and time – i.e. a novel approach to interaction distribution modeling. We apply this framework to host–parasite interactions across Europe and find that two aspects of the environment (temperature and precipitation) exert a strong imprint on species co-occurrence, but not on species interactions. Even where species co-occur, interaction proves to be stochastic rather than deterministic, adding to variation in realized network structure. We also find that a large majority of host-parasite pairs are never found together, thus precluding any inferences regarding their probability to interact. This first attempt to explain variation of network structure at large spatial scales opens new perspectives at the interface of species distribution modeling and community ecology.

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Abstract

We describe Arge bella Wei & Du sp. nov., a large and beautiful species of Argidae from south China, and report its mitochondrial genome based on high-throughput sequencing data. We present the gene order, nucleotide composition of proteincoding genes (PCGs), and the secondary structures of RNA genes. The nearly complete mitochondrial genome of A. bella has a length of 15,576 bp and a typical set of 37 genes (22 tRNAs, 13 PCGs, and 2 rRNAs). Three tRNAs are rearranged in the A. bella mitochondrial genome as compared to the ancestral type in insects: trnM and trnQ are shuffled, while trnW is translocated from the trnW -trnC-trnY cluster to a location downstream of trnI. All PCGs are initiated by ATN codons, and terminated with TAA, TA or T as stop codons. All tRNAs have a typical cloverleaf secondary structure, except for trnS1. H821 of rrnS and H976 of rrnL are redundant. A phylogenetic analysis based on mitochondrial genome sequences of A. bella, 21 other symphytan species, two apocritan representatives, and four outgroup taxa supports the placement of Argidae as sister to the Pergidae within the symphytan superfamily Tenthredinoidea.