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Effect of Collection Month, Visible Light, and Air Movement on the Attraction of Male Agriotes obscurus L. (Coleoptera: Elateridae) Click Beetles to Female Sex Pheromone

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-09-03
Abstract: 

Elaterid female sex pheromone, while currently used for monitoring the adult life stage (click beetle), has only recently been explored as a potential management tool. Consequently, there is little understanding of how abiotic and biotic conditions influence the response of click beetles to the pheromone. We examined whether the response of male Agriotes obscurus L. (Coleoptera: Elateridae) beetles to a cellulose-based formulation of female sex pheromone (‘pheromone granules’) is influenced by air movement, presence of visible light, and month of beetle collection. In addition, we investigated the distance from which beetles were attracted to the pheromone granules. Click beetle response was determined by measuring movement parameters in free-walking arena experiments. The response to pheromone was not affected by the presence or absence of visible light. We found that beetles collected earlier in the season had increased activity and interaction with pheromone under moving air conditions, compared to beetles collected later. When controlling for storage time, we confirmed that individuals collected in May were less active than beetles collected in March and April. In the field, beetles were recaptured from up to 14 m away from a pheromone granule source, with over 50% being recovered within 4.4 h from a distance of 7 m or less. Understanding how abiotic and biotic factors affect pest response to pheromone can lead to more effective and novel uses of pheromone-based management strategies.

Document type: 
Article
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Estimating IUCN Red List Population Reduction: JARA—A Decision-Support Tool Applied to Pelagic Sharks

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2019-11-18
Abstract: 

The International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List is the global standard for quantifying extinction risk but assessing population reduction (criterion A) of wide‐ranging, long‐lived marine taxa remains difficult and controversial. We show how Bayesian state–space models (BSSM), coupled with expert knowledge at IUCN Red List workshops, can combine regional abundance data into indices of global population change. To illustrate our approach, we provide examples of the process to assess four circumglobal sharks with differing temporal and spatial data‐deficiency: Blue Shark (Prionace glauca), Shortfin Mako (Isurus oxyrinchus), Dusky Shark (Carcharhinus obscurus), and Great Hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran). For each species, the BSSM provided global population change estimates over three generation lengths bounded by uncertainty levels in intuitive outputs, enabling informed decisions on the status of each species. Integrating similar analyses into future workshops would help conservation practitioners ensure robust, consistent, and transparent Red List assessments for other long‐lived, wide‐ranging species.

Document type: 
Article
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Oversummering Juvenile and Adult Semipalmated Sandpipers in Perú Gain Enough Survival to Compensate for Foregone Breeding Opportunity

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-10-27
Abstract: 

Background  Age at maturity and the timing of first breeding are important life history traits. Most small shorebird species mature and breed as ‘yearlings’, but have lower reproductive success than adults. In some species, yearlings may defer northward migration and remain in non-breeding regions (‘oversummering’) until they reach 2 years of age. Some adults also oversummer. Oversummering would be favoured by natural selection if survival were as a result raised sufficiently to compensate for the missed breeding opportunity. Several thousand Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla) spend the non-breeding period at Paracas, Perú, including individuals with long bills (likely from eastern Arctic breeding populations ~ 8000 km distant) and short bills (likely from western Arctic breeding populations, up to 11,000 km distant), with short-billed birds more likely to oversummer. We tested the prediction that oversummering birds have higher survival than migrants, and that the magnitude of this higher survival for oversummering birds is enough to compensate for their lost breeding season.

Methods  We used a Multi-State Mark-Recapture model based on 5 years of encounter data (n = 1963 marked birds, and 3229 resightings) obtained year-round at Paracas, Perú, to estimate seasonal (i.e. breeding and non-breeding) survivorship for migrant and oversummering birds. We calculated the magnitude of the oversummering survival advantage required to compensate, for both yearlings and adults, based on published measures of annual survival and reproductive success. Using bill length as a proxy for migration distance, we investigated whether migratory survival is distance-dependent.

Results  We estimate that 28% of yearlings and 19% of adults oversummer. Survival is higher for oversummering birds than for migrants, and the oversummering survival advantage is greater for adults (0.215) than for yearlings (0.140). The theoretical thresholds predicted by the size of the missed reproductive opportunity are 0.240 for adults and 0.134 for yearlings. Migratory survival decreases and the oversummering rate increases with migration distance, as assessed by culmen length.

Conclusions  Our results support the life history hypothesis that oversummering raises survival enough to compensate for the loss of a breeding opportunity. Greater migration distance lowers survival and increases the probability of oversummering.

Document type: 
Article
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Sharkipedia: Elasmobranch Traits and Trends Global Database

Peer reviewed: 
No, item is not peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-10-20
Abstract: 

Sharkipedia is an open source research initiative to make all published biological traits and population trends on sharks, rays, and chimaeras accessible to everyone. Originally inspired by FishBase, our databases are modelled after Coral Traits database and the RAM legacy database. The key aspects of our initiative were established with the central tenet of facilitating research on chondrichthyans, and are built on three main principles: (1) being completely web-based open- access and queryable for use by all researchers, (2) quality control and assurance by experts in the field and traceability of every measurement to its original references, and (3) regular updates association with International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List Assessment workshops of focal species.

Document type: 
Preprint
File(s): 

Resource Pulses Increase the Diversity of Successful Competitors in a Multi-Species Stream Fish Assemblage

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-09-18
Abstract: 

Food resources are often patchily distributed through space and time and are classified as resource pulses when hyperabundant. Resource pulses can benefit growth, reproduction, and abundance of various consumers. Yet, it is relatively unknown how such resources are partitioned among competing consumers and how this is influenced by the magnitude of the pulse. Here, we examined how the magnitude of a pulsed resource influences resource partitioning among diverse sizes and species of consumers in a natural setting over small spatial and temporal scales. We focused on salmon egg subsidies to stream fish consumers. We experimentally added different quantities of pink salmon eggs to five meter long experimental stream sections. Egg additions spanned three orders of magnitude from 6 to 3575 eggs. Stream fish (egg consumers) were captured and gastric lavaged at each experimental section to determine how many eggs each individual fish consumed. We modeled taxon‐specific individual egg consumption as a function of egg availability, individual mass, community composition, number of competitors, and stream velocity using hurdle models in a Bayesian framework. We found that there were diminishing returns for increasing egg abundance increasing egg consumption (i.e., type II functional response) for individual size classes of fish, but that higher egg numbers were needed to benefit diverse consumers. Top models indicated that egg availability and individual fish characteristics (size and taxon) drove egg consumption, while community characteristics (species composition and number of competitors) were not supported. Our results suggest that resource pulses can provide rare opportunities for less dominant sizes and species of fish to consume abundant resources. The current paradigm in the stream fish literature suggests that stream fish communities are structured by dominance hierarchies; however, dominance hierarchies may be less influential where pulsed resources comprise a large portion of the resource base.

Document type: 
Article
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Identification of Three Monofunctional Diterpene Synthases with Specific Enzyme Activities Expressed during Heartwood Formation in Western Redcedar (Thuja plicata) Trees

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-08-12
Abstract: 

Upon harvest, Western redcedar (WRC; Thuja plicata) trees have a high incidence and extent of heartwood rot. While monoterpenoids and lignans have been linked to rot resistance in this species, other specialized metabolites, such as diterpenes, are likely to contribute to rot resistance. Here we report the cloning and functional assessment of three putative diterpene synthase (TpdiTPS) genes expressed during heartwood formation in WRC. The predicted proteins of the three genes lack either of the two catalytically independent active sites typical of most diTPS, indicating monofunctional rather than bifunctional activity. To identify potential catalytic activities of these proteins, we expressed them in genetically engineered Escherichia coli strains that produce four potential substrates, geranylgeranyl diphosphate (GGDP), ent, syn, and normal stereoisomers of copalyl diphosphate (CDP). We found that TpdiTPS3 used GGDP to produce CDP. TpdiTPS2 used normal CDP to produce levopimaradiene. TpdiTPS1 showed stereoselectivity as it used normal CDP to produce sandaracopimaradiene and syn-CDP to produce syn-stemod-13(17)-ene. These genes and protein enzymatic activities have not been previously reported in WRC and provide an opportunity to assess their potential roles in heartwood rot resistance in this economically important species.

Document type: 
Article
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Change in Sediment Features and the Macroinvertebrate Community Within an Estuarine Ecosystem Two Years Post‐restoration

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-07-30
Abstract: 

Our objective was to assess the response of an estuarine ecosystem to restoration efforts, two years post‐restoration. Sediment attributes of particle size distribution (PSD), %LOI, water content and amounts of fine wood debris (FWD), and the macroinvertebrate community were compared among three sites, two reference and the recently restored site. The restored region had been previously used as a log sorting facility. As indicated by PSD, the restored site showed signs of recovery. However, the macroinvertebrate community had still not responded to restoration efforts. Sediments of reference sites were comprised of fine sand, and the macroinvertebrate community was dominated by Macoma spp. By contrast, at the restored site, sediments were mainly comprised of silt followed by fine sand, Macoma spp. was absent, and the main macroinvertebrate was Glycera americana, a polychaeta characteristic of disturbed regions. The restored site still contained significance amounts of FWD as compared to the two reference sites attributed to its previous use. Although still early in its recovery stage, active restoration did have a positive effect and will have likely kick started the region toward recovery and further follow‐up in five years is recommended.

Document type: 
Article
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Run‐Of‐River Dams as a Barrier to the Movement of a Stream‐Dwelling Amphibian

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-08-06
Abstract: 

Human activities frequently create structures that alter the connectivity among habitats or act as barriers to the natural movement of animals. Movement allows individuals to access different habitats, connect life history stages, and maintain genetic diversity. Here, we evaluated whether run‐of‐river (RoR) hydropower projects, an emerging renewable energy source in British Columbia, interrupt the longitudinal connectivity among larval stream amphibians, by altering larval rearing densities, with possible repercussions on growth and survival. In three watersheds, we tested for differences in the average upstream and downstream density of larval coastal tailed frog (Ascaphus truei), as well as changes to their longitudinal distribution upstream of the dams, as would be expected if RoR dams or their headponds act as barriers to the natural downstream drift of larvae. We found a 60% decrease in larval densities downstream compared to upstream of dams, consistent with RoR dams interrupting the natural pattern of downstream A. truei drift. Larval densities in the first 10 m above RoR headponds were 3 times higher compared to 100 m upstream, and when expressed in terms of relative abundance, we find a similar pattern, with between 2.5 and 3 times more larvae in the first 10 m above of the headpond than expected if larvae followed a uniform distribution. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that RoR dams alter the spatial connectivity of A. truei larvae, leading to an accumulation of larvae directly above the dam, with unknown consequences for larval growth and survival. Our findings suggest caution is warranted when interpreting before–after monitoring studies that are often used to evaluate the impact of dams, whereby we find that reductions in downstream densities could be due to interruptions of downstream movement as opposed to direct mortality.

Document type: 
Article
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Hermaphroditism in Marijuana (Cannabis sativa L.) Inflorescences – Impact on Floral Morphology, Seed Formation, Progeny Sex Ratios, and Genetic Variation

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-06-25
Abstract: 

Cannabis sativa L. (hemp, marijuana) produces male and female inflorescences on different plants (dioecious) and therefore the plants are obligatory out-crossers. In commercial production, marijuana plants are all genetically female; male plants are destroyed as seed formation reduces flower quality. Spontaneously occurring hermaphroditic inflorescences, in which pistillate flowers are accompanied by formation of anthers, leads to undesired seed formation; the mechanism for this is poorly understood. We studied hermaphroditism in several marijuana strains with three objectives: (i) to compare the morphological features of this unique phenotype with normal male flowers; (ii) to assess pollen and seed viability from hermaphroditic flowers; and (iii) to assess the effect of hermaphroditism on progeny male:female (sex) ratios and on genetic variation using molecular methods. The morphological features of anthers, pollen production and germination in hermaphroditic flowers and in staminate inflorescences on male plants were compared using light and scanning electron microscopy. Seeds produced on hermaphroditic plants and seeds derived from cross-fertilization were germinated and seedlings were compared for gender ratios using a PCR-based assay as well as for the extent of genetic variation using six ISSR primers. Nei’s index of gene diversity and Shannon’s Information index were compared for these two populations. The morphology of anthers and pollen formation in hermaphroditic inflorescences was similar to that in staminate flowers. Seedlings from hermaphroditic seeds, and anther tissues, showed a female genetic composition while seedlings derived from cross-fertilized seeds showed a 1:1 male:female sex expression ratio. Uniquely, hermaphroditic inflorescences produced seeds which gave rise only to genetically female plants. In PCR assays, a 540 bp size fragment was present in male and female plants, while a 390 bp band was uniquely associated with male plants. Sequence analysis of these fragments revealed the presence of Copia-like retrotransposons within the C. sativa genome which may be associated with the expression of male or female phenotype. In ISSR analysis, the percentage of polymorphic loci ranged from 44 to 72% in hermaphroditic and cross-fertilized populations. Nei’s index of gene diversity and Shannon’s Information index were not statistically different for both populations. The extent of genetic variation after one generation of selfing in the progeny from hermaphroditic seed is similar to that in progeny from cross-fertilized seeds.

Document type: 
Article
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Quantifying Biodiversity Trade-Offs In The Face Of Widespread Renewable and Unconventional Energy Development

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Date created: 
2020-05-05
Abstract: 

The challenge of balancing biodiversity protection with economic growth is epitomized by the development of renewable and unconventional energy, whose adoption is aimed at stemming the impacts of global climate change, yet has outpaced our understanding of biodiversity impacts. We evaluated the potential conflict between biodiversity protection and future electricity generation from renewable (wind farms, run-of-river hydro) and non-renewable (shale gas) sources in British Columbia (BC), Canada using three metrics: greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, electricity cost, and overlap between future development and conservation priorities for several fish and wildlife groups - small-bodied vertebrates, large mammals, freshwater fish – and undisturbed landscapes. Sharp trade-offs in global versus regional biodiversity conservation exist for all energy technologies, and in BC they are currently smallest for wind energy: low GHG emissions, low-moderate overlap with top conservation priorities, and competitive energy cost. GHG emissions from shale gas are 1000 times higher than those from renewable sources, and run-of-river hydro has high overlap with conservation priorities for small-bodied vertebrates. When all species groups were considered simultaneously, run-of-river hydro had moderate overlap (0.56), while shale gas and onshore wind had low overlap with top conservation priorities (0.23 and 0.24, respectively). The unintended cost of distributed energy sources for regional biodiversity suggest that trade-offs based on more diverse metrics must be incorporated into energy planning.

Document type: 
Article
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