After last week’s linkfest, readers wrote in saying a hybrid would be best: important papers with descriptions, and just links for papers that are of more esoteric interest.
101 papers this week, 15 open access (search for [OA]).
Must-Read Papers (unsorted):
This paper examines the impact of the K-T on terrestrial vegetation in a section in Spain, using biomarkers tot race the succession of events recorded in this particular locality. Summary: at the event, the vegetation was destroyed, and an increase of terrestrial material deposited in the anoxic oceans is recorded. Then, 10000 years later, conifers rebounded.
Part scientific autobiography, part history of research, this is a review of Rüdiger Wehner’s work, written by himself. If you don’t know who he is, read my post on ant navigation and realise that the bulk of it is derived from his work using Cataglyphis ants as a model organism.
There are several ways in which eusocial insects start a new colony. There is solitary founding, in which a single queen moves to a new nest. Pleometrosis is when several queens move together. There is social parasitism, in which a queen attempts tot ake over a foreign colony. And, finally, dependent colony foundation, in which a queen and several nestmates move together to the new nest. Each strategy has its own distinct advantages, with the main ones of DCF being that the success rate is high, that the new colony can get to work immediately, and that the colony size can be optimised by choosing how many workers to take. These are strong benefits, and this is why it’s evolved convergently in many bees and ants. This paper reviews just how many times it’s evolved and the various quirks species have added to the strategy.
Insects will inevitably be part of our diet in the future – it’s unavoidable, given that agriculture will soon be failing all around us. It’s nothing to worry about: only we weird Westerners avoid eating insects because we’re taught that they’re icky. In fact, insects have always been a staple of primate diets, including human diets. They’re very nutritious, and the only difference to chicken is that the exoskeletons are a bit crunchy. Read this review to get a broad perspective on entomophagy.
For anyone interested in an overview of evo-devo, this paper is a must-have. Besides the short historical and thematic overview, it provides many examples of fundamental evo-devo research in insects, and makes an excellent resource for any lecture on the topic.
For anyone interested in the history of entomology, get this paper, which summarises how insect systematics has changed from antiquity to today.
A review of the fossil record of ants.
It seems that pterosaurs hit on a winning evolutionary formula with their flying body plan. This paper analyses all the various phylogenetic hypotheses for early pterosaurs and finds that all of them share one thing in common: pterosaurs experienced an adaptive radiation very early on. This is most probably due to being the only large animals to fly at the time, similar to how birds are now highly-successful.
It’s quite common to see articles, both popular and scientific, citing sudden blooms of jellyfish as warning signs of a dying ocean. Try as you might though, you will find little evidence backing such an assertion up, except for local reports of increased jellyfish numbers in warmer waters near industrial discharge sites. This paper looks at the occurrence of blooms and finds that there is very little statistical support for an increase in jellyfish over time (correlated with degradation). Rather, there is a global, 20 year cycle that jelly blooms go through.
A review and many comments, all open access, on the relationship between hybridization and speciation – an important topic, given that hybridization has a chance of occurring in the short- to mid-section of speciation.
This paper is a significant experimental demonstration of the intelligence of great apes. The authors tested the innovation of all non-human great ape species, their ability to come up with modify their past solutions to new problems, and found that all but the orang-utans aced the tests. This means they’re able to think about and learn to overcome new challenges – just like humans.
I wrote about parthenogenesis here. This paper reviews thelytoky in eusocial Hymenoptera, a strange form of reproduction in which female offspring come out of unfertilised diploid eggs (usually, unfertilised eggs result in males).
The supercontinent cycle is a proposed pattern of the Earth going through cycles when the continents are joined together. Its acknowledgement is fairly significant, and this paper reviews the history of research on the matter, from its first propositions and realisation of multiple supercontinents through time, to its modern acceptance and milestone publications, to future prospects.
Mosquitoes aren’t just annoying critters and important prey in freshwater habitats. In developing countries, they’re a huge public health hazard as vectors of Plasmodium, the protozoan that causes malaria. Proposals to control them have ranged from insecticide flooding to biocontrol using parasites and prey to draining of wetlands to targeted biomolecular interventions – and none of these work by themselves. Thsi paper sets the conversation on the right track by stressing that before we can control them, we need to understand every bit of their ecology.
Adolf Remane is one of the most important modern zoologists to have lived, his most famous contribution arguably being the setting of the three critical criteria for homology. However, history has not treated him well due to the influence of Ernst Mayr, who, for some reason, found his contributions to not be so useful. This was a mistake on Mayr’s part, as this paper shows: by analysing what Remane wrote of, and analysing what Benhard Rensch (another zoologist who Mayr consistently praised) wrote of, the paper finds that the two are not really so different. I hope this promotes Remane’s work again, because while it’s somewhat outdated now, and he got some things plain wrong (e.g. he viewed palaeontology as useless for phylogenetics), he was still a significant part of the 20th century’s biology that gave birth to the Modern Synthesis.
New Books in the Store:
- Wake & Roth (eds.). 1989. Complex Organismal Functions: Integration and Evolution in Vertebrates. [Vertebrate Zoology]
- New research in tidal current energy.
- Biogeochemical changes across the Ediacaran-Cambrian transition in South China.
- Neuroactive Insecticides: Targets, Selectivity, Resistance, and Secondary Effects.
- The Impact of Molecular Data on Our Understanding of Bee Phylogeny and Evolution.
- The Juvenile Hormone Signaling Pathway in Insect Development.
- The Adult Dipteran Crop: A Unique and Overlooked Organ.
- Ecdysone Receptors: From the Ashburner Model to Structural Biology.
- Vision in Drosophila: Seeing the World Through a Model’s Eyes.
- Intrinsic Inter- and Intraspecific Competition in Parasitoid Wasps.
- Odorant Reception in Insects: Roles of Receptors, Binding Proteins, and Degrading Enzymes.
- Host Preferences of Blood-Feeding Mosquitoes.
- Biology of Invasive Termites: A Worldwide Review.
- Spider-Venom Peptides: Structure, Pharmacology, and Potential for Control of Insect Pests.
- Neural Mechanisms of Reward in Insects.
- Something Darwin didn’t know about barnacles: spermcast mating in a common stalked species.
- Shock avoidance by discrimination learning in the shore crab (Carcinus maenas) is consistent with a key criterion for pain.
- Spatial accuracy of a rapid defense behavior in caterpillars.
- A presumed spelaeogriphacean crustacean from an upper Barremian wetland (Las Hoyas; Lower Cretaceous; Central Spain).
- A new genus of the family Panfiloviidae (Insecta, Neuroptera) from the Middle Jurassic of China.
- Snipe flies (Diptera: Rhagionidae) from the Daohugou Formation (Jurassic), Inner Mongolia, and the systematic position of related records in China.
- Soldier-based defences dynamically track resource availability and quality in ants.
- Measuring the costs of alternative reproductive tactics in horseshoe crabs, Limulus polyphemus.
- Phylogeny of thrips (Insecta: Thysanoptera) based on five molecular loci.
- Shaking the Diptera tree of life: performance analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial sequence data partitions.
- The phylogenetic relationships among infraorders and superfamilies of Diptera based on morphological evidence.
- Phylogenomics of Hemiptera (Insecta: Paraneoptera) based on mitochondrial genomes.
- Evolution of nesting behaviour and kleptoparasitism in a selected group of osmiine bees (Hymenoptera: Megachilidae).
- A Diverse New Assemblage of Green Lacewings (Insecta, Neuroptera, Chrysopidae) from the Early Eocene Okanagan Highlands, Western North America.
- Fossil Mayfly Larvae (Ephemeroptera, cf. Heptageniidae) from the Late Cretaceous Wapiti Formation, Alberta, Canada.
- The phylogeny of aglaspidid arthropods and the internal relationships within Artiopoda.
- Revised systematics of Palaeozoic ‘horseshoe crabs’ and the myth of monophyletic Xiphosura.
- Genome size and ploidy of Thysanoptera.
- Multiple ancient horizontal gene transfers and duplications in lepidopteran species.
- Buckling as an origin of ordered cuticular patterns in flower petals.
- Plant mitochondrial genome peculiarities evolving in the earliest vascular plant lineages.
- Horizontal gene transfer in the evolution of photosynthetic eukaryotes.
- The Earliest Fleshy Cone of Ephedra from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation of Northeast China.
- Ecological Mechanisms Underlying Arthropod Species Diversity in Grasslands.
- Bacterial cooperation in the wild and in the clinic: Are pathogen social behaviours relevant outside the laboratory?
- Synergistic effects of non-Apis bees and honey bees for pollination services.
- Individual memory and the emergence of cooperation.
- The historical biogeography of coral reef fishes: global patterns of origination and dispersal. [OA]
- Phytophagous insect community assembly through niche conservatism on oceanic islands.
- An Emerging Understanding of Mechanisms Governing Insect Herbivory Under Elevated CO2.
- Geometrid outbreak waves travel across Europe. [OA]
- Toxicity of Deepwater Horizon Source Oil and the Chemical Dispersant, Corexit® 9500, to Coral Larvae. [OA]
- New perspectives on the evolution of exaggerated traits.
- Synthetic polymers and their potential as genetic materials.
- Non-random mutation: The evolution of targeted hypermutation and hypomutation.
- Evolutionary dynamics of group interactions on structured populations: a review. [OA]
- Generating super-shedders: co-infection increases bacterial load and egg production of a gastrointestinal helminth. [OA]
- We were all young once: an intragenomic perspective on parent–offspring conflict.
- Widespread horizontal transfer of retrotransposons.
- Discrete genetic modules are responsible for complex burrow evolution in Peromyscus mice.
- Three decades of cultural evolution in Savannah sparrow songs.
- Evolution at increased error rate leads to the coexistence of multiple adaptive pathways in an RNA virus. [OA]
- Polyandry-fecundity relationship in insects: methodological and conceptual problems.
- Mass extinctions do not explain skew in interspecific body size distributions.
- Neoproterozoic ironstones in northern Namibia: Biogenic precipitation and Cryogenian glaciation.
- Coupled CO2-climate response during the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum.
- Amber inorganic geochemistry: New insights into the environmental processes in a Cretaceous forest of France.
- The expression of the Cenomanian–Turonian oceanic anoxic event in Tibet.
Human and Primate:
- Exaggerated translation causes synaptic and behavioural aberrations associated with autism.
- Ecology of culture: do environmental factors influence foraging tool use in wild chimpanzees, Pan troglodytes verus?
- Human Life History Evolution Explains Dissociation between the Timing of Tooth Eruption and Peak Rates of Root Growth. [OA]
- Paleoecology and evolution of Jurassic–Cretaceous corbiculoids from Japan.
- Ungulate diets reveal patterns of grassland evolution in North America.
- The Flight Dynamics of Tapejara, a Pterosaur From the Early Cretaceous of Brazil with a Large Cranial Crest.
- Dragon Tails: Convergent Caudal Morphology in Winged Archosaurs.
- Traces of marine nematodes from 470 million years old Early Ordovician rocks in China.
- Oceanographic controls on the diversity and extinction of planktonic foraminifera.
- The radula of the Late Cretaceous scaphitid ammonite Rhaeboceras halli (Meek and Hayden, 1856).
- Life mode of in situ Conularia in a Middle Devonian epibole.
- Reconstructing Rangea: New Discoveries from the Ediacaran of Southern Namibia.
- Calcareous tubeworms as disaster forms after the end-Permian mass extinction in South China.
- Zebrafish larvae evade predators by sensing water flow.
- Ventilation rates and activity levels of juvenile jumbo squid under metabolic suppression in the oxygen minimum zone.
- Patterns of sexual size dimorphism in Chelonia.
- Middle Ear Cavity Morphology Is Consistent with an Aquatic Origin for Testudines. [OA]
- The Dual Protection of a Micro Land Snail against a Micro Predatory Snail. [OA]
- Survival of the Stillest: Predator Avoidance in Shark Embryos. [OA]
- How Large Should Whales Be? [OA]
- Comparative analysis of complete mitochondrial genome sequences confirms independent origins of plant-parasitic nematodes. [OA]
- Skeletal ontogeny in basal scleractinian micrabaciid corals.
- Comparative morphology of serotonergic-like immunoreactive elements in the central nervous system of kinorhynchs (Kinorhyncha, Cyclorhagida).