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Mitchell A.,Australian Museum Research Institute
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2015

Natural history museums are vastly underutilized as a source of material for DNA analysis because of perceptions about the limitations of DNA degradation in older specimens. Despite very few exceptions, most DNA barcoding projects, which aim to obtain sequence data from all species, generally use specimens collected specifically for that purpose, instead of the wealth of identified material in museums, constrained by the lack of suitable PCR methods. Any techniques that extend the utility of museum specimens for DNA analysis therefore are highly valuable. This study first tested the effects of specimen age and PCR amplicon size on PCR success rates in pinned insect specimens, then developed a PCR primer set and amplification strategy allowing greatly increased utilization of older museum specimens for DNA barcoding. PCR success rates compare favourably with the few published studies utilizing similar aged specimens, and this new strategy has the advantage of being easily automated for high-throughput laboratory workflows. The strategy uses hemi-nested, degenerate, M13-tailed PCR primers to amplify two overlapping amplicons, using two PCRs per amplicon (i.e. four PCRs per DNA sample). Initial PCR products are reamplified using an internal primer and a M13 primer. Together the two PCR amplicons yield 559 bp of the COI gene from Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Odonata and presumably also other insects. BARCODE standard-compliant data were recovered from 67% (56 of 84) of specimens up to 25 years old, and 51% (102 of 197) of specimens up to 55 years old. Given the time, cost and specialist expertise required for fieldwork and identification, 'collecting in collections' is a viable alternative allowing researchers to capitalize on the knowledge captured by curation work in decades past. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Fanini L.,Hellenic Center for Marine Research | Lowry J.,Australian Museum Research Institute
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology | Year: 2014

Beach-hoppers and sandhoppers in the family Talitridae are strongly linked to the supralittoral environment. They are semi-terrestrial animals and because they are direct developers there is potentially no mobility between populations on adjacent beaches. In the case of coastlines fragmented by natural or artificial structures, the assumed lack of inter-connectivity between beaches may represent a severe threat for the resident populations: in case of impacts, they might not be able to recover and the habitat might not be re-colonised. Unless we consider another possible scenario: the potential connectivity of populations via water currents, from individuals swashed accidentally into the sea. We therefore tested two different species, the sandhopper Notorchestia quadrimana and the beach-hopper Platorchestia smithi for features relevant to dispersal and connectivity among beaches: 1) survival in sea-water; 2) orientation (baseline and scototaxis) in sea-water and 3) behaviour in a current. Talitrid populations were sampled from a sheltered beach and an exposed beach along the New South Wales coast. On the sheltered beach both species were found, co-occurring within the same distance from the shoreline. On the exposed beach only P. smithi was found, in a dune slack far away from the shoreline. All individuals tested survived 96. h in immersion, and when subjected to a current they were clinging on the edge of the flume apparatus for most of the duration of the test. Differences emerged when comparing orientation, with the sharpest precision towards a dark pattern (positive scototaxis) in P. smithi from the sheltered beach and bimodal orientation (partly scototactic and partly sun compass) in N. quadrimana. The behavioural differences observed are likely developed as risk-related: sandhoppers burrow in the substrate and are less exposed to occasional swash, while beach-hoppers living in cast wrack displayed the ability of swimming quickly towards a floating object, increasing the likelihood of being passively carried from one beach to another. Different ecological groups such "sandhoppers" and "beach-hoppers" showed different behavioural patterns. The consideration of behavioural answers to swash risk highlighted the possibility of the connectivity of talitrid populations across fragmented beaches. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Hughes L.E.,Australian Museum Research Institute
Zootaxa | Year: 2016

The new species Mallacoota misool is described from the West Macleur Gulf, West Papua. Mallacoota misool sp. nov. is exceptionally similar to the geographically close M. chandaniae Lowry & Springthorpe, 2005 known from the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia and also reported from the South China Sea. Both species have a massive gnathopod 2 propodus defined by two large teeth. Mallacoota misool sp. nov. has the palm medial surface without a dense bunch of seta, which is present in M. chandaniae. Copyright © 2016 Magnolia Press.

Reid A.,Australian Museum Research Institute
Molluscan Research | Year: 2016

Post-mortem drift is a common phenomenon within living shelled cephalopods (Nautilidae, Sepiidae and Spirulidae) and has led to the misinterpretation of geographical ranges in some species. In this study, the distributional ranges of reliably identified cuttlefish and beach-collected sepions (cuttlebones) from the Australian Museum, Museum Victoria and the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory collections were compared to determine the extent of sepion drift. In 12 of the 24 species examined, the distributions of dry sepions extended beyond the currently known ranges of the living populations as ascertained from the collection of intact animals. In some cases, this was in the order of hundreds of kilometres. These discrepancies are discussed in relation to the known depth ranges of each species, sepion morphology and oceanography. The results suggest that a cautionary approach should be taken in interpreting distributional data, particularly when using electronic databases that are likely to comprise sepion and whole animal locality information. Sepion distributions alone may be indicative of drift outside the true range of a species, or may suggest wider distributions of cuttlefish populations than are currently understood based on available information. Sepion drift is postulated to be the more likely explanation. © 2016 Crown Copyright in the Commonwealth of Australia 2015 Australian Museum Research Institute

Parapar J.,University of La Coruna | Hutchings P.A.,Australian Museum Research Institute
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom | Year: 2015

Terebellides stroemii Sars, 1835, the type species of the genus, was originally described from the south-west coast of Norway. Over the past 170 plus years this species has been reported from around the world often without a detailed description; in some cases, schematic illustrations of the anterior end with the distinctive branchiae were given. Identifications were likely based mainly on the branchiae consisting of 4-5 lobes but recent work has shown that this character alone has led to misidentifications and confusion of a number of morphologically similar species. Michael Sars (1835) did not designate type specimens for this species. In order to provide an accurate definition of the genus it is necessary to redescribe and characterize the type species including the designation of a neotype. This will provide a baseline against which the potentially undescribed sibling species in the area can be compared and fully described. A large collection of specimens identified as T. stroemii from locations along the coasts of Norway was studied in the Natural History Museum, University of Oslo. This has prompted us to locate material collected by M. Sars (1835) from the vicinity of the type locality and to designate a neotype and provide a comprehensive description of the type species of the genus. © 2014 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom.

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