Finnish Museum of Natural History

Helsinki, Finland

Finnish Museum of Natural History

Helsinki, Finland
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Sablok G.,Finnish Museum of Natural History | Sablok G.,University of Helsinki | Yang K.,Guizhou University | Chen R.,China Institute of Technology | Wen X.,Guizhou University
Frontiers in Plant Science | Year: 2017

Among several smallRNAs classes, microRNAs play an important role in controlling the post-transcriptional events. Next generation sequencing has played a major role in extending the landscape of miRNAs and revealing their spatio-temporal roles in development and abiotic stress. Lateral evolution of these smallRNAs classes have widely been seen with the recently emerging knowledge on tRNA derived smallRNAs. In the present perspective, we discussed classification, identification and roles of tRNA derived smallRNAs across plants and their potential involvement in abiotic and biotic stresses. © 2017 Sablok, Yang, Chen and Wen.

Skallelv is a small village situated at the Varanger peninsula in easternmost Finnmark, NE Norway. The local population is of Finnish ethnic origin, and most are still fluent in Finnish. An ethnobotanical survey was carried out in 2006. About forty species, species groups or other ethnotaxonomical units, of vascular plants, bryophytes, algae, lichens and fungi had local vernacular names. Many were Finnish, but for some plants, people used Norwegian vernacular names, either instead of Finnish names, or as a supplement or parallell to these. The Norwegian names used were mostly widespread North Norwegian vernacular terms.

Kujala H.,University of Helsinki | Vepsalainen V.,Finnish Museum of Natural History | Zuckerberg B.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Brommer J.E.,University of Turku
Global Change Biology | Year: 2013

Global climate warming is predicted to lead to global and regional changes in the distribution of organisms. One influential approach to test this prediction using temporally repeated mapping surveys of organisms was suggested in a seminal paper by Thomas & Lennon (1999, Nature). The Thomas & Lennon approach corrects observed changes in the range margin for changes in the range size, and thus potentially controls for other broad-scale environmental changes between surveys, however the approach does not necessarily account for potential biases in sampling effort. To verify whether the issue of variation in sampling effort affects empirical estimates of shifts in range margin, we reanalyzed all three published studies exploring range margin changes of breeding birds in Great Britain (GB), Finland, and New York State (NY). Accounting for changes in survey effort on range margins lowered the estimated shift for breeding birds in New York, but the shift remained statistically significant. For Great Britain and Finland, for which no direct estimate of survey effort is available, we used species richness (a strong correlate of survey effort in New York) as a proxy and found that in both cases the estimated shift in range margin was significantly reduced and became nonsignificant. To understand how robust the approach is to sampling biases, we use a simulation model to show that the Thomas & Lennon approach is, under certain conditions, sensitive to changes in detection probability (probability to detect true occupancy) which in turn may be affected by changes in surveying effort between surveys. We thus found evidence that temporal changes in the distribution of breeding birds based on repeated mapping surveys may be inflated by changes in survey effort along range boundaries. We discuss possible approaches to deal with this issue in the analysis and design of national or regional surveys.copy; 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Brommer J.E.,University of Turku | Brommer J.E.,Novia University of Applied Sciences | Hanski I.K.,Finnish Museum of Natural History | Kekkonen J.,University of Helsinki | Vaisanen R.A.,Finnish Museum of Natural History
Journal of Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2014

Bergmann's rule predicts that individuals are larger in more poleward populations and that this size gradient has an adaptive basis. Hence, phenotypic divergence in size traits between populations (PST) is expected to exceed the level of divergence by drift alone (FST). We measured 16 skeletal traits, body mass and wing length in 409 male and 296 female house sparrows Passer domesticus sampled in 12 populations throughout Finland, where the species has its northernmost European distributional margin. Morphometric differentiation across populations (PST) was compared with differentiation in 13 microsatellites (FST). We find that twelve traits phenotypically diverged more than FST in both sexes, and an additional two traits diverged in males. The phenotypic divergence exceeded FST in several traits to such a degree that findings were robust also to strong between-population environmental effects. Divergence was particularly strong in dimensions of the bill, making it a strong candidate for the study of adaptive molecular genetic divergence. Divergent traits increased in size in more northern populations. We conclude that house sparrows show evidence of an adaptive latitudinal size gradient consistent with Bergmann's rule on the modest spatial scale of ca. 600 km. © 2014 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

To shed light on the issue, an international research team, led by MSc Juho Paukkunen, Finnish Museum of Natural History, Helsinki, provides descriptions and illustrations of all 74 species found in the Nordic and Baltic countries, including one new, in their recent publication in the open-access journal ZooKeys. Beautiful in appearance, the cuckoo wasps penetrate the nests of unrelated solitary wasps and solitary bees to lay their eggs, similar to how a cuckoo bird does in songbird nests. With their armoured bodies and the ability to curl up into a tight ball the cuckoo wasps are well-defended against the owners of the nests and their stings and jaws. At the larval stage, they take advantage of their hosts by either parasitising them or stealing their food, eventually killing the host's offspring. Within the Nordic representatives of the family there are an exceptionally large number of red-listed and endangered species. This is one of the reasons why the authors intend to trigger more interest among their fellow entomologists about these curious wasps. They have compiled all relevant information concerning their distribution, abundance, habitats, flight season and host species. The authors have tried to keep their identification key as comprehensive and concise as possible, by singling out the essential information on diagnostic characters. In the present study, the researchers describe a new species, called Chrysis borealis, which can be translated as 'Northern' cuckoo wasp. Although the male and female individuals are very similar, there is a significant variation in the colouration within the species. It is especially noticeable between the specimens collected from the northern localities and those from the southern ones. For instance, while the middle section of the body in southern specimens is either bright blue or violet with a greenish shimmer, in northern individuals it is nearly black, turning to greenish or golden green at the periphery. The varying shades within a certain species are quite common among the cuckoo wasps. While it is often that distinctive colouration among other wasps and insects indicates their separate origin and therefore, taxonomic placement, within the emerald family it can be a mere case of habitat location with the northern populations typically darker. Such tendencies often lead to doubts such as the one the authors have faced regarding their new species. It has been suggested that the Northern cuckoo wasp is in fact yet another variation of the very similar C. impressa, which is generally slightly brighter in colour, but at the same time distributed in warmer localities. However, using DNA sequence information and morphometric analysis, the team shows that there are enough consistent differences to separate them as distinct species, although they are defined as evolutionarily young siblings. With their research the authors intend to provide a basis for further and more detailed studies on the distribution, biology and morphology of the North European representatives of these intriguing wasps. Explore further: Two new beautiful wasp species of the rare genus Abernessia More information: Juho Paukkunen et al. An illustrated key to the cuckoo wasps (Hymenoptera, Chrysididae) of the Nordic and Baltic countries, with description of a new species, ZooKeys (2015). DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.548.6164

Astrom H.,PO Box 65 | Haeggstrom C.-A.,Finnish Museum of Natural History | Haeggstrom E.,Tornfalksvagen 2
Nordic Journal of Botany | Year: 2015

Chromosome numbers from a total number of 226 populations of Allium oleraceum were determined in Finland, Sweden and seven other countries. Two different chromosome numbers or cytotypes were found, tetraploids (2n = 32) and pentaploids (2n = 40). In Finland, samples were collected for chromosome counts from a total of 190 populations, which fairly well covers the distribution area of the species in Finland. The majority of the populations of A. oleraceum in Finland contained only one of the two cytotypes. A clear pattern in the geographical distribution of the cytotypes could be distinguished. The pentaploid cytotype predominates in the Åland Islands and in the archipelago of Regio aboënsis. The tetraploid cytotype predominates on the mainland of the Regio aboënsis and along the coast of the Nylandia. In south Häme, all studied native populations were of the tetraploid cytotype. Of all the studied populations in Finland 43.7% were tetraploid and 51.6% pentaploid. A few mixed populations with both tetraploid and pentaploid plants occurring in the same population were also found (4.7%). The chromosome numbers of 19 populations of A. oleraceum from the southern part of Sweden were pentaploids, with the exception of one tetraploid population. It seems that the pentaploid cytotype is predominant in Sweden, but no conclusions about a geographical pattern between the two cytotypes could be drawn. Based on the occurrence of the cytotypes, it is suggested that the pentaploid cytotype might have spread to Finland from the Swedish east coast via the Åland Islands to Kaland on the Finnish west coast and along the coast of Nyland to the archipelagos of Kotka and Hamina in Karelia australis. The tetraploid populations in south Häme are clearly connected to Iron Age activity and to old inland trade routes, and may be of eastern origin. © 2014 The Authors.

To provide a fast output, potentially benefiting the arachnid's survival, scientists from the IUCN - Spider and Scorpion Specialist Group and the Azorean Biodiversity Group (cE3c) at University of Azores, where the main objective is to perform research that addresses societal challenges in ecology, evolution and the environment, also known as the three E's from the centre's name abbreviation, teamed up with colleagues from University of Barcelona, Spain, and the Finnish Museum of Natural History. Together, they make use of a specialised novel publication type feature, called Species Conservation Profile, created by the open access journal Biodiversity Data Journal, to provide scholarly credit and citation for the IUCN Red List species page, as well as pinpoint the population trends and the reasons behind them. The studied spider species (scientifically called Turinyphia cavernicola) is a pale creature with long legs, large eyes and a total size of merely 2 mm in length. These spiders never leave their underground habitats, which are strictly humid lava tubes and volcanic pits. There they build sheet webs in small holes and crevices on the walls of the caves. Not only is the species restricted to a single island within the Azorean archipelago (Portugal), but it is only found in three caves. Furthermore, out of the three, only one of them is home to a sustainable large population. These caves are under severe threat due to pasture intensification, road construction and tourist activities. Although there is not much information about the species distribution through the years, with the spider having been discovered as recently as in 2008, the authors make the assumption that originally there have been significantly greater populations. Not only have they studied thoroughly another fifteen caves located on the island without finding any individuals, but they have identified increasing anthropogenic impact on the habitat. "The species original distribution was potentially very large compared with the current," the scientists explain. "Relatively intensive searches in and around the current caves where the species occurs have failed to find additional subpopulations." "The trend of decline is based on the assumption that this species can occur in all these caves and that the absence is due to anthropogenic disturbance on caves during the last 50 years," they note. More information: Paulo Borges et al, Species conservation profile of the cave spider Turinyphia cavernicola (Araneae, Linyphiidae) from Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal, Biodiversity Data Journal (2016). DOI: 10.3897/BDJ.4.e10274

Byholm P.,Novia University of Applied Sciences | Burgas D.,University of Helsinki | Virtanen T.,University of Helsinki | Valkama J.,Finnish Museum of Natural History
Ecology | Year: 2012

While much effort has been made to quantify how landscape composition influences the distribution of species, the possibility that geographical differences in species interactions might affect species distributions has received less attention. Investigating a predator-prey setting in a boreal forest ecosystem, we empirically show that large-scale differences in the predator community structure and small-scale competitive exclusion among predators affect the local distribution of a threatened forest specialist more than does landscape composition. Consequently, even though the landscape parameters affecting Siberian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) distribution (prey) did not differ between nest sites of the predators Northern Goshawks (Accipiter gentilis) and Ural Owls (Strix uralensis), flying squirrels were heterospecifically attracted by goshawks in a region where both predator species were present. No such effect was found in another region where Ural Owls were absent. These results provide evidence that differences in species interactions over large spatial scales may be a major force influencing the distribution and abundance patterns of species. On the basis of these findings, we suspect that subtle species interactions might be a central reason why landscape models constructed to predict species distributions often fail when applied to wider geographical scales. © 2012 by the Ecological Society of America.

Silfverberg H.,Finnish Museum of Natural History
Entomologica Fennica | Year: 2010

The name Ancistronycha violacea (Paykull) is a junior homonym. The name previously used to replace it, Ancistronycha cyanipennis (Faldermann), has been found to refer to another species. The valid name for the species is Ancistronycha tigurina (Dietrich, 1857).

Initial forest data for the scenario analyses was generated by means of satellite imagery and the NFI sample plot data. The spatial forest data enabled the use of patch- and landscape-scale models in predicting the presence of flying squirrels. "Integrating the estimation method with the MELA model will allow the impact assessment of alternative felling scenarios in areas of different sizes," explains Helena Haakana, Researcher at Luke. The same approach can be applied to assess the impacts of habitat conservation measures on wood production and forest revenues. The sample plot data from the NFI is commonly used in national and regional scenario analyses to assess the development of forest resources and future felling potential. The NFI covers the whole country, but the fairly sparse network of sample plots allows calculations only for large areas, such as provinces. Satellite imagery provides a means to estimate forest data for smaller areas and on full geographic coverage. This allows scenario analyses of forest production and utilization possibilities also at local level, for example, for municipalities. In addition, spatially explicit constraints on wood production, such as steep slopes and local land-use plans, can be taken into account in the analyses. Regional variation in the impacts of fellings on the predicted habitats suitable for the flying squirrel The Siberian flying squirrel is strictly protected in Europe and classified as a near threatened species in Finland. One reason for this population decline is most probably the loss of suitable habitats, resulting from intensive forest management. The flying squirrel prefers mature spruce-dominated mixed forest with some deciduous trees such as aspen. The development of suitable habitats for the flying squirrel was studied in three alternative felling scenarios in Southern Finland. The results confirmed that increasing the utilisation rate of felling potential from the level of business-as-usual to meet the policy targets of regional forest programmes would decrease the amount of suitable habitat in the future. The impacts varied between the regions, depending on the species density and forest structure. However, the occurrence of the flying squirrel could not be accurately predicted with forest and landscape variables only. Obviously, there are other factors than forest management, such as predators and historical species distribution, also affecting presence. The research was carried out in cooperation with the Finnish Museum of Natural History in a project funded by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment entitled "Habitats of the Siberian flying squirrel (Pteromys volans) in South Finland and the development of potential habitats in different cutting scenarios in 2005 – 2055." Explore further: A new solution for the management of up-to-date forest resource information in Russia More information: Helena Haakana et al. Comparing regional forest policy scenarios in terms of predicted suitable habitats for the Siberian flying squirrel (), Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research (2016). DOI: 10.1080/02827581.2016.1221991

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