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Landaverde-Gonzalez P.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Landaverde-Gonzalez P.,University of San Carlos of Guatemala | Enriquez E.,University of San Carlos of Guatemala | Ariza M.A.,University of San Carlos of Guatemala | And 5 more authors.
Conservation Genetics | Year: 2017

Habitat fragmentation and loss are important drivers of genetic differentiation, often leading to a decrease in genetic diversity. Yet, natural populations of tropical bees often show a lack of differentiation, even in fragmented landscapes, suggesting resilience to deal with unfavourable land use. It is not clear what leads to this lack of differentiation, but large population sizes, high rates of dispersal and stable demography likely play important roles. Here, we investigate the population genetic structure and infer the present and historic demography of the eusocial stingless bee Partamona bilineata from tropical montane cloud forests in Guatemala. We used microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA to test for genetic differentiation, to infer migration rates, and to evaluate the effects of landscape. We also used demographic modelling to trace population sizes over time. We found that six populations of P. bilineata exhibited only subtle differentiation, with the exception of one site at the edge of the cloud forest, which was clearly distinct from all others. Effective population sizes (number of colonies) appeared to be rather small (18 ± 6 colonies) compared to the original sample size (N = 51 ± 9), but stable over time, and inferred rates of gene flow were low; yet, no genetic bottleneck was detected. A statistical model including elevation was the best in explaining the observed pattern of differentiation. We find that P. bilineata does not exhibit strong genetic structure, making it a resilient species for provision of pollination services. But, at the same time, our data point to the potential vulnerability of this and similar species, as effective population sizes appear to be low and hence populations may be easily affected by future environmental change. As such, P. bilineata may be representative of many other tropical stingless bees, for which lack of differentiation has been invoked. © 2017 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht


Naughton J.,Athlone Institute of Technology | Tiedeken E.J.,Athlone Institute of Technology | Tiedeken E.J.,National Biodiversity Data Center | Garvey M.,Institute of Technology Sligo | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Apicultural Research | Year: 2017

The anthropogenic movement of managed bees has led to the introduction and global spread of parasites with significant adverse effects on the health of both managed and wild species. This constitutes the first study to report on the use of high-intensity pulsed light (PL) for the inactivation of the trypanosome parasite Crithidia bombi, a pest of wild and managed bees. Through initial PL range-finding studies we identified a putative effective UV dose of 12.96 μJ/cm2 for C. bombi treatment. This was a result of tests on waterborne protozoan Cryptosporidium parvum, and was determined using in vitro combined cell culture-qPCR infectivity assays. This irradiance produced ca. ≥4 log10 oocyst reductions of C. parvum. To confirm this dose as appropriate for treatment of C. bombi, we used the buff tailed bumble bee (Bombus terrestris) as an animal infectivity model. C. bombi was collected from the feces of wild B. terrestris queens and used to inoculate 30 commercially supplied workers (B. terrestris audux) in order to obtain a colony-specific C. bombi inoculum. This was used for subsequent tests on 60 randomly-selected unparasitised workers, which were divided evenly and fed either PL-treated or untreated (control) C. bombi inoculant. Of the 28 surviving workers fed with pooled C. bombi untreated inoculum, 25 exhibited infection as confirmed by detection of the parasite in fecal samples after 9 days, where the remaining two did not excrete feces. Twenty-eight of 30 (93%) workers fed PL-treated C. bombi at 12.96 μJ/cm2 under similar test conditions were uninfected after the same time period (the remaining two workers did not produce feces for testing). Thus we demonstrate for the first time, that PL is potentially a reliable and efficient technology for the non-thermal inactivation of C. bombi for the pollination industry. Although in vivo treatment of whole bees with PL is not possible, the use of this technology on equipment used in commercial bumble bee breeding facilities could potentially reduce infection rates, therefore contributing to making the industry more sustainable and less of a risk to wild pollinators. © 2017 International Bee Research Association.


Crowe O.,BirdWatch Ireland | Crowe O.,University College Cork | Coombes R.H.,BirdWatch Ireland | Lysaght L.,National Biodiversity Data Center | And 5 more authors.
Bird Study | Year: 2010

Capsule The first analyses of trends in relative abundance of terrestrial birds in Ireland showed that trends were predominantly stable or increased between 1998 and 2008. Aims To determine trends in relative abundance of common and widespread breeding birds in the Republic of Ireland between 1998 and 2008. Methods Changes in abundance of 52 species were described nationally, and at regional level, by fitting log-linear regression models to transect data gathered as part of the Countryside Bird Survey between 1998 and 2008. Results Some 22 species were shown to increase, 8 species declined, and 22 species were relatively stable. Greatest increases were seen in Stonechats Saxicola torquata, Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla, European Goldfinches Carduelis carduelis, Common Redpolls C. flammea, and Common Bullfinches Pyrrhula pyrrhula. The greatest declines in trends were in Common Kestrels Falco tinnunculus, Common Swifts Apus apus, Sky Larks Alauda arvensis and Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus. Most of the national trends were consistent across eight regions. Conclusions Breeding bird populations in the Republic of Ireland have generally fared well between 1998 and 2008, although declining trends in Sky Larks and Common Kestrels in particular may indicate that farming practices continue to impact on farmland specialists. The declines shown in European Robins Erithacus rubecula, Mistle Thrushes and Black-billed Magpies Pica pica were unexpected. The significant population trends presented are largely consistent with those in Britain and in Europe. The trends contrast with other European populations by the increases shown for Common Bullfinches and House Sparrows Passer domesticus and the decline shown for European Robins and Rooks Corvus frugilegus. © 2010 British Trust for Ornithology.


Stefanescu C.,Butterfly Monitoring Scheme | Paramo F.,Butterfly Monitoring Scheme | Akesson S.,Lund University | Alarcon M.,Polytechnic University of Catalonia | And 28 more authors.
Ecography | Year: 2013

Long-range, seasonal migration is a widespread phenomenon among insects, allowing them to track and exploit abundant but ephemeral resources over vast geographical areas. However, the basic patterns of how species shift across multiple locations and seasons are unknown in most cases, even though migrant species comprise an important component of the temperate-zone biota. The painted lady butterfly Vanessa cardui is such an example; a cosmopolitan continuously-brooded species which migrates each year between Africa and Europe, sometimes in enormous numbers. The migration of 2009 was one of the most impressive recorded, and thousands of observations were collected through citizen science programmes and systematic entomological surveys, such as high altitude insect-monitoring radar and ground-based butterfly monitoring schemes. Here we use V. cardui as a model species to better understand insect migration in the Western Palaearctic, and we capitalise on the complementary data sources available for this iconic butterfly. The migratory cycle in this species involves six generations, encompassing a latitudinal shift of thousands of kilometres (up to 60 degrees of latitude). The cycle comprises an annual poleward advance of the populations in spring followed by an equatorward return movement in autumn, with returning individuals potentially flying thousands of kilometres. We show that many long-distance migrants take advantage of favourable winds, moving downwind at high elevation (from some tens of metres from the ground to altitudes over 1000 m), pointing at strong similarities in the flight strategies used by V. cardui and other migrant Lepidoptera. Our results reveal the highly successful strategy that has evolved in these insects, and provide a useful framework for a better understanding of long-distance seasonal migration in the temperate regions worldwide. © 2012 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2012 Nordic Society Oikos.


PubMed | Armenian National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, Royal Botanic Gardens, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences and 67 more.
Type: | Journal: Biodiversity data journal | Year: 2015

Reliable taxonomy underpins communication in all of biology, not least nature conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem resources. The flexibility of taxonomic interpretations, however, presents a serious challenge for end-users of taxonomic concepts. Users need standardised and continuously harmonised taxonomic reference systems, as well as high-quality and complete taxonomic data sets, but these are generally lacking for non-specialists. The solution is in dynamic, expertly curated web-based taxonomic tools. The Pan-European Species-directories Infrastructure (PESI) worked to solve this key issue by providing a taxonomic e-infrastructure for Europe. It strengthened the relevant social (expertise) and information (standards, data and technical) capacities of five major community networks on taxonomic indexing in Europe, which is essential for proper biodiversity assessment and monitoring activities. The key objectives of PESI were: 1) standardisation in taxonomic reference systems, 2) enhancement of the quality and completeness of taxonomic data sets and 3) creation of integrated access to taxonomic information.This paper describes the results of PESI and its future prospects, including the involvement in major European biodiversity informatics initiatives and programs.


Moreira A.S.,Institute of Technology Carlow | Moreira A.S.,Teagasc | Moreira A.S.,Dundalk Institute of Technology | Horgan F.G.,Teagasc | And 4 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

The genetic structure of the earth bumblebee (Bombus terrestris L.) was examined across 22 wild populations and two commercially reared populations using eight microsatellite loci and two mitochondrial genes. Our study included wild bumblebee samples from six populations in Ireland, one from the Isle of Man, four from Britain and 11 from mainland Europe. A further sample was acquired from New Zealand. Observed levels of genetic variability and heterozygosity were low in Ireland and the Isle of Man, but relatively high in continental Europe and among commercial populations. Estimates of Fst revealed significant genetic differentiation among populations. Bayesian cluster analysis indicated that Irish populations were highly differentiated from British and continental populations, the latter two showing higher levels of admixture. The data suggest that the Irish Sea and prevailing south westerly winds act as a considerable geographical barrier to gene flow between populations in Ireland and Britain; however, some immigration from the Isle of Man to Ireland was detected. The results are discussed in the context of the recent commercialization of bumblebees for the European horticultural industry. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Staats W.T.,HAS Den Bosch University of Applied Sciences | Regan E.C.,National Biodiversity Data Center | Regan E.C.,World Conservation Monitoring Center
Journal of Insect Conservation | Year: 2014

The Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme started in 2007. The main objective of this study was to examine initial population trends from data gathered over 5 years (2008-2012) by approximately 150 volunteers across the Republic of Ireland. Nine of the 15 species analysed showed changes in population over the 5-year period; three species showed steep or moderate increases while six species showed moderate or steep declines in population. Some of these population changes are due to the highly variable weather conditions over the five years of monitoring, particularly the unusually cool, wet summer of 2012. However, factors affecting butterfly population trends are many and varied, so longer-term data are required to assess trends more reliably. A further six species had indeterminate trends over the 5-year period however, as the scheme develops, longer-term trends will have greater statistical reliability and give a clearer insight into Irish butterfly populations. The Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is important in the national context, as there is little other countrywide systematic monitoring of insect populations. Furthermore, with a growing number of such standardised monitoring schemes internationally and development of bioindicators, it is now possible to monitor and track butterfly populations at larger spatial scales. We recommend that the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme is continued over the long term and expanded to ensure that more Irish butterfly species are sufficiently monitored. However, in addition to monitoring population trends, basic research is still needed into the ecology and population dynamics of common butterfly species. © 2014 Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


Davis E.S.,Queen's University of Belfast | Murray T.E.,Teagasc | Fitzpatrick N.,Trinity College Dublin | Brown M.J.F.,Trinity College Dublin | And 3 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Globally, there is concern over the decline of bees, an ecologically important group of pollinating insects. Genetic studies provide insights into population structure that are crucial for conservation management but that would be impossible to obtain by conventional ecological methods. Yet conservation genetic studies of bees have primarily focussed on social species rather than the more species-rich solitary bees. Here, we investigate the population structure of Colletes floralis, a rare and threatened solitary mining bee, in Ireland and Scotland using nine microsatellite loci. Genetic diversity was surprisingly as high in Scottish (Hebridean island) populations at the extreme northwestern edge of the species range as in mainland Irish populations further south. Extremely high genetic differentiation among populations was detected; multilocus FST was up to 0.53, and and Dest were even higher (maximum: 0.85 and 1.00, respectively). A pattern of isolation by distance was evident for sites separated by land. Water appears to act as a substantial barrier to gene flow yet sites separated by sea did not exhibit isolation by distance. C.floralis populations are extremely isolated and probably not in regional migration-drift equilibrium. GIS-based landscape genetic analysis reveals urban areas as a potential and substantial barrier to gene flow. Our results highlight the need for urgent site-specific management action to halt the decline of this and potentially other rare solitary bees. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Carolan J.C.,National University of Ireland, Maynooth | Carolan J.C.,Trinity College Dublin | Murray T.E.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Murray T.E.,Queen's University of Belfast | And 10 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Cryptic diversity within bumblebees (Bombus) has the potential to undermine crucial conservation efforts designed to reverse the observed decline in many bumblebee species worldwide. Central to such efforts is the ability to correctly recognise and diagnose species. The B. lucorum complex (Bombus lucorum, B. cryptarum and B. magnus) comprises one of the most abundant and important group of wild plant and crop pollinators in northern Europe. Although the workers of these species are notoriously difficult to diagnose morphologically, it has been claimed that queens are readily diagnosable from morphological characters. Here we assess the value of colour-pattern characters in species identification of DNA-barcoded queens from the B. lucorum complex. Three distinct molecular operational taxonomic units were identified each representing one species. However, no uniquely diagnostic colour-pattern character state was found for any of these three molecular units and most colour-pattern characters showed continuous variation among the units. All characters previously deemed to be unique and diagnostic for one species were displayed by specimens molecularly identified as a different species. These results presented here raise questions on the reliability of species determinations in previous studies and highlights the benefits of implementing DNA barcoding prior to ecological, taxonomic and conservation studies of these important key pollinators. © 2012 Carolan et al.


Landaverde-Gonzalez P.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Moo-Valle H.,Autonomous University of Yucatán | Murray T.E.,Martin Luther University of Halle Wittenberg | Murray T.E.,National Biodiversity Data Center | And 5 more authors.
Organisms Diversity and Evolution | Year: 2016

Given ongoing biodiversity decline, an important concern is that a large fraction of species diversity is not yet documented. Correct delimitation of species remains a challenge, especially for small and morphologically uniform groups such as sweat bees (Halictidae). Here, we applied an integrative taxonomic approach to study diversity within the Neotropical sweat bee subgenus Dialictus (genus Lasioglossum). We used four statistical methods to delimit species based on cytochrome oxidase subunit I gene sequences: Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD), two variants of the General Mixed Yule Coalescent (single-threshold (stGMYC) and Bayesian (bGMYC)) and the Refined Single Linkage analysis (RESL). We detected eight principal molecular operational taxonomic units (mOTUs). Subsequently, these lineages were evaluated using ten nuclear microsatellite loci and morphological and ecological analyses. Most mOTUs could be differentiated using microsatellites and morphology (82 % identified correctly), further supporting the status of mOTUs as independent biological units. For the two most widespread mOTUs, we analysed intra-lineage geographic variation using microsatellites but did not detect additional substructuring. We further tested if the lineages showed predictable patterns of co-occurrence and habitat preferences. While we did not find any evidence of preferential association or disassociation between taxa, we detected a slight positive effect of high crop cover favouring the abundance of some lineages. We show that integrated approaches using statistical analysis of DNA barcodes jointly with additional data can provide robust and objective means of delimiting species in morphologically difficult groups. © 2016 Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik

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