Museum of Natural History Vienna

Vienna, Austria

Museum of Natural History Vienna

Vienna, Austria

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Lukeneder S.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Lukeneder A.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Harzhauser M.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Krystyn L.,University of Vienna | Lein R.,University of Vienna
Facies | Year: 2012

This paper presents a detailed facies analysis and paleo-depth reconstruction of a latest Early Carnian platform drowning-sequence from the Anatolian terrane (Turkey, Taurus Mountains). A total of eight sedimentary microfacies zones were recorded. An open platform margin passes through a deeper shelf margin setting into a basinal environment influenced by more open-marine conditions. The analysis demonstrates an unexpected, pure carbonate depositional system through the so-called Carnian Pluvial Episode (CPE), which has previously been associated with dramatic climate changes throughout the Tethys region. One main finding, based on sedimentological and paleontological analyses, is a much later drowning of the carbonate platforms in Turkey than in other places. The termination of the Kartoz platform postdates the onset of the CPE in the western Tethys by one ammonite zone, corresponding to about 2 million years. The distinctly earlier demise of (north)western Tethyan carbonate platforms and reefs points to a diachrony of this event throughout the Tethys. The decline of carbonate productivity clearly occurs earlier at higher paleolatitudes and later in equatorial areas. Interpreting the CPE as the result of a global or at least Tethys-wide climatic event is therefore highly ambiguous. The described facies changes at Aşaǧiyaylabel probably mirror different coupling effects and, only minimally, the Tethyan-wide climate changes during the Carnian Pluvial Episode. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Topfer T.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Gamauf A.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Gamauf A.,University of Vienna | Haring E.,University of Vienna | Haring E.,Laboratory of Molecular Systematics
BMC Research Notes | Year: 2011

Background: Natural history museums receive a rapidly growing number of requests for tissue samples from preserved specimens for DNA-based studies. Traditionally, dried vertebrate specimens were treated with arsenic because of its toxicity and insect-repellent effect. Arsenic has negative effects on in vivo DNA repair enzymes and consequently may inhibit PCR performance. In bird collections, foot pad samples are often requested since the feet were not regularly treated with arsenic and because they are assumed to provide substantial amounts of DNA. However, the actual influence of arsenic on DNA analyses has never been tested. Findings. PCR success of both foot pad and body skin samples was significantly lower in arsenic-treated samples. In general, foot pads performed better than body skin samples. Moreover, PCR success depends on collection date in which younger samples yielded better results. While the addition of arsenic solution to the PCR mixture had a clear negative effect on PCR performance after the threshold of 5.4 g/l, such high doses of arsenic are highly unlikely to occur in dried zoological specimens. Conclusions: While lower PCR success in older samples might be due to age effects and/or DNA damage through arsenic treatment, our results show no inhibiting effect on DNA polymerase. We assume that DNA degradation proceeds more rapidly in thin tissue layers with low cell numbers that are susceptible to external abiotic influences. In contrast, in thicker parts of a specimen, such as foot pads, the outermost horny skin may act as an additional barrier. Since foot pads often performed better than body skin samples, the intention to preserve morphologically important structures of a specimen still conflicts with the aim to obtain optimal PCR success. Thus, body skin samples from recently collected specimens should be considered as alternative sources of DNA. © 2011 Töpfer et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


PubMed | CONICET, Museum of Natural History Vienna, University of Sao Paulo and Field Museum of Natural History
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

Known with certainty solely from a unique male specimen collected in central Brazil in the first quarter of the 19th century, the Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct) Hooded Seedeater Sporophila melanops has been one of the great enigmas of Neotropical ornithology, arguably the only one of a host of long-lost species from Brazil to remain obstinately undiscovered. We reanalysed the morphology of the type specimen, as well as a female specimen postulated to represent the same taxon, and sequenced mitochondrial DNA (COI and Cyt-b) from both individuals. Furthermore, we visited the type locality, at the border between Gois and Mato Grosso, and its environs on multiple occasions at different seasons, searching for birds with similar morphology to the type, without success. Novel genetic and morphological evidence clearly demonstrates that the type of S. melanops is not closely related to Yellow-bellied Seedeater S. nigricollis, as has been frequently postulated in the literature, but is in fact a representative of one of the so-called capuchinos, a clade of attractively plumaged seedeaters that breed mostly in the Southern Cone of South America. Our morphological analysis indicates that S. melanops has a hitherto unreported dark-coffee throat and that it is probably a Dark-throated Seedeater S. ruficollis collected within its wintering range, acquiring breeding plumage and showing melanism on the cap feathers. Alternatively, it may be a melanistic-capped individual of a local population of seedeaters known to breed in the Esteros del Iber, Corrientes, Argentina, to which the name S. ruficollis might be applicable, whilst the name S. plumbeiceps might be available for what is currently known as S. ruficollis. A hybrid origin for S. melanops cannot be ruled out from the available data, but seems unlikely. The purported female specimen of S. melanops pertains either to S. nigricollis or to Double-collared Seedeater S. caerulescens based on genetic and morphological data, and thus cannot be a female of S. melanops. We conclude that Sporophila melanops is not typical of any natural population of seedeaters, appears to have been collected far from its breeding grounds while overwintering in central Brazil, and should not be afforded any conservation status.


Kruckenhauser L.,Laboratory of Molecular Systematics | Haring E.,Laboratory of Molecular Systematics | Sattmann H.,Museum of Natural History Vienna
BMC Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2011

Background: Phenotypic similarities among cave-dwelling animals displaying troglomorphic characters (e.g. reduced eyes and lack of pigmentation) have induced a long-term discussion about the forces driving convergent evolution. Here we introduce Garra barreimiae Fowler & Steinitz, 1956, as an interesting system to study the evolution of troglomorphic characters. The only hitherto known troglomorphic population of this species lives in Al Hoota Cave (Sultanate of Oman) close to a surface population. As a first approach, we assessed the genetic differentiation between the two morphotypes of G. barreimiae to determine whether gene flow still occurs. Results: We analysed the mitochondrial control region (CR). In G. barreimiae the CR starts immediately downstream of the tRNA-Thr gene, while the tRNA-Pro gene is missing at this genomic location. Interestingly, a putative tRNA-Pro sequence is found within the CR. The phylogenetic analyses of the CR sequences yielded a tree divided into three clades: Clade 1 has a high genetic distance to the other clades and contains the individuals of three populations which are separated by a watershed from all the others. Clade 2 comprises the individuals from Wadi Bani Khalid, the geographically most remote population. Clade 3 comprises all other populations investigated including that of Al Hoota Cave. The latter forms a haplogroup which also includes individuals from the adjacent surface population. Conclusions: Our data indicates that the troglomorphic cave population is of quite recent origin supporting the hypothesis that selection drives the fast evolution of troglomorphic traits. In this context pleiotropic effects might play an important role as it has been shown for Astyanax. There seems to be some gene flow from the cave population into the adjacent surface populations. One blind individual, found at a surface locality geographically distinct from Al Hoota Cave, is genetically differentiated from the other blind specimens indicating the probable existence of another cave population of G. barreimiae. The phylogeographic analyses show that while some of the surface populations are either still in contact or have been until recently, the population Wadi Bani Khalid is genetically separated. One group consisting of three populations is genetically highly differentiated questioning the conspecifity with G. barreimiae. © 2011 Kruckenhauser et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Lukeneder A.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Harzhauser M.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Mullegger S.,University of Graz | Piller W.E.,University of Graz
Earth and Planetary Science Letters | Year: 2010

Stable isotope (δ18O and δ13C) ratios were measured in successive aragonitic shell sequences of ammonoids (class Cephalopoda) to determine whether their depth distributions changed within ontogeny and whether stable isotope values differ in various morphological groups (e.g. Leiostraca vs. Trachyostraca). We concentrate mainly on δ18O for temperature results and added δ13C data to obtain information on the ontogenetic history, for which full spiral measurements were undertaken for the first time. To obtain valid stable isotope data from ammonoid shells, we measured ontogenetic sequences (full shell) within different genera. Data sets from the Jurassic (Cadoceras) and Cretaceous (Hypacanthoplites, Nowakites) were chosen due to the pure primary aragonitic shell preservation. The study was designed to extract better information on the habitat and life cycle of fossil cephalopods (e.g. ammonoids) in comparison with recent cephalopods (e.g. Nautilus, Spirula, Sepia) possessing equivalent or comparable hard parts. The data from three genera suggest different modes of life in at least two morphological groups.We detected and established two main groups with different ontogenetic strategies based on the δ18O data. The wcw-type (warm-cool-warm type) of Cadoceras resembles strategies in Nautilus and Sepia, which migrate from shallow into deeper environments and back in ontogeny (wc-type, warm-cool-type), and the cw-type (cool-warm type) of Hypacanthoplites resembling the first two migration phases of Spirula (cwc-type), which migrates from deeper into shallower and back again into deeper habitats. The main (three) phases revealed by both δ18O and δ13C data sets most probably reflect diet changes in juvenile to mid-aged individuals, followed by a habitat change for spawning adults. In Cadoceras the temperatures range from 21.2°C for juveniles down to 12.1°C for mid-aged individuals and back up 16.9°C in adults. The cw-type strategy of Hypacanthoplites involves a temperature range of 22.8°C to 28.9°C. The respective mean values are 24.2°C (juveniles), 25.8°C (middle phase) and 27.8°C (adults).The δ13C values also revealed three ontogenetic stages in Cadoceras and Hypacanthoplites, including two major shifts from positive to negative and from negative to positive values, which probably correspond to sexual maturation, the initiation of reproduction, and concomitant changes in diet. The presented data, combined with previous ontogenetic studies (e.g. stable isotopes) on Spirula, Nautilus and Sepia can be used as proxies to directly correlate the habitats and ontogeny of recent and fossil cephalopods. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.


Haring E.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Sheremetyeva I.N.,Russian Academy of Sciences | Kryukov A.P.,Russian Academy of Sciences
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2011

Within the species-rich rodent genus Microtus, the Microtus fortis species-group is not well studied so far. We investigated DNA sequences of the mitochondrial control region in taxa of this group to assess the inter- and intraspecific variation and differentiation of populations, and to establish a molecular phylogeny. For comparison, samples of Microtus oeconomus covering the species distribution range were analyzed. Within the M. fortis group five distinct highly supported lineages were found. Four of them represent single species: Microtus fortis, Microtus sachalinensis, Microtus hyperboreus, and Microtus gromovi. The fifth clade comprises Microtus mujanensis, Microtus evoronensis and Microtus maximowiczii. Genetic distances between these five lineages range from 5.4% to 9.2%. The distinct position of M. gromovi confirms the proposed species status suggested by earlier chromosome and cranial-morphological investigations. The trees also indicate that M. hyperboreus belongs to the M. fortis group and is the sister group of M. gromovi. Genetic diversity is rather high within the East Asian M. fortis species-group, which is also characterized by high chromosomal variation as determined in previous studies. The phylogeographic relationships found in M. oeconomus are in accordance with previous findings based on the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. There are tree main haplogroups (Europe, Siberia, Beringia) found in this Holarctic species. The genetic distances between these groups in the mitochondrial control region range from 3.4% to 4.1%. In general, genetic diversity and species richness of voles in the Eastern Palearctic implies that this region might have provided ideal conditions for the radiation of this species group. © 2010 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.


Gamauf A.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | Gamauf A.,University of Vienna | Tebb G.,University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna | Nemeth E.,University of Vienna
Ibis | Year: 2013

The selection of a suitable nest-site is critical for successful reproduction. Species' preferences for nest-sites have presumably evolved in relation to local habitat resources and/or interactions with other species. The importance of these two components in the nest-site selection of the Eurasian Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was assessed in two study areas in eastern Austria. There was almost no difference in macro- and micro-habitat features between nest-sites and random plots, suggesting that Honey Buzzards did not base their choice of nest-site on habitat characteristics. However, nests were placed significantly further from nests of Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis than would be expected if nest-sites had been chosen at random. Furthermore, in one study area Honey Buzzards appeared to favour areas close to human settlements, perhaps indicating a mechanism to avoid Goshawks, which tend to avoid the proximity of humans. No habitat variable was significantly associated with the loss of Honey Buzzard young, but predation was higher in territories closer to breeding pairs of Goshawks at both study sites. Although Honey Buzzards are restricted to nesting in forests, their choice of nest-site therefore appears to be largely dictated by the distribution of predators. Studies of habitat association may yield misleading results if the effects of predation risk on distribution are not considered. © 2013 British Ornithologists' Union.


Ritterbush K.A.,University of Southern California | Hoffmann R.,Ruhr University Bochum | Lukeneder A.,Museum of Natural History Vienna | De Baets K.,Friedrich - Alexander - University, Erlangen - Nuremberg
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2014

A review of fossil evidence supports a pelagic mode of life (in the water column) of ammonoids, but they may have spent their life close to the seabottom (demersal), planktonically, or nektonically depending upon the ontogenetic stage and taxon. There are good indications for a planktonic mode of life of ammonoid hatchlings, but a broad range of reproductive strategies might have existed (egg-laying, fecundity). Isotope and biogeographical studies indicate that some forms migrated or swam for considerable distances, whereas others may have been primarily transported by oceanic currents during early and/or late ontogeny. Diverse ammonoid habitats are also supported by evidence from predator-prey relationships derived from characteristic injuries and exceptional fossil finds, which indicate chiefly predatory or scavenging lifestyles. Sublethal injuries preserved in some ammonoid shells, as well as rare stomach and coprolite contents, provide evidence of predation by other cephalopods, arthropods and various jawed vertebrates. Various lines of evidence suggest that different groups of ammonoids had quite different ecologies, but shell shape alone can only give upper constraints on ammonoid capabilities, a matter that needs to be considered when interpreting their diversity and evolutionary history. © 2014 The Zoological Society of London.


Leschnik M.W.,University of Vienna | Khanakah G.,Medical University of Vienna | Duscher G.,University of Vienna | Wille-Piazzai W.,University of Vienna | And 3 more authors.
Medical and Veterinary Entomology | Year: 2012

Research into tick-borne diseases implies vector sampling and the detection and identification of microbial pathogens. Ticks were collected simultaneously from dogs that had been exposed to tick bites and by flagging the ground in the area in which the dogs had been exposed. In total, 200 ticks were sampled, of which 104 came from dogs and 96 were collected by flagging. These ticks were subsequently examined for DNA of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Rickettsia spp. and Babesia canis. A mixed sample of adult ticks and nymphs of Ixodes ricinus (Ixodida: Ixodidae) and Haemaphysalis concinna (Ixodida: Ixodidae) was obtained by flagging. Female I. ricinus and adult Dermacentor reticulatus (Ixodida: Ixodidae) ticks dominated the engorged ticks removed from dogs. Rickettsia spp. were detected in 17.0% of the examined ticks, A. phagocytophilum in 3.5%, B. canis in 1.5%, and B. burgdorferi s.l. in 16.0%. Ticks with multiple infections were found only among the flagging sample. The ticks removed from the dogs included 22 infected ticks, whereas the flagging sample included 44 infected ticks. The results showed that the method for collecting ticks influences the species composition of the sample and enables the detection of a different pattern of pathogens. Sampling strategies should be taken into consideration when interpreting studies on tick-borne pathogens. © 2012 The Royal Entomological Society.


PubMed | University of Vienna, Museum of Natural History Vienna and Medical University of Vienna
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2016

The Spanish slug, Arion vulgaris, is considered one of the hundred most invasive species in Central Europe. The immense and very successful adaptation and spreading of A. vulgaris suggest that it developed highly effective mechanisms to deal with infections and natural predators. Current transcriptomic and proteomic studies on gastropods have been restricted mainly to marine and freshwater gastropods. No transcriptomic or proteomic study on A. vulgaris has been carried out so far, and in the current study, the first transcriptomic database from adult specimen of A. vulgaris is reported. To facilitate and enable proteomics in this non-model organism, a mRNA-derived protein database was constructed for protein identification. A gel-based proteomic approach was used to obtain the first generation of a comprehensive slug mantle proteome. A total of 2128 proteins were unambiguously identified; 48 proteins represent novel proteins with no significant homology in NCBI non-redundant database. Combined transcriptomic and proteomic analysis revealed an extensive repertoire of novel proteins with a role in innate immunity including many associated pattern recognition, effector proteins and cytokine-like proteins. The number and diversity in gene families encoding lectins point to a complex defense system, probably as a result of adaptation to a pathogen-rich environment. These results are providing a fundamental and important resource for subsequent studies on molluscs as well as for putative antimicrobial compounds for drug discovery and biomedical applications.

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