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Melguizo-Ruiz N.,CSIC - Estacion Experimental De Zonas Aridas | Melguizo-Ruiz N.,Research Unit of Biodiversity UO CSIC PA | Verdeny-Vilalta O.,CSIC - Estacion Experimental De Zonas Aridas | Arnedo M.A.,University of Barcelona | Moya-Larano J.,CSIC - Estacion Experimental De Zonas Aridas
Pedobiologia | Year: 2012

Spatial heterogeneity - in terms of topography, and macro- and microclimatic conditions, among others - results in habitat diversity, which in turn may promote species diversity. Thus, the spatial structure (i.e. spatial variance partitioning at different scales and spatial arrangement of drivers of abundance) of the different feeding guilds within food webs may reflect relevant differences in the way populations interact and how these interactions affect ecosystem processes. Our study focuses on the spatial distribution of animals living in the leaf litter layer of beech forests in the National Parks of northern Spain, across sites which differ in precipitation. Using Generalised Linear Mixed Models we estimated the spatial variance components at different scales and for three feeding guilds in leaf litter food webs: saprophagous and microphytophagous mesofauna, saprophagous macrofauna and zoophagous macrofauna. We found that the only consistently significant source of variation for the three feeding guilds was that at the level of "among valleys within Parks", which, among other potential explanations, could reflect meso-climatic differences among valleys. We also studied which factors may control spatial variation in these food webs through a model selection approach. Controlling for all other relevant factors, we still found strong differences in abundances among National Parks. Also, invertebrates were more abundant in micro-sites located at the base of slopes - where nutrients and water accumulate - than in micro-sites located on the slopes - which, due to surface runoff, are drier and accumulate fewer nutrients. Also, as found in beech forests of Central Europe, limestone sites have higher abundances of fauna than siliceous sites with lower pH. The macro- and micro-scale dependence of these food webs on water availability could have important consequences for the persistence of these forests under global warming. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.

Cano J.M.,University of Helsinki | Cano J.M.,Research Unit of Biodiversity UO CSIC PA | Li M.-H.,University of Helsinki | Li M.-H.,Mtt Agrifood Research Finland | And 3 more authors.
Heredity | Year: 2011

The common frog (Rana temporaria) has become a model species in the fields of ecology and evolutionary biology. However, lack of genomic resources has been limiting utility of this species for detailed evolutionary genetic studies. Using a set of 107 informative microsatellite markers genotyped in a large full-sib family (800 F1 offspring), we created the first linkage map for this species. This partial map-distributed over 15 linkage groups-has a total length of 1698.8 cM. In line with the fact that males are the heterogametic sex in this species and a reduction of recombination is expected, we observed a lower recombination rate in the males (map length: 1371.5 cM) as compared with females (2089.8 cM). Furthermore, three loci previously documented to be sex-linked (that is, carrying male-specific alleles) in adults from the wild mapped to the same linkage group. The linkage map described in this study is one of the densest ones available for amphibians. The discovery of a sex linkage group in Rana temporaria, as well as other regions with strongly reduced male recombination rates, should help to uncover the genetic underpinnings of the sex-determination system in this species. As the number of linkage groups found (n=15) is quite close to the actual number of chromosomes (n=13), the map should provide a useful resource for further evolutionary, ecological and conservation genetic work in this and other closely related species. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Liu J.,CAS Institute of Zoology | Shikano T.,University of Helsinki | Leinonen T.,University of Helsinki | Cano J.M.,Research Unit of Biodiversity UO CSIC PA | And 2 more authors.
G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics | Year: 2014

Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping studies of Pacific three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) have uncovered several genomic regions controlling variability in different morphological traits, but QTL studies of Atlantic sticklebacks are lacking. We mapped QTL for 40 morphological traits, including body size, body shape, and body armor, in a F2 full-sib cross between northern European marine and freshwater three-spined sticklebacks. A total of 52 significant QTL were identified at the 5% genomewide level. One major QTL explaining 74.4% of the total variance in lateral plate number was detected on LG4, whereas several major QTL for centroid size (a proxy for body size), and the lengths of two dorsal spines, pelvic spine, and pelvic girdle were mapped on LG21 with the explained variance ranging from 27.9% to 57.6%. Major QTL for landmark coordinates defining body shape variation also were identified on LG21, with each explaining ≥ 15% of variance in body shape. Multiple QTL for different traits mapped on LG21 overlapped each other, implying pleiotropy and/or tight linkage. Thus, apart from providing confirmatory data to support conclusions born out of earlier QTL studies of Pacific sticklebacks, this study also describes several novel QTL of both major and smaller effect for ecologically important traits. The finding that many major QTL mapped on LG21 suggests that this linkage group might be a hotspot for genetic determinants of ecologically important morphological traits in three-spined sticklebacks. © 2014 Liu et al.

Leinonen T.,University of Helsinki | Herczeg G.,University of Helsinki | Cano J.M.,University of Helsinki | Cano J.M.,Research Unit of Biodiversity UO CSIC PA | Merila J.,University of Helsinki
Evolution | Year: 2011

The transition from marine to freshwater life in the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) is accompanied by complex morphological changes-including reduction in bony armor and change in body shape-but experimental evidence for the selective agents behind these evolutionary transitions is sparse. We investigated whether selection by predatory fish affects threespine stickleback morphology differentially when refuge is absent (pelagic lifestyle-ancestral condition) or present (benthic lifestyle-derived condition). Our results show that selection favors low numbers of lateral plates in habitats with refuge, whereas fully plated individuals have a selective advantage in habitats without refuge. We also found that a decrease in the length of the caudal peduncle increased survival probability, irrespective of habitat. The effect of spine lengths on survival was evident only in a multivariate analysis of selection, implying that it is essential to account for phenotypic and genetic correlations between traits before drawing conclusions about the effects of selection on single traits. Apart from uncovering targets and patterns of predator-induced selection on threespine stickleback morphology, our results provide direct evidence to support the hypothesis that differences in antipredator strategies in pelagic versus benthic sticklebacks could play a role in the repeated, independent cases of plate number reduction following freshwater colonization in this species. © 2011 The Author(s). Evolution © 2011 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

Enriquez-Urzelai U.,University of Oviedo | Enriquez-Urzelai U.,Research Unit of Biodiversity UO CSIC PA | Montori A.,University of Barcelona | Llorente G.A.,University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Evolutionary Biology | Year: 2015

The evolutionary association between morphology, locomotor performance and habitat use is a central element of the ecomorphological paradigm, and it is known to underlie the evolution of phenotypic diversity in numerous animal taxa. In anuran amphibians the hindlimb acts as the propulsive agent, and as such, it is directly associated with jumping performance. In this study we combine individual- and species-level analyses to examine the effects of locomotor mode on body size and hindlimb morphology of Western Mediterranean anurans. In addition to the commonly studied hindlimb traits, we also examine the ratio between tibiofibula and femur length. Body size shows no signs of an evolutionary association to locomotor mode. Instead, hindlimb traits are significantly differentiated between locomotor groups, both at the individual and species levels. Specifically, we observe a gradient of tibiofibula to femur ratio values that matches biomechanical predictions. The analysis of adult static allometries indicates that these differences arise early in ontogeny. By comparing the fit of distinct evolutionary models we provide evidence that the locomotor mode adopted by each species to match the requirements of the habitat it frequents has shaped the evolution of the hindlimb, but not body size. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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