Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums

Gelnhausen, Germany

Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums

Gelnhausen, Germany

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Domisch S.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Domisch S.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Jahnig S.C.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Jahnig S.C.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | And 2 more authors.
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2011

1.Freshwater ecosystems will be profoundly affected by global climate change, especially those in mountainous areas, which are known to be particularly vulnerable to warming temperatures. We modelled impacts of climate change on the distribution ranges of 38 species of benthic stream macroinvertebrates from nine macroinvertebrate orders covering all river zones from the headwaters to large river reaches. 2.Species altitudinal shifts as well as range changes up to the year 2080 were simulated using the A2a and B2a Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change climate-warming scenarios. Presence-only species distribution models were constructed for a stream network in Germany's lower mountain ranges by means of consensus projections of four algorithms, as implemented in the BIOMOD package in R (GLM, GAM, GBM and ANN). 3.Species were predicted to shift an average of 122 and 83m up in altitude along the river continuum by the year 2080 under the A2a and B2a climate-warming scenarios, respectively. No correlation between altitudinal shifts and mean annual air temperature of species' occurrence could be detected. 4.Depending on the climate-warming scenario, most or all (97% for A2a and 100% for B2a) of the macroinvertebrate species investigated were predicted to survive under climate change in the study area. Ranges were predicted to contract for species that currently occur in streams with low annual mean air temperatures but expand for species that inhabit rivers where air temperatures are higher. 5.Our models predict that novel climate conditions will reorganise species composition and community structure along the river continuum. Possible effects are discussed, including significant reductions in population size of headwater species, eventually leading to a loss of genetic diversity. A shift in river species composition is likely to enhance the establishment of non-native macroinvertebrates in the lower reaches of the river continuum. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Sauer J.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Sauer J.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Domisch S.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Domisch S.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | And 4 more authors.
Biodiversity and Conservation | Year: 2011

Global climate change (GCC) is expected to lead to massive loss of global biodiversity in the alpine regions of mountain ranges. Studies on the potential effects of GCC on low mountain areas remain sparse, however, despite the high conservation value of these areas as biodiversity refugia. We chose a species distribution modeling approach to assess potential GCC impacts on the future distributions of montane freshwater invertebrates under two different greenhouse gas scenarios and three averaged general circulation models. For this, ensemble models consisting of six algorithms [generalized linear model (GLM), generalized boosted model (GBM), generalized additive model (GAM), classification tree analysis (CTA), artificial neural networks (ANN), and multivariate adaptive regression splines (MARS)] were applied to project areas of 23 cold-stenothermic aquatic insects from montane regions of Central Europe. We found an average loss of 70-80% of the potential distribution for the study species until 2080, depending on the underlying Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenario. Species distribution ranges below 1000 m above sea level were found to decrease by up to ~96% according to the severest greenhouse gas emission scenario. While the Alps remain the single main refugium under the A2a greenhouse gas emission scenario, the more moderate climate scenario B2a shows fragmented potential persistence of montane insects in some low mountain ranges. The results show that montane freshwater assemblages in low mountain ranges are particularly threatened by ongoing GCC. As vertical dispersal is limited by elevational restriction, low mountain ranges may act as summit traps under GCC. We thus propose that GCC will lead to the extinction of several species and unique genetic lineages of postglacial relict species, resulting in a significant decline in Central European fauna. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Nowak C.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Nowak C.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center | Zuther S.,Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan ACBK | Leontyev S.V.,Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan ACBK | And 2 more authors.
Conservation Genetics Resources | Year: 2014

We developed 17 variable microsatellite markers for the threatened Saiga antelope. Using one Illumina Miseq lane resulted in 105,948 unique fragments containing a microsatellite motif. Eighty-one ordered primer pairs resulted in 26 analyzable fragments, of which 17 markers showed variability in at least one population from Kazakhstan. Number of alleles ranged from 2 to 11 and values of heterozygosity varied from 0.08 to 0.91 (HO) and 0.08 to 0.88 (HE). The markers are currently used to delineate conservation units and to help understanding annual migration dynamics in this species. © 2013, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Geismar J.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Nowak C.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Nowak C.,Biodiversity and Climate Research Center
Conservation Genetics Resources | Year: 2013

We developed thirteen microsatellite markers for the stonefly Brachytpera braueri, a rare aquatic insect. We compared a "traditional" approach yielding an enriched library by cloning of positive host cells, hybridising and Sanger sequencing of target fragments with a 454 next generation sequencing approach. From a total of 881 fragments containing a repeat motif thirteen polymorphic loci were developed and tested for two populations. Number of alleles ranged from 4 to 20 and values of heterozygosity varied from 0. 17 to 0. 91 (HO) and 0. 26 to 0. 91 (HE). The markers are essential to investigate the colonisation potential of freshwater insects. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


Kahlke R.-D.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Garcia N.,Complutense University of Madrid | Kostopoulos D.S.,Aristotle University of Thessaloniki | Lacombat F.,Musee Crozatier | And 4 more authors.
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2011

Large-scale fluctuations in global climate and resulting changes in ecology had a profound effect on human evolution and dispersal. Though hominin remains are scarce, studies focussing on the more abundant records of fossil land mammal communities can contribute greatly to our knowledge of the palaeoenvironmental circumstances that influenced and directed the global spread of hominins. To produce a comprehensive and accurate account of the evolution of western Palaearctic habitat diversity between 2.6 and 0.4. Ma BP, information generated from large mammal communities from 221 key sites has been included in this study. The palaeoecological conditions of the western Palaearctic during the Early and early Middle Pleistocene were principally controlled by the following key factors: (1) a widespread trend of temperature decrease, (2) the periodicity of the global temperature record, (3) the intensity of single climatic stages, (4) the temporal pattern of climatic variation, (5) geographical position, and (6) the distribution of continental water resources. A general picture of the evolution of western Palaearctic habitat diversity saw the replacement of extensive forested terrain by an alternating sequence of varied savannah-like and forested habitats during the 2.6-1.8. Ma span, as well as an alternation between different types of predominantly open habitats between 1.8 and 1.2. Ma. Both of these processes were governed by 41. ka temperature periodicity. During the 1.2-0.9. Ma time span, irregular climatic fluctuations were more common and habitat variability increased. The subsequent 0.9-0.4. Ma interval, a period controlled by 100. ka periodicity, was by comparison more stable, with longer climatic cycles alternating between open and forested landscapes. During the entire Early and early Middle Pleistocene, assemblages of large mammal communities reveal a distinct trend of decreasing continentality between Eastern and South-Eastern Europe on the one hand, and South-Western and North-Western Europe on the other. This trend was due to the effect of the Atlantic Ocean, while in Southern Europe the relatively low continentality was balanced by influences from the Mediterranean Sea. When plotted against evidence of hominin occurrence, the data on western Palaearctic habitat diversity inferred from large mammal communities indicate clear environmental stimuli for the earliest human dispersal in Europe. These are: (1) a wide range of habitats, implying a high diversity of resources; (2) mild climates with low seasonality, implying a lack of strong environmental fluctuations. Around 1.8. Ma at the latest, hominins of African origin entered the western Palaearctic for the first time, taking advantage of the diversity of habitats and resources, particularly along large river systems. Their subsequent westward spread between 1.7 and 1.3. Ma was restricted to Mediterranean-influenced areas, which offered a high variability of habitats and relatively low seasonality. The increase in environmental diversity, which occurred from 1.2. Ma onwards, opened up South-Eastern and Eastern Europe for hominin occupation. According to the available records, North-Western and Central Europe were initially colonized during late Early to early Middle Pleistocene interglacials, when these regions experienced periods of low seasonality and considerable habitat diversity. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Maul L.C.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Smith K.T.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Barkai R.,Tel Aviv University | Barash A.,Tel Aviv University | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Human Evolution | Year: 2011

Preliminary results of the investigation of the microfauna at the Acheulo-Yabrudian Middle Pleistocene site of Qesem Cave, Israel, are presented. Thus far the assemblage includes ca. 10,000 bone and tooth fragments, of which 50% could be identified to the generic and some hundreds to the species level. Based on the current material, the fauna includes the following squamate reptiles: Laudakia sp., Chamaeleo sp., Gekkonidae indet., Lacertidae indet., Scincidae indet., Pseudopus sp., Varanus sp., Colubroidea indet. (at least three species) and micromammals: Suncus etruscus, Crocidura cf. leucodon, Crocidurinae indet. (large form), Chiroptera indet., S. ciurus cf. anomalus, Cricetulus cf. migratorius, Microtus guentheri, Nannospalax ehrenbergi, Dipodillus cf. dasyurus, Meriones cf. tristrami, Gerbillidae indet., Mus cf. musculus, Apodemus cf. flavicollis. These results suggest that the fauna includes only taxa that occur recently in the territory of Israel. The ecological preferences of the nearest living relatives of the recorded taxa allow us to infer a paleoenvironment with a mosaic of open and woodland habitats. However, comparing the lower with the upper levels of the microfauna-bearing profile, a slight shift towards more wooded conditions might be detectable. Biostratigraphical inferences from the recorded micromammal taxa cover a rather wide age range, whereas the radiometric (U-series and preliminary TL) dating enable a provisionally estimated date for the microfauna-bearing levels at 360-300 ka. Detailed morphometric comparisons with material from other sites in the region are necessary and may yet provide further insights. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Kahlke R.-D.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Kaiser T.M.,University of Hamburg
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2011

The so-called Hundsheim rhinoceros, Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, was a very common faunal element of the Early to early Middle Pleistocene period in the western Palaearctic. In this study, individuals from two different central European populations of the Hundsheim rhinoceros were analysed in order to determine whether their local dietary signals could reflect differing food availability between the two populations, and whether such information could provide a better understanding of the ecological role of S. hundsheimensis within corresponding faunal assemblages, and of its principal subsistence strategy in the western Palaearctic. The mesowear traits observed in the studied S. hundsheimensis populations have been interpreted as representing biome-specific signals, indicating grassland vegetation at the site of Süßenborn, and dense to open forests at Voigtstedt (both localities in Germany). The analyses performed on the fossil rhino material demonstrate the most pronounced dietary variability ever established for a single herbivorous ungulate species by mesowear studies. This variability ranges from an attrition dominated grazing regime, to a one of predominantly browsing, and characterises S. hundsheimensis as the most ecologically tolerant rhinoceros of the Palaearctic Plio-Pleistocene. Although such dietary flexibility proved an effective enough subsistence strategy over a period of 600-900 ka (1.4/1.2-0.6/0.5 Myr) in the western Palaearctic, the situation changed dramatically after 0.6 Myr BP, when the new species of rhinoceroses, Stephanorhinus hemitoechus and Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis, appeared and started to compete for both the grass and the browse. For the generalist S. hundsheimensis, this bilateral interference was detrimental to its success in all of its habitats. The successful competition of specialised forms of rhinoceroses, which might have originated as a result of the development of 100 ka periodicity in the global climatic record, is proposed as the main reason for the extinction of S. hundsheimensis during the early Middle Pleistocene. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Munoz-Fuentes V.,Uppsala University | Munoz-Fuentes V.,EBD Group | Munoz-Fuentes V.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums | Linde Forsberg C.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 2 more authors.
Theriogenology | Year: 2014

Sperm samples may be used for assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., farmed or endangered species) or as a source of haploid DNA or sperm-specific RNA. When ejaculated spermatozoa are not available or are very difficult to obtain, as is the case for most wild endangered species, the epididymides of dead animals (e.g., animals that have been found dead, shot by hunters or poachers, or that that require euthanasia in zoological collections) can be used as a source of sperm. Such epididymal sperm samples are usually contaminated with cellular debris, erythrocytes, leukocytes, and sometimes also bacteria. These contaminants may be sources of reactive oxygen species that damage spermatozoa during freezing or contribute undesired genetic material from diploid cells. We used single-layer centrifugation through a colloid formulation, Androcoll-C, to successfully separate wolf epididymal spermatozoa from contaminating cells and cellular debris in epididymal samples harvested from carcasses. Such a procedure may potentially be applied to epididymal sperm samples from other species. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


van Asperen E.N.,Liverpool John Moores University | Kahlke R.-D.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums
Quaternary Science Reviews | Year: 2015

To trace the dietary evolution of the two abundant Middle to Late Pleistocene rhinoceros species Stephanorhinus kirchbergensis and Stephanorhinus hemitoechus in Europe over several climatic cycles, we examined comprehensive material of stratigraphically well-defined palaeopopulations from different regions and interglacials. Using morphometrics and mesowear analysis, these reconstructions of Stephanorhinus diets indicate that habitat diversity and interspecific competition with closely related rhinoceros species induced variation in feeding behaviour. Although anatomical features of both species suggest significantly higher dietary specializations compared to the Early to early Middle Pleistocene Stephanorhinus hundsheimensis, their mesowear signals are characteristic of a mixed feeder diet, similar to that of extant mammal species in relatively open habitats. Both species retained a degree of dietary flexibility, enabling them to survive in a range of environments. Although each of these rhinoceroses preferred different habitats, species identity alone is not sufficient to establish the real dietary traits of a Stephanorhinus palaeopopulation. As a consequence, their occurrence in a faunal assemblage alone cannot be taken to indicate a specific habitat.S.kirchbergensis and S.hemitoechus were embedded in a dynamic process of temporo-spatial replacements and interspecific differentiation of rhinoceroses in the western Palaearctic. However, dietary specialization in these Middle to Late Pleistocene European rhinoceroses was not the result of a directed time-transgressive evolution. Rather, within the range of each species' ecological tolerance, it was controlled by environmental parameters, with habitat variability as the main factor. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Kahlke R.-D.,Senckenberg Research Institutes and Natural History Museums
Quaternary International | Year: 2015

The maximum geographic extension of fully developed woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, occurred during the last glacial period (MIS 5d-2), i.e. during the 110-14 ka interval. The mapping of the species' widest distribution reveals principal barriers to its expansion that were acting independent of short term environmental fluctuations. The maximum spread of M. primigenius was primarily controlled by the following trans-regional factors: (A) The configuration of inland glaciers; (B) The configuration of high mountain chains; (C) The configuration of semi-deserts and deserts; (D) The configuration of marine shorelines at year-round open water surfaces; (E) The exposure of continental shelf regions; and (F) The replacement of tundra-steppe by extended grasslands. Some of the biogeographic barriers were climate-independent; others were determined by long- or medium-term climatic processes. The effect of Eurasian and North American intra-continental steppes as obstacles to migration has not yet been fully elucidated.The verifiable area of the Late Pleistocene distribution range of M. primigenius, based on geomorphological data, comprises approximately 33,301,000 km2 (surface area). When taking the geographical distribution of a species as a measure of its success, the Late Pleistocene woolly mammoth was one of the most successful large herbivores of the Holarctic Mammoth Fauna. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA.

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