State Museum of Natural History

Stuttgart, Germany

State Museum of Natural History

Stuttgart, Germany
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Sohn J.-C.,University of Maryland University College | Regier J.C.,University of Maryland University College | Mitter C.,University of Maryland University College | Davis D.,Smithsonian Institution | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Background: Yponomeutoidea, one of the early-diverging lineages of ditrysian Lepidoptera, comprise about 1,800 species worldwide, including notable pests and insect-plant interaction models. Yponomeutoids were one of the earliest lepidopteran clades to evolve external feeding and to extensively colonize herbaceous angiosperms. Despite the group's economic importance, and its value for tracing early lepidopteran evolution, the biodiversity and phylogeny of Yponomeutoidea have been relatively little studied. Methodology/Principal Findings: Eight nuclear genes (8 kb) were initially sequenced for 86 putative yponomeutoid species, spanning all previously recognized suprageneric groups, and 53 outgroups representing 22 families and 12 superfamilies. Eleven to 19 additional genes, yielding a total of 14.8 to 18.9 kb, were then sampled for a subset of taxa, including 28 yponomeutoids and 43 outgroups. Maximum likelihood analyses were conducted on data sets differing in numbers of genes, matrix completeness, inclusion/weighting of synonymous substitutions, and inclusion/exclusion of "rogue" taxa. Monophyly for Yponomeutoidea was supported very strongly when the 18 "rogue" taxa were excluded, and moderately otherwise. Results from different analyses are highly congruent and relationships within Yponomeutoidea are well supported overall. There is strong support overall for monophyly of families previously recognized on morphological grounds, including Yponomeutidae, Ypsolophidae, Plutellidae, Glyphipterigidae, Argyresthiidae, Attevidae, Praydidae, Heliodinidae, and Bedelliidae. We also assign family rank to Scythropiinae (Scythropiidae stat. rev.), which in our trees are strongly grouped with Bedelliidae, in contrast to all previous proposals. We present a working hypothesis of among-family relationships, and an informal higher classification. Host plant family associations of yponomeutoid subfamilies and families are non-random, but show no trends suggesting parallel phylogenesis. Our analyses suggest that previous characterizations of yponomeutoids as predominantly Holarctic were based on insufficient sampling. Conclusions/Significance: We provide the first robust molecular phylogeny for Yponomeutoidea, together with a revised classification and new insights into their life history evolution and biogeography. © 2013 Sohn et al.


Regier J.C.,University of Maryland University College | Regier J.C.,Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research | Brown J.W.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Mitter C.,University of Maryland University College | And 4 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: Tortricidae, one of the largest families of microlepidopterans, comprise about 10,000 described species worldwide, including important pests, biological control agents and experimental models. Understanding of tortricid phylogeny, the basis for a predictive classification, is currently provisional. We present the first detailed molecular estimate of relationships across the tribes and subfamilies of Tortricidae, assess its concordance with previous morphological evidence, and re-examine postulated evolutionary trends in host plant use and biogeography. Methodology/Principal Findings: We sequenced up to five nuclear genes (6,633 bp) in each of 52 tortricids spanning all three subfamilies and 19 of the 22 tribes, plus up to 14 additional genes, for a total of 14,826 bp, in 29 of those taxa plus all 14 outgroup taxa. Maximum likelihood analyses yield trees that, within Tortricidae, differ little among data sets and character treatments and are nearly always strongly supported at all levels of divergence. Support for several nodes was greatly increased by the additional 14 genes sequenced in just 29 of 52 tortricids, with no evidence of phylogenetic artifacts from deliberately incomplete gene sampling. There is strong support for the monophyly of Tortricinae and of Olethreutinae, and for grouping of these to the exclusion of Chlidanotinae. Relationships among tribes are robustly resolved in Tortricinae and mostly so in Olethreutinae. Feeding habit (internal versus external) is strongly conserved on the phylogeny. Within Tortricinae, a clade characterized by eggs being deposited in large clusters, in contrast to singly or in small batches, has markedly elevated incidence of polyphagous species. The five earliest-branching tortricid lineages are all species-poor tribes with mainly southern/tropical distributions, consistent with a hypothesized Gondwanan origin for the family. Conclusions/Significance: We present the first robustly supported phylogeny for Tortricidae, and a revised classification in which all of the sampled tribes are now monophyletic. © 2012 Regier et al.


Zwick A.,State Museum of Natural History | Regier J.C.,University of Maryland University College | Zwickl D.J.,University of Kansas | Zwickl D.J.,University of Arizona
PLoS ONE | Year: 2012

Background: In a previous study of higher-level arthropod phylogeny, analyses of nucleotide sequences from 62 protein-coding nuclear genes for 80 panarthopod species yielded significantly higher bootstrap support for selected nodes than did amino acids. This study investigates the cause of that discrepancy. Methodology/Principal Findings: The hypothesis is tested that failure to distinguish the serine residues encoded by two disjunct clusters of codons (TCN, AGY) in amino acid analyses leads to this discrepancy. In one test, the two clusters of serine codons (Ser1, Ser2) are conceptually translated as separate amino acids. Analysis of the resulting 21-amino-acid data matrix shows striking increases in bootstrap support, in some cases matching that in nucleotide analyses. In a second approach, nucleotide and 20-amino-acid data sets are artificially altered through targeted deletions, modifications, and replacements, revealing the pivotal contributions of distinct Ser1 and Ser2 codons. We confirm that previous methods of coding nonsynonymous nucleotide change are robust and computationally efficient by introducing two new degeneracy coding methods. We demonstrate for degeneracy coding that neither compositional heterogeneity at the level of nucleotides nor codon usage bias between Ser1 and Ser2 clusters of codons (or their separately coded amino acids) is a major source of non-phylogenetic signal. Conclusions: The incongruity in support between amino-acid and nucleotide analyses of the forementioned arthropod data set is resolved by showing that "standard" 20-amino-acid analyses yield lower node support specifically when serine provides crucial signal. Separate coding of Ser1 and Ser2 residues yields support commensurate with that found by degenerated nucleotides, without introducing phylogenetic artifacts. While exclusion of all serine data leads to reduced support for serine-sensitive nodes, these nodes are still recovered in the ML topology, indicating that the enhanced signal from Ser1 and Ser2 is not qualitatively different from that of the other amino acids. © 2012 Zwick et al.


Miranda T.,University of Tübingen | Ebner M.,University of Tübingen | Traiser C.,State Museum of Natural History | Roth-Nebelsick A.,State Museum of Natural History
Annals of Botany | Year: 2013

Background and AimsThe large distance between peripheral leaf regions and the petiole in large leaves is expected to cause stronger negative water potentials at the leaf apex and marginal zones compared with more central or basal leaf regions. Leaf zone-specific differences in water supply and/or gas exchange may therefore be anticipated. In this study, an investigation was made to see whether zonal differences in gas exchange regulation can be detected in large leaves.MethodsThe diurnal course of stomatal conductance, gs, was monitored at defined lamina zones during two consecutive vegetation periods in the liana Aristolochia macrophylla that has large leaves. Local climate and stem water potential were also monitored to include parameters involved in stomatal response. Additionally, leaf zonal vein densities were measured to assess possible trends in local hydraulic supply.Key ResultsIt was found that the diurnal pattern of gs depends on the position within a leaf in A. macrophylla. The highest values during the early morning were shown by the apical region, with subsequent decline later in the morning and a further gradual decline towards the evening. The diurnal pattern of gs at the marginal regions was similar to that of the leaf tip but showed a time lag of about 1 h. At the leaf base, the diurnal pattern of gs was similar to that of the margins but with lower maximum gs. At the the leaf centre regions, gs tended to show quite constant moderate values during most of the day. Densities of minor veins were lower at the margin and tip compared with the centre and base.ConclusionsGas exchange regulation appears to be zone specific in A. macrophylla leaves. It is suggested that the spatial-diurnal pattern of gs expressed by A. macrophylla leaves represents a strategy to prevent leaf zonal water stress and subsequent vein embolism. © 2013 The Author.


Preussing M.,State Museum of Natural History | Nebel M.,State Museum of Natural History | Oberwinkler F.,University of Tübingen | Weiss M.,University of Tübingen
Mycorrhiza | Year: 2010

Aneura pinguis (Aneuraceae) is a cosmopolitan thalloid liverwort that shows a specific mycorrhiza-like interaction with basidiomycetes. To date, tropical specimens have not been studied in great depth. Samples of A. pinguis were collected from 48 individuals in one plot in South Ecuador and 54 individuals in five European countries. Light and transmission electron microscopy and molecular analyses based on nuclear rDNA coding for the ribosomal large subunit (nucLSU) and from the 5.8s-ITS2 regions were carried out to identify the associated mycobionts and to study their phylogenetic relationships. Microscopic and ultrastructural investigations of the fungal colonisation showed a high congruence between the European and the Ecuadorian sites and confirmed previous results. Tulasnellales are the only mycobionts that could be detected from ultrastructural characters with certainty. Molecular phylogenetic analysis indicated the presence of tulasnelloid fungi from at least 13 distinct clades. The composition of the communities of tulasnelloid fungi in A. pinguis differs between Ecuador and Europe. The diversity of tulasnelloid fungal partners was much higher at the Ecuadorian site. © Springer-Verlag 2009.


Staniczek A.H.,State Museum of Natural History | Bechly G.,State Museum of Natural History | Godunko R.J.,University of South Bohemia | Godunko R.J.,Ukrainian Academy of Sciences
Insect Systematics and Evolution | Year: 2011

Mickoleitia longimanus gen. et sp.n. is described from the Lower Cretaceous limestone of the Crato Formation in Brazil. It is attributed to a new family Mickoleitiidae and a new fossil insect order Coxoplectoptera within the palaeopterous Ephemerida, based on the presence of an elongated costal brace. This fossil insect exhibits a very peculiar combination of derived characters like specialized forelegs with strongly elongated, free coxae, single-clawed pretarsus, and distinctly skewed pterothorax as in dragonflies. On the other hand, several plesiomorphies are present that exclude this taxon from modern Ephemeroptera, namely large hind wings with widened anal area and numerous cross veins that separate the elongate costal brace from the costal margin. Fossil larvae described by Willmann as larval Cretereismatidae are herein attributed to Mickoleitiidae fam.n., based on the shared presence of broad hind wing buds with distinctly broadened anal area, wing bud venation similar to the adult holotype, and subchelate forelegs with elongate free coxae. These larvae are also highly autapomorphic in the structure of their abdominal gills and laterally flattened body with vertically oval section that is unique within Ephemerida. On the other hand they possess plesiomorphic lateral wing pads with pronounced articulation like Palaeozoic pterygote larvae, while wing pads in modern insects are always secondarily fused to the tergum. A similar fossil larva from the Jurassic of Transbaikals was earlier described as Mesogenesia petersae and classified within modern mayflies. It is herein attributed to Mickoleitiidae fam.n. Coxoplectoptera are recognized as putative sister group of modern Ephemeroptera based on the shared presence of only 7 pairs of abdominal gills, while Permoplectoptera still have retained 9 pairs of gills. The phylogenetic reclassification of the mayfly stem group by Willmann is critically discussed and modified. © 2011 BRILL.


Konrad W.,University of Tübingen | Ebner M.,University of Tübingen | Traiser C.,University of Tübingen | Roth-Nebelsick A.,State Museum of Natural History
Pure and Applied Geophysics | Year: 2012

Wettability and retention capacity of leaf surfaces are parameters that contribute to interception of rain, fog or dew by forest canopies. Contrary to common expectation, hydrophobicity or wettability of a leaf do not dictate the stickiness of drops to leaves. Crucial for the adhesion of drops is the contact angle hysteresis, the difference between leading edge contact angle and trailing edge contact angle for a running drop. Other parameters that are dependent on the static contact angle are the maximum volume of drops that can stick to the surface and the persistence of an adhering drop with respect to evaporation. Adaption of contact angle and contact angle hysteresis allow one to pursue different strategies of drop control, for example efficient water shedding or maximum retention of adhering water. Efficient water shedding is achieved if contact angle hysteresis is low. Retention of (isolated) large drops requires a high contact angle hysteresis and a static contact angle of 65.5°, while maximum retention by optimum spacing of drops necessitates a high contact angle hysteresis and a static contact angle of 111.6°. Maximum persistence with respect to evaporation is obtained if the static contact angle amounts to 77.5°, together with a high contact angle hysteresis. It is to be expected that knowledge of these parameters can contribute to the capacity of a forest to intercept water. © 2011 Springer Basel AG.


News Article | December 21, 2015
Site: www.biosciencetechnology.com

Prague Zoo says it likely has the longest Chinese giant salamander now on Earth. The critically endangered animal is the largest amphibian on the planet. In a statement Sunday, the zoo says Karlo, a Chinese giant salamander it received 19 months ago from the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, Germany, is likely the biggest representative of its species. The zoo says, according to the latest measurements done Friday, that Karlo is 1.58 meters (5 feet, 2 and 3/16 inches) long. Karlo's age is estimated at 37 to 38 years and weight is 35 kilograms (77 pounds). The largest salamander on record was 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches) long. The zoo says its worldwide check didn't reveal any longer-living salamander.


News Article | December 20, 2015
Site: phys.org

The critically endangered animal is the largest amphibian on the planet. In a statement Sunday, the zoo says Karlo, a Chinese giant salamander it received 19 months ago from the State Museum of Natural History in Karlsruhe, Germany, is likely the biggest representative of its species. The zoo says, according to the latest measurements done Friday, that Karlo is 1.58 meters (5 feet, 2 and 3/16 inches) long. Karlo's age is estimated at 37 to 38 years and weight is 35 kilograms (77 pounds). The largest salamander on record was 1.8 meters (5 feet, 11 inches) long. The zoo says its worldwide check didn't reveal any longer-living salamander. Petr Velensky uses a meter to show the size of a Chinese giant salamander Karlo in an aquarium at the zoo in Prague, Czech Republic, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. Prague Zoo says Karlo is likely to be the biggest living Chinese giant salamander in the world. According to latest measuring done Friday, Karlo is 1.58 meter (5.18 feet) long. The critically endangered species is the largest amphibian in the world. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek) Explore further: New Komodo dragon death at Indonesia's 'death zoo'


News Article | April 14, 2016
Site: phys.org

The university will use a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to give students, researchers and the public access to the collection of Carl Rettenmeyer and his wife Marian. The collection includes about 2 million specimens of ants and other critters that also live in army ant colonies. The Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, where Carl Rettenmeyer worked from 1971 to 1996, will begin digitally cataloging the dead insects this summer, creating an electronic database of the collection and research notes that will be available online. "We have bulk samples of many colonies, thousands of vials with preserved things in them, and quite a few cabinets with pinned insects in them as well," Jane O'Donnell, the biologist who is managing the collection, said Wednesday. The ant colonies also are documented in 5,000 Kodachrome slides and about 30 hours of digital videotape. O'Donnell said the idea is to make the work accessible to everyone from elementary school students to the world's top ant researchers. The school is planning two exhibits, one about the ants and another about the Rettenmeyers. Carl, who died in 2009, also founded the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn. The school plans to build a large-scale model of an army ant that will welcome visitors to school's biology and physics building. There also will be 4-foot-long model ants placed on the side of the building to publicize the collection. The Rettenmeyers painstakingly documented the complex life of foraging army ant colonies. They became the first to discover many of the other organisms that live there, such as a special mite that attaches to the end of an ant's leg and serves as a sort of hiking boot for the insect, O'Donnell said. The school expects the additional research on the ants will uncover new details about colony life. The collection, O'Donnell said, also will be a valuable source of DNA for those studying the history of ants and their symbiotic systems. "We don't even know what some of the relationships with some of these other organisms are," she said. "We're hoping that by putting all of these details together and making it easier to study, some patterns will emerge." The school hopes to have the initial exhibition ready by early 2017. "We share billions of years of evolutionary history with these organisms, and we don't even really have an accounting of what's on the planet with us yet," O'Donnell said. "That's part of this." Explore further: Ants get their place in Smithsonian exhibit

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