Could climate change benefit invasive snakes? Modelling the potential distribution of the California Kingsnake in the Canary Islands

The interaction between climate change and biological invasions is a global conservation challenge with major consequences for invasive species management. However, our understanding of this interaction has substantial knowledge gaps; this is particularly relevant for invasive snakes on islands because they can be a serious threat to island ecosystems. Here we evaluated the potential influence of climate change on the distribution of invasive snakes on islands, using the invasion of the California kingsnake (Lampropeltis californiae) in Gran Canaria. We analysed the potential distribution of L. californiae under current and future climatic conditions in the Canary Islands, with the underlying hypothesis that the archipelago might be suitable for the species under these climate scenarios. Our results indicate that the Canary Islands are currently highly suitable for the invasive snake, with increased suitability under the climate change scenarios tested here. This study supports the idea that invasive reptiles represent a substantial threat to near-tropical regions, and builds on previous studies suggesting that the menace of invasive reptiles may persist or even be exacerbated by climate change. We suggest future research should continue to fill the knowledge gap regarding invasive reptiles, in particular snakes, to clarify their potential future impacts on global biodiversity.

Piquet, Julien C. ; Warren, Dan L.; Saavedra Bolaños, Jorge Fernando; Sánchez Rivero, José Miguel; Gallo-Barneto, Ramón; Cabrera-Pérez, Miguel Ángel; Fisher, Robert N.; Fisher, Sam R.; Rochester, Carlton J.; Hinds, Brian; Nogales, Manuel ; López-Darias, Marta

Journal of Environmental Management 294, 112917 (2021)

K-Ar geochronology and trace-element geochemistry of 2M1 illite from upper Paleozoic shale of SW Laurentia – Insights into sediment origin and drainage pathways in the Anadarko Basin, USA

The Anadarko Basin of Oklahoma represents a major Paleozoic depocenter that existed along the rifted margins of southwestern Laurentia. In its infancy it accumulated a thick series of Cambrian through Mississippian detritus while further subsidence caused by inversion of the Cambrian Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen resulted in voluminous Pennsylvanian to Permian sediment. This contribution reports new data on K-Ar ages and trace-element geochemistry of detrital illite from middle and upper Pennsylvanian shale used to reconstruct sediment origins at the peak period of subsidence of the Anadarko Basin. X-ray diffraction was used to unveil mineral compositions and abundances of illite polytypes in two size fractions of separated illite (˂1 and 2-1 μm). K-Ar isotopic analyses were completed for both fine fractions, while the laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was done for the latter. All illite separates consisted of mixtures of authigenic (1Md) and detrital (2M1) illite. The Illite Age Analyses showed that the detrital age of Desmoinesian (Moscovian) shale is the late Ediacaran (584 Ma), while the age of Missourian (Kasimovian) shale is the middle Cambrian (512.5 Ma). Trace-element abundances of all analyzed illite, irrespectively of stratigraphic age, are consistent with those of mica from metamorphic rocks. Based on illite detrital age and geochemistry it was inferred that Desmoinesian (Moscovian) shale represents a mixture of Neoproterozoic and Cambrian detritus sourced locally, whereas Missourian (Kasimovian) shale records a provenance shift toward more distal easterly sources from the Ouachita-(Marathon) foreland. This study has proposed a sediment source transition between the middle and upper Pennsylvanian that likely reflected major changes in the basin paleogeography and progressive development of the east-west (transcontinental) fluvial systems.

Šegvić, Branimir; Zanoni, Giovanni; Bozkaya, Ömer; Sweet, Dustin; Barnes, Melanie; Boulesteix, Thomas ; Solé, Jesús

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 575, 110486 (2021)

Changes in the structure of seed dispersal networks when including interaction outcomes from both plant and animal perspectives

Interaction frequency is the most common currency in quantitative ecological networks, although interaction quality can also affect benefits provided by mutualisms. Here, we evaluate if interaction quality can modify network topology, species' role and whether such changes affect community vulnerability to species loss. We use a well-examined study system (bird–lizard and fleshy-fruited plants in the ‘thermophilous' woodland of the Canary Islands) to compare network and species-level metrics from a network based on fruit consumption rates (interaction frequency, IF), against networks reflecting functional outcomes: a seed dispersal effectiveness network (SDE) quantifying recruitment, and a fruit resource provisioning network (FRP), accounting for the nutrient supply of fruits. Nestedness decreased in the FRP and the SDE networks, due to the lack of association between fruit consumption rates and 1) nutrient content and; 2) recruitment at the seed deposition sites, respectively. The FRP network showed lower niche overlap due to resource use complementarity among frugivores. Interaction evenness was lower in the SDE network, in response to a higher dominance of lizards in the recruitment of heliophilous species. Such changes, however, did not result in enhanced vulnerability against extinctions. At the plant species level, strength changed in the FRP network in frequently consumed or highly nutritious species. The number of effective partners decreased for species whose seeds were deposited in unsuitable places for recruitment. In frugivores, strength was consistent across networks (SDE vs IF), showing that consumption rates outweighed differences in dispersal quality. In the case of lizards, the increased importance of nutrient-rich species resulted in a higher number of effective partners.

Our work shows that although frequency strongly impacts interaction effects, accounting for quality improves our inferences about interaction assembly and species role. Thus, future studies including interaction outcomes from both partners' perspectives will provide valuable insights about the net effects of mutualistic interactions.

González-Castro, Aaron; Morán-López, Teresa; Nogales, Manuel; Traveset, Anna

Oikos (2021)

The Chemistry of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Revisited: Outlining Their Role in Biological Macromolecules (DNA, Lipids and Proteins) and Induced Pathologies

Living species are continuously subjected to all extrinsic forms of reactive oxidants and others that are produced endogenously. There is extensive literature on the generation and effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in biological processes, both in terms of alteration and their role in cellular signaling and regulatory pathways. Cells produce ROS as a controlled physiological process, but increasing ROS becomes pathological and leads to oxidative stress and disease. The induction of oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of radical species and the antioxidant defense systems, which can cause damage to cellular biomolecules, including lipids, proteins and DNA. Cellular and biochemical experiments have been complemented in various ways to explain the biological chemistry of ROS oxidants. However, it is often unclear how this translates into chemical reactions involving redox changes. This review addresses this question and includes a robust mechanistic explanation of the chemical reactions of ROS and oxidative stress.

Andrés Juan, Celia; Pérez de Lastra, José Manuel; Plou Gasca, Francisco José; Pérez-Lebeña, Euardo

International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(9), 4642: 1-21(2021)

Biodiversity monitoring using environmental DNA

Monitoring biodiversity is essential to protect, preserve and restore ecosystems, particularly in the context of current challenges such as climate change, habitat destruction and globalization (Baird & Hajibabaei, 2012). Biomonitoring is needed for developing biotic indices for assessing ecological status, measuring impacts of anthropogenic activities in natural ecosystems, evaluating biodiversity loss, surveying nonindigenous species, conservation, and identifying cryptic species (Balvanera et al., 2006; Fišer et al., 2018). Thus, spatially and temporally structured biomonitoring activities provide a powerful tool for the implementation of regional, national and international regulations, directives and policies for nature conservation. However substantial impediments exist including access to remote locations, limited specialist taxonomic knowledge, cost, slow pace of human-driven data analyses, and typically low sensitivity for detection of rare and elusive species (Zinger et al., 2020). These drawbacks are often translated into expensive monitoring activities with limited spatial, temporal and taxonomic coverage. In this context, new approaches for biomonitoring are being explored, among which advanced DNA-based technologies are emerging (Kissling et al., 2018). The field of biodiversity monitoring through the analysis of the pool of DNA isolated from environmental samples, referred to as environmental DNA or eDNA (Pawlowski et al., 2020; Taberlet et al., 2012), is rapidly growing. This growth is being driven through improved approaches for sampling, data generation and analyses, and with recent advances on how eDNA should be interpreted for biodiversity assessments (Bohmann et al., 2014). The success of eDNA-based biomonitoring is reflected in exponential growth of publications within this area and increasing submissions to Molecular Ecology Resources in particular (Figure 1). Molecular Ecology Resources aims to publish high quality eDNA studies that serve as broad resources, including innovative methodologies for DNA sampling, enhanced laboratory protocols for data generation, or new computer programs and statistical advances for data analyses. Thus, the aim of this editorial is to contribute to producing good quality DNA data-derived essential biodiversity variables (EBVs) (Kissling et al., 2018) by providing guidance to the community submitting articles on the subject. For that purpose, we have summarized best practices established in published literature related to the different phases involved in the process, namely sampling, laboratory work, bioinformatic analyses and data interpretation (Figure 2).

Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, Naiara; Zinger, Lucie; Kinziger, Andrew; Bik, Holly M.; Bonin, Aurélie; Coissac, Eric; Emerson, Brent C. ; Martins Lopes, Carla; Pelletier, Tara A.; Taberlet, Pierre; Narum, Shawn

Molecular Ecology Resources 21(5): 1405-1409 (2021)

FLTX2: A Novel Tamoxifen Derivative Endowed with Antiestrogenic, Fluorescent, and Photosensitizer Properties

Tamoxifen is the most widely used selective modulator of estrogen receptors (SERM) and the first strategy as coadjuvant therapy for the treatment of estrogen-receptor (ER) positive breast cancer worldwide. In spite of such success, tamoxifen is not devoid of undesirable effects, the most life-threatening reported so far affecting uterine tissues. Indeed, tamoxifen treatment is discouraged in women under risk of uterine cancers. Recent molecular design efforts have endeavoured the development of tamoxifen derivatives with antiestrogen properties but lacking agonistic uterine tropism. One of this is FLTX2, formed by the covalent binding of tamoxifen as ER binding core, 7-nitrobenzofurazan (NBD) as the florescent dye, and Rose Bengal (RB) as source for reactive oxygen species. Our analyses demonstrate (1) FLTX2 is endowed with similar antiestrogen potency as tamoxifen and its predecessor FLTX1, (2) shows a strong absorption in the blue spectral range, associated to the NBD moiety, which efficiently transfers the excitation energy to RB through intramolecular FRET mechanism, (3) generates superoxide anions in a concentration- and irradiation time-dependent process, and (4) Induces concentration- and time-dependent MCF7 apoptotic cell death. These properties make FLTX2 a very promising candidate to lead a novel generation of SERMs with the endogenous capacity to promote breast tumour cell death in situ by photosensitization.

Díaz, Mario; Lobo, Fernando; Hernández, Dácil; Amesty, Ángel; Valdés-Baizabal, Catalina; Canerina-Amaro, Ana; Mesa-Herrera, Fátima; Soler, Kevin; Boto, Alicia; Marín, Raquel; Estévez-Braun, Ana; Lahoz, Fernando

International Journal of Molecular Sciences 22(10), 5339: 1-21 (2021)

Sea dispersal potential and colonization of the Galápagos littoral flora

Aim Seed dispersal by oceanic currents (thalassochory) is considered one of the main long-distance dispersal (LDD) mechanisms for the colonization of oceanic islands by plants. Diaspores of littoral species are often hypothesized to be physiologically adapted to seawater dispersal, favouring interisland colonization. In this study, we experimentally tested the sea dispersal potential of a large proportion of Galápagos littoral flora and explored its correlation with plant distribution across the archipelago. We propose a simple Sea Dispersal Potential index (SDPi) to quantify the thalassochorous potential of any species. Location Galápagos archipelago. Taxon Littoral angiosperms. Methods We combined information on seed floatability (flotation time) and viability experiments (tetrazolium test) into an SDPi for 19 native littoral plants and tested whether increasing dispersal potential is associated with broader interisland distributions. We then tested if the presence of morphological structures related to thalassochory is associated with the functional SDPi. Results A relatively low, albeit highly variable, SDPi across Galápagos littoral plant species was found. No correlation was found between SDPi and species distributions. Morphological traits hypothesized to favour sea dispersal are not related to thalassorous potentials to reach closest islands, but they are positively associated with SDPi to reach the farthest islands. Main conclusions SDPi is shown to be a useful tool to compare the thalassochorous potentials of entire floras in a given geographical context. The low performance of most of the species questions the general assumption that most littoral plants are highly adapted to long-distance sea dispersal. Our results support the view that island colonization is a multifactorial process and that the use of dispersal syndromes is insufficient to make biogeographical predictions in macroecology studies. Further research should integrate functional indices (e.g., SDPi) with complementary tools (genetics, remote diaspore tracking) to determine the actual drivers of species dispersal and establishment.e

Fuster-Calvo, Alexandre; Nogales, Manuel; Heleno, Rubén; Vera, Carlos; Vargas, Pablo

Journal of Biogeography: 1-26 (2021)

Validation of a Method Scope Extension for the Analysis of POPs in Soil and Verification in Organic and Conventional Farms of the Canary Islands

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are among the most relevant and dangerous contaminants in soil, from where they can be transferred to crops. Additionally, livestock animals may inadvertently consume relatively high amounts of soil attached to the roots of the vegetables while grazing, leading to indirect exposure to humans. Therefore, periodic monitoring of soils is crucial; thus, simple, robust, and powerful methods are needed. In this study, we have tested and validated an easy QuEChERS-based method for the extraction of 49 POPs (8 PBDEs, 12 OCPs, 11 PAHs, and 18 PCBs) in soils and their analysis by GC-MS/MS. The method was validated in terms of linearity, precision, and accuracy, and a matrix effect study was performed. The limits of detection (LOD) were established between 0.048 and 3.125 ng g−1 and the limits of quantification (LOQ) were between 0.5 and 20 ng g−1, except for naphthalene (50 ng g−1). Then, to verify the applicability of the validated method, we applied it to a series of 81 soil samples from farms dedicated to mixed vegetable cultivation and vineyards in the Canary Islands, both from two modes of production (organic vs. conventional) where residues of OCPs, PCBs, and PAHs were found.

Acosta-Dacal, Andrea; Rial-Berriel, Cristina; Díaz-Díaz, Ricardo; Bernal-Suárez, María del Mar; Zumbado, Manuel; Henríquez-Hernández, Luis Alberto; Alonso-González, Pablo ; Parga-Dans, Eva ; Luzardo, Octavio P.

Toxics 9(5), 101: 1-17 (2021)

Short and Modular Synthesis of Substituted 2-Aminopyrroles

We herein describe a simple and metal-free domino methodology to synthesize 2-aminopyrroles from alkynyl vinyl hydrazides. The domino reaction involves a novel propargylic 3,4-diaza-Cope rearrangement and a tandem isomerization/5-exo-dig N-cyclization reaction. By using this approach, a number of 2-aminopyrroles with diverse substituents have been prepared.

Diana-Rivero, Raquel; Halsvik, Beate; García-Tellado, Fernando; Tejedor, David

Organic Letters 23(10): 4078–4082 (2021)

Sesquiterpene Lactones from Artemisia absinthium. Biotransformation and Rearrangement of the Insect Antifeedant 3α-hydroxypelenolide

Three new compounds, the sesquiterpenes absilactone and hansonlactone and the acetophenone derivative ajenjol, have been isolated from a cultivated variety of Artemisia absinthium. In addition, the major lactone isolated, 3α-hydroxypelenolide, was biotransformed by the fungus Mucor plumbeus affording the corresponding 1β, 10α-epoxide. A cadinane derivative was formed by an acid rearrangement produced in the culture medium, but not by the enzymatic system of the fungus. Furthermore, 3α-hydroxypelenolide showed strong antifeedant effects against Leptinotarsa decemlineata and cytotoxic activity to Sf9 insect cells, while the biotransformed compounds showed antifeedant postingestive effects against Spodoptera littoralis.

Fraga, Braulio M.; Díaz, Carmen E.; Bailén, María; González-Coloma, Azucena

Plants 10(5), 891: 1-14 (2021)