Flightlessness in insects enhances diversification and determines assemblage structure across whole communities

Dispersal limitation has been recurrently suggested to shape both macroecological patterns and microevolutionary processes within invertebrates. However, because of potential interactions among biological, environmental, temporal, and spatial variables, causal links among flight-related traits, diversification and spatial patterns of community assembly remain elusive. Integrating genetic variation within species across whole insect assemblages, within a simplified spatial and environmental framework, can be used to reduce the impact of these potentially confounding variables. Here, we used standardized sampling and mitochondrial DNA sequencing for a whole-community characterization of the beetle fauna inhabiting a singular forested habitat (laurel forest) within an oceanic archipelago setting (Canary Islands). The spatial structure of species assemblages together with species-level genetic diversity was compared at the archipelago and island scales for 104 winged and 110 wingless beetle lineages. We found that wingless beetle lineages have: (i) smaller range sizes at the archipelago scale, (ii) lower representation in younger island communities, (iii) stronger population genetic structure, and (iv) greater spatial structuring of species assemblages between and within islands. Our results reveal that dispersal limitation is a fundamental trait driving diversity patterns at multiple hierarchical levels by promoting spatial diversification and affecting the spatial configuration of entire assemblages at both island and archipelago scales.

Salces-Castellano, Antonia; Andújar, Carmelo; López, Heriberto; Pérez-Delgado, Antonio J.; Arribas, Paula; Emerson, Brent C.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 288(1945), 20202646 (2021)

Tidal Influence on Seismic Activity During the 2011–2013 El Hierro Volcanic Unrest

The El Hierro volcanic unrest started in July 2011, with an increase in observed seismicity rates and surface deformation. After the initial onset, hypocenters migrated southward through September 2011, culminating in a submarine eruption beginning on October 10, 2011 and finishing in February 2012. The seismic activity continued, with remarkable periods of unrest through 2012 and 2013. The most significant episodes of seismic activity during this unrest are related to magma migration at depth. In this work, we compute tidal stress for each earthquake, at its hypocenter depth, and assign them a tidal stress phase angle. We have found statistically significant correlations between the occurrence of earthquakes and tidal stress phase angles, corresponding mainly to increasing tidal stress change rates. We found primarily that the magnitude of vertical and E‐W horizontal tidal stress values and their changing rates with time were correlated with earthquake occurrence times. We also found that there is no correlation between tides and seismicity at times with no observed surface displacements, suggesting that tidal modulation might be related to overpressure during migration of magma. Tidal modulation changes with depth and the influence of ocean‐loading tides is stronger than the influence of solid Earth tides. Our results support the hypothesis that tidal stress may modulate the seismicity during volcanic unrest, particularly during shallow depth magma migration.

Miguelsanz, Luis; González, Pablo J.; Tiampo, Kristy F.; Fernández Torres, José

Tectonics 40(2), e2020TC006201: 1-53 (2021)

A Beginner’s Guide to Osmoprotection by Biostimulants

Water is indispensable for the life of any organism on Earth. Consequently, osmotic stress due to salinity and drought is the greatest threat to crop productivity. Ongoing climate change includes rising temperatures and less precipitation over large areas of the planet. This is leading to increased vulnerability to the drought conditions that habitually threaten food security in many countries. Such a scenario poses a daunting challenge for scientists: the search for innovative solutions to save water and cultivate under water deficit. A search for formulations including biostimulants capable of improving tolerance to this stress is a promising specific approach. This review updates the most recent state of the art in the field.

Jiménez-Arias, David; García-Machado, Francisco J.; Morales-Sierra, Sarai; García-García, Ana L.; Herrera, Antonio J.; Valdés, Francisco; Luis, Juan C.; Borges, Andrés A.

Plants 10(2), 363: 1-24 (2021)

Structural Diversity using Hyp “Customizable Units”: Proof‐of‐Concept Synthesis of Sansalvamide‐Related Antitumoral Peptides

The potential of “customizable units” to generate structural diversity for biological screenings is highlighted in this proof‐of‐concept synthesis of new peptides related to the potent antitumoral Sansalvamide A. Using L‐4‐hydroxyproline (Hyp) as a customizable unit in a linear parent peptide, an improved procedure for selective peptide modification was developed. A divergent Hyp scission‐reductive amination process was carried out, affording five linear peptides with cationic residues, and notably, an N‐alkyl moiety that affected the conformation of the peptide. After two steps (saponification and macrocyclization), sixteen differently N1‐substituted linear and cyclic peptides were obtained. For the first time, the activity of the linear and cyclic compounds was compared. Not only some linear analogs but also cyclic compounds with scarcely studied cationic residues were active against MCF7 breast cancer line. Thus, the structural diversity generated from customizable units can be valuable in drug discovery.

Cuevas, Fernando; Saavedra, Carlos J.; Romero-Estudillo, Iván; Boto, Alicia; Ordóñez, Mario; Vergara, Irene

European Journal of Organic Chemistry (6): 933-943 (2021)

Impact of Desert Dust Events on the Cardiovascular Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Background: Whether or not inhalation of airborne desert dust has adverse health effects is unknown. The present study, based on a systematic review and meta-analysis, was carried out to assess the influence desert dust on cardiovascular mortality, acute coronary syndrome, and heart failure. Methods: A systematic search was made in PubMed and Embase databases for studies published before March 2020. Studies based on daily measurements of desert dust were identified. The meta-analysis evaluated the impact of desert dust on cardiovascular events the same day (lag 0) of the exposure and during several days after the exposure (lags 1 to 5). The combined impact of several days of exposure was also evaluated. The incidence rate ratio (IRR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) was calculated using the inverse variance random effects method. Results: Of the 589 identified titles, a total of 15 studies were selected. The impact of desert dust on the incidence of cardiovascular mortality was statistically significant (IRR = 1.018 (95%CI 1.008–1.027); p < 0.001) in lag 0 of the dust episode, in the following day (lag 1) (IRR = 1.005 (95%CI 1.001–1.009); p = 0.022), and during both days combined (lag 0–1) (IRR = 1.015 (95%CI 1.003–1.028); p = 0.014). Conclusions: The inhalation to desert dust results in a 2% increase (for every 10 µg/m3) in cardiovascular mortality risk.

Domínguez-Rodríguez, Alberto; Báez-Ferrer, Néstor; Abreu-González, Pedro; Rodríguez, Sergio; Díaz, Rocío; Avanzas, Pablo; Hernández-Vaquero, Daniel

Journal of Clinical Medicine 10(4), 727: 1-12 (2021)

Ovary Signals for Pollen Tube Guidance in Chalazogamous Mangifera indica L.

Most flowering plants show porogamy in which the pollen tubes reach the egg apparatus through the micropyle. However, several species show chalazogamy, an unusual pollen tube growth, in which the pollen tubes reach the embryo sac through the chalaza. While ovary signals for pollen tube growth and guidance have been extensively studied in porogamous species, few studies have addressed the process in chalazogamous species such as mango (Mangifera indica L.), one of the five most important fruit crops worldwide in terms of production. In this study, we characterize pollen–pistil interaction in mango, paying special attention to three key players known to be involved in the directional pollen tube growth of porogamous species such as starch, arabinogalactan proteins (AGPs), and γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Starch grains were observed in the style and in the ponticulus at anthesis, but their number decreased 1 day after anthesis. AGPs, revealed by JIM8 and JIM13 antibodies, were homogenously observed in the style and ovary, but were more conspicuous in the nucellus around the egg apparatus. GABA, revealed by anti-GABA antibodies, was specifically observed in the transmitting tissue, including the ponticulus. Moreover, GABA was shown to stimulate in vitro mango pollen tube elongation. The results support the heterotrophic growth of mango pollen tubes in the style at the expense of starch, similarly to the observations in porogamous species. However, unlike porogamous species, the micropyle of mango does not show high levels of GABA and starch, although they were observed in the ponticulus and could play a role in supporting the unusual pollen tube growth in chalazogamous species.

Lora Cabrera, Jorge; Pérez Méndez, Verónica; Herrero Romero, María; Hormaza Urroz, José Ignacio

Frontiers in Plant Science 11, 601706: 1-15 (2021)

Genomic variation, population history and within-archipelago adaptation between island bird populations

Oceanic island archipelagos provide excellent models to understand evolutionary processes. Colonization events and gene flow can interact with selection to shape genetic variation at different spatial scales. Landscape-scale variation in biotic and abiotic factors may drive fine-scale selection within islands, while long-term evolutionary processes may drive divergence between distantly related populations. Here, we examine patterns of population history and selection between recently diverged populations of the Berthelot's pipit (Anthus berthelotii), a passerine endemic to three North Atlantic archipelagos. First, we use demographic trees and f3 statistics to show that genome-wide divergence across the species range is largely shaped by colonization and bottlenecks, with evidence of very weak gene flow between populations. Then, using a genome scan approach, we identify signatures of divergent selection within archipelagos at single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes potentially associated with craniofacial development and DNA repair. We did not detect within-archipelago selection at the same SNPs as were detected previously at broader spatial scales between archipelagos, but did identify signatures of selection at loci associated with similar biological functions. These findings suggest that similar ecological factors may repeatedly drive selection between recently separated populations, as well as at broad spatial scales across varied landscapes.

Martín, Clauida A.; Armstrong, Claire; Illera, Juan Carlos ; Emerson, Brent C. ; Richardson, David S.; Spurgin, Lewis G.

Royal Society Open Science 8(2), 201146: 1-16 (2021)

Bioactive Metabolites from the Endophytic Fungus Aspergillus sp. SPH2

In the current study, an ethyl acetate extract from the endophytic fungus Aspergillus sp. SPH2 isolated from the stem parts of the endemic plant Bethencourtia palmensis was screened for its biocontrol properties against plant pathogens (Fusarium moniliforme, Alternaria alternata, and Botrytis cinerea), insect pests (Spodoptera littoralis, Myzus persicae, Rhopalosiphum padi), plant parasites (Meloidogyne javanica), and ticks (Hyalomma lusitanicum). SPH2 gave extracts with strong fungicidal and ixodicidal effects at different fermentation times. The bioguided isolation of these extracts gave compounds 1–3. Mellein (1) showed strong ixodicidal effects and was also fungicidal. This is the first report on the ixodicidal effects of 1. Neoaspergillic acid (2) showed potent antifungal effects. Compound 2 appeared during the exponential phase of the fungal growth while neohydroxyaspergillic acid (3) appeared during the stationary phase, suggesting that 2 is the biosynthetic precursor of 3. The mycotoxin ochratoxin A was not detected under the fermentation conditions used in this work. Therefore, SPH2 could be a potential biotechnological tool for the production of ixodicidal extracts rich in mellein.

Morales-Sánchez, Viridiana; Díaz, Carmen E.; Trujillo, Elena; Olmeda, Sonia A.; Valcarcel, Félix; Muñoz, Rubén; Andrés, María Fe; González-Coloma, Azucena 

Journal of Fungi 7(2), 109: 1-11 (2021)

Long‐term cloud forest response to climate warming revealed by insect speciation history

Montane cloud forests are areas of high endemism, and are one of the more vulnerable terrestrial ecosystems to climate change. Thus, understanding how they both contribute to the generation of biodiversity, and will respond to ongoing climate change, are important and related challenges. The widely accepted model for montane cloud forest dynamics involves upslope forcing of their range limits with global climate warming. However, limited climate data provides some support for an alternative model, where range limits are forced downslope with climate warming. Testing between these two models is challenging, due to the inherent limitations of climate and pollen records. We overcome this with an alternative source of historical information, testing between competing model predictions using genomic data and demographic analyses for a species of beetle tightly associated to an oceanic island cloud forest. Results unequivocally support the alternative model: populations that were isolated at higher elevation peaks during the Last Glacial Maximum are now in contact and hybridizing at lower elevations. Our results suggest that genomic data are a rich source of information to further understand how montane cloud forest biodiversity originates, and how it is likely to be impacted by ongoing climate change.

Salces-Castellano, Antonia; Stankowski, Sean; Arribas, Paula; Patiño, Jairo; Karger, Dirk N.; Butlin, Roger; Emerson, Brent C.

Evolution 75(2): 231-244 (2021)

Anthropogenic Perturbations to the Atmospheric Molybdenum Cycle

Molybdenum (Mo) is a key cofactor in enzymes used for nitrogen (N) fixation and nitrate reduction, and the low availability of Mo can constrain N inputs, affecting ecosystem productivity. Natural atmospheric Mo aerosolization and deposition from sources such as desert dust, sea‐salt spray, and volcanoes can affect ecosystem function across long timescales, but anthropogenic activities such as combustion, motor vehicles, and agricultural dust have accelerated the natural Mo cycle. Here we combined a synthesis of global atmospheric concentration observations and modeling to identify and estimate anthropogenic sources of atmospheric Mo. To project the impact of atmospheric Mo on terrestrial ecosystems, we synthesized soil Mo data and estimated the global distribution of soil Mo using two approaches to calculate turnover times. We estimated global emissions of atmospheric Mo in aerosols (<10 μm in diameter) to be 23 Gg Mo yr‐1, with 40 to 75% from anthropogenic sources. We approximated that for the top meter of soil, Mo turnover times range between 1,000 to 1,000,000 years. In some industrialized regions, anthropogenic inputs have enhanced Mo deposition 100‐fold, lowering the soil Mo turnover time considerably. Our synthesis of global observational data, modeling, and a mass balance comparison with riverine Mo exports suggest that anthropogenic activity has greatly accelerated the Mo cycle, with potential to influence N‐limited ecosystems.

Wong, Michelle Y.; Rathod, Sagar D.; Marino, Roxanne; Li, Longlei; Howarth, Robert W.; Alastuey, Andres; Alaimo, Maria Grazia; Barraza, Francisco; Carneiro, Manuel Castro; Chellam, Shankararaman; Chen Yu-Cheng; Cohen, David D.; Connelly, David; Dongarra, Gaetano; Gomez, Dario; Hand, Jenny; Harrison, R.M.; Hopke, Philip K.; Hueglin, Christoph; Kuang, Yuan-wen; Lambert, Fabrice; Liang, James; Losno, Remi; Maenhaut, Willy; Milando, Chad; Couto Monteiro, Maria Inês; Morera-Gómez, Yasser; Querol, Xavier; Rodríguez, Sergio; Smichowski, Patricia; Varrica, Daniela; Xiao, Yi-hua; Xu, Yangjunjie; Mahowald, Natalie M.

Global Biogeochemical Cycles 35(2), e2020GB006787: 1-70 (2021)