Towards establishment of a centralized spider traits database

A main goal of ecological and evolutionary biology is understanding and predicting interactions between populations and both abiotic and biotic environments, the spatial and temporal variation of these interactions, and the effects on population dynamics and performance. Trait-based approaches can help to model these interactions and generate a comprehensive understanding of ecosystem functioning. A central tool is the collation of databases that include species trait information. Such centralized databases have been set up for a number of organismal groups but is lacking for one of the most important groups of predators in terrestrial ecosystems – spiders. Here we promote the collation of an open spider traits database, integrated into the global Open Traits Network. We explore the current collation of spider data and cover the logistics of setting up a global database, including which traits to include, the source of data, how to input data, database governance, geographic cover, accessibility, quality control and how to make the database sustainable long-term. Finally, we explore the scope of research questions that could be investigated using a global spider traits database.

Lowe, Elizabeth C.; Wolff, Jonas O.; Aceves-Aparicio, Alfonso; Birkhofer, Klaus; Veiga Branco, Vasco; Cardoso, Pedro; Chichorro, Filipe; Fukushima, Caroline Sayuri; Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago; Haddad, Charles R.; Isaia, Marco; Krehenwinkel, Henrik; Audisio, Tracy Lynn; Macías-Hernández, Nuria; Malumbres-Olarte, Jagoba; Mammola, Stefano; McLean, Donald James; Michalko, Radek; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Pekár, Stano; Pétillon, Julien; Privet, Kaïna; Scott, Catherine; Uhl, Gabriele; Urbano-Tenorio, Fernando; Wong, Boon Hui; Herberstein, Marie E.

Journal of Arachnology 48(2): 103-109 (2020)

Biogeography and integrative taxonomy of Epipterygium (Mniaceae, Bryophyta)

A significant number of bryophyte species are thought to have transcontinental geographic ranges, often with multiple disjunct distribution areas. One of these cases is Epipterygium tozeri (Mniaceae), with a Holarctic distribution and disjunct ranges in western North America, the Mediterranean, Japan and central Asia. Collections from different geographic regions were lumped into E. tozeri based on morphology, but a molecular confirmation was lacking so far. Here, we tested species concepts in the genus Epipterygium, with a special focus on the E. tozeri species complex, combining morphological and DNA sequence data for the nuclear ribosomal ITS region and two plastid loci (trnG intron, trnT‐psbD spacer). In a second step, we reconstructed the historical biogeography of the genus. We found that Epipterygium most likely originated in Asia or North/Central America and that the alleged single widespread species E. tozeri with disjunct ranges is in fact a group of genetically and morphologically distinct taxa, including four overlooked species, for which we provide descriptions: E. atlanticum sp. nov., E. biauritum sp. nov., E. oreophilum sp. nov., and E. yunnanense sp. nov. The biogeographical history of these species is best explained by a step‐wise parallel colonization of the Eurasian and American continents followed by in‐situ speciation.

Hanusch, Maximilian; Ortiz, Edgardo M.; Patiño, Jairo; Schaefer, Hanno

Taxon (2020)

Linking seascape with landscape genetics: Oceanic currents favour colonization across the Galápagos Islands by a coastal plant


Coastal plants are terrestrial organisms for which ocean surface currents often act as long‐distance dispersal vectors (thalassochorous species) favouring broad distributions and connecting distant populations. However, few studies have statistically assessed the role of currents in modulating gene flow and species distributions of terrestrial organisms. Here we evaluate the hypothesis that some thalassochorous plants exhibit population connectivity, presumably due to effective seed dispersal driven by sea currents.


Galápagos Islands (Ecuador).


Salt bush (Cryptocarpus pyriformis Kunth), a Galápagos native and locally widespread coastal angiosperm.


Using 1806 SNPs obtained by ddRADseq, we evaluated the genetic structure and differentiation of the Galápagos salt bush. To assess the role of sea currents in modulating inter‐population gene flow, four explicit hypotheses were tested using reciprocal causal modelling and spatial eigenvector analysis: (a) isolation by sea resistance, considering that only sea dispersal is possible; (b) isolation by sea and inland resistance, considering that inland dispersal is also possible; (c) isolation by barrier, considering the sea as an obstacle to seed dispersal; and (d) isolation by geographical distance.


Low differentiation and little genetic structure were detected among populations of C. pyriformis. Pairwise genetic distances between populations from different islands were significantly correlated with cost distances calculated from sea‐current direction and speed. Nonetheless, inland dispersal also accounted for some gene flow within each island.

Main conclusion

Extensive and frequent seed dispersal by sea has apparently favoured strong inter‐island genetic connectivity within Galápagos. A combination of methods developed for terrestrial and marine domains (landscape and seascape genetics) aids in understanding how landscape features modulate gene flow of coastal plant species, as these terrestrial organisms are highly dependent on the sea for seed dispersal.

Arjona, Yurena; Fernández-López, Javier; Navascués, Miguel; Álvarez, Nadir; Nogales, Manuel; Vargas, Pablo


Journal of Biogeography, 47(12): 2622-2633 (2020)

Vino de Tea (pine heartwood wine) from La Palma (Spain): ethnographic and physic-chemical characterization of a unique fermented product

This paper presents the results of a novel study of Vino de Tea (pine heartwood wine) from the island of La Palma (Canary Islands, Spain). The aim is to investigate its differential characteristics and contribute to typifying it within the Denomination of Origin ‘Wines of La Palma’. The analysis is based on a mixed approach combining a qualitative ethnographic approach (22 interviews) and quantitative physic-chemical methods in a sample of 16 wines. The ethnographical study revealed the tradition and techniques of elaboration behind Vino de Tea. In turn, the physic-chemical analysis revealed by chromatography a significant presence of α-terpineol due to elaboration in pine barrels or casks. These samples were compared with a Greek Retsina wine, revealing the differences between these two traditional wines. These data suggest that Vino de Tea is a unique product with distinctive characteristics and potential health benefits, owing to its significant content of α-terpineol resulting from its fermentation in Canary pine casks.

Alonso-González, Pablo; Parga-Dans, Eva

Journal of Ethnic Foods 7, 36 (2020)

Displacements Monitoring over Czechia by IT4S1 System for Automatised Interferometric Measurements using Sentinel-1 Data

The Sentinel-1 satellite system continuously observes European countries at a relatively high revisit frequency of six days per orbital track. Given the Sentinel-1 configuration, most areas in Czechia are observed every 1–2 days by different tracks in a moderate resolution. This is attractive for various types of analyses by various research groups. The starting point for interferometric (InSAR) processing is an original data provided in a Single Look Complex (SLC) level. This work represents advantages of storing data augmented to a specifically corrected level of data, SLC-C. The presented database contains Czech nationwide Sentinel-1 data stored in burst units that have been pre-processed to the state of a consistent well-coregistered dataset of SLC-C. These are resampled SLC data with their phase values reduced by a topographic phase signature, ready for fast interferometric analyses (an interferogram is generated by a complex conjugate between two stored SLC-C files). The data can be used directly into multitemporal interferometry techniques, e.g., Persistent Scatterers (PS) or Small Baseline (SB) techniques applied here. A further development of the nationwide system utilising SLC-C data would lead into a dynamic state where every new pre-processed burst triggers a processing update to detect unexpected changes from InSAR time series and therefore provides a signal for early warning against a potential dangerous displacement, e.g., a landslide, instability of an engineering structure or a formation of a sinkhole. An update of the processing chain would also allow use of cross-polarised Sentinel-1 data, needed for polarimetric analyses. The current system is running at a national supercomputing centre IT4Innovations in interconnection to the Czech Copernicus Collaborative Ground Segment (CESNET), providing fast on-demand InSAR results over Czech territories. A full nationwide PS processing using data over Czechia was performed in 2017, discovering several areas of land deformation. Its downsampled version and basic findings are demonstrated within the article.

Lazecký, Milan: Hatton, Emma; González, Pablo J.; Hlavácová, Ivana; Jiránková, Eva; Dvorák, Frantisek; Sustr, Zdenek, Martinovic, Jan

Remote Sensing 12(18), 2960: 1-22 (2020)

Mitogenomic phylogenetics of Diochus occultus n. sp., a palaeoendemic endogean species within the tribe Diochini (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Staphylininae)

The tribe Diochini has a worldwide distribution, with 2 and 74 epigean species within the genera Antarctothius and Diochus respectively. Recent phylogenetic studies suggest a sister relationship of Diochini and a lineage formed by Xantholinini, Maorothiini, and Othiini, within the subfamily Staphylininae. Here we describe the first known endogean representative of Diochini, Diochus occultus n. sp., and provide the first two complete mitogenomes for the tribe, corresponding to the two European Diochus species: Diochus occultus n. sp. and Diochus staudingeri. These sequences were combined with 40 additional mitogenomes from representatives within Staphylininae, Paederinae, Silphidae, and Aleocharinae, and COI sequences from 5 additional species of Diochus to conduct a series of mitogenomic phylogenetic and dating analyses. The estimated molecular phylogeny is fully consistent with previous studies based on morphology and molecular data, finding a sister relationship of Diochini with a clade formed by Xantholinini and Othiini (Maorothiini not sampled). Dating analyses inferred an early split of the tribe Diochini at 140-156 Mya. Morphology shows clear differences in the aedeagal and external morphology of D. occultus n. sp. and D. staudingeri, whereas a sister relationship of these taxa is found in the phylogenetic analyses, with the split dated at 48-61 Mya. Although the study of additional Palaearctic Diochus species will be required to conclusively establish that D. occultus n. sp. is a palaeoendemic taxon sister to D. staudingeri, associated to forests of Abies pinsapo in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, this conclusion is consistent with the ancient estimated age of speciation, endogean habitat specificity, low dispersal capacity (flightless species), and microendemicity of D. occultus. This is also consistent with the continued emersion of the Betic sub-plate along its tectonic evolution. The estimated ages of diversification of the Paederinae-Staphylininae lineage are also discussed.

Hernando, Carles; Andújar, Carmelo

Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research (2020)

Revealing community assembly through barcoding: Mediterranean butterflies and dispersal variation

In Focus: Scalercio, S., Cini, A., Menchetti, M., Vodă, R., Bonelli, S., Bordoni, A., … Dapporto, L. (2020). How long is 3 km for a butterfly? Ecological constraints and functional traits explain high mitochondrial genetic diversity between Sicily and the Italian Peninsula. Journal of Animal Ecology.‐2656.13196. Biotic and abiotic factors can shape geographical patterns of genetic variation within species, but few studies have addressed how this might generate common patterns at the level of communities of species. Scalercio et al. (2020) have combined mtDNA sequence data and life‐history traits, to reveal a repeated pattern of genetic structure between Sicilian and southern Italian butterfly populations, which are separated by only 3 km of ocean. They reveal how intrinsic species traits and extrinsic environmental constraints explain this pattern, demonstrating an important role for wind. Moreover, the inclusion of almost 8,000 georeferenced sequences reveals that, in spite of also being present in southern Italy, almost half of Sicilian butterfly species are more closely related to populations from other parts of Europe, Asia or North Africa. We provide further discussion on the biogeographic barrier they identify, and the potential of community‐level DNA barcoding to identify processes that structure genetic variation across communities.

Emerson, Brent C.; Jiménez-García, Eduardo; Suárez, Daniel

Journal of Animal Ecology 89(9): 1992-1996 (2020)

Patrimonios y culturas del vino en riesgo de desaparición: el caso de As Adegas do Viño do País (Betanzos, Galicia)

Las Adegas do Viño do País son establecimientos propios de la comarca de Betanzos (noroeste de Galicia, España) en los que se permite vender el excedente de la producciónMvinícola anual por parte de sus productores. Estos locales, cuyos orígenes remontan al periodo medieval, forman parte de la tradición y la cultura del vino contemporánea de la zona, donde las personas acuden a degustar el vino del año y llevan comida para compartir. Pese a la relevancia histórica, cultural y patrimonial de estos espacios, actualmente corren el riesgo de desaparecer. El presente estudio analiza, con perspectiva etnográfica, mediante aproximación sociológica y en línea con los estudios críticos del patrimonio, los factores socioculturales que emplazan a esta tradición al borde de la desaparición. Los resultados muestran una cultura vitícola singular y, por tanto, una oportunidad de favorecer su continuidad mediante su diferenciación, es decir, la adaptación de esta tradición a la modernidad fundamentada en el estudio de las Adegas do Viño do País.

Togores Hernani, José Ramón; Parga-Dans, Eva; Diz, Carlos

RIVAR - Revista Iberoamericana de Viticultura, Agroindustria y Ruralidad 7(21): 33-58 (2020)

Control of invasive ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) in an island Biosphere Reserve (La Palma, Canary Islands): combining methods and social engagement

The ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) has been naturalised in La Palma Island Biosphere Reserve since the late 1990s. Due to landowners’ complaints about the impact of parakeets on crops, a control scheme was implemented to eliminate the known population, initially estimated at 70 birds. The programme finally comprised three different phases. Between December 2015 and September 2016, 107 parakeets were removed by trapping using 14 decoy traps. Due to inefficient handling and trap shyness developed by the parakeets, traps were removed from October 2016 to November 2017, with at least 20 parakeets remaining in the wild. The control measures restarted in December 2017; 34 parakeets were counted and 13 were trapped. Since the parakeets had started to breed, the method was changed from trapping to shooting, to remove the last 34 parakeets. In total, during the entire project (December 2015–May 2018), 175 ring-necked parakeets were managed: 154 removed from the environment, 1 handed over to the project staff, and 20 registered by authorities as pets. Considering the undetermined number of ring-necked parakeets kept as pets on the island, an early detection and rapid response system has been set up by the island council, engaging public workers and volunteers to investigate and control new escapes. This project is one of the few cases worldwide where naturalised breeding populations of this invasive species have been successfully eliminated from the environment. Negative effects on biodiversity and human interests were thus minimized, and especially important, this was achieved without generating any social conflict.

Saavedra, Susana; Medina, Félix M.

Biological Invasions 22: 3653–3667(2020)

Can Immunization of Hens Provide Oral-Based Therapeutics against COVID-19?

In the current worldwide pandemic situation caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and the newest coronavirus disease (COVID-19), therapeutics and prophylactics are urgently needed for a large population. Some of the prophylaxis strategies are based on the development of antibodies targeting viral proteins. IgY antibodies are a type of immunoglobulin present in birds, amphibians, and reptiles. They are usually obtained from egg yolk of hyper-immunized hens and represent a relatively inexpensive source of antibodies. Specific IgY can be produced by immunizing chickens with the target antigen and then purifying from the egg yolk. Chicken IgY has been widely explored as a clinical anti-infective material for prophylaxis, preventive medicine, and therapy of infectious diseases. Administered non-systemically, IgY antibodies are safe and effective drugs. Moreover, passive immunization with avian antibodies could become an effective alternative therapy, as these can be obtained relatively simply, cost-efficiently, and produced on a large scale. Here, we highlight the potential use of polyclonal avian IgY antibodies as an oral prophylactic treatment for respiratory viral diseases, such as COVID-19, for which no vaccine is yet available.

Pérez de Lastra, José Manuel; Baca-González, Victoria; Asensio-Calavia, Patricia; González-Acosta, Sergio; Morales-delaNuez, Antonio

Vaccines 8(3), 486: 1-21 (2020)