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A coordinated spectral, mineralogical, and compositional study of ordinary chondrites

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Mineral compositions and abundances derived from visible/near-infrared (VIS/NIR or VNIR) spectra are used to classify asteroids, identify meteorite parent bodies, and understand the structure of the asteroid belt. Using a suite of 48 equilibrated (types 4-6) ordinary (H, L, and LL) chondrites containing orthopyroxene, clinopyroxene, and olivine, new relationships between spectra and mineralogy have been established. Contrary to previous suggestions, no meaningful correlation is observed between band parameters and cpx/(opx+cpx) ratios. We derive new calibrations for determining mineral abundances (ol/(ol+px)) and mafic silicate compositions (Fa in olivine, Fs in pyroxene) from VIS/NIR spectra. These calibrations confirm that band area ratio (BAR) is controlled by mineral abundances, while band I center is controlled by mafic silicate compositions. Spectrally-derived mineralogical parameters correctly classify H, L and LL chondrites in ~80% of cases, suggesting that these are robust relationships that can be applied to S(IV) asteroids with ordinary chondrites mineralogies. Comparison of asteroids and meteorites using these new mineralogical parameters has the advantage that H, L and LL chemical groups were originally defined on the basis of mafic silicate compositions.

Evolution of host breadth in broad interactions: mycorrhizal specificity in East Asian and North American rattlesnake plantains (Goodyera spp.) and their fungal hosts

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Host breadth is often assumed to have no evolutionary significance in broad interactions because of the lack of cophylogenetic patterns between interacting species. Nonetheless, the breadth and suite of hosts utilized by one species may have adaptive value, particularly if it underlies a common ecological niche among hosts. Here, we present a preliminary assessment of the evolution of mycorrhizal specificity in 12 closely related orchid species (genera Goodyera and Hetaeria) using DNA-based methods. We mapped specificity onto a plant phylogeny that we estimated to infer the evolutionary history of the mycorrhiza from the plant perspective, and hypothesized that phylogeny would explain a significant portion of the variance in specificity of plants on their host fungi. Sampled plants overwhelmingly associated with genus Ceratobasidium, but also occasionally with some ascomycetes. Ancestral mycorrhizal specificity was narrow in the orchids, and broadened rarely as Goodyera speciated. Statistical tests of phylogenetic inertia suggested some support for specificity varying with increasing phylogenetic distance, though only when the phylogenetic distance between suites of fungi interacting with each plant taxon were taken into account. These patterns suggest a role for phylogenetic conservatism in maintaining suits of fungal hosts among plants. We stress the evolutionary importance of host breadth in these organisms, and suggest that even generalists are likely to be constrained evolutionarily to maintaining associations with their symbionts.

Arthropod abundance and diversity in a lowland tropical forest floor in Panama: The role of habitat space vs. nutrient concentrations

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Tropical forest floor characteristics such as depth and nutrient concentrations are highly heterogeneous even over small spatial scales and it is unclear how these differences contribute to patchiness in forest floor arthropod abundance and diversity. In a lowland tropical forest in Panama we experimentally increased litter standing crop by removing litter from five plots (L2212) and adding it to five other plots (L+); we had five control plots. After 32 mo of treatments we investigated how arthropod abundance and diversity were related to differences in forest floor physical (mass, depth, water content) and chemical properties (pH, nutrient concentrations). Forest floor mass and total arthropod abundance were greater in L+ plots compared with controls. There were no treatment differences in nutrient concentrations, pH or water content of the organic horizons. Over all plots, the mass of the fermentation horizon (Oe) was greater than the litter horizon (Oi); arthropod diversity and biomass were also greater in the Oe horizon but nutrient concentrations tended to be higher in the Oi horizon. Arthropod abundance was best explained by forest floor mass, while arthropod diversity was best explained by phosphorus, calcium and sodium concentrations in the Oi horizon and by phosphorus concentrations in the Oe horizon. Differences in arthropod community composition between treatments and horizons correlated with phosphorus concentration and dry mass of the forest floor. We conclude that at a local scale, arthropod abundance is related to forest floor mass (habitat space), while arthropod diversity is related to forest floor nutrient concentrations (habitat quality). Abstract in Spanish is available at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/btp

Effects of forest fragmentation on the seedling recruitment of a tropical herb: assessing seed vs. safe-site limitation

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Studies simultaneously evaluating the importance of safe-site and seed limitation for plant establishment are rare, particularly in human-modified landscapes. We used spatially explicit neighborhood models together with data from 10 0.5-ha mapped census plots in a fragmented landscape spanning 1000 km2 to (1) evaluate the relative importance of seed production, dispersal, and safe-site limitation for the recruitment of the understory herb Heliconia acuminata; and (2) determine how these processes differ between fragments and continuous forests. Our analyses demonstrated a large degree of variation in seed production, dispersal, and establishment among and within the 10 study plots. Seed production limitation was strong but only at small spatial scales. Average dispersal distance was less than 4 m, leading to severe dispersal limitation at most sites. Overall, safe-site limitation was the most important constraint on seedling establishment. Fragmentation led to a more heterogeneous light environment with negative consequences for seedling establishment but had little effect on seed production or dispersal. These results suggest that the effects of fragmentation on abiotic processes may be more important than the disruption of biotic interactions in driving biodiversity loss in tropical forests, at least for some functional groups. These effects may be common when the matrix surrounding fragments contains enough tree cover to enable movement of dispersers and pollinators.

Report of a cohesive gelatinous egg mass produced by a tropical marine bivalve

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Abstract. Gelatinous egg masses are common in a number of animal phyla. However, they are virtually unknown in marine bivalves, with structures that could be thought of as gelatinous egg masses being reported for only five species. We describe the gelatinous egg mass and intracapsular development in the tropical lucinid Phacoides pectinatus. The embryos developed within individual capsules embedded in a large flimsy, spherical mass. Swimming veligers hatch at 198 03BCm shell length. They did not feed, settled within several days of hatching, and metamorphosis was completed within 2 weeks of hatching. Gelatinous egg masses might be detected in members of more lucinid species if studies of development included field or in vivo observations of reproduction in addition to producing embryos by stripping the gonads.

Host plants and immatures as mate-searching cues in Heliconius butterflies

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The study of interactions between phytophagous insects and their host plants extends beyond understanding how insects deal with plant chemical defences. Sexual behaviour of these herbivores is integrated in several ways with host plants, as the latter influence timing and location of reproduction, and can provide clues for finding mates. Nevertheless, while numerous studies link butterfly evolution to host plant adaptations, the influence of plants on butterfly sexual behaviour has been little studied. We conducted experiments to determine the role of host plant cues in mate-searching behaviour of Heliconius charithonia butterflies. This species exhibits precopulatory mate guarding behaviour, wherein males find and perch on pupae, then copulate with eclosing females ('pupal mating'). We found that males (1) visited plants damaged by feeding larvae more often than they visited undamaged plants and (2) displayed searching behaviour around the plant and in front of larvae, suggesting that odours signal the location of potential partners (pupae). Although males were attracted to common plant odours released after tissue damage, plants damaged by heterospecific butterfly larvae were less attractive, indicating that species recognition can occur at early life stages. Overall, our results suggest that host plants influence mate-searching behaviour of Heliconius. This might also be true for other species of butterflies with more conventional mating strategies, potentially contributing to the diversification of this group of phytophagous insects. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Very Bright Green Fluorescent Proteins from the Pontellid Copepod Pontella mimocerami

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Background: Fluorescent proteins (FP) homologous to the green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the jellyfish Aequorea victoria have revolutionized biomedical research due to their usefulness as genetically encoded fluorescent labels. Fluorescent proteins from copepods are particularly promising due to their high brightness and rapid fluorescence development. Results: Here we report two novel FPs from Pontella mimocerami (Copepoda, Calanoida, Pontellidae), which were identified via fluorescence screening of a bacterial cDNA expression library prepared from the whole-body total RNA of the animal. The proteins are very similar in sequence and spectroscopic properties. They possess high molar extinction coefficients (79,000 M-1 cm(-)) and quantum yields (0.92), which make them more than two-fold brighter than the most common FP marker, EGFP. Both proteins form oligomers, which we were able to counteract to some extent by mutagenesis of the N-terminal region; however, this particular modification resulted in substantial drop in brightness. Conclusions: The spectroscopic characteristics of the two P. mimocerami proteins place them among the brightest green FPs ever described. These proteins may therefore become valuable additions to the in vivo imaging toolkit.

Ecological and genetic divergence between two lineages of Middle American tungara frogs Physalaemus (=Engystomops) pustulosus

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Background: Uncovering how populations of a species differ genetically and ecologically is important for understanding evolutionary processes. Here we combine population genetic methods (microsatellites) with phylogenetic information (mtDNA) to define genetic population clusters of the wide-spread Neotropical tungara frog (Physalaemus pustulosus). We measure gene flow and migration within and between population clusters and compare genetic diversity between population clusters. By applying ecological niche modeling we determine whether the two most divergent genetic groups of the tungara frog (1) inhabit different habitats, and (2) are separated geographically by unsuitable habitat across a gap in the distribution. Results: Most population structure is captured by dividing all sample localities into two allopatric genetic lineages. The Northern genetic lineage (NW Costa Rica) is genetically homogenous while the Southern lineage (SW Costa Rica and Panama) is sub-divided into three population clusters by both microsatellite and mtDNA analyses. Gene flow is higher within the Northern lineage than within the Southern lineage, perhaps due to increased landscape heterogeneity in the South. Niche modeling reveals differences in suitable habitat between the Northern and Southern lineages: the Northern lineage inhabits dry/pine-oak forests, while the Southern lineage is confined to tropical moist forests. Both lineages seem to have had little movement across the distribution gap, which persisted during the last glacial maximum. The lack of movement was more pronounced for the Southern lineage than for the Northern lineage. Conclusions: This study confirms the finding of previous studies that tungara frogs diverged into two allopatric genetic lineages north and south of the gap in the distribution in central Costa Rica several million years ago. The allopatric distribution is attributed to unsuitable habitat and probably other unknown ecological factors present across the distribution gap. Niche conservatism possibly contributes to preventing movements across the gap and gene flow between both groups. Genetic and ecological data indicate that there is the potential for ecological divergence in allopatry between lineages. In this context we discuss whether the Northern and Southern lineages should be recognized as separate species, and we conclude that further studies of pre- and post-zygotic isolation are needed for a final assessment. Identified population clusters should motivate future behavioral and ecological research regarding within-species biodiversity and speciation mechanisms.

Smithsonian geographical tables

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Smithsonian pyrheliometry revised

Smithsonian Libraries

The skeletal remains of early man

Smithsonian Libraries
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