Friday, July 14, 2017

Weekend reads

Another week comes to an end and I have a few things I recommend reading. Enjoy!

The biodiversity of Mediterranean freshwater bodies is among the most threatened worldwide; therefore, its accurate estimation is an urgent issue. However, traditional methods are likely to underestimate freshwater zooplankton biodiversity due to its high species seasonality and cryptic diversity. We test the value of applying DNA barcoding to diapausing egg banks, in combination with the creation of a reference collection of DNA barcodes using adult individual samples, to characterize rotifer communities. We use monogonont rotifers from two lakes in Doñana National Park and one from Ruidera Natural Park in Spain as models to create a reference collection of DNA barcodes for taxonomically diagnosed adult individuals sampled from the water column, to compare with the sequences obtained from individual eggs from the diapausing egg banks. We apply two different approaches to carry out DNA taxonomy analyses, the generalized mixed Yule coalescent method (GMYC) and the Automatic Barcode Gap Discovery (ABGD), to the obtained sequences and to publicly available rotifer sequences. We obtained a total of 210 new rotifer COI sequences from all three locations (151 diapausing eggs and 59 adults). Both GMYC and ABGD generated the same 35 operational taxonomic units (OTUs), revealing four potential cryptic species. Most sequences obtained from diapausing eggs (85%) clustered with sequences obtained from morphologically diagnosed adults. Our approach, based on a single sediment sample, retrieved estimates of rotifer biodiversity higher than or similar to those of previous studies based on a number of seasonal samples. This study shows that DNA barcoding of diapausing egg banks is an effective aid to characterize rotifer diversity in Mediterranean freshwater bodies.

In this study, species-specific identification of five toxic mushrooms, Chlorophyllum molybdites, Gymnopilus junonius, Hypholoma fasciculare, Pleurocybella porrigens, and Tricholoma ustale, which have been involved in food-poisoning incidents in Japan, was investigated. Specific primer pairs targeting internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions were designed for PCR detection. The specific amplicons were obtained from fresh, cooked, and simulated gastric fluid (SGF)-treated samples. No amplicons were detected from other mushrooms with similar morphology. Our method using one-step extraction of mushrooms allows rapid detection within 2.5 hr. It could be utilized for rapid identification or screening of toxic mushrooms.

As rabies in carnivores is increasingly controlled throughout much of the Americas, bats are emerging as a significant source of rabies virus infection of humans and domestic animals. Knowledge of the bat species that maintain rabies is a crucial first step in reducing this public health problem. In North America, several bat species are known to be rabies virus reservoirs but the role of bats of the Myotis genus has been unclear due to the scarcity of laboratory confirmed cases and the challenges encountered in species identification of poorly preserved diagnostic submissions by morphological traits alone. This study has employed a collection of rabid bat specimens collected across Canada over a 25 year period to clearly define the role of particular Myotis species as rabies virus reservoirs. The virus was characterised by partial genome sequencing and host genetic barcoding, used to confirm species assignment of specimens, proved crucial to the identification of certain bat species as disease reservoirs. Several variants were associated with Myotis species limited in their Canadian range to the westernmost province of British Columbia while others were harboured by Myotis species that circulate across much of eastern and central Canada. All of these Myotis-associated viral variants, except for one, clustered as a monophyletic MYCAN clade, which has emerged from a lineage more broadly distributed across North America; in contrast one distinct variant, associated with the long-legged bat in Canada, represents a relatively recent host jump from a big brown bat reservoir. Together with evidence from South America, these findings demonstrate that rabies virus has emerged in the Myotis genus independently on multiple occasions and highlights the potential for emergence of new viral-host associations within this genus.

To study pollination networks in a changing environment, we need accurate, high-throughput methods. Previous studies have shown that more highly resolved networks can be constructed by studying pollen loads taken from bees, relative to field observations. DNA metabarcoding potentially allows for faster and finer-scale taxonomic resolution of pollen compared to traditional approaches (e.g., light microscopy), but has not been applied to pollination networks.
We sampled pollen from 38 bee species collected in Florida from sites differing in forest management. We isolated DNA from pollen mixtures and sequenced rbcL and ITS2 gene regions from all mixtures in a single run on the Illumina MiSeq platform. We identified species from sequence data using comprehensive rbcL and ITS2 databases.
We successfully built a proof-of-concept quantitative pollination network using pollen metabarcoding.
Our work underscores that pollen metabarcoding is not quantitative but that quantitative networks can be constructed based on the number of interacting individuals. Due to the frequency of contamination and false positive reads, isolation and PCR negative controls should be used in every reaction. DNA metabarcoding has advantages in efficiency and resolution over microscopic identification of pollen, and we expect that it will have broad utility for future studies of plant-pollinator interactions.

Microbial eukaryotes can play prominent roles in the Arctic marine ecosystem, but their diversity and variability is not well known in the ice-covered ecosystems. We determined the community composition of microbial eukaryotes in an Arctic under-ice spring bloom north of Svalbard using metabarcoding of DNA and RNA from the hypervariable V4 region of 18S nrDNA. At the two stations studied, the photosynthetic biomass was dominated by protists >3 μm and was concentrated in the upper 70-80 m, above the thermocline and halocline. Hierarchical cluster analyses as well as ordination analyses showed a distinct clustering of the microbial eukaryote communities according to a combination of water mass and local environmental characteristics. While samples collected in the surface mixed layer differed distinctly between the two sites, the deeper communities collected in Atlantic Water were fairly similar despite being geographically distant. The differentiation of the microbial eukaryote communities of the upper mixed water was probably driven by local development and advection, while the lack of such differentiation in the communities of Atlantic Water reflects the homogenizing effect of water currents on microbial communities.

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