The Science of Nature

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ISSN / EISSN : 0028-1042 / 1432-1904
Published by: Springer Nature (10.1007)
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, Patrick M. Smith
Published: 20 October 2021
The Science of Nature, Volume 108, pp 1-11; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01766-6

Abstract:
Documentation of malformed trilobites has presented invaluable insight into the palaeobiology of a wholly extinct euarthropod group. Although the northern hemisphere record is relatively well documented, examples of abnormal trilobites from Australia are limited. Furthermore, most recorded specimens are from Cambrian-aged rocks. To extend this limited record, we document five new examples of malformed Australian trilobites from the Middle and Late Silurian (Wenlock and Ludlow) deposits of the Yarralumla Formation of the Australian Capital Territory and Yarwood Siltstone Member, Black Bog Shale in New South Wales. We record the first examples of abnormal pygidial and thoracic nodes and present new evidence for bifurcating pygidial ribs. These abnormal features are considered teratological morphologies. The aberrant nodes likely arose through developmental malfunctions, while the bifurcating ribs represent either similar defects, or an injury that developed into a teratological feature. Explanations for the limited record of malformed Australian trilobites and for the decrease in injured trilobites after the end-Ordovician are presented. Further documentation of malformed Australian trilobites from the middle-to-late Paleozoic will undoubtedly paint a more complete picture of how Gondwanan taxa recovered from injuries or unfortunate developmental complications.
, Susan Bulova, Meghan Barrett
Published: 19 October 2021
The Science of Nature, Volume 108, pp 1-8; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01763-9

Abstract:
Hypotheses for adaptive brain investment predict associations between the relative sizes of functionally distinct brain regions and the sensory/cognitive demands animals confront. We measured developmental differences in the relative sizes of visual processing brain regions (optic lobes) among dampwood termite castes to test whether optic lobe investment matches caste differences in exposure to visually complex environments. The winged primary reproductives (Kings/Queens) on mating flights are the only caste to leave the dark nest cavities and as predicted, Kings/Queens showed greater relative investment in optic lobe tissue than nestbound (neotenic) reproductives and soldiers in two dampwood termite species (Zootermopsis angusticollis and Z. nevadensis). Relative optic lobe size spanned more than an order of magnitude among the castes we studied, suggesting the growth of the optic lobes incurs substantial tissue costs. Optic lobe growth was experience-expectant: the optic lobes of Z. angusticollis brachypterous nymphs, which typically develop into Kings/Queens, were relatively larger than the optic lobes of apterous nymphs, which precede neotenics and soldiers, and relative optic lobe size of nestbound brachypterous nymphs was statistically similar to that of Kings/Queens. Experience-expectant brain tissue growth is rarely documented in insects, likely because it entails high potential costs of tissue production and maintenance and relatively low immediate sensory/cognitive benefits. We develop hypotheses for the conditions under which experience-expectant growth in brain regions could be favored by natural selection.
Kouichi Ohwada,
Published: 19 October 2021
The Science of Nature, Volume 108, pp 1-12; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01767-5

Abstract:
Ants in temperate grasslands are consumers and ecosystem engineers, influencing biodiversity and potentially grassland productivity. However, the effects of ant exclusion or suppression on resource removal and the biological community in temperate grasslands have yet to be fully explored. We conducted ant-suppression experiments and evaluated the effects of ants on ground-dwelling arthropod communities in the field by using pitfall and bait traps. In the laboratory, we evaluated the effects of ants on the ant-attended aphid Aphis rumicis, which is a honeydew resource for ants, and the slug (Deroceras laeve), an aphid predator. Aboveground arthropod communities were not affected by the ant-suppression treatment. However, slugs (D. laeve and Ambigolimax valentianus) visited bait resources more frequently in the ant-suppression treatment area. In the ant-absence condition in the laboratory experiment, there were fewer aphids on the plants compared to the ant-presence condition owing to predation by D. laeve. Our results suggest that ant abundance in temperate grasslands influences the predation activity of slugs toward honeydew sources such as aphids.
, Bruno Corbara, Johannes Steiger
Published: 18 October 2021
The Science of Nature, Volume 108, pp 1-16; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01760-y

Abstract:
Engineer organisms not only adapt to pre-existing environmental conditions but also co-construct their physical environment. By doing so, they can subsequently change selection pressures for themselves and other species, as well as change community and ecosystem structures and functions. Focusing on one representative example, i.e., fossorial mammals, we show that geomorphological Earth system components are crucial for understanding and quantifying links between evolutionary and ecosystem dynamics and that feedbacks between geomorphology and engineer organisms constitute a major driver of geomorphological organization on the Earth’s surface. We propose a biogeomorphological eco-evolutionary feedback synthesis from the gene to the landscape where eco-evolutionary feedbacks are mediated by the geomorphological dimensions of a niche that are affected by engineer organisms, such as fossorial mammals. Our concept encompasses (i) the initial responses of fossorial mammals to environmental constraints that enhance the evolution of their morphological and biomechanical traits for digging in the soil; (ii) specific adaptations of engineer fossorial mammals (morphological, biomechanical, physiological and behavioural feedback traits for living in burrows) to their constructed geomorphological environment; and (iii) ecological and evolutionary feedbacks diffusing at the community and ecological levels. Such a new perspective in geomorphology may lead to a better conceptualization and analysis of Earth surface processes and landforms as parts of complex adaptive systems in which Darwinian selection processes at lower landscape levels lead to self-organization of higher-level landforms and landscapes.
Janko Šet, Eva Turk, Rok Golobinek, Tjaša Lokovšek, Matjaž Gregorič, Shakira Guaní Quiñones Lebrón, Matjaž Kuntner, Charles R. Haddad, Klemen Čandek,
Published: 14 October 2021
Naturwissenschaften, Volume 108, pp 1-12; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01754-w

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Correction
, C. J. Sands, M. L. Paulsen, B. Moreno, C. Moreau, C. Held, R. Downey, N. Bax, J. S. Stark, N. Zwerschke
Published: 11 October 2021
Die Naturwissenschaften, Volume 108, pp 1-1; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01759-5

, Nathália Susin Streher, Vivian Zambon, Marina Wolowski, Marlies Sazima
Published: 9 October 2021
Die Naturwissenschaften, Volume 108, pp 1-21; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01764-8

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Leocris S. Batucan, , Jak W. Maliszewski, ,
Published: 3 October 2021
Die Naturwissenschaften, Volume 108, pp 1-14; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01758-6

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
, Marion Cheron, Matthias Renoirt, Olivier Lourdais
Published: 3 October 2021
Die Naturwissenschaften, Volume 108, pp 1-6; https://doi.org/10.1007/s00114-021-01761-x

The publisher has not yet granted permission to display this abstract.
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