Keiji Baba and Enrique Macpherson


A new species of chirostylid squat lobster, Uroptychus tuerkayi sp. nov., is described based upon material collected by the French “Seamount 2” project (1993) from the Atlantis-Great Meteor Seamount Chain south of the Azores Islands, at a depth of 340-730 m. Uroptychus tuerkayi resembles U. maroccanus Türkay, 1976 from the Moroccan coast, but it can be readily distinguished by the eyes being distinctly longer instead of as long as broad (globular in U. maroccanus), the antennal article 5 with a small instead of prominent distomesial spine, the anterolateral spine of the carapace slightly smaller than or subequal to, instead of much smaller than the lateral orbital spine, the pterygostomian flap anteriorly acuminate and not strongly produced to a spine as in U. maroccanus, and in having pereopod 1 with obsolescent instead of distinct spines on the merus and carpus. This is the sixth species of Uroptychus from the eastern Atlantic. A key to the eastern Atlantic species of Uroptychus is provided.


P. Castro


Examination of the western Pacific material of goneplacoid crabs (families Euryplacidae and Goneplacidae) in the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt a. M. (Germany) particularly uncatalogued material examined by Tune Sakai, allowed the discovery of the holotype of Eucrate formosensis Sakai, 1974 (Euryplacidae), as well as the identification of some rarely collected species.

Anita Kaliszewicz and Olga Dobczyńska

Sessility or isolated habitat can significantly reduce the number of encounters with potential mating partners and thus favour evolution and maintenance of self-fertilisation. Mobility analysis of phylogenetically related species that differs in reproductive mode and self-fertilisation ability could support the widely accepted but not clearly validated theory of selfing being favoured by sessility. Here, we compare mobility in three species of Hydra (Cnidaria, Hydridae) that differ in reproductive strategy: a simultaneous hermaphrodite able to self-fertilise, a sequential hermaphrodite, and a gonochoric species. The results indicate that mobility expressed as distance traversed by individuals is significantly reduced in Hydra circumcincta, a species that is able to self-fertilise, compared to sequential hermaphroditic Hydra vulgaris and gonochoric Hydra oligactis. Differences in mobility were not correlated to individual body size. It is likely that habitat isolation and limited mobility is associated with the evolution of self-fertilisation in such animals like hydras.

Changting Wang, Genxu Wang, Yong Wang, Hongbiao Zi, Manuel Lerdau and Wei Liu

Climate change is likely to alter the relative abundances of plant functional groups and the interactions between plants and soil microbes that maintain alpine meadow ecosystems. However, little is known about how warming-induced alterations to aboveground biomass (AGB) affect soil nutrients and microbial communities. We investigated plant community characteristics in 2002–2009 and analyzed soil properties and the soil microbial community in 2007–2009 to study the effects of warming in Qinghai Province, China. Sampling involved the use of warmed open top chambers, the monitoring of plant community characteristics, the quantification of total and available amounts of soil nutrients, and the evaluation of microbial community composition using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis. Experimental warming initially significantly increased the number of plant functional groups and plant community AGB; however, plant community diversity and species richness decreased. Nevertheless, all these variables stabilized over time. Fungal and bacterial abundance, total nitrogen, available nitrogen and soil organic matter increased with warming, while microbial PLFAs decreased. These findings demonstrated that climate change drivers and their interactions may cause changes in soil nutrients and the abundance and content of soil microbial PLFAs. Elevated temperature has strong effects on aboveground grass biomass. Surface conditions and disturbance affect the soil microbial communities of deep soil layers.

Royi Zidon, Hagar Leschner, Uzi Motro and David Saltz

Reintroduction of herbivores may play a vital role in restoring ecosystem functions. Here we describe the role of the Persian fallow deer (Dama mesopotamica), reintroduced into Israel, as a vector of seed dispersal by endozoochory. Persian fallow deer have a wide diet both from grazing and browsing. From fecal samples, we found that more than 30 species of plants germinated from the deer pellets. Four of the more common species are considered as ruderal. Of the trees, carob (Ceratonia siliqua) seeds were the only intact seeds found in the fecal samples. We found that ingestion by the deer has a positive effect on expediting the germination of carob seeds – a factor of ecological importance in the reintroduction environment, as it contributes to plant genetic diversity by long-range seed dispersal and to community diversity.

Huan-Huan Xu, Xing-Lan Chen, Yuan-Hao Yang, Xi Zhou and Jia-Xin Yang

Paraquat and juglone generate reactive oxygen species (ROS) and are widely used to investigate defense mechanisms against ROS in model animals. We cloned cDNA encoding hsp70 from the rotifer Asplanchna brightwelli. The full-length cDNA was 2134 bp and had an open reading frame of 1929 bp encoding 642 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence indicated that the Asphsp70 was a cytoplasmic protein and has the highest similarity 87% with Mus musculus, 86% identity with orthologs of Danio rerio, 84% with Apis mellifera and 81% with Xenopus laevis. Expression of Asphsp70 was analyzed under 1.25, 2.5, 5 and 10 mg/L paraquat and 6.25, 12.5, 25 and 50 μg/L juglone. With paraquat, mRNA expression of Asphsp70 significantly increased immediately after exposure for 1 h (P < 0.05). Expression of Asphsp70 temporarily increased after exposure to 2.5 mg/L for 3 and 6 h, and after 10 mg/L for 3 h (P < 0.05). With exposure to 6.25 μg/L juglone, mRNA for Asphsp70 significantly increased at 1, 3 and 12 h; with 12.5, 25 and 50 μg/L, mRNA expression of Asphsp70 significantly increased immediately for 1 h (P < 0.05). These results indicated that the Asphsp70 gene was important in the response to oxidative stress.

Özge Özden and David J. Hodgson

Woodlice (Isopoda: Oniscidae) are known to play important roles in soil profile development and nutrient cycling in agroecosystems. The aim of the present work was to understand the impact of different management regimes on woodlouse fauna in Mediterranean olive groves. The olive groves were located along the Kyrenia mountain range towards the north-west of Cyprus at two different elevations. We used pitfall trapping to compare the abundance of woodlice in groves that were (a) uncultivated at low altitude; (b) uncultivated at high altitude; (c) tilled at low altitude; (d) tilled and chemically managed at low altitude. A total of 1751 woodlice were collected and a significant effect of management regime on the abundance of woodlouse was observed. The low altitude uncultivated olive groves retained a higher number of individuals than the other three management regimes. Our results suggest that tillage alone did not impact severely on woodlouse abundance, but that tillage combined with pesticide and fertilizer application could lead to significant losses in woodlouse abundance in olive grove agroecosystems, with implications for the sustainability of soil quality and biodiversity.

Lara Redolfi De Zan, Sarah Rossi de Gasperis, Luigi Fiore, Corrado Battisti and Giuseppe Maria Carpaneto

This study explored the hole-nesting bird community for two years, in three beech forest stands of central Italy. Our experimental design involved 12 replicated sampling points in each study area for a total of 36 sampling points. Stand characteristics were measured through selected environmental variables (tree diameter, tree density, volume of dead wood, diversity of dead wood and canopy closure), to develop habitat models for describing the factors affecting the abundance of hole-nesting birds. We performed generalized linear models to determine which environmental variables better explained the presence and abundance of hole-nesting birds in the three study areas. The species that showed the highest values of abundance are the Nuthatch, the Blue Tit and the Great Tit. Within the guild of hole-nesting birds there are differences in the selection of suitable trees for nesting, roosting or foraging. Primary cavity nesters (woodpeckers) are mostly related to the presence of large trees, the volume of dead wood and tree height. The presence and abundance of secondary cavity nesters (tits, nuthatches and treecreepers) seem to be mostly influenced by diversity of dead wood. The diversity of dead wood is an important variable that influences the presence and abundance of hole-nesting birds. Maintenance of both living and standing dead wood in forest ecosystems is recommended to increase the effectiveness of conservation actions affecting the hole-nesting birds.

Marek Kowalczyk, Andrzej Jakubczak, Beata Horecka, Magdalena Gryzińska and Grażyna Jeżewska-Witkowska

Domestication of dogs involved strong artificial selection. After their introduction into the human environment, dogs were exposed to factors that were not encountered in the wild. The skin and hair are barriers separating the organism from the environment, and melanin plays a significant role in their protective function. The study compared a fragment of the sequence of the DCT gene, which is involved in melanin synthesis, between two species: the dog, which is exposed to similar carcinogenic factors as humans, and the raccoon dog, a species related to the dog but less exposed to anthropogenic factors.

A fragment of the DCT gene 443 base pairs in length was obtained. Two genotypes were distinguished within the raccoon dog population, differing in one nucleotide in the intron sequence (145A>G). Between the DNA profile of the dog and the consensus sequence of the raccoon dog, 18 polymorphic sites were found – 15 in the intron sequence and 3 in the exon sequence. One change in the exon (191G>A) caused an amino acid change (2E>K). The loss of two binding sites for factor SOX10 and one for JUN-FOS was noted in the dog sequence.

On the basis of the sequence analysed, non-coding regions were found to be more susceptible to changes. Polymorphism in introns may affect the transcription profile of the DCT gene. The loss of binding sites for factors SOX10 and JUN-FOS in the dog may be an adaptive change to a different environment with respect to the raccoon dog.