Get them before they get you

Haemadipsa sp, Credit: AMNH/M. SiddallSouthern Asia is a biodiversity hotspot both for terrestrial mammals and for leeches. Many small-mammal groups are under-studied in this region, while other mammals are of known conservation concern. In addition to standard methods for surveying mammals, it has recently been demonstrated that residual bloodmeals within leeches can be sequenced to find mammals in a given area. While these invertebrate-parasite-derived DNA (iDNA) methods are promising, most of the leech species utilized for…

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Weekend reads

Another Friday, another set of papers to enjoy over the weekend. All related to DNA barcoding, one way or another. I should also stress that my weekly selection of articles is of course rather subjective. I pick what I consider interesting and sometimes my choices are not necessarily based on the fact that I share opinions or interpretations. On the contrary, you occasionally find papers here that I find frustrating and going in the wrong…

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Anole evolution

Green Anole (Anulis carolinensis)Squamates include all lizards and snakes, and display some of the most diverse and extreme morphological adaptations among vertebrates. However, compared with birds and mammals, relatively few resources exist for comparative genomic analyses of squamates, hampering efforts to understand the molecular bases of phenotypic diversification in such a speciose clade. In particular, the ∼400 species of anole lizard represent an extensive squamate radiation. Spreading through the Americas, the anoles lizards, evolved like Darwin's…

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Weekend reads

And another load of DNA barcoding must-reads right on time for the weekend.DNA metabarcoding of spiders, insects, and springtails for exploring potential linkage between above- and below-ground food websBACKGROUND:Understanding feedback between above- and below-ground processes of biological communities is a key to the effective management of natural and agricultural ecosystems. However, as above- and below-ground food webs are often studied separately, our knowledge of material flow and community dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems remains limited.RESULTS:We developed…

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New shark species described

An Atlantic sixgill pup found off the coast of Belize. Credit: Ivy Baremore/MarAlliance Colleagues around the world are finding new species every day showing us how much we still have to learn about our planet's biodiversity. That being said, it is fairly rare that a new species of shark is described or resurrected based on additional evidence. Scientists of the Florida Institute of Technology confirmed after decades of uncertainty that sixgill sharks residing in the Atlantic Ocean are…

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Extinction cascades

Current species extinction rates are at unprecedentedly high levels. While human activities can be the direct cause of some extinctions, it is becoming increasingly clear that species extinctions themselves can be the cause of further extinctions, since species affect each other through the network of ecological interactions among them. There is concern that the simplification of ecosystems, due to the loss of species and ecological interactions, increases their vulnerability to such secondary extinctions. It is…

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Weekend reads

In time for the weekend this time - here in Canada a long one. Lots of interesting and diverse topics.Temporal changes in arthropod activity in tropical anthropogenic forestsArthropod communities in the tropics are increasingly impacted by rapid changes in land use. Because species showing distinct seasonal patterns of activity are thought to be at higher risk of climate-related extirpation, global warming is generally considered a lower threat to arthropod biodiversity in the tropics than in…

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Marine Arctic Fishes

Today a post about some of the work I have been doing over the past years with colleagues from Norway, Russia, Denmark, and the US. Incredible tedious work in particular by the lead author Cathrine Mecklenburg. My part was everything barcoding and interpretation of studies utilizing molecular genetics in the widest sense. Two volumes totalling some 740 pages.Marine Fishes of the Arctic Region is intended for all who do research in and monitoring of marine…

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International wildlife trade

Increasing our understanding of the drivers of international wildlife trade is critical as unsustainable harvesting of wildlife can lead to population decline and the extinction of species. While there is currently a database of legal trade in restricted species, it relies on the submission of annual reports which can be undermined by weak domestic legislation and governance hence we are not getting a complete picture of the industry.Researchers from the National University of Singapore conducted…

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Weekend reads (after the weekend)

A little late this time but still some very interesting papers for you. You can hold on to them for the coming weekend or read them right away. Your choice.A protocol for obtaining DNA barcodes from plant and insect fragments isolated from forensic-type soilsSoil is often collected from a suspect's tire, vehicle, or shoes during a criminal investigation and subsequently submitted to a forensic laboratory for analysis. Plant and insect material recovered in such samples…

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