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  1. Environmental factors can promote phenotypic variation through alterations in the epigenome and facilitate adaptation of an organism to the environment. Although hydrogen sulfide is toxic to most organisms, the fish Poecilia mexicana has adapted to survive in environments with high levels that exceed toxicity thresholds by orders of magnitude. Epigenetic changes in response to this environmental stressor were examined by assessing DNA methylation alterations in red blood cells, which are nucleated in fish. Males and females were sampled from sulfidic and nonsulfidic natural environments; individuals were also propagated for two generations in a nonsulfidic laboratory environment. We compared epimutations between the sexes as well as field and laboratory populations. For both the wild-caught (F0) and the laboratory-reared (F2) fish, comparing the sulfidic and nonsulfidic populations revealed evidence for significant differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). More importantly, there was over 80% overlap in DMRs across generations, suggesting that the DMRs have stable generational inheritance in the absence of the sulfidic environment. This is an example of epigenetic generational stability after the removal of an environmental stressor. The DMR-associated genes were related to sulfur toxicity and metabolic processes. These findings suggest that adaptation of P. mexicana to sulfidic environments in southern Mexicomore »may, in part, be promoted through epigenetic DNA methylation alterations that become stable and are inherited by subsequent generations independent of the environment.« less
  2. We report the results of a field study on Mexican Spotted Wood Turtles (Rhinoclemmys rubida perixantha) in a seasonally dry tropical forest of coastal Jalisco, Mexico. We used field surveys, trail spools, and radio telemetry to investigate activity patterns, estimate home range size with three different techniques, and develop a generalized linear model to identify features associated with habitats used by R. r. perixantha. We found that turtles were most frequently active at midday, with peak activity occurring from 0900 to 1500 h. During the dry season (January–mid-June), R. r. perixantha showed reduced activity (fewer movements and shorter travel distances) compared to the wet season (late June–September). Home range size did not differ among the three methods we compared, and all estimates revealed that R. r. perixantha have small home ranges, with males having larger home ranges than females. Sites used by turtles were positively associated with leaf litter and woody debris, herbaceous plants, vegetation, vine-like shrubs, and sloped terrain, and negatively associated with bare ground. Our findings can be used to strengthen future conservation efforts for R. r. perixantha, as well as other terrestrial geoemydids.