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  1. Silverman, Neal (Ed.)
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 15, 2024
  2. Abstract

    The Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit-Sharing provide an international legal framework that aims to prevent misappropriation of the genetic resources of a country and ensure the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from their use. The legislation was negotiated at the behest of lower-income, biodiverse countries to ensure that benefits derived from research and development of genetic resources from within their jurisdictions were equitably returned and could thereby incentivize conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Despite good intentions, however, rapid adoption of access and benefit-sharing measures at the national level, often without participatory strategic planning, has hampered noncommercial, international collaborative genetic research with counterproductive consequences for biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. We outline how current implementation of the Convention of Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol affect noncommercial research, such as that conducted in many disciplines in biology, including mammalogy. We use a case study from Brazil, an early adopter, to illustrate some current challenges and highlight downstream consequences for emerging pathogen research and public health. Most emerging pathogens colonize or jump to humans from nonhuman mammals, but noncommercial research in zoonotic diseases is complicated by potential commercial applications. Last, we identify proactive ways for the mammalogical community to engage with the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Nagoya Protocol, through sharing of nonmonetary benefits and working with local natural history collections. Leveraging international scientific societies to collectively communicate the needs of biodiversity science to policy makers will be critical to ensuring that appropriate accommodations are negotiated for noncommercial research.

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  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  4. The Costa Rican pygmy rice rat (Oligoryzomys costaricensis) is the primary reservoir of Choclo orthohantavirus (CHOV), the causal agent of hantavirus disease, pulmonary syndrome, and fever in humans in Panama. Since the emergence of CHOV in early 2000, we have systematically sampled and archived rodents from >150 sites across Panama to establish a baseline understanding of the host and virus, producing a permanent archive of holistic specimens that we are now probing in greater detail. We summarize these collections and explore preliminary habitat/virus associations to guide future wildlife surveillance and public health efforts related to CHOV and other zoonotic pathogens. Host sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene form a single monophyletic clade in Panama, despite wide distribution across Panama. Seropositive samples were concentrated in the central region of western Panama, consistent with the ecology of this agricultural commensal and the higher incidence of CHOV in humans in that region. Hantavirus seroprevalence in the pygmy rice rat was >15% overall, with the highest prevalence in agricultural areas (21%) and the lowest prevalence in shrublands (11%). Host–pathogen distribution, transmission dynamics, genomic evolution, and habitat affinities can be derived from the preserved samples, which include frozen tissues, and now provide a foundation for expanded investigations of orthohantaviruses in Panama. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  5. Twenty years have passed since the emergence of hantavirus zoonosis in Panama at the beginning of this millennium. We provide an overview of epidemiological surveillance of hantavirus disease (hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and hantavirus fever) during the period 1999–2019 by including all reported and confirmed cases according to the case definition established by the health authority. Our findings reveal that hantavirus disease is a low-frequency disease, affecting primarily young people, with a relatively low case-fatality rate compared to other hantaviruses in the Americas (e.g., ANDV and SNV). It presents an annual variation with peaks every 4–5 years and an interannual variation influenced by agricultural activities. Hantavirus disease is endemic in about 27% of Panama, which corresponds to agroecological conditions that favor the population dynamics of the rodent host, Oligoryzomys costaricensis and the virus (Choclo orthohantavirus) responsible for hantavirus disease. However, this does not rule out the existence of other endemic areas to be characterized. Undoubtedly, decentralization of the laboratory test and dissemination of evidence-based surveillance guidelines and regulations have standardized and improved diagnosis, notification at the level of the primary care system, and management in intensive care units nationwide. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  6. Abstract

    Food web ecology has revolutionized our understanding of ecological processes, but the drivers of food web properties like trophic position (TP) and food chain length are notoriously enigmatic. In terrestrial ecosystems, above‐ and belowground systems were historically compartmentalized into “green” and “brown” food webs, but the coupling of these systems by animal consumers is increasingly recognized, with potential consequences for trophic structure. We used stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N) of individual amino acids to trace the flow of essential biomolecules and jointly measure multichannel feeding, food web coupling, and TP in a guild of small mammals. We then tested the hypothesis that brown energy fluxes to aboveground consumers increase terrestrial food chain length via cryptic trophic transfers during microbial decomposition. We found that the average small mammal consumer acquired nearly 70% of their essential amino acids (69.0% ± 7.6%) from brown food webs, leading to significant increases in TP across species and functional groups. Fungi were the primary conduit of brown energy to aboveground consumers, providing nearly half the amino acid budget for small mammals on average (44.3% ± 12.0%). These findings illustrate the tightly coupled nature of green and brown food webs and show that microbially mediated energy flow ultimately regulates food web structure in aboveground consumers. Consequently, we propose that the integration of green and brown energy channels is a cryptic driver of food chain length in terrestrial ecosystems.

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  7. null (Ed.)
  8. Abstract

    During the Late Pleistocene, major parts of North America were periodically covered by ice sheets. However, there are still questions about whether ice‐free refugia were present in the Alexander Archipelago along the Southeast (SE) Alaska coast during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Numerous subfossils have been recovered from caves in SE Alaska, including American black (Ursus americanus) and brown (U. arctos) bears, which today are found in the Alexander Archipelago but are genetically distinct from mainland bear populations. Hence, these bear species offer an ideal system to investigate long‐term occupation, potential refugial survival and lineage turnover. Here, we present genetic analyses based on 99 new complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient and modern brown and black bears spanning the last ~45,000 years. Black bears form two SE Alaskan subclades, one preglacial and another postglacial, that diverged >100,000 years ago. All postglacial ancient brown bears are closely related to modern brown bears in the archipelago, while a single preglacial brown bear is found in a distantly related clade. A hiatus in the bear subfossil record around the LGM and the deep split of their pre‐ and postglacial subclades fail to support a hypothesis of continuous occupancy in SE Alaska throughout the LGM for either species. Our results are consistent with an absence of refugia along the SE Alaska coast, but indicate that vegetation quickly expanded after deglaciation, allowing bears to recolonize the area after a short‐lived LGM peak.

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  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 22, 2024