skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Dawson, Michael N."

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    Wildlife diseases, such as the sea star wasting (SSW) epizootic that outbroke in the mid-2010s, appear to be associated with acute and/or chronic abiotic environmental change; dissociating the effects of different drivers can be difficult. The sunflower sea star, Pycnopodia helianthoides, was the species most severely impacted during the SSW outbreak, which overlapped with periods of anomalous atmospheric and oceanographic conditions, and there is not yet a consensus on the cause(s). Genomic data may reveal underlying molecular signatures that implicate a subset of factors and, thus, clarify past events while also setting the scene for effective restoration efforts. To advance this goal, we used Pacific Biosciences HiFi long sequencing reads and Dovetail Omni-C proximity reads to generate a highly contiguous genome assembly that was then annotated using RNA-seq-informed gene prediction. The genome assembly is 484 Mb long, with contig N50 of 1.9 Mb, scaffold N50 of 21.8 Mb, BUSCO completeness score of 96.1%, and 22 major scaffolds consistent with prior evidence that sea star genomes comprise 22 autosomes. These statistics generally fall between those of other recently assembled chromosome-scale assemblies for two species in the distantly related asteroid genus Pisaster. These novel genomic resources for P. helianthoides will underwrite population genomic, comparative genomic, and phylogenomic analyses—as well as their integration across scales—of SSW and environmental stressors.

    more » « less
  2. Theoretically, species' characteristics should allow estimation of dispersal potential and, in turn, explain levels of population genetic differentiation. However, a mismatch between traits and genetic patterns is often reported for marine species, and interpreted as evidence that life-history traits do not influence dispersal. Here, we couple ecological and genomic methods to test the hypothesis that species with attributes favouring greater dispersal potential—e.g., longer pelagic duration, higher fecundity and larger population size—have greater realized dispersal overall. We used a natural experiment created by a large-scale and multispecies mortality event which created a “clean slate” on which to study recruitment dynamics, thus simplifying a usually complex problem. We surveyed four species of differing dispersal potential to quantify the abundance and distribution of recruits and to genetically assign these recruits to probable parental sources. Species with higher dispersal potential recolonized a broader extent of the impacted range, did so more quickly and recovered more genetic diversity than species with lower dispersal potential. Moreover, populations of taxa with higher dispersal potential exhibited more immigration (71%–92% of recruits) than taxa with lower dispersal potential (17%–44% of recruits). By linking ecological with genomic perspectives, we demonstrate that a suite of interacting life-history and demographic attributes do influence species' realized dispersal and genetic neighbourhoods. To better understand species' resilience and recovery in this time of global change, integrative eco-evolutionary approaches are needed to more rigorously evaluate the effect of dispersal-linked attributes on realized dispersal and population genetic differentiation. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Beginning in 2013, sea stars throughout the Eastern North Pacific were decimated by wasting disease, also known as “asteroid idiopathic wasting syndrome” (AIWS) due to its elusive aetiology. The geographic extent and taxonomic scale of AIWS meant events leading up to the outbreak were heterogeneous, multifaceted, and oftentimes unobserved; progression from morbidity to death was rapid, leaving few tell‐tale symptoms. Here, we take a forensic genomic approach to discover candidate genes that may help explain sea star wasting syndrome. We report the first genome and annotation forPisaster ochraceus, along with differential gene expression (DGE) analyses in four size classes, three tissue types, and in symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. We integrate nucleotide polymorphisms associated with survivors of the wasting disease outbreak, DGE associated with temperature treatments inP. ochraceus, and DGE associated with wasting in another asteroidPycnopodia helianthoides. InP. ochraceus, we found DGE across all tissues, among size classes, and between asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals; the strongest wasting‐associated DGE signal was in pyloric caecum. We also found previously identified outlier loci co‐occur with differentially expressed genes. In cross‐species comparisons of symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals, consistent responses distinguish genes associated with invertebrate innate immunity and chemical defence, consistent with context‐dependent stress responses, defensive apoptosis, and tissue degradation. Our analyses thus highlight genomic constituents that may link suspected environmental drivers (elevated temperature) with intrinsic differences among individuals (age/size, alleles associated with susceptibility) that elicit organismal responses (e.g., coelomocyte proliferation) and manifest as sea star wasting mass mortality.

    more » « less