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  1. Abstract

    Hoplodactylus delcourtiis a presumably extinct species of diplodactylid gecko known only from a single specimen of unknown provenance. It is by far the largest known gekkotan, approximately 50% longer than the next largest-known species. It has been considered a member of the New Zealand endemic genusHoplodactylusbased on external morphological features including shared toe pad structure. We obtained DNA from a bone sample of the only known specimen to generate high-throughput sequence data suitable for phylogenetic analysis of its evolutionary history. Complementary sequence data were obtained from a broad sample of diplodactylid geckos. Our results indicate that the species is not most closely related to extantHoplodactylusor any other New Zealand gecko. Instead, it is a member of a clade whose living species are endemic to New Caledonia. Phylogenetic comparative analyses indicate that the New Caledonian diplodactylid clade has evolved significantly more disparate body sizes than either the Australian or New Zealand clades. Toe pad structure has changed repeatedly across diplodactylids, including multiple times in the New Caledonia clade, partially explaining the convergence in form betweenH. delcourtiand New ZealandHoplodactylus. Based on the phylogenetic results, we placeH. delcourtiin a new genus.

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  2. Abstract

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) data make it possible to measure and monitor biodiversity at unprecedented resolution and scale. As use‐cases multiply and scientific consensus grows regarding the value of eDNA analysis, public agencies have an opportunity to decide how and where eDNA data fit into their mandates. Within the United States, many federal and state agencies are individually using eDNA data in various applications and developing relevant scientific expertise. A national strategy for eDNA implementation would capitalize on recent scientific developments, providing a common set of next‐generation tools for natural resource management and public health protection. Such a strategy would avoid patchwork and possibly inconsistent guidelines in different agencies, smoothing the way for efficient uptake of eDNA data in management. Because eDNA analysis is already in widespread use in both ocean and freshwater settings, we focus here on applications in these environments. However, we foresee the broad adoption of eDNA analysis to meet many resource management issues across the nation because the same tools have immediate terrestrial and aerial applications.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  3. Bubble trajectories in the presence of a decaying Lamb–Oseen vortex are calculated using a modified Maxey–Riley equation. Some bubbles are shown to get trapped within the vortex in quasi-equilibrium states. All the trapped bubbles exit the vortex at a time that is only a function of the Galilei number and the vortex Reynolds number. The set of initial bubble locations that lead to entrapment is numerically determined to show the capturing potential of a single vortex. The results provide insight into the likelihood of bubble entrapment within vortical structures in turbulent flows. 
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  4. Abstract

    Boreal forest and tundra biomes are key components of the Earth system because the mobilization of large carbon stocks and changes in energy balance could act as positive feedbacks to ongoing climate change. In Alaska, wildfire is a primary driver of ecosystem structure and function, and a key mechanism coupling high‐latitude ecosystems to global climate. Paleoecological records reveal sensitivity of fire regimes to climatic and vegetation change over centennial–millennial time scales, highlighting increased burning concurrent with warming or elevated landscape flammability. To quantify spatiotemporal patterns in fire‐regime variability, we synthesized 27 published sediment‐charcoal records from four Alaskan ecoregions, and compared patterns to paleoclimate and paleovegetation records. Biomass burning and fire frequency increased significantly in boreal forest ecoregions with the expansion of black spruce, ca. 6,000–4,000 years before present (yr BP). Biomass burning also increased during warm periods, particularly in the Yukon Flats ecoregion from ca. 1,000 to 500 yr BP. Increases in biomass burning concurrent with constant fire return intervals suggest increases in average fire severity (i.e., more biomass burning per fire) during warm periods. Results also indicate increases in biomass burning over the last century across much of Alaska that exceed Holocene maxima, providing important context for ongoing change. Our analysis documents the sensitivity of fire activity to broad‐scale environmental change, including climate warming and biome‐scale shifts in vegetation. The lack of widespread, prolonged fire synchrony suggests regional heterogeneity limited simultaneous fire‐regime change across our study areas during the Holocene. This finding implies broad‐scale resilience of the boreal forest to extensive fire activity, but does not preclude novel responses to 21st‐century changes. If projected increases in fire activity over the 21st century are realized, they would be unprecedented in the context of the last 8,000 yr or more.

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