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Creators/Authors contains: "Wayne, Robert K."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Species that hibernate generally live longer than would be expected based solely on their body size. Hibernation is characterized by long periods of metabolic suppression (torpor) interspersed by short periods of increased metabolism (arousal). The torpor–arousal cycles occur multiple times during hibernation, and it has been suggested that processes controlling the transition between torpor and arousal states cause ageing suppression. Metabolic rate is also a known correlate of longevity; we thus proposed the ‘hibernation–ageing hypothesis’ whereby ageing is suspended during hibernation. We tested this hypothesis in a well-studied population of yellow-bellied marmots (Marmota flaviventer), which spend 7–8 months per year hibernating. We used two approaches to estimate epigenetic age: the epigenetic clock and the epigenetic pacemaker. Variation in epigenetic age of 149 samples collected throughout the life of 73 females was modelled using generalized additive mixed models (GAMM), where season (cyclic cubic spline) and chronological age (cubic spline) were fixed effects. As expected, the GAMM using epigenetic ages calculated from the epigenetic pacemaker was better able to detect nonlinear patterns in epigenetic ageing over time. We observed a logarithmic curve of epigenetic age with time, where the epigenetic age increased at a higher rate until females reached sexual maturitymore »(two years old). With respect to circannual patterns, the epigenetic age increased during the active season and essentially stalled during the hibernation period. Taken together, our results are consistent with the hibernation–ageing hypothesis and may explain the enhanced longevity in hibernators.

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  3. Abstract

    Pumas are the most widely distributed felid in the Western Hemisphere. Increasingly, however, human persecution and habitat loss are isolating puma populations. To explore the genomic consequences of this isolation, we assemble a draft puma genome and a geographically broad panel of resequenced individuals. We estimate that the lineage leading to present-day North American pumas diverged from South American lineages 300–100 thousand years ago. We find signatures of close inbreeding in geographically isolated North American populations, but also that tracts of homozygosity are rarely shared among these populations, suggesting that assisted gene flow would restore local genetic diversity. The genome of a Florida panther descended from translocated Central American individuals has long tracts of homozygosity despite recent outbreeding. This suggests that while translocations may introduce diversity, sustaining diversity in small and isolated populations will require either repeated translocations or restoration of landscape connectivity. Our approach provides a framework for genome-wide analyses that can be applied to the management of similarly small and isolated populations.

  4. Abstract

    Hybrid zones typically contain novel gene combinations that can be tested by natural selection in a unique genetic context. Parental haplotypes that increase fitness can introgress beyond the hybrid zone, into the range of parental species. We used the Affymetrix canineSNPgenotyping array to identify genomic regions tagged by multiple ancestry informative markers that are more frequent in an admixed population than expected. We surveyed a hybrid zone formed in the last 100 years as coyotes expanded their range into eastern North America. Concomitant with expansion, coyotes hybridized with wolves and some populations became more wolflike, such that coyotes in the northeast have the largest body size of any coyote population. Using a set of 3102 ancestry informative markers, we identified 60 differentially introgressed regions in 44 canines across this admixture zone. These regions are characterized by an excess of exogenous ancestry and, in northeastern coyotes, are enriched for genes affecting body size and skeletal proportions. Further, introgressed wolf‐derived alleles have penetrated into SouthernUScoyote populations. Because no wolves currently exist in this area, these alleles are unlikely to have originated from recent hybridization. Instead, they probably originated from intraspecific gene flow or ancient admixture. We show that grey wolfmore »and coyote admixture has far‐reaching effects and, in addition to phenotypically transforming admixed populations, allows for the differential movement of alleles from different parental species to be tested in new genomic backgrounds.

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  5. Abstract

    After decades of discussion, there is little consensus on the extent to which hybrids between endangered and nonendangered species should be protected byUSlaw. As increasingly larger, genome‐scale data sets are developed, we can identify individuals and populations with even trace levels of genetic admixture, making the ‘hybrid problem’ all the more difficult. We developed a decision‐tree framework for evaluating hybrid protection, including both the processes that produced hybrids (human‐mediated or natural) and the ecological impact of hybrids on natural ecosystems. We then evaluated our decision tree for four case studies drawn from our own work and briefly discuss several other cases from the literature. Throughout, we highlight the management outcomes that our approach provides and the nuances of hybridization as a conservation problem.

  6. Abstract

    Ecosystems globally are under threat from ongoing anthropogenic environmental change. Effective conservation management requires more thorough biodiversity surveys that can reveal system‐level patterns and that can be applied rapidly across space and time. Using modern ecological models and community science, we integrate environmental DNA and Earth observations to produce a time snapshot of regional biodiversity patterns and provide multi‐scalar community‐level characterization. We collected 278 samples in spring 2017 from coastal, shrub, and lowland forest sites in California, a complex ecosystem and biodiversity hotspot. We recovered 16,118 taxonomic entries from eDNA analyses and compiled associated traditional observations and environmental data to assess how well they predicted alpha, beta, and zeta diversity. We found that local habitat classification was diagnostic of community composition and distinct communities and organisms in different kingdoms are predicted by different environmental variables. Nonetheless, gradient forest models of 915 families recovered by eDNA analysis and using BIOCLIM variables, Sentinel‐2 satellite data, human impact, and topographical features as predictors, explained 35% of the variance in community turnover. Elevation, sand percentage, and photosynthetic activities (NDVI32) were the top predictors. In addition to this signal of environmental filtering, we found a positive relationship between environmentally predicted families and their numbersmore »of biotic interactions, suggesting environmental change could have a disproportionate effect on community networks. Together, these analyses show that coupling eDNA with environmental predictors including remote sensing data has capacity to test proposed Essential Biodiversity Variables and create new landscape biodiversity baselines that span the tree of life.

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