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Meredith E. Protas – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.
Developmental transcriptomic analysis of the cave-dwelling crustacean, Asellus aquaticus, 2019Co-Authors: Joshua B. Gross, Dennis A. Sun, Brian M. Carlson, Sivan Brodo-abo, Meredith E. ProtasAbstract:
Cave animals are a fascinating group of species often demonstrating characteristics including reduced eyes and pigmentation, metabolic efficiency, and enhanced sensory systems. Asellus aquaticus, an isopod crustacean, is an emerging model for cave biology. Cave and surface forms of this species differ in many characteristics, including eye size, pigmentation and antennal length. Existing resources for this species include a linkage map, mapped regions responsible for eye and pigmentation traits, sequenced adult transcriptomes, and comparative embryological descriptions of the surface and cave forms. Our ultimate goal is to identify genes and mutations responsible for the differences between the cave and surface forms. To advance this goal, we decided to use a transcriptomic approach. Because many of these changes first appear during embryonic development, we sequenced embryonic transcriptomes of cave, surface, and hybrid individuals at the stage when eyes and pigment become evident in the surface form. We generated a cave, a surface, a hybrid, and an integrated transcriptome to identify differentially expressed genes in the cave and surface forms. Additionally, we identified genes with allele-specific expression in hybrid individuals. These embryonic transcriptomes are an important resource to assist in our ultimate goal of determining the genetic underpinnings of the divergence between the cave and surface forms.
Embryonic origin and genetic basis of cave associated phenotypes in the isopod crustacean Asellus aquaticusScientific reports, 2018Co-Authors: Hafasa Mojaddidi, Franco E. Fernandez, Priscilla A. Erickson, Meredith E. ProtasAbstract:
Characteristics common to animals living in subterranean environments include the reduction or absence of eyes, lessened pigmentation and enhanced sensory systems. How these characteristics have evolved is poorly understood for the majority of cave dwelling species. In order to understand the evolution of these changes, this study uses an invertebrate model system, the freshwater isopod crustacean, Asellus aquaticus, to examine whether adult differences between cave and surface dwelling individuals first appear during embryonic development. We hypothesized that antennal elaboration, as well as eye reduction and pigment loss, would be apparent during embryonic development. We found that differences in pigmentation, eye formation, and number of segments of antenna II were all present by the end of embryonic development. In addition, we found that cave and surface hatchlings do not significantly differ in the relative size of antenna II and the duration of embryonic development. To investigate whether the regions responsible for eye and pigment differences could be genetically linked to differences in article number, we genotyped F2 hybrids for the four previously mapped genomic regions associated with eye and pigment differences and phenotyped these F2 hybrids for antenna II article number. We found that the region previously known to be responsible for both presence versus absence of pigment and eye size also was significantly associated with article number. Future experiments will address whether pleiotropy and/or genetic linkage play a role in the evolution of cave characteristics in Asellus aquaticus.
A Transcriptomic Analysis of Cave, Surface, and Hybrid Isopod Crustaceans of the Species Asellus aquaticusPloS one, 2015Co-Authors: Bethany A. Stahl, Joshua B. Gross, Daniel I. Speiser, Todd H. Oakley, Nipham H. Patel, Douglas B. Gould, Meredith E. ProtasAbstract:
Cave animals, compared to surface-dwelling relatives, tend to have reduced eyes and pigment, longer appendages, and enhanced mechanosensory structures. Pressing questions include how certain cave-related traits are gained and lost, and if they originate through the same or different genetic programs in independent lineages. An excellent system for exploring these questions is the isopod, Asellus aquaticus. This species includes multiple cave and surface populations that have numerous morphological differences between them. A key feature is that hybrids between cave and surface individuals are viable, which enables genetic crosses and linkage analyses. Here, we advance this system by analyzing single animal transcriptomes of Asellus aquaticus. We use high throughput sequencing of non-normalized cDNA derived from the head of a surface-dwelling male, the head of a cave-dwelling male, the head of a hybrid male (produced by crossing a surface individual with a cave individual), and a pooled sample of surface embryos and hatchlings. Assembling reads from surface and cave head RNA pools yielded an integrated transcriptome comprised of 23,984 contigs. Using this integrated assembly as a reference transcriptome, we aligned reads from surface-, cave- and hybrid- head tissue and pooled surface embryos and hatchlings. Our approach identified 742 SNPs and placed four new candidate genes to an existing linkage map for A. aquaticus. In addition, we examined SNPs for allele-specific expression differences in the hybrid individual. All of these resources will facilitate identification of genes and associated changes responsible for cave adaptation in A. aquaticus and, in concert with analyses of other species, will inform our understanding of the evolutionary processes accompanying adaptation to the subterranean environment.
Peter Calow – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.
Comparative ecology of Gammarus pulex (L.) and Asellus aquaticus (L.) I: population dynamics and microdistributionHydrobiologia, 1994Co-Authors: Manuel A S Graca, Lorraine Maltby, Peter CalowAbstract:
Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus generally occupy different zones in rivers; the former occurs in upper reaches but is ‘replaced’ by the latter in lower reaches. Microdistribution and life-history patterns of G. pulex and A. aquaticus in sympatry and allopatry, were analyzed. Both species exhibited similar patterns of microhabitat selection, with larger individuals associated predominantly with large-sized substratum particles, and juveniles with weed. Coexisting populations of G. pulex and A. aquaticus had similar densities and population dynamics. Within each species, differences in population dynamics of allopatric and sympatric populations were observed. Although variation in population dynamics of G. pulex may be explained in terms of competition between the two species, the evidence is weak and equivocal. Differences in the dynamics of the two A. aquaticus populations were possibly a consequence of coal-mine and organic pollution, reducing the survival of offspring in the allopatric population.
Comparative ecology of Gammarus pulex (L.) and Asellus aquaticus (L.) II: fungal preferencesHydrobiologia, 1994Co-Authors: Manuel A S Graca, Lorraine Maltby, Peter CalowAbstract:
This paper continues to explore niche differentiation in Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus by analysis of their food preferences. Individuals from both species discriminated between leaf discs colonized by different fungal species and exhibited strong preferences for Anguillospora longissima and Heliscus lugdunensis. Fungal preferences were not correlated with the relative abundance of fungi in the field and there was considerable intra-population variability in food preferences — both between individuals and for the same individual through time. Niche overlap between animals from all four study populations was high and there was no evidence of differences in the potential trophic niches of animals from sympatric and allopatric populations.
Importance of fungi in the diet of Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus I: feeding strategiesOecologia, 1993Co-Authors: Manuel A S Graca, Lorraine Maltby, Peter CalowAbstract:
The importance of fungi in the trophic biology of the freshwater detritivores Gammarus pulex and Asellus aquaticus was investigated. Inspection of leaves used in feeding trials indicated that whereas A. aquaticus scrapes at the leaf surface, G. pulex bites through the leaf material. Both species discriminated between fungal mycelia, fungally colonized and uncolonized leaf material but, although A. aquaticus selectively consumed fungal mycelia, G. pulex fed preferentially on leaf material. Fungi appear to be an important food source for A. aquaticus and selection of food material was positively correlated with fungal biomass. In contrast, for G. pulex, fungi appear to be more important as modifiers of leaf material. However, no significant correlations were found between food preference and any of the leaf modifications measured.
Peter Trontelj – One of the best experts on this subject based on the ideXlab platform.
Phylogeography of subterranean and surface populations of water lice Asellus aquaticus (Crustacea: Isopoda)Molecular Ecology, 2004Co-Authors: Rudi Verovnik, Boris Sket, Peter TronteljAbstract:
The water louse Asellus aquaticus is a widespread, euryoecious species, mostly uniform throughout its range. However, six subspecies are known from the Dinaric karst in the northwestern Balkans. They include some specialized subterranean populations. The pattern of genetic variation among subterranean and surface populations in this hydrographically highly fragmented karst region was investigated using a 653 bp fragment of the mitochondrial gene (COI). Sequencing of 168 individuals from 25 localities revealed 72 haplotypes. amova and methods of phylogenetic reconstruction all uncovered hydrographic structuring of genetic variation of the populations. Nested clade analysis pointed out several fragmentation events, along with some range expansions within hydrographical systems. By superimposing the subterranean mode of life on the phylogeographical pattern, three independent cave colonizations could be inferred within a distance of < 100 km. Caves were invaded after the ancestral surface populations became isolated through vicariant fragmentation. A possible scenario of hydrographic history of the region was constructed combining the molecular data with palaeogeographical information.