The tempo of species diversification in large clades can reveal fundamental evolutionary mechanisms that operate on large temporal and spatial scales. Hummingbirds have radiated into a diverse assemblage of specialized nectarivores comprising 338 species, but their evolutionary history has not, until now, been comprehensively explored. We studied hummingbird diversification by estimating a time-calibrated phylogeny for 284 hummingbird species, demonstrating that hummingbirds invaded South America by ∼22 million years ago, and subsequently diversified into nine principal clades (see [5-7]). Using ancestral state reconstruction and diversification analyses, we (1) estimate the age of the crown-group hummingbird assemblage, (2) investigate the timing and patterns of lineage accumulation for hummingbirds overall and regionally, and (3) evaluate the role of Andean uplift in hummingbird speciation. Detailed analyses reveal disparate clade-specific processes that allowed for ongoing species diversification. One factor was significant variation among clades in diversification rates. For example, the nine principal clades of hummingbirds exhibit ∼15-fold variation in net diversification rates, with evidence for accelerated speciation of a clade that includes the Bee, Emerald, and Mountain Gem groups of hummingbirds. A second factor was colonization of key geographic regions, which opened up new ecological niches. For example, some clades diversified in the context of the uplift of the Andes Mountains, whereas others were affected by the formation of the Panamanian land bridge. Finally, although species accumulation is slowing in all groups of hummingbirds, several major clades maintain rapid rates of diversification on par with classical examples of rapid adaptive radiation.
The purpose of this study was to compare a maintenance-free chemotherapy protocol based on CHOP (H from hydroxydaunorubicin = doxorubicin, O from Oncovin = vincristine) to a similar protocol with a maintenance phase for the treatment of canine lymphoma. Fifty-three dogs with multicentric lymphoma were treated with a 6-month modified version of the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison chemotherapy protocol (UW-25). Disease-free interval (DFI) and survival were compared to a historical control group of 55 dogs treated with a similar protocol with a prolonged maintenance phase. Remission rate for the study dogs was 94.2% (complete remission = 92.3%, partial remission = 1.9%). DFI and survival between the 2 groups did not differ significantly, with median DFI and survival of the study dogs equal to 282 and 397 days compared to 220 and 303 days for the control dogs (P = .2835 and .3365, respectively). Univariate analysis identified substage b (P = .0087), German Shepherd breed (P = .0199), and body weight > 18 kg (P = .0016) as significant for worse survival. Longer survival was associated with thrombocytopenia (P = .0436). Multivariate analysis revealed that substage (P = .0388) and weight (P = .0125) retained significance for DFI, whereas substage (P = .0093), thrombocytopenia (P = .0150), and weight (P = 0 .0050) retained significance for survival. Overall, the protocol was well tolerated by the dogs, with 41.5% (22/53) requiring a treatment delay or dose modification, but only 9.4% (5/53) needing hospitalization. The 6-month chemotherapy protocol based on CHOP with no maintenance phase provides similar DFI and survival times when compared to a similar protocol with a prolonged maintenance phase.
Recent discoveries of spectacular dinosaur fossils overwhelmingly support the hypothesis that birds are descended from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs, and furthermore, demonstrate that distinctive bird characteristics such as feathers, flight, endothermic physiology, unique strategies for reproduction and growth, and a novel pulmonary system originated among Mesozoic terrestrial dinosaurs. The transition from ground-living to flight-capable theropod dinosaurs now probably represents one of the best-documented major evolutionary transitions in life history. Recent studies in developmental biology and other disciplines provide additional insights into how bird characteristics originated and evolved. The iconic features of extant birds for the most part evolved in a gradual and stepwise fashion throughout archosaur evolution. However, new data also highlight occasional bursts of morphological novelty at certain stages particularly close to the origin of birds and an unavoidable complex, mosaic evolutionary distribution of major bird characteristics on the theropod tree. Research into bird origins provides a premier example of how paleontological and neontological data can interact to reveal the complexity of major innovations, to answer key evolutionary questions, and to lead to new research directions. A better understanding of bird origins requires multifaceted and integrative approaches, yet fossils necessarily provide the final test of any evolutionary model.
Flow regulation and fragmentation of the world's rivers threaten the integrity of freshwater ecosystems and have resulted in the loss or decline of numerous fish species. Pelagic-spawning fishes (pelagophils) are thought to be particularly susceptible to river regulation because their early life stages (ichthyoplankton) drift until becoming free-swimming, although the extent of transport is largely unknown. Transport velocity and distance were determined for passively drifting particles, which mimicked physical properties of ichthyoplankton, in two large, regulated rivers (Rio Grande and Pecos River) of the arid Southwest United States. Particle drift data were incorporated into celerity-discharge equations (r2 > 0.90; P < 0.001), and reach-specific transport velocity was modeled as a function of discharge. Transport velocities of particles exceeded 0.7 m/s in all river reaches during typical spawning flows (i.e., reservoir releases or rainstorms) and were greatest in highly incised and narrow channel reaches. Mean transport distance of particles released in the Pecos River during sustained reservoir flows (141.1 km; 95% CI = 117.0-177.5 km) was significantly longer than during declining reservoir flows that mimicked a natural rainstorm (52.4 km; 95% CI = 48.8-56.5 km). Mean transport distance of particles in the Rio Grande during sustained reservoir flows was 138.7 km (95% CI = 131.0-147.2 km). There are 68 dams and 13 reservoirs that fragment habitats and regulate flow in the Rio Grande Basin (Rio Grande and Pecos River) in areas historically occupied by pelagophils. While the basin historically provided 4029 km of free-flowing riverine habitat, reservoir habitat now represents > 10% of the longitudinal distance. Only five unfragmented nonreservoir reaches > 100 km remain in the Rio Grande, and two remain in the Pecos River. Pelagophils were extirpated from all reservoirs and from nearly all short, fragmented reaches (< 100 km) of the Rio Grande Basin, but at least some fraction persisted in all longer reaches (> 100 km). The recovery and long-term persistence of pelagophils in regulated rivers, including those in this study, will likely depend on reestablishment and protection of long unfragmented reaches coupled with mimicry of the natural flow regime.
Sodium is an essential nutrient whose deposition in rainfall decreases with distance inland. The herbivores and microbial decomposers that feed on sodium-poor vegetation should be particularly constrained along gradients of decreasing sodium. We studied the use of sucrose and NaCl baits in 17 New World ant communities located 4 -2757 km inland. Sodium use was higher in genera and subfamilies characterized as omnivores/herbivores compared with those classified as carnivores and was lower in communities embedded in forest litter than in those embedded in abundant vegetation. Sodium use was increased in ant communities further inland, as was preference for the baits with the highest sodium concentration. Sucrose use, a measure of ant activity, peaked in communities 10 -100 km inland. We suggest that the geography of ant activity is shaped by sodium toxicity near the shore and by sodium deficit farther inland. Given the importance of ants in terrestrial ecosystems, changing patterns of rainfall with global change may ramify through inland food webs.ants ͉ biogeochemistry ͉ geography ͉ limitation ͉ sodium
Numerous physical parameters that influence insect physiology vary substantially with altitude, including temperature, air density, and oxygen partial pressure. Here, we review existing literature and present new empirical data to better characterize the high-altitude environment, and then consider how this environment affects the physiology and evolution of insects. Using weather balloon data from fifty-three sites across the globe, we estimate a mean altitudinal temperature lapse rate of 6.0 °C/km. We also present empirically determined lapse rates for P(o(2)) and air density. The temperature decline with elevation may substantially compromise insect thermoregulation at high altitude. However, heat-transfer models predict that lower air density at elevation reduces convective heat loss of insects by to a surprisingly large degree. This effect combined with behavioral thermoregulation and the availability of buffered microhabitats make the net thermal consequences of high-altitude residence strongly context-specific. The decline in P(o(2)) with elevation may compromise insect development and physiology, but its effects are difficult to predict without simultaneously considering temperature and air density. Flying insects compensate for low air densities with both short-term responses, such as increased stroke amplitude (but not wingbeat frequency), and with long-term developmental and/or evolutionary increases in wing size relative to body size. Finally, in contrast to predictions based on Bergmann's Rule, a literature survey of thirty-six insect species suggests that those living in colder, higher altitudes do not tend to have larger body sizes.
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