Diverse Animals (diverse + animals)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts


EVOLUTION, Issue 11 2009
Michael Simone
Diverse animals have evolved an ability to collect antimicrobial compounds from the environment as a means of reducing infection risk. Honey bees battle an extensive assemblage of pathogens with both individual and "social" defenses. We determined if the collection of resins, complex plant secretions with diverse antimicrobial properties, acts as a colony-level immune defense by honey bees. Exposure to extracts from two sources of honey bee propolis (a mixture of resins and wax) led to a significantly lowered expression of two honey bee immune-related genes (hymenoptaecin and AmEater in Brazilian and Minnesota propolis, respectively) and to lowered bacterial loads in the Minnesota (MN) propolis treated colonies. Differences in immune expression were also found across age groups (third-instar larvae, 1-day-old and 7-day-old adults) irrespective of resin treatment. The finding that resins within the nest decrease investment in immune function of 7-day-old bees may have implications for colony health and productivity. This is the first direct evidence that the honey bee nest environment affects immune-gene expression. [source]

Olfactory receptors: G protein-coupled receptors and beyond

Marc Spehr
Abstract Sensing the chemical environment is critical for all organisms. Diverse animals from insects to mammals utilize highly organized olfactory system to detect, encode, and process chemostimuli that may carry important information critical for health, survival, social interactions and reproduction. Therefore, for animals to properly interpret and react to their environment it is imperative that the olfactory system recognizes chemical stimuli with appropriate selectivity and sensitivity. Because olfactory receptor proteins play such an essential role in the specific recognition of diverse stimuli, understanding how they interact with and transduce their cognate ligands is a high priority. In the nearly two decades since the discovery that the mammalian odorant receptor gene family constitutes the largest group of G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) genes, much attention has been focused on the roles of GPCRs in vertebrate and invertebrate olfaction. However, is has become clear that the ,family' of olfactory receptors is highly diverse, with roles for enzymes and ligand-gated ion channels as well as GPCRs in the primary detection of olfactory stimuli. [source]

Contribution of small insects to pollination of common buckwheat, a distylous crop

Hisatomo Taki
Abstract Crop pollination by animals is an essential ecosystem service. Among animal-pollinated crops, distylous plants strongly depend on animal pollination. In distylous pollination systems, pollinator species are usually limited, although flowers of some distylous plants are visited by diverse animals. We studied the pollination biology of common buckwheat (Fagopyrum esculentum), a distylous crop mainly pollinated by honeybees and visited by many insect species, to evaluate the effects of non-honeybee species on pollination services. We focused on insects smaller than honeybees to determine their contribution to pollination. We applied pollination treatments with bags of coarse mesh to exclude flower visits by honeybees and larger insects and compared the seed set of bagged plants with that of untreated plants for pin and thrum flower morphs. We found a great reduction of seed set only in bagged pin flowers. We also confirmed that small insects, including ants, bees, wasps and flies, carried pin-morph pollen. These small insects transfer pollen from the short anthers of pin flowers to the short styles of thrum flowers, leading to sufficient seed set in thrum flowers. Consequently, small, non-honeybee insects have the potential to maintain at least half of the yield of this honeybee-dependent distylous crop. [source]

Consumptive emasculation: the ecological and evolutionary consequences of pollen theft

Anna L. Hargreaves
ABSTRACT Many of the diverse animals that consume floral rewards act as efficient pollinators; however, others ,steal' rewards without ,paying' for them by pollinating. In contrast to the extensive studies of the ecological and evolutionary consequences of nectar theft, pollen theft and its implications remain largely neglected, even though it affects plant reproduction more directly. Here we review existing studies of pollen theft and find that: (1) most pollen thieves pollinate other plant species, suggesting that theft generally arises from a mismatch between the flower and thief that precludes pollen deposition, (2) bees are the most commonly documented pollen thieves, and (3) the floral traits that typically facilitate pollen theft involve either spatial or temporal separation of sex function within flowers (herkogamy and dichogamy, respectively). Given that herkogamy and dichogamy occur commonly and that bees are globally the most important floral visitors, pollen theft is likely a greatly under-appreciated component of floral ecology and influence on floral evolution. We identify the mechanisms by which pollen theft can affect plant fitness, and review the evidence for theft-induced ecological effects, including pollen limitation. We then explore the consequences of pollen theft for the evolution of floral traits and sexual systems, and conclude by identifying key directions for future research. [source]