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Royal Society Open Science

Isabelle De Groote, Linus Girdland Flink, Rizwaan Abbas, Silvia M Bello, Lucia Burgio, Laura Tabitha Buck, Christopher Dean, Alison Freyne, Thomas Higham, Chris G Jones, Robert Kruszynski, Adrian Lister, Simon A Parfitt, Matthew M Skinner, Karolyn Shindler, Chris B Stringer
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1098/rsos.160328.].
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Amy S Findlay, D Alessio Panzica, Petr Walczysko, Amy B Holt, Deborah J Henderson, John D West, Ann M Rajnicek, J Martin Collinson
This study shows that the core planar cell polarity (PCP) genes direct the aligned cell migration in the adult corneal epithelium, a stratified squamous epithelium on the outer surface of the vertebrate eye. Expression of multiple core PCP genes was demonstrated in the adult corneal epithelium. PCP components were manipulated genetically and pharmacologically in human and mouse corneal epithelial cells in vivo and in vitro. Knockdown of VANGL2 reduced the directional component of migration of human corneal epithelial (HCE) cells without affecting speed...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Mauricio Cantor, Hal Whitehead, Shane Gero, Luke Rendell
While populations may wax and wane, it is rare for an entire population to be replaced by a completely different set of individuals. We document the large-scale relocation of cultural groups of sperm whale off the Galápagos Islands, in which two sympatric vocal clans were entirely replaced by two different ones. Between 1985 and 1999, whales from two clans (called Regular and Plus-One) defined by cultural dialects in coda vocalizations were repeatedly photo-identified off Galápagos. Their occurrence in the area declined through the 1990s; by 2000, none remained...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Kira M Hoffman, Daniel G Gavin, Brian M Starzomski
While wildland fire is globally most common at the savannah-grassland ecotone, there is little evidence of fire in coastal temperate rainforests. We reconstructed fire activity with a ca 700-year fire history derived from fire scars and stand establishment from 30 sites in a very wet (up to 4000 mm annual precipitation) temperate rainforest in coastal British Columbia, Canada. Drought and warmer temperatures in the year prior were positively associated with fire events though there was little coherence of climate indices on the years of fires...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Sebastian Kuhlgert, Greg Austic, Robert Zegarac, Isaac Osei-Bonsu, Donghee Hoh, Martin I Chilvers, Mitchell G Roth, Kevin Bi, Dan TerAvest, Prabode Weebadde, David M Kramer
Large-scale high-throughput plant phenotyping (sometimes called phenomics) is becoming increasingly important in plant biology and agriculture and is essential to cutting-edge plant breeding and management approaches needed to meet the food and fuel needs for the next century. Currently, the application of these approaches is severely limited by the availability of appropriate instrumentation and by the ability to communicate experimental protocols, results and analyses. To address these issues, we have developed a low-cost, yet sophisticated open-source scientific instrument designed to enable communities of researchers, plant breeders, educators, farmers and citizen scientists to collect high-quality field data on a large scale...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Alexander J Werth, Robert W Harriss, Michael V Rosario, J Craig George, Todd L Sformo
Baleen, an anisotropic oral filtering tissue found only in the mouth of mysticete whales and made solely of alpha-keratin, exhibits markedly differing physical and mechanical properties between dried or (as in life) hydrated states. On average baleen is 32.35% water by weight in North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) and 34.37% in bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus). Baleen's wettability measured by water droplet contact angles shows that dried baleen is hydrophobic whereas hydrated baleen is highly hydrophilic...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Ryan M Pedrigi, Vikram V Mehta, Sandra M Bovens, Zahra Mohri, Christian Bo Poulsen, Willy Gsell, Jordi L Tremoleda, Leila Towhidi, Ranil de Silva, Enrico Petretto, Rob Krams
The precise flow characteristics that promote different atherosclerotic plaque types remain unclear. We previously developed a blood flow-modifying cuff for ApoE(-/-) mice that induces the development of advanced plaques with vulnerable and stable features upstream and downstream of the cuff, respectively. Herein, we sought to test the hypothesis that changes in flow magnitude promote formation of the upstream (vulnerable) plaque, whereas altered flow direction is important for development of the downstream (stable) plaque...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Mario Padilla, Etya Amsalem, Naomi Altman, Abraham Hefetz, Christina M Grozinger
Reproductive division of labour is a hallmark of eusociality, but disentangling the underlying proximate mechanisms can be challenging. In bumblebees, workers isolated from the queen can activate their ovaries and lay haploid, male eggs. We investigated if volatile, contact, visual or behavioural cues produced by the queen or brood mediate reproductive dominance in Bombus impatiens. Exposure to queen-produced volatiles, brood-produced volatiles and direct contact with pupae did not reduce worker ovary activation; only direct contact with the queen could reduce ovary activation...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Fernando G Soley
Some predators sidestep environments that render them conspicuous to the sensory systems of prey. However, these challenging environments are unavoidable for certain predators. Stenolemus giraffa is an assassin bug that feeds on web-building spiders; the web is the environment in which this predator finds its prey, but it also forms part of its preys' sophisticated sensory apparatus, blurring the distinction between environment and sensory systems. Stenolemus giraffa needs to break threads in the web that obstruct its path to the spiders, and such vibrations can alert the spiders...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Andrew F McIntosh, Philip G Cox
The African mole-rats (Bathyergidae) are a family of rodents highly adapted for life underground. Previous research has shown that chisel-tooth digging mole-rats (which use their incisors to dig burrows) are clearly distinguishable from scratch diggers (which only use the forelimbs to tunnel) on the basis of morphology of the skull, and that the differences are linked to the production of high bite forces and wide gapes. We hypothesized that the skull of a chisel-tooth digging mole-rat would perform better at wider gapes than that of a scratch digging mole-rat during incisor biting...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Sebastian Büsse, Thomas Hörnschemeyer, Christian Fischer
Spinning is a phenomenon not only present in spiders, but also in many other arthropods. The functional morphology and complexity of spinning organs is often poorly understood. Their elements are minute and studying them poses substantial methodological difficulties. This study presents a three-dimensional reconstruction of a silk gland of Embia sp. on cellular level, based on serial sections acquired with serial block-face scanning electron microscopy (SBFSEM) to showcase the power of this method. Previous studies achieved either high resolution to elucidate the ultrastructure or satisfying three-dimensional representations...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Felix G Marx, Naoki Kohno
The Pisco-Ica and Sacaco basins of southern Peru are renowned for their abundance of exceptionally preserved fossil cetaceans, several of which retain traces of soft tissue and occasionally even stomach contents. Previous work has mostly focused on odontocetes, with baleen whales currently being restricted to just three described taxa. Here, we report a new Late Miocene rorqual (family Balaenopteridae), Incakujira anillodefuego gen. et sp. nov., based on two exceptionally preserved specimens from the Pisco Formation exposed at Aguada de Lomas, Sacaco Basin, southern Peru...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Salvador Bará
The growing emissions of artificial light to the atmosphere are producing, among other effects, a significant increase of the night sky brightness (NSB) above its expected natural values. A permanent sensor network has been deployed in Galicia (northwest of Iberian peninsula) to monitor the anthropogenic disruption of the night sky darkness in a countrywide area. The network is composed of 14 detectors integrated in automated weather stations of MeteoGalicia, the Galician public meteorological agency. Zenithal NSB readings are taken every minute and the results are openly available in real time for researchers, interested stakeholders and the public at large through a dedicated website...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Long Li, Wenyan Zhang, Jizeng Wang
Cells can adapt their mechanical properties through cytoskeleton remodelling in response to external stimuli when the cells adhere to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Many studies have investigated the effects of cell and ECM elasticity on cell adhesion. However, experiments determined that cells are viscoelastic and exhibiting stress relaxation, and the mechanism behind the effect of cellular viscoelasticity on the cell adhesion behaviour remains unclear. Therefore, we propose a theoretical model of a cluster of ligand-receptor bonds between two dissimilar viscoelastic media subjected to an applied tensile load...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Andrew M Robbins, Maryke Gray, Thomas Breuer, Marie Manguette, Emma J Stokes, Prosper Uwingeli, Innocent Mburanumwe, Edwin Kagoda, Martha M Robbins
When mothers continue to support their offspring beyond infancy, they can influence the fitness of those offspring, the strength of social relationships within their groups, and the life-history traits of their species. Using up to 30 years of demographic data from 58 groups of gorillas in two study sites, this study extends such findings by showing that mothers may also contribute to differences in social organization between closely related species. Female mountain gorillas remained with their sons for significantly longer than western gorillas, which may explain why male philopatry and multimale groups are more common among mountain gorillas...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Susumu Tomiya, Zhijie Jack Tseng
The Middle to Late Eocene sediments of Texas have yielded a wealth of fossil material that offers a rare window on a diverse and highly endemic mammalian fauna from that time in the southern part of North America. These faunal data are particularly significant because the narrative of mammalian evolution in the Paleogene of North America has traditionally been dominated by taxa that are known from higher latitudes, primarily in the Rocky Mountain and northern Great Plains regions. Here we report on the affinities of two peculiar carnivoraforms from the Chambers Tuff of Trans-Pecos, Texas, that were first described 30 years ago as Miacis cognitus and M...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Andrzej A Romaniuk, Alexandra N Shepherd, David V Clarke, Alison J Sheridan, Sheena Fraser, László Bartosiewicz, Jeremy S Herman
Rodents have important effects on contemporary human societies, sometimes providing a source of food but more often as agricultural pests, or as vectors and reservoirs of disease. Skeletal remains of rodents are commonly found in archaeological assemblages from around the world, highlighting their potential importance to ancient human populations. However, there are few studies of the interactions between people and rodents at such sites and most of these are confined to locations where rodents have formed a part of the recent diet...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Daisuke Ishii, Hiroshi Yamasaki, Ryosuke Uozumi, Euichi Hirose
The body surface of aquatic invertebrates is generally thought to be hydrophilic to prevent the attachment of air bubbles. In contrast, some interstitial invertebrates, such as kinorhynchs and some crustaceans, have a hydrophobic body surface: they are often trapped at the water surface when the sediment in which they reside is mixed with air and water. Here, we directly measured the wettability of the body surface of the kinorhynch Echinoderes komatsui, using a microscopic contact angle meter. The intact body surface of live specimens was not hydrophobic, but the anterior part was less hydrophilic...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Tommaso Ruberto, Violet Mwaffo, Sukhgewanpreet Singh, Daniele Neri, Maurizio Porfiri
As zebrafish emerge as a species of choice for the investigation of biological processes, a number of experimental protocols are being developed to study their social behaviour. While live stimuli may elicit varying response in focal subjects owing to idiosyncrasies, tiredness and circadian rhythms, video stimuli suffer from the absence of physical input and rely only on two-dimensional projections. Robotics has been recently proposed as an alternative approach to generate physical, customizable, effective and consistent stimuli for behavioural phenotyping...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
Yuki Kagawa, Masahiro Kino-Oka
Regenerative therapy using autologous skeletal myoblasts requires a large number of cells to be prepared for high-level secretion of cytokines and chemokines to induce good regeneration of damaged regions. However, myoblast expansion culture is hindered by a reduction in growth rate owing to cellular quiescence and differentiation, therefore optimization is required. We have developed a kinetic computational model describing skeletal myoblast proliferation and differentiation, which can be used as a prediction tool for the expansion process...
October 2016: Royal Society Open Science
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