Sample records for tardigrade milnesium tardigradum

  1. Investigations on population dynamics and biology of the Tardigrades Hypsibius oberhaeuseri (Doyere, 1840), Milnesium tardigradum (Doyere, 1840) and Echiniscus testudo (Doyere, 1840)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schuetz, G.


    The population dynamics of Hypsibius oberhaeuseri, Milnesium tardigradum and Echiniscus testudo in the lichen Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fr. was investigated over a period of 27 months. In addition, problems regarding the biology of the animals were worked on. New methods of keeping the animals and of radioactive marking of them ( 3 H 2 O; to determine the life-span under natural habits) are described. Seasonal variations in population dynamics were only observed in H. oberhaeuseri and E. testudo whereas M. tardigradum remained at a nearly constant level throughout the yearly cycle. Only extreme precipitation volume, temperature and steam pressure exerted -especially on H. oberhaeuseri - a direct influence on population density. The minimum average life-span was determined for H. oberhaeuseri at 11 months, M. tardigradum at 6 months and E. testudo at 4,5 months. Owing to the fact that M. tardigradum and E. testudo prefer to lay their eggs in specialized deposit areas and because of the different life-style of the animals, the dispersion of the individuals, eggs and casts in the habitat is quite variable: equal (H. ob.), unequal/cumulative (M. tard.) and insular (E. test.). Nutrition, the change in food-habits during the course of life (M. tard.) and the speed of embryonic development are also described and discussed. 280 refs., 38 figs., 10 tabs

  2. Movement behaviour and video tracking of Milnesium tardigradum Doyère, 1840 (Eutardigrada, Apochela)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Shcherbakov, D.; Schill, R.O.; Brümmer, F.; Blum, M.


    Tardigrades or ‘water-bears’ live in moist environments with a high degree of gaseous exchange. In tardigrades, locomotion is essential, e.g. for feeding, to find sexual partners and to adjust the level of hydration by moving to wetter or dryer environments. Here we report on the movement behaviour

  3. Tolerance to γ-irradiation in cryptobiotic tardigrades

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Horikawa, Daiki; Katagiri, Chihiro; Kuwahara, Mikinori


    Tardigrades can adapt to environmental stress by isolating themselves from the changes. This state is called cryptobiosis, where the water content of the body decreases to less than 0.01%, and is a truly death-like state. They have been revived from this state after more than 100 years and shown signs of life. The present paper investigates into irradiation effects with Co-60 gamma rays from 1 to 9 kGy on Milnesium tardigradum in cryptobiosis and to see their survivability. LD 50 at 24 hours after irradiation was found to be 3.62 kGy in active state while 3.14 kGy in cryptobiosis state, showing their strong ability of resistance to death as exemplified by the fact that the dose as large as 9 kGy was necessary to completely kill them. (S. Ohno)

  4. Species diversity and morphometrics of tardigrades from a medium-size city in the Neotropical Region: Santa Rosa (La Pampa, Argentina

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    Peluffo, J. R.


    Full Text Available Tardigrade diversity was studied in a medium-sized city in the Neotropical Region: Santa Rosa (La Pampa, Argentina. Samples were collected between February 1999 and January 2000 from lichens and mosses growing on sidewalk trees of the urban and periurban area. Five species of tardigrades were found, i.e., Echiniscus rufoviridis du Bois-Reymond Marcus, 1944, Macrobiotus areolatus Murray, 1907, Ramazzottius oberhaeuseri (Doyère, 1840, Milnesium cf. tardigradum and a non-described species of Macrobiotus. Only one species, M. cf. tardigradum, was found in areas with high levels of vehicle traffic. Results are compared with those from cities in the Nearctic and Palearctic regions. Measurements and pt index values (percentage ratios between the length of the structure considered and the buccal tube length are provided for M. areolatus, R. oberhaeuseri and M. cf. tardigradum. Amongst the characters considered, the pt index for the stylet support insertion shows the least intraspecific variation. This character is also independent from body length and buccal-tube length.

  5. Milnesium berladnicorum sp. n. (Eutardigrada, Apochela, Milnesiidae), a new species of water bear from Romania. (United States)

    Ciobanu, Daniel Adrian; Zawierucha, Krzysztof; Moglan, Ioan; Kaczmarek, Lukasz


    In a lichen sample collected from a tree in Bârlad town (Vaslui County, Romania), a new tardigrade species belonging to the genus Milnesium (granulatum group) was found. Milnesium berladnicorum sp. n. is most similar (in the type of dorsal sculpture) to Milnesium beasleyi Kaczmarek et al., 2012 but differs from it mainly by having a different claw configuration and some morphometric characters. Additionally, the new species differs from other congeners of the granulatum group by the different type of dorsal sculpture, claw configuration and some morphometric characters.

  6. Element analysis of the eutardigrades Richtersius coronifer and Milnesium cf. asiaticum using Particle Induced X-ray Emission (PIXE

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    Charlotta Nilsson


    Full Text Available Semi-terrestrial tardigrades are well-known for their tolerance to a variety of environmental extremes, including desiccation, freezing and radiation. Despite several attempts to reveal the genetic and molecular mechanisms behind the resilience of tardigrades, it is still unknown how these animals are able to maintain the integrity of their cellular components under severe stress. Quantitative or qualitative changes in molecular compounds (e.g., carbohydrates, proteins are expected, and have been the main line of research towards understanding the tolerance of tardigrades. In radiation tolerant bacteria, a tolerance mechanism based on manganese has been proposed. We evaluate this hypothesis in tardigrades and provide the first data on element composition in desiccated and non-desiccated specimens of two eutardigrade species, Richtersius coronifer and Milnesium cf. asiaticum. A focused 2 MeV proton microbeam was utilised to determine the elemental content, distributions and concentrations, using the ion beam analytical technique particle induced X-ray emission (PIXE. The presence of six elements – phosphorus, sulphur, chlorine, potassium, calcium and iron – were confirmed in all tardigrade specimens, at levels up to a few mg g–1. However, manganese was found in less than 10% of the analysed specimens, and in low amounts, thus our study provides no evidence for the manganese hypothesis. We also show that the distributions and/or concentrations of some elements differ between the two species as well as between the dehydrated and hydrated state. In particular, very low levels of iron were found in dehydrated M. cf. asiaticum. Our analysis shows that the PIXE technique is a useful tool for investigating questions on the distribution of elements both in dehydrated and hydrated tardigrades.

  7. Experiences with dormancy in tardigrades

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    Deborah BOSCHINI


    Full Text Available Tardigrades often colonise extreme habitats, in which they survive using both types of dormancy: quiescence and diapause. Together with nematodes and bdelloid rotifers, tardigrades are known to enter quiescence (with several forms of cryptobiosis: anhydrobiosis, cryobiosis, anoxybiosis, osmobiosis at any stage of their life cycle, from egg to adult. Entering anhydrobiosis, tardigrades contract their body into a so-called tun, loosing most of their free and bound water (>95%, synthesizing cell protectants (e.g., trehalose, glycerol, heat shock proteins and strongly reducing or suspending their metabolism. Our research on cryptobiosis focused on some ecological and evolutionary aspects. We evaluated: i the long-term anhydrobiotic survival by comparing quantitative data on recovery from naturally induced desiccation in several species of tardigrades; ii differences in survival patterns between species and populations by experimentally inducing anhydrobiosis and cryobiosis; iii phenotypic factors affecting anhydrobiotic survival. As regards diapause, we considered encystment and eggs. Encystment involves at least the synthesis of new cuticular structures. Morphological changes during cyst formation are more complex than those involved in tun formation. We analyzed more in detail encystment processes, comparing a semiterrestrial with a limnic species. Several inter-specific differences have been identified, other than the production of two types of cysts in the semiterrestrial species. Our analysis of life history traits of a laboratory reared strain of a soil tardigrade revealed a particular hatching phenology that involved the production of both subitaneous and resting eggs. The latter need a cue to hatch (dehydration followed by re-hydration. In addition, the evolutionary meaning of dormancy in tardigrades is discussed.

  8. Tardigrades in Space Research - Past and Future (United States)

    Weronika, Erdmann; Łukasz, Kaczmarek


    To survive exposure to space conditions, organisms should have certain characteristics including a high tolerance for freezing, radiation and desiccation. The organisms with the best chance for survival under such conditions are extremophiles, like some species of Bacteria and Archea, Rotifera, several species of Nematoda, some of the arthropods and Tardigrada (water bears). There is no denying that tardigrades are one of the toughest animals on our planet and are the most unique in the extremophiles group. Tardigrada are very small animals (50 to 2,100 μm in length), and they inhabit great number of Earth environments. Ever since it was proven that tardigrades have high resistance to the different kinds of stress factors associated with cosmic journeys, combined with their relatively complex structure and their relative ease of observation, they have become a perfect model organism for space research. This taxon is now the focus of astrobiologists from around the world. Therefore, this paper presents a short review of the space research performed on tardigrades as well as some considerations for further studies.

  9. Tardigrades in Space Research - Past and Future. (United States)

    Weronika, Erdmann; Łukasz, Kaczmarek


    To survive exposure to space conditions, organisms should have certain characteristics including a high tolerance for freezing, radiation and desiccation. The organisms with the best chance for survival under such conditions are extremophiles, like some species of Bacteria and Archea, Rotifera, several species of Nematoda, some of the arthropods and Tardigrada (water bears). There is no denying that tardigrades are one of the toughest animals on our planet and are the most unique in the extremophiles group. Tardigrada are very small animals (50 to 2,100 μm in length), and they inhabit great number of Earth environments. Ever since it was proven that tardigrades have high resistance to the different kinds of stress factors associated with cosmic journeys, combined with their relatively complex structure and their relative ease of observation, they have become a perfect model organism for space research. This taxon is now the focus of astrobiologists from around the world. Therefore, this paper presents a short review of the space research performed on tardigrades as well as some considerations for further studies.

  10. Osmotic stress tolerance in semi-terrestrial tardigrades

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Heidemann, Nanna W T; Smith, Daniel K.; Hygum, Thomas L.


    Little is known about ionic and osmotic stress tolerance in tardigrades. Here, we examine salt stress tolerance in Ramazzottius oberhaeuseri and Echiniscus testudo from Nivå (Denmark) and address whether limno-terrestrial tardigrades can enter a state of quiescence (osmobiosis) in the face of high......-ionic osmolytes as compared to NaCl. Ramazzottius oberhaeuseri furthermore readily regained activity following gradual increases in non-ionic osmolytes and NaCl of up to 2434 ± 28 and 1905 ± 3 mOsm kg−1, respectively, showing that short-term acclimation promoted salt stress tolerance. Our results suggest...... that the limno-terrestrial R. oberhaeuseri enters a state of quiescence in the face of high external osmotic pressure and that it, in this state, is highly tolerant of ionic and osmotic stress....

  11. Molecular and morphological analysis of an Antarctic tardigrade, Acutuncus antarcticus

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    Hiroshi Kagoshima


    Full Text Available We isolated a species of tardigrade from moss samples collected from Langhovde and Skarvsnes, near Syowa station, East Antarctic, from which we cultured a parthenogenetic strain in Petri dishes with co-occurring cyanobacteria or green algae. This culture was maintained at both 4 and 10ºC, though the latter proved more suitable for growth. Eggs were laid free, rather than in exuviae. We isolated the 18S rRNA sequences from this tardigrade, identical to that of Acutuncus antarcticus from King George island, South Shetland islands. Morphological analyses via both light and scanning electron microscopy also show general agreement with characteristics of A. antarcticus: dorsal and ventral apophyses for the insertion of stylet muscles and dorsal longitudinal thickening on the anterior part of buccal tube; presence of pharyngeal apophyses, two macroplacoids and absence of a microplacoid; the surface structure of egg; and claw shape. Peribuccal lamellae were absent, but six oval swellings surrounded the mouth opening. An additional study of moss pillars from lake Hotoke-ike, Skarvsnes, proved the existence of the same tardigrade taxon living at the bottom of the lake.

  12. DNA Protection Protein, a Novel Mechanism of Radiation Tolerance: Lessons from Tardigrades. (United States)

    Hashimoto, Takuma; Kunieda, Takekazu


    Genomic DNA stores all genetic information and is indispensable for maintenance of normal cellular activity and propagation. Radiation causes severe DNA lesions, including double-strand breaks, and leads to genome instability and even lethality. Regardless of the toxicity of radiation, some organisms exhibit extraordinary tolerance against radiation. These organisms are supposed to possess special mechanisms to mitigate radiation-induced DNA damages. Extensive study using radiotolerant bacteria suggested that effective protection of proteins and enhanced DNA repair system play important roles in tolerability against high-dose radiation. Recent studies using an extremotolerant animal, the tardigrade, provides new evidence that a tardigrade-unique DNA-associating protein, termed Dsup, suppresses the occurrence of DNA breaks by radiation in human-cultured cells. In this review, we provide a brief summary of the current knowledge on extremely radiotolerant animals, and present novel insights from the tardigrade research, which expand our understanding on molecular mechanism of exceptional radio-tolerability.

  13. Two novel heat-soluble protein families abundantly expressed in an anhydrobiotic tardigrade.

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    Ayami Yamaguchi

    Full Text Available Tardigrades are able to tolerate almost complete dehydration by reversibly switching to an ametabolic state. This ability is called anhydrobiosis. In the anhydrobiotic state, tardigrades can withstand various extreme environments including space, but their molecular basis remains largely unknown. Late embryogenesis abundant (LEA proteins are heat-soluble proteins and can prevent protein-aggregation in dehydrated conditions in other anhydrobiotic organisms, but their relevance to tardigrade anhydrobiosis is not clarified. In this study, we focused on the heat-soluble property characteristic of LEA proteins and conducted heat-soluble proteomics using an anhydrobiotic tardigrade. Our heat-soluble proteomics identified five abundant heat-soluble proteins. All of them showed no sequence similarity with LEA proteins and formed two novel protein families with distinct subcellular localizations. We named them Cytoplasmic Abundant Heat Soluble (CAHS and Secretory Abundant Heat Soluble (SAHS protein families, according to their localization. Both protein families were conserved among tardigrades, but not found in other phyla. Although CAHS protein was intrinsically unstructured and SAHS protein was rich in β-structure in the hydrated condition, proteins in both families changed their conformation to an α-helical structure in water-deficient conditions as LEA proteins do. Two conserved repeats of 19-mer motifs in CAHS proteins were capable to form amphiphilic stripes in α-helices, suggesting their roles as molecular shield in water-deficient condition, though charge distribution pattern in α-helices were different between CAHS and LEA proteins. Tardigrades might have evolved novel protein families with a heat-soluble property and this study revealed a novel repertoire of major heat-soluble proteins in these anhydrobiotic animals.

  14. Tolerance to Gamma Radiation in the Tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini from Embryo to Adult Correlate Inversely with Cellular Proliferation.

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    Eliana Beltrán-Pardo

    Full Text Available Tardigrades are highly tolerant to desiccation and ionizing radiation but the mechanisms of this tolerance are not well understood. In this paper, we report studies on dose responses of adults and eggs of the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini exposed to gamma radiation. In adults the LD50/48h for survival was estimated at ~ 4200 Gy, and doses higher than 100 Gy reduced both fertility and hatchability of laid eggs drastically. We also evaluated the effect of radiation (doses 50 Gy, 200 Gy, 500 Gy on eggs in the early and late embryonic stage of development, and observed a reduced hatchability in the early stage, while no effect was found in the late stage of development. Survival of juveniles from irradiated eggs was highly affected by a 500 Gy dose, both in the early and the late stage. Juveniles hatched from eggs irradiated at 50 Gy and 200 Gy developed into adults and produced offspring, but their fertility was reduced compared to the controls. Finally we measured the effect of low temperature during irradiation at 4000 Gy and 4500 Gy on survival in adult tardigrades, and observed a slight delay in the expressed mortality when tardigrades were irradiated on ice. Since H. dujardini is a freshwater tardigrade with lower tolerance to desiccation compared to limno-terrestrial tardigrades, the high radiation tolerance in adults, similar to limno-terrestrial tardigrades, is unexpected and seems to challenge the idea that desiccation and radiation tolerance rely on the same molecular mechanisms. We suggest that the higher radiation tolerance in adults and late stage embryos of H. dujardini (and in other studied tardigrades compared to early stage embryos may partly be due to limited mitotic activity, since tardigrades have a low degree of somatic cell division (eutely, and dividing cells are known to be more sensitive to radiation.

  15. Survival in extreme environments – on the current knowledge of adaptations in tardigrades

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Møbjerg, Nadja; Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Jørgensen, Aslak


    of mechanisms explaining this phenomenon is lacking. Importantly, recent research has shown that tardigrades even in their active states may be extremely tolerant to environmental stress, handling extreme levels of ionizing radiation, large fluctuation in external salinity and avoiding freezing by supercooling...

  16. The impact of fire on terrestrial tardigrade biodiversity: a first case-study from Portugal

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    Filipe Vicente


    Full Text Available Currently, loss of habitat is the greatest threat to biodiversity, yet little is known about its effect on microscopic animal taxa, such as Tardigrada. One of the causes of habitat destruction is forest fire, both natural and anthropogenic. The latter is commonly used in agriculture to kill insect pests, as a soil preparation, or conservation to create habitat mosaics. In Portugal, 42% of fire frequency is anthropogenic. There is no consensus on the impact of fires on biodiversity, with studies pointing towards different conclusions. Different methods and target taxonomic study groups may partly explain this paradigm. This study is the first into possible effects of habitat destruction on tardigrade populations, in which we analysed the taxonomic and genetic variations of tardigrades from a fire affected location in a Portuguese natural park. Sampling was performed over a 10-year period, from 2000 to 2010. The location was affected by a small fire in 1998 and a big fire in 2003. A total of 11 species from nine separate genera was recorded, from which 19 cox1 haplotypes were identified. Our data suggest a negative effect of a forest fire on tardigrade populations. Taxonomic and genetic richness, as well as abundance show lower levels in the years after a fire, compared with the preceding years. Additionally, the population recovered visibly faster after the small fire than after the bigger one. This is consistent with larger fires destroying larger forest areas, leaving fewer animals at a farther distance available for re-colonisation. Most species found before the main fire are also found after it, indicating these tardigrades have a high recolonisation capability. However, only three of all recorded haplotypes were found both pre and post the main fire, which indicates genetic diversity loss as a direct consequence of fire. Therefore, we conclude that habitat destruction by means of forest fire has a detrimental effect on tardigrade

  17. Tardigrade eggs and exuviae in Antarctic lake sediments: insights into Holocene dynamics and origins of the fauna

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    Sandra J. MCINNES


    Full Text Available The preservation of tardigrade eggs and exuviae in Antarctic lake sediments provided an opportunity to assess post-glacial colonisation and Holocene tardigrade dynamics on the southern continent. Tardigrade eggs were recovered from five lakes, two from the maritime Antarctic and three from continental Antarctica. Eggs were identified from the following species: Dactylobiotus cf. ambiguus, Macrobiotus furciger, Macrobiotus blocki, Minibiotus weinerorum and Acutuncus antarcticus. Other, unornamented eggs were also observed. The preservation of some of these eggs in exuviae allowed identification to at least genus. Significant variations were observed in egg abundance within the sediment of each lake, and in one lake a species (Dactylobiotus cf. ambiguus became locally extinct, probably as the result of penguin-associated eutrophication. Tardigrades generally did not become abundant for a considerable period after the lakes’ formation. The presence of an in-part endemic fauna is consistent with slow colonisation from Antarctic sources rather than wind transport from extra-continental sites. Tardigrade eggs appear to be abundant in high-latitude lake sediments, and greater use could be made of these records when evaluating tardigrade dynamics during the Holocene.

  18. Novel mitochondria-targeted heat-soluble proteins identified in the anhydrobiotic Tardigrade improve osmotic tolerance of human cells.

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    Sae Tanaka

    Full Text Available Tardigrades are able to tolerate almost complete dehydration through transition to a metabolically inactive state, called "anhydrobiosis". Late Embryogenesis Abundant (LEA proteins are heat-soluble proteins involved in the desiccation tolerance of many anhydrobiotic organisms. Tardigrades, Ramazzottius varieornatus, however, express predominantly tardigrade-unique heat-soluble proteins: CAHS (Cytoplasmic Abundant Heat Soluble and SAHS (Secretory Abundant Heat Soluble proteins, which are secreted or localized in most intracellular compartments, except the mitochondria. Although mitochondrial integrity is crucial to ensure cellular survival, protective molecules for mitochondria have remained elusive. Here, we identified two novel mitochondrial heat-soluble proteins, RvLEAM and MAHS (Mitochondrial Abundant Heat Soluble, as potent mitochondrial protectants from Ramazzottius varieornatus. RvLEAM is a group3 LEA protein and immunohistochemistry confirmed its mitochondrial localization in tardigrade cells. MAHS-green fluorescent protein fusion protein localized in human mitochondria and was heat-soluble in vitro, though no sequence similarity with other known proteins was found, and one region was conserved among tardigrades. Furthermore, we demonstrated that RvLEAM protein as well as MAHS protein improved the hyperosmotic tolerance of human cells. The findings of the present study revealed that tardigrade mitochondria contain at least two types of heat-soluble proteins that might have protective roles in water-deficient environments.

  19. The nervous and visual systems of onychophorans and tardigrades: learning about arthropod evolution from their closest relatives. (United States)

    Martin, Christine; Gross, Vladimir; Hering, Lars; Tepper, Benjamin; Jahn, Henry; de Sena Oliveira, Ivo; Stevenson, Paul Anthony; Mayer, Georg


    Understanding the origin and evolution of arthropods requires examining their closest outgroups, the tardigrades (water bears) and onychophorans (velvet worms). Despite the rise of molecular techniques, the phylogenetic positions of tardigrades and onychophorans in the panarthropod tree (onychophorans + tardigrades + arthropods) remain unresolved. Hence, these methods alone are currently insufficient for clarifying the panarthropod topology. Therefore, the evolution of different morphological traits, such as one of the most intriguing features of panarthropods-their nervous system-becomes essential for shedding light on the origin and evolution of arthropods and their relatives within the Panarthropoda. In this review, we summarise current knowledge of the evolution of panarthropod nervous and visual systems. In particular, we focus on the evolution of segmental ganglia, the segmental identity of brain regions, and the visual system from morphological and developmental perspectives. In so doing, we address some of the many controversies surrounding these topics, such as the homology of the onychophoran eyes to those of arthropods as well as the segmentation of the tardigrade brain. Finally, we attempt to reconstruct the most likely state of these systems in the last common ancestors of arthropods and panarthropods based on what is currently known about tardigrades and onychophorans.

  20. Water bears in the Anthropocene: a comparison of urban and woodland tardigrade (Phylum Tardigrada communities in Southwestern Louisiana, USA

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    Harry A. Meyer


    Full Text Available Humans have had such a profound effect on global ecosystems, including biodiversity, that Anthropocene is being increasingly used as a chronological term to mark the period of greatest human impact. No areas show the effect of human impact on the environment more than cities, which often have novel combinations of species in unique communities. Tardigrades (Phylum Tardigrada have often been collected in cities, but studies dedicated to urban tardigrade biodiversity are few, and those comparing urban diversity with nearby rural or natural sites even fewer. In this paper we compare the diversity and abundance of tardigrade species in Lake Charles with a nearby forested nonurban site, Sam Houston Jones State Park (SHJSP. Although tardigrade density did not differ significantly between Lake Charles and SHJSP, species richness and diversity were greater in SHJSP (17 species, H1=3.01 than in Lake Charles (8 species, H1=1.30. All but one species found in Lake Charles also occurred in SHJSP. The number of species found in Lake Charles lies within the range (5-10 found in previous urban surveys. All tardigrade studies comparing urban with nearby nonurban habitats have found lower species richness in cities.

  1. Evaluation of cryoanalysis as a tool for analyzing elemental distribution in “live” tardigrades using micro-PIXE

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    Nilsson, E.J.C., E-mail: [Division of Nuclear Physics, Department of Physics, Lund University, Box 118, SE-221 00 Lund (Sweden); Pallon, J., E-mail: [Division of Nuclear Physics, Department of Physics, Lund University, Box 118, SE-221 00 Lund (Sweden); Przybylowicz, W.J., E-mail: [Materials Research Department, iThemba LABS, National Research Foundation, P.O. Box 722, Somerset West 7129 (South Africa); AGH University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Physics and Applied Computer Science, Al. A. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow (Poland); Wang, Y.D., E-mail: [Materials Research Department, iThemba LABS, National Research Foundation, P.O. Box 722, Somerset West 7129 (South Africa); Jönsson, K.I., E-mail: [School of Education and Environment, Kristianstad University, SE-291 88 Kristianstad (Sweden); Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm (Sweden)


    Although heavy on labor and equipment, thus not often applied, cryoanalysis of frozen hydrated biological specimens can provide information that better reflects the living state of the organism, compared with analysis in the freeze-dried state. In this paper we report a study where the cryoanalysis facility with cryosectioning capabilities at Materials Research Department, iThemba LABS, South Africa was employed to evaluate the usefulness of combining three ion beam analytical methods (μPIXE, RBS and STIM) to analyze a biological target where a better elemental compositional description is needed – the tardigrade. Imaging as well as quantification results are of interest. In a previous study, the element composition and redistribution of elements in the desiccated and active states of two tardigrade species was investigated. This study included analysis of both whole and sectioned tardigrades, and the aim was to analyze each specimen twice; first frozen hydrated and later freeze-dried. The combination of the three analytical techniques proved useful: elements from C to Rb in the tardigrades could be determined and certain differences in distribution of elements between the frozen hydrated and the freeze-dried states were observed. RBS on frozen hydrated specimens provided knowledge of matrix elements.

  2. Establishment of a rearing system of the extremotolerant tardigrade Ramazzottius varieornatus: a new model animal for astrobiology. (United States)

    Horikawa, Daiki D; Kunieda, Takekazu; Abe, Wataru; Watanabe, Masahiko; Nakahara, Yuichi; Yukuhiro, Fumiko; Sakashita, Tetsuya; Hamada, Nobuyuki; Wada, Seiichi; Funayama, Tomoo; Katagiri, Chihiro; Kobayashi, Yasuhiko; Higashi, Seigo; Okuda, Takashi


    Studies on the ability of multicellular organisms to tolerate specific environmental extremes are relatively rare compared to those of unicellular microorganisms in extreme environments. Tardigrades are extremotolerant animals that can enter an ametabolic dry state called anhydrobiosis and have high tolerance to a variety of extreme environmental conditions, particularly while in anhydrobiosis. Although tardigrades have been expected to be a potential model animal for astrobiological studies due to their excellent anhydrobiotic and extremotolerant abilities, few studies of tolerance with cultured tardigrades have been reported, possibly due to the absence of a model species that can be easily maintained under rearing conditions. We report the successful rearing of the herbivorous tardigrade, Ramazzottius varieornatus, by supplying the green alga Chlorella vulgaris as food. The life span was 35 +/- 16.4 d, deposited eggs required 5.7 +/- 1.1 d to hatch, and animals began to deposit eggs 9 d after hatching. The reared individuals of this species had an anhydrobiotic capacity throughout their life cycle in egg, juvenile, and adult stages. Furthermore, the reared adults in an anhydrobiotic state were tolerant of temperatures of 90 degrees C and -196 degrees C, and exposure to 99.8% acetonitrile or irradiation with 4000 Gy (4)He ions. Based on their life history traits and tolerance to extreme stresses, R. varieornatus may be a suitable model for astrobiological studies of multicellular organisms.

  3. Can the tardigrade Hypsibius dujardini survive in the absence of the geomagnetic field?

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    Weronika Erdmann

    Full Text Available Earth's geomagnetic field has undergone critical changes in the past. Studies on the influence of the magnetic field on Earth's organisms are crucial for the understanding of evolution of life on Earth and astrobiological considerations. Numerous studies conducted both on plants and animals confirmed the significant influence of the geomagnetic field on the metabolism of living organisms. Water bears (Tardigrada, which are a mong the most resistant animals due to their cryptobiotic abilities, show significant resistance to a number of environmental stressors, but the influence of the geomagnetic field on their fitness has not been addressed before. In our studies, we used eutardigrade Hypsibius dujardini to analyse whether isolation from the geomagnetic field had an effect on mortality. We found that Hypsibius dujardini specimens demonstrated relatively high mortality during anhydrobiosis, also in control groups exposed to the normal geomagnetic field. Moreover, similar mortality was observed in anhydrobiotic specimens isolated from the geomagnetic field. However, a significant difference was noted between tardigrade survival and the moment of their isolation from the geomagnetic field. In particular, tardigrade mortality substantially increased in absence of a magnetic field during the process of entering anhydrobiosis and returning to active life. Our results suggest that these processes rely on complex metabolic processes that are critically influenced by the geomagnetic field.

  4. The impact of tourists on Antarctic tardigrades: an ordination-based model

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    Sandra J. McInnes


    Full Text Available Tardigrades are important members of the Antarctic biota yet little is known about their role in the soil fauna or whether they are affected by anthropogenic factors. The German Federal Environment Agency commissioned research to assess the impact of human activities on soil meiofauna at 14 localities along the Antarctic peninsula during the 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 austral summers. We used ordination techniques to re-assess the block-sampling design used to compare areas of high and low human impact, to identify which of the sampled variables were biologically relevant and/or demonstrated an anthropogenic significance. We found the most significant differences between locations, reflecting local habitat and vegetation factor, rather than within-location anthropogenic impact. We noted no evidence of exotic imports but report on new maritime Antarctic sample sites and habitats.

  5. An evaluation of species richness estimators for tardigrades of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee and North Carolina, USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diane R. NELSON


    Full Text Available For the past 5 years we have been conducting a large-scale, multi-habitat inventory of the tardigrades in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S.A. as part of the All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI (see In terrestrial habitats, we collected moss, lichen, and soil samples from 19 permanent ATBI plots, representing all major land cover types within the park. Each ATBI plot is 100 × 100 m. In each plot, when available, 16 moss samples, 16 lichen samples, and 4 soil samples were collected in paper bags and air dried in the laboratory. Specimens were isolated with LudoxAM centrifugation, and for each sample up to 50 adults plus eggs were individually mounted on microscope slides in Hoyer's medium and identified using phase contrast and DIC microscopy. Additional collections were made in the limestone caves of the Cades Cove region of the park, bird nests, and 13 different streams. To date (1-Jun-06, 589 samples have been collected, and of these 401 have been analyzed, yielding a total of 8133 identifiable tardigrades or, in some cases, species groups. A total of 73 species have been found in the park, 14 of which we believe are new to science. Seven species richness estimators have been developed to predict total species richness (see EstimateS 7.5 software,, and these were evaluated by comparing predictions from half of our data to the actual numbers from the total database. The results of this comparison indicate that different estimators work best in different habitats. Using the best estimators in each habitat, EstimateS 7.5 indicates that a total of 96 species are likely to occur throughout the park. Thus, Great Smoky Mountains National Park tardigrade diversity represents 10% of the world's known tardigrade fauna.

  6. Doryphoribius chetumalensis sp. nov. (Eutardigrada: Isohypsibiidae) a new tardigrade species discovered in an unusual habitat of urban areas of Mexico. (United States)

    Pérez-Pech, Wilbert Andrés; Anguas-Escalante, Abril; Cutz-Pool, Leopoldo Querubin; Guidetti, Roberto


    A new species, Doryphoribius chetumalensis, is described from specimens collected in the city of Chetumal (Quintana Roo state, Mexico). The species was found in a new and unusual habitat for urban tardigrades, i.e. the soil sediment accumulated on the border of streets. This discovery shows that tardigrades can live in this habitat, demonstrating once again the wide capacity of this taxon to tolerate adverse habitats, and to survive in environments with high anthropogenic impact. Doryphoribius chetumalensis sp. nov. differs from all the other species of the genus in having enlarged and wide bulbous base of the claws. Within Doryphoribius, it belongs to the zappalai group, and differs from the species in this group, not only in the claw shape, but also by the orange body colour, the smooth cuticle, the absence of a tooth in the wall of the buccal ring, and the absence of lunules under the claws. This is the first record of tardigrades, identified to species level, in Quintana Roo state. A taxonomic key of the Doryphoribius genus is also presented.

  7. Bioinformatic prediction of arthropod/nematode-like peptides in non-arthropod, non-nematode members of the Ecdysozoa. (United States)

    Christie, Andrew E; Nolan, Daniel H; Garcia, Zachery A; McCoole, Matthew D; Harmon, Sarah M; Congdon-Jones, Benjamin; Ohno, Paul; Hartline, Niko; Congdon, Clare Bates; Baer, Kevin N; Lenz, Petra H


    The Onychophora, Priapulida and Tardigrada, along with the Arthropoda, Nematoda and several other small phyla, form the superphylum Ecdysozoa. Numerous peptidomic studies have been undertaken for both the arthropods and nematodes, resulting in the identification of many peptides from each group. In contrast, little is known about the peptides used as paracrines/hormones by species from the other ecdysozoan taxa. Here, transcriptome mining and bioinformatic peptide prediction were used to identify peptides in members of the Onychophora, Priapulida and Tardigrada, the only non-arthropod, non-nematode members of the Ecdysozoa for which there are publicly accessible expressed sequence tags (ESTs). The extant ESTs for each phylum were queried using 106 arthropod/nematode peptide precursors. Transcripts encoding calcitonin-like diuretic hormone and pigment-dispersing hormone (PDH) were identified for the onychophoran Peripatopsis sedgwicki, with transcripts encoding C-type allatostatin (C-AST) and FMRFamide-like peptide identified for the priapulid Priapulus caudatus. For the Tardigrada, transcripts encoding members of the A-type allatostatin, C-AST, insect kinin, orcokinin, PDH and tachykinin-related peptide families were identified, all but one from Hypsibius dujardini (the exception being a Milnesium tardigradum orcokinin-encoding transcript). The proteins deduced from these ESTs resulted in the prediction of 48 novel peptides, six onychophoran, eight priapulid and 34 tardigrade, which are the first described from these phyla. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  8. Comparative analysis of the tardigrade feeding apparatus: adaptive convergence and evolutionary pattern of the piercing stylet system

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto Guidetti


    Full Text Available A thorough analysis of the cuticular parts of tardigrade feeding apparatuses was performed in order to provide a more complete understanding of their evolution and their potential homologies with other animal phyla (e.g. Cycloneuralia and Arthropoda. The buccal- pharyngeal apparatuses of eight species belonging to both Eutardigrada and Heterotardigrada were studied using light and scanning electron microscopy. This study supports and completes a previous study on the relationships between form and function in the buccalpharyngeal apparatus of eutardigrades. The common sclerified structures of the tardigrade buccal-pharyngeal apparatus are: a buccal ring connected to a straight buccal tube, a buccal crown, longitudinal thickenings within the pharynx, and a stylet system composed of piercing stylets within stylet coats, and stylet supports. Specifically, heterotardigrades (Echiniscoidea have a narrow buccal tube; long piercing stylets, each with a longitudinal groove, that cross one another before exiting the mouth; pharyngeal bars and secondary longitudinal thickenings within the pharynx. In contrast, eutardigrades have stylets which are shorter than the buccal tube; Parachela have pharyngeal apophyses and placoids within the pharynx, while Apochela lack a buccal crown and cuticular thickenings within the pharynx, the buccal tube is very wide, and the short stylets are associated with triangular-shaped stylet supports. In both classes, when the piercing stylet tips emerge from the mouth to pierce food, the buccal tube opening is almost completely obstructed, which may hinder food uptake. In heterotardigrades, the crossing of the piercing stylets may further decrease food uptake, however this disadvantage may have been reduced in echiniscids by the evolution of a long buccal tube and long stylets able to run more parallel to the buccal tube. In contrast, eutardigrades evolved different strategies. In the order Apochela and in several

  9. Effect of very high pressure on life of plants and animals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ono, F; Mori, Y; Sougawa, M; Takarabe, K; Hada, Y; Nishihira, N; Motose, H; Saigusa, M; Matsushima, Y; Yamazaki, D; Ito, E; Saini, N L


    We studied the tolerance of living organisms, such as a small animal (Milnesium tardigradum), a small crustacean (Artemia), non-vascular plants or moss (Ptichomitrium and Venturiella), and a vascular plant (Trifolium) to the extremely high hydrostatic pressure of 7.5 GPa. It turned out that most of the high pressure exposed seeds of white clover were alive. Those exposed to 7.5 GPa for up to 1 day and seeded on agar germinated roots. Those exposed for up to 1 hour and seeded on soil germinated stems and leaves. Considering the fact that proteins begins to unfold around 0.3 GPa, it seems difficult to understand that all the living samples which have been investigated can survive after exposure to 7.5 GPa.

  10. Dactylobiotus luci , a new freshwater tardigrade (Eutardigrada ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    A new freshwater eutardigrade, Dactylobiotus luci sp. nov., is described from a permanent marsh pool (Zaphania's Pool) at 4225 m elevation in the Alpine zone of the Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda. The new species is most similar to D. dervizi Biserov, 1998 in the shape of the egg processes, absence of papillae and ...

  11. Myoanatomy of the marine tardigrade Halobiotus crispae (Eutardigrada: Hypsibiidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Persson, Dennis; Møbjerg, Nadja


    and arrangement of muscles differ in each leg. Noticeably, the fourth leg contains much fewer muscles when compared with the other legs. Buccopharyngeal musculature (myoepithelial muscles), intestinal musculature, and cloacal musculature comprise the animal's visceral musculature. TEM of stylet and leg...

  12. Characterization of cyclomorphic stages in the marine tardigrade Halobiotus crispae

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Mortensen, Hans Ramløv; Westh, Peter


    and pseudosimplex 1 (P1) stage. The active stage tolerates large shifts in external salinity. Total body volume of single specimens (350-500 µm) was estimated from microscopical images following salinity transfers from 20 ppt (control) to 2 ppt, 10 ppt and 40 ppt. Our results show that animals in this stage...... experience large changes in total body volume, yet exhibit a regulatory volume decrease/increase over a 48 h period. Hemolymph osmolality was measured by melting point depression in a nanoliter osmometer. In animals kept at 20 ppt the hemolymph osmotic pressure was 926 ± 29 mOsm/kg (n = 6). This value...... changed to 330 ± 50 mOsm/kg (n = 6), 584 ± 68 mOsm/kg (n = 6) and 1297 ± 32 mOsm/kg (n = 6) during exposure to 2 ppt, 10 ppt and 40 ppt respectively. At any given external salinity the active stage hyper-regulates, indicating the excretion of dilute urine. Animals in the P1 stage are freeze tolerant...

  13. Distribution and diversity of Tardigrada along altitudinal gradients in the Hornsund, Spitsbergen (Arctic

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Krzysztof Zawierucha


    Full Text Available Two transects were established and sampled along altitudinal gradients on the slopes of Ariekammen (77°01′N; 15°31′E and Rotjesfjellet (77°00′N; 15°22′E in Hornsund, Spitsbergen. In total 59 moss, lichen, liverwort and mixed moss–lichen samples were collected and 33 tardigrade species of Hetero- and Eutardigrada were found. The α diversity ranged from 1 to 8 per sample; the estimated number of species based on all analysed samples was 52±17 for the Chao 2 estimator and 41 for the incidence-based coverage estimator. According to the results of detrended canonical correspondence analysis, altitude and type of substratum were the most important factors influencing tardigrade communities in the investigated area. Macrobiotus crenulatus, M. hufelandi hufelandi and Hypsibius pallidus dominated in the lower elevations, whereas Echiniscus wendti and E. merokensis merokensis prevailed in samples from higher plots. Macrobiotus islandicus islandicus was collected most often from mosses collected from rock whereas Isohypsibius coulsoni from mosses collected from soil. Analyses of covariance were employed to test for differences in species richness between the transects in relation to altitude. Contrary to expectations, there were significant differences in species richness between the transects, but richness was not significantly related to altitude. Interestingly, significant effects of colonies of seabirds, little auk (Alle alle, on the tardigrades communities were detected. Additionally, in one of the samples first ever males of Milnesium asiaticum were found. Their measurements and microphotographs are provided herein.

  14. Dissolved Gases and Ice Fracturing During the Freezing of a Multicellular Organism: Lessons from Tardigrades

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kletetschka, Günther; Hrubá, J.


    Roč. 4, č. 1 (2015), s. 209-216 ISSN 2164-7860 Institutional support: RVO:67985831 Keywords : cryopreservation * cryptobiosis * DNA damage * extracellular damage * survival Subject RIV: BI - Acoustics

  15. Neuroanatomy of Tardigrada

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Persson, Dennis Krog

    The organization of the tardigrade nervous system is important for inference of phylogenetic relationships; however, there is some uncertainties regarding the structure and even existence of certain nervous structures. Therefore, a detailed description of the tardigrade neuroanatomy, and especially...

  16. Macrobiotus polypiformis sp nov., a new tardigrade (Macrobiotidae, hufelandi group) from the Ecuadorian Pacific coast, with remarks on the claw abnormalities in eutardigrades

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Roszkowska, M.; Ostrowska, M.; Stec, D.; Janko, Karel; Kaczmarek, Ł.


    Roč. 327, č. 1 (2017), s. 1-19 ISSN 2118-9773 R&D Projects: GA MŠk EF15_003/0000460 Institutional support: RVO:67985904 Keywords : new species * morphological abnormalities * South America Subject RIV: EG - Zoology OBOR OECD: Zoology Impact factor: 0.649, year: 2016

  17. Macrobiotus polypiformis sp. nov., a new tardigrade (Macrobiotidae; hufelandi group from the Ecuadorian Pacific coast, with remarks on the claw abnormalities in eutardigrades

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Milena Roszkowska


    Full Text Available From a moss sample collected in the Manabí Province in Ecuador, we extracted 96 specimens of a new species of eutardigrade. No eggs were found. In order to obtain eggs, an in vitro culture was prepared. In total, 136 specimens (including ten simplex, one exuvia and 44 eggs (including two with embryos of the new species were obtained. In addition to the traditional taxonomic description with morphometrics, light and scanning microscopy imaging, we also provide nucleotide sequences of three nuclear (18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, ITS-2 and one mitochondrial (COI DNA fragments of the new species. Macrobiotus polypiformis sp. nov. belongs to the hufelandi group and is most similar to Ma. paulinae Stec, Smolak, Kaczmarek & Michalczyk, 2015, but differs from it mainly by the lack of dorso-lateral patches of granulation on the cuticle, egg processes with longer and more numerous filaments and in some morphometric characters of both eggs and adults. Moreover, we provide a short discussion on the modifications/abnormalities of the claws in eutardigrades and the possible consequences on the taxonomic status of Mesobiotus armatus (Pilato & Binda, 1996, suggesting its consideration as species inquirenda (with uncertain taxonomic status.

  18. Description of Megastygarctides sezginii sp nov (Tardigrada: Arthrotardigrada: Stygarctidae) from the Turkish Black Sea coast and a key to the genus Megastygarctides

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Ürkmez, D.; Ostrowska, M.; Roszkowska, M.; Gawlak, M.; Zawierucha, Krzystof; Kristensen, R. M.; Kaczmarek, Ł.


    Roč. 14, č. 1 (2018), s. 1-16 ISSN 1745- 1000 Institutional support: RVO:67985904 Keywords : Europe * heterotardigrada * marine tardigrades Subject RIV: EG - Zoology Impact factor: 1.161, year: 2016

  19. Ecobiological studies of the freshwater lakes at Schirmacher Oasis, Antarctica

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Verlecar, X.N.; Dhargalkar, V.K.; Matondkar, S.G.P.

    , Turbillaria, Tardigrades and Rotifers were dominant faunal groups. Bacteria and yeasts were predominant in soils and lake sediments. Detritus and associated bacteria form an important source of food for the opportunistic feeders such as metazoans. Long term...

  20. Current Understanding of Ecdysozoa and its Internal Phylogenetic Relationships


    Giribet, Gonzalo; Edgecombe, Gregory Donald


    Twenty years after its proposal, the monophyly of molting protostomes—Ecdysozoa—is a well-corroborated hypothesis, but the interrelationships of its major subclades are more ambiguous than is commonly appreciated. Morphological and molecular support for arthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades as a clade (Panarthropoda) continues to be challenged by a grouping of tardigrades with Nematoida in some molecular analyses, although onychophorans are consistently recovered as the sister group of a...

  1. Limno-terrestrial Tardigrada of the Nearctic Realm

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Juliana G. HINTON


    Full Text Available We examined all available records of limno-terrestrial tardigrade distribution in the Nearctic realm (Greenland, Canada, Alaska, the continental United States of America, and northern Mexico, both to compare this fauna with other realms and to investigate distribution within North America. We included only those records in which tardigrades had been identified to species. Of 204 Nearctic limno-terrestrial tardigrade species, 38 were cosmopolitan, while 55 were unique to the Nearctic realm. The Nearctic tardigrade fauna is most similar to the Palearctic, with 135 species in common, 39 of which have not been reported elsewhere. The Nearctic realm shares 82 species with the Neotropical realm, only 10 which are not also Palearctic. These data are consistent with the geological history of the three realms, and indicate a distinction between Laurasian and Gondwanan tardigrade faunas. Although little is known about limno-terrestrial tardigrade distribution in much of North America, there are several excellent regional or local surveys. Many species are distributed widely throughout the continent, but 30.0% of Nearctic species have been reported from a single site. Cluster analysis of the fauna of 11 Nearctic regions shows that the Arctic and sub-Arctic fauna constitute a regional fauna distinct from the rest of the continent. Ecological analysis is hampered by inconsistent reporting of tardigrade substrate, though available data suggest little substrate specificity in terrestrial tardigrades. Most species are found in both mosses and lichens. Many are also present in soil and leaf litter, but few are found only in these substrates.

  2. Tolerance to gamma radiation in the marine heterotardigrade, Echiniscoides sigismundi

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jönsson, K. Ingemar; Hygum, Thomas Lunde; Andersen, Kasper Nørgaard


    Tardigrades belong to the most radiation tolerant animals on Earth, as documented by a number of studies using both low-LET and high-LET ionizing radiation. Previous studies have focused on semi-terrestrial species, which are also very tolerant to desiccation. The predominant view on the reason...... for the high radiation tolerance among these semi-terrestrial species is that it relies on molecular mechanisms that evolved as adaptations for surviving dehydration. In this study we report the first study on radiation tolerance in a marine tardigrade, Echiniscoides sigismundi. Adult specimens in the hydrated...... that have high tolerance to both desiccation and radiation, supporting the hypothesis that radiation tolerance is a by-product of adaptive mechanisms to survive desiccation. More studies on radiation tolerance in tardigrade species adapted to permanently wet conditions, both marine and freshwater...

  3. Osmoregulation with Focus on Fluid and Solute Dynamics in Tardigradia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin

    surfaces. The distinct mechanisms of solute transport have been studied in most animal groups, but there are still large gaps in our understanding of how animals cope with osmotic stress. In the present thesis, osmoregulatory phenomena were studied in vertebrate and invertebrate organism alike...... animal groups. Moreover, it was inferred that cryptobiotic tardigrades (species able to enter a state of latent life) contain a large fraction of organic osmolytes. The mechanisms of organic anion transport in a marine species of tardigrade was investigated pharmacologically, and compared...... to that of insects. These data showed that organic anion transport is localized to the midgut epithelium and that the transport is both active and transporter mediated with a pharmacological profile similar to that of insects. Tardigrades survive in a variety of osmotic environments (semi-terrestrial, limnic...

  4. Tardigrada of Ireland: a review of records and an updated checklist of species including a new addition to the Irish fauna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Erica DeMilio


    Full Text Available The phylum Tardigrada was not recorded in Ireland until the Clare Island Survey of 1909–1911, with only rare subsequent reports on Irish tardigrade species. In recent decades, significant taxonomic revision has occurred within Tardigrada. This has resulted in the need for a review of all known historical records from Ireland and Northern Ireland in order to produce an updated checklist of valid taxa. The new checklist includes fifty-one tardigrade species and subspecies including a new addition to the Irish fauna reported herein, Echiniscus quadrispinosus quadrispinosus Richters, 1902 from Newtown, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare.

  5. The phylogeny of Arthrotardigrada

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Jesper Guldberg


    The order Arthrotardigrada, or water bears, constitutes a small group of 160 species of marine, microscopical invertebrates, within the phylum Tardigrada. Although the position of tardigrades in the Animal Kingdom has received much attention focusing on the metazoan phylogeny, the phylogenetic...

  6. Tardigrada and Rotifera from moss microhabitats on a disappearing Ugandan glacier, with the description of a new species of water bear. (United States)

    Zawierucha, Krzysztof; GĄsiorek, Piotr; Buda, Jakub; Uetake, Jun; Janko, Karel; Fontaneto, Diego


    Glaciers and ice sheets are a peculiar biome with characteristic abiotic and biotic components. Mountain glaciers are predicted to decrease their volume and even to melt away within a few decades. Despite the threat of a disappearing biome, the diversity and the role of microscopic animals as consumers at higher trophic levels in the glacial biome still remain largely unknown. In this study, we report data on tardigrades and rotifers found in glacial mosses on Mount Stanley, Uganda, and describe a new tardigrade species. Adropion afroglacialis sp. nov. differs from the most similar species by having granulation on the cuticle, absence of cuticular bars under the claws, and a different macroplacoid length sequence. We also provide a morphological diagnosis for another unknown tardigrade species of the genus Hypsibius. The rotifers belonged to the families Philodinidae and Habrotrochidae. In addition, we discuss the diversity of microinvertebrates and potential role of tardigrades and rotifers on mountain glaciers as top consumers. As for any organism living apparently exclusively in glacial habitats on tropical glaciers, their extinction in the near future is inevitable, possibly before we can even discover their existence.

  7. Inorganic ion composition in Tardigrada

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Larsen, Kristine Wulff; Jørgensen, Aslak


    are indicative of a powerful ion-retentive mechanism in Tardigrada. Moreover, our data indicate that cryptobiotic tardigrades contain a large fraction of unidentified organic osmolytes, the identification of which is expected to provide increased insight into the phenomenon of cryptobiosis....

  8. Zoology: The Walking Heads. (United States)

    Maderspacher, Florian


    An analysis of Hox genes reveals that the body of the adorably weird tardigrades is essentially a truncated front end. This illustrates that loss and simplification are a hallmark of the evolution of animal body plans. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. Experimentally Induced Repeated Anhydrobiosis in the Eutardigrade Richtersius coronifer

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Czerneková, Michaela; Jönsson, K. I.


    Roč. 11, č. 11 (2016), č. článku e0164062. E-ISSN 1932-6203 Institutional support: RVO:67985823 Keywords : storage-cells * tardigrades * cryptobiosis * tolerance * survival * life * macrobiotidae * evolution Subject RIV: ED - Physiology Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  10. Surface enhanced raman scattering on tardigrada - Towards monitoring and imaging molecular structures in live cryptobiotic organisms

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kneipp, Harald; Møbjerg, Nadja; Jørgensen, Aslak


    Tardigrades are microscopic metazoans which are able to survive extreme physical and chemical conditions by entering a stress tolerant state called cryptobiosis. At present, the molecular mechanisms behind cryptobiosis are still poorly understood. We show that surface enhanced Raman scattering su...

  11. Anhydrobiosis

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    tists, mosses, lichens, nematodes, rotifers, tardigrades, insects, ... aquaculture because the larvae (called nauplii) that hatch from the cysts ... Surprisingly, microgravity and cosmic radiation had no significant effect on their survival rates during space travel. ... habitat) for the organism to transform successfully into a totally.

  12. Freshwater invertebrates of sub-Antarctic Marion Island | Dartnall ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The aquatic species include five platyhelminthes, a gastrotrich, three tardigrades, 28 rotifers, six nematodes, two annelids and 11 arthropods. Most are familiar species that have been recorded on other sub-Antarctic islands. The invertebrate faunas of the various freshwater habitats were basically similar in species ...

  13. Neuroanatomy of Halobiotus crispae (Eutardigrada: Hypsibiidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Persson, Dennis Krog; Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Jørgensen, Aslak


    The position of Tardigrada in the animal tree of life is a subject that has received much attention, but still remains controversial. Whereas some think tardigrades should be categorized as cycloneuralians, most authors argue in favor of a phylogenetic position within Panarthropoda as a sister gr...

  14. Ultrastructural studies on spermiogenesis and postcopulatory modifications of spermatozoa of Actinarctus doryphorus Schulz, 1935 (Arthrotardigrada: Halechiniscidae)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Aslak; Møbjerg, Nadja; Kristensen, Reinhardt Møbjerg


    . The spermiogenesis is very unique for a tardigrade, as the early spermatids are attached to giant nurse cells through cytoplasmatic bridges formed close to the spermatid nucleus. The nurse cell is characterized by a conspicuous labyrinth of rough endoplasmatic reticulum. In the posterior part of the testis...

  15. The structure of the desiccated Richtersius coronifer (Richters, 1903)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Czerneková, Michaela; Jönsson, K. I.; Chajec, Ł.; Student, S.; Poprawa, I.


    Roč. 254, č. 3 (2017), s. 1367-1377 ISSN 0033-183X Institutional support: RVO:67985823 Keywords : anhydrobiosis * cryptobiosis * tardigrades * tun * ultrastructure Subject RIV: ED - Physiology OBOR OECD: Cell biology Impact factor: 2.870, year: 2016

  16. The diversity of Indian Ocean Heterotardigrada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto SANDULLI


    Full Text Available Information about Indian Ocean tardigrades is quite scarce and in most cases refers to species in coastal coralline sediment and occasionally in abyssal mud. The present data concern species found in the intertidal sand of Coco and La Digue Islands in the Seychelles, previously unsampled for tardigrades, as well as species in subtidal sediment found at depths ranging between 1 and 60 m off the shores of the Maldive Atolls. These sediments are all very similar and consist of heterogeneous coralline sand, moderately or scarcely sorted. Sixteen species (three new to science were found in the Seychelles, belonging to Renaudarctidae, Stygarctidae, Halechiniscidae, Batillipedidae and Echiniscoididae. Diversity and evenness data are also interesting, with maximum values of H' = 2.59 and of J = 0.97. In the Maldives 25 species were found (two new to science belonging to Neostygarctidae, Stygarctidae, Halechiniscidae and Batillipedidae. Such a number of species, despite the low percentage of tardigrade fauna (only 0.6% of the total meiofauna, contributes to the high values of both diversity and evenness, with H' ranging between 1.5 and 2.6 and J between 0.6 and 1. The Indian Ocean tardigrade fauna currently numbers 31 species of Arthrotardigrada and 2 species of Echiniscoidida. In the present study, Arthrotardigrada are the most abundant and all the families are present except Neoarctidae. Halechiniscidae is present with all the sub-families (except Euclavartinae, thus contributing to the high diversity values. Furthermore, 18 species, representing more than 50% of the total marine tardigrade fauna, are new records for the Indian Ocean, including five species new to science.

  17. Area, depth and elevation of cryoconite holes in the Arctic do not influence Tardigrada densities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zawierucha Krzysztof


    Full Text Available Water bears (Tardigrada are known as one of the most extremophile animals in the world. They inhabit environments from the deepest parts of the oceans up to the highest mountains. One of the most extreme and still poorly studied habitats which tardigrades inhabit are cryoconite holes. We analysed the relation between area, depth, elevation and tardigrades densities in cryoconite holes on four glaciers on Spitsbergen. The mean (±SD of cryoconite area was 1287.21±2400.8 cm2, while the depth was on average 10.8±11.2 cm, the elevation 172.6±109.66 m a.s.l., and tardigrade density 24.9±33.0 individuals per gram of wet material (n = 38. The densities of tardigrades on Hans Glacier reached values of up to 168 ind. cm3, 104 ind. g−1 wet weight, and 275 ind. g−1 dry weight. The densities of tardigrades of the three glaciers in Billefjorden were up to 82 ind. cm2, 326 ind. g−1 wet weight and 624 ind. g−1 dry weight. Surprisingly, although the model included area, depth and elevation as independent variables, it cannot explain Tardigrada density in cryoconite holes. We propose that due to the rapid melting of the glacier surface in the Arctic, the constant flushing of cryoconite sediments, and inter-hole water-sediment mixing, the functioning of these ecosystems is disrupted. We conclude that cryoconite holes are dynamic ecosystems for microinvertebrates in the Arctic.

  18. New records of Mexican Tardigrada Nuevos registros de Tardigrada mexicanos

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Łukasz Kaczmarek


    Full Text Available In 9 moss samples collected from Mexico, 6 tardigrade species, including 4 new records for the country, were found. The new records raise the number of known Mexican water bear species to forty-one. We provide a full list of the known Mexican tardigrade species and discuss some biogeographical and taxonomic issues.En 9 muestras de musgo recolectadas en México, se encontraron 6 especies de tardígrados, incluyendo 4 nuevos registros para el país. Los nuevos registros incrementaron a 41 el número de especies de tardígrados mexicanos conocidos. Se proporciona una lista completa de tardígrados mexicanos conocidos y se discuten algunas cuestiones biogeográficas y taxonómicas.

  19. An attempt to revisit the global biogeography of limno-terrestrial Tardigrada

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Philip J.A. PUGH


    Full Text Available The major increase in distribution records of limno-terrestrial tardigrades over the last ten years has enabled us to reassess the global biogeography of the Tardigrada using cluster analysis, principal components analysis and parsimony analysis of endemism (PAE. Although the new clustergram topology shows a close correlation with those we originally presented in 1998, the PAE outputs warrant a radical reinterpretation of the results as they imply that the Laurasian fauna is derived and the Gondwanan groups basal. The distribution of endemic tardigrade genera and families provides some support for this argument though the findings should be viewed with some caution as PAE has its detractors and has not been previously applied on a 'global' scale.

  20. Notes on the cryptobiotic capability of the marine arthrotardigrades Styraconyx haploceros (Halechiniscidae) and Batillipes pennaki (Batillipedidae) from the tidal zone in Roscoff, France

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jørgensen, Aslak; Møbjerg, Nadja


    AbstractTardigrades are well known for their ability to survive extreme conditions such as desiccation and freezing by entering cryptobiosis, a state in which metabolism becomes immeasurable. Within tardigrades, cryptobiosis has been investigated almost entirely in eutardigrades and echiniscoideans...... that S. haploceros, which live on the lichen Lichina, is able to withstand complete desiccation. Upon exposure to high salinities, this species enters a tun state, characterized by a longitudinal contraction of the body and a withdrawal of head and limbs. Furthermore, it can withstand very low salinities...... and distilled water for extended periods. Batillipes pennaki, which lives in sandy sediments, is vulnerable to both desiccation and distilled water, and can only survive extreme conditions for brief periods of time....

  1. Detection of cell proliferation in adults of the water bear Hypsibius dujardini (Tardigrada) via incorporation of a thymidine analog. (United States)

    Gross, V; Bährle, R; Mayer, G


    The taxon Tardigrada, commonly called "water bears", consists of microscopic, eight-legged invertebrates that are well known for their ability to tolerate extreme environmental conditions. Their miniscule body size means that tardigrades possess a small total number of cells, the number and arrangement of which may be highly conserved in some organs. Although mitoses have been observed in several organs, the rate and pattern of cell divisions in adult tardigrades has never been characterized. In this study, we incubated live tardigrades over a period of several days with a thymidine analog in order to visualize all cells that had divided during this time. We focus on the midgut, the largest part of the digestive system. Our results show that new cells in the midgut arise from the anterior and posterior ends of this organ and either migrate or divide toward its middle. These cells divide at a constant rate and all cells of the midgut epithelium are replaced in approximately one week. On the other hand, we found no cell divisions in the nervous system or any other major organs, suggesting that the cell turnover of these organs may be extremely slow or dependent on changing environmental conditions. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Current knowledge of the Tardigrada of Svalbard with the first records of water bears from Nordaustlandet (High Arctic

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    Krzysztof Zawierucha


    Full Text Available The first investigations of the tardigrades of Svalbard took place in the early 20th century and 30 papers on the subject have been published to date. In this article, we summarize available information on the distribution of tardigrades in this Arctic archipelago with remarks on the dubious species and records. Additionally, we examined 28 new moss, lichen and soil samples collected from the islands of Nordaustlandet, Edgeøya and Prins Karls Forland. These samples yielded 324 specimens, 15 exuvia and 132 free-laid eggs belonging to 16 limnoterrestrial species (Heterotardigrada and Eutardigrada. These include five first records of water bears from Nordaustlandet, eight new records for Edgeøya and four for Prince Karls Forland. The most dense population of tardigrades was found in a sample with 253 specimens/10 g of dry material and the least dense population in a sample with three specimens/10 g of dry material. The most frequently recorded species in samples collected in this study were Testechiniscus spitsbergensis Scourfield, 1897, Macrobiotus harmsworthi harmsworthi Murray, 1907, and M. islandicus islandicus Richters, 1904. This article also provides the first ever scanning electron microscope photomicrographs of Tenuibiotus voronkovi Tumanov, 2007.

  3. Evaluación de la diversidad en comunidades de tardígrados (Ecdysozoa: Tardigrada en hábitats urbano y rural de la ciudad de Salta (Argentina

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea González-Reyes

    Full Text Available RESÚMEN Este trabajo se realizó bajo la hipótesis de que existe una pérdida creciente de diversidad en las comunidades de tardígrados, desde las áreas rurales hacia las urbanas, incrementando la homogenización de sus comunidades producto de la urbanización. Para la ciudad de Salta, se tomaron muestras en áreas con tránsito vehicular alto y muestras en áreas rurales circundantes. Se identificaron en total ocho especies/morfoespecies. El inventario tuvo una completitud mayor al 94%. La comunidad rural fue más diversa y estructuralmente más uniforme que la comunidad urbana. Macrobiotus hufelandi Schultze, 1834 resultó especie indicadora y Milnesium sp. como detectora para el hábitat urbano, mientras que Paramacrobiotus areolatus Murray, 1907 resultó indicadora para el hábitat rural.

  4. The past, the present and the future of eutardigrade taxonomy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Giovanni Pilato


    Full Text Available The Author first recalls the past of eutardigrade taxonomy and indicates the main factors that for a long time restrained its progress. One consequence of a superficial analysis is that very wide individual variability has been erroneously attributed to many species, and this has become the main problem for tardigrade taxonomists. The situation began to change after 1969 because of the first attempts to eliminate the above mentioned problems. Novelties gave impetus to the revision of tardigrade taxonomy, and genuine systematics, finally based on phylogenetics, became popular. Today the morphological characters are considered more in depth and studies utilising DNA sequences are more in fashion; they are surely useful and allow the distinction of morphologically very similar species. However, in the author’s opinion, this progress will be possible only if the molecular studies are always associated with careful morphological studies, which, in the meantime, will be more and more detailed also thanks to the use of the Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM.

  5. A transcriptome approach to ecdysozoan phylogeny. (United States)

    Borner, Janus; Rehm, Peter; Schill, Ralph O; Ebersberger, Ingo; Burmester, Thorsten


    The monophyly of Ecdysozoa, which comprise molting phyla, has received strong support from several lines of evidence. However, the internal relationships of Ecdysozoa are still contended. We generated expressed sequence tags from a priapulid (penis worm), a kinorhynch (mud dragon), a tardigrade (water bear) and five chelicerate taxa by 454 transcriptome sequencing. A multigene alignment was assembled from 63 taxa, which comprised after matrix optimization 24,249 amino acid positions with high data density (2.6% gaps, 19.1% missing data). Phylogenetic analyses employing various models support the monophyly of Ecdysozoa. A clade combining Priapulida and Kinorhyncha (i.e. Scalidophora) was recovered as the earliest branch among Ecdysozoa. We conclude that Cycloneuralia, a taxon erected to combine Priapulida, Kinorhyncha and Nematoda (and others), are paraphyletic. Rather Arthropoda (including Onychophora) are allied with Nematoda and Tardigrada. Within Arthropoda, we found strong support for most clades, including monophyletic Mandibulata and Pancrustacea. The phylogeny within the Euchelicerata remained largely unresolved. There is conflicting evidence on the position of tardigrades: While Bayesian and maximum likelihood analyses of only slowly evolving genes recovered Tardigrada as a sister group to Arthropoda, analyses of the full data set, and of subsets containing genes evolving at fast and intermediate rates identified a clade of Tardigrada and Nematoda. Notably, the latter topology is also supported by the analyses of indel patterns. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. First molecular data on the phylum Loricifera: an investigation into the phylogeny of ecdysozoa with emphasis on the positions of Loricifera and Priapulida. (United States)

    Park, Joong-Ki; Rho, Hyun Soo; Kristensen, Reinhardt Møbjerg; Kim, Won; Giribet, Gonzalo


    Recent progress in molecular techniques has generated a wealth of information for phylogenetic analysis. Among metazoans all but a single phylum have been incorporated into some sort of molecular analysis. However, the minute and rare species of the phylum Loricifera have remained elusive to molecular systematists. Here we report the first molecular sequence data (nearly complete 18S rRNA) for a member of the phylum Loricifera, Pliciloricus sp. from Korea. The new sequence data were analyzed together with 52 other ecdysozoan sequences, with all other phyla represented by three or more sequences. The data set was analyzed using parsimony as an optimality criterion under direct optimization as well as using a Bayesian approach. The parsimony analysis was also accompanied by a sensitivity analysis. The results of both analyses are largely congruent, finding monophyly of each ecdysozoan phylum, except for Priapulida, in which the coelomate Meiopriapulus is separate from a clade of pseudocoelomate priapulids. The data also suggest a relationship of the pseudocoelomate priapulids to kinorhynchs, and a relationship of nematodes to tardigrades. The Bayesian analysis placed the arthropods as the sister group to a clade that includes tardigrades and nematodes. However, these results were shown to be parameter dependent in the sensitivity analysis. The position of Loricifera was extremely unstable to parameter variation, and support for a relationship of loriciferans to any particular ecdysozoan phylum was not found in the data.

  7. Current Understanding of Ecdysozoa and its Internal Phylogenetic Relationships. (United States)

    Giribet, Gonzalo; Edgecombe, Gregory D


    Twenty years after its proposal, the monophyly of molting protostomes-Ecdysozoa-is a well-corroborated hypothesis, but the interrelationships of its major subclades are more ambiguous than is commonly appreciated. Morphological and molecular support for arthropods, onychophorans and tardigrades as a clade (Panarthropoda) continues to be challenged by a grouping of tardigrades with Nematoida in some molecular analyses, although onychophorans are consistently recovered as the sister group of arthropods. The status of Cycloneuralia and Scalidophora, each proposed by morphologists in the 1990s and widely employed in textbooks, is in flux: Cycloneuralia is typically non-monophyletic in molecular analyses, and Scalidophora is either contradicted or incompletely tested because of limited genomic and transcriptomic data for Loricifera, Kinorhyncha, and Priapulida. However, novel genomic data across Ecdysozoa should soon be available to tackle these difficult phylogenetic questions. The Cambrian fossil record indicates crown-group members of various ecdysozoan phyla as well as stem-group taxa that assist with reconstructing the most recent common ancestor of panarthropods and cycloneuralians. © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions please email:

  8. Effects of sewage sludge addition to Norway spruce seedlings on nitrogen availability and soil fauna in clear-cut areas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nieminen, Jouni K.; Räisänen, Mikko


    Anaerobically digested and composted sewage sludge (CSS) has been suggested to be a slow-release fertilizer in forestry and an alternative to quick-release inorganic fertilizers. The effects of CSS with or without added carbohydrate on inorganic nitrogen availability and on soil animals were tested in two Norway spruce plantations. Half of the seedlings were individually fertilized with CSS, and the rest were left as controls. Solid sucrose was added to half of the fertilized and untreated seedlings. Soil samples were taken in the autumn in the first and the second year after the treatments. CSS increased soil NH 4 –N (2100%), the proportion of soil NO 3 –N, and the N concentration of spruce needles. CSS greatly reduced the abundances of enchytraeids, tardigrades and collembolans, but increased the proportion and abundance of bacterial-feeding nematodes irrespective of carbohydrate addition. A better stabilization method needs to be developed before CSS can be used as a forest fertilizer. -- Highlights: •Spruces were fertilized with anaerobically digested and composted sewage sludge (CSS). •CSS increased soil N, proportion of NO 3 –N, and N concentration of spruce needles. •CSS reduced the abundances of enchytraeids, tardigrades and collembolans. •CSS increased the proportion and abundance of bacterial-feeding nematodes. •Sucrose did not reduce N pools or counteract negative CSS effects on soil animals. -- Composting and carbohydrate addition do not mitigate the harmful effects of anaerobically digested sewage sludge in boreal forest soil

  9. The evolution of the Ecdysozoa. (United States)

    Telford, Maximilian J; Bourlat, Sarah J; Economou, Andrew; Papillon, Daniel; Rota-Stabelli, Omar


    Ecdysozoa is a clade composed of eight phyla: the arthropods, tardigrades and onychophorans that share segmentation and appendages and the nematodes, nematomorphs, priapulids, kinorhynchs and loriciferans, which are worms with an anterior proboscis or introvert. Ecdysozoa contains the vast majority of animal species and there is a great diversity of body plans among both living and fossil members. The monophyly of the clade has been called into question by some workers based on analyses of whole genome datasets. We review the evidence that now conclusively supports the unique origin of these phyla. Relationships within Ecdysozoa are also controversial and we discuss the molecular and morphological evidence for a number of monophyletic groups within this superphylum.

  10. Tolerance of budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to ultra high pressure (United States)

    Shibata, M.; Torigoe, M.; Matsumoto, Y.; Yamamoto, M.; Takizawa, N.; Hada, Y.; Mori, Y.; Takarabe, K.; Ono, F.


    Our studies on the tolerance of plants and animals against very high pressure of several GPa have been extended to a smaller sized fungus, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Several pieces of budding yeast (dry yeast) were sealed in a small teflon capsule with a liquid pressure medium fluorinate, and exposed to 7.5 GPa by using a cubic anvil press. The pressure was kept constant for various duration of time from 2 to 24 h. After the pressure was released, the specimens were brought out from the teflon capsule, and they were cultivated on a potato dextrose agar. It was found that the budding yeast exposed to 7.5 GPa for up to 6 h showed multiplication. However, those exposed to 7.5 GPa for longer than 12 h were found dead. The high pressure tolerance of budding yeast is a little weaker than that of tardigrades.

  11. Cyclomorphosis in Tardigrada: adaptation to environmental constraints

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Halberg, Kenneth Agerlin; Persson, Dennis; Ramløv, Hans


    Tardigrades exhibit a remarkable resilience against environmental extremes. In the present study, we investigate mechanisms of survival and physiological adaptations associated with sub-zero temperatures and severe osmotic stress in two commonly found cyclomorphic stages of the marine eutardigrade...... supercooling in both stages, while excluding the presence of physiologically relevant ice-nucleating agents. Experiments on osmotic stress tolerance show that the active stage tolerates the largest range of salinities. Changes in body volume and hemolymph osmolality of active-stage specimens (350-500 microm...... in hemolymph osmolality. At any investigated external salinity, active-stage H. crispae hyper-regulate, indicating a high water turnover and excretion of dilute urine. This is likely a general feature of eutardigrades....

  12. Zur Biologie des marinen Heterotardigraden Tetrakentron synaptae (United States)

    Kristensen, R. M.


    The life cycle of Tetrakentron synaptae Cuénot, 1892, a tardigrade closely associated with the sea cucumber Leptosynapta galliennei Herapath, was investigated in the littoral zone at Roscoff (France). Eggs and juveniles were found only in June and July, adults only from May to October. There are vagile males and stationary dwarf males. The dorsoventrally flattened body, an enlarged slimy epicuticle in females and dwarf males, the full set of claws also in juveniles, and the anus, which is in a dorsocaudal position, are indicative for an epizoic, sessile life. There is strong evidence that T. synaptae punctures the cells of L. galliennei and sucks out their content, which is indicative of parasitism.

  13. Evolution of pigment-dispersing factor neuropeptides in Panarthropoda: Insights from Onychophora (velvet worms) and Tardigrada (water bears). (United States)

    Mayer, Georg; Hering, Lars; Stosch, Juliane M; Stevenson, Paul A; Dircksen, Heinrich


    Pigment-dispersing factor (PDF) denotes a conserved family of homologous neuropeptides present in several invertebrate groups, including mollusks, nematodes, insects, and crustaceans (referred to here as pigment-dispersing hormone [PDH]). With regard to their encoding genes (pdf, pdh), insects possess only one, nematodes two, and decapod crustaceans up to three, but their phylogenetic relationship is unknown. To shed light on the origin and diversification of pdf/pdh homologs in Panarthropoda (Onychophora + Tardigrada + Arthropoda) and other molting animals (Ecdysozoa), we analyzed the transcriptomes of five distantly related onychophorans and a representative tardigrade and searched for putative pdf homologs in publically available genomes of other protostomes. This revealed only one pdf homolog in several mollusk and annelid species; two in Onychophora, Priapulida, and Nematoda; and three in Tardigrada. Phylogenetic analyses suggest that the last common ancestor of Panarthropoda possessed two pdf homologs, one of which was lost in the arthropod or arthropod/tardigrade lineage, followed by subsequent duplications of the remaining homolog in some taxa. Immunolocalization of PDF-like peptides in six onychophoran species, by using a broadly reactive antibody that recognizes PDF/PDH peptides in numerous species, revealed an elaborate system of neurons and fibers in their central and peripheral nervous systems. Large varicose projections in the heart suggest that the PDF neuropeptides functioned as both circulating hormones and locally released transmitters in the last common ancestor of Onychophora and Arthropoda. The lack of PDF-like-immunoreactive somata associated with the onychophoran optic ganglion conforms to the hypothesis that onychophoran eyes are homologous to the arthropod median ocelli. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  14. Ultrastructure of the digestive system of Ramazzottius tribulosus and Macrobiotus richtersi (Eutardigrada in relationship with diet

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandra M. AVDONINA


    Full Text Available The ultrastructure of the digestive system of tardigrades was already described in some species, but it has never been studied in relationship to diet. We performed ultrastructural analyses of the midgut and hindgut of phytophagous Ramazzottius tribulosus and zoophagous Macrobiotus richtersi. In addition, the foregut of R. tribulosus was analyzed. New ultrastructural details have been observed. Among them are: (a distinct transverse pillar-like structures, lacking in electron-dense and compact cuticle of the buccal tube; (b a hole or groups of holes sometimes present in the buccal tube; (c a large cavity within each of the salivary glands where secreted mucus accumulates; and (d already found in zoophagous Isohypsibius prosostomus, one valve, formed by folds of the pharynx and located at the transition from pharynx to esophagus. In both analyzed species the increase of midgut surface is identified by two orders of folds of the gut wall and by microvilli. In R. tribulosus there are many first-order folds and few second-order folds, whereas in M. richtersi the opposite pattern is found. A peritrophic membrane and microvilli with a well developed glycocalyx are found only in the midgut lumen of R. tribulosus. The density of microvilli and the ratio between the real surface with microvilli and the hypothetical surface without microvilli is lower in zoophagous M. richtersi and I. prosostomus than in phytophagous R. tribulosus. All of these data represent an indirect indication of differences in digestive physiology between phytophagous and zoophagous tardigrade species. The shape of the hindgut is similar in both species and the lumen of the hindgut looks like a heartshaped cavity with some narrow cell evaginations.

  15. Diversity and feeding strategies of soil microfauna along elevation gradients in Himalayan cold deserts.

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    Miloslav Devetter

    Full Text Available High-elevation cold deserts in Tibet and Himalaya are one of the most extreme environments. One consequence is that the diversity of macrofauna in this environment is often limited, and soil microorganisms have a more influential role in governing key surface and subsurface bioprocesses. High-elevation soil microfauna represent important components of cold ecosystems and dominant consumers of microbial communities. Still little is known about their diversity and distribution on the edge of their reproductive and metabolic abilities. In this study, we disentangle the impact of elevation and soil chemistry on diversity and distribution of rotifers, nematodes and tardigrades and their most frequent feeding strategies (microbial filter-feeders, bacterivores, fungivores, root-fungal feeders, omnivores along two contrasting altitudinal gradients in Indian NW Himalaya (Zanskar transect from 3805 to 4714 m a.s.l. and southwestern Tibet (Tso Moriri transect from 4477 to 6176 m a.s.l., using a combination of multivariate analysis, variation partitioning and generalized additive models. Zanskar transect had higher precipitation, soil moisture, organic matter and available nutrients than dry Tso Moriri transect. In total, 40 species of nematodes, 19 rotifers and 1 tardigrade were discovered. Species richness and total abundance of rotifers and nematodes showed mid-elevation peaks in both investigated transects. The optimum for rotifers was found at higher elevation than for nematodes. Diversity and distribution of soil microfauna was best explained by soil nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter. More fertile soils hosted more diverse and abundant faunal communities. In Tso Moriri, bacterivores represented 60% of all nematodes, fungivores 35%, root-fungal feeders 1% and omnivores 3%. For Zanskar the respective proportions were 21%, 13%, 56% and 9%. Elevational optima of different feeding strategies occurred in Zanskar in one elevation zone (4400-4500 m

  16. Effects of sewage sludge addition to Norway spruce seedlings on nitrogen availability and soil fauna in clear-cut areas. (United States)

    Nieminen, Jouni K; Räisänen, Mikko


    Anaerobically digested and composted sewage sludge (CSS) has been suggested to be a slow-release fertilizer in forestry and an alternative to quick-release inorganic fertilizers. The effects of CSS with or without added carbohydrate on inorganic nitrogen availability and on soil animals were tested in two Norway spruce plantations. Half of the seedlings were individually fertilized with CSS, and the rest were left as controls. Solid sucrose was added to half of the fertilized and untreated seedlings. Soil samples were taken in the autumn in the first and the second year after the treatments. CSS increased soil NH4-N (2100%), the proportion of soil NO3-N, and the N concentration of spruce needles. CSS greatly reduced the abundances of enchytraeids, tardigrades and collembolans, but increased the proportion and abundance of bacterial-feeding nematodes irrespective of carbohydrate addition. A better stabilization method needs to be developed before CSS can be used as a forest fertilizer. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Temporal changes in periphytic meiofauna in lakes of different trophic states

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kurt Pettersson


    Full Text Available Meiofaunal organisms in the periphyton of stony hard-substrates (epilithon were studied in three Swedish lakes with different trophic states (oligo-, meso- and eutrophic with respect to seasonal successions in abundance, biomass, and production. Over a period of 2 years, the meiofaunal population of all three lakes fluctuated greatly, with densities varying up to nine-fold within a season. In the oligotrophic lake, a significant decrease in meiofauna in winter was striking, whereas in the other two lakes, richer in nutrients, there was a pronounced peak in early summer. Although the lakes, on average, did not differ in epilithic organic and inorganic material, the differences in meiofaunal abundance, biomass, and production were significant. Correlation analysis revealed that altogether the meiofaunal biomass was positively related to the lakes’ trophic state (total phosphorus, while the meiofaunal abundance and production along the trophic spectrum displayed a humped-shape distribution, with maximum values measured in the mesotrophic Lake Erken (1324 ind cm-2 and 2249 mg DW cm-2 y-1. Nematodes were the dominant meiofaunal group in the epilithon of all three lakes, accounting for up to 58% in abundance, 33% in biomass and 55% in production of the whole meiofaunal community. However, their relative importance tended to decrease with increasing trophic state. Beside nematodes, rotifers, oligochaetes, copepods and tardigrades were also found in large numbers in the epilithon. Overall, the results demonstrated that, due to their high abundance, biomass, and production, meiofaunal organisms play an important role in epilithic communities.

  18. MicroRNAs and phylogenomics resolve the relationships of Tardigrada and suggest that velvet worms are the sister group of Arthropoda. (United States)

    Campbell, Lahcen I; Rota-Stabelli, Omar; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Marchioro, Trevor; Longhorn, Stuart J; Telford, Maximilian J; Philippe, Hervé; Rebecchi, Lorena; Peterson, Kevin J; Pisani, Davide


    Morphological data traditionally group Tardigrada (water bears), Onychophora (velvet worms), and Arthropoda (e.g., spiders, insects, and their allies) into a monophyletic group of invertebrates with walking appendages known as the Panarthropoda. However, molecular data generally do not support the inclusion of tardigrades within the Panarthropoda, but instead place them closer to Nematoda (roundworms). Here we present results from the analyses of two independent genomic datasets, expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and microRNAs (miRNAs), which congruently resolve the phylogenetic relationships of Tardigrada. Our EST analyses, based on 49,023 amino acid sites from 255 proteins, significantly support a monophyletic Panarthropoda including Tardigrada and suggest a sister group relationship between Arthropoda and Onychophora. Using careful experimental manipulations--comparisons of model fit, signal dissection, and taxonomic pruning--we show that support for a Tardigrada + Nematoda group derives from the phylogenetic artifact of long-branch attraction. Our small RNA libraries fully support our EST results; no miRNAs were found to link Tardigrada and Nematoda, whereas all panarthropods were found to share one unique miRNA (miR-276). In addition, Onychophora and Arthropoda were found to share a second miRNA (miR-305). Our study confirms the monophyly of the legged ecdysozoans, shows that past support for a Tardigrada + Nematoda group was due to long-branch attraction, and suggests that the velvet worms are the sister group to the arthropods.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander E. Filippov


    Full Text Available Recent progress in space research and in particular appearance of complex movable constructions with a number of components exposed to the extreme conditions of open space causes a strong demand for development of new tribological and adhesion systems which are able to resist such conditions. In the last few years, many engineering solutions in the field of tribology and adhesion have been found based on “biomimetics approach” that is searching for ideas originally created by living nature and optimized during billions of years of natural selection. Surprisingly some of the living creatures are found to be optimized even for survival for a long time in the conditions of open space. Such ability is very promising from the point of view of development of new adhesives for future space applications. In this paper we discuss what we can learn in this context from the so-called “water bears” (tardigrades in a combination with some other features, already adopted to reversible technical adhesives from other animals, such as insects and Gecko lizards.

  20. Nasa's International Space Station: A Testbed for Planetary Protection Protocol Development (United States)

    Bell, M. S.; Rucker, M.; Love, S.; Johnson, J.; Chambliss, J.; Pierson, D.; Ott, M.; Mary, N.; Glass, B.; Lupisella, M.; hide


    Wherever humans go, they inevitably carry along the critters that live in and on them. Conventional wisdom has long held that it is unlikely those critters could survive the space environment, but in 2007 some microscopic aquatic animals called Tardigrades survived exposure to space and in 2008 Cyanobacteria lived for 548 days outside the ISS. Unlike the Mars rovers that were cleaned once and sent on their way, crew members will provide a constantly regenerating contaminant source. Are we prepared to certify that we can meet forward contamination protocols as we search for life at new destinations? What about the organisms we might reasonably expect a crewed spacecraft to leak or vent? Do we even know what they are? How long might our tiny hitch-hikers survive in close proximity to a warm spacecraft that periodically leaks/vents water or oxygen and how might they mutate with long-duration exposure? How will these contaminants migrate from their source in conditions encountered in space or on other planetary surfaces? This project aims to answer some of these questions by bringing together key stakeholder communities to develop a human forward contamination test, analysis, and integration plan. A system engineering approach to identify the experiments, analysis, and modeling needed to develop the contamination control protocols required will be used as a roadmap to integrate the many different parts of this problem - from launch to landing, living, and working on another planetary surface.

  1. Sexual dimorphism, population dynamics and some aspects of life history of Echiniscus mauccii (Tardigrada; Heterotardigrada

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    Frank A. ROMANO III


    Full Text Available A fifteen month study (December 2002 though February 2004 of a meiofaunal community living in moss and lichen from a Pecan tree on the campus of Jacksonville State University reports 9,791 microinvertebrates. Echiniscus mauccii was the most prevalent tardigrade species (1,329 specimens and was chosen to determine population dynamics and some aspects of their life histories. The average length of all the specimens (adults, juveniles, males, and females for each month was determined. A plot of all E. mauccii specimens was used to determine the following life stages of this species; juvenile, pre-reproductive, and reproductive. The studied population exhibited relatively constant population size and juvenile recruitment occurred year round with no increased reproduction during a season of the year. Thus, E. mauccii is an opportunistic breeder. Males of this species were found for the first time on a Laurasian land mass and females were found to be significantly larger than males. A protected Fisher's LSD test revealed a significant negative relationship between average adult length and the number of adults collected per month, but not between adult and juvenile lengths. As the population became more dense the average adult size decreased suggesting competition between at least the adults. Echiniscus mauccii is a sexually dimorphic animal that is iteroparous, breeds whenever conditions are appropriate, has a relatively constant population size, produces a small number of large eggs, and exhibits competition between adults. Thus, E. mauccii exhibits classic K-selected traits.

  2. Direct and indirect effects of metal contamination on soil biota in a Zn-Pb post-mining and smelting area (S Poland)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kapusta, Pawel; Szarek-Lukaszewska, Grazyna; Stefanowicz, Anna M.


    Effects of metal contamination on soil biota activity were investigated at 43 sites in 5 different habitats (defined by substratum and vegetation type) in a post-mining area. Sites were characterised in terms of soil pH and texture, nutrient status, total and exchangeable metal concentrations, as well as plant species richness and cover, abundances of enchytraeids, nematodes and tardigrades, and microbial respiration and biomass. The concentrations of total trace metals were highest in soils developed on mining waste (metal-rich dolomite), but these habitats were more attractive than sandy sites for plants and soil biota because of their higher content of organic matter, clay and nutrients. Soil mesofauna and microbes were strongly dependent on natural habitat properties. Pollution (exchangeable Zn and Cd) negatively affected only enchytraeid density; due to a positive relationship between enchytraeids and microbes it indirectly reduced microbial activity. - Highlights: → Bioavailable zinc and cadmium reduce enchytraeid density. → Enchytraeids positively influence microbial respiration and biomass. → Total contents of heavy metals in soil are poor predictors of the distribution of plants and soil biota. - Elevated concentrations of exchangeable Zn and Cd reduce enchytraeid density and indirectly affect microbial activity adversely.

  3. Hallucigenia's head and the pharyngeal armature of early ecdysozoans. (United States)

    Smith, Martin R; Caron, Jean-Bernard


    The molecularly defined clade Ecdysozoa comprises the panarthropods (Euarthropoda, Onychophora and Tardigrada) and the cycloneuralian worms (Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Priapulida, Loricifera and Kinorhyncha). These disparate phyla are united by their means of moulting, but otherwise share few morphological characters--none of which has a meaningful fossilization potential. As such, the early evolutionary history of the group as a whole is largely uncharted. Here we redescribe the 508-million-year-old stem-group onychophoran Hallucigenia sparsa from the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale. We document an elongate head with a pair of simple eyes, a terminal buccal chamber containing a radial array of sclerotized elements, and a differentiated foregut that is lined with acicular teeth. The radial elements and pharyngeal teeth resemble the sclerotized circumoral elements and pharyngeal teeth expressed in tardigrades, stem-group euarthropods and cycloneuralian worms. Phylogenetic results indicate that equivalent structures characterized the ancestral panarthropod and, seemingly, the ancestral ecdysozoan, demonstrating the deep homology of panarthropod and cycloneuralian mouthparts, and providing an anatomical synapomorphy for the ecdysozoan supergroup.

  4. Direct and indirect effects of metal contamination on soil biota in a Zn-Pb post-mining and smelting area (S Poland)

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kapusta, Pawel, E-mail: [Department of Ecology, W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Krakow (Poland); Szarek-Lukaszewska, Grazyna; Stefanowicz, Anna M. [Department of Ecology, W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Krakow (Poland)


    Effects of metal contamination on soil biota activity were investigated at 43 sites in 5 different habitats (defined by substratum and vegetation type) in a post-mining area. Sites were characterised in terms of soil pH and texture, nutrient status, total and exchangeable metal concentrations, as well as plant species richness and cover, abundances of enchytraeids, nematodes and tardigrades, and microbial respiration and biomass. The concentrations of total trace metals were highest in soils developed on mining waste (metal-rich dolomite), but these habitats were more attractive than sandy sites for plants and soil biota because of their higher content of organic matter, clay and nutrients. Soil mesofauna and microbes were strongly dependent on natural habitat properties. Pollution (exchangeable Zn and Cd) negatively affected only enchytraeid density; due to a positive relationship between enchytraeids and microbes it indirectly reduced microbial activity. - Highlights: > Bioavailable zinc and cadmium reduce enchytraeid density. > Enchytraeids positively influence microbial respiration and biomass. > Total contents of heavy metals in soil are poor predictors of the distribution of plants and soil biota. - Elevated concentrations of exchangeable Zn and Cd reduce enchytraeid density and indirectly affect microbial activity adversely.

  5. Planetary and Space Simulation Facilities PSI at DLR for Astrobiology (United States)

    Rabbow, E.; Rettberg, P.; Panitz, C.; Reitz, G.


    Ground based experiments, conducted in the controlled planetary and space environment simulation facilities PSI at DLR, are used to investigate astrobiological questions and to complement the corresponding experiments in LEO, for example on free flying satellites or on space exposure platforms on the ISS. In-orbit exposure facilities can only accommodate a limited number of experiments for exposure to space parameters like high vacuum, intense radiation of galactic and solar origin and microgravity, sometimes also technically adapted to simulate extraterrestrial planetary conditions like those on Mars. Ground based experiments in carefully equipped and monitored simulation facilities allow the investigation of the effects of simulated single environmental parameters and selected combinations on a much wider variety of samples. In PSI at DLR, international science consortia performed astrobiological investigations and space experiment preparations, exposing organic compounds and a wide range of microorganisms, reaching from bacterial spores to complex microbial communities, lichens and even animals like tardigrades to simulated planetary or space environment parameters in pursuit of exobiological questions on the resistance to extreme environments and the origin and distribution of life. The Planetary and Space Simulation Facilities PSI of the Institute of Aerospace Medicine at DLR in Köln, Germany, providing high vacuum of controlled residual composition, ionizing radiation of a X-ray tube, polychromatic UV radiation in the range of 170-400 nm, VIS and IR or individual monochromatic UV wavelengths, and temperature regulation from -20°C to +80°C at the sample size individually or in selected combinations in 9 modular facilities of varying sizes are presented with selected experiments performed within.

  6. Observed trends of soil fauna in the Antarctic Dry Valleys: early signs of shifts predicted under climate change. (United States)

    Andriuzzi, W S; Adams, B J; Barrett, J E; Virginia, R A; Wall, D H


    Long-term observations of ecological communities are necessary for generating and testing predictions of ecosystem responses to climate change. We investigated temporal trends and spatial patterns of soil fauna along similar environmental gradients in three sites of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica, spanning two distinct climatic phases: a decadal cooling trend from the early 1990s through the austral summer of February 2001, followed by a shift to the current trend of warming summers and more frequent discrete warming events. After February 2001, we observed a decline in the dominant species (the nematode Scottnema lindsayae) and increased abundance and expanded distribution of less common taxa (rotifers, tardigrades, and other nematode species). Such diverging responses have resulted in slightly greater evenness and spatial homogeneity of taxa. However, total abundance of soil fauna appears to be declining, as positive trends of the less common species so far have not compensated for the declining numbers of the dominant species. Interannual variation in the proportion of juveniles in the dominant species was consistent across sites, whereas trends in abundance varied more. Structural equation modeling supports the hypothesis that the observed biological trends arose from dissimilar responses by dominant and less common species to pulses of water availability resulting from enhanced ice melt. No direct effects of mean summer temperature were found, but there is evidence of indirect effects via its weak but significant positive relationship with soil moisture. Our findings show that combining an understanding of species responses to environmental change with long-term observations in the field can provide a context for validating and refining predictions of ecological trends in the abundance and diversity of soil fauna. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America.

  7. Characterize Human Forward Contamination Project (United States)

    Rucker, Michelle


    Let's face it: wherever we go, we will inevitably carry along the little critters that live in and on us. Conventional wisdom has long held that it's unlikely those critters could survive the space environment, but in 2007 microscopic animals called Tardigrades survived exposure to space and in 2008 Cyanobacteria lived for 548 days outside the International Space Station (ISS). But what about the organisms we might reasonably expect a crewed spacecraft to leak or vent? Do we even know what they are? How long might our tiny hitch-hikers survive in close proximity to a warm spacecraft that periodically leaks/vents water or oxygen-and how might they mutate with long-duration exposure? Unlike the Mars rovers that we cleaned once and sent on their way, crew members will provide a constantly regenerating contaminant source. Are we prepared to certify that we can meet forward contamination protocols as we search for life at new destinations? This project has four technical objectives: 1. TEST: Develop a test plan to leverage existing equipment (i.e. ISS) to characterize the kinds of organisms we can reasonably expect pressurized, crewed volumes to vent or leak overboard; as part of testing, we'll need to develop an Extravehicular Activity (EVA)-compatible tool that can withstand the pressure and temperature extremes of space, as well as collect, separate, and store multiple samples; 2. ANALYSIS: Develop an analysis plan to study those organisms in relevant destination environments, including spacecraft-induced conditions; 3. MODEL: Develop a modeling plan to model organism transport mechanisms in relevant destination environments; 4. SHARE: Develop a plan to disseminate findings and integrate recommendations into exploration requirements & ops. In short, we propose a system engineering approach to roadmap the necessary experiments, analysis, and modeling up front--rather than try to knit together disparate chunks of data into a sensible conclusion after the fact.

  8. Ancestral patterning of tergite formation in a centipede suggests derived mode of trunk segmentation in trilobites.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Javier Ortega-Hernández

    Full Text Available Trilobites have a rich and abundant fossil record, but little is known about the intrinsic mechanisms that orchestrate their body organization. To date, there is disagreement regarding the correspondence, or lack thereof, of the segmental units that constitute the trilobite trunk and their associated exoskeletal elements. The phylogenetic position of trilobites within total-group Euarthropoda, however, allows inferences about the underlying organization in these extinct taxa to be made, as some of the fundamental genetic processes for constructing the trunk segments are remarkably conserved among living arthropods. One example is the expression of the segment polarity gene engrailed, which at embryonic and early postembryonic stages is expressed in extant panarthropods (i.e. tardigrades, onychophorans, euarthropods as transverse stripes that define the posteriormost region of each trunk segment. Due to its conservative morphology and allegedly primitive trunk tagmosis, we have utilized the centipede Strigamia maritima to study the correspondence between the expression of engrailed during late embryonic to postembryonic stages, and the development of the dorsal exoskeletal plates (i.e. tergites. The results corroborate the close correlation between the formation of the tergite borders and the dorsal expression of engrailed, and suggest that this association represents a symplesiomorphy within Euarthropoda. This correspondence between the genetic and phenetic levels enables making accurate inferences about the dorsoventral expression domains of engrailed in the trunk of exceptionally preserved trilobites and their close relatives, and is suggestive of the widespread occurrence of a distinct type of genetic segmental mismatch in these extinct arthropods. The metameric organization of the digestive tract in trilobites provides further support to this new interpretation. The wider evolutionary implications of these findings suggest the presence of a

  9. Effects of human trampling on populations of soil fauna in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. (United States)

    Ayres, Edward; Nkem, Johnson N; Wall, Diana H; Adams, Byron J; Barrett, J E; Broos, Emma J; Parsons, Andrew N; Powers, Laura E; Simmons, Breana L; Virginia, Ross A


    Antarctic ecosystems are often considered nearly pristine because levels of anthropogenic disturbance are extremely low there. Nevertheless, over recent decades there has been a rapid increase in the number of people, researchers and tourists, visiting Antarctica. We evaluated, over 10 years, the direct impact of foot traffic on the abundance of soil animals and soil properties in Taylor Valley within the McMurdo Dry Valleys region of Antarctica. We compared soils from minimally disturbed areas with soils from nearby paths that received intermediate and high levels of human foot traffic (i.e., up to approximately 80 passes per year). The nematodes Scottnema lindsayae and Eudorylaimus sp. were the most commonly found animal species, whereas rotifers and tardigrades were found only occasionally. On the highly trampled footpaths, abundance of S. lindsayae and Eudorylaimus sp. was up to 52 and 76% lower, respectively, than in untrampled areas. Moreover, reduction in S. lindsayae abundance was more pronounced after 10 years than 2 years and in the surface soil than in the deeper soil, presumably because of the longer period of disturbance and the greater level of physical disturbance experienced by the surface soil. The ratio of living to dead Eudorylaimus sp. also declined with increased trampling intensity, which is indicative of increased mortality or reduced fecundity. At one site there was evidence that high levels of trampling reduced soil CO(2) fluxes, which is related to total biological activity in the soil. Our results show that even low levels of human traffic can significantly affect soil biota in this ecosystem and may alter ecosystem processes, such as carbon cycling. Consequently, management and conservation plans for Antarctic soils should consider the high sensitivity of soil fauna to physical disturbance as human presence in this ecosystem increases.

  10. Trehalose and Trehalose-based Polymers for Environmentally Benign, Biocompatible and Bioactive Materials

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mitsuhiro Shibata


    Full Text Available Abstract: Trehalose is a non-reducing disaccharide that is found in many organisms but not in mammals. This sugar plays important roles in cryptobiosis of selaginella mosses, tardigrades (water bears, and other animals which revive with water from a state of suspended animation induced by desiccation. The interesting properties of trehalose are due to its unique symmetrical low-energy structure, wherein two glucose units are bonded face-to-face by 1→1-glucoside links. The Hayashibara Co. Ltd., is credited for developing an inexpensive, environmentally benign and industrial-scale process for the enzymatic conversion of α-1,4-linked polyhexoses to α,α-D-trehalose, which made it easy to explore novel food, industrial, and medicinal uses for trehalose and its derivatives. Trehalosechemistry is a relatively new and emerging field, and polymers of trehalose derivatives appear environmentally benign, biocompatible, and biodegradable. The discriminating properties of trehalose are attributed to its structure, symmetry, solubility, kinetic and thermodynamic stability and versatility. While syntheses of trehalose-based polymer networks can be straightforward, syntheses and characterization of well defined linear polymers with tailored properties using trehalose-based monomers is challenging, and typically involves protection and deprotection of hydroxyl groups to attain desired structural, morphological, biological, and physical and chemical properties in the resulting products. In this review, we will overview known literature on trehalose’s fascinating involvement in cryptobiology; highlight its applications in many fields; and then discuss methods we used to prepare new trehalose-based monomers and polymers and explain their properties.

  11. Utilizing ARC EMCS Seedling Cassettes as Highly Versatile Miniature Growth Chambers for Model Organism Experiments (United States)

    Freeman, John L.; Steele, Marianne K.; Sun, Gwo-Shing; Heathcote, David; Reinsch, S.; DeSimone, Julia C.; Myers, Zachary A.


    The aim of our ground testing was to demonstrate the capability of safely putting specific model organisms into dehydrated stasis, and to later rehydrate and successfully grow them inside flight proven ARC EMCS seedling cassettes. The ARC EMCS seedling cassettes were originally developed to support seedling growth during space flight. The seeds are attached to a solid substrate, launched dry, and then rehydrated in a small volume of media on orbit to initiate the experiment. We hypothesized that the same seedling cassettes should be capable of acting as culture chambers for a wide range of organisms with minimal or no modification. The ability to safely preserve live organisms in a dehydrated state allows for on orbit experiments to be conducted at the best time for crew operations and more importantly provides a tightly controlled physiologically relevant growth experiment with specific environmental parameters. Thus, we performed a series of ground tests that involved growing the organisms, preparing them for dehydration on gridded Polyether Sulfone (PES) membranes, dry storage at ambient temperatures for varying periods of time, followed by rehydration. Inside the culture cassettes, the PES membranes were mounted above blotters containing dehydrated growth media. These were mounted on stainless steel bases and sealed with plastic covers that have permeable membrane covered ports for gas exchange. The results showed we were able to demonstrate acceptable normal growth of C.elegans (nematodes), E.coli (bacteria), S.cerevisiae (yeast), Polytrichum (moss) spores and protonemata, C.thalictroides (fern), D.discoideum (amoeba), and H.dujardini (tardigrades). All organisms showed acceptable growth and rehydration in both petri dishes and culture cassettes initially, and after various time lengths of dehydration. At the end of on orbit ISS European Modular Cultivation System experiments the cassettes could be frozen at ultra-low temperatures, refrigerated, or chemically

  12. Tree species traits influence soil physical, chemical, and biological properties in high elevation forests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edward Ayres

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Previous studies have shown that plants often have species-specific effects on soil properties. In high elevation forests in the Southern Rocky Mountains, North America, areas that are dominated by a single tree species are often adjacent to areas dominated by another tree species. Here, we assessed soil properties beneath adjacent stands of trembling aspen, lodgepole pine, and Engelmann spruce, which are dominant tree species in this region and are distributed widely in North America. We hypothesized that soil properties would differ among stands dominated by different tree species and expected that aspen stands would have higher soil temperatures due to their open structure, which, combined with higher quality litter, would result in increased soil respiration rates, nitrogen availability, and microbial biomass, and differences in soil faunal community composition. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We assessed soil physical, chemical, and biological properties at four sites where stands of aspen, pine, and spruce occurred in close proximity to one-another in the San Juan Mountains, Colorado. Leaf litter quality differed among the tree species, with the highest nitrogen (N concentration and lowest lignin:N in aspen litter. Nitrogen concentration was similar in pine and spruce litter, but lignin:N was highest in pine litter. Soil temperature and moisture were highest in aspen stands, which, in combination with higher litter quality, probably contributed to faster soil respiration rates from stands of aspen. Soil carbon and N content, ammonium concentration, and microbial biomass did not differ among tree species, but nitrate concentration was highest in aspen soil and lowest in spruce soil. In addition, soil fungal, bacterial, and nematode community composition and rotifer, collembolan, and mesostigmatid mite abundance differed among the tree species, while the total abundance of nematodes, tardigrades, oribatid mites, and prostigmatid

  13. Cell-in-Shell Hybrids: Chemical Nanoencapsulation of Individual Cells. (United States)

    Park, Ji Hun; Hong, Daewha; Lee, Juno; Choi, Insung S


    Nature has developed a fascinating strategy of cryptobiosis ("secret life") for counteracting the stressful, and often lethal, environmental conditions that fluctuate sporadically over time. For example, certain bacteria sporulate to transform from a metabolically active, vegetative state to an ametabolic endospore state. The bacterial endospores, encased within tough biomolecular shells, withstand the extremes of harmful stressors, such as radiation, desiccation, and malnutrition, for extended periods of time and return to a vegetative state by breaking their protective shells apart when their environment becomes hospitable for living. Certain ciliates and even higher organisms, for example, tardigrades, and others are also found to adopt a cryptobiotic strategy for survival. A common feature of cryptobiosis is the structural presence of tough sheaths on cellular structures. However, most cells and cellular assemblies are not "spore-forming" and are vulnerable to the outside threats. In particular, mammalian cells, enclosed with labile lipid bilayers, are highly susceptible to in vitro conditions in the laboratory and daily life settings, making manipulation and preservation difficult outside of specialized conditions. The instability of living cells has been a main bottleneck to the advanced development of cell-based applications, such as cell therapy and cell-based sensors. A judicious question arises: can cellular tolerance against harmful stresses be enhanced by simply forming cell-in-shell hybrid structures? Experimental results suggest that the answer is yes. A micrometer-sized "Iron Man" can be generated by chemically forming an ultrathin (cell. Since the report on silica nanoencapsulation of yeast cells, in which cytoprotective yeast-in-silica hybrids were formed, several synthetic strategies have been developed to encapsulate individual cells in a cytocompatible fashion, mimicking the cryptobiotic cell-in-shell structures found in nature, for example