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References

Publications by our staff

2023

Metabarcoding of trap nests reveals differential impact of urbanization on cavity-nesting bee and wasp communities
Keywords: #host-parasitoid #hymenoptera #metabarcoding #plant-pollinator #trophic interactions #urbanization

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Dürrbaum, E., Fornoff, F., Scherber, C., Vesterinen, E.J., Eitzinger, B. (2023) Molecular Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16818

Abstract
Urbanization is affecting arthropod communities worldwide, for example by changing the availability of food resources. However, the strength and direction of a community’s response is species-specific and depends on species’ trophic level. Here, we investigated interacting species at different trophic levels in nests of cavity-nesting bees and wasps along two urbanization gradients in four German cities using trap nests. We analysed bee and wasp diversity and their trophic interaction partners by metabarcoding the DNA of bee pollen and preyed arthropods found in wasp nests. We found that the pollen richness increased with increasing distance from city centres and at sites characterized by a high percentage of impervious and developed surface, while the richness of pollinators was unaffected by urbanization. In contrast, species richness of wasps, but not their arthropod prey, was highest at sites with low levels of urbanization. However, the community structure of wasp prey changed with urbanization at both local and regional scales. Throughout the study area, the community of wasps consisted of specialists, while bee species were generalists. Our results suggest that Hymenoptera and their food resources are negatively affected by increasing urbanization. However, to understand distribution patterns of both, wasps and bees in urban settings other factors besides food availability should be considered.


The presence of wind turbines repels bats in boreal forests
Keywords: #Wind turbine #BatsAvoidance effect #European boreal region #Wind power planning

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Gaultier, S., Lilley, T.M., Vesterinen, E.J., Brommer, J. (2023) Landscape and Urban Planning.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2022.104636

Abstract
Impacts of wind power on bats are usually evidenced by the recorded fatalities, while other impacts are not well understood or considered during project planning. However, wind turbines may affect use of the surrounding habitats by bats. Little is known about such impact, especially in the European boreal biogeographical region. We studied the consequences of operating wind turbines on the presence and activity of bats in forests. We simultaneously monitored bat acoustic activity at 84 sampling sites placed at 200 m intervals from 0 to 1.000 m (2 recorders per distance class), over four months and at seven Finnish wind farms located in forested habitats. Our results show higher presence and activity at 600 m and further from turbines for Eptesicus nilssonii, and higher presence at 800 m and further for Myotis spp. We also saw an increase in bat activity during midsummer, which may be due to increased use of forest canopy cover during the short nights at this time. These results indicate a potential loss in habitat quality around wind turbines, e.g., a greater number of open areas in forests unfavourable to certain bat species. This lower activity and presence could also be an indication for active avoidance of the wind turbines from the bats. Furthermore, these results are the first of their kind for Eptesicus nilssonii, and for the European boreal biogeographical region. They show undeniable impacts of wind power on bats in Finland, and enforce the requirement for better consideration of bats during the development of such projects in Finland. Similarly, these results show impacts of operating turbines on habitat use by bats, impacts that now must be considered in Europe. We also call for investigation on the causative mechanisms of the observed effect, to better facilitate mitigation.


2022

Associations between brood size, gut microbiome diversity and survival in great tit (Parus major) nestlings
Keywords: #Avian microbiome #Brood size #Gut microbiome #Parus major #16S rRNA gene

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Liukkonen, M., Hukkanen, M., Cossin-Sevrin, N., Stier, A., Vesterinen, E., Grond, K., & Ruuskanen, S. (2022).[Preprint]. Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.09.06.506880

Abstract
Background The gut microbiome forms at an early stage, yet data on the environmental factors influencing the development of wild avian microbiomes is limited. The early studies with wild gut microbiome have shown that the rearing environment may be of importance in gut microbiome formation, yet the results vary across taxa, and the effects of specific environmental factors have not been characterized. Here, wild great tit (Parus major) broods were manipulated to either reduce or enlarge the original brood soon after hatching. We investigated if brood size was associated with nestling bacterial gut microbiome, and whether gut microbiome diversity predicted survival. Fecal samples were collected at mid-nestling stage and sequenced with the 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, and nestling growth and survival were measured
Results Gut microbiome diversity showed high variation between individuals, but this variation was not explained by brood size or body mass. Additionally, we did not find a significant effect of brood size on body mass or gut microbiome composition. Furthermore, we found no significant association between gut microbiome diversity and short-term (survival to fledging) or mid-term (apparent juvenile) survival.
Conclusions Early-life environment can lead to variation in offspring condition and gut microbiome and therefore, understanding how and which changes in the rearing environment are associated with offspring development is of importance. However, we did not find an association between brood size, gut microbiome diversity and survival, indicating that future studies should expand into other early-life environmental factors e.g., diet composition and quality, and parental influences.


Atmospheric humidity affects global variation of bat echolocation via indirect effects.

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Kotila, M., Helle, S., Lehto, H. J., Rojas, D., Vesterinen, E. J., & Lilley, T. M. (2022). Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution10, 934876.  https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2022.934876

Abstract
The peak frequency of bat echolocation is a species-specific functional trait linked to foraging ecology. It is tailored via evolution to suit conditions within the distribution range of each species, but the evolutionary drivers are not yet well-understood. Global patterns of humidity correlate with many aspects of bat ecology. We hypothesized that atmospheric absolute humidity could explain global peak frequency variation directly and indirectly via increasing species body size and bat species richness. These hypotheses were tested using Bayesian phylogenetic path analysis on 226 tropical and subtropical bat species. In line with our predictions, we found a positive total effect of humidity on peak frequency, which was dominated by the positive indirect effects via body size and bat species richness. We did not observe the negative direct effect of humidity on peak frequency, which was hypothesized based on atmospheric attenuation of sound. In line with our expectations, excluding the predominantly clutter foraging bat families from our dataset downplayed the importance of the richness-mediated route. To conclude, our findings suggest that indirect effects, owing to ecology and biogeography of bat taxa, play a major role in the global relationship between peak frequency and atmospheric humidity.


Imprints of latitude, host taxon, and decay stage on fungus‐associated arthropod communities.
Keywords: #Arthropod #Decay #Fruiting bodies #Fungi #Fungivory #Fungus–insect interactions #Latitudinalgradient #Succession

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Koskinen, J. S., Abrego, N., Vesterinen, E. J., Schulz, T., Roslin, T., & Nyman, T. (2022). Ecological Monographs92(3).  https://doi.org/10.1002/ecm.1516

Abstract
Interactions among fungi and insects involve hundreds of thousands of species. While insect communities on plants have formed some of the classic model systems in ecology, fungus-based communities and the forces structuring them remain poorly studied by comparison. We characterize the arthropod communities associated with fruiting bodies of eight mycorrhizal basidiomycete fungus species from three different orders along a 1200-km latitudinal gradient in northern Europe. We hypothesized that, matching the pattern seen for most insect taxa on plants, we would observe a general decrease in fungal-associated species with latitude. Against this backdrop, we expected local communities to be structured by host identity and phylogeny, with more closely related fungal species sharing more similar communities of associated organisms. As a more unique dimension added by the ephemeral nature of fungal fruiting bodies, we expected further imprints generated by successional change, with younger fruiting bodies harboring communities different from older ones. Using DNA metabarcoding to identify arthropod communities from fungal fruiting bodies, we found that latitude left a clear imprint on fungus-associated arthropod community composition, with host phylogeny and decay stage of fruiting bodies leaving lesser but still-detectable effects. The main latitudinal imprint was on a high arthropod species turnover, with no detectable pattern in overall species richness. Overall, these findings paint a new picture of the drivers of fungus-associated arthropod communities, suggesting that latitude will not affect how many arthropod species inhabit a fruiting body but, rather, what species will occur in it and at what relative abundances (as measured by sequence read counts). These patterns upset simplistic predictions regarding latitudinal gradients in species richness and in the strength of biotic interactions.


Reconstructing the ecosystem context of a species: Honey-borne DNA reveals the roles of the honeybee
Keywords: #Honey bees #Honey #Plant bacterial pathogens #Metagenomics #Animal pathogens #Ecological niches #Microbial pathogens #Fungi

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Wirta, H. K., Bahram, M., Miller, K., Roslin, T., & Vesterinen, E. (2022). PLOS ONE17(7), e0268250.  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0268250

Abstract
To assess a species’ impact on its environment–and the environment’s impact upon a species–we need to pinpoint its links to surrounding taxa. The honeybee (Apis mellifera) provides a promising model system for such an exercise. While pollination is an important ecosystem service, recent studies suggest that honeybees can also provide disservices. Developing a comprehensive understanding of the full suite of services and disservices that honeybees provide is a key priority for such a ubiquitous species. In this perspective paper, we propose that the DNA contents of honey can be used to establish the honeybee’s functional niche, as reflected by ecosystem services and disservices. Drawing upon previously published genomic data, we analysed the DNA found within 43 honey samples from Northern Europe. Based on metagenomic analysis, we find that the taxonomic composition of DNA is dominated by a low pathogenicity bee virus with 40.2% of the reads, followed by bacteria (16.7%), plants (9.4%) and only 1.1% from fungi. In terms of ecological roles of taxa associated with the bees or taxa in their environment, bee gut microbes dominate the honey DNA, with plants as the second most abundant group. A range of pathogens associated with plants, bees and other animals occur frequently, but with lower relative read abundance, across the samples. The associations found here reflect a versatile the honeybee’s role in the North-European ecosystem. Feeding on nectar and pollen, the honeybee interacts with plants–in particular with cultivated crops. In doing so, the honeybee appears to disperse common pathogens of plants, pollinators and other animals, but also microbes potentially protective of these pathogens. Thus, honey-borne DNA helps us define the honeybee’s functional niche, offering directions to expound the benefits and drawbacks of the associations to the honeybee itself and its interacting organisms.


Spatio-temporal patterns in arctic fox (Vulpes alopex) diets revealed by molecular analysis of scats from Northeast Greenland
Keywords: #Greenland #Metabarcoding #Predation #Trophic interactions #Tundra

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Schmidt, N. M., Roslin, T., Hansen, L. H., Gilg, O., Lang, J., Sittler, B., Hansen, J., Bollache, L., & Vesterinen, E. (2022). Polar Science32, 100838.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polar.2022.100838

Abstract
The arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) is endemic to the Arctic where it holds a central position in the trophic interactions. The diet of the species has previously been described as being highly flexible, but whether this flexibility is a constant trait through time, or merely reflects fast temporal changes in abundance among prey taxa, has so far been poorly resolved. Using molecular analyses of arctic fox scats from Northeast Greenland, we first examined the temporal dynamics of arctic fox diets during the short snow-free season, and then examined whether local food availability at different sites affected arctic fox dependence on lemmings. Arctic fox diets included most terrestrial vertebrate species found in the region, and exhibited substantial temporal changes, generally reflecting the dynamic changes in prey availability from late winter through autumn. This dietary flexibility was also reflected geographically, with arctic foxes consuming a variety of local prey (mainly waterfowl and lemmings) in summer. Moreover, the dietary response of arctic foxes to changes in lemming abundance depended on access to non-lemming prey. Based on these findings, we discuss whether varying degrees of lemming-dependency, combined with geographical differences in winter food availability, may explain previously published differences in arctic fox breeding patterns in high arctic Greenland.


Novel frontier in wildlife monitoring: Identification of small rodent species from faecal pellets using Near-Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS)
Keywords: #Abundance index #Field method #Non-invasive sampling #Multi-species community #44 diet #Tundra #DNA metabarcoding

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Tuomi, M. W., Murguzur, F. J. A., Hoset, K. S., Soininen, E. M., Vesterinen, E., Utsi, T. Aa., Kaino, S., & Bråthen, K. A. (2022). [Preprint]. Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.11.487830

Abstract
Small rodents are prevalent and functionally important across world’s biomes, making their monitoring salient for ecosystem management, conservation, forestry and agriculture. Yet, there is a dearth of cost-effective and non-invasive methods for large-scale, intensive sampling. As one such method, fecal pellet counts readily provide relative abundance indices. Given available analytical methods, feces could also allow for determination of multiple ecological and physiological variables, including community composition. We developed calibration models for rodent taxonomic determination using fecal near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (fNIRS). Our results demonstrate fNIRS as an accurate and robust method for predicting genus and species identity of five co-existing subarctic microtine rodent species. We show that sample exposure to weathering did not reduce accuracy, indicating suitability of the method for samples collected from the field. Diet was not a major determinant of species prediction accuracy in our samples, as diet exhibited large variation and overlap between species. While regional calibration models predicted poorly samples from another region, calibration models including samples from two regions provided a good prediction accuracy for both regions. We propose fNIRS as a fast and cost-efficient high-throughoutput method for rodent taxonomic determination, and highlight its potential for cross-regional calibrations and use on field-collected samples. FNIRS can facilitate rodent population censuses at larger spatial extent than before deemed feasible, if combined with pellet-count based abundance indices. Given the versatility of fNIRS analytics, developing such monitoring schemes can support ecosystem- and interaction-based approaches to monitoring.


2021

Dietary analysis reveals differences in the prey use of two sympatric bat species
Keywords: # Chiroptera #DNA metabarcoding #Japan #Murina ussuriensis #Myotis ikonnikovi #University of Tokyo Hokkaido Forest

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Heim, O., Puisto, A. I. E., Sääksjärvi, I., Fukui, D., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2021). Ecology and Evolution11(24), 18651–18661.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8472

Abstract
One mechanism for morphologically similar and sympatric species to avoid competition and facilitate coexistence is to feed on different prey items within different microhabitats. In the current study, we investigated and compared the diet of the two most common and similar-sized bat species in Japan—Murina ussuriensis (Ognev, 1913) and Myotis ikonnikovi (Ognev, 1912)—to gain more knowledge about the degree of overlap in their diet and their foraging behavior. We found that both bat species consumed prey from the orders of Lepidoptera and Diptera most frequently, while the proportion of Dipterans was higher in the diet of Mikonnikovi. Furthermore, we found a higher prey diversity in the diet of Mikonnikovi compared to that of Mussuriensis that might indicate that the former is a more generalist predator than the latter. In contrast, the diet of Mussuriensis contained many Lepidopteran families. The higher probability of prey items likely captured via gleaning to occur in the diet of Mussuriensis in contrast to Mikonnikovi indicates that Mussuriensis might switch between aerial-hawking and gleaning modes of foraging behavior. We encourage further studies across various types of habitats and seasons to investigate the flexibility of the diet composition and foraging behavior of these two bat species.


DNA traces the origin of honey by identifying plants, bacteria and fungi

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Wirta, H., Abrego, N., Miller, K., Roslin, T., & Vesterinen, E. (2021). Scientific Reports11(1), 4798.  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-84174-0

Abstract
The regional origin of a food product commonly affects its value. To this, DNA-based identification of tissue remains could offer fine resolution. For honey, this would allow the usage of not only pollen but all plant tissue, and also that of microbes in the product, for discerning the origin. Here we examined how plant, bacterial and fungal taxa identified by DNA metabarcoding and metagenomics differentiate between honey samples from three neighbouring countries. To establish how the taxonomic contents of honey reflect the country of origin, we used joint species distribution modelling. At the lowest taxonomic level by metabarcoding, with operational taxonomic units, the country of origin explained the majority of variation in the data (70–79%), with plant and fungal gene regions providing the clearest distinction between countries. At the taxonomic level of genera, plants provided the most separation between countries with both metabarcoding and metagenomics. The DNA-based methods distinguish the countries more than the morphological pollen identification and the removal of pollen has only a minor effect on taxonomic recovery by DNA. As we find good resolution among honeys from regions with similar biota, DNA-based methods hold great promise for resolving honey origins among more different regions.


Body size and tree species composition determine variation in prey consumption in a forest‐inhabiting generalist predator
Keywords: # edge effects #Metabarcoding #predator–prey interaction #prey size spectrumµ #tree diversity

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Schrojenstein Lantman, I. M., Vesterinen, E. J., Hertzog, L. R., Martel, A., Verheyen, K., Lens, L., & Bonte, D. (2021). Ecology and Evolution11(12), 8295–8309.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.7659

Abstract
Trophic interactions may strongly depend on body size and environmental variation, but this prediction has been seldom tested in nature. Many spiders are generalist predators that use webs to intercept flying prey. The size and mesh of orb webs increases with spider size, allowing a more efficient predation on larger prey. We studied to this extent the orb-weaving spider Araneus diadematus inhabiting forest fragments differing in edge distance, tree diversity, and tree species. These environmental variables are known to correlate with insect composition, richness, and abundance. We anticipated these forest characteristics to be a principle driver of prey consumption. We additionally hypothesized them to impact spider size at maturity and expect shifts toward larger prey size distributions in larger individuals independently from the environmental context. We quantified spider diet by means of metabarcoding of nearly 1,000 A. diadematus from a total of 53 forest plots. This approach allowed a massive screening of consumption dynamics in nature, though at the cost of identifying the exact prey identity, as well as their abundance and putative intraspecific variation. Our study confirmed A. diadematus as a generalist predator, with more than 300 prey ZOTUs detected in total. At the individual level, we found large spiders to consume fewer different species, but adding larger species to their diet. Tree species composition affected both prey species richness and size in the spider’s diet, although tree diversity per se had no influence on the consumed prey. Edges had an indirect effect on the spider diet as spiders closer to the forest edge were larger and therefore consumed larger prey. We conclude that both intraspecific size variation and tree species composition shape the consumed prey of this generalist predator.


A molecular-based identification resource for the arthropods of Finland
Keywords: #CO1 #DNA Barcodes #Probabilistic taxonomic assignment #Protax #Reference library #Species identification

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Roslin T., Somervuo P., Pentinsaari M., Hebert P., Agda J., Ahlroth P., Anttonen P., Aspi J., Blagoev, G., Blanco, S., Chan, D., Clayhills, T., Mutanen M. (2021). [Preprint]. Preprints. https://doi.org/10.22541/au.162245457.73290867/v1

Abstract
To associate specimens identified by molecular characters to other biological knowledge, we need reference sequences annotated by Linnaean taxonomy. In this paper, we 1) report the creation of a comprehensive reference library of DNA barcodes for the arthropods of an entire country (Finland), 2) publish this library, and 3) deliver a new identification tool based on this resource. The reference library contains mtDNA COI barcodes for 11,275 (43%) of 26,437 arthropod species known from Finland, including 10,811 (45%) of 23,956 insect species. To quantify the improvement in identification accuracy enabled by the current reference library, we ran 1,000 Finnish insect and spider species through the Barcode of Life Data system (BOLD) identification engine. Of these, 91% were correctly assigned to a unique species when compared to the new reference library alone, 85% were correctly identified when compared to BOLD with the new material included, and 75% with the new material excluded. To capitalize on this resource, we used the new reference material to train a probabilistic taxonomic assignment tool, FinPROTAX, scoring high success. For the full-length barcode region, the accuracy of taxonomic assignments at the level of classes, orders, families, subfamilies, tribes, genera, and species reached 99.9%, 99.9%, 99.8%, 99.7%, 99.4%, 96.8%, and 88.5%, respectively. The FinBOL arthropod reference library and FinPROTAX are available through the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (www.laji.fi). Overall, the FinBOL investment represents a massive capacity-transfer from the taxonomic community of Finland to all sectors of society.


Microclimate structures communities, predation and herbivory in the High Arctic
Keywords: #Arctic #Climate change #Community ecology #herbivory #parasitoid #Species trait

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Kankaanpää, T., Abrego, N., Vesterinen, E., & Roslin, T. (2021). Journal of Animal Ecology90(4), 859–874.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13415

Abstract
In a warming world, changes in climate may result in species-level responses as well as changes in community structure through knock-on effects on ecological interactions such as predation and herbivory. Yet, the links between these responses at different levels are still inadequately understood. Assessing how microclimatic conditions affect each of them at local scales provides information essential for understanding the consequences of macroclimatic changes projected in the future.
Focusing on the rapidly changing High Arctic, we examine how a community based on a common resource species (avens, Dryas spp.), a specialist insect herbivore (Sympistis zetterstedtii) and natural enemies of lepidopteran herbivores (parasitoids) varies along a multidimensional microclimatic gradient. We ask (a) how parasitoid community composition varies with local abiotic conditions, (b) how the community-level response of parasitoids is linked to species-specific traits (koino- or idiobiont life cycle strategy and phenology) and (c) whether the effects of varying abiotic conditions extend to interaction outcomes (parasitism rates on the focal herbivore and realized herbivory rates).
We recorded the local communities of parasitoids, herbivory rates on Dryas flowers and parasitism rates in Sympistis larvae at 20 sites along a mountain slope. For linking community-level responses to microclimatic conditions with parasitoid traits, we used joint species distribution modelling. We then assessed whether the same abiotic variables also affect parasitism and herbivory rates, by applying generalized linear and additive mixed models.
We find that parasitism strategy and phenology explain local variation in parasitoid community structure. Parasitoids with a koinobiont strategy preferred high-elevation sites with higher summer temperatures or sites with earlier snowmelt and lower humidity. Species of earlier phenology occurred with higher incidence at sites with cooler summer temperatures or later snowmelt. Microclimatic effects also extend to parasitism and herbivory, with an increase in the parasitism rates of the main herbivore S. zetterstedtii with higher temperature and lower humidity, and a matching increase in herbivory rates.
Our results show that microclimatic variation is a strong driver of local community structure, species interactions and interaction outcomes in Arctic ecosystems. In view of ongoing climate change, these results predict that macroclimatic changes will profoundly affect arctic communities.


Community phenology of insects on oak–local differentiation along a climatic gradient
Ekholm, A., Tack, A. J. M., Berger, J., Stone, G. N., Vesterinen, E. J., & Roslin, T. (2021). Ecosphere.


Host specificity and interaction networks of insects feeding on seeds and fruits in tropical rainforests
Keywords: #Barro Colorado Island #Functional group #Nasty host hypothesis #Plant phylogeny #Quantitative food web #Seed predation

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Basset, Y., Jorge, L. R., Butterill, P. T., Lamarre, G. P. A., Dahl, C., Ctvrtecka, R., Gripenberg, S., Lewis, O. T., Barrios, H., Brown, J. W., Bunyavejchewin, S., Butcher, B. A., Cognato, A. I., Davies, S. J., Kaman, O., Klimes, P., Knížek, M., Miller, S. E., Morse, G. E., Novotny V., Pongpattananurak N., Pramual P., Quicke D. l. J., Sakchoowong W., Umari R., Vesterinen E. J., Weiblen G., Wright S. J., Segar, S. T. (2021). Oikos, oik.08152.  https://doi.org/10.1111/oik.08152

Abstract
In the tropics, antagonistic seed predation networks may have different properties than mutualistic pollination and seed dispersal networks, but the former have been considerably less studied. We tested whether the structure of antagonistic tripartite networks composed of host plants, insects developing within seeds and fruits, and their insect parasitoids could be predicted from plant phylogenetic distance and plant traits. We considered subsets of the networks (‘subnetworks’) at three rainforest locations (Panama, Thailand, Papua New Guinea), based on insect families, plant families or plant functional groups. We recorded 3197 interactions and observed a low percentage of realized interactions, especially in Panama, where insect host specificity was higher than in Thailand or New Guinea. Several factors may explain this, including insect faunal composition, incidence of dry fruits, high fruit production and high occurrence of Fabaceae at the Panamanian site. Host specificity was greater among seed-eaters than pulp-eaters and for insects feeding on dry fruits as opposed to insects feeding on fleshy fruits. Plant species richness within plant families did not influence insect host specificity, but site characteristics may be important in this regard. Most subnetworks were extremely specialized, such as those including Tortricidae and Bruchinae in Panama. Plant phylogenetic distance, plant basal area and plant traits (fruit length, number of seeds per fruit) had important effects on several network statistics in regressions weighted by sampling effort. A path analysis revealed a weak direct influence of plant phylogenetic distance on parasitoid richness, indicating limited support for the ‘nasty host hypothesis’. Our study emphasizes the duality between seed dispersal and seed predation networks in the tropics, as key plant species differ and host specificity tends to be low in the former and higher in the latter. This underlines the need to study both types of networks for sound practices of forest regeneration and conservation.


Metabarcoding prey DNA from fecal samples of adult dragonflies shows no predicted sex differences, and substantial inter-individual variation, in diets.
Keywords: #Diet analysis #fDNA #Metabarcoding #Odonata #Prey species #Niche differentiation

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Morrill, A., Kaunisto, K. M., Mlynarek, J. J., Sippola, E., Vesterinen, E. J., & Forbes, M. R. (2021). PeerJ9, e12634.  https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.12634

Abstract
Sexes often differ in foraging and diet, which is associated with sex differences in size, trophic morphology, use of habitats, and/or life history tactics. Herein, strikingly similar diets were found for adult sexes of a dragonfly (Leucorrhinia intacta), based on comparing 141 dietary taxa identified from the metabarcoding of mitochondrial DNA archived in feces. Arthropods in > 5% of samples included five species of dipterans, two hemipterans, two spider species and one parasitic mite. The mite was not traditional prey as its presence was likely due to DNA contamination of samples arising through parasitism or possibly via accidental consumption during grooming, and therefore the mite was excluded from diet characterizations. Common prey species were found with statistically indistinguishable frequencies in male and female diets, with one exception of an aphid more often found in male diets, although this pattern was not robust to corrections for multiple statistical tests. While rare prey species were often found in diets of only one sex, instances of this were more frequent in the more oft-sampled females, suggesting sampling artefact. Sexes did not differ in the mean prey species richness in their diets. Overall, sexes showed statistically indistinguishable diets both on a prey species-by-species basis and in terms of multivariate characterizations of diet composition, derived from presence-absence data of prey species analyzed via PERMANOVA and accumulation curves. Males and females may have similar diets by being both opportunistic and generalist predators of arthropods, using the same foraging habitats and having similar sizes and flight agilities. Notably, similarities in diet between sexes occur alongside large interindividual differences in diet, within sexes. Researchers intending on explaining adaptive sex differences in diet should consider characteristics of species whose sexes show similar diets.


Multi-scale mosaics in top-down pest control by ants from natural coffee forests to plantations.
Keywords: #Ants #Biological pest control #Coffea arabica #Coffee leaf rust #Crematogaster sp. #Ethiopia #Herbivory #Leucoplema dohertyi #Leucoptera sp. #scale-dependence

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Stüber, M., Tack, A. J. M., Zewdie, B., Mendesil, E., Shimales, T., Ayalew, B., Nemomissa, S., Sjögren, J., Vesterinen, E., Wezel, A., & Hylander, K. (2021). Ecologyn/a(n/a), e03376.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3376

Abstract
While top-down control plays an important role in shaping both natural and agricultural food webs, we lack insights into how top-down control effects vary across spatial scales. We used a multi-scale survey of top-down control of coffee pests and diseases by arboreal ants to examine if colony location creates a small-scale mosaic in top-down control around trees and if the strength of that control varies between sites at the landscape scale. We investigated pest and disease levels on coffee shrubs at different distances from shade trees with and without a Crematogaster spp. ant colony in 59 sites along a coffee management intensity gradient in southwestern Ethiopia. Within sites, ants significantly suppressed herbivory and coffee leaf rust at distances less than 10 m from nesting trees. Top-down control varied between sites, with stronger top-down control of free-feeding herbivory near ant colonies at sites with lower management intensity and stronger top-down control of a skeletonizer at sites with higher canopy cover. We conclude that the strength of top-down control by ants is highly heterogeneous across spatial scales, as a consequence of the biology of the predator at the small scale and herbivore density or changes in herbivore–ant interactions at the landscape scale.


Temperature affects both the Grinnellian and Eltonian dimensions of ecological niches – A tale of two Arctic wolf spiders.

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Eitzinger, B., Roslin, T., Vesterinen, E. J., Robinson, S. I., & O’Gorman, E. J. (2021). Basic and Applied Ecology50, 132–143.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.baae.2021.01.001

Abstract
To better understand the consequences of global warming for species and their distribution, we need studies quantifying how environmental change affects communities and interaction networks. Where studies to date have mainly focused on climatic effects on species distribution (the Grinnellian dimension of the niche), recent research has emphasised how the environment shapes ecological interactions among species (the Eltonian dimension). Here, we explore both dimensions in a system consisting of two wolf spider species – Pardosa palustris and Pirata piraticus – and their prey. Drawing on a natural experiment consisting of differential geothermal heating of soil, we describe the effects of temperature on the abundance of each species and on its interactions with its prey (using metabarcoding of gut contents). The two spider species differed substantially in their Grinnellian niche, with a peak in the abundance of P. palustris around 10 °C and in P. piraticus around 22 °C. While P. piraticus consumed more prey taxa on average than did P. palustris, both predators maintained their diet breadth and taxon richness of consumed prey across the temperature gradient. This indicates that effects of temperature on metabolic demands did not alter the dietary specialisation of the two predators. Nevertheless, we did also detect effects of temperature on the Eltonian niche, with significant changes in the prey community consumed by the two spider species across the temperature gradient, and a greater turnover of prey taxa in their diet with increasing soil temperature. Importantly, this suggests that the Eltonian niche of species may be conditional on the environment, and that prey use by generalist predators may thus be modified by climate change.


2020

A global class reunion with multiple groups feasting on the declining insect smorgasbord.

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Vesterinen, E. J., Kaunisto, K. M., & Lilley, T. M. (2020). Scientific Reports10(1), 16595. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-73609-9

Abstract
We report a detection of a surprising similarity in the diet of predators across distant phyla. Though just a first glimpse into the subject, our discovery contradicts traditional aspects of biology, as the earliest notions in ecology have linked the most severe competition of resources with evolutionary relatedness. We argue that our finding deserves more research, and propose a plan to reveal more information on the current biodiversity loss around the world. While doing so, we expand the recently proposed conservation roadmaps into a parallel study of global interaction networks.


Humic-acid-driven escape from eye parasites revealed by RNA-seq and target-specific metabarcoding. 
Keywords: #Diplostomidae #Host-parasite interaction #Humic substances #Metabarcoding #Perca fuviatilis #RNA-seq

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Noreikiene, K., Ozerov, M., Ahmad, F., Kõiv, T., Kahar, S., Gross, R., Sepp, M., Pellizzone, A., Vesterinen, E. J., Kisand, V., & Vasemägi, A. (2020). Parasites & Vectors13(1), 433. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-020-04306-9

Abstract
Background Next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are extensively used to dissect the molecular mechanisms of host-parasite interactions in human pathogens. However, ecological studies have yet to fully exploit the power of NGS as a rich source for formulating and testing new hypotheses.
Methods We studied Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) and its eye parasite (Trematoda, Diplostomidae) communities in 14 lakes that differed in humic content in order to explore host-parasite-environment interactions. We hypothesised that high humic content along with low pH would decrease the abundance of the intermediate hosts (gastropods), thus limiting the occurrence of diplostomid parasites in humic lakes. This hypothesis was initially invoked by whole eye RNA-seq data analysis and subsequently tested using PCR-based detection and a novel targeted metabarcoding approach.
Results Whole eye transcriptome results revealed overexpression of immune-related genes and the presence of eye parasite sequences in RNA-seq data obtained from perch living in clear-water lakes. Both PCR-based and targeted-metabarcoding approach showed that perch from humic lakes were completely free from diplostomid parasites, while the prevalence of eye flukes in clear-water lakes that contain low amounts of humic substances was close to 100%, with the majority of NGS reads assigned to Tylodelphys clavata.
Conclusions High intraspecific diversity of T. clavata indicates that massively parallel sequencing of naturally pooled samples represents an efficient and powerful strategy for shedding light on cryptic diversity of eye parasites. Our results demonstrate that perch populations in clear-water lakes experience contrasting eye parasite pressure compared to those from humic lakes, which is reflected by prevalent differences in the expression of immune-related genes in the eye. This study highlights the utility of NGS to discover novel host-parasite-environment interactions and provide unprecedented power to characterize the molecular diversity of cryptic parasites.


Parasitoids indicate major climate‐induced shifts in arctic communities
Keywords: #Arctic #Climate change #DNA barcoding #Dryas #Food web #Functional traits #Host-paraitoid interactions #insect herbivory #pollinators

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Kankaanpää, T., Vesterinen, E., Hardwick, B., Schmidt, N. M., Andersson, T., Aspholm, P. E., Barrio, I. C., Beckers, N., Bêty, J., Birkemoe, T., DeSiervo, M., Drotos, K. H. I., Ehrich, D., Gilg, O., Gilg, V., Hein, N., Høye, T. T., Jakobsen, K. M., Jodouin, C., Jorna J., Kozlov M. V., Kresse J., Leandri-Breton D., Lecomte N., Loonen M., Marr, P., Monckton S. K., Olsen M., Otis J., Pyle M., Roos R. E., Raundrup K., Rozhkova D., Sabard B., Sokolov A., Sokolova N., Solecki A. M., Urbanowicz C., Villeneuve C., Vyguzova E., Zverev V., Roslin, T. (2020). Global Change Biology26(11), 6276–6295.  https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15297

Abstract
Climatic impacts are especially pronounced in the Arctic, which as a region is warming twice as fast as the rest of the globe. Here, we investigate how mean climatic conditions and rates of climatic change impact parasitoid insect communities in 16 localities across the Arctic. We focus on parasitoids in a widespread habitat, Dryas heathlands, and describe parasitoid community composition in terms of larval host use (i.e., parasitoid use of herbivorous Lepidoptera vs. pollinating Diptera) and functional groups differing in their closeness of host associations (koinobionts vs. idiobionts). Of the latter, we expect idiobionts—as being less fine-tuned to host development—to be generally less tolerant to cold temperatures, since they are confined to attacking hosts pupating and overwintering in relatively exposed locations. To further test our findings, we assess whether similar climatic variables are associated with host abundances in a 22 year time series from Northeast Greenland. We find sites which have experienced a temperature rise in summer while retaining cold winters to be dominated by parasitoids of Lepidoptera, with the reverse being true for the parasitoids of Diptera. The rate of summer temperature rise is further associated with higher levels of herbivory, suggesting higher availability of lepidopteran hosts and changes in ecosystem functioning. We also detect a matching signal over time, as higher summer temperatures, coupled with cold early winter soils, are related to high herbivory by lepidopteran larvae, and to declines in the abundance of dipteran pollinators. Collectively, our results suggest that in parts of the warming Arctic, Dryas is being simultaneously exposed to increased herbivory and reduced pollination. Our findings point to potential drastic and rapid consequences of climate change on multitrophic-level community structure and on ecosystem functioning and highlight the value of collaborative, systematic sampling effort.


Enhanced threat of tick‐borne infections within cities? Assessing public health risks due to ticks in urban green spaces in Helsinki, Finland.
Keywords: #Infections #Lyme disease #parks #Recreational #Public health #Tick bites #Ticks

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Sormunen, J. J., Kulha, N., Klemola, T., Mäkelä, S., Vesilahti, E., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2020). Zoonoses and Public Health, zph.12767. https://doi.org/10.1111/zph.12767

Abstract
Most tick-related studies in Europe have been conducted in nonurban areas, but ticks and tick-borne pathogens also occur in urban green spaces. From a public health perspective, risks regarding tick-borne infections should be studied in these urban areas, where contacts between infected ticks and humans may be more frequent than elsewhere, due to high human activity. We examined the risk of encountering an infected tick in urban green spaces in Helsinki, Finland. We collected ticks at nine sites throughout Helsinki, recorded the prevalence of several pathogens and identified areas with a high potential for contacts between infected ticks and humans. Moreover, we explored the relationship between the density of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato-infected ticks and locally diagnosed cases of borreliosis and compared the potential for human-tick encounters in Helsinki to those in nonurban areas in south-western Finland. During 34.8 km of cloth dragging, 2,417 Ixodes ricinus were caught (402 adults, 1,399 nymphs and 616 larvae). From analysed nymphs, we found 11 distinct tick-borne pathogens, with 31.5% of nymphs carrying at least one pathogen. Tick activity was highest in August and September, leading to the density of nymphs infected with B. burgdorferi s.l., and concurrently infection risk, to also be highest during this time. Nymph densities varied between the sampling sites, with obvious implications to spatial variation in infection risk. While ticks and tick-borne pathogens were found in both Helsinki and nonurban areas in south-western Finland, the estimates of human activity were generally higher in urban green spaces, leading to a higher potential for human-tick contacts therein. The presence of ticks and tick-borne pathogens and high local human activity in urban green spaces suggest that they form potential foci regarding the acquisition of tick-borne infections. Risk areas within cities should be identified and knowledge regarding urban ticks increased.


Bats and Wind Farms: The Role and Importance of the Baltic Sea Countries in the European Context of Power Transition and Biodiversity Conservation.
Keywords: #Collisions #Genetics #Testing and assessment #Wind #Wind power

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Gaultier, S. P., Blomberg, A. S., Ijäs, A., Vasko, V., Vesterinen, E. J., Brommer, J. E., & Lilley, T. M. (2020). Environmental Science & Technology54(17), 10385–10398.  https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c00070

Abstract
Although labeled as environmentally friendly, wind power can have negative impacts on the environment, such as habitat destruction or wildlife fatalities. Considering the distribution and migratory characteristics of European bats, the negative effects of wind power should be addressed on an appropriate scale. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge on interactions between wind farms and bats in Europe, and compares it with the situation in the countries of the European boreal biogeographic region. We analyzed data from papers published in international and national scientific journals, focusing on studies conducted in Europe. The issue of the impacts wind power has on bats is clearly overlooked in most of the countries of the European boreal region with low volumes of research available on the topic. This is probably due to fewer wind farms in the area, making this recent issue a less-prioritized topic. However, the Baltic Sea, and the countries surrounding it, are of extreme importance with regards to bat migration, especially for the Pipistrellus nathusii. Therefore, more research on wind power and bats is needed in this region, as well as more cooperation between all the stakeholders.


Monitoring of ticks and tick-borne pathogens through a nationwide research station network in Finland.
Keywords: #Ticks #Tick-borne pathogens #Monitoring #Longitudinal study #Nationwide

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Sormunen, J. J., Andersson, T., Aspi, J., Bäck, J., Cederberg, T., Haavisto, N., Halonen, H., Hänninen, J., Inkinen, J., Kulha, N., Laaksonen, M., Loehr, J., Mäkelä, S., Mäkinen, K., Norkko, J., Paavola, R., Pajala, P., Petäjä, T., Puisto, A., Sippola E., Snickars M., Sundell J., Tanski N., Uotila A., Vesilahti E., Vesterinen E. J., Vuorenmaa S., Ylönen J., Klemola, T. (2020). Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases11(5), 101449.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2020.101449

Abstract
In 2015 a long-term, nationwide tick and tick-borne pathogen (TBP) monitoring project was started by the Finnish Tick Project and the Finnish Research Station network (RESTAT), with the goal of producing temporally and geographically extensive data regarding exophilic ticks in Finland. In the current study, we present results from the first four years of this collaboration.
Ticks were collected by cloth dragging from 11 research stations across Finland in May–September 2015–2018 (2012–2018 in Seili). Collected ticks were screened for twelve different pathogens by qPCR:  Borrelia afzeliiBorrelia gariniiBorrelia valaisianaBorrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto,  Borrelia miyamotoiBabesia spp., Anaplasma phagocytophilumRickettsia spp., Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis,  Francisella tularensisBartonella  spp. and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV).
Altogether 15 067  Ixodes ricinus and 46  Ixodes persulcatus were collected during 68 km of dragging. Field collections revealed different seasonal activity patterns for the two species. The activity of I. persulcatus adults (only one nymph detected) was unimodal, with activity only in May–July, whereas Ixodes ricinus was active from May to September, with activity peaks in September (nymphs) or July–August (adults). Overall, tick densities were higher during the latter years of the study. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato were the most common pathogens detected, with 48.9 ± 8.4% (95% Cl) of adults and 25.3 ± 4.4% of nymphs carrying the bacteria. No samples positive for F. tularensis, Bartonella or TBEV were detected.
This collaboration project involving the extensive Finnish Research Station network has ensured enduring and spatially extensive, long-term tick data collection to the foreseeable future.


Body size and tree species composition determine variation in prey consumption in a forest-inhabiting generalist predator
Keywords: #Metabarcoding #predator-prey interaction #tree diversity #edge effects #prey-size spectrumµ

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Schrojenstein Lantman, I. M. van, Vesterinen, E. J., Hertzog, L. R., Martel, A., Verheyen, K., Lens, L., & Bonte, D. (2020). [Preprint]. Ecology.  https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.05.20.105866

Abstract
Trophic interactions may strongly depend on body size and environmental variation, but this prediction has been seldom tested in nature. Many spiders are generalist predators that use webs to intercept flying prey. The size and mesh of orb webs increases with spider size, allowing a more efficient predation on larger prey. We studied to this extent the orb-weaving spider Araneus diadematus inhabiting forest fragments differing in edge distance, tree diversity and tree species. These environmental variables are known to correlate to insect composition, richness and abundance. We anticipated these forest characteristics to be a principle driver of prey consumption. We additionally hypothesised them to impact spider size at maturity and expect shifts towards larger prey-size distributions in larger individuals independently from the environmental context.
We quantified spider diet by means of metabarcoding of nearly 1000 A. diadematus from a total of 53 forest plots. This approach allowed a massive screening of consumption dynamics in nature, though at the cost of identifying the exact prey identity, as well as their abundance and putative intraspecific variation. Our study confirmed A. diadematus as a generalist predator, with more than 300 prey ZOTUs detected in total. At the individual level, we found large spiders to consume fewer different species, but adding larger species to their diet. Tree species composition affected both prey species richness and size in the spider’s diet, although tree diversity per se had no influence on the consumed prey. Edges had an indirect effect on the spider diet as spiders closer to the forest edge were larger and therefore consumed larger prey. We conclude that both intraspecific size variation and tree species composition shape the consumed prey of this generalist predator.


Within-season changes in habitat use of forest-dwelling boreal bats
Keywords: #Bats #Boreal zone forests #habitat use

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Vasko, V., Blomberg, A. S., Vesterinen, E. J., Suominen, K. M., Ruokolainen, L., Brommer, J. E., Norrdahl, K., Niemelä, P., Laine, V. N., Santangeli, A., & Lilley, T. M. (2020). Ecology and Evolutionhttps://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.6253

Abstract
Bats utilize forests as roosting sites and feeding areas. However, it has not been documented how bats utilize these habitats in the boreal zone with methods afforded by recent technological advances. Forest structure and management practices can create a variety of three-dimensional habitats for organisms capable of flight, such as bats. Here, we study the presence of boreal bats in a forest forming a mosaic of different age classes, dominant tree species, canopy cover, soil fertility, and other environmental variables, throughout their active season in the summer using passive ultrasound detectors. Our results indicate a preference for mature forest by Eptesicus nilssonii and a pooled set of Myotis bats. Both groups of bats also showed temporal changes in their habitat use regarding forest age. In June and July, both groups occurred more often in mature than young forests, but from August onwards, the difference in occurrence became less evident in Myotis and disappeared completely in E. nilssonii. In addition, E. nilssonii was more often present in forests with low canopy cover, and its occurrence shifted from coniferous forests to deciduous forests during the season. The results reflect the within-season dynamics of bat communities and their ability to utilize different types of forest as environmental conditions change. Yet, the results most importantly emphasize the importance of mature forests to bat diversity and the need to conserve such environments in the boreal zone.


Threats from the air: Damselfly predation on diverse prey taxa
Keywords: #Barcoding #CO1 #Food web #Insect #Odonata #Predation pressure

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Kaunisto, K. M., Roslin, T., Forbes, M. R., Morrill, A., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Puisto, A. I. E., Lilley, T. M., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2020). Journal of Animal Ecology, 1365-2656.13184.  https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2656.13184

Abstract
To understand the diversity and strength of predation in natural communities, researchers must quantify the total amount of prey species in the diet of predators. Metabarcoding approaches have allowed widespread characterization of predator diets with high taxonomic resolution. To determine the wider impacts of predators, researchers should combine DNA techniques with estimates of population size of predators using mark–release–recapture (MRR) methods, and with accurate metrics of food consumption by individuals.
Herein, we estimate the scale of predation exerted by four damselfly species on diverse prey taxa within a well-defined 12-ha study area, resolving the prey species of individual damselflies, to what extent the diets of predatory species overlap, and which fraction of the main prey populations are consumed.
We identify the taxonomic composition of diets using DNA metabarcoding and quantify damselfly population sizes by MRR. We also use predator-specific estimates of consumption rates, and independent data on prey emergence rates to estimate the collective predation pressure summed over all prey taxa and specific to their main prey (non-biting midges or chironomids) of the four damselfly species.
The four damselfly species collectively consumed a prey mass equivalent to roughly 870 (95% CL 410–1,800) g, over 2 months. Each individual consumed 29%–66% (95% CL 9.4–123) of its body weight during its relatively short life span (2.1–4.7 days; 95% CL 0.74–7.9) in the focal population. This predation pressure was widely distributed across the local invertebrate prey community, including 4 classes, 19 orders and c. 140 genera. Different predator species showed extensive overlap in diets, with an average of 30% of prey shared by at least two predator species.
Of the available prey individuals in the widely consumed family Chironomidae, only a relatively small proportion (0.76%; 95% CL 0.35%–1.61%) were consumed.
Our synthesis of population sizes, per-capita consumption rates and taxonomic distribution of diets identifies damselflies as a comparatively minor predator group of aerial insects. As the next step, we should add estimates of predation by larger odonate species, and experimental removal of odonates, thereby establishing the full impact of odonate predation on prey communities.


2019

A highly resolved food web for insect seed predators in a species-rich tropical forest: Host use by insect seed predators
Keywords: #Apparent competition #Barro Colorado Island #Host specialisation #Interaction network #Janzen-Connell hypothesis #Panama #Plant traits #Quantitative food web #Seed predation

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Gripenberg, S., Basset, Y., Lewis, O. T., Terry, J. C. D., Wright, S. J., Simón, I., Fernández, D. C., Cedeño-Sanchez, M., Rivera, M., Barrios, H., Brown, J. W., Calderón, O., Cognato, A. I., Kim, J., Miller, S. E., Morse, G. E., Pinzón-Navarro, S., Quicke, D. L. J., Robbins, R. K., … Vesterinen, E. (2019). Ecology Lettershttps://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13359

Abstract
The top-down and indirect effects of insects on plant communities depend on patterns of host use, which are often poorly documented, particularly in species-rich tropical forests. At Barro Colorado Island, Panama, we compiled the first food web quantifying trophic interactions between the majority of co-occurring woody plant species and their internally feeding insect seed predators. Our study is based on more than 200 000 fruits representing 478 plant species, associated with 369 insect species. Insect host-specificity was remarkably high: only 20% of seed predator species were associated with more than one plant species, while each tree species experienced seed predation from a median of two insect species. Phylogeny, but not plant traits, explained patterns of seed predator attack. These data suggest that seed predators are unlikely to mediate indirect interactions such as apparent competition between plant species, but are consistent with their proposed contribution to maintaining plant diversity via the Janzen–Connell mechanism.


Molecular evidence of bird-eating behavior in Nyctalus aviator
Keywords: #Nyctalus aviator #Locustella ochotensis #Bird prey #DNA barcoding #Sanger sequencing

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Heim, O., Puisto, A. I. E., Fukui, D., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2019). Acta Ethologicahttps://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-019-00319-5

Abstract
Insectivorous bats consume a large variety of food items. Previous observations of feathers found in feces led to the hypothesis that the birdlike noctule (Nyctalus aviator, Vespertilionidae) could prey on birds. To test the hypothesis, we analyzed fecal samples from six species (Barbastella pacificaMurina hilgendorfiMyotis fraterN. aviatorPlecotus sacrimontis, and Vespertilio sinensis) collected from central Hokkaido, Japan, via DNA barcoding. We identified the presence of the Middendorff’s grasshopper warbler (Locustella ochotensis) in the diet of a pregnant individual of N. aviator. All the other samples proved negative regarding bird prey DNA. This is the first time that the consumption of a bird by N. aviator is confirmed with molecular evidence. Our findings add invaluable insight into the diet of this bat and its potentially opportunistic foraging behavior.


Parachlamydia acanthamoebae Detected during a Pneumonia Outbreak in Southeastern Finland, in 2017–2018. 
Keywords: #Chlamydia-related bacteria #Parachlamydia acanthamoebae #Chlamydia pneumoniae #pneumonia #respiratory tract infections #disease outbreak #nucleic acid amplification test

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Hokynar, K., Kurkela S., Nieminen, T., Saxen, H., Vesterinen, E. J., Mannonen, L., Pietikäinen, R., & Puolakkainen, M. (2019). Microorganisms7(5), 141.  https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms7050141

Abstract
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common disease responsible for significant morbidity and mortality. However, the definite etiology of CAP often remains unresolved, suggesting that unknown agents of pneumonia remain to be identified. The recently discovered members of the order Chlamydiales, Chlamydia-related bacteria (CRB), are considered as possible emerging agents of CAP. Parachlamydia acanthamoebae is the most studied candidate. It survives and replicates inside free-living amoeba, which it might potentially use as a vehicle to infect animals and humans. A Mycoplasma pneumoniae outbreak was observed in Kymenlaakso region in Southeastern Finland during August 2017–January 2018. We determined the occurrence of Chlamydiales bacteria and their natural host, free-living amoeba in respiratory specimens collected during this outbreak with molecular methods. Altogether, 22/278 (7.9%) of the samples contained Chlamydiales DNA. By sequence analysis, majority of the CRBs detected were members of the Parachlamydiaceae family. Amoebal DNA was not detected within the sample material. Our study further proposes that Parachlamydiaceae could be a potential agent causing atypical CAP in children and adolescents.


High tick abundance and diversity of tick-borne pathogens in a Finnish city
Keywords: #Borrelia #Ixodes ricinus #Rickettsia #Tick-borne pathogens #Tick hosts #Urban ecology

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Klemola, T., Sormunen, J. J., Mojzer, J., Mäkelä, S., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2019). Urban Ecosystemshttps://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-019-00854-w

Abstract
The sheep tick Ixodes ricinus is the primary vector for various zoonotic diseases, including Lyme borreliosis and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), in Europe. Because both abundance of ticks and prevalence of tick-borne pathogens in these organisms have increased in many locations and under different environments, we designed a study to survey the occurrence of ticks and pathogens in an urban area, namely, the city of Turku, in SW Finland. In summer 2017, we collected >700 ticks, primarily from city parks, suburban forest patches, and recreational areas. Comprehensive subsets of ticks were screened for presence of all common tick-borne pathogens. Half of the ticks carried at least one pathogen. The most common pathogens detected were the causative agents of Lyme borreliosis, i.e., bacteria belonging to the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group. Their prevalence was 37% in nymphal and 47% in adult ticks, which are high in comparison with surveys conducted elsewhere in northern Europe. Similarly, Rickettsia spp. (primarily R. helvetica) were also detected in a relatively high proportion of the samples (11% of both nymphs and adults). The TBE virus was not found in a relatively small subsample, but we detected (albeit at a low prevalence of 0–6% of nymphs and adults) the bacterial pathogens Borrelia miyamotoi, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis and the protozoan Babesia spp., which are also known agents of zoonotic diseases. The relatively high abundance of ticks and high diversity and overall prevalence of tick-borne pathogens suggest a lively and dense presence of mammalian and avian tick hosts in the city. Our results indicate a higher risk of encountering tick-borne pathogens in urbanized areas of southern Finland than previously known. Moreover, the possibility of acquiring tick-borne diseases from urban environments likely exists throughout most of Europe, and it should be acknowledged by health care professionals.


The Klingon batbugs: Morphological adaptations in the primitive bat bugs, Bucimex chilensis and Primicimex cavernis , including updated phylogeny of Cimicidae
Keywords: #Chiroptera #Cimicinae #Dispersal #Ectoparasite #Tarsal structure

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Ossa, G., Johnson, J. S., Puisto, A. I. E., Rinne, V., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Waag, A., Vesterinen, E. J., & Lilley, T. M. (2019). Ecology and Evolution9(4), 1736–1749.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4846

Abstract
The Cimicidae is a family of blood-dependent ectoparasites in which dispersion capacity is greatly associated with host movements. Bats are the ancestral and most prevalent hosts for cimicids. Cimicids have a worldwide distribution matching that of their hosts, but the global classification is incomplete, especially for species outside the most common Cimicidae taxa. In this study, we place a little-studied cimicid species, Bucimex chilensis, within a comprehensive molecular phylogeny of Cimicidae by sequencing the genomic regions of this and other closely related species. For this study, we collected B. chilensis females from Myotis chiloensis in Tierra del Fuego, 1,300 km further south than previously known southernmost distribution boundary. We also sequenced COI regions from Primicimex cavernis, a species which together with B. chilensis comprise the entire subfamily Primiciminae. Using Bayesian posterior probability and maximum-likelihood approaches, we found that B. chilensis and P. cavernis clustered close to each other in the molecular analyses, receiving support from similar morphological features, agreeing with the morphology-based taxonomic placement of the two species within the subfamily Primiciminae. We also describe a previously unrecognized morphological adaptation of the tarsal structure, which allows the austral bat ectoparasite, B. chilensis, to cling on to the pelage of its known host, the Chilean myotis (Myotis chiloensis). Through a morphological study and behavioral observation, we elucidate how this tarsal structure operates, and we hypothesize that by clinging in the host pelage, B. chilensis is able to disperse effectively to new areas despite low host density. This is a unique feature shared by P. cavernis, the only other species in Primiciminae.


Assessing changes in arthropod predator–prey interactions through DNA ‐based gut content analysis—Variable environment, stable diet
Keywords: #Altitudial gradient, body mass #Interaction probability #Lycosidae #Metabarcoding #Predator-Prey interaction

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Eitzinger, B., Abrego, N., Gravel, D., Huotari, T., Vesterinen, E. J., & Roslin, T. (2019). Molecular Ecology28(2), 266–280.  https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14872

Abstract
Analysing the structure and dynamics of biotic interaction networks and the processes shaping them is currently one of the key fields in ecology. In this paper, we develop a novel approach to gut content analysis, thereby deriving a new perspective on community interactions and their responses to environment. For this, we use an elevational gradient in the High Arctic, asking how the environment and species traits interact in shaping predator–prey interactions involving the wolf spider Pardosa glacialis. To characterize the community of potential prey available to this predator, we used pitfall trapping and vacuum sampling. To characterize the prey actually consumed, we applied molecular gut content analysis. Using joint species distribution models, we found elevation and vegetation mass to explain the most variance in the composition of the prey community locally available. However, such environmental variables had only a small effect on the prey community found in the spider’s gut. These observations indicate that Pardosa exerts selective feeding on particular taxa irrespective of environmental constraints. By directly modelling the probability of predation based on gut content data, we found that neither trait matching in terms of predator and prey body size nor phylogenetic or environmental constraints modified interaction probability. Our results indicate that taxonomic identity may be more important for predator–prey interactions than environmental constraints or prey traits. The impact of environmental change on predator–prey interactions thus appears to be indirect and mediated by its imprint on the community of available prey.


Counting with DNA in metabarcoding studies: How should we convert sequence reads to dietary data?

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Deagle, B. E., Thomas, A. C., McInnes, J. C., Clarke, L. J., Vesterinen, E. J., Clare, E. L., Kartzinel, T. R., & Eveson, J. P. (2019). Molecular Ecology28(2), 391–406.  https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14734

Abstract
Advances in DNA sequencing technology have revolutionized the field of molecular analysis of trophic interactions, and it is now possible to recover counts of food DNA sequences from a wide range of dietary samples. But what do these counts mean? To obtain an accurate estimate of a consumer’s diet should we work strictly with data sets summarizing frequency of occurrence of different food taxa, or is it possible to use relative number of sequences? Both approaches are applied to obtain semi-quantitative diet summaries, but occurrence data are often promoted as a more conservative and reliable option due to taxa-specific biases in recovery of sequences. We explore representative dietary metabarcoding data sets and point out that diet summaries based on occurrence data often overestimate the importance of food consumed in small quantities (potentially including low-level contaminants) and are sensitive to the count threshold used to define an occurrence. Our simulations indicate that using relative read abundance (RRA) information often provides a more accurate view of population-level diet even with moderate recovery biases incorporated; however, RRA summaries are sensitive to recovery biases impacting common diet taxa. Both approaches are more accurate when the mean number of food taxa in samples is small. The ideas presented here highlight the need to consider all sources of bias and to justify the methods used to interpret count data in dietary metabarcoding studies. We encourage researchers to continue addressing methodological challenges and acknowledge unanswered questions to help spur future investigations in this rapidly developing area of research.


From feces to data: A metabarcoding method for analyzing consumed and available prey in a bird-insect food web
Keywords: #Dietary ecology #DNA barcoding #fecal DNA #Frass #Insectivorous birds #Lepidoptera #Metagenomics

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Rytkönen, S., Vesterinen, E. J., Westerduin, C., Leviäkangas, T., Vatka, E., Mutanen, M., Välimäki, P., Hukkanen, M., Suokas, M., & Orell, M. (2019). Ecology and Evolution9(1), 631–639.  https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4787

Abstract
Diets play a key role in understanding trophic interactions. Knowing the actual structure of food webs contributes greatly to our understanding of biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. The research of prey preferences of different predators requires knowledge not only of the prey consumed, but also of what is available. In this study, we applied DNA metabarcoding to analyze the diet of 4 bird species (willow tits Poecile montanus, Siberian tits Poecile cinctus, great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus) by using the feces of nestlings. The availability of their assumed prey (Lepidoptera) was determined from feces of larvae (frass) collected from the main foraging habitat, birch (Betula spp.) canopy. We identified 53 prey species from the nestling feces, of which 11 (21%) were also detected from the frass samples (eight lepidopterans). Approximately 80% of identified prey species in the nestling feces represented lepidopterans, which is in line with the earlier studies on the parids’ diet. A subsequent laboratory experiment showed a threshold for fecal sample size and the barcoding success, suggesting that the smallest frass samples do not contain enough larval DNA to be detected by high-throughput sequencing. To summarize, we apply metabarcoding for the first time in a combined approach to identify available prey (through frass) and consumed prey (via nestling feces), expanding the scope and precision for future dietary studies on insectivorous birds.


Data from: Table for five, please: Dietary partitioning in boreal bats
Keywords: #Anthropocene #Chiroptera #Dietary analysis #Eptesicus nilssonii #Myotis brandtii #Myotis daubentoniid #Myotis mystacinus #Plecotus auritus #Prey size #Resource partitioning

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Vesterinen, E. J., Puisto, A. I. E., Blomberg, A. S., & Lilley, T. M. (2019). Dryad Datasethttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.6880rf1

Abstract
Differences in diet can explain resource partitioning in apparently similar, sympatric species. Here, we analyzed 1,252 fecal droppings from five species (Eptesicus nilssonii, Myotis brandtii, M. daubentonii, M. mystacinus, and Plecotus auritus) to reveal their dietary niches using fecal DNA metabarcoding. We identified nearly 550 prey species in 13 arthropod orders. Two main orders (Diptera and Lepidoptera) formed the majority of the diet for all species, constituting roughly 80%–90% of the diet. All five species had different dietary assemblages. We also found significant differences in the size of prey species between the bat species. Our results on diet composition remain mostly unchanged when using either read counts as a proxy for quantitative diet or presence–absence data, indicating a strong biological pattern. We conclude that although bats share major components in their ecology (nocturnal life style, insectivory, and echolocation), species differ in feeding behavior, suggesting bats may have distinctive evolutionary strategies. Diet analysis helps illuminate life history traits of various species, adding to sparse ecological knowledge, which can be utilized in conservation planning.


Finding flies in the mushroom soup: Host specificity of fungus-associated communities revisited with a novel molecular method
Keywords: #Community structure #DNA extraction and purification #Ecological interaction networks #Fungi #Host specifity #Metabarcoding

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Koskinen, J., Roslin, T., Nyman, T., Abrego, N., Michell, C., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2019). Molecular Ecology0(0).  https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.14810

Abstract
Fruiting bodies of fungi constitute an important resource for thousands of other taxa. The structure of these diverse assemblages has traditionally been studied with labour-intensive methods involving cultivation and morphology-based species identification, to which molecular information might offer convenient complements. To overcome challenges in DNA extraction and PCR associated with the complex chemical properties of fruiting bodies, we developed a pipeline applicable for extracting amplifiable total DNA from soft fungal samples of any size. Our protocol purifies DNA in two sequential steps: (a) initial salt–isopropanol extraction of all nucleic acids in the sample is followed by (b) an extra clean-up step using solid-phase reversible immobilization (SPRI) magnetic beads. The protocol proved highly efficient, with practically all of our samples—regardless of biomass or other properties—being successfully PCR-amplified using metabarcoding primers and subsequently sequenced. As a proof of concept, we apply our methods to address a topical ecological question: is host specificity a major characteristic of fungus-associated communities, that is, do different fungus species harbour different communities of associated organisms? Based on an analysis of 312 fungal fruiting bodies representing 10 species in five genera from three orders, we show that molecular methods are suitable for studying this rich natural microcosm. Comparing to previous knowledge based on rearing and morphology-based identifications, we find a species-rich assemblage characterized by a low degree of host specialization. Our method opens up new horizons for molecular analyses of fungus-associated interaction webs and communities. Fruiting bodies of fungi constitute an important resource for thousands of other taxa. The structure of these diverse assemblages has traditionally been studied with labour-intensive methods involving cultivation and morphology-based species identification, to which molecular information might offer convenient complements. To overcome challenges in DNA extraction and PCR associated with the complex chemical properties of fruiting bodies, we developed a pipeline applicable for extracting amplifiable total DNA from soft fungal samples of any size. Our protocol purifies DNA in two sequential steps: (a) initial salt–isopropanol extraction of all nucleic acids in the sample is followed by (b) an extra clean-up step using solid-phase reversible immobilization (SPRI) magnetic beads. The protocol proved highly efficient, with practically all of our samples—regardless of biomass or other properties—being successfully PCR-amplified using metabarcoding primers and subsequently sequenced. As a proof of concept, we apply our methods to address a topical ecological question: is host specificity a major characteristic of fungus-associated communities, that is, do different fungus species harbour different communities of associated organisms? Based on an analysis of 312 fungal fruiting bodies representing 10 species in five genera from three orders, we show that molecular methods are suitable for studying this rich natural microcosm. Comparing to previous knowledge based on rearing and morphology-based identifications, we find a species-rich assemblage characterized by a low degree of host specialization. Our method opens up new horizons for molecular analyses of fungus-associated interaction webs and communities.


Threats from the air: Damselfly predation on diverse prey taxa
Keywords: #Barcoding #CO1 #Predation pressure

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Vesterinen, E. J., Kaunisto, K., Tomas, R., Prof, Forbes, M., Morrill, A., Puisto, A., Sääksjärvi, I., Lilley, T., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2019). (Version 2, p. 1438406240 bytes) [Data set]. Dryad.  https://doi.org/10.5061/DRYAD.ZS7H44J4Z

Abstract
1. To understand the diversity and strength of predation in natural communities, researchers must quantify the total amount of prey species in the diet of predators. Metabarcoding approaches have allowed widespread characterization of predator diets with high taxonomic resolution. To determine the wider impacts of predators, researchers should combine DNA techniques with estimates of population size of predators using mark-release-recapture (MRR) methods, and with accurate metrics of food consumption by individuals.
2. Herein, we estimate the scale of predation exerted by four damselfly species on diverse prey taxa within a well-defined 12-ha study area, resolving the prey species of individual damselflies, to what extent the diets of predatory species overlap, and which fraction of the main prey populations are consumed.
3. We identify the taxonomic composition of diets using DNA metabarcoding and quantify damselfly population sizes by MRR. We also use predator-specific estimates of consumption rates, and independent data on prey emergence rates to estimate the collective predation pressure summed over all prey taxa and specific to their main prey (non-biting midges or chironomids) of the four damselfly species.
4. The four damselfly species collectively consumed a prey mass equivalent to roughly 870 (95% CL 410–1,800) grams, over two months. Each individual consumed 29%-66% (95% CL 9.4–123) of its body weight during its relatively short life span (2.1-4.7 days 95% CL 0.74–7.9) in the focal population. This predation pressure was widely distributed across the local invertebrate prey community, including 4 classes, 19 orders, and ca. 140 genera. Different predator species showed extensive overlap in diets, with an average of 30% of prey shared by at least two predator species.
5. Of the available prey individuals in the widely-consumed family Chironomidae, only a relatively small proportion (0.76%; 95% CL 0.35%–1.61%) were consumed.
6. Our synthesis of population sizes, per-capita consumption rates and taxonomic distribution of diets identifies damselflies as a comparatively minor predator group of aerial insects. As the next step, we should add estimates of predation by larger odonate species, and experimental removal of odonates, thereby establishing the full impact of odonate predation on prey communities.


2018

The importance of study duration and spatial scale in pathogen detection—Evidence from a tick-infested island. 
Sormunen, J. J., Klemola, T., Hänninen, J., Mäkelä, S., Vuorinen, I., Penttinen, R., Sääksjärvi, I. E., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2018). Emerging Microbes & Infections7(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41426-018-0188-9

Tick-borne pathogens in Finland: Comparison of Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus in sympatric and parapatric areas
Keywords: #Ixodes ricinus #Ixodes persulcatus #Borrelia burgdorferi #Rickettsia #“Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis” #Babesia #Anaplasma #Distribution #Sympatric #Parapatric
Laaksonen, M., Klemola, T., Feuth, E., Sormunen, J. J., Puisto, A., Mäkelä, S., Penttinen, R., Ruohomäki, K., Hänninen, J., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Vuorinen, I., Sprong, H., Hytönen, J., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2018). Parasites & Vectors11(1), 556. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-018-3131-y

Limited dietary overlap amongst resident Arctic herbivores in winter: Complementary insights from complementary methods
Schmidt, N. M., Mosbacher, J. B., Vesterinen, E. J., Roslin, T., & Michelsen, A. (2018). Oecologia187(3), 689–699. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-018-4147-x

High resistance towards herbivore-induced habitat change in a high Arctic arthropod community
Keywords: #Predator-prey #Araneae #Molecular diet analysis #Metabarcoding
Schmidt, N. M., Mosbacher, J. B., Eitzinger, B., Vesterinen, E. J., & Roslin, T. (2018). Biology Letters14(5), 20180054. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2018.0054

A cross-continental comparison of assemblages of seed- and fruit-feeding insects in tropical rain forests: Faunal composition and rates of attack
Keywords: #Convergence #Guid structure #Pulp eater #Seed predator #Seed rain #Seed syndrome #Species richness
Basset, Y., Dahl, C., Ctvrtecka, R., Gripenberg, S., Lewis, O. T., Segar, S. T., Klimes, P., Barrios, H., Brown, J. W., Bunyavejchewin, S., Butcher, B. A., Cognato, A. I., Davies, S., Kaman, O., Knizek, M., Miller, S. E., Morse, G. E., Novotny, V., Pongpattananurak, N., Pramual P., Quicke D. L. J., Robbins R. K., Sakchoowong W., Schutze M., Vesterinen E. J., Wang W., Wang Y., Weiblen G. & Wright, J. S. (2018). Journal of Biogeography45(6), 1395–1407. https://doi.org/10.1111/jbi.13211

Chlamydiales Bacterial Sequences in Lesional and Healthy Skin of Patients with Parapsoriasis
Hokynar, K., Salava, A., Vesterinen, E., Lauerma, A., Ranki, A., & Puolakkainen, M. (2018). Acta Dermato Venereologica98(9), 898–899. https://doi.org/10.2340/00015555-2999

Data from: Pellets of proof: First glimpse of the dietary composition of adult odonates as revealed by metabarcoding of feces
Keywords: #2015 #Damselfly #Dragonfly #Enallagma cyathigerum #Fecal DNA #Foodwed #Lestes sponsa #Sympetrum danae
Kaunisto, K. M., Roslin, T. L., Sääksjärvi, I. E., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2018). Dryad Datasethttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5n92p

Table for five, please: Dietary partitioning in boreal bats
Keywords: #Chiroptera #Dietary analysis #Metabarcoding #Prey size #Resource partitioning
Vesterinen, E. J., Puisto, A. I. E., Blomberg, A., & Lilley, T. M. (2018). Ecology and Evolution8, 10914–10937. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4559

2017

Pellets of proof: First glimpse of the dietary composition of adult odonates as revealed by metabarcoding of feces
Keywords: #16S #Cytochrome oxidase subunit I #damselfly #Diet #Dragonfly #Fecal DNA #Food wed #Illumina MiSeq #Odonata
Kaunisto, K. M., Roslin, T., Sääksjärvi, I. E., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2017). Ecology and Evolution7(20), 8588–8598. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.3404

DNA barcoding reveals widespread occurrence of Leptidea juvernica (Lepidoptera: Pieridae) in southern Finland
Lehtonen S, Lehtonen I, Teräs A, Varrela J, Virta P ja Vesterinen EJ (2017). Entomologisk Tidskrift 138:2 [JUFO 1]

Crowdsourcing-based nationwide tick collection reveals the distribution of Ixodes ricinus and I. persulcatus and associated pathogens in Finland
Keywords: #Borrelia burgdorferi #Borrelia miyamotoi #Crowdsourcing #Distribution #Ixodes persulcatus #Ixodes Ricinus #Tick-borne encephalitis virus #tick-borne pathogens
Laaksonen, M., Sajanti, E., Sormunen, J. J., Penttinen, R., Hänninen, J., Ruohomäki, K., Sääksjärvi, I., Vesterinen, E. J., Vuorinen, I., Hytönen, J., & Klemola, T. (2017). Emerging Microbes & Infections6(5), e31. https://doi.org/10.1038/emi.2017.17

Molecular Detection of Candidatus Bartonella mayotimonensis in North American Bats
Keywords: #Bartonella #Bats #Chiroptera #Endocarditis
Lilley, T. M., Wilson, C. A., Bernard, R. F., Willcox, E. V., Vesterinen, E. J., Webber, Q. M. R., Kurpiers, L., Prokkola, J. M., Ejotre, I., Kurta, A., Field, K. A., Reeder, D. M., & Pulliainen, A. T. (2017). Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseaseshttps://doi.org/10.1089/vbz.2016.2080

2016

Anaplasma phagocytophilum in questing Ixodes ricinus ticks in southwestern Finland
Sormunen, J. J., Penttinen, R., Klemola, T., Vesterinen, E. J., & Hänninen, J. (2016). Experimental and Applied Acarology70(4), 491–500. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10493-016-0093-7

Tick-borne bacterial pathogens in southwestern Finland
Keywords: #Ixodes ricinus #Ixodes persulcatus #Tick-borne diseases #Borrelia burgdorferi #Borrelia miyamotoi #Rickettsia #Bartonella #Candidatus Neoehrlichia mikurensis #Finland
Sormunen, J. J., Penttinen, R., Klemola, T., Hänninen, J., Vuorinen, I., Laaksonen, M., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Ruohomäki, K., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2016). Parasites & Vectors9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1449-x

Molecular evidence of Chlamydia-like organisms in the faeces of the bat Myotis daubentonii
Keywords: #Chlamydiales #bats #Myotis daubentonii #fecal DNA #qPCR #Arthropoda
Hokynar, K., Vesterinen, E. J., Lilley, T. M., Pulliainen, A. T., Korhonen, S. J., Paavonen, J., & Puolakkainen, M. (2016). Applied and Environmental Microbiology, AEM.02951-16. https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02951-16

Chlamydia-Like Organisms (CLOs) in Finnish Ixodes ricinus ticks and human skin
Keywords: #Chlamydiales #Chlamydia-like organisms (CLOs) #Tics #Phylogeny #16S rRNA #Skin
Hokynar, K., Sormunen, J., Vesterinen, E., Partio, E., Lilley, T., Timonen, V., Panelius, J., Ranki, A., & Puolakkainen, M. (2016). Microorganisms4(3), 28. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms4030028

What you need is what you eat? Prey selection by the bat Myotis daubentonii
Keywords: #Diet analysis #DNA barcoding #Insects #Myotis daubentoniid #Population ecology #Predator-prey interactions
Vesterinen, E. J., Ruokolainen, L., Wahlberg, N., Peña, C., Roslin, T., Laine, V. N., Vasko, V., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Norrdahl, K., & Lilley, T. M. (2016). Molecular Ecology25(7), 1581–1594. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.13564

Species and abundance of ectoparasitic flies (Diptera) in pied flycatcher nests in Fennoscandia
Keywords: #Blood parasites #Bird blowflies #Ectoparasite prevalence #Louse flies #Pied flycatcher
Eeva T, Andersson T, Berglund ÅMM, Brommer J, Hyvönen R, Klemola T, Laaksonen T, Loukola O, Morosinotto C, Rainio K, Sirkiä PM, Vesterinen EJ (2016). Parasites & Vectors 8:648. DOI: 10.1186/s13071-015-1267-6 [JUFO 1]

Assessing the abundance, seasonal questing activity, and Borrelia and tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) prevalence of Ixodes ricinus ticks in a Lyme borreliosis endemic area in Southwest Finland
Sormunen, J. J., Klemola, T., Vesterinen, E. J., Vuorinen, I., Hytönen, J., Hänninen, J., Ruohomäki, K., Sääksjärvi, I. E., Tonteri, E., & Penttinen, R. (2016). Ticks and Tick-Borne Diseases7(1), 208–215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2015.10.011

2015

Species and abundance of ectoparasitic flies (Diptera) in pied flycatcher nests in Fennoscandia
Keywords: #Blood parasites #Bird blowflies #Ectoparasite prevalence #Louse flies #Pied flycatcher
Eeva, T., Andersson, T., Berglund, Å. M. M., Brommer, J. E., Hyvönen, R., Klemola, T., Laaksonen, T., Loukola, O., Morosinotto, C., Rainio, K., Sirkiä, P. M., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2015). Parasites & Vectors8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-015-1267-6

Exposing the structure of an Arctic food web
Keywords: #Calidris #DNA barcoding #Generalism #Greenland #Hymenoptera #Molecular diet analysis #Pardosa #Plectrophenax #Specialism #Xysticus
Wirta, H. K., Vesterinen, E. J., Hambäck, P. A., Weingartner, E., Rasmussen, C., Reneerkens, J., Schmidt, N. M., Gilg, O., & Roslin, T. (2015). Ecology and Evolution5(17), 3842–3856. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1647

Food Webs in the Era of Molecular Revolution – Like Resolving the Gordian Knot With a Tricorder ?
Vesterinen, E. J. (2015a).
Food webs in the era of molecular revolution–Like resolving the Gordian knot with a tricorder
Vesterinen, E. J. (2015b). [University of Turku]. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-29-6301-0

2014

Communities of Galling Insects on Neoboutonia macrocalyx Trees in Continuous Forests and Remnants of Forest Fragments in Kibale, Uganda
Keywords: #Afrotropical gallers #Cecidomyiidae #Deforestation #Fragment characteristics #Galler assemblage #Habitat fragmentation #Island biogeography #Metapopulation theory #Psyllidae #Species richness
Malinga, G. M., Valtonen, A., Vesterinen, E. J., Nyeko, P., & Roininen, H. (2014). African Entomology22(4), 742–754. https://doi.org/10.4001/003.022.0421

Bottom-up impact on the cecidomyiid leaf galler and its parasitism in a tropical rainforest
Malinga, G. M., Valtonen, A., Nyeko, P., Vesterinen, E. J., & Roininen, H. (2014). Oecologia176(2), 511–520. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-014-3024-5

Bats as reservoir hosts of human bacterial pathogen, Bartonella mayotimonensis
Veikkolainen, V., Vesterinen, E. J., Lilley, T. M., & Pulliainen, A. T. (2014). Emerging Infectious Diseases20(6), 960–967. https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2006.130956

2013

Next generation sequencing of fecal DNA reveals the dietary diversity of the widespread insectivorous predator Daubenton’s bat (Myotis daubentonii) in southwestern Finland
Vesterinen, E. J., Lilley, T., Laine, V. N., & Wahlberg, N. (2013). PLoS ONE8(11), e82168. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0082168

2012

Palaearctic region (Diptera, Tipulidae)
Keywords: #Crane flies #Tipulinae #Finland #Russia #COI
Pilipenko, V., Salmela, J., & Vesterinen, E. (2012). ZooKeys192(0), 51–65. https://doi.org/10.3897/zookeys.192.2364

Sediment organic tin contamination promotes impoverishment of non-biting midge species communities in the Archipelago Sea, S-W Finland
Lilley, T., Ruokolainen, L., Vesterinen, E., Paasivirta, L., & Norrdahl, K. (2012). Ecotoxicology21(5), 1333–1344. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10646-012-0887-2

A taxonomic study of the caddisfly Oxyethira falcata Morton, 1893 (Trichoptera: Hydroptilidae) using genital morphology and DNA barcoding
Salokannel, J., Wahlberg, N., Vesterinen, E. J., Martinez, J., & González, M. (2012). Entomologica Fennica23(4), 199–205.

First record of an indoor pest sawtoothed grain beetle Oryzaephilus surinamensis (Coleoptera: Silvanidae) from wild outdoor wood ant nest
Sorvari, J., Härkönen, S., & Vesterinen, E. J. (2012). Entomologica Fennica23(2), 69–71.