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Influencia diferencial de la expresión de Slc7a11 y la condición corporal sobre la pigmentación producida por feomelanina en dos poblaciones de trepador azul Sitta europea con diferente riesgo de depredación

The expression of the gene Slc7a11 promotes the antioxidant capacity of cells by providing them with cysteine that can be used for the synthesis of glutathione (GSH), the most important intracellular antioxidant. In melanocytes, intracellular cysteine can also enter melanosomes and get incorporated in the pigment pheomelanin synthesis pathway, thus decreasing cysteine availability for GSH synthesis and potentially creating chronic oxidative stress. Therefore, this study hypothesized that a mechanism limiting the use of intramelanocytic cysteine for pheomelanin synthesis in environmental conditions generating oxidative stress may be physiologically advantageous and favored by natural selection. Evidence we searched of such a mechanism by comparing the influence of melanocytic Slc7a11 expression on pheomelanin?based pigmentation in developing Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaea nestlings from two populations differing in predation risk, a natural source of oxidative stress. Pheomelanin synthesis and pigmentation tended to increase with Slc7a11 expression in the low?risk population as expected from the activity of this gene, but decreased with Slc7a11 expression in the high?risk population. The same was not observed in the expression of five other genes influencing pheomelanin synthesis without affecting cysteine availability in melanocytes. The influence of body condition on the intensity of pheomelanin?based pigmentation also differed between populations, being positive in the low?risk population and negative in the high?risk population. The resulting pigmentation of birds was more intense in the high?risk population. These findings suggest that birds perceiving high predation risk may limit the use of cysteine for pheomelanin synthesis, which becomes independent of Slc7a11 expression. Some birds may have thus evolved the ability to adjust their pigmentation phenotype to environmental stress. informacion[at] Galván & Sanz (2020) Differential influence of Slc7a11 expression and body condition on pheomelanin-based pigmentation in two Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaea populations with different predation risk. J Avian Biol DOI 10.1111/jav.02275
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Use of commercial bumble bees as pollinators in the strawberry “Fortuna” crops does not enhance crop yield

Use of commercial bumble bees as pollinators in the strawberry "Fortuna" crops does not enhance crop yield

Animal-mediated pollination is essential for the production and quality of fruits and seeds of many crops consumed by humans. However, crop pollination services might be compromised when wild pollinators are scarce. Managed pollinators are commonly used in crops to supplement such services with the assumption that they will enhance crop yield. However, information on the spatiotemporal pollinator-dependence of crops is still limited. The contribution of commercial bumble bee colonies compared to the available pollinator community on strawberry (‘Fortuna' variety) flower visitation and strawberry quality across a landscape gradient of agricultural intensification (i.e. polytunnel berry crop cover) was assessed. Colonies of bumble bees were used in winter and in spring, i.e. when few and most wild pollinators are in their flight period, respectively. The placement of colonies increased visits of bumble bees to strawberry flowers, especially in winter. The use of bumble bee colonies did not affect flower visitation by other insects, mainly honey bees, hoverflies and other Diptera. Flower visitation by both honey bees and wild insects did not vary between seasons and was unrelated to the landscape gradient of berry crop cover. Strawberries were of the highest quality (i.e. weight) when insect-mediated pollination was allowed, and their quality was positively related to wild flower visitors in winter but not in spring. However, increased visits to strawberry flowers by managed bumble bees and honey bees had no effect on strawberry weight. These results suggest that the pollination services producing high quality strawberry fruits are provided by the flower visitor community present in the study region without the need to use managed bumble bees. informacion[at] Trillo et al (2018) Managed bumble bees increase flower visitation but not fruit weight in polytunnel strawberry crops. Basic Appl Ecol. Doi 10.1016/j.baae.2018.05.008