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Title Date Issued Date Released Description
Data from: Moderation is best: effects of grazing intensity on plant-flower visitor networks in Mediterranean communities
09-03-2015 08-04-2016
The structure of pollination networks is an important indicator of ecosystem stability and functioning. Livestock grazing is a frequent land use practice that directly affects the abundance and diversity of flowers and pollinators and, therefore, may indirectly affect the structure of pollination networks. Here we studied how grazing intensity affected the structure of plant-flower visitor networks along a wide range of grazing intensities by sheep and goats, using data from 11 Mediterranean plant-flower visitor communities from Lesvos Island, Greece. We hypothesized that intermediate grazing might result in higher diversity as predicted by the Intermediate Disturbance Hypothesis, which could in turn confer more stability to the networks. Indeed, we found that networks at intermediate grazing intensities were larger, more generalized, more modular, and contained more diverse and even interactions. Despite general responses at the network level, the number of interactions and selectiveness of particular flower visitor and plant taxa in the networks responded differently to grazing intensity, presumably as a consequence of variation in the abundance of different taxa with grazing. Our results highlight the benefit of maintaining moderate levels of livestock grazing by sheep and goats to preserve the complexity and biodiversity of the rich Mediterranean communities, which have a long history of grazing by these domestic animals.
Data from: Socially selected ornaments and fitness: signals of fighting ability in paper wasps are positively associated with survival, reproductive success, and rank
10-12-2015 11-21-2015
Many animals have ornaments that mediate choice and competition in social and sexual contexts. Individuals with elaborate sexual ornaments typically have higher fitness than those with less elaborate ornaments, but less is known about whether socially selected ornaments are associated with fitness. Here, we test the relationship between fitness and facial patterns that are a socially-selected signal of fighting ability in Polistes dominula wasps. We found wasps that signal higher fighting ability have larger nests, are more likely to survive harsh winters, and obtain higher dominance rank than wasps that signal lower fighting ability. In comparison, body weight was not associated with fitness. Larger wasps were dominant over smaller wasps, but showed no difference nest size or survival. Overall, the positive relationship between wasp facial patterns and fitness indicates that receivers can obtain diverse information about a signaler's phenotypic quality by paying attention to socially selected ornaments. Therefore, there are surprisingly strong parallels between the information conveyed by socially and sexually selected signals. Similar fitness relationships in social and sexually selected signals may be one reason it can be difficult to distinguish the role of social versus sexual selection in ornament evolution.
Data from: Species turnover (β diversity) in ectomycorrhizal fungi linked to NH4+ uptake capacity
10-28-2015 02-29-2016
Ectomycorrhizal (EcM) fungal communities may be shaped by both deterministic and stochastic processes, potentially influencing ecosystem development and function. We evaluated community assembly processes for EcM fungi of Pseudotsuga menziesii among 12 sites up to 400 km apart in southwest British Columbia (Canada) by investigating species turnover (β diversity) in relation to soil nitrogen (N) availability and physical distance. We then examined functional traits for an N-related niche by quantifying net fluxes of NH4+, NO3- and protons on excised root tips from three contrasting sites using a microelectrode ion flux measurement system. EcM fungal communities were well aligned with soil N availability and pH, with no effect of site proximity (distance-decay curve) on species assemblages. Species turnover was significant (β1/2 = 1.48) along soil N gradients, with many more Tomentella species on high-N than low-N soils, in contrast to Cortinarius species. Ammonium uptake was greatest in the spring on the medium and rich sites, and averaged over 190 nmol m−2 s−1 for Tomentella species. The lowest uptake rates of NH4+ were by non-mycorrhizal roots of axenically grown seedlings (10 nmol m−2 s−1), followed by Cortinarius species (60 nmol m−2 s−1). EcM roots from all sites displayed only marginal uptake of nitrate (8.3 nmol m−2 s−1). These results suggest NH4+ uptake capacity is an important functional trait influencing the assembly of EcM fungal communities. The diversity of EcM fungal species across the region arguably provides critical belowground adaptations to organic and inorganic N supply that are integral to temperate rainforest ecology.
Data from: Combining phylogenomic and supermatrix approaches, and a time-calibrated phylogeny for squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) based on 52 genes and 4162 species
10-22-2015 12-28-2015
Two common approaches for estimating phylogenies in species-rich groups are to: (i) sample many loci for few species (e.g. phylogenomic approach), or (ii) sample many species for fewer loci (e.g. supermatrix approach). In theory, these approaches can be combined to simultaneously resolve both higher-level relationships (with many genes) and species-level relationships (with many taxa). However, fundamental questions remain unanswered about this combined approach. First, will higher-level relationships more closely resemble those estimated from many genes or those from many taxa? Second, will branch support increase for higher-level relationships (relative to the estimate from many taxa)? Here, we address these questions in squamate reptiles. We combined two recently published datasets, one based on 44 genes for 161 species, and one based on 12 genes for 4161 species. The likelihood-based tree from the combined matrix (52 genes, 4162 species) shared more higher-level clades with the 44-gene tree (90% vs. 77% shared). Branch support for higher level-relationships was marginally higher than in the 12-gene tree, but lower than in the 44-gene tree. Relationships were apparently not obscured by the abundant missing data (92% overall). We provide a time-calibrated phylogeny based on extensive sampling of genes and taxa as a resource for comparative studies.
Data from: Ancient mitochondrial genomes clarify the evolutionary history of New Zealand’s enigmatic acanthisittid wrens
05-31-2016 07-27-2016
The New Zealand acanthisittid wrens are the sister-taxon to all other “perching birds” (Passeriformes) and – including recently extinct species – represent the most diverse endemic passerine family in New Zealand. Consequently, they are important for understanding both the early evolution of Passeriformes and the New Zealand biota. However, five of the seven species have become extinct since the arrival of humans in New Zealand, complicating evolutionary analyses. The results of morphological analyses have been largely equivocal, and no comprehensive genetic analysis of Acanthisittidae has been undertaken. We present novel mitochondrial genome sequences from four acanthisittid species (three extinct, one extant), allowing us to resolve the phylogeny and revise the taxonomy of acanthisittids. Reanalysis of morphological data in light of our genetic results confirms a close relationship between the extant rifleman (Acanthisitta chloris) and an extinct Miocene wren (Kuiornis indicator), making Kuiornis a useful calibration point for molecular dating of passerines. Our molecular dating analyses reveal that the stout-legged wrens (Pachyplichas) diverged relatively recently from a more gracile (Xenicus-like) ancestor. Further, our results suggest a possible Early Oligocene origin of the basal Lyall’s wren (Traversia) lineage, which would imply that Acanthisittidae survived the Oligocene marine inundation of New Zealand and therefore that the inundation was not complete.
Data from: Vervet monkeys use paths consistent with context-specific spatial movement heuristics
10-05-2015 10-28-2015
Animal foraging routes are analogous to the computationally demanding “traveling salesman problem” (TSP), where individuals must find the shortest path among several locations before returning to the start. Humans approximate solutions to TSPs using simple heuristics or “rules of thumb,” but our knowledge of how other animals solve multidestination routing problems is incomplete. Most nonhuman primate species have shown limited ability to route plan. However, captive vervets were shown to solve a TSP for six sites. These results were consistent with either planning three steps ahead or a risk-avoidance strategy. I investigated how wild vervet monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) solved a path problem with six, equally rewarding food sites; where site arrangement allowed assessment of whether vervets found the shortest route and/or used paths consistent with one of three simple heuristics to navigate. Single vervets took the shortest possible path in fewer than half of the trials, usually in ways consistent with the most efficient heuristic (the convex hull). When in competition, vervets' paths were consistent with different, more efficient heuristics dependent on their dominance rank (a cluster strategy for dominants and the nearest neighbor rule for subordinates). These results suggest that, like humans, vervets may solve multidestination routing problems by applying simple, adaptive, context-specific “rules of thumb.” The heuristics that were consistent with vervet paths in this study are the same as some of those asserted to be used by humans. These spatial movement strategies may have common evolutionary roots and be part of a universal mental navigational toolkit. Alternatively, they may have emerged through convergent evolution as the optimal way to solve multidestination routing problems.
Data from: The selective myosin II inhibitor blebbistatin reversibly eliminates gastrovascular flow and stolon tip pulsations in the colonial hydroid Podocoryna carnea
11-25-2015 12-22-2015
Blebbistatin reversibly disrupted both stolon tip pulsations and gastrovascular flow in the colonial hydroid Podocoryna carnea. Epithelial longitudinal muscles of polyps were unaffected by blebbistatin, as polyps contracted when challenged with a pulse of KCl. Latrunculin B, which sequesters G actin preventing F actin assembly, caused stolons to retract, exposing focal adhesions where the tip epithelial cells adhere to the substratum. These results are consistent with earlier suggestions that non-muscle myosin II provides the motive force for stolon tip pulsations and further suggest that tip oscillations are functionally coupled to hydrorhizal axial muscle contraction.
Data from: Continuous theta burst stimulation over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex decreases medium load working memory performance in healthy humans
03-17-2015 09-23-2015
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays a key role in working memory. Evidence indicates that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) over the DLPFC can interfere with working memory performance. Here we investigated for how long continuous theta-burst stimulation (cTBS) over the DLPFC decreases working memory performance and whether the effect of cTBS on performance depends on working memory load. Forty healthy young subjects received either cTBS over the left DLPFC or sham stimulation before performing a 2-, and 3-back working memory letter task. An additional 0-back condition served as a non-memory-related control, measuring general attention. cTBS over the left DLPFC significantly impaired 2-back working memory performance for about 15 min, whereas 3-back and 0-back performances were not significantly affected. Our results indicate that the effect of left DLPFC cTBS on working memory performance lasts for roughly 15 min and depends on working memory load.
Data from: Perceptual expertise in forensic facial image comparison
09-02-2015 09-24-2015
Forensic facial identification examiners are required to match the identity of faces in images that vary substantially, owing to changes in viewing conditions and in a person's appearance. These identifications affect the course and outcome of criminal investigations and convictions. Despite calls for research on sources of human error in forensic examination, existing scientific knowledge of face matching accuracy is based, almost exclusively, on people without formal training. Here, we administered three challenging face matching tests to a group of forensic examiners with many years' experience of comparing face images for law enforcement and government agencies. Examiners outperformed untrained participants and computer algorithms, thereby providing the first evidence that these examiners are experts at this task. Notably, computationally fusing responses of multiple experts produced near-perfect performance. Results also revealed qualitative differences between expert and non-expert performance. First, examiners' superiority was greatest at longer exposure durations, suggestive of more entailed comparison in forensic examiners. Second, experts were less impaired by image inversion than non-expert students, contrasting with face memory studies that show larger face inversion effects in high performers. We conclude that expertise in matching identity across unfamiliar face images is supported by processes that differ qualitatively from those supporting memory for individual faces.
Data from: Novel genetic capacitors and potentiators for the natural genetic variation of sensory bristles and their trait-specificity in Drosophila
10-06-2015 02-24-2016
Cryptic genetic variation (CGV) is defined as the genetic variation that has little effect on phenotypic variation under a normal condition, but contributes to heritable variation under environmental or genetic perturbations. Genetic buffering systems that suppress the expression of CGV and store it in a population are called genetic capacitors, and the opposite systems are called genetic potentiators. One of the best-known candidates for a genetic capacitor and potentiator is the molecular chaperone protein, HSP90, and one of its characteristics is that it affects the genetic variation in various morphological traits. However, it remains unclear whether the wide-ranging effects of HSP90 on a broad range of traits are a general feature of genetic capacitors and potentiators. In the current study, I searched for novel genetic capacitors and potentiators for quantitative bristle traits of Drosophila melanogaster, and then investigate the trait-specificity of their genetic buffering effect. Three bristle traits of D. melanogaster were used as the target traits, and the genomic regions with genetic buffering effects were screened using the 61 genomic deficiencies examined previously for genetic buffering effects in wing shape. As a result, four and six deficiencies with significant effects on increasing and decreasing the broad-sense heritability of the bristle traits were identified, respectively. Of the 18 deficiencies with significant effects detected in the current study and/or by the previous study, 14 showed trait-specific effects, and four affected the genetic buffering of both bristle traits and wing shape. This suggests that most genetic capacitors and potentiators exert trait-specific effects, but that general capacitors and potentiators with effects on multiple traits also exist.
Data from: Lack of spatial immunogenetic structure among wolverine (Gulo gulo) populations suggestive of broad scale balancing selection
10-08-2015 10-16-2015
Elucidating the adaptive genetic potential of wildlife populations to environmental selective pressures is fundamental for species conservation. Genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are highly polymorphic, and play a key role in the adaptive immune response against pathogens. MHC polymorphism has been linked to balancing selection or heterogeneous selection promoting local adaptation. However, spatial patterns of MHC polymorphism are also influenced by gene flow and drift. Wolverines are highly vagile, inhabiting varied ecoregions that include boreal forest, taiga, tundra, and high alpine ecosystems. Here, we investigated the immunogenetic variation of wolverines in Canada as a surrogate for identifying local adaptation by contrasting the genetic structure at MHC relative to the structure at 11 neutral microsatellites to account for gene flow and drift. Evidence of historical positive selection was detected at MHC using maximum likelihood codon-based methods. Bayesian and multivariate cluster analyses revealed weaker population genetic differentiation at MHC relative to the increasing microsatellite genetic structure towards the eastern wolverine distribution. Mantel correlations of MHC against geographical distances showed no pattern of isolation by distance (IBD: r = -0.03, p = 0.9), whereas for microsatellites we found a relatively strong and significant IBD (r = 0.54, p = 0.01). Moreover, we found a significant correlation between microsatellite allelic richness and the mean number of MHC alleles, but we did not observe low MHC diversity in small populations. Overall these results suggest that MHC polymorphism has been influenced primarily by balancing selection and to a lesser extent by neutral processes such as genetic drift, with no clear evidence for local adaptation. This study contributes to our understanding of how vulnerable populations of wolverines may respond to selective pressures across their range.
Data from: Selection on bristle length has the ability to drive the evolution of male abdominal appendages in the sepsid fly Themira biloba
10-05-2015 07-07-2016
Many exaggerated and novel traits are strongly influenced by sexual selection. Although sexual selection is a powerful evolutionary force, underlying genetic interactions can constrain evolutionary outcomes. The relative strength of selection vs. constraint has been a matter of debate for the evolution of male abdominal appendages in sepsid flies. These abdominal appendages are involved in courtship and mating, but their function has not been directly tested. We performed mate choice experiments to determine whether sexual selection acts on abdominal appendages in the sepsid Themira biloba. We tested whether appendage bristle length influenced successful insemination by surgically trimming the bristles. Females paired with males that had shortened bristles laid only unfertilized eggs, indicating that long bristles are necessary for successful insemination. We also tested whether the evolution of bristle length was constrained by phenotypic correlations with other traits. Analyses of phenotypic covariation indicated that bristle length was highly correlated with other abdominal appendage traits, but was not correlated with abdominal sternite size. Thus, abdominal appendages are not exaggerated traits like many sexual ornaments, but vary independently from body size. At the same time, strong correlations between bristle length and appendage length suggest that selection on bristle length is likely to result in a correlated increase in appendage length. Bristle length is under sexual selection in T. biloba and has the potential to evolve independently from abdomen size.
Data from: Phylogenetic placement of the unusual jumping spider Depreissia Lessert, and a new synapomorphy uniting Hisponinae and Salticinae (Araneae, Salticidae)
01-05-2016 01-08-2016
The relationships of the unusual salticid spider Depreissia from central Africa and Borneo have been difficult to resolve, obscured by its highly modified ant-like body. Phylogenetic analysis of the gene 28S strongly supports its placement outside the major clade Salticinae and within the clade of cocalodines, spartaeines and lapsiines, with weaker support for a relationship with the cocalodines in particular. Excluding the genus from the Salticinae is supported also by the presence of a median apophysis on the male palp, and by the lack of a cymbial apical groove cradling the tip of embolus, which is newly presented here as a synapomorphy of Hisponinae plus Salticinae.
Data from: Regulatory RNA at the root of animals: dynamic expression of developmental lincRNAs in the calcisponge Sycon ciliatum
12-23-2015 01-14-2016
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) play important regulatory roles during animal development, and it has been hypothesized that an RNA-based gene regulation has been important for the evolution of developmental complexity in animals. However, most studies of lncRNA gene regulation have been performed using model animal species, and very little is known about this type of gene regulation in non-bilaterians. We have therefore analyzed RNA-Seq data derived from a comprehensive set of embryogenesis stages in the calcareous sponge Sycon ciliatum and identified hundreds of developmentally expressed intergenic lncRNAs (lincRNAs) in this species. In situ hybridization of selected lincRNAs revealed dynamic spatial and temporal expression during embryonic development. More than 600 lincRNAs constitute integral parts of differentially expressed gene modules, which also contain known developmental regulatory genes, e.g. transcription factors and signaling molecules. This study provides insight into the non-coding gene repertoire of one of the earliest evolved animal lineages, and suggests that RNA-based gene regulation was likely present in the last common ancestor of animals.
Data from: Phylogeographic pattern of range expansion provides evidence for cryptic species lineages in Silene nutans in Western Europe
12-09-2015 03-09-2016
As a result of recent or past evolutionary processes, a single species might consist of distinct Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs), even corresponding to cryptic species. Determining the underlying mechanisms of range shifts and the processes at work in the build-up of divergent ESUs requires elucidating the factors that contribute to population genetic divergence across a species’ range. We investigated the large-scale patterns of genetic structure in the perennial herbaceous plant species Silene nutans (Caryophyllaceae) in Western Europe. We sampled and genotyped 111 populations using 13 nuclear microsatellite loci and 6 plastid single-nucleotide polymorphisms. Broad-scale spatial population genetic structure was examined using Bayesian clustering, spatial multivariate analyses and measures of hierarchical genetic differentiation. The genotypic structure of S. nutans was typical of a predominantly allogamous mating system. We also identified plastid lineages with no intra-population polymorphism, mirroring two genetically differentiated nuclear lineages. No evidence of admixture was found. Spatial trends in genetic diversity further suggested independent leading-edge expansion associated with founding events and subsequent genetic erosion. Overall, our findings suggested speciation processes in S. nutans and highlighted striking patterns of distinct stepwise recolonisation of Western Europe shaped by Quaternary climate oscillations. Two main potential ESUs can be defined in Western Europe, corresponding to Eastern and Western nuclear-plastid lineages. In situ preservation of populations and genetic rescue implying ex situ conservation techniques should take the lineage identity into account. This is particularly true in Great Britain, northern France and Belgium, where S. nutans is rare and where distinct lineages co-occur in close contact.
Data from: Estimating cranial musculoskeletal constraints in theropod dinosaurs
11-04-2015 12-08-2015
Many inferences on the biology, behaviour and ecology of extinct vertebrates are based on the reconstruction of the musculature and rely considerably on its accuracy. Although the advent of digital reconstruction techniques has facilitated the creation and testing of musculoskeletal hypotheses in recent years, muscle strain capabilities have rarely been considered. Here, a digital modelling approach using the freely available visualization and animation software BLENDER is applied to estimate cranial muscle length changes and optimal and maximal possible gape in different theropod dinosaurs. Models of living archosaur taxa (Alligator mississippiensis, Buteo buteo) were used in an extant phylogenetically bracketed framework to validate the method. Results of this study demonstrate that Tyrannosaurus rex, Allosaurus fragilis and Erlikosaurus andrewsi show distinct differences in the recruitment of the jaw adductor musculature and resulting gape, confirming previous dietary and ecological assumptions. While the carnivorous taxa T. rex and Allo. fragilis were capable of a wide gape and sustained muscle force, the herbivorous therizinosaurian E. andrewsi was constrained to small gape angles.
Data from: Camouflaged or tanned: plasticity in freshwater snail pigmentation
09-18-2013 09-30-2015
By having phenotypically plastic traits, such as morphology, behaviour and life history, many organisms optimise their fitness in response to fluctuating threats. Freshwater snails with translucent shells, e.g. snails from the Radix genus, differ considerably in their mantle pigmentation patterns, with snails from the same water body ranging from completely dark pigmented to only a few dark patterns. These pigmentation differences have previously been suggested to be genetically fixed, but we suggest that this polymorphism is due to phenotypic plasticity in response to a fluctuating environment. Hence, we here aimed at assessing if common stressors, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and predation, induce a plastic response in mantle pigmentation patterns of Radix balthica. We show, in contrast to previous studies, that snails are plastic in their expression of mantle pigmentation in response to changes in UVR and predator threats, i.e. differences among species or populations are not genetically fixed. When exposed to cues from visually hunting fish, R. balthica increased the proportion of their dark pigmentation, suggesting a crypsis strategy. Snails increased their pigmentation even further in response to UVR, but this also lead to reduced complexity of the patterns. Furthermore, when exposed to UVR and fish, snails responded in the same way as in the UVR treatment, suggesting a trade-off between photoprotection and crypsis.
Data from: The evolution of bat nucleic acid sensing Toll-like receptors
10-21-2015 02-26-2016
We characterized the nucleic acid sensing Toll-like receptors (TLR) of a New World bat species, the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), and through a comparative molecular evolutionary approach searched for general adaptation patterns among the nucleic acid sensing TLRs of eight different bats species belonging to three families (Pteropodidae, Vespertilionidae and Phyllostomidae). We found that the bat TLRs are evolving slowly and mostly under purifying selection and that the divergence pattern of such receptors is overall congruent with the species tree, consistent with the evolution of many other mammalian nuclear genes. However, the chiropteran TLRs exhibited unique mutations fixed in ligand binding sites, some of which involved non-conservative amino acid changes and/or targets of positive selection. Such changes could potentially modify protein function and ligand biding properties, as some changes were predicted to alter nucleic acid binding motifs in TLR 9. Moreover, evidence for episodic diversifying selection acting specifically upon the bat lineage and sub lineages was detected. Thus, the long-term adaptation of chiropterans to a wide variety of environments and ecological niches with different pathogen profiles is likely to have shaped the evolution of the bat TLRs in an order-specific manner. The observed evolutionary patterns provide evidence for potential functional differences between bat and other mammalian TLRs in terms of resistance to specific pathogens or recognition of nucleic acids in general.
Data from: Resource base influences genome-wide DNA methylation levels in wild baboons (Papio cynocephalus)
10-28-2015 09-27-2016
Variation in resource availability commonly exerts strong effects on fitness-related traits in wild animals. However, we know little about the molecular mechanisms that mediate these effects, or about their persistence over time. To address these questions, we profiled genome-wide whole blood DNA methylation levels in two sets of wild baboons: (i) ‘wild-feeding’ baboons that foraged naturally in a savanna environment and (ii) ‘Lodge’ baboons that had ready access to spatially concentrated human food scraps, resulting in high feeding efficiency and low daily travel distances. We identified 1,014 sites (0.20% of sites tested) that were differentially methylated between wild-feeding and Lodge baboons, providing the first evidence that resource availability shapes the epigenome in a wild mammal. Differentially methylated sites tended to occur in contiguous stretches (i.e., in differentially methylated regions or DMRs), in promoters and enhancers, and near metabolism-related genes, supporting their functional importance in gene regulation. In agreement, reporter assay experiments confirmed that methylation at the largest identified DMR, located in the promoter of a key glycolysis-related gene, was sufficient to causally drive changes in gene expression. Intriguingly, all dispersing males carried a consistent epigenetic signature of their membership in a wild-feeding group, regardless of whether males dispersed into or out of this group as adults. Together, our findings support a role for DNA methylation in mediating ecological effects on phenotypic traits in the wild, and emphasize the dynamic environmental sensitivity of DNA methylation levels across the life course.
Data from: Conservation and modification of genetic and physiological toolkits underpinning diapause in bumble bee queens
10-10-2015 02-24-2016
Diapause is the key adaptation allowing insects to survive unfavorable conditions and inhabit an array of environments. Physiological changes during diapause are largely conserved across species, and are hypothesized to be regulated by a conserved suite of genes (a “toolkit”). Furthermore, it is hypothesized that in social insects, this toolkit was co-opted to mediate caste differentiation between long-lived, reproductive, diapause-capable queens and short-lived, sterile workers. Using Bombus terrestris queens we examined the physiological and transcriptomic changes associated with diapause and CO2 treatment, which causes queens to bypass diapause. We performed comparative analyses with genes previously identified to be associated with diapause in the Dipteran Sarcophaga crassipalpis and with caste differentiation in bumble bees. As in Diptera, diapause in bumble bees is associated with physiological and transcriptional changes related to nutrient storage, stress resistance and core metabolic pathways. There is a significant overlap, both at the level of transcript and gene ontology, between the genetic mechanisms mediating diapause in B. terrestris and S. crassipalpis, reaffirming the existence of a conserved insect diapause genetic toolkit. However, a substantial proportion (10%) of the differentially regulated transcripts in diapausing queens have no clear orthologs in other species, and key players regulating diapause in Diptera (juvenile hormone and vitellogenin) appear to have distinct functions in bumble bees. We also found a substantial overlap between genes related to caste determination and diapause in bumble bees. Thus, our studies demonstrate an intriguing interplay between pathways underpinning adaptation to environmental extremes and the evolution of sociality in insects.