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See detailHearing capacities and morphology of the auditory system in Serrasalmidae (Teleostei: Otophysi)
Melotte, Geoffrey ULiege; Parmentier, Eric ULiege; Michel, Christian ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2018)

Like all otophysan fishes, serrasalmids (piranhas and relatives) possess a Weberian apparatus that improves their hearing capacities. We compared the hearing abilities among eight species of serrasalmids ... [more ▼]

Like all otophysan fishes, serrasalmids (piranhas and relatives) possess a Weberian apparatus that improves their hearing capacities. We compared the hearing abilities among eight species of serrasalmids having different life-history traits: herbivorous vs. carnivorous and vocal vs. mute species. We also made 3D reconstructions of the auditory system to detect potential morphological variations associated with hearing ability. The hearing structures were similar in overall shape and position. All the species hear in the same frequency range and only slight differences were found in hearing thresholds. The eight species have their range of best hearing in the lower frequencies (50–900 Hz). In vocal serrasalmids, the range of best hearing covers the frequency spectrum of their sounds. However, the broad overlap in hearing thresholds among species having different life-history traits (herbivorous vs. carnivorous and vocal vs. non-vocal species) suggests that hearing ability is likely not related to the capacity to emit acoustic signals or to the diet, i.e. the ability to detect sounds is not associated with a given kind of food. The inner ear appears to be highly conservative in this group suggesting that it is shaped by phylogenetic history or by other kinds of constraints such as predator avoidance. [less ▲]

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See detailHuman brain patterns underlying vigilant attention: impact of sleep debt, circadian phase and attentional engagement
Maire, Micheline; Reichert, Carolin Franziska; Gabel, Virginie et al

in Scientific Reports (2018), 8(1), 970

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See detailLandmark detection in 2D bioimages for geometric morphometrics: a multi-resolution tree-based approach.
Vandaele, Rémy ULiege; Aceto, Jessica; Muller, Marc ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2018), 8(1), 538

The detection of anatomical landmarks in bioimages is a necessary but tedious step for geometric morphometrics studies in many research domains. We propose variants of a multi-resolution tree-based ... [more ▼]

The detection of anatomical landmarks in bioimages is a necessary but tedious step for geometric morphometrics studies in many research domains. We propose variants of a multi-resolution tree-based approach to speed-up the detection of landmarks in bioimages. We extensively evaluate our method variants on three different datasets (cephalometric, zebrafish, and drosophila images). We identify the key method parameters (notably the multi-resolution) and report results with respect to human ground truths and existing methods. Our method achieves recognition performances competitive with current existing approaches while being generic and fast. The algorithms are integrated in the open-source Cytomine software and we provide parameter configuration guidelines so that they can be easily exploited by end-users. Finally, datasets are readily available through a Cytomine server to foster future research. [less ▲]

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See detailInvasive plants as potential food resource for native pollinators: A case study with two invasive species and a generalist bumble bee
Drossart, Maxime; Michez, Denis; Vanderplanck, Maryse ULiege

in Scientific Reports (2017)

It is now well established that invasive plants may induce drifts in the quantity and/or quality of floral resources. They are then often pointed out as a potential driver of bee decline. However, their ... [more ▼]

It is now well established that invasive plants may induce drifts in the quantity and/or quality of floral resources. They are then often pointed out as a potential driver of bee decline. However, their impact on bee population remains quite unclear and still controversial, as bee responses are highly variable among species. Here, we compared the amino acid composition of pollen from three native and two invasive plant species included in diets of common pollinators in NW Europe. Moreover, the nutritional intake (i.e., pollen and amino acid intakes) of Bombus terrestris colonies and the pollen foraging behaviour of workers (i.e., visiting rate, number of foraging trips, weight of pollen loads) were considered. We found significant differences in pollen nutrients among the studied species according to the plant invasive behaviour. We also found significant differences in pollen foraging behaviour according to the plant species, from few to several foraging trips carrying small or large pollen loads. Such behavioural differences directly impacted the pollen intake but depended more likely on plant morphology rather than on plant invasive behaviour. These results suggest that common generalist bumble bees might not always suffer from plant invasions, depending on their behavioural plasticity and nutritional requirements. [less ▲]

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See detailFunctional characterization of the PHT1 family transporters of foxtail millet with a novel Agrobacterium-mediated transformation procedure
Stanislaus, Antony Ceasar ULiege; Baker, Alison; Ignacimuthu, I

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7(14064), 1-16

Phosphate is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is acquired from the environment and distributed within the plant in part through the action of phosphate transporters of the PHT1 family. Foxtail ... [more ▼]

Phosphate is an essential nutrient for plant growth and is acquired from the environment and distributed within the plant in part through the action of phosphate transporters of the PHT1 family. Foxtail millet (Setaria italica) is an orphan crop essential to the food security of many small farmers in Asia and Africa and is a model system for other millets. A novel Agrobacterium-mediated transformation and direct plant regeneration procedure was developed from shoot apex explants and used to downregulate expression of 3 members of the PHT1 phosphate transporter family SiPHT1;2 SiPHT1;3 and SiPHT1;4. Transformants were recovered with close to 10% efciency. The downregulation of individual transporters was confrmed by RT-PCR. Downregulation of individual transporters signifcantly reduced the total and inorganic P contents in shoot and root tissues and increased the number of lateral roots and root hairs showing they have non-redundant roles. Downregulation of SiPHT1;2 had the strongest efect on total and inorganic P in shoot and root tissues. Complementation experiments in S. cerevisiae provide evidence for the ability of SiPHT1;1, 1;2, 1;3, 1;7 and 1;8 to function as high afnity Pi transporters. This work will aid development of improved millet varieties for global food security. [less ▲]

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See detailTcf7l2 plays pleiotropic roles in the control of glucose homeostasis, pancreas morphology, vascularization and regeneration.
Facchinello, Nicola; Tarifeño-Saldivia, Estefania; Grisan, Enrico et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7(1), 9605

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See detailSuperparamagnetic colloids in viscous fluids
Darras, Alexis ULiege; Opsomer, Eric ULiege; Vandewalle, Nicolas ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

The influence of a magnetic field on the aggregation process of superparamagnetic colloids has been well known on short time for a few decades. However, the influence of important parameters, such as ... [more ▼]

The influence of a magnetic field on the aggregation process of superparamagnetic colloids has been well known on short time for a few decades. However, the influence of important parameters, such as viscosity of the liquid, has received only little attention. Moreover, the equilibrium state reached after a long time is still challenging on some aspects. Indeed, recent experimental measurements show deviations from pure analytical models in extreme conditions. Furthermore, current simulations would require several years of computing time to reach equilibrium state under those conditions. In the present paper, we show how viscosity influences the characteristic time of the aggregation process, with experimental measurements in agreement with previous theories on transient behaviour. Afterwards, we performed numerical simulations on equivalent systems with lower viscosities. Below a critical value of viscosity, a transition to a new aggregation regime is observed and analysed. We noticed this result can be used to reduce the numerical simulation time from several orders of magnitude, without modifying the intrinsic physical behaviour of the particles. However, it also implies that, for high magnetic fields, granular gases could have a very different behaviour from colloidal liquids. [less ▲]

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See detailRoom temperature ferroelectricity in fluoroperovskite thin films
Ming Yang, Amit KC; García Castro, Andrès Camilo ULiege; Borisov, Pavel et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

The NaMnF3 fluoride-perovskite has been found, theoretically, to be ferroelectric under epitaxial strain becoming a promising alternative to conventional oxides for multiferroic applications. Nevertheless ... [more ▼]

The NaMnF3 fluoride-perovskite has been found, theoretically, to be ferroelectric under epitaxial strain becoming a promising alternative to conventional oxides for multiferroic applications. Nevertheless, this fluoroperovskite has not been experimentally verified to be ferroelectric so far. Here we report signatures of room temperature ferroelectricity observed in perovskite NaMnF3 thin films grown on SrTiO3. Using piezoresponse force microscopy, we studied the evolution of ferroelectric polarization in response to external and built-in electric fields. Density functional theory calculations were also performed to help understand the strong competition between ferroelectric and paraelectric phases as well as the profound influences of strain. These results, together with the magnetic order previously reported in the same material, pave the way to future multiferroic and magnetoelectric investigations in fluoroperovskites. [less ▲]

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See detailAdministration of mesenchymal stromal cells before renal ischemia/reperfusion attenuates kidney injury and may modulate renal lipid metabolism in rats.
ERPICUM, Pauline ULiege; Rowart, Pascal ULiege; POMA, Laurence ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7(1), 8687

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) have been demonstrated to attenuate renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) damage in rodent models. The mechanisms of such nephro-protection remain largely unknown. Furthermore ... [more ▼]

Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSC) have been demonstrated to attenuate renal ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) damage in rodent models. The mechanisms of such nephro-protection remain largely unknown. Furthermore, the optimal timing of MSC administration has been poorly investigated. Here, we compare the impact of MSC injection 7 days before (MSCD - 7) versus 1 day after (MSCD + 1) renal I/R in rats. Control groups received equivalent volumes of saline at similar time-points (SD - 7 and SD + 1). Right nephrectomy was performed, and left renal ischemia lasted 45 min. After 48-hour reperfusion, we observed significantly improved renal function parameters, reduced apoptotic index and neutrophil/macrophage infiltration in kidney parenchyma, and lower expression of tubular damage markers and pro-inflammatory cytokines in MSCD - 7 in comparison to MSCD + 1 and saline control groups. Next, comparative high-throughput RNA sequencing of MSCD - 7 vs. SD - 7 non-ischemic right kidneys highlighted significant down-regulation of fatty acid biosynthesis and up-regulation of PPAR-alpha pathway. Such a preferential regulation towards lipid catabolism was associated with decreased levels of lipid peroxidation products, i.e. malondialdehyde and 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal, in MSCD - 7 versus SD - 7 ischemic kidneys. Our findings suggest that MSC pretreatment may exert protective effects against renal I/R by modulating lipid metabolism in rats. [less ▲]

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See detailNegative velocity fluctuations and non-equilibrium fluctuation relation for a driven high critical current vortex state
Bag, Biplab; Shaw, Gorky ULiege; Banerjee, S. S. et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7(1), 5531

Under the influence of a constant drive the moving vortex state in 2H-NbS2 superconductor exhibits a negative differential resistance (NDR) transition from a steady flow to an immobile state. This state ... [more ▼]

Under the influence of a constant drive the moving vortex state in 2H-NbS2 superconductor exhibits a negative differential resistance (NDR) transition from a steady flow to an immobile state. This state possesses a high depinning current threshold ( $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h ) with unconventional depinning characteristics. At currents well above $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h , the moving vortex state exhibits a multimodal velocity distribution which is characteristic of vortex flow instabilities in the NDR regime. However at lower currents which are just above $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h , the velocity distribution is non-Gaussian with a tail extending to significant negative velocity values. These unusual negative velocity events correspond to vortices drifting opposite to the driving force direction. We show that this distribution obeys the Gallavotti-Cohen Non-Equilibrium Fluctuation Relation (GC-NEFR). Just above $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h , we also find a high vortex density fluctuating driven state not obeying the conventional GC-NEFR. The GC-NEFR analysis provides a measure of an effective energy scale (E eff ) associated with the driven vortex state. The E eff corresponds to the average energy dissipated by the fluctuating vortex state above $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h . We propose the high E eff value corresponds to the onset of high energy dynamic instabilities in this driven vortex state just above $$\boldsymbolI_\boldsymbolc^\boldsymbolh$$ I c h . [less ▲]

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See detailMultiple uprising invasions of Pelophylax water frogs, potentially inducing a new hybridogenetic complex
Dufresne, Christophe; Denoël, Mathieu ULiege; Di Santo, Lionel et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

The genetic era has revolutionized our perception of biological invasions. Yet, it is usually too late to understand their genesis for efficient management. Here, we take the rare opportunity to ... [more ▼]

The genetic era has revolutionized our perception of biological invasions. Yet, it is usually too late to understand their genesis for efficient management. Here, we take the rare opportunity to reconstruct the scenario of an uprising invasion of the famous water frogs (Pelophylax) in southern France, through a fine-scale genetic survey. We identified three different taxa over less than 200 km2: the autochthonous P. perezi, along with the alien P. ridibundus and P. kurtmuelleri, which have suddenly become invasive. As a consequence, the latter hybridizes and may now form a novel hybridogenetic complex with P. perezi, which could actively promote its replacement. This exceptional situation makes a textbook application of genetics to early-detect, monitor and understand the onset of biological invasions before they pose a continental-wide threat. It further emphasizes the alarming rate of amphibian translocations, both at global and local scales, as well as the outstanding invasive potential of Pelophylax aliens. [less ▲]

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See detailCognitive brain responses during circadian wake-promotion: evidence for sleep- pressure-dependent hypothalamic activations
Reichert, Carolin Franziska; Maire, Micheline; Gabel, Virginie et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7(1),

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See detailNatural and induced loss of function mutations in SlMBP21 MADS-box gene led to jointless-2 phenotype in tomato
Gomez Roldan, Maria Victoria; Périlleux, Claire ULiege; Morin, Halima et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

Abscission is the mechanism by which plants disconnect unfertilized flowers, ripe fruits, senescent or diseased organs from the plant. In tomato, pedicel abscission is an important agronomic factor that ... [more ▼]

Abscission is the mechanism by which plants disconnect unfertilized flowers, ripe fruits, senescent or diseased organs from the plant. In tomato, pedicel abscission is an important agronomic factor that controls yield and post-harvest fruit quality. Two non-allelic mutations, jointless (j) and jointless-2 (j-2), controlling pedicel abscission zone formation have been documented but only j-2 has been extensively used in breeding. J was shown to encode a MADS-box protein. Using a combination of physical mapping and gene expression analysis we identified a positional candidate, Solyc12g038510, associated with j-2 phenotype. Targeted knockout of Solyc12g038510, using CRISPR/Cas9 system, validated our hypothesis. Solyc12g038510 encodes the MADS-box protein SlMBP21. Molecular analysis of j-2 natural variation revealed two independent loss-of-function mutants. The first results of an insertion of a Rider retrotransposable element. The second results of a stop codon mutation that leads to a truncated protein form. To bring new insights into the role of J and J-2 in abscission zone formation, we phenotyped the single and the double mutants and the engineered alleles. We showed that J is epistatic to J-2 and that the branched inflorescences and the leafy sepals observed in accessions harboring j-2 alleles are likely the consequences of linkage drags. [less ▲]

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See detailFirst Characterisation of Volatile Organic Compounds Emitted by Banana Plants
Berhal, Chadi ULiege; De Clerck, Caroline ULiege; Fauconnier, Marie-Laure ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2017)

Banana (Musa sp.) ranks fourth in term of worldwide fruit production, and has economical and nutritional key values. The Cavendish cultivars correspond to more than 90% of the production of dessert banana ... [more ▼]

Banana (Musa sp.) ranks fourth in term of worldwide fruit production, and has economical and nutritional key values. The Cavendish cultivars correspond to more than 90% of the production of dessert banana while cooking cultivars are widely consumed locally around the banana belt production area. Many plants, if not all, produce Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as a means of communication with their environment. Although flower and fruit VOCs have been studied for banana, the VOCs produced by the plant have never been identified despite their importance in plant health and development. A volatile collection methodology was optimized to improve the sensitivity and reproducibility of VOCs analysis from banana plants. We have identified 11 VOCs for the Cavendish, mainly (E,E)-α-farnesene (87.90 ± 11.28 ng/μl), methyl salicylate (33.82 ± 14.29) and 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one (29.60 ± 11.66), and 14 VOCs for the Pacific Plantain cultivar, mainly (Z,E)-α-farnesene (799.64 ± 503.15), (E,E)-α-farnesene (571.24 ± 381.70) and (E) β ocimene (241.76 ± 158.49). This exploratory study paves the way for an in-depth characterisation of VOCs emitted by Musa plants. [less ▲]

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See detailSize and shape variations of the bony components of sperm whale cochleae
Schnitzler, Joseph ULiege; Frederich, Bruno ULiege; Früchtnicht, Sven et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

Several mass strandings of sperm whales occurred in the North Sea during January and February 2016. Twelve animals were necropsied and sampled around 48h after their discovery on German coasts of ... [more ▼]

Several mass strandings of sperm whales occurred in the North Sea during January and February 2016. Twelve animals were necropsied and sampled around 48h after their discovery on German coasts of Schleswig Holstein. The present study aims to explore the morphological variation of the primary sensory organ of sperm whales, the left and right auditory system, using high-resolution computerised tomography imaging. We performed a quantitative analysis of size and shape of cochleae using landmark-based geometric morphometrics to reveal inter-individual anatomical variations. A hierarchical cluster analysis based on thirty-one external morphometric characters classified these 12 individuals in two stranding clusters. A relative amount of shape variation could be attributable to geographical differences among stranding locations and clusters. Our geometric data allowed the discrimination of distinct bachelor schools among sperm whales that stranded on German coasts. We argue that the cochleae are individually shaped, varying greatly in dimensions and that the intra-specific variation observed in the morphology of the cochleae may partially reflect their affiliation to their bachelor school. There are increasing concerns about the impact of noise on cetaceans and describing the auditory periphery of odontocetes is a key conservation issue to further assess the effect of noise pollution. [less ▲]

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See detailSubstrate Induced Strain Field in FeRh Epilayers Grown on Single Crystal MgO (001) Substrates
Barton, C. W.; Ostler, Thomas ULiege; Huskisson, D. et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

Equi-atomic FeRh is highly unusual in that it undergoes a rst order meta-magnetic phase transition from an antiferromagnet to a ferromagnet above room temperature (Tr ≈ 370 K). This behavior opens new ... [more ▼]

Equi-atomic FeRh is highly unusual in that it undergoes a rst order meta-magnetic phase transition from an antiferromagnet to a ferromagnet above room temperature (Tr ≈ 370 K). This behavior opens new possibilities for creating multifunctional magnetic and spintronic devices which can utilise both thermal and applied eld energy to change state and functionalise composites. A key requirement in realising multifunctional devices is the need to understand and control the properties of FeRh in the extreme thin lm limit (tFeRh < 10 nm) where interfaces are crucial. Here we determine the properties of FeRh lms in the thickness range 2.5–10 nm grown directly on MgO substrates. Our magnetometry and structural measurements show that a perpendicular strain eld exists in these thin films which results in an increase in the phase transition temperature as thickness is reduced. Modelling using a spin dynamics approach supports the experimental observations demonstrating the critical role of the atomic layers close to the MgO interface. [less ▲]

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See detailStatistics of localized phase slips in tunable width planar point contacts
Baumans, Xavier ULiege; Zharinov, Vyacheslav; Raymenants, Eline et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

The main dissipation mechanism in superconducting nanowires arises from phase slips. Thus far, most of the studies focus on long nanowires where coexisting events appear randomly along the nanowire. In ... [more ▼]

The main dissipation mechanism in superconducting nanowires arises from phase slips. Thus far, most of the studies focus on long nanowires where coexisting events appear randomly along the nanowire. In the present work we investigate highly confined phase slips at the contact point of two superconducting leads. Profiting from the high current crowding at this spot, we are able to shrink in-situ the nanoconstriction. This procedure allows us to investigate, in the very same sample, thermally activated phase slips and the probability density function of the switching current I sw needed to trigger an avalanche of events. Furthermore, for an applied current larger than I sw , we unveil the existence of two distinct thermal regimes. One corresponding to efficient heat removal where the constriction and bath temperatures remain close to each other, and another one in which the constriction temperature can be substantially larger than the bath temperature leading to the formation of a hot spot. Considering that the switching current distribution depends on the exact thermal properties of the sample, the identification of different thermal regimes is of utmost importance for properly interpreting the dissipation mechanisms in narrow point contacts. [less ▲]

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See detailInterplay between Penicillin-binding proteins and SEDS proteins promotes bacterial cell wall synthesis.
Leclercq, Sophie ULiege; Derouaux, Adeline ULiege; Olatunji, Samir ULiege et al

in Scientific Reports (2017), 7

Bacteria utilize specialized multi-protein machineries to synthesize the essential peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall during growth and division. The divisome controls septal PG synthesis and separation of ... [more ▼]

Bacteria utilize specialized multi-protein machineries to synthesize the essential peptidoglycan (PG) cell wall during growth and division. The divisome controls septal PG synthesis and separation of daughter cells. In E. coli, the lipid II transporter candidate FtsW is thought to work in concert with the PG synthases penicillin-binding proteins PBP3 and PBP1b. Yet, the exact molecular mechanisms of their function in complexes are largely unknown. We show that FtsW interacts with PBP1b and lipid II and that PBP1b, FtsW and PBP3 co-purify suggesting that they form a trimeric complex. We also show that the large loop between transmembrane helices 7 and 8 of FtsW is important for the interaction with PBP3. Moreover, we found that FtsW, but not the other flippase candidate MurJ, impairs lipid II polymerization and peptide cross-linking activities of PBP1b, and that PBP3 relieves these inhibitory effects. All together the results suggest that FtsW interacts with lipid II preventing its polymerization by PBP1b unless PBP3 is also present, indicating that PBP3 facilitates lipid II release and/or its transfer to PBP1b after transport across the cytoplasmic membrane. This tight regulatory mechanism is consistent with the cell's need to ensure appropriate use of the limited pool of lipid II. [less ▲]

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See detailThe importance of pollen chemistry in evolutionary host shifts of bees
Vanderplanck, Maryse ULiege; Vereecken, Nicolas; Grumiau, Laurent et al

in Scientific Reports (2017)

Although bee-plant associations are generally maintained through speciation processes, host shifts have occurred during evolution. Understanding shifts between both phylogenetically and morphologically ... [more ▼]

Although bee-plant associations are generally maintained through speciation processes, host shifts have occurred during evolution. Understanding shifts between both phylogenetically and morphologically unrelated plants (i.e., host-saltation) is especially important since they could have been key processes in the origin and radiation of bees. Probably far from being a random process, such host-saltation might be driven by hidden constraints associated with plant traits. We selected two clades of oligolectic bees (i.e., Colletes succinctus group and Melitta leporina group) foraging on co-flowering but unrelated host-plants to test this hypothesis. We analyzed floral scent, floral color and chemical composition of pollen from host and non-host plants of these two clades. We did not find evidence for host-plant evolution in the Melitta leporina group driven by one of the assayed floral traits. On the contrary, hosts of the C. succinctus group display similar primary nutritive content of pollen (i.e., amino acids and sterols) but not similar floral scent or color, suggesting that shared pollen chemistry probably mediates saltation in this clade. Our study revealed that constraints shaping floral associations are diverse and clearly depend on species life-history traits, but evidence suggests that pollen chemistry may act as a major floral filter and guide evolutionary host-shifts. [less ▲]

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