Beautiful butterflies, lecture


This 23 June 2020 video from the Natural History Museum in London, England:

Beautiful Butterflies | Live Talk with NHM Scientist

Butterflies appear in an astonishing variety of colourful and intricate patterns. Join Museum scientist Dr Blanca Huertas as she shares her experience studying these beautiful creatures, discovering new species in the field and in the Museum’s incredible butterfly collections.

Racism and anti-racism in the USA


This 23 June 2020 video says about itself:

KKK Karen UNMASKS Racist Reality In America

KKK Karen goes off on Black Lives Matter protesters, unmasking the racist reality in America. John Iadarola and Jordan Uhl break it down on The Damage Report.

“A video went viral on Monday showing a woman holding a Confederate flag at a Black Lives Matter protest in Missouri and telling demonstrators, “I will teach my grandkids to hate you all.”

The 37-second video shows the woman in an apparent confrontation with a Black Lives Matter supporter while she is sitting on a truck in the parking lot of Dixie Outfitters in Branson, Mo., on Sunday, the Springfield News-Leader reported.

More than 65 protesters gathered in the area to demonstrate against the store, whose owners reportedly had a history with the Ku Klux Klan, according to the newspaper. Almost 50 turned out to support the store and the Confederate flag.”

Read more here.

CONFEDERATE FLAG-WAVING TRUMP SUPPORTER PRAISES KKK A woman decked out in one of President Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” caps waved a Confederate flag at a Black Lives Matter protest in Branson, Missouri, on Sunday while she praised the Ku Klux Klan and vowed to teach hate to her grandchildren. “I’m teaching them to fuckin’ hate all of you people,” the woman, identified by the Springfield News-Leader as Kathy Bennett, said Sunday evening. She climbed up into a pickup to wave the flag, raise a fist and call out, “KKK belief!” [HuffPost]

Inside The Dangerous Online Fever Swamps Of American Police. Cops have a far-right media ecosystem of their own, where they post racist memes, spread disinformation and call for violence against Antifa.

2 LAWYERS OF COLOR FACE 45-YEAR SENTENCES… FOR VANDALISM Colinford King Mattis, along with Urooj Rahman, 31, was arrested in New York City on May 30 during protests against racism and police brutality following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. The two were charged with attempting to burn an unoccupied, already damaged New York City Police Department vehicle. Nobody was injured. Now Mattis and Rahman face additional federal charges that carry a 45-year mandatory minimum sentence, and up to life in prison — for what essentially amounts to property damage. [HuffPost]

Far-Right ‘Boogaloo’ Supporter Charged With Murder In Deaths Of Officers. Federal prosecutors in California have charged Steven Carrillo, a supporter of the far-right “Boogaloo” movement, with the murder of federal protective security officer Dave Underwood during a May 29 anti-racism protest in Oakland.

New Mexico Shooting Raises Specter Of Right-Wing Violence Around Statue Protests. A demonstration on Monday demanding the removal of a statue depicting a repressive Spanish colonial official in New Mexico resulted in bloodshed when one person was shot after agitated counterprotesters, including a small right-wing militia, crashed the protest. It was not the first time protests around toxic monuments ended in apparently politically motivated right-wing violence.

8 American monuments celebrating anti-Semites.

HOW BLM IS SHAKING UP NEW YORK’S PRIMARIES The hot mic moment that may end up costing Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) his seat only arose because of the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests. After peaceful demonstrations turned into civil unrest on a major Bronx thoroughfare one night in early June, Engel joined a press conference that combined condemnations of property destruction with calls for an end to police brutality and racism. A live TV broadcast picked up Engel saying: “If I didn’t have a primary, I wouldn’t care.” [HuffPost]

Fears Far-Right Could Target UK Statue Protesters After Police Publish Their Photos [HuffPost UK]

Warthog family fights cheetah about food


This video from South Africa says about itself:

Family of Warthogs Steal and Eat Cheetah‘s Meal

This proves that cheetahs have no respect shown towards them. They have been known to lose the majority of their meals to lions, hyenas, vultures and even jackals! But, now we see that we need to add warthogs to that list.

Nature can be super surprising, and often, the unexpected is exactly what you can expect when you’re at a sighting in the wild. This is exactly the kind of experience Shakera Kaloo, a 41-year-old, Chartered Accountant captured on film on the 18th of June 2020, in the Kruger National Park!

Latest Sightings’ community was so amazed by this incredible sighting, we had to catch up with Shakera to tell us more about her and her family’s experience.

“We entered the park through Crocodile Bridge and about 5 minutes into our drive, we encountered a cheetah with an impala. We were surprised, as we didn’t expect to be this lucky so soon after arriving in the park. We also haven’t seen a cheetah in the park for years – so this was really spectacular!”

“We watched a while as the cheetah sat close to the food, looking around to make sure that the coast was clear before settling down with its meal. This was when a warthog family approached and steadily made their way closer and closer to the impala!”

“Even more surprising than seeing warthogs at an impala catch was the fact that the cheetah did not even fight to protect the meal once the warthogs advanced closer to the food, and instead, walked way, submitting the impala to the warthogs.”

“I was too excited to take pictures, so my children were left with that task. When you get to a sighting, remember to take videos, because it’s incredible to be able to re-live events like this, even when it becomes a distant memory with time. This was indeed an unusual, yet interesting, sighting. We’ve always seen a warthog eating from the ground, so being able to witness a warthog actually eating meat was baffling! The fact that the cheetah did not fight or protect its meal was also very strange for us.”

“We’ve never seen a warthog doing this, nor did we know that warthogs eat meat from a carcass! The sighting ended with the cheetah walking away from the kill, and it walked along the side and sat on the signpost before moving off into the bush.”

This 2013 video is called Wild boar eat all they can find – carrion too. Only for strong stomachs!

Racism and police brutality in the USA


This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Cops Pepper Spray Amputee, Steal His Legs

What more is there to say. This took place in Columbus, Ohio.

More about this police attack on Black Lives Matters demonstrators is in Newsweek.

This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Robert E. Lee Was a Brutal Slave Master”: Activist’s Call to Rename Louisiana School Goes Viral

We play a video that has now gone viral from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where community activist Gary Chambers Jr. calls out members of the Lee High School school board for their racism during a June 18 meeting to discuss a resolution to rename the school, which is named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Chambers urged members to choose a name in honor of people who fought slavery and racism, not someone who defended it, and addressed board member Connie Bernard, who had defended Robert E. Lee and was seen shopping on her computer during the meeting.

This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Finds Noose Hanging In Garage | NowThis

A noose was found hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, a Black NASCAR driver, days after the company banned Confederate flags at its events.

In US news and current events today, NASCAR is investigating a noose found hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in the sport.

18 new South American water beetle species discovered


Chasmogenus beetles

From the University of Kansas in the USA:

Undergraduate student discovers 18 new species of aquatic beetle in South America

June 22, 2020

It would be striking for a seasoned entomologist with decades of fieldwork to discover such a large number of species unknown to science. But for University of Kansas student Rachel Smith, an undergraduate majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology, the find is extraordinary: Smith recently published a description of 18 new species of aquatic water beetle from the genus Chasmogenus in the peer-reviewed journal ZooKeys.

“The average size of these beetles, I would say, is about the size of a capital ‘O’ in a 12-point font,” said Smith of the collection of new species. “They spend a lot of their life in forest streams and pools. They’re aquatic, so they’re all great swimmers — and they can fly.”

The research involved Smith traveling to Suriname to perform fieldwork as well as passing countless hours in the lab of Andrew Short, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology and associate curator with KU’s Biodiversity Institute, who co-wrote the new paper.

Smith said many of the aquatic beetle species are virtually indistinguishable simply by looking at them, even under a microscope.

“Something unique and fascinating about this genus, particularly the ones I worked on, is that many look almost exactly the same,” she said. “Even to my trained eye, it’s hard to tell them apart just based on external morphology. Their uniqueness is in there but kind of hidden in this very uniform external morphology.”

To identify the new species, Smith compared DNA evidence from the aquatic beetles with a few external morphological differences that could be observed. But this was not enough: Much of Smith’s work also hinged on dissecting these tiny specimens collected in northeastern South America to spot key differences in their internal anatomy.

“Because it’s difficult to tell them apart from external morphology, you kind of have to go inside,” she said. “I ended up doing over 100 dissections of these beetles to extract the male genitalia and look at it under a microscope. That really was the true way to tell them apart. Ultimately, it came down to male genitalia and genetic divergence that I used to delimit many of these species.”

The aquatic beetles described in the new paper were collected over multiple trips to Venezuela, Suriname and Guyana. Smith herself participated in one expedition to Suriname to collect specimens.

“In Suriname, almost every day involved a boat ride down a river or kayaking to a location,” she said. “And there would have been either a short or a long hike. One day it was up an entire mountain, another day it was just a short little hike down a river trail. Well, not necessarily a trail because there aren’t trails in the rainforest. We’d find an area that had some small, slow-moving or stagnant pools. The best ones are usually still and have dead leaves and mud and detritus — that’s where a lot of these beetles are found. You definitely have to get dirty to do this work, but it’s very satisfying.”

Indeed, one of the beetles Smith and her fellow researchers discovered in the Suriname rainforest ended up being unknown to science.

“I was part of a group that collected one of the beetles that was named in this paper,” she said. “So, I was involved in the entire process of naming a species — going to the rainforest, collecting it, bring it back to the lab, naming it and describing it. It was so nice to be a part of the whole process of discovering a new species.”

Smith’s co-author and faculty mentor Short said her paper reflects two years of work and is a remarkable accomplishment for any scientist, much less an undergraduate student.

“While new species for me are common, this is quite a lot for one paper and a huge amount for a student to describe,” he said. “Rachel has done a great job. An undergraduate describing 18 species is extraordinary — it’s rare even for experienced scientists. I’ve described a lot of new species but never as many as 18 at once. This work highlights just how little we know about how many species there are in South America.”

Smith said after graduation from KU in December, her aim is to develop a career in fieldwork and research, to uncover hidden biodiversity in hopes that it can empower conservation efforts in threatened areas.

“I’ve always had my sights set on a larger picture, and conservation really is my ultimate goal,” she said. “You have to start from the bottom up, with taxonomy. You can’t really know the efficacy of any kind of conservation effort without knowing what you’re protecting or any idea of how many species are there. As I described in this paper, over half of these species are microendemic, meaning that they only occur in one specific locality. So, it begs the question — is there something unique in that area that these beetles are specializing on, and what kind of kind of niches or roles do they play in that ecosystem? Hopefully, it leads to a larger conversation about taking action to get certain areas protected.”

Smith said destruction of such habitats could lead to an incalculable loss of biodiversity, but taxonomists could inform debates that pit species conservation against economic gains that come from extraction of natural resources.

“There’s deforestation and logging and a lot of gold mining in this particular area where I was at in Suriname,” she said. “But I think the take-home message from this paper really is that biodiversity is found in even in the smallest puddles in South America.”

Tennis player Djokovic gets COVID-19


This 23 June 2020 ABC Australia TV video says about itself:

Novak Djokovic tests positive to COVID-19

The World No. 1 tennis star is the fourth player to contract the virus while taking part in a charity event he organised. The Adria tour has drawn criticism for going ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, without adequate physical distancing measures in place.

Carboniferous fossil fish sturgeon-like, no sturgeon


Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri

From the University of Pennsylvania in the USA:

300-million-year-old fish resembles a sturgeon but took a different evolutionary path

June 22, 2020

Sturgeon, a long-lived, bottom-dwelling fish, are often described as “living fossils,” owing to the fact that their form has remained relatively constant, despite hundreds of millions of years of evolution.

In a new study in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, researchers led by Jack Stack, a 2019 University of Pennsylvania graduate, and paleobiologist Lauren Sallan of Penn’s School of Arts & Sciences, closely examine the ancient fish species Tanyrhinichthys mcallisteri, which lived around 300 million years ago in an estuary environment in what is today New Mexico. Although they find the fish to be highly similar to sturgeons in its features, including its protruding snout, they show that these characteristics evolved in a distinct evolutionary path from those species that gave rise to modern sturgeons.

The find indicates that, although ancient, the features that enabled Tanyrhinichthys to thrive in its environment arose multiple times in different fish lineages, a burst of innovation that was not previously fully appreciated for fish in this time period.

“Sturgeon are considered a ‘primitive’ species, but what we’re showing is that the sturgeon lifestyle is something that’s been selected for in certain conditions and has evolved over and over again,” says Sallan, senior author on the work.

“Fish are very good at finding solutions to ecological problems,” says Stack, first author on the study, who worked on the research as a Penn undergraduate and is now a graduate student at Michigan State University. “This shows the degree of both innovation and convergence that’s possible in fishes. Once their numbers got up large enough, they started producing brand new morphologies that we now see have evolved numerous times through the history of fishes, under similar ecological conditions.”

The first fossil of Tanyrhinichthys was found in 1984 in a fossil-rich area called the Kinney Brick Quarry, about a half-hour east of Albuquerque. The first paleontologist to describe the species was Michael Gottfried, a Michigan State faculty member who now serves as Stack’s advisor for his master’s degree.

“The specimen looks like someone found a fish and just pulled on the front of its skull,” Stack says. Many modern fish species, from the swordfish to the sailfish, have protuberant snouts that extend out in front of them, often aiding in their ability to lunge at prey. But this characteristic is much rarer in ancient fishes. In the 1980s when Gottfried described the initial specimen, he posited that the fish resembled a pike, an ambush predator with a longer snout.

During the last decade, however, several more specimens of Tanyrhinichthys have been found in the same quarry. “Those finds were an impetus for this project, now that we had better information on this enigmatic and strange fish,” Stack says.

At the time that Tanyrhinichthys roamed the waters, Earth’s continents were joined in the massive supercontinent called Pangea, surrounded by a single large ocean. But it was an ice age as well, with ice at both poles. Just before this period, the fossil record showed that ray-finned fishes, which now dominate the oceans, were exploding in diversity. Yet 300 million years ago, “it was like someone hit the pause button,” Sallan says. “There’s an expectation that there would be more diversity, but not much has been found, likely owing to the fact that there just hasn’t been enough work on this time period, especially in the United States, and particularly in the Western United States.”

Aiming to fill in some of these gaps by further characterizing Tanyrhinichthys, Stack, Sallan, and colleagues closely examined the specimens in detail and studied other species that dated to this time period. “This sounds really simple, but it’s obviously difficult in execution,” Stack notes, as fossils are compressed flat when they are preserved. The researchers inferred a three-dimensional anatomy using the forms of modern fishes to guide them.

What they noticed cast doubt on the conception of Tanyrhinichthys as resembling a pike. While a pike has an elongated snout with its jaws at the end of it, allowing it to rush its prey head-on, Tanyrhinichthys has an elongated snout with its jaws at the bottom.

“The whole form of this fish is similar to other bottom dwellers,” Stack says. Sallan also noticed canal-like structures on its snout concentrated in the top of its head, suggestive of the locations where sensory organs would attach. “These would have detected vibrations to allow the fish to consume its prey,” says Sallan.

The researchers noted that many of the species that dwelled in similar environments possessed longer snouts, which Sallan called “like an antenna for your face.”

“This also makes sense because it was an estuary environment,” Sallan says, “with large rivers feeding into it, churning up the water, and making it murky. Rather than using your eyesight, you have to use these other sensory organs to detect prey.”

Despite this, other features of the different ancient fishes’ morphology were so different from Tanyrhinichthys that they do not appear to have shared a lineage with one another, nor do modern sturgeon descend from Tanyrhinichthys. Instead, the long snouts appear to be an example of convergent evolution, or many different lineages all arriving at the same innovation to adapt well to their environment.

“Our work, and paleontology in general, shows that the diversity of life forms that are apparent today has roots that extend back into the past,” says Stack.

COVID-19 news today


This 22 June 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

Boris Johnson is Recklessly Gambling with Your Health | Professor John Ashton – Episode 11

The professor who called it right on coronavirus dire warning to the British public

00:00 The Prime Minister‘s Greatest Gamble 01:18 Testing… or lack thereof 02:01 Global Outbreak & Slaughterhouses 03:47 Break the rules
04:59 2 metre rule 07:00 Manipulating the numbers 08:03 Time for Matt Hancock to resign? 08:58 BAME Coronavirus report 10:09 Black Lives Matter 11:06 Pandemic continues… 12:00 Economy vs Public Health

USA: COVID-19 rages through food processing plants, warehouses and manufacturing facilities. By Jerry White, 23 June 2020. More than 24,000 meatpacking workers have been infected and at least 91 have died.

“You risk your life when you go back to work”. Ford workers express health concerns as COVID-19 pandemic spreads. By Tim Rivers and George Kirby, 23 June 2020. Ford workers spoke to the WSWS Autoworker Newsletter about returning to work during the pandemic.

US-owned auto parts maker fires dozens of workers in Matamoros, Mexico for demanding truth about COVID-19 outbreak. By Andrea Lobo, 23 June 2020. Tridonex Cardone management has fired dozens of workers who demanded the truth about the spread of infection and death at the US company’s Mexican plants.

Canada presses ahead with final phase of back-to-work drive. By Frédéric Charlebois, 23 June 2020. Contrary to the ruling elite’s claim of a return to “normality”, everything indicates that the drop in COVID-19 infections in Quebec and across Canada is temporary.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 23 June 2020:

Twenty-four-hour strike by Argentine tire plant workers over spread of COVID

Workers at a Bridgestone tire plant in Llavallol, a district in Buenos Aires province, struck for 24 hours, beginning at 2:00 p.m. June 17, after a worker tested positive for COVID-19. The workers’ union, Sutna, claimed that the walkout was based on “management noncompliance with the most elemental and basic means of prevention.” Despite registering symptoms, the worker was obliged to continue working. Later, another worker, who had been at close quarters with the former, was found to be infected. So far there have been six cases of COVID-19 at the plant.

Workers had struck all the plants in the district the previous Friday, June 12, to demand improvements in safety and prevention measures. Sutna proposed “a specific proper protocol” for identifying and dealing with cases of infection. “Management did not take these demands into account and neither did they comply with the basic regulations determined by the authorities,” according to Sutna head Alejandro Crespo. …

Brazilian delivery workers plan strike over pay, conditions

Bicycle and motorcycle delivery workers in Brazil announced that they will strike on July 1 to demand that the businesses that use their services assume the costs of safety equipment and pay leave for their colleagues who have been infected by COVID-19.

Among their demands is a minimum pay scale for each delivery. Since delivery workers are classified as self-employed and “autonomous”, they are often short-changed and subject to sanctions and violations of their rights. They are demanding that they be classified as employees—not “associates” or “entrepreneurs”—with full labor rights. They also are calling for an end to the “punctuality list,” which is used to intimidate them and absolve the companies of any responsibilities for their welfare.

Other issues include personal security, since the delivery workers are vulnerable to robberies and attacks, as well as lack of COVID-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) and designation of specified locations for rest and meals. They have continued to work throughout the pandemic crisis. …

Hospital workers in Peru protest lack of PPE and other supplies

Hospital personnel in the Lambayeque region of Peru held their fourth protest June 16 against delays in the delivery of PPE and other COVID-19-related supplies. The protesters demanded equity in the distribution of the needed materials by the Regional Health Agency.

Wilmer Antón Mayanga, head of the General Workers Confederation of Peru (CGTP), slammed the policy of the agency, which only gives equipment to professionals who have contact with infected patients. “The danger is in all levels of attention. You cannot neglect the personnel, since the contagion is in the community.”

Antón Mayanga blamed corruption for the inadequate provision of masks and other supplies. “While corruption continues to take over state resources, doctors, nurses and technicians continue to be forgotten and exposed to the coronavirus.” For this reason, he said that the CGTP and other unions would call a general strike. …

Protest in Puerto Rico against governor’s insufficient response to pandemic, unemployment

A group of protesters demonstrated in front of the Fine Arts Center in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 18. The protest, called by the Socialist Workers Movement (MST), decried the poor response of the government of Wanda Vázquez, to the COVID-19 pandemic and to the resultant massive unemployment.

MST criticized the Labor Department’s foot-dragging on responding to the needs of unemployed workers and called the government’s “policy of ceding before the designs and interests of big business to open the economy in a shoddy manner” while the procedures and recommendations of the island’s medical “task force” are not followed. “The effect that is going to have is that many sectors of the working class are going to see themselves affected with exposure in workplaces.”

A protester denounced the government for the predicament that parents have been put in, first with delays or refusals in paying unemployment benefits, then with the push to reopen the economy going forward, but without guarantees of safe spaces for children, a situation that she said “puts a specific sector up against the wall.”

United States: Mass absenteeism at Sioux Falls Tyson plant

Up to 1,200 workers are still off work at the Tyson Food Sioux Falls, South Dakota pork plant are still off work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The workers involved are either infected, quarantined or fall into the high-risk category, meaning they are over age 60 or have a medical condition such as diabetes. There are 3,700 workers at the plant.

Management had insisted that workers return to work by June 15, but has agreed to push forward that date until June 29. Absenteeism was still running at between 30 and 50 percent at some meatpacking plants. Food processing facilities across the US have become vectors for COVID-19 transmission.

Walkout by sorting office workers at Barnsley Royal Mail after coronavirus outbreak. By Thomas Scripps, 23 June 2020. Royal Mail workers at the central post sorting office in Barnsley, England walked out yesterday after colleagues tested positive for coronavirus.

Quarantine bungles in New Zealand threaten new COVID-19 outbreak. By Tom Peters, 23 June 2020. The Ardern government has placed the military in charge of quarantine hotels after health authorities allowed travellers to leave without being cleared of COVID-19.

Three-spined stickleback fish evolution, new research


This 2014 video says about itself:

Natural selection leads to the evolution of new traits. In this educational video, see how stickleback fish have adapted to live permanently in freshwater environments. Explore a case study of natural selection with this classroom-ready biology video.

Though stickleback fish once lived in the ocean, some populations now thrive in freshwater environments. This change resulted in drastic physical transformations. Explore topics in gene expression and adaptation in this fascinating short film.

From the University of Helsinki in Finland:

Parallel evolution in three-spined sticklebacks

What happens in the Eastern Pacific, stays in the Eastern Pacific

June 22, 2020

A group of researchers from the University of Helsinki used novel and powerful methods to disentangle the patterns of parallel evolution of freshwater three-spined sticklebacks at different geographic scales across their distribution range. The group concludes that the conditions under which striking genome-wide patterns of genetic parallelism can occur may in fact be far from common — perhaps even exceptional.

The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), a thumb-sized fish distributed across the Northern hemisphere, is a textbook model species in evolutionary biology. With the retreat of ice sheets since the last glacial maximum, ancestral marine populations have repeatedly colonised newly-formed freshwater habitats. Across their distribution range, sticklebacks in these novel freshwater environments exhibit remarkable similarities in their morphology, physiology and behaviour, a phenomenon known as “parallel evolution.”

“What is really remarkable in our results is that the repeatability of evolution in response to similar selection pressures in different oceans can be so different,” says group leader Juha Merilä, Professor at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki.

The genetic underpinnings of such parallel evolution have fascinated scientists for years, and they have discovered that the observed marine-freshwater differentiation is underlain by surprisingly parallel changes also at the genetic level. However, most studies on this topic have been based on either limited geographic sampling or focused only on populations in the Eastern Pacific region.

“As scientists, we are often tempted to provide simple narratives to extremely complex problems. What I liked the most about this project is that we did the exact opposite: we show that the story behind the three-spined stickleback’s spectacularly fast adaptation to novel habitats may be more complex than previously thought. I think that deciphering the role of demographic history in shaping evolutionary adaptation is a necessary step in solving the mystery,” says co-author Paolo Momigliano, postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki.

Genetic parallelism 10 times higher in the Eastern pacific

With novel and powerful methods, a group of researchers from the University of Helsinki disentangled patterns of parallel evolution of freshwater three-spined sticklebacks at different geographic scales across their distribution range. They found that the extraordinary level of genetic parallelism observed in the Eastern Pacific region is not observed in the rest of the species’ range. In fact, they found approximately 10-fold higher levels of genetic parallelism in the Eastern Pacific compared to the rest of the world.

“I have been studying the worldwide population histories of the species in my PhD. We found their ancestral populations are residing in the Eastern Pacific. We predicted that the region harbours the source of ancestral genetic variations for parallel evolution, and such genetic variation could be lost during colonisation to the rest of the world, for instance in the Atlantic. These predictions were tested by both empirical and simulated data,” explains first author Bohao Fang, PhD candidate from the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki.

What happens in the Eastern Pacific, stays in the Eastern Pacific

Their simulations showed that this difference in the degree of parallelism likely depends on the loss of standing genetic variation — the raw material upon which selection acts — during the colonisation of the Western Pacific and Atlantic Oceans from the Eastern Pacific Ocean.

This discrepancy could have been further accentuated by periods of strong isolation and secondary contact between marine and freshwater habitats in the Eastern Pacific, consistent with the group’s results and the geological history of the area. This secondary contact likely happened after the colonisation of the Atlantic Basin, resulting in much more genetic variation available for local adaptation in the Eastern Pacific — variation that never had the chance to spread to the Atlantic. In other words, the discrepancy in genetic patterns of parallel evolution between the two oceans is a result of the complex demographic history of the species, which involved range expansions and demographic bottlenecks.

“Our less assumption-burdened methods have been a key to quantifying parallel evolution at different geographic scales for the type of data that was available for this study. I thoroughly enjoy developing novel methods to study adaptation and evolution, and the idea that parallel evolution might be exceptional in the Eastern Pacific compared to the rest of the world has intrigued me for a long time. It was a lucky coincidence that I became a part of the Ecological Genetics Research Unit led by Juha Merilä where the samples to finally test this hypothesis became available,” concludes Petri Kemppainen, co-first author, method developer, and postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki.

More COVID-19 spread by Tulsa Trump rally


This 23 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

‘Snowballing’ coronavirus cases in US states as hospitals fill

The rate of COVID-19 infections in the US has surged across southern and southwestern states.

New cases of the virus have spiked where bars restaurants and other businesses reopened early.

There are questions about whether restrictions have been lifted too soon.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports.

By Catherine Garcia in the USA, 22 June 2020:

2 Trump campaign staffers who went to Tulsa rally test positive for COVID-19

Two members of President Trump‘s campaign advance team who attended his rally Saturday night in Tulsa have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director, said on Monday the staffers “were wearing masks during the entire event. Upon the positive tests, the campaign immediately activated established quarantine and contract tracing protocols.” NBC News reports they were tested after the rally as a precaution before flying home.

Six other members of the advance team, including at least two Secret Service agents, tested positive before the rally, and did not attend. The crowd was much lower than expected, with 6,200 people in the audience; the arena is able to hold about 19,000. In order to receive a ticket, attendees had to agree not to hold the campaign liable if they caught coronavirus at the event.

Trump is expected to visit the Dream City Church in Phoenix [Arizona] on Tuesday for an event hosted by Students for Trump. In a video posted on YouTube Monday, the megachurch’s pastor and chief financial officer said that brand new clean-air technology has been installed inside the building that “kills 99.9 percent of COVID-19 within 10 minutes. So you can know when you come here you’ll be safe and protected.”

Pro-Trump preachers claim that COVID-19 ‘is just a little flu‘ and that religious right religion miraculously protects against the coronavirus. Yet, some of these preachers have already died from COVID-19.