Chiara Benvenuto

Chiara Benvenuto
University of Salford · School of Environment and Life Sciences

PhD

About

61
Publications
12,827
Reads
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741
Citations
Introduction
Chiara Benvenuto currently works at the School of Environment and Life Sciences, University of Salford, UK. Chiara does research in Marine Biology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavioural Ecology. One of her current project is 'Reproductive traits and population genetics'. See more at https://sites.google.com/view/benvenutoresearchgroup/home
Additional affiliations
January 2011 - December 2012
University College Dublin
Position
  • Genetic and environmental bases of sex-change plasticity in marine fish
Description
  • IRCSET (Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering & Technology) EMPOWER Post-Doctoral Fellowship
January 2010 - December 2010
French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE)
Position
  • Effect of intra-specific hybridization on the success of invading species
Description
  • Post-Doctoral position
January 2008 - present
University of Akron
Description
  • PhD in Aquatic Ecology

Publications

Publications (61)
Article
Full-text available
Sexual systems are highly diverse and have profound consequences for population dynamics and resilience. Yet, little is known about how they evolved. Using phylogenetic Bayesian modelling and a sample of 4614 species, we show that gonochorism is the likely ancestral condition in teleost fish. While all hermaphroditic forms revert quickly to gonocho...
Article
Full-text available
Epibenthic predators in estuarine shallow soft-bottom environments are generally considered to have broad ecological niches with a wide overlap. This allows them to cope with abundant but highly variable prey communities. The assessment of trophic relationships in shallow soft-bottom habitats is, however, challenging and often complicated by the bi...
Article
Full-text available
Interactions between hosts and their resident microbial communities are a fundamental component of fitness for both agents. Though recent research has highlighted the importance of interactions between animals and their bacterial communities, comparative evidence for fungi is lacking, especially in natural populations. Using data from 49 species, w...
Article
Full-text available
The current capacity of environmental DNA (eDNA) to provide accurate insights into the biodiversity of megadiverse regions (e.g., the Neotropics) requires further evaluation to ensure its reliability for long-term monitoring. In this study, we first evaluated the taxonomic resolution capabilities of a short fragment from the 12S rRNA gene widely us...
Preprint
Full-text available
Sexual systems are highly diverse and have profound consequences for population dynamics and resilience. Yet, little is known about how they evolved. Using phylogenetic Bayesian modelling on 4740 species, we show that gonochorism is the likely ancestral condition in teleost fish. While all hermaphroditic forms revert quickly to gonochorism, protogy...
Preprint
Full-text available
The current capacity of environmental DNA (eDNA) to provide accurate insights into the biodiversity of megadiverse regions (e.g., the Neotropics) requires further evaluation to ensure its reliability for long-term monitoring. In this study, we first evaluated the taxonomic resolution capabilities of a short fragment from the 12S rRNA gene widely us...
Chapter
This chapter compares two sexual systems: hermaphroditism (each individual can produce gametes of either sex) and gonochorism (each individual produces gametes of only one of the two distinct sexes) in crustaceans. These two main sexual systems contain a variety of alternative modes of reproduction, which are of great interest from applied and theo...
Preprint
Full-text available
Interactions between hosts and their resident microbial communities are a fundamental component of fitness for both agents. Though recent research has highlighted the importance of interactions between animals and their bacterial communities, comparative evidence for fungi is lacking, especially in natural populations. Using data from 49 species, w...
Article
Full-text available
The Sparids are an ideal group of fish in which to study the evolution of sexual systems since they exhibit a great sexual diversity, from gonochorism (separate sexes) to protandrous (male-first) and protogynous (female-first) sequential hermaphroditism (sex-change). According to the size-advantage model (SAM), selection should favour sex change wh...
Article
Full-text available
The application of environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool has greatly increased, but studies have focused on temperate aquatic macro‐organisms. We apply eDNA metabarcoding to detecting the mammalian community in two high‐biodiversity regions of Brazil: the Amazon and Atlantic Forests. We identified Critically Endangered and...
Preprint
Full-text available
The application of environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding as a biomonitoring tool has greatly increased in the last decade. However, most studies have focused on aquatic macro-organisms in temperate areas (e.g., fishes). We apply eDNA metabarcoding to detect the mammalian community in two high-biodiversity regions of Brazil, the Amazon and Atlantic...
Article
Full-text available
We focus on a case study along an English canal comparing environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding with two types of electrofishing techniques (wade‐and‐reach and boom‐boat). In addition to corroborating data obtained by electrofishing, eDNA provided a wider snapshot of fish assemblages. Given the semi‐lotic nature of canals, we encourage the use of...
Article
Full-text available
The deleterious effects of anthropogenic noise on animal communication are nowadays recognised, not only in urban environments but also in terrestrial habitats and along coasts and in open waters. Yet, the assessment of short- and long-term exposure consequences of anthropogenic noise in marine organisms remains challenging, especially in fish and...
Preprint
Full-text available
Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has revolutionized biomonitoring of aquatic habitats. Man-made canal systems are among the least-studied environments in terms of biodiversity in Britain. Here we focus on a case study along an English canal comparing eDNA metabarcoding with two types of electrofishing techniques (wade-and-reach and boom-boat)...
Article
Sequential hermaphroditism, where males change to females (protandry) or the reverse (protogyny), is widespread in animals and plants, and can be an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) if fecundity rises faster with age in the second sex. Sequential hermaphrodites also generally have sex ratios skewed towards the initial sex, and standard theory b...
Article
Full-text available
Given their positioning and biological productivity, estuaries have long represented key providers of ecosystem services, and consequently remain under remarkable pressure from numerous forms of anthropogenic impact. The monitoring of fish communities in space and time are one of the most widespread and established approaches to assess the ecologic...
Article
Full-text available
A thorough understanding of ecological networks relies on comprehensive information on trophic relationships among species. Since unpicking the diet of many organisms is unattainable using traditional morphology‐based approaches, the application of high‐throughput sequencing methods represents a rapid and powerful way forward. Here, we assessed the...
Article
Full-text available
Sequentially hermaphroditic fish change sex from male to female (protandry) or vice versa (protogyny), increasing their fitness by becoming highly fecund females or large dominant males, respectively. These life-history strategies present different social organizations and reproductive modes, from near-random mating in protandry, to aggregate- and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Scales provide fish with a protective but flexible dermal armor. Scales hold also a variety of information that can be used to assess the identity (through their morphology), ecology and behaviour (through their structure and mechanical properties) and age (through their rings) of bony fishes. Since scales are composed by organic and mineral compon...
Article
Full-text available
The study of animal colouration addresses fundamental and applied aspects relevant to a wide range of fields, including behavioural ecology, environmental adaptation and visual ecology. Although a variety of methods are available to measure animal colours, only few focus on chromatophores (specialized cells containing pigments) and pigment migratio...
Article
Fish use different modalities to access mates for reproduction, often referred to as Alternative Reproductive Tactics (ARTs). ARTs are an example of coexisting phenotypes, which have to hold some degree of reproductive success to persist in a population. In the Mediterranean damselfish (Chromis chromis), territorial males colonise nests on rocky re...
Conference Paper
Sequential hermaphroditism, commonly referred to as sex change or sex reversal, is a striking phenomenon in mating-system evolution and the most remarkable example of sexual plasticity. Among vertebrates, it is specific to teleosts. Some fish species reproduce initially as females and then change into males (protogynous hermaphrodites) or vice vers...
Chapter
Full-text available
Crustaceans are a remarkably diverse group of organisms that have colonized and occupied a broad variety of niches. Many crustacean species are found in extreme environments, inhospitable to the majority of animal taxa, including Antarctic lakes, subterranean waters, hydrothermal vents, dry deserts, hypersaline lakes, and highly acidic habitats. Pa...
Article
The evolution of hermaphroditism from dioecy is a poorly studied transition. Androdioecy (the coexistence of males and hermaphrodites) has been suggested as an intermediate step in this evolutionary transition or could be a stable reproductive mode. Freshwater crustaceans in the genus Eulimnadia have reproduced via androdioecy for 24+ million years...
Article
Full-text available
Classical biological control—the introduction of exotic species to permanently control pests—offers an applied framework to test ecological and evolutionary hypotheses derived from invasion biology. One such hypothesis is that intraspecific hybridization can facilitate invasions because hybrids express higher phenotypic mean and/or variance than th...
Article
Full-text available
In the framework of biological control, the selection of effective natural enemies determines the final pest control. Thus, the genetic improvement of biocontrol agents could enhance the efficiency of biocontrol programs. Although promising, this approach has rarely been applied in this field. At the intraspecific level, hybridization between diver...
Article
Fisheries are known to selectively remove larger and older individuals from wild populations. In sequential hermaphrodites, size-selectivity also becomes ‘sex-selectivity’, as the largest and oldest individuals of a sex-changing population primarily belong to one sex. Plasticity in size-at-sex-change is believed to circumvent the undesirable effect...
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Article
Full-text available
Traditional interpretations of mating behaviors assume cooperation between the sexes. The field of sexual conflict provides a contrasting view: The sexes are commonly in conflict because they diverge in benefits/costs of reproduction. Precopulatory mate guarding, wherein males attempt to monopolize mates by physically pairing before fertilization,...
Article
Full-text available
Mate guarding is a male strategy to gain access to receptive females but often results in antagonistic interactions between the sexes because of different costs/benefits of guarding. In addition to social, morphological, and physiological parameters, the type of mating system should also affect the strength of the conflict and thus the guarding dur...
Article
Full-text available
Chromosomes that determine sex are predicted to evolve differently than autosomes: a lack of recombination on one of the two sex chromosomes is predicted to allow an accumulation of deleterious alleles that eventually leads to reduced functionality and potential physical degradation of the nonrecombining chromosome. Because these changes should occ...
Article
Full-text available
Precopulatory mate guarding is a complex behavior, influenced by many social and physiological factors, representing a case of intersexual conflict. Mate guarding has often been analyzed with the aid of theoretical models. In these models, it is commonly predicted that mate-guarding time is influenced by encounter rates between males and females, t...
Article
Large branchiopods rely on dormant eggs to subsist in an ephemeral environment. Only a portion of the accumulated egg bank breaks dormancy when pools are filled, which is a bet-hedging strategy. Hatchings have been assumed to be discrete; however, multiple emergences have been reported for tadpole shrimp and fairy shrimp. We monitored the hatching...
Article
Precopulatory mate guarding primarily occurs when males encounter receptive females at a low enough rate that such females become a valuable resource once encountered. Such circumstances are common in aquatic crustaceans wherein females are only receptive for a short period directly after molting. In these species, males commonly mate guard by phys...
Article
This study aimed at investigating in the hermit crab Pagurus longicarpus whether some morphological traits and their slight variations might determine the winner of a contest in symmetric pairs, i.e. pairs composed of individuals matched by their overall size. In the pre-experimental phase, 400 crabs were individually kept in isolation for a week t...
Article
Habitat modification, pollution, overfishing, poaching, competition from non‐indigenous species, and diseases have led to the extinction in Europe of many populations of indigenous crayfish. Under the rationale that any programme of reintroduction should be preceded by a thorough understanding of habitat requirements of the species of concern, we s...
Article
This paper describes the life cycle of the amphipod Jassa marmorata with data recorded over two years (from May 2002 to April 2004) in the Marine Protected Area of Portofino (Ligurian Sea, Italy). The population was sampled monthly at 5 m depth on artificial substrata. For each sample, the number of males, females, ovigerous females, and juveniles...
Article
Large branchiopod crustaceans inhabiting ephemeral ponds are well adapted to their highly unpredictable habitat with a life cycle that includes a short-lived adult stage and a long-lived, desiccation-resistant egg stage. One well studied large branchiopod is the clam shrimp Eulimnadia texana, an androdioecious species with populations comprised of...
Article
Full-text available
Androdioecy (populations consisting of males and hermaphrodites) is a rare mating system in plants and animals: up to 50 plants and only 36 animals have been described as being androdioecious, with most of the latter being crustaceans. To date, a thorough comparative analysis of androdioecy in animals has not been undertaken. Herein we present such...
Article
Full-text available
Patterns of shelter use of the red-swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii, were studied in a temporary stream of the south of the Iberian Peninsula during the summer of 1999. By shelters, we mean both excavated burrows and natural refuges, such as crevices under rocks, boulders, and stones. Both crayfish shelter use and faithfulness, and the relations...
Article
Full-text available
Field studies were carried out along a Mediterranean rocky shore to describe the foraging behaviour of the hermit crab Clibanarius erythropus, a common intertidal Diogenidae. The spatial strategy adopted during foraging activity was investigated through monitoring the movement of ten individuals, each followed for two hours. This revealed that herm...
Article
The habit of clustering was studied in a population of the hermit crab, Clibananus erythropus, inhabiting a Tyrrhenian rocky shore. Aims were to (1) analyse both the structure of clusters and the dynamics of the clustering behaviour and (2) contribute to an understanding of the adaptive function of clusters. A number of clues make it reasonable to...
Article
Two populations of Clibanariuserythropus from Mediterranean and Atlantic rocky shores were studied to provide data on morphometry, population structure and shell use under different environmental contexts. Hermit crab sex and size were analysed as well as genus, dimension and status of the inhabited shells. A comparison between the two populations...
Article
On a Mediterranean rocky shore, the shallow-water hermit crab assemblage is mostly composed of Clibanarius erythropus, exclusively inhabiting conventional gastropod shells, and Calcinus tubularis, which in part lives in fixed vermetid tubes. Laboratory experiments showed that shells are preferred by both species. If vermetid tubes are ‘the best of...

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Projects (3)
Project
In a world characterized by a continuing growing population, food security (being able to provide people with sufficient, nutritious and safe food) is a major global concern. Seafood is an important component of human diet. In particular, the demand for crustacean products is increasing globally, leading to an expansion in the production and capture of prawns, shrimp and crabs. In 2014, crustacean farming accounted for ~10% of the total world aquaculture production by volume (6.9 million tonnes) and more than 22% by value (FAO, 2016). Yet, the success in meeting an increasing market demand depends on several factors, which can hinder efficient production, from infectious diseases in cultured shrimp to food safety, without considering possible negative impacts to the environment (habitat degradation, water contamination, spread of diseases and antimicrobial resistance) and biodiversity (introduction of invasive species). Even when collected in the wild, different preservation methods and distance from market points can affect the microbial communities of the crustacean sold. To comply with global food security concerns, there is an urgent need to understand the actual demand/supply of crustaceans, the safety of the food sold and challenges faced by eco-social sustainable aquaculture and fisheries. In this optic, different crustacean species (ranging from brown shrimp, king prawns, crabs and lobsters) will be purchased at markets, aquacultures and landing points supplying the Greater Manchester area and analysed using leading-edge DNA metabarcoding techniques as a molecular diagnostic tool to identify eukaryotic pathogens (using mitochondrial COI gene) and microbial diversity (using 16S metagenetics). To our knowledge, this approach has not yet been applied to crustacean production in the UK. A comprehensive knowledge of all microorganisms present (which will impact efficient production, proper conservation of products and possibly affect human health) is critical for producers, consumers and environmental safety.
Archived project
Scales provide fish with a protective but flexible dermal armor. Scales hold also a variety of information that can be used to assess the identity (through their morphology), ecology and behaviour (through their structure and mechanical properties) and age (through their rings) of bony fishes. Since scales are composed by organic and mineral components, deposited continuously throughout the life of the fish, they might hold even more information, if we examine them at the biochemical level. Here, we used Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), a technique that allows the analyses of chemical spectra from biological samples, on the scales from eight populations of the white seabream Diplodus sargus. Specimens of D. sargus were collected from eight geographic locations: Rovinj (Croatia), Livorno (Italy), Monterosso al Mare (Italy), Sète (France), Murcia (Spain), Peniche (Portugal), Faial (Azores) and La Rochelle (France). Scales were washed in distilled water and dried. They were scanned under FTIR for 15 seconds in different areas with the overall goal to see if the spectra were significantly different among populations, among different periods of the life-cycle of fish (juvenile stages vs adults) and among sexes. The results show the FTIR recognize different populations without knowing the origin and recognize different life-cycle of fish .The use of FTIR to detect differences among populations and possibly life stages and sex of individuals is a non-invasive, simple, fast and cost-effective methodology that could be implemented for stock assessment.