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Helen Margaret Barber-James

Helen Margaret Barber-James
National Museums of Northern Ireland · Natural Sciences

PhD

About

50
Publications
67,610
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678
Citations
Introduction
My research interests span the fields of ecology, phylogeography, historical biogeography, systematics, diversity and conservation of freshwater insects, in particular Ephemeroptera (mayflies). I am a curator and scientist at the National Museums of Northern Ireland, a position started in January 2022. New collaborative research projects will be developed exploring the freshwater ecosystems of Ireland.

Publications

Publications (50)
Article
Nine new species of Caenis from Angola are described herein: Caenis wegeneriana sp. n. (imago), Caenis angolensis sp. n. (imago and larva), Caenis branchiata sp. n. (larva), Caenis filappendices sp. n. (imago), Caenis ulesi sp. n. (larva), Caenis cubango sp. n. (larva), Caenis armata sp. n. (imago), Caenis brevispinata sp. n. (imago), and Caenis ga...
Article
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The distinction between the two closely related genera Oligoneuriella Ulmer, 1924 and Oligoneuriopsis Crass, 1947 has been much debated. First described from South Africa, Oligoneuriopsis seemed to be a clearly defined genus. However, as the known distribution of the genus widened and knowledge on it expanded , species delimitation based on morphol...
Article
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While previous studies have highlighted the potential of DNA‐based methods for the biomonitoring of freshwater macroinvertebrates, a limited number have investigated homogenization of bulk samples that include debris, in order to reduce sample‐processing costs. This study explores the use of several DNA‐based survey methods for water quality and bi...
Article
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Citation: Taylor CL, Barker NP, Barber-James HM, Villet MH, Pereira-da-Conceicoa LL (2020) Habitat requirements affect genetic variation in three species of mayfly (Ephemeroptera, Baetidae) from South Africa. ZooKeys 936: 1-24. Abstract This study investigates genetic diversity in three species of Ephemeroptera, one eurytopic and therefore widespre...
Article
The new mayfly species Caenis albicans sp. n. and Caenis letabanensis sp. n. (Ephemeroptera: Caenidae) from the Kruger National Park, South Africa, are described herein. The new species were collected in the area of the confluence of the Olifants and Letaba Rivers. They belong to the Caenis – TPAgroup, a group widely distributed inAfrica, character...
Article
A preliminary assessment of Ephemeroptera species diversity in Angolan freshwater ecosystems is presented. The results are based on three surveys carried out between 2016 and 2018, supplemented by literature synthesis. The area studied includes headwater streams and tributaries feeding the Okavango Delta, namely the Cubango, Cuito and Cuanavale Riv...
Preprint
Full-text available
Many studies have highlighted the potential of DNA-based methods for the biomonitoring of freshwater macroinvertebrates, however only a few studies have investigated homogenisation of bulk samples that include debris to reduce sample-processing time. In order to explore the use of DNA-based methods in water quality assessment in South Africa, this...
Article
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Background: Two recent distributional maps of the African freshwater mussel Unio caffer (Krauss 1848) in South Africa represented an incomplete picture compared to the records held by the national museums. Objectives: This study is partly in response to them, with the aim to compare and contrast the distribution maps of the published papers with t...
Article
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We led a curriculum vitae (CV) clinic aimed at student participants attending the 28th International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB 2017) in Cartagena, Colombia. The CV Clinic was a pilot program consisting of resources to assist with developing an effective CV and involving preconference and at‐conference reviews of student attendees' CVs...
Article
Wings are one of the most important structures in the evolution of insects and winged insects are widely accepted as being monophyletic. In Ephemeroptera, wing structure and shape is important for interpreting taxonomic relationships. Morphological variation in wing shape of 14 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) of South African Teloganodi...
Article
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Temporary lentic wetlands are becoming increasingly recognised for their collective role in contributing to biodiversity at the landscape scale. In southern Africa, a region with a high density of such wetlands, information characterising the fauna of these systems is disparate and often obscurely published. Here we provide a collation and synthesi...
Article
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The question whether taxonomic descriptions naming new animal species without type specimen(s) deposited in collections should be accepted for publication by scientific journals and allowed by the Code has already been discussed in Zootaxa (Dubois & Nemésio 2007; Donegan 2008, 2009; Nemésio 2009a–b; Dubois 2009; Gentile & Snell 2009; Minelli 2009;...
Data
This plot is not part of the published stance but derives from it. The plot shows the number of authors by geographic region (courtesy of Dr. Diego Astua).
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The dawn-emerging Prosopistomatidae have an extremely short flight period, and have developed an unusual mating behaviour. Female legs are atrophied, and male forelegs do not increase in length as seen in the male imago of most other mayflies. Tarsal claws of the male subimago typically end apically in a double hook, while in the imago the claws te...
Article
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Rapid biomonitoring protocols, using biotic indices based on macroinvertebrate diversity to assess river ecosystem health, are widely used globally. Such quick assessment techniques are lauded for the rapid results obtained and the relatively easy protocol used to achieve an answer. However, do such quick assessments of water quality give enough in...
Chapter
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Article
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Acanthiops Waltz & McCafferty (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae) is shown to be a monophyletic grouping defined by an anteromedially emarginate and laterally expanded and flattened pronotum in the larva. Attempts to restrict the concept of Acanthiops to Ac. marlieri (Demoulin) and re-erect Afroptiloides Gillies, syn. n., for Ac. elgonensis Lugo-Ortiz & McCa...
Article
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The imago and nymph of Lestagella penicillata are redescribed based on historic specimens and new material from Table Mountain slopes (Skeleton Gorge and Window Stream), Western Cape, South Africa. A male from Barnard’s syntype series is designated as the lectotype. Wear-and-tear of mouthparts, particularly the mandibles, has led to errors in ident...
Article
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The piscicide rotenone is used as a conservation tool to remove alien fishes from rivers, though there is controversy over its effects on aquatic insects. An alien fish removal operation in the Rondegat River, Cape Floristic Region, South Africa, allowed the immediate impact of rotenone on an aquatic insect community in a region with high conservat...
Article
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Background Baetis harrisoni Barnard is a mayfly frequently encountered in river studies across Africa, but the external morphological features used for identifying nymphs have been observed to vary subtly between different geographic locations. It has been associated with a wide range of ecological conditions, including pH extremes of pH 2.9–10.0 i...
Data
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Table S1. GenBank Accession numbers, samples and localities. Clade labels correspond to Figures 2 and 3. (‘-’ indicates failure to amplify; * = sequence obtained from GenBank; EC = Eastern Cape; KZN = KwaZulu-Natal; LIM = Limpopo; MPU = Mpumalanga; NW = North West; RSA = South Africa; WC = Western Cape).
Data
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Figure S1. Plot of the mean time to most recent common ancestor (TMRCA). Estimated using BEAST under differing tree priors and substitution rates. (A) mean COI substitution rate of 3.5% per MY; (B) mean COI substitution rate of 1.5% per MY. Error bars correspond to the estimated 95% HPD. Dashed lines denote approximate boundaries of geologic epochs...
Article
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Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) are a merolimnic insect order (part of the life cycle is aquatic) and play an important role as biological indicators of river ecosystem health. In the Afrotropical realm (including sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar), this order presently encompasses 122 genera and more than 400 species; all species and 85% of the genera ar...
Article
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The history of the early descriptions of Prosopistoma is reviewed, and the steps taken to trace the original material described as Prosopistoma variegatum Latreille, 183324. Latreille , M. 1833 . ‘Description d'un nouveau genre de crustacés’ . Annales du Museum National, Paris , 2 : 23 – 34 . View all references are outlined. Eaton (1884) designate...
Article
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Three species of Prosopistoma Latreille, 1833 are currently described from Africa. The immature nymph of Prosopistoma deguernei Vayssière, 1893 was described from Senegal, and the nymph and winged stages of Prosopistoma africanum Gillies, 1954 are known from Tanzania. The southern African species Prosopistoma crassi Gillies, 1954, initially describ...
Article
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Until recently, only four species of the monogeneric family Prosopistomatidae were described from the Afrotropical realm; one from Madagascar, and three from sub-Saharan Africa. Recent studies have revealed the family to be more diverse, with a further five species from Madagascar, one from the Comores archipelago and seven from sub-Saharan Africa,...
Article
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The larval stage of the genera Bugilliesia Lugo-Ortiz & McCafferty 19969. Lugo-Ortiz , C. R. and McCafferty , W. P. 1996 . ‘The Bugilliesia complex of African Baetidae (Ephemeroptera)’ . Transactions of the American Entomological Society , 122 : 175 – 197 . [Web of Science ®], [CSA]View all references; Cheleocloeon Wuillot & Gillies, 199317. Wuillo...
Article
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The African genus Acanthiops Waltz and McCafferty (Ephemeroptera : Baetidae) is reviewed, redescribed, and figured. The genus is a monophyletic group, easily identified in the larval stage by its distinctive labium, dorsal abdominal armature, claw armature, and two-tailed condition. A previous synonymy of Afroptilum (subgenus Afroptiloides) Gillies...
Conference Paper
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The Tricorythidae of the Afrotropical Region is currently composed of five described genera, three of which are thought to be restricted to Madagascar (Madecassorythus Elouard and Oliarioniny, Ranorythus Oliarinony and Elouard, and Spinirythus Oliarinony and Elouard), one which is restricted to Africa (Dicercomyzon Demoulin), and one which is thoug...
Article
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Recent work on the Afrotropical Baetidae has resulted in a number of important taxonomic changes: several polyphyletic genera have been split and more than 30 new Afrotropical genera have been established. In order to test their phylogenetic relevance and to clarify the suprageneric relationships, we reconstructed the first comprehensive molecular...
Article
Full-text available
The Tricorythidae of the Afrotropical Region is currently composed of five described genera, three of which are thought to be restricted to Madagascar (Madecassorythus Elouard and Oliarioniny, Ranorythus Oliarinony and Elouard, and Spinirythus Oliarinony and Elouard), one which is restricted to Africa (Dicercomyzon Demoulin), and one which is thoug...
Article
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The extant global Ephemeroptera fauna is represented by over 3,000 described species in 42 families and more than 400 genera. The highest generic diversity occurs in the Neotropics, with a correspondingly high species diversity, while the Palaearctic has the lowest generic diversity, but a high species diversity. Such distribution patterns may rela...
Article
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The larvae of Liodessus affinis (Say, 1823), L. crotchi Nilsson, 2001, L. flavofasciatus (Steinheil, 1869), L. involucer (Brinck, 1948), and L. patagonicus (Zimmermann, 1923) are described with an emphasis on chaetotaxy of the head capsule, head appendages, legs, last abdominal segment and urogomphi. Larvae of these species are very uniform in term...
Article
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As part of a multidisciplinary floristic-faunistic study, a three week survey of the invertebrate fauna of Inaccessible Island (South Atlantic Ocean) was carried out in October / November 1989. In addition, one day of collecting was done on Nightingale Island. This paper deals only with the fauna associated with freshwater ecosystems from these isl...
Article
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We investigated the relative importance of dispersal and vicariance in forming the Madagascar insect fauna, sequencing approximately 2300bp from three rRNA gene regions to investigate the phylogeny of Afrotropical small minnow mayflies (Ephemeroptera: Baetidae). Six lineages contained trans-oceanic sister taxa, and variation in genetic divergence b...
Article
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The name Tanzaniella, proposed for an African baetid mayfly by Gillies (1991) was preoccupied. The name Tanzaniops is provided as a replacement for this homonym.
Article
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Since 1977, larvae of the pest species Simulium chutteri Lewis have largely replaced Simulium nigritarse Coquillett as the dominant species of blackfly in the Great Fish River in the eastern Cape. This is thought to be due to a change frorn intermittent to continuous water flow since the completion of an interbasin watee transf'er scheme from the O...
Article
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The mayfly family Prosopistomatidae consists of the single genus Prosopistoma Latreille. Its known distribution includes species from Africa, Madagascar, the Comores, Europe, the Levant, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. A tropical Gondwanaland o...
Chapter
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The ancient insect order Ephemeroptera, or mayflies, are considered to be the most primitive surviving group of insects, dating back to the late Carboniferous, early Permian, about 290 m. years ago. The Ephemeroptera and Odonata are the only living relicts of the ancient group, the Palaeoptera of which another four orders (Meganisoptera, Megasecopt...
Conference Paper
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Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation carried out on the eggs of Afronurus scotti, A. harrisoni, A. peringueyi, and A. ugandanus, has provided some chorionic details useful for a comparison between these species. In all the species, the egg chorion is decorated with sparse granules and shows two kinds of knob-terminated coiled threads (K...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The mayfly family Prosopistomatidae consists of the single genus Prosopistoma Latreille.
Article
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"A strategy for assigning priorities in biodiversity conservation was developed for the rivers of the proposed Greater Addo Elephant National Park (GAENP) in South Africa. Due to the limited availability of biological information on the freshwater ecosystems of this area, a desktop approach, supplemented by aerial and land surveys, was used to devi...
Article
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The proposed construction of a second hydroelectric power-generating dam on the Cunene (Kunene) River on the Namibia-Angola border, more than 100km downstream of the Ruacana hydroelectric power plant, will have a major influence on the aquatic biota of this river. In order to assess the potential impact of this impoundment a more detailed inventory...
Article
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Pseudocloeon masai (Lugo-Ortiz and McCafferty), P. nadineae (Lugo-Ortiz and McCafferty) and P. quintum (Agnew) are junior subjective synonyms of P. glaucum (Agnew). Larvae of P. glaucum manifest a wide range of variation in mouthpart morphology, particularly with respect to the development of the distomedial process of segment 2 of the labial palps...
Article
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The new genus Micksiops is established for the African species M. bicaudatus (Gillies), n. comb. This species is known from Guinea, and undescribed species of Mickslops have been seen from Kenya and South Africa. In the larval stage, characters of the labium, the single row of denticles, lack of subtending setae on the claws, and the lack of armatu...

Projects

Projects (4)
Project
This ongoing project aims to document species diversity and distributions of mayflies and other freshwater insects in the Afrotropical region. It includes detailed knowledge of what species are present, what their role is in an ecosystem, how they have evolved over time, how they are affected by anthropogenic changes, and finding ways to monitor changes over time. This is fundamental to making sound decisions for conservation and management of freshwater ecosystems.
Project
FW BON is a global voluntary community of practice. It will promote the establishment of best practices for global biodiversity observations by: 1) improving the collection of harmonized data, 2) developing data standards and methodologies for data management and dissemination, ( 3) facilitating data sharing without compromising national concerns, 4) integrating biodiversity information with physical and chemical data, and 5) producing products useful for sound management of rivers and their catchments, lakes, wetlands and subterranean aquatic ecosystems.