Stephen J Rossiter

Stephen J Rossiter
Queen Mary, University of London | QMUL · School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

About

290
Publications
71,196
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6,085
Citations
Citations since 2016
84 Research Items
3643 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
20162017201820192020202120220200400600
Additional affiliations
January 2008 - December 2012
Queen Mary, University of London
January 2007 - December 2012
East China Normal University
January 2005 - December 2009
University of London

Publications

Publications (290)
Article
Full-text available
Despite decades of research into the evolutionary drivers of sociality, we know relatively little about the underlying proximate mechanisms. Here we investigate the potential role of prolactin in the highly social naked mole-rat. Naked mole-rats live in large social groups but, only a small number of individuals reproduce. The remaining non-breeder...
Article
While evolvability of genes and traits may promote specialization during species diversification, how ecology subsequently restricts such variation remains unclear. Chemosensation requires animals to decipher a complex chemical background to locate fitness‐related resources, and thus the underlying genomic architecture and morphology must cope with...
Article
Agricultural expansion is a primary driver of biodiversity decline in forested regions of the tropics. Consequently, it is important to understand the conservation value of remnant forests in production landscapes. In a tropical landscape dominated by oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), we characterized faunal communities across eight taxa occurring with...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature change is an often‐assumed, but rarely‐tested, mechanism by which sensitive species may decline in forest landscapes following habitat degradation, fragmentation and destruction. Traits mediate how species respond to environmental change, with physiological, morphological and behavioural traits key to determining the response of ectothe...
Article
Full-text available
Logging activities degrade forest habitats across large areas of the tropics, but the impacts on trophic interactions that underpin forest ecosystems are poorly understood. DNA metabarcoding provides an invaluable tool to investigate such interactions, allowing analysis at a far greater scale and resolution than has previously been possible. We ana...
Article
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Background Mitochondrial function involves the interplay between mitochondrial and nuclear genomes. Such mitonuclear interactions can be disrupted by the introgression of mitochondrial DNA between taxa or divergent populations. Previous studies of several model systems (e.g. Drosophila ) indicate that the disruption of mitonuclear interactions, ter...
Preprint
Full-text available
While evolvability of genes and traits may promote specialization during species diversification, how ecology subsequently restricts such variation remains unclear. Chemosensation requires animals to decipher a complex chemical background to locate fitness-related resources, and thus the underlying genomic architecture and morphology must cope with...
Article
Full-text available
Lysozyme enzymes provide classic examples of molecular adaptation and parallel evolution, however, nearly all insights to date come from c-type lysozymes. G-type lysozymes occur in diverse vertebrates, with multiple independent duplications reported. Most mammals possess two g-type lysozyme genes (Lyg1 and Lyg2), the result of an early duplication,...
Article
Full-text available
Habitat degradation is pervasive across the tropics and is particularly acute in Southeast Asia, with major implications for biodiversity. Much research has addressed the impact of degradation on species diversity; however, little is known about how ecological interactions are altered, including those that constitute important ecosystem functions s...
Article
Full-text available
Invertebrate-derived DNA (iDNA) sampling in biodiversity surveys is becoming increasingly widespread, with most terrestrial studies relying on DNA derived from the gut contents of blood-feeding invertebrates, such as leeches and mosquitoes. Dung beetles (superfamily Scarabaeoidea) primarily feed on the faecal matter of terrestrial vertebrates and o...
Preprint
Full-text available
Logging activities degrade forest habitats across large areas of the tropics, but the impacts on trophic interactions that underpin forest ecosystems are poorly understood. DNA metabarcoding provides an invaluable tool to investigate such interactions, allowing analysis at a far greater scale and resolution than has previously been possible. We ana...
Article
Comprising more than 1,400 species, bats possess adaptations unique among mammals including powered flight, unexpected longevity, and extraordinary immunity. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these unique adaptations includes DNA repair, metabolism and immunity. However, analyses have been limited to a few divergent lineages, reducing the...
Article
The role of mechanical morphologies in the exploitation of novel niche space is well characterized, however, the role of sensory structures in unlocking new niches is less clear. Here we investigate the relationship between the evolution of sensory structures and diet during the radiation of noctilionoid bats. With a broad range of foraging ecologi...
Article
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Obligate scavenging on dead and decaying animal matter is a rare dietary specialization that in extant vertebrates is restricted to vultures. These birds perform essential ecological services, yet many vulture species have undergone recent steep population declines and are now endangered. To test for molecular adaptations underlying obligate scaven...
Article
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The family Pteropodidae (Old World fruit bats) comprises >200 species distributed across the Old World tropics and subtropics. Most pteropodids feed on fruit, suggesting an early origin of frugivory, although several lineages have shifted to nectar-based diets. Pteropodids are of exceptional conservation concern with >50% of species considered thre...
Preprint
Full-text available
Agricultural expansion across the tropics is the primary driver of biodiversity declines and ecosystem service degradation. However, efforts to mitigate these negative impacts may reduce commodity production. We quantify trade-offs between oil palm cultivation and ecological outcomes (biodiversity, above-ground carbon storage and dung nutrient cycl...
Article
Full-text available
Dietary adaptation is a major feature of phenotypic and ecological diversification, yet the genetic basis of dietary shifts is poorly understood. Among mammals, Neotropical leaf-nosed bats (family Phyllostomidae) show unmatched diversity in diet; from a putative insectivorous ancestor, phyllostomids have radiated to specialize on diverse food sourc...
Preprint
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The application of environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling in biodiversity surveys has gained widespread acceptance, especially in aquatic systems where free eDNA can be readily collected by filtering water. In terrestrial systems, eDNA-based approaches for assaying vertebrate biodiversity have tended to rely on blood-feeding invertebrates, including lee...
Preprint
Comprising more than 1400 species, bats possess adaptations unique among mammals including powered flight, unexpected longevity given small body size, and extraordinary immunity. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these unique adaptations includes DNA repair, metabolism and immunity. However, analyses have been limited to a few divergent l...
Preprint
Full-text available
Comprising more than 1400 species, bats possess adaptations unique among mammals including powered flight, unexpected longevity given small body size, and extraordinary immunity. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these unique adaptations includes DNA repair, metabolism and immunity. However, analyses have been limited to a few divergent l...
Preprint
Comprising more than 1400 species, bats possess adaptations unique among mammals including powered flight, unexpected longevity given small body size, and extraordinary immunity. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these unique adaptations includes DNA repair, metabolism and immunity. However, analyses have been limited to a few divergent l...
Article
Full-text available
The application of metabarcoding to environmental and invertebrate‐derived DNA (eDNA and iDNA) is a new and increasingly applied method for monitoring biodiversity across a diverse range of habitats. This approach is particularly promising for sampling in the biodiverse humid tropics, where rapid land‐use change for agriculture means there is a gro...
Article
Full-text available
Constructing ecological networks has become an indispensable approach in understanding how different taxa interact. However, the methods used to generate data in network research varies widely among studies, potentially limiting our ability to compare results meaningfully. In particular, methods of classifying nodes vary in their precision, likely...
Article
Full-text available
1. There is growing interest in the ecological value of set-aside habitats around rivers in tropical agriculture. These riparian buffers typically comprise forest or other non-production habitat, and are established to maintain water quality and hydrological processes, while also supporting biodiversity, ecosystem function and landscape connectivit...
Article
Recently diverged taxa with contrasting phenotypes offer opportunities for unravelling the genetic basis of phenotypic variation in nature. Horseshoe bats are a speciose group that exhibit a derived form of high-duty cycle echolocation in which the inner ear is finely tuned to echoes of the narrowband call frequency. Here, by focusing on three rece...
Article
Full-text available
Diversification and adaptive radiations are tied to evolvability, which in turn is linked to morphological integration. Tightly integrated structures typically evolve in unison, whereas loosely integrated structures evolve separately. Highly integrated structures are therefore thought to constrain evolutionary change by limiting morphological dispa...
Article
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Recent studies show that molecular convergence plays an unexpectedly common role in the evolution of convergent phenotypes. We exploited this phenomenon to find candidate loci underlying resistance to the emerald ash borer (EAB, Agrilus planipennis), the United States’ most costly invasive forest insect to date, within the pan-genome of ash trees (...
Article
Closely related taxa often exhibit mitonuclear discordance attributed to introgression of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), yet few studies have considered the underlying causes of mtDNA introgression. Here we test for demographic versus adaptive processes as explanations for mtDNA introgression in three subspecies of the intermediate horseshoe bat (Rhino...
Article
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Morphological variation between individuals can increase niche segregation and decrease intraspecific competition when heterogeneous individuals explore their environment in different ways. Among bat species, wing shape correlates with flight maneuverability and habitat use, with species that possess broader wings typically foraging in more clutter...
Article
Full-text available
Changes in behaviour may initiate shifts to new adaptive zones, with physical adaptations for novel environments evolving later. While new mutations are commonly considered engines of adaptive change, sensory evolution enabling access to new resources might also arise from standing genetic diversity, and even gene loss. We examine the relative cont...
Article
Full-text available
Daylight vision in most mammals is mediated predominantly by a middle/long wavelength-sensitive (M/LWS) pigment. Although spectral sensitivity and associated shifts in M/LWS are mainly determined by five critical sites, predicted phenotypic variation is rarely validated, and its ecological significance is unclear. We experimentally determine spectr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Habitat degradation is pervasive across the tropics and is particularly acute in Southeast Asia, with major implications for biodiversity. Much research has addressed the impact of degradation on species diversity; however, little is known about how ecological interactions are altered, including those that constitute important ecosystem functions s...
Article
The transition to an aquatic lifestyle in cetaceans (whales and dolphins) resulted in a radical transformation in their sensory systems. Toothed whales acquired specialized high-frequency hearing tied to the evolution of echolocation, while baleen whales evolved low-frequency hearing. More generally, all cetaceans show adaptations for hearing and s...
Article
Full-text available
To date, 110 bat species are recorded in Peninsular Malaysia. Many of these species depend upon tropical forests, which have rapidly decreased in extent over recent decades. Yet, updated information on species distributions in the region is still lacking. Here, we report bat species records and their distribution based from surveys undertaken at 30...
Article
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The Mediterranean Basin is a global biodiversity hotspot, hosting a number of native species belonging to families that are found almost exclusively in tropical climates. Yet, whether or not these taxa were able to survive in the Mediterranean region during the Quaternary climatic oscillations remains unknown. Focusing on the European free‐tailed b...
Article
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The evolution of cetaceans, from their early transition to an aquatic lifestyle to their subsequent diversification, has been the subject of numerous studies. However, while the higher-level relationships among cetacean families have been largely settled, several aspects of the systematics within these groups remain unresolved. Problematic clades i...
Preprint
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Genome-wide discovery of candidate genes for functional traits within a species typically involves the sequencing of large samples of phenotyped individuals, or linkage analysis through multiple generations. When a trait occurs repeatedly among phylogenetically independent lineages within a genus, a more efficient approach may be to identify genes...
Article
Full-text available
Multigene families evolve from single‐copy ancestral genes via duplication, and typically encode proteins critical to key biological processes. Molecular analyses of these gene families require high‐confidence sequences, but the high sequence similarity of the members can create challenges for sequencing and downstream analyses. Focusing on the com...
Article
Full-text available
In mammals, social and reproductive behaviors are mediated by chemical cues encoded by hyperdiverse families of receptors expressed in the vomeronasal organ. Between species, the number of intact receptors can vary by orders of magnitude. However, the evolutionary processes behind variation in receptor number, and its link to fitness-related behavi...
Article
Full-text available
Blood‐feeding invertebrates are emerging model taxa in biodiversity assessments, both as indicators of mammal abundance and also as sources of mammal DNA for identification. Among these, terrestrial leeches arguably offer the greatest promise; they are abundant and widespread in the humid tropics, and their blood meals can be easily assayed to esta...
Article
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Recently diverged taxa are often characterised by high rates of introgressive hybridization and incomplete lineage sorting, both of which can complicate phylogenetic reconstructions of species histories. Here we use a sequence capture approach to obtain genome-wide data to resolve the evolutionary relationships, and infer the extent and timescale o...
Article
Full-text available
The ability of vertebrates to occupy diverse niches has been linked to the spectral properties of rhodopsin, conferring rod-based vision in low-light conditions. More recent insights have come from nonspectral kinetics, including the retinal release rate of the active state of rhodopsin, a key aspect of scotopic vision that shows strong association...
Preprint
Full-text available
Multigene families evolve from single-copy ancestral genes via duplication, and typically encode proteins critical to key biological processes. Molecular analyses of these gene families require high-confidence sequences, but the high sequence similarity of the members can create challenges for both sequencing and downstream analyses. Focusing on th...
Article
Full-text available
The application of high throughout sequencing (HTS) for metabarcoding of mixed samples offers new opportunities in conservation biology. Recently the successful detection of prey DNA from the guts of leeches has raised the possibility that these, and other blood‐feeding invertebrates, might serve as useful samplers of mammals. Yet little is known a...
Article
Full-text available
Long-term suppression of recombination ultimately leads to gene loss, as demonstrated by the depauperate Y and W chromosomes of long-established pairs of XY and ZW chromosomes. The young social supergene of the Solenopsis invicta red fire ant provides a powerful system to examine the effects of suppressed recombination over a shorter timescale. The...
Article
Full-text available
The loss of previously adaptive traits is typically linked to relaxation in selection, yet the molecular steps leading to such repeated losses are rarely known. Molecular studies of loss have tended to focus on gene sequences alone, but overlooking other aspects of protein expression might underestimate phenotypic diversity. Insights based almost s...
Article
Full-text available
Through their unique use of sophisticated laryngeal echolocation bats are considered sensory specialists amongst mammals and represent an excellent model in which to explore sensory perception. While several studies have shown that the evolution of vision is linked to ecological niche adaptation in other mammalian lineages, this has not yet been fu...
Article
Full-text available
Among mammals, several lineages have independently adapted to a subterranean niche, and possess similar phenotypic traits for burrowing (e.g. cylindrical bodies, short limbs and absent pinnae). Previous research on mole-rats has revealed molecular adaptations for coping with reduced oxygen, elevated carbon dioxide, and the absence of light. In cont...
Preprint
Full-text available
Constructing networks has become an indispensable approach in understanding how different taxa interact. However, methodologies vary widely among studies, potentially limiting our ability to meaningfully compare results. In particular, how network architecture is influenced by the extent to which nodes are resolved to either taxa or taxonomic units...
Article
Full-text available
The increased accessibility of soft-tissue data through diffusible iodine-based contrast-enhanced computed tomography (diceCT) enables comparative biologists to increase the taxonomic breadth of their studies with museum specimens. However, it is still unclear how soft-tissue measurements from preserved specimens reflect values from freshly collect...
Preprint
Full-text available
Suppressed recombination ultimately leads to gene loss, as demonstrated by the depauperate Y chromosomes of long-established XY pairs. To understand the shorter term effects, we used high-resolution optical mapping and k-mer distribution analysis in a young non-recombining region of fire ant social chromosomes. Instead of shrinking, the region has...
Preprint
Full-text available
Studies of opsin genes offer insights into the evolutionary history and molecular basis of vertebrate color vision, but most assume intact open reading frames equate to functional phenotypes. Despite known variation in opsin repertoires and associated visual phenotypes, the genetic basis of such patterns has not been examined at each step of the ce...
Preprint
Full-text available
In mammals, social and reproductive behaviors are mediated by chemical cues encoded by hyperdiverse families of receptors expressed in the vomeronasal organ. Between species, the number of intact receptors can vary by orders of magnitude. However, the evolutionary processes behind variation in receptor number, and also its link to fitness-related b...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Mammalian species exhibit a wide range of lifespans. To date, a robust and dynamic molecular readout of these lifespan differences has not yet been identified. Recent studies have established the existence of ageing-associated differentially methylated positions (aDMPs) in human and mouse. These are CpG sites at which DNA methylation d...
Article
Mammalian species exhibit a wide range of lifespans. To date, a robust and dynamic molecular readout of these lifespan differences has not yet been identified. Recent studies have established the existence of ageing-associated differentially methylated positions (aDMPs) in human and mouse - CpG sites at which DNA methylation dynamics shows a signif...
Article
Full-text available
The visual ability and associated photic niche of early mammals is debated. The theory that ancestral mammals were nocturnal is supported by diverse adaptations. However, others argue that photopigment repertoires of early mammals are more consistent with a crepuscular niche, and support for this also comes from inferred spectral tuning of middle/l...
Article
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Gene loss and gain during genome evolution are thought to play important roles in adaptive phenotypic diversification. Among mammals, bats possess the smallest genomes and have evolved the unique abilities of powered flight and laryngeal echolocation. To investigate whether gene family evolution has contributed to the genome downsizing and phenotyp...
Article
We studied the chiropteran diversity of Andaman Islands between July 2012 and January 2016 from 38 different localities spread throughout the islands. Our surveys revealed the presence of 17 species of bats. One species -- lesser bamboo bat Tylonycteris pachypus -- reported earlier could not be found during the present study. Our study adds four ne...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Southeast (SE) Asia is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and it holds approximately 20% of all mammal species. Despite this, the majority of SE Asia's genetic diversity is still poorly characterised. The growing interest in using environmental DNA (eDNA) to assess and monitor SE Asian species, in particular threatened mamm...
Article
Recent genomic studies show that introgression can occur at a genome-wide scale among recently diverged lineages. However, introgression is difficult to distinguish from incomplete lineage sorting (ILS), and these processes are expected to occur together. Moreover, ncDNA introgression is less easily detected than mtDNA introgression, and as such it...
Article
Full-text available
Since its discovery, the taxonomic status of the only species of Kerivoula (Chiroptera: Vespertilionidae: Kerivoulinae) to be found on Taiwan has been confused. Previous studies have assigned this species to either Kerivoula hardwickii or K. titania, both of which occur on continental SE Asia. This uncertainty supports repeated suggestions in the l...