420 Works

Data from: Exploring movement decisions: can Bayesian movement-state models explain crop consumption behaviour in elephants (Loxodonta africana)?

Susanne Vogel, Ben Lambert, Anna Songhurst, Graham McCulloch, Amanda Stronza & Tim Coulson
1. Animal movements towards goals or targets are based upon either maximization of resources or risk avoidance, and the way animals move can reveal information about their motivation for movement. 2. We use Bayesian movement models and hourly GPS-fixes to distinguish animal movements into movement states and analyse the influence of environmental variables on being in and switching to a state. Specifically, we apply our models to understand elephant movement decisions surrounding agricultural fields and...

Data from: Unhatched eggs represent the invisible fraction in two wild bird populations

Nicola Hemmings & Simon Evans
Prenatal mortality is typically overlooked in population studies, which biases evolutionary inference by confounding selection and inheritance. Birds represent an opportunity to include this ‘invisible fraction’ if each egg contains a zygote but whether hatching failure is caused by fertilisation failure versus prenatal mortality is largely unknown. We quantified fertilisation failure rates in two bird species that are popular systems for studying evolutionary dynamics in the wild. over three years, finding that overwhelming majorities (99.9%)...

A large-scale assessment of plant dispersal mode and seed traits across human-modified Amazonian forests

Joseph Hawes, Ima Vieira, Luiz Magnago, Erika Berenguer, Joice Ferreira, Luiz Aragão, Amanda Cardoso, Alexander Lees, Gareth Lennox, Joseph Tobias, Anthony Waldron & Jos Barlow
1. Quantifying the impact of habitat disturbance on ecosystem function is critical for understanding and predicting the future of tropical forests. Many studies have examined post-disturbance changes in animal traits related to mutualistic interactions with plants, but the effect of disturbance on plant traits in diverse forests has received much less attention. 2. Focusing on two study regions in the eastern Brazilian Amazon, we used a trait-based approach to examine how seed dispersal functionality within...

Tracking the Near East origins and European dispersal of the house mouse

Thomas CUCCHI, Katerina Papayianni, Sophie Cersoy, Laetitia Aznar-Cormano, Antoine Zazzo, Régis Debruyne, Rémi Berthon, Adrian Bălășescu, Alan Simmons, François Valla, Yannis Hamilakis, Fanis Mavridis, Marjan Mashkour, Jamshid Darvish, Roohollah Siahsarvi, Fereidoun Biglari, Cameron A. Petrie, Lloyd Weeks, Alireza Sardari, Sepideh Maziar, Christiane Denys, David Orton, Emma Jenkins, Melinda Zeder, Jeremy B. Searle … & Jean-Denis Vigne
The house mouse (Mus musculus) is one of the most invasive mammals and an evolutionary model. However, the timing and components of its origin and dispersal remain poorly documented. To track its synanthropisation and subsequent biological invasion during the develoment of complex human societies, we analyzed 829 Mus specimens from 43 archaeological contexts in Southwestern Asia and Southeastern Europe, dating between 40,000 and 3,000 cal. BP, combining geometric morphometris numerical taxonomy with ancient mitochondrial DNA...

Data from: Body mass index, diet, physical inactivity and the incidence of dementia in one million UK women

Sarah Floud, Rachel F Simpson, Angela Balkwill, Anna Brown, Adrian Goodill, John E. Gallacher, Cathie L.M. Sudlow, Phillip Harris, Albert Hofman, Sarah Parish, Gillian K Reeves, Jane Green, Richard Peto & Valerie Beral
Objective: To help determine whether mid-life obesity is a cause of dementia, and whether low BMI, low caloric intake and physical inactivity are causes or merely consequences of the gradual onset of dementia, we recorded these factors early in a large 20-year prospective study and related them to dementia detection rates separately during follow-up periods 0-4, 5-9, 10-14 and 15+ years. Methods: 1,136,846 UK women, mean age 56 (SD=5) years, were recruited in 1996-2001 and...

Group formation and the evolutionary pathway to complex sociality in birds

Philip Downing, Ashleigh Griffin & Charlie Cornwallis
Group-living species show a diversity of social organisation, from simple mated pairs to complex communities of inter-dependent individuals performing specialized tasks. The advantages of living in cooperative groups are well understood, but why some species breed in small aggregations while others evolve large, complex groups with clearly divided roles is unclear. We address this problem by reconstructing the evolutionary pathways to cooperative breeding across 4730 bird species. We show that differences in the way groups...

Insights from empirical analyses and simulations on using multiple fossil calibrations with relaxed clocks to estimate divergence times

Tom Carruthers & Robert Scotland
Relaxed clock methods account for among-branch-rate-variation when estimating divergence times by inferring different rates for individual branches. In order to infer different rates for individual branches, important assumptions are required. This is because molecular sequence data does not provide direct information about rates, but instead provides direct information about the total number of substitutions along any branch, which is a product of the rate and time for that branch. Often, the assumptions required for estimating...

The implications of lineage-specific rates for divergence time estimation

Tom Carruthers, Michael J Sanderson & Robert W Scotland
Rate variation adds considerable complexity to divergence time estimation in molecular phylogenies. Here, we evaluate the impact of lineage-specific rates—which we define as among-branch-rate-variation that acts consistently across the entire genome. We compare its impact to residual rates—defined as among-branch-rate-variation that shows a different pattern of rate variation at each sampled locus, and gene-specific rates—defined as variation in the average rate across all branches at each sampled locus. We show that lineage-specific rates lead to...

Genetically determined blood pressure, antihypertensive drug classes and risk of stroke subtypes

Marios Georgakis, Dipender Gill, Alastair Webb, Evangelos Evangelou, Paul Elliott, Cathie Sudlow, Abbas Dehghan, Rainer Malik, Ioanna Tzoulaki & Martin Dichgans
Objective: We employed Mendelian Randomization to explore whether the effects of blood pressure (BP) and BP lowering through different antihypertensive drug classes on stroke risk vary by stroke etiology. Methods: We selected genetic variants associated with systolic and diastolic BP and BP-lowering variants in genes encoding antihypertensive drug targets from a GWAS on 757,601 individuals. Applying two-sample Mendelian randomization, we examined associations with any stroke (67,162 cases; 454,450 controls), ischemic stroke and its subtypes (large...

Thinner bark increases sensitivity of wetter Amazonian tropical forests to fire

Ann Carla Staver, Paulo M. Brando, Jos Barlow, Douglas C. Morton, C.E. Timothy Paine, Yadvinder Malhi, Alejandro Araujo Murakami & Jhon Pasquel
Understory fires represent an accelerating threat to Amazonian tropical forests and can, during drought, affect larger areas than deforestation itself. These fires kill trees at rates varying from < 10 to c. 90% depending on fire intensity, forest disturbance history and tree functional traits. Here, we examine variation in bark thickness across the Amazon. Bark can protect trees from fires, but it is often assumed to be consistently thin across tropical forests. Here, we show...

Data from: Comparative analysis of the shape and size of the middle ear cavity of turtles reveals no correlation with habitat ecology

Christian Foth, Serjoscha W. Evers, Walter G. Joyce, Virginie S. Volpato & Roger B. J. Benson
The middle ear of turtles differs from other reptiles in being separated into two distinct compartments. Several ideas have been proposed as to why the middle ear is compartmentalized in turtles, most suggesting a relationship with underwater hearing. Extant turtle species span fully marine to strictly terrestrial habitats, and ecomorphological hypotheses of turtle hearing predict that this should correlate with variation in the structure of the middle ear due to differences in the fluid properties...

Consistent patterns of distractor effects during decision making

Bolton K H Chau, Chun-Kit Law, Alizée Lopez-Persem, Miriam C Klein-Flügge & Matthew F S Rushworth
The value of a third potential option or distractor can alter the way in which decisions are made between two other options. Two hypotheses have received empirical support: that a high value distractor improves the accuracy with which decisions between two other options are made and that it impairs accuracy. Recently, however, it has been argued that neither observation is replicable. Inspired by neuroimaging data showing that high value distractors have different impacts on prefrontal...

Life history evolution, species differences and phenotypic plasticity in hemiparasitic eyebrights (Euphrasia)

Max Brown, Natacha Frachon, Edgar Wong & Alex Twyford
Premise of the study: Species delimitation in parasitic organisms is challenging as traits used in the identification of species are often plastic and vary depending on the host. Here, we use species from a recent radiation of generalist hemiparasitic Euphrasia to investigate trait variation and trait plasticity. We test whether Euphrasia species show reliable trait differences, investigate whether these differences correspond to life history trade-offs between growth and reproduction, and quantify plasticity in response to...

Beyond Buddhism and animism: A psychometric test of the structure of Burmese Theravada Buddhism

Mark Stanford & Jonathan Jong
Anthropologists and religious scholars have long debated the relationship between doctrinal Theravada Buddhism, so-called ‘animism’, and other folk practices in southeast Asian societies. A variety of models of this relationship have been proposed on the basis of ethnographic evidence. We provide the first psychometric and quantitative evaluation of these competing models, using a new scale developed for this purpose, the Burmese Buddhist Religiosity Scale. Having tested existing hypotheses in our first study (n = 2285)...

Data from: Linking dung beetle mediated functions to interactions in the Atlantic Forest: sampling design matters

Elizabeth Raine
Interactions between dung beetles and vertebrate dung are intimately linked to a suite of ecosystem functions in tropical forests. We show that the trapping method and the type of dung used affect the suite of beetles captured, with the potential to influence the outcome of experiments linking functions to interactions.

Testing Finch’s hypothesis: the role of organismal modularity on the escape from actuarial senescence

Connor Bernard, Aldo Compagnoni & Roberto Salguero-Gómez
1. Until recently, senescence was assumed to be a universal phenomenon. Evolutionary theories of senescence predict that no organism may escape the physiological decline that results in an increase in mortality risk and/or decline in fertility with age. However, evidence both in animals and plants has emerged in the last decade defying such predictions. Researchers are currently seeking mechanistic explanations for the observed variation in ageing trajectories. 2. We argue that the historical view on...

Data from: Deciphering the stability of grassland productivity in response to rainfall manipulation experiments

Ilaine Matos, Sami Rifai, Imma Oliveras & Bruno Rosado
Aim: Rainfall manipulation experiments are essential tools for deciphering mechanisms leading to variation in ecosystem stability across sites. Here, we gathered articles reporting results of experimental droughts on grasslands above-ground biomass: to identify which indices have been used to assess stability, to evaluate the overall grassland responses to drought, and to quantify the relative importance of drought characteristics and climatic conditions on explaining variation in stability. Location: Global Time period: 1989-2018 Major taxa studied: Grasslands...

The many population genetic and demographic routes to islands of genomic divergence

Claudio Quilodrán, Kristen Ruegg, Ashley Sendell-Price, Eric Anderson, Tim Coulson & Sonya Clegg
The way that organisms diverge into reproductively isolated species is a major question in biology. The recent accumulation of genomic data provides promising opportunities to understand the genomic landscape of divergence, which describes the distribution of differences across genomes. Genomic areas of unusually high differentiation have been called genomic islands of divergence. Their formation has been attributed to a variety of mechanisms, but a prominent hypothesis is that they result from divergent selection over a...

The cost and benefit of quorum sensing controlled bacteriocin production in Lactobacillus plantarum

Antonio Maldonado-Barragán & Stuart A. West
Bacteria eliminate competitors via ‘chemical warfare’ with bacteriocins. Some species appear to adjust bacteriocin production conditionally in response to the social environment. We tested whether variation in the cost and benefit of producing bacteriocins could explain such conditional behaviour, in the bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum. We found that: (1) bacterial bacteriocin production could be upregulated by either the addition of a synthetic autoinducer peptide (PLNC8IF; signalling molecule), or by a plasmid which constitutively encodes for the...

An experimental test of community-based strategies for mitigating human-wildlife conflict around protected areas

Ryan Long, Paola Branco, Jerod Merkle, Robert Pringle, Lucy King, Tosca Tindall & Marc Stalmans
Natural habitats are rapidly being converted to cultivated croplands, and crop-raiding by wildlife threatens both wildlife conservation and human livelihoods worldwide. We combined movement data from GPS-collared elephants with camera-trap data and local reporting systems in a before-after-control-impact design to evaluate community-based strategies for reducing crop raiding outside Mozambique’s Gorongosa National Park. All types of experimental fences tested (beehive, chili, beehive and chili combined, and procedural controls) significantly reduced the number of times elephants left...

Interprofessional education in geriatric medicine: towards best practice. A controlled before-after study of medical and nursing student attitudes

Sanja Thompson, Kiloran Metcalfe, Katy Boncey, Clair Merriman, Lorna Flynn, Gaggandeep Singh Alg, Harriet Bothwell, Carol Forde-Forde-Johnston, Elizabeth Puffett, Caroline Hardy, Liz Wright & James Beale
Objectives To investigate nursing and medical students’ readiness for interprofessional learning before and after implementing geriatric Interprofessional education (IPE), based on interactive case scenarios Problem Based Learning (PBL). To determine optimal number of geriatric IPE sessions, the size and the ratio of participants in the learner groups, the outcomes related to the Kirkpatrick four-level typology of learning evaluation, students’ concerns about joint learning, perception of roles of the “other” profession and students choice of topic....

The phylogeny of early amniotes and the affinities of Parareptilia and Varanopidae

David Paul Ford & Roger B. J. Benson
Amniotes include mammals, reptiles and birds, representing 75% of extant vertebrate species on land. They originated around 318 million years ago (early late Carboniferous)and their early fossil record is central to understanding the expansion of vertebrates in terrestrial ecosystems. We present a new phylogenetic hypothesis that challenges the widely-accepted consensus about early amniote evolution, based on parsimony analysis and Bayesian inference of a new morphological dataset. We find a reduced membership of the mammalian stem-lineage,...

Hydroxyacetophenone defenses in white spruce against spruce budworm

Genevieve Parent, Claudia Méndez-Espinoza, Isabelle Giguère, Melissa H. Mageroy, Martin Charest, Éric Bauce, Joerg Bohlmann & John MacKay
We review a recently discovered white spruce (Picea glauca) chemical defense against spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana) involving hydroxyacetophenones. These defense metabolites detected in the foliage accumulate variably as the aglycons, piceol and pungenol, or the corresponding glucosides, picein and pungenin. We summarize current knowledge of the genomic, molecular and biochemical as well as genetic underpinnings of this defense and its effects on C. fumiferana. We present an update with new results on the ontogenic variation...

Data from: Dynamic phenotypic correlates of social status and mating effort in male and female red junglefowl, Gallus gallus

Rômulo Carleial, Grant McDonald & Tommaso Pizzari
Despite widespread evidence that mating and intra-sexual competition are costly, relatively little is known about how these costs dynamically change male and female phenotypes. Here, we test multiple hypotheses addressing this question in replicate flocks of red junglefowl (Gallus gallus). First, we test the inter-relationships between social status, comb size (a fleshy ornament) and body mass at the onset of a mating trial. While comb size covaried positively with body mass across individuals of both...

Data from: Developmental constraints do not influence long-term phenotypic evolution of marsupial forelimbs as revealed by interspecific disparity and integration patterns

Alberto Martín-Serra & Roger B. J. Benson
Marsupials show a smaller range of forelimb ecomorphologies than placental mammals, and it is hypothesized that this results from macroevolutionary constraints imposed by the specialised reproductive biology of marsupials. Specifically, the accelerated development of the marsupial forelimb allows neonates to crawl to the mother’s pouch, but may constrain adult morphology. This hypothesis makes three main predictions: (i) that marsupial forelimbs should show less interspecific disparity than their hindlimbs; (ii) that morphological integration within the marsupial...

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