201 Works

Microhabitat partitioning correlates with opsin gene expression in coral reef cardinalfishes (Apogonidae)

Martin Luehrmann, Fabio Cortesi, Karen Cheney, Fanny De Busserolles & Justin Marshall
Fish are the most diverse vertebrate group, and they have evolved equally diverse visual systems, varying in terms of eye morphology, number and distribution of spectrally distinct photoreceptor types, visual opsin genes and opsin gene expression levels. This variation is mainly due to adaptations driven by two factors: differences in the light environments and behavioural tasks. However, while the effects of large-scale habitat differences are well described, it is less clear whether visual systems also...

Comparative genomics reveals divergent thermal selection in warm- and cold-tolerant marine mussels

Iva Popovic & Cynthia Riginos
Investigating the history of natural selection among closely related species can elucidate how genomes diverge in response to disparate environmental pressures. Molecular evolutionary approaches can be integrated with knowledge of gene functions to examine how evolutionary divergence may affect ecologically-relevant traits such as temperature tolerance and species distribution limits. Here, we integrate transcriptome-wide analyses of molecular evolution with knowledge from physiological studies to develop hypotheses regarding the functional classes of genes under positive selection in...

Data from: Visual system development of the spotted unicornfish, Naso brevirostris (Acanthuridae)

Valerio Tettamanti, Fanny De Busserolles, David Lecchini, N. Justin Marshall & Fabio Cortesi
Ontogenetic changes of the visual system are often correlated to shifts in habitat and feeding behaviour of animals. Coral reef fishes begin their lives in the pelagic zone and then migrate to the reef. This habitat transition frequently involves a change in diet and light environment as well as major morphological modifications. The spotted unicornfish, Naso brevirostris, is known to shift diet from zooplankton to algae and back to mainly zooplankton when transitioning from larval...

Differential Proteomic Expression of Equine Cardiac and Lamellar Tissue During Insulin-Induced Laminitis

Allison Campolo, Matthew Frantz, Melody De Laat, Steven Hartson, Martin Furr & Veronique Lacombe
Endocrinopathic laminitis is pathologically similar to the multi-organ dysfunction and peripheral neuropathy found in human patients with metabolic syndrome. Similarly, endocrinopathic laminitis has been shown to partially result from vascular dysfunction. However, despite extensive research, the pathogenesis of this disease is not well elucidated and laminitis remains without an effective treatment. Here, we sought to identify novel proteins and pathways underlying the development of equine endocrinopathic laminitis. Healthy Standardbred horses (n=4/group) were either given an...

Microbial associations and spatial proximity predict North American moose (Alces alces) gastrointestinal community composition

Nicholas Fountain-Jones, Nicholas Clark, Amy Kinsley, Michelle Carstensen, James Forester, Johnson Timothy, Elizabeth Miller, Seth Moore, Tiffany Wolf & Meggan Craft
Microbial communities are increasingly recognised as crucial for animal health. However, our understanding of how microbial communities are structured across wildlife populations is poor. Mechanisms such as interspecific associations are important in structuring free-living communities, but we still lack an understanding of how important interspecific associations are in structuring gut microbial communities in comparison to other factors such as host characteristics or spatial proximity of hosts. Here we ask how gut microbial communities are structured...

Integrating climate adaptation and biodiversity conservation in the global ocean

Derek Tittensor, Maria Beger, Kristina Boerder, Daniel Boyce, Rachel Cavanagh, Aurelie Cosandey-Godin, Guillermo Crespo, Daniel Dunn, Wildan Ghiffary, Susie Grant, Lee Hannah, Pat Halpin, Mike Harfoot, Susan Heaslip, Nicholas Jeffery, Naomi Kingston, Heike Lotze, Jennifer McGowan, Elizabeth McLeod, Chris McOwen, Bethan O'Leary, Laurenne Schiller, Ryan Stanley, Maxine Westhead, Kristen Wilson … & Boris Worm
The impacts of climate change and the socioecological challenges they present are ubiquitous and increasingly severe. Practical efforts to operationalize climate-responsive design and management in the global network of marine protected areas (MPAs) are required to ensure long-term effectiveness for safeguarding marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here, we review progress in integrating climate change adaptation into MPA design and management and provide eight recommendations to expedite this process. Climate-smart management objectives should become the default...

Data from: Look to seedling heights, rather than functional traits, to explain survival during extreme heat stress in the early stages of subtropical rainforest restoration

Ronald Gardiner, Luke Shoo & John Dwyer
1. Ecological restoration is urgently needed to arrest and reverse land degradation, reinstate ecosystem services and recover threatened species. Tree planting is a commonly used strategy to restore forests, however planted seedlings often experience low survival and slow growth during the establishment period. Critical evaluation of factors that lead to poor establishment is vital to improve practice but is often constrained by a lack of monitoring and reporting. 2. We took advantage of a large...

Data from: Primate hippocampus size and organization are predicted by sociality but not diet

Orlin Todorov, Vera Weisbecker, Emmanuel Gilissen, Karl Zilles & Alexandra Allison De Sousa
The hippocampus is well known for its roles in spatial navigation and memory, but it is organized into regions that have different connections and functional specializations. Notably, the region CA2 has a role in social cognition, and not spatial cognition as is the case for the regions CA1 and CA3 that surround it. Here we investigated the evolution of the hippocampus in terms of its size and its organization into regions in relation to the...

Data from: The effects of vessel noise on the communication network of humpback whales

Rebecca Dunlop
Humpback whales likely rely on acoustic communication to mediate social interactions. The distance to which these social signals propagate from the signaller defines its communication space, and therefore communication network (number of potential receivers). As humpback whales migrate along populated coastlines, they are likely to encounter noise from vessel traffic which will mask their social signals. Since no empirical data exists on baleen whale hearing, the consequences of this are usually assumed, being the modelled...

Data from: Not the time or the place: the missing spatio-temporal link in publicly available genetic data

Lisa C. Pope, Libby Liggins, Jude Keyse, Silvia B. Carvalho, Cynthia Riginos & Silvia B Carvalho
Genetic data are being generated at unprecedented rates. Policies of many journals, institutions and funding bodies aim to ensure that these data are publicly archived so that published results are reproducible. Additionally, publicly archived data can be ‘repurposed’ to address new questions in the future. In 2011, along with other leading journals in ecology and evolution, Molecular Ecology implemented mandatory public data archiving (the Joint Data Archiving Policy). To evaluate the effect of this policy,...

Data from: Accurate predictions of coexistence in natural systems require the inclusion of facilitative interactions and environmental dependency

Malyon D. Bimler, Daniel B. Stouffer, Hao Ran Lai & Margaret M. Mayfield
1. Coexistence between plant species is well known to depend on the outcomes of species interactions within an environmental context. The incorporation of environmental variation into empirical studies of coexistence are rare, however, due to the complex experiments needed to do so and the lack of feasible modelling approaches for determining how environmental factors alter specific coexistence mechanisms. 2. In this paper, we present a simple modelling framework for assessing how variation in species interactions...

Data from: Dealing with uncertainty in landscape genetic resistance models: a case of three co-occurring marsupials

Rachael Y. Dudaniec, Jessica Worthington-Wilmer, Jeffrey O. Hanson, Matthew Warren, Sarah Bell, Jonathan R. Rhodes & Jessica Worthington Wilmer
Landscape genetics lacks explicit methods for dealing with the uncertainty in landscape resistance estimation, which is particularly problematic when sample sizes of individuals are small. Unless uncertainty can be quantified, valuable but small datasets may be rendered unusable for conservation purposes. We offer a method to quantify uncertainty in landscape resistance estimates using multi-model inference as an improvement over single-model based inference. We illustrate the approach empirically using co-occurring, woodland-preferring Australian marsupials within a common...

Data from: Biodiversity gains from efficient use of private sponsorship for flagship species conservation

Joseph R. Bennett, Richard Maloney, Hugh P. Possingham, J. R. Bennett & H. P. Possingham
To address the global extinction crisis, both efficient use of existing conservation funding and new sources of funding are vital. Private sponsorship of charismatic ‘flagship’ species conservation represents an important source of new funding, but has been criticized as being inefficient. However, the ancillary benefits of privately sponsored flagship species conservation via actions benefiting other species have not been quantified, nor have the benefits of incorporating such sponsorship into objective prioritization protocols. Here, we use...

Data from: Diversification across a heterogeneous landscape

Gregory M. Walter, Melanie J. Wilkinson, Maddie E. James, Thomas J. Richards, J. David Aguirre, Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos & Greg M. Walter
Adaptation to contrasting environments across a heterogeneous landscape favors the formation of ecotypes by promoting ecological divergence. Patterns of fitness variation in the field can show whether natural selection drives local adaptation and ecotype formation. However, to demonstrate a link between ecological divergence and speciation, local adaptation must have consequences for reproductive isolation. Using contrasting ecotypes of an Australian wildflower, Senecio lautus in common garden experiments, hybridization experiments, and reciprocal transplants, we assessed how the...

Data from: Variation of anal fin egg-spots along an environmental gradient in a haplochromine cichlid fish

Anya Theis, Olivia Roth, Fabio Cortesi, Fabrizia Ronco, Walter Salzburger & Bernd Egger
Male secondary sexual traits are targets of inter- and/or intrasexual selection, but can vary due to a correlation with life-history traits or as by-product of adaptation to distinct environments. Trade-offs contributing to this variation may comprise conspicuousness toward conspecifics versus inconspicuousness toward predators, or between allocating resources into coloration versus the immune system. Here, we examine variation in expression of a carotenoid-based visual signal, anal-fin egg-spots, along a replicate environmental gradient in the haplochromine cichlid...

Data from: Mitochondrial genome fragmentation unites the parasitic lice of eutherian mammals

Fan Song, Hu Li, Guo-Hua Liu, Wei Wang, Peter James, Douglas D. Colwell, Anette Tran, Siyu Gong, Wanzhi Cai & Renfu Shao
Organelle genome fragmentation has been found in a wide range of eukaryotic lineages; however, its use in phylogenetic reconstruction has not been demonstrated. We explored the use of mitochondrial (mt) genome fragmentation in resolving the controversial suborder-level phylogeny of parasitic lice (order Phthiraptera). There are ~5,000 species of parasitic lice in four suborders (Amblycera, Ischnocera, Rhyncophthirina and Anoplura), which infest mammals and birds. The phylogenetic relationships among these suborders are unresolved despite decades of studies....

Network analysis reveals underlying syntactic features in a vocally learnt mammalian display, humpback whale song

Jennifer Allen, Ellen Garland, Rebecca Dunlop & Michael Noad
Vocal communication systems have a set of rules that govern the arrangement of acoustic signals, broadly defined as ‘syntax’. However, there is a limited understanding of potentially shared or analogous rules across vocal displays in different taxa. Recent work on songbirds has investigated syntax using network-based modelling. This technique quantifies features such as connectivity (adjacent signals in a sequence) and recurring patterns. Here, we apply network-based modelling to the complex, hierarchically structured songs of humpback...

Data from: Benefits and challenges of scaling up expansion of marine protected area networks in the Verde Island Passage, Central Philippines

Vera Horigue, Robert L. Pressey, Morena Mills, Jana Brotanková, Reniel Cabral & Serge Andrefouet
Locally-established marine protected areas (MPAs) have been proven to achieve local-scale fisheries and conservation objectives. However, since many of these MPAs were not designed to form ecologically-connected networks, their contributions to broader-scale goals such as complementarity and connectivity can be limited. In contrast, integrated networks of MPAs designed with systematic conservation planning are assumed to be more effective—ecologically, socially, and economically—than collections of locally-established MPAs. There is, however, little empirical evidence that clearly demonstrates the...

Data from: Adapting environmental management to uncertain but inevitable change

Sam C. Nicol, Richard A. Fuller, Takuya Iwamura, Iadine Chades, R. A. Fuller, T. Iwamura, I. Chades & S. Nicol
Implementation of adaptation actions to protect biodiversity is limited by uncertainty about the future. One reason for this is the fear of making the wrong decisions caused by the myriad future scenarios presented to decision-makers. We propose an adaptive management (AM) method for optimally managing a population under uncertain and changing habitat conditions. Our approach incorporates multiple future scenarios and continually learns the best management strategy from observations, even as conditions change. We demonstrate the...

Data from: Assessing spatio-temporal priorities for species’ recovery in broad-scale dynamic landscapes

Truly Santika, Clive A. McAlpine, Daniel Lunney, Kerrie A. Wilson & Jonathan R. Rhodes
1. As threats to biodiversity from environmental change increase, assessing priorities for mitigation action becomes increasingly important. However, there have been few attempts to schedule actions across broad spatial extents that explicitly account for dynamic ecological processes and threats. 2. We combined a dynamic occupancy model with a decision analysis framework to spatially allocate multiple recovery actions to maximize species’ probability of occupancy under threats posed by climate and land-use change. We used the koala...

Data from: Heterogeneity of genetic architecture of body size traits in a free-living population

Camillo Bérénos, Philip A. Ellis, Jill G. Pilkington, S. Hong Lee, Jake Gratten & Josephine M. Pemberton
Knowledge of the underlying genetic architecture of quantitative traits could aid in understanding how they evolve. In wild populations, it is still largely unknown whether complex traits are polygenic or influenced by few loci with major effect, due to often small sample sizes and low resolution of marker panels. Here, we examine the genetic architecture of five adult body size traits in a free-living population of Soay sheep on St Kilda using 37 037 polymorphic...

Data from: The emergent geography of biophysical dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific

Eric A. Treml, Jason Roberts, Patrick N. Halpin, Hugh P. Possingham & Cynthia Riginos
Aim: To discover and evaluate potential dispersal barriers across the Indo-West Pacific Ocean and to develop spatially explicit hypotheses regarding the location of barriers and their capacity to filter taxa. Additionally, to compare model predictions with previously described barriers and build a more thorough understanding of the region's biogeographic patterns. Location: The reefs of the Indo-West Pacific Ocean, from 100 to 170°E and from 30°N to 30°S. Methods: A biophysical larval dispersal model was used...

Data from: High-throughput genotyping for species identification and diversity assessment in germplasm collections

Annaliese S. Mason, Jing Zhang, Reece Tollenaere, Paula Vasquez Teuber, Jessica Dalton-Morgan, Liyong Hu, Guijun Yan, David Edwards, Robert Redden & Jacqueline Batley
Germplasm collections provide an extremely valuable resource for breeders and researchers. However, misclassification of accessions by species often hinders the effective use of these collections. We propose that use of high-throughput genotyping tools can provide a fast, efficient and cost-effective way of confirming species in germplasm collections, as well as providing valuable genetic diversity data. We genotyped 180 Brassicaceae samples sourced from the Australian Grains Genebank across the recently released Illumina Infinium Brassica 60K SNP...

Data from: Predicting climate warming effects on green turtle hatchling viability and dispersal performance

Catherine Cavallo, David Booth, Tim Dempster, Michael R. Kearney, Ella Kelly & Tim S. Jessop
1. Ectotherms are taxa considered highly sensitive to rapid climate warming. This is because body temperature profoundly governs their performance, fitness and life history. Yet, while several modelling approaches currently predict thermal effects on some aspects of life history and demography, they do not consider how temperature simultaneously affects developmental success and offspring phenotypic performance, two additional key attributes that are needed to comprehensively understand species responses to climate warming. 2. Here, we developed a...

Data from: How much is new information worth? Evaluating the financial benefit of resolving management uncertainty.

Sean L. Maxwell, Jonathan R. Rhodes, Michael C. Runge, Hugh P. Possingham, Chooi Fei Ng & Eve McDonald-Madden
1. Conservation decision-makers face a trade-off between spending limited funds on direct management action, or gaining new information in an attempt to improve management performance in the future. Value-of-information analysis can help to resolve this trade-off by evaluating how much management performance could improve if new information was gained. Value-of-information analysis has been used extensively in other disciplines, but there are only a few examples where it has informed conservation planning, none of which have...

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