452 Works

Data from: Interception by two predatory fly species is explained by a proportional navigation feedback controller

Samuel T. Fabian, Mary E. Sumner, Trevor J. Wardill, Sergio Rossoni & Paloma T. Gonzalez-Bellido
When aiming to capture a fast-moving target, animals can follow it until they catch up, or try to intercept it. In principle, interception is the more complicated strategy, but also more energy efficient. To study whether simple feedback controllers can explain interception behaviours by animals with miniature brains, we have reconstructed and studied the predatory flights of the robber fly Holcocephala fusca and killer fly Coenosia attenuata. Although both species catch other aerial arthropods out...

Data from: Flies on the move: an inherited virus mirrors Drosophila melanogaster’s elusive ecology and demography

Lena Wilfert & Francis M. Jiggins
Vertically transmitted parasites rely on their host's reproduction for their transmission, leading to the evolutionary histories of both parties being intimately entwined. Parasites can thus serve as a population genetic magnifying glass for their host's demographic history. Here, we study the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster's vertically transmitted sigma virus DMelSV. The virus has a high mutation rate and low effective population size, allowing us to reconstruct at a fine scale how the combined forces of the...

Data from: The evolution of social monogamy in primates is not consistently associated with male infanticide

Dieter Lukas & Tim Clutton-Brock
Comparative analyses suggest that monogamous breeding systems evolved in mammals where feeding competition reduces range overlap between breeding females, preventing males from guarding more than one female at at time. In contrast, a recent analysis for primates suggests that monogamy evolved as a form of paternal care that reduces the risk of male infanticide. Here we re-examine the distribution of monogamy in primates and attempt to explain the contrasting results of the two analyses.

Data from: Crying wolf to a predator: deceptive vocal mimicry by a bird protecting young

Branislav Igic, Jessica McLachlan, Inkeri Lehtinen & Robert D. Magrath
Animals often mimic dangerous or toxic species to deter predators; however, mimicry of such species may not always be possible and mimicry of benign species seems unlikely to confer anti-predator benefits. We reveal a system in which a bird mimics the alarm calls of harmless species to fool a predator 40 times its size and protect its offspring against attack. Our experiments revealed that brown thornbills (Acanthiza pusilla) mimic a chorus of other species' aerial...

Data from: Hosts of avian brood parasites have evolved egg signatures with elevated information content

Eleanor M. Caves, Martin Stevens, Edwin S. Iversen & Claire N. Spottiswoode
Hosts of brood-parasitic birds must distinguish their own eggs from parasitic mimics, or pay the cost of mistakenly raising a foreign chick. Egg discrimination is easier when different host females of the same species each lay visually distinctive eggs (egg ‘signatures’), which helps to foil mimicry by parasites. Here, we ask whether brood parasitism is associated with lower levels of correlation between different egg traits in hosts, making individual host signatures more distinctive and informative....

Data from: Hidden diversity in the freshwater planktonic diatom Asterionella formosa

Silke Van Den Wyngaert, Markus Möst, Remo Freimann, Bastiaan W. Ibelings & Piet Spaak
Many freshwater and marine algal species are described as having cosmopolitan distributions. Whether these widely distributed morphologically similar algae also share a similar gene pool remains often unclear. In the context of island biogeography theory, stronger spatial isolation deemed typical of freshwater lakes should restrict gene flow and lead to higher genetic differentiation among lakes. Using nine microsatellite loci, we investigate the genetic diversity of a widely distributed freshwater planktonic diatom, Asterionella formosa, across different...

Data from: The macro- and microfossil record of the middle Cambrian priapulid Ottoia

Martin R. Smith, Thomas H. P. Harvey & Nicholas J. Butterfield
The stem-group priapulid Ottoia Walcott, 1911, is the most abundant worm in the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale, but has not been unambiguously demonstrated elsewhere. High-resolution electron and optical microscopy of macroscopic Burgess Shale specimens reveals the detailed anatomy of its robust hooks, spines and pharyngeal teeth, establishing the presence of two species: Ottoia prolifica Walcott, 1911, and Ottoia tricuspida sp. nov. Direct comparison of these sclerotized elements with a suite of shale-hosted mid-to-late Cambrian microfossils extends...

Data from: Global circulation patterns of seasonal influenza viruses vary with antigenic drift

Trevor Bedford, Steven Riley, Ian G. Barr, Shobha Broor, Mandeep Chadha, Nancy J. Cox, Rodney S. Daniels, C. Palani Gunasekaran, Aeron C. Hurt, Anne Kelso, Alexander Klimov, Nicola S. Lewis, Xiyan Li, John W. McCauley, Takato Odagiri, Varsha Potdar, Andrew Rambaut, Yuelong Shu, Eugene Skepner, Derek J. Smith, Marc A. Suchard, Masato Tashiro, Dayan Wang, Xiyan Xu, Philippe Lemey … & Colin A. Russell
Understanding the spatiotemporal patterns of emergence and circulation of new human seasonal influenza virus variants is a key scientific and public health challenge. The global circulation patterns of influenza A/H3N2 viruses are well characterized1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, but the patterns of A/H1N1 and B viruses have remained largely unexplored. Here we show that the global circulation patterns of A/H1N1 (up to 2009), B/Victoria, and B/Yamagata viruses differ substantially from those of A/H3N2...

Data from: Early life expenditure in sexual competition is associated with increased reproductive senescence in male red deer

Jean-François Lemaître, Jean-Michel Gaillard, Josephine M. Pemberton, Tim H. Clutton-Brock, Daniel H. Nussey, J.-F. Lemaitre & J.-M. Gaillard
The evolutionary theories of senescence predict that investment in reproduction in early life should come at the cost of reduced somatic maintenance, and thus earlier or more rapid senescence. There is now growing support for such trade-offs in wild vertebrates, but these exclusively come from females. Here, we test this prediction in male red deer (Cervus elaphus) using detailed longitudinal data collected over a 40-year field study. We show that males which had larger harems...

Data from: Impact on offspring methylation patterns of maternal gestational diabetes mellitus and intrauterine growth restraint suggest common genes and pathways linked to subsequent type 2 diabetes risk

Claire R. Quilter, Wendy N. Cooper, Kerry M. Cliffe, Benjamin M. Skinner, Philippa M. Prentice, LaTasha Nelson, Julien Bauer, Ken K. Ong, Constância Miguel, William L. Lowe, Nabeel A. Affara & David B. Dunger
Size at birth, postnatal weight gain, and adult risk for type 2 diabetes may reflect environmental exposures during developmental plasticity and may be mediated by epigenetics. Both low birth weight (BW), as a marker of fetal growth restraint, and high birth weight (BW), especially after gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), have been linked to increased risk of adult type 2 diabetes. We assessed DNA methylation patterns using a bead chip in cord blood samples from infants...

Data from: Evidence for aggressive mimicry in an adult brood parasitic bird, and generalised defences in its host

William E. Feeney, Jolyon Troscianko, Naomi E. Langmore & Claire N. Spottiswoode
Mimicry of a harmless model (aggressive mimicry) is used by egg, chick and fledgling brood parasites that resemble the host's own eggs, chicks and fledglings. However, aggressive mimicry may also evolve in adult brood parasites, to avoid attack from hosts and/or manipulate their perception of parasitism risk. We tested the hypothesis that female cuckoo finches (Anomalospiza imberbis) are aggressive mimics of female Euplectes weavers, such as the harmless, abundant and sympatric southern red bishop (Euplectes...

Data from: Neural tuning functions underlie both generalization and interference

Ian S. Howard & David W. Franklin
In sports, the role of backswing is considered critical for generating a good shot, even though it plays no direct role in hitting the ball. We recently demonstrated the scientific basis of this phenomenon by showing that immediate past movement affects the learning and recall of motor memories. This effect occurred regardless of whether the past contextual movement was performed actively, passively, or shown visually. In force field studies, it has been shown that motor...

Data from: Addicted? Reduced host resistance in populations with defensive symbionts

Julien Martinez, Rodrigo Cogni, Chuan Cao, Sophie Smith, Christopher J.R. Illingworth, Francis M. Jiggins & Christopher J. R. Illingworth
Heritable symbionts that protect their hosts from pathogens have been described in a wide range of insect species. By reducing the incidence or severity of infection, these symbionts have the potential to reduce the strength of selection on genes in the insect genome that increase resistance. Therefore, the presence of such symbionts may slow down the evolution of resistance. Here we investigated this idea by exposing Drosophila melanogaster populations to infection with the pathogenic Drosophila...

Data from: The effects of archipelago spatial structure on island diversity and endemism: predictions from a spatially-structured neutral model

Fanny Gascuel, Fabien Laroche, Anne-Sophie Bonnet-Lebrun & Ana S. L. Rodrigues
Islands are particularly suited to testing hypotheses about the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms underpinning community assembly. Yet the complex spatial arrangements of real island systems have received little attention from both empirical studies and theoretical models. Here, we investigate the extent to which the spatial structure of archipelagos affects species diversity and endemism. We start by proposing a new spatially-structured neutral model that explicitly considers archipelago structure, and then investigate its predictions under a diversity...

Data from: Australian spiny mountain crayfish and their temnocephalan ectosymbionts: an ancient association on the edge of coextinction?

Jennifer F. Hoyal Cuthill, Kim B. Sewell, Lester R. G. Cannon, Michael A. Charleston, Susan Lawler, D. Timothy J. Littlewood, Peter D. Olson & David Blair
Australian spiny mountain crayfish (Euastacus, Parastacidae) and their ecotosymbiotic temnocephalan flatworms (Temnocephalida, Platyhelminthes) may have co-occurred and interacted through deep time, during a period of major environmental change. Therefore, reconstructing the history of their association is of evolutionary, ecological, and conservation significance. Here, time-calibrated Bayesian phylogenies of Euastacus species and their temnocephalans (Temnohaswellia and Temnosewellia) indicate near-synchronous diversifications from the Cretaceous. Statistically significant cophylogeny correlations between associated clades suggest linked evolutionary histories. However, there is...

Data from: The global antigenic diversity of swine influenza A viruses

Nicola S. Lewis, Colin A. Russell, Tavis K. Anderson, Kathryn Berger, David F. Burke, Judith M. Fonville, Ronald A.M. Fouchier, Paul Kellam, Bjorn F. Koel, Tung Nguyen, Bundit Nuansrichy, J. S. Malik Peiris, Takehiko Saito, Gaelle Simon, Eugene Skepner, Nobuhiro Takemae, ESNIP3 Consortium, Richard J. Webby, Kristien Van Reeth, Sharon M. Brookes, Lars Larsen, Ian H. Brown, Amy L. Vincent, Pinky Langat, Filip Bielejec … & JS Malik Peiris
Swine influenza presents a substantial disease burden for pig populations worldwide and poses a potential pandemic threat to humans. There is considerable diversity in both H1 and H3 influenza viruses circulating in swine due to the frequent introductions of viruses from humans and birds coupled with geographic segregation of global swine populations. Much of this diversity is characterized genetically but the antigenic diversity of these viruses is poorly understood. Critically, the antigenic diversity shapes the...

Data from: The transcriptome response of Heliconius melpomene larvae to a novel host plant

Quan-You Yu, Shou-Min Fang, Ze Zhang & Chris D. Jiggins
In the warfare between herbivore and host plant, insects have evolved a variety of defensive mechanisms, including allelochemical transformation and excretion. Several studies have explored the transcriptome responses of insects after host plant shifts to understand these mechanisms. We investigated the plastic responses of Heliconius melpomene larvae feeding on a native host Passiflora menispermifolia and a less strongly defended nonhost species, Passiflora biflora. In total, 326 differentially expressed genes were identified, with a greater number...

To mate, or not to mate: the evolution of reproductive diapause facilitates insect radiation into African savannahs in the Late Miocene

Sridhar Halali, Paul M Brakefield, Steve C Collins & Oskar Brattström
1. Many tropical environments experience cyclical seasonal changes, frequently with pronounced wet and dry seasons, leading to a highly uneven temporal distribution of resources. Short-lived animals inhabiting such environments often show season-specific adaptations to cope with alternating selection pressures. 2. African Bicyclus butterflies show strong seasonal polyphenism in a suite of phenotypic and life-history traits, and their adults are thought to undergo reproductive diapause associated with the lack of available larval host plants during the...

Sex-independent senescence in a cooperatively breeding mammal

Jack Thorley
1. Researchers studying mammals have frequently interpreted earlier or faster rates of ageing in males as resulting from polygyny and the associated higher costs of reproductive competition. 2. Yet few studies conducted on wild populations have compared sex-specific senescence trajectories outside of polygynous species, making it difficult to make generalised inferences on the role of reproductive competition in driving senescence, particularly when other differences between males and females might also contribute to sex-specific changes in...

A major locus controls a biologically active pheromone component in Heliconius melpomene

Kelsey Byers, Kathy Darragh, Jamie Musgrove, Diana Abondano Almeida, Sylvia Fernanda Garza, Ian Warren, Pasi Rastas, Marek Kučka, Yingguang Frank Chan, Richard Merrill, Stefan Schulz, W. Owen McMillan & Chris Jiggins
Understanding the production, response, and genetics of signals used in mate choice can inform our understanding of the evolution of both intraspecific mate choice and reproductive isolation. Sex pheromones are important for courtship and mate choice in many insects, but we know relatively little of their role in butterflies. The butterfly Heliconius melpomene uses a complex blend of wing androconial compounds during courtship. Electroantennography in H. melpomene and its close relative H. cydno showed that...

Data from: Rapid local adaptation linked with phenotypic plasticity

Syuan-Jyun Sun, Andrew Catherall, Sonia Pascoal, Benjamin Jarrett, Sara Miller, Michael Sheehan & Rebecca Kilner
Models of ‘plasticity-first’ evolution are attractive because they explain the rapid evolution of new complex adaptations. Nevertheless, it is unclear whether plasticity can facilitate rapid microevolutionary change between diverging populations. Here we show how plasticity may have generated adaptive differences in fecundity between neighbouring wild populations of burying beetles Nicrophorus vespilloides. These populations occupy distinct Cambridgeshire woodlands that are just 2.5km apart and that probably originated from a common ancestral population c. 1000-4000 years ago....

Data from: Rapid generation of ecologically relevant behavioural novelty in experimental cichlid hybrids

Anna Fiona Feller, Oliver M. Selz, Matthew D. McGee, Joana I. Meier, Salome Mwaiko & Ole Seehausen
The East African cichlid radiations are characterised by repeated and rapid diversification into many distinct species with different ecological specialisations and by a history of hybridization events between non-sister species. Such hybridization might provide important fuel for adaptive radiation. Interspecific hybrids can have extreme trait values or novel trait combinations and such transgressive phenotypes may allow some hybrids to explore ecological niches neither of the parental species could tap into. Here, we investigate the potential...

Data from: Adaptive phenotypic plasticity for life-history and less fitness-related traits

Cristina Acasuso-Rivero, Courtney J. Murren, Carl D. Schlichting & Ulrich Karl Steiner
Organisms are faced with variable environments and one of the most common solutions to cope with such variability is phenotypic plasticity, a modification of the phenotype to the environment. These modifications are commonly modelled in evolutionary theories as adaptive, influencing ecological and evolutionary processes. If plasticity is adaptive, we would predict that the closer to fitness a trait is, the less plastic it would be. To test this hypothesis, we conducted a meta-analysis of 213...

Multiple factors affect discrimination learning performance, but not between-individual variation, in wild mixed-species flocks of birds

Michael Reichert, Sam Crofts, Gabrielle Davidson, Josh Firth, Ipek Kulahci & John Quinn
Cognition arguably drives most behaviours in animals, but whether and why individuals in the wild vary consistently in their cognitive performance is scarcely known, especially under mixed-species scenarios. One reason for this is that quantifying the relative importance of individual, contextual, ecological and social factors remains a major challenge. We examined how many of these factors, and sources of bias, affected participation, and performance, in an initial discrimination learning experiment and two reversal learning experiments...

Data from: The smallest known Devonian tetrapod shows unexpectedly derived features, Part 2 of 2

Per Ahlberg & Jennifer Clack
A new genus and species of Devonian tetrapod, Brittagnathus minutus gen. et sp. nov., is described from a single complete right lower jaw ramus recovered from the Acanthostega mass-death deposit in the upper part of the Britta Dal Formation (upper Famennian) of Stensiö Bjerg, Gauss Peninsula, East Greenland. Visualisation by propagation phase contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRμCT) allows a complete digital dissection of the specimen. With a total jaw ramus length of 44.8 mm, Brittagnathus is...

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  • University of Cambridge
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  • University of Copenhagen