101 Works

A new method to reconstruct quantitative food webs and nutrient flows from isotope tracer addition experiments

Andres Lopez-Sepulcre, Matthieu Bruneaux, Sarah Michelle Collins, Rana El-Sabaawi, Alexander S Flecker & Steven A Thomas
Understanding how nutrients flow through food webs is central in ecosystem ecology. Tracer addition experiments are powerful tools to reconstruct nutrient flows by adding an isotopically enriched element into an ecosystem, and tracking its fate through time. Historically, the design and analysis of tracer studies have varied widely, ranging from descriptive studies to modeling approaches of varying complexity. Increasingly, isotope tracer data is being used being used to compare ecosystems and analyze experimental manipulations. Currently,...

Mass ratio effects underlie ecosystem responses to environmental change

Melinda Smith, Sally Koerner, Alan Knapp, Meghan Avolio, Francis Chaves, Elsie Denton, John Dietrich, David Gibson, Jesse Gray, Ava Hoffman, David Hoover, Kimberly Komatsu, Andrea Silletti, Kevin Wilcox, Qiang Yu & John Blair
1. Random species loss has been shown experimentally to reduce ecosystem function, sometimes more than other anthropogenic environmental changes. Yet, controversy surrounds the importance of this finding for natural systems where species loss is non-random. 2. We compiled data from 16 multi-year experiments located at a single site in native tallgrass prairie. These experiments included responses to 11 anthropogenic environmental changes, as well as non-random biodiversity loss - either the removal of uncommon/rare plant species...

Migrating bison engineer the green wave

Chris Geremia, Jerod Merkle, Daniel Eacker, Rick Wallen, P.J. White, Mark Hebblewhite & Matthew Kauffman
Newly emerging plants provide the best forage for herbivores. To exploit this fleeting resource, migrating herbivores align their movements to surf the wave of spring green-up. With new technology to track migrating animals, the Green Wave Hypothesis has steadily gained empirical support across a diversity of migratory taxa. This hypothesis assumes the green wave is controlled by variation in climate, weather, and topography, and its progression dictates the timing, pace, and extent of migrations. However,...

Data from: Mountain Plover habitat selection and nest survival in relation to weather variability and spatial attributes of Black-tailed Prairie Dog disturbance

Courtney Duchardt, Jeffrey Beck & David Augustine
Habitat loss and altered disturbance regimes have led to declines in many species of grassland and sagebrush birds, including the imperiled Mountain Plover (Charadrius montanus). In certain parts of their range Mountain Plovers rely almost exclusively on Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies as nesting habitat. Previous studies have examined Mountain Plover nest and brood survival on prairie dog colonies, but little is known about how colony size and shape influence these vital rates or...

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...

Urbanization impacts apex predator gene flow but not genetic diversity across an urban-rural divide

Daryl R Trumbo, Patricia E Salerno, Kenneth Logan, Mat Alldredge, Roderick B Gagne, Christopher P Kozakiewicz, Simona Kraberger, Nick Fountain-Jones, Meggan E Craft, Scott Carver, Holly B Ernest, Kevin Crooks, Sue VandeWoude & W. Chris Funk
Apex predators are important indicators of intact natural ecosystems. They are also sensitive to urbanization because they require broad home ranges and extensive contiguous habitat to support their prey base. Pumas (Puma concolor) can persist near human developed areas, but urbanization may be detrimental to their movement ecology, population structure, and genetic diversity. To investigate potential effects of urbanization in population connectivity of pumas, we performed a landscape genomics study of 130 pumas on the...

Data from: Anthropogenic land‐use change intensifies the effect of low flows on stream fishes

Richard H. Walker, Carlin E. Girard, Samantha L. Alford & Annika W. Walters
1. As ecosystems experience simultaneous disturbances, it is critical to understand how multiple stressors interact to affect ecological change. Land-use change (LUC) and extreme flow events are two important stressors that could interact to affect fish populations. 2. We evaluated the individual and interactive effects of discharge and LUC associated with oil and natural gas development (ONGD) on populations of two stream fishes over a seven-year period. We used repeated-state (i.e., abundance trends) and rate...

Accuracy of de novo assembly of DNA sequences from double‐digest libraries varies substantially among software

Melanie E. F. LaCava, Ellen O. Aikens, Libby C. Megna, Gregg Randolph, Charley Hubbard & C. Alex Buerkle
Advances in DNA sequencing have made it feasible to gather genomic data for non-model organisms and large sets of individuals, often using methods for sequencing subsets of the genome. Several of these methods sequence DNA associated with endonuclease restriction sites (various RAD and GBS methods). For use in taxa without a reference genome, these methods rely on de novo assembly of fragments in the sequencing library. Many of the software options available for this application...

Data from: Highly variable reproductive isolation among pairs of Catostomus species

Elizabeth G. Mandeville, Thomas L. Parchman, David B. McDonald & C. Alex Buerkle
Hybridization between diverged taxa tests the strength of reproductive isolation and can therefore reveal mechanisms of reproductive isolation. However, it remains unclear how consistent reproductive isolation is across species' ranges and to what extent reproductive isolation might remain polymorphic as species diverge. To address these questions, we compared outcomes of hybridization across species pairs of Catostomus fishes in three rivers in the Upper Colorado River basin, where an introduced species, C. commersoni, hybridizes with at...

Data from: Diel predator activity drives a dynamic landscape of fear

Michel T. Kohl, Daniel R. Stahler, Matthew C. Metz, James D. Forester, Matthew J. Kauffman, Nathan Varley, Patrick J. White, Douglas W. Smith, Daniel R. MacNulty & P. J. White
A ‘landscape of fear’ (LOF) is a map that describes continuous spatial variation in an animal’s perception of predation risk. The relief on this map reflects, for example, places that an animal avoids to minimize risk. Although the LOF concept is a potential unifying theme in ecology that is often invoked to explain the ecological and conservation significance of fear, little is known about the daily dynamics of a LOF. Despite theory and data to...

Data from: Evaluating distributional shifts in home range estimates

Justin G. Clapp & Jeffrey L. Beck
A variety of methods are commonly used to quantify animal home ranges using location data acquired with telemetry. High-volume location data from global positioning system (GPS) technology provide researchers the opportunity to identify various intensities of use within home ranges, typically quantified through utilization distributions (UDs). However, the wide range of variability evident within UDs constructed with modern home range estimators is often overlooked or ignored during home range comparisons, and challenges may arise when...

Data from: Natural genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana defense metabolism genes modulate field fitness

Rachel Kerwin, Julie Feusier, Jason Corwin, Matthew Rubin, Catherine Lin, Alise Muok, Brandon Larson, Baohua Li, Bindu Joseph, Marta Francisco, Daniel Copeland, Cynthia Weinig, Daniel J. Kliebenstein & Daniel J Kliebenstein
Natural populations persist in complex environments, where biotic stressors, such as pathogen and insect communities, fluctuate temporally and spatially. These shifting biotic pressures generate heterogeneous selective forces that can maintain standing natural variation within a species. To directly test if genes containing causal variation for the Arabidopsis thaliana defensive compounds, glucosinolates (GSL) control field fitness and are therefore subject to natural selection, we conducted a multi-year field trial using lines that vary in only specific...

Data from: The influence sampling design on species tree inference: a new relationship for the New World chickadees (Aves: Poecile)

Rebecca Brown Harris, Matthew D. Carling, Irby J. Lovette & Rebecca B. Harris
In this study, we explore the long-standing issue of how many loci are needed to infer accurate phylogenetic relationships, and whether loci with particular attributes (i.e., parsimony informativeness, variability, gene tree resolution) outperform others. To do so, we use an empirical dataset consisting of the seven species of chickadees (Aves: Paridae), an analytically tractable, recently diverged group, and well studied ecologically but lacking a nuclear phylogeny. We estimate relationships using 40 nuclear loci and mitochondrial...

Data from: The evolutionary origins of modularity

Jeff Clune, Jean-Baptiste Mouret, Hod Lipson, H. Lipson & J. Clune
A central biological question is how natural organisms are so evolvable (capable of quickly adapting to new environments). A key driver of evolvability is the widespread modularity of biological networks--their organization as functional, sparsely connected subunits--but there is no consensus regarding why modularity itself evolved. While most hypotheses assume indirect selection for evolvability, here we demonstrate that the ubiquitous, direct selection pressure to reduce the cost of connections between network nodes causes the emergence of...

Data from: Functional responses in habitat selection: clarifying hypotheses and interpretations

Joseph D. Holbrook, Lucretia E. Olson, Nicholas J. DeCesare, Mark Hebblewhite, John R. Squires & Robin Steenweg
A fundamental challenge in habitat ecology and management is understanding the mechanisms generating animal distributions. Studies of habitat selection provide a lens into such mechanisms, but are often limited by unrealistic assumptions. For example, most studies assume that habitat selection is constant with respect to the availability of resources, such that habitat use remains proportional to availability. To the contrary, a growing body of work has shown the fallacy of this assumption, indicating that animals...

Data from: Migratory plasticity is not ubiquitous among large herbivores

Hall Sawyer, Jerod A. Merkle, Arthur D. Middleton, Samantha P.H. Dwinnell, Kevin L. Monteith & Samantha P. H. Dwinnell
1. The migratory movements of wild animals can promote abundance and support ecosystem functioning. For large herbivores, mounting evidence suggests that migratory behavior is an individually variable trait, where individuals can easily switch between migrant and resident tactics. The degree of migratory plasticity, including whether and where to migrate, has important implications for the ecology and conservation of large herbivores in a changing world. 2. Mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) are an iconic species of western...

Data from: Functional attributes of ungulate migration: landscape features facilitate movement and access to forage

Kevin L. Monteith, Matthew M. Hayes, Matthew J. Kauffman, Holly E. Copeland & Hall Sawyer
Long-distance migration by terrestrial mammals is a phenomenon critical to the persistence of populations, but such migrations are declining globally because of over-harvest, habitat loss, and movement barriers. Increasingly, there is a need to improve existing routes, mitigate route segments affected by anthropogenic disturbance and in some instances, determine if alternative routes are available. Using a hypothesis-driven approach, we identified landscape features associated with the primary functional attributes, stopovers and movement corridors, of spring migratory...

Data from: Measures of effective population size in sea otters reveal special considerations for wide-ranging species

Roderick B. Gagne, M. Timothy Tinker, Kyle D. Gustafson, Katherine Ralls, Larson Shawn, L. Max Tarjan, Melissa A. Miller & Holly B. Ernest
Conservation genetic techniques and considerations of the evolutionary potential of a species are increasingly being applied to species conservation. For example, effective population size (Ne) estimates are useful for determining the conservation status of species, yet accurate estimates of current Ne remain difficult to obtain. The effective population size can contribute to setting federal delisting criteria, as was done for the southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis). After being hunted to near extinction during the...

Data from: Restoration and repair of Earth's damaged ecosystems

Holly P. Jones, Peter C. Jones, Edward B. Barbier, Ryan C. Blackburn, Jose M. Rey Benayas, Karen D. Holl, Michelle McCrackin, Paula Meli, Daniel Montoya & David Moreno Mateos
Given that few ecosystems on Earth have been unaffected by humans, restoring them holds great promise for stemming the biodiversity crisis and ensuring ecosystem services are provided to humanity. Nonetheless, few studies have documented the recovery of ecosystems globally or the rates at which ecosystems recover. Even fewer have addressed the added benefit of actively restoring ecosystems versus allowing them to recover without human intervention following the cessation of a disturbance. Our meta analysis of...

Data from: Plasticity contributes to a fine-scale depth gradient in sticklebacks’ visual system

Thor Veen, Chad Brock, Diana Rennison & Daniel Bolnick
The light environment influences an animal’s ability to forage, evade predators, and find mates, and consequently is known to drive local adaptation of visual systems. However, the light environment may also vary over fine spatial scales at which genetic adaptation is difficult. For instance, in aquatic systems the available wavelengths of light change over a few meters depth. Do animals plastically adjust their visual system to such small-scale environmental light variation? Here, we show that...

Data from: Constraints on trait combinations explain climatic drivers of biodiversity: the importance of trait covariance in community assembly

John M. Dwyer & Daniel C. Laughlin
Trade-offs maintain diversity and structure communities along environmental gradients. Theory indicates that if covariance among functional traits sets a limit on the number of viable trait combinations in a given environment, then communities with strong multidimensional trait constraints should exhibit low species diversity. We tested this prediction in winter annual plant assemblages along an aridity gradient using multilevel structural equation modelling. Univariate and multivariate functional diversity measures were poorly explained by aridity, and were surprisingly...

Data from: Habitat filtering determines the functional niche occupancy of plant communities worldwide

Yuanzhi Li, Bill Shipley, Jodi N. Price, Vinícius De L. Dantas, Riin Tamme, Mark Westoby, Andrew Siefert, Brandon S. Schamp, Marko J. Spasojevic, Vincent Jung, Daniel C. Laughlin, Sarah J. Richardson, Yoann Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Christian Schöb, Antonio Gazol, Honor C. Prentice, Nicolas Gross, Jacob Overton, Marcus V. Cianciaruso, Frédérique Louault, Chiho Kamiyama, Tohru Nakashizuka, Kouki Hikosaka, Takehiro Sasaki, Masatoshi Katabuchi … & Yoann Le Bagousse-Pinguet
How the patterns of niche occupancy vary from species-poor to species-rich communities is a fundamental question in ecology that has a central bearing on the processes that drive patterns of biodiversity. As species richness increases, habitat filtering should constrain the expansion of total niche volume, while limiting similarity should restrict the degree of niche overlap between species. Here, by explicitly incorporating intraspecific trait variability, we investigate the relationship between functional niche occupancy and species richness...

Data from: Mitogenomes and relatedness do not predict frequency of tool-use by sea otters

Kathy Ralls, Nancy Rotzel McInerney, Roderick B. Gagne, Holly B. Ernest, M. Tim Tinker, Jessica Fujii, Jesus Maldonado, Nancy Rotzel McInerney & Katherine Ralls
Many ecological aspects of tool-use in sea otters are similar to those in Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins. Within an area, most tool-using dolphins share a single mitochondrial haplotype and are more related to each other than to the population as a whole. We asked whether sea otters in California showed similar genetic patterns by sequencing mitogenomes of 43 otters and genotyping 154 otters at 38 microsatellite loci. There were six variable sites in the mitogenome that...

Data from: Resource selection and landscape change reveal mechanisms suppressing population recovery for the world's most endangered antelope

Abdullahi H. Ali, Adam T. Ford, Jeffrey S. Evans, David P. Mallon, Matthew M. Hayes, Juliet King, Rajan Amin & Jacob R. Goheen
Understanding how bottom-up and top-down forces affect resource selection can inform restoration efforts. With a global population size of <500 individuals, the hirola Beatragus hunteri is the world's most endangered antelope, with a declining population since the 1970s. While the underlying mechanisms are unclear, some combination of habitat loss and predation are thought to be responsible for low abundances of contemporary populations. Efforts to conserve hirola are hindered by a lack of understanding as to...

Data from: Deterministic and stochastic processes lead to divergence in plant communities 25 years after the 1988 Yellowstone fires

William H. Romme, Timothy G. Whitby, Daniel B. Tinker & Monica G. Turner
Young, recently burned forests are increasingly widespread throughout western North America, but forest development after large wildfires is not fully understood, especially regarding effects of variable burn severity, environmental heterogeneity, and changes in drivers over time. We followed development of subalpine forests after the 1988 Yellowstone fires by periodically re-sampling permanent plots established soon after the fires. We asked two questions about patterns and processes over the past 25 years: (1) Are plant species richness...

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