21 Works

Temperature-mediated plasticity in incubation schedules is unlikely to evolve to buffer embryos from climatic challenges in a seasonal songbird

Alexandra Cones, Andrea Liebl, Thomas Houslay & Andrew Russell
Phenotypic plasticity is hypothesised to facilitate adaptive responses to challenging conditions, such as those resulting from climate change. However, the key predictions of this ‘rescue hypothesis’, that variation in plasticity exists and can evolve to buffer unfavourable conditions, remain rare. Here, we investigate among-female variation in temperature-mediated plasticity of incubation schedules and consequences for egg temperatures using the chestnut-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus ruficeps) from temperate regions of inland south-eastern Australia. Given phenological advances in this seasonal...

Data from: Host species composition influences infection severity among amphibians in the absence of spillover transmission

Barbara A. Han, Jacob L. Kerby, Catherine L. Searle, Andrew Storfer, Andy R. Blaustein & Andrew R. Blaustein
Wildlife epidemiological outcomes can depend strongly on the composition of an ecological community, particularly when multiple host species are affected by the same pathogen. However, the relationship between host species richness and disease risk can vary with community context and with the degree of spillover transmission that occurs among co-occurring host species. We examined the degree to which host species composition influences infection by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a widespread fungal pathogen associated with amphibian population...

Data from: The Teleost Anatomy Ontology: anatomical representation for the genomics age

Wasila M. Dahdul, John G. Lundberg, Peter E. Midford, James P. Balhoff, Hilmar Lapp, Todd J. Vision, Melissa A. Haendel, Monte Westerfield & Paula M. Mabee
The rich knowledge of morphological variation among organisms reported in the systematic literature has remained in free-text format, impractical for use in large-scale synthetic phylogenetic work. This noncomputable format has also precluded linkage to the large knowledgebase of genomic, genetic, developmental, and phenotype data in model organism databases. We have undertaken an effort to prototype a curated, ontology-based evolutionary morphology database that maps to these genetic databases (http://kb.phenoscape.org) to facilitate investigation into the mechanistic basis...

Data from: A unified anatomy ontology of the vertebrate skeletal system

Wasila M. Dahdul, James P. Balhoff, David C. Blackburn, Alexander D. Diehl, Melissa A. Haendel, Brian K. Hall, Hilmar Lapp, John G. Lundberg, Christopher J. Mungall, Martin Ringwald, Erik Segerdell, Ceri E. Van Slyke, Matthew K. Vickaryous, Monte Westerfield & Paula M. Mabee
The skeleton is of fundamental importance in research in comparative vertebrate morphology, paleontology, biomechanics, developmental biology, and systematics. Motivated by research questions that require computational access to and comparative reasoning across the diverse skeletal phenotypes of vertebrates, we developed a module of anatomical concepts for the skeletal system, the Vertebrate Skeletal Anatomy Ontology (VSAO), to accommodate and unify the existing skeletal terminologies for the species-specific (mouse, the frog Xenopus, zebrafish) and multispecies (teleost, amphibian) vertebrate...

Data from: Multilocus phylogeny reveals unexpected diversification patterns in Asian Wolf Snakes (genus Lycodon)

Cameron Siler, Rafe M. Brown, Carl H. Oliveros, Anssi Santanen & Cameron D. Siler
The diverse group of Asian Wolf Snakes of the genus Lycodon represents one of many poorly understood radiations of advanced snakes in the superfamily Colubroidea. Outside of three species having previously been represented in higher-level phylogenetic analyses, nothing is known of the relationships among species in this unique, moderately diverse, group. The genus occurs widely from central to southeast Asia, with a variety of range sizes from widespread forms to those that are endmic to...

Data from: Cryptic diversity and population genetic structure in the rare, endemic, forest-obligate, slender geckos of the Philippines

Cameron D. Siler, T. Alex Dececchi, Chris L. Merkord, Drew R. Davis, Tony J. Christiani & Rafe M. Brown
Recent studies of forest lizards in Southeast Asia have highlighted spectacular morphological and cryptic genetic diversity in several poorly known clades. Unfortunately, many of the included species have microhabitat preferences for forested environments, and therefore they are threatened by extensive forest destruction throughout the region. This is particularly true in the Philippines, an archipelago with a strikingly high proportion (84%) of endemic geckos. Abundances inferred from historical museum collections suggests that we are in a...


David Swanson
The climatic variability hypothesis (CVH) posits that more flexible phenotypes should provide a fitness advantage for organisms experiencing more variable climates. While typically applied across geographically separated populations, whether this principle applies across seasons or other conditions (e.g., open vs. sheltered habitats) which differ in climatic variability remains essentially unstudied. In north-temperate climates, climatic variability in winter usually exceeds that in summer, so extending the CVH to within-population seasonal variation predicts that winter phenotypes should...

Data from: A logical model of homology for comparative biology

Paula Mabee, James Balhoff, Wasila Dahdul, Hilmar Lapp, Christopher Mungall & Todd Vision
There is a growing body of research on the evolution of anatomy in a wide variety of organisms. Discoveries in this field could be greatly accelerated by computational methods and resources that enable these findings to be compared across different studies and different organisms and linked with the genes responsible for anatomical modifications. Homology is a key concept in comparative anatomy; two important types are historical homology (the similarity of organisms due to common ancestry)...

Data from: Does metabolism constrain bird and mammal ranges and predict shifts in response to climate change?

Lauren B. Buckley, Imran Khaliq, David L. Swanson & Christian Hof
Mechanistic approaches for predicting the ranges of endotherms are needed to forecast their responses to environmental change. We test whether physiological constraints on maximum metabolic rate and the factor by which endotherms can elevate their metabolism (metabolic expansibility) influence cold range limits for mammal and bird species. We examine metabolic expansibility at the cold range boundary (MECRB) and whether species’ traits can predict variability in MECRB and then use MECRB as an initial approach to...

Data from: Evidence for climate-driven diversification? A caution for interpreting ABC inferences of simultaneous historical events

Jamie R. Oaks, Jeet Sukumaran, Jacob A. Esselstyn, Charles W. Linkem, Cameron David Siler, Mark T. Holder & Rafe M. Brown
Approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) is rapidly gaining popularity in population genetics. One example, msBayes, infers the distribution of divergence times among pairs of taxa, allowing phylogeographers to test hypotheses about historical causes of diversification in co-distributed groups of organisms. Using msBayes, we infer the distribution of divergence times among 22 pairs of populations of vertebrates distributed across the Philippine Archipelago. Our objective was to test whether sea-level oscillations during the Pleistocene caused diversification across the...

Data from: Dragons in our midst: phyloforensics of illegally traded Southeast Asian monitor lizards

Welton J. Luke, Cameron D. Siler, Charles W. Linkem, Arvin C. Diesmos, Mae L. Diesmos, Emerson Sy, Rafe M. Brown & Luke J. Welton
We provide a phylogenetic and population genetic evaluation of the illegal pet and bush meat trade of monitor lizards in the Philippines. We use a molecular dataset assembled from vouchered samples with known localities throughout the country, as a reference for statistical phylogenetic, population genetic, and DNA barcoding analyses of genetic material obtained during a three year survey of the Manila pet trade. Our results provide the first genetic evaluation of a major Southeast Asian...

Data from: Toward synthesizing our knowledge of morphology: using ontologies and machine reasoning to extract presence/absence evolutionary phenotypes across studies

Thomas Alexander Dececchi, James P. Balhoff, Hilmar Lapp & Paula M. Mabee
The reality of larger and larger molecular databases and the need to integrate data scalably have presented a major challenge for the use of phenotypic data. Morphology is currently primarily described in discrete publications, entrenched in noncomputer readable text, and requires enormous investments of time and resources to integrate across large numbers of taxa and studies. Here we present a new methodology, using ontology-based reasoning systems working with the Phenoscape Knowledgebase (KB; kb.phenoscape.org), to automatically...

Data from: Using the Phenoscape Knowledgebase to relate genetic perturbations to phenotypic evolution

Prashanti Manda, James P. Balhoff, Hilmar Lapp, Paula Mabee & Todd J. Vision
The abundance of phenotypic diversity among species can enrich our knowledge of development and genetics beyond the limits of variation that can be observed in model organisms. The Phenoscape Knowledgebase (KB) is designed to enable exploration and discovery of phenotypic variation among species. Because phenotypes in the KB are annotated using standard ontologies, evolutionary phenotypes can be compared with phenotypes from genetic perturbations in model organisms. To illustrate the power of this approach, we review...

Data from: Multilocus phylogeny and Bayesian estimates of species boundaries reveal hidden evolutionary relationships and cryptic diversity in Southeast Asian monitor lizards

Luke J. Welton, Cameron D. Siler, Jamie R. Oaks, Arvin C. Diesmos & Rafe M. Brown
Recent conceptual, technological, and methodological advances in phylogenetics have enabled increasingly robust statistical species delimitation in studies of biodiversity. As the variety of evidence purporting species diversity has increased, so too have the kinds of tools and inferential power of methods for delimiting species. Here we showcase an organismal system for a data-rich, comparative molecular approach to evaluating strategies of species delimitation among monitor lizards of the genus Varanus. The water monitors (Varanus salvator Complex),...

The only complete articulated early Miocene chameleon skull (Rusinga Island, Kenya) suggests an African origin for Madagascar’s endemic chameleons

Andrej Cernansky, Anthony Herrel, Job Kibii, Christopher Anderson, Renaud Boistel & Thomas Lehmann
We here present the first detailed study of the specimen KNM-RU 18340 from Rusinga Island (Kenya), the only known complete early Miocene chameleon skull, using micro-CT. This specimen represents one of the oldest chameleon fossils ever recovered. For the first time, the skull bone internal surfaces, their sutures, and elements contained inside the rocky matrix are observed. Our morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analyses place this specimen confidently in the genus Calumma and a new species,...

Data from: Design- and model-based strategies for detecting and quantifying an amphibian pathogen in environmental samples

Brittany A. Mosher, Kathryn P. Huyvaert, Tara Chestnut, Jacob L. Kerby, Joseph D. Madison, Larissa L. Bailey & Brittany Mosher
Accurate pathogen detection is essential for developing management strategies to address emerging infectious diseases, an increasingly prominent threat to wildlife. Sampling for free-living pathogens outside of their hosts has benefits for inference and study efficiency, but is still uncommon. We used a laboratory experiment to evaluate the influences of pathogen concentration, water type, and qPCR inhibitors on the detection and quantification of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) using water filtration. We compared results pre- and post-inhibitor removal,...

Data from: Automated integration of trees and traits: a case study using paired fin loss across teleost fishes

Laura M. Jackson, Pasan C. Fernando, Josh S. Hanscom, James P. Balhoff & Paula M. Mabee
Data synthesis required for large-scale macroevolutionary studies is challenging with the current tools available for integration. Using a classic question regarding the frequency of paired fin loss in teleost fishes as a case study, we sought to create automated methods to facilitate the integration of broad-scale trait data with a sizable species-level phylogeny. Similar to the evolutionary pattern previously described for limbs, pelvic and pectoral fin reduction and loss are thought to have occurred independently...

Data from: Data sources for trait databases: comparing the phenomic content of monographs and evolutionary matrices

T. Alex Dechecchi, Paula M. Mabee, David C. Blackburn & T. Alex Dececchi
Databases of organismal traits that aggregate information from one or multiple sources can be leveraged for large-scale analyses in biology. Yet the differences among these data streams and how well they capture trait diversity have never been explored. We present the first analysis of the differences between phenotypes captured in free text of descriptive publications (‘monographs’) and those used in phylogenetic analyses (‘matrices’). We focus our analysis on osteological phenotypes of the limbs of four...

Changes in stream food web structure across a gradient of acid mine drainage increases local community stability

Justin Pomeranz, Jeff Wesner & Jon Harding
Understanding what makes food webs stable has long been a goal of ecologists. Topological structure and the distribution and magnitude of interaction strengths in food webs have been shown to confer important stabilizing properties. However, our understanding of how variable species interactions affect food web structure and stability is still in its infancy. Anthropogenic stress, such as acid mine drainage, is likely to place severe limitations on the food web structures possible due to changes...

Data from: Do the high energy lifestyles of shorebirds result in high maximal metabolic rates? - Basal and maximal metabolic rates in least and pectoral sandpipers during migration

Nathan E. Thomas & David L. Swanson
Shorebirds have high resting and field metabolic rates relative to many other bird groups, and this is posited to be related to their high-energy lifestyle. Maximum metabolic outputs for cold or exercise are also often high for bird groups with energetically demanding lifestyles. Moreover, shorebirds demonstrate flexible basal and maximal metabolic rates, which vary with changing energy demands throughout the annual cycle. Consequently, shorebirds might be expected to have high maximum metabolic rates, especially during...

Data from: Emerging reservoir delta-backwaters: biophysical dynamics and riparian biodiversity

Malia A. Volke, W. Carter Johnson, Mark D. Dixon & Michael L. Scott
Deltas and backwater-affected bottomlands are forming along tributary and mainstem confluences in reservoirs worldwide. Emergence of prograding deltas, along with related upstream hydrogeomorphic changes to river bottomlands in the backwater fluctuation zones of reservoirs, signals the development of new and dynamic riparian and wetland habitats. This study was conducted along the regulated Missouri River, USA to examine delta-backwater formation and describe vegetation response to its development and dynamics. Our research focused specifically on the delta-backwater...

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  • University of South Dakota
  • University of Kansas
  • National Evolutionary Synthesis Center
  • University of North Carolina
  • University of Washington
  • Duke University
  • National Museum
  • Oregon Health & Science University
  • University of Oregon
  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory