20 Works

Data from: Bottom-up effects of a no-take zone on endangered penguin demographics

Richard B. Sherley, Henning Winker, Res Altwegg, Carl D. Van Der Lingen, Stephen C. Votier & Robert J. M. Crawford
Marine no-take zones can have positive impacts for target species and are increasingly important management tools. However, whether they indirectly benefit higher order predators remains unclear. The endangered African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) depends on commercially exploited forage fish. We examined how chick survival responded to an experimental 3-year fishery closure around Robben Island, South Africa, controlling for variation in prey biomass and fishery catches. Chick survival increased by 18% when the closure was initiated, which...

Data from: Postglacial climate changes and rise of three ecotypes of harbor porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, in western Palearctic waters

Michaël C. Fontaine, Kathleen Roland, Isabelle Calves, Frederic Austerlitz, Friso P. Palstra, Krystal A. Tolley, Sean Ryan, Marisa Ferreira, Thierry Jauniaux, Angela Llavona, Bayram Öztürk, Ayaka A. Öztürk, Vincent Ridoux, Emer Rogan, Ursula Siebert, Marina Sequeira, Gísli A. Vikingsson, Asunción Borrell, Johan R. Michaux & Alex Aguilar
Despite no obvious barriers to gene flow in the marine realm, environmental variation and ecological specializations can lead to genetic differentiation in highly mobile predators. Here, we investigated the genetic structure of the harbor porpoise over the entire species distribution range in western Palearctic waters. Combined analyses of ten microsatellite loci and a 5,085 bases-pairs portion of the mitochondrial genome revealed the existence of three ecotypes, equally divergent at the mitochondrial genome, distributed in the...

Data from: Isotopic evidence for oligotrophication of terrestrial ecosystems

Joseph M. Craine, Andrew J. Elmore, Lixin Wang, Julieta Aranibar, Marijn Bauters, Pascal Boeckx, Brooke E. Crowley, Melissa A. Dawes, Sylvain Delzon, Alex Fajardo, Yunting Fang, Lei Fujiyoshi, Alan Gray, Rossella Guerrieri, Michael J. Gundale, David J. Hawke, Peter Hietz, Mathieu Jonard, Elizabeth Kearsley, Tanaka Kenzo, Mikhail Makarov, Sara Marañón-Jiménez, Terrence P. McGlynn, Brenden E. McNeil, Stella G. Mosher … & Katarzyna Zmudczyńska-Skarbek
Human societies depend on an Earth System that operates within a constrained range of nutrient availability, yet the recent trajectory of terrestrial nitrogen (N) availability is uncertain. Examining patterns of foliar N concentrations ([N]) and isotope ratios (15N) from more than 42,000 samples acquired over 37 years, here we show that foliar [N] declined by 8% and foliar 15N declined by 0.8 – 1.9 ‰. Examining patterns across different climate spaces, foliar 15N declined across...

Data from: Dispersal to or from an African biodiversity hotspot?

David C Blackburn & John Measey
Biodiversity hotspots are centers of endemism and thus contain many range-restricted species. In addition, within these hotspots are often widespread species that might have originated within a hotspot before dispersing to neighboring or distant regions. We test this hypothesis through a phylogeographic analysis of a miniature leaf litter frog, Arthroleptis xenodactyloides, that has a large distribution throughout the Eastern Arc, a biodiversity hotspot, and other regions in East Africa. Maximum likelihood and Bayesian estimates of...

Data from: Local adaptation: mechanical fit between floral ecotypes of Nerine humilis (Amaryllidaceae) and pollinator communities

Ethan Newman, John Manning & Bruce Anderson
Geographic variation in floral morphology is often assumed to reflect geographic variation in pollinator communities and associated divergence in selective pressures. We studied populations of Nerine humilis (Amaryllidaceae) to assess whether geographic variation in floral form is the result of local adaptation to different pollinator communities. We first tested for associations between floral traits and visitor communities, and found that populations with similar floral morphologies were visited by similar insect communities. Mean style length in...

Data from: Topography as a driver of diversification in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa

George Anthony Verboom, Nicola G. Bergh, Sarah A. Haiden, Vera Hoffmann & Matthew N. Britton
The rugged topography of the Cape Floristic Region (CFR), South Africa, is frequently invoked to explain the spectacular radiation of the Cape flora, but the mechanisms involved remain unclear. Where recent authors emphasize the importance of elevation gradients as stimuli for ecological speciation, earlier workers stressed the role of topography as an isolating mechanism, particularly in montane lineages. Using six Cape plant lineages, we tested whether elevation niches are phylogenetically conserved. We then assessed whether...

Data from: Socio-economic impact classification of alien taxa (SEICAT)

Sven Bacher, Tim M. Blackburn, Franz Essl, Piero Genovesi, Jaakko Heikkilä, Jonathan M. Jeschke, Glyn Jones, Reuben Keller, Marc Kenis, Christoph Kueffer, Angeliki F. Martinou, Wolfgang Nentwig, Jan Pergl, Petr Pyšek, Wolfgang Rabitsch, David M. Richardson, Helen E. Roy, Wolf-Christian Saul, Riccardo Scalera, Montserrat Vila, John R. U. Wilson, Sabina Kumschick & Sabrina Kumschick
Many alien taxa are known to cause socio-economic impacts by affecting the different constituents of human well-being (security; material and non-material assets; health; social, spiritual and cultural relations; freedom of choice and action). Attempts to quantify socio-economic impacts in monetary terms are unlikely to provide a useful basis for evaluating and comparing impacts of alien taxa because they are notoriously difficult to measure and important aspects of human well-being are ignored. Here, we propose a...

Data from: Natural vegetation benefits synergistic control of the three main insect and pathogen pests of fruit crop in southern Africa

Dominic C. Henri, Owen Jones, Ariana Tsiattalos, Elisa Thébault, Colleen L. Seymour & F. J. Frank Van Veen
1. Most studies of the potential for natural habitat to improve agricultural productivity have been conducted in transformed, temperate regions, but little is known of the importance of agroecosystem services in biodiverse developing countries. 2. Natural vegetation may promote the density and/or diversity of natural enemies of crop pests, but the strength of the effect varies, and few studies directly measure concurrent impacts on pest density. Considering multiple pest species within the same agroecosystem may...

Data from: Non-invasive measurement of metabolic rates in wild, free-living birds using doubly labelled water

Amanda R. Bourne, Andrew E. McKechnie, Susan J. Cunningham, Amanda R. Ridley, Stephan M. Woodborne & William H. Karasov
1. Doubly labelled water (DLW) is routinely used to measure energy expenditure and water turnover in free-ranging animals. Standard methods involve capture, blood sampling for baseline measurement, injection with isotopic tracers, captivity for an equilibration period, post-dose blood sampling, release, and subsequent re-capture for final blood sampling. Single sampling methods that minimise disturbance by reducing capture and handling time have been developed and tested. Sampling faeces rather than blood could further reduce disturbance to study...

Data from: Convergent and correlated evolution of major life-history traits in the angiosperm genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae)

Jeanne Tonnabel, Agnès Mignot, Emmanuel J. P. Douzery, Anthony G. Rebelo, Frank M. Schurr, Jeremy Midgley, Nicola Illing, Fabienne Justy, Denis Orcel & Isabelle Olivieri
Natural selection is expected to cause convergence of life histories among taxa as well as correlated evolution of different life-history traits. Here, we quantify the extent of convergence of five key life-history traits (adult fire survival, seed storage, degree of sexual dimorphism, pollination mode, and seed-dispersal mode) and test hypotheses about their correlated evolution in the genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae) from the fire-prone South African fynbos. We reconstructed a new molecular phylogeny of this highly diverse...

Data from: Urban nectarivorous bird communities in Cape Town, South Africa, are structured by ecological generalisation and resource distribution

Anina Coetzee, Phoebe Barnard & Anton Pauw
Biological communities are increasingly faced with novel urban habitats and their response may depend on a combination of biological and habitat traits. The response of pollinator species to urban habitats are of particular importance because all species involved in the pollination mutualism may be affected. Nectarivorous bird communities worldwide show varying tolerances to urban areas, but studies from Africa are lacking. We investigated nectarivorous bird communities in a medium-sized South African city and asked which...

Spatial patterns, availability and cultural preferences for edible plants in southern Africa

Ashton Welcome & Ben-Erik Van Wyk
We investigated whether cross-cultural food plant selection in southern Africa is best explained by language ancestry, floristic environment or subsistence strategy. Location: The flora of southern Africa region. Taxa: All 1740 edible plant taxa of southern Africa, representing 711 genera in 156 families. Methods: Distribution data of plants were overlapped in ArcMap with 19 language maps, eight biomes and all taxa with nutritional data. Six correlations were estimated between five pair-wise distance matrices (language ancestry,...

Data from: Developing nuclear DNA phylogenetic markers in the angiosperm genus Leucadendron (Proteaceae): a next-generation sequencing transcriptomic approach

Jeanne Tonnabel, Isabelle Olivieri, Agnès Mignot, Tony Rebelo, Fabienne Justy, Sylvain Santoni, Stéfanie Caroli, Laure Sauné, Olivier Bouchez, Emmanuel J. P. Douzery, Emmanuel J.P. Douzery & Anthony Rebelo
Despite the recent advances in generating molecular data, reconstructing species-level phylogenies for non-models groups remains a challenge. The use of a number of independent genes is required to resolve phylogenetic relationships, especially for groups displaying low polymorphism. In such cases, low-copy nuclear exons and non-coding regions, such as 3′ untranslated regions (3′-UTRs) or introns, constitute a potentially interesting source of nuclear DNA variation. Here, we present a methodology meant to identify new nuclear orthologous markers...

Data from: Drivers of bird species richness within moist high-altitude grasslands in eastern South Africa

David H. Maphisa, Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Les G. Underhill & Res Altwegg
Moist high-altitude grasslands in South Africa are renowned for high avifaunal diversity and are priority areas for conservation. Conservation management of these areas conflicts with management for other uses, such as intensive livestock agriculture, which requires annual burning and leads to heavy grazing. Recently the area has become target for water storage schemes and renewable electricity energy projects. There is therefore an urgent need to investigate environmental factors and habitat factors that affect bird species...

Data from: Does diet drive the evolution of head shape and bite force in chameleons of the genus Bradypodion?

Alexis Y. Dollion, G. John Measey, Raphael Cornette, Liza Carne, Krystal A. Tolley, Jessica M. Da Silva, Renaud Boistel, Anne-Claire Fabre & Anthony Herrel
The head is a complex integrated system that is implicated in many vital functions. As such, its morphology is impacted by different and sometimes conflicting demands. Consequently, head shape varies greatly depending on the environment and dietary ecology of an organism. Moreover, given its role in territory defence and mating in lizards, it is also subjected to strong sexual selection in these animals. We investigated the relationships between head shape, bite performance and diet in...

Data from: Large-scale phylogeny of chameleons suggests African origins and Eocene diversification

Krystal A. Tolley, Ted M. Townsend & Miguel Vences
Oceanic dispersal has emerged as an important factor contributing to biogeographic patterns in numerous taxa. Chameleons are a clear example of this, as they are primarily found in Africa and Madagascar, but the age of the family is post-Gondwanan break-up. A Malagasy origin for the family has been suggested, yet this hypothesis has not been tested using modern biogeographic methods with a dated phylogeny. To examine competing hypotheses of African and Malagasy origins, we generated...

Data from: Dynamic multi-species occupancy models reveal individualistic habitat preferences in a high-altitude grassland bird community

David H. Maphisa, Hanneline Smit-Robinson & Res Altwegg
Moist, high-altitude grasslands of eastern South African harbour rich avian diversity and endemism. This area is also threatened by increasingly intensive agriculture and land conversion for energy production. This conflict is particularly evident at Ingula, an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area located within the least conserved high-altitude grasslands and which is also the site of a new Pumped Storage Scheme. The new management seeks to maximise biodiversity through manipulation of the key habitat variables: grass...

Data from: Tree species diversity promotes aboveground carbon storage through functional diversity and functional dominance

Sylvanus Mensah, Ruan Veldtman, Achille E. Assogbadjo, Romain Glèlè Kakaï & Thomas Seifert
The relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function has increasingly been debated as the cornerstone of the processes behind ecosystem services delivery. Experimental and natural field-based studies have come up with nonconsistent patterns of biodiversity–ecosystem function, supporting either niche complementarity or selection effects hypothesis. Here, we used aboveground carbon (AGC) storage as proxy for ecosystem function in a South African mistbelt forest, and analyzed its relationship with species diversity, through functional diversity and functional dominance. We...

Data from: Crowdsourcing the identification of organisms: a case-study of iSpot

Jonathan Silvertown, Martin Harvey, Richard Greenwood, Mike Dodd, Jon Rosewell, Tony Rebelo, Janice Ansine & Kevin McConway
Accurate species identification is fundamental to biodiversity science, but the natural history skills required for this are neglected in formal education at all levels. In this paper we describe how the web application ispotnature.org and its sister site ispot.org.za (collectively, "iSpot") are helping to solve this problem by combining learning technology with crowdsourcing to connect beginners with experts. Over 94% of observations submitted to iSpot receive a determination. To date (2014), iSpot has crowdsourced the...

Data from: Phenotypic and genetic divergence among harbour porpoise populations associated with habitat regions in the North Sea and adjacent seas.

Carlos De Luna Lopez, Simon J. Goodman, Oliver Thatcher, Paul D. Jepson, Liselotte Andersen, Krystal Tolley & Alan R. Hoelzel
Determining the mechanisms that generate population structure is essential to the understanding of speciation and the evolution of biodiversity. Here, we investigate a geographic range that transects two habitat gradients, the North Sea to North Atlantic transition, and the temperate to sub-polar regions. We studied the harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), a small odontocete inhabiting both sub-polar and temperate waters. To assess differentiation among putative populations we measured morphological variation at cranial traits (N=462 individuals) and...

Registration Year

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Resource Types

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  • South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • University of Cape Town
  • Stellenbosch University
  • Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
  • French National Institute for Agricultural Research
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • Zoological Society of London
  • Department of Agriculture
  • University of Kansas
  • Estación Biológica de Doñana