147 Works

Too much is bad: increasing numbers of livestock and conspecifics reduce body mass in an avian scavenger

José Antonio Donázar, Jomar Barbosa, Marina García-Alfonso, Mathijs Van Overveld, Laura Gangoso & Manuel De La Riva
Individual traits such as body mass can serve as early warning signals of changes in the fitness prospects of animal populations facing environmental impacts. Here, taking advantage of a 19-year monitoring, we assessed how individual, population and environmental factors modulate long-term changes in the body mass of Canarian Egyptian vultures. Individual vulture body mass increased when primary productivity was highly variable, but decreased in years with a high abundance of livestock. We hypothesized that carcasses...

Brain size predicts learning abilities in bees

Miguel Ángel Collado, Cristina Marín Montaner, Daniel Sol Rueda, Francisco P. Molina & Ignasi Bartomeus
When it comes to the brain, bigger is generally considered better in terms of cognitive performance. While this notion is supported by studies of birds and primates showing that larger brains improve learning capacity, similar evidence is surprisingly lacking for invertebrates. Although the brain of invertebrates is smaller and simpler than that of vertebrates, recent work in insects has revealed enormous variation in size across species. Here, we ask whether bee species that have larger...

Data and code for Heterogeneous selection on exploration behavior within and among West European populations of a passerine bird

Alexia Mouchet, Ella Cole, Erik Matthysen, Marion Nicolaus, John Quinn, Allison Roth, Joost Tinbergen, Kees Van Oers, Thijs Van Overveld & Niels Dingemanse
Heterogeneous selection is often proposed as a key mechanism maintaining repeatable behavioral variation (“animal personality”) in wild populations. Previous studies largely focused on temporal variation in selection within single populations. The relative importance of spatial versus temporal variation remains unexplored, despite these processes having distinct effects on local adaptation. Using data from >3500 great tits (Parus major) and 35 nest box plots situated within five West-European populations monitored over 4-18 years, we show that selection...

Bird species in the diet of the birdlike noctule bat, Nyctalus aviator, in Japan.

Carlos Ibañez, Dai Fukui, Ana G. Popa-Lisseanu, David Pastor-Beviá, Juan L. García-Mudarra & Javier Juste
We investigate the birds in the diet of the birdlike noctule (Nyctalus aviator) through DNA amplification from feather remains found in fecal pellets. Our goal was to confirm that N. aviator preys on nocturnally migratory species, as does its European relative N. lasiopterus, and to gain insights into this hunting strategy (e.g. on the wing vs. from cavity-nest). The diversity and the characteristics of the birds found in the feces remains indicate that in Japan...

Data from: Cascading effects of climate variability on the breeding success of an edge population of an apex predator

Laura Gangoso, Duarte Viana, Adriaan Dokter, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, Jordi Figuerola, Sergio Barbosa & Willem Bouten
1. Large-scale environmental forces can influence biodiversity at different levels of biological organization. Climate, in particular, is often associated to species distributions and diversity gradients. However, its mechanistic link to population dynamics is still poorly understood. 2. Here, we unraveled the full mechanistic path by which a climatic driver, the Atlantic trade winds, determines the viability of a bird population. 3. We monitored the breeding population of Eleonora’s falcons in the Canary Islands for over...

Demographic consequences of dispersal-related trait shift in two recently diverged taxa of montane grasshoppers

Joaquín Ortego, Jorge Gutiérrez-Rodríguez & Víctor Noguerales
Although the pervasiveness of intraspecific wing-size polymorphism and transitions to flightlessness have long captivated biologists, the demographic outcomes of shifts in dispersal ability are not yet well understood and have been seldom studied at early stages of diversification. Here, we use genomic data to infer the consequences of dispersal-related trait variation in the taxonomically controversial short-winged (Chorthippus corsicus corsicus) and long-winged (Chorthippus corsicus pascuorum) Corsican grasshoppers. Our analyses revealed lack of contemporary hybridization between sympatric...

The color of greater flamingo feathers fades when no cosmetics are applied

Maria Cecilia Chiale, Miguel Rendón, Sophie Labaude, Anne-Sophie Deville, Juan Garrido-Fernández, Antonio Pérez-Gálvez, Araceli Garrido, Manuel Rendón-Martos, Arnaud Béchet & Juan Amat
Greater flamingos use cosmetic coloration by spreading uropygial secretions pigmented with carotenoids over their feathers, which makes the plumage redder. Because flamingos inhabit open environments that receive direct solar radiation during daytime, and carotenoids bleach when exposed to solar radiation, we expected that the plumage color would fade if there is no maintenance for cosmetic purposes. Here, we show that the concentrations of pigments inside feathers and on the surface of feathers were correlated, as...

Data from: Great cormorants reveal overlooked secondary dispersal of plants and invertebrates by piscivorous waterbirds

Casper H. A. Van Leeuwen, Ádam Lovas-Kiss, Maria Ovegård & Andy J. Green
In wetland ecosystems, birds and fish are important dispersal vectors for plants and invertebrates, but the consequences of their interactions as vectors are unknown. Darwin suggested that piscivorous birds carry out secondary dispersal of seeds and invertebrates via predation on fish. We tested this hypothesis in the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo L.). Cormorants regurgitate pellets daily, which we collected at seven European locations and examined for intact propagules. One-third of pellets contained at least one...

Data from: DNA barcoding and minibarcoding as a powerful tool for feather mite studies

Jorge Doña, Javier Diaz-Real, Sergey Mironov, Pilar Bazaga, David Serrano & Roger Jovani
Feather mites (Astigmata: Analgoidea and Pterolichoidea) are among the most abundant and commonly occurring bird ectosymbionts. Basic questions on the ecology and evolution of feather mites remain unanswered because feather mite species identification is often only possible for adult males, and it is laborious even for specialized taxonomists, thus precluding large-scale identifications. Here, we tested DNA barcoding as a useful molecular tool to identify feather mites from passerine birds. Three hundred and sixty-one specimens of...

Data from: Nonrandom dispersal drives phenotypic divergence within a bird population

Carlos Camacho, David Canal & Jaime Potti
Gene flow through dispersal has traditionally been thought to function as a force opposing evolutionary differentiation. However, directional gene flow may actually reinforce divergence of populations in close proximity. This study documents the phenotypic differentiation over more than two decades in body size (tarsus length) at a very short spatial scale (1.1 km) within a population of pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca inhabiting deciduous and coniferous habitats. Unlike females, males breeding in the deciduous forest were...

Data from: Parasites affect food web structure primarily through increased diversity and complexity

Jennifer A. Dunne, Kevin D. Lafferty, Andrew P. Dobson, Ryan F. Hechinger, Armand M. Kuris, Neo D. Martinez, John P. McLaughlin, Kim N. Mouritsen, Robert Poulin, Karsten Reise, Daniel B. Stouffer, David W. Thieltges, Richard J. Williams & Claus Dieter Zander
Comparative research on food web structure has revealed generalities in trophic organization, produced simple models, and allowed assessment of robustness to species loss. These studies have mostly focused on free-living species. Recent research has suggested that inclusion of parasites alters structure. We assess whether such changes in network structure result from unique roles and traits of parasites or from changes to diversity and complexity. We analyzed seven highly resolved food webs that include metazoan parasite...

Data from: Evolvability meets biogeography: evolutionary potential decreases at high and low environmental favourability

Jesús Martinez-Padilla, Alba Estrada, Regan Early & Francisco García-González
Understanding and forecasting the effects of environmental change on wild populations requires knowledge on a critical question: do populations have the ability to evolve in response to that change? However, our knowledge on how evolution works in wild conditions under different environmental circumstances is extremely limited. We investigated how environmental variation influences the evolutionary potential of phenotypic traits. We used published data to collect or calculate 135 estimates of evolvability of morphological traits of European...

Data from: Unravelling seed dispersal through fragmented landscapes: frugivore species operate unevenly as mobile links

Juan P. González-Varo, Carolina Carvalho, Juan M. Arroyo, Pedro Jordano & Carolina S. Carvalho
Seed dispersal constitutes a pivotal process in an increasingly fragmented world, promoting population connectivity, colonization and range shifts in plants. Unveiling how multiple frugivore species disperse seeds through fragmented landscapes, operating as mobile links, has remained elusive owing to methodological constraints for monitoring seed dispersal events. We combine for the first time DNA barcoding and DNA microsatellites to identify, respectively, the frugivore species and the source trees of animal-dispersed seeds in forest and matrix of...

Data from: Global geographic patterns in the colours and sizes of animal‐dispersed fruits

Miranda A. Sinnott-Armstrong, Alexander E. Downie, Sarah Federman, Alfredo Valido, Pedro Jordano & Michael J. Donoghue
Aim. Fruit colours attract animal seed dispersers, yet the causes of fruit colour diversity remain controversial. The lack of knowledge of large-scale spatial patterns in fruit colours has limited our ability to formulate and test alternative hypotheses to explain fruit colour, fruit size, and fruit colour diversity. We describe spatial (especially latitudinal) variation in fruit colour, colour diversity, and length, and test for correlations between fruit colour, length, and plant habit. Location. Global. Time period....

Data from: Resurrection ecology in Artemia

Thomas Lenormand, Odrade Nougué, Roula Jabbour-Zahab, Fabien Arnaud, Laurent Dezileau, Luis-Miguel Chevin & Marta I. Sanchez
Resurrection Ecology (RE) is a very powerful approach to address a wide range of question in ecology and evolution. This approach rests on using appropriate model systems, and only few are known to be available. In this paper, we show that Artemia has multiple attractive features (short generation time, cyst bank and collections, well documented phylogeography and ecology) for a good RE model. We show in detail with a case study how cysts can be...

Data from: Geographical variation in mutualistic networks: similarity, turnover and partner fidelity

Kristian Trøjelsgaard, Pedro Jordano, Daniel W. Carstensen, Jens M. Olesen & K. Trojelsgaard
Although species and their interactions in unison represent biodiversity and all the ecological and evolutionary processes associated with life, biotic interactions have, contrary to species, rarely been integrated into the concepts of spatial β-diversity. Here, we examine β-diversity of ecological networks by using pollination networks sampled across the Canary Islands. We show that adjacent and distant communities are more and less similar, respectively, in their composition of plants, pollinators and interactions than expected from random...

Data from: Behaviour-related DRD4 polymorphisms in invasive bird populations

Jakob C. Mueller, Pim Edelaar, Martina Carrete, David Serrano, Jaime Potti, Julio Blas, Niels J. Dingemanse, Bart Kempenaers & Jose Luis Tella
It has been suggested that individual behavioural traits influence the potential to successfully colonize new areas. Identifying the genetic basis of behavioural variation in invasive species thus represents an important step towards understanding the evolutionary potential of the invader. Here, we sequenced a candidate region for neophilic/neophobic and activity behaviour – the complete exon 3 of the DRD4 gene – in 100 Yellow-crowned bishops (Euplectes afer) from two invasive populations in Spain and Portugal. The...

Data from: A prioritised list of invasive alien species to assist the effective implementation of EU legislation

Carles Carboneras, Piero Genovesi, Montserrat Vila, Tim Blackburn, Martina Carrete, Miguel Clavero, Bram D'hondt, Jorge F. Orueta, Belinda Gallardo, Pedro Geraldes, Pablo González-Moreno, Richard D. Gregory, Wolfgang Nentwig, Jean-Yves Paquet, Petr Pysek, Wolfgang Rabitsch, Iván Ramírez, Riccardo Scalera, Jose Tella, Paul Walton, Robin Wynde & Tim M. Blackburn
1. Effective prevention and control of invasive species generally relies on a comprehensive, coherent and representative list of species that enables resources to be used optimally. European Union (EU) Regulation 1143/2014 on invasive alien species (IAS) aims to control or eradicate priority species, and to manage pathways to prevent the introduction and establishment of new IAS; it applies to species considered of Union concern and subject to formal risk assessment. So far, 49 species have...

Data from: Quantifying temporal change in plant population attributes: insights from a resurrection approach

Rocío Gómez, Belen Mendez-Vigo, Arnald Marcer, Carlos Alonso-Blanco & F. Xavier Picó
Rapid evolution in annual plants can be quantified by comparing phenotypic and genetic changes between past and contemporary individuals from the same populations over several generations. Such knowledge will help understand the response of plants to rapid environmental shifts, such as the ones imposed by global climate change. To that end, we undertook a resurrection approach in Spanish populations of the annual plant Arabidopsis thaliana that were sampled twice over a decade. Annual weather records...

Seed mass, hardness and phylogeny determine the potential for endozoochory by granivorous waterbirds

Ádám Lovas-Kiss, Orsolya Vincze, Erik Kleyheeg, Gábor Sramkó, Levente Laczkó, Réka Fekete, Attila Molnár V. & Andy Green
Field studies have shown that waterbirds, especially members of the Anatidae family, are major vectors of dispersal for a broad range of plants whose propagules can survive gut passage. Widely adopted dispersal syndromes ignore this dispersal mechanism, and we currently have little understanding of what traits determine the potential of angiosperms for endozoochory by waterbirds. Results from previous experimental studies have been inconsistent as to how seed traits affect seed survival and retention time in...

Data from: Gradual replacement of wild bees by honeybees in flowers of the Mediterranean Basin over the last 50 years

Carlos M. Herrera
Evidence for pollinator declines largely originates from mid-latitude regions in North America and Europe. Geographical heterogeneity in pollinator trends combined with geographical biases in pollinator studies, can produce distorted extrapolations and limit understanding of pollinator responses to environmental changes. In contrast to the declines experienced in some well-investigated European and North American regions, honeybees seem to have increased recently in some areas of the Mediterranean Basin. Since honeybees can have negative impacts on wild bees,...

Data from: Patterns and correlates of claims for brown bear damage on a continental scale

Carlos Bautista, Javier Naves, Eloy Revilla, Néstor Fernández, Jörg Albrecht, Anne K. Scharf, Robin Rigg, Alexandros A. Karamanlidis, Klemen Jerina, Djuro Huber, Santiago Palazón, Raido Kont, Paolo Ciucci, Claudio Groff, Aleksandar Dutsov, Juan Seijas, Pierre-Ives Quenette, Agnieszka Olszańska, Maryna Shkvyria, Michal Adamec, Janis Ozolins, Marko Jonozovič & Nuria Selva
Wildlife damage to human property threatens human–wildlife coexistence. Conflicts arising from wildlife damage in intensively managed landscapes often undermine conservation efforts, making damage mitigation and compensation of special concern for wildlife conservation. However, the mechanisms underlying the occurrence of damage and claims at large scales are still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the patterns of damage caused by brown bears Ursus arctos and its ecological and socio-economic correlates at a continental scale. We compiled information...

Data from: Low-quality birds do not display high-quality signals: the cysteine-pheomelanin mechanism of honesty

Ismael Galván, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, Pablo R. Camarero, Rafael Mateo & Carlos Alonso-Alvarez
The mechanisms that make that the costs of producing high-quality signals are unaffordable to low-quality signalers are a current issue in animal communication. The size of the melanin-based bib of male house sparrows Passer domesticus honestly signals quality. We induced the development of new bibs while treating males with buthionine-sulfoximine (BSO), a substance that depletes the levels of the antioxidant glutathione and the amino acid cysteine, two elements that switch melanogenesis from eumelanin to pheomelanin....

Data from: Climate mediates the effects of disturbance on ant assemblage structure

Heloise Gibb, Nathan J. Sanders, Robert R. Dunn, Simon Watson, Manoli Photakis, Silvia Abril, Alan N. Andersen, Elena Angulo, Inge Armbrecht, Xavier Arnan, Fabricio B. Baccaro, Tom R. Bishop, Raphael Boulay, Cristina Castracani, Israel Del Toro, Thibaut Delsinne, Mireia Diaz, David A. Donoso, Martha L. Enríquez, Tom M. Fayle, Donald H. Feener, Matthew C. Fitzpatrick, Crisanto Gómez, Donato A. Grasso, Sarah Groc … & C. Gomez
Many studies have focused on the impacts of climate change on biological assemblages, yet little is known about how climate interacts with other major anthropogenic influences on biodiversity, such as habitat disturbance. Using a unique global database of 1128 local ant assemblages, we examined whether climate mediates the effects of habitat disturbance on assemblage structure at a global scale. Species richness and evenness were associated positively with temperature, and negatively with disturbance. However, the interaction...

What drives diversification in a pantropical plant lineage with extraordinary capacity for long-distance dispersal and colonisation?

Isabel Larridon, Javier Galán Díaz, Kenneth Bauters & Marcial Escudero
Aim: Colonisation of new areas may entail shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographic movement (dispersification), which may involve niche evolution if species were not pre-adapted to the new environments. Scleria (Cyperaceae) includes c. 250 species and has a pantropical distribution suggesting an extraordinary capacity for long-distance dispersal and colonisation. We investigate patterns of diversification in Scleria, and whether they are coupled with colonisation events, climate niche shifts or both. Location: Tropics and subtropics. Taxon:...

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