134 Works

Data from: Artificial light at night does not affect telomere shortening in a developing free-living songbird: a field experiment

Melissa L. Grunst, Thomas Raap, Andrea S. Grunst, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Artificial light at night (ALAN) is an increasingly pervasive anthropogenic disturbance factor. ALAN can seriously disrupt physiological systems that follow circadian rhythms, and may be particularly influential early in life, when developmental trajectories are sensitive to stressful conditions. Using great tits (Parus major) as a model species, we experimentally examined how ALAN affects physiological stress in developing nestlings. We used a repeated-measure design to assess effects of ALAN on telomere shortening, body mass, tarsus length...

Data from: High quality statistical shape modelling of the human nasal cavity and applications

William Keustermans, Toon Huysmans, Femke Danckaers, Andrzej Zarowski, Bert Schmelzer, Jan Sijbers & Joris J. J. Dirckx
The human nose is a complex organ that shows large morphological variations and has many important functions. However, the relation between shape and function is not yet fully understood. In this work, we present a high quality statistical shape model of the human nose based on clinical CT data of 46 patients. A technique based on cylindrical parametrization was used to create a correspondence between the nasal shapes of the population. Applying principal component analysis...

Data from: Environment-dependent prey-capture in the Atlantic mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus)

Krijn B. Michel, Peter Aerts & Sam Van Wassenbergh
Few vertebrates capture prey in both the aquatic and the terrestrial environment due to the conflicting biophysical demands of feeding in water versus air. The Atlantic mudskipper (Periophthalmus barbarus) is known to be proficient at feeding in the terrestrial environment and feeds predominately in this environment. Given the considerable forward flow of water observed during the mouth opening phase to assist with feeding on land, the mudskipper must alter the function of its feeding system...

Data from: Initiation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in the absence of physical contact with infected hosts – a field study in a high altitude lake

Elodie A. Courtois, Adeline Loyau, Mégane Bourgoin & Dirk S. Schmeller
Understanding transmission is a critical prerequisite for predicting disease dynamics and impacts on host populations. It is well established that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian fungal pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis, can be transmitted directly, through physical contact with an infected host. However, indirect pathways of transmission remain poorly investigated. We conducted a five-week long field infection experiment at a high altitude mountain lake in the French Pyrenees to investigate Bd transmission pathways in larval midwife...

Dsuite - fast D-statistics and related admixture evidence from VCF files

Milan Malinsky, Michael Matschiner & Hannes Svardal
Patterson’s D, also known as the ABBA-BABA statistic, and related statistics such as the f4-ratio, are commonly used to assess evidence of gene flow between populations or closely related species. Currently available implementations often require custom file formats, implement only small subsets of the available statistics, and are impractical to evaluate all gene flow hypotheses across datasets with many populations or species due to computational inefficiencies. Here we present a new software package Dsuite, an...

Data from: Restoration of endangered fen communities: the ambiguity of iron-phosphorus binding and phosphorus limitation

Willem-Jan Emsens, Camiel J.S. Aggenbach, Alfons J.P. Smolders, Dominik Zak, Ruurd Van Diggelen, C.J.S. Aggenbach, A.J.P. Smolders & W.-J. Emsens
1.Low phosphorus (P) availability limits plant biomass production in fens, which is a prerequisite for the persistence of many endangered plant species. We hypothesized that P limitation is linked to soil iron (Fe) content and soil Fe:P ratios as iron compounds provide binding sites for dissolved P, presumably reducing P availability to plants. 2.We sampled 30 fens in a trans-European field survey to determine how soil Fe pools relate to pools of P and Fe-bound...

Data from: Response of bats to light with different spectra: light-shy and agile bat presence is affected by white and green, but not red light

Kamiel Spoelstra, Roy H. A. Van Grunsven, Jip J. C. Ramakers, Kim B. Ferguson, Thomas Raap, Maurice Donners, Elmar M. Veenendaal & Marcel E. Visser
Artificial light at night has shown a remarkable increase over the past decades. Effects are reported for many species groups, and include changes in presence, behaviour, physiology and life-history traits. Among these, bats are strongly affected, and how bat species react to light is likely to vary with light colour. Different spectra may therefore be applied to reduce negative impacts. We used a unique set-up of eight field sites to study the response of bats...

Data from: Post-fragmentation population structure in a cooperative breeding Afrotropical cloud forest bird: emergence of a source-sink population network

Martin Husemann, Laurence Cousseau, Tom Callens, Erik Matthysen, Carl Vangestel, Caspar Hallmann & Luc Lens
The impact of demographic parameters on the genetic population structure and viability of organisms is a long-standing issue in the study of fragmented populations. Demographic and genetic tools are now readily available to estimate census and effective population sizes and migration and gene flow rates with increasing precision. Here we analysed the demography and genetic population structure over a recent 15-year time span in five remnant populations of Cabanis's greenbul (Phyllastrephus cabanisi), a cooperative breeding...

Data from: Carotenoids, birdsong and oxidative status: administration of dietary lutein is associated with an increase in song rate and circulating antioxidants (albumin and cholesterol) and a decrease in oxidative damage

Stefania Casagrande, Rianne Pinxten, Erika Zaid & Marcel Eens
Despite the appealing hypothesis that carotenoid-based colouration signals oxidative status, evidence supporting the antioxidant function of these pigments is scarce. Recent studies have shown that lutein, the most common carotenoid used by birds, can enhance the expression of non-visual traits, such as birdsong. Nevertheless, the underlying physiological mechanisms remain unclear. In this study we hypothesized that male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) fed extra lutein increase their song rate as a consequence of an improved oxidative...

Data from: Migratory constraints on yolk precursors limit yolk androgen deposition and underlie a brood reduction strategy in rockhopper penguins

Glenn T. Crossin, Maud Poisbleau, Laurent Demongin, Olivier Chastel, Tony D. Williams, Marcel Eens & Petra Quillfeldt
Hormonally mediated maternal effects link maternal phenotype and environmental conditions to offspring phenotype. The production of lipid-rich maternal yolk precursors may provide a mechanism by which lipophilic steroid hormones can be transported to developing yolks, thus predicting a positive correlation between yolk precursors in mothers and androgen levels in eggs. Using rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome), which produce a two-egg clutch characterized by extreme egg-size dimorphism, reversed hatching asynchrony and brood-reduction, we examined correlations between circulating...

Data from: How environmental conditions shape the chemical signal design of lizards

Simon Baeckens, José Martín, Roberto García-Roa, Panayiotis Pafilis, Katleen Huyghe & Raoul Van Damme
1. The signals that animals use to communicate often differ considerably among species. Part of this variation in signal design may derive from differential natural selection on signal efficacy; the ability of the signal to travel efficiently through the environment and attract the receiver’s attention. For the visual and acoustic modalities, the effect of the physical environment on signal efficacy is a well-studied selective force. Still, very little is known on its impact on the...

Data from: Patterns and drivers of biodiversity-stability relationships under climate extremes

Hans J. De Boeck, Juliette M. G. Bloor, Juergen Kreyling, Johannes C. G. Ransijn, Ivan Nijs, Anke Jentsch & Michaela Zeiter
Interactions between biodiversity loss and climate change present significant challenges for research, policy and management of ecosystems. Evidence suggests that high species diversity tends to increase plant community stability under interannual climate fluctuations and mild dry and wet events, but the overall pattern of diversity–stability relationships under climate extremes is unclear. We comprehensively review results from observational and experimental studies to assess the importance of diversity effects for ecosystem function under climate extremes. Both the...

Data from: Sex-specific effects of inbreeding on reproductive senescence

Raissa A. De Boer, Marcel Eens & Wendt Müller
Inbreeding depression plays a significant role in evolutionary biology and ecology. Yet, we lack a clear understanding of the fitness consequences of inbreeding depression. Studies often focus on short-term effects of inbreeding in juvenile offspring whereas inbreeding depression in adult traits and the interplay between inbreeding depression and age is rarely addressed. Inbreeding depression may increase with age and accelerate the decline in reproductive output in ageing individuals (‘reproductive senescence’), which could be subject to...

Data from: Hurricane effects on Neotropical lizards span geographic and phylogenetic scales

Colin Donihue, Alex Kowaleski, Jonathan Losos, Adam Algar, Simon Baeckens, Robert Buchkowski, Anne-Claire Fabre, Hannah Frank, Anthony Geneva, Graham Reynolds, James Stroud, Julián Velasco, Jason Kolbe, Luke Mahler & Anthony Herrel
Extreme climate events such as droughts, cold snaps, and hurricanes can be powerful agents of natural selection, producing acute selective pressures very different from the everyday pressures acting on organisms. However, it remains unknown whether these infrequent but severe disruptions are quickly erased by quotidian selective forces, or whether they have the potential to durably shape biodiversity patterns across regions and clades. Here, we show that hurricanes have enduring evolutionary impacts on the morphology of...

Investment in chemical signalling glands facilitates the evolution of sociality in lizards

Simon Baeckens & Martin Whiting
The evolution of sociality and traits that correlate with, or predict, sociality, have been the focus of considerable recent study. In order to reduce the social conflict that ultimately comes with group living, and foster social tolerance, individuals need reliable information about group members and potential rivals. Chemical signals are one such source of information and are widely used in many animal taxa, including lizards. Here, we take a phylogenetic comparative approach to test the...

Springtail coloration at a finer scale: mechanisms behind vibrant Collembolan metallic colours

Bram Vanthournout, Anastasia Rousaki, Thomas Parmentier, Frans Janssens, Johan Mertens, Peter Vandenabeele, Liliana D'Alba & Matthew Shawkey
The mechanisms and evolution of metallic structural colours are of both fundamental and applied interest, yet most work in arthropods has focused on derived butterflies and beetles with distinct hues. In particular, basal hexapods - groups with many scaled, metallic representatives – are currently poorly studied and controversial, with some recent studies suggesting either that thin- film (lamina thickness) or diffraction grating elements (longitudinal ridges, crossribs) produce these colors in early Lepidoptera and one springtail...

Changes in selection pressure can facilitate hybridization during biological invasion in a Cuban lizard

Dan Bock, Simon Baeckens, Jessica Pita-Aquino, Zachary Chejanovski, Sozos Michaelides, Pavitra Muralidhar, Oriol Lapiedra, Sungdae Park, Douglas Menke, Anthony Geneva, Jonathan Losos & Jason Kolbe
Hybridization is among the evolutionary mechanisms most frequently hypothesized to drive the success of invasive species, in part because hybrids are common in invasive populations. One explanation for this pattern is that biological invasions coincide with a change in selection pressures that limit hybridization in the native range. To investigate this possibility, we studied the introduction of the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in the southeastern United States. We find that native populations are highly genetically...

Data from: Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry

Michiel Vellema, Mariana Diales Rocha, Sabrina Bascones, Sandor Zsebok, Jes Dreier, Stefan Leitner, Annemie Van Der Linden, Jonathan Brewer & Manfred Gahr
Complex motor skills take considerable time and practice to learn. Without continued practice the level of skill performance quickly degrades, posing a problem for the timely utilization of skilled motor behaviors. Here we quantified the recurring development of vocal motor skills and the accompanying changes in synaptic connectivity in the brain of a songbird, while manipulating skill performance by consecutively administrating and withdrawing testosterone. We demonstrate that a songbird with prior singing experience can significantly...

Data from: Density-dependence and persistence of Morogoro arenavirus transmission in a fluctuating population of its reservoir host

Joachim Mariën, Benny Borremans, Christophe Verhaeren, Lucinda Kirkpatrick, Sophie Gryseels, Joëlle Goüy De Bellocq, Stephan Günther, Christopher A. Sabuni, Apia W. Massawe, Jonas Reijniers & Herwig Leirs
Background A key aim in wildlife disease ecology is to understand how host and parasite characteristics influence parasite transmission and persistence. Variation in host population density can have strong impacts on transmission and outbreaks, and theory predicts particular transmission-density patterns depending on how parasites are transmitted between individuals. Here, we present the results of a study on the dynamics of Morogoro arenavirus in a population of multimammate mice (Mastomys natalensis). This widespread African rodent, which...

DNA methylation profiling and genomic analysis in 20 children with short stature who were born small-for-gestational age

Silke Peeters & Geert Mortier
Purpose: In a significant proportion of children born small-for-gestational age (SGA) with failure of catch-up growth, the etiology of short stature remains unclear after routine diagnostic work-up. We wanted to investigate if extensive analysis of the (epi)genome can unravel the cause of growth failure in a significant portion of these children. Patients and Methods: Twenty SGA children treated with growth hormone (GH) because of short stature were selected from the BELGROW database of the Belgian...

Habitat fragmentation shapes natal dispersal and sociality in an Afrotropical cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Martijn Hammers, Dries Van De Loock, Beate Apfelbeck, Mwangi Githiru, Erik Matthysen & Luc Lens
It remains poorly understood how effects of anthropogenic activity, such as large-scale habitat fragmentation, impact sociality in animals. In cooperatively breeding species, groups are mostly formed through delayed offspring dispersal, and habitat fragmentation can affect this process in two opposite directions. Increased habitat isolation may increase dispersal costs, promoting delayed dispersal. Alternatively, reduced patch size and quality may decrease benefits of philopatry, promoting dispersal. Here, we test both predictions in a cooperatively breeding bird (placid...

Unprecedented biting performance in herbivorous fish: how the complex biting system of Pomacentridae circumvents performance trade-offs

Damien Olivier, Sam Van Wassenbergh, Eric Parmentier & Bruno Frédérich
It is well accepted that the complexity of functional systems may mitigate performance trade-offs. However, data supporting this theory is hard to find because it needs to be based on a functional system with different complexity levels in closely-related species. The Pomacentridae (damselfishes) provide an excellent opportunity to test the hypothesis because most of the species have two mouth-closing systems: the first using the adductor mandibulae, as in all teleost fishes, and a second one...

Impacts of selective logging on the oxidative status of tropical understory birds

Simone Messina
1. Selective logging is the dominant form of human disturbance in tropical forests, driving changes in the abundance of vertebrate and invertebrate populations relative to undisturbed old-growth forests. 2. A key unresolved question is understanding which physiological mechanisms underlie different responses of species and functional groups to selective logging. Regulation of oxidative status is thought to be one major physiological mechanism underlying the capability of species to cope with environmental changes. 3. Using a correlational...

Data from: A fish that uses its hydrodynamic tongue to feed on land

Krijn B. Michel, Egon Heiss, Peter Aerts & Sam Van Wassenbergh
To capture and swallow food on land, a sticky tongue supported by the hyoid and gill arch skeleton has evolved in land vertebrates from aquatic ancestors that used mouth-cavity-expanding actions of the hyoid to suck food into the mouth. However, the evolutionary pathway bridging this drastic shift in feeding mechanism and associated hyoid motions remains unknown. Modern fish that feed on land may help to unravel the physical constraints and biomechanical solutions that led to...

Data from: Repeated stressors in adulthood increase the rate of biological ageing

Michaela Hau, Mark F. Haussmann, Timothy J. Greives, Christa Matlack, David Costantini, Michael Quetting, James S. Adelman, Ana Catarina Miranda & Jesko Partecke
Background: Individuals of the same age can differ substantially in the degree to which they have accumulated tissue damage, akin to bodily wear and tear, from past experiences. This accumulated tissue damage reflects the individual’s biological age and may better predict physiological and behavioural performance than the individual‘s chronological age. However, at present it remains unclear how to reliably assess biological age in individual wild vertebrates. Methods: We exposed hand-raised adult Eurasian blackbirds (Turdus merula)...

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