132 Works

Data from: Effects of interspecific coexistence on laying date and clutch size in two closely related species of hole‐nesting birds

Anders Pape Møller, Javier Balbontin, André A. Dhondt, Vladimir Remeš, Frank Adriaensen, Clotilde Biard, Jordi Camprodon, Mariusz Cichoń, Blandine Doligez, Anna Dubiec, Marcel Eens, Tapio Eeva, Anne E. Goodenough, Andrew G. Gosler, Lars Gustafsson, Philipp Heeb, Shelley A. Hinsley, Staffan Jacob, Rimvydas Juškaitis, Toni Laaksonen, Bernard Leclercq, Bruno Massa, Tomasz D. Mazgajski, Rudi G. Nager, Jan-Åke Nilsson … & Ruedi G. Nager
Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole‐nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co‐occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across...

Data from: Flexible communication within bird families-the consequences of behavioural plasticity for parent-offspring coadaptation

Nolwenn Fresneau & Wendt Müller
Offspring are selected to demand more resources than what is optimal for their parents to provide, which results in a complex and dynamic interplay during parental care. Parent-offspring communication often involves conspicuous begging by the offspring which triggers a parental response, typically the transfer of food. So begging and parental provisioning reciprocally influence each other and are therefore expected to coevolve. There is indeed empirical evidence for covariation of offspring begging and parental provisioning at...

Data from: Haplotype structure, adaptive history and associations with exploratory behaviour of the DRD4 gene region in four great tit (Parus major) populations

Jakob C. Mueller, Peter Korsten, Christine Hermannstädter, Thomas Feulner, Niels J. Dingemanse, Erik Matthysen, Kees Van Oers, Thijs Van Overveld, Samantha C. Patrick, John L. Quinn, Matthias Riemenschneider, Joost M. Tinbergen, Bart Kempenaers & Christine Hermannstaedter
The assessment of genetic architecture and selection history in genes for behavioural traits is fundamental to our understanding of how these traits evolve. The dopamine receptor D4 (DRD4) gene is a prime candidate for explaining genetic variation in novelty seeking behaviour, a commonly assayed personality trait in animals. Previously we showed that a single nucleotide polymorphism in exon 3 of this gene is associated with exploratory behaviour in at least one of four Western European...

Data from: A second New World hover fly, Toxomerus floralis (Fabricius) (Diptera: Syrphidae), recorded from the Old World, with description of larval pollen-feeding ecology

Kurt Jordaens, Georg Goergen, Ashley H. Kirk-Spriggs, Audrey Vokaer, Thierry Backeljau & Marc De Meyer
Recently (2013–2014), several hoverfly specimens from two localities in Benin and Cameroon (West and Central Africa) were caught from a species that we could not identify using existing identification keys for Afrotropical Syrphidae. Specific identification as Toxomerus floralis (Fabricius) was accomplished using morphology and various Neotropical identification keys. Corroboration of this identification was made by sequencing of the standard COI barcode region and a subsequent BLAST-IDS in BOLD that revealed a 100% sequence similarity with...

Data from: ‘Out of tune’: consequences of inbreeding on bird song

Raïssa A. De Boer, Marcel Eens & Wendt Müller
The expression of bird song is expected to signal male quality to females. ‘Quality’ is determined by genetic and environmental factors, but, surprisingly, there is very limited evidence if and how genetic aspects of male quality are reflected in song. Here, we manipulated the genetic make-up of canaries (Serinus canaria) via inbreeding, and studied its effects upon song output, complexity, phonetics and, for the first time, song learning. To this end, we created weight-matched inbred...

Data from: The comparative hydrodynamics of rapid rotation by predatory appendages

Mathew J. McHenry, Philip S. L. Anderson, Sam Van Wassenbergh, David Matthews, Adam Summers & S. N. Patek
Countless aquatic animals rotate appendages through the water, yet fluid forces are typically modeled with translational motion. To elucidate the hydrodynamics of rotation, we analyzed the raptorial appendages of mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda) using a combination of flume experiments, mathematical modeling and phylogenetic comparative analyses. We found that computationally efficient blade-element models offered an accurate first-order approximation of drag, when compared with a more elaborate computational fluid-dynamic model. Taking advantage of this efficiency, we compared the...

Data from: Developmental plasticity affects sexual size dimorphism in an anole lizard

Camille Bonneaud, Erin Marnocha, Anthony Herrel, Bieke Vanhooydonck, Duncan J. Irschick & Thomas B. Smith
While developmental plasticity has been shown to contribute to sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in laboratory studies, its role in shaping SSD variation in wild vertebrate populations is unclear. Here we use a field study and a laboratory experiment to show that resource availability influences the degree of SSD among insular populations of Anolis sagrei lizards in the Bahamas. Total amounts of food biomass explained variation in male, but not female, body size on six Bahamian...

Data from: Discrete choice modelling of natal dispersal: \"choosing\" where to breed from a finite set of available areas

Michalis Vardakis, Peter Goos, Frank Adriaensen & Erik Matthysen
1. Classic natal dispersal studies focus mainly on distance travelled. Although distances capture some of the main selective pressures related to dispersal, this approach cannot easily incorporate the properties of the actual destination vs. the available alternatives. Recently, movement ecology studies have addressed questions on movement decisions in relation to availability of resources and/or availability of suitable habitats through the use of discrete choice models (DCMs), a widely used type of models within econometrics, which...

Data from: Proximate causes of variation in dermal armour: insights from armadillo lizards

Chris Broeckhoven, P. L. Le Fras N. Mouton & Cang Hui
Although it is widely assumed that body armour in animals evolved to thwart predator attacks, assessing the role that predators may play in shaping defensive morphologies has proven to be difficult. Recent studies suggest that body armour might be influenced by additional factors besides predation, and/or even by sexual selection. We investigated variation in dermal armour in 13 populations of armadillo lizards (Ouroborus cataphractus), spanning the entire distribution range of the species. We obtained thickness...

The roles of temperature, nest predators and information parasites for geographical variation in egg covering behaviour of tits (Paridae)

Olli Loukola, Peter Adamik, Frank Adriaensen, Emilio Barba, Blandine Doligez, Einar Flensted-Jensen, Tapio Eeva, Sami Kivelä, Toni Laaksonen, Chiara Morosinotto, Raivo Mänd, Petri Niemelä, Vladimir Remeš, Jelmer Samplonius, Manrico Sebastiano, Juan Carlos Senar, Tore Slagsvold, Alberto Sorace, Barbara Tschirren, János Török & Jukka Forsman
Aim: Nest building is widespread among animals. Nests may provide receptacles for eggs, developing offspring and the parents, and protect them from adverse environmental conditions. Nests may also indicate the quality of the territory and its owner and can be considered as an extended phenotype of its builder(s). Nests may, thus, function as a sexual and social signal. Here, we examined ecological and abiotic factors—temperature, nest predation and interspecific information utilization—shaping geographical variation in a...

Data and R code for What you see is where you go: visibility influences movement decisions of a forest bird navigating a 3D structured matrix

Job Aben, Johannes Signer, Janne Heiskanen, Petri Pellikka & Justin Travis
Animal spatial behaviour is often presumed to reflect responses to visual cues. However, inference of behaviour in relation to the environment is challenged by the lack of objective methods to identify the information that effectively is available to an animal from a given location. In general, animals are assumed to have unconstrained information on the environment within a detection circle of a certain radius (the perceptual range; PR). However, visual cues are only available up...

Glucocorticoids link forest type to local abundance in tropical birds

Simone Messina, David Edwards, Valeria Marasco, Virginie Canoine, Cindy Cosset, Suzanne Tomassi, Suzan Benedick, Marcel Eens & David Costantini
Selective logging is a major driver of environmental changes in the tropics. Recently, there has been increasing interest in understanding which traits make bird species resilient or vulnerable to such changes. Physiological stress mediated by the steroid hormone corticosterone (CORT) might underlie changes in local abundance of species because it regulates a range of body functions and behaviours to maintain homeostasis in changing environments. We conducted a three-year study to assess: (i) the variation in...

Female need for paternal care shapes variation in extra-pair paternity in a cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Dries Van De Loock, Mwangi Githiru, Carl Vangestel & Luc Lens
Socially-monogamous females regularly mate with males outside the pair bond. The prevailing explanation for this behavior is that females gain genetic benefits resulting from increased fitness of extra-pair offspring. Furthermore, because of the risk of reduced paternal care in response to cuckoldry, females are expected to seek extra-pair copulations when they can rear offspring with little help from their social partner (“constrained female” hypothesis). We tested these hypotheses and analyzed variation in paternal care in...

Decreasing effects of precipitation on grassland spring phenology in temperate China

Xuancheng Zhou, Yongshuo Fu, Yaru Zhang, Xiaojun Geng, Fanghua Hao, Xuan Zhang, Heikki Hanninen, Yahui Guo & Hans J. De Boeck
Vegetation phenology is highly sensitive to climate change. The timing of spring phenology in temperate grasslands is primarily regulated by temperature and precipitation. This study aims to study whether the primary factor regulating vegetation phenology changed under ongoing climate change and its underlying mechanisms. In this study, we extracted Start of Season (SOS) dates using five standard methods from satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and determined the primary regulating factor for spring phenology...

Pathways linking female personality with reproductive success are trait and year-specific

Bert Thys, Marcel Eens, Rianne Pinxten & Arne Iserbyt
Personality (i.e. among-individual variation in average behavior) often covaries with fitness, but how such personality-fitness relationships come about is poorly understood. Here, we explore potential mechanisms by which two female personality traits (female-female aggression and female nest defense as manifested by hissing behavior) were linked with annual reproductive success in a population of great tits (Parus major), a socially monogamous species with biparental care. We hypothesized that personality-related differences in reproductive success result from variation...

Carotenoid- but not melanin-based plumage coloration is negatively related to metal exposure and proximity to the road in an urban songbird

Melissa Grunst, Andrea Grunst, Rianne Pinxten, Lieven Bervoets & Marcel Eens
Rapid urbanization is a global phenomenon that is increasingly exposing organisms to novel stressors. These novel stressors can affect diverse aspects of organismal function, including development of condition-dependent ornaments, which play critical roles in social and sexual selection. We investigated the relationship between metal pollution, proximity to roads, and carotenoid- and melanin-based plumage coloration in a common songbird, the great tit (Parus major). We studied populations located across a well-characterized metal pollution gradient and surrounded...

Data from: Dry-season decline in tree sapflux is correlated with leaf turgor loss point in a tropical rainforest

Isabelle Maréchaux, Damien Bonal, Megan K. Bartlett, Benoît Burban, Sabrina Coste, Elodie A. Courtois, Maguy Dulormne, Jean-Yves Goret, Eléonore Mira, Ariane Mirabel, Lawren Sack, Clément Stahl & Jerome Chave
1. Water availability is a key determinant of forest ecosystem function and tree species distributions. While droughts are increasing in frequency in many ecosystems, including in the tropics, plant responses to water supply vary with species and drought intensity, and are therefore difficult to model. Based on physiological first principles, we hypothesized that trees with a lower turgor loss point (πtlp), i.e., a more negative leaf water potential at wilting, would maintain water transport for...

Data from: Species richness effects on grassland recovery from drought depend on community productivity in a multisite experiment

Juergen Kreyling, Jürgen Dengler, Julia Walter, Nikolay Velev, Emin Ugurlu, Desislava Sopotlieva, Johannes Ransijn, Catherine Picon-Cochard, Ivan Nijs, Pauline Hernandez, Behlül Güler, Philipp Von Gillhaussen, Hans J. De Boeck, Juliette M. G. Bloor, Sigi Berwaers, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Mohammed A. S. Arfin Khan, Iva Apostolova, Yasin Altan, Michaela Zeiter, Camilla Wellstein, Marcelo Sternberg, Andreas Stampfli, Giandiego Campetella, Sándor Bartha … & Juliette M.G. Bloor
Biodiversity can buffer ecosystem functioning against extreme climatic events, but few experiments have explicitly tested this. Here, we present the first multisite biodiversity × drought manipulation experiment to examine drought resistance and recovery at five temperate and Mediterranean grassland sites. Aboveground biomass production declined by 30% due to experimental drought (standardised local extremity by rainfall exclusion for 72–98 consecutive days). Species richness did not affect resistance but promoted recovery. Recovery was only positively affected by...

Data from: Sound attenuation in the ear of domestic chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus) as a result of beak opening

Pieter G. G. Muyshondt, Raf Claes, Peter Aerts & Joris J. J. Dirckx
Because the quadrate and the eardrum are connected, the hypothesis was tested that birds attenuate the transmission of sound through their ears by opening the bill, which potentially serves as an additional protective mechanism for self-generated vocalizations. In domestic chickens, it was examined if a difference exists between hens and roosters, given the difference in vocalization capacity between the sexes. To test the hypothesis, vibrations of the columellar footplate were measured ex vivo with laser...

Data from: Variable and consistent traffic noise negatively affect the sleep behavior of a free-living songbird

Melissa Grunst, Andrea Grunst, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Anthropogenic noise is an ubiquitous disturbance factor, which, owing to the extensive nature of transportation networks, and ability of sound waves to penetrate distances, has wide-reaching impacts on biological communities. Research effort on biological effects of anthropogenic noise is extensive, but has focused on waking behavior, and to our knowledge, no published experimental study exists on how noise affects sleep in free-living animals. Sleep plays vital functions in processes such as cellular repair and memory...

Data from: Foraging zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are public information users rather than conformists

Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen, Thomas Morgan & Katharina Riebel
Social learning enables adaptive information acquisition provided that it is not random but selective. To understand species typical decision-making and to trace the evolutionary origins of social learning, the heuristics social learners use need to be identified. Here, we experimentally tested the nature of majority influence in the zebra finch. Subjects simultaneously observed two demonstrator groups differing in relative and absolute numbers (ratios 1:2 / 2:4 / 3:3 / 1:5) foraging from two novel food...

Lianas and trees exhibit divergent intrinsic water-use efficiency along elevational gradients in South American and African tropical forests

Francis Mumbanza M., Marijn Bauters, Félicien Meunier, Pascal Boeckx, Lucas Cernusak, Hannes De Deurwaerder, Miro Demol, Camille Meeussen, Bram Sercu, Lore Verryckt, Jana Pauwels, Landry Cizungu N., Selene Báez, Constantin Lubini A. & Hans Verbeeck
Elevational gradients provide excellent opportunities to explore long-term morphological and physiological responses of plants to environmental change. We determined the difference in the elevational pattern of foliar carbon isotope composition (δ13C) between lianas and trees, and assessed whether this difference arises from changes in photosynthesis or stomatal conductance. We also explored the pattern of nutrient limitations with the elevation of these two growth forms. We conducted inventories of lianas and trees using standardized techniques along...

Data from: The evolution of locomotor rhythmicity in tetrapods

Callum F. Ross, Richard W. Blob, David R. Carrier, Monica A. Daley, Stephen M. Deban, Brigitte Demes, Janaya L. Gripper, Jose Iriarte-Diaz, Brandon Michael Kilbourne, Tobias Landberg, John D. Polk, Nadja Schilling & Bieke Vanhooydonck
Differences in rhythmicity (relative variance in cycle period) between mammal, fish, and lizard feeding systems have been hypothesized to be associated with differences in their sensorimotor control systems. We tested this hypothesis by examining whether the locomotion of tachymetabolic tetrapods (birds and mammals) is more rhythmic than that of bradymetabolic tetrapods (lizards, alligators, turtles, salamanders). Species averages of intra-individual coefficients of variation in cycle period were compared while controlling for gait and substrate. Variance in...

Data from: Hatching asynchrony aggravates inbreeding depression in a songbird (Serinus canaria): an inbreeding-environment interaction

Raïssa Anna De Boer, Marcel Eens, Erik Fransen & Wendt Müller
Understanding how the intensity of inbreeding depression is influenced by stressful environmental conditions is an important area of enquiry in various fields of biology. In birds, environmental stress during early development is often related to hatching asynchrony; differences in age, and thus size, impose a gradient in conditions ranging from benign (first hatched chick) to harsh (last hatched chick). Here, we compared the effect of hatching order on growth rate in inbred (parents are full...

Data from: Climate-related environmental variation in a visual signalling device: the male and female dewlap in Anolis sagrei lizards

Tess Driessens, Simon Baeckens, Manuela Balzarolo, Bieke Vanhooydonck, Katleen Huyghe & Raoul Van Damme
Animals communicate using a variety of signals that differ dramatically among and within species. The astonishing dewlap diversity in anoles has attracted considerable attention in this respect. Yet, the evolutionary processes behind it remain elusive and have mostly been explored for males only. Here, we considered Anolis sagrei males and females to study signal divergence among populations. First, we assessed the degree of variation in dewlap design (size, pattern, colour) and displays by comparing 17...

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