123 Works

Data from: Nutrient availability controls the impact of mammalian herbivores on soil carbon and nitrogen pools in grasslands

Judith Sitters, E.R. Jasper Wubs, Elisabeth S. Bakker, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter B. Adler, Sumanta Bagchi, Jonathan D. Bakker, Lori Biederman, Elizabeth T. Borer, Elsa E. Cleland, Nico Eisenhauer, Jennifer Firn, Laureano Gherardi, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Sarah E. Hobbie, Johannes M.H. Knops, Andrew S. MacDougall, Rebecca L. McCulley, Joslin L. Moore, Brent Mortensen, Pablo L. Peri, Suzanne M. Prober, Charlotte Riggs, Anita C. Risch … &
Grasslands have been subject to considerable alteration due to human activities globally, including widespread changes in populations and composition of large mammalian herbivores and elevated supply of nutrients. Grassland soils remain important reservoirs of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Herbivores may affect both C and N pools and these changes likely interact with increases in soil nutrient availability. Given the scale of grassland soil fluxes, such changes can have striking consequences for atmospheric C concentrations...

Data From: Breeders are less active foragers than non-breeders in wild Damaraland mole-rats

Yannick Francioli, Jack Thorley, Kyle Finn, Tim Clutton-Brock & Markus Zöttl
Eusocial insect societies are characterised by a clear division of labour between non-breeding workers and breeding queens and queens often do not contribute to foraging, defence and other maintenance tasks. It has been suggested that the structure and organisation of social mole-rat groups resembles that of eusocial insect societies. However, the division of labour has rarely been investigated in wild mole-rats and it is unknown whether breeders show decreased foraging activity compared to non-breeding helpers...

Data from: No apparent benefits of allonursing for recipient offspring and mothers in the cooperatively breeding meerkat

Kirsty J. MacLeod, Katie E. McGhee & Tim H. Clutton-Brock
1. Cooperative behaviours by definition are those that provide some benefit to another individual. Allonursing, the nursing of non-descendent young, is often considered a cooperative behaviour and is assumed to provide benefits to recipient offspring in terms of growth and survival, and to their mothers, by enabling them to share the lactation load. However, these proposed benefits are not well understood, in part because maternal and litter traits and other ecological and social variables are...

Data from: Data-driven discovery of the spatial scales of habitat choice by elephants

Andrew F. Mashintonio, Stuart L. Pimm, Grant M. Harris, Rudi J. Van Aarde & Gareth J. Russell
Setting conservation goals and management objectives relies on understanding animal habitat preferences. Models that predict preferences combine location data from tracked animals with environmental information, usually at a spatial resolution determined by the available data. This resolution may be biologically irrelevant for the species in question. Individuals likely integrate environmental characteristics over varying distances when evaluating their surroundings; we call this the scale of selection. Even a single characteristic might be viewed differently at different...

Data from: Population dynamics of owned, free-roaming dogs: implications for rabies control

Anne Conan, Oluyemisi Akerele, Greg Simpson, Bjorn Reininghaus, Jacques Van Rooyen & Darryn Knobel
Background: Rabies is a serious yet neglected public health threat in resource-limited communities in Africa, where the virus is maintained in populations of owned, free-roaming domestic dogs. Rabies elimination can be achieved through the mass vaccination of dogs, but maintaining the critical threshold of vaccination coverage for herd immunity in these populations is hampered by their rapid turnover. Knowledge of the population dynamics of free-roaming dog populations can inform effective planning and implementation of mass...

Data from: Ion Torrent PGM as tool for fungal community analysis: a case study of endophytes in Eucalyptus grandis reveals high taxonomic diversity

Martin Kemler, Jeff Garnas, Michael J. Wingfield, Marieka Gryzenhout, Kerry-Anne Pillay & Bernard Slippers
The Kingdom Fungi adds substantially to the diversity of life, but due to their cryptic morphology and lifestyle, tremendous diversity, paucity of formally described specimens, and the difficulty in isolating environmental strains into culture, fungal communities are difficult to characterize. This is especially true for endophytic communities of fungi living in healthy plant tissue. The developments in next generation sequencing technologies are, however, starting to reveal the true extent of fungal diversity. One of the...

Data from: Cyanobacteria drive community composition and functionality in rock-soil interface communities

Angel Valverde, Thulani P. Makhalanyane, Mary Seely & Don A. Cowan
Most ecological research on hypoliths, significant primary producers in hyperarid deserts, has focused on the diversity of individual groups of microbes (i.e. bacteria). However, microbial communities are inherently complex, and the interactions between cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, protista and metazoa, are likely to be very important for ecosystem functioning. Cyanobacterial and heterotrophic bacterial communities were analysed by pyrosequencing, while metazoan and protistan communities were assessed by T-RFLP analysis. Microbial functionality was estimated using carbon substrate utilization....

Data from: Patterns of trophic niche divergence between invasive and native fishes in wild communities are predictable from mesocosm studies

Thi Nhat Quyen Tran, Michelle C. Jackson, Danny Sheath, Hugo Verreycken & J. Robert Britton
1. Ecological theory attempts to predict how impacts for native species arise from biological invasions. A fundamental question centres on the feeding interactions of invasive and native species: whether invasion will result in increased interspecific competition, which would result in negative consequences for the competing species, or trophic niche divergence, which would facilitate the invader's integration into the community and their coexistence with native species. 2. Here, the feeding interactions of a highly invasive fish,...

Data from: The Victoria West: earliest prepared core technology in the Acheulean at Canteen Kopje and implications for the cognitive evolution of early hominids

Hao Li, Kathleen Kuman, Matt G. Lotter, George M. Leader & Ryan J. Gibbon
Prepared core technology illustrates in-depth planning and the presence of a mental template during the core reduction process. This technology is, therefore, a significant indicator in studying the evolution of abstract thought and the cognitive abilities of hominids. Here, we report on Victoria West cores excavated from the Canteen Kopje site in central South Africa, with a preliminary age estimate of approximately 1 Ma (million years ago) for these cores. Technological analysis shows that the...

Data from: Friends and Family: a software program for identification of unrelated individuals from molecular marker data. And from: Genetic diversity, relatedness and inbreeding of ranched and fragmented Cape buffalo populations in southern Africa

Deon De Jager, Petrus Swarts, Cindy Harper & Paulette Bloomer
The identification of related and unrelated individuals from molecular marker data is often difficult, particularly when no pedigree information is available and the data set is large. High levels of relatedness or inbreeding can influence genotype frequencies and thus genetic marker evaluation, as well as the accurate inference of hidden genetic structure. Identification of related and unrelated individuals is also important in breeding programmes, to inform decisions about breeding pairs and translocations. We present Friends...

Data from: First circumglobal assessment of Southern Hemisphere humpback whale mitochondrial genetic variation and implications for management

Howard C. Rosenbaum, Francine Kershaw, Martin Mendez, Cristina Pomilla, Matthew S. Leslie, Ken P. Findlay, Peter B. Best, Timothy Collins, Michel Vely, Marcia H. Engel, Robert Baldwin, Gianna Minton, Michael Meyer, Lillian Florez-Gonzalez, M. Michael Poole, Nan Hauser, Claire Garrigue, Muriel Brasseur, John Bannister, Megan Anderson, Carlos Olavarria & C. Scott Baker
The description of genetic population structure over a species’ geographic range can provide insights into its evolutionary history and also support effective management efforts. Assessments for globally distributed species are rare, however, requiring significant international coordination and collaboration. The global distribution of demographically discrete populations for the humpback whale Megaptera novaeangliae is not fully known, hampering the definition of appropriate management units. Here, we present the first circumglobal assessment of mitochondrial genetic population structure across...

Data from: Habitat attributes similarities reduce impacts of land-use conversion on seed removal

Ananza M. Rabello, Catherine L. Parr, Antônio C.M. Queiroz, Danielle L. Braga, Graziele S. Santiago & Carla R. Ribas
Changes in land use strongly influence habitat attributes (e.g., herbaceous ground cover and tree richness) and can consequently affect ecological functions. Most studies have focused on the response of these ecological functions to land-use changes within only a single vegetation type. These studies have often focused solely on agricultural conversion of forests, making it nearly impossible to draw general conclusions across other vegetation types or with other land use changes (e.g., afforestation). We examined the...

Data from: Genetic responsiveness of African buffalo to environmental stressors: a role for epigenetics in balancing autosomal and sex chromosome interactions?

Pim Van Hooft, Eric R. Dougherty, Wayne M. Getz, Barend J. Greyling, Bas J. Zwaan, Armanda D.S. Bastos & Armanda D. S. Bastos
In the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) population of the Kruger National Park (South Africa) a primary sex-ratio distorter and a primary sex-ratio suppressor have been shown to occur on the Y chromosome. A subsequent autosomal microsatellite study indicated that two types of deleterious alleles with a negative effect on male body condition, but a positive effect on relative fitness when averaged across sexes and generations, occur genome-wide and at high frequencies in the same population....

Data from: Diurnal body temperature patterns in free-ranging populations of two southern African arid-zone nightjars

Ryan S. O'Connor, R. Mark Brigham & Andrew E. McKechnie
Endotherms allocate large amounts of energy and water to the regulation of a precise body temperature (Tb), but can potentially reduce thermoregulatory costs by allowing Tb to deviate from normothermic levels. Many data on heterothermy at low air temperatures (Ta) exist for caprimulgids, whereas data on thermoregulation at high Ta are largely absent, despite members of this taxon frequently roosting and nesting in sites exposed to high operative temperatures. We investigated thermoregulation in free-ranging Rufous-cheeked...

Data from: Secondary contact and asymmetrical gene flow in a cosmopolitan marine fish across the Benguela upwelling zone

Kerry Reid, Thierry B. Hoareau, John E. Graves, Warren M. Potts, Sandrina M. R. Do Santos, Arrie W. Klopper & Paulette Bloomer
The combination of oceanographic barriers and habitat heterogeneity are known to reduce connectivity and leave specific genetic signatures in the demographic history of marine species. However, barriers to gene flow in the marine environment are almost never impermeable which inevitably allows secondary contact to occur. In this study eight sampling sites (five along the South African coastline, one each in Angola, Senegal and Portugal) were chosen to examine the population genetic structure and phylogeographic history...

Data from: Validation of a fecal glucocorticoid assay to assess adrenocortical activity in meerkats using physiological and biological stimuli

Ines Braga Goncalves, Michael Heistermann, Peter Santema, Ben Dantzer, Jelena Mausbach, Andre Ganswindt & Marta B. Manser
In mammals, glucocorticoid (i.e. GC) levels have been associated with specific life-history stages and transitions, reproductive strategies, and a plethora of behaviors. Assessment of adrenocortical activity via measurement of glucocorticoid metabolites in feces (FGCM) has greatly facilitated data collection from wild animals, due to its non-invasive nature, and thus has become an established tool in behavioral ecology and conservation biology. The aim of our study was to validate a fecal glucocorticoid assay for assessing adrenocortical...

Data from: Landscape determinants of fine-scale genetic structure of a small rodent in a heterogeneous landscape (Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park, South Africa)

Isa-Rita M. Russo, Catherine L. Sole, Mario Barbato, Ullrich Von Bramann & Michael W. Bruford
Small mammals provide ecosystem services, acting, for example, as pollinators and seed dispersers. In addition, they are also disease reservoirs that can be detrimental to human health and they can also act as crop pests. Knowledge of their dispersal preferences is therefore useful for population management and landscape planning. Genetic data were used alongside landscape data to examine the influence of the landscape on the demographic connectedness of the Natal multimammate mouse (Mastomys natalensis) and...

Data from: Den site selection, pack composition, and reproductive success in endangered African wild dogs

Andrew B. Davies, David G. Marneweck, Dave J. Druce & Gregory P. Asner
Habitat quality is often assumed to be directly related to increased consumer density, but such assumptions cannot be made without supporting demographic data that indicate improved fitness. Habitat selection might be especially important for denning species, where vulnerable offspring are confined to a single location for extended periods, but the effect of den choice on the reproductive success of denning species is poorly understood. By combining airborne high-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) measurements with...

Data from: Climate change leads to increasing population density and impacts of a key island invader

Greg T.W. McClelland, Res Altwegg, Rudi J. Van Aarde, Sam Ferreira, Alan E. Burger, Steven L. Chown & Gregory T. W. McClelland
The considerable threats of invasive rodents to island biodiversity are likely to be compounded by climate change. Forecasts for such interactions have been most pronounced for the Southern Ocean islands where ameliorating conditions are expected to decrease thermal and resource restrictions on rodents. Firm evidence for changing rodent populations in response to climate change, and demonstrations of associated impacts on the terrestrial environment, are nonetheless entirely absent for the region. Using data collected over three...

Data from: Positive selection of deleterious alleles through interaction with a sex-ratio suppressor gene in African buffalo: a plausible new mechanism for a high frequency anomaly

Pim Van Hooft, Ben J. Greyling, Wayne M. Getz, Paul D. Van Helden, Bas J. Zwaan & Armanda D. S. Bastos
Although generally rare, deleterious alleles can become common through genetic drift, hitchhiking or reductions in selective constraints. Here we present a possible new mechanism that explains the attainment of high frequencies of deleterious alleles in the African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) population of Kruger National Park, through positive selection of these alleles that is ultimately driven by a sex-ratio suppressor. We have previously shown that one in four Kruger buffalo has a Y-chromosome profile that, despite...

Data from: Facial attractiveness is related to women’s cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness

Markus J. Rantala, Vinet Coetzee, Fhionna R. Moore, Ilona Skrida, Sanita Kecko, Tatjana Krama, Inese Kivleniece, Indrikis Krams & I. Skrinda
Recent studies suggest that facial attractiveness indicates immune responsiveness in men and that this relationship is moderated by stress hormones which interact with testosterone levels. However, studies testing whether facial attractiveness in women signals their immune responsiveness are lacking. Here, we photographed young Latvian women, vaccinated them against hepatitis B and measured the amount of specific antibodies produced, cortisol levels and percentage body fat. Latvian men rated the attractiveness of the women's faces. Interestingly, in...

Data from: Cryptic species, native populations and biological invasions by a eucalypt forest pathogen

Guillermo Perez, Bernard Slippers, Michael J. Wingfield, Brenda D. Wingfield, Angus J. Carnegie & Treena I. Burgess
Human associated introduction of pathogens and consequent invasions are very evident in areas where no related organisms existed before. In areas where related but distinct populations or closely related cryptic species already exist, the invasion process is much harder to unravel. In this study, the population structure of the Eucalyptus leaf pathogen Teratosphaeria nubilosa was studied within its native range in Australia, including both commercial plantations and native forests. A collection of 521 isolates from...

Data from: Maternal, social and abiotic environment effects on growth vary across life stages in a cooperative mammal

Sinead English, Andrew W. Bateman, Rafael Mares, Arpat Ozgul & Tim H. Clutton-Brock
1. Resource availability plays a key role in driving variation in somatic growth and body condition, and the factors determining access to resources vary considerably across life stages. Parents and carers may exert important influences in early life, when individuals are nutritionally dependent, with abiotic environmental effects having stronger influences later in development as individuals forage independently. 2. Most studies have measured specific factors influencing growth across development, or have compared relative influences of different...

Herbivory meets fungivory: insect herbivores feed on plant pathogenic fungi for their own benefit

Franziska Eberl, Maite Fernandez De Bobadilla, Almuth Hammerbacher, Michael Reichelt, Jonathan Gershenzon & Sybille Unsicker
Plants are regularly colonized by fungi and bacteria, but plant-inhabiting microbes are rarely considered in studies on plant-herbivore interactions. Here we show that young gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars prefer to feed on black poplar (Populus nigra) foliage infected by the rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina instead of uninfected control foliage, and selectively consume fungal spores. This consumption, also observed in a related lepidopteran species, is stimulated by the sugar alcohol mannitol, found in much higher...

Genes involved in the constitutive production of phenolic compounds in white spruce

Sébastien Gérardi, Justine Laoué, Claire Depardieu, Manuel Lamothe, Claude Bomal, Aïda Azaiez, Marie-Claude Gros-Louis, Jerôme Laroche, Brian Boyle, Almuth Hammerbacher, Nathalie Isabel & Jean Bousquet
Conifer forests worldwide are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Although the production of phenolic compounds (PCs) has been shown to be modulated by biotic and abiotic stresses, the genetic basis underlying the variation in their constitutive production level remains poorly documented in conifers. We used QTL mapping and RNA-Seq to explore the complex polygenic network underlying the constitutive production of PCs in a white spruce (Picea glauca) full-sib family for 2...

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  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • Lancaster University
  • Sao Paulo State University
  • University of Washington
  • Utah State University
  • Princeton University
  • Duke University