143 Works

Internal Migration of South Africa 1999-2000

Data from: The influence of distance to perennial surface water on ant communities in Mopane woodlands, northern Botswana

Fredrik Dalerum, Tarryn Anne Retief, Carl Peter Havemann, Christian T. Chimimba, Benrdt Janse Van Rensburg & Berndt Janse Van Rensburg
Studies of biodiversity along environmental gradients provide information on how ecological communities change in response to biotic and abiotic factors. For instance, distance to water is associated with several factors that shape the structure and the functioning of ecosystems at a range of spatial scales. We investigated the influence of distance to a perennial water source on ant communities in a semi-arid savanna in northern Botswana. Ant abundance, taxonomic richness and both alpha and beta...

Data from: Population structure and diversity of an invasive pine needle pathogen reflects anthropogenic activity

Irene Barnes, Michael J. Wingfield, Ignazio Carbone, Thomas Kirisits & Brenda D. Wingfield
Dothistroma septosporum is a haploid fungal pathogen that causes a serious needle blight disease of pines, particularly as an invasive alien species on Pinus radiata in the Southern Hemisphere. During the course of the last two decades, the pathogen has also incited unexpected epidemics on native and non-native pine hosts in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the biology and ecology of the pathogen has been well documented, there is a distinct lack of knowledge regarding its...

Data from: Kinship and association in a highly social apex predator population, killer whales at Marion Island

Ryan R. Reisinger, , A. Rus Hoelzel & P. J. Nico De Bruyn
Social structure is a core element of population biology, influenced by intrinsic and environmental factors. Intra-taxon comparisons of social organization are useful in elucidating the role of such ecological determinants of sociality. Killer whales Orcinus orca are widely distributed, social delphinids with diverse morphology, diet, behaviour, and genetics, but few studies have quantitatively examined social structure in this species. We used 7 years of individual identification data on killer whales at Marion Island, Southern Ocean,...

Population changes in a whale breeding ground revealed by citizen science noninvasive genetics unique microsatellite profiles of southern right whales

Petra Neveceralova, Emma Carroll, Debbie Steel, Els Vermeulen, Simon Elwen & Pavel Hulva
Historical exploitation, and a combination of current anthropogenic impacts, such as climate change and habitat degradation, impact the population dynamics of marine mammalian megafauna. Right whales (Eubalaena spp.) are large cetaceans recovering from hunting, whose reproductive and population growth rate appear to be impacted by climate change. We apply noninvasive genetic methods to monitor southern right whale (E. australis, SRW) and test the application of noninvasive genetics to minimise the observer effects on the population....

Body temperature, evaporative water loss and resting metabolic rate data for six southern African bats

Zenon J. Czenze, Ben Smit, Barry Van Jaarsveld, Marc T. Freeman & Andrew E. McKechnie
1. The microsites that animals occupy during the rest phase of their circadian activity cycle influence their physiology and behaviour, but relatively few studies have examined correlations between interspecific variation in thermal physiology and roost microclimate. Among bats, there is some evidence that species exposed to high roost temperatures (Troost) possess greater heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity, but the small number of species for which both thermal physiology and roost microclimate data exist mean...

Body temperature, evaporative water loss and resting metabolic rate data for 12 southern African arid-zone passerines

Zenon Czenze, Ryno Kemp, Van Jaarsveld Barry, Marc Freeman, Ben Smit, Blair Wolf & Andrew McKechnie
Surface water is a critical resource for many birds inhabiting arid regions, but the implications of regular drinking and dependence on surface water for the evolution of thermal physiology remain largely unexplored. We hypothesized that avian thermoregulation in the heat has evolved in tandem with the use of surface water and predicted that a) regularly-drinking species have a greater capacity to elevate rates of evaporative water loss (EWL) compared to non-drinking species, and b) heat...

Impact of intercept trap type on plume structure: a potential mechanism for differential performance of intercept trap designs for Monochamus species

Marc C. Bouwer, Chris J. K. MacQuarrie, Oniel J. Aguirre-Gil, Bernard Slippers & Jeremy D. Allison
Studies have demonstrated that semiochemical-baited intercept traps differ in their performance for sampling insects, but we have an incomplete understanding of how and why intercept trap design effects vary among insects. This can significantly delay both the development of new and optimization of existing survey and detection tools. The development of a mechanistic understanding of why trap performance varies within and among species would mitigate this delay. The primary objective of this study was to...

Heat dissipation behaviour of birds in seasonally hot, arid-zones: are there global patterns?

Nicholas Pattinson, Michelle Thompson, Michael Griego, Grace Russell, Nicola Mitchell, Rowan Martin, Blair Wolf, Ben Smit, Susan Cunningham & Andrew McKechnie
Quantifying organismal sensitivity to heat stress provides one means for predicting vulnerability to climate change. Birds are ideal for investigating this approach, as they display quantifiable fitness consequences associated with behavioural and physiological responses to heat stress. We used a recently developed method that examines correlations between readily-observable behaviours and air temperature (Tair) to investigate interspecific variation in avian responses to heat stress in seasonally hot, arid regions on three continents: the southwestern United States,...

Heat tolerance in desert rodents is correlated with microclimate at inter- and intraspecific levels

Andrew McKechnie, Barry Van Jaarsveld, Nigel Bennett, Ryno Kemp & Zenon Czenze
Physiological diversity in thermoregulatory traits has been extensively investigated in both endo- and ectothermic vertebrates, with many studies revealing that thermal physiology has evolved in response to selection arising from climate. The majority of studies have investigated how adaptative variation in thermal physiology is correlated with broad-scale climate, but the role of fine-scale microclimate remains less clear. We hypothesised that the heat tolerance limits and evaporative cooling capacity of desert rodents are correlated with microclimates...

Data from: Reproductive state influences the degree of risk tolerance for a seasonally breeding mesopredator

C Marneweck, O Van Schalkwyk, D Marneweck, G Beverley, H Davies-Mostert & D Parker
Abstract. The risk of predation can alter the way animals perceive costs and benefits in their environment, on which foraging decisions are made. To maximize fitness, animals with offspring show the most pronounced alteration in behavior because mothers experience increased nutritional requirements and increased vulnerability to predation. Therefore, the tolerance of risk is shaped, in part, by reproductive state. Like prey species, mesopredators balance a trade-off between food and predation to maximize fitness. However, few...

Genomics of population differentiation in humpback dolphins, Sousa spp. in the Indo-Pacific Ocean

Ana Rita Amaral, Cátia Chanfana, Brian Smith, Rubaiyat Mansur, Tim Collins, Robert Baldwin, Gianna Minton, Guido Parra, Michael Krutzen, Thomas Jefferson, Leszek Karczmarski, Almeida Guissamulo, & Howard Rosenbaum
Speciation is a fundamental process in evolution and crucial to the formation of biodiversity. It is a continuous and complex process, which can involve multiple interacting barriers leading to heterogeneous genomic landscapes with various peaks of divergence among populations. In this study, we used a population genomics approach to gain insights on the speciation process and to understand the population structure within the genus Sousa across its distribution in the Indo-Pacifc region. We found 5...

Data from: Socio-economic impacts of energy access through off-grid systems in rural communities: A case study of South-West Nigeria

Samuel Olatunde Babalola, Michael Olawale Daramola & Samuel Ayodele Iwarere
The development of resilient energy systems is important for sustainable cities and communities. However, in countries with insufficient national energy supply, electricity distributors rarely consider remote communities due to their distant settlement, low electricity demand and poor payment capabilities. The United Nations has set a goal to deliver universal energy access by 2030, hence, it has become imperative to deploy clean and affordable off-grid mini-grid solutions to previously abandoned communities. Access to energy in rural...

The role of deterministic succession during forest succession within a South African savanna

Samantha-Leigh Jamison-Daniels, Daniel Kissling, Monique Botha, Mathew Harris, Christopher Gordon & Michelle Greve
Bush encroachment can lead to a switch from open savannas to dense woodlands or forests. This has implications for both the composition of ecological communities and the provision of ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and grazing capacity. The patterns and underlying drivers responsible for bush encroachment are not fully understood. Here, we investigate the underlying determinants of bush clump formation (a form of encroachment) in a South African savanna and explore whether bush clump...

Data for: Adaptive variation in the upper limits of avian body temperature

Andrew McKechnie, Marc Freeman, Zenon Czenze & Keegan Schoeman
Physiological performance declines precipitously at high body temperature (Tb), but little attention has been paid to adaptive variation in upper Tb limits among endotherms. We hypothesized that avian maximum tolerable body temperature (Tbmax) has evolved in response to climate, with higher Tbmax in species exposed to high environmental heat loads or humidity-related constraints on evaporative heat dissipation. To test this hypothesis, we compared Tbmax and related variables among 53 bird species at multiple sites in...

Data from: Termite mounds differ in their importance for herbivores across savanna types, seasons and spatial scales

Andrew B. Davies, Shaun R. Levick, Mark P. Robertson, Berndt J. Van Rensburg, Gregory P. Asner & Catherine L. Parr
Herbivores do not forage uniformly across landscapes, but select for patches of higher nutrition and lower predation risk. Macrotermes mounds contain higher concentrations of soil nutrients and support grasses of higher nutritional value than the surrounding savanna matrix, attracting mammalian grazers that preferentially forage on termite mound vegetation. However, little is known about the spatial extent of such termite influence on grazing patterns and how it might differ in time and space. We measured grazing...

Data from: Geosmithia associated with bark beetles and woodborers in the western USA: taxonomic diversity and vector specificity

Miroslav Kolařík, Steven J. Seybold, Ned Tisserat, Wilhelm De Beer, David M. Rizzo, Jiri Hulcr & Martin Kostovčík
Fungi in the genus Geosmithia (Ascomycota: Hypocreales) are frequent associates of bark beetles and woodborers that colonize hardwood and coniferous trees. One species, Geosmithia morbida, is an economically damaging invasive species. The authors surveyed the Geosmithia species of California and Colorado, USA, to (i) provide baseline data on taxonomy of Geosmithia and beetle vector specificity across the western USA; (ii) investigate the subcortical beetle fauna for alternative vectors of the invasive G. morbida; and (iii)...

Data from: Finding stories in noise: mitochondrial portraits from RAD data

C. S. Stobie, Michael J. Cunningham, Carel J. Oosthuizen & Paulette Bloomer
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has formed the backbone of phylogeographic research for many years, however, recent trends focus on genome-wide analyses. One method proposed for calibrating inferences from noisy Next-Generation data, such as RAD sequencing, is to compare these results with analyses of mitochondrial sequences. Most researchers using this approach appear to be unaware that many Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) identified from genome-wide sequence data are themselves mitochondrial, or assume that these are too few to...

Data from: Water as a resource, stress and disturbance shaping tundra vegetation

Julia Kemppinen, Pekka Niittynen, Juha Aalto, Peter C. Le Roux & Miska Luoto
Water is crucial for plant productivity and survival as a fundamental resource, but water conditions can also cause physiological stress and mechanical disturbance to vegetation. However, these different influences of water on vegetation patterns have not been evaluated simultaneously. Here, we demonstrate the importance of three water aspects (spatial and temporal variation of soil moisture and fluvial disturbance) for three ecologically and evolutionary distinct taxonomical groups (vascular plants, mosses, and lichens) in Fennoscandian mountain tundra....

Data from: Exploring the phylogeography of a hexaploid freshwater fish by RAD sequencing

Cora Sabriel Stobie, Carel J. Oosthuizen, Michael J. Cunningham & Paulette Bloomer
The KwaZulu-Natal yellowfish (Labeobarbus natalensis) is an abundant cyprinid, endemic to KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. In this study we developed a Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) dataset from double-digest Restriction-site Associated DNA (ddRAD) sequencing of samples across the distribution. We addressed several hidden challenges, primarily focussing on proper filtering of RAD data and selecting optimal parameters for data processing in polyploid lineages. We used the resulting high-quality SNP dataset to investigate the population genetic structure of...

Data from: Multiple introductions from multiple sources: invasion patterns for an important eucalyptus leaf pathogen

Matsepo Taole, Wubetu Bihon, Michael J. Wingfield, Brenda D. Wingfield & Treena I. Burgess
Many population studies on invasive plant pathogens are undertaken without knowing the center of origin of the pathogen. Most leaf pathogens of Eucalyptus originate in Australia and consequently with indigenous populations available, and it is possible to study the pathways of invasion. Teratosphaeria suttonii is a commonly occurring leaf pathogen of Eucalyptus species, naturally distributed in tropical and subtropical regions of eastern Australia where it is regarded as a minor pathogen infecting older leaves; however,...

Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness

Lauchlan H. Fraser, Jason Pither, Anke Jentsch, Marcelo Sternberg, Martin Zobel, Diana Askarizadeh, Sandor Bartha, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Jonathan A. Bennett, Alex Bittel, Bazartseren Boldgiv, Ilsi I. Boldrini, Edward Bork, Leslie Brown, Marcelo Cabido, James Cahill, Cameron N. Carlyle, Giandiego Campetella, Stefano Chelli, Ofer Cohen, Anna-Maria Csergo, Sandra Diaz, Lucas Enrico, David Ensing, Alessandra Fidelis … & Szilárd Szentes
The search for predictions of species diversity across environmental gradients has challenged ecologists for decades. The humped-back model (HBM) suggests that plant diversity peaks at intermediate productivity; at low productivity few species can tolerate the environmental stresses, and at high productivity a few highly competitive species dominate. Over time the HBM has become increasingly controversial, and recent studies claim to have refuted it. Here, by using data from coordinated surveys conducted throughout grasslands worldwide and...

Kruger National Park medium to large mammal species herd sizes & distances to the road - fieldwork data

Misha Malherbe, Natalie Haussmann, Trevor McIntyre, Tarryn Hattingh & Paige Leresche
The dataset consists of systematically recorded presences, from a vehicle, of medium to large mammal species within the Kruger National Park. There is 401 tar and 369 dirt road points within the dataset. Each dataset point has data on species presence, estimated proximity of the animals to the road and herd sizes. Each point also has the following data: estimated cloud cover percentage, surface wetness, rain, co-ordinates, vegetation biome (savanna), road surface, distance to the...

Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina L.) in the Antarctic Treaty Area

Marthán Bester, Horst Bornemann, Gustavo A. Daneri & John van den Hoff
Despite the wholesale slaughter of southern elephant seals for the commercial extraction of blubber-oil during the mid and late 1800’s, their populations have persisted at almost all historical breeding locations There are presently an estimated 749,000 southern elephant seals in the Southern Ocean, about 2% (14,500) of which live permanently in the Antarctic Treaty Area south of 60º South Although these southernmost permanent breeding populations are relatively small, a large (yet to be determined) proportion...

Animal lifestyle affects acceptable mass limits for attached tags

Rory Wilson, Kayleigh Rose, Richard Gunner, Mark Holton, Nikki Marks, Nigel Bennett, Stephen Bell, Joshua Twining, Jamie Hesketh, Carlos Duarte, Neil Bezodis, Milos Jezek, Michael Painter, Vaclav Silovsky, Margaret Crofoot, Roi Harel, John Arnould, Blake Allan, Desley Whisson, Abdulaziz Alagaili & David Scantlebury
Animal-attached devices have transformed our understanding of vertebrate ecology. To minimize any associated harm, researchers have long advocated that tag masses should not exceed 3% of carrier body mass. However, this ignores tag forces resulting from animal movement. Using data from collar-attached accelerometers on 10 diverse free-ranging terrestrial species from koalas to cheetahs, we detail a tag-based acceleration method to clarify acceptable tag mass limits. We quantify animal athleticism in terms of fractions of animal...

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  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Washington
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Monash University
  • University of South Africa
  • Lancaster University