108 Works

Data from: Checkerboard score-area relationships reveal spatial scales of plant community structure

Gordon G. McNickle, Eric G. Lamb, Mike Lavender, , Brandon S. Schamp, Steven D. Siciliano, Richard Condit, Stephen P. Hubbell, Jennifer L. Baltzer & James F Cahill
Identifying the spatial scale at which particular mechanisms influence plant community assembly is crucial to understanding the mechanisms structuring communities. It has long been recognized that many elements of community structure are sensitive to area; however the majority of studies examining patterns of community structure use a single relatively small sampling area. As different assembly mechanisms likely cause patterns at different scales we investigate how plant species co-occurrence patterns change with sampling unit scale. We...

Data from: Differences in spatial synchrony and interspecific concordance inform guild-level population trends for aerial insectivorous birds

Nicole L. Michel, Adam C. Smith, Robert G. Clark, Christy A. Morrissey & Keith A. Hobson
Many animal species exhibit spatiotemporal synchrony in population fluctuations, which may provide crucial information about ecological processes driving population change. We examined spatial synchrony and concordance among population trajectories of five aerial insectivorous bird species: chimney swift Chaetura pelagica, purple martin Progne subis, barn swallow Hirundo rustica, tree swallow Tachycineta bicolor, and northern rough-winged swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis. Aerial insectivores have undergone severe guild-wide declines that were considered more prevalent in northeastern North America. Here, we...

Experimental variation in the spatial deposition of trace metals in feathers revealed using synchrotron x-ray fluorescence

Fardausi Akhter, Graham Fairhurst, Peter Blanchard, Karen Machin, Rob Blyth, Julie Thompson, Jamille McLeod, Renfei Feng & Catherine Soos
Feathers can be used to investigate exposure to pollution in birds because they are a secondary route for the excretion of trace elements. Evidence based on analytical imaging and spectroscopy suggests that the spatial distribution of the essential trace element zinc within feathers is related to melanin pigmentation. However, our understanding of how trace elements are deposited into growing feathers is poor and has been hampered by a lack of analytical tools to examine the...

Causes and consequences of an unusually male-biased adult sex ratio in an unmanaged feral horse population

Charlotte Regan, Sarah Medill, Jocelyn Poissant & Philip McLoughlin
1. The adult sex ratio (ASR) is important within ecology due to its predicted effects on behaviour, demography, and evolution, but research examining the causes and consequences of ASR bias have lagged behind studies of sex ratios at earlier life stages. Although ungulate ASR is relatively well-studied, exceptions to the usual female-biased ASR challenge our understanding of the underlying drivers of biased ASR, and provide an opportunity to better understand its consequences. 2. Some feral...

Data from: A temporally intensive survey of bacterial communities of Brassica napus genotypes grown in three environments

Jennifer K. Bell, Steven D. Mamet, Zayda Morales Moreira, Shanay Williams, Charlotte Norris, Tanner Dowry, Zelalem M. Taye, Eric G. Lamb, Matthew Links, Steven Shirtliffe, Melissa Arcand, Sally Vail, Bobbi Helagson & Steven D. Siciliano
Soil bacterial communities play vital roles in nutrient cycling and plant health. Breeding staple crops to have more robust microbiomes may be a sustainable way to improve crop yield without increasing inputs, leading to better global food security. We collected root and rhizosphere soil samples from sixteen genotypes of canola weekly for ten weeks at one site in 2016 and at three time points across three sites in 2017. We sequenced the 16S ribosomal RNA...

Science to inform policy: linking population dynamics to habitat for a threatened species in Canada

Cheryl Johnson, Glenn Sutherland, Erin Neave, Mathieu Leblond, Patrick Kirby, Clara Superbie & Philip McLoughlin
Abstract 1. Boreal forests provide numerous ecological services, including the ability to store large amounts of carbon, and are of significance to global biodiversity. Increases in industrial activities in boreal landscapes since the mid-20th century have added to concerns over biodiversity loss and climate change. Boreal forests are home to dwindling populations of boreal caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada, a species at risk that requires large, undisturbed landscapes for persistence. In 2012, the Canadian...

Data from: Hybridization and adaptation to introduced balloon vines in an Australian soapberry bug

Jose A. Andrés, Prasobh R. Thampy, Michael T. Mathieson, Jenella Loye, Myron P. Zalucki, Hugh Dingle & Scott P. Carroll
Contemporary adaptation of plant feeding insects to introduced hosts provides clear cases of ecologically based population divergence. In most cases the mechanisms permitting rapid differentiation are not well known. Here we study morphological and genetic variation associated with recent shifts by the Australian soapberry bug Leptocoris tagalicus onto two naturalized Neotropical balloon vines, Cardiospermum halicacabum and C. grandiflorum that differ in time since introduction. Our results show that these vines have much larger fruits than...

Data from: Behavioral classification of low frequency acceleration and temperature data from a free ranging small mammal

Emily K. Studd, Manuelle Landry-Cuerrier, Allyson K. Menzies, Stan Boutin, Andrew G. McAdam, Jeffrey E. Lane & Murray M. Humphries
1. The miniaturization and affordability of new technology is driving a biologging revolution in wildlife ecology with use of animal-borne data logging devices. Among many new biologging technologies, accelerometers are emerging as key tools for continuously recording animal behavior. Yet a critical, but under-acknowledged consideration in biologging is the trade-off between sampling rate and sampling duration, created by battery- (or memory-) related sampling constraints. This is especially acute among small animals, causing most researchers to...

Data from: Density-dependent, central-place foraging in a grazing herbivore: competition and trade-offs in time allocation near water

David Rozen-Rechels, Floris M. Van Beest, Emmanuelle Richard, Antonio Uzal, Sarah A. Medill & Philip Dunstan McLoughlin
Optimal foraging theory addresses one of the core challenges of ecology: predicting the distribution and abundance of species. Tests of hypotheses of optimal foraging, however, often focus on a single conceptual model rather than drawing upon the collective body of theory, precluding generalization. Here we demonstrate links between two established theoretical frameworks predicting animal movements and resource use: central-place foraging and density-dependent habitat selection. Our goal is to better understand how the nature of critical,...

Data from: The ecology of avian influenza viruses in wild dabbling ducks (Anas spp.) in Canada

Zsuzsanna Papp, Robert G. Clark, E. Jane Parmley, Frederick A. Leighton, Cheryl Waldner & Catherine Soos
Avian influenza virus (AIV) occurrence and transmission remain important wildlife and human health issues in much of the world, including in North America. Through Canada's Inter-Agency Wild Bird Influenza Survey, close to 20,000 apparently healthy, wild dabbling ducks (of seven species) were tested for AIV between 2005 and 2011. We used these data to identify and evaluate ecological and demographic correlates of infection with low pathogenic AIVs in wild dabbling ducks (Anas spp.) across Canada....

Data from: A novel alarm signal in aquatic prey: Familiar minnows coordinate group defences against predators through chemical disturbance cues

Kevin R. Bairos-Novak, Maud C. O. Ferrari & Douglas P. Chivers
Animal signalling systems outside the realm of human perception remain largely understudied. These systems consist of four main components: a signalling context, a voluntary signal, receiver responses and resulting fitness benefits to both the signaller and receiver(s). It is often most difficult to determine incidental cues from voluntary signals. One example is chemical disturbance cues released by aquatic prey during predator encounters that may serve to alert conspecifics of nearby risk and initiate tighter shoaling....

Data from: Conservation through the lens of (mal)adaptation: concepts and meta-analysis

Alison Derry, Dylan Fraser, Steven Brady, Louis Astorg, Elizabeth Lawrence, Gillian Martin, Jean-Michel Matte, Jorge Octavio Negrín Dastis, Antoine Paccard, Rowan Barrett, Lauren Chapman, Jeffrey Lane, Chase Ballas, Marissa Close & Erika Crispo
Evolutionary approaches are gaining popularity in conservation science, with diverse strategies applied in efforts to support adaptive population outcomes. Yet conservation strategies differ in the type of adaptive outcomes they promote as conservation goals. For instance, strategies based on genetic or demographic rescue implicitly target adaptive population states whereas strategies utilizing transgenerational plasticity or evolutionary rescue implicitly target adaptive processes. These two goals are somewhat polar: adaptive state strategies optimize current population fitness, which should...

Data from: Is biasing offspring sex ratio adaptive? a test of Fisher’s principle across multiple generations of a wild mammal in a fluctuating environment

Andrea E. Wishart, Cory T. Williams, Andrew G. McAdam, Stan Boutin, Ben Dantzer, Murray M. Humphries, Dave W. Coltman, Jeffrey E. Lane & David W. Coltman
Fisher’s principle explains that population sex ratio in sexually reproducing organisms is maintained at 1:1 due to negative frequency-dependent selection, such that individuals of the rare sex realize greater reproductive opportunity than individuals of the more common sex until equilibrium is reached. If biasing offspring sex ratio towards the rare sex is adaptive, individuals that do so should have a higher number of grandoffspring. In a wild population of North American red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus)...

Data from: miR-122, small RNA annealing and sequence mutations alter the predicted structure of the Hepatitis C virus 5′ UTR RNA to stabilize and promote viral RNA accumulation

Yalena Amador-Cañizares, Mamata Panigrahi, Adam Huys, Rasika D. Kunden, Halim M. Adams, Michael J. Schinold & Joyce A. Wilson
Annealing of the liver-specific microRNA, miR-122, to the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) 5′ UTR is required for efficient virus replication. By using siRNAs to pressure escape mutations, 30 replication-competent HCV genomes having nucleotide changes in the conserved 5′ untranslated region (UTR) were identified. In silico analysis predicted that miR-122 annealing induces canonical HCV genomic 5′ UTR RNA folding, and mutant 5′ UTR sequences that promoted miR-122-independent HCV replication favored the formation of the canonical RNA...

Data from: Reproduction as a bottleneck to treeline advance across the circumarctic forest tundra ecotone

Carissa D. Brown, Geneviève Dufour-Tremblay, Ryan G. Jameson, Steven D. Mamet, Andrew J. Trant, Xanthe J. Walker, Stéphane Boudraeu, Karen A. Harper, Greg H.R. Henry, Luise Hermanutz, Annika Hofgaard, Ludmila Isaeva, G. Peter Kershaw, Jill F. Johnstone & Gregory H. R. Henry
The fundamental niche of many species is shifting with climate change, especially in sub-arctic ecosystems with pronounced recent warming. Ongoing warming in sub-arctic regions should lessen environmental constraints on tree growth and reproduction, leading to increased success of trees colonising tundra. Nevertheless, variable responses of treeline ecotones have been documented in association with warming temperatures. One explanation for time lags between increasingly favourable environmental conditions and treeline ecotone movement is reproductive limitations caused by low...

Data from: Prairie dogs, cattle subsidies, and alternative prey: Seasonal and spatial variation in coyote diet in a temperate grassland

Susan Lingle, C-Jae M. Breiter, David B. Schowalter & John F. Wilmshurst
As the dominant predator on North America’s grasslands, coyotes (Canis latrans) have a large influence on biodiversity, both on working ranches and in protected parks. Ground squirrel (sciurid) species and livestock carrion are often abundant on grasslands worldwide and have the potential to influence a predator’s consumption of alternative prey. We collected 1321 scats in four seasons over two years in and adjacent to Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan, to test the hypothesis that seasonal and...

Additional material associated with the Matters Arising article published in Nature by Munday and colleagues

Philip Munday, Danielle Dixson, Megan Welch, Douglas Chivers, Paolo Domenici, Martin Grosell, Rachel Heuer, Geoffrey Jones, Mark McCormick, Mark Meekan, Göran Nilsson, Timothy Ravasi & Sue-Ann Watson

Re-assessment of the climatic controls on the carbon and water fluxes of a boreal aspen forest over 1996-2016: changing sensitivity to long-term climatic conditions

Peng Liu, Alan Barr, Tianshan Zha, T Black, Rachhpal Jassal, Zoran Nesic, Warren Helgason, Xin Jia & Yun Tian
Recent evidence suggests that the relationships between climate and boreal tree growth are generally non-stationary; however, it remains uncertain whether the relationships between climate and carbon (C) fluxes of boreal forests are stationary or have changed over recent decades. In this study, we used continuous eddy-covariance and microclimate data over 21 years (1996-2016) from a 100-year-old trembling aspen stand in central Saskatchewan, Canada to assess the relationships between climate and ecosystem C and water fluxes....

Data from: Biomarker of burden: feather corticosterone reflects energetic expenditure and allostatic overload in captive waterfowl

David W. Johns, Tracy A. Marchant, Graham D. Fairhurst, John R. Speakman & Robert G. Clark
1.Allostatic load describes the interplay between energetic demand and availability and is highly context dependent, varying between seasons and life history stages. When energy demands exceed physiological set points modulated by glucocorticoid hormones, individuals may experience allostatic overload and transition between stages in sub-optimal physiological states. 2.Corticosterone, the major glucocorticoid hormone regulating energy expenditure in birds, is incorporated into growing feathers (CORTf), and it has been suggested that CORTf reflects long-term records of allostatic load...

Data from: Aerobic scope predicts dominance during early life in a tropical damselfish

Shaun S. Killen, Matthew D. Mitchell, Jodie L. Rummer, Douglas P. Chivers, Maud C. O. Ferrari, Mark I. McCormick & Mark G. Meekan
A range of physiological traits are linked with aggression and dominance within social hierarchies, but the role of individual aerobic capacity in facilitating aggression has seldom been studied. Further, links previously observed between an individual's metabolic rate and aggression level may be context dependent and modulated by factors such as social stress and competitor familiarity. We examined these issues in juvenile Ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, which display intraspecific competition for territories during settlement on coral...

Data from: Northern flickers only work when they have to: how individual traits, population size and landscape disturbances affect excavation rates of an ecosystem engineer

Karen Wiebe & Karen L. Wiebe
Woodpeckers are considered ecosystem engineers because they excavate tree cavities which are used subsequently by many species of secondary cavity nesters for breeding. Woodpeckers have the choice of excavating a new hole or reusing an existing one, and this propensity to excavate (e) may affect community dynamics but has rarely been investigated. Using 18 years of data on a population of northern flickers Colaptes auratus, I tested six hypotheses to explain the propensity to excavate...

Data from: Differential introgression in a mosaic hybrid zone reveals candidate barrier genes

Erica L. Larson, Jose A. Andres, Steven M. Bogdanowicz & Richard G. Harrison
Hybrid zones act as genomic sieves; although globally advantageous alleles will spread throughout the zone and neutral alleles can be freely exchanged between species, introgression will be restricted for genes that contribute to reproductive barriers or local adaptation. Seminal fluid proteins (SFPs) are known to contribute to reproductive barriers in insects and have been proposed as candidate barrier genes in the hybridizing field crickets G. pennsylvanicus and G. firmus. Here, we have used 125 SNPs...

Data from: Repeat variants for the SbMATE transporter protect sorghum roots from aluminum toxicity by transcriptional interplay in cis and trans

Janaina O. Melo, Laura G. C. Martins, Beatriz A. Barros, Maiana R. Pimenta, Ubiraci G. P. Lana, Christiane E. M. Duarte, Maria M. Pastina, C. T. Guimaraes, Robert E. Schaffert, Leon V. Kochian, Elizabeth P. B. Fontes & Jurandir Vieira Magalhaes
Acidic soils, where aluminum (Al) toxicity is a major agricultural constraint, are globally widespread and are prevalent in developing countries. In sorghum, the root citrate transporter SbMATE confers Al tolerance by protecting root apices from toxic Al3+, but can exhibit reduced expression when introgressed into different lines. We show that allele-specific SbMATE transactivation occurs and is caused by factors located away from SbMATE. Using expression-QTL mapping and -GWAS, we establish that SbMATE transcription is controlled...

Data from: Temporal dynamics of snowmelt nutrient release from snow–plant residue mixtures: an experimental analysis and mathematical model development

Diogo Costa, Jian Liu, Jennifer Roste & Jane Elliott
Reducing eutrophication in surface water is a major environmental challenge in many countries around the world. In cold Canadian prairie agricultural regions, part of the eutrophication challenge arises during spring snowmelt when a significant portion of the total annual nutrient export occurs, and plant residues can act as a nutrient source instead of a sink. Although the total mass of nutrients released from various crop residues has been studied before, little research has been conducted...

Data from: Landscape connectivity predicts chronic wasting disease risk in Canada

Barry R. Nobert, Evelyn H. Merrill, Margo J. Pybus, Trent K. Bollinger & Yeen Ten Hwang
Predicting the spatial pattern of disease risk in wild animal populations is important for implementing effective control programmes. We developed a risk model predicting the probability that a deer harvested in a wild population was chronic wasting disease positive (CWD+) and evaluated the importance of landscape connectivity based on deer movements. We quantified landscape connectivity from deer ‘resistance’ to move across the landscape similar to the flow of electrical current across a hypothetical electronic circuit....

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