109 Works

Woodpeckers and other excavators maintain the diversity of cavity-nesting vertebrates

M. Kurtis Trzcinski, Kristina Cockle, Andrea Norris, Max Edworthy, Karen Wiebe & Kathy Martin
Woodpeckers and other excavators create most of the holes used by secondary tree-cavity nesting vertebrates (SCNs) in North American temperate mixedwood forests, but the degree to which excavators release SCNs from nest-site limitation is debated. Our goal was to quantify how excavators maintain the diversity and abundance of secondary cavity nesters in a temperate forest through the creation of tree cavities. We examined the short- and long-term (legacy) effects of excavators (principally woodpeckers, but also...

Insect-mediated apparent competition between mammals in a boreal food web

Guillemette Labadie, Philip D. McLoughlin, Mark Hebblewhite & Daniel Fortin
Datasets generated and analyzed within the study area located in the Côte-Nord region of Québec, Canada. "DataFinal_Vegetation.csv" was used to evaluate the availability of deciduous vegetation (column Cover_Deciduous) in stands impacted by the spruce budworm (SBW, severity index values presented in column SBW_SevCum) outbreak and test our prediction that the reduction in canopy cover caused by SBW in coniferous stands would result in greater deciduous vegetation. We determined the percentage cover of deciduous vegetation for...

Data from: Targeted genome-wide SNP genotyping in feral horses using non-invasive fecal swabs

Stefan Gavriliuc, Salman Reza, Chanwoori Jeong, Philip McLoughlin & Jocelyn Poissant
The development of high-throughput sequencing has prompted a transition in wildlife genetics from using microsatellites toward sets of Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs). However, genotyping large numbers of targeted SNPs using non-invasive samples remains challenging due to relatively large DNA input requirements. Recently, target enrichment has emerged as a promising approach requiring little template DNA. We assessed the efficacy of Tecan Genomics’ Allegro Targeted Genotyping (ATG) for generating genome-wide SNP data in feral horses using DNA...

Dietary shifts may underpin the recovery of a large carnivore population

Mariana Campbell, Vinay Udyawer, Timothy Jardine, Yusuke Fukuda, R. Keller Kopf, Stuart Bunn & Hamish Campbell
Supporting the recovery of large carnivores is a popular yet challenging endeavour. Estuarine crocodiles in Australia are a large carnivore conservation success story, with the population having extensively recovered from past heavy exploitation. Here, we explored if dietary changes had accompanied this large population recovery by comparing the isotopes δ13C and δ15N in bones of crocodiles sampled 40 to 55 years ago (small population) with bones from contemporary individuals (large population). We found that δ13C...

Neonicotinoid and sulfoximine pesticides differentially impair insect escape behaviour and motion detection

John Gray, Rachel Parkinson & Sinan Zhang
Insect nervous systems offer unique advantages for studying interactions between sensory systems and behaviour given that they are complex and yet highly tractable. By examining the neural coding of salient environmental stimuli and resulting behavioural output in the context of environmental stressors, we gain an understanding of the effects of these stressors on brain and behaviour and provide insight into normal function. The implication of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides in contributing to declines of non-target species,...

Identifying functional impacts of heat-resistant fungi on boreal forest recovery after wildfire

Nicola Day, Steve Cumming, Kari Dunfield, Jill Johnstone, Michelle Mack, Kirsten Reid, Merritt Turetsky, Xanthe Walker & Jennifer Baltzer
Fungi play key roles in carbon (C) dynamics of ecosystems: saprotrophs decompose organic material and return C in the nutrient cycle, and mycorrhizal species support plants that accumulate C through photosynthesis. The identities and functions of extremophile fungi present after fire can influence C dynamics, particularly because plant-fungal relationships are often species-specific. However, little is known about the function and distribution of fungi that survive fires. We aim to assess the distribution of heat-resistant soil...

Data from: Body temperature, heart rate, and activity patterns of two boreal homeotherms in winter: homeostasis, allostasis, and ecological coexistence

Allyson Menzies, Emily Studd, Yasmine Majchrzak, Michael Peers, Stan Boutin, Ben Dantzer, Jeffrey Lane, Andrew McAdam & Murray Humphries
Organisms survive environmental variation by combining homeostatic regulation of critical states with allostatic variation of other traits, and species differences in these responses can contribute to coexistence in temporally-variable environments. In this paper, we simultaneously record variation in three functional traits – body temperature (Tb), heart rate, and activity - in relation to three forms of environmental variation – air temperature (Ta), photoperiod, and experimentally-manipulated resource levels – in free-ranging snowshoe hares and North American...

Data from: Resource exploitation collapses the home range of an apex predator

Melanie Dickie, Robert Serrouya, Avgar Tal, Philllip McLouglin, Scott McNay, Craig DeMars & Stan Boutin
Optimizing energy acquisition and expenditure is a fundamental trade-off for consumers, strikingly reflected in how mobile organisms use space. Several studies have established that home range size decreases as resource density increases, but the balance of costs and benefits associated with exploiting a given resource density is unclear. We evaluate how the ability of consumers to exploit their resources through movement (termed “resource exploitation”) interacts with resource density to influence home range size. We then...

Social effects on annual fitness in red squirrels

Andrew McAdam, Quinn Webber, Ben Dantzer, Jeff Lane & Stan Boutin
When resources are limited, mean fitness is constrained and competition can cause genes and phenotypes to enhance an individual’s own fitness while reducing the fitness of their competitors. Negative social effects on fitness have the potential to constrain adaptation, but the interplay between ecological opportunity and social constraints on adaptation remains poorly studied in nature. Here, we tested for evidence of phenotypic social effects on annual fitness (survival and reproductive success) in a long-term study...

Coral degradation impairs learning of non-predators by Whitetail damselfish

Douglas Chivers, Mark McCormick, Eric Fakan, Jake Edmiston & Maud Ferrari
A prerequisite for effective antipredator responses is the ability of the prey to distinguish animals that pose a threat from those that do not. Prey often have efficient learning mechanisms to learn threats but learning to recognize nonpredators may be equally or more important. Moreover, the ability to generalize learned information is of key importance for prey animals. Prey take information they know about one species to make ‘educated guesses’ about the predatory/nonpredatory status of...

Egg covering in great tits and effects on pied flycatchers

Tore Slagsvold & Karen L. Wiebe
This dataset contains data from experiments carried out in a woodland area and described in the paper: “T. Slagsvold, and Wiebe, K. L. (2021) “Egg covering in cavity nesting birds may prevent nest usurpation by other species.” https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-021-03045-w The experiments investigated a new hypothesis, namely that the cavity nesting birds, like titmice, cover their eggs when they leave the nest during the egg laying period to prevent usurpation of the cavity by other birds. We...

Data from: Positron-emitting radiotracers spatially resolve unexpected biogeochemical relationships linked with methane oxidation in Arctic soils

Michael Schmidt, Steven Mamet, Curtis Senger, Alixandra Schebel, Mitsuaki Ota, Tony Tian, Umair Aziz, Lisa Stein, Tom Regier, Kevin Stanley, Derek Peak & Steven Siciliano
Arctic soils are marked by cryoturbic features, which impact soil-atmosphere methane (CH4) dynamics vital to global climate regulation. Cryoturbic diapirism alters C/N chemistry within frost boils by introducing soluble organic carbon and nutrients, potentially influencing microbial CH4 oxidation. CH4 oxidation in soils, however, requires a spatio-temporal convergence of ecological factors to occur. Spatial delineation of microbial activity with respect to these key microbial and biogeochemical factors at relevant scales is experimentally challenging in inherently complex...

Data from: Novel insights into relationships between egg corticosterone and timing of breeding revealed by LC-MS/MS

Tom Rosendahl Larsen, Graham D. Fairhurst, Siegrid De Baere, Siska Croubels, Wendt Müller, Liesbeth De Neve & Luc Lens
Inter- and intra-clutch variation in egg corticosterone (CORT), the major glucocorticoid in birds, may provide insights into how maternal stress levels vary with the timing of breeding and with laying order. Common analytical methods (e.g. immunoassays), however, suffer from cross-reaction with other steroids, leading to potential overestimation of CORT concentrations which can obscure true hormone–environment relationships and complicate among-study comparisons. We here apply a new LC-MS/MS technique, which has recently been shown to avoid the...

Data from: Tissue-specific changes in apoplastic proteins and cell wall structure during cold acclimation of winter wheat crowns

Ian R. Willick, Daisuke Takahashi, D. Brian Fowler, Matsuo Uemura & Karen K. Tanino
The wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) crown is the critical organ of low temperature stress survival over winter. In cold-acclimated crowns, ice formation in the apoplast causes severe tissue disruption as it grows at the expense of intracellular water. While previous crown studies have shown the vascular transition zone (VTZ) to have a higher freezing sensitivity than the shoot apical meristem (SAM), the mechanism behind the differential freezing response is not fully understood. Cooling cold-acclimated crowns...

Data from: Type 2 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection increases apoptosis at the maternal-fetal interface in late gestation pregnant gilts

Predrag Novakovic, John C. S. Harding, Ahmad N. Al-Dissi & Susan E. Detmer
The pathogenesis of fetal death associated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is hypothesized to be a consequence of PRRS virus-induced apoptosis at the maternal-fetal interface (MFI). The objectives of this study were to evaluate distribution and degree of apoptosis in the uterine and fetal placental tissues during the experimental type 2 PRRS virus (PRRSV) infection and determine associations between apoptosis at the MFI, PRRSV RNA concentration and antigen staining intensity, PRRSV-induced microscopic lesions,...

Data from: Environmental and demographic drivers of male mating success vary across sequential reproductive episodes in a polygynous breeder

Jeffrey A. Manning & Philip D. McLoughlin
Ecological and social factors underpinning the inequality of male mating success in animal societies can be related to sex ratio, sexual conflict between breeders, effects of non-breeders, resource dispersion, climatic conditions, and the various sequential stages of mating competition that constitute the sexual selection process. Here, we conducted an individual-based study to investigate how local resource availability and demography interact with annual climate conditions to determine the degree of male mating inequality, and thus opportunity...

Data from: Partitioning drivers of spatial genetic variation for a continuously-distributed population of boreal caribou: implications for management unit delineation

Pauline Priadka, Micheline Manseau, Tim Trottier, Dave Hervieux, Paul Galpern, Philip D. McLoughlin & Paul J. Wilson
Isolation-by-distance (IBD) is a natural pattern not readily incorporated into theoretical models nor traditional metrics for differentiating populations, although clinal genetic differentiation can be characteristic of many wildlife species. Landscape features can also drive population structure additive to baseline IBD resulting in differentiation through isolation-by-resistance (IBR). We assessed the population genetic structure of boreal caribou across western Canada using non-spatial (STRUCTURE) and spatial (MEMGENE) clustering methods and investigated the relative contribution of IBD and IBR...

Data from: Ambient temperature, body condition and sibling rivalry explain feather corticosterone levels in developing black kites

Lidia López-Jiménez, Julio Blas, Alessandro Tanferna, Sonia Cabezas, Tracy Marchant, Fernando Hiraldo & Fabrizio Sergio
In birds, the steroid hormone corticosterone (CORT) is considered a major mediator in a number of physiological mechanisms and behaviours critical for the regulation of an organism's energy balance. However, the question of whether the way in which circulating plasma CORT is incorporated into feathers actually reflects this regulation, and consequently whether feather CORT (CORT-F) measures allow to make inferences on past levels of energetic demands (also known as the allostatic load), remains unclear. While...

Data from: Oxygen and carbon isoscapes for the Baltic Sea: testing their applicability in fish migration studies

Jyrki Torniainen, Anssi Lensu, Pekka J. Vuorinen, Eloni Sonninen, Marja Keinänen, Roger I. Jones, William P. Patterson & Mikko Kiljunen
Conventional tags applied to individuals have been used to investigate animal movement, but these methods require tagged individuals be recaptured. Maps of regional isotopic variability known as “isoscapes” offer potential for various applications in migration research without tagging wherein isotope values of tissues are compared to environmental isotope values. In this study, we present the spatial variability in oxygen (math formula) and dissolved inorganic carbon (δ13CDIC) isotope values of Baltic Sea water. We also provide...

Data from: Social learning in a high-risk environment: incomplete disregard for the ‘minnow that cried pike’ results in culturally transmitted neophobia

Adam L. Crane, Anthony G. E. Mathiron & Maud C. O. Ferrari
Many prey species rely on conspecifics to gather information about unknown predation threats, but little is known about the role of varying environmental conditions on the efficacy of social learning. We examined predator-naive minnows that had the opportunity to learn about predators from experienced models that were raised in either a low- or high-risk environment. There were striking differences in behaviour among models; high-risk models showed a weaker response to the predator cue and became...

Data from: Olfactory cues of habitats facilitate learning about landscapes of fear

Matthew D. Mitchell, Adam L. Crane, Kevin R. Bairos-Novak, Maud C.O. Ferrari, Douglas P. Chivers & Maud C O Ferrari
Across landscapes, prey are exposed to different levels of predation risk within different habitats. However, little is known about how prey learn about risk in different habitat types. Here, we examined if wood frog tadpoles, Lithobates sylvatica, use olfactory cues from two distinct, plant-dominated habitats (cattail and pond weed) to learn about the overall risk within a habitat and the risk posed by a specific predator species within different habitats. In our first experiment, tadpoles...

Data from: Diversification and convergence of aposematic phenotypes: truncated receptors and cellular arrangements mediate rapid evolution of coloration in harlequin poison frogs

Andres Posso-Terranova & Jose A. Andres
Aposematic signals represent one of the classical systems to study evolution and, as such, they have received considerable empirical and theoretical investigation. Despite the extensive literature on aposematic coloration, much uncertainty remains about genetic changes responsible for the repeated evolution of similar signals in multiple lineages. Here, we study the diversification and convergence of coloration among lineages of aposematic harlequin poison frogs (O. histrionica complex). Our results suggest that different background phenotypes, showing different color...

Data from: Cognitive resonance: when information carry-over constrains cognitive plasticity

Maud C. O. Ferrari, Marianna E. Horn & Douglas P. Chivers
1. When faced with a changing environment, some species appear to adapt quickly, while others seem unable to update the value of environmental cues on which they base their decisions, leading them to display seemingly maladaptive responses. 2. While behavioural and cognitive plasticity are two traits that should predict the ability of species to update the value of environmental cues, we argue that this flexibility may be constrained by ontogeny. While sensitive periods have been...

Data from: Publication reform to safeguard wildlife from researcher harm

Kate A. Field, Paul C. Paquet, Kyle Artelle, Gilbert Proulx, Ryan K. Brook & Chris T. Darimont
Despite abundant focus on responsible care of laboratory animals, we argue that inattention to the maltreatment of wildlife constitutes an ethical blind spot in contemporary animal research. We begin by reviewing significant shortcomings in legal and institutional oversight, arguing for the relatively rapid and transformational potential of editorial oversight at journals in preventing harm to vertebrates studied in the field and outside the direct supervision of institutions. Straightforward changes to animal care policies in journals,...

Data from: Prenatal exposure to predation affects predator recognition learning via lateralization plasticity

Tyrone Lucon-Xiccato, Douglas P. Chivers, Matthew D. Mitchell & Maud C. O. Ferrari
Prey with cerebral lateralization often shows a bias in escape direction and asymmetrical use of eyes for scanning. Such asymmetries are likely to cause ecological disadvantages when, for example, predators attack from the side in which the prey is more susceptible. However, lateralized individuals are diffuse in many species and, paradoxically, their frequency increases via developmental plasticity in environments with high-predation risk. Using wood frog tadpoles, Lithobates sylvaticus, we tested the hypothesis that cerebral lateralization...

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