468 Works

Limits to host colonisation and speciation in a radiation of parasitic finches

Gabriel Jamie, Silky Hamama, Collins Moya, Rebecca Kilner & Claire Spottiswoode
Parasite lineages vary widely in species richness. In some clades, speciation is linked to the colonisation of new hosts. This is the case in the indigobirds and whydahs (Vidua), brood-parasitic finches whose nestlings mimic the phenotypes of their specific hosts. To understand the factors limiting host colonisation, and therefore speciation, we simulated the colonisation of a host using cross-fostering experiments in the field. Despite DNA barcoding suggesting that host species feed their chicks similar diets,...

Data from: Does evolutionary history correlate with contemporary extinction risk by influencing range size dynamics?

Andrew J. Tanentzap, Javier Igea, Matthew G. Johnston & Matthew J. Larcombe
Extinction threatens many species, yet is predicted by few factors across the plant Tree of Life (ToL). Taxon age is one factor that may associate with extinction if occupancy of geographic and adaptive zones varies with time, but evidence for such an association has been equivocal. Age-dependent occupancy can also influence diversification rates and thus extinction risk where new taxa have small range and population sizes. To test how age, diversification, and range size were...

Temporal Human Pressure Index

Jonas Geldmann, Lucas Joppa & Neil D. Burgess
It is widely accepted that the main driver of the observed decline in biological diversity is increasing human pressure on Earth’s ecosystems. However, the spatial patterns of change in human pressure and their relation to conservation efforts are less well known. We developed a spatially and temporally explicit map of global change in human pressure over two decades between 1990 and 2010 at a resolution of 10 km2. We evaluated 22 spatial data sets representing...

Heliconiini butterflies can learn time-dependent reward associations

Wyatt Toure, Fletcher Young, W. McMillan & Stephen Montgomery
For many pollinators, flowers provide predictable temporal schedules of resource availability, meaning an ability to learn time-dependent information could be widely beneficial. However, this ability has only been demonstrated in a handful of species. Observational studies of Heliconius butterflies suggest that they may have an ability to form time-dependent foraging preferences. Heliconius are unique among butterflies in actively collecting pollen, a dietary behaviour linked to spatiotemporally faithful ‘trap-line’ foraging. Time-dependency of foraging preferences is hypothesised...

Data from: How do predators generalize warning signals in simple and complex prey communities? Insights from a videogame

Monica Arias, John W. Davey, Simon Martin, Chris Jiggins, Nicola Nadeau, Mathieu Joron & Violaine Llaurens
The persistence of distinct warning signals within and between sympatric mimetic communities is a puzzling evolutionary question because selection favours convergence of colour patterns among toxic species. Such convergence is partly shaped by predators’ reaction to similar but not identical stimulus, i.e. generalization behaviour. And generalisation by predators is likely to be shaped by the diversity of local prey. However, studying generalization behaviour is generally limited to simple variations of prey colour patterns. Here, we...

Evaluating spatially explicit sharing-sparing scenarios for multiple environmental outcomes

Tom Finch, Brett Day, Dario Massimino, John Redhead, Rob Field, Andrew Balmford, Rhys Green & Will Peach
1. Understanding how to allocate land for the sustainable delivery of multiple, competing objectives is a major societal challenge. The land sharing-sparing framework presents a heuristic for understanding the trade-off between food production and biodiversity conservation by comparing region-wide land use scenarios which are equivalent in terms of overall food production. 2. Here, for two contrasting regions of lowland England (The Fens and Salisbury Plain), we use empirical data and predictive models to compare a...

Nicotiana benthamiana as a transient expression host to produce auxin analogues: Pisum sativum seed transcriptomic data

Sarah O'Connor, Lorenzo Caouti & Katy Davis
Plant secondary metabolites have applications for the food, biofuel, and pharmaceutical industries. Recent advances in pathway elucidation and host expression systems now allow metabolic engineering of plant metabolic pathways to produce “new-to-nature” derivatives with novel biological activities, thereby amplifying the range of industrial uses for plant metabolites. Here we use a transient expression system in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana to reconstitute the two-step plant-derived biosynthetic pathway for auxin (indole acetic acid) to achieve accumulation...

Foraging behaviour alters with social environment in a juvenile songbird

Victoria Franks, John Ewen, Mhairi McCready & Rose Thorogood
Early independence from parents is a critical period where social information acquired vertically may become outdated, or conflict with new information. However, across natural populations it is unclear if newly-independent young persist in using information from parents, or if group-level effects of conformity override previous behaviours. Here we test if wild juvenile hihi (Notiomystis cincta, a New Zealand passerine) retain a foraging behaviour from parents, or if they change in response to the behaviour of...

Meerkat helpers buffer the detrimental effects of adverse environmental conditions on fecundity, growth and survival

Frank Groenewoud & Tim H. Clutton-Brock
1. Recent comparative studies show that cooperative breeding is positively correlated with harsh and unpredictable environments and it is suggested that this association occurs because helpers buffer the negative effects of adverse ecological conditions on fitness. 2. In the Kalahari, rainfall varies widely between- and within years, affecting primary production and the availability of the principal prey of cooperatively breeding Kalahari meerkats, Suricata suricatta. Our study aimed to establish whether the presence and number of...

A time-lagged association between the gut microbiome, nestling weight and nestling survival in wild great tits

Gabrielle Davidson, Shane Somers, Niamh Wiley, Crystal Johnson, Micheal Reichert, R. Paul Ross, Catherine Stanton & John Quinn
Natal body mass is a key predictor of viability and fitness in many animals. While variation in body mass and therefore viability of juveniles may be explained by genetic and environmental factors, emerging evidence points to the gut microbiota as an important factor influencing host health. The gut microbiota is known to change during development, but it remains unclear whether the microbiome predicts fitness, and if it does, at which developmental stage it affects fitness...

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...

Maternal predation risk increases offspring’s exploration but does not affect schooling behavior

Silvia Cattelan, James Herbert-Read, Paolo Panizzon, Alessandro Devigili, Matteo Griggio, Andrea Pilastro & Chiara Morosinotto
The environment that parents experience can influence their reproductive output and their offspring’s fitness via parental effects. Perceived predation risk can affect both parent and offspring phenotype, but it remains unclear to what extent offspring behavioral traits are affected when the mother is exposed to predation risk. This is particularly unclear in live-bearing species where maternal effects could occur during embryogenesis. Here, using a half-sib design to control for paternal effects, we experimentally exposed females...

Dielectric induced surface wave radiation loss

Tobias Schaich, Trevor Morsman, Anas Al Rawi & Mike Payne
Data and source code for the article "Dielectric Induced Surface Wave Radiation Loss" submitted to the Proceedings of the Royal Society A.

Assessing the potential for indirect interactions between tropical tree species via shared insect seed predators

Harriet Downey, Owen T. Lewis, Michael B. Bonsall, Alan Ward & Sofia Gripenberg.
Natural enemies of plants have the potential to influence the dynamics of plant populations and the structure of plant communities. In diverse tropical forests research on the effects of plant enemies has largely focused on the diversity-enhancing effects of highly specialised enemies, while the community-level effects of enemies with broader diets have rarely been considered. We investigated the community of insect seed predators interacting with seven tree species in the family Lauraceae on Barro Colorado...

Data from: Why do zoos attract crows? A comparative study from Europe and Asia

László Kövér, Szabolcs Lengyel, Makiko Takenaka, Alice Kirchmeir, Florian Uhl, Rachel Miller & Christine Schwab
Crows have successfully colonized many cities and urban zoos have been important in this process. To evaluate why zoos attract crows, we quantified crow numbers and behaviour in three zoos in Europe (Debrecen, Edinburgh, Vienna) and one in Asia (Sapporo). Data were collected in 445 surveys over 297 days in summer 2014 and winter 2014-15. We found that crow numbers were highest in Vienna, intermediate in Debrecen and Edinburgh and lowest in Sapporo, increased significantly...

Data from: A unified rheological model for cells and cellularised materials

Alessandra Bonfanti, Jonathan Fouchard, Nargess Khalilgharibi, Guillaume Charras & Alexandre Kabla
The mechanical response of single cells and tissues exhibits a broad distribution of time scales that gives often rise to a distinctive power-law rheology. Such complex behaviour cannot be easily captured by traditional rheological approaches, making material characterisation and predictive modelling very challenging. Here, we present a novel model combining conventional viscoelastic elements with fractional calculus that successfully captures the macroscopic relaxation response of epithelial monolayers. The parameters extracted from the fitting of the relaxation...

Quantifying the structure and dynamics of fish shoals under predation threat in three-dimensions

Maksym Romenskyy, James Herbert-Read, Christol Ioannou, Alex Szorkovszky, Ashley Ward & David Sumpter
Detailed quantifications of how predators and their grouping prey interact in three dimensions (3D) remain rare. Here we record the structure and dynamics of fish shoals (Pseudomugil signifer) in 3D both with and without live predators (Philypnodon grandiceps) under controlled laboratory conditions. Shoals adopted two distinct types of shoal structure; ‘sphere-like’ geometries at depth, and flat ‘carpet-like’ structures at the water’s surface, with shoals becoming more compact in both horizontal and vertical planes in the...

Data from: Comparative phylogeography of three host sea anemones in the Indo-Pacific

Pablo Saenz-Agudelo, Madeleine Emms, Emily Giles, Remy Gatins, Gerrit Nanninga, Anna Scott, Jean Paul Hobbs, Ashley Frisch, Suzanne Mills, Ricardo Beldade & Michael Berumen
Aim The mutualistic relationship between anemones and anemonefishes is one of the most iconic examples of symbiosis. However, while anemonefishes have been extensively studied in terms of genetic connectivity, such information is lacking entirely for host sea anemones. Here, we provide the first information on the broad-scale population structure and phylogeographic patterns of three species of host sea anemone, Heteractis magnifica, Stichodactyla mertensii, and Entacmaea quadricolor. We evaluate if there is concordance in genetic structure...

Data from: Nuclear magnetic resonance measurements of velocity distributions in an ultrasonically vibrated granular bed

Jonathan M. Huntley, Tahir Tarvaz, Mick D. Mantle, Andy J. Sederman, Lynn F. Gladden, Nadeem A. Sheikh & Ricky D. Wildman
We report the results of nuclear magnetic resonance imaging experiments on granular beds of mustard grains fluidized by vertical vibration at ultrasonic frequencies. The variation of both granular temperature and packing fraction with height was measured within the three-dimensional cell for a range of vibration frequencies, amplitudes and numbers of grains. Small increases in vibration frequency were found—contrary to the predictions of classical ‘hard-sphere’ expressions for the energy flux through a vibrating boundary—to result in...

Data from: Dissecting molecular evolution in the highly diverse plant clade Caryophyllales using transcriptome sequencing

Ya Yang, Michael J. Moore, Samuel F. Brockington, Douglas E. Soltis, Gane Ka-Shu Wong, Eric J. Carpenter, Yong Zhang, Li Chen, Zhixiang Yan, Yinlong Xie, Rowan F. Sage, Sarah Covshoff, Julian M. Hibberd, Matthew N. Nelson & Stephen A. Smith
Many phylogenomic studies based on transcriptomes have been limited to “single-copy” genes due to methodological challenges in homology and orthology inferences. Only a relatively small number of studies have explored analyses beyond reconstructing species relationships. We sampled 69 transcriptomes in the hyperdiverse plant clade Caryophyllales and 27 outgroups from annotated genomes across eudicots. Using a combined similarity- and phylogenetic tree-based approach, we recovered 10,960 homolog groups, where each was represented by at least eight ingroup...

Data from: Colour polymorphism torn apart by opposing positive frequency-dependent selection, yet maintained in space

Swanne P. Gordon, Hanna Kokko, Bibiana Rojas, Ossi Nokelainen & Johanna Mappes
1. Polymorphic warning signals in aposematic species are enigmatic because predator learning and discrimination should select for the most common coloration, resulting in positive frequency-dependent survival selection. 2. Here, we investigated whether differential mating success could create sufficiently strong negative frequency-dependent selection for rare morphs to explain polymorphic (white and yellow) warning coloration in male wood tiger moths (Parasemia plantaginis). 3. We conducted an experiment in semi-natural conditions where we estimated mating success for both...

Data from: Sexually selected dichromatism in the hihi Notiomystis cincta: multiple colours for multiple receivers

Leila K. Walker, John G. Ewen, Patricia Brekke & Rebecca M. Kilner
Why do some bird species show dramatic sexual dichromatism in their plumage? Sexual selection is the most common answer to this question. However, other competing explanations mean it is unwise to assume that all sexual dichromatism has evolved by this mechanism. Even if sexual selection is involved, further work is necessary to determine whether dichromatism results from competition amongst rival males, or by female choice for attractive traits, or both. Here we test whether sexually...

Data from: Disruptive viability selection on a black plumage trait associated with dominance

Paul Acker, Arnaud Grégoire, Margaux Rat, Claire N. Spottiswoode, René E. Van Dijk, Matthieu Paquet, Jennifer C. Kaden, Roger Pradel, Ben J. Hatchwell, Rita Covas & Claire Doutrelant
Traits used in communication, such as colour signals, are expected to have positive consequences for reproductive success, but their associations with survival are little understood. Previous studies have mainly investigated linear relationships between signals and survival, but both hump-shaped and U-shaped relationships can also be predicted, depending on the main costs involved in trait expression. Furthermore, few studies have taken the plasticity of signals into account in viability selection analyses. The relationship between signal expression...

Data from: Inbreeding ratio and genetic relationships among strains of the Western clawed frog, Xenopus tropicalis

Takeshi Igawa, Ai Watanabe, Atsushi Suzuki, Akihiko Kashiwagi, Keiko Kashiwagi, Anna Noble, Matt Guille, David E. Simpson, Marko E. Horb, Tamotsu Fujii & Masayuki Sumida
The Western clawed frog, Xenopus tropicalis, is a highly promising model amphibian, especially in developmental and physiological research, and as a tool for understanding disease. It was originally found in the West African rainforest belt, and was introduced to the research community in the 1990s. The major strains thus far known include the Nigerian and Ivory Coast strains. However, due to its short history as an experimental animal, the genetic relationship among the various strains...

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...

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