91 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,...

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...

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...

Male mate choice in the Spot-tail shark Carcharhinus sorrah: are males choosy or opportunistic?

Dareen Almojil
Male mate choice has been documented in different taxa including insects, lizards, fish, birds and mammals. However, in sharks, male mate choice is not clearly reported but field observations suggest that it is probable. In this study, I tested for evidence of male mating preference of the spot-tail shark Carcharhinus sorrah towards three female traits that are typically associated with female fecundity, these are: (1) body size, (2) parasite burden, and (3) mean heterozygosity. I...

Data from: The smallest known Devonian tetrapod shows unexpectedly derived features, Part 1 of 2

Per Ahlberg & Jennifer Clack
A new genus and species of Devonian tetrapod, Brittagnathus minutus gen. et sp. nov., is described from a single complete right lower jaw ramus recovered from the Acanthostega mass-death deposit in the upper part of the Britta Dal Formation (upper Famennian) of Stensiö Bjerg, Gauss Peninsula, East Greenland. Visualisation by propagation phase contrast synchrotron microtomography (PPC-SRμCT) allows a complete digital dissection of the specimen. With a total jaw ramus length of 44.8 mm, Brittagnathus is...

Data from: Prey speed influences the speed and structure of the raptorial strike of a ‘sit-and-wait’ predator

Sergio Rossoni & Jeremy Niven
Predators must often employ flexible strategies to capture prey. Particular attention has been given to the strategies of visual predators that actively pursue their prey, but sit-and-wait predators have been largely overlooked, their strategies often characterised as stereotyped. Praying mantids are primarily sit-and-wait predators that often employ crypsis to catch their prey using a raptorial strike produced by their highly modified forelimbs. Here we show that the raptorial strike of the Madagascan marbled mantis (Polyspilota...

Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccination against bovine tuberculosis: Is Perfect the Enemy of Good?

S. Srinivasan, V. Kapur, A. Conlan, L. Easterling, C. Herrera, P. Dandapat, M. Veerasami, G. Ameni, N. Jindal, J. Wood, N. Juleff, D. Bakker & K. Vordermeier
More than 50 million cattle are likely exposed to bovine tuberculosis (bTB) worldwide, highlighting a need for vaccination in regions where bTB is endemic and test-and-slaughter approaches are unfeasible. Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) was first evaluated as a vaccine in cattle even before its widespread use in humans, yet its efficacy in cattle remains poorly understood. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis on the efficacy of BCG against bTB challenge in cattle, which demonstrated a...

Data from: Genetic analysis of Boletus edulis suggests that intra-specific competition may reduce local genetic diversity as a woodland ages

Vivienne Litzke, Rebecca Nagel, Joseph Hoffman, David Wells & William Amos
Ectomycorrhizal fungi are key players in terrestrial ecosystems yet their mating systems and population dynamics remain poorly understood. We investigated the fine-scale relatedness structure and genetic diversity of Boletus edulis, one of the world’s most commercially important wild mushrooms. Microsatellite genotyping of fruiting bodies from 14 different sites around Bielefeld in Germany revealed little in the way of population structure over a geographic scale of several kilometers. However, on a more local scale we found...

Derived global responses of annual river flow to catchment forestation through time, between 1900 and 2018

L. Bentley & D.A. Coomes
This dataset reports the responses of annual river flow to forestation in 43 catchments and contains 770 data points. Data shows the change in river flow following forestation at annual time scales, along control river flow measurements and associated metadata from primary and secondary sources. Data collection, processing and interpretation were performed by Laura Bentley and David A. Coomes between January 2018 and October 2019. Forestation was defined as a change in land cover from...

Data from: Genome-wide association analysis of type 2 diabetes in the EPIC-InterAct study

Lina Cai, Eleanor Wheeler, Nicola D. Kerrison, Jian'an Luan, Panos Deloukas, Paul W. Franks, Pilar Amiano, Eva Ardanaz, Catalina Bonet, Guy Fagherazzi, Leif C. Groop, Rudolf Kaaks, José María Huerta, Giovanna Masala, Peter M. Nilsson, Kim Overvad, Valeria Pala, Salvatore Panico, Miguel Rodriguez-Barranco, Olov Rolandsson, Carlotta Sacerdote, Matthias B. Schulze, Annemieke M.W. Spijkeman, Anne Tjonneland, Rosario Tumino … & Nicholas J. Wareham
Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a global public health challenge. Whilst the advent of genome-wide association studies has identified >400 genetic variants associated with T2D, our understanding of its biological mechanisms and translational insights is still limited. The EPIC-InterAct project, centred in 8 countries in the European Prospective Investigations into Cancer and Nutrition study, is one of the largest prospective studies of T2D. Established as a nested case-cohort study to investigate the interplay between genetic...

Hybridization and transgressive exploration of colour pattern and wing morphology in Heliconius butterflies

Claire Mérot, Vincent Debat, Yann Le Poul, Richard M Merrill, Russell E Naisbit, Adélie Tholance, Chris Jiggins & Mathieu Joron
Hybridization can generate novel phenotypes distinct from those of parental lineages, a phenomenon known as transgressive trait variation. Transgressive phenotypes might negatively or positively affect hybrid fitness, and increase available variation. Closely related species of Heliconius butterflies regularly produce hybrids in nature and hybridization is thought to play a role in the diversification of novel wing colour patterns despite strong stabilizing selection due to interspecific mimicry. Here, we studied wing phenotypes in first and second...

Signalling adjustments to direct and indirect environmental effects on signal perception in meerkats

Gabriella Gall, Pauline Toni, Tim Clutton-Brock & Marta Manser
The efficiency of communication between animals is determined by the perception range of signals. With changes in the environment, signal transmission between a sender and a receiver can be affected both directly, where the signal’s propagation quality itself is affected, and indirectly, where for example the spacing between signaller and receiver is impacted. Here we investigated how meerkats (Suricata suricatta) in the Kalahari Desert adjust to these challenges in the context of maintaining group cohesion...

Genome reduction is associated with bacterial pathogenicity across different scales of temporal and ecological divergence - between species core gene alignments

Jane Charlesworth, Gemma Murray, Eric Miller, Michael Casey, Catrin Lloyd, Marcello Gottschalk, Dan Tucker, John Welch & Lucy Weinert
Emerging bacterial pathogens threaten global health and food security, and so it is important to ask whether these transitions to pathogenicity have any common features. We present a systematic study of the claim that pathogenicity is associated with genome reduction and gene loss. We compare broad-scale patterns across all bacteria, with detailed analyses of Streptococcus suis, an emerging zoonotic pathogen of pigs, which has undergone multiple transitions between disease and carriage forms. We find that...

Benefits of cooperation in captive Damaraland mole rats

Thomas Houslay, Philippe Vullioud, Markus Zöttl & Tim Clutton-Brock
Although the social mole rats are commonly classified as eusocial breeders on the grounds that groups include a single breeding female (the ‘queen’) and a number of non-breeding individuals (‘helpers’) of both sexes, alloparental care is not highly developed in these species and there is no direct evidence that the presence or number of non-breeders is associated with reductions in the workload of the ‘queen’. An alternative interpretation of mole rat groups is that the...

A practical approach to measuring the biodiversity impacts of land conversion

América P. Durán, Jonathan M. H. Green, Christopher D. West, Piero Visconti, Neil Burgess, Malika Virah-Sawmy & Andrew Balmford
1. Further progress in reducing biodiversity loss relies on the improved quantification of the connections between drivers of habitat loss and subsequent biodiversity impacts. To this end, biodiversity impact metrics should be able to report linked trends in specific human activities and changes in biodiversity state, accounting for both the ecology of different species, and the cumulative effects of historical habitat losses. These characteristics are not currently captured within a single metric. 2. Here we...

Oxidative costs of cooperation in cooperatively breeding Damaraland mole-rats

Rute Mendonça, Philippe Vullioud, Nathan Katlein, Armelle Vallat, Gaetan Glauser, Nigel Bennett & Fabrice Helfenstein
Within cooperatively breeding societies, individuals adjust cooperative contributions to maximise indirect fitness and minimize direct fitness costs. Yet, little is known about the physiological costs of cooperation, which may be detrimental to direct fitness. Oxidative stress, the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (by-products of energy production) and antioxidant protection, may represent such a cost when cooperative behaviours are energetically demanding. Oxidative stress can lead to the accumulation of cellular damage, compromising survival and reproduction, thus...

Registration Year

  • 2020

Resource Types

  • Dataset
  • Text


  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Leeds
  • University of Exeter
  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • University of Oxford
  • Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Oklahoma State University
  • University of Pretoria
  • Princeton University