62 Works

Differential geographic patterns in song components of male Albert’s lyrebirds

Fiona Backhouse, Anastasia Dalziell, Robert Magrath, Aaron Rice, Taylor Crisologo & Justin Welbergen
Geographic variation in bird song has received much attention in evolutionary studies, yet few consider components within songs that may be subject to different constraints and follow different evolutionary trajectories. Here we quantify patterns of geographic variation in the socially-transmitted ‘whistle’ song of Albert’s lyrebirds (Menura alberti), an oscine passerine renowned for its remarkable vocal abilities. Albert’s lyrebirds are confined to narrow stretches of suitable habitat, allowing us to map likely paths of cultural transmission...

Genomic and transcriptomic data for the frog Platyplectrum ornatum

Scott Edwards, Sangeet Lamichhaney, Renee Catullo, Scott Keogh, Simon Clulow & Tariq Ezaz
The diversity of genome sizes across the tree of life is of key interest in evolutionary biology. Various correlates of variation in genome size, such as accumulation of transposable elements or rate of DNA gain and loss, are well known, but the underlying molecular mechanisms that drive or constrain genome size are poorly understood. Here we study one of the smallest genomes among frogs characterized thus far, that of the ornate burrowing frog (Platyplectrum ornatum)...

Unburnt habitat patches are critical for survival and in situ population recovery in a small mammal after fire

Robyn E Shaw, Alex James, Katherine Tuft, Sarah Legge, Geoffrey J Cary, Rod Peakall & Sam C Banks
Fire drives animal population dynamics across many ecosystems. Yet, we still lack an understanding of how most species recover from fire and the effects of fire severity and patchiness on recovery processes. This information is crucial for fire-mediated biodiversity conservation, particularly as fire regimes change globally. We conducted an experiment to test whether post-fire recovery is driven by in situ survival or recolonisation, and to determine whether this varies with fires of increasing percentage area...

Population genetic assessment of newly discovered, extremely small populations of Xanthocyparis Vietnamensis from southwestern China

Yu-Liang Jiang, Tsam Ju, Linda Neaves, Jia-Liang Li, Wei-Ning Tan, Yu-Song Huang, Yan Liu & Kang-Shan Mao
Xanthocyparis vietnamensis is an endangered species that is currently restricted to karst montane areas in southwestern China and Vietnam. This rare conifer was first recorded in 2002 from northern Vietnam and then in 2013 from Guangxi, China, yet little is known about its genetic diversity and population structure. We developed expressed sequence tag microsatellite markers (EST-SSR) for X. vietnamensis. Illumina HiSeq data were used to reconstruct the transcriptome of this species by de novo assembly....

Datasets associated with: Late Holocene spread of pastoralism coincides with endemic megafaunal extinction on Madagascar

Sean Hixon, Kristina Douglass, Brooke Crowley, Lucien Rakotozafy, Geoffrey Clark, Atholl Anderson, Simon Haberle, Jean Freddy Ranaivoarisoa, Mike Buckley, Salomon Fidiarisoa, Balzac Mbola & Douglas Kennett
Recently expanded estimates for when humans arrived on Madagascar (up to ~10,000 years ago) highlight questions about the causes of the island’s relatively late megafaunal extinctions (~2000-500 years ago). Introduced domesticated animals could have contributed to extinctions, but the arrival times and past diets of exotic animals are poorly known. To conduct the first explicit test of the potential for competition between introduced livestock and extinct endemic megafauna in southern and western Madagascar, we generated...

Data from: DNA barcoding identifies cryptic animal tool materials

Linda Neaves, Matthew Steele, Barbara Klump, James St Clair, Joana Fernandes, Vanessa Hequet, Phil Shaw, Christian Rutz & Peter Hollingsworth
Some animals fashion tools and other constructions out of plant materials to aid foraging, reproduction, self-maintenance, and protection. The choice of raw materials can affect the structure and mechanical properties of the resulting artefacts, with significant fitness consequences. Documenting animals’ material preferences is challenging, however, as manufacture behaviour is often difficult to observe directly, and materials may be processed so heavily that they lack identifying features. Here, we use DNA barcoding techniques to identify, from...

Sex-specific responses to intraspecific competition in the mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki

Megan Head, Samuel Brookes, Loeske Kruuk & Maider Iglesias-Carrasco
Intraspecific competition constitutes an important source of selection that can influence the development, expression and evolution of phenotypic traits. Although often neglected in studies of intraspecific competition, the sex of competitors can alter the nature and intensity of competition between individuals, and in turn can influence the development of resource-dependent traits. We examine here how the sex of focal and of competitor individuals interact to affect developmental responses to competition in the Eastern mosquitofish Gambusia...

A Likelihood-Ratio Test for Lumpability of Phylogenetic Data: Is the Markovian Property of an Evolutionary Process Retained in Recoded DNA?

Lars Jermiin, John Robinson, Victor Vera-Ruiz, Victor A Vera-Ruiz & Lars S Jermiin
Abstract In molecular phylogenetics, it is typically assumed that the evolutionary process for DNA can be approximated by independent and identically distributed Markovian processes at the variable sites and that these processes diverge over the edges of a rooted bifurcating tree. Sometimes the nucleotides are transformed from a 4-state alphabet to a 3- or 2-state alphabet by a procedure that is called recoding, lumping, or grouping of states. Here, we introduce a likelihood-ratio test for...

An experimental test of defenses in a recent host

Virginia Abernathy, Laura Johnson & Naomi Langmore
Theoretical studies predict that hosts of avian brood parasites should evolve defenses against parasitism in a matter of decades. However, opportunities to test these predictions are limited because brood parasites rarely switch to naïve hosts. Here, we capitalize on a recent host switch by the brood-parasitic Pacific Koel (Eudynamys orientalis) in eastern Australia, to investigate how quickly the Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculate), a recent host that has been annexed by the koel within the last...

Data from: Genetic and ecogeographic controls on species cohesion in Australia’s most diverse lizard radiation

Ivan Prates, Sonal Singhal, M. Raquel Marchán-Rivadeneira, Maggie R. Grundler, Craig C. Moritz, Steve Donnellan & Daniel L. Rabosky
Species vary extensively in geographic range size and climatic niche breadth. If range limits are primarily determined by climatic factors, species with broad climatic tolerances and those that track geographically widespread climates should have large ranges. However, large ranges might increase the probability of population fragmentation and adaptive divergence, potentially decoupling climatic niche breadth and range size. Conversely, ecological generalism in widespread species might lead to higher gene flow across climatic transitions, increasing species’ cohesion...

35,000-year record of pollen, charcoal and NPP from Bass Strait, southeast Australia

Matthew Adeleye, Simon Haberle, David McWethy, Simon Connor & Janelle Stevenson
We reconstruct the last glacial vegetation (pollen record), fire (charcoal record) and lake levels (NPP record) for Bass Strait. Results show the Bass Strait area was characterized by Eucalyptus woodland and shrubland vegetation, with high fire activity and lake levels from 35,000 to 29,000 years ago. Grassland expanded at the expense of woodland after this period, with a decline in fire activity and lake levels.

Evaluation of lethal control of introduced sugar gliders

Dejan Stojanovic, Giselle Owens & Robert Heinsohn
Lethal control of invasive mammalian predators can be controversial and is rarely a ‘silver bullet’ for conservation problems. Evaluating the efficacy of lethal control is important for demonstrating the benefits to threatened species are real and detecting unexpected perverse outcomes. We implemented a pilot study to evaluate if lethal control of introduced sugar gliders Petaurus breviceps can reduce the rate of nest predation on Tasmanian hollow nesting birds including swift parrots (Lathamus discolor). Using a...

Competition and geography underlie speciation and morphological evolution in Indo-Australasian monitor lizards

Carlos J. Pavón-Vázquez, Ian G. Brennan, Alexander Skeels & J. Scott Keogh
How biotic and abiotic factors act together to shape biological diversity is a major question in evolutionary biology. The recent availability of large datasets and development of new methodological approaches provide new tools to evaluate the predicted effects of ecological interactions and geography on lineage diversification and phenotypic evolution. Here, we use a near complete phylogenomic-scale phylogeny and a comprehensive morphological dataset comprising more than a thousand specimens to assess the role of biotic and...

Landscape layer for resistance

Yusuke Fukuda & Sam Banks
This is raster file (base_cats_new3.asc) that was used to generate the environmental resistance surface with the ResistanceGA R package (Peterman, 2018) to evaluate models of environmental resistance to between-population movement of saltwater crocodiles Crocodylus porosus in the Northern Territory of Australia, represented by individual pairwise genetic distances among individuals. ResistanceGA models pairwise genetic distances in response to pairwise ‘ecological distances’ using linear mixed effects models with a maximum-likelihood population effects (MLPE) random effects structure (Clarke,...

Macquarie Ridge

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This network is comprised of 15 off-shore broadband ocean bottom seismometers (IGGCAS and AGOS) spanning October 2020 to November 2021 as well as 5 on-shore broadband stations (2020-2022) targeting Macquarie Island and its immediate surroundings.

Ecological interactions shape the evolution of flower colour in communities across a temperate biodiversity hotspot

Alexander Skeels, Russell Dinnage, Iliana Medina & Marcel Cardillo
Processes driving the divergence of floral traits may be integral to the extraordinary richness of flowering plants and the assembly of diverse plant communities. Several models of pollinator-mediated floral evolution have been proposed; floral divergence may (i) be directly involved in driving speciation or may occur after speciation driven by (ii) drift or local adaptation in allopatry or (iii) negative interactions between species in sympatry. Here, we generate predictions for patterns of trait divergence and...

Synergistic impacts of aggressive species on small birds in a fragmented landscape

Martin Westgate, Mason Crane, Daniel Florance & David Lindenmayer
1. Attempts to conserve threatened species in fragmented landscapes are often challenging because factors such as habitat loss, habitat degradation and dominant species interact to reduce threatened species’ capacity to survive and reproduce. Understanding how threatening and mitigating processes interact is critical if conservation measures are to be effective. 2. We used data from long-term monitoring of bird populations and multivariate latent variable models to quantify how Australian woodland birds respond to the presence of...

Sex- and trait-specific silver-spoon effects of developmental environments, on ageing

Krish Sanghvi, Felix Zajitschek, Maider Iglesias-Carrasco & Megan L. Head
AbstractThe environment organisms experience during development can have effects which carry over into their adult lives. These developmental environments may not only affect adult traits at a given point in time, but also how these traits change with age. Generally, stressful developmental environments can lead to sub-optimal adult fitness traits and a faster deterioration of these traits with age. But whether these environments affect how performance traits change with age or whether they affect males...

Vegetation survey data to understand drivers of plant rarity

Meena Sritharan
Determining the drivers of plant rarity is a major challenge in ecology. Analysing spatial associations between different plant species can provide an exploratory avenue for understanding the ecological drivers of plant rarity. Here, we examined the different types of spatial associations between rare and common plants to determine if they influence the occurrence patterns of rare species. We completed vegetation surveys at 86 sites in woodland, forest, and heath communities in south-east Australia. We also...

Male age alone predicts paternity success under sperm competition when effects of age and past mating effort are experimentally separated

Upama Aich
Older males often perform poorly under post-copulatory sexual selection. It is unclear, however, whether reproductive senescence is due to male age itself or the accumulated costs of the higher lifetime mating effort that is usually associated with male age. To date, very few studies have accounted for mating history and sperm storage when testing the effect of male age on sperm traits, and none test how age and past mating history influence paternity success under...

Visual obstruction, but not moderate traffic noise, increases reliance on heterospecific alarm calls

Chaminda Ratnayake, You Zhou, Francesca Dawson Pell, Dominique Potvin, Andrew Radford & Robert Magrath
Animals rely on both personal and social information about danger to minimise risk, yet environmental conditions constrain information. Both visual obstructions and background noise can reduce detectability of predators, which may increase reliance on social information, such as from alarm calls. Furthermore, a combination of visual and auditory constraints might greatly increase reliance on social information, because the loss of information from one source cannot be compensated by the other. Testing these possibilities requires manipulating...

Direct and indirect disturbance impacts in forests

Elle Bowd
Human and natural disturbances are key drivers of change in forest ecosystems. Yet, the direct and indirect mechanisms which underpin these changes remain poorly understood at the ecosystem level. Here, using structural equation modelling across a 150+ year chronosequence, we disentangle the direct and indirect effects of major disturbances in a temperate forest ecosystem. We show that wildfires, logging and post-fire (salvage) logging can affect plant and microbial communities and abiotic soil properties both directly...

A multi-tiered sequence capture strategy spanning broad evolutionary scales: application for phylogenetic and phylogeographic studies of orchids

Rod Peakall
With over 25,000 species, the drivers of diversity in the Orchidaceae remain to be fully understood. Here we outline a multi-tiered sequence capture strategy aimed at capturing 100’s of loci to enable phylogenetic resolution from subtribe to subspecific levels in orchids of the tribe Diurideae. For the probe design, we mined subsets of 18 transcriptomes, to give five target sequence sets aimed at the tribe (Sets 1 & 2), subtribe (Set 3), and within subtribe...

Phylogeography, historical demography and systematics of the world’s smallest pythons (Pythonidae, Antaresia)

Damien Esquerré, Stephen Donnellan, Carlos Pavón-Vázquez, Jéssica Fenker & Scott Keogh
Advances from empirical studies in phylogeography, systematics and species delimitation highlight the importance of integrative approaches for quantifying taxonomic diversity. Genomic data have greatly improved our ability to discern both systematic diversity and evolutionary history. Here we combine analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequences, thousands of genome-wide SNPs and linear and geometric morphometrics on Antaresia, a clade of four currently recognised dwarf pythons from Australia and New Guinea (Antaresia childreni, A. stimsoni, A. maculosa and A....

Discriminating between similar alarm calls of contrasting function

Natalie T. Tegtman & Robert D. Magrath
In a pioneering study of signal design, Marler (Marler 1955 Nature 176, 6–8; Marler 1957 Behav. 11, 13–37) argued that the contrasting acoustic design of hawk (seet) and mobbing alarm calls of European passerines reflected their contrasting function. Hawk alarms were high-frequency tones, warning con- specifics to flee but making localization difficult for predators, while mobbing calls were broadband and harsh, allowing easy localization and approach. Contrasting signal features are also consistent with signal detec-...

Registration Year

  • 2021

Resource Types

  • Dataset
  • Output Management Plan
  • Report
  • Text


  • Australian National University
  • Macquarie University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • University of Tasmania
  • University of Queensland
  • Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
  • Western Sydney University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Department of Planning and Environment
  • University of Washington