19 Works

Early-life environmental conditions influence parasitism at adulthood and life-history of a cuckoo host

Jesús Miguel Avilés
Environmental conditions experienced by individuals early in life can extend into adult phenotypes with potential fitness consequences. Early life environmental effects can be relevant for hosts because bad early life conditions may impair host cognition increasing the risk of future parasitism or lowering parasite recognition. Here we provide a first test of this possibility by using data from a 16-year study of individually marked female magpie Pica pica hosts for which we know natal and...

Data from: Mimicking a rainfall gradient to test the role of soil microbiota for mediating plant species responses to drier conditions

Michael J. O'Brien, Francisco I. Pugnaire, Susana Rodríguez-Echeverría, Jose A. Morillo, Francisco Martín-Usero, Almudena López-Escoriza, Diego J. Aránega & Cristina Armas Kulik
Plant interactions with soil microbiota are important drivers of biodiversity and ecosystem function, but climate change can modify these interactions by directly altering the soil community, which can affect the direction and magnitude of such interactions. We manipulated water quantity and soil microbiota of two populations of three plant species that differ in their interactions with soil microbiota and assessed germination and biomass production under conditions that mimicked a rainfall gradient in SE Spain. We...

Phenotypic and Genetic data for \"Evolution of fruit and seed traits during almond naturalization\"

Rafael Rubio De Casas, Andres Barea Marquez, Francisco Ocaña-Calahorro, Rodrigo Balaguer-Romano, José María Gómez, Eugene W. Schupp, Raquel Sanchez-Perez, Jesus Guillamon & Joanna Zhang
1- Cultivated plant species often naturalize and enter wild communities in a process known as feralization. To successfully feralize, crops must overcome ecological barriers and may undergo selection on certain traits, diverging phenotypically and genetically from their crop ancestors. In spite of the agronomic and ecological relevance of crop feralization, the eco-evolutionary dynamics driving it remain understudied. 2- In this paper, we evaluated phenotypic and genotypic differentiation in fruit and seed traits during the naturalization...

Data from: Great spotted cuckoos show dynamic patterns of host selection during the breeding season

Manuel Soler, Tomás Perez-Contreras & Juan José Soler
Avian brood parasites depend entirely on their hosts to raise their nestlings until independence. Thus, parasite females should select suitable host nests for egg laying according to traits that enhance offspring survival. Availability of nests of certain characteristics influencing survival of parasitic offspring is however temporally dynamic and, thus, patterns of host selection should be evaluated considering characteristics of available host nests the day of parasitism. This allows detecting possible seasonal changes and, therefore, a...

Made-up mouths with preen oil reveal genetic and phenotypic conditions of starling nestlings

Juan José Soler, Ester Martínez-Renau, Manuel Azcárate-García, Cristina Ruiz-Castellano, José Martín & Manuel Martin-Vivaldi
Animal colouration are due to pigments, nanostructures, or to the cosmetic use of natural products, and plays a central role in social communication. The role of cosmetic colouration has traditionally been focussed on scenarios of sexual selection, but it could also be used in other contexts. Here, by using spotless starling (Sturnus unicolor) as a model system, we explore the possibility that nestlings cosmetically used their intensely yellow coloured uropygial secretion to signal their genetic...

Agricultural intensification erodes taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean olive groves by filtering out rare species

Rubén Tarifa, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Francisco Valera, Juan P. González-Varo, Teresa Salido & Pedro J. Rey
1. Agri-Environmental Schemes (AES) have been proposed to mitigate the impact of agriculture on both taxonomic and functional biodiversity. However, a better knowledge of the mechanisms involved in the loss of agrobiodiversity is needed to implement efficient AES. An unbalanced effort on research towards arable lands compared to permanent crops, and on fauna relative to plants, is patent, which limits the generalization of AES effectiveness. 2. We evaluated the effects of agricultural management and landscape...

Data from: MHC-I provides both quantitative resistance and susceptibility to blood parasites in blue tits in the wild

Juan Rivero-De Aguilar, Helena Westerdahl, Josue Martínez-De La Puente, Gustavo Tomas, Javier Martínez & Santiago Merino
Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes are central for the adaptive immune response against parasites. Here, we investigated potential associations among MHC-I alleles and blood parasite infections in a natural breeding population of a passerine bird, the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, in central Spain. We screened both infection status (presence/absence of infection) and infection intensity to the pathogenic blood parasites Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon. Three MHC-I alleles (UA104, UA108 and UA117) were associated with higher or lower...

Global gradients in intraspecific variation in vegetative and floral traits are partially associated with climate and species richness

Jonas Kuppler, Cécile H. Albert, Gregory M. Ames, W. Scott Armbruster, Gerhard Boenisch, Florian C. Boucher, Diane R. Campbell, Liedson T. Carneiro, Eduardo Chacón-Madrigal, Brian J. Enquist, Carlos R. Fonseca, José M. Gómez, Antoine Guisan, Pedro Higuchi, Dirk N. Karger, Jens Kattge, Michael Kleyer, Nathan J. B. Kraft, Anne-Amélie C. Larue-Kontić, Amparo Lázaro, Martin Lechleitner, Deirdre Loughnan, Vanessa Minden, Ülo Niinemets, Gerhard E. Overbeck … & Robert R. Junker
Aim Intraspecific trait variation (ITV) within natural plant communities can be large, influencing local ecological processes and dynamics. Here, we shed light on how ITV in vegetative and floral traits responds to large-scale abiotic and biotic gradients (i.e. climate and species richness). Specifically, we tested if associations of ITV with temperature, precipitation and species richness were consistent with any of from four hypotheses relating to stress-tolerance and competition. Furthermore, we estimated the degree of correlation...

Data from: Great spotted cuckoo eggshell microstructure characteristics can make eggs stronger

Manuel Soler, Alejandro Rodriguez-Navarro, Tomás Pérez-Contreras, Juan García-Ruiz & Juan Soler
Obligate avian brood parasites lay stronger eggs than their hosts or non-parasitic relatives because they are rounder and have a thicker eggshell. Additionally, some other characteristics of the brood parasitic eggshells related to their microstructure such as size and orientation of calcite crystal units could also contribute to generating even stronger shells. An eggshell microstructure formed by small randomly oriented calcite crystal units can increase the robustness of the eggshells of birds. Here, the eggshell...

Data from: Hoopoe (Upupa epops) male feeding effort is related to female cosmetic egg colouration

Silvia Díaz Lora, Tomás Pérez-Contreras, Manuel Azcárate-García, Manuel Martínez Bueno, Juan José Soler & Manuel Martín-Vivaldi
Avian eggshell colouration might function as a post-mating sexually selected signal of female quality, influencing male parental investment and, hence, reproductive success. This hypothesis has been tested for intrinsic eggshell pigments as biliverdin (blue-green colouration) and/or protoporphyrin (brown coloured spots), but never for colourations applied post-laying. Post-laying staining colouration due to, for instance, uropygial secretion of the female could reflect its phenotypic properties and, thus, might be a cue for male investment in reproduction. In...

Ecogeographical patterns in owl plumage colouration: climate and vegetation cover predict global colour variation

Arianna Passarotto, Arianna Passarotto, Emilio Rodríguez-Caballero, Ángel Cruz-Miralles & Jesús M. Avilés
Aim: Ecogeographical rules link animal colours, especially those produced by melanin pigments, with variation in environmental conditions over wide geographical scales. In particular, Gloger’s rule, coined in two versions for endothermic animals, suggests that tegument darkness would increase at high temperature, as well as in highly humid environments. On the other hand, the thermal melanism hypothesis, predicts that darker colourations should be more frequent in colder areas given their thermoregulation benefits. Location: Global Time period:...

Moonlight influence on quality of nestlings of scops owls depends on paternal coloration

Jesús Avilés, Angel Cruz-Miralles & Deseada Parejo
The moon might favour the maintenance of colour polymorphism via disruptive selection if the different colour variants performed differently in terms of prey capture under different moonlight levels. Moonlight, however, may affect prey capture as a by side effect of its influence on prey behaviours. Here we combine data of parental provisioning and owlets' quality with one ex-situ study of grasshoppers' activity to test whether Eurasian scops owls (Otus scops) with different plumage colour and...

Data from: Sexual selection, feather wear, and time constraints on the pre-basic molt explain the acquisition of the pre-alternate molt in European passerines

José J. Cuervo, Judith Morales, Juan J. Soler & Juan Moreno
Avian feathers need to be replaced periodically to fulfill their functions, with natural, social, and sexual selection presumably driving the evolution of molting strategies. In temperate birds, a common pattern is to molt feathers immediately after the breeding season, the pre-basic molt. However, some species undergo another molt in winter-spring, the pre-alternate molt. Using a sample of 188 European passerine species, Bayesian phylogenetic mixed models, and correlated evolution analyses, we tested whether the occurrence of...

Data from: Nest material preferences by spotless starlings

Cristina Ruiz-Castellano, Gustavo Tomás, Magdalena Ruiz-Rodríguez & Juan José Soler
The avian nest is an essential structure for offspring development. For adults, nest building entails costs in terms of time, energy and exposure to predators and parasites. Amount and diversity of materials used for nest building depend on their availability and functionality in scenarios of sexual selection and parasitism. Green plants and feathers of different colors have been hypothesized to play key roles in offspring protection against pathogens, and we here experimentally assessed spotless starling...

Data from: Juvenile plumage whiteness is associated with the evolution of clutch size in passerines

Judith Morales, Jose Javier Cuervo, Juan Moreno & Juan José Soler
The offspring of many animals are conspicuous during parental dependence, despite juveniles generally suffering from high predation risk. However, to date, it is unclear whether offspring structural ornaments play a role in intra-family communication. This is the case of conspicuous plumage in young birds, which is worn unchanged during a long period after fledging, when they still depend on their parents. If plumage color facilitates intra-family interactions, its role should be more important in large-brooded...

Data from: Independent evolution of ancestral and novel defenses in a genus of toxic plants (Erysimum, Brassicaceae)

Tobias Züst, Susan Strickler, Adrian Powell, Makenzie Mabry, Hong An, Mahdieh Mirzaei, Thomas York, Cynthia Holland, Pavan Kumar, Matthias Erb, Georg Petschenka, José-María Gomez, Francisco Perfectti, Caroline Mueller, Chris Pires, Lukas Mueller & Georg Jander
Phytochemical diversity is thought to result from coevolutionary cycles as specialization in herbivores imposes diversifying selection on plant chemical defenses. Plants in the speciose genus Erysimum (Brassicaceae) produce both ancestral glucosinolates and evolutionarily novel cardenolides as defenses. Here we test macroevolutionary hypotheses on co-expression, co-regulation, and diversification of these potentially redundant defenses across this genus. We sequenced and assembled the genome of E. cheiranthoides and foliar transcriptomes of 47 additional Erysimum species to construct a...

Leaf functional traits and insular colonization: subtropical islands as a melting pot of trait diversity in a widespread plant lineage

Carlos Garcia-Verdugo, Pedro Monroy, Francisco I. Pugnaire, Joana Jura-Morawiec, Xoaquín Moreira & Jaume Flexas
Aim: One of the main goals of functional biogeography is to examine distribution patterns of trait diversity, and islands provide excellent study cases for this emerging field. We tested the hypothesis that multiple dispersals from a common mainland pool would promote functional similarity among island systems when environmental conditions are similar, but also novel phenotypic traits related to colonization history and exploitation of new habitats. Location: Mediterranean Basin and Macaronesian islands Methods: We used the...

Brood parasitism, provisioning rates and breeding phenology of male and female magpie hosts

Marta Precioso, Mercedes Molina-Morales, Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, Jesús M. Avilés & Juan G. Martínez
Parental care is a costly behaviour that raises the prospects of offspring survival. In species with biparental care these costs are shared by both parents, although there may be a conflict regarding the relative investment of each sex. Avian brood parasites leave all the costs of rearing offspring to their hosts. The magnitude of these costs and their consequences on the relative role of both sexes in parental care and future reproduction remain mostly unknown....

Partitioning beta diversity to untangle mechanisms underlying the assembly of bird communities in Mediterranean olive groves

Vicente García-Navas, Carlos Martínez-Núñez, Rubén Tarifa, Antonio J. Manzaneda, Francisco Valera, Teresa Salido, Francisco M. Camacho & Pedro J. Rey
Aim: We investigated taxonomic and functional beta diversity of bird communities inhabiting Mediterranean olive groves subject to either intensive or extensive management of the ground cover and located in landscapes with different degrees of complexity. Location: Andalusia, southern Spain. Methods: We partitioned taxonomic and functional beta diversity into its two additive components, turnover and nestedness. We also explored the contributions of single sites to overall beta diversity (LCBD) and separated the effects of species replacement...

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