209 Works

Data from: Context-dependent sex allocation: constraints on the expression and evolution of maternal effects

Sarah R. Pryke, Lee Ann Rollins & Simon C. Griffith
Despite decades of research, whether vertebrates can and do adaptively adjust the sex ratio of their offspring is still highly debated. However, this may have resulted from the failure of empirical tests to identify large and predictable fitness returns to females from strategic adjustment. Here we test the effect of diet quality and maternal condition on facultative sex ratio adjustment in the color polymorphic Gouldian finch (Erythrura gouldiae), a species that exhibits extreme maternal allocation...

Data from: Natural selection in the water: freshwater invasion and adaptation by water color in the Amazonian pufferfish

Georgina M. Cooke, Ning L. Chao & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Natural selection and ecological adaptation are ultimately responsible for much of the origin of biodiversity. Yet the identification of divergent natural selection has been hindered by the spatial complexity of natural systems, the difficulty in identifying genes under selection and their relationship to environment, and the confounding genomic effects of time. Here we employed genome scans, population genetics and sequence-based phylogeographic methods to identify divergent natural selection on population boundaries in a freshwater invader, the...

Data from: Roses are red, violets are blue - so how much replication should you do? An assessment of variation in the colour of flowers and birds

Rhiannon L. Dalrymple, Francis K. C. Hui, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Darrell J. Kemp & Angela T. Moles
After years of qualitative and subjective study, quantitative colour science is now enabling rapid measurement, analysis and comparison of colour traits. However, it has not been determined how many replicates one needs to accurately quantify a species' colours for studies aimed at broad cross-species trait comparison. We address this major methodological knowledge gap. We first quantified and assessed the variance in colour within and between species. Reflectance spectra of flowers from ten plant species and...

Data from: The hawk-dove game in a sexually reproducing species explains a colorful polymorphism of an endangered bird

Hanna Kokko, Simon C. Griffith & Sarah R. Pryke
The hawk–dove game famously introduced strategic game theory thinking into biology and forms the basis of arguments for limited aggression in animal populations. However, aggressive ‘hawks’ and peaceful ‘doves’, with strategies inherited in a discrete manner, have never been documented in a real animal population. Thus, the applicability of game-theoretic arguments to real populations might be contested. Here, we show that the head-colour polymorphism of red and black Gouldian finches (Erythrura gouldiae) provides a real-life...

Data from: Limits to species richness in terrestrial communities

John Alroy
Are communities limited by biotic interactions, or are they random draws from regional species pools? One way to tell is to compare total species counts in geographic regions to average counts in ecological samples falling within those regions. If species richness is limited regionally, then the relationship should be curvilinear even in a log-log space. Local data pertaining to trees and 10 groups of animals are analyzed to test this hypothesis. Most relationships are indeed...

Colonization history affects heating rates of invasive cane toads

Gregory P. Brown, Richard Shine & Georgia Kosmala
Amphibians in hot climates may be able to avoid high temperatures by controlling their rates of heating. In northern Australia, invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) experience hot dry conditions in newly-colonized (western) sites but milder conditions in longer-occupied (eastern) sites. Under standardized conditions, toads from western sites heated less rapidly than did conspecifics from an eastern site. The availability of free water slowed heating rates of eastern but not western toads. Thus, the colonization of...

Microsatellite matrix of Poa annua

Mario Mairal, Johannes Le Roux, Steven Chown, Justine Shaw, Desalegn Chala, John Chau, Bettine Van Vuuren, Cang Hui & Zuzana Münzbergová
Comparative studies of invasive species in human-inhabited versus truly uninhabited habitats, particularly on their genetic structure, remain scarce. Sub-Antarctic islands provide an ideal system to study invasions in such contrasting environments as they represent semi-pristine conditions in highly remote areas that are accessible only through a small number of introduction routes. Here we studied the invasion genetics of annual bluegrass Poa annua on the Prince Edward Islands (PEI) that include the inhabited Marion Island and...

Gross primary production responses to warming, elevated CO2 , and irrigation: quantifying the drivers of ecosystem physiology in a semiarid grassland

Elise Pendall, Edmund M. Ryan, Kiona Ogle, Drew Peltier, David G. Williams, Anthony P. Walker, Martin G. De Kauwe, Belinda E. Medlyn, William Parton, Shinichi Asao, Bertrand Guenet, Anna B. Harper, Xingjie Lu, Kristina A. Luus, Sönke Zaehle, Shijie Shu, Christian Werner & Jianyang Xia
Determining whether the terrestrial biosphere will be a source or sink of carbon (C) under a future climate of elevated CO2 (eCO2) and warming requires accurate quantification of gross primary production (GPP), the largest flux of C in the global C cycle. We evaluated 6 years (2007–2012) of flux‐derived GPP data from the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment, situated in a grassland in Wyoming, USA. The GPP data were used to calibrate a...

Sugar crop yield vs cane toads

Richard Shine, Georgia Ward-Fear & Greg Brown
In 1935, cane toads (Rhinella marina) were brought to Australia to control insect pests. The devastating ecological impacts of that introduction have attracted extensive research, but the toads’ impact on their original targets has never been evaluated. Our analyses confirm that sugar production did not increase significantly after the anurans were released, possibly because toads reduced rates of predation on beetle pests by consuming some of the native predators of those beetles (ants), fatally poisoning...

Morphology and locomotor performance of cane toads, Rhinella marina

Richard Shine, Cameron Hudson, Marta Vidal-Garcia & Trevor Murray
As is common in biological invasions, the rate at which cane toads (Rhinella marina) have spread across tropical Australia has accelerated through time. Individuals at the invasion-front travel further than range-core conspecifics, and exhibit distinctive morphologies that may facilitate rapid dispersal. However, the links between these morphological changes and locomotor performance have not been clearly documented. We used raceway trials and high-speed videography to document locomotor traits (e.g. hop distances, heights, velocities, and angles of...

Macronutrients modulate survival to infection and immunity in Drosophila

Fleur Ponton, Juliano Morimoto, Katie Robinson, Sheemal S. Kumar, Sheena C. Cotter, Kenneth Wilson & Stephen J. Simpson
Immunity and nutrition are two essential modulators of individual fitness. However, while the implications of immune function and nutrition on an individual’s lifespan and reproduction are well established, the interplay between feeding behaviour, infection, and immune function, remains poorly understood. Asking how ecological and physiological factors affect immune responses and resistance to infections is a central theme of eco-immunology. In this study, we used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate how infection through septic...

Ecological patterns of root nodule diversity in cultivated and wild rooibos populations: a community prediction approach

Josep Ramoneda, Jaco Le Roux, Emmanuel Frossard, Beat Frey & Hannes Andres Gamper
There is interest in understanding the factors behind the biogeography of root-associated bacteria due to the joint effects that plant host, climate, and soil conditions can have on bacterial diversity. For legume crops with remaining wild populations, this is of even more importance, because the effects of cropping on undisturbed root-associated bacterial communities can be addressed. Here, we used a community prediction approach to describe the diversity of the root nodule bacterial communities of rooibos...

Dynamic changes in DNA methylation during postnatal development in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) exposed to different temperatures

Elizabeth L. Sheldon, Aaron. W. Schrey, Laura L. Hurley & Simon C. Griffith
Epigenetic changes associated with early life conditions are known to play a significant role in shaping the adult phenotype. Studies of DNA methylation in wild animals are lacking, yet are important for understanding the fitness consequences of environmentally induced epigenetic change. In our study, we quantified variation in DNA methylation in wild, post-hatch zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata developing at seasonally variable temperatures in the Australian desert. We also compared variation in DNA methylation among captive...

Data from: Genetics and evidence for balancing selection of a sex-linked colour polymorphism in a songbird

Kang-Wook Kim, Benjamin C. Jackson, Hanyuan Zhang, David P. L. Toews, Scott A. Taylor, Emma I. Greig, Irby J. Lovette, Mengning M. Liu, Angus Davison, Simon C. Griffith, Kai Zeng & Terry Burke
Colour polymorphisms play a key role in sexual selection and speciation, yet the mechanisms that generate and maintain them are not fully understood. Here, we use genomic and transcriptomic tools to identify the precise genetic architecture and evolutionary history of a sex-linked colour polymorphism in the Gouldian finch Erythrura gouldiae that is also accompanied by remarkable differences in behaviour and physiology. We find that differences in colour are associated with an ~72-kbp region of the...

Data from: Discovering biogeographic and ecological clusters with a graph theoretic spin on factor analysis

John Alroy
Factor analysis (FA) has the advantage of highlighting each semi-distinct cluster of samples in a data set with one axis at a time, as opposed to simply arranging samples across axes to represent gradients. However, in the case of presence-absence data it is confounded by absences when gradients are long. No statistical model can cope with this problem because the raw data simply do not present underlying information about the length of such gradients. Here...

Data from: Hydrological conditions explain wood density in riparian plants of south-eastern Australia

James R. Lawson, Kirstie A. Fryirs & Michelle R. Leishman
1. Wood density is a key plant functional trait which integrates the trade-offs characteristic to riparian plant ecological strategies. Although high-density wood is costly to construct, it confers mechanical stiffness to stems, increasing a plant's capacity to withstand flooding, and also enables increased tolerance to water stress. For riparian plants, fluctuations in soil moisture driven by surface hydrology should therefore be an important driver of variation in wood density. 2. We asked the following questions...

Data from: Emerging Representational Geometries in the Visual System Predict Reaction Times for Object Categorization

J. Brendan Ritchie, David A. Tovar & Thomas A. Carlson
Recognizing an object takes just a fraction of a second, less than the blink of an eye. Applying multivariate pattern analysis, or "brain decoding", methods to magnetoencephalography (MEG) data has allowed researchers to characterize, in high temporal resolution, the emerging representation of objects that underlie our capacity for rapid recognition. Shortly after stimulus onset, exemplar stimuli cluster by category in high-dimensional activation spaces. In these emerging activation spaces, the decodability of exemplar category varies over...

Data from: Naiveté is not forever: responses of a vulnerable native rodent to its long term alien predators

Alexandra J. R. Carthey & Peter B. Banks
Alien predators have wreaked havoc on isolated endemic and island fauna worldwide, a phenomenon generally attributed to prey naiveté, or a failure to display effective antipredator behaviour due to a lack of experience. While the failure to recognise and/or respond to a novel predator has devastating impacts in the short term after predators are introduced, few studies have asked whether medium to long term experience with alien predators enables native species to overcome their naiveté....

Data from: Fine-scale analysis of an assassin bug's behaviour: predatory strategies to bypass the sensory systems of prey

Fernando G. Soley
Some predators sidestep environments that render them conspicuous to the sensory systems of prey. However, these challenging environments are unavoidable for certain predators. Stenolemus giraffa is an assassin bug that feeds on web-building spiders; the web is the environment in which this predator finds its prey, but it also forms part of its preys' sophisticated sensory apparatus, blurring the distinction between environment and sensory systems. Stenolemus giraffa needs to break threads in the web that...

Data from: Temporal regularity increases with repertoire complexity in the Australian pied butcherbird’s song

Eathan Janney, Hollis Taylor, Constance Scharff, David Rothenberg, Lucas C. Parra & Ofer Tchernichovski
Music maintains a characteristic balance between repetition and novelty. Here, we report a similar balance in singing performances of free-living Australian pied butcherbirds. Their songs include many phrase types. The more phrase types in a bird's repertoire, the more diverse the singing performance can be. However, without sufficient temporal organization, avian listeners may find diverse singing performances difficult to perceive and memorize. We tested for a correlation between the complexity of song repertoire and the...

Data from: Behavioural plasticity under a changing climate; how an experimental local climate affects the nest construction of the zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata)

Bridget L. Campbell, Laura L. Hurley & Simon C. Griffith
Successful reproduction in most avian species is dependent on the construction of a nest that provides protection and a suitable microclimate for the eggs and developing nestlings. Observational studies suggest that climatic variation may affect the structure of the nest, but to date there have been no attempts to experimentally determine the role that local climate plays in the construction of a suitable nest. Using a within-individual counter balanced design we investigated how nest composition...

Data from: How much of the world is woody?

Richard G. FitzJohn, Matt W. Pennell, Amy E. Zanne, Peter F. Stevens, David C. Tank, William K. Cornwell & Matthew W. Pennell
1.The question posed by the title of this paper is a basic one, and it is surprising that the answer is not known. Recently assembled trait datasets provide an opportunity to address this, but scaling these datasets to the global scale is challenging because of sampling bias. Although we currently know the growth form of tens of thousands of species, these data are not a random sample of global diversity; some clades are exhaustively characterised,...

Data from: Riverscape genetics identifies replicated ecological divergence across an Amazonian ecotone

Georgina Margaret Cooke, Erin L. Landguth & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Ecological speciation involves the evolution of reproductive isolation and niche divergence in the absence of a physical barrier to gene flow. The process is one of the most controversial topics of the speciation debate, particularly in tropical regions. Here, we investigate ecologically based divergence across an Amazonian ecotone in the electric fish, Steatogenys elegans. We combine phylogenetics, genome scans, and population genetics with a recently developed individual-based evolutionary landscape genetics approach that incorporates selection. This...

Data from: Genetic variation, multiple paternity and measures of reproductive success in the critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata)

Blanca Idalia González-Garza, Adam Stow, Lorenzo Felipe Sánchez-Teyer & Omar Zapata-Pérez
The Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico contains some of the largest breeding groups of the globally distributed and critically endangered hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata). An improved understanding of the breeding system of this species and how its genetic variation is structured among nesting areas is required before the threats to its survival can be properly evaluated. Here, we genotype 1195 hatchlings and 41 nesting females at 12 microsatellite loci to assess levels of multiple paternity, genetic...

Data from: Gene expression under thermal stress varies across a geographic range expansion front

Lesley Lancaster, Rachael Dudaniec, Pallavi Chauhan, Maren Wellenreuther, Erik Svensson, Bengt Hansson, Lesley T. Lancaster, Rachael Y. Dudaniec & Erik I. Svensson
Many ectothermic species are currently expanding their distributions polewards due to anthropogenic global warming. Molecular genetic mechanisms facilitating range expansion under these conditions are largely unknown, but understanding these could help mitigate expanding pests and disease vectors, or help explain why some species fail to track changing climates. Here, using RNA-seq data, we examine genome-wide changes in gene expression under heat and cold stress in the range-expanding damselfly Ischnura elegans in northern Europe. We find...

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