270 Works

Male courtship reduces the risk of cannibalism in web-building spiders but varies in structure

Anne Wignall & Marie Herberstein
Male courtship serves multiple functions in addition to inducing females to accept them as a mate. In predatory species, male courtship can function to reduce the risk of sexual cannibalism. This is particularly important in web-building spiders in which males risk being mistaken for prey when they enter the female’s predatory trap – the web – in order to commence courtship. Male spiders generate vibrations by shuddering in the female’s web. Shudder vibrations can delay...

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...

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...

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: 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: Contrasting patterns of gene flow for Amazonian snakes that actively forage and those that wait in ambush

Rafael De Fraga, Albertina P. Lima, William E. Magnusson, Miquéias Ferrão & Adam J. Stow
Knowledge of genetic structure, geographic distance and environmental heterogeneity can be used to identify environmental features and natural history traits that influence dispersal and gene flow. Foraging mode is a trait that might predict dispersal capacity in snakes, because actively foragers typically have greater movement rates than ambush predators. Here we test the hypothesis that two actively foraging snakes have higher levels of gene flow than two ambush predators. We evaluated these four co-distributed species...

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: Burn or rot: leaf traits explain why flammability and decomposability are decoupled across species

Saskia Grootemaat, Ian J. Wright, Peter M. Van Bodegom, Johannes H. C. Cornelissen & William K. Cornwell
In fire-prone ecosystems, two important alternative fates for leaves are burning in a wildfire (when alive or as litter) or they get consumed (as litter) by decomposers. The influence of leaf traits on litter decomposition rate is reasonably well understood. In contrast, less is known about the influence of leaf traits on leaf and litter flammability. The aim of this study was twofold: (a) to determine which morphological and chemical leaf traits drive flammability; and...

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: Does detection range matter for inferring social networks in a benthic shark using acoustic telemetry?

Johann Mourier, Nathan Charles Bass, Tristan L. Guttridge, Joanna Day & Culum Brown
Accurately estimating contacts between animals can be critical in ecological studies such as examining social structure, predator–prey interactions or transmission of information and disease. While biotelemetry has been used successfully for such studies in terrestrial systems, it is still under development in the aquatic environment. Acoustic telemetry represents an attractive tool to investigate spatio-temporal behaviour of marine fish and has recently been suggested for monitoring underwater animal interactions. To evaluate the effectiveness of acoustic telemetry...

Data from: Landscape context explains changes in the functional diversity of regenerating forests better than climate or species richness

Michael Sams, Hao Ran Lai, Stephen Bonser, Peter Vesk, Robert Kooyman, Daniel Metcalfe, John W. Morgan, Margaret Mayfield, M. A. Sams, D. J. Metcalfe, R. M. Kooyman & P. A. Vesk
Aim A rich literature on forest succession provides general expectations for the steps forests go through while reassembling after disturbance, yet we still have a surprisingly poor understanding of why the outcomes of forest recovery after logging (or other disturbances) vary so extensively. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that regional species pool, system productivity, climate and landscape structure are important drivers of forest reassembly outcomes. Location Transect 1,500 km in length along the...

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: 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: 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...

Data from: Differential proteomic responses of selectively bred and wild Sydney rock oyster populations exposed to elevated CO2

Emma L. Thompson, Wayne O'Connor, Laura Parker, Pauline Ross & David A. Raftos
Previous work suggests that larvae from Sydney rock oysters that have been selectively bred for fast growth and disease resistance are more resilient to the impacts of ocean acidification than nonselected, wild-type oysters. In this study, we used proteomics to investigate the molecular differences between oyster populations in adult Sydney rock oysters and to identify whether these form the basis for observations seen in larvae. Adult oysters from a selective breeding line (B2) and nonselected...

Data from: The relationship between diet and body mass in terrestrial mammals

Silvia Pineda-Munoz, Alistair R. Evans & John Alroy
Diet and body mass are highly important factors in mammalian ecology, and they have also proven to be powerful paleoecological indicators. Our previous research has proposed a new classification scheme for mammals with more dietary divisions that emphasizes the primary resource in a given diet. We analyzed a database summarizing the dietary preferences of 139 species of marsupial and placental terrestrial mammals (including 14 orders) and their average body masses in order to explore whether...

Data from: Environmental DNA metabarcoding studies are critically affected by substrate selection

Adam Koziol, Michael Stat, Tiffany Simpson, Simon Jarman, Joseph D. DiBattista, Euan S. Harvey, Michael Marnane, Justin McDonald & Michael Bunce
Effective biomonitoring is critical for driving management outcomes that ensure long-term sustainability of the marine environment. In recent years environmental DNA (eDNA), coupled with metabarcoding methodologies, has emerged as a promising tool for generating biotic surveys of marine ecosystems, including those under anthropogenic pressure. However, more empirical data is needed on how to best implement eDNA field sampling approaches to maximise their utility for each specific application. The effect of the substrate chosen for eDNA...

Data from: Diversity dynamics of Phanerozoic terrestrial tetrapods at the local-community scale

Roger A. Close, Roger B. J. Benson, John Alroy, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Juan Benito, Matthew T. Carrano, Terri J. Cleary, Emma M. Dunne, Philip D. Mannion, Mark D. Uhen & Richard J. Butler
The fossil record provides one of the strongest tests of the hypothesis that diversity within local communities is constrained over geological timescales. Constraints to diversity are particularly controversial in modern terrestrial ecosystems, yet long-term patterns are poorly understood. Here we document patterns of local richness in Phanerozoic terrestrial tetrapods using a global data set comprising 145,332 taxon occurrences from 27,531 collections. We show that the local richness of non-flying terrestrial tetrapods has risen asymptotically since...

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...

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: To recycle or steal? Nutrient resorption in Australian and Brazilian mistletoes from three low-phosphorus sites

Marina Corrêa Scalon, Ian J. Wright & Augusto Cesar Franco
Resorption is the process by which nutrients are withdrawn from leaves prior to leaf fall. Mistletoes are generally thought not to rely on nutrient resorption; being xylem-tapping parasites, they instead derive the nutrients required for new growth from their host plant, at little or no cost. We measured nutrient (N, P, K, Ca, Mg) resorption in 18 parasitic mistletoe–host species pairs distributed across three sites with notably low-P soil, also quantifying relationships with leaf lifespan...

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: Inhibition of histone deacetylases facilitates extinction and attenuates reinstatement of nicotine self-administration in rats

Matthew R. Castino, Jennifer L. Cornish & Kelly J. Clemens
Chromatin remodelling is integral to the formation of long-term memories. Recent evidence suggests that histone modification may play a role in the persistence of memories associated with drug use. The present series of experiments aimed to examine the effect of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition on the extinction and reinstatement of nicotine self-administration. Rats were trained to intravenously self-administer nicotine for 12 days on a fixed-ratio 1 schedule. In Experiment 1, responding was then extinguished through...

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: Shoot growth of woody trees and shrubs is predicted by maximum plant height and associated traits

Sean M. Gleason, Andrea E.A. Stephens, Wade C. Tozer, Chris J. Blackman, Don W. Butler, Yvonne Chang, Alicia M. Cook, Julia Cooke, Claire A. Laws, Julieta A. Rosell, Stephanie A. Stuart, Mark Westoby & Andrea E. A. Stephens
1. The rate of elongation and thickening of individual branches (shoots) varies across plant species. This variation is important for the outcome of competition and other plant-plant interactions. Here we compared rates of shoot growth across 44 species from tropical, warm temperate, and cool temperate forests of eastern Australia. 2. Shoot growth rate was found to correlate with a suite of traits including the potential height of the species, xylem-specific conductivity, leaf size, leaf area...

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