25 Works

Seasonal upwelling reduces herbivore control of tropical rocky intertidal algal communities

Andrew Sellers, Brian Leung, Andrew Altieri, Benjamin Turner, Jess Glanz & Mark Torchin
Communities are shaped by a variety of ecological and environmental processes, each acting at different spatial scales. Seminal research on rocky shores highlighted the effects of consumers as local determinants of primary productivity and community assembly. However, it is now clear that the species interactions shaping communities at local scales are themselves regulated by large-scale oceanographic processes that generate regional variation in resource availability. Upwelling events deliver nutrient-rich water to coastal ecosystems, influencing primary productivity...

Data from: Chemical novelty facilitates herbivore resistance and biological invasions in some introduced plant species

Brian Sedio, John Devaney, Jamie Pullen, Geoffrey Parker, S. Joseph Wright & John Parker
Ecological release from herbivory due to chemical novelty is commonly predicted to facilitate biological invasions by plants, but has not been tested on a community scale. We used metabolomics based on mass spectrometry molecular networks to assess the novelty of foliar secondary chemistry of 15 invasive plant species compared to 46 native species at a site in eastern North America. Locally, invasive species were more chemically distinctive than natives. Among the 15 invasive species, the...

Data package from 'Pantropical variability in tree crown allometry' Global Ecology and Biogeography 2021. DOI: 10.1111/geb.13231

Grace Jopaul Loubota Panzou, Adeline Fayolle, Tommaso Jucker, Oliver Phillips, Stephanie Bohlman, Lindsay F. Banin, Simon L. Lewis, Kofi Affum-Baffoe, Luciana F. Alves, Cécile Antin, Eric Arets, Luzmila Arroyo, Timothy R. Baker, Nicolas Barbier, Hans Beeckman, Uta Berger, Yannick Enock Bocko, Frans Bongers, Sam Bowers, Thom Brade, Eduardo S. Brondizio, Arthur Chantrain, Jerome Chave, Halidou Compaore & David Coomes

Multimodal mechanosensing enables treefrog embryos to escape egg-predators

Julie Jung, Shirley J. Serrano-Rojas & Karen M. Warkentin
Mechanosensory-cued hatching (MCH) is widespread, diverse, and improves survival in many animals. From flatworms and insects to frogs and turtles, embryos use mechanosensory cues and signals to inform hatching timing, yet mechanisms mediating mechanosensing in ovo are largely unknown. The arboreal embryos of red-eyed treefrogs, Agalychnis callidryas, hatch prematurely to escape predation, cued by physical disturbance in snake attacks. When otoconial organs in the developing vestibular system become functional, this response strengthens, but its earlier...

The evolution of autotomy in leaf-footed bugs

Zachary Emberts, Colette M St. Mary, Cody Coyotee Howard, Michael Forthman, Philip W. Bateman, Ummat Somjee, Wei Song Hwang, Daiqin Li, Rebecca T Kimball & Christine W Miller
Sacrificing body parts is one of many behaviors that animals use to escape predation. This trait, termed autotomy, is classically associated with lizards. However, several other taxa also autotomize, and this trait has independently evolved multiple times throughout Animalia. Despite having multiple origins and being an iconic anti-predatory trait, much remains unknown about the evolution of autotomy. Here, we combine morphological, behavioral, and genomic data to investigate the evolution of autotomy within leaf-footed bugs and...

A major locus controls a biologically active pheromone component in Heliconius melpomene

Kelsey Byers, Kathy Darragh, Jamie Musgrove, Diana Abondano Almeida, Sylvia Fernanda Garza, Ian Warren, Pasi Rastas, Marek Kučka, Yingguang Frank Chan, Richard Merrill, Stefan Schulz, W. Owen McMillan & Chris Jiggins
Understanding the production, response, and genetics of signals used in mate choice can inform our understanding of the evolution of both intraspecific mate choice and reproductive isolation. Sex pheromones are important for courtship and mate choice in many insects, but we know relatively little of their role in butterflies. The butterfly Heliconius melpomene uses a complex blend of wing androconial compounds during courtship. Electroantennography in H. melpomene and its close relative H. cydno showed that...

Fine-scale habitat heterogeneity influences browsing damage by elephant and giraffe

Duncan Kimuyu, David Kenfack, Paul Musili & Robert Ang'ila
Effects of large mammalian herbivores on woody vegetation tend to be heterogeneous in space and time, but the factors that drive such heterogeneity are poorly understood. We examined the influence of fine-scale habitat heterogeneity on the distribution and browsing effects of two of the largest African terrestrial mammals, the elephant and giraffe. We conducted this study within a 120-ha (500 x 2400 m) ForestGEO long-term vegetation monitoring plot located at Mpala Research Center, Kenya. The...

The origin of the parrotfish species Scarus compressus in the Tropical Eastern Pacific: region-wide hybridization between ancient species pairs

David Carlon, D. R. Robertson, Robert Barron, David Anderson, Sonja Schwartz, Carlos Sanchez-Ortiz & John Choat
Background: An increasing number of hybrid zones with varying evolutionary outcomes have been documented from different reef fish families. In the Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP), four species of parrotfishes occur in sympatry on rocky reefs from Baja California to Ecuador: Scarus. compressus,S. ghobban, S. perrico, and S. rubroviolaceus; and have complex phylogeographic histories. The most divergent,S. perrico, belongs to a Tropical American clade that diverged from a Central Indo-Pacific ancestor in the late Miocene (6.6...

Genetic dissection of assortative mating behavior

Richard M. Merrill, Pasi Rastas, Simon H. Martin, Maria C. Melo, Sarah Barker, John Davey, W. Owen McMillan & Chris D. Jiggins
The evolution of new species is made easier when traits under divergent ecological selection are also mating cues. Such ecological mating cues are now considered more common than previously thought, but we still know little about the genetic changes underlying their evolution, or more generally about the genetic basis for assortative mating behaviors. Both tight physical linkage and the existence of large effect preference loci will strengthen genetic associations between behavioral and ecological barriers, promoting...

Multiple and extra-pair mating in a pair-living hermaphrodite, the intertidal limpet Siphonaria gigas

Jessica Schaefer, John Christy & Peter Marko
Pair-living is a common social system found across animal taxa, and the relationship between pair-living and reproduction varies greatly among species. Siphonaria gigas, hermaphroditic pulmonate gastropods, often live in pairs in the rocky intertidal zone of the tropical Eastern Pacific. Combining genetic parentage analysis using four polymorphic microsatellite loci with behavioral observations from a 10-week field study, we provide the first description of the mating system of a Siphonaria species incorporating genetic data. S. gigas...

Data from: Socially foraging bats discriminate between group members based on search-phase echolocation calls

Jenna Kohles, Gerald Carter, Rachel A. Page & Dina Dechmann
Animals have evolved diverse strategies to use social information for increasing foraging success and efficiency. Echolocating bats, for example, can eavesdrop on bats foraging nearby, because they shift from search-phase calls to feeding buzzes when they detect prey. Feeding buzzes can directly convey information about prey presence, but it is unknown whether search-phase calls also convey social information. Here we investigated whether search-phase echolocation calls, distinct calls produced by some bat species to scan large...

Strong genetic structure in a widespread estuarine crab: A test of potential versus realized dispersal

Carolyn Tepolt, April Blakeslee, Amy Fowler, John Darling, Mark Torchin, Whitman Miller & Gregory Ruiz
Aim: Genetic structure has proven difficult to predict for marine and estuarine species with multi-day pelagic larval durations, since many disperse far less than expected based on passive transport models. In such cases, the gap between potential and realized dispersal may result from larval behaviors that evolved to facilitate retention and settlement in favorable environments. Behavior is predicted to play a particularly key role in structuring truly estuarine species, which often moderate their behavior to...

Data from: Pantropical geography of lightning-caused disturbance and its implications for tropical forests

Evan Gora, Jeffrey Burchfield, Helene Muller-Landau, Phillip Bitzer & Stephen Yanoviak
Lightning is a major agent of disturbance, but its ecological effects in the tropics are unquantified. Here, we used ground and satellite sensors to quantify the geography of lightning strikes in terrestrial tropical ecosystems, and to evaluate whether spatial variation in lightning frequency is associated with variation in tropical forest structure and dynamics. Between 2013 and 2018, tropical terrestrial ecosystems received an average of 100.4 million lightning strikes per year, and the frequency of strikes...

Effect of the Central American Isthmus on gene flow and divergence of the American crocodile Crocodylus acutus

Jose Avila-Cervantes, Carlos Arias, Miryam Venegas-Anaya, Marta Vargas, Hans C. E. Larsson & W. Owen McMillan
The final formation of the Central American Isthmus (CAI) about 3.5 Ma altered global ocean circulation, connected North and South America terrestrial biotas and established the Caribbean Sea. The nature of this event creates a natural scenario to test vicariance, divergence, and speciation by allopatry. Studies have shown the effect of the CAI on marine and terrestrial species, but none have examined a large-bodied amphibious taxon. We used RAD sequencing on populations of the American...

Data from: Dermal denticle assemblages in coral reef sediments correlate with conventional shark surveys

Erin Dillon, Kevin Lafferty, Douglas McCauley, Darcy Bradley, Richard Norris, Jennifer Caselle, Graziella DiRenzo, Jonathan Gardner & Aaron O'Dea
It is challenging to assess long-term trends in mobile, long-lived, and relatively rare species such as sharks. Despite ongoing declines in many coastal shark populations, conventional surveys might be too fleeting and too recent to describe population trends over decades to millennia. Placing recent shark declines into historical context should improve management efforts as well as our understanding of past ecosystem dynamics. A new paleoecological approach for surveying shark abundance on coral reefs is to...

Variation of chemical compounds in wild Heliconiini reveals ecological and historical contributions to the evolution of chemical defences in mimetic butterflies

Ombeline Sculfort, Érika Pinheiro De Castro, Krzysztof Kozak, Søren Bak, Marianne Elias, Bastien Nay & Violaine Llaurens
Evolutionary convergence of colour pattern in mimetic species is tightly linked with the evolution of chemical defences. Yet, the evolutionary forces involved in natural variations of chemical defences in aposematic species are still understudied. Herein, we focus on the evolution chemical defences in the butterfly tribe Heliconiini. These neo-tropical butterflies contain large concentrations of cyanogenic glucosides, cyanide-releasing compounds acting as predator deterrent. These compounds are either de novo synthesized or sequestered from their Passiflora host-plant,...

Alignments of Sequence Data for Phylogenetic Analysis of Damsel

Emily McFarland, Carole Baldwin, D Ross Robertson, Luiz Rocha & Luke Tornabene
Initially described in 1882, Chromis enchrysurus, the Yellowtail Reeffish, was redescribed in 1982 to account for an observed color morph that possesses a white tail instead of a yellow one, but morphological and geographic boundaries between the two color morphs were not well understood. Taking advantage of newly collected material from submersible studies of deep reefs and photographs from rebreather dives, we sought to determine whether the white-tailed Chromis is actually a color morph of...

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...

Predation risks of signalling and searching: bats prefer moving katydids

Inga Geipel, Ciara E. Kernan, Amber S. Litterer, Gerald G. Carter, Rachel A. Page & Hannah M. Hofstede
Males signalling their attractiveness to females are at risk from predators that exploit mating signals to detect and locate prey. Signalling, however, is not the only risky activity in sexual interactions: mate searching can incur risk as well. Male Neotropical pseudophylline katydids produce both acoustic and vibrational signals (tremulations). Females reply to male signals with tremulations of their own, and both sexes walk to find one another. We asked if movement increases predation risk, and...

Social trematodes parasites increase standing army size in areas of greater invasion threat

Emlyn Resetarits, Mark Torchin & Ryan Hechinger
Organisms or societies are resource limited, causing important trade-offs between reproduction and defence. Given such trade-offs, optimal allocation theory predicts that, for animal societies with a soldier caste, allocation to soldiers should reflect local external threats. Although both threat intensity and soldier allocation can vary widely in nature, we currently lack strong evidence that spatial variation in threat can drive corresponding variation in soldier allocation. The diverse guild of trematode parasites of the California horn...

Data from: Genomic evidence of prevalent hybridization throughout the evolutionary history of the fig-wasp pollination mutualism

Gang Wang, Xingtan Zhang, Edward Herre, Charles Cannon, Doyle McKey, Carlos Machado, Wen-Bin Yu, Michael Arnold, Rodrigo Pereira, Ray Ming, Yi-Fei Liu, Yibin Wang, Dongna Ma & Jin Chen
Ficus (figs) and their agaonid wasp pollinators present an ecologically important mutualism that also provides a rich comparative system for studying functional co-diversification throughout its coevolutionary history (~75 million years). We obtained entire nuclear, mitochondrial, and chloroplast genomes for 15 species representing all major clades of Ficus. Multiple analyses of these genomic data suggest that hybridization events have occurred throughout Ficus evolutionary history. Furthermore, cophylogenetic reconciliation analyses detect significant incongruence among all nuclear, chloroplast, and...

Divergent microbiota of echinoid eggs separated by the Isthmus of Panama

Tyler Carrier, Harilaos Lessios & Adam Reitzel
Relationships between animals and their associated microbiota are dependent on the evolutionary history of the host and on the environment. The majority of studies tend to focus on one of these factors and rarely consider how both determine the community composition of the associated bacteria. One “natural experiment” to test how evolutionary history, shared environments, and the interaction between these factors drive community composition is to compare geminate species pairs. Echinoids separated by the Isthmus...

Clustering of loci controlling species differences in male chemical bouquets of sympatric Heliconius butterflies

Kelsey Byers, Kathy Darragh, Sylvia Fernanda Garza, Diana Abondano Almeida, Ian Warren, Pasi Rastas, Richard Merrill, Stefan Schulz, W. Owen McMillan & Chris Jiggins
The degree to which loci promoting reproductive isolation cluster in the genome – i.e. the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation - can influence the tempo and mode of speciation. Tight linkage between these loci can facilitate speciation in the face of gene flow. Pheromones play a role in reproductive isolation in many Lepidoptera species, and the role of endogenously-produced compounds as secondary metabolites decreases the likelihood of pleiotropy associated with many barrier loci. Heliconius butterflies...

Data from: Local adaptation to herbivory within tropical tree species along a rainfall gradient

Andrew Muehleisen, Bettina Engelbrecht, F. Andrew Jones, Eric Manzané-Pinzón & Liza Comita
In tropical forests, insect herbivores exert significant pressure on plant populations. Adaptation to such pressure is hypothesized to be a driver of high tropical diversity, but direct evidence for local adaptation to herbivory in tropical forests is sparse. At the same time, herbivore pressure has been hypothesized to increase with rainfall in the tropics, which could lead to differences among sites in the degree of local adaptation. To assess the presence of local adaptation and...

Data from: A mechanistic and empirically-supported lightning risk model for forest trees

Evan Gora, Jeffrey Burchfield, Helene Muller-Landau, Phillip Bitzer, Stephen Hubbell & Stephen Yanoviak
Tree death due to lightning influences tropical forest carbon cycling and tree community dynamics. However, the distribution of lightning damage among trees in forests remains poorly understood. We developed models to predict direct and secondary lightning damage to trees based on tree size, crown exposure, and local forest structure. We parameterized these models using data on the locations of lightning strikes and censuses of tree damage in strike zones, combined with drone-based maps of tree...

Registration Year

  • 2020

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
  • University of Cambridge
  • McGill University
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Alabama in Huntsville
  • Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
  • University of Helsinki