22 Works

Data from: Cats, connectivity and conservation: incorporating datasets and integrating scales for wildlife management

Ross T. Pitman, Julien Fattebert, Samual T. Williams, Kathryn S. Williams, Russell A. Hill, Luke T. B. Hunter, Hugh Robinson, John Power, Lourens Swanepoel, Rob Slotow & Guy A. Balme
Understanding resource selection and quantifying habitat connectivity are fundamental to conservation planning for both land-use and species management plans. However, datasets available to management authorities for resource selection and connectivity analyses are often highly limited and fragmentary. As a result, measuring connectivity is challenging, and often poorly integrated within conservation planning and wildlife management. To exacerbate the challenge, scale-dependent resource use makes inference across scales problematic, resource use is often modelled in areas where the...

Data from: Woody encroachment over 70 years in South African savannas: overgrazing, global change or extinction aftershock?

Nicola Stevens, Barend Erasmus, Sally Archibald & William Bond
Woody encroachment in “open” biomes like grasslands and savannas is occurring globally.Both local and global drivers, including elevated CO2, have been implicated in these increases. The relative importance of different processes is unresolved as there are few multisite, multi land-use, evaluations of woody plant encroachment. We measured 70 years of woody cover changes over a 1020km2 area covering four land uses (commercial ranching, conservation with elephants, conservation without elephants and communal rangelands) across a rainfall...

Data from: The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: an assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methods

Mana Dembo, Davorka Radovčić, Heather M. Garvin, Myra F. Laird, Lauren Schroeder, Jill E. Scott, Juliet Brophy, Rebecca R. Ackermann, Charles M. Musiba, Darryl J. De Ruiter, Arne Ø. Mooers, Mark Collard & Chares M. Musiba
Homo naledi is a recently discovered species of fossil hominin from South Africa. A considerable amount is already known about H. naledi but some important questions remain unanswered. Here we report a study that addressed two of them: “Where does H. naledi fit in the hominin evolutionary tree?” and “How old is it?” We used a large supermatrix of craniodental characters for both early and late hominin species and Bayesian phylogenetic techniques to carry out...

Data from: Coupled range dynamics of brood parasites and their hosts responding to climate and vegetation changes

Guillaume Péron, Res Altwegg, Gabriel A. Jamie & Claire N. Spottiswoode
As populations shift their ranges in response to global change, local species assemblages can change, setting the stage for new ecological interactions, community equilibria, and evolutionary responses. Here we focus on the range dynamics of four avian brood parasite species and their hosts in southern Africa, in a context of bush encroachment (increase in woody vegetation density in places previously occupied by savanna-grassland mosaics) favouring some species at the expense of others. We first tested...

Data from: Processes of community assembly in an environmentally heterogeneous, high biodiversity region

Matthew E. Aiello-Lammens, Jasper A. Slingsby, Cory Merow, Hayley Kilroy Mollmann, Douglas Euston-Brown, Cynthia S. Jones, & John A. Silander
Despite decades of study, the relative importance of niche-based versus neutral processes in community assembly remains largely ambiguous. Recent work suggests niche-based processes are more easily detectable at coarser spatial scales, while neutrality dominates at finer scales. Analyses of functional traits with multi-year multi-site biodiversity inventories may provide deeper insights into assembly processes and the effects of spatial scale. We examined associations between community composition, species functional traits, and environmental conditions for plant communities in...

Data from: Leaf traits of African woody savanna species across climate and soil fertility gradients: evidence for conservative vs. acquisitive resource use strategies

Benjamin J. Wigley, Jasper A. Slingsby, Sandra Diaz, William J. Bond, Herve Fritz & Corli Coetsee
1. Establishing trade-offs among traits and the degree to which they co-vary along environmental gradients has become a key focal point in the effort to develop community ecology into a predictive science. While there is evidence for these relationships across global datasets, they are often too broad in scale, and do not consider the particularities of local to regional species pools. This decreases their usefulness for developing predictive models at scales relevant for conservation and...

Data from: Pair complementarity influences reproductive output in the polymorphic black sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus)

Gareth Tate, Petra Sumasgutner, Ann Koeslag & Arjun Amar
How multiple morphs are maintained within populations of colour polymorphic bird species remains a challenging question in evolutionary ecology. In some systems, differential productivity or survival between morphs are thought to play a role. Here we examine key demographic parameters between the two discrete adult morphs that characterise the polymorphic black sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus. Using long-term breeding and survival data from a population on the Cape Peninsula, South Africa, we test for differences in reproductive...

Data from: Dietary studies in birds: testing a non-invasive method using digital photography in seabirds

Davide Gaglio, Timothée Cook, Maëlle Connan, Peter G. Ryan & Richard B. Sherley
Dietary studies give vital insights into foraging behaviour, with implications for understanding changing environmental conditions and the anthropogenic impacts on natural resources. Traditional diet sampling methods may be invasive or subject to biases, so developing non-invasive and unbiased methods applicable to a diversity of species is essential. We used digital photography to investigate the diet fed to chicks of a prey-carrying seabird and compared our approach (photo-sampling) to a traditional method (regurgitations) for the greater...

Data from: Drivers of bird species richness within moist high-altitude grasslands in eastern South Africa

David H. Maphisa, Hanneline Smit-Robinson, Les G. Underhill & Res Altwegg
Moist high-altitude grasslands in South Africa are renowned for high avifaunal diversity and are priority areas for conservation. Conservation management of these areas conflicts with management for other uses, such as intensive livestock agriculture, which requires annual burning and leads to heavy grazing. Recently the area has become target for water storage schemes and renewable electricity energy projects. There is therefore an urgent need to investigate environmental factors and habitat factors that affect bird species...

Data from: Analysis of animal accelerometer data using hidden Markov models

Vianey Leos-Barajas, Theoni Photopoulou, Roland Langrock, Toby A. Patterson, Yuuki Y. Watanabe, Megan Murgatroyd & Yannis P. Papastamatiou
Use of accelerometers is now widespread within animal biologging as they provide a means of measuring an animal's activity in a meaningful and quantitative way where direct observation is not possible. In sequential acceleration data, there is a natural dependence between observations of behaviour, a fact that has been largely ignored in most analyses. Analyses of acceleration data where serial dependence has been explicitly modelled have largely relied on hidden Markov models (HMMs). Depending on...

Data from: Edaphic properties enable facilitative and competitive interactions resulting in fairy circle formation

Michael D. Cramer, Nichole N. Barger & Walter R. Tschinkel
Millions of generally regularly spaced, roughly circular barren patches called fairy circles occur in a narrow band ca. 100 km inland of the south-west African coast. These generally have conspicuously taller peripheral grasses in a shorter grass matrix. The origins of these fairy circles are controversial, but one possibility is that they are self-organizing emergent vegetation patterns that are the consequence of interplay between positive (facilitative) and negative (competitive) interactions between grasses. We hypothesized that...

Data from: Maternal transfer of androgens in eggs is affected by food supplementation but not by predation risk

Chiara Morosinotto, Robert L. Thomson, Suvi Ruuskanen, Erkki Korpimäki, Esa Lehikoinen, Erich Möstl & Toni Laaksonen
Mothers may affect the future success of their offspring by varying allocation to eggs and embryos. Allocation may be adaptive based on the environmental conditions perceived during early breeding. We investigated the effects of food supplementation and predation risk on yolk hormone transfer in the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca. In a food supplementation experiment, females were food-supplemented prior to and during egg-laying and androgen concentrations were measured throughout the laying order. Predation risk was investigated...

Data from: A rare study from the wintering grounds provides insight into the costs of malaria infection for migratory birds

Marjorie C. Sorensen, Muhammad Asghar, Staffan Bensch, Graham D. Fairhurst, Susanne Jenni-Eiermann & Claire N. Spottiswoode
Malaria parasites can have strong effects on the population dynamics and evolution of migratory bird species. In many species, parasite transmission occurs on the wintering grounds, but studies to determine the consequences of infection have taken place during the breeding season, when malaria parasites circulate at chronic levels. We examined the predictors of malarial infections for great reed warblers during the northern winter in Africa, where active parasite transmission is thought to occur and naïve...

Data from: Measures of biologically relevant environmental heterogeneity improve prediction of regional plant species richness

Michael D. Cramer & G. Anthony Verboom
Aim:Relatively few models of species richness explicitly consider aspects of environmental heterogeneity, other than topographic heterogeneity. We hypothesized that environmental heterogeneity is an important determinant of species richness, especially in ancient climatically stable environments. Location: South Africa, which accommodates a range of biomes that differ strongly in species richness.Methods: We included measures of climatic, edaphic and biotic variables and their spatial heterogeneities in boosted regression tree models of vascular plant species richness. Species richness was...

Data from: Adaptability of a specialist predator: the effects of land use on diet diversification and breeding performance of Verreaux’s eagles

Megan Murgatroyd, Graham Avery, Les Underhill, Arjun Amar & L. G. Underhill
Specialist predators are generally negatively impacted by habitat change. Predators that inhabit transformed areas are usually forced to diversify their diet and this departure away from traditional resources can have negative consequences for fitness and demographic parameters. We consider this relationship as it applies to Verreaux's eagles Aquila verreauxii, which is typically considered to be a highly specialised predator of hyraxes (Procavia and Heterohyrax spp.). We investigate diet in relation to land cover in two...

Data from: Relative advantages of dichromatic and trichromatic color vision in camouflage breaking

Jolyon Troscianko, Jared Wilson-Aggarwal, David Griffiths, Claire N. Spottiswoode & Martin Stevens
There is huge diversity in visual systems and color discrimination abilities, thought to stem from an animal’s ecology and life history. Many primate species maintain a polymorphism in color vision, whereby most individuals are dichromats but some females are trichromats, implying that selection sometimes favors dichromatic vision. Detecting camouflaged prey is thought to be a task where dichromatic individuals could have an advantage. However, previous work either has not been able to disentangle camouflage detection...

Data from: Genetic and paleomodelling evidence of the population expansion of the cattle egret Bubulcus ibis in Africa during the climatic oscillations of the Late Pleistocene

Carlos Congrains, Antônio F. Carvalho, , Graeme S. Cumming, Dominic A. W. Henry, Shiiwua A. Manu, Jacinta Abalaka, Cristiano D. Rocha, Moussa S. Diop, Joãozinho Sá, Hamilton Monteiro, Lars H. Holbech, Francis Gbogbo & Silvia N. Del Lama
Increasing aridity during glacial periods produced the retraction of forests and the expansion of arid and semi-arid environments in Africa, with consequences for birds. Cattle egret (Bubulcus ibis) is a dispersive species that prefers semiarid environments and requires proximity to bodies of water. We expected that climatic oscillations led to the expansion of the range of the cattle egret during arid periods, such as the Last Maximum Glacial (LGM) and contraction of distribution during the...

Data from: Family morph matters: factors determining survival and recruitment in a long-lived polymorphic raptor

Petra Sumasgutner, Gareth J. Tate, Ann Koeslag & Arjun Amar
From an evolutionary perspective recruitment into the breeding population represents one of the most important life history stages and ultimately determines the effective population size. In order to contribute to the next generation, offspring must survive to sexual maturity, secure a territory and find a mate. In this study we explore factors influencing both offspring survival and their subsequent recruitment into the local breeding population in a long-lived urban raptor, the black sparrowhawk (Accipiter melanoleucus)....

Data from: Just Google it: assessing the use of Google Images to describe geographical variation in visible traits of organisms

Gabriella R. M. Leighton, Pierre S. Hugo, Alexandre Roulin & Arjun Amar
Describing spatial patterns of phenotypic traits can be important for evolutionary and ecological studies. However, traditional approaches, such as fieldwork, can be time-consuming and expensive. Information technologies, such as Internet search engines, could facilitate the collection of these data. Google Images is one such technology that might offer an opportunity to rapidly collect information on spatial patterns of phenotypic traits. We investigated the use of Google Images in extracting data on geographical variation in phenotypic...

Data from: Evaluation of Xpert® MTB/RIF assay in induced sputum and gastric lavage samples from young children with suspected tuberculosis from the MVA85A TB vaccine trial

Erick Wekesa Bunyasi, Michele Tameris, Hennie Geldenhuys, Bey-Marrie Schmidt, Angelique Kany Kany Luabeya, Humphrey Mulenga, Thomas J. Scriba, Willem A. Hanekom, Hassan Mahomed, Helen McShane & Mark Hatherill
Objective: Diagnosis of childhood tuberculosis is limited by the paucibacillary respiratory samples obtained from young children with pulmonary disease. We aimed to compare accuracy of the Xpert® MTB/RIF assay, an automated nucleic acid amplification test, between induced sputum and gastric lavage samples from young children in a tuberculosis endemic setting. Methods: We analyzed standardized diagnostic data from HIV negative children younger than four years of age who were investigated for tuberculosis disease near Cape Town,...

Data from: Wood warblers copy settlement decisions of poor quality conspecifics: support for the tradeoff between the benefit of social information use and competition avoidance

Jakub Szymkowiak, Robert L. Thomson & Lechosław Kuczyński
Social information use in songbird habitat selection commonly involves a conspecific attraction strategy. Individuals copy the breeding-site choices of conspecifics, that is, bias their own settlement decisions towards sites (tracts of spatially limited habitat with similar structure) already occupied by others. In order to be adaptive, social information use has to be discriminative. Especially the decisions of good quality individuals, i.e. measuring high at observable fitness correlates, should be copied more frequently than those of...

Data from: Competitors and predators alter settlement patterns and reproductive success of an intraguild prey

Chiara Morosinotto, Alexandre Villers, Robert L. Thomson, Rauno Varjonen & Erkki Korpimäki
The spatial distribution of predators is affected by intra- and interspecific interactions within the predator guild. Studying these interactions under fluctuating food availability, while taking habitat characteristics into account, offers a quasi-experimental set up to determine the relative impact of con- and heterospecifics on reproductive success of predators. We analyzed the settlement decisions and reproductive success of Eurasian pygmy owls (Glaucidium passerinum) in the presence of both breeding conspecifics and their competitor and intraguild predator,...

Registration Year

  • 2016

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Cambridge
  • Nelson Mandela University
  • University of Turku
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Exeter
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute
  • University of Montana
  • Federal University of São Carlos