32 Works

Foraging in a dynamic environment: response of four sympatric sub-Antarctic albatross species to interannual environmental variability

Tegan Carpenter-Kling, Ryan Reisinger, Florian Orgeret, Maelle Connan, Kim Stevens, Peter Ryan, Azwianewi Makhado & Pierre Pistorius
Seasonal and annual climate variations are linked to fluctuations in the abundance and distribution of resources, posing a significant challenge to animals that need to adjust their foraging behaviour accordingly. Particularly during adverse conditions, and while energetically constrained when breeding, animals ideally need to be flexible in their foraging behaviour. Such behavioural plasticity may separate ‘winners’ from ‘losers’ in light of rapid environmental changes due to climate change. Here, the foraging behaviour of four sub-Antarctic...

Data from: Phantoms of the forest: legacy risk effects of a regionally extinct large carnivore

Ellinor Sahlén, Sonja Noell, Christopher S. DePerno, Jonas Kindberg, Göran Spong, Joris P. G. M. Cromsigt & Joris P.G.M. Cromsigt
The increased abundance of large carnivores in Europe is a conservation success, but the impact on the behavior and population dynamics of prey species is generally unknown. In Europe, the recolonization of large carnivores often occurs in areas where humans have greatly modified the landscape through forestry or agriculture. Currently, we poorly understand the effects of recolonizing large carnivores on extant prey species in anthropogenic landscapes. Here, we investigated if ungulate prey species showed innate...

Data from: Insect outbreaks alter nutrient dynamics in a southern African savanna: patchy defoliation of Colophospermum mopane savanna by Imbrasia belina larvae

Donovan B. De Swardt, Corli Wigley-Coetsee & Tim G. O’Connor
Severe defoliation is expected to affect nutrient cycling of an impacted system. Outbreaks of the lepidopteran Imbrasia belina (mopane worm) affect discrete patches of Colophospermum mopane trees in semi-arid savanna; larvae may completely defoliate trees for up to six weeks during each of the early and late growing seasons. We studied the impact of mopane worm outbreaks on the availability of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium within mopane savanna by comparing defoliated with non-defoliated savanna patches....

Data from: Top–down limits on prey populations may be more severe in larger prey species, despite having fewer predators

Elizabeth Le Roux, David G. Marneweck, Geoff Clinning, Dave J. Druce, Graham I.H. Kerley & Joris P.G.M. Cromsigt
Variation in the vulnerability of herbivore prey to predation is linked to body size, yet whether this relationship is size‐nested or size‐partitioned remains debated. If size‐partitioned, predators would be focused on prey within their preferred prey size range. If size‐nested, smaller prey species should become increasingly more vulnerable because increasingly more predators are capable of catching them. Yet, whether either of these strategies manifests in top‐down prey population limitation would depend both on the number...

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: 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: At sea vocal repertoire of a foraging seabird

Andréa Thiebault, Isabelle Charrier, Pierre Pistorius & Thierry Aubin
Seabirds spend most of their time at sea, yet our knowledge of their activities and behaviour is limited due to difficulties of in-situ data collection. In particular, we know virtually nothing about their acoustic communication when at sea. We benefited from the recent development of miniaturised audio-recording devices to deployacoustic recorders on breeding Cape gannets Morus capensis to study their vocal activity while foraging. Call sequences were recorded on 1718 occasions, from which acoustic variables...

Cross-continental analysis of coastal biodiversity change

Helmut Hillebrand, Gavin M. Rishworth, Janine B. Adams, Matthew S. Bird, Nicola K. Carrasco, Andreas Dänhardt, Jennifer Dannheim, Daniel A. Lemley, Pierre A. Pistorius & Gregor Scheiffarth
Whereas the anthropogenic impact on marine biodiversity is undebated, the quantification and prediction of this change is not trivial. Simple traditional measures of biodiversity (e.g., richness, diversity indices) do not capture the magnitude and direction of changes in species or functional composition. In this paper, we apply recently developed methods for measuring biodiversity turnover to time-series data of four broad taxonomic groups from two coastal regions: the southern North Sea (Germany) and the South African...

Data from: Quantification of avian hazards to military aircraft and implications for wildlife management

Morgan B. Pfeiffer, Bradley F. Blackwell & Travis L. DeVault
Collisions between birds and military aircraft are common and can have catastrophic effects. Knowledge of relative wildlife hazards to aircraft (the likelihood of aircraft damage when a species is struck) is needed before estimating wildlife strike risk (combined frequency and severity component) at military airfields. Despite annual reviews of wildlife strike trends with civil aviation since the 1990s, little is known about wildlife strike trends for military aircraft. We hypothesized that species relative hazard scores...

Data from: The conservation status and population decline of the African penguin deconstructed in space and time

Richard Sherley, Robert Crawford, Andrew De Blocq, Bruce Dyer, Deon Geldenhuys, Christina Hagen, Jessica Kemper, Azwianewi Makhado, Lorien Pichegru, Desmond Tom, Leshia Upfold, Johan Visagie, Lauren Waller & Henning Winker
Understanding changes in abundance is crucial for conservation, but population growth rates often vary over space and time. We use 40 years of count data (1979–2019) and Bayesian state-space models to assess the African penguin Spheniscus demersus population under IUCN Red List Criterion A. We deconstruct the overall decline in time and space to identify where urgent conservation action is needed. The global African penguin population met the threshold for Endangered with a high probability...

Data from: How to capture fish in a school? Effect of successive predator attacks on seabird feeding success

Andréa Thiebault, Magali Semeria, Christophe Lett & Yann Tremblay
1. Prey aggregations, such as fish schools, attract numerous predators. This typically leads to the formation of multi-specific groups of predators. These aggregations can be seen both as a place of increased competition and as a place of possible facilitation between predators. Consequently, the functional role of such predator-prey aggregation is uncertain, and its effect on individual feeding success is virtually unknown. 2. Using underwater film footages of different predators feeding on fish schools during...

Data from: Comparative population genomics reveals key barriers to dispersal in Southern Ocean penguins

Gemma V. Clucas, Jane L. Younger, Damian Kao, Louise Emmerson, Colin Southwell, Barbara Wienecke, Alex D. Rogers, Charles-Andre Bost, Gary D. Miller, Michael J. Polito, Patrick Lelliot, Jonathan Handley, Sarah Crofts, Richard A. Phillips, Michael J. Dunn, Karen J. Miller, Tom Hart & Patrick Lelliott
The mechanisms that determine patterns of species dispersal are important factors in the production and maintenance of biodiversity. Understanding these mechanisms helps to forecast the responses of species to environmental change. Here we used a comparative framework and genome-wide data obtained through RAD-seq to compare the patterns of connectivity among breeding colonies for five penguin species with shared ancestry, overlapping distributions, and differing ecological niches, allowing an examination of the intrinsic and extrinsic barriers governing...

Data from: Seascape genetics of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus in the Western Indian Ocean: understanding how oceanographic features shape the genetic structure of species with high larval dispersal potential

Sohana P. Singh, Johan C. Groeneveld, Michael G. Hart-Davis, Björn C. Backeberg & Sandi Willows-Munro
This study examines the fine-scale population genetic structure and phylogeography of the spiny lobster Panulirus homarus in the Western Indian Ocean. A seascape genetics approach was used to relate the observed genetic structure based on 21 microsatellite loci to ocean circulation patterns, and to determine the influence of latitude, sea surface temperature (SST) and ocean turbidity (KD490) on population-level processes. At a geospatial level, the genetic clusters recovered corresponded to three putative subspecies, P. h....

Fifty years of European ungulate dietary studies: a synthesis

Robert Spitzer, Annika Felton, Marietjie Landman, Navinder Singh, Fredrik Widemo & Joris Cromsigt
Over recent decades, ungulate populations across Europe have undergone a rapid recovery. While this constitutes a conservation success, there is increasing concern about their impacts on shared resources with humans. Understanding ungulate food choices is crucial for predicting such impacts. Numerous studies have focused on single species or communities at narrow spatial scales. Here, we used 265 published diets from 87 European studies to investigate patterns of resource use by four common deer species (moose...

Data from: Dispersal in the sub-Antarctic: king penguins show remarkably little population genetic differentiation across their range

Gemma V. Clucas, Jane L. Younger, Damian Kao, Alex D. Rogers, Jonathan Handley, Gary D. Miller, Pierre Jouventin, Paul Nolan, Karim Gharbi, Karen J. Miller & Tom Hart
Background: Seabirds are important components of marine ecosystems, both as predators and as indicators of ecological change, being conspicuous and sensitive to changes in prey abundance. To determine whether fluctuations in population sizes are localised or indicative of large-scale ecosystem change, we must first understand population structure and dispersal. King penguins are long-lived seabirds that occupy a niche across the sub-Antarctic zone close to the Polar Front. Colonies have very different histories of exploitation, population...

Data from: Niche conservatism and the invasive potential of the wild boar

Lilian Patricia Sales, Bruno R. Ribeiro, Matt Warrington Hayward, Adriano P. Paglia, Marcelo Passamani & Rafael Loyola
1.Niche conservatism, i.e. the retention of a species’ fundamental niche through evolutionary time, is cornerstone for biological invasion assessments. The fact that species tend to maintain their original climate niche allows predictive maps of invasion risk to anticipate potential invadable areas. Unraveling the mechanisms driving niche shifts can shed light on the management of invasive species. 2.Here, we assessed niche shifts in one of the world's worst invasive species: the wild boar Sus scrofa. We...

Data from: Diet shifts by adult flightless dung beetles Circellium bacchus, revealed using DNA metabarcoding, reflect complex life histories

Graham I. H. Kerley, Marietjie Landman, Gentile F. Ficetola, Frédéric Boyer, Aurélie Bonin, Delphine Rioux, Pierre Taberlet & Eric Coissac
Life history changes may change resource use. Such shifts are not well understood in the dung beetles, despite recognized differences in larval and adult feeding ability. We use the flightless dung beetle Circellium bacchus to explore such shifts, identifying dung sources of adults using DNA metabarcoding, and comparing these with published accounts of larval dung sources. C. bacchus is traditionally considered to specialise on the dung of large herbivores for both larval and adult feeding....

Data from: Sex-specific and individual preferences for hunting strategies in white sharks

Alison V. Towner, Vianey Leos-Barajas, Roland Langrock, Robert S. Schick, Malcolm J. Smale, Tami Kaschke, Oliver J.D. Jewell, Yannis P. Papastamatiou & Oliver J. D. Jewell
Fine-scale predator movements may be driven by many factors including sex, habitat, and distribution of resources. There may also be individual preferences for certain movement strategies within a population which can be hard to quantify. Within top predators, movements are also going to be directly related to the mode of hunting; for example sit-and-wait or actively searching for prey. Although there is mounting evidence that different hunting modes can cause opposing trophic cascades, there has...

Data from: Compensatory life history responses of a mesopredator may undermine carnivore management efforts

Liaan Minnie, Angela Gaylard & Graham I. H. Kerley
Lethal carnivore management, aimed at reducing carnivore impacts, is a global phenomenon threatening the persistence of many carnivores. Black-backed jackals Canis mesomelas, the dominant cause of livestock predation in southern Africa, are widely hunted to reduce livestock predation. Despite centuries of lethal management, jackals persist. Smaller canids, like jackals, are highly adaptable and display variable responses to mortality sources, which may affect management outcomes. The effects of killing carnivores will depend on their behaviour, social...

Data from: Sacrificial males: the potential role of copulation and predation in contributing to copepod sex-skewed ratios

Ryan J. Wasserman, Mark Weston, Olaf L.F. Weyl, P. William Froneman, Rebecca J. Welch, Tim J.F. Vink, Tatenda Dalu & Tim J. F. Vink
Predation is thought to play a selective role in the emergence of behavioural traits in prey. Differences in behaviour between prey demographics may, therefore, be driven by predation with select components of the population being less vulnerable to predators. While under controlled conditions prey demography has been shown to have consequences for predation success, investigations linking these implications to natural prey population demographics are scarce. Here we assess predator-prey dynamics between notonectid predators (backswimmers) and...

Data from: Phylogenetic relationships in the southern African genus Drosanthemum (Ruschioideae, Aizoaceae)

Sigrid Liede-Schumann, Nicolai M. Nürk, Guido W. Grimm, Alastair J. Potts & Ulrich Ulrich
Background. Drosanthemum, the only genus of the tribe Drosanthemeae, is widespread over the Greater Cape Floristic Region in southern Africa. With 114 recognized species, Drosanthemum together with the highly succulent and species-rich tribe Ruschieae constitute the ‘core ruschioids’ in Aizoaceae. Within Drosanthemum, nine subgenera have been described based on flower and fruit morphology. Their phylogenetic relationships, however, have not yet been investigated, hampering understanding of monophyletic entities and patterns of geographic distribution. Methods. Using chloroplast...

Data from: Behaviourally mediated predation avoidance in penguin prey: in situ evidence from animal-borne camera loggers

Jonathan M. Handley, Andréa Thiebault, Andrew Stanworth, David Schutt & Pierre Pistorius
Predator dietary studies often assume that diet is reflective of the diversity and relative abundance of their prey. This interpretation ignores species-specific behavioural adaptations in prey that could influence prey capture. Here, we develop and describe a scalable biologging protocol, using animal-borne camera loggers, to elucidate the factors influencing prey capture by a seabird, the gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua). From the video evidence, we show, for the first time, that aggressive behavioural defence mechanisms by...

Data from: Group foraging increases foraging efficiency in a piscivorous diver, the African penguin

Alistair M. McInnes, Cuan McGeorge, Samuel Ginsberg, Lorien Pichegru & Pierre A. Pistorius
Marine piscivores have evolved a variety of morphological and behavioural adaptations, including group foraging, to optimize foraging efficiency when targeting shoaling fish. For penguins that are known to associate at sea and feed on these prey resources, there is nonetheless a lack of empirical evidence to support improved foraging efficiency when foraging with conspecifics. We examined the hunting strategies and foraging performance of breeding African penguins equipped with animal-borne video recorders. Individuals pursued both solitary...

Data from: Pleistocene range dynamics in the eastern Greater Cape Floristic Region: a case study of the Little Karoo endemic Berkheya cuneata (Asteraceae)

Alastair J. Potts, Terry A. Hedderson, Jan H. J. Vlok, Richard M. Cowling & Jan H.J. Vlok
The glacial–interglacial climate cycles of the Pleistocene played a significant role in dramatically altering species distributions across the globe. However, the climate of the Greater Cape Floristic Region is thought to have been decoupled from global fluctuations and the current Mediterranean climate remained relatively buffered during this period. Here we explore the roles of climate stability and the topographic complexity of the region on the range history of an endemic Little Karoo plant, Berkheya cuneata,...

Data from: Foraging behaviour and habitat-use drives niche segregation in sibling seabird species

Ryan Reisinger, Tegan Carpenter-Kling, Maëlle Connan, Yves Cherel & Pierre Pistorius
To mediate competition, similar sympatric species are assumed to utilise different resources, or the same but geographically separated resources. The two giant petrels (Macronectes spp.) are intriguing in that they are morphologically similar seabirds with overlapping diets and distributions. To better understand the mechanisms allowing their co-existence, we investigated intra- and interspecific niche segregation at Marion Island (Southern Indian Ocean), one of the few localities where they breed in sympatry. We used GPS tracks from...

Registration Year

  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2013

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • Nelson Mandela University
  • University of Cape Town
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
  • University of Exeter
  • Rhodes University
  • Bielefeld University
  • University of St Andrews
  • Tata Institute of Fundamental Research