Data from: Interactive effects of exogenous and endogenous factors on demographic rates of an African rodentChloé R. Nater, Cindy I. Canale, Koen J. Van Benthem, Chi-Hang Yuen, Ivana Schoepf, Neville Pillay, Arpat Ozgul & Carsten Schradin
Exogenous and endogenous environmental factors can have simultaneous additive as well as interacting effects on life-history traits. Ignoring such interactions can lead to a biased understanding of variability in demographic rates and consequently population dynamics. These interactions have been the focus of decades-long debates on the mechanisms underlying small mammal population fluctuations. They have often been studied indirectly through seasonal effects, but studies considering them directly and more mechanistically are rare. We investigated the joint...
Data from: Fire frequency drives habitat selection by a diverse herbivore guild impacting top–down control of plant communities in an African savannaDeron E. Burkepile, Dave I. Thompson, Richard W. S. Fynn, Sally E. Koerner, Stephanie Eby, Navashni Govender, Nicole Hagenah, Nathan P. Lemoine, Katherine J. Matchett, Kevin R. Wilcox, Scott L. Collins, Kevin P. Kirkman, Alan K. Knapp & Melinda D. Smith
In areas with diverse herbivore communities such as African savannas, the frequency of disturbance by fire may alter the top–down role of different herbivore species on plant community dynamics. In a seven year experiment in the Kruger National Park, South Africa, we examined the habitat use of nine common herbivore species across annually burned, triennially burned and unburned areas. We also used two types of exclosures (plus open access controls) to examine the impacts of...
Data from: Fuelwood sustainability revisited: integrating size structure and resprouting into a spatially realistic fuelshed modelWayne C. Twine & Ricardo M. Holdo
Much concern has been expressed about the sustainability of fuelwood harvesting in Africa. Most models predict that demand will outstrip supply within a few decades, resulting in severe deforestation. However, despite substantial impacts of harvesting on woody vegetation structure, the ‘fuelwood crisis’ predicted since the 1970s has not materialized. We propose that this is at least partially because regeneration through coppicing has been poorly accounted for in most models. We developed a local fuelwood model...
Sociologists coined the term "anomie" to describe societies that are characterized by disintegration and deregulation. Extending beyond conceptualizations of anomie that conflate the measurements of anomie as 'a state of society' and as a 'state of mind', we disentangle these conceptualizations and develop an analysis and measure of this phenomenon focusing on anomie as a perception of the 'state of society'. We propose that anomie encompasses two dimensions: a perceived breakdown in social fabric (i.e.,...
The canalization hypothesis postulates that the rate at which trait variation generates variation in the average individual fitness in a population determines how buffered traits are against environmental and genetic factors. The ranking of a species on the slow-fast continuum – the covariation among life-history traits describing species-specific life cycles along a gradient going from a long life, slow maturity, and low annual reproductive output, to a short life, fast maturity, and high annual reproductive...
Data from: Postcanine microstructure in Cricodon metabolus, a Middle Triassic gomphodont cynodont from south-eastern AfricaChristophe Hendrickx, Fernando Abdala & Jonah Choiniere
Cricodon metabolus is a trirachodontid cynodont from the Anisian (Middle Triassic) of eastern and southern Africa. It has labiolingually expanded (gomphodont) postcanines but also a sectorial tooth in the last postcanine locus. In this paper, we examine the crown microstructure of isolated sectorial and gomphodont postcanines belonging to the holotype specimen of this taxon using scanning electron microscopy. The enamel of both teeth is prismless and composed of discontinuous columnar divergence units, supporting the consistent...
Data from: Human-mediated extirpation of the unique Chatham Islands sea lion and implications for the conservation management of remaining New Zealand sea lion populationsNicolas J. Rawlence, Catherine J. Collins, Christian N. K. Anderson, Justin J. Maxwell, Ian W. G. Smith, Bruce C. Robertson, Michael Knapp, Katherine Ann Horsburgh, Jo-Ann L. Stanton, R. Paul Scofield, Alan J. D. Tennyson, Elizabeth A. Matisoo-Smith & Jonathan M. Waters
While terrestrial megafaunal extinctions have been well characterized worldwide, our understanding of declines in marine megafauna remains limited. Here, we use ancient DNA analyses of prehistoric (<1450–1650 AD) sea lion specimens from New Zealand's isolated Chatham Islands to assess the demographic impacts of human settlement. These data suggest there was a large population of sea lions, unique to the Chatham Islands, at the time of Polynesian settlement. This distinct mitochondrial lineage became rapidly extinct within...
1.Productivity and herbivory often interact to shape plant community composition and species richness with levels of production mediating the impact of herbivory. Yet, differences in herbivore traits such as size, feeding guild, and dietary requirements may result in different impacts of diverse herbivore guilds across productivity gradients. 2.We used size-selective herbivore exclosures to separate the effects of herbivory by larger herbivores, such as elephant, Burchell's zebra, and blue wildebeest from those of medium/smaller herbivores, such...
Data from: Gut microbiota of dung beetles correspond to dietary specializations of adults and larvaeShantanu P. Shukla, Jon G. Sanders, Marcus J. Byrne & Naomi E. Pierce
Vertebrate dung is central to the dung beetle life cycle, constituting food for adults and a protective and nutritive refuge for their offspring. Adult dung beetles have soft mandibles and feed primarily on nutritionally rich dung particles, while larvae have sclerotized mandibles and consume coarser dung particles with a higher C/N ratio. Here, using the dung beetles Euoniticellus intermedius and E. triangulatus, we show that these morphological adaptations in mandibular structure are also correlated with...
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: X-rays and virtual taphonomy resolve the first Cissus (Vitaceae) macrofossils from Africa as early diverging members of the genusNeil F. Adams, Margaret E. Collinson, Selena Y. Smith, Marion K. Bamford, Félix Forest, Panagiota Malakasi, Federica Marone & Dan Sykes
PREMISE OF THE STUDY: Fossilized seeds similar to Cissus (Vitaceae) have been recognized from the Miocene of Kenya, though some were previously assigned to the Menispermaceae. We undertook a comparative survey of extant African Cissus seeds to identify the fossils and consider their implications for the evolution and biogeography of Cissus and for African early Miocene paleoenvironments. METHODS: Micro-computed tomography (µCT) and synchrotron-based X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM) were used to study seed morphology and anatomy....
Data from: The evolutionary relationships and age of Homo naledi: an assessment using dated Bayesian phylogenetic methodsMana 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...
University of the Witwatersrand12
University of Botswana2
University of Cape Town2
National University of Malaysia1
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor1
Federal University of Paraíba1
University of California System1
Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier1
University of Queensland1
Royal Botanic Gardens1