517 Works

Complex interactions between sperm viability and female fertility

Maximiliano Tourmente, Archer Ruth & David Hosken
Sperm viability is a major male fitness component, with higher sperm viability associated with enhanced sperm competitiveness. While many studies have focussed on sperm viability from the male fitness standpoint, its impact on female fitness is less clear. Here we used a panel of 32 isogenic Drosophila simulans lines to test for genetic variation in sperm viability (percentage of viable cells). We then tested whether sperm viability affected female fitness by mating females to males...

Grazing intensity significantly changes the C:N:P stoichiometry in grassland ecosystems

Guiyao Zhou, Miao He, Tengfei Yuan, Kees Jan Van Groenigen, Junjiong Shao & Xuhui Zhou
Aim: Livestock grazing can alter carbon (C), nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) cycles, thereby affecting the C:N:P stoichiometry in grasslands. In this study, we aimed to examine the underlying mechanisms for the impacts of grazing intensity on grassland C:N:P stoichiometry, especially for the belowground processes and their linkages with aboveground vegetation properties. Location: Global. Time period: 1900-2018. Major taxa studied: Grassland ecosystems. Methods: Here, we conducted a meta-analysis based on 129 published studies to synthesize...

Experimentally increased brood size accelerates actuarial senescence and increases subsequent reproductive effort in a wild bird population

Jelle Boonekamp, Christina Bauch & Simon Verhulst
1. The assumption that reproductive effort decreases somatic state, accelerating ageing, is central to our understanding of life-history variation. Maximal reproductive effort early in life is predicted to be maladaptive by accelerating ageing disproportionally, decreasing fitness. 2. Optimality theory predicts that reproductive effort is restrained early in life to balance the fitness contribution of reproduction against the survival cost induced by the reproductive effort. When adaptive, the level of reproductive restraint is predicted to be...

Data and code from: Phytoplankton thermal responses adapt in the absence of hard thermodynamic constraints

Dimitrios-Georgios Kontopoulos, Erik Van Sebille, Michael Lange, Gabriel Yvon-Durocher, Timothy G. Barraclough & Samraat Pawar
To better predict how populations and communities respond to climatic temperature variation, it is necessary to understand how the shape of the response of fitness-related rates to temperature evolves (the thermal performance curve). Currently, there is disagreement about the extent to which the evolution of thermal performance curves is constrained. One school of thought has argued for the prevalence of thermodynamic constraints through enzyme kinetics, whereas another argues that adaptation can—at least partly—overcome such constraints....

A meta-analysis of biological impacts of artificial light at night

Dirk Sanders, Enric Frago, Rachel Kehoe, Christophe Patterson & Kevin Gaston
This is a database of published studies, that measuered how the exposure to artificial light at night impacts the physiology, daily activity patterns and life-history traits. The data were collected using a systematic review with searches in Web of Science and Scopus. We also provide the R-code that was used to analyse the dataset with meta-analytic models in MCMCglmm.

Data from: Mercury exposure in an endangered seabird: long-term changes and relationships with trophic ecology and breeding success

William Mills, Paco Bustamante, Rona McGill, Orea Anderson, Stuart Bearhop, Yves Cherel, Stephen Votier & Richard Phillips
Mercury (Hg) is an environmental contaminant which, at high concentrations, can negatively influence avian physiology and demography. Albatrosses (Diomedeidae) have higher Hg burdens than all other avian families. Here, we measure total Hg (THg) concentrations of body feathers from adult grey-headed albatrosses (Thalassarche chrysostoma) at South Georgia. Specifically, we: (i) analyse temporal trends at South Georgia (1989–2013) and make comparisons with other breeding populations; (ii) identify factors driving variation in THg concentrations; and, (iii) examine...

Ocean acidification induces distinct transcriptomic responses across life history stages of the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma

Hannah Devens, Phillip Davidson, Dione Deaker, Kathryn Smith, Maria Byrne & Gregory Wray
Ocean acidification (OA) from seawater uptake of rising carbon dioxide emissions impairs development in marine invertebrates, particularly in calcifying species. Plasticity in gene expression is thought to mediate many of these physiological effects, but how these responses change across life history stages remains unclear. The abbreviated lecithotrophic development of the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma provides a valuable opportunity to analyze gene expression responses across a wide range of life history stages, including the benthic, post-metamorphic...

Evaluating spatially explicit sharing-sparing scenarios for multiple environmental outcomes

Tom Finch, Brett Day, Dario Massimino, John Redhead, Rob Field, Andrew Balmford, Rhys Green & Will Peach
1. Understanding how to allocate land for the sustainable delivery of multiple, competing objectives is a major societal challenge. The land sharing-sparing framework presents a heuristic for understanding the trade-off between food production and biodiversity conservation by comparing region-wide land use scenarios which are equivalent in terms of overall food production. 2. Here, for two contrasting regions of lowland England (The Fens and Salisbury Plain), we use empirical data and predictive models to compare a...

Trophic resource partitioning drives fine-scale coexistence in cryptic bat species

Orly Razgour, Roberto Novella-Fernandez, Carlos Ibáñez, Javier Juste, Beth Clare & C. Patrick Doncaster
Understanding the processes that enable species coexistence has important implications for assessing how ecological systems will respond to global change. Morphology and functional similarity increase the potential for competition, and therefore, co-occurring morphologically similar but genetically unique species are a good model system for testing coexistence mechanisms. We used DNA metabarcoding and High Throughput Sequencing to characterise for the first time the trophic ecology of two recently-described cryptic bat species with parapatric ranges, Myotis escalerai...

Code for: Threshold assessment, categorical perception, and the evolution of reliable signaling

James Peniston, Patrick Green, Matthew Zipple & Stephen Nowicki
Animals often use assessment signals to communicate information about their quality to a variety of receivers, including potential mates, competitors, and predators. But what maintains reliable signaling and prevents signalers from signaling a better quality than they actually have? Previous work has shown that reliable signaling can be maintained if signalers pay fitness costs for signaling at different intensities and these costs are greater for lower quality individuals than higher quality ones. Models supporting this...

Data from: Sex differences in the effects of juvenile and adult diet on age-dependent reproductive effort

Thomas M. Houslay, John Hunt, Matthew C. Tinsley & Luc F. Bussière
Sexual selection should cause sex differences in patterns of resource allocation. When current and future reproductive effort trade-off, variation in resource acquisition might further cause sex differences in age-dependent investment, or in sensitivity to changes in resource availability over time. However, the nature and prevalence of sex differences in age-dependent investment remain unclear. We manipulated resource acquisition at juvenile and adult stages in decorated crickets, Gryllodes sigillatus, and assessed effects on sex-specific allocation to age-dependent...

Data from: Adaptive strategies in nocturnally migrating insects and songbirds: contrasting responses to wind

Jason W. Chapman, Cecilia Nilsson, Ka S. Lim, Johan Bäckman, Donald R. Reynolds, Thomas Alerstam & Don R. Reynolds
1. Animals that use flight as their mode of transportation must cope with the fact that their migration and orientation performance is strongly affected by the flow of the medium they are moving in, i.e. by the winds. Different strategies can be used to mitigate the negative effects and benefit from the positive effects of a moving flow. The strategies an animal can use will be constrained by the relationship between the speed of the...

Data from: Maternal effects and maternal selection arising from variation in allocation of free amino acid to eggs

Devi Newcombe, John Hunt, Christopher Mitchell & Allen J. Moore
Maternal provisioning can have profound effects on offspring phenotypes, or maternal effects, especially early in life. One ubiquitous form of provisioning is in the makeup of egg. However, only a few studies examine the role of specific egg constituents in maternal effects, especially as they relate to maternal selection (a standardized selection gradient reflecting the covariance between maternal traits and offspring fitness). Here, we report on the evolutionary consequences of differences in maternal acquisition and...

Data from: Image Calibration and Analysis Toolbox – a free software suite for measuring reflectance, colour, and pattern objectively and to animal vision

Jolyon Troscianko & Martin Stevens
1. Quantitative measurements of colour, pattern, and morphology are vital to a growing range of disciplines. Digital cameras are readily available and already widely used for making these measurements, having numerous advantages over other techniques, such as spectrometry. However, off-the-shelf consumer cameras are designed to produce images for human viewing, meaning that their uncalibrated photographs cannot be used for making reliable, quantitative measurements. Many studies still fail to appreciate this, and of those scientists who...

Data from: Sexual selection on cuticular hydrocarbons of male sagebrush crickets in the wild

Sandra Steiger, Geoffrey D. Ower, Johannes Stökl, Christopher Mitchell, John Hunt, Scott K. Sakaluk & J. Stokl
Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) play an essential role in mate recognition in insects but the form and intensity of sexual selection on CHCs has only been evaluated in a handful of studies, and never in a natural population. We quantified sexual selection operating on CHCs in a wild population of sagebrush crickets, a species in which nuptial feeding by females imposes an unambiguous phenotypic marker on males. Multivariate selection analysis revealed a saddle-shaped fitness surface, suggesting...

Data from: Racehorses are getting faster

Patrick Sharman & Alastair J. Wilson
Previous studies have concluded that thoroughbred racehorse speed is improving very slowly, if at all, despite heritable variation for performance and putatively intensive selective breeding. This has led to the suggestion that racehorses have reached a selection limit. However, previous studies have been limited, focusing only on the winning times of a few elite races run over middle and long distances, and failing to account for potentially confounding factors. Using a much larger dataset covering...

Data from: Female choice for male cuticular hydrocarbon profile in decorated crickets is not based on similarity to their own profile

Sandra Steiger, Alexandra Capodeanu-Nägler, Susan N. Gershman, Carie B. Weddle, James Rapkin, Scott K. Sakaluk & John Hunt
Indirect genetic benefits derived from female mate choice comprise additive (good genes) and non-additive genetic benefits (genetic compatibility). Although good genes can be revealed by condition-dependent display traits, the mechanism by which compatibility alleles are detected is unclear because evaluation of the genetic similarity of a prospective mate requires the female to assess the genotype of the male and compare it to her own. Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs), lipids coating the exoskeleton of most insects, influence...

Data from: Coevolutionary dynamics of polyandry and sex-linked meiotic drive

Luke Holman, Thomas A. R. Price, Nina Wedell & Hanna Kokko
Segregation distorters located on sex chromosomes are predicted to sweep to fixation and cause extinction via a shortage of one sex, but in nature they are often found at low, stable frequencies. One potential resolution to this long-standing puzzle involves female multiple mating (polyandry). Because many meiotic drivers severely reduce the sperm competitive ability of their male carriers, females are predicted to evolve more frequent polyandry and thereby promote sperm competition when a meiotic driver...

Data from: A rapid and cost-effective quantitative microsatellite genotyping protocol to estimate intraspecific competition in protist microcosm experiments

Ewan J. A. Minter, Chris D. Lowe, Michael A. Brockhurst & Phillip C. Watts
High levels of intra-specific variation are commonly observed in natural microbial populations, yet the consequences of this variation for ecological and evolutionary processes remains poorly understood. Protists are excellent experimental models for investigating fundamental and applied questions in ecology and evolution, but studying intra-specific variation remains a challenge due to a lack of molecular resources to aid in quantifying and distinguishing strains during experiments. Here we present a molecular method, quantitative microsatellite genotyping, to accurately...

Data from: Oxidative status and social dominance in a wild cooperative breeder

Dominic L. Cram, Jonathan D. Blount & Andrew J. Young
1. Oxidative stress has been proposed as a key mediator of life-history trade-offs, yet the social factors that affect patterns of oxidative states amongst individuals in animal societies remain virtually unexplored. 2. This is important, as rank-related differences in reproductive effort in many social species have the potential to generate, or indeed arise from, differences in oxidative state across dominance classes. 3. Here, we examine rank-related variation in oxidative states before and after a lengthy...

Data from: Temporal variation in antibiotic environments slows down resistance evolution in pathogenic Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Roderich Roemhild, Camilo Barbosa, Robert E. Beardmore, Gunther Jansen & Hinrich Schulenburg
Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern to public health. New treatment strategies may alleviate the situation by slowing down the evolution of resistance. Here, we evaluated sequential treatment protocols using two fully independent laboratory-controlled evolution experiments with the human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 and two pairs of clinically relevant antibiotics (doripenem/ciprofloxacin and cefsulodin/gentamicin). Our results consistently show that the sequential application of two antibiotics decelerates resistance evolution relative to monotherapy. Sequential treatment enhanced population extinction...

Data from: Plasma markers of oxidative stress are uncorrelated in a wild mammal

Louise L. Christensen, Colin Selman, Jonathan D. Blount, Jill G. Pilkington, Kathryn A. Watt, Josephine M. Pemberton, Jane M. Reid & Daniel H. Nussey
Oxidative stress, which results from an imbalance between the production of potentially damaging reactive oxygen species versus antioxidant defenses and repair mechanisms, has been proposed as an important mediator of life-history trade-offs. A plethora of biomarkers associated with oxidative stress exist, but few ecological studies have examined the relationships among different markers in organisms experiencing natural conditions or tested whether those relationships are stable across different environments and demographic groups. It is therefore not clear...

Data from: Baculovirus infection triggers a positive phototactic response in caterpillars (a response to Dobson et al. Biol Letters 2015).

Stineke Van Houte, Monique M. Van Oers, Yue Han, Just M. Vlak & Vera I. D. Ros
We recently reported that baculovirus Spodoptera exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) triggers positive phototaxis in Spodoptera exigua larvae, leading to death at elevated positions. Dobson et al. [1] (University of Stirling, Scotland) question our interpretation of the data. Unfortunately, Dobson et al. rely on unwarranted assumptions possibly reflecting a poor understanding of baculovirus–insect pathobiology, make invalid comparisons and fail to take relevant literature into account. Here, we recapitulate the context and interpretation of our experiments and...

Data from: Rapid prey evolution can alter the structure of predator-prey communities

Ville-Petri Friman, Alexandre Jousset, Angus Buckling & V.-P. Friman
Although microevolution has been shown to play an important role in pairwise antagonistic species interactions, its importance in more complex communities has received little attention. Here, we used two Pseudomonas fluorescens prey bacterial strains (SBW25 and F113) and Tetrahymena thermophila protist predator to study how rapid evolution affects the structuring of predator–prey communities. Both bacterial strains coexisted in the absence of predation, and F113 was competitively excluded in the presence of both SBW25 and predator...

Data from: Symbiodinium thermophilum sp. nov., a thermotolerant symbiotic alga prevalent in corals of the world’s hottest sea, the Persian/Arabian Gulf

Benjamin C. C. Hume, Cecilia D'Angelo, Edward G. Smith, Jamie R. Stevens, John Burt & Joerg Wiedenmann
Coral reefs are in rapid decline on a global scale due to human activities and a changing climate. Shallow water reefs depend on the obligatory symbiosis between the habitat forming coral host and its algal symbiont from the genus Symbiodinium (zooxanthellae). This association is highly sensitive to thermal perturbations and temperatures as little as 1°C above the average summer maxima can cause the breakdown of this symbiosis, termed coral bleaching. Predicting the capacity of corals...

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  • University of Exeter
  • University of Cambridge
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  • Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
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  • University of Bristol
  • Australian National University