100 Works

Using cumulative impact mapping to prioritise marine conservation efforts in Equatorial Guinea

Brittany T. Trew, Hedley S. Grantham, Christian Barrientos, Tim Collins, Philip D. Doherty, Angela Formia, Brendan J. Godley, Sara M. Maxwell, Richard J. Parnell, Stephen K. Pikesley, Dominic Tilley, Matthew J. Witt & Kristian Metcalfe
Marine biodiversity is under extreme pressure from anthropogenic activity globally, leading to calls to protect at least 10% of the world’s oceans within marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective area-based conservation measures by 2020. Fulfilling such commitments, however, requires a detailed understanding of the distribution of potentially detrimental human activities, and their predicted impacts. One such approach that is being increasingly used to strengthen our understanding of human impacts is cumulative impact mapping; as...

A large-scale assessment of plant dispersal mode and seed traits across human-modified Amazonian forests

Joseph Hawes, Ima Vieira, Luiz Magnago, Erika Berenguer, Joice Ferreira, Luiz Aragão, Amanda Cardoso, Alexander Lees, Gareth Lennox, Joseph Tobias, Anthony Waldron & Jos Barlow
1. Quantifying the impact of habitat disturbance on ecosystem function is critical for understanding and predicting the future of tropical forests. Many studies have examined post-disturbance changes in animal traits related to mutualistic interactions with plants, but the effect of disturbance on plant traits in diverse forests has received much less attention. 2. Focusing on two study regions in the eastern Brazilian Amazon, we used a trait-based approach to examine how seed dispersal functionality within...

Bleaching-driven reef community shifts drive pulses of increased reef sediment generation

Chris Perry, Kyle Morgan, Ines Lange & Rob Yarlett
The ecological impacts of coral bleaching on reef communities are well documented, but resultant impacts upon reef-derived sediment supply are poorly quantified. This is an important knowledge gap because these biogenic sediments underpin shoreline and reef island maintenance. Here we explore the impacts of the 2016 bleaching event on sediment generation by two dominant sediment producers (parrotfish and Halimeda spp.) on southern Maldivian reefs. Our data identifies two pulses of increased sediment generation in the...

The drivers and functions of rock juggling in otters

Mari-Lisa Allison, Rebecca Reed, Emile Michels & Neeltje Boogert
Object play refers to the seemingly non-functional manipulation of inanimate items when in a relaxed state. In juveniles, object play may help develop skills to aid survival. However, why adults show object play remains poorly understood. We studied potential drivers and functions of the well-known object play behaviour of rock juggling in Asian small-clawed (Aonyx cinereus) and smooth-coated (Lutrogale perspicillata) otters. These are closely related species, but Asian small-clawed otters perform extractive foraging movements to...

Early life learning ability predicts adult social structure, with potential implications for fitness outcomes in the wild

Ellis J. G. Langley, Jayden O. Van Horik, Mark A. Whiteside, Christine E. Beardsworth, Michael N. Weiss & Joah R. Madden
1. Social environments influence important ecological processes and can determine how selection acts on traits. Cognitive abilities can shape these social environments and in turn, affect individuals' fitness. 2. To understand how cognitive abilities evolve, we need to understand the complex interplay between an individual's cognitive abilities, the social environment that they inhabit and the fitness consequences of these relationships. 3. We measured the associative learning ability of pheasant chicks, Phasianus colchicus, then released them...

Combining GWAS and FST-based approaches to identify targets of Borrelia-mediated selection in natural rodent hosts

Luca Cornetti & Barbara Tschirren
Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing technologies provide opportunities to gain novel insights into the genetic basis of phenotypic trait variation. Yet to date, progress in our understanding of genotype-phenotype associations in non-model organisms in general and natural vertebrate populations in particular has been hampered by small sample sizes typically available for wildlife populations and a resulting lack of statistical power, as well as a limited ability to control for false positive signals. Here we propose...

Data from: Heritability and correlations among learning and inhibitory control traits

Ellis Langley, Gracie Adams, Christine Beardsworth, Deborah Dawson, Philippa Laker, Jayden Van Horik, Mark Whiteside, Alastair Wilson & Joah Madden
To understand the evolution of cognitive abilities, we need to understand both how selection acts upon them and their genetic (co)variance structure. Recent work suggests that there are fitness consequences for free-living individuals with particular cognitive abilities. However, our current understanding of the heritability of these abilities is restricted to domesticated species subjected to artificial selection. We investigated genetic variance for, and genetic correlations among four cognitive abilities: inhibitory control, visual and spatial discrimination, and...

Genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity in circadian rhythms of an armed beetle, Gnatocerus cornutus (Tenebrionidae)

Kentarou Matsumura, Masato Abe, Manmohan Sharma, David Hosken, Yoshii Taishi & Takahisa Miyatake
Circadian rhythms, their free-running periods and strength of the rhythm are often used as indicators of biological clocks, and there is evidence that the free-running periods of circadian rhythm are not affected by environmental factors like temperature. However, there are few studies of environmental effects on the power of rhythms and it is not clear if temperature compensation is universal. Additionally, genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity in biological clocks are important for understanding the evolution...

Urban herring gulls use human behavioural cues to locate food

Madeleine Goumas, Neeltje Boogert & Laura Kelley
While many animals are negatively affected by urbanisation, some species appear to thrive in urban environments. Herring gulls (Larus argentatus) are commonly found in urban areas and often scavenge food discarded by humans. Despite increasing interactions between humans and gulls, little is known about the cognitive underpinnings of urban gull behaviour and to what extent they use human behavioural cues when making foraging decisions. We investigated whether gulls are more attracted to anthropogenic items when...

Genetic variance for behavioural ‘predictability’ of stress response

Pamela M. Prentice, Alastair J. Wilson, Thomas M. Houslay & Jullien G. A. Martin
Genetic factors underpinning phenotypic variation are required if natural selection is to result in adaptive evolution. However, evolutionary and behavioural ecologists typically focus on variation among individuals in their average trait values, and seek to characterise genetic contributions to this. As a result, less attention has been paid to if and how genes could contribute towards within-individual variance, or trait “predictability”. In fact, phenotypic ‘predictability’ can vary among individuals, and emerging evidence from livestock genetics...

Mechanics of walking and running up and downhill: A joint-level perspective to guide design of lower-limb exoskeletons

Richard Nuckols, Kota Takahashi, Dominic Farris, Sarai Mizrachi, Raziel Riemer & Gregory Sawicki
Lower-limb wearable robotic devices can improve clinical gait and reduce energetic demand in healthy populations. To help enable real-world use, we sought to examine how assistance should be applied in variable gait conditions and suggest an approach derived from knowledge of human locomotion mechanics to establish a ‘roadmap’ for wearable robot design. We characterized the changes in joint mechanics during walking and running across a range of incline/decline grades and then provide an analysis that...

Adaptive strategies of high-flying migratory hoverflies in response to wind currents

Jason Chapman & Boya Gao
Large migrating insects, flying at high altitude, often exhibit complex behaviour. They frequently elect to fly on winds with directions quite different from the prevailing direction, and they show a degree of common orientation, both of which facilitate transport in seasonally beneficial directions. Much less is known about the migration behaviour of smaller (10–70 mg) insects. To address this issue, we used radar to examine the high-altitude flight of hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae), a group of...

Data from: Climate oscillation and alien species invasion influences oceanic seabird distribution

Julian Perez-Correa, Peter Carr, Jessica Meeuwig, Heather Koldewey & Tom B. Letessier
Spatial and temporal distribution of seabird transiting and foraging at sea is an important consideration for marine conservation planning. Using at-sea observations of seabirds (n = 317), collected during the breeding season from 2012 to 2016, we built boosted regression tree (BRT) models to identify relationships between numerically dominant seabird species (red-footed booby, brown noddy, white tern and wedge-tailed shearwater), geomorphology, oceanographic variability, and climate oscillation in the Chagos Archipelago. We documented positive relationships between...

Data from: Ecology of domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) as a host for Guinea worm (Dracunculus medinensis) infection in Ethiopia

Jared K. Wilson-Aggarwal, Cecily E.D. Goodwin, George J.F. Swan, Helen Fielding, Zerihun Tadesse, Desalegn Getahun, Anyaro Odiel, Alamo Adam, Harry H. Marshall, Jessica Bryant, James A. Zingeser & Robbie A. McDonald
The global programme for the eradication of Guinea worm disease, caused by the parasitic nematode Dracunculus medinensis, has been successful in driving down human cases, but infections in non-human animals, particularly domestic dogs (Canis familiaris), now present a major obstacle to further progress. Dog infections have mainly been found in Chad and, to a lesser extent in Mali and Ethiopia. While humans classically acquire infection by drinking water containing infected copepods, it has been hypothesised...

Data from: Macronutrient intake and simulated infection threat independently affect life history traits of male decorated crickets

Kristin Duffield, Kylie Hampton, Thomas Houslay, James Rapkin, John Hunt, Ben Sadd & Scott Sakaluk
Nutritional geometry has advanced our understanding of how macronutrients (e.g., proteins and carbohydrates) influence the expression of life history traits and their corresponding trade-offs. For example, recent work has revealed that reproduction and immune function in male decorated crickets are optimized at very different protein:carbohydrate (P:C) dietary ratios. However, it is unclear how an individual’s macronutrient intake interacts with its perceived infection status to determine investment in reproduction or other key life history traits. Here,...

Prior exposure to long day photoperiods alters immune responses and increases susceptibility to parasitic infection in stickleback

James Whiting, Muayad Mahmud, Janette Bradley & Andrew MacColl
Seasonal disease and parasitic infection are common across organisms, including humans, and there is increasing evidence for intrinsic seasonal variation in immune systems. Changes are orchestrated through organisms’ physiological clocks using cues such as day length. Ample research in diverse taxa has demonstrated multiple immune responses are modulated by photoperiod, but to date, there have been few experimental demonstrations that photoperiod cues alter susceptibility to infection. We investigated the interactions among photoperiod history, immunity, and...

Goat collective decisions

Daniel Sankey, Lisa O'Bryan, Simon Garnier, Guy Cowlishaw, Phil Hopkins, Mark Holton, Ines Fürtbauer & Andrew King
For group-living animals to remain cohesive they must agree on where to travel. Theoretical models predict shared group decisions should be favoured, and a number of empirical examples support this. However, the behavioural mechanisms that underpin shared decision-making are not fully understood. Groups may achieve consensus of direction by active communication of individual preferences (i.e. voting), or by responding to each other’s orientation and movement (i.e. copying). For example, African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) are reported...

Spatial and temporal dynamics of space use by free-ranging domestic dogs Canis familiaris in rural Africa

Jared Wilson-Aggarwal, Cecily Goodwin, Tchonfienet Moundai, Metinou Sidouin, George Swan, Monique Léchenne & Robbie McDonald
Variation in the spatial ecology of animals influences the transmission of infections and so understanding host behaviour can improve the control of diseases. Despite the global distribution of free-ranging domestic dogs Canis familiaris and their role as reservoirs for zoonotic diseases, little is known about the dynamics of their space use. We deployed GPS loggers on free-ranging dogs from six villages in rural Chad, and tracked the movements of 174 individuals in the dry season...

Comparison of categorical color perception in two Estrildid finches

Eleanor Caves, Patrick Green, Matthew Zipple, Dhanya Bharath, Susan Peters, Sönke Johnsen & Stephen Nowicki
Sensory systems are predicted to be adapted to the perception of important stimuli, such as signals used in communication. Prior work has shown that female zebra finches perceive the carotenoid-based orange-red coloration of male beaks—a mate choice signal—categorically. Specifically, females exhibited an increased ability to discriminate between colors from opposite sides of a perceptual category boundary than equally-different colors from the same side of the boundary. The Bengalese finch, an Estrildid finch related to the...

Data from : Environmental predictability drives adaptive within- and transgenerational plasticity of heat tolerance across life stages and climatic regions

Fernando Díaz, Bram Kuijper, Rebecca B. Hoyle, Nathaniel Talamantes, Joshua M. Coleman & Luciano M. Matzkin
Although environmental variability and predictability have been proposed as the underlying ecological context in which transgenerational plasticity (TGP) arises, the adaptive significance and interaction with within-generation plasticity (WGP) in such scenarios is still poorly understood. In order to investigate these questions, we considered the tolerance to upper thermal limits of larvae and adults of the desert endemic Drosophila mojavensis adapted to different climatic regions (Desert vs Mediterranean climate). Thermal plasticity was investigated by acclimating parents...

Fine litterfall production and nutrient composition data from a fertilized site in Central Amazon, Brazil

A.C.M. Moraes, C.A. Quesada, K. Andersen, I.P. Hartley & M.P. Martins
The data consists of litterfall production in a fertilised old growth forest in Central Amazon. Data was collected in a full factorial nutrient addition experiment (nitrogen, phosphorus and cation treatments). Within each plot we have installed five litter traps of 50 cm x 50 cm, 1 m above ground, occupying an area of 1.25 m2 per plot, and ensuring litter reaching the trap was produced within the experimental plot area. The study was funded by...

Numerical simulations of river bed dynamics for the South Saskatchewan River, Canada

P. Ashworth, A. Nicholas, D. Parsons & G. Sambrook Smith
Data were generated to investigate the influence of bed roughness on the dynamics of large sand-bed rivers like the South Saskatchewan, Canada. The influence of roughness was investigated by using a numerical model to simulate the evolution of the river bed for a hypothetical sand-bed river modelled on the South Saskatchewan. The model generated information on the evolving river bed topography, water depth, flow velocities and sediment transport rates, over a period of 28 years...

Data from: Sex-specific effects of experimental ectoparasite infestation on telomere length in great tit nestlings

Barbara Tschirren, Ana Ángela Romero-Haro, Sandrine Zahn & François Cricuolo
Telomere length is a biomarker of biological ageing and lifespan in various vertebrate taxa. Evidence is accumulating that telomeres shorten more rapidly when an individual is exposed to environmental stressors. Parasites are potent selective agents that can cause physiological stress directly or indirectly through the activation of the host’s immune system. Yet to date, empirical evidence for a role of parasites in telomere dynamics in natural populations is limited. Here we show experimentally that exposure...

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: Terrestrial evaporation and global climate: lessons from Northland, a planet with a hemispheric continent

Marysa M. Lague, Marianne Pietschnig, Sarah Ragen, Timothy A. Smith & David S. Battisti
Motivated by the hemispheric asymmetry of land distribution on Earth, we explore the climate of Northland, a highly idealized planet with a Northern Hemisphere continent and a Southern Hemisphere ocean. The climate of Northland can be separated into four distinct regions: the Southern Hemisphere ocean, the seasonally wet tropics, the mid-latitude desert, and the Great Northern Swamp. We evaluate how modifying land surface properties on Northland drives changes in temperatures, precipitation patterns, the global energy...

Registration Year

  • 2020

Resource Types

  • Dataset
  • Text
  • Data Paper


  • University of Exeter
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Leeds
  • Imperial College London
  • University of Oxford
  • Duke University
  • Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi
  • Australian National University
  • University of Edinburgh
  • British Antarctic Survey