312 Works

Autonomous Vehicles and the Ethical Tension Between Occupant and Non-Occupant Safety

Jason Borenstein, Joseph Herkert & Keith Miller
Given that the creation and deployment of autonomous vehicles is likely to continue, it is important to explore the ethical responsibilities of designers, manufacturers, operators, and regulators of the technology. We specifically focus on the ethical responsibilities surrounding autonomous vehicles that these stakeholders have to protect the safety of non-occupants, meaning individuals who are around the vehicles while they are operating. The term “non-occupants” includes, but is not limited to, pedestrians and cyclists. We are...

Spine and dine: A key defensive trait promotes ecological success in spiny ants

Benjamin Blanchard, Akihiro Nakamura, Min Cao, Stephanie Chen & Corrie Moreau
A key focus of ecologists is explaining the origin and maintenance of morphological diversity and its association with ecological success. We investigate potential benefits and costs of a common and varied morphological trait, cuticular spines, for foraging behavior, interspecific competition, and predator-prey interactions in naturally co-occurring spiny ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae: Polyrhachis) in an experimental setting. We expect that a defensive trait like spines might be associated with more conspicuous foraging, a greater number of workers...

Data from: Rapid human-induced divergence of life-history strategies in Bahamian livebearing fishes (family Poeciliidae)

Rüdiger Riesch, Tara Easter, Craig A. Layman & Randall Brian Langerhans
1. Human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC) can have dramatic impacts on ecosystems, leading to rapid trait changes in some organisms and extinction in others. Such changes in traits signify that human actions can lead to cases of increased phenotypic diversity and consequently can strongly impact population-, community- and ecosystem-level dynamics. 2. Here, we examine whether the ecological consequences of habitat fragmentation have led to changes in the life histories of three native species of mosquitofish...

Data from: Host association drives significant genetic divergence in the bed bug, Cimex lectularius

Warren Booth, Ondřej Balvín, Edward L. Vargo, Jitka Vilímová & Coby Schal
Genetic differentiation may exist among sympatric populations of a species due to long-term associations with alternative hosts (i.e., host-associated differentiation). While host-associated differentiation has been documented in several phytophagus insects, there are far fewer cases known in animal parasites. The bed bug, Cimex lectularius, a wingless insect, represents a potential model organism for elucidating the processes involved in host-associated differentiation in animal parasites with relatively limited mobility. In conjunction with the expansion of modern humans...

Data from: Experimental evidence does not support the Habitat Amount Hypothesis

Nick M. Haddad, Andrew Gonzalez, Lars A. Brudvig, Melissa A. Burt, Douglas J. Levey & Ellen I. Damschen
For a half century, habitat configuration – the arrangement of habitat patches within a landscape – has been central to theories of landscape ecology, population dynamics, and community assembly, in addition to conservation strategies. A recent hypothesis advanced by Fahrig (2013) would, if supported, greatly diminish the relevance of habitat configuration as a predictor of diversity. The Habitat Amount Hypothesis posits that the sample area effect overrides patch size and patch isolation effects of habitat...

Data from: Livestock grazing regulates ecosystem multifunctionality in semi‐arid grassland

Haiyan Ren, Valerie T. Eviner, Weiyang Gui, Gail W.T. Wilson, Adam B. Cobb, Gaowen Yang, Yingjun Zhang, Shuijin Hu, Yongfei Bai & Gail W. T. Wilson
1. Ecological theories and experimental evidence indicate that human activity induced losses in biodiversity can have substantial impacts on multiple ecosystem functions. It remains unclear, however, how grazing affects grassland biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionallity (EMF). 2. Here, we assessed the grazing effects on different dimensions of biodiversity (i.e. plants and soil microbes) and EMF based on a 11-year field experiment in a semi-arid grassland. 3. We found that soil organic C, available nitrogen, and plant...

Data from: Does hunting or hiking affect wildlife communities in protected areas?

Roland Kays, Arielle W. Parsons, Megan C. Baker, Ellizabeth L. Kalies, Tavis Forrester, Robert Costello, Christopher T. Rota, Joshua J. Millspaugh & William J. McShea
Managed public wild areas have dual mandates to protect biodiversity and provide recreational opportunities for people. These goals could be at odds if recreation, ranging from hiking to legal hunting, disrupts wildlife enough to alter their space use or community structure. We evaluated the effect of managed hunting and recreation on 12 terrestrial wildlife species by employing a large citizen science camera trapping survey at 1947 sites stratified across different levels of human activities in...

Data from: Inducible versus constitutive social immunity: examining effects of colony infection on glucose oxidase and defensin-1 production in honeybees

Margarita M. López-Uribe, Andrea Fitzgerald & Michael Simone-Finstrom
Honeybees use a variety of defence mechanisms to reduce disease infection and spread throughout the colony. Many of these defences rely on the collective action of multiple individuals to prevent, reduce or eradicate pathogens—often referred to as ‘social immunity’. Glucose oxidase (GOX) and some antimicrobial peptides (e.g. defensin-1 or Def1) are secreted by the hypopharyngeal gland of adult bees on larval food for their antiseptic properties. Because workers secrete these compounds to protect larvae, they...

Data from: Male courtship preference during seasonal sympatry may maintain population divergence

Abigail A. Kimmitt, Samantha L. Dietz, Dustin G. Reichard & Ellen D. Ketterson
Animal migration can lead to a population distribution known as seasonal sympatry, in which closely related migrant and resident populations of the same species co-occur in sympatry during part of the year, but are otherwise allopatric. During seasonal sympatry in early spring, residents may initiate reproduction before migrants depart, presenting an opportunity for gene flow. Differences in reproductive timing between migrant and resident populations may favor residents that exhibit preferences for potential mates of similar...

Data from: Rare frost events reinforce tropical savanna-forest boundaries

William A. Hoffmann, Samuel W. Flake, Rodolfo C.R. Abreu, Natashi A.L. Pilon, Davi R. Rossatto, Giselda Durigan & Rodolfo C. R. Abreu
1) The ability of vegetation to ameliorate or exacerbate environmental extremes can generate feedbacks that mediate the distribution of biomes. It has been suggested that feedbacks between vegetation and frost damage may be important for maintaining savanna, particularly at the edge of the tropics. 2) We quantified frost damage and air temperature across a network of 30 permanent plots distributed across tropical savanna-forest boundaries in Brazil during an uncommonly hard frost. 3) Tree cover strongly...

Data from: Public questions spur the discovery of new bacterial species associated with lignin bioconversion of industrial waste

Stephanie L. Mathews, Mary J. Epps, Robert K. Blackburn, Michael B. Goshe, Amy M. Grunden & Robert R. Dunn
A citizen science project found that the greenhouse camel cricket (Diestrammena asynamora) is common in North American homes. Public response was to wonder “what good are they anyway?” and ecology and evolution guided the search for potential benefit. We predicted that camel crickets and similar household species would likely host bacteria with the ability to degrade recalcitrant carbon compounds. Lignocellulose is particularly relevant as it is difficult to degrade yet is an important feedstock for...

Data from: Assessment of coyote-wolf-dog admixture using ancestry-informative diagnostic SNPs

Javier Monzón, Roland Kays & Daniel E. Dykhuizen
The evolutionary importance of hybridization as a source of new adaptive genetic variation is rapidly gaining recognition. Hybridization between coyotes and wolves may have introduced adaptive alleles into the coyote gene pool that facilitated an expansion in their geographic range and dietary niche. Furthermore, hybridization between coyotes and domestic dogs may facilitate adaptation to human-dominated environments. We genotyped 63 ancestry-informative single nucleotide polymorphisms in 427 canids in order to examine the prevalence, spatial distribution, and...

Data from: Best practices for justifying fossil calibrations

James F. Parham, Philip C. J. Donoghue, Christopher J. Bell, Tyler D. Calway, Jason J. Head, Patricia A. Holroyd, Jun G. Inoue, Randall B. Irmis, Walter G. Joyce, Daniel T. Ksepka, José S. L. Patané, Nathan D. Smith, James E. Tarver, Marcel Van Tuinen, Ziheng Yang, Kenneth D. Angielczyk, Jenny M. Greenwood, Christy A. Hipsley, Jacobs Louis, Peter J. Makovicky, Johannes Müller, Krister T. Smith, Jessica M. Theodor, Rachel C. M. Warnock, Michael J. Benton … & Louis Jacobs
Our ability to correlate biological evolution with climate change, geological evolution, and other historical patterns is essential to understanding the processes that shape biodiversity. Combining data from the fossil record with molecular phylogenetics represents an exciting synthetic approach to this challenge. The first molecular divergence dating analysis (Zuckerkandl and Pauling 1962) was based on a measure of the amino acid differences in the hemoglobin molecule; with replacement rates established (calibrated) using inaccurate paleontological age estimates...

Data from: Are shy individuals less behaviorally variable? Insights from a captive population of mouse lemurs

Jennifer L. Verdolin & John Harper
Increasingly, individual variation in personality has become a focus of behavioral research in animal systems. Boldness and shyness, often quantified as the tendency to explore novel situations, are seen as personality traits important to the fitness landscape of individuals. Here we tested for individual differences within and across contexts in behavioral responses of captive mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) to novel objects, novel foods, and handling. We report consistent differences in behavioral responses for objects and...

Data from: Fossil grebes from the Truckee Formation (Miocene) of Nevada and a new phylogenetic analysis of Podicipediformes (Aves)

Daniel T. Ksepka, Amy M. Balanoff, Michael A. Bell & Michel D. Houseman
Podicipediformes is a cosmopolitan clade of foot-propelled diving birds that, despite inhabiting marine and lacustrine environments, have a poor fossil record. In this contribution, we describe three new grebe fossils from the diatomite beds of the Late Miocene Truckee Formation (10.2 ± 0.2 Ma) of Nevada (USA). Two postcranial skeletons and an associated set of wing elements indicate that at least two distinct grebe species occupied the large, shallow Lake Truckee during the Miocene. Phylogenetic...

Data from: Global genetic analysis reveals the putative native source of the invasive termite, Reticulitermes flavipes, in France

Elfie Perdereau, Anne-Geneviève Bagnères-Urbany, Stephanie Bankhead-Dronnet, Simon Dupont, Marie Zimmermann, Edward L. Vargo & Franck Dedeine
Biological invasions are recognized as a major threat to both natural and managed ecosystems. Phylogeographic and population genetic analyses can provide information about the geographical origins and patterns of introduction and explain the causes and mechanisms by which introduced species have become successful invaders. Reticulitermes flavipes is a North American subterranean termite that has been introduced into several areas, including France where introduced populations have become invasive. To identify likely source populations in the USA...

Data from: Evidence that Egfr contributes to cryptic genetic variation for photoreceptor determination in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster

Ian Dworkin, Arnar Palsson, Kelli Birdsall & Greg Gibson
One objective of quantitative genetics is to identify the nucleotide variants within genes that contribute to phenotypic variation and susceptibility [1]. In an evolutionary context, this means characterizing the molecular polymorphisms that modify the penetrance and expressivity of perturbed traits. A survey of association between 267 SNPs in almost 11 kb of the D. melanogaster Egfr and the degree of eye roughening due to a gain-of-function EgfrE1 allele crossed into 210 isogenic wild-type lines provides...

Data from: Contemporary evolution of plant growth rate following experimental removal of herbivores

Nash E. Turley, Walter C. Odell, Hanno Schaefer, Georg Everwand, Michael J. Crawley & Marc T. J. Johnson
Herbivores are credited with driving the evolutionary diversification of plant defensive strategies over macroevolutionary time. For this to be true, herbivores must also cause short-term evolution within plant populations, but few studies have experimentally tested this prediction. We addressed this gap using a long-term manipulative field experiment where exclosures protected 22 plant populations from natural rabbit herbivory for <1 to 26 years. We collected seeds of Rumex acetosa L. (Polygonaceae) from our plots and grew...

Data from: Wing patterning gene redefines the mimetic history of Heliconius butterflies

Heather M. Hines, Brian A. Counterman, Riccardo Papa, Priscila Albuquerque De Moura, Marcio Z. Cardoso, Mauricio Linares, James Mallet, Robert D. Reed, Chris D. Jiggins, Marcus R. Kronforst & W. Owen McMillan
The mimetic butterflies Heliconius erato and H. melpomene have undergone parallel radiations to form a near-identical patchwork of over 20 different wing pattern races across the Neotropics. Previous molecular phylogenetic work on these radiations has suggested that similar but geographically disjunct color patterns arose multiple times independently in each species. The neutral markers used in these studies, however, can move freely across color pattern boundaries and therefore might not represent the history of the adaptive...

Data from: Little evidence for morphological change in a resilient endemic species following the introduction of a novel predator

Diana M. T. Sharpe, R. Brian Langerhans, Etienne Low-Décarie & Lauren J Chapman
Human activities, such as species introductions, are dramatically and rapidly altering natural ecological processes, and often result in novel selection regimes. To date, we still have a limited understanding of the extent to which such anthropogenic selection may be driving contemporary phenotypic change in natural populations. Here we test whether the introduction of the piscivorous Nile perch, Lates niloticus, into East Africa's Lake Victoria and nearby lakes coincided with morphological change in one resilient native...

Data from: Effects of plant functional group loss on soil biota and net ecosystem exchange: a plant removal experiment in the Mongolian grassland

Dima Chen, Qingmin Pan, Yongfei Bai, Shuijin Hu, Jianhui Huang, Qibing Wang, Shahid Naeem, James J. Elser, Jianguo Wu & Xingguo Han
1. The rapid loss of global biodiversity can greatly affect the functioning of above-ground components of ecosystems. However, how such biodiversity losses affect below-ground communities and linkages to soil carbon (C) sequestration is unclear. Here we describe how losses in plant functional groups (PFGs) affect soil microbial and nematode communities and net ecosystem exchange (NEE) in a 4-year removal experiment conducted on the Mongolian plateau, the world's largest remaining natural grassland. 2. Our results demonstrated...

Data from: Reduced cellular immune response in social insect lineages

Margarita M. López-Uribe, Warren B. Sconiers, Steven D. Frank, Robert R. Dunn & David R. Tarpy
Social living poses challenges for individual fitness because of the increased risk of disease transmission among conspecifics. Despite this challenge, sociality is an evolutionarily successful lifestyle, occurring in the most abundant and diverse group of organisms on earth—the social insects. Two contrasting hypotheses predict the evolutionary consequences of sociality on immune systems. The social group hypothesis posits that sociality leads to stronger individual immune systems because of the higher risk of disease transmission in social...

Data from: Disruption of endosperm development is a major cause of hybrid seed inviability between Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus nudatus

Elen Oneal, John H. Willis & Robert G. Franks
Divergence of developmental mechanisms within populations could lead to hybrid developmental failure, and might be a factor driving speciation in angiosperms. We investigate patterns of endosperm and embryo development in Mimulus guttatus and the closely related, serpentine endemic Mimulus nudatus, and compare them to those of reciprocal hybrid seed. We address whether disruption in hybrid seed development is the primary source of reproductive isolation between these sympatric taxa. M. guttatus and M. nudatus differ in...

Data from: Taxonomic resolution is a determinant of biodiversity effects in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities

Haishui Yang, Qian Zhang, Roger T. Koide, Jason D. Hoeksema, Jianjun Tang, Xinmin Bian, Shuijin Hu & Xin Chen
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are key regulators of ecosystem processes, yet how their biodiversity works in ecosystems remains poorly understood. We documented the extent to which taxonomic resolution influenced the effect of biodiversity of AMF taxa on plant performance (growth, nutrient uptake and stress tolerance) in a meta-analysis of 902 articles. We found that the effect of biodiversity of AMF taxa depended on taxonomic resolution. Plant performance was positively promoted by AMF family richness, while...

Data from: Adaptive divergence despite strong genetic drift: genomic analysis of the evolutionary mechanisms causing genetic differentiation in the island fox (Urocyon littoralis)

W. Chris Funk, Robert E. Lovich, Paul A. Hohenlohe, Courtney A. Hofman, Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Jesús E. Maldonado, Torben C. Rick, Mitch D. Day, Nicholas R. Polato, Sarah W. Fizpatrick, Timothy J. Coonan, Kevin R. Crooks, Adam Dillon, David K. Garcelon, Julie L. King, Christina L. Boser, Nicholas Gould, William F. Andelt & Sarah W. Fitzpatrick
The evolutionary mechanisms generating the tremendous biodiversity of islands have long fascinated evolutionary biologists. Genetic drift and divergent selection are predicted to be strong on islands and both could drive population divergence and speciation. Alternatively, strong genetic drift may preclude adaptation. We conducted a genomic analysis to test the roles of genetic drift and divergent selection in causing genetic differentiation among populations of the island fox (Urocyon littoralis). This species consists of six subspecies, each...

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