451 Works

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...

Data from: The crested newt Triturus cristatus recolonized temperate Eurasia from an extra-Mediterranean glacial refugium

Ben Wielstra, Wiesław Babik & Jan W. Arntzen
We assess the role of the Carpathians as an extra-Mediterranean glacial refugium for the crested newt Triturus cristatus. We combine a multilocus phylogeography (one mitochondrial protein-coding gene, three nuclear introns, and one major histocompatibility complex gene) with species distribution modelling (projected on current and Last Glacial Maximum climate layers). All genetic markers consistently show extensive genetic variation within and genetic depletion outside the Carpathians. The species distribution model suggests that most of the current range...

Data from: Effects of the demographic transition on the genetic variances and covariances of human life history traits

Elisabeth Bolund, Adam Hayward, Jenni E. Pettay & Virpi Lummaa
The recent demographic transitions to lower mortality and fertility rates in most human societies have led to changes and even quick reversals in phenotypic selection pressures. This can only result in evolutionary change if the affected traits are heritable, but changes in environmental conditions may also lead to subsequent changes in the genetic variance and covariance (the G matrix) of traits. It currently remains unclear if there have been concomitant changes in the G matrix...

Data from: A sex-linked supergene controls sperm morphology and swimming speed in a songbird

Kang-Wook Kim, Clair Bennison, Nicola Hemmings, Lola Brookes, Laura L. Hurley, Simon C. Griffith, Terry Burke, Tim R. Birkhead & Jon Slate
Sperm are perhaps the most diverse cells in the animal kingdom, with enormous morphological variation between taxa, between species, between males and within an ejaculate. Considerable interest in sperm diversity has arisen following the realisation that sperm competition (post-copulatory sexual selection) is a powerful selective force in many organisms, and that sperm morphology has co-evolved with female reproductive tract morphology. However, the relationship between sperm morphology, sperm motility and fertilisation success is only partially understood....

Data from: Do the same genes underlie parallel phenotypic divergence in different Littorina saxatilis populations?

Anja M. Westram, Juan Galindo, Magnus Alm Rosenblad, John W. Grahame, Marina Panova & Roger K. Butlin
Parallel patterns of adaptive divergence and speciation are cited as powerful evidence for the role of selection driving these processes. However, it is often not clear whether parallel phenotypic divergence is underlain by parallel genetic changes. Here, we asked about the genetic basis of parallel divergence in the marine snail Littorina saxatilis, which has repeatedly evolved coexisting ecotypes adapted to either crab predation or wave action. We sequenced the transcriptome of snails of both ecotypes...

Data from: Body length of bony fishes was not a selective factor during the biggest mass extinction of all time

Mark N. Puttick, Jürgen Kriwet, Wen Wen, Shixue Hu, Gavin H. Thomas & Michael J. Benton
The Permo-Triassic mass extinction devastated life on land and in the sea, but it is not clear why some species survived and others went extinct. One explanation is that lineage loss during mass extinctions is a random process in which luck determines which species survive. Alternatively, a phylogenetic signal in extinction may indicate a selection process operating on phenotypic traits. Large body size has often emerged as an extinction risk factor in studies of modern...

Data from: Theoretical models of the influence of genomic architecture on the dynamics of speciation

Samuel M. Flaxman, Aaron C. Wacholder, Jeffrey L. Feder & Patrik Nosil
A long-standing problem in evolutionary biology has been determining whether and how gradual, incremental changes at the gene level can account for rapid speciation and bursts of adaptive radiation. Using genome-scale computer simulations, we extend previous theory showing how gradual adaptive change can generate nonlinear population transitions, resulting in the rapid formation of new, reproductively isolated species. We show that these transitions occur via a mechanism rooted in a basic property of biological heredity: the...

Data from: High bandwidth synaptic communication and frequency tracking in human neocortex

Guilherme Testa-Silva, Matthijs B. Verhoog, Daniele Linaro, Christiaan P. J. De Kock, Johannes C. Baayen, Rhiannon M. Meredith, Chris I. De Zeeuw, Michele Giugliano & Huibert D. Mansvelder
Neuronal firing, synaptic transmission, and its plasticity form the building blocks for processing and storage of information in the brain. It is unknown whether adult human synapses are more efficient in transferring information between neurons than rodent synapses. To test this, we recorded from connected pairs of pyramidal neurons in acute brain slices of adult human and mouse temporal cortex and probed the dynamical properties of use-dependent plasticity. We found that human synaptic connections were...

Data from: A diet rich in C3 plants reveals the sensitivity of an alpine mammal to climate change

Sabuj Bhattacharyya, Deborah A. Dawson, Helen Hipperson & Farah Ishtiaq
Plant-herbivore interactions provide critical insights into the mechanisms that govern the spatiotemporal distributions of organisms. These interactions are crucial to understanding the impacts of climate change, which are likely to have an effect on the population dynamics of alpine herbivores. The Royle’s pika (Ochotona roylei, hereafter pika) is a lagomorph found in the western Himalaya, and is dependent on alpine plants that are at risk from climate change. As the main prey of many carnivores...

Data from: The triangular seed mass-leaf area relationship holds for annual plants and is determined by habitat productivity

Bianca A. Santini, John G. Hodgson, Ken Thompson, Peter J. Wilson, Stuart R. Band, Glynis Jones, Mike Charles, Amy Boogard, Carol Palmer, Mark Rees & Amy Bogaard
Plant allometries help us to understand resource allocation in plants and provide insight into how communities are structured. For woody species, a triangular allometric relationship between seed size and leaf size occurs in which all combinations are all possible, except for species with big seeds and small leaves (Cornelissen 1999). This relationship is thought to be a consequence of between habitat variation in abiotic conditions. In this study, we tested if the triangular relationship between...

Data from: Differential sperm storage by female zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata

Nicola Hemmings, Timothy Birkhead & Tim Birkhead
When females mate promiscuously, female sperm storage provides scope to bias the fertilization success towards particular males via the non-random acceptance and utilization of sperm. The difficulties observing post-copulatory processes within the female reproductive tract mean that the mechanisms underlying cryptic female choice remain poorly understood. Here, we use zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata, selected for divergent sperm lengths, combined with a novel technique for isolating and extracting sperm from avian sperm storage tubules (SSTs), to...

Data from: Winter territory prospecting is associated with life-history stage but not activity in a passerine

Alfredo Sánchez-Tójar, Isabel Winney, Antje Girndt, Mirre J.P. Simons, Shinichi Nakagawa, Terry Burke, Julia Schroeder & Mirre J. P. Simons
Finding a high quality territory is essential for many animals to reproduce successfully. Despite its importance for fitness, we know little about the process of territory prospecting in wild birds, and whether individual traits and behaviours, such as personality, co-vary with territory prospecting. Here, we use long-term data from a wild, insular house sparrow Passer domesticus population to test three hypotheses about territory fidelity and prospecting: (1) House sparrows show high territory fidelity between years...

Data from: Modelling short-rotation coppice and tree planting for urban carbon management – a city-wide analysis

Nicola McHugh, Jill L. Edmondson, Kevin J. Gaston, Jonathan R. Leake, Odhran S. O’Sullivan & Odhran S. O'Sullivan
1. The capacity of urban areas to deliver provisioning ecosystem services is commonly overlooked and underutilized. Urban populations have globally increased fivefold since 1950, and they disproportionately consume ecosystem services and contribute to carbon emissions, highlighting the need to increase urban sustainability and reduce environmental impacts of urban dwellers. Here, we investigated the potential for increasing carbon sequestration, and biomass fuel production, by planting trees and short-rotation coppice (SRC), respectively, in a mid-sized UK city...

Data from: Ancestral origins and invasion pathways in a globally invasive bird correlate with climate and influences from bird trade

Hazel Jackson, Diederik Strubbe, Simon Tollington, Robert Prys-Jones, Erik Matthysen & Jim J. Groombridge
Invasive species present a major threat to global biodiversity. Understanding genetic patterns and evolutionary processes that reinforce successful establishment is paramount for elucidating mechanisms underlying biological invasions. Among birds, the ring-necked parakeet (Psittacula krameri) is one of the most successful invasive species, established in over 35 countries. However, little is known about the evolutionary genetic origins of this species and what population genetic signatures tell us about patterns of invasion. We reveal the ancestral origins...

Data from: Large and fast human pyramidal neurons associate with intelligence

Natalia A Goriounova, Djai B Heyer, René Wilbers, Matthijs B Verhoog, Michele Giugliano, Christophe Verbist, Joshua Obermayer, Amber Kerkhofs, Harriët Smeding, Maaike Verberne, Sander Idema, Johannes C Baayen, Anton W Pieneman, Christiaan PJ De Kock, Martin Klein & Huibert D Mansvelder
It is generally assumed that human intelligence relies on efficient processing by neurons in our brain. Although gray matter thickness and activity of temporal and frontal cortical areas correlate with IQ scores, no direct evidence exists that links structural and physiological properties of neurons to human intelligence. Here, we find that high IQ scores and large temporal cortical thickness associate with larger, more complex dendrites of human pyramidal neurons. We show in silico that larger...

Data from: Still armed after domestication? Impact of domestication and agronomic selection on silicon defences in cereals

Kimberley J. Simpson, Ruth N. Wade, Mark Rees, Colin P. Osborne & Sue E. Hartley
1. Plant phenotypes reflect trade-offs between competing resource-intensive physiological processes. A shift in resource allocation, away from anti-herbivore defences and towards growth and reproduction, is predicted through plant domestication, such that crops are faster growing and higher yielding than their wild ancestors. These changes are hypothesized to have come at the cost of defence investment, leaving crops ‘disarmed by domestication’. Silicon is the principal anti-herbivore defence in grasses, including many of our most important staple...

Data from: Polyspermy in birds: sperm numbers and embryo survival

Nicola Hemmings & Tim R. Birkhead
Polyspermy is a major puzzle in reproductive biology. In some taxa, multiple sperm enter the ovum as part of the normal fertilisation process, while in others, penetration of the ovum by more than one sperm is lethal. In birds, several sperm typically enter the germinal disc, yet only one fuses with the female pronucleus. It is unclear whether supernumerary sperm play an essential role in the avian fertilisation process and, if they do, how females...

Data from: Stress‐induced secondary leaves of a boreal deciduous shrub (Vaccinium myrtillus) overwinter then regain activity the following growing season

Jarle W. Bjerke, Grzegorz Wierzbinski, Hans Tømmervik, Gareth K. Phoenix & Stef Bokhorst
The ericoid shrub Vaccinium myrtillus is one of several deciduous boreal plants that respond to larval defoliation by compensatory production of a new set of leaves within the same growing season soon after defoliation. This new set is termed as ‘secondary leaves’. The physiological performance and longevity of secondary leaves is poorly understood. Following a multi‐year larval outbreak in boreal Norway, we therefore monitored the fate of the secondary leaves from 2014 to 2016. We...

Data from: The evolution of parental cooperation in birds

Vladimír Remeš, Robert P. Freckleton, Jácint Tökölyi, András Liker & Tamás Székely
Parents in many animal species care for their offspring. In some species, males care more; in other species, females care more; in still other species, the contribution of the sexes is equal. However, we do not know what explains these differences among species. Using the most comprehensive analyses of parental care to date, here we show that parents cooperate more when sexual selection is not intense and the adult sex ratio of males to females...

Data from: The evolution of labile traits in sex- and age-structured populations

Dylan Z. Childs, Ben Sheldon, Mark Rees & Ben C. Sheldon
Many quantitative traits are labile (e.g. somatic growth rate, reproductive timing and investment), varying over the life cycle as a result of behavioural adaptation, developmental processes and plastic responses to the environment. At the population level, selection can alter the distribution of such traits across age classes and among generations. Despite a growing body of theoretical research exploring the evolutionary dynamics of labile traits, a data-driven framework for incorporating such traits into demographic models has...

Data from: Sexual conflict and interacting phenotypes: a quantitative genetic analysis of fecundity and copula duration in Drosophila melanogaster

Dominic Alexander Edward, Jocelyn Poissant, Alastair J. Wilson & Tracey Chapman
Many reproductive traits that have evolved under sexual conflict may be influenced by both sexes. Investigation of the genetic architecture of such traits can yield important insight into their evolution, but this entails that the heritable component of variation is estimated for males and females – as an interacting phenotype. We address the lack of research in this area through an investigation of egg production and copula duration in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Despite...

Data from: The impact of reproductive investment and early-life environmental conditions on senescence: support for the disposable soma hypothesis

Martijn Hammers, David S. Richardson, Terry Burke & Jan Komdeur
Several hypotheses have been put forward to explain the evolution of senescence. One of the leading hypotheses, the disposable soma hypothesis, predicts a trade-off, whereby early-life investment in reproduction leads to late-life declines in survival (survival senescence). Testing this hypothesis in natural populations is challenging, but important for understanding the evolution of senescence. We used the long-term data set from a contained, predator-free population of individually marked Seychelles warblers (Acrocephalus sechellensis) to investigate how age-related...

Data from: Constraining the role of early land plants in Early Palaeozoic weathering and global cooling

Joe Quirk, Jonathan R. Leake, David A. Johnson, Lyla L. Taylor, Loredana Saccone & David J. Beerling
How the colonization of terrestrial environments by early land plants over 400 Ma influenced rock weathering, the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and phosphorus, and climate in the Palaeozoic is uncertain. Here we show experimentally that mineral weathering by liverworts—an extant lineage of early land plants—partnering arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, like those in 410 Ma-old early land plant fossils, amplified calcium weathering from basalt grains threefold to sevenfold, relative to plant-free controls. Phosphate weathering by mycorrhizal...

Data from: Estimating genome-wide heterozygosity: effects of demographic history and marker type

Joshua M. Miller, René M. Malenfant, Patrice David, Corey S. Davis, Jocelyn Poissant, John T. Hogg, Marco Festa-Bianchet & David W. Coltman
Heterozygosity–fitness correlations (HFCs) are often used to link individual genetic variation to differences in fitness. However, most studies examining HFCs find weak or no correlations. Here, we derive broad theoretical predictions about how many loci are needed to adequately measure genomic heterozygosity assuming different levels of identity disequilibrium (ID), a proxy for inbreeding. We then evaluate the expected ability to detect HFCs using an empirical data set of 200 microsatellites and 412 single nucleotide polymorphisms...

Data from: Candidate gene polymorphisms for behavioural adaptations during urbanization in blackbirds

Jakob C. Mueller, Jesko Partecke, Ben J. Hatchwell, Kevin J. Gaston & Karl L. Evans
Successful urban colonisation by formerly rural species represents an ideal situation in which to study adaptation to novel environments. We address this issue using candidate genes for behavioural traits that are expected to play a role in such colonisation events. We identified and genotyped 16 polymorphisms in candidate genes for circadian rhythms, harm avoidance, and migratory and exploratory behaviour in 12 paired urban and rural populations of the blackbird Turdus merula across the Western Palearctic....

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