136 Works

In vivo assessment of the neural substrate linked with vocal imitation accuracy

Julie Hamaide, Jasmien Orije, Kristina Lukacova, Georgios Keliris, Marleen Verhoye & Annemie Van Der Linden
Human speech and bird song are acoustically complex communication signals that are learned by imitation during a sensitive period early in life. Although the brain areas indispensable for speech and song learning are known, the neural circuits important for enhanced or reduced vocal performance remain unclear. By combining in vivo structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging with song analyses in juvenile male zebra finches during song learning and beyond, we reveal that song imitation accuracy correlates with...

Data from: Rapid evolution of increased vulnerability to an insecticide at the expansion front in a poleward moving damselfly

Khuong Van Dinh, Lizanne Janssens, Lieven Therry, Hajnalka Anna Gyulavári, Lieven Bervoets & Robby Stoks
Many species are too slow to track their poleward moving climate niche under global warming. Pesticide exposure may contribute to this by reducing population growth and impairing flight ability. Moreover, edge populations at the moving range front may be more vulnerable to pesticides because of the rapid evolution of traits to enhance their rate of spread that shunt energy away from detoxification and repair. We exposed replicated edge and core populations of the poleward moving...

Data from: Data for: Variation in animal personality traits across a metal pollution gradient in a free-living songbird

Andrea S. Grunst, Melissa L. Grunst, Bert Thys, Thomas Raap, Natasha Daem, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Anthropogenic contaminants could alter traits central to animal behavioral types, or personalities, including aggressiveness, boldness and activity level. Lead and other toxic metals are persistent inorganic pollutants that affect organisms worldwide. Metal exposure can alter behavior by affecting neurology, endocrinology, and health. However, the direction and magnitude of the behavioral effects of metal exposure remain equivocal. Moreover, the degree to which metal exposure simultaneously affects suites of correlated behavioral traits (behavioral syndromes) that are controlled...

Data from: Resveratrol supplementation reduces oxidative stress and modulates the immune response in free-living animals during a viral infection

Manrico Sebastiano, Marcel Eens, Simone Messina, Hamada Ablelgawad, Kévin Pineau, Gerrit T.S. Beemster, Olivier Chastel, David Costantini, Hamada AbdElgawad & Gerrit T. S. Beemster
1. Diet quality may have an important effect on the regulation of oxidative status and the immune system during an infectious disease. However, the relationship among intake of specific dietary molecules, an individual’s oxidative status and the occurrence and progress of a viral disease remains almost unexplored in free-living organisms. 2. Here, we study a wild, long-lived animal, the Magnificent frigatebird Fregata magnificens to investigate: i) the differences in a number of physiological traits (biomarkers...

Data from: Stress in biological invasions: introduced invasive grey squirrels increase physiological stress in native Eurasian red squirrels

Francesca Santicchia, Ben Dantzer, Freya Van Kesteren, Rupert Palme, Adriano Martinoli, Nicola Ferrari & Lucas Armand Wauters
1. Invasive alien species can cause extinction of native species through processes including predation, interspecific competition for resources, or disease-mediated competition. Increases in stress hormones in vertebrates may be associated with these processes and contribute to the decline in survival or reproduction of the native species. 2. Eurasian red squirrels (Sciurus vulgaris) have gone extinct across much of the British Isles and parts of Northern Italy following the introduction of North American invasive grey squirrels...

Data from: Herbivorous dinosaur jaw disparity and its relationship to extrinsic evolutionary drivers

Jamie A. MacLaren, Philip S. L. Anderson, Paul Barrett & Emily J. Rayfield
Morphological responses of nonmammalian herbivores to external ecological drivers have not been quantified over extended timescales. Herbivorous nonavian dinosaurs are an ideal group to test for such responses, because they dominated terrestrial ecosystems for more than 155 Myr and included the largest herbivores that ever existed. The radiation of dinosaurs was punctuated by several ecologically important events, including extinctions at the Triassic/Jurassic (Tr/J) and Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K) boundaries, the decline of cycadophytes, and the origin of...

Data from: Genetic signature of population fragmentation varies with mobility in seven bird species of a fragmented Kenyan cloud forest

Tom Callens, Peter Galbusera, Erik Matthysen, Eric Y Durand, Mwangi Githiru, Jeroen R Huyghe & Luc Lens
Habitat fragmentation can restrict geneflow, reduce neighbourhood effective population size, and increase genetic drift and inbreeding in small, isolated habitat remnants. The extent to which habitat fragmentation leads to population fragmentation, however, differs among landscapes and taxa. Commonly, researchers use information on the current status of a species to predict population effects of habitat fragmentation. Such methods, however, do not convey information on species-specific responses to fragmentation. Here we compare levels of past population differentiation,...

Data from: Population genetic structure of the tree-hole tick Ixodes arboricola (Acari: Ixodidae) at different spatial scales

Kurt Jordaens, Thierry Backeljau, A. Raoul Van Oosten, Dieter J. A. Heylen & Erik Matthysen
The endophilic tick Ixodes arboricola infests cavity-nesting birds, and its dispersal strongly depends on the movements of its host. Population genetic structure of I. arboricola was studied with seven polymorphic microsatellite markers. We collected 268 ticks from 76 nest boxes in four woodlots near Antwerp, Belgium. These nest boxes are mainly used by the principal hosts of I. arboricola, the great tit Parus major and the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus. As these birds typically return...

Data from: Role of stag beetle jaw bending and torsion in grip on rivals

Jana Goyens, Joris Dirckx, Maxim Piessen & Peter Aerts
In aggressive battles, the extremely large male stag beetle jaws have to withstand strongly elevated bite forces. We found several adaptations of the male Cyclommatus metallifer jaw morphology for enhanced robustness that conspecific females lack. As a result, males improve their grip on opponents and they maintain their safety factor (5.2–7.2) at the same level as that of females (6.8), despite their strongly elevated bite muscle force (3.9 times stronger). Males have a higher second...

Data from: Individual consistency and phenotypic plasticity in rockhopper penguins: female but not male body mass links environmental conditions to reproductive investment

Nina Dehnhard, Marcel Eens, Laurent Demongin, Petra Quillfeldt & Maud Poisbleau
In marine habitats, increasing ocean temperatures due to global climate change may distinctly reduce nutrient and consequently food availability for seabirds. Food availability is a known driver of body mass and reproductive investment in birds, but these traits may also depend on individual effects. Penguins show extreme intra-annual body mass variation and rely on accumulated body reserves for successful breeding. However, no study so far has tested individual consistency and phenotypic responses in body mass...

Data from: Experimental inhibition of a key cellular antioxidant affects vocal communication

Simone Messina, Marcel Eens, Giulia Casasole, Hamada AbdElgawad, Han Asard, Rianne Pinxten & David Costantini
1.There is substantial interest of evolutionary ecologists in the proximate mechanisms that modulate vocal communication. In recent times, there has been growing interest in the role of oxidative stress as a mediator of avian song expression. 2.Here we tested whether the experimental inhibition of the synthesis of a key cellular antioxidant (glutathione) reduces song rate metrics of male European starlings (Sturnus vulgaris). We measured the effect of our treatment on total song rate and on...

Data from: Adaptability of large carnivores to changing anthropogenic food sources: diet change of spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) during Christian fasting period in northern Ethiopia

Gidey Yirga, Hans H. De Iongh, Herwig Leirs, Kindeya Gebrihiwot, Jozef Deckers & Hans Bauer
Many large carnivores readily use anthropogenic food sources, which often leads to conflict. Spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) around the regional capital Mekelle, northern Ethiopia, feed on waste and to a lesser degree on livestock, but not on natural prey. We investigated the impact on their diet of the 55 day fasting period prescribed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, during which the vast majority of people do not consume animal products. We collected spotted hyena...

Data from: Meta-analysis indicates that oxidative stress is both a constraint on and a cost of growth

Shona M. Smith, Ruedi G. Nager & David Costantini
Oxidative stress (OS) as a proximate mechanism for life-history trade-offs is widespread in the literature. One such resource allocation trade-off involves growth rate, and theory suggests that OS might act as both a constraint on and a cost of growth, yet studies investigating this have produced conflicting results. Here, we use meta-analysis to investigate whether increased OS levels impact on growth (OS as a constraint on growth) and whether greater growth rates can increase OS...

Data from: Nonlinear scaling of foraging contacts with rodent population density

Benny Borremans, Jonas Reijniers, Nelika K. Hughes, Stephanie S. Godfrey, Sophie Gryseels, Rhodes H. Makundi & Herwig Leirs
Density-dependent shifts in population processes like territoriality, reproduction, dispersal, and parasite transmission are driven by changes in contacts between individuals. Despite this, surprisingly little is known about how contacts change with density, and thus the mechanisms driving density-dependent processes. A simple linear contact-density function is often assumed, but this is not based on a sound basis of empirical data. We addressed this question using a replicated, semi-natural experiment in which we measured contacts at feeding...

Three‐dimensional soil heterogeneity modulates responses of grassland mesocosms to an experimentally imposed drought extreme

Yongjie Liu, Michiel F. Bortier, Ivan Nijs, Yongshuo Fu, Zhenqing Li, Fujiang Hou & Hans J. De Boeck
Heterogeneity is an intrinsic characteristic of soils, which regulates plant diversity and ecosystem functioning. However, whether soil heterogeneity also modulates responses of plant communities to climate change, including climate extremes, remains largely an open question. Here, we explore responses of plant communities to drought extremes across four levels of spatial soil heterogeneity, with cell sizes varying from very small to very large, i.e. 0, 12, 24 and 48 cm. These were created in mesocosms by...

Data from: Can light-saturated photosynthesis in lowland tropical forests be estimated by one light level?

Lore T. Verryckt, David S. Ellsworth, Sara Vicca, Leandro Van Langenhove, Josep Peñuelas, Philippe Ciais, Juan M. Posada, Clément Stahl, Sabrina Coste, Elodie A. Courtois, Michael Obersteiner, Jérôme Chave & Ivan A. Janssens
Leaf-level net photosynthesis (An) estimates and associated photosynthetic parameters are crucial for accurately parameterizing photosynthesis models. For tropical forests such data are poorly available and collected at variable light conditions. To avoid over- or underestimation of modelled photosynthesis, it is critical to know at which photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD) photosynthesis becomes light saturated. We studied the dependence of An on PPFD in two tropical forests in French Guiana. We estimated the light saturation range,...

The photosensitive phase acts as a sensitive window for seasonal multisensory neuroplasticity in male and female starlings

Jasmien Orije, Emilie Cardon, Julie Hamaide, Elisabeth Jonckers, Veerle Darras, Marleen Verhoye & Annemie Van Der Linden
Traditionally, research unraveling seasonal neuroplasticity in songbirds has focused on the male song control system and testosterone. We longitudinally monitored the song and neuroplasticity in male and female starlings during multiple photoperiods using Diffusion Tensor and Fixel-Based techniques. These exploratory data-driven whole-brain methods resulted in a population-based tractogram uncovering microstructural sexual dimorphisms in the song control system and beyond. Male brains showed microstructural hemispheric asymmetries, whereas females had higher interhemispheric connectivity, which could not be...

Genetics of mercury accumulation in Stickleback, genotypes and metal accumulation phenotypes

Federico Calboli & Vyshal Delahaut
Anthropogenic stressors, such as pollutants, act as selective factors that can leave measurable changes in allele frequencies in the genome. Metals are of particular concern among pollutants, because of interference with vital biological pathways. We use the three-spined stickleback as a model for adaptation to mercury pollution in natural populations. We collected sticklebacks from 21 locations in Flanders (Belgium), measured the accumulated levels of mercury in the skeletal muscle tissue, and genotyped the fish by...

An aerodynamic perspective on hurricane-induced selection on Anolis lizards

Shamil Debaere, Colin Donihue, Anthony Herrel & Sam Van Wassenbergh
Studies have demonstrated that hurricanes can drive selection in Neotropical anoles. In a recent study it was shown that post-hurricane survivors showed increased toepad areas, and surprisingly, shorter femurs. One potential explanation for the reduction in femur length is that increased drag on individuals with longer femurs causes them to be blown off their perch. Consequently, lizards with shorter femora might survive better in hurricanes. To gain insight into the form-function relationships of drag-reduction in...

Rewetting does not return drained fen peatlands to their old selves

Juergen Kreyling, Franziska Tanneberger, Florian Jansen, Sebastian Van Der Linden, Camiel Aggenbach, Volker Blüml, John Couwenberg, Willem-Jan Emsens, Hans Joosten, Agatha Klimkowska, Wiktor Kotowski, Lukasz Kozub, Bernd Lennartz, Yvonne Liczner, Haojie Liu, Dierk Michaelis, Claudia Oehmke, Karsten Parakenings, Elisabeth Pleyl, Arne Poyda, Stefanie Raabe, Markus Röhl, Kirsten Rücker, Anett Schneider, Joachim Schrautzer … & Gerald Jurasinski
Peatlands, in particular groundwater-fed fens of the temperate zone, have been drained for agriculture, forestry and peat extraction for a long time and on a large scale. Drainage turns peatlands from a carbon and nutrient sink into a respective source, diminishes water regulation capacity at the landscape scale, causes continuous surface height loss and destroys their typical biodiversity. Over the last decades, drained peatlands have been rewetted for biodiversity restoration and, as it strongly decreases...

Data and code for Heterogeneous selection on exploration behavior within and among West European populations of a passerine bird

Alexia Mouchet, Ella Cole, Erik Matthysen, Marion Nicolaus, John Quinn, Allison Roth, Joost Tinbergen, Kees Van Oers, Thijs Van Overveld & Niels Dingemanse
Heterogeneous selection is often proposed as a key mechanism maintaining repeatable behavioral variation (“animal personality”) in wild populations. Previous studies largely focused on temporal variation in selection within single populations. The relative importance of spatial versus temporal variation remains unexplored, despite these processes having distinct effects on local adaptation. Using data from >3500 great tits (Parus major) and 35 nest box plots situated within five West-European populations monitored over 4-18 years, we show that selection...

Heritable variation in host quality as measured through an ectoparasite's performance

Gerardo Fracasso, Erik Matthysen & Dieter Heylen
Obligate parasites need one or more hosts to complete their life cycle. However, hosts might show intraspecific variation in quality with respect to the parasites themselves, thus affecting on-host and off-host parasite performance. High heritability in host quality for the parasite may therefore exert long-lasting selective pressures on the parasite and influence host–parasite coevolution. However, the amount of variation and heritability in host quality are unknown for most parasite species, especially in wild populations of...

Data from: Post-fragmentation population structure in a cooperative breeding Afrotropical cloud forest bird: emergence of a source-sink population network

Martin Husemann, Laurence Cousseau, Tom Callens, Erik Matthysen, Carl Vangestel, Caspar Hallmann & Luc Lens
The impact of demographic parameters on the genetic population structure and viability of organisms is a long-standing issue in the study of fragmented populations. Demographic and genetic tools are now readily available to estimate census and effective population sizes and migration and gene flow rates with increasing precision. Here we analysed the demography and genetic population structure over a recent 15-year time span in five remnant populations of Cabanis's greenbul (Phyllastrephus cabanisi), a cooperative breeding...

Data from: Initiation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in the absence of physical contact with infected hosts – a field study in a high altitude lake

Elodie A. Courtois, Adeline Loyau, Mégane Bourgoin & Dirk S. Schmeller
Understanding transmission is a critical prerequisite for predicting disease dynamics and impacts on host populations. It is well established that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian fungal pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis, can be transmitted directly, through physical contact with an infected host. However, indirect pathways of transmission remain poorly investigated. We conducted a five-week long field infection experiment at a high altitude mountain lake in the French Pyrenees to investigate Bd transmission pathways in larval midwife...

Data from: Restoration of endangered fen communities: the ambiguity of iron-phosphorus binding and phosphorus limitation

Willem-Jan Emsens, Camiel J.S. Aggenbach, Alfons J.P. Smolders, Dominik Zak, Ruurd Van Diggelen, C.J.S. Aggenbach, A.J.P. Smolders & W.-J. Emsens
1.Low phosphorus (P) availability limits plant biomass production in fens, which is a prerequisite for the persistence of many endangered plant species. We hypothesized that P limitation is linked to soil iron (Fe) content and soil Fe:P ratios as iron compounds provide binding sites for dissolved P, presumably reducing P availability to plants. 2.We sampled 30 fens in a trans-European field survey to determine how soil Fe pools relate to pools of P and Fe-bound...

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  • 2012

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  • University of Antwerp
  • Ghent University
  • University of Groningen
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research
  • Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
  • KU Leuven
  • Sokoine University of Agriculture
  • Nederlands Instituut voor Ecologie
  • VU University Amsterdam
  • University of Sheffield