135 Works

Data from: Accelerated redevelopment of vocal skills is preceded by lasting reorganization of the song motor circuitry

Michiel Vellema, Mariana Diales Rocha, Sabrina Bascones, Sandor Zsebok, Jes Dreier, Stefan Leitner, Annemie Van Der Linden, Jonathan Brewer & Manfred Gahr
Complex motor skills take considerable time and practice to learn. Without continued practice the level of skill performance quickly degrades, posing a problem for the timely utilization of skilled motor behaviors. Here we quantified the recurring development of vocal motor skills and the accompanying changes in synaptic connectivity in the brain of a songbird, while manipulating skill performance by consecutively administrating and withdrawing testosterone. We demonstrate that a songbird with prior singing experience can significantly...

Data from: Vitally important – does early innate immunity predict recruitment and adult innate immunity?

Anke Vermeulen, Wendt Müller & Marcel Eens
The immune system is one of the most important adaptations that has evolved to protect animals from a wide range of pathogens they encounter from early life onwards. During the early developmental period this is particularly true for the innate immunity, as other components of the immune system are, as yet, poorly developed. But innate immunity may not only be crucial for early life survival, but may also have long-lasting effects, for example if early...

Data from: Lyme neuroborreliosis and bird populations in northern Europe

Atle Mysterud, Dieter Heylen, Erik Mathyssen, Aïda Garcia, Solveig Jore & Hildegunn Viljugrein
Many vector-borne diseases are transmitted through complex pathogen-vector-host networks, which makes it challenging to identify the role of specific host groups in disease emergence. Lyme borreliosis in humans is now the most common vector-borne zoonosis in the northern hemisphere. The disease is caused by multiple genospecies of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato bacteria transmitted by ixodid (hard) ticks, and the major host groups transmit Borrelia genospecies with different pathogenicity, causing variable clinical symptoms in humans. The...

Data from: Timing of perineuronal nets development in the zebra finch song control system correlates with developmental song learning

Gilles Cornez, Elisabeth Jonckers, Sita M. Ter Haar, Annemie Van Der Linden, Charlotte A. Cornil & Jacques Balthazart
The appearance of perineuronal nets (PNN) represents one of the mechanisms that contribute to the closing of sensitive periods for neural plasticity. This relationship has mostly been studied in the ocular dominance model in rodents. Previous studies also indicated that PNN might control neural plasticity in the song control system (SCS) of songbirds. To further elucidate this relationship, we quantified PNN expression and their localization around parvalbumin interneurons at key time-points during ontogeny in both...

Data from: Repeated stressors in adulthood increase the rate of biological ageing

Michaela Hau, Mark F. Haussmann, Timothy J. Greives, Christa Matlack, David Costantini, Michael Quetting, James S. Adelman, Ana Catarina Miranda & Jesko Partecke
Background: Individuals of the same age can differ substantially in the degree to which they have accumulated tissue damage, akin to bodily wear and tear, from past experiences. This accumulated tissue damage reflects the individual’s biological age and may better predict physiological and behavioural performance than the individual‘s chronological age. However, at present it remains unclear how to reliably assess biological age in individual wild vertebrates. Methods: We exposed hand-raised adult Eurasian blackbirds (Turdus merula)...

Data from: Within-family parent-offspring co-adaptation in a wild bird: on static traits, behavioural reaction norms and sex differences

Carsten Lucass, Peter Korsten, Marcel Eens & Wendt Müller
Parental care, a central component of reproduction in a wide range of animal species, often involves elaborate behavioural interactions between parents and their offspring. Due to the reciprocal nature of these interactions, it has been hypothesized that parental and offspring behaviours (e.g. parental food provisioning and offspring begging) are not only target but also agent of selection. These traits are therefore expected to co-evolve, ultimately leading to co-adaptation of parent and offspring behaviours within families....

Data from: Genetic distinction between contiguous urban and rural multimammate mice in Tanzania despite gene flow

Sophie Gryseels, Joëlle Goüy De Bellocq, Rhodes Makundi, Kurt Vanmechelen, Jan Broeckhove, Vladimír Mazoch, Radim Šumbera, , Herwig Leirs & Stuart J. E. Baird
Special conditions are required for genetic differentiation to arise at a local geographical scale in the face of gene flow. The Natal multimammate mouse, Mastomys natalensis, is the most widely distributed and abundant rodent in sub-Saharan Africa. A notorious agricultural pest and a natural host for many zoonotic diseases, it can live in close proximity to man, and appears to compete with other rodents for the synanthropic niche. We surveyed its population genetic structure across...

DNA methylation profiling and genomic analysis in 20 children with short stature who were born small-for-gestational age

Silke Peeters & Geert Mortier
Purpose: In a significant proportion of children born small-for-gestational age (SGA) with failure of catch-up growth, the etiology of short stature remains unclear after routine diagnostic work-up. We wanted to investigate if extensive analysis of the (epi)genome can unravel the cause of growth failure in a significant portion of these children. Patients and Methods: Twenty SGA children treated with growth hormone (GH) because of short stature were selected from the BELGROW database of the Belgian...

Impacts of selective logging on the oxidative status of tropical understory birds

Simone Messina
1. Selective logging is the dominant form of human disturbance in tropical forests, driving changes in the abundance of vertebrate and invertebrate populations relative to undisturbed old-growth forests. 2. A key unresolved question is understanding which physiological mechanisms underlie different responses of species and functional groups to selective logging. Regulation of oxidative status is thought to be one major physiological mechanism underlying the capability of species to cope with environmental changes. 3. Using a correlational...

Habitat fragmentation shapes natal dispersal and sociality in an Afrotropical cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Martijn Hammers, Dries Van De Loock, Beate Apfelbeck, Mwangi Githiru, Erik Matthysen & Luc Lens
It remains poorly understood how effects of anthropogenic activity, such as large-scale habitat fragmentation, impact sociality in animals. In cooperatively breeding species, groups are mostly formed through delayed offspring dispersal, and habitat fragmentation can affect this process in two opposite directions. Increased habitat isolation may increase dispersal costs, promoting delayed dispersal. Alternatively, reduced patch size and quality may decrease benefits of philopatry, promoting dispersal. Here, we test both predictions in a cooperatively breeding bird (placid...

Are offspring begging levels exaggerated beyond the parental optimum? Evidence from a bidirectional selection experiment

Nolwenn Fresneau, Natalia Estramil & Wendt Müller
Parental care involves elaborate behavioural interactions between parents and their offspring, with offspring stimulating their parents via begging to provision resources. Thus, begging has direct fitness benefits as it enhances offspring growth and survival. It is nevertheless subject to a complex evolutionary trajectory, because begging may serve as a means for the offspring to manipulate parents in the context of evolutionary conflicts of interest. Furthermore, it has been hypothesized that begging is coadapted and potentially...

Dietary carotenoid supplementation facilitates egg laying in a wild passerine

Jorge García-Campa, Wendt Müller, Sonia González-Braojos, Emilio García-Juárez & Judith Morales
During egg laying, females face a trade-off between self-maintenance and investment into current reproduction, since providing eggs with resources is energetically demanding, in particular if females lay one egg per day. However, the costs of egg laying not only relate to energetic requirements, but also depend on the availability of specific resources that are vital for egg production and embryonic development. One of these compounds are carotenoids, pigments with immuno-stimulatory properties, which are crucial during...

Data from: Risk of short-term biodiversity loss under more persistent precipitation regimes

Simon Reynaert
Recent findings indicate that atmospheric warming increases the persistence of weather patterns in the mid-latitudes, resulting in sequences of longer dry and wet periods compared to historic averages. The alternation of progressively longer dry and wet extremes could increasingly select for species with a broad environmental tolerance. As a consequence, biodiversity may decline. Here, we explore the relationship between the persistence of summer precipitation regimes and plant diversity by subjecting experimental grassland mesocosms to a...

Data from: Group-level variation in co-feeding tolerance between two sanctuary-housed communities of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen, Sanne Van Donink, Marcel Eens & Jeroen M. G. Stevens
Social tolerance in group-living animals can be viewed as a counterweight against competitive interests necessary to obtain coexistence equilibrium and maintain group cohesion. As such, it forms an interesting phenomenon to study at the group-level, but how can this be done most informatively? Here, we use three group-level co-feeding assays and social network analysis to study social tolerance in two groups of chimpanzees living under similar circumstances within a sanctuary to i) reassess whether social...

Unprecedented biting performance in herbivorous fish: how the complex biting system of Pomacentridae circumvents performance trade-offs

Damien Olivier, Sam Van Wassenbergh, Eric Parmentier & Bruno Frédérich
It is well accepted that the complexity of functional systems may mitigate performance trade-offs. However, data supporting this theory is hard to find because it needs to be based on a functional system with different complexity levels in closely-related species. The Pomacentridae (damselfishes) provide an excellent opportunity to test the hypothesis because most of the species have two mouth-closing systems: the first using the adductor mandibulae, as in all teleost fishes, and a second one...

Data for: Little parental response to anthropogenic noise in an urban songbird, but evidence for individual differences in sensitivity

Melissa Grunst
Anthropogenic noise exposure has well-documented behavioral, physiological and fitness effects on organisms. However, whether different noise regimes evoke distinct responses has rarely been investigated, despite implications for tailoring noise mitigation policies. Urban animals might display low responsiveness to certain anthropogenic noise regimes, especially consistent noise (e.g. freeway noise), but might remain more sensitive to more diverse noise regimes. Additionally, whether individuals differ in noise sensitivity is a rarely explored issue, which is important to fully...

Proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry (PTR-TOF-MS) as a tool for studying animal volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions

Miguel Portillo-Estrada, Charlotte Van Moorleghem, Sunita Janssenswillen, Richard Joseph Cooper, Claudia Birkemeyer, Kim Roelants & Raoul Van Damme
1. Chemical sensing in vertebrates is crucial in their lives, and efforts are undertaken towards deciphering their chemical language. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) is a group of chemicals believed to play an essential role in a wide variety of animal interactions. Therefore, understanding what animals sense themselves and untangling the ecological role of their volatile cues can be accomplished by analysing VOC emissions. A Proton-Transfer Reaction Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer (PTR-TOF-MS) is an instrument that measures...

Data from: Density-dependence and persistence of Morogoro arenavirus transmission in a fluctuating population of its reservoir host

Joachim Mariën, Benny Borremans, Christophe Verhaeren, Lucinda Kirkpatrick, Sophie Gryseels, Joëlle Goüy De Bellocq, Stephan Günther, Christopher A. Sabuni, Apia W. Massawe, Jonas Reijniers & Herwig Leirs
Background A key aim in wildlife disease ecology is to understand how host and parasite characteristics influence parasite transmission and persistence. Variation in host population density can have strong impacts on transmission and outbreaks, and theory predicts particular transmission-density patterns depending on how parasites are transmitted between individuals. Here, we present the results of a study on the dynamics of Morogoro arenavirus in a population of multimammate mice (Mastomys natalensis). This widespread African rodent, which...

Data from: Discrete choice modelling of natal dispersal: \"choosing\" where to breed from a finite set of available areas

Michalis Vardakis, Peter Goos, Frank Adriaensen & Erik Matthysen
1. Classic natal dispersal studies focus mainly on distance travelled. Although distances capture some of the main selective pressures related to dispersal, this approach cannot easily incorporate the properties of the actual destination vs. the available alternatives. Recently, movement ecology studies have addressed questions on movement decisions in relation to availability of resources and/or availability of suitable habitats through the use of discrete choice models (DCMs), a widely used type of models within econometrics, which...

Data from: Developmental plasticity affects sexual size dimorphism in an anole lizard

Camille Bonneaud, Erin Marnocha, Anthony Herrel, Bieke Vanhooydonck, Duncan J. Irschick & Thomas B. Smith
While developmental plasticity has been shown to contribute to sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in laboratory studies, its role in shaping SSD variation in wild vertebrate populations is unclear. Here we use a field study and a laboratory experiment to show that resource availability influences the degree of SSD among insular populations of Anolis sagrei lizards in the Bahamas. Total amounts of food biomass explained variation in male, but not female, body size on six Bahamian...

Data from: Floaters may buffer the extinction risk of small populations: an empirical assessment

Hugo Robles & Carlos Ciudad
The high extinction risk of small populations is commonly explained by reductions in fecundity and breeder survival associated with demographic and environmental stochasticity. However, ecological theory suggests that population extinctions may also arise from reductions in the number of floaters able to replace the lost breeders. This can be particularly plausible under harsh fragmentation scenarios, where species must survive as small populations subjected to severe effects of stochasticity. Using a woodpecker study in fragmented habitats...

Data from: Sensory information and the perception of verticality in post-stroke patients. Another point of view in sensory reweighting strategies

Wim Saeys, Nolan Herssens, Steven Truijen & Stijn Verwulgen
INTRODUCTION: Perception of verticality is highly related to balance control in human. Head-on-body tilt <60° results in the E-effect, meaning that a tilt of the perceived vertical is observed contralateral to the head tilt in the frontal plane. Furthermore, somatosensory loss also impacts the accuracy of verticality perception. However, when several input sources are absent or biased, less options for sensory weighting and balance control occur. Therefore, this study aims to identify the E-effect and...

Data from: Two eggs, two different constraints: a potential explanation for the puzzling intra-clutch egg size dimorphism in Eudyptes penguins

Maud Poisbleau, Nina Dehnhard, Laurent Demongin, Petra Quillfeldt & Marcel Eens
Phenotypic plasticity and phenotypic stability are major components of the adaptive evolution of organisms to environmental variation. The invariant two-egg clutch size of Eudyptes penguins has recently been proposed to be a unique example of a maladaptive phenotypic stability, while their egg mass is a plastic trait. We tested whether this phenotypic plasticity during reproduction might result from constraints imposed by migration (migratory carry-over effect) and breeding (due to the depletion of female body reserves)....

Data from: Effects of interspecific coexistence on laying date and clutch size in two closely related species of hole‐nesting birds

Anders Pape Møller, Javier Balbontin, André A. Dhondt, Vladimir Remeš, Frank Adriaensen, Clotilde Biard, Jordi Camprodon, Mariusz Cichoń, Blandine Doligez, Anna Dubiec, Marcel Eens, Tapio Eeva, Anne E. Goodenough, Andrew G. Gosler, Lars Gustafsson, Philipp Heeb, Shelley A. Hinsley, Staffan Jacob, Rimvydas Juškaitis, Toni Laaksonen, Bernard Leclercq, Bruno Massa, Tomasz D. Mazgajski, Rudi G. Nager, Jan-Åke Nilsson … & Ruedi G. Nager
Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole‐nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co‐occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across...

Data from: A second New World hover fly, Toxomerus floralis (Fabricius) (Diptera: Syrphidae), recorded from the Old World, with description of larval pollen-feeding ecology

Kurt Jordaens, Georg Goergen, Ashley H. Kirk-Spriggs, Audrey Vokaer, Thierry Backeljau & Marc De Meyer
Recently (2013–2014), several hoverfly specimens from two localities in Benin and Cameroon (West and Central Africa) were caught from a species that we could not identify using existing identification keys for Afrotropical Syrphidae. Specific identification as Toxomerus floralis (Fabricius) was accomplished using morphology and various Neotropical identification keys. Corroboration of this identification was made by sequencing of the standard COI barcode region and a subsequent BLAST-IDS in BOLD that revealed a 100% sequence similarity with...

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  • 2012

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • 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