135 Works

Data from: When viruses don’t go viral: the importance of host phylogeographic structure in the spatial spread of arenaviruses

Sophie Gryseels, Stuart Baird, Rhodes Makundi, Benny Borremans, Herwig Leirs, Joelle Gouy De Bellocq & Stuart J. E. Baird
Many emerging infections are RNA virus spillovers from animal reservoirs. Reservoir identification is necessary for predicting the geographic extent of infection risk, but rarely are taxonomic levels below the animal species considered as reservoir, and only key circumstances in nature and methodology allow intrinsic virus-host associations to be distinguished from simple geographic (co-)isolation. We sampled and genetically characterized in detail a contact zone of two subtaxa of the rodent Mastomys natalensis in Tanzania. We find...

Data from: Taxonomic challenges in freshwater fishes: a mismatch between morphology and DNA barcoding in fish of the north-eastern part of the Congo basin

Eva Decru, Tuur Moelants, Koen De Gelas, Emmanuel Vreven, Erik Verheyen & Jos Snoeks
This study evaluates the utility of DNA barcoding to traditional morphology-based species identifications for the fish fauna of the north-eastern Congo basin. We compared DNA sequences (COI) of 821 samples from 206 morphologically identified species. Best match, best close match and all species barcoding analyses resulted in a rather low identification success of 87.5%, 84.5% and 64.1%, respectively. The ratio ‘nearest-neighbour distance/maximum intraspecific divergence’ was lower than 1 for 26.1% of the samples, indicating possible...

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: Proximate causes of variation in dermal armour: insights from armadillo lizards

Chris Broeckhoven, P. L. Le Fras N. Mouton & Cang Hui
Although it is widely assumed that body armour in animals evolved to thwart predator attacks, assessing the role that predators may play in shaping defensive morphologies has proven to be difficult. Recent studies suggest that body armour might be influenced by additional factors besides predation, and/or even by sexual selection. We investigated variation in dermal armour in 13 populations of armadillo lizards (Ouroborus cataphractus), spanning the entire distribution range of the species. We obtained thickness...

Data from: Flexible communication within bird families-the consequences of behavioural plasticity for parent-offspring coadaptation

Nolwenn Fresneau & Wendt Müller
Offspring are selected to demand more resources than what is optimal for their parents to provide, which results in a complex and dynamic interplay during parental care. Parent-offspring communication often involves conspicuous begging by the offspring which triggers a parental response, typically the transfer of food. So begging and parental provisioning reciprocally influence each other and are therefore expected to coevolve. There is indeed empirical evidence for covariation of offspring begging and parental provisioning at...

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: ‘Out of tune’: consequences of inbreeding on bird song

Raïssa A. De Boer, Marcel Eens & Wendt Müller
The expression of bird song is expected to signal male quality to females. ‘Quality’ is determined by genetic and environmental factors, but, surprisingly, there is very limited evidence if and how genetic aspects of male quality are reflected in song. Here, we manipulated the genetic make-up of canaries (Serinus canaria) via inbreeding, and studied its effects upon song output, complexity, phonetics and, for the first time, song learning. To this end, we created weight-matched inbred...

Data from: Carbon debt of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grasslands converted to bioenergy production

Ilya Gelfand, Terenzio Zenone, Poonam Jasrotia, Jiquan Chen, Stephen K. Hamilton & G. Philip Robertson
Over 13 million ha of former cropland are enrolled in the US Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), providing well-recognized biodiversity, water quality, and carbon (C) sequestration benefits that could be lost on conversion back to agricultural production. Here we provide measurements of the greenhouse gas consequences of converting CRP land to continuous corn, corn–soybean, or perennial grass for biofuel production. No-till soybeans preceded the annual crops and created an initial carbon debt of 10.6 Mg CO2...

Data from: Species richness effects on grassland recovery from drought depend on community productivity in a multisite experiment

Juergen Kreyling, Jürgen Dengler, Julia Walter, Nikolay Velev, Emin Ugurlu, Desislava Sopotlieva, Johannes Ransijn, Catherine Picon-Cochard, Ivan Nijs, Pauline Hernandez, Behlül Güler, Philipp Von Gillhaussen, Hans J. De Boeck, Juliette M. G. Bloor, Sigi Berwaers, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Mohammed A. S. Arfin Khan, Iva Apostolova, Yasin Altan, Michaela Zeiter, Camilla Wellstein, Marcelo Sternberg, Andreas Stampfli, Giandiego Campetella, Sándor Bartha … & Juliette M.G. Bloor
Biodiversity can buffer ecosystem functioning against extreme climatic events, but few experiments have explicitly tested this. Here, we present the first multisite biodiversity × drought manipulation experiment to examine drought resistance and recovery at five temperate and Mediterranean grassland sites. Aboveground biomass production declined by 30% due to experimental drought (standardised local extremity by rainfall exclusion for 72–98 consecutive days). Species richness did not affect resistance but promoted recovery. Recovery was only positively affected by...

Data from: Dry-season decline in tree sapflux is correlated with leaf turgor loss point in a tropical rainforest

Isabelle Maréchaux, Damien Bonal, Megan K. Bartlett, Benoît Burban, Sabrina Coste, Elodie A. Courtois, Maguy Dulormne, Jean-Yves Goret, Eléonore Mira, Ariane Mirabel, Lawren Sack, Clément Stahl & Jerome Chave
1. Water availability is a key determinant of forest ecosystem function and tree species distributions. While droughts are increasing in frequency in many ecosystems, including in the tropics, plant responses to water supply vary with species and drought intensity, and are therefore difficult to model. Based on physiological first principles, we hypothesized that trees with a lower turgor loss point (πtlp), i.e., a more negative leaf water potential at wilting, would maintain water transport for...

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: Clinical spectrum of STX1B-related epileptic disorders

Stefan Wolking, Patrick May, Davide Mei, Rikke S. Møller, Simona Balestrini, Katherine L. Helbig, Cecilia Desmettre Altuzarra, Nicolas Chatron, Charu Kaiwar, Katharina Stoehr, Peter Widdess-Walsh, Bryce A. Mendelsohn, Adam Numis, Maria R. Cilio, Wim Van Paesschen, Lene L. Svendsen, Stephanie Oates, Elaine Hughes, Sushma Goyal, Kathleen Brown, Margarita Sifuentes Saenz, Thomas Dorn, Hiltrud Muhle, Alistair T. Pagnamenta, Dimitris V. Vavoulis … & Julian Schubert
Objective: The aim of this study was to expand the spectrum of epilepsy syndromes related to STX1B, encoding the presynaptic protein syntaxin-1B, and establish genotype-phenotype correlations by identifying further disease-related variants. Methods: We used next generation sequencing in the framework of research projects and diagnostic testing. Clinical data and EEGs were reviewed, including already published cases. To estimate the pathogenicity of the variants, we used established and newly developed in silico prediction tools. Results: We...

Female need for paternal care shapes variation in extra-pair paternity in a cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Dries Van De Loock, Mwangi Githiru, Carl Vangestel & Luc Lens
Socially-monogamous females regularly mate with males outside the pair bond. The prevailing explanation for this behavior is that females gain genetic benefits resulting from increased fitness of extra-pair offspring. Furthermore, because of the risk of reduced paternal care in response to cuckoldry, females are expected to seek extra-pair copulations when they can rear offspring with little help from their social partner (“constrained female” hypothesis). We tested these hypotheses and analyzed variation in paternal care in...

Carotenoid- but not melanin-based plumage coloration is negatively related to metal exposure and proximity to the road in an urban songbird

Melissa Grunst, Andrea Grunst, Rianne Pinxten, Lieven Bervoets & Marcel Eens
Rapid urbanization is a global phenomenon that is increasingly exposing organisms to novel stressors. These novel stressors can affect diverse aspects of organismal function, including development of condition-dependent ornaments, which play critical roles in social and sexual selection. We investigated the relationship between metal pollution, proximity to roads, and carotenoid- and melanin-based plumage coloration in a common songbird, the great tit (Parus major). We studied populations located across a well-characterized metal pollution gradient and surrounded...

The roles of temperature, nest predators and information parasites for geographical variation in egg covering behaviour of tits (Paridae)

Olli Loukola, Peter Adamik, Frank Adriaensen, Emilio Barba, Blandine Doligez, Einar Flensted-Jensen, Tapio Eeva, Sami Kivelä, Toni Laaksonen, Chiara Morosinotto, Raivo Mänd, Petri Niemelä, Vladimir Remeš, Jelmer Samplonius, Manrico Sebastiano, Juan Carlos Senar, Tore Slagsvold, Alberto Sorace, Barbara Tschirren, János Török & Jukka Forsman
Aim: Nest building is widespread among animals. Nests may provide receptacles for eggs, developing offspring and the parents, and protect them from adverse environmental conditions. Nests may also indicate the quality of the territory and its owner and can be considered as an extended phenotype of its builder(s). Nests may, thus, function as a sexual and social signal. Here, we examined ecological and abiotic factors—temperature, nest predation and interspecific information utilization—shaping geographical variation in a...

Glucocorticoids link forest type to local abundance in tropical birds

Simone Messina, David Edwards, Valeria Marasco, Virginie Canoine, Cindy Cosset, Suzanne Tomassi, Suzan Benedick, Marcel Eens & David Costantini
Selective logging is a major driver of environmental changes in the tropics. Recently, there has been increasing interest in understanding which traits make bird species resilient or vulnerable to such changes. Physiological stress mediated by the steroid hormone corticosterone (CORT) might underlie changes in local abundance of species because it regulates a range of body functions and behaviours to maintain homeostasis in changing environments. We conducted a three-year study to assess: (i) the variation in...

Data and R code for What you see is where you go: visibility influences movement decisions of a forest bird navigating a 3D structured matrix

Job Aben, Johannes Signer, Janne Heiskanen, Petri Pellikka & Justin Travis
Animal spatial behaviour is often presumed to reflect responses to visual cues. However, inference of behaviour in relation to the environment is challenged by the lack of objective methods to identify the information that effectively is available to an animal from a given location. In general, animals are assumed to have unconstrained information on the environment within a detection circle of a certain radius (the perceptual range; PR). However, visual cues are only available up...

Data from: Foraging zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) are public information users rather than conformists

Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen, Thomas Morgan & Katharina Riebel
Social learning enables adaptive information acquisition provided that it is not random but selective. To understand species typical decision-making and to trace the evolutionary origins of social learning, the heuristics social learners use need to be identified. Here, we experimentally tested the nature of majority influence in the zebra finch. Subjects simultaneously observed two demonstrator groups differing in relative and absolute numbers (ratios 1:2 / 2:4 / 3:3 / 1:5) foraging from two novel food...

Pathways linking female personality with reproductive success are trait and year-specific

Bert Thys, Marcel Eens, Rianne Pinxten & Arne Iserbyt
Personality (i.e. among-individual variation in average behavior) often covaries with fitness, but how such personality-fitness relationships come about is poorly understood. Here, we explore potential mechanisms by which two female personality traits (female-female aggression and female nest defense as manifested by hissing behavior) were linked with annual reproductive success in a population of great tits (Parus major), a socially monogamous species with biparental care. We hypothesized that personality-related differences in reproductive success result from variation...

Decreasing effects of precipitation on grassland spring phenology in temperate China

Xuancheng Zhou, Yongshuo Fu, Yaru Zhang, Xiaojun Geng, Fanghua Hao, Xuan Zhang, Heikki Hanninen, Yahui Guo & Hans J. De Boeck
Vegetation phenology is highly sensitive to climate change. The timing of spring phenology in temperate grasslands is primarily regulated by temperature and precipitation. This study aims to study whether the primary factor regulating vegetation phenology changed under ongoing climate change and its underlying mechanisms. In this study, we extracted Start of Season (SOS) dates using five standard methods from satellite-derived Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data and determined the primary regulating factor for spring phenology...

Predictors of individual performance and evolutionary potential of life-history traits in a hematophagous ectoparasite

Gerardo Fracasso, Dieter Heylen, Stefan Van Dongen, Joris Elst & Erik Matthysen
Little is known about the intraspecific variation of parasite life-history traits and on how this variation may affect parasite fitness and evolution. We investigated how life-history traits predict success of individual tree-hole ticks Ixodes arboricola and estimated their evolutionary potential, as well as genetic correlations within stages and phenotypic correlations within and across stages. Ticks were followed individually over two generations while allowed to feed on great tits Parus major. After accounting for host and...

Lianas and trees exhibit divergent intrinsic water-use efficiency along elevational gradients in South American and African tropical forests

Francis Mumbanza M., Marijn Bauters, Félicien Meunier, Pascal Boeckx, Lucas Cernusak, Hannes De Deurwaerder, Miro Demol, Camille Meeussen, Bram Sercu, Lore Verryckt, Jana Pauwels, Landry Cizungu N., Selene Báez, Constantin Lubini A. & Hans Verbeeck
Elevational gradients provide excellent opportunities to explore long-term morphological and physiological responses of plants to environmental change. We determined the difference in the elevational pattern of foliar carbon isotope composition (δ13C) between lianas and trees, and assessed whether this difference arises from changes in photosynthesis or stomatal conductance. We also explored the pattern of nutrient limitations with the elevation of these two growth forms. We conducted inventories of lianas and trees using standardized techniques along...

Data from: Chimpanzees behave prosocially in a group-specific manner

Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen, Sarah E. DeTroy, Stephan P. Kaufhold, Clara Dubois, Sebastian Schütte, Josep Call & Daniel B. M. Haun
Chimpanzees act cooperatively in the wild, but whether they afford benefits to others, and whether their tendency to act prosocially varies across communities is unclear. Here, we show that chimpanzees from neighboring communities provide valuable resources to group members at personal cost, and that the magnitude of their prosocial behavior is group specific. Provided with a resource-donation experiment allowing for free (partner) choice, we observed an increase in prosocial acts across the study period in...

Data from: Variable and consistent traffic noise negatively affect the sleep behavior of a free-living songbird

Melissa Grunst, Andrea Grunst, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Anthropogenic noise is an ubiquitous disturbance factor, which, owing to the extensive nature of transportation networks, and ability of sound waves to penetrate distances, has wide-reaching impacts on biological communities. Research effort on biological effects of anthropogenic noise is extensive, but has focused on waking behavior, and to our knowledge, no published experimental study exists on how noise affects sleep in free-living animals. Sleep plays vital functions in processes such as cellular repair and memory...

Anthropogenic noise is associated with telomere length and carotenoid-based coloration in free-living nestling songbirds

Melissa Grunst, Andrea Grunst, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Growing evidence suggests that anthropogenic noise has deleterious effects on the behavior and physiology of free-living animals. These effects may be particularly pronounced early in life, when developmental trajectories are sensitive to stressors, yet studies investigating developmental effects of noise exposure in free-living populations remain scarce. To elucidate the effects of noise exposure during development, we examined whether noise exposure is associated with shorter telomeres, duller carotenoid-based coloration and reduced body mass in nestlings of...

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