23 Works

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...

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...

Changes in selection pressure can facilitate hybridization during biological invasion in a Cuban lizard

Dan Bock, Simon Baeckens, Jessica Pita-Aquino, Zachary Chejanovski, Sozos Michaelides, Pavitra Muralidhar, Oriol Lapiedra, Sungdae Park, Douglas Menke, Anthony Geneva, Jonathan Losos & Jason Kolbe
Hybridization is among the evolutionary mechanisms most frequently hypothesized to drive the success of invasive species, in part because hybrids are common in invasive populations. One explanation for this pattern is that biological invasions coincide with a change in selection pressures that limit hybridization in the native range. To investigate this possibility, we studied the introduction of the brown anole (Anolis sagrei) in the southeastern United States. We find that native populations are highly genetically...

Springtail coloration at a finer scale: mechanisms behind vibrant Collembolan metallic colours

Bram Vanthournout, Anastasia Rousaki, Thomas Parmentier, Frans Janssens, Johan Mertens, Peter Vandenabeele, Liliana D'Alba & Matthew Shawkey
The mechanisms and evolution of metallic structural colours are of both fundamental and applied interest, yet most work in arthropods has focused on derived butterflies and beetles with distinct hues. In particular, basal hexapods - groups with many scaled, metallic representatives – are currently poorly studied and controversial, with some recent studies suggesting either that thin- film (lamina thickness) or diffraction grating elements (longitudinal ridges, crossribs) produce these colors in early Lepidoptera and one springtail...

Investment in chemical signalling glands facilitates the evolution of sociality in lizards

Simon Baeckens & Martin Whiting
The evolution of sociality and traits that correlate with, or predict, sociality, have been the focus of considerable recent study. In order to reduce the social conflict that ultimately comes with group living, and foster social tolerance, individuals need reliable information about group members and potential rivals. Chemical signals are one such source of information and are widely used in many animal taxa, including lizards. Here, we take a phylogenetic comparative approach to test the...

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...

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...

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...

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 for: Serotonin transporter (SERT) polymorphisms, personality and problem-solving in urban great tits

Andrea Grunst, Melissa Grunst, Nicky Staes, Bert Thys, Rianne Pinxten & Marcel Eens
Understanding underlying genetic variation can elucidate how diversity in behavioral phenotypes evolves and is maintained. Genes in the serotonergic signaling pathway, including the serotonin transporter gene (SERT), are candidates for affecting animal personality, cognition and fitness. In a model species, the great tit (Parus major), we reevaluated previous findings suggesting relationships between SERT polymorphisms, neophobia, exploratory behavior and fitness parameters, and performed a first test of the relationship between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SERT...

Data from: Resource predictability drives inter-annual variation in migratory behaviour in a long-lived bird

Jan Baert, Eric Stienen, Frederick Verbruggen, Nico Van De Weghe, Luc Lens & Wendt Müller
There is a growing awareness that experience may play a major role in migratory decisions, especially in long-lived species. However, empirical support remains to date scarce. Here, we use multi-year GPS-tracking data on 28 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls (Larus fuscus), a long-lived species for which migratory strategies typically consist of a series of long stopovers, to assess how experience affects interannual variation in stopover selection. We expect that food source reliability should play a pivotal...

Data from: Temporal stability of chimpanzee social culture

Edwin J. C. Van Leeuwen
Culture is a hallmark of the human species, both in terms of the transmission of material inventions (e.g., tool manufacturing) and the adherence to social conventions (e.g., greeting mannerisms). While material culture has been reported across the animal kingdom, indications of social culture in animals are limited. Moreover, there is a paucity in evidencing cultural stability in animals. Here, based on a large dataset spanning 12 years, I show that chimpanzees adhere to arbitrary group-specific...

Data from: Potentially peat-forming biomass of fen sedges increases with increasing nutrient levels

Tjorven Hinzke, Guixiang Li, Franziska Tanneberger, Elke Seeber, Camiel Aggenbach, Jelena Lange, Łukasz Kozub, Klaus-Holger Knorr, Juergen Kreyling & Wiktor Kotowski
Peat formation is a key carbon sequestration process in the terrestrial biosphere. In temperate fens, peat is mainly formed by below-ground biomass of vascular plants. Nutrient availability in temperate fens is naturally variable, and nowadays increasing due to atmospheric deposition, runoff from agriculture, and mineralization of peat caused by drainage. To maintain or restore peat formation, it is important to understand how increased nutrient availability influences the main controls of peat formation, i.e., below-ground biomass...

Species abundance along the railway of Kashmir Himalaya

Irfan Rashid, Marifatul Shiekh, Jonas Lembrechts, Anzar Khuroo, Anibal Pauchard & Jeffrey Dukes
1. The significant portion of global terrestrial biodiversity harbored in mountains is under increasing threat from a variety of anthropogenic impacts. Protecting fragile mountain ecosystems requires understanding how these human disturbances affect biodiversity. As roads and railways are extended further into mountain ecosystems, understanding the long-term impacts of this infrastructure on community composition and diversity gains urgency. 2. We used railway corridors constructed across the mountainous landscapes of the Kashmir Himalaya from 1994-2013 to study...

Registration Year

  • 2021

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • University of Antwerp
  • Ghent University
  • University of Greifswald
  • University of Warsaw
  • Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  • Estación Biológica de Doñana
  • University of Münster
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Groningen