146 Works

Data from: Solar radiation during rewarming from torpor in elephant shrews: supplementation or substitution of endogenous heat production?

Michelle L. Thompson, Nomakwezi Mzilikazi, Nigel C. Bennett & Andrew E. McKechnie
Many small mammals bask in the sun during rewarming from heterothermy, but the implications of this behaviour for their energy balance remain little understood. Specifically, it remains unclear whether solar radiation supplements endogenous metabolic thermogenesis (i.e., rewarming occurs through the additive effects of internally-produced and external heat), or whether solar radiation reduces the energy required to rewarm by substituting (i.e, replacing) metabolic heat production. To address this question, we examined patterns of torpor and rewarming...

Data from: Using the Spatial Population Abundance Dynamics Engine for conservation management

Nicholas J. Beeton, Clive R. McMahon, Grant Williamson, Joanne Potts, Jonathan Bloomer, Marthán N. Bester, Lawrence K. Forbes, Christopher N. Johnson, Grant J. Williamson, Chris N. Johnson & Larry K. Forbes
1. An explicit spatial understanding of population dynamics is often critical for effective management of wild populations. Sophisticated approaches are available to simulate these dynamics, but are largely either spatially homogeneous or agent-based, and thus best suited to small spatial or temporal scales. These approaches also often ignore financial decisions crucial to choosing management approaches on the basis of cost-effectiveness. 2. We created a user-friendly and flexible modelling framework for simulating these population issues at...

Data from: Serendipitous meta-transcriptomics: the fungal community of Norway spruce (Picea abies)

Nicolas Delhomme, Görel Sundström, Neda Zamani, Henrik Lantz, Yao-Cheng Lin, Torgeir R. Hvidsten, Marc P. Höppner, Patric Jern, Yves Van De Peer, Joakim Lundeberg, Manfred G. Grabherr & Nathaniel R. Street
After performing de novo transcript assembly of >1 billion RNA-Sequencing reads obtained from 22 samples of different Norway spruce (Picea abies) tissues that were not surface sterilized, we found that assembled sequences captured a mix of plant, lichen, and fungal transcripts. The latter were likely expressed by endophytic and epiphytic symbionts, indicating that these organisms were present, alive, and metabolically active. Here, we show that these serendipitously sequenced transcripts need not be considered merely as...

Data from: Within guild co-infections influence parasite community membership: a longitudinal study in African Buffalo

Brian Henrichs, Marinda C. Oosthuizen, Milana Troskie, Erin Gorsich, Carmen Gondhalekar, Brianna Beechler, Vanessa O. Ezenwa, Anna E. Jolles & Brianna R. Beechler
1. Experimental studies in laboratory settings have demonstrated a critical role of parasite interactions in shaping parasite communities. The sum of these interactions can produce diverse effects on individual hosts as well as influence disease emergence and persistence at the population level. 2. A predictive framework for the effects of parasite interactions in the wild remains elusive, largely because of limited longitudinal or experimental data on parasite communities of free-ranging hosts. 3. This four year...

Data from: Taxonomic and functional diversity in Mediterranean pastures: Insights on the biodiversity-productivity trade-off

Victor Rolo, David Rivest, Miren Lorente, Jens Kattge & Gerardo Moreno
Agricultural intensification is one of the main causes of biodiversity loss world-wide. The inclusion of semi-natural features in agricultural landscapes is suggested as a means of enhancing farm biodiversity, but this practice may have potential negative effects on yield production. Moreover, little evidence exists for effects of semi-natural features on other components of biodiversity, such as functional diversity. Yet this could provide a more comprehensive understanding of biodiversity–productivity trade-offs. Here, we report the effects of...

Data from: Serological evidence of lyssaviruses among bats on southwestern Indian Ocean islands

Julien Mélade, Stewart McCulloch, Beza Ramasindrazana, Erwan Lagadec, Magali Turpin, Hervé Pascalis, Steven M. Goodman, Wanda Markotter & Koussay Dellagi
We provide serological evidence of lyssavirus circulation among bats on southwestern Indian Ocean (SWIO) islands. A total of 572 bats belonging to 22 species were collected on Anjouan, Mayotte, La Réunion, Mauritius, Mahé and Madagascar and screened by the Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test for the presence of neutralising antibodies against the two main rabies related lyssaviruses circulating on the African continent: Duvenhage lyssavirus (DUVV) and Lagos bat lyssavirus (LBV), representing phylogroups I and II,...

Data from: Geographic distribution of the invasive cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus, a country-wide survey in Benin

Eva M. De Clercq, S. O. Vanwambeke, M. Sungirai, S. Adehan, R. Lokossou & M. Madder
The cattle tick Rhipicephalus microplus is currently invading the West African region, and little information is available on the spread of this exotic tick in this region. We set out a country-wide field survey to determine its current distribution in Benin. Ticks were collected on cattle from 106 farms selected by random sampling covering all regions of the country. Rhipicephalus annulatus was found on 70 % of all farms, R. decoloratus on 42 %, R....

Data from: Variation in growth of Damaraland mole-rats is explained by competition rather than by functional specialization for different tasks

Markus Zöttl, Jack Thorley, David Gaynor, Nigel C. Bennett & Tim Clutton-Brock
In some eusocial insect societies, adaptation to the division of labour results in multimodal size variation among workers. It has been suggested that variation in size and growth among non-breeders in naked and Damaraland mole-rats may similarly reflect functional divergence associated with different cooperative tasks. However, it is unclear whether individual growth rates are multimodally distributed (as would be expected if variation in growth is associated with specialization for different tasks) or whether variation in...

Data from: Vulnerability mapping as a tool to manage the environmental impacts of oil and gas extraction

Surina Esterhuyse, Frank Sokolic, Nola Redelinghuys, Marinda Avenant, Andrzej Kijko, Jan Glazewski, Lisa Plit, Marthie Kemp, Ansie Smit, A. Tascha Vos & Michael J. Von Maltitz
Various biophysical and socio-economic impacts may be associated with unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction. A vulnerability map may assist governments during environmental assessments, spatial planning and the regulation of UOG extraction, as well as decision-making around UOG extraction in fragile areas. A regional interactive vulnerability map was developed for UOG extraction in South Africa. This map covers groundwater, surface water, vegetation, socio-economics and seismicity as mapping themes, based on impacts that may emanate from...

Data from: Locomotor activity and body temperature patterns over a temperature gradient in the highveld mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae)

Meghan Haupt, Nigel C. Bennett & Maria K. Oosthuizen
African mole-rats are strictly subterranean mammals that live in extensive burrow systems. High humidity levels in the burrows prevent mole-rats from thermoregulating using evaporative cooling. However, the relatively stable environment of the burrows promotes moderate temperatures and small daily temperature fluctuations. Mole-rats therefore display a relatively wide range of thermoregulation abilities. Some species cannot maintain their body temperatures at a constant level, whereas others employ behavioural thermoregulation. Here we test the effect of ambient temperature...

Data from: Evolution of sociality in spiders leads to depleted genomic diversity at both population and species level

Virginia Settepani, Mads F. Schou, Michelle Greve, Lena Grinsted, Jesper Bechsgaard & Trine Bilde
Across several animal taxa, the evolution of sociality involves a suite of characteristics, a ‘social syndrome’, that includes cooperative breeding, reproductive skew, primary female biased sex-ratio, and the transition from outcrossing to inbreeding mating system, factors that are expected to reduce effective population size (Ne). This social syndrome may be favoured by short-term benefits but come with long-term costs, because the reduction in Ne amplifies loss of genetic diversity by genetic drift, ultimately restricting the...

Data from: Ancient landscapes of the Namib Desert harbour high levels of genetic variability and deeply divergent lineages for Collembola

Gemma Collins, Ian Hogg, Janine Baxter, Gillian Maggs-Kölling & Don Cowan
Aim To assess spatial patterns of genetic and species-level diversity for Namib Desert Collembola using mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene sequences. Location Namib Desert gravel plains Taxon Collembola (springtails) Methods A total of 77 soil samples was collected along a NE-SW (60 km) and E-W (160 km) transects from within a 4000 km2 area of the Namib Desert gravel plains. We extracted 434 springtails from the 37 samples which contained Collembola...

Data from: Sensitivity of global soil carbon stocks to combined nutrient enrichment

Thomas W. Crowther, Charlotte Riggs, Eric M. Lind, Elizabeth T. Borer, Eric W. Seabloom, Sarah E. Hobbie, E. R. Jasper Wubs, Peter B. Adler, Jennifer Firn, Laureano Gherardi, Nicole Hagenah, Kirsten S. Hofmockel, Johannes M. H. Knops, Rebecca L. McCulley, Andrew MacDougall, Pablo L. Peri, Suzanne M. Prober, Carly J. Stevens & Devin Routh
Soil stores approximately twice as much carbon as the atmosphere and fluctuations in the size of the soil carbon pool directly influence climate conditions. We used the Nutrient Network global change experiment to examine how anthropogenic nutrient enrichment might influence grassland soil carbon storage at a global scale. In isolation, enrichment of nitrogen and phosphorous had minimal impacts on soil carbon storage. However, when these nutrients were added in combination with potassium and micronutrients, soil...

Data from: Studying the microbiota of bats: accuracy of direct and indirect samplings

Muriel Dietrich & Wanda Markotter
Given the recurrent bat-associated disease outbreaks in humans and recent advances in metagenomics sequencing, the microbiota of bats is increasingly being studied. However, obtaining biological samples directly from wild individuals may represent a challenge and thus, indirect passive sampling (without capturing bats) is sometimes used as an alternative. Currently, it is not known whether the bacterial community assessed using this approach provides an accurate representation of the bat microbiota. This study was designed to compare...

Data from: Leaf nutrients, not specific leaf area, are consistent indicators of elevated nutrient inputs

Jennifer Firn, James M. McGree, Eric Harvey, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Martin Schütz, Yvonne M. Buckley, Elizabeth T. Borer, Eric W. Seabloom, Kimberly J. La Pierre, Andrew M. MacDougall, Suzanne M. Prober, Carly J. Stevens, Lauren L. Sullivan, Erica Porter, Emma Ladouceur, Charlotte Allen, Karine H. Moromizato, John W. Morgan, W. Stanley Harpole, Yann Hautier, Nico Eisenhauer, Justin P. Wright, Peter B. Adler, Carlos Alberto Arnillas, Jonathan D. Bakker … & Anita C. Risch
Leaf traits are frequently measured in ecology to provide a ‘common currency’ for predicting how anthropogenic pressures impact ecosystem function. Here, we test whether leaf traits consistently respond to experimental treatments across 27 globally distributed grassland sites across 4 continents. We find that specific leaf area (leaf area per unit mass)—a commonly measured morphological trait inferring shifts between plant growth strategies—did not respond to up to four years of soil nutrient additions. Leaf nitrogen, phosphorus...

Dominant native and non-native graminoids differ in key leaf traits irrespective of nutrient availability

Arthur Broadbent, Jennifer Firn, James McGree, Elizabeth Borer, Yvonne Buckley, W. Stanley Harpole, Kimberly Komatsu, Andrew MacDougall, Kate Orwin, Nicholas Ostle, Eric Seabloom, Jonathan Bakker, Lori Biedermann, Maria Caldeira, Nico Eisenhauer, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Joslin Moore, Carla Nogueira, Pablo Peri, Anita Risch, Christiane Roscher, Martin Schuetz & Carly Stevens
Aim Nutrient enrichment is associated with plant invasions and biodiversity loss. Functional trait advantages may predict the ascendancy of invasive plants following nutrient enrichment but this is rarely tested. Here, we investigate 1) whether dominant native and non-native plants differ in important morphological and physiological leaf traits, 2) how their traits respond to nutrient addition, and 3) whether responses are consistent across functional groups. Location Australia, Europe, North America and South Africa Time period 2007...

Data from: Body mass affects short term heterothermy in Neotropical bats

Zenon J. Czenze & Miranda B. Dunbar
Recent work in Australia and Africa has shown that heterothermy is widespread among phylogenetically diverse tropical and subtropical mammalian taxa. However, data on the use of heterothermy by Neotropical mammals are relatively scant, and those studies that exist focus on insect-eating bats. We investigated the capacity of fruit-eating Neotropical bats to use heterothermy when exposed to acute cold temperatures, and compared this to previous data focused on insect-eating bats sampled from the same region and...

Traces of air and body temperature in six hummingbird species in the Andes

Blair Wolf, Andrew McKechnie, Jonathan Schmitt, Zenon Czenze, Andrew Johnson & Christopher Witt
Torpor is thought to be particularly important for small endotherms occupying cold environments and with limited fat reserves to fuel metabolism. It remains mysterious why, among birds, torpor is both rare and variable in extent. We investigated torpor in a hummingbird community at ~3,800 m a.s.l. in the tropical Andes by monitoring body temperature (Tb) in 26 individuals of six species held captive overnight and experiencing natural air temperature (Ta) patterns. All species used pronounced...

Exposing wind stress as a driver of fine-scale variation in plant communities

Mia Momberg, David Hedding, Miska Luoto & Peter Le Roux
The effects of temperature and precipitation, and the impacts of changes in these climatic conditions, on plant communities have been investigated extensively. The roles of other climatic factors are, however, comparatively poorly understood, despite potentially also strongly structuring community patterns. Wind, for example, is seldom considered when forecasting species responses to climate change, despite having direct physiological and mechanical impacts on plants. It is, therefore, important to understand the magnitude of potential impacts of changing...

Animal lifestyle affects acceptable mass limits for attached tags

Rory Wilson, Kayleigh Rose, Richard Gunner, Mark Holton, Nikki Marks, Nigel Bennett, Stephen Bell, Joshua Twining, Jamie Hesketh, Carlos Duarte, Neil Bezodis, Milos Jezek, Michael Painter, Vaclav Silovsky, Margaret Crofoot, Roi Harel, John Arnould, Blake Allan, Desley Whisson, Abdulaziz Alagaili & David Scantlebury
Animal-attached devices have transformed our understanding of vertebrate ecology. To minimize any associated harm, researchers have long advocated that tag masses should not exceed 3% of carrier body mass. However, this ignores tag forces resulting from animal movement. Using data from collar-attached accelerometers on 10 diverse free-ranging terrestrial species from koalas to cheetahs, we detail a tag-based acceleration method to clarify acceptable tag mass limits. We quantify animal athleticism in terms of fractions of animal...

Microaggressions and social cohesion in the City of Tshwane

Maria Oosthuizen
The data entails responses to an existing and slightly adapted questionnaire, using the racial and ethnic microaggressions scale (REMS) which had been conducted in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Items were added to also measure experience of social cohesion. Open ended questions added to the instrument, provided respondents' views on diversity initiatives, what the instument aimed to measure, as well as perceptions of microaggressions in the municipality. A concurrent/embedded mixed method approach was followed....

Microaggressions and social cohesion in the City of Tshwane

Maria Oosthuizen
The data entails responses to an existing and slightly adapted questionnaire, using the racial and ethnic microaggressions scale (REMS) which had been conducted in the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. Items were added to also measure experience of social cohesion. Open ended questions added to the instrument, provided respondents' views on diversity initiatives, what the instument aimed to measure, as well as perceptions of microaggressions in the municipality. A concurrent/embedded mixed method approach was followed....

Data from: Facial attractiveness is related to women’s cortisol and body fat, but not with immune responsiveness

Markus J. Rantala, Vinet Coetzee, Fhionna R. Moore, Ilona Skrida, Sanita Kecko, Tatjana Krama, Inese Kivleniece, Indrikis Krams & I. Skrinda
Recent studies suggest that facial attractiveness indicates immune responsiveness in men and that this relationship is moderated by stress hormones which interact with testosterone levels. However, studies testing whether facial attractiveness in women signals their immune responsiveness are lacking. Here, we photographed young Latvian women, vaccinated them against hepatitis B and measured the amount of specific antibodies produced, cortisol levels and percentage body fat. Latvian men rated the attractiveness of the women's faces. Interestingly, in...

Data from: Maternal, social and abiotic environment effects on growth vary across life stages in a cooperative mammal

Sinead English, Andrew W. Bateman, Rafael Mares, Arpat Ozgul & Tim H. Clutton-Brock
1. Resource availability plays a key role in driving variation in somatic growth and body condition, and the factors determining access to resources vary considerably across life stages. Parents and carers may exert important influences in early life, when individuals are nutritionally dependent, with abiotic environmental effects having stronger influences later in development as individuals forage independently. 2. Most studies have measured specific factors influencing growth across development, or have compared relative influences of different...

Data from: Ion Torrent PGM as tool for fungal community analysis: a case study of endophytes in Eucalyptus grandis reveals high taxonomic diversity

Martin Kemler, Jeff Garnas, Michael J. Wingfield, Marieka Gryzenhout, Kerry-Anne Pillay & Bernard Slippers
The Kingdom Fungi adds substantially to the diversity of life, but due to their cryptic morphology and lifestyle, tremendous diversity, paucity of formally described specimens, and the difficulty in isolating environmental strains into culture, fungal communities are difficult to characterize. This is especially true for endophytic communities of fungi living in healthy plant tissue. The developments in next generation sequencing technologies are, however, starting to reveal the true extent of fungal diversity. One of the...

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  • University of Pretoria
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of the Witwatersrand
  • University of Washington
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Monash University
  • University of South Africa
  • Lancaster University