132 Works

Data from: Patterns of trophic niche divergence between invasive and native fishes in wild communities are predictable from mesocosm studies

Thi Nhat Quyen Tran, Michelle C. Jackson, Danny Sheath, Hugo Verreycken & J. Robert Britton
1. Ecological theory attempts to predict how impacts for native species arise from biological invasions. A fundamental question centres on the feeding interactions of invasive and native species: whether invasion will result in increased interspecific competition, which would result in negative consequences for the competing species, or trophic niche divergence, which would facilitate the invader's integration into the community and their coexistence with native species. 2. Here, the feeding interactions of a highly invasive fish,...

Data from: Validation of a fecal glucocorticoid assay to assess adrenocortical activity in meerkats using physiological and biological stimuli

Ines Braga Goncalves, Michael Heistermann, Peter Santema, Ben Dantzer, Jelena Mausbach, Andre Ganswindt & Marta B. Manser
In mammals, glucocorticoid (i.e. GC) levels have been associated with specific life-history stages and transitions, reproductive strategies, and a plethora of behaviors. Assessment of adrenocortical activity via measurement of glucocorticoid metabolites in feces (FGCM) has greatly facilitated data collection from wild animals, due to its non-invasive nature, and thus has become an established tool in behavioral ecology and conservation biology. The aim of our study was to validate a fecal glucocorticoid assay for assessing adrenocortical...

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...

Data from: Den site selection, pack composition, and reproductive success in endangered African wild dogs

Andrew B. Davies, David G. Marneweck, Dave J. Druce & Gregory P. Asner
Habitat quality is often assumed to be directly related to increased consumer density, but such assumptions cannot be made without supporting demographic data that indicate improved fitness. Habitat selection might be especially important for denning species, where vulnerable offspring are confined to a single location for extended periods, but the effect of den choice on the reproductive success of denning species is poorly understood. By combining airborne high-resolution Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) measurements with...

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: No apparent benefits of allonursing for recipient offspring and mothers in the cooperatively breeding meerkat

Kirsty J. MacLeod, Katie E. McGhee & Tim H. Clutton-Brock
1. Cooperative behaviours by definition are those that provide some benefit to another individual. Allonursing, the nursing of non-descendent young, is often considered a cooperative behaviour and is assumed to provide benefits to recipient offspring in terms of growth and survival, and to their mothers, by enabling them to share the lactation load. However, these proposed benefits are not well understood, in part because maternal and litter traits and other ecological and social variables are...

Data from: Habitat attributes similarities reduce impacts of land-use conversion on seed removal

Ananza M. Rabello, Catherine L. Parr, Antônio C.M. Queiroz, Danielle L. Braga, Graziele S. Santiago & Carla R. Ribas
Changes in land use strongly influence habitat attributes (e.g., herbaceous ground cover and tree richness) and can consequently affect ecological functions. Most studies have focused on the response of these ecological functions to land-use changes within only a single vegetation type. These studies have often focused solely on agricultural conversion of forests, making it nearly impossible to draw general conclusions across other vegetation types or with other land use changes (e.g., afforestation). We examined the...

Data from: Data-driven discovery of the spatial scales of habitat choice by elephants

Andrew F. Mashintonio, Stuart L. Pimm, Grant M. Harris, Rudi J. Van Aarde & Gareth J. Russell
Setting conservation goals and management objectives relies on understanding animal habitat preferences. Models that predict preferences combine location data from tracked animals with environmental information, usually at a spatial resolution determined by the available data. This resolution may be biologically irrelevant for the species in question. Individuals likely integrate environmental characteristics over varying distances when evaluating their surroundings; we call this the scale of selection. Even a single characteristic might be viewed differently at different...

Data from: Cyanobacteria drive community composition and functionality in rock-soil interface communities

Angel Valverde, Thulani P. Makhalanyane, Mary Seely & Don A. Cowan
Most ecological research on hypoliths, significant primary producers in hyperarid deserts, has focused on the diversity of individual groups of microbes (i.e. bacteria). However, microbial communities are inherently complex, and the interactions between cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, protista and metazoa, are likely to be very important for ecosystem functioning. Cyanobacterial and heterotrophic bacterial communities were analysed by pyrosequencing, while metazoan and protistan communities were assessed by T-RFLP analysis. Microbial functionality was estimated using carbon substrate utilization....

Data from: The Victoria West: earliest prepared core technology in the Acheulean at Canteen Kopje and implications for the cognitive evolution of early hominids

Hao Li, Kathleen Kuman, Matt G. Lotter, George M. Leader & Ryan J. Gibbon
Prepared core technology illustrates in-depth planning and the presence of a mental template during the core reduction process. This technology is, therefore, a significant indicator in studying the evolution of abstract thought and the cognitive abilities of hominids. Here, we report on Victoria West cores excavated from the Canteen Kopje site in central South Africa, with a preliminary age estimate of approximately 1 Ma (million years ago) for these cores. Technological analysis shows that the...

Data from: Diurnal body temperature patterns in free-ranging populations of two southern African arid-zone nightjars

Ryan S. O'Connor, R. Mark Brigham & Andrew E. McKechnie
Endotherms allocate large amounts of energy and water to the regulation of a precise body temperature (Tb), but can potentially reduce thermoregulatory costs by allowing Tb to deviate from normothermic levels. Many data on heterothermy at low air temperatures (Ta) exist for caprimulgids, whereas data on thermoregulation at high Ta are largely absent, despite members of this taxon frequently roosting and nesting in sites exposed to high operative temperatures. We investigated thermoregulation in free-ranging Rufous-cheeked...

Data from: Secondary contact and asymmetrical gene flow in a cosmopolitan marine fish across the Benguela upwelling zone

Kerry Reid, Thierry B. Hoareau, John E. Graves, Warren M. Potts, Sandrina M. R. Do Santos, Arrie W. Klopper & Paulette Bloomer
The combination of oceanographic barriers and habitat heterogeneity are known to reduce connectivity and leave specific genetic signatures in the demographic history of marine species. However, barriers to gene flow in the marine environment are almost never impermeable which inevitably allows secondary contact to occur. In this study eight sampling sites (five along the South African coastline, one each in Angola, Senegal and Portugal) were chosen to examine the population genetic structure and phylogeographic history...

Data from: Nutrient availability controls the impact of mammalian herbivores on soil carbon and nitrogen pools in grasslands

Judith Sitters, E.R. Jasper Wubs, Elisabeth S. Bakker, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter B. Adler, Sumanta Bagchi, Jonathan D. Bakker, Lori Biederman, Elizabeth T. Borer, Elsa E. Cleland, Nico Eisenhauer, Jennifer Firn, Laureano Gherardi, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Sarah E. Hobbie, Johannes M.H. Knops, Andrew S. MacDougall, Rebecca L. McCulley, Joslin L. Moore, Brent Mortensen, Pablo L. Peri, Suzanne M. Prober, Charlotte Riggs, Anita C. Risch … &
Grasslands have been subject to considerable alteration due to human activities globally, including widespread changes in populations and composition of large mammalian herbivores and elevated supply of nutrients. Grassland soils remain important reservoirs of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). Herbivores may affect both C and N pools and these changes likely interact with increases in soil nutrient availability. Given the scale of grassland soil fluxes, such changes can have striking consequences for atmospheric C concentrations...

Herbivory meets fungivory: insect herbivores feed on plant pathogenic fungi for their own benefit

Franziska Eberl, Maite Fernandez De Bobadilla, Almuth Hammerbacher, Michael Reichelt, Jonathan Gershenzon & Sybille Unsicker
Plants are regularly colonized by fungi and bacteria, but plant-inhabiting microbes are rarely considered in studies on plant-herbivore interactions. Here we show that young gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars prefer to feed on black poplar (Populus nigra) foliage infected by the rust fungus Melampsora larici-populina instead of uninfected control foliage, and selectively consume fungal spores. This consumption, also observed in a related lepidopteran species, is stimulated by the sugar alcohol mannitol, found in much higher...

Data From: Breeders are less active foragers than non-breeders in wild Damaraland mole-rats

Yannick Francioli, Jack Thorley, Kyle Finn, Tim Clutton-Brock & Markus Zöttl
Eusocial insect societies are characterised by a clear division of labour between non-breeding workers and breeding queens and queens often do not contribute to foraging, defence and other maintenance tasks. It has been suggested that the structure and organisation of social mole-rat groups resembles that of eusocial insect societies. However, the division of labour has rarely been investigated in wild mole-rats and it is unknown whether breeders show decreased foraging activity compared to non-breeding helpers...

Genes involved in the constitutive production of phenolic compounds in white spruce

Sébastien Gérardi, Justine Laoué, Claire Depardieu, Manuel Lamothe, Claude Bomal, Aïda Azaiez, Marie-Claude Gros-Louis, Jerôme Laroche, Brian Boyle, Almuth Hammerbacher, Nathalie Isabel & Jean Bousquet
Conifer forests worldwide are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Although the production of phenolic compounds (PCs) has been shown to be modulated by biotic and abiotic stresses, the genetic basis underlying the variation in their constitutive production level remains poorly documented in conifers. We used QTL mapping and RNA-Seq to explore the complex polygenic network underlying the constitutive production of PCs in a white spruce (Picea glauca) full-sib family for 2...

Opposing community assembly patterns for dominant and non-dominant plant species in herbaceous ecosystems globally

Carlos Alberto Arnillas, Elizabeth Borer, Eric Seabloom, Juan Alberti, Selene Baez, Jonathon Bakker, Elizabeth Boughton, Yvonne Buckley, Miguel Bugalho, Ian Donohue, John Dwyer, Jennifer Firn, Riley Gridzak, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Aveliina Helm, Anke Jentsch, , Kimberly Komatsu, Lauri Laanisto, Ramesh Laungani, Rebecca McCulley, Joslin Moore, John Morgan, Pablo Peri … & Marc Cadotte
Biotic and abiotic factors interact with dominant plants —the locally most frequent or with the largest coverage— and non-dominant plants differently, partially because dominant plants modify the environment where non-dominant plants grow. For instance, if dominant plants compete strongly, they will deplete most resources, forcing non-dominant plants into a narrower niche space. Conversely, if dominant plants are constrained by the environment, they might not exhaust available resources but instead may ameliorate environmental stressors that usually...

Data from: Non-invasive measurement of metabolic rates in wild, free-living birds using doubly labelled water

Amanda R. Bourne, Andrew E. McKechnie, Susan J. Cunningham, Amanda R. Ridley, Stephan M. Woodborne & William H. Karasov
1. Doubly labelled water (DLW) is routinely used to measure energy expenditure and water turnover in free-ranging animals. Standard methods involve capture, blood sampling for baseline measurement, injection with isotopic tracers, captivity for an equilibration period, post-dose blood sampling, release, and subsequent re-capture for final blood sampling. Single sampling methods that minimise disturbance by reducing capture and handling time have been developed and tested. Sampling faeces rather than blood could further reduce disturbance to study...

Data from: Dietary niche constriction when invaders meet natives: evidence from freshwater decapods

Michelle C. Jackson, Jonathan Grey, Katie Miller, J. Robert Britton & Ian Donohue
1. Invasive species are a key driver of global environmental change, with frequently strong negative consequences for native biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Understanding competitive interactions between invaders and functionally similar native species provides an important benchmark for predicting the consequences of invasion. However, even though having a broad dietary niche is widely considered a key factor determining invasion success, little is known about the effects of competition with functionally similar native competitors on the dietary...

Data from: Genetic divergence between two phenotypically distinct bottlenose dolphin ecotypes suggests separate evolutionary trajectories

Pedro F. Fruet, Eduardo R. Secchi, Juliana C. Di Tullio, Paulo C. Simões-Lopes, Fábio Daura-Jorge, Ana Paula B. Costa, Els Vermeulen, Paulo André C. Flores, Rodrigo C. Genoves, Paula Laporta, Luciano B. Beheregaray & Luciana M. Möller
Due to their worldwide distribution and occupancy of different types of environments, bottlenose dolphins display considerable morphological variation. Despite limited understanding about the taxonomic identity of such forms and connectivity among them at global scale, coastal (or inshore) and offshore (or oceanic) ecotypes have been widely recognized in several ocean regions. In the Southwest Atlantic Ocean (SWA), however, there are scarce records of bottlenose dolphins differing in external morphology according to habitat preferences that resemble...

Data from: Adiposity, compared with masculinity, serves as a more valid cue to immunocompetence in human mate choice

Markus J. Rantala, Vinet Coetzee, Fhionna R. Moore, Ilona Skrinda, Sanita Kecko, Tatjana Krama, Inese Kivleniece & Indrikis Krams
According to the “good genes” hypothesis, females choose males based on traits that indicate the male’s genetic quality in terms of disease resistance. The “immunocompetence handicap hypothesis (ICHH)” proposed that secondary sexual traits serve as indicators of male genetic quality because they indicate that males can contend with the immunosuppressive effects of testosterone. Masculinity is commonly assumed to serve as such a secondary sexual trait. Yet women do not consistently prefer masculine looking men, nor...

Data from: Sex-specific and individual preferences for hunting strategies in white sharks

Alison V. Towner, Vianey Leos-Barajas, Roland Langrock, Robert S. Schick, Malcolm J. Smale, Tami Kaschke, Oliver J.D. Jewell, Yannis P. Papastamatiou & Oliver J. D. Jewell
Fine-scale predator movements may be driven by many factors including sex, habitat, and distribution of resources. There may also be individual preferences for certain movement strategies within a population which can be hard to quantify. Within top predators, movements are also going to be directly related to the mode of hunting; for example sit-and-wait or actively searching for prey. Although there is mounting evidence that different hunting modes can cause opposing trophic cascades, there has...

Data from: The distribution and numbers of cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) in southern Africa

Florian J. Weise, Varsha Vijay, Andrew P. Jacobson, Rebecca F. Schoonover, Rosemary J. Groom, Jane Horgan, Derek Keeping, Rebecca Klein, Kelly Marnewick, Glyn Maude, Jorg Melzheimer, Gus Mills, Vincent Van Der Merwe, Esther Van Der Meer, Rudie J. Van Vuuren, Bettina Wacher, Stuart L. Pimm & Bettina Wachter
Assessing the numbers and distribution of threatened species is a central challenge in conservation, often made difficult because the species of concern are rare and elusive. For some predators, this may be compounded by their being sparsely distributed over large areas. Such is the case with the cheetah Acinonyx jubatus. The IUCN Red List process solicits comments, is democratic, transparent, widely-used, and has recently assessed the species. Here, we present additional methods to that process...

Data from: Meerkat close calling patterns are linked to sex, social category, season and wind, but not fecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations

Jelena Mausbach, Ines Braga Goncalves, Michael Heistermann, André Ganswindt & Marta B. Manser
It is well established that animal vocalizations can encode information regarding a sender’s identity, sex, age, body size, social rank and group membership. However, the association between physiological parameters, particularly stress hormone levels, and vocal behavior is still not well understood. The cooperatively breeding African meerkats (Suricata suricatta) live in family groups with despotic social hierarchies. During foraging, individuals emit close calls that help maintain group cohesion. These contact calls are acoustically distinctive and variable...

Data from: Multiple processes drive genetic structure of humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations across spatial scales

Francine Kershaw, Inês Carvalho, Jacqueline Loo, Cristina Pomilla, Peter B. Best, Ken P. Findlay, Salvatore Cerchio, Tim Collins, Marcia H. Engel, Gianna Minton, Peter Ersts, Jaco Barendse, P. G. H. Kotze, Yvette Razafindrakoto, Solange Ngouessono, Michael Meӱer, Meredith Thornton & Howard C. Rosenbaum
Elucidating patterns of population structure for species with complex life histories, and disentangling the processes driving such patterns, remains a significant analytical challenge. Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) populations display complex genetic structures that have not been fully resolved at all spatial scales. We generated a data set of nuclear markers for 3,575 samples spanning the seven breeding stocks and substocks found in the South Atlantic and western and northern Indian Oceans. For the total sample,...

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