132 Works

Analyses on the fungus-farming termite, Macrotermes natalensis

Mark Harrison, Mireille Vassuer-Cognet, Sarah Seite, David Sillam-Dussès, Roland Lupoli, Alain Robert, Laure-Anne Poissonnier, Tom Van Dooren, Arnaud Lemainque, David Renault, Sebastien Acket, Muriel Andrieu, Jose Viscarra, Hei Sook Sul, Wilhelm De Beer & Erich Bornberg-Bauer
Kings and queens of eusocial termites can live for decades, while queens sustain a nearly maximal fertility. To investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying their long lifespan, we carried out transcriptomics, lipidomics and metabolomics in Macrotermes natalensis on sterile short-lived workers, long-lived kings and five stages spanning twenty years of adult queen maturation. Reproductives share gene expression differences from workers in agreement with a reduction of several aging-related processes, involving upregulation of DNA damage repair and...

Data from: Zebra diel migrations reduce encounter risk with lions at night.

Nicolas Courbin, Andrew J. Loveridge, Herve Fritz, David W. Macdonald, Rémi Patin, Marion Valeix & Simon Chamaillé-Jammes
1. Diel migrations (DM; back and forth diel movements along an ecological gradient) undertaken by prey to avoid predators during the day have been demonstrated in many taxa in aquatic ecosystems. In terrestrial ecosystems, prey often shift between various vegetation types whose cover determine their vulnerability (i.e. likelihood of being killed when attacked). 2. We conceptualized that in terrestrial ecosystems DM could also occur, and that the contribution of DM and shifts in vegetation cover...

Data from: Synchronized shift of oral, fecal and urinary microbiotas in bats and natural infection dynamics during seasonal reproduction

Muriel Dietrich, Teresa Kearney, Ernest C.J. Seamark, Janusz T. Paweska & Wanda Markotter
Seasonal reproduction is a period of extreme physiological and behavioral changes, yet we know little about how it may affect host microbial communities (i.e. microbiota) and pathogen transmission. Here, we investigated shifts of the bacterial microbiota in saliva, urine and faeces during the seasonal reproduction of bats in South Africa, and test for an interaction in shedding patterns of both bacterial (Leptospira) and viral (adeno- and herpes-viruses) agents. Based on a comparative approach in two...

Data from: Polyceraty (multi-horns) in Damara sheep maps to ovine chromosome 2

Ockert F. C. Greyvenstein, Coralie M. Reich, Este Van Marle-Koster, David G. Riley & Ben J. Hayes
Polyceraty (presence of multiple horns) is rare in modern day ungulates. Although not found in wild sheep, polyceraty does occur in a small number of domestic sheep breeds covering a wide geographical region. Damara are fat-tailed hair sheep, from the south-western region of Africa, which display polyceraty, with horn number ranging from zero to four. We conducted a genome-wide association study for horn number with 43 Damara genotyped with 606 006 SNP markers. The analysis...

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,...

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: Genetic susceptibility to infectious disease in East African Shorthorn Zebu: a genome-wide analysis of the effect of heterozygosity and exotic introgression

Gemma G. R. Murray, Mark E. J. Woolhouse, Miika Tapio, Mary N. Mbole-Kariuki, Tad S. Sonstegard, Samuel M. Thumbi, Amy E. Jennings, Ilana Conradie Van Wyk, Margo Chase-Topping, Henry Kiara, Phil Toye, Koos Coetzer, Barend M. De C. Bronsvoort & Olivier Hanotte
Genotyping 50kSNPs East African Shorthorn ZebuPlink files with no QC50kSNPs.ped

Data from: Continent-level drivers of African pyrodiversity

Gareth P. Hempson, Catherine L. Parr, Sally Archibald, T. Michael Anderson, Colin J. Courtney Mustaphi, Andrew P. Dobson, Jason E. Donaldson, Thomas A. Morrison, James Probert & Colin M. Beale
Pyrodiversity, which describes fire variability over space and time, is believed to increase habitat heterogeneity and thereby promote biodiversity. However, to date there is no standardised metric for quantifying pyrodiversity, and so broad geographic patterns and drivers of pyrodiversity remain unexplored. We present the first generalizable method to quantify pyrodiversity, and use it to address the fundamental questions of what drives pyrodiversity, which fire attributes constrain pyrodiversity under different conditions, and whether pyrodiversity is spatial...

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: 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: 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: Hatching late in the season requires flexibility in the timing of song learning

Stefan Leitner, Johanna Teichel, Andries Ter Maat & Cornelia Voigt
Most songbirds learn their songs from adult tutors, who can be their father or other male conspecifics. However, the variables that control song learning in a natural social context are largely unknown. We investigated whether the time of hatching of male domesticated canaries has an impact on their song development and on the neuroendocrine parameters of the song control system. Average age difference between early- and late-hatched males was 50 days with a maximum of...

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: Three hundred years of low non-paternity in a human population

Jaco M. Greeff & J. Christoff Erasmus
When cuckoldry is frequent we can expect fathers to withhold investment in offspring that may not be theirs. Human paternal investment can be substantial and is in line with observations from tens of thousands of conceptions that suggest that cuckoldry is rare in humans. The generality of this claim seems to be in question as the rate of cuckoldry varies across populations and studies have mostly been on Western populations. Two additional factors complicate our...

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: Stacking the odds: light pollution may shift the balance in an ancient predator-prey arms race

Corneile Minnaar, Justin G. Boyles, Ingrid A. Minnaar, Catherine L. Sole & Andrew E. McKechnie
1. Artificial night-lighting threatens to disrupt strongly conserved light-dependent processes in animals and may have cascading effects on ecosystems as species interactions become altered. Insectivorous bats and their prey have been involved in a nocturnal, coevolutionary arms race for millions of years. Lights may interfere with anti-bat defensive behaviours in moths, and disrupt a complex and globally ubiquitous interaction between bats and insects, ultimately leading to detrimental consequences for ecosystems on a global scale. 2....

Data from: Cost of dispersal in a social mammal: body mass loss and increased stress

Nino Maag, Gabriele Cozzi, Andrew Bateman, Michael Heistermann, Andre Ganswindt, Marta Manser, Tim Clutton-Brock & Arpat Ozgul
Dispersal is a key process influencing the dynamics of socially and spatially structured populations. Dispersal success is determined by the state of individuals at emigration and the costs incurred after emigration. However, quantification of such costs is often difficult, due to logistical constraints of following wide-ranging individuals. We investigated the effects of dispersal on individual body mass and stress hormone levels in a cooperative breeder, the meerkat (Suricata suricatta). We measured body mass and faecal...

Data from: The response of bird feeding guilds to forest fragmentation reveals conservation strategies for a critically endangered African eco-region

Pieter I. Olivier & Rudi J. Van Aarde
South African coastal forests form part of two critically endangered eco-regions and harbor an extinction debt. Remaining fragments are small, isolated, and embedded within a range of human land-use types. In this study, we ask: how should we invest conservation resources if we want to restore this landscape and prevent predicted extinctions? To answer this question, we use path analyses to determine the direct and indirect effects of forest area, forest connectivity, and matrix land-use...

Data from: Disease, predation and demography: assessing the impacts of bovine tuberculosis on African buffalo by monitoring at individual and population levels

P. C. Cross, D. M. Heisey, J. A. Bowers, C. T. Hay, J. Wolhuter, P. Buss, M. Hofmeyr, A. L. Michel, R. G. Bengis, T. L. F. Bird, J. T. Du Toit & W. M. Getz
1. Understanding the effects of disease is critical to determining appropriate management responses, but estimating those effects in wildlife species is challenging. We used bovine tuberculosis (BTB) in the African buffalo Syncerus caffer population of Kruger National Park, South Africa, as a case study to highlight the issues associated with estimating chronic disease effects in a long-lived host. 2. We used known and radiocollared buffalo, aerial census data, and a natural gradient in pathogen prevalence...

Data from: Spatial heterogeneity in species composition constrains plant community responses to herbivory and fertilization

Dorothee Hodapp, Elizabeth T. Borer, W. Stanley Harpole, Eric M. Lind, Eric W. Seabloom, Peter B. Adler, Juan Alberti, Carlos A. Arnillas, Jonathan D. Bakker, Lori Biederman, Marc Cadotte, Elsa E. Cleland, Scott Collins, Philip A. Fay, Jennifer Firn, Nicole Hagenah, Yann Hautier, Oscar Iribarne, Johannes M.H. Knops, Rebecca L. McCulley, Andrew MacDougall, Joslin L. Moore, John W. Morgan, Brent Mortensen, Kimberly J. La Pierre … & Johannes M. H. Knops
Environmental change can result in substantial shifts in community composition. The associated immigration and extinction events are likely constrained by the spatial distribution of species. Still, studies on environmental change typically quantify biotic responses at single spatial (time series within a single plot) or temporal (spatial beta-diversity at single time points) scales, ignoring their potential interdependence. Here, we use data from a global network of grassland experiments to determine how turnover responses to two major...

Data from: Heaviside's dolphins (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii) relax acoustic crypsis to increase communication range

Morgan J. Martin, Tess Gridley, Simon H. Elwen & Frants H. Jensen
The costs of predation may exert significant pressure on the mode of communication used by an animal, and many species balance the benefits of communication (e.g. mate attraction) against the potential risk of predation. Four groups of toothed whales have independently evolved narrowband high-frequency (NBHF) echolocation signals. These signals help NBHF species avoid predation through acoustic crypsis by echolocating and communicating at frequencies inaudible to predators such as mammal-eating killer whales. Heaviside’s dolphins (Cephalorhynchus heavisidii)...

Data from: Population genomics of the killer whale indicates ecotype evolution in sympatry involving both selection and drift

Andre E. Moura, John G. Kenny, Roy Chaudhuri, Margaret A. Hughes, Andreanna Welch, Ryan R. Reisinger, P. J. Nico De Bruyn, Marilyn E. Dahlheim, Neil Hall, A. Rus Hoelzel & Andreanna J. Welch
The evolution of diversity in the marine ecosystem is poorly understood, given the relatively high potential for connectivity, especially for highly mobile species such as whales and dolphins. The killer whale (Orcinus orca) has a worldwide distribution, and individual social groups travel over a wide geographic range. Even so, regional populations have been shown to be genetically differentiated, including among different foraging specialists (ecotypes) in sympatry. Given the strong matrifocal social structure of this species...

Data from: Trade-offs between age-related breeding improvement and survival senescence in highly polygynous elephant seals: dominant males always do better

Kyle Lloyd, Chris Oosthuizen, Marthan Bester & Nico De Bruyn
Life history trade-off theory predicts that current reproduction can negatively affect survival and future reproduction. Few studies have assessed breeding costs for males of polygynous species compared to females, despite substantial variation in breeding success among individual males (e.g. subordinate cf. dominant breeders). Specifically, differentiating between the cost of attending breeding seasons, and the additional cost of successfully securing and mating females is lacking. We investigated whether trade-offs are present in the highly polygynous male...

Data from: The role of browsers in maintaining the openness of savanna grazing lawns

Michael Voysey, Michelle Greve, Sally Archibald, William Bond, Carla Staver & Jason Donaldson
1. In savannas, ruminant herbivores can have divergent impacts on tree recruitment and resulting woody cover. Heavy grazing by cattle results in woody thickening, whereas intensive grazing by wildlife instead tends to be associated with lower woody cover. 2. To disentangle why woody cover is low in areas heavily grazed by wildlife, we tested (I) whether short-grass environments attract indigenous mammalian browsers; (II) whether preference for short grass decreases with browser body mass because of...

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