18 Works

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...

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...

Quantification of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites as a measure of stress in the rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) living in an urban green space

Elisabetta Carlin, Michael J. Somers, Juan Scheun, Robert Campbell & Andre Ganswindt
Despite the abundance of rock hyrax (Procavia capensis) within South Africa's urban areas, there is not much information available about the effect of anthropogenic activities on rock hyrax wellbeing. To determine the potential impact of anthropogenic disturbance on adrenocortical activity, we conducted an ACTH challenge to identify a suitable enzyme-immunoassay (EIA) for measuring faecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) concentrations in the rock hyrax. This study identified an 11β-hydroxyaetiocholanolone EIA as the most suitable assay in this...

Heat tolerance in desert rodents is correlated with microclimate at inter- and intraspecific levels

Andrew McKechnie, Barry Van Jaarsveld, Nigel Bennett, Ryno Kemp & Zenon Czenze
Physiological diversity in thermoregulatory traits has been extensively investigated in both endo- and ectothermic vertebrates, with many studies revealing that thermal physiology has evolved in response to selection arising from climate. The majority of studies have investigated how adaptative variation in thermal physiology is correlated with broad-scale climate, but the role of fine-scale microclimate remains less clear. We hypothesised that the heat tolerance limits and evaporative cooling capacity of desert rodents are correlated with microclimates...

Data from: Reproductive state influences the degree of risk tolerance for a seasonally breeding mesopredator

C Marneweck, O Van Schalkwyk, D Marneweck, G Beverley, H Davies-Mostert & D Parker
Abstract. The risk of predation can alter the way animals perceive costs and benefits in their environment, on which foraging decisions are made. To maximize fitness, animals with offspring show the most pronounced alteration in behavior because mothers experience increased nutritional requirements and increased vulnerability to predation. Therefore, the tolerance of risk is shaped, in part, by reproductive state. Like prey species, mesopredators balance a trade-off between food and predation to maximize fitness. However, few...

The role of deterministic succession during forest succession within a South African savanna

Samantha-Leigh Jamison-Daniels, Daniel Kissling, Monique Botha, Mathew Harris, Christopher Gordon & Michelle Greve
Bush encroachment can lead to a switch from open savannas to dense woodlands or forests. This has implications for both the composition of ecological communities and the provision of ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling and grazing capacity. The patterns and underlying drivers responsible for bush encroachment are not fully understood. Here, we investigate the underlying determinants of bush clump formation (a form of encroachment) in a South African savanna and explore whether bush clump...

Data from: Socio-economic impacts of energy access through off-grid systems in rural communities: A case study of South-West Nigeria

Samuel Olatunde Babalola, Michael Olawale Daramola & Samuel Ayodele Iwarere
The development of resilient energy systems is important for sustainable cities and communities. However, in countries with insufficient national energy supply, electricity distributors rarely consider remote communities due to their distant settlement, low electricity demand and poor payment capabilities. The United Nations has set a goal to deliver universal energy access by 2030, hence, it has become imperative to deploy clean and affordable off-grid mini-grid solutions to previously abandoned communities. Access to energy in rural...

Body temperature, evaporative water loss and resting metabolic rate data for six southern African bats

Zenon J. Czenze, Ben Smit, Barry Van Jaarsveld, Marc T. Freeman & Andrew E. McKechnie
1. The microsites that animals occupy during the rest phase of their circadian activity cycle influence their physiology and behaviour, but relatively few studies have examined correlations between interspecific variation in thermal physiology and roost microclimate. Among bats, there is some evidence that species exposed to high roost temperatures (Troost) possess greater heat tolerance and evaporative cooling capacity, but the small number of species for which both thermal physiology and roost microclimate data exist mean...

Kruger National Park medium to large mammal species herd sizes & distances to the road - fieldwork data

Misha Malherbe, Natalie Haussmann, Trevor McIntyre, Tarryn Hattingh & Paige Leresche
The dataset consists of systematically recorded presences, from a vehicle, of medium to large mammal species within the Kruger National Park. There is 401 tar and 369 dirt road points within the dataset. Each dataset point has data on species presence, estimated proximity of the animals to the road and herd sizes. Each point also has the following data: estimated cloud cover percentage, surface wetness, rain, co-ordinates, vegetation biome (savanna), road surface, distance to the...

Revised taxonomy of the Arctotis Annual Clade (Arctotideae, Asteraceae) from Southern Africa: integration of molecular phylogenetic and morphological evidence

Robert McKenzie & Nigel Barker
Previous phylogenetic analysis of ITS nrDNA sequence data for Arctotidinae species resolved a highly supported clade containing all but one of the showy annual Arctotis species (informally designated the ‘Arctotis Annual Clade’). In the present study, phylogenetic relationships in the Arctotis Annual Clade were investigated by Bayesian inference and maximum parsimony analyses of cpDNA (trnT-trnL-trnF and trnH-psbA) and nrDNA (ITS) sequence data. The cpDNA and nrDNA phylogenies were notably incongruent. Arctotis venusta and a putative...

Microsatellite data from various African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) populations throughout Africa

Pim Van Hooft, Wayne Getz, Ben Greyling, Rasmus Heller, Knut Røed & Armanda Bastos
1280 African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) samples genotyped with up to 19 microsatellites. 1275 samples are from East (12 populations) and southern Africa (4 populations). 5 samples are from central Africa (2 populations).

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...

Barred buttonquail males outlive females

Stefan Leitner, Roswitha Brighton & Cornelia Voigt
Sex differences in lifespan can vary considerably across species. Variance in lifespan depends on the progression of the mortality rate with age. Males are usually thought to have a shorter lifespan than females, which can be explained by sexual selection acting on secondary sexual traits that affect longevity. Such a bias in mortality between the sexes is also an indicator of the adult sex ratio. While there is evidence for this relationship from species with...

How hornbills handle heat: sex-specific thermoregulation in the southern yellow-billed hornbill

Andrew McKechnie, Barry Van Jaarsveld, Nigel Bennett, Zenon Czenze, Ryno Kemp, Tanja Van De Ven & Susan Cunningham
At a global scale, thermal physiology is correlated with climatic variables such as temperature and aridity. There is also evidence that thermoregulatory traits vary with fine-scale microclimate, but this has received less attention in endotherms. Here we test the hypothesis that avian thermoregulation varies with microclimate and behavioural constraints in a non-passerine bird. Male and female southern yellow-billed hornbills (Tockus leucomelas) experience markedly different microclimates while breeding, with the female sealing herself into a tree...

Behavioural change during dispersal and its relationship to survival and reproduction in a cooperative breeder

Natasha Harrison, Nino Maag, Paul Haverkamp, André Ganswindt, Marta Manser, Tim Clutton-Brock, Arpat Ozgul & Gabriele Cozzi
(1) The ability of dispersing individuals to adjust their behaviour to changing conditions is instrumental in overcoming challenges and reducing dispersal costs, consequently increasing overall dispersal success. Understanding how dispersers’ behaviour and physiology change during the dispersal process, and how they differ from resident individuals, can shed light on the mechanisms by which dispersers increase survival and maximise reproduction. (2) By analysing individual behaviour and concentrations of faecal glucocorticoid metabolites (fGCM), a stress-associated biomarker, we...

African elephants can detect water from natural and artificial sources via olfactory cues

Matthew Wood, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes, Almuth Hammerbacher & Adrian Shrader
Water is vital for mammals. Yet, as ephemeral sources can be difficult to find, it raises the question, how do mammals locate water? Elephants (Loxodonta africana) are water-dependent herbivores that possess exceptional olfactory capabilities, and it has been suggested that they may locate water via smell. However, there is no evidence to support this claim. To explore this, we performed two olfactory choice experiments with semi-tame elephants. In the first, we tested whether elephants could...

Registration Year

  • 2021

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • University of Pretoria
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of South Africa
  • Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
  • University of the Free State
  • University of Washington
  • Queen's University Belfast
  • Archbold Biological Station
  • University of Münster