Patterns of biodiversity are often explained by ecological processes, where traits that promote novel ways of interacting with the environment (key innovations) play a fundamental role in promoting diversification. However, sexual selection and social competition can also promote diversification through rapid evolution of ornamental traits. Because selection can operate only on existing variation, the tendency of ornamental traits to constrain or enable the production of novel phenotypes is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of...
Data from: Distinct neural and neuromuscular strategies underlie independent evolution of simplified advertisement callsElizabeth C. Leininger & Darcy B. Kelley
Independent or convergent evolution can underlie phenotypic similarity of derived behavioural characters. Determining the underlying neural and neuromuscular mechanisms sheds light on how these characters arose. One example of evolutionarily derived characters is a temporally simple advertisement call of male African clawed frogs (Xenopus) that arose at least twice independently from a more complex ancestral pattern. How did simplification occur in the vocal circuit? To distinguish shared from divergent mechanisms, we examined activity from the...
Data from: Low plant density enhances gene dispersal in the Amazonian understory herb Heliconia acuminataMarina Corrêa Côrtes, María Uriarte, Maristerra R. Lemes, Rogério Gribel, W. John Kress, Peter E. Smouse & Emilio M. Bruna
In theory, conservation genetics predicts that forest fragmentation will reduce gene dispersal, but in practice, genetic and ecological processes are also dependent on other population characteristics. We used Bayesian genetic analyses to characterize parentage and propagule dispersal in Heliconia acuminata L. C. Richard (Heliconiaceae), a common Amazonian understory plant that is pollinated and dispersed by birds. We studied these processes in two continuous forest sites and three 1-ha fragments in Brazil's Biological Dynamics of Forest...
Data from: Shark tooth weapons from the 19th century reflect shifting baselines in Central Pacific predator assembliesJoshua A. Drew, Christopher Philipp, Mark W. Westneat & Joshua Drew
The reefs surrounding the Gilbert Islands (Republic of Kiribati, Central Pacific), like many throughout the world, have undergone a period of rapid and intensive environmental perturbation over the past 100 years. A byproduct of this perturbation has been a reduction of the number of shark species present in their waters, even though sharks play an important in the economy and culture of the Gilbertese. Here we examine how shark communities changed over time periods that...
Women rarely give birth after approximately 45 years of age, and they experience the cessation of reproductive cycles – menopause – at approximately 50 years of age, after a fertility decline lasting almost two decades. Such reproductive senescence in mid-lifespan is an evolutionary puzzle of enduring interest because it should be inherently disadvantageous. Further, comparative data on reproductive senescence from other primates, or indeed other mammals, remains relatively rare. Here we carried out the first...
Field Museum of Natural History1
University of North Carolina1
Institute of Primate Research1
University of Wisconsin-Madison1
University of Akron1
University of Florida1
Instituto de Pesquisas Jardim Botânico do Rio de Janeiro1