552 Works

Data from: Counting crows: flock structure and subgroup size variation in an urban population of crows

Florian Uhl, Max Ringler, Rachael Miller, Sarah A. Deventer, Thomas Bugnyar & Christine Schwab
Social complexity arises from the formation of social relationships like social bonds and dominance hierarchies. In turn, these aspects may be affected by the degree of fission-fusion dynamics, i.e. changes in group size and composition over time. Whilst fission-fusion dynamics has been studied in mammals, birds have received comparably little attention, despite some species having equally complex social lives. Here, we investigated the influence of environmental factors on aspects of fission-fusion dynamics in a free-ranging...

Data from: Inbreeding alters context‐dependent reproductive effort and immunity in male crickets

Kristin R. Duffield, Kylie J. Hampton, Thomas M. Houslay, John Hunt, Ben M. Sadd & Scott K. Sakaluk
Infection can cause hosts to drastically alter their investment in key life‐history traits of reproduction and defence. Infected individuals are expected to increase investment in defence (e.g., by increasing immune function) and, due to trade‐offs, investment in other traits (e.g., current reproduction) should decrease. However, the terminal investment hypothesis postulates that decreased lifespan due to infection and the associated reduction in the expectation for future offspring will favour increased investment towards current reproduction. Variation in...

Data from: Environmental DNA from seawater samples correlate with trawl catches of subarctic, deepwater fishes

Philip Francis Thomsen, Peter Rask Møller, Eva Egelyng Sigsgaard, Steen Wilhelm Knudsen, Ole Ankjær Jørgensen & Eske Willerslev
Remote polar and deepwater fish faunas are under pressure from ongoing climate change and increasing fishing effort. However, these fish communities are difficult to monitor for logistic and financial reasons. Currently, monitoring of marine fishes largely relies on invasive techniques such as bottom trawling, and on official reporting of global catches, which can be unreliable. Thus, there is need for alternative and non-invasive techniques for qualitative and quantitative oceanic fish surveys. Here we report environmental...

Data from: The phylogeny of Rickettsia using different evolutionary signatures: how tree-like is bacterial evolution?

Gemma G. R. Murray, Lucy A. Weinert, Emma L. Rhule & John J. Welch
Rickettsia is a genus of intracellular bacteria whose hosts and transmission strategies are both impressively diverse, and this is reflected in a highly dynamic genome. Some previous studies have described the evolutionary history of Rickettsia as non-tree-like, due to incongruity between phylogenetic reconstructions using different portions of the genome. Here, we reconstruct the Rickettsia phylogeny using whole-genome data, including two new genomes from previously unsampled host groups. We find that a single topology, which is...

Data from: Virus evolution in Wolbachia-infected Drosophila

Julien Martinez, Gaspar Bruner-Montero, Sophia CL Smith, Jonathan P Day, Ben Longdon, Ramesh Arunkumar & Francis M Jiggins
Wolbachia, a common vertically transmitted symbiont, can protect insects against viral infection and prevent mosquitoes from transmitting viral pathogens. For this reason, Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are being released to prevent the transmission of dengue and other arboviruses. An important question for the long-term success of these programs is whether viruses can evolve to escape the antiviral effects of Wolbachia. We have found that Wolbachia altered the outcome of competition between strains of the DCV virus in...

Data from: Consistent within‐individual plasticity is sufficient to explain temperature responses in red deer reproductive traits

Hannah Froy, Julien Martin, Katie Stopher, Alison Morris, Sean Morris, Tim Clutton-Brock, Josephine Pemberton & Loeske Kruuk
Warming global temperatures are affecting a range of aspects of wild populations, but the exact mechanisms driving associations between temperature and phenotypic traits may be difficult to identify. Here, we use a 36‐year data set on a wild population of red deer to investigate the causes of associations between temperature and two important components of female reproduction: timing of breeding and offspring size. By separating within‐ versus between‐individual associations with temperature for each trait, we...

Data from: Trait-dependent distributional shifts in fruiting of common British fungi

Alan C. Gange, Einar Heegaard, Lynne Boddy, Carrie Andrew, Paul Kirk, Rune Halvorsen, Thomas W. Kuyper, Claus Bässler, Jeffrey Diez, Jacob Heilman-Clausen, Klaus Høiland, Ulf Büntgen & Håvard Kauserud
Despite the dramatic phenological responses of fungal fruiting to recent climate warming, it is unknown whether spatial distributions of fungi have changed and to what extent such changes are influenced by fungal traits, such as ectomycorrhizal (ECM) or saprotrophic lifestyles, spore characteristics, or fruit body size. Our overall aim was to understand how climate and fungal traits determine whether and how species-specific fungal fruit body abundances have shifted across latitudes over time, using the UK...

Re-emergence and diversification of a specialised antennal lobe morphology in ithomiine butterflies

Billy J Morris, Antoine Couto, Asli Aydin & Stephen H Montgomery
How an organism’s sensory system functions is central to how it navigates its environment. The insect olfactory system is a prominent model for investigating how ecological factors impact sensory reception and processing. Notably, work in Lepidoptera led to the discovery of vastly expanded structures, termed macroglomerular complexes (MGCs), within the primary olfactory processing centre. MGCs typically process pheromonal cues, are usually larger in males, and provide classic examples of how variation in the size of...

Buoys with looming eyes deter seaducks and could potentially reduce seabird bycatch in gillnets

Yann Rouxel, Rory Crawford, Ian R. Cleasby, Pete Kibel, Ellie Owen, Veljo Volke, Alexandra K. Schnell & Steffen Oppel
Bycatch of seabirds in gillnet fisheries is a global conservation issue with an estimated 400,000 seabirds killed each year. To date, no underwater deterrents trialled have consistently reduced seabird bycatch across operational fisheries. Using a combination of insights from land-based strategies, seabirds’ diving behaviours and their cognitive abilities, we developed a floating device exploring the effect of large eyespots and looming movement to prevent vulnerable seabirds from diving into gillnets. Here, we tested whether this...

SARS-CoV-2 viability after exposure to titanium dioxide coated tiles

Ravindra Gupta & Petra Mlcochova
Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) transmission occurs via airborne droplets and surface contamination. Droplets or other body fluids from infected individuals can contaminate surfaces and viable virus has been detected on such surfaces, including surgical masks, for hours, even days depending on different factors including humidity, temperature and type of surface. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) coating of surfaces is a promising infection control measure, though to date has not been tested against SARS-CoV-2....

Prevalence and polymorphism of a mussel transmissible cancer in Europe__GenotypeKASPdatasetMytilus

Maurine Hammel, Alexis Simon, Christine Arbiol, Antonio Villalba, Erika A.V. Burioli, Jean-François Pépin, Jean-Baptiste Lamy, Abdellah Benabdelmouna, Ismael Bernard, Maryline Houssin, Guillaume M. Charrière, Delphine Destoumieux-Garzon, Jonh Welch, Michael J. Metzger & Nicolas Bierne
Transmissible cancers are parasitic malignant cell lineages that acquired the ability to infect new hosts from the same species, or sometimes related species. First described in dogs and Tasmanian devils, transmissible cancers were later discovered in some marine bivalves affected by a leukemia-like disease. In Mytilus mussels, two lineages of Bivalve Transmissible Neoplasia (BTN), both emerged in a M. trossulus founder individual, have been described to date (MtrBTN1 and MtrBTN2). Here, we performed an extensive...

Inhibitory control, exploration behaviour and manipulated ecological context are associated with foraging flexibility in the great tit

Jenny Coomes, Gabrielle Davidson, Michael Reichert, Ipek Kulahci, Camille Troisi & John Quinn
​​​​​Organisms are constantly under selection to respond effectively to diverse, sometimes rapid, changes in their environment, but not all individuals are equally plastic in their behaviour. Although cognitive processes and personality are expected to influence individual behavioural plasticity, the effects reported are highly inconsistent, which we hypothesise is because ecological context is usually not considered. We explored how one type of behavioural plasticity, foraging flexibility, was associated with inhibitory control (assayed using a detour-reaching task)...

Temperature-mediated plasticity in incubation schedules is unlikely to evolve to buffer embryos from climatic challenges in a seasonal songbird

Alexandra Cones, Andrea Liebl, Thomas Houslay & Andrew Russell
Phenotypic plasticity is hypothesised to facilitate adaptive responses to challenging conditions, such as those resulting from climate change. However, the key predictions of this ‘rescue hypothesis’, that variation in plasticity exists and can evolve to buffer unfavourable conditions, remain rare. Here, we investigate among-female variation in temperature-mediated plasticity of incubation schedules and consequences for egg temperatures using the chestnut-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus ruficeps) from temperate regions of inland south-eastern Australia. Given phenological advances in this seasonal...

Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) data on tree crown morphology and neighbourhood competition from both Cuellar and Alto Tajo, Spain

Harry Owen, Emily Lines & William Flynn
1. Tree crown morphology is a key driver of forest dynamics, determining not only the competitiveness of an individual but also the competitive effect exerted on neighbouring trees. Multiple ecological theories, including Metabolic Scaling Theory (MST), predict crown morphology from first principles, but typically lack consideration of competition. The accurate quantification of crown morphology to test theoretical predictions, and the canopy interactions that could alter them, has historically been limited by the simplicity and associated...

How butterflies keep their cool: physical and ecological traits influence thermoregulatory ability and population trends.

Andrew Bladon, Matthew Lewis, Eleanor Bladon, Sam Buckton, Stuart Corbett, Steven Ewing, Matthew Hayes, Gwen Hitchcock, Richard Knock, Colin Lucas, Adam McVeigh, Rosa Menendez, Jonah Walker, Tom Fayle & Edgar Turner
Understanding which factors influence the ability of individuals to respond to changing temperatures is fundamental to species conservation under climate change. We investigated how a community of butterflies responded to fine-scale changes in air temperature, and whether species-specific responses were predicted by ecological or morphological traits. Using data collected across a UK reserve network, we investigated the ability of 29 butterfly species to buffer thoracic temperature against changes in air temperature. First, we tested whether...

Teaching and learning in ecology: a horizon scan of emerging challenges and solutions

Zenobia Lewis, Julia Cooke, Yoseph Araya, Karen Bacon, Joanna Bagniewska, Lesley Batty, Tom Bishop, Moya Burns, Magda Charalambous, David Daversa, Liam Dougherty, Miranda Dyson, Adam Fisher, Dan Forman, Cristina Garcia, Ewan Harney, Thomas Hesselberg, Elizabeth John, Robert Knell, Kadmiel Maseyk, Alice Mauchline, Julie Peacock, Angelo Pernetto, Jeremy Pritchard, William Sutherland … & Nicholas Worsfold
We currently face significant, anthropogenic, global environmental challenges and therole of ecologists in mitigating these challenges is arguably more important than ever. Consequently there is an urgent need to recruit and train future generations of ecologists, both those whose main area is ecology, but also those involved in the geological, biological and environmental sciences. Here we present the results of a horizon scanning exercise that identified current and future challenges facing the teaching of ecology,...

The Geometry and Genetics of Hybridization

Hilde Schneemann, Bianca De Sanctis, Denis Roze, Nicolas Bierne & John Welch
When divergent populations form hybrids, hybrid fitness can vary with genome composition, current environmental conditions, and the divergence history of the populations. We develop analytical predictions for hybrid fitness, which incorporate all three factors. The predictions are based on Fisher's geometric model, and apply to a wide range of population genetic parameter regimes and divergence conditions, including allopatry and parapatry, local adaptation and drift. Results show that hybrid fitness can be decomposed into intrinsic effects...

Data from: Group size elevates inequality in cooperative behaviour

Shay Rotics & Tim Clutton-Brock
In cooperatively breeding species where rearing effort is shared among multiple group members, increases in group size typically reduce average per capita contributions to offspring care in all group members (load-lightening) but it is not known how changes in group size affect the distribution of workload among group members. The socioeconomic collective action theory suggests that, in larger groups, the incentives for free riding are stronger, leading to greater inequalities in work-division among group members....

Clustering of loci controlling species differences in male chemical bouquets of sympatric Heliconius butterflies

Kelsey Byers, Kathy Darragh, Sylvia Fernanda Garza, Diana Abondano Almeida, Ian Warren, Pasi Rastas, Richard Merrill, Stefan Schulz, W. Owen McMillan & Chris Jiggins
The degree to which loci promoting reproductive isolation cluster in the genome – i.e. the genetic architecture of reproductive isolation - can influence the tempo and mode of speciation. Tight linkage between these loci can facilitate speciation in the face of gene flow. Pheromones play a role in reproductive isolation in many Lepidoptera species, and the role of endogenously-produced compounds as secondary metabolites decreases the likelihood of pleiotropy associated with many barrier loci. Heliconius butterflies...

Can behaviour impede evolution? persistence of singing effort after morphological song loss in crickets

Jack Rayner, Will Schneider & Nathan Bailey
Evolutionary loss of sexual signals is widespread. Examining the consequences for behaviours associated with such signals can provide insight into factors promoting or inhibiting trait loss. We tested whether a behavioural component of a sexual trait, male calling effort, has been evolutionary reduced in silent populations of Hawaiian field crickets (Teleogryllus oceanicus). Cricket song requires energetically costly wing movements, but ‘flatwing’ males have feminised wings that preclude song and protect against a lethal, eavesdropping parasitoid....

Data from: Differential divergence in autosomes and sex chromosomes is associated with intra-island diversification at a very small spatial scale in a songbird lineage

Yann Bourgeois, Joris Bertrand, Boris Delahaie, Helene Holota, Christophe Thebaud & Borja Mila
Recently diverged taxa showing marked phenotypic and ecological diversity are optimal systems to understand the genetic processes underlying speciation. We used genome-wide markers to investigate the diversification of the Reunion grey white eye (Zosterops borbonicus) on the small volcanic island of Reunion (Mascarene archipelago), where this species complex exhibits four geographic forms that are parapatrically distributed across the island and differ strikingly in plumage colour. One form restricted to the highlands is separated by a...

Signals interpreted as archaic introgression are driven primarily by accelerated evolution in Africa

William Amos
Non-African humans appear to carry a few percent archaic DNA due to ancient inter-breeding. This modest legacy and its likely recent timing imply that most introgressed fragments will be rare and hence will occur mainly in the heterozygous state. I tested this prediction by calculating D statistics, a measure of legacy size, for pairs of humans where one of the pair was conditioned always to be either homozygous or heterozygous. Using coalescent simulations, I confirmed...

Data from: Multimodal mimicry of hosts in a radiation of parasitic finches

Gabriel Jamie, Steven M. Van Belleghem, Benedict G. Hogan, Silky Hamama, Collins Moya, Jolyon Troscianko, Mary Stoddard, Rebecca Kilner & Claire Spottiswoode
Brood parasites use the parental care of others to raise their young and sometimes employ mimicry to dupe their hosts. The brood-parasitic finches of the genus Vidua are a textbook example of the role of imprinting in sympatric speciation. Sympatric speciation is thought to occur in Vidua because their mating traits and host preferences are strongly influenced by their early host environment. However, this alone may not be sufficient to isolate parasite lineages, and divergent...

Disentangling sources of gene tree discordance in phylogenomic datasets: testing ancient hybridizations in Amaranthaceae s.l.

Diego F. Morales-Briones, Gudrun Kadereit, Delphine Tefarikis, Michael Moore, Stephen Smith, Samuel Brockington, Alfonso Timoneda, Won Yim, John Cushman & Ya Yang
Gene tree discordance in large genomic datasets can be caused by evolutionary processes such as incomplete lineage sorting and hybridization, as well as model violation, and errors in data processing, orthology inference, and gene tree estimation. Species tree methods that identify and accommodate all sources of conflict are not available, but a combination of multiple approaches can help tease apart alternative sources of conflict. Here, using a phylotranscriptomic analysis in combination with reference genomes, we...

Small scale variability in soil moisture drives infection of vulnerable juniper populations by invasive forest pathogen

Flora Donald, Sarah Green, Kate Searle, Nik J. Cunniffe & Bethan V. Purse
The oomycete plant pathogen, Phytophthora austrocedri, is an aggressive killer of cypress trees causing severe mortality of Chilean cedar (Austrocedrus chilensis) in Argentina since the 1940s and now common juniper (Juniperus communis s.l.) in the UK. Rapid mortality of key UK juniper populations was first observed in the early 2000s; the causal agent of mortality was confirmed as P. austrocedri in 2012 and the pathogen has now been widely detected - but is not ubiquitous...

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