123 Works

Data from: Comparative ecological transcriptomics and the contribution of gene expression to the evolutionary potential of a threatened fish

Chris J. Brauer, Peter J. Unmack & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Understanding whether small populations with low genetic diversity can respond to rapid environmental change via phenotypic plasticity is an outstanding research question in biology. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) has recently provided the opportunity to examine variation in gene expression, a surrogate for phenotypic variation, in non-model species. We used a comparative RNA-seq approach to assess expression variation within and among adaptively divergent populations of a threatened freshwater fish, Nannoperca australis, found across a steep hydroclimatic gradient...

Data from: Elevated HIV prevalence and risk behaviors among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam: a systematic review

Macarena García, Samantha Meyer & Paul Ward
Objectives: To review and analyze original studies on HIV prevalence and risk behaviours among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Vietnam. Design: Systematic literature review. Comprehensive identification of material was conducted by systematic electronic searches of selected databases. Inclusion criteria included studies conducted from 2002 onwards, following a systematic review concluding in 2001 conducted by Colby, Nghia Huu, and Doussantousse. Data analysis was undertaken through the application of both the Cochrane Collaboration and...

Data from: Lean-season primary productivity and heat dissipation as key drivers of geographic body-size variation in a widespread marsupial

Rachel A. Correll, Thomas A. A. Prowse & Gavin J. Prideaux
Geographic body-size variation characterises many mammal species. Hypotheses centring around heat conservation, heat dissipation, primary productivity and seasonality have been advanced to explain geographic body-size patterns. However, identification of the primary body-size drivers has often been hampered by a paucity of data for broadly distributed species and the application of regression models that have not explicitly accounted for the spatial clustering inherent in such datasets. We used Australia's most widespread marsupial, the common brushtail possum...

Data from: Tick exposure and extreme climate events impact survival and threaten the persistence of a long-lived lizard

Alice R. Jones, C. Michael Bull, Barry W. Brook, Konstans Wells, Kenneth H. Pollock & Damien A. Fordham
1. Assessing the impacts of multiple, often synergistic, stressors on the population dynamics of long-lived species is becoming increasingly important due to recent and future global change. 2. Tiliqua rugosa (sleepy lizard) is a long-lived skink (>30 years) that is adapted to survive in semi-arid environments with varying levels of parasite exposure and highly seasonal food availability. We used an exhaustive database of 30-years of capture-mark-recapture records to quantify the impacts of both parasite exposure...

Data from: Experimental manipulation suggests effect of polyandry but not mate familiarity on within-pair aggression in the social skink, Liopholis whitii

Thomas Botterill-James, Jacinta Silince, Tobias Uller, David G. Chapple, Michael G. Gardner, Erik Wapstra, Geoffrey M. While & Jacinta Sillince
Long-term monogamy is a key characteristic of family living across animals. The evolutionary maintenance of long-term monogamy has been suggested to be facilitated by increased reproductive coordination as a result of mate familiarity, leading to increased reproductive success. However, such effects can be compromised if females mate outside the pair bond (e.g. female polyandry), introducing conflicts of interest between the male and female. Here, we experimentally test the effects of both mate familiarity and female...

Data from: The morphology of the inner ear of squamate reptiles and its bearing on the origin of snakes

Alessandro Palci, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael W. Caldwell & Michael S. Y. Lee
The inner ear morphology of 80 snake and lizard species, representative of a range of ecologies, is here analysed and compared to that of the fossil stem snake Dinilysia patagonica, using three-dimensional geometric morphometrics. Inner ear morphology is linked to phylogeny (we find here a strong phylogenetic signal in the data that can complicate ecological correlations), but also correlated with ecology, with Dinilysia resembling certain semi-fossorial forms (Xenopeltis and Cylindrophis), consistent with previous reports. We...

Data from: Breakdown of phylogenetic signal: a survey of microsatellite densities in 454 shotgun sequences from 154 non model eukaryote species

Emese Meglécz, Gabriel Nève, Ed Biffin & Michael G. Gardner
Microsatellites are ubiquitous in Eukaryotic genomes. A more complete understanding of their origin and spread can be gained from a comparison of their distribution within a phylogenetic context. Although information for model species is accumulating rapidly, it is insufficient due to a lack of species depth, thus intragroup variation is necessarily ignored. As such, apparent differences between groups may be overinflated and generalizations cannot be inferred until an analysis of the variation that exists within...

Data from: Diversification rates and phenotypic evolution in venomous snakes (Elapidae)

Michael S. Y. Lee, Kate L. Sanders, Benedict King & Alessandro Palci
The relationship between rates of diversification and of body size change (a common proxy for phenotypic evolution) was investigated across Elapidae, the largest radiation of highly venomous snakes. Time-calibrated phylogenetic trees for 175 species of elapids (more than 50% of known taxa) were constructed using seven mitochondrial and nuclear genes. Analyses using these trees revealed no evidence for a link between speciation rates and changes in body size. Two clades (Hydrophis, Micrurus) show anomalously high...

Data from: Rapid Pliocene adaptive radiation of modern kangaroos

Aidan M. C. Couzens & Gavin J. Prideaux
Differentiating between ancient and younger, more rapidly evolved clades is important for determining paleoenvironmental drivers of diversification. Australia possesses many aridity-adapted lineages, the origins of which have been closely linked to late Miocene continental aridification. Using dental macrowear and molar crown height measurements, spanning the past 25 million years, we show that the most iconic Australian terrestrial mammals, “true” kangaroos (Macropodini), adaptively radiated in response to mid-Pliocene grassland expansion rather than Miocene aridity. In contrast,...

Data from: The dipnoan buccal pump reconstructed in 3D and implications for air breathing in Devonian lungfishes

Alice M. Clement, John A. Long, Paul Tafforeau & Per E. Ahlberg
Lungfishes are known for, and indeed take their name from, their bimodal respiratory abilities. All three extant genera can use their lungs to extract oxygen from the atmosphere, although their reliance upon this capability differs among taxa. Lungs are considered primitive for the Osteichthyes, however the distinctive buccal pump mode of air gulping exhibited by extant lungfishes appears to be a specialization. It is associated with a number of derived skeletal characters (cranial ribs, long...

Data from: Tip-dating and homoplasy: reconciling the shallow molecular divergences of modern gharials with their long fossil record

Michael S. Y. Lee & Adam M. Yates
Simultaneously analysing morphological, molecular and stratigraphic data suggests a potential resolution to a major remaining inconsistency in crocodylian evolution. The ancient, long-snouted thoracosaurs have always been placed near the Indian gharial Gavialis, but their antiquity (ca 72 Ma) is highly incongruous with genomic evidence for the young age of the Gavialis lineage (ca 40 Ma). We reconcile this contradiction with an updated morphological dataset and novel analysis, and demonstrate that thoracosaurs are an ancient iteration...

Data from: Genome-wide association study of an unusual dolphin mortality event reveals candidate genes for susceptibility and resistance to cetacean morbillivirus

Kimberley C. Batley, Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo, Catherine M. Kemper, Catherine R.M. Attard, Nikki Zanardo, Ikuko Tomo, Luciano B. Beheregaray & Luciana M. Möller
Infectious diseases are significant demographic and evolutionary drivers of populations, but studies about the genetic basis of disease resistance and susceptibility are scarce in wildlife populations. Cetacean morbillivirus (CeMV) is a highly contagious disease that is increasing in both geographic distribution and incidence, causing unusual mortality events (UME) and killing tens of thousands of individuals across multiple cetacean species worldwide since the late 1980’s. The largest CeMV outbreak in the Southern Hemisphere reported to date...

Data from: Diversification across biomes in a continental lizard radiation

Lauren G. Ashman, Jason G. Bragg, Paul Doughty, Mark Norman Hutchinson, Sarah Bank, Nick Matzke, Paul M. Oliver, Craig Moritz, N. J. Matzke & P. Oliver
Ecological opportunity is a powerful driver of evolutionary diversification, and predicts rapid lineage and phenotypic diversification following colonisation of competitor-free habitats. Alternatively, topographic or environmental heterogeneity could be key to generating and sustaining diversity. We explore these hypotheses in a widespread lineage of Australian lizards: the Gehyra variegata group. This clade occurs across two biomes: the Australian monsoonal tropics (AMT), where it overlaps a separate, larger bodied clade of Gehyra and is largely restricted to...

Data from: A critical evaluation of how ancient DNA bulk bone metabarcoding complements traditional morphological analysis of fossil assemblages

Alicia C. Grealy, Matthew C. McDowell, Paul Scofield, Dáithí C. Murray, Diana A. Fusco, James Haile, Gavin J. Prideaux & Michael Bunce
When pooled for extraction as a bulk sample, the DNA within morphologically unidentifiable fossil bones can, using next-generation sequencing, yield valuable taxonomic data. This method has been proposed as a means to rapidly and cost-effectively assess general ancient DNA preservation at a site, and to investigate temporal and spatial changes in biodiversity; however, several caveats have yet to be considered. We critically evaluated the bulk bone metabarcoding (BBM) method in terms of its: (i) repeatability,...

The impulse response of optic flow sensitive descending neurons to roll m-sequences

Karin Nordström, Richard Leibbrandt & Sarah Nicholas
When animals move through the world, their own movements generate widefield optic flow across their eyes. In insects, such widefield motion is encoded by optic lobe neurons. These lobula plate tangential cells (LPTCs) synapse with optic flow sensitive descending neurons, which in turn project to areas that control neck, wing and leg movements. As the descending neurons play a role in sensori-motor transformation, it is important to understand their spatio-temporal response properties. Recent work shows...

Radiation of tropical island bees and the role of phylogenetic niche conservatism as an important driver of biodiversity

James B Dorey, Scott SVC Groom, Elisha Freedman, Cale Matthews, Olivia K Davies, Ella Deans, Celina Rebola, Mark I Stevens, Michael SY Lee & Michael P Schwarz
Island biogeography explores how biodiversity in island ecosystems arises and is maintained. The topographical complexity of islands can drive speciation by providing a diversity of niches that promote adaptive radiation and speciation. However, recent studies have argued that phylogenetic niche conservatism, combined with topographical complexity and climate change, could also promote speciation if populations are episodically fragmented into climate refugia that enable allopatric speciation. Adaptive radiation and phylogenetic niche conservatism therefore both predict that topographical...

Data from: Temporal dissonance between group size and its benefits requires whole-of-lifecycle measurements

Lucas Hearn
The benefits of living in groups drive the evolution of sociality, and these benefits could vary across a life-cycle. However, there may be experimental problems in linking group size at one time in a life-cycle to benefits that only become apparent later on when group size has changed, leading to what we call ‘temporal dissonance’. In the only known social colletid bee, Amphylaeus morosus, parasite pressures arise at various times throughout the life-cycle from different...

Alzheimer’s disease: Ablating single master site abolishes tau hyperphosphorylation

Kristie Stefanoska, Arne Ittner, Mehul Gajwani, Amanda RP Tan, Holly Ahel, Prita Asih, Alexander Volkerling & Anne Poljak
Hyperphosphorylation of the neuronal tau protein is a hallmark of neurodegenerative tauopathies such as Alzheimer’s disease. A central unanswered question is why tau becomes progressively hyperphosphorylated. Here, we show that tau phosphorylation is governed by interdependence— a mechanistic link between initial site-specific and subsequent multi-site phosphorylation. Systematic assessment of site interdependence identified distinct residues (threonine-50, threonine-69, and threonine-181) as master sites that determine propagation of phosphorylation at multiple epitopes. CRISPR point mutation and expression of...

Radionuclide and stable elements in flora from Australian arid environments

Maria Angelica Rea, Mathew Johansen, Timothy Payne, Gillian Hirth, Jim Hondros, Samantha Pandelus, William Tucker, Tim Duff, Liesel Green, Attila Stopic, Allan Pring & Claire Lenehan
Radiological impact assessments are an important tool for energy and resources industries and government safety regulators to assist in the protection of wildlife diversity, especially native species. Evaluations of radiological impacts to flora in the arid regions of Australia are currently based on international models that use predominately Northern Hemisphere data, with very limited Australian-specific data. This creates a degree of uncertainty in communicating the potential impact of relevant Australian assessments. The project aims to...

Data from: Habitat saturation promotes delayed dispersal in a social reptile

Ben Halliwell, Tobias Uller, David G. Chapple, Michael G. Gardner, Erik Wapstra & Geoffrey M. While
When and where offspring disperse has important implications for the evolutionary emergence and maintenance of group living. In non-cooperative breeders, direct benefits of delayed dispersal are relatively limited, suggesting that decisions regarding whether or not to remain in the parental territory are largely driven by the availability of suitable habitat in which to settle. While there is ample evidence of correlations between habitat saturation and delayed dispersal, experimental tests are rare, particularly for species with...

Data from: The price of looking sexy: visual ecology of a three level predator-prey system

David Outomuro, Linus Söderquist, Frank Johansson, Anders Ödeen & Karin Nordström
Colour signals and colour vision play a pivotal role in intraspecific communication and predator-prey interactions. However, the costs of expressing conspicuous sexual signals at multiple trophic levels have been largely overlooked. Sexual signals can also experience character displacement in sympatric populations of closely-related species, leading to potential changes in conspicuousness. We here investigate a bird-damselfly-fruit fly predator-prey system, where two closely related damselfly species have conspicuous, sexually selected wing coloration. The damselflies can occur in...

Data from: An assessment of ancient DNA preservation in Holocene-Pleistocene fossil bone excavated from the world heritage Naracoorte Caves, South Australia

Alicia Grealy, Amy Macken, Morten E. Allentoft, Nicolas J. Rawlence, Elizabeth Reed & Michael Bunce
Although there is a long history of research into the fossil deposits of the Naracoorte Caves (South Australia), ancient DNA (aDNA) has not been integrated into any palaeontological study from this World Heritage site. Here, we provide the first evidence of aDNA preservation in Holocene- and Pleistocene-aged fossil bone from a deposit inside Robertson Cave. Using a combination of metabarcoding and shotgun next-generation sequencing approaches, we demonstrate that aDNA from diverse taxa can be retrieved...

Data from: A new method for reconstructing brain morphology: applying the brain-neurocranial spatial relationship in an extant lungfish to a fossil endocast

Alice M. Clement, Robin Strand, Johan Nysjö, John A. Long & Per E. Ahlberg
Lungfish first appeared in the geological record over 410 million years ago and are the closest living group of fish to the tetrapods. Palaeoneurological investigations into the group show that unlike numerous other fishes—but more similar to those in tetrapods—lungfish appear to have had a close fit between the brain and the cranial cavity that housed it. As such, researchers can use the endocast of fossil taxa (an internal cast of the cranial cavity) both...

Data from: Palaeoecological inferences for the fossil Australian snakes Yurlunggur and Wonambi (Serpentes, Madtsoiidae)

Alessandro Palci, Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael W. Caldwell, John D. Scanlon, Michael S.Y. Lee & Michael S. Y. Lee
Madtsoiids are among the most basal snakes, with a fossil record dating back to the Upper Cretaceous (Cenomanian). Most representatives went extinct by the end of the Eocene, but some survived in Australia until the late Cenozoic. Yurlunggur and Wonambi are two of these late forms, and also the best-known madtsoiids to date. A better understanding of the anatomy and palaeoecology of these taxa may shed light on the evolution and extinction of this poorly...

Data from: Evolution of vertebrate postcranial complexity: axial skeleton regionalization and paired appendages in a Devonian jawless fish

Marion Chevrinais, Zerina Johanson, Kate Trinajstic, John Long, Catherine Morel, Claude B. Renaud & Richard Cloutier
One of the major events in vertebrate evolution involves the transition from jawless (agnathan) to jawed (gnathostome) vertebrates, including a variety of cranial and postcranial innovations. It has long been assumed that characters such as the pelvic girdles and fins, male intromittent organs independent from the pelvic girdles, as well as a regionalized axial skeleton first appeared in various basal gnathostome groups if not at the origin of gnathostomes. Here we describe the first occurrence...

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