334 Works

Data from: Taller plants have lower rates of molecular evolution

Robert Lanfear, Simon Y. W. Ho, T. Jonathan Davies, Angela T. Moles, Lonnie Aarssen, Nathan G. Swenson, Laura Warman, Amy E. Zanne & Andrew P. Allen
Rates of molecular evolution have a central role in our understanding of many aspects of species’ biology. However, the causes of variation in rates of molecular evolution remain poorly understood, particularly in plants. Here we show that height accounts for about one-fifth of the among-lineage rate variation in the chloroplast and nuclear genomes of plants. This relationship holds across 138 families of flowering plants, and when accounting for variation in species richness, temperature, ultraviolet radiation,...

Data from: Vertebrate scavenging dynamics differ between carnivore and herbivore carcasses in the northern boreal forest

Michael Peers, Sean Konkolics, Yasmine Majchrzak, Allyson Menzies, Emily Studd, Rudy Boonstra, Stan Boutin & Clayton Lamb
Vertebrate scavenging can impact food web dynamics, but our understanding of this process stems predominantly from monitoring herbivore carrion and extrapolating results across carcass types. Recent evidence suggests carnivores may avoid intraguild scavenging to reduce parasite transmission. If this behavior is widespread across diverse ecosystems, estimation of nutrient cycling and community scavenging rates are likely biased to a currently unknown degree. We examined whether the time to initiate scavenging, carcass persistence, or the richness of...

Sexual maturity in Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Paul Béziers & Alexandre Roulin
The age at first reproduction can significantly impact fitness. We investigated the possible source of variation in the age at first reproduction (“sexual maturity”) and its consequences for lifetime reproductive success in a wild population of barn owls. This raptor is sexually dimorphic for two melanin-based plumage traits shown to covary with sex-specific behaviour and physiology. We observed that females were sexually mature earlier than males, an effect that depended on the colour of their...

A global meta-analysis of temperature effects on marine fishes’ digestion across trophic groups

Nicole Knight, Frederic Guichard & Andrew Altieri
Aim: The temperature constraint hypothesis proposes that marine herbivorous fishes are rare at high latitudes relative to carnivorous fishes because low temperatures impair the digestion of plant material. To test this hypothesis, we compared the effects of temperature on the digestive performance and investment of marine fishes across trophic groups. Location: Global marine ecosystems. Major Taxa Studied: Marine fishes. Methods: We analyzed data from 304 species consuming a range of diets to quantify the effects...

Environmental drivers of Sphagnum growth in peatlands across the Holarctic region

Fia Bengtsson, Håkan Rydin, Jennifer Baltzer, Luca Bragazza, Zhao-Jun Bu, Simon Caporn, Ellen Dorrepaal, Kjell Ivar Flatberg, Olga Galanina, Mariusz Gałka, Anna Ganeva, Irina Goia, Nadezhda Goncharova, Michal Hajek, Akira Haraguchi, Lorna Harris, Elyn Humphreys, Martin Jiroušek, Katarzyna Kajukało, Edgar Karofeld, Natalia Koronatova, Natalia Kosykh, Anna Laine, Mariusz Lamentowicz, Elena Lapshina … & Richard J. Payne
The relative importance of global versus local environmental factors for growth and thus carbon uptake of the bryophyte genus Sphagnum – the main peat-former and ecosystem engineer in northern peatlands – remains unclear. 2) We measured length growth and net primary production (NPP) of two abundant Sphagnum species across 99 Holarctic peatlands. We tested the importance of previously proposed abiotic and biotic drivers for peatland carbon uptake (climate, N deposition, water table depth, and vascular...

Adding the third dimension to studies of parallel evolution of morphology and function: an exploration based on parapatric lake-stream stickleback

Grant Haines, Yoel Stuart, Dieta Hanson, Tania Tasneem, Daniel Bolnick, Hans Larsson & Andrew Hendry
Recent methodological advances have led to a rapid expansion of evolutionary studies employing three-dimensional landmark-based geometric morphometrics (GM). GM methods generally enable researchers to capture and compare complex shape phenotypes, and to quantify their relationship to environmental gradients. However, some recent studies have shown that the common, inexpensive, and relatively rapid two-dimensional GM methods can distort important information and produce misleading results because they cannot capture variation in the depth (Z) dimension. We use micro-CT...

Genetic and phenotypic diversity of guppy population pre- and post-flood disturbance

Léa Blondel
Rare extreme “black swan” disturbances can impact ecosystems in many ways, such as destroying habitats, depleting resources, and causing high mortality. In rivers, for instance, exceptional floods that occur infrequently (e.g., so-called “50-year floods”) can strongly impact the abundance of fishes and other aquatic organisms. Beyond such ecological effects, these floods could also impact intraspecific diversity by elevating genetic drift or dispersal and by imposing strong selection, which could then influence the population’s ability to...

Data from: Habitat disturbance alters color contrast and the detectability of cryptic and aposematic frogs

James Barnett, Brandon Varela, Ben Jennings, David Lesbarrères, Jonathan Pruitt & David Green
Animals use color both to conceal and signal their presence, with patterns that match the background, disrupt shape recognition, or highlight features important for communication. The forms that these color patterns take are responses to the visual systems that observe them and the environments within which they are viewed. Increasingly, however, these environments are being affected by human activity. We studied how pattern characteristics and habitat change may affect the detectability of three frog color...

Effect of the Central American Isthmus on gene flow and divergence of the American crocodile Crocodylus acutus

Jose Avila-Cervantes, Carlos Arias, Miryam Venegas-Anaya, Marta Vargas, Hans C. E. Larsson & W. Owen McMillan
The final formation of the Central American Isthmus (CAI) about 3.5 Ma altered global ocean circulation, connected North and South America terrestrial biotas and established the Caribbean Sea. The nature of this event creates a natural scenario to test vicariance, divergence, and speciation by allopatry. Studies have shown the effect of the CAI on marine and terrestrial species, but none have examined a large-bodied amphibious taxon. We used RAD sequencing on populations of the American...

Data from: Gene expression plasticity evolves in response to colonization of freshwater lakes in threespine stickleback

Matthew R. J. Morris, Romain Richard, Erica H. Leder, Rowan D. H. Barrett, Nadia Aubin-Horth & Sean M. Rogers
Phenotypic plasticity is predicted to facilitate individual survival and/or evolve in response to novel environments. Plasticity that facilitates survival should both permit colonization and act as a buffer against further evolution, with contemporary and derived forms predicted to be similarly plastic for a suite of traits. On the other hand, given the importance of plasticity in maintaining internal homeostasis, derived populations that encounter greater environmental heterogeneity should evolve greater plasticity. We tested the evolutionary significance...

Data from: Very low levels of direct additive genetic variance in fitness and fitness components in a red squirrel population

S. Eryn McFarlane, Stan Boutin, Murray M. Humphries, Andrew G. McAdam, Jamieson C. Gorrell & David W. Coltman
A trait must genetically correlate with fitness in order to evolve in response to natural selection, but theory suggests that strong directional selection should erode additive genetic variance in fitness and limit future evolutionary potential. Balancing selection has been proposed as a mechanism that could maintain genetic variance if fitness components trade off with one another and has been invoked to account for empirical observations of higher levels of additive genetic variance in fitness components...

Data from: Many-to-one form-to-function mapping weakens parallel morphological evolution

Cole J. Thompson, Newaz Ahmed, Thor Veen, Catherine Lynn Peichel, Andrew P. Hendry, Daniel I. Bolnick & Yoel E. Stuart
Evolutionary ecologists aim to explain and predict evolutionary change under different selective regimes. Theory suggests that such evolutionary prediction should be more difficult for biomechanical systems in which different trait combinations generate the same functional output: “many-to-one mapping”. Many-to-one mapping of phenotype to function enables multiple morphological solutions to meet the same adaptive challenges. Therefore, many-to-one mapping should undermine parallel morphological evolution, and hence evolutionary predictability, even when selection pressures are shared among populations. Studying...

Data from: Lichens: a limit to peat growth?

Lorna I. Harris, Tim R. Moore, Nigel T. Roulet & Andrew J. Pinsonneault
1. The fruticose lichens Cladina stellaris and Cladina rangiferina, form thick mats that can cover large areas of northern peatlands (above ~ 50° latitude), including the extensive peatlands of the Hudson Bay Lowland (HBL) in Canada, where lichens may cover up to 50 % of the landscape. Despite the abundance of lichens in northern peatlands, our understanding of their role within peatland ecosystems, and peat accumulation in particular, is limited. 2. We investigate the potential...

Data from: Beyond shading: litter production by neighbours contributes to overyielding in tropical trees

Jurgis Sapijanskas, Catherine Potvin & Michel Loreau
The influence of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning is now well established. However, our ability to predict the ecological consequences of biodiversity changes remains limited by our poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying biodiversity effects. We disentangled the contributions of light competition and residual neighbourhood interactions in a ten-year-old biodiversity experiment with tropical trees that display overyielding, i.e., higher community-level yields in mixtures compared with monocultures. We developed models of individual tree growth that partition the...

Data from: Community rescue in experimental metacommunities

Etienne Low-Décarie, Marcus Kolber, Paige Homme, Andrea Lofano, Alex J. Dumbrell, Andrew Gonzalez & Graham Bell
The conditions that allow biodiversity to recover following severe environmental degradation are poorly understood. We studied community rescue, the recovery of a viable community through the evolutionary rescue of many populations within an evolving community, in metacommunities of soil microbes adapting to a herbicide. The metacommunities occupied a landscape of crossed spatial gradients of the herbicide (Dalapon) and a resource (glucose), whereas their constituent communities were either isolated or connected by dispersal. The spread of...

Data from: Linking macro-trends and micro-rates: re-evaluating micro-evolutionary support for Cope’s rule

Kiyoko M. Gotanda, Cristián Correa, Martin M. Turcotte, Gregor Rolshausen & Andrew P. Hendry
Cope's rule, wherein a lineage increases in body size through time, was originally motivated by macro-evolutionary patterns observed in the fossil record. More recently, some authors have argued that evidence exists for generally positive selection on individual body size in contemporary populations, providing a micro-evolutionary mechanism for Cope's rule. If larger body size confers individual fitness advantages as the selection estimates suggest, thereby explaining Cope's rule, then body size should increase over micro-evolutionary time scales....

Data from: Interaction between the oculomotor and postural systems during a dual-task: compensatory reductions in head sway following visually-induced postural perturbations promote the production of accurate double-step saccades in standing human adults

Mathieu Boulanger, Guillaume Giraudet & Jocelyn Faubert
Humans routinely scan their environment for useful information using saccadic eye movements and/or coordinated movements of the eyes and other body segments such the head and the torso. Most previous eye movement studies were conducted with seated subject and showed that single saccades and sequences of saccades (e.g. double-step saccades) made to briefly flashed stimuli were equally accurate and precise. As one can easily appreciate, most gaze shifts performed daily by a given person are...

Data from: Neural correlations enable invariant coding and perception of natural stimuli in weakly electric fish

Michael G. Metzen, Volker Hofmann & Maurice J. Chacron
Neural representations of behaviorally relevant stimulus features displaying invariance with respect to different contexts are essential for perception. However, the mechanisms mediating their emergence and subsequent refinement remain poorly understood in general. Here, we demonstrate that correlated neural activity allows for the emergence of an invariant representation of natural communication stimuli that is further refined across successive stages of processing in the weakly electric fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus. Importantly, different patterns of input resulting from the...

Data from: Using playback of territorial calls to investigate mechanisms of kin discrimination in red squirrels

Julia Shonfield, Jamieson C. Gorrell, David W. Coltman, Stan Boutin, Murray M. Humphries, David Wilson & Andrew G. McAdam
Kin recognition can facilitate kin selection and may have played a role in the evolution of sociality. Red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) defend territories using vocalizations known as rattles. They use rattles to discriminate kin, though the mechanism underlying this ability is unknown. Our objective was to distinguish between the mechanisms of prior association, where animals learn the phenotypes of kin they associate with early in life, and phenotype matching/recognition alleles, where animals use a template...

Data from: Coevolution of cultural intelligence, extended life history, sociality, and brain size in primates

Sally E. Street, Ana F. Navarrete, Simon M. Reader & Kevin N. Laland
Explanations for primate brain expansion and the evolution of human cognition and culture remain contentious despite extensive research. While multiple comparative analyses have investigated variation in brain size across primate species, very few have addressed why primates vary in how much they use social learning. Here, we evaluate the hypothesis that the enhanced reliance on socially transmitted behavior observed in some primates has coevolved with enlarged brains, complex sociality, and extended lifespans. Using recently developed...

Data from: Unified pre- and postsynaptic long-term plasticity enables reliable and flexible learning

Rui Ponte Costa, Robert C. Froemke, Per Jesper Sjöström & Mark C. W. Van Rossum
Although it is well known that long-term synaptic plasticity can be expressed both pre- and postsynaptically, the functional consequences of this arrangement have remained elusive. We show that spike-timing-dependent plasticity with both pre- and postsynaptic expression develops receptive fields with reduced variability and improved discriminability compared to postsynaptic plasticity alone. These long-term modifications in receptive field statistics match recent sensory perception experiments. Moreover, learning with this form of plasticity leaves a hidden postsynaptic memory trace...

Data from: Cardiac plasticity influences aerobic performance and thermal tolerance in a tropical, freshwater fish at elevated temperatures

Elizabeth A. Nyboer & Lauren J. Chapman
Fishes faced with novel thermal conditions often modify physiological functioning to compensate for elevated temperatures. This physiological plasticity (thermal acclimation) has been shown to improve metabolic performance and extend thermal limits in many species. Adjustments in cardiorespiratory function are often invoked as mechanisms underlying thermal plasticity because limitations in oxygen supply have been predicted to define thermal optima in fishes, however few studies have explicitly linked cardiorespiratory plasticity to metabolic compensation. Here we quantify thermal...

Data from: Divergence maintained by climatic selection despite recurrent gene flow: a case study of Castanopsis carlesii (Fagaceae)

Ye Sun, Yann Surget-Groba & Shaoxiong Gao
Local adaptation to different environments has the potential to maintain divergence between populations despite recurrent gene flow and is an important driver for generating biological diversity. In this study, we investigate the role of adaptation in the maintenance of two parapatric varieties of a forest tree. We used sequence variation of chloroplastic DNA and restriction site-associated DNA to investigate the genetic structure of two varieties of Castanopsis carlesii in subtropical China and relate it to...

Data from: Do stressful conditions make adaptation difficult? Guppies in the oil-polluted environments of southern Trinidad

Gregor Rolshausen, Dawn A. T. Phillip, Denise M. Beckles, Ali Akbari, Subhasis Ghoshal, Patrick B. Hamilton, Charles R. Tyler, Alan G. Scarlett, Indar Ramnarine, Paul Bentzen & Andrew P. Hendry
The ability of populations to rapidly adapt to new environments will determine their future in an increasingly human-modified world. Although meta-analyses do frequently uncover signatures of local adaptation, they also reveal many exceptions. We suggest that particular constraints on local adaptation might arise when organisms are exposed to novel stressors, such as anthropogenic pollution. To inform this possibility, we studied the extent to which guppies (Poecilia reticulata) show local adaptation to oil pollution in southern...

Data from: Melanin-based colouration and host-parasite interactions under global change

Jessica Côte, Amandine Boniface, Simon Blanchet, Andrew Hendry, Julien Gasparini & Lisa Jacquin
The role of parasites in shaping melanin-based colour polymorphism, and the consequences of colour polymorphism for disease resistance, remain debated. Here we review recent evidence of the links between melanin-based colouration and the behavioural and immunological defences of vertebrates against their parasites. First we propose that (1) differences between colour morphs can result in variable exposure to parasites, either directly (certain colours might be more or less attractive to parasites) or indirectly (variations in behaviour...

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