264 Works

Data from: Diversity dynamics of Phanerozoic terrestrial tetrapods at the local-community scale

Roger A. Close, Roger B. J. Benson, John Alroy, Anna K. Behrensmeyer, Juan Benito, Matthew T. Carrano, Terri J. Cleary, Emma M. Dunne, Philip D. Mannion, Mark D. Uhen & Richard J. Butler
The fossil record provides one of the strongest tests of the hypothesis that diversity within local communities is constrained over geological timescales. Constraints to diversity are particularly controversial in modern terrestrial ecosystems, yet long-term patterns are poorly understood. Here we document patterns of local richness in Phanerozoic terrestrial tetrapods using a global data set comprising 145,332 taxon occurrences from 27,531 collections. We show that the local richness of non-flying terrestrial tetrapods has risen asymptotically since...

Data from: Limits to species richness in terrestrial communities

John Alroy
Are communities limited by biotic interactions, or are they random draws from regional species pools? One way to tell is to compare total species counts in geographic regions to average counts in ecological samples falling within those regions. If species richness is limited regionally, then the relationship should be curvilinear even in a log-log space. Local data pertaining to trees and 10 groups of animals are analyzed to test this hypothesis. Most relationships are indeed...

Data from: Roses are red, violets are blue - so how much replication should you do? An assessment of variation in the colour of flowers and birds

Rhiannon L. Dalrymple, Francis K. C. Hui, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Darrell J. Kemp & Angela T. Moles
After years of qualitative and subjective study, quantitative colour science is now enabling rapid measurement, analysis and comparison of colour traits. However, it has not been determined how many replicates one needs to accurately quantify a species' colours for studies aimed at broad cross-species trait comparison. We address this major methodological knowledge gap. We first quantified and assessed the variance in colour within and between species. Reflectance spectra of flowers from ten plant species and...

Data from: Discovering biogeographic and ecological clusters with a graph theoretic spin on factor analysis

John Alroy
Factor analysis (FA) has the advantage of highlighting each semi-distinct cluster of samples in a data set with one axis at a time, as opposed to simply arranging samples across axes to represent gradients. However, in the case of presence-absence data it is confounded by absences when gradients are long. No statistical model can cope with this problem because the raw data simply do not present underlying information about the length of such gradients. Here...

Macronutrients modulate survival to infection and immunity in Drosophila

Fleur Ponton, Juliano Morimoto, Katie Robinson, Sheemal S. Kumar, Sheena C. Cotter, Kenneth Wilson & Stephen J. Simpson
Immunity and nutrition are two essential modulators of individual fitness. However, while the implications of immune function and nutrition on an individual’s lifespan and reproduction are well established, the interplay between feeding behaviour, infection, and immune function, remains poorly understood. Asking how ecological and physiological factors affect immune responses and resistance to infections is a central theme of eco-immunology. In this study, we used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, to investigate how infection through septic...

Population genetics informs the management of a controversial Australian waterbird

Skye Davis, Adam Stow & Kate Brandis
Widespread degradation across Australia’s inland wetland network has contributed to severe declines for many waterbird species. In contrast, breeding colonies of the Australian white ibis (Threskiornis molucca) have increased in urbanised areas along the coast, but the level of dispersal and gene flow between inland and coastal areas remain unknown. This study uses single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) to ascertain the variables influencing genetic connectivity among several inland and urban colonies of white ibis across south-eastern...

Dynamic changes in DNA methylation during postnatal development in zebra finches (Taeniopygia guttata) exposed to different temperatures

Elizabeth L. Sheldon, Aaron. W. Schrey, Laura L. Hurley & Simon C. Griffith
Epigenetic changes associated with early life conditions are known to play a significant role in shaping the adult phenotype. Studies of DNA methylation in wild animals are lacking, yet are important for understanding the fitness consequences of environmentally induced epigenetic change. In our study, we quantified variation in DNA methylation in wild, post-hatch zebra finches Taeniopygia guttata developing at seasonally variable temperatures in the Australian desert. We also compared variation in DNA methylation among captive...

Data on infection experiments of cane toads

Martin Mayer, Lia Schlippe Justicia, Richard Shine & Gregory Brown
This dataset contains data from an infection experiment described in the paper: “Mayer, M., Schlippe Justicia, L, Shine, R., & Brown, G. P. (2021). Host defense or parasite cue: Skin secretions mediate interactions between amphibians and their parasites. Ecology Letters, in revision”. Amphibian skin secretions (substances produced by the amphibian plus microbiota) plausibly act as a first line of defense against parasite/pathogen attack, but may also provide chemical cues for pathogens. To clarify the role...

Stabilized morphological evolution of spiders despite mosaic changes in foraging ecology

Jonas Wolff, Kaja Wierucka, Jonathan Coddington, Gustavo Hormiga, Michael Kelly, Marie Herberstein, Martín Ramírez & Gustavo Paterno
A prominent question in animal research is how the evolution of morphology and ecology interact in the generation of phenotypic diversity. Spiders are some of the most abundant arthropod predators in terrestrial ecosystems and exhibit a diversity of foraging styles. It remains unclear how spider body size and proportions relate to foraging style, and if the use of webs as prey capture devices correlates with changes in body characteristics. Here we present the most extensive...

Functional biogeography of Neotropical moist forests: trait-climate relationships and assembly patterns of tree communities

Bruno Pinho, Marcelo Tabarelli, Cajo Ter Braak, S. J. Wright, Victor Arroyo-Rodriguez, Maíra Benchimol, Bettina Engelbrecht, Simon Pierce, Peter Hietz, Bráulio Santos, Carlos Peres, Sandra Müller, Ian Wright, Frans Bongers, Madelon Lohbeck, Ülo Niinemets, Martijn Slot, Steven Jansen, Davi Jamelli, Renato Augusto Ferreira De Lima, Nathan Swenson, Richard Condit, Jos Barlow, Ferry Slik, Manuel Hernández-Ruedas … & Felipe Melo
Aim: Here we examine the functional profile of regional tree species pools across the latitudinal distribution of Neotropical moist forests, and test trait-climate relationships among local communities. We expected opportunistic strategies (acquisitive traits, small seeds) to be overrepresented in species pools further from the equator due to long-term instability, but also in terms of abundance in local communities in currently wetter, warmer and more seasonal climates. Location: Neotropics. Time period: Recent. Major taxa studied: Trees....

Latitudinal clines in sexual selection, sexual size dimorphism, and sex-specific genetic dispersal during a poleward range expansion

Rachael Dudaniec, Alexander Carey, Erik Svensson, Bengt Hansson, Chuan Ji Yong & Lesley Lancaster
Range expansions can be shaped by sex differences in behaviours and other phenotypic traits affecting dispersal and reproduction. Here, we investigate sex differences in morphology, behaviour and genomic population differentiation along a climate-mediated range expansion in the common bluetail damselfly Ischnura elegans in northern Europe. We sampled 65 sites along a 583 km gradient spanning the I. elegans range in Sweden and quantified latitudinal gradients in site relative abundance, sex ratio and sex-specific shifts in...

Ecological patterns of root nodule diversity in cultivated and wild rooibos populations: a community prediction approach

Josep Ramoneda, Jaco Le Roux, Emmanuel Frossard, Beat Frey & Hannes Andres Gamper
There is interest in understanding the factors behind the biogeography of root-associated bacteria due to the joint effects that plant host, climate, and soil conditions can have on bacterial diversity. For legume crops with remaining wild populations, this is of even more importance, because the effects of cropping on undisturbed root-associated bacterial communities can be addressed. Here, we used a community prediction approach to describe the diversity of the root nodule bacterial communities of rooibos...

Gross primary production responses to warming, elevated CO2 , and irrigation: quantifying the drivers of ecosystem physiology in a semiarid grassland

Elise Pendall, Edmund M. Ryan, Kiona Ogle, Drew Peltier, David G. Williams, Anthony P. Walker, Martin G. De Kauwe, Belinda E. Medlyn, William Parton, Shinichi Asao, Bertrand Guenet, Anna B. Harper, Xingjie Lu, Kristina A. Luus, Sönke Zaehle, Shijie Shu, Christian Werner & Jianyang Xia
Determining whether the terrestrial biosphere will be a source or sink of carbon (C) under a future climate of elevated CO2 (eCO2) and warming requires accurate quantification of gross primary production (GPP), the largest flux of C in the global C cycle. We evaluated 6 years (2007–2012) of flux‐derived GPP data from the Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment (PHACE) experiment, situated in a grassland in Wyoming, USA. The GPP data were used to calibrate a...

Microsatellite matrix of Poa annua

Mario Mairal, Johannes Le Roux, Steven Chown, Justine Shaw, Desalegn Chala, John Chau, Bettine Van Vuuren, Cang Hui & Zuzana Münzbergová
Comparative studies of invasive species in human-inhabited versus truly uninhabited habitats, particularly on their genetic structure, remain scarce. Sub-Antarctic islands provide an ideal system to study invasions in such contrasting environments as they represent semi-pristine conditions in highly remote areas that are accessible only through a small number of introduction routes. Here we studied the invasion genetics of annual bluegrass Poa annua on the Prince Edward Islands (PEI) that include the inhabited Marion Island and...

Bisulfite sequencing (RRBS-seq): CpG methylation reports for Australian invasive cane toads

Roshmi Rekha Sarma, Michael R Crossland, Harrison J.F Eyck, Jayna L DeVore, Richard J Edwards, Michael Cocomazzo, Jia Zhou, Gregory P Brown, Richard Shine & Lee Ann Rollins
In response to novel environments, invasive populations often evolve rapidly. Standing genetic variation is an important predictor of evolutionary response but epigenetic variation may also play a role. Here we use an iconic invader, the cane toad (Rhinella marina), to investigate how manipulating epigenetic status affects phenotypic traits. We collected wild toads from across Australia, bred them, and experimentally manipulated DNA methylation of the subsequent two generations (G1, G2) through exposure to the DNA methylation...

Comparison of an extracellular vs. total DNA extraction approach for environmental DNA-based monitoring of sediment biota

Anthony Chariton, Johan Pansu, Grant Hose & Michelle Chapman
Monitoring sediment biota is an essential step for the quality assessment of aquatic ecosystems. Environmental DNA-based approaches for biomonitoring are increasing in popularity; yet, commercial kits and protocols for extracting total DNA from sediments remain expensive and time-consuming. Furthermore, they can accommodate only small amounts of sediments, potentially preventing an adequate representation of local biodiversity, especially for macro-organisms. Here, we assessed the reliability of a cost- and time- effective extracellular DNA extraction approach, able to...

Colonization history affects heating rates of invasive cane toads

Gregory P. Brown, Richard Shine & Georgia Kosmala
Amphibians in hot climates may be able to avoid high temperatures by controlling their rates of heating. In northern Australia, invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) experience hot dry conditions in newly-colonized (western) sites but milder conditions in longer-occupied (eastern) sites. Under standardized conditions, toads from western sites heated less rapidly than did conspecifics from an eastern site. The availability of free water slowed heating rates of eastern but not western toads. Thus, the colonization of...

Data from: Social transmission in the wild reduces predation pressure on novel prey signals

Liisa Hämäläinen, William Hoppitt, Hannah Rowland, Johanna Mappes, Anthony Fulford, Sebastian Sosa & Rose Thorogood
Social transmission of information is taxonomically widespread and could have profound effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of animal communities. Demonstrating this in the wild, however, has been challenging. Here we show by field experiment that social transmission among predators can shape how selection acts on prey defences. Using artificial prey and a novel approach in statistical analyses of social networks, we find that blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tit (Parus major) predators...

Sugar crop yield vs cane toads

Richard Shine, Georgia Ward-Fear & Greg Brown
In 1935, cane toads (Rhinella marina) were brought to Australia to control insect pests. The devastating ecological impacts of that introduction have attracted extensive research, but the toads’ impact on their original targets has never been evaluated. Our analyses confirm that sugar production did not increase significantly after the anurans were released, possibly because toads reduced rates of predation on beetle pests by consuming some of the native predators of those beetles (ants), fatally poisoning...

Morphology and locomotor performance of cane toads, Rhinella marina

Richard Shine, Cameron Hudson, Marta Vidal-Garcia & Trevor Murray
As is common in biological invasions, the rate at which cane toads (Rhinella marina) have spread across tropical Australia has accelerated through time. Individuals at the invasion-front travel further than range-core conspecifics, and exhibit distinctive morphologies that may facilitate rapid dispersal. However, the links between these morphological changes and locomotor performance have not been clearly documented. We used raceway trials and high-speed videography to document locomotor traits (e.g. hop distances, heights, velocities, and angles of...

Male courtship reduces the risk of cannibalism in web-building spiders but varies in structure

Anne Wignall & Marie Herberstein
Male courtship serves multiple functions in addition to inducing females to accept them as a mate. In predatory species, male courtship can function to reduce the risk of sexual cannibalism. This is particularly important in web-building spiders in which males risk being mistaken for prey when they enter the female’s predatory trap – the web – in order to commence courtship. Male spiders generate vibrations by shuddering in the female’s web. Shudder vibrations can delay...

Data from: Environmental drivers of population-level variation in the migratory and diving ontogeny of an Arctic top predator

James Grecian, Garry Stenson, Martin Biuw, Lars Boehme, Lars Folkow, Pierre Goulet, Ian Jonsen, Aleksander Malde, Erling S. Nordøy, Aqqalu Rosing-Asvid & Sophie Smout
The development of migratory strategies that enable juveniles to survive to recruitment is critical for species that exploit seasonal niches. For animals that forage via breath-hold diving this requires a combination of both physiological and foraging skill development. Here, we assess how migratory and dive behaviour develop over the first months of life for a migratory Arctic top predator, the harp seal, tracked using animal-borne satellite relay data loggers. We reveal similarities in migratory movements...

Uncovering key metabolic determinants of the drug interactions between trimethoprim and erythromycin in Escherichia coli

Qin Qi, S Andreas Angermayr & Tobias Bollenbach
Understanding interactions between antibiotics used in combination is an important theme in microbiology. Using the interactions between the antifolate drug trimethoprim and the ribosome-targeting antibiotic erythromycin in Escherichia coli as a model, we applied a transcriptomic approach for dissecting interactions between two antibiotics with different modes of action. When trimethoprim and erythromycin were combined, the transcriptional response of genes from the sulfate reduction pathway deviated from the dominant effect of trimethoprim on the transcriptome. We...

Minding the gap: Learning and visual scanning behaviour in nocturnal bull ants

Muzahid Islam, Sudhakar Deeti, J. Frances Kamhi & Ken Cheng
Insects possess small brains but exhibit sophisticated behaviour, specifically their ability to learn to navigate within complex environments. To understand how they learn to navigate in a cluttered environment, we focused on learning and visual scanning behaviour in the Australian nocturnal bull ant, Myrmecia midas, which are exceptional visual navigators. We tested how individual ants learn to detour via a gap and how they cope with substantial spatial changes over trips. Homing M. midas ants...

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...

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