264 Works

Additive genetic variation, but not temperature, influences warning signal expression in Amata nigriceps moths (Lepidoptera: Arctiinae)

Georgina Binns, Liisa Hämäläinen, Darrell Kemp, Hannah Rowland, Kate Umbers & Marie Herberstein
Many aposematic species show variation in their colour patterns even though selection by predators is expected to stabilise warning signals towards a common phenotype. Warning signal variability can be explained by trade-offs with other functions of colouration, such as thermoregulation, that may constrain warning signal expression by favouring darker individuals. Here, we investigated the effect of temperature on warning signal expression in aposematic Amata nigriceps moths that vary in their black and orange wing patterns....

Data from: It’s not all black and white: investigating colour polymorphism in manta rays across Indo-Pacific populations

Stephanie Venables, Andrea Marshall, Elitza Germanov, Robert Perryman, Ricardo Tapilatu, I. Gede Hendrawan, Anna Flam, Mike Van Keulen, Joseph Tomkins & Jason Kennington
Intraspecific colour polymorphisms have been the focus of numerous studies, yet processes affecting melanism in the marine environment remain poorly understood. Arguably the most prominent example of melanism in marine species occurs in manta rays (Mobula birostris and M. alfredi). Here, we use photo identification catalogues to document the frequency variation of melanism across Indo-Pacific manta ray populations and test for evidence of selection by predation acting on colour morph variants. We use mark-recapture modeling...

Urbanization and translocation disrupt the relationship between host density and parasite abundance

Jayna L. DeVore, Richard Shine & Simon Ducatez
1.) The species interactions that structure natural communities are increasingly disrupted by radical habitat change resulting from the widespread processes of urbanization and species translocations. Although many species are disadvantaged by these changes, others thrive in these new environments, achieving densities exceeding those found in natural habitats. Often the same species that benefit from urbanization are successful invaders in introduced habitats, suggesting that similar processes promote these species in both environments. 2.) Both processes may...

Environmental DNA can act as a biodiversity barometer of anthropogenic pressures in coastal ecosystems

Joseph DiBattista, James Reimer, Michael Stat, Giovanni Masucci, Piera Biondi, Maarten De Brauwer, Shaun Wilkinson, Anthony Chariton & Michael Bunce
Loss of biodiversity from lower to upper trophic levels reduces overall productivity and stability of coastal ecosystems in our oceans, but rarely are these changes documented across both time and space. The characterisation of environmental DNA (eDNA) from sediment and seawater using metabarcoding offers a powerful molecular lens to observe marine biota and provides a series of ‘snapshots’ across a broad spectrum of eukaryotic organisms. Using these next-generation tools and downstream analytical innovations including machine...

The apparent exponential radiation of Phanerozoic land vertebrates is an artefact of spatial sampling biases

Roger Close, Roger Benson, John Alroy, Matthew Carrano, Terri Cleary, Emma Dunne, Philip Mannion, Mark Uhen & Richard Butler
There is no consensus about how terrestrial biodiversity was assembled through deep time, and in particular whether it has risen exponentially over the Phanerozoic. Using a database of 38,711 fossil occurrences, we show that the spatial extent of the ‘global’ terrestrial tetrapod fossil record itself expands exponentially through the Phanerozoic, and that this spatial variation explains around 75% of the variation in known fossil species counts. Controlling for this bias, we find that regional-scale terrestrial...

Data from: Unusual but consistent latitudinal patterns in macroalgal habitats and their invertebrate communities across two countries

Hannah Lloyd, Juan Cruz-Motta, Tim Glasby, Pat Hutchings & Paul Gribben
Aim: The physical characteristics of biogenic habitats and environmental conditions are important determinants of biodiversity, yet their relative importance can change across spatial scales. We aimed to understand how relationships between the physical characteristics of macroalgal habitats and their invertebrate communities varied across spatial scales and whether general ecological patterns occurred across two countries. Location: 18 sites across the temperate east coasts of Australia (over 1,300 km) and New Zealand (over 1,000 km), with the...

A fossil-calibrated time-tree of all Australian freshwater fishes

Amy Tims, Simon Ho & Peter Unmack
Australian freshwater fishes are a relatively species-poor assemblage, comprising a small number of Gondwanan lineages and a number of groups derived from repeated freshwater invasions by marine ancestors. In addition to being a comparatively small assemblage, they are both highly endemic and highly threatened. However, a comprehensive phylogeny for these taxa is lacking, which has hampered efforts to study their phylogenetic diversity, distribution of extinction risk, speciation rate, and rates of trait evolution. Here, we...

Colour polymorphism in the sea snake Emydocephalus annulatus

Richard Shine, Greg Brown & Claire Goiran
Evolutionary theory suggests that polymorphic traits can be maintained within a single population only under specific conditions, such as negative frequency-dependent selection or heterozygote advantage. Non-venomous turtle-headed sea snakes (Emydocephalus annulatus) living in shallow bays near Noumea in New Caledonia exhibit three colour morphs: black, black-and-white banded, and an intermediate (grey-banded) morph that darkens with age. We recorded morph frequencies during 18 consecutive years of surveys, and found that the numbers of recruits (neonates plus...

Bait uptake by scavengers in tropical waterbodies

Richard Shine, Abhilasha Aiyer, Tina Bell, Ruchira Somaweera, Miles Bruny & Georgia Ward-Fear
In tropical Australia, conditioned taste aversion can buffer vulnerable native predators from the invasion of a toxic prey species (cane toads, Rhinella marina). Thus, we need to develop methods to deploy aversion-inducing baits in the field, in ways that maximize uptake by vulnerable species (but not other taxa). We constructed and field-tested baiting devices, in situ with wild animals. Apparatus were set next to waterbodies and baited concurrently at multiple locations (over water, water’s edge...

Data from: Angiosperm wood structure: global patterns in vessel anatomy and their relationship to wood density and potential conductivity

Amy E. Zanne, Mark Westoby, Daniel S. Falster, David D. Ackerly, Scott R Loarie, Sarah E. J. Arnold & David A. Coomes
Woody stems comprise a large biological carbon fraction and determine water transport between roots and leaves; their structure and function can influence both carbon and hydrological cycles. While angiosperm wood anatomy and density determine hydraulic conductivity and mechanical strength, little is known about interrelations across many species. We compiled a global dataset comprising two anatomical traits for 3005 woody angiosperms: mean vessel lumen area ( ) and number per unit area (N). From these, we...

Data from: Phylogenetic variation in hind-limb bone scaling of flightless theropods

Nicholas R. Chan
The robusticity of the weight-bearing limbs of large terrestrial animals is expected to increase at a more rapid rate than in their smaller relatives. This scaling has been hypothesized to allow large species to maintain stresses in the limb bones that are similar to those seen in smaller ones. Curvilinear scaling has previously been found in mammals and nonavian theropods but has not been demonstrated in birds. In this study, polynomial regressions of leg-bone length...

Data from: Topology, divergence dates, and macroevolutionary inferences vary between different tip-dating approaches applied to fossil theropods (Dinosauria)

David W. Bapst, April M. Wright, Nick J. Matzke & Graeme T. Lloyd
Dated phylogenies of fossil taxa allow palaeobiologists to estimate the timing of major divergences and placement of extinct lineages, and to test macroevolutionary hypotheses. Recently developed Bayesian ‘tip-dating’ methods simultaneously infer and date the branching relationships among fossil taxa, and infer putative ancestral relationships. Using a previously published dataset for extinct theropod dinosaurs, we contrast the dated relationships inferred by several tip-dating approaches and evaluate potential downstream effects on phylogenetic comparative methods. We also compare...

Data from: Species tree of a recent radiation: the subfamily Delphininae (Cetacea, Mammalia)

Ana R. Amaral, Jennifer A. Jackson, Luciana M. Moller, Luciano B. Beheregaray & M. Manuela Coelho
Lineages undergoing rapid radiations provide exceptional opportunities for studying speciation and adaptation, but also represent a challenge for molecular systematics because retention of ancestral polymorphisms and the occurrence of hybridization can obscure relationships among lineages. Dolphins in the subfamily Delphininae are one such case. Non-monophyly, rapid speciation events, and discordance between morphological and molecular characters have made the inference of phylogenetic relationships within this subfamily very difficult. Here we approach this problem by applying multiple...

Data from: Learning outdoors: Male lizards show flexible spatial learning under semi-natural conditions

Daniel W. A. Noble, Pau Carazo & Martin J. Whiting
Spatial cognition is predicted to be a fundamental component of fitness in many lizard species, and yet some studies suggest that it is relatively slow and inflexible. However, such claims are based on work conducted using experimental designs or in artificial contexts that may underestimate their cognitive abilities. We used a biologically realistic experimental procedure (using simulated predatory attacks) to study spatial learning and its flexibility in the lizard Eulamprus quoyii in semi-natural outdoor enclosures...

Data from: Water quality assessment of Australian ports using water quality evaluation indices

Sayka Jahan & Vladimir Strezov
Australian ports serve diverse and extensive activities, such as shipping, tourism and fisheries, which may all impact the quality of port water. In this work water quality monitoring at different ports using a range of water quality evaluation indices was applied to assess the port water quality. Seawater samples at 30 stations in the year 2016–2017 from six ports in NSW, Australia, namely Port Jackson, Botany, Kembla, Newcastle, Yamba and Eden, were investigated to determine...

Data from: Abiotic and biotic predictors of macroecological patterns in bird and butterfly coloration

Rhiannon L. Dalrymple, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Darrell J. Kemp, Thomas E. White, Shawn W. Laffan, Frank A. Hemmings, Timothy D. Hitchcock & Angela T. Moles
Animal color phenotypes are invariably influenced by both their biotic community and the abiotic environments. A host of hypotheses have been proposed for how variables such as solar radiation, habitat shadiness, primary productivity, temperature, rainfall and community diversity might affect animal color traits. However, while individual factors have been linked to coloration in specific contexts, little is known about which factors are most important across broad taxonomic and geographic scales. Using data collected from 570...

Data from: Unscrambling variation in avian eggshell colour and patterning in a continent-wide study

Kiara L. L'Herpiniere, Louis G. O'Neill, Andrew F. Russell, Daisy E. Duursma & Simon C. Griffith
The evolutionary drivers underlying marked variation in the pigmentation of eggs within many avian species remains unclear. The leading hypotheses proposed to explain such variation advocate the roles of genetic differences, signalling and/or structural integrity. One means of testing amongst these hypotheses is to capitalise on museum collections of eggs obtained throughout a broad geographic range of a species to ensure sufficient variation in predictors pertaining to each hypothesis. Here we measured colouration and patterning...

Data from: Quantifying realized inbreeding in wild and captive animal populations

Ulrich Knief, Georg Hemmrich-Stanisak, Michael Wittig, Andre Franke, Simon C. Griffith, Bart Kempenaers & Wolfgang Forstmeier
Most molecular measures of inbreeding do not measure inbreeding at the scale that is most relevant for understanding inbreeding depression—namely the proportion of the genome that is identical-by-descent (IBD). The inbreeding coefficient FPed obtained from pedigrees is a valuable estimator of IBD, but pedigrees are not always available, and cannot capture inbreeding loops that reach back in time further than the pedigree. We here propose a molecular approach to quantify the realized proportion of the...

Data from: Modeling character change heterogeneity in phylogenetic analyses of morphology through the use of priors

April M. Wright, Graeme T. Lloyd & David M. Hillis
The Mk model was developed for estimating phylogenetic trees from discrete morphological data, whether for living or fossil taxa. Like any model, the Mk model makes a number of assumptions. One assumption is that transitions between character states are symmetric (i.e., the probability of changing from 0 to 1 is the same as 1 to 0). However, some characters in a data matrix may not satisfy this assumption. Here, we test methods for relaxing this...

Data from: Detection of environmental and morphological adaptation despite high landscape genetic connectivity in a pest grasshopper (Phaulacridium vittatum)

Sonu Yadav, Adam J. Stow & Rachael Y. Dudaniec
Widespread species that exhibit both high gene flow and the capacity to occupy heterogeneous environments make excellent models for examining local selection processes along environmental gradients. Here we evaluate the influence of temperature and landscape variables on genetic connectivity and signatures of local adaptation in Phaulacridium vittatum, a widespread agricultural pest grasshopper, endemic to Australia. With sampling across a 900 km latitudinal gradient, we genotyped 185 P. vittatum from 19 sites at 11,408 single nucleotide...

Data from: Three keys to the radiation of angiosperms into freezing environments

Amy E. Zanne, David C. Tank, William K. Cornwell, Jonathan M. Eastman, Stephen A. Smith, Richard G. FitzJohn, Daniel J. McGlinn, Brian C. O'Meara, Angela T. Moles, Peter B. Reich, Dana L. Royer, Douglas E. Soltis, Peter F. Stevens, Mark Westoby, Ian J. Wright, Lonnie Aarssen, Robert I. Bertin, Andre Calaminus, Rafaël Govaerts, Frank Hemmings, Michelle R. Leishman, Jacek Oleksyn, Pamela S. Soltis, Nathan G. Swenson, Laura Warman … & Alejandro Ordonez
Early flowering plants are thought to have been woody species restricted to warm habitats1, 2, 3. This lineage has since radiated into almost every climate, with manifold growth forms4. As angiosperms spread and climate changed, they evolved mechanisms to cope with episodic freezing. To explore the evolution of traits underpinning the ability to persist in freezing conditions, we assembled a large species-level database of growth habit (woody or herbaceous; 49,064 species), as well as leaf...

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,...

Rates of attraction of cane toad tadpoles to chemicals

Richard Shine
Chemical cues produced by late-stage embryos of the cane toad (Rhinella marina) attract older conspecific larvae, which are highly cannibalistic and can consume an entire clutch. To clarify the molecular basis of this attraction response, we presented captive tadpoles with components present in toad eggs. As previously reported, attractivity arises from the distinctive toxins (bufadienolides) produced by cane toads, with some toxins (e.g., bufagenins) much stronger attractants than others (e.g., bufotoxins). Extracts of frozen toad...

Avian vampire fly (Philornis downsi) intensity and mortality

Lauren K Common, Petra Sumasgutner, Rachael Y Dudaniec, Diane Colombelli-Negrel & Sonia Kleindorfer
In invasive parasites, generalism is considered advantageous during the initial phase of introduction. Thereafter, fitness costs to parasites, such as host-specific mortality, can drive parasites towards specialism to avoid costly hosts. It is important to determine changes in host specificity of invasive populations to understand host-parasite dynamics and their effects on vulnerable host populations. We examined changes in mortality in the introduced avian vampire fly (Philornis downsi) (Diptera: Muscidae), a generalist myasis-causing ectoparasite, between 2004...

High fire frequency and the impact of the 2019–2020 megafires on Australian plant diversity

Rachael Gallagher, Stuart Allen, Berin MacKenzie, Colin Yates, Gosper Carl, David Keith, Cory Merow, Matthew White, Elizabeth Wenk, Brian Maitner, Kang He, Vanessa Adams, Tony Auld, Rachael V. Gallagher, Berin D. E. Mackenzie, Colin J. Yates, Carl R. Gosper, David A. Keith, Matthew D. White, Brian S. Maitner, Vanessa M. Adams & Tony D. Auld
This dataset details the proportion of the geographic range of 26,062 Australian plant species burnt in the 2019-2020 megafire; threatened listing status on state and Commonwealth threatened species legislation; species endemic status in each state/territory according to the Australian Plant Census; and risk ranking for exposure to high fire frequency (short intervals between fires) and cumulative impacts of fire (populations dominated by immature individuals). Further details are provided in the users should consult and cite...

Registration Year

  • 2022
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Resource Types

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  • Macquarie University
  • University of Sydney
  • UNSW Sydney
  • Australian National University
  • Flinders University
  • Deakin University
  • Western Sydney University
  • University of Western Australia
  • University of Melbourne
  • Australian Museum