31 Works

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Kin-mediated plasticity in alternative reproductive tactics

Samuel James Lymbery, Joseph Tomkins, Bruno Buzatto & David Hosken
Conditional strategies occur when the fitness payoff an individual receives from expressing a given phenotype (from a range of two or more possible phenotypes) is contingent upon that individual’s environmental circumstances. This conditional strategy model underlies many cases of alternative reproductive tactics, in which individuals of one sex employ different means to obtain reproductive opportunities. How genetic relatedness and indirect fitness effects could affect the expression of alternative reproductive tactics remains unexplored. Here, we address...

Morphology of parotoid glands in cane toads

Richard Shine, Gregory Brown, Ryann Blennerhassett & Cameron Hudson
If optimal investment in anti-predator defences depends on predation risk, invading new regions (and thus, encountering different predators) may favour shifts in that investment. Cane toads offer an ideal system to test this prediction: expensive anti-predator toxins are stored mainly in parotoid glands whose dimensions are easy to measure, and toad invasions have changed the suites of predators they encounter. Although plasticity may influence parotoid morphology, comparisons between parents and progeny revealed that gland dimensions...

Evidence for rapid downward fecundity selection in an ectoparasite (Philornis downsi) with earlier host mortality in Darwin’s finches

Sonia Kleindorfer, Lauren Common, Jody O'Connor, Rachael Dudaniec & Katharina Peters
Fecundity selection is a critical component of fitness and a major driver of adaptive evolution. Trade-offs between parasite mortality and host resources are likely to impose a selection pressure on parasite fecundity, but this is little studied in natural systems. The ‘fecundity advantage hypothesis’ predicts female-biased sexual size dimorphism whereby larger females produce more offspring. Parasitic insects are useful for exploring the interplay between host resource availability and parasite fecundity, because female body size is...

Egg size is unrelated to ambient temperature in the opportunistically breeding zebra finch

Simon Griffith, Samuel Andrew, Luke McCowan, Laura Hurley, Daisy Englert Duursma, Katherine Buchanan & Mylene Mariette
In many birds, there is significant variation in egg size both across and within clutches that remains to be explained. Birds lay one egg per day and in hot climates, the first laid eggs may start to develop before the laying of the rest of the clutch is complete, through warming by the ambient air temperature. Here, we test the hypothesis that in hot conditions, skews in egg size across the laying sequence may be...

Evolutionary constraints and adaptation shape the size and colour of rain forest fruits and flowers at continental scale

Robert M. Kooyman, Chloé E. L. Delmas & Maurizio Rossetto
Aim: Large-scale patterns in flower and fruit traits provide critical insights into selection processes and the evolutionary history of plant lineages. To isolate and identify the role of selective pressures including different plant-animal interactions, and the factors driving trait evolution, we investigate convergence and divergence between flower and fruit traits in shared environments. Location: Australia to Southeast Asia. Time period: Eocene (~45 My) to Present. Major taxa studied: Woody angiosperm rainforest species (2248 species, 133...

Do epigenetic changes drive corticosterone responses to alarm cues in larvae of an invasive amphibian?

Roshmi Sarma, Richard Edwards, Ondi Crino, Harrison Eyck, Paul Waters, Michael Crossland, Richard Shine & Lee Rollins
The developmental environment can exert powerful effects on animal phenotype. Recently epigenetic modifications have emerged as one mechanism that can modulate developmentally plastic responses to environmental variability. For example, the DNA methylation profile at promoters of hormone receptor genes can affect their expression and patterns of hormone release. Across taxonomic groups, epigenetic alterations have been linked to changes in glucocorticoid (GC) physiology. GCs are metabolic hormones that influence growth, development, transitions between life-history stages, and...

Data from: A novel real-world ecotoxicological dataset of pelagic microbial community responses to wastewater

Jamie Ruprecht, William Glamore, Katie Dafforn, Franziska Wemheuer, Sally Crane, Josie Van Dorst, Emma Johnston, Simon Mitrovic, Ian Turner, Belinda Ferrari & Simone Birrer
Real-world observational datasets that record and quantify pressure-stressor-response linkages between effluent discharges and natural aquatic systems are rare. With global wastewater volumes increasing at unprecedented rates, it is urgent that the present dataset is available to provide the necessary information about microbial community structure and functioning. Field studies were performed at two time-points in the Austral summer. Single-species and microbial community whole effluent toxicity (WET) testing was performed at a complete range of effluent concentrations...

Phosphorus allocation to and resorption from leaves regulate the residence time of phosphorus in aboveground forest biomass on Mount Kinabalu, Borneo

Yuki Tsujii, Shin-Ichiro Aiba & Kanehiro Kitayama
1. The residence time of phosphorus (P) in trees is a consequence of plant adaptation to P deficiency, with longer P residence time on soils with low P availability. P residence time has been studied at the leaf or canopy level but seldom at the whole-tree level. Whereas P residence time at the leaf or canopy level is largely determined by leaf longevity and the resorption of P before leaf abscission, P residence time at...

Data from: Tradeoffs affect the adaptive value of plasticity: Stronger cannibal-induced defenses incur greater costs in toad larvae

Jayna DeVore, Michael Crossland & Richard Shine
Adaptive developmental plasticity allows individuals to match their phenotype with their environment, which can increase fitness where threats are inconsistently present. Because adaptive traits are not ubiquitously nor infinitely plastic, tradeoffs between benefits and costs or limits are theoretically necessary to constrain plastic responses. Systems in which extreme risk can be reliably detected are ideal for investigating mechanisms that constrain plasticity, as even costly responses may be adaptive where risk is severe. Cane toads (Rhinella...

The Influence of Environmental Variation on the Genetic Structure of a Poison Frog Distributed Across Continuous Amazonian Rainforest

Anthony Ferreira, Albertina Lima, Robert Jehle, Miquéias Ferrão & Adam Stow
Biogeographic barriers such as rivers have been shown to shape spatial patterns of biodiversity in the Amazon basin, yet relatively little is known about the distribution of genetic variation across continuous rainforest. Here, we characterize the genetic structure of the brilliant-thighed poison frog (Allobates femoralis) across an 880-km-long transect along the Purus-Madeira interfluve south of the Amazon river, based on 64 individuals genotyped at 7609 single-nucleotide polymorphism loci. A population tree and clustering analyses revealed...

Genetic insights into the globally invasive and taxonomically problematic tree genus Prosopis

Johannes Le Roux
Accurate taxonomic identification of alien species is crucial to detect new incursions, prevent or reduce the arrival of new invaders and implement management options such as biological control. Globally, the taxonomy of non-native Prosopis species is problematic due to misidentification and extensive hybridization. We performed a genetic analysis on several Prosopis species, and their putative hybrids, including both native and non-native populations, with a special focus on Prosopis invasions in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya and...

Data tables for detrital zircon age studies of Haast Schist in western Otago and Marlborough, New Zealand

Chris J Adams, Hamish J Campbell & William L Griffin
Supplementary Data Table 1 Otago and Marlborough schist, detrital zircon ages of schist protoliths U-Th-Pb isotopic ratios, measured and common-Pb corrected detrital zircon ages A) Western Otago: Samples 1-18 B) Marlborough: Samples 19-30 Supplementary Data Table 2 U-Pb zircon age data, southern New England Orogen granite suites: Samples 1-6

Children across cultures respond emotionally to the acoustic environment

Weiyi Ma, Peng Zhou & William Thompson
Among human and non-human animals, the ability to respond rapidly to biologically significant events in the environment is essential for survival and development. Research has confirmed that human adult listeners respond emotionally to environmental sounds just as they understand the emotional connotations of speech prosody and music. However, it is unknown whether young children also respond emotionally to environmental sounds. Here, we report that changes in pitch, rate (i.e., playback speed), and intensity (i.e., amplitude)...

Skin morphology in cane toads

Richard Shine, Gregory Brown & Georgia Kosmala
The structure of the skin may evolve rapidly during a biological invasion, for two reasons. First, novel abiotic challenges such as hydric conditions may modify selection on traits (such as skin thickness) that determine rates of evaporative water loss. Second, invaders might benefit from enhanced rates of dispersal, with locomotion possibly facilitated by thinner (and hence more flexible) skin. We quantified thickness of layers of the skin in cane toads (Rhinella marina) from the native...

Skin resistance to water gain and loss has changed in cane toads (Rhinella marina) during their Australian invasion

Gregory P. Brown, Georgia Kosmala, Richard Shine & Keith Christian
The water-permeable skin of amphibians renders them highly sensitive to climatic conditions, and interspecific correlations between environmental moisture levels and rates of water exchange across the skin suggest that natural selection adapts hydroregulatory mechanisms to local challenges. How quickly can such mechanisms shift when a species encounters novel moisture regimes? Cutaneous resistance to water loss and gain in wild-caught cane toads (Rhinella marina) from Brazil, USA (Hawai’i) and Australia exhibited strong geographic variation. Cutaneous resistance...

Registration Year

  • 2020

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • Macquarie University
  • University of Sydney
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology
  • Australian National University
  • Deakin University
  • Australian Museum
  • University of Technology Sydney
  • UNSW Sydney
  • University of Exeter
  • Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research