29 Works

Data from: Does the house sparrow Passer domesticus represent a global model species for egg rejection behavior?

Thomas Manna, Caren Cooper, Shane Baylis, Matthew D. Shawkey, Geoffrey I. N. Waterhouse, Tomas Grim & Mark E. Hauber
Conspecific brood parasitism (CP) is a facultative breeding tactic whereby females lay their eggs in the nests of conspecifics. In some species, potential host individuals have evolved the ability to identify and reject foreign eggs from their nest. Previous studies suggest that the ubiquitous House Sparrow Passer domesticus in Spain and South Africa employs both CP and parasitic egg rejection, while a population in China does not. Given the species’ invasive range expansions, the House...

Data from: Edge effects and mating patterns in a bumblebee-pollinated plant

Dorothy Christopher, Randall J Mitchell, Dorset W Trapnell, Patrick A Smallwood, Wendy R Semski & Jeffrey D Karron
Researchers have long assumed that plant spatial location influences plant reproductive success and pollinator foraging behavior. For example, many flowering plant populations have small, linear, or irregular shapes that increase the proportion of plants on the edge, which may reduce mating opportunities through both male and female function. Additionally, plants that rely on pollinators may be particularly vulnerable to edge effects if those pollinators exhibit restricted foraging and pollen carryover is limited. To explore the...

Data from: The role of preservation on the quantification of morphology and patterns of disparity within Paleozoic echinoderms

Bradley Deline & James R. Thomka
The loss of information resulting from taphonomic degradation could represent a significant bias in the study of morphological diversity. This potential bias is even more concerning given the uneven effect of taphonomy across taxonomic groups, depositional facies, and stratigraphic successions and in response to secular changes through the Phanerozoic. The effect of taphonomic degradation is examined using character-based morphological data sets describing disparity in Paleozoic crinoids and blastozoans. Characters were sequentially excluded from the analyses...

Generation of Propulsive Force via Vertical Undulations in Snakes

Derek Jurestovsky, Logan Usher & Henry Astley
Lateral undulation is the most widespread mode of terrestrial vertebrate limbless locomotion, in which posteriorly propagating horizontal waves press against environmental asperities (e.g. grass, rocks) and generate propulsive reaction forces. We hypothesized that snakes can generate propulsion using a similar mechanism of posteriorly propagating vertical waves pressing against suitably oriented environmental asperities. Using an array of horizontally oriented cylinders, one of which was equipped with force sensors, and a motion capture system, we found snakes...

Data from: Benefit of transferred mutations is better predicted by the fitness of recipients than by their ecological or genetic relatedness

Yinhua Wang, Carolina Diaz Arena, Daniel M. Stoebel, Kenneth M. Flynn, Ethan Knapp, Marcus M. Dillon, Andrea Wunsche, Philip J. Hatcher, Francisco B.-G. Moore, Vaughn S. Cooper & Tim F. Cooper
The effect of a mutation depends on its interaction with the genetic background in which it is assessed. Studies in experimental systems have demonstrated that such interactions are common among beneficial mutations and often follow a pattern consistent with declining evolvability of more fit genotypes. However, these studies generally examine the consequences of interactions between a small number of focal mutations. It is not clear, therefore, that findings can be extrapolated to natural populations, where...

Data from: Key ornamental innovations facilitate diversification in an avian radiation

Rafael Maia, Dustin R. Rubenstein & Matthew D. Shawkey
Patterns of biodiversity are often explained by ecological processes, where traits that promote novel ways of interacting with the environment (key innovations) play a fundamental role in promoting diversification. However, sexual selection and social competition can also promote diversification through rapid evolution of ornamental traits. Because selection can operate only on existing variation, the tendency of ornamental traits to constrain or enable the production of novel phenotypes is a crucial but often overlooked aspect of...

Data from: A field test of a model for the stability of androdioecy in the freshwater shrimp, Eulimnadia texana

Stephen C. Weeks, Chiara Benvenuto, Sadie K. Reed, Robert J. Duff, Zhong-Hui Duan, Patrice David & Z.-H. Duan
The evolution of hermaphroditism from dioecy is a poorly studied transition. Androdioecy (the coexistence of males and hermaphrodites) has been suggested as an intermediate step in this evolutionary transition or could be a stable reproductive mode. Freshwater crustaceans in the genus Eulimnadia have reproduced via androdioecy for 24+ million years and thus are excellent organisms to test models of the stability of androdioecy. Two related models that allow for the stable maintenance of males and...

Data from: Characterization of 42 polymorphic microsatellite loci in Mimulus ringens (Phrymaceae) using Illumina sequencing

Schyler O. Nunziata, Jeffrey D. Karron, Randall J. Mitchell, Stacey L. Lance, Kenneth L. Jones & Dorset W. Trapnell
Premise of the study: Microsatellite markers were isolated and characterized in Mimulus ringens (Phrymaceae), a herbaceous wetland perennial, to facilitate studies of mating patterns and population genetic structure. Methods and Results: A total of 42 polymorphic loci were identified from a sample of 24 individuals from a single popula- tion in Ohio, USA. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to nine, and median observed heterozygosity was 0.435. Conclusions: This large number of...

Data from: A nanostructural basis for gloss of avian eggshells

Branislav Igic, Daphne Fecheyr-Lippens, Ming Xiao, Andrew Chan, Daniel Hanley, Patricia R. L. Brennan, Tomas Grim, Geoffrey I. N. Waterhouse, Mark E. Hauber & Matthew D. Shawkey
The role of pigments in generating the colour and maculation of birds' eggs is well characterized, whereas the effects of the eggshell's nanostructure on the visual appearance of eggs are little studied. Here, we examined the nanostructural basis of glossiness of tinamou eggs. Tinamou eggs are well known for their glossy appearance, but the underlying mechanism responsible for this optical effect is unclear. Using experimental manipulations in conjunction with angle-resolved spectrophotometry, scanning electron microscopy, atomic...

Not a melting pot: plant species aggregate in their non-native range

Gisela C. Stotz, James F. Cahill, Jonathan A. Bennett, Cameron N. Carlyle, Edward W. Bork, Diana Askarizadeh, Sandor Bartha, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Bazartseren Boldgiv, Leslie Brown, Marcelo Cabido, Giandiego Campetella, Stefano Chelli, Ofer Cohen, Sandra Díaz, Lucas Enrico, David Ensing, Batdelger Erdenetsetseg, Alessandra Fidelis, Heath W. Garris, Hugh A.L. Henry, Anke Jentsch, Mohammad Hassan Jouri, Kadri Koorem, Peter Manning … & Lauchlan H. Fraser
Aim: Plant species continue to be moved outside of their native range by human activities. Here, we aim at determining whether, once introduced, plants assimilate into native communities, or whether they aggregate, thus forming mosaics of native- and alien-rich communities. Alien species may aggregate in their non-native range due to shared habitat preferences, such as their tendency to establish in high-biomass, species-poor areas. Location: 22 herbaceous grasslands in 14 countries, mainly in the temperate zone....

Data from: Scaling and relations of morphology with locomotor kinematics in the sidewinder rattlesnake Crotalus cerastes

Jessica L. Tingle, Brian M. Sherman & Theodore Garland
The movement of limbless terrestrial animals differs fundamentally from that of limbed animals, yet few scaling studies of their locomotor kinematics and morphology are available. We examined scaling and relations of morphology and locomotion in sidewinder rattlesnakes (Crotalus cerastes). During sidewinding locomotion, a snake lifts sections of its body up and forward while other sections maintain static ground contact. We used high-speed video to quantify whole-animal speed and acceleration; the height to which body sections...

Experimental modification of morphology reveals the effects of the zygosphene-zygantrum joint on the range of motion of snake vertebrae

Derek Jurestovsky, Bruce Jayne & Henry Astley
Variation in joint shape and soft tissue can alter range of motion (ROM) and create trade-offs between stability and flexibility. The shape of the distinctive zygosphene–zygantrum joint of snake vertebrae has been hypothesized to prevent axial torsion (twisting), but its function has never been tested experimentally. We used experimental manipulation of morphology to determine the role of the zygosphene–zygantrum articulation by micro-computed tomography (μCT) scanning and 3D printing two mid-body vertebrae with unaltered shape and...

Data from: Modular color evolution facilitated by a complex nanostructure in birds

Chad M. Eliason, Rafael Maia & Matthew D. Shawkey
The way in which a complex trait varies, and thus evolves, is critically affected by the independence, or modularity, of its subunits. How modular designs facilitate phenotypic diversification is well studied in non-ornamental (e.g., cichlid jaws), but not ornamental traits. Diverse feather colors in birds are produced by light absorption by pigments and/or light scattering by nanostructures. Such structural colors are deterministically related to the nanostructures that produce them and are therefore excellent systems to...

Data from: Ecological stasis in Spinicaudata (Crustacea, Branchiopoda)? Early Cretaceous clam shrimp of the Yixian Formation of north‐east China occupied a broader realized ecological niche than extant members of the group

Manja Hethke, Franz T. Fürsich, Baoyu Jiang, Bo Wang, Patrick Chellouche & Stephen C. Weeks
The palaeoecology of Spinicaudata, the dominant group of benthic invertebrates in many pre-Cenozoic freshwater environments, remains poorly understood. In analogy with extant taxa, it has been oversimplified and often reduced to shallow, temporary environments characterised by few trophic levels, implying ecological stasis from the Devonian to the Recent. We excavated 43 horizons of the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation (Anjiagou and Hengdaozi beds) to evaluate whether spinicaudatan ecology can be simplified to such an extent. Sedimentological...

Data from: Carotenoid-based skin ornaments reflect foraging propensity in a seabird, Sula leucogaster

Nathan P. Michael, Roxana Torres, Andreanna J. Welch, Josh Adams, Mario Erandi Bonillas-Monge, Jonathan Felis, Laura Lopez-Marquez, Alejandro Martínez-Flores & Anne E. Wiley
Carotenoid-based ornaments are common signaling features in animals. It has long been proposed that such ornaments communicate information about foraging abilities to potential mates. However, evidence linking foraging with ornamentation is largely missing from unmanipulated, free-ranging populations. To investigate this relationship, we studied the brown booby (Sula leucogaster brewsteri), a seabird with a carotenoid-based gular skin ornament. 13C values from both feathers and blood plasma were negatively correlated with male gular color, indicating birds that...

Data from: The velvet spiders: an atlas of the Eresidae (Arachnida, Araneae)

Jeremy Miller, Charles Griswold, Nikolaj Scharff, Milan Rezac, Tamas Szuts & Mohammad Marhabaie
The family Eresidae C. L. Koch, 1850 is reviewed at the genus level. The family comprises nine genera including one new genus. They are: Adonea Simon, 1873, Dorceus C. L. Koch, 1846, Dresserus Simon, 1876, Eresus Walckenaer, 1805, Gandanameno Lehtinen, 1967, Loureedia gen. n., Paradonea Lawrence, 1968, Seothyra Purcell, 1903, and Stegodyphus Simon, 1873. A key to all genera and major lineages is provided along with corresponding diagnoses, as well as descriptions of selected species....

Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness

Lauchlan H. Fraser, Jason Pither, Anke Jentsch, Marcelo Sternberg, Martin Zobel, Diana Askarizadeh, Sandor Bartha, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Jonathan A. Bennett, Alex Bittel, Bazartseren Boldgiv, Ilsi I. Boldrini, Edward Bork, Leslie Brown, Marcelo Cabido, James Cahill, Cameron N. Carlyle, Giandiego Campetella, Stefano Chelli, Ofer Cohen, Anna-Maria Csergo, Sandra Diaz, Lucas Enrico, David Ensing, Alessandra Fidelis … & Szilárd Szentes
The search for predictions of species diversity across environmental gradients has challenged ecologists for decades. The humped-back model (HBM) suggests that plant diversity peaks at intermediate productivity; at low productivity few species can tolerate the environmental stresses, and at high productivity a few highly competitive species dominate. Over time the HBM has become increasingly controversial, and recent studies claim to have refuted it. Here, by using data from coordinated surveys conducted throughout grasslands worldwide and...

Data from: Crying wolf to a predator: deceptive vocal mimicry by a bird protecting young

Branislav Igic, Jessica McLachlan, Inkeri Lehtinen & Robert D. Magrath
Animals often mimic dangerous or toxic species to deter predators; however, mimicry of such species may not always be possible and mimicry of benign species seems unlikely to confer anti-predator benefits. We reveal a system in which a bird mimics the alarm calls of harmless species to fool a predator 40 times its size and protect its offspring against attack. Our experiments revealed that brown thornbills (Acanthiza pusilla) mimic a chorus of other species' aerial...

Data from: Broad-scale trophic shift in the pelagic North Pacific revealed by an oceanic seabird

Peggy H. Ostrom, Anne E. Wiley, Helen F. James, Sam Rossman, William A. Walker, Elise F. Zipkin & Yoshito Chikaraishi
Human-induced ecological change in the open oceans appears to be accelerating. Fisheries, climate change and elevated nutrient inputs are variously blamed, at least in part, for altering oceanic ecosystems. Yet it is challenging to assess the extent of anthropogenic change in the open oceans, where historical records of ecological conditions are sparse, and the geographical scale is immense. We developed millennial-scale amino acid nitrogen isotope records preserved in ancient animal remains to understand changes in...

Data from: The plumage and colouration of an enantiornithine bird from the Early Cretaceous of China

Jennifer A. Peteya, Julia A. Clarke, Quanguo Li, Ke-Qin Gao & Matthew D. Shawkey
Brilliant colour displays and diverse feather morphologies that are often sexual ornaments are common throughout much of extant Avialae. Here we describe a new basal enantiornithine bird specimen recovered from the Early Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation of Liaoning Province in northeastern China. We present new information on the plumage of Bohaiornithidae as well as the first detailed colour reconstruction of an enantiornithine bird. The new specimen retains subadult skeletal characteristics, including periosteal pitting of the long...

Data from: Egg discrimination along a gradient of natural variation in eggshell coloration

Daniel Hanley, Tomas Grim, Branislav Igic, Peter Samaš, Analía V. López, Matthew D. Shawkey & Mark E. Hauber
Accurate recognition of salient cues is critical for adaptive responses, but the underlying sensory and cognitive processes are often poorly understood. For example, hosts of avian brood parasites have long been assumed to reject foreign eggs from their nests based on the total degree of dissimilarity in colour to their own eggs, regardless of the foreign eggs' colours. We tested hosts' responses to gradients of natural (blue-green to brown) and artificial (green to purple) egg...

Data from: Behavioral and biomaterial coevolution in spider orb webs

Andrew Sensenig, Todd Blackledge & Ingi Agnarsson
Mechanical performance of biological structures, such as tendons, byssal threads, muscles, and spider webs, is determined by a complex interplay between material quality (intrinsic material properties, larger scale morphology) and proximate behavior. Spider orb webs are a system in which fibrous biomaterials―silks―are arranged in a complex design resulting from stereotypical behavioral patterns, to produce effective energy absorbing traps for flying prey. Orb webs show an impressive range of designs, some effective at capturing tiny and...

Data from: pavo: an R package for the analysis, visualization and organization of spectral data

Rafael Maia, Chad M. Eliason, Pierre-Paul Bitton, Stéphanie M. Doucet & Matthew D. Shawkey
1. Recent technical and methodological advances have led to a dramatic increase in the use of spectrometry to quantify reflectance properties of biological materials, as well as models to determine how these colours are perceived by animals, providing important insights into ecological and evolutionary aspects of animal visual communication. 2. Despite this growing interest, a unified cross-platform framework for analyzing and visualizing spectral data has not been available. We introduce pavo, an R package that...

Data from: Evolution of stenophagy in spiders (Araneae): evidence based on the comparative analysis of spider diets

Stano Pekár, Jonathan A. Coddington & Todd A. Blackledge
Stenophagy (narrow diet breadth) represents an extreme of trophic specialization in carnivores, but little is known about the forces driving its evolution. We used spiders, the most diversified group of terrestrial predators, to investigate whether stenophagy 1) promoted diversification, 2) was phylogenetically conserved and evolutionarily derived state, and 3) was determined either by geographical distribution and foraging guild. We utilized published data on the prey of almost 600 species. Six categories of stenophagy were found:...

Data from: Evolutionary shifts in the melanin-based color system of birds

Chad M. Eliason, Matthew D. Shawkey, Julia A. Clark & Julia A. Clarke
Melanin pigments contained in organelles (melanosomes) impart earthy colors to feathers. Such melanin-based colors are distributed across birds and thought to be the ancestral color-producing mechanism in birds. However, we have had limited data on melanin-based color and melanosome diversity in Palaeognathae, which includes the flighted tinamous and large-bodied, flightless ratites and is the sister taxon to all other extant birds. Here, we use scanning electron microscopy and spectrophotometry to assess melanosome morphology and quantify...

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