138 Works

Data from: Seasonal effects and fine-scale population dynamics of Aedes taeniorhynchus, a major disease vector in the Galapagos Islands

Arnaud Bataille, Andrew Cunningham, Virna Cedeno, Marilyn Cruz & Simon Goodman
Characterization of the fine-scale population dynamics of the mosquito Aedes taeniorhynchus is needed in order to improve our understanding of its role as a disease vector in the Galapagos Islands. We used microsatellite data to assess the genetic structure of coastal and highland mosquito populations and patterns of gene flow between the two habitats through time on Santa Cruz Island. In addition, we assessed possible associations of mosquito abundance and genetic diversity with environmental variables....

Data from: Widespread gene flow between oceans in a pelagic seabird species complex

Claire Raisin, Deborah A. Dawson, Helen Hipperson, Gavin J. Horsburgh, Jim J. Groombridge, Stefanie M.H. Ismar, Paul Sweet, Carl G. Jones, Vikash Tatayah, Kevin Ruhomaun, Norris Ken, Katherine A. Booth Jones, Malcolm A.C. Nicoll, Malcolm A. C. Nicoll, Ken Norris & Stefanie M. H. Ismar
Global-scale gene flow is an important concern in conservation biology as it has the potential to either increase or decrease genetic diversity in species and populations. Although many studies focus on the gene flow between different populations of a single species, the potential for gene flow and introgression between species is understudied, particularly in seabirds. The only well-studied example of a mixed-species, hybridizing population of petrels exists on Round Island, in the Indian Ocean. Previous...

Data from: Abundance of small mammals correlates with their elevational range sizes and elevational distributions in the subtropics

Zhixin Wen, Yongjie Wu, Jilong Cheng, Tianlong Cai, Yuanbao Du, Deyan Ge, Lin Xia & Qisen Yang
The idea that a positive abundance-range size relationship (ARR) is pervasive in nature has been challenged by recent studies focused on montane and island vertebrate assemblages. However, because some of these studies used species’ local abundance and regional or global range size in examining the ARRs, the negative and neutral trends reported are questionable. Here, by relating species’ mean abundance along elevational gradients to elevational range size, we examined the ARRs of non-flying small mammals...

Data from: Paternal epigenetic effects of population density on locust phase-related characteristics associated with heat-shock protein expression

Bing Chen, Shaoqin Li, Qiang Ren, Xiwen Tong, Xia Zhang & Le Kang
Many species exhibit transgenerational plasticity by which environmental cues experienced by either parent can be transmitted to their offspring, resulting in phenotypic variants in offspring to match ancestral environments. However, the manner by which paternal experiences affect offspring plasticity through epigenetic inheritance in animals generally remains unclear. In this study, we examined the transgenerational effects of population density on phase-related traits in the migratory locust Locusta migratoria. Using an experimental design that explicitly controls genetic...

Data from: Is embryonic hypothermia tolerance common in birds?

Jin-Ming Zhao, Zhi-Ming Han & Yue-Hua Sun
Avian incubation temperatures oscillate within narrow limits to ensure proper embryonic development. However, field observations and experimental studies have found that some species can tolerate very low incubation temperatures, either regularly or occasionally. We artificially incubated eggs from five domestic species, which represent a range of egg sizes, to examine whether a diversity of avian species could exhibit an unusual hypothermia tolerance, as observed in the field. We found that eggs of the chicken (Gallus...

Data from: Determinants of male floating behaviour and floater reproduction in a threatened population of the hihi (Notiomystis cincta)

Patricia Brekke, John G. Ewen, Gemma Clucas & Anna W. Santure
Floating males are usually thought of as non-breeders. However, some floating individuals are able to reproduce through extra-pair copulations. Floater reproductive success can impact breeders’ sex-ratio, reproductive variance, multiple paternity and inbreeding, particularly in small populations. Changes in reproductive variance alter the rate of genetic drift and loss of genetic diversity. Therefore, genetic management of threatened species requires an understanding of floater reproduction and determinants of floating behaviour to effectively conserve species. Here, we used...

A practical approach to measuring the biodiversity impacts of land conversion

América P. Durán, Jonathan M. H. Green, Christopher D. West, Piero Visconti, Neil Burgess, Malika Virah-Sawmy & Andrew Balmford
1. Further progress in reducing biodiversity loss relies on the improved quantification of the connections between drivers of habitat loss and subsequent biodiversity impacts. To this end, biodiversity impact metrics should be able to report linked trends in specific human activities and changes in biodiversity state, accounting for both the ecology of different species, and the cumulative effects of historical habitat losses. These characteristics are not currently captured within a single metric. 2. Here we...

Data from: Revealing kleptoparasitic and predatory tendencies in an African mammal community using camera traps: a comparison of spatiotemporal approaches

Jeremy J. Cusack, Amy J. Dickman, Monty Kalyahe, J. Marcus Rowcliffe, Chris Carbone, David W. Macdonald & Tim Coulson
Camera trap data are increasingly being used to characterise relationships between the spatiotemporal activity patterns of sympatric mammal species, often with a view to inferring inter-specific interactions. In this context, we attempted to characterise the kleptoparasitic and predatory tendencies of spotted hyaenas Crocuta crocuta and lions Panthera leo from photographic data collected across 54 camera trap stations and two dry seasons in Tanzania's Ruaha National Park. We applied four different methods of quantifying spatiotemporal associations,...

Data from: Pathogen richness and abundance predict patterns of adaptive MHC variation in insular amphibians

Supen Wang, Conghui Liu, Anthony B. Wilson, Na Zhao, Xianping Li, Wei Zhu, Xu Gao, Xuan Liu & Yiming Li
The identification of the factors responsible for genetic variation and differentiation at adaptive loci can provide important insights into the evolutionary process, and is crucial for the effective management of threatened species. We studied the impact of environmental viral richness and abundance on functional diversity and differentiation of the MHC class Ia locus in populations of the black-spotted pond frog (Pelophylax nigromaculatus), an IUCN-listed species, on 24 land-bridge islands of the Zhoushan Archipelago and 3...

Data from: Tidal drift removes the need for area restricted search in foraging Atlantic puffins

Ashley Bennison, John Quinn, Alison Debney & Mark Jessopp
Understanding how animals forage is a central objective in ecology. Theory suggests that where food is uniformly distributed, Brownian movement ensures maximum prey encounter rate, but when prey is patchy, the optimal strategy resembles a Lévy walk where Area Restricted Search (ARS) is interspersed with commuting between prey patches. Such movement appears ubiquitous in high trophic level marine predators. Here we report foraging and diving behaviour in a seabird with a high cost of flight,...

Data from: The computer program structure for assigning individuals to populations: easy to use but easier to misuse

Jinliang Wang
The computer program Structure implements a Bayesian method, based on a population genetics model, to assign individuals to their source populations using genetic marker data. It is widely applied in the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology, human genetics and conservation biology for detecting hidden genetic structures, inferring the most likely number of populations (K), assigning individuals to source populations and estimating admixture and migration rates. Recently, several simulation studies repeatedly concluded that the program yields...

Data from: Climate warming and humans played different roles in triggering Late Quaternary extinctions in east and west Eurasia

Xinru Wan & Zhibin Zhang
Climate change and humans are proposed as the two key drivers of total extinction of many large mammals in the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, but disentangling their relative roles remains challenging owing to a lack of quantitative evaluation of human impact and climate-driven distribution changes on the extinctions of these large mammals in a continuous temporal–spatial dimension. Here, our analyses showed that temperature change had significant effects on mammoth (genus Mammuthus), rhinoceros (Rhinocerotidae), horse...

Data from: Population transcriptomes reveal synergistic responses of DNA polymorphism and RNA expression to extreme environments on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau in a predatory bird

Shengkai Pan, Tongzuo Zhang, Zhengqin Rong, Li Hu, Zhongru Gu, Qi Wu, Shanshan Dong, Qiong Liu, Zhenzhen Lin, Lucia Deutschova, Xin-Hai Li, Andrew Dixon, Michael W. Bruford, Xiangjiang Zhan & Xinhai Li
Low oxygen and temperature pose key physiological challenges for endotherms living on the Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP). Molecular adaptations to high-altitude living have been detected in the genomes of Tibetans, their domesticated animals and a few wild species, but the contribution of transcriptional variation to altitudinal adaptation remains to be determined. Here we studied a top QTP predator, the saker falcon, and analysed how the transcriptome has become modified to cope with the stresses of hypoxia...

Data from: Cave Stedocys spitting spiders illuminate the history of the Himalayas and Southeast Asia

Yufa Luo & Shuqiang Li
Stedocys spitting spiders (Araneae: Scytodidae) inhabit subterranean environments and have poor dispersal abilities. The Cenozoic Indian–Eurasian collision affected the regional biota of this genus, which occurs in parts of Indochina. Phylogeographical pattern of Stedocys based on multigene DNA sequence datasets reveals how tectonic history drove four biological splits. The first split dates to the late Paleocene–Eocene and involves the Truong Son Mountain Range and Mekong River. The other splits associate with the Eocene–Oligocene transition, including...

Data from: Chemically-mediated sexual signals restrict hybrid speciation in a flea beetle

Huai-Jun Xue, Kari A. Segraves, Jing Wei, Bin Zhang, Rui-E Nie, Wen-Zhu Li & Xing-Ke Yang
The evolution of reproductive isolation following hybridization is a major obstacle that may limit the prevalence of hybrid speciation among specific groups of organisms. Here we use a flea beetle system to offer a behavioral hypothesis for why there are so few examples of homoploid hybrid speciation among insects. Specifically, we examined cuticular hydrocarbon (CHC) mating signals and mate choice decisions of Altica fragariae and A. viridicyanea to test whether the signals produced by hybrids...

Data from: Transcriptomic analysis of skin pigmentation variation in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana).

Sergio F. Nigenda-Morales, Yibo Hu, James Beasley, Hugo A. Ruiz-Piña, David Valenzuela-Galván, Robert K. Wayne & James C. Beasley
Skin and coat pigmentation are two of the best-studied examples of traits under natural selection given their quantifiable fitness interactions with the environment (e.g. camouflage) and signaling with other organisms (e.g. warning coloration). Previous morphological studies have found that skin pigmentation variation in the Virginia opossum (Didelphis virginiana) is associated with variation in precipitation and temperatures across its distribution range following Gloger’s rule (lighter pigmentation in temperate environments). To investigate the molecular mechanism associated with...

Data from: Badgers prefer cattle pasture but avoid cattle: implications for bovine tuberculosis control

Rosie Woodroffe, Christl A. Donnelly, Cally Ham, Seth Y.B. Jackson, Kelly Moyes, Kayna Chapman, Naomi G. Stratton, Samantha J. Cartwright & Seth Y. B. Jackson
Effective management of infectious disease relies upon understanding mechanisms of pathogen transmission. In particular, while models of disease dynamics usually assume transmission through direct contact, transmission through environmental contamination can cause different dynamics. We used Global Positioning System (GPS) collars and proximity-sensing contact-collars to explore opportunities for transmission of Mycobacterium bovis [causal agent of bovine tuberculosis] between cattle and badgers (Meles meles). Cattle pasture was badgers’ most preferred habitat. Nevertheless, although collared cattle spent 2914...

Data from: Predicting animal behaviour using deep learning: GPS data alone accurately predict diving in seabirds

Ella Browning, Mark Bolton, Ellie Owen, Akiko Shoji, Tim Guilford & Robin Freeman
1.In order to prevent further global declines in biodiversity, identifying and understanding key habitats is crucial for successful conservation strategies. For example, globally, seabird populations are under threat and animal movement data can identify key at-sea areas and provide valuable information on the state of marine ecosystems. To date, in order to locate these areas, studies have used Global Positioning System (GPS) to record position and are sometimes combined with Time Depth Recorder (TDR) devices...

Data from: Seasonal variation in food availability and relative importance of dietary items in the Gambian epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus gambianus)

Kofi Amponsah-Mensah, Andrew A. Cunningham, James L.N. Wood & Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu
1. The Gambian epauletted fruit bat (Epomophorus gambianus) is very common across a variety of West African habitats, but very little information is available on its feeding ecology or its contribution to ecosystem function. 2. We investigated seasonal variation in food availability and the relative importance of dietary items used by this species in a forest-savannah transitional ecosystem. Dietary items were identified from 1,470 samples of faecal and ejecta pellets which had been collected under...

Data from: Extra-group mating increases inbreeding risk in a cooperatively breeding bird

Xavier A. Harrison, Jennifer E. York, Dominic L. Cram & Andrew J. Young
In many cooperatively-breeding species females mate extra-group, the adaptive value of which remains poorly understood. One hypothesis posits that females employ extra-group mating to access mates whose genotypes are more dissimilar to their own than their social mates’, so as to increase offspring heterozygosity. We test this hypothesis using life-history and genetic data from 36 cooperatively-breeding white-browed sparrow weaver (Plocepasser mahali) groups. Contrary to prediction, a dominant female’s relatedness to her social mate did not...

Data from: Comparing genetic diversity and demographic history in co-distributed wild South American camelids

Ciara S. Casey, Pablo Orozco-TerWengel, Katherine Yaya, Miranda Kadwell, Matilde Fernández, Juan Carlos Marin, Raul Rosadio, Lenin Maturrano, Domingo Hoces, Yibo Hu, Jane C. Wheeler & Michael W. Bruford
Vicuñas and guanacos are two species of wild South American camelids that are key ruminants in the ecosystems where they occur. Although closely related, these species feature differing ecologies and life history characters, which are expected to influence both their genetic diversity and population differentiation at different spatial scales. Here, using mitochondrial and microsatellite genetic markers, we show that vicuña display lower genetic diversity within populations than guanaco but exhibit more structure across their Peruvian...

Data from: Islands within an island: Population genetic structure of the endemic Sardinian newt, Euproctus platycephalus

Sarah E. Ball, Stefano Bovero, Guiseppe Sotgiu, Giulia Tessa, Claudio Angelini, Jon Bielby, Chris Durrant, Marco Favelli, Enrico Gazzaniga, Trenton W. J. Garner & Christopher Durrant
The identification of historic and contemporary barriers to dispersal is central to the conservation of endangered amphibians, but may be hindered by their complex life history and elusive nature. The complementary information generated by mitochondrial (mtDNA) and microsatellite markers generates a valuable tool in elucidating population structure and the impact of habitat fragmentation. We applied this approach to the study of an endangered montane newt, Euproctus platycephalus. Endemic to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, it...

Data from: A global test of the cold-climate hypothesis for the evolution of viviparity of squamate reptiles

Liang Ma, Lauren B. Buckley, Raymond B. Huey & Wei-Guo Du
Aim The evolution of viviparity in squamate reptiles has attracted considerable scientific attention since the beginning of last century. The cold climate hypothesis posits that cold regions favor viviparity (and therefore the incidence of viviparous squamates is increased in these regions) because viviparous females can use thermoregulatory behavior to shorten embryonic developmental time and to reduce exposure of embryos to stressful temperatures. However, a rigorous global-scale test of the impact of viviparity on the developmental...

Data from: Turtle embryos move to optimal thermal environments within the egg

Bo Zhao, Teng Li, Richard Shine, Wei-Guo Du & W.-G. Du
A recent study demonstrated that the embryos of soft-shelled turtles can reposition themselves within their eggs to exploit locally warm conditions. In the current paper, we ask whether turtle embryos actively seek out optimal thermal environments for their development, as do post-hatching individuals. Specifically, (1) do reptile embryos move away from dangerously-high temperatures, as well as towards warm temperatures? and (2) is such embryonic movement due to active thermoregulation, or (more simply) to passive embryonic...

Data from: Reliable effective number of breeders/adult census size ratios in seasonal-breeding species: opportunity for integrative demographic inferences based on capture-mark-recapture data and multilocus genotypes

Gregorio Sánchez-Montes, Jinliang Wang, Arturo H. Ariño, José Luis Vizmanos & Íñigo Martínez-Solano
The ratio of the effective number of breeders (Nb) to the adult census size (Na), Nb/ Na, approximates the departure from the standard capacity of a population to maintain genetic diversity in one reproductive season. This information is relevant for assessing population status, understanding evolutionary processes operating at local scales and unraveling how life-history traits affect these processes. However, our knowledge on Nb/Na ratios in nature is limited because estimation of both parameters is challenging....

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