70 Works

An invasive species erodes the performance of coastal wetland protected areas

Junlin Ren, Jianshe Chen, Changlin Xu, Johan Van De Koppel, Mads Thomsen, Shi-Yun Qiu, Fangyan Cheng, Wanjuan Song, Quan-Xing Liu, Chi Xu, Junhong Bai, Yihui Zhang, Baoshan Cui, Mark Bertness, Brian Silliman, Bo Li & Qiang He
The world has increasingly relied upon protected areas (PAs) to rescue highly valued ecosystems from human activities, but whether PAs will fare well with bioinvasions remains unknown. By analyzing three decades of seven largest coastal PAs in China, including multiple World Natural Heritage and/or Wetlands of International Importance sites, we show that although PAs are achieving success in rescuing iconic wetlands and critical shorebird habitats from once widespread reclamation, this success is counteracted by escalating...

Data from: Lineage and latitudinal variation in Phragmites australis tolerance to herbivory: implications for invasion success

Jordan Croy, Laura Meyerson, Warwick Allen, Ganesh Bhattarai & James T. Cronin
Herbivores play a critical role in plant invasions either by facilitating or inhibiting species establishment and spread. However, relatively few studies with invasive plant species have focused on the role of plant tolerance and how it varies geographically to influence invasion success. We conducted a common garden study using two lineages (native and invasive) of the grass Phragmites australis that are prevalent in North American wetlands. Using 31 populations collected across a broad geographic range,...

Scoring of 13 microsatellite loci for Tetrastigma loheri in Cebu (Philippines) based on the fragment length size of their respective alleles

Jasper John Obico, Hemres Alburo, Julie Barcelona, Marie Hale, Lisa Paguntalan, Tammy Steeves & Pieter Pelser
Little is known about the effects of habitat fragmentation on the patterns of genetic diversity and genetic connectivity of species in the remaining tropical forests of Southeast Asia. This is particularly evident in Cebu, a Philippine island that has a long history of deforestation and has lost nearly all of its forest cover. To begin filling this gap, data from 13 microsatellite loci developed for Tetrastigma loheri (Vitaceae), a common vine species in Philippine forests,...

Diversity change in forest plots of Blue Mountains, Jamaica

William Godsoe, Peter Bellingham & Elena Moltchanova
Beta diversity describes the differences in species composition among communities. Changes in beta diversity over time are thought to be due to selection based on species’ niche characteristics. For example, theory predicts that selection that favours habitat specialists will increase beta diversity. In practice, ecologists struggle to predict how beta diversity changes. To remedy this problem, we propose a novel solution that formally measures selection’s effects on beta diversity. Using the Price equation, we show...

Data from: Sleeping with the ‘enemy’ - Hybridization of an endangered tree weta

Rachel A. Van Heugten, Roddy J. Hale, Mike H. Bowie & Marie L. Hale
While hybridization is an important part of the evolutionary process, for rare species mating with more common species hybridization can increase the risks of extinction. By mating with heterospecifics rare species waste valuable reproductive resources and as a result population sizes may decline. If introgression occurs, the rare species can become genetically swamped by alleles from the more common species, rendering it effectively extinct. As a consequence of these risks, hybridization with the more common...

Data from: Building strong relationships between conservation genetics and primary industry leads to mutually beneficial genomic advances

Stephanie J. Galla, Thomas R. Buckley, Rob Elshire, Marie L. Hale, Michael Knapp, John McCallum, Roger Moraga, Anna W. Santure, Phillip Wilcox & Tammy E. Steeves
Several reviews in the past decade have heralded the benefits of embracing high-throughput sequencing technologies to inform conservation policy and the management of threatened species, but few have offered practical advice on how to expedite the transition from conservation genetics to conservation genomics. Here, we argue that an effective and efficient way to navigate this transition is to capitalize on emerging synergies between conservation genetics and primary industry (e.g., agriculture, fisheries, forestry and horticulture). Here,...

Data from: The importance of core habitat for a threatened species in changing landscapes

Mark R. Herse, Kimberly A. With & W. Alice Boyle
1. Habitat loss, fragmentation and alteration of the landscape matrix are interdependent processes, collectively responsible for most recent species extinctions. Thus, determining the extent to which these landscape processes affect animals is critical for conservation. However, researchers have often assumed that interdependent effects are independently related to animals’ responses, underestimating the importance of one or several landscape processes in driving species declines. 2. We demonstrate how to disentangle the interdependent effects of habitat area, fragmentation,...

Data from: Projecting consequences of global warming for the functional diversity of fleshy-fruited plants and frugivorous birds along a tropical elevational gradient

Larissa Nowak, W. Daniel Kissling, Irene M. A. Bender, D. Matthias Dehling, Till Töpfer, Katrin Böhning-Gaese & Matthias Schleuning
Aim: Species in ecological communities are linked by biotic interactions. It is therefore important to simultaneously study the impacts of global warming on interdependent taxa from different trophic levels. Here, we quantify current and potential future associations of functional diversity (based on multiple traits) and functional identity (based on individual traits) between interacting taxa using projection models under climate change. Location: A tropical elevational gradient (500–3500 m a.s.l.) in the Manú biosphere reserve, southeast Peru...

Data from: Risk assessment and the use of novel shortcuts in spatial detouring tasks in jumping spiders

Samuel Aguilar-Argüello, Daniel Gerhard & Ximena Nelson
Selection on individuals that incorporate risk to quickly and accurately make a priori navigational assessments may lead to increased spatial ability. Jumping spiders (Araneae: Salticidae) are characterized by their highly acute vision, which mediates many behaviors, including prey capture and navigation. When moving to a specific goal (prey, nest, a potential mate, etc.), salticids rely on visual cues and spatial memory to orient in three-dimensional space. Salticid spatial ability has been studied in homing and...

Data from: Multiple Quaternary refugia in the eastern Guiana Shield revealed by comparative phylogeography of 12 frog species

Antoine Fouquet, Brice P. Noonan, Miguel T. Rodrigues, Nicolas Pech, André Gilles & Neil J. Gemmell
The Guiana Shield is one of the most pristine regions of Amazonia and biologically one of the richest areas on Earth. How and when the massive diversity of life that exists in Amazonia arose remains the subject of considerable debate. The prevailing hypothesis of Quaternary glacial refugia suggests that a part of the eastern Guiana Shield, among other areas in Amazonia, served as stable, forested refugia during periods of aridity. However, the recently proposed Disturbance-Vicariance...

Data from: Low spatial genetic differentiation associated with rapid recolonization in the New Zealand fur seal Arctocephalus forsteri

Nicolas Dussex, Bruce C. Robertson, Alexander T. Salis, Aleksandr Kalinin, Hugh Best & Neil J. Gemmell
Population declines resulting from anthropogenic activities are of major consequence for the long-term survival of species because the resulting loss of genetic diversity can lead to extinction via the effects of inbreeding depression, fixation of deleterious mutations, and loss of adaptive potential. Otariid pinnipeds have been exploited commercially to near extinction with some species showing higher demographic resilience and recolonization potential than others. The New Zealand fur seal (NZFS) was heavily impacted by commercial sealing...

Data from: Convergent regulatory evolution and loss of flight in palaeognathous birds

Timothy B. Sackton, Phil Grayson, Alison Cloutier, Zhirui Hu, Jun S. Liu, Nicole E. Wheeler, Paul P. Gardner, Julia A. Clarke, Allan J. Baker, Michele Clamp & Scott V. Edwards
A core question in evolutionary biology is whether convergent phenotypic evolution is driven by convergent molecular changes in proteins or regulatory regions. We combined phylogenomic, developmental, and epigenomic analysis of 11 new genomes of paleognathous birds, including an extinct moa, to show that convergent evolution of regulatory regions, more so than protein-coding genes, is prevalent among developmental pathways associated with independent losses of flight. A Bayesian analysis of 284,001 conserved noncoding elements, 60,665 of which...

Data from: Anthropogenic mining alters macroinvertebrate size spectra in streams

Justin P. F. Pomeranz, Helen J. Warburton & Jon S. Harding
1. Food web properties can to be used in bioassessment as indicators of ecosystem stress, although logistical constraints restrict their widespread use. Size spectra (body mass – abundance relationships) are easier to produce, still incorporate much of the variation in feeding interactions and indicate the strength of the energy transfer efficiency. 2. Here we examined the effect of acid mine drainage on the size spectra of stream macroinvertebrate communities in 25 New-Zealand streams with a...

Data from: Rapid nectar-meal effects on a predator’s capacity to kill mosquitoes

Georgina E. Carvell, Josiah O. Kuja & Robert R. Jackson
Using Evarcha culicivora, an East African jumping spider (Salticidae), we investigate how nectar meals function in concert with predation specifically at the juvenile stage between emerging from the egg sac and the first encounter with prey. Using plants and using artificial nectar consisting of sugar alone or sugar plus amino acids, we show that the plant species (Lantana camara, Ricinus communis, Parthenium hysterophorus), the particular sugars in the artificial nectar (sucrose, fructose, glucose, maltose), the...

Data from: Shining light on benthic macroalgae: mechanisms of complementarity in layered macroalgal assemblages

Leigh W. Tait, Ian Hawes & David R. Schiel
Phototrophs underpin most ecosystem processes, but to do this they need sufficient light. This critical resource, however, is compromised along many marine shores by increased loads of sediments and nutrients from degraded inland habitats. Increased attenuation of total irradiance within coastal water columns due to turbidity is known to reduce species' depth limits and affect the taxonomic structure and architecture of algal-dominated assemblages, but virtually no attention has been paid to the potential for changes...

Data from: Experimental evidence that the effectiveness of conservation biological control depends on landscape complexity

Mattias Jonsson, Cory S. Straub, Raphael K. Didham, Hannah L. Buckley, Bradley S. Case, Roddy J. Hale, Claudio Gratton & Steve D. Wratten
1. The expansion of intensive agricultural practices is a major threat to biodiversity and to the delivery of ecosystem services on which humans depend. Local-scale conservation management strategies, such as agri-environment schemes to preserve biodiversity, have been widely adopted to reduce the negative impacts of agricultural intensification. However, it is likely that the effectiveness of these local-scale management actions depend on the structure and composition of the surrounding landscape. 2. We experimentally tested the utility...

Data from: Intraspecific and biogeographic variation in foliar fungal communities and pathogen damage of native and invasive Phragmites australis

Warwick Allen, Aaron DeVries, Nicholas Bologna, Wesley Bickford, Kurt Kowalski, Laura Meyerson & James Cronin
Aim Recent research has highlighted that the relationship between species interactions and latitude can differ between native and invasive plant taxa, generating biogeographical heterogeneity in community resistance to plant invasions. In the first study with foliar pathogens, we tested whether co-occurring native and invasive lineages of common reed (Phragmites australis) exhibit nonparallel latitudinal gradients in foliar fungi communities, pathogen susceptibility and damage, and whether these biogeographic patterns can influence invasion success. Location North America. Time...

Data from: Disturbance-mediated consumer assemblages determine fish community structure and moderate top-down influences through bottom-up constraints

Phillip Jellyman & Angus R. McIntosh
Disturbance is a strong structuring force that can influence the strength of species interactions at all trophic levels, but controls on the contributions to community structure of top-down and bottom-up processes across such gradients remain poorly understood. Changes in the composition of predator and consumer assemblages, and their associated traits, across gradients of environmental harshness (e.g., flooding) are likely to be a particularly important influence on the strength of top-down control and may drive bottom-up...

Data from: The roles of non-production vegetation in agroecosystems: a research framework for filling process knowledge gaps in a social-ecological context

Bradley Case, Jennifer Pannell, Margaret Stanley, David Norton, Anoek Brugman, Matt Funaki, Chloé Mathieu, Cao Songling, Febyana Suryaningrum & Hannah Buckley
1. An ever-expanding human population, climatic changes, and the spread of intensive farming practices is putting increasing pressure on agroecosystems and their inherent biodiversity. Non-production vegetation elements, such as woody patches, riparian margins, and restoration plantings, are vital for conserving agroecosystem biodiversity. Further, such elements are key building blocks that are manipulated via land management, thereby influencing the biotic and abiotic processes that underpin functioning agroecosystems. 2. Despite this critical role, there has been a...

Changes in stream food web structure across a gradient of acid mine drainage increases local community stability

Justin Pomeranz, Jeff Wesner & Jon Harding
Understanding what makes food webs stable has long been a goal of ecologists. Topological structure and the distribution and magnitude of interaction strengths in food webs have been shown to confer important stabilizing properties. However, our understanding of how variable species interactions affect food web structure and stability is still in its infancy. Anthropogenic stress, such as acid mine drainage, is likely to place severe limitations on the food web structures possible due to changes...

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