25 Works

Phylogenomics, origin and diversification of anthozoans (Phylum Cnidaria)

Catherine McFadden, Andrea Quattrini, Mercer Brugler, Peter Cowman, Luisa Dueñas, Marcelo Kitahara, David Paz-García, James Reimer & Estefania Rodríguez
Anthozoan cnidarians (corals and sea anemones) include some of the world's most important foundation species, capable of building massive reef complexes that support entire ecosystems. Although previous molecular phylogenetic analyses have revealed widespread homoplasy of the morphological characters traditionally used to define orders and families of anthozoans, analyses using mitochondrial genes or rDNA have failed to resolve many key nodes in the phylogeny. With a fully resolved, time-calibrated phylogeny for 234 species constructed from hundreds...

Behavioural repertoire of high-shore littorinid snails reveals novel adaptations to an extreme environment

Terence Ng, Sarah Lau, Mark Davies, Richard Stafford, Laurent Seuront, Neil Hutchinson, Tin Yan Hui & Gray Williams
Species that inhabit high-shore environments on rocky shores survive prolonged periods of emersion and thermal stress. Using two Hong Kong high-shore littorinids (Echinolittorina malaccana and E. radiata) as models, we examined their behavioural repertoire to survive these variable and extreme conditions. Environmental temperatures ranged from 4 ℃ in the cool season to 55.5 ℃ in the hot season, with strong seasonal and daily fluctuations. In the hot season, both species allocated >35 % of their...

Rainforest skink and invertebrate prey abundance in sites with different yellow crazy ant activity and baiting history

Lori Lach, Peter Yeeles, Conrad Hoskin & Dylan Case

Male reproductive effort might be evolving in the face of devastating disease in a threatened amphibian

Laura Brannelly, Rebecca J Webb, Zhixuan Jiang, Lee Berger, Lee F Skerratt & Laura F Grogan
The devastating infectious disease chytridiomycosis has caused declines of amphibians across the globe, yet some populations are persisting and even recovering. One understudied effect of wildlife disease is changes in reproductive effort. Here we aimed to understand if disease has plastic effects on reproduction and if reproductive effort could evolve with disease endemism. We compared the effects of experimental pathogen exposure (trait plasticity) and population-level disease history (evolution in trait baseline) on reproductive effort using...

Arboreality drives heat tolerance while elevation drives cold tolerance in tropical rainforest ants

Lily Leahy, Brett Scheffers, Stephen Williams & Alan Andersen
Determining how species thermal limits correlate with climate is important for understanding biogeographic patterns and assessing vulnerability to climate change. Such analyses need to consider thermal gradients at multiple spatial scales. Here we relate thermal traits of rainforest ants to microclimate conditions from ground to canopy (microgeographic scale) along an elevation gradient (mesogeographic scale) and calculate warming tolerance in the Australian Wet Tropics Bioregion. We test the thermal adaptation and thermal niche asymmetry hypotheses to...

Understanding arid‐region waterbird community dynamics during lake dry‐downs

Graeme Cumming & Dominic Henry
These data were collected to explore changes in the bird community associated with Lake Ngami, Botswana, through successive drydown periods. Our analysis shows significant shifts, driven partially by changes in water level, in the species composition of the bird community over the period of study. The data set contains standardised half-hour point counts for the bird community of Lake Ngami, Botswana; and R code used for community-level analyses of the resulting time series. Counts were...

Socio-economic and environmental impacts of ants: data to support global assessments

Monica Gruber, Davide Santoro, Meghan Cooling, Philip Lester, Benjamin Hoffmann, Christina Boser & Lori Lach
Risk assessments are fundamental to invasive species management and are underpinned by comprehensive characterization of invasive species impacts. Our understanding of the impacts of invasive species is growing constantly, and several recently developed frameworks offer the opportunity to systematically categorize environmental and socio-economic impacts of invasive species. Invasive ants are among the most widespread and damaging invaders. We provide a global, comprehensive assessment on the impacts of ants and propose a priority list of risk...

Connectivity Matrices from biophysical modelling studies for A. millepora coral larvae in the Great Barrier Reef (Australia); present day and future scenarios

Christopher Thomas, Joana Figueiredo, Eric Deleersnijder, Jonathan Lambrechts, Andrew Baird, Sean Connolly & Emmanuel Hanert
These data contain connectivity matrices from biophysical modelling simulations of the dispersal of Acropora millepora coral larvae in the southern Great Barrier Reef (Australia), under present-day and future climate scenarios. The connectivity matrices represent modelled strength of larval transfer from one reef to another, and were obtained using a coupled reef-scale, high-resolution, depth-integrated finite element hydrodynamic model (SLIM) of water currents in the Great Barrier Reef, and Individual-Based particle tracking module. Biological parameters to model...

Conservation of Birds in Fragmented Landscapes Requires Protected Areas

Robert Timmers, Marijke Van Kuijk, Pita Verweij, Jaboury Ghazoul, Yann Hautier, William Laurance, Stefan Arriaga-Weiss, Robert Askins, Corrado Battisti, Åke Berg, Gretchen Daily, Cristián Estades, Beatrice Frank, Reiko Kurosawa, Rosamund Pojar, John Woinarski & Merel Soons
For successful conservation of biodiversity, it is vital to know whether protected areas in increasingly fragmented landscapes effectively conserve species. However, how large habitat fragments must be and what level of protection is required to sustain species, remains poorly known. We compiled a global dataset on almost 2000 bird species in 741 forest fragments varying in size and protection status, and show that protection is associated with higher bird occurrence, especially for threatened species. Protection...

The role of fishes as food: A functional perspective on predator-prey interactions

Michalis Mihalitsis, Christopher R. Hemingson, Christopher R. Goatley & David R. Bellwood
Every animal dies. In nature, mortality usually occurs due to predation by other animals. One of the fundamental consequences of mortality is the transfer of energy and nutrients from one organism (prey) to another (predator). On coral reefs, these key interactions and processes, that are essential for ecosystem functioning, are primarily mediated by fishes; up to 53% of fishes on coral reefs can be regarded as piscivorous. To date, piscivory on coral reefs has been...

Fear effects and group size interact to shape herbivory on coral reefs

Andrew Bauman, Andrew Hoey, Glenn Dunshea, Jenny Fong, Ian Chan & Peter Todd
1. Fear of predators (‘fear effects’) are an important determinant of foraging decisions by consumers across a range of ecosystems. Group size is one of the main behavioural mechanisms for mitigating fear effects but also provides foraging benefits to group members. Within coral reef ecosystems, fear effects have been shown to influence the feeding rates of herbivorous fishes (i.e. browsers), a key functional group that prevent macroalgal overgrowth. Yet, how fear effects and group size...

Barriers in a sea of elasmobranchs

Maximilian Hirschfeld, Christine Dudgeon, Marcus Sheaves & Adam Barnett
Background The interplay of animal dispersal and environmental heterogeneity is fundamental for the distribution of biodiversity on earth. In the ocean, the interaction of physical barriers and dispersal has primarily been examined for organisms with planktonic larvae. Animals that lack a planktonic life stage and depend on active dispersal are however likely to produce distinctive patterns. Methods We used available literature on population genetics and phylogeography of elasmobranchs (sharks, rays and skates), to examine how...

The influence of nutrient enrichment on riverine food web function and stability

Adam Canning & Russell Death
Nutrient enrichment of rivers and lakes has been increasing rapidly over the past few decades, primarily because of agricultural intensification. Although nutrient enrichment is known to drive excessive algal and microbial growth, which can directly and indirectly change the ecological community composition, the resulting changes in food web emergent properties are poorly understood. We used ecological network analysis (ENA) to examine the emergent properties of 12 riverine food webs across a nutrient enrichment gradient in...

Sea snake approaches to divers

Richard Shine, Tim Lynch & Ross Alford
Scuba-divers on tropical coral-reefs often report unprovoked “attacks” by highly venomous Olive sea snakes (Aipysurus laevis). Snakes swim directly towards divers, sometimes wrapping coils around the diver’s limbs and biting. Based on a focal animal observation study of free-ranging Olive sea snakes in the southern Great Barrier Reef, we suggest that these “attacks” are misdirected courtship responses. Approaches to divers were most common during the breeding season (winter) and were by males rather than by...

Functional groups in piscivorous fishes

Michalis Mihalitsis & David R. Bellwood
Piscivory is a key ecological function in aquatic ecosystems, mediating energy flow within trophic networks. However, our understanding of the nature of piscivory is limited; we currently lack an empirical assessment of the dynamics of prey capture, and how this differs between piscivores. We therefore conducted aquarium-based performance experiments, to test the feeding abilities of 19 piscivorous fish species. We quantified their feeding morphology, striking, capturing, and processing behaviour. We identify two major functional groups:...

Reproductive control via the threat of eviction in the clown anemonefish

Theresa Rueger, Tina Barbasch, Marian Wong, Maya Scrinivasan, Geoffrey Jones & Peter Buston
In social groups, high reproductive skew is predicted to arise when the reproductive output of a group is limited, and dominant individuals can suppress subordinate reproductive efforts. Reproductive suppression is often assumed to occur via overt aggression or the threat of eviction. It is unclear, however, whether the threat of eviction alone is sufficient to induce reproductive restraint by subordinates.Here,we test two assumptions of the restraint model of reproductive skew by investigating whether resource limitation...

Data - Leech removal is not the primary driver of basking behavior in a freshwater turtle

Donald McKnight, Wytamma Wirth, Lin Schwarzkopf & Eric Nordberg
Leaving the water to bask (usually in the sun) is a common behavior for many freshwater turtles, with some species also engaging in “nocturnal basking.” Ectoparasite removal is an obvious hypothesis to explain nocturnal basking and has also been proposed as a key driver of diurnal basking. However, the efficacy of basking, day or night, to remove leeches has not been experimentally tested. Therefore, we examined the number of leeches that were removed from Krefft’s...

Negotiations Over Parental Care: A Test of Alternative Hypotheses in the Clown Anemonefish

Tina Barbasch, Rebecca Branconi, Robin Francis, Madison Pacaro, Maya Srinivasan, Geoff Jones & Peter Buston
In species with biparental care, conflict arises over how much each parent provides to their offspring because both parents benefit from shifting the burden of care to the other. Here, we tested alternative hypotheses for how parents will negotiate offspring care using a wild population of clownfish (Amphiprion percula). We experimentally handicapped parents by fin-clipping the female in 23 groups, the male in 23 groups, and neither parent in 23 groups and measured changes in...

Lianas and trees exhibit divergent intrinsic water-use efficiency along elevational gradients in South American and African tropical forests

Francis Mumbanza M., Marijn Bauters, Félicien Meunier, Pascal Boeckx, Lucas Cernusak, Hannes De Deurwaerder, Miro Demol, Camille Meeussen, Bram Sercu, Lore Verryckt, Jana Pauwels, Landry Cizungu N., Selene Báez, Constantin Lubini A. & Hans Verbeeck
Elevational gradients provide excellent opportunities to explore long-term morphological and physiological responses of plants to environmental change. We determined the difference in the elevational pattern of foliar carbon isotope composition (δ13C) between lianas and trees, and assessed whether this difference arises from changes in photosynthesis or stomatal conductance. We also explored the pattern of nutrient limitations with the elevation of these two growth forms. We conducted inventories of lianas and trees using standardized techniques along...

Age- and sex-dependent variation in relatedness corresponds to reproductive skew, territory inheritance and workload in cooperatively breeding cichlids

Dario Josi, Dik Heg, Tomohiro Takeyama, Danielle Bonfils, Dmitry A. Konovalov, Joachim G. Frommen, Masanori Kohda & Michael Taborsky
Kin selection plays a major role in the evolution of cooperative systems. However, many social species exhibit complex within-group relatedness structures, where kin selection alone cannot explain the occurrence of cooperative behaviour. Understanding such social structures is crucial to elucidate the evolution and maintenance of multi-layered cooperative societies. In lamprologine cichlids, intragroup relatedness seems to correlate positively with reproductive skew, suggesting that in this clade dominants tend to provide reproductive concessions to unrelated subordinates to...

Climate change doubles sedimentation-induced coral recruit mortality (NESP TWQ 5.2, AIMS, JCU AND AIMS@JCU)

Christopher Brunner, Sven Uthicke, Gerard Ricardo & Andrew Negri

Data from: Estimating encounter location distributions from animal tracking data

Michael Noonan, Ricardo Martinez-Garcia, Grace H. Davis, Margaret C. Crofoot, Roland Kays, Ben T. Hirsch, Damien Caillaud, Eric Payne, Andrew Sih, David L. Sinn, Orr Spiegel, William F. Fagan, Christen H. Fleming & Justin M. Calabrese
1. Ecologists have long been interested in linking individual behavior with higher-level processes. For motile species, this 'upscaling' is governed by how well any given movement strategy maximizes encounters with positive factors, and minimizes encounters with negative factors. Despite the importance of encounter events for a broad range of ecological processes, encounter theory has not kept pace with developments in animal tracking or movement modeling. Furthermore, existing work has focused primarily on the relationship between...

Endothermy makes fishes faster but does not expand their thermal niche

Lucy Harding, Andrew Jackson, Adam Barnett, Ian Donohue, Lewis Halsey, Charlie Huveneers, Carl Meyer, Yannis Papastamatiou, Jayson Semmens, Erin Spencer, Yuuki Watanabe & Nicholas Payne
1. Regional endothermy has evolved several times in marine fishes, and two competing hypotheses are generally proposed to explain the evolutionary drivers behind this trait: thermal niche expansion and elevated cruising speeds. Evidence to support either hypothesis is equivocal, and the ecological advantages conferred by endothermy in fishes remain debated. 2. By compiling published biologging data and collecting precise speed measurements from free-swimming fishes in the wild, we directly test whether endothermic fishes encounter broader...

Predicting species abundance by implementing the ecological niche theory

Alejandro De La Fuente, Ben Hirsch, Lucas Cernusak & Stephen Williams
Species are not uniformly distributed across the landscape. For every species, there should be few favoured sites where abundance is high and many other sites of lower suitability where abundance is low. Consequently, local abundance could be thought of as a natural expression of species response to local conditions. The correlation between abundance and environmental suitability has been well documented, and a recent meta-analysis has suggested that this relationship could be a generality. Despite the...

Data from: Larval dispersal and fishing pressure influence recruitment in a coral reef fishery

Richard J. Hamilton, Diego Lozano-Cortés, Michael Bode, Glenn Almany, Hugo B. Harrison, John Pita, Pablo Saenz-Agudelo, Colin Gereniu, Nate Peterson, Howard Choat, Peter A. Waldie & Michael L. Berumen
Understanding larval connectivity patterns in exploited fishes is a fundamental prerequisite for developing effective management strategies and assessing the vulnerability of a fishery to recruitment overfishing and localised extinction. To date however, researchers have not considered how regional variations in fishing pressure also influence recruitment. We used genetic parentage analyses and modelling to infer the dispersal patterns of bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) larvae in the Kia fishing grounds, Isabel Province, Solomon Islands. We then extrapolated...

Registration Year

  • 2021

Resource Types

  • Dataset


  • James Cook University
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • University of New England
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Boston University
  • Capital Regional District
  • Victoria University of Wellington
  • University of Antwerp
  • Ghent University
  • Stanford University