89 Works

Data from: Creating new evolutionary pathways through bio-invasion: the population genetics of brushtail possums in New Zealand

Stephen D. Sarre, Nicola Aitken, Aaron T. Adamack, Anna J. MacDonald, Bernd Gruber & Phil Cowan
Rapid increases in global trade and human movement have created novel mixtures of organisms bringing with them the potential to rapidly accelerate the evolution of new forms. The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula), introduced into New Zealand from Australia in the 19th Century, is one such species having been sourced from multiple populations in its native range. Here, we combine microsatellite DNA and GIS-based spatial data to show that T.vulpecula originating from at least two...

Data from: Global biodiversity assessment and hyper-cryptic species complexes: more than one species of elephant in the room?

Mark Adams, Tarmo A. Raadik, Christopher P. Burridge & Arthur Georges
Several recent estimates of global biodiversity have concluded that the total number of species on Earth lies near the lower end of the wide range touted in previous decades. However, none of these recent estimates formally explore the real ‘elephant in the room’, namely, what proportion of species are taxonomically invisible to conventional assessments, and thus, as undiagnosed cryptic species, remain uncountable until revealed by multi-gene molecular assessments. Here we explore the significance and extent...

Data from: Using genetic techniques to quantify reinvasion, survival and in-situ breeding rates during control/eradication operations

Andrew J. Veale, Kerri-Anne Edge, Peter McMurtrie, Rachel M. Fewster, Mick N. Clout & Dianne M. Gleeson
Determining the origin of individuals caught during a control/eradication program enables conservation managers to assess the reinvasion rates of their target species, and evaluate the level of success of their control methods. We examine how genetic techniques can focus management by distinguishing between hypotheses of ‘reinvasion’ and ‘survivor’, and defining kin groups for invasive stoats (Mustela erminea) on Secretary Island, New Zealand. 205 stoats caught on the island were genotyped at 16 microsatellite loci, along...

Data from: Nitrogen loads influence trophic organization of estuarine fish assemblages

Fiona Y. Warry, Paul Reich, Perran L. M. Cook, Ralph Mac Nally, James R. Thomson & Ryan J. Woodland
Nutrient (N and P) loading may affect functioning in aquatic ecosystems by restructuring producer assemblages with flow-on effects to consumers. Trophic niche occupancy and trophic organization of consumers are key components of ecosystem function that have been increasingly investigated using quantitative isotopic niche indices. These indices are based on the premise that the isotopic values of consumer tissues indicate their assimilated diet. Typically, isotopic niche indices are calculated using only consumer isotope data, which limit...

Data from: Climate variability predicts thermal limits of aquatic insects across elevation and latitude

Alisha A. Shah, Brian A. Gill, Andrea C. Encalada, Alexander S. Flecker, W. Chris Funk, Juan M. Guayasamin, Boris C. Kondratieff, N. LeRoy Poff, Steven A. Thomas, Kelly R. Zamudio & Cameron K. Ghalambor
Janzen's extension of the climate variability hypothesis posits that increased seasonal variation at high latitudes should result in greater temperature overlap across elevations, and favor wider thermal breadths in temperate organisms compared to their tropical counterparts. We tested these predictions by measuring stream temperatures and thermal breadths (i.e. the difference between the critical thermal maximum and minimum) of 62 aquatic insect species from temperate (Colorado, USA) and tropical (Papallacta, Ecuador) streams spanning an elevation gradient...

Data from: Thyroid hormone modulates offspring sex ratio in a turtle with temperature-dependent sex determination

Bao-Jun Sun, Teng Li, Yi Mu, Jessica K. McGlashan, Arthur Georges, Richard Shine & Wei-Guo Du
The adaptive significance of temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) has attracted a great deal of research, but the underlying mechanisms by which temperature determines the sex of a developing embryo remain poorly understood. Here, we manipulated the level of a thyroid hormone (TH), triiodothyronine (T3), during embryonic development (by adding excess T3 to the eggs of the red-eared slider turtle Trachemys scripta, a reptile with TSD), to test two competing hypotheses on the proximate basis for...

Data from: Historical demography and climate driven distributional changes in a widespread Neotropical freshwater species with high economic importance

Manolo Perez, Ezequiel Oliveira, Luiz Bertollo, Carla Gestich, Petr Rab, Tariq Ezaz, Fernando Souza, Patrik Viana, Eliana Feldberg, Edivaldo Herculano Correa De Oliveira & Marcelo Cioffi
The Neotropical region exhibits the greatest worldwide diversity and the diversification history of several clades is related to the puzzling geomorphologic and climatic history of this region. The freshwater Amazon ecoregion contains the main hydrographic basins of the Neotropical region that are highly dendritic and ecologically diverse. It contains a rich and endemic fish fauna, including one of its most iconic and economically important representatives, the bony-tongue Arapaima gigas (Teleostei, Osteoglossiformes). Here, we evaluated the...

Assessing the benefits and risks of translocations in depauperate species: a theoretical framework with an empirical validation

Elise Furlan, Bernd Gruber, Catherine Attard, Robert Wager, Adam Kerezsy, Leanne Faulks, Luciano Beheregaray & Peter Unmack
1. Conservation translocations are becoming more common to assist in the management of threatened native species. While many translocation programs focus on maximizing survival in newly established populations, consideration is also required for the persistence of source populations. 2. Here, we present and test a theoretical framework that assesses the translocation trade-off between increasing a species probability of survival and decreasing a species’ overall genetic diversity. We anticipate that i) the genetic diversity of translocated...

Data from: The genetic architecture of maternal effects across ontogeny in the red deer

Julie Gauzere, Craig A. Walling, Josephine M. Pemberton, Loeske E. B. Kruuk, Sean Morris & Alison Morris
Maternal effects, either environmental or genetic in origin, are an underappreciated source of phenotypic variance in natural populations. Maternal genetic effects have the potential to constrain or enhance the evolution of offspring traits depending on their magnitude and their genetic correlation with direct genetic effects. We estimated the maternal effect variance and its genetic component for twelve traits expressed over the life-history in a pedigreed population of wild red deer (morphology, survival/longevity, breeding success). We...

Data from: Ecological disturbance influences adaptive divergence despite high gene flow in golden perch (Macquaria ambigua): implications for management and resilience to climate change

Catherine R.M. Attard, Chris J. Brauer, Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo, Leanne K. Faulks, Peter Unmack, Dean M. Gilligan, Luciano B. Beheregaray, Peter J. Unmack & Catherine R. M. Attard
Populations that are adaptively divergent but maintain high gene flow may have greater resilience to environmental change as gene flow allows the spread of alleles that have already been tested elsewhere. In addition, populations naturally subjected to ecological disturbance may already hold resilience to future environmental change. Confirming this necessitates ecological genomic studies of high dispersal, generalist species. Here we perform one such study on golden perch (Macquaria ambigua) in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB), Australia...

Data from: Seasonal shifts in the importance of bottom-up and top-down factors on stream periphyton community structure

Whitney S. Beck, David W. Markman, Isabella A. Oleksy, M. Holliday Lafferty & N. Leroy Poff
We examined the importance of temporal variability in top-down and bottom-up effects on the accumulation of stream periphyton, which are complex associations of autotrophic and heterotrophic microorganisms. Periphyton contributes to primary production and nutrient cycling and serves as a food resource for herbivores (grazers). Periphyton growth is often limited by the availability of nitrogen and phosphorus, and biomass can be controlled by grazers. In this study we experimentally manipulated nutrients and grazers simultaneously to determine...

Data from: On the roles of landscape heterogeneity and environmental variation in determining population genomic structure in a dendritic system

Chris J. Brauer, Peter J. Unmack, Steve Smith, Louis Bernatchez & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Dispersal and natural selection are key evolutionary processes shaping the distribution of phenotypic and genetic diversity. For species inhabiting complex spatial environments however, it is unclear how the balance between gene flow and selection may be influenced by landscape heterogeneity and environmental variation. Here we evaluated the effects of dendritic landscape structure and the selective forces of hydroclimatic variation on population genomic parameters for the Murray River rainbowfish, Melanotaenia fluviatilis across the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia....

Ecological interactions shape the evolution of flower colour in communities across a temperate biodiversity hotspot

Alexander Skeels, Russell Dinnage, Iliana Medina & Marcel Cardillo
Processes driving the divergence of floral traits may be integral to the extraordinary richness of flowering plants and the assembly of diverse plant communities. Several models of pollinator-mediated floral evolution have been proposed; floral divergence may (i) be directly involved in driving speciation or may occur after speciation driven by (ii) drift or local adaptation in allopatry or (iii) negative interactions between species in sympatry. Here, we generate predictions for patterns of trait divergence and...

Globally, plant-soil feedbacks are weak predictors of plant abundance

Kurt Reinhart, Jonathan Bauer, Sarah McCarthy-Neumann, Andrew MacDougall, José Hierro, Mariana Chiuffo, Scott Mangan, Johannes Heinze, Joana Bergmann, Jasmin Joshi, Richard Duncan, Jeff Diaz, Paul Kardol, Gemma Rutten, Markus Fischer, Wim Van Der Putten, T. Bezemer & John Klironomos
Plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) have been shown to strongly affect plant performance under controlled conditions, and PSFs are thought to have far reaching consequences for plant population dynamics and the structuring of plant communities. However, thus far the relationship between PSF and plant species abundance in the field is not consistent. Here, we synthesize PSF experiments from tropical forests to semiarid grasslands, and test for a positive relationship between plant abundance in the field and PSFs...

Variation in intraspecific demography drives localised concordance but species-wide discordance in responses to Plio-Pleistocene climatic change

Sean Buckley, Chris Brauer, Peter Unmack, Michael Hammer & Luciano Beheregaray
Understanding how species biology may facilitate resilience to climate change remains a critical factor in detecting and protecting species at risk of extinction. Many studies have focused on the role of particular ecological traits in driving species responses, but less so on demographic history and levels of standing genetic variation. We used environmental and genomic datasets to reconstruct the phylogeographic histories of two ecologically similar and largely co-distributed freshwater fishes to assess the degree of...

Sex-specific splicing of Z- and W-borne nr5a1 alleles suggests sex determination is controlled by chromosome conformation

Xiuwen Zhang, Susan Wagner, Clare Holleley, Janine Deakin, Kazumi Matsubara, Ira Deveson, Deni O'Meally, Hardip Patel, Tariq Ezaz, Zhao Li, Chexu Wang, Melanie Edwards, Jennifer Marshall Graves & Arthur Georges
Pogona vitticeps has female heterogamety (ZZ/ZW) but the master sex determining gene is unknown, as is the case for all reptiles. We show that nr5a1, a gene that is essential in mammalian sex determination, has alleles on the Z and W chromosomes (Z-nr5a1 and W-nr5a1), which are both expressed and can recombine. Three transcript isoforms of Z-nr5a1 were detected in gonads of adult ZZ males, two of which encode a functional protein. However, ZW females...

Niche partitioning overrides interspecific competition to determine plant species distributions along a nutrient gradient

Elizabeth Wandrag, Jane Catford & Richard Duncan
Changes in some combination of niche availability, niche overlap and the strength of interspecific interactions are thought to drive changes in plant composition along resource gradients. However, because these processes are difficult to measure in the field, their relative importance in driving compositional change in plant communities remains unclear. In an Australian temperate grassland, we added seeds of three native and three exotic grasses to 1,875 experimental plots in a way that allowed us to...

Data from: Leaf litter breakdown along an elevational gradient in Australian alpine streams

Lloyd Werry, Mirco Bundschuh, Simon Mitrovic, Richard Lim & Ben Kefford
These data were generated to investigate the rate of leaf litter breakdown and how temperature and other factors such as microbial and and invertebrate activities were influenced over elevational and temporal gradients. Breakdown of allochthonous organic matter is a central step in nutrient cycling in stream ecosystems. There is concern that increased temperatures from climate change will alter the breakdown rate of organic matter with important consequences for ecosystem functioning of alpine streams. Dried leaves...

Data from: Human-induced biotic invasions and changes in plankton interaction networks

Pavel Kratina, Ralph Mac Nally, James R. Thomson, Wim J. Kimmerer & Monika Winder
1.Pervasive and accelerating changes to ecosystems due to human activities remain major sources of uncertainty in predicting the structure and dynamics of ecological communities. Understanding which biotic interactions within natural multitrophic communities are threatened or augmented by invasions of non-native species in the context of other environmental pressures is needed for effective management. 2.We used multivariate autoregressive models with detailed time-series data from largely freshwater and brackish regions of the upper San Francisco Estuary to...

Data from: Phylogenetic uncertainty and taxonomic re-revisions: an example from the Australian short-necked turtles (Testudines: Chelidae)

Phillip Q. Spinks, Arthur Georges & H. Bradley Shaffer
Molecular data have greatly influenced our concepts of species and their relationships in the last few decades, and as a consequence the taxonomy of most vertebrate clades has been repeatedly revised to reflect phylogeny. However, as larger and more complete molecular data sets become available, the sometimes striking disparities between taxonomic revisions based on individual gene trees (particularly those based on mitochondrial DNA) and species trees has become increasingly apparent. Here, we present data from...

Data from: Sex-linked and autosomal microsatellites provide new insights into island populations of the tammar wallaby

Anna J. MacDonald, Nancy N. FitzSimmons, Brian Chambers, Marilyn B. Renfree & Stephen D. Sarre
The emerging availability of microsatellite markers from mammalian sex chromosomes provides opportunities to investigate both male- and female-mediated gene flow in wild populations, identifying patterns not apparent from the analysis of autosomal markers alone. Tammar wallabies (Macropus eugenii), once spread over the southern mainland, have been isolated on several islands off the Western Australian and South Australian coastlines for between 10 000 and 13 000 years. Here, we combine analyses of autosomal, Y-linked and X-linked...

Data from: Conservation of sex-linked markers among conspecific populations of a viviparous skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, exhibiting genetic and temperature-dependent sex determination

Peta Hill, Christopher P. Burridge, Tariq Ezaz, Erik Wapstra & Peta L Hill
Sex determination systems are exceptionally diverse and have undergone multiple and independent evolutionary transitions among species, particularly reptiles. However, the mechanisms underlying these transitions have not been established. Here we tested for differences in sex-linked markers in the only known reptile that is polymorphic for sex determination system, the spotted snow skink, Niveoscincus ocellatus, to quantify the genomic differences that have accompanied this transition. In a highland population, sex is determined genetically, whilst in a...

Data from: Some like it hot: from individual to population responses of an arboreal arid-zone gecko to local and distant climate

Annegret Grimm-Seyfarth, Jean-Baptiste Mihoub, Bernd Gruber & Klaus Henle
Accumulating evidence has demonstrated considerable impact of climate change on biodiversity, with terrestrial ectotherms being particularly vulnerable. While climate-induced range shifts are often addressed in the literature, little is known about the underlying ecological responses at individual and population levels. Using a 30-year monitoring study of the long-living nocturnal gecko Gehyra variegata in arid Australia, we determined the relative contribution of climatic factors acting locally (temperature, rainfall) or distantly (La Nin᷉a induced flooding) on ecological...

Data from: Phylogenomic history of enigmatic pygmy perches: implications for biogeography, taxonomy and conservation

Sean J. Buckley, Fabricius C.B. Maia, Catherine R.M. Attard, Chris J. Brauer, Jonathan Sandoval-Castillo, Ryan Lodge, Peter J. Unmack, Luciano B. Beheregaray, Catherine R. M. Attard & Fabricius M. C. B. Domingos
Pygmy perches (Percichthyidae) are a group of poorly dispersing freshwater fishes that have a puzzling biogeographical disjunction across southern Australia. Current understanding of pygmy perch phylogenetic relationships suggests past east-west migrations across a vast expanse of now arid habitat in central southern Australia, a region lacking contemporary rivers. Pygmy perches also represent a threatened group with confusing taxonomy and potentially cryptic species diversity. Here, we present the first study of the evolutionary history of pygmy...

Data from: Landscape genetics informs mesohabitat preference and conservation priorities for a surrogate indicator species in a highly fragmented river system

James Lean, Michael P. Hammer, Peter J. Unmack, Mark Adams & Luciano B. Beheregaray
Poor dispersal species represent conservative benchmarks for biodiversity management because they provide insights into ecological processes influenced by habitat fragmentation that are less evident in more dispersive organisms. Here we used the poorly dispersive and threatened river blackfish (Gadopsis marmoratus) as a surrogate indicator system for assessing the effects of fragmentation in highly modified river basins and for prioritizing basin-wide management strategies. We combined individual, population and landscape-based approaches to analyze genetic variation in samples...

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  • University of Canberra
  • Flinders University
  • University of Adelaide
  • Australian National University
  • University of Melbourne
  • La Trobe University
  • Monash University
  • South Australian Museum
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
  • University of Tasmania