39 Works

Data from: The species richness pattern of vascular plants along a tropical elevational gradient and the test of elevational Rapoport's rule depend on different life‐forms and phytogeographic affinities

Yadong Zhou, Anne C. Ochola, Antony W. Njogu, Biyansa H. Boru, Geoffrey Mwachala, Guangwan Hu, Haiping Xin & Qing-Feng Wang
The research about species richness pattern and elevational Rapoport's rule (ERR) have been carried out mostly in the temperate regions in the recent years and scarcely in the tropical mountains; meanwhile, it is unclear whether the ERR is consistent among different life‐forms and phytogeographic affinities. Here, we compiled a database of plant species of Mount Kenya, a tropical mountain of East Africa, and divided these species into twelve groups depending on the life‐form and phytogeographic...

Data from: Hidden diversity of African yellow house bats (Vespertilionidae, Scotophilus): insights from multilocus phylogenetics and lineage delimitation

Terrence C. Demos, Paul W. Webala, Michael Bartonjo & Bruce D. Patterson
The genus Scotophilus contains 21 currently recognized species ranging throughout Africa and Southeast Asia. Among the 13 species recognized from continental Africa, systematic relationships remain poorly understood. Taxonomic uncertainty regarding names, suggestions of polytypic species complexes, and undescribed cryptic diversity all contribute to the current confusion. To gain insights into the systematics of this group, we inferred single locus and multi-locus phylogenies and conducted lineage delimitation analyses using seven unlinked genes for specimens from across...

Data from: The diversity of population responses to environmental change

Fernando Colchero, Owen R. Jones, Dalia A. Conde, Dave Hodgson, Felix Zajitschek, Benedikt R. Schmidt, Aurelio F. Malo, Susan C. Alberts, Peter H. Becker, Sandra Bouwhuis, Anne M. Bronikowski, Kristel M. De Vleeschouwer, Richard J. Delahay, Stefan Dummermuth, Eduardo Fernández-Duque, John Frisenvænge, Martin Hesselsøe, Sam Larson, Jean-Francois Lemaitre, Jennifer McDonald, David A.W. Miller, Colin O'Donnell, Craig Packer, Becky E. Raboy, Christopher J. Reading … & Chris J. Reading
The current extinction and climate change crises pressure us to predict population dynamics with ever-greater accuracy. Although predictions rest on the well-advanced theory of age-structured populations, two key issues remain poorly-explored. Specifically, how the age-dependency in demographic rates and the year-to-year interactions between survival and fecundity affect stochastic population growth rates. We use inference, simulations, and mathematical derivations to explore how environmental perturbations determine population growth rates for populations with different age-specific demographic rates and...

Kin do not always help: testing multiple hypotheses on nest feeding in a cooperatively breeding bird

Laurence Cousseau, Laurence Cousseau, Dries Van De Loock, Beate Apfelbeck, Mwangi Githiru, Erik Matthysen & Luc Lens
In cooperatively breeding species, group members may derive multiple benefits from helping to raise other individuals’ offspring, yet not all individuals do so. In this study, we tested several hypotheses to explain why group members feed offspring of breeding placid greenbuls (Phyllastrephus placidus). In accordance with the kin selection hypothesis, all helpers were first-order kin of the breeding female and the presence of helpers was associated with increased survival of the breeding pair. However, the...

Ecological consequences of large herbivore exclusion in an African savanna: 12 years of data from the UHURU experiment

Jesse Alston, Courtney Reed, Leo Khasoha, Bianca Brown, Gilbert Busienei, Nathaniel Carlson, Tyler Coverdale, Megan Dudenhoeffer, Marissa Dyck, John Ekeno, Abdikadir Hassan, Rhianna Hohbein, Rhiannon Jakopak, Buas Kimiti, Samson Kurukura, Peter Lokeny, Allison Louthan, Simon Musila, Paul Musili, Tosca Tindall, Sarah Weiner, Tyler Kartzinel, Todd Palmer, Robert Pringle & Jacob Goheen
Diverse communities of large mammalian herbivores (LMH), once widespread, are now rare. LMH exert strong direct and indirect effects on community structure and ecosystem functions, and measuring these effects is important for testing ecological theory and for understanding past, current, and future environmental change. This in turn requires long-term experimental manipulations, owing to the slow and often nonlinear responses of populations and assemblages to LMH removal. Moreover, the effects of particular species or body-size classes...

Data from: Cumulative early life adversity predicts longevity in wild baboons

Jenny Tung, Jeanne Altmann, Elizabeth A. Archie & Susan C. Alberts
In humans and other animals, harsh circumstances in early life predict morbidity and mortality in adulthood. Multiple adverse conditions are thought to be especially toxic, but this hypothesis has rarely been tested in a prospective, longitudinal framework, especially in long-lived mammals. Here we use prospective data on 196 wild female baboons to show that cumulative early adversity predicts natural adult lifespan. Females who experience ≥3 sources of early adversity die a median of 10 years...

Data from: Social affiliation matters: both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships predict survival in wild female baboons

Elizabeth A. Archie, Jenny Tung, Michael Clark, Jeanne Altmann & Susan C. Alberts
Social integration and support can have profound effects on human survival. The extent of this phenomenon in non-human animals is largely unknown, but such knowledge is important to understanding the evolution of both lifespan and sociality. Here, we report evidence that levels of affiliative social behaviour (i.e. ‘social connectedness’) with both same-sex and opposite-sex conspecifics predict adult survival in wild female baboons. In the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya, adult female baboons that were socially connected...

Data from: Costs of immunity and their role in the range expansion of the house sparrow in Kenya

Lynn B. Martin, Holly J. Kilvitis, Amber J. Brace, Laken Cooper, Mark F. Haussmann, Alex Mutati, Vincent Fasanello, Sara O'Brien & Daniel R. Ardia
There are at least two reasons to study traits that mediate successful range expansions. First, dispersers will found new populations and thus impact the distribution and evolution of species. Second, organisms moving into new areas will influence the fate of resident communities, directly competing with or indirectly affecting residents by spreading non-native or spilling-back native parasites. The success of invaders in new areas is likely mediated by a counterbalancing of costly traits. In new areas...

Data from: Species richness and phylogenetic diversity of seed plants across vegetation zones of Mount Kenya, East Africa

Yadong Zhou, Sichong Chen, Guangwan Hu, Geoffrey Mwachala, Xue Yan, Qing-Feng Wang & Qingfeng Wang
Mount Kenya is of ecological importance in tropical east Africa due to the dramatic gradient in vegetation types that can be observed from low to high elevation zones. However, species richness and phylogenetic diversity of this mountain have not been well studied. Here, we surveyed distribution patterns for a total of 1,335 seed plants of this mountain and calculated species richness and phylogenetic diversity across seven vegetation zones. We also measured phylogenetic structure using the...

The only complete articulated early Miocene chameleon skull (Rusinga Island, Kenya) suggests an African origin for Madagascar’s endemic chameleons

Andrej Cernansky, Anthony Herrel, Job Kibii, Christopher Anderson, Renaud Boistel & Thomas Lehmann
We here present the first detailed study of the specimen KNM-RU 18340 from Rusinga Island (Kenya), the only known complete early Miocene chameleon skull, using micro-CT. This specimen represents one of the oldest chameleon fossils ever recovered. For the first time, the skull bone internal surfaces, their sutures, and elements contained inside the rocky matrix are observed. Our morphological comparisons and phylogenetic analyses place this specimen confidently in the genus Calumma and a new species,...

Data from: Covariation of diet and gut microbiome in African megafauna

Tyler R. Kartzinel, Julianna C. Hsing, Paul M. Musili, Bianca R. P. Brown & Robert M. Pringle
A major challenge in biology is to understand how phylogeny, diet, and environment shape the mammalian gut microbiome. Yet most studies of non-human microbiomes have relied on relatively coarse dietary categorizations and have focused either on individual wild populations or on captive animals that are sheltered from environmental pressures, which may obscure the effects of dietary and environmental variation on microbiome composition in diverse natural communities. We analyzed plant and bacterial DNA in fecal samples...

Data from: Vanishing refuge? Testing the forest refuge hypothesis in coastal East Africa using genome-wide sequence data for seven amphibians

Christopher D. Barratt, Beryl A. Bwong, Robert Jehle, H. Christoph Liedtke, Peter Nagel, Renske E. Onstein, Daniel M. Portik, Jeffrey W. Streicher & Simon P. Loader
High-throughput sequencing data have greatly improved our ability to understand the processes that contribute to current biodiversity patterns. The “vanishing refuge” diversification model is speculated for the coastal forests of eastern Africa, whereby some taxa have persisted and diversified between forest refugia, while others have switched to becoming generalists also present in non-forest habitats. Complex arrangements of geographical barriers (hydrology and topography) and ecological gradients between forest and non-forest habitats may have further influenced the...

Data from: Costs and drivers of helminth parasite infection in wild female baboons

Mercy Y. Akinyi, David Jansen, Bobby Habig, Laurence Gesquiere, Susan C. Alberts & Elizabeth A. Archie
1. Helminth parasites can have wide ranging, detrimental effects on host reproduction and survival. These effects are best documented in humans and domestic animals, while only a few studies in wild mammals have identified both the forces that drive helminth infection risk and their costs to individual fitness. 2. Working in a well-studied population of wild baboons (Papio cynocephalus) in the Amboseli ecosystem in Kenya, we pursued two goals, to: (i) examine the costs of...

Female need for paternal care shapes variation in extra-pair paternity in a cooperative breeder

Laurence Cousseau, Dries Van De Loock, Mwangi Githiru, Carl Vangestel & Luc Lens
Socially-monogamous females regularly mate with males outside the pair bond. The prevailing explanation for this behavior is that females gain genetic benefits resulting from increased fitness of extra-pair offspring. Furthermore, because of the risk of reduced paternal care in response to cuckoldry, females are expected to seek extra-pair copulations when they can rear offspring with little help from their social partner (“constrained female” hypothesis). We tested these hypotheses and analyzed variation in paternal care in...

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