442 Works

Data from: Temperature fluctuations during development reduce male fitness and may limit adaptive potential in tropical rainforest Drosophila

Andrew D. Saxon, Eleanor K. O'Brien & Jon R. Bridle
Understanding the potential for organisms to tolerate thermal stress through physiological or evolutionary responses is crucial given rapid climate change. Although climate models predict increases in both temperature mean and variance, such tolerances are typically assessed under constant conditions. We tested the effects of temperature variability during development on male fitness in the rainforest fly Drosophila birchii, by simulating thermal variation typical of the warm and cool margins of its elevational distribution, and estimated heritabilities...

Data from: Functional niche partitioning in Therizinosauria provides new insights into the evolution of theropod herbivory

Stephan Lautenschlager
Dietary specialization is generally considered to be a crucial factor in driving morphological evolution across extant and extinct vertebrates. The ability to adapt to a specific diet and to exploit ecological niches is thereby influenced by functional morphology and biomechanical properties. Differences in functional behaviour and efficiency can therefore allow dietary diversification and the coexistence of similarly adapted taxa. Therizinosauria, a group of secondarily herbivorous theropod dinosaurs, is characterized by a suite of morphological traits...

Data from: Macroevolutionary patterns in Rhynchocephalia: is the tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus) a living fossil?

Jorge A. Herrera-Flores, Thomas L. Stubbs & Michael J. Benton
The tuatara, Sphenodon punctatus, known from 32 small islands around New Zealand, has often been noted as a classic ‘living fossil’ because of its apparently close resemblance to its Mesozoic forebears and because of a long, low-diversity history. This designation has been disputed because of the wide diversity of Mesozoic forms and because of derived adaptations in living Sphenodon. We provide a testable definition for ‘living fossils’ based on a slow rate of lineage evolution...

Data from: Testing the molecular clock using mechanistic models of fossil preservation and molecular evolution

Rachel C. M. Warnock, Ziheng Yang & Philip C. J. Donoghue
Molecular sequence data provide information about relative times only, and fossil-based age constraints are the ultimate source of information about absolute times in molecular clock dating analyses. Thus, fossil calibrations are critical to molecular clock dating, but competing methods are difficult to evaluate empirically because the true evolutionary time scale is never known. Here, we combine mechanistic models of fossil preservation and sequence evolution in simulations to evaluate different approaches to constructing fossil calibrations and...

Data from: Dominance, gender, and season influence food patch use in a group-living, solitary foraging canid

Jo Dorning & Stephen Harris
In patchy environments, foragers adopt different strategies to acquire resources depending on their internal state and external physical and social environment: this has important fitness consequences. Linking individual variation in patch use to tangible characteristics is key to understand many higher-level ecological processes. We studied patch use by red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in the city of Bristol, UK. We placed camera traps in gardens where householders provisioned foxes (patches) to investigate whether 1) foxes discriminated...

Data from: Predicting ecological responses in a changing ocean: the effects of future climate uncertainty

Jennifer J. Freer, Julian C. Partridge, Geraint A. Tarling, Martin A. Collins & Martin J. Genner
Predicting how species will respond to climate change is a growing field in marine ecology, yet knowledge of how to incorporate the uncertainty from future climate data into these predictions remains a significant challenge. To help overcome it, this review separates climate uncertainty into its three components (scenario uncertainty, model uncertainty, and internal model variability) and identifies four criteria that constitute a thorough interpretation of an ecological response to climate change in relation to these...

Data from: Colour as a backup for scent in the presence of olfactory noise: testing the efficacy backup hypothesis using bumblebees (Bombus terrestris)

David A. Lawson, Heather M. Whitney & Sean A. Rands
The majority of floral displays simultaneously broadcast signals from multiple sensory modalities, but these multimodal displays come at both a metabolic cost and an increased conspicuousness to floral antagonists. Why then do plants invest in these costly multimodal displays? The efficacy backup hypothesis suggests that individual signal components act as a backup for others in the presence of environmental variability. Here, we test the efficacy backup hypothesis by investigating the ability of bumblebees to differentiate...

Data from: Phylogeography of the snake pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus (Family: Syngnathidae) in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean

Ines Braga Goncalves, Luca Cornetti, Abraham S. Couperus, Cindy J. G. Van Damme & Kenyon B. Mobley
The snake pipefish, Entelurus aequoreus, is a widespread marine species occurring in pelagic and coastal environments in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Recently, the snake pipefish underwent a short-lived, yet substantial, increase in abundance and range expansion into arctic waters. However, little is known about the species’ population structure or if different ecotypes contributed to this outbreak. Specimens (n=178) were sampled from 25 locations from six regions spanning 1.9 million km2. A fragment of the mitochondrial...

Data from: Quantifying the attractiveness of broad-spectrum street lights to aerial nocturnal insects

Andrew Wakefield, Moth Broyles, Emma Stone, Stephen Harris, Gareth Jones & Emma L. Stone
1. Sodium street lights, dominated by long wavelengths of light, are being replaced by broad-spectrum, white lights globally, in particular light-emitting diodes (LEDs). These white lights typically require less energy to operate and are therefore considered ‘eco-friendly’. However, little attention has been paid to the impacts white lights may have upon local wildlife populations. 2. We compared insect attraction to orange (high-pressure sodium [HPS]) and white (metal halide [MH] and LED) street lights experimentally using...

Data from: On formation-based sampling proxies and why they should not be used to correct the fossil record

Alexander M. Dunhill, Bjarte Hannisdal, Neil Brocklehurst & Michael J. Benton
The fossil record is a unique resource on the history of life, but it is well known to be incomplete. In a series of high-profile papers, a residual modelling technique has been applied to correct the raw palaeodiversity signal for this bias and incompleteness, and the claim is made that the processed time series are more accurate than the raw data. We apply empirical and simulation approaches to test for correlation and directionality of any...

Data from: Preservation of uropygial gland lipids in a 48-million-year-old bird

Shane O'Reilly, Roger Summons, Gerald Mayr & Jakob Vinther
Although various kinds of organic molecules are known to occur in fossils and rocks, most soft tissue preservation in animals is attributed to melanin or porphyrins. Lipids are particularly stable over time—as diagenetically altered ‘geolipids’ or as major molecular constituents of kerogen or fossil ‘geopolymers’—and may be expected to be preserved in certain vertebrate tissues. Here we analysed lipid residues from the uropygial gland of an early Eocene bird using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectroscopy....

Data from: Internet blogs, polar bears, and climate-change denial by proxy

Jeffrey A. Harvey, Daphne Van Den Berg, Jacintha Ellers, Remko Kampen, Thomas W. Crowther, Peter Roessingh, Bart Verheggen, Rascha J. M. Nuijten, Eric Post, Stephan Lewandowsky, Ian Stirling, Meena Balgopal, Steven C. Amstrup & Michael E. Mann
Increasing surface temperatures, Arctic sea-ice loss, and other evidence of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) are acknowledged by every major scientific organization in the world. However, there is a wide gap between this broad scientific consensus and public opinion. Internet blogs have strongly contributed to this consensus gap by fomenting misunderstandings of AGW causes and consequences. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have become a “poster species” for AGW, making them a target of those denying AGW evidence....

Methane ebullition from two lowland floodplain fens

C. M. Heppell, K.M. Stanley & L.R. Belyea
This dataset includes measurements of methane fluxes from two lowland floodplain fen sites in East Anglia, UK under conservation management (Sutton and Strumpshaw Fens). The data were collected on seven monthly to bimonthly visits during 2013 and comprise methane ebullition fluxes measured using inverted funnels, and methane fluxes measured using static chambers. The tall, static chambers captured methane transported by diffusion, plant-mediated transport and steady ebullition, whereas the inverted funnels captured methane transported by steady...

Data from: Probabilistic methods outperform parsimony in the phylogenetic analysis of data simulated without a probabilistic model

Mark N. Puttick, Joseph E. O'Reilly, Davide Pisani, Philip C.J. Donoghue & Philip C. J. Donoghue
In order to understand patterns and processes of the diversification of life we require an accurate understanding of taxa interrelationships. Recent studies have suggested that analyses of morphological character data using the Bayesian and Maximum likelihood Mk model provide phylogenies of higher accuracy compared to parsimony methods. These studies have proved controversial, particularly simulating morphology-data under Markov models that assume shared branch lengths for characters, as it is claimed this leads to bias favouring the...

Data from: The burden of Hepatitis C virus infection in Punjab, India: a population-based serosurvey

Ajit Sood, Anil Suryaprasad, Adam Trickey, Subodh Kanchi, Vandana Midha, Monique Foster, Eddas Bennett, Saleem Kamili, Fernando Alvarez-Bognar, Shaun Shadaker, Vijay Surlikar, Ravinder Garg, Parmod Mittal, Suresh Sharma, Margaret May, Peter Vickerman, Francisco Averhoff, M. A. Foster & M. T. May
Introduction: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection prevalence is believed to be elevated in Punjab, India; however, state-wide prevalence data are not available. An understanding of HCV prevalence, risk factors and genotype distribution can be used to plan control measures in Punjab. Methods: A cross-sectional, state-wide, population-based serosurvey using a multi-stage stratified cluster sampling design was conducted October 2013 to April 2014. Children aged >5 years and adults were eligible to participate. Demographic and risk behavior...

Data from: Does postcranial palaeoneurology provide insight into pterosaur behaviour and lifestyle? New data from the azhdarchoid Vectidraco and the ornithocheirids Coloborhynchus and Anhanguera

Elizabeth Martin-Silverstone, Daniel Sykes & Darren Naish
The postcranial palaeoneurology of fossil reptiles is understudied, and those studies that exist focus predominantly on crocodyliforms and dinosaurs. The intervertebral foramina of the spine house nerves that exit to innervate surrounding tissues and the extremities. In the heavily fused (and typically distorted or poorly preserved) pterosaurian sacrum, intervertebral foramina can be difficult to observe and are rarely identified. The Early Cretaceous azhdarchoid Vectidraco from the Isle of Wight, UK, exhibits large, paired foramina on...

Data from: Multi-modal signal evolution in birds: re-examining a standard proxy for sexual selection

Christopher R. Cooney, Hannah E.A. MacGregor, Nathalie Seddon, Joseph A. Tobias & Hannah E. A. MacGregor
Sexual selection is proposed to be an important driver of speciation and phenotypic diversification in animal systems. However, previous phylogenetic tests have produced conflicting results, perhaps because they have focused on a single signalling modality (visual ornaments), whereas sexual selection may act on alternative signalling modalities (e.g. acoustic ornaments). Here we compile phenotypic data from 259 avian sister species pairs to assess the relationship between visible plumage dichromatism—a standard index of sexual selection in birds—and...

Data from: Archosauromorph extinction selectivity during the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction

Bethany J. Allen, Thomas L. Stubbs, Michael J. Benton & Mark N. Puttick
Many traits have been linked to extinction risk among modern vertebrates, including mode of life and body size. However, previous work has indicated there is little evidence that body size, or any other trait, was selective during past mass extinctions. Here, we investigate the impact of the Triassic–Jurassic mass extinction on early Archosauromorpha (basal dinosaurs, crocodylomorphs and their relatives) by focusing on body size and other life history traits. We built several new archosauromorph maximum‐likelihood...

Data from: The global geography of human subsistence

Michael C. Gavin, Patrick H. Kavanagh, Hannah J. Haynie, Claire Bowern, Carol R. Ember, Russell D. Gray, Fiona M. Jordan, Kathryn R. Kirby, Geoff Kushnick, Bobbi S. Low, Bruno Vilela & Carlos A. Botero
How humans obtain food has dramatically reshaped ecosystems and altered both the trajectory of human history and the characteristics of human societies. Our species’ subsistence varies widely, from predominantly foraging strategies, to plant-based agriculture and animal husbandry. The extent to which environmental, social, and historical factors have driven such variation is currently unclear. Prior attempts to resolve long-standing debates on this topic have been hampered by an over-reliance on narrative arguments, small and geographically-narrow samples,...

Data from: Distance-dependent aposematism and camouflage in the cinnabar moth caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae Erebidae)

James B. Barnett, Innes C. Cuthill & Nicholas E. Scott-Samuel
Defended prey often use distinctive, conspicuous, colours to advertise their unprofitability to potential predators (aposematism). These warning signals are frequently made up of salient, high contrast, stripes which have been hypothesised to increase the speed and accuracy of predator avoidance learning. Limitations in predator visual acuity, however, mean that these patterns cannot be resolved when viewed from a distance, and adjacent patches of colour will blend together (pattern blending). We investigated how saliency changes at...

Data from: Nathusius' bats optimize long-distance migration by flying at maximum range speed.

Sara A. Troxell, Marc W. Holderied, Gunars Petersons & Christian C. Voigt
Metabolic rate of 12 Pipistrellus nathusii in relation to varying airspeed. We measured the metabolic rate of flying bats in a wind tunnel using the 13C labeled Na-bicarbonate method. The relationship between metabolic rate and airspeed was U-shaped in the majority of individuals. We could not find a U-shaped curve in a few individuals that engaged in flight manoeuvers, including landing. We used the shape of the U-shaped power curve to estimate minimum flight speed...

Data from: Is MHC diversity a better marker for conservation than neutral genetic diversity? a case study of two contrasting dolphin populations

Oliver Manlik, Michael Krutzen, Anna M. Kopps, Janet Mann, Lars Bejder, Simon J. Allen, Celine Frere, Richard C. Connor & William B. Sherwin
Genetic diversity is essential for populations to adapt to changing environments. Measures of genetic diversity are often based on selectively neutral markers, such as microsatellites. Genetic diversity to guide conservation management, however, is better reflected by adaptive markers, including genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Our aim was to assess MHC and neutral genetic diversity in two contrasting bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops aduncus) populations in Western Australia—one apparently viable population with high reproductive output (Shark...

Data from: Does exceptional preservation distort our view of disparity in the fossil record?

Joseph T. Flannery Sutherland, Benjamin C. Moon, Tom L. Stubbs & Michael J. Benton
How much of evolutionary history is lost because of the unevenness of the fossil record? Lagerstätten, sites of exceptional fossil preservation, provide remarkable, yet distorting insights into past life. When examining macroevolutionary trends in the fossil record, they can generate an uneven sampling signal for taxonomic diversity; by comparison, their effect on morphological variety (disparity) is poorly understood. We show here that lagerstätten impact the disparity of ichthyosaurs, Mesozoic marine reptiles, by preserving higher diversity...

Data from: Morphological disparity in theropod jaws: comparing discrete characters and geometric morphometrics

Joep Schaeffer, Michael J. Benton, Emily J. Rayfield & Thomas L. Stubbs
Disparity, the diversity of form and function of organisms, is frequently measured, and can be assessed from cladistic or phenetic characters, and from discrete characters or continuous characters such as landmarks, outlines, or ratios. But do these different methods of assessing disparity provide comparable results? Here we provide a large-scale test in which character sets are standardized for anatomical-functional comparability, and compare three methods of capturing morphological disparity (discrete characters, morphometric outlines and geometric morphometric...

Verifiability of genus-level classification under quantification and parsimony theories: a case study of follicucullid radiolarians

Yifan Xiao, Noritoshi Suzuki, Weihong He, Michael Benton, Tinglu Yang & Chenyang Cai
The classical taxonomy of fossil invertebrates is based on subjective judgments of morphology, which can cause confusion since there are no codified standards for the classification of genera. Here, we explore the validity of the genus taxonomy of 75 species and morphospecies of the Follicucullidae, a Late Paleozoic family of radiolarians, using a new method, Hayashi’s quantification theory II (HQT-II), a general multivariate statistical method for categorical datasets relevant to discriminant analysis. We identify a...

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