138 Works

Lack of synchronized breeding success in a seabird community: extreme events, niche separation, and environmental variability

Casey Youngflesh, Yun Li, Heather Lynch, Karine Delord, Christophe Barbraud, Rubao Ji & Stephanie Jenouvrier
Synchrony in ecological systems, the degree to which elements respond similarly over time or space, can inform our understanding of how ecosystems function and how they are responding to global change. While studies of ecological synchrony are often focused on within-species dynamics, synchrony among species may provide important insights into how dynamics of one species are indicative of conditions relevant to the larger community, with both basic and applied implications. Ecological theory suggests there may...

Biodiversity across the Greater Cape Floristic Region

Henry Frye, Matthew Aiello-Lammens, Doug Euston-Brown, Cynthia Jones, Hayley Kilroy Mollmann, Merow Cory, Jasper Slingsby, Helga Van Der Merwe, Adam Wilson & John Silander
Aim: With plant biodiversity under global threat, there is an urgent need to monitor the spatial distribution of multiple axes of biodiversity. Remote sensing is a critical tool in this endeavor. One remote sensing approach in detecting biodiversity is based on the hypothesis that the spectral diversity of plant communities is a surrogate of multiple dimensions of biodiversity. We investigated the generality of this “surrogacy” for spectral, species, functional, and phylogenetic diversity across 1,267 plots...

Using GBIF to Demonstrate Colonial Legacies on Biodiversity Data

Ryan S. Mohammed, Melissa Kemp, Michelle J. LeFebvre, Alexis M. Mychajliw, Grace Turner, Kelly Fowler, Michael Pateman, Maria A. Nieves-Colón, Lanya Fanovich, Siobhan B. Cooke, Liliana M. Dávalos, Scott M. Fitzpatrick, Christina M. Giovas, Myles Stokowski & Ashley A. Wrean
Biologists recognize the Caribbean archipelago as a biodiversity hotspot and employ it for their research as a “natural laboratory”, but do not always appreciate that these ecosystems are in fact palimpsests shaped by multiple human cultures over millennia. We discuss two case studies of the Caribbean’s fragmented natural history collections, the effects of differing legislation and governance by the region’s multiple nation states. We use digital natural history specimen data from GBIF to demonstrate how...

A role for myosin II cluster and membrane energy in cortex rupture for Dictyostelium discoideum cells

Emmanuel Asante-Asamani, Daniel Grange, Devarshi Rawal, Zully Santiago, John Loustau & Derrick Brazill
Blebs, pressure driven protrusions of the cell membrane, facilitate the movement of eukaryotic cells such as the soil amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum, white blood cells and cancer cells. Blebs initiate when the cell membrane separates from the underlying cortex. A local rupture of the cortex, has been suggested as a mechanism by which blebs are initiated. However, much clarity is still needed about how cells inherently regulate rupture of the cortex in locations where blebs are...

Evolutionary determinants of non-seasonal breeding in wild chacma baboons

Jules Dezeure, Lugdiwine Burtschell, Alice Baniel, Alecia J. Carter, Bernard Godelle, Cowlishaw Guy & Huchard Elise
Animal reproductive phenology varies from strongly seasonal to non-seasonal, sometimes among closely related or sympatric species. While the extent of reproductive seasonality is often attributed to environmental seasonality, this fails to explain many cases of non-seasonal breeding in seasonal environments. We investigated the evolutionary determinants of non-seasonal breeding in a wild primate, the chacma baboon (Papio ursinus), living in a seasonal environment with high climatic unpredictability. We tested three hypotheses proposing that non-seasonal breeding has...

Investigations of the underlying mechanisms of HIF-1α and CITED2 binding to TAZ1

Wen-Ting Chu, Xiakun Chu & Jin Wang
The TAZ1 domain of CREB binding protein is crucial for transcriptional regulation and recognizes multiple targets. The interactions between TAZ1 and its specific targets are related to the cellular hypoxic negative feedback regulation. Previous experiments reported that one of the TAZ1 targets CITED2 is an efficient competitor of another target HIF-1α. Here by developing the structure-based models of TAZ1 complexes we have uncovered the underlying mechanisms of the competitions between the two intrinsic disordered proteins...

Data from: Multifactorial processes underlie parallel opsin loss in neotropical bats

Alexa Sadier, Kalina T. J. Davies, Laurel R. Yohe, Kun Yun, Paul Donat, Brandon P. Hedrick, Elizabeth R. Dumont, Liliana M. Davalos, Stephen J. Rossiter & Karen E. Sears
The loss of previously adaptive traits is typically linked to relaxation in selection, yet the molecular steps leading to such repeated losses are rarely known. Molecular studies of loss have tended to focus on gene sequences alone, but overlooking other aspects of protein expression might underestimate phenotypic diversity. Insights based almost solely on opsin gene evolution, for instance, have made mammalian color vision a textbook example of phenotypic loss. We address this gap by investigating...

Data from: Integrating remotely sensed fires for predicting deforestation for REDD+

Dolors Armenteras, Cerian Gibbes, Jesús A. Anaya & Liliana M. Dávalos
Fire is an important tool in tropical forest management, as it alters forest composition, structure, and the carbon budget. The United Nations program on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) aims to sustainably manage forests, as well as conserve and enhance their carbon stocks. Despite the crucial role of fire management, decision-making on REDD+ interventions fails to systematically include fires. Here, we address this critical knowledge gap in two ways. First, we review...

Data from: Down-regulation of Rad51 activity during meiosis in yeast prevents competition with Dmc1 for repair of double-strand breaks

Yan Liu, William A. Gaines, Tracy Callender, Valeria Busygina, Ashwini Oke, Patrick Sung, Jennifer C. Fung & Nancy M. Hollingsworth
Interhomolog recombination plays a critical role in promoting proper meiotic chromosome segregation but a mechanistic understanding of this process is far from complete. In vegetative cells, Rad51 is a highly conserved recombinase that exhibits a preference for repairing double strand breaks (DSBs) using sister chromatids, in contrast to the conserved, meiosis-specific recombinase, Dmc1, which preferentially repairs programmed DSBs using homologs. Despite the different preferences for repair templates, both Rad51 and Dmc1 are required for interhomolog...

Data from: Bayesian hierarchical models suggest oldest known plant-visiting bat was omnivorous

Laurel R. Yohe, Paúl M. Velazco, Danny Rojas, Beth E. Gerstner, Nancy B. Simmons & Liliana M. Dávalos
The earliest record of plant visiting in bats dates to the Middle Miocene of La Venta, the world's most diverse tropical palaeocommunity. Palynephyllum antimaster is known from molars that indicate nectarivory. Skull length, an important indicator of key traits such as body size, bite force and trophic specialization, remains unknown. We developed Bayesian models to infer skull length based on dental measurements. These models account for variation within and between species, variation between clades, and...

Data from: Evolutionary novelties and losses in geometric morphometrics: a practical approach through hominin molar morphology

Aida Gómez-Robles, Anthony Jay Olejniczak, María Martinón-Torres, Leyre Prado-Simón & José María Bermúdez De Castro
Geometric morphometric techniques may offer a promising methodological approach to analyse evolutionary novelties in a quantitative framework. Nevertheless, and despite continuous improvements to this methodology, the inclusion of novel features in these studies presents some difficulties. In the present study, different methods to explicitly include novel traits in geometric morphometric analyses are compared, including homology-free approaches, landmark-based approaches, and combinations of both techniques. The 2D occlusal morphology of the lower second molar in multiple hominin...

Data from: Demography, traits, and vulnerability to urbanization: can we make generalizations?

Leone M. Brown & Catherine H. Graham
1. Human-induced land cover change threatens species diversity and ecosystem services. The rapid pace of current change makes predicting species’ declines imperative, but leaves little time for thorough study of all species. One solution is to make generalizations about species’ vulnerability to urbanization based on traits common among studied species in decline. 2. To date, most generalizations about traits associated with species’ declines in response to urbanization are based on presence or abundance, or detailed...

Data from: Evidence for ship noise impacts on humpback whale foraging behaviour

Hannah B. Blair, Nathan D. Merchant, Ari S. Friedlaender, David N. Wiley & Susan E. Parks
Noise from shipping activity in North Atlantic coastal waters has been steadily increasing and is an area of growing conservation concern, as it has the potential to disrupt the behaviour of marine organisms. This study examines the impacts of ship noise on bottom foraging humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the western North Atlantic. Data were collected from 10 foraging whales using non-invasive archival tags that simultaneously recorded underwater movements and the acoustic environment at the...

Data from: Facultative parthenogenesis in a critically endangered wild vertebrate

Andrew T. Fields, Kevin A. Feldheim, Gregg R. Poulakis & Demian D. Chapman
Facultative parthenogenesis — the ability of sexually reproducing species to sometimes produce offspring asexually — is known from a wide range of ordinarily sexually reproducing vertebrates in captivity, including some birds, reptiles and sharks 1, 2 and 3. Despite this, free-living parthenogens have never been observed in any of these taxa in the wild, although two free-living snakes were recently discovered each gestating a single parthenogen — one copperhead (Agkistrodon contortrix) and one cottonmouth (Agkistrodon...

Data from: Estimation of energetic condition in wild baboons using fecal thyroid hormone determination

Laurence R. Gesquiere, Mya Pugh, Susan C. Alberts & A. Catherine Markham
Understanding how environmental and social factors affect reproduction through variation in energetic condition remains understudied in wild animals, in large part because accurately and repeatedly measuring energetic condition in the wild is a challenge. Thyroid hormones (THs), such as triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), have a key role in mitigating metabolic responses to energy intake and expenditure, and therefore are considered important biomarkers of an animal's energetic condition. Recent method development has shown that T3...

Data from: Genetic diversity of white sharks, Carcharodon carcharias, in the northwest Atlantic and southern Africa

Shannon J. O'Leary, Kevin A. Feldheim, Andrew T. Fields, Lisa J. Natanson, Sabine Wintner, Nigel Hussey, Mahmood S. Shivji & Demian D. Chapman
The white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, is both one of the largest apex predators in the world and among the most heavily protected marine fish. Population genetic diversity is in part shaped by recent demographic history and can thus provide information complementary to more traditional population assessments, which are difficult to obtain for white sharks and have at times been controversial. Here, we use the mitochondrial control region and 14 nuclear-encoded microsatellite loci to assess white...

Data from: Rethinking ‘normal’: the role of stochasticity in the phenology of a synchronously breeding seabird

Casey Youngflesh, Stephanie Jenouvrier, Jefferson T. Hinke, Lauren DuBois, Judy St. Leger, Wayne Z. Trivelpiece, Susan G. Trivelpiece & Heather J. Lynch
1. Phenological changes have been observed in a variety of systems over the past century. There is concern that, as a consequence, ecological interactions are becoming increasingly mismatched in time, with negative consequences for ecological function. 2. Significant spatial heterogeneity (inter-site) and temporal variability (inter-annual) can make it difficult to separate intrinsic, extrinsic, and stochastic drivers of phenological variability. The goal of this study was to understand the timing and variability of breeding phenology of...

Data from: Two decades of genetic profiling yields first evidence of natal philopatry and long-term fidelity to parturition sites in sharks

Kevin A. Feldheim, Samuel H. Gruber, Joseph D. DiBattista, Elizabeth A. Babcock, Steven A. Kessel, Andrew P. Hendry, Ellen K. Pikitch, Mary V. Ashley & Demian D. Chapman
Sharks are a globally threatened group of marine fishes that often breed in their natal region of origin. There has even been speculation that female sharks return to their exact birthplace to breed (“natal philopatry”), which would have important conservation implications. Genetic profiling of lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris) from 20 consecutive cohorts (1993-2012) at Bimini, Bahamas showed that certain females faithfully gave birth at this site for nearly two decades. At least six females born...

Data from: Resolving the phylogeny of lizards and snakes (Squamata) with extensive sampling of genes and species

John J. Wiens, Carl R. Hutter, Daniel G. Mulcahy, Brice P. Noonan, Ted M. Townsend, , Tod W. Reeder & J. W. Sites
Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) are one of the most diverse groups of terrestrial vertebrates. Recent molecular analyses have suggested a very different squamate phylogeny relative to morphological hypotheses, but many aspects remain uncertain from molecular data. Here, we analyse higher-level squamate phylogeny with a molecular dataset of unprecedented size, including 161 squamate species for up to 44 nuclear genes each (33,717 base pairs), using both concatenated and species-tree methods for the first time. Our...

Data from: Selection for mechanical advantage underlies multiple cranial optima in new world leaf-nosed bats

Elizabeth R. Dumont, Krishna Samadevam, Ian R. Grosse, Omar M. Warsi, Brandon Baird, Liliana M. Davalos & Ian Grosse
Selection for divergent performance optima has been proposed as a central mechanism underlying adaptive radiation. Uncovering multiple optima requires identifying forms associated with different adaptive zones and linking those forms to performance. However, testing and modeling the performance of complex morphologies like the cranium is challenging. We introduce a three-dimensional finite element (FE) model of the cranium that can be morphed into different shapes by varying simple parameters to investigate the relationship between two engineering-based...

Data from: Fruiting phenology is linked to rainfall variability in a tropical rain forest

Amy E. Dunham, Onja H. Razafindratsima, Paul Rakotonirina, Patricia C. Wright. & Patricia C. Wright
As the influence of climate change on tropical forests becomes apparent, more studies are needed to understand how changes in climatic variables like rainfall are likely to affect tree phenology. Using a twelve-year dataset (2005–2016), we studied the impact of seasonal rainfall patterns on the fruiting phenology of 69 tree species in the rain forest of southeastern Madagascar. We found that average annual rainfall in this region has increased by >800mm (23%) during this period...

Data from: Global mammal betadiversity show parallel assemblage structure in similar but isolated environments

Caterina Penone, Ben G. Weinstein, Catherine H. Graham, Thomas M. Brooks, Carlo Rondinini, S. Blair Hedges, Ana D. Davidson & Gabriel C. Costa
The taxonomic, phylogenetic and trait dimensions of betadiversity each provide unique insight into the importance of historical isolation and environmental conditions in shaping global diversity. These three dimensions should, in general, be positively correlated. However, if similar environmental conditions filter species with similar trait values, then assemblages located in similar environmental conditions, but separated by large dispersal barriers, may show high taxonomic, high phylogenetic, but low trait betadiversity. Conversely, we expect lower phylogenetic diversity but...

Data from: Ultra-fine scale spatially-integrated mapping of habitat and occupancy using structure-from-motion

Philip McDowall & Heather J. Lynch
Organisms respond to and often simultaneously modify their environment. While these interactions are apparent at the landscape extent, the driving mechanisms often occur at very fine spatial scales. Structure-from-Motion (SfM), a computer vision technique, allows the simultaneous mapping of organisms and fine scale habitat, and will greatly improve our understanding of habitat suitability, ecophysiology, and the bi-directional relationship between geomorphology and habitat use. SfM can be used to create high-resolution (centimeter-scale) three-dimensional (3D) habitat models...

Data from: Measurement, variation, and scaling of osteocyte lacunae: a case study in birds

Michael D. D'Emic, Roger B. J. Benson & Roger B.J. Benson
Basic issues surrounding osteocyte biology are still poorly understood, including the variability of osteocyte morphology within and among bones, individuals, and species. Several studies have suggested that the volume or shape of osteocytes (or their lacunae) are related to bone and/or organismal growth rate or metabolism, but the nature of this relationship, if any, is unclear. Furthermore, several studies have linked osteocyte lacuna volume with genome size or growth rate and suggested that osteocyte lacuna...

Data from: Sustained costs of growth and the trajectory of recovery

Kestrel O. Perez & Stephan B. Munch
1. Large body size is associated with many fitness advantages. Despite this, most species do not grow at their physiological maximum, suggesting costs to rapid growth. There are now many empirical examples of trade-offs with growth. 2. Despite the ubiquity of physiological delays, few studies have evaluated the duration over which growth costs occur. To address this question, we measured swimming ability in growth-manipulated Atlantic silversides (Menidia mendia). Fish were manipulated to grow at their...

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