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Journal of Animal Ecology

Oliver R Wearn, Chris Carbone, J Marcus Rowcliffe, Marion Pfeifer, Henry Bernard, Robert M Ewers
1.The assembly of species communities at local scales is thought to be driven by environmental filtering, species interactions, and spatial processes such as dispersal limitation. Little is known about how the relative balance of these drivers of community assembly changes along environmental gradients, especially man-made environmental gradients associated with land-use change. 2.Using concurrent camera- and live-trapping, we investigated the local-scale assembly of mammal communities along a gradient of land-use intensity (old-growth forest, logged forest and oil palm plantations) in Borneo...
September 3, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Allan Perkins, Norman Ratcliffe, Dave Suddaby, Brian Ribbands, Claire Smith, Pete Ellis, Eric Meek, Mark Bolton
Understanding drivers of population change is critical for effective species conservation. In the northeast Atlantic Ocean, recent changes amongst seabird communities are linked to human and climate change impacts on food webs. Many species have declined severely, with food shortages, and increased predation reducing productivity. Arctic skua Stercorarius parasiticus, a kleptoparasite of other seabirds, is one such species. The aim of the study was to determine relative effects of bottom-up and top-down pressures on Arctic skuas across multiple colonies in a rapidly declining national population...
August 28, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Edmund W Basham, Christa M Seidl, Lydou R Andriamahohatra, Brunno F Oliveira, Brett R Scheffers
1.Assemblage similarity decays with geographic distance-a pattern known as the distance-decay relationship. While this pattern has been investigated for a wide range of organisms, ecosystems, and geographical gradients, whether these changes vary more cryptically across different forest strata (from ground to canopy) remains elusive. 2.Here, we investigated the influence of ground vs arboreal assemblages to the general distance-decay relationship observed in forests. We seek to explain differences in distance-decay relationships between strata in the context of the vertical stratification of assemblage composition, richness, and abundance...
August 26, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jasper C Croll, Martijn Egas, Isabel M Smallegange
Surprisingly, little is known about how eco-evolutionary feedback loops affect trait dynamics within a single population. Polymorphisms of discrete alternative phenotypes present ideal test beds to investigate this, as the alternative phenotypes typically exhibit contrasting demographic rates mediated through frequency or density dependence, and are thus differentially affected by selection. Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs), like male fighters and sneakers, are an extreme form of discrete phenotype expression and occur across many taxa...
August 19, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Stano Pekár, Eva Líznarová, Ondřej Bočánek, Zbyněk Zdráhal
1.In specialised predators a variety of adaptations have evolved to such a level of specificity that they allow very effective exploitation of focal prey. Venom is an essential adaptive trait of predatory venomous species, such as spiders, yet our knowledge of spider venom is incomplete. 2.In agreement with the prey preference hypothesis, we expected that the venom of spider specialists should be more toxic to focal than to alternative prey, because it is composed of prey-specific toxins. 3.Here we used spiders with three types of trophic specialisations: specialists that were ant-eating, termite-eating, and spider-eating...
August 19, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Shay Rotics, Michael Kaatz, Sondra Turjeman, Damaris Zurell, Martin Wikelski, Nir Sapir, Ute Eggers, Wolfgang Fiedler, Florian Jeltsch, Ran Nathan
1.Early arrival at breeding grounds is of prime importance for migrating birds as it is known to enhance breeding success. Adults, males and higher quality individuals typically arrive earlier, and across years, early arrival has been linked to warmer spring temperatures. However, the mechanisms and potential costs of early arrival are not well understood. 2.To deepen the understanding of arrival date differences between individuals and years, we studied them in light of the preceding spring migration behaviour and atmospheric conditions en route...
August 18, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Angela N Laws, Chelse M Prather, David H Branson, Steven C Pennings
Understanding how biodiversity affects ecosystem processes is a key question in ecology. Previous research has found that increasing plant diversity often enhances many ecosystem processes, but less is known about the role of consumer diversity to ecosystem processes, especially in terrestrial ecosystems. Furthermore, we do not know how general biodiversity responses are among ecosystem types. We examined the role of insect herbivore (Orthoptera) diversity on plant production using parallel field experiments in three grassland ecosystems (mixed grass prairie, tallgrass prairie and coastal tallgrass prairie) to determine whether the effects of grasshopper diversity were consistent among sites...
August 13, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Anders Pape Møller, Javier Balbontín, André A Dhondt, Vladimir Remeš, Frank Adriaensen, Clotilde Biard, Jordi Camprodon, Mariusz Cichoń, Blandine Doligez, Anna Dubiec, Marcel Eens, Tapio Eeva, Anne E Goodenough, Andrew G Gosler, Lars Gustafsson, Philipp Heeb, Shelley A Hinsley, Staffan Jacob, Rimvydas Juškaitis, Toni Laaksonen, Bernard Leclercq, Bruno Massa, Tomasz D Mazgajski, Ruedi G Nager, Jan-Åke Nilsson, Sven G Nilsson, Ana C Norte, Rianne Pinxten, Hugo Robles, Tapio Solonen, Alberto Sorace, Arie J van Noordwijk, Marcel M Lambrechts
Coexistence between great tits Parus major and blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus, but also other hole-nesting taxa, constitutes a classic example of species co-occurrence resulting in potential interference and exploitation competition for food and for breeding and roosting sites. However, the spatial and temporal variations in coexistence and its consequences for competition remain poorly understood. We used an extensive database on reproduction in nest boxes by great and blue tits based on 87 study plots across Europe and Northern Africa during 1957-2012 for a total of 19,075 great tit and 16,729 blue tit clutches to assess correlative evidence for a relationship between laying date and clutch size, respectively, and density consistent with effects of intraspecific and interspecific competition...
August 12, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Arne Hegemann, Pablo Alcalde Abril, Sissel Sjöberg, Rachel Muheim, Thomas Alerstam, Jan-Åke Nilsson, Dennis Hasselquist
Migration usually consists of intermittent travel and stopovers, the latter being crucially important for individuals to recover and refuel to successfully complete migration. Quantifying how sickness behaviours influence stopovers is crucial for our understanding of migration ecology and how diseases spread. However, little is known about infections in songbirds, which constitute the majority of avian migrants. We experimentally immune-challenged autumn migrating passerines (both short- and long-distance migrating species) with a simulated bacterial infection...
August 12, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Genevieve Matthews, Celine T Goulet, Kaspar Delhey, Zak S Atkins, Geoffrey M While, Michael G Gardner, David G Chapple
Phenotypic variation provides the framework for natural selection to work upon, enabling adaptive evolution. One of the most discernible manifestations of phenotypic variability is colour variation. When this variation is discrete, genetically based colour pattern morphs occur simultaneously within a population. Why and how colour polymorphisms are maintained is an evolutionary puzzle. Several evolutionary drivers have been hypothesized as influencing clinal patterns of morph frequency, with spatial variation in climate and predation being considered especially important...
August 11, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Aaron M Foley, David G Hewitt, Randy W DeYoung, Matthew J Schnupp, Mickey W Hellickson, Mitch A Lockwood
Patterns of male reproductive allocation provide insight into life-history characteristics. The trade-offs associated with resource and female group defence are well-defined. However, less is understood about trade-offs in species that practise scramble-competition polygyny, where successful strategies may favour competitive mate-searching rather than contest competition and fighting. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) practise scramble-competition polygyny where solitary males search for and assess receptivity of females scattered across the landscape...
August 6, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Alva Curtsdotter, H T Banks, J E Banks, Mattias Jonsson, Tomas Jonsson, A N Laubmeier, Michael Traugott, Riccardo Bommarco
1.Most ecosystem functions and related services involve species interactions across trophic levels, e.g. pollination and biological pest control. Despite this, our understanding of ecosystem function in multi-trophic communities is poor, and research has been limited to either manipulations in small communities or statistical descriptions in larger ones. 2.Recent advances in food web ecology may allow us to overcome the trade-off between mechanistic insight and ecological realism. Molecular tools now simplify the detection of feeding interactions, and trait-based approaches allow the application of dynamic food web models to real ecosystems...
August 5, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
David C Ensminger, Tracy Langkilde, Dustin A S Owen, Kirsty J MacLeod, Michael J Sheriff
While biomedical researchers have long appreciated the influence of maternally derived glucocorticoids (GCs) on offspring phenotype, ecologists have only recently begun exploring its impact in wild animals. Interpreting biomedical findings within an ecological context has posited that maternal stress, mediated by elevations of maternal GCs, may play an adaptive role preparing offspring for a stressful or rigorous environment. Yet, the influence of maternal stress on offspring phenotype has been little studied in wild animals...
August 3, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Chloé R Nater, Koen J van Benthem, Cindy I Canale, Carsten Schradin, Arpat Ozgul
Population dynamics are the result of an interplay between extrinsic and intrinsic environmental drivers. Predicting the effects of environmental change on wildlife populations therefore requires a thorough understanding of the mechanisms through which different environmental drivers interact to generate changes in population size and structure. In this study, we disentangled the roles of temperature, food availability and population density in shaping short- and long-term population dynamics of the African striped mouse, a small rodent inhabiting a semidesert with high intra- and interannual variation in environmental conditions...
July 30, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Brian A Lerch, Ben C Nolting, Karen C Abbott
Allee effects in group-living species are common, but little is known about the way in which Allee effects at the group-level scale up to influence population dynamics. Most notably, it remains unclear whether component Allee effects within groups (where some component of fitness in small groups decreases with decreasing group size) will translate into a population-level demographic Allee effect (where per capita fitness in small populations decreases with decreasing overall population size). The African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) is an obligate cooperative breeder that lives in packs and has a multitude of group-level component Allee effects...
July 28, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Antoine Felden, Carolina I Paris, David G Chapple, John Haywood, Andrew V Suarez, Neil D Tsutsui, Philip J Lester, Monica A M Gruber
Once established in new areas, introduced species may exhibit changes in their biology due to phenotypic plasticity, novel selection pressures and genetic drift. Moreover, the introduction process itself has been hypothesised to act as a selective filter for traits that promote invasiveness. We tested the hypothesis that behaviours thought to promote invasiveness-such as increased foraging activity and aggression-are selected for during invasion by comparing traits among native and introduced populations of the widespread Argentine ant (Linepithema humile)...
July 26, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jessica F Stephenson, Sarah E Perkins, Joanne Cable
Associating with conspecifics afflicted with infectious diseases increases the risk of becoming infected, but engaging in avoidance behaviour incurs the cost of lost social benefits. Across systems, infected individuals vary in the transmission risk they pose, so natural selection should favour risk-sensitive avoidance behaviour that optimally balances the costs and benefits of sociality. Here, we use the guppy Poecilia reticulata-Gyrodactylus turnbulli host-parasite system to test the prediction that individuals avoid infected conspecifics in proportion to the transmission risk they pose...
July 26, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Susan C Alberts
For social species, the environment has two components: physical and social. The social environment modifies the individual's interaction with the physical environment, and the physical environment may in turn impact individuals' social relationships. This interplay can generate considerable variation among individuals in survival and reproduction. Here, I synthesize more than four decades of research on the baboons of the Amboseli basin in southern Kenya to illustrate how social and physical environments interact to affect reproduction and survival...
July 23, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Yutaka Osada, Takehisa Yamakita, Etsuko Shoda-Kagaya, Andrew M Liebhold, Takehiko Yamanaka
Pine wilt disease (PWD) invaded southern Japan in the early 1900s and has gradually expanded its range to northern Honshu (Japanese mainland). The disease is caused by a pathogenic North American nematode, which is transmitted by native pine sawyer beetles. Recently, the disease has invaded other portions of East Asia and Europe where extensive mortality of host pines is anticipated to resemble historical patterns seen in Japan. There is a critical need to identify the main drivers of PWD invasion spread so as to predict the future spread and evaluate containment strategies in newly invaded world regions...
July 16, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jennifer R B Miller, Ross T Pitman, Gareth K H Mann, Angela K Fuller, Guy A Balme
Although interspecific competition plays a principal role in shaping species behaviour and demography, little is known about the population-level outcomes of competition between large carnivores, and the mechanisms that facilitate coexistence. We conducted a multilandscape analysis of two widely distributed, threatened large carnivore competitors to offer insight into coexistence strategies and assist with species-level conservation. We evaluated how interference competition affects occupancy, temporal activity and population density of a dominant competitor, the lion (Panthera leo), and its subordinate competitor, the leopard (Panthera pardus)...
July 16, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
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