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Journal of Animal Ecology

Robin Hale, Madhavi A Colton, Po Peng, Stephen E Swearer
1.Understanding how animals interact with their environment is a fundamental ecological question with important implications for conservation and management. The relationships between animals and their habitat, however, can be scale-dependent. If ecologists work at suboptimal spatial scales, they will gain an incomplete picture of how animals respond to the landscape. Identifying the scale at which animal-landscape relationships are strongest (the 'scale of effect') will improve our ability to better plan management and conservation activities...
November 14, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Matthew R D Cobain, Markus Brede, Clive N Trueman
1.Taylor's power law (TPL) describes the relationship between the mean and variance in abundance of populations, with the power law exponent considered a measure of aggregation. However the usefulness of TPL exponents as an ecological metric has been questioned, largely due to its apparent ubiquity in various complex systems. 2.The aim of this study was to test whether TPL exponents vary systematically with potential drivers of animal aggregation in time and space, and therefore capture useful ecological information of the system of interest...
November 13, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Christine C Stawitz, Timothy E Essington
1.Understanding population fluctuations is a major goal of population ecology. In unpredictable marine environments, population variation is thought to be caused primarily by varying survival rates through a critical early life history stage. However, there is increasing evidence that somatic growth variation is common and causes population fluctuations. 2.We examine the relative effects of empirically-validated variability in somatic growth and recruitment on two response metrics across eight different life history archetypes of marine fish...
October 31, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Guoliang Li, Jing Li, Kevin D Kohl, Baofa Yin, Wanhong Wei, Xinrong Wan, Baoli Zhu, Zhibin Zhang
1.The collapse of large wild herbivores with replacement of livestock are causing global plant community and diversity shifts, resulting in altered food availability and diet composition of other sympatric small herbivores in grasslands. How diet shifts affect the gut microbiota of small mammals and whether these changes may translate into complex interactions among coexisting herbivores remains largely unknown. 2.We conducted both a field experiment and a laboratory diet manipulation experiment to test whether sheep grazing induces a diet shift and thus alters the gut microbiota of a small rodent species living in grassland...
October 31, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Harriet L Clewlow, Akinori Takahashi, Shinichi Watanabe, Stephen C Votier, Rod Downie, Norman Ratcliffe
1.Interspecific competition can drive niche partitioning along multidimensional axes, including allochrony. Competitor matching will arise where the phenology of sympatric species with similar ecological requirements respond to climate change at different rates such that allochrony is reduced. 2.Our study quantifies the degree of niche segregation in foraging areas and depths that arises from allochrony in sympatric Adélie and chinstrap penguins and explores its resilience to climate change. 3.Three-dimensional tracking data were sampled during all stages of the breeding season and were used to parameterise a behaviour-based model that quantified spatial overlap of foraging areas under different scenarios of allochrony...
October 30, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Tomos Potter, Leighton King, Joseph Travis, Ronald D Bassar
1.The outcome of competition between individuals often depends on body-size. These competitive asymmetries can drive variation in demographic rates, influencing the ecology and evolution of life-histories. The magnitude and direction of such asymmetries differ among taxa, yet little is known empirically about how adaptation to resource limitation alters competitive asymmetries. 2.Here, we investigate the relationship between size-dependent competitive ability and adaptation to resource limitation. 3.We examined size-dependent competition in two ecotypes of Trinidadian guppy, adapted to high or low levels of resource competition...
October 29, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Adam Seward, Norman Ratcliffe, Stephen Newton, Richard Caldow, Daniel Piec, Paul Morrison, Tom Cadwallender, Wesley Davies, Mark Bolton
Habitat management to restore or create breeding sites may allow metapopulations to increase in size and reduce the risk of demographic stochasticity or disasters causing metapopulation extinction. However, if newly restored or created sites are of low quality, they may act as sinks that draw individuals away from better quality sites to the detriment of metapopulation size. Following intensive conservation effort, the metapopulation of roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) in NW Europe is recovering from a large crash in numbers, but most former colonies remain unoccupied and hence are potential targets for restoration...
October 23, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Tad Dallas, Brett A Melbourne, Alan Hastings
Checkerboard distributions-mutually exclusive species co-occurrences-are a common observation in community ecology and biogeography. While the underlying causes of checkerboard distributions have remained elusive, a long-standing argument is that they are representative of strong competitive interactions and/or dispersal limitation. We explore this using a stochastic two-patch metacommunity model combined with an experimental two-patch system of competing Tribolium species, quantifying checkerboard distributions using the abundance-based index Ast ...
October 10, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Kim Jensen, Søren Toft, Lene Sigsgaard, Jesper G Sørensen, Martin Holmstrup
Temperature influences biological processes of ectotherms including ecological interactions, but interaction strengths may depend on species-specific traits. Furthermore, ectotherms acclimate to prevailing thermal conditions by adjusting physiological parameters, which often implies costs to other fitness-related parameters. Both predators and prey may therefore pay thermal acclimation costs following exposure to suboptimal temperatures. However, these costs may be asymmetrical between predator and prey, and between the predator and different species of concurrent prey...
October 10, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Moisés A Aguilera, Nelson Valdivia, Stuart Jenkins, Sergio A Navarrete, Bernardo Broitman
Biotic interactions are central to the development of theory and concepts in community ecology; experimental evidence has shown their strong effects on patterns of population and community organization and dynamics over local spatial scales. The role of competition in determining range limits and preventing invasions at biogeographic scales is more controversial, partly because of the complexity of processes involved in species colonization of novel habitats and the difficulties in performing appropriate manipulations and controls...
October 10, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Salvador Herrando-Pérez, Francisco Ferri-Yáñez, Camila Monasterio, Wouter Beukema, Verónica Gomes, Josabel Belliure, Steven L Chown, David R Vieites, Miguel B Araújo
Research addressing the effects of global warming on the distribution and persistence of species generally assumes that population variation in thermal tolerance is spatially constant or overridden by interspecific variation. Typically, this rationale is implicit in sourcing one critical thermal maximum (CTmax ) population estimate per species to model spatiotemporal cross-taxa variation in heat tolerance. Theory suggests that such an approach could result in biased or imprecise estimates and forecasts of impact from climate warming, but limited empirical evidence in support of those expectations exists...
October 10, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Weng Ngai Lam, Hugh T W Tan
Nutritional mutualisms are one of the three major categories of mutualisms and involve the provision of limiting nutrients (resources) to one species by another. It was recently shown in laboratory experiments that two species of pitcher-dwelling crab spiders (Thomisidae), Thomisus nepenthiphilus and Misumenops nepenthicola, increased capture rates of flesh flies (Sarcophagidae) for their host, Nepenthes gracilis. The spiders ambushed pitcher-visiting flesh flies and dropped their carcasses into pitchers after consuming them...
October 10, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Marie V Henriksen, David G Chapple, Steven L Chown, Melodie A McGeoch
The accurate estimation of interaction network structure is essential for understanding network stability and function. A growing number of studies evaluate under-sampling as the degree of sampling completeness (proportional richness observed). How the relationship between network structural metrics and sampling completeness varies across networks of different sizes remains unclear, but this relationship has implications for the within- and between-system comparability of network structure. Here, we test the combined effects of network size and sampling completeness on the structure of spatially distinct networks (i...
October 6, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Chelsea N Cook, Thiago Mosqueiro, Colin S Brent, Cahit Ozturk, Jürgen Gadau, Noa Pinter-Wollman, Brian H Smith
Animals must effectively balance the time they spend exploring the environment for new resources and exploiting them. One way that social animals accomplish this balance is by allocating these two tasks to different individuals. In honeybees, foraging is divided between scouts, which tend to explore the landscape for novel resources, and recruits, which tend to exploit these resources. Exploring the variation in cognitive and physiological mechanisms of foraging behaviour will provide a deeper understanding of how the division of labour is regulated in social insect societies...
October 5, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Thomas Hovestadt, Oliver Mitesser, Achim Poethke, Andrea Holzschuh
Empirical studies of annual eusocial insects in agricultural landscapes report contrasting findings with regard to colony responses to mass-flowering of crops such as oilseed rape. In particular, total sexual production is often unaffected by such events, whereas worker number responds with a prominent increase. To resolve these conflicting observations, we model-using an established approach-the expected change in worker and sexual numbers in response to an increased worker productivity induced by mass-flowering events at different times of the season...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Maxime Dahirel, Maarten De Cock, Pieter Vantieghem, Dries Bonte
In animals, behavioural responses may play an important role in determining population persistence in the face of environmental changes. Body size is a key trait central to many life-history traits and behaviours. Correlations with body size may constrain behavioural variation in response to environmental changes, especially when size itself is influenced by environmental conditions. Urbanization is an important human-induced rapid environmental change that imposes multiple selection pressures on both body size and (size-constrained) behaviour...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Nicolas Courbin, Andrew J Loveridge, Hervé Fritz, David W Macdonald, Rémi Patin, Marion Valeix, Simon Chamaillé-Jammes
1.Diel migrations (DM; back and forth diel movements along an ecological gradient) undertaken by prey to avoid predators during the day have been demonstrated in many taxa in aquatic ecosystems. In terrestrial ecosystems, prey often shift between various vegetation types whose cover determine their vulnerability (i.e. likelihood of being killed when attacked). 2.We conceptualized that in terrestrial ecosystems DM could also occur, and that the contribution of DM and shifts in vegetation cover use in reducing predation risk should depend upon the predator behaviour and the correlation between encounter risk and vulnerability across vegetation types...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Hugo Cayuela, Benedikt R Schmidt, Avril Weinbach, Aurélien Besnard, Pierre Joly
Understanding the mechanisms that regulate the dynamics of spatially structured populations (SSP) is a critical challenge for ecologists and conservation managers. Internal population processes such as births and deaths occur at a local level, while external processes such as dispersal take place at an inter-population level. At both levels, density dependence is expected to play a critical role. At a patch scale, demographic traits (e.g., survival, breeding success) and the population growth rate can be influenced by density either negatively (e...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Alan N Andersen
1.Ecological disturbance is fundamental to the dynamics of biological communities, yet a conceptual framework for understanding the responses of faunal communities to disturbance remains elusive. Here I propose five principles for understanding the disturbance dynamics of ants - a globally dominant faunal group that is widely used as bioindicators in land management, which appear to have wide applicability to other taxa. 2.These principles are: 1. The most important effects of habitat disturbance on ants are typically indirect, through its effects on habitat structure, microclimate, resource availability and competitive interactions; 2...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jessica Hopson, Jeremy W Fox
1.Spatially-separated populations of the same species often exhibit correlated fluctuations in abundance, a phenomenon known as spatial synchrony. Dispersal can generate spatial synchrony. In nature, most individuals disperse short distances with a minority dispersing long distances. The effect of occasional long distance dispersal on synchrony is untested, and theoretical predictions are contradictory. Occasional long distance dispersal might either increase both overall synchrony and the spatial scale of synchrony, or reduce them...
October 2, 2018: Journal of Animal Ecology
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