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Journal of Animal Ecology

Wouter M G Vansteelant, Judy Shamoun-Baranes, Willem van Manen, Jan van Diermen, Willem Bouten
Avian migrants often make substantial detours between their seasonal destinations. It is likely some species do this to make the most of predictable wind regimes along their respective flyways. We test this hypothesis by studying orientation behaviour of a long-distance soaring migrant in relation to prevailing winds along the East Atlantic Flyway. We tracked 62 migratory journeys of 12 adult European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus with GPS loggers. Hourly fixes were annotated with local wind vectors from a global atmospheric model to determine orientation behaviours with respect to the buzzards' seasonal goal destinations...
October 18, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Shinnosuke Nakayama, Tobias Rapp, Robert Arlinghaus
Fast and slow life histories are proposed to covary with consistent individual differences in behaviour, but little is known whether it holds in the wild, where individuals experience natural fluctuations of the environment. We investigated whether individual differences in behaviour, such as movement traits and prey selection, are linked to variation in life-history traits in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) in the wild. Using high-resolution acoustic telemetry, we collected the positional data of fish in a whole natural lake and estimated individual movement traits by fitting a 2-state correlated random walk model...
October 17, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Maarten Schrama, Fons van der Plas, Matty P Berg, Han Olff
1.Terrestrial ecosystems are characterised by a strong functional connection between the green (plant-herbivore-based) and brown (detritus-detritivore-based) parts of the food web, which both develop over successional time. However, the interlinked changes in green and brown food web diversity patterns in relation to key ecosystem processes are rarely studied. 2.Here, we demonstrate changes in species richness, diversity and evenness over a wide range of invertebrate green and brown trophic groups during 100 years of primary succession in a salt marsh ecosystem, using a well-calibrated chronosequence...
October 14, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Matthew E Wolak, Jane M Reid
1.Quantifying and predicting microevolutionary responses to environmental change requires unbiased estimation of quantitative genetic parameters in wild populations. 'Animal models', which utilise pedigree data to separate genetic and environmental effects on phenotypes, provide powerful means to estimate key parameters and have revolutionised quantitative genetic analyses of wild populations. 2.However, pedigrees collected in wild populations commonly contain many individuals with unknown parents. When unknown parents are non-randomly associated with genetic values for focal traits, animal model parameter estimates can be severely biased...
October 12, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Meike J Wittmann, Hanna Stuis, Dirk Metzler
1.It is now widely accepted that genetic processes such as inbreeding depression and loss of genetic variation can increase the extinction risk of small populations. However, it is generally unclear whether extinction risk from genetic causes gradually increases with decreasing population size or whether there is a sharp transition around a specific threshold population size. In the ecological literature, such threshold phenomena are called "strong Allee effects" and they can arise for example from mate limitation in small populations...
October 12, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
J Ouwehand, C Both
1.Properly timed spring migration enhances reproduction and survival. Climate change requires organisms to respond to changes such as advanced spring phenology. Pied flycatchers Ficedula hypoleuca have become a model species to study such phenological adaptations of long-distance migratory songbirds to climate change, but data on individuals' time schedules outside the breeding season are still lacking. 2.Using light-level geolocators we studied variation in migration schedules across the year in a pied flycatcher population in the Netherlands, which sheds light on the ability for individual adjustments in spring arrival timing to track environmental changes at their breeding grounds...
October 10, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Clayton T Lamb, Garth Mowat, Bruce N McLellan, Scott E Nielsen, Stan Boutin
Habitat choice is an evolutionary product of animals experiencing increased fitness when preferentially occupying high-quality habitat. However, an ecological trap (ET) can occur when an animal is presented with novel conditions and the animal's assessment of habitat quality is poorly matched to its resulting fitness. We tested for an ET for grizzly (brown) bears using demographic and movement data collected in an area with rich food resources and concentrated human settlement. We derived measures of habitat attractiveness from occurrence models of bear food resources and estimated demographic parameters using DNA mark-recapture information collected over 8 years (2006-2013)...
September 28, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Almut Ellinor Schlaich, Raymond H G Klaassen, Willem Bouten, Vincent Bretagnolle, Ben Johannes Koks, Alexandre Villers, Christiaan Both
Hundreds of millions of Afro-Palaearctic migrants winter in the Sahel, a semi-arid belt south of the Sahara desert, where they experience deteriorating ecological conditions during their overwintering stay and have to prepare for spring migration when conditions are worst. This well-known phenomenon was first described by R.E. Moreau and is known ever since as Moreau's Paradox. However, empirical evidence of the deteriorating seasonal ecological conditions is limited and little is known on how birds respond...
September 19, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Aline M Lee, Jane M Reid, Steven R Beissinger
Adult individuals that do not breed in a given year occur in a wide range of natural populations. However, such nonbreeders are often ignored in theoretical and empirical population studies, limiting our knowledge of how nonbreeders affect realized and estimated population dynamics and potentially impeding projection of deterministic and stochastic population growth rates. We present and analyse a general modelling framework for systems where breeders and nonbreeders differ in key demographic rates, incorporating different forms of nonbreeding, different life histories and frequency-dependent effects of nonbreeders on demographic rates of breeders...
September 14, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Yuval Itescu, Rachel Schwarz, Shai Meiri, Panayiotis Pafilis
Tail autotomy is mainly considered an antipredator mechanism. Theory suggests that predation pressure relaxes on islands, subsequently reducing autotomy rates. Intraspecific aggression, which may also cause tail loss, probably intensifies on islands due to the higher abundance. We studied whether tail autotomy is mostly affected by predation pressure or by intraspecific competition. We further studied whether predator abundance or predator richness is more important in this context. To test our predictions, we examined multiple populations of two gecko species: Kotschy's gecko (Mediodactylus kotschyi; mainland and 41 islands) and the Mediterranean house gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus; mainland and 17 islands), and estimated their abundance together with five indices of predation...
September 14, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Guille Peguero, Helene C Muller-Landau, Patrick A Jansen, S Joseph Wright
: Identification of the mechanisms enabling stable coexistence of species with similar resource requirements is a central challenge in ecology. Such coexistence can be facilitated by species at higher trophic levels through complex multi-trophic interactions, a mechanism that could be compromised by ongoing defaunation. We investigated cascading effects of defaunation on Pachymerus cardo and Speciomerus giganteus, the specialized insect seed predators of the Neotropical palm Attalea butyracea, testing the hypothesis that vertebrate frugivores and granivores facilitate their coexistence...
September 9, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Loreto A Correa, Cecilia León, Juan Ramírez-Estrada, Mauricio Soto-Gamboa, Roger D Sepúlveda, Luis A Ebensperger
Alternative morphotypes have been reported less frequently in females than in males. An exception to this rule is the gradient of phenotypical masculinization reported in some female mammals, in which feminized and masculinized females represent two opposite ends along this gradient. These phenotypical differences originate during prenatal development as the consequence of maternal effects. Feminized and masculinized females differ in several traits, including morphological, physiological, behavioral, and reproductive traits...
September 2, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Annette L Fayet, Robin Freeman, Akiko Shoji, Holly L Kirk, Oliver Padget, Chris M Perrins, Tim Guilford
Long-lived migratory animals must balance the cost of current reproduction with their own condition ahead of a challenging migration and future reproduction. In these species, carry-over effects, which occur when events in one season affect the outcome of the subsequent season, may be particularly exacerbated. However, how carry-over effects influence future breeding outcomes and whether (and how) they also affect behaviour during migration and wintering is unclear. Here we investigate carry-over effects induced by a controlled, bidirectional manipulation of the duration of reproductive effort on the migratory, wintering and subsequent breeding behaviour of a long-lived migratory seabird, the Manx shearwater Puffinus puffinus...
August 31, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Nicholas J Clark, Konstans Wells, Dimitar Dimitrov, Sonya M Clegg
Experimental work increasingly suggests that non-random pathogen associations can affect the spread or severity of disease. Yet due to difficulties distinguishing and interpreting co-infections, evidence for the presence and directionality of pathogen co-occurrences in wildlife is rudimentary. We provide empirical evidence for pathogen co-occurrences by analysing infection matrices for avian malaria (Haemoproteus and Plasmodium spp.) and parasitic filarial nematodes (microfilariae) in wild birds (New Caledonian Zosterops spp...
August 26, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Jan Hrček, Ailsa H C McLean, H Charles J Godfray
1.Eukaryotes commonly host communities of heritable symbiotic bacteria, many of which are not essential for their hosts' survival and reproduction. There is laboratory evidence that these facultative symbionts can provide useful adaptations, such as increased resistance to natural enemies. However, we do not know how symbionts affect host fitness when the latter are subject to attack by a natural suite of parasites and pathogens. 2.Here we test whether two protective symbionts, Regiella insecticola and Hamiltonella defensa, increase the fitness of their host, the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), under natural conditions...
August 25, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Cyril Milleret, Petter Wabakken, Olof Liberg, Mikael Åkesson, Øystein Flagstad, Harry Peter Andreassen, Håkan Sand
1.For socially monogamous species, breeder bond dissolution has important consequences for population dynamics, but the extent to which extrinsic or intrinsic population factors causes pair dissolution remain poorly understood, especially among carnivores. 2.Using an extensive life history dataset, a survival analysis and competing risks framework, we examined the fate of 153 different wolf (Canis lupus) pairs in the recolonizing Scandinavian wolf population, during 14 winters of snow-tracking and DNA-monitoring...
August 25, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
S A Iverson, H G Gilchrist, C Soos, E I Buttler, N J Harms, M R Forbes
1.Infectious diseases have the potential to spread rapidly and cause high mortality within populations of immunologically naïve hosts. The recent appearance of avian cholera, a highly virulent disease of birds caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida, at remote Arctic seabird colonies is an emerging conservation concern. 2.Determining disease risk to population viability requires a quantitative understanding of transmission potential and the factors that regulate epidemic persistence. Estimates of the basic (R0 ) and real-time (Rt ) reproductive number are critical in this regard - enumerating the number of secondary infections caused by each primary infection in a newly invaded host population and the decline in transmission rate as susceptible individuals are removed via mortality or immunized recovery...
August 22, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
T L F Leung, J Koprivnikar
1.Previous studies have found that migratory birds generally have a more diverse array of pathogens such as parasites, as well as higher intensities of infection. However, it is not clear whether this is driven by the metabolic and physiological demands of migration, differential selection on host life history traits, or basic ecological differences between migratory and non-migratory species. 2.Parasitic helminths can cause significant pathology in their hosts, and many are trophically-transmitted such that host diet and habitat use play key roles in the acquisition of infections...
August 6, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Nicolas Ferry, Stéphane Dray, Hervé Fritz, Marion Valeix
1.Animals may anticipate and try to avoid, at some costs, physical encounters with other competitors. This may ultimately impact their foraging distribution and intake rates. Such cryptic interference competition is difficult to measure in the field and extremely little is known at the interspecific level. 2.We tested the hypothesis that smaller species avoid larger ones because of potential costs of interference competition, and hence expected them to segregate from larger competitors at the scale of a resource-patch...
August 6, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
Lisa Fors, Robert Markus, Ulrich Theopold, Lars Ericson, Peter A Hambäck
1.Host-parasitoid systems are characterised by a continuous development of new defence strategies in hosts and counter-defence mechanisms in parasitoids. This coevolutionary arms race makes host-parasitoid systems excellent for understanding trade-offs in host use caused by evolutionary changes in host immune responses and parasitoid virulence. However, knowledge obtained from natural host-parasitoid systems on such trade-offs is still limited. 2.In this study the aim was to examine trade-offs in parasitoid virulence in Asecodes parviclava (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) when attacking three closely related beetles: Galerucella pusilla, G...
August 1, 2016: Journal of Animal Ecology
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