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Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Samuel Pironon, Guillaume Papuga, Jesús Villellas, Amy L Angert, María B García, John D Thompson
The 'centre-periphery hypothesis' (CPH) is a long-standing postulate in ecology that states that genetic variation and demographic performance of a species decrease from the centre to the edge of its geographic range. This hypothesis is based on an assumed concordance between geographical peripherality and ecological marginality such that environmental conditions become harsher towards the limits of a species range. In this way, the CPH sets the stage for understanding the causes of distribution limits. To date, no study has examined conjointly the consistency of these postulates...
November 27, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Wolfgang Forstmeier, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Timothy H Parker
Recently there has been a growing concern that many published research findings do not hold up in attempts to replicate them. We argue that this problem may originate from a culture of 'you can publish if you found a significant effect'. This culture creates a systematic bias against the null hypothesis which renders meta-analyses questionable and may even lead to a situation where hypotheses become difficult to falsify. In order to pinpoint the sources of error and possible solutions, we review current scientific practices with regard to their effect on the probability of drawing a false-positive conclusion...
November 23, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Stephan Lautenschlager, Pamela Gill, Zhe-Xi Luo, Michael J Fagan, Emily J Rayfield
The evolution of the mammalian jaw during the transition from non-mammalian synapsids to crown mammals is a key event in vertebrate history and characterised by the gradual reduction of its individual bones into a single element and the concomitant transformation of the jaw joint and its incorporation into the middle ear complex. This osteological transformation is accompanied by a rearrangement and modification of the jaw adductor musculature, which is thought to have allowed the evolution of a more-efficient masticatory system in comparison to the plesiomorphic synapsid condition...
November 23, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Antonella Tramacere, Telmo Pievani, Pier F Ferrari
Considering the properties of mirror neurons (MNs) in terms of development and phylogeny, we offer a novel, unifying, and testable account of their evolution according to the available data and try to unify apparently discordant research, including the plasticity of MNs during development, their adaptive value and their phylogenetic relationships and continuity. We hypothesize that the MN system reflects a set of interrelated traits, each with an independent natural history due to unique selective pressures, and propose that there are at least three evolutionarily significant trends that gave raise to three subtypes: hand visuomotor, mouth visuomotor, and audio-vocal...
November 16, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
John D Currey, Mason N Dean, Ron Shahar
We question two major tenets of bone biology: that the primary role of remodelling is to remove damage in the bone (so-called damage-driven remodelling) and that osteocytes are the only strain-sensing orchestrators of this process. These concepts are distilled largely from research on model mammal species, but in fact, there are a number of features of various bones, from mammalian and non-mammalian species, that do not accord with these 'rules'. Here, we assemble a variety of examples, ranging from species that lack osteocytes but that still seem capable of remodelling their bones, to species with osteocytic bones that do not remodel, and to instances of inter-species, inter-bone and/or intra-bone variation in bone remodelling that show that this purported repair process is not always where the 'rules' tell us it should be...
November 14, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Megan R Friesen, Jacqueline R Beggs, Anne C Gaskett
Sensory-based conservation harnesses species' natural communication and signalling behaviours to mitigate threats to wild populations. To evaluate this emerging field, we assess how sensory-based manipulations, sensory mode, and target taxa affect success. To facilitate broader, cross-species application of successful techniques, we test which behavioural and life-history traits correlate with positive conservation outcomes. We focus on seabirds, one of the world's most rapidly declining groups, whose philopatry, activity patterns, foraging, mate choice, and parental care behaviours all involve reliance on, and therefore strong selection for, sophisticated sensory physiology and accurate assessment of intra- and inter-species signals and cues in several sensory modes...
November 2, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Laura C Leal, Paulo E C Peixoto
Abiotic conditions can increase the costs of services and/or the benefits of rewards provided by mutualistic partners. Consequently, in some situations, the outcome of mutualisms can move from beneficial to detrimental for at least one partner. In the case of protective mutualisms between ant bodyguards and plants bearing extrafloral nectaries (EFNs), plants from arid environments face a trade-off between EFN production and maintenance and water and carbon economy. This trade-off may increase EFN costs and decrease their value as a defensive strategy to plants in such environments...
October 28, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Judy R van Beijnum, Wietske Pieters, Patrycja Nowak-Sliwinska, Arjan W Griffioen
Numerous molecular players in the process of tumour angiogenesis have been shown to offer potential for therapeutic targeting. Initially denoted to be involved in malignant transformation and tumour progression, the insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signalling axis has been subject to therapeutic interference, albeit with limited clinical success. More recently, IGFs and their receptors have received attention for their contribution to tumour angiogenesis, which offers novel therapeutic opportunities. Here we review the contribution of this signalling axis to tumour angiogenesis, the mechanisms of resistance to therapy and the interplay with other pro-angiogenic pathways, to offer insight in the renewed interest in the application of IGF axis targeting agents in anti-cancer combination therapies...
October 24, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Stefan Mogk, Christian M Boßelmann, Celestin N Mudogo, Jasmin Stein, Hartwig Wolburg, Michael Duszenko
African trypanosomes induce sleeping sickness. The parasites are transmitted during the blood meal of a tsetse fly and appear primarily in blood and lymph vessels, before they enter the central nervous system. During the latter stage, trypanosomes induce a deregulation of sleep-wake cycles and some additional neurological disorders. Historically, it was assumed that trypanosomes cross the blood-brain barrier and settle somewhere between the brain cells. The brain, however, is a strictly controlled and immune-privileged area that is completely surrounded by a dense barrier that covers the blood vessels: this is the blood-brain barrier...
October 14, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Kurt B Petersen, Martin Burd
The primitive land plant life cycle featured the production of spores of unimodal size, a condition called homospory. The evolution of bimodal size distributions with small male spores and large female spores, known as heterospory, was an innovation that occurred repeatedly in the history of land plants. The importance of desiccation-resistant spores for colonization of the land is well known, but the adaptive value of heterospory has never been well established. It was an addition to a sexual life cycle that already involved male and female gametes...
October 11, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Johan Asplund, David A Wardle
Lichens occur in most terrestrial ecosystems; they are often present as minor contributors, but in some forests, drylands and tundras they can make up most of the ground layer biomass. As such, lichens dominate approximately 8% of the Earth's land surface. Despite their potential importance in driving ecosystem biogeochemistry, the influence of lichens on community processes and ecosystem functioning have attracted relatively little attention. Here, we review the role of lichens in terrestrial ecosystems and draw attention to the important, but often overlooked role of lichens as determinants of ecological processes...
October 11, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Joseph A LaManna, Thomas E Martin
Understanding the causes underlying changes in species diversity is a fundamental pursuit of ecology. Animal species richness and composition often change with decreased forest structural complexity associated with logging. Yet differences in latitude and forest type may strongly influence how species diversity responds to logging. We performed a meta-analysis of logging effects on local species richness and composition of birds across the world and assessed responses by different guilds (nesting strata, foraging strata, diet, and body size)...
October 10, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Eduardo S A Santos, Pedro P Bueno, James D J Gilbert, Glauco Machado
The intensity of biotic interactions varies around the world, in such a way that mortality risk imposed by natural enemies is usually higher in the tropics. A major role of offspring attendance is protection against natural enemies, so the benefits of this behaviour should be higher in tropical regions. We tested this macroecological prediction with a meta-regression of field experiments in which the mortality of guarded and unguarded broods was compared in arthropods. Mortality of unguarded broods was higher, and parental care was more beneficial, in warmer, less seasonal environments...
October 10, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Glenn J Tattersall, Bassel Arnaout, Matthew R E Symonds
The avian bill is a textbook example of how evolution shapes morphology in response to changing environments. Bills of seed-specialist finches in particular have been the focus of intense study demonstrating how climatic fluctuations acting on food availability drive bill size and shape. The avian bill also plays an important but under-appreciated role in body temperature regulation, and therefore in energetics. Birds are endothermic and rely on numerous mechanisms for balancing internal heat production with biophysical constraints of the environment...
October 7, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Maris Hindrikson, Jaanus Remm, Malgorzata Pilot, Raquel Godinho, Astrid Vik Stronen, Laima Baltrūnaité, Sylwia D Czarnomska, Jennifer A Leonard, Ettore Randi, Carsten Nowak, Mikael Åkesson, José Vicente López-Bao, Francisco Álvares, Luis Llaneza, Jorge Echegaray, Carles Vilà, Janis Ozolins, Dainis Rungis, Jouni Aspi, Ladislav Paule, Tomaž Skrbinšek, Urmas Saarma
The grey wolf (Canis lupus) is an iconic large carnivore that has increasingly been recognized as an apex predator with intrinsic value and a keystone species. However, wolves have also long represented a primary source of human-carnivore conflict, which has led to long-term persecution of wolves, resulting in a significant decrease in their numbers, genetic diversity and gene flow between populations. For more effective protection and management of wolf populations in Europe, robust scientific evidence is crucial...
September 28, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Andrea Romano, Alessandra Costanzo, Diego Rubolini, Nicola Saino, Anders Pape Møller
Sexual selection arises from competition among individuals for access to mates, resulting in the evolution of conspicuous sexually selected traits, especially when inter-sexual competition is mediated by mate choice. Different sexual selection regimes may occur among populations/subspecies within the same species. This is particularly the case when mate choice is based on multiple sexually selected traits. However, empirical evidence supporting this hypothesis at the among-populations level is scarce. We conducted a meta-analysis of the intensity of sexual selection on the largest database to date for a single species, the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica), relying on quantitative estimates of sexual selection...
September 12, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Peter Peduzzi
The ecology of viruses has been studied only in a limited number of rivers and streams. In light of a recent re-appraisal of the global fluvial surface area, issues such as abundance and production, host mortality and the influence of suspended particles and biofilms are addressed. Viral life cycles, potential impacts of viruses on water biochemistry and carbon flow, and viral diversity are considered. Variability in trophic levels along with the heterogeneous nature and hydrological dynamics of fluvial environments suggest a prevailingly physical control of virus-related processes under lotic conditions and more biological control under lentic conditions...
November 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Paul S Maxwell, Johan S Eklöf, Marieke M van Katwijk, Katherine R O'Brien, Maricela de la Torre-Castro, Christoffer Boström, Tjeerd J Bouma, Dorte Krause-Jensen, Richard K F Unsworth, Brigitta I van Tussenbroek, Tjisse van der Heide
Seagrass meadows are vital ecosystems in coastal zones worldwide, but are also under global threat. One of the major hurdles restricting the success of seagrass conservation and restoration is our limited understanding of ecological feedback mechanisms. In these ecosystems, multiple, self-reinforcing feedbacks can undermine conservation efforts by masking environmental impacts until the decline is precipitous, or alternatively they can inhibit seagrass recovery in spite of restoration efforts. However, no clear framework yet exists for identifying or dealing with feedbacks to improve the management of seagrass ecosystems...
September 1, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Clara Malouines
Strong selection to secure paternity in polyandrous species leads to the evolution of numerous chemicals in the male's seminal content. These include antiaphrodisiac pheromones, which are transmitted from the male to the female during mating to render her unattractive to subsequent males. An increasing number of species have been shown to use these chemicals. Herein, I examine the taxonomic distribution of species using antiaphrodisiac pheromones, the selection pressures driving their evolution in both males and females, and the ecological interactions in which these pheromones are involved...
August 24, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Zofia F Bielecka, Kamila Maliszewska-Olejniczak, Ilan J Safir, Cezary Szczylik, Anna M Czarnecka
Three-dimensional (3D) cell culture models are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary cancer research and drug resistance studies. Recently, scientists have begun incorporating cancer stem cells (CSCs) into 3D models and modifying culture components in order to mimic in vivo conditions better. Currently, the global cell culture market is primarily focused on either 3D cancer cell cultures or stem cell cultures, with less focus on CSCs. This is evident in the low product availability officially indicated for 3D CSC model research...
August 22, 2016: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
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