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Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Rosalind K Humphreys, Graeme D Ruxton
Dropping is a common antipredator defence that enables rapid escape from a perceived threat. However, despite its immediate effectiveness in predator-prey encounters (and against other dangers such as a parasitoid or an aggressive conspecific), it remains an under-appreciated defence strategy in the scientific literature. Dropping has been recorded in a wide range of taxa, from primates to lizards, but has been studied most commonly in insects. Insects have been found to utilise dropping in response to both biotic and abiotic stimuli, sometimes dependent on mechanical or chemical cues...
October 9, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Allan Raffard, Frédéric Santoul, Julien Cucherousset, Simon Blanchet
Understanding the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning has major implications. Biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships are generally investigated at the interspecific level, although intraspecific diversity (i.e. within-species diversity) is increasingly perceived as an important ecological facet of biodiversity. Here, we provide a quantitative and integrative synthesis testing, across diverse plant and animal species, whether intraspecific diversity is a major driver of community dynamics and ecosystem functioning...
October 7, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Friederike C Bolam, Matthew J Grainger, Kerrie L Mengersen, Gavin B Stewart, William J Sutherland, Michael C Runge, Philip J K McGowan
Conservation decisions are challenging, not only because they often involve difficult conflicts among outcomes that people value, but because our understanding of the natural world and our effects on it is fraught with uncertainty. Value of Information (VoI) methods provide an approach for understanding and managing uncertainty from the standpoint of the decision maker. These methods are commonly used in other fields (e.g. economics, public health) and are increasingly used in biodiversity conservation. This decision-analytical approach can identify the best management alternative to select where the effectiveness of interventions is uncertain, and can help to decide when to act and when to delay action until after further research...
October 2, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Uroš Cerkvenik, Dimitra Dodou, Johan L van Leeuwen, Sander W S Gussekloo
Hemipterans, mosquitoes, and parasitic wasps probe in a variety of substrates to find hosts for their larvae or food sources. Probes capable of sensing and precise steering enable insects to navigate through solid substrates without visual information and to reach targets that are hidden deep inside the substrate. The probes belong to non-related taxa and originate from abdominal structures (wasps) or mouthparts (hemipterans and mosquitoes), but nevertheless share several morphological characteristics. Although the transport function clearly differs (egg laying and acquisition of liquid food), the functional demands on the mechanical behaviour of the probe within the substrate tend to be similar...
September 26, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Javier Sánchez-Hernández, Andy D Nunn, Colin E Adams, Per-Arne Amundsen
Ontogenetic dietary shifts (ODSs), the changes in diet utilisation occurring over the life span of an individual consumer, are widespread in the animal kingdom. Understanding ODSs provides fundamental insights into the biological and ecological processes that function at the individual, population and community levels, and is critical for the development and testing of hypotheses around key concepts in trophic theory on model organisms. Here, we synthesise historic and contemporary research on ODSs in fishes, and identify where further research is required...
September 24, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Elise Buisson, Soizig Le Stradic, Fernando A O Silveira, Giselda Durigan, Gerhard E Overbeck, Alessandra Fidelis, G Wilson Fernandes, William J Bond, Julia-Maria Hermann, Gregory Mahy, Swanni T Alvarado, Nicholas P Zaloumis, Joseph W Veldman
Despite growing recognition of the conservation values of grassy biomes, our understanding of how to maintain and restore biodiverse tropical grasslands (including savannas and open-canopy grassy woodlands) remains limited. To incorporate grasslands into large-scale restoration efforts, we synthesised existing ecological knowledge of tropical grassland resilience and approaches to plant community restoration. Tropical grassland plant communities are resilient to, and often dependent on, the endogenous disturbances with which they evolved - frequent fires and native megafaunal herbivory...
September 24, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Amanda L Subalusky, David M Post
The transport of resource subsidies by animals has been documented across a range of species and ecosystems. Although many of these studies have shown that animal resource subsidies can have significant effects on nutrient cycling, ecosystem productivity, and food-web structure, there is a great deal of variability in the occurrence and strength of these effects. Here we propose a conceptual framework for understanding the context dependency of animal resource subsidies, and for developing and testing predictions about the effects of animal subsidies over space and time...
September 24, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Tanja Schulz-Mirbach, Friedrich Ladich, Martin Plath, Martin Heß
Otoliths in bony fishes play an important role in the senses of balance and hearing. Otolith mass and shape are, among others, likely to be decisive factors influencing otolith motion and thus ear functioning. Yet our knowledge of how exactly these factors influence otolith motion is incomplete. In addition, experimental studies directly investigating the function of otoliths in the inner ear are scarce and yield partly conflicting results. Herein, we discuss questions and hypotheses on how otolith mass and shape, and the relationship between the sensory epithelium and overlying otolith, influence otolith motion...
September 21, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Liang Wang, Xiongjun Ye, Tongbiao Zhao
Autophagy is primarily an efficient intracellular catabolic pathway used for degradation of abnormal cellular protein aggregates and damaged organelles. Although autophagy was initially proposed to be a cellular stress responder, increasing evidence suggests that it carries out normal physiological roles in multiple biological processes. To date, autophagy has been identified in most organs and at many different developmental stages, indicating that it is not only essential for cellular homeostasis and renovation, but is also important for organ development...
September 21, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Cinzia Trapanese, Hélène Meunier, Shelly Masi
When exploiting the environment, animals have to discriminate, track, and integrate salient spatial cues to navigate and identify goal sites. Actually, they have to know what can be found (e.g. what fruit), where (e.g. on which tree) and when (in what season or moment of the year). This is very relevant for primate species as they often live in seasonal and relatively unpredictable environments such as tropical forests. Here, we review and compare different approaches used to investigate primate spatial foraging strategies: from direct observations of wild primates to predictions from statistical simulations, including experimental approaches on both captive and wild primates, and experiments in captivity using virtual reality technology...
September 13, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Eduardo Fernández-Pascual, Efisio Mattana, Hugh W Pritchard
Plant persistence and migration in face of climate change depends on successful reproduction by seed, a central aspect of plant life that drives population dynamics, community assembly and species distributions. Plant reproduction by seed is a chain of physiological processes, the rates of which are a function of temperature, and can be modelled using thermal time models. Importantly, while seed reproduction responds to its instantaneous thermal environment, there is also evidence of phenotypic plasticity in response to the thermal history experienced by the plant's recent ancestors, by the reproducing plant since seedling establishment, and by its seeds both before and after their release...
September 6, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Emmanuelle S Briolat, Emily R Burdfield-Steel, Sarah C Paul, Katja H Rönkä, Brett M Seymoure, Theodore Stankowich, Adam M M Stuckert
Aposematic theory has historically predicted that predators should select for warning signals to converge on a single form, as a result of frequency-dependent learning. However, widespread variation in warning signals is observed across closely related species, populations and, most problematically for evolutionary biologists, among individuals in the same population. Recent research has yielded an increased awareness of this diversity, challenging the paradigm of signal monomorphy in aposematic animals. Here we provide a comprehensive synthesis of these disparate lines of investigation, identifying within them three broad classes of explanation for variation in aposematic warning signals: genetic mechanisms, differences among predators and predator behaviour, and alternative selection pressures upon the signal...
August 27, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Abu Musa Md Talimur Reza, Yun-Jung Choi, Sung Gu Han, Hyuk Song, Chankyu Park, Kwonho Hong, Jin-Hoi Kim
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are active regulators of numerous biological and physiological processes including most of the events of mammalian reproduction. Understanding the biological functions of miRNAs in the context of mammalian reproduction will allow a better and comparative understanding of fertility and sterility in male and female mammals. Herein, we summarize recent progress in miRNA-mediated regulation of mammalian reproduction and highlight the significance of miRNAs in different aspects of mammalian reproduction including the biogenesis of germ cells, the functionality of reproductive organs, and the development of early embryos...
August 27, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Daniel H Mann, Pamela Groves, Benjamin V Gaglioti, Beth A Shapiro
Controversy persists about why so many large-bodied mammal species went extinct around the end of the last ice age. Resolving this is important for understanding extinction processes in general, for assessing the ecological roles of humans, and for conserving remaining megafaunal species, many of which are endangered today. Here we explore an integrative hypothesis that asserts that an underlying cause of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions was a fundamental shift in the spatio-temporal fabric of ecosystems worldwide...
August 22, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Jonas Jourdan, Martin Plath, Jonathan D Tonkin, Maria Ceylan, Arlena C Dumeier, Georg Gellert, Wolfram Graf, Charles P Hawkins, Ellen Kiel, Armin W Lorenz, Christoph D Matthaei, Piet F M Verdonschot, Ralf C M Verdonschot, Peter Haase
Species reintroductions - the translocation of individuals to areas in which a species has been extirpated with the aim of re-establishing a self-sustaining population - have become a widespread practice in conservation biology. Reintroduction projects have tended to focus on terrestrial vertebrates and, to a lesser extent, fishes. Much less effort has been devoted to the reintroduction of invertebrates into restored freshwater habitats. Yet, reintroductions may improve restoration outcomes in regions where impoverished regional species pools limit the self-recolonisation of restored freshwaters...
August 22, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Wai Yeow Lee, Maulana Bachtiar, Cheryl C S Choo, Caroline G Lee
PubMed was text mined to glean insights into the role of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) from the massive number of publications (9249) available to date. Reports from ∼70 countries identified >1300 human genes associated with either the Core, Surface or X gene in HBV-associated HCC. One hundred and forty-three of these host genes, which can potentially yield 1180 biomolecular interactions, each were reported in at least three different publications to be associated with the same HBV...
August 13, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Malte Andersson, Matti Åhlund, Peter Waldeck
Conspecific brood parasitism (CBP) is a reproductive tactic in which parasitic females lay eggs in nests of other females of the same species that then raise the joint brood. Parasites benefit by increased reproduction, without costs of parental care for the parasitic eggs. CBP occurs in many egg-laying animals, among birds most often in species with large clutches and self-feeding young: two major factors facilitating successful parasitism. CBP is particularly common in waterfowl (Anatidae), a group with female-biased natal philopatry and locally related females...
August 2, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Abhijit Nirwane, Yao Yao
Laminin, an extracellular matrix protein, is widely expressed in the central nervous system (CNS). By interacting with integrin and non-integrin receptors, laminin exerts a large variety of important functions in the CNS in both physiological and pathological conditions. Due to the existence of many laminin isoforms and their differential expression in various cell types in the CNS, the exact functions of each individual laminin molecule in CNS development and homeostasis remain largely unclear. In this review, we first briefly introduce the structure and biochemistry of laminins and their receptors...
August 2, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Isaac Schamberg, Roman M Wittig, Catherine Crockford
After 40 years of debate it remains unclear whether signallers produce vocalizations in order to provide receivers with information about call context or external stimuli. This has led some researchers to propose that call production is arousal- or affect-based. Although arousal influences certain acoustic parameters within a call type, we argue that it cannot explain why individuals across vertebrates produce different call types. Given emerging evidence that calls are goal-based, we argue that call type is a signal of a caller's goal to elicit a change in receiver behaviour...
November 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Jordan Bestwick, David M Unwin, Richard J Butler, Donald M Henderson, Mark A Purnell
Pterosaurs are an extinct group of Mesozoic flying reptiles, whose fossil record extends from approximately 210 to 66 million years ago. They were integral components of continental and marginal marine ecosystems, yet their diets remain poorly constrained. Numerous dietary hypotheses have been proposed for different pterosaur groups, including insectivory, piscivory, carnivory, durophagy, herbivory/frugivory, filter-feeding and generalism. These hypotheses, and subsequent interpretations of pterosaur diet, are supported by qualitative (content fossils, associations, ichnology, comparative anatomy) and/or quantitative (functional morphology, stable isotope analysis) evidence...
November 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
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