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Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Martin Stevens, Graeme D Ruxton
Animal camouflage represents one of the most important ways of preventing (or facilitating) predation. It attracted the attention of the earliest evolutionary biologists, and today remains a focus of investigation in areas ranging from evolutionary ecology, animal decision-making, optimal strategies, visual psychology, computer science, to materials science. Most work focuses on the role of animal morphology per se, and its interactions with the background in affecting detection and recognition. However, the behaviour of organisms is likely to be crucial in affecting camouflage too, through background choice, body orientation and positioning; and strategies of camouflage that require movement...
June 21, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Alejandro Rico-Guevara, Kristiina J Hurme
We propose a practical concept that distinguishes the particular kind of weaponry that has evolved to be used in combat between individuals of the same species and sex, which we term intrasexually selected weapons (ISWs). We present a treatise of ISWs in nature, aiming to understand their distinction and evolution from other secondary sex traits, including from 'sexually selected weapons', and from sexually dimorphic and monomorphic weaponry. We focus on the subset of secondary sex traits that are the result of same-sex combat, defined here as ISWs, provide not previously reported evolutionary patterns, and offer hypotheses to answer questions such as: why have only some species evolved weapons to fight for the opposite sex or breeding resources? We examined traits that seem to have evolved as ISWs in the entire animal phylogeny, restricting the classification of ISW to traits that are only present or enlarged in adults of one of the sexes, and are used as weapons during intrasexual fights...
June 20, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Eva Delmas, Mathilde Besson, Marie-Hélène Brice, Laura A Burkle, Giulio V Dalla Riva, Marie-Josée Fortin, Dominique Gravel, Paulo R Guimarães, David H Hembry, Erica A Newman, Jens M Olesen, Mathias M Pires, Justin D Yeakel, Timothée Poisot
Network approaches to ecological questions have been increasingly used, particularly in recent decades. The abstraction of ecological systems - such as communities - through networks of interactions between their components indeed provides a way to summarize this information with single objects. The methodological framework derived from graph theory also provides numerous approaches and measures to analyze these objects and can offer new perspectives on established ecological theories as well as tools to address new challenges...
June 20, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Anton M Potapov, Alexei V Tiunov, Stefan Scheu
Despite the major importance of soil biota in nutrient and energy fluxes, interactions in soil food webs are poorly understood. Here we provide an overview of recent advances in uncovering the trophic structure of soil food webs using natural variations in stable isotope ratios. We discuss approaches of application, normalization and interpretation of stable isotope ratios along with methodological pitfalls. Analysis of published data from temperate forest ecosystems is used to outline emerging concepts and perspectives in soil food web research...
June 19, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Isaac Schamberg, Roman M Wittig, Catharine 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...
June 12, 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...
June 7, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Andreas H Schweiger, Isabelle Boulangeat, Timo Conradi, Matt Davis, Jens-Christian Svenning
Increasing human pressure on strongly defaunated ecosystems is characteristic of the Anthropocene and calls for proactive restoration approaches that promote self-sustaining, functioning ecosystems. However, the suitability of novel restoration concepts such as trophic rewilding is still under discussion given fragmentary empirical data and limited theory development. Here, we develop a theoretical framework that integrates the concept of 'ecological memory' into trophic rewilding. The ecological memory of an ecosystem is defined as an ecosystem's accumulated abiotic and biotic material and information legacies from past dynamics...
June 6, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
An C Hsiung, W Alice Boyle, Robert J Cooper, Richard B Chandler
Animal migration has been the subject of intensive research for more than a century, but most research has focused on long-distance rather than short-distance migration. Altitudinal migration is a form of short-distance migration in which individuals perform seasonal elevational movements. Despite its geographic and taxonomic ubiquity, there is relatively little information about the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that influence altitudinal migratory behaviour. Without this information, it is difficult to predict how rapid environmental changes will affect population viability of altitudinal migrants...
June 6, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Jenny Melo Clavijo, Alexander Donath, João Serôdio, Gregor Christa
Mutualistic symbioses are common throughout the animal kingdom. Rather unusual is a form of symbiosis, photosymbiosis, where animals are symbiotic with photoautotrophic organisms. Photosymbiosis is found among sponges, cnidarians, flatworms, molluscs, ascidians and even some amphibians. Generally the animal host harbours a phototrophic partner, usually a cyanobacteria or a unicellular alga. An exception to this rule is found in some sea slugs, which only retain the chloroplasts of the algal food source and maintain them photosynthetically active in their own cytosol - a phenomenon called 'functional kleptoplasty'...
May 28, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Shama P Kabekkodu, Vaibhav Shukla, Vinay K Varghese, Jivetha D' Souza, Sanjiban Chakrabarty, Kapaettu Satyamoorthy
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous, small non-coding RNAs known to regulate expression of protein-coding genes. A large proportion of miRNAs are highly conserved, localized as clusters in the genome, transcribed together from physically adjacent miRNAs and show similar expression profiles. Since a single miRNA can target multiple genes and miRNA clusters contain multiple miRNAs, it is important to understand their regulation, effects and various biological functions. Like protein-coding genes, miRNA clusters are also regulated by genetic and epigenetic events...
May 24, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Oleg N Tikhodeyev
Although epigenetic inheritance (EI) is a rapidly growing field of modern biology, it still has no clear place in fundamental genetic concepts which are traditionally based on the hereditary role of DNA. Moreover, not all mechanisms of EI attract the same attention, with most studies focused on DNA methylation, histone modification, RNA interference and amyloid prionization, but relatively few considering other mechanisms such as stable inhibition of plastid translation. Herein, we discuss all known and some hypothetical mechanisms that can underlie the stable inheritance of phenotypically distinct hereditary factors that lack differences in DNA sequence...
May 22, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Staffan Roos, Jennifer Smart, David W Gibbons, Jeremy D Wilson
The impact of increasing vertebrate predator numbers on bird populations is widely debated among the general public, game managers and conservationists across Europe. However, there are few systematic reviews of whether predation limits the population sizes of European bird species. Views on the impacts of predation are particularly polarised in the UK, probably because the UK has a globally exceptional culture of intensive, high-yield gamebird management where predator removal is the norm. In addition, most apex predators have been exterminated or much depleted in numbers, contributing to a widely held perception that the UK has high numbers of mesopredators...
May 22, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Gloriana Chaverri, Leonardo Ancillotto, Danilo Russo
Bats represent one of the most diverse mammalian orders, not only in terms of species numbers, but also in their ecology and life histories. Many species are known to use ephemeral and/or unpredictable resources that require substantial investment to find and defend, and also engage in social interactions, thus requiring significant levels of social coordination. To accomplish these tasks, bats must be able to communicate; there is now substantial evidence that demonstrates the complexity of bat communication and the varied ways in which bats solve some of the problems associated with their unique life histories...
May 15, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Jantina Toxopeus, Brent J Sinclair
Freeze tolerance - the ability to survive internal ice formation - has evolved repeatedly in insects, facilitating survival in environments with low temperatures and/or high risk of freezing. Surviving internal ice formation poses several challenges because freezing can cause cellular dehydration and mechanical damage, and restricts the opportunity to metabolise and respond to environmental challenges. While freeze-tolerant insects accumulate many potentially protective molecules, there is no apparent 'magic bullet' - a molecule or class of molecules that appears to be necessary or sufficient to support this cold-tolerance strategy...
May 10, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Simon J Brandl, Christopher H R Goatley, David R Bellwood, Luke Tornabene
Teleost fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates on Earth. On tropical coral reefs, their species richness exceeds 6000 species; one tenth of total vertebrate biodiversity. A large proportion of this diversity is composed of cryptobenthic reef fishes (CRFs): bottom-dwelling, morphologically or behaviourally cryptic species typically less than 50 mm in length. Yet, despite their diversity and abundance, these fishes are both poorly defined and understood. Herein we provide a new quantitative definition and synthesise current knowledge on the diversity, distribution and life history of CRFs...
May 7, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Ingrid Olivares, Dirk N Karger, Michael Kessler
Is there a maximum number of species that can coexist? Intuitively, we assume an upper limit to the number of species in a given assemblage, or that a lineage can produce, but defining and testing this limit has proven problematic. Herein, we first outline seven general challenges of studies on species saturation, most of which are independent of the actual method used to assess saturation. Among these are the challenge of defining saturation conceptually and operationally, the importance of setting an appropriate referential system, and the need to discriminate among patterns, processes and mechanisms...
May 7, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Colin J Carlson, Wayne M Getz, Kyrre L Kausrud, Carrie A Cizauskas, Jason K Blackburn, Fausto A Bustos Carrillo, Rita Colwell, W Ryan Easterday, Holly H Ganz, Pauline L Kamath, Ole A Økstad, Wendy C Turner, Anne-Brit Kolstø, Nils C Stenseth
Environmentally transmitted diseases are comparatively poorly understood and managed, and their ecology is particularly understudied. Here we identify challenges of studying environmental transmission and persistence with a six-sided interdisciplinary review of the biology of anthrax (Bacillus anthracis). Anthrax is a zoonotic disease capable of maintaining infectious spore banks in soil for decades (or even potentially centuries), and the mechanisms of its environmental persistence have been the topic of significant research and controversy...
May 6, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Tian-Xia Jiang, Mei Zhao, Xiao-Bo Qiu
Proteasomes are responsible for the turnover of most cellular proteins, and thus are critical to almost all cellular activities. A substrate entering the proteasome must first bind to a substrate receptor. Substrate receptors can be classified as ubiquitin receptors and non-ubiquitin receptors. The intrinsic ubiquitin receptors, including proteasome regulatory particle base subunits 1, 10 and 13 (Rpn1, Rpn10, and Rpn13), determine the capability of the proteasome to recognize a ubiquitin chain, and thus provide selectivity for the 26S proteasome...
May 6, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
Leyla J Seyfullah, Christina Beimforde, Jacopo Dal Corso, Vincent Perrichot, Jouko Rikkinen, Alexander R Schmidt
Amber is fossilised plant resin. It can be used to provide insights into the terrestrial conditions at the time the original resin was exuded. Amber research thus can inform many aspects of palaeontology, from the recovery and description of enclosed fossil organisms (biological inclusions) to attempts at reconstruction of past climates and environments. Here we focus on the resin itself, the conditions under which it may have been exuded, and its potential path to fossilisation, rather than on enclosed fossils...
May 4, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
India Mansour, Catherine M Heppell, Masahiro Ryo, Matthias C Rillig
Flows of water, soil, litter, and anthropogenic materials in and around rivers lead to the mixing of their resident microbial communities and subsequently to a resultant community distinct from its precursors. Consideration of these events through a new conceptual lens, namely, community coalescence, could provide a means of integrating physical, environmental, and ecological mechanisms to predict microbial community assembly patterns better in these habitats. Here, we review field studies of microbial communities in riverine habitats where environmental mixing regularly occurs, interpret some of these studies within the community coalescence framework and posit novel hypotheses and insights that may be gained in riverine microbial ecology through the application of this concept...
April 26, 2018: Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
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