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American Naturalist

Sarah N Mattey, Jon Richardson, Tom Ratz, Per T Smiseth
There is mounting evidence that inbreeding can have complex effects on social interactions among inbred and outbred individuals. Here, we investigate effects of offspring and maternal inbreeding on parent-offspring communication in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. We find effects of the interaction between offspring and maternal inbreeding on maternal behavior. Outbred females provided more direct care toward inbred larvae, while inbred females provided similar levels of direct care toward inbred and outbred larvae...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Natalie J Lemanski, Nina H Fefferman
One evolutionary view of aging, the disposable soma theory, suggests that an organism's rate of senescence depends on the amount of energy invested in somatic maintenance. Since organisms have limited energy to allocate among growth, maintenance, and reproduction, the optimal amount of energy to invest in maintenance is influenced by the probability of death from extrinsic causes and the effect of somatic investment on survival. In eusocial animals, the disposable soma theory can be used to explain colonies' energy investment in the longevity of workers, who act as the somatic elements of a superorganism...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Kenji Matsuura, Nobuaki Mizumoto, Kazuya Kobayashi, Tomonari Nozaki, Tadahide Fujita, Toshihisa Yashiro, Taro Fuchikawa, Yuki Mitaka, Edward L Vargo
Eusocial insects exhibit the most striking example of phenotypic plasticity. There has been a long controversy over the factors determining caste development of individuals in social insects. Here we demonstrate that parental phenotypes influence the social status of offspring not through genetic inheritance but through genomic imprinting in termites. Our extensive field survey and genetic analysis of the termite Reticulitermes speratus show that its breeding system is inconsistent with a genetic caste determination model...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Andrew J Conith, Molly A Meagher, Elizabeth R Dumont
Biodiversity is unevenly distributed in space and time. One possible explanation for this is the influence of climate on the ecology, evolution, and morphology of taxa. Here we investigated the link between climatic variability and phenotypic integration, rates of morphological evolution, and disparity (morphological diversity) in three carnivoran clades (Canidae, Felidae, and Mustelidae). We gathered landmark data from the lower jaw and extracted current temperature and precipitation data from range maps. We found a significant negative relationship between climatic variability and integration for canids and felids...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Daniel J Wieczynski, Paul E Turner, David A Vasseur
As global environmental conditions continue to change at an unprecedented rate, many species will experience increases in natural and anthropogenic stress. Generally speaking, selection is expected to favor adaptations that reduce the negative impact of environmental stress (i.e., stress tolerance). However, natural environmental variables typically fluctuate, exhibiting various degrees of temporal autocorrelation, known as environmental colors, which may complicate evolutionary responses to stress. Here we combine experiments and theory to show that temporal environmental autocorrelation can determine long-term evolutionary responses to stress without affecting the total amount of stress experienced over time...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Andrea S Grunst, Melissa L Grunst, Vince A Formica, Marisa L Korody, Adam M Betuel, Margarida Barcelo-Serra, Sarah Ford, Rusty A Gonser, Elaina M Tuttle
How reproductive strategies contribute to patterns of senescence in natural populations remains contentious. We studied reproductive senescence in the dimorphic white-throated sparrow, an excellent species for exploring this issue. Within both sexes the morphs use distinct reproductive strategies, and disassortative pairing by morph results in pair types with distinct parental systems. White morph birds are more colorful and aggressive than tan counterparts, and white males compete for extrapair matings, whereas tan males are more parental...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Steven Poe, Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca, Omar Torres-Carvajal, Kevin de Queiroz, Julián A Velasco, Brad Truett, Levi N Gray, Mason J Ryan, Gunther Köhler, Fernando Ayala-Varela, Ian Latella
Adaptive radiation is a widely recognized pattern of evolution wherein substantial phenotypic change accompanies rapid speciation. Adaptive radiation may be triggered by environmental opportunities resulting from dispersal to new areas or via the evolution of traits, called key innovations, that allow for invasion of new niches. Species sampling is a known source of bias in many comparative analyses, yet classic adaptive radiations have not been studied comparatively with comprehensively sampled phylogenies...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Erik I Svensson, Miguel A Gómez-Llano, Anais Rivas Torres, Hanna M Bensch
The coexistence of ecologically similar species might be counteracted by ecological drift and demographic stochasticity, both of which erode local diversity. With niche differentiation, species can be maintained through performance trade-offs between environments, but trade-offs are difficult to invoke for species with similar ecological niches. Such similar species might then go locally extinct due to stochastic ecological drift, but there is little empirical evidence for such processes. Previous studies have relied on biogeographical surveys and inferred process from pattern, while experimental field investigations of ecological drift are rare...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Carolyn M Bauer, Jessica L Graham, Mikus Abolins-Abols, Britt J Heidinger, Ellen D Ketterson, Timothy J Greives
Female vertebrates that breed earlier in the season generally have greater reproductive success. However, evidence suggests that breeding early may be costly, thus leading to the prediction that females with fewer future reproductive events will breed earlier in the season. While chronological age is a good indicator of remaining life span, telomere lengths may also be good biomarkers of longevity as they potentially reflect lifetime wear and tear (i.e., biological age). We examined whether variation in the timing of the first seasonal clutch was related to age and telomere length in female dark-eyed juncos (Junco hyemalis), predicting that older females and those with shorter telomeres would breed earlier...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Juan A Fargallo, Félix Martínez, Kazumasa Wakamatsu, David Serrano, Guillermo Blanco
To understand whether early phenotypes are adaptive, knowledge of the environmental factors involved in their variation and the derived benefits from their expression is needed. Temperature and sunlight are considered two major selective forces influencing phenotypic coloration of birds at a global scale. However, within-population color adaptations in response to sunlight temperature variation have been scarcely investigated, and their acclimatization capacity is currently unknown. In addition, the sexes differ in their sensitivity to environmental factors during growth...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Callin M Switzer, Stacey A Combes, Robin Hopkins
The astonishing amount of floral diversity has inspired countless assumptions about the function of diverse forms and their adaptive significance, yet many of these hypothesized functions are untested. We investigated an often-repeated adaptive hypothesis about how an extreme floral form functions. In this study, we conducted four investigations to understand the adaptive function of explosive pollination in Kalmia latifolia, the mountain laurel. We first performed a kinematic analysis of anther movement. Second, we constructed a heat map of pollen trajectories in three-dimensional space...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Meike J Wittmann, Tadashi Fukami
Inhibitory priority effects, in which early-arriving species exclude competing species from local communities, are thought to enhance regional species diversity via community divergence. Theory suggests, however, that these same priority effects make it difficult for species to coexist in the region unless individuals are continuously supplied from an external species pool, often an unrealistic assumption. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary hypothesis to solve this conundrum. We build a metacommunity model in which local priority effects occur between two species via interspecific interference...
June 2018: American Naturalist
Seth D Haney, Adam M Siepielski
Global climate change has made what were seemingly extraordinary environmental conditions, such as prolonged droughts, commonplace. One consequence of extreme environmental change is concomitant changes in resource abundance. How will such extreme resource changes impact biodiversity? We developed a trait-based consumer-resource model to examine how resource abundance affects the potential for adaptive evolution and coexistence among competitors. We found that moderate changes in resource abundance have little effect on trait evolution...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Kimberly S Sheldon, Raymond B Huey, Michael Kaspari, Nathan J Sanders
In 1967, Dan Janzen published "Why Mountain Passes Are Higher in the Tropics" in The American Naturalist. Janzen's seminal article has captured the attention of generations of biologists and continues to inspire theoretical and empirical work. The underlying assumptions and derived predictions are broadly synthetic and widely applicable. Consequently, Janzen's "seasonality hypothesis" has proven relevant to physiology, climate change, ecology, and evolution. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this highly influential article, we highlight the past, present, and future of this work and include a unique historical perspective from Janzen himself...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Vikram B Baliga, Rita S Mehta
Phenotypic convergence is a macroevolutionary pattern that need not be consistent across life history. Ontogenetic transitions in dietary specialization clearly illustrate the dynamics of ecological selection as organisms grow. The extent of phenotypic convergence among taxa that share a similar ecological niche may therefore vary ontogenetically. Because ontogenetic processes have been shown to evolve, phylogenetic comparative methods can be useful in examining how the scaling of traits relates to ecology...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Kyle F Edwards, Grieg F Steward
Viruses are integral to ecological and evolutionary processes, but we have a poor understanding of what drives variation in key traits across diverse viruses. For lytic viruses, burst size, latent period, and genome size are primary characteristics controlling host-virus dynamics. Here we synthesize data on these traits for 75 strains of phytoplankton viruses, which play an important role in global biogeochemistry. We find that primary traits of the host (genome size, growth rate) explain 40%-50% of variation in burst size and latent period...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Elizabeth A Tibbetts, Allison Injaian, Michael J Sheehan, Nicole Desjardins
Research on individual recognition often focuses on species-typical recognition abilities rather than assessing intraspecific variation in recognition. As individual recognition is cognitively costly, the capacity for recognition may vary within species. We test how individual face recognition differs between nest-founding queens (foundresses) and workers in Polistes fuscatus paper wasps. Individual recognition mediates dominance interactions among foundresses. Three previously published experiments have shown that foundresses (1) benefit by advertising their identity with distinctive facial patterns that facilitate recognition, (2) have robust memories of individuals, and (3) rapidly learn to distinguish between face images...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Carolyn A Wessinger, John K Kelly
Pollinator-mediated selection on plants can favor transitions to a new pollinator depending on the relative abundances and efficiencies of pollinators present in the community. A frequently observed example is the transition from bee pollination to hummingbird pollination. We present a population genetic model that examines whether the ability to inbreed can influence evolutionary change in traits that underlie pollinator attraction. We find that a transition to a more efficient but less abundant pollinator is favored under a broadened set of ecological conditions if plants are capable of delayed selfing rather than obligately outcrossing...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Katherine A Hovanes, Kyle E Harms, Paul R Gagnon, Jonathan A Myers, Bret D Elderd
Spatial patterning is a key natural history attribute of sessile organisms that frequently emerges from and dictates potential for interactions among organisms. We tested whether bunchgrasses, the dominant plant functional group in longleaf pine savanna groundcover communities, are nonrandomly patterned by characterizing the spatial dispersion of three bunchgrass species across six sites in Louisiana and Florida. We mapped bunchgrass tussocks of >5.0 cm basal diameter in three [Formula: see text] plots at each site...
May 2018: American Naturalist
Ryan R Germain, Peter Arcese, Jane M Reid
The evolutionary benefits of simultaneous polyandry (female multiple mating within a single reproductive event) remain elusive. One potential benefit could arise if polyandry alters sibship structures and consequent relationships and relatedness among females' descendants, thereby intrinsically reducing future inbreeding risk (the indirect inbreeding avoidance hypothesis). However such effects have not been quantified in naturally complex mating systems that also encompass iteroparity, overlapping generations, sequential polyandry, and polygyny...
May 2018: American Naturalist
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