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American Naturalist

Boris Sauterey, Ben Ward, Jonathan Rault, Chris Bowler, David Claessen
Models of community assembly have been used to illustrate how the many functionally diverse species that compose plankton food webs can coexist. However, the evolutionary processes leading to the emergence of plankton food webs and their interplay with migratory processes and spatial heterogeneity are yet to be explored. We study the eco-evolutionary dynamics of a modeled plankton community structured in both size and space and physiologically constrained by empirical data. We demonstrate that a complex yet ecologically and evolutionarily stable size-structured food web can emerge from an initial set of two monomorphic phytoplankton and zooplankton populations...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Hanna Ten Brink, André M de Roos
Many free-living animal species, including the majority of fish, insects, and amphibians, change their food and habitat during their life. Even though these ontogenetic changes in niche are common, it is not well understood which ecological conditions have favored the evolution of these shifts. Using an adaptive dynamics approach, we show that it is evolutionarily advantageous to switch to an alternative food source in the course of ontogeny when this results in a higher intake rate for the switching consumers...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Cecilia S Andreazzi, John N Thompson, Paulo R Guimarães
Ecological interactions shape and are shaped by the evolution of interacting species. Mathematical models and empirical work have explored the multiple ways coevolution could occur in small sets of species, revealing that the addition of even one species can change the coevolutionary dynamics of a pairwise interaction. As a consequence, one of the current challenges in evolutionary biology is to understand how species-rich assemblages evolve and coevolve as networks of interacting species. We combined an adaptive network framework, a trait evolutionary model, and data on network structure to study how network organization affects and is affected by selection in antagonistic interactions such as parasitism, predation, and herbivory...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Steinar Engen, Bernt-Erik Sæther
Evolutionary adaptations following environmental deterioration can sometimes rescue populations from extinction. Here we provide a scenario in which such evolutionary rescue will be difficult. Using a rather general model for fluctuating r- and K-selection in a density-dependent population, we show that reduction of available resources will not necessarily induce evolution of adaptations to counteract such changes provided that density regulation acts through available resources per individual. In large populations, resource depletion may induce a change in stationary distribution of population size while the optimal phenotype remains unchanged...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Malte Jochum, Andrew D Barnes, David Ott, Birgit Lang, Bernhard Klarner, Achmad Farajallah, Stefan Scheu, Ulrich Brose
Living organisms are constrained by both resource quantity and quality. Ecological stoichiometry offers important insights into how the elemental composition of resources affects their consumers. If resource quality decreases, consumers can respond by shifting their body stoichiometry, avoiding low-quality resources, or up-regulating feeding rates to maintain the supply of required elements while excreting excess carbon (i.e., compensatory feeding). We analyzed multitrophic consumer body stoichiometry, biomass, and feeding rates along a resource-quality gradient in the litter of tropical forest and rubber and oil-palm plantations...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Daniel S Moen, John J Wiens
A major goal of ecology and evolutionary biology is to explain patterns of species richness among clades. Differences in rates of net diversification (speciation minus extinction over time) may often explain these patterns, but the factors that drive variation in diversification rates remain uncertain. Three important candidates are climatic niche position (e.g., whether clades are primarily temperate or tropical), rates of climatic niche change among species within clades, and microhabitat (e.g., aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal)...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Julia B Saltz, Seana Lymer, Jessica Gabrielian, Sergey V Nuzhdin
Correlations among traits, including behaviors, are important because traits that are genetically correlated may not evolve independently. Recently, behavioral-correlations research has expanded to include correlations not only in mean-level behaviors but also in behavioral plasticity, that is, the degree to which individuals change their behavior in response to environmental stimuli. Positive correlations among behavioral plasticities would imply that individuals or genotypes that are behaviorally plastic in one way may also be plastic in other ways; negative correlations could imply trade-offs...
July 2017: American Naturalist
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July 2017: American Naturalist
Krista B Oke, Gregor Rolshausen, Caroline LeBlond, Andrew P Hendry
Evidence of phenotypic parallelism is often used to infer the deterministic role played by natural selection. However, variation in the extent or direction of divergence is often evident among independent evolutionary replicates, raising the following question: just how parallel, overall, is parallel evolution? We answer this question through a comparative analysis of studies of fishes, a taxon where parallel evolution has been much discussed. We first ask how much of the among-population variance in phenotypic traits can be explained by different "environment" types, such as high predation versus low predation or benthic versus limnetic...
July 2017: American Naturalist
W Scott Persons, John Acorn
Among the largest and most abundant aquatic predators during much of the early evolution of vertebrates, eurypterids have long been an iconic and intensely studied group of Paleozoic arthropods. We report a new specimen of the eurypterid Slimonia acuminata, which includes a fully articulated series of tail (postabdominal and telsonal) segments preserved in a tight lateral curve. Such a high degree of apparent lateral tail flexibility has not been previously recognized in eurypterids. From the perspective of hydrodynamics, the dorsoventrally flattened body plan of eurypterids would have limited the effectiveness of lateral tail motion as a means of propulsion...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Clayton E Cressler, Stefan Bengtson, William A Nelson
Individual differences in genetics, age, or environment can cause tremendous differences in individual life-history traits. This individual heterogeneity generates demographic heterogeneity at the population level, which is predicted to have a strong impact on both ecological and evolutionary dynamics. However, we know surprisingly little about the sources of individual heterogeneity for particular taxa or how different sources scale up to impact ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Here we experimentally study the individual heterogeneity that emerges from both genetic and nongenetic sources in a species of freshwater zooplankton across a large gradient of food quality...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Justine J Allen, Derya Akkaynak, Alexandra K Schnell, Roger T Hanlon
Male cuttlefish compete for females with a repertoire of visually dramatic behaviors. Laboratory experiments have explored this system in Sepia officinalis, but corroborative field data have eluded collection attempts by many researchers. While scuba diving in Turkey, we fortuitously filmed an intense sequence of consort/intruder behaviors in which the consort lost and then regained his female mate from the intruder. These agonistic bouts escalated in stages, leading to fast dramatic expression of the elaborate intense zebra display and culminating in biting and inking as the intruder male attempted a forced copulation of the female...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Matthew M Osmond, Sarah P Otto, Christopher A Klausmeier
To persist in a changing world, populations must adapt. The ability to adapt is influenced by interactions with other species, such as predators. Recent experiments and theory suggest that selective pressures arising from predation may help prey adapt phenotypically to changing environments, but how this influences persistence remains unclear. In particular, it has not yet been shown whether predator-induced adaptation can outweigh predator-imposed reductions in population size, allowing prey to persist when they would otherwise go extinct...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Carl Simpson, Jeremy B C Jackson, Amalia Herrera-Cubilla
Colonial animals commonly exhibit morphologically polymorphic modular units that are phenotypically distinct and specialize in specific functional tasks. But how and why these polymorphic modules have evolved is poorly understood. Across colonial invertebrates, there is wide variation in the degree of polymorphism, from none in colonial ascidians to extreme polymorphism in siphonophores, such as the Portuguese man-of-war. Bryozoa are a phylum of exclusively colonial invertebrates that uniquely exhibit almost the entire range of polymorphism, from monomorphic species to others that rival siphonophores in their polymorphic complexity...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Richard Barnes, Adam Thomas Clark
For many taxa and systems, species richness peaks at midelevations. One potential explanation for this pattern is that large-scale changes in climate and geography have, over evolutionary time, selected for traits that are favored under conditions found in contemporary midelevation regions. To test this hypothesis, we use records of historical temperature and topographic changes over the past 65 Myr to construct a general simulation model of plethodontid salamander evolution in eastern North America. We then explore possible mechanisms constraining species to midelevation bands by using the model to predict plethodontid evolutionary history and contemporary geographic distributions...
July 2017: American Naturalist
Matthew M Osmond, Matthew A Barbour, Joey R Bernhardt, Matthew W Pennell, Jennifer M Sunday, Mary I O'Connor
Both body size and temperature directly influence consumer-resource dynamics. There is also widespread empirical evidence for the temperature-size rule (TSR), which creates a negative relationship between temperature and body size. However, it is not known how the TSR affects community dynamics. Here we integrate temperature- and size-dependent models to include indirect effects of warming, through changes in body size, to answer the question, How does the TSR affect the predicted response of consumer-resource systems to warming? We find that the TSR is expected to maintain consumer-resource biomass ratios and buffer the community from extinctions under warming...
June 2017: American Naturalist
Mat Edenbrow, Bronwyn H Bleakley, Safi K Darden, Charles R Tyler, Indar W Ramnarine, Darren P Croft
Models of cooperation among nonkin suggest that social assortment is important for the evolution of cooperation. Theory predicts that interacting phenotypes, whereby an individual's behavior depends on the behavior of its social partners, can drive such social assortment. We measured repeated indirect genetic effects (IGEs) during cooperative predator inspection in eight populations of Trinidadian guppies (Poecilia reticulata) that vary in their evolutionary history of predation. Four broad patterns emerged that were dependent on river, predation history, and sex: (i) current partner behavior had the largest effect on focal behavior, with fish from low-predation habitats responding more to their social partners than fish from high-predation habitats; (ii) different focal/partner behavior combinations can generate cooperation; (iii) some high-predation fish exhibited carryover effects across social partners; and (iv) high-predation fish were more risk averse...
June 2017: American Naturalist
Barney Luttbeg
The risk allocation hypothesis has inspired numerous studies seeking to understand how temporal variation in predation risk affects prey foraging behavior, but there has been debate about its generality and causes. I examined how imperfect information affects its predictions and sought to clarify the causes of the predicted patterns. I first confirmed that my modeling approach-given a threshold or linear fitness function-produced the risk allocation prediction that prey increase their foraging efforts during low and high risk as the proportion of high-risk periods increases...
June 2017: American Naturalist
David J Páez, Vanja Dukic, Jonathan Dushoff, Arietta Fleming-Davies, Greg Dwyer
Eco-evolutionary theory argues that population cycles in consumer-resource interactions are partly driven by natural selection, such that changes in densities and changes in trait values are mutually reinforcing. Evidence that the theory explains cycles in nature, however, is almost nonexistent. Experimental tests of model assumptions are logistically impractical for most organisms, while for others, evidence that population cycles occur in nature is lacking. For insect baculoviruses in contrast, tests of model assumptions are straightforward, and there is strong evidence that baculoviruses help drive population cycles in many insects, including the gypsy moth that we study here...
June 2017: American Naturalist
G Anthony Verboom, William D Stock, Michael D Cramer
Specialization to extreme selective situations promotes the acquisition of traits whose coadaptive integration may compromise evolutionary flexibility and adaptability. We test this idea in the context of the foliar stoichiometry of plants native to the South African Cape. Whereas foliar concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium, magnesium, and sodium showed strong phylogenetic signal, as did the foliar ratios of these nutrients to P, the same was not true of the corresponding soil values...
June 2017: American Naturalist
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