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Integrative and Comparative Biology

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November 7, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Facundo Cabezas-Cartes, Jorgelina Mariela Boretto, Nora Ruth Ibargüengoytía
Longevity and age at maturity are key life-history traits, directly linked to fitness attributes such as survival and reproductive output. It has been proposed that these traits are strongly influenced by environmental factors, such as temperature, seasonality, and precipitations, which determine the existence of a continuum of life-histories that goes from the "slow" life histories characterized by late maturity and high longevity of cold and highly seasonal climates to the "fast" life histories characterized by early maturity and low longevity, typical of the tropical climates...
October 11, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jonathan P Velotta, Zachary A Cheviron
Phenotypic plasticity is not universally adaptive. In certain cases, plasticity can result in phenotypic shifts that reduce fitness relative to the un-induced state. A common cause of such maladaptive plasticity is the co-option of ancestral developmental and physiological response systems to meet novel challenges. Because these systems evolved to meet specific challenges in an ancestral environment (e.g. localized and transient hypoxia), their co-option to meet a similar, but novel, stressor (e.g. reductions in ambient pO2 at high elevation) can lead to misdirected responses that reduce fitness...
October 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Elizabeth Rega
Whether diagrammatic or deeply detailed, most anatomical illustration adheres to established archetypes - identical views of similar dissections, exhibiting neither variability nor originality. These conventional views are replicated from one generation of anatomy textbooks, atlases and now digital sources, with little modification or reference to original dissection. In this paper, I argue that more effective communication in the field of anatomy requires rethinking conventional anatomical images and avoiding over-reliance on anatomic terminology...
October 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Gregory M Woods, Samantha Fox, Andrew S Flies, Cesar D Tovar, Menna Jones, Rodrigo Hamede, David Pemberton, A Bruce Lyons, Silvana S Bettiol
The Tasmanian Devil, a marsupial carnivore, has been restricted to the island state of Tasmania since its extinction on the Australian mainland about three thousand years ago. In the past two decades, this species has experienced severe population decline due to the emergence of devil facial tumour disease (DFTD), a transmissible cancer. During these twenty years, scientists have puzzled over the immunological and evolutionary responses by the Tasmanian devil to this transmissible cancer. Targeted strategies in population management and disease control have been developed as well as comparative processes to identify variation in tumor and host genetics...
September 25, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Sara J ElShafie, Stuart S Sumida
Due to the politicization of science and the proliferation of misinformation about science and its significance, it has never been more crucial for scientists to clearly articulate the importance of science to the public. Despite this, many scientists often (1) do not acknowledge the importance of broader scientific communication; (2) are not familiar with tools or resources that can improve their communication of science, both amongst colleagues and to the general public; and (3) do not receive such training through their degree or job training programs...
September 24, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Stewart M Edie, Shan Huang, Katie S Collins, Kaustuv Roy, David Jablonski
Many aspects of climate affect the deployment of biodiversity in time and space, and so changes in climate might be expected to drive regional and global extinction of both taxa and their ecological functions. Here we examine the association of past climate changes with extinction in marine bivalves, which are increasingly used as a model system for macroecological and macroevolutionary analysis. Focusing on the Cenozoic Era (66 Myr ago to the present), we analyze extinction patterns in shallow-water marine bivalve genera relative to temperature dynamics as estimated from isotopic data in microfossils...
September 10, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Marco Del Giudice, Charles L Buck, Lauren Chaby, Brenna M Gormally, Conor C Taff, Christopher J Thawley, Maren N Vitousek, Haruka Wada
The term "stress" is used to capture important phenomena at multiple levels of biological organization, but finding a general and rigorous definition of the concept has proven challenging. Current models in the behavioral literature emphasize the cognitive aspects of stress, which is said to occur when threats to the organism are perceived as uncontrollable and/or unpredictable. Here we adopt the perspective of systems biology and take a step toward a general definition of stress by unpacking the concept in light of control theory...
September 10, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Ari Rudenko
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
September 6, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Angela Lepito
Animation is the collision of art and science. How does an animation studio like DreamWorks Animation use scientific principles and engage in science education to make our films better? By facilitating scientific master-classes, demos, and lectures we give our creators a fundamental understanding of reality that enables them to create the animation caricature known as the Illusion of Life. We leverage principles of biology and physics to create believable performances. I will share insights about our custom programming such as master-classes on Quadruped Anatomy and Flight and how these result in a better image on screen...
September 6, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Stuart S Sumida, Brian Jefcoat
Locomotion studies, biomechanics, and particularly vertebrate paleontology have had a deep influence on the development of motion pictures, animation, and computer generated visual effects. Biologically straightforward concepts such as morphological correlates of diet, sexual dimorphism, and ontogenetic change are powerful tools for animators and visual effects artists. Despite this deep debt to the ever-increasing role of science and technology in film making, scientists often forget to mine the communication strategies of their science-savvy entertainment industry kin...
August 20, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jenny Q Ouyang, Caroline Isaksson, Chloé Schmidt, Pierce Hutton, Frances Bonier, Davide Dominoni
As urban areas continue to grow, understanding how species respond and adapt to urban habitats is becoming increasingly important. Knowledge of the mechanisms behind observed phenotypic changes of urban-dwelling animals will enable us to better evaluate the impact of urbanization on current and future generations of wildlife and predict how animals respond to novel environments. Recently, urban ecology has emerged not only as a means of understanding organismal adaptation but also as a framework for exploring mechanisms mediating evolutionary phenomena...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Brett R Aiello, Gary B Gillis, Jessica L Fox
The successful completion of many behaviors relies on sensory feedback. This symposium brought together researchers using novel techniques to study how different stimuli are encoded, how and where multimodal feedback is integrated, and how feedback modulates motor output in diverse modes of locomotion (aerial, aquatic, and terrestrial) in a diverse range of taxa (insects, fish, tetrapods), and in robots. Similar to biological organisms, robots can be equipped with integrated sensors and can rely on sensory feedback to adjust the output signal of a controller...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Oriol Lapiedra
Human-driven rapid environmental changes such as urbanization challenge the persistence of animal populations worldwide. A major aim of research in urban ecology is to unravel which traits allow animals to successfully deal with these new selective pressures. Since behavior largely determines how animals interact with the environment, it is expected to be an important factor determining their success in urban environments. However, behavior is a complex trait and fully understanding how it contributes to urban success is not straightforward: different behaviors may help animals deal with urbanization at different levels of biological organization...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Simon Ducatez, Ferran Sayol, Daniel Sol, Louis Lefebvre
Although urbanization is a major threat to biodiversity, some species are able to thrive in cities. This might be because they have specific adaptations to urban conditions, because they are able to cope with artificial habitats in general or because they are generalists that can live in a wide range of conditions. We use the latest version of the IUCN database to distinguish these possibilities in 25,985 species of the four classes of terrestrial vertebrates with the help of phylogenetically controlled methods...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jane Loveless, Barbara Webb
Larval Drosophila move up attractive chemical gradients, and down aversive ones. Although their movement is often characterized as a series of runs and directed turns, it can also be modeled as a continuous modulation of turning extent by the detected change in stimulus intensity as the animal moves through the gradient. We show that a neuromechanical model of peristaltic crawling and spontaneous bending in the larva can be adapted to produce taxis behavior by the simple addition of a local segmental reflex to modulate transverse viscosity (or "bendiness") proportionally to the intensity change detected in the head...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pablo Salmón, Hannah Watson, Andreas Nord, Caroline Isaksson
As urban areas expand rapidly worldwide, wildlife is exposed to a wide range of novel environmental stressors, such as increased air pollution and artificial light at night. Birds in highly polluted and/or urbanized habitats have been found to have increased antioxidant protection, which is likely important to avoid accumulation of oxidative damage, which can have negative fitness consequences. Yet, the current knowledge about the ontogeny of antioxidant protection in urban areas is limited; i.e., is the capacity to up-regulate the antioxidant defences already established during pre-natal development, or does it manifest itself during post-natal development? We cross-fostered great tit (Parus major) nestlings within and between urban and rural habitats, to determine if oxidative stress (measured as non-enzymatic total antioxidant capacity, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and plasma lipid peroxidation) is affected by habitat of origin and/or by habitat of rearing...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Megan E Kobiela, Emilie C Snell-Rood
Heavy metal pollution is a major problem in urban and industrial environments, and has a myriad of negative effects on animals. Quantifying the amount of population-level variation that exists for heavy metal tolerance and how plastic responses to heavy metals play out across generations are essential for understanding how animals respond to pollution. As an initial step toward studying transgenerational effects and population-level variation in concert, we brought cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) from two populations-collected from St...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pierce Hutton, Christian D Wright, Dale F DeNardo, Kevin J McGraw
Global urban development continues to accelerate and have diverse effects on wildlife. Although most studies of anthropogenic impacts on animals have focused on indirect effects (e.g., environmental modifications like habitat change or pollution), there may also be direct effects of physical human presence and actions on wildlife stress, behavior, and persistence in cities. Most studies on how humans physically interact with wildlife have focused on the active, daytime phase of diurnal animals, rarely considering effects of our night-time activities...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Melanie Haehnel-Taguchi, Otar Akanyeti, James C Liao
The lateral line system is a sensory system unique to fishes and amphibians. It is composed of distributed mechanosensory hair cell organs on the head and body (neuromasts), which are sensitive to pressure gradients and water movements. Over the last decade, we have pursued an interdisciplinary approach by combining behavioral, electrophysiology, and robotics experiments to study this fascinating sensory system. In behavioral and electrophysiology experiments, we have studied the larval lateral line system in the model genetic organism, zebrafish (Danio rerio)...
November 1, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
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