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Integrative and Comparative Biology

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January 2, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Kristyn E Sylvia, Gregory E Demas
Sickness is typically characterized by fever, anorexia, cachexia, and reductions in social, pleasurable, and sexual behaviors. These responses can be displayed at varying intensities both within and among individuals, and the adaptive nature of sickness responses can be demonstrated by the context-dependent nature of their expression. The study of sickness has become an important area of investigation for researchers in a wide range of areas, including psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) and ecoimmunology (EI). The general goal of PNI is to identify key interactions among the nervous, endocrine and immune systems and behavior, and how disruptions in these processes might contribute to disease states...
December 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Thomas W Cronin, Michael J Bok, Chan Lin
We review the visual systems of crustacean larvae, concentrating on the compound eyes of decapod and stomatopod larvae as well as the functional and behavioral aspects of their vision. Larval compound eyes of these macrurans are all built on fundamentally the same optical plan, the transparent apposition eye, which is eminently suitable for modification into the abundantly diverse optical systems of the adults. Many of these eyes contain a layer of reflective structures overlying the retina that produces a counterilluminating eyeshine, so they are unique in being camouflaged both by their transparency and by their reflection of light spectrally similar to background light to conceal the opaque retina...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Z A Cheviron, D L Swanson
Phenotypic flexibility allows organisms to reversibly alter their phenotypes to match the changing demands of seasonal environments. Because phenotypic flexibility is mediated, at least in part, by changes in gene regulation, comparative transcriptomic studies can provide insights into the mechanistic underpinnings of seasonal phenotypic flexibility, and the extent to which regulatory responses to changing seasons are conserved across species. To begin to address these questions, we sampled individuals of two resident North American songbird species, American goldfinch (Spinus tristis) and black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) in summer and winter to measure seasonal variation in pectoralis transcriptomic profiles and to identify conserved and species-specific elements of these seasonal profiles...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Alisha A Shah, W Chris Funk, Cameron K Ghalambor
It has long been recognized that populations and species occupying different environments vary in their thermal tolerance traits. However, far less attention has been given to the impact of different environments on the capacity for plastic adjustments in thermal sensitivity, i.e., acclimation ability. One hypothesis is that environments characterized by greater thermal variability and seasonality should favor the evolution of increased acclimation ability compared with environments that are aseasonal or thermally stable...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Øystein Varpe
Seasonality creates a template for many natural processes and evolutionary adaptations. Organisms are often faced with an annual cycle consisting of a productive (favorable) and unproductive period. This yearly cycle along with other seasonal variations in abiotic factors and associated biotic interactions form strong selection pressures shaping the scheduling of annual activities and the developmental stages and modes of life through the year. Annual decisions impact trade-offs that involve both current and future reproductive value (RV), and life history theory provides the foundation to understand these linkages between phenology and an organism's full life...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Philip J Freda, Jackson T Alex, Theodore J Morgan, Gregory J Ragland
As organisms age the environment fluctuates, exerting differential selection across ontogeny. In particular, highly seasonal environments expose life stages to often drastically different thermal environments. This developmental variation is particularly striking in organisms with complex life cycles, wherein life history stages also exhibit distinct morphologies, physiologies, and behaviors. Genes acting pleiotropically on thermal responses may produce genetic correlations across ontogeny, constraining the independent evolution of each life stage to their respective thermal environments...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Caroline M Williams, Gregory J Ragland, Gustavo Betini, Lauren B Buckley, Zachary A Cheviron, Kathleen Donohue, Joe Hereford, Murray M Humphries, Simeon Lisovski, Katie E Marshall, Paul S Schmidt, Kimberly S Sheldon, Øystein Varpe, Marcel E Visser
Seasonality is a critically important aspect of environmental variability, and strongly shapes all aspects of life for organisms living in highly seasonal environments. Seasonality has played a key role in generating biodiversity, and has driven the evolution of extreme physiological adaptations and behaviors such as migration and hibernation. Fluctuating selection pressures on survival and fecundity between summer and winter provide a complex selective landscape, which can be met by a combination of three outcomes of adaptive evolution: genetic polymorphism, phenotypic plasticity, and bet-hedging...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Murray M Humphries, Emily K Studd, Allyson K Menzies, Stan Boutin
From a trophic perspective, a seasonal increase in air temperature and photoperiod propagates as bottom-up pulse of primary production by plants, secondary production by herbivores, and tertiary production by carnivores. However, food web seasonality reflects not only abiotic variation in temperature and photoperiod, but also the composition of the biotic community and their functional responses to this variation. Some plants and animals-here referred to as seasonal specialists-decouple from food webs in winter through migration or various forms of metabolic arrest (e...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Anders Garm
Asteroidea, starfish, constitutes a major part of the macrobenthos in most marine environments. Being members of the echinoderms, they have a nervous system with no well-defined central nervous system. Accordingly, starfish are assumed to pick up rather limited information from the surroundings, and it is also often assumed that most of their behaviors are guided by olfaction. Here, the sensory biology of starfish is reviewed in order to evaluate these assumptions. There is a vast amount of behavioral data dealing with mechanoreception, chemoreception, and combinations of the two (chemosensory-mediated rheotaxis), but the receptors have not yet been identified and almost nothing is known about the physiology behind these senses...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Hanne H Thoen, Tsyr-Huei Chiou, N Justin Marshall
Stomatopods (mantis shrimps) possess one of the most complex eyes in the world with photoreceptors detecting up to 12 different colors. It is not yet understood why stomatopods have almost four times the number of spectral photoreceptors compared with most other animals. It has, however, been suggested that these seemingly redundant photoreceptors could encode color through a new mechanism. Here we compare the spectral sensitivities across five species of stomatopods within the superfamily Gonodactyloidea using intracellular electrophysiological recordings...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Anna Stöckl, Jochen Smolka, David O'Carroll, Eric Warrant
The visual systems of many animals, particularly those active during the day, are optimized for high spatial acuity. However, at night, when photons are sparse and the visual signal competes with increased noise levels, fine spatial resolution cannot be sustained and is traded-off for the greater sensitivity required to see in dim light. High spatial acuity demands detectors and successive visual processing units whose receptive fields each cover only a small area of visual space, in order to reassemble a finely sampled and well resolved image...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Aaron L Stahl, Regina S Baucom, Tiffany A Cook, Elke K Buschbeck
A key innovation for high resolution eyes is a sophisticated lens that precisely focuses light onto photoreceptors. The eyes of holometabolous larvae range from very simple eyes that merely detect light to eyes that are capable of high spatial resolution. Particularly interesting are the bifocal lenses of Thermonectus marmoratus larvae, which differentially focus light on spectrally-distinct retinas. While functional aspects of insect lenses have been relatively well studied, little work has explored their molecular makeup, especially in regard to more complex eye types...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Joe Hereford
An organism's environment can vary over spatial and temporal scales. Seasonal variation is an important but overlooked source of environmental variation that often shapes the ranges of organisms. The seasonal niche is a description of the spatiotemporal range of an organism resulting from spatial variation in seasonal conditions. In this study, I describe the seasonal niche of a short-lived annual plant, and variation within the species in seasonal niche breadth. I construct a seasonal species distribution model (SDM) for the species, and using thermal performance curves (TPCs), construct mechanistic SDMs (MSDMs) for individual genotypes...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Brianne Edwards, Liana T Burghardt, Katherine E Kovach, Kathleen Donohue
Variation in the developmental timing in one life stage may ramify within and across generations to disrupt optimal phenology of other life stages. By focusing on a common mechanism of developmental arrest in plants-seed dormancy-we investigated how variation in flowering time influenced seed germination behavior and identified potential processes that can lead to canalized germination behavior despite variation in reproductive timing. We quantified effects of reproductive timing on dormancy cycling by experimentally manipulating the temperature during seed maturation and the seasonal timing of seed dispersal/burial, and by assessing temperature-dependent germination of un-earthed seeds over a seasonal cycle...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Finlay J Stewart, Michiyo Kinoshita, Kentaro Arikawa
While the linear polarization of light is virtually invisible to humans, many invertebrates' eyes can detect it. How this information is processed in the nervous system, and what behavioral function it serves, are in many cases unclear. One reason for this is the technical difficulty involved in presenting images or video containing polarization contrast, particularly if intensity and/or color contrast is also required. In this primarily methods-focused article, we present a novel technique based on projecting video through a synchronously rotating linear polarizer...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Dan-E Nilsson, Michael J Bok
Simple roles for photoreception are likely to have preceded more demanding ones such as vision. The driving force behind this evolution is the improvement and elaboration of animal behaviors using photoreceptor input. Because the basic role for all senses aimed at the external world is to guide behavior, we argue here that understanding this "behavioral drive" is essential for unraveling the evolutionary past of the senses. Photoreception serves many different types of behavior, from simple shadow responses to visual communication...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Ajay Narendra, J Frances Kamhi, Yuri Ogawa
Visual navigation is a benchmark information processing task that can be used to identify the consequence of being active in dim-light environments. Visual navigational information that animals use during the day includes celestial cues such as the sun or the pattern of polarized skylight and terrestrial cues such as the entire panorama, canopy pattern, or significant salient features in the landscape. At night, some of these navigational cues are either unavailable or are significantly dimmer or less conspicuous than during the day...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Kimberly J Jennings, Manon Chasles, Hweyryoung Cho, Jens Mikkelsen, George Bentley, Matthieu Keller, Lance J Kriegsfeld
Males of many species rely on chemosensory information for social communication. In male Syrian hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus), as in many species, female chemosignals potently stimulate sexual behavior and a concurrent, rapid increase in circulating luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone (T). However, under winter-like, short-day (SD) photoperiods, when Syrian hamsters are reproductively quiescent, these same female chemosignals fail to elicit behavioral or hormonal responses, even after T replacement...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Lauren B Buckley, Andrew J Arakaki, Anthony F Cannistra, Heather M Kharouba, Joel G Kingsolver
Historical data show that recent climate change has caused advances in seasonal timing (phenology) in many animals and plants, particularly in temperate and higher latitude regions. The population and fitness consequences of these phenological shifts for insects and other ectotherms have been heterogeneous: warming can increase development rates and the number of generations per year (increasing fitness), but can also lead to seasonal mismatches between animals and their resources and increase exposure to environmental variability (decreasing fitness)...
November 1, 2017: Integrative and Comparative Biology
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