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Integrative and Comparative Biology

W R Hood, Y Zhang, A V Mowry, H W Hyatt, A N Kavazis
Evolutionary biologists have been interested in the negative interactions among life history traits for nearly a century, but the mechanisms that would create this negative interaction remain poorly understood. One variable that has emerged as a likely link between reproductive effort and longevity is oxidative stress. Specifically, it has been proposed that reproduction generates free radicals that cause oxidative stress and, in turn, oxidative stress damages cellular components and accelerates senescence...
July 16, 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 towards studying transgenerational effects and population-level variation in concert, we brought cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) from two populations - collected from St...
July 16, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Sarah M Lane
Animals utilise an incredible array of traits for offence and defence during conflict. These traits range from exaggerated morphological structures such as the antlers of stags and the horns of beetles, to an arsenal of noxious chemicals emitted, secreted and injected. However, the breadth of these traits appears to be underappreciated in our current thinking about aggression in animals. Use of the term 'weapon' in the current literature is largely restricted to studies of conspicuous morphological structures used by males during contests over access to females, and as a result, our understanding of other types of weapons is limited...
July 16, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Jason R Treberg, Daniel Munro, Martin Jastroch, Alex R Quijada-Rodriguez, Maria Kutschke, Lilian Wiens
Mitochondrial electron transfer for oxidative ATP regeneration is linked to reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in aerobic eukaryotic cells. Because they can contribute to signalling as well as oxidative damage in cells, these ROS have profound impact for the physiology and survival of the organism. Although mitochondria have been recognized as a potential source for ROS for about fifty years, the mechanistic understanding on molecular sites and processes has advanced recently. Most experimental approaches neglect thermal variability among species although temperature impacts mitochondrial processes significantly...
July 16, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
László Zsolt Garamszegi, Jeremy Donald, Clinton D Francis, Matthew J Fuxjager, Wolfgang Goymann, Michaela Hau, Jerry F Husak, Michele A Johnson, Bonnie Kircher, Rosemary Knapp, Lynn B Martin, Eliot T Miller, Laura A Schoenle, Maren N Vitousek, Tony D Williams
At macroevolutionary scales, stress physiology may have consequences for species diversification and subspecies richness. Populations that exploit new resources or undergo range expansion should cope with new environmental challenges, which could favour higher mean stress responses. Within-species variation in the stress response may also play a role in mediating the speciation process: in species with broad variation, there will always be some individuals that can tolerate an unpredictable environment, whereas in species with narrow variation there will be fewer individuals that are able to thrive in a new ecological niche...
July 11, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Helen Cheng, Nicholas C Dove, Jessica M Mena, Tomás Perez, Sabah Ul-Hasan
The Biota Project communicates science to populations historically ignored by the scientific community. The Biota Project is comprised of a team of young professionals from a myriad of backgrounds and locations with interests in promoting science accessibility and equity. We do this by highlighting research conducted by scientists from underrepresented groups in relatable yet underrated locations with the intention of increasing the participation of underrepresented populations in science. The Biota Project centers on the scientific definition of symbiosis as a tool for both educating and learning from its followers...
July 10, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pierce Hutton, Christian Wright, Dale DeNardo, Kevin 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...
July 9, 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)...
July 5, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Karine Salin, Eugenia M Villasevil, Graeme J Anderson, Colin Selman, Christos Chinopoulos, Neil B Metcalfe
Mitochondrial efficiency is typically taken to represent an animal's capacity to convert its resources into ATP. However, the term mitochondrial efficiency, as currently used in the literature, can be calculated as either the respiratory control ratio, RCR (ratio of mitochondrial respiration supporting ATP synthesis to that required to offset the proton leak) or as the amount of ATP generated per unit of oxygen consumed, ATP/O ratio. The question of how flexibility in mitochondrial energy properties (i.e. in rates of respiration to support ATP synthesis and offset proton leak, and in the rate of ATP synthesis) affects these indices of mitochondrial efficiency has tended to be overlooked...
July 5, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Christopher E Laumer
Contemporary phylogeneticists enjoy an embarrassment of riches, not only in the volumes of data now available, but also in the diversity of bioinformatic tools for handling these data. Here, I discuss a subset of these tools I consider well-suited to the task of inferring ancient relationships with coding sequence data in particular, encompassing data generation, orthology assignment, alignment and gene tree inference, supermatrix construction, and analysis under the best-fitting models applicable to large-scale datasets...
July 5, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Ana Gabriela Jimenez
All aerobic organisms are subjected to metabolic by-products known as reactive species (RS).RS can wreak havoc on macromolecules by structurally altering proteins and inducing mutations in DNA, among other deleterious effects. . To combat accumulating damage, organisms have an antioxidant system to sequester RS before they cause cellular damage. The balance between RS production, antioxidant defences, and accumulated cellular damage is termed oxidative stress. Physiological ecologists, gerontologists and metabolic biochemists have turned their attention to whether oxidative stress is the principal, generalized mechanism that mediates and limits longevity, growth rates and other life-history trade-offs in animals, as may be the case in mammals and birds...
July 5, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
John C Wingfield
All organisms must time their life cycles appropriately and organize life history stages into temporal sequences that enhance fitness in a changing environment. The endocrine system plays a major regulatory role in transducing information from the environment into morphological, physiological and behavioral responses appropriate for the time of year. The perception, transduction, response pathways via neural and endocrine mechanisms are beginning to be explored and underscore the critical regulatory roles they play...
July 3, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Pierre Bize, Imogen Lowe, Mikko Lehto Hürlimann, Gerald Heckel
A key adaptation of mammals to their environment is their ability to maintain a constant high body temperature, even at rest, under a wide range of ambient temperatures. In cold climates, this is achieved by an adaptive production of endogenous heat, known as nonshivering thermogenesis (NST), in the brown adipose tissue (BAT). This organ, unique to mammals, contains a very high density of mitochondria, and BAT correct functioning relies on the correct functioning of its mitochondria. Mitochondria enclose proteins encoded both in the maternally inherited mitochondrial genome and in the biparentally inherited nuclear genome, and one overlooked hypothesis is that both genomes and their interaction may shape NST...
June 26, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Justin L Buchanan, Colin D Meiklejohn, Kristi L Montooth
Physiological responses to short-term environmental stressors, such as infection, can have long-term consequences for fitness, particularly if the responses are inappropriate or nutrient resources are limited. Genetic variation affecting energy acquisition, storage, and usage can limit cellular energy availability and may influence resource-allocation tradeoffs even when environmental nutrients are plentiful. Here, we utilized Drosophila mitochondrial-nuclear genotypes to test whether disrupted mitochondrial function interferes with nutrient-sensing pathways, and whether this disruption has consequences for tradeoffs between immunity and fecundity...
June 26, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Tracy I Mulholland, Danielle M Ferraro, Kelley C Boland, Kathleen N Ivey, My-Lan Le, Carl A LaRiccia, John M Vigianelli, Clinton D Francis
Artificial nest boxes are critical nesting sites for secondary cavity-nesting birds; however, they are often placed near roadways and in urban areas that experience noise pollution and other human-caused stressors. Recent correlative studies document both negative and positive influences of noise pollution on reproductive success. Additionally, observational studies have not determined which stage of the breeding process is most vulnerable to noise pollution- settlement, incubation, and/or provisioning. Here, we controlled for possible effects from non-random settlement and eliminated potential effects of roadways, such as collisions and chemical and light pollution, by experimentally introducing traffic noise into nest boxes after clutch initiation in two secondary-cavity nesting bird species...
June 26, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Kevin Padian
To understand our present diversity crisis, it is natural to look to past crises for parallels and indicators. This is difficult because the present crisis is unlike the "Big Five" of the past: it is mostly terrestrial (with an increasing marine component), involves widespread habitat destruction and alteration of climate, and is largely anthropogenic, with confounding effects of differences in loss of diversity among continents and the difficulty of separating anthropogenic extinctions from natural Pleistocene and post-Pleistocene extinctions...
June 25, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Meredith E Kernbach, Richard J Hall, Nathan Burkett-Cadena, Thomas R Unnasch, Lynn B Martin
Light pollution has emerged as a pervasive component of land development over the past century. Several detrimental impacts of this anthropogenic influence have been identified in night shift workers, laboratory rodents, and a plethora of wildlife species. Circadian, or daily, patterns are interrupted by the presence of light at night and have the capacity to alter rhythmic physiological or behavioral characteristics. Indeed, biorhythm disruption can lead to metabolic, reproductive, and immunological dysfunction depending on the intensity, timing, duration and wavelength of light exposure...
June 23, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Clinton D Francis, Jeremy W Donald, Matthew J Fuxjager, Wolfgang Goymann, Michaela Hau, Jerry F Husak, Michele A Johnson, Bonnie K Kircher, Rosemary Knapp, Lynn B Martin, Eliot T Miller, Laura A Schoenle, Maren N Vitousek, Tony D Williams, Cynthia J Downs
Glucocorticoids are stress hormones that can strongly influence physiology, behavior and an organism's ability to cope with environmental change. Despite their importance, and the wealth of studies that have sought to understand how and why glucocorticoid (GC) concentrations vary within species, we do not have a clear understanding of how circulating glucocorticoid levels vary within and across the major vertebrate clades. New research has proposed that much interspecific variation in GC concentrations can be explained by variation in metabolism and body mass...
June 22, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Steven N Austad
The mitochondrial hypothesis of aging evolved from the rate-of-living theory. That theory posited that the rate of aging was largely determined by the rate of energy expenditure. The mechanistic link between energy expenditure and aging was hypothesized to be oxidative stress. As both energy expenditure and reactive oxygen species (ROS) centered on the mitochondria that organelle became a central focus of aging research. Until about the turn of the 21st century available evidence largely supported the efficiency of mitochondrial function as a key contributor to aging...
June 22, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
Martha Merson, Louise C Allen, Nickolay I Hristov
With stories of struggle and dramatic breakthroughs, science has incredible potential to interest the public. However, as the rhetoric of outrage surrounds controversies over science policy there is an urgent need for credible, trusted voices that frame science issues in a way that resonates with a diverse public. A network of informal educators, park rangers, museum docents and designers, and zoo and aquarium interpreters are prepared to do so during millions of visits a year; just where science stories are most meaningfully told-in the places where members of the public are open to learning...
June 22, 2018: Integrative and Comparative Biology
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