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Proceedings. Biological Sciences

James F Fleming, Reinhardt Møbjerg Kristensen, Martin Vinther Sørensen, Tae-Yoon S Park, Kazuharu Arakawa, Mark Blaxter, Lorena Rebecchi, Roberto Guidetti, Tom A Williams, Nicholas W Roberts, Jakob Vinther, Davide Pisani
Colour vision is known to have arisen only twice-once in Vertebrata and once within the Ecdysozoa, in Arthropoda. However, the evolutionary history of ecdysozoan vision is unclear. At the molecular level, visual pigments, composed of a chromophore and a protein belonging to the opsin family, have different spectral sensitivities and these mediate colour vision. At the morphological level, ecdysozoan vision is conveyed by eyes of variable levels of complexity; from the simple ocelli observed in the velvet worms (phylum Onychophora) to the marvellously complex eyes of insects, spiders, and crustaceans...
December 5, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Melissa L Grunst, Andrea S Grunst, Vincent A Formica, Marisa L Korody, Adam M Betuel, Margarida Barcelo-Serra, Rusty A Gonser, Elaina M Tuttle
It is often hypothesized that intra-sexual competition accelerates actuarial senescence, or the increase in mortality rates with age. However, an alternative hypothesis is that parental investment is more important to determining senescence rates. We used a unique model system, the white-throated sparrow ( Zonotrichia albicollis ), to study variation in actuarial senescence. In this species, genetically determined morphs display discrete mating strategies and disassortative pairing, providing an excellent opportunity to test the predictions of the above hypotheses...
December 5, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Laura J Sonter, Saleem H Ali, James E M Watson
Mining poses serious and highly specific threats to biodiversity. However, mining can also be a means for financing alternative livelihood paths that, over the long-term, may prevent biodiversity loss. Complex and controversial issues associated with mining and biodiversity conservation are often simplified within a narrow frame oriented towards the negative impacts of mining at the site of extraction, rather than posed as a series of challenges for the conservation science community to embrace. Here, we synthesize core issues that, if better understood, may ensure coexistence between mining and conservation agendas...
December 5, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
François Criscuolo, Gabriele Sorci, Margaux Behaim-Delarbre, Sandrine Zahn, Bruno Faivre, Fabrice Bertile
Ageing is characterized by the impairment of the acute innate immune response and the upregulation of low-grade inflammation, i.e. inflammaging. At the cellular level, telomeres are considered as a marker of biological ageing as their length is progressively eroded in the absence of repair mechanisms. However, the link between telomeres and inflammaging remains underexplored. We aimed to identify proteins that are differentially expressed between age classes in response to an acute inflammatory challenge. We challenged young (two months) and old (12 months) C57BL/6 mice using bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and measured telomere length and proteomic profiles in splenocytes...
December 5, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Cédric Finet, Amélie Decaras, David Armisén, Abderrahman Khila
The semi-aquatic bugs (Heteroptera, Gerromorpha) conquered water surfaces worldwide and diversified to occupy puddles, ponds, streams, lakes, mangroves and even oceans. Critical to this lifestyle is the evolution of sets of hairs that allow these insects to maintain their body weight on the water surface and protect the animals against wetting and drowning. In addition, the legs of these insects are equipped with various grooming combs that are important for cleaning and tidying the hair layers for optimal functional efficiency...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Jennifer L Matthews, Clinton A Oakley, Adrian Lutz, Katie E Hillyer, Ute Roessner, Arthur R Grossman, Virginia M Weis, Simon K Davy
Metabolite exchange is fundamental to the viability of the cnidarian-Symbiodiniaceae symbiosis and survival of coral reefs. Coral holobiont tolerance to environmental change might be achieved through changes in Symbiodiniaceae species composition, but differences in the metabolites supplied by different Symbiodiniaceae species could influence holobiont fitness. Using 13 C stable-isotope labelling coupled to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, we characterized newly fixed carbon fate in the model cnidarian Exaiptasia pallida (Aiptasia) when experimentally colonized with either native Breviolum minutum or non-native Durusdinium trenchii Relative to anemones containing B...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Vanessa O Ezenwa, Katherine E L Worsley-Tonks
Elevated parasite infection risk is considered to be a near-universal cost of social living. However, living in groups may also provide benefits that reduce the negative impacts of infection. These potential 'tolerance' benefits of living socially are theoretically possible, but have rarely been described. In this study, we used an anthelmintic treatment experiment in wild Grant's gazelles ( Nanger granti ), who are commonly infected with gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN), to show that social living confers both costs and benefits related to GIN parasitism...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Caroline Casey, Colleen Reichmuth, Daniel P Costa, Burney Le Boeuf
Vocal dialects are fundamental to our understanding of the transmission of social behaviours between individuals and populations, however few accounts trace this phenomenon among mammals over time. Northern elephant seals ( Mirounga angustirostris ) provide a rare opportunity to examine the trajectory of dialects in a long-lived mammalian species. Dialects were first documented in the temporal patterns of the stereotyped vocal displays produced by breeding males at four sites in the North Pacific in 1968 and 1969, as the population recovered from extreme exploitation...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Stefania Casagrande, Michaela Hau
The trade-off between reproductive investment and survival is central to life-history theory, but the relative importance and the complex interactions among the physiological mechanisms mediating it are still debated. Here we experimentally tested whether baseline glucocorticoid hormones, the redox system or their interaction mediate reproductive investment-survival trade-offs in wild great tits ( Parus major ). We increased the workload of parental males by clipping three feathers on each wing, and 5 days later determined effects on baseline corticosterone concentrations (Cort), redox state (reactive oxygen metabolites, protein carbonyls, glutathione peroxidase [GPx], total non-enzymatic antioxidants), body mass, body condition, reproductive success and survival...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Roberto García-Roa, Manuel Serra, Pau Carazo
Understanding what factors modulate sexual selection intensity is crucial to a wide variety of evolutionary processes. Recent studies show that perception of sex pheromones can severely impact male mortality when it is not followed by mating (perception costs of reproduction). Here, we examine the idea that this may magnify sexual selection by further decreasing the fitness of males with inherently low mating success, hence increasing the opportunity for sexual selection. We use mathematical modelling to show that even modest mortality perception costs can significantly increase variability in male reproductive success under a wide range of demographic conditions...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Chloé Larose, Darren J Parker, Tanja Schwander
The factors contributing to the maintenance of sex over asexuality in natural populations remain unclear. Ecological divergences between sexual and asexual lineages could help to maintain reproductive polymorphisms, at least transiently, but the consequences of asexuality for the evolution of ecological niches are unknown. Here, we investigated how niche breadths change in transitions from sexual reproduction to asexuality. We used host plant ranges as a proxy to compare the realized feeding niche breadths of five independently derived asexual Timema stick insect species and their sexual relatives at both the species and population levels...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Melanie J Hopkins, Katherine St John
The use of discrete character data for disparity analyses has become more popular, partially due to the recognition that character data describe variation at large taxonomic scales, as well as the increasing availability of both character matrices co-opted from phylogenetic analysis and software tools. As taxonomic scope increases, the need to describe variation leads to some characters that may describe traits not found across all the taxa. In such situations, it is common practice to treat inapplicable characters as missing data when calculating dissimilarity matrices for disparity studies...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Calum X Cunningham, Christopher N Johnson, Leon A Barmuta, Tracey Hollings, Eric J Woehler, Menna E Jones
Top carnivores have suffered widespread global declines, with well-documented effects on mesopredators and herbivores. We know less about how carnivores affect ecosystems through scavenging. Tasmania's top carnivore, the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii) , has suffered severe disease-induced population declines, providing a natural experiment on the role of scavenging in structuring communities. Using remote cameras and experimentally placed carcasses, we show that mesopredators consume more carrion in areas where devils have declined...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Ewan O Flintham, Tomoyo Yoshida, Sophie Smith, Hania J Pavlou, Stephen F Goodwin, Pau Carazo, Stuart Wigby
Sex differences in lifespan are ubiquitous, but the underlying causal factors remain poorly understood. Inter- and intrasexual social interactions are well known to influence lifespan in many taxa, but it has proved challenging to separate the role of sex-specific behaviours from wider physiological differences between the sexes. To address this problem, we genetically manipulated the sexual identity of the nervous system-and hence sexual behaviour-in Drosophila melanogaster , and measured lifespan under varying social conditions...
November 28, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Erin L Sauer, Rebecca C Fuller, Corinne L Richards-Zawacki, Julia Sonn, Jinelle H Sperry, Jason R Rohr
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Manuel Ruiz-Aravena, Menna E Jones, Scott Carver, Sergio Estay, Camila Espejo, Andrew Storfer, Rodrigo K Hamede
Knowledge of the ecological dynamics between hosts and pathogens during the initial stages of disease emergence is crucial to understanding the potential for evolution of new interspecific interactions. Tasmanian devil ( Sarcophilus harrisii ) populations have declined precipitously owing to infection by a transmissible cancer (devil facial tumour disease, DFTD) that emerged approximately 20 years ago. Since the emergence of DFTD, and as the disease spreads across Tasmania, the number of devils has dropped up to 90% across 80% of the species's distributional range...
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
S B Crofts, P S L Anderson
Spines are common morphological features found in almost all major biological groups offering an opportunity to explore large-scale evolutionary convergence across disparate clades. As an example, opuntioid cacti have spines with barbed ornamentation that is remarkably similar in form and scale to that found on porcupine quills, suggesting specific biomechanical convergence across the animal and plant kingdoms. While the mechanics of porcupine quills as defensive mechanisms has been previously tested, the mechanics of cactus spines (which have evolved to fill a number of functions including defence, climbing and dispersal) has not been characterized...
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Jennifer B Tennessen, Susan E Parks, Lindsey Swierk, Laura K Reinert, Whitney M Holden, Louise A Rollins-Smith, Koranda A Walsh, Tracy Langkilde
Human activities impose novel pressures on amphibians, which are experiencing unprecedented global declines, yet population-level responses are poorly understood. A growing body of literature has revealed that noise is an anthropogenic stressor that impacts ecological processes spanning subcellular to ecosystem levels. These consequences can impose novel selective pressures on populations, yet whether populations can adapt to noise is unknown. We tested for adaptation to traffic noise, a widespread sensory 'pollutant'...
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Jenny A Allen, Ellen C Garland, Rebecca A Dunlop, Michael J Noad
Much evidence for non-human culture comes from vocally learned displays, such as the vocal dialects and song displays of birds and cetaceans. While many oscine birds use song complexity to assess male fitness, the role of complexity in humpback whale ( Megaptera novaeangliae ) song is uncertain owing to population-wide conformity to one song pattern. Although songs change gradually each year, the eastern Australian population also completely replaces their song every few years in cultural 'revolutions'. Revolutions involve learning large amounts of novel material introduced from the Western Australian population...
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
Allison M Gardner, Ephantus J Muturi, Brian F Allan
Ecological traps occur due to a mismatch between a habitat's attractiveness and quality, wherein organisms show preference for low-quality habitats over other available high-quality habitats. Our previous research identified leaf litter from common blackberry ( Rubus allegheniensis ) as a natural ecological trap for an important vector for West Nile virus ( Culex pipiens ), attracting mosquitoes to oviposit in habitats deleterious to the survival of their larvae. Here we demonstrate that manipulation of leaf litter in stormwater catch basins, an important source of disease vector mosquitoes in urban environments, can increase Cx...
November 21, 2018: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
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