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Proceedings. Biological Sciences

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298352/the-interactions-of-ants-with-their-biotic-environment
#1
EDITORIAL
Guillaume Chomicki, Susanne S Renner
This special feature results from the symposium 'Ants 2016: ant interactions with their biotic environments' held in Munich in May 2016 and deals with the interactions between ants and other insects, plants, microbes and fungi, studied at micro- and macroevolutionary levels with a wide range of approaches, from field ecology to next-generation sequencing, chemical ecology and molecular genetics. In this paper, we review key aspects of these biotic interactions to provide background information for the papers of this special feature After listing the major types of biotic interactions that ants engage in, we present a brief overview of ant/ant communication, ant/plant interactions, ant/fungus symbioses, and recent insights about ants and their endosymbionts...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298351/community-analysis-of-microbial-sharing-and-specialization-in-a-costa-rican-ant-plant-hemipteran-symbiosis
#2
Elizabeth G Pringle, Corrie S Moreau
Ants have long been renowned for their intimate mutualisms with trophobionts and plants and more recently appreciated for their widespread and diverse interactions with microbes. An open question in symbiosis research is the extent to which environmental influence, including the exchange of microbes between interacting macroorganisms, affects the composition and function of symbiotic microbial communities. Here we approached this question by investigating symbiosis within symbiosis. Ant-plant-hemipteran symbioses are hallmarks of tropical ecosystems that produce persistent close contact among the macroorganism partners, which then have substantial opportunity to exchange symbiotic microbes...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298350/the-acacia-ants-revisited-convergent-evolution-and-biogeographic-context-in-an-iconic-ant-plant-mutualism
#3
Philip S Ward, Michael G Branstetter
Phylogenetic and biogeographic analyses can enhance our understanding of multispecies interactions by placing the origin and evolution of such interactions in a temporal and geographical context. We use a phylogenomic approach-ultraconserved element sequence capture-to investigate the evolutionary history of an iconic multispecies mutualism: Neotropical acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex ferrugineus group) and their associated Vachellia hostplants. In this system, the ants receive shelter and food from the host plant, and they aggressively defend the plant against herbivores and competing plants...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298349/network-reorganization-and-breakdown-of-an-ant-plant-protection-mutualism-with-elevation
#4
Nichola S Plowman, Amelia S C Hood, Jimmy Moses, Conor Redmond, Vojtech Novotny, Petr Klimes, Tom M Fayle
Both the abiotic environment and the composition of animal and plant communities change with elevation. For mutualistic species, these changes are expected to result in altered partner availability, and shifts in context-dependent benefits for partners. To test these predictions, we assessed the network structure of terrestrial ant-plant mutualists and how the benefits to plants of ant inhabitation changed with elevation in tropical forest in Papua New Guinea. At higher elevations, ant-plants were rarer, species richness of both ants and plants decreased, and the average ant or plant species interacted with fewer partners...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298348/a-phylogenetic-perspective-on-the-association-between-ants-hymenoptera-formicidae-and-black-yeasts-ascomycota-chaetothyriales
#5
Marie Vasse, Hermann Voglmayr, Veronika Mayer, Cécile Gueidan, Maximilian Nepel, Leandro Moreno, Sybren de Hoog, Marc-André Selosse, Doyle McKey, Rumsaïs Blatrix
The frequency and the geographical extent of symbiotic associations between ants and fungi of the order Chaetothyriales have been highlighted only recently. Using a phylogenetic approach based on seven molecular markers, we showed that ant-associated Chaetothyriales are scattered through the phylogeny of this order. There was no clustering according to geographical origin or to the taxonomy of the ant host. However, strains tended to be clustered according to the type of association with ants: strains from ant-made carton and strains from plant cavities occupied by ants ('domatia') rarely clustered together...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298347/distinctive-fungal-communities-in-an-obligate-african-ant-plant-mutualism
#6
Christopher C M Baker, Dino J Martins, Julianne N Pelaez, Johan P J Billen, Anne Pringle, Megan E Frederickson, Naomi E Pierce
Three ant species nest obligately in the swollen-thorn domatia of the African ant-plant Vachellia (Acacia) drepanolobium, a model system for the study of ant-defence mutualisms and species coexistence. Here we report on the characteristic fungal communities generated by these ant species in their domatia. First, we describe behavioural differences between the ant species when presented with a cultured fungal isolate in the laboratory. Second, we use DNA metabarcoding to show that each ant species has a distinctive fungal community in its domatia, and that these communities remain characteristic of the ant species over two Kenyan sampling locations separated by 190 km...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298346/population-structure-reduces-benefits-from-partner-choice-in-mutualistic-symbiosis
#7
Erol Akçay
Mutualistic symbioses are key drivers of evolutionary and ecological processes. Understanding how different species can evolve to interact in mutually beneficial ways is an important goal of evolutionary theory, especially when the benefits require costly investments by the partners. For such costly investments to evolve, some sort of fitness feedback mechanism must exist that more than recoups the direct costs. Several such feedback mechanisms have been explored both theoretically and empirically, yet we know relatively little of how they might act together, as they probably do in nature...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298345/the-influence-of-slavemaking-lifestyle-caste-and-sex-on-chemical-profiles-in-temnothorax-ants-insights-into-the-evolution-of-cuticular-hydrocarbons
#8
Isabelle Kleeberg, Florian Menzel, Susanne Foitzik
Chemical communication is central for the formation and maintenance of insect societies. Generally, social insects only allow nest-mates into their colony, which are recognized by their cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs). Social parasites, which exploit insect societies, are selected to circumvent host recognition. Here, we studied whether chemical strategies to reduce recognition evolved convergently in slavemaking ants, and whether they extend to workers, queens and males alike. We studied CHCs of three social parasites and their related hosts to investigate whether the parasitic lifestyle selects for specific chemical traits that reduce host recognition...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298344/the-assembly-of-ant-farmed-gardens-mutualism-specialization-following-host-broadening
#9
Guillaume Chomicki, Milan Janda, Susanne S Renner
Ant-gardens (AGs) are ant/plant mutualisms in which ants farm epiphytes in return for nest space and food rewards. They occur in the Neotropics and Australasia, but not in Africa, and their evolutionary assembly remains unclear. We here use phylogenetic frameworks for important AG lineages in Australasia, namely the ant genus Philidris and domatium-bearing ferns (Lecanopteris) and flowering plants in the Apocynaceae (Hoya and Dischidia) and Rubiaceae (Myrmecodia, Hydnophytum, Anthorrhiza, Myrmephytum and Squamellaria)...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298343/how-do-cuticular-hydrocarbons-evolve-physiological-constraints-and-climatic-and-biotic-selection-pressures-act-on-a-complex-functional-trait
#10
Florian Menzel, Bonnie B Blaimer, Thomas Schmitt
Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) cover the cuticles of virtually all insects, serving as a waterproofing agent and as a communication signal. The causes for the high CHC variation between species, and the factors influencing CHC profiles, are scarcely understood. Here, we compare CHC profiles of ant species from seven biogeographic regions, searching for physiological constraints and for climatic and biotic selection pressures. Molecule length constrained CHC composition: long-chain profiles contained fewer linear alkanes, but more hydrocarbons with disruptive features in the molecule...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298342/trade-offs-in-an-ant-plant-fungus-mutualism
#11
Jérôme Orivel, Pierre-Jean Malé, Jérémie Lauth, Olivier Roux, Frédéric Petitclerc, Alain Dejean, Céline Leroy
Species engaged in multiple, simultaneous mutualisms are subject to trade-offs in their mutualistic investment if the traits involved in each interaction are overlapping, which can lead to conflicts and affect the longevity of these associations. We investigate this issue via a tripartite mutualism involving an ant plant, two competing ant species and a fungus the ants cultivate to build galleries under the stems of their host plant to capture insect prey. The use of the galleries represents an innovative prey capture strategy compared with the more typical strategy of foraging on leaves...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28298341/life-history-evolution-in-ants-the-case-of-cardiocondyla
#12
REVIEW
Jürgen Heinze
Ants are important components of most terrestrial habitats, and a better knowledge of the diversity of their life histories is essential to understand many aspects of ecosystem functioning. The myrmicine genus Cardiocondyla shows a wide range of colony structures, reproductive behaviours, queen and male lifespans, and habitat use. Reconstructing the evolutionary pathways of individual and social phenotypic traits suggests that the ancestral life history of Cardiocondyla was characterized by the presence of multiple, short-lived queens in small-sized colonies and a male polyphenism with winged dispersers and wingless fighters, which engage in lethal combat over female sexuals within their natal nests...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28275145/early-life-inflammation-immune-response-and-ageing
#13
Imroze Khan, Deepa Agashe, Jens Rolff
Age-related diseases are often attributed to immunopathology, which results in self-damage caused by an inappropriate inflammatory response. Immunopathology associated with early-life inflammation also appears to cause faster ageing, although we lack direct experimental evidence for this association. To understand the interactions between ageing, inflammation and immunopathology, we used the mealworm beetle Tenebrio molitor as a study organism. We hypothesized that phenoloxidase, an important immune effector in insect defence, may impose substantial immunopathological costs by causing tissue damage to Malpighian tubules (MTs; functionally equivalent to the human kidney), in turn accelerating ageing...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28275144/diverted-by-dazzle-perceived-movement-direction-is-biased-by-target-pattern-orientation
#14
Anna E Hughes, Christian Jones, Kaustuv Joshi, David J Tolhurst
'Motion dazzle' is the hypothesis that predators may misjudge the speed or direction of moving prey which have high-contrast patterning, such as stripes. However, there is currently little experimental evidence that such patterns cause visual illusions. Here, observers binocularly tracked a Gabor target, moving with a linear trajectory randomly chosen within 18° of the horizontal. This target then became occluded, and observers were asked to judge where they thought it would later cross a vertical line to the side...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28275143/genomic-islands-of-divergence-or-opportunities-for-introgression
#15
Rachael A Bay, Kristen Ruegg
In animals, introgression between species is often perceived as the breakdown of reproductive isolating mechanisms, but gene flow between incipient species can also represent a source for potentially beneficial alleles. Recently, genome-wide datasets have revealed clusters of differentiated loci ('genomic islands of divergence') that are thought to play a role in reproductive isolation and therefore have reduced gene flow. We use simulations to further examine the evolutionary forces that shape and maintain genomic islands of divergence between two subspecies of the migratory songbird, Swainson's thrush (Catharus ustulatus), which have come into secondary contact since the last glacial maximum...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28275142/the-remarkable-convergence-of-skull-shape-in-crocodilians-and-toothed-whales
#16
Matthew R McCurry, Alistair R Evans, Erich M G Fitzgerald, Justin W Adams, Philip D Clausen, Colin R McHenry
The striking resemblance of long-snouted aquatic mammals and reptiles has long been considered an example of morphological convergence, yet the true cause of this similarity remains untested. We addressed this deficit through three-dimensional morphometric analysis of the full diversity of crocodilian and toothed whale (Odontoceti) skull shapes. Our focus on biomechanically important aspects of shape allowed us to overcome difficulties involved in comparing mammals and reptiles, which have fundamental differences in the number and position of skull bones...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28250189/surrogate-taxa-and-fossils-as-reliable-proxies-of-spatial-biodiversity-patterns-in-marine-benthic-communities
#17
Carrie L Tyler, Michał Kowalewski
Rigorous documentation of spatial heterogeneity (β-diversity) in present-day and preindustrial ecosystems is required to assess how marine communities respond to environmental and anthropogenic drivers. However, the overwhelming majority of contemporary and palaeontological assessments have centred on single higher taxa. To evaluate the validity of single taxa as community surrogates and palaeontological proxies, we compared macrobenthic communities and sympatric death assemblages at 52 localities in Onslow Bay (NC, USA)...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28250188/molecular-clocks-indicate-turnover-and-diversification-of-modern-coleoid-cephalopods-during-the-mesozoic-marine-revolution
#18
Alastair R Tanner, Dirk Fuchs, Inger E Winkelmann, M Thomas P Gilbert, M Sabrina Pankey, Ângela M Ribeiro, Kevin M Kocot, Kenneth M Halanych, Todd H Oakley, Rute R da Fonseca, Davide Pisani, Jakob Vinther
Coleoid cephalopod molluscs comprise squid, cuttlefish and octopuses, and represent nearly the entire diversity of modern cephalopods. Sophisticated adaptations such as the use of colour for camouflage and communication, jet propulsion and the ink sac highlight the unique nature of the group. Despite these striking adaptations, there are clear parallels in ecology between coleoids and bony fishes. The coleoid fossil record is limited, however, hindering confident analysis of the tempo and pattern of their evolution...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28250187/strategies-for-sustainable-management-of-renewable-resources-during-environmental-change
#19
Emilie Lindkvist, Örjan Ekeberg, Jon Norberg
As a consequence of global environmental change, management strategies that can deal with unexpected change in resource dynamics are becoming increasingly important. In this paper we undertake a novel approach to studying resource growth problems using a computational form of adaptive management to find optimal strategies for prevalent natural resource management dilemmas. We scrutinize adaptive management, or learning-by-doing, to better understand how to simultaneously manage and learn about a system when its dynamics are unknown...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28250186/gaze-contingent-reinforcement-learning-reveals-incentive-value-of-social-signals-in-young-children-and-adults
#20
Angélina Vernetti, Tim J Smith, Atsushi Senju
While numerous studies have demonstrated that infants and adults preferentially orient to social stimuli, it remains unclear as to what drives such preferential orienting. It has been suggested that the learned association between social cues and subsequent reward delivery might shape such social orienting. Using a novel, spontaneous indication of reinforcement learning (with the use of a gaze contingent reward-learning task), we investigated whether children and adults' orienting towards social and non-social visual cues can be elicited by the association between participants' visual attention and a rewarding outcome...
March 15, 2017: Proceedings. Biological Sciences
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