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Biology Letters

Felix Zajitschek, Susanne Zajitschek, Mollie Manier
Parental environment can widely influence offspring phenotype, but paternal effects in the absence of parental care remain poorly understood. We asked if protein content in the larval diet of fathers affected paternity success and gene expression in their sons. We found that males reared on high-protein diet had sons that fared better during sperm competition, suggesting that postcopulatory sexual selection is subject to transgenerational paternal effects. Moreover, immune response genes were downregulated in sons of low-protein fathers, while genes involved in metabolic and reproductive processes were upregulated...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Cédric Lippens, Bruno Faivre, Clothilde Lechenault, Gabriele Sorci
Senescing individuals have poor survival prospects and low fecundity. They can also produce offspring with reduced survival and reproductive success. We tested the effect of parental age on the performance of descendants in the nematode Heligmosomoides polygyrus, an intestinal parasite of rodents. We found that offspring of senescing worms had reduced within-host survival and reduced egg shedding over the first month post-infection compared with offspring produced by young parents. These results suggest that declining offspring quality is a component of senescence in parasitic nematodes and might have evolutionary consequences for the optimal schedule of age-dependent investment into reproductive effort...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Laura M Parker, Wayne A O'Connor, Maria Byrne, Ross A Coleman, Patti Virtue, Michael Dove, Mitchell Gibbs, Lorraine Spohr, Elliot Scanes, Pauline M Ross
Parental effects passed from adults to their offspring have been identified as a source of rapid acclimation that may allow marine populations to persist as our surface oceans continue to decrease in pH. Little is known, however, whether parental effects are beneficial for offspring in the presence of multiple stressors. We exposed adults of the oyster Saccostrea glomerata to elevated CO2 and examined the impacts of elevated CO2 (control = 392; 856 µatm) combined with elevated temperature (control = 24; 28°C), reduced salinity (control = 35; 25) and reduced food concentration (control = full; half diet) on their larvae...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Danielle A Klomp, Devi Stuart-Fox, Indraneil Das, Terry J Ord
Effective communication requires animal signals to be readily detected by receivers in the environments in which they are typically given. Certain light conditions enhance the visibility of colour signals and these conditions can vary depending on the orientation of the sun and the position of the signaller. We tested whether Draco sumatranus gliding lizards modified their position relative to the sun to enhance the conspicuousness of their throat-fan (dewlap) during social display to conspecifics. The dewlap was translucent, and we found that lizards were significantly more likely to orient themselves perpendicular to the sun when displaying...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Juan Diego Gaitán-Espitia, Paola A Villanueva, Jorge Lopez, Rodrigo Torres, Jorge M Navarro, Leonardo D Bacigalupe
Phenotypic plasticity is expected to play a major adaptive role in the response of species to ocean acidification (OA), by providing broader tolerances to changes in pCO2 conditions. However, tolerances and sensitivities to future OA may differ among populations within a species because of their particular environmental context and genetic backgrounds. Here, using the climatic variability hypothesis (CVH), we explored this conceptual framework in populations of the sea urchin Loxechinus albus across natural fluctuating pCO2/pH environments...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Ethan G Staats, Salvatore J Agosta, James R Vonesh
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2017: Biology Letters
R W Battarbee
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 2017: Biology Letters
Francesca Soldati, Oliver H P Burman, Elizabeth A John, Thomas W Pike, Anna Wilkinson
Long-term memory can be adaptive as it allows animals to retain information that is crucial for survival, such as the appearance and location of key resources. This is generally examined by comparing choices of stimuli that have value to the animal with those that do not; however, in nature choices are rarely so clear cut. Animals are able to assess the relative value of a resource via direct comparison, but it remains unclear whether they are able to retain this information for a biologically meaningful amount of time...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Diana Umeton, Jenny C A Read, Candy Rowe
For over 150 years, researchers have investigated the anti-predator function of animal patterns. However, this work has mainly focused on when prey remain still, and has only recently started to incorporate motion into the study of defensive coloration. As motion breaks camouflage, a new challenge is to understand how prey avoid predators while moving around their environment, and if a moving prey can ever be camouflaged. We propose that there is a solution to this, in that a 'flicker fusion effect' can change the appearance of the prey in the eyes of their predators to reduce the chances of initial detection...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Giannina S I Hattich, Luisa Listmann, Julia Raab, Dorthe Ozod-Seradj, Thorsten B H Reusch, Birte Matthiessen
Phenotypic plasticity describes the phenotypic adjustment of the same genotype to different environmental conditions and is best described by a reaction norm. We focus on the effect of ocean acidification on inter- and intraspecific reaction norms of three globally important phytoplankton species (Emiliania huxleyi, Gephyrocapsa oceanica and Chaetoceros affinis). Despite significant differences in growth rates between the species, they all showed a high potential for phenotypic buffering (similar growth rates between ambient and high CO2 conditions)...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Krzysztof Miler, Karolina Kuszewska, Michał Woyciechowski
Brain lateralization is hypothesized to improve the efficiency of information processing. Here, we found that some Myrmeleon bore antlion larvae showed individual asymmetry in righting from a supine to normal position over one side of their body, which can be considered a reflection of greater brain lateralization. We demonstrated that these behaviourally asymmetrical individuals showed improved learning abilities, providing novel evidence that brain lateralization leads to beneficial effects on cognitive functions...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Juan Diego Gaitán-Espitia, Dustin Marshall, Sam Dupont, Leonardo D Bacigalupe, Levente Bodrossy, Alistair J Hobday
Geographical gradients in selection can shape different genetic architectures in natural populations, reflecting potential genetic constraints for adaptive evolution under climate change. Investigation of natural pH/pCO2 variation in upwelling regions reveals different spatio-temporal patterns of natural selection, generating genetic and phenotypic clines in populations, and potentially leading to local adaptation, relevant to understanding effects of ocean acidification (OA). Strong directional selection, associated with intense and continuous upwellings, may have depleted genetic variation in populations within these upwelling regions, favouring increased tolerances to low pH but with an associated cost in other traits...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Robert P Ellis, William Davison, Ana M Queirós, Kristy J Kroeker, Piero Calosi, Sam Dupont, John I Spicer, Rod W Wilson, Steve Widdicombe, Mauricio A Urbina
Ocean acidification (OA) poses a major threat to marine ecosystems globally, having significant ecological and economic importance. The number and complexity of experiments examining the effects of OA has substantially increased over the past decade, in an attempt to address multi-stressor interactions and long-term responses in an increasing range of aquatic organisms. However, differences in the response of males and females to elevated pCO2 have been investigated in fewer than 4% of studies to date, often being precluded by the difficulty of determining sex non-destructively, particularly in early life stages...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Haruna Fujioka, Masato S Abe, Taro Fuchikawa, Kazuki Tsuji, Masakazu Shimada, Yasukazu Okada
In group-living animals, social interactions influence various traits including circadian activity. Maternal care, in particular, can have a strong effect on the circadian activity of parents or nurses across taxa. In social insects, nest-mates are known to have diverse activity rhythms; however, what kind of social environment is crucial in shaping an individual's rhythm is largely unknown. Here, we show that the focal brood types being taken care of (i.e. egg, larva and pupa) have significant effects on individual activity/rest rhythm, using the monomorphic ant Diacamma (putative species indicum)...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Sue-Ann Watson, Jennifer B Fields, Philip L Munday
Ocean acidification poses a range of threats to marine invertebrates; however, the emerging and likely widespread effects of rising carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on marine invertebrate behaviour are still little understood. Here, we show that ocean acidification alters and impairs key ecological behaviours of the predatory cone snail Conus marmoreus Projected near-future seawater CO2 levels (975 µatm) increased activity in this coral reef molluscivore more than threefold (from less than 4 to more than 12 mm min(-1)) and decreased the time spent buried to less than one-third when compared with the present-day control conditions (390 µatm)...
February 2017: Biology Letters
Guoyue Zhang, Qingtian Zhao, Anders Pape Møller, Jan Komdeur, Xin Lu
Among avian cooperative breeders, help in raising offspring is usually provided by males or by both sexes. Sex bias in helping should evolve in response to sex-specific ecological constraints on independent reproduction, with mate shortage for males and breeding vacancy shortage for each sex. Given that male-biased adult sex ratios are prevalent among birds, we predict that male-only helping mainly occurs in temperate species where fast population turnovers deriving from low adult annual survival allow all adult females to hold breeding vacancies, whereas some males overflow as helpers, and both-sex helping in tropical species where saturated habitats prevent not only males, but also females from breeding themselves...
January 2017: Biology Letters
Laurentia Henrieta Permita Sari Purba, Kanthi Arum Widayati, Kei Tsutsui, Nami Suzuki-Hashido, Takashi Hayakawa, Sarah Nila, Bambang Suryobroto, Hiroo Imai
Bitterness perception in mammals is mostly directed at natural toxins that induce innate avoidance behaviours. Bitter taste is mediated by the G protein-coupled receptor TAS2R, which is located in taste cell membranes. One of the best-studied bitter taste receptors is TAS2R38, which recognizes phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Here we investigate the sensitivities of TAS2R38 receptors to PTC in four species of leaf-eating monkeys (subfamily Colobinae). Compared with macaque monkeys (subfamily Cercopithecinae), colobines have lower sensitivities to PTC in behavioural and in vitro functional analyses...
January 2017: Biology Letters
Vanessa K Hilliard Young, Kaitlyn G Vest, Angela R V Rivera, Nora R Espinoza, Richard W Blob
Specialization for a new habitat often entails a cost to performance in the ancestral habitat. Although aquatic lifestyles are ancestral among extant cryptodiran turtles, multiple lineages, including tortoises (Testudinidae) and emydid box turtles (genus Terrapene), independently specialized for terrestrial habitats. To what extent is swimming function retained in such lineages despite terrestrial specialization? Because tortoises diverged from other turtles over 50 Ma, but box turtles did so only 5 Ma, we hypothesized that swimming kinematics for box turtles would more closely resemble those of aquatic relatives than those of tortoises...
January 2017: Biology Letters
David A Sleboda, Thomas J Roberts
Over short time scales, muscle fibres maintain a nearly constant volume of intracellular fluid. This fluid is essential to normal biochemical function, but its role in determining the mechanical properties of muscle has been considered in only a few theoretical analyses. Here we investigate the mechanical role of fluid in a fundamental property of muscle, its development of passive tension in response to stretch. We test a model of muscle structure in which incompressible fluid directly influences passive tension by constraining the geometry of intramuscular connective tissues...
January 2017: Biology Letters
Camille R Toarmino, Lauren Wong, Cory T Miller
An audience can have a profound effect on the dynamics of communicative interactions. As a result, non-human primates often adjust their social decision-making strategies depending on the audience composition at a given time. Here we sought to test how the unique vocal behaviour of multiple audience members affected decisions to communicate. To address this issue, we developed a novel experimental paradigm in which common marmosets directly interacted with multiple 'virtual monkeys' (VMs), each of whom represented an individual marmoset with distinct vocal behaviour...
January 2017: Biology Letters
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