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Ecology and Evolution

Gregory P Zogg, Steven E Travis, Daniel A Brazeau
Although microbial communities have been shown to vary among plant genotypes in a number of experiments in terrestrial ecosystems, relatively little is known about this relationship under natural conditions and outside of select model systems. We reasoned that a salt marsh ecosystem, which is characterized by twice-daily flooding by tides, would serve as a particularly conservative test of the strength of plant-microbial associations, given the high degree of abiotic regulation of microbial community assembly resulting from alternating periods of inundation and exposure...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Soon Hwee Ng, Michael Stat, Michael Bunce, Leigh W Simmons
The extent to which diet and environment influence gut community membership (presence or absence of taxa) and structure (individual taxon abundance) is the subject of growing interest in microbiome research. Here, we examined the gut bacterial communities of three cricket groups: (1) wild caught field crickets, (2) laboratory-reared crickets fed cat chow, and (3) laboratory-reared crickets fed chemically defined diets. We found that both environment and diet greatly altered the structure of the gut bacterial community...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Wenya Zhang, Na Li, Xiaolong Tang, Naifa Liu, Wei Zhao
High altitude is an important driving force in animal evolution. However, the effect of altitude on gut microbial communities in reptiles has not been examined in detail. Here, we investigated the intestinal microbiota of three populations of the lizard Phrynocephalus vlangalii living at different altitudes using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes, and Proteobacteria were the most abundant phyla. Bacteroides , Odoribacter , and Parabacteroides were the most abundant genera. Significant differences in the intestinal microbiota composition were found among the three populations from different altitudes...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Ulrike K Harant, Matteo Santon, Pierre-Paul Bitton, Florian Wehrberger, Thomas Griessler, Melissa G Meadows, Connor M Champ, Nico K Michiels
Since the discovery of red fluorescence in fish, much effort has been invested to elucidate its potential functions, one of them being signaling. This implies that the combination of red fluorescence and reflection should generate a visible contrast against the background. Here, we present in vivo iris radiance measurements of Tripterygion delaisi under natural light conditions at 5 and 20 m depth. We also measured substrate radiance of shaded and exposed foraging sites at those depths. To assess the visual contrast of the red iris against these substrates, we used the receptor noise model for chromatic contrasts and Michelson contrast for achromatic calculations...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
David Benoit, Donald A Jackson, Mark S Ridgway
Detecting all species in a given survey is challenging, regardless of sampling effort. This issue, more commonly known as imperfect detection, can have negative impacts on data quality and interpretation, most notably leading to false absences for rare or difficult-to-detect species. It is important that this issue be addressed, as estimates of species richness are critical to many areas of ecological research and management. In this study, we set out to determine the impacts of imperfect detection, and decisions about thresholds for inclusion in occupancy, on estimates of species richness and community structure...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Marta Vidal-García, Lashi Bandara, J Scott Keogh
The quantification of complex morphological patterns typically involves comprehensive shape and size analyses, usually obtained by gathering morphological data from all the structures that capture the phenotypic diversity of an organism or object. Articulated structures are a critical component of overall phenotypic diversity, but data gathered from these structures are difficult to incorporate into modern analyses because of the complexities associated with jointly quantifying 3D shape in multiple structures...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Ywee Chieh Tay, Daniel Jia Jun Ng, Jun Bin Loo, Danwei Huang, Yixiong Cai, Darren Chong Jinn Yeo, Rudolf Meier
Freshwater species often show high levels of endemism and risk of extinction owing to their limited dispersal abilities. This is exemplified by the stenotopic freshwater crab, Johora singaporensis which is one of the world's 100 most threatened species, and currently inhabits less than 0.01 km2 of five low order hill streams within the highly urbanized island city-state of Singapore. We compared populations of J. singaporensis with that of the non-threatened, widespread, abundant, and eurytopic freshwater crab, Parathelphusa maculata , and found surprisingly high congruence between their population genomic histories...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Tricia M Markle, Kenneth H Kozak
Thermal acclimation is hypothesized to offer a selective advantage in seasonal habitats and may underlie disparities in geographic range size among closely-related species with similar ecologies. Understanding this relationship is also critical for identifying species that are more sensitive to warming climates. Here, we study North American plethodontid salamanders to investigate whether acclimation ability is associated with species' latitudinal extents and the thermal range of the environments they inhabit...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Junhu Su, Ibrahim M Hegab, Weihong Ji, Zhibiao Nan
Sexual dimorphism is prevalent in most living organisms. The difference in size between sexes of a given species is generally known as sexual size dimorphism (SSD). The magnitude of the SSD is determined by Rensch's rule where size dimorphism increases with increasing body size when the male is the larger sex and decreases with increasing average body size when the female is the larger sex. The unique underground environment that zokors ( Eospalax baileyi ) live under in the severe habitat of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP) could create SSD selection pressures that may or may not be supported by Rensch's rule, making this scientific question worthy of investigation...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Julian F Quintero-Galvis, Rocío Paleo-López, Jaiber J Solano-Iguaran, María Josefina Poupin, Thomas Ledger, Juan Diego Gaitan-Espitia, Andrzej Antoł, Michael Travisano, Roberto F Nespolo
There have been over 25 independent unicellular to multicellular evolutionary transitions, which have been transformational in the complexity of life. All of these transitions likely occurred in communities numerically dominated by unicellular organisms, mostly bacteria. Hence, it is reasonable to expect that bacteria were involved in generating the ecological conditions that promoted the stability and proliferation of the first multicellular forms as protective units. In this study, we addressed this problem by analyzing the occurrence of multicellularity in an experimental phylogeny of yeasts ( Sacharomyces cerevisiae ) a model organism that is unicellular but can generate multicellular clusters under some conditions...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Patrick B Finnerty, Richard Shine, Gregory P Brown
Parasites can enhance their fitness by modifying the behavior of their hosts in ways that increase rates of production and transmission of parasite larvae. We used an antihelminthic drug to experimentally alter infections of lungworms ( Rhabdias pseudosphaerocephala ) in cane toads ( Rhinella marina ). We then compared subsequent behaviors of dewormed toads versus toads that retained infections. Both in the laboratory and in the field, the presence of parasites induced hosts to select higher body temperatures (thereby increasing rates of lungworm egg production), to defecate in moister sites, and to produce feces with higher moisture content (thereby enhancing survival of larvae shed in feces)...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Pauline B Zablocki-Thomas, Anthony Herrel, Isabelle Hardy, Lucile Rabardel, Martine Perret, Fabienne Aujard, Emmanuelle Pouydebat
A whole suite of parameters is likely to influence the behavior and performance of individuals as adults, including correlations between phenotypic traits or an individual's developmental context. Here, we ask the question whether behavior and physical performance traits are correlated and how early life parameters such as birth weight, litter size, and growth can influence these traits as measured during adulthood. We studied 486 captive gray mouse lemurs ( Microcebus murinus ) and measured two behavioral traits and two performance traits potentially involved in two functions: exploration behavior with pull strength and agitation score with bite force...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hongxia Chen, Linna Ma, Xiaoping Xin, Junyao Liu, Renzhong Wang
Global climate change is predicted to stimulate primary production and consequently increases litter inputs. Changing precipitation regimes together with enhanced litter inputs may affect plant community composition and structure, with consequent influence on diversity and ecosystem functioning. Responses of plant community to increased precipitation and belowground litter addition were examined lasting 5 years in a semiarid temperate grassland of northeastern China. Increased precipitation enhanced community species richness and abundance of annuals by 16...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
S Eryn McFarlane, Murielle Ålund, Päivi M Sirkiä, Anna Qvarnström
Variation in relative fitness of competing recently formed species across heterogeneous environments promotes coexistence. However, the physiological traits mediating such variation in relative fitness have rarely been identified. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) is tightly associated with life history strategies, thermoregulation, diet use, and inhabited latitude and could therefore moderate differences in fitness responses to fluctuations in local environments, particularly when species have adapted to different climates in allopatry...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jeff M Martin, Jim I Mead, Perry S Barboza
The relationship between body size and temperature of mammals is poorly resolved, especially for large keystone species such as bison ( Bison bison ). Bison are well represented in the fossil record across North America, which provides an opportunity to relate body size to climate within a species. We measured the length of a leg bone (calcaneal tuber, DstL) in 849 specimens from 60 localities that were dated by stratigraphy and 14 C decay. We estimated body mass ( M ) as M  = (DstL/11.49)3 . Average annual temperature was estimated from δ18 O values in the ice cores from Greenland...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hildur Magnúsdóttir, Snæbjörn Pálsson, Kristen M Westfall, Zophonías O Jónsson, Erla Björk Örnólfsdóttir
Geographical patterns in morphology can be the result of divergence among populations due to neutral or selective changes and/or phenotypic plasticity in response to different environments. Marine gastropods are ideal subjects on which to explore these patterns, by virtue of the remarkable intraspecific variation in life-history traits and morphology often observed across relatively small spatial scales. The ubiquitous N-Atlantic common whelk ( Buccinum undatum ) is well known for spatial variation in life-history traits and morphology...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Marek Šmejkal, Daniel Ricard, Zuzana Sajdlová, Martin Čech, Lukáš Vejřík, Petr Blabolil, Ivana Vejříková, Marie Prchalová, Mojmír Vašek, Allan T Souza, Christer Brönmark, Jiří Peterka
The perception of danger represents an essential ability of prey for gaining an informational advantage over their natural enemies. Especially in complex environments or at night, animals strongly rely on chemoreception to avoid predators. The ability to recognize danger by chemical cues and subsequent adaptive responses to predation threats should generally increase prey survival. Recent findings suggest that European catfish ( Silurus glanis ) introduction induce changes in fish community and we tested whether the direction of change can be attributed to differences in chemical cue perception...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Feng Jiang
Canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2) is extremely contagious and causes high rate of morbidity to many wild carnivores. It has three variants (CPV-2a, CPV-2b, and CPV-2c) that are distributed worldwide with different frequencies and levels of genetic and antigenic variability. The disease poses a threat to the healthy survival and reproduction of wildlife. The research on the relationship between CPV-2 epidemic and environmental variables is lacking. To fill this research gap, we used maximum entropy (MaxEnt) approach with principal component analysis (PCA) to evaluate the relation between CPV-2 and environmental variables and to create a world risk map for this disease...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jacqueline Loo, Winn Jason Kennington, Simon de Lestang, Jason How, Jonathan P Evans
Polyandry, where multiple mating by females results in the temporal and spatial overlap of ejaculates from two or more males, is taxonomically widespread and occurs in varying frequencies within and among species. In decapods (crabs, lobsters, crayfish, and prawns), rates of polyandry are likely to be variable, but the extent to which patterns of multiple paternity reflect multiple mating, and thus are shaped by postmating processes that bias fertilization toward one or a subset of mated males, is unclear. Here, we use microsatellite markers to examine the frequency of multiple mating (the presence of spermatophores from two or more males) and patterns of paternity in wild populations of western rock lobster ( Panulirus cygnus )...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Aditya Ponkshe, John A Endler
Recent developments in sexual selection theory suggest that on their own, mate preferences can promote the maintenance of sexual trait diversity. However, how mate preferences constrain the permissiveness of sexual trait diversity in different environmental regimes remains an open question. Here, we examine how a range of mate choice parameters affect the permissiveness of sexual trait polymorphism under several selection regimes. We use the null model of sexual selection and show that environments with strong assortative mating significantly increase the permissiveness of sexual trait polymorphism...
May 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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