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Ecology and Evolution

Daniel Nettle, Clare Andrews, Sophie Reichert, Tom Bedford, Annie Gott, Craig Parker, Claire Kolenda, Carmen Martin-Ruiz, Pat Monaghan, Melissa Bateson
For young birds in a nest, body size may have implications for other aspects of development such as telomere length and immune function. However, it is possible to predict associations in either direction. On the one hand, there may be trade-offs between growth and telomere maintenance, and growth and investment in immune function, suggesting there will be negative correlations. On the other hand, relatively larger individuals might be advantaged in competition with their nest-mates, allowing them to garner more resources overall, leading to positive correlations...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Joseph D Manthey, Marc Tollis, Alan R Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Stéphane Boissinot
The green anole (Anolis carolinensis) is a lizard widespread throughout the southeastern United States and is a model organism for the study of reproductive behavior, physiology, neural biology, and genomics. Previous phylogeographic studies of A. carolinensis using mitochondrial DNA and small numbers of nuclear loci identified conflicting and poorly supported relationships among geographically structured clades; these inconsistencies preclude confident use of A. carolinensis evolutionary history in association with morphological, physiological, or reproductive biology studies among sampling localities and necessitate increased effort to resolve evolutionary relationships among natural populations...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Julia C Geue, Csongor I Vágási, Mona Schweizer, Péter L Pap, Henri A Thomassen
Both neutral and adaptive evolutionary processes can cause population divergence, but their relative contributions remain unclear. We investigated the roles of these processes in population divergence in house sparrows (Passer domesticus) from Romania and Bulgaria, regions characterized by high landscape heterogeneity compared to Western Europe. We asked whether morphological divergence, complemented with genetic data in this human commensal species, was best explained by environmental variation, geographic distance, or landscape resistance-the effort it takes for an individual to disperse from one location to the other-caused by either natural or anthropogenic barriers...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Christopher J Butler, Brian D Stanila, John B Iverson, Paul A Stone, Matthew Bryson
Chelonians are expected to be negatively impacted by climate change due to limited vagility and temperature-dependent sex determination. However, few studies have examined how freshwater turtle distributions may shift under different climate change scenarios. We used a maximum entropy approach to model the distribution of five widespread North American Kinosternon species (K. baurii, K. flavescens, K. hirtipes, K. sonoriense, and K. subrubrum) under four climate change scenarios. We found that areas with suitable climatic conditions for K...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Chun-Yi Chang, Dustin J Marshall
Making links between ecological processes and the scales at which they operate is an enduring challenge of community ecology. Our understanding of ecological communities cannot advance if we do not distinguish larger scale processes from smaller ones. Variability at small spatial scales can be important because it carries information about biological interactions, which cannot be explained by environmental heterogeneity alone. Marine fouling communities are shaped by both the supply of larvae and competition for resources among colonizers-these two processes operate on distinctly different scales...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Isabel Casties, Hanno Seebens, Elizabeta Briski
Recently, several studies indicated that species from the Ponto-Caspian region may be evolutionarily predisposed to become nonindigenous species (NIS); however, origin of NIS established in different regions has rarely been compared to confirm these statements. More importantly, if species from certain area/s are proven to be better colonizers, management strategies to control transport vectors coming from those areas must be more stringent, as prevention of new introductions is a cheaper and more effective strategy than eradication or control of established NIS populations...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Colin Bran Alexander Macfarlane, Libby Natola, Mike W Brown, Theresa M Burg
Using a combination of mitochondrial and z-linked sequences, microsatellite data, and spatio-geographic modeling, we examined historical and contemporary factors influencing the population genetic structure of the purple finch (Haemorhous purpureus). Mitochondrial DNA data show the presence of two distinct groups corresponding to the two subspecies, H. p. purpureus and H. p. californicus. The two subspecies likely survived in separate refugia during the last glacial maximum, one on the Pacific Coast and one east of the Rocky Mountains, and now remain distinct lineages with little evidence of gene flow between them...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Mads S Thomsen, Thomas Hildebrand, Paul M South, Travis Foster, Alfonso Siciliano, Eliza Oldach, David R Schiel
Many studies have documented habitat cascades where two co-occurring habitat-forming species control biodiversity. However, more than two habitat-formers could theoretically co-occur. We here documented a sixth-level habitat cascade from the Avon-Heathcote Estuary, New Zealand, by correlating counts of attached inhabitants to the size and accumulated biomass of their biogenic hosts. These data revealed predictable sequences of habitat-formation (=attachment space). First, the bivalve Austrovenus provided habitat for green seaweeds (Ulva) that provided habitat for trochid snails in a typical estuarine habitat cascade...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Constanze Buhk, Marcel Kämmer, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Anke Jentsch, Jürgen Kreyling, Hermann F Jungkunst
Climate projections propose that drought stress will become challenging for establishing trees. The magnitude of stress is dependent on tree species, provenance, and most likely also highly influenced by soil quality. European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) is of major ecological and economical importance in Central European forests. The species has an especially wide physiological and ecological amplitude enabling growth under various soil conditions within its distribution area in Central Europe. We studied the effects of extreme drought on beech saplings (second year) of four climatically distinct provenances growing on different soils (sandy loam and loamy sand) in a full factorial pot experiment...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Amy C Morey, Robert C Venette, Erica C Nystrom Santacruz, Laurel A Mosca, W D Hutchison
While many insects cannot survive the formation of ice within their bodies, a few species can. On the evolutionary continuum from freeze-intolerant (i.e., freeze-avoidant) to freeze-tolerant insects, intermediates likely exist that can withstand some ice formation, but not enough to be considered fully freeze tolerant. Theory suggests that freeze tolerance should be favored over freeze avoidance among individuals that have low relative fitness before exposure to cold. For phytophagous insects, numerous studies have shown that host (or nutrition) can affect fitness and cold-tolerance strategy, respectively, but no research has investigated whether changes in fitness caused by different hosts of polyphagous species could lead to systematic changes in cold-tolerance strategy...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Wenda Huang, Xueyong Zhao, Xin Zhao, Yulin Li, Jie Lian
Caragana microphylla (Leguminosae) is a dominant climax semishrub species in northern China. We evaluated genetic variation within and among populations sampled from three different environmental gradients in Horqin Sandy Land in northern China using intersimple sequence repeats markers and investigated the possible existence of relationships between genetic diversity and environmental factors. The results showed that C. microphylla have high genetic diversity, and environmental gradients affected genetic diversity of C...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Sophie Bestley, Ian Jonsen, Robert G Harcourt, Mark A Hindell, Nicholas J Gales
Animal movement research relies on biotelemetry, and telemetry-based locations are increasingly augmented with ancillary information. This presents an underutilized opportunity to enhance movement process models. Given tags designed to record specific behaviors, efforts are increasing to update movement models beyond reliance solely upon horizontal movement information to improve inference of space use and activity budgets. We present two state-space models adapted to incorporate ancillary data to inform three discrete movement states: directed, resident, and an activity state...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Ying Wang, Lijuan Su, Shi Huang, Cunpei Bo, Sen Yang, Yan Li, Fengqin Wang, Hui Xie, Jian Xu, Andong Song
Termites are considered among the most efficient bioreactors, with high capacities for lignocellulose degradation and utilization. Recently, several studies have characterized the gut microbiota of diverse termites. However, the temporal dynamics of the gut microbiota within a given termite with dietary diversity are poorly understood. Here, we employed 16S rDNA barcoded pyrosequencing analysis to investigate temporal changes in bacterial diversity and richness of the gut microbiota of wood-feeding higher termite Mironasutitermes shangchengensis under three lignocellulose content-based diets that feature wood, corn stalks, and filter paper...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Weiwei Zhao, William K Cornwell, Marinda van Pomeren, Richard S P van Logtestijn, Johannes H C Cornelissen
Fire affects and is affected by plants. Vegetation varies in flammability, that is, its general ability to burn, at different levels of ecological organization. To scale from individual plant traits to community flammability states, understanding trait effects on species flammability variation and their interaction is important. Plant traits are the cumulative result of evolution and they show, to differing extents, phylogenetic conservatism. We asked whether phylogenetic distance between species predicts species mixture effects on litterbed flammability...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Hamid Reza Ghanavi, Elena G Gonzalez, Ignacio Doadrio
The Middle East contains a great diversity of Capoeta species, but their taxonomy remains poorly described. We used mitochondrial history to examine diversity of the algae-scraping cyprinid Capoeta in Iran, applying the species-delimiting approaches General Mixed Yule-Coalescent (GMYC) and Poisson Tree Process (PTP) as well as haplotype network analyses. Using the BEAST program, we also examined temporal divergence patterns of Capoeta. The monophyly of the genus and the existence of three previously described main clades (Mesopotamian, Anatolian-Iranian, and Aralo-Caspian) were confirmed...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
João D Santos, Christoph F J Meyer, Carlos Ibáñez, Ana G Popa-Lisseanu, Javier Juste
For elusive mammals like bats, colonization of new areas and colony formation are poorly understood, as is their relationship with the genetic structure of populations. Understanding dispersal and group formation behaviors is critical not only for a better comprehension of mammalian social dynamics, but also for guiding conservation efforts of rare and endangered species. Using nuclear and mitochondrial markers, we studied patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation among and within breeding colonies of giant noctule bats (Nyctalus lasiopterus), their relation to a new colony still in formation, and the impact of this ongoing process on the regionwide genetic makeup...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Joshua Drew, Elora H López, Lucy Gill, Mallory McKeon, Nathan Miller, Madeline Steinberg, Christa Shen, Loren McClenachan
Yankee whalers of the 19th century had major impacts on populations of large whales, but these leviathans were not the only taxa targeted. Here, we describe the "collateral damage," the opportunistic or targeted taking of nongreat whale species by the American whaling industry. Using data from 5,064 records from 79 whaling logs occurring between 1840 and 1901, we show that Yankee whalers captured 5,255 animals across three large ocean basins from 32 different taxonomic categories, including a wide range of marine and terrestrial species...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Benoît Fontaine, Benjamin Bergerot, Isabelle Le Viol, Romain Julliard
We investigated the interacting impacts of urban landscape and gardening practices on the species richness and total abundance of communities of common butterfly communities across France, using data from a nationwide monitoring scheme. We show that urbanization has a strong negative impact on butterfly richness and abundance but that at a local scale, such impact could be mitigated by gardening practices favoring nectar offer. We found few interactions among these landscape and local scale effects, indicating that butterfly-friendly gardening practices are efficient whatever the level of surrounding urbanization...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Sean M Naman, Correigh M Greene, Casimir A Rice, Joshua Chamberlin, Letitia Conway-Cranos, Jeffery R Cordell, Jason E Hall, Linda D Rhodes
Identifying causes of structural ecosystem shifts often requires understanding trophic structure, an important determinant of energy flow in ecological communities. In coastal pelagic ecosystems worldwide, increasing jellyfish (Cnidaria and Ctenophora) at the expense of small fish has been linked to anthropogenic alteration of basal trophic pathways. However, this hypothesis remains untested in part because baseline description of fish-jellyfish trophic dynamics, and the environmental features that influence them are lacking...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
Carlos A Aguilar-Trigueros, Matthias C Rillig
Understanding the effects of root-associated microbes in explaining plant community patterns represents a challenge in community ecology. Although typically overlooked, several lines of evidence point out that nonmycorrhizal, root endophytic fungi in the Ascomycota may have the potential to drive changes in plant community ecology given their ubiquitous presence, wide host ranges, and plant species-specific fitness effects. Thus, we experimentally manipulated the presence of root endophytic fungal species in microcosms and measured its effects on plant communities...
November 2016: Ecology and Evolution
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