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Ecology and Evolution

Martijn A Schenkel, Ido Pen, Leo W Beukeboom, Jean-Christophe Billeter
Sexual conflict occurs because males and females are exposed to different selection pressures. This can affect many aspects of female and male biology, such as physiology, behavior, genetics, and even population ecology. Its broad impact has caused widespread interest in sexual conflict. However, a key aspect of sexual conflict is often confused; it comprises two distinct forms: intralocus and interlocus sexual conflict (IASC and IRSC). Although both are caused by sex differences in selection, they operate via different proximate and ultimate mechanisms...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jente Ottenburghs
Hybridization is increasingly recognized as a creative evolutionary force contributing to adaptation and speciation. Homoploid hybrid speciation-the process in which hybridization results in a stable, fertile, and reproductively isolated hybrid lineage where there is no change in ploidy-has been documented in several taxa. Hybridization can directly contribute to reproductive isolation or reinforce it at a later stage. Alternatively, hybridization might not be related to the evolution of reproductive isolation...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Zhe Hou, Zhaoshan Wang, Zhanyang Ye, Shuhui Du, Shuyu Liu, Jianguo Zhang
Despite several phylogeographic studies had provided evidence to support the existence of glacial refugia of cool-temperate deciduous trees in northeast China, the species used in these studies were limited by the species ranges, which could not exclude the possibility that northern populations were the colonists from southern refugial populations during the last glacial maximum (LGM). Here, we estimated the nucleotide variation in Populus davidiana , a widespread species distributed in Eurasia. Three groups in northeast, central, and southwest China were constructed according to the simulation results from SAMOVA, composition of chloroplast haplotypes and structure results...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Shirong Li, Deguang Liu, Rongfang Zhang, Yingting Zhai, Xianliang Huang, Da Wang, Xiaoqin Shi
Hamiltonella defensa is well known for its protective roles against parasitoids for its aphid hosts, but its functional roles in insect-plant interactions are less understood. Thus, the impact of H. defensa infections on life-history characters and the underlying genetic variation for the grain aphid, Sitobion avenae (Fabricius), was explored on three plants (i.e., wheat, oat, and rye). Compared to cured lines, H. defensa infected lines of S. avenae had lower fecundity on wheat and oat, but not on rye, suggesting an infection cost for the aphid on susceptible host plants...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Andrew R MacLaren, Paul S Crump, J Andrew Royle, Michael R J Forstner
Acoustic surveys of vocalizing animals are conducted to determine density, distribution, and diversity. Acoustic surveys are traditionally performed by human listeners, but automated recording devices (ARD) are becoming increasingly popular. Signal strength decays, or attenuates, with increasing distance between source and receiver and some habitat types may differentially increase attenuation beyond the effects of distance alone. These combined effects are rarely accounted for in acoustic monitoring programs...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Takashi Y Ida, Kojiro Takanashi, Momoka Tamura, Rika Ozawa, Yoshitaka Nakashima, Takayuki Ohgushi
Despite our understanding of chemical defenses and their consequences for plant performance and herbivores, we know little about whether defensive chemicals in plant tissues, such as alkaloids, and their spatial variation within a population play unappreciated and critical roles in plant-herbivore interactions. Neighboring plants can decrease or increase attractiveness of a plant to herbivores, an example of a neighborhood effect. Chemical defensive traits may contribute to neighborhood effects in plant-herbivore interactions...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Christopher J Schell, Julie K Young, Elizabeth V Lonsdorf, Rachel M Santymire, Jill M Mateo
A fundamental tenet of maternal effects assumes that maternal variance over time should have discordant consequences for offspring traits across litters. Yet, seldom are parents observed across multiple reproductive bouts, with few studies considering anthropogenic disturbances as an ecological driver of maternal effects. We observed captive coyote ( Canis latrans ) pairs over two successive litters to determine whether among-litter differences in behavior (i.e., risk-taking) and hormones (i.e., cortisol and testosterone) corresponded with parental plasticity in habituation...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Emanuel A Fronhofer, Jürgen Liebig, Oliver Mitesser, Hans Joachim Poethke
Explaining the evolution and maintenance of animal groups remains a challenge. Surprisingly, fundamental ecological factors, such as resource variance and competition for limited resources, tend to be ignored in models of cooperation. We use a mathematical model previously developed to quantify the influence of different group sizes on resource use efficiency in egalitarian groups and extend its scope to groups with severe reproductive skew (eusocial groups). Accounting for resource limitation, the model allows calculation of optimal group sizes (highest resource use efficiency) and equilibrium population sizes in egalitarian as well as eusocial groups for a broad spectrum of environmental conditions (variance of resource supply)...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
J Alex Baecher, Stephen C Richter
Woodland salamanders are among the most abundant vertebrate animals in temperate deciduous forests of eastern North America. Because of their abundance, woodland salamanders are responsible for the transformation of nutrients and translocation of energy between highly disparate levels of trophic organization: detrital food webs and high-order predators. However, the spatial extent of woodland salamanders' role in the ecosystem is likely contingent upon the distribution of their biomass throughout the forest...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Emma Sherratt, Marion Anstis, J Scott Keogh
Ecomorphology is the association between an organism's morphology and its ecology. Larval anuran amphibians (tadpoles) are classified into distinct ecomorphological guilds based upon morphological features and observations of their ecology. The extent to which guilds comprise distinct morphologies resulting from convergent evolution, the degree of morphological variability within each guild, and the degree of continuity in shape between guilds has not previously been examined in a phylogenetically informed statistical framework...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hemchandranauth Sambhu, Alliea Nankishore, Stephen M Turton, Tobin D Northfield
The accelerating expansion of human populations and associated economic activity across the globe have made maintaining large, intact natural areas increasingly challenging. The difficulty of preserving large intact landscapes in the presence of growing human populations has led to a growing emphasis on landscape approaches to biodiversity conservation with a complementary strategy focused on improving conservation in human-modified landscapes. This, in turn, is leading to intense debate about the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation in human-modified landscapes and approaches to better support biodiversity in those landscapes...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kyle A Cutting, Jake M Ferguson, Michelle L Anderson, Kristen Cook, Stacy C Davis, Rebekah Levine
Beaver reintroductions and beaver dam structures are an increasingly utilized ecological tool for rehabilitating degraded streams, yet beaver dams can potentially impact upstream fish migrations. We collected two years of data on Arctic grayling movement through a series of beaver dams in a low gradient mountain stream, utilizing radio-telemetry techniques, to determine how hydrology, dam characteristics, and fish attributes impeded passage and movement rates of spawning grayling. We compared fish movement between a "normal" flow year and a "low" flow year, determined grayling passage probabilities over dams in relation to a suite of factors, and predicted daily movement rates in relation to the number of dams each fish passed and distance between dams during upstream migration to spawning areas...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Brian Balmer, Eric Zolman, Teri Rowles, Cynthia Smith, Forrest Townsend, Deborah Fauquier, Clay George, Tracey Goldstein, Larry Hansen, Brian Quigley, Wayne McFee, Jeanine Morey, Patricia Rosel, Jerry Saliki, Todd Speakman, Lori Schwacke
During 2013-2015, an outbreak of dolphin morbillivirus (DMV) occurred in the western North Atlantic, which resulted in the stranding of over 1,600 common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) . There are currently five coastal and 10 bay, sound, and estuary dolphin stocks along the U.S. Atlantic coast, yet there is very limited understanding of which stocks were exposed to DMV during the recent outbreak, or how DMV was transmitted across stocks. In order to address these questions, information is needed on spatial overlap and stock interactions...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Christoph Scherber, Hagen Andert, Rolf Niedringhaus, Teja Tscharntke
Predictions of species richness by island area are a classical cornerstone in ecology, while the specific features of barrier islands have been little appreciated. Many shorelines are occupied by barrier islands, which are shaped by offshore sedimentation processes and annual storm tide events. Hence, the appearance of these islands may vary between years if they are not protected by dykes. Here, we analyzed more than 2,990 species across 36 taxonomic groups (including vertebrates, invertebrates, and land plants) on German barrier islands, the East Frisian Islands...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Claire M Curry, Jeremy D Ross, Andrea J Contina, Eli S Bridge
Species distribution models can be made more accurate by use of new "Spatiotemporal Exploratory Models" (STEMs), a type of spatially explicit ensemble model (SEEM) developed at the continental scale that averages regional models pixel by pixel. Although SEEMs can generate more accurate predictions of species distributions, they are computationally expensive. We compared the accuracies of each model for 11 grassland bird species and examined whether they improve accuracy at a statewide scale for fine and coarse predictor resolutions...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Vicki L Balfour, Cédric Aumont, Liam R Dougherty, David M Shuker
Conspicuous warning colors that signal chemical or other defenses are common in the natural world. For instance, such aposematic warning patterns of red-and-black or yellow-and-black are common among insect taxa, particularly in the order Hemiptera, often forming the basis of Batesian and/or Müllerian mimicry rings. In addition, it has been repeatedly noted that color polymorphisms or mutants that influence pigmentation can show pleiotropy with other behavioral, physiological, or life-history traits. Here, we describe a pale mutant of the seed bug Lygaeus simulans that appeared in our laboratory population in 2012, which differs in color to the wild-type bugs...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Tommy Andriollo, Sohrab Ashrafi, Raphaël Arlettaz, Manuel Ruedi
Species are the basic units for measuring biodiversity and for comprehending biological interactions. Yet, their delineation is often contentious, especially in groups that are both diverse and phenotypically conservative. Three cryptic species of long-eared bats, Plecotus auritus , P. austriacus, and P. macrobullaris , co-occur over extensive areas of Western Europe. The latter is a fairly recent discovery, questioning the overall diversity of the entire Plecotus complex. Yet, high morphological and acoustic similarities compromise the reliable identification of long-eared bats in the field...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kyle M Benowitz, Madeline E Sparks, Elizabeth C McKinney, Patricia J Moore, Allen J Moore
Background: In species with parental care, there is striking variation in offspring dependence at birth, ranging from feeding independence to complete dependency on parents for nutrition. Frequently, highly dependent offspring further evolve reductions or alterations of morphological traits that would otherwise promote self-sufficiency. Here, we examine evidence for morphological evolution associated with dependence in burying beetles ( Nicrophorus spp.), in which dependence upon parents appears to have several independent origins...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Lydia L Stiffler, Katie M Schroeder, James T Anderson, Susan B McRae, Todd E Katzner
Reliable species identification is vital for survey and monitoring programs. Recently, the development of digital technology for recording and analyzing vocalizations has assisted in acoustic surveying for cryptic, rare, or elusive species. However, the quantitative tools that exist for species differentiation are still being refined. Using vocalizations recorded in the course of ecological studies of a King Rail ( Rallus elegans ) and a Clapper Rail ( Rallus crepitans ) population, we assessed the accuracy and effectiveness of three parametric (logistic regression, discriminant function analysis, quadratic discriminant function analysis) and six nonparametric (support vector machine, CART, Random Forest, k -nearest neighbor, weighted k -nearest neighbor, and neural networks) statistical classification methods for differentiating these species by their kek mating call...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Silke A Riesle-Sbarbaro, Kofi Amponsah-Mensah, Stefan de Vries, Violaine Nicolas, Aude Lalis, Richard Suu-Ire, Andrew A Cunningham, James L N Wood, David R Sargan
The Gambian epauletted fruit bat ( Epomophorus gambianus ) is an abundant species that roosts in both urban and rural settings. The possible role of E. gambianus as a reservoir host of zoonotic diseases underlines the need to better understand the species movement patterns. So far, neither observational nor phylogenetic studies have identified the dispersal range or behavior of this species. Comparative analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear markers from 20 localities across the known distribution of E. gambianus showed population panmixia, except for the populations in Ethiopia and southern Ghana (Accra and Ve-Golokwati)...
December 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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