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Ecology and Evolution

Anssi Karvonen, Kai Lindström
Parasitism is considered a major selective force in natural host populations. Infections can decrease host condition and vigour, and potentially influence, for example, host population dynamics and behavior such as mate choice. We studied parasite infections of two common marine fish species, the sand goby ( Pomatoschistus minutus ) and the common goby ( Pomatoschistus microps ), in the brackish water Northern Baltic Sea. We were particularly interested in the occurrence of parasite taxa located in central sensory organs, such as eyes, potentially affecting fish behavior and mate choice...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Rahim Romba, Olivier Gnankine, Samuel Fogné Drabo, Fidèle Tiendrebeogo, Hélène Henri, Laurence Mouton, Fabrice Vavre
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a pest of many agricultural and ornamental crops worldwide and particularly in Africa. It is a complex of cryptic species, which is extremely polyphagous with hundreds of host plants identified around the world. Previous surveys in western Africa indicated the presence of two biotypes of the invasive MED species (MED-Q1 and MED-Q3) living in sympatry with the African species SSA and ASL. This situation constitutes one of the rare cases of local coexistence of various genetic entities within the B...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Ellen van Velzen, Ursula Gaedke
Ecoevolutionary feedbacks in predator-prey systems have been shown to qualitatively alter predator-prey dynamics. As a striking example, defense-offense coevolution can reverse predator-prey cycles, so predator peaks precede prey peaks rather than vice versa. However, this has only rarely been shown in either model studies or empirical systems. Here, we investigate whether this rarity is a fundamental feature of reversed cycles by exploring under which conditions they should be found. For this, we first identify potential conditions and parameter ranges most likely to result in reversed cycles by developing a new measure, the effective prey biomass , which combines prey biomass with prey and predator traits, and represents the prey biomass as perceived by the predator...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Alexandre Fellous, Tiphaine Labed-Veydert, Mélodie Locrel, Anne-Sophie Voisin, Ryan L Earley, Frederic Silvestre
In addition to genetic variation, epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation might make important contributions to heritable phenotypic diversity in populations. However, it is often difficult to disentangle the contributions of genetic and epigenetic variation to phenotypic diversity. Here, we investigated global DNA methylation and mRNA expression of the methylation-associated enzymes during embryonic development and in adult tissues of one natural isogenic lineage of mangrove rivulus fish, Kryptolebias marmoratus ...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Faline M Drummond, Tim G Lovegrove, Doug P Armstrong
Monitoring is an essential part of reintroduction programs, but many years of data may be needed to obtain reliable population projections. This duration can potentially be reduced by incorporating prior information on expected vital rates (survival and fecundity) when making inferences from monitoring data. The prior distributions for these parameters can be derived from data for previous reintroductions, but it is important to account for site-to-site variation. We evaluated whether such informative priors improved our ability to estimate the finite rate of increase (λ) of the North Island robin ( Petroica longipes ) population reintroduced to Tawharanui Regional Park, New Zealand...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Chris McCool, James Beattie, Michael Milford, Jonathan D Bakker, Joslin L Moore, Jennifer Firn
This study develops an approach to automating the process of vegetation cover estimates using computer vision and pattern recognition algorithms. Visual cover estimation is a key tool for many ecological studies, yet quadrat-based analyses are known to suffer from issues of consistency between people as well as across sites (spatially) and time (temporally). Previous efforts to estimate cover from photograps require considerable manual work. We demonstrate that an automated system can be used to estimate vegetation cover and the type of vegetation cover present using top-down photographs of 1 m by 1 m quadrats...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Taylor T Goodnoe, Jeffrey P Hill
Resource allocation plasticity enables individuals to alter patterns of nutrient use between reproductive and vegetative output to better fit their current environment. In sexually labile plant species, abiotic environmental factors can influence expression of dimorphic gender, resulting in environmental sex determination (ESD), which potentially reduces the need for plasticity of resource allocation by preemptively matching an individual's future nutrient demands to resource availability in its location. Ceratopteris richardii gametophytes exhibit gender-dependent differences in relative carbon and nitrogen content, and ESD in certain nutrient environments...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Linda C Horianopoulos, Celia K Boone, G D N Gayathri Samarasekera, Gurkirat K Kandola, Brent W Murray
The mountain pine beetle ( Dendroctonus ponderosae ) is an insect native to western North America; however, its geographical range has recently expanded north in BC and east into Alberta. To understand the population structure in the areas of expansion, 16 gene-linked microsatellites were screened and compared to neutral microsatellites using outlier analyses of F st and F ct values. One sex-linked gene, inhibitor of apoptosis ( IAP ), showed a strong signature of positive selection for neo-X alleles and was analyzed for evidence of adaptive variation...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Lynsey R Harper, Lori Lawson Handley, Christoph Hahn, Neil Boonham, Helen C Rees, Kevin C Gough, Erin Lewis, Ian P Adams, Peter Brotherton, Susanna Phillips, Bernd Hänfling
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a rapid, cost-effective, non-invasive biodiversity monitoring tool which utilises DNA left behind in the environment by organisms for species detection. The method is used as a species-specific survey tool for rare or invasive species across a broad range of ecosystems. Recently, eDNA and "metabarcoding" have been combined to describe whole communities rather than focusing on single target species. However, whether metabarcoding is as sensitive as targeted approaches for rare species detection remains to be evaluated...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Ruihua Wang, Jun Zou, Jinling Meng, Jianbo Wang
Polyploidization, as a significant evolution force, has been considered to facilitate plant diversity. The expression levels of lncRNAs and how they control the expression of protein-coding genes in allopolyploids remain largely unknown. In this study, lncRNA expression profiles were compared between Brassica hexaploid and its parents using a high-throughput sequencing approach. A total of 2,725, 1,672, and 2,810 lncRNAs were discovered in Brassica rapa , Brassica carinata , and Brassica hexaploid, respectively...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Julia B Saltz, Alison M Bell, Jonathan Flint, Richard Gomulkiewicz, Kimberly A Hughes, Jason Keagy
Genotype-by-environment interaction (G × E), that is, genetic variation in phenotypic plasticity, is a central concept in ecology and evolutionary biology. G×E has wide-ranging implications for trait development and for understanding how organisms will respond to environmental change. Although G × E has been extensively documented, its presence and magnitude vary dramatically across populations and traits. Despite this, we still know little about why G × E is so evident in some traits and populations, but minimal or absent in others...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Rebecca Fisher, Shaun K Wilson, Tsai M Sin, Ai C Lee, Tim J Langlois
Full-subsets information theoretic approaches are becoming an increasingly popular tool for exploring predictive power and variable importance where a wide range of candidate predictors are being considered. Here, we describe a simple function in the statistical programming language R that can be used to construct, fit, and compare a complete model set of possible ecological or environmental predictors, given a response variable of interest and a starting generalized additive (mixed) model fit. Main advantages include not requiring a complete model to be fit as the starting point for candidate model set construction (meaning that a greater number of predictors can potentially be explored than might be available through functions such as dredge); model sets that include interactions between factors and continuous nonlinear predictors; and automatic removal of models with correlated predictors (based on a user defined criterion for exclusion)...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Amanda M Sparkman, Amanda D Clark, Lilly J Brummett, Kenneth R Chism, Lucia L Combrink, Nicole M Kabey, Tonia S Schwartz
Many oceanic islands harbor diverse species that differ markedly from their mainland relatives with respect to morphology, behavior, and physiology. A particularly common morphological change exhibited by a wide range of species on islands worldwide involves either a reduction in body size, termed island dwarfism, or an increase in body size, termed island gigantism. While numerous instances of dwarfism and gigantism have been well documented, documentation of other morphological changes on islands remains limited...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Dana Lin, Ke Bi, Christopher J Conroy, Eileen A Lacey, Joshua G Schraiber, Rauri C K Bowie
To examine the processes that maintain genetic diversity among closely related taxa, we investigated the dynamics of introgression across a contact zone between two lineages of California voles ( Microtus californicus ). We tested the prediction that introgression of nuclear loci would be greater than that for mitochondrial loci, assuming ongoing gene flow across the contact zone. We also predicted that genomic markers would show a mosaic pattern of differentiation across this zone, consistent with genomes that are semi-permeable...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Sherlyn C Tipayno, Jaak Truu, Sandipan Samaddar, Marika Truu, Jens-Konrad Preem, Kristjan Oopkaup, Mikk Espenberg, Poulami Chatterjee, Yeongyeong Kang, Kiyoon Kim, Tongmin Sa
The pollution of agricultural soils by the heavy metals affects the productivity of the land and has an impact on the quality of the surrounding ecosystems. This study investigated the bacterial community structure in the heavy metal contaminated sites along a smelter and a distantly located paddy field to elucidate the factors that are related to the alterations of the bacterial communities under the conditions of heavy metal pollution. Among the study sites, the bacterial communities in the soil did not show any significant differences in their richness and diversity...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Zhaoke Dong, Yifan Li, Zhiyong Zhang
Despite increasing evidence that landscape features strongly influence the abundance and dispersal of insect populations, landscape composition has seldom been explicitly linked to genetic structure. We conducted a genetic study of the melon aphid, Aphis gossypii , in two counties of Beijing, China during spring migration using samples from watermelon. We performed aphid genetic analysis using restriction site associated DNA sequencing (2b-RAD) and investigated the relationship between land cover and the genetic diversity...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Robert N Fisher, Cheryl S Brehme, Stacie A Hathaway, Tim E Hovey, Manna L Warburton, Drew C Stokes
The arroyo southwestern toad is a specialized and federally endangered amphibian endemic to the coastal plains and mountains of central and southern California and northwestern Baja California. It is largely unknown how long these toads live in natural systems, how their population demographics vary across occupied drainages, and how hydrology affects age structure. We used skeletochronology to estimate the ages of adult arroyo toads in seven occupied drainages with varying surface water hydrology in southern California...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Scott Bennett, Andrew R Halford, J Howard Choat, Jean-Paul A Hobbs, Julia Santana-Garcon, Anthony M Ayling, Euan S Harvey, Stephen J Newman
We quantify the relative importance of multi-scale drivers of reef fish assemblage structure on isolated coral reefs at the intersection of the Indian and Indo-Pacific biogeographical provinces. Large (>30 cm), functionally-important and commonly targeted species of fish, were surveyed on the outer reef crest/front at 38 coral reef sites spread across three oceanic coral reef systems (i.e. Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands and the Rowley Shoals), in the tropical Indian Ocean ( c . 1.126 x 106 km2 )...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Katharine M Banner, Kathryn M Irvine, Thomas J Rodhouse, Wilson J Wright, Rogelio M Rodriguez, Andrea R Litt
Acoustic recording units (ARUs) enable geographically extensive surveys of sensitive and elusive species. However, a hidden cost of using ARU data for modeling species occupancy is that prohibitive amounts of human verification may be required to correct species identifications made from automated software. Bat acoustic studies exemplify this challenge because large volumes of echolocation calls could be recorded and automatically classified to species. The standard occupancy model requires aggregating verified recordings to construct confirmed detection/non-detection datasets...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Sebastian Fiedler, Michael P Perring, Britta Tietjen
A global ecological restoration agenda has led to ambitious programs in environmental policy to mitigate declines in biodiversity and ecosystem services. Current restoration programs can incompletely return desired ecosystem service levels, while resilience of restored ecosystems to future threats is unknown. It is therefore essential to advance understanding and better utilize knowledge from ecological literature in restoration approaches. We identified an incomplete linkage between global change ecology, ecosystem function research, and restoration ecology...
June 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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