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Ecology and Evolution

Veronica Preite, Carla Oplaat, Arjen Biere, Jan Kirschner, Wim H van der Putten, Koen J F Verhoeven
DNA methylation is one of the mechanisms underlying epigenetic modifications. DNA methylations can be environmentally induced and such induced modifications can at times be transmitted to successive generations. However, it remains speculative how common such environmentally induced transgenerational DNA methylation changes are and if they persist for more than one offspring generation. We exposed multiple accessions of two different apomictic dandelion lineages of the Taraxacum officinale group ( Taraxacum alatum and T...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jusun Hwang, Yongbaek Kim, Sang-Won Lee, Na-Yon Kim, Myung-Sun Chun, Hang Lee, Nicole Gottdenker
Direct or indirect supplemental feeding of free-ranging animals occurs worldwide, resulting in significant impacts on population density or altered demographic processes. Another potential impact of increased energy intake from supplemental feeding is altered immunocompetence. As immune system maintenance is energetically costly, there may be trade-offs between immune responses and other energy-demanding physiological processes in individual animals. Although increased availability of food sources through supplemental feeding is expected to increase the overall immunocompetence of animals, empirical data verifying the association between supplemental feeding and different immune parameters are lacking...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kelly Louise Bennett, Martha Kaddumukasa, Fortunate Shija, Rousseau Djouaka, Gerald Misinzo, Julius Lutwama, Yvonne Marie Linton, Catherine Walton
The study of demographic processes involved in species diversification and evolution ultimately provides explanations for the complex distribution of biodiversity on earth, indicates regions important for the maintenance and generation of biodiversity, and identifies biological units important for conservation or medical consequence. African and forest biota have both received relatively little attention with regard to understanding their diversification, although one possible mechanism is that this has been driven by historical climate change...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Manuel Elías-Gutiérrez, Martha Valdez-Moreno, Janet Topan, Monica R Young, José Angel Cohuo-Colli
Currently, freshwater zooplankton sampling and identification methodologies have remained virtually unchanged since they were first established in the beginning of the XX century. One major contributing factor to this slow progress is the limited success of modern genetic methodologies, such as DNA barcoding, in several of the main groups. This study demonstrates improved protocols which enable the rapid assessment of most animal taxa inhabiting any freshwater system by combining the use of light traps, careful fixation at low temperatures using ethanol, and zooplankton-specific primers...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kaoru Tsuji, Takayuki Ohgushi
Species often interact indirectly with each other via their traits. There is increasing appreciation of trait-mediated indirect effects linking multiple interactions. Flowers interact with both pollinators and floral herbivores, and the flower-pollinator interaction may be modified by indirect effects of floral herbivores (i.e., florivores) on flower traits such as flower size attracting pollinators. To explore whether flower size affects the flower-pollinator interaction, we used Eurya japonica flowers. We examined whether artificial florivory decreased fruit and seed production, and also whether flower size affected florivory and the number of floral visitors...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Dirk Bauwens, Katja Claus, Joachim Mergeay
Capture-mark-recapture procedures are a basic tool in population studies and require that individual animals are correctly identified throughout their lifetime. A method that has become more and more popular uses photographic records of natural markings, such as pigmentation pattern and scalation configuration. As with any other marking tool, the validity of the photographic identification technique should be evaluated thoroughly. Here, we report on a large-scale double-marking study in which European adders ( Vipera berus ) were identified by both microsatellite genetic markers and by the pattern of head scalation...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Baoli Fan, Allen David McHugh, Shujiang Guo, Quanlin Ma, Jianhui Zhang, Xiaojuan Zhang, Weixing Zhang, Juan Du, Qiushi Yu, Changming Zhao
Calligonum mongolicum is a successful pioneer shrub to combat desertification, which is widely used for vegetation restoration in the desert regions of northwest China. In order to reveal the limitations to natural regeneration of C. mongolicum by asexual and sexual reproduction, following the process of sand dune stabilization, we assessed clonal shoots, seedling emergence, soil seed bank density, and soil physical characteristics in mobile and stabilized sand dunes. Controlled field and pot experiments were also conducted to assess germination and seedling emergence in different dune soil types and seed burial depths...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Paul G Becher, Arne Hagman, Vasiliki Verschut, Amrita Chakraborty, Elżbieta Rozpędowska, Sébastien Lebreton, Marie Bengtsson, Gerhard Flick, Peter Witzgall, Jure Piškur
Yeast volatiles attract insects, which apparently is of mutual benefit, for both yeasts and insects. However, it is unknown whether biosynthesis of metabolites that attract insects is a basic and general trait, or if it is specific for yeasts that live in close association with insects. Our goal was to study chemical insect attractants produced by yeasts that span more than 250 million years of evolutionary history and vastly differ in their metabolism and lifestyle. We bioassayed attraction of the vinegar fly Drosophila melanogaster to odors of phylogenetically and ecologically distinct yeasts grown under controlled conditions...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Naicheng Wu, Yueming Qu, Björn Guse, Kristė Makarevičiūtė, Szewing To, Tenna Riis, Nicola Fohrer
There has been increasing interest in algae-based bioassessment, particularly, trait-based approaches are increasingly suggested. However, the main drivers, especially the contribution of hydrological variables, of species composition, trait composition, and beta diversity of algae communities are less studied. To link species and trait composition to multiple factors (i.e., hydrological variables, local environmental variables, and spatial factors) that potentially control species occurrence/abundance and to determine their relative roles in shaping species composition, trait composition, and beta diversities of pelagic algae communities, samples were collected from a German lowland catchment, where a well-proven ecohydrological modeling enabled to predict long-term discharges at each sampling site...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Bryony Sands, Neludo Mgidiswa, Casper Nyamukondiwa, Richard Wall
Pyrethroid insecticides are widely used to control ectoparasites of livestock, particularly ticks and biting flies. Their use in African livestock systems is increasing, driven by the need to increase productivity and local food security. However, insecticide residues present in the dung after treatment are toxic to dung-inhabiting insects. In a semiarid agricultural habitat in Botswana, dung beetle adult mortality, brood ball production, and larval survival were compared between untreated cattle dung and cattle dung spiked with deltamethrin, to give concentrations of 0...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Aaron A Comeault
Despite examples of homoploid hybrid species, theoretical work describing when, where, and how we expect homoploid hybrid speciation to occur remains relatively rare. Here, I explore the probability of homoploid hybrid speciation due to "symmetrical incompatibilities" under different selective and genetic scenarios. Through simulation, I test how genetic architecture and selection acting on traits that do not themselves generate incompatibilities interact to affect the probability that hybrids evolve symmetrical incompatibilities with their parent species...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Andrea Talenti, Dayna L Dreger, Stefano Frattini, Michele Polli, Stefano Marelli, Alexander C Harris, Luigi Liotta, Raffaella Cocco, Andrew N Hogan, Daniele Bigi, Romolo Caniglia, Heidi G Parker, Giulio Pagnacco, Elaine A Ostrander, Paola Crepaldi
Through thousands of years of breeding and strong human selection, the dog ( Canis lupus familiaris ) exists today within hundreds of closed populations throughout the world, each with defined phenotypes. A singular geographic region with broad diversity in dog breeds presents an interesting opportunity to observe potential mechanisms of breed formation. Italy claims 14 internationally recognized dog breeds, with numerous additional local varieties. To determine the relationship among Italian dog populations, we integrated genetic data from 263 dogs representing 23 closed dog populations from Italy, seven Apennine gray wolves, and an established dataset of 161 globally recognized dog breeds, applying multiple genetic methods to characterize the modes by which breeds are formed within a single geographic region...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Kati Saarinen, Jouni Laakso, Leena Lindström, Tarmo Ketola
Rapid environmental fluctuations are ubiquitous in the wild, yet majority of experimental studies mostly consider effects of slow fluctuations on organism. To test the evolutionary consequences of fast fluctuations, we conducted nine independent experimental evolution experiments with bacteria. Experimental conditions were same for all species, and we allowed them to evolve either in fluctuating temperature alternating rapidly between 20°C and 40°C or at constant 30°C temperature. After experimental evolution, we tested the performance of the clones in both rapid fluctuation and in constant environments (20°C, 30°C and 40°C)...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Pascal Touzet, Sarah Villain, Laetitia Buret, Hélène Martin, Anne-Catherine Holl, Céline Poux, Joël Cuguen
Historical demographic processes and mating systems are believed to be major factors in the shaping of the intraspecies genetic diversity of plants. Among Caryophyllales, the Beta section of the genus Beta, within the Amaranthaceae/Chenopodiaceae alliance, is an interesting study model with species and subspecies ( Beta macrocarpa , Beta patula , Beta vulgaris maritima and B.v. adanensis) differing in geographical distribution and mating system. In addition, one of the species, B. macrocarpa , mainly diploid, varies in its level of ploidy with a tetraploid cytotype described in the Canary Islands and in Portugal...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Brian Folt, Maureen A Donnelly, Craig Guyer
The conspecific attraction hypothesis predicts that individuals are attracted to conspecifics because conspecifics may be cues to quality habitat and/or colonists may benefit from living in aggregations. Poison frogs (Dendrobatidae) are aposematic, territorial, and visually oriented-three characteristics which make dendrobatids an appropriate model to test for conspecific attraction. In this study, we tested this hypothesis using an extensive mark-recapture dataset of the strawberry poison frog ( Oophaga pumilio ) from La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Lindsay G Carlson, Karen H Beard, Peter B Adler
Both the direct effects of warming on a species' vital rates and indirect effects of warming caused by interactions with neighboring species can influence plant populations. Furthermore, herbivory mediates the effects of warming on plant community composition in many systems. Thus, determining the importance of direct and indirect effects of warming, while considering the role of herbivory, can help predict long-term plant community dynamics. We conducted a field experiment in the coastal wetlands of western Alaska to investigate how warming and herbivory influence the interactions and abundances of two common plant species, a sedge, Carex ramenskii , and a dwarf shrub, Salix ovalifolia ...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Roman Yukilevich, Luana S Maroja, Kim Nguyen, Syed Hussain, Preethi Kumaran
The rapid evolution of sexual isolation in sympatry has long been associated with reinforcement (i.e., selection to avoid maladaptive hybridization). However, there are many species pairs in sympatry that have evolved rapid sexual isolation without known costs to hybridization. A major unresolved question is what evolutionary processes are involved in driving rapid speciation in such cases. Here, we focus on one such system; the Drosophila athabasca species complex, which is composed of three partially sympatric and interfertile semispecies: WN, EA, and EB...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Yvonne Young, Natasha Buckiewicz, Tristan A F Long
Since its arrival to North America less than a decade ago, the invasive Spotted-Wing Drosophila ( Drosophila suzukii ) has inflicted substantial economic losses on soft fruit agriculture due to its ability to oviposit into ripening fruits. More effective management approaches for this species are needed, but little is known about the factors that influence behavioral choices made by D. suzukii when selecting hosts, or the consequences that their offspring experience when developing in different environments...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Mallory Van Wyngaarden, Paul V R Snelgrove, Claudio DiBacco, Lorraine C Hamilton, Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta, Luyao Zhan, Robert G Beiko, Ian R Bradbury
Environmental factors can influence diversity and population structure in marine species and accurate understanding of this influence can both improve fisheries management and help predict responses to environmental change. We used 7163 SNPs derived from restriction site-associated DNA sequencing genotyped in 245 individuals of the economically important sea scallop, Placopecten magellanicus , to evaluate the correlations between oceanographic variation and a previously identified latitudinal genomic cline...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Emilie Champagne, Ben D Moore, Steeve D Côté, Jean-Pierre Tremblay
Associational effects, that is, the influence of neighboring plants on herbivory suffered by a plant, are an outcome of forage selection. Although forage selection is a hierarchical process, few studies have investigated associational effects at multiple spatial scales. Because the nutritional quality of plants can be spatially structured, it might differently influence associational effects across multiple scales. Our objective was to determine the radius of influence of neighbor density and nutritional quality on balsam fir ( Abies balsamea ) herbivory by white-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) in winter...
March 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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