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Ecology and Evolution

Surendra P Singh, Inderjit, Jamuna S Singh, Sudipto Majumdar, Jaime Moyano, Martin A Nuñez, David M Richardson
Although gymnosperms were nearly swept away by the rise of the angiosperms in the Late Cretaceous, conifers, and pines ( Pinus species) in particular, survived and regained their dominance in some habitats. Diversification of pines into fire-avoiding (subgenus Haploxylon ) and fire-adapted (subgenus Diploxylon ) species occurred in response to abiotic and biotic factors in the Late Cretaceous such as competition with emerging angiosperms and changing fire regimes. Adaptations/traits that evolved in response to angiosperm-fuelled fire regimes and stressful environments in the Late Cretaceous were key to pine success and are also contributing to a new "pine rise" in some areas in the Anthropocene...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Beth Gardner, Rahel Sollmann, N Samba Kumar, Devcharan Jathanna, K Ullas Karanth
With continued global changes, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and habitat fragmentation, the need for assessment of long-term population dynamics and population monitoring of threatened species is growing. One powerful way to estimate population size and dynamics is through capture-recapture methods. Spatial capture (SCR) models for open populations make efficient use of capture-recapture data, while being robust to design changes. Relatively few studies have implemented open SCR models, and to date, very few have explored potential issues in defining these models...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Péter Török, Károly Penksza, Edina Tóth, András Kelemen, Judit Sonkoly, Béla Tóthmérész
In the Palaearctic steppe zone, overgrazing was identified as one of the key drivers of declining grassland biodiversity, which underlines the necessity of the functional evaluation of increased grazing pressure on grassland vegetation. We tested the following hypotheses: (a) The effect of grazing intensity on species and functional diversity is strongly dependent on grassland type. (b) The magnitude of diet selectivity of grazers decreases with increasing grazing intensity. (c) Increasing grazing intensity increases evenness and functional evenness of the subjected grasslands...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Aron D Katz, Steven J Taylor, Mark A Davis
The processes of vicariance and dispersal are central to our understanding of diversification, yet determining the factors that influence these processes remains a significant challenge in evolutionary biology. Caves offer ideal systems for examining the mechanisms underlying isolation, divergence, and speciation. Intrinsic ecological differences among cavernicolous organisms, such as the degree of cave dependence, are thought to be major factors influencing patterns of genetic isolation in caves. Using a comparative phylogeographic approach, we employed mitochondrial and nuclear markers to assess the evolutionary history of two ecologically distinct groups of terrestrial cave-dwelling springtails (Collembola) in the genera Pygmarrhopalites (Arrhopalitidae) and Pogonognathellus (Tomoceridae) that are codistributed in caves throughout the Salem Plateau-a once continuous karst region, now bisected by the Mississippi River Valley in Illinois and Missouri...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Todd W Arnold
Tag-recovery data from organisms captured and marked post breeding are commonly used to estimate juvenile and adult survival. If annual fecundity could also be estimated, tagging studies such as European and North American bird-ringing schemes could provide all parameters needed to estimate population growth. I modified existing tag-recovery models to allow estimation of annual fecundity using age composition and recapture probabilities obtained during routine banding operations of northern pintails ( Anas acuta ) and dark-eyed juncos ( Junco hyemalis ), and I conducted simulations to assess estimator performance in relation to sample size...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Rutger A Wilschut, Olga Kostenko, Kadri Koorem, Wim H van der Putten
Many plant species expand their range to higher latitudes in response to climate change. However, it is poorly understood how biotic interactions in the new range differ from interactions in the original range. Here, in a mesocosm experiment, we analyze nematode community responses in original and new range soils to plant communities with either (a) species native in both the original and new range, (b) range-expanding species related to these natives (related range expanders), or (c) range expanders without native congeneric species in the new range (unrelated range expanders)...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Ping Ni, Shiguo Li, Yaping Lin, Wei Xiong, Xuena Huang, Aibin Zhan
The geographical expansion of invasive species usually leads to temporary and/or permanent changes at multiple levels (genetics, epigenetics, gene expression, etc.) to acclimatize to abiotic and/or biotic stresses in novel environments. Epigenetic variation such as DNA methylation is often involved in response to diverse local environments, thus representing one crucial mechanism to promote invasion success. However, evidence is scant on the potential role of DNA methylation variation in rapid environmental response and invasion success during biological invasions...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hasan Alhaddad, Bader H Alhajeri
Careful collection and organization of biological specimens and their associated data are at the core of field research (e.g., ecology, genetics). Fieldwork data are often collected by handwriting or unsystematically via an electronic device (e.g., laptop), a process that is time-intensive, disorganized, and may lead to transcription errors, as data are copied to a more permanent repository. SamplEase is an iOS and Android application that is designed to ease the process of collecting biological specimen data in the field (data associated with biological samples, such as location, age, and sex)...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Katherine C Crocker, Mark D Hunter
Social environment profoundly influences the fitness of animals, affecting their probability of survival to adulthood, longevity, and reproductive output. The social conditions experienced by parents at the time of reproduction can predict the social environments that offspring will face. Despite clear challenges in predicting future environmental conditions, adaptive maternal effects provide a mechanism of passing environmental information from parent to offspring and are now considered pervasive in natural systems...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Alan R Pearse, Richard J Hamilton, John Howard Choat, John Pita, Glenn Almany, Nate Peterson, Grant S Hamilton, Erin E Peterson
The humphead wrasse ( Cheilinus undulatus ) and bumphead parrotfish ( Bolbometopon muricatum ) are two of the largest, most iconic fishes of Indo-Pacific coral reefs. Both species form prized components of subsistence and commercial fisheries and are vulnerable to overfishing. C. undulatus is listed as Endangered and B. muricatum as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. We investigated how night spearfishing pressure and habitat associations affected both species in a relatively lightly exploited setting; the Kia fishing grounds, Isabel Province, Solomon Islands...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jimena Guerrero, Andrew W Byrne, John Lavery, Eleanor Presho, Gavin Kelly, Emily A Courcier, James O'Keeffe, Ursula Fogarty, Denise B O'Meara, Dennis Ensing, Carl McCormick, Roman Biek, Robin A Skuce, Adrian R Allen
The population genetic structure of free-ranging species is expected to reflect landscape-level effects. Quantifying the role of these factors and their relative contribution often has important implications for wildlife management. The population genetics of the European badger ( Meles meles ) have received considerable attention, not least because the species acts as a potential wildlife reservoir for bovine tuberculosis (bTB) in Britain and Ireland. Herein, we detail the most comprehensive population and landscape genetic study of the badger in Ireland to date-comprised of 454 Irish badger samples, genotyped at 14 microsatellite loci...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hirohiko Takeuchi, Alan H Savitzky, Li Ding, Anslem de Silva, Indraneil Das, Tao Thien Nguyen, Tein-Shun Tsai, Teppei Jono, Guang-Xiang Zhu, Dharshani Mahaulpatha, Yezhong Tang, Akira Mori
A large body of evidence indicates that evolutionary innovations of novel organs have facilitated the subsequent diversification of species. Investigation of the evolutionary history of such organs should provide important clues for understanding the basis for species diversification. An Asian natricine snake, Rhabdophis tigrinus , possesses a series of unusual organs, called nuchal glands, which contain cardiotonic steroid toxins known as bufadienolides. Rhabdophis tigrinus sequesters bufadienolides from its toad prey and stores them in the nuchal glands as a defensive mechanism...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Saara M Hartikainen, Agnieszka Jach, Aurea Grané, Thomas Matthew Robson
Forest canopies create dynamic light environments in their understorey, where spectral composition changes among patterns of shade and sunflecks, and through the seasons with canopy phenology and sun angle. Plants use spectral composition as a cue to adjust their growth strategy for optimal resource use. Quantifying the ever-changing nature of the understorey light environment is technically challenging with respect to data collection. Thus, to capture the simultaneous variation occurring in multiple regions of the solar spectrum, we recorded spectral irradiance from forest understoreys over the wavelength range 300-800 nm using an array spectroradiometer...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Jay Calvert, Chris McGonigle, Suresh Andrew Sethi, Bradley Harris, Rory Quinn, Jon Grabowski
Species distribution models (SDMs) are commonly used to model the spatial structure of species in the marine environment, however, most fail to account for detectability of the target species. This can result in underestimates of occupancy, where nondetection is conflated with absence. The site occupancy model (SOM) overcomes this failure by treating occupancy as a latent variable of the model and incorporates a detection submodel to account for variability in detection rates. These have rarely been applied in the context of marine fish and never for the multiseason dynamic occupancy model (DOM)...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Minerva Singh, Damian Evans, Jean-Baptiste Chevance, Boun Suy Tan, Nicholas Wiggins, Leaksmy Kong, Sakada Sakhoeun
Community forests are known to play an important role in preserving forests in Cambodia, a country that has seen rapid deforestation in recent decades. The detailed evaluation of the ability of community-protected forests to retain forest cover and prevent degradation in Cambodia will help to guide future conservation management. In this study, a combination of remotely sensing data was used to compare the temporal variation in forest structure for six different community forests located in the Phnom Kulen National Park (PKNP) in Cambodia and to assess how these dynamics vary between community-protected forests and a wider study area...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Arne Iserbyt, Maaike Griffioen, Benny Borremans, Marcel Eens, Wendt Müller
Automated animal monitoring via radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology allows efficient and extensive data sampling of individual activity levels and is therefore commonly used for ecological research. However, processing RFID data is still a largely unresolved problem, which potentially leads to inaccurate estimates for behavioral activity. One of the major challenges during data processing is to isolate independent behavioral actions from a set of superfluous, nonindependent detections. As a case study, individual blue tits ( Cyanistes caeruleus ) were simultaneously monitored during reproduction with both video recordings and RFID technology...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Sven Winter, Julian Fennessy, Axel Janke
All giraffe ( Giraffa ) were previously assigned to a single species ( G. camelopardalis ) and nine subspecies. However, multi-locus analyses of all subspecies have shown that there are four genetically distinct clades and suggest four giraffe species. This conclusion might not be fully accepted due to limited data and lack of explicit gene flow analyses. Here, we present an extended study based on 21 independent nuclear loci from 137 individuals. Explicit gene flow analyses identify less than one migrant per generation, including between the closely related northern and reticulated giraffe...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
David Christianson, Matthew S Becker, Angela Brennan, Scott Creel, Egil Dröge, Jassiel M'soka, Teddy Mukula, Paul Schuette, Daan Smit, Fred Watson
Allocating resources to growth and reproduction requires grazers to invest time in foraging, but foraging promotes dental senescence and constrains expression of proactive antipredator behaviors such as vigilance. We explored the relationship between carnivore prey selection and prey foraging effort using incisors collected from the kills of coursing and stalking carnivores. We predicted that prey investing less effort in foraging would be killed more frequently by coursers, predators that often exploit physical deficiencies...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Marina Querejeta, Jose Castresana
The Cabrera's water shrew ( Neomys anomalus ) is a small semi-aquatic mammal whose taxonomic status was recently elevated from subspecies to species; as a consequence of this change, this species is now endemic to the Iberian Peninsula. In this study, we looked at its evolutionary history by combining phylogeography, the spatial distribution of genetic diversity, and species distribution modeling. To perform these analyses, we used noninvasive samples collected across the species distribution range and sequenced partial mitochondrial cytochrome b and D-loop genes...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
Hanne E Pilskog, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson, Marianne Evju, Erik Framstad, Tone Birkemoe
There is growing evidence that biodiversity is important for ecosystem functions. Thus, identification of habitat requirements essential for current species richness and abundance to persist is crucial. Hollow oaks ( Quercus spp.) are biodiversity hot spots for deadwood-dependent insect species, and the main objective of this paper was to test the effect of habitat history and current habitat distribution at various spatial scales on the associated beetle community. We used a gradient spanning 40 km from the coast to inland areas reflecting historical logging intensity (later and lower intensities inland) through 500 years in Southern Norway, to investigate whether the historical variation in oak density is influencing the structure of beetle communities in hollow oaks today...
October 2018: Ecology and Evolution
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