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Royal Society Open Science

Andrew L Skinner, Andy Woods, Christopher J Stone, Ian Penton-Voak, Marcus R Munafó
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1098/rsos.161076.].
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Aaron D Lightner, Pat Barclay, Edward H Hagen
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170543.].
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Sarah Guindre-Parker, Dustin R Rubenstein
Although cooperatively breeding vertebrates occur disproportionately in unpredictable environments, the underlying mechanism shaping this biogeographic pattern remains unclear. Cooperative breeding may buffer against harsh conditions (hard life hypothesis), or additionally allow for sustained breeding under benign conditions (temporal variability hypothesis). To distinguish between the hard life and temporal variability hypotheses, we investigated whether the number of alloparents at a nest increased reproductive success or load-lightening in superb starlings ( Lamprotornis superbus ), and whether these two types of benefits varied in harsh and benign years...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Rebecca H Chisholm, Patricia T Campbell, Yue Wu, Steven Y C Tong, Jodie McVernon, Nicholas Geard
For infectious pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae , some hosts may carry the pathogen and transmit it to others, yet display no symptoms themselves. These asymptomatic carriers contribute to the spread of disease but go largely undetected and can therefore undermine efforts to control transmission. Understanding the natural history of carriage and its relationship to disease is important for the design of effective interventions to control transmission. Mathematical models of infectious diseases are frequently used to inform decisions about control and should therefore accurately capture the role played by asymptomatic carriers...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Tatsuo Oji, Stephen Q Dornbos, Keigo Yada, Hitoshi Hasegawa, Sersmaa Gonchigdorj, Takafumi Mochizuki, Hideko Takayanagi, Yasufumi Iryu
The Cambrian radiation of complex animals includes a dramatic increase in the depth and intensity of bioturbation in seafloor sediment known as the 'agronomic revolution'. This bioturbation transition was coupled with a shift in dominant trace fossil style from horizontal surficial traces in the late Precambrian to vertically penetrative trace fossils in the Cambrian. Here we show the existence of the first vertically penetrative trace fossils from the latest Ediacaran: dense occurrences of the U-shaped trace fossil Arenicolites from late Precambrian marine carbonates of Western Mongolia...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Luís F Seoane, Ricard V Solé
Despite the obvious advantage of simple life forms capable of fast replication, different levels of cognitive complexity have been achieved by living systems in terms of their potential to cope with environmental uncertainty. Against the inevitable cost associated with detecting environmental cues and responding to them in adaptive ways, we conjecture that the potential for predicting the environment can overcome the expenses associated with maintaining costly, complex structures. We present a minimal formal model grounded in information theory and selection, in which successive generations of agents are mapped into transmitters and receivers of a coded message...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Gabrielle L Davidson, Michael S Reichert, Jodie M S Crane, William O'Shea, John L Quinn
Personality research suggests that individual differences in risk aversion may be explained by links with life-history variation. However, few empirical studies examine whether repeatable differences in risk avoidance behaviour covary with life-history traits among individuals in natural populations, or how these links vary depending on the context and the way risk aversion is measured. We measured two different risk avoidance behaviours (latency to enter the nest and inspection time) in wild great tits ( Parus major ) in two different contexts-response to a novel object and to a predator cue placed at the nest-box during incubation---and related these behaviours to female reproductive success and condition...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Andrea Baronchelli
The origin of population-scale coordination has puzzled philosophers and scientists for centuries. Recently, game theory, evolutionary approaches and complex systems science have provided quantitative insights on the mechanisms of social consensus. However, the literature is vast and widely scattered across fields, making it hard for the single researcher to navigate it. This short review aims to provide a compact overview of the main dimensions over which the debate has unfolded and to discuss some representative examples...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Bin Yang, Tianhong Yang, Zenghe Xu, Honglei Liu, Wenhao Shi, Xin Yang
Groundwater is an important factor of slope stability, and 90% of slope failures are related to the influence of groundwater. In the past, free surface calculations and the prediction of water inflow were based on Darcy's law. However, Darcy's law for steady fluid flow is a special case of non-Darcy flow, and many types of non-Darcy flows occur in practical engineering applications. In this paper, based on the experimental results of laboratory water seepage tests, the seepage state of each soil layer in the open-pit slope of the Yanshan Iron Mine, China, were determined, and the seepage parameters were obtained...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Segismundo S Izquierdo, Luis R Izquierdo, Dunia López-Pintado
The outbreak of epidemics, the rise of religious radicalization or the motivational influence of fellow students in classrooms are some of the issues that can be described as diffusion processes in heterogeneous groups. Understanding the role that interaction patterns between groups (e.g. homophily or segregation) play in the diffusion of certain traits or behaviours is a major challenge for contemporary societies. Here, we study the impact on diffusion processes of mixing (or, alternatively, segregating) two groups that present different sensitivities or propensities to contagion...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
L Makinistian, I Belyaev
A thorough assessment of the static magnetic field (SMF) inside a CO2 incubator allowed us to identify non-negligible inhomogeneities close to the floor, ceiling, walls and the door. Given that incubator's shelves are made of a non-magnetic stainless steel alloy, we did not expect any important effect of them on the SMF. Surprisingly, we did find relatively strong distortion of the SMF due to shelves. Indeed, our high-resolution maps of the SMF revealed that distortion is such that field intensities differing by a factor of up to 36 were measured on the surface of the shelf at locations only few millimetres apart from each other...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Gonçalo C Cardoso, Yang Hu, Clinton D Francis
Anthropogenic noise is more intense at lower sound frequencies, which could decrease urban tolerance of animals with low-frequency vocalizations. Four large comparative studies tested whether anthropogenic noise filters bird species according to the sound frequencies they use and produced discrepant results. We reanalysed data from these studies to explain their different results. Urban tolerance of bird species (defined here as often occurring and breeding in cities) is very weakly related to urban preference or relative abundance (defined based on changes in population density from urban to nearby rural environments)...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Martin W Seltmann, Samuli Helle, Mark J Adams, Khyne U Mar, Mirkka Lahdenperä
Data on personality for long-lived, highly social wild mammals with high cognitive abilities are rare. We investigated the personality structure of Asian elephants ( Elephas maximus ) by using a large sample of semi-captive timber elephants in Myanmar. Data were collected during 2014-2017 using questionnaires, for which elephant riders (mahouts) rated 28 behavioural adjectives of elephants. Repeated questionnaires were obtained for each elephant from several raters whenever possible, resulting in 690 ratings of 150 female and 107 male elephants...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Kritika M Garg, Balaji Chattopadhyay, Uma Ramakrishnan
Bats are social animals and display a diverse variety of mating and social systems, with most species exhibiting some form of polygyny. Their social organization is fluid and individuals frequently switch partners and roosting sites. While harem-like social organization is observed in multiple tropical species, its importance is contested in many of them. In this study, we investigated the role of harems in the social organization of the old world fruit bat Cynopterus sphinx . Based on regular behavioural observations over a period of 20 months and genetic data from microsatellite markers, we observed that the social organization is flexible, individuals regularly shift between roosts and the social organization resembles a fission-fusion society...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Sergio Maldonado, Alistair G L Borthwick
We derive a two-layer depth-averaged model of sediment transport and morphological evolution for application to bedload-dominated problems. The near-bed transport region is represented by the lower (bedload) layer which has an arbitrarily constant, vanishing thickness (of approx. 10 times the sediment particle diameter), and whose average sediment concentration is free to vary. Sediment is allowed to enter the upper layer, and hence the total load may also be simulated, provided that concentrations of suspended sediment remain low...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Mingzhu Jia, Lixue Jiang, Fanfan Niu, Yu Zhang, Xiaoling Sun
Triphenylphosphine oxide (TPPO) and oxalyl chloride ((COCl)2 ) are used as novel and high-efficiency coupling reagents for the esterification of alcohols with carboxylic acids via the TPPO/(COCl)2 system at room temperature for 1 h. The reaction represents the first TPPO-promoted esterification under mild and neutral conditions with excellent yields. Furthermore, we proposed a plausible mechanism with the help of31 P NMR spectroscopy.
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Shakir Bilal, Edwin Michael
We study implications of complexity and seasonality in vector-host epidemiological models exhibiting backward bifurcation. Vector-host diseases represent complex infection systems that can vary in the transmission processes and population stages involved in disease progression. Seasonal fluctuations in external forcing factors can also interact in a complex way with internal host factors to govern the transmission dynamics. In backward bifurcation, the insufficiency of R 0  < 1 for predicting the stability of the disease-free equilibrium (DFE) state arises due to existence of bistability (coexisting DFE and endemic equilibria) for a range of R 0 values below one...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Francis Mairet
Homeostasis is the capacity of living organisms to keep internal conditions regulated at a constant level, despite environmental fluctuations. Integral feedback control is known to play a key role in this behaviour. Here, I show that a feedback system involving transcriptional and post-translational regulations of the same executor protein acts as a proportional integral (PI) controller, leading to enhanced transient performances in comparison with a classical integral loop. Such a biomolecular controller-which I call a level and activity-PI controller (LA-PI)-is involved in the regulation of ammonium uptake by Escherichia coli through the transporter AmtB...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Michio Aoki, Jia-Yang Juang
Conventional manufacturing techniques-moulding, machining and casting-exist to produce three-dimensional (3D) shapes. However, these industrial processes are typically geared for mass production and are not directly applicable to residential settings, where inexpensive and versatile tools are desirable. Moreover, those techniques are, in general, not adequate to process soft elastic materials. Here, we introduce a new concept of forming 3D closed hollow shapes from two-dimensional (2D) elastic ribbons by controlled buckling...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
Axel H Newton, Frantisek Spoutil, Jan Prochazka, Jay R Black, Kathryn Medlock, Robert N Paddle, Marketa Knitlova, Christy A Hipsley, Andrew J Pask
The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine ( Thylacinus cynocephalus ) was an iconic Australian marsupial predator that was hunted to extinction in the early 1900s. Despite sharing striking similarities with canids, they failed to evolve many of the specialized anatomical features that characterize carnivorous placental mammals. These evolutionary limitations are thought to arise from functional constraints associated with the marsupial mode of reproduction, in which otherwise highly altricial young use their well-developed forelimbs to climb to the pouch and mouth to suckle...
February 2018: Royal Society Open Science
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