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Nature Ecology & Evolution

Cecilia Apaldetti, Ricardo N Martínez, Ignacio A Cerda, Diego Pol, Oscar Alcober
Dinosaurs dominated the terrestrial ecosystems for more than 140 Myr during the Mesozoic era, and among them were sauropodomorphs, the largest land animals recorded in the history of life. Early sauropodomorphs were small bipeds, and it was long believed that acquisition of giant body size in this clade (over 10 tonnes) occurred during the Jurassic and was linked to numerous skeletal modifications present in Eusauropoda. Although the origin of gigantism in sauropodomorphs was a pivotal stage in the history of dinosaurs, an incomplete fossil record obscures details of this crucial evolutionary change...
July 9, 2018: Nature ecology & evolution
Camilo M Ferreira, Ivan Nagelkerken, Silvan U Goldenberg, Sean D Connell
Farming is a technique employed by both humans and animals to enhance crop yields, allowing their populations to increase beyond the natural carrying capacity of the environment. Using volcanic CO2 vents, we investigate how a species of herbivorous fish (the black scalyfin Parma alboscapularis) may use increasing anthropogenic CO2 emissions to enhance its crop yields. We found that these farming fish can take advantage of this resource enrichment, to grow crops within smaller territories and increase the capacity of the environment to support more densely packed fish populations...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Carlos A Serván, José A Capitán, Jacopo Grilli, Kent E Morrison, Stefano Allesina
Rich ecosystems harbour thousands of species interacting in tangled networks encompassing predation, mutualism and competition. Such widespread biodiversity is puzzling, because in ecological models it is exceedingly improbable for large communities to stably coexist. One aspect rarely considered in these models, however, is that coexisting species in natural communities are a selected portion of a much larger pool, which has been pruned by population dynamics. Here we compute the distribution of the number of species that can coexist when we start from a pool of species interacting randomly, and show that even in this case we can observe rich, stable communities...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Atle Mysterud, Christer M Rolandsen
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Rene Niehus, Sara Mitri
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Hernán E Morales, Alexandra Pavlova, Nevil Amos, Richard Major, Andrzej Kilian, Chris Greening, Paul Sunnucks
Metabolic processes in eukaryotic cells depend on interactions between mitochondrial and nuclear gene products (mitonuclear interactions). These interactions could have a direct role in population divergence. Here, we study mitonuclear co-evolution in a widespread bird that experienced population divergence followed by bidirectional mitochondrial introgression into different nuclear backgrounds. Using >60,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms, we quantify patterns of nuclear genetic differentiation between populations that occupy areas with different climates and harbour deeply divergent mitochondrial lineages despite ongoing nuclear gene flow...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Shaopeng Wang
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Robert E Beardmore, Emily Cook, Susanna Nilsson, Adam R Smith, Anna Tillmann, Brooke D Esquivel, Ken Haynes, Neil A R Gow, Alistair J P Brown, Theodore C White, Ivana Gudelj
Microbes rarely exist in isolation, rather, they form intricate multi-species communities that colonize our bodies and inserted medical devices. However, the efficacy of antimicrobials is measured in clinical laboratories exclusively using microbial monocultures. Here, to determine how multi-species interactions mediate selection for resistance during antibiotic treatment, particularly following drug withdrawal, we study a laboratory community consisting of two microbial pathogens. Single-species dose responses are a poor predictor of community dynamics during treatment so, to better understand those dynamics, we introduce the concept of a dose-response mosaic, a multi-dimensional map that indicates how species' abundance is affected by changes in abiotic conditions...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Nicholas A Levis, Andrew J Isdaner, David W Pfennig
Plasticity-first evolution (PFE) posits that novel features arise when selection refines pre-existing phenotypic plasticity into an adaptive phenotype. However, PFE is controversial because few tests have been conducted in natural populations. Here we present evidence that PFE fostered the origin of an evolutionary novelty that allowed certain amphibians to invade a new niche-a distinctive carnivore morph. We compared morphology, gene expression and growth of three species of spadefoot toad tadpoles when reared on alternative diets: Scaphiopus holbrookii, which (like most frogs) never produce carnivores; Spea multiplicata, which sometimes produce carnivores, but only through diet-induced plasticity; and Spea bombifrons, which often produce carnivores regardless of diet...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Jerome H L Hui
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Laura R Stein, Syed Abbas Bukhari, Alison M Bell
Organisms can gain information about their environment from their ancestors, their parents or their own personal experience. 'Cue integration' models often start with the simplifying assumption that information from different sources is additive. Here, we test key assumptions and predictions of cue integration theory at both the phenotypic and molecular level in threespined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). We show that regardless of whether cues about predation risk were provided by their father or acquired through personal experience, sticklebacks produced the same set of predator-adapted phenotypes...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Felipe S Barreto, Eric T Watson, Thiago G Lima, Christopher S Willett, Suzanne Edmands, Weizhong Li, Ronald S Burton
The copepod Tigriopus californicus shows extensive population divergence and is becoming a model for understanding allopatric differentiation and the early stages of speciation. Here, we report a high-quality reference genome for one population (~190 megabases across 12 scaffolds, and ~15,500 protein-coding genes). Comparison with other arthropods reveals 2,526 genes presumed to be specific to T. californicus, with an apparent proliferation of genes involved in ion transport and receptor activity. Beyond the reference population, we report re-sequenced genomes of seven additional populations, spanning the continuum of reproductive isolation...
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Emilie C Snell-Rood
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Kate E Jones, Andy Purvis
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 9, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Kesson Magid, Robert T Chatterton, Farid Uddin Ahamed, Gillian R Bentley
In the version of this Article originally published, the units for the 'Weight' column in Table 1 were incorrect; they should have been kg. This has now been corrected.
July 2, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Simon N Jarman, Oliver Berry, Michael Bunce
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
July 2, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Aarti Venkat, Matthew W Hahn, Joseph W Thornton
Phylogenetic tests of adaptive evolution, such as the widely used branch-site test (BST), assume that nucleotide substitutions occur singly and independently. Recent research has shown that errors at adjacent sites often occur during DNA replication, and the resulting multinucleotide mutations (MNMs) are overwhelmingly likely to be non-synonymous. To evaluate whether the BST misinterprets sequence patterns produced by MNMs as false support for positive selection, we analysed two genome-scale datasets-one from mammals and one from flies...
July 2, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Hui Xiang, Xiaojing Liu, Muwang Li, Ya'nan Zhu, Lizhi Wang, Yong Cui, Liyuan Liu, Gangqi Fang, Heying Qian, Anying Xu, Wen Wang, Shuai Zhan
The Silk Road, which derives its name from the trade of silk produced by the domestic silkworm Bombyx mori, was an important episode in the development and interaction of human civilizations. However, the detailed history behind silkworm domestication remains ambiguous, and little is known about the underlying genetics with respect to important aspects of its domestication. Here, we reconstruct the domestication processes and identify selective sweeps by sequencing 137 representative silkworm strains. The results present an evolutionary scenario in which silkworms may have been initially domesticated in China as trimoulting lines, then subjected to independent spreads along the Silk Road that gave rise to the development of most local strains, and further improved for modern silk production in Japan and China, having descended from diverse ancestral sources...
July 2, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Emily G Mitchell, Charlotte G Kenchington
Ediacaran fossil communities consist of the oldest macroscopic eukaryotic organisms. Increased size (height) is hypothesized to be driven by competition for water column resources, leading to vertical/epifaunal tiering and morphological innovations such as stems. Using spatial analyses, we find no correlation between tiering and resource competition, and that stemmed organisms are not tiered. Instead, we find that height is correlated with greater offspring dispersal, demonstrating the importance of colonization potential over resource competition...
June 25, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
Grant Navid Doering, Inon Scharf, Holly V Moeller, Jonathan N Pruitt
Living systems sometimes experience abrupt tipping points in response to stress. Here we investigate the factors contributing to the appearance of such abrupt state transitions in animal societies. We first construct a mathematical account of how the personality compositions of societies could alter their propensity to shift from calm to violent states in response to thermal stress. To evaluate our model, we subjected experimental societies of the spider Anelosimus studiosus to heat stress. We demonstrate that both colony size and personality composition influence the timing of and recoverability from sudden transitions in social state...
June 25, 2018: Nature Ecology & Evolution
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