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    1 OF 58

    Thermoregulatory role of insensible evaporative water loss constancy in a heterothermic marsupial.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
    'Insensible' evaporative water loss of mammals has been traditionally viewed as a passive process, but recent studies suggest that insensible water loss is under regulatory control, although the physiological role of this control is unclear. We test the hypothesis that regulation of insensible water loss has a thermoregulatory function by quantifying for the first time evaporative water loss control, along with metabolic rate and body temperature, of a heterothermic mammal during normothermia and torpor. Evaporative water loss was independent of ambient relative humidity at ambient temperatures of 20 and 30°C, but not at 25°C or during torpor at 20°C. Read More

    The higher the farther: distance-specific referential gestures in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes).
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Primate Research Institute, Kyoto University, Inuyama 484-8506, Japan.
    Referential signals, such as manual pointing or deictic words, allow individuals to efficiently locate a specific entity in the environment, using distance-specific linguistic and/or gestural units. To explore the evolutionary prerequisites of such deictic ability, the present study investigates the ability of chimpanzees to adjust their communicative signals to the distance of a referent. A food-request paradigm in which the chimpanzees had to request a close or distant piece of food on a table in the presence/absence of an experimenter was employed. Read More

    Widespread co-occurrence of two distantly related mitochondrial genomes in individuals of the leaf beetle Gonioctena intermedia.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt 50, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
    Mitochondrial genome heteroplasmy-the presence of more than one genomic variant in individuals-is considered only occasional in animals, and most often involves molecules differing only by a few recent mutations. Thanks to new sequencing technologies, a large number of DNA fragments from a single individual can now be sequenced and visualized separately, allowing new insights into intra-individual mitochondrial genome variation. Here, we report evidence from both (i) massive parallel sequencing (MPS) of genomic extracts and (ii) Sanger sequencing of PCR products, for the widespread co-occurrence of two distantly related (greater than 1% nucleotide divergence, excluding the control region) mitochondrial genomes in individuals of a natural population of the leaf beetle Gonioctena intermedia Sanger sequencing of PCR products using universal primers previously failed to identify heteroplasmy in this population. Read More

    The loneliness of the long-distance toad: invasion history and social attraction in cane toads (Rhinella marina).
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    School of Life and Environmental Sciences, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.
    Individuals at the leading edge of a biological invasion constantly encounter novel environments. These pioneers may benefit from increased social attraction, because low population densities reduce competition and risks of pathogen transfer, and increase benefits of information transfer. In standardized trials, cane toads (Rhinella marina) from invasion-front populations approached conspecifics more often, and spent more time close to them, than did conspecifics from high-density, long-colonized populations. Read More

    Temporal shifts in intraguild predation pressure between beluga whales and Greenland halibut in a changing Arctic.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada R3T 2N2.
    Asymmetrical intraguild predation (AIGP), which combines both predation and competition between predator species, is pervasive in nature with relative strengths varying by prey availability. But with species redistributions associated with climate change, the response by endemic predators within an AIGP context to changing biotic-abiotic conditions over time (i.e. Read More

    Birdsong signals individual diversity at the major histocompatibility complex.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Biology, Western University, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B7
    The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) plays a key role in vertebrate immunity, and pathogen-mediated selection often favours certain allelic combinations. Assessing potential mates' MHC profiles may provide receivers with genetic benefits (identifying MHC-compatible mates and producing optimally diverse offspring) and/or material benefits (identifying optimally diverse mates capable of high parental investment). Oscine songbirds learn songs during early life, such that song repertoire content can reflect population of origin while song complexity can reflect early life condition. Read More

    A positive genetic correlation between hypoxia tolerance and heat tolerance supports a controversial theory of heat stress.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Physiology, Midwestern University, Glendale, AZ 85308, USA.
    We used quantitative genetics to test a controversial theory of heat stress, in which animals overheat when the demand for oxygen exceeds the supply. This theory, referred to as oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance, predicts a positive genetic correlation between hypoxia tolerance and heat tolerance. We demonstrate the first genetic correlation of this kind in a model organism, Drosophila melanogaster Genotypes more likely to fly under hypoxic stress (12% O2) were also more likely to fly under heat stress (39°C). Read More

    Weapon damage is associated with contest dynamics but not mating success in fallow deer (Dama dama).
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Natural Sciences, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway, Ireland.
    Antlers function as primary weapons during fights for many species of ungulate. We examined the association between antler damage and (i) contest dynamics: the behavioural tactics used during fighting including fight duration, and (ii) mating success, fighting rate and dominance. Structural damage of the antlers was associated with contest dynamics: damage was negatively associated with jump clash attacks by individuals with damaged antlers, whereas opponents were more likely to physically displace individuals with damaged antlers during fighting. Read More

    Leaf anatomy of a late Palaeozoic cycad.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Forschungsstelle für Paläobotanik, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Heisenbergstrasse 2, 48149 Münster, Germany.
    Today, cycads are a small group of gymnospermous plants with a limited distribution in the (sub)tropics, but they were major constituents of Mesozoic floras. Fossil leaves sporadically found in latest Carboniferous and Permian floras have putatively been ascribed to cycads. However, their true affinity remains unclear due to the lack of anatomical evidence. Read More

    Kleptopredation: a mechanism to facilitate planktivory in a benthic mollusc.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Villa Comunale, 80121 Naples, Italy.
    Predation occurs when an organism completely or partially consumes its prey. Partial consumption is typical of herbivores but is also common in some marine microbenthic carnivores that feed on colonial organisms. Associations between nudibranch molluscs and colonial hydroids have long been assumed to be simple predator-prey relationships. Read More

    The role of visual cues in mother-pup reunions in a colonially breeding mammal.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Institut des Neurosciences Paris-Saclay, Université Paris-Saclay, CNRS (UMR 9197), Université Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay, France.
    Parental care is an important factor influencing offspring survival and adult reproductive success in many vertebrates. Parent-offspring recognition ensures care is only directed to filial young, avoiding the costs of misallocated resource transfer. It is essential in colonial mammal species, such as otariids (fur seals and sea lions), in which repeated mother-offspring separations increase the risk of misdirecting maternal effort. Read More

    Metabolic depression and the evolution of hypoxia tolerance in threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus.
    Biol Lett 2017 Nov;13(11)
    Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4.
    Anthropogenic increases in global temperature and agricultural runoff are increasing the prevalence of aquatic hypoxia throughout the world. We investigated the potential for a relatively rapid evolution of hypoxia tolerance using two isolated (for less than 11 000 years) populations of threespine stickleback: one from a lake that experiences long-term hypoxia (Alta Lake, British Columbia) and one from a lake that does not (Trout Lake, British Columbia). Loss-of-equilibrium (LOE) experiments revealed that the Alta Lake stickleback were significantly more tolerant of hypoxia than the Trout Lake stickleback, and calorimetry experiments revealed that the enhanced tolerance of Alta Lake stickleback may be associated with their ability to depress metabolic rate (as indicated by metabolic heat production) by 33% in hypoxia. Read More

    Mitochondria-targeted molecules determine the redness of the zebra finch bill.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales - CSIC, C/ José Gutiérrez Abascal 2, 28006 Madrid, Spain.
    The evolution and production mechanisms of red carotenoid-based ornaments in animals are poorly understood. Recently, it has been suggested that enzymes transforming yellow carotenoids to red pigments (ketolases) in animal cells may be positioned in the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) intimately linked to the electron transport chain. These enzymes may mostly synthesize coenzyme Q10 (coQ10), a key redox-cycler antioxidant molecularly similar to yellow carotenoids. Read More

    Do extra-group fertilizations increase the potential for sexual selection in male mammals?
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.
    Fertilizations by males outside the social breeding group (extra-group paternity, EGP) are widespread in birds and mammals. EGP is generally proposed to increase male reproductive skew and thereby increase the potential for sexual selection, but the generality of this relationship is unclear. We extracted data from 27 mammals in seven orders and used phylogenetic comparative methods to investigate the influence of EGP and social mating system on measures of inequality in male fertilization success, which are indices of the potential for sexual selection. Read More

    O brother, where art thou? Investment in siblings for inclusive fitness benefits, not father absence, predicts earlier age at menarche.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Bristol Medical School: Population Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 2BN, UK
    Numerous studies have indicated that father absence is associated with earlier age at menarche, with many evolutionary theories assuming that father absence is a causal factor that accelerates reproductive development. However, an alternative interpretation suggests that offspring may reproduce earlier in the presence of half- or step-siblings as the indirect fitness benefits to investing in them are lower, relative to delaying reproduction and investing in full siblings. From this perspective, father absence may perform no causal role in facilitating the onset of menarche. Read More

    Stressful city sounds: glucocorticoid responses to experimental traffic noise are environmentally dependent.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, NV 89557, USA
    A major challenge in urban ecology is to identify the environmental factors responsible for phenotypic differences between urban and rural individuals. However, the intercorrelation between the factors that characterize urban environments, combined with a lack of experimental manipulations of these factors in both urban and rural areas, hinder efforts to identify which aspects of urban environments are responsible for phenotypic differences. Among the factors modified by urbanization, anthropogenic sound, particularly traffic noise, is especially detrimental to animals. Read More

    The purging of deleterious mutations in simple and complex mating environments.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, 30 Marie Curie Priv., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5
    There is a general expectation that sexual selection should align with natural selection to aid the purging of deleterious mutations, yet experiments comparing purging under monogamy versus polygamy have provided mixed results. Recent studies suggest that this may be because the simplified mating environments used in these studies reduce the benefit of sexual selection through males and hamper natural selection through females by increasing costs associated with sexual conflict. To test the effect of the physical mating environment on purging, we use experimental evolution in Drosophila melanogaster to track the frequency of four separate deleterious mutations in replicate populations that experience polygamy under either a simple or structurally complex mating arena while controlling for arena size. Read More

    Salinity-induced phenotypic plasticity in threespine stickleback sperm activation.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, PO Box 1172, Blindern, 0381 Oslo, Norway.
    Phenotypic expression may be and often is influenced by an organism's developmental environment, referred to as phenotypic plasticity. The sperm cells of teleosts have been found to be inactive in the seminal plasma and are activated by osmotic shock for most fish species, through release in either hypertonic (for marine fish) or hypotonic (for freshwater fish) water. If this is the case, the regulatory system of sperm mobility should be reversed in salt- and freshwater fish. Read More

    Sensory anatomy of the most aquatic of carnivorans: the Antarctic Ross seal, and convergences with other mammals.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    División Paleontología de Vertebrados, Museo de La Plata, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina. CONICET, La Plata, Argentina.
    Transitions to and from aquatic life involve transformations in sensory systems. The Ross seal, Ommatophoca rossii, offers the chance to investigate the cranio-sensory anatomy in the most aquatic of all seals. The use of non-invasive computed tomography on specimens of this rare animal reveals, relative to other species of phocids, a reduction in the diameters of the semicircular canals and the parafloccular volume. Read More

    Maternally transmitted non-bacterial male killer in Drosophila biauraria.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Ehime University, Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan
    A maternally inherited, all-female trait is widely found among arthropods, which is caused by bacterial endosymbionts such as Wolbachia, Rickettsia, Spiroplasma and Cardinium We discovered a single female of Drosophila biauraria, collected from Tomakomai, Hokkaido, Japan, that produced all-female offspring. This all-female trait was maternally inherited in the iso-female line (SP12F) by backcrossing with males of a normal line (SP11-20) with a 1 : 1 sex ratio derived from the same population. The all-female trait was not affected by tetracycline treatment performed for two consecutive generations. Read More

    Individual ant workers show self-control.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Animal Comparative Economics Laboratory, Department of Zoology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Regensburg, D-93053 Regensburg, Germany.
    Often, the first option is not the best. Self-control can allow humans and animals to improve resource intake under such conditions. Self-control in animals is often investigated using intertemporal choice tasks-choosing a smaller reward immediately or a larger reward after a delay. Read More

    Enemy recognition is linked to soldier size in a polymorphic stingless bee.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Departamento de Biologia da Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo 3900, Brazil.
    Many ant and termite colonies are defended by soldiers with powerful mandibles or chemical weaponry. Recently, it was reported that several stingless bee species also have soldiers for colony defence. These soldiers are larger than foragers, but otherwise lack obvious morphological adaptations for defence. Read More

    Great cormorants reveal overlooked secondary dispersal of plants and invertebrates by piscivorous waterbirds.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Department of Wetland Ecology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, EBD-CSIC, Américo Vespucio 26, 41092 Sevilla, Spain.
    In wetland ecosystems, birds and fish are important dispersal vectors for plants and invertebrates, but the consequences of their interactions as vectors are unknown. Darwin suggested that piscivorous birds carry out secondary dispersal of seeds and invertebrates via predation on fish. We tested this hypothesis in the great cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo L. Read More

    Mammal decline, linked to invasive Burmese python, shifts host use of vector mosquito towards reservoir hosts of a zoonotic disease.
    Biol Lett 2017 Oct;13(10)
    Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, University of Florida, Vero Beach, FL 32962, USA
    Invasive apex predators have profound impacts on natural communities, yet the consequences of these impacts on the transmission of zoonotic pathogens are unexplored. Collapse of large- and medium-sized mammal populations in the Florida Everglades has been linked to the invasive Burmese python, Python bivittatus Kuhl. We used historic and current data to investigate potential impacts of these community effects on contact between the reservoir hosts (certain rodents) and vectors of Everglades virus, a zoonotic mosquito-borne pathogen that circulates in southern Florida. Read More

    Do linden trees kill bees? Reviewing the causes of bee deaths on silver linden (Tilia tomentosa).
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, UK.
    For decades, linden trees (basswoods or lime trees), and particularly silver linden (Tilia tomentosa), have been linked to mass bee deaths. This phenomenon is often attributed to the purported occurrence of the carbohydrate mannose, which is toxic to bees, in Tilia nectar. In this review, however, we conclude that from existing literature there is no experimental evidence for toxicity to bees in linden nectar. Read More

    Time-lagged effect of predators on tadpole behaviour and parasite infection.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Department of Biology, Brandon University, Brandon, Manitoba, Canada.
    Prey should adjust their defences against natural enemies to match their current level of risk and balance other needs. This is particularly important when optimal defences represent trade-offs, as is the case with many predator-induced trait-mediated indirect effects (TMIEs) that are antagonistic to those promoting host resistance to parasites and pathogens. However, trade-offs may depend on whether different natural enemies are present simultaneously or represent temporally discrete threats. Read More

    Age-dependent associations between telomere length and environmental conditions in roe deer.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh EH9 3FL, UK
    Telomere length (TL) represents a promising biomarker of overall physiological state and of past environmental experiences, which could help us understand the drivers of life-history variation in natural populations. A growing number of studies in birds suggest that environmental stress or poor environmental conditions are associated with shortened TL, but studies of such relationships in wild mammals are lacking. Here, we compare leucocyte TL from cross-sectional samples collected from two French populations of roe deer which experience different environmental conditions. Read More

    Identifying the most surprising victims of mass extinction events: an example using Late Ordovician brachiopods.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Palaeoecosystems Group, Department of Earth Sciences, Durham University, Durham, UK.
    Mass extinction events are recognized by increases in extinction rate and magnitude and, often, by changes in the selectivity of extinction. When considering the selective fingerprint of a particular event, not all taxon extinctions are equally informative: some would be expected even under a 'background' selectivity regime, whereas others would not and thus require special explanation. When evaluating possible drivers for the extinction event, the latter group is of particular interest. Read More

    Paternal arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal status affects DNA methylation in seeds.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Joseph Banks Laboratories, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK.
    Most land plants grow in association with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in their roots and these fungi can cause transgenerational effects on plants' offspring. These may be caused by changes in DNA methylation of the offspring. In this study, we compared the amount of global DNA methylation in seeds of the gynodioecious plant Geranium sylvaticum in relation to the gender and the AMF status of the parents producing the seeds. Read More

    Determinants of spring migration departure decision in a bat.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Department of Immuno-ecology and Migration, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, 78315 Radolfzell, Germany
    Migratory decisions in birds are closely tied to environmental cues and fat stores, but it remains unknown if the same variables trigger bat migration. To learn more about the rare phenomenon of bat migration, we studied departure decisions of female common noctules (Nyctalus noctula) in southern Germany. We did not find the fattening period that modulates departure decisions in birds. Read More

    Colour and luminance contrasts predict the human detection of natural stimuli in complex visual environments.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Department of Biological Science, Macquarie University, North Ryde 2109, Australia.
    Much of what we know about human colour perception has come from psychophysical studies conducted in tightly-controlled laboratory settings. An enduring challenge, however, lies in extrapolating this knowledge to the noisy conditions that characterize our actual visual experience. Here we combine statistical models of visual perception with empirical data to explore how chromatic (hue/saturation) and achromatic (luminant) information underpins the detection and classification of stimuli in a complex forest environment. Read More

    Fish face a trade-off between 'eating big' for growth efficiency and 'eating small' to retain aerobic capacity.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    University of Tasmania Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and CSIRO Agriculture and Food, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia.
    Feeding provides the necessary energy to fuel all fitness-related processes including activity, growth and reproduction. Nevertheless, prey consumption and digestive processes can have physical and physiological trade-offs with other critical functions, many of which are not clearly understood. Using an ambush predator, barramundi (Lates calcarifer), fed meals ranging 0. Read More

    Females can solve the problem of low signal reliability by assessing multiple male traits.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE 68588-0118, USA
    Male signals that provide information to females about mating benefits are often of low reliability. It is thus not clear why females often express strong signal preferences. We tested the hypothesis that females can distinguish between males with preferred signals that provide lower and higher quality direct benefits. Read More

    Phylogenomic analyses of more than 4000 nuclear loci resolve the origin of snakes among lizard families.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0088, USA.
    Squamate reptiles (lizards and snakes) are the most diverse group of terrestrial vertebrates, with more than 10 000 species. Despite considerable effort to resolve relationships among major squamates clades, some branches have remained difficult. Among the most vexing has been the placement of snakes among lizard families, with most studies yielding only weak support for the position of snakes. Read More

    Offspring telomere length in the long lived Alpine swift is negatively related to the age of their biological father and foster mother.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    Institute of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 2TZ, UK
    A growing body of studies is showing that offspring telomere length (TL) can be influenced by the age of their parents. Such a relationship might be explained by variation in TL at conception (gamete effect) and/or by alteration of early growth conditions in species providing parental care. In a long-lived bird with bi-parental care, the Alpine swift (Apus melba), we exchanged an uneven number of 2 to 4-day-old nestlings between pairs as part of a brood size manipulation. Read More

    New perspectives in ocean acidification research: editor's introduction to the special feature on ocean acidification.
    Biol Lett 2017 Sep;13(9)
    ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia
    Ocean acidification, caused by the uptake of additional carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere, will have far-reaching impacts on marine ecosystems (Gattuso & Hansson 2011 Ocean acidification Oxford University Press). The predicted changes in ocean chemistry will affect whole biological communities and will occur within the context of global warming and other anthropogenic stressors; yet much of the biological research conducted to date has tested the short-term responses of single species to ocean acidification conditions alone. While an important starting point, these studies may have limited predictive power because they do not account for possible interactive effects of multiple climate change drivers or for ecological interactions with other species. Read More

    Ancient whales did not filter feed with their teeth.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    School of Biological Sciences, Monash University, 8 Innovation Walk, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
    The origin of baleen whales (Mysticeti), the largest animals on Earth, is closely tied to their signature filter-feeding strategy. Unlike their modern relatives, archaic whales possessed a well-developed, heterodont adult dentition. How these teeth were used, and what role their function and subsequent loss played in the emergence of filter feeding, is an enduring mystery. Read More

    Dental development in Homo naledi.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug 30;13(8). Epub 2017 Aug 30.
    Department of Molecular Biomedical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.
    Humans' prolonged somatic development and life history are unique among primates, yet their evolutionary origins remain unclear. Dental development has been used as a proxy to reconstruct life history evolution in the hominin clade and indicates a recent emergence of the human developmental pattern. Here, we analyse tooth formation and eruption in two developing dentitions of Homo naledi, a late-surviving, morphologically mosaic hominin species. Read More

    Nuclear and mitochondrial RNA editing systems have opposite effects on protein diversity.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
    RNA editing can yield protein products that differ from those directly encoded by genomic DNA. This process is pervasive in the mitochondria of many eukaryotes, where it predominantly results in the restoration of ancestral protein sequences. Nuclear mRNAs in metazoans also undergo editing (adenosine-to-inosine or 'A-to-I' substitutions), and most of these edits appear to be nonadaptive 'misfirings' of adenosine deaminases. Read More

    Predation, metabolic priming and early life-history rearing environment affect the swimming capabilities of growth hormone transgenic rainbow trout.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada, West Vancouver Laboratory, Centre for Aquaculture and Environmental Research, 4160 Marine Drive, West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V7 V 1N6.
    The period of first feeding, when young salmonid fishes emerge from natal stream beds, is one fraught with predation risk. Experiments conducted in semi-natural stream mesocosms have shown that growth hormone transgenic salmonids are at greater risk of predation than their non-transgenic siblings, due partly to the higher metabolic demands associated with transgenesis, which force risky foraging behaviours. This raises questions as to whether there are differences in the swim-performance of transgenic and non-transgenic fishes surviving predation experiments. Read More

    Responses of neurogenesis and neuroplasticity related genes to elevated CO2 levels in the brain of three teleost species.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
    The continuous increase of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere resulting in ocean acidification has been reported to affect brain function in some fishes. During adulthood, cell proliferation is fundamental for fish brain growth and for it to adapt in response to external stimuli, such as environmental changes. Here we report the first expression study of genes regulating neurogenesis and neuroplasticity in brains of three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), cinnamon anemonefish (Amphiprion melanopus) and spiny damselfish (Acanthochromis polyacanthus) exposed to elevated CO2 The mRNA expression levels of the neurogenic differentiation factor (NeuroD) and doublecortin (DCX) were upregulated in three-spined stickleback exposed to high-CO2 compared with controls, while no changes were detected in the other species. Read More

    Ospreys do not teach offspring how to kill prey at the nest.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    School of Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
    There is strong evidence for teaching in only a handful of species, most of which are cooperative breeders, leading some researchers to suggest that teaching may be more likely to evolve in such species. Alternatively, this initial distribution could be an artefact of the popularity and tractability of cooperative breeders as behavioural study systems. Therefore, establishing or refuting this potential evolutionary link requires researchers to assess potential cases of teaching in more non-cooperatively breeding species. Read More

    Sea-ice induced growth decline in Arctic shrubs.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Department of Arctic Biology, The University Centre in Svalbard, Longyearbyen, Norway
    Measures of increased tundra plant productivity have been associated with the accelerating retreat of the Arctic sea-ice. Emerging studies document opposite effects, advocating for a more complex relationship between the shrinking sea-ice and terrestrial plant productivity. I introduce an autoregressive plant growth model integrating effects of biological and climatic conditions for analysing individual ring-width growth time series. Read More

    Prenatal environment affects embryonic response to song.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    School of Biological Sciences, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide 5001, Australia
    Early environmental enrichment improves postnatal cognition in animals and humans. Here, we examined the effects of the prenatal acoustic environment (parental song rate) on prenatal attention in superb fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus) embryos, the only songbird species with evidence of prenatal discrimination of maternal calls and in ovo call learning. Because both adults also sing throughout the incubation phase, we broadcast songs to embryos and measured their heart rate response in relation to parental song rate and tutor identity (familiarity, sex). Read More

    A dinosaur missing-link? Chilesaurus and the early evolution of ornithischian dinosaurs.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.
    The enigmatic dinosaur taxon Chilesaurus diegosuarezi was originally described as a tetanuran theropod, but this species possesses a highly unusual combination of features that could provide evidence of alternative phylogenetic positions within the clade. In order to test the relationships of Chilesaurus, we added it to a new dataset of early dinosaurs and other dinosauromorphs. Our analyses recover Chilesaurus in a novel position, as the earliest diverging member of Ornithischia, rather than a tetanuran theropod. Read More

    Modulation of social space by dopamine in Drosophila melanogaster, but no effect on the avoidance of the Drosophila stress odorant.
    Biol Lett 2017 Aug;13(8)
    Department of Biology, Western University, London, ON, Canada
    Appropriate response to others is necessary for social interactions. Yet little is known about how neurotransmitters regulate attractive and repulsive social cues. Using genetic and pharmacological manipulations in Drosophila melanogaster, we show that dopamine is contributing the response to others in a social group, specifically, social spacing, but not the avoidance of odours released by stressed flies (dSO). Read More

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