3,015 results match your criteria Biology letters[Journal]


Sequestration of macroalgal carbon: the elephant in the Blue Carbon room.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University, Ny Munkegade 114, DK-8000 Århus C, Denmark.

Macroalgae form the most extensive and productive benthic marine vegetated habitats globally but their inclusion in Blue Carbon (BC) strategies remains controversial. We review the arguments offered to reject or include macroalgae in the BC framework, and identify the challenges that have precluded macroalgae from being incorporated so far. Evidence that macroalgae support significant carbon burial is compelling. Read More

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Habitat partitioning during character displacement between the sexes.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3B2.

Ecological differences between the sexes are often interpreted as evidence of within-species ecological character displacement (ECD), a hypothesis with almost no direct tests. Here, we experimentally test two predictions that are direct corollaries of ECD between the sexes, in a salamander. First, we find support for the prediction that each sex has a growth rate advantage in the aquatic microhabitat where it is most commonly found. Read More

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Effects of mistletoe () on California oaks.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA.

Mistletoes are a widespread group of plants often considered to be hemiparasitic, having detrimental effects on growth and survival of their hosts. We studied the effects of the Pacific mistletoe, , a member of a largely autotrophic genus, on three species of deciduous California oaks. We found no effects of mistletoe presence on radial growth or survivorship and detected a significant positive relationship between mistletoe and acorn production. Read More

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Parsimony, not Bayesian analysis, recovers more stratigraphically congruent phylogenetic trees.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.

Reconstructing evolutionary histories requires accurate phylogenetic trees. Recent simulation studies suggest that probabilistic phylogenetic analyses of morphological data are more accurate than traditional parsimony techniques. Here, we use empirical data to compare Bayesian and parsimony phylogenies in terms of their congruence with the distribution of age ranges of the component taxa. Read More

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Reduced telomere length in offspring of old fathers in a long-lived seabird.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Institute of Avian Research, An der Vogelwarte 21, 26386, Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Evidence for transgenerational effects of senescence, whereby offspring from older parents have a reduced lifetime reproductive success, is increasing. Such effects could arise from compromised germline maintenance in old parents, potentially reflected in reduced telomere length in their offspring. We test the relationship between parental age and offspring early-life telomere length in a natural population of common terns and find a significant negative correlation between paternal age and offspring telomere length. Read More

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Round-trip across the Sahara: Afrotropical Painted Lady butterflies recolonize the Mediterranean in early spring.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF), Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37, 08003 Barcelona, Spain.

The Palearctic-African migratory circuit has been typically associated with birds. Very few insects are known to endure annual trans-Saharan circuits, but the Painted Lady butterfly () is an exception. While it was demonstrated that this species massively migrates from Europe to the Afrotropics during the autumn, the existence of a reverse migration from the Afrotropics to Europe in the early spring remains hypothetical. Read More

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Loss in the making: absence of pelvic fins and presence of paedomorphic pelvic girdles in a Late Devonian antiarch placoderm (jawed stem-gnathostome).

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Département de biologie, chimie et géographie, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, Québec, Canada G5L 3A1

Within jawed vertebrates, pelvic appendages have been modified or lost repeatedly, including in the most phylogenetically basal, extinct, antiarch placoderms. One Early Devonian basal antiarch, , possessed pelvic girdles, suggesting the presence of pelvic appendages at the origin of jawed vertebrates; their absence in more derived antiarchs implies a secondary loss. Recently, paired female genital plates were identified in the Late Devonian antiarch, , in the position of pelvic girdles in other placoderms. Read More

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Dominance structure of assemblages is regulated over a period of rapid environmental change.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK.

Ecological assemblages are inherently uneven, with numerically dominant species contributing disproportionately to ecosystem services. Marked biodiversity change due to growing pressures on the world's ecosystems is now well documented. However, the hypothesis that dominant species are becoming relatively more abundant has not been tested. Read More

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The most effective pollinator principle applies to new invasive pollinators.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Departamento de Ecología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Chile, Las Palmeras 3425, Santiago, Chile.

G. L. Stebbins' most effective pollinator principle states that when pollinators are not limiting, plants are expected to specialize and adapt to the most abundant and effective pollinator species available. Read More

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Natural hybridization between divergent lineages in a selfing hermaphroditic fish.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.

By definition, mating between individuals is infrequent in highly selfing organisms, and so too, therefore, hybridization should be rare between genetically divergent lineages in predominantly self-fertilizing species. Notwithstanding these expectations, here we report a remarkable case of natural hybridization between highly diverged phylogeographic lineages of the mangrove rivulus, a small killifish that reproduces predominantly by self-fertilization and typically is found as highly homozygous lines in most parts of its extensive geographical range. Two distinctive genetic lineages ( and a 'Central clade' closely related to ) previously were not known in sympatry, but were found by us to co-occur on San Salvador, Bahamas. Read More

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Restoration of pyrethroid susceptibility in a highly resistant population.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Insecticide resistance has evolved in disease vectors worldwide, creating the urgent need to either develop new control methods or restore insecticide susceptibility to regain use of existing tools. Here we show that phenotypic susceptibility can be restored in a highly resistant field-derived strain of in only 10 generations through rearing them in the absence of insecticide. Read More

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Individual repeatability and heritability of divorce in a wild population.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK.

Understanding micro-evolutionary responses of mating systems to contemporary selection requires estimating sex-specific additive genetic variances and cross-sex genetic covariances in key reproductive strategy traits. One key trait comprises the occurrence of divorce versus mate fidelity across sequential reproductive attempts. If divorce represents an evolving behavioural strategy that responds to selection it must have non-zero individual repeatability and heritability, but quantitative estimates from wild populations are scarce. Read More

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Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Threatened Species Recovery Hub, National Environmental Science Programme, Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University, Casuarina, Darwin, NT 0810, Australia.

Striking faunal turnover across Asia and Australasia, most famously along the eastern edge of the Sunda Shelf or 'Wallace's Line', has been a focus of biogeographic research for over 150 years. Here, we investigate the origins of a highly threatened endemic lizard fauna (four species) on Christmas Island. Despite occurring less 350 km south of the Sunda Shelf, this fauna mostly comprises species from clades centred on the more distant regions of Wallacea, the Pacific and Australia (more than 1000 km east). Read More

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Acid secretion by the boring organ of the burrowing giant clam, .

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

The giant clam , native to Indo-Pacific coral reefs, is noted for its unique ability to bore fully into coral rock and is a major agent of reef bioerosion. However, 's mechanism of boring has remained a mystery despite decades of research. By exploiting a new, two-dimensional pH-sensing technology and manipulating clams to press their presumptive boring tissue (the pedal mantle) against pH-sensing foils, we show that this tissue lowers the pH of surfaces it contacts by greater than or equal to 2 pH units below seawater pH day and night. Read More

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The perils of paradise: an endangered species conserved on an island loses antipredator behaviours within 13 generations.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville Victoria 3010, Australia.

When imperilled by a threatening process, the choice is often made to conserve threatened species on offshore islands that typically lack the full suite of mainland predators. While keeping the species extant, this releases the conserved population from predator-driven natural selection. Antipredator traits are no longer maintained by natural selection and may be lost. Read More

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Near absence of differential gene expression in the retina of rainbow trout after exposure to a magnetic pulse: implications for magnetoreception.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.

The ability to perceive the Earth's magnetic field, or magnetoreception, exists in numerous animals. Although the mechanism underlying magnetoreception has not been clearly established in any species, in salmonid fish, it is hypothesized to occur by means of crystals of magnetite associated with nervous tissue such as the brain, olfactory organ or retina. In this study, rainbow trout () were exposed to a brief magnetic pulse known to disrupt magnetic orientation behaviour in several animals. Read More

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A model to estimate seabird field metabolic rates.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GP, UK.

For free-ranging animals, field metabolic rate (FMR) is the sum of their energy expenditure over a specified period. This quantity is a key component of ecological processes at every biological level. We applied a phylogenetically informed meta-analytical approach to identify the large-scale determinants of FMR in seabirds during the breeding season. Read More

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Evolution in caves: selection from darkness causes spinal deformities in teleost fishes.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

School of Biological Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, TW20 0EX, UK

Only few fish species have successfully colonized subterranean habitats, but the underlying biological constraints associated with this are still poorly understood. Here, we investigated the influence of permanent darkness on spinal-column development in one species (Midas cichlid, ) with no known cave form, and one (Atlantic molly, ) with two phylogenetically young cave forms. Specifically, fish were reared under a normal light : dark cycle or in permanent darkness (both species). Read More

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Macroevolutionary consequences of sexual conflict.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern, 0316 Oslo, Norway

Intralocus sexual conflicts arise whenever the fitness optima for a trait expressed in both males and females differ between the sexes and shared genetic architecture constrains the sexes from evolving independently towards their respective optima. Such sexual conflicts are commonplace in nature, yet their long-term evolutionary consequences remain unexplored. Using a Bayesian phylogenetic comparative framework, we studied the macroevolutionary dynamics of intersexual trait integration in stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae) spanning a time frame of more than 25 Myr. Read More

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yolk carotenoid and testosterone levels interactively influence female transfer of yolk antioxidants to her eggs.

Biol Lett 2018 Jun;14(6)

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9FE, UK.

Mothers can influence prenatal conditions by varying the amount of nutrients, hormones or antioxidants they provide to their developing young. Some of these substances even affect the transfer of these compounds in the next generation, but it is less clear how different maternally transmitted compounds interact with each other to shape reproductive resource allocation in their offspring. Here, we found that female Japanese quails () that were exposed to high carotenoid levels during embryonic development transferred lower concentrations of yolk antioxidants to their own eggs later in life. Read More

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June 2018
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Female nutritional condition affects ovarian fluid quality in guppies.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Dipartimento di Biologia, Università di Padova, Padova, Italy

Male and female gametes are often embedded in fluids that are produced by gonads and other reproductive tissues. Female reproductive fluids, usually called ovarian fluid (OF), which often constitute a relevant volumetric component of the egg mass, are rich in ions, sugars and proteins, and are involved in several functions, from protecting gametes to facilitating fertilization, and often act as mediators of post-mating sexual selection. Despite their applied and evolutionary importance, we know virtually nothing about the costs of female reproductive fluid production. Read More

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Spatial spread of in populations.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Forest and Soil Sciences, Boku, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria.

The bacterial endosymbiont has been used to control insect pests owing to its ability to manipulate their life history and suppress infectious diseases. Therefore, knowledge on dynamics in natural populations is fundamental. The European cherry fruit fly, , is infected with the strain Cer2, mainly present in southern and central European populations, and is currently spreading into Cer2-uninfected populations driven by high unidirectional cytoplasmic incompatibility. Read More

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Evidence for contrasting roles for prolactin in eusocial naked mole-rats, and Damaraland mole-rats, .

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London, UK

Elevated prolactin (PRL) has been associated with the expression of social and cooperative behaviours in a number of vertebrate species, as well as suppression of reproduction. As social mole-rats exhibit both of these traits, PRL is a prime candidate in mediating their social phenotype. While naked and Damaraland mole-rats (NMRs and DMRs) have evolved eusociality independently within their family, both species exhibit an extreme skew in lifetime reproductive success, with breeding restricted to a single female and one or two males. Read More

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Simultaneous radiation of bird and mammal lice following the K-Pg boundary.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois, 1816 South Oak Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA.

The diversification of parasite groups often occurs at the same time as the diversification of their hosts. However, most studies demonstrating this concordance only examine single host-parasite groups. Multiple diverse lineages of ectoparasitic lice occur across both birds and mammals. Read More

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The origin of the bird's beak: new insights from dinosaur incubation periods.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Paläontologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Nussallee 8, 53115 Bonn, Germany.

The toothless beak of modern birds was considered as an adaption for feeding ecology; however, several recent studies suggested that developmental factors are also responsible for the toothless beak. Neontological and palaeontological studies have progressively uncovered how birds evolved toothless beaks and suggested that the multiple occurrences of complete edentulism in non-avian dinosaurs were the result of selection for specialized diets. Although developmental biology and ecological factors are not mutually exclusive, the conventional hypothesis that ecological factors account for the toothless beak appears insufficient. Read More

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Non-uniform evolutionary response of gecko eye size to changes in diel activity patterns.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521, USA.

Geckos feature a large range of eye sizes, but what drives this phenotypic diversity is currently unknown. Earlier studies point towards diel activity patterns (DAPs) and locomotory mode, but phylogenetic comparative studies in support of the proposed adaptive mode of eye evolution are lacking. Here, we test the hypothesis of DAPs as the driver of eye size evolution with a dataset on 99 species of gecko. Read More

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Role of the light source position in freely falling hoverflies' stabilization performances.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS, ISM UMR 7287, Marseille 13009, France.

The stabilization of plummeting hoverflies was filmed and analysed in terms of their wingbeat initiation times as well as the crash and stabilization rates. The flies experienced near-weightlessness for a period of time that depended on their ability to counteract the free fall by triggering their wingbeats. In this paradigm, hoverflies' flight stabilization strategies were investigated here for the first time under two different positions of the light source (overhead and bottom lighting). Read More

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Does the winner-loser effect determine male mating success?

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Ecology and Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

Winning or losing a fight can have lasting effects on competitors. Controlling for inherent fighting ability and other factors, a history of winning often makes individuals more likely to win future contests, while the opposite is true for losers (the 'winner-loser effect'). But does the winner-loser effect also influence a male's mating success? We experimentally staged contests between male mosquitofish () such that focal males either won or lost three successive encounters with stimulus males. Read More

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Incubation behaviours of oviraptorosaur dinosaurs in relation to body size.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Dongyang Museum, Dongyang, Zhejiang 322100, People's Republic of China.

Most birds sit on their eggs during incubation, a behaviour that likely evolved among non-avian dinosaurs. Several 'brooding' specimens of smaller species of oviraptorosaurs and troodontids reveal these non-avian theropods sat on their eggs, although little is known of incubation behaviour in larger theropod species. Here we examine egg clutches over a large body size range of oviraptorosaurs in order to understand the potential effect of body size on incubation behaviour. Read More

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Schlieren photography on freely flying hawkmoth.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, 585 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47906, USA

The aerodynamic force on flying insects results from the vortical flow structures that vary both spatially and temporally throughout flight. Due to these complexities and the inherent difficulties in studying flying insects in a natural setting, a complete picture of the vortical flow has been difficult to obtain experimentally. In this paper, , a widely used technique for highspeed flow visualization, was adapted to capture the vortex structures around freely flying hawkmoth (). Read More

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The grazing gait, and implications of toppling table geometry for primate footfall sequences.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Structure and Motion Laboratory, The Royal Veterinary College, North Mymms, Hatfield, Herts AL9 7TA, UK.

Many medium and large herbivores locomote forwards very slowly and intermittently when grazing. While the footfall order during grazing is the same as for walking, the relative fore-hind timing-phasing-is quite different. Extended periods of static stability are clearly required during grazing; however, stability requirements are insufficient to account for the timing. Read More

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Induced expression of a vestigial sexual signal.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Biology, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330-8303, USA.

Vestigial morphological traits are common and well known in a variety of taxa. Identification of vestigial genes has illustrated the potential for evolutionary reversals and the re-expression of atavistic traits. Here we induce expression of a behavioural sexual signal, male calling song, in a cricket species, which lacks a functional calling song. Read More

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Mechanistic models versus machine learning, a fight worth fighting for the biological community?

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Ninety per cent of the world's data have been generated in the last 5 years ( Report no. DES4702. Issued April 2017. Read More

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Effects of sea ice on Arctic biota.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8571, USA.

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Overestimation of the adaptive substitution rate in fluctuating populations.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

UMR-5554 Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, CNRS, Université de Montpellier, IRD, EPHE, Montpellier, France.

Estimating the proportion of adaptive substitutions () is of primary importance to uncover the determinants of adaptation in comparative genomic studies. Several methods have been proposed to estimate from patterns polymorphism and divergence in coding sequences. However, estimators of can be biased when the underlying assumptions are not met. Read More

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Biodiversity and socioeconomics in the city: a review of the luxury effect.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability, California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, CA, USA.

The ecological dynamics of cities are influenced not only by geophysical and biological factors, but also by aspects of human society. In cities around the world, a pattern of higher biodiversity in affluent neighbourhoods has been termed 'the luxury effect'. The luxury effect has been found globally regarding plant diversity and canopy or vegetative cover. Read More

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High resistance towards herbivore-induced habitat change in a high Arctic arthropod community.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Helsinki, 00014, Finland.

Mammal herbivores may exert strong impacts on plant communities, and are often key drivers of vegetation composition and diversity. We tested whether such mammal-induced changes to a high Arctic plant community are reflected in the structure of other trophic levels. Specifically, we tested whether substantial vegetation changes following the experimental exclusion of muskoxen () altered the composition of the arthropod community and the predator-prey interactions therein. Read More

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Effects of simulated highway noise on heart rates of larval monarch butterflies, : implications for roadside habitat suitability.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.

Developed countries around the world are criss-crossed with vast networks of roadways. Conservationists have recently focused attention on roadsides as possible locations for establishing pollinator habitat, with the monarch butterfly () featuring prominently in such discussions. However, roadsides are inherently loud, which could negatively affect developing larvae. Read More

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Morphology-based differences in the thermal response of freshwater phytoplankton.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Modelización y análisis de Recursos Naturales, Centro Universitario Regional Este, Universidad de la República, Ruta 9 y 15, Rocha, Uruguay.

The thermal response of maximum growth rate in morphology-based functional groups (MBFG) of freshwater phytoplankton is analysed. Contrasting an exponential Boltzmann-Arrhenius with a unimodal model, three main features were evaluated: (i) the activation energy of the rise (), (ii) the presence of a break in the thermal response and (iii) the activation energy of the fall (). The whole dataset ( = 563) showed an exponential increase ( ∼ 0. Read More

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Moving like a model: mimicry of hymenopteran flight trajectories by clearwing moths of Southeast Asian rainforests.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.

Clearwing moths are known for their physical resemblance to hymenopterans, but the extent of their behavioural mimicry is unknown. We describe zigzag flights of sesiid bee mimics that are nearly indistinguishable from those of sympatric bees, whereas sesiid wasp mimics display faster, straighter flights more akin to those of wasps. In particular, the flight of the sesiids , and resembles both and stingless bees and, to a lesser extent, dwarf honeybees , whereas the sesiid sp. Read More

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A tropical arthropod unravels local and global environmental dependence of seasonal temperature-size response.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Biodiversity Coordination, National Institute for Amazonia Research, Manaus, Brazil.

In most ectotherms, adult body size decreases with warming, the so-called 'temperature-size rule' (TSR). However, the extent to which the strength of the TSR varies naturally within species is little known, and the significance of this phenomenon for tropical biota has been largely neglected. Here, we show that the adult body mass of the soil mite declined as maximum temperature increased over seasons in a central Amazonian rainforest. Read More

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Warming under seminatural outdoor conditions in the larval stage negatively affects insect flight performance.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Evolutionary Stress Ecology and Ecotoxicology, University of Leuven, Deberiotstraat 32, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Laboratory studies indicate global warming may cause changes in locomotor performance directly relevant for fitness and dispersal. Yet, this remains to be tested under seminatural settings, and the connection with warming-induced alterations in the underlying traits has been rarely studied. In an outdoor mesocosm experiment with the damselfly , 4°C warming in the larval stage decreased the flight muscle mass, which correlated with a lower flight endurance. Read More

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Getting somewhere with the Red Queen: chasing a biologically modern definition of the hypothesis.

Biol Lett 2018 May;14(5)

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA.

The Red Queen hypothesis (RQH) is both familiar and murky, with a scope and range that has broadened beyond its original focus. Although originally developed in the palaeontological arena, it now encompasses many evolutionary theories that champion biotic interactions as significant mechanisms for evolutionary change. As such it de-emphasizes the important role of abiotic drivers in evolution, even though such a role is frequently posited to be pivotal. Read More

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Life-history trade-offs: are they linked to personality in a precocial mammal ()?

Authors:
Anja Guenther

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

Department of Animal Behaviour, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany

Life-history trade-offs are predicted to contribute to the maintenance of personality variation. Individuals with 'fast' lifestyles should develop faster, reproduce earlier and exhibit more risky behaviours. Evidence for such predicted links, however, remains equivocal. Read More

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April 2018
1 Read

Inheritance patterns of plumage coloration in common buzzards do not support a one-locus two-allele model.

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

Department of Behavioural Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, Seewiesen, Germany.

Balancing selection is a major mechanism to maintain colour polymorphisms over evolutionary time. In common buzzards, variation in plumage colour was reportedly maintained by a heterozygote advantage: heterozygote intermediates had higher fitness than homozygote light and dark morphs. Here, we challenge one of the basic premises of the heterozygote advantage hypothesis, by testing whether plumage colour variation in common buzzards follows a one-locus two-allele inheritance model. Read More

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April 2018
2 Reads

Trans-generational immunization in the acrobat ant .

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

Biology Department, Florence University, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy.

Trans-generational immunization is defined as the transmission of an enhanced resistance to a pathogen from parents to offspring. By using the host-parasite system of the ant and the entomopathogenic fungus , we describe this phenomenon for the first time in ants. We exposed four groups of hibernating queens to different treatments (i) a non-lethal dose of live conidiospores in Triton, (ii) a dose of heat-killed conidiospores in Triton, (iii) a control Triton solution, and (iv) a naive control. Read More

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April 2018
1 Read

Mesotocin influences pinyon jay prosociality.

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

Department of Psychology, Center for Brain, Biology and Behavior, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 238 Burnett Hall, Lincoln, NE 68588, USA.

Many species exhibit prosocial behaviour, in which one individual's actions benefit another individual, often without an immediate benefit to itself. The neuropeptide oxytocin is an important hormonal mechanism influencing prosociality in mammals, but it is unclear whether the avian homologue mesotocin plays a similar functional role in birds. Here, we experimentally tested prosociality in pinyon jays (), a highly social corvid species that spontaneously shares food with others. Read More

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April 2018
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Shyer and larger bird species show more reduced fear of humans when living in urban environments.

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland

As the natural habitats of many species are degraded or disappear, there is scope for these species to be established in urban habitats. To ease the establishment and maintenance of urban populations of more species we need to better understand what degree of phenotypical change to expect as different species transition into urban environments. During the first stages of urban colonization, behavioural changes such as an increase in boldness are particularly important. Read More

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April 2018
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Maternal effects impact decision-making in a viviparous lizard.

Biol Lett 2018 Apr;14(4)

School of Biological Sciences, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Stressful conditions experienced during early development can have deleterious effects on offspring morphology, physiology and behaviour. However, few studies have examined how developmental stress influences an individual's cognitive phenotype. Using a viviparous lizard, we show that the availability of food resources to a mother during gestation influences a key component of her offspring's cognitive phenotype: their decision-making. Read More

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April 2018
1 Read