Search our Database of Scientific Publications and Authors

I’m looking for a

    2938 results match your criteria Biology letters[Journal]

    1 OF 59

    Growth affects dispersal success in social mole-rats, but not the duration of philopatry.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, UK
    In naked mole-rats (), some non-breeding males show faster growth and are more likely to disperse than others. These differences have been suggested to be the result of a specialized developmental strategy leading to shorter philopatry and independent breeding, as opposed to extended philopatry as non-reproductive helpers. However, it is unclear whether fast-growing males disperse sooner than slow-growing males. Read More

    Genomes to space stations: the need for the integrative study of migration for avian conservation.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Environmental Resilience Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
    Ongoing changes to global weather patterns and human modifications of the environment have altered the breeding and non-breeding ranges of migratory species, the timing of their migrations, and even whether they continue to migrate at all. Animal movements are arguably one of the most difficult behaviours to study, particularly in smaller birds that migrate tens to thousands of kilometres seasonally, often moving hundreds of kilometres each day. The recent miniaturization of tracking and logging devices has led to a radical transformation in our understanding of avian migratory behaviour and migratory connectivity. Read More

    The extra burden of motherhood: reduced dive duration associated with pregnancy status in a deep-diving mammal, the northern elephant seal.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA.
    The cost of pregnancy is hard to study in marine mammals, particularly in species that undergo pregnancy while diving continuously at sea such as elephant seals (genus). We analysed the diving behaviour of confirmed pregnant and non-pregnant northern elephant seals (,= 172) and showed that after an initial continuous increase in dive duration, dives of pregnant females become shorter after week 17. The reasons for this reduction in dive duration remain unknown, but we hypothesize that increased fetal demand for oxygen could be the cause. Read More

    Vestigial singing behaviour persists after the evolutionary loss of song in crickets.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Centre for Biological Diversity, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9TH, UK
    The evolutionary loss of sexual traits is widely predicted. Because sexual signals can arise from the coupling of specialized motor activity with morphological structures, disruption to a single component could lead to overall loss of function. Opportunities to observe this process and characterize any remaining signal components are rare, but could provide insight into the mechanisms, indirect costs and evolutionary consequences of signal loss. Read More

    Working dogs transfer different tasks in reciprocal cooperation.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, 3032 Hinterkappelen, Bern, Switzerland.
    Direct reciprocity can establish stable cooperation among unrelated individuals. It is a common assumption of direct reciprocity models that agents exchange like with like, but this is not necessarily true for natural interactions. It is yet unclear whether animals apply direct reciprocity rules when successive altruistic help involves different tasks. Read More

    Generational shift in spring staging site use by a long-distance migratory bird.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Conservation Ecology Group, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, PO Box 11103, 9700 CC Groningen, The Netherlands.
    In response to environmental change, species have been observed altering their migratory behaviours. Few studies, however, have been able to determine whether these alterations resulted from inherited, plastic or flexible changes. Here, we present a unique observation of a rapid population-level shift in migratory routes-over 300 km from Spain to Portugal-by continental black-tailed godwitsThis shift did not result from adult godwits changing staging sites, as adult site use was highly consistent. Read More

    Persistence of an extracellular systemic infection across metamorphosis in a holometabolous insect.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Entomology, Cornell University, 129 Garden Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
    Organisms with complex life cycles can differ markedly in their biology across developmental life stages. Consequently, distinct life stages can represent drastically different environments for parasites. This difference is especially striking with holometabolous insects, which have dramatically different larval and adult life stages, bridged by a complete metamorphosis. Read More

    Geomagnetic field influences upward movement of young Chinook salmon emerging from nests.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.
    Organisms use a variety of environmental cues to orient their movements in three-dimensional space. Here, we show that the upward movement of young Chinook salmon () emerging from gravel nests is influenced by the geomagnetic field. Fish in the ambient geomagnetic field travelled farther upwards through substrate than did fish tested in a field with the vertical component inverted. Read More

    Social cues trigger differential immune investment strategies in a non-social insect,.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN, UK
    Social immunization (SI) is a horizontal transfer of immunity that protects naive hosts against infection following exposure to infected nestmates. While mainly documented in eusocial insects, non-social species also share similar ecological features which favour the development of group-level immunity. Here, we investigate SI inby pairing naive females with a pathogen-challenged conspecific for 72 h before measuring a series of immune and fitness traits. Read More

    Current indirect fitness and future direct fitness are not incompatible.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Karnataka 560012, India
    In primitively eusocial insects, many individuals function as workers despite being capable of independent reproduction. Such altruistic behaviour is usually explained by the argument that workers gain indirect fitness by helping close genetic relatives. The focus on indirect fitness has left open the question of whether workers are also capable of getting direct fitness in the future in spite of working towards indirect fitness in the present. Read More

    Successful escape of bombardier beetles from predator digestive systems.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Graduate School of Science, Kobe University, Rokkodai, Nada, Kobe 657-8501, Japan.
    Some prey animals can escape from the digestive systems of predators after being swallowed. To clarify the ecological factors that determine the success of such an escape, we investigated how the bombardier beetleescapes from two toad species,and, under laboratory conditions.ejects a hot chemical spray from the tip of the abdomen when it is attacked. Read More

    Parasite-mediated microhabitat segregation between congeneric hosts.
    Biol Lett 2018 Feb;14(2)
    Department of Zoology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.
    Parasite-mediated competition can shape community structure and host distribution. If two species compete for resources, parasites may indirectly change the outcome of competition. We tested the role of a trematode parasite in mediating microhabitat use by congeneric isopodsandAlthough both isopods share resources, they rarely co-occur in the same discrete microhabitats. Read More

    An eutherian intronic sequence gave rise to a major satellite DNA in Platyrrhini.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Departamento de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, 31270-901, Brazil
    Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) are major components of eukaryote genomes. However, because of their quick divergence, the evolutionary origin of a given satDNA family can rarely be determined. Herein we took advantage of available primate sequenced genomes to determine the origin of the CapA satDNA (approx. Read More

    Social manipulation of sperm competition intensity reduces seminal fluid gene expression.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Centre for Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological Sciences (M092), The University of Western Australia, Crawley 6009, Australia
    A considerable body of evidence supports the prediction that males should increase their expenditure on the ejaculate in response to sperm competition risk. The prediction that they should reduce their expenditure with increasing sperm competition intensity is less well supported. Moreover, most studies have documented plasticity in sperm numbers. Read More

    Tropical bird species have less variable body sizes.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    School of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.
    Ecologists have often predicted that species' niche breadths should decline towards the Equator. Dan Janzen arrived at this prediction based on climatic constraints, while Robert MacArthur argued that a latitudinal gradient in resource specialization drives the pattern. This idea has some support when it comes to thermal niches, but has rarely been explored for other niche dimensions. Read More

    Inverted intergeneric introgression between critically endangered kipunjis and yellow baboons in two disjunct populations.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Primate Genetics Laboratory, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany.
    Intergeneric hybridization and introgression was reported from one of two populations of the recently discovered kipunji (), a critically endangered African monkey species of southern Tanzania. Kipunjis of the introgressed population (from Mount Rungwe) carry a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotype closely related to those of parapatric yellow baboons (), whereas the second kipunji population, in the Udzungwa Mountains, carries the original kipunji mtDNA haplotypes, which diverged from the baboon lineage about 3 million years ago. Interestingly, in our study of yellow baboons in Tanzania, we found that baboons from the southeastern boundary of the Udzungwa Mountains carry mtDNA haplotypes closely related to the original kipunji haplotype, whereas baboons from the northern boundary, as expected, carry mtDNA haplotypes of the northern yellow baboon clade. Read More

    Phenotypic plasticity in an ant with strong caste-genotype association.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 50, avenue FD Roosevelt, 1050 Brussels, Belgium.
    Caste determination in social Hymenoptera (whether a female egg develops into a reproductive queen or a sterile worker) is a remarkable example of phenotypic plasticity where females with highly similar genomes exhibit striking differences in morphology and behaviour. This phenotypic dichotomy is typically influenced by environmental factors. However, recent studies have revealed a strong caste-genotype association in hybridogenetic ants: workers are all interlineage hybrids while queens are all purebred, suggesting that female caste fate is genetically determined. Read More

    Robotic crabs reveal that female fiddler crabs are sensitive to changes in male display rate.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Ecology & Evolution, Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
    Males often produce dynamic, repetitive courtship displays that can be demanding to perform and might advertise male quality to females. A key feature of demanding displays is that they can change in intensity: escalating as a male increases his signalling effort, but de-escalating as a signaller becomes fatigued. Here, we investigated whether female fiddler crabs,, are sensitive to changes in male courtship wave rate. Read More

    High-quality fossil dates support a synchronous, Late Holocene extinction of devils and thylacines in mainland Australia.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia.
    The last large marsupial carnivores-the Tasmanian devil () and thylacine ()-went extinct on mainland Australia during the mid-Holocene. Based on the youngest fossil dates (approx. 3500 years before present, BP), these extinctions are often considered synchronous and driven by a common cause. Read More

    Geographical range size and latitude predict population genetic structure in a global survey.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, 318 W. 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210-1293, USA
    While genetic diversity within species is influenced by both geographical distance and environmental gradients, it is unclear what other factors are likely to promote population genetic structure. Using a machine learning framework and georeferenced DNA sequences from more than 8000 species, we demonstrate that geographical attributes of the species range, including total size, latitude and elevation, are the most important predictors of which species are likely to contain structured genetic variation. While latitude is well known as an important predictor of biodiversity, our work suggests that it also plays a key role in shaping diversity within species. Read More

    Primate social group sizes exhibit a regular scaling pattern with natural attractors.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK.
    Primate groups vary considerably in size across species. Nonetheless, the distribution of mean species group size has a regular scaling pattern with preferred sizes approximating 2.5, 5, 15, 30 and 50 individuals (although strepsirrhines lack the latter two), with a scaling ratio of approximately 2. Read More

    A genetic locus for paranoia.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Psychology and Centre for Neuroscience, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada T6G 2R3.
    The psychological effects of brain-expressed imprinted genes in humans are virtually unknown. Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) is a neurogenetic condition mediated by genomic imprinting, which involves high rates of psychosis characterized by hallucinations and paranoia, as well as autism. Altered expression of two brain-expressed imprinted genes,and, mediates a suite of PWS-related phenotypes, including behaviour, in mice. Read More

    Postcranial diversity and recent ecomorphic impoverishment of North American gray wolves.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Anatomy, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA 50312, USA.
    Recent advances in genomics and palaeontology have begun to unravel the complex evolutionary history of the gray wolf,Still, much of their phenotypic variation across time and space remains to be documented. We examined the limb morphology of the fossil and modern North American gray wolves from the late Quaternary (<70 ka) to better understand their postcranial diversity through time. We found that the late-Pleistocene gray wolves were characterized by short-leggedness on both sides of the Cordilleran-Laurentide ice sheets, and that this trait survived well into the Holocene despite the collapse of Pleistocene megafauna and disappearance of the 'Beringian wolf' from Alaska. Read More

    Facing each other: mammal mothers and infants prefer the position favouring right hemisphere processing.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Faculty of Biology, St Petersburg State University, St Petersburg, Russia.
    The right hemisphere plays a crucial role in social processing. Human mothers show a robust left cradling/holding bias providing greater right-hemispheric involvement in the exchange of social information between mother and infant. Here, we demonstrate that a similar bias is evident in face-to-face spatial interactions in marine and terrestrial non-primate mammals. Read More

    Early-life maltreatment predicts adult stress response in a long-lived wild bird.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC 27106, USA.
    Persistent phenotypic changes due to early-life stressors are widely acknowledged, but their relevance for wild, free-living animals is poorly understood. We evaluated effects of two natural stressors experienced when young (maltreatment by adults and nutritional stress) on stress physiology in wild Nazca boobies () 6-8 years later, an exceptionally long interval for such studies. Maltreatment as a nestling, but not nutritional stress, was associated years later with depressed baseline corticosterone in females and elevated stress-induced corticosterone concentration [CORT] in males. Read More

    Aberrant regulation of autophagy in mammalian diseases.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Shandong Provincial Key Laboratory of Animal Resistance Biology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, College of Life Sciences, Shandong Normal University, Jinan 250014, P. R. China.
    Autophagy is a major cellular metabolic pathway that facilitates degradation of a subset of long-lived proteins and cytoplasmic organelles in eukaryotic cells. This pathway plays a vital role in preserving the cellular homeostasis of the cells themselves, in addition to maintaining the normal physiological state of cell renewal. Many stressors, such as starvation, ischaemia and oxidative stress can induce autophagy. Read More

    Unique perceptuomotor control of stone hammers in wild monkeys.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Psychology, Athens, GA 30605, USA.
    We analysed the patterns of coordination of striking movement and perceptuomotor control of stone hammers in wild bearded capuchin monkeys,as they cracked open palm nut using hammers of different mass, a habitual behaviour in our study population. We aimed to determine why these monkeys cannot produce conchoidally fractured flakes as do contemporary human knappers or as did prehistoric hominin knappers. We found that the monkeys altered their patterns of coordination of movement to accommodate changes in hammer mass. Read More

    Limited support for the X-linked grandmother hypothesis in pre-industrial Finland.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Department of Biology, University of Turku, Turku 20014, Finland.
    The level of kin help often depends on the degree of relatedness between a helper and the helped. In humans, grandmother help is known to increase the survival of grandchildren, though this benefit can differ between maternal grandmothers (MGMs) and paternal grandmothers (PGMs) and between grandsons and granddaughters. The X-linked grandmother hypothesis posits that differential X-chromosome relatedness between grandmothers and their grandchildren is a leading driver of differential grandchild survival between grandmother lineages and grandchild sexes. Read More

    Bone histological correlates for air sacs and their implications for understanding the origin of the dinosaurian respiratory system.
    Biol Lett 2018 Jan;14(1)
    Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und Paläontologie, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany.
    Air sacs are an important component of the avian respiratory system, and corresponding structures also were crucial for the evolution of sauropod dinosaur gigantism. Inferring the presence of air sacs in fossils so far is restricted to bones preserving internal pneumatic cavities and foramina as osteological correlates. We here present bone histological correlates for air sacs as a new potential identification tool for these elements of the respiratory system. Read More

    Genetics redraws pelagic biogeography of.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University, 8049 Bodø, Norway.
    Planktonic copepods of the genusplay a central role in North Atlantic/Arctic marine food webs. Here, using molecular markers, we redrew the distributional ranges ofspecies inhabiting the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and revealed much wider and more broadly overlapping distributions than previously described. The Arctic shelf species,, dominated the zooplankton assemblage of many Norwegian fjords, where onlyhas been reported previously. Read More

    Behavioural responses of naked mole rats to acute hypoxia and anoxia.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, 30 Marie Curie Private, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5
    Naked mole rats (NMRs) are among the most hypoxia-tolerant mammals. Other species respond to hypoxia by either escaping the hypoxic environment or drastically decreasing behavioural activity and body temperature () to conserve energy. However, NMRs rarely leave their underground burrows, which are putatively hypoxic and thermally stable near the NMRs' preferredTherefore, we asked whether NMRs are able to employ behavioural and thermoregulatory strategies in response to hypoxia despite their need to remain active and the minimal thermal scope in their burrows. Read More

    A sound worth saving: acoustic characteristics of a massive fish spawning aggregation.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA
    Group choruses of marine animals can produce extraordinarily loud sounds that markedly elevate levels of the ambient soundscape. We investigated sound production in the Gulf corvina (), a soniferous marine fish with a unique reproductive behaviour threatened by overfishing, to compare with sounds produced by other marine animals. We coupled echosounder and hydrophone surveys to estimate the magnitude of the aggregation and sounds produced during spawning. Read More

    Effects of mutations in phage restriction sites during escape from restriction-modification.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Am Campus 1, Klosterneuburg 3400, Austria
    Restriction-modification systems are widespread genetic elements that protect bacteria from bacteriophage infections by recognizing and cleaving heterologous DNA at short, well-defined sequences called restriction sites. Bioinformatic evidence shows that restriction sites are significantly underrepresented in bacteriophage genomes, presumably because bacteriophages with fewer restriction sites are more likely to escape cleavage by restriction-modification systems. However, how mutations in restriction sites affect the likelihood of bacteriophage escape is unknown. Read More

    Specificity of oral immune priming in the red flour beetle.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity, University of Münster, Hüfferstrasse 1, 48149 Münster, Germany
    Immune specificity is the degree to which a host's immune system discriminates among various pathogens or antigenic variants. Vertebrate immune memory is highly specific due to antibody responses. On the other hand, some invertebrates show immune priming, i. Read More

    Species richness alters spatial nutrient heterogeneity effects on above-ground plant biomass.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    INRA, VetAgro-Sup, UREP, 63000 Clermont-Ferrand, France.
    Previous studies have suggested that spatial nutrient heterogeneity promotes plant nutrient capture and growth. However, little is known about how spatial nutrient heterogeneity interacts with key community attributes to affect plant community production. We conducted a meta-analysis to investigate how nitrogen heterogeneity effects vary with species richness and plant density. Read More

    Long-term UVB exposure promotes predator-inspection behaviour in a fish.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Ecology, University of Bonn, An der Immenburg 1, 53121 Bonn, Germany.
    Ultraviolet-B radiation (UVB) reaching the earth's surface has increased due to human-caused stratospheric ozone depletion. Whereas the harmful effects of UVB on aquatic organisms are well studied at the molecular and cellular level, recent studies have also begun to address behavioural changes caused by sublethal amounts of UVB. However, the behavioural consequences of long-term exposure to ecologically relevant UVB levels over several life stages are virtually unknown, particularly with regard to predator-prey behaviour. Read More

    Behavioural tuning in a tropical amphibian along an altitudinal gradient.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology, University of California Los Angeles, 621 Charles E. Young Drive South, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1606, USA
    Males of the coqui treefrog,, produce a distinct two-note 'co-qui' advertisement call from sunset to midnight throughout most of the year. Previous work established that both the spectrotemporal aspects of the call and the frequency of highest inner-ear sensitivity change with altitude above sea level. These variations are such that the frequency of the emitted co-note closely matches the frequency to which the inner ear is most sensitive. Read More

    Water vascular system architecture in an Ordovician ophiuroid.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Department of Geology and Geophysics, Yale University, 210 Whitney Avenue, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
    Understanding the water vascular system (WVS) in early fossil echinoderms is critical to elucidating the evolution of this system in extant forms. Here we present the first report of the internal morphology of the water vascular system of a stem ophiuroid. The radial canals are internal to the arm, but protected dorsally by a plate separate to the ambulacrals. Read More

    Freezer on, lights off! Environmental effects on activity rhythms of fish in the Arctic.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Department of Biosciences, Science Laboratories, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK.
    Polar regions are characterized by acute seasonal changes in the environment, with organisms inhabiting these regions lacking diel photoperiodic information for parts of the year. We present, to our knowledge, the first high-resolution analysis of diel and seasonal activity of free-living fishes in polar waters (74°N), subject to extreme variation in photoperiod, temperature and food availability. Using biotelemetry, we tracked two sympatric ecomorphs of lake-dwelling Arctic charr (= 23) over an annual cycle. Read More

    Heterothermy is associated with reduced fitness in wild rabbits.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand, Medical School, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193, South Africa.
    An increase in variation in the 24 h pattern of body temperature (heterothermy) in mammals can be induced by energy and water deficits. Since performance traits such as growth and reproduction also are impacted by energy and water balance, we investigated whether the characteristics of the body temperature rhythm provide an indication of the reproductive success of an individual. We show that the amplitude of the daily rhythm of body temperature in wild rabbits () prior to breeding is inversely related to the number of pregnancies in the subsequent seven months, while the minimum daily body temperature is positively correlated to the number of pregnancies. Read More

    Does oxidative stress shorten telomeres? A review.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec;13(12)
    Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
    The length of telomeres, the protective caps of chromosomes, is increasingly used as a biomarker of individual health state because it has been shown to predict chances of survival in a range of endothermic species including humans. Oxidative stress is presumed to be a major cause of telomere shortening, but most evidence to date comes fromcultured cells. The importance of oxidative stress as a determinant of telomere shorteningremains less clear and has recently been questioned. Read More

    Treating hummingbirds as feathered bees: a case of ethological cross-pollination.
    Biol Lett 2017 Dec 6;13(12). Epub 2017 Dec 6.
    School of Biology, The University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9TH, UK.
    Hummingbirds feed from hundreds of flowers every day. The properties of these flowers provide these birds with a wealth of information about colour, space and time to guide how they forage. To understand how hummingbirds might use this information, researchers have adapted established laboratory paradigms for use in the field. Read More

    Associations between imprinted gene expression in the placenta, human fetal growth and preeclampsia.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Genomic imprinting is essential for normal placental and fetal growth. One theory to explain the evolution of imprinting is the kinship theory (KT), which predicts that genes that are paternally expressed will promote fetal growth, whereas maternally expressed genes will suppress growth. We investigated the expression of imprinted genes using microarray measurements of expression in term placentae. Read More

    Structural biomechanics determine spectral purity of bush-cricket calls.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Lincoln LN6 7DL, UK
    Bush-crickets (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae) generate sound using tegminal stridulation. Signalling effectiveness is affected by the widely varying acoustic parameters of temporal pattern, frequency and spectral purity (tonality). During stridulation, frequency multiplication occurs as a scraper on one wing scrapes across a file of sclerotized teeth on the other. Read More

    Interactions between cleaner-birds and ungulates are personality dependent.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    Parks Canada, Elk Island National Park, Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, Canada T8L 0V3
    While a growing body of literature explores the ecological implications of consistent individual variation in the behaviour of wildlife, few studies have looked at the reciprocal influences of personality within interspecific interactions, despite the potentially significant impacts on biodiversity. Here I used two species involved in cleaner-bird behaviour-black-billed magpies () and Rocky mountain elk ()-to show that the exhibition of mutualistic behaviour can depend on the personality of the individual involved. I recorded suites of correlated behaviours in both elk and magpies to derive personality gradients from 'shy' to 'bold', which I compared with observations of interspecific interactions. Read More

    Studying placebo effects in model organisms will help us understand them in humans.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    School of Human and Life Sciences, Canterbury Christ Church University, Canterbury CT1 1QU, UK.
    The placebo effect is widely recognized but important questions remain, for example whether the capacity to respond to a placebo is an evolved, and potentially ubiquitous trait, or an unpredictable side effect of another evolved process. Understanding this will determine the degree to which the physiology underlying placebo effects might be manipulated or harnessed to optimize medical treatments. We argue that placebo effects are cases of phenotypic plasticity where once predictable cues are now unpredictable. Read More

    Predictability of bee community composition after floral removals differs by floral trait group.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 370 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
    Plant-bee visitor communities are complex networks. While studies show that deleting nodes alters network topology, predicting these changes in the field remains difficult. Here, a simple trait-based approach is tested for predicting bee community composition following disturbance. Read More

    An invasive herbivore structures plant competitive dynamics.
    Biol Lett 2017 11;13(11)
    Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Toronto, 25 Willcocks Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 3B2.
    Species interactions are central to our understanding of ecological communities, but may change rapidly with the introduction of invasive species. Invasive species can alter species interactions and community dynamics directly by having larger detrimental effects on some species than others, or indirectly by changing the ways in which native species compete among themselves. We tested the direct and indirect effects of an invasive aphid herbivore on a native aphid species and two host milkweed species. Read More

    1 OF 59