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Journal Cover Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  [SJR: 2.375]   [H-I: 181]   [132 followers]  Follow
   Full-text available via subscription Subscription journal
   ISSN (Print) 0962-8452 - ISSN (Online) 1471-2954
   Published by Royal Society, The Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Preservation of uropygial gland lipids in a 48-million-year-old bird
    • Authors: O'Reilly, S; Summons, R, Mayr, G, Vinther, J.
      Pages: 20171050 - 20171050
      Abstract: Although various kinds of organic molecules are known to occur in fossils and rocks, most soft tissue preservation in animals is attributed to melanin or porphyrins. Lipids are particularly stable over time—as diagenetically altered ‘geolipids’ or as major molecular constituents of kerogen or fossil ‘geopolymers’—and may be expected to be preserved in certain vertebrate tissues. Here we analysed lipid residues from the uropygial gland of an early Eocene bird using pyrolysis gas chromatography mass spectroscopy. We found a pattern of aliphatic molecules in the fossil gland that was distinct from the host oil shale sediment matrix and from feathers of the same fossil. The fossil gland contained abundant n-alkenes, n-alkanes and alkylbenzenes with chain lengths greater than 20, as well as functionalized long-chain aldehydes, ketones, alkylnitriles and alkylthiophenes that were not detected in host sediment or fossil feathers. By comparison with modern bird uropygial gland wax esters, we show that these molecular fossils are likely derived from endogenous wax ester fatty alcohols and fatty acids that survived initial decay and underwent early diagenetic geopolymerization. These data demonstrate the high fidelity preservation of the uropygial gland waxes and showcase the resilience of lipids over geologic time and their potential role in the exceptional preservation of lipid-rich tissues of macrofossils.
      Keywords: palaeontology
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1050
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Temperate marine protected area provides recruitment subsidies to local
    • Authors: Le Port, A; Montgomery, J. C, Smith, A. N. H, Croucher, A. E, McLeod, I. M, Lavery, S. D.
      Pages: 20171300 - 20171300
      Abstract: The utility of marine protected areas (MPAs) as a means of protecting exploited species and conserving biodiversity within MPA boundaries is supported by strong empirical evidence. However, the potential contribution of MPAs to fished populations beyond their boundaries is still highly controversial; empirical measures are scarce and modelling studies have produced a range of predictions, including both positive and negative effects. Using a combination of genetic parentage and relatedness analysis, we measured larval subsidies to local fisheries replenishment for Australasian snapper (Chrysophrys auratus: Sparidae) from a small (5.2 km2), well-established, temperate, coastal MPA in northern New Zealand. Adult snapper within the MPA contributed an estimated 10.6% (95% CI: 5.5–18.1%) of newly settled juveniles to surrounding areas (approx. 400 km2), with no decreasing trend in contributions up to 40 km away. Biophysical modelling of larval dispersal matched experimental data, showing larvae produced inside the MPA dispersed over a comparable distance. These results demonstrate that temperate MPAs have the potential to provide recruitment subsidies at magnitudes and spatial scales relevant to fisheries management. The validated biophysical model provides a cost-efficient opportunity to generalize these findings to other locations and climate conditions, and potentially informs the design of MPA networks for enhancing fisheries management.
      Keywords: genetics, ecology
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1300
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • A multivariate test of disease risk reveals conditions leading to disease
    • Authors: Halliday, F. W; Heckman, R. W, Wilfahrt, P. A, Mitchell, C. E.
      Pages: 20171340 - 20171340
      Abstract: Theory predicts that increasing biodiversity will dilute the risk of infectious diseases under certain conditions and will amplify disease risk under others. Yet, few empirical studies demonstrate amplification. This contrast may occur because few studies have considered the multivariate nature of disease risk, which includes richness and abundance of parasites with different transmission modes. By combining a multivariate statistical model developed for biodiversity–ecosystem–multifunctionality with an extensive field manipulation of host (plant) richness, composition and resource supply to hosts, we reveal that (i) host richness alone could not explain most changes in disease risk, and (ii) shifting host composition allowed disease amplification, depending on parasite transmission mode. Specifically, as predicted from theory, the effect of host diversity on parasite abundance differed for microbes (more density-dependent transmission) and insects (more frequency-dependent transmission). Host diversity did not influence microbial parasite abundance, but nearly doubled insect parasite abundance, and this amplification effect was attributable to variation in host composition. Parasite richness was reduced by resource addition, but only in species-rich host communities. Overall, this study demonstrates that multiple drivers, related to both host community and parasite characteristics, can influence disease risk. Furthermore, it provides a framework for evaluating multivariate disease risk in other systems.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1340
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Left-right asymmetry of the Maxwell spot centroids in adults without and
           with dyslexia
    • Authors: Le Floch, A; Ropars, G.
      Pages: 20171380 - 20171380
      Abstract: In human vision, the brain has to select one view of the world from our two eyes. However, the existence of a clear anatomical asymmetry providing an initial imbalance for normal neural development is still not understood. Using a so-called foveascope, we found that for a cohort of 30 normal adults, the two blue cone-free areas at the centre of the foveas are asymmetrical. The noise-stimulated afterimage dominant eye introduced here corresponds to the circular blue cone-free area, while the non-dominant eye corresponds to the diffuse and irregular elliptical outline. By contrast, we found that this asymmetry is absent or frustrated in a similar cohort of 30 adults with normal ocular status, but with dyslexia, i.e. with visual and phonological deficits. In this case, our results show that the two Maxwell centroid outlines are both circular but lead to an undetermined afterimage dominance with a coexistence of primary and mirror images. The interplay between the lack of asymmetry and the development in the neural maturation of the brain pathways suggests new implications in both fundamental and biomedical sciences.
      Keywords: neuroscience, behaviour
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1380
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Functional basis of the sexual dimorphism in the auditory fovea of the
           duetting bushcricket Ancylecha fenestrata
    • Authors: Scherberich, J; Hummel, J, Schöneich, S, Nowotny, M.
      Pages: 20171426 - 20171426
      Abstract: From mammals to insects, acoustic communication is in many species crucial for successful reproduction. In the duetting bushcricket Ancylecha fenestrata, the mutual acoustic communication between males and females is asymmetrical. We investigated how those signalling disparities are reflected by sexual dimorphism of their ears. Both sexes have tympanic ears in their forelegs, but male ears possess a significantly longer crista acustica containing 35% more scolopidia. With more sensory cells to cover a similar hearing range, the male hearing organ shows a significantly expanded auditory fovea that is tuned to the dominant frequency of the female reply to facilitate phonotactic mate finding. This sex-specific auditory fovea is demonstrated in the mechanical and neuronal responses along the tonotopically organized crista acustica by laservibrometric and electrophysiological frequency mapping, respectively. Morphometric analysis of the crista acustica revealed an interrupted gradient in organ height solely within this auditory fovea region, whereas all other anatomical parameters decrease continuously from proximal to distal. Combining behavioural, anatomical, biomechanical and neurophysiological information, we demonstrate evidence of a pronounced auditory fovea as a sex-specific adaptation of an insect hearing organ for intraspecific acoustic communication.
      Keywords: behaviour, physiology, biomechanics
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1426
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Morphospaces of functionally analogous traits show ecological separation
           between birds and pterosaurs
    • Authors: Chan N. R.
      Pages: 20171556 - 20171556
      Abstract: Birds originated and radiated in the presence of another group of flying vertebrates, the pterosaurs. Opinion is divided as to whether birds competitively displaced pterosaurs from small-body size niches or whether the two groups coexisted with little competition. Previous studies of Mesozoic birds and pterosaurs compared measurements of homologous limb bones to test these hypotheses. However, these characters probably reflect differing ancestries rather than ecologies. Here, competition and ecological separation were tested for using multivariate analyses of functionally equivalent morphological characters. As well as using characters from the fore- and hindlimbs, these analyses also included measurements of the lower jaw. The results of this study indicate that pterosaurs had relatively longer jaws, shorter metatarsals and shorter brachial regions compared with birds of similar size. Contrary to the results of previous studies, the distal wing was not important for separating the two clades in morphospace owing to the inclusion of the primary feathers in this unit. The differences found here indicate ecological separation based on differences in size, locomotory features and feeding adaptations. Thus, instead of one group displacing the other, birds and pterosaurs appear to have adopted distinctive ecological strategies throughout their period of coexistence.
      Keywords: palaeontology, ecology, evolution
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1556
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Fluctuating seawater pH/pCO2 regimes are more energetically expensive than
           static pH/pCO2 levels in the mussel Mytilus edulis
    • Authors: Mangan, S; Urbina, M. A, Findlay, H. S, Wilson, R. W, Lewis, C.
      Pages: 20171642 - 20171642
      Abstract: Ocean acidification (OA) studies typically use stable open-ocean pH or CO2 values. However, species living within dynamic coastal environments can naturally experience wide fluctuations in abiotic factors, suggesting their responses to stable pH conditions may not be reflective of either present or near-future conditions. Here we investigate the physiological responses of the mussel Mytilus edulis to variable seawater pH conditions over short- (6 h) and medium-term (2 weeks) exposures under both current and near-future OA scenarios. Mussel haemolymph pH closely mirrored that of seawater pH over short-term changes of 1 pH unit with acidosis or recovery accordingly, highlighting a limited capacity for acid–base regulation. After 2 weeks, mussels under variable pH conditions had significantly higher metabolic rates, antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid peroxidation than those exposed to static pH under both current and near-future OA scenarios. Static near-future pH conditions induced significant acid–base disturbances and lipid peroxidation compared with the static present-day conditions but did not affect the metabolic rate. These results clearly demonstrate that living in naturally variable environments is energetically more expensive than living in static seawater conditions, which has consequences for how we extrapolate future OA responses in coastal species.
      Keywords: physiology
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1642
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Re-evaluating the link between brain size and behavioural ecology in
    • Authors: Powell, L. E; Isler, K, Barton, R. A.
      Pages: 20171765 - 20171765
      Abstract: Comparative studies have identified a wide range of behavioural and ecological correlates of relative brain size, with results differing between taxonomic groups, and even within them. In primates for example, recent studies contradict one another over whether social or ecological factors are critical. A basic assumption of such studies is that with sufficiently large samples and appropriate analysis, robust correlations indicative of selection pressures on cognition will emerge. We carried out a comprehensive re-examination of correlates of primate brain size using two large comparative datasets and phylogenetic comparative methods. We found evidence in both datasets for associations between brain size and ecological variables (home range size, diet and activity period), but little evidence for an effect of social group size, a correlation which has previously formed the empirical basis of the Social Brain Hypothesis. However, reflecting divergent results in the literature, our results exhibited instability across datasets, even when they were matched for species composition and predictor variables. We identify several potential empirical and theoretical difficulties underlying this instability and suggest that these issues raise doubts about inferring cognitive selection pressures from behavioural correlates of brain size.
      Keywords: behaviour, cognition, evolution
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1765
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Heterospecific eavesdropping in ant-following birds of the Neotropics is a
           learned behaviour
    • Authors: Pollock, H. S; Martinez, A. E, Kelley, J. P, Touchton, J. M, Tarwater, C. E.
      Pages: 20171785 - 20171785
      Abstract: Animals eavesdrop on other species to obtain information about their environments. Heterospecific eavesdropping can yield tangible fitness benefits by providing valuable information about food resources and predator presence. The ability to eavesdrop may therefore be under strong selection, although extensive research on alarm-calling in avian mixed-species flocks has found only limited evidence that close association with another species could select for innate signal recognition. Nevertheless, very little is known about the evolution of eavesdropping behaviour and the mechanism of heterospecific signal recognition, particularly in other ecological contexts, such as foraging. To understand whether heterospecific eavesdropping was an innate or learned behaviour in a foraging context, we studied heterospecific signal recognition in ant-following birds of the Neotropics, which eavesdrop on vocalizations of obligate ant-following species to locate and recruit to swarms of the army ant Eciton burchellii, a profitable food resource. We used a playback experiment to compare recruitment of ant-following birds to vocalizations of two obligate species at a mainland site (where both species are present) and a nearby island site (where one species remains whereas the other went extinct approx. 40 years ago). We found that ant-following birds recruited strongly to playbacks of the obligate species present at both island and mainland sites, but the island birds did not recruit to playbacks of the absent obligate species. Our results strongly suggest that (i) ant-following birds learn to recognize heterospecific vocalizations from ecological experience and (ii) island birds no longer recognize the locally extinct obligate species after eight generations of absence from the island. Although learning appears to be the mechanism of heterospecific signal recognition in ant-following birds, more experimental tests are needed to fully understand the evolution of eavesdropping behaviour.
      Keywords: behaviour, ecology
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1785
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • Trunk dental tissue evolved independently from underlying dermal bony
           plates but is associated with surface bones in living odontode-bearing
    • Authors: Rivera-Rivera, C. J; Montoya-Burgos, J. I.
      Pages: 20171831 - 20171831
      Abstract: Although oral dental tissue is a vertebrate attribute, trunk dental tissue evolved in several extinct vertebrate lineages but is rare among living species. The question of which processes trigger dental-tissue formation in the trunk remains open, and would shed light on odontogenesis evolution. Extra-oral dental structures (odontodes) in the trunk are associated with underlying dermal bony plates, leading us to ask whether the formation of trunk bony plates is necessary for trunk odontodes to emerge. To address this question, we focus on Loricarioidei: an extant, highly diverse group of catfish whose species all have odontodes. We examined the location and cover of odontodes and trunk dermal bony plates for all six loricarioid families and 17 non-loricarioid catfish families for comparison. We inferred the phylogeny of Loricarioidei using a new 10-gene dataset, eight time-calibration points, and noise-reduction techniques. Based on this phylogeny, we reconstructed the ancestral states of odontode and bony plate cover, and find that trunk odontodes emerged before dermal bony plates in Loricarioidei. Yet we discovered that when bony plates are absent, other surface bones are always associated with odontodes, suggesting a link between osteogenic and odontogenic developmental pathways, and indicating a remarkable trunk odontogenic potential in Loricarioidei.
      Keywords: taxonomy and systematics, bioinformatics, evolution
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1831
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
  • The erroneous signals of detection theory
    • Authors: Trimmer, P. C; Ehlman, S. M, McNamara, J. M, Sih, A.
      Pages: 20171852 - 20171852
      Abstract: Signal detection theory has influenced the behavioural sciences for over 50 years. The theory provides a simple equation that indicates numerous ‘intuitive’ results; e.g. prey should be more prone to take evasive action (in response to an ambiguous cue) if predators are more common. Here, we use analytical and computational models to show that, in numerous biological scenarios, the standard results of signal detection theory do not apply; more predators can result in prey being less responsive to such cues. The standard results need not apply when the probability of danger pertains not just to the present, but also to future decisions. We identify how responses to risk should depend on background mortality and autocorrelation, and that predictions in relation to animal welfare can also be reversed from the standard theory.
      Keywords: behaviour, theoretical biology, evolution
      PubDate: 2017-10-18T00:05:22-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.1852
      Issue No: Vol. 284, No. 1865 (2017)
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