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Journal Cover Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
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   ISSN (Print) 0962-8452 - ISSN (Online) 1471-2954
   Published by Royal Society, The Homepage  [11 journals]
  • Inferring forest fate from demographic data: from vital rates to
           population dynamic models
    • Authors: Needham, J; Merow, C, Chang-Yang, C.-H, Caswell, H, McMahon, S. M.
      Pages: 20172050 - 20172050
      Abstract: As population-level patterns of interest in forests emerge from individual vital rates, modelling forest dynamics requires making the link between the scales at which data are collected (individual stems) and the scales at which questions are asked (e.g. populations and communities). Structured population models (e.g. integral projection models (IPMs)) are useful tools for linking vital rates to population dynamics. However, the application of such models to forest trees remains challenging owing to features of tree life cycles, such as slow growth, long lifespan and lack of data on crucial ontogenic stages. We developed a survival model that accounts for size-dependent mortality and a growth model that characterizes individual heterogeneity. We integrated vital rate models into two types of population model; an analytically tractable form of IPM and an individual-based model (IBM) that is applied with stochastic simulations. We calculated longevities, passage times to, and occupancy time in, different life cycle stages, important metrics for understanding how demographic rates translate into patterns of forest turnover and carbon residence times. Here, we illustrate the methods for three tropical forest species with varying life-forms. Population dynamics from IPMs and IBMs matched a 34 year time series of data (albeit a snapshot of the life cycle for canopy trees) and highlight differences in life-history strategies between species. Specifically, the greater variation in growth rates within the two canopy species suggests an ability to respond to available resources, which in turn manifests as faster passage times and greater occupancy times in larger size classes. The framework presented here offers a novel and accessible approach to modelling the population dynamics of forest trees.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:27-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2050
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Morphologically cryptic Amazonian bird species pairs exhibit strong
           postzygotic reproductive isolation
    • Authors: Pulido-Santacruz, P; Aleixo, A, Weir, J. T.
      Pages: 20172081 - 20172081
      Abstract: We possess limited understanding of how speciation unfolds in the most species-rich region of the planet—the Amazon basin. Hybrid zones provide valuable information on the evolution of reproductive isolation, but few studies of Amazonian vertebrate hybrid zones have rigorously examined the genome-wide underpinnings of reproductive isolation. We used genome-wide genetic datasets to show that two deeply diverged, but morphologically cryptic sister species of forest understorey birds show little evidence for prezygotic reproductive isolation, but substantial postzygotic isolation. Patterns of heterozygosity and hybrid index revealed that hybrid classes with heavily recombined genomes are rare and closely match simulations with high levels of selection against hybrids. Genomic and geographical clines exhibit a remarkable similarity across loci in cline centres, and have exceptionally narrow cline widths, suggesting that postzygotic isolation is driven by genetic incompatibilities at many loci, rather than a few loci of strong effect. We propose Amazonian understorey forest birds speciate slowly via gradual accumulation of postzygotic genetic incompatibilities, with prezygotic barriers playing a less important role. Our results suggest old, cryptic Amazonian taxa classified as subspecies could have substantial postzygotic isolation deserving species recognition and that species richness is likely to be substantially underestimated in Amazonia.
      Keywords: taxonomy and systematics, genomics, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:27-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2081
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • How new concepts become universal scientific approaches: insights from
           citation network analysis of agent-based complex systems science
    • Authors: Vincenot C. E.
      Pages: 20172360 - 20172360
      Abstract: Progress in understanding and managing complex systems comprised of decision-making agents, such as cells, organisms, ecosystems or societies, is—like many scientific endeavours—limited by disciplinary boundaries. These boundaries, however, are moving and can actively be made porous or even disappear. To study this process, I advanced an original bibliometric approach based on network analysis to track and understand the development of the model-based science of agent-based complex systems (ACS). I analysed research citations between the two communities devoted to ACS research, namely agent-based (ABM) and individual-based modelling (IBM). Both terms refer to the same approach, yet the former is preferred in engineering and social sciences, while the latter prevails in natural sciences. This situation provided a unique case study for grasping how a new concept evolves distinctly across scientific domains and how to foster convergence into a universal scientific approach. The present analysis based on novel hetero-citation metrics revealed the historical development of ABM and IBM, confirmed their past disjointedness, and detected their progressive merger. The separation between these synonymous disciplines had silently opposed the free flow of knowledge among ACS practitioners and thereby hindered the transfer of methodological advances and the emergence of general systems theories. A surprisingly small number of key publications sparked the ongoing fusion between ABM and IBM research. Beside reviews raising awareness of broad-spectrum issues, generic protocols for model formulation and boundary-transcending inference strategies were critical means of science integration. Accessible broad-spectrum software similarly contributed to this change. From the modelling viewpoint, the discovery of the unification of ABM and IBM demonstrates that a wide variety of systems substantiate the premise of ACS research that microscale behaviours of agents and system-level dynamics are inseparably bound.
      Keywords: computational biology
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:27-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2360
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Cleaner wrasse indirectly affect the cognitive performance of a damselfish
           through ectoparasite removal
    • Authors: Binning, S. A; Roche, D. G, Grutter, A. S, Colosio, S, Sun, D, Miest, J, Bshary, R.
      Pages: 20172447 - 20172447
      Abstract: Cleaning organisms play a fundamental ecological role by removing ectoparasites and infected tissue from client surfaces. We used the well-studied cleaning mutualisms involving the cleaner wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus, to test how client cognition is affected by ectoparasites and whether these effects are mitigated by cleaners. Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) collected from experimental reef patches without cleaner wrasse performed worse in a visual discrimination test than conspecifics from patches with cleaners. Endoparasite abundance also negatively influenced success in this test. Visual discrimination performance was also impaired in damselfish experimentally infected with gnathiid (Crustacea: Isopoda) ectoparasites. Neither cleaner absence nor gnathiid infection affected performance in spatial recognition or reversal learning tests. Injection with immune-stimulating lipopolysaccharide did not affect visual discrimination performance relative to saline-injected controls, suggesting that cognitive impairments are not due to an innate immune response. Our results highlight the complex, indirect role of cleaning organisms in promoting the health of their clients via ectoparasite removal and emphasize the negative impact of parasites on host's cognitive abilities.
      Keywords: behaviour, cognition, ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2447
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Ecological opportunity and predator-prey interactions: linking
           eco-evolutionary processes and diversification in adaptive radiations
    • Authors: Pontarp, M; Petchey, O. L.
      Pages: 20172550 - 20172550
      Abstract: Much of life's diversity has arisen through ecological opportunity and adaptive radiations, but the mechanistic underpinning of such diversification is not fully understood. Competition and predation can affect adaptive radiations, but contrasting theoretical and empirical results show that they can both promote and interrupt diversification. A mechanistic understanding of the link between microevolutionary processes and macroevolutionary patterns is thus needed, especially in trophic communities. Here, we use a trait-based eco-evolutionary model to investigate the mechanisms linking competition, predation and adaptive radiations. By combining available micro-evolutionary theory and simulations of adaptive radiations we show that intraspecific competition is crucial for diversification as it induces disruptive selection, in particular in early phases of radiation. The diversification rate is however decreased in later phases owing to interspecific competition as niche availability, and population sizes are decreased. We provide new insight into how predation tends to have a negative effect on prey diversification through decreased population sizes, decreased disruptive selection and through the exclusion of prey from parts of niche space. The seemingly disparate effects of competition and predation on adaptive radiations, listed in the literature, may thus be acting and interacting in the same adaptive radiation at different relative strength as the radiation progresses.
      Keywords: theoretical biology, ecology, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2550
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Giant kelp, Macrocystis pyrifera, increases faunal diversity through
           physical engineering
    • Authors: Miller, R. J; Lafferty, K. D, Lamy, T, Kui, L, Rassweiler, A, Reed, D. C.
      Pages: 20172571 - 20172571
      Abstract: Foundation species define the ecosystems they live in, but ecologists have often characterized dominant plants as foundational without supporting evidence. Giant kelp has long been considered a marine foundation species due to its complex structure and high productivity; however, there is little quantitative evidence to evaluate this. Here, we apply structural equation modelling to a 15-year time series of reef community data to evaluate how giant kelp affects the reef community. Although species richness was positively associated with giant kelp biomass, most direct paths did not involve giant kelp. Instead, the foundational qualities of giant kelp were driven mostly by indirect effects attributed to its dominant physical structure and associated engineering influence on the ecosystem, rather than by its use as food by invertebrates and fishes. Giant kelp structure has indirect effects because it shades out understorey algae that compete with sessile invertebrates. When released from competition, sessile species in turn increase the diversity of mobile predators. Sea urchin grazing effects could have been misinterpreted as kelp effects, because sea urchins can overgraze giant kelp, understorey algae and sessile invertebrates alike. Our results confirm the high diversity and biomass associated with kelp forests, but highlight how species interactions and habitat attributes can be misconstrued as direct consequences of a foundation species like giant kelp.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2571
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Temperature and competition interact to structure Himalayan bird
    • Authors: Srinivasan, U; Elsen, P. R, Tingley, M. W, Wilcove, D. S.
      Pages: 20172593 - 20172593
      Abstract: Longstanding theory predicts that competitive interactions set species' range limits in relatively aseasonal, species-rich regions, while temperature limits distributions in more seasonal, species-poor areas. More recent theory holds that species evolve narrow physiological tolerances in aseasonal regions, with temperature being an important determining factor in such zones. We tested how abiotic (temperature) and biotic (competition) factors set range limits and structure bird communities along strong, opposing, temperature-seasonality and species-richness gradients in the Himalayas, in two regions separated by 1500 km. By examining the degree to which seasonal elevational migration conserves year-round thermal niches across species, we show that species in the relatively aseasonal and speciose east are more constrained by temperature compared with species in the highly seasonal west. We further show that seasonality has a profound effect on the strength of competition between congeneric species. Competition appears to be stronger in winter, a period of resource scarcity in the Himalayas, in both the east and the west, with similarly sized eastern species more likely to segregate in thermal niche space in winter. Our results indicate that rather than acting in isolation, abiotic and biotic factors mediate each other to structure ecological communities.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2593
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Eco-evolutionary feedbacks promote fluctuating selection and long-term
           stability of antagonistic networks
    • Authors: de Andreazzi, C. S; Guimaraes, P. R, Melian, C. J.
      Pages: 20172596 - 20172596
      Abstract: Studies have shown the potential for rapid adaptation in coevolving populations and that the structure of species interaction networks can modulate the vulnerability of ecological systems to perturbations. Although the feedback loop between population dynamics and coevolution of traits is crucial for understanding long-term stability in ecological assemblages, modelling eco-evolutionary dynamics in species-rich assemblages is still a challenge. We explore how eco-evolutionary feedbacks influence trait evolution and species abundances in 23 empirical antagonistic networks. We show that, if selection due to antagonistic interactions is stronger than other selective pressures, eco-evolutionary feedbacks lead to higher mean species abundances and lower temporal variation in abundances. By contrast, strong selection of antagonistic interactions leads to higher temporal variation of traits and on interaction strengths. Our results present a theoretical link between the study of the species persistence and coevolution in networks of interacting species, pointing out the ways by which coevolution may decrease the vulnerability of species within antagonistic networks to demographic fluctuation.
      Keywords: theoretical biology, ecology, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2596
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • The enemy of my enemy is my friend: native pine marten recovery reverses
           the decline of the red squirrel by suppressing grey squirrel populations
    • Authors: Sheehy, E; Sutherland, C, O'Reilly, C, Lambin, X.
      Pages: 20172603 - 20172603
      Abstract: Shared enemies may instigate or modify competitive interactions between species. The dis-equilibrium caused by non-native species introductions has revealed that the outcome of such indirect interactions can often be dramatic. However, studies of enemy-mediated competition mostly consider the impact of a single enemy, despite species being embedded in complex networks of interactions. Here, we demonstrate that native red and invasive grey squirrels in Britain, two terrestrial species linked by resource and disease-mediated apparent competition, are also now linked by a second enemy-mediated relationship involving a shared native predator recovering from historical persecution, the European pine marten. Through combining spatial capture–recapture techniques to estimate pine marten density, and squirrel site-occupancy data, we find that the impact of exposure to predation is highly asymmetrical, with non-native grey squirrel occupancy strongly negatively affected by exposure to pine martens. By contrast, exposure to pine marten predation has an indirect positive effect on red squirrel populations. Pine marten predation thus reverses the well-documented outcome of resource and apparent competition between red and grey squirrels.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2603
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Predicting the effects of parasite co-infection across species boundaries
    • Authors: Lello, J; McClure, S. J, Tyrrell, K, Viney, M. E.
      Pages: 20172610 - 20172610
      Abstract: It is normal for hosts to be co-infected by parasites. Interactions among co-infecting species can have profound consequences, including changing parasite transmission dynamics, altering disease severity and confounding attempts at parasite control. Despite the importance of co-infection, there is currently no way to predict how different parasite species may interact with one another, nor the consequences of those interactions. Here, we demonstrate a method that enables such prediction by identifying two nematode parasite groups based on taxonomy and characteristics of the parasitological niche. From an understanding of the interactions between the two defined groups in one host system (wild rabbits), we predict how two different nematode species, from the same defined groups, will interact in co-infections in a different host system (sheep), and then we test this experimentally. We show that, as predicted, in co-infections, the blood-feeding nematode Haemonchus contortus suppresses aspects of the sheep immune response, thereby facilitating the establishment and/or survival of the nematode Trichostrongylus colubriformis; and that the T. colubriformis-induced immune response negatively affects H. contortus. This work is, to our knowledge, the first to use empirical data from one host system to successfully predict the specific outcome of a different co-infection in a second host species. The study therefore takes the first step in defining a practical framework for predicting interspecific parasite interactions in other animal systems.
      Keywords: health and disease and epidemiology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2610
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Characterizing the phylogenetic specialism-generalism spectrum of mammal
    • Authors: Park, A. W; Farrell, M. J, Schmidt, J. P, Huang, S, Dallas, T. A, Pappalardo, P, Drake, J. M, Stephens, P. R, Poulin, R, Nunn, C. L, Davies, T. J.
      Pages: 20172613 - 20172613
      Abstract: The distribution of parasites across mammalian hosts is complex and represents a differential ability or opportunity to infect different host species. Here, we take a macroecological approach to investigate factors influencing why some parasites show a tendency to infect species widely distributed in the host phylogeny (phylogenetic generalism) while others infect only closely related hosts. Using a database on over 1400 parasite species that have been documented to infect up to 69 terrestrial mammal host species, we characterize the phylogenetic generalism of parasites using standard effect sizes for three metrics: mean pairwise phylogenetic distance (PD), maximum PD and phylogenetic aggregation. We identify a trend towards phylogenetic specialism, though statistically host relatedness is most often equivalent to that expected from a random sample of host species. Bacteria and arthropod parasites are typically the most generalist, viruses and helminths exhibit intermediate generalism, and protozoa are on average the most specialist. While viruses and helminths have similar mean pairwise PD on average, the viruses exhibit higher variation as a group. Close-contact transmission is the transmission mode most associated with specialism. Most parasites exhibiting phylogenetic aggregation (associating with discrete groups of species dispersed across the host phylogeny) are helminths and viruses.
      Keywords: ecology, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2613
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Predicting drug resistance evolution: insights from antimicrobial peptides
           and antibiotics
    • Authors: Yu, G; Baeder, D. Y, Regoes, R. R, Rolff, J.
      Pages: 20172687 - 20172687
      Abstract: Antibiotic resistance constitutes one of the most pressing public health concerns. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) of multicellular organisms are considered part of a solution to this problem, and AMPs produced by bacteria such as colistin are last-resort drugs. Importantly, AMPs differ from many antibiotics in their pharmacodynamic characteristics. Here we implement these differences within a theoretical framework to predict the evolution of resistance against AMPs and compare it to antibiotic resistance. Our analysis of resistance evolution finds that pharmacodynamic differences all combine to produce a much lower probability that resistance will evolve against AMPs. The finding can be generalized to all drugs with pharmacodynamics similar to AMPs. Pharmacodynamic concepts are familiar to most practitioners of medical microbiology, and data can be easily obtained for any drug or drug combination. Our theoretical and conceptual framework is, therefore, widely applicable and can help avoid resistance evolution if implemented in antibiotic stewardship schemes or the rational choice of new drug candidates.
      Keywords: microbiology, evolution, health and disease and epidemiology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2687
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Repeated imitation makes human vocalizations more word-like
    • Authors: Edmiston, P; Perlman, M, Lupyan, G.
      Pages: 20172709 - 20172709
      Abstract: People have long pondered the evolution of language and the origin of words. Here, we investigate how conventional spoken words might emerge from imitations of environmental sounds. Does the repeated imitation of an environmental sound gradually give rise to more word-like forms' In what ways do these forms resemble the original sounds that motivated them (i.e. exhibit iconicity)' Participants played a version of the children's game ‘Telephone’. The first generation of participants imitated recognizable environmental sounds (e.g. glass breaking, water splashing). Subsequent generations imitated the previous generation of imitations for a maximum of eight generations. The results showed that the imitations became more stable and word-like, and later imitations were easier to learn as category labels. At the same time, even after eight generations, both spoken imitations and their written transcriptions could be matched above chance to the category of environmental sound that motivated them. These results show how repeated imitation can create progressively more word-like forms while continuing to retain a resemblance to the original sound that motivated them, and speak to the possible role of human vocal imitation in explaining the origins of at least some spoken words.
      Keywords: behaviour, cognition, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2709
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Managing the global land resource
    • Authors: Smith P.
      Pages: 20172798 - 20172798
      Abstract: With a growing population with changing demands, competition for the global land resource is increasing. We need to feed a projected population of 9–10 billion by 2050, rising to approximately 12 billion by 2100. At the same time, we need to reduce the climate impact of agriculture, forestry and other land use, and we almost certainly need to deliver land-based greenhouse gas removal for additional climate change mitigation. In addition, we need to deliver progress towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, all without compromising the many ecosystem services provided by land and without exceeding planetary boundaries. Managing the land to tackle these pressing issues is a major global challenge. In this perspective paper, I provide a very broad overview of the main challenges, and explore co-benefits, trade-offs and possible solutions.
      Keywords: environmental science
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2798
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Antennal scales improve signal detection efficiency in moths
    • Authors: Wang, Q; Shang, Y, Hilton, D. S, Inthavong, K, Zhang, D, Elgar, M. A.
      Pages: 20172832 - 20172832
      Abstract: The elaborate bipectinate antennae of male moths are thought to increase their sensitivity to female sex pheromones, and so should be favoured by selection. Yet simple filamentous antennae are the most common structure among moths. The stereotypic arrangements of scales on the surface of antennae may resolve this paradox. We use computational fluid dynamics techniques to model how scales on the filamentous antennae of moths affect the passage of different particles in the airflow across the flagellum in both small and large moths. We found that the scales provide an effective solution to improve the efficacy of filamentous antennae, by increasing the concentration of nanoparticles, which resemble pheromones, around the antennae. The smaller moths have a greater increase in antennal efficiency than larger moths. The scales also divert microparticles, which resemble dust, away from the antennal surface, thereby reducing contamination. The positive correlations between antennal scale angles and sensilla number across Heliozelidae moths are consistent with the predictions of our model.
      Keywords: ecology, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2832
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • To eat and not be eaten: diurnal mass gain and foraging strategies in
           wintering great tits
    • Authors: Moiron, M; Mathot, K. J, Dingemanse, N. J.
      Pages: 20172868 - 20172868
      Abstract: Adaptive theory predicts that the fundamental trade-off between starvation and predation risk shapes diurnal patterns in foraging activity and mass gain in wintering passerine birds. Foragers mitigating both types of risk should exhibit a bimodal distribution (increased foraging and mass gain early and late in the day), whereas both foraging and mass gains early (versus late) during the day are expected when the risk of starvation (versus predation) is greatest. Finally, relatively constant rates of foraging and mass gain should occur when the starvation–predation risk trade-off is independent of body mass. Using automated feeders with integrated digital balances, we estimated diurnal patterns in foraging and body mass gain to test which ecological scenario was best supported in wintering great tits Parus major. Based on data of 40 consecutive winter days recording over 12 000 body masses of 28 individuals, we concluded that birds foraged and gained mass early during the day, as predicted by theory when the starvation–predation risk trade-off is mass-dependent and starvation risk outweighs predation risk. Slower explorers visited the feeders more often, and decreased their activity along the day more strongly, compared with faster explorers, thereby explaining a major portion of the individual differences in diurnal patterning of foraging activity detected using random regression analyses. Birds did not differ in body mass gain trajectories, implying both that individuals differed in the usage of feeders, and that unbiased conclusions regarding how birds resolve starvation–predation risk trade-off require the simultaneous recording of foraging activity and body mass gain trajectories. Our study thereby provides the first unambiguous demonstration that individual birds are capable of adjusting their diurnal foraging and mass gain trajectories in response to ecological predictors of starvation risk as predicted by starvation–predation risk trade-off theory.
      Keywords: behaviour, theoretical biology, ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.2868
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Parental and embryonic experiences with predation risk affect prey
           offspring behaviour and performance
    • Authors: Donelan, S. C; Trussell, G. C.
      Pages: 20180034 - 20180034
      Abstract: Because phenotypic plasticity can operate both within and between generations, phenotypic outcomes are often shaped by a complex history of environmental signals. For example, parental and embryonic experiences with predation risk can both independently and interactively influence prey offspring traits early in their life. Parental and embryonic risk experiences can also independently shape offspring phenotypes throughout an offspring's ontogeny, but the persistence of their interactive effects throughout offspring ontogeny is unknown. We examined the effects of parental and embryonic experiences with predation risk on the response of 1-year-old prey (the carnivorous snail, Nucella lapillus) offspring to current predation risk. We found that parental and embryonic risk experiences had largely independent effects on offspring performance and that these effects were context dependent. Parental experience with risk had strong impacts on multiple offspring traits in the presence of current risk that generally improved offspring performance under risk, but embryonic risk experience had relatively weaker effects and only operated in the absence of current risk to reduce offspring growth. These results illustrate that past environmental experiences can dynamically shape organism phenotypes across ontogeny and that attention to these effects is key to a better understanding of predator/prey dynamics in natural systems.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0034
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Relatedness decreases and reciprocity increases cooperation in Norway rats
    • Authors: Schweinfurth, M. K; Taborsky, M.
      Pages: 20180035 - 20180035
      Abstract: Kin selection and reciprocity are two mechanisms underlying the evolution of cooperation, but the relative importance of kinship and reciprocity for decisions to cooperate are yet unclear for most cases of cooperation. Here, we experimentally tested the relative importance of relatedness and received cooperation for decisions to help a conspecific in wild-type Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus). Test rats provided more food to non-kin than to siblings, and they generally donated more food to previously helpful social partners than to those that had refused help. The rats thus applied reciprocal cooperation rules irrespective of relatedness, highlighting the importance of reciprocal help for cooperative interactions among both related and unrelated conspecifics.
      Keywords: behaviour, cognition, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0035
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Plasticity for desiccation tolerance across Drosophila species is affected
           by phylogeny and climate in complex ways
    • Authors: Kellermann, V; Hoffmann, A. A, Overgaard, J, Loeschcke, V, Sgro, C. M.
      Pages: 20180048 - 20180048
      Abstract: Comparative analyses of ectotherm susceptibility to climate change often focus on thermal extremes, yet responses to aridity may be equally important. Here we focus on plasticity in desiccation resistance, a key trait shaping distributions of Drosophila species and other small ectotherms. We examined the extent to which 32 Drosophila species, varying in their distribution, could increase their desiccation resistance via phenotypic plasticity involving hardening, linking these responses to environment, phylogeny and basal resistance. We found no evidence to support the seasonality hypothesis; species with higher hardening plasticity did not occupy environments with higher and more seasonal precipitation. As basal resistance increased, the capacity of species to respond via phenotypic plasticity decreased, suggesting plastic responses involving hardening may be constrained by basal resistance. Trade-offs between basal desiccation resistance and plasticity were not universal across the phylogeny and tended to occur within specific clades. Phylogeny, environment and trade-offs all helped to explain variation in plasticity for desiccation resistance but in complex ways. These findings suggest some species have the ability to counter dry periods through plastic responses, whereas others do not; and this ability will depend to some extent on a species' placement within a phylogeny, along with its basal level of resistance.
      Keywords: evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0048
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Olfaction written in bone: cribriform plate size parallels olfactory
           receptor gene repertoires in Mammalia
    • Authors: Bird, D. J; Murphy, W. J, Fox-Rosales, L, Hamid, I, Eagle, R. A, Van Valkenburgh, B.
      Pages: 20180100 - 20180100
      Abstract: The evolution of mammalian olfaction is manifested in a remarkable diversity of gene repertoires, neuroanatomy and skull morphology across living species. Olfactory receptor genes (ORGs), which initiate the conversion of odorant molecules into odour perceptions and help an animal resolve the olfactory world, range in number from a mere handful to several thousand genes across species. Within the snout, each of these ORGs is exclusively expressed by a discrete population of olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs), suggesting that newly evolved ORGs may be coupled with new OSN populations in the nasal epithelium. Because OSN axon bundles leave high-fidelity perforations (foramina) in the bone as they traverse the cribriform plate (CP) to reach the brain, we predicted that taxa with larger ORG repertoires would have proportionately expanded footprints in the CP foramina. Previous work found a correlation between ORG number and absolute CP size that disappeared after accounting for body size. Using updated, digital measurement data from high-resolution CT scans and re-examining the relationship between CP and body size, we report a striking linear correlation between relative CP area and number of functional ORGs across species from all mammalian superorders. This correlation suggests strong developmental links in the olfactory pathway between genes, neurons and skull morphology. Furthermore, because ORG number is linked to olfactory discriminatory function, this correlation supports relative CP size as a viable metric for inferring olfactory capacity across modern and extinct species. By quantifying CP area from a fossil sabertooth cat (Smilodon fatalis), we predicted a likely ORG repertoire for this extinct felid.
      Keywords: genomics, biomechanics, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0100
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Maternal modulation of paternal effects on offspring development
    • Authors: Mashoodh, R; Habrylo, I. B, Gudsnuk, K. M, Pelle, G, Champagne, F. A.
      Pages: 20180118 - 20180118
      Abstract: The paternal transmission of environmentally induced phenotypes across generations has been reported to occur following a number of qualitatively different exposures and appear to be driven, at least in part, by epigenetic factors that are inherited via the sperm. However, previous studies of paternal germline transmission have not addressed the role of mothers in the propagation of paternal effects to offspring. We hypothesized that paternal exposure to nutritional restriction would impact male mate quality and subsequent maternal reproductive investment with consequences for the transmission of paternal germline effects. In the current report, using embryo transfer in mice, we demonstrate that sperm factors in adult food restricted males can influence growth rate, hypothalamic gene expression and behaviour in female offspring. However, under natural mating conditions females mated with food restricted males show increased pre- and postnatal care, and phenotypic outcomes observed during embryo transfer conditions are absent or reversed. We demonstrate that these compensatory changes in maternal investment are associated with a reduced mate preference for food restricted males and elevated gene expression within the maternal hypothalamus. Therefore, paternal experience can influence offspring development via germline inheritance, but mothers can serve as a modulating factor in determining the impact of paternal influences on offspring development.
      Keywords: neuroscience, behaviour
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0118
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Early hatching enhances survival despite beneficial phenotypic effects of
           late-season developmental environments
    • Authors: Pearson, P. R; Warner, D. A.
      Pages: 20180256 - 20180256
      Abstract: Seasonal shifts in environmental conditions provide predictable cues to which organisms can respond in adaptive ways. For example, seasonal changes in temperature can induce phenotypes at different times of the year that have season-specific fitness benefits. Here, we tested the hypothesis that embryo responses to seasonal changes in thermal environments are adaptively matched to the timing of reproduction (environmental-matching hypothesis). We collected eggs of the brown anole lizard (Anolis sagrei) from early and late seasons, and exposed them to early and late thermal regimes that mimic nest temperatures. After measuring offspring morphology and performance, we quantified their survival in the field. Females had higher fecundity, but produced smaller eggs, early in the season compared with late in the season. Late-season eggs exposed to late thermal regimes had relatively high survival, but early-season eggs exposed to early thermal regimes had similar survival rates to those exposed to mismatched conditions. Late-season nest temperatures and late-season eggs produced offspring that were relatively large and fast runners. However, despite phenotypic benefits of late-season conditions, early-season hatchlings had greater survival in the field. Our results do not fully support the environmental-matching hypothesis but suggest that selection favours seasonal shifts in reproductive investment of mothers (high early-season fecundity) over plastic responses of embryos to seasonal environmental changes.
      Keywords: ecology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0256
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Experimental demonstration that offspring fathered by old males have
           shorter telomeres and reduced lifespans
    • Authors: Noguera, J. C; Metcalfe, N. B, Monaghan, P.
      Pages: 20180268 - 20180268
      Abstract: Offspring of older parents frequently show reduced longevity, but the mechanisms driving this so-called ‘Lansing effect' are unknown. While inheritance of short telomeres from older parents could underlie this effect, studies to date in different species have found mixed results, reporting positive, negative or no association between parental age and offspring telomere length (TL). However, most of the existing evidence is from non-experimental studies in which it is difficult to exclude alternative explanations such as differential survival of parents with different telomere lengths. Here we provide evidence in the zebra finch that offspring from older parents have reduced lifespans. As a first step in disentangling possible causes, we used an experimental approach to examine whether or not we could detect pre-natal paternal effects on offspring TL. We found that zebra finch embryos fathered by old males have shorter telomeres than those produced by the same mothers but with younger fathers. Since variation in embryonic TL persists into post-natal life, and early life TL is predictive of longevity in this species, this experimental study demonstrates that a paternally driven pre-natal TL reduction could at least in part underlie the reduced lifespan of offspring from older parents.
      Keywords: molecular biology, ecology, health and disease and epidemiology
      PubDate: 2018-03-14T00:05:19-07:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0268
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
  • Reviewers in 2017
    • Authors: Barrett; S. C. H.
      Pages: 20180325 - 20180325
      Keywords: immunology, developmental biology, evolution
      PubDate: 2018-03-07T00:05:28-08:00
      DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0325
      Issue No: Vol. 285, No. 1874 (2018)
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