Phylogenomics resolves the deep phylogeny of seed plants and indicates partial convergent or homoplastic evolution between Gnetales and angiosperms
After decades of molecular phylogenetic studies, the deep phylogeny of gymnosperms has not been resolved, and the phylogenetic placement of Gnetales remains one of the most controversial issues in seed plant evolution. To resolve the deep phylogeny of seed plants and to address the sources of phylogenetic conflict, we conducted a phylotranscriptomic study with a sampling of all 13 families of gymnosperms and main lineages of angiosperms. Multiple datasets containing up to 1 296 042 sites across 1308 loci were analysed, using concatenation and coalescence approaches. Our study generated a consistent and well-resolved phylog...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Ran, J.-H., Shen, T.-T., Wang, M.-M., Wang, X.-Q. Tags: evolution Source Type: research

Parasite-infected sticklebacks increase the risk-taking behaviour of uninfected group members
Trophically transmitted parasites frequently increase their hosts' risk-taking behaviour, to facilitate transmission to the next host. Whether such elevated risk-taking can spill over to uninfected group members is, however, unknown. To investigate this, we confronted groups of 6 three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, containing 0, 2, 4 or 6 experimentally infected individuals with a simulated bird attack and studied their risk-taking behaviour. As a parasite, we used the tapeworm Schistocephalus solidus, which increases the risk-taking of infected sticklebacks, to facilitate transmission to its final host, mos...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Demandt, N., Saus, B., Kurvers, R. H. J. M., Krause, J., Kurtz, J., Scharsack, J. P. Tags: behaviour Source Type: research

Cyclic dominance emerges from the evolution of two inter-linked cooperative behaviours in the social amoeba
Evolution of cooperation has been one of the most important problems in sociobiology, and many researchers have revealed mechanisms that can facilitate the evolution of cooperation. However, most studies deal only with one cooperative behaviour, even though some organisms perform two or more cooperative behaviours. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum performs two cooperative behaviours in starvation: fruiting body formation and macrocyst formation. Here, we constructed a model that couples these two behaviours, and we found that the two behaviours are maintained because of the emergence of cyclic dominance, although...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Shibasaki, S., Shimada, M. Tags: theoretical biology, evolution Source Type: research

The biomechanics of foraging determines face length among kangaroos and their relatives
Increasing body size is accompanied by facial elongation across a number of mammalian taxa. This trend forms the basis of a proposed evolutionary rule, cranial evolutionary allometry (CREA). However, facial length has also been widely associated with the varying mechanical resistance of foods. Here, we combine geometric morphometrics and computational biomechanical analyses to determine whether evolutionary allometry or feeding ecology have been dominant influences on facial elongation across 16 species of kangaroos and relatives (Macropodiformes). We found no support for an allometric trend. Nor was craniofacial morpholog...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Mitchell, D. R., Sherratt, E., Ledogar, J. A., Wroe, S. Tags: biomechanics, ecology, evolution Morphology and biomechanics Source Type: research

The evolution of juvenile susceptibility to infectious disease
Infection prior to reproduction usually carries greater fitness costs for hosts than infection later in life, suggesting selection should tend to favour juvenile resistance. Yet, juveniles are generally more susceptible than adults across a wide spectrum of host taxa. While physiological constraints and a lack of prior exposure can explain some of this pattern, studies in plants and insects suggest that hosts may trade off juvenile susceptibility against other life-history traits. However, it is unclear precisely how trade-offs shape the evolution of juvenile susceptibility. Here, we theoretically explore the evolution of ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Ashby, B., Bruns, E. Tags: theoretical biology, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Mutual visual signalling between the cleaner shrimp Ancylomenes pedersoni and its client fish
Cleaner shrimp and their reef fish clients are an interspecific mutualistic interaction that is thought to be mediated by signals, and a useful system for studying the dynamics of interspecific signalling. To demonstrate signalling, one must show that purported signals at minimum (a) result in a consistent state change in the receiver and (b) contain reliable information about the sender's intrinsic state or future behaviour. Additionally, signals must be perceptible by receivers. Here, we document fundamental attributes of the signalling system between the cleaner shrimp Ancylomenes pedersoni and its clients. First, we us...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Caves, E. M., Green, P. A., Johnsen, S. Tags: behaviour Source Type: research

Future effects of climate and land-use change on terrestrial vertebrate community diversity under different scenarios
Land-use and climate change are among the greatest threats facing biodiversity, but understanding their combined effects has been hampered by modelling and data limitations, resulting in part from the very different scales at which land-use and climate processes operate. I combine two different modelling paradigms to predict the separate and combined (additive) effects of climate and land-use change on terrestrial vertebrate communities under four different scenarios. I predict that climate-change effects are likely to become a major pressure on biodiversity in the coming decades, probably matching or exceeding the effects...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Newbold, T. Tags: ecology Source Type: research

Adaptive developmental plasticity in rhesus macaques: the serotonin transporter gene interacts with maternal care to affect juvenile social behaviour
Research has increasingly highlighted the role that developmental plasticity—the ability of a particular genotype to produce variable phenotypes in response to different early environments—plays as an adaptive mechanism. One of the most widely studied genetic contributors to developmental plasticity in humans and rhesus macaques is a serotonin transporter gene-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR), which determines transcriptional efficiency of the serotonin transporter gene in vitro and modifies the availability of synaptic serotonin in these species. A majority of studies to date have shown that carriers of a ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Madrid, J. E., Mandalaywala, T. M., Coyne, S. P., Ahloy-Dallaire, J., Garner, J. P., Barr, C. S., Maestripieri, D., Parker, K. J. Tags: neuroscience, behaviour, evolution Development and physiology Source Type: research

Intercontinental karyotype-environment parallelism supports a role for a chromosomal inversion in local adaptation in a seaweed fly
Large chromosomal rearrangements are thought to facilitate adaptation to heterogeneous environments by limiting genomic recombination. Indeed, inversions have been implicated in adaptation along environmental clines and in ecotype specialization. Here, we combine classical ecological studies and population genetics to investigate an inversion polymorphism previously documented in Europe among natural populations of the seaweed fly Coelopa frigida along a latitudinal cline in North America. We test if the inversion is present in North America and polymorphic, assess which environmental conditions modulate the inversion kary...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Merot, C., Berdan, E. L., Babin, C., Normandeau, E., Wellenreuther, M., Bernatchez, L. Tags: genetics, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Ocean warming alters predicted microbiome functionality in a common sea urchin
The microbiome of sea urchins plays a role in maintaining digestive health and innate immunity. Here, we investigated the effects of long-term (90 day) exposure to elevated seawater temperatures on the microbiome of the common, subtropical sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus. The community composition and diversity of microbes varied according to the type of sample collected from the sea urchin (seawater, feed, intestines, coelomic fluid, digested pellet and faeces), with the lowest microbial diversity (predominately the order Campylobacterales) located in the intestinal tissue. Sea urchins exposed to near-future seawater tem...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Brothers, C. J., Van Der Pol, W. J., Morrow, C. D., Hakim, J. A., Koo, H., McClintock, J. B. Tags: microbiology, ecology Source Type: research

Naked chancelloriids from the lower Cambrian of China show evidence for sponge-type growth
Chancelloriids are an extinct group of spiny Cambrian animals of uncertain phylogenetic position. Despite their sponge-like body plan, their spines are unlike modern sponge spicules, but share several features with the sclerites of certain Cambrian bilaterians, notably halkieriids. However, a proposed homology of these ‘coelosclerites' implies complex transitions in body plan evolution. A new species of chancelloriid, Allonnia nuda, from the lower Cambrian (Stage 3) Chengjiang Lagersta╠łtte is distinguished by its large size and sparse spination, with modified apical sclerites surrounding an opening into the body cav...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Cong, P.-Y., Harvey, T. H. P., Williams, M., Siveter, D. J., Siveter, D. J., Gabbott, S. E., Li, Y.-J., Wei, F., Hou, X.-G. Tags: palaeontology, evolution Palaeobiology Source Type: research

State-dependent risk-taking
Who takes risks, and when? The relative state model proposes two non-independent selection pressures governing risk-taking: need-based and ability-based. The need-based account suggests that actors take risks when they cannot reach target states with low-risk options (consistent with risk-sensitivity theory). The ability-based account suggests that actors engage in risk-taking when they possess traits or abilities that increase the expected value of risk-taking (by increasing the probability of success, enhancing payoffs for success or buffering against failure). Adaptive risk-taking involves integrating both consideration...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Barclay, P., Mishra, S., Sparks, A. M. Tags: behaviour, theoretical biology, cognition Source Type: research

Higher flight activity in the offspring of migrants compared to residents in a migratory insect
Migration has evolved among many animal taxa and migratory species are found across all major lineages. Insects are the most abundant and diverse terrestrial migrants, with trillions of animals migrating annually. Partial migration, where populations consist of resident and migratory individuals, is ubiquitous among many taxa. However, the underlying mechanisms are relatively poorly understood and may be driven by physiological, behavioural or genetic variation within populations. We investigated the differences in migratory tendency between migratory and resident phenotypes of the hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus, using tet...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Dällenbach, L. J., Glauser, A., Lim, K. S., Chapman, J. W., Menz, M. H. M. Tags: behaviour Source Type: research

Long-distance dispersal over land by fishes: extremely rare ecological events become probable over millennial timescales
(Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Martin, C. H., Turner, B. J. Tags: ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Geologic and hydrologic concerns about pupfish divergence during the last glacial maximum
(Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 20, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Knott, J. R., Phillips, F. M., Reheis, M. C., Sada, D., Jayko, A., Axen, G. Tags: genetics, genomics, evolution Source Type: research

Individual variation in the compromise between social group membership and exposure to preferred temperatures
Group living is widespread among animal species, and comes with a number of costs and benefits associated with foraging, predator avoidance and reproduction. It is largely unknown, however, whether individuals sacrifice exposure to their own preferred or optimal environmental conditions so they can remain part of a social group. Here, we demonstrate that individual three-spine sticklebacks vary in the degree to which they forego exposure to their preferred ambient temperature so they can associate with a group of conspecifics. Individual fish varied widely in preferred temperature when tested in isolation. When the same in...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Cooper, B., Adriaenssens, B., Killen, S. S. Tags: behaviour, physiology, ecology Source Type: research

To adapt or go extinct? The fate of megafaunal palm fruits under past global change
Past global change may have forced animal-dispersed plants with megafaunal fruits to adapt or go extinct, but these processes have remained unexplored at broad spatio-temporal scales. Here, we combine phylogenetic, distributional and fruit size data for more than 2500 palm (Arecaceae) species in a time-slice diversification analysis to quantify how extinction and adaptation have changed over deep time. Our results indicate that extinction rates of palms with megafaunal fruits have increased in the New World since the onset of the Quaternary (2.6 million years ago). In contrast, Old World palms show a Quaternary increase in...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Onstein, R. E., Baker, W. J., Couvreur, T. L. P., Faurby, S., Herrera-Alsina, L., Svenning, J.-C., Kissling, W. D. Tags: taxonomy and systematics, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

The gibbon's Achilles tendon revisited: consequences for the evolution of the great apes?
The well-developed Achilles tendon in humans is generally interpreted as an adaptation for mechanical energy storage and reuse during cyclic locomotion. All other extant great apes have a short tendon and long-fibred triceps surae, which is thought to be beneficial for locomotion in a complex arboreal habitat as this morphology enables a large range of motion. Surprisingly, highly arboreal gibbons show a more human-like triceps surae with a long Achilles tendon. Evidence for a spring-like function similar to humans is not conclusive. We revisit and integrate our anatomical and biomechanical data to calculate the energy tha...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Aerts, P., D'Aout, K., Thorpe, S., Berillon, G., Vereecke, E. Tags: biomechanics, evolution Morphology and biomechanics Source Type: research

Regulation between personality traits: individual social tendencies modulate whether boldness and leadership are correlated
Although consistent behavioural differences between individuals (i.e. personality variation) are now well established in animals, these differences are not always expressed when individuals interact in social groups. This can be key in important social dynamics such as leadership, which is often positively related to personality traits such as boldness. Individuals consistently differ in how social they are (their sociability), so if other axes of personality variation, such as boldness, can be suppressed during social interactions, this suppression should be stronger in more sociable individuals. We measured boldness (lat...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Bevan, P. A., Gosetto, I., Jenkins, E. R., Barnes, I., Ioannou, C. C. Tags: behaviour Source Type: research

The distribution of bacterial doubling times in the wild
Generation time varies widely across organisms and is an important factor in the life cycle, life history and evolution of organisms. Although the doubling time (DT) has been estimated for many bacteria in the laboratory, it is nearly impossible to directly measure it in the natural environment. However, an estimate can be obtained by measuring the rate at which bacteria accumulate mutations per year in the wild and the rate at which they mutate per generation in the laboratory. If we assume the mutation rate per generation is the same in the wild and in the laboratory, and that all mutations in the wild are neutral, an as...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Gibson, B., Wilson, D. J., Feil, E., Eyre-Walker, A. Tags: genetics, microbiology, evolution Genetics and genomics Source Type: research

Structural stability as a consistent predictor of phenological events
The timing of the first and last seasonal appearance of a species in a community typically follows a pattern that is governed by temporal factors. While it has been shown that changes in the environment are linked to phenological changes, the direction of this link appears elusive and context-dependent. Thus, finding consistent predictors of phenological events is of central importance for a better assessment of expected changes in the temporal dynamics of ecological communities. Here we introduce a measure of structural stability derived from species interaction networks as an estimator of the expected range of environmen...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Song, C., Saavedra, S. Tags: ecology Source Type: research

Effects of neonicotinoid insecticide exposure and monofloral diet on nest-founding bumblebee queens
Bumblebees are among the world's most important groups of pollinating insects in natural and agricultural ecosystems. Each spring, queen bumblebees emerge from overwintering and initiate new nests, which ultimately give rise to workers and new reproductives later in the season. Nest initiation and survival are thus key drivers of both bumblebee pollination services and population dynamics. We performed the first laboratory experiment with the model bumblebee species Bombus impatiens that explores how early nesting success is impacted by the effects of temporary or more sustained exposure to sublethal levels of a neonicotin...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Leza, M., Watrous, K. M., Bratu, J., Woodard, S. H. Tags: behaviour Ecology Source Type: research

What is cumulative cultural evolution?
In recent years, the phenomenon of cumulative cultural evolution (CCE) has become the focus of major research interest in biology, psychology and anthropology. Some researchers argue that CCE is unique to humans and underlies our extraordinary evolutionary success as a species. Others claim to have found CCE in non-human species. Yet others remain sceptical that CCE is even important for explaining human behavioural diversity and complexity. These debates are hampered by multiple and often ambiguous definitions of CCE. Here, we review how researchers define, use and test CCE. We identify a core set of criteria for CCE whic...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Mesoudi, A., Thornton, A. Tags: behaviour, evolution Review articles Source Type: research

Bumblebees distinguish floral scent patterns, and can transfer these to corresponding visual patterns
Flowers act as multisensory billboards to pollinators by using a range of sensory modalities such as visual patterns and scents. Different floral organs release differing compositions and quantities of the volatiles contributing to floral scent, suggesting that scent may be patterned within flowers. Early experiments suggested that pollinators can distinguish between the scents of differing floral regions, but little is known about how these potential scent patterns might influence pollinators. We show that bumblebees can learn different spatial patterns of the same scent, and that they are better at learning to distinguis...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Lawson, D. A., Chittka, L., Whitney, H. M., Rands, S. A. Tags: behaviour, plant science, ecology Source Type: research

Whisker touch sensing guides locomotion in small, quadrupedal mammals
All small mammals have prominent facial whiskers that they employ as tactile sensors to guide navigation and foraging in complex habitats. Nocturnal, arboreal mammals tend to have the longest and most densely packed whiskers, and semi-aquatic mammals have the most sensitive. Here we present evidence to indicate that many small mammals use their whiskers to tactually guide safe foot positioning. Specifically, in 11, small, non-flying mammal species, we demonstrate that forepaw placement always falls within the ground contact zone of the whisker field and that forepaw width is always smaller than whisker span. We also demons...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Grant, R. A., Breakell, V., Prescott, T. J. Tags: behaviour, biomechanics, ecology Morphology and biomechanics Source Type: research

On dangerous ground: the evolution of body armour in cordyline lizards
Animal body armour is often considered an adaptation that protects prey against predatory attacks, yet comparative studies that link the diversification of these allegedly protective coverings to differential predation risk or pressure are scarce. Here, we examine the evolution of body armour, including spines and osteoderms, in Cordylinae, a radiation of southern African lizards. Using phylogenetic comparative methods, we attempt to identify the ecological and environmental correlates of body armour that may hint at the selective pressures responsible for defensive trait diversification. Our results show that species inha...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Broeckhoven, C., El Adak, Y., Hui, C., Van Damme, R., Stankowich, T. Tags: ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Social contact patterns can buffer costs of forgetting in the evolution of cooperation
Analyses of the evolution of cooperation often rely on two simplifying assumptions: (i) individuals interact equally frequently with all social network members and (ii) they accurately remember each partner's past cooperation or defection. Here, we examine how more realistic, skewed patterns of contact—in which individuals interact primarily with only a subset of their network's members—influence cooperation. In addition, we test whether skewed contact patterns can counteract the decrease in cooperation caused by memory errors (i.e. forgetting). Finally, we compare two types of memory error that vary in whether...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Stevens, J. R., Woike, J. K., Schooler, L. J., Lindner, S., Pachur, T. Tags: behaviour, cognition, evolution Source Type: research

The rise of the ruling reptiles and ecosystem recovery from the Permo-Triassic mass extinction
One of the key faunal transitions in Earth history occurred after the Permo-Triassic mass extinction (ca 252.2 Ma), when the previously obscure archosauromorphs (which include crocodylians, dinosaurs and birds) become the dominant terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we place all known middle Permian–early Late Triassic archosauromorph species into an explicit phylogenetic context, and quantify biodiversity change through this interval. Our results indicate the following sequence of diversification: a morphologically conservative and globally distributed post-extinction ‘disaster fauna’; a major but cryptic and...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Ezcurra, M. D., Butler, R. J. Tags: palaeontology, evolution Palaeobiology Source Type: research

Individual-specific mortality is associated with how individuals evaluate future discounting decisions
How organisms discount the value of future rewards is associated with many important outcomes, and may be a central component of theories of life-history. According to life-history theories, prioritizing immediacy is indicative of an accelerated strategy (i.e. reaching reproductive maturity quickly and producing many offspring at the cost of long-term investment). Previous work extrapolating life-history theories to facultative calibration of life-history traits within individuals has theorized that cues to mortality can trigger an accelerated strategy; however, compelling evidence for this hypothesis in modern humans is l...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Lee, A. J., DeBruine, L. M., Jones, B. C. Tags: behaviour, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Experiential contributions to social dominance in a rat model of fragile-X syndrome
Social withdrawal is one phenotypic feature of the monogenic neurodevelopmental disorder fragile-X. Using a ‘knockout' rat model of fragile-X, we examined whether deletion of the Fmr1 gene that causes this condition would affect the ability to form and express a social hierarchy as measured in a tube test. Male fragile-X ‘knockout' rats living together could successfully form a social dominance hierarchy, but were significantly subordinate to wild-type animals in mixed group cages. Over 10 days of repeated testing, the fragile-X mutant rats gradually showed greater variance and instability of rank during their ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 13, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Saxena, K., Webster, J., Hallas-Potts, A., Mackenzie, R., Spooner, P. A., Thomson, D., Kind, P., Chatterji, S., Morris, R. G. M. Tags: neuroscience, behaviour Neuroscience and cognition Source Type: research

Reproduction triggers adaptive increases in body size in female mole-rats
In social mole-rats, breeding females are larger and more elongated than non-breeding female helpers. This status-related morphological divergence is thought to arise from modifications of skeletal growth following the death or removal of the previous breeder and the transition of their successors from a non-breeding to a breeding role. However, it is not clear what changes in growth are involved, whether they are stimulated by the relaxation of reproductive suppression or by changes in breeding status, or whether they are associated with fecundity increases. Here, we show that, in captive Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys dam...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Thorley, J., Katlein, N., Goddard, K., Zöttl, M., Clutton-Brock, T. Tags: physiology, ecology Source Type: research

Interference competition pressure predicts the number of avian predators that shifted their timing of activity
Being active at different times facilitates the coexistence of functionally similar species. Hence, time partitioning might be induced by competition. However, the relative importance of direct interference and indirect exploitation competition on time partitioning remains unclear. The aim of this study was to investigate the relative importance of these two forms of competition on the occurrence of time-shifting among avian predator species. As a measure of interference competition pressure, we used the species richness of day-active avian predator species or of night-active avian predator species (i.e. species of Accipit...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Pei, Y., Valcu, M., Kempenaers, B. Tags: behaviour, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

True recognition of nestlings by hosts selects for mimetic cuckoo chicks
Brood parasitic cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds' nests, whereafter the young cuckoo hatches, ejects its nest-mates and monopolizes the care of the host parents. Theory predicts that hosts should not evolve to recognize and reject cuckoo chicks via imprinting because of the risk of mistakenly imprinting on a cuckoo chick in their first brood and thereafter always rejecting their own chicks. However, recent studies have revealed that some hosts do reject cuckoo chicks from the nest, indicating that these hosts’ recognition systems either do not rely on first brood imprinting, or use cues that are independent of c...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Noh, H.-J., Gloag, R., Langmore, N. E. Tags: behaviour, evolution Source Type: research

Linking pollinator efficiency to patterns of pollen limitation: small bees exploit the plant-pollinator mutualism
Seemingly mutualistic relationships can be exploited, in some cases reducing fitness of the exploited species. In plants, the insufficient receipt of pollen limits reproduction. While infrequent pollination commonly underlies pollen limitation (PL), frequent interactions with low-efficiency, exploitative pollinators may also cause PL. In the widespread protandrous herb Campanula americana, visitation by three pollinators explained 63% of the variation in PL among populations spanning the range. Bumblebees and the medium-sized Megachile campanulae enhanced reproductive success, but small solitary bees exacerbated PL. To dis...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Koski, M. H., Ison, J. L., Padilla, A., Pham, A. Q., Galloway, L. F. Tags: plant science, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Taking turns: bridging the gap between human and animal communication
Language, humans’ most distinctive trait, still remains a ‘mystery’ for evolutionary theory. It is underpinned by a universal infrastructure—cooperative turn-taking—which has been suggested as an ancient mechanism bridging the existing gap between the articulate human species and their inarticulate primate cousins. However, we know remarkably little about turn-taking systems of non-human animals, and methodological confounds have often prevented meaningful cross-species comparisons. Thus, the extent to which cooperative turn-taking is uniquely human or represents a homologous and/or analogous ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Pika, S., Wilkinson, R., Kendrick, K. H., Vernes, S. C. Tags: behaviour, cognition, evolution Review articles Source Type: research

Toxicity and taste: unequal chemical defences in a mimicry ring
In this study, we investigated the evolution of visual signals and chemical defences in a putative mimicry ring of nudibranch molluscs. First, we demonstrated that the appearance of a group of red spotted nudibranchs molluscs was similar from the perspective of potential fish predators using visual modelling and pattern analysis. Second, using phylogenetic reconstruction, we demonstrated that this colour pattern has evolved multiple times in distantly related individuals. Third, we showed that these nudibranchs contained different chemical profiles used for defensive purposes. Finally, we demonstrated that although levels ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Winters, A. E., Wilson, N. G., van den Berg, C. P., How, M. J., Endler, J. A., Marshall, N. J., White, A. M., Garson, M. J., Cheney, K. L. Tags: behaviour, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

Phagocytic intracellular digestion in amphioxus (Branchiostoma)
The digestive methods employed by amphioxus (Branchiostoma)—both intracellular phagocytic digestion and extracellular digestion—have been discussed since 1937. Recent studies also show that epithelial cells lining the Branchiostoma digestive tract can express many immune genes. Here, in Branchiostoma belcheri, using a special tissue fixation method, we show that some epithelial cells, especially those lining the large diverticulum protruding from the gut tube, phagocytize food particles directly, and Branchiostoma can rely on this kind of phagocytic intracellular digestion to obtain energy throughout all stages...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: He, C., Han, T., Liao, X., Zhou, Y., Wang, X., Guan, R., Tian, T., Li, Y., Bi, C., Lu, N., He, Z., Hu, B., Zhou, Q., Hu, Y., Lu, Z., Chen, J.- Y. Tags: immunology, physiology, evolution Source Type: research

Exaggerated male legs increase mating success by reducing disturbance to females in the cave weta Pachyrhamma waitomoensis
Mate guarding is a widespread behaviour resulting from sperm competition and conflict over optimal remating rates. It is a key way in which males exhibit differential mating investment, and represents a complex interplay between mating effort, intrasexual competition, opportunity costs and sexual conflict. Nevertheless, although there are many examples of exaggerated male structures used to fight rivals, few animals have developed specialized male morphological adaptations for directly sheltering females from disturbance by non-rivals. Here we report on the use of sexually dimorphic, elongated male hind legs, which are use...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Fea, M., Holwell, G. I. Tags: behaviour, ecology, evolution Source Type: research

'Green incubation': avian offspring benefit from aromatic nest herbs through improved parental incubation behaviour
Development of avian embryos requires thermal energy, usually from parents. Parents may, however, trade off catering for embryonic requirements against their own need to forage through intermittent incubation. This dynamically adjusted behaviour can be affected by properties of the nest. Here, we experimentally show a novel mechanism by which parents, through incorporation of aromatic herbs into nests, effectively modify their incubation behaviour to the benefit of their offspring. Our study species, the European starling, includes in its nest aromatic herbs which promote offspring fitness. We provided wild starlings with ...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Gwinner, H., Capilla-Lasheras, P., Cooper, C., Helm, B. Tags: behaviour, physiology, ecology Source Type: research

Attacked ravens flexibly adjust signalling behaviour according to audience composition
A fundamental attribute of social intelligence is the ability to monitor third-party relationships, which has been repeatedly demonstrated in primates, and recently also in captive ravens. It is yet unknown how ravens make use of this ability when dealing with different types of social relationships simultaneously during complex real-life situations. Free-ranging non-breeder ravens live in societies characterized by high fission–fusion dynamics and structured by age, pair-bond status and kinship. Here, we show that free-ranging ravens modify communication during conflicts according to audience composition. When being...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Szipl, G., Ringler, E., Bugnyar, T. Tags: behaviour, cognition Source Type: research

Urban rat races: spatial population genomics of brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) compared across multiple cities
In this study, we examine brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) to test hypotheses about the repeatability of neutral evolution across four cities: Salvador, Brazil; New Orleans, USA; Vancouver, Canada; and New York City, USA. At least 150 rats were sampled from each city and genotyped for a minimum of 15 000 genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms. Levels of genome-wide diversity were similar across cities, but varied across neighbourhoods within cities. All four populations exhibited high spatial autocorrelation at the shortest distance classes (less than 500 m) owing to limited dispersal. Coancestry and evolutionary cluste...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Combs, M., Byers, K. A., Ghersi, B. M., Blum, M. J., Caccone, A., Costa, F., Himsworth, C. G., Richardson, J. L., Munshi-South, J. Tags: genomics, ecology, evolution Special feature Source Type: research

Linking locomotor performance to morphological shifts in urban lizards
Urban habitats are drastically modified from their natural state, creating unique challenges and selection pressures for organisms that reside in them. We compared locomotor performance of Anolis lizards from urban and forest habitats on tracks differing in angle and substrate, and found that using artificial substrates came at a cost: lizards ran substantially slower and frequently lost traction on man-made surfaces compared to bark. We found that various morphological traits were positively correlated with sprint speed and that these same traits were significantly larger in urban compared to forest lizards. We found that...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Winchell, K. M., Maayan, I., Fredette, J. R., Revell, L. J. Tags: evolution Source Type: research

The strength of the biodiversity-ecosystem function relationship depends on spatial scale
Our understanding of the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning (BEF) applies mainly to fine spatial scales. New research is required if we are to extend this knowledge to broader spatial scales that are relevant for conservation decisions. Here, we use simulations to examine conditions that generate scale dependence of the BEF relationship. We study scale by assessing how the BEF relationship (slope and R2) changes when habitat patches are spatially aggregated. We find three ways for the BEF relationship to be scale-dependent: (i) variation among local patches in local (α) diversity, (ii) spatia...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Thompson, P. L., Isbell, F., Loreau, M., O'Connor, M. I., Gonzalez, A. Tags: theoretical biology, ecology Source Type: research

Nutrient pollution disrupts key ecosystem functions on coral reefs
There is a long history of examining the impacts of nutrient pollution and pH on coral reefs. However, little is known about how these two stressors interact and influence coral reef ecosystem functioning. Using a six-week nutrient addition experiment, we measured the impact of elevated nitrate (NO–3) and phosphate (PO3–4) on net community calcification (NCC) and net community production (NCP) rates of individual taxa and combined reef communities. Our study had four major outcomes: (i) NCC rates declined in response to nutrient addition in all substrate types, (ii) the mixed community switched from net calcifi...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Silbiger, N. J., Nelson, C. E., Remple, K., Sevilla, J. K., Quinlan, Z. A., Putnam, H. M., Fox, M. D., Donahue, M. J. Tags: ecology, environmental science Global change and conservation Source Type: research

Male monkeys use punishment and coercion to de-escalate costly intergroup fights
In numerous social species, males direct aggression towards female group members during intergroup fights, and this behaviour is commonly thought to function as mate guarding, even though males often target non-receptive females. In studying intergroup fights in a wild population of vervet monkeys, we found that male intragroup aggression was primarily directed towards individuals who had either just finished exhibiting, or were currently attempting to instigate intergroup aggression. Targeted females were less likely to instigate intergroup aggression in the future, indicating that male intragroup aggression functioned as...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - June 6, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Arseneau-Robar, T. J. M., Müller, E., Taucher, A. L., van Schaik, C. P., Bshary, R., Willems, E. P. Tags: behaviour Source Type: research

Effects of dams on downstream molluscan predator-prey interactions in the Colorado River estuary
River systems worldwide have been modified for human use and the downstream ecological consequences are often poorly understood. In the Colorado River estuary, where upstream water diversions have limited freshwater input during the last century, mollusc remains from the last several hundred years suggest widespread ecological change. The once abundant clam Mulinia modesta has undergone population declines of approximately 94% and populations of predators relying on this species as a food source have probably declined, switched to alternative prey species or both. We distinguish between the first two hypotheses using a nul...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - May 30, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Smith, J. A., Handley, J. C., Dietl, G. P. Tags: palaeontology, ecology Palaeobiology Source Type: research

The coevolution of cooperation and cognition in humans
Cooperative behaviours in archaic hunter–gatherers could have been maintained partly due to the gains from cooperation being shared with kin. However, the question arises as to how cooperation was maintained after early humans transitioned to larger groups of unrelated individuals. We hypothesize that after cooperation had evolved via benefits to kin, the consecutive evolution of cognition increased the returns from cooperating, to the point where benefits to self were sufficient for cooperation to remain stable when group size increased and relatedness decreased. We investigate the theoretical plausibility of this h...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - May 30, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: dos Santos, M., West, S. A. Tags: theoretical biology, evolution Source Type: research

Cumulative culture in the laboratory: methodological and theoretical challenges
In the last decade, cultural transmission experiments (transmission chains, replacement, closed groups and seeded groups) have become important experimental tools in investigating cultural evolution. However, these methods face important challenges, especially regarding the operationalization of theoretical claims. In this review, we focus on the study of cumulative cultural evolution, the process by which traditions are gradually modified and, for technological traditions in particular, improved upon over time. We identify several mismatches between theoretical definitions of cumulative culture and their implementation in...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - May 30, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Miton, H., Charbonneau, M. Tags: behaviour, cognition, evolution Review articles Source Type: research

Springtail community structure is influenced by functional traits but not biogeographic origin of leaf litter in soils of novel forest ecosystems
With ongoing global change, shifts in the ranges of non-native species and resulting novel communities can modify biotic interactions and ecosystem processes. We hypothesized that traits and not biogeographic origin of novel plant communities will determine community structure of organisms that depend on plants for habitat or as a food resource. We tested the functional redundancy of novel tree communities by verifying if six pairs of congeneric European and North American tree species bearing similar leaf litter traits resulted in similar ecological filters influencing the assembly of springtail (Collembola) communities a...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - May 30, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Raymond-Leonard, L. J., Gravel, D., Reich, P. B., Handa, I. T. Tags: ecology Global change and conservation Source Type: research

Sun-basking fish benefit from body temperatures that are higher than ambient water
In terrestrial environments, cold-blooded animals can attain higher body temperatures by sun basking, and thereby potentially benefit from broader niches, improved performance and higher fitness. The higher heat capacity and thermal conductivity of water compared with air have been universally assumed to render heat gain from sun basking impossible for aquatic ectotherms, such that their opportunities to behaviourally regulate body temperature are largely limited to choosing warmer or colder habitats. Here we challenge this paradigm. Using physical models we first show that submerged objects exposed to natural sunlight att...
Source: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences - May 30, 2018 Category: Biology Authors: Nordahl, O., Tibblin, P., Koch-Schmidt, P., Berggren, H., Larsson, P., Forsman, A. Tags: behaviour, ecology, evolution Source Type: research