Ecology and Evolution

Cover image for Vol. 5 Issue 2

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Editors-in-Chief: Allen Moore, University of Georgia, USA and Andrew Beckerman, University of Sheffield, UK

Impact Factor: 1.658

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 85/141 (Ecology)

Online ISSN: 2045-7758

VIEW

  1. 1 - 36
  1. Original Research

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Parasitism and the expression of sexual dimorphism

      Stephen P. De Lisle and Locke Rowe

      Article first published online: 30 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1416

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      Although a relationship between parasitism and the expression of sexually selected traits is a requirement of few sexual selection models, such relationships may often exist regardless of the model of sexual selection. We test this prediction in a salamander where there is no evidence for female preference, illustrating that parasitism may be related to the expression of sexual dimorphism regardless of the model of female preference.

    2. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Interactions with successional stage and nutrient status determines the life-form-specific effects of increased soil temperature on boreal forest floor vegetation

      Per-Ola Hedwall, Jerry Skoglund and Sune Linder

      Article first published online: 30 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1412

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      This article shows that the effects of increased soil temperatures on forest floor vegetation are strongly dependent on the canopy cover of the trees and the soil nutrient status. The effects of canopy cover implies that the warming effects may change with forest succession resulting in life-form specific changes in response over time.

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      Limnological regime shifts caused by climate warming and Lesser Snow Goose population expansion in the western Hudson Bay Lowlands (Manitoba, Canada)

      Lauren A. MacDonald, Nicole Farquharson, Gillian Merritt, Sam Fooks, Andrew S. Medeiros, Roland I. Hall, Brent B. Wolfe, Merrin L. Macrae and Jon N. Sweetman

      Article first published online: 30 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1354

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      This paper employs a combination of water chemistry and paleolimnological data to determine limnological responses of climate warming and the Lesser Snow Goose (LSG) population expansion on shallow tundra ponds in Wapusk National Park, which we identify as regime shifts. The study design compares data from three ponds, two of which have been disturbed by the LSG population and one which has not.

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      On the analysis of phylogenetically paired designs

      Jennifer L. Funk, Cyril S. Rakovski and J. Michael Macpherson

      Article first published online: 30 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1406

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      Phylogenetically paired designs circumvent the need for resolved phylogenies and are commonly used in ecology; however, the statistical analysis of paired designs has not been critically evaluated. We found that a mixed model with species and pair as random effects performed better in phylogenetically-explicit simulations than two commonly-used reference models (no or single random effect) by optimizing Type I error rates and power. This design can be generalized to a variety of datasets to analyze repeated measurements in clusters of related subjects/species.

    5. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Sexually selected UV signals in the tropical ornate jumping spider, Cosmophasis umbratica may incur costs from predation

      Matthew W. Bulbert, James C. O'Hanlon, Shane Zappettini, Shichang Zhang and Daiqin Li

      Article first published online: 28 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1419

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      The predatory cost of sexually selected male UV reflectance was investigated in the tropical ornate jumping spider. We found the jumping spider Portia labiata strongly preferred UV-reflecting males. The predator however did not depend solely on the UV-cues but also utilised other male specific cues.

    6. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Structure and diversity of phyllostomid bat assemblages on riparian corridors in a human-dominated tropical landscape

      Erika de la Peña-Cuéllar, Julieta Benítez-Malvido, Luis Daniel Avila-Cabadilla, Miguel Martínez-Ramos and Alejandro Estrada

      Article first published online: 28 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1375

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      We assessed the value of riparian corridors on the conservation bats in an agricultural landscape of southern Mexico. Our findings suggest, naturally abundant bats could be useful detector taxa of habitat modification, and the maintenance of large trees in riparian corridors can serve as reservoirs for bat species.

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      Phylogenetic and morphological relationships between nonvolant small mammals reveal assembly processes at different spatial scales

      André Luís Luza, Gislene Lopes Gonçalves and Sandra Maria Hartz

      Article first published online: 25 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1407

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      Taxa co-occurring in neotropical non-volant small-mammal assemblages show high ecological and phylogenetic similarities, which makes them useful for studying the coexistence mechanisms of ecologically related taxa. We evaluated the phylogenetic and morphological structures through species and individual approaches in a local grassland-forest ecotone, and on landscape and regional scales. We used a phylogenetic tree and morphologic traits as indicators of niche similarities between species and individuals. Our results highlight a balance between organism's tolerances in face of environmental filtering and the decrease in niche overlap due to ecological interactions limited phylogenetic relatedness and morphological similarities between taxa at the local scale. At the landscape scale, environmental filtering seemed to be an important process structuring the small-mammal assemblages. Finally, the phylogenetic and morphological structure of the small-mammal assemblages revealed the influence of both environmental filtering and historical processes at the regional scale.

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      Saturating light and not increased carbon dioxide under ocean acidification drives photosynthesis and growth in Ulva rigida (Chlorophyta)

      Ralf Rautenberger, Pamela A. Fernández, Martina Strittmatter, Svenja Heesch, Christopher E. Cornwall, Catriona L. Hurd and Michael Y. Roleda

      Article first published online: 25 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1382

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      We verify, for the first time, that light, rather than CO2, is the key driver of growth in the genetically identified Ulva rigida. The search for putative CCM genes from EST-libraries of Ulva prolifera revealed several genes for proteins involved in inorganic carbon (inline image) uptake. Therefore, increased levels of CO2(aq) predicted for the future will not, in isolation, stimulate Ulva bloom.

    9. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Transcriptomics of two evolutionary novelties: how to make a sperm-transfer organ out of an anal fin and a sexually selected “sword” out of a caudal fin

      Ji Hyoun Kang, Tereza Manousaki, Paolo Franchini, Susanne Kneitz, Manfred Schartl and Axel Meyer

      Article first published online: 23 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1390

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      By investigating transcriptomic changes (utilizing a RNA-Seq approach) in response to testosterone treatment in the swordtail fish, Xiphophorus hellerii, we aimed to better understand the architecture of the gene regulatory networks underpinning the development of these two evolutionary novelties. Our analyses show that a larger set of gene networks was co-opted during the development and evolution of the ‘older’ gonopodium than in the ‘younger’, and morphologically less complex trait, the sword. We provide a catalogue of candidate genes for future efforts to dissect the development of those sexually-selected exaggerated male traits in swordtails.

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      Contrasting genetic diversity and population structure among three sympatric Madagascan shorebirds: parallels with rarity, endemism, and dispersal

      Luke J. Eberhart-Phillips, Joseph I. Hoffman, Edward G. Brede, Sama Zefania, Martina J. Kamrad, Tamás Székely and Michael W. Bruford

      Article first published online: 23 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1393

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      Using a comparative approach, we show that the Madagascar plover, an endangered endemic species with low abundance and a restricted range, is strongly structured and has low genetic diversity across its range. In contrast, the Kittlitz's plover, a widespread and abundant species with high dispersal propensity, is panmictic and has high genetic diversity over the same geographic area. The white-fronted plover, which is intermediate in many respects, exhibits moderate population structure and levels of genetic diversity. This pattern is consistent with what we know about these species' life-histories, dispersal propensities and endemic statuses. Thus, species traits may profoundly influence population structure and genetic diversity, with important implications for population, evolutionary and conservation biology.

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      Plant diversity and identity effects on predatory nematodes and their prey

      Olga Kostenko, Henk Duyts, Saskia Grootemaat, Gerlinde B. De Deyn and T. Martijn Bezemer

      Article first published online: 23 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1337

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      In a biodiversity field experiment we examined the effects of plant diversity and identity on the infectivity of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs, i.e. Heterorhabditis spp. and Steinernema spp.), and abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs, and their prey. Our results show that plant diversity and identity effects on belowground biota can differ between organisms that belong to the same feeding guild. The abundance of the EPNs belonging to the genus Steinernema was stimulated by legumes, while EPNs belonging to the genus Heterorhabditis responded to plant diversity treatments. Non-EPN carnivorous nematodes were not affected by the diversity or identity of the plant community.

  2. Hypotheses

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      Metacommunity and phylogenetic structure determine wildlife and zoonotic infectious disease patterns in time and space

      Gerardo Suzán, Gabriel E. García-Peña, Ivan Castro-Arellano, Oscar Rico, André V. Rubio, María J. Tolsá, Benjamin Roche, Parviez R. Hosseini, Annapaola Rizzoli, Kris A. Murray, Carlos Zambrana-Torrelio, Marion Vittecoq, Xavier Bailly, A. Alonso Aguirre, Peter Daszak, Anne-Helene Prieur-Richard, James N. Mills and Jean-Francois Guégan

      Article first published online: 23 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1404

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      A metacommunity framework can help explain the occurrence patterns of diseases by linking the spatial, ecological, and evolutionary relationships between pathogens, hosts (including vectors), and non-host species.

  3. Original Research

    1. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Life history correlates of fecal bacterial species richness in a wild population of the blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus

      Clare McW. H. Benskin, Glenn Rhodes, Roger W. Pickup, Mark C. Mainwaring, Kenneth Wilson and Ian R. Hartley

      Article first published online: 22 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1384

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      Our paper surveys the species diversity of bacteria in the faeces of a wild population of blue tits, and demonstrates the relationships between bacterial species richness and various aspects of the life-history of the birds. Temporal, familial and age-related patterns of bacterial prevalence were found, and bacterial homologues to both potentially pathogenic and beneficial bacteria were identified. These findings are discussed in the context of both environmental and host-genetic factors, and consider dispersal of faecal bacteria within the birds' environment.

    2. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Limited sampling hampers “big data” estimation of species richness in a tropical biodiversity hotspot

      Kristine Engemann, Brian J. Enquist, Brody Sandel, Brad Boyle, Peter M. Jørgensen, Naia Morueta-Holme, Robert K. Peet, Cyrille Violle and Jens-Christian Svenning

      Article first published online: 21 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1405

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      We evaluate the effectiveness of different methods for correcting sampling bias when mapping species richness across a well-studied area with a comprehensive collection of museum records. We found that nearly all estimates of species richness remained heavily correlated with sampling effort, with only rarefaction being effective in removing this bias to provide reliable estimates of species richness. Therefore, we recommend using rarefaction when basing species richness estimates on such museum data.

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      On the use of stable oxygen isotope (δ18O) measurements for tracking avian movements in North America

      Keith A. Hobson and Geoff Koehler

      Article first published online: 21 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1383

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      Stable isotope measurements of feathers and other animal tissues have revolutionized methods for tracking migration. These have relied primarily on stable hydrogen (δ2H) isotopes. However, there are compelling reasons to apply stable oxygen isotopes for this purpose. In this test of linkages between precipitation δ18O and feather δ18O across a large isotopic gradient in North America, we provide the first calibration algorithm to allow assignment of birds to origin using this isotope. We discuss the relative advantages of both isotopes for tracking migratory birds.

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      Evolution of leaf warbler songs (Aves: Phylloscopidae)

      Dieter Thomas Tietze, Jochen Martens, Balduin S. Fischer, Yue-Hua Sun, Annette Klussmann-Kolb and Martin Päckert

      Article first published online: 20 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1400

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      Song recordings of 80 leaf warbler taxa were analysed and 16 sonographic traits correlated with 15 potentially explanatory variables, correcting for phylogenetic relationships. A strong phylogenetic signal was only found for two element traits. Frequencies were correlated with body size, many other traits with various biogeographic attributes.

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      No species is an island: testing the effects of biotic interactions on models of avian niche occupation

      Federico Morelli and Piotr Tryjanowski

      Article first published online: 17 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1387

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      Positive biotic interactions have widely been ignored in species distribution models We proposed the “heterospecific trace effect” (HTE) as a kind of positive biotic interaction HTE can improve the predictive power of species distribution models.

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      Integrated survival analysis using an event-time approach in a Bayesian framework

      Daniel P. Walsh, Victoria J. Dreitz and Dennis M. Heisey

      Article first published online: 17 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1399

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      We use event-time approaches to estimate the mortality hazard rates when there exist unknown failure times within the sample.

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      Detecting a hierarchical genetic population structure: the case study of the Fire Salamander (Salamandra salamandra) in Northern Italy

      Giulia Pisa, Valerio Orioli, Giulia Spilotros, Elena Fabbri, Ettore Randi and Luciano Bani

      Article first published online: 16 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1335

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      The Prealpine and foothill Fire Salamander genetic population structure was analysed by means of a multi-step method. Results showed two main groups of populations, one in the Prealpine belt and Eastern foothill lowland (PEF), and a second group in the WF. While the first group showed a moderate structure, the second one resulted more structured being divided in four clusters. The adopted methods allowed to highlight the hierarchical genetic population structure of the species from wide to local scale, identifying different degrees of genetic divergence of their populations derived from forest fragmentation induced by urban and infrastructure sprawl.

    8. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      A hierarchical Bayesian model to estimate the unobservable predation rate on sawfly cocoons by small mammals

      Panisara Pinkantayong, Satoshi Suzuki, Mamoru Kubo, Ken-ichiro Muramoto and Naoto Kamata

      Article first published online: 15 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1394

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      We developed a hierarchical Bayesian model to estimate abundance of newly spun cocoons and cocoon predation by small mammals from annual one-time soil sampling datasets. The model provided estimates with a high degree of precision.

    9. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Metabolic variation in natural populations of wild yeast

      Pedram Samani, Etienne Low-Decarie, Kyra McKelvey, Thomas Bell, Austin Burt, Vassiliki Koufopanou, Christian R. Landry and Graham Bell

      Article first published online: 14 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1376

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      Ecological diversification depends on the extent of genetic variation and on the pattern of covariation with respect to ecological opportunities. We investigated the pattern of utilization of carbon substrates in wild populations of budding yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus.

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      Hierarchical analysis of genetic structure in the habitat-specialist Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida)

      Robert Ginson, Ryan P. Walter, Nicholas E. Mandrak, Courtney L. Beneteau and Daniel D. Heath

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1392

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      Using microsatellite data we characterize genetic variation across the species range of the Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida), a small riverine percid that is highly dependent on sandy substrate microhabitats. We found significant genetic structure among rivers but little within-river genetic structure, suggesting stratified dispersal resulting from unstable sand bar habitat degradation precluding isolation within rivers. We suggest that for habitat-specific fishes, such as the Eastern Sand Darter, the evolution of novel dispersal strategies can overcome fragmented and temporally unstable habitats.

    11. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Assessing the phylogeographic history of the montane caddisfly Thremma gallicum using mitochondrial and restriction-site-associated DNA (RAD) markers

      Jan-Niklas Macher, Andrey Rozenberg, Steffen U. Pauls, Ralph Tollrian, Rüdiger Wagner and Florian Leese

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1366

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      Molecular markers can help uncovering the phylogeographic history of species, yet mostly single gene analyses have been performed. Here we assessed the phylogeographic history of the montane aquatic caddisfly, Thremma gallicum by sequencing a 658-bp fragment of the mitochondrial CO1 gene and 12,514 nuclear RAD loci. Our result reveal patterns of long-term isolation between the different montane regions and a recolonisation of northern Europe from the Iberian Peninsula.

    12. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Adaptive plasticity and epigenetic variation in response to warming in an Alpine plant

      Adrienne B. Nicotra, Deborah L. Segal, Gemma L. Hoyle, Aaron W. Schrey, Koen J. F. Verhoeven and Christina L. Richards

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1329

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      Our work presents an exciting fusion of research on epigenetics (DNA methylation in particular) and adaptive phenotypic plasticity. The relationship between epigenetic mechanisms and phenotypic plasticity has been the subject of increasing speculation in ecological studies. Our results demonstrate that adaptive plasticity in temperature response of an alpine herb varies over remarkably fine geographic scales and indicates the involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in this response.

    13. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Sexual segregation in North American elk: the role of density dependence

      Kelley M. Stewart, Danielle R. Walsh, John G. Kie, Brian L. Dick and R. Terry Bowyer

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1397

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      We investigated the effects of density dependence on timing of sexual segregation and selection of resources in Rocky Mountain elk. The duration of sexual segregation was 2 months longer in the high-density population, and likely was influenced by individuals in poorer nutritional condition, which corresponded with later conception and parturition than at low density. Individuals in the low-density population partitioned resources to a greater extent, likely resulting from lower intraspecific competition and greater resource availability. Photo credit: Jim Ward

    14. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Naturally rare versus newly rare: demographic inferences on two timescales inform conservation of Galápagos giant tortoises

      Ryan C. Garrick, Brittney Kajdacsi, Michael A. Russello, Edgar Benavides, Chaz Hyseni, James P. Gibbs, Washington Tapia and Adalgisa Caccone

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1388

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      From a conservation perspective, there is considerable value in making a distinction between a recently bottlenecked population that was previously large and stable, versus one that has always been small or had a long history of repeated size reductions. We develop and apply an analytical framework for reconstructing demographic history of Galápagos giant tortoises on two timescales. For 15 populations of Galápagos giant tortoises (Chelonoidis sp.) we used 12 microsatellite loci, and DNA sequences from the mitochondrial control region and a nuclear intron, to reconstruct demographic history on shallow (past ~100 generations, ~2500 years) and deep (pre-Holocene, >10 thousand years ago) timescales. Overall, our data suggest that idiosyncratic and geographically localized forces shaped the demographic history of tortoise populations, and permitted the identification of naturally rare vs. newly rare populations. This should facilitate prioritization of management action.

    15. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Discordance between morphological and molecular species boundaries among Caribbean species of the reef sponge Callyspongia

      Melissa B. DeBiasse and Michael E. Hellberg

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1381

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      Sponges are among the most species-rich and ecologically important taxa on coral reefs yet documenting their diversity is difficult due to the simplicity and plasticity of their morphological characters. Here we determined species boundaries in the Caribbean coral reef sponge genus Callyspongia using a multi-locus, model-based approach and found evolutionarily distinct lineages were not concordant with current species designations. While C. fallax, C. tenerrima, and C. plicifera were reciprocally monophyletic, four taxa with different morphologies (C. armigera, C. longissima, C. ?eschrichtii, and C. vaginalis) formed a monophyletic group and genetic distances among these taxa overlapped distances within them.

    16. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      How integrated are behavioral and endocrine stress response traits? A repeated measures approach to testing the stress-coping style model

      Kay Boulton, Elsa Couto, Andrew J. Grimmer, Ryan L. Earley, Adelino V. M. Canario, Alastair J. Wilson and Craig A. Walling

      Article first published online: 11 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1395

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      It is widely expected that physiological and behavioural stress responses will be integrated within divergent stress coping styles (SCS) and that these may represent opposite ends of a continuously varying reactive-proactive axis. If this model is valid, then stress response traits should be repeatable and physiological and behavioural responses should change in an integrated manner along a major axis of among-individual variation. In a study of the sheepshead swordtail, Xiphophorus birchmanni we show that among-individual differences in behavioural and endocrine traits are present, but that the correlation structure between these is not consistent with the SCS model.

    17. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      America's red gold: multiple lineages of cultivated cochineal in Mexico

      Michael G. Campana, Nelly M. Robles García and Noreen Tuross

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1398

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      Cultivated cochineal (Dactylopius coccus) produces carminic acid, a red dye used to color textiles, cosmetics and food. Native D. coccus derives from two populations in the Mexican and the Andean highlands, although the insect's domestication center remains unclear. We identified two divergent D. coccus populations in highland Mexico: one unique to Mexico and another that was more closely related to extant Andean cochineal.

    18. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Do mothers prefer helpers or smaller litters? Birth sex ratio and litter size adjustment in cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus)

      Rebecca A. Boulton and Alison W. Fletcher

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1396

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      The helper repayment (HR) also named the local resource enhancement (LRE) hypothesis predicts that, in cooperatively breeding species, mothers invest more in the sex which assists with rearing future offspring, and that this bias will be more pronounced in mothers who require extra assistance (i.e. due to inexperience or a lack of available alloparents). We tested these hypotheses in captive cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) utilising the international studbook and birth records obtained through a questionnaire from ISIS registered institutions. We found little support for helper repayment at the individual level; primiparous females did not exhibit more extreme tendencies to produce the helpful sex, however, they were more likely to produce singleton litters.

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      Estimating the spatial position of marine mammals based on digital camera recordings

      Jeroen P. A. Hoekendijk, Jurre de Vries, Krissy van der Bolt, Jens Greinert, Sophie Brasseur, Kees C. J. Camphuysen and Geert Aarts

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1353

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      Estimating the spatial position of animals is important in many ecological and behavioural studies, but can be extremely challenging for marine mammals who only appear at the surface briefly. This study shows how photogrammetric methods applied to land-based Digital HD recordings of harbour porpoises can be used to accurately estimate their spatiotemporal fine-scale distribution.

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      Are we underestimating the genetic variances of dimorphic traits?

      Matthew E. Wolak, Derek A. Roff and Daphne J. Fairbairn

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1361

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      Quantitative genetic analyses of populations containing discrete classes or morphs can either be estimated independently for each morph or in a combined analysis by considering morph as a fixed effect. Although common in a literature survey, the latter approach produces downwardly biased estimates of additive genetic variance and heritability unless the additive genetic effects of traits is perfectly correlated between morphs. In this paper, we advocate for the independent estimation of genetic parameters for each morph and caution against simply entering morph as a fixed effect in quantitative genetic models.

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      Evolutionary dynamics of ecological niche in three Rhinogobio fishes from the upper Yangtze River inferred from morphological traits

      Meirong Wang, Fei Liu, Pengcheng Lin, Shaorong Yang and Huanzhang Liu

      Article first published online: 7 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1386

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      We employed morphological traits to describe ecological niche and test whether different niche dimensions exhibit disparate evolutionary patterns. Then we suggested that different niche dimensions could show different evolutionary dynamic patterns: they may exhibit PNC or not, and some dimensions may evolve generalism.

    22. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Quantitative genetics of learning ability and resistance to stress in Drosophila melanogaster

      Virginie Nepoux, Aurélie Babin, Christoph Haag, Tadeusz J. Kawecki and Arnaud Le Rouzic

      Article first published online: 7 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1379

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      Learning is thought to be generally adaptive, in particular in variable environments. Here, we investigate the properties of the genetic architecture of learning in Drosophila, based on a diallel cross design. Our results show that there is a large amount of natural genetic variation for learning. Learning is negatively affected by inbreeding, but we found no evidence for trade-offs with other fitness components or malnutrition tolerance.

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      Diversity patterns of ground beetles and understory vegetation in mature, secondary, and plantation forest regions of temperate northern China

      Yi Zou, Weiguo Sang, Shunzhong Wang, Eleanor Warren-Thomas, Yunhui Liu, Zhenrong Yu, Changliu Wang and Jan Christoph Axmacher

      Article first published online: 7 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1367

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      We studied three regions representing mature, secondary and plantation forests. The α-diversity of study taxa was highest at plantation forests, while mature forests harboured the most distinctive species composition. Results suggest that China's large-scale larch plantations might be useful in biodiversity conservation.

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      Biomarkers of animal health: integrating nutritional ecology, endocrine ecophysiology, ecoimmunology, and geospatial ecology

      Robin W. Warne, Glenn A. Proudfoot and Erica J. Crespi

      Article first published online: 7 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1360

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      This study illustrates the depth of knowledge about animal heath, across both time and space, that can be gained by coupling extraction methods and physiological assays from diverse fields of research on easily obtained tissues. While these assays are common within each field, there is a great lack of awareness of how assays from diverse fields like stable isotope ecology and endocrinology can be methodologically integrated, or the great range of temporal knowledge that can be gained from differing fractions of the same tissue. This study brings to the forefront the great opportunities that exist to integrate already existing methods and biomarkers to better detail animal condition and health.

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