Because domestic cats can reach high population densities and generally retain at least some tendency to hunt, their overall impact on wildlife can be severe, leading to increasing international interest and concern. Domestic cats have highly variable predation rates, depending in part on individual cat characteristics, but the reasons for this high level of variation are poorly understood. In our study, we used surveys of more than 2500 cat owners living in France to show that personality differences contribute strongly to the large variability in predation rates among domestic cats.
Extreme climatic events (ECE) are increasing in intensity, frequency, and duration globally. We present evidence that the ecological consequences of ECEs are highly sensitive when they occur during the progression of biological processes at each of these scales.
We delineated taxonomic boundaries among seven species and tested for cryptic biodiversity among these look-alike mussels utilizing mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence variation. Phylogenetic analysis of combined (1215 bp) mitochondrial DNA cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and NADH dehydrogenase 1 (ND1) genes showed five well-diverged groups that included F. flava, F. subrotunda, P. cordatum, and P. plenum as distinct clades, with P. sintoxia and P. rubrum grouped into a single clade. While our mitochondrial DNA analyses did not distinguish P. sintoxia and P. rubrum as phylogenetically distinct species, the typical shell forms of these two nominal taxa are very distinct.
We investigated the genetic variation of the economically and ecologically important species the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) from 18 sites along the eastern Adriatic Sea, using six microsatellite loci. Population genetic analysis of variation at five neutral microsatellite loci revealed little or no spatial variation. In contrast, seascape genetic analysis revealed a pronounced association between allelic and genotypic frequencies at a sixth locus, MGE7, and the environmental variable minimum salinity, highlighting the role that environmental variation may play in retarding gene flow among wild M. galloprovincialis populations.
Seaweeds interact intimately with their associated microbial communities. Their capacity to manipulate microbiota may be important to their fitness in general. In the course of an invasion process, where an invader is faced with severe disturbance and novel conditions, there may be selective pressures for traits with which the host influences the associated microbiota. In this study, we simulated an invasion in a common garden and show that epibiota associated with an invasive seaweed are thermally more stable in populations with an invasion history compared with populations from the native range.
Phelotrupes auratus , the geotrupid dung beetle with three color forms diverged into five geographic population groups based on the combined interpretation of genetic cluster and color-form data. We estimated the demographic histories of these population groups using the newly assembled draft genome sequence of P. auratus and whole-genome resequencing data obtained from the groups.
Predation is a key modifier of community dynamics, but information on its magnitude on community regulation in the systematically understudied Arctic coastal habitats. To test the magnitude and direction of the effects of predation on the structure of Arctic benthic communities, we conducted caging experiments in which consumers were excluded from plots at two sites in Svalbard, Arctic. This study suggests that consumers have limited effects on the structure and functioning of the intertidal benthic Arctic communities.
The parasitoid Leptopilina heterotoma has been used as a model system in biology for more than 70 years. This review aims to provide a broad and detailed synthesis of the work performed on this system, including immunity, behavioral ecology, endosymbiotic and trophic interactions, as well as physiology. Overall, the scientific literature on L. heterotoma unites research based on field observations and experiments, as well as laboratory studies, highlighting the versatility of this model system.
The Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus is known as a trans-Saharan migrant capable of long-distance flights. Circular statistics and finite mixture models of natal dispersal indicated: (1) a strong West/Northwest-East/Southeast flight orientation; (2) Glossy Ibis colonies from North Africa and Southern Europe (particularly on the Iberian Peninsula) are closely linked through exchanges of juvenile and immature birds. The metapopulation dynamics of Glossy Ibis are likely driven by the diversity of wetlands in these two regions and the prevailing winds in the Western Mediterranean.
We report the first observation of coprophagy in moose, which was recorded using camera collars on free-ranging moose in Norway, and briefly summarize the state of knowledge of this novel behavior in other deer species. Further research is needed to determine whether coprophagy occurs frequently in moose and whether this behavior is positive (e.g., increased intake of nutrients) or negative (increased infection by parasites or pathogens).
Demographic causes of population declines of wetland birds are poorly understood. We conducted a population study of Marbled Godwits and Willets breeding in southern Alberta. Annual survival rates were among the highest rates reported for any species of large-bodied shorebird. Site and mate fidelity were high for birds breeding in managed wetlands. Conservation plans for shorebirds should prioritize reducing exposure to anthropogenic losses because losses to collision or harvest are likely to cause additive mortality.
Deep-sea ecosystems are among the least explored on Earth due to their inaccessibility but are increasingly impacted by human activities. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has emerged as a promising method to study deep-sea biodiversity but a major limitation in the application of eDNA metabarcoding is the incompleteness of species sequences available in public genetic databases which reduces the number of detected species. Here we have assessed the bathymetric distribution of 10,826 actinopterygian and 960 chondrichthyan species and the availability of sequences in public genetic databases along the depth gradient for the three principally used metabarcoding markers for fishes: teleo, MiFish-U and MiFish-E.
We analyzed 458 invasive plant papers sampled from two journals of invasion biology, Biological Invasions and Neobiota, across the past two decades. The analysis identified several trends and biases in invasion plant, and these findings help identify critically understudied areas of invasion plant biology worldwide, in particular within tropical ecosystems.
Stress-related signaling has been shown to mediate anti-parasitic behaviors in avian brood parasite hosts. Here we tested if brood parasite-like model eggs activated the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis and autonomic nervous system compared with host-like model eggs. We show that, compared with experimental parasitism with mimetic eggs, parasitism with nonmimetic eggs does not affect blood corticosterone or heart rate, but that exposure to parasitic eggs may increase the expression of POMC gene, a precursor to ACTH, a central hormone in the HPA axis.
The Saimaa ringed seal, endemic to Lake Saimaa in Finland, is thought to have originated when parts of the ringed seal population of the Baltic region were trapped in lakes emerging due to postglacial bedrock rebound around 9000 years ago. By studying mtDNA from 60 up to 125-years-old museum specimens of the Saimaa ringed seal, we observed temporal fluctuations in haplotype frequencies and loss of haplotypes accompanied by a recent reduction in female effective population size, as well as surprising connections to North American ringed seals.
Past genetic diversity analyses in honey bees especially focused on drone genomes, as their haploid nature facilitated cost-efficient whole-genome sequencing. To substantially improve the quality of population structure analyses in honey bees we have used reconstructed queen genotypes from pooled workers to identify runs of homozygosity (ROH) in 265 Western honey bee colonies, including two subspecies namely Apis mellifera mellifera and Apis mellifera carnica. We integrated individual ROH patterns and admixture levels in a high-resolution population network visualization, which allowed us to ascertain major differences between the two subspecies.
By conducting a food supplementation experiment, we aimed at disentangling food availability and co-varying elevational gradients affecting the onset of dispersal in juvenile red kites (Milvus milvus) along an elevational gradient toward the upper range margin. We found an effect of food supplementation and of breeding density on age at departure, as well as an elevational gradient in timing of breeding. We show that the elevational delay in breeding is compensated by premature departure resulting in an elevational gradient in departure age and therefore conclude that elevational differences in dispersal behavior likely arise due to climatic factors affecting timing of breeding.
We examined the genetic structure and diversity of the parasite Pasteuria ramosa in two natural outbreaks using variable number tandem repeats to genotype the parasite in infected Daphnia dentifera hosts. We found evidence for parasite evolution within these outbreaks: the genetic distance between sampled parasite genotypes infecting hosts increased with time between sampling, but with notable differences between the two lakes. Although genotype diversity remained flat over time in both outbreaks, it was significantly higher in the lake with the smaller outbreak. This work is valuable for understanding evolution and patterns of parasite genetic diversity within outbreaks.
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