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  • Journal article
    Bellotto-Trigo FC, Uezu A, Hatfield JH, Morante-Filho JC, dos Anjos L, Develey PF, Clegg T, Orme DL, Banks-Leite Cet al., 2023,

    Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to habitat fragmentation is influenced by forest cover and distance to the range edge

    , BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, Vol: 284, ISSN: 0006-3207
  • Journal article
    Alif Ž, Crees JJ, White RL, Quinlan MM, Kennerley RJ, Dando TR, Turvey STet al., 2023,

    Understanding local knowledge and attitudes toward potential reintroduction of a former British wetland bird

    , People and Nature, Vol: 5, Pages: 1220-1233, ISSN: 2575-8314

    Stakeholder acceptance and support is essential for long-term success in species reintroductions, and assessing social feasibility of reintroductions within human-occupied landscapes is an integral component of effective decision-making.The Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus is an extirpated British bird, and possible pelican reintroduction to British wetlands is under discussion. Any reintroduction planning must first assess local community awareness, attitudes, and acceptance of potential pelican arrival and associated habitat management, as part of wider socio-ecological feasibility assessment. Pelicans are distinctive species with potential to increase support for wetland conservation, but might provoke conflict through real or perceived competition with landscape users such as fishers; such conflict is already seen within Britain between fishers and cormorants.We conducted an online survey of 590 respondents in the Somerset Levels and East Anglian Fens, Britain's largest wetland landscapes, to understand local views on pelican reintroduction, other reintroductions and wetland restoration, and to investigate correlates of varying attitudes toward coexistence with pelicans and five other waterbirds (grey heron, Eurasian bittern, little egret, common crane, great cormorant).Respondents had generally positive views about previous reintroductions of other species, and had overall positive attitudes toward all six waterbirds. Two-thirds of respondents supported or strongly supported pelican reintroduction, but both benefits and concerns were identified in relation to its possible reintroduction. Anglers and hunters were more likely to hold negative attitudes toward pelicans, other waterbirds and wetland restoration. However, although anglers raised more concerns, they were not more likely to be unsupportive toward reintroduction. More socio-demographic predictors were associated with negative attitudes toward restoration required to establish pelican habitat, sugges

  • Journal article
    Ruehr S, Keenan TF, Williams C, Zhou Y, Lu X, Bastos A, Canadell JG, Prentice IC, Sitch S, Terrer Cet al., 2023,

    Evidence and attribution of the enhanced land carbon sink

    , Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, Vol: 4, Pages: 518-534, ISSN: 2662-138X

    Climate change has been partially mitigated by an increasing net land carbon sink in the terrestrial biosphere; understanding the processes that drive the land carbon sink is thus essential for protecting, managing, and projecting this important ecosystem service. In this Review, we examine evidence for an enhanced land carbon sink and attribute the observed response to drivers and processes. The land carbon sink has doubled from 1.2 ± 0.5 PgC yr-1 in the 1960s to 3.1 ± 0.6 PgC yr-1 in the 2010s. This trend results largely from carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization increasing photosynthesis (driving an increase in the annual land carbon sink of >2PgC globally since 1900), mainly in tropical forest regions, and elevated temperatures reducing cold-limitation, mainly at higher latitudes. Continued long term land carbon sequestration is possible through the end of this century under multiple emissions scenarios, especially if nature-based climate solutions and appropriate ecosystem management are deployed. A new generation of globally distributed field experiments are needed to improve understanding of future carbon sink potential by measuring belowground carbon release, the response to CO2 enrichment, and long-term shifts in carbon allocation and turnover .

  • Journal article
    Fattorini R, Egan PA, Rosindell J, Farrell IW, Stevenson PCet al., 2023,

    Grayanotoxin I variation across tissues and species of Rhododendron suggests pollinator-herbivore defence trade-offs

    , Phytochemistry: the international journal of plant chemistry, plant biochemistry and molecular biology, Vol: 212, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0031-9422

    Grayanotoxin I (GTX I) is a major toxin in leaves of Rhododendron species, where it provides a defence against insect and vertebrate herbivores. Surprisingly, it is also present in R. ponticum nectar, and this can hold important implications for plant-pollinator mutualisms. However, knowledge of GTX I distributions across the genus Rhododendron and in different plant materials is currently limited, despite the important ecological function of this toxin. Here we characterise GTX I expression in the leaves, petals, and nectar of seven Rhododendron species. Our results indicated interspecific variation in GTX I concentration across all species. GTX I concentrations were consistently higher in leaves compared to petals and nectar. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for phenotypic correlation between GTX I concentrations in defensive tissues (leaves and petals) and floral rewards (nectar), suggesting that Rhododendron species may commonly experience functional trade-offs between herbivore defence and pollinator attraction.

  • Journal article
    Pearse WD, Stemkovski M, Lee BRR, Primack RB, Lee SDet al., 2023,

    Consistent, linear phenological shifts across a century of observations in South Korea

    , NEW PHYTOLOGIST, Vol: 239, Pages: 824-829, ISSN: 0028-646X
  • Journal article
    Sethi SS, Bick A, Ewers RM, Klinck H, Ramesh V, Tuanmu M-N, Coomes DAet al., 2023,

    Limits to the accurate and generalizable use of soundscapes to monitor biodiversity

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1373-1378, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Although eco-acoustic monitoring has the potential to deliver biodiversity insight on vast scales, existing analytical approaches behave unpredictably across studies. We collated 8,023 audio recordings with paired manual avifaunal point counts to investigate whether soundscapes could be used to monitor biodiversity across diverse ecosystems. We found that neither univariate indices nor machine learning models were predictive of species richness across datasets but soundscape change was consistently indicative of community change. Our findings indicate that there are no common features of biodiverse soundscapes and that soundscape monitoring should be used cautiously and in conjunction with more reliable in-person ecological surveys.

  • Journal article
    Dobson S, Dunning J, Burke T, Chik HYJ, Schroeder Jet al., 2023,

    Indirect genetic effects increase heritability estimates for male and female extra-pair reproduction

    , EVOLUTION, Vol: 77, Pages: 1893-1901, ISSN: 0014-3820
  • Journal article
    Johansson J, Arce A, Gill R, 2023,

    How competition between overlapping generations can influence optimal egg-laying strategies in annual social insects

    , Oecologia, Vol: 202, Pages: 535-547, ISSN: 0029-8549

    Annual social insects are an integral functional group of organisms, particularly in temperate environments. An emblematic part of their annual cycle is the social phase, during which the colony-founding queen rears workers that later assist her in rearing sexual progeny (gynes and drones). In many annual social insects, such as species of bees, wasps, and other groups, developing larvae are provisioned gradually as they develop (progressive provisioning) leading to multiple larval generations being reared simultaneously. We present a model for how the queen in such cases should optimize her egg-laying rate throughout the social phase depending on number-size trade-offs, colony age-structure, and energy balance. Complementing previous theory on optimal allocation between workers vs. sexuals in annual social insects and on temporal egg-laying patterns in solitary insects, we elucidate how resource competition among overlapping larval generations can influence optimal egg-laying strategies. With model parameters informed by knowledge of a common bumblebee species, the optimal egg-laying schedule consists of two temporally separated early broods followed by a more continuous rearing phase, matching empirical observations. However, eggs should initially be laid continuously at a gradually increasing rate when resources are scarce or mortality risks high and in cases where larvae are fully supplied with resources at the egg-laying stage (mass-provisioning). These factors, alongside sexual:worker body size ratios, further determine the overall trend in egg-laying rates over the colony cycle. Our analysis provides an inroad to study and mechanistically understand variation in colony development strategies within and across species of annual social insects.

  • Journal article
    Clive J, Flintham E, Savolainen V, 2023,

    Same-sex sociosexual behaviour is widespread and heritable in male rhesus macaques

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1287-1301, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Numerous reports have documented the occurrence of same-sex sociosexual behaviour (SSB) across animal species. However, the distribution of the behaviour within a species is needed to test the theories describing its evolution and maintenance, in particular whether the behaviour is heritable and can therefore evolve by natural selection. Here, we collected detailed observations across three years of social and mounting behaviour of 236 male semi-wild rhesus macaques, which we combined with a pedigree dating back to 1938, to show that SSB was both repeatable (19.35%) and heritable (6.4%). Demographic factors (age and group structure) explained SSB variation only marginally. Furthermore, we found a positive genetic correlation between same-sex mounter and mountee activities, indicating a common basis to different forms of SSB. Finally, we found no evidence of fitness costs to SSB, but show instead that the behaviour mediated coalitionary partnerships that have been linked with improved reproductive success. Together, our results demonstrate that SSB is frequent in rhesus macaques, can evolve, and is not costly, indicating that SSB may be a common feature of primate reproductive ecology.

  • Journal article
    Granville NR, Banks-Leite C, 2023,

    Mangrove propagules are limited in their capacity to disperse across long distances

    , JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY, Vol: 39, ISSN: 0266-4674
  • Journal article
    de Lorm TA, Horswill C, Rabaiotti D, Ewers RM, Groom RJ, Watermeyer J, Woodroffe Ret al., 2023,

    Optimizing the automated recognition of individual animals to support population monitoring

    , Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2045-7758

    Reliable estimates of population size and demographic rates are central to assessing the status of threatened species. However, obtaining individual-based demographic rates requires long-term data, which is often costly and difficult to collect. Photographic data offer an inexpensive, noninvasive method for individual-based monitoring of species with unique markings, and could therefore increase available demographic data for many species. However, selecting suitable images and identifying individuals from photographic catalogs is prohibitively time-consuming. Automated identification software can significantly speed up this process. Nevertheless, automated methods for selecting suitable images are lacking, as are studies comparing the performance of the most prominent identification software packages. In this study, we develop a framework that automatically selects images suitable for individual identification, and compare the performance of three commonly used identification software packages; Hotspotter, I3S-Pattern, and WildID. As a case study, we consider the African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, a species whose conservation is limited by a lack of cost-effective large-scale monitoring. To evaluate intraspecific variation in the performance of software packages, we compare identification accuracy between two populations (in Kenya and Zimbabwe) that have markedly different coat coloration patterns. The process of selecting suitable images was automated using convolutional neural networks that crop individuals from images, filter out unsuitable images, separate left and right flanks, and remove image backgrounds. Hotspotter had the highest image-matching accuracy for both populations. However, the accuracy was significantly lower for the Kenyan population (62%), compared to the Zimbabwean population (88%). Our automated image preprocessing has immediate application for expanding monitoring based on image matching. However, the difference in accuracy between population

  • Journal article
    Dong N, Dechant B, Wang H, Wright IJ, Prentice ICet al., 2023,

    Global leaf-trait mapping based on optimality theory

    , Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol: 32, Pages: 1152-1162, ISSN: 1466-822X

    AimLeaf traits are central to plant function, and key variables in ecosystem models. However recently published global trait maps, made by applying statistical or machine-learning techniques to large compilations of trait and environmental data, differ substantially from one another. This paper aims to demonstrate the potential of an alternative approach, based on eco-evolutionary optimality theory, to yield predictions of spatio-temporal patterns in leaf traits that can be independently evaluated.InnovationGlobal patterns of community-mean specific leaf area (SLA) and photosynthetic capacity (Vcmax) are predicted from climate via existing optimality models. Then leaf nitrogen per unit area (Narea) and mass (Nmass) are inferred using their (previously derived) empirical relationships to SLA and Vcmax. Trait data are thus reserved for testing model predictions across sites. Temporal trends can also be predicted, as consequences of environmental change, and compared to those inferred from leaf-level measurements and/or remote-sensing methods, which are an increasingly important source of information on spatio-temporal variation in plant traits.Main conclusionsModel predictions evaluated against site-mean trait data from > 2,000 sites in the Plant Trait database yielded R2 = 73% for SLA, 38% for Nmass and 28% for Narea. Declining species-level Nmass, and increasing community-level SLA, have both been recently reported and were both correctly predicted. Leaf-trait mapping via optimality theory holds promise for macroecological applications, including an improved understanding of community leaf-trait responses to environmental change.

  • Journal article
    Hunt ESE, Felice RN, Tobias JA, Goswami Aet al., 2023,

    Ecological and life-history drivers of avian skull evolution

    , EVOLUTION, Vol: 77, Pages: 1720-1729, ISSN: 0014-3820
  • Other
    Mengoli G, Harrison SP, Prentice IC, 2023,

    Supplementary material to "A global function of climatic aridity accounts for soil moisture stress on carbon assimilation"

  • Journal article
    Tan C, Trew J, Peacock T, Mok KY, Hart C, Lau K, Ni D, Orme CDL, Ransome E, Pearse W, Coleman C, Bailey D, Thakur N, Quantrill J, Sukhova K, Richard D, Kahane L, Woodward G, Bell T, Worledge L, Nunez-Mino J, Barclay W, van Dorp L, Balloux F, Savolainen Vet al., 2023,

    Genomic screening of 16 UK native bat species through conservationist networks uncovers coronaviruses with zoonotic potential

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 2041-1723

    There has been limited characterisation of bat-borne coronaviruses in Europe. Here, we screened for coronaviruses in 48 faecal samples from 16 of the 17 bat species breeding in the UK, collected through a bat rehabilitation and conservationist network. We recovered nine (two novel) complete genomes across six bat species: four alphacoronaviruses, a MERS-related betacoronavirus, and four closely related sarbecoviruses. We demonstrate that at least one of these sarbecoviruses can bind and use the human ACE2 receptor for infecting human cells, albeit suboptimally. Additionally, the spike proteins of these sarbecoviruses possess an R-A-K-Q motif, which lies only one nucleotide mutation away from a furin cleavage site (FCS) that enhances infectivity in other coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV-2. However, mutating this motif to an FCS does not enable spike cleavage. Overall, while UK sarbecoviruses would require further molecular adaptations to infect humans, their zoonotic risk is unknown and warrants closer surveillance.

  • Journal article
    Tobias JA, 2023,

    First record of Campina Thrush Turdus arthuri for Bolivia

    , Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club, Vol: 143, Pages: 260-264, ISSN: 0007-1595

    An adult thrush trapped in a mist-net near Guayaramerin, dpto. Beni, Bolivia, in April 2005, was initially identified as Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis although several subtle plumage features appeared to differ from the expected race T. i. debilis. These features match those of Campina Thrush T. arthuri, a cryptic species subsequently split from Black-billed Thrush based on molecular evidence, and now known to occur widely in shrubby thickets and stunted campina forest across much of Amazonia. This record extends the known distribution of T. arthuri south-west from the nearest known localities in Amazonas and Rondônia, Brazil. T. arthuri is presumably resident in north-west dpto. Beni in suitable habitat, and potentially occurs elsewhere in Bolivia from Pando to eastern Santa Cruz in similar campina-like habitats associated with weathered outcrops of the Brazilian Shield.

  • Journal article
    Germain RR, Feng S, Chen G, Graves GR, Tobias JA, Rahbek C, Lei F, Fjeldsa J, Hosner PA, Gilbert MTP, Zhang G, Nogues-Bravo Det al., 2023,

    Species-specific traits mediate avian demographic responses under past climate change

    , NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, Vol: 7, Pages: 862-872, ISSN: 2397-334X
  • Journal article
    Kenna D, Graystock P, Gill R, 2023,

    Toxic temperatures: bee behaviours exhibit divergent pesticide toxicity relationships with warming

    , Global Change Biology, Vol: 29, Pages: 2981-2998, ISSN: 1354-1013

    Climate change and agricultural intensification are exposing insect pollinators to temperature extremes and increasing pesticide usage. Yet, we lack good quantification of how temperature modulates the sublethal effects of pesticides on behaviours vital for fitness and pollination performance. Consequently, we are uncertain if warming decreases or increases the severity of different pesticide impacts, and whether separate behaviours vary in the direction of response. Quantifying these interactive effects is vital in forecasting pesticide risk across climate regions and informing pesticide application strategies and pollinator conservation. This multi-stressor study investigated the responses of six functional behaviours of bumblebees when exposed to either a neonicotinoid (imidacloprid) or a sulfoximine (sulfoxaflor) across a standardised low, mid, and high temperature. We found the neonicotinoid had a significant effect on five of the six behaviours, with a greater effect at the lower temperature(s) when measuring responsiveness, the likelihood of movement, walking rate, and food consumption rate. In contrast, the neonicotinoid had a greater impact on flight distance at the higher temperature. Our findings show that different organismal functions can exhibit divergent thermal responses, with some pesticide-affected behaviours showing greater impact as temperatures dropped, and others as temperatures rose. We must therefore account for environmental context when determining pesticide risk. Moreover, we found evidence of synergistic effects, with just a 3°C increase causing a sudden drop in flight performance, despite seeing no effect of pesticide at the two lower temperatures. Our findings highlight the importance of multi-stressor studies to quantify threats to insects, which will help to improve dynamic evaluations of population tipping points and spatiotemporal risks to biodiversity across different climate regions.

  • Journal article
    Matthews TJ, Wayman JP, Whittaker RJ, Cardoso P, Hume JP, Sayol F, Proios K, Martin TE, Baiser B, Borges PAV, Kubota Y, dos Anjos L, Tobias JA, Soares FC, Si X, Ding P, Mendenhall CD, Sin YCK, Rheindt FE, Triantis KA, Guilhaumon F, Watson DM, Brotons L, Battisti C, Chu O, Rigal Fet al., 2023,

    A global analysis of avian island diversity-area relationships in the Anthropocene

    , ECOLOGY LETTERS, Vol: 26, Pages: 965-982, ISSN: 1461-023X
  • Journal article
    Tan S, Wang H, Prentice IC, Yang K, Nóbrega RLB, Liu X, Wang Y, Yang Yet al., 2023,

    Towards a universal evapotranspiration model based on optimality principles

    , Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Vol: 336, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 0168-1923

    Natural resource management requires knowledge of terrestrial evapotranspiration (ET). Most existing numeric models for ET include multiple plant- or ecosystem-type specific parameters that require calibration. This is a significant source of uncertainty under changing environmental conditions. A novel ET model with no type−specific parameters was developed recently. Based on the coupling the diffusion (via stomata) of water and carbon dioxide (CO2), this model predicts canopy conductance based on environmental conditions using eco-evolutionary optimality principles that apply to all plant types. Transpiration (T) and ET are calculated from canopy conductance using the Penman-Monteith equation for T and a universal empirical function for the T:ET ratio. Here, the model is systematically evaluated at globally distributed eddy-covariance sites and river basins. Site-scale modelled ET agrees well with flux data (r = 0.81, root mean square error = 0.73 mm day–1 in 23,623 records) and modelled ET in 39 river basins agrees well with the ET estimated by monthly water budget using two runoff datasets (r = 0.62 and 0.66, respectively). Modelled global patterns of ET are consistent with existing global ET products. The model's universality, parsimony and accuracy combine to indicate a broad potential field of application in resource management and global change science.

  • Journal article
    Weeks TL, Betts MG, Pfeifer M, Wolf C, Banks-Leite C, Barbaro L, Barlow J, Cerezo A, Kennedy CM, Kormann UG, Marsh CJ, Olivier PI, Phalan BT, Possingham HP, Wood EM, Tobias JAet al., 2023,

    Climate-driven variation in dispersal ability predicts responses to forest fragmentation in birds

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1079-1091, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Species sensitivity to forest fragmentation varies latitudinally, peaking in the tropics. A prominent explanation for this pattern is that historical landscape disturbance at higher latitudes has removed fragmentation-sensitive species or promoted the evolution of more resilient survivors. However, it is unclear whether this so-called extinction filter is the dominant driver of geographic variation in fragmentation sensitivity, particularly because climatic factors may also cause latitudinal gradients in dispersal ability, a key trait mediating sensitivity to habitat fragmentation. Here we combine field survey data with a morphological proxy for avian dispersal ability (hand-wing index) to assess responses to forest fragmentation in 1,034 bird species worldwide. We find that fragmentation sensitivity is strongly predicted by dispersal limitation and that other factors—latitude, body mass and historical disturbance events—have relatively limited explanatory power after accounting for species differences in dispersal. We also show that variation in dispersal ability is only weakly predicted by historical disturbance and more strongly associated with intra-annual temperature fluctuations (seasonality). Our results suggest that climatic factors play a dominant role in driving global variation in the impacts of forest fragmentation, emphasizing the need for more nuanced environmental policies that take into account local context and associated species traits.

  • Journal article
    Abubakkar-Waziri H, Kalaiarasan G, Wawman R, Hobbs F, Adcock I, Dilliway C, Fang F, Pain C, Porter A, Bhavsar PK, Ransome E, Savolainen V, Kumar P, Chung KFet al., 2023,

    SARS-CoV2 in public spaces in West London UK during COVID-19 pandemic

    , BMJ Open Respiratory Research, Vol: 10, ISSN: 2052-4439

    Background: Spread of SARS-CoV2 by aerosol is considered an important mode of transmission over distances >2 m, particularly indoors.Objectives: We determined whether SARS-CoV2 could be detected in the air of enclosed/semi-enclosed public spaces.Methods and analysis: Between March 2021 and December 2021 during the easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions after a period of lockdown, we used total suspended and size-segregated particulate matter (PM) samplers for the detection of SARS-CoV2 in hospitals wards and waiting areas, on public transport, in a university campus and in a primary school in West London.Results: We collected 207 samples, of which 20 (9.7%) were positive for SARS-CoV2 using quantitative PCR. Positive samples were collected from hospital patient waiting areas, from hospital wards treating patients with COVID-19 using stationary samplers and from train carriages in London underground using personal samplers. Mean virus concentrations varied between 429 500 copies/m3 in the hospital emergency waiting area and the more frequent 164 000 copies/m3 found in other areas. There were more frequent positive samples from PM samplers in the PM2.5 fractions compared with PM10 and PM1. Culture on Vero cells of all collected samples gave negative results.Conclusion: During a period of partial opening during the COVID-19 pandemic in London, we detected SARS-CoV2 RNA in the air of hospital waiting areas and wards and of London Underground train carriage. More research is needed to determine the transmission potential of SARS-CoV2 detected in the air.

  • Report
    Kirkpatrick L, Adjiman C, ApSimon H, Berry A, de Nazelle A, Mijic A, Myers R, Woodward G, Workman Met al., 2023,

    Systems thinking for the transition to zero pollution

    , Systems thinking for the transition to zero pollution,, Publisher: Grantham Institute, 40

    Systems approaches are vital for coordinating decision-making in the face of complex issues because they provide the whole picture view needed to avoid negative unintended consequences and to generate genuine benefits. This paper explains how systems thinking can be used to address environmental pollution and support decision-makers in finding solutions.

  • Journal article
    Terlau JF, Brose U, Boy T, Pawar S, Pinsky M, Hirt MRet al., 2023,

    Predicting movement speed of beetles from body size and temperature

    , MOVEMENT ECOLOGY, Vol: 11, ISSN: 2051-3933
  • Journal article
    Lopez-Romero FA, Stumpf S, Kamminga P, Boehmer C, Pradel A, Brazeau MD, Kriwet Jet al., 2023,

    Shark mandible evolution reveals patterns of trophic and habitat-mediated diversification

    , Communications Biology, Vol: 6, ISSN: 2399-3642

    Environmental controls of species diversity represent a central research focus in evolutionary biology. In the marine realm, sharks are widely distributed, occupying mainly higher trophic levels and varied dietary preferences, mirrored by several morphological traits and behaviours. Recent comparative phylogenetic studies revealed that sharks present a fairly uneven diversification across habitats, from reefs to deep-water. We show preliminary evidence that morphological diversification (disparity) in the feeding system (mandibles) follows these patterns, and we tested hypotheses linking these patterns to morphological specialisation. We conducted a 3D geometric morphometric analysis and phylogenetic comparative methods on 145 specimens representing 90 extant shark species using computed tomography models. We explored how rates of morphological evolution in the jaw correlate with habitat, size, diet, trophic level, and taxonomic order. Our findings show a relationship between disparity and environment, with higher rates of morphological evolution in reef and deep-water habitats. Deep-water species display highly divergent morphologies compared to other sharks. Strikingly, evolutionary rates of jaw disparity are associated with diversification in deep water, but not in reefs. The environmental heterogeneity of the offshore water column exposes the importance of this parameter as a driver of diversification at least in the early part of clade history.

  • Journal article
    Sethi S, Ewers RM, Balakrishnan R, 2023,

    Ecology: correct the digital data divide

    , NATURE, Vol: 617, Pages: 35-35, ISSN: 0028-0836
  • Journal article
    Dunning J, Burke T, Chan AHH, Chik HYJ, Evans T, Schroeder Jet al., 2023,

    Opposite-sex associations are linked with annual fitness, but sociality is stable over lifetime

    , Behavioral Ecology, Vol: 315, Pages: 315-324, ISSN: 1045-2249

    Animal sociality, an individual’s propensity to associate with others, has fitness consequences through mate choice, for example, directly, by increasing the pool of prospective partners, and indirectly through increased survival, and individuals benefit from both. Annually, fitness consequences are realized through increased mating success and subsequent fecundity. However, it remains unknown whether these consequences translate to lifetime fitness. Here, we quantified social associations and their link to fitness annually and over lifetime, using a multi-generational, genetic pedigree. We used social network analysis to calculate variables representing different aspects of an individual’s sociality. Sociality showed high within-individual repeatability. We found that birds with more opposite-sex associates had higher annual fitness than those with fewer, but this did not translate to lifetime fitness. Instead, for lifetime fitness, we found evidence for stabilizing selection on opposite-sex sociality, and sociality in general, suggesting that reported benefits are only short-lived in a wild population, and that selection favors an average sociality.

  • Journal article
    Osborne OG, Dobreva MP, Papadopulos AST, de Moura MSB, Brunello AT, de Queiroz LP, Pennington RT, Lloyd J, Savolainen Vet al., 2023,

    Mapping the root systems of individual trees in a natural community using genotyping-by-sequencing

    , New Phytologist, Vol: 238, Pages: 1305-1317, ISSN: 0028-646X

    •The architecture of root systems is an important driver of plant fitness, competition and ecosystem processes. However, the methodological difficulty of mapping roots hampers the study of these processes. Existing approaches to match individual plants to belowground samples are low throughput and species specific. Here, we developed a scalable sequencing-based method to map the root systems of individual trees across multiple species. We successfully applied it to a tropical dry forest community in the Brazilian Caatinga containing 14 species. • We sequenced all 42 individual shrubs and trees in a 14 × 14 m plot using double-digest restriction site-associated sequencing (ddRADseq). We identified species-specific markers and individual-specific haplotypes from the data. We matched these markers to the ddRADseq data from 100 mixed root samples from across the centre (10 × 10 m) of the plot at four different depths using a newly developed R package. • We identified individual root samples for all species and all but one individual. There was a strong significant correlation between belowground and aboveground size measurements, and we also detected significant species-level root-depth preference for two species. • The method is more scalable and less labour intensive than the current techniques and is broadly applicable to ecology, forestry and agricultural biology.

  • Journal article
    Cornford R, Spooner F, McRae L, Purvis A, Freeman Ret al., 2023,

    Ongoing over-exploitation and delayed responses to environmental change highlight the urgency for action to promote vertebrate recoveries by 2030

  • Journal article
    Shen Y, Cai W, Prentice IC, Harrison SPet al., 2023,

    Community abundance of resprouting in woody plants reflects fire return time, intensity, and type

    , Forests, Vol: 14, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 1999-4907

    Plants in fire-prone ecosystems have evolved a variety of mechanisms to resist or adapt to fire. Post-fire resprouting is a key adaptation that promotes rapid ecosystem recovery and hence has a major impact on the terrestrial carbon cycle. However, our understanding of how the incidence of resprouting varies in different fire regimes is largely qualitative. The increasing availability of plant trait data and plot-based species cover data provides an opportunity to quantify the relationships between fire-related traits and fire properties. We investigated the quantitative relationship between fire frequency (expressed as the fire return time) and the proportion of resprouters in woody plants using plot data on species cover from Australia and Europe. We also examined the relationship between the proportion of resprouters and gross primary production (GPP) and grass cover, where GPP was assumed to reflect fuel loads and hence fire intensity, while grass cover was considered to be an indicator of the likelihood of ground fire and the speed of fire spread, using generalised linear modelling. The proportion of resprouting species decreased significantly as the fire return time increased. When the fire return time was considered along with other aspects of the fire regime, the proportion of resprouters had significant negative relationships with the fire return time and grass cover and a significant positive relationship with GPP. These findings demonstrate that plants with the ability to resprout occur more often where fire regimes are characterised by high-frequency and high-intensity crown fires. Establishing quantitative relationships between the incidence of resprouting and the fire return time and fire type provides a basis for modelling resprouting as a consequence of the characteristics of the fire regime, which in turn makes it possible to model the consequences of changing fire regimes on ecosystem properties.

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