(Ophioblennius macclurei—Caribbean red lip blenny; photo: Carlos Estape)

The feeding rate of reef fishes

Nunes, Lucas; Barneche, Diego; Lastrucci, Naomi; Fraga, Alana; Nunes, José de Anchieta; Ferreira, Carlos Eduardo; Floeter, Sergio Many reef fishes feed constantly at the bottom of the reef from where they garner different types of food such as detritus, algae and invertebrates. Food consumption is extremely important for fish to achieve their energy targets, grow and reproduce. Unfortunately, quantifying fish food consumption in the field … Continue reading The feeding rate of reef fishes

Bugula neritina ovicells, where larvae are brooded. Photo credit: Canadian Academy of Science

Warmer mothers produce smaller offspring because it favours mothers but not necessarily their offspring

Dustin Marshall Warmer mothers tend to produce smaller offspring across a broad array of organisms. The reasons for this pattern are unclear and most hypotheses have focused on the early stages of offspring development. Here, I use a marine bryozoan, Bugula neritina, which is a model system for understanding marine life histories.  I report on a massive, ongoing field experiment in which I spawn adult … Continue reading Warmer mothers produce smaller offspring because it favours mothers but not necessarily their offspring

Salmon Fry, credit: Francis Eatherington

Climate change induced decline of omega-3 fatty acids in aquatic ecosystem hinders growth and metabolism of wild salmon

Libor Závorka, Amelie Crespel, Neal J. Dawson, Magdalene Papatheodoulou, Shaun S. Killen, Martin J. Kainz The expression ‘you are what you eat’ is as relevant for wild animals as it is for humans. Diet quality affects the development of animals, but its interactions with stressors like rising temperature are not well understood. A largely overlooked consequence of a warming climate is the reduced availability of … Continue reading Climate change induced decline of omega-3 fatty acids in aquatic ecosystem hinders growth and metabolism of wild salmon

Confocal laser scanning micrographs (maximum intensity projections) of butterfly proboscises.

Butterflies that visit flowers have mouthparts with adaptations to help reach nectar

Lehnert, Matthew; Johnson, Daytona; Wu, Jianing; Sun, Yu; Fonseca, Rena; Michels, Jan; Shell, Jamie; Reiter, Kristen Butterflies are an important group of insect pollinators that use their elongated mouthparts to feed on nectar when visiting flowers. Not all butterflies feed from flowers and those that feed on other fluids, such as tree sap, have mouthparts with a brushy tip that make it function like a … Continue reading Butterflies that visit flowers have mouthparts with adaptations to help reach nectar

Tiger shark Galeocerdo cuvier swimming at surface with biologging package attached to dorsal fin. Image shot by Diego Camejo (Beneath the Waves) in The Bahamas, 2019.

Why do some fish have elevated body temperatures? Could faster swim speeds or broader temperature ranges be the key?

Harding, Lucy; Jackson, Andrew; Barnett, Adam; Donohue, Ian; Halsey, Lewis; Huveneers, Charlie; Meyer, Carl; Papastamatiou, Yannis; Semmens, Jayson; Spencer, Erin; Watanabe, Yuuki; Payne, Nicholas Not all fish are cold-blooded; some shark and tuna species have evolved the ability to warm parts of their bodies so that they can stay warmer than the water around them. Although this has been known for many years, it’s still … Continue reading Why do some fish have elevated body temperatures? Could faster swim speeds or broader temperature ranges be the key?

Completely plated (upper) and low plated (lower) threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Fish have been stained with Alizarin Red S to help visualise lateral plates and spines. Image credit: Carl Smith.

Elevated temperatures drive the evolution of armour loss in the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

Smith, Carl; Zieba, Grzegorz; Przybylski, Miroslaw Sticklebacks are small fishes, related to seahorses, that are found in fresh, brackish and seawater. Notably, the three-spined stickleback is a ‘model’ research animal of huge significance that has been used by scientists for over a century in research to understand animal behaviour, evolution and, latterly, genetics. While three-spined sticklebacks can live in a wide variety of habitats, they … Continue reading Elevated temperatures drive the evolution of armour loss in the threespine stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus

Mantid (Stagmomantis sp.) eating a mature male rubyspot (Hetaerina americana). The red wing spot is a sexually selected trait evolved by male-male competition. The pigments behind this conspicuous and costly red colouration are ommochromes, produced from the toxic tryptophan metabolite 3-HydroxyKinurenine. Hence, only males capable of storing large toxic amounts, are able to produce a large red spot. This mechanism is entirely new for colourful and other sexual traits, elucidating a mechanism for the evolution of honest indicators of quality that could have arisen due to natural selection.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: detoxification ability as mechanism of honesty in a sexually selected signal

G-Santoyo, Isaac; Gonzalez-Tokman, Daniel; Tapia-Rodríguez, Miguel; Cordoba, Alex What is the role of colourful traits in animals? Quite often these traits are used by adult males to assess each other when competing over mating territories. This function is linked to a second question of what such colours are made of. We used to know that these colourful traits contained key dietetic elements also used for … Continue reading What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger: detoxification ability as mechanism of honesty in a sexually selected signal

Thermal tolerance of early life stages predict biogeographic limits in marine ectotherms

Collin, Rachel; Rebolledo, Adriana; Smith, Emily; Chan, Kit Yu Karen Increases in the average global temperature, and the frequency of extreme thermal events, are some of the greatest threats to biodiversity. Ectotherms, animals that conform to the environmental temperature, in particular are highly vulnerable to these worsening conditions, since environmental temperature directly affects their body temperature. Body temperature, in turn, affects critical biological functions (e.g., … Continue reading Thermal tolerance of early life stages predict biogeographic limits in marine ectotherms

Fatter is better: Svalbard reindeer survive the Arctic winters by being small, fat, and sedentary

Trondrud, L. Monica; Pigeon, Gabriel; Krol, Ela; Albon, Steve; Evans, Alina; Arnold, Walter; Hambly, Catherine; Irvine, R. Justin; Ropstad, Erik; Stien, Audun; Veiberg, Vebjørn; Speakman, John; Loe, Leif Egil How and why body size varies between and within species is a central question in ecology. General theories involve climate, food and behaviour, which may all impact the size of an animal in its specific environment. … Continue reading Fatter is better: Svalbard reindeer survive the Arctic winters by being small, fat, and sedentary

Body size and shape responses to warming and resource competition

Hanrong Tan, Andrew G. Hirst, David Atkinson, Pavel Kratina Climate warming is characterised by increasesin global mean temperatures, and thefrequency and severity of heatwaves, whichhave profound impacts on biota. Climatewarming benefits organisms with smaller bodysize, as these organisms tend to grow andreproduce faster. However, how organismsmodify their body shape in response towarming and resource availability is poorlyunderstood, despite the importance of bodyshape for locomotion and … Continue reading Body size and shape responses to warming and resource competition