The damselfly Ischnura elegans larva. Photo credit: Christophe Brochard.

Thermal evolution can shape how temperature affects predator-prey interactions

Wang, Ying-Jie; Sentis, Arnaud; Tüzün, Nedim; Stoks, Robby To date, we know a lot about the effects of global warming on individual species. Yet, in nature, species constantly interact with each other, for example predators hunting their prey. One way to cope with global warming is by evolving adaptations to higher temperatures. But how does the evolution of one species affect its interaction with another … Continue reading Thermal evolution can shape how temperature affects predator-prey interactions

Male and Female thrips with various egg sizes

Egg size determines fertilization success and underpins sex allocation in haplodiploid thrips

Alihan Katlav, James M. Cook, Markus Riegler How far a mother can control the sex of her offspring varies greatly across the Animal Kingdom. Many insects and other arthropods have a haplodiploid genetic system, in which males develop from unfertilized eggs and females from fertilized eggs. In such species, mothers can produce male offspring even without mating; while mated mothers can adjust their offspring sex … Continue reading Egg size determines fertilization success and underpins sex allocation in haplodiploid thrips

Infectious disease benefits from higher amounts of available energy within its host (the difference (in grey) between the energy acquired (green) and used on metabolic processes (orange)) and this benefit is mediated both by an increase in host size and more energy available for exploitation.

Does energy availability matter for disease outcomes?

Louise Solveig Nørgaard, Giulia Ghedini, Ben L. Phillips & Matthew D. Hall Understanding what influences the spread and severity of infectious disease is key to managing epidemics. The amount of energy available to the host organism is an important factor affecting disease dynamics. Hosts that acquire more energy might be better able to fight disease, for example by activating their immune system, but the pathogen … Continue reading Does energy availability matter for disease outcomes?

Targeting changemakers: within a plant species, it depends on your treatments

Ava M. Hoffman and Melinda D. Smith If you’ve ever played parent to a houseplant or started your own garden, you know that not everything is fixed in DNA. For example, the same hydrangea can produce blue or pink flowers depending on your garden’s soil pH and aluminum content. Nearly all plants, wild and domesticated species alike, will look different during a drought. In biology, … Continue reading Targeting changemakers: within a plant species, it depends on your treatments

Spotless starling nestlings begging for food. (c) Cristina Ruiz-Castellano

Colouration of spotless starling nestlings informs their parents about their physiological condition and genetic quality

Ester Martínez-Renau, Cristina Ruiz-Castellano, Manuel Azcárate-García, M. Dolores Barón, and Juan José Soler Young birds are adept at catching the attention of their parents. When asking for food, they emit loud begging calls, perform specific movements and display flamboyant colourations on their mouth and beak flanges. These colourations help nestlings to communicate with parents and partially depend on nestling needs, so the parents use it … Continue reading Colouration of spotless starling nestlings informs their parents about their physiological condition and genetic quality

As a consequence of earlier sexual maturity, progenetic palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus) are significantly smaller than normally developing adults and retain larval traits such as external gills. Photo credit: Mathieu Denoël.

Progenesis: reaching adulthood earlier and at a smaller body size as a way to exploit underused resources

Benjamin Lejeune, Lucie Bissey, Emilie Alexia Didaskalou, Nicolas Sturaro, Gilles Lepoint and Mathieu Denoël Progenesis is a developmental process that speeds up sexual development, and consequently maturity, therefore associated with a smaller body size. Despite being a major evolutionary process throughout the animal kingdom, there is a lack of studies on its ecological consequences. Previous research mainly focused on better fitness through precocious reproduction or … Continue reading Progenesis: reaching adulthood earlier and at a smaller body size as a way to exploit underused resources

Temperature fluctuations in the desert increases flies’ plasticity to overcome stressful periods depending on their parent’s environmental experience

Fernando Diaz, Bram Kuijper, Rebecca B. Hoyle, Nathaniel Talamantes, Joshua M. Coleman, Luciano M. Matzkin Organisms often exhibit a remarkable capacity to sense their environments and, based on this information, trigger different kinds of molecular and physiological process later in life that help them acclimate and overcome stressful periods. This capacity, known as phenotypic plasticity, can also be transferred to the next generation through maternal … Continue reading Temperature fluctuations in the desert increases flies’ plasticity to overcome stressful periods depending on their parent’s environmental experience

Review: The inducible defenses of large mammals to human lethality

Robert A. Montgomery, David W. Macdonald,  Matthew W. Hayward A key area of ecological inquiry is the evolution of defense mechanisms induced by a previous encounter with a biotic agent, whether that be a consumer or a competitor. Research has now catalogued many morphological and behavioral adaptations of hosts to their parasites, of plants to their herbivores, and of prey to their predators. Within predator-prey … Continue reading Review: The inducible defenses of large mammals to human lethality

Multidimensional trait morphology predicts ecology across ant lineages

Christine E. Sosiak, Phillip Barden There is an intuitive link between biological form and function. An organism’s shape (morphology), often reflects how and where the organism lives (its ecological niche). Species may share similar morphology because of ecological pressures: sharks and whales are not closely related, but share a similar body plan adapted to moving in aquatic environments. Ants are an excellent model system to … Continue reading Multidimensional trait morphology predicts ecology across ant lineages

A meadow of eelgrass ~60 miles north of San Francisco, CA, USA. Photo credit: Katherine DuBois

Two is better than one: the role of sequential disturbances in maintaining genotypic diversity

Nicole M. Kollars, Katherine DuBois, and John J. Stachowicz At first glance it may seem like eelgrass meadows lack biological diversity. After all, the meadow is made of only one plant species. However, hidden beneath what the eyes can see is a large amount of genetic diversity. Eelgrass, like all seagrasses, reproduces sexually as well as asexually by producing genetically identical clones connected via underground … Continue reading Two is better than one: the role of sequential disturbances in maintaining genotypic diversity