Does the cost of development scale allometrically with offspring size?

Amanda K. Pettersen, Craig R. White, Robert J. Bryson-Richardson, Dustin J. Marshall One of the most fundamental patterns studied in life-history theory is how offspring size links to performance of an individual. Within species, larger offspring generally have higher survival, reproductive output and growth, and lower risk of predation and starvation. One key question that…

Subtle growth has major consequences for turtles

Doug Armstrong, Matt Keevil, Njal Rollinson, Ron Brooks Unlike birds and mammals, many animals continue to grow after sexual maturity. This growth can be imperceptibly slow in long-lived cold-blooded animals such as turtles, potentially leading us to believe either that growth has stopped or that the consequences of it must be trivial. But could this…

Ecological drivers of parasitoid traits

Yannick Outreman , Thiago Oliveira Andrade, Philippe Louâpre, Liliane Krespi, Cyrille Violle, Joan van Baaren The processes involved in species coexistence and community assembly is a hot topic in ecology research. To predict patterns of community assembly in the wild, the analysis of trait differences between species may be helpful. Community assembly theory suggests that…

Environmental conditions shape the chemical signal fingerprint of lizards

Simon Baeckens, José Martín, Roberto García-Roa, Panayiotis Pafilis, Katleen Huyghe & Raoul Van Damme   The vast array of signals used in animal communication is a hot topic in behavioural and evolutionary research. One important factor contributing to the signal diversity we witness today is ‘signal efficacy’: the ability of a signal to travel efficiently…

Nectar bacteria affect the survival of nectar-feeding animals

Marijke Lenaerts, Tim Goelen, Caroline Paulussen, Beatriz Herrera-Malaver, Jan Steensels, Wim Van den Ende, Kevin J. Verstrepen, Felix Wäckers, Hans Jacquemynand Bart Lievens When insects visit flowers looking for food, they commonly inoculate floral nectar with bacteria and yeasts. These microbes then gobble sugars and amino acids or convert them into other compounds which could…

Changing your body form to improve your growth

Marc Pépino, Pierre Magnan, and Raphaël Proulx Individual living organisms have the ability to modify their morphology, physiology, or behaviour in response to environmental changes, referred to as phenotypic plasticity. Over the longer term, populations of the same species inhabiting different environments could evolve toward distinct forms, a process called resource polymorphism. For example, brook…

Context-dependent defences in turtle ants: resource defensibility and threat level induce dynamic shifts in soldier deployment

Scott Powell, Matina Donaldson‐Matasci, Augustus Woodrow‐Tomizuka, Anna Dornhaus How do you best defend yourself in a dangerous world, when attacks may occur in many places simultaneously and you only have a limited supply of defensive resources? This is a fundamental problem faced by all organisms, and a common solution is the evolution of sophisticated strategies…

Environment affects the evolution of disease severity in a fish parasite.

Muayad A Mahmud, Janette E Bradley, Andrew D C MacColl Infectious parasites vary greatly in their severity (virulence), e.g. from the common cold to the Ebola virus, but the reasons why are poorly understood. To be successful, parasites have to spread to new victims (hosts), and to do so they use host resources to multiply….