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….

When mothers compete with their offspring: insights into the evolution of family life

Jos Kramer, Maximilian Körner, Janina MC Diehl, Christine Scheiner, Aytül Yüksel-Dadak, Teresa Christl, Philip Kohlmeier and Joël Meunier Decades of research on mammals and birds have taught us that parental care almost always renders the presence of parents beneficial to immature offspring regardless of the prevailing environmental conditions. This is because offspring in these animals…

Diet drives beak diversification in waterfowl

Aaron M Olsen Bird beaks are often cited as a classic example of evolution by natural selection. Over generations, it is thought that beak shapes that are better suited to eating particular foods will outcompete less favourable beak shapes and be passed on to offspring, through a process known as adaptation. Over time this would…

How specialized is a diet specialist? Not as specialized as you might think.

Rebecca C. Terry, Megan E. Guerre, David S. Taylor How species respond to environmental change is shaped in part by what they eat.  Dietary specialists consume a narrow range of resources, often exhibiting morphological and behavioral adaptations to their diet resulting in reduced niche flexibility.  Thus ongoing environmental change can place dietary specialists at particularly…

Offspring development and life-history variation in a water flea depends upon clone-specific integration of genetic, non-genetic and environmental cues

Ewan Harney, Steve Paterson and Stewart J. Plaistow The way that organisms develop their phenotype (their characteristic features or traits) is influenced by the genes that they possess and the environment that they experience, but also by the environments that their parents experienced. This is because the environment parents experience can be passed to their…

Co-existence with non-native brook trout breaks down the integration of phenotypic traits in brown trout parr

Libor Závorka, Barbara Koeck, Julien Cucherousset, Jeroen Brijs, Joacim Näslund, David Aldvén, Johan Höjesjö, Ian A. Fleming, Jörgen I. Johnsson Humans have introduced a variety of species outside their native ranges. Some of these species establish in the new environment successfully and can subsequently change the ecosystem. However, some of the effects of invaders are…

Parasites getting into trouble in murky waters

Alexandre Budria Eutrophication is a type of water pollution caused by human activities, such as intensive agriculture or waste discharges, which notably stimulates the growth of microalgae and makes the water murky. Nowadays, this disturbance constitutes a major threat to most water bodies because it causes direct changes in aquatic ecosystems, including excessive algal growth,…