Data from: Maladaptation beyond a geographic range limit driven by antagonistic and mutualistic biotic interactions across an abiotic gradient
Contributors: Benning, John William, Moeller, David
... Species’ geographic range limits often result from maladaptation to the novel environments beyond the range margin. However, we rarely know which aspects of the n-dimensional environment are driving this maladaptation. Especially of interest is the influence of abiotic versus biotic factors in delimiting species’ distributions. We conducted a two-year reciprocal transplant experiment involving manipulations of the biotic environment to explore how spatio-temporal gradients in precipitation, fatal mammalian herbivory, and pollination affected lifetime fitness within and beyond the range of the California annual plant, Clarkia xantiana ssp. xantiana. In the first, drier year of the experiment, fitness outside the range edge was limited mainly by low precipitation, and there was some evidence for local adaptation within the range. In the second, wetter year, we did not observe abiotic limitations to plant fitness outside the range; instead biotic interactions, especially herbivory, limited fitness outside the range. Together, protection from herbivory and supplementation of pollen resulted in 3-7 fold increases in lifetime fitness outside the range margin in the abiotically benign year. Overall, our work demonstrates the importance of biotic interactions, particularly as they interact with the abiotic environment, in determining fitness beyond geographic range boundaries.
Contributors: Godoy, Pedro L
... Crocodylomorpha, which includes living crocodylians and their extinct relatives, has a rich fossil record, extending back for more than 200 million years. Unlike modern semi-aquatic crocodylians, extinct crocodylomorphs exhibited more varied lifestyles, ranging from marine to fully terrestrial forms. This ecological diversity was mirrored by a remarkable morphological disparity, particularly in terms of cranial morphology, which seems to be closely associated with ecological roles in the group. Here, I use geometric morphometrics to comprehensively investigate cranial shape variation and disparity in Crocodylomorpha. I quantitatively assess the relationship between cranial shape and ecology (i.e. terrestrial, aquatic, and semi-aquatic lifestyles), as well as possible allometric shape changes. I also characterise patterns of cranial shape evolution and identify regime shifts. I found a strong link between shape and size, and a significant influence of ecology on the observed shape variation. Terrestrial taxa, particularly notosuchians, have significantly higher disparity, and shifts to more longirostrine regimes are associated with large-bodied aquatic or semi-aquatic species. This demonstrates an intricate relationship between cranial shape, body size and lifestyle in crocodylomorph evolutionary history. Additionally, disparity-through-time analyses were highly sensitive to different phylogenetic hypotheses, suggesting the description of overall patterns among distinct trees. For crocodylomorphs, most results agree in an early peak during the Early Jurassic and another in the middle of the Cretaceous, followed by nearly continuous decline until today. Since only crown-group members survived through the Cenozoic, this decrease in disparity was likely the result of habitat loss, which narrowed down the range of crocodylomorph lifestyles.
Data from: Evidence of rapid adaptive trait change to local salinity in the sperm of an invasive fish
Contributors: Green, Leon, Havenhand, Jonathan, Kvarnemo, Charlotta
... Invasive species may quickly colonize novel environments, which could be attributed to both phenotypic plasticity and an ability to locally adapt. Reproductive traits are expected to be under strong selection when the new environment limits reproductive success of the invading species. This may be especially important for external fertilizers, which release sperm and eggs into the new environment. Despite adult tolerance to high salinity, the invasive fish Neogobius melanostomus (round goby) is absent from fully marine regions of the Baltic Sea, raising the possibility that its distribution is limited by tolerance during earlier life-stages. Here, we investigate the hypothesis that the spread of N. melanostomus is limited by sperm function in novel salinities. We sampled sperm from two invasion fronts with higher and lower salinities in the Baltic Sea and tested them across a range of salinity levels. We found that sperm velocity and percentage of motile sperm declined in salinity levels higher and lower than those currently experienced by the Baltic Sea populations, with different performance curves for the two fronts. Sperm velocity also peaked closer to the home salinity conditions in each respective invasion front, with older localities showing an increased fit to local conditions. By calculating how the sperm velocity has changed over generations, we show this phenotypic shift to be in the range of other fish species under strong selection, indicating on-going local adaptation or epigenetic acclimation to their novel environment. These results show that while immigrant reproductive dysfunction appears to at least partly limit the distribution of invasive N. melanostomus in the Baltic Sea, local adaptation to novel environments could enable future spread beyond their current boundaries.
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Data from: Hierarchical controls on extinction selectivity across the diplobathrid crinoid phylogeny
Contributors: Cole, Selina
... Identifying correlates of extinction risk is important for understanding the underlying mechanisms driving differential rates of extinction and variability in the temporal durations of taxa. Increasingly, it is recognized that the effects of multiple, potentially interacting variables and phylogenetic relationships should be incorporated when studying extinction selectivity to account for covariation of traits and shared evolutionary history. Here, I explore a variety of biological and ecological controls on genus longevity in the global fossil record of diplobathrid crinoids by analyzing the combined effects of species richness, habitat preference, body size, filtration fan density, and food size selectivity. I employ a suite of taxic and phylogenetic approaches to (1) quantitatively compare and rank the relative effects of multiple factors on taxonomic longevity, and (2) determine how phylogenetic comparative approaches alter interpretations of extinction selectivity. I find controls on diplobathrid genus duration are hierarchically structured, where species richness is the primary predictor of duration, habitat is the secondary predictor, and a combination of ecological and biological traits are tertiary controls. Ecology plays an important but complex role in the generation of crinoid macroevolutionary patterns. Notably, tolerance of environmental heterogeneity promotes increased genus duration across diplobathrid crinoids, and the effects of traits related to feeding ecology vary depending on habitat lithology. Finally, I find accounting for phylogeny does not consistently decrease the significance of correlations between traits and genus duration, as is commonly expected. Instead, the strength of relationships between traits and duration may increase, decrease, or remain statistically similar, and both the magnitude and direction of these shifts are generally unpredictable. However, traits with strong correlations and/or moderately large effect sizes (Cohen’s f2 > 0.15) under taxic approaches tend to remain qualitatively unchanged under phylogenetic approaches.
Contributors: Lindenmayer, David, Blanchard, Wade, Blair, David, Westgate, Martin, Scheele, Ben
... Forests globally are subject to multiple disturbances such as logging and fire that create complex temporal variation in spatial patterns of forest cover and stand age. However, investigations that quantify temporal changes in biodiversity in response to multiple forms of disturbance in space and time are relatively uncommon. Over a 10-year period, we investigated the response of bird species to spatio-temporal changes in cover associated with logging and wildfire in the Mountain Ash (Eucalyptus regnans) forests of south-eastern Australia. Specifically, we examined how bird occurrence changed with shifts in the proportion of area burnt or logged in a 4.5km radius surrounding each of 87 field survey sites. Overall species richness was greatest in older forest patches. Bird species richness declined as the amount of fire around each site increased. At the individual species level, most species were more likely to be found in old growth than younger forest. Twenty-five of 36 bird species we modeled, exhibited a negative response to the amount of fire in the surrounding landscape (while two species responded positively to fire). Only nine species exhibited signs of post-fire recovery. Ten species were more likely to be recorded as the proportion of logged forest surrounding a site increased, suggesting a possible “concentration effect” with displaced birds moving into unlogged areas following harvesting of adjacent areas. In contrast to predictions from the disturbance-congruence hypothesis, no bird species exhibited similar responses to fire and logging in the landscape surrounding our sites. Similarly, no bird life history traits were associated with burned or logged forest, although insectivorous birds were more likely to be found in old growth forests and increased over time. Birds in Mountain Ash forests are strongly associated with old growth stands and exhibit complex, time-dependent and species-specific responses to landscape disturbance. Despite logging and fire both being high-severity perturbations, species responses to one kind of landscape-scale disturbance are not readily predictable based on an understanding of the responses to another kind of (albeit superficially similar) disturbance.
Data from: Female-biased gape and body-size dimorphism in the New World watersnakes (tribe: Thamnophiini) oppose predictions from Rensch’s Rule
Contributors: Burbrink, Frank, Futterman, India
... Sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is ubiquitous across animals with female bias most prominent in snakes and other ectothermic organisms. To understand how SSD evolves across species, Rensch’s Rule predicts that in taxa where males are larger, SSD increases with body size. In contrast, where females are larger, SSD decreases with body size. While this rule holds for many taxa, it may be ambiguous for others, particularly ectothermic vertebrates. Importantly, this rule suggests that the outcomes of SSD over phylogenetic time scales depends on the direction of dimorphism predicated on the difference in reproductive efforts between males and females. Here we examine SSD in the context of Rensch’s Rule in Thamnophiini, the garter and waternsakes, a prominent group composing the North American snake biota. Using a dated phylogeny, measurements of gape, body and tail size, we show that these snakes do not follow Rensch’s Rule, but rather female-biased SSD increases with body size. We in turn find that this allometry is most pronounced with gape and is correlated with both neonate and litter size, suggesting that acquiring prey of increased size may be directly related to fecundity selection. These changes in SSD are not constrained to any particular clade; we find no evidence of phylogenetic shifts in those traits showing SSD. We suggest several ways forward to better understand the anatomical units of selection for SSD and modularity
Data from: Aragonite bias exhibits systematic spatial variation in the late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway, North America
Contributors: Dean, Christopher, Allison, Peter, Hampson, Gary, Hill, Jon
... Preferential dissolution of the biogenic carbonate polymorph aragonite promotes preservational bias in shelly marine faunas. Whilst field studies have documented the impact of preferential aragonite dissolution on fossil molluscan diversity, its impact on regional and global biodiversity metrics is debated. Epicontinental seas are especially prone to conditions which both promote and inhibit preferential dissolution, which may result in spatially extensive zones with variable preservation. Here we present a multi-faceted evaluation of aragonite dissolution within the late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway of North America. Occurrence data of molluscs from two time intervals (Cenomanian-Turonian boundary, early Campanian) are plotted on new high-resolution paleogeographies to assess aragonite preservation within the seaway. Fossil occurrences, diversity estimates and sampling probabilities for calcitic and aragonitic fauna were compared in zones defined by depth and distance from the seaway margins. Apparent range sizes, which could be influenced by differential preservation potential of aragonite between separate localities, were also compared. Our results are consistent with exacerbated aragonite dissolution within specific depth zones for both time slices, with aragonitic bivalves additionally showing a statistically significant decrease in range size compared to calcitic fauna within carbonate-dominated Cenomanian-Turonian strata. However, we are unable to conclusively show that aragonite dissolution impacted diversity estimates. Therefore, whilst aragonite dissolution is likely to have affected the preservation of fauna in specific localities, time averaging and instantaneous preservation events preserve regional biodiversity. Our results suggest that the spatial expression of taphonomic biases should be an important consideration for paleontologists working on paleobiogeographic problems.
Data from: A framework for the integrated analysis of the magnitude, selectivity, and biotic effects of extinction and origination
Contributors: Bush, Andrew, Wang, Steve, Payne, Jonathan, Heim, Noel
... The taxonomic and ecologic composition of Earth’s biota has shifted dramatically through geologic time, with some clades going extinct while others diversified. Here, we derive a metric that quantifies the change in biotic composition due to extinction or origination and show that it equals the product of extinction/origination magnitude and selectivity (variation in magnitude among groups). We also define metrics that describe the extent to which a recovery (1) reinforced or reversed the effects of extinction on biotic composition and (2) changed composition in ways uncorrelated with the extinction. To demonstrate the approach, we analyzed an updated compilation of stratigraphic ranges of marine animal genera. We show that mass extinctions were not more selective than background intervals at the phylum level; rather, they tended to drive greater taxonomic change due to their higher magnitudes. Mass extinctions did not represent a separate class of events with respect to either strength of selectivity or effect. Similar observations apply to origination during recoveries from mass extinctions, and on average, extinction and origination were similarly selective and drove similar amounts of biotic change. Elevated origination during recoveries drove bursts of compositional change that varied considerably in effect. In some cases, origination partially reversed the effects of extinction, returning the biota towards the pre-extinction composition; in others, it reinforced the effects of the extinction, magnifying biotic change. Recoveries were as important as extinction events in shaping the marine biota, and their selectivity deserves systematic study alongside that of extinction.
Contributors: Johnston, Alice S. A.
... Aim: Soils and their biological communities face increasing pressure from multiple global drivers, including land management and climate change. In soils, earthworms play key roles in ecosystem functioning, but the environmental controls on their global communities are not fully understood. Here, an earthworm dataset was compiled to investigate the effects of environmental controls and land management on global earthworm communities. Location: 40 ° S – 65 ° N. Time period: 1962 to 2016. Major taxa studied: Earthworms Methods: A dataset of 899 earthworm community observations, together with environmental variables, was compiled across 169 globally distributed sites. Sites included natural forests and grasslands or managed arable, pasture or plantation ecosystems. Total, anecic, endogeic and epigeic abundances were compared in natural and managed ecosystems to quantify the effects of land management across climates. A hierarchical model was used to test interactions between earthworm communities with environmental controls and management across eighteen ecosystem types. Results: Land management prompted little change in total earthworm abundance at the global scale, but reduced species richness and shifted community composition. Endogeic earthworms were more abundant in managed ecosystems, while anecic and epigeic earthworms show variable responses across ecosystem types. Global relationships between total earthworm species richness and abundance were explained by climate, soil pH and land management. Main conclusions: Land management modulates the effects of environmental controls on global earthworm communities, through direct disturbance and indirect changes in edaphic conditions.
Data from: Impacts of microplastic versus natural abiotic particles on the clearance rate of a marine mussel
Contributors: Harris, Lyda S. T., Carrington, Emily
... In coastal habitats, mussels are exposed to microplastic (MP; plastic 1,250 particles/ml) but was not affected at equivalent silt concentrations. These findings suggest high MP concentrations inhibit mussel clearance rate, more than expected by changes in particle concentration or the proportion of abiotic particles. As plastic production increases, mussel exposure to MP will increase, potentially reducing energy transfer, benthic-pelagic coupling, and water clarity.