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Accurate pathogen detection is essential for developing management strategies to address emerging infectious diseases, an increasingly prominent threat to wildlife. Sampling for free-living pathogens outside of their hosts has benefits for inference and study efficiency, but is still uncommon. We used a laboratory experiment to evaluate the influences of pathogen concentration, water type, and qPCR inhibitors on the detection and quantification of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) using water filtration. We compared results pre- and post-inhibitor removal, and assessed inferential differences when single versus multiple samples were collected across space or time. We found that qPCR inhibition influenced both Bd detection and quantification in natural water samples, resulting in biased inferences about Bd occurrence and abundance. Biases in occurrence could be mitigated by collecting multiple samples in space or time, but biases in Bd quantification were persistent. Differences in Bd concentration resulted in variation in detection probability, indicating that occupancy modeling could be used to explore factors influencing heterogeneity in Bd abundance among samples, sites, or over time. Our work will influence the design of studies involving amphibian disease dynamics and studies utilizing environmental DNA (eDNA) to understand species distributions.
Data Types:
  • Geospatial Data
  • Tabular Data
  • Dataset
Transcription factors bind low-affinity DNA sequences for only short durations. It is not clear how brief, low-affinity interactions can drive efficient transcription. Here we report that the transcription factor Ultrabithorax (Ubx) utilizes low-affinity binding sites in the Drosophila melanogaster shavenbaby (svb) locus and related enhancers in nuclear microenvironments of high Ubx concentrations. Related enhancers colocalize to the same microenvironments independently of their chromosomal location, suggesting that microenvironments are highly differentiated transcription domains. Manipulating the affinity of svb enhancers revealed an inverse relationship between enhancer affinity and Ubx concentration required for transcriptional activation. The Ubx cofactor, Homothorax (Hth), was co-enriched with Ubx near enhancers that require Hth, even though Ubx and Hth did not co-localize throughout the nucleus. Thus, microenvironments of high local transcription factor and cofactor concentrations could help low-affinity sites overcome their kinetic inefficiency. Mechanisms that generate these microenvironments could be a general feature of eukaryotic transcriptional regulation.
Data Types:
  • Image
  • Video
  • Dataset
An optical technique for tracking single particles has been used to evaluate the particle diameter at which diffusion transitions from molecular behaviour described by the fractional Stokes-Einstein relationship to particle behaviour described by the classical Stokes-Einstein relationship. The results confirm a prior prediction from molecular dynamic simulations that there is a particle size at which transition occurs and show it is inversely dependent on concentration and viscosity but independent of particle density. For concentrations in the range 510-3 to 510-6mg/mL and viscosities from 0.8 to 150 mPa s, the transition was found to occur in the diameter range 150 to 300nm.
Data Types:
  • Other
  • Video
  • Dataset
The oceanic biological pump is responsible for the important transfer of CO2-C as POC “Particulate Organic Carbon” to the deep sea. It plays a decisive role in the Earth’s carbon cycle and significant effort is spent to quantify its strength. In this study we used synchronized daily time-series data of surface chlorophyll-a concentrations from the NASA’s MODIS satellite in combination with hourly to daily observations from sea surface buoys and from an Internet Operated Vehicle (IOV) on the seafloor within Barkley Canyon (Northeast Pacific) to investigate the importance of winter processes in the export of fresh phytodetritus. The results indicate that phytoplankton pulses during winter can be as important in POC transfer to depth as the pulses associated with spring and summer blooms. Short winter phytoplankton pulses were observed to disappear from surface waters after low-pressure systems affected the area. Pulses of chlorophyll reached the IOV, at 870 m depth on the canyon seafloor, 12–72 hours later. These observed short pulses of biological carbon production regularly observed in the region from December to March have not been considered a significant component of the biological pump when compared with the denser summer productivity blooms.
Data Types:
  • Other
  • Video
  • Dataset
Understanding the external stimuli and natural contexts that elicit complex behaviours, such as parental care, is key in linking behavioural mechanisms to their real-life function. Poison frogs provide obligate parental care by shuttling their tadpoles from terrestrial clutches to aquatic nurseries, but little is known about the proximate mechanisms that control these behaviours. In this study, we used Allobates femoralis, a poison frog with predominantly male parental care, to investigate whether tadpole transport can be induced in both sexes by transferring unrelated tadpoles to the backs of adults in the field. Specifically, we asked whether the presence of tadpoles on an adult's back can override the decision-making rules preceding tadpole pick-up and induce the recall of spatial memory necessary for finding tadpole deposition sites. We used telemetry to facilitate accurate tracking of individual frogs and spatial analysis to compare movement trajectories. All tested individuals transported their foster-tadpoles to water pools outside their home area. Contrary to our expectation, we found no sex difference in the likelihood to transport or in the spatial accuracy of finding tadpole deposition sites. We reveal that a stereotypical cascade of parental behaviours that naturally involves sex-specific offspring recognition strategies and the use of spatial memory can be manipulated by experimental placement of unrelated tadpoles on adult frogs. As individuals remained inside their home area when only the jelly from tadpole-containing clutches was brushed on the back, we speculate that tactile rather than chemical stimuli trigger these parental behaviours.
Data Types:
  • Other
  • Video
  • Dataset
Marine piscivores have evolved a variety of morphological and behavioural adaptations, including group foraging, to optimize foraging efficiency when targeting shoaling fish. For penguins that are known to associate at sea and feed on these prey resources, there is nonetheless a lack of empirical evidence to support improved foraging efficiency when foraging with conspecifics. We examined the hunting strategies and foraging performance of breeding African penguins equipped with animal-borne video recorders. Individuals pursued both solitary as well as schooling pelagic fish, and demonstrated independent as well as group foraging behaviour. The most profitable foraging involved herding of fish schools upwards during the ascent phase of a dive where most catches constituted depolarized fish. Catch-per-unit-effort was significantly improved when targeting fish schools as opposed to single fish, especially when foraging in groups. In contrast to more generalist penguin species, African penguins appear to have evolved specialist hunting strategies closely linked to their primary reliance on schooling pelagic fish. The specialist nature of the observed hunting strategies further limits the survival potential of this species if Allee effects reduce group size-related foraging efficiency. This is likely to be exacerbated by diminishing fish stocks due to resource competition and environmental change.
Data Types:
  • Software/Code
  • Video
  • Tabular Data
  • Dataset
Understanding the external stimuli and natural contexts that elicit complex behaviors, such as parental care, is key in linking behavioral mechanisms to their real-life function. Poison frogs provide obligate parental care by shuttling their tadpoles from terrestrial clutches to aquatic nurseries, but little is known about the proximate mechanisms that control these behaviors. In this study, we used Allobates femoralis, a poison frog with predominantly male parental care, to investigate whether tadpole transport can be induced in both sexes by transferring unrelated tadpoles to the backs of adults in the field. Specifically, we asked if the presence of tadpoles on an adult's back can override the decision-making rules preceding tadpole pick-up and induce the recall of spatial memory necessary for finding tadpole deposition sites. We used telemetry to facilitate accurate tracking of individual frogs and spatial analyses to compare movement trajectories. All tested individuals transported their foster-tadpoles to water pools outside their home area. Contrary to our expectation, we found no sex difference in the likelihood to transport nor in the spatial accuracy of finding tadpole deposition sites. We reveal that a stereotypical cascade of parental behaviors that naturally involves sex-specific offspring recognition strategies and the use of spatial memory can be manipulated by experimental placement of unrelated tadpoles on adult frogs. As individuals remained inside their home area when only the jelly from tadpole-containing clutches was brushed on the back, we speculate that tactile rather than chemical stimuli are triggering these parental behaviors.
Data Types:
  • Other
  • Video
  • Dataset
In 1665, Huygens observed that two identical pendulum clocks, weakly coupled through a heavy beam, soon synchronized with the same period and amplitude but with the two pendula swinging in opposite directions. This behaviour is now called anti-phase synchronization. This paper presents an analysis of the behaviour of a large class of coupled identical oscillators, including Huygens' clocks, using methods of equivariant bifurcation theory. The equivariant normal form for such systems is developed and the possible solutions are characterized. The transformation of the physical system parameters to the normal form parameters is given explicitly and applied to the physical values appropriate for Huygens' clocks, and to those of more recent studies. It is shown that Huygens' physical system could only exhibit anti-phase motion, explaining why Huygens observed exclusively this. By contrast, some more recent researchers have observed in-phase or other more complicated motion in their own experimental systems. Here, it is explained which physical characteristics of these systems allow for the existence of these other types of stable solutions. The present analysis not only accounts for these previously observed solutions in a unified framework, but also introduces behaviour not classified by other authors, such as a synchronized toroidal breather and a chaotic toroidal breather.
Data Types:
  • Video
  • Dataset
The use of information provided by others to tackle life's challenges is widespread, but should not be employed indiscriminately if it is to be adaptive. Evidence is accumulating that animals are indeed selective and adopt ‘social learning strategies’. However, studies have generally focused on fish, bird and primate species. Here we extend research on social learning strategies to a taxonomic group that has been neglected until now: otters (subfamily Lutrinae). We collected social association data on captive groups of two gregarious species: smooth-coated otters (Lutrogale perspicillata), known to hunt fish cooperatively in the wild, and Asian short-clawed otters (Aonyx cinereus), which feed individually on prey requiring extractive foraging behaviours. We then presented otter groups with a series of novel foraging tasks, and inferred social transmission of task solutions with network-based diffusion analysis. We show that smooth-coated otters can socially learn how to exploit novel food sources and may adopt a ‘copy when young’ strategy. We found no evidence for social learning in the Asian short-clawed otters. Otters are thus a promising model system for comparative research into social learning strategies, while conservation reintroduction programmes may benefit from facilitating the social transmission of survival skills in these vulnerable species.
Data Types:
  • Software/Code
  • Video
  • Tabular Data
  • Dataset
Global biodiversity patterns in deep time can only be understood fully when the relative preservation potential of each clade is known. The relative preservation potential of marine arthropod clades, a diverse and ecologically important component of modern and past ecosystems, is poorly known. We tackled this issue by carrying out a 205-day long comprehensive, comparative, taphonomic experiment in a laboratory by scoring up to ten taphonomic characters for multiple specimens of seven crustacean and one chelicerate species (two true crabs, one shrimp, one lobster, one hermit crab, one stomatopod, one barnacle and one horseshoe crab). Although the results are preliminary because we used a single experimental setup and algal growth partially hampered observations, some parts of hermit crabs, stomatopods, swimming crabs and barnacles decayed slowly relative to other parts, implying differential preservation potentials within species, largely consistent with the fossil record of these groups. An inferred parasitic isopod, manifested by a bopyriform swelling within a hermit crab carapace, decayed relatively fast. We found limited variation in the decay rate between conspecifics, and we did not observe size-related trends in decay rate. Conversely, substantial differences in the decay rate between species were seen after c. 50 days, with shrimps and stomatopods decaying fastest, suggesting a relatively low preservation potential, whereas the lobster, calico crabs, horseshoe crabs and barnacles showed relatively slow decay rates, suggesting a higher preservation potential. These results are supported by two modern and fossil record-based preservation potential metrics that are significantly correlated to decay rate ranks. Furthermore, we speculate that stemward slippage may not be ubiquitous in marine arthropods. Our results imply that diversity studies of true crabs, lobsters, horseshoe crabs and barnacles are more likely to yield patterns that are closer to their true biodiversity patterns than those for stomatopods, shrimps and hermit crabs.
Data Types:
  • Video
  • Tabular Data
  • Dataset
  • Document
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