Preprints

Filtering by Subject: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Bayesian reinforcement learning models reveal how great-tailed grackles improve their behavioral flexibility in serial reversal learning experiments

Dieter Lukas, Kelsey McCune, Aaron Blaisdell, et al.

Published: 2022-08-11
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Environments can change suddenly and unpredictably, so animals might benefit from being able to flexibly adapt their behavior through learning new associations. Reversal learning experiments, where individuals initially learn that a reward is associated with a specific cue before the reward is switched to a different cue, thus forcing individuals to reverse their learned associations, have long [...]

Repeatability of performance within and across contexts measuring behavioral flexibility

Kelsey McCune, Aaron Blaisdell, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, et al.

Published: 2022-08-10
Subjects: Animal Experimentation and Research, Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Research Methods in Life Sciences

Research into animal cognitive abilities is increasing quickly and often uses methods where behavioral performance on a task is assumed to represent variation in the underlying cognitive trait. However, because these methods rely on behavioral responses as a proxy for cognitive ability, it is important to validate that the task structure does, in fact, target the cognitive trait of interest [...]

The IUCN Red List is not sufficient to protect genetic diversity

Chloé Schmidt, Sean Hoban, Margaret Hunter, et al.

Published: 2022-08-01
Subjects: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List is an important and widely used conservation prioritization tool. It uses information about species range size, habitat quality and fragmentation levels, and trends in abundance to assess species extinction risk. Genetic erosion is an additional key factor determining extinction risk, but the Red List was not designed to assess [...]

Experimental validation of transposable element insertions using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

Miriam Merenciano, Marta Coronado-Zamora, Josefa Gonzalez

Published: 2022-07-30
Subjects: Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences

Transposable elements (TEs), also known as transposons, are repetitive DNA sequences, present in virtually all organisms, that can move from one genomic position to another. TEs can be a source of mutations with important consequences for organisms. Despite their interest, its repetitive nature has made their study very challenging. However, the emergence of new sequencing technologies that allow [...]

The courage of hopelessness: a transformative change for conservation sciences

Marco Malavasi

Published: 2022-07-30
Subjects: Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Studies, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences

As the twenty-first century unfolds, the human-driven decline of life on Earth is of greater concern and, despite tremendous growth in the volume of conservation science and many local successes, shows no clear signs of improvement. As a matter of fact, the reversal of nature’s ongoing decline is only possible with urgent “transformative change” However, no transformative changes are viable [...]

Female preferences for higher vocal effort in Neotropical singing mice

Tracy Burkhard, E. Raney Sachs, Steve Phelps

Published: 2022-07-30
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Despite the importance of vocalizations in mammalian sociosexual communication, little is known about female preferences for male vocal displays in wild mammals. Here, we characterized female preferences for the advertisement songs of male Alston’s singing mice (Scotinomys teguina). We developed procedures for inducing estrus, using vaginal morphology as a bioindicator. We then broadcasted [...]

European light skin may have evolved as an adaptation to the Neolithic sedentary lifestyle

Manuel Ferrando-Bernal

Published: 2022-07-28
Subjects: Bioinformatics, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences, Population Biology

Light skin facilitates the penetration of ultraviolet light (UV) radiation through the skin, increasing the synthesis of vitamin D that in turn stimulates bone formation. It has been suggested that light skin appeared in the ancestors of modern Europeans as an adaptation to the conditions of low UV radiation in high latitudes; however, paleogenetic studies have recently shown it did not evolve [...]

Generation and applications of simulated datasets to integrate social network and demographic analyses

Matthew Silk, Olivier Gimenez

Published: 2022-07-27
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Population Biology

Social networks are tied to population dynamics; interactions are driven by population density and demographic structure, while social relationships can be key determinants of survival and reproductive success. However, difficulties integrating models used in demography and network analysis have limited research at this interface. We introduce the R package genNetDem for simulating integrated [...]

Effects of helicopter skiing on mountain goats and woodland caribou in British Columbia

Steven Foster Wilson

Published: 2022-07-25
Subjects: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Helicopter skiing is a popular adventure tourism activity that occurs within the range of mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus) and/or woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in British Columbia and, to a lesser extent in adjacent jurisdictions. Both are species of concern, with known or suspected population declines occurring in substantial portions of their respective ranges. Whether [...]

Shared neural transcriptomic patterns underlie the repeated evolution of mutualistic cleaning behavior in Labridae wrasses

Rebecca L Young, Chelsea Weitekamp, Zegni Triki, et al.

Published: 2022-07-25
Subjects: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences

Despite the remarkable diversity of life forms on earth, evolutionary biologists have discovered numerous instances where even distantly related species share astonishing similarities in how they behave, look, and function. Given the importance of happenstance in evolution (e.g., random mutations, genetic drift, environmental stochasticity), it is often assumed that the mechanisms underlying such [...]

Effect of Forest Understorey Stand Density on Woodland Caribou Habitat Use

Steven Foster Wilson, Thomas D. Nudds, Philip Green, et al.

Published: 2022-07-21
Subjects: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Woodland caribou are considered to preferentially use older forests that provide abundant terrestrial lichen forage and refuge from predators. However, structural characteristics vary widely, differing in terms of forage availability but also, perhaps, in the ability of caribou to move freely through forests to access the available forage or to escape predation. We examined the effect of forest [...]

Perturbations of key individuals trigger shifts in group-level dominance patterns

Annemarie van der Marel, Xavier Francis, Claire L. O'Connell, et al.

Published: 2022-07-21
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Dominance hierarchies direct and structure aggression in a myriad of species. Recent computational approaches have been able to detect additional aggression patterns within animal dominance hierarchies based on relative rank differences between individuals. Within species, distinct groups can follow different social dominance patterns, indicating that these patterns should not be thought of as a [...]

fundiversity: a modular R package to compute functional diversity indices

Matthias Grenié, Hugo Gruson

Published: 2022-07-18
Subjects: Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Other Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Research Methods in Life Sciences

1. Functional diversity is widely used and widespread. However, the main package used to compute functional diversity indices FD is not flexible and not adapted to the volume of data used in modern ecological analyses. 2. We here present fundiversity, an R package that eases the computation of classical functional diversity indices. It leverages parallelization and memoization (caching results [...]

Social niche shapes social behavior and cortisol concentrations during adolescence in female guinea pigs

Taylor Rystrom, S. Helene Richter, Norbert Sachser, et al.

Published: 2022-07-16
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Individualized social niches arise in social groups and are associated with behavior and hormone (e.g. cortisol) concentrations. During sensitive life phases, social interactions can have a profound impact on the development of social behavior. Focusing on adolescence, we aimed to investigate the relationship between the social niche, social behavior, and cortisol concentrations (baseline and [...]

The role of genomics in the future of Endangered Species Act decision-making

Brenna Forester, Tanya Lama

Published: 2022-07-14
Subjects: Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics and Genomics, Life Sciences

The U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) provides a framework for the protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species and their habitats in the face of anthropogenic threats. Genetic information has played a role in decision-making under the ESA for decades, most commonly informing taxonomy and the designation of distinct population segments, though detection of inbreeding also played [...]

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