Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org

List of Papers (Total 3,602)

Higher frequency of social learning in China than in the West shows cultural variation in the dynamics of cultural evolution

Cultural evolutionary models have identified a range of conditions under which social learning (copying others) is predicted to be adaptive relative to asocial learning (learning on one's own), particularly in humans where socially learned information can accumulate over successive generations. However, cultural evolution and behavioural economics experiments have consistently ...

Secondary contact seeds phenotypic novelty in cichlid fishes

Theory proposes that genomic admixture between formerly reproductively isolated populations can generate phenotypic novelty for selection to act upon. Secondary contact may therefore be a significant promoter of phenotypic novelty that allows species to overcome environmental challenges and adapt to novel environments, including during adaptive radiation. To date, this has largely ...

Reactive vaccination in the presence of disease hotspots

Reactive vaccination has recently been adopted as an outbreak response tool for cholera and other infectious diseases. Owing to the global shortage of oral cholera vaccine, health officials must quickly decide who and where to distribute limited vaccine. Targeted vaccination in transmission hotspots (i.e. areas with high transmission efficiency) may be a potential approach to ...

Eyespots deflect predator attack increasing fitness and promoting the evolution of phenotypic plasticity

Some eyespots are thought to deflect attack away from the vulnerable body, yet there is limited empirical evidence for this function and its adaptive advantage. Here, we demonstrate the conspicuous ventral hindwing eyespots found on Bicyclus anynana butterflies protect against invertebrate predators, specifically praying mantids. Wet season (WS) butterflies with larger, brighter ...

The relative importance of direct and indirect effects of hunting mortality on the population dynamics of brown bears

There is increasing evidence of indirect effects of hunting on populations. In species with sexually selected infanticide (SSI), hunting may decrease juvenile survival by increasing male turnover. We aimed to evaluate the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of hunting via SSI on the population dynamics of the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos). We performed ...

Different effects of paternal trans-generational immune priming on survival and immunity in step and genetic offspring

Paternal trans-generational immune priming, whereby fathers provide immune protection to offspring, has been demonstrated in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum exposed to the insect pathogen Bacillus thuringiensis. It is currently unclear how such protection is transferred, as in contrast to mothers, fathers do not directly provide offspring with a large amount of substances. ...

Cultural evolution of systematically structured behaviour in a non-human primate

Culture pervades human life and is at the origin of the success of our species. A wide range of other animals have culture too, but often in a limited form that does not complexify through the gradual accumulation of innovations. We developed a new paradigm to study cultural evolution in primates in order to better evaluate our closest relatives' cultural capacities. Previous ...

Multiple species of wild tree peonies gave rise to the ‘king of flowers’, Paeonia suffruticosa Andrews

The origin of cultivated tree peonies, known as the ‘king of flowers' in China for more than 1000 years, has attracted considerable interest, but remained unsolved. Here, we conducted phylogenetic analyses of explicitly sampled traditional cultivars of tree peonies and all wild species from the shrubby section Moutan of the genus Paeonia based on sequences of 14 fast-evolved ...

A generalized sense of number

Much evidence has accumulated to suggest that many animals, including young human infants, possess an abstract sense of approximate quantity, a number sense. Most research has concentrated on apparent numerosity of spatial arrays of dots or other objects, but a truly abstract sense of number should be capable of encoding the numerosity of any set of discrete elements, however ...

The reef-building coral Siderastrea siderea exhibits parabolic responses to ocean acidification and warming

Anthropogenic increases in atmospheric CO2 over this century are predicted to cause global average surface ocean pH to decline by 0.1–0.3 pH units and sea surface temperature to increase by 1–4°C. We conducted controlled laboratory experiments to investigate the impacts of CO2-induced ocean acidification (pCO2 = 324, 477, 604, 2553 µatm) and warming (25, 28, 32°C) on the ...

A theoretical examination of the relative importance of evolution management and drug development for managing resistance

Drug resistance is a serious public health problem that threatens to thwart our ability to treat many infectious diseases. Repeatedly, the introduction of new drugs has been followed by the evolution of resistance. In principle, there are two complementary ways to address this problem: (i) enhancing drug development and (ii) slowing the evolution of drug resistance through ...

Early evolution of limb regeneration in tetrapods: evidence from a 300-million-year-old amphibian

Salamanders are the only tetrapods capable of fully regenerating their limbs throughout their entire lives. Much data on the underlying molecular mechanisms of limb regeneration have been gathered in recent years allowing for new comparative studies between salamanders and other tetrapods that lack this unique regenerative potential. By contrast, the evolution of animal ...

Two-phase importance sampling for inference about transmission trees

There has been growing interest in the statistics community to develop methods for inferring transmission pathways of infectious pathogens from molecular sequence data. For many datasets, the computational challenge lies in the huge dimension of the missing data. Here, we introduce an importance sampling scheme in which the transmission trees and phylogenies of pathogens are both ...

The path of least resistance: aggressive or moderate treatment?

The evolution of resistance to antimicrobial chemotherapy is a major and growing cause of human mortality and morbidity. Comparatively little attention has been paid to how different patient treatment strategies shape the evolution of resistance. In particular, it is not clear whether treating individual patients aggressively with high drug dosages and long treatment durations, or ...

Chordate evolution and the three-phylum system

Traditional metazoan phylogeny classifies the Vertebrata as a subphylum of the phylum Chordata, together with two other subphyla, the Urochordata (Tunicata) and the Cephalochordata. The Chordata, together with the phyla Echinodermata and Hemichordata, comprise a major group, the Deuterostomia. Chordates invariably possess a notochord and a dorsal neural tube. Although the origin ...

Escape from extreme specialization: passionflowers, bats and the sword-billed hummingbird

A striking example of plant/pollinator trait matching is found between Andean species of Passiflora with 6–14-cm-long nectar tubes and the sword-billed hummingbird, Ensifera ensifera, with up to 11-cm-long bills. Because of the position of their anthers and stigmas, and self-incompatibility, these passionflower species depend on E. ensifera for pollination. Field observations show ...

Host specialist clownfishes are environmental niche generalists

Why generalist and specialist species coexist in nature is a question that has interested evolutionary biologists for a long time. While the coexistence of specialists and generalists exploiting resources on a single ecological dimension has been theoretically and empirically explored, biological systems with multiple resource dimensions (e.g. trophic, ecological) are less well ...

Testing the stages model in the adaptive radiation of cichlid fishes in East African Lake Tanganyika

Adaptive radiation (AR) is a key process in the origin of organismal diversity. However, the evolution of trait disparity in connection with ecological specialization is still poorly understood. Available models for vertebrate ARs predict that diversification occurs in the form of temporal stages driven by different selective forces. Here, we investigate the AR of cichlid fishes in ...

Evolution of climatic niche specialization: a phylogenetic analysis in amphibians

The evolution of climatic niche specialization has important implications for many topics in ecology, evolution and conservation. The climatic niche reflects the set of temperature and precipitation conditions where a species can occur. Thus, specialization to a limited set of climatic conditions can be important for understanding patterns of biogeography, species richness, ...

Specialization and generalization in the diversification of phytophagous insects: tests of the musical chairs and oscillation hypotheses

Evolutionary biologists have often assumed that ecological generalism comes at the expense of less intense exploitation of specific resources and that this trade-off will promote the evolution of ecologically specialized daughter species. Using a phylogenetic comparative approach with butterflies as a model system, we test hypotheses that incorporate changes in niche breadth and ...

Evolutionary ecology of specialization: insights from phylogenetic analysis

In this Special feature, we assemble studies that illustrate phylogenetic approaches to studying salient questions regarding the effect of specialization on lineage diversification. The studies use an array of techniques involving a wide-ranging collection of biological systems (plants, butterflies, fish and amphibians are all represented). Their results reveal that ...

Listening to the environment: hearing differences from an epigenetic effect in solitarious and gregarious locusts

Locusts display a striking form of phenotypic plasticity, developing into either a lone-living solitarious phase or a swarming gregarious phase depending on population density. The two phases differ extensively in appearance, behaviour and physiology. We found that solitarious and gregarious locusts have clear differences in their hearing, both in their tympanal and neuronal ...

Aquatic polymers can drive pathogen transmission in coastal ecosystems

Gelatinous polymers including extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) are fundamental to biophysical processes in aquatic habitats, including mediating aggregation processes and functioning as the matrix of biofilms. Yet insight into the impact of these sticky molecules on the environmental transmission of pathogens in the ocean is limited. We used the zoonotic parasite ...

Cranial biomechanics underpins high sauropod diversity in resource-poor environments

High megaherbivore species richness is documented in both fossil and contemporary ecosystems despite their high individual energy requirements. An extreme example of this is the Late Jurassic Morrison Formation, which was dominated by sauropod dinosaurs, the largest known terrestrial vertebrates. High sauropod diversity within the resource-limited Morrison is paradoxical, but might ...