The Science of Nature

http://link.springer.com/journal/114

List of Papers (Total 380)

Identification of the aggregation-sex pheromone of Plagionotus arcuatus ssp. arcuatus (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) from two geographically separated European populations

Plagionotus arcuatus ssp. arcuatus (L.) is a common saproxylic cerambycid beetle in most parts of Europe, and is designated as an occasional pest of oak wood that is stored outside during the summer months. In an effort to identify attractants that can be used for monitoring this species, we collected headspace samples from adult beetles and conducted field bioassays with the...

Male territorial aggression and fitness in collared flycatchers: a long-term study

Aggressive behaviour plays a fundamental role in the distribution of limiting resources. Thereby, it is expected to have consequences for fitness. Here, we explored the relationship between aggression and fitness in a long-term database collected in a wild population of the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis). We quantified the aggression of males during nest-site defence...

Evaluating monitoring options for conservation: comparing traditional and environmental DNA tools for a critically endangered mammal

While conservation management has made tremendous strides to date, deciding where, when and how to invest limited monitoring budgets is a central concern for impactful decision-making. New analytical tools, such as environmental DNA (eDNA), are now facilitating broader biodiversity monitoring at unprecedented scales, in part, due to time, and presumably cost, of methodological...

Roll with the fear: environment and state dependence of pill bug (Armadillidium vulgare) personalities

Most studies on animal personality evaluate individual mean behaviour to describe individual behavioural strategy, while often neglecting behavioural variability on the within-individual level. However, within-individual behavioural plasticity (variation induced by environment) and within-individual residual variation (regulatory behavioural precision) are recognized as...

Insectivorous birds consume an estimated 400–500 million tons of prey annually

In this paper, we present an estimate of the predation impact of the global population of insectivorous birds based on 103 (for the most part) published studies of prey consumption (kg ha−1 season−1) of insectivorous birds in seven biome types. By extrapolation—taking into account the global land cover of the various biomes—an estimate of the annual prey consumption of the world...

Remote monitoring of vibrational information in spider webs

Spiders are fascinating model species to study information-acquisition strategies, with the web acting as an extension of the animal’s body. Here, we compare the strategies of two orb-weaving spiders that acquire information through vibrations transmitted and filtered in the web. Whereas Araneus diadematus monitors web vibration directly on the web, Zygiella x-notata uses a...

Shell colour, temperature, (micro)habitat structure and predator pressure affect the behaviour of Cepaea nemoralis

Although shell colour polymorphism of the land snail Cepaea nemoralis is a well-known phenomenon, proximate and ultimate factors driving its evolution remain uncertain. Polymorphic species show variation in behavioural responses to selective forces. Therefore, we estimated effects of various environmental factors (temperature, humidity, food availability, (micro)habitat structure...

Polarisation vision: overcoming challenges of working with a property of light we barely see

In recent years, the study of polarisation vision in animals has seen numerous breakthroughs, not just in terms of what is known about the function of this sensory ability, but also in the experimental methods by which polarisation can be controlled, presented and measured. Once thought to be limited to only a few animal species, polarisation sensitivity is now known to be...

A lake classification concept for a more accurate global estimate of the dissolved inorganic carbon export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters

The magnitude of lateral dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) export from terrestrial ecosystems to inland waters strongly influences the estimate of the global terrestrial carbon dioxide (CO2) sink. At present, no reliable number of this export is available, and the few studies estimating the lateral DIC export assume that all lakes on Earth function similarly. However, lakes can...

Dorsal shaving affects concentrations of faecal cortisol metabolites in lactating golden hamsters

Breeding of golden hamsters is classically performed at thermal conditions ranging from 20 to 24 °C. However, growing evidence suggests that lactating females suffer from heat stress. We hypothesised that shaving females dorsally to maximise heat dissipation may reduce stress during reproduction. We thus compared faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM) from shaved golden hamster...

A comparative analysis of colour preferences in temperate and tropical social bees

The spontaneous occurrence of colour preferences without learning has been demonstrated in several insect species; however, the underlying mechanisms are still not understood. Here, we use a comparative approach to investigate spontaneous and learned colour preferences in foraging bees of two tropical and one temperate species. We hypothesised that tropical bees utilise different...

Using Hidden Markov Models to characterise intermittent social behaviour in fish shoals

The movement of animals in groups is widespread in nature. Understanding this phenomenon presents an important problem in ecology with many applications that range from conservation to robotics. Underlying all group movements are interactions between individual animals and it is therefore crucial to understand the mechanisms of this social behaviour. To date, despite promising...

Fusarium head blight incidence and mycotoxin accumulation in three durum wheat cultivars in relation to sowing date and density

Durum wheat (Triticum turgidum var. durum) is an important crop in Europe, particularly in the Mediterranean countries. Fusarium head blight (FHB) is considered as one of the most damaging diseases, resulting in yield and quality reduction as well as contamination of grain with mycotoxins. Three winter durum wheat cultivars originating from Austria, Slovakia, and Poland were...

Differential timing and latitudinal variation in sex ratio of Aquatic Warblers during the autumn migration

Differential migration has been extensively reported in spring, but less so in autumn, particularly in relation to sex in monomorphic bird species. Here, we analysed the autumn passage of a monomorphic, globally threatened passerine, the Aquatic Warbler Acrocephalus paludicola throughout Western Europe, with regard to age and sex. We showed that, overall, adults migrated earlier...

Endogenous control of fuelling in a migratory songbird

The Northern wheatear (Oenanthe oenanthe) is a small long-distance migratory songbird that breeds throughout the Northern hemisphere and winters in sub-Saharan Africa. The main components of its migratory behaviour, i.e. seasonal migratory restlessness and body mass changes, have been shown to be under endogenous control. However, it is still unknown whether the disposition to...

Occurrence of myo-inositol and alkyl-substituted polysaccharide in the prey-trapping mucilage of Drosera capensis

The chemical composition of the exudate mucilage droplets of the carnivorous plant Drosera capensis was investigated using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. The mucilage was found to contain beside a very large molecular weight polysaccharide a significant amount of myo-inositol. It appears that myo-inositol escaped detection due to the commonly applied methodology on the...

Acidic, neutral and alkaline forest ponds as a landscape element affecting the biodiversity of freshwater snails

In recent years, the number of areas remaining under the influence of acidity has increased. At all levels of ecosystems, biodiversity decreases with acidification, due to the elimination of species that are most sensitive to low pH. Forest ponds belong to a specific group that varied in location, a huge amount of leaf litter, and isolation from other aquatic environments. They...

Factors determining presence of passerines breeding within White Stork Ciconia ciconia nests

Nests of White Stork Ciconia ciconia are commonly used by various passerines as nesting sites. In this study, we investigated factors determining presence and number of pairs of species breeding within White Stork nests in an extensive farmland in NE Poland. In 133 (57%) out of 233 White Stork nests, we found at least one breeding pair of passerine bird. These were from three...

Physiological proteins in resource-limited herbivores experiencing a population die-off

Nutrient availability is predicted to interact with herbivore population densities. Competition for low quality food at high density may reduce summer food intake, and in turn winter survival. Conversely, low population density may favor physiological recovery through better access to better quality spring forage. Here, we take advantage of the long-term study of the Soay sheep...

Social media and scientific research are complementary—YouTube and shrikes as a case study

Fascination with animals and their behaviour is one the most prominent patterns persisting in all human cultures. During the last decades, however, technological development and public access to the Internet have increased the speed and the extent of information sharing at an unprecedented rate, in some cases even challenging the traditional methods used in science. In order to...

Sexual differences in food preferences in the white stork: an experimental study

Sex differences in the foraging ecology of monomorphic species are poorly understood, due to problems with gender identification in field studies. In the current study, we used experimental conditions to investigate the food preferences of the white stork Ciconia ciconia, an opportunistic species in terms of food, but characterised by a low level of sexual dimorphism. During a 10...