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20 Jul 2024 at 01:56
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Bibliography on: Sociobiology


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RJR: Recommended Bibliography 20 Jul 2024 at 01:56 Created: 


Sociobiology is a field of scientific study that is based on the hypothesis that social behavior has resulted from evolution and attempts to examine and explain social behavior within that context. Sociobiology investigates social behaviors, such as mating patterns, territorial fights, pack hunting, and the hive society of social insects. It argues that just as selection pressure led to animals evolving useful ways of interacting with the natural environment, it led to the genetic evolution of advantageous social behavior. While the term "sociobiology" can be traced to the 1940s, the concept did not gain major recognition until the publication of Edward O. Wilson's book Sociobiology: The New Synthesis in 1975.

Created with PubMed® Query: sociobiology NOT pmcbook NOT ispreviousversion

Citations The Papers (from PubMed®)


RevDate: 2024-07-16
CmpDate: 2024-07-16

Cavaliere M, Yang G, De Dreu CKW, et al (2024)

Cooperation and social organization depend on weighing private and public reputations.

Scientific reports, 14(1):16443.

To avoid exploitation by defectors, people can use past experiences with others when deciding to cooperate or not ('private information'). Alternatively, people can derive others' reputation from 'public' information provided by individuals within the social network. However, public information may be aligned or misaligned with one's own private experiences and different individuals, such as 'friends' and 'enemies', may have different opinions about the reputation of others. Using evolutionary agent-based simulations, we examine how cooperation and social organization is shaped when agents (1) prioritize private or public information about others' reputation, and (2) integrate others' opinions using a friend-focused or a friend-and-enemy focused heuristic (relying on reputation information from only friends or also enemies, respectively). When agents prioritize public information and rely on friend-and-enemy heuristics, we observe polarization cycles marked by high cooperation, invasion by defectors, and subsequent population fragmentation. Prioritizing private information diminishes polarization and defector invasions, but also results in limited cooperation. Only when using friend-focused heuristics and following past experiences or the recommendation of friends create prosperous and stable populations based on cooperation. These results show how combining one's own experiences and the opinions of friends can lead to stable and large-scale cooperation and highlight the important role of following the advice of friends in the evolution of group cooperation.

RevDate: 2024-07-04
CmpDate: 2024-07-04

Kappeler PM, C Fichtel (2024)

Independent fitness consequences of group size variation in Verreaux's sifakas.

Communications biology, 7(1):816.

The costs and benefits of group living are also reflected in intraspecific variation in group size. Yet, little is known about general patterns of fitness consequences of this variation. We use demographic records collected over 25 years to determine how survival and reproductive success vary with group size in a Malagasy primate. We show that female reproductive rates of Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi) are not affected by total group size, but that they are supressed by the number of co-resident females, whereas mortality rates are significantly higher in larger groups. Neither annual rainfall nor the adult sex ratio have significant effects on birth and death rates. Hence, these sifakas enjoy the greatest net fitness benefits at small, and not the predicted intermediate group sizes. Thus, independent fitness proxies can vary independently as a function of group size as well as other factors, leading to deviations from optimal intermediate group sizes.

RevDate: 2024-06-26
CmpDate: 2024-06-26

Romano A, Gross J, CKW De Dreu (2024)

The nasty neighbor effect in humans.

Science advances, 10(26):eadm7968.

Like other group-living species, humans often cooperate more with an in-group member than with out-group members and strangers. Greater in-group favoritism should imply that people also compete less with in-group members than with out-group members and strangers. However, in situations where people could invest to take other's resources and invest to protect against exploitation, we observed the opposite. Akin to what in other species is known as the "nasty neighbor effect," people invested more when facing an in-group rather than out-group member or stranger across 51 nations, in different communities in Kenya, and in representative samples from the United Kingdom. This "nasty neighbor" behavior is independent of in-group favoritism in trust and emerges when people perceive within-group resource scarcity. We discuss how to reconcile that humans exhibit nastiness and favoritism toward in-group members with existing theory on in-group favoritism.

RevDate: 2024-06-24
CmpDate: 2024-06-24

Gross J, Méder ZZ, Romano A, et al (2024)

Indirect reciprocity can foster large-scale cooperation.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(27):e2409894121.

RevDate: 2024-06-01
CmpDate: 2024-05-28

Walsh EM, M Simone-Finstrom (2024)

Current honey bee stressor investigations and mitigation methods in the United States and Canada.

Journal of insect science (Online), 24(3):.

Honey bees are the most important managed insect pollinators in the US and Canadian crop systems. However, the annual mortality of colonies in the past 15 years has been consistently higher than historical records. Because they are eusocial generalist pollinators and amenable to management, honey bees provide a unique opportunity to investigate a wide range of questions at molecular, organismal, and ecological scales. Here, the American Association of Professional Apiculturists (AAPA) and the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists (CAPA) created 2 collections of articles featuring investigations on micro and macro aspects of honey bee health, sociobiology, and management showcasing new applied research from diverse groups studying honey bees (Apis mellifera) in the United States and Canada. Research presented in this special issue includes examinations of abiotic and biotic stressors of honey bees, and evaluations and introductions of various stress mitigation measures that may be valuable to both scientists and the beekeeping community. These investigations from throughout the United States and Canada showcase the wide breadth of current work done and point out areas that need further research.

RevDate: 2024-05-26

Neda-Stepan O, Giurgi-Oncu C, Sălcudean A, et al (2024)

The Influence of Personality Traits on Postpartum Depression: A Systematic Review Based on the NEO-FFI Scale.

Diseases (Basel, Switzerland), 12(5):.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a significant global health concern with profound implications for mothers, families, and societies. This systematic review aims to synthesize current research findings to understand better how personality traits, as assessed by the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (NEO-FFI), contribute to the development and progression of PPD. Conducted in January 2024, this review searched major databases like PubMed, PsycINFO, and Scopus up to December 2023, focusing on the NEO-FFI's role in evaluating PPD. Following PRISMA guidelines, studies were selected based on strict criteria, including the exclusive use of NEO-FFI for personality assessment and a focus on postpartum women. A total of seven studies were included after a rigorous two-step screening process, and their data were qualitatively synthesized. The review covered a total of 4172 participants, with a prevalence of clinically significant postpartum depression symptoms ranging from 10.6% to 51.7%. Notably, Neuroticism emerged as a significant predictor of PPD, with odds ratios ranging from 1.07 (95% CI: 0.96-1.20) in some studies to as high as 1.87 (95% CI: 1.53-2.27) in others. In contrast, traits like Extraversion and Conscientiousness generally showed protective effects, with lower scores associated with reduced PPD risk. For instance, Extraversion scores correlated negatively with PPD risk (Beta = -0.171) in one study. However, the impact of other traits such as Openness and Agreeableness on PPD risk was less clear, with some studies indicating negligible effects. The review highlights Neuroticism as a consistent and significant predictor of PPD risk, with varying impacts from other personality traits. The findings suggest potential pathways for targeted interventions in maternal mental health care, emphasizing the need for comprehensive personality evaluations in prenatal and postnatal settings.

RevDate: 2024-05-20
CmpDate: 2024-05-20

Fichtel C, Dinter K, F Ratsoavina (2024)

Benefits but not the dual functions of submissive signals differ between two Malagasy primates.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 379(1905):20230197.

Many animals use formalized signals to communicate dominance relationships. In some primates, such as macaques, the function of such signals varies with dominance style. Despotic species produce unidirectional submission signals that have a dual function: in conflict contexts, they signal a willingness to withdraw, whereas in peaceful contexts, they indicate the agreement to subordination. More despotic species produce these calls to a lesser extent than less despotic species. Here, we investigated whether the use of unidirectional submission signals is also related to dominance style in two lemur species and whether signalling subordination stabilizes social relationships at the group level. Ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) exhibit a more despotic dominance hierarchy than Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi). We observed social interactions in 75 dyads of Verreaux's sifakas and 118 dyads of ring-tailed lemurs. Both species used unidirectional submissive calls that have a dual function, potentially suggesting convergent evolution of the function of these signals in independent primate lineages. However, signalling subordination did not stabilize social relationships at the group level in both species. Additionally, subordination occurred more frequently in dyads of the more despotic ring-tailed lemurs than in Verreaux's sifakas, indicating opposite patterns to macaques in the coevolution of social traits with dominance style. This article is part of the theme issue 'The power of sound: unravelling how acoustic communication shapes group dynamics'.

RevDate: 2024-05-15
CmpDate: 2024-05-12

Errbii M, Ernst UR, Lajmi A, et al (2024)

Evolutionary genomics of socially polymorphic populations of Pogonomyrmex californicus.

BMC biology, 22(1):109.

BACKGROUND: Social insects vary considerably in their social organization both between and within species. In the California harvester ant, Pogonomyrmex californicus (Buckley 1867), colonies are commonly founded and headed by a single queen (haplometrosis, primary monogyny). However, in some populations in California (USA), unrelated queens cooperate not only during founding (pleometrosis) but also throughout the life of the colony (primary polygyny). The genetic architecture and evolutionary dynamics of this complex social niche polymorphism (haplometrosis vs pleometrosis) have remained unknown.

RESULTS: We provide a first analysis of its genomic basis and evolutionary history using population genomics comparing individuals from a haplometrotic population to those from a pleometrotic population. We discovered a recently evolved (< 200 k years), 8-Mb non-recombining region segregating with the observed social niche polymorphism. This region shares several characteristics with supergenes underlying social polymorphisms in other socially polymorphic ant species. However, we also find remarkable differences from previously described social supergenes. Particularly, four additional genomic regions not in linkage with the supergene show signatures of a selective sweep in the pleometrotic population. Within these regions, we find for example genes crucial for epigenetic regulation via histone modification (chameau) and DNA methylation (Dnmt1).

CONCLUSIONS: Altogether, our results suggest that social morph in this species is a polygenic trait involving a potential young supergene. Further studies targeting haplo- and pleometrotic individuals from a single population are however required to conclusively resolve whether these genetic differences underlie the alternative social phenotypes or have emerged through genetic drift.

RevDate: 2024-05-10

Peng T, Kennedy A, Wu Y, et al (2024)

Early life exposure to queen mandibular pheromone mediates persistent transcriptional changes in the brain of honey bee foragers.

The Journal of experimental biology pii:347266 [Epub ahead of print].

Behavioural regulation in insect societies remains a fundamental question in sociobiology. In hymenopteran societies, the queen plays a crucial role in regulating group behaviour by affecting individual behaviour and physiology through modulation of worker gene expression. Honey bee (Apis mellifera) queens signal their presence via queen mandibular pheromone (QMP). While QMP has been shown to influence behaviour and gene expression of young workers, we know little about how these changes translate in older workers. The effects of the queen pheromone could have prolonged molecular impacts on workers that depend on an early sensitive period. We demonstrate that removal of QMP impacts long-term gene expression in the brain and antennae in foragers that were treated early in life (1-day post emergence), but not when treated later in life. Genes important for division of labour, learning, chemosensory perception, and ageing were among those differentially expressed in the antennae and brain tissues, suggesting that QMP influences diverse physiological and behavioural processes in workers. Surprisingly, removal of QMP did not have an impact on foraging behaviour. Overall, our study suggests a sensitive period early in the life of workers, where the presence or absence of a queen has potential livelong effects on transcriptional activity.

RevDate: 2024-05-04
CmpDate: 2024-05-02

Tilley HB, Murphy D, Wierucka K, et al (2024)

Physical activity and temperature changes of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) participating in eco-tourism activities and elephant polo.

PloS one, 19(5):e0300373.

Captive and domestic animals are often required to engage in physical activity initiated or organised by humans, which may impact their body temperature, with consequences for their health and welfare. This is a particular concern for animals such as elephants that face thermoregulatory challenges because of their body size and physiology. Using infrared thermography, we measured changes in skin temperature associated with two types of physical activity in ten female Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at an eco-tourism lodge in Nepal. Six elephants took part in an activity relatively unfamiliar to the elephants-a polo tournament-and four participated in more familiar ecotourism activities. We recorded skin temperatures for four body regions affected by the activities, as well as an average skin temperature. Temperature change was used as the response variable in the analysis and calculated as the difference in elephant temperature before and after activity. We found no significant differences in temperature change between the elephants in the polo-playing group and those from the non-polo playing group. However, for both groups, when comparing the average skin body temperature and several different body regions, we found significant differences in skin temperature change before and after activity. The ear pinna was the most impacted region and was significantly different to all other body regions. This result highlights the importance of this region in thermoregulation for elephants during physical activity. However, as we found no differences between the average body temperatures of the polo and non-polo playing groups, we suggest that thermoregulatory mechanisms can counteract the effects of both physical activities the elephants engaged in.

RevDate: 2024-04-25

Imirzian N, Püffel F, Roces F, et al (2024)

Large deformation diffeomorphic mapping of 3D shape variation reveals two distinct mandible and head capsule morphs in Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutter worker ants.

Ecology and evolution, 14(4):e11236.

Ants are crucial ecosystem engineers, and their ecological success is facilitated by a division of labour among sterile "workers". In some ant lineages, workers have undergone further morphological differentiation, resulting in differences in body size, shape, or both. Distinguishing between changes in size and shape is not trivial. Traditional approaches based on allometry reduce complex 3D shapes into simple linear, areal, or volume metrics; modern approaches using geometric morphometrics typically rely on landmarks, introducing observer bias and a trade-off between effort and accuracy. Here, we use a landmark-free method based on large deformation diffeomorphic metric mapping (LDDMM) to assess the co-variation of size and 3D shape in the mandibles and head capsules of Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutter ants, a species exhibiting extreme worker size-variation. Body mass varied by more than two orders of magnitude, but a shape atlas created via LDDMM on μ-CT-derived 3D mesh files revealed only two distinct head capsule and mandibles shapes-one for the minims (body mass < 1 mg) and one for all other workers. We discuss the functional significance of the identified 3D shape variation, and its implications for the evolution of extreme polymorphism in Atta.

RevDate: 2024-04-11
CmpDate: 2024-04-11

Tesar K, Heymann EW, S Dolotovskaya (2023)

A comparison of scan and focal sampling in estimating activity budgets, diet composition, and proximity patterns of a wild pair-living primate.

Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology, 94(4-6):249-263.

The choice of behavioral sampling method can impact the outcome of data collection, however, few direct comparisons between methods have been made. We compared the performance of instantaneous group scan sampling (scan sampling) and focal continuous sampling with variable session durations (focal sampling) in estimating activity patterns, diet composition, and spatial proximity in seven groups of wild coppery titi monkeys (Plecturocebus cupreus) in Peruvian Amazonia. We used a series of paired samples Wilcoxon tests to compare daily proportions of time allocated to each type of activity/food/proximity category in each sampling method. In addition, we compared our results with those of other studies conducted on the same population of titi monkeys at other times. Focal sampling provided significantly lower estimates for moving time and significantly higher estimates for resting time compared to scan sampling, likely because scan sampling tends to give higher estimates of more conspicuous behaviors and lower estimates of less conspicuous behaviors. For diet composition, scan sampling gave similar results to other studies, while focal sampling gave significantly lower estimates for feeding on fruits and higher estimates for feeding on arthropods. The most likely reason is that focal sampling with variable session durations tends to overestimate behaviors during which a focal animal is less likely to go out of view, such as feeding on arthropods in the lower strata of the forest. Our results suggest that a pilot study comparing different methods should be conducted prior to collecting data, as not all methods are interchangeable.

RevDate: 2024-04-24
CmpDate: 2024-04-24

Schuhmann A, Schulte J, Feldhaar H, et al (2024)

Bumblebees are resilient to neonicotinoid-fungicide combinations.

Environment international, 186:108608.

Bumblebees are among the most important wild bees for pollination of crops and securing wildflower diversity. However, their abundance and diversity have been on a steady decrease in the last decades. One of the most important factors leading to their decline is the frequent use of plant protection products (PPPs) in agriculture, which spread into forests and natural reserves. Mixtures of different PPPs pose a particular threat because of possible synergistic effects. While there is a comparatively large body of studies on the effects of PPPs on honeybees, we still lack data on wild bees. We here investigated the influence of the frequent fungicide Cantus® Gold (boscalid/dimoxystrobin), the neonicotinoid insecticide Mospilan® (acetamiprid) and their combination on bumblebees. Cognitive performance and foraging flights of bumblebees were studied. They are essential for the provisioning and survival of the colony. We introduce a novel method for testing four treatments simultaneously on the same colony, minimizing inter-colony differences. For this, we successfully quartered the colony and moved the queen daily between compartments. Bumblebees appeared astonishingly resilient to the PPPs tested or they have developed mechanisms for detoxification. Neither learning capacity nor flight activity were inhibited by treatment with the single PPPs or their combination.

RevDate: 2024-04-22
CmpDate: 2024-04-05

Beer K, Zupanc GKH, C Helfrich-Förster (2024)

Ingeborg Beling and the time memory in honeybees: almost one hundred years of research.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 210(2):189-201.

Bees are known for their ability to forage with high efficiency. One of their strategies to avoid unproductive foraging is to be at the food source at the right time of the day. Approximately one hundred years ago, researchers discovered that honeybees have a remarkable time memory, which they use for optimizing foraging. Ingeborg Beling was the first to examine this time memory experimentally. In her doctoral thesis, completed under the mentorship of Karl von Frisch in 1929, she systematically examined the capability of honeybees to remember specific times of the day at which they had been trained to appear at a feeding station. Beling was a pioneer in chronobiology, as she described the basic characteristics of the circadian clock on which the honeybee's time memory is based. Unfortunately, after a few years of extremely productive research, she ended her scientific career, probably due to family reasons or political pressure to reduce the number of women in the workforce. Here, we present a biographical sketch of Ingeborg Beling and review her research on the time memory of honeybees. Furthermore, we discuss the significance of her work, considering what is known about time memory today - nearly 100 years after she conducted her experiments.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Narah J, Streinzer M, Chakravorty J, et al (2024)

Cuticular Hydrocarbon Profiles of Himalayan Bumble Bees (Hymenoptera: Bombus Latreille) are Species-Specific and Show Elevational Variation.

Journal of chemical ecology [Epub ahead of print].

Bumble bees are important pollinators in natural environments and agricultural farmlands, and they are in particular adapted to harsh environments like high mountain habitats. In these environments, animals are exposed to low temperature and face the risk of desiccation. The Eastern Himalayas are one of the recognized biodiversity hotspots worldwide. The area covers subtropical rainforest with warm temperature and high precipitation as well as high mountain ranges with peaks reaching up to 7,000 m, shaping a diverse floral and faunal community at the different elevational zones. To identify possible adaptation strategies, we investigated the cuticular hydrocarbon profiles of four bumble bee species occurring at different elevational ranges in Arunachal Pradesh, the northeastern most state in India. At 17 locations along an elevational gradient, we collected workers of two species from lower elevations (B. albopleuralis and B. breviceps; ~ 100 m - 3,000 m asl) and two species from higher elevations (B. prshewalskyi and B. mirus; ~ 2,800 m - 4,500 m asl). The CHC profiles of all four species showed a significant degree of variation in the composition of hydrocarbons, indicating species specificity. We also found clear correlation with elevation. The weighted mean chain length of the hydrocarbons significantly differed between the low and high elevation species, and the proportion of saturated hydrocarbons in CHC profiles significantly increased with the elevational range of the bumble bee species. Our results indicate that bumble bees living at high elevations reduce the risk of water loss by adapting their CHC composition on their cuticle, a phenomenon that has also been found in other insects like ants and fruit flies.

RevDate: 2024-03-13

Pirk CWW, R Scheiner (2023)

Editorial: The effects of diet on health in insects.

Frontiers in insect science, 3:1186027.

RevDate: 2024-02-28
CmpDate: 2024-02-14

Grob R, Müller VL, Grübel K, et al (2024)

Importance of magnetic information for neuronal plasticity in desert ants.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(8):e2320764121.

Many animal species rely on the Earth's magnetic field during navigation, but where in the brain magnetic information is processed is still unknown. To unravel this, we manipulated the natural magnetic field at the nest entrance of Cataglyphis desert ants and investigated how this affects relevant brain regions during early compass calibration. We found that manipulating the Earth's magnetic field has profound effects on neuronal plasticity in two sensory integration centers. Magnetic field manipulations interfere with a typical look-back behavior during learning walks of naive ants. Most importantly, structural analyses in the ants' neuronal compass (central complex) and memory centers (mushroom bodies) demonstrate that magnetic information affects neuronal plasticity during early visual learning. This suggests that magnetic information does not only serve as a compass cue for navigation but also as a global reference system crucial for spatial memory formation. We propose a neural circuit for integration of magnetic information into visual guidance networks in the ant brain. Taken together, our results provide an insight into the neural substrate for magnetic navigation in insects.

RevDate: 2024-02-15
CmpDate: 2024-01-31

Kannegieser S, Kraft N, Haan A, et al (2024)

Visual guidance fine-tunes probing movements of an insect appendage.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 121(6):e2306937121.

Visually guided reaching, a regular feature of human life, comprises an intricate neural control task. It includes identifying the target's position in 3D space, passing the representation to the motor system that controls the respective appendages, and adjusting ongoing movements using visual and proprioceptive feedback. Given the complexity of the neural control task, invertebrates, with their numerically constrained central nervous systems, are often considered incapable of this level of visuomotor guidance. Here, we provide mechanistic insights into visual appendage guidance in insects by studying the probing movements of the hummingbird hawkmoth's proboscis as they search for a flower's nectary. We show that visually guided proboscis movements fine-tune the coarse control provided by body movements in flight. By impairing the animals' view of their proboscis, we demonstrate that continuous visual feedback is required and actively sought out to guide this appendage. In doing so, we establish an insect model for the study of neural strategies underlying eye-appendage control in a simple nervous system.

RevDate: 2024-01-29

Kalinovic R, Pascariu A, Vlad G, et al (2024)

Involvement of the Expression of G Protein-Coupled Receptors in Schizophrenia.

Pharmaceuticals (Basel, Switzerland), 17(1):.

The expression of GPCRs has been associated with schizophrenia, and their expression may induce morphological changes in brain regions responsible for schizophrenia and disease-specific behavioral changes. The articles included in this review were selected using keywords and databases of scientific research websites. The expressions of GPRs have different involvements in schizophrenia, some increase the risk while others provide protection, and they may also be potential targets for new treatments. Proper evaluation of these factors is essential to have a better therapeutic response with a lower rate of chronicity and thus improve the long-term prognosis.

RevDate: 2024-02-06
CmpDate: 2024-01-26

Wu X, Kong L, Feng Y, et al (2024)

Communication mediated interaction between bacteria and microalgae advances photogranulation.

The Science of the total environment, 914:169975.

Recently, photogranules composed of bacteria and microalgae for carbon-negative nitrogen removal receive extensive attention worldwide, yet which type of bacteria is helpful for rapid formation of photogranules and whether they depend on signaling communication remain elusive. Varied signaling communication was analyzed using metagenomic method among bacteria and microalgae in via of two types of experimentally verified signaling molecule from bacteria to microalgae, which include indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) and N-acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs) during the operation of photo-bioreactors. Signaling communication is helpful for the adaptability of bacteria to survive with algae. Compared with non-signaling bacteria, signaling bacteria more easily adapt to the varied conditions, evidenced by the increased abundance in the operated reactors. Signaling bacteria are easier to enter the phycosphere, and they dominate the interactions between bacteria and algae rather than non-signaling bacteria. The co-abundance groups (CAGs) with signaling bacteria possess higher abundance than that without signaling bacteria (22.27 % and 6.67 %). Importantly, signaling bacteria accessibly interact with microalgae, which possess higher degree centralities and 32.50 % of them are keystone nodes in the network, in contrast to only 18.66 % of non-signaling bacteria. Thauera carrying both IAA and AHLs synthase genes are highly enriched and positively correlated with nitrogen removal rate. Our work not only highlights the essential roles of signaling communication between microalgae and bacteria in the development of photogranules, but also enriches our understanding of microbial sociobiology.

RevDate: 2024-03-13
CmpDate: 2024-02-23

Roura-Torres B, Amblard-Rambert P, Lepou P, et al (2024)

Stillbirth of a mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) in the wild: perinatal behaviors and delivery sequences.

Primates; journal of primatology, 65(2):75-80.

Birth is a fundamental event in the life of animals, including our own species. More reports of wild non-human primate births and stillbirths are thus needed to better understand the evolutionary pressures shaping parturition behaviors in our lineage. In diurnal non-human primates, births generally occur at night, when individuals are resting. Consequently, they are difficult to observe in the wild and most of the current knowledge regarding perinatal behaviors comes from rare daytime births. Information about stillbirths is even rarer and their proximate causes are generally unknown. Here, we present detailed observations of a daytime birth of a stillborn wild mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx). During this event, which lasted an entire day, we recorded the behaviors of the parturient female ad libitum, using video recordings and photos. The 5-year-old female was primiparous and of low dominance rank. The length of her pregnancy was shorter than usual and the partum phase was extremely long compared to other birth reports in non-human primates. The female disappeared shortly after this event and was assumed to have died. We discuss the possible causes of this stillbirth including the infant's presentation at birth and maternal inexperience.

RevDate: 2023-12-27
CmpDate: 2023-12-27

Larsen TJ, Jahan I, Brock DA, et al (2023)

Reduced social function in experimentally evolved Dictyostelium discoideum implies selection for social conflict in nature.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2013):20231722.

Many microbes interact with one another, but the difficulty of directly observing these interactions in nature makes interpreting their adaptive value complicated. The social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum forms aggregates wherein some cells are sacrificed for the benefit of others. Within chimaeric aggregates containing multiple unrelated lineages, cheaters can gain an advantage by undercontributing, but the extent to which wild D. discoideum has adapted to cheat is not fully clear. In this study, we experimentally evolved D. discoideum in an environment where there were no selective pressures to cheat or resist cheating in chimaeras. Dictyostelium discoideum lines grown in this environment evolved reduced competitiveness within chimaeric aggregates and reduced ability to migrate during the slug stage. By contrast, we did not observe a reduction in cell number, a trait for which selection was not relaxed. The observed loss of traits that our laboratory conditions had made irrelevant suggests that these traits were adaptations driven and maintained by selective pressures D. discoideum faces in its natural environment. Our results suggest that D. discoideum faces social conflict in nature, and illustrate a general approach that could be applied to searching for social or non-social adaptations in other microbes.

RevDate: 2023-12-28
CmpDate: 2023-12-20

Gabel M, Scheiner R, Steffan-Dewenter I, et al (2023)

Reproduction of Varroa destructor depends on well-timed host cell recapping and seasonal patterns.

Scientific reports, 13(1):22484.

Resistance traits of honeybees (Apis mellifera) against their major parasite Varroa destructor have fascinated scientists and breeders for long. Nevertheless, the mechanisms underlying resistance are still largely unknown. The same applies to possible interactions between host behaviours, mite reproduction and seasonal differences. Two resistance traits, reproductive failure of mites and recapping of brood cells, are of particular interest. High rates of recapping at the colony level were found to correspond with low reproductive success of mites. However, the direct effect of recapping on mite reproduction is still controversial and both traits seem to be very variable in their expression. Thus, a deeper knowledge of both, the effect of recapping on mite reproduction and the seasonal differences in the expression of these traits is urgently needed. To shed light on this host-parasite interaction, we investigated recapping and mite reproduction in full-grown colonies naturally infested with V. destructor. Measurements were repeated five times per year over the course of 3 years. The reproductive success of mites as well as the recapping frequency clearly followed seasonal patterns. Thereby, reproductive failure of mites at the cell level was constantly increased in case of recapping. Interestingly, this did not apply to the occurrence of infertile mites. In line with this, recapping activity in fertile cells was most frequent in brood ages in which mite offspring would be expected. Our results suggest that mite offspring is the main target of recapping. This, in turn, leads to a significantly reduced reproductive success of the parasite.

RevDate: 2023-12-17
CmpDate: 2023-12-16

Engelhardt SC, Weladji RB, Holand Ø, et al (2023)

Evidence suggesting that reindeer mothers allonurse according to the direct reciprocity and generalized reciprocity decision rules.

PloS one, 18(12):e0295497.

Allonursing is the nursing of the offspring of other mothers. Cooperation is an emergent property of evolved decision rules. Cooperation can be explained by at least three evolved decision rules: 1) direct reciprocity, i.e. help someone who previously helped you, 2) kin discrimination, i.e. preferentially direct help to kin than to non-kin, and 3) generalized reciprocity, i.e. help anyone if helped by someone. We assessed if semi-domesticated reindeer, Rangifer tarandus, mothers allonursed according to the decision rules of direct reciprocity, generalized reciprocity and kin discrimination over 2 years. To assess if reindeer mothers allonursed according to the direct reciprocity decision rule, we predicted that mothers should give more help to those who previously helped them more often. To assess if reindeer mothers allonursed according to the kin discrimination decision rule, we predicted that help given should increase as pairwise genetic relatedness increased. To assess if reindeer mothers allonursed according to the generalized reciprocity decision rule, we predicted that the overall number of help given by reindeer mothers should increase as the overall number of help received by reindeer mothers increased. The number of help given i) increased as the number of help received from the same partner increased in the 2012 group but not in both 2013 groups, ii) was not influenced by relatedness, and iii) was not influenced by an interaction between the number of help received from the same partner and relatedness. iv) The overall number of help given increased as the overall number of help received increased. The results did not support the prediction that reindeer mothers allonursed according to the kin discrimination decision rule. The results suggest that reindeer mothers may allonurse according to the direct reciprocity and generalized reciprocity decision rules.

RevDate: 2024-01-05
CmpDate: 2024-01-05

Orbán-Bakk K, Witek M, Dubiec A, et al (2024)

Infection with a non-lethal fungal parasite is associated with increased immune investment in the ant Myrmica scabrinodis.

Journal of invertebrate pathology, 202:108027.

Social insects, such as ants, are preferred host organisms of pathogens and parasites because colonies are densely populated, and the number of potential hosts is high in the same place and time. Within a colony, individuals are exposed differentially to risks according to their function and age. Thus, older individuals forage and are therefore the most exposed to infection, predation, or physical stress, while young workers mostly stay inside the sheltered nest being less exposed. Immune investment is considered to be dependent on an individual's age and pathogen pressure. Long-term exposure to a parasite could affect the immune activity of individuals in an intriguing way that interferes with the age-dependent decline in immunocompetence. However, there are only few cases in which such interferences can be studied. The myrmecopathogenic fungus Rickia wasmannii, which infects entire colonies without killing the workers, is a suitable candidate for such studies. We investigated the general immunocompetence of Myrmica scabrinodis ant workers associated with non-lethal fungal infection by measuring the levels of active phenoloxidase (PO) and total PO (PPO) (reflecting the amount of both active and inactive forms of the enzyme) in two age classes. The level of PO proved to be higher in infected workers than in uninfected ones, while the level of PPO increased with age but was not affected by infection. Overall, these results indicate that a long-term infection could go hand in hand with increased immune activity of ant workers, conferring them higher level of protection.

RevDate: 2023-11-27

Thamm M, Reiß F, Sohl L, et al (2023)

Solitary Bees Host More Bacteria and Fungi on Their Cuticle than Social Bees.

Microorganisms, 11(11):.

Bees come into contact with bacteria and fungi from flowering plants during their foraging trips. The Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) shows a pronounced hygienic behavior with social interactions, while the solitary red mason bee (Osmia bicornis) lacks a social immune system. Since both visit the same floral resources, it is intriguing to speculate that the body surface of a solitary bee should harbor a more complex microbiome than that of the social honeybee. We compared the cuticular microbiomes of A. mellifera (including three European subspecies) and O. bicornis for the first time by bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal ITS gene-based high-throughput amplicon sequencing. The cuticular microbiome of the solitary O. bicornis was significantly more complex than that of the social A. mellifera. The microbiome composition of A. mellifera subspecies was very similar. However, we counted significantly different numbers of fungi and a higher diversity in the honeybee subspecies adapted to warmer climates. Our results suggest that the cuticular microbiome of bees is strongly affected by visited plants, lifestyle and adaptation to temperature, which have important implications for the maintenance of the health of bees under conditions of global change.

RevDate: 2024-03-12
CmpDate: 2024-03-11

Schultheiss P (2024)

Unbalanced visual cues do not affect search precision at the nest in desert ants (Cataglyphis nodus).

Learning & behavior, 52(1):85-91.

Desert ant foragers are well known for their visual navigation abilities, relying on visual cues in the environment to find their way along routes back to the nest. If the inconspicuous nest entrance is missed, ants engage in a highly structured systematic search until it is discovered. Searching ants continue to be guided by visual cues surrounding the nest, from which they derive a location estimate. The precision level of this estimate depends on the information content of the nest panorama. This study examines whether search precision is also affected by the directional distribution of visual information. The systematic searching behavior of ants is examined under laboratory settings. Two different visual scenarios are compared - a balanced one where visual information is evenly distributed, and an unbalanced one where all visual information is located on one side of an experimental arena. The identity and number of visual objects is similar over both conditions. The ants search with comparable precision in both conditions. Even in the visually unbalanced condition, searches are characterized by balanced precision on both sides of the arena. This finding lends support to the idea that ants memorize the visual scenery at the nest as panoramic views from different locations. A searching ant is thus able to estimate its location with equal precision in all directions, leading to symmetrical search paths.

RevDate: 2024-03-11
CmpDate: 2024-03-11

Lee IPA, Eldakar OT, Gogarten JP, et al (2023)

Protocol for an agent-based model of recombination in bacteria playing a public goods game.

STAR protocols, 4(4):102733.

Agent-based models are composed of individual agents coded for traits, such as cooperation and cheating, that interact in a virtual world based on defined rules. Here, we describe the use of an agent-based model of homologous recombination in bacteria playing a public goods game. We describe steps for software installation, setting model parameters, running and testing models, and visualization and statistical analysis. This protocol is useful in analyses of horizontal gene transfer, bacterial sociobiology, and game theory. For complete details on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Lee et al.[1].

RevDate: 2024-01-25
CmpDate: 2023-11-20

Irby I, SP Brown (2023)

The social lives of viruses and other mobile genetic elements: a commentary on Leeks et al. 2023.

Journal of evolutionary biology, 36(11):1582-1586.

Illustration of life-histories of phages and plasmids through horizontal and vertical transmission (see Figure 1 for more information).

RevDate: 2024-02-12

Reiß F, Schuhmann A, Sohl L, et al (2023)

Fungicides and insecticides can alter the microbial community on the cuticle of honey bees.

Frontiers in microbiology, 14:1271498.

Honey bees are crucial for our ecosystems as pollinators, but the intensive use of plant protection products (PPPs) in agriculture poses a risk for them. PPPs do not only affect target organisms but also affect non-targets, such as the honey bee Apis mellifera and their microbiome. This study is the first of its kind, aiming to characterize the effect of PPPs on the microbiome of the cuticle of honey bees. We chose PPPs, which have frequently been detected in bee bread, and studied their effects on the cuticular microbial community and function of the bees. The effects of the fungicide Difcor[®] (difenoconazole), the insecticide Steward[®] (indoxacarb), the combination of both (mix A) and the fungicide Cantus[®] Gold (boscalid and dimoxystrobin), the insecticide Mospilan[®] (acetamiprid), and the combination of both (mix B) were tested. Bacterial 16S rRNA gene and fungal transcribed spacer region gene-based amplicon sequencing and quantification of gene copy numbers were carried out after nucleic acid extraction from the cuticle of honey bees. The treatment with Steward[®] significantly affected fungal community composition and function. The fungal gene copy numbers were lower on the cuticle of bees treated with Difcor[®], Steward[®], and PPP mix A in comparison with the controls. However, bacterial and fungal gene copy numbers were increased in bees treated with Cantus[®] Gold, Mospilan[®], or PPP mix B compared to the controls. The bacterial cuticular community composition of bees treated with Cantus[®] Gold, Mospilan[®], and PPP mix B differed significantly from the control. In addition, Mospilan[®] on its own significantly changed the bacterial functional community composition. Cantus[®] Gold significantly affected fungal gene copy numbers, community, and functional composition. Our results demonstrate that PPPs show adverse effects on the cuticular microbiome of honey bees and suggest that PPP mixtures can cause stronger effects on the cuticular community than a PPP alone. The cuticular community composition was more diverse after the PPP mix treatments. This may have far-reaching consequences for the health of honey bees.

RevDate: 2023-11-07

Strube-Bloss M, Günzel P, Nebauer CA, et al (2023)

Visual accelerated and olfactory decelerated responses during multimodal learning in honeybees.

Frontiers in physiology, 14:1257465.

To obtain accurate information about the outside world and to make appropriate decisions, animals often combine information from different sensory pathways to form a comprehensive representation of their environment. This process of multimodal integration is poorly understood, but it is common view that the single elements of a multimodal stimulus influence each other's perception by enhancing or suppressing their neural representation. The neuronal level of interference might be manifold, for instance, an enhancement might increase, whereas suppression might decrease behavioural response times. In order to investigate this in an insect behavioural model, the Western honeybee, we trained individual bees to associate a sugar reward with an odour, a light, or a combined olfactory-visual stimulus, using the proboscis extension response (PER). We precisely monitored the PER latency (the time between stimulus onset and the first response of the proboscis) by recording the muscle M17, which innervates the proboscis. We found that odours evoked a fast response, whereas visual stimuli elicited a delayed PER. Interestingly, the combined stimulus showed a response time in between the unimodal stimuli, suggesting that olfactory-visual integration accelerates visual responses but decelerates the olfactory response time.

RevDate: 2023-10-28

Enghelhardt SC, Paulsson NI, M Taborsky (2023)

Assessment of help value affects reciprocation in Norway rats.

Royal Society open science, 10(10):231253.

Wild-type Norway rats reciprocate help received in a well-replicated experimental food-giving task, but the criteria to appraise the received help's value are unclear. We tested whether quality or quantity of received help is more important when deciding to return help, and whether partner familiarity and own current need affect this evaluation. We experimentally varied recipients of help's hunger state, and familiar or unfamiliar partners provided either higher caloric food (enhanced quantity; carrots) or food higher in protein and fat (enhanced quality; cheese). Reciprocation of received help was our criterion for the rats' value assessment. Familiarity, food type and hunger state interacted and affected help returned by rats. Rats returned less help to familiar partners than to unfamiliar partners. With unfamiliar partners, rats returned more help to partners that had donated preferred food (cheese) than to partners that had donated less preferred food (carrots), and they returned help earlier if they were satiated and had received cheese. With familiar partners, food-deprived rats that had received cheese returned more help than satiated rats that had received carrots. Our results suggest that Norway rats assess the received help's value based on its quality, their current need and partner familiarity before reciprocating received help.

RevDate: 2024-01-23
CmpDate: 2023-10-26

Kelly MBJ, Khan MK, Wierucka K, et al (2023)

Dynamic evolution of locomotor performance independent of changes in extended phenotype use in spiders.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2009):20232035.

Many animals use self-built structures (extended phenotypes) to enhance body functions, such as thermoregulation, prey capture or defence. Yet, it is unclear whether the evolution of animal constructions supplements or substitutes body functions-with disparate feedbacks on trait evolution. Here, using brown spiders (Araneae: marronoid clade), we explored if the evolutionary loss and gain of silken webs as extended prey capture devices correlates with alterations in traits known to play an important role in predatory strikes-locomotor performance (sprint speed) and leg spination (expression of capture spines on front legs). We found that in this group high locomotor performance, with running speeds of over 100 body lengths per second, evolved repeatedly-both in web-building and cursorial spiders. There was no correlation with running speed, and leg spination only poorly correlated, relative to the use of extended phenotypes, indicating that web use does not reduce selective pressures on body functions involved in prey capture and defence per se. Consequently, extended prey capture devices serve as supplements rather than substitutions to body traits and may only be beneficial in conjunction with certain life-history traits, possibly explaining the rare evolution and repeated loss of trapping strategies in predatory animals.

RevDate: 2023-10-23
CmpDate: 2023-10-23

Phaniraj N, Wierucka K, Zürcher Y, et al (2023)

Who is calling? Optimizing source identification from marmoset vocalizations with hierarchical machine learning classifiers.

Journal of the Royal Society, Interface, 20(207):20230399.

With their highly social nature and complex vocal communication system, marmosets are important models for comparative studies of vocal communication and, eventually, language evolution. However, our knowledge about marmoset vocalizations predominantly originates from playback studies or vocal interactions between dyads, and there is a need to move towards studying group-level communication dynamics. Efficient source identification from marmoset vocalizations is essential for this challenge, and machine learning algorithms (MLAs) can aid it. Here we built a pipeline capable of plentiful feature extraction, meaningful feature selection, and supervised classification of vocalizations of up to 18 marmosets. We optimized the classifier by building a hierarchical MLA that first learned to determine the sex of the source, narrowed down the possible source individuals based on their sex and then determined the source identity. We were able to correctly identify the source individual with high precisions (87.21%-94.42%, depending on call type, and up to 97.79% after the removal of twins from the dataset). We also examine the robustness of identification across varying sample sizes. Our pipeline is a promising tool not only for source identification from marmoset vocalizations but also for analysing vocalizations of other species.

RevDate: 2023-11-13
CmpDate: 2023-11-07

Arican C, Schmitt FJ, Rössler W, et al (2023)

The mushroom body output encodes behavioral decision during sensory-motor transformation.

Current biology : CB, 33(19):4217-4224.e4.

Animals form a behavioral decision by evaluating sensory evidence on the background of past experiences and the momentary motivational state. In insects, we still lack understanding of how and at which stage of the recurrent sensory-motor pathway behavioral decisions are formed. The mushroom body (MB), a central brain structure in insects[1] and crustaceans,[2][,][3] integrates sensory input of different modalities[4][,][5][,][6] with the internal state, the behavioral state, and external sensory context[7][,][8][,][9][,][10] through a large number of recurrent, mostly neuromodulatory inputs,[11][,][12] implicating a functional role for MBs in state-dependent sensory-motor transformation.[13][,][14] A number of classical conditioning studies in honeybees[15][,][16] and fruit flies[17][,][18][,][19] have provided accumulated evidence that at its output, the MB encodes the valence of a sensory stimulus with respect to its behavioral relevance. Recent work has extended this notion of valence encoding to the context of innate behaviors.[8][,][20][,][21][,][22] Here, we co-analyzed a defined feeding behavior and simultaneous extracellular single-unit recordings from MB output neurons (MBONs) in the cockroach in response to timed sensory stimulation with odors. We show that clear neuronal responses occurred almost exclusively during behaviorally responded trials. Early MBON responses to the sensory stimulus preceded the feeding behavior and predicted its occurrence or non-occurrence from the single-trial population activity. Our results therefore suggest that at its output, the MB does not merely encode sensory stimulus valence. We hypothesize instead that the MB output represents an integrated signal of internal state, momentary environmental conditions, and experience-dependent memory to encode a behavioral decision.

RevDate: 2023-09-21
CmpDate: 2023-08-31

Sless T, S Rehan (2023)

Phylogeny of the carpenter bees (Apidae: Xylocopinae) highlights repeated evolution of sociality.

Biology letters, 19(8):20230252.

Many groups of animals have evolved social behaviours in different forms, from intimate familial associations to the complex eusocial colonies of some insects. The subfamily Xylocopinae, including carpenter bees and their relatives, is a diverse clade exhibiting a wide range of social behaviours, from solitary to obligate eusociality with distinct morphological castes, making them ideal focal taxa in studying the evolution of sociality. We used ultraconserved element data to generate a broadly sampled phylogeny of the Xylocopinae, including several newly sequenced species. We then conducted ancestral state reconstructions on the evolutionary history of sociality in this group under multiple coding models. Our results indicate solitary origins for the Xylocopinae with multiple transitions to sociality across the tree and subsequent reversals to solitary life, demonstrating the lability and dynamic nature of social evolution in carpenter bees. Ultimately, this work clarifies the evolutionary history of the Xylocopinae, and expands our understanding of independent origins and gains and losses of social complexity.

RevDate: 2023-08-25
CmpDate: 2023-08-24

van der Kooi CJ, J Spaethe (2023)

Visual ecology: How glossy colours shine and confuse.

Current biology : CB, 33(16):R865-R867.

Most colours in nature are matte, but across the tree of life glossiness has evolved numerous times, suggesting that glossiness can be beneficial. Recent research finds that glossiness may confuse observers and protect against predators.

RevDate: 2023-12-18
CmpDate: 2023-12-18

Schüßler D, Blanco MB, Guthrie NK, et al (2024)

Morphological variability or inter-observer bias? A methodological toolkit to improve data quality of multi-researcher datasets for the analysis of morphological variation.

American journal of biological anthropology, 183(1):60-78.

OBJECTIVES: The investigation of morphological variation in animals is widely used in taxonomy, ecology, and evolution. Using large datasets for meta-analyses has dramatically increased, raising concerns about dataset compatibilities and biases introduced by contributions of multiple researchers.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We compiled morphological data on 13 variables for 3073 individual mouse lemurs (Cheirogaleidae, Microcebus spp.) from 25 taxa and 153 different sampling locations, measured by 48 different researchers. We introduced and applied a filtering pipeline and quantified improvements in data quality (Shapiro-Francia statistic, skewness, and excess kurtosis). The filtered dataset was then used to test for genus-wide sexual size dimorphism and the applicability of Rensch's, Allen's, and Bergmann's rules.

RESULTS: Our pipeline reduced inter-observer bias (i.e., increased normality of data distributions). Inter-observer reliability of measurements was notably variable, highlighting the need to reduce data collection biases. Although subtle, we found a consistent pattern of sexual size dimorphism across Microcebus, with females being the larger (but not heavier) sex. Sexual size dimorphism was isometric, providing no support for Rensch's rule. Variations in tail length but not in ear size were consistent with the predictions of Allen's rule. Body mass and length followed a pattern contrary to predictions of Bergmann's rule.

DISCUSSION: We highlighted the usefulness of large multi-researcher datasets for testing ecological hypotheses after correcting for inter-observer biases. Using genus-wide tests, we outlined generalizable patterns of morphological variability across all mouse lemurs. This new methodological toolkit aims to facilitate future large-scale morphological comparisons for a wide range of taxa and applications.

RevDate: 2023-09-12
CmpDate: 2023-09-06

Burini D (2023)

Multiscale and multi-physical problems: Comment on "What is life? Active particles tools towards behavioral dynamics in social-biology and economics" by N. Bellomo, M. Esfahanian, V. Secchini, and P. Terna.

Physics of life reviews, 46:275-276.

RevDate: 2023-07-18
CmpDate: 2023-07-14

Fichtel C, Henke-von der Malsburg J, PM Kappeler (2023)

Cognitive performance is linked to fitness in a wild primate.

Science advances, 9(28):eadf9365.

Cognitive performance varies widely across animal species, but the processes underlying cognitive evolution remain poorly known. For cognitive abilities to evolve, performance must be linked to individual fitness benefits, but these links have been rarely studied in primates even though they exceed most other mammals in these traits. We subjected 198 wild gray mouse lemurs to four cognitive and two personality tests and subsequently monitored their survival in a mark-recapture study. Our study revealed that survival was predicted by individual variation in cognitive performance as well as body mass and exploration. Because cognitive performance covaried negatively with exploration, individuals gathering more accurate information enjoyed better cognitive performance and lived longer, but so did heavier and more explorative individuals. These effects may reflect a speed-accuracy trade-off, with alternative strategies yielding similar overall fitness. The observed intraspecific variation in selective benefits of cognitive performance, if heritable, can provide the basis for the evolution of cognitive abilities in members of our lineage.

RevDate: 2023-07-21

Homberg U, K Pfeiffer (2023)

Correction to: Unraveling the neural basis of spatial orientation in arthropods.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 209(4):465.

RevDate: 2023-07-18

van der Kooi CJ, Reuvers L, J Spaethe (2023)

Honesty, reliability, and information content of floral signals.

iScience, 26(7):107093.

Plants advertise their presence by displaying attractive flowers, which pollinators use to locate a floral reward. Understanding how floral traits scale with reward status lies at the heart of pollination biology, because it connects the different interests of plants and pollinators. Studies on plant phenotype-reward associations often use different terms and concepts, which limits developing a broader synthesis. Here, we present a framework with definitions of the key aspects of plant phenotype-reward associations and provide measures to quantify them across different species and studies. We first distinguish between cues and signals, which are often used interchangeably, but have different meanings and are subject to different selective pressures. We then define honesty, reliability, and information content of floral cues/signals and provide ways to quantify them. Finally, we discuss the ecological and evolutionary factors that determine flower phenotype-reward associations, how context-dependent and temporally variable they are, and highlight promising research directions.

RevDate: 2023-09-21
CmpDate: 2023-09-08

Kraft N, Muenz TS, Reinhard S, et al (2023)

Expansion microscopy in honeybee brains for high-resolution neuroanatomical analyses in social insects.

Cell and tissue research, 393(3):489-506.

The diffraction limit of light microscopy poses a problem that is frequently faced in structural analyses of social insect brains. With the introduction of expansion microscopy (ExM), a tool became available to overcome this limitation by isotropic physical expansion of preserved specimens. Our analyses focus on synaptic microcircuits (microglomeruli, MG) in the mushroom body (MB) of social insects, high-order brain centers for sensory integration, learning, and memory. MG undergo significant structural reorganizations with age, sensory experience, and during long-term memory formation. However, the changes in subcellular architecture involved in this plasticity have only partially been accessed yet. Using the western honeybee Apis mellifera as an experimental model, we established ExM for the first time in a social insect species and applied it to investigate plasticity in synaptic microcircuits within MG of the MB calyces. Using combinations of antibody staining and neuronal tracing, we demonstrate that this technique enables quantitative and qualitative analyses of structural neuronal plasticity at high resolution in a social insect brain.

RevDate: 2023-08-24
CmpDate: 2023-08-22

Pahl A, König von Borstel U, D Brucks (2023)

Llamas use social information from conspecifics and humans to solve a spatial detour task.

Animal cognition, 26(5):1623-1633.

Learning by observing others (i.e. social learning) is an important mechanism to reduce the costs of individual learning. Social learning can occur between conspecifics but also heterospecifics. Domestication processes might have changed the animals' sensitivity to human social cues and recent research indicates that domesticated species are particularly good in learning socially from humans. Llamas (Lama glama) are an interesting model species for that purpose. Llamas were bred as pack animals, which requires close contact and cooperative behaviour towards humans. We investigated whether llamas learn socially from trained conspecifics and humans in a spatial detour task. Subjects were required to detour metal hurdles arranged in a V-shape to reach a food reward. Llamas were more successful in solving the task after both a human and a conspecific demonstrated the task compared to a control condition with no demonstrator. Individual differences in behaviour (i.e. food motivation and distraction) further affected the success rate. Animals did not necessarily use the same route as the demonstrators, thus, indicating that they adopted a more general detour behaviour. These results suggest that llamas can extract information from conspecific and heterospecific demonstrations; hence, broadening our knowledge of domesticated species that are sensitive to human social behaviour.

RevDate: 2023-11-02

van Elst T, Schüßler D, Rakotondravony R, et al (2023)

Diversification processes in Gerp's mouse lemur demonstrate the importance of rivers and altitude as biogeographic barriers in Madagascar's humid rainforests.

Ecology and evolution, 13(7):e10254.

Madagascar exhibits exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Models to explain the diversification and distribution of species in Madagascar stress the importance of historical variability in climate conditions which may have led to the formation of geographic barriers by changing water and habitat availability. The relative importance of these models for the diversification of the various forest-adapted taxa of Madagascar has yet to be understood. Here, we reconstructed the phylogeographic history of Gerp's mouse lemur (Microcebus gerpi) to identify relevant mechanisms and drivers of diversification in Madagascar's humid rainforests. We used restriction site associated DNA (RAD) markers and applied population genomic and coalescent-based techniques to estimate genetic diversity, population structure, gene flow and divergence times among M. gerpi populations and its two sister species M. jollyae and M. marohita. Genomic results were complemented with ecological niche models to better understand the relative barrier function of rivers and altitude. We show that M. gerpi diversified during the late Pleistocene. The inferred ecological niche, patterns of gene flow and genetic differentiation in M. gerpi suggest that the potential for rivers to act as biogeographic barriers depended on both size and elevation of headwaters. Populations on opposite sides of the largest river in the area with headwaters that extend far into the highlands show particularly high genetic differentiation, whereas rivers with lower elevation headwaters have weaker barrier functions, indicated by higher migration rates and admixture. We conclude that M. gerpi likely diversified through repeated cycles of dispersal punctuated by isolation to refugia as a result of paleoclimatic fluctuations during the Pleistocene. We argue that this diversification scenario serves as a model of diversification for other rainforest taxa that are similarly limited by geographic factors. In addition, we highlight conservation implications for this critically endangered species, which faces extreme habitat loss and fragmentation.

RevDate: 2023-07-05
CmpDate: 2023-07-05

Cristancho S, G Thompson (2023)

Building Resilient Healthcare Teams: Insights from Analogy to the Social Biology of Ants, Honey Bees and Other Social Insects.

Perspectives on medical education, 12(1):253-260.

The resilience of a healthcare system hinges on the adaptability of its teams. Thus far, healthcare teams have relied on well-defined scopes of practice to fulfill their safety mandate. While this feature has proven effective when dealing with stable situations, when it comes to disruptive events, healthcare teams find themselves navigating a fine balance between safety and resilience. Therefore, a better understanding of how the safety vs resilience trade-off varies under different circumstances is necessary if we are to promote and better train for resilience in modern healthcare teams. In this paper, we aim to bring awareness to the sociobiology analogy that healthcare teams might find useful during moments when safety and adaptability have the potential to conflict. Three principles underpin the sociobiology analogy: communication, decentralization, and plasticity. Of particular interest in this paper is plasticity whereby swapping roles or tasks becomes an adaptive, rather than a maladaptive, response teams could embrace when facing disruptive situations. While plasticity has naturally evolved in social insects, infusing plasticity in healthcare teams requires intentional training. Inspired by the sociobiology analogy, such training must value the ability: a) to read each other's cues and miscues, b) to step aside when others had the necessary skills, even if outside their scope, c) to deviate from protocols, and d) to foster cross-training. If the goal is to increase a team's behavioural flexibility and boost their resilience, this training mindset should become second nature.

RevDate: 2023-10-05

Schilcher F, R Scheiner (2023)

New insight into molecular mechanisms underlying division of labor in honeybees.

Current opinion in insect science, 59:101080.

Honeybees are highly organized eusocial insects displaying a distinct division of labor. Juvenile hormone (JH) has long been hypothesized to be the major driver of behavioral transitions. However, more and more experiments in recent years have suggested that the role of this hormone is not as fundamental as hypothesized. Vitellogenin, a common egg yolk precursor protein, seems to be the major regulator of division of labor in honeybees, in connection with nutrition and the neurohormone and transmitter octopamine. Here, we review the role of vitellogenin in controlling honeybee division of labor and its modulation by JH, nutrition, and the catecholamine octopamine.

RevDate: 2023-10-03

Stuhrmann C (2023)

Sociobiology on Screen. The Controversy Through the Lens of Sociobiology: Doing What Comes Naturally.

Journal of the history of biology, 56(2):365-397.

When the sociobiology debate erupted in 1975, there were almost too many contributions to the heated exchanges between sociobiologists and their critics to count. In the fall of 1976, a Canadian educational film entitled Sociobiology: Doing What Comes Naturally sparked further controversy due to its graphic visuals and outrageous narration. While critics claimed the film was a promotional tool to further the sociobiological agenda in educational settings, sociobiologists quickly distanced themselves from the film and, in turn, accused the critics of consciously misrepresenting sociobiology by organizing showings of the film. Using audio, video, archival, and published sources, this paper explores the complicated history of Sociobiology: Doing What Comes Naturally and demonstrates how the public debate about the film reflects the positions, polemics, and polarization of the sociobiology debate as a whole.

RevDate: 2023-12-19
CmpDate: 2023-06-26

Römer D, Exl R, F Roces (2023)

Two feedback mechanisms involved in the control of leaf fragment size in leaf-cutting ants.

The Journal of experimental biology, 226(12):.

Polymorphic leaf-cutting ants harvest leaf fragments that correlate in size with the workers' body size. When cutting, workers anchor their hind legs on the leaf edge and rotate, removing approximately semicircular fragments. Workers show behavioural plasticity and modify their leg extension while holding onto the leaf edge depending on, for instance, leaf toughness, cutting smaller fragments out of tough leaves. What sensory information workers use to control the cutting trajectory remains unknown. We investigated whether sensory information from both the leg contact with the leaf edge and from head movements underlies fragment size determination. In the laboratory, we recorded Atta sexdens workers cutting standardised ®Parafilm pseudoleaves of different thickness, and quantified cutting behaviour and body reach, i.e. the distance between the mandible and the anchored hind leg tarsus. Experimentally preventing contact with the leaf edge resulted in smaller fragments, evincing that workers control the cutting trajectory using information from the contact of the hind legs with the leaf edge. However, ants were able to cut fragments even when contact of all six legs with the edge was prevented, indicating the use of additional sensory information. Ablation of mechanosensory hairs at the neck joint alone did not influence fragment size determination, yet simultaneously preventing sensory feedback from both mechanosensory hairs and edge contact led to a loss of control over the cutting trajectory. Leaf-cutting ants, therefore, control their cutting trajectory using sensory information from both the leg contact with the leaf edge and the lateral bending of the head.

RevDate: 2023-10-03
CmpDate: 2023-09-15

Ruedenauer FA, Parreño MA, Grunwald Kadow IC, et al (2023)

The ecology of nutrient sensation and perception in insects.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 38(10):994-1004.

Insects are equipped with neurological, physiological, and behavioral tools to locate potential food sources and assess their nutritional quality based on volatile and chemotactile cues. We summarize current knowledge on insect taste perception and the different modalities of reception and perception. We suggest that the neurophysiological mechanisms of reception and perception are closely linked to the species-specific ecology of different insects. Understanding these links consequently requires a multidisciplinary approach. We also highlight existing knowledge gaps, especially in terms of the exact ligands of receptors, and provide evidence for a perceptional hierarchy suggesting that insects have adapted their reception and perception to preferentially perceive nutrient stimuli that are important for their fitness.

RevDate: 2023-09-20
CmpDate: 2023-06-15

Püffel F, Meyer L, Imirzian N, et al (2023)

Developmental biomechanics and age polyethism in leaf-cutter ants.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(2000):20230355.

Many social insects display age polyethism: young workers stay inside the nest, and only older workers forage. This behavioural transition is accompanied by genetic and physiological changes, but the mechanistic origin of it remains unclear. To investigate if the mechanical demands on the musculoskeletal system effectively prevent young workers from foraging, we studied the biomechanical development of the bite apparatus in Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutter ants. Fully matured foragers generated peak in vivo bite forces of around 100 mN, more than one order of magnitude in excess of those measured for freshly eclosed callows of the same size. This change in bite force was accompanied by a sixfold increase in the volume of the mandible closer muscle, and by a substantial increase of the flexural rigidity of the head capsule, driven by a significant increase in both average thickness and indentation modulus of the head capsule cuticle. Consequently, callows lack the muscle force capacity required for leaf-cutting, and their head capsule is so compliant that large muscle forces would be likely to cause damaging deformations. On the basis of these results, we speculate that continued biomechanical development post eclosion may be a key factor underlying age polyethism, wherever foraging is associated with substantial mechanical demands.

RevDate: 2023-07-22
CmpDate: 2023-07-14

Püffel F, Roces F, D Labonte (2023)

Strong positive allometry of bite force in leaf-cutter ants increases the range of cuttable plant tissues.

The Journal of experimental biology, 226(13):.

Atta leaf-cutter ants are the prime herbivore in the Neotropics: differently sized foragers harvest plant material to grow a fungus as a crop. Efficient foraging involves complex interactions between worker size, task preferences and plant-fungus suitability; it is, however, ultimately constrained by the ability of differently sized workers to generate forces large enough to cut vegetation. In order to quantify this ability, we measured bite forces of Atta vollenweideri leaf-cutter ants spanning more than one order of magnitude in body mass. Maximum bite force scaled almost in direct proportion to mass; the largest workers generated peak bite forces 2.5 times higher than expected from isometry. This remarkable positive allometry can be explained via a biomechanical model that links bite forces with substantial size-specific changes in the morphology of the musculoskeletal bite apparatus. In addition to these morphological changes, we show that bite forces of smaller ants peak at larger mandibular opening angles, suggesting a size-dependent physiological adaptation, probably reflecting the need to cut leaves with a thickness that corresponds to a larger fraction of the maximum possible gape. Via direct comparison of maximum bite forces with leaf mechanical properties, we demonstrate (i) that bite forces in leaf-cutter ants need to be exceptionally large compared with body mass to enable them to cut leaves; and (ii), that the positive allometry enables colonies to forage on a wider range of plant species without the need for extreme investment in even larger workers. Our results thus provide strong quantitative arguments for the adaptive value of a positively allometric bite force.

RevDate: 2024-01-16
CmpDate: 2023-06-12

Urbani B, G Robinson-González (2023)

Amazonian Monkeys and Kafka's Ape at the German Primate Center.

Evolutionary anthropology, 32(3):131-134.

RevDate: 2023-05-30

Subasri M, Cressman C, Arje D, et al (2023)

Translating Precision Health for Pediatrics: A Scoping Review.

Children (Basel, Switzerland), 10(5):.

Precision health aims to personalize treatment and prevention strategies based on individual genetic differences. While it has significantly improved healthcare for specific patient groups, broader translation faces challenges with evidence development, evidence appraisal, and implementation. These challenges are compounded in child health as existing methods fail to incorporate the physiology and socio-biology unique to childhood. This scoping review synthesizes the existing literature on evidence development, appraisal, prioritization, and implementation of precision child health. PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase were searched. The included articles were related to pediatrics, precision health, and the translational pathway. Articles were excluded if they were too narrow in scope. In total, 74 articles identified challenges and solutions for putting pediatric precision health interventions into practice. The literature reinforced the unique attributes of children and their implications for study design and identified major themes for the value assessment of precision health interventions for children, including clinical benefit, cost-effectiveness, stakeholder values and preferences, and ethics and equity. Tackling these identified challenges will require developing international data networks and guidelines, re-thinking methods for value assessment, and broadening stakeholder support for the effective implementation of precision health within healthcare organizations. This research was funded by the SickKids Precision Child Health Catalyst Grant.

RevDate: 2023-06-02
CmpDate: 2023-05-26

Bachert A, R Scheiner (2023)

The ant's weapon improves honey bee learning performance.

Scientific reports, 13(1):8399.

Formic acid is the main component of the ant's major weapon against enemies. Being mainly used as a chemical defense, the acid is also exploited for recruitment and trail marking. The repelling effect of the organic acid is used by some mammals and birds which rub themselves in the acid to eliminate ectoparasites. Beekeepers across the world rely on this effect to control the parasitic mite Varroa destructor. Varroa mites are considered the most destructive pest of honey bees worldwide and can lead to the loss of entire colonies. Formic acid is highly effective against Varroa mites but can also kill the honeybee queen and worker brood. Whether formic acid can also affect the behavior of honey bees is unknown. We here study the effect of formic acid on sucrose responsiveness and cognition of honey bees treated at different live stages in field-relevant doses. Both behaviors are essential for survival of the honey bee colony. Rather unexpectedly, formic acid clearly improved the learning performance of the bees in appetitive olfactory conditioning, while not affecting sucrose responsiveness. This exciting side effect of formic acid certainly deserves further detailed investigations.

RevDate: 2023-07-21
CmpDate: 2023-07-21

Homberg U, K Pfeiffer (2023)

Unraveling the neural basis of spatial orientation in arthropods.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 209(4):459-464.

The neural basis underlying spatial orientation in arthropods, in particular insects, has received considerable interest in recent years. This special issue of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A seeks to take account of these developments by presenting a collection of eight review articles and eight original research articles highlighting hotspots of research on spatial orientation in arthropods ranging from flies to spiders and the underlying neural circuits. The contributions impressively illustrate the wide range of tools available to arthropods extending from specific sensory channels to highly sophisticated neural computations for mastering complex navigational challenges.

RevDate: 2023-06-15
CmpDate: 2023-05-18

Rother L, Müller R, Kirschenmann E, et al (2023)

Walking bumblebees see faster.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(1999):20230460.

The behavioural state of animals has profound effects on neuronal information processing. Locomotion changes the response properties of visual interneurons in the insect brain, but it is still unknown if it also alters the response properties of photoreceptors. Photoreceptor responses become faster at higher temperatures. It has therefore been suggested that thermoregulation in insects could improve temporal resolution in vision, but direct evidence for this idea has so far been missing. Here, we compared electroretinograms from the compound eyes of tethered bumblebees that were either sitting or walking on an air-supported ball. We found that the visual processing speed strongly increased when the bumblebees were walking. By monitoring the eye temperature during recording, we saw that the increase in response speed was in synchrony with a rise in eye temperature. By artificially heating the head, we show that the walking-induced temperature increase of the visual system is sufficient to explain the rise in processing speed. We also show that walking accelerates the visual system to the equivalent of a 14-fold increase in light intensity. We conclude that the walking-induced rise in temperature accelerates the processing of visual information-an ideal strategy to process the increased information flow during locomotion.

RevDate: 2023-12-12
CmpDate: 2023-07-03

Nebauer CA, Schleifer MC, Ruedenauer FA, et al (2023)

Perception, regulation, and fitness effects of pollen phytosterols in the bumble bee, Bombus terrestris.

American journal of botany, 110(6):e16165.

PREMISE: Many flowering plants depend on insects for pollination and thus attract pollinators by offering rewards, mostly nectar and pollen. Bee pollinators rely on pollen as their main nutrient source. Pollen provides all essential micro- and macronutrients including substances that cannot be synthesized by bees themselves, such as sterols, which bees need for processes such as hormone production. Variations in sterol concentrations may consequently affect bee health and reproductive fitness. We therefore hypothesized that (1) these variations in pollen sterols affect longevity and reproduction in bumble bees and (2) can thus be perceived via the bees' antennae before consumption.

METHODS: We studied the effect of sterols on longevity and reproduction of Bombus terrestris workers in feeding experiments and investigated sterol perception using chemotactile proboscis extension response (PER) conditioning.

RESULTS: Workers could perceive several sterols (cholesterol, cholestenone, desmosterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol) via their antennae but not differentiate between them. However, when sterols were presented in pollen, and not as a single compound, the bees were unable to differentiate between pollen differing in sterol content. Additionally, different sterol concentrations in pollen neither affected pollen consumption nor brood development or worker longevity.

CONCLUSIONS: Since we used both natural concentrations and concentrations higher than those found in pollen, our results indicate that bumble bees may not need to pay specific attention to pollen sterol content beyond a specific threshold. Naturally encountered concentrations might fully support their sterol requirements and higher concentrations do not seem to have negative effects.

RevDate: 2023-06-13
CmpDate: 2023-06-08

Habenstein J, Grübel K, Pfeiffer K, et al (2023)

3D atlas of cerebral neuropils with previously unknown demarcations in the honey bee brain.

The Journal of comparative neurology, 531(11):1163-1183.

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) express remarkable social interactions and cognitive capabilities that have been studied extensively. In many cases, behavioral studies were accompanied by neurophysiological and neuroanatomical investigations. While most studies have focused on primary sensory neuropils, such as the optic lobes or antennal lobes, and major integration centers, such as the mushroom bodies or the central complex, many regions of the cerebrum (the central brain without the optic lobes) of the honey bee are only poorly explored so far, both anatomically and physiologically. To promote studies of these brain regions, we used anti-synapsin immunolabeling and neuronal tract tracings followed by confocal imaging and 3D reconstructions to demarcate all neuropils in the honey bee cerebrum and close this gap at the anatomical level. We demarcated 35 neuropils and 25 fiber tracts in the honey bee cerebrum, most of which have counterparts in the fly (Drosophila melanogaster) and other insect species that have been investigated so far at this level of detail. We discuss the role of cerebral neuropils in multisensory integration in the insect brain, emphasize the importance of this brain atlas for comparative studies, and highlight specific architectural features of the honey bee cerebrum.

RevDate: 2023-05-24
CmpDate: 2023-05-19

Rössler W (2023)

Multisensory navigation and neuronal plasticity in desert ants.

Trends in neurosciences, 46(6):415-417.

Cataglyphis desert ants are skilled visual navigators. Here, I present a brief overview of multisensory learning and neuronal plasticity in ants, with a particular focus on the transition from the dark nest interior to performing first foraging trips. This highlights desert ants as experimental models for studying neuronal mechanisms underlying behavioral development into successful navigators.

RevDate: 2023-04-26
CmpDate: 2023-04-26

Schuhmann A, R Scheiner (2023)

A combination of the frequent fungicides boscalid and dimoxystrobin with the neonicotinoid acetamiprid in field-realistic concentrations does not affect sucrose responsiveness and learning behavior of honeybees.

Ecotoxicology and environmental safety, 256:114850.

The increasing loss of pollinators over the last decades has become more and more evident. Intensive use of plant protection products is one key factor contributing to this decline. Especially the mixture of different plant protection products can pose an increased risk for pollinators as synergistic effects may occur. In this study we investigated the effect of the fungicide Cantus® Gold (boscalid/dimoxystrobin), the neonicotinoid insecticide Mospilan® (acetamiprid) and their mixture on honeybees. Since both plant protection products are frequently applied sequentially to the same plants (e.g. oilseed rape), their combination is a realistic scenario for honeybees. We investigated the mortality, the sucrose responsiveness and the differential olfactory learning performance of honeybees under controlled conditions in the laboratory to reduce environmental noise. Intact sucrose responsiveness and learning performance are of pivotal importance for the survival of individual honeybees as well as for the functioning of the entire colony. Treatment with two sublethal and field relevant concentrations of each plant protection product did not lead to any significant effects on these behaviors but affected the mortality rate. However, our study cannot exclude possible negative sublethal effects of these substances in higher concentrations. In addition, the honeybee seems to be quite robust when it comes to effects of plant protection products, while wild bees might be more sensitive.

RevDate: 2023-09-28
CmpDate: 2023-03-29

Ozgul A, Fichtel C, Paniw M, et al (2023)

Destabilizing effect of climate change on the persistence of a short-lived primate.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 120(14):e2214244120.

Seasonal tropical environments are among those regions that are the most affected by shifts in temperature and rainfall regimes under climate change, with potentially severe consequences for wildlife population persistence. This persistence is ultimately determined by complex demographic responses to multiple climatic drivers, yet these complexities have been little explored in tropical mammals. We use long-term, individual-based demographic data (1994 to 2020) from a short-lived primate in western Madagascar, the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus), to investigate the demographic drivers of population persistence under observed shifts in seasonal temperature and rainfall. While rainfall during the wet season has been declining over the years, dry season temperatures have been increasing, with these trends projected to continue. These environmental changes resulted in lower survival and higher recruitment rates over time for gray mouse lemurs. Although the contrasting changes have prevented the study population from collapsing, the resulting increase in life-history speed has destabilized an otherwise stable population. Population projections under more recent rainfall and temperature levels predict an increase in population fluctuations and a corresponding increase in the extinction risk over the next five decades. Our analyses show that a relatively short-lived mammal with high reproductive output, representing a life history that is expected to closely track changes in its environment, can nonetheless be threatened by climate change.

RevDate: 2024-02-14
CmpDate: 2023-02-28

Liudvytska O, Ponczek MB, Ciesielski O, et al (2023)

Rheum rhaponticum and Rheum rhabarbarum Extracts as Modulators of Endothelial Cell Inflammatory Response.

Nutrients, 15(4):.

BACKGROUND: Inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and alterations in blood physiology are key factors contributing to atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular disorders. Hence, modulation of endothelial function and reducing its pro-inflammatory and pro-thrombotic activity is considered one of the most important cardioprotective strategies. This study aimed to evaluate the anti-inflammatory potential of rhubarb extracts isolated from petioles and underground organs of Rheum rhabarbarum L. (garden rhubarb) and R. rhaponticum L. (rhapontic rhubarb) as well as two stilbenoids, typically found in these plants, i.e., rhapontigenin (RHPG) and its glycoside, rhaponticin (RHPT).

METHODS: Analysis of the anti-inflammatory effects of the indicated rhubarb-derived substances involved different aspects of the endothelial cells' (HUVECs) response: release of the inflammatory mediators; cyclooxygenase (COX-2) and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LOX) expression as well as the recruitment of leukocytes to the activated HUVECs. The ability of the rhubarb-derived extracts to inhibit COX-2 and 5-LOX activities was examined as well. The study was supplemented with the in silico analysis of major components of the analyzed extracts' interactions with COX-2 and 5-LOX.

RESULTS: The obtained results indicated that the examined plant extracts and stilbenes possess anti-inflammatory properties and influence the inflammatory response of endothelial cells. Biochemical and in silico tests revealed significant inhibition of COX-2, with special importance of rhaponticin, as a compound abundant in both plant species. In addition to the reduction in COX-2 gene expression and enzyme activity, a decrease in the cytokine level and leukocyte influx was observed. Biochemical tests and computational analyses indicate that some components of rhubarb extracts may act as COX-2 inhibitors, with marginal inhibitory effect on 5-LOX.

RevDate: 2023-02-24

Tieo S, Restrepo-Ortiz CX, Roura-Torres B, et al (2023)

The Mandrillus Face Database: A portrait image database for individual and sex recognition, and age prediction in a non-human primate.

Data in brief, 47:108939.

The Mandrillus Project is a long-term field research project in ecology and evolutionary biology, monitoring, since 2012, a natural population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx; primate) located in Southern Gabon. The Mandrillus Face Database was launched at the beginning of the project and now contains 29,495 photographic portraits collected on 397 individuals from this population, from birth to death for some of them. Portrait images have been obtained by manually processing images taken in the field with DSLR cameras: faces have been cropped to remove the ears and rotated to align the eyes horizontally. The database provides portrait images resized to 224 × 224 pixels associated with several manually annotated labels: individual identity, sex, age, face view, and image quality. Labels are stored within the image metadata and in a table accompanying the image database. This database will allow training and comparing methods on individual and sex recognition, and age prediction in a non-human animal.

RevDate: 2024-02-10
CmpDate: 2023-02-09

Poirotte C, MJE Charpentier (2023)

Mother-to-daughter transmission of hygienic anti-parasite behaviour in mandrills.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 290(1992):20222349.

Social animals are particularly exposed to infectious diseases. Pathogen-driven selection pressures have thus favoured the evolution of behavioural adaptations to decrease transmission risk such as the avoidance of contagious individuals. Yet, such strategies deprive individuals of valuable social interactions, generating a cost-benefit trade-off between pathogen avoidance and social opportunities. Recent studies revealed that hosts differ in these behavioural defences, but the determinants driving such inter-individual variation remain understudied. Using 6 years of behavioural and parasite data on a large natural population of mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx), we showed that, when parasite prevalence was high in the population, females avoided grooming their conspecifics' peri-anal region (PAR), where contagious gastro-intestinal parasites accumulate. Females varied, however, in their propensity to avoid this risky body region: across years, some females consistently avoided grooming it, while others did not. Interestingly, hygienic females (i.e. those avoiding the PAR) were less parasitized than non-hygienic females. Finally, age, dominance rank and grooming frequency did not influence a female's hygiene, but both mother-daughter and maternal half-sisters exhibited similar hygienic levels, whereas paternal half-sisters and non-kin dyads did not, suggesting a social transmission of this behaviour. Our study emphasizes that the social inheritance of hygiene may structure behavioural resistance to pathogens in host populations with potential consequences on the dynamics of infectious diseases.

RevDate: 2023-02-09
CmpDate: 2023-02-07

Moris VC, Podsiadlowski L, Martin S, et al (2023)

Intrasexual cuticular hydrocarbon dimorphism in a wasp sheds light on hydrocarbon biosynthesis genes in Hymenoptera.

Communications biology, 6(1):147.

Cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) cover the cuticle of insects and serve as desiccation barrier and as semiochemicals. While the main enzymatic steps of CHC biosynthesis are well understood, few of the underlying genes have been identified. Here we show how exploitation of intrasexual CHC dimorphism in a mason wasp, Odynerus spinipes, in combination with whole-genome sequencing and comparative transcriptomics facilitated identification of such genes. RNAi-mediated knockdown of twelve candidate gene orthologs in the honey bee, Apis mellifera, confirmed nine genes impacting CHC profile composition. Most of them have predicted functions consistent with current knowledge of CHC metabolism. However, we found first-time evidence for a fatty acid amide hydrolase also influencing CHC profile composition. In situ hybridization experiments furthermore suggest trophocytes participating in CHC biosynthesis. Our results set the base for experimental CHC profile manipulation in Hymenoptera and imply that the evolutionary origin of CHC biosynthesis predates the arthropods' colonization of land.

RevDate: 2024-03-12

Schilcher F, Hilsmann L, Ankenbrand MJ, et al (2023)

Corrigendum: Honeybees are buffered against undernourishment during larval stages.

Frontiers in insect science, 3:1146464.

[This corrects the article DOI: 10.3389/finsc.2022.951317.].

RevDate: 2023-02-02

Değirmenci L, Rogé Ferreira FL, Vukosavljevic A, et al (2022)

Sugar perception in honeybees.

Frontiers in physiology, 13:1089669.

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) need their fine sense of taste to evaluate nectar and pollen sources. Gustatory receptors (Grs) translate taste signals into electrical responses. In vivo experiments have demonstrated collective responses of the whole Gr-set. We here disentangle the contributions of all three honeybee sugar receptors (AmGr1-3), combining CRISPR/Cas9 mediated genetic knock-out, electrophysiology and behaviour. We show an expanded sugar spectrum of the AmGr1 receptor. Mutants lacking AmGr1 have a reduced response to sucrose and glucose but not to fructose. AmGr2 solely acts as co-receptor of AmGr1 but not of AmGr3, as we show by electrophysiology and using bimolecular fluorescence complementation. Our results show for the first time that AmGr2 is indeed a functional receptor on its own. Intriguingly, AmGr2 mutants still display a wildtype-like sugar taste. AmGr3 is a specific fructose receptor and is not modulated by a co-receptor. Eliminating AmGr3 while preserving AmGr1 and AmGr2 abolishes the perception of fructose but not of sucrose. Our comprehensive study on the functions of AmGr1, AmGr2 and AmGr3 in honeybees is the first to combine investigations on sugar perception at the receptor level and simultaneously in vivo. We show that honeybees rely on two gustatory receptors to sense all relevant sugars.

RevDate: 2023-02-01

Breininger DR, Stolen ED, Carter GM, et al (2023)

Territory and population attributes affect Florida scrub-jay fecundity in fire-adapted ecosystems.

Ecology and evolution, 13(1):e9704.

Fecundity, the number of young produced by a breeding pair during a breeding season, is a primary component in evolutionary and ecological theory and applications. Fecundity can be influenced by many environmental factors and requires long-term study due to the range of variation in ecosystem dynamics. Fecundity data often include a large proportion of zeros when many pairs fail to produce any young during a breeding season due to nest failure or when all young die independently after fledging. We conducted color banding and monthly censuses of Florida scrub-jays (Aphelocoma coerulescens) across 31 years, 15 populations, and 761 territories along central Florida's Atlantic coast. We quantified how fecundity (juveniles/pair-year) was influenced by habitat quality, presence/absence of nonbreeders, population density, breeder experience, and rainfall, with a zero-inflated Bayesian hierarchical model including both a Bernoulli (e.g., brood success) and a Poisson (counts of young) submodel, and random effects for year, population, and territory. The results identified the importance of increasing "strong" quality habitat, which was a mid-successional state related to fire frequency and extent, because strong territories, and the proportion of strong territories in the overall population, influenced fecundity of breeding pairs. Populations subject to supplementary feeding also had greater fecundity. Territory size, population density, breeder experience, and rainfall surprisingly had no or small effects. Different mechanisms appeared to cause annual variation in fecundity, as estimates of random effects were not correlated between the success and count submodels. The increased fecundity for pairs with nonbreeders, compared to pairs without, identified empirical research needed to understand how the proportion of low-quality habitats influences population recovery and sustainability, because dispersal into low-quality habitats can drain nonbreeders from strong territories and decrease overall fecundity. We also describe how long-term study resulted in reversals in our understanding because of complications involving habitat quality, sociobiology, and population density.

RevDate: 2023-12-14
CmpDate: 2023-01-24

Urbani B, D Youlatos (2023)

Simia langobardorum: Were African apes traded in late medieval Lombardy?.

American journal of primatology, 85(2):e23462.

Depictions of and references to apes (tailless hominoids) are very limited in early historical written accounts. The first known published representations of ape-like primates appear in Medieval European books during the first century following the invention of printing. Considering the current knowledge of ape iconography, this article examines an unusual image of a couple of ape-like creatures rendered in a European manuscript and explores the possible links of this challenging illustration with historical accounts and contexts during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The studied manuscript is known as "BL Sloane MS 4016" and is a medieval herbal manuscript (Tratactus de Herbis) of Lombardian origin dated c. 1440. The illustration in question, which also appears in similar manuscripts, represents two primates. However, these representations differ significantly from those in the other manuscripts. The individuals have physical features that suggest attribution to chimpanzees. The location and the date of the manuscript in relation to the extended merchant and travel network between Europe and Africa during the late Medieval times and earlier Renaissance most likely indicate that free-living or traded chimpanzees or their images may have been the visual source for the illustration. The examination of early depictions and descriptions of apes helps us to understand how we, humans, have represented our own closest zoological relatives. In doing so, this study also provides a review of early ape iconography and historical accounts about African primates during the so-called Age of Discoveries.

RevDate: 2023-06-13
CmpDate: 2023-04-17

Zupanc GKH, Rössler W, Warrant EJ, et al (2023)

Contact chemoreception, magnetic maps, thermoregulation by a superorganism, and, thanks to Einstein, an all-time record: the Editors' and Readers' Choice Awards 2023.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 209(3):337-340.

During the 99 years of its history, the Journal of Comparative Physiology A has published many of the most influential papers in comparative physiology and related disciplines. To celebrate this achievement of the journal's authors, annual Editors' Choice Awards and Readers' Choice Awards are presented. The winners of the 2023 Editors' Choice Awards are 'Contact chemoreception in multi‑modal sensing of prey by Octopus' by Buresch et al. (J Comp Physiol A 208:435-442, 2022) in the Original Paper category; and 'Magnetic maps in animal navigation' by Lohmann et al. (J Comp Physiol A 208:41-67, 2022) in the Review/Review-History Article category. The winners of the 2023 Readers' Choice Awards are 'Coping with the cold and fighting the heat: thermal homeostasis of a superorganism, the honeybee colony' by Stabentheiner et al. (J Comp Physiol A 207:337-351; 2021) in the Original Paper category; and 'Einstein, von Frisch and the honeybee: a historical letter comes to light' by Dyer et al. (J Comp Physiol A 207:449-456, 2021) in the Review/Review-History category.

RevDate: 2023-07-21
CmpDate: 2023-07-21

Homberg U, Hensgen R, Jahn S, et al (2023)

The sky compass network in the brain of the desert locust.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 209(4):641-662.

Many arthropods and vertebrates use celestial signals such as the position of the sun during the day or stars at night as compass cues for spatial orientation. The neural network underlying sky compass coding in the brain has been studied in great detail in the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria. These insects perform long-range migrations in Northern Africa and the Middle East following seasonal changes in rainfall. Highly specialized photoreceptors in a dorsal rim area of their compound eyes are sensitive to the polarization of the sky, generated by scattered sunlight. These signals are combined with direct information on the sun position in the optic lobe and anterior optic tubercle and converge from both eyes in a midline crossing brain structure, the central complex. Here, head direction coding is achieved by a compass-like arrangement of columns signaling solar azimuth through a 360° range of space by combining direct brightness cues from the sun with polarization cues matching the polarization pattern of the sky. Other directional cues derived from wind direction and internal self-rotation input are likely integrated. Signals are transmitted as coherent steering commands to descending neurons for directional control of locomotion and flight.

RevDate: 2023-02-24
CmpDate: 2023-01-19

Goymann W, Brumm H, PM Kappeler (2023)

Biological sex is binary, even though there is a rainbow of sex roles: Denying biological sex is anthropocentric and promotes species chauvinism: Denying biological sex is anthropocentric and promotes species chauvinism.

BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, 45(2):e2200173.

Biomedical and social scientists are increasingly calling the biological sex into question, arguing that sex is a graded spectrum rather than a binary trait. Leading science journals have been adopting this relativist view, thereby opposing fundamental biological facts. While we fully endorse efforts to create a more inclusive environment for gender-diverse people, this does not require denying biological sex. On the contrary, the rejection of biological sex seems to be based on a lack of knowledge about evolution and it champions species chauvinism, inasmuch as it imposes human identity notions on millions of other species. We argue that the biological definition of the sexes remains central to recognising the diversity of life. Humans with their unique combination of biological sex and gender are different from non-human animals and plants in this respect. Denying the concept of biological sex, for whatever cause, ultimately erodes scientific progress and may open the flood gates to "alternative truths."

RevDate: 2023-01-15
CmpDate: 2022-12-14

Murillo T, Schneider D, Heistermann M, et al (2022)

Assessing the drivers of gut microbiome composition in wild redfronted lemurs via longitudinal metacommunity analysis.

Scientific reports, 12(1):21462.

The gut microbiome influences host's immunity, development, and metabolism and participates in the gut-brain axis, thus impacting the health of the host. It is a dynamic community varying between individuals and within individuals at different time points. Hence, determining the factors causing this variability may elucidate their impact on host's health. However, understanding the drivers of variation has proven difficult particularly as multiple interactions occur simultaneously in the gut microbiome. We investigated the factors shaping the gut microbiome by applying the metacommunity concept where the gut microbiome is considered as a microbial community shaped by the interactions within the community, with the host and microbial communities outside the host, this through a longitudinal study in a wild primate. Focal behavioral data were collected for 1 year in four groups of redfronted lemurs to determine individual social and feeding behaviors. In addition, regular fecal samples were collected to assess bacteria, protozoa, and helminths through marker gene analysis and to measure fecal glucocorticoid metabolite (fGCM) concentrations to investigate the impact of physiological stress on the gut microbiome. Higher consumption of leaves and elevated fGCM concentrations correlated with higher alpha diversity, which also differed among groups. The major drivers of variation in beta diversity were group membership, precipitation and fGCM concentrations. We found positive and negative associations between bacterial genera and almost all studied factors. Correlations between bacterial indicator networks and social networks indicate transmission of bacteria between interacting individuals. We detected that processes occurring inside the gut environment are shaping the gut microbiome. Host associated factors such as, HPA axis, dietary changes, and fluctuations in water availability had a greater impact than interactions within the microbial community. The interplay with microbial communities outside the host also shape the gut microbiome through the exchange of bacteria through social relationships between individuals and the acquisition of microorganisms from environmental water sources.

RevDate: 2023-07-21
CmpDate: 2023-07-21

Rössler W, Grob R, PN Fleischmann (2023)

The role of learning-walk related multisensory experience in rewiring visual circuits in the desert ant brain.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 209(4):605-623.

Efficient spatial orientation in the natural environment is crucial for the survival of most animal species. Cataglyphis desert ants possess excellent navigational skills. After far-ranging foraging excursions, the ants return to their inconspicuous nest entrance using celestial and panoramic cues. This review focuses on the question about how naïve ants acquire the necessary spatial information and adjust their visual compass systems. Naïve ants perform structured learning walks during their transition from the dark nest interior to foraging under bright sunlight. During initial learning walks, the ants perform rotational movements with nest-directed views using the earth's magnetic field as an earthbound compass reference. Experimental manipulations demonstrate that specific sky compass cues trigger structural neuronal plasticity in visual circuits to integration centers in the central complex and mushroom bodies. During learning walks, rotation of the sky-polarization pattern is required for an increase in volume and synaptic complexes in both integration centers. In contrast, passive light exposure triggers light-spectrum (especially UV light) dependent changes in synaptic complexes upstream of the central complex. We discuss a multisensory circuit model in the ant brain for pathways mediating structural neuroplasticity at different levels following passive light exposure and multisensory experience during the performance of learning walks.

RevDate: 2023-01-24

Schacht R, Beissinger SR, Wedekind C, et al (2022)

Author Correction: Adult sex ratios: causes of variation and implications for animal and human societies.

Communications biology, 5(1):1341 pii:10.1038/s42003-022-04296-7.

RevDate: 2023-01-24
CmpDate: 2022-11-22

Schacht R, Beissinger SR, Wedekind C, et al (2022)

Adult sex ratios: causes of variation and implications for animal and human societies.

Communications biology, 5(1):1273.

Converging lines of inquiry from across the social and biological sciences target the adult sex ratio (ASR; the proportion of males in the adult population) as a fundamental population-level determinant of behavior. The ASR, which indicates the relative number of potential mates to competitors in a population, frames the selective arena for competition, mate choice, and social interactions. Here we review a growing literature, focusing on methodological developments that sharpen knowledge of the demographic variables underlying ASR variation, experiments that enhance understanding of the consequences of ASR imbalance across societies, and phylogenetic analyses that provide novel insights into social evolution. We additionally highlight areas where research advances are expected to make accelerating contributions across the social sciences, evolutionary biology, and biodiversity conservation.

RevDate: 2024-03-13

Schilcher F, Hilsmann L, Ankenbrand MJ, et al (2022)

Honeybees are buffered against undernourishment during larval stages.

Frontiers in insect science, 2:951317.

The negative impact of juvenile undernourishment on adult behavior has been well reported for vertebrates, but relatively little is known about invertebrates. In honeybees, nutrition has long been known to affect task performance and timing of behavioral transitions. Whether and how a dietary restriction during larval development affects the task performance of adult honeybees is largely unknown. We raised honeybees in-vitro, varying the amount of a standardized diet (150 µl, 160 µl, 180 µl in total). Emerging adults were marked and inserted into established colonies. Behavioral performance of nurse bees and foragers was investigated and physiological factors known to be involved in the regulation of social organization were quantified. Surprisingly, adult honeybees raised under different feeding regimes did not differ in any of the behaviors observed. No differences were observed in physiological parameters apart from weight. Honeybees were lighter when undernourished (150 µl), while they were heavier under the overfed treatment (180 µl) compared to the control group raised under a normal diet (160 µl). These data suggest that dietary restrictions during larval development do not affect task performance or physiology in this social insect despite producing clear effects on adult weight. We speculate that possible effects of larval undernourishment might be compensated during the early period of adult life.

RevDate: 2022-11-28
CmpDate: 2022-11-16

Charpentier MJE, Poirotte C, Roura-Torres B, et al (2022)

Mandrill mothers associate with infants who look like their own offspring using phenotype matching.

eLife, 11:.

Behavioral discrimination of kin is a key process structuring social relationships in animals. In this study, we provide evidence for discrimination towards non-kin by third-parties through a mechanism of phenotype matching. In mandrills, we recently demonstrated increased facial resemblance among paternally related juvenile and adult females indicating adaptive opportunities for paternal kin recognition. Here, we hypothesize that mandrill mothers use offspring's facial resemblance with other infants to guide offspring's social opportunities towards similar-looking ones. Using deep learning for face recognition in 80 wild mandrill infants, we first show that infants sired by the same father resemble each other the most, independently of their age, sex or maternal origin, extending previous results to the youngest age class. Using long-term behavioral observations on association patterns, and controlling for matrilineal origin, maternal relatedness and infant age and sex, we then show, as predicted, that mothers are spatially closer to infants that resemble their own offspring more, and that this maternal behavior leads to similar-looking infants being spatially associated. We then discuss the different scenarios explaining this result, arguing that an adaptive maternal behavior is a likely explanation. In support of this mechanism and using theoretical modeling, we finally describe a plausible evolutionary process whereby mothers gain fitness benefits by promoting nepotism among paternally related infants. This mechanism, that we call 'second-order kin selection', may extend beyond mother-infant interactions and has the potential to explain cooperative behaviors among non-kin in other social species, including humans.

RevDate: 2022-12-11
CmpDate: 2022-12-07

Maestripieri D, BB Boutwell (2022)

Human nature and personality variation: Reconnecting evolutionary psychology with the science of individual differences.

Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 143:104946.

The scientific study of human behavior from a modern evolutionary perspective began in the 20th century with disciplines such as human ethology and behavioral ecology as well as sociobiology. This early work focused on the characterization of a universal human nature that could be observed across all societies and cultures, one believed to have emerged in part from evolutionary processes. With the passage of time a newer evolutionary discipline, evolutionary psychology, emerged in the early 1990 s and quickly flourished. The focus on human nature was retained from its forerunners, but the primary focus of the field underwent a decided shift. Gone was the emphasis on observable behaviors and in its place moved psychological and cognitive functioning. At the same time, the new field took an interesting departure from other branches of psychology by largely relegating the significance of individual differences across cognitive and personality styles (whether heritable or environmental in origin) to a minor role. In this paper, we review the primary original arguments for minimizing or ignoring the importance of individual differences in personality and cognition, all in the service of making the case that the study of human nature, and evolutionary psychology more generally, is not at odds with individual differences research. The two fields have always been complementary, with one serving as a frequent source of insight for the other.

RevDate: 2023-03-21
CmpDate: 2023-03-14

Kappeler PM, Benhaiem S, Fichtel C, et al (2023)

Sex roles and sex ratios in animals.

Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 98(2):462-480.

In species with separate sexes, females and males often differ in their morphology, physiology and behaviour. Such sex-specific traits are functionally linked to variation in reproductive competition, mate choice and parental care, which have all been linked to sex roles. At the 150th anniversary of Darwin's theory on sexual selection, the question of why patterns of sex roles vary within and across species remains a key topic in behavioural and evolutionary ecology. New theoretical, experimental and comparative evidence suggests that variation in the adult sex ratio (ASR) is a key driver of variation in sex roles. Here, we first define and discuss the historical emergence of the sex role concept, including recent criticisms and rebuttals. Second, we review the various sex ratios with a focus on ASR, and explore its theoretical links to sex roles. Third, we explore the causes, and especially the consequences, of biased ASRs, focusing on the results of correlational and experimental studies of the effect of ASR variation on mate choice, sexual conflict, parental care and mating systems, social behaviour, hormone physiology and fitness. We present evidence that animals in diverse societies are sensitive to variation in local ASR, even on short timescales, and propose explanations for conflicting results. We conclude with an overview of open questions in this field integrating demography, life history and behaviour.

RevDate: 2022-10-29

Schmid K, Knote A, Mück A, et al (2021)

Interactive, Visual Simulation of a Spatio-Temporal Model of Gas Exchange in the Human Alveolus.

Frontiers in bioinformatics, 1:774300.

In interdisciplinary fields such as systems biology, good communication between experimentalists and theorists is crucial for the success of a project. Theoretical modeling in physiology usually describes complex systems with many interdependencies. On one hand, these models have to be grounded on experimental data. On the other hand, experimenters must be able to understand the interdependent complexities of the theoretical model in order to interpret the model's results in the physiological context. We promote interactive, visual simulations as an engaging way to present theoretical models in physiology and to make complex processes tangible. Based on a requirements analysis, we developed a new model for gas exchange in the human alveolus in combination with an interactive simulation software named Alvin. Alvin exceeds the current standard with its spatio-temporal resolution and a combination of visual and quantitative feedback. In Alvin, the course of the simulation can be traced in a three-dimensional rendering of an alveolus and dynamic plots. The user can interact by configuring essential model parameters. Alvin allows to run and compare multiple simulation instances simultaneously. We exemplified the use of Alvin for research by identifying unknown dependencies in published experimental data. Employing a detailed questionnaire, we showed the benefits of Alvin for education. We postulate that interactive, visual simulation of theoretical models, as we have implemented with Alvin on respiratory processes in the alveolus, can be of great help for communication between specialists and thereby advancing research.

RevDate: 2022-10-19

Broekman MJE, Hilbers JP, Huijbregts MAJ, et al (2022)

Evaluating expert-based habitat suitability information of terrestrial mammals with GPS-tracking data.

Global ecology and biogeography : a journal of macroecology, 31(8):1526-1541.

AIM: Macroecological studies that require habitat suitability data for many species often derive this information from expert opinion. However, expert-based information is inherently subjective and thus prone to errors. The increasing availability of GPS tracking data offers opportunities to evaluate and supplement expert-based information with detailed empirical evidence. Here, we compared expert-based habitat suitability information from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with habitat suitability information derived from GPS-tracking data of 1,498 individuals from 49 mammal species.

LOCATION: Worldwide.

TIME PERIOD: 1998-2021.

MAJOR TAXA STUDIED: Forty-nine terrestrial mammal species.

METHODS: Using GPS data, we estimated two measures of habitat suitability for each individual animal: proportional habitat use (proportion of GPS locations within a habitat type), and selection ratio (habitat use relative to its availability). For each individual we then evaluated whether the GPS-based habitat suitability measures were in agreement with the IUCN data. To that end, we calculated the probability that the ranking of empirical habitat suitability measures was in agreement with IUCN's classification into suitable, marginal and unsuitable habitat types.

RESULTS: IUCN habitat suitability data were in accordance with the GPS data (> 95% probability of agreement) for 33 out of 49 species based on proportional habitat use estimates and for 25 out of 49 species based on selection ratios. In addition, 37 and 34 species had a > 50% probability of agreement based on proportional habitat use and selection ratios, respectively.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS: We show how GPS-tracking data can be used to evaluate IUCN habitat suitability data. Our findings indicate that for the majority of species included in this study, it is appropriate to use IUCN habitat suitability data in macroecological studies. Furthermore, we show that GPS-tracking data can be used to identify and prioritize species and habitat types for re-evaluation of IUCN habitat suitability data.

RevDate: 2022-10-15

Kaya-Zeeb S, Delac S, Wolf L, et al (2022)

Robustness of the honeybee neuro-muscular octopaminergic system in the face of cold stress.

Frontiers in physiology, 13:1002740.

In recent decades, our planet has undergone dramatic environmental changes resulting in the loss of numerous species. This contrasts with species that can adapt quickly to rapidly changing ambient conditions, which require physiological plasticity and must occur rapidly. The Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) apparently meets this challenge with remarkable success, as this species is adapted to numerous climates, resulting in an almost worldwide distribution. Here, coordinated individual thermoregulatory activities ensure survival at the colony level and thus the transmission of genetic material. Recently, we showed that shivering thermogenesis, which is critical for honeybee thermoregulation, depends on octopamine signaling. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that the thoracic neuro-muscular octopaminergic system strives for a steady-state equilibrium under cold stress to maintain endogenous thermogenesis. We can show that this applies for both, octopamine provision by flight muscle innervating neurons and octopamine receptor expression in the flight muscles. Additionally, we discovered alternative splicing for AmOARβ2. At least the expression of one isoform is needed to survive cold stress conditions. We assume that the thoracic neuro-muscular octopaminergic system is finely tuned in order to contribute decisively to survival in a changing environment.

RevDate: 2023-04-11
CmpDate: 2022-10-12

Eppley TM, Hoeks S, Chapman CA, et al (2022)

Factors influencing terrestriality in primates of the Americas and Madagascar.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(42):e2121105119.

Among mammals, the order Primates is exceptional in having a high taxonomic richness in which the taxa are arboreal, semiterrestrial, or terrestrial. Although habitual terrestriality is pervasive among the apes and African and Asian monkeys (catarrhines), it is largely absent among monkeys of the Americas (platyrrhines), as well as galagos, lemurs, and lorises (strepsirrhines), which are mostly arboreal. Numerous ecological drivers and species-specific factors are suggested to set the conditions for an evolutionary shift from arboreality to terrestriality, and current environmental conditions may provide analogous scenarios to those transitional periods. Therefore, we investigated predominantly arboreal, diurnal primate genera from the Americas and Madagascar that lack fully terrestrial taxa, to determine whether ecological drivers (habitat canopy cover, predation risk, maximum temperature, precipitation, primate species richness, human population density, and distance to roads) or species-specific traits (body mass, group size, and degree of frugivory) associate with increased terrestriality. We collated 150,961 observation hours across 2,227 months from 47 species at 20 sites in Madagascar and 48 sites in the Americas. Multiple factors were associated with ground use in these otherwise arboreal species, including increased temperature, a decrease in canopy cover, a dietary shift away from frugivory, and larger group size. These factors mostly explain intraspecific differences in terrestriality. As humanity modifies habitats and causes climate change, our results suggest that species already inhabiting hot, sparsely canopied sites, and exhibiting more generalized diets, are more likely to shift toward greater ground use.

RevDate: 2023-04-14
CmpDate: 2023-02-24

Pfeiffer K (2023)

The neuronal building blocks of the navigational toolkit in the central complex of insects.

Current opinion in insect science, 55:100972.

The central complex in the brain of insects is a group of midline-spanning neuropils at the interface between sensory and premotor tasks of the brain. It is involved in sleep control, decision-making and most prominently in goal-directed locomotion behaviors. The recently published connectome of the central complex of Drosophila melanogaster is a milestone in understanding the intricacies of the central-complex circuits and will provide inspiration for testable hypotheses for the coming years. Here, I provide a basic neuroanatomical description of the central complex of Drosophila and other species and discuss some recent advancements, some of which, such as the discovery of coordinate transformation through vector math, have been predicted from connectomics data.

RevDate: 2023-03-20
CmpDate: 2022-09-22

Schultheiss P, Nooten SS, Wang R, et al (2022)

The abundance, biomass, and distribution of ants on Earth.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(40):e2201550119.

Knowledge on the distribution and abundance of organisms is fundamental to understanding their roles within ecosystems and their ecological importance for other taxa. Such knowledge is currently lacking for insects, which have long been regarded as the "little things that run the world". Even for ubiquitous insects, such as ants, which are of tremendous ecological significance, there is currently neither a reliable estimate of their total number on Earth nor of their abundance in particular biomes or habitats. We compile data on ground-dwelling and arboreal ants to obtain an empirical estimate of global ant abundance. Our analysis is based on 489 studies, spanning all continents, major biomes, and habitats. We conservatively estimate total abundance of ground-dwelling ants at over 3 × 10[15] and estimate the number of all ants on Earth to be almost 20 × 10[15] individuals. The latter corresponds to a biomass of ∼12 megatons of dry carbon. This exceeds the combined biomass of wild birds and mammals and is equivalent to ∼20% of human biomass. Abundances of ground-dwelling ants are strongly concentrated in tropical and subtropical regions but vary substantially across habitats. The density of leaf-litter ants is highest in forests, while the numbers of actively ground-foraging ants are highest in arid regions. This study highlights the central role ants play in terrestrial ecosystems but also major ecological and geographic gaps in our current knowledge. Our results provide a crucial baseline for exploring environmental drivers of ant-abundance patterns and for tracking the responses of insects to environmental change.

RevDate: 2022-10-24
CmpDate: 2022-09-08

Yilmaz A, J Spaethe (2022)

Colour vision in ants (Formicidae, Hymenoptera).

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1862):20210291.

Ants are ecologically one of the most important groups of insects and exhibit impressive capabilities for visual learning and orientation. Studies on numerous ant species demonstrate that ants can learn to discriminate between different colours irrespective of light intensity and modify their behaviour accordingly. However, the findings across species are variable and inconsistent, suggesting that our understanding of colour vision in ants and what roles ecological and phylogenetic factors play is at an early stage. This review provides a brief synopsis of the critical findings of the past century of research by compiling studies that address molecular, physiological and behavioural aspects of ant colour vision. With this, we aim to improve our understanding of colour vision and to gain deeper insights into the mysterious and colourful world of ants. This article is part of the theme issue 'Understanding colour vision: molecular, physiological, neuronal and behavioural studies in arthropods'.

RevDate: 2022-11-15
CmpDate: 2022-08-09

Fichtel C, PM Kappeler (2022)

Coevolution of social and communicative complexity in lemurs.

Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 377(1860):20210297.

The endemic lemurs of Madagascar (Lemuriformes: Primates) exhibit great social and communicative diversity. Given their independent evolutionary history, lemurs provide an excellent opportunity to identify fundamental principles in the coevolution of social and communicative traits. We conducted comparative phylogenetic analyses to examine patterns of interspecific variation among measures of social complexity and repertoire sizes in the vocal, olfactory and visual modality, while controlling for environmental factors such as habitat and number of sympatric species. We also examined potential trade-offs in signal evolution as well as coevolution between body mass or brain size and communicative complexity. Repertoire sizes in the vocal, olfactory and visual modality correlated positively with group size, but not with environmental factors. Evolutionary changes in social complexity presumably antedated corresponding changes in communicative complexity. There was no trade-off in the evolution of signals in different modalities and neither body mass nor brain size correlated with any repertoire size. Hence, communicative complexity coevolved with social complexity across different modalities, possibly to service social relationships flexibly and effectively in pair- and group-living species. Our analyses shed light on the requirements and adaptive possibilities in the coevolution of core elements of social organization and social structure in a basal primate lineage. This article is part of the theme issue 'Cognition, communication and social bonds in primates'.

RevDate: 2022-08-12
CmpDate: 2022-08-02

Song 宋紫檀 Z, Liker A, Liu 刘阳 Y, et al (2022)

Evolution of Social Organization: Phylogenetic Analyses of Ecology and Sexual Selection in Weavers.

The American naturalist, 200(2):250-263.

AbstractCrook published a landmark study on the social organization of weavers (or weaverbirds, family Ploceidae) that contributed to the emergence of sociobiology, behavioral ecology, and phylogenetic comparative methods. By comparing ecology, spatial distribution, and mating systems, Crook suggested that the spatial distribution of food resources and breeding habitats influence weaver aggregation during both the nonbreeding season (flocking vs. solitary foraging) and the breeding season (colonial vs. solitary breeding), and the latter in turn impacts mating systems and sexual selection. Although Crook's study stimulated much follow-up research, his conclusions have not been scrutinized using phylogenetically controlled analyses. We revisited Crook's hypotheses using modern phylogenetic comparative methods on an extended data set of 107 weaver species. We showed that both diet and habitat type are associated with spatial distribution and that the latter predicts mating system, consistent with Crook's propositions. The best-supported phylogenetic path model also supported Crook's arguments and uncovered a direct relationship between nonbreeding distribution and mating system. Taken together, our phylogenetically corrected analyses confirm Crook's conjectures on the roles of ecology in social organizations of weavers; however, our analyses also uncovered an association between nonbreeding distributions and mating systems, which was not envisaged by Crook.

RevDate: 2022-12-24
CmpDate: 2022-07-28

Stöckl A, Grittner R, Taylor G, et al (2022)

Allometric scaling of a superposition eye optimizes sensitivity and acuity in large and small hawkmoths.

Proceedings. Biological sciences, 289(1979):20220758.

Animals vary widely in body size within and across species. This has consequences for the function of organs and body parts in both large and small individuals. How these scale, in relation to body size, reveals evolutionary investment strategies, often resulting in trade-offs between functions. Eyes exemplify these trade-offs, as they are limited by their absolute size in two key performance features: sensitivity and spatial acuity. Due to their size polymorphism, insect compound eyes are ideal models for studying the allometric scaling of eye performance. Previous work on apposition compound eyes revealed that allometric scaling led to poorer spatial resolution and visual sensitivity in small individuals, across a range of insect species. Here, we used X-ray microtomography to investigate allometric scaling in superposition compound eyes-the second most common eye type in insects-for the first time. Our results reveal a novel strategy to cope with the trade-off between sensitivity and spatial acuity, as we show that the eyes of the hummingbird hawkmoth retain an optimal balance between these performance measures across all body sizes.

RevDate: 2022-10-11
CmpDate: 2022-09-28

Tiley GP, van Elst T, Teixeira H, et al (2022)

Population genomic structure in Goodman's mouse lemur reveals long-standing separation of Madagascar's Central Highlands and eastern rainforests.

Molecular ecology, 31(19):4901-4918.

Madagascar's Central Highlands are largely composed of grasslands, interspersed with patches of forest. The historical perspective was that Madagascar's grasslands had anthropogenic origins, but emerging evidence suggests that grasslands were a component of the pre-human Central Highlands vegetation. Consequently, there is now vigorous debate regarding the extent to which these grasslands have expanded due to anthropogenic pressures. Here, we shed light on the temporal dynamics of Madagascar's vegetative composition by conducting a population genomic investigation of Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara; Cheirogaleidae). These small-bodied primates occur both in Madagascar's eastern rainforests and in the Central Highlands, making them a valuable indicator species. Population divergences among forest-dwelling mammals will reflect changes to their habitat, including fragmentation, whereas patterns of post-divergence gene flow can reveal formerly wooded migration corridors. To explore these patterns, we used RADseq data to infer population genetic structure, demographic models of post-divergence gene flow, and population size change through time. The results offer evidence that open habitats are an ancient component of the Central Highlands, and that widespread forest fragmentation occurred naturally during a period of decreased precipitation near the last glacial maximum. Models of gene flow suggest that migration across the Central Highlands has been possible from the Pleistocene through the recent Holocene via riparian corridors. Though our findings support the hypothesis that Central Highland grasslands predate human arrival, we also find evidence for human-mediated population declines. This highlights the extent to which species imminently threatened by human-mediated deforestation may already be vulnerable from paleoclimatic conditions.

RevDate: 2022-08-10
CmpDate: 2022-07-21

van der Kooi CJ, J Spaethe (2022)

Caution with colour calculations: spectral purity is a poor descriptor of flower colour visibility.

Annals of botany, 130(1):1-9.

BACKGROUND: The colours of flowers are of key interest to plant and pollination biologists. An increasing number of studies have investigated the importance of saturation of flower colours (often called 'spectral purity' or 'chroma') for visibility to pollinators, but the conceptual, physiological and behavioural foundations for these metrics as well as the calculations used rest on slender foundations.

METHODS: We discuss the caveats of colour attributes that are derived from human perception, and in particular spectral purity and chroma, as variables in flower colour analysis. We re-analysed seven published datasets encompassing 774 measured reflectance spectra to test for correlations between colour contrast, spectral purity and chroma.

MAIN FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS: We identify several concerns with common calculation procedures in animal colour spaces. Studies on animal colour vision provide no ground to assume that any pollinator perceives (or responds to) saturation, chroma or spectral purity in the way humans do. A re-analysis of published datasets revealed that values for colour contrast between flowers and their background are highly correlated with measures for spectral purity and chroma, which invalidates treating these factors as independent variables as is currently commonplace. Strikingly, spectral purity and chroma - both of which are metrics for saturation and are often used synonymously - are not correlated at all. We conclude that alternative, behaviourally validated metrics for the visibility of flowers to pollinators, such as colour contrast and achromatic contrast, are better in understanding the role of flower colour in plant-pollinator signalling.

RevDate: 2022-08-16
CmpDate: 2022-06-20

Hudel L, PM Kappeler (2022)

Sex-specific movement ecology of the shortest-lived tetrapod during the mating season.

Scientific reports, 12(1):10053.

Sex-specific reproductive strategies are shaped by the distribution of potential mates in space and time. Labord's chameleon (Furcifer labordi) from southwestern Madagascar is the shortest-lived tetrapod whose life-time mating opportunities are restricted to a few weeks. Given that these chameleons grow to sexual maturity within about three months and that all individuals die soon after breeding, their mating strategies should be adapted to these temporal constraints. The reproductive tactics of this or any other Malagasy chameleon species have not been studied, however. Radio-tracking and observations of 21 females and 18 males revealed that females exhibit high site fidelity, move small cumulative and linear distances, have low corresponding dispersal ratios and small occurrence distributions. In contrast, males moved larger distances in less predictable fashion, resulting in dispersal ratios and occurrence distributions 7-14 times larger than those of females, and males also had greater ranges of their vertical distribution. Despite synchronous hatching, males exhibited substantial inter-individual variation in body mass and snout-vent length that was significantly greater than in females, but apparently unrelated to their spatial tactics. Females mated with up to 6 individually-known mates, but frequent encounters with unmarked individuals indicate that much higher number of matings may be common, as are damaging fights among males. Thus, unlike perennial chameleons, F. labordi males do not seem to maintain and defend territories. Instead, they invest vastly more time and energy into locomotion for their body size than other species. Pronounced variation in key somatic traits may hint at the existence of alternative reproductive tactics, but its causes and consequences require further study. This first preliminary study of the mating system of a Malagasy chameleon indicates that, as in other semelparous tetrapods, accelerated life histories are tied to a mating system with intense contest and scramble competition among males.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Theara GK, Ruíz Macedo J, Zárate Gómez R, et al (2022)

Fur rubbing in Plecturocebus cupreus - an incidence of self-medication?.

Primate biology, 9(1):7-10.

Fur rubbing, i.e. rubbing a substance or an object into the pelage, has been described in numerous Neotropical primate species, including species of titi monkeys, but it seems to be a rare behaviour. Here we describe a fur rubbing event in a wild coppery titi monkey (Plecturocebus cupreus) with Psychotria sp. (Rubiaceae) leaves observed and videotaped during a field study on vigilance behaviour between September-December 2019 in the Peruvian Amazon. Plants of the genus Psychotria contain a great diversity of secondary metabolites and are often used in traditional medicine. We suggest that the fur rubbing was an act of self-medication. This is the first record of fur rubbing in coppery titi monkeys in almost 4400 h of observation accumulated over more than 20 years.

RevDate: 2022-09-01
CmpDate: 2022-07-15

Davidian E, Surbeck M, Lukas D, et al (2022)

The eco-evolutionary landscape of power relationships between males and females.

Trends in ecology & evolution, 37(8):706-718.

In animal societies, control over resources and reproduction is often biased towards one sex. Yet, the ecological and evolutionary underpinnings of male-female power asymmetries remain poorly understood. We outline a comprehensive framework to quantify and predict the dynamics of male-female power relationships within and across mammalian species. We show that male-female power relationships are more nuanced and flexible than previously acknowledged. We then propose that enhanced reproductive control over when and with whom to mate predicts social empowerment across ecological and evolutionary contexts. The framework explains distinct pathways to sex-biased power: coercion and male-biased dimorphism constitute a co-evolutionary highway to male power, whereas female power emerges through multiple physiological, morphological, behavioural, and socioecological pathways.

RevDate: 2022-10-19
CmpDate: 2022-07-29

Kaiser A, Hensgen R, Tschirner K, et al (2022)

A three-dimensional atlas of the honeybee central complex, associated neuropils and peptidergic layers of the central body.

The Journal of comparative neurology, 530(14):2416-2438.

The central complex (CX) in the brain of insects is a highly conserved group of midline-spanning neuropils consisting of the upper and lower division of the central body, the protocerebral bridge, and the paired noduli. These neuropils are the substrate for a number of behaviors, most prominently goal-oriented locomotion. Honeybees have been a model organism for sky-compass orientation for more than 70 years, but there is still very limited knowledge about the structure and function of their CX. To advance and facilitate research on this brain area, we created a high-resolution three-dimensional atlas of the honeybee's CX and associated neuropils, including the posterior optic tubercles, the bulbs, and the anterior optic tubercles. To this end, we developed a modified version of the iterative shape averaging technique, which allowed us to achieve high volumetric accuracy of the neuropil models. For a finer definition of spatial locations within the central body, we defined layers based on immunostaining against the neuropeptides locustatachykinin, FMRFamide, gastrin/cholecystokinin, and allatostatin and included them into the atlas by elastic registration. Our honeybee CX atlas provides a platform for future neuroanatomical work.

RevDate: 2022-07-16

Schmalz F, El Jundi B, Rössler W, et al (2022)

Categorizing Visual Information in Subpopulations of Honeybee Mushroom Body Output Neurons.

Frontiers in physiology, 13:866807.

Multisensory integration plays a central role in perception, as all behaviors usually require the input of different sensory signals. For instance, for a foraging honeybee the association of a food source includes the combination of olfactory and visual cues to be categorized as a flower. Moreover, homing after successful foraging using celestial cues and the panoramic scenery may be dominated by visual cues. Hence, dependent on the context, one modality might be leading and influence the processing of other modalities. To unravel the complex neural mechanisms behind this process we studied honeybee mushroom body output neurons (MBON). MBONs represent the first processing level after olfactory-visual convergence in the honeybee brain. This was physiologically confirmed in our previous study by characterizing a subpopulation of multisensory MBONs. These neurons categorize incoming sensory inputs into olfactory, visual, and olfactory-visual information. However, in addition to multisensory units a prominent population of MBONs was sensitive to visual cues only. Therefore, we asked which visual features might be represented at this high-order integration level. Using extracellular, multi-unit recordings in combination with visual and olfactory stimulation, we separated MBONs with multisensory responses from purely visually driven MBONs. Further analysis revealed, for the first time, that visually driven MBONs of both groups encode detailed aspects within this individual modality, such as light intensity and light identity. Moreover, we show that these features are separated by different MBON subpopulations, for example by extracting information about brightness and wavelength. Most interestingly, the latter MBON population was tuned to separate UV-light from other light stimuli, which were only poorly differentiated from each other. A third MBON subpopulation was neither tuned to brightness nor to wavelength and encoded the general presence of light. Taken together, our results support the view that the mushroom body, a high-order sensory integration, learning and memory center in the insect brain, categorizes sensory information by separating different behaviorally relevant aspects of the multisensory scenery and that these categories are channeled into distinct MBON subpopulations.

RevDate: 2022-11-12
CmpDate: 2022-05-24

Zupanc GKH, W Rössler (2022)

Government funding of research beyond biomedicine: challenges and opportunities for neuroethology.

Journal of comparative physiology. A, Neuroethology, sensory, neural, and behavioral physiology, 208(3):443-456.

Curiosity-driven research is fundamental for neuroethology and depends crucially on governmental funding. Here, we highlight similarities and differences in funding of curiosity-driven research across countries by comparing two major funding agencies-the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the United States and the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). We interviewed representatives from each of the two agencies, focusing on general funding trends, levels of young investigator support, career-life balance, and international collaborations. While our analysis revealed a negative trend in NSF funding of biological research, including curiosity-driven research, German researchers in these areas have benefited from a robust positive trend in DFG funding. The main reason for the decrease in curiosity-driven research in the US is that the NSF has only partially been able to compensate for the funding gap resulting from the National Institutes of Health restricting their support to biomedical research using select model organisms. Notwithstanding some differences in funding programs, particularly those relevant for scientists in the postdoctoral phase, both the NSF and DFG clearly support curiosity-driven research.

RevDate: 2022-07-31
CmpDate: 2022-06-13

Stuhrmann C (2022)

"It Felt More like a Revolution." How Behavioral Ecology Succeeded Ethology, 1970-1990.

Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte, 45(1-2):135-163.

As soon as ethology's status diminished in the early 1970s, it was confronted with two successor disciplines, sociobiology and behavioral ecology. They were able to challenge ethology because it no longer provided markers of strong disciplinarity such as theoretical coherence, leading figures and a clear identity. While behavioral ecology developed organically out of the UK ethological research community into its own disciplinary standing, sociobiology presented itself as a US competitor to the ethological tradition. I will show how behavioral ecology took the role of legitimate heir to ethology by rebuilding a theoretical core and an intellectual sense of community, while sociobiology failed to use its public appeal to reach disciplinary status. Meanwhile, ethology changed its disciplinary identity to encompass all biological studies of animal behavior.


RJR Experience and Expertise


Robbins holds BS, MS, and PhD degrees in the life sciences. He served as a tenured faculty member in the Zoology and Biological Science departments at Michigan State University. He is currently exploring the intersection between genomics, microbial ecology, and biodiversity — an area that promises to transform our understanding of the biosphere.


Robbins has extensive experience in college-level education: At MSU he taught introductory biology, genetics, and population genetics. At JHU, he was an instructor for a special course on biological database design. At FHCRC, he team-taught a graduate-level course on the history of genetics. At Bellevue College he taught medical informatics.


Robbins has been involved in science administration at both the federal and the institutional levels. At NSF he was a program officer for database activities in the life sciences, at DOE he was a program officer for information infrastructure in the human genome project. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, he served as a vice president for fifteen years.


Robbins has been involved with information technology since writing his first Fortran program as a college student. At NSF he was the first program officer for database activities in the life sciences. At JHU he held an appointment in the CS department and served as director of the informatics core for the Genome Data Base. At the FHCRC he was VP for Information Technology.


While still at Michigan State, Robbins started his first publishing venture, founding a small company that addressed the short-run publishing needs of instructors in very large undergraduate classes. For more than 20 years, Robbins has been operating The Electronic Scholarly Publishing Project, a web site dedicated to the digital publishing of critical works in science, especially classical genetics.


Robbins is well-known for his speaking abilities and is often called upon to provide keynote or plenary addresses at international meetings. For example, in July, 2012, he gave a well-received keynote address at the Global Biodiversity Informatics Congress, sponsored by GBIF and held in Copenhagen. The slides from that talk can be seen HERE.


Robbins is a skilled meeting facilitator. He prefers a participatory approach, with part of the meeting involving dynamic breakout groups, created by the participants in real time: (1) individuals propose breakout groups; (2) everyone signs up for one (or more) groups; (3) the groups with the most interested parties then meet, with reports from each group presented and discussed in a subsequent plenary session.


Robbins has been engaged with photography and design since the 1960s, when he worked for a professional photography laboratory. He now prefers digital photography and tools for their precision and reproducibility. He designed his first web site more than 20 years ago and he personally designed and implemented this web site. He engages in graphic design as a hobby.

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This is the book that really started the notion of sociobiology. It came out just as I was starting graduate school and the animal-behavior group organized a discussion group around the book. I was very lucky to have my introduction to in-depth academic discourse be centered around such an interesting book. R. Robbins

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Collection of publications by R J Robbins

Reprints and preprints of publications, slide presentations, instructional materials, and data compilations written or prepared by Robert Robbins. Most papers deal with computational biology, genome informatics, using information technology to support biomedical research, and related matters.

Research Gate page for R J Robbins

ResearchGate is a social networking site for scientists and researchers to share papers, ask and answer questions, and find collaborators. According to a study by Nature and an article in Times Higher Education , it is the largest academic social network in terms of active users.

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

short personal version

Curriculum Vitae for R J Robbins

long standard version

RJR Picks from Around the Web (updated 11 MAY 2018 )