Improved empirical tests of area-heterogeneity tradeoffs

Carnicer J., Brotons L., Herrando S., Sol D. (2013) Improved empirical tests of area-heterogeneity tradeoffs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 110: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1073/pnas.1222681110

Abstract:

[No abstract available]

Read more

Sexual selection on brain size in shorebirds (Charadriiformes)

García-Peña G.E., Sol D., Iwaniuk A.N., Székely T. (2013) Sexual selection on brain size in shorebirds (Charadriiformes). Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 26: 878-888.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/jeb.12104

Abstract:

Natural selection is considered a major force shaping brain size evolution in vertebrates, whereas the influence of sexual selection remains controversial. On one hand, sexual selection could promote brain enlargement by enhancing cognitive skills needed to compete for mates. On the other hand, sexual selection could favour brain size reduction due to trade-offs between investing in brain tissue and in sexually selected traits. These opposed predictions are mirrored in contradictory relationships between sexual selection proxies and brain size relative to body size. Here, we report a phylogenetic comparative analysis that highlights potential flaws in interpreting relative brain size-mating system associations as effects of sexual selection on brain size in shorebirds (Charadriiformes), a taxonomic group with an outstanding diversity in breeding systems. Considering many ecological effects, relative brain size was not significantly correlated with testis size. In polyandrous species, however, relative brain sizes of males and females were smaller than in monogamous species, and females had smaller brain size than males. Although these findings are consistent with sexual selection reducing brain size, they could also be due to females deserting parental care, which is a common feature of polyandrous species. Furthermore, our analyses suggested that body size evolved faster than brain size, and thus the evolution of body size may be confounding the effect of the mating system on relative brain size. The brain size-mating system association in shorebirds is thus not only due to sexual selection on brain size but rather, to body size evolution and other multiple simultaneous effects. © 2013 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2013 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

Read more

Fitness costs and benefits of personality disorder traits

Gutiérrez F., Gárriz M., Peri J.M., Ferraz L., Sol D., Navarro J.B., Barbadilla A., Valdés M. (2013) Fitness costs and benefits of personality disorder traits. Evolution and Human Behavior. 34: 41-48.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2012.09.001

Abstract:

Extreme personality traits in humans often have detrimental life consequences, so they have long been supposed to be diseases. However, many other species display personality variants that are maintained due to their fitness advantages; in this case, they are construed as strategies. To examine the fitness costs and benefits of pathological personality traits in humans, we measured features of the A (socially odd, distrustful), B (incentive-seeking, selfish) and C (fearful, inhibited) clusters with the Personality Diagnostic Questionnaire-4. + (PDQ-4. +) in a sample of 738 outpatients. Fitness relevant parameters like mating success, reproductive output, self preservation, and access to status were assessed with the Life Outcome Questionnaire. No fitness advantages were found for high-A subjects. In contrast, high-B subjects tripled low-B subjects with regard to mating success and had 39% more offspring. Further, high-C subjects outperformed low-C subjects in attaining status and avoiding risks. These findings help explain the commonness of some extreme personality traits in humans, and suggest that they should be seen as evolutionary strategies rather than as diseases. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Read more

Innovating innovation rate and its relationship with brains, ecology and general intelligence

Lefebvre L., Reader S.M., Sol D. (2013) Innovating innovation rate and its relationship with brains, ecology and general intelligence. Brain, Behavior and Evolution. 81: 143-145.
Link
Doi: 10.1159/000348485

Abstract:

[No abstract available]

Read more

Do smart birds stress less? An interspecific relationship between brain size and corticosterone levels

Lendvai A.Z., Bokony V., Angelier F., Chastel O., Sol D. (2013) Do smart birds stress less? An interspecific relationship between brain size and corticosterone levels. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 280: 0-0.
Link
Doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.1734

Abstract:

Vertebrates respond to unpredictable noxious environmental stimuli by increasing secretion of glucocorticoids (CORT). Although this hormonal stress response is adaptive, high levels of CORT may induce significant costs if stressful situations are frequent. Thus, alternative coping mechanisms that help buffer individuals against environmental stressors may be selected for when the costs of CORT levels are elevated. By allowing individuals to identify, anticipate and cope with the stressful circumstances, cognition may enable stress-specific behavioural coping. Although there is evidence that behavioural responses allowanimals to cope with stressful situations, it is unclear whether or not cognition reduces investment in the neuroendocrine stress response. Here, we report that in birds, species with larger brains relative to their body size showlower baseline and peakCORTlevels than species with smaller brains. This relationship is consistent across life-history stages, and cannot be accounted for by differences in life history and geographical latitude. Because a large brain is a major feature of birds that base their lifetime in learning new things, our results support the hypothesis that enhanced cognition represents a general alternative to the neuroendocrine stress response. © 2013 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

Read more

Addressing a critique of the TEASI framework for invasive species risk assessment

Leung B., Roura-Pascual N., Bacher S., Heikkila J., Brotons L., Burgman M.A., Dehnen-Schmutz K., Essl F., Hulme P.E., Richardson D.M., Sol D., Vila M. (2013) Addressing a critique of the TEASI framework for invasive species risk assessment. Ecology Letters. 16: 1415-14.
Link
Doi: 10.1111/ele.12172

Abstract:

We address criticism that the Transport, Establishment, Abundance, Spread, Impact (TEASI) framework does not facilitate objective mapping of risk assessment methods nor defines best practice. We explain why TEASI is appropriate for mapping, despite inherent challenges, and how TEASI offers considerations for best practices, rather than suggesting one best practice. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

Read more

Behavioural adjustments for a life in the city

Sol D., Lapiedra O., Gonzalez-Lagos C. (2013) Behavioural adjustments for a life in the city. Animal Behaviour. 85: 1101-1112.
Link
Doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.01.023

Abstract:

While human-induced rapid environmental changes are putting many organisms at risk of extinction, others are doing better than ever. This raises the question of why organisms differ in their tolerance to environmental alterations. Here, we ask whether and how behavioural adjustments assist animals in dealing with the urbanization process, one of the primary causes of biodiversity loss and biotic homogenization. Based on a literature review, we present both theoretical and empirical arguments to show that behavioural adjustments to urban habitats are widespread and that they may potentially be important in facilitating resource use, avoiding disturbances and enhancing communication. While a growing number of studies report behavioural differences between urban and nonurban animals, very few studies directly address the underlying mechanisms. In some cases, the changes in behaviour occur very rapidly and involve learning, and hence can be attributed to behavioural plasticity. In other cases, however, it cannot be ruled out that behavioural differences between urban and nonurban animals result from natural selection or nonrandom sorting of individuals by behavioural traits that affect dispersal, habitat selection or establishment. Because the urbanization process is expected to continue to threaten biodiversity in the near future, there is some urgency to improve our understanding of the mechanisms through which behaviour helps animals to cope with such environmental alterations. © 2013 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

Read more