Global geographic patterns in the colours and sizes of animal dispersed fruits

Fruit colours attract animal seed dispersers, yet the causes of fruit colour diversity remain controversial. The lack of knowledge of large?scale spatial patterns in fruit colours has limited our ability to formulate and test alternative hypotheses to explain fruit colour, fruit size and fruit colour diversity. Spatial (especially latitudinal) variation in fruit colour, colour diversity and length has been described, and tested for correlations between fruit colour, length and plant habit,...

Recent shift in the pigmentation phenotype of a wild Neotropical primate

The colors of primates are among the most diverse phenotypes in mammals. These colors are mostly produced by the deposition of melanin pigments in hairs. Many species show considerable variability in pigmentation, but this is always temporarily fixed. Here the first rapid change in the pigmentation phenotype of a primate is reported. In the last five years, the pelage of mantled howler monkeys Alouatta palliata inhabiting Costa Rica has started to change from fully black to yellowish,...

Physiological compartmentalization as a possible cause of phylogenetic signal loss: an example involving melanin-based pigmentation

Phylogenetic signal is the extent to which phenotypic expression is related to phylogenetic relationships between species, thus reflecting the effect of common ancestry. Signal loss occurs when some species obtain adaptation, regarding a given trait, to certain environmental conditions. Compartmentalization in processes leading to trait expression reduces dependence among them, thus favoring, up to some degree, their independent evolution. Compartmentalization may therefore lead to...

Impact of historical vs. anthropogenic factors on processes of genetic fragmentation

Impact of historical vs. anthropogenic factors on processes of genetic fragmentation
Inferring the demographic history of species is fundamental for understanding their responses to past climate/landscape alterations and improving our predictions about the future impacts of the different components of ongoing global change. Estimating the time-frame at which population fragmentation took place is also critical to determine whether such process was shaped by ancient events or if it was...

Birds present worse body conditions in more urbanized areas

Human landscape transformation, especially urbanization, strongly affects ecosystems worldwide. Both urban stressors and parasites have negative effects on organism health, however the potential synergy between those factors has been poorly investigated. The body condition (i.e. body mass after controlling for wing chord) of 2043 house sparrows (Passer domesticus; adults and yearlings) captured in 45 localities along an urbanization gradient in relation to Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and...