Research articles

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  • Secondary sexual traits influence reproductive success, but may also be sensitive to environmental change. Here, the authors show that selection on forehead patch size in male collared flycatchers switches from positive to negative depending on spring temperature at the breeding site.

    • Simon R. Evans
    • Lars Gustafsson
  • Although marine protected areas are designed to conserve biodiversity, they typically do not account for the conservation status of species within them. Here, the authors identify hotspots of extinction risk among the world’s sharks and rays that require targeted conservation action.

    • Lindsay N. K. Davidson
    • Nicholas K. Dulvy
  • Analysis of over 1,000 complete adaptive landscapes from 129 eukaryotic species suggests that landscape navigability contributed to the success of transcriptional regulation as a source of adaptation and innovation.

    • José Aguilar-Rodríguez
    • Joshua L. Payne
    • Andreas Wagner
  • Demographic buffering is thought to reduce the impact of environmental variation on fitness. Here, the authors find little evidence that plant life histories tend to be buffered, with certain clades more likely to be demographically labile.

    • Jenni L. McDonald
    • Miguel Franco
    • Dave J. Hodgson
  • Laryngeal echolocation occurs in two separate groups of bats, so it is not clear if this is an example of convergent evolution or if those bats that cannot echolocate previously lost the ability. Here, a study of cochlear development in bats and other mammals supports a single origin of echolocation.

    • Zhe Wang
    • Tengteng Zhu
    • Shuyi Zhang
  • Humans and great apes show left-cradling bias but it is unclear how widespread this bias is. Here, the authors show lateralization in interactions between an infant and its mother in 11 marine and terrestrial mammals, which suggests that lateralization has an ancient evolutionary history.

    • Karina Karenina
    • Andrey Giljov
    • Yegor Malashichev
    Brief Communication
  • By combining data on fossil and extant Caribbean bats, the authors confirm predictions that island biodiversity across this archipelago should reach an equilibrium value through time, but that this has been disrupted by recent anthropogenic extinctions.

    • Luis Valente
    • Rampal S. Etienne
    • Liliana M. Dávalos
  • One of the main drivers of human-induced biodiversity loss is exploitation of natural resources for trade. Here, the authors identify global ‘hotspots’ of threats to wildlife from international trade that directly link production of goods in one country with their consumption in another.

    • Daniel Moran
    • Keiichiro Kanemoto
  • Although inbreeding generally reduces genetic diversity, even after 10 generations of inbreeding 37.5% of the planarian worm Schmidtea mediterranea’s genome retains heterozygosity, and is maintained at low recombination rates in the wild.

    • Longhua Guo
    • Shasha Zhang
    • Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado
  • Romer’s Gap describes the period with few known fossils when early tetrapods were becoming increasingly terrestrial. Here, five new species, three stem tetrapods and two stem amphibians, are described from a location in Scotland shedding light on the phylogeny and environment of this period.

    • Jennifer A. Clack
    • Carys E. Bennett
    • Stig A. Walsh
  • In protostomes the mouth develops from the embryonic blastophore, whereas in deuterostomes it develops separately. A comparison between two related protostomal and deuterostomal brachiopod species shows the role of Wnt signalling and mesoderm formation in this fundamental dichotomy of bilaterian animal body plan.

    • José M. Martín-Durán
    • Yale J. Passamaneck
    • Andreas Hejnol