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Volume 1 Issue 2, February 2017


  • Biologists have long been captivated by bats, whose unique adaptations are wonders of evolution. We examine some of the many reasons why they are so important to ecologists and evolutionary biologists.



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Comment & Opinion

  • A steep decline in archiving could make large tree-ring datasets irrelevant. But increased spatiotemporal coverage, the addition of novel parameters at sub-annual resolution, and integration with other in situ and remote Earth observations will elevate tree-ring data as an essential component of global-change research.

    • Flurin Babst
    • Benjamin Poulter
    • David C. Frank
  • Given the growing and seemingly limitless capacity to industrialize the oceans, there is a need to reimagine how to effectively measure, monitor and sustainably manage this seventy-one per cent of the Earth's surface.

    • Jay S. Golden
    • John Virdin
    • Pawan G. Patil
  • Clearing up after natural disturbances may not always be beneficial for the environment. We argue that a radical change is needed in the way ecosystems are managed; one that acknowledges the important role of disturbance dynamics.

    • David Lindenmayer
    • Simon Thorn
    • Sam Banks
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News & Views

  • Bat species that echolocate using signals from their larynx, and those that do not, all share a similar pattern of inner ear development that is distinct from other mammals, implying a single evolutionary origin of laryngeal echolocation.

    • M. Brock Fenton
    • John M. Ratcliffe
    News & Views
  • An analysis of arid lands around the world shows how patterns in vegetation may serve as harbingers of things to come.

    • James B. Grace
    News & Views
  • Data from many genes across the genome are now being routinely used in the hope of reconstructing challenging parts of the tree of life, and a new method provides a practical way of resolving the phylogenetic trees suggested by different genes.

    • Siavash Mirarab
    News & Views
  • A 34-year study of collared flycatchers demonstrates that males are evolving to be less ornamented in response to rising temperatures.

    • Cody J. Dey
    • James Dale
    News & Views
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  • Speciation can be a sudden or gradual process, and may involve genomic tipping points where positive feedback accelerates the process towards completion. Here, the mechanics of speciation tipping points and their similarities to other dynamic systems are discussed.

    • Patrik Nosil
    • Jeffrey L. Feder
    • Zachariah Gompert
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  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
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Amendments & Corrections

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