Publication about seasonal changes in morphology in two species of grass-feeding mites

Article written by Alicja Laska, Lechosław Kuczyński and Anna Skoracka from our team in collaboration with Brian Rector from GBRR, USDA-ARS, was published in the latest issue of Experimental and Applied Acarology.

In this study, we showed that protogyne females of two Abacarus species had a larger overall body size in winter than in either spring or summer. The results are consistent with our hypothesis that mites of these species, for which deutogyny has not been observed, undergo physiological changes such as accumulation of nutritional reserves, that enable them to withstand adverse environmental conditions.

The full article available here: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10493-017-0159-1

 

 

New paper: weather, pollen, and masting in wind-pollinated trees

Recent Ecology paper co-authored by Jakub Szymkowiak from Pop Ecol Lab on system-specific roles of weather and pollination dynamics in driving seed production in European trees is now available online!

Using a 19-year data set from three sites in Poland, the authors investigated the relationship between weather, airborn pollen, and seed production in two oak species (Quercus petraea and Q. robur) and beech (Fagus sylvatica). They found that for oaks and beech, the warm summers preceding flowering correlated with high pollen abundance and warm springs resulted in high flowering synchrony (short pollen seasons). However, in beech the best predictor of seed crops was pollen abundance, while large seed crops in oaks correlated with short pollen seasons. These findings suggest that fundamentally different proximate mechanisms may drive masting in oaks and beech.

You can read the paper here and on ResearchGate. Read also what Jakub Szymkowiak wrote about this study on his page.

 

## JSz

 

New paper: Behavioural responses to potential dispersal cues in eriophyid mites

Our recent article published in Scientific Reports is available online!

In this study, we investigated behavioral responses of two passively dispersing cereal-feeding eriophyoid mites: wheat curl mite (WCM, Aceria tosichella) and cereal rust mite (CRM, Abacarus hystrix) to potential dispersal cues. We found that wind was the most important cue influencing the mites’ behavior, what may facilitate long-distance dispersal and suggests high invasive potential.  WCM significantly increased its ‘standing erect’ position when exposed to air currents. However, the proportion of potential dispersers was low, what may suggest that there are predisposed dispersers and residents in the population. WCM was generally more active than CRM which may be related to its high invasive potential.

The study was done in cooperation with the Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Canada and the Department of Applied Entomology, Warsaw University of Life Sciences.

The manuscript is part of Agnieszka Kiedrowicz’s PhD thesis. Congratulations!

The full article available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-04372-7

## LK

New paper: Interspecific social information use in wood warblers

Our recent paper on interspecific social information use in wood warblers (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) is now available online!

In a field experiment, we found that wood warblers use social cues from earlier-arriving migrant heterospecifics when deciding where to settle. In one of earlier studies, we also showed that wood warblers use conspecific social cues for settlement decisions. Together, the results of these two experiments suggest that con- and heterospecific attraction as strategies for habitat selection may coexist within a population, which likely results because the latter strategy complements using conspecific cues in the wild.

Importantly, we found that heterospecific attraction is not a phenomenon limited to resident-migrant interactions, but may involve also an information flow from early-arriving migrants to late-arriving species. This suggests that heterospecific attraction as a habitat selection strategy may operate under broader contexts than originally suggested.

In a broader context, results of our studies on the use of con- and heterospecific social cues for settlement decisions in wood warblers suggest an interplay of attraction and avoidance mechanisms, depending on the type of a cue being used. This highlights the importance of both positive and negative effects of social environment on settlement behavior of individuals.

The paper is available here: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arx029

 

The wood warbler. Photo by Steve Garvie (CC BY-SA 2.0)

##JSz

Szymkowiak et al. paper received Editor’s Choice in Oikos journal!

We are happy to inform, that recent paper authored by Jakub Szymkowiak, Lechosław Kuczyński (both from Population Ecology Lab), and Robert L. Thomson (FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town, South Africa & Department of Biology, University of Turku, Finland) will be published in the November issue of Oikos journal as Editor’s Choice!

The study shows that wood warblers (Phylloscopus sibilatrix) selectively use intraspecific social information for breeding-site selection, by copying settlement decisions of poor quality conspecifics, but avoid settling near good quality individuals, likely because of their high competitive abilities. The observed decision-making pattern supports the predicted, yet not experimentally tested, negative effect of intraspecific competition on benefit of social information. The study highlights also that the use of social cues in settlement decisions may be both positively and negatively biased.

You can find the paper here: http://doi.org/10.1111/oik.03052

 

##JSz

sibilatrix

The wood warbler. Photo by Veljo Runnel (CC BY-NC 2.0 license)