Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Proc Biol Sci )

Publisher: Royal Society (Great Britain)

Description

Proceedings B welcomes papers of high quality in any area of biological science. As a fast track journal, Proceedings B specialises in the rapid delivery of the latest research to the scientific community, normally within three months of acceptance. It is published on the 7th and 22nd of each month. Many more good manuscripts are submitted to us, than we have space to print, and we give preference to those that present significant advances of broad interest. Submission of preliminary reports, of papers that merely confirm previous findings, and of papers that are likely to interest only small groups of specialists, is not encouraged. All papers are sent to Editorial Board members for an initial assessment of their suitability, and may be returned to authors without in-depth peer-review if this assessment makes it seem unlikely that they will be accepted.

Impact factor 5.29

  • Hide impact factor history
     
    Impact factor
  • 5-year impact
    5.83
  • Cited half-life
    8.40
  • Immediacy index
    1.22
  • Eigenfactor
    0.09
  • Article influence
    2.38
  • Website
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences website
  • Other titles
    Biology letters., Proceedings., Proceedings - Royal Society. Biological sciences, Biological sciences, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London., Proceedings of the Royal Society
  • ISSN
    1471-2954
  • OCLC
    44150803
  • Material type
    Document, Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Internet Resource, Computer File, Journal / Magazine / Newspaper

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It is commonly assumed that because males produce many, tiny sperm, they are cheap to produce. Recent work, however, suggests that sperm production is not cost-free. If sperm are costly to produce, sperm number and/or viability should be influenced by diet, and this has been documented in numerous species. Yet few studies have examined the exact nutrients responsible for mediating these effects. Here, we quantify the effects of protein (P) and carbohydrate (C) intake on sperm number and viability in the cockroach Nauphoeta cinerea, as well as the consequences for male fertility. We found the intake of P and C influenced sperm number, being maximized at a high intake of diets with a P : C ratio of 1 : 2, but not sperm viability. The nutritional landscapes for male fertility and sperm number were closely aligned, suggesting that sperm number is the major determinant of male fertility in N. cinerea. Under dietary choice, males regulate nutrient intake at a P : C ratio of 1 : 4.95, which is midway between the ratios needed to maximize sperm production and pre-copulatory attractiveness in this species. This raises the possibility that males regulate nutrient intake to balance the trade-off between pre- and post-copulatory traits in this species. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2015; 282(1802).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Speciation may occur when the genomes of two populations accumulate genetic incompatibilities and/or chromosomal rearrangements that prevent inter-breeding in nature. Chromosome stability is critical for survival and faithful transmission of the genome, and hybridization can compromise this. However, the role of chromosomal stability on hybrid incompatibilities has rarely been tested in recently diverged populations. Here, we test for chromosomal instability in hybrids between nascent species, the 'dwarf' and 'normal' lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis). We examined chromosomes in pure embryos, and healthy and malformed backcross embryos. While pure individuals displayed chromosome numbers corresponding to the expected diploid number (2n = 80), healthy backcrosses showed evidence of mitotic instability through an increased variance of chromosome numbers within an individual. In malformed backcrosses, extensive aneuploidy corresponding to multiples of the haploid number (1n = 40, 2n = 80, 3n = 120) was found, suggesting meiotic breakdown in their F1 parent. However, no detectable chromosome rearrangements between parental forms were identified. Genomic instability through aneuploidy thus appears to contribute to reproductive isolation between dwarf and normal lake whitefish, despite their very recent divergence (approx. 15-20 000 generations). Our data suggest that genetic incompatibilities may accumulate early during speciation and limit hybridization between nascent species. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2015; 282(1802).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social learning strategies (SLSs) are rules specifying the conditions in which it would be adaptive for animals to copy the behaviour of others rather than to persist with a previously established behaviour or to acquire a new behaviour through asocial learning. In behavioural ecology, cultural evolutionary theory and economics, SLSs are studied using a 'phenotypic gambit'-from a purely functional perspective, without reference to their underlying psychological mechanisms. However, SLSs are described in these fields as if they were implemented by complex, domain-specific, genetically inherited mechanisms of decision-making. In this article, we suggest that it is time to begin investigating the psychology of SLSs, and we initiate this process by examining recent experimental work relating to three groups of strategies: copy when alternative unsuccessful, copy when model successful and copy the majority. In each case, we argue that the reported behaviour could have been mediated by domain-general and taxonomically general psychological mechanisms; specifically, by mechanisms, identified through conditioning experiments, that make associative learning selective. We also suggest experimental manipulations that could be used in future research to resolve more fully the question whether, in non-human animals, SLSs are mediated by domain-general or domain-specific psychological mechanisms. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2015; 282(1802).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Size-selective harvest of fish and crustacean populations has reduced stock numbers, and led to reduced growth rates and earlier maturation. In contrast to the focus on size-selective effects of harvest, here, we test the hypothesis that fishing may select on life-history traits (here, growth rate) via behaviour, even in the absence of size selection. If true, then traditional size-limits used to protect segments of a population cannot fully protect fast growers, because at any given size, fast-growers will be more vulnerable owing to bolder behaviour. We repeatedly measured individual behaviour and growth of 86 crayfish and found that fast-growing individuals were consistently bold and voracious over time, and were subsequently more likely to be harvested in single- and group-trapping trials. In addition, there was some indication that sex had independent effects on behaviour and trappability, whereby females tended to be less active, shyer, slower-growing and less likely to be harvested, but not all these effects were significant. This study represents, to our knowledge, the first across-individual support for this hypothesis, and suggests that behaviour is an important mechanism for fishing selectivity that could potentially lead to evolution of reduced intrinsic growth rates. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 03/2015; 282(1802).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plants capture arthropods with specialized slippery surfaces. The key trapping surface, the pitcher rim (peristome), is highly slippery when wetted by rain, nectar or condensation, but not when dry. As natural selection should favour adaptations that maximize prey intake, the evolution of temporarily inactive traps seems paradoxical. Here, we show that intermittent trap deactivation promotes 'batch captures' of ants. Prey surveys revealed that N. rafflesiana pitchers sporadically capture large numbers of ants from the same species. Continuous experimental wetting of the peristome increased the number of non-recruiting prey, but decreased the number of captured ants and shifted their trapping mode from batch to individual capture events. Ant recruitment was also lower to continuously wetted pitchers. Our experimental data fit a simple model that predicts that intermittent, wetness-based trap activation should allow safe access for 'scout' ants under dry conditions, thereby promoting recruitment and ultimately higher prey numbers. The peristome trapping mechanism may therefore represent an adaptation for capturing ants. The relatively rare batch capture events may particularly benefit larger plants with many pitchers. This explains why young plants of many Nepenthes species additionally employ wetness-independent, waxy trapping surfaces.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Many of humans' most important social interactions rely on trust, including most notably among strangers. But little is known about the evolutionary roots of human trust. We presented chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) with a modified version of the human trust game-trust in reciprocity-in which subjects could opt either to obtain a small but safe reward on their own or else to send a larger reward to a partner and trust her to reciprocate a part of the reward that she could not access herself. In a series of three studies, we found strong evidence that in interacting with a conspecific, chimpanzees show spontaneous trust in a novel context; flexibly adjust their level of trust to the trustworthiness of their partner and develop patterns of trusting reciprocity over time. At least in some contexts then, trust in reciprocity is not unique to humans, but rather has its evolutionary roots in the social interactions of humans' closest primate relatives. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Climate change is altering global patterns of precipitation and temperature variability, with implications for parasitic diseases of humans and wildlife. A recent study confirmed predictions that increased temperature variability could exacerbate disease, because of lags in host acclimation following temperature shifts. However, the generality of these host acclimation effects and the potential for them to interact with other factors have yet to be tested. Here, we report similar effects of host thermal acclimation (constant versus shifted temperatures) on chytridiomycosis in red-spotted newts (Notophthalmus viridescens). Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) growth on newts was greater following a shift to a new temperature, relative to newts already acclimated to this temperature (15°C versus 25°C). However, these acclimation effects depended on soil moisture (10, 16 and 21% water) and were only observed at the highest moisture level, which induced greatly increased Bd growth and infection-induced mortality. Acclimation effects were also greater following a decrease rather than an increase in temperature. The results are consistent with previous findings that chytridiomycosis is associated with precipitation, lower temperatures and increased temperature variability. This study highlights host acclimation as a potentially general mediator of climate-disease interactions, and the need to account for context-dependencies when testing for acclimation effects on disease. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The global distribution of marine species, many of which disperse during the larval stages, is influenced by ocean temperature regimes. Here, we test how temperature and the coral symbionts (Symbiodinium) affect survival, symbiont uptake, settlement success and habitat choice of Acropora millepora larvae. Experiments were conducted at Heron Island (Australia), where larvae were exposed to 22.5, 24.5, 26.5 and 28.5°C. Within each temperature treatment, larvae were offered symbionts with distinct characteristics: (i) homologous Symbiodinium type C3, (ii) regionally homologous thermo-tolerant type D1, and (iii) heterologous thermo-tolerant type C15, as well as controls of (iv) un-filtered and (v) filtered seawater. Results show that lower instead of higher temperatures adversely affected recruitment by reducing larval survival and settlement. Low temperatures also reduced recruit habitat choice and initial symbiont densities, both of which impact on post-settlement survival. At lower temperatures, larvae increasingly settle away from preferred vertical surfaces and not on crustose coralline algae (CCA). Surprisingly, substrate preference to CCA was modified by the presence of specific symbiont genotypes that were present ex-hospite (outside the coral larvae). When different symbionts were mixed, the outcomes were non-additive, indicating that symbiont interactions modify the response. We propose that the observed influence of ex-hospite symbionts on settlement behaviour may have evolved through ecological facilitation and the study highlights the importance of biological processes during coral settlement. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) can suppress essential molecular and cellular mechanisms during early development in living organisms and variations in solar activity during early development may thus influence their health and reproduction. Although the ultimate consequences of UVR on aquatic organisms in early life are well known, similar studies on terrestrial vertebrates, including humans, have remained limited. Using data on temporal variation in sunspot numbers and individual-based demographic data (N = 8662 births) from Norway between 1676 and 1878, while controlling for maternal effects, socioeconomic status, cohort and ecology, we show that solar activity (total solar irradiance) at birth decreased the probability of survival to adulthood for both men and women. On average, the lifespans of individuals born in a solar maximum period were 5.2 years shorter than those born in a solar minimum period. In addition, fertility and lifetime reproductive success (LRS) were reduced among low-status women born in years with high solar activity. The proximate explanation for the relationship between solar activity and infant mortality may be an effect of folate degradation during pregnancy caused by UVR. Our results suggest that solar activity at birth may have consequences for human lifetime performance both within and between generations. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
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    ABSTRACT: The prefrontal cortex appears to contribute to the mnemonic retrieval of the context within which stimuli are experienced, but only under certain conditions that remain to be clarified. Patients with lesions to the frontal cortex, the temporal lobe and neurologically intact individuals were tested for context memory retrieval when verbal stimuli (words) had been experienced across multiple (unstable context condition) or unique (stable context condition) contexts; basic recognition memory of these words-in-contexts was also tested. Patients with lesions to the right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) were impaired on context retrieval only when the words had been seen in multiple contexts, demonstrating that this prefrontal region is critical for active retrieval processing necessary to disambiguate memory items embedded across multiple contexts. Patients with lesions to the left dorsomedial prefrontal region were impaired on both context retrieval conditions, regardless of the stability of the stimulus-to-context associations. Conversely, prefrontal lesions sparing the ventrolateral and dorsomedial regions did not impair context retrieval. Only patients with temporal lobe excisions were impaired on basic recognition memory. The results demonstrate a basic contribution of the left dorsomedial frontal region to mnemonic context retrieval, with the VLPFC engaged, selectively, when contextual relations are unstable and require disambiguation. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Economic games such as the public goods game are increasingly being used to measure social behaviours in humans and non-human primates. The results of such games have been used to argue that people are pro-social, and that humans are uniquely altruistic, willingly sacrificing their own welfare in order to benefit others. However, an alternative explanation for the empirical observations is that individuals are mistaken, but learn, during the game, how to improve their personal payoff. We test between these competing hypotheses, by comparing the explanatory power of different behavioural rules, in public goods games, where individuals are given different amounts of information. We find: (i) that individual behaviour is best explained by a learning rule that is trying to maximize personal income; (ii) that conditional cooperation disappears when the consequences of cooperation are made clearer; and (iii) that social preferences, if they exist, are more anti-social than pro-social. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
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    ABSTRACT: Social monogamy predominates in avian breeding systems, but most socially monogamous species engage in promiscuous extra-pair copulations (EPCs). The reasons behind this remain debated, and recent empirical work has uncovered patterns that do not seem to fit existing hypotheses. In particular, some results seem to contradict the inbreeding avoidance hypothesis: females can prefer extra-pair partners that are more closely related to them than their social partners, and extra-pair young can have lower fitness than within-pair young. Motivated by these studies, we show that such results can become explicable when an asymmetry in inbreeding tolerance between monogamy and polygamy is extended to species that combine both strategies within a single reproductive season. Under fairly general conditions, it can be adaptive for a female to choose an unrelated social partner, but inbreed with an extra-pair partner. Inbreeding depression is compensated for by inclusive fitness benefits, which are only fully realized in EPCs. We also show that if a female has already formed a suboptimal social bond, there are scenarios where it is beneficial to engage in EPCs with less related males, and others where EPCs with more related males increase her inclusive fitness. This has implications for detecting general relatedness or fitness trends when averaged over several species. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Group size in both multicellular organisms and animal societies can correlate with the degree of division of labour. For ants, the task specialization hypothesis (TSH) proposes that increased behavioural specialization enabled by larger group size corresponds to anatomical specialization of worker brains. Alternatively, the social brain hypothesis proposes that increased levels of social stimuli in larger colonies lead to enlarged brain regions in all workers, regardless of their task specialization. We tested these hypotheses in acacia ants (Pseudomyrmex spinicola), which exhibit behavioural but not morphological task specialization. In wild colonies, we marked, followed and tested ant workers involved in foraging tasks on the leaves (leaf-ants) and in defensive tasks on the host tree trunk (trunk-ants). Task specialization increased with colony size, especially in defensive tasks. The relationship between colony size and brain region volume was task-dependent, supporting the TSH. Specifically, as colony size increased, the relative size of regions within the mushroom bodies of the brain decreased in trunk-ants but increased in leaf-ants; those regions play important roles in learning and memory. Our findings suggest that workers specialized in defence may have reduced learning abilities relative to leaf-ants; these inferences remain to be tested. In societies with monomorphic workers, brain polymorphism enhanced by group size could be a mechanism by which division of labour is achieved. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We derive functional responses under the assumption that predators and prey are engaged in a space race in which prey avoid patches with many predators and predators avoid patches with few or no prey. The resulting functional response models have a simple structure and include functions describing how the emigration of prey and predators depend on interspecific densities. As such, they provide a link between dispersal behaviours and community dynamics. The derived functional response is general but is here modelled in accordance with empirically documented emigration responses. We find that the prey emigration response to predators has stabilizing effects similar to that of the DeAngelis-Beddington functional response, and that the predator emigration response to prey has destabilizing effects similar to that of the Holling type II response. A stability criterion describing the net effect of the two emigration responses on a Lotka-Volterra predator-prey system is presented. The winner of the space race (i.e. whether predators or prey are favoured) is determined by the relationship between the slopes of the species' emigration responses. It is predicted that predators win the space race in poor habitats, where predator and prey densities are low, and that prey are more successful in richer habitats. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 02/2015; 282(1801).
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Speciation may occur when the genomes of two populations accumulate genetic incompatibilities and/or chromosomal rearrangements that prevent inter-breeding in nature. Chromosome stability is critical for survival and faithful transmission of the genome, and hybridization can compromise this. However, the role of chromosomal stability on hybrid incompatibilities has rarely been tested in recently diverged populations. Here, we test for chromosomal instability in hybrids between nascent species, the ‘dwarf’ and ‘normal’ lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis). We examined chromosomes in pure embryos, and healthy and malformed backcross embryos. While pure individuals displayed chromosome numbers corresponding to the expected diploid number (2n=80), healthy backcrosses showed evi- dence of mitotic instability through an increased variance of chromosome numbers within an individual. In malformed backcrosses, extensive aneuploidy corresponding to multiples of the haploid number (1n=40,2n=80, 3n=120) was found, suggesting meiotic breakdown in their F1parent. However, no detectable chromosome rearrangements between parental forms were identified. Genomic instability through aneuploidy thus appears to contribute to reproductive isolation between dwarf and normal lake whitefish, despite their very recent divergence (approx. 15–20 000 generations). Our data suggest that genetic incompatibilities may accumulate early during speciation and limit hybridization between nascent species.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 01/2015; 282.