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

Publisher: Royal Society (Great Britain), Royal Society, The

Journal 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.

Current impact factor: 5.29

Impact Factor Rankings

2015 Impact Factor Available summer 2015
2013 / 2014 Impact Factor 5.292
2012 Impact Factor 5.683
2011 Impact Factor 5.415
2010 Impact Factor 5.064
2008 Impact Factor 4.248

Impact factor over time

Impact factor

Additional details

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

Publisher details

Royal Society, The

  • Pre-print
    • Author can archive a pre-print version
  • Post-print
    • Author cannot archive a post-print version
  • Restrictions
    • 12 months embargo
  • Conditions
    • Author's pre-print on preprint servers or websites
    • Post print on author's personal website, institutional website, institutional repository or not-for-profit repository
    • Publisher's version/PDF cannot be used
    • Published source must be acknowledged with citation close to title of article
    • Must link to publisher version close to title of article
    • If funding agency rules apply, authors may post articles in PubMed Central 12 months after publication
    • Articles in all journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • Eligible UK authors may deposit in Open Depot (after 12 months)
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Herbivores induce plants to undergo diverse processes that minimize costs to the plant, such as producing defences to deter herbivory or reallocating limited resources to inaccessible portions of the plant. Yet most plant tissue is consumed by decomposers, not herbivores, and these defensive processes aimed to deter herbivores may alter plant tissue even after detachment from the plant. All consumers value nutrients, but plants also require these nutrients for primary functions and defensive processes. We experimentally simulated herbivory with and without nutrient additions on red alder (Alnus rubra), which supplies the majority of leaf litter for many rivers in western North America. Simulated herbivory induced a defence response with cascading effects: terrestrial herbivores and aquatic decomposers fed less on leaves from stressed trees. This effect was context dependent: leaves from fertilized-only trees decomposed most rapidly while leaves from fertilized trees receiving the herbivory treatment decomposed least, suggesting plants funnelled a nutritionally valuable resource into enhanced defence. One component of the defence response was a decrease in leaf nitrogen leading to elevated carbon : nitrogen. Aquatic decomposers prefer leaves naturally low in C : N and this altered nutrient profile largely explains the lower rate of aquatic decomposition. Furthermore, terrestrial soil decomposers were unaffected by either treatment but did show a preference for local and nitrogen-rich leaves. Our study illustrates the ecological implications of terrestrial herbivory and these findings demonstrate that the effects of selection caused by terrestrial herbivory in one ecosystem can indirectly shape the structure of other ecosystems through ecological fluxes across boundaries. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1805). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2522
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    ABSTRACT: Symbiotic microbes can dramatically impact host health and fitness, and recent research in a diversity of systems suggests that different symbiont community structures may result in distinct outcomes for the host. In amphibians, some symbiotic skin bacteria produce metabolites that inhibit the growth of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), a cutaneous fungal pathogen that has caused many amphibian population declines and extinctions. Treatment with beneficial bacteria (probiotics) prevents Bd infection in some amphibian species and creates optimism for conservation of species that are highly susceptible to chytridiomycosis, the disease caused by Bd. In a laboratory experiment, we used Bd-inhibitory bacteria from Bd-tolerant Panamanian amphibians in a probiotic development trial with Panamanian golden frogs, Atelopus zeteki, a species currently surviving only in captive assurance colonies. Approximately 30% of infected golden frogs survived Bd exposure by either clearing infection or maintaining low Bd loads, but this was not associated with probiotic treatment. Survival was instead related to initial composition of the skin bacterial community and metabolites present on the skin. These results suggest a strong link between the structure of these symbiotic microbial communities and amphibian host health in the face of Bd exposure and also suggest a new approach for developing amphibian probiotics. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1805). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2881
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    ABSTRACT: The ubiquity and importance of parasite co-infections in populations of free-living animals is beginning to be recognized, but few studies have demonstrated differential fitness effects of single infection versus co-infection in free-living populations. We investigated interactions between the emerging bacterial disease bovine tuberculosis (BTB) and the previously existing viral disease Rift Valley fever (RVF) in a competent reservoir host, African buffalo, combining data from a natural outbreak of RVF in captive buffalo at a buffalo breeding facility in 2008 with data collected from a neighbouring free-living herd of African buffalo in Kruger National Park. RVF infection was twice as likely in individual BTB+ buffalo as in BTB- buffalo, which, according to a mathematical model, may increase RVF outbreak size at the population level. In addition, co-infection was associated with a far higher rate of fetal abortion than other infection states. Immune interactions between BTB and RVF may underlie both of these interactions, since animals with BTB had decreased innate immunity and increased pro-inflammatory immune responses. This study is one of the first to demonstrate how the consequences of emerging infections extend beyond direct effects on host health, potentially altering the dynamics and fitness effects of infectious diseases that had previously existed in the ecosystem on free-ranging wildlife populations. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1805). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2942
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    ABSTRACT: The degree to which evolutionary trajectories and outcomes are repeatable across independent populations depends on the relative contribution of selection, chance and history. Population size has been shown theoretically and empirically to affect the amount of variation that arises among independent populations adapting to the same environment. Here, we measure the contribution of selection, chance and history in different-sized experimental populations of the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii adapting to a high salt environment to determine which component of evolution is affected by population size. We find that adaptation to salt is repeatable at the fitness level in medium (Ne = 5 × 10(4)) and large (Ne = 4 × 10(5)) populations because of the large contribution of selection. Adaptation is not repeatable in small (Ne = 5 × 10(3)) populations because of large constraints from history. The threshold between stochastic and deterministic evolution in this case is therefore between effective population sizes of 10(3) and 10(4). Our results indicate that diversity across populations is more likely to be maintained if they are small. Experimental outcomes in large populations are likely to be robust and can inform our predictions about outcomes in similar situations. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1805). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.3033
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    ABSTRACT: To address the ongoing debate over the impact of invasive species on native terrestrial wildlife, we conducted a large-scale experiment to test the hypothesis that invasive Burmese pythons (Python molurus bivittatus) were a cause of the precipitous decline of mammals in Everglades National Park (ENP). Evidence linking pythons to mammal declines has been indirect and there are reasons to question whether pythons, or any predator, could have caused the precipitous declines seen across a range of mammalian functional groups. Experimentally manipulating marsh rabbits, we found that pythons accounted for 77% of rabbit mortalities within 11 months of their translocation to ENP and that python predation appeared to preclude the persistence of rabbit populations in ENP. On control sites, outside of the park, no rabbits were killed by pythons and 71% of attributable marsh rabbit mortalities were classified as mammal predations. Burmese pythons pose a serious threat to the faunal communities and ecological functioning of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem, which will probably spread as python populations expand their range. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1805). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2015.0120
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    ABSTRACT: Genetic constraints can block many mutational pathways to optimal genotypes in real fitness landscapes, yet the extent to which this can limit evolution remains to be determined. Interestingly, mutator bacteria elevate only specific types of mutations, and therefore could be very sensitive to genetic constraints. Testing this possibility is not only clinically relevant, but can also inform about the general impact of genetic constraints in adaptation. Here, we evolved 576 populations of two mutator and one wild-type Escherichia coli to doubling concentrations of the antibiotic cefotaxime. All strains carried TEM-1, a β-lactamase enzyme well known by its low availability of mutational pathways. Crucially, one of the mutators does not elevate any of the relevant first-step mutations known to improve cefatoximase activity. Despite this, both mutators displayed a similar ability to evolve more than 1000-fold resistance. Initial adaptation proceeded in parallel through general multi-drug resistance mechanisms. High-level resistance, in contrast, was achieved through divergent paths; with the a priori inferior mutator exploiting alternative mutational pathways in PBP3, the target of the antibiotic. These results have implications for mutator management in clinical infections and, more generally, illustrate that limits to natural selection in real organisms are alleviated by the existence of multiple loci contributing to fitness. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2698
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.0946
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    ABSTRACT: How infectious disease agents interact with their host changes during the course of infection and can alter the expression of disease-related traits. Yet by measuring parasite life-history traits at one or few moments during infection, studies have overlooked the impact of variable parasite growth trajectories on disease evolution. Here we show that infection-age-specific estimates of host and parasite fitness components can reveal new insight into the evolution of parasites. We do so by characterizing the within-host dynamics over an entire infection period for five genotypes of the castrating bacterial parasite Pasteuria ramosa infecting the crustacean Daphnia magna. Our results reveal that genetic variation for parasite-induced gigantism, host castration and parasite spore loads increases with the age of infection. Driving these patterns appears to be variation in how well the parasite maintains control of host reproduction late in the infection process. We discuss the evolutionary consequences of this finding with regard to natural selection acting on different ages of infection and the mechanism underlying the maintenance of castration efficiency. Our results highlight how elucidating within-host dynamics can shed light on the selective forces that shape infection strategies and the evolution of virulence. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2820
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2663
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    ABSTRACT: As humans are mammals, it is possible, perhaps even probable, that we have pheromones. However, there is no robust bioassay-led evidence for the widely published claims that four steroid molecules are human pheromones: androstenone, androstenol, androstadienone and estratetraenol. In the absence of sound reasons to test the molecules, positive results in studies need to be treated with scepticism as these are highly likely to be false positives. Common problems include small sample sizes, an overestimate of effect size (as no effect can be expected), positive publication bias and lack of replication. Instead, if we are to find human pheromones, we need to treat ourselves as if we were a newly discovered mammal, and use the rigorous methods already proven successful in pheromone research on other species. Establishing a pheromone relies on demonstration of an odour-mediated behavioural or physiological response, identification and synthesis of the bioactive molecule(s), followed by bioassay confirmation of activity. Likely sources include our sebaceous glands. Comparison of secretions from adult and pre-pubertal humans may highlight potential molecules involved in sexual behaviour. One of the most promising human pheromone leads is a nipple secretion from the areola glands produced by all lactating mothers, which stimulates suckling by any baby not just their own. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.2994
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    ABSTRACT: A classic question in evolutionary biology is how form-function relationships promote or limit diversification. Mechanical metrics, such as kinematic transmission (KT) in linkage systems, are useful tools for examining the evolution of form and function in a comparative context. The convergence of disparate systems on equivalent metric values (mechanical equivalence) has been highlighted as a source of potential morphological diversity under the assumption that morphology can evolve with minimal impact on function. However, this assumption does not account for mechanical sensitivity-the sensitivity of the metric to morphological changes in individual components of a structure. We examined the diversification of a four-bar linkage system in mantis shrimp (Stomatopoda), and found evidence for both mechanical equivalence and differential mechanical sensitivity. KT exhibited variable correlations with individual linkage components, highlighting the components that influence KT evolution, and the components that are free to evolve independently from KT and thereby contribute to the observed pattern of mechanical equivalence. Determining the mechanical sensitivity in a system leads to a deeper understanding of both functional convergence and morphological diversification. This study illustrates the importance of multi-level analyses in delineating the factors that limit and promote diversification in form-function systems. © 2015 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.
    Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 04/2015; 282(1804). DOI:10.1098/rspb.2014.3088