Erik Matthysen

Erik Matthysen
University of Antwerp | UA · Department of Biology

About

355
Publications
87,032
Reads
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15,741
Citations
Citations since 2017
72 Research Items
6704 Citations
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201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200
201720182019202020212022202302004006008001,0001,200
Introduction
My main research interests are the causes and consequences of individual movement patterns in natural populations. Current and upcoming projects: - the role of innate behaviour versus learning in spatial behaviour of great tits - matrix use of forest birds and its implications for functional connectivity and population viability - dispersal, genetic structure and host specialization in bird ticks and implications for transmission of Borrelia - expansion and impact of invasive birds - long-term responses of birds to changing climate and tree phenology
Additional affiliations
October 1998 - present
University of Antwerp
Position
  • Professor (Full)
Description
  • basic Ecology, Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Ecology, Species Conservation and Management, Ornithology, Island Biology, Spatial Conservation Planning

Publications

Publications (355)
Article
Full-text available
Identifying the environmental drivers of variation in fitness‐related traits is a central objective in ecology and evolutionary biology. Temporal fluctuations of these environmental drivers are often synchronized at large spatial scales. Yet, whether synchronous environmental conditions can generate spatial synchrony in fitness‐related trait values...
Article
Full-text available
Background Mate choice is a fundamental element of sexual selection and has the potential to shape the evolution of traits. Mate choice based on body size has been shown to be a common trait in several arthropod species. In hard ticks, a taxon of medical and veterinary importance, engorgement weight is positively correlated with reproductive output...
Article
Full-text available
In cooperatively breeding species, group members may derive multiple benefits from helping to raise other individuals’ offspring, yet not all individuals do so. In this study, we tested predictions from the “kin selection”, “pay-to-stay”, “group augmentation” and “skills” hypotheses, to explain why group members feed nestlings of breeding placid gr...
Article
The distribution of ticks in the Ixodes ricinus species complex is partly driven by climate, with temperature and relative humidity affecting survival. These variables are driven by macroclimate, but vary locally due to microclimate buffering. This buffering has been suggested to be one of the driving forces behind variation in tick survival and de...
Article
In non-permanent parasites, host detachment should take place in an environment that ensures the continuation of their life cycle. Timing of detachment - in combination with the host's space use - affects dispersal and transmission success of the parasites and of the pathogens they vector. Before reaching the adult reproductive stage, ticks need to...
Article
Full-text available
The phenology of many species shows strong sensitivity to climate change; however, with few large scale intra-specific studies it is unclear how such sensitivity varies over a species’ range. We document large intra-specific variation in phenological sensitivity to temperature using laying date information from 67 populations of two co-familial Eur...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the intraspecific variation of parasite life‐history traits and on how this variation may affect parasite fitness and evolution. We investigated how life‐history traits predict success of individual tree‐hole ticks Ixodes arboricola and estimated their evolutionary potential, as well as genetic correlations within stages and p...
Article
en The biotic and abiotic environments in bird nests change during the nesting cycle as eggs are laid and incubated and nestlings develop and eventually fledge. Nest-arthropod communities have been studied for many bird species and are commonly sampled after young fledge. However, the population dynamics of arthropods in nests are expected to vary...
Article
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Obligate parasites need one or more hosts to complete their life cycle. However, hosts might show intraspecific variation in quality with respect to the parasites themselves, thus affecting on-host and off-host parasite performance. High heritability in host quality for the parasite may therefore exert long-lasting selective pressures on the parasi...
Article
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Urbanization has been shown to strongly affect community composition of various taxa with potentially strong shifts in ecological interactions, including those between hosts and parasites. We investigated the effect of urbanization on the composition of arthropods in nests of great tits in Flanders, Belgium. These nests contain taxonomically and fu...
Article
Background: Variation in parasite burdens among hosts is typically related to differences in adaptive immunity. Comprehension of underlying mechanisms is hence necessary to gain better insights into endemic transmission cycles. Here we investigate whether wild songbirds that have never been exposed to ticks develop adaptive humoral immunity against...
Article
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Infection probability, load, and community structure of helminths varies strongly between and within animal populations. This can be ascribed to environmental stochasticity or due to individual characteristics of the host such as their age or sex. Other, but understudied, factors are the hosts' behavior and co-infection patterns. In this study, we...
Article
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Nocturnal light pollution from anthropogenic origin is increasing worldwide and is recognised as a major threat for nocturnal biodiversity. We studied the impact of artificial light on the mate attraction success of female common glow-worms (Lampyris noctiluca L.) by daily monitoring their glowing status in the field, acting as a proxy for mating s...
Article
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Significance A key question in behavioral ecology is whether individual differences in behavior are adaptive rather than merely representing “noise around an adaptive mean.” We show strong evidence for spatial and temporal variation in survival and recruitment selection both within and among West European great tit ( Parus major ) populations, impl...
Article
Full-text available
Artificial light at night is an increasing threat to nocturnal biodiversity. Aside from the overall increase in light emission, replacement of old monochromatic streetlighting by broad emission spectrum LED lights may be an additional threat. Studies evaluating the impacts of these artificial lights on the nocturnal European common glow-worm (Lampy...
Article
Full-text available
The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) theory provides an evolutionary explanation for the existence of consistent among-individual variation in behaviour, or animal personality. Herein, individuals with a fast lifestyle are considered to be bolder and should take more risks resulting in a lower life expectancy compared to shyer individuals with a slower...
Article
Background: Variation in parasite burdens among hosts is typically related to differences in adaptive immunity. Comprehension of underlying mechanisms is hence necessary to gain better insights into endemic transmission cycles. Here we investigate whether wild songbirds that have never been exposed to ticks develop adaptive humoral immunity against...
Article
Full-text available
Many studies have investigated how spring temperature affects laying dates and how this in turn affects the synchrony between nestling food demands and the insect food peak that follows tree budburst. While there is strong evidence that temperature itself acts as a cue for this plasticity in annual timing, the exact nature of the cue and response r...
Article
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Abstract Polylepis forests are endemic to the high‐Andes, with trees characterized by multi‐layered, exfoliating bark‐providing protection against harsh, high‐elevation conditions, both for individual trees and the wide array of organisms dependent on them. However, Polylepis habitat has suffered severe human‐induced land conversion and currently m...
Article
Full-text available
The risk of tick-borne disease in humans depends on the exposure to pathogen-infected ticks, which in turn is driven by local tick population densities, pathogen prevalence and human activity. Variation in tick densities and pathogen prevalence between green spaces differing in habitat characteristics, location and geography has been well documente...
Article
It remains poorly understood how effects of anthropogenic activity, such as large-scale habitat fragmentation, impact sociality in animals. In cooperatively breeding species, groups are mostly formed through delayed offspring dispersal, and habitat fragmentation can affect this process in two opposite directions. Increased habitat isolation may inc...
Article
It remains poorly understood how effects of anthropogenic activity, such as large-scale habitat fragmentation, impact sociality in animals. In cooperatively breeding species, groups are mostly formed through delayed offspring dispersal, and habitat fragmentation can affect this process in two opposite directions. Increased habitat isolation may inc...
Article
Full-text available
1. The integration and synthesis of the data in different areas of science is drastically slowed and hindered by a lack of standards and networking programmes. Long‐term studies of individually marked animals are not an exception. These studies are especially important as instrumental for understanding evolutionary and ecological processes in the w...
Article
We studied the relationship between temperature and the coexistence of great tit Parus major and blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus, breeding in 75 study plots across Europe and North Africa. We expected an advance in laying date and a reduction in clutch size during warmer springs as a general response to climate warming and a delay in laying date and a...
Preprint
Full-text available
The phenology of many species shows strong sensitivity to climate change; however, with few large scale intra-specific studies it is unclear how such sensitivity varies over a species' range. We document large intra-specific variation in phenological sensitivity to temperature using laying date information from 67 populations of two European songbi...
Preprint
Full-text available
The integration and synthesis of the data in different areas of science is drastically slowed and hindered by a lack of standards and networking programmes. Long-term studies of individually marked animals are not an exception. These studies are especially important as instrumental for understanding evolutionary and ecological processes in the wild...
Article
Full-text available
Montane forests worldwide are known centers of endemism and biodiversity but are highly threatened by fragmentation processes. Using data collected in 15 Polylepis forest remnants covering 2000 hectares, we investigated how bird species richness and bird community composition, particularly for species of conservation concern, are influenced by habi...
Article
Full-text available
Candidatus Rickettsia vini was originally detected in Ixodes arboricola ticks from Spain, and subsequently reported from several other Western Palearctic countries including Belgium. Recently, the bacterium was isolated in mammalian (Vero) cell culture from macerated male I. arboricola from Czech Republic, but there have been no reports of propagat...
Article
Full-text available
Consistent among-individual variation in behaviour, or animal personality, is present in a wide variety of species. This behavioural variation is maintained by both genetic and environmental factors. Parental effects are a special case of environmental variation and are expected to evolve in populations experiencing large fluctuations in their envi...
Article
Full-text available
We explored the inter-individual variability in bud-burst and its potential drivers, in homogeneous mature stands of temperate deciduous trees. Phenological observations of leaves and wood formation were performed weekly from summer 2017 to summer 2018 for pedunculate oak, European beech and silver birch in Belgium. The variability of bud-burst was...
Article
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Sustainable land-use management must account for the potential trade-offs between biodiversity conservation, productive land uses and ecosystem services. In this study, we used Marxan with Zones to generate land use plans that optimize conservation, farming and forestry land uses to reach biodiversity targets while minimizing the opportunity cost f...
Article
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Wild birds are frequently exposed to the zoonotic tick-borne bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.), and some bird species act as reservoirs for some Borrelia genospecies. Studying the tropism of Borrelia in the host, how it is sequestered in different organs, and whether it is maintained in circulation and/or in the host’s skin is importa...
Article
Urban sprawl increasingly affects the ecology of natural populations, including host–microbiota interactions, with observed differences in the gut microbiota between urban and rural hosts. While different mechanisms could explain this pattern, dietary uptake constitutes a likely candidate. To assess the contribution of diet in explaining urban–rura...
Chapter
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This 381-paged book covers the biology, ecology, impact and management of 34 common alien invasive species, with reviews on the history and context of avian introductions and invasions in five major regions (Oceania, Africa, Europe (including the Middle East, Asia and South America)), as well as management challenges and the potential of citizen sc...
Article
Full-text available
Mechanisms of on-host habitat selection in parasites are important to the understanding of host-parasite interactions and evolution. To this end, it is important to separate the factors driving parasite micro-habitat selection from those resulting from host anti-parasite behaviour. We experimentally investigated whether tick infestation patterns in...
Article
The increasing urbanization process is hypothesized to drastically alter (semi‐)natural environments with a concomitant major decline in species abundance and diversity. Yet, studies on this effect of urbanization, and the spatial scale at which it acts, are at present inconclusive due to the large heterogeneity in taxonomic groups and spatial scal...
Article
While numerous studies have reported negative effects of urbanisation on birds, few have examined the role of urban scale in influencing breeding success and many studies have relied on qualitative rather than quantitative assessments of urbanisation. This study sought to address these issues by testing the effects of urbanisation, measured at two...
Article
Full-text available
Conspecific density and animal personality (consistent among‐individual differences in behavior) may both play an important role in disease ecology. Nevertheless, both factors have rarely been studied together but may provide insightful information in understanding pathogen transmission dynamics. In this study, we investigated how both personality...
Article
Full-text available
Biological responses to climate change have been widely documented across taxa and regions, but it remains unclear whether species are maintaining a good match between phenotype and environment, i.e. whether observed trait changes are adaptive. Here we reviewed 10,090 abstracts and extracted data from 71 studies reported in 58 relevant publications...
Article
Many vector-borne diseases are transmitted through complex pathogen-vector-host networks, which makes it challenging to identify the role of specific host groups in disease emergence. Lyme borreliosis in humans is now the most common vector-borne zoonosis in the Northern Hemisphere. The disease is caused by multiple genospecies of Borrelia burgdorf...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding species coexistence has long been a major goal of ecology. Coexistence theory for two competing species posits that intraspecific density dependence should be stronger than interspecific density dependence. Great tits and blue tits are two bird species that compete for food resources and nesting cavities. On the basis of long-term mon...
Article
Full-text available
The Chequered Skipper Carterocephalus palaemon inhabits a variety of habitats in NW Europe: heathlands, wet grasslands and chalk grasslands, usually at woodland edges and wide rides and glades in different types of woodlands. It mainly uses broadleaved grasses such as Molinia, Calamagrostis and Brachypodium as host plants. The species became extinc...
Article
Individual variation in behaviour can contribute to the heterogeneous distribution of parasites among hosts for example by affecting the probability of encountering infective stages (larvae). Here, we investigated the relationship between host boldness/exploration tendency and gastro-intestinal helminth infection in invasive Eastern grey squirrels...
Article
Green spaces in the city are important for human wellbeing, but are also zones in which humans can become infected with zoonotic diseases. Therefore, there is a need to understand how infection risk is related to green space characteristics, wildlife communities and connectivity with rural areas hosting reservoir populations of hosts. Our hypothesi...
Preprint
Full-text available
A major aim of evolutionary biology is to understand why patterns of genomic variation vary among populations and species. Large-scale genomic studies of widespread species are useful for studying how the environment and demographic history shape patterns of genomic divergence, and with the continually decreasing cost of sequencing, such studies ar...
Article
Human activities impact upon natural habitats used by birds for breeding and foraging, and lead to changes in the composition and spatial distribution of predator communities, mainly through loss, fragmentation and disturbance of formerly pristine habitat. Yet possible fitness consequences of such changes through impacts on bird nest‐site selection...
Article
Full-text available
Unique evolutionary potential could be lost when a population goes extinct or when individuals are translocated to other existing populations. Therefore, in order to identify priorities and to predict the efficiency and consequences of conservation actions, information is needed on the genetic structure of natural populations. In the urbanized and...
Article
Full-text available
Humans fundamentally affect dispersal, directly by transporting individuals and indirectly by altering landscapes and natural vectors. This human-mediated dispersal (HMD) modifies long-distance dispersal, changes dispersal paths, and overall benefits certain species or genotypes while disadvantaging others. HMD is leading to radical changes in the...
Article
Full-text available
Variation in intrinsic (body mass, reproductive condition) and extrinsic factors (habitat quality, spatio-temporal variation in food availability) can affect the costs and benefits of personality traits. Relationships between personality and fitness components can vary with changes in population density and/or habitat quality. Here, using capture-m...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the increasing knowledge on the processes involved in the acquisition and development of the gut microbiota in model organisms, the factors influencing early microbiota successions in natural populations remain poorly understood. In particular, little is known on the role of the rearing environment in the establishment of the gut microbiota...
Article
Full-text available
Research within the SPEEDY-network has shown that urbanisation has an effect on the parasite and symbiont community. In a few cases urbanisation was associated with a reduction in the number of micro-organisms associated with the host. Nevertheless there are species specific responses: particular species increase and others decrease in the city. Th...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization drastically alters the environment and landscape configuration. Data from four aquatic and eight terrestrial organism groups, obtained within the framework of the SPEEDY project, reveals that an increase in built-up area strongly affects the composition of our native fauna. This change in community composition is due to the selection o...
Article
Full-text available
Body size is intrinsically linked to metabolic rate and life-history traits, and is a crucial determinant of food webs and community dynamics. The increased temperatures associated with the urban-heat-island effect result in increased metabolic costs and are expected to drive shifts to smaller body sizes. Urban environments are, however, also chara...
Article
Full-text available
Our planet is urbanizing rapidly and Belgium (Flanders in particular) is characterized by a high degree of urbanization. Among biologists there is a growing interest to study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization since urban areas differ in multiple ways from the environments surrounding cities. During six years a consortium...
Article
An increasing number of studies have investigated the consequences of biodiversity loss for the occurrence of vector-borne diseases such as Lyme borreliosis, the most common tick-borne disease in the northern hemisphere. As host species differ in their ability to transmit the Lyme borreliosis bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. to ticks, increased h...
Data
Appendix S1. Methods. Table S1. Examples of heritability (h 2) estimates in the reviewed studies. Table S2. Models of dispersal evolution and assumptions made on the genetic architecture of the evolving traits.
Article
Urbanisation represents one of the most radical forms of terrestrial land use change and has been shown to lead to alterations in ecosystem functioning and community dynamics and changes in individual phenotypic traits. While the recent surge in microbiome studies has brought about a paradigm shift by which individuals cannot truly be considered in...
Article
Full-text available
Our planet is urbanizing rapidly and Belgium (Flanders in particular) is characterized by a high degree of urbanization. Among biologists there is a growing interest to study the ecological and evolutionary consequences of urbanization since urban areas differ in multiple ways from the environments surrounding cities. During six years a consortium...
Article
Full-text available
Dispersal is a process of central importance for the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations and communities, because of its diverse consequences for gene flow and demography. It is subject to evolutionary change, which begs the question, what is the genetic basis of this potentially complex trait? To address this question, we (i) revie...
Article
Dispersal and migration are superficially similar large-scale movements, but which appear to differ in terms of inter-individual behavioural synchronization. Seasonal migration is a striking example of coordinated behaviour, enabling animal populations to track spatio-temporal variation in ecological conditions. By contrast, for dispersal, while so...
Article
Full-text available
The protected Eurasian beaver Castor fiber is recolonizing its former range hereby entering human-dominated landscapes. This ecosystem engineer can cause considerable damage to human infrastructures and agriculture, by feeding, digging and damming. To prevent human–wildlife conflict and ensure continued support from the local residents, a better un...