Jacintha Ellers

Jacintha Ellers
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam | VU

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252
Publications
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6,714
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Publications

Publications (252)
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization drastically changes environmental conditions, including the introduction of sensory pollutants, such as artificial light at night (ALAN) and anthropogenic noise. To settle in urban habitats, animals need to cope with this new sensory environment. On a short timescale, animals might cope with sensory pollutants via behavioral adjustment...
Article
Paternal genome elimination (PGE) - a type of reproduction in which males inherit but fail to pass on their father’s genome - evolved independently in six to eight arthropod clades. Thousands of species, including several important for agriculture, reproduce via this mode of reproduction. While PGE is well established in some of the clades, the evi...
Article
The predictability of evolution is expected to depend on the relative contribution of deterministic and stochastic processes. This ratio is modulated by effective population size. Smaller effective populations harbor less genetic diversity and stochastic processes are generally expected to play a larger role, leading to less repeatable evolutionary...
Preprint
For over 300 million years, insects have relied on symbiotic microbes for nutrition and defence1,2. However, it is unclear whether specific ecological conditions have repeatedly favoured the evolution of symbioses, and how this has influenced insect diversification1,3,4. Using data on 1849 microbe-insect symbioses across 402 insect families, we fou...
Article
Full-text available
Pesticide toxicity is typically assessed by exposing model organisms to individual compounds and measuring effects on survival and reproduction. These tests are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and do not accurately capture the effect of pesticide mixtures. Moreover, it is unfeasible to screen the nearly infinite combinations of mixtures for synerg...
Preprint
Human activity has greatly accelerated in the past century impacting biodiversity across the globe. To accurately explain contemporary patterns of biodiversity, classic ecological theory must be updated to incorporate the effects of this Great Acceleration on biodiversity. We contemporized island biogeographic theory (IBT) and its extension, the ge...
Article
Full-text available
How a society relates to nature is shaped by the dominant social paradigm (DSP): a society’s collective view on social, economic, political, and environmental issues. The characteristics of the DSP have important consequences for natural systems and their conservation. Based on a synthesis of academic literature, we provide a new gradient of 12 typ...
Article
Full-text available
Simultaneously evolving morphologies (bodies) and controllers (brains) of robots can cause a mismatch between the inherited body and brain in the offspring. To mitigate this problem, the addition of an infant learning period has been proposed relatively long ago by the so-called Triangle of Life approach. However, an empirical assessment is still l...
Article
Stable co‐evolutionary relationships between species may result in the loss of autonomous synthesis of essential nutrients when these can be obtained from the ecological partner. Parasitoid insects obtain most of their nutrients from their host, and many lineages do not increase their adult lipid reserves even when feeding on a surplus of sugars. S...
Preprint
The Anthropocene is marked by unprecedented changes to species ranges worldwide. Introduced species expand their native range into new geographic regions while extinction-prone species experience severe native range contraction. Introductions and extinctions are both caused by how species respond to human influence within their native ranges. The q...
Preprint
Pesticide toxicity is typically assessed by exposing model organisms to individual compounds and measuring effects on survival and reproduction. These tests are time-consuming, labor-intensive and do not accurately capture the effect of pesticide mixtures. Moreover, it is unfeasible to screen the near infinite combinations of mixtures for synergist...
Preprint
Classic ecological theory must explain effects of humans on biodiversity to be more applicable today. We contemporized island biogeographic theory providing native, introduced, and total species richness relationship expectations with natural and anthropogenic metrics of habitat diversity (geographic and economic area) and isolation from source poo...
Article
Full-text available
Invasive species are a worldwide threat to biodiversity, especially on Caribbean islands. Through their impact on the structure and functioning of ecosystems, they also affect ecosystem services. Therefore, invasive species can have profound socio-economic effects. On the Dutch Caribbean Island of St. Eustatius, the invasive perennial vine Coralita...
Preprint
Full-text available
Simultaneously evolving morphologies (bodies) and controllers (brains) of robots can cause a mismatch between the inherited body and brain in the offspring. To mitigate this problem, the addition of an infant learning period by the so-called Triangle of Life framework has been proposed relatively long ago. However, an empirical assessment is still...
Preprint
Paternal genome elimination (PGE) - a type of reproduction in which males inherit but fail to pass on the genome of their father - evolved independently in six to eight arthropod clades. Thousands of species, including several important for agriculture, reproduce via this mode of reproduction. While some of the clades are well established PGE syste...
Preprint
Full-text available
For over 300 million years, insects have relied on symbiotic microbes for nutrition and defence1,2. However, it is unclear whether specific ecological conditions have repeatedly favoured the evolution of symbioses, and how this has influenced insect diversification1,3,4. Using data on 1844 microbe-insect symbioses across 400 insect families, we fou...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid developments in evolutionary computation, robotics, 3D-printing, and material science are enabling advanced systems of robots that can autonomously reproduce and evolve. The emerging technology of robot evolution challenges existing AI ethics because the inherent adaptivity, stochasticity, and complexity of evolutionary systems severely weake...
Preprint
Full-text available
In the field of evolutionary robotics, choosing the correct encoding is very complicated, especially when robots evolve both behaviours and morphologies at the same time. With the objective of improving our understanding of the mapping process from encodings to functional robots, we introduce the biological notion of heritability, which captures th...
Preprint
Full-text available
Evolution is a key process by which populations can adapt to novel conditions, but it is not well understood how predictable this process is. Predictability is expected to depend on the ratio of deterministic and stochastic processes that contribute to evolutionary change and this ratio is modulated by the effective population size. Smaller effecti...
Preprint
Evolution has traditionally been a historical field of study and predicting evolution has long been considered challenging or even impossible. However, evolutionary predictions are increasingly being made and used in many situations in medicine, agriculture, biotechnology and conservation biology. Because every field uses their own language and mak...
Preprint
Ruther et al (2021) evaluated fatty acid synthesis in several parasitic wasp species to test if the general finding that lipogenesis in parasitoids is lacking is upheld (Visser et al 2010 PNAS). As proposed by Visser & Ellers (2008), parasitoids can readily assimilate the triglyceride stores produced by their host. When large triglyceride stores ar...
Article
Full-text available
The transition to asexual reproduction is frequent and widespread across the tree of life and constitutes a major life history change. Without sexual reproduction, selection on sexually selected traits is expected to be weaker or absent, allowing the decay and ultimately loss of sexual traits. In this study, we applied an experimental approach to i...
Preprint
Full-text available
Animals show a rich diversity of signals and displays. Among the many selective forces driving the evolution of communication between individuals, one widely recognized factor is the structure of the environment in which signals are produced, transmitted and received. In particular, animals communicating by sounds often emit acoustic signals from s...
Article
Full-text available
Animals show a rich diversity of signals and displays. Among the many selective forces driving the evolution of communication signals, one widely recognized factor is the structure of the environment where animals communicate. In particular, animals communicating by sounds often emit acoustic signals from specific locations, such as high up in the...
Article
Full-text available
Insect species display a large range of inter- and intraspecific variation in learning and memory retention. Variation in associative learning ability has also been reported for three species in the parasitoid wasp genus Nasonia, most notably between Nasonia vitripennis and Nasonia giraulti, for which inbred isogenic strains have been established a...
Article
Full-text available
Many insects use plant-borne vibrations to obtain important information about their environment, such as where to find a mate or a prey, or when to avoid a predator. Plant species can differ in the way they vibrate, possibly affecting the reliability of information, and ultimately the decisions that are made by animals based on this information. We...
Article
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Background: Gene duplication events play an important role in the evolution and adaptation of organisms. Duplicated genes can arise through different mechanisms, including whole-genome duplications (WGDs). Recently, WGD was suggested to be an important driver of evolution, also in hexapod animals. Results: Here, we analyzed 20 high-quality hexap...
Article
Full-text available
Wind, a major source of environmental noise, forces invertebrates that communicate with plant-borne vibrations to adjust their signaling when communicating in windy conditions. However, the strategies that animals use to reduce the impact of wind noise on communication are not well studied. We investigated the effects of wind on the production of t...
Article
Knowledge of the effect of plant secondary compounds (PSCs) on belowground interactions in the more diffuse community of species living outside the rhizosphere is sparse compared with what we know about how PSCs affect aboveground interactions. We illustrate here that PSCs from foliar tissue, root exudates, and leaf litter effectively influence suc...
Article
Urbanisation involves major changes in environmental conditions such as light, temperature, humidity and noise levels, but the effect of urbanisation on soil conditions and soil biodiversity has received less attention. The reported effects on species richness across a rural to urban landscapes are not unequivocal. Positive, negative and neutral ef...
Article
Full-text available
Sumx Insects evolve dependence—often extreme—on microbes for nutrition. This includes cases in which insects harbor multiple endosymbionts that function collectively as a metabolic unit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. How do these dependences originate [6], and is there a predictable sequence of events leading to the integration of new symbionts? While co-obligat...
Article
Full-text available
Urban development and species invasion are two major global threats to biodiversity. These threats often co‐occur, as developed areas are more prone to species invasion. However, few empirical studies have tested if both factors affect biodiversity in similar ways. Here we study the individual and combined effects of urban development and plant inv...
Preprint
Full-text available
Interspecific interactions in nature often revolve around the acquisition of nutrients. Depending on the organisms' metabolic requirements, competition for specific essential nutrients may occur, which selects for increased abilities to monopolize, consume and store these nutrients. Lipid scavengers are organisms that rely on exogenous lipid acquis...
Article
Full-text available
Sexual conflicts often arise between mating partners because each sex tries to maximize its own reproductive success. One major male strategy to influence a partner's resource allocation is the transfer of accessory gland proteins. This has been shown to occur in simultaneous hermaphrodites as well as in organisms with separate sexes. Although acce...
Preprint
Full-text available
Insects evolve dependencies - often extreme - on microbes for nutrition. These include cases where insects harbour multiple endosymbionts that function collectively as a metabolic unit. How do these metabolic co-dependencies originate, and is there a predictable sequence of events leading to the integration of new symbionts? While dependency on mul...
Poster
Full-text available
Soil ecosystems around the world are currently either directly or indirectly affected by human influences. This often poses a challenge on the performance and survival of species inhabiting these ecosystems, and alter the interactions between species. Examples of such disturbances are the application of different kinds of pesticides to optimize foo...
Article
Common-garden experiments with populations sampled along natural thermal gradients help to reveal local adaptation, disentangle environmental and genetic effects, and ultimately predict, by analogy, future biotic responses to climate change. In this regard, geothermal habitats are useful model systems as they exhibit dramatic changes in soil temper...
Article
Despite great advances, experiments concerning the response of ecosystems to climate change still face considerable challenges, including the high complexity of climate change in terms of environmental variables, constraints in the number and amplitude of climate treatment levels, and the limited scope of responses and interactions covered. Drawing...
Article
Full-text available
Animals are host to a community of microbes, collectively referred to as their microbiome, that can play a key role in their hosts' biology. The bacterial endosymbionts of insects have a particularly strong influence on their hosts but despite their importance we still know little about the factors that influence the composition of insect microbial...
Article
Full-text available
Learning ability has been associated with energetic costs that typically become apparent through trade-offs in a wide range of developmental, physiological, and life-history traits. Costs associated with learning ability can be either constitutive or induced, depending on whether they are always incurred or only when information is actively learned...
Article
Full-text available
Male accessory-gland proteins are known to affect female physiology in multiple ways, maximizing a male’s reproductive success—often at a cost to the female. Due to this inherent sexual conflict, accessory gland proteins (ACPs) are generally studied in separate-sex organisms. While ACPs have also been identified in simultaneous hermaphrodites as an...
Article
statement: Two 12-desaturases from the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis synthesise linoleic acid. One of them is expressed in the male rectal vesicle where they produce a sex pheromone from linoleic acid. Abstract Insect pheromones are often derived from fatty acid metabolism. Fatty acid desaturases, enzymes introducing double bonds into fatty...
Article
Full-text available
Background Trait loss is a pervasive phenomenon in evolution, yet the underlying molecular causes have been identified in only a handful of cases. Most of these cases involve loss-of-function mutations in one or more trait-specific genes. However, in parasitoid insects the evolutionary loss of a metabolic trait is not associated with gene decay. Pa...
Article
Full-text available
Globally, geckos (Gekkonidae) are one of the most successful reptile families for exotic species. With the exception of the widespread invader, Hemidactylus mabouia, however, introductions of exotic gecko species are a more recent occurrence in the Caribbean islands despite extensive introductions of exotic geckos in the surrounding Caribbean regio...
Article
Full-text available
Urbanization can cause species to adjust their sexual displays, because the effectiveness of mating signals is influenced by environmental conditions. Despite many examples that show that mating signals in urban conditions differ from those in rural conditions, we do not know whether these differences provide a combined reproductive and survival be...
Article
Full-text available
Background Theory predicts that dependency within host-endosymbiont interactions results in endosymbiont genome size reduction. Unexpectedly, the largest Wolbachia genome was found in the obligate, parthenogenesis-associated wFol. In this study, we investigate possible processes underlying this genome expansion by comparing a re-annotated wFol geno...
Article
Full-text available
Parasitoid insects are important model systems for a multitude of biological research topics and widely used as biological control agents against insect pests. While the parasitoid lifestyle has evolved numerous times in different insect groups, research has focused almost exclusively on Hymenoptera from the Parasitica clade. The genomes of several...
Article
Full-text available
Background Selection acts on the phenotype, yet only the genotype is inherited. While both the phenotypic and genotypic response to short-term selection can be measured, the link between these is a major unsolved problem in evolutionary biology, in particular for complex behavioural phenotypes. Results Here we characterize the genomic and the tran...