Robert R Dunn

Robert R Dunn
North Carolina State University | NCSU · Department of Applied Ecology

PhD

About

323
Publications
86,423
Reads
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13,905
Citations
Additional affiliations
September 2005 - August 2015
North Carolina State University
Position
  • Professor
September 2005 - August 2015
North Carolina State University
Position
  • Professor
September 2005 - August 2015
North Carolina State University
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (323)
Article
Full-text available
Aim In this study, we assessed the importance of local‐ to landscape‐scale effects of land cover and land use on flying insect biomass. Location Denmark and parts of Germany. Methods We used rooftop‐mounted car nets in a citizen science project (“InsectMobile”) to allow for large‐scale geographic sampling of flying insects. Volunteers sampled ins...
Article
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The evolutionary history of sour taste has been little studied. Through a combination of literature review and trait mapping on the vertebrate phylo-genetic tree, we consider the origin of sour taste, potential cases of the loss of sour taste, and those factors that might have favoured changes in the valence of sour taste-from aversive to appealing...
Article
Full-text available
Many of the choices humans make with regard to infrastructure, urban planning and other phenomena have impacts that will last thousands of years. This can readily be seen in modern cities in which contemporary streets run along street grids that were laid out thousands of years prior or even in which ancient viaducts still play a role. However, rar...
Data
3 To determine when and why animals evolved sour taste we conducted a 4 comprehensive literature review to map out which species detect sour tastes, at what 5 concentration it is detected, and how each species generally responds to acidic foods 6 (i.e. aversion or attraction). To do this we performed a search of the major animal 7 science, neurophy...
Article
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Biologists have long been fascinated by the processes that give rise to pheno-typic complexity of organisms, yet whether there exist geographical hotspots of phenotypic complexity remains poorly explored. Phenotypic complexity can be readily observed in ant colonies, which are superorganisms with morphologically differentiated queen and worker cast...
Article
Full-text available
The evolutionary history of sour taste has been little studied. Through a combination of literature review and trait mapping on the vertebrate phylogenetic tree, we consider the origin of sour taste, potential cases of the loss of sour taste, and those factors that might have favoured changes in the valence of sour taste—from aversive to appealing....
Article
Full-text available
Biologists have long been fascinated by the processes that give rise to phenotypic complexity of organisms, yet whether there exist geographical hotspots of phenotypic complexity remains poorly explored. Phenotypic complexity can be readily observed in ant colonies, which are superorganisms with morphologically differentiated queen and worker caste...
Article
Full-text available
Insects represent a particularly interesting habitat in which to search for novel yeasts of value to industry. Insect‐associated yeasts have the potential to have traits relevant to modern food and beverage production due to insect‐yeast interactions, with such traits including diverse carbohydrate metabolisms, high sugar tolerance, and general str...
Article
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The design and successful performance of citizen science-based monitoring require an understanding of the motivation and the needs of participants. Herem we use a questionnaire to assess intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and investigate in links between project support service and motivations in 181 participants taking part in three insect-focuse...
Article
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The ubiquity and long-range transport of the microorganisms inhabiting dust can pose a serious risk to human, animal, and plant health. The well-recognized importance of dust-associated microorganisms contrasts starkly with our limited understanding of the factors determining the variation in the composition of these communities at the global scale...
Article
We combined participatory science data and museum records to understand long-term changes in occupancy for 29 ant species in Denmark over 119 years. Bayesian occupancy modelling indicated change in occupancy for 15 species: five increased, four declined and six showed fluctuating trends. We consider how trends may have been influenced by life-histo...
Article
The control of microbes in food has been as important to human societies as the domestication of plants and animals. The direct or indirect management of microbes has been critical to food safety, ensuring nutrient availability, and developing desired sensory characteristics in food. Fermentation is more universal than is agriculture inasmuch as it...
Article
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Understanding how different taxa respond to global warming is essential for predicting future changes and elaborating strategies to buffer them. Tardigrades are well known for their ability to survive environmental stressors, such as drying and freezing, by undergoing cryptobiosis and rapidly recovering their metabolic function after stressors ceas...
Article
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Understanding variation in host-associated microbial communities is important given the relevance of microbiomes to host physiology and health. Using 560 fecal samples collected from wild chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) across their range, we assessed how geography, genetics, climate, vegetation, and diet relate to gut microbial community structure (...
Article
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The practice of sourdough bread-making is an ancient science that involves the development, maintenance, and use of a diverse and complex starter culture. The sourdough starter culture comes in many different forms and is used in bread-making at both artisanal and commercial scales, in countries all over the world. While there is ample scientific r...
Article
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Because ectotherm activity and metabolism are sensitive to temperature, terrestrial arthropods may be especially responsive to ongoing climatic warming. Here, we quantified responses of arthropod abundance to two years of warming in an outdoor temperature manipulation experiment at Duke Forest, North Carolina, USA. Nine open‐top chambers were indiv...
Article
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Humans have relied on sourdough starter microbial communities to make leavened bread for thousands of years, but only a small fraction of global sourdough biodiversity has been characterized. Working with a community-scientist network of bread bakers, we determined the microbial diversity of 500 sourdough starters from four continents. In sharp con...
Article
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Social insects have co-existed with microbial species for millions of years and have evolved a diversity of collective defenses, including the use of antimicrobials. While many studies have revealed strategies that ants use against microbial entomopathogens, and several have shown ant-produced compounds inhibit environmental bacterial growth, few s...
Article
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A fundamental tenet of biogeography is that abiotic and biotic factors interact to shape the distributions of species and the organization of communities, with interactions being more important in benign environments, and environmental filtering more important in stressful environments. This pattern is often inferred using large databases or phylog...
Article
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The yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has been instrumental in the fermentation of foods and beverages for millennia. In addition to fermentations like wine, beer, cider, sake, and bread, S. cerevisiae has been isolated from environments ranging from soil and trees, to human clinical isolates. Each of these environments has unique selection pressures...
Article
Aim Ant communities are believed to be structured by competition, with dominant species competitively excluding subordinates (the dominance–impoverishment rule). However, a high number of seemingly similar species coexist, possibly due to interspecific trade‐offs. Here, we examine the evidence for the dominance–impoverishment rule across a broad la...
Article
An important problem in modern forensic analyses is identifying the provenance of materials at a crime scene, such as biological material on a piece of clothing. This procedure, which is known as geolocation, is conventionally guided by expert knowledge of the biological evidence and therefore tends to be application specific, labour intensive and...
Article
The use of environmental trace material to aid criminal investigations is an ongoing field of research within forensic science. The application of environmental material thus far has focused upon a variety of different objectives relevant to forensic biology, including sample provenance (also referred to as sample attribution). The capability to pr...
Article
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The social structure of primates has recently been shown to influence the composition of their microbiomes. What is less clear is how primate microbiomes might in turn influence their social behavior, either in general or with particular reference to hominins. Here we use a comparative approach to understand how microbiomes of hominins have, or mig...
Article
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Sourdough starters are naturally occurring microbial communities in which the environment, ingredients, and bakers are potential sources of microorganisms. The relative importance of these pools remains unknown. Here, bakers from two continents used a standardized recipe and ingredients to make starters that were then baked into breads. We characte...
Article
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Clarifying the population structure and introduction history of non-native species is essential to preventing and mitigating effects of invasion, yet the invasion history of many long-established non-native species remain poorly understood. This study characterized the population structure of one of the most commonly encountered urban ants in North...
Article
DNA sequencing technologies continue to improve and there has been a corresponding expansion of DNA-based applications in the forensic sciences. DNA recovered from dust and environmental debris can be used to identify the organisms associated with these sample types, including bacteria, plant, fungi and insects. Such results can then be leveraged t...
Article
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The microbiome of built structures has considerable influence over an inhabitant's well-being, yet the vast majority of research has focused on human-built structures. Ants are well-known architects, capable of constructing elaborate dwellings, the microbiome of which is underexplored. Here, we explore the bacterial and fungal microbiomes in functi...
Preprint
An important problem in forensic analyses is identifying the provenance of materials at a crime scene, such as biological material on a piece of clothing. This procedure, known as geolocation, is conventionally guided by expert knowledge of the biological evidence and therefore tends to be application-specific, labor-intensive, and subjective. Pure...
Article
Full-text available
A citizen science project found that the greenhouse camel cricket (Diestrammena asynamora) is common in North American homes. Public response was to wonder 'what good are they anyway?' and ecology and evolution guided the search for potential benefit. We predicted that camel crickets and similar household species would likely host bacteria with the...
Article
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Human engineering of the outdoors led to the development of the indoor niche, including home construction. However, it is unlikely that domicile construction mechanics are under direct selection for humans. Nonetheless, our preferences within indoor environments are, or once were, consequential to our fitness. The research of human homes does not u...
Article
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Given the abundance, broad distribution, and diversity of roles that ants play in many ecosystems, they are an ideal group to serve as ecosystem indicators of climatic change. At present, only a few whole-genome sequences of ants are available (19 of >16,000 species), mostly from tropical and sub-tropical species. To address this limited sampling,...
Article
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Urban trees serve a critical conservation function by supporting arthropod and vertebrate communities but are often subject to arthropod pest infestations. Native trees are thought to support richer arthropod communities than exotic trees but may also be more susceptible to herbivorous pests. Exotic trees may be less susceptible to herbivores but p...
Article
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A major challenge in articulating human dimensions of climate change lies in translating global climate forecasts into impact assessments that are intuitive to the public. Climate-analog mapping involves matching the expected future climate at a location (e.g., a person’s city of residence) with current climate of another, potentially familiar, loc...
Article
Biodiversity underpins the function of ecosystems. Here we discuss how biodiversity–ecosystem function theory could apply to our bodies and buildings, outline practical applications and call for further research.
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Resource limitation is a fundamental factor governing the composition and function of ecological communities. However, the role of resource supply in structuring the intestinal microbiome has not been established and represents a challenge for mam- mals that rely on microbial symbionts for digestion: too little supply might starve the microbiome wh...
Article
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Bacteria thrive in showerheads and throughout household water distribution systems. While most of these bacteria are innocuous, some are potential pathogens, including members of the genus Mycobacterium that can cause nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung infection, an increasing threat to public health. We found that showerheads in households ac...
Article
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Identifying traits that facilitate species introductions and successful invasions of ecosystems represents a key issue in ecology. Following their establishment into new environments, many non‐native species exhibit phenotypic plasticity with post‐introduction changes in behavior, morphology or life history traits that allow them to overcome the pr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Given the abundance, broad distribution, and diversity of roles that ants play in many ecosystems, they are an ideal group to serve as ecosystem indicators of climatic change. At present, only a few whole-genome sequences of ants are available (19 of > 16,000 species), mostly from tropical and sub-tropical species. To address this limited sampling,...
Article
Macroecology is the study of the mechanisms underlying general patterns of ecology across scales. Research in microbial ecology and macroecology have long been detached. Here, we argue that it is time to bridge the gap, as they share a common currency of species and individuals, and a common goal of understanding the causes and consequences of chan...
Article
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The alpha diversity of ecologic communities is affected by many biotic and abiotic drivers and, in turn, affects ecosystem functioning. Yet, patterns of alpha diversity in host-associated microbial communities (microbiomes) are poorly studied and the appropriateness of general theory is untested. Expanding diversity theory to include microbiomes is...
Article
Urbanization represents an unintentional global experiment that can provide insights into how species will respond and interact under future global change scenarios. Cities produce many conditions that are predicted to occur widely in the future, such as warmer temperatures, higher carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations and exacerbated droughts. In us...
Preprint
The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies has made data from DNA material readily available, leading to a surge of microbiome-related research establishing links between markers of microbiome health and specific outcomes. However, to harness the power of microbial communities we must understand not only how they affect us, but also how...
Article
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The relationship between levels of dominance and species richness is highly contentious, especially in ant communities. The dominance‐impoverishment rule states that high levels of dominance only occur in species‐poor communities, but there appear to be many cases of high levels of dominance in highly diverse communities. The extent to which domina...
Article
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Photosynthesis is a fundamental process that trees perform over fluctuating environmental conditions. This study of red maple (Acer rubrum L.) characterizes photosynthesis, stomatal conductance, and water use efficiency in planted cultivars relative to wildtype trees. Red maple is common in cities, yet there is little understanding of how physiolog...
Article
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We show that a citizen science, self-selected cohort shipping samples through the mail at room temperature recaptures many known microbiome results from clinically collected cohorts and reveals new ones. Of particular interest is integrating n = 1 study data with the population data, showing that the extent of microbiome change after events such as...
Article
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The ecological dynamics of cities are influenced not only by geophysical and biological factors, but also by aspects of human society. In cities around the world, a pattern of higher biodiversity in affluent neighbourhoods has been termed 'the luxury effect'. The luxury effect has been found globally regarding plant diversity and canopy or vegetati...
Article
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The indoor environment created by the construction of homes and other buildings is often considered to be uniquely different from other environments. It is composed of organisms that are less diverse than those of the outdoors and strongly sourced by, or dependent upon, human bodies. Yet, no one has ever compared the composition of species found in...
Article
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Many species of yeast are integral to human society. They produce many of our foods, beverages and industrial chemicals, challenge us as pathogens, and provide models for the study of our own biology. However, few species are regularly studied and much of their ecology remains unclear, hindering the development of knowledge that is needed to improv...