Abstract

Most studies of parasite-mediated sexual selection target organisms where female or male mate choice is the major driving force of sexual selection, leaving the effects of parasites on coercive mating systems understudied. Here, we investigated the role of a trematode infestation (black spot disease (BSD)) on female body condition, female fecundity, male coercion, and female resistance in a coercive livebearing fish (the western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis). We tested the following predictions: (1) infected females are in poorer body condition and have lower fecundity than uninfected females; (2) males prefer to coerce uninfected females; (3) infected males coerce less frequently than uninfected males; and (4) infected females are less resistant to male coercion. In contrast to our first prediction, infected females had more energy reserves than uninfected females during one month and infected females had increased fecundity compared to uninfected females. In the behavior experiments, we found BSD influenced male coercion in two of our experiments supporting our third, but not second or fourth, prediction. These results suggest this parasitic infestation may play a minor role in sexual selection on G. affinis.

In: Behaviour

Mid-rotation fertilization is a common practice in the management of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) plantations, typically providing large improvements in growth. However, concerns exist about the quality of wood produced following fertilization. The objective of this study was to develop an understanding of wood property changes following fertilization. Wood samples from a study involving four levels of fertilization applied to a thinned mid-rotation loblolly pine plantation located on the lower coastal plain of North Carolina were sampled. The study was laid out in a randomized complete block design involving four blocks and four levels of nitrogen fertilizer: Control-000, 112, 224 and 336 kg/ha, along with 28 kg/ha of phosphorus with all treatments. Thirty-two trees were felled and disks were cut at five heights from each tree. Wood properties including modulus of elasticity, air-dry density and tracheid anatomical properties were measured for each of the three post-fertilization annual growth rings using near infrared (NIR) spectra obtained from the radial face of strips cut from the disks. An analysis of variance was conducted on three-year basal area weighted average stiffness, air-dry density, and tracheid anatomical properties. A decrease in stiffness, air-dry density, tracheid wall thickness, and an increase in tracheid radial diameter were observed for the heaviest fertilizer treatment (336 kg/ha) compared to the control and 112 kg/ha of nitrogen. Microfibril angle (MFA), cell tangential diameter, and tracheid perimeter showed little change. Wood properties of trees receiving fertilizer rates of 112 and 224 kg/ha were not significantly affected.

In: IAWA Journal

The brain should integrate sensory inputs only when they emanate from a common source and segregate those from different sources. Sensory correspondences are important cues informing the brain whether two sensory inputs are generated by a common event and should hence be integrated. Most prominently, sensory inputs should co-occur in time and space. More complex audiovisual stimuli may also be congruent in terms of semantics (e.g., objects and source sounds) or phonology (e.g., spoken and written words; linked via common linguistic labels). Surprisingly, metaphoric relations (e.g., pitch and height) have also been shown to influence audiovisual integration. The neural mechanisms that mediate these metaphoric congruency effects are only poorly understood. They may be mediated via (i) natural multisensory binding, (ii) common linguistic labels or (iii) semantics. In this talk, we will present a series of studies that investigate whether these different types of audiovisual correspondences are processed by distinct neural systems. Further, we investigate how those systems are employed by metaphoric audiovisual correspondences. Our results demonstrate that different classes of audiovisual correspondences influence multisensory integration at distinct levels of the cortical hierarchy. Spatiotemporal incongruency is detected already at the primary cortical level. Natural (e.g., motion direction) and phonological incongruency influences MSI in areas involved in motion or phonological processing. Critically, metaphoric interactions emerge in neural systems that are shared with natural and semantic incongruency. This activation pattern may reflect the ambivalent nature of metaphoric audiovisual interactions relying on both natural and semantic correspondences.

In: Seeing and Perceiving

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