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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Juveniles of marine species, such as sea turtles, are often understudied in movement ecology. To determine dispersal patterns and release effects, we released 40 satellite-tagged juvenile head-started green turtles (Chelonia mydas, 1–4 years) from two separate locations (January and July 2023) off the coast of the Cayman Islands. A statistical model and vector plots were used to determine drivers of turtle directional swimming persistence and the role of ocean current direction. More than half (N = 22) effectively dispersed in 6–22 days from the islands to surrounding areas. The January turtles radiated out (185–1138 km) in distinct directions in contrast to the northward dispersal of the July turtles (27–396 km). Statistical results and vector plots supported that daily swimming persistence increased towards the end of tracks and near coastal regions, with turtles largely swimming in opposition to ocean currents. These results demonstrate that captive-reared juvenile greens have the ability to successfully navigate towards key coastal developmental habitats. Differences in dispersal (January vs. July) further support the importance of release timing and location. Our results inform conservation of the recovering Caymanian green turtles and we advise on how our methods can be improved and modified for future sea turtle and juvenile movement ecology studies.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Consumers must track and acquire resources in complex landscapes. Much discussion has focused on the concept of a ‘resource gradient’ and the mechanisms by which consumers can take advantage of such gradients as they navigate their landscapes in search of resources. However, the concept of tracking resource gradients means different things in different contexts. Here, we take a synthetic approach and consider six different definitions of what it means to search for resources based on density or gradients in density. These include scenarios where consumers change their movement behavior based on the density of conspecifics, on the density of resources, and on spatial or temporal gradients in resources. We also consider scenarios involving non-local perception and a form of memory. Using a continuous space, continuous time model that allows consumers to switch between resource-tracking and random motion, we investigate the relative performance of these six different strategies. Consumers’ success in matching the spatiotemporal distributions of their resources differs starkly across the six scenarios. Movement strategies based on perception and response to temporal (rather than spatial) resource gradients afforded consumers with the best opportunities to match resource distributions. All scenarios would allow for optimization of resource-matching in terms of the underlying parameters, providing opportunities for evolutionary adaptation, and links back to classical studies of foraging ecology.

     
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  4. Safeguarding tropical forest biodiversity requires solutions for monitoring ecosystem structure over time. In the Amazon, logging and fire reduce forest carbon stocks and alter habitat, but the long-term consequences for wildlife remain unclear, especially for lesser-known taxa. Here, we combined multiday acoustic surveys, airborne lidar, and satellite time series covering logged and burned forests ( n = 39) in the southern Brazilian Amazon to identify acoustic markers of forest degradation. Our findings contradict expectations from the Acoustic Niche Hypothesis that animal communities in more degraded habitats occupy fewer “acoustic niches” defined by time and frequency. Instead, we found that aboveground biomass was not a consistent proxy for acoustic biodiversity due to the divergent patterns of “acoustic space occupancy” between logged and burned forests. Ecosystem soundscapes highlighted a stark, and sustained reorganization in acoustic community assembly after multiple fires; animal communication networks were quieter, more homogenous, and less acoustically integrated in forests burned multiple times than in logged or once-burned forests. These findings demonstrate strong biodiversity cobenefits from protecting burned Amazon forests from recurrent fire. By contrast, soundscape changes after logging were subtle and more consistent with acoustic community recovery than reassembly. In both logged and burned forests, insects were the dominant acoustic markers of degradation, particularly during midday and nighttime hours, which are not typically sampled by traditional biodiversity field surveys. The acoustic fingerprints of degradation history were conserved across replicate recording locations, indicating that soundscapes may offer a robust, taxonomically inclusive solution for digitally tracking changes in acoustic community composition over time. 
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  5. The assembly and maintenance of microbial diversity in natural communities, despite the abundance of toxin-based antagonistic interactions, presents major challenges for biological understanding. A common framework for investigating such antagonistic interactions involves cyclic dominance games with pairwise interactions. The incorporation of higher-order interactions in such models permits increased levels of microbial diversity, especially in communities in which antibiotic-producing, sensitive, and resistant strains coexist. However, most such models involve a small number of discrete species, assume a notion of pure cyclic dominance, and focus on low mutation rate regimes, none of which well represent the highly interlinked, quickly evolving, and continuous nature of microbial phenotypic space. Here, we present an alternative vision of spatial dynamics for microbial communities based on antagonistic interactions—one in which a large number of species interact in continuous phenotypic space, are capable of rapid mutation, and engage in both direct and higher-order interactions mediated by production of and resistance to antibiotics. Focusing on toxin production, vulnerability, and inhibition among species, we observe highly divergent patterns of diversity and spatial community dynamics. We find that species interaction constraints (rather than mobility) best predict spatiotemporal disturbance regimes, whereas community formation time, mobility, and mutation size best explain patterns of diversity. We also report an intriguing relationship among community formation time, spatial disturbance regimes, and diversity dynamics. This relationship, which suggests that both higher-order interactions and rapid evolution are critical for the origin and maintenance of microbial diversity, has broad-ranging links to the maintenance of diversity in other systems. 
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