Africa’s vegetation is changing fast, owing to climate change and other results of human activities. How does this affect the distributions of interacting species such as brood parasites and their hosts? In this paper using data from the South African Bird Atlas Project, we show that parasites largely track changes in their hosts’ distributions, and that changing species distributions can set the stage for new potential host-parasite interactions between indigobirds and their hosts. Read more in the original paper by Guillaume Péron, Res Altwegg, Gabriel Jamie and Claire Spottiswoode, available open access in Journal of Animal Ecology.
Our paper ‘Why and how to apply Weber’s Law to coevolution and mimicry’ has been published in the journal Evolution. This perspectives paper, written by Tanmay Dixit, Eleanor Caves, Claire Spottiswoode, and Nicholas Horrocks, argues that Weber’s Law of proportional processing can lead to otherwise counterintuitive predictions about the evolutionary trajectories of mimicry systems. Weber’s Law states that when the magnitude of a stimulus is large, it is more difficult to discriminate a change or difference from that stimulus. In other words, relative differences are more salient than absolute differences. We show that Weber’s Law could have implications for mimicry: when stimulus magnitudes are high, it should be more difficult to discriminate a model from a mimic. This leads to testable predictions about evolutionary trajectories of models and mimics. We also present a framework for testing Weber’s Law and its implications for coevolution.