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Cane toads (Bufo marinus) are large anurans (weighing up to 2 kg) that were introduced to Australia 70 years ago to control insect pests in sugar-cane fields. But the result has been disastrous because the toads are toxic and highly invasive. Here we show that the annual rate of progress of the toad invasion front has increased about fivefold since the(More)
Current approaches to modeling range advance assume that the distribution describing dispersal distances in the population (the "dispersal kernel") is a static entity. We argue here that dispersal kernels are in fact highly dynamic during periods of range advance because density effects and spatial assortment by dispersal ability ("spatial selection") drive(More)
The challenges posed by parasites and pathogens evoke behavioral as well as physiological responses. Such behavioral responses are poorly understood for most ectothermic species, including anuran amphibians. We quantified effects of simulated infection (via injection of bacterial lipopolysaccharide [LPS]) on feeding, activity, and thermoregulation of cane(More)
In classical evolutionary theory, traits evolve because they facilitate organismal survival and/or reproduction. We discuss a different type of evolutionary mechanism that relies upon differential dispersal. Traits that enhance rates of dispersal inevitably accumulate at expanding range edges, and assortative mating between fast-dispersing individuals at(More)
Sex-based differences in dispersal distances can affect critical population parameters such as inbreeding rates and the spatial scale of local adaptation. Males tend to disperse further than females in mammals, whereas the reverse is true for birds; too few reptiles have been studied to reveal generalities for that group. Although reptiles are most diverse(More)
Effects of perturbations to wildlife often are measured by changes in rates of encounter with animals during standardised surveys, such as along roads. Previous work has predicted that the invasion of toxic cane toads (Rhinella marina) through the Australian tropics will cause massive mortality of anuran-eating snakes, and influence abundances of other(More)
Vertebrates cope with physiological challenges using two major mechanisms: the immune system and the hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal axis (e.g., the glucocorticoid stress response). Because the two systems are tightly integrated, we need simultaneous studies of both systems, in a range of species, to understand how vertebrates respond to novel challenges. To(More)
Taxonomic studies of parasites can be severely compromised if the host species affects parasite morphology; an uncritical analysis might recognize multiple taxa simply because of phenotypically plastic responses of parasite morphology to host physiology. Pentastomids of the genus Raillietiella are endoparasitic crustaceans primarily infecting the(More)
Traditionally, research on life-history traits has viewed the link between clutch size and offspring size as a straightforward linear trade-off; the product of these two components is taken as a measure of maternal reproductive output. Investing more per egg results in fewer but larger eggs and, hence, offspring. This simple size-number trade-off has proved(More)
Body size at metamorphosis is a key trait in species (such as many anurans) with biphasic life-histories. Experimental studies have shown that metamorph size is highly plastic, depending upon larval density and environmental conditions (e.g. temperature, food supply, water quality, chemical cues from conspecifics, predators and competitors). To test the(More)