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Predictable evolution toward flightlessness in volant island birds

Overview of attention for article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, April 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (98th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (91st percentile)

Mentioned by

news
13 news outlets
blogs
4 blogs
twitter
110 tweeters
facebook
1 Facebook page
wikipedia
1 Wikipedia page
reddit
1 Redditor

Readers on

mendeley
69 Mendeley
Title
Predictable evolution toward flightlessness in volant island birds
Published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, April 2016
DOI 10.1073/pnas.1522931113
Pubmed ID
Authors

Natalie A. Wright, David W. Steadman, Christopher C. Witt, Wright, Natalie A, Steadman, David W, Witt, Christopher C

Abstract

Birds are prolific colonists of islands, where they readily evolve distinct forms. Identifying predictable, directional patterns of evolutionary change in island birds, however, has proved challenging. The "island rule" predicts that island species evolve toward intermediate sizes, but its general applicability to birds is questionable. However, convergent evolution has clearly occurred in the island bird lineages that have undergone transitions to secondary flightlessness, a process involving drastic reduction of the flight muscles and enlargement of the hindlimbs. Here, we investigated whether volant island bird populations tend to change shape in a way that converges subtly on the flightless form. We found that island bird species have evolved smaller flight muscles than their continental relatives. Furthermore, in 366 populations of Caribbean and Pacific birds, smaller flight muscles and longer legs evolved in response to increasing insularity and, strikingly, the scarcity of avian and mammalian predators. On smaller islands with fewer predators, birds exhibited shifts in investment from forelimbs to hindlimbs that were qualitatively similar to anatomical rearrangements observed in flightless birds. These findings suggest that island bird populations tend to evolve on a trajectory toward flightlessness, even if most remain volant. This pattern was consistent across nine families and four orders that vary in lifestyle, foraging behavior, flight style, and body size. These predictable shifts in avian morphology may reduce the physical capacity for escape via flight and diminish the potential for small-island taxa to diversify via dispersal.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 110 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 69 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 5 7%
Spain 1 1%
Brazil 1 1%
Romania 1 1%
Netherlands 1 1%
Argentina 1 1%
Unknown 59 86%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 20 29%
Researcher 17 25%
Student > Bachelor 13 19%
Student > Master 10 14%
Other 3 4%
Other 6 9%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 51 74%
Environmental Science 6 9%
Unspecified 4 6%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 4 6%
Earth and Planetary Sciences 3 4%
Other 1 1%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 183. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 13 November 2017.
All research outputs
#42,881
of 8,659,198 outputs
Outputs from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#1,215
of 47,638 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#3,022
of 278,473 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
#82
of 962 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 8,659,198 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 47,638 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 25.0. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 278,473 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 98% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 962 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its contemporaries.