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Data from: Abiotic and biotic predictors of macroecological patterns in bird and butterfly coloration

posted on 2022-06-11, 04:23 authored by Rhiannon L. Dalrymple, Habacuc Flores-Moreno, Darrell J. Kemp, Thomas E. White, Shawn W. Laffan, Frank A. Hemmings, Timothy D. Hitchcock, Angela T. Moles
Animal color phenotypes are invariably influenced by both their biotic community and the abiotic environments. A host of hypotheses have been proposed for how variables such as solar radiation, habitat shadiness, primary productivity, temperature, rainfall and community diversity might affect animal color traits. However, while individual factors have been linked to coloration in specific contexts, little is known about which factors are most important across broad taxonomic and geographic scales. Using data collected from 570 species of birds and 424 species of butterflies from Australia which inhabit an area spanning a latitudinal range of 35 degrees and covering deserts, tropical and temperate forests, savannas and heathlands, we test multiple hypotheses from the coloration literature and assess their relative importance. We show that bird and butterfly species exhibit more reflective and less saturated colors in better-lit environments, a pattern that is robust across an array of variables expected to influence the intensity or quality of ambient light in an environment. Both taxa display more diverse colors in regions with greater net primary production and longer growing seasons. Models that included variables related to energy inputs and resources in ecosystems have better explanatory power for bird and butterfly coloration overall than do models that included community diversity metrics. However, the diversity of the bird community in an environment was the single most powerful predictor of color pattern variation in both birds and butterflies. We observed strong similarities across taxa in the covariance between color and environmental factors, suggesting the presence of fundamental macro-ecological drivers of visual appearance across disparate taxa.

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Dalrymple_etal_EM2018Data from Dalrymple. et al. Abiotic and biotic predictors of macroecological patterns in bird and butterfly coloration. Ecological Monographs Data for each grid cell in the study range is presented, including bird and butterfly colour (response) variables and environmental (predictor) variables. Predictor variables relate to the community diversity and averages of the data available for the energy and resources in the environment and the habitat conditions in the grid cells. See manuscript for details on data sourcing and units on environmental variables. see Dalrymple et al 2015 Birds, butterflies and flowers in the tropics are not more colourful than those at higher latitudes. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 24(12), 1424-1432. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12368 for information on bird and butterfly color data and methodology. .csv fileDalrymple_etal_EM2018_scriptforanalysesR script for application to Dalrymple_etal_EM2018.CSV data file - produces analyses and some figures. .txt fileDalrymple_etal_EM2018_Rcode.txt


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