The natural history of model organisms: the rhesus macaque as a success story of the Anthropocene
Of all the non-human primate species studied by researchers, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) is likely the most widely used across biological disciplines. Rhesus macaques have thrived during the Anthropocene and now have the largest natural range of any non-human primate. They are highly social, exhibit marked genetic diversity, and display remarkable niche flexibility (which allows them to live in a range of habitats and survive on a variety of diets). These characteristics mean that rhesus macaques are well-suited for understanding the links between sociality, health and fitness, and also for investigating intra-specific variation, adaptation and other topics in evolutionary ecology.
No new data was generated for this article.
Article and author information
National Institutes of Health (R01-AG060931)
- Eve B Cooper
- Lauren JN Brent
- Noah Snyder-Mackler
- James P Higham
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Helena Pérez Valle, eLife, United Kingdom
- Received: February 25, 2022
- Accepted: July 7, 2022
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 8, 2022 (version 1)
- Accepted Manuscript updated: July 21, 2022 (version 2)
- Version of Record published: August 2, 2022 (version 3)
© 2022, Cooper et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
- Page views
Article citation count generated by polling the highest count across the following sources: Crossref, PubMed Central, Scopus.
Downloads (link to download the article as PDF)
Open citations (links to open the citations from this article in various online reference manager services)
Cite this article (links to download the citations from this article in formats compatible with various reference manager tools)
- Evolutionary Biology
Strong sexual selection frequently leads to sexual conflict and ensuing male harm, whereby males increase their reproductive success at the expense of harming females. Male harm is a widespread evolutionary phenomenon with a strong bearing on population viability. Thus, understanding how it unfolds in the wild is a current priority. Here, we sampled a wild Drosophila melanogaster population and studied male harm across the normal range of temperatures under which it reproduces optimally in nature by comparing female lifetime reproductive success and underlying male harm mechanisms under monogamy (i.e. low male competition/harm) vs. polyandry (i.e. high male competition/harm). While females had equal lifetime reproductive success across temperatures under monogamy, polyandry resulted in a maximum decrease of female fitness at 24°C (35%), reducing its impact at both 20°C (22%), and 28°C (10%). Furthermore, female fitness components and pre- (i.e. harassment) and post-copulatory (i.e. ejaculate toxicity) mechanisms of male harm were asymmetrically affected by temperature. At 20°C, male harassment of females was reduced, and polyandry accelerated female actuarial aging. In contrast, the effect of mating on female receptivity (a component of ejaculate toxicity) was affected at 28°C, where the mating costs for females decreased and polyandry mostly resulted in accelerated reproductive aging. We thus show that, across a natural thermal range, sexual conflict processes and their effects on female fitness components are plastic and complex. As a result, the net effect of male harm on overall population viability is likely to be lower than previously surmised. We discuss how such plasticity may affect selection, adaptation and, ultimately, evolutionary rescue under a warming climate.
- Evolutionary Biology
Circadian clocks infer time of day by integrating information from cyclic environmental factors called zeitgebers, including light and temperature. Single zeitgebers entrain circadian rhythms, but few studies have addressed how multiple, simultaneous zeitgeber cycles interact to affect clock behavior. Misalignment between zeitgebers (‘sensory conflict’) can disrupt circadian rhythms, or alternatively clocks may privilege information from one zeitgeber over another. Here, we show that temperature cycles modulate circadian locomotor rhythms in Nematostella vectensis, a model system for cnidarian circadian biology. We conduct behavioral experiments across a comprehensive range of light and temperature cycles and find that Nematostella’s circadian behavior is disrupted by chronic misalignment between light and temperature, which involves disruption of the endogenous clock itself rather than a simple masking effect. Sensory conflict also disrupts the rhythmic transcriptome, with numerous genes losing rhythmic expression. However, many metabolic genes remained rhythmic and in-phase with temperature, and other genes even gained rhythmicity, implying that some rhythmic metabolic processes persist even when behavior is disrupted. Our results show that a cnidarian clock relies on information from light and temperature, rather than prioritizing one signal over the other. Although we identify limits to the clock’s ability to integrate conflicting sensory information, there is also a surprising robustness of behavioral and transcriptional rhythmicity.