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      SquamataBase: a natural history database and R package for comparative biology of snake feeding habits

      , 1

      Biodiversity Data Journal

      Pensoft Publishers

      Natural history, database, diet, snakes, squamate reptiles, macroevolution, macroecology

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          Abstract

          Public databases in taxonomy, phylogenetics and geographic and fossil occurrence records are key research tools that provide raw materials, on which broad-scale analyses and synthesis in their respective fields are based. Comparable repositories for natural history observations are rare. Publicly available natural history data on traits like diet, habitat and reproduction are scattered across an extensive primary literature and remain relatively inaccessible to researchers interested in using these data for broad-scale analyses in macroecology and macroevolution. In this paper, I introduce SquamataBase, an open-source R package and database of predator-prey records involving the world’s snakes. SquamataBase facilitates the discovery of natural history observations for use in comparative analyses and synthesis and, in its current form, contains observations of at least 18,304 predator individuals comprising 1,227 snake species and at least 58,633 prey items comprising 3,231 prey taxa. To facilitate integration with comparative analysis workflows, the data are distributed inside an R package, which also provides basic functionality for common data manipulation and filtering operations. Moving forward, the continued development of public natural history databases and their integration with existing digitisation efforts in biodiversity science should become a priority.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Behavioural flexibility and invasion success in birds

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            Ecological Opportunity and Adaptive Radiation

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              Tempo of trophic evolution and its impact on mammalian diversification.

              Mammals are characterized by the complex adaptations of their dentition, which are an indication that diet has played a critical role in their evolutionary history. Although much attention has focused on diet and the adaptations of specific taxa, the role of diet in large-scale diversification patterns remains unresolved. Contradictory hypotheses have been proposed, making prediction of the expected relationship difficult. We show that net diversification rate (the cumulative effect of speciation and extinction), differs significantly among living mammals, depending upon trophic strategy. Herbivores diversify fastest, carnivores are intermediate, and omnivores are slowest. The tempo of transitions between the trophic strategies is also highly biased: the fastest rates occur into omnivory from herbivory and carnivory and the lowest transition rates are between herbivory and carnivory. Extant herbivore and carnivore diversity arose primarily through diversification within lineages, whereas omnivore diversity evolved by transitions into the strategy. The ability to specialize and subdivide the trophic niche allowed herbivores and carnivores to evolve greater diversity than omnivores.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Biodivers Data J
                Biodivers Data J
                1
                urn:lsid:arphahub.com:pub:F9B2E808-C883-5F47-B276-6D62129E4FF4
                urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:245B00E9-BFE5-4B4F-B76E-15C30BA74C02
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2836
                1314-2828
                2020
                27 March 2020
                : 8
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, United States of America Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan Ann Arbor United States of America
                Author notes
                Corresponding author: Michael C. Grundler ( mgru@ 123456umich.edu ).

                Academic editor: Scott Chamberlain

                Article
                49943 13047
                10.3897/BDJ.8.e49943
                7125237
                Michael C. Grundler

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 0, References: 22
                Categories
                R Package

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