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11 juillet 2017

Human disturbance and upward expansion of plants in a warming climate [Nature Climate Change]

Subject terms : climate-change ecology, invasive species

Climate change is expected to trigger an upward expansion of plants in mountain regions and, although there is strong evidence that many native species have already shifted their distributions to higher elevations, little is known regarding how fast non-native species might respond to climate change. By analysing 131,394 occurrence records of 1,334 plant species collected over 20 years in the European Alps, we found that non-natives are spreading upwards approximately twice as fast as natives.(...)

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11 juillet 2017

Induced defences in plants reduce herbivory by increasing cannibalism [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecology, plant ecology

Plants are attacked by myriad herbivores, and many plants exhibit anti-herbivore defences. We tested the hypothesis that induced defences benefit tomato plants by encouraging insects to eat other members of their species. We found that defences that promote cannibalism benefit tomatoes in two ways : cannibalism directly reduces herbivore abundance, and cannibals eat significantly less plant material. This previously unknown means of defence may alter plant–herbivore dynamics, plant evolution and pathogen transmission.

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11 juillet 2017

Fungal interactions reduce carbon use efficiency [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : biogeochemical, biotic interactions, carbon cycle, diversity function, interference

The efficiency by which fungi decompose organic matter contributes to the amount of carbon that is retained in biomass vs. lost to the atmosphere as respiration. This carbon use efficiency (CUE) is affected by various abiotic conditions, including temperature and nutrient availability. Theoretically, the physiological costs of interspecific interactions should likewise alter CUE, yet the magnitude of these costs is untested. Here we conduct a microcosm experiment to quantify how interactions among wood-decay basidiomycete fungi alter growth, respiration and CUE across a temperature and nitrogen gradient.(...)

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11 juillet 2017

Sex-specific evolution during the diversification of live-bearing fishes [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Natural selection is often assumed to drive parallel functional diversification of the sexes. But males and females exhibit fundamental differences in their biology, and it remains largely unknown how sex differences affect macroevolutionary patterns. On microevolutionary scales, we understand how natural and sexual selection interact to give rise to sex-specific evolution during phenotypic diversification and speciation. Here we show that ignoring sex-specific patterns of functional trait evolution misrepresents the macroevolutionary adaptive landscape and evolutionary rates for 112 species of live-bearing fishes (Poeciliidae).(...)

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11 juillet 2017

Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines [PNAS]

Keywords : sixth mass extinction, population declines, population extinctions, conservation, ecosystem service

The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species.(...)

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