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26 septembre 2017

Big brains stabilize populations and facilitate colonization of variable habitats in birds [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, evolutionary ecology, population dynamics

The cognitive buffer hypothesis posits that environmental variability can be a major driver of the evolution of cognition because an enhanced ability to produce flexible behavioural responses facilitates coping with the unexpected. Although comparative evidence supports different aspects of this hypothesis, a direct connection between cognition and the ability to survive a variable and unpredictable environment has yet to be demonstrated. Here, we use complementary demographic and evolutionary analyses to show that among birds, the mechanistic premise of this hypothesis is well supported but the implied direction of causality is not.(...)

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25 septembre 2017

The need for spatially explicit quantification of benefits in invasive-species management [Conservation Biology]

Stephanie R. Januchowski-Hartley

Worldwide, invasive species are a leading driver of environmental change across terrestrial, marine, and freshwater environments and cost billions of dollars annually in ecological damages and economic losses. Resources limit invasive-species control, and planning processes are needed to identify cost-effective solutions. Thus, studies are increasingly considering spatially variable natural and socioeconomic assets (e.g., species persistence, recreational fishing) when planning the allocation of actions for invasive-species management. There is a need to improve understanding of how such assets are considered in invasive-species management. We reviewed over 1600 studies focused on management of invasive species, including flora and fauna.(...)

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22 septembre 2017

Multiscale scenarios for nature futures [Nature Ecology & Evolution - Comment]

Targets for human development are increasingly connected with targets for nature, however, existing scenarios do not explicitly address this relationship. Here, we outline a strategy to generate scenarios centred on our relationship with nature to inform decision-making at multiple scales.

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22 septembre 2017

Edge effects on components of diversity and above-ground biomass in a tropical rainforest [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : biomass, carbon storage, environmental filtering, forest fragmentation, functional diversity, phylogenetic diversity, seed dispersal, species coexistence, tropical forest

1. Edge effects are among the most significant consequences of forest fragmentation. Therefore, understanding the impacts of edge creation on biodiversity is crucial for forest management and biological conservation.
2. In this study, we used trait-based and phylogenetic approaches to examine the effects of fragmentation on components of diversity and above-ground biomass of rainforest tree communities in Madagascar in forest edge vs. interior habitats.(...)

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22 septembre 2017

Benchmarking viromics : an in silico evaluation of metagenome-enabled estimates of viral community composition and diversity [PeerJ]

Keywords : bioinformatics, ecology, genomics, microbiology

Viral metagenomics (viromics) is increasingly used to obtain uncultivated viral genomes, evaluate community diversity, and assess ecological hypotheses. While viromic experimental methods are relatively mature and widely accepted by the research community, robust bioinformatics standards remain to be established. Here we used in silico mock viral communities to evaluate the viromic sequence-to-ecological-inference pipeline, including (i) read pre-processing and metagenome assembly, (ii) thresholds applied to estimate viral relative abundances based on read mapping to assembled contigs, and (iii) normalization methods applied to the matrix of viral relative abundances for alpha and beta diversity estimates.

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