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18 mai 2017

Wild birds respond to flockmate loss by increasing their social network associations to others [Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences]

Keywords : social structure, social networks, population declines, social perturbation, social foraging, social bonds

Understanding the consequences of losing individuals from wild populations is a current and pressing issue, yet how such loss influences the social behaviour of the remaining animals is largely unexplored. Through combining the automated tracking of winter flocks of over 500 wild great tits (Parus major) with removal experiments, we assessed how individuals’ social network positions responded to the loss of their social associates.(...)

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18 mai 2017

A genome-wide assessment of stages of elevational parapatry in Bornean passerine birds reveals no introgression : implications for processes and patterns of speciation [PeerJ]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, zoology

Topographically complex regions often contain the close juxtaposition of closely related species along elevational gradients. The evolutionary causes of these elevational replacements, and thus the origin and maintenance of a large portion of species diversity along elevational gradients, are usually unclear because ecological differentiation along a gradient or secondary contact following allopatric diversification can produce the same pattern. We used reduced representation genomic sequencing to assess genetic relationships and gene flow between three parapatric pairs of closely related songbird taxa (Arachnothera spiderhunters, Chloropsis leafbirds, and Enicurus forktails) along an elevational gradient in Borneo.(...)

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18 mai 2017

Freshwater biomonitoring in the Information Age [Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment]

Freshwaters worldwide face serious threats, making their protection increasingly important. Freshwater monitoring has historically produced valuable data and continues to develop. Rapid improvements to biomolecular techniques are revolutionizing the way scientists describe biological communities and are bringing about major changes in biomonitoring. Combined with high-throughput sequencing, DNA metabarcoding is fast and cost-effective, generating massive amounts of data. In a world with numerous ecological threats, “big data” constitute a tremendous opportunity to improve the efficiency of biological monitoring. These fundamental changes in biomonitoring will require freshwater ecologists and environmental managers to reconsider how they handle large amounts of data.

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18 mai 2017

Most Colorful Example of Genetic Assimilation ? Exploring the Evolutionary Destiny of Recurrent Phenotypic Accommodation [The American Naturalist]

Keywords : genetic assimilation, developmental plasticity, phenotypic accommodation, carotenoids

Evolution of adaptation requires both generation of novel phenotypic variation and retention of a locally beneficial subset of this variation. Such retention can be facilitated by genetic assimilation, the accumulation of genetic and molecular mechanisms that stabilize induced phenotypes and assume progressively greater control over their reliable production. A particularly strong inference into genetic assimilation as an evolutionary process requires a system where it is possible to directly evaluate the extent to which an induced phenotype is progressively incorporated into preexisting developmental pathways. Evolution of diet-dependent pigmentation in birds—where external carotenoids are coopted into internal metabolism to a variable degree before being integrated with a feather’s developmental processes—provides such an opportunity.(...)

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18 mai 2017

Big city Bombus : using natural history and land-use history to find significant environmental drivers in bumble-bee declines in urban development [Royal Society Open Science]

Keywords : urbanization, pollinator, geographical information system, shrinking city, Bombus

Native bee populations are critical sources of pollination. Unfortunately, native bees are declining in abundance and diversity. Much of this decline comes from human land-use change. While the effects of large-scale agriculture on native bees are relatively well understood, the effects of urban development are less clear. Understanding urbanity’s effect on native bees requires consideration of specific characteristics of both particular bee species and their urban landscape. We surveyed bumble-bee (Bombus spp.) abundance and diversity in gardens across multiple urban centres in southeastern Michigan.(...)

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