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13 octobre 2017

Janzen-Connell patterns can be induced by fungal-driven decomposition and offset by ectomycorrhizal fungi accumulated under a closely related canopy [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : above/below-ground interactions, budburst, leaf herbivory, plant-soil interactions, Quercus sp, spatial community assembly, temperate forest, tree recruitment

1.Seedlings near a conspecific adult might suffer increased mortality due to pressure from enemies such as belowground pathogenic fungi (Janzen-Connell Hypothesis), however variation exists among taxa such that some experience low levels of mortality. We hypothesized that seedlings close to adults might profit, rather than suffer, from belowground fungi, notably from mycorrhiza or decomposers, in particular near large adult trees and under a closely related canopy.(...)

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12 octobre 2017

Evidence of a chimpanzee-sized ancestor of humans but a gibbon-sized ancestor of apes [Nature Communications]

Keywords : biological anthropology, phylogenetics

Body mass directly affects how an animal relates to its environment and has a wide range of biological implications. However, little is known about the mass of the last common ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees, hominids (great apes and humans), or hominoids (all apes and humans), which is needed to evaluate numerous paleobiological hypotheses at and prior to the root of our lineage. Here we use phylogenetic comparative methods and data from primates including humans, fossil hominins, and a wide sample of fossil primates including Miocene apes from Africa, Europe, and Asia to test alternative hypotheses of body mass evolution.(...)

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11 octobre 2017

Long-term pattern and magnitude of soil carbon feedback to the climate system in a warming world [Science]

Subjects : ecology, microbiology

In a 26-year soil warming experiment in a mid-latitude hardwood forest, we documented changes in soil carbon cycling to investigate the potential consequences for the climate system. We found that soil warming results in a four-phase pattern of soil organic matter decay and carbon dioxide fluxes to the atmosphere, with phases of substantial soil carbon loss alternating with phases of no detectable loss. Several factors combine to affect the timing, magnitude, and thermal acclimation of soil carbon loss. These include depletion of microbially accessible carbon pools, reductions in microbial biomass, a shift in microbial carbon use efficiency, and changes in microbial community composition. Our results support projections of a long-term, self-reinforcing carbon feedback from mid-latitude forests to the climate system as the world warms.

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11 octobre 2017

Habitat-based conservation strategies cannot compensate for climate-change-induced range loss [Nature Climate Change]

Subject terms : biodiversity, climate-change ecology, conservation biology, ecological modelling

Anthropogenic habitat fragmentation represents a major obstacle to species shifting their range in response to climate change1. Conservation measures to increase the (meta-)population capacity2 and permeability of landscapes3 may help but the effectiveness of such measures in a warming climate has rarely been evaluated. Here, we simulate range dynamics of 51 species from three taxonomic groups (vascular plants, butterflies and grasshoppers) in Central Europe as driven by twenty-first-century climate scenarios and analyse how three habitat-based conservation strategies (establishing corridors, improving the landscape matrix, and protected area management) modify species’ projected range size changes.(...)

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11 octobre 2017

How and Why to Build a Unified Tree of Life [BioEssays]

Keywords : open science, evolution, data deposition, phylogeny, tree of life

Phylogenetic trees are a crucial backbone for a wide breadth of biological research spanning systematics, organismal biology, ecology, and medicine. In 2015, the Open Tree of Life project published a first draft of a comprehensive tree of life, summarizing digitally available taxonomic and phylogenetic knowledge. This paper reviews, investigates, and addresses the following questions as a follow-up to that paper, from the perspective of researchers involved in building this summary of the tree of life : Is there a tree of life and should we reconstruct it ? Is available data sufficient to reconstruct the tree of life ? Do we have access to phylogenetic inferences in usable form ? Can we combine different phylogenetic estimates across the tree of life ? And finally, what is the future of understanding the tree of life ?

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