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29 novembre 2017

Global patterns in marine predatory fish [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : conservation biology, fisheries, macroecology, marine biology

Large teleost (bony) fish are a dominant group of predators in the oceans and constitute a major source of food and livelihood for humans. These species differ markedly in morphology and feeding habits across oceanic regions ; large pelagic species such as tunas and billfish typically occur in the tropics, whereas demersal species of gadoids and flatfish dominate boreal and temperate regions. Despite their importance for fisheries and the structuring of marine ecosystems, the underlying factors determining the global distribution and productivity of these two groups of teleost predators are poorly known. Here, we show how latitudinal differences in predatory fish can essentially be explained by the inflow of energy at the base of the pelagic and benthic food chain.(...)

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29 novembre 2017

iDNA screening : Disease vectors as vertebrate samplers [Molecular Ecology]

Arthur Kocher, Jérôme Murienne

In the current context of global change and human-induced biodiversity decline, there is an urgent need for developing sampling approaches able to accurately describe the state of biodiversity. Traditional surveys of vertebrate fauna involve time-consuming and skill-demanding field methods. Recently, the use of DNA derived from invertebrate parasites (leeches and blowflies) was suggested as a new tool for vertebrate diversity assessment. Bloodmeal analyses of arthropod disease vectors have long been performed to describe their feeding behaviour, for epidemiological purposes. On the other hand, this existing expertise has not yet been applied to investigate vertebrate fauna per se. Here, we evaluate the usefulness of hematophagous dipterans as vertebrate samplers. Blood-fed sand flies and mosquitoes were collected in Amazonian forest sites and analysed using high-throughput sequencing of short mitochondrial markers. Bloodmeal identifications highlighted contrasting ecological features and feeding behaviour among dipteran species, which allowed unveiling arboreal and terrestrial mammals of various body size, as well as birds, lizards and amphibians. Additionally, lower vertebrate diversity was found in sites undergoing higher levels of human-induced perturbation. These results suggest that, in addition to providing precious information on disease vector host use, dipteran bloodmeal analyses may represent a useful tool in the study of vertebrate communities. Although further effort is required to validate the approach and consider its application to large-scale studies, this first work opens up promising perspectives for biodiversity monitoring and eco-epidemiology.

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28 novembre 2017

Predation drives local adaptation of phenotypic plasticity [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : evolutionary ecology, evolutionary genetics

Phenotypic plasticity is the ability of an individual genotype to alter aspects of its phenotype depending on the current environment. It is central to the persistence, resistance and resilience of populations facing variation in physical or biological factors. Genetic variation in plasticity is pervasive, which suggests its local adaptation is plausible. Existing studies on the adaptation of plasticity typically focus on single traits and a few populations, while theory about interactions among genes (for example, pleiotropy) suggests that a multi-trait, landscape scale (for example, multiple populations) perspective is required.(...)

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28 novembre 2017

Extinction-driven changes in frugivore communities on oceanic islands [Ecography]

Global change and human expansion have resulted in many species extinctions worldwide, but the geographic variation and determinants of extinction risk in particular guilds still remain little explored. Here, we quantified insular extinctions of frugivorous vertebrates (including birds, mammals and reptiles) across 74 tropical and subtropical oceanic islands within 20 archipelagos worldwide and investigated extinction in relation to island characteristics (island area, isolation, elevation and climate) and species’ functional traits (body mass, diet and ability to fly).(...)

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28 novembre 2017

Prospects on the evolutionary mitogenomics of plants : a case study on the olive family (Oleaceae) [Molecular Ecology Resources]

Céline Van de Paer, Guillaume Besnard

The mitogenome is rarely used to reconstruct the evolutionary history of plants, contrary to nuclear and plastid markers. Here, we evaluate the usefulness of mitochondrial DNA for molecular evolutionary studies in Oleaceae, in which cases of cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) and of potentially contrasted organelle inheritance are known. We compare the diversity and the evolution of mitochondrial and chloroplast genomes by focusing on the olive complex and related genera. Using high-throughput techniques, we reconstructed complete mitogenomes (ca. 0.7 Mb) and plastomes (ca. 156 kb) for six olive accessions and one Chionanthus. A highly variable organization of mitogenomes was observed at the species level.(...)

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