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31 janvier 2018

Network spandrels reflect ecological assembly [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : coexistence, community assembly, interspecific competition, network structure, stability

Ecological networks that exhibit stable dynamics should theoretically persist longer than those that fluctuate wildly. Thus, network structures which are over-represented in natural systems are often hypothesised to be either a cause or consequence of ecological stability. Rarely considered, however, is that these network structures can also be by-products of the processes that determine how new species attempt to join the community. Using a simulation approach in tandem with key results from random matrix theory, we illustrate how historical assembly mechanisms alter the structure of ecological networks.(...)

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31 janvier 2018

History and environment shape species pools and community diversity in European beech forests [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, community ecology, plant ecology

A central hypothesis of ecology states that regional diversity influences local diversity through species-pool effects. Species pools are supposedly shaped by large-scale factors and then filtered into ecological communities, but understanding these processes requires the analysis of large datasets across several regions. Here, we use a framework of community assembly at a continental scale to test the relative influence of historical and environmental drivers, in combination with regional or local species pools, on community species richness and community completeness. Using 42,173 vegetation plots sampled across European beech forests, we found that large-scale factors largely accounted for species pool sizes.(...)

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30 janvier 2018

Best practices for reporting climate data in ecology [Nature Climate Change]

A large number of published ecological studies fail to include basic information about the climate data used. In the interest of reproducibility and transparency, we offer recommendations for best practices that we urge Editors, authors, and reviewers to adopt in future publications.

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30 janvier 2018

The impact of endothermy on the climatic niche evolution and the distribution of vertebrate diversity [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, macroecology, phylogenetics

Understanding the mechanisms by which the abiotic and biotic requirements of species, or ecological niches, change over time is a central issue in evolutionary biology. Niche evolution is poorly understood at both the macroecological and macroevolutionary scales, as niches can shift over short periods of time but appear to change more slowly over longer timescales. Although reconstructing past niches has always been a major concern for palaeontologists and evolutionary biologists, only a few recent studies have successfully determined the factors that affect niche evolution. Here, we compare the evolution of climatic niches in four main groups of terrestrial vertebrates using a modelling approach integrating both palaeontological and neontological data, and large-scale datasets that contain information on the current distributions, phylogenetic relationships and fossil records for a total of 11,465 species. By reconstructing historical shifts in geographical ranges and climatic niches, we show that niche shifts are significantly faster in endotherms (birds and mammals) than in ectotherms (squamates and amphibians). We further demonstrate that the diversity patterns of the four clades are directly affected by the rate of niche evolution, with fewer latitudinal shifts in ectotherms.

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29 janvier 2018

Genomic associations with bill length and disease reveal drift and selection across island bird populations [Evolution Letters]

Keywords : adaptation, birds, GWAS, population genomics

Les espèces insulaires fournissent d’excellents modèles pour étudier comment la sélection et la dérive opèrent dans les populations sauvages, et pour déterminer comment ces processus agissent pour influencer l’adaptation et la spéciation locales. Ici, nous examinons le rôle de la sélection et de la dérive dans la formation des variations génomiques et phénotypiques à travers les populations récemment séparées du pipit de Berthelot (Anthus berthelotii), un oiseau passereau endémique à trois archipels de l’Atlantique. Nous avons d’abord caractérisé la diversité génétique et la structuration de la population qui soutenaient les inférences précédentes d’une histoire de colonisations et de goulets d’étranglement récents. Nous avons ensuite testé les régions du génome associées aux traits écologiquement importants de la longueur du bec et de l’infection palustre, qui varient considérablement d’une population à l’autre. Nous avons identifié un SNP associé à la variation de la longueur du bec entre les individus, les îles et les archipels(...)

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