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24 mai 2018

Human activities might influence oncogenic processes in wild animal populations [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : cancer, ecology, evolution

Based on the abundant studies available on humans showing clear associations between rapid environmental changes and the rate of neoplasia, we propose that human activities might increase cancer rate in wild populations through numerous processes. Most of the research on this topic has concentrated on wildlife cancer prevalence in environments that are heavily contaminated with anthropogenic chemicals. Here, we propose that human activities might also increase cancer rate in wild populations through additional processes including light pollution, accidental (for example, human waste) or intentional (for example, bird feeders) wildlife feeding (and the associated change of diet), or reduction of genetic diversity in human-impacted habitats.(...)

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23 mai 2018

Evaluating the predicted extinction risk of living amphibian species with the fossil record [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : amphibians, conservation, Data Deficient, extinction risk, fossil record, prediction, traits

Bridging the gap between the fossil record and conservation biology has recently become of great interest. The enormous number of documented extinctions across different taxa can provide insights into the extinction risk of living species. However, few studies have explored this connection. We used generalised boosted modelling to analyse the impact of several traits that are assumed to influence extinction risk on the stratigraphic duration of amphibian species in the fossil record. We used this fossil‐calibrated model to predict the extinction risk for living species. We observed a high consensus between our predicted species durations and the current IUCN Red List status of living amphibian species.(...)

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23 mai 2018

The biomass distribution on Earth [PNAS]

Keywords : ecology, biomass, biosphere, quantitative biology

A census of the biomass on Earth is key for understanding the structure and dynamics of the biosphere. However, a global, quantitative view of how the biomass of different taxa compare with one another is still lacking. Here, we assemble the overall biomass composition of the biosphere, establishing a census of the ≈550 gigatons of carbon (Gt C) of biomass distributed among all of the kingdoms of life. We find that the kingdoms of life concentrate at different locations on the planet ; plants (≈450 Gt C, the dominant kingdom) are primarily terrestrial, whereas animals (≈2 Gt C) are mainly marine, and bacteria (≈70 Gt C) and archaea (≈7 Gt C) are predominantly located in deep subsurface environments. We show that terrestrial biomass is about two orders of magnitude higher than marine biomass and estimate a total of ≈6 Gt C of marine biota, doubling the previous estimated quantity.(...)

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23 mai 2018

Global mismatch of policy and research on drivers of biodiversity loss [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for urgent actions to reduce global biodiversity loss. Here, we synthesize >44,000 articles published in the past decade to assess the research focus on global drivers of loss. Relative research efforts on different drivers are not well aligned with their assessed impact, and multiple driver interactions are hardly considered. Research on drivers of biodiversity loss needs urgent realignment to match predicted severity and inform policy goals.

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23 mai 2018

Seagrass meadows support global fisheries production [Conservation Letters]

Keywords : biodiversity, eelgrass, fisheries, marine, nursery ground, sustainability, zostera

The significant role seagrass meadows play in supporting fisheries productivity and food security across the globe is not adequately reflected in the decisions made by authorities with statutory responsibility for their management. We provide a unique global analysis of three data sources to present the case for why seagrass meadows need targeted policy to recognize and protect their role in supporting fisheries production and food security. (1) Seagrass meadows provide valuable nursery habitat to over 1/5th of the world’s largest 25 fisheries, including Walleye Pollock, the most landed species on the planet. (2) In complex small‐scale fisheries from around the world (poorly represented in fisheries statistics), we present evidence that many of those in proximity to seagrass are supported to a large degree by these habitats.(...)

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