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Home > Communication > Scientific newsletter > Scientific publications

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20 July 2018

A spatial overview of the global importance of Indigenous lands for conservation [Nature Sustainability]

Understanding the scale, location and nature conservation values of the lands over which Indigenous Peoples exercise traditional rights is central to implementation of several global conservation and climate agreements. However, spatial information on Indigenous lands has never been aggregated globally. Here, using publicly available geospatial resources, we show that Indigenous Peoples manage or have tenure rights over at least 38 million km2 in 87 countries or politically distinct areas on all inhabited continents. This represents over a quarter of the world’s land surface, and intersects about 40% of all terrestrial protected areas and ecologically intact landscapes (for example, boreal and tropical primary forests, savannas and marshes).(...)

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20 July 2018

Evolutionary Consequences of Social Isolation [TREE]

Keywords: conservation, indirect genetic effects, invasion biology, loneliness, social selection, sociogenomics

The potential to experience social isolation is near-ubiquitous in animals, and research on its effects tends to focus on phenotypic consequences over an individual’s lifetime.
A common, but not universal, finding is that social isolation negatively affects fitness measures such as health indicators, social competence, and competitiveness.
Recent work suggests that social isolation can alter social selection and the genetic variance upon which selection acts, thereby altering evolutionary trajectories.
Future research to evaluate evolutionary consequences of social isolation would benefit from (i) treating it as an experimental condition rather than a control, (ii) using quantitative indices of social isolation to enable standardised quantitative treatment, and (iii) testing evolutionary hypotheses using quantitative genetics, experimental evolution, and sociogenomics.(...)

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18 July 2018

Adaptive radiation along a deeply conserved genetic line of least resistance in Anolis lizards [Evolution Letters]

Keywords : adaptive radiation, Anolis lizards, constraint, convergent evolution, covariance tensor analysis, G matrix, quantitative genetics, selection

On microevolutionary timescales, adaptive evolution depends upon both natural selection and the underlying genetic architecture of traits under selection, which may constrain evolutionary outcomes. Whether such genetic constraints shape phenotypic diversity over macroevolutionary timescales is more controversial, however. One key prediction is that genetic constraints should bias the early stages of species divergence along “genetic lines of least resistance” defined by the genetic (co)variance matrix, G. This bias is expected to erode over time as species means and G matrices diverge, allowing phenotypes to evolve away from the major axis of variation. We tested for evidence of this signal in West Indian Anolis lizards, an iconic example of adaptive radiation.(...)

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18 July 2018

Phylogenomics of montane frogs of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest is consistent with isolation in sky islands followed by climatic stability [Biological Journal of the Linnean Society]

Keywords : Brachycephalus, coalescent, Melanophryniscus, target enrichment, ultraconserved elements

Despite encompassing a relatively small geographical area, montane regions harbour disproportionately high levels of species diversity and endemism. Nonetheless, relatively little is known about the evolutionary mechanisms that ultimately lead to montane diversity. In this study, we used target capture of ultraconserved elements to investigate the phylogenetic relationships and diversification patterns of Melanophryniscus (Bufonidae) and Brachycephalus (Brachycephalidae), two frog genera that occur in sky islands of the southern Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Specifically, we tested whether diversification of montane species in these genera could be explained by a single climatic shift leading to isolation in sky islands, followed by climatic stability that maintained populations in allopatry.(...)

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18 July 2018

Logarithmic scales in ecological data presentation may cause misinterpretation [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Scientific communication relies on clear presentation of data. Logarithmic scales are used frequently for data presentation in many scientific disciplines, including ecology, but the degree to which they are correctly interpreted by readers is unclear. Analysing the extent of log scales in the literature, we show that 22% of papers published in the journal Ecology in 2015 included at least one log-scaled axis, of which 21% were log–log displays. We conducted a survey that asked members of the Ecological Society of America (988 responses, and 623 completed surveys) to interpret graphs that were randomly displayed with linear–linear or log–log axes. Many more respondents interpreted graphs correctly when the graphs had linear–linear axes than when they had log–log axes: 93% versus 56% for our all-around metric, although some of the individual item comparisons were even more skewed (for example, 86% versus 9% and 88% versus 12%). (...)

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