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19 janvier 2015

Expectations of brilliance underlie gender distributions across academic disciplines [Science]

The gender imbalance in STEM subjects dominates current debates about women’s underrepresentation in academia. However, women are well represented at the Ph.D. level in some sciences and poorly represented in some humanities (e.g., in 2011, 54% of U.S. Ph.D.’s in molecular biology were women versus only 31% in philosophy). We hypothesize that, across the academic spectrum, women are underrepresented in fields whose practitioners believe that raw, innate talent is the main requirement for success, because women are stereotyped as not possessing such talent. This hypothesis extends to African Americans’ underrepresentation as well, as this group is subject to similar stereotypes. Results from a nationwide survey of academics support our hypothesis (termed the field-specific ability beliefs hypothesis) over three competing hypotheses.

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17 janvier 2015

Loss of migratory behaviour increases infection risk for a butterfly host [Proceedings of the Royal Society B]

Long-distance animal migrations have important consequences for infectious disease dynamics. In some cases, migration lowers pathogen transmission by removing infected individuals during strenuous journeys and allowing animals to periodically escape contaminated habitats. Human activities are now causing some migratory animals to travel shorter distances or form sedentary (non-migratory) populations. We focused on North American monarch butterflies and a specialist protozoan parasite to investigate how the loss of migratory behaviours affects pathogen spread and evolution.

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17 janvier 2015

Projecting global biodiversity indicators under future development scenarios [Conservation Letters]

To address the ongoing global biodiversity crisis, governments have set strategic objectives and have adopted indicators to monitor progress towards their achievement. Projecting the likely impacts on biodiversity of different policy decisions allows decision makers to understand if and how these targets can be met. We projected trends in two widely used indicators of population abundance (the Living Planet Index ; LPI) and extinction risk (the Red List Index ; RLI) under different climate and land-use change scenarios...

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5 janvier 2015

A Novel Reproductive Mode in Frogs : A New Species of Fanged Frog with Internal Fertilization and Birth of Tadpoles [Plos One]

We describe a new species of fanged frog (Limnonectes larvaepartus) that is unique among anurans in having both internal fertilization and birth of tadpoles. The new species is endemic to Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. This is the fourth valid species of Limnonectes described from Sulawesi despite that the radiation includes at least 15 species and possibly many more. Fewer than a dozen of the 6455 species of frogs in the world are known to have internal fertilization, and of these, all but the new species either deposit fertilized eggs or give birth to froglets.

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15 décembre 2014

Extinctions of aculeate pollinators in Britain and the role of large-scale agricultural changes [Science]

Pollinators are fundamental to maintaining both biodiversity and agricultural productivity, but habitat destruction, loss of flower resources, and increased use of pesticides are causing declines in their abundance and diversity. Using historical records, we assessed the rate of extinction of bee and flower-visiting wasp species in Britain from the mid-19th century to the present. The most rapid phase of extinction appears to be related to changes in agricultural policy and practice beginning in the 1920s, before the agricultural intensification prompted by the Second World War, often cited as the most important driver of biodiversity loss in Britain. Slowing of the extinction rate from the 1960s onward may be due to prior loss of the most sensitive species and/or effective conservation programs.

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