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22 September 2016

Inactive trout come out at night: behavioral variation, circadian activity, and fitness in the wild [Ecology]

Keywords : dispersal, light reaction, open-field test, reaction norm, salmonid

Theory suggests that high activity levels in animals increase growth at the cost of increased mortality. This growth-mortality tradeoff has recently been incorporated into the wider framework of the pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis. However, activity is often quantified only in the laboratory and on a diurnal basis, leaving open the possibility that animals manage predation risk and feeding efficiency in the wild by modulating their circadian activity rhythms. Here we investigate how laboratory activity in wild brown trout parr (Salmo trutta L.) associates with circadian activity, growth, and mortality in their natal stream. (...)

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21 September 2016

Invasive predators and global biodiversity loss [PNAS]

Keywords : extinction, feral cat, island, invasive mammal, trophic cascade

Invasive species threaten biodiversity globally, and invasive mammalian predators are particularly damaging, having contributed to considerable species decline and extinction. We provide a global metaanalysis of these impacts and reveal their full extent. Invasive predators are implicated in 87 bird, 45 mammal, and 10 reptile species extinctions—58% of these groups’ contemporary extinctions worldwide. These figures are likely underestimated because 23 critically endangered species that we assessed are classed as “possibly extinct.” Invasive mammalian predators endanger a further 596 species at risk of extinction, with cats, rodents, dogs, and pigs threatening the most species overall.(...)

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20 September 2016

Mapping climatic mechanisms likely to favour the emergence of novel communities [Nature Climate Change]

Climatic conditions are changing at different rates and in different directions potentially causing the emergence of novel species assemblages. Here we identify areas where recent (1901–2013) changes in temperature and precipitation are likely to be producing novel species assemblages through three distinct mechanisms: emergence of novel climatic combinations, rapid displacement of climatic isoclines and local divergences between temperature and precipitation vectors. Novel climates appear in the tropics, while displacement is faster at higher latitudes and divergence is high in the subtropics and mountainous regions.(...)

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20 September 2016

Differential aphid toxicity to ladybeetles is not a function of host plant or facultative bacterial symbionts [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : defence, facultative bacterial symbionts, polyphagy, sequestration

1.Herbivores often defend themselves from predation by transmitting toxic plant-produced chemicals to their enemies. Polyphagous herbivores sometimes exhibit differential toxicity when found on various host plant species, which is generally assumed to reflect variation in plant chemistry.
2.Here, however, we provide evidence that host-associated herbivore lineages can intrinsically differ in their toxic properties. Lineages of Aphis craccivora originating from black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) are unsuitable food for the ladybeetle Harmonia axyridis, resulting in death of both larvae and adults, whereas aphid lineages originating from alfalfa (Medicago sativa) support larval development and adult reproduction. We show that locust-origin aphids remain toxic and alfalfa-origin aphids remain non-toxic when reared on any of three legume plants (fava, alfalfa or locust).(...)

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19 September 2016

Consensus and experience trump leadership, suppressing individual personality during social foraging [Science Advances]

Keywords : consensus, coordination, self-organization, predation risk, refuge use, conformity, leadership, personality, boldness

Whether individual behavior in social settings correlates with behavior when individuals are alone is a fundamental question in collective behavior. However, evidence for whether behavior correlates across asocial and social settings is mixed, and no study has linked observed trends with underlying mechanisms. Consistent differences between individuals in boldness, which describes willingness to accept reward over risk, are likely to be under strong selection pressure. By testing three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in a risky foraging task alone and repeatedly in shoals, we demonstrate that the expression of boldness in groups is context-specific.(...)

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