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14 February 2018

Interactions among decaying leaf litter, root litter and soil organic matter vary with mycorrhizal type [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : ecosystem carbon storage, home-field advantage, mycorrhizal association, plant–soil interactions, priming effects, root turnover

1.Root-derived inputs are increasingly viewed as primary controls of soil organic matter (SOM) formation; however, we have a limited understanding of how root decay rates depend on soil factors, and how decaying roots influence the breakdown of leaf litter and SOM.
2.We incubated root and leaf litter (alone and in combination) from arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) trees in soils collected from forest plots dominated by AM and ECM trees in a factorial design. In each microcosm, we quantified litter decay rates and the effects of decaying litters on soil C balance.(...)

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13 February 2018

Genomic tools for behavioural ecologists to understand repeatable individual differences in behaviour [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : behavioural ecology, behavioural genetics, genomics

Behaviour is a key interface between an animal’s genome and its environment. Repeatable individual differences in behaviour have been extensively documented in animals, but the molecular underpinnings of behavioural variation among individuals within natural populations remain largely unknown. Here, we offer a critical review of when molecular techniques may yield new insights, and we provide specific guidance on how and whether the latest tools available are appropriate given different resources, system and organismal constraints, and experimental designs.(...)

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13 February 2018

Dynamics of starvation and recovery predict extinction risk and both Damuth’s law and Cope’s rule [Nature Communications]

Keywords : evolutionary theory, population dynamics

The eco-evolutionary dynamics of species are fundamentally linked to the energetic constraints of their constituent individuals. Of particular importance is the interplay between reproduction and the dynamics of starvation and recovery. To elucidate this interplay, here we introduce a nutritional state-structured model that incorporates two classes of consumers: nutritionally replete, reproducing consumers, and undernourished, nonreproducing consumers. We obtain strong constraints on starvation and recovery rates by deriving allometric scaling relationships and find that population dynamics are typically driven to a steady state.(...)

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13 February 2018

On the brink of extinction: two new species of Anomaloglossus from French Guiana and amended definitions of Anomaloglossus degranvillei and A. surinamensis (Anura: Aromobatidae)

Antoine Fouquet, Jean-Pierre Vacher

A large portion of the amphibian species occurring in Amazonia remains undescribed. A recent study on species delineation in Anomaloglossus, a genus endemic to the Guiana Shield, demonstrated the existence of two undescribed species previously identified as A. degranvillei, which we describe herein. In addition to divergence at the molecular level, these two new taxa are also distinguished by subtle morphological characters and substantial differences in the advertisement calls (note length, dominant frequency, note structure).(...)

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9 February 2018

A global analysis of management capacity and ecological outcomes in terrestrial protected areas [Conservation Letters]

Keywords : living planet database, management effectiveness tracking tool (METT), protected area management effectiveness (PAME), vertebrate population trends, world database on protected areas (WDPA)

Protecting important sites is a key strategy for halting the loss of biodiversity. However, our understanding of the relationship between management inputs and biodiversity outcomes in protected areas (PAs) remains weak. Here, we examine biodiversity outcomes using species population trends in PAs derived from the Living Planet Database in relation to management data derived from the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (METT) database for 217 population time-series from 73 PAs.(...)

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