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18 September 2017

Maternal egg hormones in the mating context: the effect of pair personality [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : maternal effects, testosterone, behavioural syndrome, plasticity, Parus major, avian

1. Animal personality traits emerge developmentally from the interaction of genetic and early environmental factors. Maternal hormones, such as androgens (testosterone, T and androstenedione, A4), transferred to embryos and egg yolks may simultaneously organize multiple behavioural and physiological traits. Whereas previous studies demonstrated an association between the mother’s personality and yolk androgen levels, the independent effects of the male partner’s personality and pair combination are unknown.(...)

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18 September 2017

Multiple factors modulate tree growth complementarity in Central European mixed forests [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : climate, mixed species forests, mixing effects, modelling, National Forest Inventory, nonlinear mixed effect models, plant–plant interactions, species diversity

1. Mixed species forests can often be more productive and deliver higher levels of ecosystem services and functions than monocultures. However, complementarity effects for any given tree species are difficult to generalize because they can vary greatly along gradients of climatic conditions and resource availability. Identifying the conditions where species diversity can positively influence productivity is crucial. To date, few studies have examined how growth complementarity across species and mixture types is modulated by stand and environmental factors, and fewer have considered more than one or two factors.(...)

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18 September 2017

Microbial mass movements [Science / Perspective]

For several billion years, microorganisms and the genes they carry have mainly been moved by physical forces such as air and water currents. These forces generated biogeographic patterns for microorganisms that are similar to those of animals and plants. In the past 100 years, humans have changed these dynamics by transporting large numbers of cells to new locations through waste disposal, tourism, and global transport and by modifying selection pressures at those locations. As a consequence, we are in the midst of a substantial alteration to microbial biogeography. This has the potential to change ecosystem services and biogeochemistry in unpredictable ways.

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18 September 2017

The Apostasia genome and the evolution of orchids [Nature]

Constituting approximately 10% of flowering plant species, orchids (Orchidaceae) display unique flower morphologies, possess an extraordinary diversity in lifestyle, and have successfully colonized almost every habitat on Earth. Here we report the draft genome sequence of Apostasia shenzhenica, a representative of one of two genera that form a sister lineage to the rest of the Orchidaceae, providing a reference for inferring the genome content and structure of the most recent common ancestor of all extant orchids and improving our understanding of their origins and evolution.(...)

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15 September 2017

Supplementing small farms with native mason bees increases strawberry size and growth rate [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : agriculture, berry, cocoons, ecosystem services, growth rates, honeybees, mason bees, native pollinators, orchard bee, pollination

Pollination services, especially those of bees, play a vital role in agriculture. Declining honeybee populations require us to find alternative solutions for sustainable agriculture. Native bees are proving to be efficient pollinators. Mason bees (Osmia lignaria) provide valuable pollinator services for some woody orchard species, but their value as pollinators for herbaceous crops is largely untested.(...)

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