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29 March 2018

Islands as biological substrates: Continental [Journal of Biogeography]

Keywords : Continental islands, geotectonics, ice‐bridges, insular biotas, island biogeography, land‐bridges, overwater dispersal, vicariant biotas

Aim
Describe the main geo‐physical features of the various sorts of marine islands that are associated with the continents and consider how the ontogenetic pathways of each landmass type might have shaped the hosted biotas.
Location
Global.
Methods
Review of the literature that underpins understanding of the “continental” marine islands, particularly those publications with biological, geological, geophysical, oceanographical and palaeoceanographical foci.(...)

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29 March 2018

The interplay of past diversification and evolutionary isolation with present imperilment across the amphibian tree of life [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, conservation biology, herpetology, phylogenetics

Human activities continue to erode the tree of life, requiring us to prioritize research and conservation. Amphibians represent key victims and bellwethers of global change, and the need for action to conserve them is drastically outpacing knowledge. We provide a phylogeny incorporating nearly all extant amphibians (7,238 species). Current amphibian diversity is composed of both older, depauperate lineages and extensive, more recent tropical radiations found in select clades. Frog and salamander diversification increased strongly after the Cretaceous–Palaeogene boundary, preceded by a potential mass-extinction event in salamanders. Diversification rates of subterranean caecilians varied little over time. Biogeographically, the Afro- and Neotropics harbour a particularly high proportion of Gondwanan relicts, comprising species with high evolutionary distinctiveness (ED).(...)

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29 March 2018

Host community similarity and geography shape the diversity and distribution of haemosporidian parasites in Amazonian birds [Ecography]

Identifying the mechanisms driving the distribution and diversity of parasitic organisms and characterizing the structure of parasite assemblages are critical to understanding host–parasite evolution, community dynamics, and disease transmission risk. Haemosporidian parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus are a diverse and cosmopolitan group of bird pathogens. Despite their global distribution, the ecological and historical factors shaping the diversity and distribution of these protozoan parasites across avian communities and geographic regions remain unclear. Here we used a region of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene to characterize the diversity, biogeographical patterns, and phylogenetic relationships of Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infecting Amazonian birds. Specifically, we asked whether, and how, host community similarity and geography (latitude and area of endemism) structure parasite assemblages across 15 avian communities in the Amazon Basin.(...)

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27 March 2018

A biodiversity-crisis hierarchy to evaluate and refine conservation indicators [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, decision making, environmental studies, sustainability

The Convention on Biological Diversity and its Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011–2020 form the central pillar of the world’s conservation commitment, with 196 signatory nations; yet its capacity to reign in catastrophic biodiversity loss has proved inadequate. Indicators suggest that few of the Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi targets that aim to reduce biodiversity loss will be met by 2020. While the indicators have been criticized for only partially representing the targets, a bigger problem is that the indicators do not adequately draw attention to and measure all of the drivers of the biodiversity crisis. Here, we show that many key drivers of biodiversity loss are either poorly evaluated or entirely lacking indicators.(...)

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27 March 2018

Signatures of insecticide selection in the genome of Drosophila melanogaster [BioRxiv]

David Duneau

Resistance to insecticides has evolved in multiple insect species, leading to increased application rates and even control failures. Understanding the genetic basis of insecticide resistance is fundamental for mitigating its impact on crop production and disease control. We performed a GWAS approach with the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) to identify the mutations involved in resistance to two widely used classes of insecticides: organophosphates (OPs, parathion) and pyrethroids (deltamethrin). Most variation in parathion resistance was associated with mutations in the target gene Ace, while most variation in deltamethrin resistance was associated with mutations in Cyp6a23, a gene encoding a detoxification enzyme never previously associated with resistance.(...)

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