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4 May 2018

Climate models predict increasing temperature variability in poor countries [Science Advances]

Extreme events such as heat waves are among the most challenging aspects of climate change for societies. We show that climate models consistently project increases in temperature variability in tropical countries over the coming decades, with the Amazon as a particular hotspot of concern. During the season with maximum insolation, temperature variability increases by 15% per degree of global warming in Amazonia and Southern Africa and by up to 10%°C−1 in the Sahel, India, and Southeast Asia. Mechanisms include drying soils and shifts in atmospheric structure.(...)

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3 May 2018

Male-killing toxin in a bacterial symbiont of Drosophila [Nature]

Keywords : entomology, symbiosis

Several lineages of symbiotic bacteria in insects selfishly manipulate host reproduction to spread in a population, often by distorting host sex ratios. Spiroplasma poulsonii is a helical and motile, Gram-positive symbiotic bacterium that resides in a wide range of Drosophila species. A notable feature of S. poulsonii is male killing, whereby the sons of infected female hosts are selectively killed during development. Although male killing caused by S. poulsonii has been studied since the 1950s, its underlying mechanism is unknown.(...)

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3 May 2018

Pollen metabarcoding as a tool for tracking long-distance insect migrations [BioRxiv]

Insects account for the main fraction of Earth’s biodiversity and are key players for ecosystems, notably as pollinators. While insect migration is suspected to represent a natural phenomenon of major importance, remarkably little is known about it, except for a few flagship species. The reason for this situation is mainly due to technical limitations in the study of insect movement. Here we propose using metabarcoding of pollen carried by insects as a method for tracking their migrations. We developed a flexible and simple protocol allowing high multiplexing and not requiring DNA extraction, one of the most time consuming part of metabarcoding protocols, and apply this method to the study of the long-distance migration of the butterfly Vanessa cardui, an emerging model for insect migration.(...)

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3 May 2018

Roles of discharge and temperature in recruitment of a cold‐water fish, the European grayling Thymallus thymallus, near its southern range limit [Ecology of Freshwater Fish]

Keywords : chalk streams, climate change, discharge, recruitment, salmonids, temperature

Recruitment of salmonids is a result of density‐dependent factors, specifically egg production in the previous year, and density‐independent environmental processes driven by discharge and temperature. With the plethora of knowledge on major drivers of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta recruitment, there is a requirement to explore less known species, such as European grayling Thymallus thymallus, whose postemergence time coincides with period of increasing temperature and low discharge. This study assessed drivers of grayling recruitment in a southern English chalk stream, a system vulnerable to discharge and temperature alterations under future climate change predictions.(...)

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3 May 2018

Multiple large-scale gene and genome duplications during the evolution of hexapods [PNAS]

Keywords : insects, genomics, polyploidy, genome duplication, hexapods

Polyploidy or whole genome duplication (WGD) is a major contributor to genome evolution and diversity. Although polyploidy is recognized as an important component of plant evolution, it is generally considered to play a relatively minor role in animal evolution. Ancient polyploidy is found in the ancestry of some animals, especially fishes, but there is little evidence for ancient WGDs in other metazoan lineages. Here we use recently published transcriptomes and genomes from more than 150 species across the insect phylogeny to investigate whether ancient WGDs occurred during the evolution of Hexapoda, the most diverse clade of animals.(...)

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