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21 March 2018

The ecology of insect–yeast relationships and its relevance to human industry [Proceedings of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences]

Keywords : diffuse mutualism, dispersal, Ascomycota

Many species of yeast are integral to human society. They produce many of our foods, beverages and industrial chemicals, challenge us as pathogens, and provide models for the study of our own biology. However, few species are regularly studied and much of their ecology remains unclear, hindering the development of knowledge that is needed to improve the relationships between humans and yeasts. There is increasing evidence that insects are an essential component of ascomycetous yeast ecology.(...)

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21 March 2018

Inferring Causalities in Landscape Genetics: An Extension of Wright’s Causal Modeling to Distance Matrices [The American Naturalist]

Ivan Paz-Vinas, Géraldine Loot, Charlotte Veyssière, Simon Blanchet

Identifying landscape features that affect functional connectivity among populations is a major challenge in fundamental and applied sciences. Landscape genetics combines landscape and genetic data to address this issue, with the main objective of disentangling direct and indirect relationships among an intricate set of variables. Causal modeling has strong potential to address the complex nature of landscape genetic data sets. However, this statistical approach was not initially developed to address the pairwise distance matrices commonly used in landscape genetics. Here, we aimed to extend the applicability of two causal modeling methods—that is, maximum-likelihood path analysis and the directional separation test—by developing statistical approaches aimed at handling distance matrices and improving functional connectivity inference.(...)

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19 March 2018

A distinctive new frog species (Anura, Mantellidae) supports the biogeographic linkage of two montane rainforest massifs in northern Madagascar [Zoosystematics and Evolution]

We describe a new species of the genus Gephyromantis, subgenus Gephyromantis Vatomantis (Mantellidae, Mantellinae), from moderately high elevation (1164–1394 m a.s.l.) on the Marojejy, Sorata, and Andravory Massifs in northern Madagascar. The new species, Gephyromantis (Vatomantis) lomorina sp. n. is highly distinct from all other species, and was immediately recognisable as an undescribed taxon upon its discovery. It is characterised by a granular, mottled black and green skin, reddish eyes, paired subgular vocal sacs of partly white colour, bulbous femoral glands present only in males and consisting of three large granules, white ventral spotting, and a unique, amplitude-modulated advertisement call consisting of a series of 24–29 rapid, quiet notes at a dominant frequency of 5124–5512 Hz.(...)

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19 March 2018

Diversity within diversity: Parasite species richness in poison frogs assessed by transcriptomics [Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution]

Keywords transcriptomics, co-diversification, amphibians, aposematism, parasitology

Symbionts (e.g., endoparasites and commensals) play an integral role in their host’s ecology, yet in many cases their diversity is likely underestimated. Although endoparasites are traditionally characterized using morphology, sequences of conserved genes, and shotgun metagenomics, host transcriptomes constitute an underused resource to identify these organisms’ diversity. By isolating non-host transcripts from host transcriptomes, individual host tissues can now simultaneously reveal their endoparasite species richness (i.e., number of different taxa) and provide insights into parasite gene expression. These approaches can be used in host taxa whose endoparasites are mostly unknown, such as those of tropical amphibians. Here, we focus on the poison frogs (Dendrobatidae) as hosts, which are a Neotropical clade known for their bright coloration and defensive alkaloids. These toxins are an effective protection against vertebrate predators (e.g., snakes and birds), bacteria, and skin-biting ectoparasites (e.g., mosquitoes); however, little is known about their deterrence against eukaryotic endoparasites.(...)

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16 March 2018

Freshwater ecoacoustics as a tool for continuous ecosystem monitoring [Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment]

Passive acoustic monitoring is gaining popularity in ecology as a practical and non-invasive approach to surveying ecosystems. This technique is increasingly being used to monitor terrestrial systems, particularly bird populations, given that it can help to track temporal dynamics of populations and ecosystem health without the need for expensive resampling. We suggest that underwater acoustic monitoring presents a viable, non-invasive, and largely unexplored approach to monitoring freshwater ecosystems, yielding information about three key ecological elements of aquatic environments – (1) fishes, (2) macroinvertebrates, and (3) physicochemical processes – as well as providing data on anthropogenic noise levels.(...)

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