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Home > Communication > Scientific newsletter > Scientific publications

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24 January 2018

Salamander morph frequencies do not evolve as predicted in response to 40 years of climate change [Ecography]

Keywords : adaptation, Plethodon cinereus, polymorphism

The global climate is changing rapidly, yet biotic responses remain uncertain. Most studies focus on changes in species ranges or plastic responses like phenology, but adaptive evolution could be equally important. Studying evolutionary responses is challenging given limited historical data and a poor understanding of genetically variable traits under selection. We take advantage of a historical dataset to test for an adaptive response to climate change in a widespread, polymorphic amphibian, the eastern red-backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus. We resurveyed color morph frequencies across New England to test for an adaptive shift in response to climate change. We modeled historical and present-day morph proportions as a function of climate and tested the accuracy of predictions both within and across different time periods.(...)

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24 January 2018

Geographical range size and latitude predict population genetic structure in a global survey [Biology Letters]

Keywords : GBIF, genetic structure, machine learning, latitude, elevation

While genetic diversity within species is influenced by both geographical distance and environmental gradients, it is unclear what other factors are likely to promote population genetic structure. Using a machine learning framework and georeferenced DNA sequences from more than 8000 species, we demonstrate that geographical attributes of the species range, including total size, latitude and elevation, are the most important predictors of which species are likely to contain structured genetic variation. While latitude is well known as an important predictor of biodiversity, our work suggests that it also plays a key role in shaping diversity within species.

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24 January 2018

Cuckoos host range is associated positively with distribution range and negatively with evolutionary uniqueness [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : Cuculidae, distribution range, evolutionary uniqueness, host species richness, worldwide distribution

1.The evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) score is a measure of phylogenetic isolation that quantifies the evolutionary uniqueness of a species.
2.Here, we compared the ED score of parasitic and non-parasitic cuckoo species worldwide, to understand whether parental care or parasitism represent the largest amount of phylogenetic uniqueness. Next, we focused only on 46 cuckoo species characterized by brood parasitism with a known number of host species, we explored the associations among ED score, number of host species and breeding range size for these species. We assessed these associations using phylogenetic generalized least squares (PGLS) models, taking into account the phylogenetic signal.(...)

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24 January 2018

Dispersal and alternative breeding site fidelity strategies in an amphibian [Ecography]

Keywords : dispersal polymorphism, dispersal syndrome, amphibian

Dispersal (i.e. movement from a natal or breeding site to another breeding site) is a central process in ecology and evolution as it affects the eco-evolutionary dynamics of spatially structured populations. Dispersal evolution is regulated by the balance between costs and benefits, which is influenced by the individual phenotype (i.e. phenotype-dependent dispersal) and environmental factors (i.e. condition-dependent dispersal). Even though these processes have been extensively studied in species with simple life cycles, our knowledge about these mechanisms in organisms displaying complex life cycles remains fragmentary. In fact, little is specifically known about how the interplay between individual and environmental factors may lead to alternative dispersal strategies that, in turn, lead to the coexistence of contrasted site fidelity phenotypes. In this paper, we examined breeding dispersal in a pond-breeding amphibian, the great crested newt Triturus cristatus, within usual walking distances for a newt.(...)

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23 January 2018

Reconciling Pasteur and Darwin to control infectious diseases [PLOS Biology]

Subject Areas : microbial evolution, evolutionary biology, parasite evolution, antibiotic resistance, viral evolution, evolutionary immunology, antimicrobial resistance, parasitic diseases

The continual emergence of new pathogens and the increased spread of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations remind us that microbes are living entities that evolve at rates that impact public health interventions. Following the historical thread of the works of Pasteur and Darwin shows how reconciling clinical microbiology, ecology, and evolution can be instrumental to understanding pathology, developing new therapies, and prolonging the efficiency of existing ones.

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