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18 January 2017

No effect of partner age and lifespan on female age-specific reproductive performance in blue tits [Journal of Avian Biology]

Studies of age-specific reproductive performance are fundamental to our understanding of population dynamics and the evolution of life-history strategies. In species with bi-parental care, reproductive ageing trajectories of either parent may be influenced by their partner’s age, but this has rarely been investigated. We investigated within-individual age-specific performance (laying date and number of eggs laid) in wild female blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and evaluated how the age and longevity of their male partner indirectly influenced the females’ reproductive performance.(...)

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18 January 2017

Diversity and carbon storage across the tropical forest biome [Scientific Reports]

Jérôme Chave

Tropical forests are global centres of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many tropical countries aspire to protect forest to fulfil biodiversity and climate mitigation policy targets, but the conservation strategies needed to achieve these two functions depend critically on the tropical forest tree diversity-carbon storage relationship. Assessing this relationship is challenging due to the scarcity of inventories where carbon stocks in aboveground biomass and species identifications have been simultaneously and robustly quantified. Here, we compile a unique pan-tropical dataset of 360 plots located in structurally intact old-growth closed-canopy forest, surveyed using standardised methods, allowing a multi-scale evaluation of diversity-carbon relationships in tropical forests.(...)

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17 January 2017

The last frontiers of wilderness: Tracking loss of intact forest landscapes from 2000 to 2013 [Science Advances]

Keywords : wildlands, forest, biodiversity, carbon storage, intactness, ecosystem services, remote sensing, intact forest, landscapes

An intact forest landscape (IFL) is a seamless mosaic of forest and naturally treeless ecosystems with no remotely detected signs of human activity and a minimum area of 500 km2. IFLs are critical for stabilizing terrestrial carbon storage, harboring biodiversity, regulating hydrological regimes, and providing other ecosystem functions. Although the remaining IFLs comprise only 20% of tropical forest area, they account for 40% of the total aboveground tropical forest carbon. We show that global IFL extent has been reduced by 7.2% since the year 2000. An increasing rate of global IFL area reduction was found, largely driven by the tripling of IFL tropical forest loss in 2011–2013 compared to that in 2001–2003.(...)

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17 January 2017

Do small barriers affect the movement of freshwater fish by increasing residency ? [Science of The Total Environment]

Keywords : potamodromous fish, fish migration, barrier negotiation, partial migration, VIE-tags

River fragmentation due to artificial barriers directly impacts fish communities by limiting migratory movements. This work aims to understand how small barriers affect the movements of a potamodromous cyprinid species – the Iberian barbel (Luciobarbus bocagei (Steindachner, 1864)) – in a 5.6 km upstream segment of a stream impacted only by the presence of physical barriers. (...)

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16 January 2017

Genome-wide interrogation advances resolution of recalcitrant groups in the tree of life [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ichthyology, phylogenetics

Much progress has been achieved in disentangling evolutionary relationships among species in the tree of life, but some taxonomic groups remain difficult to resolve despite increasing availability of genome-scale data sets. Here we present a practical approach to studying ancient divergences in the face of high levels of conflict, based on explicit gene genealogy interrogation (GGI). We show its efficacy in resolving the controversial relationships within the largest freshwater fish radiation (Otophysi) based on newly generated DNA sequences for 1,051 loci from 225 species. Initial results using a suite of standard methodologies revealed conflicting phylogenetic signal, which supports ten alternative evolutionary histories among early otophysan lineages. By contrast, GGI revealed that the vast majority of gene genealogies supports a single tree topology grounded on morphology that was not obtained by previous molecular studies. We also reanalysed published data sets for exemplary groups with recalcitrant resolution to assess the power of this approach. GGI supports the notion that ctenophores are the earliest-branching animal lineage, and adds insight into relationships within clades of yeasts, birds and mammals. GGI opens up a promising avenue to account for incompatible signals in large data sets and to discern between estimation error and actual biological conflict explaining gene tree discordance.(...)

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