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20 April 2017

High pesticide risk to honey bees despite low focal crop pollen collection during pollination of a mass blooming crop [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : agroecology, conservation biology

Honey bees provide critical pollination services for many agricultural crops. While the contribution of pesticides to current hive loss rates is debated, remarkably little is known regarding the magnitude of risk to bees and mechanisms of exposure during pollination. Here, we show that pesticide risk in recently accumulated beebread was above regulatory agency levels of concern for acute or chronic exposure at 5 and 22 of the 30 apple orchards, respectively, where we placed 120 experimental hives. Landscape context strongly predicted focal crop pollen foraging and total pesticide residues, which were dominated by fungicides.(...)

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20 April 2017

Drivers of salamander extirpation mediated by Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans [Nature]

Keywords : conservation biology, microbial ecology

The recent arrival of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Europe was followed by rapid expansion of its geographical distribution and host range, confirming the unprecedented threat that this chytrid fungus poses to western Palaearctic amphibians. Mitigating this hazard requires a thorough understanding of the pathogen’s disease ecology that is driving the extinction process. Here, we monitored infection, disease and host population dynamics in a Belgian fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) population for two years immediately after the first signs of infection.(...)

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19 April 2017

Fish pool their experience to solve problems collectively [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : animal behaviour, behavioural ecology

Access to information is a key advantage of grouping. Although experienced animals can lead others to solve problems, less is known about whether partially informed individuals can pool experiences to overcome challenges collectively. Here we provide evidence of such ‘experience-pooling’. We presented shoals of sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) with a two-stage foraging task requiring them to find and access hidden food.(...)

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19 April 2017

Disentangling the pathways of land use impacts on the functional structure of fish assemblages in Amazon streams [Ecography]

Agricultural land use is a primary driver of environmental impacts on streams. However, the causal processes that shape these impacts operate through multiple pathways and at several spatial scales. This complexity undermines the development of more effective management approaches, and illustrates the need for more in-depth studies to assess the mechanisms that determine changes in stream biodiversity. Here we present results of the most comprehensive multi-scale assessment of the biological condition of streams in the Amazon to date, examining functional responses of fish assemblages to land use.(...)

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19 April 2017

Large but uneven reduction in fish size across species in relation to changing sea temperatures [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : climate change, ectotherms, fish growth, fisheries, temperature–size rule

Ectotherms often attain smaller body sizes when they develop at higher temperatures. This phenomenon, known as the temperature–size rule, has important consequences for global fisheries, whereby ocean warming is predicted to result in smaller fish and reduced biomass. However, the generality of this phenomenon and the mechanisms that drive it in natural populations remain unresolved. In this study, we document the maximal size of 74 fish species along a steep temperature gradient in the Mediterranean Sea and find strong support for the temperature–size rule.(...)

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