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27 March 2017

A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution [Nature]

Keywords : palaeontology, phylogenetics

For 130 years, dinosaurs have been divided into two distinct clades—Ornithischia and Saurischia. Here we present a hypothesis for the phylogenetic relationships of the major dinosaurian groups that challenges the current consensus concerning early dinosaur evolution and highlights problematic aspects of current cladistic definitions.(...)

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24 March 2017

The evo-devo of plant speciation [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecology, evolution, plant evolution

Speciation research bridges the realms of macro- and microevolution. Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has classically dealt with macroevolutionary questions through a comparative approach to distantly related organisms, but the field later broadened in focus to address recent speciation and microevolution. Here we review available evidence of the power of evo-devo approaches to understand speciation in plants at multiple scales. At a macroevolutionary scale, evidence is accumulating for evolutionary developmental mechanisms giving rise to key innovations promoting speciation. At the macro microevolution transition, we review instances of evo-devo change underlying both the origin of reproductive barriers and phenotypic changes distinguishing closely related species.(...)

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23 March 2017

Terrestrial support of lake food webs: Synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystem resource use [Science Advances]

Keywords : allochthony, food webs, land-water linkages, organic carbon

Widespread evidence that organic matter exported from terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems supports recipient food webs remains controversial. A pressing question is not only whether high terrestrial support is possible but also what the general conditions are under which it arises. We assemble the largest data set, to date, of the isotopic composition (δ2H, δ13C, and δ15N) of lake zooplankton and the resources at the base of their associated food webs. In total, our data set spans 559 observations across 147 lakes from the boreal to subtropics. By predicting terrestrial resource support from within-lake and catchment-level characteristics, we found that half of all consumer observations that is, the median were composed of at least 42% terrestrially derived material.(...)

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23 March 2017

Enhancing plant diversity in agricultural landscapes promotes both rare bees and dominant crop-pollinating bees through complementary increase in key floral resources [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : agri-environment schemes, multiple ecosystem functioning, endangered species, animal-mediated pollination, ecological focus areas, grassland extensification, nestedness, pollinator conservation, resource use, wild flower strips

1.Enhancing key floral resources is essential to effectively mitigate the loss of pollinator diversity and associated provisioning of pollination functions in agro-ecosystems. However, effective floral provisioning measures may diverge among different pollinator conservation targets, such as the conservation of rare species or the promotion of economically important crop pollinators. We examined to what extent such diverging conservation goals could be reconciled.
2.We analysed plant–bee visitation networks of 64 herbaceous semi-natural habitats representing a gradient of plant species richness to identify key resource plants of the three distinct conservation target groups: rare bees (of conservation concern), dominant wild crop-pollinating bees, and managed crop-pollinating bees (i.e. honey bees).(...)

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23 March 2017

Hydrologic refugia, plants, and climate change [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : climate change, conservation, fog, groundwater, hydrologic niche, hydrologic refugia, microrefugia, refugia

Climate, physical landscapes, and biota interact to generate heterogeneous hydrologic conditions in space and over time, which are reflected in spatial patterns of species distributions. As these species distributions respond to rapid climate change, microrefugia may support local species persistence in the face of deteriorating climatic suitability. Recent focus on temperature as a determinant of microrefugia insufficiently accounts for the importance of hydrologic processes and changing water availability with changing climate. Where water scarcity is a major limitation now or under future climates, hydrologic microrefugia are likely to prove essential for species persistence, particularly for sessile species and plants.(...)

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