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17 March 2017

Bumblebee family lineage survival is enhanced in high-quality landscapes [Nature]

Insect pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline. A major cause of this decline is habitat loss due to agricultural intensification. A range of global and national initiatives aimed at restoring pollinator habitats and populations have been developed. However, the success of these initiatives depends critically upon understanding how landscape change affects key population-level parameters, such as survival between lifecycle stages, in target species. This knowledge is lacking for bumblebees, because of the difficulty of systematically finding and monitoring colonies in the wild. We used a combination of habitat manipulation, land-use and habitat surveys, molecular genetics and demographic and spatial modelling to analyse between-year survival of family lineages in field populations of three bumblebee species.(...)

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17 March 2017

Encountering a bait is necessary but insufficient to explain individual variability in vulnerability to angling in two freshwater benthivorous fish in the wild [PLOS One]

Keywords : carps, lakes, animal behavior, freshwater fish, fish physiology, lipids, behavioral ecology, behavior

Fish personality traits, such as swimming activity, or personality related emergent behavioural properties, such as the degree of space use shown by an individual fish, should affect encounter rates between individual fish and fishing gear. Increased encounters should in turn drive vulnerability to capture by passively operated gears. However, empirical evidence documenting a relationship between activity-based behaviours and vulnerability to capture by passive fishing gear in the wild is limited. Using whole-lake acoustic telemetry, we first documented significant repeatabilities over several months in a suite of encounter rate-associated behaviours (swimming distance, activity space size, time on baited feeding sites, switching frequency among baited feeding sites, distance to the lake bottom) in two recreationally important benthivorous cyprinid species, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and tench (Tinca tinca).(...)

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17 March 2017

Habitat variation, mutualism and predation shape the spatio-temporal dynamics of tansy aphids [Ecological Entomology]

Keywords : colonisation, extinction, interaction, Metopeurum fuscoviride, mutualist, predator

1. Spatially distributed resources can lead to the formation of metapopulations, where individual subpopulations are often small and can experience frequent local extinction events followed by recolonisation. An example of terrestrial metapopulations are specialised phytophagous insects on their patchily distributed host plants.
2. The present study investigated the population dynamics of a specialised aphid (Metopeurum fuscoviride) on its patchily distributed host plant (Tanacetum vulgare) and associated community of mutualistic ants and predators in a small-scale field site. Furthermore, aphid habitat differences (plant size, C/N ratio, location and surrounding vegetation) were quantified, and seasonal timing and precipitation were considered.(...)

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16 March 2017

Transcriptome analysis of a wild bird reveals physiological responses to the urban environment [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : ecophysiology, evolutionary ecology

Identifying the molecular basis of environmentally induced phenotypic variation presents exciting opportunities for furthering our understanding of how ecological processes and the environment can shape the phenotype. Urban and rural environments present free-living organisms with different challenges and opportunities, which have marked consequences for the phenotype, yet little is known about responses at the molecular level. We characterised transcriptomes from an urban and a rural population of great tits Parus major, demonstrating striking differences in gene expression profiles in both blood and liver tissues.(...)

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15 March 2017

Real-time divergent evolution in plants driven by pollinators [Nature]

Keywords : ecologie évolutive, evolution expérimentale, ecologie végétale, pollinisation

Pollinator-driven diversification is thought to be a major source of floral variation in plants. Our knowledge of this process is, however, limited to indirect assessments of evolutionary changes. Here, we employ experimental evolution with fast cycling Brassica rapa plants to demonstrate adaptive evolution driven by different pollinators. Our study shows pollinator-driven divergent selection as well as divergent evolution in plant traits. Plants pollinated by bumblebees evolved taller size and more fragrant flowers with increased ultraviolet reflection.(...)

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