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30 May 2017

The effects of non-native signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) on fine sediment and sediment-biomonitoring [Science of The Total Environment]

The North American signal crayfish (Pacifastacus leniusculus) has invaded freshwater ecosystems across Europe. Recent studies suggest that predation of macroinvertebrates by signal crayfish can affect the performance of freshwater biomonitoring tools used to assess causes of ecological degradation. Given the reliance on biomonitoring globally, it is crucial that the potential influence of invasive species is better understood. Crayfish are also biogeomorphic agents, and therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether sediment-biomonitoring tool outputs changed following signal crayfish invasions, and whether these changes reflected post-invasion changes to deposited fine sediment, or changes to macroinvertebrate community compositions unrelated to fine sediment.(...)

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30 May 2017

Repeated divergent selection on pigmentation genes in a rapid finch radiation [Science Advances]

Keywords : Capuchino Seedeaters, genomic scan, sexual selection, melanogenesis, neotropics

Instances of recent and rapid speciation are suitable for associating phenotypes with their causal genotypes, especially if gene flow homogenizes areas of the genome that are not under divergent selection. We study a rapid radiation of nine sympatric bird species known as capuchino seedeaters, which are differentiated in sexually selected characters of male plumage and song.(...)

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29 May 2017

Adenine N6-methylation in diverse fungi [Nature Genetics]

Subject terms : epigenetics, genetic techniques

A DNA modification—methylation of cytosines and adenines—has important roles in diverse processes such as regulation of gene expression and genome stability, yet until recently adenine methylation had been considered to be only a hallmark of prokaryotes. A new study identifies abundant adenine methylation of transcriptionally active genes in early-diverging fungi that, together with recent other work, emphasizes the importance of adenine methylation in eukaryotes.

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29 May 2017

The effects of intransitive competition on coexistence [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : competition network, indirect interactions, intransitive loop, invasion growth rate, niche theory, rock-paper-scissor, stabilising mechanism

Coexistence theory has been developed with an almost exclusive focus on interactions between two species, often ignoring more complex and indirect interactions, such as intransitive loops, that can emerge in competition networks. In fact, intransitive competition has typically been studied in isolation from other pairwise stabilising processes, and thus little is known about how intransitivity interacts with more traditional drivers of species coexistence such as niche partitioning.(...)

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29 May 2017

Individual and non-additive effects of exotic sap-feeders on root functional and mycorrhizal traits of a shared conifer host [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : ectomycorrhizal fungi, elongate hemlock scal, hemlock woolly adelgid, herbivory, root functional traits, specific root length, Tsuga canadensis

1.Forest pests drive tree mortality through disruption of functional traits linked to nutrient acquisition, growth, and reproduction. The impacts of attack by individual or multiple aboveground herbivores on root functional traits critical to tree health have received little attention. This is especially true for exotic herbivores, organisms often found in disturbed forests.
2.We excavated whole-root systems from eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) individuals experimentally infested with hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA: Adelges tsugae) and elongate hemlock scale (EHS: Fiorina externa) individually, or in combination, for periods of two and four years. Belowground root biomass, functional traits, and storage nutrients were measured to assess impacts of herbivory. We also quantified ectomycorrhizal fungal (EMF) colonisation of fine roots and used culture-independent methods to examine EMF diversity.(...)

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