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28 June 2017

Quantitative Genetic Variation in, and Environmental Effects on, Pathogen Resistance and Temperature-Dependent Disease Severity in a Wild Trout [The American Naturalist]

Keywords: resistance, tolerance, heritability, genetic correlation, proliferative kidney disease, animal mixed model

Health after pathogen contact varies among individuals because of differences in pathogen load (which is limited by resistance) and disease severity in response to pathogen load (which is limited by tolerance). To understand pathogen-induced host evolution, it is critical to know not only the relative contributions of nongenetic and genetic variation to resistance and tolerance but also how they change environmentally. We quantified nongenetic and genetic variation in parasite load and the associated temperature-dependent disease among trout siblings from two rivers.(...)

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28 June 2017

Connecting Earth observation to high-throughput biodiversity data [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, decision making, ecosystem services, environmental impact

Understandably, given the fast pace of biodiversity loss, there is much interest in using Earth observation technology to track biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. However, because most biodiversity is invisible to Earth observation, indicators based on Earth observation could be misleading and reduce the effectiveness of nature conservation and even unintentionally decrease conservation effort. We describe an approach that combines automated recording devices, high-throughput DNA sequencing and modern ecological modelling to extract much more of the information available in Earth observation data. This approach is achievable now, offering efficient and near-real-time monitoring of management impacts on biodiversity and its functions and services.(...)

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28 June 2017

Penetrance of symbiont-mediated parthenogenesis is driven by reproductive rate in a parasitoid wasp [PeerJ]

Keywords : ecology, entomology, evolutionary studies, microbiology

Trichogramma wasps are tiny parasitoids of lepidopteran eggs, used extensively for biological control. They are often infected with the bacterial symbiont Wolbachia, which converts Trichogramma to an asexual mode of reproduction, whereby females develop from unfertilized eggs. However, this Wolbachia-induced parthenogenesis is not always complete, and previous studies have noted that infected females will produce occasional males in the lab. The conditions that reduce penetrance of the parthenogenesis phenotype are not well understood.(...)

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27 June 2017

Agricultural intensification without biodiversity loss is possible in grassland landscapes [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : agroecology, biodiversity, conservation biology, ecosystem ecology, grassland ecology

Grassland biodiversity in managed landscapes is threatened by land-use intensification, but is also dependent on low-intensity management. Solutions that allow for both agricultural production and species conservation may be realized either on individual grasslands, by adjusting management intensity, or at the landscape level, when grasslands are managed at different intensities. Here we use a dataset of more than 1,000 arthropod species collected in more than 100 grasslands along gradients of productivity, to assess the reaction of individual species to changes in productivity.(...)

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26 June 2017

Cost-effective conservation of amphibian ecology and evolution [Science Advances]

Keywords : conservation planning, land cost-effective, biodiversity assessment, Atlantic Forest hotspot, amphibians

Habitat loss is the most important threat to species survival, and the efficient selection of priority areas is fundamental for good systematic conservation planning. Using amphibians as a conservation target, we designed an innovative assessment strategy, showing that prioritization models focused on functional, phylogenetic, and taxonomic diversity can include cost-effectiveness–based assessments of land values. We report new key conservation sites within the Brazilian Atlantic Forest hot spot, revealing a congruence of ecological and evolutionary patterns.(...)

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