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16 November 2016

Fast–slow life history is correlated with individual differences in movements and prey selection in an aquatic predator in the wild [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : activity, animal personality, fast–slow continuum, life-history trade-offs, pace-of-life syndrome

1.Fast and slow life histories are proposed to covary with consistent individual differences in behaviour, but little is known whether it holds in the wild, where individuals experience natural fluctuations of the environment.
2.We investigated whether individual differences in behaviour, such as movement traits and prey selection, are linked to variation in life-history traits in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) in the wild.(...)

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15 November 2016

Flight behaviour of honey bee (Apis mellifera) workers is altered by initial infections of the fungal parasite Nosema apis [Scientific Reports]

keywords : animal behaviour, behavioural ecology

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) host a wide range of parasites, some being known contributors towards dramatic colony losses as reported over recent years. To counter parasitic threats, honey bees possess effective immune systems. Because immune responses are predicted to cause substantial physiological costs for infected individuals, they are expected to trade off with other life history traits that ultimately affect the performance and fitness of the entire colony. Here, we tested whether the initial onset of an infection negatively impacts the flight behaviour of honey bee workers, which is an energetically demanding behaviour and a key component of foraging activities.(...)

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15 November 2016

Predicted trajectories of tree community change in Amazonian rainforest fragments [Ecography]

A great challenge for ecologists is predicting how communities in fragmented tropical landscapes will change in the future. Available evidence suggests that fragmented tropical tree communities are progressing along a trajectory of ‘retrogressive succession’, in which the community shifts towards an early or mid-successional state that will persist indefinitely. Here, we investigate the potential endpoint of retrogressive succession, examining whether it will eventually lead to the highly depauperate communities that characterise recently abandoned agricultural lands. We tested this hypothesis by using neural networks to construct an empirical model of Amazonian rainforest-tree-community responses to experimental habitat fragmentation. (...)

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14 November 2016

Sexual selection can both increase and decrease extinction probability: reconciling demographic and evolutionary factors [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : adaptation, climate change, environmental change, evolution, extinction, individual-based model, sexual selection

1.Previous theoretical models of the effect of sexual selection on average individual fitness in a population have mostly predicted that sexually selected populations should adapt faster and clear deleterious mutations more quickly than populations where sexual selection is not operating.
2.While some laboratory studies have supported these predictions, others have not and studies of field systems have tended to find negative effects of sexual selection, or no effect. The negative effects of sexual selection found in field and other studies are usually ascribed to the costs associated with strong sexual selection acting on the population.(...)

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14 November 2016

Making sense of genomic islands of differentiation in light of speciation [Nature Reviews Genetics]

Subject terms : ecological genetics, evolutionary biology, evolutionary genetics, genetic variation, next-generation sequencing, population genetics, speciation

As populations diverge, genetic differences accumulate across the genome. Spurred by rapid developments in sequencing technology, genome-wide population surveys of natural populations promise insights into the evolutionary processes and the genetic basis underlying speciation. Although genomic regions of elevated differentiation are the focus of searches for ’speciation genes’, there is an increasing realization that such genomic signatures can also arise by alternative processes that are not related to population divergence, such as linked selection. In this Review, we explore methodological trends in speciation genomic studies, highlight the difficulty in separating processes related to speciation from those emerging from genome-wide properties that are not related to reproductive isolation, and provide a set of suggestions for future work in this area.

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