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Home > Communication > Scientific newsletter > Scientific publications

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2 March 2018

Environment dominates over host genetics in shaping human gut microbiota [Nature]

Keywords : genetic association study, genetics, microbial genetics

Human gut microbiome composition is shaped by multiple factors but the relative contribution of host genetics remains elusive. Here we examine genotype and microbiome data from 1,046 healthy individuals with several distinct ancestral origins who share a relatively common environment, and demonstrate that the gut microbiome is not significantly associated with genetic ancestry, and that host genetics have a minor role in determining microbiome composition.(...)

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2 March 2018

Competition–colonization tradeoffs structure fungal diversity [The ISME Journal]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, community ecology, forest ecology, microbial ecology

Findings of immense microbial diversity are at odds with observed functional redundancy, as competitive exclusion should hinder coexistence. Tradeoffs between dispersal and competitive ability could resolve this contradiction, but the extent to which they influence microbial community assembly is unclear. Because fungi influence the biogeochemical cycles upon which life on earth depends, understanding the mechanisms that maintain the richness of their communities is critically important. Here, we focus on ectomycorrhizal fungi, which are microbial plant mutualists that significantly affect global carbon dynamics and the ecology of host plants.(...)

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1 March 2018

Research frontiers for improving our understanding of drought-induced tree and forest mortality [New Phytologist]

Keywords : carbon–water cycling, dynamic vegetation models, insects and pathogens, monitoring network, tree death

Accumulating evidence highlights increased mortality risks for trees during severe drought, particularly under warmer temperatures and increasing vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Resulting forest die-off events have severe consequences for ecosystem services, biophysical and biogeochemical land–atmosphere processes. Despite advances in monitoring, modelling and experimental studies of the causes and consequences of tree death from individual tree to ecosystem and global scale, a general mechanistic understanding and realistic predictions of drought mortality under future climate conditions are still lacking. We update a global tree mortality map and present a roadmap to a more holistic understanding of forest mortality across scales.(...)

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1 March 2018

Secondary forest regeneration benefits old-growth specialist bats in a fragmented tropical landscape [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : conservation biology, restoration ecology

Tropical forest loss and fragmentation are due to increase in coming decades. Understanding how matrix dynamics, especially secondary forest regrowth, can lessen fragmentation impacts is key to understanding species persistence in modified landscapes. Here, we use a whole-ecosystem fragmentation experiment to investigate how bat assemblages are influenced by the regeneration of the secondary forest matrix. We surveyed bats in continuous forest, forest fragments and secondary forest matrix habitats, 15 and 30 years after forest clearance, to investigate temporal changes in the occupancy and abundance of old-growth specialist and habitat generalist species.(...)

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1 March 2018

Bird conservation in the Carpathian Ecoregion in light of long-term land use trends and conservation responsibility [Biodiversity and Conservation]

Keywords : conservation responsibility, land abandonment, reforestation, historic available habitat

Land use change alters species’ abundance and distributions by affecting habitat availability and quality. The decline of bird populations worldwide is of major concern, and habitat protection and restoration are primary conservation actions. However, conservation decisions largely consider only short-term habitat changes and species’ population dynamics in a given area. Disregarding long term modifications in species’ available habitat, and the role of a given population for a species’ global population may lead to misdirected conservation action. Our goal here was to combine the assessment of conservation responsibility, with that of century-long available habitat dynamics, in order to inform better conservation practice. We compiled available habitat data for 170 bird species in the Carpathian Region from 1860 to 2010 from historic maps and satellite data.(...)

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