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Home > Communication > Scientific newsletter > Scientific publications

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3 May 2018

Pollen metabarcoding as a tool for tracking long-distance insect migrations [BioRxiv]

Insects account for the main fraction of Earth’s biodiversity and are key players for ecosystems, notably as pollinators. While insect migration is suspected to represent a natural phenomenon of major importance, remarkably little is known about it, except for a few flagship species. The reason for this situation is mainly due to technical limitations in the study of insect movement. Here we propose using metabarcoding of pollen carried by insects as a method for tracking their migrations. We developed a flexible and simple protocol allowing high multiplexing and not requiring DNA extraction, one of the most time consuming part of metabarcoding protocols, and apply this method to the study of the long-distance migration of the butterfly Vanessa cardui, an emerging model for insect migration.(...)

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3 May 2018

Roles of discharge and temperature in recruitment of a cold‐water fish, the European grayling Thymallus thymallus, near its southern range limit [Ecology of Freshwater Fish]

Keywords : chalk streams, climate change, discharge, recruitment, salmonids, temperature

Recruitment of salmonids is a result of density‐dependent factors, specifically egg production in the previous year, and density‐independent environmental processes driven by discharge and temperature. With the plethora of knowledge on major drivers of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and brown trout Salmo trutta recruitment, there is a requirement to explore less known species, such as European grayling Thymallus thymallus, whose postemergence time coincides with period of increasing temperature and low discharge. This study assessed drivers of grayling recruitment in a southern English chalk stream, a system vulnerable to discharge and temperature alterations under future climate change predictions.(...)

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3 May 2018

Multiple large-scale gene and genome duplications during the evolution of hexapods [PNAS]

Keywords : insects, genomics, polyploidy, genome duplication, hexapods

Polyploidy or whole genome duplication (WGD) is a major contributor to genome evolution and diversity. Although polyploidy is recognized as an important component of plant evolution, it is generally considered to play a relatively minor role in animal evolution. Ancient polyploidy is found in the ancestry of some animals, especially fishes, but there is little evidence for ancient WGDs in other metazoan lineages. Here we use recently published transcriptomes and genomes from more than 150 species across the insect phylogeny to investigate whether ancient WGDs occurred during the evolution of Hexapoda, the most diverse clade of animals.(...)

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3 May 2018

The effect of using games in teaching conservation [PeerJ]

Keywords : conservation biology, ecology, environmental sciences, science and medical education

Games are an increasingly popular approach for conservation teaching. However, we know little about the effectiveness of the games on students’ experiences and knowledge acquisition. Many current games are supplemental games (SG) that have no meaningful interaction with the subject matter. We adapted the experiential gaming (EG) model where students were immersed in goal-orientated tasks found in real-life situations, and they tackled questions to complete actions for their main task. Classroom-based games were created for eight different conservation topics for an annual Wildlife Conservation Course and an annual Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice. Data were collected over two cycles, a total sample size of 55 multinational students.(...)

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3 May 2018

Symbiont switching and alternative resource acquisition strategies drive mutualism breakdown [PNAS]

Keywords : cooperation, mutualism, symbiosis, macroevolution, mycorrhizae

Cooperative interactions among species, termed mutualisms, have played a crucial role in the evolution of life on Earth. However, despite key potential benefits to partners, there are many cases in which two species cease to cooperate and mutualisms break down. What factors drive the evolutionary breakdown of mutualism? We examined the pathways toward breakdowns of the mutualism between plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. By using a comparative approach, we identify ∼25 independent cases of complete mutualism breakdown across global seed plants. We found that breakdown of cooperation was only stable when host plants (i) partner with other root symbionts or (ii) evolve alternative resource acquisition strategies. Our results suggest that key mutualistic services are only permanently lost if hosts evolve alternative symbioses or adaptations.

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