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5 April 2017

Life history tactics shape amphibians’ demographic responses to the North Atlantic Oscillation [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : amphibians, Bombina variegata, climate, fast–slow continuum, life history tactics, North Atlantic Oscillation, Salamandra salamandra, Triturus cristatus

Over the last three decades, climate abnormalities have been reported to be involved in biodiversity decline by affecting population dynamics. A growing number of studies have shown that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) influences the demographic parameters of a wide range of plant and animal taxa in different ways. Life history theory could help to understand these different demographic responses to the NAO. Indeed, theory states that the impact of weather variation on a species’ demographic traits should depend on its position along the fast–slow continuum. In particular, it is expected that NAO would have a higher impact on recruitment than on adult survival in slow species, while the opposite pattern is expected occur in fast species. To test these predictions, we used long-term capture–recapture datasets (more than 15,000 individuals marked from 1965 to 2015) on different surveyed populations of three amphibian species in Western Europe: Triturus cristatus, Bombina variegata, and Salamandra salamandra.(...)

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1 April 2017

Patterns of cross-contamination in a multispecies population genomic project: detection, quantification, impact, and solutions [BMC Biology]

Keywords : RNAseq, transcriptome, animals, SNP calling, genotyping, within-species

Contamination is a well-known but often neglected problem in molecular biology. Here, we investigated the prevalence of cross-contamination among 446 samples from 116 distinct species of animals, which were processed in the same laboratory and subjected to subcontracted transcriptome sequencing.(...)

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31 March 2017

Biodiversity redistribution under climate change: Impacts on ecosystems and human well-being [Science]

Distributions of Earth’s species are changing at accelerating rates, increasingly driven by human-mediated climate change. Such changes are already altering the composition of ecological communities, but beyond conservation of natural systems, how and why does this matter? We review evidence that climate-driven species redistribution at regional to global scales affects ecosystem functioning, human well-being, and the dynamics of climate change itself. Production of natural resources required for food security, patterns of disease transmission, and processes of carbon sequestration are all altered by changes in species distribution. Consideration of these effects of biodiversity redistribution is critical yet lacking in most mitigation and adaptation strategies, including the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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30 March 2017

Generalist social bees maximize diversity intake in plant species-rich and resource-abundant environments [Ecosphere]

Keywords : functional complementarity, functional redundancy, Meliponini, nutritional ecology, plant–insect interactions, pollinator decline

Numerous studies revealed a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, suggesting that biodiverse environments may not only enhance ecosystem processes, but also benefit individual ecosystem members by, for example, providing a higher diversity of resources. Whether and how the number of available resources affects resource collection and subsequently consumers (e.g., through impacting functions associated with resources) have, however, been little investigated, although a better understanding of this relationship may help explain why the abundance and richness of many animal species typically decline with decreasing plant (resource) diversity. Using a social bee species as model (Tetragonula carbonaria), we investigated how plant species richness—recorded for study sites located in different habitats—and associated resource abundance affected the diversity and functionality (here defined as nutritional content and antimicrobial activity) of resources (i.e., pollen, nectar, and resin) collected by a generalist herbivorous consumer.(...)

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30 March 2017

Disturbed flow in an aquatic environment may create a sensory refuge for aggregated prey [PeerJ]

Keywords : animal behavior, ecology

Predators use olfactory cues moved within water and air to locate prey. Because prey aggregations may produce more cue and be easier to detect, predation could limit aggregation size. However, disturbance in the flow may diminish the reliability of odour as a prey cue, impeding predator foraging success and efficiency. We explore how different cue concentrations (as a proxy for prey group size) affect risk to prey by fish predators in disturbed (more turbulent or mixed) and non-disturbed (less mixed) flowing water.(...)

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