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10 October 2017

Generalist predator’s niche shifts reveal ecosystem changes in an experimentally fragmented landscape [Ecography]

Habitat fragmentation can alter the trophic structure of communities and environmental conditions, thus driving changes in biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Quantifying niches of generalist predators can reveal how fragmentation alters ecosystems. In a habitat fragmentation experiment, we used stable isotopes of a generalist predator skink to test predictions from spatial theory on trophic structure and to quantify abiotic changes associated with fragmentation among continuous forest, fragments, and matrix habitats.(...)

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10 October 2017

Mammal diversity influences the carbon cycle through trophic interactions in the Amazon [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity

Biodiversity affects many ecosystem functions and services, including carbon cycling and retention. While it is known that the efficiency of carbon capture and biomass production by ecological communities increases with species diversity, the role of vertebrate animals in the carbon cycle remains undocumented. Here, we use an extensive dataset collected in a high-diversity Amazonian system to parse out the relationship between animal and plant species richness, feeding interactions, tree biomass and carbon concentrations in soil.(...)

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10 October 2017

The global distribution of tetrapods reveals a need for targeted reptile conservation [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology

The distributions of amphibians, birds and mammals have underpinned global and local conservation priorities, and have been fundamental to our understanding of the determinants of global biodiversity. In contrast, the global distributions of reptiles, representing a third of terrestrial vertebrate diversity, have been unavailable. This prevented the incorporation of reptiles into conservation planning and biased our understanding of the underlying processes governing global vertebrate biodiversity. Here, we present and analyse the global distribution of 10,064 reptile species (99% of extant terrestrial species).(...)

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9 October 2017

Toxic toad invasion of Wallacea: A biodiversity hotspot characterized by extraordinary endemism [Global Change Biology]

Invasions of poisonous species can cause rapid population declines among native fauna because predators are naïve and often vulnerable to these toxins. The recent invasion of Madagascar by the poisonous Asian common toad, Duttaphrynus melanostictus, has sparked international attention (Kolby, 2014) as well as research and conservation efforts to predict the climate suitability of Madagascar for the invasive toads (Pearson, 2015; Vences et al., 2017), pinpoint the origin of the invasive lineage (Vences et al., 2017; Wogan, Stuart, Iskandar, & McGuire, 2016), determining the toads’ distribution, and educating local communities (Andreone, 2014). While the invasion in Madagascar has received much attention, an invasion of this same toad species on the islands of Wallacea in eastern Indonesia is ongoing but virtually unrecognized.(...)

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9 October 2017

Bottom-up control of parasites [Ecosphere]

Keywords : coastal wetlands, disease ecology, eutrophication, fertilizer, host traits, intertidal

Parasitism is a fundamental ecological interaction. Yet we understand relatively little about the ecological role of parasites compared to the role of free-living organisms. Bottom-up theory predicts that resource enhancement will increase the abundance and biomass of free-living organisms. Similarly, parasite abundance and biomass should increase in an ecosystem with resource enhancement. We tested this hypothesis in a landscape-level experiment in which salt marshes (60,000 m2 each) received elevated nutrient concentrations via flooding tidal waters for 11 yr to mimic eutrophication.(...)

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