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10 January 2017

Assessing long-term effects of multiple, potentially confounded drivers in ecosystems from species traits [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : climate change, confounding effect, invertebrates, large rivers, long-term trends, multiple drivers, species traits, water quality

Although species traits have the potential to disentangle long-term effects of multiple, potentially confounded drivers in ecosystems, this issue has received very little attention in the literature. We aimed at filling this gap by assessing the relative effects of hydroclimatic and water quality factors on the trait composition of invertebrate assemblages over 30 years in the Middle Loire River (France). Using a priori predictions on the long-term variation of trait-based adaptations over the three decades, we evaluated the ability of invertebrate traits to indicate the effects of warming, discharge reduction and water quality improvement.(...)

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6 January 2017

EU-Forest, a high-resolution tree occurrence dataset for Europe [Scientific Data]

Keywords : climate change, ecology, forestry, palaeoclimate, plant ecology

We present EU-Forest, a dataset that integrates and extends by almost one order of magnitude the publicly available information on European tree species distribution. The core of our dataset ( 96% of the occurrence records) came from an unpublished, large database harmonising forest plot surveys from National Forest Inventories on an INSPIRE-compliant 1 km×1 km grid. These new data can potentially benefit several disciplines, including forestry, biodiversity conservation, palaeoecology, plant ecology, the bioeconomy, and pest management.

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5 January 2017

Ecological networks are more sensitive to plant than to animal extinction under climate change [Nature communications]

Keywords : climate-change ecology, community ecology, ecological modelling, ecological networks

Impacts of climate change on individual species are increasingly well documented, but we lack understanding of how these effects propagate through ecological communities. Here we combine species distribution models with ecological network analyses to test potential impacts of climate change on >700 plant and animal species in pollination and seed-dispersal networks from central Europe. We discover that animal species that interact with a low diversity of plant species have narrow climatic niches and are most vulnerable to climate change. In contrast, biotic specialization of plants is not related to climatic niche breadth and vulnerability. A simulation model incorporating different scenarios of species coextinction and capacities for partner switches shows that projected plant extinctions under climate change are more likely to trigger animal coextinctions than vice versa. This result demonstrates that impacts of climate change on biodiversity can be amplified via extinction cascades from plants to animals in ecological networks.

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5 January 2017

Resource tracking within and across continents in long-distance bird migrants [Science Advances]

Keywords : migration, birds, seasonal vegetation, NDVI, climate change

Migratory birds track seasonal resources across and between continents. We propose a general strategy of tracking the broad seasonal abundance of resources throughout the annual cycle in the longest-distance migrating land birds as an alternative to tracking a certain climatic niche or shorter-term resource surplus occurring, for example, during spring foliation. Whether and how this is possible for complex annual spatiotemporal schedules is not known. New tracking technology enables unprecedented spatial and temporal mapping of long-distance movement of birds.(...)

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5 January 2017

Identifying species threat hotspots from global supply chains [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, environmental social sciences

Identifying hotspots of species threat has been a successful approach for setting conservation priorities. One important challenge in conservation is that, in many hotspots, export industries continue to drive overexploitation. Conservation measures must consider not just the point of impact, but also the consumer demand that ultimately drives resource use. To understand which species threat hotspots are driven by which consumers, we have developed a new approach to link a set of biodiversity footprint accounts to the hotspots of threatened species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The result is a map connecting consumption to spatially explicit hotspots driven by production on a global scale. Locating biodiversity threat hotspots driven by consumption of goods and services can help to connect conservationists, consumers, companies and governments in order to better target conservation actions.(...)

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