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27 March 2017

The highly threatened and little known Amazonian savannahs [Nature Ecology & Evolution - Comment]

The biodiversity of the Amazonian savannahs may be lost before it is known, unless scientists, conservationists and policymakers come together quickly to protect it.

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27 March 2017

The multilayer nature of ecological networks [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecological networks

Although networks provide a powerful approach to study a large variety of ecological systems, their formulation does not typically account for multiple interaction types, interactions that vary in space and time, and interconnected systems such as networks of networks. The emergent field of ‘multilayer networks’ provides a natural framework for extending analyses of ecological systems to include such multiple layers of complexity, as it specifically allows one to differentiate and model ‘intralayer’ and ‘interlayer’ connectivity. The framework provides a set of concepts and tools that can be adapted and applied to ecology, facilitating research on high-dimensional, heterogeneous systems in nature.(...)

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27 March 2017

A new hypothesis of dinosaur relationships and early dinosaur evolution [Nature]

Keywords : palaeontology, phylogenetics

For 130 years, dinosaurs have been divided into two distinct clades—Ornithischia and Saurischia. Here we present a hypothesis for the phylogenetic relationships of the major dinosaurian groups that challenges the current consensus concerning early dinosaur evolution and highlights problematic aspects of current cladistic definitions.(...)

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24 March 2017

The evo-devo of plant speciation [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecology, evolution, plant evolution

Speciation research bridges the realms of macro- and microevolution. Evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) has classically dealt with macroevolutionary questions through a comparative approach to distantly related organisms, but the field later broadened in focus to address recent speciation and microevolution. Here we review available evidence of the power of evo-devo approaches to understand speciation in plants at multiple scales. At a macroevolutionary scale, evidence is accumulating for evolutionary developmental mechanisms giving rise to key innovations promoting speciation. At the macro microevolution transition, we review instances of evo-devo change underlying both the origin of reproductive barriers and phenotypic changes distinguishing closely related species.(...)

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23 March 2017

Terrestrial support of lake food webs: Synthesis reveals controls over cross-ecosystem resource use [Science Advances]

Keywords : allochthony, food webs, land-water linkages, organic carbon

Widespread evidence that organic matter exported from terrestrial into aquatic ecosystems supports recipient food webs remains controversial. A pressing question is not only whether high terrestrial support is possible but also what the general conditions are under which it arises. We assemble the largest data set, to date, of the isotopic composition (δ2H, δ13C, and δ15N) of lake zooplankton and the resources at the base of their associated food webs. In total, our data set spans 559 observations across 147 lakes from the boreal to subtropics. By predicting terrestrial resource support from within-lake and catchment-level characteristics, we found that half of all consumer observations that is, the median were composed of at least 42% terrestrially derived material.(...)

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