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20 December 2016

Investigating uncertainties in zooplankton composition shifts under climate change scenarios in the Mediterranean Sea [Ecography]

Ensemble niche modelling has become a common framework to predict changes in assemblages composition under climate change scenarios. The amount of uncertainty generated by the different components of this framework has rarely been assessed. In the marine realm forecasts have usually focused on taxa representing the top of the marine food-web, thus overlooking their basal component: the plankton. Calibrating environmental niche models at the global scale, we modelled the habitat suitability of 106 copepod species and estimated the dissimilarity between present and future zooplanktonic assemblages in the surface Mediterranean Sea.(...)

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20 December 2016

Global leaf trait estimates biased due to plasticity in the shade [Nature Plants]

Keywords : ecophysiology, ecosystem ecology, plant physiology

The study of leaf functional trait relationships, the so-called leaf economics spectrum is based on the assumption of high-light conditions (as experienced by sunlit leaves). Owing to the exponential decrease of light availability through canopies, however, the vast majority of the world’s vegetation exists in at least partial shade. Plant functional traits vary in direct dependence of light availability, with different traits varying to different degrees, sometimes in conflict with expectations from the economic spectrum.(...)

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20 December 2016

Relic DNA is abundant in soil and obscures estimates of soil microbial diversity [Nature Microbiology]

Keywords : biogeochemistry, microbial ecology

Extracellular DNA from dead microorganisms can persist in soil for weeks to years. Although it is implicitly assumed that the microbial DNA recovered from soil predominantly represents intact cells, it is unclear how extracellular DNA affects molecular analyses of microbial diversity. We examined a wide range of soils using viability PCR based on the photoreactive DNA-intercalating dye propidium monoazide.(...)

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19 December 2016

The database of the PREDICTS (Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems) project [Ecology and Evolution]

Keywords : data sharing, global biodiversity modeling, global change, habitat destruction, land use

The PREDICTS project—Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity In Changing Terrestrial Systems (www.predicts.org.uk)—has collated from published studies a large, reasonably representative database of comparable samples of biodiversity from multiple sites that differ in the nature or intensity of human impacts relating to land use. We have used this evidence base to develop global and regional statistical models of how local biodiversity responds to these measures. We describe and make freely available this 2016 release of the database, containing more than 3.2 million records sampled at over 26,000 locations and representing over 47,000 species. We outline how the database can help in answering a range of questions in ecology and conservation biology. To our knowledge, this is the largest and most geographically and taxonomically representative database of spatial comparisons of biodiversity that has been collated to date; it will be useful to researchers and international efforts wishing to model and understand the global status of biodiversity.

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19 December 2016

Relationships among ecological traits of wild bee communities along gradients of habitat amount and fragmentation [Ecography]

Amount of semi-natural habitats (permanent grasslands, woodlands and hedgerows) and their level of fragmentation are among the main determinants of wild bee diversity in agricultural landscapes. However, their impact on the distribution of bee ecological traits has received little attention. In this study, we aimed to explore whether changes in the distribution of bee ecological traits along gradients of habitat amount and fragmentation were due to a direct effect of landscape context on multiple traits (‘response traits’) or to a correlation of response traits with other ecological traits not involved in the response of bee species to landscape context.(...)

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