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27 September 2016

The Conundrum of Heterogeneities in Life History Studies [Trends in Ecology & Evolution / Review]

Emmanuelle Cam

What causes interindividual variation in fitness? Evidence of heritability of latent individual fitness traits has resparked a debate about the causes of variation in life histories in populations: neutralism versus empirical adaptationism. This debate about the processes underlying observed variation pits neutral stochastic demographic processes against evolutionarily relevant differences among individual fitness traits. Advancing this debate requires careful consideration of differences among inference approaches used by proponents of each hypothesis. Here we draw parallels between several disciplines focusing on processes generating variation in individuals’ life-course, and we contrast methodologies to disentangle these processes. We draw on other disciplines to clarify terminology, risks of flawed inference, and expand the panel of hypotheses and formalizations of processes generating variation in life histories.

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23 September 2016

Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications [Science]

Seasonally dry tropical forests are distributed across Latin America and the Caribbean and are highly threatened, with less than 10% of their original extent remaining in many countries. Using 835 inventories covering 4660 species of woody plants, we show marked floristic turnover among inventories and regions, which may be higher than in other neotropical biomes, such as savanna. Such high floristic turnover indicates that numerous conservation areas across many countries will be needed to protect the full diversity of tropical dry forests. Our results provide a scientific framework within which national decision-makers can contextualize the floristic significance of their dry forest at a regional and continental scale.

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23 September 2016

Taxonomic resolution is a determinant of biodiversity effects in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : arbuscular mycorrhiza, competition, diversity, ecosystem function, functional complementarity, niche, taxonomic level

1.Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are key regulators of ecosystem processes, yet how their biodiversity works in ecosystems remains poorly understood.
2.We documented the extent to which taxonomic resolution influenced the effect of biodiversity of AMF taxa on plant performance (growth, nutrient uptake and stress tolerance) in a meta-analysis of 902 articles.(...)

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22 September 2016

Untangling the effects of multiple human stressors and their impacts on fish assemblages in European running waters [Science of The Total Environment]

Keywords : riverine ecosystems, fish metrics, multiple human stressors, ecological status, water framework directive

This work addresses human stressors and their impacts on fish assemblages at pan-European scale by analysing single and multiple stressors and their interactions. Based on an extensive dataset with 3105 fish sampling sites, patterns of stressors, their combination and nature of interactions, i.e. synergistic, antagonistic and additive were investigated.(...)

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22 September 2016

The next green movement: Plant biology for the environment and sustainability [Science/Review]

From domestication and breeding to the genetic engineering of crops, plants provide food, fuel, fibers, and feedstocks for our civilization. New research and discoveries aim to reduce the inputs needed to grow crops and to develop plants for environmental and sustainability applications. Faced with population growth and changing climate, the next wave of innovation in plant biology integrates technologies and approaches that span from molecular to ecosystem scales.(...)

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