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16 May 2017

The Degree of Urbanization of a Species Affects How Intensively It Is Studied: A Global Perspective [Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution]

The expansion of urban areas is currently one of the most important worldwide landscape changes. This process, termed urbanization, has important ecological effects and is known to alter many aspects of the biology of organisms (including birds). However, human-nature interactions can also be affected by this process. We hypothesized that urbanization can particularly affect how intensively we investigate birds. We predict that species living in close proximity to humans will be more easily or preferably studied, thus promoting a bias in research effort toward urban birds. In order to test this hypothesis we have collected a detailed database of urban and non-urban avian communities including information from five biogeographic realms and more than 750 bird species.(...)

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15 May 2017

Increasing phenological asynchrony between spring green-up and arrival of migratory birds [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : animal migration, community ecology, environmental health, macroecology, phenology

Consistent with a warming climate, birds are shifting the timing of their migrations, but it remains unclear to what extent these shifts have kept pace with the changing environment. Because bird migration is primarily cued by annually consistent physiological responses to photoperiod, but conditions at their breeding grounds depend on annually variable climate, bird arrival and climate-driven spring events would diverge. We combined satellite and citizen science data to estimate rates of change in phenological interval between spring green-up and migratory arrival for 48 breeding passerine species across North America.(...)

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15 May 2017

Rapid, broad-scale gene expression evolution in experimentally harvested fish populations [Molecular Ecology]

Keywords : gene expression, fisheries-induced evolution, transcriptome sequencing, size selection, adaptation, captive breeding

Gene expression changes potentially play an important role in adaptive evolution under human-induced selection pressures but this has been challenging to demonstrate in natural populations. Fishing exhibits strong selection pressure against large body size, thus potentially inducing evolutionary changes in life-history and other traits that may be slowly reversible once fishing ceases. However, there is a lack of convincing examples regarding the speed and magnitude of fisheries-induced evolution and thus the relevant underlying molecular-level effects remain elusive. We use wild-origin zebrafish (Danio rerio) as a model for harvest-induced evolution.(...)

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15 May 2017

Biogeographic links between southern Atlantic Forest and western South America: rediscovery, re-description, and phylogenetic relationships of two rare montane anole lizards from Brazil [Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution]

Keywords : Anolis, Dactyloidae, Dactyloa, biogeography, Mainland, Atlantic Forest

Data on species ranges and phylogenetic relationships are key in historical biogeographical inference. In South America, our understanding of the evolutionary processes that underlie biodiversity patterns varies greatly across regions. Little is known, for instance, about the drivers of high endemism in the southern montane region of the Atlantic Rainforest. In this region, former biogeographic connections with other South American ecosystems have been invoked to explain the phylogenetic affinities of a number of endemic taxa. This may also be the case of the montane anole lizards Anolis nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus, known from few specimens collected more than 40 years ago. We combine new genetic data with published sequences of species in the Dactyloa clade of Anolis to investigate the phylogenetic relationships of A. nasofrontalis and A. pseudotigrinus, as well as estimate divergence times from their closest relatives.(...)

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11 May 2017

Fish assemblage production estimates in Appalachian streams across a latitudinal and temperature gradient [Ecology of Freshwater Fish]

Keywords : assemblage composition, assemblage evenness, biomass, P/B ratios, secondary production

Production of biomass is central to the ecology and sustainability of fish assemblages. The goal of this study was to empirically estimate and compare fish assemblage production, production-to-biomass (P/B) ratios and species composition for 25 second- to third-order streams spanning the Appalachian Mountains (from Vermont to North Carolina) that vary in their temperature regimes.(...)

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