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20 octobre 2017

Estimating barriers to gene flow from distorted isolation by distance patterns [bioRxiv]

Keywords : barriers to gene flow, isolation by distance, identity by descent, demographic inference

In continuous populations with local migration, nearby pairs of individuals have on average more similar genotypes than geographically well separated pairs. A barrier to gene flow distorts this classical pattern of isolation by distance. Genetic similarity is decreased for sample pairs on different sides of the barrier and increased for pairs on the same side near the barrier. Here, we introduce an inference scheme that utilizes this signal to detect and estimate the strength of a linear barrier to gene flow in two-dimensions. (...) We also showcase an example application to a Antirrhinum majus (snapdragon) flower color hybrid zone, where we do not detect any signal of a strong genome wide barrier to gene flow.

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20 octobre 2017

Heritability and social brood effects on personality in juvenile and adult life-history stages in a wild passerine [Journal of Evolutionary Biology]

Isabel Winney

How has evolution led to the variation in behavioural phenotypes (personalities) in a population ? Knowledge of whether personality is heritable, and to what degree it is influenced by the social environment, is crucial to understanding its evolutionary significance, yet few estimates are available from natural populations. We tracked three behavioural traits during different life-history stages in a pedigreed population of wild house sparrows. Using a quantitative genetic approach, we demonstrated heritability in adult exploration, and in nestling activity after accounting for fixed effects, but not in adult boldness.(...)

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19 octobre 2017

Upscaling species richness and abundances in tropical forests [Sciences Advances]

La quantification de la biodiversité des arbres tropicaux dans le monde reste un problème ouvert et difficile. Plus des deux cinquièmes du nombre d’arbres dans le monde peuvent être trouvés dans des forêts tropicales ou subtropicales, mais seulement 0,000067% des identités d’espèces sont connues. Nous introduisons un cadre analytique qui fournit des estimations robustes et précises de la richesse et de l’abondance des espèces dans les écosystèmes riches en biodiversité, comme le confirment les tests effectués sur les forêts réelles et silico-produites. Notre analyse montre que l’approche surpasse les autres méthodes.(...)

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19 octobre 2017

Disorder in convergent floral nanostructures enhances signalling to bees [Nature]

Diverse forms of nanoscale architecture generate structural colour and perform signalling functions within and between species. Structural colour is the result of the interference of light from approximately regular periodic structures ; some structural disorder is, however, inevitable in biological organisms. Is this disorder functional and subject to evolutionary selection, or is it simply an unavoidable outcome of biological developmental processes ? Here we show that disordered nanostructures enable flowers to produce visual signals that are salient to bees. (...)

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19 octobre 2017

More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas [PLOS One]

Subject Areas : insects, seasons , land use, biomass (ecology), conservation science, grasslands, species diversity, herbs

Global declines in insects have sparked wide interest among scientists, politicians, and the general public. Loss of insect diversity and abundance is expected to provoke cascading effects on food webs and to jeopardize ecosystem services. Our understanding of the extent and underlying causes of this decline is based on the abundance of single species or taxonomic groups only, rather than changes in insect biomass which is more relevant for ecological functioning. Here, we used a standardized protocol to measure total insect biomass using Malaise traps, deployed over 27 years in 63 nature protection areas in Germany (96 unique location-year combinations) to infer on the status and trend of local entomofauna.(...)

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