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20 septembre 2017

Amazon plant diversity revealed by a taxonomically verified species list [PNAS]

Keywords : Amazonia, floristics, rain forests, seed plants, species diversity

Large floristic datasets that purportedly represent the diversity and composition of the Amazon tree flora are being widely used to draw conclusions about the patterns and evolution of Amazon plant diversity, but these datasets are fundamentally flawed in both their methodology and the resulting content. We have assembled a comprehensive dataset of Amazonian seed plant species from published sources that includes falsifiable data based on voucher specimens identified by taxonomic specialists. This growing list should serve as a basis for addressing the long-standing debate on the number of plant species in the Amazon, as well as for downstream ecological and evolutionary analyses aimed at understanding the origin and function of the exceptional biodiversity of the vast Amazonian forests.

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20 septembre 2017

Small genome symbiont underlies cuticle hardness in beetles [PNAS]

Keywords : weevil, Nardonella, symbiont, genome, tyrosine

Beetles are successful in the terrestrial ecosystem, which is attributable to, at least partly, their highly sclerotized exoskeleton. Here, we report a bacterial symbiont extremely specialized for underpinning the beetle’s hardness. The ancient endosymbiont Nardonella associated with weevils has an extremely small genome devoted to a single biological function, tyrosine provisioning, which is needed for insect’s cuticle formation and hardening.(...)

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19 septembre 2017

Innately shorter vegetation periods in North American species explain native–non-native phenological asymmetries [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, forest ecology, invasive species

The length of the vegetation period (LVP), which is the time between leaf-out and leaf senescence, affects numerous ecosystem functions, including biogeochemical cycles and interspecific interactions. The evolutionary mechanisms determining LVP, however, are poorly understood, and thus, it is unknown whether innate LVPs differ between eastern North American (ENA), European and East Asian species. Here we monitored LVP in 2014–2015 in 396 Northern Hemisphere woody species grown in a common garden. We found that ENA species, under the same conditions, have three weeks (11%) shorter vegetation periods than their European and East Asian relatives, because their leaves flushed 9 ± 4 and 13 ± 4 days later and senesced 9 ± 4 and 11 ± 4 days earlier.(...)

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19 septembre 2017

Competing species leave many potential niches unfilled [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : evolutionary ecology, evolutionary theory, theoretical ecology

A cornerstone of biology is that coexisting species evolve to occupy separate ecological niches. Classical theory predicts that interspecific competition should lead to all potential niches being occupied, yet observational data suggest that many niches are unfilled. Here we show that theory can be reconciled with observational data by reconceptualizing competition in the Hutchinsonian niche space to distinguish between substitutable and non-substitutable resources. When resources are substitutable (for example, seeds of different size), the components of competition along the niche axes combine multiplicatively, leading to a densely packed niche space. However, when resources are non-substitutable (such as seeds and nest sites), we show that the components of competition combine additively.(...)

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19 septembre 2017

Revisiting the mitogenomic phylogeny of Salmoninae : new insights thanks to recent sequencing advances [PeerJ]

Keywords : aquaculture, fisheries and fish science, biodiversity, evolutionary studies, molecular biology, zoology

The phylogeny of the Salmonidae family, the only living one of the Order Salmoniformes, remains still unclear because of several reasons. Such reasons include insufficient taxon sampling and/or DNA information. The use of complete mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomics) could provide some light on it, but despite the high number of mitogenomes of species belonging to this family published during last years, an integrative work containing all this information has not been done. In this work, the phylogeny of 46 Salmonidae species was inferred from their mitogenomic sequences.(...)

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