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21 avril 2017

Toward a theory for diversity gradients : the abundance–adaptation hypothesis [Ecography]

The abundance–adaptation hypothesis argues that taxa with more individuals and faster generation times will have more evolutionary ‘experiments’ allowing expansion into, and diversification within, novel habitats. Thus, as older taxa have produced more individuals over time, and smaller taxa have higher population sizes and faster generation times, the Latitudinal Diversity Gradients (LDGs) of these clades should show shallower slopes. We describe the LDGs for archaea, bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and trees from six North American forests. For three focal groups – bacteria, ants, and trees – older taxa had shallower LDG slopes than the more recent, terminal taxa.(...)

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21 avril 2017

Chytrid fungus infection in zebrafish demonstrates that the pathogen can parasitize non-amphibian vertebrate hosts [Nature Communications]

Keywords : ecological epidemiology, fungal pathogenesis, pathogens

Aquatic chytrid fungi threaten amphibian biodiversity worldwide owing to their ability to rapidly expand their geographical distributions and to infect a wide range of hosts. Combating this risk requires an understanding of chytrid host range to identify potential reservoirs of infection and to safeguard uninfected regions through enhanced biosecurity. Here we extend our knowledge on the host range of the chytrid Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis by demonstrating infection of a non-amphibian vertebrate host, the zebrafish.(...)

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21 avril 2017

Contrasting dispersal histories of broad- and fine-leaved temperate Loliinae grasses : range expansion, founder events, and the roles of distance and barriers [Journal of Biogeofraphy]

Guillaume Besnard & Jan Hackel

Successful colonization after long-distance dispersal (LDD) depends on the availability of suitable habitats and competitive ability. In this study, we address the hypothesis that two widely distributed sister grass lineages (broad- and fine-leaved Loliinae ; hereafter BL and FL) that differ in their habitat requirements and competitive ability also differ in their biogeographic history, with particular reference to LDD.(...)

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20 avril 2017

High pesticide risk to honey bees despite low focal crop pollen collection during pollination of a mass blooming crop [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : agroecology, conservation biology

Honey bees provide critical pollination services for many agricultural crops. While the contribution of pesticides to current hive loss rates is debated, remarkably little is known regarding the magnitude of risk to bees and mechanisms of exposure during pollination. Here, we show that pesticide risk in recently accumulated beebread was above regulatory agency levels of concern for acute or chronic exposure at 5 and 22 of the 30 apple orchards, respectively, where we placed 120 experimental hives. Landscape context strongly predicted focal crop pollen foraging and total pesticide residues, which were dominated by fungicides.(...)

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20 avril 2017

Drivers of salamander extirpation mediated by Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans [Nature]

Keywords : conservation biology, microbial ecology

The recent arrival of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Europe was followed by rapid expansion of its geographical distribution and host range, confirming the unprecedented threat that this chytrid fungus poses to western Palaearctic amphibians. Mitigating this hazard requires a thorough understanding of the pathogen’s disease ecology that is driving the extinction process. Here, we monitored infection, disease and host population dynamics in a Belgian fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) population for two years immediately after the first signs of infection.(...)

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