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20 juin 2017

The importance of scattered trees for biodiversity conservation : a global meta-analysis [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : arthropods, conservation planning, keystone structures, landscape, large old trees, plants, species abundance, species richness, vertebrates

1.Scattered trees are thought to be keystone structures for biodiversity in landscapes world-wide. However, such trees have been largely neglected by researchers and their importance for biodiversity remains unclear.
2.We completed a global meta-analysis to quantify relationships between scattered trees and the species richness, abundance and composition of vertebrates, arthropods and plants. First, we tested whether areas near scattered trees support higher levels of species richness and abundance than nearby open areas. Second, we compared levels of species richness and abundance in matrix areas with scattered trees and areas embedded within nearby habitat patches. We also compared the composition of biological communities inhabiting habitat patches, open areas and areas with scattered trees.(...)

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16 juin 2017

Towards a mechanistic understanding of vulnerability to hook-and-line fishing : boldness as the basic target of angling-induced selection [Evolutionary Applications]

Keywords : angling, catchability, evolutionary change, growth, selection

In passively operated fishing gear, boldness-related behaviors should fundamentally affect the vulnerability of individual fish and thus be under fisheries selection. To test this hypothesis, we used juvenile common-garden reared carp (Cyprinus carpio) within a narrow size-range to investigate the mechanistic basis of behavioral selection caused by angling. We focused on one key personality trait (i.e., boldness), measured in groups within ponds, two morphological traits (body-shape and head-shape), and one life-history trait (juvenile growth capacity) and studied mean standardized selection gradients caused by angling.(...)

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16 juin 2017

Participatory adaptive management leads to environmental learning outcomes extending beyond the sphere of science [Sciences Advances]

Keywords : evidence-based conservation, natural resources, fisheries management, knowledge co-production, participation, science communication, science education

Resolving uncertainties in managed social-ecological systems requires adaptive experimentation at whole-ecosystem levels. However, whether participatory adaptive management fosters ecological understanding among stakeholders beyond the sphere of science is unknown. We experimentally involved members of German angling clubs (n = 181 in workshops, n = 2483 in total) engaged in self-governance of freshwater fisheries resources in a large-scale ecological experiment of active adaptive management of fish stocking, which constitutes a controversial management practice for biodiversity and ecosystem functioning when conducted inappropriately. The collaborative ecological experiments spanned several years and manipulated fish densities in 24 lakes with two species. In parallel, we experimentally compared changes in ecological knowledge and antecedents of proenvironmental behavior in stakeholders and managers who were members of a participatory adaptive management treatment group, with those receiving only a standard lecture, relative to placebo controls.(...)

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16 juin 2017

Damming the rivers of the Amazon basin [Nature]

Subject terms : sustainability, ecosystem ecology, limnology, environmental impact

More than a hundred hydropower dams have already been built in the Amazon basin and numerous proposals for further dam constructions are under consideration. The accumulated negative environmental effects of existing dams and proposed dams, if constructed, will trigger massive hydrophysical and biotic disturbances that will affect the Amazon basin’s floodplains, estuary and sediment plume. We introduce a Dam Environmental Vulnerability Index to quantify the current and potential impacts of dams in the basin. The scale of foreseeable environmental degradation indicates the need for collective action among nations and states to avoid cumulative, far-reaching impacts. We suggest institutional innovations to assess and avoid the likely impoverishment of Amazon rivers.

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15 juin 2017

Less favourable climates constrain demographic strategies in plants [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : climate change, COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database, demographic compensation, ecological niche models, matrix population models, population dynamics, spatial demography, species distribution models, species interactions–abiotic stress hypothesis, stress gradient hypothesis

Correlative species distribution models are based on the observed relationship between species’ occurrence and macroclimate or other environmental variables. In climates predicted less favourable populations are expected to decline, and in favourable climates they are expected to persist. However, little comparative empirical support exists for a relationship between predicted climate suitability and population performance. We found that the performance of 93 populations of 34 plant species worldwide – as measured by in situ population growth rate, its temporal variation and extinction risk – was not correlated with climate suitability.(...)

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