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18 février 2017

Ecological and genetic basis of metapopulation persistence of the Glanville fritillary butterfly in fragmented landscapes [Nature Communications]

Kaywords : conservation biology, ecological modelling, evolutionary ecology, theoretical ecology

Ecologists are challenged to construct models of the biological consequences of habitat loss and fragmentation. Here, we use a metapopulation model to predict the distribution of the Glanville fritillary butterfly during 22 years across a large heterogeneous landscape with 4,415 small dry meadows. The majority (74%) of the 125 networks into which the meadows were clustered are below the extinction threshold for long-term persistence.(...)

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18 février 2017

Ecological networks to unravel the routes to horizontal transposon transfers [PLOS Biology]

Keywords : network analysis, genome analysis, host-pathogen interactions, invertebrate genomics, community ecology, genome evolution, species interactions, microbial ecology

Transposable elements (TEs) represent the single largest component of numerous eukaryotic genomes, and their activity and dispersal constitute an important force fostering evolutionary innovation. The horizontal transfer of TEs (HTT) between eukaryotic species is a common and widespread phenomenon that has had a profound impact on TE dynamics and, consequently, on the evolutionary trajectory of many species’ lineages. However, the mechanisms promoting HTT remain largely unknown. In this article, we argue that network theory combined with functional ecology provides a robust conceptual framework and tools to delineate how complex interactions between diverse organisms may act in synergy to promote HTTs.

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18 février 2017

Beyond Ecosystem Services : Valuing the Invaluable [Trends in Ecology & Evolution/Opinion]

The ecosystem services framework (ESF) is advantageous and widely used for itemising and quantifying ways in which humans benefit from natural places. However, it suffers from two important problems : (i) incoherence of definitions and (ii) a narrow approach to valuation, inadequate to represent the full range of human motives for conservation and the diverse interests of different stakeholders. These shortcomings can lead to a range of problems including double-counting, blind spots and unintended consequences. In this opinion article, we propose an ecosystem valuing framework as a broader and more rigorous way to deliver the benefits currently sought from the ESF, without the conceptual problems.

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17 février 2017

The complex demographic history and evolutionary origin of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera [Genome Biology & Evolution]

The western honey bee, Apis mellifera, provides critical pollination services to agricultural crops worldwide. However, despite substantial interest and prior investigation, the early evolution and subsequent diversification of this important pollinator remain uncertain. The primary hypotheses place the origin of A. mellifera in either Asia or Africa, with subsequent radiations proceeding from one of these regions. Here, we use two publicly available whole-genome data sets plus newly sequenced genomes and apply multiple population genetic analysis methods to investigate the patterns of ancestry and admixture in native honey bee populations from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.(...)

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16 février 2017

Conservation genetics in the European Union – Biases, gaps and future directions [Biological Conservation]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, environmental policy, genetic markers, management, threatened species

The importance of genetic diversity for the assessment and maintenance of biodiversity is widely recognised, although not yet explicitly incorporated into conservation decision making in many European Union Member States. A detailed assessment of 4311 genetic studies relevant for the conservation and management of European species revealed that research is extensive and, therefore, could be more effectively implemented in existing conservation programs. However, research was overly biased towards the study of species with an economic value or iconic status, with research on threatened species or species with undetermined conservation status being scarce.(...)

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