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25 mai 2018

Bumble‐BEEHAVE : A systems model for exploring multifactorial causes of bumblebee decline at individual, colony, population and community level [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : agent‐based modelling, Bombus terrestris, bumblebees, colony decline, cross‐level interactions, foraging, multiple stressors, pollination

1.World‐wide declines in pollinators, including bumblebees, are attributed to a multitude of stressors such as habitat loss, resource availability, emerging viruses and parasites, exposure to pesticides, and climate change, operating at various spatial and temporal scales. Disentangling individual and interacting effects of these stressors, and understanding their impact at the individual, colony and population level are a challenge for systems ecology. Empirical testing of all combinations and contexts is not feasible. A mechanistic multilevel systems model (individual‐colony‐population‐community) is required to explore resilience mechanisms of populations and communities under stress.
2.We present a model which can simulate the growth, behaviour and survival of six UK bumblebee species living in any mapped landscape. Bumble‐BEEHAVE simulates, in an agent‐based approach, the colony development of bumblebees in a realistic landscape to study how multiple stressors affect bee numbers and population dynamics. We provide extensive documentation, including sensitivity analysis and validation, based on data from literature. The model is freely available, has flexible settings and includes a user manual to ensure it can be used by researchers, farmers, policy‐makers, NGOs or other interested parties.(...)

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25 mai 2018

Background selection and the statistics of population differentiation : consequences for detecting local adaptation [BioRxiv]

Background selection is a process whereby recurrent deleterious mutations cause a decrease in the effective population size and genetic diversity at linked loci. Several authors have suggested that variation in the intensity of background selection could cause variation in FST across the genome, which could confound signals of local adaptation in genome scans. We performed realistic simulations of DNA sequences, using parameter estimates from humans and sticklebacks, to investigate how variation in the intensity of background selection affects different statistics of population differentiation.(...)

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25 mai 2018

The African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) genome unites the two ancestral ingredients for making vertebrate sex chromosomes [BioRxiv]

Heteromorphic sex chromosomes have evolved repeatedly among vertebrate lineages despite largely deleterious reductions in gene dose. Understanding how this gene dose problem is overcome is hampered by the lack of genomic information at the base of tetrapods and comparisons across the evolutionary history of vertebrates. To address this problem, we produced a chromosome-level genome assembly for the African Bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus)—an amphibian with heteromorphic ZW sex chromosomes—and discovered that the Bullfrog Z is surprisingly homologous to substantial portions of the human X.(...)

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24 mai 2018

Body-size shifts in aquatic and terrestrial urban communities [Nature]

Keywords : community ecology, urban ecology

Body size is intrinsically linked to metabolic rate and life-history traits, and is a crucial determinant of food webs and community dynamics. The increased temperatures associated with the urban-heat-island effect result in increased metabolic costs and are expected to drive shifts to smaller body sizes. Urban environments are, however, also characterized by substantial habitat fragmentation, which favours mobile species. Here, using a replicated, spatially nested sampling design across ten animal taxonomic groups, we show that urban communities generally consist of smaller species. In addition, although we show urban warming for three habitat types and associated reduced community-weighted mean body sizes for four taxa, three taxa display a shift to larger species along the urbanization gradients.(...)

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24 mai 2018

Human activities might influence oncogenic processes in wild animal populations [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : cancer, ecology, evolution

Based on the abundant studies available on humans showing clear associations between rapid environmental changes and the rate of neoplasia, we propose that human activities might increase cancer rate in wild populations through numerous processes. Most of the research on this topic has concentrated on wildlife cancer prevalence in environments that are heavily contaminated with anthropogenic chemicals. Here, we propose that human activities might also increase cancer rate in wild populations through additional processes including light pollution, accidental (for example, human waste) or intentional (for example, bird feeders) wildlife feeding (and the associated change of diet), or reduction of genetic diversity in human-impacted habitats.(...)

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