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14 avril 2016

Conservation Research Is Not Happening Where It Is Most Needed [Plos Biology]

Subject Areas : conservation science, biodiversity, social research, conservation biology, mammals, open access, ecosystems, social media

Target 19, set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, seeks to improve the knowledge, science base, and technologies relating to biodiversity. We will fail to achieve this target unless prolific biases in the field of conservation science are addressed. We reveal that comparatively less research is undertaken in the world’s most biodiverse countries, the science conducted in these countries is often not led by researchers based in-country, and these scientists are also underrepresented in important international fora. Mitigating these biases requires wide-ranging solutions : reforming open access publishing policies, enhancing science communication strategies, changing author attribution practices, improving representation in international processes, and strengthening infrastructure and human capacity for research in countries where it is most needed.

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14 avril 2016

Viviparity stimulates diversification in an order of fish [Nature communications]

Subject terms : fish, biological sciences, evolution, zoology

Species richness is distributed unevenly across the tree of life and this may be influenced by the evolution of novel phenotypes that promote diversification. Viviparity has originated 150 times in vertebrates and is considered to be an adaptation to highly variable environments. Likewise, possessing an annual life cycle is common in plants and insects, where it enables the colonization of seasonal environments, but rare in vertebrates. The extent to which these reproductive life-history traits have enhanced diversification and their relative importance in the process remains unknown. We show that convergent evolution of viviparity causes bursts of diversification in fish. (...)

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12 avril 2016

A new view of the tree of life [Nature Microbiology]

Keywords : environmental microbiology, phylogenetics

The tree of life is one of the most important organizing principles in biology. Gene surveys suggest the existence of an enormous number of branches, but even an approximation of the full scale of the tree has remained elusive. Recent depictions of the tree of life have focused either on the nature of deep evolutionary relationships or on the known, well-classified diversity of life with an emphasis on eukaryotes. These approaches overlook the dramatic change in our understanding of life’s diversity resulting from genomic sampling of previously unexamined environments. New methods to generate genome sequences illuminate the identity of organisms and their metabolic capacities, placing them in community and ecosystem contexts. Here, we use new genomic data from over 1,000 uncultivated and little known organisms, together with published sequences, to infer a dramatically expanded version of the tree of life, with Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya included.(...)

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12 avril 2016

Connecting laboratory behavior to field function through stable isotope analysis [PeerJ]

keywords : animal behavior, ecology, ecosystem science, stable isotope

Inherent difficulties of tracking and observing organisms in the field often leave researchers with no choice but to conduct behavioral experiments under laboratory settings. However, results of laboratory experiments do not always translate accurately to natural conditions. A fundamental challenge in ecology is therefore to scale up from small area and short-duration laboratory experiments to large areas and long durations over which ecological processes generally operate. In this study, we propose that stable isotope analysis may be a tool that can link laboratory behavioral observations to past field interactions or function of individual organisms.(...)

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11 avril 2016

Omnivory in birds is a macroevolutionary sink [Nature communications]

Subject terms : birds, biological sciences, ecology, evolution

Diet is commonly assumed to affect the evolution of species, but few studies have directly tested its effect at macroevolutionary scales. Here we use Bayesian models of trait-dependent diversification and a comprehensive dietary database of all birds worldwide to assess speciation and extinction dynamics of avian dietary guilds (carnivores, frugivores, granivores, herbivores, insectivores, nectarivores, omnivores and piscivores).(...)

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