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13 septembre 2016

How dams can go with the flow [Science / Perspective / Ecology]

The world’s rivers are regulated by about 58,000 large dams (more than 15 m high) that provide water supplies for municipalities and irrigation, allow downstream navigation, and enable hydropower production (1). New dams are widely seen as sources of green energy. An estimated 75% of the world’s potential hydropower capacity is unexploited (2), and some 3700 new dams are currently proposed in developing economies (3, 4). But dams also cause substantial and often unacknowledged environmental damage. Recent research affords insight into how dams might be strategically operated to partially restore some lost ecosystem functions and services.

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13 septembre 2016

Invasive non-native plants have a greater effect on neighbouring natives than other non-natives [Nature Plants]

Keywords : community ecology, invasive species, plant ecology

Human activity is creating a global footprint by changing the climate, altering habitats and reshuffling the distribution of species. The movement of species around the globe has led to the naturalization and accumulation of multiple non-native species within ecosystems, which is frequently associated with habitat disturbance and changing environmental conditions. However, interactions among species will also influence community composition, but little is known about the full range of direct and indirect interactions among native and non-native species. Here, we show through a meta-analysis of 1,215 pairwise plant interactions between 274 vascular plant species in 21 major habitat types that interactions between non-native plants are asymmetrical with interactions between non-native and native plants.(...)

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12 septembre 2016

Patterns and biases in climate change research on amphibians and reptiles : a systematic review [Proceedings of the Royal Society B]

Keywords : amphibia, climate change, bias, Linnean shortfall, reptilia, Wallacean shortfall

Climate change probably has severe impacts on animal populations, but demonstrating a causal link can be difficult because of potential influences by additional factors. Assessing global impacts of climate change effects may also be hampered by narrow taxonomic and geographical research foci. We review studies on the effects of climate change on populations of amphibians and reptiles to assess climate change effects and potential biases associated with the body of work that has been conducted within the last decade. We use data from 104 studies regarding the effect of climate on 313 species, from 464 species–study combinations. Climate change effects were reported in 65% of studies.(...)

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12 septembre 2016

Color polymorphism in an aphid is maintained by attending ants [Science Advances]

The study of polymorphisms is particularly informative for enhancing our understanding of phenotypic and genetic diversity. The persistence of polymorphism in a population is generally explained by balancing selection. Color polymorphisms that are often found in many insects and arthropods are prime examples of the maintenance of polymorphisms via balancing selection. In some aphids, color morphs are maintained through frequency-dependent predation by two predatory insects. However, the presence of color polymorphism in ant-attended aphids cannot be explained by traditional balancing selection because these aphids are free from predation.(...)

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12 septembre 2016

Direct interactions between invasive plants and native pollinators : evidence, impacts and approaches [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : community, experimental design, flower visitors, nutrition, plant invasion, plant-pollinator interaction network, pollination

1.Invasive non-native plants form interactions with native species, and have the potential to cause direct and indirect impacts on those species, as well as the functioning of invaded ecosystems.
2.Many entomophilous invasive plants form interactions with resident pollinators ; sometimes these interactions are necessary for the reproductive success of the invader. However, the direct role native pollinators play in plant invasion is not well understood, and varies according to invasive plant traits, including breeding system and pollination syndrome.
3.The majority of studies addressing impacts on plant-pollinator mutualisms have focussed on the indirect impacts of plant invasion for native plant pollination. Fewer studies have focussed on the direct effects of invasive plants on native flower visitors.(...)

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