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31 mai 2018

Social complexity and kinship in animal societies [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : behaviour, cognition, competition, cooperation, evolution, kinship, relatedness, social complexity, sociality

Studies of eusocial invertebrates regard complex societies as those where there is a clear division of labour and extensive cooperation between breeders and helpers. In contrast, studies of social mammals identify complex societies as those where differentiated social relationships influence access to resources and reproductive opportunities. We show here that, while traits associated with social complexity of the first kind occur in social mammals that live in groups composed of close relatives, traits associated with the complexity of social relationships occur where average kinship between female group members is low. These differences in the form of social complexity appear to be associated with variation in brain size and probably reflect contrasts in the extent of conflicts of interest between group members. Our results emphasise the limitations of any unitary concept of social complexity and show that variation in average kinship between group members has far‐reaching consequences for animal societies.

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31 mai 2018

Transcending data gaps : a framework to reduce inferential errors in ecological analyses [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : functional biogeography, functional diversity, functional trait, imputation, trait database

The analysis of functional diversity (FD) has gained increasing importance due to its generality and utility in ecology. In particular, patterns in the spatial distribution and temporal change of FD are being used to predict locations and functional groups that are immediately vulnerable to global changes. A major impediment to the accurate measurement of FD is the pervasiveness of missing data in trait datasets. While such prevalent data gaps can engender misleading inferences in FD analyses, we currently lack any practical guide to handle missing data in trait datasets. Here, we identify significant mismatches between true FD and values derived from datasets that contain missing data. We demonstrate that imputing missing data with a phylogeny‐informed approach reduces the risk of misinterpretation of FD patterns, and provides baseline information against which central questions in ecology can be evaluated.

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31 mai 2018

Polygenic adaptation fuels genetic redundancy in Drosophila [BioRxiv]

The genetic architecture of adaptive traits is of key importance to predict evolutionary responses. Most adaptive traits are polygenic - i.e. result from selection on a large number of genetic loci - but most molecularly characterized traits have a simple genetic basis. This discrepancy is best explained by the difficulty in detecting small allele frequency changes across many contributing loci. To resolve this, we use laboratory natural selection, a framework that is powerful enough to detect signatures for selective sweeps and polygenic adaptation. We exposed 10 replicates of a Drosophila simulans population to a new temperature regime and uncovered a polygenic architecture of an adaptive trait with high genetic redundancy among adaptive alleles.(...)

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31 mai 2018

Towards robust and repeatable sampling methods in eDNA based studies [Molecular Ecology Resources]

Keywords : contamination, environmental DNA, experimental design, metabarcoding, metadata, sampling

DNA based techniques are increasingly used for measuring the biodiversity (species presence, identity, abundance and community composition) of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. While there are numerous reviews of molecular methods and bioinformatic steps, there has been little consideration of the methods used to collect samples upon which these later steps are based. This represents a critical knowledge gap, as methodologically sound field sampling is the foundation for subsequent analyses. We reviewed field sampling methods used for metabarcoding studies of both terrestrial and freshwater ecosystem biodiversity over a nearly three‐year period (n = 75). We found that 95% (n = 71) of these studies used subjective sampling methods, inappropriate field methods, and/or failed to provide critical methodological information.(...)

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31 mai 2018

Population correlates of rapid captive‐induced maladaptation in a wild fish [Evolutionary Applications]

Keywords : adaptation, captivity, effective population size, captive breeding, adaptive potential, phenotypic plasticity, salmonid, brook trout

Understanding the extent to which captivity generates maladaptation in wild species can inform species recovery programs and elucidate wild population responses to novel environmental change. Though rarely quantified, effective population size (Ne) and genetic diversity should influence the magnitude of plastic and genetic changes manifested in captivity that reduce wild fitness. Sexually‐dimorphic traits might also mediate consequences of captivity. To evaluate these relationships, we generated >600 full‐ and half‐sibling families from nine wild brook trout populations, reared them for one generation under common, captive environmental conditions, and contrasted several fitness‐related traits in wild vs. captive lines.(...)

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