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19 novembre 2016

Phylosymbiosis : Relationships and Functional Effects of Microbial Communities across Host Evolutionary History [PLOS Biology]

Subject Areas : microbiome, peromyscus, microbial evolution, Drosophila melanogaster, animal phylogenetics, mosquitoes, insects, phylogenetic analysis

Phylosymbiosis was recently proposed to describe the eco-evolutionary pattern, whereby the ecological relatedness of host-associated microbial communities parallels the phylogeny of related host species. Here, we test the prevalence of phylosymbiosis and its functional significance under highly controlled conditions by characterizing the microbiota of 24 animal species from four different groups (Peromyscus deer mice, Drosophila flies, mosquitoes, and Nasonia wasps), and we reevaluate the phylosymbiotic relationships of seven species of wild hominids. We demonstrate three key findings.(...)

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19 novembre 2016

Shaking up the Tree of Life [Science/Feature]

Species were once thought to keep to themselves. Now, hybrids are turning up everywhere, challenging evolutionary theory.

In 2010 a comparison between a Neandertal genome and genomes from people today turned up evidence of ancient liaisons, a discovery that belied the common idea that animal species can’t hybridize or, if they do, will produce infertile offspring—think mules. Such reproductive isolation is part of the classic definition of a species. This discovery brought credence to other work in plants, Darwin’s finches in the Galápagos Islands, tropical butterflies, mosquitoes, and a few other animals showing that hybridization was not just common, but also important in shaping evolution. The techniques that revealed the Neandertal and Denisovan legacy in our own genome are now making it possible to peer into the genomic histories of many organisms to check for interbreeding. As more examples are discovered, researchers are questioning the definition of species and rethinking whether the tree of life is really a "net" of life.

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17 novembre 2016

Twitter Predicts Citation Rates of Ecological Research [PLOS One]

Subject Areas : Twitter, altmetrics, social media, ecology, biogeography, conservation science, ecological selection, social research

The relationship between traditional metrics of research impact (e.g., number of citations) and alternative metrics (altmetrics) such as Twitter activity are of great interest, but remain imprecisely quantified. We used generalized linear mixed modeling to estimate the relative effects of Twitter activity, journal impact factor, and time since publication on Web of Science citation rates of 1,599 primary research articles from 20 ecology journals published from 2012–2014. We found a strong positive relationship between Twitter activity (i.e., the number of unique tweets about an article) and number of citations. Twitter activity was a more important predictor of citation rates than 5-year journal impact factor. Moreover, Twitter activity was not driven by journal impact factor ; the ‘highest-impact’ journals were not necessarily the most discussed online.(...)

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17 novembre 2016

Synergistic Ecoclimate Teleconnections from Forest Loss in Different Regions Structure Global Ecological Responses [PLOS One]

Subject Areas : forests, forest ecology, plant ecology, trees, theoretical ecology, climate change, North America, seasons

Forest loss in hotspots around the world impacts not only local climate where loss occurs, but also influences climate and vegetation in remote parts of the globe through ecoclimate teleconnections. The magnitude and mechanism of remote impacts likely depends on the location and distribution of forest loss hotspots, but the nature of these dependencies has not been investigated. We use global climate model simulations to estimate the distribution of ecologically-relevant climate changes resulting from forest loss in two hotspot regions : western North America (wNA), which is experiencing accelerated dieoff, and the Amazon basin, which is subject to high rates of deforestation. (....)

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16 novembre 2016

Fast–slow life history is correlated with individual differences in movements and prey selection in an aquatic predator in the wild [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : activity, animal personality, fast–slow continuum, life-history trade-offs, pace-of-life syndrome

1.Fast and slow life histories are proposed to covary with consistent individual differences in behaviour, but little is known whether it holds in the wild, where individuals experience natural fluctuations of the environment.
2.We investigated whether individual differences in behaviour, such as movement traits and prey selection, are linked to variation in life-history traits in Eurasian perch (Perca fluviatilis) in the wild.(...)

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