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12 septembre 2017

The Evolution of Diverse Floral Morphologies [Current Biology]

The angiosperm flower develops through a modular programme which, although ancient and conserved, provides the flexibility that has allowed an almost infinite variety of floral forms to emerge. In this review, we explore the evolution of floral diversity, focusing on our recent understanding of the mechanistic basis of evolutionary change. We discuss the various ways in which flower size and floral organ size can be modified, the means by which flower shape and symmetry can change, and the ways in which floral organ position can be varied. We conclude that many challenges remain before we fully understand the ecological and molecular processes that facilitate the diversification of flower structure.

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12 septembre 2017

Harnessing ancient genomes to study the history of human adaptation [Nature Reviews Genetics]

Subject terms : coevolution, DNA sequencing, evolutionary genetics, genetic variation, genomics, next-generation sequencing, population genetics

The past several years have witnessed an explosion of successful ancient human genome-sequencing projects, with genomic-scale ancient DNA data sets now available for more than 1,100 ancient human and archaic hominin (for example, Neandertal) individuals. Recent ’evolution in action’ analyses have started using these data sets to identify and track the spatiotemporal trajectories of genetic variants associated with human adaptations to novel and changing environments, agricultural lifestyles, and introduced or co-evolving pathogens. Together with evidence of adaptive introgression of genetic variants from archaic hominins to humans and emerging ancient genome data sets for domesticated animals and plants, these studies provide novel insights into human evolution and the evolutionary consequences of human behaviour that go well beyond those that can be obtained from modern genomic data or the fossil and archaeological records alone.

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12 septembre 2017

Climatic vulnerability of the world’s freshwater and marine fishes [Nature Climate Change]

Subject terms : climate-change ecology, conservation biology, macroecology

Climate change is a mounting threat to biological diversity1, compromising ecosystem structure and function, and undermining the delivery of essential services worldwide2. As the magnitude and speed of climate change accelerates3, greater understanding of the taxonomy and geography of climatic vulnerability is critical to guide effective conservation action. However, many uncertainties remain regarding the degree and variability of climatic risk within entire clades and across vast ecosystem boundaries4. Here we integrate physiological estimates of thermal sensitivity for 2,960 ray-finned fishes with future climatic exposure, and demonstrate that global patterns of vulnerability differ substantially between freshwater and marine realms.(...)

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12 septembre 2017

Multiple interactions networks : towards more realistic descriptions of the web of life [Oikos]

Ecological communities are defined by species interacting dynamically in a given location at a given time, and can be conveniently represented as networks of interactions. Pairwise interactions can be ascribed to one of five main types, depending on their outcome for the species involved : amensalism, antagonism (including predation, parasitism and disease), commensalism, competition or mutualism. While most studies have dealt so far with networks involving one single type of interaction at a time, often focusing on a specific clade and/or guild, recent studies are being developed that consider networks with more than one interaction type and across several levels of biological organisation. We review these developments and suggest that three main frameworks are in use to investigate the properties of multiple interactions networks : ‘expanded food-webs’, ‘multilayer networks’ and ‘equal footing networks’. They differ on how interactions are classified and implemented in mathematical models, and on whether the effect of different interaction types is expressed in the same units. We analyse the mathematical and ecological assumptions of these three approaches, and identify some of the questions that can be addressed with each one of them. Since the overwhelming majority of studies on multiple interactions are theoretical and use artificially generated data, we also provide recommendations for the incorporation of field data in such studies.

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12 septembre 2017

Relationships between forest cover and fish diversity in the Amazon River floodplain [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : Amazon River floodplain, assemblage structure, β diversity, Brazil, deforestation, fish, forest cover, land cover, remote sensing, taxonomic and functional diversity

1. Habitat degradation leads to biodiversity loss and concomitant changes in ecosystem processes. Tropical river floodplains are highly threatened by land cover changes and support high biodiversity and important ecosystem services, but the extent to which changes in floodplain land cover affect fish biodiversity remains unknown.
2. We combined fish and environmental data collected in situ and satellite-mapped landscape features to evaluate how fish species with different ecological strategies and assemblage structures respond to deforestation in floodplains of the Amazon River. We surveyed 462 floodplain habitats distributed along a gradient of land cover, from largely forested to severely deforested. Rather than analyse only taxonomic metrics, we employed an integrative approach that simultaneously considers different aspects of fish biodiversity (i.e. β diversity and taxonomic and functional assemblage structure) to facilitate mechanistic interpretations of the influence of land cover.(...)

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