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18 février 2017

Beyond Ecosystem Services : Valuing the Invaluable [Trends in Ecology & Evolution/Opinion]

The ecosystem services framework (ESF) is advantageous and widely used for itemising and quantifying ways in which humans benefit from natural places. However, it suffers from two important problems : (i) incoherence of definitions and (ii) a narrow approach to valuation, inadequate to represent the full range of human motives for conservation and the diverse interests of different stakeholders. These shortcomings can lead to a range of problems including double-counting, blind spots and unintended consequences. In this opinion article, we propose an ecosystem valuing framework as a broader and more rigorous way to deliver the benefits currently sought from the ESF, without the conceptual problems.

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17 février 2017

The complex demographic history and evolutionary origin of the western honey bee, Apis mellifera [Genome Biology & Evolution]

The western honey bee, Apis mellifera, provides critical pollination services to agricultural crops worldwide. However, despite substantial interest and prior investigation, the early evolution and subsequent diversification of this important pollinator remain uncertain. The primary hypotheses place the origin of A. mellifera in either Asia or Africa, with subsequent radiations proceeding from one of these regions. Here, we use two publicly available whole-genome data sets plus newly sequenced genomes and apply multiple population genetic analysis methods to investigate the patterns of ancestry and admixture in native honey bee populations from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.(...)

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16 février 2017

Conservation genetics in the European Union – Biases, gaps and future directions [Biological Conservation]

Keywords : biodiversity, conservation biology, environmental policy, genetic markers, management, threatened species

The importance of genetic diversity for the assessment and maintenance of biodiversity is widely recognised, although not yet explicitly incorporated into conservation decision making in many European Union Member States. A detailed assessment of 4311 genetic studies relevant for the conservation and management of European species revealed that research is extensive and, therefore, could be more effectively implemented in existing conservation programs. However, research was overly biased towards the study of species with an economic value or iconic status, with research on threatened species or species with undetermined conservation status being scarce.(...)

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16 février 2017

No saturation in the accumulation of alien species worldwide [Nature Communications]

Keywords : invasive species, macroecology

Although research on human-mediated exchanges of species has substantially intensified during the last centuries, we know surprisingly little about temporal dynamics of alien species accumulations across regions and taxa. Using a novel database of 45,813 first records of 16,926 established alien species, we show that the annual rate of first records worldwide has increased during the last 200 years, with 37% of all first records reported most recently (1970–2014). (...)

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15 février 2017

Comparative genomics reveals high biological diversity and specific adaptations in the industrially and medically important fungal genus Aspergillus [Genome Biology]

Keywords : Aspergillus, genome sequencing, comparative genomics, fungal biology

The fungal genus Aspergillus is of critical importance to humankind. Species include those with industrial applications, important pathogens of humans, animals and crops, a source of potent carcinogenic contaminants of food, and an important genetic model. The genome sequences of eight aspergilli have already been explored to investigate aspects of fungal biology, raising questions about evolution and specialization within this genus.(...)

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