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14 septembre 2016

Social carry-over effects underpin trans-seasonally linked structure in a wild bird population [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : carry-over effects, habitat selection, social networks, social relationships, spatial structure, territory choice

Spatial structure underpins numerous population processes by determining the environment individuals’ experience and which other individuals they encounter. Yet, how the social landscape influences individuals’ spatial decisions remains largely unexplored. Wild great tits (Parus major) form freely moving winter flocks, but choose a single location to establish a breeding territory over the spring. We demonstrate that individuals’ winter social associations carry-over into their subsequent spatial decisions, as individuals breed nearer to those they were most associated with during winter.(...)

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14 septembre 2016

Butterfly Learning and the Diversification of Plant Leaf Shape [Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution]

Visual cues are important for insects to find flowers and host plants. It has been proposed that the diversity of leaf shape in Passiflora vines could be a result of negative frequency dependent selection driven by visual searching behavior among their butterfly herbivores. Here we tested the hypothesis that Heliconius butterflies use leaf shape as a cue to initiate approach toward a host plant.(...)

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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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