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8 septembre 2017

Consistent Individual Differences Drive Collective Behavior and Group Functioning of Schooling Fish [Current Biology]

The ubiquity of consistent inter-individual differences in behavior (“animal personalities”) suggests that they might play a fundamental role in driving the movements and functioning of animal groups, including their collective decision-making, foraging performance, and predator avoidance. Despite increasing evidence that highlights their importance, we still lack a unified mechanistic framework to explain and to predict how consistent inter-individual differences may drive collective behavior. Here we investigate how the structure, leadership, movement dynamics, and foraging performance of groups can emerge from inter-individual differences by high-resolution tracking of known behavioral types in free-swimming stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) shoals.(...)

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7 septembre 2017

Biodiversity effects in the wild are common and as strong as key drivers of productivity [Nature]

More than 500 controlled experiments have collectively suggested that biodiversity loss reduces ecosystem productivity and stability. Yet the importance of biodiversity in sustaining the world’s ecosystems remains controversial, largely because of the lack of validation in nature, where strong abiotic forcing and complex interactions are assumed to swamp biodiversity effects. Here we test this assumption by analysing 133 estimates reported in 67 field studies that statistically separated the effects of biodiversity on biomass production from those of abiotic forcing.(...)

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6 septembre 2017

Hydrologic resilience and Amazon productivity [Nature Communications]

Keywords : carbon cycle, climate and Earth system modelling, ecological modelling, hydrology

The Amazon rainforest is disproportionately important for global carbon storage and biodiversity. The system couples the atmosphere and land, with moist forest that depends on convection to sustain gross primary productivity and growth. Earth system models that estimate future climate and vegetation show little agreement in Amazon simulations. Here we show that biases in internally generated climate, primarily precipitation, explain most of the uncertainty in Earth system model results ; models, empirical data and theory converge when precipitation biases are accounted for. Gross primary productivity, above-ground biomass and tree cover align on a hydrological relationship with a breakpoint at 2000 mm annual precipitation, where the system transitions between water and radiation limitation of evapotranspiration. The breakpoint appears to be fairly stable in the future, suggesting resilience of the Amazon to climate change. Changes in precipitation and land use are therefore more likely to govern biomass and vegetation structure in Amazonia.

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6 septembre 2017

AmphiBIO, a global database for amphibian ecological traits [Scientific Data]

Keywords : data integration, herpetology, macroecology

Current ecological and evolutionary research are increasingly moving from species- to trait-based approaches because traits provide a stronger link to organism’s function and fitness. Trait databases covering a large number of species are becoming available, but such data remains scarce for certain groups. Amphibians are among the most diverse vertebrate groups on Earth, and constitute an abundant component of major terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems. They are also facing rapid population declines worldwide, which is likely to affect trait composition in local communities, thereby impacting ecosystem processes and services. In this context, we introduce AmphiBIO, a comprehensive database of natural history traits for amphibians worldwide. The database releases information on 17 traits related to ecology, morphology and reproduction features of amphibians. We compiled data from more than 1,500 literature sources, and for more than 6,500 species of all orders (Anura, Caudata and Gymnophiona), 61 families and 531 genera. This database has the potential to allow unprecedented large-scale analyses in ecology, evolution, and conservation of amphibians.

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6 septembre 2017

Individual growth as a non-dietary determinant of the isotopic niche metrics [Methods in Ecology and Evolution]

Keywords : dietary diversity, diet-consumer fractionation, intrapopulation variability, isotopic niche, growth and nutritional status, mysids

1. Quantitative analytical approaches for isotopic niche analysis in the trophic diversity studies are proliferating rapidly ; however, the assumptions behind the isotopic niche applications are rarely tested. One of the main assumptions is independence of the niche metrics and physiological status of the animals. The aim of this experimental study was to test the relationship between growth and Layman’s metrics of isotopic niche in consumers eating the same food but in different quantities and growing at different rates.(...)

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