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17 mars 2017

High resolution analysis of tropical forest fragmentation and its impact on the global carbon cycle [Nature Communications]

Keywords : carbon cycle, forest ecology, tropical ecology

Deforestation in the tropics is not only responsible for direct carbon emissions but also extends the forest edge wherein trees suffer increased mortality. Here we combine high-resolution (30 m) satellite maps of forest cover with estimates of the edge effect and show that 19% of the remaining area of tropical forests lies within 100 m of a forest edge. The tropics house around 50 million forest fragments and the length of the world’s tropical forest edges sums to nearly 50 million km. Edge effects in tropical forests have caused an additional 10.3 Gt (2.1–14.4 Gt) of carbon emissions, which translates into 0.34 Gt per year and represents 31% of the currently estimated annual carbon releases due to tropical deforestation. Fragmentation substantially augments carbon emissions from tropical forests and must be taken into account when analysing the role of vegetation in the global carbon cycle.

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17 mars 2017

Bumblebee family lineage survival is enhanced in high-quality landscapes [Nature]

Insect pollinators such as bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are in global decline. A major cause of this decline is habitat loss due to agricultural intensification. A range of global and national initiatives aimed at restoring pollinator habitats and populations have been developed. However, the success of these initiatives depends critically upon understanding how landscape change affects key population-level parameters, such as survival between lifecycle stages, in target species. This knowledge is lacking for bumblebees, because of the difficulty of systematically finding and monitoring colonies in the wild. We used a combination of habitat manipulation, land-use and habitat surveys, molecular genetics and demographic and spatial modelling to analyse between-year survival of family lineages in field populations of three bumblebee species.(...)

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17 mars 2017

Encountering a bait is necessary but insufficient to explain individual variability in vulnerability to angling in two freshwater benthivorous fish in the wild [PLOS One]

Keywords : carps, lakes, animal behavior, freshwater fish, fish physiology, lipids, behavioral ecology, behavior

Fish personality traits, such as swimming activity, or personality related emergent behavioural properties, such as the degree of space use shown by an individual fish, should affect encounter rates between individual fish and fishing gear. Increased encounters should in turn drive vulnerability to capture by passively operated gears. However, empirical evidence documenting a relationship between activity-based behaviours and vulnerability to capture by passive fishing gear in the wild is limited. Using whole-lake acoustic telemetry, we first documented significant repeatabilities over several months in a suite of encounter rate-associated behaviours (swimming distance, activity space size, time on baited feeding sites, switching frequency among baited feeding sites, distance to the lake bottom) in two recreationally important benthivorous cyprinid species, the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and tench (Tinca tinca).(...)

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17 mars 2017

Habitat variation, mutualism and predation shape the spatio-temporal dynamics of tansy aphids [Ecological Entomology]

Keywords : colonisation, extinction, interaction, Metopeurum fuscoviride, mutualist, predator

1. Spatially distributed resources can lead to the formation of metapopulations, where individual subpopulations are often small and can experience frequent local extinction events followed by recolonisation. An example of terrestrial metapopulations are specialised phytophagous insects on their patchily distributed host plants.
2. The present study investigated the population dynamics of a specialised aphid (Metopeurum fuscoviride) on its patchily distributed host plant (Tanacetum vulgare) and associated community of mutualistic ants and predators in a small-scale field site. Furthermore, aphid habitat differences (plant size, C/N ratio, location and surrounding vegetation) were quantified, and seasonal timing and precipitation were considered.(...)

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16 mars 2017

Transcriptome analysis of a wild bird reveals physiological responses to the urban environment [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : ecophysiology, evolutionary ecology

Identifying the molecular basis of environmentally induced phenotypic variation presents exciting opportunities for furthering our understanding of how ecological processes and the environment can shape the phenotype. Urban and rural environments present free-living organisms with different challenges and opportunities, which have marked consequences for the phenotype, yet little is known about responses at the molecular level. We characterised transcriptomes from an urban and a rural population of great tits Parus major, demonstrating striking differences in gene expression profiles in both blood and liver tissues.(...)

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