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5 avril 2018

The spatial and temporal domains of modern ecology [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecology

To understand ecological phenomena, it is necessary to observe their behaviour across multiple spatial and temporal scales. Since this need was first highlighted in the 1980s, technology has opened previously inaccessible scales to observation. To help to determine whether there have been corresponding changes in the scales observed by modern ecologists, we analysed the resolution, extent, interval and duration of observations (excluding experiments) in 348 studies that have been published between 2004 and 2014. We found that observational scales were generally narrow, because ecologists still primarily use conventional field techniques.(...)

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5 avril 2018

Scales of data [Nature Ecology & Evolution - News & Views]

Keywords : biogeography, ecology, macroecology

An audit of recent research on the scales of data collection in ecology highlights the field’s data limitations, which may hinder progress in linking processes across scales.

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5 avril 2018

Gene transfers can date the tree of life [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : molecular evolution, palaeontology, phylogenetics

Biodiversity has always been predominantly microbial, and the scarcity of fossils from bacteria, archaea and microbial eukaryotes has prevented a comprehensive dating of the tree of life. Here, we show that patterns of lateral gene transfer deduced from an analysis of modern genomes encode a novel and abundant source of information about the temporal coexistence of lineages throughout the history of life. We use state-of-the-art species tree-aware phylogenetic methods to reconstruct the history of thousands of gene families and demonstrate that dates implied by gene transfers are consistent with estimates from relaxed molecular clocks in Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. We present the order of speciations according to lateral gene transfer data calibrated to geological time for three datasets comprising 40 genomes for Cyanobacteria, 60 genomes for Archaea and 60 genomes for Fungi. An inspection of discrepancies between transfers and clocks and a comparison with mammalian fossils show that gene transfer in microbes is potentially as informative for dating the tree of life as the geological record in macroorganisms.

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5 avril 2018

Ericoid plant species and Pinus sylvestris shape fungal communities in their roots and surrounding soil [New Phytologist]

Root‐colonizing fungi can form mycorrhizal or endophytic associations with plant roots, the type of association depending on the host. We investigated the differences and similarities of the fungal communities of three boreal ericoid plants and one coniferous tree, and identified the community structure of fungi utilizing photosynthates from the plants studied.(...)

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5 avril 2018

Global phenological insensitivity to shifting ocean temperatures among seabirds [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : ocean sciences, phenology

Reproductive timing in many taxa plays a key role in determining breeding productivity, and is often sensitive to climatic conditions. Current climate change may alter the timing of breeding at different rates across trophic levels, potentially resulting in temporal mismatch between the resource requirements of predators and their prey. This is of particular concern for higher-trophic-level organisms, whose longer generation times confer a lower rate of evolutionary rescue than primary producers or consumers. However, the disconnection between studies of ecological change in marine systems makes it difficult to detect general changes in the timing of reproduction.(...)

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