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7 avril 2017

Functional Rarity : The Ecology of Outliers [Trends in Ecology & Evolution]

Rarity has been a central topic for conservation and evolutionary biologists aiming to determine the species characteristics that cause extinction risk. More recently, beyond the rarity of species, the rarity of functions or functional traits, called functional rarity, has gained momentum in helping to understand the impact of biodiversity decline on ecosystem functioning. However, a conceptual framework for defining and quantifying functional rarity is still lacking. We introduce 12 different forms of functional rarity along gradients of species scarcity and trait distinctiveness. We then highlight the potential key role of functional rarity in the long-term and large-scale maintenance of ecosystem processes, as well as the necessary linkage between functional and evolutionary rarity.

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5 avril 2017

Using a trait-based approach to measure the impact of dam closure in fish communities of a Neotropical River [Ecology of Freshwater Fish]

Keywords : biomonitoring, damming, fishes, functional diversity, traits, tropical river

Damming is one of the main causes of the global decline in freshwater biodiversity. Yet, many hydroelectric dams are being built (or planned) in the Neotropics, where the high species diversity and lack of basic ecological knowledge provide a major obstacle to understanding the effects of this environmental change, which has been mostly described from the perspective of taxonomic change. However, this approach does not account for biological function. Trait-based analysis provides an alternative approach to bioassessment. We assessed the impact of dam closure on the functional structure of fish communities of a Neotropical river by applying trait-based analyses to the response of individual traits aggregated at the assemblage level.(...)

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5 avril 2017

Groundwater depletion embedded in international food trade [Nature]

Keywords : water resources, hydrology, environmental impact, agriculture

Recent hydrological modelling and Earth observations have located and quantified alarming rates of groundwater depletion worldwide. This depletion is primarily due to water withdrawals for irrigation, but its connection with the main driver of irrigation, global food consumption, has not yet been explored. Here we show that approximately eleven per cent of non-renewable groundwater use for irrigation is embedded in international food trade, of which two-thirds are exported by Pakistan, the USA and India alone.(...)

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5 avril 2017

Life history tactics shape amphibians’ demographic responses to the North Atlantic Oscillation [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : amphibians, Bombina variegata, climate, fast–slow continuum, life history tactics, North Atlantic Oscillation, Salamandra salamandra, Triturus cristatus

Over the last three decades, climate abnormalities have been reported to be involved in biodiversity decline by affecting population dynamics. A growing number of studies have shown that the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) influences the demographic parameters of a wide range of plant and animal taxa in different ways. Life history theory could help to understand these different demographic responses to the NAO. Indeed, theory states that the impact of weather variation on a species’ demographic traits should depend on its position along the fast–slow continuum. In particular, it is expected that NAO would have a higher impact on recruitment than on adult survival in slow species, while the opposite pattern is expected occur in fast species. To test these predictions, we used long-term capture–recapture datasets (more than 15,000 individuals marked from 1965 to 2015) on different surveyed populations of three amphibian species in Western Europe : Triturus cristatus, Bombina variegata, and Salamandra salamandra.(...)

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1er avril 2017

Patterns of cross-contamination in a multispecies population genomic project : detection, quantification, impact, and solutions [BMC Biology]

Keywords : RNAseq, transcriptome, animals, SNP calling, genotyping, within-species

Contamination is a well-known but often neglected problem in molecular biology. Here, we investigated the prevalence of cross-contamination among 446 samples from 116 distinct species of animals, which were processed in the same laboratory and subjected to subcontracted transcriptome sequencing.(...)

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