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19 janvier 2017

Trapped within the city : Integrating demography, time since isolation and population-specific traits to assess the genetic effects of urbanization [Molecular Ecology]

Keywords : Salamandra salamandra, genetic isolation, microsatellite, genetic drift, population effective size, demography

Urbanization is a severe form of habitat fragmentation that can cause many species to be locally extirpated and many others to become trapped and isolated within an urban matrix. The role of drift in reducing genetic diversity and increasing genetic differentiation is well recognized in urban populations. However, explicit incorporation and analysis of the demographic and temporal factors promoting drift in urban environments is poorly studied. Here, we genotyped 15 microsatellites in 320 fire salamanders from the historical city of Oviedo (Est. 8th century) to assess the effects of time since isolation, demographic history (historical effective population size ; Ne) and patch size on genetic diversity, population structure and contemporary Ne.(...)

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19 janvier 2017

Impending extinction crisis of the world’s primates : Why primates matter [Science Advances]

Keywords : nonhuman primates, tropical forests, deforestation, hunting, illegal trade, primate conservation, sustainable land use, industrial agriculture, ecosystem health, rural livelihoods

Nonhuman primates, our closest biological relatives, play important roles in the livelihoods, cultures, and religions of many societies and offer unique insights into human evolution, biology, behavior, and the threat of emerging diseases. They are an essential component of tropical biodiversity, contributing to forest regeneration and ecosystem health. Current information shows the existence of 504 species in 79 genera distributed in the Neotropics, mainland Africa, Madagascar, and Asia. Alarmingly, 60% of primate species are now threatened with extinction and 75% have declining populations. This situation is the result of escalating anthropogenic pressures on primates and their habitats—mainly global and local market demands, leading to extensive habitat loss through the expansion of industrial agriculture, large-scale cattle ranching, logging, oil and gas drilling, mining, dam building, and the construction of new road networks in primate range regions.(...)

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18 janvier 2017

Annual time-series analysis of aqueous eDNA reveals ecologically relevant dynamics of lake ecosystem biodiversity [Nature Communications]

Keywords : biodiversity, molecular ecology

The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) in biodiversity assessments offers a step-change in sensitivity, throughput and simultaneous measures of ecosystem diversity and function. There remains, however, a need to examine eDNA persistence in the wild through simultaneous temporal measures of eDNA and biota. Here, we use metabarcoding of two markers of different lengths, derived from an annual time series of aqueous lake eDNA to examine temporal shifts in ecosystem biodiversity and in an ecologically important group of macroinvertebrates (Diptera : Chironomidae). The analyses allow different levels of detection and validation of taxon richness and community composition (β-diversity) through time, with shorter eDNA fragments dominating the eDNA community. Comparisons between eDNA, community DNA, taxonomy and UK species abundance data further show significant relationships between diversity estimates derived across the disparate methodologies. Our results reveal the temporal dynamics of eDNA and validate the utility of eDNA metabarcoding for tracking seasonal diversity at the ecosystem scale.

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18 janvier 2017

No effect of partner age and lifespan on female age-specific reproductive performance in blue tits [Journal of Avian Biology]

Studies of age-specific reproductive performance are fundamental to our understanding of population dynamics and the evolution of life-history strategies. In species with bi-parental care, reproductive ageing trajectories of either parent may be influenced by their partner’s age, but this has rarely been investigated. We investigated within-individual age-specific performance (laying date and number of eggs laid) in wild female blue tits Cyanistes caeruleus and evaluated how the age and longevity of their male partner indirectly influenced the females’ reproductive performance.(...)

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18 janvier 2017

Diversity and carbon storage across the tropical forest biome [Scientific Reports]

Jérôme Chave

Tropical forests are global centres of biodiversity and carbon storage. Many tropical countries aspire to protect forest to fulfil biodiversity and climate mitigation policy targets, but the conservation strategies needed to achieve these two functions depend critically on the tropical forest tree diversity-carbon storage relationship. Assessing this relationship is challenging due to the scarcity of inventories where carbon stocks in aboveground biomass and species identifications have been simultaneously and robustly quantified. Here, we compile a unique pan-tropical dataset of 360 plots located in structurally intact old-growth closed-canopy forest, surveyed using standardised methods, allowing a multi-scale evaluation of diversity-carbon relationships in tropical forests.(...)

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