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23 juin 2017

A unified model of Hymenopteran preadaptations that trigger the evolutionary transition to eusociality [Nature Communications]

Keywords : evolutionary theory, social evolution

Explaining the origin of eusociality, with strict division of labour between workers and reproductives, remains one of evolutionary biology’s greatest challenges. Specific combinations of genetic, behavioural and demographic traits in Hymenoptera are thought to explain their relatively high frequency of eusociality, but quantitative models integrating such preadaptations are lacking. Here we use mathematical models to show that the joint evolution of helping behaviour and maternal sex ratio adjustment can synergistically trigger both a behavioural change from solitary to eusocial breeding, and a demographic change from a life cycle with two reproductive broods to a life cycle in which an unmated cohort of female workers precedes a final generation of dispersing reproductives.(...)

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23 juin 2017

A dual role for farmlands : food security and pollinator conservation [Journal of Ecology]

Keywords : agroecosystems, bees, floral resources, native plants, nesting habitat, sustainability, wild pollinators

1.We briefly review current understanding of wild pollinators and pollination services on farmlands.
2.We consider how concepts in plant ecology – community assembly and functional trait diversity - may be applied to create diverse, wild pollinator communities across scales in agroecosystems.
3.and create more sustainable food production systems under changing environmental conditions, including creating greater landscape connectivity, embracing pollinator dynamics, and providing incentives and other motivations to support these practices.
4.Synthesis. We highlight the opportunity for agricultural lands to serve a dual role for both food production and pollinator conservation, and conclude by posing unanswered questions and top priorities for future studies.

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23 juin 2017

Recent human history governs global ant invasion dynamics [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : conservation biology, invasive species, macroecology

Human trade and travel are breaking down biogeographic barriers, resulting in shifts in the geographical distribution of organisms, yet it remains largely unknown whether different alien species generally follow similar spatiotemporal colonization patterns and how such patterns are driven by trends in global trade. Here, we analyse the global distribution of 241 alien ant species and show that these species comprise four distinct groups that inherently differ in their worldwide distribution from that of native species.(...)

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22 juin 2017

Intrapopulation diversity in isotopic niche over landscapes : Spatial patterns inform conservation of bear–salmon systems [Ecosphere]

Keywords : bears, dietary niche, geographic information systems, isoscapes, kernel-weighted regression, Oncorhynchus, predator–prey systems, salmon, stable isotope analysis, ursus

Intrapopulation variability in resource acquisition (i.e., niche variation) influences population dynamics, with important implications for conservation planning. Spatial analyses of niche variation within and among populations can provide relevant information about ecological associations and their subsequent management. We used stable isotope analysis and kernel-weighted regression to examine spatial patterns in a keystone consumer–resource interaction : salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) consumption by grizzly and black bears (Ursus arctos horribilis, n = 886 ; and Ursus americanus, n = 557) from 1995 to 2014 in British Columbia (BC), Canada.(...)

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22 juin 2017

Experimental species removals impact the architecture of pollination networks [Biology Letters]

Keywords : biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, niche dynamics, diet breadth, rewiring

Mutualistic networks are key for the creation and maintenance of biodiversity, yet are threatened by global environmental change. Most simulation models assume that network structure remains static after species losses, despite theoretical and empirical reasons to expect dynamic responses. We assessed the effects of experimental single bumblebee species removals on the structure of entire flower visitation networks. We hypothesized that network structure would change following processes linking interspecific competition with dietary niche breadth. (...)

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