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13 décembre 2017

Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin [Science]

Peng Bun Ngor

The Mekong River provides renewable energy and food security for a population of more than 60 million people in six countries : China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Seasonal rains flood the river’s floodplain and delta. This flood pulse fuels what is likely the world’s largest freshwater fishery in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, with >2 million tonnes of annual harvest valued at $2 billion. Hydropower development is crucial to the region’s economic prosperity and is simultaneously a threat to fisheries and agriculture that thrived in the natural-flow regime. The Mekong is testament to the food, energy, and water challenges facing tropical rivers globally.(...)

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12 décembre 2017

Disentangling diatom species complexes : does morphometry suffice ? [PeerJ]

Keywords : bioinformatics, ecology, marine biology, taxonomy, freshwater Biology

Accurate taxonomic resolution in light microscopy analyses of microalgae is essential to achieve high quality, comparable results in both floristic analyses and biomonitoring studies. A number of closely related diatom taxa have been detected to date co-occurring within benthic diatom assemblages, sharing many morphological, morphometrical and ecological characteristics. In this contribution, we analysed the hypothesis that, where a large sample size (number of individuals) is available, common morphometrical parameters (valve length, width and stria density) are sufficient to achieve a correct identification to the species level.(...)

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12 décembre 2017

Homogenization of lake cyanobacterial communities over a century of climate change and eutrophication [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, climate change, microbial ecology, microbial genetics

Human impacts on biodiversity are well recognized, but uncertainties remain regarding patterns of diversity change at different spatial and temporal scales. Changes in microbial assemblages are, in particular, not well understood, partly due to the lack of community composition data over relevant scales of space and time. Here, we investigate biodiversity patterns in cyanobacterial assemblages over one century of eutrophication and climate change by sequencing DNA preserved in the sediments of ten European peri-Alpine lakes. We found species losses and gains at the lake scale, while species richness increased at the regional scale over approximately the past 100 years.(...)

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12 décembre 2017

Forest extent and deforestation in tropical Africa since 1900 [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biogeography, ecology, forest ecology, palaeoecology

Accurate estimates of historical forest extent and associated deforestation rates are crucial for quantifying tropical carbon cycles and formulating conservation policy. In Africa, data-driven estimates of historical closed-canopy forest extent and deforestation at the continental scale are lacking, and existing modelled estimates diverge substantially. Here, we synthesize available palaeo-proxies and historical maps to reconstruct forest extent in tropical Africa around 1900, when European colonization accelerated markedly, and compare these historical estimates with modern forest extent to estimate deforestation.(...)

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11 décembre 2017

A fungal pathogen that robustly manipulates the behavior of Drosophila melanogaster in the laboratory [BioRxiv]

Many microbes induce striking behavioral changes in their animal hosts, but how they achieve these effects is poorly understood, especially at the molecular level. This is due in large part to the lack of a robust system amenable to modern molecular manipulation. We recently discovered a strain of the behavior-manipulating fungal fly pathogen Entomophthora muscae infecting wild adult Drosophila in Northern California, and developed methods to reliably propagate the infection in lab.-reared Drosophila melanogaster.(...)

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