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24 janvier 2017

Anthropogenic ecosystem disturbance and the recovery debt [Nature communications]

Keywords : conservation biology, restoration ecology

Ecosystem recovery from anthropogenic disturbances, either without human intervention or assisted by ecological restoration, is increasingly occurring worldwide. As ecosystems progress through recovery, it is important to estimate any resulting deficit in biodiversity and functions. Here we use data from 3,035 sampling plots worldwide, to quantify the interim reduction of biodiversity and functions occurring during the recovery process (that is, the ‘recovery debt’). Compared with reference levels, recovering ecosystems run annual deficits of 46–51% for organism abundance, 27–33% for species diversity, 32–42% for carbon cycling and 31–41% for nitrogen cycling.(...)

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20 janvier 2017

Mate choice in fruit flies is rational and adaptive [Nature Communications]

Keywords : animal behaviour, sexual selection

According to rational choice theory, beneficial preferences should lead individuals to sort available options into linear, transitive hierarchies, although the extent to which non-human animals behave rationally is unclear. Here we demonstrate that mate choice in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster results in the linear sorting of a set of diverse isogenic female lines, unambiguously demonstrating the hallmark of rational behaviour, transitivity. These rational choices are associated with direct benefits, enabling males to maximize offspring production.(...)

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20 janvier 2017

Tracing the peopling of the world through genomics [Nature]

Subject terms : genomics, evolution

Advances in the sequencing and the analysis of the genomes of both modern and ancient peoples have facilitated a number of breakthroughs in our understanding of human evolutionary history. These include the discovery of interbreeding between anatomically modern humans and extinct hominins ; the development of an increasingly detailed description of the complex dispersal of modern humans out of Africa and their population expansion worldwide ; and the characterization of many of the genetic adaptions of humans to local environmental conditions. Our interpretation of the evolutionary history and adaptation of humans is being transformed by analyses of these new genomic data.

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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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