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22 juin 2018

Tempo and timing of ecological trait divergence in bird speciation [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Organismal traits may evolve either gradually or in rapid pulses, but the relative importance of these modes in the generation of species differences is unclear. Additionally, while pulsed evolution is frequently assumed to be associated with speciation events, few studies have explicitly examined how the tempo of trait divergence varies with respect to different geographical phases of speciation, starting with geographic isolation and ending, in many cases, with spatial overlap (sympatry). Here we address these issues by combining divergence time estimates, trait measurements and geographic range data for 952 avian sister species pairs worldwide to examine the tempo and timing of trait divergence in recent speciation events. (...)

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22 juin 2018

The macroecological dynamics of species coexistence in birds [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Ecological communities are assembled from the overlapping of species in geographic space, but the mechanisms facilitating or limiting such overlaps are difficult to resolve. Here, we combine phylogenetic, morphological and environmental data to model how multiple processes regulate the origin and maintenance of geographic range overlap across 1,115 pairs of avian sister species globally. We show that coexistence cannot be adequately predicted by either dispersal-assembly (that is, biogeographic) models or niche-assembly models alone. Instead, our results overwhelmingly support an integrated model with different assembly processes dominating at different stages of coexistence.(...)

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20 juin 2018

Transcriptomic atlas of mushroom development highlights an independent origin of complex multicellularity [BioRxiv]

We constructed a reference atlas of mushroom formation based on developmental transcriptome data of six species and comparisons of >200 whole genomes, to elucidate the core genetic program of complex multicellularity and fruiting body development in mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes). Nearly 300 conserved gene families and >70 functional groups contained developmentally regulated genes from five to six species, covering functions related to fungal cell wall (FCW) remodeling, targeted protein degradation, signal transduction, adhesion and small secreted proteins (including effector-like orphan genes). Several of these families, including F-box proteins, protein kinases and cadherin-like proteins, showed massive expansions in Agaricomycetes, with many convergently expanded in multicellular plants and/or animals too, reflecting broad genetic convergence among independently evolved complex multicellular lineages. This study provides a novel entry point to studying mushroom development and complex multicellularity in one of the largest clades of complex eukaryotic organisms.

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20 juin 2018

Oak genome reveals facets of long lifespan [Nature Plants]

Oaks are an important part of our natural and cultural heritage. Not only are they ubiquitous in our most common landscapes but they have also supplied human societies with invaluable services, including food and shelter, since prehistoric times. With 450 species spread throughout Asia, Europe and America, oaks constitute a critical global renewable resource. The longevity of oaks (several hundred years) probably underlies their emblematic cultural and historical importance. Such long-lived sessile organisms must persist in the face of a wide range of abiotic and biotic threats over their lifespans. We investigated the genomic features associated with such a long lifespan by sequencing, assembling and annotating the oak genome. We then used the growing number of whole-genome sequences for plants (including tree and herbaceous species) to investigate the parallel evolution of genomic characteristics potentially underpinning tree longevity.(...)

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20 juin 2018

Global hidden harvest of freshwater fish revealed by household surveys [PNAS]

Experts have long believed that fish catches from rivers and lakes are underreported, which leads to lack of appreciation for their contribution to global food security. Rather than focusing on landing data, we backcalculated harvests using surveys of household consumption of freshwater fish. Data from 548,000 households across 42 countries reveal that freshwater catches are likely to be ∼65% higher than officially reported. These hidden harvests are concentrated in low-income countries where they represent the equivalent of the total annual animal protein consumption of 36.9 million people. Long-term underreporting of inland fisheries masks their critical role in feeding the world’s poor and complicates using catch statistics to evaluate the impact of overharvest and ecosystem degradation.

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