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15 février 2017

An assessment of the reliability of quantitative genetics estimates in study systems with high rate of extra-pair reproduction and low recruitment [Heredity]

Quantitative genetics approaches, and particularly animal models, are widely used to assess the genetic (co)variance of key fitness related traits and infer adaptive potential of wild populations. Despite the importance of precision and accuracy of genetic variance estimates and their potential sensitivity to various ecological and population specific factors, their reliability is rarely tested explicitly. Here, we used simulations and empirical data collected from an 11-year study on tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor), a species showing a high rate of extra-pair paternity and a low recruitment rate, to assess the importance of identity errors, structure and size of the pedigree on quantitative genetic estimates in our dataset.(...)

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15 février 2017

How flies are flirting on the fly [BMC Biology]

Keywords : Lucilia sericata, mate location, visual mate signals, wing flashes, flicker fusion frequency

Flies have some of the most elaborate visual systems in the Insecta, often featuring large, sexually dimorphic eyes with specialized “bright zones” that may have a functional role during mate-seeking behavior. The fast visual system of flies is considered to be an adaptation in support of their advanced flight abilities. Here, we show that the immense processing speed of the flies’ photoreceptors plays a crucial role in mate recognition.(...)

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14 février 2017

The French Muséum national d’histoire naturelle vascular plant herbarium collection dataset [Scientific Data]

Keywords : biodiversity, plant ecology, plant evolution, population dynamics, taxonomy

We provide a quantitative description of the French national herbarium vascular plants collection dataset. Held at the Muséum national d’histoire naturelle, Paris, it currently comprises records for 5,400,000 specimens, representing 90% of the estimated total of specimens. Ninety nine percent of the specimen entries are linked to one or more images and 16% have field-collecting information available. This major botanical collection represents the results of over three centuries of exploration and study. The sources of the collection are global, with a strong representation for France, including overseas territories, and former French colonies.(...)

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14 février 2017

Mapping evaporative water loss in desert passerines reveals an expanding threat of lethal dehydration [PNAS]

Keywords : avian ecology, physiological ecology, climate change, heat waves, water balance

Extreme high environmental temperatures produce a variety of consequences for wildlife, including mass die-offs. Heat waves are increasing in frequency, intensity, and extent, and are projected to increase further under climate change. However, the spatial and temporal dynamics of die-off risk are poorly understood. Here, we examine the effects of heat waves on evaporative water loss (EWL) and survival in five desert passerine birds across the southwestern United States using a combination of physiological data, mechanistically informed models, and hourly geospatial temperature data.(...)

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13 février 2017

Mismatch between marine plankton range movements and the velocity of climate change [Nature Communications]

Keywords : biodiversity, biogeography, climate-change ecology, environmental impact, marine biology

The response of marine plankton to climate change is of critical importance to the oceanic food web and fish stocks. We use a 60-year ocean basin-wide data set comprising >148,000 samples to reveal huge differences in range changes associated with climate change across 35 plankton taxa. While the range of dinoflagellates and copepods tended to closely track the velocity of climate change (the rate of isotherm movement), the range of the diatoms moved much more slowly. (...)

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