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17 octobre 2017

Ecological and evolutionary legacy of megafauna extinctions [Biological Reviews]

For hundreds of millions of years, large vertebrates (megafauna) have inhabited most of the ecosystems on our planet. During the late Quaternary, notably during the Late Pleistocene and the early Holocene, Earth experienced a rapid extinction of large, terrestrial vertebrates. While much attention has been paid to understanding the causes of this massive megafauna extinction, less attention has been given to understanding the impacts of loss of megafauna on other organisms with whom they interacted. In this review, we discuss how the loss of megafauna disrupted and reshaped ecological interactions, and explore the ecological consequences of the ongoing decline of large vertebrates. Numerous late Quaternary extinct species of predators, parasites, commensals and mutualistic partners were associated with megafauna and were probably lost due to their strict dependence upon them (co-extinctions).(...)

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16 octobre 2017

Warm northern river temperatures increase post-exercise fatigue in an Arctic migratory salmonid but not in a temperate relative [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : Arctic char, Arctic climate change, northern range expansion ; salmonid migration ; repeat swimming performance, temperature tolerance, oxygen uptake

1.The arctic is warming at twice the global average rate ; how native and non-native anadromous fishes will respond remains largely unknown. Some native arctic salmonids are already experiencing warm (>21°C), physically challenging migratory river conditions and large diurnal temperature fluctuations (>10°C).

2.We conducted field and laboratory experiments to determine how these extreme conditions may affect the capacity for migration in arctic and temperate salmonids.

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16 octobre 2017

Native ladybird decline caused by the invasive harlequin ladybird Harmonia axyridis : evidence from a long-term field study [Insect Conservation & Diversity]

Keywords : Adalia bipunctata, biological control, Coccinellidae, Harmonia axyridis, intraguild predation, invasive species, non-target effects

1.Harmonia axyridis (Pallas) (Coleoptera : Coccinellidae) is regarded as an invasive non-native species in Europe, where it has been spreading rapidly since the early years of the 21st century.
2.This study examines changes in ladybird communities at four sites (two lime tree sites, one pine tree site and one nettle site) in East Anglia, England, over an 11-year period (2006–2016) following invasion by H. axyridis.(...)

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16 octobre 2017

Ecological plant epigenetics : Evidence from model and non-model species, and the way forward [Ecology Letters]

Keywords : bioinformatics, ecological epigenetics, genomics, phenotypic plasticity, response to environment

Growing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation. In contrast, studies with model species have benefited from powerful genomic resources, which contribute to a more mechanistic understanding but have limited ecological realism. (...)

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16 octobre 2017

Stochastic variation in the initial phase of bacterial infection predicts the probability of survival in D. melanogaster [eLife]

David Duneau & Jean-Baptiste Ferdy

A central problem in infection biology is understanding why two individuals exposed to identical infections have different outcomes. We have developed an experimental model where genetically identical, co-housed Drosophila given identical systemic infections experience different outcomes, with some individuals succumbing to acute infection while others control the pathogen as an asymptomatic persistent infection. We found that differences in bacterial burden at the time of death did not explain the two outcomes of infection. Inter-individual variation in survival stems from variation in within-host bacterial growth, which is determined by the immune response. We developed a model that captures bacterial growth dynamics and identifies key factors that predict the infection outcome : the rate of bacterial proliferation and the time required for the host to establish an effective immunological control. Our results provide a framework for studying the individual host-pathogen parameters governing the progression of infection and lead ultimately to life or death.

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