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13 mars 2018

Habitat fragmentation, not habitat loss, drives the prevalence of blood parasites in a Caribbean passerine [Ecography]

Habitat destruction due to human land-use activities is well recognized as a central threat to biodiversity. However, there is still debate about the relative influence of its two components, habitat loss and habitat fragmentation, mostly because few studies have been able to disentangle their respective effects. We studied mechanisms by which habitat destruction might influence the prevalence of vector-transmitted haemosporidian blood parasites of the genera Plasmodium and Haemoproteus infecting the Lesser Antillean bullfinch Loxigilla noctis on the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique. Starting from a large set of environmental descriptors (including metrics reflecting habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and landscape heterogeneity ; as well as other variables not linked to habitat destruction, such as climatic conditions), we used PLS regression analyses to determine which variables were driving parasite prevalence on the islands.(...)

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13 mars 2018

A meta-analysis of birth-origin effects on reproduction in diverse captive environments [Nature Communications]

Keywords : evolution, zoology

Successfully establishing captive breeding programs is a priority across diverse industries to address food security, demand for ethical laboratory research animals, and prevent extinction. Differences in reproductive success due to birth origin may threaten the long-term sustainability of captive breeding. Our meta-analysis examining 115 effect sizes from 44 species of invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals shows that, overall, captive-born animals have a 42% decreased odds of reproductive success in captivity compared to their wild-born counterparts.(...)

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13 mars 2018

The preregistration revolution [PNAS]

Keywords : methodology, open science, confirmatory analysis, exploratory analysis, preregistration

Progress in science relies in part on generating hypotheses with existing observations and testing hypotheses with new observations. This distinction between postdiction and prediction is appreciated conceptually but is not respected in practice. Mistaking generation of postdictions with testing of predictions reduces the credibility of research findings. However, ordinary biases in human reasoning, such as hindsight bias, make it hard to avoid this mistake. An effective solution is to define the research questions and analysis plan before observing the research outcomes—a process called preregistration. Preregistration distinguishes analyses and outcomes that result from predictions from those that result from postdictions.(...)

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13 mars 2018

Genetic basis of thermal plasticity variation in Drosophila melanogaster body size [BioRxiv]

David Duneau, Patricia Beldade

Body size is a quantitative trait that is closely associated to fitness and under the control of both genetic and environmental factors. While developmental plasticity for this and other traits is heritable and under selection, little is known about the genetic basis for variation in plasticity that can provide the raw material for its evolution. We quantified genetic variation for body size plasticity in Drosophila melanogaster by measuring thorax and abdomen length of females reared at two temperatures from a panel representing naturally segregating alleles, the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP). We found variation between genotypes for the levels and direction of thermal plasticity in size of both body parts. We then used a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) approach to unravel the genetic basis of inter-genotype variation in body size plasticity, and used different approaches to validate selected QTLs and to explore potential pleiotropic effects.(...)

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12 mars 2018

Current state of knowledge on Wolbachia infection among Coleoptera : a systematic review [PeerJ]

Keywords : systematic review, ecology, entomology, evolutionary studies, microbiology

Despite great progress in studies on Wolbachia infection in insects, the knowledge about its relations with beetle species, populations and individuals, and the effects of bacteria on these hosts, is still unsatisfactory. In this review we summarize the current state of knowledge about Wolbachia occurrence and interactions with Coleopteran hosts.(...)

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