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8 mars 2017

Effects of an invasive predator cascade to plants via mutualism disruption [Nature Communications]

Keywords : community ecology, forest ecology, invasive species

Invasive vertebrate predators are directly responsible for the extinction or decline of many vertebrate species, but their indirect impacts often go unmeasured, potentially leading to an underestimation of their full impact. When invasives extirpate functionally important mutualists, dependent species are likely to be affected as well. Here, we show that the invasive brown treesnake, directly responsible for the extirpation of forest birds from the island of Guam, is also indirectly responsible for a severe decline in plant recruitment as a result of disrupting the fruit-frugivore mutualism. (...)

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8 mars 2017

A fitness trade-off between seasons causes multigenerational cycles in phenotype and population size [eLIFE]

Although seasonality is widespread and can cause fluctuations in the intensity and direction of natural selection, we have little information about the consequences of seasonal fitness trade-offs for population dynamics. Here we exposed populations of Drosophila melanogaster to repeated seasonal changes in resources across 58 generations and used experimental and mathematical approaches to investigate how viability selection on body size in the non-breeding season could affect demography. (...)

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8 mars 2017

Molecular substitution rate increases with latitude in butterflies : evidence for a trans-glacial latitudinal layering of populations ? [Ecography]

A well-documented consequence of repeated global ice ages is the negative relationship between latitude and intraspecific genetic diversity. However, little is known about additional effects of such major climatic events on population genetic structure. Here we studied the phylogeographic structure of five lycaenid butterfly species with varied ecological adaptations, sampled across a latitudinal gradient in the Holarctic region. We found a positive correlation between latitude and substitution rate of mitochondrial DNA sequences in all species investigated.(...)

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8 mars 2017

Assessing soil biodiversity potentials in Europe [Science of The Total Environment]

Soil is important as a critical component for the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. The largest part of the terrestrial biodiversity relies, directly or indirectly, on soil. Furthermore, soil itself is habitat to a great diversity of organisms. The suitability of soil to host such a diversity is strongly related to its physico-chemical features and environmental properties. However, due to the complexity of both soil and biodiversity, it is difficult to identify a clear and unambiguous relationship between environmental parameters and soil biota. Nevertheless, the increasing diffusion of a more integrated view of ecosystems, and in particular the development of the concept of ecosystem services, highlights the need for a better comprehension of the role played by soils in offering these services, including the habitat provision.(...)

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7 mars 2017

Models projecting the fate of fish populations under climate change need to be based on valid physiological mechanisms [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : aerobic scop, gill surface area, growth, metabolism, oxygen consumption, respiration, scaling

Some recent modelling papers projecting smaller fish sizes and catches in a warmer future are based on erroneous assumptions regarding (i) the scaling of gills with body mass and (ii) the energetic cost of ‘maintenance’. Assumption (i) posits that insurmountable geometric constraints prevent respiratory surface areas from growing as fast as body volume. It is argued that these constraints explain allometric scaling of energy metabolism, whereby larger fishes have relatively lower mass-specific metabolic rates. Assumption (ii) concludes that when fishes reach a certain size, basal oxygen demands will not be met, because of assumption (i). We here demonstrate unequivocally, by applying accepted physiological principles with reference to the existing literature, that these assumptions are not valid.(...)

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