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12 octobre 2016

Impact of controlled neonicotinoid exposure on bumblebees in a realistic field setting [Journal of Applied Ecology]

Keywords : Bombus terrestris audax, bumblebees, clothianidin, colony growth, ecotoxicological guidelines, field setting ; foraging ecology ; neonicotinoid ; pesticide ; pollinators

1. Pesticide exposure has been implicated as a contributor to insect pollinator declines. In social bees, which are crucial pollination service providers, the effect of low-level chronic exposure is typically non-lethal leading researchers to consider whether exposure induces sublethal effects on behaviour and whether such impairment can affect colony development.
2. Studies under laboratory conditions can control levels of pesticide exposure and elucidate causative effects, but are often criticized for being unrealistic. In contrast, field studies can monitor bee responses under a more realistic pesticide exposure landscape ; yet typically such findings are limited to correlative results and can lack true controls or sufficient replication. We attempt to bridge this gap by exposing bumblebees to known amounts of pesticides when colonies are placed in the field.(...)

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12 octobre 2016

Extinction debt from climate change for frogs in the wet tropics [Biology Letters]

Keywords : conservation prioritization, extinction risk, metapopulation, species–area relationship, species distribution model

The effect of twenty-first-century climate change on biodiversity is commonly forecast based on modelled shifts in species ranges, linked to habitat suitability. These projections have been coupled with species–area relationships (SAR) to infer extinction rates indirectly as a result of the loss of climatically suitable areas and associated habitat. This approach does not model population dynamics explicitly, and so accepts that extinctions might occur after substantial (but unknown) delays—an extinction debt. Here we explicitly couple bioclimatic envelope models of climate and habitat suitability with generic life-history models for 24 species of frogs found in the Australian Wet Tropics (AWT).(...)

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11 octobre 2016

Five years of phenology observations from a mixed-grass prairie exposed to warming and elevated CO2 [Scientific Data]

Keywords : climate change, grassland ecology, phenology

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have been steadily increasing since the Industrial Era and contribute to concurrent increases in global temperatures. Many observational studies suggest climate warming alone contributes to a longer growing season. To determine the relative effect of warming on plant phenology, we investigated the individual and joint effects of warming and CO2 enrichment on a mixed-grass prairie plant community by following the development of six common grassland species and recording four major life history events.(...)

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10 octobre 2016

Initiation of Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis infection in the absence of physical contact with infected hosts – a field study in a high altitude lake [Oikos]

Understanding transmission is a critical prerequisite for predicting disease dynamics and impacts on host populations. It is well established that Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the amphibian fungal pathogen responsible for chytridiomycosis, can be transmitted directly, through physical contact with an infected host. However, indirect pathways of transmission remain poorly investigated. We conducted a five-week long field infection experiment at a high altitude mountain lake in the French Pyrenees to investigate Bd transmission pathways in larval midwife toads Alytes obstetricans.(...)

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10 octobre 2016

Time Since Urbanization but Not Encephalisation Is Associated with Increased Tolerance of Human Proximity in Birds [Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution]

The examination of links between a high degree of encephalisation (i.e., a large brain mass relative to body size) and the capacity of wildlife to inhabit anthropogenic habitats has formed the basis of several recent studies, although typically they have not uncovered any relationship. It, however, remains unclear whether encephalisation is directly related to a species’ capacity to develop tolerance to human proximity (i.e., a reduction in response to approaching humans). It is also unknown whether such a relationship is related to the size of specific areas of the brain. Using published data on flight-initiation distance (FID), the distance at which animals flee from an approaching human, we estimate the degree of tolerance of human proximity for 42 bird species by comparing FIDs in urban and rural areas, with relatively high and low exposure to humans, respectively. We used a phylogenetic, comparative approach to analyse the relationship of degree of tolerance, and of FID in urban and rural populations more directly, to relative sizes of whole brains (42 species) and brain components (25 species) for the species, and examine the effect of the year that the bird species was first recorded in an urban area (year of urbanization). (...)

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