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26 avril 2018

Invisible megafauna [Conservation Biology]

A significant proportion of Earth’s wildlife has been erased, not from the world, but from our collective depiction of nature. Even the most noticeable animals, terrestrial herbivorous megafauna weighing 100–4,000 kg, have been made nominally invisible. Wildlife outside native ranges are conspicuously missing from conservation data sets, distribution maps, population estimates, and conservation statuses. They are to be found, instead on invasive species lists (Lundgren et al. 2017).(...)

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26 avril 2018

Disentangling the effects of multiple environmental drivers on population changes within communities [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : climate change, community ecology, land‐use change, population trends, species attributes, trait‐based approach

1.The effects of different environmental drivers on the changes in species’ population abundances can be difficult to disentangle as they often act simultaneously. Researchers have built statistical models that include environmental variables (such as annual temperature) or species attributes (such as a species’ temperature preference), which are assumed to detect the impacts of specific drivers (such as climate change). However, these approaches are often applied separately or, if combined, not explicitly compared.
2.We show the complementary insights gained by applying both these approaches to a community dataset on Danish terrestrial birds. We use our analysis to compare the relative importance of climate change and agricultural land‐use change for the abundance changes within the community between 1983 and 2013.(...)

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26 avril 2018

Demographic causes of adult sex ratio variation and their consequences for parental cooperation [Nature Communications]

Keywords : behavioural ecology, population dynamics, sexual selection

The adult sex ratio (ASR) is a fundamental concept in population biology, sexual selection, and social evolution. However, it remains unclear which demographic processes generate ASR variation and how biases in ASR in turn affect social behaviour. Here, we evaluate the demographic mechanisms shaping ASR and their potential consequences for parental cooperation using detailed survival, fecundity, and behavioural data on 6119 individuals from six wild shorebird populations exhibiting flexible parental strategies.(...)

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26 avril 2018

The ash dieback invasion of Europe was founded by two genetically divergent individuals [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : ecological genetics, population genetics

Accelerating international trade and climate change make pathogen spread an increasing concern. Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, the causal agent of ash dieback, is a fungal pathogen that has been moving across continents and hosts from Asian to European ash. Most European common ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) are highly susceptible to H. fraxineus, although a minority ( 5%) have partial resistance to dieback. Here, we assemble and annotate a H. fraxineus draft genome, which approaches chromosome scale. Pathogen genetic diversity across Europe and in Japan, reveals a strong bottleneck in Europe, though a signal of adaptive diversity remains in key host interaction genes.(...)

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25 avril 2018

Cold adaptation recorded in tree rings highlights risks associated with climate change and assisted migration [Nature Communications]

Keywords : climate-change impacts, ecological genetics, forest ecology, forestry

With lengthening growing seasons but increased temperature variability under climate change, frost damage to plants may remain a risk and could be exacerbated by poleward planting of warm-adapted seed sources. Here, we study cold adaptation of tree populations in a wide-ranging coniferous species in western North America to inform limits to seed transfer. Using tree-ring signatures of cold damage from common garden trials designed to study genetic population differentiation, we find opposing geographic clines for spring frost and fall frost damage.(...)

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