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13 décembre 2017

Evolution of reproductive parasites with direct fitness benefits [Heredity]

Keywords : biological models, evolutionary biology, evolutionary genetics, population genetics

Maternally inherited symbionts such as Wolbachia have long been seen mainly as reproductive parasites, with deleterious effects on host fitness. It is becoming clear, however, that, frequently, these symbionts also have beneficial effects on host fitness, either along with reproductive parasitism or not. Using the examples of cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and male-killing (MK), we here analyze the effect of direct fitness benefits on the evolution of reproductive parasites. By means of a simple theoretical framework, we synthesize and extend earlier modeling approaches for CI and MK, which usually ignore fitness benefits.(...)

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13 décembre 2017

Genome of the Tasmanian tiger provides insights into the evolution and demography of an extinct marsupial carnivore [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : evolutionary genetics, genome evolution, molecular evolution

The Tasmanian tiger or thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) was the largest carnivorous Australian marsupial to survive into the modern era. Despite last sharing a common ancestor with the eutherian canids 160 million years ago, their phenotypic resemblance is considered the most striking example of convergent evolution in mammals. The last known thylacine died in captivity in 1936 and many aspects of the evolutionary history of this unique marsupial apex predator remain unknown. Here we have sequenced the genome of a preserved thylacine pouch young specimen to clarify the phylogenetic position of the thylacine within the carnivorous marsupials, reconstruct its historical demography and examine the genetic basis of its convergence with canids.(...)

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13 décembre 2017

Designing river flows to improve food security futures in the Lower Mekong Basin [Science]

Peng Bun Ngor

The Mekong River provides renewable energy and food security for a population of more than 60 million people in six countries : China, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Seasonal rains flood the river’s floodplain and delta. This flood pulse fuels what is likely the world’s largest freshwater fishery in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap Lake, with >2 million tonnes of annual harvest valued at $2 billion. Hydropower development is crucial to the region’s economic prosperity and is simultaneously a threat to fisheries and agriculture that thrived in the natural-flow regime. The Mekong is testament to the food, energy, and water challenges facing tropical rivers globally.(...)

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13 décembre 2017

Ecology, behaviour and management of the European catfish [Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries]

Julien Cucherousset

The extreme body sizes of megafishes associated with their high commercial values and recreational interests have made them highly threatened in their native range worldwide by human-induced impacts such as overexploitation. Meanwhile, some megafishes have been introduced outside of their native range. A notable example is the European catfish (Silurus glanis), one of the few siluriforms native to Eastern Europe. It is among the 20 largest freshwater fish worldwide, attaining a total length over 2.7 m and a documented mass of 130 kg. Its distinct phylogeny and extreme size imply many features that are rare among other European fish, including novel behaviours (massive aggregations, beaching), consumption of large bodied prey, fast growth rates, long lifespan, high fecundity, nest guarding and large egg sizes.(...)

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12 décembre 2017

Disentangling diatom species complexes : does morphometry suffice ? [PeerJ]

Keywords : bioinformatics, ecology, marine biology, taxonomy, freshwater Biology

Accurate taxonomic resolution in light microscopy analyses of microalgae is essential to achieve high quality, comparable results in both floristic analyses and biomonitoring studies. A number of closely related diatom taxa have been detected to date co-occurring within benthic diatom assemblages, sharing many morphological, morphometrical and ecological characteristics. In this contribution, we analysed the hypothesis that, where a large sample size (number of individuals) is available, common morphometrical parameters (valve length, width and stria density) are sufficient to achieve a correct identification to the species level.(...)

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