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30 septembre 2016

Unexpected rewards induce dopamine-dependent positive emotion–like state changes in bumblebees [Science]

Whether invertebrates exhibit positive emotion–like states and what mechanisms underlie such states remain poorly understood. We demonstrate that bumblebees exhibit dopamine-dependent positive emotion–like states across behavioral contexts. After training with one rewarding and one unrewarding cue, bees that received pretest sucrose responded in a positive manner toward ambiguous cues. In a second experiment, pretest consumption of sucrose solution resulted in a shorter time to reinitiate foraging after a simulated predator attack.(...)

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30 septembre 2016

Symbionts modify interactions between insects and natural enemies in the field [Journal of Animal Ecology]

Keywords : aphid, field experiment, host–parasite, host–pathogen, interactions, symbiosis

1.Eukaryotes commonly host communities of heritable symbiotic bacteria, many of which are not essential for their hosts’ survival and reproduction. There is laboratory evidence that these facultative symbionts can provide useful adaptations, such as increased resistance to natural enemies. However, we do not know how symbionts affect host fitness when the latter are subject to attack by a natural suite of parasites and pathogens.
2.Here, we test whether two protective symbionts, Regiella insecticola and Hamiltonella defensa, increase the fitness of their host, the pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum), under natural conditions.
3.We placed experimental populations of two pea aphid lines, each with and without symbionts, in five wet meadow sites to expose them to a natural assembly of enemy species. The aphids were then retrieved and mortality from parasitoids, fungal pathogens and other causes assessed.(...)

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30 septembre 2016

Exploration into the hidden world of Mozambique’s sky island forests : new discoveries of reptiles and amphibians [Zoosystematics and Evolution]

Keywords : amphibia, reptilia, conservation, diversity, new species

We carried out a survey of reptiles and amphibians within Afromontane forest and woodland slopes of three inselbergs in northern Mozambique (Mount Mabu, Mount Namuli, and Mount Ribáuè). A total of 56 species (22 amphibians and 34 reptiles) were recorded during the current survey. Our findings substantially increase the number of herpetofaunal species recorded from these mountains (Mount Ribáuè 59%, Mount Mabu 37%, and Mount Namuli 11% of the total species), including one new country record and several putative new species. An updated checklist of the herpetofauna of these mountains is presented.

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30 septembre 2016

An Anthropocene map of genetic diversity [Science]

The Anthropocene is witnessing a loss of biodiversity, with well-documented declines in the diversity of ecosystems and species. For intraspecific genetic diversity, however, we lack even basic knowledge on its global distribution. We georeferenced 92,801 mitochondrial sequences for >4500 species of terrestrial mammals and amphibians, and found that genetic diversity is 27% higher in the tropics than in nontropical regions. Overall, habitats that are more affected by humans hold less genetic diversity than wilder regions, although results for mammals are sensitive to choice of genetic locus. Our study associates geographic coordinates with publicly available genetic sequences at a massive scale, yielding an opportunity to investigate both the drivers of this component of biodiversity and the genetic consequences of the anthropogenic modification of nature.

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29 septembre 2016

Citizen science data reveal ecological, historical and evolutionary factors shaping interactions between woody hosts and wood-inhabiting fungi [New Phytologist]

Keywords : ecological networks, endophytes, host selection, modularity, species richness, wood chemistry

Woody plants host diverse communities of associated organisms, including wood-inhabiting fungi. In this group, host effects on species richness and interaction network structure are not well understood, especially not at large geographical scales.
We investigated ecological, historical and evolutionary determinants of fungal species richness and network modularity, that is, subcommunity structure, across woody hosts in Denmark, using a citizen science data set comprising > 80 000 records of > 1000 fungal species on 91 genera of woody plants.(...)

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