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28 février 2017

Intra- and interspecific niche variation as reconstructed from stable isotopes in two ecologically different Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes [Functional Ecology]

Keywords : community-wide metrics, lake productivity, mixing models, species sorting, species turnover

1.The concept of species niches has enhanced our understanding of community assembly and food web structure in a variety of ecosystem types. Niche-based species sorting profoundly determines community composition along strong environmental gradients, while interspecific interactions tend to be more important within habitats at local spatial scales. The role of intraspecific niche variation in community assembly and ecosystem functioning has only recently been highlighted.
2.The present study undertakes a quantitative comparison of the trophic structure of fish communities in two iconic Ethiopian Rift Valley lakes, Lake Abaya and Lake Chamo, which are biodiversity hotspots with high societal importance. The lakes differ strongly in ecology : whereas Lake Abaya is turbid due to a very high sediment loading, Lake Chamo is a clear-water lake, which in recent years is, however, rapidly becoming more turbid. Using stable isotopes, we compare the structure of the food web in both lakes, and investigate the degree to which differences in trophic structure between the two lakes are mediated by changes in species composition with fixed within-species niches or rather by flexibility in food acquisition within species.(...)

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28 février 2017

Impact of asynchronous emergence of two lethal pathogens on amphibian assemblages [Scientific Reports]

Keywords : ecological epidemiology, population dynamics

Emerging diseases have been increasingly associated with population declines, with co-infections exhibiting many types of interactions. The chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis) and ranaviruses have extraordinarily broad host ranges, however co-infection dynamics have been largely overlooked. We investigated the pattern of co-occurrence of these two pathogens in an amphibian assemblage in Serra da Estrela (Portugal). The detection of chytridiomycosis in Portugal was linked to population declines of midwife-toads (Alytes obstetricans).(...)

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27 février 2017

One species or four ? Yes !...and, no. Or, arbitrary assignment of lineages to species obscures the diversification processes of Neotropical fishes [PLOS One]

Keywords : species delimitation, mitochondrial DNA, phylogeography, taxonomy, evolutionary genetics, genetic loci, haplotypes, phylogenetic analysis

Species are fundamental units in many biological disciplines, but there is continuing disagreement as to what species are, how to define them, and even whether the concept is useful. While some of this debate can be attributed to inadequate data and insufficient statistical frameworks in alpha taxonomy, an equal part results from the ambiguity over what species are expected to represent by the many who use them. Here, mtDNA data, microsatellite data, and sequence data from 17 nuclear loci are used in an integrated and quantitative manner to resolve the presence of evolutionary lineages, their contemporary and historical structure, and their correspondence to species, in a species complex of Amazonian peacock “bass” cichlids (Cichla pinima sensu lato).(...)

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27 février 2017

Unraveling the processes shaping mammalian gut microbiomes over evolutionary time [Nature Communications]

Keywords : bacterial evolution, microbiome, phylogenetics, symbiosis

Whether mammal–microbiome interactions are persistent and specific over evolutionary time is controversial. Here we show that host phylogeny and major dietary shifts have affected the distribution of different gut bacterial lineages and did so on vastly different bacterial phylogenetic resolutions. Diet mostly influences the acquisition of ancient and large microbial lineages. Conversely, correlation with host phylogeny is mostly seen among more recently diverged bacterial lineages, consistent with processes operating at similar timescales to host evolution. Considering microbiomes at appropriate phylogenetic scales allows us to model their evolution along the mammalian tree and to infer ancient diets from the predicted microbiomes of mammalian ancestors.(...)

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27 février 2017

Age-dependent trajectories differ between within-pair and extra-pair paternity success [Journal of Evolutionary Biology]

Keywords : ageing, breeding success, indirect benefits, life-history strategy, optimal allocation strategy, mating system

Reproductive success is associated with age in many taxa, increasing in early life followed by reproductive senescence. In socially monogamous, but genetically polygamous species, this generates the interesting possibility of differential trajectories of within-pair and extra-pair siring success with age in males. We investigate these relationships simultaneously using within-individual analyses with 13 years of data from an insular house sparrow (Passer domesticus) population. As expected, we found that both within- and extra-pair paternity success increased with age, followed by a senescence-like decline. However, the age trajectories of within- and extra-pair paternity successes differed significantly(...)

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