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25 avril 2017

Global correlates of extinction risk in freshwater crayfish [Animal Conservation]

Keywords : IUCN Red List, crayfish, extinction risk, freshwater invertebrate, threat mapping, phylogenetic regression models

Global trait-based analyses can shed light on the factors predisposing species to high extinction risk, and can help bridge knowledge gaps in speciose and poorly known taxa. In this paper, I conduct the first global comparative study of crayfish extinction risk. I collated data on intrinsic (biology and ecology) and extrinsic (environment and threats) factors for 450 crayfish species assessed on the IUCN Red List. Phylogenetic multiple regression models were used to identify correlates of risk in all species ; in centres of diversity (American cambarids and Australian parastacids) ; and among threat types (agriculture, water management, pollution). I assessed the relative ability of threat maps quantifying specific threats (e.g. river fragmentation, mercury deposition) or a generic threat (human population density) to predict crayfish extinction risk.(...)

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25 avril 2017

A decade of insights into grassland ecosystem responses to global environmental change [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : biodiversity, community ecology, ecosystem ecology, grassland ecology

Earth’s biodiversity and carbon uptake by plants, or primary productivity, are intricately interlinked, underlie many essential ecosystem processes, and depend on the interplay among environmental factors, many of which are being changed by human activities. While ecological theory generalizes across taxa and environments, most empirical tests of factors controlling diversity and productivity have been observational, single-site experiments, or meta-analyses, limiting our understanding of variation among site-level responses and tests of general mechanisms.(...)

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21 avril 2017

Decreased losses of woody plant foliage to insects in large urban areas are explained by bird predation [Global Change Biology]

Keywords : ant predation, background insect herbivory, bird predation, host plant quality, leafminers, tritrophic interactions, urban ecology

Despite the increasing rate of urbanization, the consequences of this process on biotic interactions remain insufficiently studied. Our aims were to identify the general pattern of urbanization impact on background insect herbivory, to explore variations in this impact related to characteristics of both urban areas and insect–plant systems, and to uncover the factors governing urbanization impacts on insect herbivory. We compared the foliar damage inflicted on the most common trees by defoliating, leafmining and gall-forming insects in rural and urban habitats associated with 16 European cities.(...)

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21 avril 2017

Does habitat specialization shape the evolutionary potential of wild bird populations ? [Journal of Avian Biology]

Keywords : heritability, additive genetic variance, neutral diversity, individual specialization, niche width

Because specialist species evolved in more temporally and spatially homogeneous environments than generalist species, they are supposed to experience less fluctuating selection. For this reason, we expect specialists to show lower overall genetic variation as compared to generalists. We also expect populations from specialist species to be smaller and more fragmented, with lower neutral genetic diversity. We tested these hypotheses by investigating patterns of genetic diversity along a habitat specialization gradient in wild birds, based on estimates of heritability, coefficients of variation of additive genetic variance, and heterozygosity available in the literature.(...)

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21 avril 2017

Toward a theory for diversity gradients : the abundance–adaptation hypothesis [Ecography]

The abundance–adaptation hypothesis argues that taxa with more individuals and faster generation times will have more evolutionary ‘experiments’ allowing expansion into, and diversification within, novel habitats. Thus, as older taxa have produced more individuals over time, and smaller taxa have higher population sizes and faster generation times, the Latitudinal Diversity Gradients (LDGs) of these clades should show shallower slopes. We describe the LDGs for archaea, bacteria, fungi, invertebrates and trees from six North American forests. For three focal groups – bacteria, ants, and trees – older taxa had shallower LDG slopes than the more recent, terminal taxa.(...)

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