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29 septembre 2016

Competitive males have higher quality sperm in a monogamous social bee [BMC Evolutionary Biology]

Keywords : aggregation, male competition, sexual selection, sperm, ,ocial insects

Persistence in male aggregations thus seems to select more competitive males with higher quality sperm. Our work is the first one to reveal an association between male competitive ability and fertilization success in a monogamous social insect. This finding sheds important light on the evolution of male traits in social insects and the general mechanisms of sexual selection.(...)

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28 septembre 2016

Widespread natural variation of DNA methylation within angiosperms [Genome Biology]

DNA methylation is an important feature of plant epigenomes, involved in the formation of heterochromatin and affecting gene expression. Extensive variation of DNA methylation patterns within a species has been uncovered from studies of natural variation. However, the extent to which DNA methylation varies between flowering plant species is still unclear. To understand the variation in genomic patterning of DNA methylation across flowering plant species, we compared single base resolution DNA methylomes of 34 diverse angiosperm species.(...)

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28 septembre 2016

The phylogenomic forest of bird trees contains a hard polytomy at the root of Neoaves [Zoologica Scripta / Invited Review]

Birds have arguably been the most intensely studied animal group for their phylogenetic relationships. However, the recent advent of genome-scale phylogenomics has made the forest of bird phylogenies even more complex and confusing. Here, in this perspective piece, I show that most parts of the avian Tree of Life are now firmly established as reproducible phylogenetic hypotheses. This is to the exception of the deepest relationships among Neoaves. Using phylogenetic networks and simulations, I argue that the very onset of the super-rapid neoavian radiation is irresolvable because of eight near-simultaneous speciation events.(...)

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27 septembre 2016

The Conundrum of Heterogeneities in Life History Studies [Trends in Ecology & Evolution / Review]

Emmanuelle Cam

What causes interindividual variation in fitness ? Evidence of heritability of latent individual fitness traits has resparked a debate about the causes of variation in life histories in populations : neutralism versus empirical adaptationism. This debate about the processes underlying observed variation pits neutral stochastic demographic processes against evolutionarily relevant differences among individual fitness traits. Advancing this debate requires careful consideration of differences among inference approaches used by proponents of each hypothesis. Here we draw parallels between several disciplines focusing on processes generating variation in individuals’ life-course, and we contrast methodologies to disentangle these processes. We draw on other disciplines to clarify terminology, risks of flawed inference, and expand the panel of hypotheses and formalizations of processes generating variation in life histories.

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23 septembre 2016

Plant diversity patterns in neotropical dry forests and their conservation implications [Science]

Seasonally dry tropical forests are distributed across Latin America and the Caribbean and are highly threatened, with less than 10% of their original extent remaining in many countries. Using 835 inventories covering 4660 species of woody plants, we show marked floristic turnover among inventories and regions, which may be higher than in other neotropical biomes, such as savanna. Such high floristic turnover indicates that numerous conservation areas across many countries will be needed to protect the full diversity of tropical dry forests. Our results provide a scientific framework within which national decision-makers can contextualize the floristic significance of their dry forest at a regional and continental scale.

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