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20 avril 2017

When Measuring Biodiversity, Do Individuals Matter ? [Methods Blog]

Our newly-developed method simulates intraspecific trait variation when measuring biodiversity. This gives us an understanding of how individual variation affects ecosystem processes and functioning. We were able to show that accounting for within-species variation when measuring functional diversity can reveal details about ecological communities which would otherwise remain unseen. Namely, we found a negative impact of selective-logging on birds in Borneo when accounting for intraspecific variation which we could not detect when ignoring intraspecific variation.

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19 avril 2017

Mutagenicity in surface waters : new insights into an old problem [The Freshwater Blog]

Where chemicals interact with our genes, resulting in harmful mutations, potentially causing cancer and damaging our offspring – is a major environmental concern. Mutagenicity in drinking water resources – including many European rivers, lakes and reservoirs – is a particular problem. Although rarely investigated, similar mutation effects can be observed in wildlife, and it is still under debate whether mutagens can damage whole populations.

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19 avril 2017

Gut bacteria affect ageing [MedicalXPress]

It loses its pigments, its motor skills and mental faculties decline, it gets cancer – the turquoise killifish (Nothobranchius furzeri) struggles with the same signs of old age that affect many other living creatures. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne have studied the effect of intestinal microbiota on ageing and lifespan. Their results show that older animals remain active for longer and live longer if they receive the intestinal bacteria of younger members of the species. The results suggest that microorganisms in the gut affect the ageing of an organism.

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18 avril 2017

Megafaunal extinctions driven by too much moisture [Phys]

Studies of bones from Ice Age megafaunal animals across Eurasia and the Americas have revealed that major increases in environmental moisture occurred just before many species suddenly became extinct around 11-15,000 years ago. The persistent moisture resulting from melting permafrost and glaciers caused widespread glacial-age grasslands to be rapidly replaced by peatlands and bogs, fragmenting populations of large herbivore grazers.

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18 avril 2017

Origins of an enigmatic genus of Asian butterflies carrying mythological names decoded [PenSoft]

A group of rare Asian butterflies which have once inspired an association with Hindu mythological creatures have been quite a chaos for the experts. In fact, their systematics turned out so confusing that in order to decode their taxonomic placement, scientists had to dig up their roots some 43 million years back.

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