63 articles found
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Why scaling up uncertain predictions to higher levels of organisation will underestimate change
James Orr, Jeremy Piggott, Andrew Jackson, Jean-François Arnoldi

Recommended by Elisa Thebault based on reviews by Carlos Melian and 1 anonymous reviewer
Uncertain predictions of species responses to perturbations lead to underestimate changes at ecosystem level in diverse systems

Different sources of uncertainty are known to affect our ability to predict ecological dynamics (Petchey et al. 2015). However, the consequences of uncertainty on prediction biases have been less investigated, especially when predictions are scaled up to higher levels of organisation as is commonly done in ecology for instance. The study of Orr et al. (2020) addresses this issue. It shows that, in complex systems, the uncertainty of unbiased predictions at a lower level of organisation (e.g. spe...

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Insect herbivory on urban trees: Complementary effects of tree neighbours and predation
Alex Stemmelen, Alain Paquette, Marie-Lise Benot, Yasmine Kadiri, Hervé Jactel, Bastien Castagneyrol

Recommended by Ruth Arabelle Hufbauer and Ian Pearse based on reviews by Freerk Molleman and Ian Pearse
Tree diversity is associated with reduced herbivory in urban forest

Urban ecology, the study of ecological systems in our increasingly urbanized world, is crucial to planning and redesigning cities to enhance ecosystem services (Kremer et al. 2016), human health and well-being and further conservation goals (Dallimer et al. 2012). Urban trees are a crucial component of urban streets and parks that provide shade and cooling through evapotranspiration (Fung and Jim 2019), improve air quality (Lai and Kontokosta 2019), help control storm water (Johnson and Handel 2...

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Implementing a rapid geographic range expansion - the role of behavior and habitat changes
Logan CJ, McCune KB, Breen A, Chen N, Lukas D

Recommended by Esther SebastiĂĄn GonzĂĄlez based on reviews by Pizza Ka Yee Chow, Caroline Marie Jeanne Yvonne Nieberding, Tim Parker and 1 anonymous reviewer
The role of behavior and habitat availability on species geographic expansion

Understanding the relative importance of species-specific traits and environmental factors in modulating species distributions is an intriguing question in ecology [1]. Both behavioral flexibility (i.e., the ability to change the behavior in changing circumstances) and habitat availability are known to influence the ability of a species to expand its geographic range [2,3]. However, the role of each factor is context and species dependent and more information is needed to understand how these tw...

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Does space use behavior relate to exploration in a species that is rapidly expanding its geographic range?
Kelsey B. McCune, Cody Ross, Melissa Folsom, Luisa Bergeron, Corina Logan

Recommended by Blandine Doligez based on reviews by Laure Cauchard, Marion Nicolaus and Joe Nocera
Explore and move: a key to success in a changing world?

Changes in the spatial range of many species are one of the major consequences of the profound alteration of environmental conditions due to human activities. Some species expand, sometimes spectacularly during invasions; others decline; some shift. Because these changes result in local biodiversity loss (whether local species go extinct or are replaced by colonizing ones), understanding the factors driving spatial range dynamics appears crucial to predict biodiversity dynamics. Identifying the ...

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How citizen science could improve Species Distribution Models and their independent assessment
Florence Matutini, Jacques Baudry, Guillaume Pain, Morgane Sineau, Josephine Pithon

Recommended by Francisco Lloret based on reviews by Maria Angeles Perez-Navarro and 1 anonymous reviewer
Citizen science contributes to SDM validation

Citizen science is becoming an important piece for the acquisition of scientific knowledge in the fields of natural sciences, and particularly in the inventory and monitoring of biodiversity (McKinley et al. 2017). The information generated with the collaboration of citizens has an evident importance in conservation, by providing information on the state of populations and habitats, helping in mitigation and restoration actions, and very importantly contributing to involve society in conservatio...

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The dynamics of spawning acts by a semelparous fish and its associated energetic costs
Cédric Tentelier, Colin Bouchard, Anaïs Bernardin, Amandine Tauzin, Jean-Christophe Aymes, Frédéric Lange, Charlotte Recapet, Jacques Rives

Recommended by Francois-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont based on reviews by Aidan Jonathan Mark Hewison, LoĂŻc Teulier and 1 anonymous reviewer
Extreme weight loss: when accelerometer could reveal reproductive investment in a semelparous fish species

Continuous observation of animal behaviour could be quite a challenge in the field, and the situation becomes even more complicated with aquatic species mostly active at night. In such cases, biologging techniques are real game changers in ecology, behavioural ecology or eco-physiology. An accelerating number of methodological applications of these tools in natural condition are thus published each year [1]. Biologging is not limited to movement ecology. For instance, fine grain information abou...

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Three points of consideration before testing the effect of patch connectivity on local species richness: patch delineation, scaling and variability of metrics
F. Laroche, M. Balbi, T. Grébert, F. Jabot & F. Archaux

Recommended by Damaris Zurell based on reviews by 3 anonymous reviewers
Good practice guidelines for testing species-isolation relationships in patch-matrix systems

Conservation biology is strongly rooted in the theory of island biogeography (TIB). In island systems where the ocean constitutes the inhospitable matrix, TIB predicts that species richness increases with island size as extinction rates decrease with island area (the species-area relationship, SAR), and species richness increases with connectivity as colonisation rates decrease with island isolation (the species-isolation relationship, SIR)[1]. In conservation biology, patches of habitat (habita...

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Trophic cascade driven by behavioural fine-tuning as naĂŻve prey rapidly adjust to a novel predator
Chris J Jolly, Adam S Smart, John Moreen, Jonathan K Webb, Graeme R Gillespie and Ben L Phillips

Recommended by Denis RĂ©ale based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
While the quoll’s away, the mice will play
 and the seeds will pay

A predator can strongly influence the demography of its prey, which can have profound carryover effects on the trophic network; so-called density-mediated indirect interactions (DMII; Werner and Peacor 2003; Schmitz et al. 2004; Trussell et al. 2006). Furthermore, a novel predator can alter the phenotypes of its prey for traits that will change prey foraging efficiency. These trait-mediated indirect interactions may in turn have cascading effects on the demography and features of the basal r...

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Preregistration - The effect of dominance rank on female reproductive success in social mammals
Shivani, Elise Huchard, Dieter Lukas

Recommended by Matthieu Paquet based on reviews by Bonaventura Majolo and 1 anonymous reviewer
Why are dominant females not always showing higher reproductive success? A preregistration of a meta-analysis on social mammals

In social species conflicts among group members typically lead to the formation of dominance hierarchies with dominant individuals outcompeting other groups members and, in some extreme cases, suppressing reproduction of subordinates. It has therefore been typically assumed that dominant individuals have a higher breeding success than subordinates. However, previous work on mammals (mostly primates) revealed high variation, with some populations showing no evidence for a link between female domi...

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Environmental perturbations and transitions between ecological and evolutionary equilibria: an eco-evolutionary feedback framework
Tim Coulson

Recommended by Tom Van Dooren based on reviews by Jacob Johansson, Katja RÀsÀnen and 1 anonymous reviewer
Stasis and the phenotypic gambit

The preprint "Environmental perturbations and transitions between ecological and evolutionary equilibria: an eco-evolutionary feedback framework" by Coulson (2020) presents a general framework for evolutionary ecology, useful to interpret patterns of selection and evolutionary responses to environmental transitions. The paper is written in an accessible and intuitive manner. It reviews important concepts which are at the heart of evolutionary ecology. Together, they serve as a worldview which yo...

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Investigating the rare behavior of male parental care in great-tailed grackles
Folsom MA, MacPherson M, Lukas D, McCune KB, Bergeron L, Bond A, Blackwell A, Rowney C, Logan CJ

Recommended by Marie-Jeanne Holveck based on reviews by André C Ferreira and Matthieu Paquet
Studying a rare behavior in a polygamous bird: male parental care in great-tailed grackles

The Great-tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) is a polygamous bird species that is originating from Central America and rapidly expanding its geographic range toward the North, and in which females were long thought to be the sole nest builders and caretakers of the young. In their pre-registration [1], Folsom and collaborators report repeated occurrences of male parental care and develop hypotheses aiming at better understanding the occurrence and the fitness consequences of this very rarely...

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On the efficacy of restoration in stream networks: comments, critiques, and prospective recommendations
David Murray-Stoker

Recommended by Karl Cottenie based on reviews by Eric Harvey and Mariana Perez Rocha
A stronger statistical test of stream restoration experiments

The metacommunity framework acknowledges that local sites are connected to other sites through dispersal, and that these connectivity patterns can influence local dynamics [1]. This framework is slowly moving from a framework that guides fundamental research to being actively applied in for instance a conservation context (e.g. [2]). Swan and Brown [3,4] analyzed the results of a suite of experimental manipulations in headwater and mainstem streams on invertebrate community structure in the cont...

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Interplay between historical and current features of the cityscape in shaping the genetic structure of the house mouse (Mus musculus domesticus) in Dakar (Senegal, West Africa)
Claire Stragier, Sylvain Piry, Anne Loiseau, Mamadou Kane, Aliou Sow, Youssoupha Niang, Mamoudou Diallo, Arame Ndiaye, Philippe Gauthier, Marion Borderon, Laurent Granjon, Carine Brouat, Karine Berthier

Recommended by Michelle DiLeo based on reviews by Tuomas Aivelo, Torsti Schulz and 1 anonymous reviewer
Urban past predicts contemporary genetic structure in city rats

Urban areas are expanding worldwide, and have become a dominant part of the landscape for many species. Urbanization can fragment pre-existing populations of vulnerable species leading to population declines and the loss of connectivity. On the other hand, expansion of urban areas can also facilitate the spread of human commensals including pests. Knowledge of the features of cityscapes that facilitate gene flow and maintain diversity of pests is thus key to their management and eradication.

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A macro-ecological approach to predators' functional response
Matthieu Barbier, Laurie Wojcik, Michel Loreau

Recommended by Samir Simon Suweis based on reviews by gyorgy barabas and Ludek Berec
A meta-analysis to infer generic predator functional response

Species interactions are classically derived from the law of mass action: the probability that, for example, a predation event occurs is proportional to the product of the density of the prey and predator species. In order to describe how predator and prey species populations grow, is then necessary to introduce functional response, describing the intake rate of a consumer as a function of food (e.g. prey) density.
Linear functional responses shapes are typically introduced in the ecologic...

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Body temperatures, life history, and skeletal morphology in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus)
Frank Knight, Cristin Connor, Ramji Venkataramanan, Robert J. Asher

Recommended by Mar Sobral based on reviews by Darin Croft and Alexandra Panyutina
Is vertebral count in mammals influenced by developmental temperature? A study with Dasypus novemcinctus

Mammals show a very low level of variation in vertebral count, both among and within species, in comparison to other vertebrates [1]. Jordan’s rule for fishes states that the vertebral number among species increases with latitude, due to ambient temperatures during development [2]. Temperature has also been shown to influence vertebral count within species in fish [3], amphibians [4], and birds [5]. However, in mammals the count appears to be constrained, on the one hand, by a possible relatio...

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Environmental variables determining the distribution of an avian parasite: the case of the Philornis torquans complex (Diptera: Muscidae) in South America
Pablo F. Cuervo, Alejandro Percara, Lucas Monje, Pablo M. Beldomenico, MartĂ­n A. Quiroga

Recommended by Rodrigo Medel based on reviews by 4 anonymous reviewers
Catching the fly in dystopian times

Host-parasite interactions are ubiquitous on Earth. They are present in almost every conceivable ecosystem and often result from a long history of antagonist coevolution [1,2]. Recent studies on climate change have revealed, however, that modification of abiotic variables are often accompanied by shifts in the distributional range of parasites to habitats far beyond their original geographical distribution, creating new interactions in novel habitats with unpredictable consequences for host comm...

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Intraspecific difference among herbivore lineages and their host-plant specialization drive the strength of trophic cascades
Arnaud Sentis, Raphaël Bertram, Nathalie Dardenne, Jean-Christophe Simon, Alexandra Magro, Benoit Pujol, Etienne Danchin and Jean-Louis Hemptinne

Recommended by Sara MagalhĂŁes and Raul Costa-Pereira based on reviews by Bastien Castagneyrol and 1 anonymous reviewer
Tell me what you’ve eaten, I’ll tell you how much you’ll eat (and be eaten)

Tritrophic interactions have a central role in ecological theory and applications [1-3]. Particularly, systems comprised of plants, herbivores and predators have historically received wide attention given their ubiquity and economic importance [4]. Although ecologists have long aimed to understand the forces that govern alternating ecological effects at successive trophic levels [5], several key open questions remain (at least partially) unanswered [6]. In particular, the analysis of complex foo...

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Interplay between the paradox of enrichment and nutrient cycling in food webs
Pierre QuĂ©vreux, SĂ©bastien Barot and Élisa ThĂ©bault

Recommended by Samraat Pawar based on reviews by Jean-François Arnoldi, Wojciech Uszko and 1 anonymous reviewer
New insights into the role of nutrient cycling in food web dynamics

Understanding the factors that govern the relationship between structure, stability and functioning of food webs has been a central problem in ecology for many decades. Historically, apart from microbial and soil food webs, the role of nutrient cycling has largely been ignored in theoretical and empirical food web studies. A prime example of this is the widespread use of Lotka-Volterra type models in theoretical studies; these models per se are not designed to capture the effect of nutrients bei...

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A community perspective on the concept of marine holobionts: current status, challenges, and future directions
Simon M. Dittami, Enrique Arboleda, Jean-Christophe Auguet, Arite Bigalke, Enora Briand, Paco CĂĄrdenas, Ulisse Cardini, Johan Decelle, Aschwin Engelen, Damien Eveillard, Claire M.M. Gachon, Sarah Griffiths, Tilmann Harder, Ehsan Kayal, Elena Kazamia, Francois H. Lallier, MĂłnica Medina, Ezequiel M. Marzinelli, Teresa Morganti, Laura NĂșñez Pons, Soizic Pardo, JosĂ© Pintado Valverde, Mahasweta Saha, Marc-AndrĂ© Selosse, Derek Skillings, Willem Stock, Shinichi Sunagawa, Eve Toulza, Alexey Vorobe...

Recommended by Sophie Arnaud-Haond and Corinne Vacher based on reviews by Sophie Arnaud-Haond and Aurélie Tasiemski
Marine holobiont in the high throughput sequencing era

The concept of holobiont dates back to more than thirty years, it was primarily coined to hypothesize the importance of symbiotic associations to generate significant evolutionary novelties. Quickly adopted to describe the now well-studied system formed by zooxanthella associated corals, this concept expanded much further after the emergence of High-Throughput Sequencing and associated progresses in metabarcoding and metagenomics.
Holobionts – defined as the association between an individua...

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The persistence in time of distributional patterns in marine megafauna impacts zonal conservation strategies
Charlotte Lambert, Ghislain Dorémus, Vincent Ridoux

Recommended by Sergio Estay based on reviews by Ana S. L. Rodrigues and 1 anonymous reviewer
The importance of spatio-temporal dynamics on MPA's design

Marine protected areas (MPA) have arisen as the main approach for conservation of marine species. Fishes, marine mammals and birds can be conservation targets that justify the implementation of these areas. However, MPAs undergo many of the problems faced by their terrestrial equivalent. One of the major concerns is that these conservation areas are spatially constrained, by logistic reasons, and many times these constraints caused that key areas for the species (reproductive sites, refugees, mi...

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Soil variation response is mediated by growth trajectories rather than functional traits in a widespread pioneer Neotropical tree
Sébastien Levionnois, Niklas Tysklind, Eric Nicolini, Bruno Ferry, Valérie Troispoux, Gilles Le Moguedec, HélÚne Morel, Clément Stahl, Sabrina Coste, Henri Caron, Patrick Heuret

Recommended by François Munoz based on reviews by Georges Kunstler and François Munoz
Growth trajectories, better than organ-level functional traits, reveal intraspecific response to environmental variation

Functional traits are “morpho-physio-phenological traits which impact fitness indirectly via their effects on growth, reproduction and survival” [1]. Most functional traits are defined at organ level, e.g. for leaves, roots and stems, and reflect key aspects of resource acquisition and resource use by organisms for their development and reproduction [2]. More rarely, some functional traits can be related to spatial development, such as vegetative height and lateral spread in plants.

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A flexible pipeline combining clustering and correction tools for prokaryotic and eukaryotic metabarcoding
Miriam I Brandt, Blandine Trouche, Laure Quintric, Patrick Wincker, Julie Poulain, Sophie Arnaud-Haond

Recommended by Stefaniya Kamenova based on reviews by Tiago Pereira and 1 anonymous reviewer
A flexible pipeline combining clustering and correction tools for prokaryotic and eukaryotic metabarcoding

High-throughput sequencing-based techniques such as DNA metabarcoding are increasingly advocated as providing numerous benefits over morphology‐based identifications for biodiversity inventories and ecosystem biomonitoring [1]. These benefits are particularly apparent for highly-diversified and/or hardly accessible aquatic and marine environments, where simple water or sediment samples could already produce acceptably accurate biodiversity estimates based on the environmental DNA present in th...

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Evidence of tool use in a seabird?
Benjamin G. Farrar

Recommended by Francois-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont based on reviews by Valérie Dufour and Alex Taylor
Touchy matter: the delicate balance between Morgan’s canon and open-minded description of advanced cognitive skills in the animal

In a recent paper published in PNAS, Fayet et al. [1] reported scarce field observations of two Atlantic puffins (four years apart) apparently scratching their bodies using sticks, which was interpreted by the authors as evidence of tool use in this species. In a short response, Benjamin Farrar [2] raises serious concerns about this interpretation and proposes simpler, more parsimonious, mechanisms explaining the observed behaviour: a textbook case of Morgan's canon.
In virtually all introd...

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Diapause is not selected as a bet-hedging strategy in insects: a meta-analysis of reaction norm shapes
Jens Joschinski and Dries Bonte

Recommended by Bastien Castagneyrol based on reviews by Md Habibur Rahman Salman, KĂ©vin Tougeron and 1 anonymous reviewer
When to diapause or not to diapause? Winter predictability is not the answer

Winter is a harsh season for many organisms that have to cope with food shortage and potentially lethal temperatures. Many species have evolved avoidance strategies. Among them, diapause is a resistance stage many insects use to overwinter. For an insect, it is critical to avoid lethal winter temperatures and thus to initiate diapause before winter comes, while making the most of autumn suitable climatic conditions [1,2]. Several cues can be used to appreciate that winter is coming, including da...

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Stoichiometric constraints modulate the effects of temperature and nutrients on biomass distribution and community stability
Arnaud Sentis, Bart Haegeman, and José M. Montoya

Recommended by Elisa Thebault based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
On the importance of stoichiometric constraints for understanding global change effects on food web dynamics

The constraints associated with the mass balance of chemical elements (i.e. stoichiometric constraints) are critical to our understanding of ecological interactions, as outlined by the ecological stoichiometry theory [1]. Species in ecosystems differ in their elemental composition as well as in their level of elemental homeostasis [2], which can determine the outcome of interactions such as herbivory or decomposition on species coexistence and ecosystem functioning [3, 4].
Despite their impor...

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Studies of NH4+ and NO3- uptake ability of subalpine plants and resource-use strategy identified by their functional traits
Legay Nicolas, Grassein Fabrice, Arnoldi Cindy, Segura Raphaël, Laßné Philippe, Lavorel Sandra, Clément Jean-Christophe

Recommended by SĂ©bastien Barot based on reviews by Vincent Maire and 1 anonymous reviewer
Nitrate or not nitrate. That is the question

The article by Legay et al. [1] addresses two main issues: the links between belowground and aboveground plant traits and the links between plant strategies (as defined by these traits) and the capacity to absorb nitrate and ammonium. I recommend this work because these are important and current issues. The literature on plant traits is extremely rich and the existence of a leaf economic spectrum linked to a gradient between conservative and acquisitive plants is now extremely well established [...

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Validating morphological condition indices and their relationship with reproductive success in great-tailed grackles
Jennifer M. Berens, Corina J. Logan, Melissa Folsom, Luisa Bergeron, Kelsey B. McCune

Recommended by Marcos Mendez based on reviews by Isabel LĂłpez-Rull and Javier Seoane
Are condition indices positively related to each other and to fitness?: a test with grackles

Reproductive succes, as a surrogate of individual fitness, depends both on extrinsic and intrinsic factors [1]. Among the intrinsic factors, resource level or health are considered important potential drivers of fitness but exceedingly difficult to measure directly. Thus, a host of proxies have been suggested, known as condition indices [2]. The question arises whether all condition indices consistently measure the same "inner state" of individuals and whether all of them similarly correlate to ...

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Niche complementarity among pollinators increases community-level plant reproductive success
Ainhoa Magrach, Francisco P. Molina, Ignasi Bartomeus

Recommended by CĂ©dric Gaucherel based on reviews by Nicolas Deguines, Michael Lattorff and 3 anonymous reviewers
Improving our knowledge of species interaction networks

Ecosystems shelter a huge number of species, continuously interacting. Each species interact in various ways, with trophic interactions, but also non-trophic interactions, not mentioning the abiotic and anthropogenic interactions. In particular, pollination, competition, facilitation, parasitism and many other interaction types are simultaneously present at the same place in terrestrial ecosystems [1-2]. For this reason, we need today to improve our understanding of such complex interaction netw...

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Does phenology explain plant-pollinator interactions at different latitudes? An assessment of its explanatory power in plant-hoverfly networks in French calcareous grasslands
Natasha de Manincor, Nina Hautekeete, Yves Piquot, Bertrand Schatz, Cédric Vanappelghem, François Massol

Recommended by Anna Eklöf based on reviews by Ignasi Bartomeus, Phillip P.A. Staniczenko and 1 anonymous reviewer
The role of phenology for determining plant-pollinator interactions along a latitudinal gradient

Increased knowledge of what factors are determining species interactions are of major importance for our understanding of dynamics and functionality of ecological communities [1]. Currently, when ongoing temperature modifications lead to changes in species temporal and spatial limits the subject gets increasingly topical. A species phenology determines whether it thrive or survive in its environment. However, as the phenologies of different species are not necessarily equally affected by environ...

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Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal
August Sevchik, Corina Logan, Melissa Folsom, Luisa Bergeron, Aaron Blackwell, Carolyn Rowney, Dieter Lukas

Recommended by Sophie Beltran-Bech based on reviews by Sylvine Durand and 1 anonymous reviewer
Investigate fine scale sex dispersal with spatial and genetic analyses

The preregistration "Investigating sex differences in genetic relatedness in great-tailed grackles in Tempe, Arizona to infer potential sex biases in dispersal" [1] presents the analysis plan that will be used to genetically and spatially investigate sex-biased dispersal in great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus).
Several hypotheses implying mating systems, intrasexual competition or sex-related handicaps have been proposed to explain the diversity of dispersal patterns between or with...

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Crown defoliation decreases reproduction and wood growth in a marginal European beech population.
Sylvie Oddou-Muratorio, Cathleen Petit-Cailleux, Valentin Journé, Matthieu Lingrand, Jean-André Magdalou, Christophe Hurson, Joseph Garrigue, Hendrik Davi, Elodie Magnanou.

Recommended by Georges Kunstler based on reviews by 3 anonymous reviewers
Defoliation induces a trade-off between reproduction and growth in a southern population of Beech

Individuals ability to withstand abiotic and biotic stresses is crucial to the maintenance of populations at climate edge of tree species distribution. We start to have a detailed understanding of tree growth response and to a lesser extent mortality response in these populations. In contrast, our understanding of the response of tree fecundity and recruitment remains limited because of the difficulty to monitor it at the individual tree level in the field. Tree recruitment limitation is, howeve...

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Investigating the use of learning mechanisms in a species that is rapidly expanding its geographic range
Kelsey McCune, Richard McElreath, Corina Logan

Recommended by Aliza le Roux based on reviews by Matthew Petelle and 1 anonymous reviewer
How would variation in environmental predictability affect the use of different learning mechanisms in a social bird?

In their pre-registered paper [1], McCune and colleagues propose a field-based study of social versus individual learning mechanisms in an avian species (great-tailed grackles) that has been expanding its geographic range. The study forms part of a longer-term project that addresses various aspects of this species’ behaviour and biology, and the experience of the team is clear from the preprint. Assessing variation in learning mechanisms in different sections of the grackles’ distribution ra...

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Deer slow down litter decomposition by reducing litter quality in a temperate forest
Simon Chollet, Morgane Maillard, Juliane Schorghuber, Sue Grayston, Jean-Louis Martin

Recommended by SĂ©bastien Barot based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Disentangling effects of large herbivores on litter decomposition

Aboveground – belowground interactions is a fascinating field that has developed in ecology since about 20 years [1]. This field has been very fruitful as measured by the numerous articles published but also by the particular role it has played in the development of soil ecology. While soil ecology has for a long time developed partially independently from “general ecology” [2], the field of aboveground – belowground interactions has shown that all ecological interactions occurring withi...

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Which pitfall traps and sampling efforts should be used to evaluate the effects of cropping systems on the taxonomic and functional composition of arthropod communities?
Antoine Gardarin and Muriel Valantin-Morison

Recommended by Ignasi Bartomeus based on reviews by CĂ©cile ALBERT and Matthias Foellmer
On the importance of experimental design: pitfall traps and arthropod communities

Despite the increasing refinement of statistical methods, a robust experimental design is still one of the most important cornerstones to answer ecological and evolutionary questions. However, there is a strong trade-off between a perfect design and its feasibility. A common mantra is that more data is always better, but how much is enough is complex to answer, specially when we want to capture the spatial and temporal variability of a given process. Gardarin and Valantin-Morison [1] make an eff...

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Blood, sweat and tears: a review of non-invasive DNA sampling
Marie-Caroline Lefort, Robert H Cruickshank, Kris Descovich, Nigel J Adams, Arijana Barun, Arsalan Emami-Khoyi, Johnaton Ridden, Victoria R Smith, Rowan Sprague, Benjamin Waterhouse, Stephane Boyer

Recommended by Thomas Wilson Sappington based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Words matter: extensive misapplication of "non-invasive" in describing DNA sampling methods, and proposed clarifying terms

The ability to successfully sequence trace quantities of environmental DNA (eDNA) has provided unprecedented opportunities to use genetic analyses to elucidate animal ecology, behavior, and population structure without affecting the behavior, fitness, or welfare of the animal sampled. Hair associated with an animal track in the snow, the shed exoskeleton of an insect, or a swab of animal scat are all examples of non-invasive methods to collect eDNA. Despite the seemingly uncomplicated definition...

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Assessing metacommunity processes through signatures in spatiotemporal turnover of community composition
Franck Jabot, Fabien Laroche, Francois Massol, Florent Arthaud, Julie Crabot, Maxime Dubart, Simon Blanchet, Francois Munoz, Patrice David, Thibault Datry

Recommended by Werner Ulrich based on reviews by JoaquĂ­n Hortal and 2 anonymous reviewers
On the importance of temporal meta-community dynamics for our understanding of assembly processes

The processes that trigger community assembly are still in the centre of ecological interest. While prior work mostly focused on spatial patterns of co-occurrence within a meta-community framework [reviewed in 1, 2] recent studies also include temporal patterns of community composition [e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6]. In this preprint [7], Franck Jabot and co-workers extend they prior approaches to quasi neutral community assembly [8, 9, 10] and develop an analytical framework of spatial and temporal diversit...

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Gene expression plasticity and frontloading promote thermotolerance in Pocillopora corals
K. Brener-Raffalli, J. Vidal-Dupiol, M. Adjeroud, O. Rey, P. Romans, F. Bonhomme, M. Pratlong, A. Haguenauer, R. Pillot, L. Feuillassier, M. Claereboudt, H. Magalon, P. GĂ©lin, P. Pontarotti, D. Aurelle, G. Mitta, E. Toulza

Recommended by Staffan Jacob based on reviews by Samuel Pichon, Mar Sobral and 1 anonymous reviewer
Transcriptomics of thermal stress response in corals

Climate change presents a challenge to many life forms and the resulting loss of biodiversity will critically depend on the ability of organisms to timely respond to a changing environment. Shifts in ecological parameters have repeatedly been attributed to global warming, with the effectiveness of these responses varying among species [1, 2]. Organisms do not only have to face a global increase in mean temperatures, but a complex interplay with another crucial but largely understudied aspect of ...

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Is behavioral flexibility related to foraging and social behavior in a rapidly expanding species?
Corina Logan, Luisa Bergeron, Carolyn Rowney, Kelsey McCune, Dieter Lukas

Recommended by Julia Astegiano and Esther SebastiĂĄn GonzĂĄlez based on reviews by Pizza Ka Yee Chow and Esther SebastiĂĄn GonzĂĄlez
Understanding geographic range expansions in human-dominated landscapes: does behavioral flexibility modulate flexibility in foraging and social behavior?

Which biological traits modulate species distribution has historically been and still is one of the core questions of the macroecology and biogeography agenda [1, 2]. As most of the Earth surface has been modified by human activities [3] understanding the strategies that allow species to inhabit human-dominated landscapes will be key to explain species geographic distribution in the Anthropocene. In this vein, Logan et al. [4] are working on a long-term and integrative project aimed to investiga...

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Sexual segregation in a highly pagophilic and sexually dimorphic marine predator
Christophe Barbraud, Karine Delord, Akiko Kato, Paco Bustamante, Yves Cherel

Recommended by Denis RĂ©ale based on reviews by Dries Bonte and 1 anonymous reviewer
Sexual segregation in a sexually dimorphic seabird: a matter of spatial scale

Sexual segregation appears in many taxa and can have important ecological, evolutionary and conservation implications. Sexual segregation can take two forms: either the two sexes specialise in different habitats but share the same area (habitat segregation), or they occupy the same habitat but form separate, unisex groups (social segregation) [1,2]. Segregation would have evolved as a way to avoid, or at least, reduce intersexual competition.
Testing whether social or habitat segregation is...

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Environmental heterogeneity drives tsetse fly population dynamics and control
Cecilia H, Arnoux S, Picault S, Dicko A, Seck MT, Sall B, Bassene M, Vreysen M, Pagabeleguem S, Bance A, Bouyer J, Ezanno P

Recommended by Benjamin Roche based on reviews by Timothée Vergne and 1 anonymous reviewer
Modeling jointly landscape complexity and environmental heterogeneity to envision new strategies for tsetse flies control

Today, understanding spatio-temporal dynamics of pathogens is pivotal to understand their transmission and controlling them. First, understanding this dynamics can reveal the ecology of their transmission [1]. Indeed, such knowledge, based on data that are quite easy to access, can shed light on transmission modes, which could rely on different animal species that can be spatially distributed in a non-uniform way [2]. This is especially true for pathogens with complex life-cycles, despite that i...

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Community size affects the signals of ecological drift and selection on biodiversity
Tadeu Siqueira, Victor S. Saito, Luis M. Bini, Adriano S. Melo, Danielle K. Petsch, Victor L. Landeiro, Kimmo T. Tolonen, Jenny JyrkÀnkallio-Mikkola, Janne Soininen, Jani Heino

Recommended by Eric Harvey based on reviews by Romain Bertrand and Kevin Cazelles
Toward an empirical synthesis on the niche versus stochastic debate

As far back as Clements [1] and Gleason [2], the historical schism between deterministic and stochastic perspectives has divided ecologists. Deterministic theories tend to emphasize niche-based processes such as environmental filtering and species interactions as the main drivers of species distribution in nature, while stochastic theories mainly focus on chance colonization, random extinctions and ecological drift [3]. Although the old days when ecologists were fighting fiercely over null model...

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Sex makes them sleepy: host reproductive status induces diapause in a parasitoid population experiencing harsh winters
Tougeron K., Brodeur J., van Baaren J., Renault D. and Le Lann C.

Recommended by Adele Mennerat and Enric Frago based on reviews by Anne Duplouy and 1 anonymous reviewer
The response of interacting species to biotic seasonal cues

In temperate regions, food abundance and quality vary greatly throughout the year, and the ability of organisms to synchronise their phenology to these changes is a key determinant of their reproductive success. Successful synchronisation requires that cues are perceived prior to change, leaving time for physiological adjustments.
But what are the cues used to anticipate seasonal changes? Abiotic factors like temperature and photoperiod are known for their driving role in the phenology of a w...

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Field assessment of precocious maturation in salmon parr using ultrasound imaging
Marie Nevoux, Frédéric Marchand, Guillaume Forget, Dominique Huteau, Julien Tremblay, Jean-Pierre Destouches

Recommended by Jean-Olivier Irisson based on reviews by Hervé CAPRA and 1 anonymous reviewer
OB-GYN for salmon parrs

Population dynamics and stock assessment models are only as good as the data used to parameterise them. For Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations, a critical parameter may be frequency of precocious maturation. Indeed, the young males (parrs) that mature early, before leaving the river to reach the ocean, can contribute to reproduction but have much lower survival rates afterwards. The authors cite evidence of the potentially major consequences of this alternate reproductive strategy. So, ...

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Using a large-scale biodiversity monitoring dataset to test the effectiveness of protected areas at conserving North-American breeding birds
Victor Cazalis, Soumaya Belghali, Ana S.L. Rodrigues

Recommended by Paul Caplat based on reviews by Willson Gaul and 1 anonymous reviewer
Protected Areas effects on biodiversity: a test using bird data that hopefully will give ideas for much more studies to come

In the face of worldwide declines in biodiversity, evaluating the effectiveness of conservation practices is an absolute necessity. Protected Areas (PA) are a key tool for conservation, and the question “Are PA effective” has been on many a research agenda, as the introduction to this preprint will no doubt convince you. A challenge we face is that, until now, few studies have been explicitly designed to evaluate PA, and despite the rise of meta-analyses on the topic, our capacity to quantif...

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The inherent multidimensionality of temporal variability: How common and rare species shape stability patterns
Jean-François Arnoldi, Michel Loreau, Bart Haegeman

Recommended by Kevin Cazelles and Kevin Shear McCann based on reviews by Frederic Barraquand and 1 anonymous reviewer
Diversity-Stability and the Structure of Perturbations

In his 1972 paper “Will a Large Complex System Be Stable?” [1], May challenges the idea that large communities are more stable than small ones. This was the beginning of a fundamental debate that still structures an entire research area in ecology: the diversity-stability debate [2]. The most salient strength of May’s work was to use a mathematical argument to refute an idea based on the observations that simple communities are less stable than large ones. Using the formalism of dynamical...

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Direct and transgenerational effects of an experimental heat wave on early life stages in a freshwater snail
Katja Leicht, Otto SeppÀlÀ

Recommended by vincent calcagno based on reviews by Amanda Lynn Caskenette, arnaud sentis and KĂ©vin Tougeron
Escargots cooked just right: telling apart the direct and indirect effects of heat waves in freashwater snails

Amongst the many challenges and forms of environmental change that organisms face in our era of global change, climate change is perhaps one of the most straightforward and amenable to investigation. First, measurements of day-to-day temperatures are relatively feasible and accessible, and predictions regarding the expected trends in Earth surface temperature are probably some of the most reliable we have. It appears quite clear, in particular, that beyond the overall increase in average tempera...

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Is behavioral flexibility linked with exploration, but not boldness, persistence, or motor diversity?
Kelsey McCune, Carolyn Rowney, Luisa Bergeron, Corina Logan

Recommended by Jeremy Van Cleve based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Probing behaviors correlated with behavioral flexibility

Behavioral plasticity, which is a subset of phenotypic plasticity, is an important component of foraging, defense against predators, mating, and many other behaviors. More specifically, behavioral flexibility, in this study, captures how quickly individuals adapt to new circumstances. In cases where individuals disperse to new environments, which often occurs in range expansions, behavioral flexibility is likely crucial to the chance that individuals can establish in these environments. Thus, it...

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Is behavioral flexibility manipulatable and, if so, does it improve flexibility and problem solving in a new context?
Corina Logan, Carolyn Rowney, Luisa Bergeron, Benjamin Seitz, Aaron Blaisdell, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, Kelsey McCune

Recommended by Aurélie Coulon based on reviews by Maxime Dahirel and Andrea Griffin
Can context changes improve behavioral flexibility? Towards a better understanding of species adaptability to environmental changes

Behavioral flexibility is a key for species adaptation to new environments. Predicting species responses to new contexts hence requires knowledge on the amount to and conditions in which behavior can be flexible. This is what Logan and collaborators propose to assess in a series of experiments on the great-tailed grackles, in a context of rapid range expansion. This pre-registration is integrated into this large research project and concerns more specifically the manipulability of the cognitive ...

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Evaluating functional dispersal and its eco-epidemiological implications in a nest ectoparasite
Amalia Rataud, MarlĂšne Dupraz, CĂ©line Toty, Thomas Blanchon, Marion Vittecoq, RĂ©mi Choquet, Karen D. McCoy

Recommended by Adele Mennerat based on reviews by Shelly Lachish and 1 anonymous reviewer
Limited dispersal in a vector on territorial hosts

Parasitism requires parasites and hosts to meet and is therefore conditioned by their respective dispersal abilities. While dispersal has been studied in a number of wild vertebrates (including in relation to infection risk), we still have poor knowledge of the movements of their parasites. Yet we know that many parasites, and in particular vectors transmitting pathogens from host to host, possess the ability to move actively during at least part of their lives.
So... how far does a vector go...

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Are the more flexible great-tailed grackles also better at inhibition?
Corina Logan, Kelsey McCune, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, Luisa Bergeron, Carolyn Rowney, Benjamin Seitz, Aaron Blaisdell, Claudia Wascher

Recommended by Erin Vogel based on reviews by Simon Gingins and 2 anonymous reviewers
Adapting to a changing environment: advancing our understanding of the mechanisms that lead to behavioral flexibility

Behavioral flexibility is essential for organisms to adapt to an ever-changing environment. However, the mechanisms that lead to behavioral flexibility and understanding what traits makes a species better able to adapt behavior to new environments has been understudied. Logan and colleagues have proposed to use a series of experiments, using great-tailed grackles as a study species, to test four main hypotheses. These hypotheses are centered around exploring the relationship between behavioral ...

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Parasite intensity is driven by temperature in a wild bird
AdĂšle Mennerat, Anne Charmantier, Sylvie Hurtrez-BoussĂšs, Philippe Perret, Marcel M Lambrechts

Recommended by Jan Hrcek based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
The global change of species interactions

What kinds of studies are most needed to understand the effects of global change on nature? Two deficiencies stand out: lack of long-term studies [1] and lack of data on species interactions [2]. The paper by Mennerat and colleagues [3] is particularly valuable because it addresses both of these shortcomings. The first one is obvious. Our understanding of the impact of climate on biota improves with longer times series of observations. Mennerat et al. [3] analysed an impressive 18-year series fr...

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Photosynthesis of Laminaria digitata during the immersion and emersion periods of spring tidal cycles during hot, sunny weather
Aline Migné, Gaspard Delebecq, Dominique Davoult, Nicolas Spilmont, Dominique Menu, Marie-Andrée Janquin and François Gévaert

Recommended by Matthew Bracken based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Evaluating physiological responses of a kelp to environmental changes at its vulnerable equatorward range limit

Understanding processes at species’ range limits is of paramount importance in an era of global change. For example, the boreal kelp Laminaria digitata, which dominates low intertidal and shallow subtidal rocky reefs in northwestern Europe, is declining in the equatorward portion of its range [1]. In this contribution, MignĂ© and colleagues [2] focus on L. digitata near its southern range limit on the coast of France and use a variety of techniques to paint a complete picture of the physio...

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Differential immune gene expression associated with contemporary range expansion of two invasive rodents in Senegal
Nathalie Charbonnel, Maxime Galan, Caroline Tatard, Anne Loiseau, Christophe Diagne, Ambroise Dalecky, Hugues Parrinello, Stephanie Rialle, Dany Severac and Carine Brouat

Recommended by Simon Blanchet based on reviews by Nadia Aubin-Horth and 1 anonymous reviewer
Are all the roads leading to Rome?

Identifying the factors which favour the establishment and spread of non-native species in novel environments is one of the keys to predict - and hence prevent or control - biological invasions. This includes biological factors (i.e. factors associated with the invasive species themselves), and one of the prevailing hypotheses is that some species traits may explain their impressive success to establish and spread in novel environments [1]. In animals, most research studies have focused on trait...

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Do the more flexible individuals rely more on causal cognition? Observation versus intervention in causal inference in great-tailed grackles
Aaron Blaisdell, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, Luisa Bergeron, Carolyn Rowney, Benjamin Seitz, Kelsey McCune, Corina Logan

Recommended by Emanuel A. Fronhofer based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
From cognition to range dynamics: advancing our understanding of macroecological patterns

Understanding the distribution of species on earth is one of the fundamental challenges in ecology and evolution. For a long time, this challenge has mainly been addressed from a correlative point of view with a focus on abiotic factors determining a species abiotic niche (classical bioenvelope models; [1]). It is only recently that researchers have realized that behaviour and especially plasticity in behaviour may play a central role in determining species ranges and their dynamics [e.g., 2-5]....

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Inferring macro-ecological patterns from local species' occurrences
Anna Tovo, Marco Formentin, Samir Suweis, Samuele Stivanello, Sandro Azaele, Amos Maritan

Recommended by Matthieu Barbier based on reviews by Kevin Cazelles and 1 anonymous reviewer
Upscaling the neighborhood: how to get species diversity, abundance and range distributions from local presence/absence data

How do you estimate the biodiversity of a whole community, or the distribution of abundances and ranges of its species, from presence/absence data in scattered samples?
It all starts with the collector's dilemma: if you double the number of samples, you will not get double the number of species, since you will find many of the same common species, and only a few new rare ones.
This non-additivity has prompted many ecologists to study the Species-Area Relationship. A common theoretical appr...

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The return of the trophic chain: fundamental vs realized interactions in a simple arthropod food web
Inmaculada Torres-Campos, Sara Magalhães, Jordi Moya-Laraño, Marta Montserrat

Recommended by Francis John Burdon based on reviews by Owen Petchey and 2 anonymous reviewers
From deserts to avocado orchards - understanding realized trophic interactions in communities

The late eminent ecologist Gary Polis once stated that “most catalogued food-webs are oversimplified caricatures of actual communities” and are “grossly incomplete representations of communities in terms of both diversity and trophic connections.” Not content with that damning indictment, he went further by railing that “theorists are trying to explain phenomena that do not exist” [1]. The latter critique might have been push back for Robert May®s ground-breaking but ultimately flaw...

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Recommendations to address uncertainties in environmental risk assessment using toxicokinetics-toxicodynamics models
Virgile Baudrot and Sandrine Charles

Recommended by Luis Schiesari based on reviews by Andreas Focks and 2 anonymous reviewers
Addressing uncertainty in Environmental Risk Assessment using mechanistic toxicological models coupled with Bayesian inference

Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) is a strategic conceptual framework to characterize the nature and magnitude of risks, to humans and biodiversity, of the release of chemical contaminants in the environment. Several measures have been suggested to enhance the science and application of ERA, including the identification and acknowledgment of uncertainties that potentially influence the outcome of risk assessments, and the appropriate consideration of temporal scale and its linkage to assessmen...

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Impact of group management and transfer on individual sociality in Highland cattle (Bos Taurus)
Sebastian Sosa, Marie Pelé, Elise Debergue, Cedric Kuntz, Blandine Keller, Florian Robic, Flora Siegwalt-Baudin, Camille Richer, Amandine Ramos, Cédric Sueur

Recommended by Marie Charpentier based on reviews by Alecia CARTER and 1 anonymous reviewer
How empirical sciences may improve livestock welfare and help their management

Understanding how livestock management is a source of social stress and disturbances for cattle is an important question with potential applications for animal welfare programs and sustainable development. In their article, Sosa and colleagues [1] first propose to evaluate the effects of individual characteristics on dyadic social relationships and on the social dynamics of four groups of cattle. Using network analyses, the authors provide an interesting and complete picture of dyadic interactio...

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Detecting within-host interactions using genotype combination prevalence data
Samuel Alizon, Carmen LĂ­a Murall, Emma Saulnier, Mircea T Sofonea

Recommended by Dustin Brisson based on reviews by Samuel Díaz Muñoz, Erick Gagne and 1 anonymous reviewer
Combining epidemiological models with statistical inference can detect parasite interactions

There are several important topics in the study of infectious diseases that have not been well explored due to technical difficulties. One such topic is pursued by Alizon et al. in “Modelling coinfections to detect within-host interactions from genotype combination prevalences” [1]. Both theory and several important examples have demonstrated that interactions among co-infecting strains can have outsized impacts on disease outcomes, transmission dynamics, and epidemiology. Unfortunately, emp...

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How optimal foragers should respond to habitat changes? On the consequences of habitat conversion.
Vincent Calcagno, Frederic Hamelin, Ludovic Mailleret, Frederic Grognard

Recommended by Francois-Xavier Dechaume-Moncharmont based on reviews by Frederick Adler, Andrew Higginson and 1 anonymous reviewer
Optimal foraging in a changing world: old questions, new perspectives

Marginal value theorem (MVT) is an archetypal model discussed in every behavioural ecology textbook. Its popularity is largely explained but the fact that it is possible to solve it graphically (at least in its simplest form) with the minimal amount of equations, which is a sensible strategy for an introductory course in behavioural ecology [1]. Apart from this heuristic value, one may be tempted to disregard it as a naive toy model. After a burst of interest in the 70's and the 80's, the once v...

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When higher carrying capacities lead to faster propagation
Marjorie Haond, Thibaut Morel-Journel, Eric Lombaert, Elodie Vercken, Ludovic Mailleret & Lionel Roques

Recommended by Matthieu Barbier based on reviews by Yuval Zelnik and 1 anonymous reviewer
When the dispersal of the many outruns the dispersal of the few

Are biological invasions driven by a few pioneers, running ahead of their conspecifics? Or are these pioneers constantly being caught up by, and folded into, the larger flux of propagules from the established populations behind them?
In ecology and beyond, these two scenarios are known as "pulled" and "pushed" fronts, and they come with different expectations. In a pushed front, invasion speed is not just a matter of how good individuals are at dispersing and settling new locations. It becom...

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A reply to “Ranging Behavior Drives Parasite Richness: A More Parsimonious Hypothesis”
Charpentier MJE, Kappeler PM

Recommended by CĂ©dric Sueur based on reviews by 2 anonymous reviewers
Does elevated parasite richness in the environment affect daily path length of animals or is it the converse? An answer bringing some new elements of discussion

In 2015, Brockmeyer et al. [1] suggested that mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) may accept additional ranging costs to avoid heavily parasitized areas. Following this paper, Bicca-Marques and Calegaro-Marques [2] questioned this interpretation and presented other hypotheses. To summarize, whilst Brockmeyer et al. [1] proposed that elevated daily path length may be a consequence of elevated parasite richness, Bicca-Marques and Calegaro-Marques [2] viewed it as a cause. In this current paper, Charpe...

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Data-based, synthesis-driven: setting the agenda for computational ecology
Timothée Poisot, Richard Labrie, Erin Larson, Anastasia Rahlin

Recommended by Phillip P.A. Staniczenko based on reviews by Matthieu Barbier and 1 anonymous reviewer
Some thoughts on computational ecology from people who I’m sure use different passwords for each of their accounts

Are you an ecologist who uses a computer or know someone that does? Even if your research doesn’t rely heavily on advanced computational techniques, it likely hasn’t escaped your attention that computers are increasingly being used to analyse field data and make predictions about the consequences of environmental change. So before artificial intelligence and robots take over from scientists, now is great time to read about how experts think computers could make your life easier and lead to...