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Estoup A.,Montpellier SupAgro | Guillemaud T.,University of Nice Sophia Antipolis
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Detailed knowledge about the geographical pathways followed by propagules from their source to the invading populations - referred to here as routes of invasion - provides information about the history of the invasion process and the origin and genetic composition of the invading populations. The reconstruction of invasion routes is required for defining and testing different hypotheses concerning the environmental and evolutionary factors responsible for biological invasions. In practical terms, it facilitates the design of strategies for controlling or preventing invasions. Most of our knowledge about the introduction routes of invasive species is derived from historical and observational data, which are often sparse, incomplete and, sometimes, misleading. In this context, population genetics has proved a useful approach for reconstructing routes of introduction, highlighting the complexity and the often counterintuitive nature of the true story. This approach has proved particularly useful since the recent development of new model-based methods, such as approximate Bayesian computation, making it possible to make quantitative inferences in the complex evolutionary scenarios typically encountered in invasive species. In this review, we summarize some of the fundamental aspects of routes of invasion, explain why the reconstruction of these routes is useful for addressing both practical and theoretical questions, and comment on the various reconstruction methods available. Finally, we consider the main insights obtained to date from studies of invasion routes. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source


Rossi J.-P.,Montpellier SupAgro
Diversity | Year: 2011

The paper describes rich, a new R package to perform species richness estimation and comparison. Species richness is the simplest surrogate for the more complex concept of species biodiversity. It is relatively easy to assess although estimations strongly depend on sampling intensity with the consequence that richness estimations should be standardized to perform valid comparisons. The R package rich allows such corrections as well as the computation of various statistics and implements different randomization tests to compare cumulative and average species richness of two communities. These tests are useful for ranking sites or communities which is a classical goal in restoration ecology and conservation biology. © 2011 by the authors. Source


Chapuis E.,Montpellier SupAgro
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2012

Our current understanding on how pathogens evolve relies on the hypothesis that pathogens' transmission is traded off against host exploitation. In this study, we surveyed the possibility that trade-offs determine the evolution of the bacterial insect pathogen, Xenorhabdus nematophila. This bacterium rapidly kills the hosts it infects and is transmitted from host cadavers to new insects by a nematode vector, Steinernema carpocapsae. In order to detect trade-offs in this biological system, we produced 20 bacterial lineages using an experimental evolution protocol. These lineages differ, among other things, in their virulence towards the insect host. We found that nematode parasitic success increases with bacteria virulence, but their survival during dispersal decreases with the number of bacteria they carry. Other bacterial traits, such as production of the haemolytic protein XaxAB, have a strong impact on nematode reproduction. We then combined the result of our measurements with an estimate of bacteria fitness, which was divided into a parasitic component and a dispersal component. Contrary to what was expected in the trade-off hypothesis, we found no significant negative correlation between the two components of bacteria fitness. Still, we found that bacteria fitness is maximized when nematodes carry an intermediate number of cells. Our results therefore demonstrate the existence of a trade-off in X. nematophila, which is caused, in part, by the reduction in survival this bacterium causes to its nematode vectors. Source


Statistical methods for delimiting species with morphological data remain woefully understudied. The present study presents statistical approaches to study the intraspecific variations of continuous characters used in species diagnosis. For this, the data set comprised 14 species of the mite family Phytoseiidae (Acari: Mesostigmata) and 23 continuous characters (seta lengths). The statistical approaches aim to determine (i) how intraspecific variations differ depending on the characters and species considered, and (ii) how to choose the number of specimens to be considered for characterizing intraspecific boundaries. The means of the related confident limits at 95% (rCL 95) of the 14 species and the 23 setae are around 20%, suggesting that 95% of the specimens of a same species are included in the interval μ±0.2μ. No relationship was found between seta variations and the number of specimens considered for each species, nor for seta variations and their position on the mite body. However, a correlation between seta lengths and rCL 95 means was observed. An abacus was proposed to determine the coefficient that must be applied to mean seta length to calculate the lower and upper limits of the interval that will include 95% of the specimens of a same species. The higher the precision around the mean, the higher the number of specimens considered. Furthermore, this number varies considerably depending on the characters and species considered for high precisions. However, for a priori error around the mean of 15%, the number of specimens needed to characterize the intraspecific variation is quite homogeneous and ten specimens would be required. I discuss the utility of such results to resolve some persistent problems in the alpha-taxonomy of the family Phytoseiidae but also of other taxa. © The Willi Hennig Society 2012. Source


Patent
French National Institute for Agricultural Research and Montpellier SupAgro | Date: 2013-01-24

The present invention relates to the identification of alleles of the MET2 and SKP2 genes having the effect of reducing the production of sulphites, of hydrogen sulphide and of acetaldehyde by

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