So many trees

Why is tree biodiversity so large around the equator, moderate at mid-latitudes and monotonous at higher ones? As this is a global phenomenon most possible explanations involve long-term or large-scale mechanisms, such as climate stability (no glaciers in the tropics), rates of speciation (higher in the tropics) or rates of extinction (lower in the tropics according to the fossil record).In order to explain the high tree species biodiversity in tropical rainforests Daniel Janzen and Joseph Connell…

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Weekend reads

A long weekend for Canadians lies ahead. Lots of parties around the country to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday. But the rest of the world has a regular weekend and all of you might want some good reads. Here we go:Using high-throughput sequencing of ITS2 to describe Symbiodinium metacommunities in St. John, US Virgin IslandsSymbiotic microalgae (Symbiodinium spp.) strongly influence the performance and stress-tolerance of their coral hosts, making the analysis of Symbiodinium communities in corals…

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Shelf Life Webseries

Today a post on an interesting video series which is produced by the American Museum of Natural History. I have to admit I wasn't aware of it at all until a few days ago when the newest episode on cryptic species was shared with me:The web series Shelf Life highlights different aspects of the museums work and is certainly not the only one out there which is produced my the museum itself. The Smithsonian e.g.…

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Image Data Resource

Much of the published research in the life sciences is based on image data sets that sample 3D space, time and the spectral characteristics of detected signal to provide quantitative measures of cell, tissue and organismal processes and structures. The sheer size of biological image data sets makes data submission, handling and publication challenging. An image-based genome-wide 'high-content' screen (HCS) may contain more than 1 million images, and new 'virtual slide' and 'light sheet' tissue…

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Weekend reads

New reading material for the weekend or for those of you that are blessed with some better weather perhaps for Monday morning back at work. Identifying Bird Remains Using Ancient DNA BarcodingBird remains that are difficult to identify taxonomically using morphological methods, are common in the palaeontological record. Other types of challenging avian material include artefacts and food items from endangered taxa, as well as remains from aircraft strikes. We here present a DNA-based method that…

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2017 GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge

For the third year GBIF is running its Ebbe Nielsen Challenge. Developers and data scientists have three months to create and submit tools capable of liberating species records from open data repositories for scientific discovery and reuse. Here some more details:BackgroundThis year's Challenge will seek to leverage the growth of open data policies among scientific journals and research funders, which require researchers to make the data underlying their findings publicly available. Adoption of these policies represents an…

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Weekend reads

Hot of the press - more reading material from the DNA barcoding community. Not as many as last week in which I had a lot of catch up to do. Nevertheless, very interesting reads.Molecular approaches for blood meal analysis and species identification of mosquitoes (Insecta: Diptera: Culicidae) in rural locations in southern England, United KingdomThirty-four species of Culicidae are present in the UK, of which 15 have been implicated as potential vectors of arthropod-borne viruses…

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Plants and climate change

Plants provide us with food, pastures for livestock, and places for recreation and wellbeing. They also directly and indirectly provide numerous invaluable ecosystem services such as water regulation, carbon sequestration and flood prevention. As a result, it is imperative that we understand how plant populations are responding to climate constraints now, and use that information to predict how they are likely to respond to climatic changes in the future.In fact it might be very important…

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Invasive species hotspots

Human-mediated transport beyond biogeographic barriers has led to the introduction and establishment of alien species in new regions worldwide. However, we lack a global picture of established alien species richness for multiple taxonomic groups. The number of established alien species varies across the world and it is where the most established alien species can be found and which factors influence their distribution. An international team created a database for eight animal and plant groups (mammals, birds,…

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Wide-Open

Number of samples in the NCBI GEOOpen data is a vital pillar of open science and a key enabler for reproducibility, data reuse, and novel discoveries. Enforcement of open-data policies, however, largely relies on manual efforts, which invariably lag behind the increasingly automated generation of biological data.Researchers routinely deposit data in online repositories. But they are only human and its not rare that they forget to inform a repository to release their data once a…

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