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      Nutritional physiology and ecology of wildlife in a changing world


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          Humans have modified planet Earth extensively, with impacts ranging from reduced habitat availability to warming temperatures. Here we provide an overview of how humans have modified the nutritional physiology and ecology of wild organisms, and how nutrition is vital to successful conservation practices.


          Over the last century, humans have modified landscapes, generated pollution and provided opportunities for exotic species to invade areas where they did not evolve. In addition, humans now interact with animals in a growing number of ways (e.g. ecotourism). As a result, the quality (i.e. nutrient composition) and quantity (i.e. food abundance) of dietary items consumed by wildlife have, in many cases, changed. We present representative examples of the extent to which vertebrate foraging behaviour, food availability (quantity and quality) and digestive physiology have been modified due to human-induced environmental changes and human activities. We find that these effects can be quite extensive, especially as a result of pollution and human-provisioned food sources (despite good intentions). We also discuss the role of nutrition in conservation practices, from the perspective of both in situ and ex situ conservation. Though we find that the changes in the nutritional ecology and physiology of wildlife due to human alterations are typically negative and largely involve impacts on foraging behaviour and food availability, the extent to which these will affect the fitness of organisms and result in evolutionary changes is not clearly understood, and requires further investigation.

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          The ecology of individuals: incidence and implications of individual specialization.

          Most empirical and theoretical studies of resource use and population dynamics treat conspecific individuals as ecologically equivalent. This simplification is only justified if interindividual niche variation is rare, weak, or has a trivial effect on ecological processes. This article reviews the incidence, degree, causes, and implications of individual-level niche variation to challenge these simplifications. Evidence for individual specialization is available for 93 species distributed across a broad range of taxonomic groups. Although few studies have quantified the degree to which individuals are specialized relative to their population, between-individual variation can sometimes comprise the majority of the population's niche width. The degree of individual specialization varies widely among species and among populations, reflecting a diverse array of physiological, behavioral, and ecological mechanisms that can generate intrapopulation variation. Finally, individual specialization has potentially important ecological, evolutionary, and conservation implications. Theory suggests that niche variation facilitates frequency-dependent interactions that can profoundly affect the population's stability, the amount of intraspecific competition, fitness-function shapes, and the population's capacity to diversify and speciate rapidly. Our collection of case studies suggests that individual specialization is a widespread but underappreciated phenomenon that poses many important but unanswered questions.
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            Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100.

            Scenarios of changes in biodiversity for the year 2100 can now be developed based on scenarios of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate, vegetation, and land use and the known sensitivity of biodiversity to these changes. This study identified a ranking of the importance of drivers of change, a ranking of the biomes with respect to expected changes, and the major sources of uncertainties. For terrestrial ecosystems, land-use change probably will have the largest effect, followed by climate change, nitrogen deposition, biotic exchange, and elevated carbon dioxide concentration. For freshwater ecosystems, biotic exchange is much more important. Mediterranean climate and grassland ecosystems likely will experience the greatest proportional change in biodiversity because of the substantial influence of all drivers of biodiversity change. Northern temperate ecosystems are estimated to experience the least biodiversity change because major land-use change has already occurred. Plausible changes in biodiversity in other biomes depend on interactions among the causes of biodiversity change. These interactions represent one of the largest uncertainties in projections of future biodiversity change.
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              Disturbance, Diversity, and Invasion: Implications for Conservation


                Author and article information

                Conserv Physiol
                Conserv Physiol
                Conservation Physiology
                Oxford University Press
                22 May 2017
                22 May 2017
                : 5
                : 1
                [1 ] Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University , 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Canada ON K1S 5B6
                [2 ] DTU AQUA, National Institute of Aquatic Resources, Section for Freshwater Fisheries Ecology, Technical University of Denmark , Vejlsøvej 39, 8600 Silkeborg, Denmark
                [3 ] Faculty of Veterinary Science, The University of Sydney , Regimental Drive, Camperdown, NSW 2050, Australia
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology and Institute of Environmental Science, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Canada ON K1S 5B6. Tel: +45 35 88 31 42. Email: kbir@ 123456aqua.dtu.dk
                Editor: Craig E. Franklin
                © The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for Experimental Biology.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Pages: 18
                Funded by: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada 10.13039/501100000038
                Award ID: 315 774-166
                Funded by: Canada Research Chairs program 10.13039/501100001804
                Funded by: Australian Research Council Linkage Grant
                Award ID: LP 140100235


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