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Top ecology journal Molecular Ecology highlights publications by members of DBio & CESAM

Top ecology journal Molecular Ecology highlights publications by members of DBio & CESAM

Molecular Ecology journal continues to be among the most influential journals in ecology and evolution, and published approximately 450 papers during 2014. The editors of Molecular Ecology write an editorial article in the beginning of each year noting the most relevant contributions that have been published. The present editorial (January 2015) highlights two papers that have been published by members of DBio & CESAM (Miguel Leal and Ricardo Calado). One of these works uses quantitative molecular methods to estimate ingestion and digestion of prey items by photosynthetic corals and anemones. Among the main findings of this investigation, the authors found that corals digest their prey much more slowly than previously believed, as they take up to 10 days to digest their prey, which somehow similar to the digestion time observed in terrestrial insects, particularly spiders. The other publication uses molecular methods to note, for the first time, that photosynthetic corals feed on phytoplankton. As symbiotic corals harbour microalgae (dinoflagellates) in their tissues, scientists thought these corals did not eat phytoplankton. The use of molecular tools has great potential to study trophic interactions, and has been one of the key research topics developed by Miguel Leal and Ricardo Calado in DBio & CESAM.

References:
Leal, M. C., Ferrier‐Pagès, C., Calado, R., Thompson, M. E., Frischer, M. E., & Nejstgaard, J. C. (2014). Coral feeding on microalgae assessed with molecular trophic markers. Molecular ecology 23:3870-3876
Leal, M. C., Nejstgaard, J. C., Calado, R., Thompson, M. E., & Frischer, M. E. (2014). Molecular assessment of heterotrophy and prey digestion in zooxanthellate cnidarians. Molecular ecology 23:3838-3848

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