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Journal Cover Ecology Letters
  [SJR: 8.63]   [H-I: 184]   [232 followers]  Follow
   Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
   ISSN (Print) 1461-023X - ISSN (Online) 1461-0248
   Published by John Wiley and Sons Homepage  [1589 journals]
  • Sex differences in adult mortality rate mediated by early-life
           environmental conditions
    • Authors: Robert M. Griffin; Adam D. Hayward, Elisabeth Bolund, Alexei A. Maklakov, Virpi Lummaa
      Abstract: Variation in sex differences is affected by both genetic and environmental variation, with rapid change in sex differences being more likely due to environmental change. One case of rapid change in sex differences is human lifespan, which has become increasingly female-biased in recent centuries. Long-term consequences of variation in the early-life environment may, in part, explain such variation in sex differences, but whether the early-life environment mediates sex differences in life-history traits is poorly understood in animals. Combining longitudinal data on 60 cohorts of pre-industrial Finns with environmental data, we show that the early-life environment is associated with sex differences in adult mortality and expected lifespan. Specifically, low infant survival rates and high rye yields (an important food source) in early-life are associated with female-bias in adult lifespan. These results support the hypothesis that environmental change has the potential to affect sex differences in life-history traits in natural populations of long-lived mammals.
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T20:00:24.907226-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12888
  • The impact of host genetic diversity on virus evolution and emergence
    • Authors: Cristina Rodríguez-Nevado; Tommy T-Y Lam, Edward C. Holmes, Israel Pagán
      Abstract: Accumulating evidence indicates that biodiversity has an important impact on parasite evolution and emergence. The vast majority of studies in this area have only considered the diversity of species within an environment as an overall measure of biodiversity, overlooking the role of genetic diversity within a particular host species. Although theoretical models propose that host genetic diversity in part shapes that of the infecting parasite population, and hence modulates the risk of parasite emergence, this effect has seldom been tested empirically. Using Rabies virus (RABV) as a model parasite, we provide evidence that greater host genetic diversity increases both parasite genetic diversity and the likelihood of a host being a donor in RABV cross-species transmission events. We conclude that host genetic diversity may be an important determinant of parasite evolution and emergence.
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T19:55:27.713823-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12890
  • Understanding the stoichiometric limitation of herbivore growth: the
           importance of feeding and assimilation flexibilities
    • Authors: Jotaro Urabe; Yuichiro Shimizu, Toshiyasu Yamaguchi
      Abstract: Ecological stoichiometry suggests that herbivore growth is limited by phosphorus when this element in the diet is  300). However, in nature, it is not necessarily related to the relative phosphorus content in diets. This may be the result of complex feeding and assimilation responses to diets. We examined these possibilities using herbivorous plankton fed mono-specific and mixed algae varying in phosphorus content of 1.6 to 8.1 μg P mg C−1. The herbivores showed a 10-fold growth rate difference among the diets. Growth rates related poorly with phosphorus content in the diets (r2 = 0.07), better with P ingestion rate (r2 = 0.41) and best with phosphorus assimilation rate (r2 = 0.69). Inclusion of assimilation rates for carbon and fatty acids increased 7% of the explained growth variance. These results indicate that the feeding and assimilation flexibilities play pivotal roles in acquiring a deficient element and in regulating growth rate.
      PubDate: 2017-12-05T19:50:38.49852-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12882
  • Using connectivity to identify climatic drivers of local adaptation
    • Authors: Stewart L. Macdonald; John Llewelyn, Ben L. Phillips
      Abstract: Understanding the climatic drivers of local adaptation is vital. Such knowledge is not only of theoretical interest but is critical to inform management actions under climate change, such as assisted translocation and targeted gene flow. Unfortunately, there are a vast number of potential trait–environment combinations, and simple relationships between trait and environment are ambiguous: representing either plastic or evolved variation. Here, we show that by incorporating connectivity as an index of gene flow, we can differentiate trait–environment relationships reflecting genetic variation vs. phenotypic plasticity. In this way, we rapidly shorten the list of trait–environment combinations that are of significance. Our analysis of an existing data set on geographic variation in a tropical lizard shows that we can effectively rank climatic variables by the strength of their role in local adaptation. The promise of our method is a rapid and general approach to identifying the environmental drivers of local adaptation.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T03:26:21.308187-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12883
  • Node self-connections in network metrics
    • Authors: Santiago Saura
      Abstract: Zamborain-Mason et al. (Ecol. Lett., 20, 2017, 815–831) state that they have newly proposed network metrics that account for node self-connections. Network metrics incorporating node self-connections, also referred to as intranode (intrapatch) connectivity, were however already proposed before and have been widely used in a variety of conservation planning applications.
      PubDate: 2017-12-01T03:20:21.659662-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12885
  • Dominant forest tree mycorrhizal type mediates understory plant invasions
    • Authors: Insu Jo; Kevin M. Potter, Grant M. Domke, Songlin Fei
      Abstract: Forest mycorrhizal type mediates nutrient dynamics, which in turn can influence forest community structure and processes. Using forest inventory data, we explored how dominant forest tree mycorrhizal type affects understory plant invasions with consideration of forest structure and soil properties. We found that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) dominant forests, which are characterised by thin forest floors and low soil C : N ratio, were invaded to a greater extent by non-native invasive species than ectomycorrhizal (ECM) dominant forests. Understory native species cover and richness had no strong associations with AM tree dominance. We also found no difference in the mycorrhizal type composition of understory invaders between AM and ECM dominant forests. Our results indicate that dominant forest tree mycorrhizal type is closely linked with understory invasions. The increased invader abundance in AM dominant forests can further facilitate nutrient cycling, leading to the alteration of ecosystem structure and functions.
      PubDate: 2017-11-30T23:05:02.286015-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12884
  • Probing the limits of predictability: data assimilation of chaotic
           dynamics in complex food webs
    • Authors: Elias C. Massoud; Jef Huisman, Elisa Benincà, Michael C. Dietze, Willem Bouten, Jasper A. Vrugt
      Abstract: The daunting complexity of ecosystems has led ecologists to use mathematical modelling to gain understanding of ecological relationships, processes and dynamics. In pursuit of mathematical tractability, these models use simplified descriptions of key patterns, processes and relationships observed in nature. In contrast, ecological data are often complex, scale-dependent, space-time correlated, and governed by nonlinear relations between organisms and their environment. This disparity in complexity between ecosystem models and data has created a large gap in ecology between model and data-driven approaches. Here, we explore data assimilation (DA) with the Ensemble Kalman filter to fuse a two-predator-two-prey model with abundance data from a 2600+ day experiment of a plankton community. We analyse how frequently we must assimilate measured abundances to predict accurately population dynamics, and benchmark our population model's forecast horizon against a simple null model. Results demonstrate that DA enhances the predictability and forecast horizon of complex community dynamics.
      PubDate: 2017-11-27T00:52:18.485235-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12876
  • Physical effects of habitat-forming species override latitudinal trends in
    • Authors: L. J. Jurgens; B. Gaylord
      Abstract: Latitudinal and elevational temperature gradients (LTG and ETG) play central roles in biogeographical theory, underpinning predictions of large-scale patterns in organismal thermal stress, species' ranges and distributional responses to climate change. Yet an enormous fraction of Earth's taxa live exclusively in habitats where foundation species modify temperatures. We examine little-explored implications of this widespread trend using a classic model system for understanding heat stresses – rocky intertidal shores. Through integrated field measurements and laboratory trials, we demonstrate that thermal buffering by centimetre-thick mussel and seaweed beds eliminates differences in stress-inducing high temperatures and associated mortality risk that would otherwise arise over 14° of latitude and ~ 1 m of shore elevation. These results reveal the extent to which physical effects of habitat-formers can overwhelm broad-scale thermal trends, suggesting a need to re-evaluate climate change predictions for many species. Notably, inhabitant populations may exhibit deceptive resilience to warming until refuge-forming taxa become imperiled.
      PubDate: 2017-11-22T03:01:01.074621-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12881
  • Ecological selection of siderophore-producing microbial taxa in response
           to heavy metal contamination
    • Authors: Elze Hesse; Siobhán O'Brien, Nicolas Tromas, Florian Bayer, Adela M. Luján, Eleanor M. Veen, Dave J. Hodgson, Angus Buckling
      Abstract: Some microbial public goods can provide both individual and community-wide benefits, and are open to exploitation by non-producing species. One such example is the production of metal-detoxifying siderophores. Here, we investigate whether conflicting selection pressures on siderophore production by heavy metals – a detoxifying effect of siderophores, and exploitation of this detoxifying effect – result in a net increase or decrease. We show that the proportion of siderophore-producing taxa increases along a natural heavy metal gradient. A causal link between metal contamination and siderophore production was subsequently demonstrated in a microcosm experiment in compost, in which we observed changes in community composition towards taxa that produce relatively more siderophores following copper contamination. We confirmed the selective benefit of siderophores by showing that taxa producing large amounts of siderophore suffered less growth inhibition in toxic copper. Our results suggest that ecological selection will favour siderophore-mediated decontamination, with important consequences for potential remediation strategies.
      PubDate: 2017-11-21T19:00:30.064626-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12878
  • Temperature-dependent body size effects determine population responses to
           climate warming
    • Authors: Max Lindmark; Magnus Huss, Jan Ohlberger, Anna Gårdmark
      Abstract: Current understanding of animal population responses to rising temperatures is based on the assumption that biological rates such as metabolism, which governs fundamental ecological processes, scale independently with body size and temperature, despite empirical evidence for interactive effects. Here, we investigate the consequences of interactive temperature- and size scaling of vital rates for the dynamics of populations experiencing warming using a stage-structured consumer-resource model. We show that interactive scaling alters population and stage-specific responses to rising temperatures, such that warming can induce shifts in population regulation and stage-structure, influence community structure and govern population responses to mortality. Analysing experimental data for 20 fish species, we found size–temperature interactions in intraspecific scaling of metabolic rate to be common. Given the evidence for size–temperature interactions and the ubiquity of size structure in animal populations, we argue that accounting for size-specific temperature effects is pivotal for understanding how warming affects animal populations and communities.
      PubDate: 2017-11-21T18:50:41.067795-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12880
  • Community evolution increases plant productivity at low diversity
    • Authors: Sofia J. van Moorsel; Terhi Hahl, Cameron Wagg, Gerlinde B. De Deyn, Dan F. B. Flynn, Debra Zuppinger-Dingley, Bernhard Schmid
      Abstract: Species extinctions from local communities negatively affect ecosystem functioning. Ecological mechanisms underlying these impacts are well studied, but the role of evolutionary processes is rarely assessed. Using a long-term field experiment, we tested whether natural selection in plant communities increased biodiversity effects on productivity. We re-assembled communities with 8-year co-selection history adjacent to communities with identical species composition but no history of co-selection (‘naïve communities’). Monocultures, and in particular mixtures of two to four co-selected species, were more productive than their corresponding naïve communities over 4 years in soils with or without co-selected microbial communities. At the highest diversity level of eight plant species, no such differences were observed. Our findings suggest that plant community evolution can lead to rapid increases in ecosystem functioning at low diversity but may take longer at high diversity. This effect was not modified by treatments simulating co-evolutionary processes between plants and soil organisms.
      PubDate: 2017-11-16T23:00:36.056948-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12879
  • Eco-energetic consequences of evolutionary shifts in body size
    • Authors: Martino E. Malerba; Craig R. White, Dustin J. Marshall
      Abstract: Size imposes physiological and ecological constraints upon all organisms. Theory abounds on how energy flux covaries with body size, yet causal links are often elusive. As a more direct way to assess the role of size, we used artificial selection to evolve the phytoplankton species Dunaliella tertiolecta towards smaller and larger body sizes. Within 100 generations (c. 1 year), we generated a fourfold difference in cell volume among selected lineages. Large-selected populations produced four times the energy than small-selected populations of equivalent total biovolume, but at the cost of much higher volume-specific respiration. These differences in energy utilisation between large (more productive) and small (more energy-efficient) individuals were used to successfully predict ecological performance (r and K) across novel resource regimes. We show that body size determines the performance of a species by mediating its net energy flux, with worrying implications for current trends in size reduction and for global carbon cycles.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T21:16:04.394161-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12870
  • Recurrent sublethal warming reduces embryonic survival, inhibits juvenile
           growth, and alters species distribution projections under climate change
    • Authors: Michael A. Carlo; Eric A. Riddell, Ofir Levy, Michael W. Sears
      Abstract: The capacity to tolerate climate change often varies across ontogeny in organisms with complex life cycles. Recently developed species distribution models incorporate traits across life stages; however, these life-cycle models primarily evaluate effects of lethal change. Here, we examine impacts of recurrent sublethal warming on development and survival in ecological projections of climate change. We reared lizard embryos in the laboratory under temperature cycles that simulated contemporary conditions and warming scenarios. We also artificially warmed natural nests to mimic laboratory treatments. In both cases, recurrent sublethal warming decreased embryonic survival and hatchling sizes. Incorporating survivorship results into a mechanistic species distribution model reduced annual survival by up to 24% compared to models that did not incorporate sublethal warming. Contrary to models without sublethal effects, our model suggests that modest increases in developmental temperatures influence species ranges due to effects on survivorship.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T21:11:36.17832-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12877
  • Continental mapping of forest ecosystem functions reveals a high but
           unrealised potential for forest multifunctionality
    • Authors: Fons der Plas; Sophia Ratcliffe, Paloma Ruiz-Benito, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Kris Verheyen, Christian Wirth, Miguel A. Zavala, Evy Ampoorter, Lander Baeten, Luc Barbaro, Cristina C. Bastias, Jürgen Bauhus, Raquel Benavides, Adam Benneter, Damien Bonal, Olivier Bouriaud, Helge Bruelheide, Filippo Bussotti, Monique Carnol, Bastien Castagneyrol, Yohan Charbonnier, Johannes H. C. Cornelissen, Jonas Dahlgren, Ewa Checko, Andrea Coppi, Seid Muhie Dawud, Marc Deconchat, Pallieter De Smedt, Hans De Wandeler, Timo Domisch, Leena Finér, Mariangela Fotelli, Arthur Gessler, André Granier, Charlotte Grossiord, Virginie Guyot, Josephine Haase, Stephan Hättenschwiler, Hervé Jactel, Bogdan Jaroszewicz, François-Xavier Joly, Tommaso Jucker, Stephan Kambach, Gerald Kaendler, Jens Kattge, Julia Koricheva, Georges Kunstler, Aleksi Lehtonen, Mario Liebergesell, Peter Manning, Harriet Milligan, Sandra Müller, Bart Muys, Diem Nguyen, Charles Nock, Bettina Ohse, Alain Paquette, Josep Peñuelas, Martina Pollastrini, Kalliopi Radoglou, Karsten Raulund-Rasmussen, Fabian Roger, Rupert Seidl, Federico Selvi, Jan Stenlid, Fernando Valladares, Johan Keer, Lars Vesterdal, Markus Fischer, Lars Gamfeldt, Eric Allan
      Abstract: Humans require multiple services from ecosystems, but it is largely unknown whether trade-offs between ecosystem functions prevent the realisation of high ecosystem multifunctionality across spatial scales. Here, we combined a comprehensive dataset (28 ecosystem functions measured on 209 forest plots) with a forest inventory dataset (105,316 plots) to extrapolate and map relationships between various ecosystem multifunctionality measures across Europe. These multifunctionality measures reflected different management objectives, related to timber production, climate regulation and biodiversity conservation/recreation. We found that trade-offs among them were rare across Europe, at both local and continental scales. This suggests a high potential for ‘win-win’ forest management strategies, where overall multifunctionality is maximised. However, across sites, multifunctionality was on average 45.8-49.8% below maximum levels and not necessarily highest in protected areas. Therefore, using one of the most comprehensive assessments so far, our study suggests a high but largely unrealised potential for management to promote multifunctional forests.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T21:05:41.754032-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12868
  • Community structure of insect herbivores is driven by conservatism,
           escalation and divergence of defensive traits in Ficus
    • Authors: Martin Volf; Simon T. Segar, Scott E. Miller, Brus Isua, Mentap Sisol, Gibson Aubona, Petr Šimek, Martin Moos, Juuso Laitila, Jorma Kim, Jan Zima, Jadranka Rota, George D. Weiblen, Stewart Wossa, Juha-Pekka Salminen, Yves Basset, Vojtech Novotny
      Abstract: Escalation (macroevolutionary increase) or divergence (disparity between relatives) in trait values are two frequent outcomes of the plant-herbivore arms race. We studied the defences and caterpillars associated with 21 sympatric New Guinean figs. Herbivore generalists were concentrated on hosts with low protease and oxidative activity. The distribution of specialists correlated with phylogeny, protease and trichomes. Additionally, highly specialised Asota moths used alkaloid rich plants. The evolution of proteases was conserved, alkaloid diversity has escalated across the studied species, oxidative activity has escalated within one clade, and trichomes have diverged across the phylogeny. Herbivore specificity correlated with their response to host defences: escalating traits largely affected generalists and divergent traits specialists; but the effect of escalating traits on extreme specialists was positive. In turn, the evolution of defences in Ficus can be driven towards both escalation and divergence in individual traits, in combination providing protection against a broad spectrum of herbivores.
      PubDate: 2017-11-15T21:00:32.373539-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12875
  • Rarity and persistence
    • Authors: Geerat J. Vermeij; Richard K. Grosberg
      Abstract: Rarity is a population characteristic that is usually associated with a high risk of extinction. We argue here, however, that chronically rare species (those with low population densities over many generations across their entire ranges) may have individual-level traits that make populations more resistant to extinction. The major obstacle to persistence at low density is successful fertilisation (union between egg and sperm), and chronically rare species are more likely to survive when (1) fertilisation occurs inside or close to an adult, (2) mate choice involves long-distance signals, (3) adults or their surrogate gamete dispersers are highly mobile, or (4) the two sexes are combined in a single individual. In contrast, external fertilisation and wind- or water-driven passive dispersal of gametes, or sluggish or sedentary adult life habits in the absence of gamete vectors, appear to be incompatible with sustained rarity. We suggest that the documented increase in frequency of these traits among marine genera over geological time could explain observed secular decreases in rates of background extinction. Unanswered questions remain about how common chronic rarity actually is, which traits are consistently associated with chronic rarity, and how chronically rare species are distributed among taxa, and among the world's ecosystems and regions.
      PubDate: 2017-11-06T21:45:33.505744-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12872
  • Decomposing multiple dimensions of stability in global change experiments
    • Authors: Helmut Hillebrand; Silke Langenheder, Karen Lebret, Eva Lindström, Örjan Östman, Maren Striebel
      Abstract: Ecological stability is the central framework to understand an ecosystem's ability to absorb or recover from environmental change. Recent modelling and conceptual work suggests that stability is a multidimensional construct comprising different response aspects. Using two freshwater mesocosm experiments as case studies, we show how the response to single perturbations can be decomposed in different stability aspects (resistance, resilience, recovery, temporal stability) for both ecosystem functions and community composition. We find that extended community recovery is tightly connected to a nearly complete recovery of the function (biomass production), whereas systems with incomplete recovery of the species composition ranged widely in their biomass compared to controls. Moreover, recovery was most complete when either resistance or resilience was high, the latter associated with low temporal stability around the recovery trend. In summary, no single aspect of stability was sufficient to reflect the overall stability of the system.
      PubDate: 2017-11-05T19:25:27.227334-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12867
  • Warming and top predator loss drive ecosystem multifunctionality
    • Authors: Pablo Augusto P. Antiqueira; Owen L. Petchey, Gustavo Quevedo Romero
      Abstract: Global change affects ecosystem functioning both directly by modifications in physicochemical processes, and indirectly, via changes in biotic metabolism and interactions. Unclear, however, is how multiple anthropogenic drivers affect different components of community structure and the performance of multiple ecosystem functions (ecosystem multifunctionality). We manipulated small natural freshwater ecosystems to investigate how warming and top predator loss affect seven ecosystem functions representing two major dimensions of ecosystem functioning, productivity and metabolism. We investigated their direct and indirect effects on community diversity and standing stock of multitrophic macro and microorganisms. Warming directly increased multifunctional ecosystem productivity and metabolism. In contrast, top predator loss indirectly affected multifunctional ecosystem productivity via changes in the diversity of detritivorous macroinvertebrates, but did not affect ecosystem metabolism. In addition to demonstrating how multiple anthropogenic drivers have different impacts, via different pathways, on ecosystem multifunctionality components, our work should further spur advances in predicting responses of ecosystems to multiple simultaneous environmental changes.
      PubDate: 2017-11-02T20:06:08.096905-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12873
  • Bottom-up vs. top-down effects on terrestrial insect herbivores: a
    • Authors: Mayra C. Vidal; Shannon M. Murphy
      Abstract: Primary consumers are under strong selection from resource (‘bottom-up’) and consumer (‘top-down’) controls, but the relative importance of these selective forces is unknown. We performed a meta-analysis to compare the strength of top-down and bottom-up forces on consumer fitness, considering multiple predictors that can modulate these effects: diet breadth, feeding guild, habitat/environment, type of bottom-up effects, type of top-down effects and how consumer fitness effects are measured. We focused our analyses on the most diverse group of primary consumers, herbivorous insects, and found that in general top-down forces were stronger than bottom-up forces. Notably, chewing, sucking and gall-making herbivores were more affected by top-down than bottom-up forces, top-down forces were stronger than bottom-up in both natural and controlled (cultivated) environments, and parasitoids and predators had equally strong top-down effects on insect herbivores. Future studies should broaden the scope of focal consumers, particularly in understudied terrestrial systems, guilds, taxonomic groups and top-down controls (e.g. pathogens), and test for more complex indirect community interactions. Our results demonstrate the surprising strength of forces exerted by natural enemies on herbivorous insects, and thus the necessity of using a tri-trophic approach when studying insect-plant interactions.
      PubDate: 2017-11-02T20:00:50.1792-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12874
  • Climate mediates the success of migration strategies in a marine predator
    • Authors: Briana Abrahms; Elliott L. Hazen, Steven J. Bograd, Justin S. Brashares, Patrick W. Robinson, Kylie L. Scales, Daniel E. Crocker, Daniel P. Costa
      Abstract: Individual behavioural specialisation has far-reaching effects on fitness and population persistence. Theory predicts that unconditional site fidelity, that is fidelity to a site independent of past outcome, provides a fitness advantage in unpredictable environments. However, the benefits of alternative site fidelity strategies driving intraspecific variation remain poorly understood and have not been evaluated in different environmental contexts. We show that contrary to expectation, strong and weak site fidelity strategies in migratory northern elephant seals performed similarly over 10 years, but the success of each strategy varied interannually and was strongly mediated by climate conditions. Strong fidelity facilitated stable energetic rewards and low risk, while weak fidelity facilitated high rewards and high risk. Weak fidelity outperformed strong fidelity in anomalous climate conditions, suggesting that the evolutionary benefits of site fidelity may be upended by increasing environmental variability. We highlight how individual behavioural specialisation may modulate the adaptive capacity of species to climate change.
      PubDate: 2017-11-02T17:00:02.674891-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12871
  • Marine management affects the invasion success of a non-native species in
           a temperate reef system in California, USA
    • Authors: Jennifer E. Caselle; Kathryn Davis, Lindsay M. Marks
      Abstract: Despite promises that ‘healthy’ marine systems show increased resilience, the effects of ecosystem management strategies on invasion success in marine systems is still unclear. We show that resistance to the invasive alga, Sargassum horneri, in a temperate reef system occurs through alternate mechanisms in different ecosystem states. In an old marine protected area (MPA), invasion of S. horneri was suppressed, likely due to competitive pressure from native algae, resulting from protection of urchin predators. In a nearby fished urchin barren, invasion of S. horneri was also suppressed, due to herbivory by urchins whose predators are fished. Within newer MPAs with intermediate levels of interacting species, S. horneri was abundant. Here, neither competition from native algae nor herbivory was sufficient to prevent invasion. We confirm that invasion in marine systems is complex and show that multiple mechanisms in single systems must be considered when investigating biotic resistance hypotheses.
      PubDate: 2017-11-01T23:42:08.809754-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12869
  • High mortality and enhanced recovery: modelling the countervailing effects
           of disturbance on population dynamics
    • Authors: Laura E. McMullen; Patrick De Leenheer, Jonathan D. Tonkin, David A. Lytle
      Abstract: Disturbances cause high mortality in populations while simultaneously enhancing population growth by improving habitats. These countervailing effects make it difficult to predict population dynamics following disturbance events. To address this challenge, we derived a novel form of the logistic growth equation that permits time-varying carrying capacity and growth rate. We combined this equation with concepts drawn from disturbance ecology to create a general model for population dynamics in disturbance-prone systems. A river flooding example using three insect species (a fast life-cycle mayfly, a slow life-cycle dragonfly and an ostracod) found optimal tradeoffs between disturbance frequency vs. magnitude and a close fit to empirical data in 62% of cases. A savanna fire analysis identified fire frequencies of 3–4 years that maximised population size of a perennial grass. The model shows promise for predicting population dynamics after multiple disturbance events and for management of river flows and fire regimes.
      PubDate: 2017-10-24T21:40:43.303195-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12866
  • Asynchrony among local communities stabilises ecosystem function of
    • Authors: Kevin R. Wilcox; Andrew T. Tredennick, Sally E. Koerner, Emily Grman, Lauren M. Hallett, Meghan L. Avolio, Kimberly J. La Pierre, Gregory R. Houseman, Forest Isbell, David Samuel Johnson, Juha M. Alatalo, Andrew H. Baldwin, Edward W. Bork, Elizabeth H. Boughton, William D. Bowman, Andrea J. Britton, James F. Cahill, Scott L. Collins, Guozhen Du, Anu Eskelinen, Laura Gough, Anke Jentsch, Christel Kern, Kari Klanderud, Alan K. Knapp, Juergen Kreyling, Yiqi Luo, Jennie R. McLaren, Patrick Megonigal, Vladimir Onipchenko, Janet Prevéy, Jodi N. Price, Clare H. Robinson, Osvaldo E. Sala, Melinda D. Smith, Nadejda A. Soudzilovskaia, Lara Souza, David Tilman, Shannon R. White, Zhuwen Xu, Laura Yahdjian, Qiang Yu, Pengfei Zhang, Yunhai Zhang
      Abstract: Temporal stability of ecosystem functioning increases the predictability and reliability of ecosystem services, and understanding the drivers of stability across spatial scales is important for land management and policy decisions. We used species-level abundance data from 62 plant communities across five continents to assess mechanisms of temporal stability across spatial scales. We assessed how asynchrony (i.e. different units responding dissimilarly through time) of species and local communities stabilised metacommunity ecosystem function. Asynchrony of species increased stability of local communities, and asynchrony among local communities enhanced metacommunity stability by a wide range of magnitudes (1–315%); this range was positively correlated with the size of the metacommunity. Additionally, asynchronous responses among local communities were linked with species’ populations fluctuating asynchronously across space, perhaps stemming from physical and/or competitive differences among local communities. Accordingly, we suggest spatial heterogeneity should be a major focus for maintaining the stability of ecosystem services at larger spatial scales.
      PubDate: 2017-10-24T20:21:01.900754-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12861
  • Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in food webs: the vertical
           diversity hypothesis
    • Authors: Shaopeng Wang; Ulrich Brose
      Abstract: One challenge in merging community and ecosystem ecology is to integrate the complexity of natural multitrophic communities into concepts of ecosystem functioning. Here, we combine food-web and allometry theories to demonstrate that primary production, as measured by the total nutrient uptake of the multitrophic community, is determined by vertical diversity (i.e. food web's maximum trophic level) and structure (i.e. distributions of species and their abundances and metabolic rates across trophic levels). In natural ecosystems, the community size distribution determines all these vertical patterns and thus the total nutrient uptake. Our model suggests a vertical diversity hypothesis (VDH) for ecosystem functioning in complex food webs. It predicts that, under a given nutrient supply, the total nutrient uptake increases exponentially with the maximum trophic level in the food web and it increases with its maximum body size according to a power law. The VDH highlights the effect of top–down regulation on plant nutrient uptake, which complements traditional paradigms that emphasised the bottom–up effect of nutrient supply on vertical diversity. We conclude that the VDH contributes to a synthetic framework for understanding the relationship between vertical diversity and ecosystem functioning in food webs and predicting the impacts of global changes on multitrophic ecosystems.
      PubDate: 2017-10-22T20:40:30.7528-05:00
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12865
  • Below-ground organic matter accumulation along a boreal forest fertility
           gradient relates to guild interaction within fungal communities
    • Authors: Julia Kyaschenko; Karina E. Clemmensen, Erik Karltun, Björn D. Lindahl
      Abstract: Plant–soil interactions link ecosystem fertility and organic matter accumulation below ground. Soil microorganisms play a central role as mediators of these interactions, but mechanistic understanding is still largely lacking. Correlative data from a coniferous forest ecosystem support the hypothesis that interactions between fungal guilds play a central role in regulating organic matter accumulation in relation to fertility. With increasing ecosystem fertility, the proportion of saprotrophic basidiomycetes increased in deeper organic layers, at the expense of ectomycorrhizal fungal species. Saprotrophs correlated positively with the activity of oxidative enzymes, which in turn favoured organic matter turnover and nitrogen recycling to plants. Combined, our findings are consistent with a fungus-mediated feedback loop, which results in a negative correlation between ecosystem fertility and below-ground carbon storage. These findings call for a shift in focus from plant litter traits to fungal traits in explaining organic matter dynamics and ecosystem fertility in boreal forests.
      PubDate: 2017-10-22T20:35:28.954799-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12862
  • Stoichiometric distribution models: ecological stoichiometry at the
           landscape extent
    • Authors: Shawn J. Leroux; Eric Vander Wal, Yolanda F. Wiersma, Louis Charron, Jonathan D. Ebel, Nichola M. Ellis, Christopher Hart, Emilie Kissler, Paul W. Saunders, Lucie Moudrá, Amy L. Tanner, Semra Yalcin
      Abstract: Human activities are altering the fundamental geography of biogeochemicals. Yet we lack an understanding of how the spatial patterns in organismal stoichiometry affect biogeochemical processes and the tools to predict the impacts of global changes on biogeochemical processes. In this contribution we develop stoichiometric distribution models (StDMs), which allow us to map spatial structure in resource elemental composition across a landscape and evaluate spatial responses of consumers. We parameterise StDMs for a consumer-resource (moose-white birch) system and demonstrate that we can develop predictive models of resource stoichiometry across a landscape and that such models could improve our predictions of consumer space use. With results from our study system application, we argue that explicit consideration of the spatial patterns in organismal elemental composition may uncover emergent individual, population, community and ecosystem properties that are not revealed at the local extents routinely used in ecological stoichiometry. We discuss perspectives for further developments and application of StDMs to advance three emerging frameworks for spatial ecosystem ecology in an era of global change; meta-ecosystem theory, macroecological stoichiometry and remotely sensed biogeochemistry. Progress on these emerging frameworks will allow for the integration of ecological stoichiometry and individual space use and fitness.
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T21:50:53.134718-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12859
  • Species are not most abundant in the centre of their geographic range or
           climatic niche
    • Authors: Tad Dallas; Robin R. Decker, Alan Hastings
      Abstract: The pervasive idea that species should be most abundant in the centre of their geographic range or centre of their climatic niche is a key assumption in many existing ecological hypotheses and has been declared a general macroecological rule. However, empirical support for decreasing population abundance with increasing distance from geographic range or climatic niche centre (distance–abundance relationships) remains fairly weak. We examine over 1400 bird, mammal, fish and tree species to provide a thorough test of distance–abundance relationships, and their associations with species traits and phylogenetic relationships. We failed to detect consistent distance–abundance relationships, and found no association between distance–abundance slope and species traits or phylogenetic relatedness. Together, our analyses suggest that distance–abundance relationships may be rare, difficult to detect, or are an oversimplification of the complex biogeographical forces that determine species spatial abundance patterns.
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T21:50:34.144196-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12860
  • Ecological plant epigenetics: Evidence from model and non-model species,
           and the way forward
    • Authors: Christina L. Richards; Conchita Alonso, Claude Becker, Oliver Bossdorf, Etienne Bucher, Maria Colomé-Tatché, Walter Durka, Jan Engelhardt, Bence Gaspar, Andreas Gogol-Döring, Ivo Grosse, Thomas P. van Gurp, Katrin Heer, Ilkka Kronholm, Christian Lampei, Vít Latzel, Marie Mirouze, Lars Opgenoorth, Ovidiu Paun, Sonja J. Prohaska, Stefan A. Rensing, Peter F. Stadler, Emiliano Trucchi, Kristian Ullrich, Koen J. F. Verhoeven
      Abstract: Growing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation. In contrast, studies with model species have benefited from powerful genomic resources, which contribute to a more mechanistic understanding but have limited ecological realism. Understanding the significance of epigenetics for plant ecology requires increased transfer of knowledge and methods from model species research to genomes of evolutionarily divergent species, and examination of responses to complex natural environments at a more mechanistic level. This requires transforming genomics tools specifically for studying non-model species, which is challenging given the large and often polyploid genomes of plants. Collaboration among molecular geneticists, ecologists and bioinformaticians promises to enhance our understanding of the mutual links between genome function and ecological processes.
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T21:35:27.554074-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12858
  • Species reordering, not changes in richness, drives long-term dynamics in
           grassland communities
    • Authors: Sydney K. Jones; Julie Ripplinger, Scott L. Collins
      Abstract: Determining how ecological communities will respond to global environmental change remains a challenging research problem. Recent meta-analyses concluded that most communities are undergoing compositional change despite no net change in local species richness. We explored how species richness and composition of co-occurring plant, grasshopper, breeding bird and small mammal communities in arid and mesic grasslands changed in response to increasing aridity and fire frequency. In the arid system, grassland and shrubland plant and breeding bird communities were undergoing directional change, whereas grasshopper and small mammal communities were stable. In the mesic system, all communities were undergoing directional change regardless of fire frequency. Despite directional change in composition in some communities, species richness of all communities did not change because compositional change resulted more from reordering of species abundances than turnover in species composition. Thus, species reordering, not changes in richness, explains long-term dynamics in these grass and shrub dominated communities.
      PubDate: 2017-10-12T19:50:38.146624-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12864
  • Ecological generalism facilitates the evolution of sociality in snapping
    • Authors: Katherine C. Brooks; Rafael Maia, J. Emmett Duffy, Kristin M. Hultgren, Dustin R. Rubenstein
      Abstract: Evidence from insects and vertebrates suggests that cooperation may have enabled species to expand their niches, becoming ecological generalists and dominating the ecosystems in which they occur. Consistent with this idea, eusocial species of sponge-dwelling Synalpheus shrimps from Belize are ecological generalists with a broader host breadth and higher abundance than non-eusocial species. We evaluate whether sociality promotes ecological generalism (social conquest hypothesis) or whether ecological generalism facilitates the transition to sociality (social transition hypothesis) in 38 Synalpheus shrimp species. We find that sociality evolves primarily from host generalists, and almost exclusively so for transitions to eusociality. Additionally, sponge volume is more important for explaining social transitions towards communal breeding than to eusociality, suggesting that different ecological factors may influence the independent evolutionary origins of sociality in Synalpheus shrimps. Ultimately, our results are consistent with the social transition hypothesis and the idea that ecological generalism facilitates the transition to sociality.
      PubDate: 2017-10-04T20:10:34.37065-05:0
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12857
  • Interannual bumble bee abundance is driven by indirect climate effects on
           floral resource phenology
    • Authors: Jane E. Ogilvie; Sean R. Griffin, Zachariah J. Gezon, Brian D. Inouye, Nora Underwood, David W. Inouye, Rebecca E. Irwin
      Abstract: Climate change can influence consumer populations both directly, by affecting survival and reproduction, and indirectly, by altering resources. However, little is known about the relative importance of direct and indirect effects, particularly for species important to ecosystem functioning, like pollinators. We used structural equation modelling to test the importance of direct and indirect (via floral resources) climate effects on the interannual abundance of three subalpine bumble bee species. In addition, we used long-term data to examine how climate and floral resources have changed over time. Over 8 years, bee abundances were driven primarily by the indirect effects of climate on the temporal distribution of floral resources. Over 43 years, aspects of floral phenology changed in ways that indicate species-specific effects on bees. Our study suggests that climate-driven alterations in floral resource phenology can play a critical role in governing bee population responses to global change.
      PubDate: 2017-09-28T23:05:02.771882-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12854
  • Issue Information
    • Pages: 1493 - 1494
      PubDate: 2017-11-09T23:52:18.669161-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12685
  • Corrigendum for Calcagno et al. (2014) DOI: 10.1111/ele.12379
    • Pages: 1591 - 1591
      PubDate: 2017-11-09T23:52:19.684007-05:
      DOI: 10.1111/ele.12863
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