Functional EcologyCopyright © 2013 British Ecological Society
A Journal of the British Ecological SocietyEdited by: Duncan Irschick, Charles Fox, Ken Thompson and Alan Knapp
- ISI Journal Citation Reports® Ranking:
2011: 24/131 (Ecology) Impact Factor: 4.56
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Justin Wright talks to Alan Knapp about the results of examining the effects of varying nitrogen availability and water table depth on the form and function of leaves of over 20 species of wetland plants and what that means for ecologists looking to predict how the addition or subtraction of species will affect the way that ecosystems function.
Read the lay summary for more information or read the article online:
Wright, J. P., Sutton-Grier, A. (2012), Does the leaf economic spectrum hold within local species pools across varying environmental conditions?. Functional Ecology, 26: 1390–1398. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12001
Coping with stress: some species survive by breaking the rules, Lanna Desantis explains to Robbie Wilson
Part of the Special Feature: The Ecology of Stress For more information, read the lay summary and article:
Desantis, L. M., Delehanty, B., Weir, J. T., Boonstra, R. (2013), Mediating free glucocorticoid levels in the blood of vertebrates: are corticosteroid-binding proteins always necessary?. Functional Ecology, 27: 107–119. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12038
In an oak-dominated forest in Hampshire UK, photographs of the forest canopy were taken every half an hour over two years. The transition of colours showed the seasonality of the forest: when budbreak started, the green sharply increased, gradually decreased in summer, and returned to the original level when leaves were shed; the rise of red colour was shown when oak leaves turned yellow in autumn. Mizunuma et al modelled the photosynthesis of the forest using the extracted colours to compare with the flux measurements. Recent global warming has made the arrival of spring earlier, and leaves appear sooner. How does this influence the carbon cycle in forests?
Mizunuma, T., Wilkinson, M., L. Eaton, E., Mencuccini, M., I. L. Morison, J., Grace, J. (2012), The relationship between carbon dioxide uptake and canopy colour from two camera systems in a deciduous forest in southern England. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12026
The long necked sauropod dinosaurs were the largest land animals ever to walk the Earth – but why were they so large? One possibility is that it somehow involved the nature of the plant food they eat, as David Wilkinson explains.Read the paper: Wilkinson, D. M., Ruxton, G. D. (2012), High C/N ratio (not low-energy content) of vegetation may have driven gigantism in sauropod dinosaurs and perhaps omnivory and/or endothermy in their juveniles. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12033
Alan Knapp interviews Brad Butterfield about his paper, "A functional-comparative approach to facilitation between and its context-dependence" (part of an upcoming Special Feature on Mechanisms of Plant Competition), and the importance of taking a trait-based approach to plant facilitation. A great deal of research has been conducted on the mechanisms and outcomes of plant competition, what traits help plants compete, but less well understood is how such traits affect the outcome of positive interactions among plants.Read the article: Butterfield, B. J., Callaway, R. M. (2012), A functional comparative approach to facilitation and its context dependence. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12019 Listen and subscribe to our podcasts here.
Running lizards provide climate clues
Although climate change is heating polar and temperate areas faster than the tropics, evidence is mounting that tropical ectotherms (animals that don't produce their own heat) will be negatively affected by the relatively mild warming they do experience. Duke researchers tested this idea at a fine scale with the Puerto Rican crested anole, Anolis cristatellus, by combining data on the lizard's current habitat temperature and physiology with predictions of future air temperatures to estimate how the lizards will be affected.
For more information, you can read the lay summary or full article: Alex R. Gunderson and Manuel Leal, Geographic variation in vulnerability to climate warming in a tropical Caribbean lizard
Hide and seek in the rainforest: how do bats tell food from foliage?
Many bats use echolocation to find insects and other arthropods for food. Prof. Tigga Kingston from Texas Tech University. Prof. Rosli Hashim from The University of Malaya and Dr. Björn Siemers and Daniela Schmieder from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology plunge deep into the Malaysian rainforest to investigate how bats tell food from foliage-- an especially demanding task in the dense vegetation of the jungle.
You can access the paper here: Daniela A. Schmieder, Tigga Kingston, Rosli Hashim, Björn M. Siemers Sensory constraints on prey detection performance in an ensemble of vespertilionid understorey rain forest bats
Behaviour & stress physiology in fish
Gabrielle Archard and colleagues describe their study with freshwater fish, the Panamanian bishop (Brachyrhaphis episcopi), in which they predicted that individuals from populations with predators would release less stress hormone and be behaviourally more robust than those with no predators.
To access the paper click here: Archard, G. A., Earley, R. L., Hanninen, A. F. and Braithwaite, V. A. (2012), Correlated behaviour and stress physiology in fish exposed to different levels of predation pressure.
Listen to the latest podcast here.
Ryan Sponseller describes how he & his colleagues evaluated patterns of stem growth by the shrub, creosotebush, over a 5-year period to learn how desert plants respond to different aspects of the annual precipitation regime, including variation in the amount and characteristics of rainfall in different seasons.
To access the paper click: Sponseller, R. A., Hall, S. J., Huber, D. P., Grimm, N. B., Kaye, J. P., Clark, C. M. and Collins, S. L. (2012), Variation in monsoon precipitation drives spatial and temporal patterns of Larrea tridentata growth in the Sonoran Desert.
Hodgkison et al Fruit bats and bat fruits: the evolution of fruit scent in relation to the foraging behaviour of bats in the Old and New World tropics
Trappette et al Sex appeal is cheap for male threadfin rainbowfish
Barea & Watson Cafeterias are poor places to raise families
Bennett Can Plant-Microbe-Insect interactions enhance or inhibit the spread of invasive species?
Biere and Tack Three-way interactions between plants, microbes and insects: how do they adapt to each other?
Ibanez et al Does herbivory influence litter decomposition of contrasted grasses in similar ways?
Kaltenpoth and Engl Ants, bees, and wasps team up with microbial symbionts for defense.
Homberger et al Coping with unpredictability in early life
Ostoja et al Seed harvesting is influenced by associational effects in mixed seed neighborhoods, not just by seed density
Ohlberger Climate warming and ectotherm body size – from individual physiology to community ecology
Pierce et al The use of leaf economics and size traits to classify woody and herbaceous vascular plants
SPECIAL FEATURES & VIRTUAL ISSUES
Latest 2013 Special Feature Volume 27, Issue 1 featured our Special Feature on The Ecology of Stress. Guest edited by Rudy Boonstra. Read the introductory editorial here.
Latest 2012 Special Feature Volume 26, Issue 6 featured our Special Feature on Invasions and Infections. Guest edited by Alison Dunn & Sarah Perkins. Read the introductory editorial here.
Latest 2012 virtual issue
Plant function in a rapidly changing world, edited by Alan Knapp. A selection of papers that increase our understanding of basic plant functioning in an ecological context.
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