Functional Ecology

Copyright © 2014 British Ecological Society

A Journal of the British Ecological Society

Edited by: Charles Fox, Duncan Irschick, Ken Thompson and Alan Knapp

Latest Videos & podcasts

In this study, Isabelle Marechaux and her co-authors looked at leaf water potential at wilting or turgor loss point (πtlp), which determines tolerance of leaves to drought stress. Using a new method based on a demonstrated association between πtlp and another trait, the leaf osmotic water potential at full hydration, they were able to estimate πtlp for 165 trees of 71 species. This dataset is a significant increase in information for tropical tree species and indicates a potential for highly diverse species responses to drought within given forest communities.
Read the full paper online here: Maréchaux, I., Bartlett, M. K., Sack, L., Baraloto, C., Engel, J., Joetzjer, E., Chave, J. (2015), Drought tolerance as predicted by leaf water potential at turgor loss point varies strongly across species within an Amazonian forest. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12452 or the lay summary here.

Anolis lizards are well known for their colorful, expandable throat fan, called the dewlap, which they use to attract mates and repel rivals. The dewlap is a very thin structure and some of the light that strikes its surface shines through it, becoming colored and spreading in all directions as it does. Researchers Leo J. Fleishman, Brianna Ogas, David Steinberg and Manuel Leal look at why some Anolis lizard dewlaps glow in their video.
You can read their paper "Why do Anolis lizard dewlaps glow? An analysis of a translucent visual signal" free online here or the lay summary here.

Alan Knapp talks to Anita Narwani and Patrick Vernail about their new Extended Spotlight: Community Phylogenetics and Ecosystem Functioning.
Read the Extended Spotlight online here.

Duncan Irschick talks to Coleman M. Sheehy III about how arboreality and the associated gravitational stress on blood circulation have influenced the evolution of tail length in snakes.
Read the full paper online here: Coleman M. Sheehy, C. M., Albert, J. A., Lillywhite, H. B. (2015), The evolution of tail length in snakes associated with different gravitational environments. Functional Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.124725 or the lay summary here

Alan Knapp talks to the 2014 Haldane Prizewinner Scott Ferrenberg about his paper, "Smooth bark surfaces can defend trees against insect attack: resurrecting a ‘slippery’ hypothesis". See the winner's Virtual Issue here: http://j.mp/Haldane2014

Ken Thompson talks to Katie Field about her Virtual Issue Mycorrhizal networks in ecosystem structure and functioning. The vast majority of land plants form mutualistic symbioses with soil-dwelling fungi known as mycorrhizas, which can link many plants through fungal hyphae in a common mycelial network. This Virtual Issue highlights three major themes in mycorrhizal research: the movement of plant-fixed carbon, reciprocal exchange of nutrients, and the wider impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem function.

In this study, the authors measured song frequency content and hearing sensitivity for nine species of songbird over a broad range of frequencies. If hearing correlates to song characteristics, then open habitat bird species should have higher sensitivity to high-frequency sounds than forest species. Surprisingly, although song frequency was highest in species from open habitats and lowest in forest species (as expected), song frequency and habitat were not correlated with high-frequency hearing sensitivity.
You can read the paper free online Vélez, A., Gall, M. D., Fu, J., Lucas, J. R. (2014), Song structure, not high-frequency song content, determines high-frequency auditory sensitivity in nine species of New World sparrows. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12352 or the lay summary here.

Survival of the weakest seems an unlikely title for an ecology paper, but that is exactly what Haldane prizewinner Kyle Demes and his co-authors found in their, as Kyle Demes explains in this podcast on his paper, Demes, K. W., Pruitt, J. N., Harley, C. D.G., Carrington, E. (2013), Survival of the weakest: increased frond mechanical strength in a wave-swept kelp inhibits self-pruning and increases whole-plant mortality. Functional Ecology, 27: 439–445. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12067

Now online

A glowing dewlap. Photo Credit: Manuel Leal. The lizard Anolis lineatopus inhabits shaded forests throughout the island of Jamaica.  Territorial males extend a colorful throat fan – the dewlap – in visual displays that attract females and repel male rivals. The dewlap is translucent: it transmits and diffuses light striking its back surface.  In this picture the sun is located behind the animal, and the sunlight transmitted through the dewlap makes it appear to glow.  The translucent properties of the dewlap make its colors more vivid and easier to see. Fleishman et al Why do lizard dewlaps glow?

Harvesting a study of the impact of barley mixtures on rare and common weed species. Brooker et al Plants helping plants for sustainable agriculture

Songnen Grassland. Photo provided by authors. Huang et al How should the number of leaves along branches in a plant canopy change with leaf size?

Image provided by authors. Ferrari et al The effects of background risk on behavioural lateralization in a coral reef fish

Research crane at the San Lorenzo Canopy Crane Site in Panama (left). Prosthechea sp. (Orchidaceae) in flower; leaves of Serpocaulon wagneri (Polypodiaceae) and Stenospermation angustifolium (Araceae; right, from top to bottom). (Photos by G. Petter). Petter et al Leaf traits of vascular epiphytes shift with height above the forest floor

Hawaiian prickly poppy. Photo provided by author. Barton Plants respond to herbivory by producing more prickles, thorns, and spines

Grass layer of the savanna in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. Photo provided by authors. Barot et al Evolution of nutrient acquisition: when space matters

Photo credit: Paul Kardol. De Long et al Defenders in the Tundra: Plant defense is determined by nutrient availability and elevation

Blue tit brood. Photo credit: Wendt Müller. Lucass et al Parent-offspring co-adaptation in a wild bird

The eyes of  Megalagrion n. nigrolineatum, an example of a Hawaiian damselfly that breeds along pools. Scales & Butler The relationship between microhabitat use, allometry, and functional variation in the eyes of Hawaiian Megalagrion damselflies

Researchers prepare an adult Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) for physiological manipulation in order to test predictions regarding individual variation in overwinter migration strategy. Photo by Xavier Bordeleau. Crossin et al Glucocorticoid manipulations in free-living animals: considerations of dose delivery, life-history context, and reproductive state

Sampling of groundwater organisms at Borne aux Cassots cave (France). Photo: Robert Le Pennec. Francois et al Evidence of trophic specialization in cave species challenges the usual prediction of generalist feeding in food-limited environments

Inside a nest of the buff-tailed bumble bee (Bombus terrestris), complete with marked bees. Photo credit: Andrew Bourke, 2013. Holland and Bourke How does temperature affect colonies of a pollinating bumble bee?

Carp in tank. Photo provided by authors. van Leeuwen et al Seed transport by physically active animals: farther than we think?

Image provided by authors. Anderson-Teixeira et al What can we predict about a forest based on the sizes of its trees?

 Camera system (left) within the environmental chamber used to film woodlice as they move around an experimental fragmented landscape (right, blue line indicates woodlice trajectories), also seen at the bottom of the filming chamber. Woodlice movement patterns can then be automatically tracked and analysed using automated image-based tracking software. Barnes et al Big, warm woodlice "chill out", rather than cross a habitat corridor

An old-growth tropical forest. Photo credit: Yunting Fang. Chen et al Nitrogen saturation in humid tropical forests after 6 years of nitrogen and phosphorus addition: hypothesis testing

An arboreal eyelash viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) resting on a branch in Costa Rica.  Photograph by Coleman M. Sheehy III. Sheehy et al Arboreality and associated gravitational stress on blood circulation have influenced the evolution of tail length in snakes

Wood decomposition patterns over time. Photo from Yao Chen. Chen et al How is wood decomposition affected by nutrients in a tropical forest?

Photo of the common garden at Syracuse University, Photo by Jason D. Fridley. Yin et al Xylem vessel traits tell the timing of leaf emergence and senescence in native and non-native understory species of temperate deciduous forests

Image provided by authors. Tolkkinen et al Agriculture increases temporal variability of stream ecosystem functioning

A sagrei Bimini. Image provided by authors.. Bonneaud et al Plasticity in sexual size dimorphism

Image provided by authors. Mariotte et al Subordinate plants and fungi: what happens when these minorities join the effort?

Search the Site

Search

Site Adverts

Virtual Issue on Ecophysiological forecasting: predicting adaptation and limits to adaptation