Functional Ecology

Copyright © 2015 British Ecological Society

A Journal of the British Ecological Society

Edited by: Charles Fox, Duncan Irschick,  Alan Knapp, Ken Thompson and Craig White
  • ISI Journal Citation Reports® Ranking:
    2015: 15/149 (Ecology) Impact Factor: 5.21
  • Google Scholar Ranking (as calculated July 2016)
  • 9th most highly ranked publication in the Ecology catagory
  • h-5 index: 51 h5-median: 70
  • Read the papers on Wiley Online Library

Issue 31.02 is out now. Read the lay summaries free online here.


To celebrate the journals's 30th anniversary, we have two Virtual Issues out now: Towards a mechanistic understanding of global change ecology and 30 years of Functional Ecology. All papers in both Virtual Issues are free online.


Latest Videos & podcasts

Duncan Irschick talks to and Tiphaine Jeanniard-du-dot about accelerometers, energy expenditure and Antarctic fur seals. Read the article in full.

Dylan G. Fischer talks about the results of the first forest ecosystem-scale experiment designed to test if more diverse mixtures of genetic stock result in more productive forests. Read the article in full.

Julia Cooke talks to FE editor Ken Thompson about our latest Special Feature: The Functional Role of Silicon In Plant Biology. Browse the lay summaries here or read the articles in the August Issue of Functional Ecology.

Joe Bailey talks to Alan Knapp about his special feature (guest-edited with Jen Schweizer)on Ecosystems, Evolution and Plant–Soil Feedbacks, out in the July Issue of Functional Ecology.

Each year the BES awards a prize for the best paper, in each of its journals, by an author at the start of their research career. In this podcast, Alan Knapp talks to Brian Steidinger, winner of the 2015 Haldane Prize for Early Career Research, about his prizewinning paper Variability in potential to exploit different soil organic phosphorus compounds among tropical montane tree species. Read the Virtual issue containing all the winning and highly commended papers here..

How do lizards adjust to life in the city? Lizards may use fences, posts and walls as they do trees in natural forests, but they may not find walls as easy to walk up as trees. Jason Kolbe discusses his recent paper City slickers: poor performance does not deter Anolis lizards from using artificial substrates in human-modified habitats with Duncan Irschick. Read the full paper here.

Emma Sayer and Ken Thompson talk about Emma's virtual issue: Making the Most of Microbes.

Thomas Hasper and Johan Uddling talk to FE Editor Alan Knapp about their recent paper "Water use by Swedish boreal forests in a changing climate.Hasper, T. B., Wallin, G., Lamba, S., Hall, M., Jaramillo, F., Laudon, H., Linder, S., Medhurst, J. L., Räntfors, M., Sigurdsson, B. D. and Uddling, J. (2015), Water use by Swedish boreal forests in a changing climate. Funct Ecol. doi:10.1111/1365-2435.12546

Islands are often considered ideal biological laboratories as they are isolated and vary tremendously in size, structure, and habitats, imposing different selective pressures that can drive adaptations of organisms on islands. This study capitalizes on an island-size gradient in the Greek Archipelago to investigate inter-island divergence in the body size, head shape, and bite force of a lizard, Podarcis erhardii.
Donihue, C. M., Brock, K. M., Foufopoulos, J., Herrel, A. (2015), Feed or fight: testing the impact of food availability and intraspecific aggression on the functional ecology of an island lizard. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12550

Robbie Wilson talks to Amy Hahs about using urban ecosystems to expand fundamental ecological knowledge. Amy Hahs guest-edited our latest Special Feature: Ecology of Organisms in Urban Environments with Karl Evans. You can read the Special Feature here.

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.

Now online

Photograph provided by authors. Lind et al Slow development as a cost of long life

Sampling plot of plant species in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (Spain) at 2725 m a.s.l. The grass Festuca indigesta Boiss. (Poaceae) is supporting other plant species to survival in this stressful environment. © Christian Schöb. Losapio & Schöb Resistance of plant–plant networks to biodiversity loss and secondary extinctions following simulated environmental changes

Hypancistrus zebra, known commonly as the zebra pleco, is one of numerous species that are found only in the Xingu River. Photo by: Mark H. Sabaj Pérez. Fitzgerald et al How diverse fish species coexist in the Amazon Basin

Image provided by authors. Tonin et al How nitrogen and plant diversity interact in decomposition of leaf litter in streams

View of the precipitation manipulation experiment in a semiarid grassland, Inner Mongolia, China. Photo by Bingwei Zhang. Zhang et al Differential responses of ecosystem carbon and water processes to increased and decreased precipitation

Snail eating freshwater plants. Photos provided by authors. Grutters et al Temperate and tropical snails share an appetite for native and non-native temperate aquatic plants

Image provided by authors. Rohde et al Climatic effects on population declines of a rare wetland species and the role of spatial and temporal isolation as barriers to hybridization

Photo provided by authors. Monteiro and Del Bianco Faria Causal relationships in food-web theory

Red knots. Image provided by authors. Mathot et al An experimental test of state-behaviour feedbacks: gizzard mass and foraging behaviour in red knots

Kittwakes. Photo provided by authors. Merkling et al ‘Reproductive effort and oxidative stress: effects of offspring sex and number on the physiological state of a long-lived bird

Photographic credit: Aurélien Prudor. Fay et al Contrasting effects of climate and population density over time and life-stages in a long-lived seabird

Photograph by E.C. Yip. Yip et al Goldenrod “eavesdrops” on the communication of its specialist herbivore and defends itself in proportion to its proximity to the communication source

Fish in a reef. Photo credit: Dr. Mark Priest. Bejarano et al The shape of fish success beneath the ocean waves

Exclosure. Photo provided by authors. Smart et al Leaf Dry Matter Content is better at predicting above-ground Net Primary Production than Specific Leaf Area

European starling, Sturnus vulgaris. ©David Costantini. Messina et al Oxidative stress reduces song rate in subordinate individuals

Insect-flower network. Vanbergen et al Robustness of insect-flower networks to disturbance

 Experimental plot in the Mediterranean rangeland of study (Larzac Causse, South of France). Barkaoui et al Does water shortage generate water stress?

1-species (Norway spruce) and 5-species forest plot (Norway spruce, Scots pine, hornbeam, oak, birch) in the exploratory platform site of the FunDivEUROPE project in Białowieża, Poland. Photo Credit: Dawid Zieliński. Dawud et al Tree species functional group is more important for soil carbon stock and soil nutrient status than tree species diversity across six major European forest types

Photograph provided by authors. Lewis G. Halsey Relationships grow with time – watch out when estimating diving energetics!

Image provided by authors. Bertocci et al Compounded perturbations in coastal areas: contrasting responses to nutrient enrichment and the regime of storm-related disturbance depend on life-history traits

Image provided by authors. Penick et al Heating the superorganism: Comprehensive metrics of thermal performance

Guppies. Image provided by authors.. Ghanizadeh Kazerouni et al Parents protect offspring from negative effects of UV-B radiation

 Siberian hamsters in long “summer-like” days (left) exhibit thin, brown/grey coats and display low levels of aggression despite have high levels of oestradiol. In contrast, hamsters in short “winter-like” (right) days exhibit thick white coats and are highly aggressive despite having low levels of oestradiol. Short-day hamsters compensate for low hormone sources during the winter by increasing sensitivity in areas of the brain associated with aggression, but not reproduction. Photo credit: JM Ho. Rendon et al Seasonal transitions and aggressive phenotypes

Pelican. Image provided by authors. Pap et al New analysis shows that the body feathers of birds evolved in response to lifestyle

 Blue-naped Chlorophonia (Chlorophonia cyanea) sitting on its nest in Venezuela.  It builds a nest of moss and rootlets that is enclosed on all sides except the opening (photo by T. E. Martin). Martin et al Thermal over predation benefits of enclosed vs open nests

Mothers increase yolk oestrogen levels and the production of female offspring across the nesting season . Carter et al Mothers increase yolk oestrogen levels and the production of female offspring across the nesting season

Image provided by authors. Ameztegui et al Shade tolerance and the functional trait – demography relationship in temperate and boreal forests

Image provided by authors. Mayer et al The wind, the wind, the heaven-born wind! Forest windthrow effects on soil carbon dynamics

Agricultural field. Photo provided by authors. Senapathi et al Landscape impacts on pollinator communities in temperate systems: evidence and knowledge gaps

Image provided by authors. Theodorou et al The structure of flower-visitor networks in relation to pollination across an agricultural to urban gradient

A bumblebee collecting nectar from an artificial flower. (photo by Takashi T. Makino). Makino and Ohashi Floral colour change to maintain a long-lasting relationship with pollinators

Apis dorsata. Photo provided by authors. Nicholls and Hempel de Ibarra Assessment of pollen rewards by foraging bees

Basking lizard. Image provided by authors. Basson et al To bask or not to bask? Lizards do not follow current theory

Eastern Chipmunk (Tamias striatus). Dammhahn et al Stay cool or warm up? Individual differences in energy-saving have consequences for survival and reproduction

Image provided by authors. Jänes et al Functional traits of marine macrophytes predict primary production

Image provided by authors. Delhey & Peters Are certain types of plumage colours more likely to differ between males and females?

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