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
  • ISI Journal Citation Reports® Ranking:
    2013: 19/140 (Ecology) Impact Factor: 4.86
  • Google Scholar Ranking (as calculated July 2014)
  • Top Publications - Ecology: 7/20
  • h-5 index: 51 h5-median: 68
  • Read papers published in the journal on Wiley Online Library
  • From January 2015, Functional Ecology will be publishing online only, as 12 issues a year.


Latest Videos & podcasts

In this podcast, Robbie Wilson discusses a recent paper showing that long term exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide ca damage bees’ ability to forage for pollen – and may be changing their choices of which flowers to visit – with co-author Nigel Raine.
Read the full paper online here:Gill, R. J., Raine, N. E. (2014), Chronic impairment of bumblebee natural foraging behaviour induced by sublethal pesticide exposure. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12292 or the lay summary here

Stag beetles are renowned for their spectacular male-male battles. In these scuffles, males fight each other with their long jaws over mates or desirable stumps of rotten wood. As a result of this, their jaw is strongly shaped by sexual selection and in some species, can become as long as their own body. How does this effect their ability to run? To investigate this, the authors made high speed video recordings of male and female stag beetles running on a miniature running track.
You can read the paper free online Goyens, J., Dirckx, J., Aerts, P. (2014), Costly sexual dimorphism in Cyclommatus metallifer stag beetles. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12294 or the lay summary here.

Cynthia Chang talks with Alan Knapp about why naturally co-occurring genotypes coexist, how genetic diversity within dominant plant species is maintained and how this can affect important ecosystem processes. Read the full paper here: Chang, C. C., Smith, M. D. (2014), Resource availability modulates above- and below-ground competitive interactions between genotypes of a dominant C4 grass. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12227

Hovering hummingbirds are rare among vertebrates in their ability to rapidly make use of ingested sugars to fuel energetically expensive hovering flight, powering up to 100% of their metabolic needs with the sugars they drink, while humans athletes max out at around 30%. Until now, we haven't understood to what extent hummingbirds can use the 50% of the sugar in their nectar meals that is glucose versus the 50% that is fructose. Our study shows that hummingbirds begin using newly ingested sugars to fuel hovering flight within minutes and can fuel as much as 100% of their intense hovering metabolism with either glucose or fructose.
You can read the paper free online Chen, C. C. W., Welch, K. C. (2013), Hummingbirds can fuel expensive hovering flight completely with either exogenous glucose or fructose. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12202 or the lay summary here.

Animals move within natural habitats in complicated ways, in response to many aspects of the environment. Advances in the technology available for recording and analysing animal movements enabled us to ask and answer questions that were inaccessible with previous methods. Our transmitters provided over 60,000 records of lizard location from 49 individuals monitored for a mean of 65 days each. Lizards primarily moved between widely scattered patches of core-habitat under fine, hot, clear weather conditions. Thus air pressure tended to predict lizard dispersal more accurately than did more commonly-analysed variables such as temperature and precipitation.
You can read the paper free online Price-Rees, S. J., Lindström, T., Brown, G. P., Shine, R. (2013), The effects of weather conditions on dispersal behaviour of free-ranging lizards (Tiliqua, Scincidae) in tropical Australia. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12189 or the lay summary here.



Kittiwakes breeding at the study site on Middleton Island, Alaska, USA. Photo by Jorg Welcker. Welcker et al Is the energy expenditure of free-living animals linked to their metabolic costs at rest?

 Parasitic wasp searching for its leafminer host. Rossinelli & Bacher Less is more: choosy wasps used in biological control show why a diverse diet is not always an asset.

A swamp sparrow moulting throat, face, and crown feathers in eastern North Carolina.  Photo by Jeff Lewis, used with permission. Danner et al Food jumpstarts feather moult.


Photograph caption: Giant panda feeding on wood bamboo shoot. Photo credited to Fuwen Wei. Nie et al Nutritional geometry of the giant panda.


A banded mongoose (Mungos mungo) pup on the Mweya Peninsular, Western Uganda. Photo credit: Jennifer Sanderson. Sanderson et al Stress hormones regulate how the past can affect the future in wild banded mongooses.

Murres in flight. Photo provided by authors. Elliott et al Ageing gracefully: physiology but not behaviour changes with age in a diving bird.

Bumblebee foraging on clover. Photo and permission provided by Steve Gill.Gill & Raine Pesticide chronically affects bee foraging.


A hatchling painted turtle emerges from the nest after winter. Mitchell et al Maternal effects influence phenotypes and survival during early life stages in an aquatic turtle.

Song thrush eggs. Photo provided by authors.. Maurer et al Do eggshells act like sunscreen?

Female red squirrel with one of her pups outside of her grass nest. (Photo credit: Ryan W. Taylor). Fletcher et al Daily energy expenditure during lactation is strongly selected in a free-living mammal.

Rhoptropus afer pauses before ascending a granite outcrop. Collins et al Subdigital adhesive pad morphology varies in relation to structural habitat use in the Namib Day Gecko.

Image supplied by authors. Andersen et al How to best assess the cold tolerance of Drosophila.

Rhamnus lycioides radial growth rings. Photo courtesy of authors. Moreno-Gutiérrez et al Afforestation effects on understory shrubs in a semiarid Mediterranean ecosystem.

Photo of tree at different stages. Image provided by authors. Clark et al Tree phenology responses to winter chilling, spring warming, at north and south range limits.

Seed beetle. Photo by Markus Rehnberg. Berg et al Long-lived mothers reduce the negative effect of old age on their sons' lifespan in a seed beetle.

Plourde processing wood cores in second-growth forests at La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Photograph by Robin Chazdon. Plourde et al Wood varies dramatically during tropical forest succession.

Fire on the savanna. Photo provided by authors. Levick et al Long-lasting effects of fire management on the population structure of different savanna tree species.

Picture of a Cyclommatus metallifer male. Goyens et al Massive armature trumps running for stag beetles.

Primula minima is a typical alpine species, those seeds germinate under relatively high temperature. Rosbakh & Poschlod Temperature sensitivity of seed germination shapes species distribution patterns.


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