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

 Volume 30, Issue 5 now available. Read the lay summaries free online here.

New cross-journal Virtual Issue: Endangered Species


Latest Videos & podcasts

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

The parasitic wasp Cotesia glomerata, parasitizing on 1st instar larvae of the large cabbage white butterfly, Pieris brassicae. Photo copyright Hans Smid / Ponzio et al Phytopathogens affect plant volatile emissions and the attraction of parasitoid wasps

Measuring respiration of a piece of sporocarp of Lactarius sp. using the the oxygraph: a chamber containing the silver electrode which detects oxygen consumption; photo captured by Lidia Trocha. Trocha et al Linking the respiration of fungal sporocarps with their nitrogen concentration: variation among species, tissues, and guilds

Photograph provided by author. van Heerwaarden et al Limited flexibility in heat tolerance suggests vulnerability to climate change

Female northern elephant seals during moulting season at Año Nuevo State Reserve, CA, USA. Photo taken by T. Adachi in the morning on May 23, 2011. Adachi et al Searching for prey in a three-dimensional environment: hierarchical movements enhance foraging success in northern elephant seals

Photograph provided by authors. Evans et al Eco-evolutionary feedbacks in an invasive plant

Meliquina Valley, Argentina, several months after the massive eruption of the Puyehue volcano in December, 2011.  This site is approximately 70 km from the epicenter of the eruption.  The area is a mixture of natural woodland vegetation and exotic ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) plantations.  Inset shows depth of ash deposition in the woodland ecosystem. Photo courtesy of P. Berenstecher. Berenstecher et al Litter microbial and soil faunal communities stimulated in the wake of a volcanic eruption in a semiarid woodland

Southern mouthbrooder (Pseudocrenilabrus philander- foreground) and banded tilapia (Tilapia sparrmanii- background). Photo provided by authors. Wasserman et al Using functional responses to quantify interaction effects among predators

Photo credit: Karin T. Burghardt. Burghardt Fertilization changes goldenrod’s defensive response to grasshoppers

Photo provided by authors. Tsai et al Predator-prey mass ratio revisited: Does preference of relative prey body size depend on individual predator size?

 One incubation plot of LOGLIFE experiment in Hollandse Hout, province of Flevoland, the Netherlands. Photograph by J. Zuo. Zuo et al How bark properties promote invertebrate diversity in tree logs during early decay

Image provided by authors. Delgado-Baquerizo et al Relative importance of soil properties and microbial community for soil functionality

Arctic fur seal. Photograph by Christophe Guinet, CEBC UMR 7372 ULR-CNRS. Viviant et al Are dive bottom durations good indicators of fur seal foraging success?

Ecologists at work. Photo provided by author. Van Bergen et al Stable isotopes reveal the ecology of tropical butterfly larvae.

The soil profile of the boreal forest near Sala in middle Sweden in which the field study was conducted. The soil has a 10-25 cm thick organic layer on top of the mineral soil. Photo by KEC. Bödeker et al Mycorrhizal and saprotrophic fungal guilds compete for the same organic substrates but affect decomposition differently

Photograph provided by authors. de la Peña et al Beyond plant–soil feedbacks: mechanisms driving plant community shifts due to land-use legacies in post-agricultural forests

Photograph provided by authors. TerHorst and Zee Rapid evolution of plants and soil microbes

The leaf veins resemble the shape of species phylogeny which underlies the plant-leafminer interaction. Photo by G. Peralta. Peralta Evolutionary history imprinted on species interaction

Photo credit: Sébastien Lebreton. Verschut et al Neighboring resources can affect the attractiveness of resources occurring in the neighborhood

Eucera bee visiting Cistus salvifolius. Curro Molina. Bartomeus et al Who interacts with whom? A common framework for identifying linkage rules across different types of interactions

Mushrooms growing. Image provided by authors. Revillini et al The role of locally adapted mycorrhizas and rhizobacteria in plant-soil feedback systems

Adult green turtle foraging at a seagrass meadow in Mayotte. Credit: Manfred Enstipp. Enstipp et al Energy expenditure of adult green turtles at sea

Suggest reviewers screen on ScholarOne. Fox et al Author-suggested reviewers: Gender differences and influences on the peer review process at an ecology journal

Sampling for forest insects to create ecological networks can be hazardous when invasive species with urticating hairs (such as Thaumetopoea processionea) are present (note masks and gloves are removed for the photograph). Photo: DM Evans. Evans et al Everything is connected: new tools for understanding and managing forests

Eucalptus. Photo provided by authors. Blackman et al Leaf functional traits are decoupled among eucalyptus genotypes under ambient and elevated CO2

The nurse shrub Ononis tridentata with its beneficiary plant species on a gypsum outcrop in SE Spain (photo credit: Jose A. Navarro Cano). Navarro-Cano et al Plants helping plants: a relationship that evolves with age

European rabbit mother (with coloured aluminium ear tag) closing the entrance of the burrow (left) including the nest with her offspring after nursing. Photo by Heiko G. Rödel. Rödel et al Reproductive effort alters immune parameters measured post-partum in European rabbits under semi-natural conditions

Image provided by authors. Malerba et al Nutrient utilization traits vary systematically with intraspecific cell size plasticity

The house finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) is one of the several species in which paraquat has been used as a physiological ROS generator within the field of oxidative stress ecology. Photo credit to co-author Geoff Hill. Koch & Hill Experimentally manipulating the harmful products of respiration

Experiment in progress. Photo provided by authors. Van der Putten et al How plants interact with soil biota in a changing world

Male Urosaurus ornatus. Image provided by authors. Gilbert & Miles Food, temperature, and endurance: Effects of food deprivation on the thermal sensitivity of physiological performance

Lizard. Image provided by authors. Husak et al Trade-offs among endurance capacity, reproduction, and immunity in lizards

Acheta domesticus. Photo provided by authors. Condon & Lailvaux Losing reduces bite force in crickets

Juniper in different conditions. Image provided by authors. Lloret and García Inbreeding and neighbouring vegetation drive drought-induced die-off within juniper populations

The tropical wet forest in southwestern China (photo was taken by Shi-Dan Zhu). Zhu et al Are leaves more vulnerable to cavitation than branches?

 Arthropod vectors of viruses that infect soybean plants. Left: larval (above) and adult stages of the Mexican bean beetle, Epilachna varivestis Mulsant (Coleoptera:Coccinellidae), which transmits Bean pod mottle virus (BPMV).  Right: the soybean aphid,Aphis glycines Matsumura (Hemiptera: Aphididae), which transmits Soybean mosaicvirus (SMV). Images by Hannier Pulido (Epilachna varivestis) and Kerry Mauck (Aphis glycines) Peñaflor et al Effects of single and mixed infections of bean pod mottle virus and soybean mosaic virus on hosts and vectors

Image provided by authors. ńĆapek et al The carbon to phosphorus critical ratio of soil microbial community demand

Image provided by authors. Mueller et al Land use change in the Amazon rainforest favors generalist fungi


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