Virtual Issue: BES Early Career Researcher Awards - winners and highly commended papers 2016

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. This Virtual Issue brings together the winning and highly commended papers selected by the editors from journal issues published in 2016. We are happy to announce Pedro J. Bergamo as the Winner of the Haldane Prize 2016, for his paper Flower colour and visitation rates of Costus arabicus support the ‘bee avoidance’ hypothesis for red-reflecting hummingbird-pollinated flowers

As every child knows, ‘hummingbird flowers’ are often red. The obvious interpretation of that observation is that red flowers are more visible to birds than other colours. But there is an alternative hypothesis: bees are essentially red colour-blind, and red flowers have evolved to reduce visitation by bees. Pedro Bergamo set up an experiment to test these two hypotheses, taking advantage of the existence of white- and pink-flowered individuals of the annual herb Costus arabicus. This elegant study produced clear evidence in favour of the ‘bee avoidance’ hypothesis; red-reflecting flowers were indeed more conspicuous to hummingbirds, but they showed no preference for either of the two colour morphs. On the other hand, bees preferred to visit the more conspicuous (in bee vision) white flowers. Why might C. arabicus want to discourage bees? Because Bergamo also showed that bee pollination is more likely to lead to self-pollination, and therefore has costs for the plant. As one reviewer commented ‘The study represents a significant advance in the field of flower colouration and pollination’. Remarkably, although Bergamo collaborated with two graduate students, this work was conducted while he was an undergraduate.

Pedro Bergamo has been fascinated by the diversity of flower colours and morphologies of the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest since his first field trip. For his B.Sc. thesis at the University of Campinas in Brazil, he investigated how variation on flower colour could influence bee and hummingbird visitation patterns, providing evidence to the “bee avoidance” hypothesis for the evolution of red-reflecting hummingbird flowers. To do this, he combined analysis of flower colour through visual models with field observations and reproductive biology experiments. He went on to how floral traits of hummingbird-pollinated species influence the structure of the plant community and plant-plant indirect effects via shared hummingbirds while doing his M.Sc. dissertation at the same lab. He is currently doing his Ph.D. under the supervision of Prof. Marlies Sazima, focusing on how floral phenotypic similarity mediates plant-plant indirect effects at distinct spatial and temporal scales in a mountaintop ecosystem of the Atlantic forest.

Read the Virtual Issue bringing together the winning and highly commended papers from all the BES journals in 2016.


Winner of the Haldane Prize: Pedro J. Bergamo
Flower colour and visitation rates of Costus arabicus support the ‘bee avoidance’ hypothesis for red-reflecting hummingbird-pollinated flowers
Pedro J. Bergamo, André R. Rech, Vinícius L. G. Brito, Marlies Sazima

Highly commended papers:
Faunal community consequence of interspecific bark trait dissimilarity in early-stage decomposing logs
Juan Zuo, Matty P. Berg, Roy Klein, Jasper Nusselder, Gert Neurink, Orsi Decker, Mariet M. Hefting, Ute Sass-Klaassen, Richard S. P. van Logtestijn, Leo Goudzwaard, Jurgen van Hal, Frank J. Sterck, Lourens Poorter, Johannes H. C. Cornelissen

Nutrient supply alters goldenrod's induced response to herbivory
Karin T. Burghardt

Winner of the Harper Prize: Martina Treurnicht
Environmental drivers of demographic variation across the global geographical range of 26 plant species
Martina Treurnicht, Jörn Pagel, Karen J. Esler, AnneLise Schutte-Vlok, Henning Nottebrock, Tineke Kraaij, Anthony G. Rebelo, Frank M. Schurr

Highly commended papers:
Ecological legacies of civil war: 35-year increase in savanna tree cover following wholesale large-mammal declines
Joshua Daskin, Marc Stalmans, Robert M. Pringle

Root traits are multidimensional: specific root length is independent from root tissue density and the plant economic spectrum
Kris Kramer-Walter, Peter J. Bellingham, Timothy R. Millar, Rob D. Smissen, Sarah J. Richardson, Daniel C. Laughlin

Winner of the Robert May Prize: Gabriella R. M. Leighton
Just Google it: assessing the use of Google Images to describe geographical variation in visible traits of organisms
Gabriella R. M. Leighton, Pierre S. Hugo, Alexandre Roulin, Arjun Amar

Highly commended papers:
piecewiseSEM: Piecewise structural equation modelling in r for ecology, evolution, and systematics
Jonathan S. Lefcheck

Linking demography with drivers: climate and competition
Brittany J. Teller, Peter B. Adler, Collin B. Edwards, Giles Hooker, Stephen P. Ellner

Winner of the Elton Prize: Rob Salguero-Gómez
COMADRE: a global data base of animal demography
Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Owen R. Jones, C. Ruth Archer, Christoph Bein, Hendrik de Buhr, Claudia Farack, Fränce Gottschalk, Alexander Hartmann, Anne Henning, Gabriel Hoppe, Gesa Römer, Tara Ruoff, Veronika Sommer, Julia Wille, Jakob Voigt, Stefan Zeh, Dirk Vieregg, Yvonne M. Buckley, Judy Che-Castaldo, David Hodgson, Alexander Scheuerlein, Hal Caswell, James W. Vaupel

Highly commended papers:
Evidence of the phenotypic expression of a lethal recessive allele under inbreeding in a wild population of conservation concern
Amanda E. Trask, Eric M. Bignal, Davy I. McCracken, Pat Monaghan, Stuart B. Piertney and Jane M. Reid

Piscivorous fish exhibit temperature-influenced binge feeding during an annual prey pulse 
Nathan B. Furey, Scott G. Hinch, Matthew G. Mesa and David A. Beauchamp 

Winner of the Southwood Prize: Michael Becker
Sixty-year legacy of human impacts on a high Arctic ecosystem
Michael S. Becker, Wayne H. Pollard

Highly commended papers:
Creating fen initiation conditions: a new approach for peatland reclamation in the oil sands region of Alberta
Andrea Borkenhagen, David J. Cooper

Is it worthwhile scaring geese to alleviate damage to crops? – An experimental study
Caroline Ernberg Simonsen, Jesper Madsen, Ingunn M. Tombre, Jacob Nabe-Nielsen


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