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Jeffrey S Shima, Stephen E Swearer
Moonlight mediates trophic interactions and shapes the evolution of life-history strategies for nocturnal organisms. Reproductive cycles and important life-history transitions for many marine organisms coincide with moon phases, but few studies consider the effects of moonlight on pelagic larvae at sea. We evaluated effects of moonlight on growth of pelagic larvae of a temperate reef fish using 'master chronologies' of larval growth constructed from age-independent daily increment widths recorded in otoliths of 321 individuals...
November 13, 2018: Ecology
M Genovart, D Oro, S Tenan
Disentangling the influence of demographic parameters and the role of density dependence on species' population dynamics is a challenge, especially when fractions of the population are unobservable. Additionally, due to the difficulty of gathering data at large spatial scales, most studies ignore the global dynamic of a species, which would integrate local heterogeneity dynamics and remove the noise of dispersal. We developed an integrated population model (IPM) at a global scale to disentangle the main demographic drivers of population dynamics in a long-lived species...
November 13, 2018: Ecology
Nina Wale, McKenna L Turrill, Meghan A Duffy
When Elie Metchnikoff peered into a pond in the autumn of 1885, he saw something unusual. Among the many small, clear zooplankton that lived there a few 'distinguished themselves by their scarlet red.
November 13, 2018: Ecology
Brian E Sedio, John D Parker, Sean M McMahon, S Joseph Wright
Plant enemies that attack chemically similar host species are thought to mediate competitive exclusion of chemically similar plants and select for chemical divergence among closely related species. This hypothesis predicts that plant defenses should diverge rapidly, minimizing phylogenetic signal. To evaluate this prediction, we quantified metabolomic similarity for 203 tree species that represent >89% of all individuals in large forest plots in Maryland and Panama. We constructed molecular networks based on mass spectrometry of all 203 species, quantified metabolomic similarity for all pairwise combinations of species, and used phylogenetically independent contrasts to evaluate how pairwise metabolomic similarity varies phylogenetically...
November 12, 2018: Ecology
María Natalia Umaña, Jimena Forero-Montaña, Christopher J Nytch, Jill Thompson, María Uriarte, Jess Zimmerman, Nathan G Swenson
Species composition and community structure in neotropical forests have been severely affected by increases in climate change and disturbance. Among the most conspicuous changes is the proliferation of lianas. These increases have affected not only the carbon storage capacity of forests but also tree dynamics by reducing tree growth and increasing mortality. Despite the importance of lianas in neotropical forests, most of the studies on lianas have focused on adult stages, ignoring dynamics at the seedlings stage...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
Sebastián Coloma, Ursula Gaedke, Kaarina Sivonen, Teppo Hiltunen
Parasites, such as bacterial viruses (phages), can have large effects on host populations both at the ecological and evolutionary levels. In the case of cyanobacteria, phages can reduce primary production and infected hosts release intracellular nutrients influencing planktonic food web structure, community dynamics and biogeochemical cycles. Cyanophages may be of great importance in aquatic food webs during large cyanobacterial blooms unless the host population becomes resistant to phage infection. The consequences on plankton community dynamics of the evolution of phage resistance in bloom forming cyanobacterial populations is still poorly studied...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
Alexander Haverkamp, Xiang Li, Bill S Hansson, Ian T Baldwin, Markus Knaden, Felipe Yon
Flower signaling and orientation are key characteristics, which determine a flower's pollinator guild. However, many flowers actively move during their daily cycle, changing both their detectability and accessibility to pollinators. The flowers of the wild tobacco Nicotiana attenuata orientate their corolla upwards at sunset and downwards after sunrise. Here, we investigated the effect of different flower orientations on a major pollinator of N. attenuata, the hawkmoth Manduca sexta. We found that although flower orientation influenced the flight altitude of the moth in respect to the flower, it did not alter the moth's final flower choice...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
Xiaoming Lu, Eryuan Liang, Yafeng Wang, Flurin Babst, Steven W Leavitt, J Julio Camarero
Alpine biomes are climate change hotspots, and treeline dynamics in particular have received much attention as visible evidence of climate-induced shifts in species distributions. Comparatively little is known, however, about the effects of climate change on alpine shrubline dynamics. Here, we reconstruct decadally-resolved shrub recruitment history (age structure) through the combination of field surveys and dendroecology methods at the world's highest juniper (Juniperus pingii var. wilsonii) shrublines on the south-central Tibetan Plateau...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
W A Nelson, B Joncour, D Pak, O N Bjørnstad
Asymmetric interactions among conspecifics can have diverse effects on population dynamics including stabilization, generation of cycles and induction of chaotic fluctuations. A difficult challenge, however, is establishing the link between the impact of asymmetric interactions on life history and the consequences for population dynamics. The smaller tea tortrix, Adoxophyes honmai, is a good example. Larval instars differ dramatically in size and have a tendency for cannibalism, which suggests the potential for strong asymmetric interactions among instars...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
Qiang He, Brian R Silliman, Johan van de Koppel, Baoshan Cui
Prolonged droughts exacerbated by climate change have been widely documented to interact with consumers to decimate vegetation in many ecosystems. Although climate change is also increasing within-year variation in precipitation and temperature, how weather fluctuations affect the impact of consumers on vegetation processes remains poorly understood. In a salt marsh that has recently experienced drought-associated vegetation die-off, we investigated how top-down control of plant recovery by a prominent salt marsh grazer varies with weather...
November 9, 2018: Ecology
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November 2, 2018: Ecology
Jessie Pereira Dos Santos, André Victor Lucci Freitas, Keith Spalding Brown, Junia Yasmin Oliveira Carreira, Patrícia Eyng Gueratto, Augusto Henrique Batista Rosa, Giselle Martins Lourenço, Gustavo Mattos Accacio, Márcio Uehara-Prado, Cristiano Agra Iserhard, Aline Richter, Karine Gawlinski, Helena Piccoli Romanowski, Nicolás Oliveira Mega, Melissa Oliveira Teixeira, Alfred Moser, Danilo Bandini Ribeiro, Poliana Felix Araujo, Bruno Karol Cordeiro Filgueiras, Douglas Henrique Alves Melo, Inara Roberta Leal, Marina do Vale Beirão, Sérvio Pontes Ribeiro, Elaine Cristina Barbosa Cambuí, Rodrigo Nogueira Vasconcelos, Márcio Zikán Cardoso, Marlon Paluch, Roberto Rezende Greve, Júlio Cesar Voltolini, Mauro Galetti, André Luis Regolin, Thadeu Sobral-Souza, Milton Cezar Ribeiro
Butterflies are one of the best-known insect groups, and they have been the subject of numerous studies in ecology and evolution, especially in the tropics. Much attention has been given to the fruit-feeding butterfly guild in biodiversity conservation studies, due to the relative ease with which taxa may be identified and specimens sampled using bait traps. However, there remain many uncertainties about the macroecological and biogeographical patterns of butterflies in tropical ecosystems. In the present study, we gathered information about fruit-feeding butterfly species in local communities from the Atlantic Forests of South America...
October 31, 2018: Ecology
Graham Zemunik, Stuart J Davies, Benjamin L Turner
Soil nutrients influence the distribution of tree species in lowland tropical forests, but their effect on productivity, especially at local scales, remains unclear. We used tree census, canopy occupancy, and soil data from the Barro Colorado Island (BCI; Panama) 50-ha forest dynamics plot to investigate the influence of soil nutrients and potential toxins on aboveground tree productivity. Growth was calculated as the increase in diameter of 150,000 individual stems ≥1 cm diameter at breast height, representing 207 species...
October 30, 2018: Ecology
Laurent Daou, Bill Shipley
We propose an operational definition of soil "fertility" that is applicable to plant community ecology and develop a method of measuring and quantifying it, using structural equations modeling, that is generalizable to soils in different regions whose fertility has different causes. To do this, we used structural equation modelling (SEM). The measurement submodel predicts the latent "generalized fertility", FG , of a soil using four indicator variables: the relative growth rates of Festuca rubra, Trifolium pretense, Triticum aestivum and Arabidopsis thaliana...
October 30, 2018: Ecology
Olle Lindestad, Christopher W Wheat, Sören Nylin, Karl Gotthard
The seasonal cycle varies geographically, and organisms are under selection to express life cycles that optimally exploit their spatiotemporal habitats. In insects, this often means producing an annual number of generations (voltinism) appropriate to the local season length. Variation in voltinism may arise from variation in environmental factors (e.g. temperature or photoperiod) acting on a single reaction norm shared across populations, but it may also result from local adaptation of reaction norms. However, such local adaptation is poorly explored at short geographic distances, especially within latitudes...
October 30, 2018: Ecology
Tom Clegg, Mohammad Ali, Andrew P Beckerman
Accounting for the variation that occurs within species in food webs can theoretically result in significant changes in both network structure and dynamics. However, there has been little work exploring their role with empirical data. In particular, the variation associated with species' life cycles, which is prevalent and represents both trait variation and taxonomic identity, has received little attention. Here, we characterize the structural consequences of life stage variation in five food webs, including a newly compiled web from the Arabian Gulf...
October 29, 2018: Ecology
Briana K Whitaker, Heather L Reynolds, Keith Clay
Experimental tests of community assembly mechanisms for host-associated microbiomes in nature are lacking. Asymptomatic foliar fungal endophytes are a major component of the plant microbiome and are increasingly recognized for their impacts on plant performance, including pathogen defense, hormonal manipulation, and drought tolerance. However, it remains unclear whether fungal endophytes preferentially colonize certain host ecotypes or genotypes, reflecting some degree of biotic adaptation in the symbioses, or whether colonization is simply a function of spore type and abundance within the local environment...
October 26, 2018: Ecology
Katherine Toll, John H Willis
Closely related, ecologically similar species are often separated at small geographic scales while being broadly sympatric. Both adaptation to abiotic environmental conditions and a variety of biotic interactions may determine small-scale allopatry. In Northern California's coast range, two monkeyflower species, Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus nudatus, can co-occur within local sites but rarely overlap at fine spatial scales, even though they are often separated by less than 1 m. M. guttatus naturally grows in wetter areas and is often submerged for up to four months of the year, while M...
October 26, 2018: Ecology
Yue Wang, Warren Porter, Paul D Mathewson, Paul A Miller, Russell W Graham, John W Williams
On St. Paul Island, a remnant of the Bering Land Bridge, woolly mammoths persisted until 5,600 yr BP with no known predators or competitors, providing a natural system for studying hypothesized environmental drivers of extinction. These include overheating due to rising temperatures, starvation, and drought. Here, we test these hypotheses using Niche Mapper and LPJ-GUESS to mechanistically estimate mammoth metabolic rates and dietary and freshwater requirements and, from these, estimate variations in island carrying capacity on St...
October 26, 2018: Ecology
Linsey E Haram, Kaitlin A Kinney, Erik E Sotka, James E Byers
Invasive ecosystem engineers both positively and negatively affect their recipient ecosystems by generating novel habitats. Many studies have focused on alterations to ecosystem properties and to native species diversity and abundance caused by invasive engineers. However, relatively few studies have documented the extent to which behaviors of native species are affected. The red seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla (Rhodophyta) invaded estuaries of the southeastern United States within the last few decades and now provides abundant aboveground vegetative cover on intertidal mudflats that were historically devoid of seaweeds...
October 22, 2018: Ecology
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