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Frithjof Lutscher, Jeffrey A Musgrave
The abundance and spatial distribution of resources in a landscape and the behavioral response of individuals determines whether and how fast an invasive species spreads in an environment. Whether and how landscape manipulations can be used to slow invasive species is of great interest, in particular in forest ecosystems, where tree removal, thinning, and increasing tree diversity are discussed as management options. Classically, the focus is on availability and accessibility of resources; more recent considerations include individual-level behavioral movement responses to a spatially heterogeneous resource distribution...
February 14, 2017: Ecology
Alicia Montesinos-Navarro, Miguel Verdú, José Ignacio Querejeta, Alfonso Valiente-Banuet
Plant facilitative interactions enhance co-occurrence between distant relatives, partly due to limited overlap in resource requirements. We propose a different mechanism for the coexistence of distant relatives based on positive interactions of nutrient sharing. Nutrients move between plants following source-sink gradients driven by plant traits that allow these gradients to establish. Specifically, nitrogen (N) concentration gradients can arise from variation in leaf N content across plants species. As many ecologically relevant traits, we hypothesize that leaf N content is phylogenetically conserved and can result in N gradients promoting N transfer among distant relatives...
February 11, 2017: Ecology
Taegan A McMahon, Jason R Rohr, Ximena E Bernal
Studies on the consequences of urbanization often examine the effects of light, noise, and heat pollution independently on isolated species providing a limited understanding of how these combined stressors affect species interactions. Here, we investigate how these factors interact to affect parasitic frog-biting midges (Corethrella spp.) and their túngara frog (Engystomops pustulosus) hosts. A survey of túngara frog calling sites revealed that frog abundance was not significantly correlated with urbanization, light, noise, or temperature...
February 7, 2017: Ecology
Karin Maldonado, Francisco Bozinovic, Seth D Newsome, Pablo Sabat
The niche variation hypothesis (NVH) predicts that population with broader niches should exhibit greater between-individual diet variation or individual specialization (IS) relative to populations with narrower niches. Most studies that quantify population niche widths and associated levels of IS typically focus on a single or few species, but studies examining NVH in a phylogenetically informed comparative analysis among species are lacking. Here we use nitrogen isotope (δ(15) N) analysis to measure population niche widths and IS in a single bird community comprised of twelve passerine species representing different foraging guilds...
February 7, 2017: Ecology
Tamara Pokorny, Ira Vogler, René Losch, Patrick Schlütting, Pedro Juarez, Nicolai Bissantz, Santiago R Ramírez, Thomas Eltz
Many insects rely on chemical signals to transmit precise information on the location, identity, and quality of potential mates. Chemical signals are often broadcasted at sites with physical properties that maximize signal propagation and signal transmision. Male neotropical orchid bees (Euglossini) perch and display on vertical branches and tree trunks in the forest to expose volatile blends (perfumes) that they previously collected from their environment. Previous studies have shown that the chemical composition of perfume blends is highly differentiated even between closely related species...
February 1, 2017: Ecology
Andrew T Tredennick, Claire de Mazancourt, Michel Loreau, Peter B Adler
Temporal asynchrony among species helps diversity to stabilize ecosystem functioning, but identifying the mechanisms that determine synchrony remains a challenge. Here, we refine and test theory showing that synchrony depends on three factors: species responses to environmental variation, interspecific interactions, and demographic stochasticity. We then conduct simulation experiments with empirical population models to quantify the relative influence of these factors on the synchrony of dominant species in five semiarid grasslands...
February 1, 2017: Ecology
Marc Fuhr, Thomas Cordonnier, Benoît Courbaud, Georges Kunstler, Eric Mermin, Catherine Riond, Pascal Tardif
We present repeated tree measurement data from 63 permanent plots in mountain forests in France. Plot elevations range from 800 (lower limit of the montane belt) to 1942 m a.s.l (subalpine belt). Forests mainly consist of pure or mixed stands dominated by European beech (Fagus sylvatica), Silver fir (Abies alba) and Norway spruce (Picea abies), in association with various broadleaved species at low elevation and with Arolla pine (Pinus cembra) at high elevation. The plot network includes 23 plots in stands that have not been managed for the last 40 years (at least) and 40 plots in plots managed according to an uneven-aged system with single-tree or small-group selection cutting...
January 31, 2017: Ecology
Jonathan D Tonkin, Michael T Bogan, Núria Bonada, Blanca Rios-Touma, David A Lytle
Temporal environmental fluctuations, such as seasonality, exert strong controls on biodiversity. While the effects of seasonality are well known, the predictability of fluctuations across years may influence seasonality in ways that are less well understood. The ability of a habitat to support unique, non-nested assemblages of species at different times of the year should depend on both seasonality (occurrence of events at specific periods of the year) and predictability (the reliability of event recurrence) of characteristic ecological conditions...
January 31, 2017: Ecology
James T Thorson, Stephan B Munch, Douglas P Swain
Niche-based approaches to community analysis often involve estimating a matrix of pairwise interactions among species (the "community matrix"), but this task becomes infeasible using observational data as the number of modeled species increases. As an alternative, neutral theories achieve parsimony by assuming that species within a trophic level are exchangeable, but generally cannot incorporate stabilizing interactions even when they are evident in field data. Finally, both regulated (niche) and unregulated (neutral) approaches have rarely been fitted directly to survey data using spatio-temporal statistical methods...
January 31, 2017: Ecology
Stephen G Hesterberg, C Cole Duckett, Elizabeth A Salewski, Susan S Bell
Identifying and quantifying the relevant properties of habitat structure that mediate predator-prey interactions remains a persistent challenge. Most previous studies investigate effects of structural density on trophic interactions and typically quantify refuge quality using one or two-dimensional metrics. Few consider spatial arrangement of components (i.e., orientation and shape) and often neglect to measure the total three-dimensional (3D) space available as refuge. This study tests whether the three-dimensionality of interstitial space, an attribute produced by the spatial arrangement of oyster (Crassostrea virginica) shells, impacts the foraging success of nektonic predators (primary blue crab, Callinectes sapidus) on mud crab prey (Eurypanopeus depressus) in field and mesocosm experiments...
January 31, 2017: Ecology
A Deininger, C-L Faithfull, A-K Bergström
Global change has increased inorganic nitrogen (N) and dissolved organic carbon (DOC; i.e. 'browning') inputs to northern hemisphere boreal lakes. However, we do not know how phytoplankton in nutrient poor lake ecosystems of different DOC concentration respond to increased N availability. Here, we monitored changes in phytoplankton production, biomass and community composition in response to whole lake inorganic N fertilization in six boreal unproductive Swedish lakes divided into three lake pairs (control, N enriched) at three DOC levels (low, medium, high), with one reference year (2011) and two impact years (2012, 2013)...
January 31, 2017: Ecology
María C Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Pedro Jordano, Alfredo Valido
Plant-animal interactions are pivotal for ecosystem functioning, and usually form complex networks involving multiple species of mutualists as well as antagonists. The costs and benefits of these interactions show a strong context-dependency directly related to individual variation in partner identity and differential strength. Yet understanding the context-dependency and functional consequences of mutualistic and antagonistic interactions on individuals remains a lasting challenge. We use a network approach to characterize the individual, plant-based pollination interaction networks of the Canarian Isoplexis canariensis (Plantaginaceae) with a mixed assemblage of vertebrate mutualists (birds and lizards) and invertebrate antagonists (florivores, nectar larcenists, and predispersal seed predators)...
January 30, 2017: Ecology
Zachary H Marion, James A Fordyce, Benjamin M Fitzpatrick
Beta diversity is an important metric in ecology quantifying differentiation or disparity in composition among communities, ecosystems, or phenotypes. To compare systems with different sizes (N, number of units within a system), beta diversity is often converted to related indices such as turnover or local/regional differentiation. Here we use simulations to demonstrate that these naive measures of dissimilarity depend on sample size and design. We show that when N is the number of sampled units (e.g., quadrats) rather than the "true" number of communities in the system (if such exists), these differentiation measures are biased estimators...
January 30, 2017: Ecology
Gustavo S Betini, Tal Avgar, Kevin S McCann, John M Fryxell
Spatial self-organization can occur in many ecosystems with important effects on food web dynamics and the maintenance of biodiversity. The consumer-resource interaction is known to generate spatial patterning, but only a few empirical studies have investigated the effect of the consumer on resource distribution. Here we report results from a large aquatic mesocosm experiment used to investigate the effect of the consumer Daphnia magna on the distribution of its resource, the green algae Chlorella vulgaris...
January 28, 2017: Ecology
Janie Wulff
Polarized debates about top-down vs. bottom-up control have given way to more nuanced understanding of control by both resources and consumers in many systems, but coral reef sponges have recently been asserted to differ from other groups in being controlled exclusively top-down. This assertion has been countered by reports of exclusively bottom-up control, with both conclusions based on studies of the same species. Accelerating deterioration of coral reefs motivates knowing the contexts in which either consumers or nutrients or both control key ecosystem role players like sponges...
January 28, 2017: Ecology
Christian von Sperber, Oliver A Chadwick, Karen L Casciotti, Kabir G Peay, Christopher A Francis, Amy E Kim, Peter M Vitousek
The supply of nitrogen (N) constrains primary productivity in many ecosystems, raising the question "what controls the availability and cycling of N"? As a step towards answering this question, we evaluated N cycling processes and aspects of their regulation on a climate gradient on Kohala Volcano, Hawaii. The gradient extends from sites receiving <300 mm/yr of rain to those receiving >3000 mm/yr, and the pedology and dynamics of rock-derived nutrients in soils on the gradient are well understood. In particular, there is a soil process domain at intermediate rainfall within which ongoing weathering and biological uplift have enriched total and available pools of rock-derived nutrients substantially; sites at higher rainfall than this domain are acid and infertile as a consequence of depletion of rock-derived nutrients, while sites at lower rainfall are unproductive and subject to wind erosion...
January 28, 2017: Ecology
Casey Youngflesh, Stephanie Jenouvrier, Yun Li, Rubao Ji, David G Ainley, Grant Ballard, Christophe Barbraud, Karine Delord, Katie M Dugger, Louise M Emmerson, William R Fraser, Jefferson T Hinke, Phil O'B Lyver, Silvia Olmastroni, Colin J Southwell, Susan G Trivelpiece, Wayne Z Trivelpiece, Heather J Lynch
Evidence of climate change-driven shifts in plant and animal phenology have raised concerns that certain trophic interactions may be increasingly mismatched in time, resulting in declines in reproductive success. Given the constraints imposed by extreme seasonality at high latitudes and the rapid shifts in phenology seen in the Arctic, we would also expect Antarctic species to be highly vulnerable to climate change-driven phenological mismatches with their environment. However, few studies have assessed the impacts of phenological change in Antarctica...
January 27, 2017: Ecology
Pascal A Niklaus, M Baruffol, J-S He, K Ma, B Schmid
Most experimental biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research to date has addressed herbaceous plant communities. Comparably little is known about how forest communities will respond to species losses, despite their importance for global biogeochemical cycling. We studied tree species interactions in experimental subtropical tree communities with 33 distinct tree species mixtures and one, two or four species. Plots were either exposed to natural light levels or shaded. Trees grew rapidly and were intensely competing above ground after 1...
January 27, 2017: Ecology
Casey P terHorst, Jennifer A Lau, Jeffrey K Conner
We appreciate the opportunity to reply to Bolstad's (2017) comment on our paper, "Quantifying nonadditive selection caused by indirect ecological effects" (terHorst et al. 2015). We respectfully disagree with Bolstad's argument that our method does not properly quantify nonadditive selection in response to indirect ecological effects, as it certainly does for many of the biological scenarios we envision. However, as with all tests related to ecological indirect effects, the appropriateness of our approach depends on the underlying model that best describes the multispecies interaction...
January 25, 2017: Ecology
Jitka Klimešová, Jiří Danihelka, Jindřich Chrtek, Francesco de Bello, Tomáš Herben
This dataset presents comprehensive and easy-to-use information on 29 functional traits of clonal growth, bud banks and lifespan of members of the Central European flora. The source data were compiled from a number of published sources (see the reference file) and the authors' own observations or studies. In total, 2909 species are included (2745 herbs and 164 woody species), out of which 1532 (i.e. 52.7% of total) are classified as possessing clonal growth organs (1480, i.e. 53.9%, if woody plants are excluded)...
January 25, 2017: Ecology
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