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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27885655/a-landscape-scale-field-experiment-reveals-the-importance-of-dispersal-in-a-resource-limited-metacommunity
#1
Jill Lancaster, Barbara J Downes
Dispersal may play a strong role in driving species diversity across landscapes. Theoretically, dispersal permits species to remain extant within a metacommunity, even if they are periodically excluded from some local communities. Field tests of dispersal effects are difficult, and most non-experimental data suggest that environmental conditions play the predominant role in setting species diversity. However, most such studies cannot differentiate between patterns caused primarily by dispersal constraints vs abiotic factors vs biotic constraints (e...
November 25, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27882545/low-abundant-soil-bacteria-can-be-metabolically-versatile-and-fast-growing
#2
Viola Kurm, Wim H van der Putten, Wietse de Boer, Suzanne Naus-Wiezer, W H Gera Hol
The abundance of species is assumed to depend on their life history traits, such as growth rate and resource specialization. However, this assumption has not been tested for bacteria. Here we investigate how abundance of soil bacteria relates to slow growth and substrate specialization (oligotrophy) versus fast growth and substrate generalization (copiotrophy). We collected 47 saprotrophic soil bacterial isolates of differing abundances and measured their growth rate and the ability to use a variety of single carbon sources...
November 24, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870014/sensitivity-of-coral-recruitment-to-subtle-shifts-in-early-community-succession
#3
Christopher Doropoulos, George Roff, Mart-Simone Visser, Peter J Mumby
Community succession following disturbance depends on positive and negative interactions, the strength of which change along environmental gradients. To investigate how early succession affects coral reef recovery, we conducted an 18 month experiment in Palau, using recruitment tiles and herbivore exclusion cages. One set of reefs has higher wave exposure and had previously undergone a phase shift to macroalgae following a major typhoon, whereas the other set of reefs have lower wave exposure and did not undergo a macroalgal phase shift...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870012/above-and-belowground-insect-herbivory-modifies-the-response-of-a-grassland-plant-community-to-nitrogen-eutrophication
#4
Pernilla Borgström, Joachim Strengbom, Lorenzo Marini, Maria Viketoft, Riccardo Bommarco
Understanding the role that species interactions play in determining the rate and direction of ecosystem change due to nitrogen (N) eutrophication is important for predicting the consequences of global change. Insects might play a major role in this context. They consume substantial amounts of plant biomass and can alter competitive interactions among plants, indirectly shaping plant community composition. Nitrogen eutrophication affects plant communities globally, but there is limited experimental evidence of how insect herbivory modifies plant community response to raised N levels...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870011/effects-of-dispersal-and-environmental-heterogeneity-on-the-replacement-and-nestedness-components-of-%C3%AE-diversity
#5
Andros T Gianuca, Steven A J Declerck, Pieter Lemmens, Luc De Meester
Traditionally metacommunity studies have quantified the relative importance of dispersal and environmental processes on observed β-diversity. Separating β-diversity into its replacement and nestedness components and linking such patterns to metacommunity drivers can provide richer insights into biodiversity organization across spatial scales. It is often very difficult to measure actual dispersal rates in the field and to define the boundaries of natural metacommunities. To overcome those limitations, we revisited an experimental metacommunity dataset to test the independent and interacting effects of environmental heterogeneity and dispersal on each component of β-diversity...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870010/context-dependent-landscape-of-fear-algal-density-elicits-risky-herbivory-in-a-coral-reef
#6
Michael A Gil, Julie Zill, José M Ponciano
Foraging theory posits that isolation from refuge habitat within a landscape increases perceived predation risk and, thus, suppresses the foraging behavior of prey species. However, these effects may depend fundamentally on resource availability, which could affect prey boldness and can change considerably through bottom-up processes. We conducted a field survey and experiment in a coral reef to test the effects of isolation from refuge habitat (i.e., reef structure) on herbivory by reef fishes and whether these effects depend on resource density...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870009/photosynthetic-rates-influence-the-population-dynamics-of-understory-herbs-in-stochastic-light-environments
#7
Andrea C Westerband, Carol C Horvitz
Temporal variability in light from gaps in the tree canopy strongly influences the vital rates of understory plants. From 2012-2015, we estimated the size-specific vital rates of two herbs, Calathea crotalifera and Heliconia tortuosa, over a range of light environments. We estimated maximum photosynthetic capacity (Amax ) for a subset of individuals each year during three annual censuses, and modelled future size as a linear function of current size (a plant trait that changes ontogenetically), canopy openness (an environmental variable), and Amax (a potentially plastic physiological trait)...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27870008/phenotypic-plasticity-of-nest-timing-in-a-post-glacial-landscape-how-do-reptiles-adapt-to-seasonal-time-constraints
#8
Christopher Edge, Njal Rollinson, Ronald Brooks, Justin Congdon, John Iverson, Fred Janzen, Jacqueline Litzgus
Life-histories evolve in response to constraints on the time available for growth and development. Nesting date and its plasticity in response to spring temperature may therefore be important components of fitness in oviparous ectotherms near their northern range limit, as reproducing early provides more time for embryos to complete development before winter. We used data collected over several decades to compare air temperature - nest date plasticity in populations of painted turtles and snapping turtles from a relatively warm environment (southeastern Michigan) near the southern extent of the last glacial maximum, to a relatively cool environment (central Ontario) near the northern extent of post-glacial recolonization...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27869987/the-role-of-competition-ecotones-and-temperature-in-the-elevational-distribution-of-himalayan-birds
#9
Paul R Elsen, Morgan W Tingley, Ramnarayan Kalyanaraman, Krishnamurthy Ramesh, David S Wilcove
There is clear evidence that species' ranges along environmental gradients are constrained by both biotic and abiotic factors, yet their relative importance in structuring realized distributions remains uncertain. We surveyed breeding bird communities while collecting in situ temperature and vegetation data along five elevational transects in the Himalayas differing in temperature variability, habitat zonation, and bird richness in order to disentangle temperature, habitat, and congeneric competition as mechanisms structuring elevational ranges...
November 21, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27864944/spatial-vegetation-patterns-and-neighborhood-competition-among-woody-plants-in-an-east-african-savanna
#10
Justin Dohn, David J Augustine, Niall P Hanan, Jayashree Ratnam, Mahesh Sankaran
The majority of research on savanna vegetation dynamics has focused on the coexistence of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Interactions among woody plants in savannas are relatively poorly understood. We present data from a 10-year longitudinal study of spatially explicit growth patterns of woody vegetation in an East African savanna following exclusion of large herbivores and in the absence of fire. We examined plant spatial patterns and quantified the degree of competition among woody individuals. Woody plants in this semi-arid savanna exhibit strongly clumped spatial distributions at scales of 1 - 5 m...
November 19, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27864943/-hummingbird-floral-traits-interact-synergistically-to-discourage-visitation-by-bumblebee-foragers
#11
Robert J Gegear, Rebecca Burns, Katharine A Swoboda-Bhattarai
Pollination syndromes are suites of floral traits presumed to reflect adaptations to attract and utilize a 'primary' type of animal pollinator. However, syndrome traits may also function to deter 'secondary' flower visitors that reduce plant fitness through their foraging activities. Here we use the hummingbird-pollinated plant species Mimulus cardinalis as a model to investigate the potential deterrent effects of classic bird syndrome traits on bumblebee foragers. To establish that M. cardinalis flowers elicit an avoidance response in bees, we assessed the choice behavior of individual foragers on a mixed experimental array of M...
November 19, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27864933/woody-plant-richness-does-not-influence-invertebrate-community-reassembly-trajectories-in-a-tree-diversity-experiment
#12
Peter Yeeles, Lori Lach, Richard J Hobbs, Mary van Wees, Raphael K Didham
Understanding the relationship between plant diversity and diversity at higher trophic levels is important from both conservation and restoration perspectives. Although there is strong evidence for bottom-up maintenance of biodiversity, this is based largely on studies of simplified grassland systems. Recently, studies in the 'TreeDivNet' global network of tree diversity experiments have begun to test whether these findings are generalizable to more complex ecosystems, such as woodlands. We monitored invertebrate community reassembly over 5 years of experimental woodland restoration at the TreeDivNet 'Ridgefield' site in southwest Australia, testing the effects of woody plant species richness and herb-layer manipulation on invertebrate community structure and ant species composition...
November 19, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27864922/estimates-of-local-biodiversity-change-over-time-stand-up-to-scrutiny
#13
Mark Vellend, Maria Dornelas, Lander Baeten, Robin Beauséjour, Carissa D Brown, Pieter De Frenne, Sarah C Elmendorf, Nicholas J Gotelli, Faye Moyes, Isla H Myers-Smith, Anne E Magurran, Brian J McGill, Hideyasu Shimadzu, Caya Sievers
We present new data and analyses revealing fundamental flaws in a critique of two recent meta-analyses of local-scale temporal biodiversity change. First, the conclusion that short-term time series lead to biased estimates of long-term change was based on two errors in the simulations used to support it. Second, the conclusion of negative relationships between temporal biodiversity change and study duration was entirely dependent on unrealistic model assumptions, the use of a subset of data, and inclusion of one outlier data point in one study...
November 19, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27861770/termites-promote-resistance-of-decomposition-to-spatiotemporal-variability-in-rainfall
#14
Michiel P Veldhuis, Francisco J Laso, Han Olff, Matty P Berg
The ecological impact of rapid environmental change will depend on the resistance of key ecosystems processes, which may be promoted by species that exert strong control over local environmental conditions. Recent theoretical work suggests that macrodetritivores increase the resistance of African savanna ecosystems to changing climatic conditions, but experimental evidence is lacking. We examined the effect of large fungus-growing termites and other non-fungus-growing macrodetritivores on decomposition rates empirically with strong spatiotemporal variability in rainfall and temperature...
November 16, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27859036/heterogeneities-in-the-infection-process-drive-ranavirus-transmission
#15
Jesse L Brunner, Lynne Beaty, Alexandra Guitard, Deanna Russell
Transmission is central to our understanding and efforts to control the spread of infectious diseases. Because transmission generally requires close contact, host movements and behaviors can shape transmission dynamics: random and complete mixing leads to the classic density-dependent model, but if hosts primarily interact locally (e.g., aggregate) or within groups, transmission may saturate. Manipulating host behavior may thus change both the rate and functional form of transmission. We used the ranavirus{wood frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) tadpole system to test whether transmission rates reflect contacts, and whether the functional form of transmission can be influenced by the distribution of food in mesocosms (widely dispersed, promoting random movement and mixing vs...
November 15, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27861777/direct-benefits-and-indirect-costs-of-warm-temperatures-for-high-elevation-populations-of-a-solitary-bee
#16
Jessica R K Forrest, Sarah P M Chisholm
Warm temperatures are required for insect flight. Consequently, warming could benefit many high-latitude and high-altitude insects by increasing opportunities for foraging or oviposition. However, warming can also alter species interactions, including interactions with natural enemies, making the net effect of rising temperatures on population growth rate difficult to predict. We investigated the temperature-dependence of nesting activity and lifetime reproductive output over three years in subalpine populations of a pollen-specialist bee, Osmia iridis...
November 14, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27861769/positive-feedback-between-chironomids-and-algae-creates-net-mutualism-between-benthic-primary-consumers-and-producers
#17
Cristina M Herren, Kyle C Webert, Michael D Drake, M Jake Vander Zanden, Árni Einarsson, Anthony R Ives, Claudio Gratton
The chironomids of Lake Mývatn show extreme population fluctuations that affect most aspects of the lake ecosystem. During periods of high chironomid densities, chironomid larvae comprise over 90% of aquatic secondary production. Here, we show that chironomid larvae substantially stimulate benthic gross primary production (GPP) and net primary production (NPP), despite consuming benthic algae. Benthic GPP in experimental mesocosms with 140,000 larvae/m(2) was 71% higher than in mesocosms with no larvae. Similarly, chlorophyll a concentrations in mesocosms increased significantly over the range of larval densities...
November 14, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27859035/no-strong-evidence-for-increasing-liana-abundance-in-the-myristicaceae-of-a-neotropical-aseasonal-rain-forest
#18
James R Smith, Simon A Queenborough, Pablo Alvia, Hugo Romero-Saltos, Renato Valencia
The 'liana dominance hypothesis' posits that lianas are increasing in abundance in tropical forests, thereby potentially reducing tree biomass due to competitive interactions between trees and lianas. This scenario has implications not only for forest ecosystem function and species composition, but also climate change given the mass of carbon stored in tropical trees. In 2003 and 2013 all Myristicaceae trees in the 50-ha Yasuní Forest Dynamics Plot, Ecuador, were surveyed for liana presence and load in their crowns...
November 14, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27859034/ecological-functions-provided-by-dung-beetles-are-interlinked-across-space-and-time-evidence-from-15-n-isotope-tracing
#19
Beatrice Nervo, Enrico Caprio, Luisella Celi, Michele Lonati, Giampiero Lombardi, Gloria Falsone, Gabriele Iussig, Claudia Palestrini, Daniel Said-Pullicino, Antonio Rolando
Maintaining multiple ecological functions ('multifunctionality') is crucial to sustain viable ecosystems. To date most studies on biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) have focused on single or few ecological functions and services. However, there is a critical need to evaluate how species and species assemblages affect multiple processes at the same time, and how these functions are interconnected. Dung beetles represent excellent model organisms because they are key contributors to several ecosystem functions...
November 14, 2016: Ecology
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/27859031/non-random-food-web-assembly-at-habitat-edges-increases-connectivity-and-functional-redundancy
#20
Guadalupe Peralta, Carol M Frost, Raphael K Didham, Tatyana A Rand, Jason M Tylianakis
Habitat fragmentation dramatically alters the spatial configuration of landscapes, with the creation of artificial edges affecting community structure and dynamics. Despite this, it is not known how the different food webs in adjacent habitats assemble at their boundaries. Here we demonstrate that the composition and structure of herbivore-parasitoid food webs across edges between native and plantation forests are not randomly assembled from those of the adjacent communities. Rather, elevated proportions of abundant, interaction-generalist parasitoid species at habitat edges allowed considerable interaction rewiring, which led to higher linkage density and less modular networks, with higher parasitoid functional redundancy...
November 14, 2016: Ecology
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