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Caroline M Tucker, T Jonathan Davies, Marc W Cadotte, William D Pearse
Niche differences are key to understanding the distribution and structure of biodiversity. To examine niche differences, we must first characterize how species occupy niche space, and two approaches are commonly used in the ecological literature. The first uses species traits to estimate multivariate trait space (so-called functional trait diversity, FD); the second quantifies the amount of time or evolutionary history captured by a group of species (phylogenetic diversity, PD). It is often-but controversially-assumed that these putative measures of niche space are at a minimum correlated and perhaps redundant, since more evolutionary time allows for greater accumulation of trait changes...
May 21, 2018: Ecology
Warwick J Allen, Laura A Meyerson, Andrew J Flick, James T Cronin
Plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) influence plant competition via direct interactions with pathogens and mutualists or indirectly via apparent competition/mutualisms (i.e., spillover to co-occurring plants) and soil legacy effects. It is currently unknown how intraspecific variation in PSFs interacts with the environment (e.g., nutrient availability) to influence competition between native and invasive plants. We conducted a fully crossed multi-factor greenhouse experiment to determine the effects of Phragmites australis rhizosphere soil biota, interspecific competition, and nutrient availability on biomass of replicate populations from one native and two invasive lineages of common reed (P...
May 17, 2018: Ecology
Nicholas J Clark, Konstans Wells, Oscar Lindberg
Inferring interactions between co-occurring species is key to identify processes governing community assembly. Incorporating interspecific interactions in predictive models is common in ecology, yet most methods do not adequately account for indirect interactions (where an interaction between two species is masked by their shared interactions with a third) and assume interactions do not vary along environmental gradients. Markov random fields (MRF) overcome these limitations by estimating interspecific interactions, while controlling for indirect interactions, from multispecies occurrence data...
May 16, 2018: Ecology
Gianluca Piovesan, Franco Biondi, Michele Baliva, Emanuele Presutti Saba, Lucio Calcagnile, Gianluca Quarta, Marisa D'Elia, Giuseppe De Vivo, Aldo Schettino, Alfredo Di Filippo
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 16, 2018: Ecology
Kathryn A Stewart, Tom P G Van den Beuken, Flor T Rhebergen, Jacques A Deere, Isabel M Smallegange
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
May 16, 2018: Ecology
Daniel L Preston, Jeremy S Henderson, Landon P Falke, Leah M Segui, Tamara J Layden, Mark Novak
Describing the mechanisms that drive variation in species interaction strengths is central to understanding, predicting, and managing community dynamics. Multiple factors have been linked to trophic interaction strength variation, including species densities, species traits, and abiotic factors. Yet most empirical tests of the relative roles of multiple mechanisms that drive variation have been limited to simplified experiments that may diverge from the dynamics of natural food webs. Here, we used a field-based observational approach to quantify the roles of prey density, predator density, predator-prey body-mass ratios, prey identity, and abiotic factors in driving variation in feeding rates of reticulate sculpin (Cottus perplexus)...
May 8, 2018: Ecology
Richard S Ostfeld, Taal Levi, Felicia Keesing, Kelly Oggenfuss, Charles D Canham
Changes to the community ecology of hosts for zoonotic pathogens, particularly rodents, are likely to influence the emergence and prevalence of zoonotic diseases worldwide. However, the complex interactions between abiotic factors, pathogens, vectors, hosts, and both food resources and predators of hosts are difficult to disentangle. Here we (1) use 19 years of data from six large field plots in southeastern New York to compare the effects of hypothesized drivers of interannual variation in Lyme disease risk, including the abundance of acorns, rodents, and deer, as well as a series of climate variables; and (2) employ landscape epidemiology to explore how variation in predator community structure and forest cover influences spatial variation in the infection prevalence of ticks for the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, and two other important tick-borne pathogens, Anaplasma phagocytophilum and Babesia microti...
May 8, 2018: Ecology
Claire M Wilson, Robert N Schaeffer, Mauri L Hickin, Chad M Rigsby, Amanda F Sommi, Carol S Thornber, Colin M Orians, Evan L Preisser
Forests make up a large portion of terrestrial plant biomass, and the long-lived woody plants that dominate them possess an array of traits that deter consumption by forest pests. Although often extremely effective against native consumers, invasive species that avoid or overcome these defenses can wreak havoc on trees and surrounding ecosystems. This is especially true when multiple invasive species co-occur, since interactions between invasive herbivores may yield non-additive effects on the host. While the threat posed by invasive forest pests is well known, long-term field experiments are necessary to explore these consumer-host interactions at appropriate spatial and temporal scales...
May 5, 2018: Ecology
Miranda B Haggerty, Todd W Anderson, Jeremy D Long
Although trophic cascades were originally believed to be driven only by predators eating prey, there is mounting evidence that such cascades can be generated in large part via non-consumptive effects. This is especially important in cascades affecting habitat-forming foundation species that in turn, influence associated communities. Here, we use laboratory and field experiments to identify a trait-mediated indirect interaction between predators and an abundant kelp in a marine temperate reef system. Predation risk from a microcarnivorous fish, the señorita, suppressed grazing by the host-specific seaweed limpet, which in turn, influenced frond loss of the habitat-forming feather boa kelp...
May 5, 2018: Ecology
Guillaume de Lafontaine, Joseph D Napier, Rémy J Petit, Feng Sheng Hu
Persistence of natural populations during periods of climate change is likely to depend on migration (range shifts) or adaptation. These responses were traditionally considered discrete processes and conceptually divided into the realms of ecology and evolution. In a milestone paper, Davis and Shaw (2001) argued that the interplay of adaptation and migration was central to biotic responses to Quaternary climate, but since then there has been no synthesis of efforts made to set up this research program. Here we review some of the salient findings from molecular genetic studies assessing ecological and evolutionary responses to Quaternary climate change...
May 5, 2018: Ecology
Heng Huang, Julie C Zinnert, Lauren K Wood, Donald R Young, Paolo D'Odorico
Woody plant encroachment into grasslands is a major land cover change taking place in many regions of the world, including arctic, alpine and desert ecosystems. This change in plant dominance is also affecting coastal ecosystems, including barrier islands, which are known for being vulnerable to the effects of climate change. In the last century, the woody plant species Morella cerifera L. (Myricaceae), has encroached into grass covered swales in many of the barrier islands of Virginia along the Atlantic seaboard...
May 5, 2018: Ecology
Arran Greenop, Ben A Woodcock, Andy Wilby, Samantha M Cook, Richard F Pywell
The use of pesticides within agricultural ecosystems has led to wide concern regarding negative effects on the environment. One possible alternative is the use of predators of pest species that naturally occur within agricultural ecosystems. However, the mechanistic basis for how species can be manipulated in order to maximise pest control remains unclear. We carried out a meta-analysis of 51 studies that manipulated predator species richness in reference to suppression of herbivore prey to determine which components of predator diversity affect pest control...
May 4, 2018: Ecology
Christopher Bosc, Anton Pauw, Francois Roets, Cang Hui
The worldwide loss of top predators from natural and agricultural systems has heightened the need to understand how important they are in controlling herbivore abundance. The effect of top predators on herbivore species is likely to depend on 1) the importance of the consumption of intermediate predators by top predators (intra-guild predation; IGP), but also on 2) plant specificity by herbivores, because specialists may defend themselves better (enemy-free space; EFS). Insectivorous birds, as top predators, are generally known to effectively control herbivorous insects, despite also consuming intermediate predators such as spiders, but how this effect varies among herbivore species in relation to the cascading effects of IGP and EFS is not known...
May 4, 2018: Ecology
Sylvie Clappe, Stéphane Dray, Pedro R Peres-Neto
The methods of direct gradient analysis and variation partitioning are the most widely used frameworks to evaluate the contributions of species sorting to metacommunity structure. In many cases, however, species are also driven by spatial processes that are independent of environmental heterogeneity (e.g., neutral dynamics). As such, spatial autocorrelation can occur independently in both species (due to limited dispersal) and the environmental data, leading to spurious correlations between species distributions and the spatialized (i...
May 3, 2018: Ecology
Kristina M McIntire, Steven A Juliano
Overcompensation occurs when added mortality increases survival to the next life-cycle stage. Overcompensation can contribute to the Hydra Effect, wherein added mortality increases equilibrium population size. One hypothesis for overcompensation is that added mortality eases density-dependence, increasing survival to adulthood ("temporal separation of mortality and density dependence"). Mortality early in the life cycle is therefore predicted to cause overcompensation, whereas mortality later in the life cycle is not...
May 3, 2018: Ecology
Erica M Christensen, David J Harris, S K Morgan Ernest
While studies increasingly document long-term change in community composition, whether long-term change occurs gradually or via rapid reorganization events remains unclear. We used Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) and a change-point model to examine the long-term dynamics of a desert rodent community undergoing compositional change over a 38-year span. Our approach detected three rapid reorganization events, where changes in the relative abundances of dominant and rare species occurred, and a separate period of increased variance in the structure of the community...
May 2, 2018: Ecology
Long Tang, Amelia A Wolf, Yang Gao, Cheng Huan Wang
In an attempt to clarify the role of environmental and biotic interactions on plant growth, there has been a long-running ecological debate over whether the intensity and importance of competition stabilizes, increases or decreases across environmental gradients. We conducted an experiment in a Chinese estuary to investigate the effects of a non-resource stress gradient, soil salinity (from 1.4‰ to 19.0‰ salinity), on the competitive interactions between native Phragmites australis and invasive Spartina alterniflora...
May 1, 2018: Ecology
Ming Kai Tan, Hugh Tiang Wah Tan
The orthopterans, comprised of the grasshoppers, crickets, and katydids, are often considered as infamous agricultural pests that eat and destroy crops. While orthopterans can provide mutualistic ecological services including seed dispersal (Duthie et al. 2006; Suetsugu 2018), they are rarely considered capable of pollination (Micheneau et al. 2010). There are, however, some orthopterans which preferentially feed on flowers. These floriphilic orthopterans include a Phaneropterinid katydid, Phaneroptera brevis (Serville, 1838) which can be found frequently among flowers in Southeast Asia (Tan et al...
April 29, 2018: Ecology
Ariane Cantin, John R Post
For species that utilize different habitats throughout their life cycle, the habitat limitation at a given stage can act as a bottleneck on population abundance, impacting density-dependent processes such as individual growth and survival. We explore the influence of habitat limitation on population dynamics by developing a multi-stage population model based on lake-dwelling rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) populations where adults occupy the lake habitat but use tributaries for spawning and juvenile rearing...
April 29, 2018: Ecology
Nicholas G Smith, Jeffrey S Dukes
Realistic representations of plant carbon exchange processes are necessary to reliably simulate biosphere-atmosphere feedbacks. These processes are known to vary over time and space, though the drivers of the underlying rates are still widely debated in the literature. Here, we measured leaf carbon exchange in >500 individuals of 98 species from the neotropics to high boreal biomes to determine the drivers of photosynthetic and dark respiration capacity. Covariate abiotic (long- and short-term climate) and biotic (plant type, plant size, ontogeny, water status) data were used to explore significant drivers of temperature-standardized leaf carbon exchange rates...
April 29, 2018: Ecology
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