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Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Anna F Cord, Kate A Brauman, Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, Andreas Huth, Guy Ziv, Ralf Seppelt
Managing ecosystem services in the context of global sustainability policies requires reliable monitoring mechanisms. While satellite Earth observation offers great promise to support this need, significant challenges remain in quantifying connections between ecosystem functions, ecosystem services, and human well-being benefits. Here, we provide a framework showing how Earth observation together with socioeconomic information and model-based analysis can support assessments of ecosystem service supply, demand, and benefit, and illustrate this for three services...
April 12, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Anthony Ricciardi, Tim M Blackburn, James T Carlton, Jaimie T A Dick, Philip E Hulme, Josephine C Iacarella, Jonathan M Jeschke, Andrew M Liebhold, Julie L Lockwood, Hugh J MacIsaac, Petr Pyšek, David M Richardson, Gregory M Ruiz, Daniel Simberloff, William J Sutherland, David A Wardle, David C Aldridge
We identified emerging scientific, technological, and sociopolitical issues likely to affect how biological invasions are studied and managed over the next two decades. Issues were ranked according to their probability of emergence, pervasiveness, potential impact, and novelty. Top-ranked issues include the application of genomic modification tools to control invasions, effects of Arctic globalization on invasion risk in the Northern Hemisphere, commercial use of microbes to facilitate crop production, the emergence of invasive microbial pathogens, and the fate of intercontinental trade agreements...
April 7, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Dona Kanavy, Megan Serr
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
April 4, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Cyrille Violle, Wilfried Thuiller, Nicolas Mouquet, François Munoz, Nathan J B Kraft, Marc W Cadotte, Stuart W Livingstone, David Mouillot
Rarity has been a central topic for conservation and evolutionary biologists aiming to determine the species characteristics that cause extinction risk. More recently, beyond the rarity of species, the rarity of functions or functional traits, called functional rarity, has gained momentum in helping to understand the impact of biodiversity decline on ecosystem functioning. However, a conceptual framework for defining and quantifying functional rarity is still lacking. We introduce 12 different forms of functional rarity along gradients of species scarcity and trait distinctiveness...
April 4, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
James C Lamsdell, Curtis R Congreve, Melanie J Hopkins, Andrew Z Krug, Mark E Patzkowsky
The new and emerging field of phylogenetic paleoecology leverages the evolutionary relationships among species to explain temporal and spatial changes in species diversity, abundance, and distribution in deep time. This field is poised for rapid progress as knowledge of the evolutionary relationships among fossil species continues to expand. In particular, this approach will lend new insights to many of the longstanding questions in evolutionary biology, such as: the relationships among character change, ecology, and evolutionary rates; the processes that determine the evolutionary relationships among species within communities and along environmental gradients; and the phylogenetic signal underlying ecological selectivity in background and mass extinctions and in major evolutionary radiations...
March 29, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Marc W Cadotte, Caroline M Tucker
Environmental filtering, where the environment selects against certain species, is thought to be a major mechanism structuring communities. However, recent criticisms cast doubt on our ability to accurately infer filtering because competition can give rise to patterns identical to those caused by environmental filtering. While experiments can distinguish mechanisms, observational patterns are especially problematic. The environment determines community composition not only directly via survival, but also by influencing competition...
March 28, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Neil J Gemmell, Daniel M Tompkins
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
March 27, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
David A Bohan, Corinne Vacher, Alireza Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alan Raybould, Alex J Dumbrell, Guy Woodward
We foresee a new global-scale, ecological approach to biomonitoring emerging within the next decade that can detect ecosystem change accurately, cheaply, and generically. Next-generation sequencing of DNA sampled from the Earth's environments would provide data for the relative abundance of operational taxonomic units or ecological functions. Machine-learning methods would then be used to reconstruct the ecological networks of interactions implicit in the raw NGS data. Ultimately, we envision the development of autonomous samplers that would sample nucleic acids and upload NGS sequence data to the cloud for network reconstruction...
March 27, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Akihiro Nakamura, Roger L Kitching, Min Cao, Thomas J Creedy, Tom M Fayle, Martin Freiberg, C N Hewitt, Takao Itioka, Lian Pin Koh, Keping Ma, Yadvinder Malhi, Andrew Mitchell, Vojtech Novotny, Claire M P Ozanne, Liang Song, Han Wang, Louise A Ashton
Forest canopies are dynamic interfaces between organisms and atmosphere, providing buffered microclimates and complex microhabitats. Canopies form vertically stratified ecosystems interconnected with other strata. Some forest biodiversity patterns and food webs have been documented and measurements of ecophysiology and biogeochemical cycling have allowed analyses of large-scale transfer of CO2, water, and trace gases between forests and the atmosphere. However, many knowledge gaps remain. With global research networks and databases, and new technologies and infrastructure, we envisage rapid advances in our understanding of the mechanisms that drive the spatial and temporal dynamics of forests and their canopies...
March 27, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Alexandre Roulin, Mansour Abu Rashid, Baruch Spiegel, Motti Charter, Amélie N Dreiss, Yossi Leshem
Humanity is facing a biodiversity crisis. To solve environmental problems, we bring people from Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority to the same table. Conservation efforts are beneficial for all communities and facilitate constructive dialog across divides in conflict zones. This pleads for the integration of nature conservation into peacebuilding interventions.
March 22, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Seth M Rudman, Maayan Kreitzman, Kai M A Chan, Dolph Schluter
Evolution is recognized as the source of all organisms, and hence many ecosystem services. However, the role that contemporary evolution might play in maintaining and enhancing specific ecosystem services has largely been overlooked. Recent advances at the interface of ecology and evolution have demonstrated how contemporary evolution can shape ecological communities and ecosystem functions. We propose a definition and quantitative criteria to study how rapid evolution affects ecosystem services (here termed contemporary evosystem services) and present plausible scenarios where such services might exist...
March 20, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Renée C Firman, Clelia Gasparini, Mollie K Manier, Tommaso Pizzari
Cryptic female choice (CFC) represents postmating intersexual selection arising from female-driven mechanisms at or after mating that bias sperm use and impact male paternity share. Although biologists began to study CFC relatively late, largely spurred by Eberhard's book published 20 years ago, the field has grown rapidly since then. Here, we review empirical progress to show that numerous female processes offer potential for CFC, from mating through to fertilization, although seldom has CFC been clearly demonstrated...
March 16, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Thomas L Kieft
Allometric scaling relationships based on microbial data sets are revealing novel biological principles; for example, the abundance and diversity of animal-associated microbes scale with individual animal mass. The global abundance of animal-associated microbes and biosphere species richness have also been estimated. The potential for further microbe-inclusive macroecological insights is high.
March 9, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Ben C Scheele, Claire N Foster, Sam C Banks, David B Lindenmayer
A fundamental aim of conservation biology is to understand how species respond to threatening processes, with much research effort focused on identifying threats and quantifying spatial and temporal patterns of species decline. Here, we argue that threats often reduce the realized niche breadth of declining species because environmental, biotic, and evolutionary processes reduce or amplify threats, or because a species' capacity to tolerate threats varies across niche space. Our 'niche reduction hypothesis' provides a new lens for understanding why species decline in some locations and not others...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Joern Fischer, David J Abson, Arvid Bergsten, Neil French Collier, Ine Dorresteijn, Jan Hanspach, Kristoffer Hylander, Jannik Schultner, Feyera Senbeta
Given the serious limitations of production-oriented frameworks, we offer here a new conceptual framework for how to analyze the nexus of food security and biodiversity conservation. We introduce four archetypes of social-ecological system states corresponding to win-win (e.g., agroecology), win-lose (e.g., intensive agriculture), lose-win (e.g., fortress conservation), and lose-lose (e.g., degraded landscapes) outcomes for food security and biodiversity conservation. Each archetype is shaped by characteristic external drivers, exhibits characteristic internal social-ecological features, and has characteristic feedbacks that maintain it...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Alexandra J Wright, David A Wardle, Ragan Callaway, Aurora Gaxiola
Past research has demonstrated that decreased biodiversity often reduces ecosystem productivity, but variation in the shape of biodiversity-ecosystem function (BEF) relationships begets the need for a deeper mechanistic understanding of what drives these patterns. While mechanisms involving competition are often invoked, the role of facilitation is overlooked, or lumped within several less explicitly defined processes (e.g., complementarity effects). Here, we explore recent advances in understanding how facilitation affects BEF relationships and identify three categories of facilitative mechanisms that can drive variation in those relationships...
March 8, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
David A Clarke, Paul H York, Michael A Rasheed, Tobin D Northfield
Current evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, but few studies have addressed tropical ecosystems where the highest levels of biodiversity occur. We develop two hypotheses for the implications of generalizing from temperate studies to tropical ecosystems, and discuss the need for more tropical research.
March 6, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Stuart L Pimm, Peter H Raven
A recent report assessing the world's plant species finds continuing progress in completing the taxonomic catalog. However, many undescribed species remain. The report concludes that, presently, 21% of known species risk extinction. We show this statement applies to the short-term and ignores the as-yet undescribed species, which are also likely at risk of extinction. Human actions will extirpate many more by the end of this century.
March 3, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Kevin N Laland
November 7-9, 2016 witnessed a joint discussion meeting of the Royal Society and the British Academy (the UK national academies for the sciences and social sciences, respectively) entitled 'New Trends in Evolutionary Biology: Biological, Philosophical and Social Science Perspectives'. The meeting, anticipated with a mix of feverish enthusiasm and dread, sold out months in advance, the eager audience perhaps expecting radical and traditional evolutionists to go toe to toe, rather than the constructive dialogue among biologists, social scientists, and researchers in the humanities that the academies advertised...
February 28, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Harold P de Vladar, Mauro Santos, Eörs Szathmáry
Despite major advances in evolutionary theories, some aspects of evolution remain neglected: whether evolution: would come to a halt without abiotic change; is unbounded and open-ended; or is progressive and something beyond fitness is maximized. Here, we discuss some models of ecology and evolution and argue that ecological change, resulting in Red Queen dynamics, facilitates (but does not ensure) innovation. We distinguish three forms of open-endedness. In weak open-endedness, novel phenotypes can occur indefinitely...
February 25, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
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