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Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Marjorie G Weber, Catherine E Wagner, Rebecca J Best, Luke J Harmon, Blake Matthews
Despite a conceptual understanding that evolution and species interactions are inextricably linked, it remains challenging to study ecological and evolutionary dynamics together over long temporal scales. In this review, we argue that, despite inherent challenges associated with reconstructing historical processes, the interplay of ecology and evolution is central to our understanding of macroevolution and community coexistence, and cannot be safely ignored in community and comparative phylogenetic studies...
February 16, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Richard M Gunton, Eline N van Asperen, Andrew Basden, David Bookless, Yoseph Araya, David R Hanson, Mark A Goddard, George Otieno, Gareth O Jones
The ecosystem services framework (ESF) is advantageous and widely used for itemising and quantifying ways in which humans benefit from natural places. However, it suffers from two important problems: (i) incoherence of definitions and (ii) a narrow approach to valuation, inadequate to represent the full range of human motives for conservation and the diverse interests of different stakeholders. These shortcomings can lead to a range of problems including double-counting, blind spots and unintended consequences...
February 14, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Timothy R Baker, R Toby Pennington, Kyle G Dexter, Paul V A Fine, Helen Fortune-Hopkins, Euridice N Honorio, Isau Huamantupa-Chuquimaco, Bente B Klitgård, Gwilym P Lewis, Haroldo C de Lima, Peter Ashton, Christopher Baraloto, Stuart Davies, Michael J Donoghue, Maria Kaye, W John Kress, Caroline E R Lehmann, Abel Monteagudo, Oliver L Phillips, Rodolfo Vasquez
Closer collaboration among ecologists, systematists, and evolutionary biologists working in tropical forests, centred on studies within long-term permanent plots, would be highly beneficial for their respective fields. With a key unifying theme of the importance of vouchered collection and precise identification of species, especially rare ones, we identify four priority areas where improving links between these communities could achieve significant progress in biodiversity and conservation science: (i) increasing the pace of species discovery; (ii) documenting species turnover across space and time; (iii) improving models of ecosystem change; and (iv) understanding the evolutionary assembly of communities and biomes...
February 14, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Catherine Badgley, Tara M Smiley, Rebecca Terry, Edward B Davis, Larisa R G DeSantis, David L Fox, Samantha S B Hopkins, Tereza Jezkova, Marjorie D Matocq, Nick Matzke, Jenny L McGuire, Andreas Mulch, Brett R Riddle, V Louise Roth, Joshua X Samuels, Caroline A E Strömberg, Brian J Yanites
Topographically complex regions on land and in the oceans feature hotspots of biodiversity that reflect geological influences on ecological and evolutionary processes. Over geologic time, topographic diversity gradients wax and wane over millions of years, tracking tectonic or climatic history. Topographic diversity gradients from the present day and the past can result from the generation of species by vicariance or from the accumulation of species from dispersal into a region with strong environmental gradients...
February 11, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Martine Maron, Matthew G E Mitchell, Rebecca K Runting, Jonathan R Rhodes, Georgina M Mace, David A Keith, James E M Watson
How can we tell if the ecosystem services upon which we rely are at risk of being lost, potentially permanently? Ecosystem services underpin human well-being, but we lack a consistent approach for categorizing the extent to which they are threatened. We present an assessment framework for assessing the degree to which the adequate and sustainable provision of a given ecosystem service is threatened. Our framework combines information on the states and trends of both ecosystem service supply and demand, with reference to two critical thresholds: demand exceeding supply and ecosystem service 'extinction'...
February 6, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Frank Götmark, Elin Götmark
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
February 3, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Mark G Meekan, Carlos M Duarte, Juan Fernández-Gracia, Michele Thums, Ana M M Sequeira, Rob Harcourt, Víctor M Eguíluz
Mobile phones and other geolocated devices have produced unprecedented volumes of data on human movement. Analysis of pooled individual human trajectories using big data approaches has revealed a wealth of emergent features that have ecological parallels in animals across a diverse array of phenomena including commuting, epidemics, the spread of innovations and culture, and collective behaviour. Movement ecology, which explores how animals cope with and optimize variability in resources, has the potential to provide a theoretical framework to aid an understanding of human mobility and its impacts on ecosystems...
February 2, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Julia B Saltz, Frances C Hessel, Morgan W Kelly
Thinking about the evolutionary causes and consequences of trait correlations has been dominated by quantitative genetics theory that is focused on hypothetical loci. Since this theory was initially developed, technology has enabled the identification of specific genetic variants that contribute to trait correlations. Here, we review studies of the genetic basis of trait correlations to ask: What has this new information taught us? We find that causal variants can be pleiotropic and/or linked in different ways, indicating that pleiotropy and linkage are not alternative genetic mechanisms...
January 27, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Michael S Webster, Madhavi A Colton, Emily S Darling, Jonathan Armstrong, Malin L Pinsky, Nancy Knowlton, Daniel E Schindler
Many conservation strategies identify a narrow subset of genotypes, species, or geographic locations that are predicted to be favored under different scenarios of future climate change. However, a focus on predicted winners, which might not prove to be correct, risks undervaluing the balance of biological diversity from which climate-change winners could otherwise emerge. Drawing on ecology, evolutionary biology, and portfolio theory, we propose a conservation approach designed to promote adaptation that is less dependent on uncertain predictions about the identity of winners and losers...
January 23, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Simon Klein, Amélie Cabirol, Jean-Marc Devaud, Andrew B Barron, Mathieu Lihoreau
Bee populations are declining in the industrialized world, raising concerns for the sustainable pollination of crops. Pesticides, pollutants, parasites, diseases, and malnutrition have all been linked to this problem. We consider here neurobiological, ecological, and evolutionary reasons why bees are particularly vulnerable to these environmental stressors. Central-place foraging on flowers demands advanced capacities of learning, memory, and navigation. However, even at low intensity levels, many stressors damage the bee brain, disrupting key cognitive functions needed for effective foraging, with dramatic consequences for brood development and colony survival...
January 19, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Julia L Blanchard, Ryan F Heneghan, Jason D Everett, Rowan Trebilco, Anthony J Richardson
Size-based ecosystem modeling is emerging as a powerful way to assess ecosystem-level impacts of human- and environment-driven changes from individual-level processes. These models have evolved as mechanistic explanations for observed regular patterns of abundance across the marine size spectrum hypothesized to hold from bacteria to whales. Fifty years since the first size spectrum measurements, we ask how far have we come? Although recent modeling studies capture an impressive range of sizes, complexity, and real-world applications, ecosystem coverage is still only partial...
January 18, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Bradley Cantrell, Laura J Martin, Erle C Ellis
Maintaining wild places increasingly involves intensive human interventions. Several recent projects use semi-automated mediating technologies to enact conservation and restoration actions, including re-seeding and invasive species eradication. Could a deep-learning system sustain the autonomy of nonhuman ecological processes at designated sites without direct human interventions? We explore here the prospects for automated curation of wild places, as well as the technical and ethical questions that such co-creation poses for ecologists, conservationists, and designers...
January 18, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Winsor H Lowe, Ryan P Kovach, Fred W Allendorf
The interplay of ecology and evolution has been a rich area of research for decades. A surge of interest in this area was catalyzed by the observation that evolution by natural selection can operate at the same contemporary timescales as ecological dynamics. Specifically, recent eco-evolutionary research focuses on how rapid adaptation influences ecology, and vice versa. Evolution by non-adaptive forces also occurs quickly, with ecological consequences, but understanding the full scope of ecology-evolution (eco-evo) interactions requires explicitly addressing population-level processes - genetic and demographic...
January 11, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Hanna Kokko, Anurag Chaturvedi, Daniel Croll, Martin C Fischer, Frédéric Guillaume, Sophie Karrenberg, Ben Kerr, Gregor Rolshausen, Jessica Stapley
A simplistic view of the adaptive process pictures a hillside along which a population can climb: when ecological 'demands' change, evolution 'supplies' the variation needed for the population to climb to a new peak. Evolutionary ecologists point out that this simplistic view can be incomplete because the fitness landscape changes dynamically as the population evolves. Geneticists meanwhile have identified complexities relating to the nature of genetic variation and its architecture, and the importance of epigenetic variation is under debate...
January 11, 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Miguel C Leal, Ole Seehausen, Blake Matthews
Ecological stoichiometry has generated new insights into how the balance of elements affects ecological interactions and ecosystem processes, but little is known about the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of stoichiometric traits. Understanding the origins and drivers of stoichiometric trait variation between and within species will improve our understanding about the ecological responses of communities to environmental change and the ecosystem effects of organisms. In addition, studying the plasticity, heritability, and genetic basis of stoichiometric traits might improve predictions about how organisms adapt to changing environmental conditions, and help to identify interactions and feedbacks between phenotypic evolution and ecosystem processes...
December 22, 2016: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Christian Damgaard, Jacob Weiner
Several macroecological studies have used static spatial data to evaluate plant competition in natural ecosystems and to investigate its role in plant community dynamics and species assembly. The assumptions on which the inferences are based have not been consistent with ecological knowledge. Inferences about processes, such as competition, from static data are weak. Macroecology will benefit more from dynamic data, even if limited, than from increasingly sophisticated analyses of static spatial patterns.
December 20, 2016: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Allen Rodrigo, Madison Rogers, Blake Bohlig
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
November 30, 2016: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Anaïs Gibert, Wade C Tozer, Mark Westoby
We provide a list of soft skills that are important for collaboration and teamwork, based on our own experience and from an opinion survey of team leaders. Each skill can be learned to some extent. We also outline workable short courses for graduate schools to strengthen teamwork and collaboration skills among research students.
February 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
William J Sutherland, Phoebe Barnard, Steven Broad, Mick Clout, Ben Connor, Isabelle M Côté, Lynn V Dicks, Helen Doran, Abigail C Entwistle, Erica Fleishman, Marie Fox, Kevin J Gaston, David W Gibbons, Zhigang Jiang, Brandon Keim, Fiona A Lickorish, Paul Markillie, Kathryn A Monk, James W Pearce-Higgins, Lloyd S Peck, Jules Pretty, Mark D Spalding, Femke H Tonneijck, Bonnie C Wintle, Nancy Ockendon
We present the results of our eighth annual horizon scan of emerging issues likely to affect global biological diversity, the environment, and conservation efforts in the future. The potential effects of these novel issues might not yet be fully recognized or understood by the global conservation community, and the issues can be regarded as both opportunities and risks. A diverse international team with collective expertise in horizon scanning, science communication, and conservation research, practice, and policy reviewed 100 potential issues and identified 15 that qualified as emerging, with potential substantial global effects...
January 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Franck Courchamp, Alice Fournier, Céline Bellard, Cleo Bertelsmeier, Elsa Bonnaud, Jonathan M Jeschke, James C Russell
Biological invasions have been unambiguously shown to be one of the major global causes of biodiversity loss. Despite the magnitude of this threat and recent scientific advances, this field remains a regular target of criticism - from outright deniers of the threat to scientists questioning the utility of the discipline. This unique situation, combining internal strife and an unaware society, greatly hinders the progress of invasion biology. It is crucial to identify the specificities of this discipline that lead to such difficulties...
January 2017: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
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