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Ecology Letters

Andrew J Hacket-Pain, Davide Ascoli, Giorgio Vacchiano, Franco Biondi, Liam Cavin, Marco Conedera, Igor Drobyshev, Isabel Dorado Liñán, Andrew D Friend, Michael Grabner, Claudia Hartl, Juergen Kreyling, François Lebourgeois, Tom Levanič, Annette Menzel, Ernst van der Maaten, Marieke van der Maaten-Theunissen, Lena Muffler, Renzo Motta, Catalin-Constantin Roibu, Ionel Popa, Tobias Scharnweber, Robert Weigel, Martin Wilmking, Christian S Zang
Climatically controlled allocation to reproduction is a key mechanism by which climate influences tree growth and may explain lagged correlations between climate and growth. We used continent-wide datasets of tree-ring chronologies and annual reproductive effort in Fagus sylvatica from 1901 to 2015 to characterise relationships between climate, reproduction and growth. Results highlight that variable allocation to reproduction is a key factor for growth in this species, and that high reproductive effort ('mast years') is associated with stem growth reduction...
September 19, 2018: Ecology Letters
Robert A Desharnais, Daniel C Reuman, Robert F Costantino, Joel E Cohen
Population densities of a species measured in different locations are often correlated over time, a phenomenon referred to as synchrony. Synchrony results from dispersal of individuals among locations and spatially correlated environmental variation, among other causes. Synchrony is often measured by a correlation coefficient. However, synchrony can vary with timescale. We demonstrate theoretically and experimentally that the timescale-specificity of environmental correlation affects the overall magnitude and timescale-specificity of synchrony, and that these effects are modified by population dispersal...
September 19, 2018: Ecology Letters
John W Redhead, Ben A Woodcock, Michael J O Pocock, Richard F Pywell, Adam J Vanbergen, Tom H Oliver
Understanding spatial variation in the structure and stability of plant-pollinator networks, and their relationship with anthropogenic drivers, is key for maintaining pollination services and mitigating declines. Constructing sufficient networks to examine patterns over large spatial scales remains challenging. Using biological records (citizen science), we constructed potential plant-pollinator networks at 10 km resolution across Great Britain, comprising all potential interactions inferred from recorded floral visitation and species co-occurrence...
September 17, 2018: Ecology Letters
Mohsen Kayal, Hunter S Lenihan, Andrew J Brooks, Sally J Holbrook, Russell J Schmitt, Bruce E Kendall
Predicting whether, how, and to what degree communities recover from disturbance remain major challenges in ecology. To predict recovery of coral communities we applied field survey data of early recovery dynamics to a multi-species integral projection model that captured key demographic processes driving coral population trajectories, notably density-dependent larval recruitment. After testing model predictions against field observations, we updated the model to generate projections of future coral communities...
September 11, 2018: Ecology Letters
Thijs P M Fijen, Jeroen A Scheper, Timo M Boom, Nicole Janssen, Ivo Raemakers, David Kleijn
The sustainability of agriculture can be improved by integrating management of ecosystem services, such as insect pollination, into farming practices. However, large-scale adoption of ecosystem services-based practices in agriculture is lacking, possibly because growers undervalue the benefits of ecosystem services compared to those of conventional management practices. Here we show that, under representative real-world conditions, pollination and plant quality made similar contributions to marketable seed yield of hybrid leek (Allium porrum)...
September 6, 2018: Ecology Letters
Aurèle Toussaint, Nicolas Charpin, Olivier Beauchard, Gaël Grenouillet, Thierry Oberdorff, Pablo A Tedesco, Sébastien Brosse, Sébastien Villéger
Global spread of non-native species profoundly changed the world biodiversity patterns, but how it translates into functional changes remains unanswered at the world scale. We here show that while in two centuries the number of fish species per river increased on average by 15% in 1569 basins worldwide, the diversity of their functional attributes (i.e. functional richness) increased on average by 150%. The inflation of functional richness was paired with changes in the functional structure of assemblages, with shifts of species position toward the border of the functional space of assemblages (i...
September 5, 2018: Ecology Letters
Jacob Usinowicz, Jonathan M Levine
Forecasting the impacts of climate change on biological diversity requires better ways to incorporate competitive interactions into predictions of species' range dynamics and persistence. This problem has been studied extensively in a different context by theoreticians evaluating the coexistence of species in spatially heterogeneous environments. Here, we show how spatial coexistence theory can be adapted to provide a mathematical framework for understanding species persistence in competitive communities under climate change...
September 5, 2018: Ecology Letters
Jonathan M Chase, Brian J McGill, Daniel J McGlinn, Felix May, Shane A Blowes, Xiao Xiao, Tiffany M Knight, Oliver Purschke, Nicholas J Gotelli
Because biodiversity is multidimensional and scale-dependent, it is challenging to estimate its change. However, it is unclear (1) how much scale-dependence matters for empirical studies, and (2) if it does matter, how exactly we should quantify biodiversity change. To address the first question, we analysed studies with comparisons among multiple assemblages, and found that rarefaction curves frequently crossed, implying reversals in the ranking of species richness across spatial scales. Moreover, the most frequently measured aspect of diversity - species richness - was poorly correlated with other measures of diversity...
September 5, 2018: Ecology Letters
Christine L Hawn, John D Herrmann, Sean R Griffin, Nick M Haddad
Landscape corridors mitigate the negative effects of habitat fragmentation by increasing dispersal. Corridors also increase biodiversity in connected habitat fragments, suggestive of metacommunity dynamics. What is unknown in this case is the mechanisms through which metacommunity dynamics act. Working in a large-scale fragmentation experiment, we tested the effect of corridors on the movement of prey species and subsequent effects on predator nutrition (which we call trophic subsidies). We enriched plants of central patches with 15 N, then measured δ15 N in green lynx spiders, the most abundant insect predator, in patches that were either connected to or isolated from the enriched patch...
September 5, 2018: Ecology Letters
Yolima Carrillo, Feike Dijkstra, Dan LeCain, Dana Blumenthal, Elise Pendall
Accurate predictions of soil C feedbacks to climate change depend on an improved understanding of responses of soil C pools and C use by soil microbial groups. We assessed soil and microbial C in a 7-year manipulation of CO2 and warming in a semi-arid grassland. Continuous field isotopic labelling under elevated CO2 further allowed us to study the dynamics of the existing C (Old C) in soil and microbes as affected by warming. Warming reduced soil C under elevated CO2 but had no impact under ambient CO2 . Loss of soil C under warming and elevated CO2 was attributed to increased proportional loss of Old C...
August 29, 2018: Ecology Letters
Marc Ohlmann, Florent Mazel, Loïc Chalmandrier, Stéphane Bec, Eric Coissac, Ludovic Gielly, Johan Pansu, Vincent Schilling, Pierre Taberlet, Lucie Zinger, Jérome Chave, Wilfried Thuiller
Investigating how trophic interactions influence the β-diversity of meta-communities is of paramount importance to understanding the processes shaping biodiversity distribution. Here, we apply a statistical method for inferring the strength of spatial dependencies between pairs of species groups. Using simulated community data generated from a multi-trophic model, we showed that this method can approximate biotic interactions in multi-trophic communities based on β-diversity patterns across groups. When applied to soil multi-trophic communities along an elevational gradient in the French Alps, we found that fungi make a major contribution to the structuring of β-diversity across trophic groups...
August 28, 2018: Ecology Letters
Thomas Ruiz, Alexandre Bec, Michael Danger, Apostolos-Manuel Koussoroplis, Jean-Pierre Aguer, Jean-Pierre Morel, Nicole Morel-Desrosiers
Understanding the determinants of metabolism is a core ecological topic since it permits to link individual energetic requirements to the ecology of communities and ecosystems. Yet, besides temperature, metabolic responses to environmental factors remain poorly understood. For example, it is commonly assumed that dietary stoichiometric constraints increase metabolism of small invertebrates despite scarce experimental support. Here, we used microcalorimetric measurements to determine the standard metabolic rate (SMR) of Daphnia magna fed stoichiometrically balanced (C/P: 166) or imbalanced (C/P: 1439)...
August 28, 2018: Ecology Letters
Dara A Satterfield, John C Maerz, Mark D Hunter, D T Tyler Flockhart, Keith A Hobson, D Ryan Norris, Hillary Streit, Jacobus C de Roode, Sonia Altizer
Environmental change induces some wildlife populations to shift from migratory to resident behaviours. Newly formed resident populations could influence the health and behaviour of remaining migrants. We investigated migrant-resident interactions among monarch butterflies and consequences for life history and parasitism. Eastern North American monarchs migrate annually to Mexico, but some now breed year-round on exotic milkweed in the southern US and experience high infection prevalence of protozoan parasites...
August 27, 2018: Ecology Letters
Xue Feng, David D Ackerly, Todd E Dawson, Stefano Manzoni, Rob P Skelton, Giulia Vico, Sally E Thompson
Many recent studies on drought-induced vegetation mortality have explored how plant functional traits, and classifications of such traits along axes of, for example, isohydry-anisohydry, might contribute to predicting drought survival and recovery. As these studies proliferate, the consistency and predictive value of such classifications need to be carefully examined. Here, we outline the basis for a systematic classification of plant drought responses that accounts for both environmental conditions and functional traits...
August 27, 2018: Ecology Letters
E Carol Adair, David U Hooper, Alain Paquette, Bruce A Hungate
Plant diversity can increase biomass production in plot-scale studies, but applying these results to ecosystem carbon (C) storage at larger spatial and temporal scales remains problematic. Other ecosystem controls interact with diversity and plant production, and may influence soil pools differently from plant pools. We integrated diversity with the state-factor framework, which identifies key controls, or 'state factors', over ecosystem properties and services such as C storage. We used this framework to assess the effects of diversity, plant traits and state factors (climate, topography, time) on live tree, standing dead, organic horizon and total C in Québec forests...
August 27, 2018: Ecology Letters
Juergen Kreyling, Andreas H Schweiger, Michael Bahn, Phil Ineson, Mirco Migliavacca, Thibaut Morel-Journel, Jesper Riis Christiansen, Nicolas Schtickzelle, Klaus Steenberg Larsen
A fundamental challenge in experimental ecology is to capture nonlinearities of ecological responses to interacting environmental drivers. Here, we demonstrate that gradient designs outperform replicated designs for detecting and quantifying nonlinear responses. We report the results of (1) multiple computer simulations and (2) two purpose-designed empirical experiments. The findings consistently revealed that unreplicated sampling at a maximum number of sampling locations maximised prediction success (i.e...
August 23, 2018: Ecology Letters
Sinéad M Crotty, Sean J Sharp, Ada C Bersoza, Kimberly D Prince, Katheryne Cronk, Emma E Johnson, Christine Angelini
Foundation species enhance biodiversity and multifunctionality across many systems; however, whether foundation species patch configuration mediates their ecological effects is unknown. In a 6-month field experiment, we test which attributes of foundation species patch configuration - i.e. patch size, total patch area, perimeter, area-perimeter ratio, or connectivity - control biodiversity, stability and multifunctionality by adding a standardised density of mussel foundation species in patches of 1, 5, 10, 30, 60, 90 or 180 individuals to a southeastern US salt marsh...
August 23, 2018: Ecology Letters
Zeng-Yuan Wu, Jie Liu, Jim Provan, Hong Wang, Chia-Jui Chen, Marc W Cadotte, Ya-Huang Luo, Bruno S Amorim, De-Zhu Li, Richard I Milne
Dispersal is a fundamental ecological process, yet demonstrating the occurrence and importance of long-distance dispersal (LDD) remains difficult, having rarely been examined for widespread, non-coastal plants. To address this issue, we integrated phylogenetic, molecular dating, biogeographical, ecological, seed biology and oceanographic data for the inland Urticaceae. We found that Urticaceae originated in Eurasia c. 69 Ma, followed by ≥ 92 LDD events between landmasses. Under experimental conditions, seeds of many Urticaceae floated for > 220 days, and remained viable after 10 months in seawater, long enough for most detected LDD events, according to oceanographic current modelling...
August 21, 2018: Ecology Letters
Karen M Brandenburg, Sylke Wohlrab, Uwe John, Anke Kremp, Jacqueline Jerney, Bernd Krock, Dedmer B Van de Waal
Intraspecific trait diversity can promote the success of a species, as complementarity of functional traits within populations may enhance its competitive success and facilitates resilience to changing environmental conditions. Here, we experimentally determined the variation and relationships between traits in 15 strains of the toxic dinoflagellate Alexandrium ostenfeldii derived from two populations. Measured traits included growth rate, cell size, elemental composition, nitrogen uptake kinetics, toxin production and allelochemical potency...
August 16, 2018: Ecology Letters
Chelse M Prather, Angela N Laws, Juan F Cuellar, Ryan W Reihart, Kaitlin M Gawkins, Steven C Pennings
The canonical factors typically thought to determine herbivore community structure often explain only a small fraction of the variation in herbivore abundance and diversity. We tested how macronutrients and relatively understudied micronutrients interacted to influence the structure of insect herbivore (orthopteran) communities. We conducted a factorial fertilisation experiment manipulating macronutrients (N and P, added together) and micronutrients (Ca, Na and K) in large plots (30 × 30 m2 ) in a Texas coastal prairie...
July 23, 2018: Ecology Letters
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