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Ecology Letters

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29790295/from-noise-to-knowledge-how-randomness-generates-novel-phenomena-and-reveals-information
#1
REVIEW
Carl Boettiger
Noise, as the term itself suggests, is most often seen a nuisance to ecological insight, a inconvenient reality that must be acknowledged, a haystack that must be stripped away to reveal the processes of interest underneath. Yet despite this well-earned reputation, noise is often interesting in its own right: noise can induce novel phenomena that could not be understood from some underlying deterministic model alone. Nor is all noise the same, and close examination of differences in frequency, colour or magnitude can reveal insights that would otherwise be inaccessible...
May 22, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29790283/evaluating-the-predicted-extinction-risk-of-living-amphibian-species-with-the-fossil-record
#2
LETTER
Melanie Tietje, Mark-Oliver Rödel
Bridging the gap between the fossil record and conservation biology has recently become of great interest. The enormous number of documented extinctions across different taxa can provide insights into the extinction risk of living species. However, few studies have explored this connection. We used generalised boosted modelling to analyse the impact of several traits that are assumed to influence extinction risk on the stratigraphic duration of amphibian species in the fossil record. We used this fossil-calibrated model to predict the extinction risk for living species...
May 22, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29781214/reconciling-multiple-impacts-of-nitrogen-enrichment-on-soil-carbon-plant-microbial-and-geochemical-controls
#3
LETTER
Chenglong Ye, Dima Chen, Steven J Hall, Shang Pan, Xuebin Yan, Tongshuo Bai, Hui Guo, Yi Zhang, Yongfei Bai, Shuijin Hu
Impacts of reactive nitrogen (N) inputs on ecosystem carbon (C) dynamics are highly variable, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we proposed a new conceptual framework that integrates plant, microbial and geochemical mechanisms to reconcile diverse and contrasting impacts of N on soil C. This framework was tested using long-term N enrichment and acid addition experiments in a Mongolian steppe grassland. Distinct mechanisms could explain effects of N on particulate and mineral-associated soil C pools, potentially explaining discrepancies among previous N addition studies...
May 20, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29781123/intra-specific-relatedness-spatial-clustering-and-reduced-demographic-performance-in-tropical-rainforest-trees
#4
LETTER
Xiaona Shao, Calum Brown, Samantha J Worthy, Lu Liu, Min Cao, Qiaoming Li, Luxiang Lin, Nathan G Swenson
Intra-specific negative density dependence promotes species coexistence by regulating population sizes. Patterns consistent with such density dependence are frequently reported in diverse tropical tree communities. Empirical evidence demonstrating whether intra-specific variation is related to these patterns, however, is lacking. The present study addresses this important knowledge gap by genotyping all individuals of a tropical tree in a long-term forest dynamics plot in tropical China. We show that related individuals are often spatially clustered, but having closely related neighbours reduces the growth performance of focal trees...
May 20, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29781121/testing-macarthur-s-minimisation-principle-do-communities-minimise-energy-wastage-during-succession
#5
LETTER
Giulia Ghedini, Michel Loreau, Craig R White, Dustin J Marshall
Robert MacArthur developed a theory of community assembly based on competition. By incorporating energy flow, MacArthur's theory allows for predictions of community function. A key prediction is that communities minimise energy wastage over time, but this minimisation is a trade-off between two conflicting processes: exploiting food resources, and maintaining low metabolism and mortality. Despite its simplicity and elegance, MacArthur's principle has not been tested empirically despite having long fascinated theoreticians...
May 20, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29774660/using-food-network-unfolding-to-evaluate-food-web-complexity-in-terms-of-biodiversity-theory-and-applications
#6
LETTER
Yoshikazu Kato, Michio Kondoh, Naoto F Ishikawa, Hiroyuki Togashi, Yukihiro Kohmatsu, Mayumi Yoshimura, Chikage Yoshimizu, Takashi F Haraguchi, Yutaka Osada, Nobuhito Ohte, Naoko Tokuchi, Noboru Okuda, Takeshi Miki, Ichiro Tayasu
Food-web complexity often hinders disentangling functionally relevant aspects of food-web structure and its relationships to biodiversity. Here, we present a theoretical framework to evaluate food-web complexity in terms of biodiversity. Food network unfolding is a theoretical method to transform a complex food web into a linear food chain based on ecosystem processes. Based on this method, we can define three biodiversity indices, horizontal diversity (DH ), vertical diversity (DV ) and range diversity (DR ), which are associated with the species diversity within each trophic level, diversity of trophic levels, and diversity in resource use, respectively...
May 17, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29745027/ecological-genomics-predicts-climate-vulnerability-in-an-endangered-southwestern-songbird
#7
LETTER
Kristen Ruegg, Rachael A Bay, Eric C Anderson, James F Saracco, Ryan J Harrigan, Mary Whitfield, Eben H Paxton, Thomas B Smith
Few regions have been more severely impacted by climate change in the USA than the Desert Southwest. Here, we use ecological genomics to assess the potential for adaptation to rising global temperatures in a widespread songbird, the willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), and find the endangered desert southwestern subspecies (E. t. extimus) most vulnerable to future climate change. Highly significant correlations between present abundance and estimates of genomic vulnerability - the mismatch between current and predicted future genotype-environment relationships - indicate small, fragmented populations of the southwestern willow flycatcher will have to adapt most to keep pace with climate change...
May 9, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29744992/beyond-the-fast-slow-continuum-demographic-dimensions-structuring-a-tropical-tree-community
#8
LETTER
Nadja Rüger, Liza S Comita, Richard Condit, Drew Purves, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Marco D Visser, S Joseph Wright, Christian Wirth
Life-history theory posits that trade-offs between demographic rates constrain the range of viable life-history strategies. For coexisting tropical tree species, the best established demographic trade-off is the growth-survival trade-off. However, we know surprisingly little about co-variation of growth and survival with measures of reproduction. We analysed demographic rates from seed to adult of 282 co-occurring tropical tree and shrub species, including measures of reproduction and accounting for ontogeny...
May 9, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29744987/ecology-shapes-the-evolutionary-trade-off-between-predator-avoidance-and-defence-in-coral-reef-butterflyfishes
#9
LETTER
Jennifer R Hodge, Chidera Alim, Nick G Bertrand, Wesley Lee, Samantha A Price, Binh Tran, Peter C Wainwright
Antipredator defensive traits are thought to trade-off evolutionarily with traits that facilitate predator avoidance. However, complexity and scale have precluded tests of this prediction in many groups, including fishes. Using a macroevolutionary approach, we test this prediction in butterflyfishes, an iconic group of coral reef inhabitants with diverse social behaviours, foraging strategies and antipredator adaptations. We find that several antipredator traits have evolved adaptively, dependent primarily on foraging strategy...
May 9, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29744982/the-control-of-risk-hypothesis-reactive-vs-proactive-antipredator-responses-and-stress-mediated-vs-food-mediated-costs-of-response
#10
Scott Creel
Inducible defences against predators evolve because they reduce the rate of direct predation, but this benefit is offset by the cost (if any) of defence. If antipredator responses carry costs, the effect of predators on their prey is partitioned into two components, direct killing and risk effects. There is considerable uncertainty about the strength of risk effects, the factors that affect their strength, and the mechanisms that underlie them. In some cases, antipredator responses are associated with a glucocorticoid stress response, and in other cases they are associated with trade-offs between food and safety, but there is no general theory to explain this variation...
May 9, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29742801/predator-size-divergence-depends-on-community-context
#11
LETTER
Yutaka Okuzaki, Teiji Sota
Body size is a multi-functional trait related to various fitness components, but the relative importance of different selection pressures is seldom resolved. In Carabus japonicus beetles, of which the larvae exclusively prey on earthworms, adult body size is related to the presence/absence of a larger congener and habitat temperature. In sympatry, C. japonicus consistently exhibits smaller body size which is effective for avoiding interspecific mating, but in allopatry, it shows size variation unrelated to temperature...
May 9, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29736982/climatic-role-of-terrestrial-ecosystem-under-elevated-co-2-a-bottom-up-greenhouse-gases-budget
#12
REVIEW
Shuwei Liu, Cheng Ji, Cong Wang, Jie Chen, Yaguo Jin, Ziheng Zou, Shuqing Li, Shuli Niu, Jianwen Zou
The net balance of greenhouse gas (GHG) exchanges between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere under elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2 ) remains poorly understood. Here, we synthesise 1655 measurements from 169 published studies to assess GHGs budget of terrestrial ecosystems under elevated CO2 . We show that elevated CO2 significantly stimulates plant C pool (NPP) by 20%, soil CO2 fluxes by 24%, and methane (CH4 ) fluxes by 34% from rice paddies and by 12% from natural wetlands, while it slightly decreases CH4 uptake of upland soils by 3...
May 7, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29736919/navigating-north-how-body-mass-and-winds-shape-avian-flight-behaviours-across-a-north-american-migratory-flyway
#13
LETTER
Kyle G Horton, Benjamin M Van Doren, Frank A La Sorte, Daniel Fink, Daniel Sheldon, Andrew Farnsworth, Jeffrey F Kelly
The migratory patterns of birds have been the focus of ecologists for millennia. What behavioural traits underlie these remarkably consistent movements? Addressing this question is central to advancing our understanding of migratory flight strategies and requires the integration of information across levels of biological organisation, e.g. species to communities. Here, we combine species-specific observations from the eBird citizen-science database with observations aggregated from weather surveillance radars during spring migration in central North America...
May 7, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29722180/facilitation-vs-competition-driven-succession-the-key-role-of-resource-ratio
#14
LETTER
Thomas Koffel, Simon Boudsocq, Nicolas Loeuille, Tanguy Daufresne
Symbiotic nitrogen (N)-fixing plants are abundant during primary succession, as typical bedrocks lack available N. In turn, fixed N accumulates in soils through biomass turnover and recycling, favouring more nitrophilous organisms. Yet, it is unclear how this facilitation mechanism interacts with competition for other limiting nutrients such as phosphorus (P) and how this affects succession. Here, we introduce a resource-explicit, community assembly model of N-fixing species and analyze successional trajectories along resource availability gradients using contemporary niche theory...
May 2, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29722129/ecological-and-evolutionary-drivers-of-the-elevational-gradient-of-diversity
#15
LETTER
Paola Laiolo, Joaquina Pato, José Ramón Obeso
Ecological, evolutionary, spatial and neutral theories make distinct predictions and provide distinct explanations for the mechanisms that control the relationship between diversity and the environment. Here, we test predictions of the elevational diversity gradient focusing on Iberian bumblebees, grasshoppers and birds. Processes mediated by local abundance and regional diversity concur in explaining local diversity patterns along elevation. Effects expressed through variation in abundance were similar among taxa and point to the overriding role of a physical factor, temperature...
May 2, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29708293/using-connectivity-to-identify-climatic-drivers-of-local-adaptation-a-response-to-macdonald-et-al
#16
Jérôme G Prunier, Simon Blanchet
Macdonald et al. (Ecol. Lett., 21, 2018, 207-216) proposed an analytical framework for identifying evolutionary processes underlying trait-environment relationships observed in natural populations. Here, we propose an expanded and refined framework based on simulations and bootstrap-based approaches, and we elaborate on an important statistical caveat common to most datasets.
April 30, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29687543/woody-plants-optimise-stomatal-behaviour-relative-to-hydraulic-risk
#17
LETTER
William R L Anderegg, Adam Wolf, Adriana Arango-Velez, Brendan Choat, Daniel J Chmura, Steven Jansen, Thomas Kolb, Shan Li, Frederick C Meinzer, Pilar Pita, Víctor Resco de Dios, John S Sperry, Brett T Wolfe, Stephen Pacala
Stomatal response to environmental conditions forms the backbone of all ecosystem and carbon cycle models, but is largely based on empirical relationships. Evolutionary theories of stomatal behaviour are critical for guarding against prediction errors of empirical models under future climates. Longstanding theory holds that stomata maximise fitness by acting to maintain constant marginal water use efficiency over a given time horizon, but a recent evolutionary theory proposes that stomata instead maximise carbon gain minus carbon costs/risk of hydraulic damage...
April 23, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29659144/the-more-individuals-hypothesis-revisited-the-role-of-community-abundance-in-species-richness-regulation-and-the-productivity-diversity-relationship
#18
REVIEW
David Storch, Eliška Bohdalková, Jordan Okie
Species richness increases with energy availability, yet there is little consensus as to the exact processes driving this species-energy relationship. The most straightforward explanation is the more-individuals hypothesis (MIH). It states that higher energy availability promotes a higher total number of individuals in a community, which consequently increases species richness by allowing for a greater number of species with viable populations. Empirical support for the MIH is mixed, partially due to the lack of proper formalisation of the MIH and consequent confusion as to its exact predictions...
April 16, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29659122/short-term-prey-field-lability-constrains-individual-specialisation-in-resource-selection-and-foraging-site-fidelity-in-a-marine-predator
#19
LETTER
Nicolas Courbin, Aurélien Besnard, Clara Péron, Claire Saraux, Jérôme Fort, Samuel Perret, Jérémy Tornos, David Grémillet
Spatio-temporally stable prey distributions coupled with individual foraging site fidelity are predicted to favour individual resource specialisation. Conversely, predators coping with dynamic prey distributions should diversify their individual diet and/or shift foraging areas to increase net intake. We studied individual specialisation in Scopoli's shearwaters (Calonectris diomedea) from the highly dynamic Western Mediterranean, using daily prey distributions together with resource selection, site fidelity and trophic-level analyses...
April 16, 2018: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29659115/topography-shapes-the-structure-composition-and-function-of-tropical-forest-landscapes
#20
LETTER
Tommaso Jucker, Boris Bongalov, David F R P Burslem, Reuben Nilus, Michele Dalponte, Simon L Lewis, Oliver L Phillips, Lan Qie, David A Coomes
Topography is a key driver of tropical forest structure and composition, as it constrains local nutrient and hydraulic conditions within which trees grow. Yet, we do not fully understand how changes in forest physiognomy driven by topography impact other emergent properties of forests, such as their aboveground carbon density (ACD). Working in Borneo - at a site where 70-m-tall forests in alluvial valleys rapidly transition to stunted heath forests on nutrient-depleted dip slopes - we combined field data with airborne laser scanning and hyperspectral imaging to characterise how topography shapes the vertical structure, wood density, diversity and ACD of nearly 15 km2 of old-growth forest...
April 16, 2018: Ecology Letters
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