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Ecology Letters

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https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29110416/rarity-and-persistence
#1
Geerat J Vermeij, Richard K Grosberg
Rarity is a population characteristic that is usually associated with a high risk of extinction. We argue here, however, that chronically rare species (those with low population densities over many generations across their entire ranges) may have individual-level traits that make populations more resistant to extinction. The major obstacle to persistence at low density is successful fertilisation (union between egg and sperm), and chronically rare species are more likely to survive when (1) fertilisation occurs inside or close to an adult, (2) mate choice involves long-distance signals, (3) adults or their surrogate gamete dispersers are highly mobile, or (4) the two sexes are combined in a single individual...
November 6, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29106075/decomposing-multiple-dimensions-of-stability-in-global-change-experiments
#2
LETTER
Helmut Hillebrand, Silke Langenheder, Karen Lebret, Eva Lindström, Örjan Östman, Maren Striebel
Ecological stability is the central framework to understand an ecosystem's ability to absorb or recover from environmental change. Recent modelling and conceptual work suggests that stability is a multidimensional construct comprising different response aspects. Using two freshwater mesocosm experiments as case studies, we show how the response to single perturbations can be decomposed in different stability aspects (resistance, resilience, recovery, temporal stability) for both ecosystem functions and community composition...
November 5, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29098798/warming-and-top-predator-loss-drive-ecosystem-multifunctionality
#3
LETTER
Pablo Augusto P Antiqueira, Owen L Petchey, Gustavo Quevedo Romero
Global change affects ecosystem functioning both directly by modifications in physicochemical processes, and indirectly, via changes in biotic metabolism and interactions. Unclear, however, is how multiple anthropogenic drivers affect different components of community structure and the performance of multiple ecosystem functions (ecosystem multifunctionality). We manipulated small natural freshwater ecosystems to investigate how warming and top predator loss affect seven ecosystem functions representing two major dimensions of ecosystem functioning, productivity and metabolism...
November 2, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29098754/bottom-up-vs-top-down-effects-on-terrestrial-insect-herbivores-a-meta-analysis
#4
REVIEW
Mayra C Vidal, Shannon M Murphy
Primary consumers are under strong selection from resource ('bottom-up') and consumer ('top-down') controls, but the relative importance of these selective forces is unknown. We performed a meta-analysis to compare the strength of top-down and bottom-up forces on consumer fitness, considering multiple predictors that can modulate these effects: diet breadth, feeding guild, habitat/environment, type of bottom-up effects, type of top-down effects and how consumer fitness effects are measured. We focused our analyses on the most diverse group of primary consumers, herbivorous insects, and found that in general top-down forces were stronger than bottom-up forces...
November 2, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29096419/climate-mediates-the-success-of-migration-strategies-in-a-marine-predator
#5
LETTER
Briana Abrahms, Elliott L Hazen, Steven J Bograd, Justin S Brashares, Patrick W Robinson, Kylie L Scales, Daniel E Crocker, Daniel P Costa
Individual behavioural specialisation has far-reaching effects on fitness and population persistence. Theory predicts that unconditional site fidelity, that is fidelity to a site independent of past outcome, provides a fitness advantage in unpredictable environments. However, the benefits of alternative site fidelity strategies driving intraspecific variation remain poorly understood and have not been evaluated in different environmental contexts. We show that contrary to expectation, strong and weak site fidelity strategies in migratory northern elephant seals performed similarly over 10 years, but the success of each strategy varied interannually and was strongly mediated by climate conditions...
November 2, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29094467/marine-management-affects-the-invasion-success-of-a-non-native-species-in-a-temperate-reef-system-in-california-usa
#6
LETTER
Jennifer E Caselle, Kathryn Davis, Lindsay M Marks
Despite promises that 'healthy' marine systems show increased resilience, the effects of ecosystem management strategies on invasion success in marine systems is still unclear. We show that resistance to the invasive alga, Sargassum horneri, in a temperate reef system occurs through alternate mechanisms in different ecosystem states. In an old marine protected area (MPA), invasion of S. horneri was suppressed, likely due to competitive pressure from native algae, resulting from protection of urchin predators...
November 1, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29067791/asynchrony-among-local-communities-stabilises-ecosystem-function-of-metacommunities
#7
LETTER
Kevin R Wilcox, Andrew T Tredennick, Sally E Koerner, Emily Grman, Lauren M Hallett, Meghan L Avolio, Kimberly J La Pierre, Gregory R Houseman, Forest Isbell, David Samuel Johnson, Juha M Alatalo, Andrew H Baldwin, Edward W Bork, Elizabeth H Boughton, William D Bowman, Andrea J Britton, James F Cahill, Scott L Collins, Guozhen Du, Anu Eskelinen, Laura Gough, Anke Jentsch, Christel Kern, Kari Klanderud, Alan K Knapp, Juergen Kreyling, Yiqi Luo, Jennie R McLaren, Patrick Megonigal, Vladimir Onipchenko, Janet Prevéy, Jodi N Price, Clare H Robinson, Osvaldo E Sala, Melinda D Smith, Nadejda A Soudzilovskaia, Lara Souza, David Tilman, Shannon R White, Zhuwen Xu, Laura Yahdjian, Qiang Yu, Pengfei Zhang, Yunhai Zhang
Temporal stability of ecosystem functioning increases the predictability and reliability of ecosystem services, and understanding the drivers of stability across spatial scales is important for land management and policy decisions. We used species-level abundance data from 62 plant communities across five continents to assess mechanisms of temporal stability across spatial scales. We assessed how asynchrony (i.e. different units responding dissimilarly through time) of species and local communities stabilised metacommunity ecosystem function...
October 24, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29067772/high-mortality-and-enhanced-recovery-modelling-the-countervailing-effects-of-disturbance-on-population-dynamics
#8
LETTER
Laura E McMullen, Patrick De Leenheer, Jonathan D Tonkin, David A Lytle
Disturbances cause high mortality in populations while simultaneously enhancing population growth by improving habitats. These countervailing effects make it difficult to predict population dynamics following disturbance events. To address this challenge, we derived a novel form of the logistic growth equation that permits time-varying carrying capacity and growth rate. We combined this equation with concepts drawn from disturbance ecology to create a general model for population dynamics in disturbance-prone systems...
October 24, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29057614/below-ground-organic-matter-accumulation-along-a-boreal-forest-fertility-gradient-relates-to-guild-interaction-within-fungal-communities
#9
LETTER
Julia Kyaschenko, Karina E Clemmensen, Erik Karltun, Björn D Lindahl
Plant-soil interactions link ecosystem fertility and organic matter accumulation below ground. Soil microorganisms play a central role as mediators of these interactions, but mechanistic understanding is still largely lacking. Correlative data from a coniferous forest ecosystem support the hypothesis that interactions between fungal guilds play a central role in regulating organic matter accumulation in relation to fertility. With increasing ecosystem fertility, the proportion of saprotrophic basidiomycetes increased in deeper organic layers, at the expense of ectomycorrhizal fungal species...
October 22, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29057554/biodiversity-and-ecosystem-functioning-in-food-webs-the-vertical-diversity-hypothesis
#10
Shaopeng Wang, Ulrich Brose
One challenge in merging community and ecosystem ecology is to integrate the complexity of natural multitrophic communities into concepts of ecosystem functioning. Here, we combine food-web and allometry theories to demonstrate that primary production, as measured by the total nutrient uptake of the multitrophic community, is determined by vertical diversity (i.e. food web's maximum trophic level) and structure (i.e. distributions of species and their abundances and metabolic rates across trophic levels). In natural ecosystems, the community size distribution determines all these vertical patterns and thus the total nutrient uptake...
October 22, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29027344/species-are-not-most-abundant-in-the-centre-of-their-geographic-range-or-climatic-niche
#11
LETTER
Tad Dallas, Robin R Decker, Alan Hastings
The pervasive idea that species should be most abundant in the centre of their geographic range or centre of their climatic niche is a key assumption in many existing ecological hypotheses and has been declared a general macroecological rule. However, empirical support for decreasing population abundance with increasing distance from geographic range or climatic niche centre (distance-abundance relationships) remains fairly weak. We examine over 1400 bird, mammal, fish and tree species to provide a thorough test of distance-abundance relationships, and their associations with species traits and phylogenetic relationships...
October 12, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29027343/species-reordering-not-changes-in-richness-drives-long-term-dynamics-in-grassland-communities
#12
LETTER
Sydney K Jones, Julie Ripplinger, Scott L Collins
Determining how ecological communities will respond to global environmental change remains a challenging research problem. Recent meta-analyses concluded that most communities are undergoing compositional change despite no net change in local species richness. We explored how species richness and composition of co-occurring plant, grasshopper, breeding bird and small mammal communities in arid and mesic grasslands changed in response to increasing aridity and fire frequency. In the arid system, grassland and shrubland plant and breeding bird communities were undergoing directional change, whereas grasshopper and small mammal communities were stable...
October 12, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29027338/stoichiometric-distribution-models-ecological-stoichiometry-at-the-landscape-extent
#13
Shawn J Leroux, Eric Vander Wal, Yolanda F Wiersma, Louis Charron, Jonathan D Ebel, Nichola M Ellis, Christopher Hart, Emilie Kissler, Paul W Saunders, Lucie Moudrá, Amy L Tanner, Semra Yalcin
Human activities are altering the fundamental geography of biogeochemicals. Yet we lack an understanding of how the spatial patterns in organismal stoichiometry affect biogeochemical processes and the tools to predict the impacts of global changes on biogeochemical processes. In this contribution we develop stoichiometric distribution models (StDMs), which allow us to map spatial structure in resource elemental composition across a landscape and evaluate spatial responses of consumers. We parameterise StDMs for a consumer-resource (moose-white birch) system and demonstrate that we can develop predictive models of resource stoichiometry across a landscape and that such models could improve our predictions of consumer space use...
October 12, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/29027325/ecological-plant-epigenetics-evidence-from-model-and-non-model-species-and-the-way-forward
#14
Christina L Richards, Conchita Alonso, Claude Becker, Oliver Bossdorf, Etienne Bucher, Maria Colomé-Tatché, Walter Durka, Jan Engelhardt, Bence Gaspar, Andreas Gogol-Döring, Ivo Grosse, Thomas P van Gurp, Katrin Heer, Ilkka Kronholm, Christian Lampei, Vít Latzel, Marie Mirouze, Lars Opgenoorth, Ovidiu Paun, Sonja J Prohaska, Stefan A Rensing, Peter F Stadler, Emiliano Trucchi, Kristian Ullrich, Koen J F Verhoeven
Growing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation...
October 12, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28980422/ecological-generalism-facilitates-the-evolution-of-sociality-in-snapping-shrimps
#15
LETTER
Katherine C Brooks, Rafael Maia, J Emmett Duffy, Kristin M Hultgren, Dustin R Rubenstein
Evidence from insects and vertebrates suggests that cooperation may have enabled species to expand their niches, becoming ecological generalists and dominating the ecosystems in which they occur. Consistent with this idea, eusocial species of sponge-dwelling Synalpheus shrimps from Belize are ecological generalists with a broader host breadth and higher abundance than non-eusocial species. We evaluate whether sociality promotes ecological generalism (social conquest hypothesis) or whether ecological generalism facilitates the transition to sociality (social transition hypothesis) in 38 Synalpheus shrimp species...
October 4, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28980377/distance-dependent-seedling-mortality-and-long-term-spacing-dynamics-in-a-neotropical-forest-community
#16
LETTER
Stephen J Murphy, Thorsten Wiegand, Liza S Comita
Negative distance dependence (NDisD), or reduced recruitment near adult conspecifics, is thought to explain the astounding diversity of tropical forests. While many studies show greater mortality at near vs. far distances from adults, these studies do not seek to track changes in the peak seedling curve over time, thus limiting our ability to link NDisD to coexistence. Using census data collected over 12 years from central Panama in conjunction with spatial mark-connection functions, we show evidence for NDisD for many species, and find that the peak seedling curve shifts away from conspecific adults over time...
October 4, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28942617/ice-ages-leave-genetic-diversity-hotspots-in-europe-but-not-in-eastern-north-america
#17
LETTER
Candice Y Lumibao, Sean M Hoban, Jason McLachlan
After the last glacial cycle, temperate European trees migrated northward, experiencing genetic bottlenecks and founder effects, which left high haplotype endemism in southern populations and clines in genetic diversity northward. These patterns are thought to be ubiquitous across temperate forests, and are therefore used to anticipate the potential genetic consequences of future warming. We compared existing and new phylogeographic data sets (chloroplast DNA) from 14 woody taxa in Eastern North America (ENA) to data sets from 21 ecologically similar European species to test for common impacts of Quaternary climate swings on genetic diversity across diverse taxa and between continents...
September 24, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28942603/evidence-of-developmental-niche-construction-in-dung-beetles-effects-on-growth-scaling-and-reproductive-success
#18
LETTER
Daniel B Schwab, Sofia Casasa, Armin P Moczek
Niche construction occurs when organisms modify their environments and alter selective conditions through their physiology and behaviours. Such modifications can bias phenotypic variation and enhance organism-environment fit. Yet few studies exist that experimentally assess the degree to which environmental modifications shape developmental and fitness outcomes, how their influences may differ among species and identify the underlying proximate mechanisms. Here, we experimentally eliminate environmental modifications from the developmental environment of Onthophagus dung beetles...
September 24, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28941076/opposing-mechanisms-affect-taxonomic-convergence-between-tree-assemblages-during-tropical-forest-succession
#19
LETTER
Natalia Norden, Vanessa Boukili, Anne Chao, K H Ma, Susan G Letcher, Robin L Chazdon
Whether successional forests converge towards an equilibrium in species composition remains an elusive question, hampered by high idiosyncrasy in successional dynamics. Based on long-term tree monitoring in second-growth (SG) and old-growth (OG) forests in Costa Rica, we show that patterns of convergence between pairs of forest stands depend upon the relative abundance of species exhibiting distinct responses to the successional gradient. For instance, forest generalists contributed to convergence between SG and OG forests, whereas rare species and old-growth specialists were a source of divergence...
September 20, 2017: Ecology Letters
https://www.readbyqxmd.com/read/28941071/species-richness-effects-on-grassland-recovery-from-drought-depend-on-community-productivity-in-a-multisite-experiment
#20
LETTER
Juergen Kreyling, Jürgen Dengler, Julia Walter, Nikolay Velev, Emin Ugurlu, Desislava Sopotlieva, Johannes Ransijn, Catherine Picon-Cochard, Ivan Nijs, Pauline Hernandez, Behlül Güler, Philipp von Gillhaussen, Hans J De Boeck, Juliette M G Bloor, Sigi Berwaers, Carl Beierkuhnlein, Mohammed A S Arfin Khan, Iva Apostolova, Yasin Altan, Michaela Zeiter, Camilla Wellstein, Marcelo Sternberg, Andreas Stampfli, Giandiego Campetella, Sándor Bartha, Michael Bahn, Anke Jentsch
Biodiversity can buffer ecosystem functioning against extreme climatic events, but few experiments have explicitly tested this. Here, we present the first multisite biodiversity × drought manipulation experiment to examine drought resistance and recovery at five temperate and Mediterranean grassland sites. Aboveground biomass production declined by 30% due to experimental drought (standardised local extremity by rainfall exclusion for 72-98 consecutive days). Species richness did not affect resistance but promoted recovery...
September 20, 2017: Ecology Letters
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