Plain language summaries

For every paper published in Functional Ecology, the authors write a lay summary, which explains the research -and its importance- in a more generally accessible way.

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Sexual signals reveal males’ oxidative stress defenses

Norma Martínez-Lendech,, Maria J. Golab, Marcela Osorio-Beristain & Jorge Contreras-Garduño Animals have evolved extraordinary colors that favor their mating success, and a challenge for biologists is to understand what kind of information such traits convey to other individuals of the same species. Here we used the damselfly Hetaerina americana to test if the defenses against…

Different evolutionary lineages of bryophytes (mosses and relatives) show different strategies to cope with ultraviolet radiation

Laura Monforte, Gonzalo Soriano, Encarnación Núñez-Olivera and Javier Martínez-Abaigar Bryophytes are tiny plants comprising three evolutionary lineages, among which the broadly distributed mosses are the most widely known by the public. The two other sister lineages are liverworts and hornworts, mostly delicate small forest plants that frequently go unnoticed in nature except by specialists. Bryophytes…

Invisible subtenants influence competition between pest insects

Christoph Vorburger and Corinne Hertaeg Many aspects of an insect’s life are influenced by microbes living inside its body. Microbes can help insects digest their food, tolerate heat, or even change their colour. In aphids, important pest insects feeding on plant sap, some microbes have a particularly interesting function: they make their hosts resistant to…

Review: Plants hunt for nutrient hotspots in different ways

Weile Chen, Roger T. Koide, David M. Eissenstat Nutrients are typically heterogeneously distributed in soil, with hotspots in what might be an otherwise infertile landscape. Plants often produce more roots in nutrient hotspots, an economically efficient strategy to capture nutrients and reduce carbon investment belowground. This phenomenon, so-called ‘nutrient foraging’, has been observed for a…