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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Shielding the oxidative cost of reproduction

Vincent A Viblanc, Quentin Schull, Jeffrey D Roth, Juliette Rabdeau, Claire Saraux, Pierre Uhlrich, François Criscuolo and F Stephen Dobson Animals present a great diversity of strategies in the way they allocate the energy acquired from their environment towards growth, reproduction and survival. One particularly well-studied aspect of animal lives is how they regulate the…

Scale dependence in isotopic niche width

Carl J. Reddin, John H. Bothwell, Nessa E. O’Connor, Chris Harrod Sampling ecological traits of a population of individual animals is tricky. For example, do ten individuals that live close to each other eat a more similar diet than ten individuals that live far apart? And how much do those ten individuals represent the true…

Habitat heterogeneity induces rapid changes in the feeding behaviour of generalist arthropod predators

Karin Staudacher, Oskar Rennstam Rubbmark, Klaus Birkhofer, Gerard Malsher, Daniela Sint, Mattias Jonsson & Michael Traugott The habitat heterogeneity hypothesis predicts that complex ecosystems will be inhabited by a more diverse set of species than simple ones. Moreover, increased habitat heterogeneity can affect the functioning of communities, but this is not well understood as species…

Reindeer shape tundra carbon storage

Henni Ylänne, Johan Olofsson, Lauri Oksanen and Sari Stark Recently global attention has been directed to high latitudes, where a large share of the worlds’ carbon is stored. The anticipated rise of temperatures could enable higher activity of soil microbes and release some of the carbon to the atmosphere, thus increasing the greenhouse effect. However,…

Do sperm like it hot? No, but maybe yes…

Clelia Gasparini, ChuChu Lu, Niels J. Dingemanse, Cristina Tuni Whether a population or a species thrives or goes extinct is likely to be a matter of survival and reproduction. Reproduction is a fundamental aspect of any organism’s biology and determines the success of a population – and ultimately of the species – over generations. Organisms…

Biotic and abiotic modifications of leaf litter during dry periods affect litter mass loss and nitrogen loss during wet periods

Daniel Gliksman, Sabine Haenel, José M. Grünzweig Decomposition of organic matter is a key factor determining the global carbon cycle, and thus affects the on-going changes in climate. The decay of above-ground plant material (litter) in drylands is not well understood, reducing the accuracy of predictions for the carbon cycle.  Recently, water vapour and dew…