Coblentz et al. show that individual differences among predators, such as the whelk Nucella ostrina shown here with its barnacle prey Balanus glandula, can alter the populationlevel strengths of predator-prey interactions.

Differences among individual predators alter their population feeding rates on prey

Coblentz, Kyle; Merhoff, Stephanie; Novak, Mark No two individuals are exactly alike. This is as true for other organisms as it is for humans. Despite this fact, ecologists often treat individuals as identical out of convenience or necessity. However, recent developments in ecological theory have identified conditions under which individual differences may play important ecological roles. One of these is when the relationship between the … Continue reading Differences among individual predators alter their population feeding rates on prey

A harvested Carex plant. We studied biomass production and chemical composition of shoots, roots, and rhizomes. (photo credit: Juergen Kreyling)

Formerly drained fen peatlands might again act as carbon sinks after rewetting despite high nutrient levels

Hinzke, Tjorven; Li, Guixiang; Tanneberger, Franziska; Seeber, Elke; Aggenbach, Camiel; Lange, Jelena; Kozub, Lukasz; Knorr, Klaus-Holger; Kreyling, Juergen; Kotowski, Wiktor The increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere are responsible for the main part of global climate change. Plants use the carbon (C) contained in atmospheric CO2 to build their tissues. When plants die, CO2 is released again to the atmosphere from decaying … Continue reading Formerly drained fen peatlands might again act as carbon sinks after rewetting despite high nutrient levels

The damselfly Ischnura elegans larva. Photo credit: Christophe Brochard.

Thermal evolution can shape how temperature affects predator-prey interactions

Wang, Ying-Jie; Sentis, Arnaud; Tüzün, Nedim; Stoks, Robby To date, we know a lot about the effects of global warming on individual species. Yet, in nature, species constantly interact with each other, for example predators hunting their prey. One way to cope with global warming is by evolving adaptations to higher temperatures. But how does the evolution of one species affect its interaction with another … Continue reading Thermal evolution can shape how temperature affects predator-prey interactions

Water availability rather than temperature control soil fauna community structure and prey-predator interactions

Adriane Aupic-Samain, Virginie Baldy, Ninon Delcourt, Paul Henning Krogh, Thierry Gauquelin, Catherine Fernandez, Mathieu Santonja With the ongoing climate change, soil biodiversity could be strongly impacted with major consequences for ecosystem processes. Among soil biodiversity, detritivores such as Collembola (springtails) play a major role in plant litter decomposition. Thus, it is of prime interest to improve our knowledge of the impact of climate change (i.e. … Continue reading Water availability rather than temperature control soil fauna community structure and prey-predator interactions

Personality in deer neonates is already evident at birth and is linked to the hormones accumulated in mothers’ womb

Bawan Amin, Dómhnall J. Jennings, Adam F. Smith, Matthew Quinn, Srivats Chari, Amy Haigh, Devorah Matas, Lee Koren, Simone Ciuti The field of animal personality has been flourishing in the past decades, focusing on individual differences in behaviour. Although it is quite evident that individuals behave differently from each other, the origins of these consistent differences are still unclear. It is challenging to study personality in wild animals, and most of our knowledge … Continue reading Personality in deer neonates is already evident at birth and is linked to the hormones accumulated in mothers’ womb

Bleached coral (C) Chris Wall

Shifting baselines: Physiological legacies contribute to the response of reef coral to frequent heat waves

Christopher B. Wall, Contessa A. Ricci, Alexandra D. Wen, Bren E. Ledbetter, Delania E. Klinger, Laura D. Mydlarz, Ruth D. Gates, Hollie M. Putnam Coral reefs are threatened by climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of marine heatwaves, which disrupt the important symbiosis between reef building coral animals and their unicellular symbiont algae (Symbiodiniaceae) in a process known as “coral bleaching,” which can lead to widespread coral mortality.In Hawai‘i, the … Continue reading Shifting baselines: Physiological legacies contribute to the response of reef coral to frequent heat waves

A Juanita Sphinx (Proserpinus juanita) caterpillar at Konza Prairie in northeastern Kansas. Caterpillars and other plant consumers prefer to eat plants with higher salt content. Photo credit: David Rintoul.

Herbivores and fungal pathogens take it with a grain of salt

Welti, Ellen; Kaspari, Michael Humans, caterpillars, and fungal pathogens agree, food tastes better with a pinch of salt. While humans are omnivores and can obtain sodium when eating animal products like meat and dairy, herbivores and detritivores have fewer salty menu items. This is why porcupines will eat backpackers’ sweaty hiking boots, deer come to salt licks, and sweat bees seek human perspiration. Unlike animals, … Continue reading Herbivores and fungal pathogens take it with a grain of salt

X-ray microscope close-up image of a grass leaf surface showing silicon deposits in yellow/red.

Caterpillar pests find leaf silicon particles less appealing than drought-induced changes to their host plants

Rebecca K. Vandegeer, Ximena Cibils-Stewart, Richard Wuhrer, Susan E. Hartley, David T. Tissue, Scott N. Johnson Farmers face many challenges in the management of their crops, including insect pests and drought that can both drastically reduce yields. Pest management using chemical pesticides can be costly, environmentally damaging and overuse can lead to pesticide resistance. An alternative management option may be to harness naturally occurring plant-based … Continue reading Caterpillar pests find leaf silicon particles less appealing than drought-induced changes to their host plants

Wood mouse

Spatiotemporal variation in drivers of parasitism in a wild wood mouse population

Sweeny, Amy; Albery, Gregory; Venkatesan, Saudamini; Fenton, Andy; Pedersen, Amy In natural populations, it is common for individuals to be infected with parasites. However, some individuals become much more infected than others. This variation is well-documented across a range of hosts and parasites, but it is not always clear what factors determine which individuals in a population become most infected. Importantly, because studies to address … Continue reading Spatiotemporal variation in drivers of parasitism in a wild wood mouse population

Farmed mussels attach to aquaculture line with byssal threads in Washington, USA. Photo credit: Mark Stone, UW media relations.

Mussels attach to their habitat using byssal threads, but at what cost?

Roberts, Emily; Newcomb, Laura; McCartha, Michelle; Harrington, Katie; LaFramboise, Sam; Carrington, Emily; Sebens, Kenneth Many plants and sessile animals invest in mechanical attachment to their habitat by producing structural materials. The cost of this attachment can depend on the amount of structure produced to stay attached, but little is known about how much energy many organisms invest in such structures. One way that scientists evaluate … Continue reading Mussels attach to their habitat using byssal threads, but at what cost?