The aquatic nymph stage of the blue dasher dragonfly, Pachydiplax longipennis. Dragonfly nymphs are voracious predators of mosquito larvae. Photo by Andrew Davidson.

Asymmetrical effects of temperature on stage‐structured predator–prey interactions

Cold-blooded animals, such as insects, reptiles and fish, rely on their surroundings to warm their bodies to temperatures needed for basic activities, such as foraging for and digesting prey. Under warmer conditions, foraging and digestion typically occur more rapidly than they would under cooler conditions. Thus, global warming is expected to make cold-blooded predators “hungrier”, increasing the rate at which they hunt for and consume … Continue reading Asymmetrical effects of temperature on stage‐structured predator–prey interactions

Zebra finch illustration by Ilse Schrauwers (https://isontwerp.nl)

We need more energy as we age

Briga, Michael ; Verhulst, Simon In humans and in wild mammals and birds, the functioning of our bodies declines with age. Understanding how our organisms age and how this ageing associates with lifespan is crucial for improving our quality of life and lifespan. Our rate of energy consumption or metabolism determines many aspects of our activity, physiology, behaviour and personality. We know that in mammals … Continue reading We need more energy as we age

Lake in Brazil

Multiple trophic groups regulate the functioning of tropical shallow lakes

Moi, D; Romero, Gustavo Q.; Antiqueira, Pablo; Mormul, Roger Paulo; Teixeira de Mello, Franco; Bonecker, Claudia Human activities influence virtually all ecosystems around the globe, which has caused loss of trophic groups (trophic groups are defined as group of organisms within an ecosystem that occupy the same level in a food web) of the ecosystems in intensity never before recorded. Despite this, the importance of … Continue reading Multiple trophic groups regulate the functioning of tropical shallow lakes

Male Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Photo credit: Tony Varela Photography

When do hummingbirds use torpor? Body size and the environment make a difference

Spence, Austin; Tingley, Morgan Hummingbirds need a lot of energy. Their resting body temperature is around 40º C and their main method of flying, hovering, requires more energy than any other form of locomotion. Despite these energetic requirements, hummingbirds live across North and South America at a wide range of elevations. To live in these diverse environments while managing their energy needs, hummingbirds use a … Continue reading When do hummingbirds use torpor? Body size and the environment make a difference

The significance of biocrusts to soil multifunctionality is related to aridity

Yan‐gui Su, Jie Liu, Yuan‐ming Zhang, Gang Huang Biocrusts (composed of bryophytes, lichens, cyanobacteria and algae) provide important cover on the soil surface in drylands, improve soil health, and provide key ecosystem functions and services. Drylands are globally extensive, supporting up to 38% of the human population, and thus can vary substantially in physical and biotic characteristics, including the development of biocrusts. We lack understanding … Continue reading The significance of biocrusts to soil multifunctionality is related to aridity

Cascading effects of N fertilization activate biologically driven mechanisms promoting P availability in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem

Cui, Haiying; Sun, Wei; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Song, Wenzheng; Ma, Jian-Ying; Wang, Keying; Ling, Xiaoli The understanding of the effects of nitrogen (N) fertilization on the structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems has been one of the major fields of study for ecologists over the last century. A growing number of studies demonstrate that N enrichment accelerates phosphorus (P) cycling (i.e., increase in phosphatase activity, soil … Continue reading Cascading effects of N fertilization activate biologically driven mechanisms promoting P availability in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem

Improved estimation of gut passage time considerably affects trait-based dispersal models

Andrew J. Abraham, Tomos O. Prys‐Jones, Annelies De Cuyper, Chase Ridenour, Gareth P. Hempson, Toby Hocking, Marcus Clauss, Christopher E. Doughty It is increasingly understood that animals are important for the movement of seeds, nutrients and microbes across the surface of Earth. A key factor for estimating exactly how important an animal is for these transportation services, is the time it takes between an animal … Continue reading Improved estimation of gut passage time considerably affects trait-based dispersal models

Daphnia

Cascading effects of algal warming in a freshwater community

Michelle Tseng, Carla M. Di Filippo, Madeline Fung, Jihyun O. Kim, Ian P. Forster, Yilin Zhou Certain fatty acids confer considerable health benefits on animals including humans. The majority of fatty acids in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems originate in algae. There is some worry that with continued global warming, algae will produce lower quantities of beneficial fatty acids, and that this reduction will result in … Continue reading Cascading effects of algal warming in a freshwater community

Eastern spotted skunk (Spilogale putorius) Image Credit: National Park Service

Quantifying temporal variation in dietary niche to reveal drivers of past population declines

Amanda Cheeseman, Brian Tanis, Elmer Finck To effectively conserve and manage species, it is important to understand the initial causes of their declines. Unfortunately, for many threatened species the initial declines happened many decades ago, making it challenging to identify what contributed to reduced population numbers. One example of this is the eastern spotted skunk, which underwent a massive population crash in the early 1900s … Continue reading Quantifying temporal variation in dietary niche to reveal drivers of past population declines

View of the Lamto savanna showing the patchy structure of the vegetation with trees more or less clumped and surrounded by open areas. Photo: Jacques Gignoux

Spatial heterogeneity in nitrification and soil exploration by trees favour source-sink dynamics in a humid savanna: a modelling approach

Sarah Konaré, Simon Boudsocq, Jacques Gignoux, Jean‐Christophe Lata, Xavier Raynaud, Sébastien Barot Savannas are commonly described as ecosystems with a continuous layer of grasses interspersed with trees. Trees tend to improve soil fertility (higher soil organic matter and nitrogen concentrations) below their canopy, while tree roots can also extend horizontally far beyond the canopy projection to increase nutrient uptake. In the Lamto humid savanna (Côte … Continue reading Spatial heterogeneity in nitrification and soil exploration by trees favour source-sink dynamics in a humid savanna: a modelling approach