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.

Individual and non-additive effects of exotic sap-feeders on root functional and mycorrhizal traits of a shared conifer host

Robert N. Schaeffer, Claire M. Wilson, Laura Radville, Mauri Barrett, Elizabeth Whitney, Sofia Roitman, Esther R. Miller, Benjamin E. Wolfe, Carol S. Thornber, Colin M. Orians, Evan L. Preisser Forest pests, exotic and native, are pervasive agents of tree stress and mortality worldwide. Their impacts are mediated through disruption of host functional traits that are…

Linking the structure and dynamics of populations with ecosystem function

Steven E. McMurray, Joseph R. Pawlik, and Christopher M. Finelli It is often assumed that the functional roles of species within a community are fixed; however, these roles are often dynamic and influenced by the structure and dynamics of populations, including the abundance and size of organisms. Given recent and predicted changes in the populations…

REVIEW: Seed predation & plant community theory

Loralee Larios, Dean E. Pearson and John L. Maron Community ecologists seek to understand the relative strength of local processes in determining the identity and number of species that establish in any given location. Increasingly, plant ecologists have focused on plant traits and how these may determine which species can live together and which species…

Prairie species differ in the timing of rainfall necessary for flowering

Nathan P. Lemoine, John D. Dietrich, Melinda D. Smith The first European settlers of the midwestern United States were awestruck by the productivity of tallgrass prairies. The fertility of this region was apparent from the number and density of flowering stalks, which can reach over 1.5 m in height for many tallgrass species. Yet species…

Drought resistance traits in Bromeliaceae

Jamie Males & Howard Griffiths The bromeliads are one of the world’s most diverse plant families, with species occurring in an extremely broad range of habitats across the tropical and subtropical Americas. The colonisation of new habitat types by different bromeliad lineages is known to have involved transitions in growth form (functional type), including switches…

Intraspecific variability and reaction norms of forest understory plant species traits

Julia I. Burton, Steven S. Perakis, Sean C. McKenzie, Caitlin E. Lawrence and Klaus J. Puettmann Plant traits are recognized as being increasingly important for understanding plant community assembly processes and predicting responses to changes in climate and disturbance regimes. Most approaches ignore trait variation within species, assuming individual species can be represented by a…