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.

Anatomy of pine needles reflects climatic adaptation

Artur Jankowski , Tomasz P. Wyka, Roma Żytkowiak, Bengt Nihlgård, Peter B. Reich, Jacek Oleksyn Short growing season, low temperature and nutrient shortages have caused many plants in subarctic regions to adapt a slow, conservative life style. For example, few subarctic woody plants can afford to replace their leaves annually as is common in the…

Species complement each other through differences in both spatial and temporal resource use

Cameron Wagg, Anne Ebeling, Christiane Roscher, Janneke Ravenek, Dörte Bachmann, Nico Eisenhauer, Liesje Mommer, Nina Buchmann, Helmut Hillebrand, Bernhard Schmid, Wolfgang W. Weisser It has long been observed that a greater diversity of plant species can result in greater ecosystem productivity. It is thought that a greater diversity of species increases productivity because different species…

Facilitation by leguminous shrubs increases along a precipitation gradient

Hai-Yang Zhang, Xiao-Tao Lü, Alan K. Knapp, Henrik Hartmann, Edith Bai, Xiao-Bo Wang, Zheng-Wen Wang, Xiao-Guang Wang, Qiang Yu, Xing-Guo Han Woody plant encroachment, defined as an increase in abundance of indigenous woody plants in formerly grass-dominated ecosystems, has been frequently reported in arid, mesic, alpine and arctic areas worldwide. How shrubs coexist with grasses…

Serology in wildlife: two problems and how to deal with them

Romain Garnier, Raül Ramos, Ana Sanz-Aguilar, Maud Poisbleau, Henri Weimerskirch, Sarah Burthe, Jeremy Tornos, Thierry Boulinier How can we track infectious diseases in wild animal populations? Serology, the quantification of antibodies present in the blood following exposure to a disease agent, is a tool of primary importance. However, the lack of specific reagents for detecting…

Phosphatase kinetics in forest soils

Xinyu Zhang, Yang Yang, Chuang Zhang, ShuliNiu, Hao Yang, Guirui Yu, Huimin Wang, EvgeniaBlagodatskaya, YakovKuzyakov, DashuanTian, Yuqian Tang, Shuang Liu, Xiaomin Sun   Global changes including increases in nitrogen (N) deposition and phosphorus (P) fertilization may cause changes in the nutrient demands of plants and microbes. Soil phosphatase enzymes that are produced by plants and…