Tibetan alpine meadow in Gansu Province, China Photo taken by Xiaoyi Wang

Plant community functional composition shifts under global change

Xiaoyi Wang, Xuebin Yan, Kailing Huang, Xi Luo, Yuanyuan Zhang, Luyao Zhou, Fei Yang, Xiaohong Xu, Xianhui Zhou, Kechang Niu, Hui Guo This Plan Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed. Check back soon for a link to the article Global change, including warming and nitrogen enrichment, can affect plant functional traits, such as height and leaf size, and also alter community functional … Continue reading Plant community functional composition shifts under global change

Presence of clouds in the understory of a TMCF in the Atlantic Forest domain, in Southeastern Brazil. The presence of clouds are common in this forest, reducing the light availability and increasing the water input in the system.

Clouds covering a Tropical Cloud Montane Forest in Brazil

Fernanda de V. Barros, Paulo L. Bittencourt, Cleiton B. Eller, Caroline SignoriMüller, Leonardo D. Meireles and Rafael S. Oliveira This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. Some tropical montane forests are associated with high cloud frequency, creating a very singular cold and wet environment in the tropics, which allows the coexistence of groups of … Continue reading Clouds covering a Tropical Cloud Montane Forest in Brazil

Microbial necromass (dead microbial residues) is a large component of soil carbon, although it’s production and cycling in soil will differ strongly between (for example) Arctic tundra (a), and temperate agricultural grasslands (b). Greater insight into this key component will help us predict and possibly protect soil carbon response to climate change.

Deconstructing the microbial necromass continuum to inform soil carbon sequestration

Kate M. Buckeridge, Courtney Creamer & Jeanette Whitaker This Plan Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed. Check back soon for a link to the article Necromass (dead microbes) in soil is now recognised as a large and long-lasting portion of soil organic carbon, the largest store of carbon on land. Necromass is a dynamic–not static–store of carbon in soil, because it is … Continue reading Deconstructing the microbial necromass continuum to inform soil carbon sequestration

One of our research assistants was collecting needle samples in a lodgepole pine trial. A big challenge we faced in this study was to collect samples from these very tall trees! PLS photo credit: Thomas tree improvement lab (https://people.ales.ualberta.ca/barbthomas/)

Lodgepole pine controls water loss less stringently in warmer and drier air than white spruce

Xiaojing Wei, Andy Benowicz, Jaime Sebastian-Azcona, Barb R. Thomas This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the article in full here. Lodgepole pine and white spruce are two ecologically and commercially important tree species in the boreal forests of Western Canada, a region that is projected to become four degrees Celsius warmer within this century. We investigated if some … Continue reading Lodgepole pine controls water loss less stringently in warmer and drier air than white spruce

A caterpillar feeding on one of the experimental plants; yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Insect feeding leaves a detectable footprint in the soil that causes plants that grow in it to hide belowground

Robin Heinen, Madhav P. Thakur, Jetske R. Hiddes De Fries, Katja Steinauer, Simon Vandenbrande, Renske Jongen and T. Martijn Bezemer This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the article in full here. Plants and soil organisms live in close relationships and strongly depend on each other. Plants release sugars and dead material into the soil, which serve as an … Continue reading Insect feeding leaves a detectable footprint in the soil that causes plants that grow in it to hide belowground

Rhizome with visible annual increments between the stems grown in previous seasons (credit: Jana Martínková)

Within pine species the seeds that can disperse long distances on the wind grow just as well as seeds likely to land closer to the parent

Sarah V. Wyse and Philip E. Hulme This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the article in full here. Ecologists have long recognised that species with big seeds disperse over shorter distances than those with smaller seeds, and have much stronger seedlings that can out-compete the species around them. This is known as the competition-colonisation trade-off. So far, most … Continue reading Within pine species the seeds that can disperse long distances on the wind grow just as well as seeds likely to land closer to the parent

Our three methods for assessing canopy nitrogen uptake. All three methods produced an estimate of around 70 % of N deposition being assimilated by the forest canopy.

Forest canopy Nitrogen uptake can supply entire foliar demand

D. Ferraretto, R. Nair, N. W. Shah, D. Reay, M. Mencuccini, M. Spencer and K. V. Heal This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the article in full here. Nitrogen (N) pollution produced by human activity is known to be altering the function of ecosystems worldwide. This nitrogen is transported by atmospheric processes and sometimes deposited onto ecosystems far … Continue reading Forest canopy Nitrogen uptake can supply entire foliar demand

The Dinghushan crane plot. Photo by Yue Bin from the working platform of the crane tower.

Leaf traits vary with tree size and ecological strategy in a subtropical forest

Yue Bin, Yanpeng Li, Sabrina E. Russo, Honglin Cao, Yunlong Ni, Wanhui Ye, Juyu Lian This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. In closed-canopy forests, light, moisture, and air temperature vary dramatically from the forest floor to the top of the canopy. Faced with these environmental variations, tree species have developed different ecological strategies … Continue reading Leaf traits vary with tree size and ecological strategy in a subtropical forest

Common garden experiment at high elevation in the Swiss pre-Alps for assessing the impact of soil microbes and nematodes on soil respiration and plant growth. Photo credit: Sarah Semeraro

Elevation-driven functional adaptation of soil microbes and nematodes drives variation in carbon cycling

Sarah Semeraro, Alan Kergunteuil, Sara Sánchez-Moreno, Jérémy Puissant, Tim Goodall, Robert Griffiths, Sergio Rasmann This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. The metabolic theory of ecology predicts how metabolism controls ecological processes at the level of individuals, populations, and ecosystems. For instance, the amount of energy and organic matter that is circulated within ecosystems … Continue reading Elevation-driven functional adaptation of soil microbes and nematodes drives variation in carbon cycling

View of the precipitation manipulation facility in the semiarid grassland, Inner Mongolia, China. Photo credit: Jingyi Ru

Enhanced carbon sink under intensified precipitation variability in a semiarid grassland

Jingyi Ru, Shiqiang Wan, Dafeng Hui, Jian Song, Jing Wang This Plan Language Summary is published ahead of the article discussed. Check back soon for a link to the article Earth System Models predict greater between-year precipitation variability, with more frequent extreme precipitation years both above (wet years) and below (dry years) the long-term average. This augmented interannual precipitation variability is likely to have profound … Continue reading Enhanced carbon sink under intensified precipitation variability in a semiarid grassland