Linking intra-specific trait variation to community abundance dynamics improves ecological predictability by revealing a growth-defence trade-off.

Jason I. Griffiths, Owen L. Petchey, Frank Pennekamp & Dylan Z. Childs   Trait change in one species can influence the population dynamics of another, by modifying the strength of ecological interactions between them. For example, inducible defences such as thorns, toxins and armament reduce predation rates, allowing prey populations to increase. In turn, population…

Fungal inoculants in the field – is the reward greater than the risk?

Miranda M. Hart, Pedro M. Antunes, V. Bala Chaudhary and Lynette K. Abbott Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are root dwelling fungi that are marketed as biofertilizers to improve plant growth. Despite the increased use of AMF inocula by growers around the world, there is little evidence that they promote plant or soil health in all…

Trophic consequences of introduced species: impacts of increased inter-specific versus intra-specific competitive interactions

Robert Britton, Ana Ruiz-Navarro, Hugo Verreycken and Fatima Amat-Trigo Species are regularly moved from regions where they are found naturally into new regions. These ‘non-native’ species can then cause considerable ecological disruption (‘impact’). For example, when non-native and native species share the same food items then they compete (‘inter-specific’ competition). This can impact both species,…

Drivers of productivity, biomass and soil organic matter

Masha T. van der Sande, Eric J. M. M. Arets, Marielos Peña-Claros, Marcel R. Hoosbeek, Yasmani Cáceres-Siani, Peter van der Hout and Lourens Poorter Tropical forests remove and store large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere as they grow, and therefore fulfil an important role in reducing climate change. However, we poorly understand how the…

Soil organic matter availability and climate drive latitudinal patterns in bacterial diversity from tropical to cold-temperate forests

Jing Tiana, Nianpeng He, Lauren Hale, Shuli Niu, Guirui Yua, Yuan Liu, Evgenia Blagodatskaya, Yakov Kuzyakov, Qun Gao and Jizhong Zhou Patterns of variation in plant diversity at local, regional and global scales have been extensively studied. But despite the crucial role of bacteria for terrestrial ecosystem functioning, our understanding of their large-scale biogeography patterns…

Fish contests and community structure

Kai C. Paijmans and Marian Y.L. Wong Contests are a method by which animals resolve conflict over access to resources such as food, shelter and mates. Contest theory is a complex set of models which explain the mechanisms, dynamics and outcomes of animal contests. Because competition for limiting resources is an established mechanism by which…

Ecological and functional effects of fungal endophytes on wood decomposition

Lauren C. Cline, Jonathan S. Schilling, Jon Menke, Emily Groenhof, Peter G. Kennedy Decomposition represents an important process in the global carbon (C) cycle, as C locked into plant tissues is released as CO2 into the atmosphere by microorganisms. Because wood makes up a substantial amount of both living and dead plant tissue, the rate…

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…

Where, when and how many males contribute to sea turtle reproduction?

Gail Schofield, Kostas A. Katselidis, Martin K. S. Lilley, Richard D. Reina , Graeme C. Hays Research on sea turtles is strongly focused on collecting information on beaches about nesting females, their eggs and offspring. The sex of sea turtle offspring is dependent on sand temperature: the warmer the sand, the more females are produced,…