Nutrient resorption in a grassland-dominant plant with high phenotypic plasticity

Zuxin Zhang, Jing Zheng, Yingjie Guang, Lijun Chen, Xinping Luo, Dali Chen, Xiaowen Hu This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Leaf nutrient resorption is an important strategy that plants use to conserve nutrients. Resorption can reduce the plant’s dependence on soil nutrient supply and enhance its nutrient use efficiency, thus it is considered as … Continue reading Nutrient resorption in a grassland-dominant plant with high phenotypic plasticity

Bite force in the subterranean rodent family of African mole-rats: the role of digging mode, social organisation, and ecology

Andrea Kraus, Matěj Lövy, Ondřej Mikula, Jan Okrouhlík, Nigel C. Bennett, Anthony Herrel, Šumbera Radim The is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Biting enables animals to process food, to defend themselves and to carry and manipulate objects, among many other functions. With a proper device, bite force can be directly measured. The main predictor of … Continue reading Bite force in the subterranean rodent family of African mole-rats: the role of digging mode, social organisation, and ecology

Ladybird beetles adapt to bacterial symbionts of their prey

Xue-Yong Du, Huan-Ying Yang, Sen-Rui Gong, Pei-Fang Zhang, Pei-Tao Chen, Yuan-Sen Liang, Yu-Hao Huang, Xue-Fei Tang, Qiao-Kui Chen, Patrick De Clercq, Hao-Sen Li, Hong Pang This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Consuming microbially contaminated food can make us sick, either directly from the microorganisms or as a result of the toxins they release. That … Continue reading Ladybird beetles adapt to bacterial symbionts of their prey

Semiarid plants with an acquisitive strategy have higher reproductive output across contrasting environmental conditions

Mario Blanco-Sánchez, Marina Ramos-Muñoz, Beatriz Pías, José Alberto Ramírez-Valiente, Laura Díaz-Guerra, Adrián Escudero, Silvia Matesanz This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Natural selection is the main process driving adaptive evolution. For a trait to be under selection, there must be differences in the ecophysiological characteristics of individuals (i.e., traits) associated with differences in their … Continue reading Semiarid plants with an acquisitive strategy have higher reproductive output across contrasting environmental conditions

The ability to increase growth rate after a bad start in life is regulated by a TRP channel and influences reproduction

Zuzana Sekajova, Elena Rosa, Foteini Spagopoulou, Panagiotis-Ioannis Zervakis, Martin I. Lind This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. The environment is not constant, but often fluctuates on a daily, seasonal or year-to-year basis. This is especially true for temperature. At the same time, these environmental conditions can have a large impact on the ability of … Continue reading The ability to increase growth rate after a bad start in life is regulated by a TRP channel and influences reproduction

What do cephalopod beaks tell us about their ecology?

Marjorie Roscian, Anthony Herrel, Paul Zaharias, Raphaël Cornette, Vincent Fernandez, Isabelle Kruta, Yves Cherel, Isabelle Rouget This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. In many taxa, such as birds or turtles, a link between jaw shape and diet has been shown to exist. In cephalopods (squids, octopuses etc.) the jaws, called beaks for their apparent resemblance … Continue reading What do cephalopod beaks tell us about their ecology?

Benefits of mating in a stick insect depend on whether mothers are sexually or asexually produced

Nathan W Burke, Russell Bonduriansky This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. In most animals, females need to mate to reproduce. But some populations have lost sex altogether and reproduce only asexually. How evolution proceeds from sexual to asexual reproduction and back again is poorly understood. In many stick insects, females can reproduce both sexually and … Continue reading Benefits of mating in a stick insect depend on whether mothers are sexually or asexually produced

Changes in mass during transitions between immature life-history phases alter Werner’s predictions for optimal size at switching in species with complex life cycles

Emily L. Richardson, Craig R. White, Dustin J. Marshall This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Complex life cycles, in which species must pass through morphologically and/or ecologically distinct phases, are widespread in the animal kingdom. Because of their ubiquity, biologists have long been interested in the ecological and evolutionary consequences of complex development. One theory … Continue reading Changes in mass during transitions between immature life-history phases alter Werner’s predictions for optimal size at switching in species with complex life cycles

Exposure and Susceptibility: The Twin Pillars of Infection

Amy R. Sweeny, Gregory F. Albery This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. The disease burden for an individual organism is determined by two fundamental processes, the Twin Pillars of infection. The first, exposure, is the host’s encounter with an infectious pathogen and the second, susceptibility, is how successful that infection will be once the host … Continue reading Exposure and Susceptibility: The Twin Pillars of Infection

Differences in size and molar topography explain the specialized diets and coexistence of Neotropical free-tailed bats

David Villalobos-Chaves and Sharlene E. Santana This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Multiple species of free-tailed bats (Molossidae) forage for insects during the night in the dry forest of Costa Rica – how do these species use and potentially separate their prey resources in their highly diverse communities? Form-function studies have been an important tool … Continue reading Differences in size and molar topography explain the specialized diets and coexistence of Neotropical free-tailed bats