"Tadpoles" by Takashi(aes256)

Disease Transmission: Consider the Community

Shaw, Kelsey; Civitello, David Worms, germs, and other types of disease agents (“parasites”) are abundant and important in natural communities, and ecologists continue to struggle with predicting how infectious diseases change when the number or composition of species in an ecological community changes. Some studies have found that parasitism decreases in the presence of a diverse number of species (dilution effect), while others have found … Continue reading Disease Transmission: Consider the Community

"Male Crab Spider Thomisus onustus with Bee" by gailhampshire

The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend

Maximilien A.C. Cuny, Mitchel E. Bourne, Marcel Dicke and Erik H. Poelman Carnivorous arthropods (such as insects and spiders), which feed on herbivores, are usually said to be beneficial for plants. They lower feeding damage on the plant, allowing plants to grow more and produce more seeds. Because of these beneficial effects, some plants have structures that provide housing or a food source to carnivorous … Continue reading The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend

Examples of mathematical representations of functional diversity.

Review: Diving into the multiple ways to measure how species function

Stefano Mammola, Carlos P. Carmona, Thomas Guillerme, Pedro Cardoso Organisms, species, and sets of species interact and perform functions in the environment in ways that we are just starting to unravel. Quantifying how much such functions and interactions contribute to our own well-being through so-called ecosystem services is growing in importance. Scientists are doing so by measuring species traits, defined as any characteristic of a … Continue reading Review: Diving into the multiple ways to measure how species function

A field with a layer of snow protecting overwintering herbaceous plants. Photo by F. C. Lubbe.

Review: Look belowground: herbaceous plants and changing winters

Frederick Curtis Lubbe, Jitka Klimešová, and Hugh A. L. Henry Perennial herbaceous plants that live in areas with cold winters can survive thanks to special overwintering belowground organs made of stems and/or roots. Those overwintering organs store carbohydrates and bear the buds from which new stems and leaves are regrown in the spring. To overwinter successfully, herbaceous plants need to accumulate enough resources and be … Continue reading Review: Look belowground: herbaceous plants and changing winters

Trampling by large animals and human activities shape polar tundra soils.

Review: Stomping in silence: Conceptualizing trampling effects on soils in polar tundra

Maria Tuomi, Maria Väisänen, Henni Ylänne, Francis Q. Brearley, Isabel C Barrio, Kari Anne Bråthen, Isabell Eischeid, Bruce C. Forbes, Ingibjörg S. Jónsdóttir, Anders L. Kolstad, Petr Macek, Matteo Petit Bon, James D. M. Speed, Sari Stark, Kristin Svavarsdóttir, Jóhann Thórsson, C. Guillermo Bueno Across the world, soils are impacted by disturbances caused by trampling of large animals and us, humans, as well as by … Continue reading Review: Stomping in silence: Conceptualizing trampling effects on soils in polar tundra

Review: A unifying, eco-physiological framework for animal dormancy

Kathryn Wilsterman, Mallory A. Ballinger and Caroline M. Williams Animals across the tree of life, from fruit flies to bears, express some form of programmed dormancy to get through periods of the year that have low resources availability. For the most part, these dormancies are studied in silos that focus on closely related organisms, like mammals or insects; researchers working on insect dormancies rarely interact … Continue reading Review: A unifying, eco-physiological framework for animal dormancy

Review: The inducible defenses of large mammals to human lethality

Robert A. Montgomery, David W. Macdonald,  Matthew W. Hayward A key area of ecological inquiry is the evolution of defense mechanisms induced by a previous encounter with a biotic agent, whether that be a consumer or a competitor. Research has now catalogued many morphological and behavioral adaptations of hosts to their parasites, of plants to their herbivores, and of prey to their predators. Within predator-prey … Continue reading Review: The inducible defenses of large mammals to human lethality

Review: How do you know an animal is stressed?

Brenna M.G. Gormally, L. Michael Romero             Scientists across disciplines including medicine, psychology, and even wildlife conservation are interested in understanding what it means to be ‘stressed’. As humans, we typically associate stress with negative feelings, usually of anxiety. This characterization, however, is an over-simplification of the phenomenon of ‘stress’ in the scientific world. While long-term stress can lead to harmful side effects including immunosuppression, … Continue reading Review: How do you know an animal is stressed?

Review: How fruits have evolved to “talk” to animals

Kim Valenta and Omer Nevo Wild fruits come in an incredible diversity of colors, shapes, smells, and sizes. This diversity has puzzled scientists for well over a century. Because many animals rely on fruits as important food sources, and many plants rely on animals as seed dispersers, it has been suggested that fruiting plants, and the animals that disperse their seeds, have coevolved. The dispersal … Continue reading Review: How fruits have evolved to “talk” to animals

Review: Microplastics might harm our soils, but how will soil organisms change their impact?

Maxwell S. Helmberger, Lisa K Tiemann and Matthew J.Grieshop, Microplastics—tiny plastic beads, fragments, and fibers released from personal care products, plastic waste, and laundering of synthetic fabrics—have long been understood to contaminate the ocean. Only recently have scientists learned they’re also prevalent in the soils human society depends on. It’s important to understand the threat microplastics pose to soils so we can safeguard them for … Continue reading Review: Microplastics might harm our soils, but how will soil organisms change their impact?