Eat more or digest better? Possible responses of micro-crustaceans to low quality food

Alfred Burian, Julia Grosse, Monika Winder, Henricus T. S. Boschker Animals are often faced with non-optimal and very variable feeding conditions. Besides food quantity also the quality of food items can substantially change depending on environmental conditions and the identity of prey species. Successful predators have to respond to those changes. They may either increase…

Soil diversity promotes plant diversity

E.R. Jasper Wubs and T. Martijn Bezemer A long-standing question in ecology is how biodiversity is maintained. While there are many hypotheses, recently plant ecologists have focused their attention on the diversity of organisms in the soil as a key mechanism. The idea is simple and elegant: each plant species has its own specific enemies…

Does the cost of development scale allometrically with offspring size?

Amanda K. Pettersen, Craig R. White, Robert J. Bryson-Richardson, Dustin J. Marshall One of the most fundamental patterns studied in life-history theory is how offspring size links to performance of an individual. Within species, larger offspring generally have higher survival, reproductive output and growth, and lower risk of predation and starvation. One key question that…

Subtle growth has major consequences for turtles

Doug Armstrong, Matt Keevil, Njal Rollinson, Ron Brooks Unlike birds and mammals, many animals continue to grow after sexual maturity. This growth can be imperceptibly slow in long-lived cold-blooded animals such as turtles, potentially leading us to believe either that growth has stopped or that the consequences of it must be trivial. But could this…

Ecological drivers of parasitoid traits

Yannick Outreman , Thiago Oliveira Andrade, Philippe Louâpre, Liliane Krespi, Cyrille Violle, Joan van Baaren The processes involved in species coexistence and community assembly is a hot topic in ecology research. To predict patterns of community assembly in the wild, the analysis of trait differences between species may be helpful. Community assembly theory suggests that…

How ants acclimate: ant species adjust their cuticular hydrocarbon composition in respect to temperature and humidity conditions

Florian Menzel, Miriam Zumbusch and Barbara Feldmeyer Starting from developmental process as an embryo, the life of an ectothermic (cold-blooded) organism is determined by ambient temperature. For example development rate, body size, activity patterns, etc., all depend on temperature in ectotherms. An insect’s cuticle – its exoskeleton – is covered in cuticular hydrocarbons, which protect…

When water is running out, mothers optimise their reproduction at the expense of offspring survival

Andréaz Dupoué, Jean-François Le Galliard, Rémy Josserand, Dale F. DeNardo, Béatriz Decencière, Simon Agostini, Claudy Haussy, Sandrine Meylan The relationships between a parent and its offspring involve conflict in almost all organisms. In nature, parent-offspring conflicts can occur whenever resources become depleted. Conflicts are usually examined after birth of offspring, but gestation also represents a…