Diet drives beak diversification in waterfowl

Aaron M Olsen Bird beaks are often cited as a classic example of evolution by natural selection. Over generations, it is thought that beak shapes that are better suited to eating particular foods will outcompete less favourable beak shapes and be passed on to offspring, through a process known as adaptation. Over time this would…

Localized conifer defensive responses to bark beetle attacks

Charles J. Mason, Caterina Villari, Ken Keefover-Ring, Stephanie Jagemann, Jun Zhu, Pierluigi Bonello, Kenneth F. Raffa Plants face multiple biological threats that can adversely affect their growth, reproduction and survival. They defend themselves from herbivores and pathogens by integrated chemical and physical defenses. These defenses can be constitutively present, heightened upon injury, or in some…

Individual and non-additive effects of exotic sap-feeders on root functional and mycorrhizal traits of a shared conifer host

Robert N. Schaeffer, Claire M. Wilson, Laura Radville, Mauri Barrett, Elizabeth Whitney, Sofia Roitman, Esther R. Miller, Benjamin E. Wolfe, Carol S. Thornber, Colin M. Orians, Evan L. Preisser Forest pests, exotic and native, are pervasive agents of tree stress and mortality worldwide. Their impacts are mediated through disruption of host functional traits that are…

Linking the structure and dynamics of populations with ecosystem function

Steven E. McMurray, Joseph R. Pawlik, and Christopher M. Finelli It is often assumed that the functional roles of species within a community are fixed; however, these roles are often dynamic and influenced by the structure and dynamics of populations, including the abundance and size of organisms. Given recent and predicted changes in the populations…

REVIEW: Seed predation & plant community theory

Loralee Larios, Dean E. Pearson and John L. Maron Community ecologists seek to understand the relative strength of local processes in determining the identity and number of species that establish in any given location. Increasingly, plant ecologists have focused on plant traits and how these may determine which species can live together and which species…

Prairie species differ in the timing of rainfall necessary for flowering

Nathan P. Lemoine, John D. Dietrich, Melinda D. Smith The first European settlers of the midwestern United States were awestruck by the productivity of tallgrass prairies. The fertility of this region was apparent from the number and density of flowering stalks, which can reach over 1.5 m in height for many tallgrass species. Yet species…