Nectar bacteria affect the survival of nectar-feeding animals

Marijke Lenaerts, Tim Goelen, Caroline Paulussen, Beatriz Herrera-Malaver, Jan Steensels, Wim Van den Ende, Kevin J. Verstrepen, Felix Wäckers, Hans Jacquemynand Bart Lievens When insects visit flowers looking for food, they commonly inoculate floral nectar with bacteria and yeasts. These microbes then gobble sugars and amino acids or convert them into other compounds which could…

Environment affects the evolution of disease severity in a fish parasite.

Muayad A Mahmud, Janette E Bradley, Andrew D C MacColl Infectious parasites vary greatly in their severity (virulence), e.g. from the common cold to the Ebola virus, but the reasons why are poorly understood. To be successful, parasites have to spread to new victims (hosts), and to do so they use host resources to multiply….

Reindeer grazing influences tundra plant nutrient uptake

Hélène Barthelemy, Sari Stark, Minna-Maarit Kytoviita and Johan Olofsson The Arctic tundra is a vast and pristine landscape under harsh climate. Due to low temperature and short summers, decomposition and mineralisation of organic matter in the soil is very slow. Plant growth is thus strongly limited by the availability of nutrients, especially soil nitrogen. Plant…

When mothers compete with their offspring: insights into the evolution of family life

Jos Kramer, Maximilian Körner, Janina MC Diehl, Christine Scheiner, Aytül Yüksel-Dadak, Teresa Christl, Philip Kohlmeier and Joël Meunier Decades of research on mammals and birds have taught us that parental care almost always renders the presence of parents beneficial to immature offspring regardless of the prevailing environmental conditions. This is because offspring in these animals…

Biogenic silica accumulation varies across tussock tundra plant functional type

Joanna C. Carey, Thomas C. Parker, Ned Fetcher and Jianwu Tang Arctic ecosystems are experiencing the effects of climate change to a much larger degree than most other places on Earth. Rapid Arctic warming is changing the types of plants that proliferate in tundra ecosystems, with shrubs often outcompeting grass and sedge species, and permafrost…

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…