Photo credits: Signe Lett

Review: What determines the success of a tree seedling beyond the alpine treeline?

Signe Lett & Ellen Dorrepaal This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. The position of alpine and Arctic treelines is considered to be determined by temperature. Therefore, with climate warming these treelines are expected to move upwards in the mountains or towards the poles. However, this is not always what is observed and sometimes the treeline has … Continue reading Review: What determines the success of a tree seedling beyond the alpine treeline?

Understanding plant water-use across plant communities can improve predictions of ecosystem responses to climate change

Robert J. Griffin-Nolan, Julie A. Bushey, Charles J.W. Carroll, Anthea Challis, Jeff Chieppa, Magda Garbowski, Ava M. Hoffman, Alison K. Post, Ingrid J. Slette, Daniel Spitzer, Dario Zambonini, Troy W. Ocheltree, David T. Tissue and Alan K. Knapp This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Rising global temperatures are expected to change rainfall patterns around the world … Continue reading Understanding plant water-use across plant communities can improve predictions of ecosystem responses to climate change

An image from the 2004 Peppin Fire on the Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico, taken 12 years following the fire. The photo shows an area previously dominated by conifer forest that is now dominated by resprouting shrubs, grasses, and exotic plants. This site exemplifies the potential for changes in dominant vegetation following high severity fires. Notice that live conifer trees that could act as a seed source are not visible. It is unclear if eventually this site will return to forest, but no pine or fir seedlings were found at this site when the photo was taken. Image credit: K. Davis

Review: Anticipating fire‐mediated impacts of climate change using a demographic framework

Kimberley T. Davis, Anna Sala, Philip E. Higuera This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Climate change affects forests directly, because plants require certain climate conditions to reproduce and survive. Climate change also affects forests indirectly, by influencing how often forests burn in wildfires. This indirect effect of climate change is important to understand because wildfires can … Continue reading Review: Anticipating fire‐mediated impacts of climate change using a demographic framework

Review: Trophic structure in a rapidly urbanizing planet

Rana El-Sabaawi This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Around the world cities are growing rapidly, and the growth of cities (urbanization) changes the natural landscape dramatically. Impervious surfaces (concrete and asphalt) replaces green spaces, which shrink and fragment. Waterways become polluted. With urbanization come big changes in plant and animal diversity as well. The goal of … Continue reading Review: Trophic structure in a rapidly urbanizing planet

Perspective: Towards the general mechanistic prediction of community dynamics

C. E. Timothy Paine, Anna Deasey, A. Bradley Duthie This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Walking through a forest on a sunny afternoon, one may wonder what it will look like in the future. Will the same types of trees continue to live here? How will they change in abundance? Will there even be a forest … Continue reading Perspective: Towards the general mechanistic prediction of community dynamics

Contemporary climate-driven range shifts: putting evolution back on the table

Sarah Diamond This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. As the climate continues to change, species are moving to track their climatic niches. Although we are gaining a clearer picture of where and how quickly species ranges are moving, a mechanistic understanding of these changes is still emerging . Evolutionary changes in ranges and the traits that … Continue reading Contemporary climate-driven range shifts: putting evolution back on the table

Climate change and alpine plant communities

Loïc Pellissier, Patrice Descombes, Oskar Hagen, Loïc Chalmandrier, Gaétan Glauser, Alan Kergunteuil, Emmanuel Defossez, Sergio Rasmann This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Predicting how the composition and dynamics of plant and animal communities will be affected by climate change remains a fundamental challenge nowadays. We here argue that if alpine plants, due to strong selection by … Continue reading Climate change and alpine plant communities

Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in terrestrial ecosystems: Its impact on plant communities and consequences across trophic levels

Carly J. Stevens, Thomas I. David, Jonathan Storkey This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. Although nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, they can have too much of a good thing and reactive forms of nitrogen (such as nitrogen oxides and ammonia) can be pollutants as a consequence. Levels of reactive nitrogen in the atmosphere have … Continue reading Atmospheric nitrogen deposition in terrestrial ecosystems: Its impact on plant communities and consequences across trophic levels

An example of a plant genetic diversity experiment: the Satakunta birch genetic diversity experiment in Finland, where eight genotypes of silver birch (Betula pendula) are planted in monocultures and different mixtures. Photo credit: Julia Koricheva.

Beyond species diversity effects: genetic variation within plant species positively affects arthropods

Julia Koricheva and Dexter Hayes This paper is part of the Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology. A lot of studies during the last 2 decades have explored the consequences of the loss of plant species from ecosystems on other organisms dependent on them. However, human activities do not only reduce plant species diversity but also the amount of genetic variation within … Continue reading Beyond species diversity effects: genetic variation within plant species positively affects arthropods