Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Joely G. DeSimone, Beverly S. Domschot, Megan A. Fylling, William M. Blake, Creagh W. Breuner This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here.               Migration is a common animal behavior, allowing animals to track food sources that vary across time and space. Many birds migrate seasonally—breeding in the north and spending the non-breeding season to the … Continue reading Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Water flow in which adult fish live and where offspring grow can affect the body shape and survival of their offspring

Daphne Cortese, Amélie Crespel, Suzanne Mills, Tommy Norin, Shaun Killen, Ricardo Beldade This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Animals live in environments in which many factors may differ, and often the environments of parents and their offspring are not the same. This is especially true in the marine realm, where many animals, including fish, have … Continue reading Water flow in which adult fish live and where offspring grow can affect the body shape and survival of their offspring

Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez, Michael S. Griego, Joely G. DeSimone, Cory R. Elowe, Alexander R. Gerson This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Every spring, billions of birds depart their non-breeding grounds in Central and South America and fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico to return to their breeding grounds in North America. After such … Continue reading Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

The effect of diet on melanin pigmentation

Sarah Britton and Goggy Davidowitz This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology review article which can be found here. Melanin is a common pigment that is found in many types of external animal tissue including skin, fur, hair, feathers, and cuticle. This pigment can create coloration that ranges from gray and black to tan and yellow. Across the animal kingdom melanin is … Continue reading The effect of diet on melanin pigmentation

Temperature controls the speed of life

Caroline Greiser, Loke von Schmalensee, Olle Lindestad, Karl Gotthard, Philipp Lehmann This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Insects develop faster when it is warmer, but at very high temperatures development drastically slows down again. This nonlinear response to temperature makes it difficult to predict if an insect will develop on average rapidly or slowly … Continue reading Temperature controls the speed of life

Lizard thermoregulation revisited after two decades of global warming

José Díaz , Raúl Izquierdo-Santiago, Alejandro Llanos-Garrido This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Global warming should have a deep impact on thermoregulation by ectothermic animals such as lizards, because they rely on behavior to select the microhabitats that allow them to keep their body temperature within their preferred -and physiologically optimal- range of temperatures. … Continue reading Lizard thermoregulation revisited after two decades of global warming

Immune function and songbird migration

Vera Brust, Cas Eikenaar, Florian Packmor, Heiko Schmaljohann, Ommo Hüppop, Gábor Á. Czirják This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Many species of songbirds breeding in northern Europe escape the cold times of the year, when food is scarce, and travel south. The small birds undertake journeys of several hundreds to thousands of kilometers twice … Continue reading Immune function and songbird migration

With board and lodging: facultative endosymbionts come with energy costs for aphids

Clavé Corentin, Sugio Akiko, Morlière Stéphanie, Pincebourde Sylvain, Simon Jean-Christophe, Foray Vincent This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Aphids form intimate associations with bacteria. These bacteria, also called endosymbionts, are hosted in specialized cells and are transmitted vertically from mother to offspring. While some endosymbionts are obligate (e.g., Buchnera aphidicola), others appear  to be facultative, … Continue reading With board and lodging: facultative endosymbionts come with energy costs for aphids

Conserving the Ecological Diversity of Crocodylians

Phoebe Griffith, Jeffrey W. Lang, Samuel T. Turvey, Rikki Gumbs This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Crocodylians have surprisingly diverse ecological roles, from the huge, highly aquatic and mostly fish-eating gharial to the tiny African dwarf crocodiles which can catch prey on land below the rainforest canopy. Sadly, over half of all crocodylians are … Continue reading Conserving the Ecological Diversity of Crocodylians

Being fat or flexible in highly seasonal environments pay substantial dividends to survival

Kristin Denryter, Mary M. Conner, Thomas R. Stephenson, David W. German, Kevin L. Monteith This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Animals living in seasonal environments have evolved various adaptations, including accumulation of body fat and migration, to cope with seasonal highs and lows in resource availability and quality. In populations wherein only some individuals … Continue reading Being fat or flexible in highly seasonal environments pay substantial dividends to survival