Credits: Marina Dacal and Enrique Valencia.

Past climate change conditions effects on the response of soil microbes and associated functions to extreme drought

This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research paper. Read the research in full here. Marina Dacal, Pablo García-Palacios, Sergio Asensio, Juntao Wang, Brajesh K. Singh & Fernando T. Maestre Soil microbes are the most abundant and diverse organisms on Earth. They are extremely important for ecosystem functioning because they regulate the ability of soils to provide multiple functions simultaneously. Ongoing climate … Continue reading Past climate change conditions effects on the response of soil microbes and associated functions to extreme drought

A dark melanin-rich Karoo girdled lizard (Karusasaurus polyzonus) from an inland population. Credits: JG

Warm World: how differently coloured lizards will cope with rising temperatures

This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here Sebastian Mader, Jonathan Goldenberg, Federico Massetti, Karen Bisschop, Liliana D’Alba, Rampal S. Etienne, Susana Clusella-Trullas, Matthew Shawkey Animal coloration has functions as diverse as crypsis and communication. Moreover, coloured skin can also have thermal consequences, with dark melanin-rich surfaces generally absorbing more solar energy than bright melanin-poor … Continue reading Warm World: how differently coloured lizards will cope with rising temperatures

Solidago canadensis offspring grown under ambient conditions. Left pots: offspring of maternal plants from North America; right pots: offspring of maternal plants from China. (Credit: Xiao-Hui Zhou).

Climate change influences offspring plants from China more than from North America

Xiao-Hui Zhou, Jing-Ji Li, Yuan-Yuan Gao, Pei-Hao Peng, Wei-Ming He This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. To read the article in full, click here. Ongoing climate change influences not only present-day plants but also their offspring. However, the majority of previous studies have considered only how climate change influences present-day plants, and few studies have addressed the impacts of … Continue reading Climate change influences offspring plants from China more than from North America

Conceptual diagram on the main shifts found for aridity thresholds and the major mechanisms that may play a role for each. In the vegetation decline phase several concurrent changes related with physiological adaptation to water stress seem to take place close to 0.5 aridity. In the soil disruption phase a change from fertile stress-tolerant communities (FST) into unfertile shrublands (USh) is paralleled with a weakening of plant-soil interactions pointing to plant-soil feedbacks as key drivers of the changes depicted. In the systemic breakdown phase a transitions towards plant-devoid states is probably related with physiological limits of plants but previously discussed in relationship with plant-plant and plant-atmosphere feedbacks.

Ecological mechanisms underlying aridity thresholds in global drylands

Miguel Berdugo, Blai Vidiella, Ricard V. Solé, Fernando T. Maestre Read the full article here Recent research in drylands, the largest biome on Earth, has revealed that, as we move to places that are progressively more arid, different ecosystem attributes and functions experience abrupt changes involving, among others, drastic declines in productivity, soil fertility and vegetation cover. Moreover, those abrupt changes are organized into three … Continue reading Ecological mechanisms underlying aridity thresholds in global drylands

Photo of Anolis shrevei from the Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. Image credit: D. L. Mahler (University of Toronto).

Can climate change be both a bane and a boon?

Martha M. Muñoz, Kenneth J. Feeley, Patrick H. Martin, and Vincent R. Farallo Read the full article here As climate change marches on, the viability of species in a hotter world is a global biodiversity concern. These concerns are even more acute for tropical ectotherms, like lizards, which are often relatively cool adapted and currently experiencing temperatures that push them beyond tolerable limits. However, some … Continue reading Can climate change be both a bane and a boon?

Plant species growing in flooded and non-flooded conditions (top left), leaf morphology (bottom left), measuring aboveground productivity, flooded Festuca arundinacea, and measuring N2O emissions (right, top to bottom).

Plant traits of grass and legume species for flood resilience and N2O mitigation

Natalie J. Oram, Yan Sun, Diego Abalos, Jan Willem van Groenigen, Sue Hartley, Gerlinde B. De Deyn Climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, such as floods. This poses a threat to ecosystems, including managed grasslands. Flooding can reduce the growth and survival of grassland plant species and can drastically increase nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions, a greenhouse gas ~300 times … Continue reading Plant traits of grass and legume species for flood resilience and N2O mitigation

Salmon Fry, credit: Francis Eatherington

Climate change induced decline of omega-3 fatty acids in aquatic ecosystem hinders growth and metabolism of wild salmon

Libor Závorka, Amelie Crespel, Neal J. Dawson, Magdalene Papatheodoulou, Shaun S. Killen, Martin J. Kainz The expression ‘you are what you eat’ is as relevant for wild animals as it is for humans. Diet quality affects the development of animals, but its interactions with stressors like rising temperature are not well understood. A largely overlooked consequence of a warming climate is the reduced availability of … Continue reading Climate change induced decline of omega-3 fatty acids in aquatic ecosystem hinders growth and metabolism of wild salmon

Picture of three micro-plots taken in November 2016 at the Lusignan (France) common garden. An intense period of drought occurred at Lusignan during the summer of 2016. The population sown in the left-hand micro-plot did not survive the drought unlike the two other populations. Credit: Fabien Surault

To grow or to survive: what are the strategies of a perennial grass to face severe seasonal stress?

Thomas Keep, Jean-Paul Sampoux, Philippe Barre, José-Luis Blanco-Pastor, Klaus J. Dehmer, Jean-Louis Durand, Matt Hegarty, Thomas Ledauphin, Hilde Muylle, Isabel Roldán-Ruiz, Tom Ruttink, Fabien Surault, Evelin Willner, Florence Volaire For a given region, the assessment of the vulnerability of a species under predicted climate change should account for within species variability and notably for the diversity of climatic adaptations across populations. Our study compared 385 natural populations of perennial ryegrass which were collected right-across Europe. They were all … Continue reading To grow or to survive: what are the strategies of a perennial grass to face severe seasonal stress?