Bleached coral (C) Chris Wall

Shifting baselines: Physiological legacies contribute to the response of reef coral to frequent heat waves

Christopher B. Wall, Contessa A. Ricci, Alexandra D. Wen, Bren E. Ledbetter, Delania E. Klinger, Laura D. Mydlarz, Ruth D. Gates, Hollie M. Putnam Coral reefs are threatened by climate change and the increasing frequency and severity of marine heatwaves, which disrupt the important symbiosis between reef building coral animals and their unicellular symbiont algae (Symbiodiniaceae) in a process known as “coral bleaching,” which can lead to widespread coral mortality.In Hawai‘i, the … Continue reading Shifting baselines: Physiological legacies contribute to the response of reef coral to frequent heat waves

Farmed mussels attach to aquaculture line with byssal threads in Washington, USA. Photo credit: Mark Stone, UW media relations.

Mussels attach to their habitat using byssal threads, but at what cost?

Roberts, Emily; Newcomb, Laura; McCartha, Michelle; Harrington, Katie; LaFramboise, Sam; Carrington, Emily; Sebens, Kenneth Many plants and sessile animals invest in mechanical attachment to their habitat by producing structural materials. The cost of this attachment can depend on the amount of structure produced to stay attached, but little is known about how much energy many organisms invest in such structures. One way that scientists evaluate … Continue reading Mussels attach to their habitat using byssal threads, but at what cost?

View of our study site, a meadow at the University of Wyoming - National Park Service (UW-NPS) research station, near Jackson Lake in Grand Teton National Park (USA). As is common in the region, arrowleaf balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata; Asterales: Asteraceae) and other forbs are interspersed with sagebrush in open meadows surrounded by mixed conifer forests. Photo: Sylvain Pincebourde.

Tell me how small you are and I will tell you how hot you are

Pincebourde, Sylvain; Dillon, Michael; Woods, Art When it comes to climate, size matters. Large animals, including humans, feel hot or cold based primarily on air temperature and the strength of incoming sunlight. For these large animals, the temperature of nearby objects is largely irrelevant. Most animals, however, are tiny, and the surfaces they live on, including the soil and rocks, stems and leaves, and even … Continue reading Tell me how small you are and I will tell you how hot you are

Flight of snow buntings during winter at Rimouski (Québec). Photo credit : Audrey Le Pogam

An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold

Le Pogam, Audrey; O’Connor, Ryan; Love, Oliver; Petit, Magali; Régimbald, Lyette; Vézina, François conditions by increasing their fat store and the mass of their flight muscles. These changes can increase their cold endurance through the production of more heat via shivering. However, birds also increase their fat stores and flight muscle size to provide fuel and  muscle force for long migratory flights. Given the similar … Continue reading An Arctic breeding passerine takes advantage of winter phenotypic adjustments to migrate in the cold

Orthoimages of one of the investigated areas in Catalonia (NE Spain) where recent forest establishment following pastureland abandonment was observed. Top left image refer to 1956 whereas top right image is from 2005 and it clearly shows patches of forests recently established. Image at the bottom shows one of the studied recent forests.

Land-use legacies affect tree ecophysiology and nitrogen availability in secondary beech forests in Mediterranean mountainous areas

Guerrieri, Rossella; Correia, Marta; Martin-Fores, Irene; Alfaro-Sanchez, Raquel; Pino, Joan; Hampe, Arndt; Valladares, F.; Espelta, Josep Greening of our planet has increased over recent decades. This has been attributed mostly to the CO2 fertilization effect on vegetation (particularly forests) though recent studies have highlighted the crucial role of land-use change. Indeed, abandonment of past agricultural and pastureland (in previously deforested areas or marginal mountainous regions) … Continue reading Land-use legacies affect tree ecophysiology and nitrogen availability in secondary beech forests in Mediterranean mountainous areas

Experimental set-up (from left to right, from top to bottom) alder trees grown in alder, birch and Douglas fir soil cores, roots from one soil core, experimental core design with two membranes to measure ion exchange and root exclusion cores, and mesocosms being 13CO2 labelled in a chamber.

Nutrient exchange between tree and soil symbionts determine performance feedback in Alder

Ardanuy, Agnès; Walker, Jennifer; Kritzler, Ully; Taylor, Andy; Johnson, David How do plants influence the soil environment in which they grow? Tackling this question has led to the concept of ‘plant-soil feedback’, which describes reciprocal interactions between plants and their soil environment, leading to either positive or negative effects on plant performance. While we know that soil biota can have direct effects on plant nutrition … Continue reading Nutrient exchange between tree and soil symbionts determine performance feedback in Alder

Zebra finch illustration by Ilse Schrauwers (https://isontwerp.nl)

We need more energy as we age

Briga, Michael ; Verhulst, Simon In humans and in wild mammals and birds, the functioning of our bodies declines with age. Understanding how our organisms age and how this ageing associates with lifespan is crucial for improving our quality of life and lifespan. Our rate of energy consumption or metabolism determines many aspects of our activity, physiology, behaviour and personality. We know that in mammals … Continue reading We need more energy as we age

Male Anna’s hummingbird (Calypte anna). Photo credit: Tony Varela Photography

When do hummingbirds use torpor? Body size and the environment make a difference

Spence, Austin; Tingley, Morgan Hummingbirds need a lot of energy. Their resting body temperature is around 40º C and their main method of flying, hovering, requires more energy than any other form of locomotion. Despite these energetic requirements, hummingbirds live across North and South America at a wide range of elevations. To live in these diverse environments while managing their energy needs, hummingbirds use a … Continue reading When do hummingbirds use torpor? Body size and the environment make a difference

Effects of plant hydraulic traits on the flammability of live fine canopy fuels

Scarff, Fiona; Lenz, Tanja; Richards, Anna; Zanne, Amy; Wright, Ian; Westoby, Mark Plants need to regulate water content of their tissues, and each species addresses this challenge in its own characteristic way. Different strategies mean that some plants will be wetter during the hot, dry weather associated with wildfires. Wildfires are confined to a smaller area when they burn through moist fuels so, if species … Continue reading Effects of plant hydraulic traits on the flammability of live fine canopy fuels

Relationship between heat hardening capacity of Sinonovacula constricta and seasonal temperature variation. (a) The frequency of operative temperatures that S. constricta experienced in the intertidal mudflat as measured by buried roboclams; arrows point to the maximum temperature recorded. (b) Effects of heat hardening in shifting the Arrhenius break temperature (ABT) of S. constricta after heat stress treatments of clams collected in June, September, December and April, respectively. (c) Comparable data for flatline temperature (FLT). Red circles indicate significant increases in ABT or FLT and the blue circle indicates a significant decrease. The red short line (–) indicates no significant change in ABT or FLT caused by heat hardeninghide

Synchronization of seasonal acclimatization and short-term heat hardening improves physiological resilience in a changing climate

Dong, Yun-wei; Zhang, Wenyi; Storey, Kenneth Anthropogenic global warming is one of the biggest environmental problems at present and how organisms cope with the rising temperatures raises more and more concerns. To understand the capability of organisms to survive future warming, it is important to study their physiological plasticity, the ability to adjust thermal tolerance to deal with high temperature. Physiological plasticity can take place … Continue reading Synchronization of seasonal acclimatization and short-term heat hardening improves physiological resilience in a changing climate