How red-flowered species in the Mediterranean Basin lure (almost) red-blind pollinators

Melissa León-Osper, Eduardo Narbona This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Plants show a variety of flower traits such as colour, scent, shape, and size to attract pollinators. In particular, the colour acts as a lure for pollinators, facilitating flower detectability and plant reproduction. In this study, we focus on red-flowered species from the Mediterranean … Continue reading How red-flowered species in the Mediterranean Basin lure (almost) red-blind pollinators

Effect of water availability on volatile-mediated communication between potato plants in response to insect herbivory

Carla Vázquez-González, Laura Pombo-Salinas, Lucía Martín-Cacheda, Sergio Rasmann, Gregory Röder, Luis Abdala-Roberts, Kailen A. Mooney, Xoaquín Moreira This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Plants can perceive and respond to complex blends of above- or belowground volatile organic compounds (‘VOCs’) emitted by herbivore-damaged neighbours, a phenomenon termed ‘plant communication’. Such chemical cues act as warning … Continue reading Effect of water availability on volatile-mediated communication between potato plants in response to insect herbivory

Ladybird beetles adapt to bacterial symbionts of their prey

Xue-Yong Du, Huan-Ying Yang, Sen-Rui Gong, Pei-Fang Zhang, Pei-Tao Chen, Yuan-Sen Liang, Yu-Hao Huang, Xue-Fei Tang, Qiao-Kui Chen, Patrick De Clercq, Hao-Sen Li, Hong Pang This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Consuming microbially contaminated food can make us sick, either directly from the microorganisms or as a result of the toxins they release. That … Continue reading Ladybird beetles adapt to bacterial symbionts of their prey

The ability to increase growth rate after a bad start in life is regulated by a TRP channel and influences reproduction

Zuzana Sekajova, Elena Rosa, Foteini Spagopoulou, Panagiotis-Ioannis Zervakis, Martin I. Lind This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. The environment is not constant, but often fluctuates on a daily, seasonal or year-to-year basis. This is especially true for temperature. At the same time, these environmental conditions can have a large impact on the ability of … Continue reading The ability to increase growth rate after a bad start in life is regulated by a TRP channel and influences reproduction

What do cephalopod beaks tell us about their ecology?

Marjorie Roscian, Anthony Herrel, Paul Zaharias, Raphaël Cornette, Vincent Fernandez, Isabelle Kruta, Yves Cherel, Isabelle Rouget This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. In many taxa, such as birds or turtles, a link between jaw shape and diet has been shown to exist. In cephalopods (squids, octopuses etc.) the jaws, called beaks for their apparent resemblance … Continue reading What do cephalopod beaks tell us about their ecology?

Benefits of mating in a stick insect depend on whether mothers are sexually or asexually produced

Nathan W Burke, Russell Bonduriansky This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. In most animals, females need to mate to reproduce. But some populations have lost sex altogether and reproduce only asexually. How evolution proceeds from sexual to asexual reproduction and back again is poorly understood. In many stick insects, females can reproduce both sexually and … Continue reading Benefits of mating in a stick insect depend on whether mothers are sexually or asexually produced

Changes in mass during transitions between immature life-history phases alter Werner’s predictions for optimal size at switching in species with complex life cycles

Emily L. Richardson, Craig R. White, Dustin J. Marshall This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Complex life cycles, in which species must pass through morphologically and/or ecologically distinct phases, are widespread in the animal kingdom. Because of their ubiquity, biologists have long been interested in the ecological and evolutionary consequences of complex development. One theory … Continue reading Changes in mass during transitions between immature life-history phases alter Werner’s predictions for optimal size at switching in species with complex life cycles

Differences in size and molar topography explain the specialized diets and coexistence of Neotropical free-tailed bats

David Villalobos-Chaves and Sharlene E. Santana This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Multiple species of free-tailed bats (Molossidae) forage for insects during the night in the dry forest of Costa Rica – how do these species use and potentially separate their prey resources in their highly diverse communities? Form-function studies have been an important tool … Continue reading Differences in size and molar topography explain the specialized diets and coexistence of Neotropical free-tailed bats

Inside the feeding behavior of a pollinivore

Laura Bellec, Gaëtan Seimandi-Corda, Kathleen Menacer,Marie Trabalon, Jérôme Ollivier, Christophe Lunel, Sébastien Faure, Anne-Marie Cortesero,Maxime Hervé This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Animals need to find food to survive and grow but searching for food is energetically expensive. Thus, animals have evolved strategies that allow them to maximize food intake per unit of time. These … Continue reading Inside the feeding behavior of a pollinivore

Flight efficiency predicts aerial lifestyle and natal dispersal distance in birds

B.C. Weeks, B.K. O’Brien, C. Sheard, S. Claramunt, J. J. Chu, J.A. Tobias This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Dispersal is a fundamental ecological and evolutionary process, influencing everything from survival to large-scale evolutionary processes. Despite its general importance, dispersal is difficult to quantify in a standardized way across diverse groups of species, and as … Continue reading Flight efficiency predicts aerial lifestyle and natal dispersal distance in birds