The temporal and spatial response of soil fungal community composition and potential function to wildfire in a permafrost region in Canada

Yue-mei Zhang, Zhao-lei Qu, Outi-Maaria Sietiö, Xuan Zhou, Jussi Heinonsalo, Kajar Köster, Frank Berninger, Jukka Pumpanen, Hui Sun This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. The permafrost regions of boreal forests store a large amount of carbon, which can be affected by ecological disturbances, especially from forest fires. Soil microbes, especially fungi, play an important … Continue reading The temporal and spatial response of soil fungal community composition and potential function to wildfire in a permafrost region in Canada

Silica deposits in wheat leaves are impacted by nitrogen fertilisation and competition

Felix de Tombeur, Taïna Lemoine, Cyrille Violle, Hélène Fréville, Sarah J. Thorne, Sue E. Hartley, Hans Lambers, Florian Fort This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Plants use a wide array of defences against herbivores and pathogens. For example, some plants absorb silicon (Si) from the soil and deposit it as hard minerals in leaf … Continue reading Silica deposits in wheat leaves are impacted by nitrogen fertilisation and competition

Bottom-up cascading effects triggered by increased soil nutrients modulate interactions between plants, aphids, and aphid-tending ants

María Lescano, Carolina Quintero, Alejandro G. Farji-Brener, Esteban Balseiro This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Herbivores demand large amounts of nutrients other than carbon (C) to sustain their vital functions. Particularly, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) are the two most important and critical limiting ones, but plants are usually poor in these nutrients (i.e., … Continue reading Bottom-up cascading effects triggered by increased soil nutrients modulate interactions between plants, aphids, and aphid-tending ants

It takes a community to maintain a tree hollow

Ross Wetherbee, Tone Birkemoe, Johan Asplund, Marek Renčo, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Large, old trees were once common in forest throughout the world, but are now becoming increasingly rare, primarily due to human activities. When a tree grows old it develops a complex structure with many ‘microhabitats’, and the global … Continue reading It takes a community to maintain a tree hollow

How would drought-induced species loss contribute to the changes in community nutrient conservation

Xiao-Sa Liang, Wang Ma, Qiang Yu, Wen-Tao Luo, Zheng-Wen Wang, Xiao-Tao Lü, Xing-Guo Han This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Nutrient resorption is a physiological process through which plants divert nutrients from senescing organs to reproductive and storage organs. Plants can reabsorb more than 60% of nitrogen and phosphorus from senescing leaves, which can … Continue reading How would drought-induced species loss contribute to the changes in community nutrient conservation

Small mammal-built structures help shape tundra nutrient cycling

Austin Roy, Laura Gough, Natalie T. Boelman, Rebecca J. Rowe, Kevin L. Griffin, Jennie R. McLaren This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Small mammal herbivores are often underrepresented in our understanding of arctic ecosystem functioning. While traditionally thought of as having top-down roles as consumers, small mammals may also have strong bottom-up roles as … Continue reading Small mammal-built structures help shape tundra nutrient cycling

Individual tree species within a mixed forest drive its nutrient use efficiency

Tania L. Maxwell, Nicolas Fanin, William C. Parker, Mark R. Bakker, Ariane Belleau, Céline Meredieu, Laurent Augusto, Alison D. Munson This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Increasing the number of tree species within a forest has been shown to improve nutrient cycling due to factors such as complementarity between species that vary in structure … Continue reading Individual tree species within a mixed forest drive its nutrient use efficiency

The study was conducted across multiple sites in the Sipsey River, USA (A) which hosts a diverse community of freshwater mussels that vary in shell morphology and other attributes such as nutrient excretion rates (B). Freshwater mussels filter-feed, excrete, and egest as they are buried in the stream substrate (C). (Photos: Carla Atkinson (A), Clay Magnum (B), Carla Atkinson (C))

Animal community composition directly and indirectly influences stream nutrient cycling

Carla L. Atkinson and Kenneth Forshay This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article. Read the research in full here. Animals play a vital role in the cycling of nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus across ecosystems both directly and indirectly. Animals directly influence nutrient cycling as they consume food and then release excess nutrients as dissolved and particulate C, … Continue reading Animal community composition directly and indirectly influences stream nutrient cycling

Nutrient cycling and mortality due to intraspecific interactions determine food web stability in response to perturbations

Kevin Theis, Pierre Quévreux, and Michel Loreau Read the full article here Ecosystems consist of organisms living in an environment. These organisms are linked to each other by interactions such as predation or self-regulation (mortality due to negative interactions between individuals of the same species). In addition, organisms are linked to their environment by flows of nutrients: plants take up mineral nutrients to grow, then … Continue reading Nutrient cycling and mortality due to intraspecific interactions determine food web stability in response to perturbations

Text Box: Measuring mussel nutrient release rates in the field. A) Mussels from the Paint Rock River, USA. B) A filter-feeding mussel buried in the sediment C). Photos by G. Hopper (A), photos by C. Atkinson (B and C).Our study addresses these questions by measuring the amount and chemical composition of nutrients released by freshwater mussels occurring in large groups called mussel beds. Mussels are very diverse, with over 300 North American species, and provide many ecosystem services, such as filtering water. However, more than 70% of mussel species are threatened by human activities that degrade freshwater ecosystems.

Filter-feeder biomass and species composition matter to stream nutrient cycling

Garrett W. Hopper, Shuo Chen, Irene Sanchez Gonzalez, Jamie Bucholz, Yuehan Lu, Carla L. Atkinson Animals require specific elements to live and different species often require different ratios of those elements. When animals eat food, they retain required elements from their food and release those in excess as dissolved inorganic and organic forms of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous. These forms can be used by algae, … Continue reading Filter-feeder biomass and species composition matter to stream nutrient cycling