Daylight availability may play an important role in the evolution of avian migration. Photo by Chinmayee Mishra, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:A_clear_sunset_view.jpg#filelinks

Perspective: A role for daylight in the evolution of migration

Keith W. Sockman and Allen H. Hurlbert Long-distance latitudinal migration exposes individuals to dramatic variation in daylight availability (photoperiod). For example, the Arctic tern, which migrates each year from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back, does not experience the short days of winter due to the timing of its migratory flights. Instead, it experiences roughly three-fourths of its life in daylight. Although the Arctic … Continue reading Perspective: A role for daylight in the evolution of migration

Hypothetical framework for how silicon affects root nodulation and nitrogen fixation (full description is provided in the article).

Is it time to include legumes in plant silicon research?

Rocky Putra, Jeff R. Powell, Susan E. Hartley & Scott N. Johnson In 2016, Functional Ecology published a special issue on “The functional role of silicon in plant biology” featuring 8 exciting papers on diverse areas of ecological research. Papers highlighted how silicon (Si) is a beneficial element that alleviates adverse effects of environmental stresses in plants. However, most studies addressing the ecological significance of … Continue reading Is it time to include legumes in plant silicon research?

Perspective: Conserving the holobiont

Alexandra J.R. Carthey, Daniel T. Blumstein, Rachael V. Gallagher, Sasha G. Tetu, Michael R. Gillings All animals and plants host complex communities of micro-organisms; on their skin and in their guts, on their leaves and among their roots. These micro-organisms are increasingly recognised as important for the health, development, growth and well-being of their hosts. However, as a result of ongoing human disturbance, an increasing … Continue reading Perspective: Conserving the holobiont

Can dynamic network modeling be used to identify adaptive microbiomes?

Joshua Garcia and Jenny Kao-Kniffin The microbiome can be thought of as the community of microbes that live on or within populations and groups of species and that potentially interact to influence the traits of a eukaryotic host or ecosystem.  In recent times, interest has grown in understanding how microbiomes associated with plants and animals influence the survivability or fitness of their hosts. The profound … Continue reading Can dynamic network modeling be used to identify adaptive microbiomes?

Why does eating less make lab animals live longer? An evolutionary perspective.

Jenny C. Regan, Hannah Froy, Craig A. Walling, Joshua P. Moatt & Daniel H. Nussey, One of the most reliable ways to make lab animals, including worms, flies and mice, live longer and age slower is to reduce the amount of food they can eat. This so-called “dietary restriction” effect on aging is widely observed and is now known to be underpinned by signalling of … Continue reading Why does eating less make lab animals live longer? An evolutionary perspective.

While mimicry in animals is well-known, plants often also display adaptive resemblances. Here a male wasp pollinator is gripping a black outgrowth on the surface of an orchid flower. This outgrowth resembles its own wingless female, and astonishingly, produced the same sex pheromones as the female wasps when they are ready to mate. Male wasps are very sensitive to these sex pheromones and quickly locate the orchid, land on its flower, and attempt to mate with the black outgrowth in the hopes of producing their own offspring. In the process, male wasps remove the pollen from the flower. This pollen is then deposited on the next wasp-mimicking flower that manages to deceive a male, allowing orchids to exploit wasps to transport their pollen without providing any rewards in return. Photo credit: Rod Peakall

Perspective: When does resemblance become mimicry?

Biological mimicry has been a pillar of evolution for more than a century. Darwin was quick to realise its potential to showcase the power of natural selection and added it as an exemplar of adaptation to the Origin of Species. Despite a strong current research focus, with new cases of mimicry being reported every year, scientists often lack agreement over what exactly constitutes mimicry. What … Continue reading Perspective: When does resemblance become mimicry?

Perspective: Mycorrhizal mediated plant-herbivore interactions in a high CO2 world

Adam Frew & Jodi N. Price Most of the plants on land have a close relationship with a group of symbiotic fungi called arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi. Simply explained, AM fungi typically provide their hosts with nutritional benefits and can also affect plant defences against insect herbivores. Almost all of these plants in nature will be attacked by one, if not many, species of insect … Continue reading Perspective: Mycorrhizal mediated plant-herbivore interactions in a high CO2 world

Perspective: Coexistence theory as a tool to understand biological invasions in species interaction networks: implications for the study of novel ecosystems.

Ecological communities are diverse and species in them interact with each other in direct and indirect ways. However, this web of interactions is often neglected in studies trying to understand why some ecological communities are more susceptible to invasion by exotic species. Understanding the net effect of this plethora of interactions is important to make accurate predictions of the outcome of species invasions, and therefore … Continue reading Perspective: Coexistence theory as a tool to understand biological invasions in species interaction networks: implications for the study of novel ecosystems.

One of the last pirogues to be actively fishing in Seychelles. Photo: A. J. Woodhead

Perspective: What does the future hold for coral reef ecosystem services?

Anna J. Woodhead, Christina C. Hicks, Albert V. Norström, Gareth J. Williams, Nicholas A. J. Graham Human activity is now the driving force of what happens on this planet. But whilst people are shaping ecosystems, ecosystems continue to shape us. This relationship is connected to the benefits that we get from the environment, known as ecosystem services. Nowhere is this truer than for tropical coral … Continue reading Perspective: What does the future hold for coral reef ecosystem services?

Photo credit: Brian J. Zgliczynski

Perspective: The need for a new approach to coral reef ecology in the Anthropocene

Gareth J. Williams, Nicholas A.J. Graham, Jean-Baptiste Jouffray, Albert V. Norström, Magnus Nyström, Jamison M. Gove, Adel Heenan, Lisa M. Wedding   The footprint of human activity is reflected in all of Earth’s natural ecosystems, from the poles to the tropics, and from the shallow waters to the deep ocean. Prior to humans, ecosystems were purely shaped by their surrounding environment, with natural ranges in … Continue reading Perspective: The need for a new approach to coral reef ecology in the Anthropocene