Kearney, Michael; Jusup, Marko; McGeoch, Melodie; Kooijman, Bas; Chown, Steven A functional trait is one that can be connected to the performance of an organism, for example to growth or to reproduction. The idea of a functional trait has a long history. However, recent progress collating and comparing trait measurements for the purpose of modelling responses to environmental change has shown that there is a … Continue reading From theory to functional trait
Fredrik Jutfelt, Tommy Norin, Eirik Asheim, Lauren Rowsey, Anna Andreassen, Rachael Morgan, Timothy Clark, Ben Speers-Roesch Aquatic animals reduce feeding when water temperatures become too warm, but the cause of their reduced appetite is unknown. We propose a new hypothesis that explains the physiological mechanism causing the reduced feeding.Water-breathing animals, such as fish, have the same body temperature as the water surrounding them. Therefore, when … Continue reading Too hot to eat – why aquatic animals reduce feeding during warming
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
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?
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
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?
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.
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?
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
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.