Phenotypic plasticity in desiccation physiology of geographically range restricted and broadly distributed fruit fly species

Henrika J. Bosua, Christopher W. Weldon, John S. Terblanche This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. There is pronounced geographic range size variation even among closely related terrestrial insect species. Such variation in species’ geographic distributions may result from differences in physiological traits, such as the ability to withstand dry conditions (also known as ‘desiccation … Continue reading Phenotypic plasticity in desiccation physiology of geographically range restricted and broadly distributed fruit fly species

Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Joely G. DeSimone, Beverly S. Domschot, Megan A. Fylling, William M. Blake, Creagh W. Breuner This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here.               Migration is a common animal behavior, allowing animals to track food sources that vary across time and space. Many birds migrate seasonally—breeding in the north and spending the non-breeding season to the … Continue reading Nomadic birds depart with moderate—but not large—fuel stores

Water flow in which adult fish live and where offspring grow can affect the body shape and survival of their offspring

Daphne Cortese, Amélie Crespel, Suzanne Mills, Tommy Norin, Shaun Killen, Ricardo Beldade This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Animals live in environments in which many factors may differ, and often the environments of parents and their offspring are not the same. This is especially true in the marine realm, where many animals, including fish, have … Continue reading Water flow in which adult fish live and where offspring grow can affect the body shape and survival of their offspring

Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

Mariamar Gutierrez Ramirez, Michael S. Griego, Joely G. DeSimone, Cory R. Elowe, Alexander R. Gerson This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Every spring, billions of birds depart their non-breeding grounds in Central and South America and fly non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico to return to their breeding grounds in North America. After such … Continue reading Reduced lean mass and delays in resuming bird migration

The effect of diet on melanin pigmentation

Sarah Britton and Goggy Davidowitz This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology review article which can be found here. Melanin is a common pigment that is found in many types of external animal tissue including skin, fur, hair, feathers, and cuticle. This pigment can create coloration that ranges from gray and black to tan and yellow. Across the animal kingdom melanin is … Continue reading The effect of diet on melanin pigmentation

All the better to hear you with: populations diverging based on female ear characteristics

Robin M. Hare, W. Jason Kennington, & Leigh W. Simmons This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. In most animal species, males fight or intimidate each other for access to females and their energetically costly eggs. Sometimes, as in some seahorses, females fight or intimidate each other for access to males and their specialised brooding … Continue reading All the better to hear you with: populations diverging based on female ear characteristics

Can your body prepare to get sick?

Patricia C Lopes This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology perspective article that can be found here. Imagine the following scenario: you are at work, and the two people working on either side of your desk keep sneezing and blowing their noses. You have the strong feeling that you will be next in line to be sick, but you can’t ask for … Continue reading Can your body prepare to get sick?

With board and lodging: facultative endosymbionts come with energy costs for aphids

Clavé Corentin, Sugio Akiko, Morlière Stéphanie, Pincebourde Sylvain, Simon Jean-Christophe, Foray Vincent This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Aphids form intimate associations with bacteria. These bacteria, also called endosymbionts, are hosted in specialized cells and are transmitted vertically from mother to offspring. While some endosymbionts are obligate (e.g., Buchnera aphidicola), others appear  to be facultative, … Continue reading With board and lodging: facultative endosymbionts come with energy costs for aphids

Being fat or flexible in highly seasonal environments pay substantial dividends to survival

Kristin Denryter, Mary M. Conner, Thomas R. Stephenson, David W. German, Kevin L. Monteith This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Animals living in seasonal environments have evolved various adaptations, including accumulation of body fat and migration, to cope with seasonal highs and lows in resource availability and quality. In populations wherein only some individuals … Continue reading Being fat or flexible in highly seasonal environments pay substantial dividends to survival

Integration of thermal traits with long term environmental temperatures predicts constraints in activity and loss of suitable habitat for a vulnerable tortoise

Rafael A. Lara-Reséndiz, Donald B. Miles, Philip C. Rosen, Barry Sinervo This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. We studied a vulnerable species of gopher tortoise (Gopherus evgoodei), whose primary habitat is the tropical dry forests in northwestern Mexico. This keystone species was used as a model to estimate daily and annual thermal constraints on … Continue reading Integration of thermal traits with long term environmental temperatures predicts constraints in activity and loss of suitable habitat for a vulnerable tortoise