Biocrusts reduce response of microbial C decomposition to increasing temperature compared with bare soil in dryland

Gang Huang, Yan-gui Su*, Guo-peng Wu, Zheng-yi Huang, Si-nuo Lin, Hao Cheng This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Biocrusts are universal in drylands and are found on the soil surface and in the top few millimeters to centimeters of soil. They are composed of cyanobacteria, lichens, mosses, and algae in different proportions and can … Continue reading Biocrusts reduce response of microbial C decomposition to increasing temperature compared with bare soil in dryland

Lizard thermoregulation revisited after two decades of global warming

José Díaz , Raúl Izquierdo-Santiago, Alejandro Llanos-Garrido This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Global warming should have a deep impact on thermoregulation by ectothermic animals such as lizards, because they rely on behavior to select the microhabitats that allow them to keep their body temperature within their preferred -and physiologically optimal- range of temperatures. … Continue reading Lizard thermoregulation revisited after two decades of global warming

Variable responses of seed traits to extreme drought do not preclude their strong relationships with drought sensitivity

Wentao Luo, Robert J. Griffin-Nolan, Andrew J. Felton, Qiang Yu, Hongyi Wang, Hongxiang Zhang, Zhengwen Wang, Xingguo Han, Scott L. Collins, Alan K. Knapp This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Global climate change is expected to increase rainfall variability, potentially increasing the frequency of extreme droughts during this century. Intensified drought will impact ecosystem … Continue reading Variable responses of seed traits to extreme drought do not preclude their strong relationships with drought sensitivity

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

The effect of temperature on performance changes predictably with elevation in a lizard

Rory S. Telemeco, Eric J. Gangloff, G. Antonio Cordero, Essie M. Rodgers, Fabien Aubret This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Unlike mammals and birds, the body temperature of most animals varies with their environment. The body temperatures they experience affects all aspects of their biology, from growth and development, to digestion, to running. Typically, … Continue reading The effect of temperature on performance changes predictably with elevation in a lizard

A hidden cost of climate change? Cold weather increases the sensitivity of birds to future challenges

Maren N. Vitousek, Jennifer L. Houtz, Monique A. Pipkin, David A. Chang van Oordt, Kelly K. Hallinger, Jennifer J. Uehling, Cedric Zimmer, Conor C. Taff This a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article that can be found here. Despite the rise in global temperatures, some populations and species have also begun to experience more frequent or more extreme cold weather. This can … Continue reading A hidden cost of climate change? Cold weather increases the sensitivity of birds to future challenges

How an alpine plant species responds to temperature stress depends on the type of trait and life stage

Pieter A. Arnold, Shuo Wang, Alexandra A. Catling, Loeske E. B. Kruuk, Adrienne B. Nicotra This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. Understanding how plants can respond to temperature stress is increasingly important as the climate changes, particularly in alpine ecosystems where rates of changes are occurring faster. The ability of a plant to change the expression of its traits … Continue reading How an alpine plant species responds to temperature stress depends on the type of trait and life stage

Why do fence lizards bask in the sun? Turns out, it’s not just to warm up!

Dane A. Conley, Matthew S. Lattanzio This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. In nature, many lizards spend the day moving between sun and shade, behaviours we always thought were driven just by temperature. However, sunlight provides more than just warmth, it also provides exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. As humans, we often relate UV … Continue reading Why do fence lizards bask in the sun? Turns out, it’s not just to warm up!

Can ants optimise their wax layer for two needs at the same time?

Marti Wittke, Lucas Baumgart, Florian Menzel This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which can be found here. All terrestrial animals must protect themselves against water loss. Insects do this with a waxy layer on their body. It consists of dozens of compounds – which is why biologists can use it to easily distinguish even closely related species. In social … Continue reading Can ants optimise their wax layer for two needs at the same time?

Food web thermal responses is influenced by differences in temperature response – or thermal asymmetries – between predators and prey

Jean P. Gibert, John M. Grady, Anthony I. Dell This is a plain language summary of a Functional Ecology research article which is published here. Understanding how networks of species and their feeding interactions – or food webs – may respond to increasing temperature associated with global climate change is a pressing goal of ecology. These complex networks are composed of a multitude of organisms, … Continue reading Food web thermal responses is influenced by differences in temperature response – or thermal asymmetries – between predators and prey