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Megafauna and ecosystem functions: learning from the giants

By Yadvinder Mahli

We live in the shadows of lost giants. Until relatively recently almost every major vegetated land area on Earth possessed an abundance of large animals that we now only associate with African game parks. Mesmerizing early art shows how much these...

Scared of a ghost: Why Newfoundland caribou migrate despite the disappearance of their historic predator

By Guillaume Bastille-Rousseau 

 

Migration in animals is one of the most spectacular biological phenomena on the planet. Theory predicts that, to evolve, the benefits of migration (in terms of lifetime reproductive success) should outweigh the costs of moving...

Wind dispersal results in a gradient of dispersal limitation and environmental match among discrete aquatic habitats

by Zsófia Horváth, Csaba F. Vad, Robert Ptacnik

 

The Seewinkel region lies on the bordering lowland area between eastern Austria and western Hungary. It has sodic soil and several extremely shallow (<1 m) aquatic habitats, so-called soda pans were formed in...

The introductions of non-native fish species affect the isotopic structure of recipient communities across the globe

by Julien Cucherousset

EDITOR*S CHOICE OCTOBER 2015

Multiple anthropogenic pressures including the widespread introduction of non-native species threaten biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Non-native species have been reported to induce ecological impacts...

Faster (and exact) phylogenetic diversity computations in R

By Constantinos Tsirogiannis and Brody Sandel

Some species assemblages represent a narrow section of the tree of life, while others include a broader swath. This difference can be quantified with phylogenetic diversity measures, which describe the diversity of an...

What determines Komodo dragon survival?

A Komodo dragon walks on the beach in Komodo National Park, Indonesia. (Photograph by Achmad Ariefiandy).

 

By Tim Jessop, Deni Purwandana, Achmad Ariefiandy and Claudio Ciofi.

 

Across islands, animals may experience marked local environmental...

There is strength in diversity!

Among individual variation exemplified by alternative colour morphs of the pygmy grasshopper Tetrix subulata (photograph by Anders Forsman).

 

by Anders Forsman and Lena Wennersten

A better understanding of the causes and consequences of the...

Modelling unicorns to improve our capacity to accurately model real species

Modelled distribution of a unicorn whose dispersal was limited to Great Britain and Ireland. Illustration SNGT.

In 1990, Stuart H. Hurlbert analysed the “Spatial Distribution of...

Geographical distribution, climatic variability and thermo-tolerance of Chagas disease vectors

A fifth-instar nymph of the blood-sucking bug Triatoma infestans placed inside the respirometry chamber (photograph by Diana Martinez Llaser).

by Gerardo J. de la Vega and Pablo E. Schilman

Several climate-based hypotheses have been proposed to...

Do ecological contrasts explain the effectiveness of conservation management?

Photo of common linnet (Linaria cannabina) photographed at Sallandse Heuvelrug, the Netherlands by J. Swiebe (waarneming.nl).

by Martijn Hammers

Some conservation programs are more successful than others, but we still have little understanding why...

How can different species distribution models be combined?

Favourability models combining different factors in mainland Spain of four representative species: Chioglossa lusitanica, Iberolacerta cyreni, Pterocles orientalis, and Galemys pyrenaicus (favourability ranges from 0 to 1). Five alternative methodological...

Stressful climate reduces species richness, but not the diversity of tree strategies

Figure 1. Shifts in tree strategies along precipitation and temperature gradient in western USA. From left to right: Saguaro cacti (Carnegiea gigantea) in Arizona desert; cottonwoods (Populus fremontii) in Escalante (Utah);  redwoods (Sequoia...

What drives treeline elevation on islands?

Global distribution of oceanic island treelines (red), continental island treelines (blue) vs mainland treelines (grey). While the mainland treelines are characterized by a subtropical double-hump, island treelines produce a single hump in the tropics and are substantially...

Climate change and the lasting legacy of old vegetation plots

Figure 1. The eastern flank of Mont St-Joseph, in Parc national du Mont Mégantic, Québec. This photo was taken in spring, while deciduous trees (mostly sugar maple) were just leafing out (light green at low elevation). The dark green at high elevation is boreal forest,...

Herbivore damage increases avian and ant predation of caterpillars on trees along a complete elevational forest gradient in Papua New Guinea

Figure 1. Mt Wilhelm (4509 m a.s.l.; the highest peak of Papua New Guinea) hosts one the most complete and largely undisturbed forest elevational gradient in tropics. Here I took photograph of the upper part of the gradient, from 2000 m to the summit of Mt Wilhelm with its...

Using basic plant traits to predict ungulate seed dispersal potential

Poacae species germinating from roe deer dung in the wild. Photo by Christophe Baltzinger.

 

By Christophe Baltzinger and Aurélie Albert

Zoochory is a fundamental plant-animal interaction but, today, habitat fragmentation is decreasing gene flow...

Living on the drifting sea ice: polar bears walk on a food conveyor belt

Figure caption: Polar bears travel and hunt on the sea ice, a platform that can drift many kilometers per day. To understand their home range, and that of other marine species, we need to account for drift. Photo by Andrew Derocher

 

By Marie Auger-Méthé...

Increasing temperature may compensate for lower amounts of dead wood in driving richness of saproxylic beetles

Dicerca berolinensis favors sun exposed dead wood of European beech.

By Joerg Muller

Saproxylic insects are strongly influenced by temperature but also require specific dead wood features, and thus interaction between the two factors is likely....

Local human impacts decouple natural biophysical relationships on Pacific coral reefs

Remote coral reefs of the Pacific Ocean. Remote, uninhabited reefs such as these give us a glimpse into the natural structuring forces of ecological communities in a world without humans and highlight the important fact that not all coral reefs look the same. Natural...

Niche models and translocation experiments: do they predict different responses to climate change?

A metapopulation model had three stages: seeds, rosettes, and juveniles. The model included vital rates of Carlina vulgaris individuals when grown in their home territory. To incorporate responses of life history traits to climate change, these rates were altered...
 

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