Friday, February 18, 2011

Hot off the presses! Mar 01 Trends in Ecology & Evolution

The Mar 01 issue of the Trends in Ecology & Evolution is now up on Pubget (About Trends in Ecology & Evolution): if you're at a subscribing institution, just click the link in the latest link at the home page. (Note you'll only be able to get all the PDFs in the issue if your institution subscribes to Pubget.)

Latest Articles Include:

  • Editorial Board
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):i (2011)
  • A reckoning for reckoning
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):105-106 (2011)
  • Seeing only REDD? A response to Law et al.
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):106-107 (2011)
  • Monitoring decisions: not as simple as they seem?
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):107 (2011)
  • Should we implement monitoring or research for conservation?
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):108-109 (2011)
  • Tortured genius
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):109-110 (2011)
  • Endangered species and a threatened discipline: behavioural ecology
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):111-118 (2011)
    Behavioural ecologists often see little connection between the current conservation crisis and the future of their discipline. This view is myopic because our abilities to investigate and interpret the adaptive significance and evolutionary histories of behaviours are increasingly being compromised in human-dominated landscapes because of species extinctions, habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, and climate change. In this review, we argue that many central issues in behavioural ecology will soon become prohibitively difficult to investigate and interpret, thus impeding the rapid progress that characterizes the field. To address these challenges, behavioural ecologists should design studies not only to answer basic scientific questions but also to provide ancillary information for protection and management of their study organisms and habitats, and then share their biological insights with the applied conservation community.
  • Four opportunities for studies of ecological succession
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):119-123 (2011)
    Lessons learned from the study of ecological succession have much to offer contemporary environmental problem solving but these lessons are being underutilized. As anthropogenic disturbances increase, succession is more relevant than ever. In this review, we suggest that succession is particularly suitable to address concerns about biodiversity loss, climate change, invasive species, and ecological restoration. By incorporating modern experimental techniques and linking results across environmental gradients with meta-analyses, studies of succession can substantially improve our understanding of other ecological phenomena. Succession can help predict changes in biodiversity and ecosystem services impacted by invasive species and climate change and guide manipulative responses to these disruptions by informing restoration efforts. Succession is still a critical, integrative concept that is central to ecology.
  • Dark diversity: shedding light on absent species
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):124-128 (2011)
    Ecological theory and nature conservation have traditionally relied solely on observed local diversity. In this review, we recommend including those species that are absent from an ecosystem but which belong to its species pool; that is, all species in the region that can potentially inhabit those particular ecological conditions. We call the set of absent species 'dark diversity'. Relating local and dark diversities enables biodiversity comparisons between regions, ecosystems and taxonomic groups, and the evaluation of the roles of local and regional processes in ecological communities. Dark diversity can also be used to counteract biodiversity loss and to estimate the restoration potential of ecosystems. We illustrate the dark diversity concept by globally mapping plant dark diversity and the local:dark diversity ratio.
  • Scavenging: how carnivores and carrion structure communities
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):129-135 (2011)
    Recent advances in the ecology of food webs underscore the importance of detritus and indirect predator–prey effects. However, most research considers detritus as an invariable pool and predation as the only interaction between carnivores and prey. Carrion consumption, scavenging, is a type of detrital feeding that should have widespread consequences for the structure and stability of food webs. Providing access to high-quality resources, facultative scavenging is a ubiquitous and phylogenetically widespread strategy. In this review, we argue that scavenging is underestimated by 16-fold in food-web research, producing inflated predation rates and underestimated indirect effects. Furthermore, more energy is generally transferred per link via scavenging than predation. Thus, future food-web research should consider scavenging, especially in light of how major global changes can affect scavengers.
  • Evergreens favored by higher responsiveness to increased CO2
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):136-142 (2011)
    Physical CO2 diffusion from sub-stomatal cavities to the chloroplasts where photosynthesis takes place is an important limitation of photosynthesis largely neglected in research related to global climate change. This limitation is particularly important in leaves with robust structures such as evergreen sclerophylls. In these leaves, photosynthesis is less sensitive to changes in stomatal openness, which is considered to be the primary limitation of photosynthesis. In this review we state that, because of large limitations in internal diffusion in C3 plants, photosynthesis and the intrinsic efficiency of the use of plant water responds more strongly to elevated levels of CO2 in leaves with more robust structures. This provides an additional explanation for the current apparent expansion of evergreen sclerophylls in many Earth ecosystems, and adds a new perspective to research of the biological effects of increasing atmospheric CO2.
  • Genes as leaders and followers in evolution
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(3):143-151 (2011)
    A major question for the study of phenotypic evolution is whether intra- and interspecific diversity originates directly from genetic variation, or instead, as plastic responses to environmental influences initially, followed later by genetic change. In species with discrete alternative phenotypes, evolutionary sequences can be inferred from transitions between environmental and genetic phenotype control, and from losses of phenotypic alternatives. From the available evidence, sequences appear equally probable to start with genetic polymorphism as with polyphenism, with a possible dominance of one or the other for specific trait types. We argue in this review that to evaluate the prevalence of each route, an investigation of both genetic and environmental cues for phenotype determination in several related rather than in isolated species is required.

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