Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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

The Apr 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(4):i (2011)
  • Natural history collections as sources of long-term datasets
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):153-154 (2011)
    In the otherwise excellent special issue of Trends in Ecology and Evolution on long-term ecological research (TREE 25(10), 2010), none of the contributors mentioned the importance of natural history collections (NHCs) as sources of data that can strongly complement past and ongoing survey data. Whereas very few field surveys have operated for more than a few decades, NHCs, conserved in museums and other institutions, comprise samples of the Earth's biota typically extending back well into the nineteenth century and, in some cases, before this time. They therefore span the period of accelerated anthropogenic habitat destruction, climate warming and ocean acidification, in many cases reflecting baseline conditions before the major impact of these factors.
  • The costs of describing the entire animal kingdom
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):154-155 (2011)
  • Why research on traits of invasive plants tells us very little
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):155-156 (2011)
  • Unfortunately, linguistic injustice matters
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):156-157 (2011)
  • Social networking in the world of ants
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):157-158 (2011)
  • Aboveground–belowground interactions: the way forward
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):158-159 (2011)
  • The genes underlying the process of speciation
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):160-167 (2011)
    The long-standing goal of finding genes causing reproductive isolation is being achieved. To better link the genetics with the process of speciation, we propose that 'speciation gene' be defined as any gene contributing to the evolution of reproductive isolation. Characterizing a speciation gene involves establishing that the gene affects a component of reproductive isolation; demonstrating that divergence at the locus occurred before completion of speciation; and quantifying the effect size of the gene (i.e. the increase in total reproductive isolation caused by its divergence). Review of a sample of candidate speciation genes found that few meet these criteria. Improved characterization of speciation genes will clarify how numerous they are, their properties and how they affect genome-wide patterns of divergence.
  • Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):168-174 (2011)
    Increasing evidence highlights the role that botanic gardens might have in plant invasions across the globe. Botanic gardens, often in global biodiversity hotspots, have been implicated in the early cultivation and/or introduction of most environmental weeds listed by IUCN as among the worst invasive species worldwide. Furthermore, most of the popular ornamental species in living collections around the globe have records as alien weeds. Voluntary codes of conduct to prevent the dissemination of invasive plants from botanic gardens have had limited uptake, with few risk assessments undertaken of individual living collections. A stronger global networking of botanic gardens to tackle biological invasions involving public outreach, information sharing and capacity building is a priority to prevent the problems of the past occurring in the future.
  • Peto's Paradox: evolution's prescription for cancer prevention
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):175-182 (2011)
    The evolution of multicellularity required the suppression of cancer. If every cell has some chance of becoming cancerous, large, long-lived organisms should have an increased risk of developing cancer compared with small, short-lived organisms. The lack of correlation between body size and cancer risk is known as Peto's paradox. Animals with 1000 times more cells than humans do not exhibit an increased cancer risk, suggesting that natural mechanisms can suppress cancer 1000 times more effectively than is done in human cells. Because cancer has proven difficult to cure, attention has turned to cancer prevention. In this review, similar to pharmaceutical companies mining natural products, we seek to understand how evolution has suppressed cancer to develop ultimately improved cancer prevention in humans.
  • Why intraspecific trait variation matters in community ecology
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):183-192 (2011)
    Natural populations consist of phenotypically diverse individuals that exhibit variation in their demographic parameters and intra- and inter-specific interactions. Recent experimental work indicates that such variation can have significant ecological effects. However, ecological models typically disregard this variation and focus instead on trait means and total population density. Under what situations is this simplification appropriate? Why might intraspecific variation alter ecological dynamics? In this review we synthesize recent theory and identify six general mechanisms by which trait variation changes the outcome of ecological interactions. These mechanisms include several direct effects of trait variation per se and indirect effects arising from the role of genetic variation in trait evolution.
  • Evolution in structured populations: beyond the kin versus group debate
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):193-201 (2011)
    Much of the literature on social evolution is pervaded by the old debate about the relative merits of kin and group selection. In this debate, the biological interpretation of processes occurring in real populations is often conflated with the mathematical methodology used to describe these processes. Here, we highlight the distinction between the two by placing this discussion within the broader context of evolution in structured populations. In this review we show that the current debate overlooks important aspects of the interplay between genetic and demographic structuring, and argue that a continued focus on the relative merits of kin versus group selection distracts attention from moving the field forward.
  • New paradigms for the evolution of beneficial infections
    - Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26(4):202-209 (2011)
    A longstanding paradigm predicts that microbial parasites and mutualists exhibit disparate evolutionary patterns. Parasites are predicted to promote arms races with hosts, rapid evolution and sexual recombination. By contrast, mutualists have been linked with beneficial coadaptation, evolutionary stasis and asexuality. In this review we discuss the recent surge of molecular data on microbes that are being used to test and reshape these ideas. New analyses reveal that beneficial microbes often share mechanisms of infection and defense with parasites, and can also exhibit rapid evolution and extensive genetic exchange. To explain these patterns, new paradigms must take into account the varied population biology of beneficial microbes, their potential conflicts with hosts, and the mosaic nature of genome evolution that requires locus-based tests to analyze the genetics of host adaptation.

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