Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jun 01 Ecol Evol

The Jun 01 issue of the Ecol Evol is now up on Pubget (About Ecol Evol): 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
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):i (2011)
  • Illegal fishing and the organized crime analogy
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):261-262 (2011)
  • Gender differences in science: no support for the 'Homer Simpson Effect' among tropical researchers
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):262-263 (2011)
  • Putting dark diversity in the spotlight
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):263-264 (2011)
  • Dark diversity: adding the grey
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):264-265 (2011)
  • Discerning the niche of dark diversity
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):265-266 (2011)
  • Please sirs, can we have some more?
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):267 (2011)
  • Democratic decision-making by the hive mind
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):268-269 (2011)
  • Frontiers in climate change–disease research
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):270-277 (2011)
    The notion that climate change will generally increase human and wildlife diseases has garnered considerable public attention, but remains controversial and seems inconsistent with the expectation that climate change will also cause parasite extinctions. In this review, we highlight the frontiers in climate change–infectious disease research by reviewing knowledge gaps that make this controversy difficult to resolve. We suggest that forecasts of climate-change impacts on disease can be improved by more interdisciplinary collaborations, better linking of data and models, addressing confounding variables and context dependencies, and applying metabolic theory to host–parasite systems with consideration of community-level interactions and functional traits. Finally, although we emphasize host–parasite interactions, we also highlight the applicability of these points to climate-change effects on species interactions in general.
  • Aquatic systems: maintaining, mixing and mobilising antimicrobial resistance?
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):278-284 (2011)
    Bacteria showing antimicrobial resistance (AMR) pose a significant global healthcare problem. Although many mechanisms conferring AMR are understood, the ecological processes facilitating its persistence and spread are less well characterised. Aquatic systems represent an important milieu for the environmental release, mixing, persistence and spread of AMR bacteria and resistance genes associated with horizontally transferable genetic elements. Additionally, owing to the use and discharge of antimicrobials and biocides, and the accumulation and abundance of other pollutants, mechanisms that confer AMR might evolve in aquatic systems. In this review, we hypothesise that aquatic systems have an important ecological and evolutionary role in driving the persistence, emergence and spread of AMR, which could have consequences when attempting to reduce its occurrence in clinical settings.
  • Declining body size: a third universal response to warming?
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):285-291 (2011)
    A recently documented correlate of anthropogenic climate change involves reductions in body size, the nature and scale of the pattern leading to suggestions of a third universal response to climate warming. Because body size affects thermoregulation and energetics, changing body size has implications for resilience in the face of climate change. A review of recent studies shows heterogeneity in the magnitude and direction of size responses, exposing a need for large-scale phylogenetically controlled comparative analyses of temporal size change. Integrative analyses of museum data combined with new theoretical models of size-dependent thermoregulatory and metabolic responses will increase both understanding of the underlying mechanisms and physiological consequences of size shifts and, therefore, the ability to predict the sensitivities of species to climate change.
  • Assessing models of optimal diving
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):292-297 (2011)
    Many birds and mammals forage under water and have to return to the surface to breathe. Models of optimal diving attempt to explain the behaviour of such animals in terms of selection for successful foraging given the constraints imposed by physiology. Several recent papers have questioned the accuracy of both the assumptions and the predictions of these models. Here, I provide a critical review of these papers, arguing that they misrepresent both the models and the data. As a result, they focus on inappropriate tests. I use the debate to suggest various new models and to explore the general relationship between theory and data in behavioural ecology. In particular, I consider the merits of qualitative and quantitative predictions.
  • Adaptation in the age of ecological genomics: insights from parallelism and convergence
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):298-306 (2011)
    Parallel phenotypic diversification in closely related species is a rigorous framework for testing the role of natural selection in evolution. Do parallel phenotypes always diversify by parallel genetic bases or does selection pave many alternative genomic routes to the same phenotypic ends? In this review, we show that the advent of next-generation sequencing technologies and the growing use of genomic approaches make it increasingly feasible to answer these fundamental questions using ecological and evolutionary 'non-model' populations of vertebrates in nature. While it is generally expected, and often observed, that closely related populations or species have parallel genetic bases to parallel phenotypes, exceptions are not rare and show that alternative genetic routes can result in similar phenotypes. Ultimately, this framework may illuminate the ecological conditions, evolutionary histories and genetic architectures that result in recurrent phenotypes and rapi! d adaptation.
  • Minimum viable populations: is there a 'magic number' for conservation practitioners?
    - Ecol Evol 26(6):307-316 (2011)
    Establishing species conservation priorities and recovery goals is often enhanced by extinction risk estimates. The need to set goals, even in data-deficient situations, has prompted researchers to ask whether general guidelines could replace individual estimates of extinction risk. To inform conservation policy, recent studies have revived the concept of the minimum viable population (MVP), the population size required to provide some specified probability of persistence for a given period of time. These studies conclude that long-term persistence requires ≥5000 adult individuals, an MVP threshold that is unaffected by taxonomy, life history or environmental conditions. Here, we re-evaluate this suggestion. We find that neither data nor theory supports its general applicability, raising questions about the utility of MVPs for conservation planning.

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