Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hot off the presses! Jul 01 Ecol Evol

The Jul 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(7):i (2011)
  • Research on invasive-plant traits tells us a lot
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):317 (2011)
  • Don't be fooled by a name: a reply to Thompson and Davis
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):318 (2011)
  • Let the right one in: reply to Hulme et al. and van Kleunen et al.
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):319 (2011)
  • Behavioural ecology is not an endangered discipline
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):320-321 (2011)
  • Behavioural ecology cannot profit from unstructured environmental change
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):321-322 (2011)
  • The beauty of collective behaviour
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):322-323 (2011)
  • Microbes take center stage on the coral reef
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):323-324 (2011)
  • Group selection and kin selection: formally equivalent approaches
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):325-332 (2011)
    Inclusive fitness theory, summarised in Hamilton's rule, is a dominant explanation for the evolution of social behaviour. A parallel thread of evolutionary theory holds that selection between groups is also a candidate explanation for social evolution. The mathematical equivalence of these two approaches has long been known. Several recent papers, however, have objected that inclusive fitness theory is unable to deal with strong selection or with non-additive fitness effects, and concluded that the group selection framework is more general, or even that the two are not equivalent after all. Yet, these same problems have already been identified and resolved in the literature. Here, I survey these contemporary objections, and examine them in the light of current understanding of inclusive fitness theory.
  • A proposed unified framework for biological invasions
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):333-339 (2011)
    There has been a dramatic growth in research on biological invasions over the past 20 years, but a mature understanding of the field has been hampered because invasion biologists concerned with different taxa and different environments have largely adopted different model frameworks for the invasion process, resulting in a confusing range of concepts, terms and definitions. In this review, we propose a unified framework for biological invasions that reconciles and integrates the key features of the most commonly used invasion frameworks into a single conceptual model that can be applied to all human-mediated invasions. The unified framework combines previous stage-based and barrier models, and provides a terminology and categorisation for populations at different points in the invasion process.
  • The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography at Age Ten
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):340-348 (2011)
    A decade has now passed since Hubbell published The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography. Neutral theory highlights the importance of dispersal limitation, speciation and ecological drift in the natural world and provides quantitative null models for assessing the role of adaptation and natural selection. Significant advances have been made in providing methods for understanding neutral predictions and comparing them with empirical data. In this review, we describe the current state-of-the-art techniques and ideas in neutral theory and how these are of relevance to ecology. The future of neutral theory is promising, but its concepts must be applied more broadly beyond the current focus on species–abundance distributions.
  • Red Queen: from populations to taxa and communities
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):349-358 (2011)
    Biotic interactions via the struggle for control of energy and the interactive effects of biota with their physical environment characterize Van Valen's Red Queen (VRQ). Here, we review new evidence for and against a VRQ view of the world from studies of increasing temporal and spatial scales. Interactions among biota and with the physical environment are important for generating and maintaining diversity on diverse timescales, but detailed mechanisms remain poorly understood. We recommend directly estimating the effect of biota and the physical environment on ecological and evolutionary processes. Promising approaches for elucidating VRQ include using mathematical modelling, controlled experimental systems, sampling and processes-oriented approaches for analysing data from natural systems, while paying extra attention to biotic interactions discernable from the fossil record.
  • Obtaining snapshots of genetic variation using hemiclonal analysis
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):359-368 (2011)
    Hemiclones are naturally occurring or artificially produced individuals that share a single specific genetic haplotype. Natural hemiclones are produced via hybridization between two closely related species, whereas hemiclonal analysis in Drosophila is carried out in the laboratory via crosses with artificially created 'clone-generator' females with a specific genetic make-up. Hemiclonal analysis in Drosophila has been applied successfully to date to obtain measures of standing genetic variation for numerous traits. Here, we review the current hemiclonal literature and suggest future directions for hemiclonal research, including its application in molecular and genomic studies, and the adaptation of natural hemiclonal systems to carry out Drosophila-type studies of standing genetic variation.
  • Interactive robots in experimental biology
    - Ecol Evol 26(7):369-375 (2011)
    Interactive robots have the potential to revolutionise the study of social behaviour because they provide several methodological advances. In interactions with live animals, the behaviour of robots can be standardised, morphology and behaviour can be decoupled (so that different morphologies and behavioural strategies can be combined), behaviour can be manipulated in complex interaction sequences and models of behaviour can be embodied by the robot and thereby be tested. Furthermore, robots can be used as demonstrators in experiments on social learning. As we discuss here, the opportunities that robots create for new experimental approaches have far-reaching consequences for research in fields such as mate choice, cooperation, social learning, personality studies and collective behaviour.

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