Monday, September 12, 2011

Hot off the presses! Sep 01 Trends Ecol Evol

The Sep 01 issue of the Trends Ecol Evol is now up on Pubget (About Trends 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
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):i (2011)
  • The biodiversity benefits of botanic gardens
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):433 (2011)
  • Botanic garden benefits do not repudiate risks: a reply to Sharrock et al.
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):434-435 (2011)
  • When are genes ‘leaders’ or ‘followers’ in evolution?
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):435-436 (2011)
  • The evolution of novel cues for ancestral phenotypes
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):436-437 (2011)
  • Optimal diving models: their development and critique requires accurate physiological understanding
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):437-438 (2011)
  • Optimal diving: physiology is not the issue
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):438-439 (2011)
  • Inclusive fitness at all levels
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):440 (2011)
  • Management strategy evaluation: a powerful tool for conservation?
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):441-447 (2011)
    The poor management of natural resources has led in many cases to the decline and extirpation of populations. Recent advances in fisheries science could revolutionize management of harvested stocks by evaluating management scenarios in a virtual world by including stakeholders and by assessing its robustness to uncertainty. These advances have been synthesized into a framework, management strategy evaluation (MSE), which has hitherto not been used in terrestrial conservation. We review the potential of MSE to transform terrestrial conservation, emphasizing that the behavior of individual harvesters must be included because harvester compliance with management rules has been a major challenge in conservation. Incorporating resource user decision-making required to make MSEs relevant to terrestrial conservation will also advance fisheries science.
  • The complex analytical landscape of gene flow inference
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):448-456 (2011)
    Gene flow estimation is essential for characterizing local adaptation, speciation potential and connectivity among threatened populations. New model-based population genetic methods can resolve complex demographic histories, but many studies in fields such as landscape genetics continue to rely on simple rules of thumb focused on gene flow to explain patterns of spatial differentiation. Here, we show how methods that use gene genealogies can reveal cryptic demographic histories and provide better estimates of gene flow with other parameters that contribute to genetic variation across landscapes and seascapes. We advocate for the expanded use and development of methods that consider spatial differentiation as the product of multiple forces interacting over time, and caution against a routine reliance on post-hoc gene flow interpretations.
  • Thinking inside the box: community-level consequences of stage-structured populations
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):457-466 (2011)
    Ecologists have historically represented consumer窶途esource interactions with boxes and arrows. A key assumption of this conceptualization is that all individuals inside a box are functionally equivalent. Demographic stage structure, however, is a widespread source of heterogeneity inside the boxes. Synthesizing recent studies, we show that stage structure can modify the dynamics of consumer窶途esource communities owing to stage-related shifts in the nature and strength of interactions that occur within and between populations. As a consequence, stage structure can stabilize consumer窶途esource dynamics, create possibilities for alternative community states, modify conditions for coexistence of competitors, and alter the strength and direction of trophic cascades. Consideration of stage structure can thus lead to outcomes that are not expected based on unstructured approaches.
  • Quick-change artists: male plastic behavioural responses to rivals
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):467-473 (2011)
    Behavioural plasticity allows animals to attune their behaviour to rapid environmental changes. Here we focus on plasticity in male mating behaviour in response to socio窶都exual conditions. We discuss existing theory, generate predictions to facilitate exploration of the benefits of plastic behaviour, and identify parameters with the highest leverage on fitness. Existing data are synthesised to assess whether plasticity occurs pre- and post-copulation, to determine the direction of changes in behaviour, and to examine if plastic behaviour is fully flexible. We find that plasticity in males is widespread and not dominated by responses that occur pre- or post-copulation. Our synthesis also highlights areas that are underexplored, such as the limited data on the ultimate fitness consequences of such plastic behaviour.
  • Does conservation on farmland contribute to halting the biodiversity decline?
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):474-481 (2011)
    Biodiversity continues to decline, despite the implementation of international conservation conventions and measures. To counteract biodiversity loss, it is pivotal to know how conservation actions affect biodiversity trends. Focussing on European farmland species, we review what is known about the impact of conservation initiatives on biodiversity. We argue that the effects of conservation are a function of conservation-induced ecological contrast, agricultural land-use intensity and landscape context. We find that, to date, only a few studies have linked local conservation effects to national biodiversity trends. It is therefore unknown how the extensive European agri-environmental budget for conservation on farmland contributes to the policy objectives to halt biodiversity decline. Based on this review, we identify new research directions addressing this important knowledge gap.
  • Empirical approaches to metacommunities: a review and comparison with theory
    - Trends Ecol Evol 26(9):482-491 (2011)
    Metacommunity theory has advanced understanding of how spatial dynamics and local interactions shape community structure and biodiversity. Here, we review empirical approaches to metacommunities, both observational and experimental, pertaining to how well they relate to and test theoretical metacommunity paradigms and how well they capture the realities of natural ecosystems. First, we show that the species-sorting and mass-effects paradigms are the most commonly tested and supported paradigms. Second, the dynamics observed can often be ascribed to two or more of the four non-exclusive paradigms. Third, empirical approaches relate only weakly to the concise assumptions and predictions made by the paradigms. Consequently, we suggest major avenues of improvement for empirical metacommunity approaches, including the integration across theoretical approaches and the incorporation of evolutionary and meta-ecosystem dynamics. We hope for metacommunity ecology to thereby brid! ge existing gaps between empirical and theoretical work, thus becoming a more powerful framework to understand dynamics across ecosystems.

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