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Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 102 Issue 2

March 2014

Volume 102, Issue 2

Pages 269–554

  1. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
    1. Special Feature – Editorial

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    2. Special Feature – Forum

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    3. Special Feature – Essay Reviews

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      Ecological and evolutionary lability of plant traits affecting carbon and nutrient cycling (pages 302–314)

      Lisa A. Donovan, Chase M. Mason, Alan W. Bowsher, Eric W. Goolsby and Caitlin D. A. Ishibashi

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12193

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      We recommend using data from selected natural populations to model effects of leaf N and LMA on decomposition, while using data from common garden experiments to determine evolutionary lability and thus inform potential for evolutionary change. If the high evolutionary lability of traits demonstrated for Helianthus is found for other important genera, this would suggest that these key ecophysiological traits are likely to respond to the selective pressures of global climate and land-use change.

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      A phenotypic plasticity framework for assessing intraspecific variation in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal traits (pages 315–327)

      Jocelyn E. Behm and E. Toby Kiers

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12194

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      Characterizing the depth and range of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal trait variation is essential for predicting responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental changes, as well as understanding past and future fungal trait evolutionary trajectories in the Tree of Life. Here, we present an experimental framework for characterizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal trait variation.

    5. Special Feature – Standard Papers

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      Leaf life span and the leaf economic spectrum in the context of whole plant architecture (pages 328–336)

      Erika J. Edwards, David S. Chatelet, Lawren Sack and Michael J. Donoghue

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12209

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      Plants may recover the cost of their leaves early in the growing season, allowing leaf life span (LLS) to vary independently of the plant carbon budget and the leaf economic spectrum (LES). In deciduous species, LLS may be strongly influenced by whole plant architecture, which, in Viburnum, is evolutionarily conserved. In general, positive area-based LES trait relationships will limit the relevance of LLS to this spectrum and allow LLS to vary for reasons that are not directly related to carbon economy.

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      Understanding the ecosystem implications of the angiosperm rise to dominance: leaf litter decomposability among magnoliids and other basal angiosperms (pages 337–344)

      Guofang Liu, William K. Cornwell, Xu Pan, Kunfang Cao, Xuehua Ye, Zhenying Huang, Ming Dong and Johannes H. C. Cornelissen

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12192

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      Understanding the ecosystem-level effects of the angiosperm rise to dominance is a crucial goal. Our results indicated that among generally slow-decomposing magnoliid lineages, only the Piperales have fast decomposition rate associated with small plant statures. Thus, it is unlikely that early magnoliid trees were both forest canopy dominants and produced resource acquisitive leaves turning into fast decomposable litter during the evolutionary history of angiosperms.

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      Functional distinctiveness of major plant lineages (pages 345–356)

      William K. Cornwell, Mark Westoby, Daniel S. Falster, Richard G. FitzJohn, Brian C. O'Meara, Matthew W. Pennell, Daniel J. McGlinn, Jonathan M. Eastman, Angela T. Moles, Peter B. Reich, David C. Tank, Ian J. Wright, Lonnie Aarssen, Jeremy M. Beaulieu, Robert M. Kooyman, Michelle R. Leishman, Eliot T. Miller, Ülo Niinemets, Jacek Oleksyn, Alejandro Ordonez, Dana L. Royer, Stephen A. Smith, Peter F. Stevens, Laura Warman, Peter Wilf and Amy E. Zanne

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12208

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      This analysis provides a shortlist of the most distinctive trait–lineage combinations along with their geographic and climatic context: a global view of extant functional diversity across the tips of the vascular plant phylogeny.

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      Nutrient enrichment and local competition influence the evolution of plant mineralization strategy: a modelling approach (pages 357–366)

      Sébastien Barot, Stefan Bornhofen, Nicolas Loeuille, Nazia Perveen, Tanvir Shahzad and Sébastien Fontaine

      Article first published online: 19 FEB 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12200

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      Our results suggest that plant mineralization strategy may evolve provided that the mineral resource is not fully shared by all individuals. Such an evolution modifies soil capacity to store organic carbon thereby being relevant in the context of the current climate change and global nutrient enrichment. Indeed, our model shows that evolutionary feedbacks of plants to nutrient enrichment are likely to differ from purely ecological feedbacks.

  2. Palaeoecology and land-use history

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
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      Millennial stocks and fluxes of large woody debris in lakes of the North American taiga (pages 367–380)

      Fabio Gennaretti, Dominique Arseneault and Yves Bégin

      Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12198

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      Interactions between riparian forest and aquatic ecosystems in northern boreal regions are strongly influenced by wildfires whose effects can last for centuries due to the slow decomposition of large woody debris (LWD). Using dendrochronology, we reconstructed the millennial dynamics of LWD in five boreal lakes. Present-day LWD stocks and carbon pools are a legacy of the past fire history.

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      Historical range of fire frequency is not the Achilles' heel of the Corsican black pine ecosystem (pages 381–395)

      Bérangère Leys, Walter Finsinger and Christopher Carcaillet

      Article first published online: 7 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12207

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      Corsican black pine and fires were present since 13 200 cal. years bp at least on the island prior to the arrival of prehistoric humans. The long-term records also show that P. laricio woodlands were mixed with deciduous broadleaf trees, and other needleleaf trees, and were not influenced by changes in fire frequency. We conclude that (i) fire is a natural component of the ecosystem and that (ii) fires likely played an important ecological role in the functioning of the Corsican black pine woodland ecosystem.

  3. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
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      Foliar nutrient concentrations and resorption efficiency in plants of contrasting nutrient-acquisition strategies along a 2-million-year dune chronosequence (pages 396–410)

      Patrick Hayes, Benjamin L. Turner, Hans Lambers and Etienne Laliberté

      Article first published online: 10 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12196

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      Foliar nutrient concentrations and resorption efficiencies across a >2-million-year dune chronosequence suggest a shift from nitrogen to phosphorus limitation of productivity during long-term pedogenesis. Leaf manganese accumulation in non-mycorrhizal plants likely reflects carboxylate release for phosphorus acquisition. Our results show a strong effect of nutrient availability on nutrient-use efficiency and reveal considerable differences among plants of contrasting nutrient-acquisition strategies.

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      Secondary metabolites of Pinus halepensis alter decomposer organisms and litter decomposition during afforestation of abandoned agricultural zones (pages 411–424)

      Mathilde Chomel, Catherine Fernandez, Anne Bousquet-Mélou, Charles Gers, Yogan Monnier, Mathieu Santonja, Thierry Gauquelin, Raphael Gros, Caroline Lecareux and Virginie Baldy

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12205

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      Through secondary succession, abandoned agricultural lands in Mediterranean basin are colonized by pioneer plant such as Pinus halepensis. This species is known to be a major producer of secondary metabolites. This study showed effects of these secondary metabolites in the brown food chain: phenolics (e.g. caffeic acid) are drivers of litter decomposition in three stages of Pine secondary succession.

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      Determinants of root-associated fungal communities within Asteraceae in a semi-arid grassland (pages 425–436)

      Jeannine Wehner, Jeff R. Powell, Ludo A. H. Muller, Tancredi Caruso, Stavros D. Veresoglou, Stefan Hempel and Matthias C. Rillig

      Article first published online: 11 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12197

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      The results show that the phylogenetic relationship of host plants is the most important predictor of root-associated fungal community assembly, indicating that fungal colonization of host plants might be facilitated by certain plant traits that may be shared among closely related plant species.

  4. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
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      Interactive effects of landscape history and current management on dispersal trait diversity in grassland plant communities (pages 437–446)

      Oliver Purschke, Martin T. Sykes, Peter Poschlod, Stefan G. Michalski, Christine Römermann, Walter Durka, Ingolf Kühn and Honor C. Prentice

      Article first published online: 18 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12199

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      Interactions between landscape history and current management are a major determinant of the diversity of dispersal and persistence strategies within grassland plant communities. The ability of within-site management to buffer communities, and their associated functions, against habitat fragmentation is likely to be influenced by the historical landscape-context of a site.

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      Functional diversity supports the physiological tolerance hypothesis for plant species richness along climatic gradients (pages 447–455)

      Marko J. Spasojevic, James B. Grace, Susan Harrison and Ellen I. Damschen

      Article first published online: 8 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12204

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      Our results provide trait-based support for the physiological tolerance hypothesis, suggesting that benign climates support more species because they allow for a wider range of functional strategies.

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      Evidence from the real world: 15N natural abundances reveal enhanced nitrogen use at high plant diversity in Central European grasslands (pages 456–465)

      Till Kleinebecker, Norbert Hölzel, Daniel Prati, Barbara Schmitt, Markus Fischer and Valentin H. Klaus

      Article first published online: 14 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12202

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      Our results provide strong evidence that the mechanism of complementary resource utilization operates in real-world grasslands where multiple external factors affect nitrogen dynamics. Although single species may differ in effect size, actively increasing total plant diversity in grasslands could be an option to more effectively use nitrogen resources and to reduce the negative environmental impacts of nitrogen losses.

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      Species richness of limestone grasslands increases with trait overlap: evidence from within- and between-species functional diversity partitioning (pages 466–474)

      Yoann Le Bagousse-Pinguet, Francesco de Bello, Marie Vandewalle, Jan Leps and Martin T. Sykes

      Article first published online: 23 DEC 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12201

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      Our results provide evidence that increasing the trait overlap between species, due to an increase in within-species diversity, may relate to greater species coexistence. Disentangling multiple functional diversity components indicated that there may be equalizing mechanisms that act as potential drivers of species coexistence. In addition, it suggests the possibility that this approach may provide a better understanding of the processes involved in the structure of plant communities.

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      Functional attributes change but functional richness is unchanged after fragmentation of Brazilian Atlantic forests (pages 475–485)

      Luiz Fernando S. Magnago, David P. Edwards, Felicity A. Edwards, Ainhoa Magrach, Sebastião V. Martins and William F. Laurance

      Article first published online: 15 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12206

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      What are the impacts of forest fragmentation on the functioning of tree communities within Tropical Atlantic Forest? We show that at fragment edges there is severe change in the tree community and resulting degradation of the ecosystem functions played by trees compared to fragment interiors. However, the interiors of even small fragments can contain important biodiversity, ecosystem functions, and carbon stores, offering potential opportunities for carbon and biodiversity co-benefits by protecting fragments under global carbon markets.

  5. Plant–animal interactions

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
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      Competition as a mechanism structuring mutualisms (pages 486–495)

      Robert J. Warren II, Itamar Giladi and Mark A. Bradford

      Article first published online: 13 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12203

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      Ecological interactions are often treated as either positive or negative, but our data blur this distinction by revealing that a positive interaction (mutualism) might be structured by a negative interaction (competition). Moreover, the recognition of biotic resources as critical niche requirements blurs the classic dichotomy between the fundamental (abiotic) versus realized (biotic limited) niche.

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      Plant size and reproductive state affect the quantity and quality of rewards to animal mutualists (pages 496–507)

      Tom E. X. Miller

      Article first published online: 14 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12210

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      This study provides a thorough examination of how plant investment in biotic defence varies over the life cycle. Explicit consideration of plant demography may enhance understanding of ant–plant mutualisms. Populations of long-lived plants are demographically heterogeneous, spanning sizes and reproductive states. The rewards offered to animal mutualists can track demographic heterogeneity with consequences for plant defence and the dynamics of multispecies mutualisms.

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      Effects of experimental warming on nitrogen concentration and biomass of forage plants for an arctic herbivore (pages 508–517)

      Madeleine Doiron, Gilles Gauthier and Esther Lévesque

      Article first published online: 17 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12213

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      Although experimental warming increases the biomass of arctic graminoid plants, it also accelerates the seasonal decline in nitrogen concentration (up to 14% less nitrogen in July). Because young herbivores like geese are highly sensitive to the nitrogen concentration of their food plants, climate warming may have a negative impact on herbivores by reducing the nutritive quality of their summer forage.

  6. Plant population and community dynamics

    1. Top of page
    2. SPECIAL FEATURE: THE TREE OF LIFE IN ECOSYSTEMS: EVOLUTION OF PLANT EFFECTS ON CARBON AND NUTRIENT CYCLING
    3. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    4. Plant–soil (below-ground) interactions
    5. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    6. Plant–animal interactions
    7. Plant population and community dynamics
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      Geographic distance is more relevant than elevation to patterns of outbreeding in Ranunculus bulbosus (pages 518–530)

      Philippe Matter, Chris J. Kettle, Esther R. Frei, Jaboury Ghazoul and Andrea R. Pluess

      Article first published online: 17 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12214

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      Our results indicate that compared to gene flow at regional scales, gene flow across elevational gradients has a minor effect on Ranunculus bulbosus. The lack of outbreeding depression suggests that potentially adaptive genes might well be integrated across populations resulting in an increased resilience of Ranunculus bulbosus and potentially similar montane plant species in changing climatic conditions.

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      When should plant population models include age structure? (pages 531–543)

      Chengjin Chu and Peter B. Adler

      Article first published online: 17 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12212

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      The assumption in most population models that age can be safely ignored has not been rigorously tested. Our work indicates that including age structure in models is most important for populations with strong Type III survivorship curves. For such populations, which are likely to contain high individual heterogeneity, models that ignore age could underestimate population growth rates and equilibrium cover.

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      Probabilistic and spatially variable niches inferred from demography (pages 544–554)

      Jeffrey M. Diez, Itamar Giladi, Robert Warren and H. Ronald Pulliam

      Article first published online: 15 JAN 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12215

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      The relationships between species distributions and demographic performance underlie basic niche theory and have important implications for predicting responses to a changing environment. The complexities of these relationships will require approaches that can encapsulate what we know in probabilistic terms and allow for spatially varying.

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