Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 103 Issue 2

March 2015

Volume 103, Issue 2

Pages 281–536

  1. Palaeoecology and land-use history

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Early human impact (5000–3000 BC) affects mountain forest dynamics in the Alps (pages 281–295)

      Christoph Schwörer, Daniele Colombaroli, Petra Kaltenrieder, Fabian Rey and Willy Tinner

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12354

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      Palaeoecological evidence from the Northern Swiss Alps indicates that people used fire to expand pastures at the timberline since the Neolithic (5000 BC). Human impact caused a decline in Abies alba and facilitated the expansion of Picea abies, which dominates today's subalpine forests. Fire and traditional pastoralism have the potential to mitigate the effects of climate change, maintain species-rich high-alpine meadows and prevent biodiversity losses.

  2. Aquatic plant ecology

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Impact of seagrass loss and subsequent revegetation on carbon sequestration and stocks (pages 296–302)

      Núria Marbà, Ariane Arias-Ortiz, Pere Masqué, Gary A. Kendrick, Inés Mazarrasa, Geoff R. Bastyan, Jordi Garcia-Orellana and Carlos M. Duarte

      Article first published online: 9 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12370

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      The results presented here demonstrate that loss of seagrass triggers the erosion of historic carbon deposits and that revegetation effectively restores seagrass carbon sequestration capacity. Thus, conservation and restoration of seagrass meadows are effective strategies for climate change mitigation.

  3. Epidemiology

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. The effectiveness and costs of pathogen resistance strategies in a perennial plant (pages 303–315)

      Hanna Susi and Anna-Liisa Laine

      Article first published online: 31 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12373

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      In perennial plants the costs and benefits of resistance need to be evaluated over multiple years as they may change with plant age. Our results give new insights into how polymorphism in resistance can be maintained through costs of resistance in plant performance and through shifts in resource allocation between vegetative growth and reproduction under infection.

  4. Reproductive ecology

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Simultaneous pulsed flowering in a temperate legume: causes and consequences of multimodality in the shape of floral display schedules (pages 316–327)

      Susana M. Wadgymar, Emily J. Austen, Matthew N. Cumming and Arthur E. Weis

      Article first published online: 9 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12362

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      Researchers should take caution in assuming that components of display schedules are genetically or developmentally correlated with flowering onset. Variation in the shape of display schedules can influence patterns of gene flow within or between populations, with potential effects on the strength of phenological assortative mating and subsequent responses to selection.

    2. Effects of experimentally simulated pollinator decline on recruitment in two European herbs (pages 328–337)

      Rebekka Lundgren, Amparo Lázaro and Ørjan Totland

      Article first published online: 10 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12374

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      We used a novel experimental approach that simulates pollinator decline to assess the effects of pollinator availability on reproduction and recruitment in two Asteraceae species. We show that a large pollinator decline may affect population densities, but only in populations where recruitment is limited by seed production. This highlights the importance of going beyond visitation rates and seed production to study the impact of pollinator decline on plant populations.

  5. Plant-climate interactions

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Environmental heterogeneity leads to higher plasticity in dry-edge populations of a semi-arid Chilean shrub: insights into climate change responses (pages 338–350)

      Ana Lázaro-Nogal, Silvia Matesanz, Alice Godoy, Fernanda Pérez-Trautman, Ernesto Gianoli and Fernando Valladares

      Article first published online: 11 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12372

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      Senna candolleana populations in peripheral, dry-edge populations showed higher plasticity than those from mesic, central ones. These results suggest that higher heterogeneity in the precipitation regime at the dry-edge populations could be selecting for more plastic genotypes. Our results suggest adaptive plasticity since higher levels of phenotypic plasticity were positively associated with plant performance. However, we did not find evidence for genetic variation for plasticity within populations. To the extent that phenotypic plasticity may play a key role in future persistence, populations at mesic sites may be more vulnerable to climate change due to their lower plasticity and their current limitations to evolve novel norms of reaction. Conversely, although S. candolleana populations at the dry edge are exposed to higher levels of stress, they may be less susceptible to climate change in view of their greater plasticity. We highlight the need to consider population differentiation in both mean traits and their plasticity to model realistic scenarios of species distribution under climate change.

    2. Indirect effects of global change accumulate to alter plant diversity but not ecosystem function in alpine tundra (pages 351–360)

      Emily C. Farrer, Isabel W. Ashton, Marko J. Spasojevic, Shiyang Fu, David J. X. Gonzalez and Katharine N. Suding

      Article first published online: 16 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12363

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      Increasing indirect effects on diversity over time indicate that short-term experiments or monitoring of natural systems may underestimate the full magnitude of global change effects on plant communities. Explicitly accounting for changes in dominant plant abundance may be necessary for forecasting plant community response to environmental change. Conversely, weak indirect effects for ecosystem processes suggest that predicting ecosystem function without knowledge of plant responses to global change may be possible.

  6. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Root functional parameters along a land-use gradient: evidence of a community-level economics spectrum (pages 361–373)

      Iván Prieto, Catherine Roumet, Remi Cardinael, Christian Dupraz, Christophe Jourdan, John H. Kim, Jean Luc Maeght, Zhun Mao, Alain Pierret, Noelia Portillo, Olivier Roupsard, Chantanousone Thammahacksa and Alexia Stokes

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12351

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      Using root traits from communities in contrasting climates and land-use types, we demonstrate the existence of a community-root economics spectrum, that is a trade-off in root construction favouring either resource acquisition or conservation operating within different root types (fine, coarse). This suggests that all plant tissues are controlled by similar trade-offs.

    2. Soil fertility induces coordinated responses of multiple independent functional traits (pages 374–385)

      Melissa M. Jager, Sarah J. Richardson, Peter J. Bellingham, Michael J. Clearwater and Daniel C. Laughlin

      Article first published online: 16 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12366

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      Species sorting can occur over short distances in ecosystems where topographically driven variation in soil fertility leads to complete compositional turnover. Inferences about species distributions based on single-trait spectrums can be misleading when environmental gradients sort species by filtering multiple independent traits simultaneously. Identifying the multidimensional trait combinations that promote fitness will advance both theory development and ecological restoration.

    3. Smooth brome invasion increases rare soil bacterial species prevalence, bacterial species richness and evenness (pages 386–396)

      Candace L. Piper, Steven D. Siciliano, Tristrom Winsley and Eric G. Lamb

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12356

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      Here, we show that plant community composition influences bacterial community structure at a very fine scale, but that these changes are not due to altered soil total nitrogen or carbon content. The dominant direct effect of smooth brome invasion on soil communities suggests non-edaphic, that is inter- and intratrophic, interactions among smooth brome and non-bacterial components of the soil ecosystem are key drivers of soil community structure.

  7. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Erosion of beta diversity under interacting global change impacts in a semi-arid grassland (pages 397–407)

      Anu Eskelinen and Susan Harrison

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12360

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      Our findings are a novel demonstration of how interacting global change factors reduce beta diversity by eroding the biotic and abiotic resistances that control community structure along soil fertility gradients.

    2. Edge-mediated compositional and functional decay of tree assemblages in Amazonian forest islands after 26 years of isolation (pages 408–420)

      Maíra Benchimol and Carlos A. Peres

      Article first published online: 30 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12371

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      Following a simultaneous 26-year post-isolation history, we disentangle the effects of habitat loss and insularization on tree assemblages within a large set of Amazonian ‘true’ forest islands, of variable sizes, sharing a uniform open-water matrix. Area effects are expressed via a response to edge effects, with trees in smaller islands being more vulnerable to edge-related surface fires and wind-throws. Additionally, forest edge effects can be a powerful driver of non-random floristic transitions across islands within the Balbina archipelago via a process of rapid pioneer proliferation, drastically affecting both the taxonomic and functional composition of insular tree communities. Finally, our results indicate that detrimental effects of forest fragmentation induced by hydroelectric dams are considerably stronger than those of forest patches embedded within a terrestrial vegetation matrix.

    3. Microhabitat associations of vascular epiphytes in a wet tropical forest canopy (pages 421–430)

      Carrie L. Woods, Catherine L. Cardelús and Saara J. DeWalt

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12357

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      The increase in microhabitat heterogeneity within tree crowns as trees grow contributes to changes in epiphyte community structure, which supports decades-old hypotheses of the importance of microhabitat diversity and specialization in structuring tropical epiphyte communities.

    4. Vegetation patterns in small boreal streams relate to ice and winter floods (pages 431–440)

      Lovisa Lind and Christer Nilsson

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12355

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      We evaluated the effects of ice regimes and winter flooding on riparian and in-stream vegetation by relating the cover, composition and biomass of vegetation to the abundance of winter floods caused by anchor ice. We found that ice disturbance and winter floods caused by anchor ice are important disturbance agents that allow less competitive species to establish along small boreal streams.

    5. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Bryophyte communities in the Amazon forest are regulated by height on the host tree and site elevation (pages 441–450)

      Sylvia Mota de Oliveira and Hans ter Steege

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12359

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      This study indicated that the community composition of epiphytic bryophytes in the Amazon is mainly regulated by environmental conditions, that is, height zone on the host tree at local scale and site elevation at geographical scale. Dispersal is predominantly local and did not show geographical structure across the area.

    6. Lichen traits responding to aridity (pages 451–458)

      Paula Matos, Pedro Pinho, Gregorio Aragón, Isabel Martínez, Alice Nunes, Amadeu M. V. M. Soares and Cristina Branquinho

      Article first published online: 9 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12364

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      Lichen traits responding to aridity were identified. Type of photobiont was particularly responsive, with Trentepohlia and cyanobacteria functional groups, responding clearly in contrasting ways to aridity. This work emphasizes functional diversity role on understanding and assessing the response to environmental factors, namely to climate. It also highlights the potential use of lichen functional groups as ecological indicators of climate change.

    7. The relative importance of biotic and abiotic processes for structuring plant communities through time (pages 459–472)

      Elizabeth S. Jeffers, Michael B. Bonsall, Cynthia A. Froyd, Stephen J. Brooks and Katherine J. Willis

      Article first published online: 21 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12365

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      Multiple mechanistic models were applied to palaeoecological data to infer the most likely processes driving millennial-scale plant biomass dynamics in a woodland ecosystem, and how the importance of each driver changed over time. Here, importance is measured in terms of the goodness of fit of each population dynamic model for predicting the observed biomass dynamics for each of the study taxa. This is measured as the root mean square error (RMSE) between the predicted and observed pollen accumulation rates, which was calculated over a moving window of ca. 500 years. The lowest RMSE value indicates the best fitting model(s). Direct plant interactions provided a better explanation for population biomass dynamics than growing season temperature or N availability over the full study period. The relative importance of all drivers we assessed here varied by species and – in the case of birch – over time in response to warming and reduced N availability.

  8. Plant population and community dynamics

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Woody cover in wet and dry African savannas after six decades of experimental fires (pages 473–478)

      Aisling P. Devine, Iain Stott, Robbie A. McDonald and Ilya M. D. Maclean

      Article first published online: 9 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12367

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      We examined the effects of varying fire frequencies over a 60-year time period upon woody vegetation on a wet and dry savanna. We suggest that vegetation responses to fire are influenced by regional differences in rainfall. Therefore, management strategies should take account of whether a savanna is a wet or dry system when implementing fire management regimes.

    2. A conifer–angiosperm divergence in the growth vs. shade tolerance trade-off underlies the dynamics of a New Zealand warm-temperate rain forest (pages 479–488)

      Christopher H. Lusk, Murray A. Jorgensen and Peter J. Bellingham

      Article first published online: 9 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12368

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      Conifers rarely regenerate by a gap-phase mode in warm-temperate rainforests in New Zealand, tending to be replaced by evergreen angiosperms in old stands. We show this happens because the conifers are slower-growing than angiosperms of comparable shade tolerance. A conifer–angiosperm divergence in the growth vs. shade tolerance trade-off may thus explain long-standing problems of the dynamics of these forests.

    3. Temperature-induced recruitment pulses of Arctic dwarf shrub communities (pages 489–501)

      Ulf Büntgen, Lena Hellmann, Willy Tegel, Signe Normand, Isla Myers-Smith, Alexander V. Kirdyanov, Daniel Nievergelt and Fritz H. Schweingruber

      Article first published online: 16 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12361

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      Our results reveal a strong temperature dependency of Arctic dwarf shrub reproduction, a high vulnerability of circumpolar tundra ecosystems to climatic changes, and the ability of evaluating historical vegetation dynamics well beyond the northern treeline. The combined wood anatomical and plant ecological approach, considering insights from microsections to community assemblages, indicates that model predictions of rapid tundra expansion (i.e. shrub growth) following intense warming might underestimate plant longevity and persistence but overestimate the sensitivity and reaction time of Arctic vegetation.

  9. Plant-plant interactions

    1. Top of page
    2. Palaeoecology and land-use history
    3. Aquatic plant ecology
    4. Epidemiology
    5. Reproductive ecology
    6. Plant-climate interactions
    7. Plant-soil (below-ground) interactions
    8. Determinants of plant community diversity and structure
    9. Plant population and community dynamics
    10. Plant-plant interactions
    1. Overyielding in mixed forests decreases with site productivity (pages 502–512)

      Maude Toïgo, Patrick Vallet, Thomas Perot, Jean-Daniel Bontemps, Christian Piedallu and Benoit Courbaud

      Article first published online: 19 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12353

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      The nature of species interaction in mixtures changes with species assemblage and site productivity (SPI). Overyielding is strongest when species grow in highlands (Beech-Spruce, Beech-Fir and Fir-Spruce mixtures) on less productive sites. A negative link between mixture effect and site productivity was found, in line with the stress-gradient hypothesis.

    2. Relative density and dispersion pattern of two southern African Asteraceae affect fecundity through heterospecific interference and mate availability, not pollinator visitation rate (pages 513–525)

      Caroli de Waal, Bruce Anderson and Allan G. Ellis

      Article first published online: 16 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12358

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      Relative density and dispersion pattern of two southern African Asteraceae affect fecundity through heterospecific interference and mate availability, not pollinator visitation rate. In this study of annual daisies, variation in fruit set is primarily driven by factors that affect the transfer of conspecific relative to heterospecific pollen, independent of pollinator visitation rate. Our findings demonstrate that mate limitation and interspecific pollen transfer negatively affect fruit set and that these effects can be mitigated by intraspecific aggregation and the ability to autonomously self-pollinate.

    3. Variation in neighbourhood context shapes frugivore-mediated facilitation and competition among co-dispersed plant species (pages 526–536)

      Jörg Albrecht, Victoria Bohle, Dana G. Berens, Bogdan Jaroszewicz, Nuria Selva and Nina Farwig

      Article first published online: 10 FEB 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12375

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      Our study highlights that frugivore-mediated interactions among cofruiting plant species may consistently promote the establishment and persistence of rare species through facilitation. In addition, our results suggest that, among other factors, indirect coupling of species through shared mutualistic partners might be an important determinant of plant community assembly. The coupling through shared mutualists may cause the formation of associations among co-dispersed plant species and might contribute to the coexistence of species in plant–animal mutualistic communities.

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