Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 102 Issue 5

Early View (Online Version of Record published before inclusion in an issue)

Edited By: David Gibson, Richard Bardgett, Mark Rees, Amy Austin

Impact Factor: 5.694

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 12/140 (Ecology); 12/196 (Plant Sciences)

Online ISSN: 1365-2745

Associated Title(s): Functional Ecology, Journal of Animal Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, Methods in Ecology and Evolution


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  1. Standard Papers

    1. Growth and carbon relations of temperate deciduous tree species at their upper elevation range limit

      Armando Lenz, Yann Vitasse, Günter Hoch and Christian Körner

      Article first published online: 1 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12307

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      Temperature and the length of the growing season are regarded as major determinants of tree growth in temperate climate. We asked which of the two factors does have a larger impact in deciduous tree species near the upper elevational range limit. We demonstrate that temperature has a strong effect on wood formation, while the length of the growing season is negligible for radial stem growth at high elevation.

    2. Shoot competition, root competition and reproductive allocation in Chenopodium acuminatum

      Ping Wang, Jacob Weiner, James F. Cahill Jr, Dao Wei Zhou, Hong Feng Bian, Yan Tao Song and Lian Xi Sheng

      Article first published online: 1 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12313

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      Our results demonstrated that shoot competition affects the observed pattern of reproductive allometry among individuals in the field, and this has implications for the fitness of competing plants. The steeper log R–log V slope of populations competing above ground may intensify the role of directional selection under light competition, making the effects of shoot competition more important than those of root competition for the evolution of weeds in fertile environments.

    3. Resistance and resilience to changing climate and fire regime depend on plant functional traits

      Neal J. Enright, Joseph B. Fontaine, Byron B. Lamont, Ben P. Miller and Vanessa C. Westcott

      Article first published online: 1 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12306

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      We quantified the effects of more frequent fire and lower rainfall - projected to occur under a warming and drying climate - on population responses of shrub species in biodiverse Mediterranean- type shrublands. A 20% reduction in post-fire winter rainfall (essential for seedling recruitment) is predicted to increase the minimum inter-fire interval required for self-replacement by 50%, placing both fire-killed and resprouting species at risk of decline. Heightened wildfire suppression and lengthened intervals for prescribed fire may best support the in situ persistence of perennial plant species. This contrasts with the view that more managed fire may be needed to mitigate wildfire risk as climate warms.

  2. Essay Reviews

    1. Disentangling the drivers of context-dependent plant–animal interactions

      John L. Maron, Kathryn C. Baer and Amy L. Angert

      Article first published online: 1 SEP 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12305

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      Our understanding of the underlying drivers of context-dependent plant–animal interactions is currently not well developed. Progress in this area is essential to better predict when and where species interactions will alter the responses of plant populations to environmental changes as well as to develop more robust theory. Experiments aimed at explicitly exploring the role of abiotic factors in mediating the population-level impact of pollen limitation and herbivory could determine the extent to which variation in the abiotic environment predictably shifts the outcome of these interactions.

  3. Standard Papers

    1. A prominent stepwise advance of the tree line in north-east Finland

      Tuomas Aakala, Pertti Hari, Sigrid Dengel, Sarah L. Newberry, Toshie Mizunuma and John Grace

      Article first published online: 26 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12308

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      Our study demonstrates a peculiar stepwise advance of a tree line in northern Fennoscandia. A positive relationship between individual tree growth and temperature was not reflected at the population level, and factors deemed important in earlier studies could not explain the advance. These findings suggest complex tree line dynamics, in which biotic agents may mediate tree line responses to environmental change.

    2. Direct and indirect impacts of climate change on microbial and biocrust communities alter the resistance of the N cycle in a semiarid grassland

      Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Fernando T. Maestre, Cristina Escolar, Antonio Gallardo, Victoria Ochoa, Beatriz Gozalo and Ana Prado-Comesaña

      Article first published online: 26 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12303

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      Our results indicate that climate change will have negative direct and indirect (i.e. through changes in biocrust and microbial communities) impacts on the resistance of the N cycle in dryland soils. While biocrusts can play an important role slowing down the impacts of climate change on the N cycle due to their positive and continued effects on the resistance of multiple variables from the N cycle, such change will progressively alter N cycling in biocrust-dominated ecosystems, enhancing both N availability and inorganic N dominance.

    3. Long-term expansion of juniper populations in managed landscapes: patterns in space and time

      Cristina García, Eva Moracho, Ricardo Díaz-Delgado and Pedro Jordano

      Article first published online: 20 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12297

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      Photointerpretation of aerial images shows that the influence of dispersal limitation versus factors mediating competitive responses changes throughout colonization stages. Whereas dispersal limitation is the main factor influencing colonization at early stages, competition for local resources controls population growth at later stages. Therefore, long-term studies are required to capture the overall combined influence of key ecological factors in shaping long-term spatial demographic trends.

    4. Canopy facilitates seaweed recruitment on subtidal temperate reefs

      Scott Bennett and Thomas Wernberg

      Article first published online: 11 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12302

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      Synthesis. Positive interactions and stress amelioration play an important and previously unrecognised role in determining the recruitment success and viability of seaweeds in subtidal marine ecosystems. These results challenge long held paradigms about the general importance of canopy competition and force a rethink of how seaweed interactions affect habitat resilience to disturbances in subtidal ecosystems.

    5. Fire-regime complacency and sensitivity to centennial-through millennial-scale climate change in Rocky Mountain subalpine forests, Colorado, USA

      Philip E. Higuera, Christy E. Briles and Cathy Whitlock

      Article first published online: 8 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12296

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      Fire history in Rocky Mountain subalpine forests reveals complacency and sensitivity to changing vegetation and hydroclimate over the past 6000 years. Results suggest that climate change may impact fire severity more so than fire frequency in these systems, through direct and indirect impacts on vegetation, fuels, and fuel moisture.

    6. Extreme climate events lower resilience of foundation seagrass at edge of biogeographical range

      Matthew W. Fraser, Gary A. Kendrick, John Statton, Renae K. Hovey, Andrea Zavala-Perez and Diana I. Walker

      Article first published online: 6 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12300

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      We show a drastic ecological response (defoliation) to two concurrent extreme events – a marine heatwave and flood - in a foundation seagrass species near its biogeographical range limit at the Shark Bay World Heritage Site. Where climatic events overlap, ecological responses are likely to be more extreme, particularly in ecosystems where foundation species exist near low latitude range limits.

    7. Species richness–productivity relationships of tropical terrestrial ferns at regional and local scales

      Michael Kessler, Laura Salazar, Jürgen Homeier and Jürgen Kluge

      Article first published online: 1 AUG 2014 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12299

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      We evaluate the relation of diversity and productivity and related hypotheses by assessing species richness of ferns at two spatial scales (local, regional) and two levels of productivity (ecosystem, ferns). Only fern, but not ecosystem productivity, shows relations to fern diversity, positive at regional, but negative at local scales. This indicates a strong influence of competition on diversity at local scales.


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