Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 103 Issue 4

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

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

Impact Factor: 5.521

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 12/144 (Ecology); 13/200 (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. Do native and invasive plants differ in their interactions with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi? A meta-analysis

      Rebecca A. Bunn, Philip W. Ramsey and Ylva Lekberg

      Article first published online: 30 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12456

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      Neither the degraded nor the enhanced mutualism hypothesis was supported, suggesting that invasions do not select for directional shifts in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associations. Instead, our results indicate that AM fungi are most likely to influence invasion trajectories when native and invasive plants belong to different functional groups.

    2. Complementarity in both plant and mycorrhizal fungal communities are not necessarily increased by diversity in the other

      Cameron Wagg, Christoph Barendregt, Jan Jansa and Marcel G.A. van der Heijden

      Article first published online: 29 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12452

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      Our results reinforce that the functioning of a community does not only depend upon its interactions with neighbouring species of the same guild, but also on the composition of associating species guilds. Therefore changes in species compositions in both plant and soil communities are likely key components to understanding the effect of species losses on the overall ecosystem functioning.

    3. Unravelling conflicting density- and distance-dependent effects on plant reproduction using a spatially explicit approach

      José M. Fedriani, Thorsten Wiegand, Gemma Calvo, Alberto Suárez-Esteban, Miguel Jácome, Magdalena Żywiec and Miguel Delibes

      Article first published online: 28 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12454

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      Understanding complex spatial effects of density- and distance-dependent (DDD) processes requires dissection of component processes to attain the complete picture since contrasting DDD processes may be hidden behind a single cumulative measure of reproductive success. The combination of novel and classic mark correlation functions used here constitutes a powerful spatially explicit tool that can be broadly applied to unravel conflicting mechanisms of DDD regulating the persistence of sessile organisms at a range of spatial scales. Our findings help to explain why some authors failed to find expected DDD of PRS and highlight the importance of detailed multiyear field studies on plant reproductive.

    4. A plant strategy approach to understand multidecadal change in community assembly processes in Australian grassy woodlands

      Erika L. Cross, Peter T. Green and John W. Morgan

      Article first published online: 25 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12448

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      The similarity of CSR types between alien and native species indicates that habitat filtering is the principal community assembly process operating in the study region. We discuss our findings with respect to suggestions that limiting similarity and environmental filtering may be occurring simultaneously to structure plant communities. Species abundance changes due to dereliction were not evident as a coordinated shift in the functional composition of woodland dominants suggesting that time lags between altered management regimes (dereliction) and the functional response of species to habitat filters may still be playing out.

  2. Biological Flora of the British Isles

    1. You have free access to this content
      Biological Flora of the British Isles: Neottia ovata

      Milan Kotilínek, Tamara Těšitelová and Jana Jersáková

      Article first published online: 25 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12444

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      Neottia ovata, one of the most widespread orchids in the British Isles, grows in a very wide range of habitats, including those with acidic and calcareous soils. The adventitious roots are mainly colonized by Basidiomycota fungi of the Sebacinales (Clade B), as well as several other fungal groups. The flowers possess a sensitive rostellum that releases a viscid fluid, when touched, gluing the pollinia to the insect pollinator.

  3. Standard Papers

    1. Temporal variability in hydrology modifies the influence of geomorphology on wetland distribution along a desert stream

      Xiaoli Dong, Nancy B. Grimm, Kiona Ogle and Janet Franklin

      Article first published online: 22 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12450

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      Geomorphology and environmental variability interact to influence species distribution. We found that the effect of geomorphic setting on stream wetland plant distribution is altered by inter-annual variability of hydrology. This suggests that temporal transferability of the relationship between geomorphology and species is questionable.

    2. Disentangling the heritable and plastic components of the competitive and facilitative effects of an alpine foundation species

      Patrick Al Hayek, Jean-Paul Maalouf, Blaise Touzard and Richard Michalet

      Article first published online: 18 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12445

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      We found heritable and plastic bases for the morphological differences between Festuca gautieri cushions, and a heritable increase in competitive effects from loose to tight cushions that was counteracted by plasticity effects, which decreased competition from benign to stressful environments. We conclude that heritable effects overcome plasticity effects resulting in higher diversity in the loose phenotype from the benign habitats.

    3. Scale-dependent responses of pollination and seed dispersal mutualisms in a habitat transformation scenario

      Francisco E. Fontúrbel, Pedro Jordano and Rodrigo Medel

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12443

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      This highly specialized mutualistic system seems to be responding positively to the habitat structure modifications associated with Eucalyptus plantations. However, the actual costs (e.g. reduced gene flow, increased herbivory) in these transformed habitats are yet to be assessed.

    4. Impacts of drought and nitrogen addition on Calluna heathlands differ with plant life-history stage

      Maren Meyer-Grünefeldt, Leonor Calvo, Elena Marcos, Goddert von Oheimb and Werner Härdtle

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12446

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      Our findings suggest that plant responses to global change are difficult to anticipate by means of single-factor studies or by focusing on a single life-history stage. This highlights the need for global change research to include multiple factors and life-history stages when assessing an ecosystem's susceptibility to shifts in environmental conditions.

    5. A missing link between facilitation and plant species coexistence: nurses benefit generally rare species more than common ones

      Santiago Soliveres, Fernando T. Maestre, Miguel Berdugo and Eric Allan

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12447

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      Our results highlight that nurse plants not only increase the number of species able to colonize a given site, but may also promote species coexistence by preventing the local extinction of rare species. Our findings illustrate the role that nurse plants play in conserving endangered species and link the relationship between facilitation and diversity with coexistence theory. As such, they provide further mechanistic understanding on how facilitation maintains plant diversity.

    6. Evidence for long-term shift in plant community composition under decadal experimental warming

      Zheng Shi, Rebecca Sherry, Xia Xu, Oleksandra Hararuk, Lara Souza, Lifen Jiang, Jianyang Xia, Junyi Liang and Yiqi Luo

      Article first published online: 17 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12449

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      Our study provides experimental evidence for long-term shifts in plant community composition due to warming and revealed novel mechanisms (i.e., species invasion and associated biotic interactions) underlying the long-term shift. The results also suggest that climate extremes may elicit or advance community responses to climate warming. The findings highlight that long-term climate change experiments are essential to reveal potential shifts in community composition.

    7. Does natural variation in diversity affect biotic resistance?

      Susan Harrison, Howard Cornell and James B. Grace

      Article first published online: 14 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12439

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      In natural systems, diversity may be correlated with invasibility and yet have no effect on either biotic or abiotic resistance to invasion. More generally, the environmental causes of variation in diversity should not be overlooked when considering the potential functional consequences of diversity.

    8. Habitat hotspots of common and rare tropical species along climatic and edaphic gradients

      Han Xu, Matteo Detto, Suqin Fang, Yide Li, Runguo Zang and Shirong Liu

      Article first published online: 8 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12442

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      This study indicates that rare species tend to occur more frequently where common species are less abundant. Species richness and diversity were driven by a combination of several soil properties and climate factors. Although some habitats have low species richness and diversity, they are highly preferred by rare species; therefore biodiversity conservation efforts should consider protecting these fragile ecosystems.

    9. Environmental changes drive the temporal stability of semi-arid natural grasslands through altering species asynchrony

      Zhuwen Xu, Haiyan Ren, Mai-He Li, Jasper van Ruijven, Xingguo Han, Shiqiang Wan, Hui Li, Qiang Yu, Yong Jiang and Lin Jiang

      Article first published online: 8 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12441

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      Our results highlight the importance of limiting resources for regulating community biomass stability and suggest that the projected increase in growing season precipitation may potentially offset negative effects of increased atmospheric nitrogen deposition on species diversity and community stability in semi-arid grasslands.

    10. Disturbance alters beta-diversity but not the relative importance of community assembly mechanisms

      Jonathan A. Myers, Jonathan M. Chase, Raelene M. Crandall and Iván Jiménez

      Article first published online: 2 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12436

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      Ecologists often invoke niche-based processes to explain changes in biodiversity following disturbance. Here, we illustrate how a widespread disturbance (fire) changes spatial patterns of biodiversity largely through random sampling effects without changing community assembly across environmental gradients. Our study provides a framework for understanding how disturbances alter the interplay of deterministic and stochastic processes in natural and human-modified landscapes.

    11. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Rehabilitating the cyanobacteria – niche partitioning, resource use efficiency and phytoplankton community structure during diazotrophic cyanobacterial blooms

      Kalle Olli, Riina Klais and Timo Tamminen

      Article first published online: 2 JUL 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12437

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      Contrary to the widely acknowledged noxious effects of bloom forming cyanobacteria, our results show that the overall effect on phytoplankton community is minor. There is an approximate balance of positive and negative associations with ambient phytoplankton species and the dominant cyanobacteria in the Baltic Sea - Aphanizomenon and Nodularia. However, cyanobacterial blooms affect vital ecosystem functions, like community level resource use efficiency.

    12. Environmental gradients and the evolution of successional habitat specialization: a test case with 14 Neotropical forest sites

      Susan G. Letcher, Jesse R. Lasky, Robin L. Chazdon, Natalia Norden, S. Joseph Wright, Jorge A. Meave, Eduardo A. Pérez-García, Rodrigo Muñoz, Eunice Romero-Pérez, Ana Andrade, José Luis Andrade, Patricia Balvanera, Justin M. Becknell, Tony V. Bentos, Radika Bhaskar, Frans Bongers, Vanessa Boukili, Pedro H. S. Brancalion, Ricardo G. César, Deborah A. Clark, David B. Clark, Dylan Craven, Alexander DeFrancesco, Juan M. Dupuy, Bryan Finegan, Eugenio González-Jiménez, Jefferson S. Hall, Kyle E. Harms, José Luis Hernández-Stefanoni, Peter Hietz, Deborah Kennard, Timothy J. Killeen, Susan G. Laurance, Edwin E. Lebrija-Trejos, Madelon Lohbeck, Miguel Martínez-Ramos, Paulo E. S. Massoca, Rita C. G. Mesquita, Francisco Mora, Robert Muscarella, Horacio Paz, Fernando Pineda-García, Jennifer S. Powers, Ruperto Quesada-Monge, Ricardo R. Rodrigues, Manette E. Sandor, Lucía Sanaphre-Villanueva, Elisabeth Schüller, Nathan G. Swenson, Alejandra Tauro, María Uriarte, Michiel van Breugel, Orlando Vargas-Ramírez, Ricardo A. G. Viani, Amanda L. Wendt and G. Bruce Williamson

      Article first published online: 29 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12435

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      The niche conservatism evident in the habitat specialization of Neotropical trees suggests a role for radiation into different successional habitats in the evolution of species-rich genera, though the diversity of functional traits that lead to success in different successional habitats complicates analyses at the community scale. Examining the distribution of particular lineages with respect to successional gradients may provide more insight into the role of successional habitat specialization in the evolution of species-rich taxa.

    13. Nonlinear costs of reproduction in a long-lived plant

      Nina Sletvold and Jon Ågren

      Article first published online: 29 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12430

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      By inducing three to five levels of reproductive effort in two populations of the orchid Dactylorhiza lapponica, we demonstrate that the trade-off function between current reproduction and future performance is often nonlinear, with context-dependent intercept, slope and curvature. Because context-dependent trade-offs should lead to among-population variation in optimal life history, this information is vital for understanding adaptive differentiation and life-history evolution.

    14. Effects of climate on reproductive investment in a masting species: assessment of climatic predictors and underlying mechanisms

      Xoaquín Moreira, Luis Abdala-Roberts, Yan B. Linhart and Kailen A. Mooney

      Article first published online: 29 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12434

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      We propose a new mechanism for the origin and maintenance of masting: individuals initially respond to climatic cues that directly enhance reproduction (e.g. lower reproductive costs through weakened trade-offs) and this dynamic, expressed across multiple individuals, reinforces these benefits through the economies of scale associated with synchrony and masting.

    15. Divergent evolution in antiherbivore defences within species complexes at a single Amazonian site

      María-José Endara, Alexander Weinhold, James E. Cox, Natasha L. Wiggins, Phyllis D. Coley and Thomas A. Kursar

      Article first published online: 17 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12431

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      We present evidence for enemy-related differentiation among closely related species within two clades in the genus of trees Inga (a very species-rich tropical genus). Our results suggest that sister Inga species are more divergent in antiherbivore defences than in non-defence traits. Furthermore, the assemblages of insect herbivore communities are dissimilar between the populations of coexisting Inga species. Together, our results suggest that herbivores may have played a significant role on their phenotypic divergence and potentially in their diversification and coexistence.

    16. Fine-scale hydrological niche differentiation through the lens of multi-species co-occurrence models

      Andrew D. Letten, David A. Keith, Mark G. Tozer and Francis K.C. Hui

      Article first published online: 15 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12428

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      This study conrms the vital role of hydrological niches for the maintenance of within-community plant diversity, but also highlights the need for more rigorous analysis of scale dependencies to better understand the underlying coexistence mechanisms at play. In addition, it illustrates the inferential gains madepossible with model-based approaches to the analysis of species co-occurrence. R code illustrating model fitting and inference is provided as a supplement.

    17. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal effects on plant competition and community structure

      Guigang Lin, M. Luke McCormack and Dali Guo

      Article first published online: 15 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12429

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      Despite large variations in AMF effects among studies, a unifying mechanism was observed that the mycorrhizal responsiveness (differences in plant growth between AMF and non-AMF colonization treatments) of target and neighboring plant species can determine AMF effects on the competitive outcome among plant species, which in turn influenced plant species diversity and community composition.

    18. Forest disturbance accelerates thermophilization of understory plant communities

      Jens T. Stevens, Hugh D. Safford, Susan Harrison and Andrew M. Latimer

      Article first published online: 3 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12426

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      Canopy disturbance, created by the combination of fuel-reduction treatments and wildfire, is likely to accelerate plant community shifts towards species from warmer regions via its effects on understory microclimate at small scales. Understory diversity can be enhanced by intermediate disturbance regimes that promote the coexistence of species with different biogeographic affinities.

    19. Termites amplify the effects of wood traits on decomposition rates among multiple bamboo and dicot woody species

      Guofang Liu, William K. Cornwell, Kunfang Cao, Yukun Hu, Richardus S. P. Van Logtestijn, Shijian Yang, Xiufang Xie, Yalin Zhang, Duo Ye, Xu Pan, Xuehua Ye, Zhenying Huang, Ming Dong and Johannes H. C. Cornelissen

      Article first published online: 3 JUN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12427

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      These previously unknown relationships among dead wood quality, diameter, termites and decomposing microbes of both woody monocots and dicots will advance our understanding of the driving mechanisms of (sub) tropical wood decomposition and its contribution to the global carbon cycle.

    20. Individual size inequality links forest diversity and above-ground biomass

      Yu Zhang and Han Y. H. Chen

      Article first published online: 14 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12425

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      Our results demonstrate positive diversity effects on above-ground biomass in natural forests of diverse forest ages and soil resource availability. Furthermore, we show that tree size inequality acts as a mechanism for the positive diversity effects on above-ground biomass, and as a mechanism in regulating above-ground biomass and species diversity simultaneously via interactions among individuals in natural forests.


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