Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 103 Issue 3

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: 12/141 (Ecology); 12/199 (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. Conspecific and phylogenetic density-dependent survival differs across life stages in a tropical forest

      Yan Zhu, Liza S. Comita, Stephen P. Hubbell and Keping Ma

      Article first published online: 25 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12414

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      With highly resolved species-level phylogenies, our results demonstrate that both conspecific density dependence and phylogenetic density dependence influence tropical tree survival, but that their relative importance varies with life stage and among species. Our study highlights the need to incorporate multiple life stages and multiple species when assessing the factors contributing to individual survival and species coexistence for long-lived organisms.

    2. Tropical montane vegetation dynamics near the upper cloud belt strongly associated with a shifting ITCZ and fire

      Shelley D. Crausbay, Patrick H. Martin and Eugene F. Kelly

      Article first published online: 15 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12423

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      Shifts up- and downslope of the cloud belt's upper limit over the last 5900 years produced major vegetation changes on high mountains in the Caribbean. Habitat distribution models show that vegetation state changes were strongly linked to latitudinal position of the ITCZ, providing support for the shifting TWI hypothesis over a lifting cloud base hypothesis for tropical high elevations.

    3. Fuels and fires influence vegetation via above- and belowground pathways in a high-diversity plant community

      Paul R. Gagnon, Heather A. Passmore, Matthew Slocum, Jonathan A. Myers, Kyle E. Harms, William J. Platt and C. E. Timothy Paine

      Article first published online: 14 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12421

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      In a species-rich herbaceous plant community in the longleaf pine ecosystem, fire-residence time was a good predictor of soil heating and of vegetation response to fire, whereas temperature was not. Our results suggest soil heating is the key determinant of vegetation response to fire in ecosystems where plants persist by resprouting or reseeding from soil-stored seeds.

    4. 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.

    5. How the litter-feeding bioturbator Orchestia gammarellus promotes late-successional saltmarsh vegetation

      Maarten Schrama, Lotte A. van Boheemen, Han Olff and Matty P. Berg

      Article first published online: 11 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12418

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      By demonstrating that a species traditionally considered as part of the detrital (‘brown’) food web is thus an important accelerator of vegetation succession, this study documents an important but often overlooked link in food web and ecosystem ecology.

    6. Nutrient enrichment alters the consequences of species loss

      Nessa E. O'Connor, Matthew E. S. Bracken, Tasman P. Crowe and Ian Donohue

      Article first published online: 11 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12415

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      Our findings highlight the need to include key physical drivers, such as nutrient availability, explicitly into biodiversity–ecosystem functioning models in order to move towards a predictive framework that incorporates the effects of both environmental heterogeneity and anthropogenic stressors.

    7. Peatland vascular plant functional types affect methane dynamics by altering microbial community structure

      Bjorn J. M. Robroek, Vincent E. J. Jassey, Martine A. R. Kox, Roeland L. Berendsen, Robert T. E. Mills, Lauric Cécillon, Jérémy Puissant, Marion Meima-Franke, Peter A. H. M. Bakker and Paul L. E. Bodelier

      Article first published online: 11 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12413

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      Climate change causes shifts in the composition of vascular plant functional types (PFT). Our study highlights that such alterations in PFT composition affects the microbial structure, and to a lesser extent the peat organic chemistry. Such PFT–controlled changes in the peat biotic and abiotic environment, in turn, strongly influence peatland methane dynamics.

    8. Scale-dependent responses of longleaf pine vegetation to fire frequency and environmental context across two decades

      Kyle A. Palmquist, Robert K. Peet and Stephen R. Mitchell

      Article first published online: 7 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12412

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      Disturbance is an important driver of plant community structure. We resampled a permanent vegetation plot data set in the longleaf pine ecosystem after 20 years to determine how environmental context and fire frequency influence vegetation change across multiple spatial scales. Fire frequency was less important than environmental context in predicting vegetation change. However, species richness and beta-diversity patterns were scale dependent. This study lays the groundwork for understanding how fire and environmental filtering jointly influence vegetation dynamics across space and time in fire-dependent woodlands.

    9. Resilience of palm populations to disturbance is determined by interactive effects of fire, herbivory and harvest

      Lisa Mandle, Tamara Ticktin and Pieter A. Zuidema

      Article first published online: 7 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12420

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      We construct integral projection models of mountain date palm (Phoenix loureiroi) population dynamics to understand the implications of varying fire return intervals and intensities of grazing and leaf harvest for population persistence. Our study illustrates the importance of explicitly incorporating realistic interactions among multiple forms of disturbance when evaluating plant populations' resilience to changing disturbance regimes.

    10. Parental environmental effects due to contrasting watering adapt competitive ability, but not drought tolerance, in offspring of a semi-arid annual Brassicaceae

      Johannes Metz, Jonathan von Oppen and Katja Tielbörger

      Article first published online: 5 MAY 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12411

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      This study demonstrates the important role of adaptive parental effects (PE) for plant fitness (regarding competition) but also their limits (regarding drought) in temporally variable environments, based on the predictability of the respective environmental factor.

    11. C:N:P stoichiometry of Artemisia species and close relatives across northern China: unravelling effects of climate, soil and taxonomy

      Xuejun Yang, Zhenying Huang, Keliang Zhang and Johannes H. C. Cornelissen

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12409

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      Our results highlight that even closely related species can vary importantly in plant element stoichiometry. This suggests that ecologists and global change researchers should be careful not to simply take a species’ stoichiometry as representative of an entire taxonomic group for upscaling of plant chemical responses to climatic and edaphic variation in our fast changing world.

    12. Revisiting Darwin's naturalization conundrum: explaining invasion success of non-native trees and shrubs in southern Africa

      Simeon Bezeng Bezeng, Jonathan T. Davies, Kowiyou Yessoufou, Olivier Maurin and Michelle Van der Bank

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12410

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      Non-native trees and shrubs in southern Africa are characterized by a suite of traits, including long flowering times, a hermaphroditic sexual system and abiotic dispersal, which may represent important adaptations promoting establishment. We suggest that differences in the evolutionary distances separating the native species pool from invasive and non-invasive species might help resolve Darwin's naturalization conundrum.

    13. Seed size and the evolution of leaf defences

      Thomas S. Kraft, S. Joseph Wright, Ian Turner, Peter W. Lucas, Christopher E. Oufiero, Md. Nur Supardi Noor, I-Fang Sun and Nathaniel J. Dominy

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12407

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      Our results suggest that larger seed size and increased leaf toughness are correlated as part of a trait syndrome associated with a slow, resource-limited life history, not clumped dispersion and increased spatial apparency.

    14. Hydrological conditions explain variation in wood density in riparian plants of south-eastern Australia

      James R. Lawson, Kirstie A. Fryirs and Michelle R. Leishman

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12408

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      Hydrological conditions explain variation in wood density in riparian plants of south-eastern Australia.

    15. Fungal symbionts maintain a rare plant population but demographic advantage drives the dominance of a common host

      Y. Anny Chung, Tom E. X. Miller and Jennifer A. Rudgers

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12406

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      Our results highlight the importance of plant-symbiont interactions in the persistence of a rare plant population, as well as the relatively larger contribution of intrinsic demographic differences to the dominance of a common plant population. Our study demonstrates the utility of demographic models in teasing apart the relative importance of plant demographic rates versus host-symbiont interactions on the regional abundance of rare and common host plant species.

    16. Dispersal mode mediates the effect of patch size and patch connectivity on metacommunity diversity

      Natalie T. Jones, Rachel M. Germain, Tess N. Grainger, Aaron M. Hall, Lyn Baldwin and Benjamin Gilbert

      Article first published online: 30 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12405

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      We see a positive effect of stand area on diversity for most dispersal modes despite sampling equal area in all stands, which is a prediction of metacommunity theory that is normally overlooked. Our results demonstrate the importance of considering variation in the dispersal modes of focal species for explaining the diversity patterns of natural metacommunities.

    17. Pollen diversity captures landscape structure and diversity

      Isabelle Matthias, Malte Sebastian Swen Semmler and Thomas Giesecke

      Article first published online: 24 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12404

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      Pollen counts of 50 surface samples from lakes in north-east Germany show that the Shannon index and the number of taxa in a sample of 10 pollen grains assessed through rarefaction analysis (E(T10)) are highly correlated and provide a useful measure of pollen type diversity. In combination, landscape diversity within one km of the lake and the proportion of non-forested area within seven km explain about 40 % of the variance in pollen type diversity. Together with palynological richness, pollen type diversity helps evaluating the effect of climate change and human land use on vegetation structure on long timescales.

    18. Globally, functional traits are weak predictors of juvenile tree growth, and we do not know why

      C. E. Timothy Paine, Lucy Amissah, Harald Auge, Christopher Baraloto, Martin Baruffol, Nils Bourland, Helge Bruelheide, Kasso Daïnou, Roland C. de Gouvenain, Jean-Louis Doucet, Susan Doust, Paul V. A. Fine, Claire Fortunel, Josephine Haase, Karen D. Holl, Hervé Jactel, Xuefei Li, Kaoru Kitajima, Julia Koricheva, Cristina Martínez-Garza, Christian Messier, Alain Paquette, Christopher Philipson, Daniel Piotto, Lourens Poorter, Juan M. Posada, Catherine Potvin, Kalle Rainio, Sabrina E. Russo, Mariacarmen Ruiz-Jaen, Michael Scherer-Lorenzen, Campbell O. Webb, S. Joseph Wright, Rakan A. Zahawi and Andy Hector

      Article first published online: 24 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12401

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      The most widely studied functional traits in plant ecology, specific leaf area, wood density and seed mass, were only weakly associated with tree growth rates over broad scales. Assessing trait–growth relationships under specific environmental conditions may generate more insight than a global relationship can offer. Protium opacum was one of the 278 species examined in this study.

    19. Escape of spring frost and disease through phenological variations in oak populations along elevation gradients

      Cécile Françoise Dantec, Hugo Ducasse, Xavier Capdevielle, Olivier Fabreguettes, Sylvain Delzon and Marie-Laure Desprez-Loustau

      Article first published online: 16 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12403

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      The observed patterns suggest that oak populations are better adapted to escape spring frost than pathogen exposure all along the elevation gradient. The combination of the biotic and abiotic selective pressures may have contributed to the maintenance of phenological diversity within low elevation tree populations. As tree and pathogen respond differently to environmental cues, climate change is likely to affect the phenological (a)synchrony between host and parasite, both within and between populations.

    20. Species-specific plant–soil feedback effects on above-ground plant–insect interactions

      Martine Kos, Maarten A. B. Tuijl, Joris de Roo, Patrick P. J. Mulder and T. Martijn Bezemer

      Article first published online: 9 APR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12402

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      Our study provides novel evidence that plant–soil feedback (PSF) effects on above-ground plant-insect interactions are highly species specific. Our results add a new dimension to the rapidly developing research fields of PSF and above-below-ground interactions, and highlights that these fields are tightly linked.

    21. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Wave-induced changes in seaweed toughness entail plastic modifications in snail traits maintaining consumption efficacy

      Markus Molis, Ricardo A. Scrosati, Ehab F. El-Belely, Thomas J. Lesniowski and Martin Wahl

      Article first published online: 9 MAR 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12386

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      Experiments revealed that environmental stress (wave exposure) modulated a structural seaweed trait (thallus toughness) and, indirectly, feeding-relevant traits (radular morphology) in the seaweed's main consumer (snail), enabling snails to maintain consumption efficacy across the observed range in seaweed toughness. Thus, plasticity in consumers and their resource species may reduce the potential effects of physical stress on their interaction.

    22. Life history evolution under climate change and its influence on the population dynamics of a long-lived plant

      Jennifer L. Williams, Hans Jacquemyn, Brad M. Ochocki, Rein Brys and Tom E. X. Miller

      Article first published online: 31 JAN 2015 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12369

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      Our results illustrate that long-lived organisms can exhibit complex demographic responses to changing climate regimes. Additionally, they highlight that long-term evolutionary responses may be in opposing directions to short-term responses to climate. Finally, they emphasize the need for demographic models to integrate ecological and evolutionary influences of climate across the life cycle.


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