Journal of Ecology

Cover image for Vol. 104 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: 5.521

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 12/145 (Ecology); 13/204 (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. Priority effects: natives, but not exotics, pay to arrive late

      Katharine L. Stuble and Lara Souza

      Article first published online: 28 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12583

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      When exploring assembly mechanisms in community ecology, the costs associated with late arrival may be as important as the benefits of arriving early. These priority effects may ultimately play a role in promoting the local success and overall distribution of exotic invaders.

    2. Plant toxin levels in nectar vary spatially across native and introduced populations

      Paul A. Egan, Phillip C. Stevenson, Erin Jo Tiedeken, Geraldine A. Wright, Fabio Boylan and Jane C. Stout

      Article first published online: 27 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12573

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      As the first demonstration of large-scale geographic variation and spatial structure in toxic nectar compounds, this work deepens our understanding of the chemical ecology of floral interactions in native and introduced species. Spatially explicit studies of nectar secondary compounds are thus required to show how the extent and structure of spatial variation may affect floral ecology. Future development of invasion theory should incorporate a holistic view of plant defence, beyond antagonistic interactions, which integrates the consequences of chemically defended mutualist rewards.

    3. Phylogenetic and functional mechanisms of direct and indirect interactions among alien and native plants

      Yanhao Feng and Mark van Kleunen

      Article first published online: 25 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12577

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      It is essential to disentangle direct and indirect interactions among alien and native plants, and to explore niche-based phylogenetic and functional mechanisms driving these interactions. We showed that while direct competition tended to be stronger between more closely related alien and native plants, this did not indirectly facilitate other co-occurring native plants. Moreover, functional traits helped explain these interactions.

    4. The snow and the willows: earlier spring snowmelt reduces performance in the low-lying alpine shrub Salix herbacea

      Julia A. Wheeler, Andres J. Cortés, Janosch Sedlacek, Sophie Karrenberg, Mark van Kleunen, Sonja Wipf, Guenter Hoch, Oliver Bossdorf and Christian Rixen

      Article first published online: 21 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12579

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      Our study indicates that phenology, fitness proxies and fungal/insect damage of the dwarf shrub Salix herbacea are strongly influenced by snowmelt timing, and that earlier spring snowmelt reduced performance in S. herbacea. The likely mechanisms for many of the observed patterns are related to adverse temperature conditions in the early growing season. Lower clonal (stem number) and sexual reproduction (reduced fruit set) under earlier snowmelt, in addition to increasing damage probability, will likely lead to lower fitness and poorer performance, particularly in shrubs growing in early-exposure microhabitats. Further, we saw few concurrent benefits of higher temperatures for S. herbacea, particularly as warming was associated with lower clonal growth. As growing seasons become warmer and longer in arctic and alpine tundra ecosystems, early snowmelt is a critical mechanism reducing fitness and performance in a widespread dwarf shrub and may ultimately reduce dwarf shrub communities in tundra biomes.

  2. Essay Reviews

    1. Where, why and how? Explaining the low-temperature range limits of temperate tree species

      Christian Körner, David Basler, Günter Hoch, Chris Kollas, Armando Lenz, Christophe F. Randin, Yann Vitasse and Niklaus E. Zimmermann

      Article first published online: 8 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12574

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      We conclude that the range limits of the examined tree species are set by the interactive influence of freezing resistance in spring, phenology settings, and the time required to mature tissue. Microevolution of spring phenology compromises between demands set by freezing resistance of young, immature tissue and season length requirements related to autumnal tissue maturation.

  3. Standard Papers

    1. Functional diversity enhances silver fir growth resilience to an extreme drought

      Antonio Gazol and J. Julio Camarero

      Article first published online: 8 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12575

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      Recently, it has been suggested that complementarity among trees in resource acquisition may reduce interspecific competition and increase the occurrence of facilitative interactions, resulting in an improved forest growth and resilience to extreme climatic events. Here, we show that silver fir individuals with a greater functional diversity of trees in their neighbourhood showed larger growth values and trends, and presented a greater growth recovery and thus improved resilience in response to an extreme drought event.

    2. Climate drivers of seed production in Picea engelmannii and response to warming temperatures in the southern Rocky Mountains

      Arne Buechling, Patrick H. Martin, Charles D. Canham, Wayne D. Shepperd and Mike A. Battaglia

      Article first published online: 8 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12572

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      The increases in seed output observed in this study may promote population fitness of P. engelmannii in the face of changing climate regimes and increasing frequencies of fire- and insect-related tree mortality in the Rocky Mountains. Since this species lacks a persistent seed bank, re-colonization of disturbed areas or dispersal to shifting habitats depends on adequate production of seed by surviving trees, which according to these analyses may be moderately enhanced by current climate trends. However, some evidence also indicates that increases in seed output will ultimately be constrained by threshold high temperatures in the seed maturation year.

    3. Understanding nutrient dynamics in an African savanna: local biotic interactions outweigh a major regional rainfall gradient

      Michiel P. Veldhuis, Anneleen Hulshof, Wimke Fokkema, Matty P. Berg and Han Olff

      Article first published online: 8 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12569

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      Regional and global studies that model savanna carbon and nutrient cycling only on the basis of regional gradients in soil and climatic conditions may insufficiently capture the dominant ecosystem processes involved.

    4. Salt marsh-mangrove ecotones: using structural gradients to investigate the effects of woody plant encroachment on plant–soil interactions and ecosystem carbon pools

      Erik S. Yando, Michael J. Osland, Jonathan M. Willis, Richard H. Day, Ken W. Krauss and Mark W. Hester

      Article first published online: 7 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12571

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      Changing winter climate extremes are expected to result in the poleward migration of mangroves at the expense of salt marshes. We examined the effects of mangrove expansion on below-ground properties related to peat development and carbon storage. Our results indicate that the ecological implications of woody plant encroachment in tidal saline wetlands are dependent upon precipitation controls of plant-soil interactions.

    5. Competitor relatedness, indirect soil effects and plant coexistence

      Bodil K. Ehlers, Patrice David, Christian F. Damgaard and Thomas Lenormand

      Article first published online: 6 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12568

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      How species coexist is a central question in ecology. This study shows that the importance of intraspecific competition relative to interspecific competition can be highly dependent on the genotype identity of intraspecific competitors and of the local environment in which the interaction occurs. The local environment can itself be modified by the presence of a third species in the community. These results emphasize how, in order to understand the overall problem of species coexistence, it can be insightful to divide this into smaller local-scale problems of coexistence.

    6. Distance-dependent effects of pathogenic fungi on seedlings of a legume tree: impaired nodule formation and identification of antagonistic rhizosphere bacteria

      Lan Liu, Shixiao Yu, Zhi-Ping Xie and Christian Staehelin

      Article first published online: 4 APR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12570

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      Our findings indicate that soil-borne pathogens surrounding adult trees are microbial keystone species that locally influence interactions between seedlings and plant-associated bacteria.

    7. Transgenerational effects of extreme weather: perennial plant offspring show modified germination, growth and stoichiometry

      Julia Walter, David E. V. Harter, Carl Beierkuhnlein and Anke Jentsch

      Article first published online: 30 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12567

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      Pulsed stress for mothers before flowering affects offspring of Genista tinctoria: (A) Earlier germination after maternal drought stress. (B) Less germination and lower leaf C/N in 10-month-old offspring after maternal heavy rain that had benefitted maternal biomass production. Lower species richness at same planting density causes maternal stress for Calluna vulgaris and subsequently earlier germination.

  4. Biological Flora of the British Isles

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      Biological Flora of the British Isles: Fraxinus excelsior

      Peter A. Thomas

      Article first published online: 22 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12566

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      The ash tree is widespread through Europe, at its best on dry calcareous screes and moist fertile alluvial soils. Leaves fall green in the autumn. Although climate change will benefit this tree, ash is facing serious decline from ash dieback, a now widespread fungal disease that may leave fewer than 1% of trees alive, and a highly probable future threat from the emerald ash borer.

  5. Standard Papers

    1. Root traits are multidimensional: specific root length is independent from root tissue density and the plant economic spectrum

      Kris R. Kramer-Walter, Peter J. Bellingham, Timothy R. Millar, Rob D. Smissen, Sarah J. Richardson and Daniel C. Laughlin

      Article first published online: 11 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12562

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      Root, stem and leaf tissue traits of tree seedlings are coordinated and influence fitness along soil fertility gradients. Root tissue density responds in unison with above-ground traits to soil fertility gradients; however, root traits are multidimensional because specific root length (SRL) is orthogonal to the plant economic spectrum. In contrast to leaves, trees are not constrained in the way they construct fine roots: plants can construct high or low SRL roots of any tissue density. High root tissue density is the most consistent below-ground trait that reflects adaptation to infertile soil.

    2. Size asymmetry of resource competition and the structure of plant communities

      Niv DeMalach, Eli Zaady, Jacob Weiner and Ronen Kadmon

      Article first published online: 3 MAR 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12557

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      The ability of the model to explain a wide range of observed patterns and the robustness of these predictions to its simplifying assumptions suggest that the size asymmetry of competition for light is a fundamental factor in determining the structure and diversity of plant communities.

  6. Retraction

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