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


  1. 1 - 32
  1. Standard Papers

    1. Leaf traits of African woody savanna species across climate and soil fertility gradients: evidence for conservative versus acquisitive resource-use strategies

      Benjamin J. Wigley, Jasper A. Slingsby, Sandra Díaz, William J. Bond, Hervé Fritz and Corli Coetsee

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12598

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      The relationships between traits and between traits and environmental gradients were far weaker than, and often contradictory to, broad-scale studies that compare these relationships across biomes and growth forms, cautioning against making generalizations about relationships at specific sites based on broad-scale analyses.

    2. Context-dependent changes in the functional composition of tree communities along successional gradients after land-use change

      Masahiro Aiba, Hiroko Kurokawa, Yusuke Onoda, Michio Oguro, Tohru Nakashizuka and Takashi Masaki

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12597

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      As a whole, our analyses demonstrate that the functional changes in tree communities after land-use change are highly evident in a given context but can be different under different contexts. These changes in functional composition can trigger variable changes in ecosystem functions such as carbon and nutrient cycling that depend on the context.

    3. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Drought history affects grassland plant and microbial carbon turnover during and after a subsequent drought event

      Lucia Fuchslueger, Michael Bahn, Roland Hasibeder, Sandra Kienzl, Karina Fritz, Michael Schmitt, Margarete Watzka and Andreas Richter

      Version of Record online: 24 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12593

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      Drought history can induce changes in above- vs. below-ground plant N concentrations and affect the response of plant C turnover to further droughts and rewetting by decreasing plant C uptake and below-ground allocation. Drought history does not affect the responses of the microbial community to further droughts and rewetting, but alters microbial functioning, particularly the turnover of recent plant-derived carbon, during and after further drought periods.

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      Rapid adaptation to controlling new microbial epibionts in the invaded range promotes invasiveness of an exotic seaweed

      Mahasweta Saha, Jutta Wiese, Florian Weinberger and Martin Wahl

      Version of Record online: 18 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12590

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      This study investigates the potential role of foulers as an elicitor of rapid defence adaptation in an invasive seaweed Gracilaria vermiculophylla and demonstrates for the first time that the employment of effective antifouling defence can be an important trait promoting invasion of weeds in the aquatic environment. Such adaptation dynamics could be also applicable to other types of host plant–enemy interaction in general and for cases of shifting plant–enemy interactions in course of climate change.

    5. Modification of plant-induced responses by an insect ecosystem engineer influences the colonization behaviour of subsequent shelter-users

      Akane Uesugi, Kimberly Morrell, Erik H. Poelman, Ciska E. Raaijmakers and André Kessler

      Version of Record online: 16 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12587

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      Ecosystem engineers could have significant impact on herbivore community not only by changing plant morphology, but also by altering host quality and modifying plant-induced responses to subsequent herbivory. As such, they may also function as a keystone herbivore that has disproportionate effects on community dynamics and composition meditated by induced plant growth and metabolic responses.

    6. Evolutionary responses of invasive grass species to variation in precipitation and soil nitrogen

      Monica A. Nguyen, Amy E. Ortega, Kurt Q. Nguyen, Sarah Kimball, Michael L. Goulden and Jennifer L. Funk

      Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12582

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      We investigated the influence of 5 years of water and nitrogen manipulations on two annual invasive species in a southern California grassland system. Trait differences were observed among water treatments following two generations in a common garden, suggesting that these differences were genetically based. Such rapid evolutionary responses may help these widespread invasive grass species thrive under reduced precipitation scenarios.

    7. Latitudinal variation in herbivory: hemispheric asymmetries and the role of climatic drivers

      Shuang Zhang, Yuxin Zhang and Keming Ma

      Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12588

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      This study shows the LH hypothesis is supported only in the Northern Hemisphere and highlights the importance of temperature in explaining the pattern of herbivory at the global scale. These possible hemispheric asymmetries in herbivory should not be overlooked in future studies.

    8. The determinants of tropical forest deciduousness: disentangling the effects of rainfall and geology in central Africa

      Dakis-Yaoba Ouédraogo, Adeline Fayolle, Sylvie Gourlet-Fleury, Frédéric Mortier, Vincent Freycon, Nicolas Fauvet, Suzanne Rabaud, Guillaume Cornu, Fabrice Bénédet, Jean-François Gillet, Richard Oslisly, Jean-Louis Doucet, Philippe Lejeune and Charly Favier

      Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12589

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      We found evidence that tropical forest deciduousness is the result of both the competitive advantage of deciduous species in climates with high rainfall seasonality, and the persistence of evergreen species on resource-poor soils. Our findings offer a clear illustration of wellknown theoretical leaf carbon economy models, explaining the patterns in the dominance of evergreen versus deciduous species. And, this large-scale assessment of the interaction between climate and geology in determining forest deciduousness may help to improve future predictions of vegetation distribution under climate change scenarios. In central Africa, forest is likely to respond differently to variation in rainfall and/or evapotranspiration depending on the geological substrate.

    9. Exotic invasive plants increase productivity, abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria and nitrogen availability in intermountain grasslands

      Morgan Luce McLeod, Cory C. Cleveland, Ylva Lekberg, John L. Maron, Laurent Philippot, David Bru and Ragan M. Callaway

      Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12584

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      Our results highlight the importance of the N cycling soil microbial community in how exotic invasive plants alter ecosystem function and show that shifts in function can occur rapidly.

    10. Facultative grazing and bioturbation by macrodetritivores alter saltmarsh plant–plant interactions under stress

      Ruth A. Howison, Han Olff, Marinka E. B. van Puijenbroek and Christian Smit

      Version of Record online: 12 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12581

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      Soil macrodetritivores can also be important in ecosystems as stress alleviators, leading to alternative explanations for the outcome of competition between plant species. Using a full factorial experimental approach we disentangle multiple mechanisms through which soil macrodetritivores affect plant interactions, including soil amelioration and facultative grazing under stress (Photo credit: Roy Kleukers).

    11. Invasive plant species are locally adapted just as frequently and at least as strongly as native plant species

      Ayub M.O. Oduor, Roosa Leimu and Mark van Kleunen

      Version of Record online: 10 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12578

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      The present results support the suggestion that rapid evolution of local adaptation may enable invasive plant species to occupy a broad range of novel habitats.

    12. Asynchronous changes in abundance over large scales are explained by demographic variation rather than environmental stochasticity in an invasive flagellate

      Cristina Trigal and Alejandro Ruete

      Version of Record online: 10 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12576

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      A full understanding of the mechanisms driving species abundance changes across large scales can only be gained if endogenous and environmental factors are analysed together. For phytoplankton species, and specially, invasive noxious microalgae, this implies that proxies for cyst production and recruitment, which are the inoculum for next year population, should be included in e.g. distribution, bloom formation and climate models, as these may modify establishment and population response to environmental variation. Asynchronous changes in abundance across regions also indicate that management plans to control the spread and bloom formation of this species should be developed for small regions, as inference at a large scale may obscure the mechanisms driving local population changes.

    13. Herbivory mediates the long-term shift in the relative importance of microsite and propagule limitation

      Anu Eskelinen, Patrick Saccone, Marko J. Spasojevic and Risto Virtanen

      Version of Record online: 10 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12592

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      Our results show that herbivory interacts with environmental conditions to mediate the relative importance of microsite and propagule limitations on community assembly; however, its impacts may only become detectable over longer time-scales. Moreover, our results suggest that herbivory may be a key biotic modulator of community assembly in low-productivity ecosystems and that incorporating trophic interactions (such as herbivory) into hypotheses about community assembly may provide a better understanding of the relative importance of different assembly mechanisms.

    14. You have full text access to this OnlineOpen article
      Invasion status and phylogenetic relatedness predict cost of heterospecific pollen receipt: implications for native biodiversity decline

      Gerardo Arceo-Gómez and Tia-Lynn Ashman

      Version of Record online: 10 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12586

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      These results suggest that the total effect of invasive plants on native plant reproductive success could be greater than what is inferred from visitation and conspecific pollen transfer alone. Furthermore, these results indicate that invasive species can reduce reproductive success of native species even if pollinator visitation rates remain unaltered. Thus, we highlight the need to evaluate pre- and post-pollination processes in order to fully understand the potential effects of invasive species on the reproductive success and maintenance of native plant populations.

    15. Lack of functional redundancy in the relationship between microbial diversity and ecosystem functioning

      Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Luca Giaramida, Peter B. Reich, Amit N. Khachane, Kelly Hamonts, Christine Edwards, Linda A. Lawton and Brajesh K. Singh

      Version of Record online: 9 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12585

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      We lack a quantitative understanding of the shape of the relationship between microbial biodiversity and ecosystem function. This limits our understanding of how microbial diversity depletion can impact key functions for human well-being, including pollutant detoxification. Our findings provide novel evidence that there is a lack of functional redundancy in the relationship between bacterial diversity and ecosystem functioning; thus the consequences of declining microbial diversity on ecosystem functioning and human welfare have likely been considerably underestimated.

    16. The simultaneous inducibility of phytochemicals related to plant direct and indirect defences against herbivores is stronger at low elevation

      Loïc Pellissier, Xoaquín Moreira, Holger Danner, Martha Serrano, Nicolas Salamin, Nicole M. van Dam and Sergio Rasmann

      Version of Record online: 9 MAY 2016 | DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12580

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      These results highlight that the complex regulation of multiple defence traits strongly vary across elevational gradients and build towards a better understanding of the multiple mechanisms underlying trait evolution and species interactions along ecological gradients.

    17. Priority effects: natives, but not exotics, pay to arrive late

      Katharine L. Stuble and Lara Souza

      Version of Record 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.

    18. 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

      Version of Record 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.

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

      Yanhao Feng and Mark van Kleunen

      Version of Record 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.

    20. 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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

      Version of Record 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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