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  • Predicting Chronic Climate-Driven Disturbances and Their Mitigation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-13
    Nate G. McDowell, Sean T. Michaletz, Katrina E. Bennett, Kurt C. Solander, Chonggang Xu, Reed M. Maxwell, Craig D. Allen, Richard S. Middleton

    Society increasingly demands the stable provision of ecosystem resources to support our population. Resource risks from climate-driven disturbances, including drought, heat, insect outbreaks, and wildfire, are growing as a chronic state of disequilibrium results from increasing temperatures and a greater frequency of extreme events. This confluence of increased demand and risk may soon reach critical thresholds. We explain here why extreme chronic disequilibrium of ecosystem function is likely to increase dramatically across the globe, creating no-analog conditions that challenge adaptation. We also present novel mechanistic theory that combines models for disturbance mortality and metabolic scaling to link size-dependent plant mortality to changes in ecosystem stocks and fluxes. Efforts must anticipate and model chronic ecosystem disequilibrium to properly prepare for resilience planning.

  • Predicting Predator Recognition in a Changing World
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-10
    Alexandra J.R. Carthey, Daniel T. Blumstein

    Through natural as well as anthropogenic processes, prey can lose historically important predators and gain novel ones. Both predator gain and loss frequently have deleterious consequences. While numerous hypotheses explain the response of individuals to novel and familiar predators, we lack a unifying conceptual model that predicts the fate of prey following the introduction of a novel or a familiar (reintroduced) predator. Using the concept of eco-evolutionary experience, we create a new framework that allows us to predict whether prey will recognize and be able to discriminate predator cues from non-predator cues and, moreover, the likely persistence outcomes for 11 different predator–prey interaction scenarios. This framework generates useful and testable predictions for ecologists, conservation scientists, and decision-makers.

  • Information Theory Broadens the Spectrum of Molecular Ecology and Evolution
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-07
    W.B. Sherwin, A. Chao, L. Jost, P.E. Smouse

    Information or entropy analysis of diversity is used extensively in community ecology, and has recently been exploited for prediction and analysis in molecular ecology and evolution. Information measures belong to a spectrum (or q profile) of measures whose contrasting properties provide a rich summary of diversity, including allelic richness (q = 0), Shannon information (q = 1), and heterozygosity (q = 2). We present the merits of information measures for describing and forecasting molecular variation within and among groups, comparing forecasts with data, and evaluating underlying processes such as dispersal. Importantly, information measures directly link causal processes and divergence outcomes, have straightforward relationship to allele frequency differences (including monotonicity that q = 2 lacks), and show additivity across hierarchical layers such as ecology, behaviour, cellular processes, and nongenetic inheritance.

  • Planetary Boundaries for Biodiversity: Implausible Science, Pernicious Policies
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-07
    José M. Montoya, Ian Donohue, Stuart L. Pimm

    The notion of a ‘safe operating space for biodiversity’ is vague and encourages harmful policies. Attempts to fix it strip it of all meaningful content. Ecology is rapidly gaining insights into the connections between biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We have no option but to understand ecological complexity and act accordingly.

  • Using Biological Insight and Pragmatism When Thinking about Pseudoreplication
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-06
    Nick Colegrave, Graeme D. Ruxton

    Pseudoreplication is controversial across experimental biology. Researchers in the same field can disagree on whether a given study suffers from pseudoreplication and on to what extent any pseudoreplication undermines the value of a study. A recent survey indicated that concerns about pseudoreplication can strongly impact peer review of manuscripts submitted for publication. Here we explore controversies around pseudoreplication, identify issues requiring resolution, and in each case offer a resolution. We emphasise that having non-independence in data points and pseudoreplicating are not the same thing. Researchers should be able to demonstrate that in a given experiment they have minimised and controlled the risk of non-independence weakening their study. If they do that to the satisfaction of others, they have avoided pseudoreplication.

  • Embracing Colonizations: A New Paradigm for Species Association Dynamics
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-04
    Sören Nylin, Salvatore Agosta, Staffan Bensch, Walter A. Boeger, Mariana P. Braga, Daniel R. Brooks, Matthew L. Forister, Peter A. Hambäck, Eric P. Hoberg, Tommi Nyman, Alexander Schäpers, Alycia L. Stigall, Christopher W. Wheat, Martin Österling, Niklas Janz

    Parasite–host and insect–plant research have divergent traditions despite the fact that most phytophagous insects live parasitically on their host plants. In parasitology it is a traditional assumption that parasites are typically highly specialized; cospeciation between parasites and hosts is a frequently expressed default expectation. Insect–plant theory has been more concerned with host shifts than with cospeciation, and more with hierarchies among hosts than with extreme specialization. We suggest that the divergent assumptions in the respective fields have hidden a fundamental similarity with an important role for potential as well as actual hosts, and hence for host colonizations via ecological fitting. A common research program is proposed which better prepares us for the challenges from introduced species and global change.

  • Earth Observation Networks (EONs): Finding the Right Balance
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-02
    David B. Lindenmayer, Gene E. Likens, Jerry F. Franklin

    Earth observation networks (EONs) are an emerging, surveillance-based approach to environmental monitoring and research that are fundamentally different than traditional question-driven, experimentally designed approaches. There is an urgent need to find an optimal balance between these approaches and to develop new integrated initiatives that take advantage of key features of them both.

  • Meta-Ecosystems 2.0: Rooting the Theory into the Field
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-11-01
    Isabelle Gounand, Eric Harvey, Chelsea J. Little, Florian Altermatt

    The meta-ecosystem framework demonstrates the significance of among-ecosystem spatial flows for ecosystem dynamics and has fostered a rich body of theory. The high level of abstraction of the models, however, impedes applications to empirical systems. We argue that further understanding of spatial dynamics in natural systems strongly depends on dense exchanges between field and theory. From empiricists, more and specific quantifications of spatial flows are needed, defined by the major categories of organismal movement (dispersal, foraging, life-cycle, and migration). In parallel, the theoretical framework must account for the distinct spatial scales at which these naturally common spatial flows occur. Integrating all levels of spatial connections among landscape elements will upgrade and unify landscape and meta-ecosystem ecology into a single framework for spatial ecology.

  • Upward Adaptive Radiation Cascades: Predator Diversification Induced by Prey Diversification
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-30
    Jakob Brodersen, David M. Post, Ole Seehausen

    The value of biodiversity is widely appreciated, but we are only beginning to understand the interplay of processes that generate biodiversity and their consequences for coevolutionary interactions. Whereas predator–prey coevolution is most often analyzed in the context of evolutionary arms races, much less has been written about how predators are affected by, and respond to, evolutionary diversification in their prey. We hypothesize here that adaptive radiation of prey may lead to diversification and potentially speciation in predators, a process that we call an upwards adaptive radiation cascade. In this paper we lay out the conceptual basis for upwards adaptive radiation cascades, explore evidence for such cascades, and finally advocate for intensified research.

  • How Green is ‘Green’ Energy?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-23
    Luke Gibson, Elspeth N. Wilman, William F. Laurance

    Renewable energy is an important piece of the puzzle in meeting growing energy demands and mitigating climate change, but the potentially adverse effects of such technologies are often overlooked. Given that climate and ecology are inextricably linked, assessing the effects of energy technologies requires one to consider their full suite of global environmental concerns. We review here the ecological impacts of three major types of renewable energy – hydro, solar, and wind energy – and highlight some strategies for mitigating their negative effects. All three types can have significant environmental consequences in certain contexts. Wind power has the fewest and most easily mitigated impacts; solar energy is comparably benign if designed and managed carefully. Hydropower clearly has the greatest risks, particularly in certain ecological and geographical settings. More research is needed to assess the environmental impacts of these ‘green’ energy technologies, given that all are rapidly expanding globally.

  • Why Might Bacterial Pathogens Have Small Genomes?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-17
    Lucy A. Weinert, John J. Welch

    Bacteria that cause serious disease often have smaller genomes, and fewer genes, than their nonpathogenic, or less pathogenic relatives. Here, we review evidence for the generality of this association, and summarise the various reasons why the association might hold. We focus on the population genetic processes that might lead to reductive genome evolution, and show how several of these could be connected to pathogenicity. We find some evidence for most of the processes having acted in bacterial pathogens, including several different modes of genome reduction acting in the same lineage. We argue that predictable processes of genome evolution might not reflect any common underlying process.

  • Genomic Quantitative Genetics to Study Evolution in the Wild
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-16
    Phillip Gienapp, Simone Fior, Frédéric Guillaume, Jesse R. Lasky, Victoria L. Sork, Katalin Csilléry

    Quantitative genetic theory provides a means of estimating the evolutionary potential of natural populations. However, this approach was previously only feasible in systems where the genetic relatedness between individuals could be inferred from pedigrees or experimental crosses. The genomic revolution opened up the possibility of obtaining the realized proportion of genome shared among individuals in natural populations of virtually any species, which could promise (more) accurate estimates of quantitative genetic parameters in virtually any species. Such a ‘genomic’ quantitative genetics approach relies on fewer assumptions, offers a greater methodological flexibility, and is thus expected to greatly enhance our understanding of evolution in natural populations, for example, in the context of adaptation to environmental change, eco-evolutionary dynamics, and biodiversity conservation.

  • Evolutionary Trade-Off between Secondary Sexual Traits and Ejaculates
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-16
    Leigh W. Simmons, Stefan Lüpold, John L. Fitzpatrick

    Recent theoretical models predict that the evolutionary diversification of the weapons and ornaments of pre-mating sexual selection should be influenced by trade-offs with male expenditure on ejaculates. However, the patterns of association between secondary sexual traits and ejaculate expenditure are frequently inconsistent in their support of this prediction. We show why consideration of additional life-history, ecological, and mating-system variables is crucial for the interpretation of associations between secondary sexual traits and ejaculate production. Incorporation of these ‘missing variables’ provides evidence that interactions between pre- and post-mating sexual selection can underlie broad patterns of diversification in male weapons and ornaments. We call for more experimental and genetic approaches to uncover trade-offs, as well as for studies that consider the costs of mate-searching.

  • The ‘Evo-Demo’ Implications of Condition-Dependent Mortality
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-10-09
    Victor Ronget, Michael Garratt, Jean-François Lemaître, Jean-Michel Gaillard

    Animals in the wild die from a variety of different mortality sources, including predation, disease, and starvation. Different mortality sources selectively remove individuals with different body condition in different ways, and this variation in the condition dependence of mortality has evolutionary and demographic implications. Subsequent population dynamics are influenced by the strength of condition-dependent mortality during specific periods, with population growth impacted in different ways in short- versus long-lived species. The evolution of lifespan is strongly influenced by condition-dependent mortality, with strikingly different outcomes expected in senescence rates when the relationship between condition and mortality is altered. A coupling of field and laboratory studies is now required to further reveal the evolutionary implications of condition-dependent mortality.

  • Evolution of Visual Processing in the Human Retina
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-19
    Trevor D. Price, Rebia Khan

    Motion detection in humans is based on luminance differences, now shown likely to be processed by a specialized set of cone cells, separate from the cone cells that process color. Humans appear to have evolved a mechanism analogous to that proposed for the double cones of other vertebrates, lost as vision simplified in our nocturnal ancestors.

  • Transformative Research Is Not Easily Predicted
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-15
    Sarah A. Gravem, Silke M. Bachhuber, Heather K. Fulton-Bennett, Zachary H. Randell, Alissa J. Rickborn, Jenna M. Sullivan, Bruce A. Menge

    Transformative research (TR) statements in scientific grant proposals have become mainstream. However, TR is defined as radically changing our understanding of a concept, causing a paradigm shift, or opening new frontiers. We argue that it is rarely possible to predict the transformative nature of research. Interviews and surveys of 78 transformative ecologists suggest that most TR began with incremental goals, while transformative potential was recognized later. Most respondents thought TR is unpredictable and should not be prioritized over ‘incremental’ research that typically leads to breakthroughs. Importantly, TR directives might encourage scientists to overstate the importance of their research. We recommend that granting agencies (i) allocate only a subset of funds to TR and (ii) solicit more realistic proposal statements.

  • Process, Mechanism, and Modeling in Macroecology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-14
    Sean R. Connolly, Sally A. Keith, Robert K. Colwell, Carsten Rahbek

    Macroecology has traditionally relied on descriptive characterization of large-scale ecological patterns to offer narrative explanations for the origin and maintenance of those patterns. Only recently have macroecologists begun to employ models termed ‘process-based’ and ‘mechanistic’, in contrast to other areas of ecology, where such models have a longer history. Here, we define and differentiate between process-based and mechanistic features of models, and we identify and discuss important advantages of working with models possessing such features. We describe some of the risks associated with process-based and mechanistic model-centered research programs, and we propose ways to mitigate these risks. Giving process-based and mechanistic models a more central role in research programs can reinvigorate macroecology by strengthening the link between theory and data.

  • Understanding the Processes Underpinning Patterns of Phylogenetic Regionalization
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-14
    Barnabas H. Daru, Tammy L. Elliott, Daniel S. Park, T. Jonathan Davies

    A key step in understanding the distribution of biodiversity is the grouping of regions based on their shared elements. Historically, regionalization schemes have been largely species centric. Recently, there has been interest in incorporating phylogenetic information into regionalization schemes. Phylogenetic regionalization can provide novel insights into the mechanisms that generate, distribute, and maintain biodiversity. We argue that four processes (dispersal limitation, extinction, speciation, and niche conservatism) underlie the formation of species assemblages into phylogenetically distinct biogeographic units. We outline how it can be possible to distinguish among these processes, and identify centers of evolutionary radiation, museums of diversity, and extinction hotspots. We suggest that phylogenetic regionalization provides a rigorous and objective classification of regional diversity and enhances our knowledge of biodiversity patterns.

  • Deconstructing Superorganisms and Societies to Address Big Questions in Biology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-09
    Patrick Kennedy, Gemma Baron, Bitao Qiu, Dalial Freitak, Heikki Helanterä, Edmund R. Hunt, Fabio Manfredini, Thomas O’Shea-Wheller, Solenn Patalano, Christopher D. Pull, Takao Sasaki, Daisy Taylor, Christopher D.R. Wyatt, Seirian Sumner

    Social insect societies are long-standing models for understanding social behaviour and evolution. Unlike other advanced biological societies (such as the multicellular body), the component parts of social insect societies can be easily deconstructed and manipulated. Recent methodological and theoretical innovations have exploited this trait to address an expanded range of biological questions. We illustrate the broadening range of biological insight coming from social insect biology with four examples. These new frontiers promote open-minded, interdisciplinary exploration of one of the richest and most complex of biological phenomena: sociality.

  • The Nebulous Ecology of Native Invasions
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-07
    Lloyd L. Nackley, Adam G. West, Andrew L. Skowno, William J. Bond

    In the Anthropocene, alien species are no longer the only category of biological organism establishing and rapidly spreading beyond historical boundaries. We review evidence showing that invasions by native species are a global phenomenon and present case studies from Southern Africa, and elsewhere, that reveal how climate-mediated expansions of native plants into adjacent communities can emulate the functional and structural changes associated with invasions by alien plant species. We conclude that integrating native invasions into ecological practice and theory will improve mechanistic models and better inform policy and adaptive ecological management in the 21st century.

  • Is Reintroduction Biology an Effective Applied Science?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-09-07
    Gemma Taylor, Stefano Canessa, Rohan H. Clarke, Dean Ingwersen, Doug P. Armstrong, Philip J. Seddon, John G. Ewen

    Reintroduction biology is a field of scientific research that aims to inform translocations of endangered species. We review two decades of published literature to evaluate whether reintroduction science is evolving in its decision-support role, as called for by advocates of evidence-based conservation. Reintroduction research increasingly addresses a priori hypotheses, but remains largely focused on short-term population establishment. Similarly, studies that directly assist decisions by explicitly comparing alternative management actions remain a minority. A small set of case studies demonstrate full integration of research in the reintroduction decision process. We encourage the use of tools that embed research in decision-making, particularly the explicit consideration of multiple management alternatives because this is the crux of any management decisions.

  • Climates Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come Shape Climate Change Vulnerabilities
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-24
    Christopher P. Nadeau, Mark C. Urban, Jon R. Bridle

    Climate change is altering life at multiple scales, from genes to ecosystems. Predicting the vulnerability of populations to climate change is crucial to mitigate negative impacts. We suggest that regional patterns of spatial and temporal climatic variation scaled to the traits of an organism can predict where and why populations are most vulnerable to climate change. Specifically, historical climatic variation affects the sensitivity and response capacity of populations to climate change by shaping traits and the genetic variation in those traits. Present and future climatic variation can affect both climate change exposure and population responses. We provide seven predictions for how climatic variation might affect the vulnerability of populations to climate change and suggest key directions for future research.

  • Individual Confidence-Weighting and Group Decision-Making
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-21
    James A.R. Marshall, Gavin Brown, Andrew N. Radford

    Group-living species frequently pool individual information so as to reach consensus decisions such as when and where to move, or whether a predator is present. Such opinion-pooling has been demonstrated empirically, and theoretical models have been proposed to explain why group decisions are more reliable than individual decisions. Behavioural ecology theory frequently assumes that all individuals have equal decision-making abilities, but decision theory relaxes this assumption and has been tested in human groups. We summarise relevant theory and argue for its applicability to collective animal decisions. We consider selective pressure on confidence-weighting in groups of related and unrelated individuals. We also consider which species and behaviours may provide evidence of confidence-weighting, paying particular attention to the sophisticated vocal communication of cooperative breeders.

  • Sexual Conflict, Facultative Asexuality, and the True Paradox of Sex
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-23
    Nathan W. Burke, Russell Bonduriansky

    Theory suggests that occasional or conditional sex involving facultative switching between sexual and asexual reproduction is the optimal reproductive strategy. Therefore, the true ‘paradox of sex’ is the prevalence of obligate sex. This points to the existence of powerful, general impediments to the invasion of obligately sexual populations by facultative mutants, and recent studies raise the intriguing possibility that a key impediment could be sexual conflict. Using Bateman gradients we show that facultative asexuality can amplify sexual conflict over mating, generating strong selection for both female resistance and male coercion. We hypothesize that invasions are most likely to succeed when mutants have negative Bateman gradients, can avoid mating, and achieve high fecundity through asexual reproduction – a combination unlikely to occur in natural populations.

  • Do Performance–Safety Tradeoffs Cause Hypometric Metabolic Scaling in Animals?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-28
    Jon F. Harrison

    Hypometric scaling of aerobic metabolism in animals has been widely attributed to constraints on oxygen (O2) supply in larger animals, but recent findings demonstrate that O2 supply balances with need regardless of size. Larger animals also do not exhibit evidence of compensation for O2 supply limitation. Because declining metabolic rates (MRs) are tightly linked to fitness, this provides significant evidence against the hypothesis that constraints on supply drive hypometric scaling. As an alternative, ATP demand might decline in larger animals because of performance–safety tradeoffs. Larger animals, which typically reproduce later, exhibit risk-reducing strategies that lower MR. Conversely, smaller animals are more strongly selected for growth and costly neurolocomotory performance, elevating metabolism.

  • Harnessing the Power of Genomics to Secure the Future of Seafood
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-14
    Louis Bernatchez, Maren Wellenreuther, Cristián Araneda, David T. Ashton, Julia M.I. Barth, Terry D. Beacham, Gregory E. Maes, Jann T. Martinsohn, Kristina M. Miller, Kerry A. Naish, Jennifer R. Ovenden, Craig R. Primmer, Ho Young Suk, Nina O. Therkildsen, Ruth E. Withler

    Best use of scientific knowledge is required to maintain the fundamental role of seafood in human nutrition. While it is acknowledged that genomic-based methods allow the collection of powerful data, their value to inform fisheries management, aquaculture, and biosecurity applications remains underestimated. We review genomic applications of relevance to the sustainable management of seafood resources, illustrate the benefits of, and identify barriers to their integration. We conclude that the value of genomic information towards securing the future of seafood does not need to be further demonstrated. Instead, we need immediate efforts to remove structural roadblocks and focus on ways that support integration of genomic-informed methods into management and production practices. We propose solutions to pave the way forward.

  • Infectious Agents Trigger Trophic Cascades
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-20
    Julia C. Buck, William J. Ripple

    Most demonstrated trophic cascades originate with predators, but infectious agents can also cause top-down indirect effects in ecosystems. Here we synthesize the literature on trophic cascades initiated by infectious agents including parasitoids, pathogens, parasitic castrators, macroparasites, and trophically transmitted parasites. Like predators, infectious agents can cause density-mediated and trait-mediated indirect effects through their direct consumptive and nonconsumptive effects respectively. Unlike most predators, however, infectious agents are not fully and immediately lethal to their victims, so their consumptive effects can also trigger trait-mediated indirect effects. We find that the frequency of trophic cascades reported for different consumer types scales with consumer lethality. Furthermore, we emphasize the value of uniting predator–prey and parasite–host theory under a general consumer–resource framework.

  • Unifying Research on Social–Ecological Resilience and Collapse
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-19
    Graeme S. Cumming, Garry D. Peterson

    Ecosystems influence human societies, leading people to manage ecosystems for human benefit. Poor environmental management can lead to reduced ecological resilience and social–ecological collapse. We review research on resilience and collapse across different systems and propose a unifying social–ecological framework based on (i) a clear definition of system identity; (ii) the use of quantitative thresholds to define collapse; (iii) relating collapse processes to system structure; and (iv) explicit comparison of alternative hypotheses and models of collapse. Analysis of 17 representative cases identified 14 mechanisms, in five classes, that explain social–ecological collapse. System structure influences the kind of collapse a system may experience. Mechanistic theories of collapse that unite structure and process can make fundamental contributions to solving global environmental problems.

  • Symbiotic Dinoflagellate Functional Diversity Mediates Coral Survival under Ecological Crisis
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-23
    David J. Suggett, Mark E. Warner, William Leggat

    Coral reefs have entered an era of ‘ecological crisis’ as climate change drives catastrophic reef loss worldwide. Coral growth and stress susceptibility are regulated by their endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (genus Symbiodinium). The phylogenetic diversity of Symbiodinium frequently corresponds to patterns of coral health and survival, but knowledge of functional diversity is ultimately necessary to reconcile broader ecological success over space and time. We explore here functional traits underpinning the complex biology of Symbiodinium that spans free-living algae to coral endosymbionts. In doing so we propose a mechanistic framework integrating the primary traits of resource acquisition and utilisation as a means to explain Symbiodinium functional diversity and to resolve the role of Symbiodinium in driving the stability of coral reefs under an uncertain future.

  • Cognition in Contests: Mechanisms, Ecology, and Evolution
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-17
    Michael S. Reichert, John L. Quinn

    Animal contests govern access to key resources and are a fundamental determinant of fitness within populations. Little is known about the mechanisms generating individual variation in strategic contest behavior or what this variation means for population level processes. Cognition governs the expression of behaviors during contests, most notably by linking experience gained with decision making, but its role in driving the evolutionary ecological dynamics of contests is only beginning to emerge. We review the kinds of cognitive mechanisms that underlie contest behavior, emphasize the importance of feedback loops and socio-ecological context, and suggest that contest behavior provides an ideal focus for integrative studies of phenotypic variation.

  • Which Latitudinal Gradients for Genetic Diversity?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-11
    Paolo Gratton, Silvio Marta, Gaëlle Bocksberger, Marten Winter, Petr Keil, Emiliano Trucchi, Hjalmar Kühl

    A recent global analysis of GenBank DNA sequences from amphibians and mammals indicated consistent poleward decrease of intraspecific genetic diversity in both classes. We highlight that this result was biased by not accounting for distance decay of similarity and reanalyse the datasets, revealing distinct latitudinal gradients in mammals and amphibians.

  • Conservation Evo-Devo: Preserving Biodiversity by Understanding Its Origins
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-07
    Calum S. Campbell, Colin E.​ Adams, Colin W. Bean, Kevin J. Parsons

    Unprecedented rates of species extinction increase the urgency for effective conservation biology management practices. Thus, any improvements in practice are vital and we suggest that conservation can be enhanced through recent advances in evolutionary biology, specifically advances put forward by evolutionary developmental biology (i.e., evo-devo). There are strong overlapping conceptual links between conservation and evo-devo whereby both fields focus on evolutionary potential. In particular, benefits to conservation can be derived from some of the main areas of evo-devo research, namely phenotypic plasticity, modularity and integration, and mechanistic investigations of the precise developmental and genetic processes that determine phenotypes. Using examples we outline how evo-devo can expand into conservation biology, an opportunity which holds great promise for advancing both fields.

  • Causes and Consequences of Behavioral Interference between Species
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-08-07
    Gregory F. Grether, Kathryn S. Peiman, Joseph A. Tobias, Beren W. Robinson

    Behavioral interference between species, such as territorial aggression, courtship, and mating, is widespread in animals. While aggressive and reproductive forms of interspecific interference have generally been studied separately, their many parallels and connections warrant a unified conceptual approach. Substantial evidence exists that aggressive and reproductive interference have pervasive effects on species coexistence, range limits, and evolutionary processes, including divergent and convergent forms of character displacement. Alien species invasions and climate change-induced range shifts result in novel interspecific interactions, heightening the importance of predicting the consequences of species interactions, and behavioral interference is a fundamental but neglected part of the equation. Here, we outline priorities for further theoretical and empirical research on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of behavioral interference.

  • Reshaping Darwin’s Tree: Impact of the Symbiome
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-09
    Erin A. Tripp, Ning Zhang, Harald Schneider, Ying Huang, Gregory M. Mueller, Zhihong Hu, Max Häggblom, Debashish Bhattacharya

    Much of the undescribed biodiversity on Earth is microbial, often in mutualistic or pathogenic associations. Physically associated and coevolving life forms comprise a symbiome. We propose that systematics research can accelerate progress in science by introducing a new framework for phylogenetic analysis of symbiomes, here termed SYMPHY (symbiome phylogenetics).

  • Biodiversity Models: What If Unsaturation Is the Rule?
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-10
    Rubén G. Mateo, Karel Mokany, Antoine Guisan

    Improving biodiversity predictions is essential if we are to meet the challenges posed by global change. As knowledge is key to feed models, we need to evaluate how debated theory can affect models. An important ongoing debate is whether environmental constraints limit the number of species that can coexist in a community (saturation), with recent findings suggesting that species richness in many communities might be unsaturated. Here, we propose that biodiversity models could address this issue by accounting for a duality: considering communities as unsaturated but where species composition is constrained by different scale-dependent biodiversity drivers. We identify a variety of promising advances for incorporating this duality into commonly applied biodiversity modelling approaches and improving their spatial predictions.

  • Animal Social Network Theory Can Help Wildlife Conservation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-22
    Lysanne Snijders, Daniel T. Blumstein, Christina R. Stanley, Daniel W. Franks

    Many animals preferentially associate with certain other individuals. This social structuring can influence how populations respond to changes to their environment, thus making network analysis a promising technique for understanding, predicting, and potentially manipulating population dynamics. Various network statistics can correlate with individual fitness components and key population-level processes, yet the logical role and formal application of animal social network theory for conservation and management have not been well articulated. We outline how understanding of direct and indirect relationships between animals can be profitably applied by wildlife managers and conservationists. By doing so, we aim to stimulate the development and implementation of practical tools for wildlife conservation and management and to inspire novel behavioral research in this field.

  • Equipping the 22nd-Century Historical Ecologist
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-20
    Scott A. Morrison, T. Scott Sillett, W. Chris Funk, Cameron K. Ghalambor, Torben C. Rick

    Historical ecology provides information needed to understand contemporary conditions and make science-based resource management decisions. Gaps in historical records, however, can limit inquiries and inference. Unfortunately, the patchiness of data that poses challenges for today’s historical ecologist may be similarly problematic for those in the future seeking to understand what are currently present-day conditions and trends, in part because of societal underinvestment in systematic collection and curation. We therefore highlight the generational imperative that contemporary scientists and managers individually have – especially in this era of tremendous global change – to ensure sufficient documentation of the past and current conditions of the places and resources to which they have access.

  • Why Sex? A Pluralist Approach Revisited
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-09
    Maurine Neiman, Curtis M. Lively, Stephanie Meirmans

    Why sexual reproduction predominates in nature remains a mystery. The mystery stems in part from the fact that many of the plausible hypotheses for sex have restrictive assumptions. Two decades ago these limitations inspired the formulation of a ‘pluralist’ approach in which standalone hypotheses for sex were considered together. Here we review representative literature to address whether this strategy has deepened our understanding of sex. We found surprisingly few papers adopting such an approach, probably reflecting challenges associated with testing multiple mechanisms. Nevertheless, these studies provided new insights, highlighting in particular the potential importance of interaction between parasites and harmful mutations. We conclude with strategies for moving forward, including broader formulations of pluralism and the application of more qualitative types of testing.

  • Adaptive Genetic Exchange: A Tangled History of Admixture and Evolutionary Innovation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-20
    Michael L. Arnold, Krushnamegh Kunte

    Genetic exchange between divergent evolutionary lineages, from introgressive hybridization between locally adapted populations to insertion of retroviral sequences into eukaryotic genomes, has now been documented. The detection of frequent divergence-with-gene-flow contrasts the neo-Darwinian paradigm of largely allopatric diversification. Nevertheless, of even greater significance is the growing wealth of data suggesting that the recipients of the transferred genomic material gain adaptive phenotypes from the donor lineages. This adaptive enrichment is reflected by changes in pathogenicity in viruses and bacteria, the transformation of ecological amplitude in eukaryotes, and adaptive radiations in extremely diverse lineages. Although genetic exchange may produce maladaptive consequences, most of the recently reported examples suggest increases in fitness, and many such adaptive trait transfers have been identified in our own species.

  • The Evolutionary Consequences of Stepwise Infection Processes
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-06-22
    Matthew D. Hall, Gilberto Bento, Dieter Ebert

    Molecular and cellular studies reveal that the resistance of hosts to parasites and pathogens is a cascade-like process with multiple steps required to be passed for successful infection. By contrast, much of evolutionary reasoning is based on strongly simplified, one- or two-step infection processes with simple genetics or on resistance being a quantitative trait. Here we attempt a conceptual unification of these two perspectives with the aim of cross-fostering research and filling some of the gaps in our concepts of the ecology and evolution of disease. This conceptual unification has a profound impact on the way we understand the genetics and evolution of host resistance, ecological immunity, evolution of virulence, defence portfolios, and host–pathogen coevolution.

  • Mutualisms Are Not on the Verge of Breakdown
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-21
    Megan E. Frederickson

    Mutualisms teeter on a knife-edge between conflict and cooperation, or so the conventional wisdom goes. The costs and benefits of mutualism often depend on the abiotic or biotic context in which an interaction occurs, and experimental manipulations can induce shifts in interaction outcomes from mutualism all the way to parasitism. Yet, research suggests that mutualisms rarely turn parasitic in nature. Similarly, despite the potential for ‘cheating’ to undermine mutualism evolution, empirical evidence for fitness conflicts between partners and, thus, selection for cheating in mutualisms is scant. Furthermore, mutualism seldom leads to parasitism at macroevolutionary timescales. Thus, I argue here that mutualisms do not deserve their reputation for ecological and evolutionary instability, and are not on the verge of breakdown.

  • Publishing with Objective Charisma: Breaking Science’s Paradox
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-07-19
    Zoë A. Doubleday, Sean D. Connell

    Good writing takes time, but in a research environment where speed is master, is it a superfluous pursuit? Scientists spend most of their working life writing, yet our writing style obstructs its key purpose: communication. We advocate more accessible prose that boosts the influence of our publications. For those who change, the proof of their success will be science that is read, understood, and remembered.

  • Next-Generation Global Biomonitoring: Large-scale, Automated Reconstruction of Ecological Networks
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-03-27
    David A. Bohan, Corinne Vacher, Alireza Tamaddoni-Nezhad, Alan Raybould, Alex J. Dumbrell, Guy Woodward

    We foresee a new global-scale, ecological approach to biomonitoring emerging within the next decade that can detect ecosystem change accurately, cheaply, and generically. Next-generation sequencing of DNA sampled from the Earth’s environments would provide data for the relative abundance of operational taxonomic units or ecological functions. Machine-learning methods would then be used to reconstruct the ecological networks of interactions implicit in the raw NGS data. Ultimately, we envision the development of autonomous samplers that would sample nucleic acids and upload NGS sequence data to the cloud for network reconstruction. Large numbers of these samplers, in a global array, would allow sensitive automated biomonitoring of the Earth’s major ecosystems at high spatial and temporal resolution, revolutionising our understanding of ecosystem change.

  • Integrating Biogeography with Contemporary Niche Theory
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-05-03
    William Godsoe, Jill Jankowski, Robert D. Holt, Dominique Gravel

    There is no consensus on when biotic interactions impact the range limits of species. Starting from MacArthur’s use of invasibility to understand how biotic interactions influence coexistence, here we examine how biotic interactions shape species distributions. Range limits emerge from how birth, death, and movement rates vary with the environment. We clarify some basic issues revolving around niche definitions, illustrated with simple resource–consumer theory. We then highlight two different avenues for linking community theory and range theory; the first based on calculating the effects of biotic interactions on range limits across scales and landscape configurations, and the second based on aggregate measures of diffuse interactions and network strength. We conclude with suggestions for a future research agenda.

  • Why Finance Should Care about Ecology
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-04-27
    Bert Scholtens

    Finance ignores ecosystems, which has resulted in a growing list of environmental and social problems. In this article, the importance of ecology for finance is assessed. We suggest The piece also suggests that the financial intermediation perspective can align finance and ecology for the benefit of society. This requires that financial institutions account for information about the impact of finance on the environment and vice versa, and that they are held accountable by their supervisors in this domain.

  • Revisiting Adaptive Potential, Population Size, and Conservation
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-05-02
    Ary A. Hoffmann, Carla M. Sgrò, Torsten N. Kristensen

    Additive genetic variance (VA) reflects the potential for evolutionary shifts and can be low for some traits or populations. High VA is critical for the conservation of threatened species under selection to facilitate adaptation. Theory predicts tight associations between population size and VA, but data from some experimental models, and managed and natural populations do not always support this prediction. However, VA comparisons often have low statistical power, are undertaken in highly controlled environments distinct from natural habitats, and focus on traits with limited ecological relevance. Moreover, investigations of VA typically fail to consider rare alleles, genetic load, or linkage disequilibrium, resulting in deleterious effects associated with favored alleles in small populations. Large population size remains essential for ensuring adaptation.

  • Ecology of Problem Individuals and the Efficacy of Selective Wildlife Management
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-05-18
    George J.F. Swan, Steve M. Redpath, Stuart Bearhop, Robbie A. McDonald

    As a result of ecological and social drivers, the management of problems caused by wildlife is becoming more selective, often targeting specific animals. Narrowing the sights of management relies upon the ecology of certain ‘problem individuals’ and their disproportionate contribution to impacts upon human interests. We assess the ecological evidence for problem individuals and confirm that some individuals or classes can be both disproportionately responsible and more likely to reoffend. The benefits of management can sometimes be short-lived, and selective management can affect tolerance of wildlife for better or worse, but, when effectively targeted, selective management can bring benefits by mitigating impact and conflict, often in a more socially acceptable way.

  • Old Plants, New Tricks: Phenological Research Using Herbarium Specimens
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-04-29
    Charles G. Willis, Elizabeth R. Ellwood, Richard B. Primack, Charles C. Davis, Katelin D. Pearson, Amanda S. Gallinat, Jenn M. Yost, Gil Nelson, Susan J. Mazer, Natalie L. Rossington, Tim H. Sparks, Pamela S. Soltis

    The timing of phenological events, such as leaf-out and flowering, strongly influence plant success and their study is vital to understanding how plants will respond to climate change. Phenological research, however, is often limited by the temporal, geographic, or phylogenetic scope of available data. Hundreds of millions of plant specimens in herbaria worldwide offer a potential solution to this problem, especially as digitization efforts drastically improve access to collections. Herbarium specimens represent snapshots of phenological events and have been reliably used to characterize phenological responses to climate. We review the current state of herbarium-based phenological research, identify potential biases and limitations in the collection, digitization, and interpretation of specimen data, and discuss future opportunities for phenological investigations using herbarium specimens.

  • Graham H. Pyke: Sustainability for Humanity: It’s Time To Preach Beyond the Converted
    Trends Ecol. Evol. (IF 15.268) Pub Date : 2017-05-02

    Researchers seeking to increase awareness and action regarding sustainability issues have been overly preaching to relatively small congregations of the already converted, rather than delivering their messages more broadly, thus contributing to a growing mismatch between public opinion and sustainability science. I present suggestions for how we can remedy this and seek your increasing involvement.

Some contents have been Reproduced with permission of the American Chemical Society.
Some contents have been Reproduced by permission of The Royal Society of Chemistry.
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