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4 October 2017

Diversity-dependent temporal divergence of ecosystem functioning in experimental ecosystems [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

The effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning generally increase over time, but the underlying processes remain unclear. Using 26 long-term grassland and forest experimental ecosystems, we demonstrate that biodiversity–ecosystem functioning relationships strengthen mainly by greater increases in functioning in high-diversity communities in grasslands and forests. In grasslands, biodiversity effects also strengthen due to decreases in functioning in low-diversity communities. Contrasting trends across grasslands are associated with differences in soil characteristics.

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3 October 2017

Network structure embracing mutualism–antagonism continuums increases community robustness [Nature Ecology & Evolution]

Keywords : community ecology, ecological networks

Theory predicts that contrasting properties of mutualistic and antagonistic networks differentially promote community resilience to species loss. However, the outcome of most ecological interactions falls within a continuum between mutualism and antagonism, and we ignore the extent to which this interactions’ continuum might influence community stability. Using a large data set of interactions, we compared co-extinction cascades that either consider or ignore the mix of beneficial and detrimental actions that parrots exert on plants.(...)

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3 October 2017

Nectar-inhabiting microorganisms influence nectar volatile composition and attractiveness to a generalist pollinator [New Phytologist]

Keywords : Apis mellifera, floral headspace, microbial volatile (MVOC), nectar microbes, pollination, semiochemical; volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), yeast

The plant microbiome can influence plant phenotype in diverse ways, yet microbial contribution to plant volatile phenotype remains poorly understood. We examine the presence of fungi and bacteria in the nectar of a coflowering plant community, characterize the volatiles produced by common nectar microbes and examine their influence on pollinator preference.(...)

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3 October 2017

Tropical forests are a net carbon source based on aboveground measurements of gain and loss [Science]

The carbon balance of tropical ecosystems remains uncertain, with top-down atmospheric studies suggesting an overall sink and bottom-up ecological approaches indicating a modest net source. Here we use 12 years (2003–2014) of MODIS pantropical satellite data to quantify net annual changes in the aboveground carbon density of tropical woody live vegetation, providing direct, measurement-based evidence that the world’s tropical forests are a net carbon source of 425.2 ± 92.0 Tg C yr –1. This net release of carbon consists of losses of 861.7 ± 80.2 Tg C yr –1 and gains of 436.5 ± 31.0 Tg C yr –1. Gains result from forest growth; losses result from deforestation and from reductions in carbon density within standing forests (degradation/disturbance), with the latter accounting for 68.9% of overall losses.

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3 October 2017

Phenotypic plasticity in the morphology of small benthic Icelandic Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) [Ecology of Freshwater Fish]

Keywords : adaptation, biodiversity, ecological factors, evolutionary ecology, groundwater, Iceland

Intraspecific phenotypic diversity is the raw material for evolution, so understanding its origin and maintenance is critically important for conservation of biodiversity. Intraspecific diversity in a trait or a suite of traits can result from genetic diversity and/or phenotypic plasticity. The two are, however, not independent as plasticity has been shown to evolve. In this study, we evaluated the importance of phenotypic plasticity in generating morphological diversity in populations of small benthic Arctic charr in Iceland, using a rearing experiment with contrasting modes of feeding.(...)

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