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Current Issue of Trends Ecology Evolution


Issue: Trends in Ecology & Evolution

Feb 01, 2022

Volume 37Issue 2p109-192, e1-e2
The cover depicts prairie coneflower, Ratibida columnifera, an extirpated species from tallgrass prairies in southwestern Michigan, USA. Here, extirpated species demonstrate more limited phenological shifts in response to warming spring temperatures than closely-related extant species, implicating phenological plasticity as a potential determinant of extinction risk. On pages 147–157, Meredith Zettlemoyer and Megan DeMarche highlight how phenological plasticity might mediate species’ responses to climate change at three scales: individual variation in phenological responsiveness, population dynamics, and macroecological patterns of invasion, extinction, and range shifts. Cover image credit: Meredith Zettlemoyer....
The cover depicts prairie coneflower, Ratibida columnifera, an extirpated species from tallgrass prairies in southwestern Michigan, USA. Here, extirpated species demonstrate more limited phenological shifts in response to warming spring temperatures than closely-related extant species, implicating phenological plasticity as a potential determinant of extinction risk. On pages 147–157, Meredith Zettlemoyer and Megan DeMarche highlight how phenological plasticity might mediate species’ responses to climate change at three scales: individual variation in phenological responsiveness, population dynamics, and macroecological patterns of invasion, extinction, and range shifts. Cover image credit: Meredith Zettlemoyer.

Scientific Life

  • A solution for breaking the language barrier

    • Rassim Khelifa,
    • Tatsuya Amano,
    • Martin A. Nuñez
    Global problems require global scientific solutions, but the dominance of the English language creates a large barrier for many non-English-proficient researchers to make their findings and knowledge accessible globally. Here, we propose integrating peer language proofing and translation systems in preprint platforms as a solution for promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion in science.

Letters

  • The rejection of synthetic pesticides in organic farming has multiple benefits

    • Carsten A. Brühl,
    • Johann G. Zaller,
    • Matthias Liess,
    • Jörn Wogram
    In their provocative Opinion paper, Tscharntke et al. [1] conclude that diversifying agricultural landscapes has more benefits for biodiversity than organic farming and its ban on synthetic pesticides. Of course, we agree that a more diverse landscape with smaller fields plays a vital role in biodiversity conservation in agroecosystems. However, we suggest that the authors have misjudged the impact of synthetic pesticides on biodiversity and therefore mistakenly dismiss the manifold benefits of organic farming.
  • Restoring biodiversity needs more than reducing pesticides

    • Teja Tscharntke,
    • Ingo Grass,
    • Thomas C. Wanger,
    • Catrin Westphal,
    • Péter Batáry
    In their response to our paper on harnessing biodiversity-friendly landscapes [1], Brühl et al. [2] argue that we underestimate the benefits of banning synthetic pesticides in organic farming. We thank the authors for highlighting the importance of reducing pesticide applications for biodiversity conservation, an assessment that we share [3–5]. However, the question is rather whether benefits from waiving synthetic pesticides in organic farming are as large as benefits from increasing landscape heterogeneity through promoting seminatural habitats, small fields, and diversified cropping.

Opinions

  • Can large herbivores enhance ecosystem carbon persistence?

    • Jeppe A. Kristensen,
    • Jens-Christian Svenning,
    • Katerina Georgiou,
    • Yadvinder Malhi
    There is growing interest in aligning the wildlife conservation and restoration agenda with climate change mitigation goals. However, the presence of large herbivores tends to reduce aboveground biomass in some open-canopy ecosystems, leading to the possibility that large herbivore restoration may negatively influence ecosystem carbon storage. Belowground carbon storage is often ignored in these systems, despite the wide recognition of soils as the largest actively-cycling terrestrial carbon pool.
  • Integrating developmental plasticity into eco-evolutionary population dynamics

    • Isabel M. Smallegange
    There are increasing calls to incorporate developmental plasticity into the framework of eco-evolutionary dynamics. The current way is via genotype-specified reaction norms in which inheritance and phenotype expression are gene-based. I propose a developmental system perspective in which phenotypes are formed during individual development in a process comprising a complex set of interactions that involve genes, biochemistry, somatic state, and the (a)biotic environment, and where the developmental system is the unit of phenotype evolution.
  • The Time Machine framework: monitoring and prediction of biodiversity loss

    • Niamh Eastwood,
    • William A. Stubbings,
    • Mohamed A. Abou-Elwafa Abdallah,
    • Isabelle Durance,
    • Jouni Paavola,
    • Martin Dallimer,
    • Jelena H. Pantel,
    • Samuel Johnson,
    • Jiarui Zhou,
    • J. Scott Hosking,
    • James B. Brown,
    • Sami Ullah,
    • Stephan Krause,
    • David M. Hannah,
    • Sarah E. Crawford,
    • Martin Widmann,
    • Luisa Orsini
    Transdisciplinary solutions are needed to achieve the sustainability of ecosystem services for future generations. We propose a framework to identify the causes of ecosystem function loss and to forecast the future of ecosystem services under different climate and pollution scenarios. The framework (i) applies an artificial intelligence (AI) time-series analysis to identify relationships among environmental change, biodiversity dynamics and ecosystem functions; (ii) validates relationships between loss of biodiversity and environmental change in fabricated ecosystems; and (iii) forecasts the likely future of ecosystem services and their socioeconomic impact under different pollution and climate scenarios.
  • Dissecting impacts of phenological shifts for performance across biological scales

    • Meredith A. Zettlemoyer,
    • Megan L. DeMarche
    Although phenological shifts in response to climate are often assumed to benefit species’ performance and viability, phenology’s role in allowing population persistence and mediating species-level responses in the face of climate change remain unclear. Here, we develop a framework to understand when and why phenological shifts at three biological scales will influence performance: individuals, populations, and macroecological patterns. Specifically, we highlight three underexplored assumptions: (i) individual variability in phenology does not affect population fitness; (ii) population growth rates are sensitive to vital rates affected by phenology; and (iii) phenology mediates species-level responses to climate change including patterns of extinction, invasion, and range shifts.

Reviews

  • Addressing context dependence in ecology

    • Jane A. Catford,
    • John R.U. Wilson,
    • Petr Pyšek,
    • Philip E. Hulme,
    • Richard P. Duncan
    Open Access
    Context dependence is widely invoked to explain disparate results in ecology. It arises when the magnitude or sign of a relationship varies due to the conditions under which it is observed. Such variation, especially when unexplained, can lead to spurious or seemingly contradictory conclusions, which can limit understanding and our ability to transfer findings across studies, space, and time. Using examples from biological invasions, we identify two types of context dependence resulting from four sources: mechanistic context dependence arises from interaction effects; and apparent context dependence can arise from the presence of confounding factors, problems of statistical inference, and methodological differences among studies.
  • Phenotypic variation in urban environments: mechanisms and implications

    • M.J. Thompson,
    • P. Capilla-Lasheras,
    • D.M. Dominoni,
    • D. Réale,
    • A. Charmantier
    In the past decade, numerous studies have explored how urbanisation affects the mean phenotypes of populations, but it remains unknown how urbanisation impacts phenotypic variation, a key target of selection that shapes, and is shaped by, eco-evolutionary processes. Our review suggests that urbanisation may often increase intraspecific phenotypic variation through several processes; a conclusion aligned with results from our illustrative analysis on tit morphology across 13 European city/forest population pairs.
  • The ecological impacts of discarded cigarette butts

    • Dannielle S. Green,
    • Andrew D.W. Tongue,
    • Bas Boots
    Cigarette butts, one of the most littered items globally, present a unique challenge to ecosystems due to their ubiquity, persistence, and potential for harm. Over 35 studies have examined the toxicity of cigarette butts in biota from aquatic and terrestrial habitats from microbes to mice, but many organisms and habitats have not been tested. Two-thirds of studies are on aquatic organisms, and lethal effects were common. Research on the impacts on terrestrial life is lagging behind. Cigarette butts can affect the growth, behaviour, and reproductive output of individual organisms in all three habitats, but research on wider effects on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning is lacking.
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Trends in Ecology & Evolution