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Functional Ecology

Karine Salin, Eugenia M Villasevil, Graeme J Anderson, Sonya K Auer, Colin Selman, Richard C Hartley, William Mullen, Christos Chinopoulos, Neil B Metcalfe
Many animals experience periods of food shortage in their natural environment. It has been hypothesised that the metabolic responses of animals to naturally-occurring periods of food deprivation may have long-term negative impacts on their subsequent life-history.In particular, reductions in energy requirements in response to fasting may help preserve limited resources but potentially come at a cost of increased oxidative stress. However, little is known about this trade-off since studies of energy metabolism are generally conducted separately from those of oxidative stress...
September 2018: Functional Ecology
Beth M Weber, E Keith Bowers, Kimberly A Terrell, Josephine F Falcone, Charles F Thompson, Scott K Sakaluk
Corticosterone plays a central role in maintaining homeostasis, promoting energy acquisition, and regulating the stress response in birds. Exposure to elevated levels of corticosterone during development can profoundly alter offspring behaviour and physiology, but the effects of elevated maternal corticosterone on offspring development remain poorly understood.We tested two competing hypotheses concerning the effect of maternally derived corticosterone on growth and development of free-living house wrens: (i) elevated maternal corticosterone causes damaging effects on nestling phenotype and fitness (collateral damage hypothesis) and (ii) increased maternal corticosterone enhances offspring fitness by preparing nestlings for the environment experienced by their mother (environmental/maternal-matching hypothesis)...
August 2018: Functional Ecology
Romain Richard, André M de Roos
Development is often accompanied by major changes in an organism's functioning and in the way it interacts with its environment. We consider how developmental events such as allocation changes at maturity, ontogenetic diet shift or metamorphosis may affect the likelihood and nature of nutrient limitation and explore the consequences of these changes in nutrient limitation for individual life history and patterns of biomass production.To this purpose, we develop a general model for individual growth and reproduction that is based on the assumption that biomass production and metabolism require several nutrients and that individuals may require them in different proportion at different stages of their lives...
June 2018: Functional Ecology
Roberto Salguero-Gómez, Cyrille Violle, Olivier Gimenez, Dylan Childs
Few facets of biology vary more than functional traits and life-history traits. To explore this vast variation, functional ecologists and population ecologists have developed independent approaches that identify the mechanisms behind and consequences of trait variation.Collaborative research between researchers using trait-based and demographic approaches remains scarce. We argue that this is a missed opportunity, as the strengths of both approaches could help boost the research agendas of functional ecology and population ecology...
June 2018: Functional Ecology
Wilco C E P Verberk, Rob S E W Leuven, Gerard van der Velde, Friederike Gabel
In order to predict which species can successfully cope with global warming and how other environmental stressors modulate their vulnerability to climate-related environmental factors, an understanding of the ecophysiology underpinning thermal limits is essential for both conservation biology and invasion biology.Heat tolerance and the extent to which heat tolerance differed with oxygen availability were examined for four native and four alien freshwater peracarid crustacean species, with differences in habitat use across species...
April 2018: Functional Ecology
Karin Staudacher, Oskar Rennstam Rubbmark, Klaus Birkhofer, Gerard Malsher, Daniela Sint, Mattias Jonsson, Michael Traugott
The "habitat heterogeneity hypothesis" predicts positive effects of structural complexity on species coexistence. Increasing habitat heterogeneity can change the diversity (number of species, abundances) and the functional roles of communities. The latter, however, is not well understood as species and individuals may respond very differently and dynamically to a changing environment.Here, we experimentally test how habitat heterogeneity affects generalist arthropod predators, including epigaeic spiders, carabid and staphylinid beetles, under natural conditions by assessing their diversity and directly measuring their trophic interactions (which provide a proxy for their functional roles)...
March 2018: Functional Ecology
J Robert Britton, Ana Ruiz-Navarro, Hugo Verreycken, Fatima Amat-Trigo
Invasive species can cause substantial ecological impacts on native biodiversity. While ecological theory attempts to explain the processes involved in the trophic integration of invaders into native food webs and their competitive impacts on resident species, results are equivocal. In addition, quantifying the relative strength of impacts from non-native species (interspecific competition) versus the release of native conspecifics (intraspecific competition) is important but rarely completed.Two model non-native fishes, the globally invasive Cyprinus carpio and Carassius auratus , and the model native fish Tinca tinca , were used in a pond experiment to test how increased intra- and interspecific competition influenced trophic niches and somatic growth rates...
February 2018: Functional Ecology
Nathan G King, David C Wilcockson, Richard Webster, Dan A Smale, Laura S Hoelters, Pippa J Moore
Climate change is driving range contractions and local population extinctions across the globe. When this affects ecosystem engineers the vacant niches left behind are likely to alter the wider ecosystem unless a similar species can fulfil them.Here, we explore the stress physiology of two coexisting kelps undergoing opposing range shifts in the Northeast Atlantic and discuss what differences in stress physiology may mean for future niche filling.We used chlorophyll florescence ( F v /F m ) and differentiation of the heat shock response (HSR) to determine the capacity of the expanding kelp , Laminaria ochroleuca , to move into the higher shore position of the retreating kelp, Laminaria digitata ...
February 2018: Functional Ecology
Thomas M Houslay, Maddalena Vierbuchen, Andrew J Grimmer, Andrew J Young, Alastair J Wilson
Within populations, individuals can vary in stress response, a multivariate phenomenon comprising neuroendocrine, physiological and behavioural traits.Verbal models of individual stress "coping style" have proposed that the behavioural component of this variation can be described as a single axis, with each individual's coping style being consistent across time and stress contexts.Focusing on this behavioural component of stress response and combining repeated measures of multiple traits with a novel multivariate modelling framework, we test for the existence of coping style variation and assess its stability across contexts in the Trinidadian guppy ( Poecilia reticulata )...
February 2018: Functional Ecology
Loren Merrill, Madeleine F Naylor, Merria Dalimonte, Sean McLaughlin, Tara E Stewart, Jennifer L Grindstaff
Early-life adversity can have long-lasting effects on physiological, behavioural, cognitive, and somatic processes. Consequently, these effects may alter an organism's life-history strategy and reproductive tactics.In response to early-life immune activation, we quantified levels of the acute phase protein haptoglobin (Hp) during development in male zebra finches ( Taeniopygia guttata ). Then, we examined the long-term impacts of early-life immune activation on an important static sexual signal, song complexity, as well as effects of early-life immune activation on the relationship between song complexity and a dynamic sexual signal, beak colouration...
December 2017: Functional Ecology
Sonya K Auer, Shaun S Killen, Enrico L Rezende
Variation in aerobic capacity has far reaching consequences for the physiology, ecology, and evolution of vertebrates. Whether at rest or active, animals are constrained to operate within the energetic bounds determined by their minimum (minMR) and sustained or maximum metabolic rates (upperMR). MinMR and upperMR can differ considerably among individuals and species but are often presumed to be mechanistically linked to one another. Specifically, minMR is thought to reflect the idling cost of the machinery needed to support upperMR...
September 2017: Functional Ecology
Yunhai Zhang, Michel Loreau, Nianpeng He, Guangming Zhang, Xingguo Han
1. Global reactive nitrogen (N) is projected to further increase in the coming years. Previous studies have demonstrated that N enrichment weakens the temporal stability of the ecosystem and the primary productivity through decreased biodiversity and species asynchrony. Mowing is a globally common practise in grasslands; and infrequent mowing can maintain or increase plant diversity under N enrichment conditions. However, it is unclear how infrequent mowing affects ecosystem stability in the face of N enrichment...
August 4, 2017: Functional Ecology
Nikki M Rendon, Andrea C Amez, Melissa R Proffitt, Elizabeth R Bauserman, Gregory E Demas
Seasonally breeding animals exhibit profound physiological and behavioural responses to changes in ambient day length (photoperiod), including changes in reproductive function and territorial aggression.Species where aggression persists when gonads are regressed and circulating levels of gonadal hormones are low, such as Siberian hamsters ( Phodopus sungorus ) and song sparrows ( Melospiza melodia ), challenge the well-established framework that gonadal hormones are important mediators of aggression.A solution to this apparent paradox is that a season-specific increase in sensitivity to hormones in brain areas associated with aggression offsets low levels of gonadal hormones during periods of reproductive quiescence...
May 2017: Functional Ecology
Amanda W Carter, Rachel M Bowden, Ryan T Paitz
Sex-specific maternal effects can be adaptive sources of phenotypic plasticity. Reptiles with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) are a powerful system to investigate such maternal effects because offspring phenotype, including sex, can be sensitive to maternal influences such as oestrogens and incubation temperatures.In red-eared slider turtles ( Trachemys scripta ), concentrations of maternally derived oestrogens and incubation temperatures increase across the nesting season; we wanted to determine if sex ratios shift in a seasonally concordant manner, creating the potential for sex-specific maternal effects, and to define the sex ratio reaction norms under fluctuating temperatures across the nesting season...
April 2017: Functional Ecology
Catherine Preece, Alexandra Livarda, Pascal-Antoine Christin, Michael Wallace, Gemma Martin, Michael Charles, Glynis Jones, Mark Rees, Colin P Osborne
The origins of agriculture, 10 000 years ago, led to profound changes in the biology of plants exploited as grain crops, through the process of domestication. This special case of evolution under cultivation led to domesticated cereals and pulses requiring humans for their dispersal, but the accompanying mechanisms causing higher productivity in these plants remain unknown. The classical view of crop domestication is narrow, focusing on reproductive and seed traits including the dispersal, dormancy and size of seeds, without considering whole-plant characteristics...
February 2017: Functional Ecology
Steven D Johnson, Marcela Moré, Felipe W Amorim, William A Haber, Gordon W Frankie, Dara A Stanley, Andrea A Coccuci, Robert A Raguso
1. Proboscis length has been proposed as a key dimension of plant pollination niches, but this niche space has not previously been explored at regional and global scales for any pollination system. Hawkmoths are ideal organisms for exploring pollinator niches as they are important pollinators in most of the biodiverse regions of the earth and vary greatly in proboscis length, with some species having the longest proboscides of all insects. 2. Using datasets for nine biogeographical regions spanning the Old and New World, we ask whether it is possible to identify distinct hawkmoth pollination niches based on the frequency distribution of proboscis length, and whether these niches are reflected in the depths of flowers that are pollinated by hawkmoths...
January 2017: Functional Ecology
Andrew S Flies, Linda S Mansfield, Emily J Flies, Chris K Grant, Kay E Holekamp
Social rank can profoundly affect many aspects of mammalian reproduction and stress physiology, but little is known about how immune function is affected by rank and other socio-ecological factors in free-living animals.In this study we examine the effects of sex, social rank, and reproductive status on immune function in long-lived carnivores that are routinely exposed to a plethora of pathogens, yet rarely show signs of disease.Here we show that two types of immune defenses, complement-mediated bacterial killing capacity (BKC) and total IgM, are positively correlated with social rank in wild hyenas, but that a third type, total IgG, does not vary with rank...
September 2016: Functional Ecology
Christopher A Johnson, Renato M Coutinho, Erin Berlin, Kimberly E Dolphin, Johanna Heyer, Britney Kim, Alice Leung, Jamie Lou Sabellon, Priyanga Amarasekare
In species with complex life cycles, population dynamics result from a combination of intrinsic cycles arising from delays in the operation of negative density-dependent processes (e.g., intraspecific competition) and extrinsic fluctuations arising from seasonal variation in the abiotic environment. Abiotic variation can affect species directly through their life history traits and indirectly by modulating the species' interactions with resources or natural enemies.We investigate how the interplay between density-dependent dynamics and abiotic variability affects population dynamics of the bordered plant bug (Largus californicus), a Hemipteran herbivore inhabiting the California coastal sage scrub community...
July 2016: Functional Ecology
Dara A Stanley, Nigel E Raine
Insect pollinators are essential for both the production of a large proportion of world crops and the health of natural ecosystems. As important pollinators, bumblebees must learn to forage on flowers to feed both themselves and provision their colonies.Increased use of pesticides has caused concern over sublethal effects on bees, such as impacts on reproduction or learning ability. However, little is known about how sublethal exposure to field-realistic levels of pesticide might affect the ability of bees to visit and manipulate flowers...
July 2016: Functional Ecology
Who-Seung Lee, Pat Monaghan, Neil B Metcalfe
Fluctuations in early developmental conditions can cause changes in growth trajectories that subsequently affect the adult phenotype. Here, we investigated whether compensatory growth has long-term consequences for patterns of senescence.Using three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus), we show that a brief period of dietary manipulation in early life affected skeletal growth rate not only during the manipulation itself, but also during a subsequent compensatory phase when fish caught up in size with controls...
April 2016: Functional Ecology
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