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  • Journal article
    Cheng S, Prentice IC, Huang Y, Jin Y, Guo YK, Arcucci Ret al., 2022,

    Data-driven surrogate model with latent data assimilation: Application to wildfire forecasting

    , Journal of Computational Physics, Vol: 464, ISSN: 0021-9991

    The large and catastrophic wildfires have been increasing across the globe in the recent decade, highlighting the importance of simulating and forecasting fire dynamics in near real-time. This is extremely challenging due to the complexities of physical models and geographical features. Running physics-based simulations for large wildfire events in near real-time are computationally expensive, if not infeasible. In this work, we develop and test a novel data-model integration scheme for fire progression forecasting, that combines Reduced-order modelling, recurrent neural networks (Long-Short-Term Memory), data assimilation, and error covariance tuning. The Reduced-order modelling and the machine learning surrogate model ensure the efficiency of the proposed approach while the data assimilation enables the system to adjust the simulation with observations. We applied this algorithm to simulate and forecast three recent large wildfire events in California from 2017 to 2020. The deep-learning-based surrogate model runs around 1000 times faster than the Cellular Automata simulation which is used to generate training data-sets. The daily fire perimeters derived from satellite observation are used as observation data in Latent Assimilation to adjust the fire forecasting in near real-time. An error covariance tuning algorithm is also performed in the reduced space to estimate prior simulation and observation errors. The evolution of the averaged relative root mean square error (R-RMSE) shows that data assimilation and covariance tuning reduce the RMSE by about 50% and considerably improves the forecasting accuracy. As a first attempt at a reduced order wildfire spread forecasting, our exploratory work showed the potential of data-driven machine learning models to speed up fire forecasting for various applications.

  • Journal article
    Fischer SH, DeOliveira JAA, Mumford JD, Kell LTet al., 2022,

    Exploring a relative harvest rate strategy for moderately data-limited fisheries management

    , ICES Journal of Marine Science, Vol: 00, ISSN: 1054-3139

    Moderately data-limited fisheries can be managed with simple empirical management procedures without analytical stock assessments. Often, control rules adjust advised catches by the trend of an abundance index. We explored an alternative approach where a relative harvest rate, defined by the catch relative to a biomass index, is used and the target level derived from analysing historical catch length data. This harvest rate rule was tested generically with management strategy evaluation. A genetic algorithm was deployed as an optimisation procedure to tune the parameters of the control rule to meet maximum sustainable yield and precautionary management objectives. Results indicated that this method could outperform trend-based strategies, particularly when optimised, achieving higher long-term yields while remaining precautionary. However, optimum harvest rate levels can be narrow and challenging to find because they depend on historical exploitation and life history characteristics. Misspecification of target levels can have a detrimental impact on management. Nevertheless, harvest rates appear to be a suitable management option for moderately data-limited resources, and their application has modest data requirements. Harvest rate strategies are especially suitable for stocks for which case-specific analyses can be conducted.

  • Journal article
    Iglesias-Carrasco M, Tobias JA, Duchene DA, 2022,

    Bird lineages colonizing urban habitats have diversified at high rates across deep time

  • Journal article
    Dobson B, Barry S, Maes-Prior R, Mijic A, Woodward G, Pearse WDet al., 2022,

    Predicting catchment suitability for biodiversity at national scales.

    , Water Res, Vol: 221

    Biomonitoring of water quality and catchment management are often disconnected, due to mismatching scales. Considerable effort and money are spent each year on routine reach-scale surveying across many sites, particularly in countries like the UK, where nationwide sampling has been conducted using standardised techniques for many decades. Most of these traditional freshwater biomonitoring schemes focus on pre-defined indicators of organic pollution to compare observed vs expected subsets of common macroinvertebrate indicator species. Other taxa, including many threatened species, are often ignored due to their rarity, as are many invasive species, which are seen as undesirable despite becoming increasingly common and widespread in freshwaters, especially in urban ecosystems. Both these types of taxa are often monitored separately for reasons related to biodiversity concerns rather than for gauging water quality. Repurposing such data could therefore provide important new biomonitoring tools that can help catchment managers to directly link the water quality they aim to control with the biodiversity they are trying to protect. Here we used extensive data held in the England Non-Native and Rare/Protected species records that track these two groups of species as a proof-of-concept for linking catchment scale management of freshwater ecosystems and biodiversity to a range of potential drivers across England. We used national land use (Centre for Ecology and Hydrology land cover map) and water quality indicator (Environment Agency water quality data archive) datasets to predict, at the catchment scale, the presence or absence of 48 focal threatened or invasive species of concern routinely sampled by the English Environment Agency, with a median accuracy of 0.81 area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. A variety of water quality indicators and land-use types were useful in predictions, highlighting that future biomonitoring schemes could use such complement

  • Journal article
    Dong N, Prentice IC, Wright IJ, Wang H, Atkins OK, Bloomfield KJ, Domingues TF, Gleason SM, Maire V, Onoda Y, Poorter H, Smith NGet al., 2022,

    Leaf nitrogen from the perspective of optimal plant function.

    , Journal of Ecology, ISSN: 0022-0477

    1. Leaf dry mass per unit area (LMA), carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) and leaf nitrogen per unit area (Narea) and mass (Nmass) are key traits for plant functional ecology and ecosystem modelling. There is however no consensus about how these traits are regulated, or how they should be modelled. Here we confirm that observed leaf nitrogen across species and sites can be estimated well from observed LMA and Vcmax at 25˚C (Vcmax25). We then test the hypothesis that global variations of both quantities depend on climate variables in specific ways that are predicted by leaf-level optimality theory, thus allowing both Narea to be predicted as functions of the growth environment.2. A new global compilation of field measurements was used to quantify the empirical relationships of leaf N to Vcmax25 and LMA. Relationships of observed Vcmax25 and LMA to climate variables were estimated, and compared to independent theoretical predictions of these relationships. Soil effects were assessed by analysing biases in the theoretical predictions.3. LMA was the most important predictor of Narea (increasing) and Nmass (decreasing). About 60% of global variation across species and sites in observed Narea, and 31% in Nmass, could be explained by observed LMA and V¬cmax25. These traits in turn were quantitatively related to climate variables, with significant partial relationships similar or indistinguishable from those predicted by optimality theory. Predicted trait values explained 21% of global variation in observed site-mean Vcmax25, 43% in LMA, and 31% in Narea. Predicted Vcmax25 was biased low on clay-rich soils but predicted LMA was biased high, with compensating effects on Narea. Narea was overpredicted on organic soils.4. Synthesis. Global patterns of variation in observed site-mean Narea can be explained by climate-induced variations in optimal Vcmax25¬ and LMA. Leaf nitrogen should accordingly be modelled as a consequence (not a cause) of Vcmax25 and LMA, both being optim

  • Journal article
    Triantis KA, Rigal F, Whittaker RJ, Hume JP, Sheard C, Poursanidis D, Rolland J, Sfenthourakis S, Matthews TJ, Thebaud C, Tobias JAet al., 2022,

    Deterministic assembly and anthropogenic extinctions drive convergence of island bird communities

  • Journal article
    Banks-Leite C, Betts MG, Ewers RM, Orme CDL, Pigot ALet al., 2022,

    The macroecology of landscape ecology

    , Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 37, ISSN: 0169-5347

    One of landscape ecology's main goals is to unveil how biodiversity is impacted by habitat transformation. However, the discipline suffers from significant context dependency in observed spatial and temporal trends, hindering progress towards understanding the mechanisms driving species declines and preventing the development of accurate estimates of future biodiversity change. Here, we discuss recent evidence that populations' and species' responses to habitat change at the landscape scale are modulated by factors and processes occurring at macroecological scales, such as historical disturbance rates, distance to geographic range edges, and climatic suitability. We suggest that placing landscape ecology studies in a macroecological lens will help to explain seemingly inconsistent results and will ultimately create better predictive models to help mitigate the biodiversity crisis.

  • Journal article
    Deere NJ, Bicknell JE, Mitchell SL, Afendy A, Baking EL, Bernard H, Chung AYC, Ewers RM, Heroin H, Joseph N, Lewis OT, Luke SH, Milne S, Fikri AH, Parrett JM, Payne M, Rossiter SJ, Vairappan CS, Vian CV, Wilkinson CL, Williamson J, Wong ABH, Slade EM, Davies ZG, Struebig MJet al., 2022,

    Riparian buffers can help mitigate biodiversity declines in oil palm agriculture

  • Journal article
    Keenan TFC, Luo X, De Kauwe MG, Medlyn BE, Prentice IC, Stocker BD, Smith NG, Terrer C, Wang H, Zhang Y, Zhou Set al., 2022,

    A constraint on historic growth in global photosynthesis due to increasing CO2 (Retraction of Vol 600, Pg 253, 2021)

    , NATURE, ISSN: 0028-0836
  • Journal article
    Connolly JB, Mumford JD, Glandorf DCM, Hartley S, Lewis OT, Evans SW, Turner G, Beech C, Sykes N, Coulibaly MB, Romeis J, Teem JL, Tonui W, Lovett B, Mankad A, Mnzava A, Fuchs S, Hackett TD, Landis WG, Marshall JM, Aboagye-Antwi Fet al., 2022,

    Recommendations for environmental risk assessment of gene drive applications for malaria vector control

    , MALARIA JOURNAL, Vol: 21
  • Journal article
    Shen Y, Sweeney L, Liu M, Lopez-Saez JA, Perez-Diaz S, Luelmo-Lautenschlaeger R, Gil-Ramera E, Hoefer D, Jimenez-Moreno G, Schneider H, Prentice IC, Harrison SPet al., 2022,

    Reconstructing burnt area during the Holocene: an Iberian case study

    , Climate of the Past, Vol: 18, Pages: 1189-1201, ISSN: 1814-9324

    Charcoal accumulated in lake, bog or other anoxic sediments through time has been used to document the geographical patterns in changes in fire regimes. Such reconstructions are useful to explore the impact of climate and vegetation changes on fire during periods when human influence was less prevalent than today. However, charcoal records only provide semi-quantitative estimates of change in biomass burning. Here we derive quantitative estimates of burnt area from vegetation data in two stages. First, we relate the modern charcoal abundance to burnt area using a conversion factor derived from a generalised linear model of burnt area probability based on eight environmental predictors. Then, we establish the relationship between fossil pollen assemblages and burnt area using tolerance-weighted weighted averaging partial least-squares regression with a sampling frequency correction (fxTWA-PLS). We test this approach using the Iberian Peninsula as a case study because it is a fire-prone region with abundant pollen and charcoal records covering the Holocene. We derive the vegetation–burnt area relationship using the 31 records that have both modern and fossil charcoal and pollen data and then reconstruct palaeoburnt area for the 113 records with Holocene pollen records. The pollen data predict charcoal-derived burnt area relatively well (R2 = 0.44), and the changes in reconstructed burnt area are synchronous with known climate changes through the Holocene. This new method opens up the possibility of reconstructing changes in fire regimes quantitatively from pollen records, after regional calibration of the vegetation–burnt area relationship, in regions where pollen records are more abundant than charcoal records.

  • Journal article
    Aguirre-Gutierrez J, Berenguer E, Menor IO, Bauman D, Corral-Rivas JJ, Guadalupe Nava-Miranda M, Both S, Ndong JE, Ondo FE, Bengone NN, Mihinhou V, Dalling JW, Heineman K, Figueiredo A, Gonzalez-M R, Norden N, Hurtado-M AB, Gonzalez D, Salgado-Negret B, Reis SM, Moraes de Seixas MM, Farfan-Rios W, Shenkin A, Riutta T, Girardin CAJ, Moore S, Abernethy K, Asner GP, Bentley LP, Burslem DFRP, Cernusak LA, Enquist BJ, Ewers RM, Ferreira J, Jeffery KJ, Joly CA, Marimon-Junior BH, Martin RE, Morandi PS, Phillips OL, Bennett AC, Lewis SL, Quesada CA, Marimon BS, Kissling WD, Silman M, Teh YA, White LJT, Salinas N, Coomes DA, Barlow J, Adu-Bredu S, Malhi Yet al., 2022,

    Functional susceptibility of tropical forests to climate change

  • Journal article
    Haas O, Prentice IC, Harrison SP, 2022,

    Global environmental controls of wildfire burnt area, size and intensity.

    , Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 17, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1748-9326

    Fire is an important influence on the global patterns of vegetation structure and composition. Wildfire is included as a distinct process in many dynamic global vegetation models but limited current understanding of fire regimes restricts these models' ability to reproduce more than the broadest geographic patterns. Here we present a statistical analysis of the global controls of remotely sensed burnt area (BA), fire size (FS), and a derived metric related to fire intensity (FI). Separate generalized linear models were fitted to observed monthly fractional BA from the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFEDv4), median FS from the Global Fire Atlas, and median fire radiative power from the MCD14ML dataset normalized by the square root of median FS. The three models were initially constructed from a common set of 16 predictors; only the strongest predictors for each model were retained in the final models. It is shown that BA is primarily driven by fuel availability and dryness; FS by conditions promoting fire spread; and FI by fractional tree cover and road density. Both BA and FS are constrained by landscape fragmentation, whereas FI is constrained by fuel moisture. Ignition sources (lightning and human population) were positively related to BA (after accounting for road density), but negatively to FI. These findings imply that the different controls on BA, FS and FI need to be considered in process-based models. They highlight the need to include measures of landscape fragmentation as well as fuel load and dryness, and to pay close attention to the controls of fire spread.

  • Journal article
    Jones S, Bell T, Coleman CM, Harris D, Woodward G, Worledge L, Roberts H, McElhinney L, Aegerter J, Ransome E, Savolainen Vet al., 2022,

    Testing bats in rehabilitation for SARS-CoV-2 before release into the wild

    , Conservation Science and Practice, ISSN: 2578-4854

    Several studies have suggested SARS-CoV-2 originated from a viral ancestor in bats, but whether transmission occurred directly or via an intermediary host to humans remains unknown. Concerns of spillover of SARS-CoV-2 into wild bat populations are hindering bat rehabilitation and conservation efforts in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Current protocols state that animals cared for by individuals who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 cannot be released into the wild and must be isolated to reduce the risk of transmission to wild populations. Here, we propose a reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR)-based protocol for detection of SARS-CoV-2 in bats, using fecal sampling. Bats from the United Kingdom were tested following suspected exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and tested negative for the virus. With current UK and international legislation, the identification of SARS-CoV-2 infection in wild animals is becoming increasingly important, and protocols such as the one developed here will help improve understanding and mitigation of SARS-CoV-2 in the future.

  • Journal article
    Cruz-Silva E, Harrison SP, Marinova-Wolff E, Prentice ICet al., 2022,

    A new method based on surface- sample pollen data for reconstructing palaeovegetation patterns.

    , Journal of Biogeography, ISSN: 0305-0270

    Aim: Amongst the various techniques available to reconstruct past vegetation at regional to continental scales, biomisation has been the most widely used because it does not require an extensive modern pollen data set. However, it has well well-known limitations including its dependence on expert judgement for the assignment of pollen taxa to plant functional types (PFTs) and PFTs to biomes. Here we present a new method that combines the strengths of biomisation with those of the alternative dissimilarity-based techniques. This new technique quantifies the likelihood that a sample belongs to a given biome, and allows discrimination of non-analogue vegetation types. Location: The Eastern Mediterranean-Black Sea Caspian Corridor (EMBSeCBIO) region, 28°-49°N, 20°- 62°E. Methods: Modern pollen samples assigned to biomes based on potential natural vegetation data, are used to characterize biomes according to the within-biome means and standard deviations of the abundances of each taxon. These are used to calculate a dissimilarity index between any given pollen sample and every biome, and thus assign a pollen sample to the most likely biome. We also calculate a threshold value for each biome which identifies samples that fall outside the acceptable range of likelihoods for biome assignment and hence can be used to distinguish non-analogue vegetation. We have applied the new technique to the EMBSeCBIO region to compare the performance of the new method with existing reconstructions. Results: The technique captured changes in the importance of individual taxa along environmental gradients. The balanced accuracy obtained for the EMBSeCBIO region using the new method was better than that obtained using biomisation (77% versus 65%). When the method was applied to high resolution fossil records, 70% of the evaluated entities showed more temporally stable biome assignments than obtained with the biomisation method. The technique also identifies likely non analogu

  • Journal article
    Weeks BC, O'Brien BK, Chu JJ, Claramunt S, Sheard C, Tobias JAet al., 2022,

    Morphological adaptations linked to flight efficiency and aerial lifestyle determine natal dispersal distance in birds

  • Journal article
    Alif Ž, Dunning J, Chik HYJ, Burke T, Schroeder Jet al., 2022,

    What is the best fitness measure in wild populations? A case study on the power of short-term fitness proxies to predict reproductive value

    , PLoS One, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1932-6203

    Fitness is at the core of evolutionary theory, but it is difficult to measure accurately. One way to measure long-term fitness is by calculating the individual's reproductive value, which represents the expected number of allele copies an individual passes on to distant future generations. However, this metric of fitness is scarcely used because the estimation of individual's reproductive value requires long-term pedigree data, which is rarely available in wild populations where following individuals from birth to death is often impossible. Wild study systems therefore use short-term fitness metrics as proxies, such as the number of offspring produced. This study compared two frequently used short-term metrics for fitness obtained at different offspring life stages (eggs, hatchlings, fledglings and recruits), and compared their ability to predict reproductive values derived from the genetic pedigree of a wild passerine bird population. We used twenty years of precise field observations and a near-complete genetic pedigree to calculate reproductive success, individual growth rate and de-lifed fitness as lifetime fitness measures, and as annual de-lifed fitness. We compared the power of these metrics to predict reproductive values and lineage survival to the end of the study period. The three short-term fitness proxies predict the reproductive values and lineage survival only when measured at the recruit stage. There were no significant differences between the different fitness proxies at the same offspring stages in predicting the reproductive values and lineage survival. Annual fitness at one year old predicted reproductive values equally well as lifetime de-lifed fitness. However, none of the short-term fitness proxies were strongly associated with the reproductive values. The commonly used short-term fitness proxies best predict long-term fitness when measured at recruitment stage. Thus, because lifetime fitness measured at recruit stage and annual fitness in the

  • Journal article
    Kordas RL, Pawar S, Kontopoulos D-G, Woodward G, O'Gorman EJet al., 2022,

    Metabolic plasticity can amplify ecosystem responses to global warming

  • Journal article
    Dunn N, Savolainen V, Weber S, Andrzejaczek S, Carbone C, Curnick Det al., 2022,

    Elasmobranch diversity across a remote coral reef atoll revealed through environmental DNA metabarcoding

    , Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, ISSN: 0024-4082

    As elasmobranchs are becoming increasingly threatened, efficient methods for monitoring the distribution and diversity of elasmobranch populations are required. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is an increasingly applied technique that enables mass identification of entire communities and is an effective method for the detection of rare and elusive species. We performed an eDNA metabarcoding survey for fish communities around a coral reef atoll in the Chagos Archipelago and assessed the diversity and distribution of elasmobranch species detected within these communities. Our eDNA survey detected 353 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) attributed to fishes, 12 of which were elasmobranchs. There were no differences in fish communities based on the presence and absence of ASVs between sample depth (surface and 40m) or sampling habitat, but communities based on read abundance were significantly different between habitats. The dominant elasmobranch species were grey reef (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and silvertip (C. albimarginatus) sharks, and elasmobranch communities were significantly different between sampling depth and habitat. Overall, we find that eDNA metabarcoding can be used to reveal the diversity of elasmobranchs within broader taxonomic assays, but further research and development of targeted metabarcoding primers may be required before it can be integrated into a toolkit for monitoring these species.

  • Journal article
    Henson SA, Laufkotter C, Leung S, Giering SLC, Palevsky H, Cavan ELet al., 2022,

    Uncertain response of ocean biological carbon export in a changing world

    , NATURE GEOSCIENCE, Vol: 15, Pages: 248-254, ISSN: 1752-0894
  • Journal article
    Cavender-Bares J, Nelson E, Meireles JE, Lasky J, Miteva DA, Nowak D, Pearse W, Helmus M, Zanne AE, Fagan W, otherset al., 2022,

    The hidden value of trees: quantifying the ecosystem services of tree lineages and their major threats across the continental US

    , PLoS
  • Journal article
    Prentice IC, Villegas-Diaz R, Harrison SP, 2022,

    Accounting for atmospheric carbon dioxide variations in pollen-based reconstructions of past hydroclimates.

    , Global and Planetary Change, Vol: 211, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 0921-8181

    Changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration directly influence the ratio of stomatal water loss to carbon uptake. This ratio (e) is a fundamental quantity for terrestrial ecosystems, as it defines the water requirement for plant growth. Statistical and analogue-based methods used to reconstruct past hydroclimate variables from fossil pollen assemblages do not take account of the effect of CO2 variations on e. Here we present a general, globally applicable method to correct for this effect. The method involves solving an equation that relates e to a climatic moisture index (MI, the ratio of mean annual precipitation to mean annual potential evapotranspiration), mean growing-season temperature, and ambient CO2. The equation is based on the least-cost optimality hypothesis, which predicts how the ratio (χ) of leaf-internal to ambient CO2 varies with vapour pressure deficit (vpd), growing-season temperature and atmospheric pressure, combined with experimental evidence on the response of χ to the CO2 level at which plants have been grown. An empirical relationship based on global climate data is used to relate vpd to MI and growing-season temperature. The solution to the equation allows past MI to be estimated from pollen-reconstructed MI, given past CO2 and temperature. This MI value can be used to estimate mean annual precipitation, accounting for the effects of orbital variations, temperature and cloud cover (inferred from MI) on potential evapotranspiration. A pollen record from semi-arid Spain that spans the last glacial interval is used to illustrate the method. Low CO2 leads to estimated MI being larger than reconstructed MI during glacial times. The CO2 effect on inferred precipitation was partly offset by increased cloud cover; nonetheless, inferred precipitation was greater than present almost throughout the glacial period. This method allows a more robust reconstruction of past hydroclimatic variations than currently available tools.

  • Journal article
    Shah T, Mashimba FH, Suleiman HO, Mbailwa YS, Schneider J, Zizka G, Savolainen V, Larridon I, Darbyshire Iet al., 2022,

    Phylogenetics of Ochna (Ochnaceae) and a new infrageneric classification

    , BOTANICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, Vol: 198, Pages: 361-381, ISSN: 0024-4074
  • Journal article
    Wang H, Wang R, Harrison SP, Prentice ICet al., 2022,

    Leaf morphological traits as adaptations to multiple climate gradients

    , Journal of Ecology, ISSN: 0022-0477

    1. Leaf morphological traits vary systematically along climatic gradients. However, recent studies in plant functional ecology have mainly analysed quantitative traits, while numerical models of species distributions and vegetation function have focused on traits associated with resource acquisition; both ignore the wider functional significance of leaf morphology.2. A data set comprising 22 leaf morphological traits for 662 woody species from 92 sites, representing all biomes present in China, was subjected to multivariate analysis in order to identify leading dimensions of trait covariation (correspondence analysis), quantify climatic and phylogenetic contributions (canonical correspondence analysis with variation partitioning), and characterize co-occurring trait syndromes (k-means clustering) and their climatic preferences. 3. Three axes accounted for > 20% of trait variation in both evergreen and deciduous species. Moisture index, precipitation seasonality and growing-season temperature accounted for 8–10% of trait variation; family 15–32%. Microphyll or larger, mid- to dark green leaves with drip-tips in wetter climates contrasted with nanophyll or smaller glaucous leaves without drip-tips in drier climates. Thick, entire leaves in less seasonal climates contrasted with thin, marginal dissected, aromatic, and involute/revolute leaves in more seasonal climates. Thick, involute, hairy leaves in colder climates contrasted with thin leaves with marked surface structures (surface patterning) in warmer climates. Distinctive trait clusters were linked to the driest and most seasonal climates, for example the clustering of picophyll, fleshy and succulent leaves in the driest climates and leptophyll, linear, dissected, revolute or involute, and aromatic leaves in regions with highly seasonal rainfall. Several trait clusters co-occurred in wetter climates, including clusters characterised by microphyll, moderately thick, patent, and entire leaves or notop

  • Journal article
    Dong N, Wright IJ, Chen JM, Luo X, Wang H, Keenan T, Smith NG, Prentice ICet al., 2022,

    Rising CO2 and warming reduce global canopy deman for nitrogen

    , New Phytologist, ISSN: 0028-646X

    Nitrogen (N) limitation has been considered as a constraint on terrestrial carbon uptake in response to rising CO2 and climate change. By extension, it has been suggested that declining carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) and leaf N content in enhanced-CO2 experiments and satellite records signify increasing N limitation of primary production. We predicted Vcmax using the coordination hypothesis, and estimated changes in leaf-level photosynthetic N for 1982–2016 assuming proportionality with leaf-level Vcmax at 25˚C. Whole-canopy photosynthetic N was derived using satellite-based leaf area index (LAI) data and an empirical extinction coefficient for Vcmax, and converted to annual N demand using estimated leaf turnover times. The predicted spatial pattern of Vcmax shares key features with an independent reconstruction from remotely-sensed leaf chlorophyll content. Predicted leaf photosynthetic N declined by 0.27 % yr-1, while observed leaf (total) N declined by 0.2–0.25 % yr-1. Predicted global canopy N (and N demand) declined from 1996 onwards, despite increasing LAI. Leaf-level responses to rising CO2, and to a lesser extent temperature, may have reduced the canopy requirement for N by more than rising LAI has increased it. This finding provides an alternative explanation for declining leaf N that does not depend on increasing N limitation.

  • Journal article
    Gregory N, Ewers RM, Chung AYC, Cator LJet al., 2022,

    Oil palm expansion increases the vectorial capacity of dengue vectors in Malaysian Borneo

    , PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1935-2727

    Changes in land-use and the associated shifts in environmental conditions can have large effects on the transmission and emergence of mosquito-borne disease. Mosquito-borne disease are particularly sensitive to these changes because mosquito growth, reproduction, survival and susceptibility to infection are all thermally sensitive traits, and land use change dramatically alters local microclimate. Predicting disease transmission under environmental change is increasingly critical for targeting mosquito-borne disease control and for identifying hotspots of disease emergence. Mechanistic models offer a powerful tool for improving these predictions. However, these approaches are limited by the quality and scale of temperature data and the thermal response curves that underlie predictions. Here, we used fine-scale temperature monitoring and a combination of empirical, laboratory and temperature-dependent estimates to estimate the vectorial capacity of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes across a tropical forest-oil palm plantation conversion gradient in Malaysian Borneo. We found that fine-scale differences in temperature between logged forest and oil palm plantation sites were not sufficient to produce differences in temperature-dependent demographic trait estimates using published thermal performance curves. However, when measured under field conditions a key parameter, adult abundance, differed significantly between land-use types, resulting in estimates of vectorial capacity that were 1.5 times higher in plantations than in forests. The prediction that oil palm plantations would support mosquito populations with higher vectorial capacity was robust to uncertainties in our adult survival estimates. These results provide a mechanistic basis for understanding the effects of forest conversion to agriculture on mosquito-borne disease risk, and a framework for interpreting emergent relationships between land-use and disease transmission. As the burden of Ae. albopictus-vectored d

  • Report
    Morris O, Barquín J, Belgrano A, Blanchard J, Bull C, Layer-Dobra K, Lauridsen R, O’Gorman E, Guõbergsson G, Woodward Get al., 2022,

    New strategies for sustainable fisheries management: A case study of Atlantic salmon

    , New strategies for sustainable fisheries management: A case study of Atlantic salmon,, Publisher: The Grantham Institute, 37

    This briefing paper considers the alarming declines in fish stocks in recent years, and how holistic, integrated approaches can help manage fish stocks within biologically sustainable limits. Using Atlantic salmon as a case study, the authors highlight the challenges facing fisheries management and conservation, and the implications for policy and management.

  • Journal article
    Ward D, Melbourne-Thomas J, Pecl GT, Evans K, Green M, McCormack PC, Novaglio C, Trebilco R, Bax N, Brasier MJ, Cavan EL, Edgar G, Hunt HL, Jansen J, Jones R, Lea M-A, Makomere R, Mull C, Semmens JM, Shaw J, Tinch D, van Steveninck TJ, Layton Cet al., 2022,

    Safeguarding marine life: conservation of biodiversity and ecosystems

    , REVIEWS IN FISH BIOLOGY AND FISHERIES, Vol: 32, Pages: 65-100, ISSN: 0960-3166
  • Journal article
    Beaghton PJ, Burt A, 2022,

    Gene drives and population persistence vs elimination: The impact of spatial structure and inbreeding at low density

    , Theoretical Population Biology, Vol: 145, ISSN: 0040-5809

    Synthetic gene drive constructs are being developed to control disease vectors, invasive species, and other pest species. In a well-mixed random mating population a sufficiently strong gene drive is expected to eliminate a target population, but it is not clear whether the same is true when spatial processes play a role. In species with an appropriate biology it is possible that drive-induced reductions in density might lead to increased inbreeding, reducing the efficacy of drive, eventually leading to suppression rather than elimination, regardless of how strong the drive is. To investigate this question we analyse a series of explicitly solvable stochastic models considering a range of scenarios for the relative timing of mating, reproduction, and dispersal and analyse the impact of two different types of gene drive, a Driving Y chromosome and a homing construct targeting an essential gene. We find in all cases a sufficiently strong Driving Y will go to fixation and the population will be eliminated, except in the one life history scenario (reproduction and mating in patches followed by dispersal) where low density leads to increased inbreeding, in which case the population persists indefinitely, tending to either a stable equilibrium or a limit cycle. These dynamics arise because Driving Y males have reduced mating success, particularly at low densities, due to having fewer sisters to mate with. Increased inbreeding at low densities can also prevent a homing construct from eliminating a population. For both types of drive, if there is strong inbreeding depression, then the population cannot be rescued by inbreeding and it is eliminated. These results highlight the potentially critical role that low-density-induced inbreeding and inbreeding depression (and, by extension, other sources of Allee effects) can have on the eventual impact of a gene drive on a target population.

  • Journal article
    Sol D, Garcia-Porta J, Gonzalez-Lagos C, Pigot AL, Trisos C, Tobias JAet al., 2022,

    A test of Darwin's naturalization conundrum in birds reveals enhanced invasion success in the presence of close relatives

    , ECOLOGY LETTERS, Vol: 25, Pages: 661-672, ISSN: 1461-023X

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