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  • Journal article
    Mwima R, Hui T-YJ, Kayondo JK, Burt Aet al., 2024,

    The population genetics of partial diapause, with applications to the aestivating malaria mosquito Anopheles coluzzii.

    , Mol Ecol Resour, Vol: 24

    Diapause, a form of dormancy to delay or halt the reproductive development during unfavourable seasons, has evolved in many insect species. One example is aestivation, an adult-stage diapause enhancing malaria vectors' survival during the dry season (DS) and their re-establishment in the next rainy season (RS). This work develops a novel genetic approach to estimate the number or proportion of individuals undergoing diapause, as well as the breeding sizes of the two seasons, using signals from temporal allele frequency dynamics. Our modelling shows the magnitude of drift is dampened at early RS when previously aestivating individuals reappear. Aestivation severely biases the temporal effective population size ( N e $$ {N}_e $$ ), leading to overestimation of the DS breeding size by 1 / 1 - α 2 $$ 1/{\left(1-\alpha \right)}^2 $$ across 1 year, where α $$ \alpha $$ is the aestivating proportion. We find sampling breeding individuals in three consecutive seasons starting from an RS is sufficient for parameter estimation, and perform extensive simulations to verify our derivations. This method does not require sampling individuals in the dormant state, the biggest challenge in most studies. We illustrate the method by applying it to a published data set for Anopheles coluzzii mosquitoes from Thierola, Mali. Our method and the expected evolutionary implications are applicable to any species in which a fraction of the population diapauses for more than one generation, and are difficult or impossible to sample during that stage.

  • Journal article
    Stiller J, Feng S, Chowdhury A-A, Rivas-González I, Duchêne DA, Fang Q, Deng Y, Kozlov A, Stamatakis A, Claramunt S, Nguyen JMT, Ho SYW, Faircloth BC, Haag J, Houde P, Cracraft J, Balaban M, Mai U, Chen G, Gao R, Zhou C, Xie Y, Huang Z, Cao Z, Yan Z, Ogilvie HA, Nakhleh L, Lindow B, Morel B, Fjeldså J, Hosner PA, da Fonseca RR, Petersen B, Tobias JA, Székely T, Kennedy JD, Reeve AH, Liker A, Stervander M, Antunes A, Tietze DT, Bertelsen M, Lei F, Rahbek C, Graves GR, Schierup MH, Warnow T, Braun EL, Gilbert MTP, Jarvis ED, Mirarab S, Zhang Get al., 2024,

    Complexity of avian evolution revealed by family-level genomes.

    , Nature

    Despite tremendous efforts in the past decades, relationships among main avian lineages remain heavily debated without a clear resolution. Discrepancies have been attributed to diversity of species sampled, phylogenetic method, and the choice of genomic regions 1-3. Here, we address these issues by analyzing genomes of 363 bird species 4 (218 taxonomic families, 92% of total). Using intergenic regions and coalescent methods, we present a well-supported tree but also a remarkable degree of discordance. The tree confirms that Neoaves experienced rapid radiation at or near the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary. Sufficient loci rather than extensive taxon sampling were more effective in resolving difficult nodes. Remaining recalcitrant nodes involve species that challenge modeling due to extreme GC content, variable substitution rates, incomplete lineage sorting, or complex evolutionary events such as ancient hybridization. Assessment of the impacts of different genomic partitions showed high heterogeneity across the genome. We discovered sharp increases in effective population size, substitution rates, and relative brain size following the K-Pg extinction event, supporting the hypothesis that emerging ecological opportunities catalyzed the diversification of modern birds. The resulting phylogenetic estimate offers novel insights into the rapid radiation of modern birds and provides a taxon-rich backbone tree for future comparative studies.

  • Journal article
    Qian J, Hu T, Xiong H, Cao X, Liu F, Gosnell KJ, Xie M, Chen R, Tan Q-Get al., 2024,

    Turbid Waters and Clearer Standards: Refining Water Quality Criteria for Coastal Environments by Encompassing Metal Bioavailability from Suspended Particles.

    , Environ Sci Technol, Vol: 58, Pages: 5244-5254

    Suspended particulate matter (SPM) carries a major fraction of metals in turbid coastal waters, markedly influencing metal bioaccumulation and posing risks to marine life. However, its effects are often overlooked in current water quality criteria for metals, primarily due to challenges in quantifying SPM's contribution. This contribution depends on the SPM concentration, metal distribution coefficients (Kd), and the bioavailability of SPM-bound metals (assimilation efficiency, AE), which can collectively be integrated as a modifying factor (MF). Accordingly, we developed a new stable isotope method to measure metal AE by individual organisms from SPM, employing the widely distributed filter-feeding clam Ruditapes philippinarum as a representative species. Assessing SPM from 23 coastal sites in China, we found average AEs of 42% for Zn, 26% for Cd, 20% for Cu, 8% for Ni, and 6% for Pb. Moreover, using stable isotope methods, we determined metal Kd of SPM from these sites, which can be well predicted by the total organic carbon and iron content (R2 = 0.977). We calculated MFs using a Monte Carlo method. The calculated MFs are in the range 9.9-43 for Pb, 8.5-37 for Zn, 2.9-9.7 for Cu, 1.4-2.7 for Ni, and 1.1-1.6 for Cd, suggesting that dissolved-metal-based criteria values should be divided by MFs to provide adequate protection to aquatic life. This study provides foundational guidelines to refine water quality criteria in turbid waters and protect coastal ecosystems.

  • Journal article
    Zhang-Zheng H, Adu-Bredu S, Duah-Gyamfi A, Moore S, Addo-Danso S, Amissah L, Valentini R, Djagbletey G, Anum-Adjei K, Quansah J, Sarpong B, Owusu-Afriyie K, Gvozdevaite A, Tang M, Ruiz-Jaen M, Ibrahim F, Girardin C, Rifai S, Dahlsjo C, Riutta T, Deng X, Sun Y, Prentice IC, Oliveras Menor I, Malhi Yet al., 2024,

    Contrasting carbon cycle along tropical forest aridity gradients in West Africa and Amazonia

    , Nature Communications, ISSN: 2041-1723
  • Journal article
    Perkins R, Barron L, Glauser G, Whitehead M, Woodward G, Goulson Det al., 2024,

    Down-the-drain pathways for fipronil and imidacloprid applied as spot-on parasiticides to dogs: Estimating aquatic pollution.

    , Sci Total Environ, Vol: 917

    Fipronil and imidacloprid have been widely detected in UK surface waters in recent years, often at concentrations that ecotoxicological studies have shown can harm aquatic life. Down-the-drain (DTD) passage of pet flea and tick treatments are being implicated as an important source, with many of the UK's 22 million cats and dogs receiving routine, year-round preventative doses containing these parasiticides. The UK Water Industry's 3rd Chemical Investigation Programme (UKWIR CIP3) has confirmed wastewater as a major entry pathway for these chemicals into surface waters, but the routes by which they enter the wastewater system remain unclear. We addressed this knowledge gap by conducting the first quantification of DTD emissions from 98 dogs treated with spot-on ectoparasiticides containing fipronil or imidacloprid, through bathing, bed washing and washing of owners' hands. Both chemicals were detected in 100 % of washoff samples, with bathing accounting for the largest emissions per event (up to 16.8 % of applied imidacloprid and 24.5 % of applied fipronil). Modelled to account for the frequency of emitting activities, owner handwashing was identified as the largest source of DTD emissions from the population overall, with handwash emissions occurring for at least 28 days following product application and an estimated 4.9 % of imidacloprid and 3.1 % of fipronil applied in dog spot-ons passing down-the-drain via this route. The normalised daily per capita emissions for all routes combined were 8.7 μg/person/day for imidacloprid and 2.1 μg/person/day for fipronil, equivalent to 20-40 % of the daily per capita load in wastewater, as estimated from UKWIR CIP3 data. Within the current international regulatory framework adhered to by the UK, the environmental exposure of veterinary medicines intended for use in small companion animals is assumed to be low, and DTD pathways are not considered. We recommend a systematic rev

  • Journal article
    Posse-Sarmiento V, Banks-Leite C, 2024,

    The effects of edge influence on the microhabitat, diversity and life-history traits of amphibians in western Ecuador

    , Journal of Tropical Ecology, Vol: 40, ISSN: 0266-4674

    Edge effects change biodiversity patterns and ecological processes, particularly in tropical forests. To understand the synergistic impact of multiple edges, this study examines how edge influence (EI) is associated with life-history traits (snout-vent length and body temperature), diversity and microhabitat of amphibians as well as habitat characteristics in a tropical forest in Ecuador. We used EI, a metric that calculates cumulative effects across all nearby edges, in combination with five environmental variables that are part of the amphibians' microhabitat (temperature, humidity, slope, canopy cover and leaf litter depth) to understand how their biodiversity patterns are impacted. Our results show that most amphibian species tend to be habitat specialists, and many had an affinity for forest edges and warmer habitats. We do not find significant correlations between EI and amphibian life-history traits and diversity. Our findings corroborate previous results that many amphibian species tend to be positively associated with habitat fragmentation and show that this association is likely driven by thermal regulation.

  • Journal article
    Smith TP, Clegg T, Ransome E, Martin-Lilley T, Rosindell J, Woodward G, Pawar S, Bell Tet al., 2024,

    High-throughput characterization of bacterial responses to complex mixtures of chemical pollutants.

    , Nat Microbiol

    Our understanding of how microbes respond to micropollutants, such as pesticides, is almost wholly based on single-species responses to individual chemicals. However, in natural environments, microbes experience multiple pollutants simultaneously. Here we perform a matrix of multi-stressor experiments by assaying the growth of model and non-model strains of bacteria in all 255 combinations of 8 chemical stressors (antibiotics, herbicides, fungicides and pesticides). We found that bacterial strains responded in different ways to stressor mixtures, which could not be predicted simply from their phylogenetic relatedness. Increasingly complex chemical mixtures were both more likely to negatively impact bacterial growth in monoculture and more likely to reveal net interactive effects. A mixed co-culture of strains proved more resilient to increasingly complex mixtures and revealed fewer interactions in the growth response. These results show predictability in microbial population responses to chemical stressors and could increase the utility of next-generation eco-toxicological assays.

  • Journal article
    Jackson MC, Friberg N, Moliner Cachazo L, Clark DR, Mutinova PT, O'Gorman EJ, Kordas RL, Gallo B, Pichler DE, Bespalaya Y, Aksenova OV, Milner A, Brooks SJ, Dunn N, Lee KWK, Ólafsson JS, Gíslason GM, Millan L, Bell T, Dumbrell AJ, Woodward Get al., 2024,

    Regional impacts of warming on biodiversity and biomass in high latitude stream ecosystems across the Northern Hemisphere.

    , Commun Biol, Vol: 7

    Warming can have profound impacts on ecological communities. However, explorations of how differences in biogeography and productivity might reshape the effect of warming have been limited to theoretical or proxy-based approaches: for instance, studies of latitudinal temperature gradients are often conflated with other drivers (e.g., species richness). Here, we overcome these limitations by using local geothermal temperature gradients across multiple high-latitude stream ecosystems. Each suite of streams (6-11 warmed by 1-15°C above ambient) is set within one of five regions (37 streams total); because the heating comes from the bedrock and is not confounded by changes in chemistry, we can isolate the effect of temperature. We found a negative overall relationship between diatom and invertebrate species richness and temperature, but the strength of the relationship varied regionally, declining more strongly in regions with low terrestrial productivity. Total invertebrate biomass increased with temperature in all regions. The latter pattern combined with the former suggests that the increased biomass of tolerant species might compensate for the loss of sensitive species. Our results show that the impact of warming can be dependent on regional conditions, demonstrating that local variation should be included in future climate projections rather than simply assuming universal relationships.

  • Journal article
    Rizos G, Lawson J, Mitchell S, Shah P, Wen X, Banks-Leite C, Ewers R, Schuller BWet al., 2024,

    Propagating variational model uncertainty for bioacoustic call label smoothing

    , Patterns, Vol: 5, ISSN: 2666-3899

    Along with propagating the input toward making a prediction, Bayesian neural networks also propagate uncertainty. This has the potential to guide the training process by rejecting predictions of low confidence, and recent variational Bayesian methods can do so without Monte Carlo sampling of weights. Here, we apply sample-free methods for wildlife call detection on recordings made via passive acoustic monitoring equipment in the animals' natural habitats. We further propose uncertainty-aware label smoothing, where the smoothing probability is dependent on sample-free predictive uncertainty, in order to downweigh data samples that should contribute less to the loss value. We introduce a bioacoustic dataset recorded in Malaysian Borneo, containing overlapping calls from 30 species. On that dataset, our proposed method achieves an absolute percentage improvement of around 1.5 points on area under the receiver operating characteristic (AU-ROC), 13 points in F1, and 19.5 points in expected calibration error (ECE) compared to the point-estimate network baseline averaged across all target classes.

  • Journal article
    Flo V, Joshi J, Sabot M, Sandoval D, Prentice ICet al., 2024,

    Incorporating photosynthetic acclimation improves stomatal optimisation models

    , Plant, Cell and Environment, ISSN: 0140-7791
  • Journal article
    Pawar S, Huxley PJ, Smallwood TRC, Nesbit ML, Chan AHH, Shocket MS, Johnson LR, Kontopoulos D-G, Cator LJet al., 2024,

    Variation in temperature of peak trait performance constrains adaptation of arthropod populations to climatic warming.

    , Nat Ecol Evol, Vol: 8, Pages: 500-510

    The capacity of arthropod populations to adapt to long-term climatic warming is currently uncertain. Here we combine theory and extensive data to show that the rate of their thermal adaptation to climatic warming will be constrained in two fundamental ways. First, the rate of thermal adaptation of an arthropod population is predicted to be limited by changes in the temperatures at which the performance of four key life-history traits can peak, in a specific order of declining importance: juvenile development, adult fecundity, juvenile mortality and adult mortality. Second, directional thermal adaptation is constrained due to differences in the temperature of the peak performance of these four traits, with these differences expected to persist because of energetic allocation and life-history trade-offs. We compile a new global dataset of 61 diverse arthropod species which provides strong empirical evidence to support these predictions, demonstrating that contemporary populations have indeed evolved under these constraints. Our results provide a basis for using relatively feasible trait measurements to predict the adaptive capacity of diverse arthropod populations to geographic temperature gradients, as well as ongoing and future climatic warming.

  • Journal article
    Gumbs R, Scott O, Bates R, Böhm M, Forest F, Gray CL, Hoffmann M, Kane D, Low C, Pearse WD, Pipins S, Tapley B, Turvey ST, Jetz W, Owen NR, Rosindell Jet al., 2024,

    Global conservation status of the jawed vertebrate Tree of Life

    , Nature Communications, Vol: 15, ISSN: 2041-1723

    Human-driven extinction threatens entire lineages across the Tree of Life. Here we assess the conservation status of jawed vertebrate evolutionary history, using three policy-relevant approaches. First, we calculate an index of threat to overall evolutionary history, showing that we expect to lose 86-150 billion years (11-19%) of jawed vertebrate evolutionary history over the next 50-500 years. Second, we rank jawed vertebrate species by their EDGE scores to identify the highest priorities for species-focused conservation of evolutionary history, finding that chondrichthyans, ray-finned fish and testudines rank highest of all jawed vertebrates. Third, we assess the conservation status of jawed vertebrate families. We found that species within monotypic families are more likely to be threatened and more likely to be in decline than other species. We provide a baseline for the status of families at risk of extinction to catalyse conservation action. This work continues a trend of highlighting neglected groups—such as testudines, crocodylians, amphibians and chondrichthyans—as conservation priorities from a phylogenetic perspective.

  • Journal article
    Blackford K, Kasoar M, Burton C, Burke E, Prentice IC, Voulgarakis Aet al., 2024,

    INFERNO-peat v1.0.0: a representation of northern high latitude peat fires in the JULES-INFERNO global fire model

    , Geoscientific Model Development, ISSN: 1991-959X
  • Journal article
    Neyret M, Le Provost G, Boesing AL, Schneider FD, Baulechner D, Bergmann J, de Vries FT, Fiore-Donno AM, Geisen S, Goldmann K, Merges A, Saifutdinov RA, Simons NK, Tobias JA, Zaitsev AS, Gossner MM, Jung K, Kandeler E, Krauss J, Penone C, Schloter M, Schulz S, Staab M, Wolters V, Apostolakis A, Birkhofer K, Boch S, Boeddinghaus RS, Bolliger R, Bonkowski M, Buscot F, Dumack K, Fischer M, Gan HY, Heinze J, Hölzel N, John K, Klaus VH, Kleinebecker T, Marhan S, Müller J, Renner SC, Rillig MC, Schenk NV, Schöning I, Schrumpf M, Seibold S, Socher SA, Solly EF, Teuscher M, van Kleunen M, Wubet T, Manning Pet al., 2024,

    A slow-fast trait continuum at the whole community level in relation to land-use intensification.

    , Nat Commun, Vol: 15

    Organismal functional strategies form a continuum from slow- to fast-growing organisms, in response to common drivers such as resource availability and disturbance. However, whether there is synchronisation of these strategies at the entire community level is unclear. Here, we combine trait data for >2800 above- and belowground taxa from 14 trophic guilds spanning a disturbance and resource availability gradient in German grasslands. The results indicate that most guilds consistently respond to these drivers through both direct and trophically mediated effects, resulting in a 'slow-fast' axis at the level of the entire community. Using 15 indicators of carbon and nutrient fluxes, biomass production and decomposition, we also show that fast trait communities are associated with faster rates of ecosystem functioning. These findings demonstrate that 'slow' and 'fast' strategies can be manifested at the level of whole communities, opening new avenues of ecosystem-level functional classification.

  • Journal article
    Drury JP, Clavel J, Tobias JA, Rolland J, Sheard C, Morlon Het al., 2024,

    Limited ecological opportunity influences the tempo of morphological evolution in birds

    , Current Biology, Vol: 34, Pages: 661-669.E4, ISSN: 0960-9822

    According to classic models of lineage diversification and adaptive radiation, phenotypic evolution should accelerate in the context of ecological opportunity and slow down when niches become saturated.1,2 However, only weak support for these ideas has been found in nature, perhaps because most analyses make the biologically unrealistic assumption that clade members contribute equally to reducing ecological opportunity, even when they occur in different continents or specialize on different habitats and diets. To view this problem through a different lens, we adapted a new phylogenetic modeling approach that accounts for the fact that competition for ecological opportunity only occurs between species that coexist and share similar habitats and diets. Applying this method to trait data for nearly all extant species of landbirds,3 we find a widespread signature of decelerating trait evolution in lineages adapted to similar habitats or diets. The strength of this pattern was consistent across latitudes when comparing tropical and temperate assemblages. Our results provide little support for the idea that increased diversity and tighter packing of niches accentuates evolutionary slowdowns in the tropics and instead suggest that limited ecological opportunity can be an important factor determining the rate of morphological diversification at a global scale.

  • Journal article
    Hatfield JH, Banks-Leite C, Barlow J, Lees AC, Tobias JAet al., 2024,

    Constraints on avian seed dispersal reduce potential for resilience in degraded tropical forests

    , Functional Ecology, Vol: 38, Pages: 315-326, ISSN: 0269-8463

    Seed dispersal is fundamental to tropical forest resilience. Forest loss or degradation typically leads to defaunation, altering seed transfer dynamics and impairing the ability of forested habitats to regenerate or recover from perturbation. However, the extent of defaunation, and its likely impacts on the seed dispersers needed to restore highly degraded or clear-felled areas, remains poorly understood in tropical forest landscapes. To quantify defaunation of seed-dispersing birds, we used field survey data from 499 transects in three forested regions of Brazil, first comparing the observed assemblages with those predicted by geographic range maps, and then assessing habitat associations of frugivores across land cover gradients. We found that current bird assemblages have lower functional diversity (FD) than predicted by species range maps in Amazonia (4%–6%), with a greater reduction in FD (28%) for the Atlantic Forest, which has been more heavily deforested for a longer period. Direct measures of seed dispersal are difficult to obtain, so we focused on potential seed transfer inferred from shared species occurrence. Of 83 predominantly frugivorous bird species recorded in relatively intact forests, we show that 10% were absent from degraded forest, and 57% absent from the surrounding matrix of agricultural land covers, including many large-gaped species. Of 112 frugivorous species using degraded forest, 47% were absent from matrix habitats. Overall, frugivores occurring in both intact forest and matrix habitats were outnumbered by (mostly small-gaped) frugivores occurring in both degraded forest and matrix habitats (23 additional species; 64% higher diversity). These findings suggest that birds have the potential to disperse seeds from intact and degraded forest to adjacent cleared lands, but that direct seed transfer from intact forests is limited, particularly for large-seeded trees. Degraded forests may play a vital role in supporting natural regenerat

  • Journal article
    Liu Y, Olsson A, Larva T, Cantwell-Jones A, Gill RJ, Cederberg B, Webster MTet al., 2024,

    Genomic variation in montane bumblebees in Scandinavia: high levels of intraspecific diversity despite population vulnerability.

    , Molecular Ecology, Vol: 33, ISSN: 0962-1083

    Populations of many bumblebee species are declining, with distributions shifting northwards to track suitable climates. Climate change is considered a major contributing factor. Arctic species are particularly vulnerable as they cannot shift further north, making assessment of their population viability important. Analysis of levels of whole-genome variation is a powerful way to analyse population declines and fragmentation. Here, we use genome sequencing to analyse genetic variation in seven species of bumblebee from the Scandinavian mountains, including two classified as vulnerable. We sequenced 333 samples from across the ranges of these species in Sweden. Estimates of effective population size (NE ) vary from ~55,000 for species with restricted high alpine distributions to 220,000 for more widespread species. Population fragmentation is generally very low or undetectable over large distances in the mountains, suggesting an absence of barriers to gene flow. The relatively high NE and low population structure indicate that none of the species are at immediate risk of negative genetic effects caused by high levels of genetic drift. However, reconstruction of historical fluctuations in NE indicates that the arctic specialist species Bombus hyperboreus has experienced population declines since the last ice age and we detected one highly inbred diploid male of this species close to the southern limit of its range, potentially indicating elevated genetic load. Although the levels of genetic variation in montane bumblebee populations are currently relatively high, their ranges are predicted to shrink drastically due to the effects of climate change and monitoring is essential to detect future population declines.

  • Journal article
    Keeping T, Harrison SP, Prentice IC, 2024,

    Modelling the daily probability of wildfire occurrence in the contiguous United States

    , Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 19, ISSN: 1748-9326

    The development of a high-quality wildfire occurrence model is an essential component in mapping present wildfire risk, and in projecting future wildfire dynamics with climate and land-use change. Here, we develop a new model for predicting the daily probability of wildfire occurrence at 0.1° (∼10 km) spatial resolution by adapting a generalised linear modelling (GLM) approach to include improvements to the variable selection procedure, identification of the range over which specific predictors are influential, and the minimisation of compression, applied in an ensemble of model runs. We develop and test the model using data from the contiguous United States. The ensemble performed well in predicting the mean geospatial patterns of fire occurrence, the interannual variability in the number of fires, and the regional variation in the seasonal cycle of wildfire. Model runs gave an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.85–0.88, indicating good predictive power. The ensemble of runs provides insight into the key predictors for wildfire occurrence in the contiguous United States. The methodology, though developed for the United States, is globally implementable.

  • Journal article
    Molnár Z, Aumeeruddy-Thomas Y, Babai D, Díaz S, Garnett ST, Hill R, Bates P, Brondízio ES, Cariño J, Demeter L, Fernández-Llamazares Á, Guèze M, McElwee P, Öllerer K, Purvis A, Reyes-García V, Samakov A, Singh RKet al., 2024,

    Towards richer knowledge partnerships between ecology and ethnoecology.

    , Trends Ecol Evol, Vol: 39, Pages: 109-115

    Indigenous and traditional practices based on ethnoecological knowledge are fundamental to biodiversity stewardship and sustainable use. Knowledge partnerships between Indigenous Peoples, traditional local communities, and ecologists can produce richer and fairer understandings of nature. We identify key topical areas where such collaborations can positively transform science, policy, and practice.

  • Journal article
    Cruz-Silva E, Harrion SP, Prentice IC, Marinova Eet al., 2024,

    Holocene vegetation dynamics of the Eastern Mediterranean region: old controversies addressed by a new analysis

    , Journal of Biogeography, Vol: 51, Pages: 294-310, ISSN: 0305-0270

    Aim:We reconstruct vegetation changes since 12 ky in the Eastern Mediterranean to examine four features of the regional vegetation history that are controversial: the extent of non-analogue vegetation assemblages in the transition from the Late Glacial to the early Holocene, the synchroneity of postglacial forest expansion, the geographical extent of temperate deciduous forest during the mid-Holocene and the timing and trigger for the re-establishment of drought-tolerant vegetation during the late Holocene.Location:The Eastern Mediterranean–Black Sea Caspian Corridor.Taxon:Vascular plants.Methods:We reconstruct vegetation changes for 122 fossil pollen records using a method that accounts for within-biome variability in pollen taxon abundance to determine the biome with which a sample has greatest affinity. Per-biome affinity threshold values were used to identify samples that do not belong to any modern biome. We apply time series analysis and mapping to examine space and time changes.Results:Sites with non-analogue vegetation were most common between 11.5 and 9.5 ky and mostly in the Carpathians. The transition from open vegetation to forest occurred at 10.64 ± 0.65 ky across the whole region. Temperate deciduous forest was not more extensive at 6 ky; maximum expansion occurred between 5.5 and 5 ky. Expansion of forest occurred between c. 4 and 2.8 k, followed by an abrupt decrease and a subsequent recovery. This pattern is not consistent with a systematic decline of forest towards more drought-tolerant vegetation in the late Holocene but is consistent with centennial-scale speleothem patterns linked to variations in moisture availability.Main Conclusions:We show the occurrence of non-analogue vegetation types peaked during early Holocene, forest expansion was synchronous across the region and there was an expansion of moisture-demanding temperate trees around 5.5 to 5 ky. There is no signal of a continuous late Holocene aridificat

  • Journal article
    Cantwell-Jones A, Tylianakis J, Larson K, Gill Ret al., 2024,

    Using individual-based trait frequency distributions to forecast plant-pollinator network responses to environmental change

    , Ecology Letters, Vol: 27, ISSN: 1461-023X

    Determining how and why organisms interact is fundamental to understanding ecosystem responses to future environmental change. To assess the impact on plant-pollinator interactions, recent studies have examined how the effects of environmental change on individual interactions accumulate to generate species-level responses. Here, we review recent developments in using plant-pollinator networks of interacting individuals along with their functional traits, where individuals are nested within species nodes. We highlight how these individual-level, trait-based networks connect intraspecific trait variation (as frequency distributions of multiple traits) with dynamic responses within plant-pollinator communities. This approach can better explain interaction plasticity, and changes to interaction probabilities and network structure over spatiotemporal or other environmental gradients. We argue that only through appreciating such trait-based interaction plasticity can we accurately forecast the potential vulnerability of interactions to future environmental change. We follow this with general guidance on how future studies can collect and analyse high-resolution interaction and trait data, with the hope of improving predictions of future plant-pollinator network responses for targeted and effective conservation.

  • Journal article
    Savolainen V, Bailey NW, Diamond L, Swift-Gallant A, Gavrilets S, Raymond M, Verweij KJHet al., 2024,

    A broader cultural view is necessary to study the evolution of sexual orientation

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 8, Pages: 181-183, ISSN: 2397-334X

    The causation of sexual orientation is likely to be complex and influenced by multiple factors1. We advocate incorporating a broader cultural view into evolutionary andgenetic studies to account for differences in how sexual orientation is experienced, expressed, and understood in both human and non-human animals.

  • Journal article
    Ren Y, Wang H, Harrison SP, Prentice IC, Atkin OK, Smith NG, Mengoli G, Stefanski A, Reich PBet al., 2024,

    Reduced global plant respiration due to the acclimation of leaf dark respiration coupled to photosynthesis

    , New Phytologist, Vol: 241, Pages: 578-591, ISSN: 0028-646X

    Leaf dark respiration (Rd) acclimates to environmental changes. However, the magnitude, controls and time scales of acclimation remain unclear and are inconsistently treated in ecosystem models. We hypothesized that Rd and Rubisco carboxylation capacity (Vcmax) at 25°C (Rd,25, Vcmax,25) are coordinated so that Rd,25 variations support Vcmax,25 at a level allowing full light use, with Vcmax,25 reflecting daytime conditions (for photosynthesis), and Rd,25/Vcmax,25 reflecting night-time conditions (for starch degradation and sucrose export). We tested this hypothesis temporally using a 5-yr warming experiment, and spatially using an extensive field-measurement data set. We compared the results to three published alternatives: Rd,25 declines linearly with daily average prior temperature; Rd at average prior night temperatures tends towards a constant value; and Rd,25/Vcmax,25 is constant. Our hypothesis accounted for more variation in observed Rd,25 over time (R2 = 0.74) and space (R2 = 0.68) than the alternatives. Night-time temperature dominated the seasonal time-course of Rd, with an apparent response time scale of c. 2 wk. Vcmax dominated the spatial patterns. Our acclimation hypothesis results in a smaller increase in global Rd in response to rising CO2 and warming than is projected by the two of three alternative hypotheses, and by current models.

  • Journal article
    Rosindell J, Manson K, Gumbs R, Pearse WD, Steel Met al., 2023,

    Phylogenetic Biodiversity Metrics Should Account for Both Accumulation and Attrition of Evolutionary Heritage.

    , Syst Biol

    Phylogenetic metrics are essential tools used in the study of ecology, evolution and conservation. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) in particular is one of the most prominent measures of biodiversity, and is based on the idea that biological features accumulate along the edges of phylogenetic trees that are summed. We argue that PD and many other phylogenetic biodiversity metrics fail to capture an essential process that we term attrition. Attrition is the gradual loss of features through causes other than extinction. Here we introduce 'EvoHeritage', a generalisation of PD that is founded on the joint processes of accumulation and attrition of features. We argue that whilst PD measures evolutionary history, EvoHeritage is required to capture a more pertinent subset of evolutionary history including only components that have survived attrition. We show that EvoHeritage is not the same as PD on a tree with scaled edges; instead, accumulation and attrition interact in a more complex non-monophyletic way that cannot be captured by edge lengths alone. This leads us to speculate that the one dimensional edge lengths of classic trees may be insufficiently flexible to capture the nuances of evolutionary processes. We derive a measure of EvoHeritage and show that it elegantly reproduces species richness and PD at opposite ends of a continuum based on the intensity of attrition. We demonstrate the utility of EvoHeritage in ecology as a predictor of community productivity compared with species richness and PD. We also show how EvoHeritage can quantify living fossils and resolve their associated controversy. We suggest how the existing calculus of PD-based metrics and other phylogenetic biodiversity metrics can and should be recast in terms of EvoHeritage accumulation and attrition.

  • Journal article
    González-Ferreras AM, Barquín J, Blyth PSA, Hawksley J, Kinsella H, Lauridsen R, Morris OF, Peñas FJ, Thomas GE, Woodward G, Zhao L, O'Gorman EJet al., 2023,

    Chronic exposure to environmental temperature attenuates the thermal sensitivity of salmonids.

    , Nat Commun, Vol: 14

    Metabolism, the biological processing of energy and materials, scales predictably with temperature and body size. Temperature effects on metabolism are normally studied via acute exposures, which overlooks the capacity for organisms to moderate their metabolism following chronic exposure to warming. Here, we conduct respirometry assays in situ and after transplanting salmonid fish among different streams to disentangle the effects of chronic and acute thermal exposure. We find a clear temperature dependence of metabolism for the transplants, but not the in-situ assays, indicating that chronic exposure to warming can attenuate salmonid thermal sensitivity. A bioenergetic model accurately captures the presence of fish in warmer streams when accounting for chronic exposure, whereas it incorrectly predicts their local extinction with warming when incorporating the acute temperature dependence of metabolism. This highlights the need to incorporate the potential for thermal acclimation or adaptation when forecasting the consequences of global warming on ecosystems.

  • Journal article
    Eberhart-Hertel LJ, Rodrigues LF, Krietsch J, Hertel AG, Cruz-López M, Vázquez-Rojas KA, González-Medina E, Schroeder J, Küpper Cet al., 2023,

    Egg size variation in the context of polyandry: a case study using long-term field data from snowy plovers.

    , Evolution, Vol: 77, Pages: 2590-2605

    Gamete size variation between the sexes is central to the concept of sex roles, however, to what extent gamete size variation within the sexes relates to sex role variation remains unclear. Comparative and theoretical studies suggest that, when clutch size is invariable, polyandry is linked to a reduction of egg size, while increased female-female competition for mates favors early breeding when females cannot monopolize multiple males. To understand whether and how breeding phenology, egg size, and mating behavior are related at the individual level, we studied the reproductive histories of 424 snowy plover females observed in the wild over a 15-year period. Egg size, but not polyandry, were highly repeatable for individual females. Consistent with theoretical predictions, we found that polyandrous females were the earliest breeders and that early clutches contained smaller eggs than clutches initiated later. Neither egg size nor mating behavior showed clear signs of an age-related deterioration, on the contrary, prior experience acquired either through age or local recruitment enabled females to nest early. Taken together, these results suggest that gamete size variation is not linked to mating behavior at the individual level, and, consequently, the adaptive potential of such variation appears to be limited.

  • Journal article
    Ruehr S, Keenan TF, Williams C, Zhou Y, Lu X, Bastos A, Canadell JG, Prentice IC, Sitch S, Terrer Cet al., 2023,

    Publisher Correction: Evidence and attribution of the enhanced land carbon sink (Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, (2023), 4, 8, (518-534), 10.1038/s43017-023-00456-3)

    , Nature Reviews Earth and Environment, Vol: 4

    Correction to: Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, published online 25 July 2023. In the version of the article initially published, the y-axis labels in Fig. 7b, now reading “+” and “–”, read “234” and “254”, respectively. This has been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

  • Journal article
    Gonzalez A, Vihervaara P, Balvanera P, Bates AE, Bayraktarov E, Bellingham PJ, Bruder A, Campbell J, Catchen MD, Cavender-Bares J, Chase J, Coops N, Costello MJ, Czúcz B, Delavaud A, Dornelas M, Dubois G, Duffy EJ, Eggermont H, Fernandez M, Fernandez N, Ferrier S, Geller GN, Gill M, Gravel D, Guerra CA, Guralnick R, Harfoot M, Hirsch T, Hoban S, Hughes AC, Hugo W, Hunter ME, Isbell F, Jetz W, Juergens N, Kissling WD, Krug CB, Kullberg P, Le Bras Y, Leung B, Londoño-Murcia MC, Lord J-M, Loreau M, Luers A, Ma K, MacDonald AJ, Maes J, McGeoch M, Mihoub JB, Millette KL, Molnar Z, Montes E, Mori AS, Muller-Karger FE, Muraoka H, Nakaoka M, Navarro L, Newbold T, Niamir A, Obura D, O'Connor M, Paganini M, Pelletier D, Pereira H, Poisot T, Pollock LJ, Purvis A, Radulovici A, Rocchini D, Roeoesli C, Schaepman M, Schaepman-Strub G, Schmeller DS, Schmiedel U, Schneider FD, Shakya MM, Skidmore A, Skowno AL, Takeuchi Y, Tuanmu M-N, Turak E, Turner W, Urban MC, Urbina-Cardona N, Valbuena R, Van de Putte A, van Havre B, Wingate VR, Wright E, Torrelio CZet al., 2023,

    Author Correction: A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action.

    , Nat Ecol Evol, Vol: 7
  • Journal article
    Peng Y, Prentice IC, Bloomfield KJ, Campioli M, Guo Z, Sun Y, Tian D, Wang X, Vicca S, Stocker BDet al., 2023,

    Global terrestrial nitrogen uptake and nitrogen use efficiency

    , Journal of Ecology, Vol: 111, Pages: 2676-2693, ISSN: 0022-0477

    1. Plant biomass production (BP), nitrogen uptake (Nup) and their ratio, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), must be quantified to understand how nitrogen (N) cycling constrains terrestrial carbon (C) uptake. But the controls of key plant processes determining Nup and NUE, including BP, C and N allocation, tissue C:N ratios and N resorption efficiency (NRE), remain poorly known. 2. We compiled measurements from 804 forest and grassland sites and derived regression models for each of these processes with growth temperature, vapour pressure deficit, stand age, soil C:N ratio, fAPAR (remotely sensed fraction of photosynthetically active radiation absorbed by green vegetation) and growing-season average daily incident photosynthetic photon flux density (gPPFD) (effectively the seasonal concentration of light availability, which increases polewards) as predictors. An empirical model for leaf N was based on optimal photosynthetic capacity (a function of gPPFD and climate) and observed leaf mass-per-area. The models were used to produce global maps of Nup and NUE. 3. Global BP was estimated as 72 Pg C/yr; Nup as 950 Tg N/yr; and NUE as 76 gC/gN. Forest BP was found to increase with growth temperature and fAPAR and to decrease with stand age, soil C:N ratio and gPPFD. Forest NUE is controlled primarily by climate through its effect on C allocation – especially to leaves, being richer in N than other tissues. NUE is greater in colder climates, where N is less readily available, because belowground allocation is increased. NUE is also greater in drier climates because leaf allocation is reduced. NRE is enhanced (further promoting NUE) in both cold and dry climates. 4. These findings can provide observationally based benchmarks for model representations of C–N cycle coupling. State-of-the-art vegetation models in the TRENDY ensemble showed variable performance against these benchmarks, and models including coupled C–N cycling produced relatively poor simulations o

  • Journal article
    Delabre I, Lyons-White J, Melot C, Veggeberg EI, Alexander A, Schleper MCC, Ewers RMM, Knight ATTet al., 2023,

    Should I stay or should I go? Understanding stakeholder dis/engagement for deforestation-free palm oil

    , Business Strategy and the Environment, Vol: 32, Pages: 5128-5145, ISSN: 0964-4733

    Addressing tropical deforestation in the palm oil sector involves a diverse range of stakeholders who engage or disengage with each other. Palm oil global value chain (GVC) firms (plantation companies, traders and processors, and consumer goods manufacturers and retailers), as well as nongovernmental organisations, financial institutions, consultancies and certification bodies, pursue their respective organisations' agendas through engagement practices, including through coalitions, in a palm oil sustainability network (POSN). Building on interviews with different stakeholder groups, this qualitative study characterises and critically analyses ‘stakeholder engagement’ by examining (1) the priority targets for engagement among different POSN stakeholders, (2) how mechanisms and tools are used in POSN stakeholder engagement or disengagement for addressing deforestation, and (3) the implications of stakeholder engagement or disengagement for addressing deforestation. Engagement and disengagement practices are shaped by and reshape GVC governance, with powerful stakeholders emerging as knowledge brokers and norm setters, raising important challenges for how deforestation is addressed.

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