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  • Journal article
    Keenan TF, Luo X, Stocker BD, De Kauwe MG, Medlyn BE, Prentice IC, Smith NG, Terrer C, Wang H, Zhang Y, Zhou Set al., 2023,

    A constraint on historic growth in global photosynthesis due to rising CO2

    , Nature Climate Change, Vol: 13, Pages: 1376-1381, ISSN: 1758-678X

    Theory predicts that rising CO2 increases global photosynthesis, a process known as CO2 fertilization, and that this is responsible for a large proportion of the current terrestrial carbon sink. The estimated magnitude of the historic CO2 fertilization, however, differs by an order ofmagnitude between long-term proxies, remote sensing-based estimates and terrestrial biosphere models. Here we constrain the likely historic effect of CO2 on global photosynthesis by combining terrestrial biosphere models, ecological optimality theory, remote sensing approaches and an emergent constraint based on global carbon budget estimates. Our analysis suggests that CO2 fertilization increased global annual terrestrial photosynthesis by 13.5 ± 3.5%, or 15.9 ± 2.9 Pg C u(mean ± standard deviation) between 1981 and 2020. Our results help resolve conflicting estimates of the historic sensitivity of global terrestrial photosynthesis to CO2 and highlight the large impact anthropogenic emissions have had on ecosystems worldwide.

  • Journal article
    Dimitrov D, Xu X, Su X, Shrestha N, Liu Y, Kennedy JD, Lyu L, Nogués-Bravo D, Rosindell J, Yang Y, Fjeldså J, Liu J, Schmid B, Fang J, Rahbek C, Wang Zet al., 2023,

    Diversification of flowering plants in space and time.

    , Nat Commun, Vol: 14

    The rapid diversification and high species richness of flowering plants is regarded as 'Darwin's second abominable mystery'. Today the global spatiotemporal pattern of plant diversification remains elusive. Using a newly generated genus-level phylogeny and global distribution data for 14,244 flowering plant genera, we describe the diversification dynamics of angiosperms through space and time. Our analyses show that diversification rates increased throughout the early Cretaceous and then slightly decreased or remained mostly stable until the end of the Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction event 66 million years ago. After that, diversification rates increased again towards the present. Younger genera with high diversification rates dominate temperate and dryland regions, whereas old genera with low diversification dominate the tropics. This leads to a negative correlation between spatial patterns of diversification and genus diversity. Our findings suggest that global changes since the Cenozoic shaped the patterns of flowering plant diversity and support an emerging consensus that diversification rates are higher outside the tropics.

  • Journal article
    Xu H, Wang H, Prentice IC, Harrison SPet al., 2023,

    Leaf carbon and nitrogen stoichiometric variation alongenvironmental gradients

    , Biogeosciences, Vol: 20, Pages: 4511-4525, ISSN: 1726-4170

    Leaf stoichiometric traits are central to ecosystem function and biogeochemical cycling, yet no accepted theory predicts their variation along environmental gradients. Using data in the China Plant Trait Database version 2, we aimed to characterize variation in leaf carbon and nitrogen per unit mass (Cmass, Nmass) and their ratio, and to test an eco-evolutionary optimality model for Nmass. Community-mean trait values were related to climate variables by multiple linear regression. Climatic optima and tolerances of major genera were estimated; Pagel’s λ was used to quantify phylogenetic controls, and Bayesian phylogenetic linear mixed models to assess the contributions of climate, species identity and phylogeny. Optimality-based predictions of community-mean Nmass were compared to observed values. All traits showed strong phylogenetic signals. Climate explained only 18 % of C : N ratio variation among species but 45 % among communities, highlighting the role of taxonomic replacement in mediating community-level responses. Geographic distributions of deciduous taxa separated primarily by moisture, evergreens by temperature. Cmass increased with irradiance, but decreased with moisture and temperature. Nmass declined with all three variables. C : N ratio variations were dominated by Nmass. The coefficients relating Nmass to the ratio of maximum carboxylation capacity at 25 °C (Vcmax25) and leaf mass per area (Ma) were influenced by leaf area index. The optimality model captured 68 % and 53 % of variation between communities for Vcmax25 and Ma respectively, and 30 % for Nmass. We conclude that stoichiometric variations along climate gradients are achieved largely by environmental selection among species and clades with different characteristic trait values. Variations in leaf C : N ratio are mainly determined by Nmass, and optimality-based modelling shows useful predictive ability for community-mean Nmass. These findings should help to improve the repres

  • Journal article
    Brazeau M, Castiello M, El Fassi El Fehri A, Hamilton L, Ivanov AO, Johanson Z, Friedman Met al., 2023,

    Fossil evidence for a pharyngeal origin of the vertebrate pectoral girdle

    , Nature, Vol: 623, Pages: 550-554, ISSN: 0028-0836

    The origin of vertebrate paired appendages is one of the most investigated and debated examples of evolutionary novelty. Paired appendages are widely considered key innovations that allowed new opportunities for controlled swimming and gill ventilation and were prerequisites for the eventual transition from water to land. The last 150 years of debate has been shaped by two contentious theories: the ventrolateral fin-fold hypothesis and the archipterygium hypothesis. The latter proposes that fins and girdles evolved from an ancestral gill arch. Although tantalizing developmental evidence has revived interest in this idea, it is apparently unsupported by fossil evidence. Here we present fossil evidence of a pharyngeal basis for the vertebrate shoulder girdle. We use CT scanning to reveal details of the braincase of Kolymaspis sibirica, a placoderm fish from the Early Devonian of Siberia that suggests a pharyngeal component of the shoulder. We combine these findings with refreshed comparative anatomy of placoderms and jawless outgroups to place the origin of the shoulder girdle on the sixth branchial arch. These findings provide a novel framework for understanding the origin of the pectoral girdle. Our new evidence clarifies the location of the presumptive head-trunk interface in jawless fishes and explains the constraint on branchial arch number in gnathostomes. The results revive a key aspect of the archipterygium hypothesis, but also reconciles it with the ventrolateral fin fold model.

  • Other
    Blackford KR, Kasoar M, Burton C, Burke E, Prentice IC, Voulgarakis Aet al., 2023,

    Supplementary material to "INFERNO-peat v1.0.0: A representation of northern high latitude peat fires in the JULES-INFERNO global fire model"

  • Journal article
    Mwima R, Hui T-YJ, Nanteza A, Burt A, Kayondo JKet al., 2023,

    Potential persistence mechanisms of the major Anopheles gambiae species complex malaria vectors in sub-Saharan Africa: a narrative review.

    , Malar J, Vol: 22

    The source of malaria vector populations that re-establish at the beginning of the rainy season is still unclear yet knowledge of mosquito behaviour is required to effectively institute control measures. Alternative hypotheses like aestivation, local refugia, migration between neighbouring sites, and long-distance migration (LDM) are stipulated to support mosquito persistence. This work assessed the malaria vector persistence dynamics and examined various studies done on vector survival  via these hypotheses; aestivation, local refugia, local or long-distance migration across sub-Saharan Africa, explored a range of methods used, ecological parameters and highlighted the knowledge trends and gaps. The results about a particular persistence mechanism that supports the re-establishment of Anopheles gambiae, Anopheles coluzzii or Anopheles arabiensis in sub-Saharan Africa were not conclusive given that each method used had its limitations. For example, the Mark-Release-Recapture (MRR) method whose challenge is a low recapture rate that affects its accuracy, and the use of time series analysis through field collections whose challenge is the uncertainty about whether not finding mosquitoes during the dry season is a weakness of the conventional sampling methods used or because of hidden shelters. This, therefore, calls for further investigations emphasizing the use of ecological experiments under controlled conditions in the laboratory or semi-field, and genetic approaches, as they are known to complement each other. This review, therefore, unveils and assesses the uncertainties that influence the different malaria vector persistence mechanisms and provides recommendations for future studies.

  • Journal article
    Mayfield MM, Lau JA, Tobias JA, Ives AR, Strauss SYet al., 2023,

    What Can Evolutionary History Tell Us about the Functioning of Ecological Communities? The ASN Presidential Debate

    , AMERICAN NATURALIST, ISSN: 0003-0147
  • Journal article
    Stewart K, Carmona CP, Clements C, Venditti C, Tobias JA, González-Suárez Met al., 2023,

    Functional diversity metrics can perform well with highly incomplete data sets

    , Methods in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 14, Pages: 2856-2872

    Characterising changes in functional diversity at large spatial scales provides insight into the impact of human activity on ecosystem structure and function. However, the approach is often based on trait data sets that are incomplete and unrepresentative, with uncertain impacts on functional diversity estimates. To address this knowledge gap, we simulated random and biased removal of data from three empirical trait data sets: an avian data set (9579 species), a plant data set (2185 species) and a crocodilian data set (25 species). For these data sets, we assessed whether functional diversity metrics were robust to data incompleteness with and without using imputation to fill data gaps. We compared two metrics each calculated with two methods: functional richness (calculated with convex hulls and trait probabilities densities) and functional divergence (calculated with distance-based Rao and trait probability densities). Without imputation, estimates of functional diversity (richness and divergence) for birds and plants were robust when 20%–70% of species had missing data for four out of 11 and two out of six continuous traits, respectively, depending on the severity of bias and method used. However, when missing traits were imputed, functional diversity metrics consistently remained representative of the true value when 70% of bird species were missing data for four out of 11 traits and when 50% of plant species were missing data for two out of six traits. Trait probability densities and distance-based Rao were particularly robust to missingness and bias when combined with imputation. Convex hull-based estimations of functional richness were less reliable. When applied to a smaller data set (crocodilians, 25 species), all functional diversity metrics were much more sensitive to missing data. Expanding global morphometric data sets to represent more taxa and traits, and to quantify intraspecific variation, remains a priority. In the meantime, our results show

  • Journal article
    Cruz-Silva E, Harrison SP, Colin Prentice I, Marinova E, Bartlein PJ, Renssen H, Zhang Yet al., 2023,

    Pollen-based reconstructions of Holocene climate trends in the eastern Mediterranean region

    , Climate of the Past, Vol: 19, Pages: 2093-2108, ISSN: 1814-9324

    There has been considerable debate about the degree to which climate has driven societal changes in the eastern Mediterranean region, partly through reliance on a limited number of qualitative records of climate changes and partly reflecting the need to disentangle the joint impact of changes in different aspects of climate. Here, we use tolerance-weighted, weighted-averaging partial least squares to derive reconstructions of the mean temperature of the coldest month (MTCO), mean temperature of the warmest month (MTWA), growing degree days above a threshold of 0 C (GDD0), and plant-available moisture, which is represented by the ratio of modelled actual to equilibrium evapotranspiration (α) and corrected for past CO2 changes. This is done for 71 individual pollen records from the eastern Mediterranean region covering part or all of the interval from 12.3 ka to the present. We use these reconstructions to create regional composites that illustrate the long-term trends in each variable. We compare these composites with transient climate model simulations to explore potential causes of the observed trends. We show that the glacial-Holocene transition and the early part of the Holocene was characterised by conditions colder than the present. Rapid increases in temperature occurred between ca. 10.3 and 9.3 ka, considerably after the end of the Younger Dryas. Although the time series are characterised by centennial to millennial oscillations, the MTCO showed a gradual increase from 9 ka to the present, consistent with the expectation that winter temperatures were forced by orbitally induced increases in insolation during the Holocene. The MTWA also showed an increasing trend from 9 ka and reached a maximum of ca. 1.5 C greater than the present at ca. 4.5 and 5 ka, followed by a gradual decline towards present-day conditions. A delayed response to summer insolation changes is likely a reflection of the persistence of the Laurentide and Fennoscandian ice sheets; subse

  • Journal article
    Burton VJ, Baselga A, De Palma A, Phillips HRP, Mulder C, Eggleton P, Purvis Aet al., 2023,

    Effects of land use and soil properties on taxon richness and abundance of soil assemblages

    , European Journal of Soil Science, Vol: 74, ISSN: 1351-0754

    Land-use change and habitat degradation are among the biggest drivers of aboveground biodiversity worldwide but their effects on soil biodiversity are less well known, despite the importance of soil organisms in developing soil structure, nutrient cycling and water drainage. Combining a global compilation of biodiversity data from soil assemblages collated as part of the PREDICTS project with global data on soil characteristics, we modelled how taxon richness and total abundance of soil organisms have responded to land use. We also estimated the global Biodiversity Intactness Index (BII)—the average abundance and compositional similarity of taxa that remain in an area, compared to a minimally impacted baseline, for soil biodiversity. This is the first time the BII has been calculated for soil biodiversity. Relative to undisturbed vegetation, soil organism total abundance and taxon richness were reduced in all land uses except pasture. Soil properties mediated the response of soil biota, but not in a consistent way across land uses. The global soil BII in cropland is, on average, a third of that originally present. However, in grazed sites the decline is less severe. The BII of secondary vegetation depends on age, with sites with younger growth showing a lower BII than mature vegetation. We conclude that land-use change has reduced local soil biodiversity worldwide, and this further supports the proposition that soil biota should be considered explicitly when using global models to estimate the state of biodiversity.

  • Journal article
    Lewis-Brown E, Jennings N, Mills M, Ewers Ret al., 2023,

    Comparison of carbon management and emissions of universities that did and did not adopt voluntary carbon offsets

    , Climate Policy, Pages: 1-17, ISSN: 1469-3062

    The urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, remove carbon from the atmosphere and stabilize natural carbon sinks has led to the development of many carbon management measures, increasingly including voluntary carbon offsets (VCOs). We studied carbon management in universities, institutions with large carbon footprints and considerable influence in climate science and policy fora. However, concerns that VCOs may deter adopters (including universities) from adopting other carbon reduction measures and limit emissions reductions, for example, through moral hazard, have been raised but understudied. We compared the carbon management characteristics (priorities, policies, practices and emissions) of universities that did and did not adopt VCOs. We found adopters measured carbon emissions for longer, and had set targets to reach net zero earlier than had non-adopters. Adopters of VCOs also undertook more carbon management practices in both 2010 and 2020 than non-adopters. We also found that both adopters and non-adopters significantly increased their carbon management practices over the decade studied, but with no difference between groups. Gross CO2 emissions were reduced significantly over time by adopters of VCOs but not by non-adopters, whereas carbon intensity and percentage annual emissions reductions did not relate to adoption status. Consequently, our study showed no indication of mitigation deterrence due to adoption of VCOs at the universities studied. Rather, greater emissions reductions correlated with earlier net zero target dates, and a higher number of policies and carbon management practices. However, our study was constrained to universities that were affiliated with a national environmental network, so research beyond these organizations, and with individuals, would be useful. The survey was voluntary, exposing the study to potential self-selection bias so the findings may not be generalized beyond the study group. Finally, we found the carbon ac

  • Journal article
    O'Gorman EJ, Zhao L, Kordas RL, Dudgeon S, Woodward Get al., 2023,

    Warming indirectly simplifies food webs through effects on apex predators

    , NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, ISSN: 2397-334X
  • Journal article
    Devenish AJM, Schmitter P, Jellason NP, Esmail N, Abdi NM, Adanu SK, Adolph B, Al-Zubi M, Amali AA, Barron J, Chapman ASA, Chausson AM, Chibesa M, Davies J, Dugan E, Edwards GI, Egeru A, Gebrehiwot T, Griffiths GH, Haile A, Hunga HG, Igbine L, Jarju OM, Keya F, Khalifa M, Ledoux WA, Lejissa LT, Loupa P, Lwanga J, Mapedza ED, Marchant R, McLoud T, Mukuyu P, Musah LM, Mwanza M, Mwitwa J, Neina D, Newbold T, Njogo S, Robinson EJZ, Singini W, Umar BB, Wesonga F, Willcock S, Yang J, Tobias JAet al., 2023,

    One hundred priority questions for the development of sustainable food systems in Sub-Saharan Africa

    , Land, Vol: 12, ISSN: 2073-445X

    Sub-Saharan Africa is facing an expected doubling of human population and tripling of food demand over the next quarter century, posing a range of severe environmental, political, and socio-economic challenges. In some cases, key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are in direct conflict, raising difficult policy and funding decisions, particularly in relation to trade-offs between food production, social inequality, and ecosystem health. In this study, we used a horizon-scanning approach to identify 100 practical or research-focused questions that, if answered, would have the greatest positive impact on addressing these trade-offs and ensuring future productivity and resilience of food-production systems across sub-Saharan Africa. Through direct canvassing of opinions, we obtained 1339 questions from 331 experts based in 55 countries. We then used online voting and participatory workshops to produce a final list of 100 questions divided into 12 thematic sections spanning topics from gender inequality to technological adoption and climate change. Using data on the background of respondents, we show that perspectives and priorities can vary, but they are largely consistent across different professional and geographical contexts. We hope these questions provide a template for establishing new research directions and prioritising funding decisions in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Journal article
    Savolainen V, 2023,

    Environmental DNA helps reveal reef shark distribution across a remote archipelago

    , Ecological Indicators, Vol: 154, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 1470-160X

    Environmental DNA (eDNA) methods are being increasingly used in proof-of-concept studies to detect shark species, many populations of which are experiencing severe declines. These methods are widely seen as the future of biodiversity monitoring, but they have yet to become established as routine monitoring techniques for elasmobranch species. Here, we developed species-specific quantitative PCR assays for the detection of grey reef shark (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and silvertip shark (Carcharhinus albimarginatus). We assessed whether species-specific eDNA methods could infer the distribution of the two species around the atolls of the Chagos Archipelago, which, despite being surrounded by a large marine protected area, experience contrasting levels of illegal fishing leading to heterogeneity in shark population densities. We found that eDNA detections were significantly reduced and sporadic around the northern atolls, which are under high pressure from illegal fishing. By contrast eDNA detections of both species were ubiquitous and consistent around the highly protected atoll Diego Garcia. We postulate that current levels of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is having a significant impact on the shark community in the northern atolls and suppressing local reef shark populations. In the northern atolls we also employed visual and acoustic telemetry techniques to reveal the distribution of reef sharks. We found that despite eDNA samples being taken directly after visual surveys, detection results did not correlate, suggesting a need for further optimisation of eDNA methods for detecting sharks. However, both species were detected by eDNA in sites where they were not observed, highlighting that the scale of the sampling environment must be considered when inferring eDNA results and showing that eDNA methods can be used to fill gaps in data from more established monitoring techniques. We conclude that eDNA methods should be used in combination with oth

  • Journal article
    Haas O, Prentice IC, Harrison SP, 2023,

    The response of wildfire regimes to Last Glacial Maximum carbon dioxide and climate

    , Biogeosciences, Vol: 20, Pages: 3981-3995, ISSN: 1726-4170

    Climate and fuel availability jointly control the incidence of wildfires. The effects of atmospheric CO2 on plant growth influence fuel availability independently of climate, but the relative importance of each in driving largescale changes in wildfire regimes cannot easily be quantified from observations alone. Here, we use previously developed empirical models to simulate the global spatial pattern of burnt area, fire size, and fire intensity for modern and Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; ∼21 000 ka) conditions using both realistic changes in climate and CO2 and sensitivity experiments to separate their effects. Three different LGM scenarios are used to represent the range of modelled LGM climates.We show large, modelled reductions in burnt area at the LGM compared to the recent period, consistent with the sedimentary charcoal record. This reduction was predominantly driven by the effect of low CO2 on vegetation productivity. The amplitude of the reduction under low-CO2 conditions was similar regardless of the LGM climate scenario and was not observed in any LGM scenario when only climate effects were considered, with one LGM climate scenario showing increased burning under these conditions. Fire intensity showed a similar sensitivity to CO2 across different climates but was also sensitive to changes in vapour pressure deficit (VPD). Modelled fire size was reduced under LGM CO2 in many regions but increased under LGM climates because of changes in wind strength, dry days (DDs), and diurnal temperature range (DTR). This increase was offset under the coldest LGM climate in the northern latitudes because of a large reduction in VPD. These results emphasize the fact that the relative magnitudes of changes in different climate variables influence the wildfire regime and that different aspects of climate change can have opposing effects. The importance of CO2 effects imply that future projections of wildfire must take rising CO2 into account.

  • Journal article
    Dunne EM, Thompson SED, Butler RJ, Rosindell J, Close RAet al., 2023,

    Mechanistic neutral models show that sampling biases drive the apparent explosion of early tetrapod diversity

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1480-1489, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Estimates of deep-time biodiversity typically rely on statistical methods to mitigate the impacts of sampling biases in the fossil record. However, these methods are limited by the spatial and temporal scale of the underlying data. Here we use a spatially explicit mechanistic model, based on neutral theory, to test hypotheses of early tetrapod diversity change during the late Carboniferous and early Permian, critical intervals for the diversification of vertebrate life on land. Our simulations suggest that apparent increases in early tetrapod diversity were not driven by local endemism following the ‘Carboniferous rainforest collapse’. Instead, changes in face-value diversity can be explained by variation in sampling intensity through time. Our results further demonstrate the importance of accounting for sampling biases in analyses of the fossil record and highlight the vast potential of mechanistic models, including neutral models, for testing hypotheses in palaeobiology.

  • 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, Dornelas M, Dubois G, Duffy EJ, Eggermont H, Fernandez N, Ferrier S, Geller GN, Gill M, Gravel D, Guerra CA, Guralnick R, Harfoot M, Hirsch T, Hoban S, Hughes AC, Hunter ME, Isbell F, Jetz W, Juergens N, Kissling WD, Krug CB, Le Bras Y, Leung B, Londono-Murcia MC, Lord J-M, Loreau M, Luers A, Ma K, Macdonald AJ, Mcgeoch M, Millette KL, Molnar Z, Mori AS, Muller-Karger FE, Muraoka H, Navarro L, Newbold T, Niamir A, Obura D, O'Connor M, Paganini M, Pereira H, Poisot T, Pollock LJ, Purvis A, Radulovici A, Rocchini D, 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 Havre B, Wright Eet al., 2023,

    A global biodiversity observing system to unite monitoring and guide action

    , NATURE ECOLOGY & EVOLUTION, ISSN: 2397-334X
  • Journal article
    Rosindell J, 2023,

    Indicators to monitor the status of the Tree of Life

    , Conservation Biology, ISSN: 0888-8892
  • Journal article
    Bellotto-Trigo FC, Uezu A, Hatfield JH, Morante-Filho JC, dos Anjos L, Develey PF, Clegg T, Orme DL, Banks-Leite Cet al., 2023,

    Intraspecific variation in sensitivity to habitat fragmentation is influenced by forest cover and distance to the range edge

    , BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION, Vol: 284, ISSN: 0006-3207
  • Journal article
    Alif Ž, Crees JJ, White RL, Quinlan MM, Kennerley RJ, Dando TR, Turvey STet al., 2023,

    Understanding local knowledge and attitudes toward potential reintroduction of a former British wetland bird

    , People and Nature, Vol: 5, Pages: 1220-1233, ISSN: 2575-8314

    Stakeholder acceptance and support is essential for long-term success in species reintroductions, and assessing social feasibility of reintroductions within human-occupied landscapes is an integral component of effective decision-making.The Dalmatian pelican Pelecanus crispus is an extirpated British bird, and possible pelican reintroduction to British wetlands is under discussion. Any reintroduction planning must first assess local community awareness, attitudes, and acceptance of potential pelican arrival and associated habitat management, as part of wider socio-ecological feasibility assessment. Pelicans are distinctive species with potential to increase support for wetland conservation, but might provoke conflict through real or perceived competition with landscape users such as fishers; such conflict is already seen within Britain between fishers and cormorants.We conducted an online survey of 590 respondents in the Somerset Levels and East Anglian Fens, Britain's largest wetland landscapes, to understand local views on pelican reintroduction, other reintroductions and wetland restoration, and to investigate correlates of varying attitudes toward coexistence with pelicans and five other waterbirds (grey heron, Eurasian bittern, little egret, common crane, great cormorant).Respondents had generally positive views about previous reintroductions of other species, and had overall positive attitudes toward all six waterbirds. Two-thirds of respondents supported or strongly supported pelican reintroduction, but both benefits and concerns were identified in relation to its possible reintroduction. Anglers and hunters were more likely to hold negative attitudes toward pelicans, other waterbirds and wetland restoration. However, although anglers raised more concerns, they were not more likely to be unsupportive toward reintroduction. More socio-demographic predictors were associated with negative attitudes toward restoration required to establish pelican habitat, sugges

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

    Evidence and attribution of the enhanced land carbon sink

    , Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, Vol: 4, Pages: 518-534, ISSN: 2662-138X

    Climate change has been partially mitigated by an increasing net land carbon sink in the terrestrial biosphere; understanding the processes that drive the land carbon sink is thus essential for protecting, managing, and projecting this important ecosystem service. In this Review, we examine evidence for an enhanced land carbon sink and attribute the observed response to drivers and processes. The land carbon sink has doubled from 1.2 ± 0.5 PgC yr-1 in the 1960s to 3.1 ± 0.6 PgC yr-1 in the 2010s. This trend results largely from carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization increasing photosynthesis (driving an increase in the annual land carbon sink of >2PgC globally since 1900), mainly in tropical forest regions, and elevated temperatures reducing cold-limitation, mainly at higher latitudes. Continued long term land carbon sequestration is possible through the end of this century under multiple emissions scenarios, especially if nature-based climate solutions and appropriate ecosystem management are deployed. A new generation of globally distributed field experiments are needed to improve understanding of future carbon sink potential by measuring belowground carbon release, the response to CO2 enrichment, and long-term shifts in carbon allocation and turnover .

  • Journal article
    Fattorini R, Egan PA, Rosindell J, Farrell IW, Stevenson PCet al., 2023,

    Grayanotoxin I variation across tissues and species of Rhododendron suggests pollinator-herbivore defence trade-offs

    , Phytochemistry: the international journal of plant chemistry, plant biochemistry and molecular biology, Vol: 212, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0031-9422

    Grayanotoxin I (GTX I) is a major toxin in leaves of Rhododendron species, where it provides a defence against insect and vertebrate herbivores. Surprisingly, it is also present in R. ponticum nectar, and this can hold important implications for plant-pollinator mutualisms. However, knowledge of GTX I distributions across the genus Rhododendron and in different plant materials is currently limited, despite the important ecological function of this toxin. Here we characterise GTX I expression in the leaves, petals, and nectar of seven Rhododendron species. Our results indicated interspecific variation in GTX I concentration across all species. GTX I concentrations were consistently higher in leaves compared to petals and nectar. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for phenotypic correlation between GTX I concentrations in defensive tissues (leaves and petals) and floral rewards (nectar), suggesting that Rhododendron species may commonly experience functional trade-offs between herbivore defence and pollinator attraction.

  • Journal article
    Pearse WD, Stemkovski M, Lee BRR, Primack RB, Lee SDet al., 2023,

    Consistent, linear phenological shifts across a century of observations in South Korea

    , NEW PHYTOLOGIST, Vol: 239, Pages: 824-829, ISSN: 0028-646X
  • Journal article
    Sethi SS, Bick A, Ewers RM, Klinck H, Ramesh V, Tuanmu M-N, Coomes DAet al., 2023,

    Limits to the accurate and generalizable use of soundscapes to monitor biodiversity

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1373-1378, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Although eco-acoustic monitoring has the potential to deliver biodiversity insight on vast scales, existing analytical approaches behave unpredictably across studies. We collated 8,023 audio recordings with paired manual avifaunal point counts to investigate whether soundscapes could be used to monitor biodiversity across diverse ecosystems. We found that neither univariate indices nor machine learning models were predictive of species richness across datasets but soundscape change was consistently indicative of community change. Our findings indicate that there are no common features of biodiverse soundscapes and that soundscape monitoring should be used cautiously and in conjunction with more reliable in-person ecological surveys.

  • Journal article
    Dobson S, Dunning J, Burke T, Chik HYJ, Schroeder Jet al., 2023,

    Indirect genetic effects increase heritability estimates for male and female extra-pair reproduction

    , EVOLUTION, Vol: 77, Pages: 1893-1901, ISSN: 0014-3820
  • Journal article
    Johansson J, Arce A, Gill R, 2023,

    How competition between overlapping generations can influence optimal egg-laying strategies in annual social insects

    , Oecologia, Vol: 202, Pages: 535-547, ISSN: 0029-8549

    Annual social insects are an integral functional group of organisms, particularly in temperate environments. An emblematic part of their annual cycle is the social phase, during which the colony-founding queen rears workers that later assist her in rearing sexual progeny (gynes and drones). In many annual social insects, such as species of bees, wasps, and other groups, developing larvae are provisioned gradually as they develop (progressive provisioning) leading to multiple larval generations being reared simultaneously. We present a model for how the queen in such cases should optimize her egg-laying rate throughout the social phase depending on number-size trade-offs, colony age-structure, and energy balance. Complementing previous theory on optimal allocation between workers vs. sexuals in annual social insects and on temporal egg-laying patterns in solitary insects, we elucidate how resource competition among overlapping larval generations can influence optimal egg-laying strategies. With model parameters informed by knowledge of a common bumblebee species, the optimal egg-laying schedule consists of two temporally separated early broods followed by a more continuous rearing phase, matching empirical observations. However, eggs should initially be laid continuously at a gradually increasing rate when resources are scarce or mortality risks high and in cases where larvae are fully supplied with resources at the egg-laying stage (mass-provisioning). These factors, alongside sexual:worker body size ratios, further determine the overall trend in egg-laying rates over the colony cycle. Our analysis provides an inroad to study and mechanistically understand variation in colony development strategies within and across species of annual social insects.

  • Journal article
    Clive J, Flintham E, Savolainen V, 2023,

    Same-sex sociosexual behaviour is widespread and heritable in male rhesus macaques

    , Nature Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 7, Pages: 1287-1301, ISSN: 2397-334X

    Numerous reports have documented the occurrence of same-sex sociosexual behaviour (SSB) across animal species. However, the distribution of the behaviour within a species is needed to test the theories describing its evolution and maintenance, in particular whether the behaviour is heritable and can therefore evolve by natural selection. Here, we collected detailed observations across three years of social and mounting behaviour of 236 male semi-wild rhesus macaques, which we combined with a pedigree dating back to 1938, to show that SSB was both repeatable (19.35%) and heritable (6.4%). Demographic factors (age and group structure) explained SSB variation only marginally. Furthermore, we found a positive genetic correlation between same-sex mounter and mountee activities, indicating a common basis to different forms of SSB. Finally, we found no evidence of fitness costs to SSB, but show instead that the behaviour mediated coalitionary partnerships that have been linked with improved reproductive success. Together, our results demonstrate that SSB is frequent in rhesus macaques, can evolve, and is not costly, indicating that SSB may be a common feature of primate reproductive ecology.

  • Journal article
    Granville NR, Banks-Leite C, 2023,

    Mangrove propagules are limited in their capacity to disperse across long distances

    , JOURNAL OF TROPICAL ECOLOGY, Vol: 39, ISSN: 0266-4674
  • Journal article
    de Lorm TA, Horswill C, Rabaiotti D, Ewers RM, Groom RJ, Watermeyer J, Woodroffe Ret al., 2023,

    Optimizing the automated recognition of individual animals to support population monitoring

    , Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 13, ISSN: 2045-7758

    Reliable estimates of population size and demographic rates are central to assessing the status of threatened species. However, obtaining individual-based demographic rates requires long-term data, which is often costly and difficult to collect. Photographic data offer an inexpensive, noninvasive method for individual-based monitoring of species with unique markings, and could therefore increase available demographic data for many species. However, selecting suitable images and identifying individuals from photographic catalogs is prohibitively time-consuming. Automated identification software can significantly speed up this process. Nevertheless, automated methods for selecting suitable images are lacking, as are studies comparing the performance of the most prominent identification software packages. In this study, we develop a framework that automatically selects images suitable for individual identification, and compare the performance of three commonly used identification software packages; Hotspotter, I3S-Pattern, and WildID. As a case study, we consider the African wild dog, Lycaon pictus, a species whose conservation is limited by a lack of cost-effective large-scale monitoring. To evaluate intraspecific variation in the performance of software packages, we compare identification accuracy between two populations (in Kenya and Zimbabwe) that have markedly different coat coloration patterns. The process of selecting suitable images was automated using convolutional neural networks that crop individuals from images, filter out unsuitable images, separate left and right flanks, and remove image backgrounds. Hotspotter had the highest image-matching accuracy for both populations. However, the accuracy was significantly lower for the Kenyan population (62%), compared to the Zimbabwean population (88%). Our automated image preprocessing has immediate application for expanding monitoring based on image matching. However, the difference in accuracy between population

  • Journal article
    Dong N, Dechant B, Wang H, Wright IJ, Prentice ICet al., 2023,

    Global leaf-trait mapping based on optimality theory

    , Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol: 32, Pages: 1152-1162, ISSN: 1466-822X

    AimLeaf traits are central to plant function, and key variables in ecosystem models. However recently published global trait maps, made by applying statistical or machine-learning techniques to large compilations of trait and environmental data, differ substantially from one another. This paper aims to demonstrate the potential of an alternative approach, based on eco-evolutionary optimality theory, to yield predictions of spatio-temporal patterns in leaf traits that can be independently evaluated.InnovationGlobal patterns of community-mean specific leaf area (SLA) and photosynthetic capacity (Vcmax) are predicted from climate via existing optimality models. Then leaf nitrogen per unit area (Narea) and mass (Nmass) are inferred using their (previously derived) empirical relationships to SLA and Vcmax. Trait data are thus reserved for testing model predictions across sites. Temporal trends can also be predicted, as consequences of environmental change, and compared to those inferred from leaf-level measurements and/or remote-sensing methods, which are an increasingly important source of information on spatio-temporal variation in plant traits.Main conclusionsModel predictions evaluated against site-mean trait data from > 2,000 sites in the Plant Trait database yielded R2 = 73% for SLA, 38% for Nmass and 28% for Narea. Declining species-level Nmass, and increasing community-level SLA, have both been recently reported and were both correctly predicted. Leaf-trait mapping via optimality theory holds promise for macroecological applications, including an improved understanding of community leaf-trait responses to environmental change.

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