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  • 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.

  • Book chapter
    Prentice IC, Cowling SA, 2024,

    Dynamic Global Vegetation Models

    , Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Third Edition: Volume 1-7, ISBN: 9780323984348

    Dynamic global vegetation models encapsulate our knowledge of plant and ecosystem function. They have many potential applications but not all of these are well developed, and large differences among model predictions are a concern. Fields of application include analysis of land–atmosphere biophysical interactions, carbon and water cycling, climate impacts on vegetation structure, fire, atmospheric trace gas composition, Quaternary vegetation and environmental changes, and ecosystem structure and function through Earth history. There is scope to improve models using a wider range of information from plant functional ecology, ecophysiology, environmental remote sensing, and atmospheric measurement, Quaternary paleoecology, and paleobotany.

  • 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.

  • Book chapter
    Shocket M, Caldwell J, Huxley P, Lippi C, Windram F, Keyel Aet al., 2023,

    Modelling the effects of climate and climate change on transmission of vector-borne disease

    , Planetary health approaches to understand and control vector-borne diseases, Editors: Fornace, Conn, Mureb, Chaves, Logan, Publisher: BRILL, Pages: 253-318, ISBN: 9789004688650

    Mathematical and statistical models are critical tools for both understanding how climate can influence patterns of vector-borne disease transmission, and predicting how climate change might affect these patterns in the future. This chapter focuses primarily on quantitative approaches for modelling the effects of climate on mosquito-borne disease (MBD), although we also briefly consider tick-borne disease. We initially describe how the biological mechanisms that contribute to transmission of vector-borne disease can respond to changes in climate and other environmental factors. Importantly, transmission of MBD responds nonlinearly over gradients of both temperature and rainfall. When building or interpreting models for the effects of climate on MBD dynamics, it is important to consider that the effects of temperature and rainfall on disease may be positive, negative, or both depending on circumstance. This context-dependence can limit the transferability of models beyond the setting in which they were fit. Next, we provide an overview of important concepts and approaches for modelling vector-borne diseases using mechanistic and statistical models. This includes the most commonly used modelling methods, techniques for model evaluation and validation, and climate re-analysis products used as model predictors. The best choices of methods for model construction and evaluation depend on the goals of the model and the structure of the underlying data, including their spatial and temporal scales. Then, we explore three case studies of MBD in more detail and use them to illustrate representative modelling approaches across a gradient of spatiotemporal scales: (1) local time series models of dengue fever in San Juan, Puerto Rico; (2) regional models of West Nile virus in the United States; and (3) continental and global models for how climate change may impact future transmission risk for malaria and dengue fever. Finally, we note some key challenges, knowledge gaps, and res

  • 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
    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
    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
    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.

  • 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

    , Malaria Journal, Vol: 22, ISSN: 1475-2875

    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
    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
    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
    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

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

    Warming indirectly simplifies food webs through effects on apex predators

  • 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
    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
    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
    Zhou L, Liu F, Tan Y, Fortin C, Huang L, Campbell PGCet al., 2023,

    Aluminum-induced changes in the net carbon fixation and carbon decomposition of a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium Trichodesmium erythraeum

    , Biogeochemistry, Vol: 165, Pages: 277-290, ISSN: 0168-2563
  • 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

  • Journal article
    Rosindell J, 2023,

    Indicators to monitor the status of the Tree of Life

    , Conservation Biology, ISSN: 0888-8892

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