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  • Journal article
    Lavergne A, Hemming D, Prentice IC, Guerrieri R, Oliver R, Graven Het al., 2022,

    Global decadal variability of plant carbon isotope discrimination and its link to gross primary production.

    , Global Change Biology, Vol: 28, Pages: 524-541, ISSN: 1354-1013

    Carbon isotope discrimination (Δ13C) in C3 woody plants is a key variable for the study of photosynthesis. Yet how Δ13C varies at decadal scales, and across regions, and how it is related to gross primary production (GPP), are still incompletely understood. Here we address these questions by implementing a new Δ13C modelling capability in the land-surface model JULES incorporating both photorespiratory and mesophyll-conductance fractionations. We test the ability of four leaf-internal CO2 concentration models embedded in JULES to reproduce leaf and tree-ring (TR) carbon isotopic data. We show that all the tested models tend to overestimate average Δ13C values, and to underestimate interannual variability in Δ13C. This is likely because they ignore the effects of soil water stress on stomatal behavior. Variations in post-photosynthetic isotopic fractionations across species, sites and years, may also partly explain the discrepancies between predicted and TR-derived Δ13C values. Nonetheless, the “least-cost” (Prentice) model shows the lowest biases with the isotopic measurements, and lead to improved predictions of canopy-level carbon and water fluxes. Overall, modelled Δ13C trends vary strongly between regions during the recent (1979–2016) historical period but stay nearly constant when averaged over the globe. Photorespiratory and mesophyll effects modulate the simulated global Δ13C trend by 0.0015 ± 0.005‰ and –0.0006 ± 0.001‰ ppm−1, respectively. These predictions contrast with previous findings based on atmospheric carbon isotope measurements. Predicted Δ13C and GPP tend to be negatively correlated in wet-humid and cold regions, and in tropical African forests, but positively related elsewhere. The negative correlation between Δ13C and GPP is partly due to the strong dominant influences of temperature on GPP and vapor pressure deficit on Δ13

  • Journal article
    Halfter S, Cavan EL, Butterworth P, Swadling KM, Boyd PWet al., 2022,

    "Sinking dead"-How zooplankton carcasses contribute to particulate organic carbon flux in the subantarctic Southern Ocean

    , LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY, Vol: 67, Pages: 13-25, ISSN: 0024-3590
  • Journal article
    Mumford JD, Quinlan MM, 2022,

    Perspectives and recommendations for improving international live insect shipments

    , REVUE SCIENTIFIQUE ET TECHNIQUE-OFFICE INTERNATIONAL DES EPIZOOTIES, Vol: 41, Pages: 235-242, ISSN: 0253-1933
  • Journal article
    Vickaryous M, Williams C, Willan G, Kirby A, Herrel A, Kever L, Moazen M, Marghoub A, Rai S, Abzhanov A, Evans Set al., 2022,

    Histological Diversity And Evolution Of Lizard Osteoderms

    , FASEB JOURNAL, Vol: 36, ISSN: 0892-6638
  • Journal article
    Mumford JD, Quinlan MM, 2022,

    Possibilities and recommendations to improve the international transport of live insects

    , REVUE SCIENTIFIQUE ET TECHNIQUE-OFFICE INTERNATIONAL DES EPIZOOTIES, Vol: 41, Pages: 243-250, ISSN: 0253-1933
  • Journal article
    Huxley P, Murray K, Pawar S, Cator Let al., 2021,

    Competition in depleting resource environments shapes the thermal response of population fitness in a disease vector

    , Communications Biology, ISSN: 2399-3642

    Mathematical models that incorporate the temperature dependence of lab-measured life history traits are increasingly used to predict how climatic warming will affect ectotherms, including disease vectors and other arthropods. These temperature-trait relationships are typically measured under laboratory conditions that ignore how conspecific competition in depleting resource environments—a commonly occurring scenario in nature—regulates natural populations. Here, we used laboratory experiments on the mosquito Aedes aegypti, combined with a stage-structured population model, to show that intensified larval competition in ecologically-realistic depleting resource environments can significantly diminish the vector’s maximal population-level fitness across the entire temperature range, cause a 6°C decrease in the optimal temperature for fitness, and contract its thermal niche width by 10°C. Our results provide evidence for future studies to consider competition dynamics under depleting resources when predicting how eukaryotic ectotherms will respond to climatic warming.

  • Journal article
    Enbody ED, Sprehn CG, Abzhanov A, Bi H, Dobreva MP, Osborne OG, Rubin C-J, Grant PR, Grant BR, Andersson Let al., 2021,

    A multispecies <i>BCO2</i> beak color polymorphism in the Darwin's finch radiation

    , CURRENT BIOLOGY, Vol: 31, Pages: 5597-+, ISSN: 0960-9822
  • Journal article
    Woodward G, Morris O, Barquin J, Belgrano A, Bull C, de Eyto E, Friberg N, Guobergsson G, Layer-Dobra K, Lauridsen RB, Lewis HM, McGinnity P, Pawar S, Rosindell J, O'Gorman EJet al., 2021,

    Using food webs and metabolic theory to monitor, model, and manage Atlantic salmon - a keystone species under threat

    , Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 9, ISSN: 2296-701X

    Populations of Atlantic salmon are crashing across most of its natural range: understanding the underlying causes and predicting these collapses in time to intervene effectively are urgent ecological and socioeconomic priorities. Current management techniques rely on phenomenological analyses of demographic population time-series and thus lack a mechanistic understanding of how and why populations may be declining. New multidisciplinary approaches are thus needed to capitalize on the long-term, large-scale population data that are currently scattered across various repositories in multiple countries, as well as marshaling additional data to understand the constraints on the life cycle and how salmon operate within the wider food web. Here, we explore how we might combine data and theory to develop the mechanistic models that we need to predict and manage responses to future change. Although we focus on Atlantic salmon—given the huge data resources that already exist for this species—the general principles developed here could be applied and extended to many other species and ecosystems.

  • Journal article
    Keenan T, Luo X, De Kauwe MG, Medlyn B, Prentice IC, Stocker B, Smith N, Terrer C, Wang H, Zhang Y, Zhou Set al., 2021,

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

    , Nature, Vol: 600, Pages: 253-258, ISSN: 0028-0836

    The global terrestrial carbon sink is increasing1,2,3, offsetting roughly a third of anthropogenic CO2 released into the atmosphere each decade1, and thus serving to slow4 the growth of atmospheric CO2. It has been suggested that a CO2-induced long-term increase in global photosynthesis, a process known as CO2 fertilization, is responsible for a large proportion of the current terrestrial carbon sink4,5,6,7. The estimated magnitude of the historic increase in photosynthesis as result of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, however, differs by an order of magnitude between long-term proxies and terrestrial biosphere models7,8,9,10,11,12,13. Here we quantify the historic effect of CO2 on global photosynthesis by identifying an emergent constraint14,15,16 that combines terrestrial biosphere models with global carbon budget estimates. Our analysis suggests that CO2 fertilization increased global annual photosynthesis by 11.85 ± 1.4%, or 13.98 ± 1.63 petagrams carbon (mean ± 95% confidence interval) between 1981 and 2020. Our results help resolve conflicting estimates of the historic sensitivity of global photosynthesis to CO2, and highlight the large impact anthropogenic emissions have had on ecosystems worldwide.

  • Journal article
    Sethi SS, Ewers RM, Jones NS, Sleutel J, Shabrani A, Zulkifli N, Picinali Let al., 2021,

    Soundscapes predict species occurrence in tropical forests

    , OIKOS, Vol: 2022, Pages: 1-9, ISSN: 0030-1299

    Accurate occurrence data is necessary for the conservation of keystone or endangered species, but acquiring it is usually slow, laborious and costly. Automated acoustic monitoring offers a scalable alternative to manual surveys but identifying species vocalisations requires large manually annotated training datasets, and is not always possible (e.g. for lesser studied or silent species). A new approach is needed that rapidly predicts species occurrence using smaller and more coarsely labelled audio datasets. We investigated whether local soundscapes could be used to infer the presence of 32 avifaunal and seven herpetofaunal species in 20 min recordings across a tropical forest degradation gradient in Sabah, Malaysia. Using acoustic features derived from a convolutional neural network (CNN), we characterised species indicative soundscapes by training our models on a temporally coarse labelled point-count dataset. Soundscapes successfully predicted the occurrence of 34 out of the 39 species across the two taxonomic groups, with area under the curve (AUC) metrics from 0.53 up to 0.87. The highest accuracies were achieved for species with strong temporal occurrence patterns. Soundscapes were a better predictor of species occurrence than above-ground carbon density – a metric often used to quantify habitat quality across forest degradation gradients. Our results demonstrate that soundscapes can be used to efficiently predict the occurrence of a wide variety of species and provide a new direction for data driven large-scale assessments of habitat suitability.

  • Journal article
    Harrison S, Prentice IC, Bloomfield K, Dong N, Forkel M, Forrest M, Ningthoujam R, Pellegrini A, Shen Y, Baudena M, Cardoso A, Huss J, Joshi J, Oliveras I, Pausas J, Simpson Ket al., 2021,

    Understanding and modelling wildfire regimes: an ecological perspective.

    , Environmental Research Letters, Vol: 16, Pages: 1-13, ISSN: 1748-9326

    Recent extreme wildfire seasons in several regions have been associated with exceptionally hot, dry conditions, made more probable by climate change. Much research has focused on extreme fire weather and its drivers, but natural wildfire regimes—and their interactions with human activities—are far from being comprehensively understood. There is a lack of clarity about the 'causes' of wildfire, and about how ecosystems could be managed for the co-existence of wildfire and people. We present evidence supporting an ecosystem-centred framework for improved understanding and modelling of wildfire. Wildfire has a long geological history and is a pervasive natural process in contemporary plant communities. In some biomes, wildfire would be more frequent without human settlement; in others they would be unchanged or less frequent. A world without fire would have greater forest cover, especially in present-day savannas. Many species would be missing, because fire regimes have co-evolved with plant traits that resist, adapt to or promote wildfire. Certain plant traits are favoured by different fire frequencies, and may be missing in ecosystems that are normally fire-free. For example, post-fire resprouting is more common among woody plants in high-frequency fire regimes than where fire is infrequent. The impact of habitat fragmentation on wildfire crucially depends on whether the ecosystem is fire-adapted. In normally fire-free ecosystems, fragmentation facilitates wildfire starts and is detrimental to biodiversity. In fire-adapted ecosystems, fragmentation inhibits fires from spreading and fire suppression is detrimental to biodiversity. This interpretation explains observed, counterintuitive patterns of spatial correlation between wildfire and potential ignition sources. Lightning correlates positively with burnt area only in open ecosystems with frequent fire. Human population correlates positively with burnt area only in densely forested regions. Models for ve

  • Journal article
    Anankware PJ, Roberts B, Cheseto X, Osuga I, Savolainen V, Collins Cet al., 2021,

    The nutritional profiles of five important edible insect species from West Africa – an analytical and literature synthesis

    , Frontiers in Nutrition, Vol: 8, Pages: 1-19, ISSN: 2296-861X

    Background: Undernutrition is a prevalent, serious, and growing concern, particularly in developing countries. Entomophagy—the human consumption of edible insects, is a historical and culturally established practice in many regions. Increasing consumption of nutritious insect meal is a possible combative strategy and can promote sustainable food security. However, the nutritional literature frequently lacks consensus, with interspecific differences in the nutrient content of edible insects generally being poorly resolved.Aims and methods: Here we present full proximate and fatty acid profiles for five edible insect species of socio-economic importance in West Africa: Hermetia illucens (black soldier fly), Musca domestica (house fly), Rhynchophorus phoenicis (African palm weevil), Cirina butyrospermi (shea tree caterpillar), and Macrotermes bellicosus (African termite). These original profiles, which can be used in future research, are combined with literature-derived proximate, fatty acid, and amino acid profiles to analyse interspecific differences in nutrient content.Results: Interspecific differences in ash (minerals), crude protein, and crude fat contents were substantial. Highest ash content was found in H. illucens and M. domestica (~10 and 7.5% of dry matter, respectively), highest crude protein was found in C. butyrospermi and M. domestica (~60% of dry matter), whilst highest crude fat was found in R. phoenicis (~55% of dry matter). The fatty acid profile of H. illucens was differentiated from the other four species, forming its own cluster in a principal component analysis characterized by high saturated fatty acid content. Cirina butyrospermi had by far the highest poly-unsaturated fatty acid content at around 35% of its total fatty acids, with α-linolenic acid particularly represented. Amino acid analyses revealed that all five species sufficiently met human essential amino acid requirements, although C. butyrospermi was slightly limited in le

  • Journal article
    Watrobska C, Ramos Rodrigues A, Arce A, Clarke J, Gill Ret al., 2021,

    Pollen source richness may be a poor predictor of bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) colony growth

    , Frontiers in Insect Science, Vol: 1, Pages: 1-11, ISSN: 2673-8600

    Agricultural intensification has drastically altered foraging landscapes for bees, with large-scale crop monocultures associated with floral diversity loss. Research on bumblebees and honeybees has shown individuals feeding on pollen from a low richness of floral sources can experience negative impacts on health and longevity relative to higher pollen source richness of similar protein concentrations. Florally rich landscapes are thus generally assumed to better support social bees. Yet, little is known about whether the effects of reduced pollen source richness can be mitigated by feeding on pollen with higher crude protein concentration, and importantly how variation in diet affects whole colony growth, rearing decisions and sexual production. Studying queen-right bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) colonies, we monitored colony development under polyfloral pollen diet or monofloral pollen dietwith 1.5-1.8 times higher crude protein concentration. Over six weeks, we found monofloral colonies performed better for all measures, with no apparent long-term effects on colony mass or worker production, and a higher number of pupae in monofloral colonies at the end of the experiment. Unexpectedly, polyfloral colonies showed higher mortality, and little evidence of any strategy to counteract the effects of reduced protein; with fewer and lower mass workers being reared, and males showing a similar trend. Our findings i) provide well-needed daily growth dynamics of queenright colonies under varied diets, and ii) support the view that pollen protein content in the foraging landscape rather than floral species richness per se is likely a key driver of colony health and success.

  • Journal article
    Keenan TF, Luo X, De Kauwe MG, Medlyn BE, Prentice IC, Stocker BD, Smith NG, Terrer C, Wang H, Zhang Y, Zhou Set al., 2021,

    A constraint on historic growth in global photosynthesis due to increasing CO2.

    , Nature, Vol: 600, Pages: 253-258

    The global terrestrial carbon sink is increasing1-3, offsetting roughly a third of anthropogenic CO2 released into the atmosphere each decade1, and thus serving to slow4 the growth of atmospheric CO2. It has been suggested that a CO2-induced long-term increase in global photosynthesis, a process known as CO2 fertilization, is responsible for a large proportion of the current terrestrial carbon sink4-7. The estimated magnitude of the historic increase in photosynthesis as result of increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, however, differs by an order of magnitude between long-term proxies and terrestrial biosphere models7-13. Here we quantify the historic effect of CO2 on global photosynthesis by identifying an emergent constraint14-16 that combines terrestrial biosphere models with global carbon budget estimates. Our analysis suggests that CO2 fertilization increased global annual photosynthesis by 11.85 ± 1.4%, or 13.98 ± 1.63 petagrams carbon (mean ± 95% confidence interval) between 1981 and 2020. Our results help resolve conflicting estimates of the historic sensitivity of global photosynthesis to CO2, and highlight the large impact anthropogenic emissions have had on ecosystems worldwide.

  • Journal article
    Cook J, Pawar S, Endres R, 2021,

    Thermodynamic constraints on the assembly and diversity of microbial ecosystems are different near to and far from equilibrium

    , PLOS COMPUTATIONAL BIOLOGY, Vol: 17, ISSN: 1553-734X
  • Journal article
    Simpson EG, Pearse WD, 2021,

    Fractal triads efficiently sample ecological diversity and processes across spatial scales

    , OIKOS, Vol: 130, Pages: 2136-2147, ISSN: 0030-1299
  • Journal article
    Ho H-C, Pawar S, Tylianakis JM, 2021,

    Less is worse than none: ineffective adaptive foraging can destabilise food webs

    <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p><jats:list list-type="order"><jats:list-item><jats:p>Consumers can potentially adjust their diet in response to changing resource abundances, thereby achieving better foraging payoffs. Although previous work has explored how such adaptive foraging scales up to determine the structure and dynamics of food webs, consumers may not be able to perform perfect diet adjustment due to sensory or cognitive limitations. Whether the effectiveness of consumers’ diet adjustment alters food-web consequences remains unclear.</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>Here, we study how adaptive foraging, specifically the effectiveness (i.e. rate) with which consumers adjust their diet, influences the structure, dynamics, and overall species persistence in synthetic food webs.</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>We model metabolically-constrained optimal foraging as the mechanistic basis of adaptive diet adjustment and ensuing population dynamics within food webs. We compare food-web dynamical outcomes among simulations sharing initial states but differing in the effectiveness of diet adjustment.</jats:p></jats:list-item><jats:list-item><jats:p>We show that adaptive diet adjustment generally makes food-web structure resilient to species loss. Effective diet adjustment that maintains optimal foraging in the face of changing resource abundances facilitates species persistence in the community, particularly reducing the extinction of top consumers. However, a greater proportion of intermediate consumers goes extinct as optimal foraging becomes less-effective and, unexpectedly, slow diet adjustment leads to higher extinction rates than no diet adjustment at all. Therefore, food-web responses cannot be predicted from species’ responses in isolation, as even less-effective adaptive foraging benefits i

  • Journal article
    García-Navas V, Tobias JA, Schweizer M, Wegmann D, Schodde R, Norman JA, Christidis Let al., 2021,

    Trophic niche shifts and phenotypic trait evolution are largely decoupled in Australasian parrots.

    , BMC Ecology and Evolution, Vol: 21, Pages: 1-16, ISSN: 1472-6785

    BACKGROUND: Trophic shifts from one dietary niche to another have played major roles in reshaping the evolutionary trajectories of a wide range of vertebrate groups, yet their consequences for morphological disparity and species diversity differ among groups. METHODS: Here, we use phylogenetic comparative methods to examine whether the evolution of nectarivory and other trophic shifts have driven predictable evolutionary pathways in Australasian psittaculid parrots in terms of ecological traits such as body size, beak shape, and dispersal capacity. RESULTS: We found no evidence for an 'early-burst' scenario of lineage or morphological diversification. The best-fitting models indicate that trait evolution in this group is characterized by abrupt phenotypic shifts (evolutionary jumps), with no sign of multiple phenotypic optima correlating with different trophic strategies. Thus, our results point to the existence of weak directional selection and suggest that lineages may be evolving randomly or slowly toward adaptive peaks they have not yet reached. CONCLUSIONS: This study adds to a growing body of evidence indicating that the relationship between avian morphology and feeding ecology may be more complex than usually assumed and highlights the importance of adding more flexible models to the macroevolutionary toolbox.

  • Journal article
    Dobreva MP, Camacho J, Abzhanov A, 2021,

    Time to synchronize our clocks: Connecting developmental mechanisms and evolutionary consequences of heterochrony.

    , Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution, ISSN: 1552-5007

    Heterochrony, defined as a change in the timing of developmental events altering the course of evolution, was first recognized by Ernst Haeckel in 1866. Haeckel's original definition was meant to explain the observed parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny, but the interpretation of his work became a source of controversy over time. Heterochrony took its modern meaning following the now classical work in the 1970-80s by Steven J. Gould, Pere Alberch, and co-workers. Predicted and described heterochronic scenarios emphasize the many ways in which developmental changes can influence evolution. However, while important examples of heterochrony detected with comparative morphological methods have multiplied, the more mechanistic understanding of this phenomenon lagged conspicuously behind. Considering the rapid progress in imaging and molecular tools available now for developmental biologists, this review aims to stress the need to take heterochrony research to the next level. It is time to synchronize the different levels of heterochrony research into a single analysis flow: from studies on organismal-level morphology to cells to molecules and genes, using complementary techniques. To illustrate how to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of phyletic morphological diversification associated with heterochrony, we discuss several recent case studies at various phylogenetic scales that combine morphological, cellular, and molecular analyses. Such a synergistic approach offers to more fully integrate phylogenetic and ontogenetic dimensions of the fascinating evolutionary phenomenon of heterochrony.

  • Journal article
    Versluys T, Mas-Sandoval A, Flintham E, Savolainen Vet al., 2021,

    Why do we pick similar mates, or do we?

    , Biology Letters, Vol: 17, Pages: 1-12, ISSN: 1744-9561

    Humans often mate with those resembling themselves, a phenomenon described as positive assortative mating (PAM). The causes of this attract broad interest, but there is little agreement on the topic. This may be because empirical studies and reviews sometimes focus on just a few explanations, often based on disciplinary conventions. This review presents an interdisciplinary conceptual framework on the causes of PAM in humans, drawing on human and non-human biology, the social sciences, and the humanities. Viewing causality holistically, we first discuss the proximate causes (i.e. the ‘how’) of PAM, considering three mechanisms: stratification, convergence and mate choice. We also outline methods to control for confounders when studying mate choice. We then discuss ultimate explanations (i.e. ‘the why’) for PAM, including adaptive and non-adaptive processes. We conclude by suggesting a focus on interdisciplinarity in future research.

  • Working paper
    Beaghton P, Burt A, 2021,

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

    , Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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

  • Journal article
    Al-Mosleh S, Choi GPT, Abzhanov A, Mahadevan Let al., 2021,

    Geometry and dynamics link form, function, and evolution of finch beaks.

    , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, Vol: 118, Pages: 1-7, ISSN: 0027-8424

    Darwin's finches are a classic example of adaptive radiation, exemplified by their adaptive and functional beak morphologies. To quantify their form, we carry out a morphometric analysis of the three-dimensional beak shapes of all of Darwin's finches and find that they can be fit by a transverse parabolic shape with a curvature that increases linearly from the base toward the tip of the beak. The morphological variation of beak orientation, aspect ratios, and curvatures allows us to quantify beak function in terms of the elementary theory of machines, consistent with the dietary variations across finches. Finally, to explain the origin of the evolutionary morphometry and the developmental morphogenesis of the finch beak, we propose an experimentally motivated growth law at the cellular level that simplifies to a variant of curvature-driven flow at the tissue level and captures the range of observed beak shapes in terms of a simple morphospace. Altogether, our study illuminates how a minimal combination of geometry and dynamics allows for functional form to develop and evolve.

  • Journal article
    Gallinat AS, Pearse WD, 2021,

    The abiotic and biotic environment together predict plant, mammal, and bird diversity and turnover across the United States

    <jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>The distribution of taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional biodiversity results from a combination of abiotic and biotic drivers which are scale dependent. Parsing the relative influence of these drivers is critical to understanding the processes underlying species assembly and generating predictions of biodiversity across taxonomic groups and for novel sites. However, doing so requires data that capture a spatial extent large enough to reflect broad-scale dynamics such as speciation and biogeography, and a spatial grain fine enough to detect local-scale dynamics like environmental filtering and biotic interactions. We used species inventories of vascular plants, birds, and mammals collected by the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) at 38 terrestrial field sites, to explore the processes underlying taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity and turnover. We found that, for both species richness (alpha-diversity) and turnover (beta-diversity), taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional diversity are weak proxies for one-another, and thus may capture different species assembly processes. All diversity metrics were best predicted by a combination of abiotic and biotic variables. Taxonomic and phylogenetic richness tended to be higher at warmer, wetter sites, reflecting the role energy inputs play in driving broad-scale diversity. However, plant diversity was negatively correlated with bird phylogenetic and mammal functional diversity, implying trait conservation in plant communities may limit niche availability for consumer species. Equally, turnover in bird and mammal species across sites were associated with plant turnover. That the biodiversity of one taxon is predictive of another across these North American sites, even when controlling for environment, supports a role for the cross-clade biotic environment in driving species assembly.</jats:p>

  • Journal article
    Sayol F, Cooke RSC, Pigot AL, Blackburn TM, Tobias JA, Steinbauer MJ, Antonelli A, Faurby Set al., 2021,

    Loss of functional diversity through anthropogenic extinctions of island birds is not offset by biotic invasions

    , Science Advances, Vol: 7, Pages: 1-10, ISSN: 2375-2548

    Human impacts reshape ecological communities through the extinction and introduction of species. The combined impact of these factors depends on whether non-native species fill the functional roles of extinct species, thus buffering the loss of functional diversity. This question has been difficult to address, because comprehensive information about past extinctions and their traits is generally lacking. We combine detailed information about extinct, extant, and established alien birds to quantify historical changes in functional diversity across nine oceanic archipelagos. We found that alien species often equal or exceed the number of anthropogenic extinctions yet apparently perform a narrower set of functional roles as current island assemblages have undergone a substantial and ubiquitous net loss in functional diversity and increased functional similarity among assemblages. Our results reveal that the introduction of alien species has not prevented anthropogenic extinctions from reducing and homogenizing the functional diversity of native bird assemblages on oceanic archipelagos.

  • Journal article
    Kenna D, Pawar S, Gill R, 2021,

    Thermal flight performance reveals impact of warming on bumblebee foraging potential

    , Functional Ecology, Vol: 35, Pages: 2508-2522, ISSN: 0269-8463

    1. The effects of environmental temperature on components of insect flight determine life history traits, fitness, adaptability, and ultimately, organism ecosystem functional roles. Despite the crucial role of flying insects across landscapes, our understanding of how temperature affects insect flight performance remains limited.2. Many insect pollinators are considered under threat from climatic warming. Quantifying the relationship between temperature and behavioural performance traits allows us to understand where species are operating in respect to their thermal limits, helping predict responses to projected temperature increases and/or erratic weather events.3. Using a tethered flight mill, we quantify how flight performance of a widespread bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, varies over a temperature range (12-30oC). Given that body mass constrains insect mobility and behaviour, bumblebees represent a useful system to study temperature-mediated size-dependence of flight performance owing to the large intra-colony variation in worker body size they exhibit..4. Workers struggled to fly over a few hundred metres at the lowest tested temperature of 12oC, however flight endurance increased as temperatures rose, peaking around 25oC after which it declined. Our findings further revealed variation in flight capacity across the workforce, with larger workers flying further, longer, and faster than their smaller nestmates. Body mass was also positively related with the likelihood of flight, although importantly this relationship became stronger as temperatures cooled, such that at 12oC only the largest workers were successful fliers. Our study thus highlights that colony foraging success under variable thermal environments can be dependent on the body mass distribution of constituent workers, and more broadly suggests smaller-bodied insects may benefit disproportionately more from warming than larger-bodied ones in terms of flight performance.5. By incorporating both flight e

  • Journal article
    Xu H, Wang H, Prentice IC, Harrison S, Wright Iet al., 2021,

    Coordination of plant hydraulic and photosynthetic traits: confronting optimality theory with field measurements

    , New Phytologist, Vol: 232, Pages: 1286-1296, ISSN: 0028-646X

    Close coupling between water loss and carbon dioxide uptake requires coordination of plant hydraulics and photosynthesis. However, there is still limited information on the quantitative relationships between hydraulic and photosynthetic traits.We propose a basis for these relationships based on optimality theory, and test its predictions by analysis of measurements on 107 species from 11 sites, distributed along a nearly 3000-m elevation gradient.Hydraulic and leaf-economic traits were less plastic, and more closely associated with phylogeny, than photosynthetic traits. The two sets of traits are linked by the sapwood-to-leaf area ratio (Huber value, vH). The observed coordination between vH and sapwood hydraulic conductivity (KS) and photosynthetic capacity (Vcmax) conformed to the proposed quantitative theory. Substantial hydraulic diversity was related to the trade-off between KS and vH. Leaf drought tolerance (inferred from turgor loss point, –Ψtlp) increased with wood density, but the trade-off between hydraulic efficiency (KS) and –Ψtlp was weak. Plant trait effects on vH were dominated by variation in KS, while effects of environment were dominated by variation in temperature.This research unifies hydraulics, photosynthesis and the leaf economics spectrum in a common theoretical framework, and suggests a route towards the integration of photosynthesis and hydraulics in land-surface models.

  • Journal article
    Dearden RP, den Blaauwen JL, Sansom IJ, Burrow CJ, Davidson RG, Newman MJ, Ko A, Brazeau MDet al., 2021,

    A revision of Vernicomacanthus Miles with comments on the characters of stem-group chondrichthyans

    , PAPERS IN PALAEONTOLOGY, Vol: 7, Pages: 1949-1976, ISSN: 2056-2799
  • Journal article
    Liang C, Marghoub A, Kever L, Bertazzo S, Abzhanov A, Vickaryous M, Herrel A, Evans SE, Moazen Met al., 2021,

    Lizard osteoderms - Morphological characterisation, biomimetic design and manufacturing based on three species

    , BIOINSPIRATION & BIOMIMETICS, Vol: 16, ISSN: 1748-3182
  • Journal article
    Folkard-Tapp H, Banks-Leite C, Cavan EL, 2021,

    Nature-based Solutions to tackle climate change and restore biodiversity

    , JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY, Vol: 58, Pages: 2344-2348, ISSN: 0021-8901
  • Journal article
    Stachewicz JD, Fountain-Jones NM, Koontz A, Woolf H, Pearse WD, Gallinat ASet al., 2021,

    Strong trait correlation and phylogenetic signal in North American ground beetle (Carabidae) morphology

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