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Nature Ecology & Evolution’s 2nd Anniversary

Nature Ecology & Evolution is celebrating two years of publishing outstanding work from across the entire breadth of ecological and evolutionary subjects. This has included both fundamental advances and work with immediate applied significance. Topics have ranged across species, evolutionary timescales, geographical scales and ecosystem types. In addition, the journal’s Perspectives, Reviews and Comments have fostered discussion between scientific disciplines and with the wider world.

Evolutionary Biology

The evolutionary history of life and the history of the planet itself are closely entwined. This Perspective looks at the sources of energy — geochemical, sunlight, oxygen, flesh and fire — that have shaped this inter-relationship and the course of evolution.

Perspective | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Cancer evolution is central to poor outcomes of cancer therapies, enabling tumour progression and the acquisition of drug resistance. Joint efforts of evolutionary biologists, oncologists and cancer researchers are necessary to understand the principles of cancer evolution and to derive therapeutic strategies that can control it.

Comment | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

A full understanding of speciation requires the integration of knowledge at the macro and micro evolutionary scales. Here, the authors discuss the developmental processes associated with variation within plant species and morphological innovations that promote speciation in plants.

Review Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Ecology

Although plant functional trait combinations reflect ecological trade-offs at the species level, little is known about how this translates to whole communities. Here, the authors show that global trait composition is captured by two main dimensions that are only weakly related to macro-environmental drivers.

Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Analysing the spatial and temporal extents of 348 ecological studies published between 2004 and 2014, the authors show that although the average study interval and extent has increased, resolution and duration have remained largely unchanged.

Article | Open Access | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Testing widely known biodiversity models on a dataset of >20,000 microbial community samples from a wide variety of ecosystems, the authors find that microbial abundance and diversity across scales is best predicted by a model of lognormal dynamics.

Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Palaeontology & Archaeology

A directly dated Homo sapiens phalanx from the Nefud desert reveals human presence in the Arabian Peninsula before 85,000 years ago. This represents the earliest date for H. sapiens outside Africa and the Levant.

Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

A new titanosaurian sauropod, Mansourasaurus, is the most complete terrestrial vertebrate from the post-Cenomanian Cretaceous of the African mainland. Phylogenetic analyses reveal the existence of a titanosaurian clade inhabiting both Africa and Europe at this time and a faunal connection between the two continents.

Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Years before they conquered the Internet, cats colonized our sofas. But they haven’t spent the last ten thousand years just snoozing. A new study reveals that tamed cats swept through Eurasia and Africa carried by early farmers, ancient mariners and even Vikings. The researchers analysed DNA from over 200 cat remains and found that farmers in the Near East were probably the first people to successfully tame wild cats 9,000 years ago, before a second wave of cat domestication a few thousand years later in ancient Egypt.

Video | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Applied Ecology & Conservation

Recent calls for the reintroduction of functionally important animal species are motivated by a desire to restore ecological function, but overlook the ecological roles performed by humans. Here, we consider humans in ecological context, exploring our roles in the maintenance and restoration of ecosystem function.

Comment | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Daily location data on the individuals of 14 migratory marine species from 2000 to 2009 allow annual migratory cycles to be mapped to the time spent in the high seas and the exclusive economic zones of specific countries, providing a basis for international management strategies for these species.

Article | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

As peace consolidates in Colombia, can biodiversity survive development? We discuss challenges and opportunities for integrating forest biodiversity conservation into developing, war-dilapidated economies of post-conflict regions, paving the way for a green economy and climate resilient society.

Comment | | Nature Ecology & Evolution

Aichi Target 11 has galvanized expansion of the global protected area network, but there is little evidence that this brings real biodiversity gains. We argue that area-based prioritization risks unintended perverse consequences and that the focus of protected area target development should shift from quantity to quality.

Comment | | Nature Ecology & Evolution