Research articles

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  • Analyses of phenotypic variety in Fungi show that fungal body plans diversified episodically over time and appear distinct because of the extinction of intermediate forms, similar to what has been described in animals.

    • Thomas J. Smith
    • Philip C. J. Donoghue
    Article
  • Examining drivers of the latitudinal biodiversity gradient in a global database of local tree species richness, the authors show that co-limitation by multiple environmental and anthropogenic factors causes steeper increases in richness with latitude in tropical versus temperate and boreal zones.

    • Jingjing Liang
    • Javier G. P. Gamarra
    • Cang Hui
    Article
  • Eukaryotic phylogenies inferred from metabarcoding show that marine and non-marine microbial eukaryotes are in general phylogenetically distinct, but that transitions across the salt barrier have occurred hundreds of times, and in all lineages, and are particularly important for evolutionary diversification in fungi.

    • Mahwash Jamy
    • Charlie Biwer
    • Fabien Burki
    Article Open Access
  • The authors use a theoretical model along with competition experiments between two aquatic plant species to show that phenotypic plasticity affects the outcome of competition.

    • Cyrill Hess
    • Jonathan M. Levine
    • Simon P. Hart
    Brief Communication
  • Analysing the energetic constraints on prokaryotic cell size, the energetic implications of eukaryotic genome architecture, and the presence of endosymbionts, the authors suggest that mitochondria were not required for the initial origin of eukaryotes, but did facilitate their subsequent diversification and expansion.

    • Paul E. Schavemaker
    • Sergio A. Muñoz-Gómez
    Article
  • A new fossil cnidarian, Auroralumina attenboroughi, from the Ediacaran of Charnwood Forest, UK, described as showing mosaic anthozoan and medusozoan characters, is the oldest yet-known crown-group cnidarian.

    • F. S. Dunn
    • C. G. Kenchington
    • P. R. Wilby
    Article Open Access
  • Using a literature review and meta-analysis, the authors quantify the proportion of ecological research that is wasted because of poor study design and implementation, or because the work remains unpublished.

    • Marija Purgar
    • Tin Klanjscek
    • Antica Culina
    Analysis
  • Several cases of replicated radiations (in which sets of similar forms evolve repeatedly within different regions) have been described in animals. Here the authors provide a well-documented example in plants, specifically the Oreinotinus lineage within the angiosperm clade Viburnum in its spread from Mexico to Argentina through disjunct cloud forest environments.

    • Michael J. Donoghue
    • Deren A. R. Eaton
    • Erika J. Edwards
    Article
  • Using a 30-year dataset of North American bird species, the authors show that species’ abundances and distributions have become more decoupled from climate over time and that this is associated with ecological traits; the effect is particularly strong in threatened species.

    • Duarte S. Viana
    • Jonathan M. Chase
    Article
  • The authors construct a time-calibrated phylogeny spanning >90% of spiny-rayed fishes to explore patterns of body shape disparity within acanthomorphs. They find a trend of steady accumulation of lineages from the Cenozoic, with an increase in morphological disparity following the Cretaceous–Palaeogene event, facilitating the radiation of diverse morphotypes that characterize acanthomorphs’ widespread ecological success today.

    • Ava Ghezelayagh
    • Richard C. Harrington
    • Thomas J. Near
    Article