Reviews & Analysis

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  • Species co-occurrences have long been used as proxies for interactions, but not all co-occurring species interact. A study now reveals that super-generalist consumers realize a higher portion of their potential interactions in bipartite networks.

    • Kevin Cazelles
    News & Views
  • The canopies of European forests are being increasingly disturbed by drought and other drivers, many of which are associated with climate change. This Perspective discusses how such disturbances will lead to changed light conditions at the forest floor, with consequences for below-canopy biodiversity and functions.

    • Pieter De Frenne
  • Microbiomes show dynamic compositions and behaviours. The prediction of microbiome dynamics over time has proven difficult. Now, in an open system with relatively controlled environmental constraints, it is possible to correctly predict the future composition and dynamics of a resident microbial community.

    Research Briefing
  • A random sequence variant in an experimental screen can rescue Escherichi coli from the deleterious effects of a RNase toxin by interacting with chaperones.

    • Klara Hlouchova
    News & Views
  • Population genomics of the fungal plant pathogen Pyricularia oryzae shows that recombination of existing genetic variation during a multi-hybrid swarm probably facilitated an instantaneous host jump onto wheat.

    • Rowena Hill
    • Mark McMullan
    News & Views
  • A meta-analysis demonstrates that non-native species are often more resilient to extreme weather events than their native counterparts.

    • Tim S. Doherty
    • Kristina J. Macdonald
    News & Views
  • Exploring regenerative abilities in planarian flatworms across a diverse living collection reveals independent gains and losses of head regeneration and the rescue of regeneration defects by inhibiting a single cell–cell interaction signal.

    • Thomas D. Lewin
    • Yi-Jyun Luo
    News & Views
  • A catastrophic flooding event offered an unusual chance to demonstrate that spatial sorting — the differential dispersal of phenotypes — occurs in soapberry bugs as they recolonize after a major disturbance. But this process does not always prove to be adaptive.

    • Swanne P. Gordon
    • Caleb J. Axelrod
    News & Views
  • We examined the interactive effects of temperature and the presence of apex fish predators on food web structure in Icelandic geothermal streams. Fish suppressed the biomass of invertebrates and thus released algae from grazing pressure, but only at higher temperatures, which illustrates how the combination of warming and apex predators triggers this trophic cascade.

    Research Briefing
  • Inspired by systems biology, a statistical model now shows that low-order ecological interactions — which are inferable from relatively limited species-presence datasets — can successfully predict functional performance across synthetic microcosms.

    • Daniel R. Amor
    News & Views
  • Fire activity and deforestation accelerated in Remote Oceania following human settlement. However, geoarchaeology and palaeoecology indicate that peak fire activity and grassland expansion primarily coincided with high frequencies of El Niño droughts, which suggests that there are complex relationships among human land use, fire and climate in the western Pacific.

    Research Briefing
  • This year marks the mid-point for the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 14 (‘Life below water’). We asked a range of researchers working across marine science, conservation, policy and implementation to reflect on priorities for action on ocean health and biodiversity over the next seven years.

    • Jane Lubchenco
    • Emma F. Camp
    • Harriet Harden-Davies
  • This year marks the mid-point for the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including Sustainable Development Goal 15 ‘Life on land’. We asked a range of researchers, working across biodiversity science, conservation, policy and implementation, to reflect on priorities for action on conserving terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems over the next seven years.

    • H. David Cooper
    • Musonda Mumba
    • Jon Paul Rodríguez
  • An experiment that simulates rainfall events in dry soils reveals that virus members of the soil microbiome maintain the turnover of prokaryotic host communities through a ‘cull-the-winner’ model.

    • James C. Kosmopoulos
    • Karthik Anantharaman
    News & Views
  • Data from 5,525 in-water reef fish surveys conducted between 1- and 30-m depth reveal predictable depth-dependent zonation across the Pacific Ocean, particularly in the absence of a local human population. By contrast, relationships between depth and biomass were reduced or absent at populated islands, which suggests a human impact on depth-dependent ecological organization.

    Research Briefing
  • A cell atlas of the lamprey brain reveals the evolutionary origin of specialized vertebrate glia and neuron types

    • Elias Gumnit
    • Maria Antonietta Tosches
    News & Views
  • Camera-trap data from across 20 North American cities show how urbanization affects multiple mammal species, and that these effects are stronger in warmer and less-vegetated cities.

    • Jiajia Liu
    News & Views
  • An analysis of distributions of over 99% of the world’s seed plant flora shows that species that originate from large and biodiverse regions are more successful at establishing naturalized populations outside of their native range. They are also more likely to be used by humans for economic purposes.

    • Jaime Moyano
    News & Views
  • Genome sequences of all living kākāpō provide new approaches for evidence-based conservation management, including the identification of genomic regions that are associated with fitness traits, at a time of increased need for breeding programmes for species recovery.

    • Rebecca S. Taylor
    News & Views
  • This Perspective discusses common features of curable cancers to gain insights into the evolutionary and developmental determinants of drug resistance.

    • Marcela Braga Mansur
    • Nandita M. deSouza
    • Mel Greaves