Ecology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ocean cold seeps are poorly understood relative to related systems like hydrothermal vents. Here the authors use high pressure bioreactors and microbial communities from a cold seep mud volcano and find a previously missing step of methane conversion to acetate that likely fuels heterotrophic communities.

    • Shanshan Yang
    • , Yongxin Lv
    • , Xipeng Liu
    • , Yinzhao Wang
    • , Qilian Fan
    • , Zhifeng Yang
    • , Nico Boon
    • , Fengping Wang
    • , Xiang Xiao
    •  & Yu Zhang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Lipo-chitooligosaccharides (LCOs) are signaling molecules produced by certain bacteria and fungi that establish symbiotic relationships with plants. Here, the authors show that LCOs are produced also by many other, non-symbiotic fungi, and regulate fungal growth and development.

    • Tomás Allen Rush
    • , Virginie Puech-Pagès
    • , Adeline Bascaules
    • , Patricia Jargeat
    • , Fabienne Maillet
    • , Alexandra Haouy
    • , Arthur QuyManh Maës
    • , Cristobal Carrera Carriel
    • , Devanshi Khokhani
    • , Michelle Keller-Pearson
    • , Joanna Tannous
    • , Kevin R. Cope
    • , Kevin Garcia
    • , Junko Maeda
    • , Chad Johnson
    • , Bailey Kleven
    • , Quanita J. Choudhury
    • , Jessy Labbé
    • , Candice Swift
    • , Michelle A. O’Malley
    • , Jin Woo Bok
    • , Sylvain Cottaz
    • , Sébastien Fort
    • , Verena Poinsot
    • , Michael R. Sussman
    • , Corinne Lefort
    • , Jeniel Nett
    • , Nancy P. Keller
    • , Guillaume Bécard
    •  & Jean-Michel Ané
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Soil organism biodiversity contributes to ecosystem function, but biodiversity and function have not been equivalently studied across the globe. Here the authors identify locations, environment types, and taxonomic groups for which there is currently a lack of biodiversity and ecosystem function data in the existing literature.

    • Carlos A. Guerra
    • , Anna Heintz-Buschart
    • , Johannes Sikorski
    • , Antonis Chatzinotas
    • , Nathaly Guerrero-Ramírez
    • , Simone Cesarz
    • , Léa Beaumelle
    • , Matthias C. Rillig
    • , Fernando T. Maestre
    • , Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo
    • , François Buscot
    • , Jörg Overmann
    • , Guillaume Patoine
    • , Helen R. P. Phillips
    • , Marten Winter
    • , Tesfaye Wubet
    • , Kirsten Küsel
    • , Richard D. Bardgett
    • , Erin K. Cameron
    • , Don Cowan
    • , Tine Grebenc
    • , César Marín
    • , Alberto Orgiazzi
    • , Brajesh K. Singh
    • , Diana H. Wall
    •  & Nico Eisenhauer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Brandl, Johansen et al. compare organismal traits, community structure, and productivity dynamics of cryptobenthic reef fishes across two locations, the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the former of which harbors the world’s hottest coral reefs. They show that environmental extremes in the Arabian Gulf result in dramatically less diverse, abundant, and productive cryptobenthic fish assemblages, which could foreshadow the future of coral reef biodiversity and functioning.

    • Simon J. Brandl
    • , Jacob L. Johansen
    • , Jordan M. Casey
    • , Luke Tornabene
    • , Renato A. Morais
    •  & John A. Burt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Sedimentary DNA can be used to infer how organisms responded to changing environmental conditions over millennia. Here, the authors use sedimentary DNA of micro-eukaryotes in low-elevation (human-impacted) and high-elevation (more pristine) lakes to show how human influences have altered lake community composition in the Anthropocene.

    • François Keck
    • , Laurent Millet
    • , Didier Debroas
    • , David Etienne
    • , Didier Galop
    • , Damien Rius
    •  & Isabelle Domaizon
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The discovery of aerobic microbial communities in nutrient-poor sediments below the seafloor begs the question of the mechanisms for their persistence. Here the authors investigate subseafloor sediment in the South Pacific Gyre abyssal plain, showing that aerobic microbial life can be revived and retain metabolic potential even from 101.5 Ma-old sediment.

    • Yuki Morono
    • , Motoo Ito
    • , Tatsuhiko Hoshino
    • , Takeshi Terada
    • , Tomoyuki Hori
    • , Minoru Ikehara
    • , Steven D’Hondt
    •  & Fumio Inagaki
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microbial carbon use efficiency has an important role in soil C cycling. Here the authors test the interactive effects of temperature and moisture and manipulate microbial community composition in soil microcosms, showing a positive relationship between microbial diversity and CUE that is contingent on abiotic conditions.

    • Luiz A. Domeignoz-Horta
    • , Grace Pold
    • , Xiao-Jun Allen Liu
    • , Serita D. Frey
    • , Jerry M. Melillo
    •  & Kristen M. DeAngelis
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Coastal restoration tends to be failure-prone and expensive. Temmink and colleagues improve seagrass and cordgrass transplant survival in field experiments using biodegradable structures which temporarily mimic self-facilitation occurring in mature vegetation stands, and combine onsite and laboratory measurements on sediment stability and stem movement to test the biophysical mechanisms.

    • Ralph J. M. Temmink
    • , Marjolijn J. A. Christianen
    • , Gregory S. Fivash
    • , Christine Angelini
    • , Christoffer Boström
    • , Karin Didderen
    • , Sabine M. Engel
    • , Nicole Esteban
    • , Jeffrey L. Gaeckle
    • , Karine Gagnon
    • , Laura L. Govers
    • , Eduardo Infantes
    • , Marieke M. van Katwijk
    • , Silvija Kipson
    • , Leon P. M. Lamers
    • , Wouter Lengkeek
    • , Brian R. Silliman
    • , Brigitta I. van Tussenbroek
    • , Richard K. F. Unsworth
    • , Siti Maryam Yaakub
    • , Tjeerd J. Bouma
    •  & Tjisse van der Heide
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biomonitoring via environmental DNA (eDNA) is an important conservation tool for freshwater ecosystems, but this is complicated by eDNA movement downstream. Here, Carraro et al. develop and test an approach to reconstruct high-resolution spatial biodiversity patterns from freshwater eDNA.

    • Luca Carraro
    • , Elvira Mächler
    • , Remo Wüthrich
    •  & Florian Altermatt
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anthropogenic stressors affect many aspects of marine organismal health. Here, the authors expose surgeonfish to temperature and pesticide stressors and show that the stressors, separately and in combination, have adverse effects on thyroid signaling, which disrupts several sensory systems and important predation defenses.

    • Marc Besson
    • , William E. Feeney
    • , Isadora Moniz
    • , Loïc François
    • , Rohan M. Brooker
    • , Guillaume Holzer
    • , Marc Metian
    • , Natacha Roux
    • , Vincent Laudet
    •  & David Lecchini
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Non-traditional stable isotopes, such as of calcium, have potential to expand our understanding of ancient diets. Here, Martin et al. use stable calcium isotopes recovered from fossil tooth enamel to compare the dietary ecology of hominins and other primates in the Turkana Basin 2-4 million years ago.

    • Jeremy E. Martin
    • , Théo Tacail
    • , José Braga
    • , Thure E. Cerling
    •  & Vincent Balter
  • Perspective
    | Open Access

    Oceans provide important natural resources, but the management and governance of the ocean is complex and the ecosystem is suffering as a result. The authors discuss current barriers to sustainable ocean governance and suggest pathways forward.

    • Tanya Brodie Rudolph
    • , Mary Ruckelshaus
    • , Mark Swilling
    • , Edward H. Allison
    • , Henrik Österblom
    • , Stefan Gelcich
    •  & Philile Mbatha
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Differential abundance analysis of microbiome data continues to be challenging due to data complexity. The authors propose a method which estimates the unknown sampling fractions and corrects the bias induced by their differences among samples.

    • Huang Lin
    •  & Shyamal Das Peddada
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The global biodiversity decline might conceal complex local and group-specific trends. Here the authors report a quantitative synthesis of longterm biodiversity trends across Europe, showing how, despite overall increase in biodiversity metric and stability in abundance, trends differ between regions, ecosystem types, and taxa.

    • Francesca Pilotto
    • , Ingolf Kühn
    • , Rita Adrian
    • , Renate Alber
    • , Audrey Alignier
    • , Christopher Andrews
    • , Jaana Bäck
    • , Luc Barbaro
    • , Deborah Beaumont
    • , Natalie Beenaerts
    • , Sue Benham
    • , David S. Boukal
    • , Vincent Bretagnolle
    • , Elisa Camatti
    • , Roberto Canullo
    • , Patricia G. Cardoso
    • , Bruno J. Ens
    • , Gert Everaert
    • , Vesela Evtimova
    • , Heidrun Feuchtmayr
    • , Ricardo García-González
    • , Daniel Gómez García
    • , Ulf Grandin
    • , Jerzy M. Gutowski
    • , Liat Hadar
    • , Lubos Halada
    • , Melinda Halassy
    • , Herman Hummel
    • , Kaisa-Leena Huttunen
    • , Bogdan Jaroszewicz
    • , Thomas C. Jensen
    • , Henrik Kalivoda
    • , Inger Kappel Schmidt
    • , Ingrid Kröncke
    • , Reima Leinonen
    • , Filipe Martinho
    • , Henning Meesenburg
    • , Julia Meyer
    • , Stefano Minerbi
    • , Don Monteith
    • , Boris P. Nikolov
    • , Daniel Oro
    • , Dāvis Ozoliņš
    • , Bachisio M. Padedda
    • , Denise Pallett
    • , Marco Pansera
    • , Miguel Ângelo Pardal
    • , Bruno Petriccione
    • , Tanja Pipan
    • , Juha Pöyry
    • , Stefanie M. Schäfer
    • , Marcus Schaub
    • , Susanne C. Schneider
    • , Agnija Skuja
    • , Karline Soetaert
    • , Gunta Spriņģe
    • , Radoslav Stanchev
    • , Jenni A. Stockan
    • , Stefan Stoll
    • , Lisa Sundqvist
    • , Anne Thimonier
    • , Gert Van Hoey
    • , Gunther Van Ryckegem
    • , Marcel E. Visser
    • , Samuel Vorhauser
    •  & Peter Haase
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Little is known about gene expression of organisms in the deep sea, partially owing to constraints on sampling these organisms in situ. Here the authors circumvent this problem, fixing tissue of a deep-sea mussel at 1,688 m in depth, and later analyzing transcriptomes to reveal gene expression patterns showing tidal oscillations.

    • Audrey M. Mat
    • , Jozée Sarrazin
    • , Gabriel V. Markov
    • , Vincent Apremont
    • , Christine Dubreuil
    • , Camille Eché
    • , Caroline Fabioux
    • , Christophe Klopp
    • , Pierre-Marie Sarradin
    • , Arnaud Tanguy
    • , Arnaud Huvet
    •  & Marjolaine Matabos
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The authors of this study compile data on spatial and temporal dynamics of surface water bodies across China, covering a time span from 1989 – 2016. The study describes hot-spot areas with strongly decreasing trends in surface water area and terrestrial water storage in North China and discusses implications of water resources and security in China.

    • Xinxin Wang
    • , Xiangming Xiao
    • , Zhenhua Zou
    • , Jinwei Dong
    • , Yuanwei Qin
    • , Russell B. Doughty
    • , Michael A. Menarguez
    • , Bangqian Chen
    • , Junbang Wang
    • , Hui Ye
    • , Jun Ma
    • , Qiaoyan Zhong
    • , Bin Zhao
    •  & Bo Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Roads are widespread and can impact ecological communities. Cooke et al. use data for 75 bird species across Great Britain to show that common species are disproportionately abundant near roads, whereas rarer, smaller-bodied and migrant species are more likely to be negatively associated with roads.

    • Sophia C. Cooke
    • , Andrew Balmford
    • , Paul F. Donald
    • , Stuart E. Newson
    •  & Alison Johnston
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The dynamics of ecological communities depends on interactions between species as well as those between species and their environment, however the effects of the latter are poorly understood. Here, Yeakel et al. reveal how species that modify their environment (ecosystem engineers) impact community dynamics and the risk of extinction.

    • Justin D. Yeakel
    • , Mathias M. Pires
    • , Marcus A. M. de Aguiar
    • , James L. O’Donnell
    • , Paulo R. Guimarães Jr.
    • , Dominique Gravel
    •  & Thilo Gross
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Different aspects of biodiversity may not necessarily converge in their response to climate change. Here, the authors investigate 25-year shifts in taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity of tropical forests along a spatial climate gradient in West Africa, showing that drier forests are less stable than wetter forests.

    • Jesús Aguirre-Gutiérrez
    • , Yadvinder Malhi
    • , Simon L. Lewis
    • , Sophie Fauset
    • , Stephen Adu-Bredu
    • , Kofi Affum-Baffoe
    • , Timothy R. Baker
    • , Agne Gvozdevaite
    • , Wannes Hubau
    • , Sam Moore
    • , Theresa Peprah
    • , Kasia Ziemińska
    • , Oliver L. Phillips
    •  & Imma Oliveras
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Here, the authors present a theoretical framework based on community ecology and network science to investigate the efficacy of fecal microbiota transplantation in conditions associated with a disrupted gut microbiota, using the recurrent Clostridioides difficile infection as a prototype disease.

    • Yandong Xiao
    • , Marco Tulio Angulo
    • , Songyang Lao
    • , Scott T. Weiss
    •  & Yang-Yu Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Massive stores of carbon and nutrients in permafrost could be released by global warming. Here the authors show that though warming across the Tibetan alpine permafrost region accelerates nitrogen liberation, contrary to expectations the elevated nutrients do not alleviate plant nitrogen limitation.

    • Dan Kou
    • , Guibiao Yang
    • , Fei Li
    • , Xuehui Feng
    • , Dianye Zhang
    • , Chao Mao
    • , Qiwen Zhang
    • , Yunfeng Peng
    • , Chengjun Ji
    • , Qiuan Zhu
    • , Yunting Fang
    • , Xueyan Liu
    • , Xu-Ri
    • , Siqi Li
    • , Jia Deng
    • , Xunhua Zheng
    • , Jingyun Fang
    •  & Yuanhe Yang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There is mixed evidence for how temperature affects diversification rates. Here, authors use a supermatrix of nearly 20,000 rosid species, comprising almost a quarter of flowering plants, to show that tropical groups are older and speciated twice as slowly as their counterparts from cooler climates.

    • Miao Sun
    • , Ryan A. Folk
    • , Matthew A. Gitzendanner
    • , Pamela S. Soltis
    • , Zhiduan Chen
    • , Douglas E. Soltis
    •  & Robert P. Guralnick
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Phenotypic robustness to environmental variation is seemingly at odds with evolvability. Here, the authors analyze carotenoid use and accommodation in feather development across a recent avian range expansion and show that cooption of a stress-buffering mechanism can reconcile robustness and evolvability.

    • Ahva L. Potticary
    • , Erin S. Morrison
    •  & Alexander V. Badyaev
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The amount and frequency of rainfall structures aquatic food webs. Here the authors show that in tropical tank bromeliads, lower trophic levels are more abundant in stable rainfall conditions, while biomass pyramids are inverted in conditions with periodic droughts.

    • Gustavo Q. Romero
    • , Nicholas A. C. Marino
    • , A. Andrew M. MacDonald
    • , Régis Céréghino
    • , M. Kurtis Trzcinski
    • , Dimaris Acosta Mercado
    • , Céline Leroy
    • , Bruno Corbara
    • , Vinicius F. Farjalla
    • , Ignacio M. Barberis
    • , Olivier Dézerald
    • , Edd Hammill
    • , Trisha B. Atwood
    • , Gustavo C. O. Piccoli
    • , Fabiola Ospina Bautista
    • , Jean-François Carrias
    • , Juliana S. Leal
    • , Guillermo Montero
    • , Pablo A. P. Antiqueira
    • , Rodrigo Freire
    • , Emilio Realpe
    • , Sarah L. Amundrud
    • , Paula M. de Omena
    • , Alice B. A. Campos
    • , Pavel Kratina
    • , Eoin J. O’Gorman
    •  & Diane S. Srivastava
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding why certain alien species become naturalized can shed light on biological invasion patterns. In this global analysis on thousands of taxa, van Kleunen and colleagues show that plant species of economic use are more likely to become naturalized, and that this underlies geographic patterns and phylogenetic signals in naturalization

    • Mark van Kleunen
    • , Xinyi Xu
    • , Qiang Yang
    • , Noëlie Maurel
    • , Zhijie Zhang
    • , Wayne Dawson
    • , Franz Essl
    • , Holger Kreft
    • , Jan Pergl
    • , Petr Pyšek
    • , Patrick Weigelt
    • , Dietmar Moser
    • , Bernd Lenzner
    •  & Trevor S. Fristoe
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Terrestrial carbon uptake as high inter-annual variability which can be used to help understand future responses to climate change. Here the authors’ modeling reveals a large portion of this variability is driven by human land use changes and management, and not captured by other models.

    • Chao Yue
    • , Philippe Ciais
    • , Richard A. Houghton
    •  & Alexander A. Nassikas
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mixtures of antibiotics or pesticides can help reduce the evolution of resistance to individual compounds. Here, Comont et al. show that in blackgrass, an important agricultural weed, herbicide mixtures do reduce specialized resistance but instead can select for a generalized resistance mechanism.

    • David Comont
    • , Claudia Lowe
    • , Richard Hull
    • , Laura Crook
    • , Helen L. Hicks
    • , Nawaporn Onkokesung
    • , Roland Beffa
    • , Dylan Z. Childs
    • , Robert Edwards
    • , Robert P. Freckleton
    •  & Paul Neve
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Habitat complexity influences the sensory ecology of predator-prey interactions. Here, the authors show that habitat complexity also affects the use of different decision-making paradigms, namely habit- and plan-based action selection. Simulations across habitat types show that only savanna-like terrestrial habitats favor planning during visually-guided predator evasion, while aquatic and simple terrestrial habitats do not.

    • Ugurcan Mugan
    •  & Malcolm A. MacIver
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is unclear whether rapid global change will lead to unexpected trait combinations. In this global meta-analysis on vascular plants, Cui et al. show that, although within-species responses do not always follow the leaf economic spectrum, the slopes of interspecific trait relationships are robust to rapid environmental change.

    • Erqian Cui
    • , Ensheng Weng
    • , Enrong Yan
    •  & Jianyang Xia
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Symbiotic microbes in insects can enable their hosts to access untapped nutritional resources. Here, the authors show that symbiotic bacteria in reed beetles can provide essential amino acids to sap-feeding larvae and help leaf-feeding adults to degrade pectin, respectively.

    • Frank Reis
    • , Roy Kirsch
    • , Yannick Pauchet
    • , Eugen Bauer
    • , Lisa Carolin Bilz
    • , Kayoko Fukumori
    • , Takema Fukatsu
    • , Gregor Kölsch
    •  & Martin Kaltenpoth
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ecological niche of host-associated microbes is defined by both abiotic and biotic dimensions. Here the authors analyse published data on fungal and oomycete pathogens of plants, demonstrating that specialization can evolve independently on abiotic and biotic axes and that interactions with host plants reduce thermal niche breadth.

    • Thomas M. Chaloner
    • , Sarah J. Gurr
    •  & Daniel P. Bebber
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Fire is an important component of many African ecosystems, but prediction of fire activity is challenging. Here, the authors use a statistical framework to assess the seasonal environmental drivers of African fire, which allow for a better prediction of fire activity.

    • Yan Yu
    • , Jiafu Mao
    • , Peter E. Thornton
    • , Michael Notaro
    • , Stan D. Wullschleger
    • , Xiaoying Shi
    • , Forrest M. Hoffman
    •  & Yaoping Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Safeguarding protected areas from invasive species is recognised as a global conservation objective. Here, Liu et al. analyse the occurrence of terrestrial alien animal invaders in protected areas and potential drivers globally, suggesting an impending risk for uninvaded protected areas in absence of preventive actions.

    • Xuan Liu
    • , Tim M. Blackburn
    • , Tianjian Song
    • , Xuyu Wang
    • , Cong Huang
    •  & Yiming Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding why many species ranges are contracting while others are stable or expanding is important to inform conservation in an increasingly human-modified world. Here, Pacifici and colleagues investigate changes in the ranges of 204 mammals, showing that human factors mostly explain range contractions while life history explains both contraction and expansion.

    • Michela Pacifici
    • , Carlo Rondinini
    • , Jonathan R. Rhodes
    • , Andrew A. Burbidge
    • , Andrea Cristiano
    • , James E. M. Watson
    • , John C. Z. Woinarski
    •  & Moreno Di Marco
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The impact of late Pleistocene climate change on ecosystems has been hard to assess. Here, the authors sequence ancient DNA from Hall’s Cave, Texas and find that both plant and vertebrate diversity decreased with cooling, and though plant diversity recovered with rewarming, megafauna went extinct.

    • Frederik V. Seersholm
    • , Daniel J. Werndly
    • , Alicia Grealy
    • , Taryn Johnson
    • , Erin M. Keenan Early
    • , Ernest L. Lundelius Jr.
    • , Barbara Winsborough
    • , Grayal Earle Farr
    • , Rickard Toomey
    • , Anders J. Hansen
    • , Beth Shapiro
    • , Michael R. Waters
    • , Gregory McDonald
    • , Anna Linderholm
    • , Thomas W. Stafford Jr.
    •  & Michael Bunce
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Seasonal influenza epidemics vary in timing and size, but the causes of the variation remain unclear. Here, the authors analyse a 15-year city-level data set, and find that fluctuations in climatic factors do not predict onset timing, and that while antigenic change does not have a consistent effect on epidemic size, the timing of onset and heterosubtypic competition do.

    • Edward K. S. Lam
    • , Dylan H. Morris
    • , Aeron C. Hurt
    • , Ian G. Barr
    •  & Colin A. Russell
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Parasitic interactions are difficult to document in the fossil record. Here, Zhang et al. analyze a large population of a Cambrian brachiopod and show it was frequently encrusted by tubes aligned to its feeding currents and that encrustation was associated with reduced biomass, suggesting a fitness cost.

    • Zhifei Zhang
    • , Luke C. Strotz
    • , Timothy P. Topper
    • , Feiyang Chen
    • , Yanlong Chen
    • , Yue Liang
    • , Zhiliang Zhang
    • , Christian B. Skovsted
    •  & Glenn A. Brock
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Biology can profoundly influence the planet’s climate, but over Earth’s long history these effects are poorly constrained. Here the authors show that on early Earth, the evolution of microbes producing and consuming methane likely controlled warming and glacial events, and thus Earth’s habitability

    • Boris Sauterey
    • , Benjamin Charnay
    • , Antonin Affholder
    • , Stéphane Mazevet
    •  & Régis Ferrière
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Environmental change and species diversity could jointly affect the stability of animal communities. Here the authors use citizen science data on bats, birds, and butterflies along urbanization and agricultural intensification gradients in France to show that both environmental change and diversity loss destabilise communities, but in different ways.

    • Théophile Olivier
    • , Elisa Thébault
    • , Marianne Elias
    • , Benoit Fontaine
    •  & Colin Fontaine
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In animal groups, the degree of alignment of individuals could have different benefits and costs for individuals depending on their reliance on private or social information. Here the authors show that in shoals of three-spined sticklebacks, some individuals reach resources faster when groups are disordered, a state which favours reliance on privately acquired information, while other individuals reach resources faster when groups are ordered, allowing them to exploit social information more effectively.

    • Hannah E. A. MacGregor
    • , James E. Herbert-Read
    •  & Christos C. Ioannou
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Both geography and ecology can drive the origins of new species. Siqueira et al. show how geological changes in the structure of Miocene reefs and the concurrent evolution of new feeding strategies combine to explain why coral reefs contain such a diversity of fish species.

    • Alexandre C. Siqueira
    • , Renato A. Morais
    • , David R. Bellwood
    •  & Peter F. Cowman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mutualism is typically portrayed as a destabilizing process in community ecology. Here, via a random matrix model that considers species density, the author shows that mutualistic interactions can, in fact, enhance population density at equilibrium and increase community resilience to perturbation.

    • Lewi Stone
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Associations with mycorrhizal fungi can affect the outcome of plant competition in complex ways. Here the authors use a decade-long field survey and two hyphal exclusion experiments to reveal a critical role of underground fungal networks in facilitating seedling growth and fitness of ectomycorrhizal plants but not arbuscular mycorrhizal plants.

    • Minxia Liang
    • , David Johnson
    • , David F. R. P. Burslem
    • , Shixiao Yu
    • , Miao Fang
    • , Joe D. Taylor
    • , Andy F. S. Taylor
    • , Thorunn Helgason
    •  & Xubing Liu
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Extracting causality from time series on natural populations is challenging. Here the authors apply empirical dynamical modeling to 25 years of fish survey data from North Sea fisheries to quantify causal effects of age structure, abundance, and environment on population spatial variability, finding both common and species-specific patterns.

    • Jheng-Yu Wang
    • , Ting-Chun Kuo
    •  & Chih-hao Hsieh
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The ubiquitous oceanic bacteria harbour an external phosphate buffer for modulating phosphate (Pi) uptake. Here, using both oceanic SAR11, Prochlorococcus and Synechococcus strains as a model, the authors show that the Pi buffer accumulation in the periplasm is proton motive force-dependent and can be enhanced by light energy.

    • Nina A. Kamennaya
    • , Kalotina Geraki
    • , David J. Scanlan
    •  & Mikhail V. Zubkov