Macroecology

  • Article
    | Open Access

    We combine data from global forest resource assessments with a forest model to quantify the role of major drivers of net carbon fluxes from global forest biomass at national resolution between 1990 and 2020. We find that growth-condition changes, more than reforestation, counteracted forest biomass carbon emissions mostly driven by deforestation.

    • Julia Le Noë
    • , Karl-Heinz Erb
    •  & Simone Gingrich
  • Article
    | Open Access

    A phylogeny of Nymphalidae butterflies unveils the origin of the latitudinal diversity gradient. This study showed that the modern pattern of species richness emerged from dynamics of dispersal and diversification that varied through time and across regions, and that global climate change throughout the Cenozoic probably played a major role in generating the biodiversity pattern.

    • Nicolas Chazot
    • , Fabien L. Condamine
    •  & Niklas Wahlberg
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Warming will affect marine plankton biomass, but also its diversity and community composition in poorly understood ways. Here, the authors model the spatial distribution of 860 marine plankton species from 10 functional groups and identify the future hotspots of climate change impacts under RCP8.5.

    • Fabio Benedetti
    • , Meike Vogt
    •  & Nicolas Gruber
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Anthropogenic extinctions are driving functional shifts in biological communities, but these changes might differ considerably among taxa and biogeographic regions. Here the authors show that projected losses of functional diversity among land and freshwater vertebrates are unevenly distributed across the world.

    • Aurele Toussaint
    • , Sébastien Brosse
    •  & Carlos P. Carmona
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Most mammals are nocturnal, but a new analysis suggests that although most groups of species active at a particular time of day or night occupy different ecological niches, a surprisingly large proportion of species are more flexible in the timing of their activity than previously thought.

    • D. T. C. Cox
    • , A. S. Gardner
    •  & K. J. Gaston
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Climate change is a threat to global biodiversity, but the potential effects on freshwater fishes have not been well studied. Here the authors model future flow and water temperature extremes and predict that increases in water temperature in particular will pose serious threats to freshwater fishes

    • Valerio Barbarossa
    • , Joyce Bosmans
    •  & Aafke M. Schipper
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Proected areas (PA) expansion is a major conservation goal, but its effectiveness is debated. Here, the authors propose a multi-dimensional framework to assess PA vulnerability and select areas suitable for expansion, demonstrating it for 2572 PAs in China under a low-emission scenario.

    • Nawal Shrestha
    • , Xiaoting Xu
    •  & Zhiheng Wang
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The 2012–2016 drought and western pine beetle outbreaks caused unprecedented mortality of ponderosa pine in the Sierra Nevada, California. Here, the authors analyse drone-based data from almost half a million trees and find an interaction between host size and climatic water deficit, with higher mortality for large trees in dry, warm conditions but not in cooler or wetter conditions.

    • Michael J. Koontz
    • , Andrew M. Latimer
    •  & Malcolm P. North
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether or not species—when introduced to a new location—eventually become invasive has been linked to the specices’ capacity to expand its niche. However, here the authors show that the extent of niche shift is smaller in non-invasive than invasive ant species, questioning this established hypothesis.

    • Olivia K. Bates
    • , Sébastien Ollier
    •  & Cleo Bertelsmeier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    There are many available ways to rank species for conservation prioritization. Here the authors identify species of mammals and birds that are both spatially restricted and functionally distinct, finding that such species are currently insufficiently protected and disproportionately sensitive to current and future threats.

    • Nicolas Loiseau
    • , Nicolas Mouquet
    •  & Cyrille Violle
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Island ecosystems are notoriously vulnerable to anthropogenic species losses. Here, the authors identify insular hotspots of vulnerability to climate change (under RCPs 6.0 and 8.5) in mammals via a trait-based, quantitative vulnerability framework, finding that exposure to climate change is not a reliable proxy to assess species vulnerability, while sensitivity and adaptive capacity are crucial to understand vulnerability.

    • Camille Leclerc
    • , Franck Courchamp
    •  & Céline Bellard
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Satellites provide clear evidence of greening trends in the Arctic, but high-resolution pan-Arctic quantification of these trends is lacking. Here the authors analyse high-resolution Landsat data to show widespread greening in the Arctic, and find that greening trends are linked to summer warming overall but not always locally.

    • Logan T. Berner
    • , Richard Massey
    •  & Scott J. Goetz
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Microbes interact in different ways than macro-organisms, but their interactions can still form the basis for broader macroecological patterns like the Species Abundance Distribution. Here, the author shows that thre general ecological patterns can be found in microbes, within and across biome types.

    • Jacopo Grilli
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Soil age is thought to be an important driver of ecosystem development. Here, the authors perform a global survey of soil chronosequences and meta-analysis to show that, contrary to expectations, soil age is a relatively minor ecosystem driver at the biome scale once other drivers such as parent material, climate, and vegetation type are accounted for.

    • Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo
    • , Peter B. Reich
    •  & Noah Fierer
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Mapping ecological variables using machine-learning algorithms based on remote-sensing data has become a widespread practice in ecology. Here, the authors use forest biomass mapping as a study case to show that the most common model validation approach, which ignores data spatial structure, leads to overoptimistic assessment of model predictive power.

    • Pierre Ploton
    • , Frédéric Mortier
    •  & Raphaël Pélissier
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Conservation biologists often assume that rare (or less abundant) species are more likely to be declining under anthropogenic change. Here, the authors synthesise population trend data for ~2000 animal species to show that population trends cover a wide spectrum of change from losses to gains, which are not related to species rarity.

    • Gergana N. Daskalova
    • , Isla H. Myers-Smith
    •  & John L. Godlee
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Nearly 17% of all bird species are hosts to obligate brood parasites like the common cuckoo. Antonson et al. show that parasite species hedge their reproductive bets by outsourcing parental care to a greater variety of host species when the rearing environment for their young is more unpredictable.

    • Nicholas D. Antonson
    • , Dustin R. Rubenstein
    •  & Carlos A. Botero
  • Article
    | Open Access

    An insufficient amount of pollen transfer by pollinators (pollen limitation) could reduce plant reproduction in human-impacted landscapes. Here the authors conduct a global meta-analysis and find that pollen limitation is high in urban environments and depends of plant traits such as pollinator dependency.

    • Joanne M. Bennett
    • , Janette A. Steets
    •  & Tia-Lynn Ashman
  • 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
    •  & Nico Eisenhauer
  • 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
    •  & Peter Haase
  • 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
    •  & Robert P. Guralnick
  • 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
    •  & Yiming Li
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The drivers of genetic diversity (GD) are poorly understood at the global scale. Here the authors show, for terrestrial mammals, that within-species GD covaries with phylogenetic diversity and is higher in locations with more stable past climates. They also interpolate GD for data-poor locations such as the tropics.

    • Spyros Theodoridis
    • , Damien A. Fordham
    •  & David Nogues-Bravo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    In birds, the hand-wing index is a morphological trait that can be used as a proxy for flight efficiency. Here the authors examine variation of hand-wing index in over 10,000 bird species, finding that it is higher in migratory and non-territorial species, and lower in the tropics.

    • Catherine Sheard
    • , Montague H. C. Neate-Clegg
    •  & Joseph A. Tobias
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The causes of the Upper Pleistocene megafauna extinction in Australia and New Guinea are debated, but fossil data are lacking for much of this region. Here, Hocknull and colleagues report a new, diverse megafauna assemblage from north-eastern Australia that persisted until ~40,000 years ago.

    • Scott A. Hocknull
    • , Richard Lewis
    •  & Rochelle A. Lawrence
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Developmental duration is a key life-history trait. Cooney et al. compile data on 3096 bird species to quantify the degree to which phylogenetic history, body size and ecological variables like predation risk or breeding phenology influence variation in developmental duration.

    • Christopher R. Cooney
    • , Catherine Sheard
    •  & Alison E. Wright
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Prior studies have investigated macroecological patterns of host sharing among viruses, although certain mammal clades have not been represented in these analyses, and the findings have not been used to predict the true network. Here the authors model the species level traits that predict viral sharing across all mammal clades and validate their predictions using an independent dataset.

    • Gregory F. Albery
    • , Evan A. Eskew
    •  & Kevin J. Olival
  • Article
    | Open Access

    One hypothesis for the latitudinal diversity gradient is based on an assumption of stronger species interactions at lower latitudes. Here, Roesti et al. estimate pelagic fish predation from long-term fishing records and find evidence of stronger predation at higher latitudes and with lower fish species richness.

    • Marius Roesti
    • , Daniel N. Anstett
    •  & Roi Holzman
  • Article
    | Open Access

    It is unclear whether plant trait relationships found at the global scale extend to climatic extremes. Here the authors analyse six major aboveground traits to show that known plant trait relationships extend to the tundra biomes and exhibit the same two dimensions of variation detected at the global scale.

    • H. J. D. Thomas
    • , A. D. Bjorkman
    •  & F. T. de Vries
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Understanding to what extent geographic patterns in threatened species diversity are driven by environmental features or human activities could aid conservation. Here, Howard et al. investigate broad scale patterns in species richness of threatened vertebrates and test the role of environmental and anthropogenic drivers.

    • Christine Howard
    • , Curtis H. Flather
    •  & Philip A. Stephens
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Human-driven losses of megafauna and megaflora may have disproportionate ecological consequences. Here, the authors combine metabolic scaling theory and global simulation models to show that past and continued reduction of megabiota have and will continue to decrease ecosystem and biosphere functioning.

    • Brian J. Enquist
    • , Andrew J. Abraham
    •  & Christopher E. Doughty
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Ecologists continue to debate whether local species assemblages result from habitat filtering or from turnover among the regional species pool. Here the authors develop a “dispersion field” method to mapping species range overlaps, showing that regional turnover processes are key to local assembly.

    • Michael K. Borregaard
    • , Gary R. Graves
    •  & Carsten Rahbek
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Species richness is often reported to enhance ecosystem functioning, but it is unclear whether similar diversity-functioning relationships occur at larger scales. Here Oehri et al. combine land cover survey and remote sensing data to show a positive relationship between landscape diversity and landscape functioning.

    • Jacqueline Oehri
    • , Bernhard Schmid
    •  & Pascal A. Niklaus
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Abrupt land changes may have long-lasting effects on local biodiversity. Here, Jung et al. show that past abrupt land change reduces species richness and abundance, and alters assemblage composition, with recovery often taking more than 10 years.

    • Martin Jung
    • , Pedram Rowhani
    •  & Jörn P. W. Scharlemann
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Whether Australia’s Pleistocene megafauna extinctions were caused by climate change, humans, or both is debated. Here, the authors infer the spatio-temporal trajectories of regional extinctions and find that water availability mediates the relationship among climate, human migration and megafauna extinctions.

    • Frédérik Saltré
    • , Joël Chadoeuf
    •  & Corey J. A. Bradshaw
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Greenhouse gas mitigation can involve land-use changes that alter the habitat available for wildlife. Here, Ohashi et al. perform an integrated assessment showing that climate mitigation can be beneficial for global biodiversity but may entail local biodiversity losses where land-based mitigation is implemented.

    • Haruka Ohashi
    • , Tomoko Hasegawa
    •  & Tetsuya Matsui
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Broad scale patterns in the distribution of animal community functional properties could be determined by climate and disrupted by human activities. Here the authors show global patterns in large-mammal trophic structure related to climate variation, which human activities simplify in predictable ways.

    • Manuel Mendoza
    •  & Miguel B. Araújo
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The capacity to predict zoonotic disease outbreaks is hampered by data availability and complex relationships between humans, wildlife, and the environment. Here the authors present a modelling framework that identifies potential high-risk locations for Ebola outbreaks under various climatic, demographic, and land use scenarios.

    • David W. Redding
    • , Peter M. Atkinson
    •  & Kate E. Jones
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Deep learning has the potential to identify ecological relationships between environment and complex phenotypes that are difficult to quantify. Here, the authors use deep learning to analyse associations among elevation, climate and phenotype across ~2000 moth species in Taiwan.

    • Shipher Wu
    • , Chun-Min Chang
    •  & Sheng-Feng Shen
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Large brains are expected to be beneficial in variable environments by enabling flexible behavioral responses. Here, the authors show that relative brain size in birds is bimodally distributed in colder, seasonal environments, suggesting that both large and small brains can be adaptive solutions to harsh conditions.

    • Trevor S. Fristoe
    •  & Carlos A. Botero
  • Article
    | Open Access

    The functions of color in fungi are not well characterized. Here, Krah and colleagues investigate the color of mushroom assemblages across Europe and show relationships with climate, nutritional mode (saprotrophic and ectomycorrhizal) and seasonality.

    • Franz-Sebastian Krah
    • , Ulf Büntgen
    •  & Claus Bässler
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Multiple drivers maintain unique species assemblages at multiple biogeographic scales. Here, the authors show that the freezing line is a key barrier generating evolutionary differences in temperate and tropical bird communities across a steep elevational gradient in the Himalaya.

    • Alexander E. White
    • , Kushal K. Dey
    •  & Trevor D. Price
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Animal diversity, measured in numbers of species, is rapidly being lost to extinction. Here, Cooke et al. show that the diversity of ecological strategies employed by land mammals and birds is also expected to narrow towards small, fecund, insect-eating generalists with fast-paced life histories.

    • Robert S. C. Cooke
    • , Felix Eigenbrod
    •  & Amanda E. Bates
  • Article
    | Open Access

    Could similar ecological and biogeographic drivers explain the distributions of biological diversity and human cultural diversity? The authors explore ecological correlates of human language diversity, finding strong support for a role of high year-round productivity but less support for landscape features.

    • Xia Hua
    • , Simon J. Greenhill
    •  & Lindell Bromham