February was another busy month across the British Ecological Society blogs. We’ve seen the launch of Special Features on ecological succession and advances in modelling demographic processes, as well as a cross-journal series on rewilding, a look at the physics behind predator and prey size ratios and an exploration of how climate change is affecting penguin interactions. Read on for more highlights.

Functional Ecologists – FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY

Fruit-eating birds can leave their signature on regenerating tropical plant communities 

Dr Aarón González Castro talks about his work showing how fruit-eating birds can leave a characteristic ‘signature’ on regenerating tropical plant communities. ‘We propose a plausible way for mutualistic interactions to mediate plant species coexistence, as bird seed dispersers not only boosted the presence of some already abundant plant species, but also promoted the presence of rare plant species in emergent communities’.

800px-White_sharkFirst principles of physics predict predator–prey size ratios

‘We built a model that starts from processes acting at the individual level to predict species interactions, and we based these processes on general principles of mechanics and well-known biological laws’ – Sébastien M. J. Portalier talks about his recent paper on The mechanics of predator–prey interactions: First principles of physics predict predator–prey size ratios.


Advances in modelling demographic processes: a new cross-journal Special Feature 

In a new cross-journal Special Feature between Methods in Ecology and Evolution and Ecology and Evolution, Guest Editors Rob Robinson and Beth Gardner bring together a collection of papers on statistical methodologies for studying demographic processes. Advances in Modelling Demographic Processes includes excellent ‘how to’ papers and overviews on a wide range of topics.

vacamsField work on a shoestring: using consumer technology as an early career researcher

If you’re curiosity rich, but resource poor, we highly recommend this post. Carlos de la Rosa explains how he was able to stretch his small research grant by adapting consumer technology to be used for research.

Using dual RNA-seq to investigate host-pathogen systems when genomic resources are limited

Gene expressions change when a host is infected with a pathogen and these changes can be captured by dual RNA‐seq. But, to use this method accurately, you need sequenced genomes for both the host and the pathogen, right? Kayleigh O’Keeffe explains how you can use dual RNA-seq with non-model species in this Methods blog post.

Animal Ecology in Focus – JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY

Swift ParotA high cost of infidelity for swift parrots

A recent paper published in the Journal of Animal Ecology has found that a chronic shortage of females in a critically endangered parrot species has led to love triangles, sneaky sex on the side, increased fighting between males, and fewer babies.

Penguin niche-partitioning resilient to climate change

Competition for limited food resources can be particularly fierce where similarly-related species overlap. Harriet L. Clewlow is a PhD student based at the British Antarctic Survey and linked with University of Exeter and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature). Her research investigates how climate change is altering interactions between sympatric Antarctic penguin species and predicting their responses to future climate scenarios.

Journal of Ecology The Blog – JOURNAL OF ECOLOGY

107.2Ecological Succession in a Changing World 

Cynthia Chang and Ben Turner are the guest editors of Journal of Ecology’s latest Special Feature; Ecological Succession in a Changing World. The special feature consists of 11 articles and an editorial. Cynthia and Ben tell us more about their special feature and the inspiration behind it in this blog post.

Ice caves and treeline dynamics 

Maria Leunda and colleagues combined palaeoecological proxies from an ice cave in the Pyrenees to assess tree line dynamics and ecosystem resilience to climate changes from 5,700-2,200 years ago. This paper was picked as the Editor’s Choice paper for the latest issue of Journal of Ecology and Associate Editor Bérangère Leys took a closer look at the paper in her blog post.

Ecological Inspirations: Crystal McMichael 

As part of Journal of Ecology’s ongoing blog series, Ecological Inspirations, our Associate Editor Crystal McMichael shares with us what has inspired her career and brought her to the point of being an Assistant Professor at the University of Amsterdam.

The Applied Ecologist’s Blog – JOURNAL OF APPLIED ECOLOGY

Rewilding series

oznorThe Applied Ecologist’s Blog teamed up with Relational Thinking to celebrate the release of the latest addition to the Ecological Reviews series, Rewilding. Together the journal blogs invited some of the book’s authors and editors to share their insights into this hotly debated topic from both applied and interdisciplinary perspectives. This post from Jens-Christian Svenning focused in on trophic rewilding and the restoration of top-down processes.

Complex landscapes and complex decisions for farmland conservation

Discover how farmland birds and agri-environmental schemes went from dissertation topic, to British Ecological Society Annual Meeting talk, to published paper for one early career researcher. Gergana Daskalova describes the evolution of Population responses of farmland bird species to agri‐environment schemes and land management options in Northeastern Scotland.

Relational Thinking – PEOPLE AND NATURE

Decolonising rewilding

Rewilding coverAs part of the joint Rewilding series across The Applied Ecologist’s Blog and Relational Thinking, Dr Kim Ward, Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Plymouth, explains the necessity of rewilding conceptually being tied to a relational framework, in order to avoid resorting to outdated Colonial views of Nature-Culture dualism.

Maasai pastoralists kill lions in retaliation for depredation of livestock by lions

People and Nature recently published a paper that is likely to cause discussion and interest amongst conservationist and human-wildlife groups. Enoch M. Ontiri etal. surveyed 213 Maasai communities from three geographic regions to test hypotheses regarding the retaliatory nature of lion-killing. In this video the demonstrate out why their results should change the perceived wisdom that lion killing is a retributive act caused by general loss of livestock.

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