Meet the SIGS! Aquatic Ecology Group

Next week is the Ecology Across Boarders meeting in Ghent. At the meeting, a number of the BES Special Interest Groups are running workshops, social events and meet-ups. To find out more about the SIGs, we’ve invited them to talk about who they are, what they do, what to look out for at the Ecology Across Borders meeting, and what their plans are for 2018.

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Insights: Martijn Vandegehuchte

In Insights we discover the story behind and beyond a recent publication in Functional Ecology. What inspired the authors to do the research, and how did the project develop leading to the final publication? What implications might their results have on the scientific community and on society?

This week, Bjorn talks to Martijn Vandegehuchte about his paper, Mammalian herbivores affect leafhoppers associated with specific plant functional types at different timescales (plain language summary here.) Martin recently moved from WSL (the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research) to Ghent University in Belgium. With his colleagues in Switzerland, Martijn studied multitrophic herbivory interactions in the Swiss National Park.

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Tuesday Tasters: 28/11/2017

Recently accepted in Functional Ecology, a very interesting paper describing environmental conditions as an important determinant for the phenology of bird plumage.

Nature Ecology & Evolution last week published a paper that shows that the effects of biodiversity on ecosystem multifunctionality increase with increasing number of functions. These findings are in stark contrast with a paper published just over 5 months earlier, which makes the point the biodiversity-multifunctionality relationships do not increase with the number of functions considered. Interesting to see where these differences come from: methodological (multifunctionality is calculated in different ways in both papers), different functions considered or ecosystem dependent? I will keep following this field with much interest.

Working at a University does not help in living a happy life, researchers find. Job security is high on the list what people are unhappy about.

Last week, Dynamic Ecology was polling about people’s opinions on what they call ‘Statistical Machismo’. I am looking forward to their results. Personally, I think the simpler (not simplistic), the better; the impact of a paper should depend on design, methods, and scope of inference.

An interesting piece in Science Magazine (based on a publication in the journal Sex Roles) that perfectly fits in the gender discussions I have pointed to earlier. Apparently, men whose wives keep their name after marriage (that includes me!) may be perceived in a less gender-stereotyped manner. The majority of the study’s participants were female.  I find it hard to know what to conclude from the results (as do the authors).


Enjoy your week,


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn

Insights: Angela Prendin

In Insights we discover the story behind a recent publication in Functional Ecology: what inspired the authors to do the research, how did the project develop and what wider impact might the work have?

DSCN2192This week Bjorn talks to Angela Prendin about her article,  Axial xylem architecture of Larix decidua exposed to CO2 enrichment and soil warming at the tree line. Angela is affiliated with the Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (TESAF) of the University of Padova, Italy. With her collaborators at the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), she studied the xylem architecture of Larch in response to CO2 fertilisation and soil warming. You can also read the free plain language summary here: The treetop is the hotspot determining growth in larch trees

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Tuesday Tasters: 21/11/2017

Already sideways highlighted by Jennifer last week, Nature Ecology and Evolution have published a list of the 100 articles every ecologist should read. Many critical notes have followed (have a look for yourself); for example on how the list has been compiled, the average age of the listed paper (c. 38 years old), its gender bias, etc. I am excited to read these critiques and look forward to an alternative list that also reflects recent advances in ecology; one that I am almost certain will be a lot more inclusive.

Hot off the press, this paper by Ramirez and her colleagues  (which provides a roadmap on how to answer important ecological questions with highly variable microbial sequence data) might make it on such list!

And another candidate paper  for the list: Wubs and Bezemer use an elegant but simple experimental design to show that soil conditioned by multiple plant species results in a more balanced (i.e. more even) plant community, as compared to soil condition by single plants.

And now for something completely different: Do you have a hilarious ecological story to tell? Sign up for the Science Slam at the Ecology Across Borders conference in Ghent.


Enjoy your week,


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn

Tuesday Tasters: 14/11/17

Bjorn’s away, so this week’s Tuesday Tasters are from me.

Researchers used digital animation to examine how the effectiveness of a lizard’s territorial display varies across ecological environments and conditions (with video abstract!)

For anyone interested in public engagement, Sense about Science have published a new (and free) guide- grab Public Engagement: a practical guide here.   (Case study is from medicine, but the principles are good whatever area you work in.)

And related, the BES and ZSL are running a workshop on communicating your science in February, with training on traditional and social media – tickets available now.

Check out the replies to this tweet from Terry McGlynn:

And for anyone that’s missed it (and has access), the BBC is currently airing Blue Planet 2, and it’s just as spectacular as you’d expect – the website has links to stream the episodes, plus information on getting involved in ocean conservation, how it was all made and bonus podcasts.

Jennifer Meyer is the Assistant Editor for Functional Ecology DSC_0066

Meet the editors: Lara Ferry, Senior Editor

Lara worked as an Associate Editor on Functional Ecology, before becoming our newest Senior Editor (replacing Duncan Irschick) in October.

Hello!  I am very excited to be a part of the FE team in a new way.  LaraAFerry

My background and training are in Functional Morphology, broadly speaking.  I am interested in novel traits, how they evolve and perform, and their ecological consequences.  I work largely with aquatic organisms, studying traits related to feeding and respiration.  I am currently at Arizona State University.  My PhD is from the University of California Irvine, and I was a post doc at the University of California Davis.

My goals for FE include to promote it widely and to (continue to) attract the highest quality papers.  Among other things, I would like to see our blog, Twitter feed and YouTube channels followed by more people.  So, I am happy to see that, since you are reading this, you are reading our blog!  I look forward to meeting many of you at the annual meetings, and I welcome comments and concerns at any time.  Please do not hesitate to reach out.

Tuesday taster: 07/11/2017

I am preparing for fieldwork in Sweden, starting from tomorrow. While it will be really cold this time of the year, I just read that after a very hot 2016, also this year is going to enter the top 3 of warmest years ever recorded.

The retreating sea ice (a result of climate warming) is threatening not only many natural processes (see the blogs of Robert Mills), but also has enormous impacts on the livelihood of indigenous people .

In the latest issue of Functional Ecology, a very interesting paper on how variability in stream temperatures has a divergent effect on geographically dispersed insect populations.

And for those interested in stats, a pre-print paper on how to avoid artistry in significance tests


Enjoy your week,


Bjorn Robroek is the blog editor for Functional Ecologists.bjorn

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