Our cover image is a photo of the Konza Prairie Biological Station. (Photo credit: Robert J. Griffin-Nolan. Rising global temperatures are expected to change rainfall patterns around the world, leading to more extreme weather events such as drought. To understand how ecosystems and the services they provide will respond to such changes, we need accurate predictions of which species of plants will respond positively or negatively to climate change, and the relative influence that those species have on the functioning or well-being of the ecosystem in question (see paper by Griffin-Nolan et al.)
Our changing climate is just one of the many ways that humans influence communities and ecosystems. Human land-use and other human-mediated changes to communities have dramatically changed patterns of biodiversity and ecological processes on our planet. In this issue, our latest Special Feature: A Mechanistic Understanding of Global Change Ecology, we present a collection of review and perspective papers that examine the mechanisms underlying how organisms, communities and ecosystem respond to a variety of global changes. This special feature grew out of a symposium held at the annual meeting of the British Ecological Society in Liverpool, UK, in December 2016 (presentations available here). That symposium, a celebration of Functional Ecology‘s 30th anniversary as a journal and the publication of volume 30 of the journal, brought together members of the Functional Ecology editorial board to discuss current issues in global change ecology.
Read the papers here or browse the plain language summaries here.