Teresa Rosas working in their COVID-19 office

Teresa Rosas: single traits are not enough to predict tree growth

In our new post Teresa Rosas, Talent and Gender officer at CREAF (Spain), presents her work ‘Are leaf, stem and hydraulic traits good predictors of individual tree growth?’, discusses the complexity of ecological relationships and shows that there is life for a PhD beyond academia. About the paper In the 21st century, humanity faces the huge challenge to adapt to rapid global change. As ecologists, … Continue reading Teresa Rosas: single traits are not enough to predict tree growth

Alexander Walton with paper wasp workers, temporarily individually housed in deli cups.

Alexander Walton: Nutritional environment is an important regulator of aggression in paper wasps

 Dr. Alexander Walton, a Postdoctoral Researcher working collaboratively at Iowa State University and Cornell University, discusses with us his recent paper, “Resource limitation, intragroup aggression, and brain neuropeptide expression in a social wasp.” Nourishment can affect behaviour in many ways, including social behaviours. In this study, my co-author and I explored the link between a social animal’s nutritional environment and how cooperative or aggressive they … Continue reading Alexander Walton: Nutritional environment is an important regulator of aggression in paper wasps

Beetle replicas with a bird predation attempt (left) indicated by the beak marks across the wings and head and a rodent (right) indicated with the incisor teeth marks in the clay.

Amanda Franklin: Reflecting on mirror camouflage

Our cover story for January 2022 is all about the dazzling world of mirror camouflage. Amanda Franklin of University of Melbourne tells us about her latest research “Cracks in the mirror hypothesis: High specularity does not reduce detection or predation risk” and explains why all may not be as it seems. How can an animal make itself invisible? Perhaps by perfectly mimicking a leaf or … Continue reading Amanda Franklin: Reflecting on mirror camouflage

Hannah White

Hannah White: Looking at historical climate helps map current ecosystem stability

In this post Dr Hanna White, lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, presents her latest work “Ecosystem stability at the landscape scale is primarily associated with climatic history”. She discusses how biodiversity could not be enough to maintain a stable plant productivity in a changing climate, the importance of ecosystem monitoring and why ecologists are a great community for doing science. About the Paper … Continue reading Hannah White: Looking at historical climate helps map current ecosystem stability

Mathias Dezetter

Mathias Dezetter: Physiological responses to increasing temperature combine energy and water balance in a long-lived snake

Mathias Dezetter, PhD student at the Centre d’Etudes Biologiques de Chizé and the Institut d’Ecologie et des Sciences de l’Environnement de Paris, discusses with us his recently accepted paper, “Additive effects of developmental acclimation and physiological syndromes on lifetime metabolic and water loss rates of a dry-skinned ectotherm.” About the paper How organisms can adjust their physiology in response to climate warming is a crucial … Continue reading Mathias Dezetter: Physiological responses to increasing temperature combine energy and water balance in a long-lived snake

Admiring the beauty of a coral. © Netanel Kramer

Light-harvesting of mesophotic corals

Netanel Kramer, a Ph­D candidate at Tel-Aviv University, discusses with us his recently accepted paper, “Efficient light-harvesting of mesophotic corals is facilitated by coral optical traits.” About the Paper Corals are light-dependent organisms that take the concept of “solar cells” very literally. Corals rely on a symbiotic relationship with tiny algae residing within their tissues to convert sunlight into energy. Since corals are powered by … Continue reading Light-harvesting of mesophotic corals

Jodi Sedlock and the experimental rice paddy plots at the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, Philippines. (photo by Nina Ingle)

Can ultrasonic katydid choruses degrade foraging habitat for wild bats?

Jodi Sedlock, photographer and researcher for our December cover story takes us behind her research and reminds us all that even when plans go out the window, there’s still a silver lining! About the paper The high-pitched buzz of katydid mating calls caught my attention while recording the cries of bats swooping and diving over rice paddies in the Philippines. While other researchers were tracking … Continue reading Can ultrasonic katydid choruses degrade foraging habitat for wild bats?

Vianney Denis: Trophic plasticity of corals

Vianney Denis, Associate Professor at National Taiwan University in Taiwan, discusses his recently accepted paper, “Trophic plasticity of mixtrophic corals under contrasting environments.” About the paper To be picky or to not be picky? That is an important question when it comes to corals’ diet. Our paper explored the trophic plasticity of important mixotrophs -organisms able to blend autotrophic and heterotrophic nutrition- at the base … Continue reading Vianney Denis: Trophic plasticity of corals

Ximena and Juan (husband) preparing samples for carbon nitrogen analysis at HIE. Image courtesy of Ximena Cibils-Stewart

Silicon or symbionts? Grasses use both types of anti-herbivore defences

Ximena Cibils-Stewart recently submitted her doctoral dissertation at The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University, and is currently an adjunct scientist at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación Agropecuaria (http://www.inia.uy/en) in Uruguay. In her doctoral work her main focus was to evaluate how silicon-supplementation in combination with beneficial symbionts (i.e. endophytes) enhances grass resistance to insect pests. In this Behind the Paper, she talks about … Continue reading Silicon or symbionts? Grasses use both types of anti-herbivore defences

Photo: A nest of the African social spider Stegodyphus dumicola in Namibia. The nest consists of thick silk layers with multiple entry holes underneath the nest, facing the ground. A large capture web extends from the nest, and a few spiders can be seen active on the web. The spiders are predominantly inactive during the day and remain inside the nest, unless they attack prey intercepted in the web. The spiders move to the area immediate below the nest to cool down at peak summer temperatures. They are active in web maintenance activities at dusk and dawn. (Photo Trine Bilde).

Trine Bilde: Responses to thermal stress in a social spider

Trine Bilde, Professor of Evolutionary Biology in the Department of Biology at Aarhus University, discusses with us her recently accepted paper, “Behavioural and physiological responses to thermal stress in a social spider”. About the paper What’s your paper about? The study investigates behavioural and physiological adaptations to temperature stress in a desert living social spider, specifically behavioural changes in microhabitat use, and whether the wax … Continue reading Trine Bilde: Responses to thermal stress in a social spider