73 Works

Data from: Of niche differentiation, dispersal ability and historical legacies: what drives woody community assembly in recent Mediterranean forests?

Corina Basnou, Paloma Vicente, Josep Maria Espelta & Joan Pino
Community assembly rules have been extensively studied, but its association with regional environmental variation and land use history remains largely unexplored. Land use history might be especially important in Mediterranean forests, considering their historical deforestation and recent afforestation. Using forest inventories and historical (1956) and recent (2000) land cover maps, we explored the following hypotheses: 1) woody species assembly is driven by environmental factors, but also by historical landscape attributes; 2) recent forests exhibit lower...

Data from: The interplay among acorn abundance and rodent behavior drives the spatial pattern of seedling recruitment in mature Mediterranean oak forests

Pau Sunyer, Ester Boixadera, Alberto Muñoz, Raúl Bonal & Josep Maria Espelta
The patterns of seedling recruitment in animal-dispersed plants result from the interactions among environmental and behavioral variables. However, we know little on the contribution and combined effect of both kinds of variables. We designed a field study to assess the interplay between environment (vegetation structure, seed abundance, rodent abundance) and behavior (seed dispersal and predation by rodents, and rooting by wild boars), and their contribution to the spatial patterns of seedling recruitment in a Mediterranean...

Data from: The potential of electricity transmission corridors in forested areas as bumblebee habitat

Bruce Hill & Ignasi Bartomeus
Declines in pollinator abundance and diversity are not only a conservation issue, but also a threat to crop pollination. Maintained infrastructure corridors, such as those containing electricity transmission lines, are potentially important wild pollinator habitat. However, there is a lack of evidence comparing the abundance and diversity of wild pollinators in transmission corridors with other important pollinator habitats. We compared the diversity of a key pollinator group, bumblebees (Bombus spp.), between transmission corridors and the...

Data from: Isotopic methods for non-destructive assessment of carbon dynamics in shrublands under long-term climate change manipulation

Louise C. Andresen, Maria T. Dominguez, Sabine Reinsch, Andy R. Smith, Inger Kappel Schmidt, Per Ambus, Claus Beier, Pascal Boeckx, Roland Bol, Giovanbattista De Dato, Bridget A. Emmett, Marc Estiarte, Mark H. Garnett, György Kröel-Dulay, Sharon L. Mason, Cecilie S. Nielsen, Josep Penuelas, Albert Tietema & Andrew R. Smith
1.Long-term climate change experiments are extremely valuable for studying ecosystem responses to environmental change. Examination of the vegetation and the soil should be non-destructive to guarantee long-term research. In this paper, we review field methods using isotope techniques for assessing carbon dynamics in the plant-soil-air continuum, based on recent field experience and examples from a European climate change manipulation network. 2.Eight European semi-natural shrubland ecosystems were exposed to warming and drought manipulations. One field site...

Denitrification rates in mountain lake sediments

Carlos Palacin-Lizarbe & Jordi Catalan
During the last decades, atmospheric nitrogen loading in mountain ranges of the Northern Hemisphere has increased substantially, resulting in high nitrate concentrations in many lakes. Yet, how increased nitrogen has affected denitrification, a key process for nitrogen removal, is poorly understood. We measured actual and potential (nitrate and carbon amended) denitrification rates in sediments of several lake types and habitats in the Pyrenees during the ice-free season. Actual denitrification rates ranged from 0 to 9...

A novel method to measure hairiness in bees and other insect pollinators

Laura Roquer-Beni, Jordi Bosch, Anselm Rodrigo, Xavier Arnan, Alexandra-Maria Klein, Felix Fornoff & Virginie Boreux
1. Hairiness is a salient trait of insect pollinators that has been linked to thermoregulation, pollen uptake and transportation, and pollination success. Despite its potential importance in pollination ecology, hairiness is rarely included in pollinator trait analyses. This is likely due to the lack of standardized and efficient methods to measure hairiness. 2. We describe a novel methodology that uses a stereomicroscope equipped with a live measurement module software to quantitatively measure two components of...

Data from: Isotopic evidence for oligotrophication of terrestrial ecosystems

Joseph M. Craine, Andrew J. Elmore, Lixin Wang, Julieta Aranibar, Marijn Bauters, Pascal Boeckx, Brooke E. Crowley, Melissa A. Dawes, Sylvain Delzon, Alex Fajardo, Yunting Fang, Lei Fujiyoshi, Alan Gray, Rossella Guerrieri, Michael J. Gundale, David J. Hawke, Peter Hietz, Mathieu Jonard, Elizabeth Kearsley, Tanaka Kenzo, Mikhail Makarov, Sara Marañón-Jiménez, Terrence P. McGlynn, Brenden E. McNeil, Stella G. Mosher … & Katarzyna Zmudczyńska-Skarbek
Human societies depend on an Earth System that operates within a constrained range of nutrient availability, yet the recent trajectory of terrestrial nitrogen (N) availability is uncertain. Examining patterns of foliar N concentrations ([N]) and isotope ratios (15N) from more than 42,000 samples acquired over 37 years, here we show that foliar [N] declined by 8% and foliar 15N declined by 0.8 – 1.9 ‰. Examining patterns across different climate spaces, foliar 15N declined across...

Data from: Spatial prioritisation of EU’s LIFE-Nature program to strengthen the conservation impact of Natura 2000

Virgilio Hermoso, Dani Villero, Miguel Clavero & Lluís Brotons
1. Despite advances in conservation efforts within Europe during recent decades, assessments highlight a need for adequate financing mechanisms to support the Natura 2000 network; the centrepiece of the EU´s Biodiversity Strategy. Besides the need for greater investment (currently only covering a fifth of the estimated cost of the network), better planning for this investment could help better achieve conservation goals. 2. We demonstrate a method that could be used to identify priority Natura 2000...

Are leaf, stem and hydraulic traits good predictors of individual tree growth? (FUN2FUN project)

Jordi Martinez-Vilalta, Teresa Rosas, Maurizio Mencuccini, Carles Batlles, Íngrid Regalado, Sandra Saura-Mas & Frank Sterck
A major foundation of trait-based ecology is that traits have an impact on individual performance. However, trait-growth relationships have not been extensively tested in trees, especially outside tropical ecosystems. In addition, measuring traits directly related to physiological processes (‘hard traits’) remains difficult and the differences between inter- and intraspecific relationships are seldom explored. Here, we use individual-level data on a set of hydraulic, leaf and stem traits to explore which traits are the best predictors...

Data from: Demographic traits improve predictions of spatiotemporal changes in community resilience to drought

Maria Paniw, Enrique De La Riva & Francisco Lloret
Communities are increasingly threatened by extreme weather events. The cumulative effects of such events are typically investigated by assessing community resilience, i.e., the extent to which affected communities can achieve pre-event states. However, a mechanistic understanding of the processes underlying resilience is frequently lacking and requires linking various measures of resilience to demographic responses within natural communities. Using 13 years of data from a shrub community that experienced a severe drought in 2005, we use...

Extreme drought reduces climatic disequilibrium in dryland plant communities

María Ángeles Perez- Navarro
High rates of climate change are currently exceeding many plant species’ capacity to keep up with climate, leading to mismatches between climatic conditions and climatic preferences of the species present in a community. This disequilibrium between climate and community composition could diminish, however, when critical climate thresholds are exceeded, due to population declines or losses among the more mismatched species. Here, we assessed the effect of an extreme drought event on rich semiarid shrubland communities...

Ecological, genetic and evolutionary drivers of regional genetic differentiation in Arabidopsis thaliana

Xavier Picó, Antonio Castilla, Belen Mendez-Vigo, Arnald Marcer, Joaquin Martinez-Minaya, David Conesa & Carlos Alonso-Blanco
Background: Disentangling the drivers of genetic differentiation is one of the cornerstones in evolution. This is because genetic diversity, and the way in which it is partitioned within and among populations across space, is an important asset for the ability of populations to adapt and persist in changing environments. We tested three major hypotheses accounting for genetic differentiation—isolation-by-distance (IBD), isolation-by-environment (IBE) and isolation-by-resistance (IBR)—in the annual plant Arabidopsis thaliana across the Iberian Peninsula, the region...

Data from: A pragmatic approach to the analysis of diets of generalist predators: the use of next-generation sequencing with no blocking probes

Josep Piñol, Victoria San Andrés, Elizabeth L. Clare, Gisela Mir & William O. C. Symondson
Predicting whether a predator is capable of affecting the dynamics of a prey species in the field implies the analysis of the complete diet of the predator, not simply rates of predation on a target taxon. Here, we employed the Ion Torrent next-generation sequencing technology to investigate the diet of a generalist arthropod predator. A complete dietary analysis requires the use of general primers, but these will also amplify the predator unless suppressed using a...

Data from: Phenological asynchrony in plant–butterfly interactions associated with climate: a community-wide perspective

Isabel Donoso, Constanti Stefanescu, Alejandro Martínez-Abraín & Anna Traveset
Although much information has been accumulated on the effects of climate change on particular species worldwide, research aimed at assessing how such change influences biotic interactions from a community-wide perspective is still in its infancy. We contribute to filling in this gap by analyzing a 17-year (1996–2012) dataset that includes records of flower-visitation interactions between 12 butterfly species and 17 plant species in a coastal wetland area in northeastern Iberian Peninsula. We assessed the extent...

Data from: Unexpected consequences of a drier world: evidence that delay in late summer rains biases the population sex ratio of an insect

Raul Bonal, Marisa Hernández, Josep Maria Espelta, Alberto Muñoz & José M. Aparicio
The complexity of animal life histories makes it difficult to predict the consequences of climate change on their populations. In this paper, we show, for the first time, that longer summer drought episodes, such as those predicted for the dry Mediterranean region under climate change, may bias insect population sex ratio. Many Mediterranean organisms, like the weevil Curculio elephas, become active again after summer drought. This insect depends on late summer rainfall to soften the...

Data from: Shock and stabilisation following long-term drought in tropical forest from 15 years of litterfall dynamics

Lucy Rowland, Antonio C. L. Da Costa, Alex A. R. Oliveira, Samuel S. Almeida, Leandro V. Ferreira, Yadvinder Malhi, Dan B. Metcalfe, Maurizio Mencuccini, John Grace & Patrick Meir
Litterfall dynamics in tropical forests are a good indicator of overall tropical forest function, indicative of carbon invested in both photosynthesising tissues and reproductive organs such as flowers and fruits. These dynamics are sensitive to changes in climate, such as drought, but little is known about the long-term responses of tropical forest litterfall dynamics to extended drought stress. We present a 15-year dataset of litterfall (leaf, flower and fruit, and twigs) from the world's only...

Data from: Influence of clay licks on the diversity and structure of an Amazonian forest

Eduardo Molina, Josep Maria Espelta, Joan Pino, Guillem Bagaria & Dolors Armenteras
The spatial heterogeneity of resource availability is a major driver of biodiversity patterns. Some environmental conditions and resources are characterized by large-scale patterns of variation within the landscape. Clumped local discontinuities or discrete elements also increase spatial heterogeneity, romoting local “biodiversity hot-spots” by modifying habitat characteristics and promoting plant-animal interactions. Clay licks are faunal attractors owing to their role in the nutritional ecology of the user species; nevertheless, the effect of their presence on the...

Spatial variability of hosts, parasitoids and their interactions across a homogeneous landscape

Anna Torné-Noguera, Xavier Arnan, Anselm Rodrigo & Jordi Bosch
Species assemblages and their interactions vary through space, generating diversity patterns at different spatial scales. Here, we study the local-scale spatial variation of a cavity-nesting bee and wasp community (hosts), their nest associates (parasitoids), and the resulting antagonistic network over a continuous and homogeneous habitat. To obtain bee/wasp nests we placed trap-nests at 25 sites over a 32 km2 area. We obtained 1541 nests (4954 cells) belonging to 40 host species and containing 27 parasitoid...

Data from: Partitioning between atmospheric deposition and canopy microbial nitrification into throughfall nitrate fluxes in a Mediterranean forest

Rossella Guerrieri, Lucas Lecha, Stefania Mattana, Joan Cáliz, Emilio Casamayor, Anna Barceló, Greg Michalski, Josep Penuelas, Anna Àvila & Maurizio Mencuccini
1. Microbial activity plays a central role in nitrogen (N) cycling, with effects on forest productivity. Though N bio-transformations, such as nitrification, are known to occur in the soil, here we investigate whether nitrifiers are present in tree canopies and actively process atmospheric N. 2. This study was conducted in a Mediterranean holm oak (Quercus ilex L.) forest in Spain during the transition from hot dry summer to cool wet winter. We quantified NH4+—N and...

Data from: Evidence for locally adaptive metabolic rates among ant populations along an elevation gradient

Jonathan Zvi Shik, Xavier Arnan, Cristela S. Oms, Xim Cerda & Raphäel Boulay
1. As global temperatures rise, the mechanistic links between temperature, physiology and behavior will increasingly define predictions of ecological change. However, for many taxa, we currently lack consensus about how thermal performance traits vary within and across populations, and whether and how locally adaptive trait plasticity can buffer warming effects. 2. The metabolic cold adaptation hypothesis posits that cold environments (e.g. high elevations and latitudes) select for high metabolic rates (MR), even after controlling for...

Data from: Spontaneous forest regrowth in South-West Europe: consequences for nature’s contributions to people

Irene Martín-Forés, Sandra Magro, Andres Bravo-Oviedo, Raquel Alfaro-Sánchez, Josep M. Espelta, Theresa Frei, Elena Valdés-Correcher, Carmen Rodríguez Fernández-Blanco, Georg Winkel, Gabriel Gerzabek, Arndt Hampe & Fernando Valladares
Context European forests are expanding and becoming denser following the widespread abandonment of farmland and rural areas. Yet, little is known about the goods and services that spontaneous forest regrowth provide to people. Aims We assessed the changes in nature’s contributions to people (NCP) from spontaneous forest regrowth, i.e. forest expansion and densification, in South-West Europe. Methods We investigated 65 forest plots in four different landscapes with contrasting ecological and societal contexts. Two landscapes are...

Temporal variability is key to modelling the climatic niche

María Ángeles Perez-Navarro
Aim: Niche-based species distribution models (SDMs) have become a ubiquitous tool in ecology and biogeography. These models relate species occurrences with the environmental conditions found at these sites. Climatic variables are the most commonly used environmental data, and are usually included in SDMs as averages of a reference period (30-50 years). In this study we analyze the impact of including inter-annual climatic variability on the estimation of species niches and predicted distributions when assessing plant...

Data from: Niche shifts after island colonization spurred adaptive diversification and speciation in a cosmopolitan bird clade

Oriol Lapiedra, Ferran Sayol, Joan Garcia-Porta & Daniel Sol
Islands have long been recognized as key contributors to biodiversity because islands facilitate geographic isolation and ecological divergence from mainland ancestors. However, island colonization has traditionally been considered an evolutionary dead-end process, and its consequences for continental biodiversity remain understudied. Here, we studied the evolutionary radiation of Columbiformes (i.e. pigeons and doves) to examine if ecological niche shifts on islands shaped biological diversification and community composition on continents. We show that the colonization of islands...

Invasion success and tolerance to urbanization in birds

César González-Lagos, Laura Cardador & Daniel Sol Rueda
Cities are considered hotspot of biological invasions, yet it remains unclear why non-indigenous species are so successful in environments that most local native species do not tolerate. Here, we explore the intriguing possibility that humans may be unintentionally introducing species preadapted to persist in such environments. Combining data on historical introductions with information of avian assemblages along urban-wildland gradients, we found that avian species that in their native range proliferate in human-altered environments have been...

Natural selection favours drought escape and an acquisitive resource-use strategy in semiarid Mediterranean shrubs

Mario Blanco-Sánchez, Marina Ramos-Muñoz, Beatriz Pías, Jose Alberto Ramirez-Valiente, Laura Díaz-Guerra, Adrián Escudero & Silvia Matesanz
1. Natural selection is the major force driving adaptive evolution in natural populations, varying in strength, direction, and form through space and time, especially in highly variable environments such as Mediterranean ecosystems. Although a conservative resource-use strategy has been hypothesized to be adaptive in Mediterranean taxa, patterns of selection at the intraspecific level, i.e., the suite of traits determining individual fitness, are largely unknown. 2. Using a phenotypic selection experiment in natural semiarid conditions, we...

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