Data from: Interactions between C:N:P stoichiometry and soil macrofauna control dung decomposition of savanna herbivoresJudith Sitters, Marc-Jacques Maechler, Peter J. Edwards, Werner Suter & Harry Olde Venterink
1. Although dung of mammalian herbivores is an important pathway for nutrient return in savanna ecosystems, differences in dung decomposition rates among species have been little studied. 2. We measured rates of dung deposition and decomposition for various herbivores in a moist Tanzanian savanna, and related differences among species to nutrient concentrations and the activities of soil macrofauna (e.g., different mesh sizes of decomposition bags, or presence and absence of dung beetles). 3. Dung C:N:P...
Data from: Directed dispersal by rotational shepherding supports landscape genetic connectivity in a calcareous grassland plantYessica Rico, Rolf Holderegger, Hans Juergen Boehmer & Helene H. Wagner
Directed dispersal by animal vectors has been found to have large effects on the structure and dynamics of plant populations adapted to frugivory. Yet, empirical data are lacking on the potential of directed dispersal by rotational grazing of domestic animals to mediate gene flow across the landscape. Here, we investigated the potential effect of large-flock shepherding on landscape-scale genetic structure in the calcareous grassland plant Dianthus carthusianorum, whose seeds lack morphological adaptations to dispersal to...
Data from: Strong nuclear differentiation contrasts with widespread sharing of plastid DNA haplotypes across taxa in European purple saxifrages (Saxifraga sect. Porphyrion subsect. Oppositifoliae)Manuela Winkler, Andreas Tribsch, Gerald M. Schneeweiss, Sabine Brodbeck, Felix Gugerli, Rolf Holderegger & Peter Schönswetter
The purple saxifrages, Saxifraga sect. Porphyrion subsect. Oppositifoliae, comprise the closest relatives of the arctic-alpine model plant S. oppositifolia and have a centre of diversity in the central and southern European mountain ranges. A multitude of taxa has been described and taxonomic concepts vary among different treatments. Using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) fingerprinting we show that some taxa indeed form strongly supported genetic entities best recognized on the species level (S. biflora, S. blepharophylla,...
Understanding the relationship between structural and functional connectivity is essential for successful restoration and conservation management, particularly in intensely managed agricultural landscapes. We evaluated the relationship between structural and functional connectivity of the wetland plant Lychnis flos-cuculi in a fragmented agricultural landscape using landscape genetic and network approaches. First, we studied the effect of structural connectivity, such as geographic distance and various landscape elements (forest, agricultural land, settlements and ditch verges), on gene flow among...
Data from: Environmental and historical imprints on beta diversity: insights from variation in rates of species turnover along gradientsMatthew C. Fitzpatrick, Nathan J. Sanders, Signe Normand, Jens-Christian Svenning, Simon Ferrier, Aaron D. Gove, Robert R. Dunn, N. J. Sanders, S. Normand, R. R. Dunn, J.-C. Svenning, A. D. Gove & S. Ferrier
A common approach for analysing geographical variation in biodiversity involves using linear models to determine the rate at which species similarity declines with geographical or environmental distance and comparing this rate among regions, taxa or communities. Implicit in this approach are weakly justified assumptions that the rate of species turnover remains constant along gradients and that this rate can therefore serve as a means to compare ecological systems. We use generalized dissimilarity modelling, a novel...
Data from: Plant functional traits reveal the relative contribution of habitat and food preferences to the diet of grasshoppersSébastien Ibanez, Olivier Manneville, Christian Miquel, Pierre Taberlet, Alice Valentini, Serge Aubert, Eric Coissac, Marie-Pascale Colace, Quentin Duparc, Sandra Lavorel & Marco Moretti
Food preferences and food availability are two major determinants of the diet of generalist herbivores and of their spatial distribution. How do these factors interact and eventually lead to diet differentiation in co-occurring herbivores? We quantified the diet of four grasshopper species co-occurring in subalpine grasslands using DNA barcoding of the plants contained in the faeces of individuals sampled in the field. The food preferences of each grasshopper species were assessed by a choice (cafeteria)...
Although it is generally agreed that the arctic flora is among the youngest and least diverse on Earth, the processes that shaped it are poorly understood. Here we present 50 thousand years (kyr) of arctic vegetation history, derived from the first large-scale ancient DNA metabarcoding study of circumpolar plant diversity. For this interval we additionally explore nematode diversity as a proxy for modelling vegetation cover and soil quality, and diets of herbivorous megafaunal mammals, many...
Data from: Molecular phylogeny and symbiotic selectivity of the green algal genus Dictyochloropsis sensu lato (Trebouxiophyceae): a polyphyletic and widespread group forming photobiont-mediated guilds in the lichen family LobariaceaeFrancesco Dal Grande, Andreas Beck, Carolina Cornejo, Garima Singh, Saran Cheenacharoen, Matthew P. Nelsen & Christoph Scheidegger
Dictyochloropsis s.l. is an ecologically important, common but little-studied genus of green algae. Here, we examined the diversity and host selectivity of algae attributed to this genus at both species-to-species and species-to-community levels. We conducted a molecular investigation of 15 cultured strains and several lichen photobionts, using 18S rRNA, rbcL and ITS sequence data. We further used seven alga-specific microsatellite markers to study algal sharing among fungi of the family Lobariaceae in two populations in...
Data from: The past ecology of Abies alba provides new perspectives on future responses of silver fir forests to global warmingWilly Tinner, Daniele Colombaroli, Oliver Heiri, Paul Henne, Marco Steinacher, Johanna Untenecker, Elisa Vescovi, Judy Allen, Gabriele Carraro, Marco Conedera, Fortunat Joos, André Lotter, Jürg Luterbacher, Stephanie Samartin & Verushka Valsecchi
Paleoecology can provide valuable insights into the ecology of species that complement observation and experiment-based assessments of climate-impact dynamics. New paleoecological records (e.g. pollen, macrofossils) from the Italian Peninsula suggest a much wider climatic niche of the important European tree species Abies alba (silver fir) than observed in its present spatial range. To explore this discrepancy between current and past distribution we analyse climatic data (e.g. temperature, precipitation, frost, humidity, sunshine) and vegetation-independent paleoclimatic reconstructions...
Data from: Small and ugly? Phylogenetic analyses of the “selfing syndrome” reveal complex evolutionary fates of monomorphic primrose flowersJurriaan M. De Vos, Rafael O. Wüest & Elena Conti
One of the most common trends in plant evolution, loss of self-incompatibility and ensuing increases in selfing, is generally assumed to be associated with a suite of phenotypic changes, notably a reduction of floral size, termed the selfing syndrome. We investigate whether floral morphological traits indeed decrease in a deterministic fashion after losses of self-incompatibility, as traditionally expected, using a phylogeny of 124 primrose species containing nine independent transitions from heterostyly (heteromorphic incompatibility) to homostyly...
Most landscape genetic studies assess the impact of landscape elements on species' dispersal and gene flow. Many of these studies perform their analysis on all possible population pairs in a study area and do not explicitly consider the effects of spatial scale and population network topology on their results. Here, we examined the effects of spatial scale and population network topology on the outcome of a landscape genetic analysis. Additionally, we tested whether the relevant...
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research11
University of Tartu2
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich2
University of Adelaide1
University of Sussex1
Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission1
University of Wollongong1
The Arctic University of Norway1
University of Alberta1