Cover Image Gallery

  • Cover of 31x09
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  • Cover of 31x07
  • Cover of 31x06
  • Cover of 31x05

Issue 31.09

Cover of issue 31-09

Our cover image shows a liana in the forest canopy. Compared to trees, lianas have a much greater amount of leaves relative to their basal stem area (through which water flows). In their paper, Contribution of lianas to community‐level canopy transpiration in a warm‐temperate forest, Ichihashi et al showed that the contribution of lianas to forest water dynamics may be several times greater than their contribution to forest BA (or standing biomass), so a slight increase in liana abundance may have considerable effects on water dynamics and the capacity of forests to store carbon. Photo credit: Ryuji Ichihashi.

This issue also includes our latest Review, Stable isotopes in tropical tree rings: theory, methods and applications, by Peter van der Sleen, Pieter A. Zuidema and Thijs L. Pons, and is a bumper issue for commentaries – In their Commentaries, Niv DeMalach and Ronen Kadmon (Light competition explains diversity decline better than niche dimensionality) and Harpole et al (Out of the shadows: multiple nutrient limitations drive relationships among biomass, light and plant diversity) debate the relative importance of light competition to diversity, while Soininen, Hamel and Yoccoz discuss the importance of study design and robust analyses in ecology. All Review and Commentary papers are free to read.

Read the issue here or browse the free plain language summaries here.

Issue 31.08

Cover of issue 31-08

Issue 31×08 is out now! You can also 

Our cover photo shows a humpback whales, mother and calf surfacing. To study their nursing behavior, Videsen et al. deployed non-invasive multi-sensor tags on eight young
humpback whale calves and two mothers. These tags (Dtags) record both depth, movement and sound data from the animals, providing unique and detailed insights into the lives of whales in the wild (see Videsen et al.’s High suckling rates and acoustic crypsis of humpback whale neonates maximise potential for mother–calf energy transfer). Photo taken by Fredrik Christiansen, Murdoch University Cetacean Research Unit.)The cover photo was taken as part of the project: Assessing body condition in baleen whales.

Also in this issue (and free to read), Freschet & Roumet’s Review: Sampling roots to capture plant and soil functions.

Browse the free plain language research summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 31.07

Cover of issue 31-07

The cover of issue 31x07 shows co-existing tree species, both conifer and broad-leaved trees, in the Cirque de Saint Même in the Alps (Chartreuse mountain range, France), and comes from Chauvet et al’s Using a forest dynamics model to link community assembly processes and traits structure, which shows that process-based forest gap-models can help to test whether functional traits composition reveal the signature of community assembly processes. This process-based approach challenges the classical view on the links between traits and mechanisms driving community assembly. Photo by Emmanuel Defossez.

Also in this issue is our latest review from Alexandre Budria, Beyond troubled waters: the influence of eutrophication on host–parasite interactions—the focus of our recent Insight.

You can also read the free plain language summaries for this issue here, including  a video for Coelho et al‘s paper A ‘striking’ relationship: scorpion defensive behaviour and its relation to morphology and performance.

Issue 31.06

Cover of issue 31-05

Our latest issue out now, with a cover  from Sonia Bejarano et al’s paper The shape of success in a turbulent world: wave exposure filtering of coral reef herbivory. Read more about the cover photo here.

Also in this issue, our latest commentary from Halsey gives a note of caution about energy expenditure‐proxy correlations, Vanbergen et al look at how network size, structure and mutualism dependence affect the propensity for plant–pollinator extinction cascades and Grutters et al explore how plant traits and plant biogeography control the biotic resistance provided by generalist herbivores.

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 31.05

Cover of issue 31-05

This issue includes our Special Feature: The Ecology of De-Extinction. The next decade will see the cloning or genetic reconstruction of some version of a formerly extinct species; one that will live long enough to breathe and shake its fur, feathers, or scales, or to unfurl a leaf. A defensible objective for de-extinction is to seek some conservation benefit and a realistic conservation benefit is the restoration of lost ecosystem functions, but seeking benefits is not the same as achieving them. The six papers presented in this special feature have been selected to be a first attempt to consider the feasibility, desirability, and the implications of the translocation (movement and release) of resurrected forms with the aim of achieving some conservation benefit. We also have a new FE Spotlight from Richard Karban, "Plant communication increases heterogeneity in plant phenotypes and herbivore movement", looking at Morrell and Kessler's "Plant communication in a widespread goldenrod: keeping herbivores on the move" (both also in this issue).

Our cover image shows a photograph of a moa skull (© The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London), with an artist’s rendition of an upland moa, Megalapteryx didinus (© George Edward Lloyd Trust, digitized by the Boston Public Library).

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 31.04

Cover of issue 31-04

Our cover image shows a young spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) relaxing at a communal den with its mother and siblings (photo taken by Lily Johnson-Ulrich).Using over 26 years of longitudinal data, Lewin et al's paper Juvenile concentrations of IGF‐1 predict life‐history trade‐offs in a wild mammal shows that concentrations of the insulin-like growth factor-1 during a young hyena’s life can predict its eventual reproduction and lifespan.

Our latest FE Spotlight by Christopher T. Solomon, Dissolved organic matter causes genetic damage in lake zooplankton via oxidative stress, looks at the importance of Wolf et al’s, The influence of dissolved organic carbon and ultraviolet radiation on the genomic integrity of Daphnia magna. Also in this issue (and free to read), is Sheil et al’s Review Does biomass growth increase in the largest trees? Flaws, fallacies and alternative analyses

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 31.03

Cover of issue 31-03: coral reef Our cover image shows a vibrant coral reef in the Red Sea (photo taken by Stephanie Helber). Despite being located in oligotrophic waters, which offer little to sustain life, corals reefs such as this one maintain high productivity, in part due to efficient nutrient cycling. Sponges have recently been shown to recycle dissolved organic matter (DOM) on coral reefs by rapidly taking up DOM and transforming it into particulate detritus that can then be transferred up the reef food web. This "sponge loop" is proposed to play an important role in recycling the large quantities of DOM released by benthic primary producers, such as corals and algae. In their study, Rix et al. compare how reef sponges process the DOM produced by corals and algae and investigate how different DOM sources may influence DOM cycling via the sponge loop (see Rix et al., Differential recycling of coral and algal dissolved organic matter via the sponge loop).


Our latest FE Spotlight by Cleo Bertelsmeier, Functional trait ecology in the Anthropocene: a standardized framework for terrestrial invertebrates , looks at the importance of Moretti et al’s, Handbook of protocols for standardized measurement of terrestrial invertebrate functional traits. Also in this issue (and free to read), is Sheil et al’s Review Does biomass growth increase in the largest trees? Flaws, fallacies and alternative analyses

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 31.02

Our cover shows a Nidua fringe-fingered lizard (Acanthodactylus scutellatus) - a lizard with cryptic pattern (photo by Dror Hawlena). In their paper, Movement correlates of lizards’ dorsal pigmentation patterns, Halperin et al suggested that species that forage less actively should have cryptic patterns while species that actively search for food should have stripes. Using an extensive literature survey, the authors found that lizards with stripes were substantially more active than lizards with cryptic patterns, providing the first quantitative support for the hypothesized relationships between pigmentation-patterns and foraging behaviour.

Also in this issue: in our latest FE Spotlight, New technology highlights the importance of scale in the foraging behaviour of a pelagic predator, Adrian Gleiss highlights the recent work by Adachi et al, Searching for prey in a three-dimensional environment: hierarchical movements enhance foraging success in northern elephant seals. Sperfeld et al’s Review: Bridging Ecological Stoichiometry and Nutritional Geometry with homeostasis concepts and integrative models of organism nutrition

Issue 31.01

The cover for 31.01 comes from our latest Special Feature: Plant Pollinator Interactions from Flower to Landscape. This special feature examines the mechanisms of specialization and the factors that govern the evolution of plant pollinator relationships. The papers cover the characteristics of floral traits shaped by specialization in plant-pollinator relationships; the nature of the food offered to pollinators; and characteristics of populations of pollinators and plants that make them resilient to anthropogenic change. For more Plant-Pollinator content, you can also read our Virtual Issue: Plant-Pollinator Interactions. and our latest FE Spotlight: Pollinator-mediated selection is better detected when controlling for resource limitation by Yuval Sapir, highlighting Sletvold et al’s paper Resource- and pollinator-mediated selection on floral traits.

also in this issue: 30 Years of Functional Ecology, Koch & Hill’s Review An assessment of techniques to manipulate oxidative stress in animals and our most recent paper on Peer Review at Functional Ecology, Author-suggested reviewers: gender differences and influences on the peer review process at an ecology journal.

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.

Issue 30.12

Issue 30.12 is out now and includes our new Special Feature: Advances and challenges in the study of ecological networks. Networks are collections of nodes that are connected to each other by links. Food webs, where nodes are species and links are feeding interactions (such as the Silvereye on our cover, Zosterops lateralis feeding on New Zealand flax), are just one type of ecological network (Photograph by Timothée Poisot, CC-BY) (see paper by Poisot, pp. 1878–1882).

This Special Feature presents research at the frontier of what networks can do for ecologists, and outlines an ambitious research agenda to integrate network approaches into the standard ecological toolkit. As networks are becoming more popular generally, tools developed in network science keep increasing. At the same time, new types of ecological data are emerging, placing us at an opportune crossroad to reflect on when and how looking at ecological communities as networks leads to new and useful insights.

Browse the lay summaries or read the articles online.