Issues in Ecology

You can read the lay summaries for Functional Ecology's contribution to the special feature here.

Microorganisms carry out a large number of fundamental processes that underpin ecosystem function. Aside from their importance as symbionts or pathogens of all macro-organisms, microbes influence ecosystem function through the decomposition of organic matter and the subsequent cycling of carbon and nutrients. The enormous diversity and high functional overlap of soil microbes in particular makes this an exciting but challenging area of research in functional ecology. Over 20 years ago, Fenchel (1992) delivered a Tansley Lecture on what ecologists could learn from microbes. This virtual issue takes a look at some of the subsequent advances in ecosystem research, which have been made possible by considering microbial processes and populations within the bigger picture of ecosystem function. Read the Virtual Issue

During the last decade, the number of studies incorporating phylogenetic information into community ecology research exploded. As gene sequencing gets cheaper and the computational power to analyze these sequences improves, well defined and robust phylogenies for all types of organisms are becoming available. Thus, ecologists have now access to detailed information about the evolutionary relatedness among interacting species as well as the amount of phylogenetic diversity a community harbors.

Two fields of community ecology research have particularly benefited from the increased availability of phylogenetic information. These are community assembly and biodiversity-ecosystem functioning research. The former explores the processes and mechanisms by which species organize and interact with each other to establish local communities. The latter explores the influence biological diversity can have on the functioning of ecological systems in order to predict the consequences of its loss. In both cases, the amount of phylogenetic relatedness among different organisms has been considered as a substitute for their functional differentiation, which in principle is much more difficult to quantify. Read the Virtual Issue

Each year the BES awards a prize for the best paper, in each of its journals, by an author at the start of their research career. This virtual issue brings together the winning papers and those highly commended by the editors from journal issues published in 2014.
Congratulations to all concerned.
Read the Virtual Issue
Young Investigator 2014

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Current Ecology Issues

Ecology ESA