Hot Student Papers

Food web rewiring in a changing world

8 Feb 2019 - 1:54pm
aerial view of forested land and water

Climate change is leaving a complex human fingerprint around the globe, in part because climate change effects are uneven in space, with some habitats, ecosystems, and even hemispheres changing more than others. In our Perspective recently accepted in Nature Ecology & Evolution, we show that these uneven climate change effects are predictably reorganizing food webs around the globe. Previous research has shown that as species are redistributing towards the poles, they are adding new connections in food webs. We highlight a second way that food webs are ‘rewiring’: changes in the flows of energy and carbon through existing food web connections.

Kinship, association, and social complexity in bats

1 Feb 2019 - 3:22pm
Krista Patriquin with a bat

With more than 1,400 species worldwide, bats are the second most speciose group of mammals and most live in groups. In fact, bats exhibit the gamut of sociality, ranging from living solitarily, to living in leks, harems, and colonies of more than a million individuals. Network analyses have provided us with a better picture of the factors shaping composition and stability of bat groups. However, the precise metrics used vary considerably across studies, making comparisons across species difficult. Moreover, the role kinship plays in these groups has not been well documented. Drawing from published and unpublished data on social and genetic relationships, we applied the same social and genetic analyses to 9 species from 4 families of bats.

Relationship between water transparency and walleye (Sander vitreus) muscle glycolytic potential in Northwestern Ontario lakes

25 Jan 2019 - 8:51am
walleye fish

This week’s Hot Student Paper features Timothy Bartley, post doc from Bailey McMeans Lab: Relationship between water transparency and walleye (Sander vitreus) muscle glycolytic potential in Northwestern Ontario lakes, published in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Nov 2018.

Herbivores and plant defences affect selection on plant reproductive traits more strongly than pollinators

13 Dec 2018 - 1:05pm
White clover

The diversity of floral structures observed in nature is thought to have arisen due to selection by pollinators since they are required for the successful reproduction of many land plants. However, increasing evidence also suggests herbivores (e.g. chewing insects) may also influence natural selection on plant floral traits since they use many of the same cues to locate plant floral structures (e.g. large, vibrant displays) and often consume flowers and seeds. As a result, plants have evolved a number of ways of protecting themselves from herbivore damage (e.g. chemical plant defenses). By influencing how plants interact with herbivores and pollinators (e.g.

A roadmap for urban evolutionary ecology

29 Nov 2018 - 1:31pm
Members of Marc Johnson's lab

Today’s world is one of unprecedented environmental change. Cities, one of the leading causes of such change, are the fastest growing ecosystems on Earth. Over half of all humans now live in urban habitats, making understanding how cities influence the ecology and evolution of species of central importance. In our Perspective article, we provide a roadmap of urban evolutionary ecology. We begin by recounting a brief history of the field of urban ecology and the development of urban evolution. We follow by synthesizing current research in urban evolutionary ecology and identifying six important, yet unresolved questions that need to be addressed.