Friday, 14 January 2011

Introduced plant species and rapid evolution

Sometimes I come across interesting reviews by other people on F1000 that are about Biosecurity and Invasive Species.  This month Mark Vellend of the University of British Columbia, Canada has found a very interesting paper on a study of herbarium records collected over the past 100+ years that tells us that environmental adaptation to dry conditions in Australia may take precedence over competitive drivers (such as decreasing vs increasing leaf size) in rapid evolution of introduced plant species in the region. Mark Vellend's full evaluation can be read here:

The summary paragraph of the review:
An ingenious use of herbarium specimens across 23 exotic plant species in Australia has revealed that phenotypic changes following introduction are both very common, and in different directions than predicted by conventional wisdom.
 Details of the paper:
Buswell JM, Moles AT, Hartley S
J Ecol. 2011; 99:214-224

Friday, 7 January 2011

December review for F1000

 This month's paper that we have reviewed for F1000 is a combined effort by a number of authors, including an old colleague at the University of Leeds - Dr Koos Biesmeijer, whom I worked with on a couple of proposals before I left the UK. It is a very interesting read and raises many important questions by taking an unusually holistic perspective of examining the combined impacts of climate change and alien species on pollination.    

Multiple stressors on biotic interactions: how climate change and alien species interact to affect pollination
Schweiger, O; Biesmeijer, J. C.; Bommarco, R.; Hickler, T.; Hulme, P.; Klotz, S.; Kühn, I.; Moora, M.; Nielsen, A.; Ohlemüller, R.; Petanidou, T.; Potts, S. G.; Pyšek, P.; Stout, J. C.; Sykes, M.T.; Tscheulin, T.; Vilà, M.; Walther, G-R.; Westphal, C.; Winter, M.; Zobel, M.; Settele, J. Biological Reviews, 2010 Nov, 85(4): 777-795
DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-185X.2010.00125.x

Our Review:
Faculty of 1000: 2011.

This paper provides a rich and novel overview of hypotheses on the combined impacts of climate change and alien species on a key ecosystem service: pollination.  It provides a very good summary of the state of research, as well as a plethora of pointers to future study.

The paper takes a holistic view of potential changes to plant-pollinator systems under the impacts of climate change combined with introduced species, about which little is known. The paper examines evidence for both direct and indirect impacts, as well as complex, multi-trophic effects.