Recent Posts

Nanoscale movements of cellulose microfibrils in primary cell walls ($)

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Cell walls are complex mixtures of cellulose microfibrils, proteins and other materials. Their mechanical properties can be measured and modeled, but it is not always simple to translate these measurements to changes at the molecular level. Zhang et al. used atomic force microscopy to provide an unprecedented…

Burning grasses, poor seeds: Post-fire reproduction of early-flowering Neotropical savanna grasses produces low-quality seeds (Plant Ecol.) ($)

Fire is a disturbance that underpins several ecological processes in tropical savannas. For instance, some plant species from these ecosystems are traditionally known for relying on fires to reproduce. However, this dependency remains to be formally tested. Also, the impact of fire on seed quality…

Opinion. We have been in lockdown, but deforestation has not (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA)

Douglas Daly is the B. A. Krukoff Curator of Amazonian Botany, Institute of Systematic Botany at the New York Botanic Garden, and a specialist in tropical tree systematics and the flora of the Amazon region. In this Opinion article, he reflects on how he and other field-based botanists have kept their…

Review: Trade‐off between seed dispersal in space and time (Ecol. Lett.)

Seeds can be dispersed in space (i.e., away from their mother plants) or time (i.e., delayed germination via seed dormancy or persistent soil seed banks). These contrasting strategies have traditionally been considered to increase reproductive success, but our understanding of their relationship is…

Do regeneration traits vary according to vegetation structure? A case study for savannas ($) (J. Veg. Sci.)

Regeneration traits –such as germination strategies, seed dormancy, and seedling establishment– are presumably shaped by environmental variables that operate at different temporal and spatial scales. However, empirical evidence about the variation is lacking for most regeneration seed traits. Here,…

Review: Extending Plant Defense Theory to Seeds (Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst.) ($)

Plants have developed multiple mechanisms to deal with the natural enemies they encounter through their life. In consequence, the Plant Defense Theory has arisen to assess how plants allocate resources to this purpose. However, much of the efforts in this matter has revolved around the defense that occurs…

Seed predation selects for reproductive variability and synchrony in perennial plants (New Phytol.) ($)

Instead of regularly flowering and fruiting each year, some long-lived species exhibit annually variable reproduction events. This phenomenon, known as masting, is considered an adaptation to reduce the losses from seed predation: in years of high reproduction, seeds are so abundant that predators become…

Limited evidence for a consistent seed mass-dispersal trade-off in wind dispersed pines (J. Ecol.) ($)

The dispersal capacity of wind-dispersed seeds is expected to be shaped by seed mass, with lighter seeds dispersed further due to low terminal velocity (i.e., maximum velocity while falling). However, this relationship has been mostly tested comparing species from different taxonomic groups, rather…

Driving factors of disease spread in natural plant-pollinator communities (Nature Ecol. Evol.)

Disease spread within species-rich communities is hard to predict and prevent due to the dynamic transmission of parasites between multiple hosts that change in abundance and composition over time. To better understand the temporal dynamics of bee parasites in communities of plants and pollinators, Graystock…

Alpine plant growth and reproduction dynamics in a warmer world (New Phytol.)

Climate warming affects plant performance in warm and dry regions. In cold regions, warming stimulates growth and reproduction, but its effects can vary depending on location and species. Whether herbaceous plants can adapt to increasing temperatures is unclear and a matter of concern. In this study…