Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Category Archives: Ecology

Sweeping study finds big landscape changes on the fringes of Europe’s protected areas

Quaint cobblestone towns and green pastures dot the Pyrenees Mountains, at the gates of Catalonia’s Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Hike a few miles into the park, though, and the Spanish landscape of trickling rivers and montane … Continue reading

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By separating life stages, metamorphosis may circumvent harmful evolutionary tradeoffs

  There’s no guarantee evolution will bestow the best version of every trait. The benefits of one trait may impose a cost when an unfavorable trait, correlated genetically, comes along for the ride. In a recent study on wood frogs (Rana sylvatica) … Continue reading

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Predators can harm rather than help biodiversity

  Rich biodiversity depends on the ability of species to coexist. And yet, ecologists are still grappling with the requisite mechanisms. Recent findings published in Nature suggest that predators might not be as helpful a driver of species coexistence as … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Protozoan predators help pinpoint how evolution and ecology shape predator-prey dynamics

A hungry lynx bounds after a scampering hare. Occasionally the lynx secures its catch. Often, it doesn’t. For ecology students, this back and forth battle is the textbook example of an ecological process driving predator–prey population dynamics. The predator population … Continue reading

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Journal club: A simple model to help identify which species might become invasive

Invasive species are a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Now researchers have developed a simple model that can quickly predict which species are likely to become established outside their native environment. The team recently reported in the Proceedings of … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Marine conservation move sparks a fishing frenzy

Initiatives to protect marine ecosystems could do more harm to marine life than good, according to a recent PNAS paper. The work suggests that the announcement of one of the world’s largest marine protected areas sparked a sudden uptick in … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Protein vs protein, study comprehensively compares the environmental impacts of livestock and seafood

The most environmentally friendly protein sources include clams, sardines, and cod. Not surprisingly, beef has the worst environmental impact. Somewhat surprisingly, farmed salmon is relatively innocuous; but catfish is not. These are the conclusions of a recent study that compares … Continue reading

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Journal Club: Damaged reefs get quieter, causing fewer fish to hear their way home

  A healthy coral reef creates quite the underwater racket. Reef croakers croak, damselfish woop-woop-woop, and clown fish sound thuds like a woodpecker at a tree. But a new study reports that climate-change related disturbances can turn down the volume … Continue reading

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Journal Club: How traditional people tamed the Amazon rainforest

The Amazon rainforest is often thought of as an untamed wilderness. But a growing number of studies, for example one in 2015 and another in 2017, show that local people have domesticated the forests for millennia, weaving patches of useful … Continue reading

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Journal Club: In the mouse gut, a bacteria-killing virus evolves to attack a new strain

In scientists’ quest to understand how gut microbes affect human health, bacteria take center stage. But bacteriophages, the viruses that attack the bacteria, are often overlooked, says microbiologist Luisa De Sordi of the Institut Pasteur in France. “We keep an … Continue reading

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