New paper – community consequences of phenotypic plasticity

J.R. Jeplawy, H.F. Cooper, J. Marks, R.L. Lindroth, M.I. Andrews, Z.G. Compson, C. Gehring, K.R. Hultine, K. Grady, T.G. Whitham, G.J. Allan, and R.J. Best. 2021. Plastic responses to hot temperatures homogenize riparian leaf litter, speed decomposition, and reduce detritivores. Ecology 102:e03461. link

 

Riparian ecosystems are shaped by leaf litter traits that depend on both local adaptation and plasticity across a climate gradient. MS student Joann Jeplawy used 6 populations and 3 common gardens of Fremont cottonwood across Arizona.Image

She found that trees growing in hot conditions made small and fast-decomposing leaves, whereas cold conditions allowed trees from different origins to express a wide range of traits and decomposition rates. 

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And leaf traits and decomp rates matter for aquatic detritivore communities, shaping abundance, diversity, and composition. So, how will climate change affect stream communities? Past evolution and current acclimation in foundation species both play a role!
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New paper on plasticity, predation, plants, and the evolution of coloration in isopods

Thrilled to see Moritz Lürig‘s fantastic dissertation work out in the Journal of Animal Ecology (preprint here)! Supported by the ETH center for Adaptation to a Changing Environment and working in the Matthews lab at Eawag (Switzerland), Moritz looked at both diet and stickleback predation as drivers of camouflage on short and long timescales. More work on the fish side of this equation coming in the future!