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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Congrats Lauren and Joshua!

Congratulations to undergrad researchers Lauren and Joshua! Presenting their poster and video at the 2020 University Virtual Symposium poster, they earned the First Place Award for the Department of Biological Science, made possible through the contribution of the Craig Family Elevate Award for Sciences.

Lab grads!

So proud of the lab’s first MS and BS students graduating this spring!

Joann Jeplawy defended her MS in Environmental Sciences & Policy on The impact of genotypic vs. environmental variation in leaf litter on aquatic community assemblage and decomposition, presented at the Society for Freshwater Science annual meeting, and is off to Denver for paid-post-grad-school employment! It’s going to be a great paper!

Morgan Andrews finished her BS in Environmental Sciences with a Hooper Undergraduate Research Award and a poster presentation at the Society for Freshwater Science on her long list of outside-the-classroom accomplishments, and is headed off to work with the USGS in Washington State. We will miss you Morgan!

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!

New paper on feeding niche divergence in sticklebacks

Congrats Dominik Schmid on your excellent MS work, forthcoming in The American Naturalist. I knew I made all those stickleback babies for a good reason! Dominik found that very recently diverged (<200 yrs) lake and stream sticklebacks already differ in their feeding morphology, and that this translates into different feeding efficiency and selectivity in a diverse zooplankton community, altering ecosystem composition and function. Dominik’s easy-to-understand abstract available here.

Dominik W. Schmid, Matthew D. McGee, Rebecca J. Best, Ole Seehausen, and Blake Matthews (Mar 2019). Rapid divergence of predator functional traits affects prey composition in aquatic communities. The American Naturalist.