Editor's Choice June

Submitted by editor on 1 June 2017.

The forum paper of Lamy et al. "The contribution of species–genetic diversity correlations to the understanding of community assembly rules" synthesises the current insights and caveats on the importance of correlations between species diversity and neutral genetic variation, and its use in community studies. Theoretically, we can expect the emergence of a positive correlation when processes related to drift, colonisation, extinction and mutation shape patterns of species and genetic diversity in a parallel way. If universal, such correlations may facilitate our understanding of the drivers of community assembly. The authors demonstrate that such a positive correlation is not omnipresent and that other biotic and abiotic drivers may be equally important. They therefore build a framework and provide statistical and empirical tools to identify the multiple factors underpinning putative species-genetic diversity correlations.

Our second editor’s choice is the meta-analysis "Effects of reproductive strategies on pollutant concentrations in pinnipeds: a meta-analysis" by Daniel Hitchcock and colleagues. They used meta-analytical tools to infer how reproductive strategies affect pollutant transfer from mothers to offspring. Pollutants such as PCB’s and mercury are highly relevant stressor in marine pinnipeds with known intergenerational cascading effects on individual performance and thus fitness.  The authors found that whether species are capital or income breeders did not affect vertical transfer of pollutants. In capital breeders (that made up the bulk of the species with data available), PCB concentrations are similar in juveniles  to females and therefore of concern due to early life stage exposure and elevated sensitivity.

Dries Bonte, EiC