Editor's Choice May

Submitted by editor on 17 May 2016.

The meta-analysis and forum paper from the May issue of Oikos are selected as Editor’s choice. Bauer and colleagues synthesise the available empirical evidence to provide evidence that timing of migration events strongly impacts ecological dynamics across larger spatial scales.  This neglected temporal dimension of migratory connectivity has severe consequences on individual fitness, population dynamics, gene flow and community dynamics. A specific case for disease dynamics is developed by the development of a new dynamic epidemiological network model of a migratory population. The work highlights that the three dimensions of timing (phenology, synchrony and consistency) jointly affect the ecological dynamics of their populations and the communities they visit throughout migration.

The meta-analysis of Guiz et al. reports on the long-term effects of plant diversity and composition on plant stoichiometry. Stoichiometry is the study of organismal elemental composition. Changes in key elemental ratios (for instance C:N ratios in plants) are mechanisms underlying spatiotemporal variation in population- and ecosystem-level processes, including herbivory, nutrient recycling, and pathogen infection. Stoichiometric changes thus likely underlie diversity-functioning relationships under natural and experimental conditions. Using two long-term experimental manipulations of plant diversity (Jena and Cedar Creek), the authors demonstrated that community-wide changes in C:N ratios were accelerated by diversity, though in opposing directions at the two study sites. Overall, stoichiometry changes were driven by local, and divergent shifts in the functional group composition. Species turnover over time among the two sites largely determined the effect of diversity on plant stoichiometry. The composition and species richness thus largely determines temporal trends in plant carbon and nitrogen ratios.

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