Insights into Oikos papers

From molecules to ecosystems

Understanding only arises from organising knowledge to reveal relationships and patterns - what the Periodic Table did for chemistry. Biology is inherently difficult to organise and find general patterns. For example, different bits of biology have referred to the ‘...

Importance of food quality for extinction

In communities of competing prey species of different food quality, predators may supplement their diets of low-quality prey with high-quality prey, leading to indirect interactions between different prey species. We show that this interaction not only ensures the...

Rotifers hedge their bets against environmental unpredictability

Humans are not the only species to hedge their bets against uncertainty. No habitat is completely predictable and organisms –from microorganisms to vertebrates– living in fluctuating environments may exhibit bet-hedging strategies, which are believed to have evolved to...

Fitness in invasive social wasps

Figure 1: Foraging common wasp worker carrying its prey. The beech forests in Nelson Lakes National Park, New Zealand, are filled with the buzzing sound of wasps. Nests are well hidden in the ground but in this forest, they can be easily spotted by observing foraging...

The who, when, where, how and why of partial migration

We were amazed when we first heard rumours that giant tortoises migrated up and down the volcanoes of the Galapagos Islands. Darwin had first mentioned the possibility after discussing with local farmers why tortoise trails went uphill! Later, several researchers found...

Complexity and structure of food webs in the Barents Sea

A food web describes the diversity of species and their feeding relationships, i.e. "who eats whom". Food webs are essential parts of ecology as they summarize who is present in an ecosystem and how species interact with one another, here as consumer and prey. It may...

More species, more genes?

More species, more genes? Why positive correlations between species and genetic diversity might not be the rule Diversity is an essential facet of natural ecosystems that cuts through many organizational scales. The diversity of species observed in a given area (...

March cover

The photo on the cover for our March Issue was shot by Johannes Foufopoulos. A male Aegean Wall Lizard (Podarcis erhardii) photographed on the Cycladic island of Naxos (Greece). The species occurs in numerous relict populations across land-bridge islands that were...

Does density dependence matter in foraging?

When explaining animal distributions in ecosystems, ecologists have long debated the relative importance of food availability on the one hand, and density-dependence on the other. A high availability of food typically attracts and concentrates animals. Foragers may...

How do the foragers respond to masting?

Masting is the synchronous production of large seed crops across individuals within a plant population, and is thought to have evolved (at least in part) as a mechanism to escape seed predators. How does this work? Theory predicts that superabundant, synchronous seed...

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