Christopher Stieha

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The first half of 2016 in review

4 August 2016
It’s always good to pause and take stock of what has happened. I usually do this personally, but figured I could also post about it as news to catch up on my backlog of things that have happened.

In February, our paper on the effects of plant compensatory regrowth on herbivore population dynamics was published in The American Naturalist. Long story short, plant compensatory regrowth, by themselves, can cause herbivore populations to cycle and can interact with plant resistance to produce non-intuitive effects on herbivore dynamics.

Simeon Yurek and Don DeAngelis at the Faculty of 1000 website have a great write-up of the paper.

To appear in the special issue of Evolutionary Ecology on clonal plants, our paper on the maintenance of the sexes in metapopulations of varying spatial configuration is already online. When males and females compete to the point of exclusion and both can asexually reproduce, the spatial arrangement of the subpopulations within a metapopulation can drastically affect whether both sexes are maintained and whether the metapopulation persists. Basically, maintenance and persistence require dispersal, but not too much dispersal by asexual propagules.

Our R Journal article for our package QPot, has been accepted and should appear on their page soon: QPot is currently available through CRAN. Once we have the official R Journal article, I’ll include that as a vignette and update the QPot package. There is an earlier version of the manuscript available on arXive.

Jessica Brzyski presented our work on the within-patch and between-patch distribution of sexes and genotypes at the Botanical Society of America meeting in Savannah, Georgia. In our study on the clonal plant Marchantia inflexa, we quantified the influence of sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction on the spatial distribution of the sexes and genotypes both within a patch as well as between patches. We found that asexual reproduction is important at both scales, in contrast to current thought that it is only important within patches. We also found that spatial segregation of the sexes and spatial segregation of genotypes don’t necessarily match up.

Kasey Keisewetter, an undergraduate researcher, presented her work on the effects of phenological mismatches between plants and their ant dispersers due to climate change at the Ecological Society of America meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She empirically quantified the short-term effects of temperature variation on seed dispersal and then used a mathematical model to simulate the long-term effects. The phenology of the plant relative to the activity of the forager is important and interacts with ant preference to affect the long-term dynamics.

And with all that said, back to deal with the multiple papers that came back recently and require my attention NOW!