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  1. Abstract

    Plant diversity effects on community productivity often increase over time. Whether the strengthening of diversity effects is caused by temporal shifts in species-level overyielding (i.e., higher species-level productivity in diverse communities compared with monocultures) remains unclear. Here, using data from 65 grassland and forest biodiversity experiments, we show that the temporal strength of diversity effects at the community scale is underpinned by temporal changes in the species that yield. These temporal trends of species-level overyielding are shaped by plant ecological strategies, which can be quantitatively delimited by functional traits. In grasslands, the temporal strengthening of biodiversity effects on community productivity was associated with increasing biomass overyielding of resource-conservative species increasing over time, and with overyielding of species characterized by fast resource acquisition either decreasing or increasing. In forests, temporal trends in species overyielding differ when considering above- versus belowground resource acquisition strategies. Overyielding in stem growth decreased for species with high light capture capacity but increased for those with high soil resource acquisition capacity. Our results imply that a diversity of species with different, and potentially complementary, ecological strategies is beneficial for maintaining community productivity over time in both grassland and forest ecosystems.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2025
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    Low temperatures largely determine the geographic limits of plant species by reducing survival and growth. Inter-specific differences in the geographic distribution of mangrove species have been associated with cold tolerance, with exclusively tropical species being highly cold-sensitive and subtropical species being relatively cold-tolerant. To identify species-specific adaptations to low temperatures, we compared the chilling stress response of two widespread Indo-West Pacific mangrove species from Rhizophoraceae with differing latitudinal range limits—Bruguiera gymnorhiza (L.) Lam. ex Savigny (subtropical range limit) and Rhizophora apiculata Blume (tropical range limit). For both species, we measured the maximum photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) as a proxy for the physiological condition of the plants and examined gene expression profiles during chilling at 15 and 5 °C. At 15 °C, B. gymnorhiza maintained a significantly higher Fv/Fm than R. apiculata. However, at 5 °C, both species displayed equivalent Fv/Fm values. Thus, species-specific differences in chilling tolerance were only found at 15 °C, and both species were sensitive to chilling at 5 °C. At 15 °C, B. gymnorhiza downregulated genes related to the light reactions of photosynthesis and upregulated a gene involved in cyclic electron flow regulation, whereas R. apiculata downregulated more RuBisCo-related genes. At 5 °C, both species repressed genes related to CO2 assimilation. The downregulation of genes related to light absorption and upregulation of genes related to cyclic electron flow regulation are photoprotective mechanisms that likely contributed to the greater photosystem II photochemical efficiency of B. gymnorhiza at 15 °C. The results of this study provide evidence that the distributional range limits and potentially the expansion rates of plant species are associated with differences in the regulation of photosynthesis and photoprotective mechanisms under low temperatures.

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  4. Abstract

    Introduced invasive plants are a major environmental problem, but public interest in invasive plants is generally considered low compared to climate change and threatened flagship species, hindering support for effective management and policy. To understand what does drive public interest in invasive plants in the US, we investigated Google Trends search data from 2010 to 2020 for 209 introduced plant species found in the continental US. Using a phylogenetically-controlled structural equation model, we investigated three hypothesized drivers of interest: (1) plant abundance as quantified by national and state-level occurrence records in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility, (2) four key plant traits that might influence plant conspicuousness to the general public: ornamental use, human health risks, monoculture formation, and plants with positive economic value, and (3) media coverage, in particular the volume and sentiment of news articles over the same 10-year period. Public search interest was highest for the most abundant introduced species and those with human health risks, but significantly lower for ornamentals. News coverage was mostly negatively toned and disproportionately focused on a relatively small group of widespread invasive species, with significantly lower and more positively-worded coverage of ornamentals. Ultimately, we suggest that a narrow emphasis on a few highly covered ‘notorious’ invasive plant species, with lower and more positive coverage of ornamental introduced species, could send mixed messages and weaken public awareness of the threats of biological invasions. However, the generally strong linkages between public search interest and media coverage of invasive plants suggests ample opportunity to improve messaging and increase public awareness.

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  5. Science is under attack and scientists are becoming more involved in efforts to defend it. The rise in science advocacy raises important questions regarding how science mobilization can both defend science and promote its use for the public good while also including the communities that benefit from science. This article begins with a discussion of the relevance of science advocacy. It then reviews research pointing to how scientists can sustain, diversify, and increase the political impact of their mobilization. Scientists, we argue, can build and maintain politically impactful coalitions by engaging with and addressing social group differences and diversity instead of suppressing them. The article concludes with a reflection on how the study of science-related mobilization would benefit from further research. 
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  6. This data set includes spider abundances recorded on focal trees in a large-scale forest diversity manipulation at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in Edgewater, MD, USA. We repeatedly sampled spiders on 540 trees of 15 species planted in single or mixed species combinations (4 or 12) in June and August of 2019 and 2021. We took caterpillar abundance data, measured tree height, and took canopy closure measurements on each tree in 2021.

    Data associated with the paper:

    Positive tree diversity effects on arboreal spider abundance are tied to canopy cover in a forest experiment published in Ecology

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  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  8. Abstract

    Bats are important pest control agents in agriculture. Yet, the underlying fine‐scale biotic and abiotic mechanisms that drive their foraging behaviors and responses to insect outbreaks are unclear. Herbivore‐induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) can attract both invertebrate and vertebrate natural enemies that use the chemical plant cues to locate insect prey. The ability of HIPVs to attract multiple species raises the question of whether they may also be a biotic factor influencing insectivorous bat activity. Additionally, abiotic factors, such as weather conditions, can affect bat activity in agricultural settings, but little is known about how bats respond to shifting environmental conditions on short timescales in this landscape context. Using a model crop system, soybean (Glycine max), our study asked three questions: (1) Which bat species are active in eastern Maryland soybean fields? (2) Is insectivorous bat activity affected by naturally occurring soybean HIPVs and/or synthetic soybean HIPVs (indole or farnesene)? (3) How is insectivorous bat activity affected by hourly weather conditions in this landscape? In soybean fields in eastern Maryland, we created paired treatment plots: HIPV plots (damaged plants or synthetic HIPV dispensers) and control plots (undamaged plants or empty dispensers). We measured bat activity using ultrasonic recorders, summarizing hourly and nightly activity, and detected 10 total species. The most abundant species were big brown/silver‐haired bats (Eptesicus fuscus/Lasionycteris noctivagans). Bat activity did not significantly differ between control and HIPV plots in any of the three experiments. Thus, our results do not support our expectation that bats in eastern Maryland use soybean HIPVs to locate insect prey. However, bat activity did increase with increasing average hourly temperature and wind speed. This initial study of bats and HIPVs, as well as the fine‐scale examination of weather conditions on bat activity, may serve as a guide for future research on bat–plant interactions that can support the development of new strategies for sustainable pest management.

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