From 26 – 30 June 2013 the 56th Annual Symposium of the International Association for Vegetation Science is taking place in Tartu, Estonia. A number of members of the Journal of Ecology Editorial Board are speaking at the meeting. Please find summaries of talks by four of our Associate Editors below.
Positive interactions and interdependence in the organization of plant communities
Wednesday 26 June 2013 9.30
I am discussing how positive interactions, or facilitation, contribute to the organization of plant communities. Facilitation is often is manifest as the ‘net’ effect of different interactions happening the same time, and thus can be highly conditional depending on the physical environment. The ‘scope’ of facilitation can be at the scale of whole communities or landscapes, and this can be at either ecological or evolutionary time scales.
Functional traits incorporated in hierarchical species distribution models
Wednesday 26 June 2013 12.00
I will be talking about how plant functional traits can be incorporated into multi-species distribution models to capture the way that traits modulate species responses to environmental gradients. I use a case study of eucalyptus trees in an isolated mountain range in se Australia.
Are there tradeoffs between cool and warm season growth in temperate woody vegetation?
Thursday 27 June 2013 14.50
My talk is about whether there is an ecological role for nuclear DNA content in forest shrubs, something that has been examined mostly in herbaceous species. We were able to show that shrubs exhibiting very early spring budbreak (leafing out in March and April in central New York) have relatively large amounts of nuclear DNA, possibly because large genomes require large cells, and the expansion of large cells is an effective way to grow during cool spring temperatures when growth through cell division isn’t possible. Interestingly, most invasive shrubs show the opposite tendency: to have small genomes, enabling fast growth through cell division later in the growing season.
Competition and clonal connections
Friday 28 June 9.00
Clonal connections explored in greenhouse studies show that mother plants support daughters, but what about long-lived clones in the field? Isotope labelling of clonal trees showed that the bulk of nitrogen flowed from daughters to mothers, in stark contrast to greenhouse experiments. The implications of helpful daughters are considered with regards to invasions and nutrient flux between patches.
Hans de Kroon
The 56th IAVS symposium is an overwhelming event. More than 450 participants, most of them vegetation scientists with an incredible knowledge about the biodiversity patterns and community assembly of their systems. The organisers have decided to challenge this traditional audience with sessions and talks that will focus on underlying processes. Particularly noteworthy are tomorrow’s session on soil biota and the session on Sunday on ecological interactions. Plenaries of Martin Zobel on mycorrhiza and myself will emphasize the below-ground processes that may determine the patterns that we see above-ground. But more broader perspectives will be presented, like in the excellent opening plenaries of Ray Callaway and Ove Eriksson. David Tilman’s award lecture tomorrow will also give some sparkling insights, no doubt.