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BACKGROUND AND AIMS A standardized methodology to assess the impacts of land-use changes on vegetation and ecosystem functioning is presented. It assumes that species traits are central to these impacts, and is designed to be applicable in different historical, climatic contexts and local settings. Preliminary results are presented to show its(More)
Evolutionary theory suggests that divergent natural selection in heterogeneous environments can result in locally adapted plant genotypes. To understand local adaptation it is important to study the ecological factors responsible for divergent selection. At a continental scale, variation in climate can be important while at a local scale soil properties(More)
Many cushion plants ameliorate the harsh environment they inhabit in alpine ecosystems and act as nurse plants, with significantly more species growing within their canopy than outside. These facilitative interactions seem to increase with the abiotic stress, thus supporting the stress-gradient hypothesis. We tested this prediction by exploring the(More)
Genetic differentiation among plant populations and adaptation to local environmental conditions are well documented. However, few studies have examined the potential contribution of plant antagonists, such as insect herbivores and pathogens, to the pattern of local adaptation. Here, a reciprocal transplant experiment was set up at three sites across Europe(More)
BACKGROUND Cushion plants are commonly considered as keystone nurse species that ameliorate the harsh conditions they inhabit in alpine ecosystems, thus facilitating other species and increasing alpine plant biodiversity. A literature search resulted in 25 key studies showing overwhelming facilitative effects of different cushion plants and hypothesizing(More)
Understanding how past climate changes affected biodiversity is a key issue in contemporary ecology and conservation biology. These diversity changes are, however, difficult to reconstruct from paleoecological sources alone, because macrofossil and pollen records do not provide complete information about species assemblages. Ecologists therefore use(More)
BACKGROUND Coppicing was one of the most important forest management systems in Europe documented in prehistory as well as in the Middle Ages. However, coppicing was gradually abandoned by the mid-20(th) century, which has altered the ecosystem structure, diversity and function of coppice woods. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS Our aim was to disentangle(More)
Accelerating rate of species loss has prompted researchers to study the role of species diversity in processes that control ecosystem functioning. Although negative impact of species loss has been documented, the evidence concerning its impact on ecosystem stability is still limited. Here, we studied the effects of declining species and functional diversity(More)
Nonstructural carbohydrates (NSC) are frequently studied both by ecologists and plant physiologists because they serve as fundamental carbon and energy sources in plant metabolism. Because of the rapid enzymatic hydrolysis of NSC after harvest, plants are usually placed into liquid nitrogen until subsequent analyses in the laboratory. Nevertheless, when the(More)
In plant leaves, resource use follows a trade-off between rapid resource capture and conservative storage. This "worldwide leaf economics spectrum" consists of a suite of intercorrelated leaf traits, among which leaf mass per area, LMA, is one of the most fundamental as it indicates the cost of leaf construction and light-interception borne by plants. We(More)