Sarah Hoy wins Watson Raptor Science Prize for paper on impact of selective predation

We are delighted to learn that Sarah Hoy has won 2016 Watson Raptor Science Prize for her paper ‘Age and sex-selective predation moderate the overall impact of predators’ published in Journal of Animal Ecology. In the paper Sarah Hoy and colleagues examined selective predation by goshawks on juvenile and female tawny owls, drawing on long-term data to exploit a unique situation where data from a prey species were obtained over a period of Goshawk increase.


Tawny owl Strix aluco

On the paper Senior Editor Jean-Michel Gaillard said: Continue reading

Grizzly Bears Face Ecological Trap

In a recent paper published in the journal Clayton Lamb and colleagues tested for an ecological trap in Southeastern British Columbia where human settlement and grizzly bear habitat overlap. For this paper Clayton has produced an infograhic and slideshow to bring the article to life.



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What do reviewers want?

Last year’s Peer Review Week proved to be a great success in raising awareness and starting discussions about peer review. This year, it’s back and the focus is on recognition for review.

There have been lots of surveys looking at perceptions of peer review. These surveys agree that peer review is valued and authors feel that the quality of their paper improves as a result. Nature’s annual author survey shows that after the reputation of the journal and relevance to the discipline, the quality of peer review was the third most important factor driving author’s choice of where to submit their article.

For Peer Review Week 2016, I thought I’d take another look at these surveys to see what they tell us about recognition for reviewing activity. I’m concentrating on three big surveys that were carried out in 2015 by Wiley, Taylor and Francis (T&F), and the Publishing Research Consortium (PRC). Sense about Science also conducted a survey in 2009.

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What is the future of peer review in ecology?

The Applied Ecologist's blog

Peer review is critical to the research process, but is also the subject of much criticism and debate. Review bias, reviewer recognition and the discovery of peer review rings are recent examples of topics widely discussed by the scientific community. Many peer review models and experiments have emerged across scientific disciplines with the aim of improving the review process, often leading to more questions than answers.


At the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, (Liverpool, 11-14 December) we will be holding a panel debate on the future of peer review in ecology where these issues will be discussed by a panel of experts. The workshop will take the form of a BBC Question Time style debate following on from the success of ‘The Future of Data Archiving panel discussion held at last year’s Annual Meeting. This year we have a great panel of experts, covering a…

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What Makes a Good Peer Review: Peer Review Week 2016 —

For many academics, especially Early Career Researchers, writing a review can seem like quite a daunting task. Direct training is often hard to come by and not all senior academics have the time to act as mentors. As this week is Peer Review Week, we wanted to provide some advice on what makes a good […]

via What Makes a Good Peer Review: Peer Review Week 2016 —

Peer review week: Encouraging collaborative peer review

Journal of Ecology Blog

Post from Managing Editor Emilie Aimé. Check out the later in the week for some of the Methods in Ecology and Evolution Associate Editors’ perspective on collaborative peer review.

It’s Peer Review Week 2016 and the BES journals are celebrating with a series of blog posts on how much we value our reviewers.

Here at the BES we love Early Career Researchers. We give out grants to fund their research and training and development and we run and support several training and outreach programmes to help with the fantastic work they do. (Don’t forget to register for the Early Career Workshop at this year’s Annual meeting). Each of our journals also awards an annual prize for the best paper by an Early Career Researcher.

In this post though, we want to focus on Early Career Researchers as reviewers. The BES journals are very keen to give Early Career Researchers…

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Thank you to our reviewers

243202_final-artwork-700x300-2Today marks the start of the Peer Review Week 2016, the theme this year is recognition for review. In 2015 675 individuals from 38 different countries reviewed for the journal, without the time commitment and expertise off all of these people the journal would not be a success. To thank and recognise everybody that has reviewed for us we publish a list of all that have reviewed for us, for peer review week we have republished this list below to thank again everybody that reviewed for us in 2015.

Keep an eye on the blog for more posts for Peer Review Week 2016. Continue reading

The role of ecology in managing vector-borne diseases: Zika and beyond

fenton-aThe recent re-emergence and spread of the Zika virus, coupled with the link to a surge in microcephaly cases, has gripped the attention of the global health community, the general public, and professional golfers alike.  Of course Zika isn’t new – it was first discovered in 1947 – however the scale of the outbreak in 2015 was unprecedented.  Given that there are currently no effective vaccines or medicines against Zika, suggested management efforts have mainly focussed on vector control (e.g. through traditional insecticides, the use of microbes to control pathogens, or genetic manipulation or selective breeding of mosquitoes to reduce vector population sizes or otherwise prevent them from transmitting the virus).  To deploy these vector-targeted methods effectively it is clearly essential to understand vector ecology.  Indeed, recent attempts to explain the patterns of infection and predict the likely number of cases in the future highlight the importance of ecological processes such as: heterogeneities in transmission, the magnitude of herd immunity, seasonality in dynamics, seasonal forcing or other environmental drivers, and the potential for the virus to circulate within reservoir populations etc (see here and here).  Of course, these processes aren’t unique to Zika – they are fundamental aspects of the ecology of any vector-borne infection.  As such these ecological processes have been well studied in many vector-borne disease systems, whether they relate to human diseases or not.This breadth of ecological research across vector disease systems is reflected in a recent Virtual Issue compiled by Wiley including papers from Journal of Animal Ecology and other BES journals. Continue reading

New Associate Editors

Journal of Animal Ecology is pleased to welcome Niels Dingemanse (Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich), Jenny Dunn (RSPB), Andrew Jackson (University of Dublin), Lesley Lancaster (University of Aberdeen), Katie Marske (University of Michigan) and Mariano Rodriguez-Cabal (Universidad del Comahue) to the board of Associate Editors. They have all joined on a three-year term and you can find out more about them below.

Dingemanse, NNiels Dingemanse

Niels is an evolutionary ecologist who works on the interface between behavioural ecology and quantitative genetics. His current research focusses on proximate and ultimate causes and consequences of individuality in average behaviour (‘personality’) and behavioural plasticity, for which he uses wild populations of birds (great tits) and insects (field crickets) as model systems.

Dunn, JJenny Dunn

Jenny’s research interests span a broad range of topics within ecology and conservation, but centre around factors influencing behaviour, and the consequences of behavioural adaptation at both the individual and population levels. She is particularly interested in the sub-clinical impacts of parasitic infection, parasite transmission, the associations between parasitism and behaviour and the implications these may have for populations across generations through delayed life-history effects. Jenny is also fascinated by how multiple stress factors interact in free-living populations, especially those in decline, and the implications these interactions have for the conservation of populations.

Jackson, AAndrew Jackson

Andrew has broad interests in ecology and evolution spanning behavioural ecology and community ecology. His research is primarily focussed around developing mathematical, computational and statistical models to understand the consequences of interactions between individuals and their biotic and abiotic environment. He has no taxa that he calls his own and has recently collaborated on projects involving vultures, turtles and human epidemiology and more and more has been using datasets comprising multiple taxa to draw phylogenetic comparisons. Currently he is working on the evolution of information processing with one hand and developing new statistical methods for stable isotope ecology with the other.

Lancaster, LLesley Lancaster

Lesley is an empirical ecologist interested in understanding how biogeographic processes shape macroecological trait variation, population dynamics, life history evolution, and species interactions. She is also interested in the drivers of and constraints on niche evolution in ectotherms.

Marske, KKatie Marske

Katie’s research integrates comparative phylogeography with other geographical ecology methods to understand historical factors which underlie intraspecific diversification and the formation of species’ geographic ranges, and how these, in turn, contribute to community assembly and the generation of contemporary large-scale biodiversity patterns.  Her research is currently focused on New Zealand beetles and North American amphibians, but Katie has worked with a variety of animal systems.

Rodriguez-Cabal, M compMariano Rodriguez-Cabal

Mariano is a community ecologist with broad interests in the factors that generate, maintain and threaten biodiversity. He uses observational, experimental, meta-analytical and theoretical approaches to understand how the loss of some species and the gain of others influence plant-animal interactions, vertebrate and ant seed dispersers, the diversity and structure of communities, and ecosystem processes.

You can find out about all our Associate Editors here.

Devotion to rearing chicks can come at a cost for migratory birds

This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Carry-Over Effects on the Annual Cycle of a Migratory Seabird: an Experimental Study” by Annette Fayet et al. Issued by University of Oxford press office.

Birds that have to work harder during breeding season will feel the effects of their exertions the following year, according to research by Oxford University scientists.

A new study published in the Journal  found that migratory seabirds suffered negative repercussions when they had to spend more time rearing chicks, including decreased breeding success when they returned to the colony the following spring.JAE-2015-00801.R2

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Special Special Features

Special Features (SFs) are collections of papers on a specific research theme. For example, here at Journal of Animal Ecology we have had recent SFs on movement ecology and metabolic currencies and constraints, as well as a cross-journal British Ecological Society SF on demography. Recently, the senior editors of JAE met to discuss the role of SFs in our journal and how we could shake things up a little. Continue reading

Journal of Animal Ecology prize for early career ecologists

Competition_236015_Proof 200x200Both the British Ecological Society and Journal of Animal Ecology have long been champions of research by early career ecologists. Indeed, there are many examples of early career researchers publishing their first papers from their dissertation in the pages of Journal of Animal Ecology. To continue, and hopefully enhance, that tradition, Journal of Animal Ecology is very happy to announce a new award targeted at early career researchers. With this award, we hope to inspire early career researchers working on any aspect of animal ecology to submit reviews or syntheses that might either summarize their dissertation work, provide new insights into classic areas of animal ecology, or might shed light on emerging fields in animal ecology.

Nate Sanders
Senior Editor, Journal of Animal Ecology

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The curious case of turtles and ecological “rules”

Turtles (and tortoises) are among the most outstanding and recognizable groups of animals on the planet. Despite being a relatively species poor clade (only 327 extant species), they are easily recognizable and adored by many (you’d be hard pressed to find any other reptile so heavily featured in children’s toys sections). Ever since the Triassic period, roughly 220 million years ago, they have been a constant and familiar aspect of the earth’s vertebrate fauna, found on all continents barring frigid Antarctica, and easily distinguishable by their unique trait – the bony shell, a derivative of the rib cage that encompasses their entire body and provides them with uncanny protection. At present, however, they are also among the most endangered taxa on Earth, with more than half of extant species threatened with extinction [1].

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The Future of Data Archiving

At the BES Annual Meeting 2015 in Edinburgh, a lively debate was held on the future of data archiving. The debate was recorded and the video can be viewed here.

The British Ecology Society (BES) has been mandating the archiving of data for all papers published in its journals since January 2014, so with the mandate having been in place for over 2 years this was a good opportunity to take stock of the impacts and look to the future. While it is recognised that data archiving presents both financial and time costs to researchers, the benefits of data preservation and validation of results help to advance science. The aim of the debate was to provide the opportunity for researchers to debate the pros and cons of data archiving in an open format. Continue reading

The colour of survival – how parental morph influences the fitness of the offspring in black sparrowhawks

Most South Africans may have never noticed one of the largest forest raptors breeding in the city of Cape Town – the black sparrowhawk . However a new research project from the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology has hopefully changed this, and is shedding light on interesting aspects of the ecology of this species. Continue reading

Salmon smolts find safety in numbers

JAE-2015-00769.R2This post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Predator swamping reduces predation risk during nocturnal migration of juvenile salmon in a high-mortality landscape” by Nathan B. Furey et al. Press release issued by The University of British Colombia

Using tags surgically implanted into thousands of juvenile salmon, University of British Colombia researchers have discovered that many fish die within the first few days of migration from their birthplace to the ocean. Continue reading

Baby fish breathe easier around large predators

Fig 1

Small – hungry mesopredator common on coral reefs. Photo: C.E. Mirbach

This blog post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Top predators negate the effect of mesopredators on prey physiology” by Maria M. Palacios et al. Press release issued by by James Cook University & ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral reef Studies

Scientists have discovered that the presence of large fish predators can reduce stress on baby fish.

The researchers – from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University and the University of Glasgow- have found that physiological stress on baby fish can be reduced by more than a third if large predatory fish are around to scare off smaller, hungry predators, known as mesopredators. Continue reading

How climate change could exacerbate the impacts of large mammal declines

Deer in small wooded patches

Deer in small wooded patches on the campus of Princeton University. The photos were taken as part of an undergraduate ecology laboratory course taught by my co-author Rob Pringle, and for which I served as an assistant instructor. Students also captured images of foxes, raccoons, and house cats.

In wintertime, it’s often getting dark in Princeton by the time I head home from the office to scrounge up some dinner. Along the half-mile path, I regularly walk or bike within few meters of the local herd of white-tailed deer. There are at least five or six animals that circulate among the tiny patches of trees and streams at the south end of campus. The university deer are just a fraction of the estimated 450-500 that roam the 16 km2 town of Princeton. That’s almost 40 deer per km2, well above the state of New Jersey’s recommended 20-25 per km2. Indeed, much of the northeast U.S. is forced to deal with dense, growing deer populations thanks to the removal of wolves, forest recovery over the last century following the westward shift of American agriculture, and a suburbanization-associated decline in hunting.

All these extra ungulates come with costs. For one, Princeton has paid hundreds-of-thousands of dollars between 2001 and 2015 to professional sharpshooters who controversially culled over 2700 deer from the population. However, hunting costs pale in comparison to those of the 300-plus deer-vehicle collisions that occurred each year in Princeton before the hunts were organized! Continue reading

New Associate Editors

Journal of Animal Ecology is pleased to welcome Sandra Bouwhuis (Institute of Avian Research, Germany), Anna Eklöf (Linköping University, Sweden) and Elisa Thebault (Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France) to the board of Associate Editors. They have all joined on a three-year term and you can find out more about them below. Continue reading

Researchers discover complex effects of temperature shifts on both hosts and parasites

JAE-2015-00750.R1This blog post is a press release from the authors of Journal of Animal Ecology paper “Host and parasite thermal acclimation responses depend on the stage of infection” by Karie A. Altman et al. Press release issued by Oakland University


While climate change is often associated with global warming trends, it is also believed to influence patterns of temperature variability, with greater and more frequent shifts in temperature from one day to the next. Those temperature shifts could change the way certain species interact with each other. Continue reading