Trait-based approaches to ecology and conservation

This week at QAECO we’ve been talking about plant and animal traits.

We kick-started our discussion by reading McGill et al.’s (2006) paper on functional traits. The authors point out that general principals in community ecology are difficult to find. They argue that a research focus on traits and environmental gradients will lead to a more quantitative, general and predictive science.

McGill et al. outline a research agenda centred on four themes: functional traits, environmental gradients, the ‘interaction milieu’, and performance currencies. We thought the paper gave a good introduction to the fast-growing field of functional ecology.

Acacia species with different leaf types

A key point that came out of our discussion was that there is a need to develop better theory to guide our trait-based predictions. So, we thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce some of the trait-based work that is underway (or has recently been completed) by the QAECO team.

We have a particular focus on the application of trait-based research to conservation science:

McGill, B.J., Enquist, B.J., Weiher, E., & Westoby, M (2006) Rebuilding community ecology from functional traits, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 21:178-185.

By Freya, Laura, Luke and team

This entry was posted in Conservation, Papers, Qaecologists, Reading Group and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Trait-based approaches to ecology and conservation

  1. Pingback: Trait-based Reading Group | Freya's Research

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