"Trait-Based Ecology - From Structure to Function"
A special issue of Advances in Ecological Research that Samraat Pawar, Guy Woodward, and myself edited has just come out. The title of the issue is "Trait-Based Ecology - From Structure to Function"
Over the last decade or so however, ecologists have begun to move towards a more mechanistic and general framework for predicting ecosystem dynamics by shifting focus to the consequences of trait diversity on coupled ecological and evolutionary population dynamics. Indeed, it is now well-accepted that ecological and evolutionary timescales often overlap, and that understanding the effects of trait variation is paramount for unraveling how evolutionary processes affect ecological dynamics and vice-versa, ultimately shaping ecosystem dynamics. Nevertheless trait variation is fundamentally an individual- and population-level phenomenon, and an integrated understanding of how trait variation scales from individuals to communities and ecosystems is still very much a work in progress. This Advances in Ecological Research volume brings together a set of research papers at different levels of biological organization that push the boundaries of our current knowledge of trait-based biology, presenting novel insights and identifying promising avenues of future research.