Issue 4.11 is now online! This issue includes articles on distance sampling, statistics, survey data, seed dispersal, decomposition, food webs and species diversity. This month we’d like to highlight 2 open access papers: Rapid Bayesian inference of heritability in animal models without convergence problems, by Jon Ahlinder and Mikko J. Sillanpää, and Spatial models for distance sampling data: recent developments and future directions, by David Miller et al. There are also 2 freely available applications: PASTIS: an R package to facilitate phylogenetic assembly with soft taxonomic inferences, by Gavin Thomas et al., and RInSp: an r package for the analysis of individual specialization in resource use, by Nicola Zaccarelli et al.
About the cover: This image shows two tetrahedron-shaped tea bags, which were used as standardised and low-cost test-kits to measure the decomposition dynamics of plant litter. The polyethylene mesh bag is resistant to decomposition, but does not exclude fungi and microorganisms. The bags contain Rooibos tea (LHS) and Green tea (RHS). Rooibos tea is largely comprised of woody plant litter and Green tea is largely comprised of leaf litter. In the accompanying study, “Tea Bag Index: a novel approach to collect uniform decomposition data across ecosystems”, these contrasting litter types were exposed to decomposition by placing them in soil. Using the litter weight-loss, the tea bag index (TBI) was calculated, which allows the comparison of microbial decomposition dynamics on a local, regional and global scale.
Photo© Bas van de Riet.