Issue 6.8 is now online!
This month’s issue contains two Applications article and one Open Access article, all of which are freely available.
– LEA: This R package enables users to run ecological association studies from the R command line. It can perform analyses of population structure and genome scans for adaptive alleles from large genomic data sets. The package derives advantages from R programming functionalities to adjust significance values for multiple testing issues and to visualize results.
– PIPITS: An open-source stand-alone suite of software for automated processing of Illumina MiSeq sequences for fungal community analysis. PIPITS exploits a number of state of the art applications to process paired-end reads from quality filtering to producing OTU abundance tables.
Giovanni Strona and Joseph Veech provide this month’s Open Access article. Many studies have focused on nestedness, a pattern reflecting the tendency of network nodes to share interaction partners, as a method of measuring the structure of ecological networks. In ‘A new measure of ecological network structure based on node overlap and segregation‘ the authors introduce a new statistical procedure to measure both this kind of structure and the opposite one (i.e. species’ tendency against sharing interacting partners).
We also see the issue publication of one of the articles from our Virtual Issue on ‘Advances in Phylogenetic Methods‘ this month. Douglas Chesters et al. demonstrate an implementation for multigene DNA barcoding in ‘A DNA Barcoding system integrating multigene sequence data‘. Their approach adds to the established species-dense DNA barcode backbone with other genomic data, reducing error via integration of independent genetic loci and permitting additional identifications for non-barcode fragments.
The cover image shows two climbers ascending a 91 metre Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) in western Oregon, USA. The subject tree in the photograph is adjacent to the world’s tallest Douglas-fir which was climbed via ropes and measured to be 99.6 metres in height. Due to the scale in size, height and breadth of tree crowns, rope-based access is often required to accurately measure the dimensions of the tree and is likewise used for ecological studies on pollination; gas exchange; tree growth; fruit dispersal; diversity of epiphytes, invertebrates, and vertebrates; the atmosphere/biosphere interface; herbivory; ecosystem services; and climate change.
Rope-based canopy access is the key to unlocking the ecology of the upper reaches of the forest because it is relatively inexpensive and provides replicated sampling of canopy organisms, structures and spaces. It can also be dangerous, especially when methods and equipment not specified for tree climbing are used. To improve safety and aid climbers, David Anderson et al. set out to create a user’s guide to 40 years of published literature on canopy access methods. In ‘Review of rope-based access methods for forest canopy’ they critique written descriptions of safe and unsafe climbing practices and list the climbing methods contained in every source.