What makes a species rare?

In a community, it is almost always true that some species are common while most are rare. This pattern is demonstrated by plotting species abundance distributions (see Magurran 2003 or Verbeek 2014 for excellent overviews) observed in many real life communities. Local abundance is not the only facet of rarity – species can also be defined as rare or common in terms of their overall...
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Niche conservatism: which niche matters most?

Niche conservatism - or the degree to which plants and animals retain their niches and related ecological traits through space and time – is a classic concept in ecology receiving renewed interest in recent years. This is partly because of its relevance to predicting species’ responses to global change, since a tendency toward conservatism would mean that species have only a limited capacity to...
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Amazon freshwater fish in a changing climate

In general when we think about climate change, most people think about cold water species, but warm water species could be also be affected. The Amazon River Basin is an enormous area expected to be affected by climate change; approximately 7 million km2 of dense river network with the largest number of freshwater fish species anywhere in the world. The Amazon is home to more than 2,000...
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The value of volunteering as an undergraduate

Life is busy as an undergrad – why is it worth making the time to volunteer in a research lab? Volunteering in a lab as an undergraduate is a rewarding jump from learning in a lecture hall to learning-by-doing and gaining firsthand experience in the scientific methods used in a research field of interest.  Whether I’m getting my hands dirty scooping plant samples into bags, collecting tissue...
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Go with the flow: novel methods for establishing flow-ecology relationships

Perhaps the greatest challenge for water managers around the world is maintaining reliable water supplies and healthy river ecosystems.  There can be direct trade-offs between these goals because surface and groundwater extraction and regulation of river flows can lead to dramatic declines in native fish assemblages. This dichotomy has led to the burgeoning field of environmental flows where...
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