Ecological Research


    Vol. 31 (2016)
    Submitted: 469
    Accepted: 98


    Current issue
    (vol. 32, issue 5)
    Days for acceptance:
    159 (32–289)
    Days for online-first:
    171 (56–310)
    Days for publication:
    225 (89–371)

Ecological Research has been published in English by the Ecological Society of Japan since 1986. Ecological Research publishes original research papers, reviews, technical reports, notes and comments, and data papers covering all aspects of ecology and ecological sciences.

Related subjects: Animal Sciences; Behavioral Sciences; Ecology; Evolutionary & Developmental Biology; Forestry; Plant Sciences


  • Akihisa Hattori
    Aerial images can detect 3D small patch reefs that are potential habitats for anemonefish Amphiprion frenatus

    Patchy habitats often enhance species coexistence and, consequently, abundance of each species. The present study examined two indicators of potential habitats for anemonefish Amphiprion frenatus: total area of dark-colored patch reefs that are detectable on an aerial image with image analysis software, and total area of tall patch reefs (< 1.5 m in height) that are detectable on stereoscopic aerial images with a stereoscope. Relationships between patch reef area and anemonefish abundance, as estimated by number of host anemone Entacmaea quadricolor, were investigated at Shiraho Reef, Ishigaki Island, Japan...............more



    Biodiversity and Its Ecological Functions in East-Asia and Pacific Region: Status and Challenges

  • Trisurat Y, Aekakkararungroj A, Ma H-o, Johnston JM
    Basin-wide impacts of climate change on ecosystem services in the Lower Mekong Basin

    Water resources support more than 60 million people in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) and are important for food security—especially rice production—and economic security. This study aims to quantify water yield under near- and long-term climate scenarios and assess the potential impacts on rice cultivation. The InVEST model (Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs) forecasted water yield, and land evaluation was used to delineate suitability classes. Pattern-downscaled climate data were specially generated for the LMB. Predicted annual water yields for 2030 and 2060, derived from a drier overall scenario in combination with medium and high greenhouse gas emissions, indicated a reduction of 9–24% from baseline (average 1986–2005) runoff. In contrast, increased seasonality and wetter rainfall scenarios increased annual runoff by 6–26%. Extreme drought decreased suitability of transplanted rice cultivation by 3%, and rice production would be reduced by 4.2 and 4%, with and without irrigation projects, relative to baseline. Greatest rice reduction was predicted for Thailand, followed by Lao PDR and Cambodia, and was stable for Vietnam. Rice production in the LMB appears sufficient to feed the LMB population in 2030, while rice production in Lao PDR and Cambodia are not expected to be sufficient for domestic consumption, largely due to steep topography and sandy soils as well as drought. Four adaptation measures to minimize climate impacts (i.e., irrigation, changing the planting calendar, new rice varieties, and alternative crops) are discussed.

Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation in East Asia as a token of memory for the 7th EAFES in Daegu, Korea

  • Sun-Mi Je, Su Young Woo, Seong Han Lee, Myung Ja Kwak, Tae Yoon Lee, Sun Hee Kim
    Combined effect of elevated CO2 concentration and drought on the photosynthetic apparatus and leaf morphology traits in seedlings of yellow poplar

    To counter the threat of drought, which is expected to increase in the future, we analyzed the combined effects of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration and drought on the photosynthetic apparatus and morphological traits in seedlings of yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera). The plants were grown for four months in a phytotron under different CO2 concentrations [ambient CO2, 430 ppm, AC) and elevated CO2, 640 ppm, EC] and water treatment [field capacity, FC and 50% of field capacity, FC50]. FC50 was sufficient for inducing a reduction in the photosynthetic rate of L. tulipifera. However, under FC50 combined with EC, we observed an increase in photosynthetic rate with increased photopigment content, photochemistry efficiency, and light harvesting ability. Further, decreased specific leaf area and increased wax coverage in EC suggested that EC contributed to protect chloroplasts and reduce water loss. In conclusion, functional improvements of the photosynthetic apparatus with changes in morphological traits were observed under FC50 combined with EC and EC ameliorated the adverse effect of FC50 on the seedlings of L. tulipifera.

    • Filling the gaps

    • Itoh M, Kojima H, Ho P-C, Chang C-W, Chen T-Y, Hsiao SS-Y, Kobayashi Y, Fujibayashi M, Kao S-J, Hsieh C-h, Fukui M, Okuda N, Miki T, Shiah F-K
      Integrating isotopic, microbial, and modeling approaches to understand methane dynamics in a frequently disturbed deep reservoir in Taiwan

      It has been estimated that more than 48% of global methane emissions from lakes and reservoirs occur at low latitudes (<24°). To improve this estimate, knowledge regarding underexplored ecosystems, particularly deep lakes and reservoirs in Asian monsoon regions, is needed because the magnitude of methane emissions is influenced by lake bathymetry and climatic conditions. We conducted long-term studies beginning in 2004 at Feitsui Reservoir (FTR) in Taiwan, a subtropical monomictic system with a maximum depth of 120 m to monitor seasonal and interannual variations of three key characteristics and to understand the mechanisms underlying these variations. Key characteristics investigated were as follows: (1) the balance of primary production and heterotrophic respiration as a determinant of vertical oxygen distribution, (2) methane production at the bottom of the reservoir, oxidation in the water column, and emissions from the lake surface, and (3) the contribution of methane-originated carbon to the pelagic food web through methane-oxidizing bacteria (MOB). This review highlights major achievements from FTR studies integrating isotopic, microbial, and modeling approaches. Based on our findings, we proposed two conceptual models: (1) a model of methane dynamics, which addresses the differences in methane emission mechanisms between deep and shallow lakes, and (2) a spatially explicit model linking benthic methane production to the pelagic food web, which addresses the diversity of MOB metabolisms and their dependence on oxygen availability. Finally, we address why long-term studies of subtropical lakes and reservoirs are important for better understanding the effects of climate on low- to mid-latitude ecosystems.

    • Nakadai R
      Species diversity of herbivorous insects: a brief review to bridge the gap between theories focusing on the generation and maintenance of diversity

      Herbivorous insects are remarkably species-diverse, and the cause of such diversity remains a classical issue in the fields of ecology and evolution. The traditional explanation for the huge diversity of such insects is that repeated dietary changes over evolutionary time provided opportunities for speciation, thereby enhancing the diversification rate. A different view suggests that herbivore diversity became saturated over time, with factors affecting the points of dynamic equilibrium of species diversity within each lineage (and thus associated with maintenance of species diversity) being the determinants of the diversity evident today. Thus, both generation and maintenance processes, and their relative importance, are critical for understanding the diversity of herbivorous insects. Furthermore, the neutral theory of biodiversity and biogeography has recently gained attention as an alternative explanation for the generation and maintenance of diversity, as opposed to adaptive processes centred around host specificity. However, these possible routes toward herbivore diversity have rarely been evaluated in parallel, and the work of various groups has become both segmentalised and complicated, compromising any comprehensive understanding of the issue. Thus, in the present paper, I briefly review our knowledge of herbivore diversity and the major relevant studies. The aim was to share knowledge, creating a common starting point from which future discussions among researchers may be generated. It may be that no single approach can resolve the many remaining questions on herbivore diversity. However, an improved understanding of such diversity can be achieved by combining knowledge gained in studies of both the generation and maintenance of diversity.

    • Chun-Wei Chang, Masayuki Ushio, Chih-hao Hsieh
      Empirical dynamic modeling for beginners

      Natural systems are often complex and dynamic (i.e. nonlinear), making them difficult to understand using linear statistical approaches. Linear approaches are fundamentally based on correlation. Thus, they are ill-posed for dynamical systems, where correlation can occur without causation, and causation may also occur in the absence of correlation. "Mirage correlation" (i.e., the sign and magnitude of the correlation change with time) is a hallmark of nonlinear systems that results from state dependency. State dependency means that the relationships among interacting variables change with different states of the system. In recent decades, nonlinear methods that acknowledge state dependence have been developed. These nonlinear statistical methods are rooted in state space reconstruction, i.e. lagged coordinate embedding of time series data. These methods do not assume any set of equations governing the system but recover the dynamics from time series data, thus called empirical dynamic modeling (EDM). EDM bears a variety of utilities to investigating dynamical systems. Here, we provide a step-by-step tutorial for EDM applications with rEDM, a free software package written in the R language. Using model examples, we aim to guide users through several basic applications of EDM, including (1) determining the complexity (dimensionality) of a system, (2) distinguishing nonlinear dynamical systems from linear stochastic systems, and quantifying the nonlinearity (i.e. state dependence), (3) determining causal variables, (4) forecasting, (5) tracking the strength and sign of interaction, and (6) exploring the scenario of external perturbation. These methods and applications can be used to provide a mechanistic understanding of dynamical systems.

    • Chih-hao Hsieh is the recipient of the 18th Biwako Prize for Ecology!!

    • Special Features in the Past


    • The 30th anniversary of Ecological Research: past, present, and future

      Tomonori Tsunoda, Buntarou Kusumoto, Kei-ichi Okada, Yuko Aoshima, Atsushi Kume

      The 30th anniversary of Ecological Research: past, present, and future

      Keywords: Editorial system; International research; Editorial strategies; Journal; The Ecological Society of Japan

      Abstract In 2016, Ecological Research (ER) celebrated its 30th anniversary. ER's goal is to be the leading ecological, evolutionary, and biodiversity journal in Asia. This article introduces the development of ER, improvements to its editorial system and their outcomes, and the strategies designed to achieve this goal. ER has already become a leading comprehensive and international publication as shown by statistical evidence and its strong editorial foundation. However, some members of the Ecological Society of Japan (ESJ) retain impressions of an old stereotype about ER. The discrepancy between the current status of the journal and its stereotype may explain why submissions from Japan remain static. A new article category for ER, Biodiversity in Asia, was created to encourage Asian studies. In addition, the Forum category is dedicated to promoting a broad understanding of the ESJ's various activities. To promote open science, the proportion of open access articles in the journal is increasing. The publication of Data papers has been accelerated to improve the public availability of excellent open data sets. ER symposia and seminars provide good opportunities for members to participate. ER financially supports the invitation of scientists internationally to facilitate research exchanges with other countries and consequently promotes the internationalization of the ESJ. The ESJ is open to the world's ecologists, and your participation in developing ER is welcome.


    • Buntarou Kusumoto, Takayuki Shiono, Masashi Konoshima, Atsushi Yoshimoto, Takayuki Tanaka, Yasuhiro Kubota
      How well are biodiversity drivers reflected in protected areas? A representativeness assessment of the geohistorical gradients that shaped endemic flora in Japan

      Protected areas function as a lifeboat that can preserve the origins and maintenance of biodiversity. We assessed the representativeness of biodiversity in existing protected areas in Japan using a distribution dataset and phylogenetic tree for 5565 Japanese vascular plant species. We first examined the overlap of species distribution with the existing protected areas and identified the minimum set representing all plant species. Second, we evaluated the relative importance of environmental variables in explaining the spatial arrangement of protected areas using a random forest model. Finally, we clarified how potential drivers of plant diversity were sufficiently captured within the protected areas network.....more