The MIREN paper in PNAS, which experimentally disentangles the drivers of plant invasion in mountains using a comparative field experiment between Chile and Sweden, has won the W.S. Cooper award from the Ecological Society of America. Congratulations to Jonas Lembrechts and the team!
W.S. Cooper Award: Jonas J. Lembrechts, Aníbal Pauchard, Jonathan Lenoir, Martin A. Nuñez, Charly Géron, Arne Ven, Pablo Bravo-Monasterio, Ernesto Teneb, Ivan Nijs, and Ann Milbau.
The Cooper Award honors the authors of an outstanding publication in the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. William S. Cooper was a pioneer of physiographic ecology and geobotany, with a particular interest in the influence of historical factors, such as glaciations and climate history, on the pattern of contemporary plant communities across landforms.
Cold places are notable for their comparative lack of non-native plants. But figuring out why this is the case is difficult given that high-elevation and high-latitude habitats tend to be not only cold, but also relatively undisturbed, remote, and nutrient-poor. In an ambitious set of experiments, Jonas Lembrechts and colleagues experimentally manipulated disturbance, nutrients, and seed input along elevational gradients in southern South America and northern Scandinavia. They found that disturbance had the strongest effect at all sites, allowing non-native species to establish well above their current elevational limits. The results have clear implications for the future of cold-climate ecosystems affected by warming and increased rates of disturbance.
- Lembrechts, J. J., A. Pauchard, J. Lenoir, M. A. Nuñez, C. Geron, A. Ven, P. Bravo-Monasterio, E. Teneb, I. Nijs, and A. Milbau. 2016. Disturbance is the key to plant invasions in cold environments. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113:14061–14066. Download PDF