Margaret Morrow Mayfield

Margaret Morrow Mayfield
University of Melbourne | MSD · School of BioSciences

PhD in Biology Stanford University

About

140
Publications
69,256
Reads
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14,478
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2007 - present
The University of Queensland
Description
  • Director of the Ecology Centre and Senior Lecturer of Plant Ecology
August 2005 - June 2007
University of California, Santa Barbara
January 2000 - June 2005
Stanford University
Education
January 2001 - June 2005
Stanford University
Field of study
  • Biology - Plant Ecology and Conservation Biology
August 1994 - June 1998
Reed College
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (140)
Article
Natural communities are well known to be maintained by many complex processes. Despite this, the practical aspects of studying them often require some simplification, such as the widespread assumption that direct, additive competition captures the important details about how interactions between species impact community diversity. More complex non-...
Article
A rich literature on forest succession provides general expectations for the steps forests go through while reassembling after disturbance, yet we still have a surprisingly poor understanding of why the outcomes of forest recovery after logging (or other disturbances) vary so extensively. In this paper, we test the hypothesis that regional species...
Article
The stable coexistence of very similar species has perplexed ecologists for decades and has been central to the development of coexistence theory. According to modern coexistence theory, species can coexist stably (i.e. persist indefinitely with no long-term density trends) as long as species’ niche differences exceed competitive ability difference...
Article
Alien plant species are known to have a wide range of impacts on recipient communities, from resident species' exclusions to coexistence with resident species. It remains unclear; however, if this variety of impacts is due to different invader strategies, features of recipient communities or both. To test this, we examined multiple plant invasions...
Article
AimTo assess the combined influences of nutrient enrichment, invasive species and climate on assembly processes in natural annual plant communities.LocationSouth-west Western Australia.MethodsA comprehensive survey of winter annual plant communities (more than a thousand communities sampled in total) was undertaken across a natural moisture availab...
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Full-text available
Urbanisation drives overall declines in insect pollinators. Although urban green spaces can provide suitable habitat for pollinators much remains to be learned about how urban landscapes either promote or negatively impact pollinators. We investigated how backyard design, local (100 m) and landscape (500 m) scale vegetation cover and human populati...
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Full-text available
Natural systems contain more complexity than is accounted for in models of modern coexistence theory. Coexistence modelling often disregards variation arising from stochasticity in biological processes, heterogeneity among individuals and plasticity in trait values. However, these unaccounted‐for sources of uncertainty are likely to be ecologically...
Article
It is well known that species interactions between exotic and native species are important for determining the success of biological invasions and how influential exotic species become in invaded communities. The strength and type of interactions between species can substantially vary, however, from negative and detrimental to minimal or even posit...
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Full-text available
Aim Pollination plays a crucial role in the conservation of many plant species persisting in fragmented, human‐dominated landscapes. Pollinators are known to be instrumental in maintaining genetic diversity and metapopulation dynamics for many plant species and are important for providing ecological services that are essential in agricultural lands...
Article
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Modelling species interactions in diverse communities traditionally requires a prohibitively large number of species‐interaction coefficients, especially when considering environmental dependence of parameters. We implemented Bayesian variable selection via sparsity‐inducing priors on non‐linear species abundance models to determine which species i...
Article
Full-text available
Environmentally cued germination may play an important role in promoting coexistence in Mediterranean annual plant systems if it causes niche differentiation across heterogeneous microsite conditions. In this study, we tested how microsite conditions experienced by seeds in the field and light conditions in the laboratory influenced germination in...
Article
Full-text available
Functional traits are proxies for a species' ecology and physiology and are often correlated with plant vital rates. As such they have the potential to guide species selection for restoration projects. However, predictive trait‐based models often only explain a small proportion of plant performance, suggesting that commonly measured traits do not c...
Preprint
Network theory allows us to understand complex systems by evaluating how their constituent elements interact with one another. Such networks are built from matrices which describe the effect of each element on all others. Quantifying the strength of these interactions from empirical data can be difficult, however, because the number of potential in...
Article
Seventy five percent of the world's food crops benefit from insect pollination. Hence, there has been increased interest in how global change drivers impact this critical ecosystem service. Because standardized data on crop pollination are rarely available, we are limited in our capacity to understand the variation in pollination benefits to crop y...
Article
Populations are embedded in communities, but despite their potential to affect individual fitness, it is unknown whether and how species interactions evolve in communities. Evolutionary outcomes are likely more complex in natural communities because (a) the evolution of interactions may not be evenly distributed among all community members and (b)...
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Understanding how ecosystem functioning is impacted by global change drivers is a central topic in ecology and conservation science. We need to assess not only how environmental change affects species richness, but also how the distribution of functional traits (i.e. functional diversity) mediate the relationship between species richness and ecosys...
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Full-text available
Growth in individual size or biomass is a key demographic component in population models, with wide‐ranging applications from quantifying species performance across abiotic or biotic conditions to assessing landscape‐level dynamics under global change. In forest ecology, the responses of tree growth to biotic interactions are widely held to be cruc...
Preprint
To avoid extinction, every species must be able to exploit available resources at least as well as the other species in its community. All else being equal, theory predicts that the more distinct the niches of such co-occurring and competing species, the more species that can persist in the long run. However, both theoretical and experimental studi...
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Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of values of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 448 traits across 28,640 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxon descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of per...
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Full-text available
Natural ecosystems are threatened by climate change, fragmentation, and non-native species. Dispersal-limitation potentially compounds impacts of these factors on plant diversity, especially in isolated vegetation patches. Changes in climate can impact the phenology of native species in distinct ways from non-natives, potentially resulting in casca...
Article
Aim Humans influence species distributions by modifying the environment and by dispersing species beyond their natural ranges. Populations of species that have established in disjunct regions of the world may exhibit trait differentiation from native populations due to founder effects and adaptations to selection pressures in each distributional re...
Preprint
Modeling species interactions in diverse communities traditionally requires a prohibitively large number of species-interaction coefficients, especially when considering environmental dependence of parameters. We implemented Bayesian variable selection via sparsity-inducing priors on non-linear species abundance models to determine which species-in...
Article
Full-text available
With a global pollinator crisis brewing, it is urgent that we preserve forests supporting wild bees and the services they provide, even in context where agricultural expansion is unavoidable. Though the maintenance of pollination services are known to be synergistic with biodiversity conservation and agricultural economic development, there are few...
Article
In many plant and sessile marine invertebrate (SMI) taxa, population and community dynamics are heavily influenced by processes occurring during the dispersal and establishment phases. The Janzen–Connell (J–C) hypothesis predicts increased survival of early life stages with decreasing conspecific density and increased distance from conspecific adul...
Preprint
Full-text available
Growth in individual size or biomass is a key demographic component in population models, with wide-ranging applications from quantifying species performance across abiotic or biotic conditions to assessing landscape-level dynamics under global change. In forest ecology, the responses of tree growth to biotic interactions are widely held to be cruc...
Preprint
Full-text available
Environmentally-cued germination may play an important role in promoting coexistence in Mediterranean annual plant systems if it causes niche differentiation across heterogenous microsite conditions. In this study, we tested how microsite conditions experienced by seeds in the field and light conditions in the laboratory influenced germination in t...
Article
Full-text available
Competition can result in evolutionary changes to coexistence between competitors but there are no theoretical models that predict how the components of coexistence change during this eco-evolutionary process. Here we study the evolution of the coexistence components, niche overlap and competitive differences, in a two-species eco-evolutionary mode...
Preprint
Full-text available
We introduce the AusTraits database - a compilation of measurements of plant traits for taxa in the Australian flora (hereafter AusTraits). AusTraits synthesises data on 375 traits across 29230 taxa from field campaigns, published literature, taxonomic monographs, and individual taxa descriptions. Traits vary in scope from physiological measures of...
Article
Aims Climate change will impact plant communities and populations but also individual plant performance. Most predictive models of community responses to climate change ignore individual‐level biotic interactions despite their known importance for community diversity and functioning. Here, we consider plant fitness and diversity responses to climat...
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Full-text available
Direct species interactions are commonly included in individual fitness models used for coexistence and local diversity modeling. Though widely considered important for such models, direct interactions alone are often insufficient for accurately predicting fitness, coexistence, or diversity outcomes. Incorporating higher-order interactions (HOIs) c...
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Full-text available
It is known that biotic interactions are the key to species coexistence and maintenance of species diversity. Traditional studies focus overwhelmingly on pairwise interactions between organisms, ignoring complex higher-order interactions (HOIs). In this study, we present a novel method of calculating individual-level HOIs for trees, and use this me...
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Full-text available
ContextUnderstanding how landscape fragmentation affects functional diversity, defined as the distribution of functional traits in an assemblage, is critical for managing landscapes for biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Despite some scattered evidence, we lack a clear understanding of how patterns of fragmentation drive changes in functional di...
Article
Full-text available
It is known that biotic interactions are the key to species coexistence and maintenance of species diversity. Traditional studies focus overwhelmingly on pairwise interactions between organisms, ignoring complex higher-order interactions (HOIs). In this study, we present a novel method of calculating individual-level HOIs for trees, and use this me...
Article
Coexistence in spatially varying environments is theorised to be promoted by a variety of mechanisms including the spatial storage effect. The spatial storage effect promotes coexistence when: (i) species have unique vital rate responses to their spatial environment and, when abundant, (ii) experience stronger competition in the environmental patch...
Article
Large intraspecific functional trait variation strongly impacts many aspects of communities and ecosystems, and is the medium upon which evolution works. Yet intraspecific trait variation is inconsistent and hard to predict across traits, species, and locations. We measured within‐species variation in leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf dry matter conte...
Preprint
Context Large intraspecific functional trait variation strongly impacts many aspects of natural communities and ecosystems, yet is inconsistent across traits and species. Approach We measured within-species variation in leaf mass per area (LMA), leaf dry matter content (LDMC), branch wood density (WD), and allocation to stem area vs. leaf area in...
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Full-text available
Models of natural processes necessarily sacrifice some realism for the sake of tractability. Detailed, parameter‐rich models often provide accurate estimates of system behaviour but can be data‐hungry and difficult to operationalise. Moreover, complexity increases the danger of “over‐fitting”, which leads to poor performance when models are applied...
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Full-text available
Stochasticity is a core component of ecology, as it underlies key processes that structure and create variability in nature. Despite its fundamental importance in ecological systems, the concept is often treated as synonymous with unpredictability in community ecology, and studies tend to focus on single forms of stochasticity rather than taking a...
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Full-text available
Exotic species are often predicted to successfully invade when their functional traits differ from species in recipient communities. Many studies have related trait differences among natives and invaders to competitive outcomes. Few studies, however, have tested whether functionally similar invaders have similar competitive impacts on natives. We i...
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Full-text available
Understanding biodiversity–ecosystem function (BEF) relationships in forest systems is crucial for effective forest management and restoration, yet testing these relationships is often limited by biased diversity patterns in forestry plantings (biased towards commercially valuable species) and uncontrollable diversity in mature natural forests. Mul...
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1.Agricultural activities such as crop production and cattle ranching are rapidly replacing forests worldwide, especially in the tropics. Resulting forest loss can adversely affect biodiversity in many ways, including trajectories of community reassembly, community composition, forest structural profiles, and taxonomic diversity. Yet, effects of fo...
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Context Isolated pasture trees play an important role in forest recovery within fragmented tropical landscapes by attracting seed dispersers and facilitating seedling growth. However, studies with conflicting results have led to confusion about what drives variation in zoochorous-dispersed seed rain patterns under isolated tree canopies. Objective...
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Full-text available
Non-native tree (NNT) species have been transported worldwide to create or enhance services that are fundamental for human well-being, such as timber provision, erosion control or ornamental value; yet NNTs can also produce undesired effects, such as fire proneness or pollen allergenicity. Despite the variety of effects that NNTs have on multiple e...
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Full-text available
1.Climate change, land clearing and invasive species are affecting ecosystems in concert, so effective management requires knowledge sharing and collaboration across multiple fields of applied ecological research. 2.We provide an examination of the growth and interconnectivity of four major subfields of applied ecology: climate change biology, cons...
Article
1.Climate change is predicted to have profound consequences for multispecies coexistence, and thus, patterns of biological diversity. These consequences will be mediated by direct and indirect impacts of environmental change on species’ vital rates and interactions. While the impacts of environmental change on individual species has received much a...
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Full-text available
One of the unifying goals of ecology is understanding the mechanisms that drive ecological patterns. For any particular observed pattern, ecologists have proposed varied mechanistic models. However, in spite of their differences, all of these mechanistic models rely on either abiotic conditions or biotic conditions, our “ecological first principles...
Chapter
One of the unifying goals of ecology is understanding the mechanisms that drive ecological patterns. For any particular observed pattern, ecologists have proposed varied mechanistic models. However, in spite of their differences, all of these mechanistic models rely on either abiotic conditions or biotic conditions, our “ecological first principles...
Article
Full-text available
Community assembly and coexistence theories predict that both fitness and plant functional traits should influence competitive interactions between native and invasive species. The evolution of the increased competitive ability hypothesis predicts that species will grow larger (a measure of fitness) in their invaded than native range; hence we hypo...
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Full-text available
Coexistence between plant species is well known to depend on the outcomes of species interactions within an environmental context. The incorporation of environmental variation into empirical studies of coexistence are rare, however, due to the complex experiments needed to do so and the lack of feasible modelling approaches for determining how envi...
Article
Full-text available
Central to the success of restoration plantings within abandoned pastures is the appropriate selection of species that can establish and grow rapidly to form canopies to suppress grasses. However, species selection can be difficult, largely due to combinations of biotic and abiotic factors operating across multiple spatial scales that can affect se...
Article
'Filtering', or the reduction in species diversity that occurs because not all species can persist in all locations, is thought to unfold hierarchically, controlled by the environment at large scales and competition at small scales. However, the ecological effects of competition and the environment are not independent, and observational approaches...
Article
Tropical forest loss and fragmentation can change bee community dynamics and potentially interrupt plant–pollinator relationships. While bee community responses to forest fragmentation have been investigated in a number of tropical regions, no studies have focused on this topic in Australia. In this study, we examine taxonomic and functional divers...
Preprint
Full-text available
Filtering, or the reduction in species diversity that occurs because not all species can persist in all locations, is thought to unfold hierarchically, at large scales due to the environment and at small scales due to competition. However, the ecological effects of competition and the environment are not independent, and observational approaches pr...
Article
Recent studies have brought renewed attention to the importance of complex species interactions—notably intransitive interactions—to patterns of plant community diversity. One underappreciated avenue through which intransitivity can occur is through cyclic population dynamics. Although such cyclic intransitive relationships have been extensively st...
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Full-text available
1.Community ecology is frequently invoked as complementary to and useful for guiding ecological restoration. While the conceptual literature is devoted to this unification, first-hand accounts from practitioners and ecologists suggest that integration may be weak in practice. To date, there have been no analyses of how extensively community ecology...
Article
At local scales, native species can resist invasion by feeding on and competing with would-be invasive species. However, this relationship tends to break down or reverse at larger scales. Here, we consider the role of native species as indirect facilitators of invasion and their potential role in this diversity-driven 'invasion paradox'. We coin th...
Article
Functional traits associated with drought resistance can be useful for predicting tree responses to a drying climate. Yet drought resistance is likely achieved through a complex combination of constitutive traits (traits expressed even in benign environments) and plastic traits (traits expressed only in response to drought). Because few studies mea...
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Full-text available
The success of restoration projects is known to vary widely, with outcomes relating to numerous biotic and abiotic factors. Though many studies have examined the factors associated with long-term restoration success, few have examined which factors impact the establishment of restoration plantings. 2.In Australia's Wet Tropics, we used a large repl...