Christopher J. Lortie's research while affiliated with York University and other places

Publications (286)

Article
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Globally, teaching has changed and innovated profoundly in the last 3 years. With novel and more seamless opportunities to use technology and more actively teach visually online or in‐person and to engage in inclusive dialogue within and between groups, we can teach very differently now. An innovation proposed a number of years ago and revisited an...
Article
Shrubs are important factors in the assembly of desert plant and animal communities. By providing shelter and resources to other plants and animals, shrubs can change plant-animal interactions including those with consumers and pollinators. Here, we test the hypothesis that shrubs facilitate the reproduction of other desert plants by influencing po...
Data
Plant recruitment interactions (i.e., who recruits under whom) between 3,318 vascular plant species across the globe
Article
Shrubs commonly shape the plant community in arid ecosystems such as deserts. Plant interactions between shrubs and the associated species can be both negative and positive, and direct and indirect. The importance of shrub effects on reproduction is also a key component of facilitation studies in deserts. Here, we tested the hypothesis that shrubs...
Article
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Earth’s dryland (hyper-arid, arid, semi-arid, and dry sub-humid) ecosystems face increasing aridity and invasion by exotic plant species. In concert, these global changes threaten the biodiversity, ecosystem functioning, and economic viability of drylands worldwide, with critical implications for environmental quality and human wellbeing. Positive...
Article
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Climate change profoundly influences plants and animals in all ecosystems including drylands such as semi-arid and arid scrublands and grasslands. At the peak of an extended megadrought in the Southwestern USA, the microclimatic refuges provided by foundation plant species and through associated vegetation were examined. Shrubs and open interstitia...
Article
Effective coding is fundamental to the study of biology. Computation underpins most research, and reproducible science can be promoted through clean coding practices. Clean coding is crafting code design, syntax and nomenclature in a manner that maximizes the potential to communicate its intent with other scientists. However, computational biologis...
Article
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Data support knowledge development and theory advances in ecology and evolution. We are increasingly reusing data within our teams and projects and through the global, openly archived datasets of others. Metadata can be challenging to write and interpret, but it is always crucial for reuse. The value metadata cannot be overstated—even as a relative...
Article
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An important hypothesis for how plants respond to introduction to new ranges is the evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA). EICA predicts that biogeographical release from natural enemies initiates a trade‐off in which exotic species in non‐native ranges become larger and more competitive, but invest less in consumer defences, relative t...
Preprint
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Interactions among plant species in extreme ecological systems are often inferred from spatial associations and quantified by means of paired sampling. Yet, this method might be confounded by habitat-sharing effects, in particular when microenvironmental heterogeneity and stress are high. Here, we address whether paired and random sampling methods...
Preprint
An important hypothesis for how plants respond to introduction to new ranges is the evolution of increased competitive ability (EICA). EICA predicts that biogeographical release from natural enemies initiates a tradeoff in which exotic species in non-native ranges become larger and more competitive, but invest less in consumer defenses, relative to...
Article
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Although plant–plant interactions (i.e. competition and facilitation) have long been recognised as key drivers of plant community composition and dynamics, their global patterns and relationships with climate have remained unclear. Here, we assembled a global database of 10,502 pairs of empirical data from the literature to address the patterns of...
Article
Interactions with pollinators underlie the structure and function of plant communities. Network analysis is a valuable tool for studying plant-pollinator interactions, but these networks are most frequently built by aggregating interactions at the species level. Interactions are between individuals and an advantage of individual-based networks is t...
Article
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Screens are an ineliminable component of contemporary society for most humans. Consequently, tools and ideas that provide a heuristic and support for conceptually mitigating and balancing the costs of screen times at an individual level are critical. Here, screen adaptation theory (SAT) is proposed as a shorthand tool to frame the wealth of researc...
Article
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Positive interactions can drive the assembly of desert plant communities, but we know little about the species-specificity of positive associations between native shrubs and invasive annual species along aridity gradients. These measures are essential for explaining, predicting, and managing community-level responses to plant invasions and environm...
Article
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Common garden experiments are indoor or outdoor plantings of species or populations collected from multiple distinct geographic locations, grown together under shared conditions. These experiments examine a range of questions for theory and application using a variety of methods for analysis. The eight papers of this special feature comprise a cros...
Article
Species richness is a fundamental component of ecological research including restoration. Managing for enhanced native species richness in restoration is a powerful goal and outcome; nonetheless, local species richness can also be used as a proximate mechanism to decide on the lands to acquire, protect, and restore. Here, a meta‐analysis was used t...
Article
Decisions and judgment are complex processes. There is a dire need to redress, offset, and salvage function in most natural systems with the profound pressures exerted by global change. We must judge threats and decide between solutions. A recent perspective from a climate mediation perspective proposed a hierarchical approach to consider with resp...
Article
Seeds and seed banks are fundamental components of plant community theory and experimental design in desert ecosystems. Here, we made two simple observations from previous research that used seed sowing as a first step and proposed a simple workflow comprised of 5 steps to facilitate more replicable science and control for potential confounding eff...
Article
Community assembly experiments in ecology provide a means to contrast abiotic and biotic influences that structure plant communities. Competition and facilitation are two common biotic predictors of success in plant communities. Abiotic limitations can include, but are not limited to, space, light, and water. Concurrent examination of spatial ecolo...
Article
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Stories shape the human experience. Fairy tales, fables, and historical stories from many peoples influence contemporary culture and science. The Little Prince is an excellent example of a short tale that highlights the relative importance of living with ecology and connectedness. It also clearly illuminates the absurdity that can emerge when one b...
Article
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Global change is impacting plant community composition, but the mechanisms underlying these changes are unclear. Using a dataset of 58 global change experiments, we tested the five fundamental mechanisms of community change: changes in evenness and richness, reordering, species gains and losses. We found 71% of communities were impacted by global c...
Article
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Interspecific facilitation contributes to the assembly of desert plant communities. However, we know little of how desert communities invaded by exotic species respond to facilitation along regional-scale aridity gradients. These measures are essential for predicting how desert plant communities might respond to concomitant plant invasion and envir...
Article
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Arthropods underpin arid community dynamics and provide many key ecosystem services. In arid ecosystems, the key habitat components that influence arthropod community structure are relatively understudied. Ephedra californica is a locally abundant shrub now restricted to highly fragmented populations with established positive effects on plant and v...
Article
Full-text available
The benefits of publishing your data sooner versus later in Ecology and Evolution.
Article
After 25 years of biodiversity experiments, it is clear that higher biodiversity (B) plant communities are usually more productive and often have greater ecosystem functioning (EF) than lower diversity communities. However, the mechanisms underlying this positive biodiversity–ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationship are still poorly understood. The...
Article
Aims Desert dominant plants commonly facilitate plant communities within their canopies. Although substantial research has examined the direct consequences of this effect, a mechanistic understanding of indirect effects mediated via beneficiary plants is still relatively limited. We tested the hypothesis that the net positive outcome of dominant pl...
Article
Numerous pressures influence the ecological capacity and health of drylands globally. Shrubs are often a critical component of these systems and can function positively as foundation species through facilitation of other species. Nonetheless, limited attention has been paid to the potential negative and indirect effects of shrubs. Here, we tested t...
Book
As the world population grows, so does the demand for food, putting unprecedented pressure on agricultural lands. At the same time, climate change, soil degradation, and water scarcity mean that productivity of many of these lands is deteriorating. In many desert dryland regions, drinking wells are drying up and the land above them is sinking, soil...
Article
Positive interactions between shrubs and animals are frequent in desert ecosystems. Shrub canopies can provide refuge to some animal species from predators and shelter from stressful environmental conditions by ameliorating high temperatures through lowering the amplitude of variation. Consequently, there have been many contrasts of shrub versus op...
Article
Contrasts of differences within plant species and ecotypes are often best examined in ecology, evolution, and genetics through provenance and biogeographical comparisons. Climate adaptation studies in plants are no exception and benefit from experiments that use these sets of factors. Reciprocal common gardens are a tool used to test for local adap...
Article
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Significance Biodiversity is driven by complex associations among species, but ecologists often look only at competitive or facilitative interactions either independently or only for few species at a time. Using a large dataset of mountain ecosystems encompassing more than 2,000 species across the globe, we analyze the prevalence and importance of...
Article
Biological diversity depends on multiple, cooccurring ecological interactions. However, most studies focus on one interaction type at a time, leaving community ecologists unsure of how positive and negative associations among species combine to influence biodiversity patterns. Using surveys of plant populations in alpine communities worldwide, we e...
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1. Invasive species have the ability to rapidly adapt in the new regions where they are introduced. Classic evolutionary theory predicts that the accumulation of genetic differences over time in allopatric isolation may lead to reproductive incompatibilities resulting in decreases in reproductive success and, eventually, to speciation. However, exp...
Article
The biodiversity‐ecosystem function literature provides a useful framework to examine many processes associated with species diversity in ecology. One such context is the maintenance of biodiversity by facilitation in arid ecosystems. Here, we examined the complex interactions between local plant species richness and the intensity of shrub facilita...
Article
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The magnet species hypothesis proposes that flowering plants that are attractive to pollinators can increase the relative pollination rates of neighbouring plants by acting as ‘magnets.’ Here, we test the hypothesis that insect-pollinated shrub species Larrea tridentata and wind-pollinated shrub species Ambrosia dumosa act as magnets for the pollin...
Article
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In the current era of Big Data, existing synthesis tools such as formal meta-analyses are critical means to handle the deluge of information. However, there is a need for complementary tools that help to (a) organize evidence, (b) organize theory, and (c) closely connect evidence to theory. We present the hierarchy-of-hypotheses (HoH) approach to a...
Article
Full-text available
Restoration of agricultural drylands globally, here farmlands and grazing lands, is a priority for ecosystem function and biodiversity preservation. Natural areas in drylands are recognized as biodiversity hotspots and face continued human impacts. Global water shortages are driving increased agricultural land retirement providing the opportunity t...
Article
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Teaching ecology effectively and experientially has become more challenging for at least two reasons today. Most experiences of our students are urban, and we now face the near immediate and continuing need to deliver courses (either partially or wholly) online because of COVID-19. Therefore, providing a learning experience that connects students t...
Article
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• There is extensive choice in R to support meta‐analyses. • Two packages in this ecosystem include meta and metafor and provide an excellent opportunity to apply a structured checklist previously developed for contrasts between R packages relevant to challenges in ecology and evolution. • Meta is a direct, intuitive choice for rapid implementation...
Article
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Conferences provide an invaluable set of opportunities for professional development. Online, virtual, and distributed conferences do not necessarily mean less opportunity for growth and innovation in science but varied and novel options for communicating the scientific process. Open science and many existing tools are in place in the practice of co...
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The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‐19) pandemic introduced an abrupt change in human behavior globally. Here, we discuss unique insights the pandemic has provided into the eco‐evolutionary role of pathogens in ecosystems and present data that indicates the pandemic may have fundamentally changed our learning choices. COVID‐19 has indirectly affect...
Article
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Synthesis has become ubiquitous in ecology. Despite its widespread application to a broad range of research topics, it remains unclear how synthesis has affected the discipline. Using a case study of publications (n = 2304) from the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis compared with papers with similar keywords from the Web of Scie...
Article
Premise: In arid ecosystems, shrub facilitation is a critical process driving plant community structure and assembly, often resulting in increased densities of annual plants beneath shrub canopies. Pollinator-mediated interactions can have fitness consequences for both plant interactors but are largely unexplored as an indirect consequence of dire...
Article
Full-text available
Aim and Location Positive interactions influence the assembly of plant communities globally, particularly in stressful environments such as deserts. However, few studies have measured the intensity and relative importance of positive interactions involving native and invasive species along aridity gradients. These measures are essential for predict...
Preprint
Full-text available
Arthropods underpin arid community dynamics and provide many key ecosystem services. In arid ecosystems, the key habitat components that influence arthropod community structure are relatively understudied. Ephedra californica is a common and widespread shrub with established positive effects on plant and vertebrate animal communities within the dry...
Article
There is a gap between fundamental science and managers. There are many general solutions including the need to better leverage the primary scientific literature for decision-making. Herein, we provide a list of 10 simple rules to support environmental management through better scientific writing and suggest practices for more transparent publicati...
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Questions The biodiversity of deserts is becoming increasingly threatened due to global change including the introduction of invasive species. Desert shrubs are a foundational species that can facilitate native plant communities but can also benefit exotic species. The influence of exotic plants on the establishment of benefactors from seeds or see...
Article
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Background Plant reproduction is influenced by the net outcome of plant–herbivore and plant–pollinator interactions. While both herbivore impacts and pollinator impacts on plant reproduction have been widely studied, few studies examine them in concert. Methodology Here, we review the contemporary literature that examines the net outcomes of herbi...
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Questions Deserts ecosystems are threatened by shifts in precipitation patterns from climate change. Positive interactions among plants could buffer desert communities from environmental extremes and resource limitations. However, to improve our ability to predict the response of plant interactions and the plant community to environmental change, w...
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Globally, no species is exempt from the constraints associated with limited available habitat or resources, and endangered species in particular warrant critical examination. In most cases, these species are restricted to limited locations, and the relative likelihood of resource use within the space they can access is important. Using Gambelia sil...
Preprint
Scientific synthesis is a set of tools relevant to evidence-informed decision making for the drylands of California. Tools include comprehensive theory and formal scientific syntheses of the published primary literature examining restoration in drylands. Restoration lessons consistently reported in the literature provide insights into applicable th...
Article
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Recognizing how climate change will impact populations can aid in making decisions about approaches for conservation of endangered species. The blunt-nosed leopard lizard (Gambelia sila) is a federally endangered species that, despite protection, remains in extremely arid, hot areas and may be at risk of extirpation due to climate change. We collec...
Article
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The open source and free programming language R is a phenomenal mechanism to address a multiplicity of challenges in ecology and evolution. It is also a complex ecosystem because of the diversity of solutions available to the analyst. Packages for R enhance and specialize the capacity to explore both niche data/experiments and more common needs. Ho...
Preprint
Most people in modern organizations do not like meetings. Frustration from the fact that there are too many meetings is a likely culprit because there at least 55 million meetings each day in the US with many millions more held around the world. The prevalence and impact of meetings suggests that they are a grand challenge to human well being. This...
Article
Full-text available
Allelopathy, the release of chemicals by plants that inhibit the germination and growth of competing species, can be an important trait for invasive success. However, little is known about potential biogeographical differences in allelopathy due to divergent regional eco-evolutionary histories. To test this, we examined the allelochemical potential...
Preprint
In the current era of Big Data, existing synthesis tools (e.g. formal meta-analysis) are useful for handling the deluge of data and information. However, there is a need for complementary tools that help to (i) structure data and information, (ii) closely connect evidence to theory and (iii) further develop theory. We present the hierarchy-of-hypot...
Article
Allelopathy, the release of chemicals by plants that inhibit the germination and growth of competing species, can be an important trait for invasive success. However, little is known about potential biogeographical differences in allelopathy due to divergent regional eco-evolutionary histories. To test this, we examined the allelochemical potential...
Article
Change is a fundamental component of contemporary restoration ecology. The environment, the research, and the ideas in this discipline are rapidly evolving and changing. The California Society for Ecological Restoration annual meeting was an inclusive, diverse meeting that significantly advanced new thinking in the field and provided an exemplar of...
Article
Full-text available
The mechanisms supporting positive ecological interactions are important. Foundation species can structure desert biodiversity by facilitating seedbanks of annual plants, but the direct and indirect mechanisms of shrub effects on seedbank have not been experimentally decoupled. We conducted the first test of shrubs increasing seedbank densities thr...
Data
The seed bank densities per gram of soil for five distances between the shrub center and an adjacent open microsite. (TIF)
Data
Typical examples of the shrubs Larrea tridentata and Ephedra californica in the Mojave National Preserve (Mojave Desert) and Panoche Hills (San Joaquin Desert) respectively. (TIF)
Preprint
Running is a popular and in many respects intuitive sport. Nonetheless, an extensive body of research literature supports and examines the science of running performance. Here, we used meta-analyses and systematic reviews directly associated with running performance to qualitatively describe ten simple rules for better running. Better running is de...
Article
Full-text available
Positive interactions enhance biodiversity and ecosystem function, but can also exacerbate biological invasions. Facilitation of exotic invaders by exotic foundation species (invasional meltdown) has been studied extensively, but facilitation of exotic invaders by native foundation species has attracted less attention. Specifically, very few studie...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is extensive support and choice in R to support meta-analyses. Two common packages in the natural sciences include meta and metafor. Here, a brief contrast of the strengths of each is described for the synthesis scientist. Meta is a direct, intuitive choice for rapid implementation of general meta-analytical statistics. Metafor is a comprehen...
Preprint
Full-text available
There is extensive support and choice in R to support meta-analyses. Two common packages in the natural sciences include meta and metafor. Here, a brief contrast of the strengths of each is described for the synthesis scientist. Meta is a direct, intuitive choice for rapid implementation of general meta-analytical statistics. Metafor is a comprehen...
Preprint
Running is a popular and in many respects intuitive sport. Nonetheless, an extensive body of research literature supports and examines the science of running performance. Here, we used meta-analyses and systematic reviews directly associated with running performance to qualitatively describe ten simple rules for better running. Better running is de...
Preprint
Full-text available
Running is a popular and in many respects intuitive sport. Nonetheless, an extensive body of research literature supports and examines the science of running performance. Here, we used meta-analyses and systematic reviews directly associated with running performance to qualitatively describe ten simple rules for better running. Better running is de...
Preprint
Running is a popular and in many respects intuitive sport. Nonetheless, an extensive body of research literature supports and examines the science of running performance. Here, we used meta-analyses and systematic reviews directly associated with running performance to qualitatively describe ten simple rules for better running. Better running is de...
Article
Full-text available
Statistical books can provide deep insights into statistics and software. There are, however, many resources available to the practitioner. Book reviews have the capacity to function as a critical mechanism for the learner to assess the merits of engaging in part, in full, or at all with a book. The “ten simple rules” format, pioneered in computati...
Article
Full-text available
Increasingly, big data, coding, and quantitative methods contribute to contemporary ecological and evolutionary endeavours. This is not in opposition to effective ideation nor does it play to the false dichotomy of theory versus data. Computational expeditions with data, models, simulations or any other number of approaches both expand the toolkit...
Article
Full-text available
The programming language R is widely used in many fields. We explored the extent of reported R use in the field of ecology using the Web of Science and text mining. We analyzed the frequencies of R packages reported in more than 60,000 peer‐reviewed articles published in 30 ecology journals during a 10‐yr period ending in 2017. The number of studie...
Preprint
Full-text available
Increasingly, big data, coding, and quantitative methods contribute to contemporary ecological and evolutionary endeavours. This is not in opposition to effective ideation nor does it play to the false dichotomy of theory versus data. Computational expeditions with data, models, simulations or any other number of approaches both expand the toolkit...
Preprint
Increasingly, big data, coding, and quantitative methods contribute to contemporary ecological and evolutionary endeavours. This is not in opposition to effective ideation nor does it play to the false dichotomy of theory versus data. Computational expeditions with data, models, simulations or any other number of approaches both expand the toolkit...
Article
Pollination facilitation is an indirect interaction whereby one plant species positively influences the reproductive success of another plant species through pollinators. A formal systematic review including 100 directly relevant papers was used to categorize the literature into a conceptual framework summarizing all mechanisms underlying pollinati...
Preprint
Full-text available
An environmental management challenge is an opportunity to use fundamental science to inform evidence-based decisions for environmental stakeholders and conservationists. Contemporary science is embracing open science and increasingly conscious of reproduciblility. Synergistically, applying these two paradigms in concert advances our capacity to mo...
Preprint
An environmental management challenge is an opportunity to use fundamental science to inform evidence-based decisions for environmental stakeholders and conservationists. Contemporary science is embracing open science and increasingly conscious of reproduciblility. Synergistically, applying these two paradigms in concert advances our capacity to mo...
Article
Full-text available
Preservation of desert ecosystems is a worldwide conservation priority. Shrubs can play a key role in the structure of desert communities and can function as foundation species. Understanding desert shrub ecology is therefore an important task in desert conservation. A useful model for the function of shrubs in deserts is ecological facilitation, w...
Article
Full-text available
The responses of species to environmental changes will determine future community composition and ecosystem function. Many syntheses of global change experiments examine the magnitude of treatment effect sizes, but we lack an understanding of how plant responses to treatments compare to ongoing changes in the unmanipulated (ambient or background) s...