As announced in the August issue, Oikos is publishing meta-analyses at an increasing rate, and similar to the transformative capacity of the Forum section, a dedicated section associated with formalized, replicable systematic reviews and meta-analyses will also advance discovery and integration via effective curation. Chris Lortie will act as EiC for this section, and we strive to make all decisions and reviews with one month (provided referees respond in a timely manner), and referees will be selected to review not only the topic explored but also the elements of synthesis included. These efforts will be open-access published as editor’s choice to stimulate positive practices in our field more broadly and to facilitate longitudinal cross-study contrasts of ecological syntheses. Ecology is a very diverse discipline, and big-science ecology needs big bridges between our synthetic discoveries. Granda and colleagues’ meta-analysis on the physiological responses of woody plants to extreme climatic conditions was therefore selected as EiC for November. Understanding responses of species to winter cold and summer drought extremes is especially relevant in face of ongoing climate change. The authors compiled the existing literature on these responses of woody plants from temperate zone and show that that deciduous angiosperms were most sensitive to climatic stress and that evergreen species show less pronounced seasonal responses in both leaves and stems than deciduous species.
The October issue has been dedicated to a set of integrative research papers that bring synthesis on the functioning of soil food webs brought together by one of our editors Ulrich Brose. You can read more on this here. We jointly published with this special issue the forum paper of Fabrizio and colleagues as editor’s choice. They provide a concise synthesis on the role of top predators in food webs. Ecological research on the role of top predators in food webs is becoming increasingly important and popular in terrestrial (see for instance Boersma et al) and marine systems (e.g. Goyert et al; Rizzari et al. ) but also from a more theoretical point of view (e.g. Berg et al.). This exponentially expanding literature is, however, strongly associated with a rapid disintegration into specialized, disconnected subfields for study (e.g. vertebrate predators versus invertebrate predators, community ecology versus biological control etc.). The authors argue that this results in a loss of coherent, integrated understating of the role and importance of these species in ecosystems.