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Plant performance is governed by phenotypic interactions with the abiotic and biotic environment. Intra- and inter-specific variation in phenotypes, therefore, determines the distributions of species through space and time and ultimately the structure and dynamics of communities and ecosystems. Thus, functional biology forms the heart of ecology across scales of organization and the foundation upon which predictive ecology must be built.
The Specialty Section in Functional Plant Ecology serves as an outlet for empirical and theoretical investigations into how plant function influences ecological outcomes. The scope of the Section is, therefore, broad ranging from molecules to ecosystems. The Section complements many other sections in Frontiers in Plant Science, but submitted work must ultimately relate to ecological outcomes (e.g. the distribution and dynamics of individuals, populations, species, communities and/or ecosystems) and utilize a clear hypothesis-testing framework. Ideally, the work will be motivated by and build from previous empirical and theoretical advances made in plant ecology.
Functional plant ecology, as a field, has witnessed a tremendous increase in the number of studies quantifying so-called “functional traits”. Functional trait-based submissions are encouraged and very well-suited to the Section. However, the Section is also searching for submissions from a broader range of functional plant ecology that push the boundaries of the molecules to ecosystems continuum. For example, transcriptomic studies of species responses to environmental variation and comparative functional genomic studies of populations, communities are highly encouraged if they have a focus on testing ecological hypotheses. We expect such studies to grow in volume dramatically in the coming years and the Section would like to serve as a major outlet for such work. On the other end of the continuum, the Section is particularly interested in soliciting more submissions regarding the regional to global scale distribution and diversity of plant function as well as the next generation of dynamic vegetation models that are being increasingly refined using plant trait information. Lastly, the Section aims to continue its focus on quantifying and predicting the functional response of plants to drivers of global change.
Please consider the requirements for experimental studies as listed below
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PMCID: all published articles receive a PMCID
Functional Plant Ecology welcomes submissions of the following article types: Correction, Editorial, Hypothesis and Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Review and Systematic Review.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Functional Plant Ecology, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
Articles published in the section Functional Plant Ecology will benefit from the Frontiers impact and tiering system after online publication. Authors of published original research with the highest impact, as judged democratically by the readers, will be invited by the Chief Editor to write a Frontiers Focused Review - a tier-climbing article. This is referred to as "democratic tiering". The author selection is based on article impact analytics of original research published in all Frontiers specialty journals and sections. Focused Reviews are centered on the original discovery, place it into a broader context, and aim to address the wider community across all of Plant Science.
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