There were a lot of good papers in 2014, but these three stood out for me. They’re very different, but they have two things in common: they’re extremely thorough, and they’re a quantum leap forward in their fields.
1) Stein et al. Ecol. Lett, “Environmental heterogeneity as a universal driver of species richness across taxa, biomes and spatial scales.” This helps to resolve some persistent and sticky debates in theoretical and applied ecology. It has important implications for conservation biology and species invasions.
2) Constable et al. Global Change Biol. “Climate change and Southern Ocean ecosystems I: how changes in physical habitats directly affect marine biota.” This is one of the best reviews I’ve ever read. It’s amazing it’s only 22 pages.
3) Adler et al. PNAS “Functional traits explain variation in plant life history strategies.” Plant demographics and functional traits. This is just the beginning…