WorldWideScience

Sample records for ecological niche modelling

  1. Advances and Limitations of Disease Biogeography Using Ecological Niche Modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escobar, Luis E; Craft, Meggan E

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks.

  2. Ecological Niche Modelling of Bank Voles in Western Europe

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sara Amirpour Haredasht

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available The bank vole (Myodes glareolus is the natural host of Puumala virus (PUUV in vast areas of Europe. PUUV is one of the hantaviruses which are transmitted to humans by infected rodents. PUUV causes a general mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS called nephropathia epidemica (NE. Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases generally display clear spatial patterns due to different space-dependent factors. Land cover influences disease transmission by controlling both the spatial distribution of vectors or hosts, as well as by facilitating the human contact with them. In this study the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM for predicting the geographical distribution of bank vole population on the basis of spatial climate information is tested. The Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP is used to model the ecological niche of bank voles in Western Europe. The meteorological data, land cover types and geo-referenced points representing the locations of the bank voles (latitude/longitude in the study area are used as the primary model input value. The predictive accuracy of the bank vole ecologic niche model was significant (training accuracy of 86%. The output of the GARP models based on the 50% subsets of points used for testing the model showed an accuracy of 75%. Compared with random models, the probability of such high predictivity was low (χ2 tests, p < 10−6. As such, the GARP models were predictive and the used ecologic niche model indeed indicates the ecologic requirements of bank voles. This approach successfully identified the areas of infection risk across the study area. The result suggests that the niche modelling approach can be implemented in a next step towards the development of new tools for monitoring the bank vole’s population.

  3. Ecological niche modelling of bank voles in Western Europe.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amirpour Haredasht, Sara; Barrios, Miguel; Farifteh, Jamshid; Maes, Piet; Clement, Jan; Verstraeten, Willem W; Tersago, Katrien; Van Ranst, Marc; Coppin, Pol; Berckmans, Daniel; Aerts, Jean-Marie

    2013-01-28

    The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the natural host of Puumala virus (PUUV) in vast areas of Europe. PUUV is one of the hantaviruses which are transmitted to humans by infected rodents. PUUV causes a general mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) called nephropathia epidemica (NE). Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases generally display clear spatial patterns due to different space-dependent factors. Land cover influences disease transmission by controlling both the spatial distribution of vectors or hosts, as well as by facilitating the human contact with them. In this study the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM) for predicting the geographical distribution of bank vole population on the basis of spatial climate information is tested. The Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) is used to model the ecological niche of bank voles in Western Europe. The meteorological data, land cover types and geo-referenced points representing the locations of the bank voles (latitude/longitude) in the study area are used as the primary model input value. The predictive accuracy of the bank vole ecologic niche model was significant (training accuracy of 86%). The output of the GARP models based on the 50% subsets of points used for testing the model showed an accuracy of 75%. Compared with random models, the probability of such high predictivity was low (χ(2) tests, p < 10(-6)). As such, the GARP models were predictive and the used ecologic niche model indeed indicates the ecologic requirements of bank voles. This approach successfully identified the areas of infection risk across the study area. The result suggests that the niche modelling approach can be implemented in a next step towards the development of new tools for monitoring the bank vole's population.

  4. Place prioritization for biodiversity content using species ecological niche modeling

    OpenAIRE

    Víctor Sánchez-Cordero; Verónica Cirelli; Mariana Munguial; Sahotra Sarkar

    2005-01-01

    Place prioritization for biodiversity representation is essential for conservation planning, particularly in megadiverse countries where high deforestation threatens biodiversity. Given the collecting biases and uneven sampling of biological inventories, there is a need to develop robust models of species’ distributions. By modeling species’ ecological niches using point occurrence data and digitized environmental feature maps, we can predict potential and extant distributions of species in u...

  5. Introducing MERGANSER: A Flexible Framework for Ecological Niche Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Klawonn, M.; Dow, E. M.

    2015-12-01

    Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) is a collection of techniques to find a "fundamental niche", the range of environmental conditions suitable for a species' survival in the absence of inter-species interactions, given a set of environmental parameters. Traditional approaches to ENM face a number of obstacles including limited data accessibility, data management problems, computational costs, interface usability, and model validation. The MERGANSER system, which stands for Modeling Ecological Residency Given A Normalized Set of Environmental Records, addresses these issues through powerful data persistence and flexible data access, coupled with a clear presentation of results and fine-tuned control over model parameters. MERGANSER leverages data measuring 72 weather related phenomena, land cover, soil type, population, species occurrence, general species information, and elevation, totaling over 1.5 TB of data. To the best of the authors' knowledge, MERGANSER uses higher-resolution spatial data sets than previously published models. Since MERGANSER stores data in an instance of Apache SOLR, layers generated in support of niche models are accessible to users via simplified Apache Lucene queries. This is made even simpler via an HTTP front end that generates Lucene queries automatically. Specifically, a user need only enter the name of a place and a species to run a model. Using this approach to synthesizing model layers, the MERGANSER system has successfully reproduced previously published niche model results with a simplified user experience. Input layers for the model are generated dynamically using OpenStreetMap and SOLR's spatial search functionality. Models are then run using either user-specified or automatically determined parameters after normalizing them into a common grid. Finally, results are visualized in the web interface, which allows for quick validation. Model results and all surrounding metadata are also accessible to the user for further study.

  6. Ecologic Niche Modeling of Blastomyces dermatitidis in Wisconsin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reed, Kurt D.; Meece, Jennifer K.; Archer, John R.; Peterson, A. Townsend

    2008-01-01

    Background Blastomycosis is a potentially fatal mycosis that is acquired by inhaling infectious spores of Blastomyces dermatitidis present in the environment. The ecology of this pathogen is poorly understood, in part because it has been extremely difficult to identify the niche(s) it occupies based on culture isolation of the organism from environmental samples. Methodology/Principal Findings We investigated the ecology of blastomycosis by performing maximum entropy modeling of exposure sites from 156 cases of human and canine blastomycosis to provide a regional-scale perspective of the geographic and ecologic distribution of B. dermatitidis in Wisconsin. Based on analysis with climatic, topographic, surface reflectance and other environmental variables, we predicted that ecologic conditions favorable for maintaining the fungus in nature occur predominantly within northern counties and counties along the western shoreline of Lake Michigan. Areas of highest predicted occurrence were often in proximity to waterways, especially in northcentral Wisconsin, where incidence of infection is highest. Ecologic conditions suitable for B. dermatitidis are present in urban and rural environments, and may differ at the extremes of distribution of the species in the state. Conclusions/Significance Our results provide a framework for a more informed search for specific environmental factors modulating B. dermatitidis occurrence and transmission and will be useful for improving public health awareness of relative exposure risks. PMID:18446224

  7. Does niche divergence accompany allopatric divergence in Aphelocoma jays as predicted under ecological speciation? Insights from tests with niche models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCormack, John E; Zellmer, Amanda J; Knowles, L Lacey

    2010-05-01

    The role of ecology in the origin of species has been the subject of long-standing interest to evolutionary biologists. New sources of spatially explicit ecological data allow for large-scale tests of whether speciation is associated with niche divergence or whether closely related species tend to be similar ecologically (niche conservatism). Because of the confounding effects of spatial autocorrelation of environmental variables, we generate null expectations for niche divergence for both an ecological-niche modeling and a multivariate approach to address the question: do allopatrically distributed taxa occupy similar niches? In a classic system for the study of niche evolution--the Aphelocoma jays--we show that there is little evidence for niche divergence among Mexican Jay (A. ultramarina) lineages in the process of speciation, contrary to previous results. In contrast, Aphelocoma species that exist in partial sympatry in some regions show evidence for niche divergence. Our approach is widely applicable to the many cases of allopatric lineages in the beginning stages of speciation. These results do not support an ecological speciation model for Mexican Jay lineages because, in most cases, the allopatric environments they occupy are not significantly more divergent than expected under a null model.

  8. Framework for analyzing ecological trait-based models in multidimensional niche spaces

    Science.gov (United States)

    Biancalani, Tommaso; DeVille, Lee; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2015-05-01

    We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing ecological models with a multidimensional niche space. Our approach relies on the fact that ecological niches are described by sequences of symbols, which allows us to include multiple phenotypic traits. Ecological drivers, such as competitive exclusion, are modeled by introducing the Hamming distance between two sequences. We show that a suitable transform diagonalizes the community interaction matrix of these models, making it possible to predict the conditions for niche differentiation and, close to the instability onset, the asymptotically long time population distributions of niches. We exemplify our method using the Lotka-Volterra equations with an exponential competition kernel.

  9. Divergence is not enough: the use of ecological niche models for the validation of taxon boundaries.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dagnino, D; Minuto, L; Casazza, G

    2017-11-01

    Delimiting taxon boundaries is crucial for any evolutionary research and conservation regulation. In order to avoid mistaken description of species, the approach of integrative taxonomy recommends considering multidisciplinary lines of evidence, including ecology. Unfortunately, ecological data are often difficult to quantify objectively. Here we test and discuss the potential use of ecological niche models for validating taxon boundaries, using three pairs of closely related plant taxa endemic to the south-western Alps as a case study. We also discuss the application of ecological niche models for species delimitation and the implementation of different approaches. Niche overlap, niche equivalency and niche similarity were assessed both in multidimensional environmental space and in geographic space to look for differences in the niche of three pairs of closely related plant taxa. We detected a high degree of niche differentiation between taxa although this result seems not due to differences in habitat selection. The different statistical tests gave contrasting outcomes between environmental and geographic spaces. According to our results, niche divergence does not seem to support taxon boundaries at species level, but may have had important consequences for local adaptation and in generating phenotypic diversity at intraspecific level. Environmental space analysis should be preferred to geographic space as it provides more clear results. Even if the different analyses widely disagree in their conclusions about taxon boundaries, our study suggests that ecological niche models may help taxonomists to reach a decision. © 2017 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands.

  10. Using ecological niche modeling to determine avian richness hotspots

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Mirzaei

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Understanding distributions of wildlife species is a key step towards identifying biodiversity hotspots and designing effective conservation strategies. In this paper, the spatial pattern of diversity of birds in Golestan Province, Iran was estimated. Ecological niche modeling was used to determine distributions of 144 bird species across the province using a maximum entropy algorithm. Richness maps across all birds, and separately for rare and threatened species, were prepared as approximations to hotspots. Results showed close similarity between hotspots for all birds and those for rare birds; hotspots were concentrated in the southern and especially the southwestern parts of the province. Hotspots for threatened birds tended more to the central and especially the western parts of the province, which include coastal habitats. Based on three criteria, it is clear that the western part is the most important area of the province in terms of bird Faunas. Despite some shortcomings, hotspot analysis for birds could be applied to guide conservation efforts and provide useful tool towards efficient conservation action.

  11. OMWS: A Web Service Interface for Ecological Niche Modelling

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    Renato De Giovanni

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Ecological niche modelling (ENM experiments often involve a high number of tasks to be performed. Such tasks may consume a significant amount of computing resources and take a long time to complete, especially when using personal computers. OMWS is a Web service interface that allows more powerful computing back-ends to be remotely exploited by other applications to carry out ENM tasks. Its latest version includes a new operation that can be used to specify complex workflows in a single request, adding the possibility of using workflow management systems on parallel computing back-end. In this paper we describe the OMWS protocol and compare its most recent version with the previous one by running the same ENM experiment using two functionally equivalent clients, each designed for one of the OMWS interface versions. Different back-end configurations were used to investigate how the performance scales for each protocol version when more processing power is made available. Results show that the new version outperforms (in a factor of 2 the previous one when more computing resources are used.

  12. Range bagging: a new method for ecological niche modelling from presence-only data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Drake, John M

    2015-06-06

    The ecological niche is the set of environments in which a population of a species can persist without introduction of individuals from other locations. A good mathematical or computational representation of the niche is a prerequisite to addressing many questions in ecology, biogeography, evolutionary biology and conservation. A particularly challenging question for ecological niche modelling is the problem of presence-only modelling. That is, can an ecological niche be identified from records drawn only from the set of niche environments without records from non-niche environments for comparison? Here, I introduce a new method for ecological niche modelling from presence-only data called range bagging. Range bagging draws on the concept of a species' environmental range, but was inspired by the empirical performance of ensemble learning algorithms in other areas of ecological research. This paper extends the concept of environmental range to multiple dimensions and shows that range bagging is computationally feasible even when the number of environmental dimensions is large. The target of the range bagging base learner is an environmental tolerance of the species in a projection of its niche and is therefore an ecologically interpretable property of a species' biological requirements. The computational complexity of range bagging is linear in the number of examples, which compares favourably with the main alternative, Qhull. In conclusion, range bagging appears to be a reasonable choice for niche modelling in applications in which a presence-only method is desired and may provide a solution to problems in other disciplines where one-class classification is required, such as outlier detection and concept learning.

  13. Place prioritization for biodiversity content using species ecological niche modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Víctor Sánchez-Cordero

    2005-01-01

    Full Text Available Place prioritization for biodiversity representation is essential for conservation planning, particularly in megadiverse countries where high deforestation threatens biodiversity. Given the collecting biases and uneven sampling of biological inventories, there is a need to develop robust models of species’ distributions. By modeling species’ ecological niches using point occurrence data and digitized environmental feature maps, we can predict potential and extant distributions of species in untransformed landscapes, as well as in those transformed by vegetation change (including deforestation. Such distributional predictions provide a framework for use of species as biodiversity surrogates in place prioritization procedures such as those based on rarity and complementarity. Beyond biodiversity conservation, these predictions can also be used for place prioritization for ecological restoration under current conditions and under future scenarios of habitat change (e.g., deforestation scenarios. To illustrate these points, we (1 predict distributions under current and future deforestation scenarios for the Mexican endemic mammal Dipodomys phillipsii, and show how areas for restoration may be selected; and (2 propose conservation areas by combining nonvolant mammal distributional predictions as biodiversity surrogates with place prioritization procedures, to connect decreed natural protected areas in a region holding exceptional biodiversity: the Transvolcanic Belt in central Mexico. La selección de áreas prioritarias de conservación es fundamental en la planeación sistemática de la conservación, particularmente en países de mega-diversidad, en donde la alta deforestación es una de las amenazas a la biodiversidad. Debido a los sesgos taxonómicos y geográficos de colecta de los inventarios biológicos, es indispensable generar modelos robustos de distribución de especies. Al modelar el nicho ecológico de especies usando localidades de

  14. Ecological niche of plant pathogens

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ecaterina Fodor

    2011-06-01

    Full Text Available Disease ecology is a new approach to the understanding of the spread and dynamics of pathogens in natural and man-made environments. Defining and describing the ecological niche of the pathogens is one of the major tasks for ecological theory, as well as for practitioners preoccupied with the control and forecasting of established and emerging diseases. Niche theory has been periodically revised, not including in an explicit way the pathogens. However, many progresses have been achieved in niche modeling of disease spread, but few attempts were made to construct a theoretical frame for the ecological niche of pathogens. The paper is a review of the knowledge accumulated during last decades in the niche theory of pathogens and proposes an ecological approach in research. It quest for new control methods in what concerns forest plant pathogens, with a special emphasis on fungi like organisms of the genus Phytophthora. Species of Phytophthora are the most successful plant pathogens of the moment, affecting forest and agricultural systems worldwide, many of them being invasive alien organisms in many ecosystems. The hyperspace of their ecological niche is defined by hosts, environment and human interference, as main axes. To select most important variables within the hyperspace, is important the understanding of the complex role of pathogens in the ecosystems as well as for control programs. Biotic relationships within ecosystem of host-pathogen couple are depicted by ecological network and specific metrics attached to this. The star shaped network is characterized by few high degree nodes, by short path lengths and relatively low connectivity, premises for a rapid disturbance spread. 

  15. Ecological niche of plant pathogens

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ecaterina Fodor

    2011-02-01

    Full Text Available Disease ecology is a new approach to the understanding of the spread and dynamics of pathogens in natural and man-made environments. Defining and describing the ecological niche of the pathogens is one of the major tasks for ecological theory, as well as for practitioners preoccupied with the control and forecasting of established and emerging diseases. Niche theory has been periodically revised, not including in an explicit way the pathogens. However, many progresses have been achieved in niche modeling of disease spread, but few attempts were made to construct a theoretical frame for the ecological niche of pathogens. The paper is a review of the knowledge accumulated during last decades in the niche theory of pathogens and proposes an ecological approach in research. It quest for new control methods in what concerns forest plant pathogens, with a special emphasis on fungi like organisms of the genus Phytophthora. Species of Phytophthora are the most successful plant pathogens of the moment, affecting forest and agricultural systems worldwide, many of them being invasive alien organisms in many ecosystems. The hyperspace of their ecological niche is defined by hosts, environment and human interference, as main axes. To select most important variables within the hyperspace, is important for the understanding of the complex role of pathogens in the ecosystems as well as for control programs. Biotic relationships within ecosystem of host-pathogen couple are depicted by ecological network and specific metrics attached to this. The star shaped network is characterized by few high degree nodes, by short path lengths and relatively low connectivity, premises for a rapid disturbance spread.

  16. Ecological Niche Modelling of the Bacillus anthracis A1.a sub-lineage in Kazakhstan

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Background Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax, is a globally distributed zoonotic pathogen that continues to be a veterinary and human health problem in Central Asia. We used a database of anthrax outbreak locations in Kazakhstan and a subset of genotyped isolates to model the geographic distribution and ecological associations of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The aims of the study were to test the influence of soil variables on a previous ecological niche based prediction of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan and to determine if a single sub-lineage of B. anthracis occupies a unique ecological niche. Results The addition of soil variables to the previously developed ecological niche model did not appreciably alter the limits of the predicted geographic or ecological distribution of B. anthracis in Kazakhstan. The A1.a experiment predicted the sub-lineage to be present over a larger geographic area than did the outbreak based experiment containing multiple lineages. Within the geographic area predicted to be suitable for B. anthracis by all ten best subset models, the A1.a sub-lineage was associated with a wider range of ecological tolerances than the outbreak-soil experiment. Analysis of rule types showed that logit rules predominate in the outbreak-soil experiment and range rules in the A1.a sub-lineage experiment. Random sub-setting of locality points suggests that models of B. anthracis distribution may be sensitive to sample size. Conclusions Our analysis supports careful consideration of the taxonomic resolution of data used to create ecological niche models. Further investigations into the environmental affinities of individual lineages and sub-lineages of B. anthracis will be useful in understanding the ecology of the disease at large and small scales. With model based predictions serving as approximations of disease risk, these efforts will improve the efficacy of public health interventions for anthrax prevention and control. PMID:22152056

  17. Modeling the Ecological Niche of Bacillus anthracis to Map Anthrax Risk in Kyrgyzstan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blackburn, Jason K; Matakarimov, Saitbek; Kozhokeeva, Sabira; Tagaeva, Zhyldyz; Bell, Lindsay K; Kracalik, Ian T; Zhunushov, Asankadyr

    2017-03-01

    AbstractAnthrax, caused by the environmental bacterium Bacillus anthracis , is an important zoonosis nearly worldwide. In Central Asia, anthrax represents a major veterinary and public health concern. In the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, ongoing anthrax outbreaks have been reported in humans associated with handling infected livestock and contaminated animal by-products such as meat or hides. The current anthrax situation has prompted calls for improved insights into the epidemiology, ecology, and spatial distribution of the disease in Kyrgyzstan to better inform control and surveillance. Disease control for both humans and livestock relies on annual livestock vaccination ahead of outbreaks. Toward this, we used a historic database of livestock anthrax reported from 1932 to 2006 mapped at high resolution to develop an ecological niche model-based prediction of B. anthracis across Kyrgyzstan and identified spatial clusters of livestock anthrax using a cluster morphology statistic. We also defined the seasonality of outbreaks in livestock. Cattle were the most frequently reported across the time period, with the greatest number of cases in late summer months. Our niche models defined four areas as suitable to support pathogen persistence, the plateaus near Talas and Bishkek, the valleys of western Kyrgyzstan along the Fergana Valley, and the low-lying areas along the shore of Lake Isyk-Kul. These areas should be considered "at risk" for livestock anthrax and subsequent human cases. Areas defined by the niche models can be used to prioritize anthrax surveillance and inform efforts to target livestock vaccination campaigns.

  18. Insights from ecological niche modeling on the taxonomic distinction and niche differentiation between the black-spotted and red-spotted tokay geckoes (Gekko gecko).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Yueyun; Chen, Chongtao; Li, Li; Zhao, Chengjian; Chen, Weicai; Huang, Yong

    2014-09-01

    The black-spotted tokay and the red-spotted tokay are morphologically distinct and have largely allopatric distributions. The black-spotted tokay is characterized by a small body size and dark skin with sundry spots, while the red-spotted tokay has a relatively large body size and red spots. Based on morphological, karyotypic, genetic, and distribution differences, recent studies suggested their species status; however, their classifications remain controversial, and additional data such as ecological niches are necessary to establish firm hypotheses regarding their taxonomic status. We reconstructed their ecological niches models using climatic and geographic data. We then performed niche similarity tests (niche identity and background tests) and point-based analyses to explore whether ecological differentiation has occurred, and whether such differences are sufficient to explain the maintenance of their separate segments of environmental ranges. We found that both niche models of the black- and the red-spotted tokay had a good fit and a robust performance, as indicated by the high area under the curve (AUC) values ("black" = 0.982, SD = ± 0.002, "red" = 0.966 ± 0.02). Significant ecological differentiation across the entire geographic range was found, indicating that the involvement of ecological differentiation is important for species differentiation. Divergence along the environmental axes is highly associated with climatic conditions, with isothermality being important for the "black" form, while temperature seasonality, precipitation of warmest quarter, and annual temperature range together being important for the "red" form. These factors are likely important factors in niche differentiation between the two forms, which result in morphological replacement. Overall, beside morphological and genetic differentiation information, our results contribute to additional insights into taxonomic distinction and niche differentiation between the black- and the red

  19. Ecological niche models reveal the importance of climate variability for the biogeography of protosteloid amoebae.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguilar, María; Lado, Carlos

    2012-08-01

    Habitat availability and environmental preferences of species are among the most important factors in determining the success of dispersal processes and therefore in shaping the distribution of protists. We explored the differences in fundamental niches and potential distributions of an ecological guild of slime moulds-protosteloid amoebae-in the Iberian Peninsula. A large set of samples collected in a north-east to south-west transect of approximately 1000 km along the peninsula was used to test the hypothesis that, together with the existence of suitable microhabitats, climate conditions may determine the probability of survival of species. Although protosteloid amoebae share similar morphologies and life history strategies, canonical correspondence analyses showed that they have varied ecological optima, and that climate conditions have an important effect in niche differentiation. Maxent environmental niche models provided consistent predictions of the probability of presence of the species based on climate data, and they were used to generate maps of potential distribution in an 'everything is everywhere' scenario. The most important climatic factors were, in both analyses, variables that measure changes in conditions throughout the year, confirming that the alternation of fruiting bodies, cysts and amoeboid stages in the life cycles of protosteloid amoebae constitutes an advantage for surviving in a changing environment. Microhabitat affinity seems to be influenced by climatic conditions, which suggests that the micro-environment may vary at a local scale and change together with the external climate at a larger scale.

  20. Ecological niches of open ocean phytoplankton taxa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Brun, Philipp Georg; Vogt, Meike; Payne, Mark

    2015-01-01

    We characterize the realized ecological niches of 133 phytoplankton taxa in the open ocean based on observations from the MAREDAT initiative and a statistical species distribution model (MaxEnt). The models find that the physical conditions (mixed layer depth, temperature, light) govern large...... conditions in the open ocean. Our estimates of the realized niches roughly match the predictions of Reynolds' C-S-R model for the global ocean, namely that taxa classified as nutrient stress tolerant have niches at lower nutrient and higher irradiance conditions than light stress tolerant taxa. Yet...

  1. Postglacial species displacement in Triturus newts deduced from asymmetrically introgressed mitochondrial DNA and ecological niche models

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    Wielstra Ben

    2012-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background If the geographical displacement of one species by another is accompanied by hybridization, mitochondrial DNA can introgress asymmetrically, from the outcompeted species into the invading species, over a large area. We explore this phenomenon using the two parapatric crested newt species, Triturus macedonicus and T. karelinii, distributed on the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe, as a model. Results We first delimit a ca. 54,000 km2 area in which T. macedonicus contains T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA. This introgression zone bisects the range of T. karelinii, cutting off a T. karelinii enclave. The high similarity of introgressed mitochondrial DNA haplotypes with those found in T. karelinii suggests a recent transfer across the species boundary. We then use ecological niche modeling to explore habitat suitability of the location of the present day introgression zone under current, mid-Holocene and Last Glacial Maximum conditions. This area was inhospitable during the Last Glacial Maximum for both species, but would have been habitable at the mid-Holocene. Since the mid-Holocene, habitat suitability generally increased for T. macedonicus, whereas it decreased for T. karelinii. Conclusion The presence of a T. karelinii enclave suggests that T. karelinii was the first to colonize the area where the present day introgression zone is positioned after the Last Glacial Maximum. Subsequently, we propose T. karelinii was outcompeted by T. macedonicus, which captured T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA via introgressive hybridization in the process. Ecological niche modeling suggests that this replacement was likely facilitated by a shift in climate since the mid-Holocene. We suggest that the northwestern part of the current introgression zone was probably never inhabited by T. karelinii itself, and that T. karelinii mitochondrial DNA spread there through T. macedonicus exclusively. Considering the spatial distribution of the

  2. Ecological Niche Modeling of Risk Factors for H7N9 Human Infection in China

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    Min Xu

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9 virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS and ecological niche modeling (ENM, this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data. The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area.

  3. Time-specific ecological niche modeling predicts spatial dynamics of vector insects and human dengue cases.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, A Townsend; Martínez-Campos, Carmen; Nakazawa, Yoshinori; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique

    2005-09-01

    Numerous human diseases-malaria, dengue, yellow fever and leishmaniasis, to name a few-are transmitted by insect vectors with brief life cycles and biting activity that varies in both space and time. Although the general geographic distributions of these epidemiologically important species are known, the spatiotemporal variation in their emergence and activity remains poorly understood. We used ecological niche modeling via a genetic algorithm to produce time-specific predictive models of monthly distributions of Aedes aegypti in Mexico in 1995. Significant predictions of monthly mosquito activity and distributions indicate that predicting spatiotemporal dynamics of disease vector species is feasible; significant coincidence with human cases of dengue indicate that these dynamics probably translate directly into transmission of dengue virus to humans. This approach provides new potential for optimizing use of resources for disease prevention and remediation via automated forecasting of disease transmission risk.

  4. Reconciling phylogeography and ecological niche models for New Zealand beetles looking beyond glacial refugia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Marske, Katharine Ann; Leschen, Richard; Buckley, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    stochastic search variable selection incorporated in BEAST to identify historical dispersal patterns via ancestral state reconstruction. Ecological niche models (ENMs) were incorporated to reconstruct the potential geographic distribution of each species during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Coalescent...... analyses suggest a North Island origin for E. lawsoni, with gene flow predominately north–south between adjacent regions. ENMs for E. lawsoni indicated glacial refugia in coastal regions of both main islands, consistent with phylogenetic patterns but at odds with the coalescent dates, which implicate much...... on both main islands is evident. Divergence dates for both species are consistent with the topographic evolution of New Zealand over the last 10 Ma, whereas the signature of the LGM is less apparent in the time-scaled phylogeny....

  5. Modeling of Iranian Cheetah Habitat using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (Case Study: Dare Anjir Wildlife Refuge

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    N. Zamani

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available Evaluation of habitat sustainability indexes is essential in wildlife management and conservation of rare species. Suitable habitats are required in wildlife managements and conservation also, they increase reproduction and survival rate of species. In this study in order to mapping habitat sustainability and recognizing habitat requirements of Iranian Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus, field data from Dare Anjir  wildlife refuge were collected since autumn 2009 until summer 2011. Ecological Niche Factor Analysis approach has been used to develop habitat suitability model. In this method primary maps of  habitat variables including elevation, slope, aspect, vegetation cover, distance from water sources and environmental monitoring stations have been produced by Idrisi and Biomapper software and imported in Biomapper. The output scores obtained from the analysis showed that Iranian cheetah tends to mountain areas where has more topographical features for camouflage in order to hunting, and northern aspects which have more humidity, denser vegetation cover and more preys . Our result showed that the Iranian cheetah has medium niche width and prefer marginal habitats.

  6. Geographic Distribution of Chagas Disease Vectors in Brazil Based on Ecological Niche Modeling

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    Rodrigo Gurgel-Gonçalves

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Although Brazil was declared free from Chagas disease transmission by the domestic vector Triatoma infestans, human acute cases are still being registered based on transmission by native triatomine species. For a better understanding of transmission risk, the geographic distribution of Brazilian triatomines was analyzed. Sixteen out of 62 Brazilian species that both occur in >20 municipalities and present synanthropic tendencies were modeled based on their ecological niches. Panstrongylus geniculatus and P. megistus showed broad ecological ranges, but most of the species sort out by the biome in which they are distributed: Rhodnius pictipes and R. robustus in the Amazon; R. neglectus, Triatoma sordida, and T. costalimai in the Cerrado; R. nasutus, P. lutzi, T. brasiliensis, T. pseudomaculata, T. melanocephala, and T. petrocchiae in the Caatinga; T. rubrovaria in the southern pampas; T. tibiamaculata and T. vitticeps in the Atlantic Forest. Although most occurrences were recorded in open areas (Cerrado and Caatinga, our results show that all environmental conditions in the country are favorable to one or more of the species analyzed, such that almost nowhere is Chagas transmission risk negligible.

  7. Interpreting the process behind endemism in China by integrating the phylogeography and ecological niche models of the Stachyridopsis ruficeps.

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    Huatao Liu

    Full Text Available An area of endemism (AOE is a complex expression of the ecological and evolutionary history of a species. Here we aim to address the principal drivers of avian diversification in shaping patterns of endemism in China by integrating genetic, ecological, and distributional data on the Red-headed Tree Babbler (Stachyridopsis ruficeps, which is distributed across the eastern Himalayas and south China. We sequenced two mtDNA markers from 182 individuals representing all three of the primary AOEs in China. Phylogenetic inferences were used to reconstruct intraspecific phylogenetic relationships. Divergence time and population demography were estimated to gain insight into the evolutionary history of the species. We used Ecological niche modeling to predict species' distributions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM and in the present. Finally, we also used two quantitative tests, an identity test and background test to assess the similarity of ecological niche preferences between adjacent lineages. We found five primary reciprocally monophyletic clades, typically separated approximately 0.2-2.27 MYA, of which three were deeply isolated endemic lineages located in the three AOEs. All phylogroups were detected to have undergone population expansion during the past 0.3 MY. Niche models showed discontinuous habitats, and there were three barriers of less suitable habitat during the LGM and in modern times. Ecoclimatic niches may diverge significantly even over recent timescales, as each phylogroup had a unique distribution, and unique niche characteristics. Vicariant events associated with geographical and ecological barriers, glacial refuges and ecological differentiation may be the main drivers forming the pattern of endemism in China.

  8. Ecological niche modelling of Rift Valley fever virus vectors in Baringo, Kenya

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    Alfred O. Ochieng

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available Background: Rift Valley fever (RVF is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that has an impact on human health and animal productivity. Here, we explore the use of vector presence modelling to predict the distribution of RVF vector species under climate change scenario to demonstrate the potential for geographic spread of Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV. Objectives: To evaluate the effect of climate change on RVF vector distribution in Baringo County, Kenya, with an aim of developing a risk map for spatial prediction of RVF outbreaks. Methodology: The study used data on vector presence and ecological niche modelling (MaxEnt algorithm to predict the effect of climatic change on habitat suitability and the spatial distribution of RVF vectors in Baringo County. Data on species occurrence were obtained from longitudinal sampling of adult mosquitoes and larvae in the study area. We used present (2000 and future (2050 Bioclim climate databases to model the vector distribution. Results: Model results predicted potential suitable areas with high success rates for Culex quinquefasciatus, Culex univitattus, Mansonia africana, and Mansonia uniformis. Under the present climatic conditions, the lowlands were found to be highly suitable for all the species. Future climatic conditions indicate an increase in the spatial distribution of Cx. quinquefasciatus and M. africana. Model performance was statistically significant. Conclusion: Soil types, precipitation in the driest quarter, precipitation seasonality, and isothermality showed the highest predictive potential for the four species.

  9. Evaluation of the impacts of climate change on disease vectors through ecological niche modelling.

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    Carvalho, B M; Rangel, E F; Vale, M M

    2017-08-01

    Vector-borne diseases are exceptionally sensitive to climate change. Predicting vector occurrence in specific regions is a challenge that disease control programs must meet in order to plan and execute control interventions and climate change adaptation measures. Recently, an increasing number of scientific articles have applied ecological niche modelling (ENM) to study medically important insects and ticks. With a myriad of available methods, it is challenging to interpret their results. Here we review the future projections of disease vectors produced by ENM, and assess their trends and limitations. Tropical regions are currently occupied by many vector species; but future projections indicate poleward expansions of suitable climates for their occurrence and, therefore, entomological surveillance must be continuously done in areas projected to become suitable. The most commonly applied methods were the maximum entropy algorithm, generalized linear models, the genetic algorithm for rule set prediction, and discriminant analysis. Lack of consideration of the full-known current distribution of the target species on models with future projections has led to questionable predictions. We conclude that there is no ideal 'gold standard' method to model vector distributions; researchers are encouraged to test different methods for the same data. Such practice is becoming common in the field of ENM, but still lags behind in studies of disease vectors.

  10. The use of ecological niche modeling to infer potential risk areas of snakebite in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

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    Carlos Yañez-Arenas

    Full Text Available Many authors have claimed that snakebite risk is associated with human population density, human activities, and snake behavior. Here we analyzed whether environmental suitability of vipers can be used as an indicator of snakebite risk. We tested several hypotheses to explain snakebite incidence, through the construction of models incorporating both environmental suitability and socioeconomic variables in Veracruz, Mexico.Ecological niche modeling (ENM was used to estimate potential geographic and ecological distributions of nine viper species' in Veracruz. We calculated the distance to the species' niche centroid (DNC; this distance may be associated with a prediction of abundance. We found significant inverse relationships between snakebites and DNCs of common vipers (Crotalus simus and Bothrops asper, explaining respectively 15% and almost 35% of variation in snakebite incidence. Additionally, DNCs for these two vipers, in combination with marginalization of human populations, accounted for 76% of variation in incidence.Our results suggest that niche modeling and niche-centroid distance approaches can be used to mapping distributions of environmental suitability for venomous snakes; combining this ecological information with socioeconomic factors may help with inferring potential risk areas for snakebites, since hospital data are often biased (especially when incidences are low.

  11. The use of ecological niche modeling to infer potential risk areas of snakebite in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

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    Yañez-Arenas, Carlos; Peterson, A Townsend; Mokondoko, Pierre; Rojas-Soto, Octavio; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique

    2014-01-01

    Many authors have claimed that snakebite risk is associated with human population density, human activities, and snake behavior. Here we analyzed whether environmental suitability of vipers can be used as an indicator of snakebite risk. We tested several hypotheses to explain snakebite incidence, through the construction of models incorporating both environmental suitability and socioeconomic variables in Veracruz, Mexico. Ecological niche modeling (ENM) was used to estimate potential geographic and ecological distributions of nine viper species' in Veracruz. We calculated the distance to the species' niche centroid (DNC); this distance may be associated with a prediction of abundance. We found significant inverse relationships between snakebites and DNCs of common vipers (Crotalus simus and Bothrops asper), explaining respectively 15% and almost 35% of variation in snakebite incidence. Additionally, DNCs for these two vipers, in combination with marginalization of human populations, accounted for 76% of variation in incidence. Our results suggest that niche modeling and niche-centroid distance approaches can be used to mapping distributions of environmental suitability for venomous snakes; combining this ecological information with socioeconomic factors may help with inferring potential risk areas for snakebites, since hospital data are often biased (especially when incidences are low).

  12. Predicting geographic distributions of Phacellodomus species (Aves: Furnariidae in South America based on ecological niche modeling

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    Maria da Salete Gurgel Costa

    2014-08-01

    Full Text Available Phacellodomus Reichenbach, 1853, comprises nine species of Furnariids that occur in South America in open and generally dry areas. This study estimated the geographic distributions of Phacellodomus species in South America by ecological niche modeling. Applying maximum entropy method, models were produced for eight species based on six climatic variables and 949 occurrence records. Since highest climatic suitability for Phacellodomus species has been estimated in open and dry areas, the Amazon rainforest areas are not very suitable for these species. Annual precipitation and minimum temperature of the coldest month are the variables that most influence the models. Phacellodomus species occurred in 35 ecoregions of South America. Chaco and Uruguayan savannas were the ecoregions with the highest number of species. Despite the overall connection of Phacellodomus species with dry areas, species such as P. ruber, P. rufifrons, P. ferrugineigula and P. erythrophthalmus occurred in wet forests and wetland ecoregions.

  13. Distribution and Conservation of Davilla (Dilleniaceae in Brazilian Atlantic Forest Using Ecological Niche Modeling

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    Ismael Martins Pereira

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available We have modeled the ecological niche for 12 plant species belonging to the genus Davilla (Dilleniaceae which occur in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. This group includes endemic species lianas threatened by extinction and is therefore a useful indicator for forest areas requiring conservation. The aims are to compare the distribution and richness of species within the protected areas, assessing the degree of protection and gap analysis of reserves for this group. We used the Maxent algorithm with environmental and occurrence data, and produced geographic distribution maps. The results show that high species richness occurs in forest and coastal forest of Espírito Santo to Bahia states. The endemic species comprise D. flexuosa, D. macrocarpa, D. flexuosa, D. grandifolia, and D. sessilifolia. In the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil, the following endemic species occur: D. tintinnabulata and D. glaziovii, with this latter species being included in the “red list” due habitat loss and predatory extractivism. The indicators of species richness in the coastal region of Bahia correspond with floristic inventories that point to this area having a high biodiversity. Although this region has several protected areas, there are gaps in reserves, which, combined with anthropogenic threats and fragmentation, have caused several problems for biodiversity.

  14. Predicting the current and future potential distributions of lymphatic filariasis in Africa using maximum entropy ecological niche modelling.

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    Hannah Slater

    Full Text Available Modelling the spatial distributions of human parasite species is crucial to understanding the environmental determinants of infection as well as for guiding the planning of control programmes. Here, we use ecological niche modelling to map the current potential distribution of the macroparasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis (LF, in Africa, and to estimate how future changes in climate and population could affect its spread and burden across the continent. We used 508 community-specific infection presence data collated from the published literature in conjunction with five predictive environmental/climatic and demographic variables, and a maximum entropy niche modelling method to construct the first ecological niche maps describing potential distribution and burden of LF in Africa. We also ran the best-fit model against climate projections made by the HADCM3 and CCCMA models for 2050 under A2a and B2a scenarios to simulate the likely distribution of LF under future climate and population changes. We predict a broad geographic distribution of LF in Africa extending from the west to the east across the middle region of the continent, with high probabilities of occurrence in the Western Africa compared to large areas of medium probability interspersed with smaller areas of high probability in Central and Eastern Africa and in Madagascar. We uncovered complex relationships between predictor ecological niche variables and the probability of LF occurrence. We show for the first time that predicted climate change and population growth will expand both the range and risk of LF infection (and ultimately disease in an endemic region. We estimate that populations at risk to LF may range from 543 and 804 million currently, and that this could rise to between 1.65 to 1.86 billion in the future depending on the climate scenario used and thresholds applied to signify infection presence.

  15. Ecological and evolutionary consequences of niche construction for its agent.

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    Kylafis, Grigoris; Loreau, Michel

    2008-10-01

    Niche construction can generate ecological and evolutionary feedbacks that have been underinvestigated so far. We present an eco-evolutionary model that incorporates the process of niche construction to reveal its effects on the ecology and evolution of the niche-constructing agent. We consider a simple plant-soil nutrient ecosystem in which plants have the ability to increase the input of inorganic nutrient as an example of positive niche construction. On an ecological time scale, the model shows that niche construction allows the persistence of plants under infertile soil conditions that would otherwise lead to their extinction. This expansion of plants' niche, however, requires a high enough rate of niche construction and a high enough initial plant biomass to fuel the positive ecological feedback between plants and their soil environment. On an evolutionary time scale, we consider that the rates of niche construction and nutrient uptake coevolve in plants while a trade-off constrains their values. Different evolutionary outcomes are possible depending on the shape of the trade-off. We show that niche construction results in an evolutionary feedback between plants and their soil environment such that plants partially regulate soil nutrient content. The direct benefit accruing to plants, however, plays a crucial role in the evolutionary advantage of niche construction.

  16. Integrating life stages into ecological niche models: a case study on tiger beetles.

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    Taboada, Angela; von Wehrden, Henrik; Assmann, Thorsten

    2013-01-01

    Detailed understanding of a species' natural history and environmental needs across spatial scales is a primary requisite for effective conservation planning, particularly for species with complex life cycles in which different life stages occupy different niches and respond to the environment at different scales. However, niche models applied to conservation often neglect early life stages and are mostly performed at broad spatial scales. Using the endangered heath tiger beetle (Cicindela sylvatica) as a model species, we relate presence/absence and abundance data of locally dispersing adults and sedentary larvae to abiotic and biotic variables measured in a multiscale approach within the geographic extent relevant to active conservation management. At the scale of hundreds of meters, fine-grained abiotic conditions (i.e., vegetation structure) are fundamental determinants of the occurrence of both life stages, whereas the effect of biotic factors is mostly contained in the abiotic signature. The combination of dense heath vegetation and bare ground areas is thus the first requirement for the species' preservation, provided that accessibility to the suitable habitat is ensured. At a smaller scale (centimetres), the influence of abiotic factors on larval occurrence becomes negligible, suggesting the existence of important additional variables acting within larval proximity. Sustained significant correlations between neighbouring larvae in the models provide an indication of the potential impact of neighbourhood crowding on the larval niche within a few centimetres. Since the species spends the majority of its life cycle in the larval stage, it is essential to consider the hierarchical abiotic and biotic processes affecting the larvae when designing practical conservation guidelines for the species. This underlines the necessity for a more critical evaluation of the consequences of disregarding niche variation between life stages when estimating niches and

  17. Ecological niche modelling and nDNA sequencing support a new, morphologically cryptic beetle species unveiled by DNA barcoding.

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    Hawlitschek, Oliver; Porch, Nick; Hendrich, Lars; Balke, Michael

    2011-02-09

    DNA sequencing techniques used to estimate biodiversity, such as DNA barcoding, may reveal cryptic species. However, disagreements between barcoding and morphological data have already led to controversy. Species delimitation should therefore not be based on mtDNA alone. Here, we explore the use of nDNA and bioclimatic modelling in a new species of aquatic beetle revealed by mtDNA sequence data. The aquatic beetle fauna of Australia is characterised by high degrees of endemism, including local radiations such as the genus Antiporus. Antiporus femoralis was previously considered to exist in two disjunct, but morphologically indistinguishable populations in south-western and south-eastern Australia. We constructed a phylogeny of Antiporus and detected a deep split between these populations. Diagnostic characters from the highly variable nuclear protein encoding arginine kinase gene confirmed the presence of two isolated populations. We then used ecological niche modelling to examine the climatic niche characteristics of the two populations. All results support the status of the two populations as distinct species. We describe the south-western species as Antiporus occidentalis sp.n. In addition to nDNA sequence data and extended use of mitochondrial sequences, ecological niche modelling has great potential for delineating morphologically cryptic species.

  18. Local-scale models reveal ecological niche variability in amphibian and reptile communities from two contrasting biogeographic regions

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    Alberto Muñoz

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Ecological Niche Models (ENMs are widely used to describe how environmental factors influence species distribution. Modelling at a local scale, compared to a large scale within a high environmental gradient, can improve our understanding of ecological species niches. The main goal of this study is to assess and compare the contribution of environmental variables to amphibian and reptile ENMs in two Spanish national parks located in contrasting biogeographic regions, i.e., the Mediterranean and the Atlantic area. The ENMs were built with maximum entropy modelling using 11 environmental variables in each territory. The contributions of these variables to the models were analysed and classified using various statistical procedures (Mann–Whitney U tests, Principal Components Analysis and General Linear Models. Distance to the hydrological network was consistently the most relevant variable for both parks and taxonomic classes. Topographic variables (i.e., slope and altitude were the second most predictive variables, followed by climatic variables. Differences in variable contribution were observed between parks and taxonomic classes. Variables related to water availability had the larger contribution to the models in the Mediterranean park, while topography variables were decisive in the Atlantic park. Specific response curves to environmental variables were in accordance with the biogeographic affinity of species (Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean species and taxonomy (amphibians and reptiles. Interestingly, these results were observed for species located in both parks, particularly those situated at their range limits. Our findings show that ecological niche models built at local scale reveal differences in habitat preferences within a wide environmental gradient. Therefore, modelling at local scales rather than assuming large-scale models could be preferable for the establishment of conservation strategies for herptile species in natural

  19. Local-scale models reveal ecological niche variability in amphibian and reptile communities from two contrasting biogeographic regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santos, Xavier; Felicísimo, Ángel M.

    2016-01-01

    Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are widely used to describe how environmental factors influence species distribution. Modelling at a local scale, compared to a large scale within a high environmental gradient, can improve our understanding of ecological species niches. The main goal of this study is to assess and compare the contribution of environmental variables to amphibian and reptile ENMs in two Spanish national parks located in contrasting biogeographic regions, i.e., the Mediterranean and the Atlantic area. The ENMs were built with maximum entropy modelling using 11 environmental variables in each territory. The contributions of these variables to the models were analysed and classified using various statistical procedures (Mann–Whitney U tests, Principal Components Analysis and General Linear Models). Distance to the hydrological network was consistently the most relevant variable for both parks and taxonomic classes. Topographic variables (i.e., slope and altitude) were the second most predictive variables, followed by climatic variables. Differences in variable contribution were observed between parks and taxonomic classes. Variables related to water availability had the larger contribution to the models in the Mediterranean park, while topography variables were decisive in the Atlantic park. Specific response curves to environmental variables were in accordance with the biogeographic affinity of species (Mediterranean and non-Mediterranean species) and taxonomy (amphibians and reptiles). Interestingly, these results were observed for species located in both parks, particularly those situated at their range limits. Our findings show that ecological niche models built at local scale reveal differences in habitat preferences within a wide environmental gradient. Therefore, modelling at local scales rather than assuming large-scale models could be preferable for the establishment of conservation strategies for herptile species in natural parks. PMID

  20. Ecological niche transferability using invasive species as a case study.

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    Miguel Fernández

    Full Text Available Species distribution modeling is widely applied to predict invasive species distributions and species range shifts under climate change. Accurate predictions depend upon meeting the assumption that ecological niches are conserved, i.e., spatially or temporally transferable. Here we present a multi-taxon comparative analysis of niche conservatism using biological invasion events well documented in natural history museum collections. Our goal is to assess spatial transferability of the climatic niche of a range of noxious terrestrial invasive species using two complementary approaches. First we compare species' native versus invasive ranges in environmental space using two distinct methods, Principal Components Analysis and Mahalanobis distance. Second we compare species' native versus invaded ranges in geographic space as estimated using the species distribution modeling technique Maxent and the comparative index Hellinger's I. We find that species exhibit a range of responses, from almost complete transferability, in which the invaded niches completely overlap with the native niches, to a complete dissociation between native and invaded ranges. Intermediate responses included expansion of dimension attributable to either temperature or precipitation derived variables, as well as niche expansion in multiple dimensions. We conclude that the ecological niche in the native range is generally a poor predictor of invaded range and, by analogy, the ecological niche may be a poor predictor of range shifts under climate change. We suggest that assessing dimensions of niche transferability prior to standard species distribution modeling may improve the understanding of species' dynamics in the invaded range.

  1. Assessing the potential for establishment of western cherry fruit fly using ecological niche modeling.

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    Kumar, Sunil; Neven, Lisa G; Yee, Wee L

    2014-06-01

    Sweet cherries, Prunus avium (L.) L., grown in the western United States are exported to many countries around the world. Some of these countries have enforced strict quarantine rules and trade restrictions owing to concerns about the potential establishment and subsequent spread of western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), a major quarantine pest of sweet cherry. We used 1) niche models (CLIMEX and MaxEnt) to map the climatic suitability, 2) North Carolina State University-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Pest Forecasting System to examine chilling requirement, and 3) host distribution and availability to assess the potential for establishment of R. indifferens in areas of western North America where it currently does not exist and eight current or potential fresh sweet cherry markets: Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Results from niche models conformed well to the current distribution of R. indifferens in western North America. MaxEnt and CLIMEX models had high performance and predicted climatic suitability in some of the countries (e.g., Andean range in Colombia and Venezuela, northern and northeastern India, central Taiwan, and parts of Vietnam). However, our results showed no potential for establishment of R. indifferens in Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam when the optimal chilling requirement to break diapause (minimum temperature policy makers.

  2. Using Geographic Information System-based Ecologic Niche Models to Forecast the Risk of Hantavirus Infection in Shandong Province, China

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    Wei, Lan; Qian, Quan; Wang, Zhi-Qiang; Glass, Gregory E.; Song, Shao-Xia; Zhang, Wen-Yi; Li, Xiu-Jun; Yang, Hong; Wang, Xian-Jun; Fang, Li-Qun; Cao, Wu-Chun

    2011-01-01

    Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is an important public health problem in Shandong Province, China. In this study, we combined ecologic niche modeling with geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing techniques to identify the risk factors and affected areas of hantavirus infections in rodent hosts. Land cover and elevation were found to be closely associated with the presence of hantavirus-infected rodent hosts. The averaged area under the receiver operating characteristic curve was 0.864, implying good performance. The predicted risk maps based on the model were validated both by the hantavirus-infected rodents' distribution and HFRS human case localities with a good fit. These findings have the applications for targeting control and prevention efforts. PMID:21363991

  3. Ecological-niche modeling and prioritization of conservation-area networks for Mexican herpetofauna.

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    Urbina-Cardona, J Nicolás; Flores-Villela, Oscar

    2010-08-01

    One of the most important tools in conservation biology is information on the geographic distribution of species and the variables determining those patterns. We used maximum-entropy niche modeling to run distribution models for 222 amphibian and 371 reptile species (49% endemics and 27% threatened) for which we had 34,619 single geographic records. The planning region is in southeastern Mexico, is 20% of the country's area, includes 80% of the country's herpetofauna, and lacks an adequate protected-area system. We used probabilistic data to build distribution models of herpetofauna for use in prioritizing conservation areas for three target groups (all species and threatened and endemic species). The accuracy of species-distribution models was better for endemic and threatened species than it was for all species. Forty-seven percent of the region has been deforested and additional conservation areas with 13.7% to 88.6% more native vegetation (76% to 96% of the areas are outside the current protected-area system) are needed. There was overlap in 26 of the main selected areas in the conservation-area network prioritized to preserve the target groups, and for all three target groups the proportion of vegetation types needed for their conservation was constant: 30% pine and oak forests, 22% tropical evergreen forest, 17% low deciduous forest, and 8% montane cloud forests. The fact that different groups of species require the same proportion of habitat types suggests that the pine and oak forests support the highest proportion of endemic and threatened species and should therefore be given priority over other types of vegetation for inclusion in the protected areas of southeastern Mexico.

  4. Modeling of the ecological niches of the anopheles spp in Ecuador by the use of geo-informatic tools.

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    Padilla, Oswaldo; Rosas, Pablo; Moreno, Wilson; Toulkeridis, Theofilos

    2017-06-01

    Ecuador in the northwestern edge of South America is struggling by vector-borne diseases with an endemic-epidemic behavior leading to an enormous public health problem. Malaria, which has a cyclicality in its dynamics, is closely related to climatic, ecological and socio-economic phenomena. The main objective of this research has been to compare three different prediction species models, the so-called Maxent, logistic regression and multi criteria evaluation with fuzzy logic, in order to determine the model which best describes the ecological niche of the Anopheles spp species, which transmits malaria within Ecuador. After performing a detailed data collection and data processing, we applied the mentioned models and validated them with a statistical analysis in order to discover that the Maxent model has been the model that best defines the distribution of Anopheles spp within the territory. The determined sites, which are of high strategic value and important for the increasing national development, will now be able to initiate preventive countermeasures based on this study. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Phylogeography and Ecological Niche Modeling of the Desert Iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis, Baird & Girard 1852) in the Baja California Peninsula.

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    Valdivia-Carrillo, Tania; García-De León, Francisco J; Blázquez, Ma Carmen; Gutiérrez-Flores, Carina; González Zamorano, Patricia

    2017-09-01

    Understanding the factors that explain the patterns of genetic structure or phylogeographic breaks at an intraspecific level is key to inferring the mechanisms of population differentiation in its early stages. These topics have been well studied in the Baja California region, with vicariance and the dispersal ability of individuals being the prevailing hypothesis for phylogeographic breaks. In this study, we evaluated the phylogeographic patterns in the desert iguana (Dipsosaurus dorsalis), a species with a recent history in the region and spatial variation in life history traits. We analyzed a total of 307 individuals collected throughout 19 localities across the Baja California Peninsula with 15 microsatellite DNA markers. Our data reveal the existence of 3 geographically discrete genetic populations with moderate gene flow and an isolation-by-distance pattern presumably produced by the occurrence of a refugium in the Cape region during the Pleistocene Last Glacial Maximum. Bayesian methods and ecological niche modeling were used to assess the relationship between population genetic structure and present and past climatic preferences of the desert iguana. We found that the present climatic heterogeneity of the Baja California Peninsula has a marked influence on the population genetic structure of the species, suggesting that there are alternative explanations besides vicariance. The information obtained in this study provides data allowing a better understanding of how historical population processes in the Baja California Peninsula can be understood from an ecological perspective. © The American Genetic Association 2017. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  6. Selecting a Conservation Surrogate Species for Small Fragmented Habitats Using Ecological Niche Modelling

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    K. Anne-Isola Nekaris

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loris tardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective conservation surrogates especially in habitats where traditional flagship species have been extirpated.

  7. ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELING AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT UNITS (UMAS: AN APPLICATION TO DEER IN CAMPECHE, MÉXICO

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    Tania Escalante

    2013-08-01

    Full Text Available The Units for the Conservation, Management and Sustainable Use of Wildlife (UMAs are instruments of conservation and management of specific species in Mexico. UMAs represent in southeastern Mexico an important way for deer management, but they have major problems related to the monitoring of species. In this paper, we propose a methodology based on the use of a ‘niche centroid approach’ for estimating ecological distances to the niche centroid in order to produce distribution maps containing information on the potential relative abundance of species to evaluate the capability of UMAs to maintain populations of deers. We modeled the abundance for Mazama temama, M. pandora and Odocoileus virginianus on the state of Campeche, Mexico. Our predictions of areas with most abundance of deer coincided with reports from literature. We identified the UMAs “Ik Balam” and “Ejido Carlos Cano Cruz” as areas with high proportion of suitable environment, while UMAs “Betito y Lupita”, “El Huanal”, “Puh”, “Refugio faunístico Jalotum”, “Ría Lagartos-Ría Celestun” and “Yocol Cab Balam” have not environmental conditions adequate to maintain deer populations. Although this is a preliminary study, it can be a starting point to establish institutional standards for the management of species.

  8. Doctoral education in a successful ecological niche

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Christensen, Mette Krogh; Lund, Ole

    2014-01-01

    Scholarly communities are dependent on and often measured by their ability to attract and develop doctoral students. Recent literature suggests that most scholarly communities entail ecological niches in which the doctoral students learn the codes and practices of research. In this article, we...... successful doctoral education because it: 1) fleshes out the professional attitude that is necessary for becoming a successful researcher in the department, 2) shapes and adapts the doctoral students’ desires to grasp and identify with the department’s practices, and 3) provides the doctoral students...... explore the microclimate in an ecological niche of doctoral education. Based on a theoretical definition of microclimate as the emotional atmosphere that ties group members together and affects their actions, we conducted a case study that aimed to describe the key features of the microclimate...

  9. Ecological niche model of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the main vector of canine leishmaniasis in north-eastern Italy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuela Signorini

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available With respect to the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, it is crucial to take into account the ecoclimatic and environ- mental characteristics that influence the distribution patterns of the vector sand fly species. It is also important to consider the possible impact of on-going climate changes on the emergence of this disease. In order to map the potential distribu- tion of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the main vector species of canine leishmaniasis in north-eastern Italy, geographical information systems tools, ecological niche models (ENM and remotely sensed environmental data were applied for a retrospective analysis of an entomological survey conducted in north-eastern Italy over 12 years. Sand fly trapping was conducted from 2001 to 2012 in 175 sites in the provinces of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige. We developed a predictive model of potential distribution of P. perniciosus using the maximum entropy algorithm software, based on seasonal normalized difference vegetation index, day and night land surface temperature, the Corine land cover 2006, a digital elevation model (GTOPO30 and climate layers obtained from the WorldClim database. The MaxEnt pre- diction found the more suitable habitat for P. perniciosus to be hilly areas (100-300 m above the mean sea level charac- terised by temperate climate during the winter and summer seasons, high winter vegetation cover and moderate rainfall during the activity season of vector sand fly. ENM provided a greater understanding of the geographical distribution and ecological requirements of P. perniciosus in the study area, which can be applied for the development of future surveil- lance strategies.

  10. Molecular data and ecological niche modelling reveal a highly dynamic evolutionary history of the East Asian Tertiary relict Cercidiphyllum (Cercidiphyllaceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qi, Xin-Shuai; Chen, Chen; Comes, Hans Peter; Sakaguchi, Shota; Liu, Yi-Hui; Tanaka, Nobuyuki; Sakio, Hitoshi; Qiu, Ying-Xiong

    2012-10-01

    East Asia's temperate deciduous forests served as sanctuary for Tertiary relict trees, but their ages and response to past climate change remain largely unknown. To address this issue, we elucidated the evolutionary and population demographic history of Cercdiphyllum, comprising species in China/Japan (Cercdiphyllum japonicum) and central Japan (Cercdiphyllum magnificum). Fifty-three populations were genotyped using chloroplast and ribosomal DNA sequences and microsatellite loci to assess molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling. Late Tertiary climate cooling was reflected in a relatively recent speciation event, dated at the Mio-/Pliocene boundary. During glacials, the warm-temperate C. japonicum experienced massive habitat losses in some areas (north-central China/north Japan) but increases in others (southwest/-east China, East China Sea landbridge, south Japan). In China, the Sichuan Basin and/or the middle-Yangtze were source areas of postglacial northward recolonization; in Japan, this may have been facilitated through introgressive hybridization with the cool-temperate C. magnificum. Our findings challenge the notion of relative evolutionary and demographic stability of Tertiary relict trees, and may serve as a guideline for assessing the impact of Neogene climate change on the evolution and distribution of East Asian temperate plants. © 2012 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2012 New Phytologist Trust.

  11. Inferring the past and present connectivity across the range of a North American leaf beetle: combining ecological niche modeling and a geographically explicit model of coalescence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dellicour, Simon; Fearnley, Shannon; Lombal, Anicée; Heidl, Sarah; Dahlhoff, Elizabeth P; Rank, Nathan E; Mardulyn, Patrick

    2014-08-01

    The leaf beetle Chrysomela aeneicollis occurs across Western North America, either at high elevation or in small, isolated populations along the coast, and thus has a highly fragmented distribution. DNA sequence data (three loci) were collected from five regions across the species range. Population connectivity was examined using traditional ecological niche modeling, which suggested that gene flow could occur among regions now and in the past. We developed geographically explicit coalescence models of sequence evolution that incorporated a two-dimensional representation of the hypothesized ranges suggested by the niche-modeling estimates. We simulated sequence data according to these models and compared them to observed sequences to identify most probable scenarios regarding the migration history of C. aeneicollis. Our results disagreed with initial niche-modeling estimates by clearly rejecting recent connectivity among regions, and were instead most consistent with a long period of range fragmentation, extending well beyond the last glacial maximum. This application of geographically explicit models of coalescence has highlighted some limitations of the use of climatic variables for predicting the present and past range of a species and has explained aspects of the Pleistocene evolutionary history of a cold-adapted organism in Western North America. © 2014 The Author(s). Evolution © 2014 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  12. Spatial Heterogeneity of Habitat Suitability for Rift Valley Fever Occurrence in Tanzania: An Ecological Niche Modelling Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sindato, Calvin; Stevens, Kim B.; Karimuribo, Esron D.; Mboera, Leonard E. G.; Paweska, Janusz T.; Pfeiffer, Dirk U.

    2016-01-01

    Background Despite the long history of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Tanzania, extent of its suitable habitat in the country remains unclear. In this study we investigated potential effects of temperature, precipitation, elevation, soil type, livestock density, rainfall pattern, proximity to wild animals, protected areas and forest on the habitat suitability for RVF occurrence in Tanzania. Materials and Methods Presence-only records of 193 RVF outbreak locations from 1930 to 2007 together with potential predictor variables were used to model and map the suitable habitats for RVF occurrence using ecological niche modelling. Ground-truthing of the model outputs was conducted by comparing the levels of RVF virus specific antibodies in cattle, sheep and goats sampled from locations in Tanzania that presented different predicted habitat suitability values. Principal Findings Habitat suitability values for RVF occurrence were higher in the northern and central-eastern regions of Tanzania than the rest of the regions in the country. Soil type and precipitation of the wettest quarter contributed equally to habitat suitability (32.4% each), followed by livestock density (25.9%) and rainfall pattern (9.3%). Ground-truthing of model outputs revealed that the odds of an animal being seropositive for RVFV when sampled from areas predicted to be most suitable for RVF occurrence were twice the odds of an animal sampled from areas least suitable for RVF occurrence (95% CI: 1.43, 2.76, p < 0.001). Conclusion/Significance The regions in the northern and central-eastern Tanzania were more suitable for RVF occurrence than the rest of the regions in the country. The modelled suitable habitat is characterised by impermeable soils, moderate precipitation in the wettest quarter, high livestock density and a bimodal rainfall pattern. The findings of this study should provide guidance for the design of appropriate RVF surveillance, prevention and control strategies which target areas with

  13. Intraspecific ecological niche divergence and reproductive shifts foster cytotype displacement and provide ecological opportunity to polyploids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Karunarathne, Piyal; Schedler, Mara; Martínez, Eric J; Honfi, Ana I; Novichkova, Anastasiia; Hojsgaard, Diego

    2018-05-11

    Niche divergence between polyploids and their lower ploidy progenitors is one of the primary mechanisms fostering polyploid establishment and adaptive divergence. However, within-species chromosomal and reproductive variability have usually been neglected in community ecology and biodiversity analyses even though they have been recognized to play a role in the adaptive diversification of lineages. We used Paspalum intermedium, a grass species with diverging genetic systems (diploidy vs. autopolyploidy, allogamy vs. autogamy and sexuality vs. apomixis), to recognize the causality of biogeographic patterns, adaptation and ecological flexibility of cytotypes. Chromosome counts and flow cytometry were used to characterize within-species genetic systems diversity. Environmental niche modelling was used to evaluate intraspecific ecological attributes associated with environmental and climatic factors and to assess correlations among ploidy, reproductive modes and ecological conditions ruling species' population dynamics, range expansion, adaptation and evolutionary history. Two dominant cytotypes non-randomly distributed along local and regional geographical scales displayed niche differentiation, a directional shift in niche optima and signs of disruptive selection on ploidy-related ecological aptitudes for the exploitation of environmental resources. Ecologically specialized allogamous sexual diploids were found in northern areas associated with higher temperature, humidity and productivity, while generalist autogamous apomictic tetraploids occurred in southern areas, occupying colder and less productive environments. Four localities with a documented shift in ploidy and four mixed populations in a zone of ecological transition revealed an uneven replacement between cytotypes. Polyploidy and contrasting reproductive traits between cytotypes have promoted shifts in niche optima, and increased ecological tolerance and niche divergence. Ecologically specialized diploids

  14. Use of ecological niche modeling as a tool for predicting the potential distribution of Microcystis sp (cyanobacteria in the Aguamilpa Dam, Nayarit, Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Enrique Martinez-Meyer

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Ecological niche modeling is an important tool to evaluate the spatial distribution of terrestrial species, however, its applicability has been little explored in the aquatic environment. Microcystis sp., a species of cyanobacteria, is widely recognized for its ability to produce a group of toxins known as microcystins, which can cause death of animals as fish, birds and mammals depending on the amount of toxin absorbed. Like any taxonomic group, cyanobacteria has environmental thresholds, therefore, a suitable ecological niche will define their distribution. This study was conducted in Aguamilpa Hydroelectric Reservoir, an artificial ecosystem that started operations in 1994. In this system we evaluated the potential distribution of Microcystis sp., by generating a prediction model based on the concept of ecological niche MAXENT, using a Digital Elevation Model in cells of 100 m x 100 m (1 ha spatial resolution and monitoring eleven physicochemical and biological variables and nutrients in water. The distribution maps were developed using ArcMap 9.2®. The results indicated that Microcystis sp., is distributed mainly in the upper tributary basin (Huaynamota basin during the dry season. There was less chance to find cyanobacteria in the entire system during the cold dry season, while during the warm dry season cyanobacteria was recognized at the confluence of two rivers. During the rainfall season there were no reports of cyanobacteria presence. This species is often associated with arising trophic processes of anthropogenic origin; therefore, attention is required in specific areas that have been identified in this work to improve Aguamilpa’s watershed management and restoration. It was also recognized the importance of phosphorus and nitrogen interaction, which determines the distribution of Microcystis sp., in the Aguamilpa Reservoir. The results of this study demonstrated that ecological niche modeling was a suitable tool to assess the

  15. Compatible ecological niche signals between biological and archaeological datasets for late-surviving Neandertals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bible, Rachael C; Peterson, A Townsend

    2018-04-17

    To assess ecological niche similarity for biological and archaeological samples representing late-surviving Neandertals in Europe to evaluate the validity of combining these two types of data in ecological niche modeling analyses. Tests of niche conservatism were used to assess niche similarity and niche identity of samples of morphologically diagnostic Neandertal remains and Middle Paleolithic (MP) archaeological sites dating to the time period leading up to Neandertal extinction. Paleoenvironmental reconstructions for the Pre-H4 (43.3-40.2 ky cal BP) were used as environmental space analyses. Null hypotheses of niche similarity and identity of the two types of samples could not be rejected. As primary and secondary evidence of Neandertal occurrence during the Pre-H4 show high levels of niche similarity and identity, combining the two types of occurrence data to create larger samples for niche analyses is justified without the concern that different environmental signals could complicate future research. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  16. Species-specific ecological niche modelling predicts different range contractions for Lutzomyia intermedia and a related vector of Leishmania braziliensis following climate change in South America.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIntyre, Shannon; Rangel, Elizabeth F; Ready, Paul D; Carvalho, Bruno M

    2017-03-24

    Before 1996 the phlebotomine sand fly Lutzomyia neivai was usually treated as a synonym of the morphologically similar Lutzomyia intermedia, which has long been considered a vector of Leishmania braziliensis, the causative agent of much cutaneous leishmaniasis in South America. This report investigates the likely range changes of both sand fly species in response to a stabilisation climate change scenario (RCP4.5) and a high greenhouse gas emissions one (RCP8.5). Ecological niche modelling was used to identify areas of South America with climates currently suitable for each species, and then the future distributions of these climates were predicted based on climate change scenarios. Compared with the previous ecological niche model of L. intermedia (sensu lato) produced using the GARP algorithm in 2003, the current investigation modelled the two species separately, making use of verified presence records and additional records after 2001. Also, the new ensemble approach employed ecological niche modelling algorithms (including Maximum Entropy, Random Forests and Support Vector Machines) that have been widely adopted since 2003 and perform better than GARP, as well as using a more recent climate change model (HadGEM2) considered to have better performance at higher resolution than the earlier one (HadCM2). Lutzomyia intermedia was shown to be the more tropical of the two species, with its climatic niche defined by higher annual mean temperatures and lower temperature seasonality, in contrast to the more subtropical L. neivai. These different latitudinal ranges explain the two species' predicted responses to climate change by 2050, with L. intermedia mostly contracting its range (except perhaps in northeast Brazil) and L. neivai mostly shifting its range southwards in Brazil and Argentina. This contradicts the findings of the 2003 report, which predicted more range expansion. The different findings can be explained by the improved data sets and modelling methods. Our

  17. Modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animal hosts to delineate sources of human exposure in the western United States

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael Walsh

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Plague has been established in the western United States (US since 1900 following the West Coast introduction of commensal rodents infected with Yersinia pestis via early industrial shipping. Over the last century, plague ecology has transitioned through cycles of widespread human transmission, urban domestic transmission among commensal rodents, and ultimately settled into the predominantly sylvan foci that remain today where it is maintained alternatively by enzootic and epizootic transmission. While zoonotic transmission to humans is much less common in modern times, significant plague risk remains in parts of the western US. Moreover, risk to some threatened species that are part of the epizootic cycle can be quite substantive. This investigation attempted to predict the risk of plague across the western US by modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animals identified between 2000 and 2015. A Maxent machine learning algorithm was used to predict this niche based on climate, altitude, land cover, and the presence of an important enzootic species, Peromyscus maniculatus. This model demonstrated good predictive ability (AUC = 86% and identified areas of high risk in central Colorado, north-central New Mexico, and southwestern and northeastern California. The presence of P. maniculatus, altitude, precipitation during the driest and wettest quarters, and distance to artificial surfaces, all contributed substantively to maximizing the gain function. These findings add to the known landscape epidemiology and infection ecology of plague in the western US and may suggest locations of particular risk to be targeted for wild and domestic animal intervention.

  18. Stochastic dynamics for two biological species and ecological niches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ruziska, Flávia M.; Arashiro, Everaldo; Tomé, Tânia

    2018-01-01

    We consider an ecological system in which two species interact with two niches. To this end we introduce a stochastic model with four states. Our analysis is founded in three approaches: Monte Carlo simulations of the model on a square lattice, mean-field approximation, and birth and death master equation. From this last approach we obtain a description in terms of Langevin equations which show in an explicit way the role of noise in population biology. We focus mainly on the description of time oscillations of the species population and the alternating dominance between them. The model treated here may provide insights on these properties.

  19. Overlap and partitioning of the ecological and isotopic niches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elizabeth A. Flaherty; Merav Ben-David

    2010-01-01

    Recently, it was proposed that stable isotope patterns can be used to quantify the width of the ecological niche of animals. However, the potential effects of habitat use on isotopic patterns of consumers have not been fully explored and consequently isotopic patterns may yield deceptive estimates of niche width. Here, we simulated four different scenarios of a...

  20. Synergistic selection between ecological niche and mate preference primes diversification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boughman, Janette W; Svanbäck, Richard

    2017-01-01

    The ecological niche and mate preferences have independently been shown to be important for the process of speciation. Here, we articulate a novel mechanism by which ecological niche use and mate preference can be linked to promote speciation. The degree to which individual niches are narrow and clustered affects the strength of divergent natural selection and population splitting. Similarly, the degree to which individual mate preferences are narrow and clustered affects the strength of divergent sexual selection and assortative mating between diverging forms. This novel perspective is inspired by the literature on ecological niches; it also explores mate preferences and how they may contribute to speciation. Unlike much comparative work, we do not search for evolutionary patterns using proxies for adaptation and sexual selection, but rather we elucidate how ideas from niche theory relate to mate preference, and how this relationship can foster speciation. Recognizing that individual and population niches are conceptually and ecologically linked to individual and population mate preference functions will significantly increase our understanding of rapid evolutionary diversification in nature. It has potential to help solve the difficult challenge of testing the role of sexual selection in the speciation process. We also identify ecological factors that are likely to affect individual niche and individual mate preference in synergistic ways and as a consequence to promote speciation. The ecological niche an individual occupies can directly affect its mate preference. Clusters of individuals with narrow, differentiated niches are likely to have narrow, differentiated mate preference functions. Our approach integrates ecological and sexual selection research to further our understanding of diversification processes. Such integration may be necessary for progress because these processes seem inextricably linked in the natural world. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution

  1. Ecological niche partitioning between Anopheles gambiae molecular forms in Cameroon: the ecological side of speciation

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    Fotsing Jean-Marie

    2009-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Speciation among members of the Anopheles gambiae complex is thought to be promoted by disruptive selection and ecological divergence acting on sets of adaptation genes protected from recombination by polymorphic paracentric chromosomal inversions. However, shared chromosomal polymorphisms between the M and S molecular forms of An. gambiae and insufficient information about their relationship with ecological divergence challenge this view. We used Geographic Information Systems, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis, and Bayesian multilocus genetic clustering to explore the nature and extent of ecological and chromosomal differentiation of M and S across all the biogeographic domains of Cameroon in Central Africa, in order to understand the role of chromosomal arrangements in ecological specialisation within and among molecular forms. Results Species distribution modelling with presence-only data revealed differences in the ecological niche of both molecular forms and the sibling species, An. arabiensis. The fundamental environmental envelope of the two molecular forms, however, overlapped to a large extent in the rainforest, where they occurred in sympatry. The S form had the greatest niche breadth of all three taxa, whereas An. arabiensis and the M form had the smallest niche overlap. Correspondence analysis of M and S karyotypes confirmed that molecular forms shared similar combinations of chromosomal inversion arrangements in response to the eco-climatic gradient defining the main biogeographic domains occurring across Cameroon. Savanna karyotypes of M and S, however, segregated along the smaller-scale environmental gradient defined by the second ordination axis. Population structure analysis identified three chromosomal clusters, each containing a mixture of M and S specimens. In both M and S, alternative karyotypes were segregating in contrasted environments, in agreement with a strong ecological adaptive value of

  2. Ecological Niche Modelling Predicts Southward Expansion of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia flaviscutellata (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae, Vector of Leishmania (Leishmania amazonensis in South America, under Climate Change.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno M Carvalho

    Full Text Available Vector borne diseases are susceptible to climate change because distributions and densities of many vectors are climate driven. The Amazon region is endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and is predicted to be severely impacted by climate change. Recent records suggest that the distributions of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia flaviscutellata and the parasite it transmits, Leishmania (Leishmania amazonensis, are expanding southward, possibly due to climate change, and sometimes associated with new human infection cases. We define the vector's climatic niche and explore future projections under climate change scenarios. Vector occurrence records were compiled from the literature, museum collections and Brazilian Health Departments. Six bioclimatic variables were used as predictors in six ecological niche model algorithms (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MaxEnt, GARP, logistic regression and Random Forest. Projections for 2050 used 17 general circulation models in two greenhouse gas representative concentration pathways: "stabilization" and "high increase". Ensemble models and consensus maps were produced by overlapping binary predictions. Final model outputs showed good performance and significance. The use of species absence data substantially improved model performance. Currently, L. flaviscutellata is widely distributed in the Amazon region, with records in the Atlantic Forest and savannah regions of Central Brazil. Future projections indicate expansion of the climatically suitable area for the vector in both scenarios, towards higher latitudes and elevations. L. flaviscutellata is likely to find increasingly suitable conditions for its expansion into areas where human population size and density are much larger than they are in its current locations. If environmental conditions change as predicted, the range of the vector is likely to expand to southeastern and central-southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and further into the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador

  3. Ecological Niche Modelling Predicts Southward Expansion of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae), Vector of Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis in South America, under Climate Change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carvalho, Bruno M; Rangel, Elizabeth F; Ready, Paul D; Vale, Mariana M

    2015-01-01

    Vector borne diseases are susceptible to climate change because distributions and densities of many vectors are climate driven. The Amazon region is endemic for cutaneous leishmaniasis and is predicted to be severely impacted by climate change. Recent records suggest that the distributions of Lutzomyia (Nyssomyia) flaviscutellata and the parasite it transmits, Leishmania (Leishmania) amazonensis, are expanding southward, possibly due to climate change, and sometimes associated with new human infection cases. We define the vector's climatic niche and explore future projections under climate change scenarios. Vector occurrence records were compiled from the literature, museum collections and Brazilian Health Departments. Six bioclimatic variables were used as predictors in six ecological niche model algorithms (BIOCLIM, DOMAIN, MaxEnt, GARP, logistic regression and Random Forest). Projections for 2050 used 17 general circulation models in two greenhouse gas representative concentration pathways: "stabilization" and "high increase". Ensemble models and consensus maps were produced by overlapping binary predictions. Final model outputs showed good performance and significance. The use of species absence data substantially improved model performance. Currently, L. flaviscutellata is widely distributed in the Amazon region, with records in the Atlantic Forest and savannah regions of Central Brazil. Future projections indicate expansion of the climatically suitable area for the vector in both scenarios, towards higher latitudes and elevations. L. flaviscutellata is likely to find increasingly suitable conditions for its expansion into areas where human population size and density are much larger than they are in its current locations. If environmental conditions change as predicted, the range of the vector is likely to expand to southeastern and central-southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay and further into the Amazonian areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela

  4. Time-Specific Ecologic Niche Models Forecast the Risk of Hemorrhagic Fever with Renal Syndrome in Dongting Lake District, China, 2005–2010

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lin, Xiao-Ling; Li, Xiu-Jun; Ma, Gui-Hua; Huang, Ru; Yang, Hui-Suo; Tian, Huaiyu; Xiao, Hong

    2014-01-01

    Background Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS), a rodent-borne infectious disease, is one of the most serious public health threats in China. Increasing our understanding of the spatial and temporal patterns of HFRS infections could guide local prevention and control strategies. Methodology/Principal Findings We employed statistical models to analyze HFRS case data together with environmental data from the Dongting Lake district during 2005–2010. Specifically, time-specific ecologic niche models (ENMs) were used to quantify and identify risk factors associated with HFRS transmission as well as forecast seasonal variation in risk across geographic areas. Results showed that the Maximum Entropy model provided the best predictive ability (AUC = 0.755). Time-specific Maximum Entropy models showed that the potential risk areas of HFRS significantly varied across seasons. High-risk areas were mainly found in the southeastern and southwestern areas of the Dongting Lake district. Our findings based on models focused on the spring and winter seasons showed particularly good performance. The potential risk areas were smaller in March, May and August compared with those identified for June, July and October to December. Both normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and land use types were found to be the dominant risk factors. Conclusions/Significance Our findings indicate that time-specific ENMs provide a useful tool to forecast the spatial and temporal risk of HFRS. PMID:25184252

  5. Phylogenetic niche conservatism and the evolutionary basis of ecological speciation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pyron, R Alexander; Costa, Gabriel C; Patten, Michael A; Burbrink, Frank T

    2015-11-01

    Phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC) typically refers to the tendency of closely related species to be more similar to each other in terms of niche than they are to more distant relatives. This has been implicated as a potential driving force in speciation and other species-richness patterns, such as latitudinal gradients. However, PNC has not been very well defined in most previous studies. Is it a pattern or a process? What are the underlying endogenous (e.g. genetic) and exogenous (e.g. ecological) factors that cause niches to be conserved? What degree of similarity is necessary to qualify as PNC? Is it possible for the evolutionary processes causing niches to be conserved to also result in niche divergence in different habitats? Here, we revisit these questions, codifying a theoretical and operational definition of PNC as a mechanistic evolutionary process resulting from several factors. We frame this both from a macroevolutionary and population-genetic perspective. We discuss how different axes of physical (e.g. geographic) and environmental (e.g. climatic) heterogeneity interact with the fundamental process of PNC to produce different outcomes of ecological speciation. We also review tests for PNC, and suggest ways that these could be improved or better utilized in future studies. Ultimately, PNC as a process has a well-defined mechanistic basis in organisms, and future studies investigating ecological speciation would be well served to consider this, and frame hypothesis testing in terms of the processes and expected patterns described herein. The process of PNC may lead to patterns where niches are conserved (more similar than expected), constrained (divergent within a limited subset of available niches), or divergent (less similar than expected), based on degree of phylogenetic relatedness between species. © 2014 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  6. Present and future ecological niche modeling of garter snake species from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Vázquez, Uri; D’Addario, Maristella

    2018-01-01

    Land use and climate change are affecting the abundance and distribution of species. The Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) is a very diverse region due to geological history, geographic position, and climate. It is also one of the most disturbed regions in Mexico. Reptiles are particularly sensitive to environmental changes due to their low dispersal capacity and thermal ecology. In this study, we define the important environmental variables (considering climate, topography, and land use) and potential distribution (present and future) of the five Thamnophis species present in TMVB. To do so, we used the maximum entropy modeling software (MAXENT). First, we modeled to select the most important variables to explain the distribution of each species, then we modeled again using only the most important variables and projected these models to the future considering a middle-moderate climate change scenario (rcp45), and land use and vegetation variables for the year 2050 (generated according to land use changes that occurred between years 2002 and 2011). Arid vegetation had an important negative effect on habitat suitability for all species, and minimum temperature of the coldest month was important for four of the five species. Thamnophis cyrtopsis was the species with the lowest tolerance to minimum temperatures. The maximum temperature of the warmest month was important for T. scalaris and T. cyrtopsis. Low percentages of agriculture were positive for T. eques and T. melanogaster but, at higher values, agriculture had a negative effect on habitat suitability for both species. Elevation was the most important variable to explain T. eques and T. melanogaster potential distribution while distance to Abies forests was the most important variable for T. scalaris and T. scaliger. All species had a high proportion of their potential distribution in the TMVB. However, according to our models, all Thamnophis species will experience reductions in their potential

  7. Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purwandana, Deni; Ariefiandy, Achmad; Imansyah, M Jeri; Seno, Aganto; Ciofi, Claudio; Letnic, Mike; Jessop, Tim S

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ∼20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels.

  8. Ecological allometries and niche use dynamics across Komodo dragon ontogeny

    Science.gov (United States)

    Purwandana, Deni; Ariefiandy, Achmad; Imansyah, M. Jeri; Seno, Aganto; Ciofi, Claudio; Letnic, Mike; Jessop, Tim S.

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons ( Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ˜20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels.

  9. Niche divergence builds the case for ecological speciation in skinks of the Plestiodon skiltonianus species complex

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wogan, Guinevere O.U.; Richmond, Jonathan Q.

    2015-01-01

    Adaptation to different thermal environments has the potential to cause evolutionary changes that are sufficient to drive ecological speciation. Here, we examine whether climate-based niche divergence in lizards of the Plestiodon skiltonianus species complex is consistent with the outcomes of such a process. Previous work on this group shows that a mechanical sexual barrier has evolved between species that differ mainly in body size and that the barrier may be a by-product of selection for increased body size in lineages that have invaded xeric environments; however, baseline information on niche divergence among members of the group is lacking. We quantified the climatic niche using mechanistic physiological and correlative niche models and then estimated niche differences among species using ordination techniques and tests of niche overlap and equivalency. Our results show that the thermal niches of size-divergent, reproductively isolated morphospecies are significantly differentiated and that precipitation may have been as important as temperature in causing increased shifts in body size in xeric habitats. While these findings alone do not demonstrate thermal adaptation or identify the cause of speciation, their integration with earlier genetic and behavioral studies provides a useful test of phenotype–environment associations that further support the case for ecological speciation in these lizards.

  10. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species' ecological niches distances

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

    Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e., ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits, and whole plant traits) in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species' ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems) are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems) are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance. PMID:25741353

  11. Hierarchical traits distances explain grassland Fabaceae species’ ecological niches distances

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian eFort

    2015-02-01

    Full Text Available Fabaceae species play a key role in ecosystem functioning through their capacity to fix atmospheric nitrogen via their symbiosis with Rhizobium bacteria. To increase benefits of using Fabaceae in agricultural systems, it is necessary to find ways to evaluate species or genotypes having potential adaptations to sub-optimal growth conditions. We evaluated the relevance of phylogenetic distance, absolute trait distance and hierarchical trait distance for comparing the adaptation of 13 grassland Fabaceae species to different habitats, i.e. ecological niches. We measured a wide range of functional traits (root traits, leaf traits and whole plant traits in these species. Species phylogenetic and ecological distances were assessed from a species-level phylogenetic tree and species’ ecological indicator values, respectively. We demonstrated that differences in ecological niches between grassland Fabaceae species were related more to their hierarchical trait distances than to their phylogenetic distances. We showed that grassland Fabaceae functional traits tend to converge among species with the same ecological requirements. Species with acquisitive root strategies (thin roots, shallow root systems are competitive species adapted to non-stressful meadows, while conservative ones (coarse roots, deep root systems are able to tolerate stressful continental climates. In contrast, acquisitive species appeared to be able to tolerate low soil-P availability, while conservative ones need high P availability. Finally we highlight that traits converge along the ecological gradient, providing the assumption that species with similar root-trait values are better able to coexist, regardless of their phylogenetic distance.

  12. Mitochondrial DNA analyses and ecological niche modeling reveal post-LGM expansion of the Assam macaque (Macaca assamensis) in the foothills of Nepal Himalaya.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khanal, Laxman; Chalise, Mukesh K; He, Kai; Acharya, Bipin K; Kawamoto, Yoshi; Jiang, Xuelong

    2018-03-01

    Genetic diversity of a species is influenced by multiple factors, including the Quaternary glacial-interglacial cycles and geophysical barriers. Such factors are not yet well documented for fauna from the southern border of the Himalayan region. This study used mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences and ecological niche modeling (ENM) to explore how the late Pleistocene climatic fluctuations and complex geography of the Himalayan region have shaped genetic diversity, population genetic structure, and demographic history of the Nepalese population of Assam macaques (Macaca assamensis) in the Himalayan foothills. A total of 277 fecal samples were collected from 39 wild troops over almost the entire distribution of the species in Nepal. The mtDNA fragment encompassing the complete control region (1121 bp) was recovered from 208 samples, thus defining 54 haplotypes. Results showed low nucleotide diversity (0.0075 ± SD 0.0001) but high haplotype diversity (0.965 ± SD 0.004). The mtDNA sequences revealed a shallow population genetic structure with a moderate but statistically significant effect of isolation by distance. Demographic history analyses using mtDNA sequences suggested a post-pleistocene population expansion. Paleodistribution reconstruction projected that the potential habitat of the Assam macaque was confined to the lower elevations of central Nepal during the Last Glacial Maximum. With the onset of the Holocene climatic optimum, the glacial refugia population experienced eastward range expansion to higher elevations. We conclude that the low genetic diversity and shallow population genetic structure of the Assam macaque population in the Nepal Himalaya region are the consequence of recent demographic and spatial expansion. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

  13. Ecological niche modeling and land cover risk areas for rift valley fever vector, culex tritaeniorhynchus giles in Jazan, Saudi Arabia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sallam, Mohamed F; Al Ahmed, Azzam M; Abdel-Dayem, Mahmoud S; Abdullah, Mohamed A R

    2013-01-01

    The mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles is a prevalent and confirmed Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) vector. This vector, in association with Aedimorphus arabiensis (Patton), was responsible for causing the outbreak of 2000 in Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia. Larval occurrence records and a total of 19 bioclimatic and three topographic layers imported from Worldclim Database were used to predict the larval suitable breeding habitats for this vector in Jazan Province using ArcGIS ver.10 and MaxEnt modeling program. Also, a supervised land cover classification from SPOT5 imagery was developed to assess the land cover distribution within the suitable predicted habitats. Eleven bioclimatic and slope attributes were found to be the significant predictors for this larval suitable breeding habitat. Precipitation and temperature were strong predictors of mosquito distribution. Among six land cover classes, the linear regression model (LM) indicated wet muddy substrate is significantly associated with high-very high suitable predicted habitats (R(2) = 73.7%, Presearchers.

  14. Phylogeography of Thlaspi arvense (Brassicaceae in China Inferred from Chloroplast and Nuclear DNA Sequences and Ecological Niche Modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miao An

    2015-06-01

    Full Text Available Thlaspi arvense is a well-known annual farmland weed with worldwide distribution, which can be found from sea level to above 4000 m high on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP. In this paper, a phylogeographic history of T. arvense including 19 populations from China was inferred by using three chloroplast (cp DNA segments (trnL-trnF, rpl32-trnL and rps16 and one nuclear (n DNA segment (Fe-regulated transporter-like protein, ZIP. A total of 11 chloroplast haplotypes and six nuclear alleles were identified, and haplotypes unique to the QTP were recognized (C4, C5, C7 and N4. On the basis of molecular dating, haplotypes C4, C5 and C7 have separated from others around 1.58 Ma for cpDNA, which corresponds to the QTP uplift. In addition, this article suggests that the T. arvense populations in China are a mixture of diverged subpopulations as inferred by hT/vT test (hT ≤ vT, cpDNA and positive Tajima’s D values (1.87, 0.05 < p < 0.10 for cpDNA and 3.37, p < 0.01 for nDNA. Multimodality mismatch distribution curves and a relatively large shared area of suitable environmental conditions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM as well as the present time recognized by MaxEnt software reject the sudden expansion population model.

  15. Ecological niche dimensionality and the evolutionary diversification of stick insects.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Patrik Nosil

    Full Text Available The degree of phenotypic divergence and reproductive isolation between taxon pairs can vary quantitatively, and often increases as evolutionary divergence proceeds through various stages, from polymorphism to population differentiation, ecotype and race formation, speciation, and post-speciational divergence. Although divergent natural selection promotes divergence, it does not always result in strong differentiation. For example, divergent selection can fail to complete speciation, and distinct species pairs sometimes collapse ('speciation in reverse'. Widely-discussed explanations for this variability concern genetic architecture, and the geographic arrangement of populations. A less-explored possibility is that the degree of phenotypic and reproductive divergence between taxon pairs is positively related to the number of ecological niche dimensions (i.e., traits subject to divergent selection. Some data supporting this idea stem from laboratory experimental evolution studies using Drosophila, but tests from nature are lacking. Here we report results from manipulative field experiments in natural populations of herbivorous Timema stick insects that are consistent with this 'niche dimensionality' hypothesis. In such insects, divergent selection between host plants might occur for cryptic colouration (camouflage to evade visual predation, physiology (to detoxify plant chemicals, or both of these niche dimensions. We show that divergent selection on the single niche dimension of cryptic colouration can result in ecotype formation and intermediate levels of phenotypic and reproductive divergence between populations feeding on different hosts. However, greater divergence between a species pair involved divergent selection on both niche dimensions. Although further replication of the trends reported here is required, the results suggest that dimensionality of selection may complement genetic and geographic explanations for the degree of

  16. Division within the North American boreal forest: Ecological niche divergence between the Bicknell's Thrush (Catharus bicknelli) and Gray-cheeked Thrush (C. minimus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    FitzGerald, Alyssa M

    2017-07-01

    Sister species that diverged in allopatry in similar environments are expected to exhibit niche conservatism. Using ecological niche modeling and a multivariate analysis of climate and habitat data, I test the hypothesis that the Bicknell's Thrush ( Catharus bicknelli ) and Gray-cheeked Thrush ( C. mimimus ), sister species that breed in the North American boreal forest, show niche conservatism. Three tree species that are important components of breeding territories of both thrush species were combined with climatic variables to create niche models consisting of abiotic and biotic components. Abiotic-only, abiotic+biotic, and biotic-only models were evaluated using the area under the curve (AUC) criterion. Abiotic+biotic models had higher AUC scores and did not over-project thrush distributions compared to abiotic-only or biotic-only models. From the abiotic+biotic models, I tested for niche conservatism or divergence by accounting for the differences in the availability of niche components by calculating (1) niche overlap from ecological niche models and (2) mean niche differences of environmental values at occurrence points. Niche background similarity tests revealed significant niche divergence in 10 of 12 comparisons, and multivariate tests revealed niche divergence along 2 of 3 niche axes. The Bicknell's Thrush breeds in warmer and wetter regions with a high abundance of balsam fir ( Abies balsamea ), whereas Gray-cheeked Thrush often co-occurs with black spruce ( Picea mariana ). Niche divergence, rather than conservatism, was the predominant pattern for these species, suggesting that ecological divergence has played a role in the speciation of the Bicknell's Thrush and Gray-cheeked Thrush. Furthermore, because niche models were improved by the incorporation of biotic variables, this study validates the inclusion of relevant biotic factors in ecological niche modeling to increase model accuracy.

  17. Average niche breadths of species in lake macrophyte communities respond to ecological gradients variably in four regions on two continents.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alahuhta, Janne; Virtala, Antti; Hjort, Jan; Ecke, Frauke; Johnson, Lucinda B; Sass, Laura; Heino, Jani

    2017-05-01

    Different species' niche breadths in relation to ecological gradients are infrequently examined within the same study and, moreover, species niche breadths have rarely been averaged to account for variation in entire ecological communities. We investigated how average environmental niche breadths (climate, water quality and climate-water quality niches) in aquatic macrophyte communities are related to ecological gradients (latitude, longitude, altitude, species richness and lake area) among four distinct regions (Finland, Sweden and US states of Minnesota and Wisconsin) on two continents. We found that correlations between the three different measures of average niche breadths and ecological gradients varied considerably among the study regions, with average climate and average water quality niche breadth models often showing opposite trends. However, consistent patterns were also found, such as widening of average climate niche breadths and narrowing of average water quality niche breadths of aquatic macrophytes along increasing latitudinal and altitudinal gradients. This result suggests that macrophyte species are generalists in relation to temperature variations at higher latitudes and altitudes, whereas species in southern, lowland lakes are more specialised. In contrast, aquatic macrophytes growing in more southern nutrient-rich lakes were generalists in relation to water quality, while specialist species are adapted to low-productivity conditions and are found in highland lakes. Our results emphasise that species niche breadths should not be studied using only coarse-scale data of species distributions and corresponding environmental conditions, but that investigations on different kinds of niche breadths (e.g., climate vs. local niches) also require finer resolution data at broad spatial extents.

  18. Phylogeography and Ecological Niche Modeling Reveal Reduced Genetic Diversity and Colonization Patterns of Skunk Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus; Araceae From Glacial Refugia in Eastern North America

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Seon-Hee Kim

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Alternating glacial and interglacial periods during the Quaternary have dramatically affected the distribution and population genetic structure of plant and animal species throughout the northern hemisphere. Surprisingly, little is known about the post-glacial recolonization history of wetland herbaceous perennials that are widely distributed in the understory of deciduous or mixed deciduous-evergreen forests in eastern North America. In this study, we investigated infraspecific variation among 32 populations of skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, to test the hypothesis that the extant species diversity of skunk cabbage is the result of a post-glacial range expansion from southern refugia during the Quaternary Ice Age. A total of 4041 base pairs (bp of the chloroplast intergenic spacer region (cpDNA was sequenced from 485 individuals sampled from glaciated (18 populations, 275 individuals and unglaciated (14 populations, 210 individuals regions east and west of the Appalachian Mountains. Haplotype number, haplotype diversity, and nucleotide diversity were calculated, and genetic variation within and among populations was assessed by analysis of molecular variance (AMOVA. The geographic pattern of genetic differentiation was further investigated with a spatial analysis of molecular variance (SAMOVA. A total of eight haplotypes and three genetic groups (SAMOVA were recovered and a much higher haplotype number (eight haplotypes and haplotype diversity (0.7425 was observed in unglaciated compared to glaciated populations (five haplotypes, haplotype diversity = 0.6099. All haplotypes found in glaciated regions represented a subset of haplotypes found in unglaciated regions. Haplotypes of S. foetidus likely diverged during the Tertiary (mid-Miocene and late Pliocene, predating the last glacial maximum (LGM. Predictions based on ecological niche modeling (ENM suggested that there was considerably less suitable habitat for skunk cabbage during the LGM

  19. Global Habitat Suitability and Ecological Niche Separation in the Phylum Placozoa.

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    Omid Paknia

    Full Text Available The enigmatic placozoans, which hold a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life, have attracted substantial attention in many areas of biological and biomedical research. While placozoans have become an emerging model system, their ecology and particularly biogeography remain widely unknown. In this study, we use modelling approaches to explore habitat preferences, and distribution pattern of the placozoans phylum. We provide hypotheses for discrete ecological niche separation between genetic placozoan lineages, which may also help to understand biogeography patterns in other small marine invertebrates. We, here, used maximum entropy modelling to predict placozoan distribution using 20 environmental grids of 9.2 km2 resolution. In addition, we used recently developed metrics of niche overlap to compare habitat suitability models of three genetic clades. The predicted distributions range from 55°N to 44°S and are restricted to regions of intermediate to warm sea surface temperatures. High concentrations of salinity and low nutrient concentrations appear as secondary factors. Tests of niche equivalency reveal the largest differences between placozoan clades I and III. Interestingly, the genetically well-separated clades I and V appear to be ecologically very similar. Our habitat suitability models predict a wider latitudinal distribution for placozoans, than currently described, especially in the northern hemisphere. With respect to biogeography modelling, placozoans show patterns somewhere between higher metazoan taxa and marine microorganisms, with the first group usually showing complex biogeographies and the second usually showing "no biogeography."

  20. Shifts in the ecological niche of Lutzomyia peruensis under climate change scenarios in Peru.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moo-Llanes, D A; Arque-Chunga, W; Carmona-Castro, O; Yañez-Arenas, C; Yañez-Trujillano, H H; Cheverría-Pacheco, L; Baak-Baak, C M; Cáceres, A G

    2017-06-01

    The Peruvian Andes presents a climate suitable for many species of sandfly that are known vectors of leishmaniasis or bartonellosis, including Lutzomyia peruensis (Diptera: Psychodidae), among others. In the present study, occurrences data for Lu. peruensis were compiled from several items in the scientific literature from Peru published between 1927 and 2015. Based on these data, ecological niche models were constructed to predict spatial distributions using three algorithms [Support vector machine (SVM), the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) and Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt)]. In addition, the environmental requirements of Lu. peruensis and three niche characteristics were modelled in the context of future climate change scenarios: (a) potential changes in niche breadth; (b) shifts in the direction and magnitude of niche centroids, and (c) shifts in elevation range. The model identified areas that included environments suitable for Lu. peruensis in most regions of Peru (45.77%) and an average altitude of 3289 m a.s.l. Under climate change scenarios, a decrease in the distribution areas of Lu. peruensis was observed for all representative concentration pathways. However, the centroid of the species' ecological niche showed a northwest direction in all climate change scenarios. The information generated in this study may help health authorities responsible for the supervision of strategies to control leishmaniasis to coordinate, plan and implement appropriate strategies for each area of risk, taking into account the geographic distribution and potential dispersal of Lu. peruensis. © 2017 The Royal Entomological Society.

  1. Geographic distribution and ecological niche of plague in sub-Saharan Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Neerinckx, Simon B; Peterson, Andrew T; Gulinck, Hubert

    2008-01-01

    Background Plague is a rapidly progressing, serious illness in humans that is likely to be fatal if not treated. It remains a public health threat, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In spite of plague's highly focal nature, a thorough ecological understanding of the general distribution pattern...... of plague across sub-Saharan Africa has not been established to date. In this study, we used human plague data from sub-Saharan Africa for 1970-2007 in an ecological niche modeling framework to explore the potential geographic distribution of plague and its ecological requirements across Africa. Results We...... predict a broad potential distributional area of plague occurrences across sub-Saharan Africa. General tests of model's transferability suggest that our model can anticipate the potential distribution of plague occurrences in Madagascar and northern Africa. However, generality and predictive ability tests...

  2. Predicting the distribution of a parasite using the ecological niche model, GARP Predicción de la distribución de un parásito usando el modelo de nicho ecológico, GARP

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Terry R. Haverkost

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available The ecological niche of a parasite exists only at the nexus of certain abiotic and biotic conditions suitable for both the definitive and intermediate hosts. However, the life cycles of most parasites are not known, or are poorly known, and using known ranges of hosts to find endemic parasitic infections has been difficult. However, with ecological niche modeling, we can create potential range maps using known localities of infection. Testing the validity of such maps requires knowledge of the localities of other parasites with common history. Here, we find that the ecological niche of a tapeworm parasite of voles, Paranoplocephala macrocephala (Cestoda: Anoplocephalidae, allows prediction of the presence (in ecological and geographic space of 19 related parasite species from 3 genera in 23 different hosts throughout the Nearctic. These results give credence to the idea that this group shares similar life cycle requirements despite phylogenetic distance. This work further validates ecological niche modeling as a means by which to predict occurrence of parasites when not all facets of the life cycle are confirmed. Such inductive methods create the opportunity for deducing potential reservoir or intermediate hosts, and complementing studies of parasite biodiversity and community ecology.El nicho ecológico de un parásito existe sólo cuando coinciden condiciones abióticas y bióticas necesarias para los hospederos definitivos e intermediarios. No obstante, los ciclos de vida de la mayoría de los parásitos son poco conocidos; el usar áreas de distribución de hospederos para encontrar áreas endémicas de parasitismo ha resultado difícil. Con el modelado de nicho, se pueden producir mapas del área de distribución potencial con base en sitios conocidos de presencia. Para probar la validez de estos mapas, se requiere el conocimiento de sitios de presencia de otros parásitos relacionados. En este estudio, encontramos que el nicho ecol

  3. Spatial patterns, ecological niches, and interspecific competition of avian brood parasites: inferring from a case study of Korea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lee, Jin-Won; Noh, Hee-Jin; Lee, Yunkyoung; Kwon, Young-Soo; Kim, Chang-Hoe; Yoo, Jeong-Chil

    2014-09-01

    Since obligate avian brood parasites depend completely on the effort of other host species for rearing their progeny, the availability of hosts will be a critical resource for their life history. Circumstantial evidence suggests that intense competition for host species may exist not only within but also between species. So far, however, few studies have demonstrated whether the interspecific competition really occurs in the system of avian brood parasitism and how the nature of brood parasitism is related to their niche evolution. Using the occurrence data of five avian brood parasites from two sources of nationwide bird surveys in South Korea and publically available environmental/climatic data, we identified their distribution patterns and ecological niches, and applied species distribution modeling to infer the effect of interspecific competition on their spatial distribution. We found that the distribution patterns of five avian brood parasites could be characterized by altitude and climatic conditions, but overall their spatial ranges and ecological niches extensively overlapped with each other. We also found that the predicted distribution areas of each species were generally comparable to the realized distribution areas, and the numbers of individuals in areas where multiple species were predicted to coexist showed positive relationships among species. In conclusion, despite following different coevolutionary trajectories to adapt to their respect host species, five species of avian brood parasites breeding in South Korea occupied broadly similar ecological niches, implying that they tend to conserve ancestral preferences for ecological conditions. Furthermore, our results indicated that contrary to expectation interspecific competition for host availability between avian brood parasites seemed to be trivial, and thus, play little role in shaping their spatial distributions and ecological niches. Future studies, including the complete ranges of avian brood

  4. Habitat suitability and ecological niches of different plankton functional types in the global ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vogt, Meike; Brun, Philipp; Payne, Mark R.; O'Brien, Colleen J.; Bednaršek, Nina; Buitenhuis, Erik T.; Doney, Scott C.; Leblanc, Karine; Le Quéré, Corinne; Luo, Yawei; Moriarty, Róisín; O'Brien, Todd D.; Schiebel, Ralf; Swan, Chantal

    2013-04-01

    Marine plankton play a central role in the biogeochemical cycling of important elements such as carbon, nitrogen, and sulphur. While our knowledge about marine ecosystem structure and functioning is still scarce and episodic, several recent observational studies confirm that marine ecosystems have been changing due to recent climate change, overfishing, and coastal eutrophication. In order to better understand marine ecosystem dynamics, the MAREDAT initiative has recently collected abundance and biomass data for 5 autotrophic (diatoms, Phaeocystis, coccolithophores, nitrogen fixers, picophytoplankton), and 6 heterotrophic plankton functional types (PFTs; bacteria, micro-, meso- and macrozooplankton, foraminifera and pteropods). Species distribution models (SDMs) are statistical tools that can be used to derive information about species habitats in space and time. They have been used extensively for a wide range of ecological applications in terrestrial ecosystems, but here we present the first global application in the marine realm, which was made possible by the MAREDAT data synthesis effort. We use a maximum entropy SDM to simulate global habitat suitability, habitat extent and ecological niches for different PFTs in the modern ocean. Present habitat suitability is derived from presence-only MAREDAT data and the observed annual and monthly mean levels of physiologically relevant variables such as SST, nutrient concentration or photosynthetic active radiation received in the mixed layer. This information can then be used to derive ecological niches for different species or taxa within each PFT, and to compare the ecological niches of different PFTs. While these results still need verification because data was not available for all ocean regions for all PFTs, they can give a first indication what present and future plankton habitats may look like, and what consequences we may have to expect for future marine ecosystem functioning and service provision in a warmer

  5. Mechanistic species distribution modeling reveals a niche shift during invasion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chapman, Daniel S; Scalone, Romain; Štefanić, Edita; Bullock, James M

    2017-06-01

    Niche shifts of nonnative plants can occur when they colonize novel climatic conditions. However, the mechanistic basis for niche shifts during invasion is poorly understood and has rarely been captured within species distribution models. We quantified the consequence of between-population variation in phenology for invasion of common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia L.) across Europe. Ragweed is of serious concern because of its harmful effects as a crop weed and because of its impact on public health as a major aeroallergen. We developed a forward mechanistic species distribution model based on responses of ragweed development rates to temperature and photoperiod. The model was parameterized and validated from the literature and by reanalyzing data from a reciprocal common garden experiment in which native and invasive populations were grown within and beyond the current invaded range. It could therefore accommodate between-population variation in the physiological requirements for flowering, and predict the potentially invaded ranges of individual populations. Northern-origin populations that were established outside the generally accepted climate envelope of the species had lower thermal requirements for bud development, suggesting local adaptation of phenology had occurred during the invasion. The model predicts that this will extend the potentially invaded range northward and increase the average suitability across Europe by 90% in the current climate and 20% in the future climate. Therefore, trait variation observed at the population scale can trigger a climatic niche shift at the biogeographic scale. For ragweed, earlier flowering phenology in established northern populations could allow the species to spread beyond its current invasive range, substantially increasing its risk to agriculture and public health. Mechanistic species distribution models offer the possibility to represent niche shifts by varying the traits and niche responses of individual

  6. Ecological niche modeling for visceral leishmaniasis in the state of Bahia, Brazil, using genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction and growing degree day-water budget analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Prixia Nieto

    2006-11-01

    Full Text Available Two predictive models were developed within a geographic information system using Genetic Algorithm Rule-Set Prediction (GARP and the growing degree day (GDD-water budget (WB concept to predict the distribution and potential risk of visceral leishmaniasis (VL in the State of Bahia, Brazil. The objective was to define the environmental suitability of the disease as well as to obtain a deeper understanding of the eco-epidemiology of VL by associating environmental and climatic variables with disease prevalence. Both the GARP model and the GDDWB model, using different analysis approaches and with the same human prevalence database, predicted similar distribution and abundance patterns for the Lutzomyia longipalpis-Leishmania chagasi system in Bahia. High and moderate prevalence sites for VL were significantly related to areas of high and moderate risk prediction by: (i the area predicted by the GARP model, depending on the number of pixels that overlapped among eleven annual model years, and (ii the number of potential generations per year that could be completed by the Lu. longipalpis-L. chagasi system by GDD-WB analysis. When applied to the ecological zones of Bahia, both the GARP and the GDD-WB prediction models suggest that the highest VL risk is in the interior region of the state, characterized by a semi-arid and hot climate known as Caatinga, while the risk in the Bahia interior forest and the Cerrado ecological regions is lower. The Bahia coastal forest was predicted to be a low-risk area due to the unsuitable conditions for the vector and VL transmission.

  7. Bioenergetics, Trophic Ecology, and Niche Separation of Tunas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Olson, R J; Young, J W; Ménard, F; Potier, M; Allain, V; Goñi, N; Logan, J M; Galván-Magaña, F

    Tunas are highly specialized predators that have evolved numerous adaptations for a lifestyle that requires large amounts of energy consumption. Here we review our understanding of the bioenergetics and feeding dynamics of tunas on a global scale, with an emphasis on yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, albacore, and Atlantic bluefin tunas. Food consumption balances bioenergetics expenditures for respiration, growth (including gonad production), specific dynamic action, egestion, and excretion. Tunas feed across the micronekton and some large zooplankton. Some tunas appear to time their life history to take advantage of ephemeral aggregations of crustacean, fish, and molluscan prey. Ontogenetic and spatial diet differences are substantial, and significant interdecadal changes in prey composition have been observed. Diet shifts from larger to smaller prey taxa highlight ecosystem-wide changes in prey availability and diversity and provide implications for changing bioenergetics requirements into the future. Where tunas overlap, we show evidence of niche separation between them; resources are divided largely by differences in diet percentages and size ranges of prey taxa. The lack of long-term data limits the ability to predict impacts of climate change on tuna feeding behaviour. We note the need for systematic collection of feeding data as part of routine monitoring of these species, and we highlight the advantages of using biochemical techniques for broad-scale analyses of trophic relations. We support the continued development of ecosystem models, which all too often lack the regional-specific trophic data needed to adequately investigate climate and fishing impacts. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Remote Sensing-Based Detection and Spatial Pattern Analysis for Geo-Ecological Niche Modeling of Tillandsia SPP. In the Atacama, Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wolf, N.; Siegmund, A.; del Río, C.; Osses, P.; García, J. L.

    2016-06-01

    In the coastal Atacama Desert in Northern Chile plant growth is constrained to so-called `fog oases' dominated by monospecific stands of the genus Tillandsia. Adapted to the hyperarid environmental conditions, these plants specialize on the foliar uptake of fog as main water and nutrient source. It is this characteristic that leads to distinctive macro- and micro-scale distribution patterns, reflecting complex geo-ecological gradients, mainly affected by the spatiotemporal occurrence of coastal fog respectively the South Pacific Stratocumulus clouds reaching inlands. The current work employs remote sensing, machine learning and spatial pattern/GIS analysis techniques to acquire detailed information on the presence and state of Tillandsia spp. in the Tarapacá region as a base to better understand the bioclimatic and topographic constraints determining the distribution patterns of Tillandsia spp. Spatial and spectral predictors extracted from WorldView-3 satellite data are used to map present Tillandsia vegetation in the Tarapaca region. Regression models on Vegetation Cover Fraction (VCF) are generated combining satellite-based as well as topographic variables and using aggregated high spatial resolution information on vegetation cover derived from UAV flight campaigns as a reference. The results are a first step towards mapping and modelling the topographic as well as bioclimatic factors explaining the spatial distribution patterns of Tillandsia fog oases in the Atacama, Chile.

  9. REMOTE SENSING-BASED DETECTION AND SPATIAL PATTERN ANALYSIS FOR GEO-ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELING OF TILLANDSIA SPP. IN THE ATACAMA, CHILE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    N. Wolf

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available In the coastal Atacama Desert in Northern Chile plant growth is constrained to so-called ‘fog oases’ dominated by monospecific stands of the genus Tillandsia. Adapted to the hyperarid environmental conditions, these plants specialize on the foliar uptake of fog as main water and nutrient source. It is this characteristic that leads to distinctive macro- and micro-scale distribution patterns, reflecting complex geo-ecological gradients, mainly affected by the spatiotemporal occurrence of coastal fog respectively the South Pacific Stratocumulus clouds reaching inlands. The current work employs remote sensing, machine learning and spatial pattern/GIS analysis techniques to acquire detailed information on the presence and state of Tillandsia spp. in the Tarapacá region as a base to better understand the bioclimatic and topographic constraints determining the distribution patterns of Tillandsia spp. Spatial and spectral predictors extracted from WorldView-3 satellite data are used to map present Tillandsia vegetation in the Tarapaca region. Regression models on Vegetation Cover Fraction (VCF are generated combining satellite-based as well as topographic variables and using aggregated high spatial resolution information on vegetation cover derived from UAV flight campaigns as a reference. The results are a first step towards mapping and modelling the topographic as well as bioclimatic factors explaining the spatial distribution patterns of Tillandsia fog oases in the Atacama, Chile.

  10. Ecology: a niche for cyanobacteria containing chlorophyll d

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kühl, Michael; Chen, Min; Ralph, Peter J

    2005-01-01

    we demonstrate photosynthetic activity in Acaryochloris-like phototrophs that live underneath minute coral-reef invertebrates (didemnid ascidians) in a shaded niche enriched in near-infrared light. This discovery clarifies how these cyanobacteria are able to thrive as free-living organisms...

  11. Evolutionary dynamics of ecological niche in three Rhinogobio fishes from the upper Yangtze River inferred from morphological traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Meirong; Liu, Fei; Lin, Pengcheng; Yang, Shaorong; Liu, Huanzhang

    2015-01-01

    In the past decades, it has been debated whether ecological niche should be conserved among closely related species (phylogenetic niche conservatism, PNC) or largely divergent (traditional ecological niche theory and ecological speciation) and whether niche specialist and generalist might remain in equilibrium or niche generalist could not appear. In this study, we employed morphological traits to describe ecological niche and test whether different niche dimensions exhibit disparate evolutionary patterns. We conducted our analysis on three Rhinogobio fish species (R. typus,R. cylindricus, and R. ventralis) from the upper Yangtze River, China. Among the 32 measured morphological traits except body length, PCA extracted the first four principal components with their loading scores >1.000. To find the PNC among species, Mantel tests were conducted with the Euclidean distances calculated from the four principal components (representing different niche dimensions) against the pairwise distances calculated from mitochondrial cytochrome b sequence variations. The results showed that the second and the third niche dimension, both related to swimming ability and behavior, exhibited phylogenetic conservatism. Further comparison on niche breadth among these three species revealed that the fourth dimension of R. typus showed the greatest width, indicating that this dimension exhibited niche generalism. In conclusion, our results suggested that different niche dimensions could show different evolutionary dynamic patterns: they may exhibit PNC or not, and some dimensions may evolve generalism. PMID:25691981

  12. Commodifying snow, taming the waters. Socio-ecological niche construction in an Alpine village.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gross, Robert; Winiwarter, Verena

    White belts of snow clad mountains all over the world each winter. Even if there is no snow, the tourism industry is able to produce the white finery at the push of the button, thereby consuming large amounts of water. Studying Damüls, a well-known ski resort in Austria's westernmost province Vorarlberg, we can show that the development of a service sector within agro-pastoral landscapes was connected with novel water uses and massive interventions into Alpine landscapes. Human niche construction theory offers a unique avenue for studying the development of Alpine communities, but also highlights side effects accompanying the change from agrarian to tourism livelihoods. One aim of this paper is to broaden the scope of human niche construction theory. Inceptive, counteractive and relocational niche construction activities were coupled to the differentiation of actor groups. To incorporate social dynamics, indispensable for studies in environmental history, we propose the concept of socio-ecological niche construction. The paper investigates how villagers balanced resource limitations typical for an agrarian society with the differentiation of sub-niches, mediating selective forces on the population. When the valleys were industrialized, Damüls was almost given up as a permanent settlement. Then, tourists entered the stage, by and by turning the wheel of local development into a different direction. A tourism niche based on natural snow evolved from the 1930s onwards. While the socio-ecological niches of agriculture and tourism coexisted in the interwar years, this changed when ski lifts were built, embedded into a debt-based economy that made the tourism niche vulnerable to snow availability. Snow-dependency became a powerful selective force. It was mediated by the ski lift companies through a range of niche construction activities that turned water into an important resource of snowmaking systems.

  13. Cryptococcus gattii: Emergence in Western North America: Exploitation of a Novel Ecological Niche

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    Kausik Datta

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available The relatively uncommon fungal pathogen Cryptococcus gattii recently emerged as a significant cause of cryptococcal disease in human and animals in the Pacific Northwest of North America. Although genetic studies indicated its possible presence in the Pacific Northwest for more than 30 years, C. gattii as an etiological agent was largely unknown in this region prior to 1999. The recent emergence may have been encouraged by changing conditions of climate or land use and/or host susceptibility, and predictive ecological niche modeling indicates a potentially wider spread. C. gattii can survive wide climatic variations and colonize the environment in tropical, subtropical, temperate, and dry climates. Long-term climate changes, such as the significantly elevated global temperature in the last 100 years, influence patterns of disease among plants and animals and create niche microclimates habitable by emerging pathogens. C. gattii may have exploited such a hitherto unrecognized but clement environment in the Pacific Northwest to provide a wider exposure and risk of infection to human and animal populations.

  14. Baboon feeding ecology informs the dietary niche of Paranthropus boisei.

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    Gabriele A Macho

    Full Text Available Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins, explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation.

  15. Distribution survey, ecological niche modelling and conservation assessment of the Peruvian Night Monkey: Aotus Miconax Thomas, 1927 (Mammalia: Primates: Aotidae in north-eastern Peru, with notes on the distributions of Aotus spp. Gray, 1870

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    Sam Shanee

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Aotus miconax is endemic to Peru and remains one of the least studied of all Neotropical primate taxa.  It has an altitudinally restricted distribution and is limited to areas of premontane and montane cloud forest in the countries north.  Deforestation in the area is the highest in the country.  In many areas deforestation has fragmented remnant populations of A. miconax to isolated forest fragments with high hunting pressure.  Our aim was to gather information on the current distribution of A. miconax and other Aotus species in northeastern Peru.  Through field surveys we found evidence of the presence of Aotus spp. at 44 localities in the departments of Amazonas, Huánuco, La Libertad and San Martin, including 23 visual observations and four aural detections and from secondary evidence at a further 17 sites.  Aotus miconax was found at sites between 1200–3100 m.  Combining GIS and maximum entropy ecological niche modelling we predicted the probable original distribution of A. miconax.  We also evaluated the current area of occupancy, level of fragmentation and anthropogenic threats faced by this species.  The current area of occupancy of A. miconax is much reduced and anthropogenic threats to this species are severe and increasing.  The current IUCN Red List status (VU underestimates actual habitat loss and disturbance.  Sympatric species which suffer from similar levels of hunting and habitat loss are considered ‘Critically Endangered’ (IUCN 2011 and based on our estimate of ~60% habitat loss, with much of the remaining habitat highly fragmented; we would like to suggest that A. miconax be classified as Endangered.

  16. Niche construction through phenological plasticity: life history dynamics and ecological consequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donohue, Kathleen

    2005-04-01

    The ability of an organism to alter the environment that it experiences has been termed 'niche construction'. Plants have several ways whereby they can determine the environment to which they are exposed at different life stages. This paper discusses three of these: plasticity in dispersal, flowering timing and germination timing. It reviews pathways through which niche construction alters evolutionary and ecological trajectories by altering the selective environment to which organisms are exposed, the phenotypic expression of plastic characters, and the expression of genetic variation. It provides examples whereby niche construction creates positive or negative feedbacks between phenotypes and environments, which in turn cause novel evolutionary constraints and novel life-history expression. Copyright New Phytologist (2005).

  17. Niche divergence facilitated by fine-scale ecological partitioning in a recent cichlid fish adaptive radiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, Antonia G P; Rüber, Lukas; Newton, Jason; Dasmahapatra, Kanchon K; Balarin, John D; Bruun, Kristoffer; Day, Julia J

    2016-12-01

    Ecomorphological differentiation is a key feature of adaptive radiations, with a general trend for specialization and niche expansion following divergence. Ecological opportunity afforded by invasion of a new habitat is thought to act as an ecological release, facilitating divergence, and speciation. Here, we investigate trophic adaptive morphology and ecology of an endemic clade of oreochromine cichlid fishes (Alcolapia) that radiated along a herbivorous trophic axis following colonization of an isolated lacustrine environment, and demonstrate phenotype-environment correlation. Ecological and morphological divergence of the Alcolapia species flock are examined in a phylogenomic context, to infer ecological niche occupation within the radiation. Species divergence is observed in both ecology and morphology, supporting the importance of ecological speciation within the radiation. Comparison with an outgroup taxon reveals large-scale ecomorphological divergence but shallow genomic differentiation within the Alcolapia adaptive radiation. Ancestral morphological reconstruction suggests lake colonization by a generalist oreochromine phenotype that diverged in Lake Natron to varied herbivorous morphologies akin to specialist herbivores in Lakes Tanganyika and Malawi. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  18. Phylogeographic investigation and ecological niche modelling of the endemic frog species Nanorana pleskei revealed multiple refugia in the eastern Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Bin; Xie, Feng; Li, Jiannan; Wang, Gang; Li, Cheng; Jiang, Jianping

    2017-01-01

    The largest plateau Tibetan Plateau supplied an excellent opportunity to investigate the influence of the Pleistocene events on the high-elevation species. To test for the alternative hypotheses of Pleistocene glacial refugia, we used partial sequences of two mitochondrial genes and one nuclear gene to examine the phylogeographic patterns of the endemic frog species Nanorana pleskei across its known range in the eastern Tibetan Plateau, and conducted species distribution modelling (SDM) to explore changes of its distribution range through current and paleo periods. In all data sets, the species was divided into lineage north occupying open plateau platform and lineage south colonizing the mountainous plateau. The divergence of two major clades was estimated at the early Pleistocene. In mtDNA, lineage north contained northeastern and northwestern sublineages, and lineage south had two overlapping-distributed sublineages. Different lineages possessed distinct demographic characteristics, i.e., subdivision in the northeastern sublineage, historical bottleneck effects and recent expansions in the northwestern sublineage and the southeastern sublineage. SDMs depicted that stable suitable habitats had existed in the upper-middle streams of the Yellow River, Dadu River, Jinsha River and Yalong River. These regions were also recognized as the ancestral areas of different lineages. In conclusion, Nanorana pleskei lineages have probably experienced long-term separations. Stable suitable habitats existing in upper-middle streams of major rivers on the eastern Tibetan Plateau and distinct demographic dynamics of different lineages indicated that the lineages possessed independent evolutionary processes in multiple glacial refugia. The findings verified the profound effects of Pleistocene climatic fluctuations on the plateau endemic species.

  19. Climatic niche conservatism and ecological opportunity in the explosive radiation of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lv, Xue; Xia, Lin; Ge, Deyan; Wu, Yongjie; Yang, Qisen

    2016-05-01

    Climatic niche conservatism shapes patterns of diversity in many taxonomic groups, while ecological opportunity (EO) can trigger rapid speciation that is less constrained by the amount of time a lineage has occupied a given habitat. These two processes are well studied, but limited research has considered their joint and relative roles in shaping diversity patterns. We characterized climatic and biogeographic variables for 102 species of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae), testing the effects of climatic niche conservatism and EO on arvicoline diversification as lineages transitioned between biogeographic regions. We found that the amount of time a lineage has occupied a precipitation niche is positively correlated with diversity along a precipitation gradient, suggesting climatic niche conservatism. In contrast, shift in diversification rate explained diversity patterns along a temperature gradient. Our results suggest that an indirect relationship exists between temperature and diversification that is associated with EO as arvicoline rodents colonized warm Palearctic environments. Climatic niche conservatism alone did not fully explain diversity patterns under density-dependence, highlighting the additional importance of EO-related processes in promoting the explosive radiation in arvicoline rodents and shaping diversity pattern among biogeographic regions and along climatic gradients. © 2016 The Author(s). Evolution © 2016 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  20. Anaerobic animals from an ancient, anoxic ecological niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin William

    2010-04-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Tiny marine animals that complete their life cycle in the total absence of light and oxygen are reported by Roberto Danovaro and colleagues in this issue of BMC Biology. These fascinating animals are new members of the phylum Loricifera and possess mitochondria that in electron micrographs look very much like hydrogenosomes, the H2-producing mitochondria found among several unicellular eukaryotic lineages. The discovery of metazoan life in a permanently anoxic and sulphidic environment provides a glimpse of what a good part of Earth's past ecology might have been like in 'Canfield oceans', before the rise of deep marine oxygen levels and the appearance of the first large animals in the fossil record roughly 550-600 million years ago. The findings underscore the evolutionary significance of anaerobic deep sea environments and the anaerobic lifestyle among mitochondrion-bearing cells. They also testify that a fuller understanding of eukaryotic and metazoan evolution will come from the study of modern anoxic and hypoxic habitats.

  1. Physical disturbance to ecological niches created by soil structure alters community composition of methanotrophs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumaresan, Deepak; Stralis-Pavese, Nancy; Abell, Guy C J; Bodrossy, Levente; Murrell, J Colin

    2011-10-01

    Aggregates of different sizes and stability in soil create a composite of ecological niches differing in terms of physico-chemical and structural characteristics. The aim of this study was to identify, using DNA-SIP and mRNA-based microarray analysis, whether shifts in activity and community composition of methanotrophs occur when ecological niches created by soil structure are physically perturbed. Landfill cover soil was subject to three treatments termed: 'control' (minimal structural disruption), 'sieved' (sieved soil using 2 mm mesh) and 'ground' (grinding using mortar and pestle). 'Sieved' and 'ground' soil treatments exhibited higher methane oxidation potentials compared with the 'control' soil treatment. Analysis of the active community composition revealed an effect of physical disruption on active methanotrophs. Type I methanotrophs were the most active methanotrophs in 'sieved' and 'ground' soil treatments, whereas both Type I and Type II methanotrophs were active in the 'control' soil treatment. The result emphasize that changes to a particular ecological niche may not result in an immediate change to the active bacterial composition and change in composition will depend on the ability of the bacterial communities to respond to the perturbation. © 2011 Society for Applied Microbiology and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  2. Ecological niche models and patterns of richness and endemism of the southern Andean genus Eurymetopum (Coleoptera, Cleridae Modelos de nicho ecológico y patrones de riqueza y endemismo del género andino austral Eurymetopum (Coleoptera, Cleridae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tania Escalante

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Eurymetopum is an Andean clerid genus with 22 species. We modeled the ecological niches of 19 species with Maxent and used them as potential distributional maps to identify patterns of richness and endemicity. All modeled species maps were overlapped in a single map in order to determine richness. We performed an optimality analysis with NDM/VNDM in a grid of 1º latitude-longitude in order to identify endemism. We found a highly rich area, located between 32º and 41º south latitude, where the richest pixels have 16 species. One area of endemism was identified, located in the Maule and Valdivian Forest biogeographic provinces, which extends also to the Santiago province of the Central Chilean subregion, and contains four endemic species (E. parallelum, E. prasinum, E. proteus, and E. viride, as well as 16 non-endemic species. The sympatry of these phylogenetically unrelated species might indicate ancient vicariance processes, followed by episodes of dispersal. Based on our results, we suggest a close relationship between these provinces, with the Maule representing a complex area.Eurymetopum es un género de cléridos andinos con 22 especies. Modelamos los nichos ecológicos de 19 especies con Maxent y los utilizamos como mapas de distribución potencial para identificar patrones de riqueza y endemismo. Todos los mapas de las especies se superpusieron en un mapa único para determinar la riqueza. Realizamos un análisis de optimalidad con NDM/VNDM en una cuadrícula de 1º de latitud-longitud para identificar el endemismo. Hallamos un área de mayor riqueza, localizada entre los 32º y 41º de latitud sur, donde los pixeles más ricos poseen 16 especies. Se identificó un área de endemismo en las provincias biogeográficas del Maule y el Bosque Valdiviano, la cual se extiende también a la provincia de Santiago de la subregión Chilena Central, y que contiene cuatro especies endémicas (E. parallelum, E. prasinum, E. proteus y E. viride, as

  3. Ecological divergence and conservatism: spatiotemporal patterns of niche evolution in a genus of livebearing fishes (Poeciliidae: Xiphophorus).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Culumber, Zachary W; Tobler, Michael

    2016-02-19

    Ecological factors often have a strong impact on spatiotemporal patterns of biodiversity. The integration of spatial ecology and phylogenetics allows for rigorous tests of whether speciation is associated with niche conservatism (constraints on ecological divergence) or niche divergence. We address this question in a genus of livebearing fishes for which the role of sexual selection in speciation has long been studied, but in which the potential role of ecological divergence during speciation has not been tested. By combining reconstruction of ancestral climate tolerances and disparity indices, we show that the earliest evolutionary split in Xiphophorus was associated with significant divergence for temperature variables. Niche evolution and present day niches were most closely associated with each species' geographic distribution relative to a biogeographic barrier, the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. Tests for similarity of the environmental backgrounds of closely related species suggested that the relative importance of niche conservatism and divergence during speciation varied among the primary clades of Xiphophorus. Closely related species in the two swordtail clades exhibited higher levels of niche overlap than expected given environmental background similarity indicative of niche conservatism. In contrast, almost all species of platyfish had significantly divergent niches compared to environmental backgrounds, which is indicative of niche divergence. The results suggest that the relative importance of niche conservatism and divergence differed among the clades of Xiphophorus and that traits associated with niche evolution may be more evolutionarily labile in the platyfishes. Our results ultimately suggest that the taxonomic scale of tests for conservatism and divergence could greatly influence inferences of their relative importance in the speciation process.

  4. GEOMORPHOLOGICAL ECOGEOGRAPHICAL VARIABLES DEFINIG FEATURES OF ECOLOGICAL NICHE OF COMMON MILKWEED (ASCLEPIAS SYRIACA L.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. M. Kunah

    2016-04-01

    Full Text Available The role of geomorphological ecogeographical variables have been shown, which are received by means of the digital elevation model created on the basis of remote sensing data as markers of an ecological niche of weeds on an example common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.. The research range chooses territory which is in settlement Vovnjanka district (the Poltava region. The range has the linear sizes of 26 kilometres in a direction from the east on the west and 15 kilometres in a direction from the north on the south, the range total area makes 390 км2. As geomorphological variables the topographical wetness index, topographic position index, mass balance index, erosion LS-factor, direct and disseminated insolation, altitude above channel network, multiresolution valley bottom flatness, multiresolution ridge top flatness index, vector ruggedness measure have been considered. It is established, that on set of the geomorphological indicators received by means of digital model of a relief, it is possible to assert, that within a separate agricultural field a wide variety of microconditions which is caused by relief features is formed. Possibly, the variation of thermal and water modes, moisture redistribution, and also productivity mechanical processings of soil and efforts under the control of number of weeds make a background in which limits there is possible a moving of weed plants, including common milkweed.

  5. Ecological niche comparison and molecular phylogeny segregate the invasive moss species Campylopus introflexus (Leucobryaceae, Bryophyta) from its closest relatives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gama, Renato; Aguirre-Gutiérrez, Jesús; Stech, Michael

    2017-10-01

    The delimitation of the invasive moss species Campylopus introflexus from its closest relative, Campylopus pilifer , has been long debated based on morphology. Previous molecular phylogenetic reconstructions based on the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers (ITS) 1 and 2 showed that C. pilifer is split into an Old World and a New World lineage, but remained partly inconclusive concerning the relationships between these two clades and C. introflexus . Analyses of an extended ITS dataset displayed statistically supported incongruence between ITS1 and ITS2. ITS1 separates the New World clade of C. pilifer from a clade comprising C. introflexus and the Old World C. pilifer . Ancestral state reconstruction showed that this topology is morphologically supported by differences in the height of the dorsal costal lamellae in leaf cross-section (despite some overlap). ITS2, in contrast, supports the current morphological species concept, i.e., separating C. introflexus from C. pilifer , which is morphologically supported by the orientation of the hyaline hair point at leaf apex as well as costal lamellae height. Re-analysis of published and newly generated plastid atpB-rbcL spacer sequences supported the three ITS lineages. Ecological niche modeling proved a useful approach and showed that all three molecular lineages occupy distinct environmental spaces that are similar, but undoubtedly not equivalent. In line with the ITS1 topology, the C. pilifer lineage from the New World occupies the most distinct environmental niche, whereas the niches of Old World C. pilifer and C. introflexus are very similar. Taking the inferences from ecological niche comparisons, phylogenetics, and morphology together, we conclude that all three molecular lineages represent different taxa that should be recognized as independent species, viz. C. introflexus , C. pilifer (Old World clade), and the reinstated C. lamellatus Mont. (New World clade).

  6. Impact of Mycobacterium ulcerans biofilm on transmissibility to ecological niches and Buruli ulcer pathogenesis.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Laurent Marsollier

    2007-05-01

    Full Text Available The role of biofilms in the pathogenesis of mycobacterial diseases remains largely unknown. Mycobacterium ulcerans, the etiological agent of Buruli ulcer, a disfiguring disease in humans, adopts a biofilm-like structure in vitro and in vivo, displaying an abundant extracellular matrix (ECM that harbors vesicles. The composition and structure of the ECM differs from that of the classical matrix found in other bacterial biofilms. More than 80 proteins are present within this extracellular compartment and appear to be involved in stress responses, respiration, and intermediary metabolism. In addition to a large amount of carbohydrates and lipids, ECM is the reservoir of the polyketide toxin mycolactone, the sole virulence factor of M. ulcerans identified to date, and purified vesicles extracted from ECM are highly cytotoxic. ECM confers to the mycobacterium increased resistance to antimicrobial agents, and enhances colonization of insect vectors and mammalian hosts. The results of this study support a model whereby biofilm changes confer selective advantages to M. ulcerans in colonizing various ecological niches successfully, with repercussions for Buruli ulcer pathogenesis.

  7. Mutualistic interactions drive ecological niche convergence in a diverse butterfly community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elias, Marianne; Gompert, Zachariah; Jiggins, Chris; Willmott, Keith

    2008-12-02

    Ecological communities are structured in part by evolutionary interactions among their members. A number of recent studies incorporating phylogenetics into community ecology have upheld the paradigm that competition drives ecological divergence among species of the same guild. However, the role of other interspecific interactions, in particular positive interactions such as mutualism, remains poorly explored. We characterized the ecological niche and inferred phylogenetic relationships among members of a diverse community of neotropical Müllerian mimetic butterflies. Müllerian mimicry is one of the best studied examples of mutualism, in which unpalatable species converge in wing pattern locally to advertize their toxicity to predators. We provide evidence that mutualistic interactions can drive convergence along multiple ecological axes, outweighing both phylogeny and competition in shaping community structure. Our findings imply that ecological communities are adaptively assembled to a much greater degree than commonly suspected. In addition, our results show that phenotype and ecology are strongly linked and support the idea that mimicry can cause ecological speciation through multiple cascading effects on species' biology.

  8. Mutualistic interactions drive ecological niche convergence in a diverse butterfly community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marianne Elias

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Ecological communities are structured in part by evolutionary interactions among their members. A number of recent studies incorporating phylogenetics into community ecology have upheld the paradigm that competition drives ecological divergence among species of the same guild. However, the role of other interspecific interactions, in particular positive interactions such as mutualism, remains poorly explored. We characterized the ecological niche and inferred phylogenetic relationships among members of a diverse community of neotropical Müllerian mimetic butterflies. Müllerian mimicry is one of the best studied examples of mutualism, in which unpalatable species converge in wing pattern locally to advertize their toxicity to predators. We provide evidence that mutualistic interactions can drive convergence along multiple ecological axes, outweighing both phylogeny and competition in shaping community structure. Our findings imply that ecological communities are adaptively assembled to a much greater degree than commonly suspected. In addition, our results show that phenotype and ecology are strongly linked and support the idea that mimicry can cause ecological speciation through multiple cascading effects on species' biology.

  9. Niche conservatism as an emerging principle in ecology and conservation biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wiens, John J; Ackerly, David D; Allen, Andrew P; Anacker, Brian L; Buckley, Lauren B; Cornell, Howard V; Damschen, Ellen I; Jonathan Davies, T; Grytnes, John-Arvid; Harrison, Susan P; Hawkins, Bradford A; Holt, Robert D; McCain, Christy M; Stephens, Patrick R

    2010-10-01

    The diversity of life is ultimately generated by evolution, and much attention has focused on the rapid evolution of ecological traits. Yet, the tendency for many ecological traits to instead remain similar over time [niche conservatism (NC)] has many consequences for the fundamental patterns and processes studied in ecology and conservation biology. Here, we describe the mounting evidence for the importance of NC to major topics in ecology (e.g. species richness, ecosystem function) and conservation (e.g. climate change, invasive species). We also review other areas where it may be important but has generally been overlooked, in both ecology (e.g. food webs, disease ecology, mutualistic interactions) and conservation (e.g. habitat modification). We summarize methods for testing for NC, and suggest that a commonly used and advocated method (involving a test for phylogenetic signal) is potentially problematic, and describe alternative approaches. We suggest that considering NC: (1) focuses attention on the within-species processes that cause traits to be conserved over time, (2) emphasizes connections between questions and research areas that are not obviously related (e.g. invasives, global warming, tropical richness), and (3) suggests new areas for research (e.g. why are some clades largely nocturnal? why do related species share diseases?). 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  10. The ecological niche and reciprocal prediction of the disjunct distribution of an invasive species: the example of Ailanthus altissima

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas P. Albright; Hao Chen; Lijun Chen; Qinfeng Guo

    2010-01-01

    Knowledge of the ecological niches of invasive species in native and introduced ranges can inform management as well as ecological and evolutionary theory. Here, we identified and compared factors associated with the distribution of an invasive tree, Ailanthus altissima, in both its native Chinese and introduced US ranges and predicted potential US...

  11. Plant diversification promotes biocontrol services in peach orchards by shaping the ecological niches of insect herbivores and their natural enemies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wan, Nian Feng; Ji, Xiang Yun; Deng, Jian Yu

    2018-01-01

    Ecological niche indicators have been scarcely adopted to assess the biological control of insect herbivores by their natural enemies. We hypothesize that plant diversification promotes the biocontrol services by narrowing the niches of herbivores and broadening the niches of natural enemies....... Our study reveals that plant diversification promotes the biocontrol services by shaping the niche of herbivores and natural enemies, and provides a new assessment method to understand the biodiversity-niche-ecosystem management interactions........ In a large-scale experiment, we found that the abundance of natural enemies was increased by 38.1%, and the abundance of insect herbivores was decreased by 16.9% in peach orchards with plant diversification (treatment) compared to ones with monoculture (control). Stratified sampling indicated...

  12. Malaria in Africa: vector species' niche models and relative risk maps.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexander Moffett

    2007-09-01

    Full Text Available A central theoretical goal of epidemiology is the construction of spatial models of disease prevalence and risk, including maps for the potential spread of infectious disease. We provide three continent-wide maps representing the relative risk of malaria in Africa based on ecological niche models of vector species and risk analysis at a spatial resolution of 1 arc-minute (9 185 275 cells of approximately 4 sq km. Using a maximum entropy method we construct niche models for 10 malaria vector species based on species occurrence records since 1980, 19 climatic variables, altitude, and land cover data (in 14 classes. For seven vectors (Anopheles coustani, A. funestus, A. melas, A. merus, A. moucheti, A. nili, and A. paludis these are the first published niche models. We predict that Central Africa has poor habitat for both A. arabiensis and A. gambiae, and that A. quadriannulatus and A. arabiensis have restricted habitats in Southern Africa as claimed by field experts in criticism of previous models. The results of the niche models are incorporated into three relative risk models which assume different ecological interactions between vector species. The "additive" model assumes no interaction; the "minimax" model assumes maximum relative risk due to any vector in a cell; and the "competitive exclusion" model assumes the relative risk that arises from the most suitable vector for a cell. All models include variable anthrophilicity of vectors and spatial variation in human population density. Relative risk maps are produced from these models. All models predict that human population density is the critical factor determining malaria risk. Our method of constructing relative risk maps is equally general. We discuss the limits of the relative risk maps reported here, and the additional data that are required for their improvement. The protocol developed here can be used for any other vector-borne disease.

  13. Ecological niche differentiation of polyploidization is not supported by environmental differences among species in a cosmopolitan grass genus.

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    Visser, Vernon; Molofsky, Jane

    2015-01-01

    • Polyploidization frequently results in the creation of new plant species, the establishment of which is thought to often be facilitated by ecological niche differentiation from the diploid species. We tested this hypothesis using the cosmopolitan grass genus Phalaris (Poaceae), consisting of 19 species that range from diploid to tetraploid to hexaploid. Specifically, we tested whether (1) polyploids occupy more extreme environments and/or (2) have broader niche breadths and/or (3) whether the polyploid species' distributions indicate a niche shift from diploid species.• We employed a bootstrapping approach using distribution data for each species and eight environmental variables to investigate differences between species in the means, extremes, and breadths of each environmental variable. We used a kernel smoothing technique to quantify niche overlap between species.• Although we found some support for the three hypotheses for a few diploid-polyploid pairs and for specific environmental variables, none of these hypotheses were generally supported.• Our results suggest that these commonly held hypotheses about the effects of polyploidization on ecological distributions are not universally applicable. Correlative biogeographic studies like ours provide a necessary first step for suggesting specific hypotheses that require experimental verification. A combination of genetic, physiological, and ecological studies will be required to achieve a better understanding of the role of polyploidization in niche evolution. © 2015 Botanical Society of America, Inc.

  14. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

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    Warren, Christopher P.; Pascual, Mercedes; Lafferty, Kevin D.; Kuris, Armand M.

    2010-01-01

    Although parasites represent an important component of ecosystems, few field and theoretical studies have addressed the structure of parasites in food webs. We evaluate the structure of parasitic links in an extensive salt marsh food web, with a new model distinguishing parasitic links from non-parasitic links among free-living species. The proposed model is an extension of the niche model for food web structure, motivated by the potential role of size (and related metabolic rates) in structuring food webs. The proposed extension captures several properties observed in the data, including patterns of clustering and nestedness, better than does a random model. By relaxing specific assumptions, we demonstrate that two essential elements of the proposed model are the similarity of a parasite's hosts and the increasing degree of parasite specialization, along a one-dimensional niche axis. Thus, inverting one of the basic rules of the original model, the one determining consumers' generality appears critical. Our results support the role of size as one of the organizing principles underlying niche space and food web topology. They also strengthen the evidence for the non-random structure of parasitic links in food webs and open the door to addressing questions concerning the consequences and origins of this structure.

  15. Ecological niche shifts and environmental space anisotropy: a cautionary note Desplazamientos en el nicho y la anisotropía del espacio ambiental: una nota precautoria

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    Jorge Soberón

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The anisotropic structure of climatic space may cause significant (and to a large extent unappreciated non-evolutionary niche shifts. This can be seen mostly in the context of spatial transferability of ecological niche models. We explore this effect using a virtual species in the United States. We created a simple virtual species by postulating its fundamental niche as an ellipse in a two-dimensional realistic climatic space. The climatic combinations defined by the ellipse were projected in the geography of the United States and 2 regions of equal area were selected. The structure of niche in the 2 areas is compared. It is shown that the 2 regions have differently positioned subsets of the environmental space, which creates "shifts" in the realized niches despite the fact that no evolution and no biotic interactions are present. The most parsimonious hypothesis when ecological niche modeling reveals shifts in the realized niche is that environmental space is heterogeneous. Without considering differences in the structure of environmental space no speculation about niche evolution or the role of competitors should be attempted.La estructura anisotrópica del espacio climático puede causar desplazamientos significativos no evolutivos en los nichos de las especies. Este efecto poco apreciado en la literatura se manifiesta con gran claridad cuando se realizan transferencias espaciales de modelos de nicho ecológico. Se explora este efecto utilizando una especie virtual en los Estados Unidos. Se creó una especie virtual simplificada postulando su nicho fundamental en forma de una elipse en un espacio realista de 2 dimensiones. Las combinaciones climáticas definidas por la elipse se proyectaron en la geografía de los Estados Unidos y se seleccionaron 2 regiones de igual superficie espacial. Se compara la estructura del nicho en las 2 regiones, mostrando que estas 2 regiones espaciales presentan subconjuntos distintos del espacio de variables

  16. [Application of land economic ecological niche in landscape pattern analysis at county level: A case study of Jinghe County in Xinjiang, China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yu, Hai-yang; Zhang, Fei; Wang, Juan; Zhou, Mei

    2015-12-01

    The theory of land economic ecological niche was used to analyze the regional landscape pattern in this article, with an aim to provide a new method for the characterization and representation of landscape pattern. The Jinghe County region, which is ecologically fragile, was selected as an example for the study, and the Landsat images of 1990, 1998, 2011 and 2013 were selected as remote sensing data. The land economic ecological niche of land use types calculated by ecostate-ecorole theory, combined with landscape ecology theory, was discussed in application of land economic ecological niche in county landscape pattern analysis. The results showed that, during the study period, the correlations between land economic ecological niche of farmland, construction land, and grassland with the parameters, including landscape patch number (NP), aggregated index (AI), fragmented index (FN) and fractal dimension (FD), were significant. Regional landscape was driven by the changes of land economic ecological niche, and the trend of economic development could be represented by land economic ecological niche change in Jinghe County. Land economic ecological niche was closely related with the land use types which could yield direct economic benefits, which could well explain the landscape pattern characteristics in Jinghe County when combined with the landscape indices.

  17. Making ecological models adequate

    Science.gov (United States)

    Getz, Wayne M.; Marshall, Charles R.; Carlson, Colin J.; Giuggioli, Luca; Ryan, Sadie J.; Romañach, Stephanie; Boettiger, Carl; Chamberlain, Samuel D.; Larsen, Laurel; D'Odorico, Paolo; O'Sullivan, David

    2018-01-01

    Critical evaluation of the adequacy of ecological models is urgently needed to enhance their utility in developing theory and enabling environmental managers and policymakers to make informed decisions. Poorly supported management can have detrimental, costly or irreversible impacts on the environment and society. Here, we examine common issues in ecological modelling and suggest criteria for improving modelling frameworks. An appropriate level of process description is crucial to constructing the best possible model, given the available data and understanding of ecological structures. Model details unsupported by data typically lead to over parameterisation and poor model performance. Conversely, a lack of mechanistic details may limit a model's ability to predict ecological systems’ responses to management. Ecological studies that employ models should follow a set of model adequacy assessment protocols that include: asking a series of critical questions regarding state and control variable selection, the determinacy of data, and the sensitivity and validity of analyses. We also need to improve model elaboration, refinement and coarse graining procedures to better understand the relevancy and adequacy of our models and the role they play in advancing theory, improving hind and forecasting, and enabling problem solving and management.

  18. The genotypic structure of a multi-host bumblebee parasite suggests a role for ecological niche overlap.

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    Rahel M Salathé

    Full Text Available The genotypic structure of parasite populations is an important determinant of ecological and evolutionary dynamics of host-parasite interactions with consequences for pest management and disease control. Genotypic structure is especially interesting where multiple hosts co-exist and share parasites. We here analyze the natural genotypic distribution of Crithidia bombi, a trypanosomatid parasite of bumblebees (Bombus spp., in two ecologically different habitats over a time period of three years. Using an algorithm to reconstruct genotypes in cases of multiple infections, and combining these with directly identified genotypes from single infections, we find a striking diversity of infection for both data sets, with almost all multi-locus genotypes being unique, and are inferring that around half of the total infections are resulting from multiple strains. Our analyses further suggest a mixture of clonality and sexuality in natural populations of this parasite species. Finally, we ask whether parasite genotypes are associated with host species (the phylogenetic hypothesis or whether ecological factors (niche overlap in flower choice shape the distribution of parasite genotypes (the ecological hypothesis. Redundancy analysis demonstrates that in the region with relatively high parasite prevalence, both host species identity and niche overlap are equally important factors shaping the distribution of parasite strains, whereas in the region with lower parasite prevalence, niche overlap more strongly contributes to the distribution observed. Overall, our study underlines the importance of ecological factors in shaping the natural dynamics of host-parasite systems.

  19. Ecological niche partitioning of the invasive dinoflagellate Prorocentrum minimum and its native congeners in the Baltic Sea.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Telesh, Irena V; Schubert, Hendrik; Skarlato, Sergei O

    2016-11-01

    This study analyses three decades of the peculiar bloom-formation history of the potentially toxic invasive planktonic dinoflagellates Prorocentrum minimum (Pavillard) Schiller in the SW Baltic Sea. We tested a research hypothesis that the unexpectedly long delay (nearly two decades) in population development of P. minimum prior to its first bloom was caused by competition with one or several closely related native dinoflagellate species due to ecological niche partitioning which hampered the spread and bloom-forming potential of the invader. We applied the ecological niche concept to a large, long-term phytoplankton database and analysed the invasion history and population dynamics of P. minimum in the SW Baltic Sea coastal waters using the data on phytoplankton composition, abundance and biomass. The ecological niche dimensions of P. minimum and its congener P. balticum were identified as the optimum environmental conditions for the species during the bloom events based on water temperature, salinity, pH, concentration of nutrients (PO 4 3- ; total phosphorus, TP; total nitrogen, TN; SiO 4 4- ), TN/TP-ratio and habitat type. The data on spatial distribution and ecological niche dimensions of P. minimum have contributed to the development of the "protistan species maximum concept". High microplankton diversity at critical salinities in the Baltic Sea may be considered as a possible reason for the significant niche overlap and strong competitive interactions among congeners leading to prolonged delay in population growth of P. minimum preceding its first bloom in the highly variable brackishwater environment. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Towards Defining the Ecological Niches of Novel Coastal Gulf of Mexico Bacterial Isolates

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henson, M. W.; Thrash, C.; Nall, E.

    2016-02-01

    The study of microbial contributions to biogeochemistry is critical to understanding the cycles of fundamental compounds and gain predictive capabilities in a changing environment. Such study requires observation of microbial communities and genetics in nature, coupled with experimental testing of hypotheses both in situ and in laboratory settings. This study combines dilution-to-extinction based high-throughput culturing (HTC) with cultivation-independent and geochemical measurements to define potential ecological niches of novel bacterial isolates from the coastal northern Gulf of Mexico (cnGOM). Here we report findings from the first of a three-year project. In total, 43 cultures from seven HTC experiments were capable of being repeatedly transferred. Sanger sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene identified these isolates as belonging to the phyla Gammaproteobacteria, Alphaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Betaproteobacteria. Eight are being genome sequenced, with two selected for further physiological characterization due to their phylogenic novelty and potential ecological significance. Strain LSUCC101 likely represents a novel family of Gammaproteobacteria (best blast hit to a cultured representative showed 91% sequence identity) and strain LSUCC96 belongs to the OM252 clade, with the Hawaiian isolate HIMB30 as its closest relative. Both are small (0.3-0.5 µm) cocci. The environmental importance of both LSUCC101 and LSUCC96 was illustrated by their presence within the top 30 OTU0.03 of cnGOM 16S rRNA gene datasets as well as within clone libraries from coastal regions around the world. Ongoing work is determining growth efficiencies, substrate utilization profiles, and metabolic potential to elucidate the roles of these organisms in the cnGOM. Comparative genomics will examine the evolutionary divergence of these organisms from their closest neighbors, and metagenomic recruitment to genomes will help identify strain-based variation from different coastal regions.

  1. Effects of simulated acid rain on soil fauna community composition and their ecological niches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wei, Hui; Liu, Wen; Zhang, Jiaen; Qin, Zhong

    2017-01-01

    Acid rain is one of the severest environmental issues globally. Relative to other global changes (e.g., warming, elevated atmospheric [CO 2 ], and nitrogen deposition), however, acid rain has received less attention than its due. Soil fauna play important roles in multiple ecological processes, but how soil fauna community responds to acid rain remains less studied. This microcosm experiment was conducted using latosol with simulated acid rain (SAR) manipulations to observe potential changes in soil fauna community under acid rain stress. Four pH levels, i.e., pH 2.5, 3.5, 4.5, and 5.5, and a neutral control of pH 7.0 were set according to the current pH condition and acidification trend of precipitation in southern China. As expected, we observed that the SAR treatments induced changes in soil fauna community composition and their ecological niches in the tested soil; the treatment effects tended to increase as acidity increased. This could be attributable to the environmental stresses (such as acidity, porosity and oxygen supply) induced by the SAR treatments. In addition to direct acidity effect, we propose that potential changes in permeability and movability of water and oxygen in soils induced by acid rain could also give rise to the observed shifts in soil fauna community composition. These are most likely indirect pathways of acid rain to affect belowground community. Moreover, we found that nematodes, the dominating soil fauna group in this study, moved downwards to mitigate the stress of acid rain. This is probably detrimental to soil fauna in the long term, due to the relatively severer soil conditions in the deep than surface soil layer. Our results suggest that acid rain could change soil fauna community and the vertical distribution of soil fauna groups, consequently changing the underground ecosystem functions such as organic matter decomposition and greenhouse gas emissions. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Ecological consequences of human niche construction: Examining long-term anthropogenic shaping of global species distributions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boivin, Nicole L; Zeder, Melinda A; Fuller, Dorian Q; Crowther, Alison; Larson, Greger; Erlandson, Jon M; Denham, Tim; Petraglia, Michael D

    2016-06-07

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity-the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences.

  3. Lifestyle of the biotroph Agrobacterium tumefaciens in the ecological niche constructed on its host plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Mula, Almudena; Lang, Julien; Grandclément, Catherine; Naquin, Delphine; Ahmar, Mohammed; Soulère, Laurent; Queneau, Yves; Dessaux, Yves; Faure, Denis

    2018-07-01

    Agrobacterium tumefaciens constructs an ecological niche in its host plant by transferring the T-DNA from its Ti plasmid into the host genome and by diverting the host metabolism. We combined transcriptomics and genetics for understanding the A. tumefaciens lifestyle when it colonizes Arabidopsis thaliana tumors. Transcriptomics highlighted: a transition from a motile to sessile behavior that mobilizes some master regulators (Hfq, CtrA, DivK and PleD); a remodeling of some cell surface components (O-antigen, succinoglucan, curdlan, att genes, putative fasciclin) and functions associated with plant defense (Ef-Tu and flagellin pathogen-associated molecular pattern-response and glycerol-3-phosphate and nitric oxide signaling); and an exploitation of a wide variety of host resources, including opines, amino acids, sugars, organic acids, phosphate, phosphorylated compounds, and iron. In addition, construction of transgenic A. thaliana lines expressing a lactonase enzyme showed that Ti plasmid transfer could escape host-mediated quorum-quenching. Finally, construction of knock-out mutants in A. tumefaciens showed that expression of some At plasmid genes seemed more costly than the selective advantage they would have conferred in tumor colonization. We provide the first overview of A. tumefaciens lifestyle in a plant tumor and reveal novel signaling and trophic interplays for investigating host-pathogen interactions. © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.

  4. Modelling the meteorological forest fire niche in heterogeneous pyrologic conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Angelis, Antonella; Ricotta, Carlo; Conedera, Marco; Pezzatti, Gianni Boris

    2015-01-01

    Fire regimes are strongly related to weather conditions that directly and indirectly influence fire ignition and propagation. Identifying the most important meteorological fire drivers is thus fundamental for daily fire risk forecasting. In this context, several fire weather indices have been developed focussing mainly on fire-related local weather conditions and fuel characteristics. The specificity of the conditions for which fire danger indices are developed makes its direct transfer and applicability problematic in different areas or with other fuel types. In this paper we used the low-to-intermediate fire-prone region of Canton Ticino as a case study to develop a new daily fire danger index by implementing a niche modelling approach (Maxent). In order to identify the most suitable weather conditions for fires, different combinations of input variables were tested (meteorological variables, existing fire danger indices or a combination of both). Our findings demonstrate that such combinations of input variables increase the predictive power of the resulting index and surprisingly even using meteorological variables only allows similar or better performances than using the complex Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI). Furthermore, the niche modelling approach based on Maxent resulted in slightly improved model performance and in a reduced number of selected variables with respect to the classical logistic approach. Factors influencing final model robustness were the number of fire events considered and the specificity of the meteorological conditions leading to fire ignition.

  5. Linking niche theory to ecological impacts of successful invaders: insights from resource fluctuation-specialist herbivore interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gidoin, Cindy; Roques, Lionel; Boivin, Thomas

    2015-03-01

    Theories of species coexistence and invasion ecology are fundamentally connected and provide a common theoretical framework for studying the mechanisms underlying successful invasions and their ecological impacts. Temporal fluctuations in resource availability and differences in life-history traits between invasive and resident species are considered as likely drivers of the dynamics of invaded communities. Current critical issues in invasion ecology thus relate to the extent to which such mechanisms influence coexistence between invasive and resident species and to the ability of resident species to persist in an invasive-dominated ecosystem. We tested how a fluctuating resource, and species trait differences may explain and help predict long-term impacts of biological invasions in forest specialist insect communities. We used a simple invasion system comprising closely related invasive and resident seed-specialized wasps (Hymenoptera: Torymidae) competing for a well-known fluctuating resource and displaying divergent diapause, reproductive and phenological traits. Based on extensive long-term field observations (1977-2010), we developed a combination of mechanistic and statistical models aiming to (i) obtain a realistic description of the population dynamics of these interacting species over time, and (ii) clarify the respective contributions of fluctuation-dependent and fluctuation-independent mechanisms to long-term impact of invasion on the population dynamics of the resident wasp species. We showed that a fluctuation-dependent mechanism was unable to promote coexistence of the resident and invasive species. Earlier phenology of the invasive species was the main driver of invasion success, enabling the invader to exploit an empty niche. Phenology also had the greatest power to explain the long-term negative impact of the invasive on the resident species, through resource pre-emption. This study provides strong support for the critical role of species

  6. Modeling ecological niches and predicting geographic distributions: a test of six presence-only methods Modelado de nichos ecológicos y predicción de distribuciones geográficas: comparación de seis métodos

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Miguel A. Ortega-Huerta

    2008-06-01

    Full Text Available Modeling ecological niches of species as a means to predict geographic distributions is a growing field that has been applied to numerous challenges of importance in ecology, systematics, and human well-being. The increasing availability and variety of such predictive algorithms requires testing their performance. In this study, we compare 6 such algorithms (Maxent, BioMapper, DOMAIN, FloraMap, the genetic algorithm GARP, and weights of evidence as regards their ability to predict the geographic distributions of 10 species of Mexican birds for which ample distributional data are available. The results of this study nevertheless led to reflections on how model quality should be evaluated.La predicción de las distribuciones geográficas de las especies obtenida mediante el modelado de sus nichos ecológicos, representa una línea de investigación en expansión, la cual ha sido aplicada en múltiples áreas de conocimiento tales como ecología, sistemática y salud pública. La creciente disponibilidad y variedad de tales métodos y algoritmos de predicción determina su evaluación como necesaria. En este estudio, comparamos 6 algoritmos (Maxent, BioMapper, Domain, FloraMap, GARP, Weights of Evidence con respecto a su habilidad para predecir las distribuciones geográficas de 10 especies de aves de México, para las cuales se cuenta con suficientes datos distribucionales. No obstante, los resultados de nuestro estudio sugieren la necesidad de elaborar nuevos criterios para la evaluación de modelos.

  7. Hydrological-niche models predict water plant functional group distributions in diverse wetland types.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Deane, David C; Nicol, Jason M; Gehrig, Susan L; Harding, Claire; Aldridge, Kane T; Goodman, Abigail M; Brookes, Justin D

    2017-06-01

    Human use of water resources threatens environmental water supplies. If resource managers are to develop policies that avoid unacceptable ecological impacts, some means to predict ecosystem response to changes in water availability is necessary. This is difficult to achieve at spatial scales relevant for water resource management because of the high natural variability in ecosystem hydrology and ecology. Water plant functional groups classify species with similar hydrological niche preferences together, allowing a qualitative means to generalize community responses to changes in hydrology. We tested the potential for functional groups in making quantitative prediction of water plant functional group distributions across diverse wetland types over a large geographical extent. We sampled wetlands covering a broad range of hydrogeomorphic and salinity conditions in South Australia, collecting both hydrological and floristic data from 687 quadrats across 28 wetland hydrological gradients. We built hydrological-niche models for eight water plant functional groups using a range of candidate models combining different surface inundation metrics. We then tested the predictive performance of top-ranked individual and averaged models for each functional group. Cross validation showed that models achieved acceptable predictive performance, with correct classification rates in the range 0.68-0.95. Model predictions can be made at any spatial scale that hydrological data are available and could be implemented in a geographical information system. We show the response of water plant functional groups to inundation is consistent enough across diverse wetland types to quantify the probability of hydrological impacts over regional spatial scales. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  8. Growth of the coccolithophore Emiliania huxleyi in light- and nutrient-limited batch reactors: relevance for the BIOSOPE deep ecological niche of coccolithophores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perrin, Laura; Probert, Ian; Langer, Gerald; Aloisi, Giovanni

    2016-11-01

    Coccolithophores are unicellular calcifying marine algae that play an important role in the oceanic carbon cycle via their cellular processes of photosynthesis (a CO2 sink) and calcification (a CO2 source). In contrast to the well-studied, surface-water coccolithophore blooms visible from satellites, the lower photic zone is a poorly known but potentially important ecological niche for coccolithophores in terms of primary production and carbon export to the deep ocean. In this study, the physiological responses of an Emiliania huxleyi strain to conditions simulating the deep niche in the oligotrophic gyres along the BIOSOPE transect in the South Pacific Gyre were investigated. We carried out batch culture experiments with an E. huxleyi strain isolated from the BIOSOPE transect, reproducing the in situ conditions of light and nutrient (nitrate and phosphate) limitation. By simulating coccolithophore growth using an internal stores (Droop) model, we were able to constrain fundamental physiological parameters for this E. huxleyi strain. We show that simple batch experiments, in conjunction with physiological modelling, can provide reliable estimates of fundamental physiological parameters for E. huxleyi that are usually obtained experimentally in more time-consuming and costly chemostat experiments. The combination of culture experiments, physiological modelling and in situ data from the BIOSOPE cruise show that E. huxleyi growth in the deep BIOSOPE niche is limited by availability of light and nitrate. This study contributes more widely to the understanding of E. huxleyi physiology and behaviour in a low-light and oligotrophic environment of the ocean.

  9. Nitrite oxidation kinetics of two Nitrospira strains: The quest for competition and ecological niche differentiation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ushiki, Norisuke; Jinno, Masaru; Fujitani, Hirotsugu; Suenaga, Toshikazu; Terada, Akihiko; Tsuneda, Satoshi

    2017-05-01

    Nitrite oxidation is an aerobic process of the nitrogen cycle in natural ecosystems, and is performed by nitrite-oxidizing bacteria (NOB). Also, nitrite oxidation is a rate-limiting step of nitrogen removal in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). Although Nitrospira is known as dominant NOB in WWTPs, information on their physiological properties and kinetic parameters is limited. Here, we report the kinetic parameters and inhibition of nitrite oxidation by free ammonia in pure cultures of Nitrospira sp. strain ND1 and Nitrospira japonica strain NJ1, which were previously isolated from activated sludge in a WWTP. The maximum nitrite uptake rate ( [Formula: see text] ) and the half-saturation constant for nitrite uptake ( [Formula: see text] ) of strains ND1 and NJ1 were 45 ± 7 and 31 ± 5 (μmol NO 2 - /mg protein/h), and 6 ± 1 and 10 ± 2 (μM NO 2 - ), respectively. The [Formula: see text] and [Formula: see text] of two strains indicated that they adapt to low-nitrite-concentration environments like activated sludge. The half-saturation constants for oxygen uptake ( [Formula: see text] ) of the two strains were 4.0±2.5 and 2.6±1.1 (μM O 2 ), respectively. The [Formula: see text] values of the two strains were lower than those of other NOB, suggesting that Nitrospira in activated sludge could oxidize nitrite in the hypoxic environments often found in the interiors of biofilms and flocs. The inhibition thresholds of the two strains by free ammonia were 0.85 and 4.3 (mg-NH 3 l -1 ), respectively. Comparing the physiological properties of the two strains, we suggest that tolerance for free ammonia determines competition and partitioning into ecological niches among Nitrospira populations. Copyright © 2017 The Society for Biotechnology, Japan. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  10. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R.; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagye, Laszlo G.; Ohm, Robin A.; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L.; Bailey, Andrew M.; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M.; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hildén, Kristiina; Kües, Ursula; LaButti, Kurt M.; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan M.; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W.; Salamov, Asaf A.; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wösten, Han A. B.; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C.; Foster, Gary D.; Sonnenberg, Anton S. M.; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P.; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S.; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S.; Kerrigan, Richard W.; Challen, Michael P.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Martin, Francis

    2012-01-01

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the “button mushroom” forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics. PMID:23045686

  11. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R.; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagy, Laszlo G.; Ohm, Robin A.; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L.; Bailey, Andrew M.; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M.; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hilden, Kristiina; Kues, Ursula; LaButti, Kurt M.; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A.; Lucas, Susan M.; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W.; Salamov, Asaf A.; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wosten, Han A. B.; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C.; Foster, Gary D.; Sonnenberg, Anton S. M.; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P.; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S.; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S.; Kerrigan, Richard W.; Challen, Michael P.; Grigoriev, Igor V.; Martin, Francis

    2012-04-27

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the button mushroom forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics.

  12. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morin, Emmanuelle; Kohler, Annegret; Baker, Adam R; Foulongne-Oriol, Marie; Lombard, Vincent; Nagy, Laszlo G; Ohm, Robin A; Patyshakuliyeva, Aleksandrina; Brun, Annick; Aerts, Andrea L; Bailey, Andrew M; Billette, Christophe; Coutinho, Pedro M; Deakin, Greg; Doddapaneni, Harshavardhan; Floudas, Dimitrios; Grimwood, Jane; Hildén, Kristiina; Kües, Ursula; Labutti, Kurt M; Lapidus, Alla; Lindquist, Erika A; Lucas, Susan M; Murat, Claude; Riley, Robert W; Salamov, Asaf A; Schmutz, Jeremy; Subramanian, Venkataramanan; Wösten, Han A B; Xu, Jianping; Eastwood, Daniel C; Foster, Gary D; Sonnenberg, Anton S M; Cullen, Dan; de Vries, Ronald P; Lundell, Taina; Hibbett, David S; Henrissat, Bernard; Burton, Kerry S; Kerrigan, Richard W; Challen, Michael P; Grigoriev, Igor V; Martin, Francis

    2012-10-23

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence, and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the "button mushroom" forms a multibillion dollar industry. We present two A. bisporus genomes, their gene repertoires and transcript profiles on compost and during mushroom formation. The genomes encode a full repertoire of polysaccharide-degrading enzymes similar to that of wood-decayers. Comparative transcriptomics of mycelium grown on defined medium, casing-soil, and compost revealed genes encoding enzymes involved in xylan, cellulose, pectin, and protein degradation are more highly expressed in compost. The striking expansion of heme-thiolate peroxidases and β-etherases is distinctive from Agaricomycotina wood-decayers and suggests a broad attack on decaying lignin and related metabolites found in humic acid-rich environment. Similarly, up-regulation of these genes together with a lignolytic manganese peroxidase, multiple copper radical oxidases, and cytochrome P450s is consistent with challenges posed by complex humic-rich substrates. The gene repertoire and expression of hydrolytic enzymes in A. bisporus is substantially different from the taxonomically related ectomycorrhizal symbiont Laccaria bicolor. A common promoter motif was also identified in genes very highly expressed in humic-rich substrates. These observations reveal genetic and enzymatic mechanisms governing adaptation to the humic-rich ecological niche formed during plant degradation, further defining the critical role such fungi contribute to soil structure and carbon sequestration in terrestrial ecosystems. Genome sequence will expedite mushroom breeding for improved agronomic characteristics.

  13. Under niche construction: an operational bridge between ecology, evolution, and ecosystem science

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Matthews, B.; De Meester, L.; Jones, C.G.; Ibelings, B.W.; Bouma, T.J.; Nuutinen, V.; van de Koppel, J.; Odling-Smee, J.

    2014-01-01

    All living organisms modify their biotic and abiotic environment. Niche construction theory posits that organism-mediated modifications to the environment can change selection pressures and influence the evolutionary trajectories of natural populations. While there is broad support for this

  14. The influence of social niche on cultural niche construction: modelling changes in belief about marriage form in Taiwan

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lipatov, Mikhail; Brown, Melissa J.; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2011-01-01

    With introduction of social niche effects into a model of cultural change, the frequency of a practice cannot predict the frequency of its underlying belief. The combination of a general model with empirical data from a specific case illustrates the importance of collaboration between modellers and field researchers, and identifies the type of quantitative data necessary for analysing case studies. Demographic data from colonial-period household registers in Taiwan document a shift in marriage form within 40 years, from a mixture of uxorilocal marriages and virilocal marriages to the latter's dominance. Ethnographic data indicate marriage-related beliefs, costs, ethnic effects and colonial policies as well as the importance of horizontal cultural transmission. We present a formal model for the effects of moral beliefs about marriage and a population economic index on the decline of uxorilocal marriage. We integrate empirical marriage rates and an estimated economic index to produce five projections of the historical frequencies of one belief. These projections demonstrate how economic development may affect a cultural niche. They also indicate the need for future research on the relationship between wealth and cultural variability, the motivational force of cultural versus social factors, and the process of cultural niche construction. PMID:21320903

  15. Global thermal niche models of two European grasses show high invasion risks in Antarctica.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pertierra, Luis R; Aragón, Pedro; Shaw, Justine D; Bergstrom, Dana M; Terauds, Aleks; Olalla-Tárraga, Miguel Ángel

    2017-07-01

    The two non-native grasses that have established long-term populations in Antarctica (Poa pratensis and Poa annua) were studied from a global multidimensional thermal niche perspective to address the biological invasion risk to Antarctica. These two species exhibit contrasting introduction histories and reproductive strategies and represent two referential case studies of biological invasion processes. We used a multistep process with a range of species distribution modelling techniques (ecological niche factor analysis, multidimensional envelopes, distance/entropy algorithms) together with a suite of thermoclimatic variables, to characterize the potential ranges of these species. Their native bioclimatic thermal envelopes in Eurasia, together with the different naturalized populations across continents, were compared next. The potential niche of P. pratensis was wider at the cold extremes; however, P. annua life history attributes enable it to be a more successful colonizer. We observe that particularly cold summers are a key aspect of the unique Antarctic environment. In consequence, ruderals such as P. annua can quickly expand under such harsh conditions, whereas the more stress-tolerant P. pratensis endures and persist through steady growth. Compiled data on human pressure at the Antarctic Peninsula allowed us to provide site-specific biosecurity risk indicators. We conclude that several areas across the region are vulnerable to invasions from these and other similar species. This can only be visualized in species distribution models (SDMs) when accounting for founder populations that reveal nonanalogous conditions. Results reinforce the need for strict management practices to minimize introductions. Furthermore, our novel set of temperature-based bioclimatic GIS layers for ice-free terrestrial Antarctica provide a mechanism for regional and global species distribution models to be built for other potentially invasive species. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  16. Environmental niche models for riverine desert fishes and their similarity according to phylogeny and functionality

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whitney, James E.; Whittier, Joanna B.; Paukert, Craig P.

    2017-01-01

    Environmental filtering and competitive exclusion are hypotheses frequently invoked in explaining species' environmental niches (i.e., geographic distributions). A key assumption in both hypotheses is that the functional niche (i.e., species traits) governs the environmental niche, but few studies have rigorously evaluated this assumption. Furthermore, phylogeny could be associated with these hypotheses if it is predictive of functional niche similarity via phylogenetic signal or convergent evolution, or of environmental niche similarity through phylogenetic attraction or repulsion. The objectives of this study were to investigate relationships between environmental niches, functional niches, and phylogenies of fishes of the Upper (UCRB) and Lower (LCRB) Colorado River Basins of southwestern North America. We predicted that functionally similar species would have similar environmental niches (i.e., environmental filtering) and that closely related species would be functionally similar (i.e., phylogenetic signal) and possess similar environmental niches (i.e., phylogenetic attraction). Environmental niches were quantified using environmental niche modeling, and functional similarity was determined using functional trait data. Nonnatives in the UCRB provided the only support for environmental filtering, which resulted from several warmwater nonnatives having dam number as a common predictor of their distributions, whereas several cool- and coldwater nonnatives shared mean annual air temperature as an important distributional predictor. Phylogenetic signal was supported for both natives and nonnatives in both basins. Lastly, phylogenetic attraction was only supported for native fishes in the LCRB and for nonnative fishes in the UCRB. Our results indicated that functional similarity was heavily influenced by evolutionary history, but that phylogenetic relationships and functional traits may not always predict the environmental distribution of species. However, the

  17. Intraspecific niche models for ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) suggest potential variability in population-level response to climate change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maguire, Kaitlin C.; Shinneman, Douglas; Potter, Kevin M.; Hipkins, Valerie D.

    2018-01-01

    Unique responses to climate change can occur across intraspecific levels, resulting in individualistic adaptation or movement patterns among populations within a given species. Thus, the need to model potential responses among genetically distinct populations within a species is increasingly recognized. However, predictive models of future distributions are regularly fit at the species level, often because intraspecific variation is unknown or is identified only within limited sample locations. In this study, we considered the role of intraspecific variation to shape the geographic distribution of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), an ecologically and economically important tree species in North America. Morphological and genetic variation across the distribution of ponderosa pine suggest the need to model intraspecific populations: the two varieties (var. ponderosa and var. scopulorum) and several haplotype groups within each variety have been shown to occupy unique climatic niches, suggesting populations have distinct evolutionary lineages adapted to different environmental conditions. We utilized a recently-available, geographically-widespread dataset of intraspecific variation (haplotypes) for ponderosa pine and a recently-devised lineage distance modeling approach to derive additional, likely intraspecific occurrence locations. We confirmed the relative uniqueness of each haplotype-climate relationship using a niche-overlap analysis, and developed ecological niche models (ENMs) to project the distribution for two varieties and eight haplotypes under future climate forecasts. Future projections of haplotype niche distributions generally revealed greater potential range loss than predicted for the varieties. This difference may reflect intraspecific responses of distinct evolutionary lineages. However, directional trends are generally consistent across intraspecific levels, and include a loss of distributional area and an upward shift in elevation. Our results

  18. Intraspecific niche models for ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) suggest potential variability in population-level response to climate change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maguire, Kaitlin C; Shinneman, Douglas J; Potter, Kevin M; Hipkins, Valerie D

    2018-03-14

    Unique responses to climate change can occur across intraspecific levels, resulting in individualistic adaptation or movement patterns among populations within a given species. Thus, the need to model potential responses among genetically distinct populations within a species is increasingly recognized. However, predictive models of future distributions are regularly fit at the species level, often because intraspecific variation is unknown or is identified only within limited sample locations. In this study, we considered the role of intraspecific variation to shape the geographic distribution of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), an ecologically and economically important tree species in North America. Morphological and genetic variation across the distribution of ponderosa pine suggest the need to model intraspecific populations: the two varieties (var. ponderosa and var. scopulorum) and several haplotype groups within each variety have been shown to occupy unique climatic niches, suggesting populations have distinct evolutionary lineages adapted to different environmental conditions. We utilized a recently-available, geographically-widespread dataset of intraspecific variation (haplotypes) for ponderosa pine and a recently-devised lineage distance modeling approach to derive additional, likely intraspecific occurrence locations. We confirmed the relative uniqueness of each haplotype-climate relationship using a niche-overlap analysis, and developed ecological niche models (ENMs) to project the distribution for two varieties and eight haplotypes under future climate forecasts. Future projections of haplotype niche distributions generally revealed greater potential range loss than predicted for the varieties. This difference may reflect intraspecific responses of distinct evolutionary lineages. However, directional trends are generally consistent across intraspecific levels, and include a loss of distributional area and an upward shift in elevation. Our results

  19. Improved Predictions of the Geographic Distribution of Invasive Plants Using Climatic Niche Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ramírez-Albores, Jorge E.; Bustamante, Ramiro O.

    2016-01-01

    Climatic niche models for invasive plants are usually constructed with occurrence records taken from literature and collections. Because these data neither discriminate among life-cycle stages of plants (adult or juvenile) nor the origin of individuals (naturally established or man-planted), the resulting models may mispredict the distribution ranges of these species. We propose that more accurate predictions could be obtained by modelling climatic niches with data of naturally established individuals, particularly with occurrence records of juvenile plants because this would restrict the predictions of models to those sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of the species. To test this proposal, we focused on the Peruvian peppertree (Schinus molle), a South American species that has largely invaded Mexico. Three climatic niche models were constructed for this species using high-resolution dataset gathered in the field. The first model included all occurrence records, irrespective of the life-cycle stage or origin of peppertrees (generalized niche model). The second model only included occurrence records of naturally established mature individuals (adult niche model), while the third model was constructed with occurrence records of naturally established juvenile plants (regeneration niche model). When models were compared, the generalized climatic niche model predicted the presence of peppertrees in sites located farther beyond the climatic thresholds that naturally established individuals can tolerate, suggesting that human activities influence the distribution of this invasive species. The adult and regeneration climatic niche models concurred in their predictions about the distribution of peppertrees, suggesting that naturally established adult trees only occur in sites where climatic conditions allow the recruitment of juvenile stages. These results support the proposal that climatic niches of invasive plants should be modelled with data of

  20. Ecological niche of Neanderthals from Spy Cave revealed by nitrogen isotopes of individual amino acids in collagen.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Naito, Yuichi I; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Drucker, Dorothée G; Ohkouchi, Naohiko; Semal, Patrick; Wißing, Christoph; Bocherens, Hervé

    2016-04-01

    This study provides a refined view on the diet and ecological niche of Neanderthals. The traditional view is that Neanderthals obtained most of their dietary protein from terrestrial animals, especially from large herbivores that roamed the open landscapes. Evidence based on the conventional carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bulk collagen has supported this view, although recent findings based on plant remains in the tooth calculus, microwear analyses, and small game and marine animal remains from archaeological sites have raised some questions regarding this assumption. However, the lack of a protein source other than meat in the Neanderthal diet may be due to methodological difficulties in defining the isotopic composition of plants. Based on the nitrogen isotopic composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine in collagen for Neanderthals from Spy Cave (Belgium), we show that i) there was an inter-individual dietary heterogeneity even within one archaeological site that has not been evident in bulk collagen isotopic compositions, ii) they occupied an ecological niche different from those of hyenas, and iii) they could rely on plants for up to ∼20% of their protein source. These results are consistent with the evidence found of plant consumption by the Spy Neanderthals, suggesting a broader subsistence strategy than previously considered. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Potential for spread of the white-nose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) in the Americas: use of Maxent and NicheA to assure strict model transference.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escobar, Luis E; Lira-Noriega, Andrés; Medina-Vogel, Gonzalo; Townsend Peterson, A

    2014-11-01

    Emerging infectious diseases can present serious threats to wildlife, even to the point of causing extinction. Whitenose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans) is causing an epizootic in bats that is expanding rapidly, both geographically and taxonomically. Little is known of the ecology and distributional potential of this intercontinental pathogen. We address this gap via ecological niche models that characterise coarse resolution niche differences between fungus populations on different continents, identifying areas potentially vulnerable to infection in South America. Here we explore a novel approach to identifying areas of potential distribution across novel geographic regions that avoids perilious extrapolation into novel environments. European and North American fungus populations show differential use of environmental space, but rather than niche differentiation, we find that changes are best attributed to climatic differences between the two continents. Suitable areas for spread of the pathogen were identified across southern South America; however caution should be taken to avoid underestimating the potential for spread of this pathogen in South America.

  2. Ecological explanations to island gigantism: dietary niche divergence, predation, and size in an endemic lizard.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Runemark, Anna; Sagonas, Kostas; Svensson, Erik I

    2015-08-01

    Although rapid evolution of body size on islands has long been known, the ecological mechanisms behind this island phenomenon remain poorly understood. Diet is an important selective pressure for morphological divergence. Here we investigate if selection for novel diets has contributed to the multiple independent cases of island gigantism in the Skyros wall lizard (Podarcis gaigeae) and if diet, predation, or both factors best explain island gigantism. We combined data on body size, shape, bite force, and realized and available diets to address this. Several lines of evidence suggest that diet has contributed to the island gigantism. The larger islet lizards have relatively wider heads and higher bite performance in relation to mainland lizards than would be expected from size differences alone. The proportions of consumed and available hard prey are higher on islets than mainland localities, and lizard body size is significantly correlated with the proportion of hard prey. Furthermore, the main axis of divergence in head shape is significantly correlated with dietary divergence. Finally, a model with only diet and one including diet and predation regime explain body size divergence equally well. Our results suggest that diet is an important ecological factor behind insular body size divergence, but could be consistent with an additional role for predation.

  3. To predict the niche, model colonization and extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yackulic, Charles B.; Nichols, James D.; Reid, Janice; Der, Ricky

    2015-01-01

    Ecologists frequently try to predict the future geographic distributions of species. Most studies assume that the current distribution of a species reflects its environmental requirements (i.e., the species' niche). However, the current distributions of many species are unlikely to be at equilibrium with the current distribution of environmental conditions, both because of ongoing invasions and because the distribution of suitable environmental conditions is always changing. This mismatch between the equilibrium assumptions inherent in many analyses and the disequilibrium conditions in the real world leads to inaccurate predictions of species' geographic distributions and suggests the need for theory and analytical tools that avoid equilibrium assumptions. Here, we develop a general theory of environmental associations during periods of transient dynamics. We show that time-invariant relationships between environmental conditions and rates of local colonization and extinction can produce substantial temporal variation in occupancy–environment relationships. We then estimate occupancy–environment relationships during three avian invasions. Changes in occupancy–environment relationships over time differ among species but are predicted by dynamic occupancy models. Since estimates of the occupancy–environment relationships themselves are frequently poor predictors of future occupancy patterns, research should increasingly focus on characterizing how rates of local colonization and extinction vary with environmental conditions.

  4. Persistence of highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 virus defined by agro-ecological niche

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogerwerf, Lenny; Wallace, Rob G.; Ottaviani, Daniela; Slingenbergh, Jan; Prosser, Diann; Bergmann, Luc; Gilbert, Marius

    2010-01-01

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread across Eurasia and into Africa. Its persistence in a number of countries continues to disrupt poultry production, impairs smallholder livelihoods, and raises the risk a genotype adapted to human-to-human transmission may emerge. While previous studies identified domestic duck reservoirs as a primary risk factor associated with HPAI H5N1 persistence in poultry in Southeast Asia, little is known of such factors in countries with different agro-ecological conditions, and no study has investigated the impact of such conditions on HPAI H5N1 epidemiology at the global scale. This study explores the patterns of HPAI H5N1 persistence worldwide, and for China, Indonesia, and India includes individual provinces that have reported HPAI H5N1 presence during the 2004–2008 period. Multivariate analysis of a set of 14 agricultural, environmental, climatic, and socio-economic factors demonstrates in quantitative terms that a combination of six variables discriminates the areas with human cases and persistence: agricultural population density, duck density, duck by chicken density, chicken density, the product of agricultural population density and chicken output/input ratio, and purchasing power per capita. The analysis identifies five agro-ecological clusters, or niches, representing varying degrees of disease persistence. The agro-ecological distances of all study areas to the medoid of the niche with the greatest number of human cases are used to map HPAI H5N1 risk globally. The results indicate that few countries remain where HPAI H5N1 would likely persist should it be introduced.

  5. Spatio-Temporal Distribution of Vector-Host Contact (VHC) Ratios and Ecological Niche Modeling of the West Nile Virus Mosquito Vector, Culex quinquefasciatus, in the City of New Orleans, LA, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sallam, Mohamed F; Michaels, Sarah R; Riegel, Claudia; Pereira, Roberto M; Zipperer, Wayne; Lockaby, B Graeme; Koehler, Philip G

    2017-08-08

    The consistent sporadic transmission of West Nile Virus (WNV) in the city of New Orleans justifies the need for distribution risk maps highlighting human risk of mosquito bites. We modeled the influence of biophysical and socioeconomic metrics on the spatio-temporal distributions of presence/vector-host contact (VHC) ratios of WNV vector, Culex quinquefasciatus , within their flight range . Biophysical and socioeconomic data were extracted within 5-km buffer radii around sampling localities of gravid female Culex quinquefasciatus . The spatio-temporal correlations between VHC data and 33 variables, including climate, land use-land cover (LULC), socioeconomic, and land surface terrain were analyzed using stepwise linear regression models (RM). Using MaxEnt, we developed a distribution model using the correlated predicting variables. Only 12 factors showed significant correlations with spatial distribution of VHC ratios ( R ² = 81.62, p < 0.01). Non-forested wetland (NFWL), tree density (TD) and residential-urban (RU) settings demonstrated the strongest relationship. The VHC ratios showed monthly environmental resilience in terms of number and type of influential factors. The highest prediction power of RU and other urban and built up land (OUBL), was demonstrated during May-August. This association was positively correlated with the onset of the mosquito WNV infection rate during June. These findings were confirmed by the Jackknife analysis in MaxEnt and independently collected field validation points. The spatial and temporal correlations of VHC ratios and their response to the predicting variables are discussed.

  6. To predict the niche, model colonization and extinction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles B. Yackulic; James D. Nichols; Janice Reid; Ricky Der

    2015-01-01

    Ecologists frequently try to predict the future geographic distributions of species. Most studies assume that the current distribution of a species reflects its environmental requirements (i.e., the species’ niche). However, the current distributions of many species are unlikely to be at equilibrium with the current distribution of environmental conditions, both...

  7. Asymmetric biotic interactions and abiotic niche differences revealed by a dynamic joint species distribution model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lany, Nina K; Zarnetske, Phoebe L; Schliep, Erin M; Schaeffer, Robert N; Orians, Colin M; Orwig, David A; Preisser, Evan L

    2018-05-01

    A species' distribution and abundance are determined by abiotic conditions and biotic interactions with other species in the community. Most species distribution models correlate the occurrence of a single species with environmental variables only, and leave out biotic interactions. To test the importance of biotic interactions on occurrence and abundance, we compared a multivariate spatiotemporal model of the joint abundance of two invasive insects that share a host plant, hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA; Adelges tsugae) and elongate hemlock scale (EHS; Fiorina externa), to independent models that do not account for dependence among co-occurring species. The joint model revealed that HWA responded more strongly to abiotic conditions than EHS. Additionally, HWA appeared to predispose stands to subsequent increase of EHS, but HWA abundance was not strongly dependent on EHS abundance. This study demonstrates how incorporating spatial and temporal dependence into a species distribution model can reveal the dependence of a species' abundance on other species in the community. Accounting for dependence among co-occurring species with a joint distribution model can also improve estimation of the abiotic niche for species affected by interspecific interactions. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America.

  8. Ecological niche modelling of bank voles in Western Europe

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Amirpour Haredasht, S.; Barrios, J.M.; Farifteh, J.; Maes, P.; Clement, J.; Verstraeten, W.W.; Tersago, K.; Van Ranst, M.; Coppin, P.; Berckmans, D.; Aerts, J.

    2013-01-01

    The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the natural host of Puumala virus (PUUV) in vast areas of Europe. PUUV is one of the hantaviruses which are transmitted to humans by infected rodents. PUUV causes a general mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) called nephropathia epidemica

  9. Niche conservatism and the invasive potential of the wild boar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sales, Lilian Patrícia; Ribeiro, Bruno R; Hayward, Matt Warrington; Paglia, Adriano; Passamani, Marcelo; Loyola, Rafael

    2017-09-01

    Niche conservatism, i.e. the retention of a species' fundamental niche through evolutionary time, is cornerstone for biological invasion assessments. The fact that species tend to maintain their original climate niche allows predictive maps of invasion risk to anticipate potential invadable areas. Unravelling the mechanisms driving niche shifts can shed light on the management of invasive species. Here, we assessed niche shifts in one of the world's worst invasive species: the wild boar Sus scrofa. We also predicted potential invadable areas based on an ensemble of three ecological niche modelling methods, and evaluated the performance of models calibrated with native vs. pooled (native plus invaded) species records. By disentangling the drivers of change on the exotic wild boar population's niches, we found strong evidence for niche conservatism during biological invasion. Ecological niche models calibrated with both native and pooled range records predicted convergent areas. Also, observed niche shifts are mostly explained by niche unfilling, i.e. there are unoccupied areas in the exotic range where climate is analogous to the native range. Niche unfilling is expected as result of recent colonization and ongoing dispersal, and was potentially stronger for the Neotropics, where a recent wave of introductions for pig-farming and game-hunting has led to high wild boar population growth rates. The invasive potential of wild boar in the Neotropics is probably higher than in other regions, which has profound management implications if we are to prevent their invasion into species-rich areas, such as Amazonia, coupled with expansion of African swine fever and possibly great economic losses. Although the originally Eurasian-wide distribution suggests a pre-adaptation to a wide array of climates, the wild boar world-wide invasion does not exhibit evidence of niche evolution. The invasive potential of the wild boar therefore probably lies on the reproductive, dietary and

  10. Socio-ecological Niches for Minimum Tillage and Crop-residue Retention in Continuous Maize Cropping Systems in Smallholder Farms of Central Kenya

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Guto, S.N.; Pypers, P.; Vanlauwe, B.; Ridder, de N.; Giller, K.E.

    2012-01-01

    Soil fertility gradients develop on smallholder farms due to preferential allocation of inputs. A multi-location on-farm trial was conducted in Meru South, Central Kenya whose overall aim was to test minimum tillage and crop-residue retention practices in socio-ecological niches across heterogeneous

  11. Application of a niche-based model for forest cover classification

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amici V

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available In recent years, a surge of interest in biodiversity conservation have led to the development of new approaches to facilitate ecologically-based conservation policies and management plans. In particular, image classification and predictive distribution modeling applied to forest habitats, constitute a crucial issue as forests constitute the most widespread vegetation type and play a key role for ecosystem functioning. Then, the general purpose of this study is to develop a framework that in the absence of large amounts of field data for large areas may allow to select the most appropriate classification. In some cases, a hard division of classes is required, especially as support to environmental policies; despite this it is necessary to take into account problems which derive from a crisp view of ecological entities being mapped, since habitats are expected to be structurally complex and continuously vary within a landscape. In this paper, a niche model (MaxEnt, generally used to estimate species/habitat distribution, has been applied to classify forest cover in a complex Mediterranean area and to estimate the probability distribution of four forest types, producing continuous maps of forest cover. The use of the obtained models as validation of model for crisp classifications, highlighted that crisp classification, which is being continuously used in landscape research and planning, is not free from drawbacks as it is showing a high degree of inner variability. The modeling approach followed by this study, taking into account the uncertainty proper of the natural ecosystems and the use of environmental variables in land cover classification, may represent an useful approach to making more efficient and effective field inventories and to developing effective forest conservation policies.

  12. Phylogenetic climatic niche conservatism and evolution of climatic suitability in Neotropical Angraecinae (Vandeae, Orchidaceae) and their closest African relatives

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kolanowska, Marta; Grochocka, E.; Konowalik, K.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 5, may (2017), č. článku e3328. ISSN 2167-8359 R&D Projects: GA ČR GB14-36098G Institutional support: RVO:86652079 Keywords : campylocentrum orchidaceae * molecular phylogenetics * environmental niches * costa-rica * diversity * models * speciation * ecology * pollination * divergence * Angraecinae * Ecological niche modeling * Orchidaceae * Phylogenetic niche conservatism * Angraecum * Campylocentrum * Dendrophylax Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Biodiversity conservation Impact factor: 2.177, year: 2016

  13. Consequences of packaging on bacterial growth. Meat is an ecological niche.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Labadie, J

    1999-07-01

    Meat is a good support for bacterial growth and particularly for bacteria which are specific of meat and meat products. Little is known about the physiological and biochemical factors which could explain why some bacterial species are only isolated from meat. This review tentatively points out, from an ecological point of view, some of these factors in Gram negative and Gram positive micro-organisms influencing storage life.

  14. Toward a Periodic Table of Niches, or Exploring the Lizard Niche Hypervolume.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pianka, Eric R; Vitt, Laurie J; Pelegrin, Nicolás; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Winemiller, Kirk O

    2017-11-01

    Widespread niche convergence suggests that species can be organized according to functional trait combinations to create a framework analogous to a periodic table. We compiled ecological data for lizards to examine patterns of global and regional niche diversification, and we used multivariate statistical approaches to develop the beginnings for a periodic table of niches. Data (50+ variables) for five major niche dimensions (habitat, diet, life history, metabolism, defense) were compiled for 134 species of lizards representing 24 of the 38 extant families. Principal coordinates analyses were performed on niche dimensional data sets, and species scores for the first three axes were used as input for a principal components analysis to ordinate species in continuous niche space and for a regression tree analysis to separate species into discrete niche categories. Three-dimensional models facilitate exploration of species positions in relation to major gradients within the niche hypervolume. The first gradient loads on body size, foraging mode, and clutch size. The second was influenced by metabolism and terrestrial versus arboreal microhabitat. The third was influenced by activity time, life history, and diet. Natural dichotomies are activity time, foraging mode, parity mode, and habitat. Regression tree analysis identified 103 cases of extreme niche conservatism within clades and 100 convergences between clades. Extending this approach to other taxa should lead to a wider understanding of niche evolution.

  15. Measurement Method and Empirical Research on the Sustainable Development Capability of a Regional Industrial System Based on Ecological Niche Theory in China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hang Yin

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available From the analytical view of a recycling economy, the regional system achieves the goal of sustainable development through improving resource utilization efficiency, reducing energy consumption and ameliorating the quality of water and air. The regional economic system’s potential for sustainable development is significantly influenced by regional industrial operational efficiency, which measures the cost of ecology, environment, energy and resources accompanying the economic growth. It is vital for national and regional governments to accelerate harmonious development between products of industrial department, consumption of energy and pollutants discharged. Under the guidance of ecological niche theory and recycling economy theory, the theoretical analysis on efficient relations between regional industrial growth, energy consumption, resources utilization and environmental carrying capacity has been carried out from horizontal and vertical respects. Industrial operational efficiency and the sensitivity coefficient in response to the change of every input and output index can be calculated and critical factors, which restrict sustainable development capability, can be found out so that quantitative references could be provided for administrative decisions. As for the measurement method, a super efficiency mixed data envelopment analysis model, which wipes off self-limited condition and either contains both meeting cone characteristic indexes or not, has been established and applied. Statistics from 1993 to 2012 in China are collected to carry out empirical research. On the basis of further analysis, an adjustment strategy can be constituted to improve the capability for sustainable development.

  16. Differential models in ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barco Gomez, Carlos; Barco Gomez, German

    2002-01-01

    The models mathematical writings with differential equations are used to describe the populational behavior through the time of the animal species. These models can be lineal or no lineal. The differential models for unique specie include the exponential pattern of Malthus and the logistical pattern of Verlhust. The lineal differential models to describe the interaction between two species include the competition relationships, predation and symbiosis

  17. ECOMOD: Ecological model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sazykina, T.G.; Kryshev, I.I.

    1996-01-01

    The main purpose of the model is a more detailed description of the radionuclide transfer in food chains, including the dynamics in the early period after accidental release. Detailed modelling of the dynamics of radioactive depositions is beyond the purpose of the model. Standard procedures are used for assessing inhalation and external doses. 3 figs, 2 tabs

  18. Mycorrhizal hyphae as ecological niche for highly specialized hypersymbionts – or just soil free-riders?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan eJansa

    2013-05-01

    Full Text Available Mycorrhizal fungi interconnect two different kinds of environments, namely the plant roots with the surrounding soil. This widespread coexistence of plants and fungi has important consequences for plant mineral nutrition, water acquisition, carbon allocation, tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses and interplant competition. Yet some current research indicates a number of important roles to be played by hyphae-associated microbes, in addition to the hyphae themselves, in foraging for and acquisition of soil resources and in transformation of organic carbon in the soil-plant systems. We critically review the available scientific evidence for the theory that the surface of mycorrhizal hyphae in soil is colonized by highly specialized microbial communities, and that these fulfill important functions in the ecology of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae such as accessing recalcitrant forms of mineral nutrients, and production of signaling and other compounds in the vicinity of the hyphae. The validity of another hypothesis will then be addressed, namely that the specific associative microbes are rewarded with exclusive access to fungal carbon, which would qualify them as hypersymbionts (i.e. symbionts of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi. Thereafter, we ask whether recruitment of functionally different microbial assemblages by the hyphae is required under different soil conditions (questioning what evidence is available for such an effect, and we identify knowledge gaps requiring further attention.

  19. Niche construction game cancer cells play.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergman, Aviv; Gligorijevic, Bojana

    2015-10-01

    Niche construction concept was originally defined in evolutionary biology as the continuous interplay between natural selection via environmental conditions and the modification of these conditions by the organism itself. Processes unraveling during cancer metastasis include construction of niches, which cancer cells use towards more efficient survival, transport into new environments and preparation of the remote sites for their arrival. Many elegant experiments were done lately illustrating, for example, the premetastatic niche construction, but there is practically no mathematical modeling done which would apply the niche construction framework. To create models useful for understanding niche construction role in cancer progression, we argue that a) genetic, b) phenotypic and c) ecological levels are to be included. While the model proposed here is phenomenological in its current form, it can be converted into a predictive outcome model via experimental measurement of the model parameters. Here we give an overview of an experimentally formulated problem in cancer metastasis and propose how niche construction framework can be utilized and broadened to model it. Other life science disciplines, such as host-parasite coevolution, may also benefit from niche construction framework adaptation, to satisfy growing need for theoretical considerations of data collected by experimental biology.

  20. Niche construction game cancer cells play

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bergman, Aviv; Gligorijevic, Bojana

    2015-10-01

    Niche construction concept was originally defined in evolutionary biology as the continuous interplay between natural selection via environmental conditions and the modification of these conditions by the organism itself. Processes unraveling during cancer metastasis include construction of niches, which cancer cells use towards more efficient survival, transport into new environments and preparation of the remote sites for their arrival. Many elegant experiments were done lately illustrating, for example, the premetastatic niche construction, but there is practically no mathematical modeling done which would apply the niche construction framework. To create models useful for understanding niche construction role in cancer progression, we argue that a) genetic, b) phenotypic and c) ecological levels are to be included. While the model proposed here is phenomenological in its current form, it can be converted into a predictive outcome model via experimental measurement of the model parameters. Here we give an overview of an experimentally formulated problem in cancer metastasis and propose how niche construction framework can be utilized and broadened to model it. Other life science disciplines, such as host-parasite coevolution, may also benefit from niche construction framework adaptation, to satisfy growing need for theoretical considerations of data collected by experimental biology.

  1. Intestinal Stem Cell Niche Insights Gathered from Both In Vivo and Novel In Vitro Models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nikolce Gjorevski

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available Intestinal stem cells are located at the base of the crypts and are surrounded by a complex structure called niche. This environment is composed mainly of epithelial cells and stroma which provides signals that govern cell maintenance, proliferation, and differentiation. Understanding how the niche regulates stem cell fate by controlling developmental signaling pathways will help us to define how stem cells choose between self-renewal and differentiation and how they maintain their undifferentiated state. Tractable in vitro assay systems, which reflect the complexity of the in vivo situation but provide higher level of control, would likely be crucial in identifying new players and mechanisms controlling stem cell function. Knowledge of the intestinal stem cell niche gathered from both in vivo and novel in vitro models may help us improve therapies for tumorigenesis and intestinal damage and make autologous intestinal transplants a feasible clinical practice.

  2. The ecological niche and distribution of Neanderthals during the Last Interglacial

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Benito, Blas M.; Svenning, Jens-Christian; Kellberg-Nielsen, Trine

    2017-01-01

    Aim: In this paper, we investigate the role of climate and topography in shaping the distribution of Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) at different spatial scales. To this end, we compiled the most comprehensive data set on the distribution of this species during the Last Interglacial optimum...... and topographic predictors to calibrate a model based on an ensemble of generalized linear models fitted with different combinations of predictors and weighted background data. Area under the curve scores computed by leave-one-out were used to assess variable importance at the continental scale, while local....... The highest habitat suitability scores were observed along the Mediterranean coastlines. Mountain ranges and continental plains showed low habitat suitability values. Main conclusions: The model results confirmed that abiotic drivers played an important role in shaping Neanderthals distribution during...

  3. Genome sequence of the button mushroom Agaricus bisporus reveals mechanisms governing adaptation to a humic-rich ecological niche

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emmanuelle Morin; Annegret Kohler; Adam R. Baker; Marie Foulongne-Oriol; Vincent Lombard; Laszlo G. Nagy; Robin A. Ohm; Aleksandrina Patyshakuliyeva; Annick Brun; Andrea L. Aerts; Andrew M. Bailey; Christophe Billette; Pedro M. Coutinho; Greg Deakin; Harshavardhan Doddapaneni; Dimitrios Floudas; Jane Grimwood; Kristiina Hild& #233; n; Ursula K& #252; es; Kurt M. LaButti; Alla Lapidus; Erika A. Lindquist; Susan M. Lucas; Claude Murat; Robert W. Riley; Asaf A. Salamov; Jeremy Schmutz; Venkataramanan Subrananian; Han A.B. W& #246; sten; Jianping Xu; Daniel C. Eastwood; Gary D. Foster; Anton S.M. Sonnenberg; Daniel Cullen; Ronald P. de Vries; Taina Lundell; David S. Hibbett; Bernard Henrissat; Kerry S. Burton; Richard W. Kerrigan; Michael P. Challen; Igor V. Grigoriev; Francis Martin

    2012-01-01

    Agaricus bisporus is the model fungus for the adaptation, persistence,and growth in the humic-rich leaf-litter environment. Aside from its ecological role, A. bisporus has been an important component of the human diet for over 200 y and worldwide cultivation of the "button mushroom" forms a multibillion dollar...

  4. Triadic (ecological, neural, cognitive) niche construction: a scenario of human brain evolution extrapolating tool use and language from the control of reaching actions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-12

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language--the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices.

  5. Potential for spread of the white-nose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans in the Americas: use of Maxent and NicheA to assure strict model transference

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luis E. Escobar

    2014-11-01

    Full Text Available Emerging infectious diseases can present serious threats to wildlife, even to the point of causing extinction. White- nose fungus (Pseudogymnoascus destructans is causing an epizootic in bats that is expanding rapidly, both geographically and taxonomically. Little is known of the ecology and distributional potential of this intercontinental pathogen. We address this gap via ecological niche models that characterise coarse resolution niche differences between fungus populations on dif- ferent continents, identifying areas potentially vulnerable to infection in South America. Here we explore a novel approach to identifying areas of potential distribution across novel geographic regions that avoids perilious extrapolation into novel environments. European and North American fungus populations show differential use of environmental space, but rather than niche differentiation, we find that changes are best attributed to climatic differences between the two continents. Suitable areas for spread of the pathogen were identified across southern South America; however caution should be taken to avoid underestimating the potential for spread of this pathogen in South America.

  6. Consequences of spatial autocorrelation for niche-based models

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Segurado, P.; Araújo, Miguel B.; Kunin, W. E.

    2006-01-01

    1.  Spatial autocorrelation is an important source of bias in most spatial analyses. We explored the bias introduced by spatial autocorrelation on the explanatory and predictive power of species' distribution models, and make recommendations for dealing with the problem. 2.  Analyses were based o...

  7. Predicting Future Seed Sourcing of Platycladus orientalis (L. for Future Climates Using Climate Niche Models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xian-Ge Hu

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Climate niche modeling has been widely used to assess the impact of climate change on forest trees at the species level. However, geographically divergent tree populations are expected to respond differently to climate change. Considering intraspecific local adaptation in modeling species responses to climate change will thus improve the credibility and usefulness of climate niche models, particularly for genetic resources management. In this study, we used five Platycladus orientalis (L. seed zones (Northwestern; Northern; Central; Southern; and Subtropical covering the entire species range in China. A climate niche model was developed and used to project the suitable climatic conditions for each of the five seed zones for current and various future climate scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways: RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5. Our results indicated that the Subtropical seed zone would show consistent reduction for all climate change scenarios. The remaining seed zones, however, would experience various degrees of expansion in suitable habitat relative to their current geographic distributions. Most of the seed zones would gain suitable habitats at their northern distribution margins and higher latitudes. Thus, we recommend adjusting the current forest management strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of climate change.

  8. Geological 3D model of the investigation niche in ONKALO, Olkiluoto, southwestern Finland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Koittola, N.

    2014-07-01

    The main goal of this Master of Science Thesis was to create a geological 3D-model of the investigation niche 3 and its surroundings. The model were created for the needs of the rock mechanical back analysis. This study is a part of Posiva's regional studies for characterization of the bedrock. Totally 4 models were created: lithological model, foliation model, fracture model, and physical rock property model. Besides the modeling, there was also made a study of the migmatite structures in the niche. Used geological and geophysical methods were drill core loggings, tunnel mapping, ground penetration radar, mise-a-la-masse and drill hole geophysics. Four rock types exist at the niche area: veined gneiss, pegmatite granite, diatexitic gneiss and quartz gneiss. The lithological units were modeled primary with the drill core loggings, tunnel mapping and ground penetrating radar. The major lithological units followed the main foliation direction (south dipping). So the continuations were fairly easy to model in the walls and roof, where the data was lacking. Foliation and fractures were modeled as discs, with mid-points at the measurement points of the structure. There were two main foliation directions 164/46 and 62/39. Fractures were more scattered but three fracture sets can be separated: 156/34, 270/85 and 342/83. The first set is mainly from the drill core loggings, second and third from tunnel mapping. Used methods in foliation model were drill core loggings, tunnel mapping and drill hole geophysics. In fracture model used data was from drill core loggings, tunnel mapping, mise-a-la-masse measurements and drill core geophysic. Four anomalous zones were detected with the drill hole geophysics. Three of these zones were associated with intensely fractured zones and one was connected to exceptionally high mica content in the gneiss. Rocks of Olkiluoto are divided into gneisses and magmatic rocks in the geological mapping. Actually almost all Olkiluoto's rocks are

  9. Geological 3D model of the investigation niche in ONKALO, Olkiluoto, southwestern Finland

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Koittola, N.

    2014-07-15

    The main goal of this Master of Science Thesis was to create a geological 3D-model of the investigation niche 3 and its surroundings. The model were created for the needs of the rock mechanical back analysis. This study is a part of Posiva's regional studies for characterization of the bedrock. Totally 4 models were created: lithological model, foliation model, fracture model, and physical rock property model. Besides the modeling, there was also made a study of the migmatite structures in the niche. Used geological and geophysical methods were drill core loggings, tunnel mapping, ground penetration radar, mise-a-la-masse and drill hole geophysics. Four rock types exist at the niche area: veined gneiss, pegmatite granite, diatexitic gneiss and quartz gneiss. The lithological units were modeled primary with the drill core loggings, tunnel mapping and ground penetrating radar. The major lithological units followed the main foliation direction (south dipping). So the continuations were fairly easy to model in the walls and roof, where the data was lacking. Foliation and fractures were modeled as discs, with mid-points at the measurement points of the structure. There were two main foliation directions 164/46 and 62/39. Fractures were more scattered but three fracture sets can be separated: 156/34, 270/85 and 342/83. The first set is mainly from the drill core loggings, second and third from tunnel mapping. Used methods in foliation model were drill core loggings, tunnel mapping and drill hole geophysics. In fracture model used data was from drill core loggings, tunnel mapping, mise-a-la-masse measurements and drill core geophysic. Four anomalous zones were detected with the drill hole geophysics. Three of these zones were associated with intensely fractured zones and one was connected to exceptionally high mica content in the gneiss. Rocks of Olkiluoto are divided into gneisses and magmatic rocks in the geological mapping. Actually almost all Olkiluoto

  10. Statistical physics of community ecology: a cavity solution to MacArthur’s consumer resource model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Advani, Madhu; Bunin, Guy; Mehta, Pankaj

    2018-03-01

    A central question in ecology is to understand the ecological processes that shape community structure. Niche-based theories have emphasized the important role played by competition for maintaining species diversity. Many of these insights have been derived using MacArthur’s consumer resource model (MCRM) or its generalizations. Most theoretical work on the MCRM has focused on small ecosystems with a few species and resources. However theoretical insights derived from small ecosystems many not scale up to large ecosystems with many resources and species because large systems with many interacting components often display new emergent behaviors that cannot be understood or deduced from analyzing smaller systems. To address these shortcomings, we develop a statistical physics inspired cavity method to analyze MCRM when both the number of species and the number of resources is large. Unlike previous work in this limit, our theory addresses resource dynamics and resource depletion and demonstrates that species generically and consistently perturb their environments and significantly modify available ecological niches. We show how our cavity approach naturally generalizes niche theory to large ecosystems by accounting for the effect of collective phenomena on species invasion and ecological stability. Our theory suggests that such phenomena are a generic feature of large, natural ecosystems and must be taken into account when analyzing and interpreting community structure. It also highlights the important role that statistical-physics inspired approaches can play in furthering our understanding of ecology.

  11. PSA-NCAM expression in the teleost optic tectum is related to ecological niche and use of vision in finding food.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Labak, I; Pavić, V; Zjalić, M; Blažetić, S; Viljetić, B; Merdić, E; Heffer, M

    2017-08-01

    In this study, tangential migration and neuronal connectivity organization were analysed in the optic tectum of seven different teleosts through the expression of polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) in response to ecological niche and use of vision. Reduced PSA-NCAM expression in rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss optic tectum occurred in efferent layers, while in pike Esox lucius and zebrafish Danio rerio it occurred in afferent and efferent layers. Zander Sander lucioperca and European eel Anguilla anguilla had very low PSA-NCAM expression in all tectal layers except in the stratum marginale. Common carp Cyprinus carpio and wels catfish Silurus glanis had the same intensity of PSA-NCAM expression in all tectal layers. The optic tectum of all studied fishes was also a site of tangential migration with sustained PSA-NCAM and c-series ganglioside expression. Anti-c-series ganglioside immunoreactivity was observed in all tectal layers of all analysed fishes, even in layers where PSA-NCAM expression was reduced. Since the optic tectum is indispensable for visually guided prey capture, stabilization of synaptic contact and decrease of neurogenesis and tangential migration in the visual map are an expected adjustment to ecological niche. The authors hypothesize that this stabilization would probably be achieved by down-regulation of PSA-NCAM rather than c-series of ganglioside. © 2017 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.

  12. Ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kalusche, D.

    1978-01-01

    The book turns to the freshment, the teacher, for preparation of ecological topics for lessons, but also to pupils of the secondary stage II, and the main course ecology. The book was knowingly held simple with the restriction to: the ecosystem and its abiotic basic functions, simple articles on population biology, bioceonotic balance ith the questions of niche formation and the life form types coherent with it, of the substance and energy household, the production biology and space-wise and time-wise differentations within an ecological system form the main points. A central role in the volume is given to the illustrations. Their variety is to show and deepen the coherences shown. (orig./HP) [de

  13. A universal simulator for ecological models

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Holst, Niels

    2013-01-01

    Software design is an often neglected issue in ecological models, even though bad software design often becomes a hindrance for re-using, sharing and even grasping an ecological model. In this paper, the methodology of agile software design was applied to the domain of ecological models. Thus...... the principles for a universal design of ecological models were arrived at. To exemplify this design, the open-source software Universal Simulator was constructed using C++ and XML and is provided as a resource for inspiration....

  14. Niche conservatism in Gynandropaa frogs on the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Junhua; Broennimann, Olivier; Guisan, Antoine; Wang, Bin; Huang, Yan; Jiang, Jianping

    2016-09-07

    The role of ecological niche in lineage diversification has been the subject of long-standing interest of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Gynandropaa frogs diversified into three independent clades endemic to the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, we address the question whether these clades kept the same niche after separation, and what it tells us about possible diversification processes. We applied predictions in geographical (G)-space and tests of niche conservatism in environmental (E)-space. Niche models in G-space indicate separate regions with high suitability for the different clades, with some potential areas of sympatry. While the pair of central and eastern clades displayed the largest niche overlap for most variables, and strict niche equivalency was rejected for all clade-pairs, we found no strong evidence for niche divergence, but rather the signature of niche conservatism compared to null models in E-space. These results suggest a common ancestral ecological niche, and as such give good support to divergence through allopatric speciation, but alternative explanations are also possible. Our findings illustrate how testing for niche conservatism in lineage diversification can provide insights into underlying speciation processes, and how this information may guide further research and conservation practices, as illustrated here for amphibians on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.

  15. Behavioural manipulation of insect hosts by Baculoviridae as a process of niche construction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hamblin, Steven; Tanaka, Mark M

    2013-08-16

    Niche construction has received increasing attention in recent years as a vital force in evolution and examples of niche construction have been identified in a wide variety of taxa, but viruses are conspicuously absent. In this study we explore how niche construction can lead to viruses engineering their hosts (including behavioural manipulation) with feedback on selective pressures for viral transmission and virulence. To illustrate this concept we focus on Baculoviridae, a family of invertebrate viruses that have evolved to modify the feeding behaviour of their lepidopteran hosts and liquefy their cadavers as part of the course of infection. We present a mathematical model showing how niche construction leads to feedback from the behavioural manipulation to the liquefaction of the host, linking the evolution of both of these traits, and show how this association arises from the action of niche construction. Model results show that niche construction is plausible in this system and delineates the conditions under which niche construction will occur. Niche construction in this system is also shown to be sensitive to parameter values that reflect ecological forces. Our model demonstrates that niche construction can be a potent force in viral evolution and can lead to the acquisition and maintenance of the behavioural manipulation and liquefaction traits in Baculoviridae via the niche constructing effects on the host. These results show the potential for niche construction theory to provide new insights into viral evolution.

  16. Niche conservatism and phylogenetic clustering in a tribe of arid-adapted marsupial mice, the Sminthopsini.

    Science.gov (United States)

    García-Navas, Vicente; Westerman, Michael

    2018-05-28

    The progressive expansion of the Australian arid zone during the last 20 Ma appears to have spurred the diversification of several families of plants, vertebrates and invertebrates, yet such taxonomic groups appear to show limited niche radiation. Here, we test whether speciation is associated with niche conservatism (constraints on ecological divergence) or niche divergence in a tribe of marsupial mice (Sminthopsini; 23 taxa) that includes the most speciose genus of living dasyurids, the sminthopsins. To that end, we integrated phylogenetic data with ecological niche modelling, to enable us to reconstruct the evolution of climatic suitability within Sminthopsini. Niche overlap among species was low-moderate (but generally higher than expected given environmental background similarity), and the degree of phylogenetic clustering increased with aridity. Climatic niche reconstruction illustrates that there has been little apparent evolution of climatic tolerance within clades. Accordingly, climatic disparity tends to be accumulated among clades, suggesting considerable niche conservatism. Our results also indicate that evolution of climatic tolerances has been heterogeneous across different dimensions of climate (temperature vs. precipitation) and across phylogenetic clusters (Sminthopsis murina group vs. other groups). Although some results point to the existence of shifts in climatic niches during the speciation of sminthopsins, our study provides evidence for substantial phylogenetic niche conservatism in the group. We conclude that niche diversification had a low impact on the speciation of this tribe of small, but highly mobile marsupials. © 2018 European Society For Evolutionary Biology. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2018 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  17. Niche modeling predictions of the potential distribution of Marmota himalayana, the host animal of plague in Yushu County of Qinghai

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Liang Lu

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background After the earthquake on 14, April 2010 at Yushu in China, a plague epidemic hosted by Himalayan marmot (Marmota himalayana became a major public health concern during the reconstruction period. A rapid assessment of the distribution of Himalayan marmot in the area was urgent. The aims of this study were to analyze the relationship between environmental factors and the distribution of burrow systems of the marmot and to predict the distribution of marmots. Methods Two types of marmot burrows (hibernation and temporary in Yushu County were investigated from June to September in 2011. The location of every burrow was recorded with a global positioning system receiver. An ecological niche model was used to determine the relationship between the burrow occurrence data and environmental variables, such as land surface temperature (LST in winter and summer, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI in winter and summer, elevation, and soil type. The predictive accuracies of the models were assessed by the area under the curve of the receiving operator curve. Results The models for hibernation and temporary burrows both performed well. The contribution orders of the variables were LST in winter and soil type, NDVI in winter and elevation for the hibernation burrow model, and LST in summer, NDVI in summer, soil type and elevation in the temporary burrow model. There were non-linear relationships between the probability of burrow presence and LST, NDVI and elevation. LST of 14 and 23 °C, NDVI of 0.22 and 0.60, and 4100 m were inflection points. A substantially higher probability of burrow presence was observed in swamp soil and dark felty soil than in other soil types. The potential area for hibernation burrows was 5696 km2 (37.7 % of Yushu County, and the area for temporary burrows was 7711 km2 (51.0 % of Yushu County. Conclusions The results suggested that marmots preferred warm areas with relatively low altitudes and good

  18. The Fluctuation Niche in Plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jaume Terradas

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available Classical approaches to niche in coexisting plants have undervalued temporal fluctuations. We propose that fluctuation niche is an important dimension of the total niche and interacts with habitat and life-history niches to provide a better understanding of the multidimensional niche space where ecological interactions occur. To scale a fluctuation niche, it is necessary to relate environmental constrictions or species performance not only to the absolute values of the usual environmental and ecophysiological variables but also to their variances or other measures of variability. We use Mediterranean plant communities as examples, because they present characteristic large seasonal and interannual fluctuations in water and nutrient availabilities, along an episodic-constant gradient, and because the plant responses include a number of syndromes coupled to this gradient.

  19. The Fluctuation Niche in Plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Terradas, J.; Penuelas, J.; Lloret, F.; Penuelas, J.

    2009-01-01

    Classical approaches to niche in coexisting plants have undervalued temporal fluctuations. We propose that fluctuation niche is an important dimension of the total niche and interacts with habitat and life-history niches to provide a better understanding of the multidimensional niche space where ecological interactions occur. To scale a fluctuation niche, it is necessary to relate environmental constrictions or species performance not only to the absolute values of the usual environmental and eco physiological variables but also to their variances or other measures of variability. We use Mediterranean plant communities as examples, because they present characteristic large seasonal and inter annual fluctuations in water and nutrient availabilities, along an episodic-constant gradient, and because the plant responses include a number of syndromes coupled to this gradient.

  20. Cellular population dynamics control the robustness of the stem cell niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam L. MacLean

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Within populations of cells, fate decisions are controlled by an indeterminate combination of cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic factors. In the case of stem cells, the stem cell niche is believed to maintain ‘stemness’ through communication and interactions between the stem cells and one or more other cell-types that contribute to the niche conditions. To investigate the robustness of cell fate decisions in the stem cell hierarchy and the role that the niche plays, we introduce simple mathematical models of stem and progenitor cells, their progeny and their interplay in the niche. These models capture the fundamental processes of proliferation and differentiation and allow us to consider alternative possibilities regarding how niche-mediated signalling feedback regulates the niche dynamics. Generalised stability analysis of these stem cell niche systems enables us to describe the stability properties of each model. We find that although the number of feasible states depends on the model, their probabilities of stability in general do not: stem cell–niche models are stable across a wide range of parameters. We demonstrate that niche-mediated feedback increases the number of stable steady states, and show how distinct cell states have distinct branching characteristics. The ecological feedback and interactions mediated by the stem cell niche thus lend (surprisingly high levels of robustness to the stem and progenitor cell population dynamics. Furthermore, cell–cell interactions are sufficient for populations of stem cells and their progeny to achieve stability and maintain homeostasis. We show that the robustness of the niche – and hence of the stem cell pool in the niche – depends only weakly, if at all, on the complexity of the niche make-up: simple as well as complicated niche systems are capable of supporting robust and stable stem cell dynamics.

  1. Introduction to the Special Volume on "Ecology and Ecological Modeling in R"

    OpenAIRE

    Kneib, Thomas; Petzoldt, Thomas

    2007-01-01

    The third special volume in the "Foometrics in R" series of the Journal of Statistical Software collects a number of contributions describing statistical methodology and corresponding implementations related to ecology and ecological modelling. The scope of the papers ranges from theoretical ecology and ecological modelling to statistical methodology relevant for data analyses in ecological applications.

  2. An introduction to niche construction theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laland, Kevin; Matthews, Blake; Feldman, Marcus W

    Niche construction refers to the modification of selective environments by organisms. Theoretical and empirical studies of niche construction are increasing in importance as foci in evolutionary ecology. This special edition presents theoretical and empirical research that illustrates the significance of niche construction to the field. Here we set the scene for the following papers by (1) discussing the history of niche construction research, (2) providing clear definitions that distinguish niche construction from related concepts such as ecosystem engineering and the extended phenotype, (3) providing a brief summary of the findings of niche construction research, (4) discussing the contribution of niche construction and ecological inheritance to (a) expanded notions of inheritance, and (b) the extended evolutionary synthesis, and (5) briefly touching on some of the issues that underlie the controversies over niche construction.

  3. Habitats and ecological niches of root-hemiparasitic plants: an assessment based on a large database of vegetation plots

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Těšitel, J.; Fibich, P.; de Bello, Francesco; Chytrý, M.; Lepš, Jan

    2015-01-01

    Roč. 87, č. 2 (2015), s. 87-108 ISSN 0032-7786 R&D Projects: GA ČR GB14-36079G Grant - others:GA ČR(CZ) GAP505/12/1390 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 ; RVO:67985939 Keywords : Bartsia * beals index * Euphrasia Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EH - Ecology, Behaviour (BU-J) Impact factor: 2.711, year: 2015 http://www. sci .muni.cz/botany/chytry/Tesitel_etal2015_Preslia.pdf

  4. Domestic policy consequences of new implementation models. Consequences for industrial niches; Industripolitiske konsekvenser av nye gjennomfoeringsmodeller. Konsekvenser for nisjebedriftene

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Johannessen, T.

    1995-12-31

    The paper relates to the consequences of domestic policy with the focus on new implementation models used for cost reduction of offshore development projects in Norway. The paper puts the attention to the consequences from implementation models on industrial niches (subcontractors)

  5. Rich dynamics of discrete delay ecological models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peng Mingshu

    2005-01-01

    We study multiple bifurcations and chaotic behavior of a discrete delay ecological model. New form of chaos for the 2-D map is observed: the combination of potential period doubling and reverse period-doubling leads to cascading bubbles

  6. Assessment of the in vitro bioactive properties of lactic acid bacteria isolated from native ecological niches of Ecuador.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benavides, Ana B; Ulcuango, Mario; Yépez, Lucía; Tenea, Gabriela N

    Lactic acid bacteria are known for their biotechnological potential. In various regions of Ecuador numerous indigenous biological resources are largely undocumented. In this study, we evaluated the potential probiotic characteristics and antagonistic in vitro properties of some lactic acid bacteria from native niches of the subtropical rain forests of Ecuador. These isolates were identified according to their morphological properties, standard API50CH fermentation profile and RAPD-DNA polymorphism pattern. The selected isolates were further evaluated for their probiotic potential. The isolates grew at 15°C and 45°C, survived at a pH ranging from 2.5 to 4.5 in the presence of 0.3% bile (>90%) and grew under sodium chloride conditions. All selected isolates were sensitive to ampicillin, amoxicillin and cefuroxime and some showed resistance to gentamicin, kanamycin and tetracycline. Moreover, the agar well diffusion assay showed that the supernatant of each strain at pH 3.0 and pH 4.0, but not at pH 7.0 exhibited increased antimicrobial activity (inhibition zone >15mm) against two foodborne pathogens, Escherichia coli and Salmonella spp. To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the antagonistic activity against two foodborne pathogens and the probiotic in vitro potential of lactic acid bacteria isolated from native biota of Ecuador. Copyright © 2016 Asociación Argentina de Microbiología. Publicado por Elsevier España, S.L.U. All rights reserved.

  7. MELA: Modelling in Ecology with Location Attributes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ludovica Luisa Vissat

    2016-10-01

    Full Text Available Ecology studies the interactions between individuals, species and the environment. The ability to predict the dynamics of ecological systems would support the design and monitoring of control strategies and would help to address pressing global environmental issues. It is also important to plan for efficient use of natural resources and maintenance of critical ecosystem services. The mathematical modelling of ecological systems often includes nontrivial specifications of processes that influence the birth, death, development and movement of individuals in the environment, that take into account both biotic and abiotic interactions. To assist in the specification of such models, we introduce MELA, a process algebra for Modelling in Ecology with Location Attributes. Process algebras allow the modeller to describe concurrent systems in a high-level language. A key feature of concurrent systems is that they are composed of agents that can progress simultaneously but also interact - a good match to ecological systems. MELA aims to provide ecologists with a straightforward yet flexible tool for modelling ecological systems, with particular emphasis on the description of space and the environment. Here we present four example MELA models, illustrating the different spatial arrangements which can be accommodated and demonstrating the use of MELA in epidemiological and predator-prey scenarios.

  8. Matching global and regional distribution models of the recluse spider Loxosceles rufescens: to what extent do these reflect niche conservatism?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taucare-Ríos, A; Nentwig, W; Bizama, G; Bustamante, R O

    2018-06-08

    The Mediterranean recluse spider, Loxosceles rufescens (Dufour, 1820) (Araneae: Sicariidae) is a cosmopolitan spider that has been introduced in many parts of the world. Its bite can be dangerous to humans. However, the potential distribution of this alien species, which is able to spread fairly quickly with human aid, is completely unknown. Using a combination of global and regional niche models, it is possible to analyse the spread of this species in relation to environmental conditions. This analysis found that the successful spreading of this species varies according to the region invaded. The majority of populations in Asia are stable and show niche conservatism, whereas in North America this spider is expected to be less successful in occupying niches that differ from those in its native region and that do not support its synanthropic way of living. © 2018 The Royal Entomological Society.

  9. Stitch the niche - a practical philosophy and visual schematic for the niche concept

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    McInerny, Greg J.; Etienne, Rampal S.

    2012-01-01

    By over-focusing on precise definitions, ecology has produced a confused idea of the niche concept. This, our second paper, develops a practical philosophy for the niche that approaches the concept at the correct level of abstraction. We deconstruct the niche into effect and response components and

  10. Interspecific Differences in Metabolic Rate and Metabolic Temperature Sensitivity Create Distinct Thermal Ecological Niches in Lizards (Plestiodon).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Watson, Charles M; Burggren, Warren W

    2016-01-01

    Three congeneric lizards from the southeastern United States (Plestiodon fasciatus, P. inexpectatus, and P. laticeps) exhibit a unique nested distribution. All three skink species inhabit the US Southeast, but two extend northward to central Ohio (P. fasciatus and P. laticeps) and P. fasciatus extends well into Canada. Distinct interspecific differences in microhabitat selection and behavior are associated with the cooler temperatures of the more Northern ranges. We hypothesized that interspecific differences in metabolic temperature sensitivity locally segregates them across their total range. Resting oxygen consumption was measured at 20°, 25° and 30°C. Plestiodon fasciatus, from the coolest habitats, exhibited greatly elevated oxygen consumption compared to the other species at high ecologically-relevant temperatures (0.10, 0.17 and 0.83 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Yet, P. inexpectatus, from the warmest habitats, exhibited sharply decreased oxygen consumption compared to the other species at lower ecologically-relevant temperatures (0.09, 0.27 and 0.42 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Plestiodon laticeps, from both open and closed microhabitats and intermediate latitudinal range, exhibited oxygen consumptions significantly lower than the other two species (0.057, 0.104 and 0.172 ml O2. g-1. h-1 at 20°, 25° and 30°C, respectively). Overall, Plestiodon showed metabolic temperature sensitivities (Q10s) in the range of 2-3 over the middle of each species' normal temperature range. However, especially P. fasciatus and P. inexpectatus showed highly elevated Q10s (9 to 25) at the extreme ends of their temperature range. While morphologically similar, these skinks are metabolically distinct across the genus' habitat, likely having contributed to their current distribution.

  11. Hypoxia-Activated Prodrug TH-302 Targets Hypoxic Bone Marrow Niches in Preclinical Leukemia Models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Benito, Juliana; Ramirez, Marc S; Millward, Niki Zacharias; Velez, Juliana; Harutyunyan, Karine G; Lu, Hongbo; Shi, Yue-Xi; Matre, Polina; Jacamo, Rodrigo; Ma, Helen; Konoplev, Sergej; McQueen, Teresa; Volgin, Andrei; Protopopova, Marina; Mu, Hong; Lee, Jaehyuk; Bhattacharya, Pratip K; Marszalek, Joseph R; Davis, R Eric; Bankson, James A; Cortes, Jorge E; Hart, Charles P; Andreeff, Michael; Konopleva, Marina

    2016-04-01

    To characterize the prevalence of hypoxia in the leukemic bone marrow, its association with metabolic and transcriptional changes in the leukemic blasts and the utility of hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 in leukemia models. Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance spectroscopy was utilized to interrogate the pyruvate metabolism of the bone marrow in the murine acute myeloid leukemia (AML) model. Nanostring technology was used to evaluate a gene set defining a hypoxia signature in leukemic blasts and normal donors. The efficacy of the hypoxia-activated prodrug TH-302 was examined in the in vitro and in vivo leukemia models. Metabolic imaging has demonstrated increased glycolysis in the femur of leukemic mice compared with healthy control mice, suggesting metabolic reprogramming of hypoxic bone marrow niches. Primary leukemic blasts in samples from AML patients overexpressed genes defining a "hypoxia index" compared with samples from normal donors. TH-302 depleted hypoxic cells, prolonged survival of xenograft leukemia models, and reduced the leukemia stem cell pool in vivo In the aggressive FLT3/ITD MOLM-13 model, combination of TH-302 with tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib had greater antileukemia effects than either drug alone. Importantly, residual leukemic bone marrow cells in a syngeneic AML model remain hypoxic after chemotherapy. In turn, administration of TH-302 following chemotherapy treatment to mice with residual disease prolonged survival, suggesting that this approach may be suitable for eliminating chemotherapy-resistant leukemia cells. These findings implicate a pathogenic role of hypoxia in leukemia maintenance and chemoresistance and demonstrate the feasibility of targeting hypoxic cells by hypoxia cytotoxins. ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.

  12. Comparative single-cell genomics reveals potential ecological niches for the freshwater acI Actinobacteria lineage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ghylin, Trevor W; Garcia, Sarahi L; Moya, Francisco; Oyserman, Ben O; Schwientek, Patrick; Forest, Katrina T; Mutschler, James; Dwulit-Smith, Jeffrey; Chan, Leong-Keat; Martinez-Garcia, Manuel; Sczyrba, Alexander; Stepanauskas, Ramunas; Grossart, Hans-Peter; Woyke, Tanja; Warnecke, Falk; Malmstrom, Rex; Bertilsson, Stefan; McMahon, Katherine D

    2014-12-01

    Members of the acI lineage of Actinobacteria are the most abundant microorganisms in most freshwater lakes; however, our understanding of the keys to their success and their role in carbon and nutrient cycling in freshwater systems has been hampered by the lack of pure cultures and genomes. We obtained draft genome assemblies from 11 single cells representing three acI tribes (acI-A1, acI-A7, acI-B1) from four temperate lakes in the United States and Europe. Comparative analysis of acI SAGs and other available freshwater bacterial genomes showed that acI has more gene content directed toward carbohydrate acquisition as compared to Polynucleobacter and LD12 Alphaproteobacteria, which seem to specialize more on carboxylic acids. The acI genomes contain actinorhodopsin as well as some genes involved in anaplerotic carbon fixation indicating the capacity to supplement their known heterotrophic lifestyle. Genome-level differences between the acI-A and acI-B clades suggest specialization at the clade level for carbon substrate acquisition. Overall, the acI genomes appear to be highly streamlined versions of Actinobacteria that include some genes allowing it to take advantage of sunlight and N-rich organic compounds such as polyamines, di- and oligopeptides, branched-chain amino acids and cyanophycin. This work significantly expands the known metabolic potential of the cosmopolitan freshwater acI lineage and its ecological and genetic traits.

  13. Stochastic dynamical models for ecological regime shifts

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Møller, Jan Kloppenborg; Carstensen, Jacob; Madsen, Henrik

    the physical and biological knowledge of the system, and nonlinearities introduced here can generate regime shifts or enhance the probability of regime shifts in the case of stochastic models, typically characterized by a threshold value for the known driver. A simple model for light competition between...... definition and stability of regimes become less subtle. Ecological regime shifts and their modeling must be viewed in a probabilistic manner, particularly if such model results are to be used in ecosystem management....

  14. Current and future niche of North and Central American sand flies (Diptera: psychodidae in climate change scenarios.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Moo-Llanes

    Full Text Available Ecological niche models are useful tools to infer potential spatial and temporal distributions in vector species and to measure epidemiological risk for infectious diseases such as the Leishmaniases. The ecological niche of 28 North and Central American sand fly species, including those with epidemiological relevance, can be used to analyze the vector's ecology and its association with transmission risk, and plan integrated regional vector surveillance and control programs. In this study, we model the environmental requirements of the principal North and Central American phlebotomine species and analyze three niche characteristics over future climate change scenarios: i potential change in niche breadth, ii direction and magnitude of niche centroid shifts, iii shifts in elevation range. Niche identity between confirmed or incriminated Leishmania vector sand flies in Mexico, and human cases were analyzed. Niche models were constructed using sand fly occurrence datapoints from Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Nine non-correlated bioclimatic and four topographic data layers were used as niche components using GARP in OpenModeller. Both B2 and A2 climate change scenarios were used with two general circulation models for each scenario (CSIRO and HadCM3, for 2020, 2050 and 2080. There was an increase in niche breadth to 2080 in both scenarios for all species with the exception of Lutzomyia vexator. The principal direction of niche centroid displacement was to the northwest (64%, while the elevation range decreased greatest for tropical, and least for broad-range species. Lutzomyia cruciata is the only epidemiologically important species with high niche identity with that of Leishmania spp. in Mexico. Continued landscape modification in future climate change will provide an increased opportunity for the geographic expansion of NCA sand flys' ENM and human exposure to vectors of Leishmaniases.

  15. Current and Future Niche of North and Central American Sand Flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Climate Change Scenarios

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moo-Llanes, David; Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N.; Rebollar-Téllez, Eduardo A.; Ibáñez-Bernal, Sergio; González, Camila; Ramsey, Janine M.

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models are useful tools to infer potential spatial and temporal distributions in vector species and to measure epidemiological risk for infectious diseases such as the Leishmaniases. The ecological niche of 28 North and Central American sand fly species, including those with epidemiological relevance, can be used to analyze the vector's ecology and its association with transmission risk, and plan integrated regional vector surveillance and control programs. In this study, we model the environmental requirements of the principal North and Central American phlebotomine species and analyze three niche characteristics over future climate change scenarios: i) potential change in niche breadth, ii) direction and magnitude of niche centroid shifts, iii) shifts in elevation range. Niche identity between confirmed or incriminated Leishmania vector sand flies in Mexico, and human cases were analyzed. Niche models were constructed using sand fly occurrence datapoints from Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. Nine non-correlated bioclimatic and four topographic data layers were used as niche components using GARP in OpenModeller. Both B2 and A2 climate change scenarios were used with two general circulation models for each scenario (CSIRO and HadCM3), for 2020, 2050 and 2080. There was an increase in niche breadth to 2080 in both scenarios for all species with the exception of Lutzomyia vexator. The principal direction of niche centroid displacement was to the northwest (64%), while the elevation range decreased greatest for tropical, and least for broad-range species. Lutzomyia cruciata is the only epidemiologically important species with high niche identity with that of Leishmania spp. in Mexico. Continued landscape modification in future climate change will provide an increased opportunity for the geographic expansion of NCA sand flys' ENM and human exposure to vectors of Leishmaniases. PMID:24069478

  16. Evolutionary responses to a constructed niche: ancient Mesoamericans as a model of gene-culture coevolution.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tábita Hünemeier

    Full Text Available Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905 to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the F(ST-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele.

  17. How many studies are necessary to compare niche-based models for geographic distributions? Inductive reasoning may fail at the end.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terribile, L C; Diniz-Filho, J A F; De Marco, P

    2010-05-01

    The use of ecological niche models (ENM) to generate potential geographic distributions of species has rapidly increased in ecology, conservation and evolutionary biology. Many methods are available and the most used are Maximum Entropy Method (MAXENT) and the Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Production (GARP). Recent studies have shown that MAXENT perform better than GARP. Here we used the statistics methods of ROC - AUC (area under the Receiver Operating Characteristics curve) and bootstrap to evaluate the performance of GARP and MAXENT in generate potential distribution models for 39 species of New World coral snakes. We found that values of AUC for GARP ranged from 0.923 to 0.999, whereas those for MAXENT ranged from 0.877 to 0.999. On the whole, the differences in AUC were very small, but for 10 species GARP outperformed MAXENT. Means and standard deviations for 100 bootstrapped samples with sample sizes ranging from 3 to 30 species did not show any trends towards deviations from a zero difference in AUC values of GARP minus AUC values of MAXENT. Ours results suggest that further studies are still necessary to establish under which circumstances the statistical performance of the methods vary. However, it is also important to consider the possibility that this empirical inductive reasoning may fail in the end, because we almost certainly could not establish all potential scenarios generating variation in the relative performance of models.

  18. Thermal niche for in situ seed germination by Mediterranean mountain streams: model prediction and validation for Rhamnus persicifolia seeds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porceddu, Marco; Mattana, Efisio; Pritchard, Hugh W.; Bacchetta, Gianluigi

    2013-01-01

    Background and Aims Mediterranean mountain species face exacting ecological conditions of rainy, cold winters and arid, hot summers, which affect seed germination phenology. In this study, a soil heat sum model was used to predict field emergence of Rhamnus persicifolia, an endemic tree species living at the edge of mountain streams of central eastern Sardinia. Methods Seeds were incubated in the light at a range of temperatures (10–25 and 25/10 °C) after different periods (up to 3 months) of cold stratification at 5 °C. Base temperatures (Tb), and thermal times for 50 % germination (θ50) were calculated. Seeds were also buried in the soil in two natural populations (Rio Correboi and Rio Olai), both underneath and outside the tree canopy, and exhumed at regular intervals. Soil temperatures were recorded using data loggers and soil heat sum (°Cd) was calculated on the basis of the estimated Tb and soil temperatures. Key Results Cold stratification released physiological dormancy (PD), increasing final germination and widening the range of germination temperatures, indicative of a Type 2 non-deep PD. Tb was reduced from 10·5 °C for non-stratified seeds to 2·7 °C for seeds cold stratified for 3 months. The best thermal time model was obtained by fitting probit germination against log °Cd. θ50 was 2·6 log °Cd for untreated seeds and 2·17–2·19 log °Cd for stratified seeds. When θ50 values were integrated with soil heat sum estimates, field emergence was predicted from March to April and confirmed through field observations. Conclusions Tb and θ50 values facilitated model development of the thermal niche for in situ germination of R. persicifolia. These experimental approaches may be applied to model the natural regeneration patterns of other species growing on Mediterranean mountain waterways and of physiologically dormant species, with overwintering cold stratification requirement and spring germination. PMID:24201139

  19. Crisis in Context Theory: An Ecological Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Myer, Rick A.; Moore, Holly B.

    2006-01-01

    This article outlines a theory for understanding the impact of a crisis on individuals and organizations. Crisis in context theory (CCT) is grounded in an ecological model and based on literature in the field of crisis intervention and on personal experiences of the authors. A graphic representation denotes key components and premises of CCT,…

  20. Social Ecological Model Analysis for ICT Integration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zagami, Jason

    2013-01-01

    ICT integration of teacher preparation programmes was undertaken by the Australian Teaching Teachers for the Future (TTF) project in all 39 Australian teacher education institutions and highlighted the need for guidelines to inform systemic ICT integration approaches. A Social Ecological Model (SEM) was used to positively inform integration…

  1. Plant stem cell niches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aichinger, Ernst; Kornet, Noortje; Friedrich, Thomas; Laux, Thomas

    2012-01-01

    Multicellular organisms possess pluripotent stem cells to form new organs, replenish the daily loss of cells, or regenerate organs after injury. Stem cells are maintained in specific environments, the stem cell niches, that provide signals to block differentiation. In plants, stem cell niches are situated in the shoot, root, and vascular meristems-self-perpetuating units of organ formation. Plants' lifelong activity-which, as in the case of trees, can extend over more than a thousand years-requires that a robust regulatory network keep the balance between pluripotent stem cells and differentiating descendants. In this review, we focus on current models in plant stem cell research elaborated during the past two decades, mainly in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We address the roles of mobile signals on transcriptional modules involved in balancing cell fates. In addition, we discuss shared features of and differences between the distinct stem cell niches of Arabidopsis.

  2. The thermal niche of Neotropical nectar-feeding bats: Its evolution and application to predict responses to global warming.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ortega-García, Stephanie; Guevara, Lázaro; Arroyo-Cabrales, Joaquín; Lindig-Cisneros, Roberto; Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Vega, Ernesto; Schondube, Jorge E

    2017-09-01

    The thermal niche of a species is one of the main determinants of its ecology and biogeography. In this study, we determined the thermal niche of 23 species of Neotropical nectar-feeding bats of the subfamily Glossophaginae (Chiroptera, Phyllostomidae). We calculated their thermal niches using temperature data obtained from collection records, by generating a distribution curve of the maximum and minimum temperatures per locality, and using the inflection points of the temperature distributions to estimate the species optimal (STZ) and suboptimal (SRZ) zones of the thermal niche. Additionally, by mapping the values of the STZ and SRZ on a phylogeny of the group, we generated a hypothesis of the evolution of the thermal niches of this clade of nectar-feeding bats. Finally, we used the characteristics of their thermal niches to predict the responses of these organisms to climate change. We found a large variation in the width and limits of the thermal niches of nectar-feeding bats. Additionally, while the upper limits of the thermal niches varied little among species, their lower limits differ wildly. The ancestral reconstruction of the thermal niche indicated that this group of Neotropical bats evolved under cooler temperatures. The two clades inside the Glossophaginae differ in the evolution of their thermal niches, with most members of the clade Choeronycterines evolving "colder" thermal niches, while the majority of the species in the clade Glossophagines evolving "warmer" thermal niches. By comparing thermal niches with climate change models, we found that all species could be affected by an increase of 1°C in temperature at the end of this century. This suggests that even nocturnal species could suffer important physiological costs from global warming. Our study highlights the value of scientific collections to obtain ecologically significant physiological data for a large number of species.

  3. Leapfrogging into new territory: How Mascarene ridged frogs diversified across Africa and Madagascar to maintain their ecological niche

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Zimkus, B. M.; Lawson, L. P.; Barej, M. F.; Barratt, C. D.; Channing, A.; Dash, K. M.; Dehling, J. M.; Du Preez, L.; Gehring, P.-S.; Greenbaum, E.; Gvoždík, Václav; Harvey, J.; Kielgast, J.; Kusamba, C.; Nagy, Z. T.; Pabijan, M.; Penner, J.; Rödel, M.-O.; Vences, M.; Lötters, S.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 106, January (2017), s. 254-269 ISSN 1055-7903 R&D Projects: GA ČR GJ15-13415Y Institutional support: RVO:68081766 Keywords : Amphibia * Historical biogeography * Pan-African * Phylogeny * Ptychadena * Species delimitation * Species distribution modeling Subject RIV: EG - Zoology OBOR OECD: Biology (theoretical, mathematical, thermal, cryobiology, biological rhythm), Evolutionary biology Impact factor: 4.419, year: 2016

  4. Niche players

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seandel, Marco; Falciatori, Ilaria; Shmelkov, Sergey V.; Kim, Jiyeon; James, Daylon; Rafii, Shahin

    2010-01-01

    The undifferentiated spermatogonia of adult mouse testes are composed of both true stem cells and committed progenitors. It is unclear what normally prevents these adult germ cells from manifesting multipotency. The critical elements of the spermatogonial stem cell niche, while poorly understood, are thought to be composed of Sertoli cells with several other somatic cell types in close proximity. We recently discovered a novel orphan G-protein coupled receptor (GPR125) that is restricted to undifferentiated spermatogonia within the testis. GPR125 expression was maintained when the progenitor cells were extracted from the in vivo niche and propagated under growth conditions that recapitulate key elements of the niche. Such conditions preserved the ability of the cells to generate multipotent derivatives, known as multipotent adult spermatogonial derived progenitor cells (MASCs). Upon differentiation, the latter produced a variety tissues including functional endothelium, illustrating the potential applications of such cells. Thus, GPR125 represents a novel target for purifying adult stem and progenitors from tissues, with the goal of developing autologous multipotent cell lines. PMID:18256534

  5. Tuna and dolphin associations in the North-east Atlantic: Evidence of different ecological niches from stable isotope and heavy metal measurements

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Das, K.; Lepoint, G.; Loizeau, V.; Debacker, V.; Dauby, P.; Bouquegneau, J.M.

    2000-01-01

    Associations of tunas and dolphins in the wild are quite frequent events and the question arises how predators requiring similar diet in the same habitat share their environmental resources. As isotopic composition of an animal is related to that of its preys, stable isotope ( 13 C/ 12 C and 15 N/ 14 N) analyses were performed in three predator species from the North-east Atlantic: the striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba, the common dolphin Delphinus delphis and the albacore tuna, Thunnus alalunga, and compared to their previously described stomach content. Heavy metals (Cd, Zn, Cu and Fe) are mainly transferred through the diet and so, have been determined in the tissues of the animals. Tuna muscles display higher δ 15 N than in common and striped dolphins (mean: 11.4 vs. 10.3%o and 10.4%o, respectively) which reflects their higher trophic level nutrition. Higher δ 13 C are found in common (-18.4%o) and striped dolphin (-18.1%o) muscles than in albacore tuna (-19.3%o) probably in relation with its migratory pattern. The most striking feature is the presence of two levels of cadmium concentrations in the livers of the tunas (32 mg kg -1 dry weight (DW) vs. 5 mg kg -1 DW). These two groups also differ by their iron concentrations and their δ 15 N and δ 13 C liver values. These results suggest that in the Biscay Bay, tunas occupy two different ecological niches probably based on different squid inputs in their diet

  6. The importance of relative humidity and trophic resources in governing ecological niche of the invasive carabid beetle Merizodus soledadinus in the Kerguelen archipelago.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ouisse, Tiphaine; Bonte, Dries; Lebouvier, Marc; Hendrickx, Frederik; Renault, David

    Comprehensive studies to identify species-specific drivers of survival to environmental stress, reproduction, growth, and recruitment are vital to gaining a better understanding of the main ecological factors shaping species habitat distribution and dispersal routes. The present study performed a field-based assessment of habitat distribution in the invasive carabid beetle Merizodus soledadinus for the Kerguelen archipelago. The results emphasised humid habitats as a key element of the insect's realised niche. In addition, insects faced food and water stress during dispersal events. We evaluated quantitatively how water availability and trophic resources governed the spatial distribution of this invasive predatory insect at Îles Kerguelen. Food and water stress survival durations [in 100%, 70%, and 30% relative humidity (RH) conditions] and changes in a set of primary metabolic compounds (metabolomics) were determined. Adult M. soledadinus supplied with water ad libitum were highly tolerant to prolonged starvation (LT 50 =51.7±6.2d). However, food-deprived insect survival decreased rapidly in moderate (70% RH, LT 50 =30.37±1.39h) and low (30% RH, LT 50 =13.03±0.48h) RH conditions. Consistently, body water content decreased rapidly in insects exposed to 70% and 30% RH. Metabolic variation evidenced the effects of food deprivation in control insects (exposed to 100% RH), which exhibited a progressive decline of most glycolytic sugars and tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates. Most metabolite levels were elevated levels during the first few hours of exposure to 30% and 70% RH. Augmented alanine and lactate levels suggested a shift to anaerobic metabolism. Simultaneously, peaks in threonine and glycolytic sugars pointed to metabolic disruption and a progressive physiological breakdown in dehydrating individuals. Overall, the results of our study indicate that the geographic distribution of M. soledadinus populations is highly dependent on habitat RH and water

  7. Family routines within the ecological niche: An analysis of the psychological well-being of U.S. caregivers of children with disabilities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elizabeth Ann Larson

    2014-05-01

    Full Text Available Using mixed methods, this study examined the relationship of caregivers of children with disabilities’ psychological well-being and their orchestration of daily routines within their ecological niche. Thirty-nine U.S. caregivers completed in-depth interviews, Psychological Well-being Scales (PWB, and Family Time and Routines Index (FTRI. We used a multi-step analysis. Interview data was coded and vignettes created without knowledge of PWB and FTRI ratings. Next, the relationship of quantitative measures was analyzed. Four groups were created using FTRI-extent and PWB means: (1 low routine-low PWB, (2 low routine-high PWB, (3 high routine-low PWB, and (4 high routine-high PWB. We examined qualitative differences in key features between groups. Findings: Total PWB and FTRI scores were not significantly correlated, PWB Purpose in Life and FTRI-extent scores were moderately positively correlated, and PWB Environmental Mastery and FTRI-extent correlation approached significance. Qualitative findings describe caregivers’ structuring of routines, intensity of oversight, support in routines, management of dinner, paid work, and needs for respite. The four groups differed in paid work, household support, degree the child could self-occupy, Environmental Mastery, and opportunities to recuperate. Caregivers with higher levels of well-being and more regular routines did paid work, had supportive spouses, had children who more often could follow routines, had higher Environmental Mastery, could orchestrate a family meal, and had breaks from care in either work or leisure. All Native American caregivers and Mexican American caregivers with spouses were in the high routine-high PWB group. Insight into this complex negotiation between family members within daily routines may provide practitioners a better understanding of how to work within family circles to foster therapeutic alliances, identify focused intervention targets, and promote positive family

  8. Ecogeographical determinants of the ecological niche of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca on the basis of indices of remote sensing of land images

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    O. M. Kunah

    2016-03-01

    Full Text Available The patterns of variation in vegetative indices received by means of data of remote land sensing are described as being dependant on geomorphological predictors and the sizes of agricultural fields in an experimental polygon within Poltava region. The possibilities of application of vegetative indices have been explored through ecogeographical determinants of the ecological niche of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L. and other weeds. On the basis of images of the land surface taken on 23 March and 27 August 2015 by the sensor control Operational Land Imager (OLI, installed on the satellite Landsat 8, vegetative indices have been calculated (AC-Index – aerosol/coastal index, Hydrothermal Composite, NDTI – Normalized Difference Tillage Index, NDVI – Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, VI – Vegetation Index, MNDW – Modified Normalized Difference Water Index, LSWI – Land Surface Water Index, NBR – Normalized Burn Ratio, M15. The data obtained have been subjected to principal component analysis and the revealed principal components have been interpreted with the help of regression analysis, in which geomorphological variables have been applied as predictors. It was possible to explain the trends of variability of the vegetative cover, formalized in the form of the principal component, by means of indices which quantitatively characterise features of relief. The various aspects of variation of vegetative cover have been shown to be characterised by the specificity of the influence of relief factors. A prominent aspect of the variation of the vegetative cover of agroecosystems is variability within a field. The degree of a variation of conditions is proportional to the size of a field. Large fields occupy level plain positions. In turn, within small fields sources of variation are changes in ecological conditions which arise owing to unevenness of relief, which increases in proximity to gullies and ravines. We have identified

  9. Agent-based modeling in ecological economics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heckbert, Scott; Baynes, Tim; Reeson, Andrew

    2010-01-01

    Interconnected social and environmental systems are the domain of ecological economics, and models can be used to explore feedbacks and adaptations inherent in these systems. Agent-based modeling (ABM) represents autonomous entities, each with dynamic behavior and heterogeneous characteristics. Agents interact with each other and their environment, resulting in emergent outcomes at the macroscale that can be used to quantitatively analyze complex systems. ABM is contributing to research questions in ecological economics in the areas of natural resource management and land-use change, urban systems modeling, market dynamics, changes in consumer attitudes, innovation, and diffusion of technology and management practices, commons dilemmas and self-governance, and psychological aspects to human decision making and behavior change. Frontiers for ABM research in ecological economics involve advancing the empirical calibration and validation of models through mixed methods, including surveys, interviews, participatory modeling, and, notably, experimental economics to test specific decision-making hypotheses. Linking ABM with other modeling techniques at the level of emergent properties will further advance efforts to understand dynamics of social-environmental systems.

  10. Mathematical models of ecology and evolution

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Zhang, Lai

    2012-01-01

    -history processes: net-assimilation mechanism of 􀀀rule and net-reproduction mechanism of size dependence using a simple model comprising a size-structured consumer Daphina and an unstructured resource alge. It is found that in contrast to the former mechanism, the latter tends to destabilize population...... dynamics but as a trade-o promotes species survival by shortening juvenile delay between birth and the onset of reproduction. Paper II compares the size-spectrum and food-web representations of communities using two traits (body size and habitat location) based unstructured population model of Lotka......) based size-structured population model, that is, interference in foraging, maintenance, survival, and recruitment. Their impacts on the ecology and evolution of size-structured populations and communities are explored. Ecologically, interference aects population demographic properties either negatively...

  11. An ecological process model of systems change.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peirson, Leslea J; Boydell, Katherine M; Ferguson, H Bruce; Ferris, Lorraine E

    2011-06-01

    In June 2007 the American Journal of Community Psychology published a special issue focused on theories, methods and interventions for systems change which included calls from the editors and authors for theoretical advancement in this field. We propose a conceptual model of systems change that integrates familiar and fundamental community psychology principles (succession, interdependence, cycling of resources, adaptation) and accentuates a process orientation. To situate our framework we offer a definition of systems change and a brief review of the ecological perspective and principles. The Ecological Process Model of Systems Change is depicted, described and applied to a case example of policy driven systems level change in publicly funded social programs. We conclude by identifying salient implications for thinking and action which flow from the Model.

  12. Stem Cell Spheroids and Ex Vivo Niche Modeling: Rationalization and Scaling-Up.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chimenti, Isotta; Massai, Diana; Morbiducci, Umberto; Beltrami, Antonio Paolo; Pesce, Maurizio; Messina, Elisa

    2017-04-01

    Improved protocols/devices for in vitro culture of 3D cell spheroids may provide essential cues for proper growth and differentiation of stem/progenitor cells (S/PCs) in their niche, allowing preservation of specific features, such as multi-lineage potential and paracrine activity. Several platforms have been employed to replicate these conditions and to generate S/PC spheroids for therapeutic applications. However, they incompletely reproduce the niche environment, with partial loss of its highly regulated network, with additional hurdles in the field of cardiac biology, due to debated resident S/PCs therapeutic potential and clinical translation. In this contribution, the essential niche conditions (metabolic, geometric, mechanical) that allow S/PCs maintenance/commitment will be discussed. In particular, we will focus on both existing bioreactor-based platforms for the culture of S/PC as spheroids, and on possible criteria for the scaling-up of niche-like spheroids, which could be envisaged as promising tools for personalized cardiac regenerative medicine, as well as for high-throughput drug screening.

  13. Niche versus neutrality: a dynamical analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Michael Kalyuzhny; Efrat Seri; Rachel Chocron; Curtis H. Flather; Ronen Kadmon; Nadav M. Shnerb

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the forces shaping ecological communities is of crucial importance for basic science and conservation. After 50 years in which ecological theory has focused on either stable communities driven by niche-based forces or nonstable “neutral” communities driven by demographic stochasticity, contemporary theories suggest that ecological communities are driven...

  14. Spatially explicit modeling in ecology: A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Yurek, Simeon

    2017-01-01

    The use of spatially explicit models (SEMs) in ecology has grown enormously in the past two decades. One major advancement has been that fine-scale details of landscapes, and of spatially dependent biological processes, such as dispersal and invasion, can now be simulated with great precision, due to improvements in computer technology. Many areas of modeling have shifted toward a focus on capturing these fine-scale details, to improve mechanistic understanding of ecosystems. However, spatially implicit models (SIMs) have played a dominant role in ecology, and arguments have been made that SIMs, which account for the effects of space without specifying spatial positions, have an advantage of being simpler and more broadly applicable, perhaps contributing more to understanding. We address this debate by comparing SEMs and SIMs in examples from the past few decades of modeling research. We argue that, although SIMs have been the dominant approach in the incorporation of space in theoretical ecology, SEMs have unique advantages for addressing pragmatic questions concerning species populations or communities in specific places, because local conditions, such as spatial heterogeneities, organism behaviors, and other contingencies, produce dynamics and patterns that usually cannot be incorporated into simpler SIMs. SEMs are also able to describe mechanisms at the local scale that can create amplifying positive feedbacks at that scale, creating emergent patterns at larger scales, and therefore are important to basic ecological theory. We review the use of SEMs at the level of populations, interacting populations, food webs, and ecosystems and argue that SEMs are not only essential in pragmatic issues, but must play a role in the understanding of causal relationships on landscapes.

  15. Niche evolution and diversification in a Neotropical radiation of birds (Aves: Furnariidae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seeholzer, Glenn F; Claramunt, Santiago; Brumfield, Robb T

    2017-03-01

    Rapid diversification may be caused by ecological adaptive radiation via niche divergence. In this model, speciation is coupled with niche divergence and lineage diversification is predicted to be correlated with rates of niche evolution. Studies of the role of niche evolution in diversification have generally focused on ecomorphological diversification but climatic-niche evolution may also be important. We tested these alternatives using a phylogeny of 298 species of ovenbirds (Aves: Furnariidae). We found that within Furnariidae, variation in species richness and diversification rates of subclades were best predicted by rate of climatic-niche evolution than ecomorphological evolution. Although both are clearly important, univariate regression and multivariate model averaging more consistently supported the climatic-niche as the best predictor of lineage diversification. Our study adds to the growing body of evidence, suggesting that climatic-niche divergence may be an important driver of rapid diversification in addition to ecomorphological evolution. However, this pattern may depend on the phylogenetic scale at which rate heterogeneity is examined. © 2017 The Author(s). Evolution © 2017 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  16. Microhabitat and Climatic Niche Change Explain Patterns of Diversification among Frog Families.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moen, Daniel S; Wiens, John J

    2017-07-01

    A major goal of ecology and evolutionary biology is to explain patterns of species richness among clades. Differences in rates of net diversification (speciation minus extinction over time) may often explain these patterns, but the factors that drive variation in diversification rates remain uncertain. Three important candidates are climatic niche position (e.g., whether clades are primarily temperate or tropical), rates of climatic niche change among species within clades, and microhabitat (e.g., aquatic, terrestrial, arboreal). The first two factors have been tested separately in several studies, but the relative importance of all three is largely unknown. Here we explore the correlates of diversification among families of frogs, which collectively represent ∼88% of amphibian species. We assemble and analyze data on phylogeny, climate, and microhabitat for thousands of species. We find that the best-fitting phylogenetic multiple regression model includes all three types of variables: microhabitat, rates of climatic niche change, and climatic niche position. This model explains 67% of the variation in diversification rates among frog families, with arboreal microhabitat explaining ∼31%, niche rates ∼25%, and climatic niche position ∼11%. Surprisingly, we show that microhabitat can have a much stronger influence on diversification than climatic niche position or rates of climatic niche change.

  17. Social intelligence, human intelligence and niche construction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sterelny, Kim

    2007-04-29

    This paper is about the evolution of hominin intelligence. I agree with defenders of the social intelligence hypothesis in thinking that externalist models of hominin intelligence are not plausible: such models cannot explain the unique cognition and cooperation explosion in our lineage, for changes in the external environment (e.g. increasing environmental unpredictability) affect many lineages. Both the social intelligence hypothesis and the social intelligence-ecological complexity hybrid I outline here are niche construction models. Hominin evolution is hominin response to selective environments that earlier hominins have made. In contrast to social intelligence models, I argue that hominins have both created and responded to a unique foraging mode; a mode that is both social in itself and which has further effects on hominin social environments. In contrast to some social intelligence models, on this view, hominin encounters with their ecological environments continue to have profound selective effects. However, though the ecological environment selects, it does not select on its own. Accidents and their consequences, differential success and failure, result from the combination of the ecological environment an agent faces and the social features that enhance some opportunities and suppress others and that exacerbate some dangers and lessen others. Individuals do not face the ecological filters on their environment alone, but with others, and with the technology, information and misinformation that their social world provides.

  18. Functional traits, convergent evolution, and periodic tables of niches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winemiller, Kirk O; Fitzgerald, Daniel B; Bower, Luke M; Pianka, Eric R

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification. © 2015 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Distribución de Taxus globosa (Taxaceae en México: Modelos ecológicos de nicho, efectos del cambio del uso de suelo y conservación Distribution of Taxus globosa (Taxaceae in Mexico: Ecological niche modeling, effects of land use change and conservation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    RAÚL CONTRERAS-MEDINA

    2010-01-01

    of the main threats for most of the cloud forest species including this taxon, being human-induced land use change a key issue. We obtained the potential distribution of this species through Maxent algorithm based on 73 herbarium records. Also the modification of vegetation cover for three time periods (1976, 1996 y 2000 was analyzed upon the potential distribution of this species. The known and potential geographical distribution was evaluated in relation to the current Mexican National System of Natural Protected Areas at federal level (ANPs and Mexican Priority Regions for Conservation (RTPs, in order to determine the role of these areas in its conservation and management. Potential distribution models show an important reduction (until 84 % of the distribution area related with land use change. This species is scarcely represented in the ANPs, because less than 10 % of its potential distribution occurs within these areas of federal protection. This approach represents an important tool in biogeography and conservation, as well as in other areas of biology, due to its predictive ability. Our results highlight the urgency to preserve the remaining Mexican temperate forest patches, mainly cloud forest ones, to guarantee the existence of this species.

  20. Modeling the ecological niche of long-term land use changes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bajocco, S.; Ceccarelli, T.; Smiraglia, D.; Salvati, L.; Ricotta, C.

    2016-01-01

    Land use/land cover changes (LULCCs) represent the result of the complex interaction between biophysical factors and human activity, acting over a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. The aim of this work is to quantify the role of biophysical factors in constraining the trajectories of

  1. The restoration of the endangered Sambucus palmensis after 30 years of conservation actions in the Garajonay National Park: genetic assessment and niche modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodríguez-Rodríguez, Priscila; Fernández de Castro, Alejandro G; Sosa, Pedro A

    2018-01-01

    The translocation of individuals or the reinforcement of populations are measures in the genetic rescue of endangered species. Although it can be controversial to decide which and how many individuals must be reintroduced, populations can benefit from reinforcements. Sambucus palmensis is a critically endangered endemic to the Canary Islands. During the past 30 years, the Garajonay National Park (La Gomera) has carried out an intensive program of translocations using cuttings, due to the low germination rates of seeds. To assess the effect of the restorations on the population genetics of S. palmensis in La Gomera, we collected 402 samples from all the restored sites and all known natural individuals, which were genotyped with seven microsatellite markers. In addition, we conducted a species distribution modeling approach to assess how restorations fit the ecological niche of the species. Results show that there is a high proportion of clone specimens due to the propagation method, and the natural clonal reproduction of the species. Nonetheless, the observed heterozygosity has increased with the restorations and there still are private alleles and unique genotypes in the natural populations that have not been considered in the restorations. The population of Liria constitutes a very important genetic reservoir for the species. To optimize future reintroductions, we have proposed a list of specimens that are suitable for the extraction of seeds or cuttings in a greenhouse, as well as new suitable areas obtained by the species distribution models.

  2. Microbial ecology-based methods to characterize the bacterial communities of non-model insects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Prosdocimi, Erica M; Mapelli, Francesca; Gonella, Elena; Borin, Sara; Crotti, Elena

    2015-12-01

    Among the animals of the Kingdom Animalia, insects are unparalleled for their widespread diffusion, diversity and number of occupied ecological niches. In recent years they have raised researcher interest not only because of their importance as human and agricultural pests, disease vectors and as useful breeding species (e.g. honeybee and silkworm), but also because of their suitability as animal models. It is now fully recognized that microorganisms form symbiotic relationships with insects, influencing their survival, fitness, development, mating habits and the immune system and other aspects of the biology and ecology of the insect host. Thus, any research aimed at deepening the knowledge of any given insect species (perhaps species of applied interest or species emerging as novel pests or vectors) must consider the characterization of the associated microbiome. The present review critically examines the microbiology and molecular ecology techniques that can be applied to the taxonomical and functional analysis of the microbiome of non-model insects. Our goal is to provide an overview of current approaches and methods addressing the ecology and functions of microorganisms and microbiomes associated with insects. Our focus is on operational details, aiming to provide a concise guide to currently available advanced techniques, in an effort to extend insect microbiome research beyond simple descriptions of microbial communities. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  3. ECOMOD - An ecological approach to radioecological modelling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sazykina, Tatiana G.

    2000-01-01

    A unified methodology is proposed to simulate the dynamic processes of radionuclide migration in aquatic food chains in parallel with their stable analogue elements. The distinguishing feature of the unified radioecological/ecological approach is the description of radionuclide migration along with dynamic equations for the ecosystem. The ability of the methodology to predict the results of radioecological experiments is demonstrated by an example of radionuclide (iron group) accumulation by a laboratory culture of the algae Platymonas viridis. Based on the unified methodology, the 'ECOMOD' radioecological model was developed to simulate dynamic radioecological processes in aquatic ecosystems. It comprises three basic modules, which are operated as a set of inter-related programs. The 'ECOSYSTEM' module solves non-linear ecological equations, describing the biomass dynamics of essential ecosystem components. The 'RADIONUCLIDE DISTRIBUTION' module calculates the radionuclide distribution in abiotic and biotic components of the aquatic ecosystem. The 'DOSE ASSESSMENT' module calculates doses to aquatic biota and doses to man from aquatic food chains. The application of the ECOMOD model to reconstruct the radionuclide distribution in the Chernobyl Cooling Pond ecosystem in the early period after the accident shows good agreement with observations

  4. Ecological aspects in sustainable development model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Kurlapov, L.I.

    1996-01-01

    Environment problems are caused by intensive use of natural resources due to scientific progress in combination with the present structure of unlimited consumption. To prevent the impending ecological disaster a model of sustainable development has been worked out. It is aimed at satisfying the ever-growing requirements of the modern man without damaging the environment. Scientifically grounded use of nature mat contribute to solution of the problem. The acceptable use of nature should take account of the land ecosystem resources which is ensured by reliable model including flow balance in particular. Irreversible flows generate entropy which could be the universal measure of technic genetics impact. Entropic condition of the acceptable (sustainable) development are started: techno-genic entropy production must be less than natural entropy production. Particular sciences should be re-oriented towards environmental problems. Environmental monitoring strategy should provide for determination of macro properties as well as flows. (author)

  5. Explanatory models for ecological response surfaces

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Jager, H.I.; Overton, W.S.

    1991-01-01

    Understanding the spatial organization of ecological systems is a fundamental part of ecosystem study. While discovering the causal relationships of this organization is an important goal, our purpose of spatial description on a regional scale is best met by use of explanatory variables that are somewhat removed from the mechanistic causal level. Regional level understanding is best obtained from explanatory variables that reflect spatial gradients at the regional scale and from categorical variables that describe the discrete constituents of (statistical) populations, such as lakes. In this paper, we use a regression model to predict lake acid neutralizing capacity (ANC) based on environmental predictor variables over a large region. These predictions are used to produce model-based population estimates. Two key features of our modeling approach are that is honors the spatial context and the design of the sample data. The spatial context of the data are brought into the analysis of model residuals through the interpretation of residual maps and semivariograms. The sampling design is taken into account by including stratification variables from the design in the model. This ensures that the model applies to a real population of lakes (the target population), rather than whatever hypothetical population the sample is a random sample of

  6. Phylogenetic climatic niche conservatism and evolution of climatic suitability in Neotropical Angraecinae (Vandeae, Orchidaceae) and their closest African relatives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kolanowska, Marta; Grochocka, Elżbieta; Konowalik, Kamil

    2017-01-01

    In the present study we investigate the concept of phylogenetic niche conservatism (PNC) within the American species of angraecoid orchids ( Campylocentrum and Dendrophylax ) and their closest relatives in the Old World ( Angraecum ) using ecological niche modelling (ENM). The predicted niche occupancy profiles were matched with the outcomes of previous phylogenetic studies to reconstruct the evolution of climatic suitability within the orchid group studied and evaluate the role of niche differentiation in the speciation of Angraecinae. No correlation between preferred niches and taxonomic relationships within the orchid group studied was revealed. The climatic suitability of the majority of the species overlapped each other, either fully or partially. This pattern is also present in the species of other orchid genera. Our research confirms a significant level of PNC in Orchidaceae, even within taxa exhibiting a transatlantic disjunction. The analysis of the evolution of climatic suitability indicated that the adaptation to various climatic conditions is not a factor that has driven speciation within orchids studied.

  7. Chick embryo xenograft model reveals a novel perineural niche for human adipose-derived stromal cells

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ingrid R. Cordeiro

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Human adipose-derived stromal cells (hADSC are a heterogeneous cell population that contains adult multipotent stem cells. Although it is well established that hADSC have skeletal potential in vivo in adult organisms, in vitro assays suggest further differentiation capacity, such as into glia. Thus, we propose that grafting hADSC into the embryo can provide them with a much more instructive microenvironment, allowing the human cells to adopt diverse fates or niches. Here, hADSC spheroids were grafted into either the presumptive presomitic mesoderm or the first branchial arch (BA1 regions of chick embryos. Cells were identified without previous manipulations via human-specific Alu probes, which allows efficient long-term tracing of heterogeneous primary cultures. When grafted into the trunk, in contrast to previous studies, hADSC were not found in chondrogenic or osteogenic territories up to E8. Surprisingly, 82.5% of the hADSC were associated with HNK1+ tissues, such as peripheral nerves. Human skin fibroblasts showed a smaller tropism for nerves. In line with other studies, hADSC also adopted perivascular locations. When grafted into the presumptive BA1, 74.6% of the cells were in the outflow tract, the final goal of cardiac neural crest cells, and were also associated with peripheral nerves. This is the first study showing that hADSC could adopt a perineural niche in vivo and were able to recognize cues for neural crest cell migration of the host. Therefore, we propose that xenografts of human cells into chick embryos can reveal novel behaviors of heterogeneous cell populations, such as response to migration cues.

  8. Innovative business models within niche tourist markets: shared identity, authenticity and flexibile networks. The case of three italian SMEs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Federica Montaguti

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Innovative business models within niche tourist markets: shared identity, authenticity and flexibile networks. The case of three italian SMEs The evolution of business models is a crucial challenge for tourism companies, which should understand how they can stimulate their creativity and introduce innovation. However for many firms, in particular for SMEs, this process is not so easy to be adopted. Even more difficult it is to understand how the business model should change to be successful in solving what appears to be one of the main problems for SMEs, especially within mature, tourist destinations, i.e. targeting new profitable segments. The paper discusses the main findings of a research project carried out by the authors about changes in the business models of Italian tourism companies, underlining in particular three case-studies of interest in terms of the innovation put in place and that relate to SMEs. The analysis, based on the business model canvas, the value constellation and the storytelling, found out that these three firms are flexible companies that have characteristics emblematic of the knowledge and information economy business models. They successfully answer the needs of specific niches, finding new opportunities within a mature tourism market and famous destinations, thanks to their ability to develop wide flexible networks, where customers are an active part, and thanks to the value proposed to the clients, centred on the idea of a shared identity between the clients and the company’s founders and of an authenticity guaranteed by the life story of the founders themselves.

  9. Ecological models and pesticide risk assessment: current modeling practice.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schmolke, Amelie; Thorbek, Pernille; Chapman, Peter; Grimm, Volker

    2010-04-01

    Ecological risk assessments of pesticides usually focus on risk at the level of individuals, and are carried out by comparing exposure and toxicological endpoints. However, in most cases the protection goal is populations rather than individuals. On the population level, effects of pesticides depend not only on exposure and toxicity, but also on factors such as life history characteristics, population structure, timing of application, presence of refuges in time and space, and landscape structure. Ecological models can integrate such factors and have the potential to become important tools for the prediction of population-level effects of exposure to pesticides, thus allowing extrapolations, for example, from laboratory to field. Indeed, a broad range of ecological models have been applied to chemical risk assessment in the scientific literature, but so far such models have only rarely been used to support regulatory risk assessments of pesticides. To better understand the reasons for this situation, the current modeling practice in this field was assessed in the present study. The scientific literature was searched for relevant models and assessed according to nine characteristics: model type, model complexity, toxicity measure, exposure pattern, other factors, taxonomic group, risk assessment endpoint, parameterization, and model evaluation. The present study found that, although most models were of a high scientific standard, many of them would need modification before they are suitable for regulatory risk assessments. The main shortcomings of currently available models in the context of regulatory pesticide risk assessments were identified. When ecological models are applied to regulatory risk assessments, we recommend reviewing these models according to the nine characteristics evaluated here. (c) 2010 SETAC.

  10. Change of niche in guanaco (Lama guanicoe): the effects of climate change on habitat suitability and lineage conservatism in Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Castillo, Andrea G; Alò, Dominique; González, Benito A; Samaniego, Horacio

    2018-01-01

    The main goal of this contribution was to define the ecological niche of the guanaco ( Lama guanicoe ), to describe potential distributional changes, and to assess the relative importance of niche conservatism and divergence processes between the two lineages described for the species ( L.g. cacsilensis and L.g. guanicoe ). We used maximum entropy to model lineage's climate niche from 3,321 locations throughout continental Chile, and developed future niche models under climate change for two extreme greenhouse gas emission scenarios (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5). We evaluated changes of the environmental niche and future distribution of the largest mammal in the Southern Cone of South America. Evaluation of niche conservatism and divergence were based on identity and background similarity tests. We show that: (a) the current geographic distribution of lineages is associated with different climatic requirements that are related to the geographic areas where these lineages are located; (b) future distribution models predict a decrease in the distribution surface under both scenarios; (c) a 3% decrease of areal protection is expected if the current distribution of protected areas is maintained, and this is expected to occur at the expense of a large reduction of high quality habitats under the best scenario; (d) current and future distribution ranges of guanaco mostly adhere to phylogenetic niche divergence hypotheses between lineages. Associating environmental variables with species ecological niche seems to be an important aspect of unveiling the particularities of, both evolutionary patterns and ecological features that species face in a changing environment. We report specific descriptions of how these patterns may play out under the most extreme climate change predictions and provide a grim outlook of the future potential distribution of guanaco in Chile. From an ecological perspective, while a slightly smaller distribution area is expected, this may come with an important

  11. Niche conservatism of Eulophia alta, a trans-Atlantic orchid species

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marta Kolanowska

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The genus Eulophia embraces over 230 species distributed through the tropical and subtropical Africa, Asia, Australia and the Americas. In Neotropics it is represented by a sole species – E. alta. The aim of the presented study was to evaluate the difference between ecological niches occupied by American and African populations of this species based on the ecological niche modeling. The similarity between the glacial and present niches occupied by E. alta was calculated and the factors limiting the species occurrence were identified. Areas of seasonal tropical forest, tropical savanna and woodland served as refugia for the studied species during last glacial maximum and they were more widespread in Neotropics than in Africa. No significant niche shift after last glacial maximum was observed. The distribution of E. alta in its whole range is restricted mainly by temperature seasonality. The differences in the niches occupied by African and Neotropical populations of E. alta suggest preglacial disjunction of the species range and independent adaptation of both groups. Despite the significant range disjunction of E. alta the species is characterized by relatively high degree of niche conservatism.

  12. Neutral theory and the species abundance distribution: recent developments and prospects for unifying niche and neutral perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-01-01

    Published in 2001, The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography (UNTB) emphasizes the importance of stochastic processes in ecological community structure, and has challenged the traditional niche-based view of ecology. While neutral models have since been applied to a broad range of ecological and macroecological phenomena, the majority of research relating to neutral theory has focused exclusively on the species abundance distribution (SAD). Here, we synthesize the large body of work on neutral theory in the context of the species abundance distribution, with a particular focus on integrating ideas from neutral theory with traditional niche theory. First, we summarize the basic tenets of neutral theory; both in general and in the context of SADs. Second, we explore the issues associated with neutral theory and the SAD, such as complications with fitting and model comparison, the underlying assumptions of neutral models, and the difficultly of linking pattern to process. Third, we highlight the advances in understanding of SADs that have resulted from neutral theory and models. Finally, we focus consideration on recent developments aimed at unifying neutral- and niche-based approaches to ecology, with a particular emphasis on what this means for SAD theory, embracing, for instance, ideas of emergent neutrality and stochastic niche theory. We put forward the argument that the prospect of the unification of niche and neutral perspectives represents one of the most promising future avenues of neutral theory research. PMID:25360266

  13. Neutral theory and the species abundance distribution: recent developments and prospects for unifying niche and neutral perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    Published in 2001, The Unified Neutral Theory of Biodiversity and Biogeography (UNTB) emphasizes the importance of stochastic processes in ecological community structure, and has challenged the traditional niche-based view of ecology. While neutral models have since been applied to a broad range of ecological and macroecological phenomena, the majority of research relating to neutral theory has focused exclusively on the species abundance distribution (SAD). Here, we synthesize the large body of work on neutral theory in the context of the species abundance distribution, with a particular focus on integrating ideas from neutral theory with traditional niche theory. First, we summarize the basic tenets of neutral theory; both in general and in the context of SADs. Second, we explore the issues associated with neutral theory and the SAD, such as complications with fitting and model comparison, the underlying assumptions of neutral models, and the difficultly of linking pattern to process. Third, we highlight the advances in understanding of SADs that have resulted from neutral theory and models. Finally, we focus consideration on recent developments aimed at unifying neutral- and niche-based approaches to ecology, with a particular emphasis on what this means for SAD theory, embracing, for instance, ideas of emergent neutrality and stochastic niche theory. We put forward the argument that the prospect of the unification of niche and neutral perspectives represents one of the most promising future avenues of neutral theory research.

  14. Effects of global changes on the climatic niche of the tick Ixodes ricinus inferred by species distribution modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Porretta, Daniele; Mastrantonio, Valentina; Amendolia, Sara; Gaiarsa, Stefano; Epis, Sara; Genchi, Claudio; Bandi, Claudio; Otranto, Domenico; Urbanelli, Sandra

    2013-09-19

    Global climate change can seriously impact on the epidemiological dynamics of vector-borne diseases. In this study we investigated how future climatic changes could affect the climatic niche of Ixodes ricinus (Acari, Ixodida), among the most important vectors of pathogens of medical and veterinary concern in Europe. Species Distribution Modelling (SDM) was used to reconstruct the climatic niche of I. ricinus, and to project it into the future conditions for 2050 and 2080, under two scenarios: a continuous human demographic growth and a severe increase of gas emissions (scenario A2), and a scenario that proposes lower human demographic growth than A2, and a more sustainable gas emissions (scenario B2). Models were reconstructed using the algorithm of "maximum entropy", as implemented in the software Maxent 3.3.3e; 4,544 occurrence points and 15 bioclimatic variables were used. In both scenarios an increase of climatic niche of about two times greater than the current area was predicted as well as a higher climatic suitability under the scenario B2 than A2. Such an increase occurred both in a latitudinal and longitudinal way, including northern Eurasian regions (e.g. Sweden and Russia), that were previously unsuitable for the species. Our models are congruent with the predictions of range expansion already observed in I. ricinus at a regional scale and provide a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the future climatically suitable areas for I. ricinus at a continental scale. Although the use of SDM at a higher resolution should be integrated by a more refined analysis of further abiotic and biotic data, the results presented here suggest that under future climatic scenarios most of the current distribution area of I. ricinus could remain suitable and significantly increase at a continental geographic scale. Therefore disease outbreaks of pathogens transmitted by this tick species could emerge in previous non-endemic geographic areas. Further studies will

  15. Macrophytes: Ecology of aquatic plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bornette, G.; Puijalon, S.

    2009-01-01

    Aquatic plants contribute to maintaining key functions and related biodiversity in freshwater ecosystems, and to provide the needs of human societies. The way the ecological niches of macrophytes are determined by abiotic filters and biotic ones is considered. A simple, broadly applicable model of

  16. Eco-Logic: Logic-Based Approaches to Ecological Modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Daniel L. Schmoldt

    1991-01-01

    This paper summarizes the simulation research carried out during 1984-1989 at the University of Edinburgh. Two primary objectives of their research are 1) to provide tools for manipulating simulation models (i.e., implementation tools) and 2) to provide advice on conceptualizing real-world phenomena into an idealized representation for simulation (i.e., model design...

  17. Investigating ecological speciation in non-model organisms

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Foote, Andrew David

    2012-01-01

    Background: Studies of ecological speciation tend to focus on a few model biological systems. In contrast, few studies on non-model organisms have been able to infer ecological speciation as the underlying mechanism of evolutionary divergence. Questions: What are the pitfalls in studying ecological...... speciation in non-model organisms that lead to this bias? What alternative approaches might redress the balance? Organism: Genetically differentiated types of the killer whale (Orcinus orca) exhibiting differences in prey preference, habitat use, morphology, and behaviour. Methods: Review of the literature...... on killer whale evolutionary ecology in search of any difficulty in demonstrating causal links between variation in phenotype, ecology, and reproductive isolation in this non-model organism. Results: At present, we do not have enough evidence to conclude that adaptive phenotype traits linked to ecological...

  18. A simple model of bipartite cooperation for ecological and organizational networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saavedra, Serguei; Reed-Tsochas, Felix; Uzzi, Brian

    2009-01-22

    In theoretical ecology, simple stochastic models that satisfy two basic conditions about the distribution of niche values and feeding ranges have proved successful in reproducing the overall structural properties of real food webs, using species richness and connectance as the only input parameters. Recently, more detailed models have incorporated higher levels of constraint in order to reproduce the actual links observed in real food webs. Here, building on previous stochastic models of consumer-resource interactions between species, we propose a highly parsimonious model that can reproduce the overall bipartite structure of cooperative partner-partner interactions, as exemplified by plant-animal mutualistic networks. Our stochastic model of bipartite cooperation uses simple specialization and interaction rules, and only requires three empirical input parameters. We test the bipartite cooperation model on ten large pollination data sets that have been compiled in the literature, and find that it successfully replicates the degree distribution, nestedness and modularity of the empirical networks. These properties are regarded as key to understanding cooperation in mutualistic networks. We also apply our model to an extensive data set of two classes of company engaged in joint production in the garment industry. Using the same metrics, we find that the network of manufacturer-contractor interactions exhibits similar structural patterns to plant-animal pollination networks. This surprising correspondence between ecological and organizational networks suggests that the simple rules of cooperation that generate bipartite networks may be generic, and could prove relevant in many different domains, ranging from biological systems to human society.

  19. Using niche-based modelling to assess the impact of climate change on tree functional diversity in Europe

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Thuiller, Wilfried; Lavorel, Sandra; Sykes, Martin T.

    2006-01-01

    Rapid anthropogenic climate change is already affecting species distributions and ecosystem functioning worldwide. We applied niche-based models to analyse the impact of climate change on tree species and functional diversity in Europe. Present-day climate was used to predict the distributions...... of 122 tree species from different functional types (FT). We then explored projections of future distributions under one climate scenario for 2080, considering two alternative dispersal assumptions: no dispersal and unlimited dispersal. The species-rich broadleaved deciduous group appeared to play a key...... role in the future of different European regions. Temperate areas were projected to lose both species richness and functional diversity due to the loss of broadleaved deciduous trees. These were projected to migrate to boreal forests, thereby increasing their species richness and functional diversity...

  20. THE NICHE CONSTRUCTION PERSPECTIVE: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott-Phillips, Thomas C; Laland, Kevin N; Shuker, David M; Dickins, Thomas E; West, Stuart A

    2014-01-01

    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). PMID:24325256

  1. The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott-Phillips, Thomas C; Laland, Kevin N; Shuker, David M; Dickins, Thomas E; West, Stuart A

    2014-05-01

    Niche construction refers to the activities of organisms that bring about changes in their environments, many of which are evolutionarily and ecologically consequential. Advocates of niche construction theory (NCT) believe that standard evolutionary theory fails to recognize the full importance of niche construction, and consequently propose a novel view of evolution, in which niche construction and its legacy over time (ecological inheritance) are described as evolutionary processes, equivalent in importance to natural selection. Here, we subject NCT to critical evaluation, in the form of a collaboration between one prominent advocate of NCT, and a team of skeptics. We discuss whether niche construction is an evolutionary process, whether NCT obscures or clarifies how natural selection leads to organismal adaptation, and whether niche construction and natural selection are of equivalent explanatory importance. We also consider whether the literature that promotes NCT overstates the significance of niche construction, whether it is internally coherent, and whether it accurately portrays standard evolutionary theory. Our disagreements reflect a wider dispute within evolutionary theory over whether the neo-Darwinian synthesis is in need of reformulation, as well as different usages of some key terms (e.g., evolutionary process). © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  2. Southern marl prairies conceptual ecological model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davis, S.M.; Loftus, W.F.; Gaiser, E.E.; Huffman, A.E.

    2005-01-01

    About 190,000 ha of higher-elevation marl prairies flank either side of Shark River Slough in the southern Everglades. Water levels typically drop below the ground surface each year in this landscape. Consequently, peat soil accretion is inhibited, and substrates consist either of calcitic marl produced by algal periphyton mats or exposed limestone bedrock. The southern marl prairies support complex mosaics of wet prairie, sawgrass sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense), tree islands, and tropical hammock communities and a high diversity of plant species. However, relatively short hydroperiods and annual dry downs provide stressful conditions for aquatic fauna, affecting survival in the dry season when surface water is absent. Here, we present a conceptual ecological model developed for this landscape through scientific concensus, use of empirical data, and modeling. The two major societal drivers affecting the southern marl prairies are water management practices and agricultural and urban development. These drivers lead to five groups of ecosystem stressors: loss of spatial extent and connectivity, shortened hydroperiod and increased drought severity, extended hydroperiod and drying pattern reversals, introduction and spread of non-native trees, and introduction and spread of non-native fishes. Major ecological attributes include periphyton mats, plant species diversity and community mosaic, Cape Sable seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus mirabilis), marsh fishes and associated aquatic fauna prey base, American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis), and wading bird early dry season foraging. Water management and development are hypothesized to have a negative effect on the ecological attributes of the southern marl prairies in the following ways. Periphyton mats have decreased in cover in areas where hydroperiod has been significantly reduced and changed in community composition due to inverse responses to increased nutrient availability. Plant species diversity and

  3. Applied systems ecology: models, data, and statistical methods

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eberhardt, L L

    1976-01-01

    In this report, systems ecology is largely equated to mathematical or computer simulation modelling. The need for models in ecology stems from the necessity to have an integrative device for the diversity of ecological data, much of which is observational, rather than experimental, as well as from the present lack of a theoretical structure for ecology. Different objectives in applied studies require specialized methods. The best predictive devices may be regression equations, often non-linear in form, extracted from much more detailed models. A variety of statistical aspects of modelling, including sampling, are discussed. Several aspects of population dynamics and food-chain kinetics are described, and it is suggested that the two presently separated approaches should be combined into a single theoretical framework. It is concluded that future efforts in systems ecology should emphasize actual data and statistical methods, as well as modelling.

  4. When mechanism matters: Bayesian forecasting using models of ecological diffusion

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hefley, Trevor J.; Hooten, Mevin B.; Russell, Robin E.; Walsh, Daniel P.; Powell, James A.

    2017-01-01

    Ecological diffusion is a theory that can be used to understand and forecast spatio-temporal processes such as dispersal, invasion, and the spread of disease. Hierarchical Bayesian modelling provides a framework to make statistical inference and probabilistic forecasts, using mechanistic ecological models. To illustrate, we show how hierarchical Bayesian models of ecological diffusion can be implemented for large data sets that are distributed densely across space and time. The hierarchical Bayesian approach is used to understand and forecast the growth and geographic spread in the prevalence of chronic wasting disease in white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We compare statistical inference and forecasts from our hierarchical Bayesian model to phenomenological regression-based methods that are commonly used to analyse spatial occurrence data. The mechanistic statistical model based on ecological diffusion led to important ecological insights, obviated a commonly ignored type of collinearity, and was the most accurate method for forecasting.

  5. Single-cell and coupled GRN models of cell patterning in the Arabidopsis thaliana root stem cell niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alvarez-Buylla Elena R

    2010-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Recent experimental work has uncovered some of the genetic components required to maintain the Arabidopsis thaliana root stem cell niche (SCN and its structure. Two main pathways are involved. One pathway depends on the genes SHORTROOT and SCARECROW and the other depends on the PLETHORA genes, which have been proposed to constitute the auxin readouts. Recent evidence suggests that a regulatory circuit, composed of WOX5 and CLE40, also contributes to the SCN maintenance. Yet, we still do not understand how the niche is dynamically maintained and patterned or if the uncovered molecular components are sufficient to recover the observed gene expression configurations that characterize the cell types within the root SCN. Mathematical and computational tools have proven useful in understanding the dynamics of cell differentiation. Hence, to further explore root SCN patterning, we integrated available experimental data into dynamic Gene Regulatory Network (GRN models and addressed if these are sufficient to attain observed gene expression configurations in the root SCN in a robust and autonomous manner. Results We found that an SCN GRN model based only on experimental data did not reproduce the configurations observed within the root SCN. We developed several alternative GRN models that recover these expected stable gene configurations. Such models incorporate a few additional components and interactions in addition to those that have been uncovered. The recovered configurations are stable to perturbations, and the models are able to recover the observed gene expression profiles of almost all the mutants described so far. However, the robustness of the postulated GRNs is not as high as that of other previously studied networks. Conclusions These models are the first published approximations for a dynamic mechanism of the A. thaliana root SCN cellular pattering. Our model is useful to formally show that the data now available are not

  6. Phylogeny and niche conservatism in North and Central American triatomine bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), vectors of Chagas' disease.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibarra-Cerdeña, Carlos N; Zaldívar-Riverón, Alejandro; Peterson, A Townsend; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Ramsey, Janine M

    2014-10-01

    The niche conservatism hypothesis states that related species diverge in niche characteristics at lower rates than expected, given their lineage divergence. Here we analyze whether niche conservatism is a common pattern among vector species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) of Trypanosoma cruzi that inhabit North and Central America, a highly heterogeneous landmass in terms of environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were used in a multi-locus phylogenetic framework to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among species and estimate time of divergence of selected clades to draw biogeographic inferences. Then, we estimated similarity between the ecological niche of sister species and tested the niche conservatism hypothesis using our best estimate of phylogeny. Triatoma is not monophyletic. A primary clade with all North and Central American (NCA) triatomine species from the genera Triatoma, Dipetalogaster, and Panstrongylus, was consistently recovered. Nearctic species within the NCA clade (T. p. protracta, T. r. rubida) diverged during the Pliocene, whereas the Neotropical species (T. phyllosoma, T. longipennis, T. dimidiata complex) are estimated to have diverged more recently, during the Pleistocene. The hypothesis of niche conservatism could not be rejected for any of six sister species pairs. Niche similarity between sister species best fits a retention model. While this framework is used here to infer niche evolution, it has a direct impact on spatial vector dynamics driven by human population movements, expansion of transportation networks and climate change scenarios.

  7. Spatial distributions of niche-constructing populations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaozhuo Han

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Niche construction theory regards organisms not only as the object of natural selection but also an active subject that can change their own selective pressure through eco-evolutionary feedbacks. Through reviewing the existing works on the theoretical models of niche construction, here we present the progress made on how niche construction influences genetic structure of spatially structured populations and the spatial-temporal dynamics of metapopulations, with special focuses on mathematical models and simulation methods. The majority of results confirmed that niche construction can significantly alter the evolutionary trajectories of structured populations. Organism-environmental interactions induced by niche construction can have profound influence on the dynamics, competition and diversity of metapopulations. It can affect fine-scale spatially distribution of species and spatial heterogeneity of the environment. We further propose a few research directions with potentials, such as applying adaptive dynamics or spatial game theory to explore the effect of niche construction on phenotypic evolution and diversification.

  8. Niche evolution and adaptive radiation: Testing the order of trait divergence

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ackerly, D.D.; Schwilk, D.W.; Webb, C.O.

    2006-01-01

    In the course of an adaptive radiation, the evolution of niche parameters is of particular interest for understanding modes of speciation and the consequences for coexistence of related species within communities. We pose a general question: In the course of an evolutionary radiation, do traits related to within-community niche differences (?? niche) evolve before or after differentiation of macrohabitat affinity or climatic tolerances (?? niche)? Here we introduce a new test to address this question, based on a modification of the method of independent contrasts. The divergence order test (DOT) is based on the average age of the nodes on a tree, weighted by the absolute magnitude of the contrast at each node for a particular trait. The comparison of these weighted averages reveals whether large divergences for one trait have occurred earlier or later in the course of diversification, relative to a second trait; significance is determined by bootstrapping from maximum-likelihood ancestral state reconstructions. The method is applied to the evolution of Ceanothus, a woody plant group in California, in which co-occurring species exhibit significant differences in a key leaf trait (specific leaf area) associated with contrasting physiological and life history strategies. Co-occurring species differ more for this trait than expected under a null model of community assembly. This ?? niche difference evolved early in the divergence of two major subclades within Ceanothus, whereas climatic distributions (?? niche traits) diversified later within each of the subclades. However, rapid evolution of climate parameters makes inferences of early divergence events highly uncertain, and differentiation of the ?? niche might have taken place throughout the evolution of the group, without leaving a clear phylogenetic signal. Similar patterns observed in several plant and animal groups suggest that early divergence of ?? niche traits might be a common feature of niche evolution in

  9. A Conceptual Framework for Evaluating the Domains of Applicability of Ecological Models and its Implementation in the Ecological Production Function Library - International Society for Ecological Modelling Conference

    Science.gov (United States)

    The use of computational ecological models to inform environmental management and policy has proliferated in the past 25 years. These models have become essential tools as linkages and feedbacks between human actions and ecological responses can be complex, and as funds for sampl...

  10. Tracking niche variation over millennial timescales in sympatric killer whale lineages.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foote, Andrew D; Newton, Jason; Ávila-Arcos, María C; Kampmann, Marie-Louise; Samaniego, Jose A; Post, Klaas; Rosing-Asvid, Aqqalu; Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S; Gilbert, M Thomas P

    2013-10-07

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish.

  11. When does it pay to invest in a patch? The evolution of intentional niche construction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mohlenhoff, Kathryn A; Codding, Brian F

    2017-09-01

    Humans modify their environments in ways that significantly transform the earth's ecosystems. Recent research suggests that such niche-constructing behaviors are not passive human responses to environmental variation, but instead should be seen as active and intentional management of the environment. Although such research is useful in highlighting the interactive dynamics between humans and their natural world, the niche-construction framework, as currently applied, fails to explain why people would decide to modify their environments in the first place. To help resolve this problem, we use a model of technological intensification to analyze the cost-benefit trade-offs associated with niche construction as a form of patch investment. We use this model to assess the costs and benefits of three paradigmatic cases of intentional niche construction in Western North America: the application of fire in acorn groves, the manufacture of fishing weirs, and the adoption of maize agriculture. Intensification models predict that investing in patch modification (niche construction) only provides a net benefit when the amount of resources needed crosses a critical threshold that makes the initial investment worthwhile. From this, it follows that low-cost investments, such as burning in oak groves, should be quite common, while more costly investments, such as maize agriculture, should be less common and depend on the alternatives available in the local environment. We examine how patterns of mobility, risk management, territoriality, and private property also co-evolve with the costs and benefits of niche construction. This approach illustrates that explaining niche-constructing behavior requires understanding the economic trade-offs involved in patch investment. Integrating concepts from niche construction and technological intensification models within a behavioral ecological framework provides insights into the coevolution and active feedback between adaptive behaviors and

  12. On the general procedure for modelling complex ecological systems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    He Shanyu.

    1987-12-01

    In this paper, the principle of a general procedure for modelling complex ecological systems, i.e. the Adaptive Superposition Procedure (ASP) is shortly stated. The result of application of ASP in a national project for ecological regionalization is also described. (author). 3 refs

  13. Validation of ecological state space models using the Laplace approximation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Thygesen, Uffe Høgsbro; Albertsen, Christoffer Moesgaard; Berg, Casper Willestofte

    2017-01-01

    Many statistical models in ecology follow the state space paradigm. For such models, the important step of model validation rarely receives as much attention as estimation or hypothesis testing, perhaps due to lack of available algorithms and software. Model validation is often based on a naive...... for estimation in general mixed effects models. Implementing one-step predictions in the R package Template Model Builder, we demonstrate that it is possible to perform model validation with little effort, even if the ecological model is multivariate, has non-linear dynamics, and whether observations...... useful directions in which the model could be improved....

  14. Northern glacial refugia and altitudinal niche divergence shape genome-wide differentiation in the emerging plant model Arabidopsis arenosa

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kolář, Filip; Fuxová, G.; Záveská, E.; Nagano, A. J.; Hyklová, L.; Lučanová, Magdalena; Kudoh, H.; Marhold, K.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 25, č. 16 (2016), s. 3929-3949 ISSN 0962-1083 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : approximate Bayesian computatuion * niche differentiation * phytogeography * Arabidopsis Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 6.086, year: 2016

  15. Overview of climate information needs for ecological effects models

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Peer, R.L.

    1990-01-01

    Atmospheric scientists engaged in climate change research require a basic understanding of how ecological effects models incorporate climate. The report provides an overview of existing ecological models that might be used to model climate change effects on vegetation. Some agricultural models and statistical methods are also discussed. The weather input data requirements, weather simulation methods, and other model characteristics relevant to climate change research are described for a selected number of models. The ecological models are classified as biome, ecosystem, or tree models; the ecosystem models are further subdivided into species dynamics or process models. In general, ecological modelers have had to rely on readily available meteorological data such as temperature and rainfall. Although models are becoming more sophisticated in their treatment of weather and require more kinds of data (such as wind, solar radiation, or potential evapotranspiration), modelers are still hampered by a lack of data for many applications. Future directions of ecological effects models and the climate variables that will be required by the models are discussed.

  16. Utilizing individual fish biomass and relative abundance models to map environmental niche associations of adult and juvenile targeted fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Galaiduk, Ronen; Radford, Ben T; Harvey, Euan S

    2018-06-21

    Many fishes undergo ontogenetic habitat shifts to meet their energy and resource needs as they grow. Habitat resource partitioning and patterns of habitat connectivity between conspecific fishes at different life-history stages is a significant knowledge gap. Species distribution models were used to examine patterns in the relative abundance, individual biomass estimates and environmental niche associations of different life stages of three iconic West Australian fishes. Continuous predictive maps describing the spatial distribution of abundance and individual biomass of the study species were created as well predictive hotspot maps that identify possible areas for aggregation of individuals of similar life stages of multiple species (i.e. spawning grounds, fisheries refugia or nursery areas). The models and maps indicate that processes driving the abundance patterns could be different from the body size associated demographic processes throughout an individual's life cycle. Incorporating life-history in the spatially explicit management plans can ensure that critical habitat of the vulnerable stages (e.g. juvenile fish, spawning stock) is included within proposed protected areas and can enhance connectivity between various functional areas (e.g. nursery areas and adult populations) which, in turn, can improve the abundance of targeted species as well as other fish species relying on healthy ecosystem functioning.

  17. Reconstitution of bone-like matrix in osteogenically differentiated mesenchymal stem cell–collagen constructs: A three-dimensional in vitro model to study hematopoietic stem cell niche

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    WY Lai

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (MSCs and osteoblasts are important niche cells for hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs in bone marrow osteoblastic niche. Here, we aim to partially reconstitute the bone marrow HSC niche in vitro using collagen microencapsulation for investigation of the interactions between HSCs and MSCs. Mouse MSCs (mMSCs microencapsulated in collagen were osteogenically differentiated to derive a bone-like matrix consisting of osteocalcin, osteopontin, and calcium deposits and secreted bone morphogenic protein 2 (BMP2. Decellularized bone-like matrix was seeded with fluorescence-labeled human MSCs and HSCs. Comparing with pure collagen scaffold, significantly more HSCs and HSC–MSC pairs per unit area were found in the decellularized bone-like matrix. Moreover, incubation with excess neutralizing antibody of BMP2 resulted in a significantly higher number of HSC per unit area than that without in the decellularized matrix. This work suggests that the osteogenic differentiated MSC–collagen microsphere is a valuable three-dimensional in vitro model to elucidate cell–cell and cell–matrix interactions in HSC niche.

  18. Lizard assemblage from a sand dune habitat from southeastern Brazil: a niche overlap analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Winck, Gisele R; Hatano, Fabio; Vrcibradic, Davor; VAN Sluys, Monique; Rocha, Carlos F D

    2016-01-01

    Communities are structured by interactions of historical and ecological factors, which influence the use of different resources in time and space. We acquired data on time of activity, microhabitat use and diet of a lizard assemblage from a sand dune habitat in a coastal area, southeastern Brazil (Restinga de Jurubatiba). We analyzed the data of niche overlap among species in these three axes (temporal, spatial and trophic) using null models. We found a significant overlap within the trophic niche, whereas the overlap for the other axes did not differ from the expected. Based on this result, we discuss the factors acting on the structure of the local lizard community.

  19. Lizard assemblage from a sand dune habitat from southeastern Brazil: a niche overlap analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    GISELE R. WINCK

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT Communities are structured by interactions of historical and ecological factors, which influence the use of different resources in time and space. We acquired data on time of activity, microhabitat use and diet of a lizard assemblage from a sand dune habitat in a coastal area, southeastern Brazil (Restinga de Jurubatiba. We analyzed the data of niche overlap among species in these three axes (temporal, spatial and trophic using null models. We found a significant overlap within the trophic niche, whereas the overlap for the other axes did not differ from the expected. Based on this result, we discuss the factors acting on the structure of the local lizard community.

  20. Assessing the Global Risk of Establishment of Cydia pomonella (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) using CLIMEX and MaxEnt Niche Models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Sunil; Neven, Lisa G; Zhu, Hongyu; Zhang, Runzhi

    2015-08-01

    Accurate assessment of insect pest establishment risk is needed by national plant protection organizations to negotiate international trade of horticultural commodities that can potentially carry the pests and result in inadvertent introductions in the importing countries. We used mechanistic and correlative niche models to quantify and map the global patterns of the potential for establishment of codling moth (Cydia pomonella L.), a major pest of apples, peaches, pears, and other pome and stone fruits, and a quarantine pest in countries where it currently does not occur. The mechanistic model CLIMEX was calibrated using species-specific physiological tolerance thresholds, whereas the correlative model MaxEnt used species occurrences and climatic spatial data. Projected potential distribution from both models conformed well to the current known distribution of codling moth. None of the models predicted suitable environmental conditions in countries located between 20°N and 20°S potentially because of shorter photoperiod, and lack of chilling requirement (Japan where codling moth currently does not occur but where its preferred host species (i.e., apple) is present. Average annual temperature and latitude were the main environmental variables associated with codling moth distribution at global level. The predictive models developed in this study present the global risk of establishment of codling moth, and can be used for monitoring potential introductions of codling moth in different countries and by policy makers and trade negotiators in making science-based decisions. © The Authors 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Entomological Society of America. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  1. Adaptation and niche construction in human prehistory: a case study from the southern Scandinavian Late Glacial.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Riede, Felix

    2011-03-27

    The niche construction model postulates that human bio-social evolution is composed of three inheritance domains, genetic, cultural and ecological, linked by feedback selection. This paper argues that many kinds of archaeological data can serve as proxies for human niche construction processes, and presents a method for investigating specific niche construction hypotheses. To illustrate this method, the repeated emergence of specialized reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) hunting/herding economies during the Late Palaeolithic (ca 14.7-11.5 kyr BP) in southern Scandinavia is analysed from a niche construction/triple-inheritance perspective. This economic relationship resulted in the eventual domestication of Rangifer. The hypothesis of whether domestication was achieved as early as the Late Palaeolithic, and whether this required the use of domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) as hunting, herding or transport aids, is tested via a comparative analysis using material culture-based phylogenies and ecological datasets in relation to demographic/genetic proxies. Only weak evidence for sustained niche construction behaviours by prehistoric hunter-gatherer in southern Scandinavia is found, but this study nonetheless provides interesting insights into the likely processes of dog and reindeer domestication, and into processes of adaptation in Late Glacial foragers.

  2. Ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ternjej, Ivancica; Mihaljevic, Zlatko

    2017-10-01

    Ecology is a science that studies the mutual interactions between organisms and their environment. The fundamental subject of interest in ecology is the individual. Topics of interest to ecologists include the diversity, distribution and number of particular organisms, as well as cooperation and competition between organisms, both within and among ecosystems. Today, ecology is a multidisciplinary science. This is particularly true when the subject of interest is the ecosystem or biosphere, which requires the knowledge and input of biologists, chemists, physicists, geologists, geographists, climatologists, hydrologists and many other experts. Ecology is applied in a science of restoration, repairing disturbed sites through human intervention, in natural resource management, and in environmental impact assessments.

  3. Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative : a Model of Integrated Ecologically ...

    International Development Research Centre (IDRC) Digital Library (Canada)

    Samdrup Jongkhar Initiative : a Model of Integrated Ecologically-friendly ... which endeavors to integrate social, economic, cultural and environmental objectives. ... Brown Cloud penetrates Bhutan : ambient air quality and trans-boundary ...

  4. Representing and managing uncertainty in qualitative ecological models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nuttle, T.; Bredeweg, B.; Salles, P.; Neumann, M.

    2009-01-01

    Ecologists and decision makers need ways to understand systems, test ideas, and make predictions and explanations about systems. However, uncertainty about causes and effects of processes and parameter values is pervasive in models of ecological systems. Uncertainty associated with incomplete

  5. Application of an Ecological Model for the Cibolo Creek Watershed

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Price, David

    2004-01-01

    The U.S. Army Engineer District, Fort Worth (CESWF) is involved in demon- strating the utility of an ecological model in the performance and interpretation of a comprehensive General Investigations (GI...

  6. An analytically tractable model for community ecology with many species

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dickens, Benjamin; Fisher, Charles; Mehta, Pankaj; Pankaj Mehta Biophysics Theory Group Team

    A fundamental problem in community ecology is to understand how ecological processes such as selection, drift, and immigration yield observed patterns in species composition and diversity. Here, we present an analytically tractable, presence-absence (PA) model for community assembly and use it to ask how ecological traits such as the strength of competition, diversity in competition, and stochasticity affect species composition in a community. In our PA model, we treat species as stochastic binary variables that can either be present or absent in a community: species can immigrate into the community from a regional species pool and can go extinct due to competition and stochasticity. Despite its simplicity, the PA model reproduces the qualitative features of more complicated models of community assembly. In agreement with recent work on large, competitive Lotka-Volterra systems, the PA model exhibits distinct ecological behaviors organized around a special (``critical'') point corresponding to Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity. Our results suggest that the concepts of ``phases'' and phase diagrams can provide a powerful framework for thinking about community ecology and that the PA model captures the essential ecological dynamics of community assembly. Pm was supported by a Simons Investigator in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems and a Sloan Research Fellowship.

  7. Using environmental niche modeling to find suitable habitats for the Hard-ground Barasingha in Madhya Pradesh, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. P. Singh

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The subspecies of Swamp Deer, the Hard-ground Barasingha (Rucervus duvaucelii branderi Pocock, is presently found only in Kanha Tiger Reserve (KTR in Madhya Pradesh, India. This subspecies is highly vulnerable to extinction, and reintroduction in suitable sites is the need of the hour.  Environmental niche models (GARP, SVM, ED, CSM aimed at providing a detailed prediction of species distribution by relating presence of species to 19 bioclimatic indices were developed, using swamp deer occurrence records in KTR. The predictions were appropriately weighted with the prevailing LU/LC classes to identify suitable habitats in Madhya Pradesh, India. The result shows that the southern region of Madhya Pradesh is suitable for the sustenance of Barasingha with varying degrees of habitability. Vicarious validation shows that most of these forest areas were the same as that of historical records dating back to 50 years. However, land use maps can help identify areas where this subspecies can be reintroduced. 

  8. Inhibition of WNT signaling in the bone marrow niche prevents the development of MDS in the Apcdel/+ MDS mouse model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoddart, Angela; Wang, Jianghong; Hu, Chunmei; Fernald, Anthony A; Davis, Elizabeth M; Cheng, Jason X; Le Beau, Michelle M

    2017-06-01

    There is accumulating evidence that functional alteration(s) of the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment contribute to the development of some myeloid disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In addition to a cell-intrinsic role of WNT activation in leukemia stem cells, WNT activation in the BM niche is also thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of MDS and AML. We previously showed that the Apc -haploinsufficient mice ( Apc del/+ ) model MDS induced by an aberrant BM microenvironment. We sought to determine whether Apc, a multifunctional protein and key negative regulator of the canonical β-catenin (Ctnnb1)/WNT-signaling pathway, mediates this disease through modulating WNT signaling, and whether inhibition of WNT signaling prevents the development of MDS in Apc del/+ mice. Here, we demonstrate that loss of 1 copy of Ctnnb1 is sufficient to prevent the development of MDS in Apc del/+ mice and that altered canonical WNT signaling in the microenvironment is responsible for the disease. Furthermore, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug pyrvinium delays and/or inhibits disease in Apc del /+ mice, even when it is administered after the presentation of anemia. Other groups have observed increased nuclear CTNNB1 in stromal cells from a high frequency of MDS/AML patients, a finding that together with our results highlights a potential new strategy for treating some myeloid disorders. © 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.

  9. Predicting fundamental and realized distributions based on thermal niche: A case study of a freshwater turtle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodrigues, João Fabrício Mota; Coelho, Marco Túlio Pacheco; Ribeiro, Bruno R.

    2018-04-01

    Species distribution models (SDM) have been broadly used in ecology to address theoretical and practical problems. Currently, there are two main approaches to generate SDMs: (i) correlative, which is based on species occurrences and environmental predictor layers and (ii) process-based models, which are constructed based on species' functional traits and physiological tolerances. The distributions estimated by each approach are based on different components of species niche. Predictions of correlative models approach species realized niches, while predictions of process-based are more akin to species fundamental niche. Here, we integrated the predictions of fundamental and realized distributions of the freshwater turtle Trachemys dorbigni. Fundamental distribution was estimated using data of T. dorbigni's egg incubation temperature, and realized distribution was estimated using species occurrence records. Both types of distributions were estimated using the same regression approaches (logistic regression and support vector machines), both considering macroclimatic and microclimatic temperatures. The realized distribution of T. dorbigni was generally nested in its fundamental distribution reinforcing theoretical assumptions that the species' realized niche is a subset of its fundamental niche. Both modelling algorithms produced similar results but microtemperature generated better results than macrotemperature for the incubation model. Finally, our results reinforce the conclusion that species realized distributions are constrained by other factors other than just thermal tolerances.

  10. Modeling ecological and economic systems with STELLA : Part III

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Costanza, Robert; Voinov, Alexey

    2001-01-01

    This special issue contains a group of eight modeling studies covering a range of ecological and economic systems and problems. The models were all developed using Stella®, an icon-based software package specifically designed for dynamic systems modeling. Models included in the special issue were

  11. UNTANGLING THE FUNGAL NICHE: A TRAIT-BASED APPROACH

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas W Crowther

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Fungi are prominent components of most terrestrial ecosystems, both in terms of biomass and ecosystem functioning, but the hyper-diverse nature of most communities has obscured the search for unifying principles governing community organization. In particular, unlike plants and animals, observational studies provide little evidence for the existence of niche processes in structuring fungal communities at broad spatial scales. This limits our capacity to predict how communities, and their functioning, vary across landscapes. We outline how a shift in focus, from taxonomy towards functional traits, might prove to be valuable in the search for general patterns in fungal ecology. We build on theoretical advances in plant and animal ecology to provide an empirical framework for a trait-based approach in fungal community ecology. Drawing upon specific characteristics of the fungal system, we highlight the significance of drought stress and combat in structuring free-living fungal communities. We propose a conceptual model to formalize how trade-offs between stress-tolerance and combative dominance are likely to organize communities across environmental gradients. Given that the survival of a fungus in a given environment is contingent on its ability to tolerate antagonistic competitors, measuring variation in combat trait expression along environmental gradients provides a means of elucidating realized, from fundamental niche spaces. We conclude that, using a trait-based understanding of how niche processes structure fungal communities across time and space, we can ultimately link communities with ecosystem functioning. Our trait-based framework highlights fundamental uncertainties that require testing in the fungal system, given their potential to uncover general mechanisms in fungal ecology.

  12. Delineating ecological boundaries of Hanuman langur species complex in peninsular India using MaxEnt modeling approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nag, Chetan; Chetan, Nag; Karanth, K Praveen; Praveen, Karanth K; Gururaja, Kotambylu Vasudeva; Vasudeva, Gururaja Kotambylu

    2014-01-01

    Hanuman langur is one of the widely distributed and extensively studied non-human diurnal primates in India. Until recently it was believed to be a single species - Semnopithecus entellus. Recent molecular and morphological studies suggest that the Hanuman langurs consists of at least three species S. entellus, S. hypoleucos and S. priam. Furthermore, morphological studies suggested that both S. hypoleucos and S. priam have at least three subspecies in each. We explored the use of ecological niche modeling (ENM) to confirm the validity of these seven taxa and an additional taxon S. johnii belonging to the same genus. MaxEnt modeling tool was used with 19 bioclimatic, 12 vegetation and 6 hydrological environmental layers. We reduced total environmental variables to 14 layers after testing for collinearity and an independent test for model prediction was done using ENMTools. A total of 196 non-overlapping data points from primary and secondary sources were used as inputs for ENM. Results showed eight distinct ecological boundaries, corroborating the eight taxa mentioned above thereby confirming validity of these eight taxa. The study, for the first time provided ecological variables that determined the ecological requirements and distribution of members of the Hanuman langur species complex in the Indian peninsula.

  13. Unveiling current Guanaco distribution in chile based upon niche structure of phylogeographic lineages: Andean puna to subpolar forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González, Benito A; Samaniego, Horacio; Marín, Juan Carlos; Estades, Cristián F

    2013-01-01

    Niche description and differentiation at broad geographic scales have been recent major topics in ecology and evolution. Describing the environmental niche structure of sister taxa with known evolutionary trajectories stands out as a useful exercise in understanding niche requirements. Here we model the environmental niche structure and distribution of the recently resolved phylogeography of guanaco (Lama guanicoe) lineages on the western slope of the southern Andes. Using a maximum entropy framework, field data, and information on climate, topography, human density, and vegetation cover, we identify differences between the two subspecies (L.g.cacsilensis, L.g.guanicoe) and their intermediate-hybrid lineage, that most likely determine the distribution of this species. While aridity seems to be a major factor influencing the distribution at the species-level (annual precipitation ecological and/or evolutionary processes are shaping the niche of guanacos in Chile, producing discrepancies when comparing range distribution at the species-level (81,756 km(2)) with lineages-level (65,321 km(2)). The subspecies-specific description of niche structure is provided here based upon detailed spatial distribution of the lineages of guanacos in Chile. Such description provides a scientific tool to further develop large scale plans for habitat conservation and preservation of intraspecific genetic variability for this far ranging South American camelid, which inhabits a diversity of ecoregion types from Andean puna to subpolar forests.

  14. Can you sequence ecology? Metagenomics of adaptive diversification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marx, Christopher J

    2013-01-01

    Few areas of science have benefited more from the expansion in sequencing capability than the study of microbial communities. Can sequence data, besides providing hypotheses of the functions the members possess, detect the evolutionary and ecological processes that are occurring? For example, can we determine if a species is adapting to one niche, or if it is diversifying into multiple specialists that inhabit distinct niches? Fortunately, adaptation of populations in the laboratory can serve as a model to test our ability to make such inferences about evolution and ecology from sequencing. Even adaptation to a single niche can give rise to complex temporal dynamics due to the transient presence of multiple competing lineages. If there are multiple niches, this complexity is augmented by segmentation of the population into multiple specialists that can each continue to evolve within their own niche. For a known example of parallel diversification that occurred in the laboratory, sequencing data gave surprisingly few obvious, unambiguous signs of the ecological complexity present. Whereas experimental systems are open to direct experimentation to test hypotheses of selection or ecological interaction, the difficulty in "seeing ecology" from sequencing for even such a simple system suggests translation to communities like the human microbiome will be quite challenging. This will require both improved empirical methods to enhance the depth and time resolution for the relevant polymorphisms and novel statistical approaches to rigorously examine time-series data for signs of various evolutionary and ecological phenomena within and between species.

  15. Introduction to Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling for Ecological Data

    CERN Document Server

    Parent, Eric

    2012-01-01

    Making statistical modeling and inference more accessible to ecologists and related scientists, Introduction to Hierarchical Bayesian Modeling for Ecological Data gives readers a flexible and effective framework to learn about complex ecological processes from various sources of data. It also helps readers get started on building their own statistical models. The text begins with simple models that progressively become more complex and realistic through explanatory covariates and intermediate hidden states variables. When fitting the models to data, the authors gradually present the concepts a

  16. Insights from ecological niche modeling on the taxonomic distinction and niche differentiation between the black-spotted and red-spotted tokay geckoes (Gekko gecko)

    OpenAIRE

    Zhang, Yueyun; Chen, Chongtao; Li, Li; Zhao, Chengjian; Chen, Weicai; Huang, Yong

    2014-01-01

    The black-spotted tokay and the red-spotted tokay are morphologically distinct and have largely allopatric distributions. The black-spotted tokay is characterized by a small body size and dark skin with sundry spots, while the red-spotted tokay has a relatively large body size and red spots. Based on morphological, karyotypic, genetic, and distribution differences, recent studies suggested their species status; however, their classifications remain controversial, and additional data such as e...

  17. Competition influence in the segregation of the trophic niche of otariids: a case study using isotopic Bayesian mixing models in Galapagos pinnipeds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Páez-Rosas, Diego; Rodríguez-Pérez, Mónica; Riofrío-Lazo, Marjorie

    2014-12-15

    The feeding success of predators is associated with the competition level for resources, and, thus, sympatric species are exposed to a potential trophic overlap. Isotopic Bayesian mixing models should provide a better understanding of the contribution of preys to the diet of predators and the feeding behavior of a species over time. The carbon and nitrogen isotopic signatures from pup hair samples of 93 Galapagos sea lions and 48 Galapagos fur seals collected between 2003 and 2009 in different regions (east and west) of the archipelago were analyzed. A PDZ Europa ANCA-GSL elemental analyzer interfaced with a PDZ Europa 20-20 continuous flow gas source mass spectrometer was employed. Bayesian models, SIAR and SIBER, were used to estimate the contribution of prey to the diet of predators, the niche breadth, and the trophic overlap level between the populations. Statistical differences in the isotopic values of both predators were observed over the time. The mixing model determined that Galapagos fur seals had a primarily teutophagous diet, whereas the Galapagos sea lions fed exclusively on fish in both regions of the archipelago. The SIBER analysis showed differences in the trophic niche between the two sea lion populations, with the western rookery of the Galapagos sea lion being the population with the largest trophic niche area. A trophic niche partitioning between Galapagos fur seals and Galapagos sea lions in the west of the archipelago is suggested by our results. At intraspecific level, the western population of the Galapagos sea lion (ZwW) showed higher trophic breadth than the eastern population, a strategy adopted by the ZwW to decrease the interspecific competition levels in the western region. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

  18. Progress and challenges in coupled hydrodynamic-ecological estuarine modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ganju, Neil K.; Brush, Mark J.; Rashleigh, Brenda; Aretxabaleta, Alfredo L.; del Barrio, Pilar; Grear, Jason S.; Harris, Lora A.; Lake, Samuel J.; McCardell, Grant; O'Donnell, James; Ralston, David K.; Signell, Richard P.; Testa, Jeremy; Vaudrey, Jamie M. P.

    2016-01-01

    Numerical modeling has emerged over the last several decades as a widely accepted tool for investigations in environmental sciences. In estuarine research, hydrodynamic and ecological models have moved along parallel tracks with regard to complexity, refinement, computational power, and incorporation of uncertainty. Coupled hydrodynamic-ecological models have been used to assess ecosystem processes and interactions, simulate future scenarios, and evaluate remedial actions in response to eutrophication, habitat loss, and freshwater diversion. The need to couple hydrodynamic and ecological models to address research and management questions is clear because dynamic feedbacks between biotic and physical processes are critical interactions within ecosystems. In this review, we present historical and modern perspectives on estuarine hydrodynamic and ecological modeling, consider model limitations, and address aspects of model linkage, skill assessment, and complexity. We discuss the balance between spatial and temporal resolution and present examples using different spatiotemporal scales. Finally, we recommend future lines of inquiry, approaches to balance complexity and uncertainty, and model transparency and utility. It is idealistic to think we can pursue a “theory of everything” for estuarine models, but recent advances suggest that models for both scientific investigations and management applications will continue to improve in terms of realism, precision, and accuracy.

  19. Re-establishing the pecking order: Niche models reliably predict suitable habitats for the reintroduction of red-billed oxpeckers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kalle, Riddhika; Combrink, Leigh; Ramesh, Tharmalingam; Downs, Colleen T

    2017-03-01

    Distributions of avian mutualists are affected by changes in biotic interactions and environmental conditions driven directly/indirectly by human actions. The range contraction of red-billed oxpeckers ( Buphagus erythrorhynchus ) in South Africa is partly a result of the widespread use of acaracides (i.e., mainly cattle dips), toxic to both ticks and oxpeckers. We predicted the habitat suitability of red-billed oxpeckers in South Africa using ensemble models to assist the ongoing reintroduction efforts and to identify new reintroduction sites for population recovery. The distribution of red-billed oxpeckers was influenced by moderate to high tree cover, woodland habitats, and starling density (a proxy for cavity-nesting birds) with regard to nest-site characteristics. Consumable resources (host and tick density), bioclimate, surface water body density, and proximity to protected areas were other influential predictors. Our models estimated 42,576.88-98,506.98 km 2 of highly suitable habitat (0.5-1) covering the majority of Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, a substantial portion of northern KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Gauteng Province. Niche models reliably predicted suitable habitat in 40%-61% of the reintroduction sites where breeding is currently successful. Ensemble, boosted regression trees and generalized additive models predicted few suitable areas in the Eastern Cape and south of KZN that are part of the historic range. A few southern areas in the Northern Cape, outside the historic range, also had suitable sites predicted. Our models are a promising decision support tool for guiding reintroduction programs at macroscales. Apart from active reintroductions, conservation programs should encourage farmers and/or landowners to use oxpecker-compatible agrochemicals and set up adequate nest boxes to facilitate the population recovery of the red-billed oxpecker, particularly in human-modified landscapes. To ensure long-term conservation success, we suggest that

  20. Guide for developing conceptual models for ecological risk assessments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Suter, G.W., II.

    1996-05-01

    Ecological conceptual models are the result of the problem formulation phase of an ecological risk assessment, which is an important component of the Remedial Investigation process. They present hypotheses of how the site contaminants might affect the site ecology. The contaminant sources, routes, media, routes, and endpoint receptors are presented in the form of a flow chart. This guide is for preparing the conceptual models; use of this guide will standardize the models so that they will be of high quality, useful to the assessment process, and sufficiently consistent so that connections between sources of exposure and receptors can be extended across operable units (OU). Generic conceptual models are presented for source, aquatic integrator, groundwater integrator, and terrestrial OUs

  1. From the ecological niche to the mass market with 'Green Power Marketing' - 1st European Conference on Green Power Marketing 2001

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    2001-01-01

    This report summarises the information presented at the European Conference on Green Power Marketing held in 2001 in St. Moritz, Switzerland. It takes a look at the market chances of ecologically produced electricity for use in Switzerland and for export. The opinions of experts from the areas of research, business, politics, marketing and non-governmental organisations that were presented at the meeting are summarised. European perspectives and trends in the USA are discussed and examples of green power marketing in the USA and Holland are given. Marketing issues and price policies are discussed, as are labelling strategies and customer perception of 'Green Power' issues. Also, sales issues including e-marketing, power-market rules and certificate trading are dealt with

  2. Evolution is a cooperative process: the biodiversity-related niches differentiation theory (BNDT) can explain why.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gatti, Roberto Cazzolla

    2011-01-01

    A. McFayden and G.E. Hutchinson defined a niche as a multidimensional space or hypervolume within the environment that allows an individual or a species to survive, we consider niches as a fundamental ecological variable that regulate species' composition and relation in ecosystems. Successively the niche concept has been associated to the genetic term "phenotype" by MacArthurstressing the importance on what a species or a genome can show outside, either in the environmental functions or in body characteristics. Several indexes have been developed to evaluate the grade of overlapping and similarities of species' niches, even utilizing the theory of information. However, which are the factors that determine the number of species that can coexist in a determinate environment and why a generalist species do not compete until the exclusion of the remaining species to maximize its fitness, is still quite unknown. Moreover, there are few studies and theories that clearly explain why the number of niches is so variable through ecosystems and how can several species live in the same basal niche, intended in a comprehensive sense as the range of basic conditions (temperature, humidity, food-guild, etc.). Here I show that the number of niches in an ecosystem depends on the number of species present in a particular moment and that the species themselves allow the enhancement of niches in terms of space and number. I found that using a three-dimensional model as hypervolume and testing the theory on a Mediterranean, temperate and tropical forest ecosystem it is possible to demonstrate that each species plays a fundamental role in facilitating the colonization by other species by simply modifying the environment and exponentially increasing the available niches' space and number. I resumed these hypothesis, after some preliminary empiric tests, in the Biodiversity-related Niches Differentiation Theory (BNDT), stressing with these definition that the process of niches

  3. Adding Value to Ecological Risk Assessment with Population Modeling

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Forbes, Valery E.; Calow, Peter; Grimm, Volker

    2011-01-01

    population models can provide a powerful basis for expressing ecological risks that better inform the environmental management process and thus that are more likely to be used by managers. Here we provide at least five reasons why population modeling should play an important role in bridging the gap between...

  4. Ecological model of the interprise danger of gas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sadygov, A.B.

    2009-01-01

    It has been looked into the basic problems for establishment of ecological model of the enterprise danger of gas. There have been established mathematical model in the base of equation of Novye-Stoks which consists of private reproductive second row differential equation system of three

  5. Individual-based modeling of ecological and evolutionary processes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    DeAngelis, D.L.; Mooij, W.M.

    2005-01-01

    Individual-based models (IBMs) allow the explicit inclusion of individual variation in greater detail than do classical differential and difference equation models. Inclusion of such variation is important for continued progress in ecological and evolutionary theory. We provide a conceptual basis

  6. Stress and adaptation : Toward ecologically relevant animal models

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koolhaas, Jaap M.; Boer, Sietse F. de; Buwalda, Bauke

    Animal models have contributed considerably to the current understanding of mechanisms underlying the role of stress in health and disease. Despite the progress made already, much more can be made by more carefully exploiting animals' and humans' shared biology, using ecologically relevant models.

  7. Multimodeling: new approaches for linking ecological models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gross, Louis J.; DeAngelis, Donald L.; Scott, J. Michael; Heglund, Patricia J.; Morrison, Michael L.

    2006-01-01

    The Everglades region of South Florida presents one of the major natural system management challenges facing the United States. With its assortment of alligators, crocodiles, manatees, panthers, large mixed flocks of wading birds, highly diverse subtropical flora, and sea of sawgrass, the ecosystem is unique in this country (Davis and Ogden 1994). The region is also perhaps the largest human-controlled system on the planet in that the major environmental factor influencing the region is water, and water flows are managed on a daily basis--subject to the vagaries of rainfall--by a massive system of locks, pumps, canals, and levees constructed over the past century. The changes brought about by such control have led to extensive modifications of historical patterns and magnitudes of flow, causing large declines in many native species, extensive changes in nutrient cycling and vegetation across south Florida, and great increases in pollutants such as mercury. Constrained by the conflicting demands of agriculture, urban human populations, and wildlife for control of water resources, and the varying agendas of hosts of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, there is now an ongoing effort to plan for major changes to the system with expenditure estimates of eight billion dollars or more over the next several decades (USACOE 1999). Carrying out such planning, particularly as it impacts the natural systems of the region, provides one of the major challenges to the new field of computational ecology.

  8. Phylogenetic signals in the climatic niches of the world's amphibians

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hof, Christian; Rahbek, Carsten; Araújo, Miguel B.

    2010-01-01

    amphibian orders and across biogeographical regions. To our knowledge, this is the first study providing a comprehensive analysis of the phylogenetic signal in species climatic niches for an entire clade across the world. Even though our results do not provide a strong test of the niche conservatism......The question of whether closely related species share similar ecological requirements has attracted increasing attention, because of its importance for understanding global diversity gradients and the impacts of climate change on species distributions. In fact, the assumption that related species...... are also ecologically similar has often been made, although the prevalence of such a phylogenetic signal in ecological niches remains heavily debated. Here, we provide a global analysis of phylogenetic niche relatedness for the world's amphibians. In particular, we assess which proportion of the variance...

  9. Niche construction drives social dependence in hermit crabs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laidre, Mark E

    2012-10-23

    Organisms can receive not only a genetic inheritance from their ancestors but also an ecological inheritance, involving modifications their ancestors made to the environment through niche construction. Ecological inheritances may persist as a legacy, potentially generating selection pressures that favor sociality. Yet, most proposed cases of sociality being impacted by an ecological inheritance come from organisms that live among close kin and were highly social before their niche construction began. Here, I show that in terrestrial hermit crabs (Coenobita compressus)--organisms that do not live with kin and reside alone, each in its own shell--niche-construction drives social dependence, such that individuals can only survive in remodeled shells handed down from conspecifics. These results suggest that niche construction can be an important initiator of evolutionary pressures to socialize, even among unrelated and otherwise asocial organisms. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Including Overweight or Obese Students in Physical Education: A Social Ecological Constraint Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Weidong; Rukavina, Paul

    2012-01-01

    In this review, we propose a social ecological constraint model to study inclusion of overweight or obese students in physical education by integrating key concepts and assumptions from ecological constraint theory in motor development and social ecological models in health promotion and behavior. The social ecological constraint model proposes…

  11. TRANSCRIPTOME ANALYSES REVEAL DIFFERENTIAL GENE EXPRESSION PATTERNS BETWEEN THE LIFE-CYCLE STAGES OF EMILIANIA HUXLEYI (HAPTOPHYTA) AND REFLECT SPECIALIZATION TO DIFFERENT ECOLOGICAL NICHES(1).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rokitta, Sebastian D; de Nooijer, Lennart J; Trimborn, Scarlett; de Vargas, Colomban; Rost, Björn; John, Uwe

    2011-08-01

    Coccolithophores, especially the abundant, cosmopolitan species Emiliania huxleyi (Lohmann) W. W. Hay et H. P. Mohler, are one of the main driving forces of the oceanic carbonate pump and contribute significantly to global carbon cycling, due to their ability to calcify. A recent study indicates that termination of diploid blooms by viral infection induces life-cycle transition, and speculation has arisen about the role of the haploid, noncalcifying stage in coccolithophore ecology. To explore gene expression patterns in both life-cycle stages, haploid and diploid cells of E. huxleyi (RCC 1217 and RCC 1216) were acclimated to limiting and saturating photon flux densities. Transcriptome analyses were performed to assess differential genomic expression related to different ploidy levels and acclimation light intensities. Analyses indicated that life-cycle stages exhibit different properties of regulating genome expression (e.g., pronounced gene activation and gene silencing in the diploid stage), proteome maintenance (e.g., increased turnover of proteins in the haploid stage), as well as metabolic processing (e.g., pronounced primary metabolism and motility in the haploid stage and calcification in the diploid stage). Furthermore, higher abundances of transcripts related to endocytotic and digestive machinery were observed in the diploid stage. A qualitative feeding experiment indicated that both life-cycle stages are capable of particle uptake (0.5 μm diameter) in late-stationary growth phase. Results showed that the two life-cycle stages represent functionally distinct entities that are evolutionarily shaped to thrive in the environment they typically inhabit. © 2011 Phycological Society of America.

  12. Integrated Spatio-Temporal Ecological Modeling System

    Science.gov (United States)

    1998-07-01

    models that we hold in our conscious (and subconscious ) minds. Chapter 3 explores how this approach is being augmented with the more formal capture...This approach makes it possible to add new simulation model components to I- STEMS without having to reprogram existing components. The steps required

  13. Individual-based modeling of ecological and evolutionary processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2005-01-01

    Individual-based models (IBMs) allow the explicit inclusion of individual variation in greater detail than do classical differential-equation and difference-equation models. Inclusion of such variation is important for continued progress in ecological and evolutionary theory. We provide a conceptual basis for IBMs by describing five major types of individual variation in IBMs: spatial, ontogenetic, phenotypic, cognitive, and genetic. IBMs are now used in almost all subfields of ecology and evolutionary biology. We map those subfields and look more closely at selected key papers on fish recruitment, forest dynamics, sympatric speciation, metapopulation dynamics, maintenance of diversity, and species conservation. Theorists are currently divided on whether IBMs represent only a practical tool for extending classical theory to more complex situations, or whether individual-based theory represents a radically new research program. We feel that the tension between these two poles of thinking can be a source of creativity in ecology and evolutionary theory.

  14. Herbarium-based studies on taxonomy, biogeography and ecology of Psilochilus (Orchidaceae)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kolanowska, Marta; Naczk, A. M.; Jaskuła, R.

    nov, č. 11 (2016), č. článku 2600. ISSN 2167-8359 Institutional support: RVO:67179843 Keywords : Biodiversity * Ecological niche modeling * Neotropic ecozone * New species * Phytogeography * Psilochilus * Species richness * Taxonomy Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 2.177, year: 2016

  15. Global qualitative analysis of a quartic ecological model

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Broer, Hendrik; Gaiko, Valery A.

    2010-01-01

    in this paper we complete the global qualitative analysis of a quartic ecological model. In particular, studying global bifurcations of singular points and limit cycles, we prove that the corresponding dynamical system has at most two limit cycles. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. On the specification of structural equation models for ecological systems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grace, James B.; Anderson, T. Michael; Olff, Han; Scheiner, Samuel M.

    The use of structural equation modeling (SEM) is often motivated by its utility for investigating complex networks of relationships, but also because of its promise as a means of representing theoretical Concepts using latent variables. In this paper, we discuss characteristics of ecological theory

  17. INTEGRATION OF AN ECONOMIC WITH AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL

    Science.gov (United States)

    We summarize our work on integration of an economy under imperfect competition with a simple Lotka-Volterra type ecological model. Firms and households operate within a single period planning horizon, thus there is no savings or investment. Wages are set by a dominant employer. P...

  18. HexSim: a modeling environment for ecology and conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    HexSim is a powerful and flexible new spatially-explicit, individual based modeling environment intended for use in ecology, conservation, genetics, epidemiology, toxicology, and other disciplines. We describe HexSim, illustrate past applications that contributed to our >10 year ...

  19. Environmental niche divergence among three dune shrub sister species with parapatric distributions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chozas, Sergio; Chefaoui, Rosa M; Correia, Otília; Bonal, Raúl; Hortal, Joaquín

    2017-05-01

    The geographical distributions of species are constrained by their ecological requirements. The aim of this work was to analyse the effects of environmental conditions, historical events and biogeographical constraints on the diversification of the three species of the western Mediterranean shrub genus Stauracanthus , which have a parapatric distribution in the Iberian Peninsula. Ecological niche factor analysis and generalized linear models were used to measure the response of all Stauracanthus species to the environmental gradients and map their potential distributions in the Iberian Peninsula. The bioclimatic niche overlap between the three species was determined by using Schoener's index. The genetic differentiation of the Iberian and northern African populations of Stauracanthus species was characterized with GenalEx. The effects on genetic distances of the most important environmental drivers were assessed through Mantel tests and non-metric multidimensional scaling. The three Stauracanthus species show remarkably similar responses to climatic conditions. This supports the idea that all members of this recently diversified clade retain common adaptations to climate and consequently high levels of climatic niche overlap. This contrasts with the diverse edaphic requirements of Stauracanthus species. The populations of the S. genistoides-spectabilis clade grow on Miocene and Pliocene fine-textured sedimentary soils, whereas S. boivinii , the more genetically distant species, occurs on older and more coarse-textured sedimentary substrates. These patterns of diversification are largely consistent with a stochastic process of geographical range expansion and fragmentation coupled with niche evolution in the context of spatially complex environmental fluctuations. : The combined analysis of the distribution, realized environmental niche and phylogeographical relationships of parapatric species proposed in this work allows integration of the biogeographical

  20. Niche restriction and conservatism in a neotropical psittacine: the case of the Puerto Rican parrot

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, Thomas H.; Collazo, Jaime A.; Dinsmore, Stephen J.; Llerandi-Roman, I. C.

    2014-01-01

    The factors which govern species‘ distribution and abundance are myriad, and together constitute the ecological niche of a given species. Because abiotic factors are arguably the most profound of the factors influencing niche boundaries and thus, species distributions, substantial changes in either climatic or habitat-related parameters can be expected to produce interrelated and profound niche shifts. Habitat loss and degradation can also effectively induce a de facto climate change by forcing populations to relocate to environmentally suboptimal habitats. Populations experiencing niche shifts due to range restrictions and geographic isolation become subject to a suite of factors that may act synergistically to amplify deleterious ecological effects of habitat loss. These factors tend to exert a greater influence on populations of rare or endemic species with inherently restricted ranges. The Puerto Rican parrot (Amazona vittata) is an example of a tropical, insular, endemic and critically-endangered species that has suffered from extensive habitat loss and degradation over the past century, resulting in a single relict wild population restricted for more than 70 years to the montane rainforest of the Luquillo Mountains in northeastern Puerto Rico. In this chapter, we examine the current ecological situation of this geographically and demographically isolated parrot population by reviewing the history of landscape-level changes in and around the Luquillo Mountains, and concurrent biotic and abiotic limiting factors in relation to both historical population trajectory and current prognosis for species recovery. We used a decade (2000-2009) of empirical data on parrot fledgling survival together with long-term climatological data to model effects of local climate on fledgling survival and gain insights into its influence on population growth. We also modeled hypothetical survival of parrot fledglings in the lowlands surrounding the Luquillo Mountains, areas

  1. Mapping the ecological dimensions and potential distributions of endangered relic shrubs in western Ordos biodiversity center.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhu, Geng-Ping; Li, Hui-Qi; Zhao, Li; Man, Liang; Liu, Qiang

    2016-05-20

    Potential distributions of endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos were poorly mapped, which hindered our implementation of proper conservation. Here we investigated the applicability of ecological niche modeling for endangered relic shrubs to detect areas of priority for biodiversity conservation and analyze differences in ecological niche spaces used by relic shrubs. We applied ordination and niche modeling techniques to assess main environmental drivers of five endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos, namely, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus, Amygdalus mongolica, Helianthemum songaricum, Potaninia mongolica, and Tetraena mongolica. We calculated niche overlap metrics in gridded environmental spaces and compared geographical projections of ecological niches to determine similarities and differences of niches occupied by relic shrubs. All studied taxa presented different responses to environmental factors, which resulted in a unique combination of niche conditions. Precipitation availability and soil quality characteristics play important roles in the distributions of most shrubs. Each relic shrub is constrained by a unique set of environmental conditions, the distribution of one species cannot be implied by the distribution of another, highlighting the inadequacy of one-fits-all type of conservation measure. Our stacked habitat suitability maps revealed regions around Yellow River, which are highly suitable for most species, thereby providing high conservation value.

  2. Putting the "ecology" into environmental flows: ecological dynamics and demographic modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shenton, Will; Bond, Nicholas R; Yen, Jian D L; Mac Nally, Ralph

    2012-07-01

    There have been significant diversions of water from rivers and streams around the world; natural flow regimes have been perturbed by dams, barriers and excessive extractions. Many aspects of the ecological 'health' of riverine systems have declined due to changes in water flows, which has stimulated the development of thinking about the maintenance and restoration of these systems, which we refer to as environmental flow methodologies (EFMs). Most existing EFMs cannot deliver information on the population viability of species because they: (1) use habitat suitability as a proxy for population status; (2) use historical time series (usually of short duration) to forecast future conditions and flow sequences; (3) cannot, or do not, handle extreme flow events associated with climate variability; and (4) assume process stationarity for flow sequences, which means the past sequences are treated as good indicators of the future. These assumptions undermine the capacity of EFMs to properly represent risks associated with different flow management options; assumption (4) is untenable given most climate-change predictions. We discuss these concerns and advocate the use of demographic modelling as a more appropriate tool for linking population dynamics to flow regime change. A 'meta-species' approach to demographic modelling is discussed as a useful step from habitat based models towards modelling strategies grounded in ecological theory when limited data are available on flow-demographic relationships. Data requirements of demographic models will undoubtedly expose gaps in existing knowledge, but, in so doing, will strengthen future efforts to link changes in river flows with their ecological consequences.

  3. Putting the "Ecology" into Environmental Flows: Ecological Dynamics and Demographic Modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shenton, Will; Bond, Nicholas R.; Yen, Jian D. L.; Mac Nally, Ralph

    2012-07-01

    There have been significant diversions of water from rivers and streams around the world; natural flow regimes have been perturbed by dams, barriers and excessive extractions. Many aspects of the ecological `health' of riverine systems have declined due to changes in water flows, which has stimulated the development of thinking about the maintenance and restoration of these systems, which we refer to as environmental flow methodologies (EFMs). Most existing EFMs cannot deliver information on the population viability of species because they: (1) use habitat suitability as a proxy for population status; (2) use historical time series (usually of short duration) to forecast future conditions and flow sequences; (3) cannot, or do not, handle extreme flow events associated with climate variability; and (4) assume process stationarity for flow sequences, which means the past sequences are treated as good indicators of the future. These assumptions undermine the capacity of EFMs to properly represent risks associated with different flow management options; assumption (4) is untenable given most climate-change predictions. We discuss these concerns and advocate the use of demographic modelling as a more appropriate tool for linking population dynamics to flow regime change. A `meta-species' approach to demographic modelling is discussed as a useful step from habitat based models towards modelling strategies grounded in ecological theory when limited data are available on flow-demographic relationships. Data requirements of demographic models will undoubtedly expose gaps in existing knowledge, but, in so doing, will strengthen future efforts to link changes in river flows with their ecological consequences.

  4. From GenBank to GBIF: Phylogeny-Based Predictive Niche Modeling Tests Accuracy of Taxonomic Identifications in Large Occurrence Data Repositories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, B Eugene; Johnston, Mark K; Lücking, Robert

    2016-01-01

    Accuracy of taxonomic identifications is crucial to data quality in online repositories of species occurrence data, such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), which have accumulated several hundred million records over the past 15 years. These data serve as basis for large scale analyses of macroecological and biogeographic patterns and to document environmental changes over time. However, taxonomic identifications are often unreliable, especially for non-vascular plants and fungi including lichens, which may lack critical revisions of voucher specimens. Due to the scale of the problem, restudy of millions of collections is unrealistic and other strategies are needed. Here we propose to use verified, georeferenced occurrence data of a given species to apply predictive niche modeling that can then be used to evaluate unverified occurrences of that species. Selecting the charismatic lichen fungus, Usnea longissima, as a case study, we used georeferenced occurrence records based on sequenced specimens to model its predicted niche. Our results suggest that the target species is largely restricted to a narrow range of boreal and temperate forest in the Northern Hemisphere and that occurrence records in GBIF from tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere do not represent this taxon, a prediction tested by comparison with taxonomic revisions of Usnea for these regions. As a novel approach, we employed Principal Component Analysis on the environmental grid data used for predictive modeling to visualize potential ecogeographical barriers for the target species; we found that tropical regions conform a strong barrier, explaining why potential niches in the Southern Hemisphere were not colonized by Usnea longissima and instead by morphologically similar species. This approach is an example of how data from two of the most important biodiversity repositories, GenBank and GBIF, can be effectively combined to remotely address the problem of inaccuracy of

  5. Niche dimensions in fishes: an integrative view.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pörtner, H O; Schulte, P M; Wood, C M; Schiemer, F

    2010-01-01

    Current shifts in ecosystem composition and function emphasize the need for an understanding of the links between environmental factors and organism fitness and tolerance. The examples discussed here illustrate how recent progress in the field of comparative physiology may provide a better mechanistic understanding of the ecological concepts of the fundamental and realized niches and thus provide insights into the impacts of anthropogenic disturbance. Here we argue that, as a link between physiological and ecological indicators of organismal performance, the mechanisms shaping aerobic scope and passive tolerance set the dimensions of an animal's niche, here defined as its capacity to survive, grow, behave, and interact with other species. We demonstrate how comparative studies of cod or killifish populations in a latitudinal cline have unraveled mitochondrial mechanisms involved in establishing a species' niche, performance, and energy budget. Riverine fish exemplify how the performance windows of various developmental stages follow the dynamic regimes of both seasonal temperatures and river hydrodynamics, as synergistic challenges. Finally, studies of species in extreme environments, such as the tilapia of Lake Magadi, illustrate how on evolutionary timescales functional and morphological shifts can occur, associated with new specializations. We conclude that research on the processes and time course of adaptations suitable to overcome current niche limits is urgently needed to assess the resilience of species and ecosystems to human impact, including the challenges of global climate change.

  6. Change of niche in guanaco (Lama guanicoe: the effects of climate change on habitat suitability and lineage conservatism in Chile

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea G. Castillo

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available Background The main goal of this contribution was to define the ecological niche of the guanaco (Lama guanicoe, to describe potential distributional changes, and to assess the relative importance of niche conservatism and divergence processes between the two lineages described for the species (L.g. cacsilensis and L.g. guanicoe. Methods We used maximum entropy to model lineage’s climate niche from 3,321 locations throughout continental Chile, and developed future niche models under climate change for two extreme greenhouse gas emission scenarios (RCP2.6 and RCP8.5. We evaluated changes of the environmental niche and future distribution of the largest mammal in the Southern Cone of South America. Evaluation of niche conservatism and divergence were based on identity and background similarity tests. Results We show that: (a the current geographic distribution of lineages is associated with different climatic requirements that are related to the geographic areas where these lineages are located; (b future distribution models predict a decrease in the distribution surface under both scenarios; (c a 3% decrease of areal protection is expected if the current distribution of protected areas is maintained, and this is expected to occur at the expense of a large reduction of high quality habitats under the best scenario; (d current and future distribution ranges of guanaco mostly adhere to phylogenetic niche divergence hypotheses between lineages. Discussion Associating environmental variables with species ecological niche seems to be an important aspect of unveiling the particularities of, both evolutionary patterns and ecological features that species face in a changing environment. We report specific descriptions of how these patterns may play out under the most extreme climate change predictions and provide a grim outlook of the future potential distribution of guanaco in Chile. From an ecological perspective, while a slightly smaller distribution

  7. Contemporary Ecological Interactions Improve Models of Past Trait Evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hutchinson, Matthew C; Gaiarsa, Marília P; Stouffer, Daniel B

    2018-02-20

    Despite the fact that natural selection underlies both traits and interactions, evolutionary models often neglect that ecological interactions may, and in many cases do, influence the evolution of traits. Here, we explore the interdependence of ecological interactions and functional traits in the pollination associations of hawkmoths and flowering plants. Specifically, we develop an adaptation of the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck model of trait evolution that allows us to study the influence of plant corolla depth and observed hawkmoth-plant interactions on the evolution of hawkmoth proboscis length. Across diverse modelling scenarios, we find that the inclusion of contemporary interactions can provide a better description of trait evolution than the null expectation. Moreover, we show that the pollination interactions provide more-likely models of hawkmoth trait evolution when interactions are considered at increasingly finescale groups of hawkmoths. Finally, we demonstrate how the results of best-fit modelling approaches can implicitly support the association between interactions and trait evolution that our method explicitly examines. In showing that contemporary interactions can provide insight into the historical evolution of hawkmoth proboscis length, we demonstrate the clear utility of incorporating additional ecological information to models designed to study past trait evolution.

  8. Ecophysiology Tracks Phylogeny and Meets Ecological Models in an Iberian Gecko.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rato, C; Carretero, M A

    2015-01-01

    Because fitness of ectotherms, including reptiles, is highly dependent on temperature and water availability, the study of ecophysiological traits, such as preferred temperature (T p) and water loss rates (WLRs), may provide mechanistic evidence on the restricting factors to the species ranges. The Moorish gecko, Tarentola mauritanica, is a species complex with a circum-Mediterranean distribution. In the Iberian Peninsula, two sister parapatric forms of the complex, known as the Iberian and the European clades, are found. Ecological models previously performed using presence records and bioclimatic variables suggest niche divergence between both lineages correlated with precipitation rather than with temperature. In this study, we test this correlative hypothesis using ecophysiological evidence. In the laboratory, we analyzed the T p and WLRs for 84 adult males from seven distinct populations ascribed to one of the two lineages present in Iberia. Specifically, we evaluated the existence of trait conservatism versus adaptation among populations, lineages, or both. In addition, we tested for a trade-off between water and thermal traits and assessed whether climate regime of sampling localities had any influence on the ecophysiological patterns found. We found that T p is quite conserved at both the population and lineage levels and independent from body size. In contrast, water loss experiments revealed some variation among populations, but the regression analysis failed to detect correlation between T p and WLR at any level. Overall, the European lineage displayed a trend for higher water loss and was more diverse among populations when compared with the Iberian lineage. The lack of correspondence between ecophysiological traits and local climatic conditions favors phylogenetic signal versus adaptation. This suggests divergent evolutionary responses to the environment, mainly acting on water ecology, in both lineages, which may account for the differences in their

  9. Building Better Ecological Machines: Complexity Theory and Alternative Economic Models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jess Bier

    2016-12-01

    Full Text Available Computer models of the economy are regularly used to predict economic phenomena and set financial policy. However, the conventional macroeconomic models are currently being reimagined after they failed to foresee the current economic crisis, the outlines of which began to be understood only in 2007-2008. In this article we analyze the most prominent of this reimagining: Agent-Based models (ABMs. ABMs are an influential alternative to standard economic models, and they are one focus of complexity theory, a discipline that is a more open successor to the conventional chaos and fractal modeling of the 1990s. The modelers who create ABMs claim that their models depict markets as ecologies, and that they are more responsive than conventional models that depict markets as machines. We challenge this presentation, arguing instead that recent modeling efforts amount to the creation of models as ecological machines. Our paper aims to contribute to an understanding of the organizing metaphors of macroeconomic models, which we argue is relevant conceptually and politically, e.g., when models are used for regulatory purposes.

  10. Dynamic complexities in a parasitoid-host-parasitoid ecological model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yu Hengguo; Zhao Min; Lv Songjuan; Zhu Lili

    2009-01-01

    Chaotic dynamics have been observed in a wide range of population models. In this study, the complex dynamics in a discrete-time ecological model of parasitoid-host-parasitoid are presented. The model shows that the superiority coefficient not only stabilizes the dynamics, but may strongly destabilize them as well. Many forms of complex dynamics were observed, including pitchfork bifurcation with quasi-periodicity, period-doubling cascade, chaotic crisis, chaotic bands with narrow or wide periodic window, intermittent chaos, and supertransient behavior. Furthermore, computation of the largest Lyapunov exponent demonstrated the chaotic dynamic behavior of the model

  11. Dynamic complexities in a parasitoid-host-parasitoid ecological model

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yu Hengguo [School of Mathematic and Information Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035 (China); Zhao Min [School of Life and Environmental Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325027 (China)], E-mail: zmcn@tom.com; Lv Songjuan; Zhu Lili [School of Mathematic and Information Science, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou, Zhejiang 325035 (China)

    2009-01-15

    Chaotic dynamics have been observed in a wide range of population models. In this study, the complex dynamics in a discrete-time ecological model of parasitoid-host-parasitoid are presented. The model shows that the superiority coefficient not only stabilizes the dynamics, but may strongly destabilize them as well. Many forms of complex dynamics were observed, including pitchfork bifurcation with quasi-periodicity, period-doubling cascade, chaotic crisis, chaotic bands with narrow or wide periodic window, intermittent chaos, and supertransient behavior. Furthermore, computation of the largest Lyapunov exponent demonstrated the chaotic dynamic behavior of the model.

  12. Exploring the isotopic niche: isotopic variance, physiological incorporation, and the temporal dynamics of foraging

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Justin Douglas Yeakel

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Consumer foraging behaviors are dynamic, changing in response to prey availability, seasonality, competition, and even the consumer's physiological state. The isotopic composition of a consumer is a product of these factors as well as the isotopic `landscape' of its prey, i.e. the isotopic mixing space. Stable isotope mixing models are used to back-calculate the most likely proportional contribution of a set of prey to a consumer's diet based on their respective isotopic distributions, however they are disconnected from ecological process. Here we build a mechanistic framework that links the ecological and physiological processes of an individual consumer to the isotopic distribution that describes its diet, and ultimately to the isotopic composition of its own tissues, defined as its `isotopic niche’. By coupling these processes, we systematically investigate under what conditions the isotopic niche of a consumer changes as a function of both the geometric properties of its mixing space and foraging strategies that may be static or dynamic over time. Results of our derivations reveal general insight into the conditions impacting isotopic niche width as a function of consumer specialization on prey, as well as the consumer's ability to transition between diets over time. We show analytically that moderate specialization on isotopically unique prey can serve to maximize a consumer's isotopic niche width, while temporally dynamic diets will tend to result in peak isotopic variance during dietary transitions. We demonstrate the relevance of our theoretical findings by examining a marine system composed of nine invertebrate species commonly consumed by sea otters. In general, our analytical framework highlights the complex interplay of mixing space geometry and consumer dietary behavior in driving expansion and contraction of the isotopic niche. Because this approach is established on ecological mechanism, it is well-suited for enhancing the

  13. The shared preference niche of sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in a tropical forest mosaic.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steinmetz, Robert; Garshelis, David L; Chutipong, Wanlop; Seuaturien, Naret

    2011-01-20

    Ecologically similar species often coexist by partitioning use of habitats or resources. Such partitioning can occur through divergent or shared niches. We investigated overlap in habitat use and spatial co-occurrence by sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in three habitats in Thailand, and thereby assessed which niche model best accounts for their coexistence. We used density of species-specific signs to assess habitat use. Signs of both bear species occurred in all three habitats, and on >60% of sampling transects. Both species fed mostly on fruit; insect feeding signs were uncommon, and were mostly from sun bears. Significant differences in habitat use occurred only in montane forest, the habitat in which fruit was most abundant; incidence of black bear sign there was six times higher than that of sun bears. Habitat use was similar between the two species in the other habitats, which comprised 85% of the area. Of 10 habitat attributes examined, fruiting tree density was the best predictor of occurrence for both species. Models that included interspecific competition (fresh foraging activity of the other species) were less supported than the top models without competition. Bear species co-occurrence at both coarse and fine spatial scales and use of the same resources (fruit trees) indicated common niche preferences. However, their habitat use differed in ways expected from their physical differences: larger black bears dominated in the most fruit-rich habitat, and smaller sun bears used less-preferred insects. These results indicate broadly overlapping fundamental niches combined with asymmetric competition-features consistent with the concept of shared preference niches. This model of the niche has received little attention in ecology, but appears to be relatively common in nature.

  14. The shared preference niche of sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in a tropical forest mosaic.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert Steinmetz

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Ecologically similar species often coexist by partitioning use of habitats or resources. Such partitioning can occur through divergent or shared niches. We investigated overlap in habitat use and spatial co-occurrence by sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in three habitats in Thailand, and thereby assessed which niche model best accounts for their coexistence.We used density of species-specific signs to assess habitat use. Signs of both bear species occurred in all three habitats, and on >60% of sampling transects. Both species fed mostly on fruit; insect feeding signs were uncommon, and were mostly from sun bears. Significant differences in habitat use occurred only in montane forest, the habitat in which fruit was most abundant; incidence of black bear sign there was six times higher than that of sun bears. Habitat use was similar between the two species in the other habitats, which comprised 85% of the area. Of 10 habitat attributes examined, fruiting tree density was the best predictor of occurrence for both species. Models that included interspecific competition (fresh foraging activity of the other species were less supported than the top models without competition.Bear species co-occurrence at both coarse and fine spatial scales and use of the same resources (fruit trees indicated common niche preferences. However, their habitat use differed in ways expected from their physical differences: larger black bears dominated in the most fruit-rich habitat, and smaller sun bears used less-preferred insects. These results indicate broadly overlapping fundamental niches combined with asymmetric competition-features consistent with the concept of shared preference niches. This model of the niche has received little attention in ecology, but appears to be relatively common in nature.

  15. Cognitive Comparisons of Students' Systems Modeling in Ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogan, Kathleen; Thomas, David

    2001-12-01

    This study examined the cognition of five pairs of high school students over time as they built quantitative ecological models using STELLA software. One pair of students emerged as being particularly proficient at learning to model, and was able to use models productively to explore and explain ecological system behaviors. We present detailed contrasts between this and the other pairs of students' cognitive behaviors while modeling, in three areas that were crucial to their modeling productivity: (a) focusing on model output and net interactions versus on model input and individual relationships when building and revising models, (b) exploring the nature and implications of dependencies and feedbacks versus just creating these as properties of complex systems, and (c) using variables versus constants to represent continuous and periodic functions. We then apply theories of the multifaceted nature of cognition to describe object-level, metalevel, and emotional dimensions of cognitive performance that help to explain the observed differences among students' approaches to STELLA modeling. Finally, we suggest pedagogical strategies for supporting all types of students in learning the central scientific practice of model-based quantitative thinking.

  16. Integrating models with data in ecology and palaeoecology: advances towards a model-data fusion approach.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peng, Changhui; Guiot, Joel; Wu, Haibin; Jiang, Hong; Luo, Yiqi

    2011-05-01

    It is increasingly being recognized that global ecological research requires novel methods and strategies in which to combine process-based ecological models and data in cohesive, systematic ways. Model-data fusion (MDF) is an emerging area of research in ecology and palaeoecology. It provides a new quantitative approach that offers a high level of empirical constraint over model predictions based on observations using inverse modelling and data assimilation (DA) techniques. Increasing demands to integrate model and data methods in the past decade has led to MDF utilization in palaeoecology, ecology and earth system sciences. This paper reviews key features and principles of MDF and highlights different approaches with regards to DA. After providing a critical evaluation of the numerous benefits of MDF and its current applications in palaeoecology (i.e., palaeoclimatic reconstruction, palaeovegetation and palaeocarbon storage) and ecology (i.e. parameter and uncertainty estimation, model error identification, remote sensing and ecological forecasting), the paper discusses method limitations, current challenges and future research direction. In the ongoing data-rich era of today's world, MDF could become an important diagnostic and prognostic tool in which to improve our understanding of ecological processes while testing ecological theory and hypotheses and forecasting changes in ecosystem structure, function and services. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  17. Using niche-modelling and species-specific cost analyses to determine a multispecies corridor in a fragmented landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zurano, Juan Pablo; Selleski, Nicole; Schneider, Rosio G.

    2017-01-01

    Misiones, Argentina, contains the largest remaining tract of Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest ecoregion; however, ~50% of native forest is unprotected and located in a mosaic of plantations, agriculture, and pastures. Existing protected areas are becoming increasingly isolated due to ongoing habitat modification. These factors, combined with lower than expected regional carnivore densities, emphasize the need to understand the effect of fragmentation on animal movement and connectivity between protected areas. Using detection dogs and genetic analyses of scat, we collected data on jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), ocelots (Leopardus pardalis), oncillas (Leopardus tigrinus), and bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) across habitats that varied in vegetation, disturbance, human proximity, and protective status. With MaxEnt we evaluated habitat use, habitat suitability, and potential species richness for the five carnivores across northern-central Misiones, Argentina. Through a multifaceted cost analysis that included unique requirements of each carnivore and varying degrees of overlap among them, we determined the optimal location for primary/secondary corridors that would link the northern-central zones of the Green Corridor in Misiones and identified areas within these corridors needing priority management. A secondary analysis, comparing these multispecies corridors with the jaguar’s unique requirements, demonstrated that this multispecies approach balanced the preferences of all five species and effectively captured areas required by this highly restricted and endangered carnivore. We emphasize the potential importance of expanding beyond a single umbrella or focal species when developing biological corridors that aim to capture the varied ecological requirements of coexisting species and ecological processes across the landscape. Detection dogs and genetic analyses of scat allow data on multiple species to be collected efficiently across multiple habitat

  18. Hanging drop cultures of human testis and testis cancer samples: a model used to investigate activin treatment effects in a preserved niche.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jørgensen, A; Young, J; Nielsen, J E; Joensen, U N; Toft, B G; Rajpert-De Meyts, E; Loveland, K L

    2014-05-13

    Testicular germ cell tumours of young adults, seminoma or non-seminomas, are preceded by a pre-invasive precursor, carcinoma in situ (CIS), understood to arise through differentiation arrest of embryonic germ cells. Knowledge about the malignant transformation of germ cells is currently limited by the lack of experimental models. The aim of this study was to establish an experimental tissue culture model to maintain normal and malignant germ cells within their niche and allow investigation of treatment effects. Human testis and testis cancer specimens from orchidectomies were cultured in 'hanging drops' and effects of activin A and follistatin treatment were investigated in seminoma cultures. Testis fragments with normal spermatogenesis or CIS cells were cultured for 14 days with sustained proliferation of germ cells and CIS cells and without increased apoptosis. Seminoma cultures survived 7 days, with proliferating cells detectable during the first 5 days. Activin A treatment significantly reduced KIT transcript and protein levels in seminoma cultures, thereby demonstrating a specific treatment response. Hanging drop cultures of human testis and testis cancer samples can be employed to delineate mechanisms governing growth of normal, CIS and tumorigenic germ cells retained within their niche.

  19. Assessing ecological sustainability in urban planning - EcoBalance model

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wahlgren, I., Email: irmeli.wahlgren@vtt.fi

    2012-06-15

    Urban planning solutions and decisions have large-scale significance for ecological sustainability (eco-efficiency) the consumption of energy and other natural resources, the production of greenhouse gas and other emissions and the costs caused by urban form. Climate change brings new and growing challenges for urban planning. The EcoBalance model was developed to assess the sustainability of urban form and has been applied at various planning levels: regional plans, local master plans and detailed plans. The EcoBalance model estimates the total consumption of energy and other natural resources, the production of emissions and wastes and the costs caused directly and indirectly by urban form on a life cycle basis. The results of the case studies provide information about the ecological impacts of various solutions in urban development. (orig.)

  20. Assessing the accuracy and stability of variable selection methods for random forest modeling in ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Random forest (RF) modeling has emerged as an important statistical learning method in ecology due to its exceptional predictive performance. However, for large and complex ecological datasets there is limited guidance on variable selection methods for RF modeling. Typically, e...

  1. Plant stem cell niches.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahl, Yvonne; Simon, Rüdiger

    2005-01-01

    Stem cells are required to support the indeterminate growth style of plants. Meristems are a plants stem cell niches that foster stem cell survival and the production of descendants destined for differentiation. In shoot meristems, stem cell fate is decided at the populational level. The size of the stem cell domain at the meristem tip depends on signals that are exchanged with cells of the organizing centre underneath. In root meristems, individual stem cells are controlled by direct interaction with cells of the quiescent centre that lie in the immediate neighbourhood. Analysis of the interactions and signaling processes in the stem cell niches has delivered some insights into the molecules that are involved and revealed that the two major niches for plant stem cells are more similar than anticipated.

  2. Microbial Ecology and Evolution in the Acid Mine Drainage Model System.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huang, Li-Nan; Kuang, Jia-Liang; Shu, Wen-Sheng

    2016-07-01

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a unique ecological niche for acid- and toxic-metals-adapted microorganisms. These low-complexity systems offer a special opportunity for the ecological and evolutionary analyses of natural microbial assemblages. The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented interest in the study of AMD communities using 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing and community genomic and postgenomic methodologies, significantly advancing our understanding of microbial diversity, community function, and evolution in acidic environments. This review describes new data on AMD microbial ecology and evolution, especially dynamics of microbial diversity, community functions, and population genomes, and further identifies gaps in our current knowledge that future research, with integrated applications of meta-omics technologies, will fill. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  3. Modeling Forest Succession among Ecological Land Units in Northern Minnesota

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    George Host

    1998-12-01

    Full Text Available Field and modeling studies were used to quantify potential successional pathways among fine-scale ecological classification units within two geomorphic regions of north-central Minnesota. Soil and overstory data were collected on plots stratified across low-relief ground moraines and undulating sand dunes. Each geomorphic feature was sampled across gradients of topography or soil texture. Overstory conditions were sampled using five variable-radius point samples per plot; soil samples were analyzed for carbon and nitrogen content. Climatic, forest composition, and soil data were used to parameterize the sample plots for use with LINKAGES, a forest growth model that simulates changes in composition and soil characteristics over time. Forest composition and soil properties varied within and among geomorphic features. LINKAGES simulations were using "bare ground" and the current overstory as starting conditions. Northern hardwoods or pines dominated the late-successional communities of morainal and dune landforms, respectively. The morainal landforms were dominated by yellow birch and sugar maple; yellow birch reached its maximum abundance in intermediate landscape positions. On the dune sites, pine was most abundant in drier landscape positions, with white spruce increasing in abundance with increasing soil moisture and N content. The differences in measured soil properties and predicted late-successional composition indicate that ecological land units incorporate some of the key variables that govern forest composition and structure. They further show the value of ecological classification and modeling for developing forest management strategies that incorporate the spatial and temporal dynamics of forest ecosystems.

  4. Ecological niche modeling as a new paradigm for large-scale investigations of diversity and distribution of birds

    Science.gov (United States)

    A. Townsend Peterson; Daniel A. Kluza

    2005-01-01

    Large-scale assessments of the distribution and diversity of birds have been challenged by the need for a robust methodology for summarizing or predicting species' geographic distributions (e.g. Beard et al. 1999, Manel et al. 1999, Saveraid et al. 2001). Methodologies used in such studies have at times been inappropriate, or even more frequently limited in their...

  5. ECOLOGICAL MODELING OF LOCUSTA MIGRATORIA L. BREEDING CONDITIONS IN SOUTH-EASTERN KAZAKHSTAN

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. V. Malakhov

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available Background. The method of ecological niche modeling (ENM was applied to reconstruct the nesting conditions of one of the most widely-known pest species, Locusta migratoria asiatica, with a focus of nesting in Balkhash-Alakol basin. The ENM uses a set of input environmental variables to analyze and select the key factors from the entire input set. The key factors are the climatic variables which define the wellbeing of an organism; and the range of these variables may be calculated with statistical and GIS approaches. Materials and methods. The method of ENM used in current paper is referred to as “presence-only” since it utilizes the known localities of the animal (in our study, egg-clutches to develop a model. The model outlines the area where the successful development of locust egg-boxes is most probable, rather than the actual nesting area. Further analysis of the identified key variables allows definition of the most vulnerable stages of the locust life-cycle. Results. The most important factors, influencing the development of the locust over its life-cycle, are: the ambient air temperature; the temperature of the soil during the cold season of the year; and soil moisture. The locust is an ectotherm organism, which has a restricted ability to regulate its body temperature; and the ambient temperature thus serves as a major factor affecting the animal’s behavior. Wintering egg-boxes are immobile and face even more environmental challenges than nymphs or adults do. The soil temperature may not depend upon a single variable, like the air temperature, but is a function of the complex relationship between the thermal properties of the air and soil. The process of the energy flux between soil and atmosphere incudes many factors, particularly related to soil-moisture content and the physical properties of the soil. The analysis of key variables should not be performed without an understanding of the complex relationships between the abiotic

  6. On the specification of structural equation models for ecological systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grace, J.B.; Michael, Anderson T.; Han, O.; Scheiner, S.M.

    2010-01-01

    The use of structural equation modeling (SEM) is often motivated by its utility for investigating complex networks of relationships, but also because of its promise as a means of representing theoretical concepts using latent variables. In this paper, we discuss characteristics of ecological theory and some of the challenges for proper specification of theoretical ideas in structural equation models (SE models). In our presentation, we describe some of the requirements for classical latent variable models in which observed variables (indicators) are interpreted as the effects of underlying causes. We also describe alternative model specifications in which indicators are interpreted as having causal influences on the theoretical concepts. We suggest that this latter nonclassical specification (which involves another variable type-the composite) will often be appropriate for ecological studies because of the multifaceted nature of our theoretical concepts. In this paper, we employ the use of meta-models to aid the translation of theory into SE models and also to facilitate our ability to relate results back to our theories. We demonstrate our approach by showing how a synthetic theory of grassland biodiversity can be evaluated using SEM and data from a coastal grassland. In this example, the theory focuses on the responses of species richness to abiotic stress and disturbance, both directly and through intervening effects on community biomass. Models examined include both those based on classical forms (where each concept is represented using a single latent variable) and also ones in which the concepts are recognized to be multifaceted and modeled as such. To address the challenge of matching SE models with the conceptual level of our theory, two approaches are illustrated, compositing and aggregation. Both approaches are shown to have merits, with the former being preferable for cases where the multiple facets of a concept have widely differing effects in the

  7. Selected developments and applications of Leontief models in industrial ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stroemman, Anders Hammer

    2005-01-01

    Thesis Outline: This thesis investigates issues of environmental repercussions on processes of three spatial scales; a single process plant, a regional value chain and the global economy. The first paper investigates environmental repercussions caused by a single process plant using an open Leontief model with combined physical and monetary units in what is commonly referred to as a hybrid life cycle model. Physical capital requirements are treated as any other good. Resources and environmental stressors, thousands in total, are accounted for and assessed by aggregation using standard life cycle impact assessment methods. The second paper presents a methodology for establishing and combining input-output matrices and life-cycle inventories in a hybrid life cycle inventory. Information contained within different requirements matrices are combined and issues of double counting that arise are addressed and methods for eliminating these are developed and presented. The third paper is an extension of the first paper. Here the system analyzed is increased from a single plant and component in the production network to a series of nodes, constituting a value chain. The hybrid framework proposed in paper two is applied to analyze the use of natural gas, methanol and hydrogen as transportation fuels. The fourth paper presents the development of a World Trade Model with Bilateral Trade, an extension of the World Trade Model (Duchin, 2005). The model is based on comparative advantage and is formulated as a linear program. It endogenously determines the regional output of sectors and bilateral trade flows between regions. The model may be considered a Leontief substitution model where substitution of production is allowed between regions. The primal objective of the model requires the minimization of global factor costs. The fifth paper demonstrates how the World Trade Model with Bilateral Trade can be applied to address questions relevant for industrial ecology. The model is

  8. Estimation methods for nonlinear state-space models in ecology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Pedersen, Martin Wæver; Berg, Casper Willestofte; Thygesen, Uffe Høgsbro

    2011-01-01

    The use of nonlinear state-space models for analyzing ecological systems is increasing. A wide range of estimation methods for such models are available to ecologists, however it is not always clear, which is the appropriate method to choose. To this end, three approaches to estimation in the theta...... logistic model for population dynamics were benchmarked by Wang (2007). Similarly, we examine and compare the estimation performance of three alternative methods using simulated data. The first approach is to partition the state-space into a finite number of states and formulate the problem as a hidden...... Markov model (HMM). The second method uses the mixed effects modeling and fast numerical integration framework of the AD Model Builder (ADMB) open-source software. The third alternative is to use the popular Bayesian framework of BUGS. The study showed that state and parameter estimation performance...

  9. Macroscale hydrologic modeling of ecologically relevant flow metrics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wenger, Seth J.; Luce, Charles H.; Hamlet, Alan F.; Isaak, Daniel J.; Neville, Helen M.

    2010-09-01

    Stream hydrology strongly affects the structure of aquatic communities. Changes to air temperature and precipitation driven by increased greenhouse gas concentrations are shifting timing and volume of streamflows potentially affecting these communities. The variable infiltration capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrologic model has been employed at regional scales to describe and forecast hydrologic changes but has been calibrated and applied mainly to large rivers. An important question is how well VIC runoff simulations serve to answer questions about hydrologic changes in smaller streams, which are important habitat for many fish species. To answer this question, we aggregated gridded VIC outputs within the drainage basins of 55 streamflow gages in the Pacific Northwest United States and compared modeled hydrographs and summary metrics to observations. For most streams, several ecologically relevant aspects of the hydrologic regime were accurately modeled, including center of flow timing, mean annual and summer flows and frequency of winter floods. Frequencies of high and low flows in the summer were not well predicted, however. Predictions were worse for sites with strong groundwater influence, and some sites showed errors that may result from limitations in the forcing climate data. Higher resolution (1/16th degree) modeling provided small improvements over lower resolution (1/8th degree). Despite some limitations, the VIC model appears capable of representing several ecologically relevant hydrologic characteristics in streams, making it a useful tool for understanding the effects of hydrology in delimiting species distributions and predicting the potential effects of climate shifts on aquatic organisms.

  10. Ecosystem management via interacting models of political and ecological processes

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Haas, T. C.

    2004-01-01

    Full Text Available The decision to implement environmental protection options is a political one. Political realities may cause a country to not heed the most persuasive scientific analysis of an ecosystem's future health. A predictive understanding of the political processes that result in ecosystem management decisions may help guide ecosystem management policymaking. To this end, this article develops a stochastic, temporal model of how political processes influence and are influenced by ecosystem processes. This model is realized in a system of interacting influence diagrams that model the decision making of a country's political bodies. These decisions interact with a model of the ecosystem enclosed by the country. As an example, a model for Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus management in Kenya is constructed and fitted to decision and ecological data.

  11. Quantifying the dilution effect for models in ecological epidemiology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roberts, M G; Heesterbeek, J A P

    2018-03-01

    The dilution effect , where an increase in biodiversity results in a reduction in the prevalence of an infectious disease, has been the subject of speculation and controversy. Conversely, an amplification effect occurs when increased biodiversity is related to an increase in prevalence. We explore the conditions under which these effects arise, using multi species compartmental models that integrate ecological and epidemiological interactions. We introduce three potential metrics for quantifying dilution and amplification, one based on infection prevalence in a focal host species, one based on the size of the infected subpopulation of that species and one based on the basic reproduction number. We introduce our approach in the simplest epidemiological setting with two species, and show that the existence and strength of a dilution effect is influenced strongly by the choices made to describe the system and the metric used to gauge the effect. We show that our method can be generalized to any number of species and to more complicated ecological and epidemiological dynamics. Our method allows a rigorous analysis of ecological systems where dilution effects have been postulated, and contributes to future progress in understanding the phenomenon of dilution in the context of infectious disease dynamics and infection risk. © 2018 The Author(s).

  12. Ecological plant epigenetics: Evidence from model and non-model species, and the way forward.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richards, Christina L; Alonso, Conchita; Becker, Claude; Bossdorf, Oliver; Bucher, Etienne; Colomé-Tatché, Maria; Durka, Walter; Engelhardt, Jan; Gaspar, Bence; Gogol-Döring, Andreas; Grosse, Ivo; van Gurp, Thomas P; Heer, Katrin; Kronholm, Ilkka; Lampei, Christian; Latzel, Vít; Mirouze, Marie; Opgenoorth, Lars; Paun, Ovidiu; Prohaska, Sonja J; Rensing, Stefan A; Stadler, Peter F; Trucchi, Emiliano; Ullrich, Kristian; Verhoeven, Koen J F

    2017-12-01

    Growing evidence shows that epigenetic mechanisms contribute to complex traits, with implications across many fields of biology. In plant ecology, recent studies have attempted to merge ecological experiments with epigenetic analyses to elucidate the contribution of epigenetics to plant phenotypes, stress responses, adaptation to habitat, and range distributions. While there has been some progress in revealing the role of epigenetics in ecological processes, studies with non-model species have so far been limited to describing broad patterns based on anonymous markers of DNA methylation. In contrast, studies with model species have benefited from powerful genomic resources, which contribute to a more mechanistic understanding but have limited ecological realism. Understanding the significance of epigenetics for plant ecology requires increased transfer of knowledge and methods from model species research to genomes of evolutionarily divergent species, and examination of responses to complex natural environments at a more mechanistic level. This requires transforming genomics tools specifically for studying non-model species, which is challenging given the large and often polyploid genomes of plants. Collaboration among molecular geneticists, ecologists and bioinformaticians promises to enhance our understanding of the mutual links between genome function and ecological processes. © 2017 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  13. Stochastic Spatial Models in Ecology: A Statistical Physics Approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pigolotti, Simone; Cencini, Massimo; Molina, Daniel; Muñoz, Miguel A.

    2017-11-01

    Ecosystems display a complex spatial organization. Ecologists have long tried to characterize them by looking at how different measures of biodiversity change across spatial scales. Ecological neutral theory has provided simple predictions accounting for general empirical patterns in communities of competing species. However, while neutral theory in well-mixed ecosystems is mathematically well understood, spatial models still present several open problems, limiting the quantitative understanding of spatial biodiversity. In this review, we discuss the state of the art in spatial neutral theory. We emphasize the connection between spatial ecological models and the physics of non-equilibrium phase transitions and how concepts developed in statistical physics translate in population dynamics, and vice versa. We focus on non-trivial scaling laws arising at the critical dimension D = 2 of spatial neutral models, and their relevance for biological populations inhabiting two-dimensional environments. We conclude by discussing models incorporating non-neutral effects in the form of spatial and temporal disorder, and analyze how their predictions deviate from those of purely neutral theories.

  14. Dynamic ecological-economic modeling approach for management of shellfish aquaculture

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Nobre, AM

    2008-02-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this report is to conceptualize ecological and economic interactions in mariculture; to implement a dynamic ecological-economic model in order to: simulate the socio-economics of aquaculture production, simulate its effects...

  15. Benefits of using a Social-Ecological Systems Approach to Conceptualize and Model Wetlands Restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Using a social-ecological systems (SES) perspective to examine wetland restoration helps decision-makers recognize interdependencies and relations between ecological and social components of coupled systems. Conceptual models are an invaluable tool to capture, visualize, and orga...

  16. Geographical parthenogenesis: General purpose genotypes and frozen niche variation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Vrijenhoek, Robert C.; Parker, Dave

    2009-01-01

    hypotheses concerning the evolution of niche breadth in asexual species - the "general-purpose genotype" (GPG) and "frozen niche-variation" (FNV) models. The two models are often portrayed as mutually exclusive, respectively viewing clonal lineages as generalists versus specialists. Nonetheless...

  17. Urban niche dynamics of Kaifeng city%开封市的城市生态位变化分析

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    丁圣彦; 李志恒

    2007-01-01

    Niche theory is one of the most important ecological theories. It is widely applied to analyzing such phenomena as competition among, and evolution of, urban ecosystem functional modules. This paper describes a study concerningdifferent functional modules of Kaifeng city urban ecosystem. Niche theory and techniques were used to analyze the changes of these functional modules in the period 1994-2003. The results showed that, in the period 1994-2003: (1) Niche value of the atmospheric environment and urban virescence modules increased, while niche value of the water environment and sound environment modules decreased; (2) niche value of the tertiary industry module increased, niche value of the secondary industry module decreased, while niche value of the primary industry module showed little change; and (3) niche value of the infrastructure, resource distribution, and production & social security modules increased, while niche value of the population module decreased. This study may contribute to macroscopic planning of urban functional modules,economic development, and environmental protection.

  18. From actors to agents in socio-ecological systems models.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rounsevell, M D A; Robinson, D T; Murray-Rust, D

    2012-01-19

    The ecosystem service concept has emphasized the role of people within socio-ecological systems (SESs). In this paper, we review and discuss alternative ways of representing people, their behaviour and decision-making processes in SES models using an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach. We also explore how ABM can be empirically grounded using information from social survey. The capacity for ABM to be generalized beyond case studies represents a crucial next step in modelling SESs, although this comes with considerable intellectual challenges. We propose the notion of human functional types, as an analogy of plant functional types, to support the expansion (scaling) of ABM to larger areas. The expansion of scope also implies the need to represent institutional agents in SES models in order to account for alternative governance structures and policy feedbacks. Further development in the coupling of human-environment systems would contribute considerably to better application and use of the ecosystem service concept.

  19. Modeling abundance using N-mixture models: the importance of considering ecological mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joseph, Liana N; Elkin, Ché; Martin, Tara G; Possinghami, Hugh P

    2009-04-01

    Predicting abundance across a species' distribution is useful for studies of ecology and biodiversity management. Modeling of survey data in relation to environmental variables can be a powerful method for extrapolating abundances across a species' distribution and, consequently, calculating total abundances and ultimately trends. Research in this area has demonstrated that models of abundance are often unstable and produce spurious estimates, and until recently our ability to remove detection error limited the development of accurate models. The N-mixture model accounts for detection and abundance simultaneously and has been a significant advance in abundance modeling. Case studies that have tested these new models have demonstrated success for some species, but doubt remains over the appropriateness of standard N-mixture models for many species. Here we develop the N-mixture model to accommodate zero-inflated data, a common occurrence in ecology, by employing zero-inflated count models. To our knowledge, this is the first application of this method to modeling count data. We use four variants of the N-mixture model (Poisson, zero-inflated Poisson, negative binomial, and zero-inflated negative binomial) to model abundance, occupancy (zero-inflated models only) and detection probability of six birds in South Australia. We assess models by their statistical fit and the ecological realism of the parameter estimates. Specifically, we assess the statistical fit with AIC and assess the ecological realism by comparing the parameter estimates with expected values derived from literature, ecological theory, and expert opinion. We demonstrate that, despite being frequently ranked the "best model" according to AIC, the negative binomial variants of the N-mixture often produce ecologically unrealistic parameter estimates. The zero-inflated Poisson variant is preferable to the negative binomial variants of the N-mixture, as it models an ecological mechanism rather than a

  20. Diet and trophic niche of Lithobates catesbeianus (Amphibia: Anura

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peterson T. Leivas

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Lithobates catesbeianus (Shaw, 1802 is an invasive anuran introduced in Brazil that is associated with the displacement and the decline of populations of native species worldwide. There is evidence that biological invasions are facilitated by certain attributes of the invading species, for instance niche breath, and that invasive species have a broader ecological niche with respect to native ones. We designed a study to ascertain the temporal, ontogenetic, and sex differences in the niche dynamics of the American bullfrog. We sampled monthly from June 2008 to May 2009 in the state of Paraná, southern Brazil. For each individual, we gathered biometric and stomach content data. We then estimated the niche breath of the juveniles and adults, and compared it between the sexes. A total of 104 females and 77 males were sampled. Lithobates catesbeianus has a generalist diet, preying upon invertebrates and vertebrates. Even though the diet of the studied population varied seasonally, it did not differ between the sexes nor did it respond to biometric variables. Niche breadth was more restricted in the winter than in the autumn. The trophic niche of juveniles and adults did not overlap much when compared with the trophic niche overlap between males and females. Adult males and females had a considerable niche overlap, but females had a broader trophic niche than males in the winter and in the spring. These niche characteristics point to an opportunistic predation strategy that may have facilitated the process of invasion and establishment of this species in the study area.

  1. Application of genetic algorithm in radio ecological models parameter determination

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pantelic, G. [Institute of Occupatioanl Health and Radiological Protection ' Dr Dragomir Karajovic' , Belgrade (Serbia)

    2006-07-01

    The method of genetic algorithms was used to determine the biological half-life of 137 Cs in cow milk after the accident in Chernobyl. Methodologically genetic algorithms are based on the fact that natural processes tend to optimize themselves and therefore this method should be more efficient in providing optimal solutions in the modeling of radio ecological and environmental events. The calculated biological half-life of 137 Cs in milk is (32 {+-} 3) days and transfer coefficient from grass to milk is (0.019 {+-} 0.005). (authors)

  2. Application of genetic algorithm in radio ecological models parameter determination

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pantelic, G.

    2006-01-01

    The method of genetic algorithms was used to determine the biological half-life of 137 Cs in cow milk after the accident in Chernobyl. Methodologically genetic algorithms are based on the fact that natural processes tend to optimize themselves and therefore this method should be more efficient in providing optimal solutions in the modeling of radio ecological and environmental events. The calculated biological half-life of 137 Cs in milk is (32 ± 3) days and transfer coefficient from grass to milk is (0.019 ± 0.005). (authors)

  3. Homogenization of Large-Scale Movement Models in Ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Garlick, M.J.; Powell, J.A.; Hooten, M.B.; McFarlane, L.R.

    2011-01-01

    A difficulty in using diffusion models to predict large scale animal population dispersal is that individuals move differently based on local information (as opposed to gradients) in differing habitat types. This can be accommodated by using ecological diffusion. However, real environments are often spatially complex, limiting application of a direct approach. Homogenization for partial differential equations has long been applied to Fickian diffusion (in which average individual movement is organized along gradients of habitat and population density). We derive a homogenization procedure for ecological diffusion and apply it to a simple model for chronic wasting disease in mule deer. Homogenization allows us to determine the impact of small scale (10-100 m) habitat variability on large scale (10-100 km) movement. The procedure generates asymptotic equations for solutions on the large scale with parameters defined by small-scale variation. The simplicity of this homogenization procedure is striking when compared to the multi-dimensional homogenization procedure for Fickian diffusion,and the method will be equally straightforward for more complex models. ?? 2010 Society for Mathematical Biology.

  4. Spatial modelling and ecology of Echinococcus multilocularis transmission in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Danson, F Mark; Giraudoux, Patrick; Craig, Philip S

    2006-01-01

    Recent research in central China has suggested that the most likely transmission mechanism for Echinococcus multilocularis to humans is via domestic dogs which are allowed to roam freely and hunt (infected) small mammals within areas close to villages or in areas of tented pasture. This assertion has led to the hypothesis that there is a landscape control on transmission risk since the proximity of suitable habitat for susceptible small mammals appears to be the key. We have tested this hypothesis in a number of endemic areas in China, notably south Gansu Province and the Tibetan region of western Sichuan Province. The fundamental landscape control is its effect at a regional scale on small mammal species assemblages (susceptible species are not ubiquitous) and, at a local scale, the spatial distributions of small mammal populations. To date the research has examined relationships between landscape composition and patterns of human infection, landscape and small mammal distributions and recently the relationships between landscape and dog infection rates. The key tool to characterize landscape is satellite remote sensing and these data are used as inputs to drive spatial models of transmission risk. This paper reviews the progress that has been made so far in spatial modeling of the ecology of E. multilocularis with particular reference to China, outlines current research issues, and describes a framework for building a spatial-temporal model of transmission ecology.

  5. A Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON) for synthesising high-frequency sensor data for validation of deterministic ecological models

    Science.gov (United States)

    David, Hamilton P; Carey, Cayelan C.; Arvola, Lauri; Arzberger, Peter; Brewer, Carol A.; Cole, Jon J; Gaiser, Evelyn; Hanson, Paul C.; Ibelings, Bas W; Jennings, Eleanor; Kratz, Tim K; Lin, Fang-Pang; McBride, Christopher G.; de Motta Marques, David; Muraoka, Kohji; Nishri, Ami; Qin, Boqiang; Read, Jordan S.; Rose, Kevin C.; Ryder, Elizabeth; Weathers, Kathleen C.; Zhu, Guangwei; Trolle, Dennis; Brookes, Justin D

    2014-01-01

    A Global Lake Ecological Observatory Network (GLEON; www.gleon.org) has formed to provide a coordinated response to the need for scientific understanding of lake processes, utilising technological advances available from autonomous sensors. The organisation embraces a grassroots approach to engage researchers from varying disciplines, sites spanning geographic and ecological gradients, and novel sensor and cyberinfrastructure to synthesise high-frequency lake data at scales ranging from local to global. The high-frequency data provide a platform to rigorously validate process- based ecological models because model simulation time steps are better aligned with sensor measurements than with lower-frequency, manual samples. Two case studies from Trout Bog, Wisconsin, USA, and Lake Rotoehu, North Island, New Zealand, are presented to demonstrate that in the past, ecological model outputs (e.g., temperature, chlorophyll) have been relatively poorly validated based on a limited number of directly comparable measurements, both in time and space. The case studies demonstrate some of the difficulties of mapping sensor measurements directly to model state variable outputs as well as the opportunities to use deviations between sensor measurements and model simulations to better inform process understanding. Well-validated ecological models provide a mechanism to extrapolate high-frequency sensor data in space and time, thereby potentially creating a fully 3-dimensional simulation of key variables of interest.

  6. [Altitude-belt zonality of wood vegetation within mountainous regions of the Sayan Mountains: a model of ecological second-order phase transitions ].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sukhovol'skiĭ, V G; Ovchinnikova, T M; Baboĭ, S D

    2014-01-01

    As a description of altitude-belt zonality of wood vegetation, a model of ecological second-order transitions is proposed. Objects of the study have been chosen to be forest cenoses of the northern slope of Kulumyss Ridge (the Sayan Mauntains), while the results are comprised by the altitude profiles of wood vegetation. An ecological phase transition can be considered as the transition of cenoses at different altitudes from the state of presence of certain tree species within the studied territory to the state of their absence. By analogy with the physical model of second-order, phase transitions the order parameter is introduced (i.e., the area portion occupied by a single tree species at the certain altitude) as well as the control variable (i.e., the altitude of the wood vegetation belt). As the formal relation between them, an analog of the Landau's equation for phase transitions in physical systems is obtained. It is shown that the model is in a good accordance with the empirical data. Thus, the model can be used for estimation of upper and lower boundaries of altitude belts for individual tree species (like birch, aspen, Siberian fir, Siberian pine) as well as the breadth of their ecological niches with regard to altitude. The model includes also the parameters that describe numerically the interactions between different species of wood vegetation. The approach versatility allows to simplify description and modeling of wood vegetation altitude zonality, and enables assessment of vegetation cenoses response to climatic changes.

  7. Biogeochemical and Ecomorphological Niche Segregation of Mediterranean Woody Species along a Local Gradient

    OpenAIRE

    Enrique G. de la Riva; Enrique G. de la Riva; Teodoro Marañón; Cyrille Violle; Rafael Villar; Ignacio M. Pérez-Ramos

    2017-01-01

    According with niche theory the species are specialized in different ecological niches, being able to coexist as result of a differential use of resources. In this context, the biogeochemical niche hypothesis proposes that species have an optimal elemental composition which results from the link between the chemical and morphological traits for the optimum plant functioning. Thus, and attending to the limiting similarity concept, different elemental composition and plant structure among co-oc...

  8. Integrated models to support multiobjective ecological restoration decisions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fraser, Hannah; Rumpff, Libby; Yen, Jian D L; Robinson, Doug; Wintle, Brendan A

    2017-12-01

    Many objectives motivate ecological restoration, including improving vegetation condition, increasing the range and abundance of threatened species, and improving species richness and diversity. Although models have been used to examine the outcomes of ecological restoration, few researchers have attempted to develop models to account for multiple, potentially competing objectives. We developed a combined state-and-transition, species-distribution model to predict the effects of restoration actions on vegetation condition and extent, bird diversity, and the distribution of several bird species in southeastern Australian woodlands. The actions reflected several management objectives. We then validated the models against an independent data set and investigated how the best management decision might change when objectives were valued differently. We also used model results to identify effective restoration options for vegetation and bird species under a constrained budget. In the examples we evaluated, no one action (improving vegetation condition and extent, increasing bird diversity, or increasing the probability of occurrence for threatened species) provided the best outcome across all objectives. In agricultural lands, the optimal management actions for promoting the occurrence of the Brown Treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus), an iconic threatened species, resulted in little improvement in the extent of the vegetation and a high probability of decreased vegetation condition. This result highlights that the best management action in any situation depends on how much the different objectives are valued. In our example scenario, no management or weed control were most likely to be the best management options to satisfy multiple restoration objectives. Our approach to exploring trade-offs in management outcomes through integrated modeling and structured decision-support approaches has wide application for situations in which trade-offs exist between competing

  9. Data Assimilation at FLUXNET to Improve Models towards Ecological Forecasting (Invited)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Y.

    2009-12-01

    Dramatically increased volumes of data from observational and experimental networks such as FLUXNET call for transformation of ecological research to increase its emphasis on quantitative forecasting. Ecological forecasting will also meet the societal need to develop better strategies for natural resource management in a world of ongoing global change. Traditionally, ecological forecasting has been based on process-based models, informed by data in largely ad hoc ways. Although most ecological models incorporate some representation of mechanistic processes, today’s ecological models are generally not adequate to quantify real-world dynamics and provide reliable forecasts with accompanying estimates of uncertainty. A key tool to improve ecological forecasting is data assimilation, which uses data to inform initial conditions and to help constrain a model during simulation to yield results that approximate reality as closely as possible. In an era with dramatically increased availability of data from observational and experimental networks, data assimilation is a key technique that helps convert the raw data into ecologically meaningful products so as to accelerate our understanding of ecological processes, test ecological theory, forecast changes in ecological services, and better serve the society. This talk will use examples to illustrate how data from FLUXNET have been assimilated with process-based models to improve estimates of model parameters and state variables; to quantify uncertainties in ecological forecasting arising from observations, models and their interactions; and to evaluate information contributions of data and model toward short- and long-term forecasting of ecosystem responses to global change.

  10. How do habitat filtering and niche conservatism affect community composition at different taxonomic resolutions?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Munoz, François; Ramesh, B R; Couteron, Pierre

    2014-08-01

    Understanding how local species assembly depends on the regional biogeographic and environmental context is a challenging task in community ecology. In spatially implicit neutral models, a single immigration parameter, I(k), represents the flux of immigrants from a regional pool that compete with local offspring for establishment in communities. This flux counterbalances the effect of local stochastic extinctions to maintain local species diversity. If some species within the regional pool are not adapted to the local environment (habitat filtering), the migrant flux is reduced beyond that of the neutral model, such that habitat filtering influences the value of I(k) in non-neutral situations. Here, we propose a novel model in which immigrants from the regional pool are filtered according to their habitat preferences and the local environment, while taxa potentially retain habitat preferences from their ancestors (niche conservatism). Using both analytical reasoning and simulations, we demonstrate that I(k) is expected to be constant when estimated based on the community composition at several taxonomic levels, not only under neutral assumptions, but also when habitat filtering occurs, unless there is substantial niche conservatism. In the latter case, I(k) is expected to decrease when estimated based on the composition at species to genus and family levels, thus allowing a signature of niche conservatism to be detected by simply comparing I(k) estimates across taxonomic levels. We applied this approach to three rain forest data sets from South India and Central America and found no significant signature of niche conservatism when I(k) was compared across taxonomic levels, except at the family level in South India. We further observed more limited immigration in South Indian forests, supporting the hypothesis of a greater impact of habitat filtering and heterogeneity there than in Central America. Our results highlight the relevance of studying variations of I

  11. [A process of aquatic ecological function regionalization: The dual tree framework and conceptual model].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Shu Hai; Wu, Bo

    2017-12-01

    Aquatic ecological regionalization and aquatic ecological function regionalization are the basis of water environmental management of a river basin and rational utilization of an aquatic ecosystem, and have been studied in China for more than ten years. Regarding the common problems in this field, the relationship between aquatic ecological regionalization and aquatic ecological function regionalization was discussed in this study by systematic analysis of the aquatic ecological zoning and the types of aquatic ecological function. Based on the dual tree structure, we put forward the RFCH process and the diamond conceptual model. Taking Liaohe River basin as an example and referring to the results of existing regionalization studies, we classified the aquatic ecological function regions based on three-class aquatic ecological regionalization. This study provided a process framework for aquatic ecological function regionalization of a river basin.

  12. Inter-specific and seasonal comparison of the niches occupied by small cetaceans off north-west Iberia

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fernandez Garcia, Rut; MacLeod, C. D.; Pierce, G. J.

    2013-01-01

    Knowledge of species' ecological niches can be used to assess ecological interactions between different taxa. Sixteen species of cetaceans have been recorded in Galician waters and niche partitioning is expected to occur among these species in order to allow them to co-exist. In this study, the n...

  13. Modeling socioeconomic and ecologic aspects of land-use change

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dale, V.H.; Pedlowski, M.A.; O'Neill, R.V.; Southworth, F.

    1992-01-01

    Land use change is one of the major factors affecting global environmental conditions. Prevalent types of land-use change include replacing forests with agriculture, mines or ranches; forest degradation from collection of firewood; and forest logging. A global effect of wide-scale deforestation is an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, which may affect climate. Regional effects include loss of biodiversity and disruption of hydrologic regimes. Local effects include soil erosion, siltation and decreases in soil fertility, loss of extractive reserves, and disruption of indigenous people. Modeling land use change requires combining socioeconomic and ecological factors because socioeconomic forces frequently initiate land-use change and are affected by the subsequent ecological degradation. This paper describes a modeling system that integrates submodels of human colonization and impacts to estimate patterns and rates of deforestation under different immigration and land use scenarios. Immigration which follows road building or paving is a major factor in the rapid deforestation of previously inaccessible areas. Roads facilitate colonization, allow access for large machines, and provide transportation routes for mort of raw materials and produce

  14. Simulation of socio-ecological impacts: Modeling a fishing village

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Philip C.

    1982-03-01

    The interrelationship of society and environment is addressed here through the study of a remote fishing village of 750 people. An interdisciplinary study evaluated demographic, economic, and social aspects of the community, and simulation modeling was used to integrate these societal characteristics with environmental factors. The population of the village had grown gradually until the 1960's, when a decline began. Out-migration correlated with declining fish harvests and with increased communications with urban centers. Fishing had provided the greatest economic opportunity, followed by logging. A survey was conducted to investigate the costs and revenues of village fishermen. Diversification characterized the local fleet, and analysis showed that rates of return on investment in the current year were equal between vessel types. The variable levels and rate parameters of the demographic, economic, and social components of the model were specified through static and time series data. Sensitivity analysis to assess the effects of uncertainty, and validation tests against known historical changes were also conducted. Forecast scenarios identified the development options under several levels of fish abundance and investment. The weight given to ecological versus economic resource management registered disproportionate effects due to the interaction between investment and migration rates and resource stochasticity. This finding argues against a “golden mean” rule for evaluating policy trade-offs and argues for the importance of using a dynamic, socio-ecological perspective in designing development policies for rural communities.

  15. Morphological similarity and ecological overlap in two rotifer species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gabaldón, Carmen; Montero-Pau, Javier; Serra, Manuel; Carmona, María José

    2013-01-01

    Co-occurrence of cryptic species raises theoretically relevant questions regarding their coexistence and ecological similarity. Given their great morphological similitude and close phylogenetic relationship (i.e., niche retention), these species will have similar ecological requirements and are expected to have strong competitive interactions. This raises the problem of finding the mechanisms that may explain the coexistence of cryptic species and challenges the conventional view of coexistence based on niche differentiation. The cryptic species complex of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis is an excellent model to study these questions and to test hypotheses regarding ecological differentiation. Rotifer species within this complex are filtering zooplankters commonly found inhabiting the same ponds across the Iberian Peninsula and exhibit an extremely similar morphology-some of them being even virtually identical. Here, we explore whether subtle differences in body size and morphology translate into ecological differentiation by comparing two extremely morphologically similar species belonging to this complex: B. plicatilis and B. manjavacas. We focus on three key ecological features related to body size: (1) functional response, expressed by clearance rates; (2) tolerance to starvation, measured by growth and reproduction; and (3) vulnerability to copepod predation, measured by the number of preyed upon neonates. No major differences between B. plicatilis and B. manjavacas were found in the response to these features. Our results demonstrate the existence of a substantial niche overlap, suggesting that the subtle size differences between these two cryptic species are not sufficient to explain their coexistence. This lack of evidence for ecological differentiation in the studied biotic niche features is in agreement with the phylogenetic limiting similarity hypothesis but requires a mechanistic explanation of the coexistence of these species not based on

  16. Morphological similarity and ecological overlap in two rotifer species.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Carmen Gabaldón

    Full Text Available Co-occurrence of cryptic species raises theoretically relevant questions regarding their coexistence and ecological similarity. Given their great morphological similitude and close phylogenetic relationship (i.e., niche retention, these species will have similar ecological requirements and are expected to have strong competitive interactions. This raises the problem of finding the mechanisms that may explain the coexistence of cryptic species and challenges the conventional view of coexistence based on niche differentiation. The cryptic species complex of the rotifer Brachionus plicatilis is an excellent model to study these questions and to test hypotheses regarding ecological differentiation. Rotifer species within this complex are filtering zooplankters commonly found inhabiting the same ponds across the Iberian Peninsula and exhibit an extremely similar morphology-some of them being even virtually identical. Here, we explore whether subtle differences in body size and morphology translate into ecological differentiation by comparing two extremely morphologically similar species belonging to this complex: B. plicatilis and B. manjavacas. We focus on three key ecological features related to body size: (1 functional response, expressed by clearance rates; (2 tolerance to starvation, measured by growth and reproduction; and (3 vulnerability to copepod predation, measured by the number of preyed upon neonates. No major differences between B. plicatilis and B. manjavacas were found in the response to these features. Our results demonstrate the existence of a substantial niche overlap, suggesting that the subtle size differences between these two cryptic species are not sufficient to explain their coexistence. This lack of evidence for ecological differentiation in the studied biotic niche features is in agreement with the phylogenetic limiting similarity hypothesis but requires a mechanistic explanation of the coexistence of these species not

  17. [An emergy-ecological footprint model based evaluation of ecological security at the old industrial area in Northeast China: A case study of Liaoning Province.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Qing; Lu, Cheng Peng; Zhou, Feng; Geng, Yong; Jing, Hong Shuang; Ren, Wan Xia; Xue, Bing

    2016-05-01

    Based on the integrated model of emergy-ecological footprint approaches, the ecological security of Liaoning Province, a typical case for the old industrial area, was quantitatively evaluated from 2003 to 2012, followed by a scenario analysis on the development trend of the ecological secu-rity by employing the gray kinetic model. The results showed that, from 2003 to 2012, the value of emergy ecological-capacity per capita in Liaoning Province decreased from 3.13 hm 2 to 3.07 hm 2 , while the emergy-ecological footprint increased from 13.88 hm 2 to 21.96 hm 2 , which indicated that the ecological deficit existed in Liaoning Province and the situation was getting worse. The ecological pressure index increased from 4.43 to 7.16 during the studied period, and the alert level of ecological security changed from light to middle level. According to the development trend, the emergy ecological capacity per capita during 2013-2022 would correspondingly decrease from 3.04 hm 2 to 2.98 hm 2 , while the emergy ecological footprint would increase from 22.72 hm 2 to 35.87 hm 2 , the ecological pressure index would increase from 7.46 to 12.04, and the ecological deficit would keep increasing and the ecological security level would slide into slightly unsafe condition. The alert level of ecological security would turn to be middle or serious, suggesting the problems in ecological safety needed to be solved urgently.

  18. Ecology and equity in global fisheries: Modelling policy options using theoretical distributions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rammelt, C.F.; van Schie, Maarten

    2016-01-01

    Global fisheries present a typical case of political ecology or environmental injustice, i.e. a problem of distribution of resources within ecological limits. We built a stock-flow model to visualize this challenge and its dynamics, with both an ecological and a social dimension. We incorporated

  19. Hydrodynamic and Ecological Assessment of Nearshore Restoration: A Modeling Study

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yang, Zhaoqing; Sobocinski, Kathryn L.; Heatwole, Danelle W.; Khangaonkar, Tarang; Thom, Ronald M.; Fuller, Roger

    2010-01-01

    Along the Pacific Northwest coast, much of the estuarine habitat has been diked over the last century for agricultural land use, residential and commercial development, and transportation corridors. As a result, many of the ecological processes and functions have been disrupted. To protect coastal habitats that are vital to aquatic species, many restoration projects are currently underway to restore the estuarine and coastal ecosystems through dike breaches, setbacks, and removals. Information on physical processes and hydrodynamic conditions are critical for the assessment of the success of restoration actions. Restoration of a 160- acre property at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River in Puget Sound has been proposed. The goal is to restore native tidal habitats and estuary-scale ecological processes by removing the dike. In this study, a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was developed for the Stillaguamish River estuary to simulate estuarine processes. The model was calibrated to observed tide, current, and salinity data for existing conditions and applied to simulate the hydrodynamic responses to two restoration alternatives. Responses were evaluated at the scale of the restoration footprint. Model data was combined with biophysical data to predict habitat responses at the site. Results showed that the proposed dike removal would result in desired tidal flushing and conditions that would support four habitat types on the restoration footprint. At the estuary scale, restoration would substantially increase the proportion of area flushed with freshwater (< 5 ppt) at flood tide. Potential implications of predicted changes in salinity and flow dynamics are discussed relative to the distribution of tidal marsh habitat.

  20. Evolution of climatic niche specialization: a phylogenetic analysis in amphibians.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonetti, Maria Fernanda; Wiens, John J

    2014-11-22

    The evolution of climatic niche specialization has important implications for many topics in ecology, evolution and conservation. The climatic niche reflects the set of temperature and precipitation conditions where a species can occur. Thus, specialization to a limited set of climatic conditions can be important for understanding patterns of biogeography, species richness, community structure, allopatric speciation, spread of invasive species and responses to climate change. Nevertheless, the factors that determine climatic niche width (level of specialization) remain poorly explored. Here, we test whether species that occur in more extreme climates are more highly specialized for those conditions, and whether there are trade-offs between niche widths on different climatic niche axes (e.g. do species that tolerate a broad range of temperatures tolerate only a limited range of precipitation regimes?). We test these hypotheses in amphibians, using phylogenetic comparative methods and global-scale datasets, including 2712 species with both climatic and phylogenetic data. Our results do not support either hypothesis. Rather than finding narrower niches in more extreme environments, niches tend to be narrower on one end of a climatic gradient but wider on the other. We also find that temperature and precipitation niche breadths are positively related, rather than showing trade-offs. Finally, our results suggest that most amphibian species occur in relatively warm and dry environments and have relatively narrow climatic niche widths on both of these axes. Thus, they may be especially imperilled by anthropogenic climate change. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

  1. Widespread correlations between climatic niche evolution and species diversification in birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooney, Christopher R; Seddon, Nathalie; Tobias, Joseph A

    2016-07-01

    The adaptability of species' climatic niches can influence the dynamics of colonization and gene flow across climatic gradients, potentially increasing the likelihood of speciation or reducing extinction in the face of environmental change. However, previous comparative studies have tested these ideas using geographically, taxonomically and ecologically restricted samples, yielding mixed results, and thus the processes linking climatic niche evolution with diversification remain poorly understood. Focusing on birds, the largest and most widespread class of terrestrial vertebrates, we test whether variation in species diversification among clades is correlated with rates of climatic niche evolution and the extent to which these patterns are modified by underlying gradients in biogeography and species' ecology. We quantified climatic niches, latitudinal distribution and ecological traits for 7657 (˜75%) bird species based on geographical range polygons and then used Bayesian phylogenetic analyses to test whether niche evolution was related to species richness and rates of diversification across genus- and family-level clades. We found that the rate of climatic niche evolution has a positive linear relationship with both species richness and diversification rate at two different taxonomic levels (genus and family). Furthermore, this positive association between labile climatic niches and diversification was detected regardless of variation in clade latitude or key ecological traits. Our findings suggest either that rapid adaptation to unoccupied areas of climatic niche space promotes avian diversification, or that diversification promotes adaptation. Either way, we propose that climatic niche evolution is a fundamental process regulating the link between climate and biodiversity at global scales, irrespective of the geographical and ecological context of speciation and extinction. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

  2. Pre-metastatic niches

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Peinado, Héctor; Zhang, Haiying; Matei, Irina R.

    2017-01-01

    It is well established that organs of future metastasis are not passive receivers of circulating tumour cells, but are instead selectively and actively modified by the primary tumour before metastatic spread has even occurred. Sowing the 'seeds' of metastasis requires the action of tumour......-secreted factors and tumour-shed extracellular vesicles that enable the 'soil' at distant metastatic sites to encourage the outgrowth of incoming cancer cells. In this Review, we summarize the main processes and new mechanisms involved in the formation of the pre-metastatic niche....

  3. Co-niche construction between hosts and symbionts: ideas and ...

    Indian Academy of Sciences (India)

    RENEE M. BORGES

    2017-07-05

    Jul 5, 2017 ... Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru 560 012, India ... Symbiosis is a process that can generate evolutionary novelties and can extend the phenotypic niche ..... order to facilitate interactions with ants, plants provide ... of mutualistic pollinators develops within the pollinated ...

  4. [Measuring water ecological carrying capacity with the ecosystem-service-based ecological footprint (ESEF) method: Theory, models and application].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiao, Wen-jun; Min, Qing-wen; Li, Wen-hua; Fuller, Anthony M

    2015-04-01

    Integrated watershed management based on aquatic ecosystems has been increasingly acknowledged. Such a change in the philosophy of water environment management requires recognizing the carrying capacity of aquatic ecosystems for human society from a more general perspective. The concept of the water ecological carrying capacity is therefore put forward, which considers both water resources and water environment, connects socio-economic development to aquatic ecosystems and provides strong support for integrated watershed management. In this paper, the authors proposed an ESEF-based measure of water ecological carrying capacity and constructed ESEF-based models of water ecological footprint and capacity, aiming to evaluate water ecological carrying capacity with footprint methods. A regional model of Taihu Lake Basin was constructed and applied to evaluate the water ecological carrying capacity in Changzhou City which located in the upper reaches of the basin. Results showed that human demand for water ecosystem services in this city had exceeded the supply capacity of local aquatic ecosystems and the significant gap between demand and supply had jeopardized the sustainability of local aquatic ecosystems. Considering aqua-product provision, water supply and pollutant absorption in an integrated way, the scale of population and economy aquatic ecosystems in Changzhou could bear only 54% of the current status.

  5. Evidence of niche shift and invasion potential of Lithobates catesbeianus in the habitat of Mexican endemic frogs.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jorge Luis Becerra López

    Full Text Available Invasive alien species are one of most severe threats to biodiversity and natural resources. These biological invasions have been studied from the niche conservatism and niche shifts perspective. Niche differentiation may result from changes in fundamental niche or realized niche or both; in biological invasions, niche differences between native and non-native ranges can appear through niche expansion, niche unfilling and niche stability. The American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus is an invasive species that can have negative impacts on native amphibian populations. This research examines the climate niche shifts of this frog, its potential range of expansion in Mexico and the risk of invasion by bullfrog in the habitats of 82 frog species endemic to Mexico, that based on their climatic niche similarity were divided in four ecological groups. The results indicate that species in two ecological groups were the most vulnerable to invasion by bullfrog. However, the climate niche shifts of L. catesbeianus may allow it to adapt to new environmental conditions, so species from the two remaining groups cannot be dismissed as not vulnerable. This information is valuable for decision making in prioritizing areas for conservation of Mexican endemic frogs.

  6. Social network models predict movement and connectivity in ecological landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fletcher, Robert J.; Acevedo, M.A.; Reichert, Brian E.; Pias, Kyle E.; Kitchens, Wiley M.

    2011-01-01

    Network analysis is on the rise across scientific disciplines because of its ability to reveal complex, and often emergent, patterns and dynamics. Nonetheless, a growing concern in network analysis is the use of limited data for constructing networks. This concern is strikingly relevant to ecology and conservation biology, where network analysis is used to infer connectivity across landscapes. In this context, movement among patches is the crucial parameter for interpreting connectivity but because of the difficulty of collecting reliable movement data, most network analysis proceeds with only indirect information on movement across landscapes rather than using observed movement to construct networks. Statistical models developed for social networks provide promising alternatives for landscape network construction because they can leverage limited movement information to predict linkages. Using two mark-recapture datasets on individual movement and connectivity across landscapes, we test whether commonly used network constructions for interpreting connectivity can predict actual linkages and network structure, and we contrast these approaches to social network models. We find that currently applied network constructions for assessing connectivity consistently, and substantially, overpredict actual connectivity, resulting in considerable overestimation of metapopulation lifetime. Furthermore, social network models provide accurate predictions of network structure, and can do so with remarkably limited data on movement. Social network models offer a flexible and powerful way for not only understanding the factors influencing connectivity but also for providing more reliable estimates of connectivity and metapopulation persistence in the face of limited data.

  7. Social network models predict movement and connectivity in ecological landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fletcher, Robert J; Acevedo, Miguel A; Reichert, Brian E; Pias, Kyle E; Kitchens, Wiley M

    2011-11-29

    Network analysis is on the rise across scientific disciplines because of its ability to reveal complex, and often emergent, patterns and dynamics. Nonetheless, a growing concern in network analysis is the use of limited data for constructing networks. This concern is strikingly relevant to ecology and conservation biology, where network analysis is used to infer connectivity across landscapes. In this context, movement among patches is the crucial parameter for interpreting connectivity but because of the difficulty of collecting reliable movement data, most network analysis proceeds with only indirect information on movement across landscapes rather than using observed movement to construct networks. Statistical models developed for social networks provide promising alternatives for landscape network construction because they can leverage limited movement information to predict linkages. Using two mark-recapture datasets on individual movement and connectivity across landscapes, we test whether commonly used network constructions for interpreting connectivity can predict actual linkages and network structure, and we contrast these approaches to social network models. We find that currently applied network constructions for assessing connectivity consistently, and substantially, overpredict actual connectivity, resulting in considerable overestimation of metapopulation lifetime. Furthermore, social network models provide accurate predictions of network structure, and can do so with remarkably limited data on movement. Social network models offer a flexible and powerful way for not only understanding the factors influencing connectivity but also for providing more reliable estimates of connectivity and metapopulation persistence in the face of limited data.

  8. Eco-Anthropic Compatibility - a Multidisciplinary Model in Urban Ecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    MARIANO L. BIANCA

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper I propose a multidisciplinary model of urban development which goes beyond the notion of ecological sustainability, by building on the concept of eco-anthropic compatibility. First of all I will sketch the historical development of human aggregations and I will underline the difference between ancient and modern aggregations. On the basis of this analysis, I will take into consideration the notion of sustainability and its possible application to present conurbations. I will underline several limits of the notion of sustainable development and I will propose a multidisciplinary model grounded on a broader and new notion: the eco-anthropic compatibility. Using this notion, which includes the idea of sustainability, it is possible to handle, within the model, the human factors and human living conditions inside an urban aggregation. Finally, I will state that the actual urban model is decaying and therefore, sooner or later, we will have to face the end of urban civilization; for this reason we can start imagining new future ways for human aggregations on the planet based on the notion of eco-anthropic compatibility.

  9. Unveiling current Guanaco distribution in chile based upon niche structure of phylogeographic lineages: Andean puna to subpolar forests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benito A González

    Full Text Available Niche description and differentiation at broad geographic scales have been recent major topics in ecology and evolution. Describing the environmental niche structure of sister taxa with known evolutionary trajectories stands out as a useful exercise in understanding niche requirements. Here we model the environmental niche structure and distribution of the recently resolved phylogeography of guanaco (Lama guanicoe lineages on the western slope of the southern Andes. Using a maximum entropy framework, field data, and information on climate, topography, human density, and vegetation cover, we identify differences between the two subspecies (L.g.cacsilensis, L.g.guanicoe and their intermediate-hybrid lineage, that most likely determine the distribution of this species. While aridity seems to be a major factor influencing the distribution at the species-level (annual precipitation <900 mm, we also document important differences in niche specificity for each subspecies, where distribution of Northern lineage is explained mainly by elevation (mean = 3,413 m and precipitation seasonality (mean = 161 mm, hybrid lineage by annual precipitation (mean = 139 mm, and Southern subspecies by annual precipitation (mean = 553 mm, precipitation seasonality (mean = 21 mm and grass cover (mean = 8.2%. Among lineages, we detected low levels of niche overlap: I (Similarity Index = 0.06 and D (Schoener's Similarity Index = 0.01; and higher levels when comparing Northern and Southern subspecies with hybrids lineage ( I = 0.32-0.10 and D = 0.12-0.03, respectively. This suggests that important ecological and/or evolutionary processes are shaping the niche of guanacos in Chile, producing discrepancies when comparing range distribution at the species-level (81,756 km(2 with lineages-level (65,321 km(2. The subspecies-specific description of niche structure is provided here based upon detailed spatial distribution of the lineages of guanacos in Chile. Such description

  10. Strategies for fitting nonlinear ecological models in R, AD Model Builder, and BUGS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bolker, Benjamin M.; Gardner, Beth; Maunder, Mark; Berg, Casper W.; Brooks, Mollie; Comita, Liza; Crone, Elizabeth; Cubaynes, Sarah; Davies, Trevor; de Valpine, Perry; Ford, Jessica; Gimenez, Olivier; Kéry, Marc; Kim, Eun Jung; Lennert-Cody, Cleridy; Magunsson, Arni; Martell, Steve; Nash, John; Nielson, Anders; Regentz, Jim; Skaug, Hans; Zipkin, Elise

    2013-01-01

    1. Ecologists often use nonlinear fitting techniques to estimate the parameters of complex ecological models, with attendant frustration. This paper compares three open-source model fitting tools and discusses general strategies for defining and fitting models. 2. R is convenient and (relatively) easy to learn, AD Model Builder is fast and robust but comes with a steep learning curve, while BUGS provides the greatest flexibility at the price of speed. 3. Our model-fitting suggestions range from general cultural advice (where possible, use the tools and models that are most common in your subfield) to specific suggestions about how to change the mathematical description of models to make them more amenable to parameter estimation. 4. A companion web site (https://groups.nceas.ucsb.edu/nonlinear-modeling/projects) presents detailed examples of application of the three tools to a variety of typical ecological estimation problems; each example links both to a detailed project report and to full source code and data.

  11. A new quantitative model of ecological compensation based on ecosystem capital in Zhejiang Province, China*

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jin, Yan; Huang, Jing-feng; Peng, Dai-liang

    2009-01-01

    Ecological compensation is becoming one of key and multidiscipline issues in the field of resources and environmental management. Considering the change relation between gross domestic product (GDP) and ecological capital (EC) based on remote sensing estimation, we construct a new quantitative estimate model for ecological compensation, using county as study unit, and determine standard value so as to evaluate ecological compensation from 2001 to 2004 in Zhejiang Province, China. Spatial differences of the ecological compensation were significant among all the counties or districts. This model fills up the gap in the field of quantitative evaluation of regional ecological compensation and provides a feasible way to reconcile the conflicts among benefits in the economic, social, and ecological sectors. PMID:19353749

  12. Coupling GIS spatial analysis and Ensemble Niche Modelling to investigate climate change-related threats to the Sicilian pond turtle Emys trinacris, an endangered species from the Mediterranean

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Mattia Iannella

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available The pond turtle Emys trinacris is an endangered endemic species of Sicily showing a fragmented distribution throughout the main island. In this study, we applied “Ensemble Niche Modelling”, combining more classical statistical techniques as Generalized Linear Models and Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines with machine-learning approaches as Boosted Regression Trees and Maxent, to model the potential distribution of the species under current and future climatic conditions. Moreover, a “gap analysis” performed on both the species’ presence sites and the predictions from the Ensemble Models is proposed to integrate outputs from these models, in order to assess the conservation status of this threatened species in the context of biodiversity management. For this aim, four “Representative Concentration Pathways”, corresponding to different greenhouse gases emissions trajectories were considered to project the obtained models to both 2050 and 2070. Areas lost, gained or remaining stable for the target species in the projected models were calculated. E. trinacris’ potential distribution resulted to be significantly dependent upon precipitation-linked variables, mainly precipitation of wettest and coldest quarter. Future negative effects for the conservation of this species, because of more unstable precipitation patterns and extreme meteorological events, emerged from our analyses. Further, the sites currently inhabited by E. trinacris are, for more than a half, out of the Protected Areas network, highlighting an inadequate management of the species by the authorities responsible for its protection. Our results, therefore, suggest that in the next future the Sicilian pond turtle will need the utmost attention by the scientific community to avoid the imminent risk of extinction. Finally, the gap analysis performed in GIS environment resulted to be a very informative post-modeling technique, potentially applicable to the management

  13. Ecological models for regulatory risk assessments of pesticides: Developing a strategy for the future.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thorbek, P.; Forbes, V.; Heimbach, F.; Hommen, U.; Thulke, H.H.; Brink, van den P.J.

    2010-01-01

    Ecological Models for Regulatory Risk Assessments of Pesticides: Developing a Strategy for the Future provides a coherent, science-based view on ecological modeling for regulatory risk assessments. It discusses the benefits of modeling in the context of registrations, identifies the obstacles that

  14. Modelling dendritic ecological networks in space: anintegrated network perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peterson, Erin E.; Ver Hoef, Jay M.; Isaak, Dan J.; Falke, Jeffrey A.; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Jordon, Chris E.; McNyset, Kristina; Monestiez, Pascal; Ruesch, Aaron S.; Sengupta, Aritra; Som, Nicholas; Steel, E. Ashley; Theobald, David M.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Wenger, Seth J.

    2013-01-01

    Dendritic ecological networks (DENs) are a unique form of ecological networks that exhibit a dendritic network topology (e.g. stream and cave networks or plant architecture). DENs have a dual spatial representation; as points within the network and as points in geographical space. Consequently, some analytical methods used to quantify relationships in other types of ecological networks, or in 2-D space, may be inadequate for studying the influence of structure and connectivity on ecological processes within DENs. We propose a conceptual taxonomy of network analysis methods that account for DEN characteristics to varying degrees and provide a synthesis of the different approaches within

  15. Ecological Assimilation of Land and Climate Observations - the EALCO model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, S.; Zhang, Y.; Trishchenko, A.

    2004-05-01

    Ecosystems are intrinsically dynamic and interact with climate at a highly integrated level. Climate variables are the main driving factors in controlling the ecosystem physical, physiological, and biogeochemical processes including energy balance, water balance, photosynthesis, respiration, and nutrient cycling. On the other hand, ecosystems function as an integrity and feedback on the climate system through their control on surface radiation balance, energy partitioning, and greenhouse gases exchange. To improve our capability in climate change impact assessment, a comprehensive ecosystem model is required to address the many interactions between climate change and ecosystems. In addition, different ecosystems can have very different responses to the climate change and its variation. To provide more scientific support for ecosystem impact assessment at national scale, it is imperative that ecosystem models have the capability of assimilating the large scale geospatial information including satellite observations, GIS datasets, and climate model outputs or reanalysis. The EALCO model (Ecological Assimilation of Land and Climate Observations) is developed for such purposes. EALCO includes the comprehensive interactions among ecosystem processes and climate, and assimilates a variety of remote sensing products and GIS database. It provides both national and local scale model outputs for ecosystem responses to climate change including radiation and energy balances, water conditions and hydrological cycles, carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas exchange, and nutrient (N) cycling. These results form the foundation for the assessment of climate change impact on ecosystems, their services, and adaptation options. In this poster, the main algorithms for the radiation, energy, water, carbon, and nitrogen simulations were diagrammed. Sample input data layers at Canada national scale were illustrated. Model outputs including the Canada wide spatial distributions of net

  16. Niche construction, sources of selection and trait coevolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Laland, Kevin; Odling-Smee, John; Endler, John

    2017-10-06

    Organisms modify and choose components of their local environments. This 'niche construction' can alter ecological processes, modify natural selection and contribute to inheritance through ecological legacies. Here, we propose that niche construction initiates and modifies the selection directly affecting the constructor, and on other species, in an orderly, directed and sustained manner. By dependably generating specific environmental states, niche construction co-directs adaptive evolution by imposing a consistent statistical bias on selection. We illustrate how niche construction can generate this evolutionary bias by comparing it with artificial selection. We suggest that it occupies the middle ground between artificial and natural selection. We show how the perspective leads to testable predictions related to: (i) reduced variance in measures of responses to natural selection in the wild; (ii) multiple trait coevolution, including the evolution of sequences of traits and patterns of parallel evolution; and (iii) a positive association between niche construction and biodiversity. More generally, we submit that evolutionary biology would benefit from greater attention to the diverse properties of all sources of selection.

  17. Ecology and geography of transmission of two bat-borne rabies lineages in Chile.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escobar, Luis E; Peterson, A Townsend; Favi, Myriam; Yung, Verónica; Pons, Daniel J; Medina-Vogel, Gonzalo

    2013-01-01

    Rabies was known to humans as a disease thousands of years ago. In America, insectivorous bats are natural reservoirs of rabies virus. The bat species Tadarida brasiliensis and Lasiurus cinereus, with their respective, host-specific rabies virus variants AgV4 and AgV6, are the principal rabies reservoirs in Chile. However, little is known about the roles of bat species in the ecology and geographic distribution of the virus. This contribution aims to address a series of questions regarding the ecology of rabies transmission in Chile. Analyzing records from 1985-2011 at the Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile (ISP) and using ecological niche modeling, we address these questions to help in understanding rabies-bat ecological dynamics in South America. We found ecological niche identity between both hosts and both viral variants, indicating that niches of all actors in the system are undifferentiated, although the viruses do not necessarily occupy the full geographic distributions of their hosts. Bat species and rabies viruses share similar niches, and our models had significant predictive power even across unsampled regions; results thus suggest that outbreaks may occur under consistent, stable, and predictable circumstances.

  18. Ecology and Geography of Transmission of Two Bat-Borne Rabies Lineages in Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Escobar, Luis E.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Favi, Myriam; Yung, Verónica; Pons, Daniel J.; Medina-Vogel, Gonzalo

    2013-01-01

    Rabies was known to humans as a disease thousands of years ago. In America, insectivorous bats are natural reservoirs of rabies virus. The bat species Tadarida brasiliensis and Lasiurus cinereus, with their respective, host-specific rabies virus variants AgV4 and AgV6, are the principal rabies reservoirs in Chile. However, little is known about the roles of bat species in the ecology and geographic distribution of the virus. This contribution aims to address a series of questions regarding the ecology of rabies transmission in Chile. Analyzing records from 1985–2011 at the Instituto de Salud Pública de Chile (ISP) and using ecological niche modeling, we address these questions to help in understanding rabies-bat ecological dynamics in South America. We found ecological niche identity between both hosts and both viral variants, indicating that niches of all actors in the system are undifferentiated, although the viruses do not necessarily occupy the full geographic distributions of their hosts. Bat species and rabies viruses share similar niches, and our models had significant predictive power even across unsampled regions; results thus suggest that outbreaks may occur under consistent, stable, and predictable circumstances. PMID:24349592

  19. The role of ecological models in linking ecological risk assessment to ecosystem services in agroecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Galic, N.G.; Schmolke, A.; Forbes, V.; Baveco, J.M.; Brink, van den P.J.

    2012-01-01

    Agricultural practices are essential for sustaining the human population, but at the same time they can directly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecological risk assessment (ERA) aims to estimate possible adverse effects of human activities on ecosystems and their parts. Current ERA practices,

  20. Modelling dendritic ecological networks in space: An integrated network perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erin E. Peterson; Jay M. Ver Hoef; Dan J. Isaak; Jeffrey A. Falke; Marie-Josee Fortin; Chris E. Jordan; Kristina McNyset; Pascal Monestiez; Aaron S. Ruesch; Aritra Sengupta; Nicholas Som; E. Ashley Steel; David M. Theobald; Christian E. Torgersen; Seth J. Wenger

    2013-01-01

    Dendritic ecological networks (DENs) are a unique form of ecological networks that exhibit a dendritic network topology (e.g. stream and cave networks or plant architecture). DENs have a dual spatial representation; as points within the network and as points in geographical space. Consequently, some analytical methods used to quantify relationships in other types of...

  1. Interdisciplinary Industrial Ecology Education: Recommendations for an Inclusive Pedagogical Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sharma, Archana

    2009-01-01

    Industrial ecology education is being developed and delivered predominantly within the domains of engineering and management. Such an approach could prove somewhat limiting to the broader goal of developing industrial ecology as an integrated knowledge base inclusive of diverse disciplines, contributing to sustainable development. This paper…

  2. Ecological modeling for forest management in the Shawnee National Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richard G. Thurau; J.F. Fralish; S. Hupe; B. Fitch; A.D. Carver

    2008-01-01

    Land managers of the Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois are challenged to meet the needs of a diverse populace of stakeholders. By classifying National Forest holdings into management units, U.S. Forest Service personnel can spatially allocate resources and services to meet local management objectives. Ecological Classification Systems predict ecological site...

  3. Mathematical modeling in economics, ecology and the environment

    CERN Document Server

    Hritonenko, Natali

    2013-01-01

    Updated to textbook form by popular demand, this second edition discusses diverse mathematical models used in economics, ecology, and the environmental sciences with emphasis on control and optimization. It is intended for graduate and upper-undergraduate course use, however, applied mathematicians, industry practitioners, and a vast number of interdisciplinary academics will find the presentation highly useful. Core topics of this text are: ·         Economic growth and technological development ·         Population dynamics and human impact on the environment ·         Resource extraction and scarcity ·         Air and water contamination ·         Rational management of the economy and environment ·         Climate change and global dynamics The step-by-step approach taken is problem-based and easy to follow. The authors aptly demonstrate that the same models may be used to describe different economic and environmental processes and that similar invest...

  4. Public sector administration of ecological economics systems using mediated modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van den Belt, Marjan; Kenyan, Jennifer R; Krueger, Elizabeth; Maynard, Alison; Roy, Matthew Galen; Raphael, Ian

    2010-01-01

    In today's climate of government outsourcing and multiple stakeholder involvement in public sector management and service delivery, it is more important than ever to rethink and redesign the structure of how policy decisions are made, implemented, monitored, and adapted to new realities. The traditional command-and-control approach is now less effective because an increasing amount of responsibility to deliver public goods and services falls on networks of nongovernment agencies. Even though public administrators are seeking new decision-making models in an increasingly more complex environment, the public sector currently only sparsely utilizes Mediated Modeling (MM). There is growing evidence, however, that by employing MM and similar tools, public interest networks can be better equipped to deal with their long-term viability while maintaining the short-term needs of their clients. However, it may require a shift in organizational culture within and between organizations to achieve the desired results. This paper explores the successes and barriers to implementing MM and similar tools in the public sector and offers insights into utilizing them through a review of case studies and interdisciplinary literature. We aim to raise a broader interest in MM and similar tools among public sector administrators at various administrative levels. We focus primarily, but not exclusively, on those cases operating at the interface of ecology and socio-economic systems.

  5. THE GERMLINE STEM CELL NICHE UNIT IN MAMMALIAN TESTES

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oatley, Jon M.; Brinster, Ralph L.

    2014-01-01

    This review addresses current understanding of the germline stem cell niche unit in mammalian testes. Spermatogenesis is a classic model of tissue-specific stem cell function relying on self-renewal and differentiation of spermatogonial stem cells (SSCs). These fate decisions are influenced by a niche microenvironment composed of a growth factor milieu that is provided by several testis somatic support cell populations. Investigations over the last two decades have identified key determinants of the SSC niche including cytokines that regulate SSC functions and support cells providing these factors, adhesion molecules that influence SSC homing, and developmental heterogeneity of the niche during postnatal aging. Emerging evidence suggests that Sertoli cells are a key support cell population influencing the formation and function of niches by secreting soluble factors and possibly orchestrating contributions of other support cells. Investigations with mice have shown that niche influence on SSC proliferation differs during early postnatal development and adulthood. Moreover, there is mounting evidence of an age-related decline in niche function, which is likely influenced by systemic factors. Defining the attributes of stem cell niches is key to developing methods to utilize these cells for regenerative medicine. The SSC population and associated niche comprise a valuable model system for study that provides fundamental knowledge about the biology of tissue-specific stem cells and their capacity to sustain homeostasis of regenerating tissue lineages. While the stem cell is essential for maintenance of all self-renewing tissues and has received considerable attention, the role of niche cells is at least as important and may prove to be more receptive to modification in regenerative medicine. PMID:22535892

  6. Increasing the reliability of ecological models using modern software engineering techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robert M. Scheller; Brian R. Sturtevant; Eric J. Gustafson; Brendan C. Ward; David J. Mladenoff

    2009-01-01

    Modern software development techniques are largely unknown to ecologists. Typically, ecological models and other software tools are developed for limited research purposes, and additional capabilities are added later, usually in an ad hoc manner. Modern software engineering techniques can substantially increase scientific rigor and confidence in ecological models and...

  7. Ecological models in support of regulatory risk assessments of pesticides: developing a strategy for the future.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forbes, Valery E; Hommen, Udo; Thorbek, Pernille; Heimbach, Fred; Van den Brink, Paul J; Wogram, Jörn; Thulke, Hans-Hermann; Grimm, Volker

    2009-01-01

    This brief communication reports on the main findings of the LEMTOX workshop, held from 9 to 12 September 2007, at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany. The workshop brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from academia, regulatory authorities, contract research organizations, and industry, representing Europe, the United States, and Asia, to discuss the role of ecological modeling in risk assessments of pesticides, particularly under the European regulatory framework. The following questions were addressed: What are the potential benefits of using ecological models in pesticide registration and risk assessment? What obstacles prevent ecological modeling from being used routinely in regulatory submissions? What actions are needed to overcome the identified obstacles? What recommendations should be made to ensure good modeling practice in this context? The workshop focused exclusively on population models, and discussion was focused on those categories of population models that link effects on individuals (e.g., survival, growth, reproduction, behavior) to effects on population dynamics. The workshop participants concluded that the overall benefits of ecological modeling are that it could bring more ecology into ecological risk assessment, and it could provide an excellent tool for exploring the importance of, and interactions among, ecological complexities. However, there are a number of challenges that need to be overcome before such models will receive wide acceptance for pesticide risk assessment, despite having been used extensively in other contexts (e.g., conservation biology). The need for guidance on Good Modeling Practice (on model development, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, documentation, and communication), as well as the need for case studies that can be used to explore the added value of ecological models for risk assessment, were identified as top priorities. Assessing recovery potential of exposed

  8. Strategies for fitting nonlinear ecological models in R, AD Model Builder, and BUGS

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bolker, B.M.; Gardner, B.; Maunder, M.

    2013-01-01

    Ecologists often use nonlinear fitting techniques to estimate the parameters of complex ecological models, with attendant frustration. This paper compares three open-source model fitting tools and discusses general strategies for defining and fitting models. R is convenient and (relatively) easy...... to learn, AD Model Builder is fast and robust but comes with a steep learning curve, while BUGS provides the greatest flexibility at the price of speed. Our model-fitting suggestions range from general cultural advice (where possible, use the tools and models that are most common in your subfield...

  9. A brief introduction to mixed effects modelling and multi-model inference in ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harrison, Xavier A; Donaldson, Lynda; Correa-Cano, Maria Eugenia; Evans, Julian; Fisher, David N; Goodwin, Cecily E D; Robinson, Beth S; Hodgson, David J; Inger, Richard

    2018-01-01

    The use of linear mixed effects models (LMMs) is increasingly common in the analysis of biological data. Whilst LMMs offer a flexible approach to modelling a broad range of data types, ecological data are often complex and require complex model structures, and the fitting and interpretation of such models is not always straightforward. The ability to achieve robust biological inference requires that practitioners know how and when to apply these tools. Here, we provide a general overview of current methods for the application of LMMs to biological data, and highlight the typical pitfalls that can be encountered in the statistical modelling process. We tackle several issues regarding methods of model selection, with particular reference to the use of information theory and multi-model inference in ecology. We offer practical solutions and direct the reader to key references that provide further technical detail for those seeking a deeper understanding. This overview should serve as a widely accessible code of best practice for applying LMMs to complex biological problems and model structures, and in doing so improve the robustness of conclusions drawn from studies investigating ecological and evolutionary questions.

  10. Hierarchical modeling and inference in ecology: The analysis of data from populations, metapopulations and communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Royle, J. Andrew; Dorazio, Robert M.

    2008-01-01

    A guide to data collection, modeling and inference strategies for biological survey data using Bayesian and classical statistical methods. This book describes a general and flexible framework for modeling and inference in ecological systems based on hierarchical models, with a strict focus on the use of probability models and parametric inference. Hierarchical models represent a paradigm shift in the application of statistics to ecological inference problems because they combine explicit models of ecological system structure or dynamics with models of how ecological systems are observed. The principles of hierarchical modeling are developed and applied to problems in population, metapopulation, community, and metacommunity systems. The book provides the first synthetic treatment of many recent methodological advances in ecological modeling and unifies disparate methods and procedures. The authors apply principles of hierarchical modeling to ecological problems, including * occurrence or occupancy models for estimating species distribution * abundance models based on many sampling protocols, including distance sampling * capture-recapture models with individual effects * spatial capture-recapture models based on camera trapping and related methods * population and metapopulation dynamic models * models of biodiversity, community structure and dynamics.

  11. Rice production model based on the concept of ecological footprint

    Science.gov (United States)

    Faiz, S. A.; Wicaksono, A. D.; Dinanti, D.

    2017-06-01

    Pursuant to what had been stated in Region Spatial Planning (RTRW) of Malang Regency for period 2010-2030, Malang Regency was considered as the center of agricultural development, including districts bordered with Malang City. To protect the region functioning as the provider of rice production, then the policy of sustainable food farming-land (LP2B) was made which its implementation aims to protect rice-land. In the existing condition, LP2B system was not maximally executed, and it caused a limited extend of rice-land to deliver rice production output. One cause related with the development of settlements and industries due to the effect of Malang City that converted land-function. Location of research focused on 30 villages with direct border with Malang City. Review was conducted to develop a model of relation between farming production output and ecological footprint variables. These variables include rice-land area (X1), built land percentage (X2), and number of farmers (X3). Analysis technique was regression. Result of regression indicated that the model of rice production output Y=-207,983 + 10.246X1. Rice-land area (X1) was the most influential independent variable. It was concluded that of villages directly bordered with Malang City, there were 11 villages with higher production potential because their rice production yield was more than 1,000 tons/year, while 12 villages were threatened with low production output because its rice production yield only attained 500 tons/year. Based on the model and the spatial direction of RTRW, it can be said that the direction for the farming development policy must be redesigned to maintain rice-land area on the regions on which agricultural activity was still dominant. Because rice-land area was the most influential factor to farming production. Therefore, the wider the rice-land is, the higher rice production output is on each village.

  12. Niche-based modelling as a tool for predicting the risk of alien plant invasions at a global scale

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Thuiller, W.; Richardson, D. M.; Pyšek, Petr; Midgley, G. F.; Hughes, G. O.; Rouget, M.

    2005-01-01

    Roč. 11, - (2005), s. 2234-2250 ISSN 1354-1013 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/03/1216 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : bioclimatic modelling * biological invasions * risk assessment Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 4.075, year: 2005

  13. Pleistocene niche stability and lineage diversification in the subtropical spider Araneus omnicolor (Araneidae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elen A Peres

    Full Text Available The influence of Quaternary climate oscillations on the diversification of the South American fauna is being increasingly explored. However, most of these studies have focused on taxa that are endemic to tropical environments, and relatively few have treated organisms restricted to subtropical biomes. Here we used an integrative phylogeographical framework to investigate the effects of these climate events on the ecological niche and genetic patterns of the subtropical orb-weaver spider Araneus omnicolor (Araneidae. We analyzed the mitochondrial (Cytochrome Oxidase I, COI and nuclear (Internal Transcribed Subunit II, ITS2 DNA of 130 individuals throughout the species' range, and generated distribution models in three different climate scenarios [present, Last Glacial Maximum (LGM, and Last Interglacial Maximum (LIG]. Additionally, we used an Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC approach to compare possible demographic scenarios and select the hypothesis that better explains the genetic patterns of A. omnicolor. We obtained high haplotype diversity but low nucleotide variation among sequences. The population structure and demographic analyses showed discrepancies between markers, suggesting male-biased dispersal in the species. The time-calibrated COI phylogenetic inference showed a recent diversification of lineages (Middle/Late Pleistocene, while the paleoclimate modeling indicated niche stability since ~120 Kya. The ABC results agreed with the niche models, supporting a panmictic population as the most likely historical scenario for the species. These results indicate that A. omnicolor experienced no niche or population reductions during the Late Pleistocene, despite the intense landscape modifications that occurred in the subtropical region, and that other factors beside LGM and LIG climate oscillations might have contributed to the demographic history of this species. This pattern may be related to the high dispersal ability and wide

  14. Modeling the ecological impacts of Flaming Gorge Dam operations

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Yin, S.C.L.; LaGory, K.E.; Hayse, J.W.; Hlohowskyj, I.; Van Lonkhuyzen, R.A.; Cho, H.E.

    1996-01-01

    Hydropower operations at Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River in Utah, US, can produce rapid downstream changes in flow and stage during a day. These changes can, in turn, affect ecological resources below the dam, including riparian vegetation, trout, and endangered fish. Four hydropower operational scenarios featuring varying degrees of hydropower-induced flow fluctuation were evaluated with hydrologic models and multispectral aerial videography of the river. Year-round high fluctuations would support the least amount of stable spawning habitat for trout and nursery habitat for endangered fish, and would have the greatest potential for reducing growth and over winter survival of fish. Seasonally, adjusted moderate fluctuation and seasonally adjusted steady flow scenarios could increase food production and over winter survival and would provide the greatest amount of spawning and nursery habitat for fish. The year-round high fluctuation, seasonally adjusted high fluctuation, and seasonally adjusted moderate fluctuation scenarios would result in a 5% decrease in upper riparian zone habitat. the seasonally adjusted steady flow scenario would result in an 8% increase in upper riparian zone habitat. Lower riparian zone habitat would increase by about 17% for year-round and seasonally adjusted high fluctuating flow scenarios but decrease by about 24% and 69% for seasonally adjusted moderate fluctuating and steady flow scenarios, respectively

  15. Regional scale ecological risk assessment: using the relative risk model

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Landis, Wayne G

    2005-01-01

    ...) in the performance of regional-scale ecological risk assessments. The initial chapters present the methodology and the critical nature of the interaction between risk assessors and decision makers...

  16. Toward Gleasonian landscape ecology: From communities to species, from patches to pixels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuel A. Cushman; Jeffrey S. Evans; Kevin McGarigal; Joseph M. Kiesecker

    2010-01-01

    The fusion of individualistic community ecology with the Hutchinsonian niche concept enabled a broad integration of ecological theory, spanning all the way from the niche characteristics of individual species, to the composition, structure, and dynamics of ecological communities. Landscape ecology has been variously described as the study of the structure, function,...

  17. Niche entrepreneurs in urban systems integration : On the role of individuals in niche formation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pesch, U.; Vernay, A.L.; van Bueren, E.M.; Pandis Iveroth, S

    2017-01-01

    In many sustainable urban innovation projects, the efforts, endurance and enthusiasm of individuals at key positions are considered a crucial factor for success. This article studies the role of individual agency in sociotechnical niches by using Kingdon’s agenda-setting model. Although strategic

  18. Double coupling: modeling subjectivity and asymmetric organization in social-ecological systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David Manuel-Navarrete

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available Social-ecological organization is a multidimensional phenomenon that combines material and symbolic processes. However, the coupling between social and ecological subsystem is often conceptualized as purely material, thus reducing the symbolic dimension to its behavioral and actionable expressions. In this paper I conceptualize social-ecological systems as doubly coupled. On the one hand, material expressions of socio-cultural processes affect and are affected by ecological dynamics. On the other hand, coupled social-ecological material dynamics are concurrently coupled with subjective dynamics via coding, decoding, personal experience, and human agency. This second coupling operates across two organizationally heterogeneous dimensions: material and symbolic. Although resilience thinking builds on the recognition of organizational asymmetry between living and nonliving systems, it has overlooked the equivalent asymmetry between ecological and socio-cultural subsystems. Three guiding concepts are proposed to formalize double coupling. The first one, social-ecological asymmetry, expands on past seminal work on ecological self-organization to incorporate reflexivity and subjectivity in social-ecological modeling. Organizational asymmetry is based in the distinction between social rules, which are symbolically produced and changed through human agents' reflexivity and purpose, and biophysical rules, which are determined by functional relations between ecological components. The second guiding concept, conscious power, brings to the fore human agents' distinctive capacity to produce our own subjective identity and the consequences of this capacity for social-ecological organization. The third concept, congruence between subjective and objective dynamics, redefines sustainability as contingent on congruent relations between material and symbolic processes. Social-ecological theories and analyses based on these three guiding concepts would support the

  19. Circum-Mediterranean phylogeography of a bat coupled with past environmental niche modeling: A new paradigm for the recolonization of Europe?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bilgin, Raşit; Gürün, Kanat; Rebelo, Hugo; Puechmaille, Sebastien J; Maracı, Öncü; Presetnik, Primoz; Benda, Petr; Hulva, Pavel; Ibáñez, Carlos; Hamidovic, Daniela; Fressel, Norma; Horáček, Ivan; Karataş, Ayşegül; Karataş, Ahmet; Allegrini, Benjamin; Georgiakakis, Panagiotis; Gazaryan, Suren; Nagy, Zoltan L; Abi-Said, Mounir; Lučan, Radek K; Bartonička, Tomáš; Nicolaou, Haris; Scaravelli, Dino; Karapandža, Branko; Uhrin, Marcel; Paunović, Milan; Juste, Javier

    2016-06-01

    The isolation of populations in the Iberian, Italian and Balkan peninsulas during the ice ages define four main paradigms that explain much of the known distribution of intraspecific genetic diversity in Europe. In this study we investigated the phylogeography of a wide-spread bat species, the bent-winged bat, Miniopterus schreibersii around the Mediterranean basin and in the Caucasus. Environmental Niche Modeling (ENM) analysis was applied to predict both the current distribution of the species and its distribution during the last glacial maximum (LGM). The combination of genetics and ENM results suggest that the populations of M. schreibersii in Europe, the Caucasus and Anatolia went extinct during the LGM, and the refugium for the species was a relatively small area to the east of the Levantine Sea, corresponding to the Mediterranean coasts of present-day Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and northeastern and northwestern Egypt. Subsequently the species first repopulated Anatolia, diversified there, and afterwards expanded into the Caucasus, continental Europe and North Africa after the end of the LGM. The fossil record in Iberia and the ENM results indicate continuous presence of Miniopterus in this peninsula that most probably was related to the Maghrebian lineage during the LGM, which did not persist afterwards. Using our results combined with similar findings in previous studies, we propose a new paradigm explaining the general distribution of genetic diversity in Europe involving the recolonization of the continent, with the main contribution from refugial populations in Anatolia and the Middle East. The study shows how genetics and ENM approaches can complement each other in providing a more detailed picture of intraspecific evolution. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  20. Violent Victimization and Perpetration during Adolescence: Developmental Stage Dependent Ecological Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matjasko, Jennifer L.; Needham, Belinda L.; Grunden, Leslie N.; Farb, Amy Feldman

    2010-01-01

    Using a variant of the ecological-transactional model and developmental theories of delinquency on a nationally representative sample of adolescents, the current study explored the ecological predictors of violent victimization, perpetration, and both for three different developmental stages during adolescence. We examined the relative influence…

  1. Informative-Consulting Model for Ecological Estimation of Influence of NPP on Surrounding Environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Vlasenko, N.I.; Vlasova, E.V.; Korotenko, M.N.; Pyshnaya, D.V.

    2006-01-01

    In the NAEK 'Energoatom' the development of informative-consulting model (ICM) for ecological estimation of influence of NPP on surrounding an environment has began. In ICM the use of modern program complexes is foreseen that will allow to analyses data of the radio ecological monitoring in the real-time mode and promote the validity of administrative decisions

  2. Multi-Attribute Modelling of Economic and Ecological Impacts of Cropping Systems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bohanec, M.; Dzeroski, S.; Znidarsic, M.; Messéan, A.; Scatasta, S.; Wesseler, J.H.H.

    2004-01-01

    Modelling of economic and ecological impacts of genetically modified crops is a demanding task. We present some preliminary attempts made for the purpose of the ECOGEN project "Soil ecological and economic evaluation of genetically modified crops". One of the goals of the project is to develop a

  3. Evolving Approaches and Technologies to Enhance the Role of Ecological Modeling in Decision Making

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eric Gustafson; John Nestler; Louis Gross; Keith M. Reynolds; Daniel Yaussy; Thomas P. Maxwell; Virginia H. Dale

    2002-01-01

    Understanding the effects of management activities is difficult for natural resource managers and decision makers because ecological systems are highly complex and their behavior is difficult to predict. Furthermore, the empirical studies necessary to illuminate all management questions quickly become logistically complicated and cost prohibitive. Ecological models...

  4. Improving communication and validation of ecological models : a case study on the dispersal of aquatic macroinvertebrates

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Augusiak, Jacqueline A.

    2016-01-01

    In recent years, ecological effect models have been put forward as tools for supporting environmental decision-making. Often they are the only way to take the relevant spatial and temporal scales and the multitude of processes characteristic to ecological systems into account. Particularly for

  5. [Niche and interspecific association of the dominant fish in the south coastal waters of Wenzhou, China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dong, Jing Rui; Shui, Bo Nian; Hu, Cheng Ye; Shui, Yu Yue; DU, Xiao; Tian, Kuo

    2017-05-18

    The studies about the niche and interspecific association in China were mainly focused on the plants, birds and marine animals, and seldom on fish. Based on the fishery resources survey in spring (May) and autumn (September) in 2015, the associations among major fish species in south coastal waters of Wenzhou were investigated. The methods including niche breadth, niche overlap, variance ratio (VR), Χ 2 -test, association coefficient (AC), percentage of co-occurrence (PC) and point correlation coefficients (Ф) were used. The results showed that 47 fish species were identified, including 9 orders, 27 families and 41 genera. Four species were dominant species and 9 were important species, which together accounted for 17%. The niche breadth cluster analysis demonstrated two clearly identifiable ecological niches. The first one referred to wide niche that included Harpodon nehereus, Collichthys lucidus, Engraulis japonicas, Pampus echinogaster, Argyrosomus argentatus, Polynemus sextarius, Decapterus maruadsi and Trichiurus haumela, and the second one was narrow niche that included Muraenesox cinereus, Amblychaeturichthys hexanema, Cunoglossus robustus, Pseudosciaena polyactis and Ilisha elongate. The niche overlap value of the main fish was 0-0.90, indicating that there was difference in the resource utilization among the species. The ecological niche widths of C. robustus and M. cinereus were narrow, and the overlap values were high. This indicated that there was competition between these two species. The VR analysis revealed significant positive correlation among the main fish species. In view of the advantages of Ф value, which could reduce the impact of the analysis results of Χ 2 -test, AC and PC to the interspecific association, the Ф value method was selected in this study, and the association of 63 couples were positive. Both the interspecific association and ecological niche had different degrees of correlation with the stability of community structure

  6. Niche Inheritance: A Cooperative Pathway to Enhance Cancer Cell Fitness Through Ecosystem Engineering

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Kimberline R; Mooney, Steven M; Zarif, Jelani C; Coffey, Donald S; Taichman, Russell S; Pienta, Kenneth J

    2014-01-01

    Cancer cells can be described as an invasive species that is able to establish itself in a new environment. The concept of niche construction can be utilized to describe the process by which cancer cells terraform their environment, thereby engineering an ecosystem that promotes the genetic fitness of the species. Ecological dispersion theory can then be utilized to describe and model the steps and barriers involved in a successful diaspora as the cancer cells leave the original host organ and migrate to new host organs to successfully establish a new metastatic community. These ecological concepts can be further utilized to define new diagnostic and therapeutic areas for lethal cancers. 115: 1478–1485, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:24700698

  7. A Conceptual Framework for Evaluating the Domains of Applicability of Ecological Models and its Implementation in the Ecological Production Function Library

    Science.gov (United States)

    The use of computational ecological models to inform environmental management and policy has proliferated in the past 25 years. These models have become essential tools as linkages and feedbacks between human actions and ecological responses can be complex, and as funds for sampl...

  8. Niche-specific cognitive strategies

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hulgard, K.; Ratcliffe, J. M.

    2014-01-01

    Related species with different diets are predicted to rely on different cognitive strategies: those best suited for locating available and appropriate foods. Here we tested two predictions of the niche-specific cognitive strategies hypothesis in bats, which suggests that predatory species should...... the niche-specific cognitive strategies hypothesis and suggest that for gleaning and clutter-resistant aerial hawking bats, learning to associate shape with food interferes with subsequent spatial memory learning....

  9. Considerations in representing human individuals in social ecological models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Manfredo, Michael J.; Teel, Tara L.; Gavin, Michael C.; Fulton, David C.

    2017-01-01

    In this chapter we focus on how to integrate the human individual into social-ecological systems analysis, and how to improve research on individual thought and action regarding the environment by locating it within the broader social-ecological context. We discuss three key questions as considerations for future research: (1) is human thought conceptualized as a dynamic and adaptive process, (2) is the individual placed in a multi-level context (including within-person levels, person-group interactions, and institutional and structural factors), and (3) is human thought seen as mutually constructed with the social and natural environment. Increased emphasis on the individual will be essential if we are to understand agency, innovation, and adaptation in social-ecological systems.

  10. A Sense of Place: Integrating Environmental Psychology into Marine Socio-Ecological Models

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Putten, I. E.; Fleming, A.; Fulton, E.; Plaganyi-Lloyd, E.

    2016-02-01

    Sense of place is a concept that is increasingly applied in different social research contexts where it can act as a bridge between disciplines that might otherwise work in parallel. A sense of place is a well established and flexible concept that has been empirically measured using different survey methods. The psychological principals and theories that underpin sense of place have been inextricably linked to the quality of ecological systems and the impact on development of the system, and vice versa. Ecological models and scenario analyses play an important role in characterising, assessing and predicting the potential impacts of alternative developments and other changes affecting ecological systems. To improve the predictive accuracy of ecological models, human drivers, interactions, and uses have been dynamically incorporated, for instance, through management strategy evaluation applied to marine ecosystem models. However, to date no socio-ecological models (whether terrestrial or marine) have been developed that incorporate a dynamic feedback between ecosystem characteristics and peoples' sense of place. These models thus essentially ignore the influence of environmental psychology on the way people use and interact with ecosystems. We develop a proof of concept and provide a mathematical basis for a Sense of Place Index (SoPI) that allows the quantitative integration of environmental psychology into socio-ecological models. Incorporating dynamic feedback between the SoPI for different resource user groups and the ecological system improves the accuracy and precision of predictions regarding future resource use as well as, ultimately, the potential state of the resource to be developed.

  11. Accounting for uncertainty in ecological analysis: the strengths and limitations of hierarchical statistical modeling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cressie, Noel; Calder, Catherine A; Clark, James S; Ver Hoef, Jay M; Wikle, Christopher K

    2009-04-01

    Analyses of ecological data should account for the uncertainty in the process(es) that generated the data. However, accounting for these uncertainties is a difficult task, since ecology is known for its complexity. Measurement and/or process errors are often the only sources of uncertainty modeled when addressing complex ecological problems, yet analyses should also account for uncertainty in sampling design, in model specification, in parameters governing the specified model, and in initial and boundary conditions. Only then can we be confident in the scientific inferences and forecasts made from an analysis. Probability and statistics provide a framework that accounts for multiple sources of uncertainty. Given the complexities of ecological studies, the hierarchical statistical model is an invaluable tool. This approach is not new in ecology, and there are many examples (both Bayesian and non-Bayesian) in the literature illustrating the benefits of this approach. In this article, we provide a baseline for concepts, notation, and methods, from which discussion on hierarchical statistical modeling in ecology can proceed. We have also planted some seeds for discussion and tried to show where the practical difficulties lie. Our thesis is that hierarchical statistical modeling is a powerful way of approaching ecological analysis in the presence of inevitable but quantifiable uncertainties, even if practical issues sometimes require pragmatic compromises.

  12. Prospects for population expansion of the exotic aoudad (Ammotragus lervia; Bovidae) in the Iberian Peninsula: clues from habitat suitability modelling

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cassinello, Jorge; Acevedo, Pelayo; Hortal, Joaquín

    2006-01-01

    We studied the geographical distribution and habitat suitability of an introduced ungulate, the aoudad (Ammotragus lervia), that is currently expanding its range in south-eastern Iberian Peninsula. We assessed the niche of the species using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) on (1......) environmental variables (climate and habitat type), and (2) potential aoudad landscape avoidance and human disturbance variables. We compared both niche descriptions to study the impact of human interference on niche selection of the species. ENFA models were calibrated using data on the population expanded...

  13. System dynamic modelling of industrial growth and landscape ecology in China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Jian; Kang, Jian; Shao, Long; Zhao, Tianyu

    2015-09-15

    With the rapid development of large industrial corridors in China, the landscape ecology of the country is currently being affected. Therefore, in this study, a system dynamic model with multi-dimensional nonlinear dynamic prediction function that considers industrial growth and landscape ecology is developed and verified to allow for more sustainable development. Firstly, relationships between industrial development and landscape ecology in China are examined, and five subsystems are then established: industry, population, urban economy, environment and landscape ecology. The main influencing factors are then examined for each subsystem to establish flow charts connecting those factors. Consequently, by connecting the subsystems, an overall industry growth and landscape ecology model is established. Using actual data and landscape index calculated based on GIS of the Ha-Da-Qi industrial corridor, a typical industrial corridor in China, over the period 2005-2009, the model is validated in terms of historical behaviour, logical structure and future prediction, where for 84.8% of the factors, the error rate of the model is less than 5%, the mean error rate of all factors is 2.96% and the error of the simulation test for the landscape ecology subsystem is less than 2%. Moreover, a model application has been made to consider the changes in landscape indices under four industrial development modes, and the optimal industrial growth plan has been examined for landscape ecological protection through the simulation prediction results over 2015-2020. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. Modelling a Learning Journey towards Teacher Ecological Self

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raus, Rea

    2016-01-01

    The article discusses the notion of the ecological self as a key concept for teacher identity construction during teacher education in the context of sustainable development (SD). Substantial amount of literature supports the understanding that the solution to the global sustainability crisis lies in the field of education where teacher identity,…

  15. Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria: A model for molecular microbial ecology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kowalchuk, G.A.; Stephen, J.R.

    2001-01-01

    The eutrophication of many ecosystems in recent decades has led to an increased interest in the ecology of nitrogen transformation. Chemolitho-autotrophic ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are responsible for the rate-limiting step of nitrification in a wide variety of environments, making them important

  16. The use of particle packing models to design ecological concrete

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fennis, S.A.A.M.; Walraven, J.C.; Den Uijl, J.A.

    2009-01-01

    Ecological concrete can be designed by replacing cement with fillers. With low amounts of cement it becomes increasingly important to control the water demand of concrete mixtures. In this paper a cyclic design method based on particle packing is presented and evaluated on the basis of experiments

  17. A modelling framework for improving plant establishment during ecological restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plants seeded during ecological restoration projects often perish en masse, and researchers are currently searching for traits promoting increased survival. In this study of a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) ecosystem, we found survivorship rankings of seeded grass species varied across 3...

  18. Climatic niche evolution is faster in sympatric than allopatric lineages of the butterfly genus Pyrgus

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Pitteloud, C.; Arrigo, N.; Suchan, T.; Mastretta-Yanes, A.; Vila, R.; Dincă, V.; Hernández-Roldán, J.; Brockmann, E.; Chittaro, Y.; Klečková, Irena; Fumagalli, L.; Buerki, S.; Pellissier, L.; Alvarez, N.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 284, č. 1852 (2017), č. článku 20170208. ISSN 0962-8452 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : climatic niche * macro-evolutionary processes * parametric biogeography Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.940, year: 2016 http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/284/1852/20170208

  19. Chemical ecology of fungi.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spiteller, Peter

    2015-07-01

    Fungi are widespread in nature and have conquered nearly every ecological niche. Fungi occur not only in terrestrial but also in freshwater and marine environments. Moreover, fungi are known as a rich source of secondary metabolites. Despite these facts, the ecological role of many of these metabolites is still unknown and the chemical ecology of fungi has not been investigated systematically so far. This review intends to present examples of the various chemical interactions of fungi with other fungi, plants, bacteria and animals and to give an overview of the current knowledge of fungal chemical ecology.

  20. Host specialist clownfishes are environmental niche generalists

    Science.gov (United States)

    Litsios, Glenn; Kostikova, Anna; Salamin, Nicolas

    2014-01-01

    Why generalist and specialist species coexist in nature is a question that has interested evolutionary biologists for a long time. While the coexistence of specialists and generalists exploiting resources on a single ecological dimension has been theoretically and empirically explored, biological systems with multiple resource dimensions (e.g. trophic, ecological) are less well understood. Yet, such systems may provide an alternative to the classical theory of stable evolutionary coexistence of generalist and specialist species on a single resource dimension. We explore such systems and the potential trade-offs between different resource dimensions in clownfishes. All species of this iconic clade are obligate mutualists with sea anemones yet show interspecific variation in anemone host specificity. Moreover, clownfishes developed variable environmental specialization across their distribution. In this study, we test for the existence of a relationship between host-specificity (number of anemones associated with a clownfish species) and environmental-specificity (expressed as the size of the ecological niche breadth across climatic gradients). We find a negative correlation between host range and environmental specificities in temperature, salinity and pH, probably indicating a trade-off between both types of specialization forcing species to specialize only in a single direction. Trade-offs in a multi-dimensional resource space could be a novel way of explaining the coexistence of generalist and specialists. PMID:25274370

  1. Of Models and Meanings: Cultural Resilience in Social-Ecological Systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Todd A. Crane

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Modeling has emerged as a key technology in analysis of social-ecological systems. However, the tendency for modeling to focus on the mechanistic materiality of biophysical systems obscures the diversity of performative social behaviors and normative cultural positions of actors within the modeled system. The fact that changes in the biophysical system can be culturally constructed in different ways means that the perception and pursuit of adaptive pathways can be highly variable. Furthermore, the adoption of biophysically resilient livelihoods can occur under conditions that are subjectively experienced as the radical transformation of cultural systems. The objectives of this work are to: (1 highlight the importance of understanding the place of culture within social-ecological systems, (2 explore the tensions between empirical and normative positions in the analysis of social-ecological resilience, and (3 suggest how empirical modeling of social-ecological systems can synergistically interact with normative aspects of livelihoods and lifeways.

  2. Language, embodiment, and the cognitive niche.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, Andy

    2006-08-01

    Embodied agents use bodily actions and environmental interventions to make the world a better place to think in. Where does language fit into this emerging picture of the embodied, ecologically efficient agent? One useful way to approach this question is to consider language itself as a cognition-enhancing animal-built structure. To take this perspective is to view language as a kind of self-constructed cognitive niche: a persisting but never stationary material scaffolding whose crucial role in promoting thought and reason remains surprisingly poorly understood. It is the very materiality of this linguistic scaffolding, I suggest, that gives it some key benefits. By materializing thought in words, we create structures that are themselves proper objects of perception, manipulation, and (further) thought.

  3. Stem cell dynamics in the hair follicle niche

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rompolas, Panteleimon; Greco, Valentina

    2014-01-01

    Hair follicles are skin appendages of the mammalian skin that have the ability to periodically and stereotypically regenerate in order to continuously produce new hair over our lifetime. The ability of the hair follicle to regenerate is due to the presence of stem cells that along with other cell populations and non-cellular components, including molecular signals and extracellular material, make up a niche microenvironment. Mounting evidence suggests that the niche is critical for regulating stem cell behavior and thus the process of regeneration. Here we review the literature concerning past and current studies that have utilized mouse genetic models, combined with other approaches to dissect the molecular and cellular composition of the hair follicle niche. We also discuss our current understanding of how stem cells operate within the niche during the process of tissue regeneration and the factors that regulate their behavior. PMID:24361866

  4. The big data-big model (BDBM) challenges in ecological research

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Y.

    2015-12-01

    The field of ecology has become a big-data science in the past decades due to development of new sensors used in numerous studies in the ecological community. Many sensor networks have been established to collect data. For example, satellites, such as Terra and OCO-2 among others, have collected data relevant on global carbon cycle. Thousands of field manipulative experiments have been conducted to examine feedback of terrestrial carbon cycle to global changes. Networks of observations, such as FLUXNET, have measured land processes. In particular, the implementation of the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), which is designed to network different kinds of sensors at many locations over the nation, will generate large volumes of ecological data every day. The raw data from sensors from those networks offer an unprecedented opportunity for accelerating advances in our knowledge of ecological processes, educating teachers and students, supporting decision-making, testing ecological theory, and forecasting changes in ecosystem services. Currently, ecologists do not have the infrastructure in place to synthesize massive yet heterogeneous data into resources for decision support. It is urgent to develop an ecological forecasting system that can make the best use of multiple sources of data to assess long-term biosphere change and anticipate future states of ecosystem services at regional and continental scales. Forecasting relies on big models that describe major processes that underlie complex system dynamics. Ecological system models, despite great simplification of the real systems, are still complex in order to address real-world problems. For example, Community Land Model (CLM) incorporates thousands of processes related to energy balance, hydrology, and biogeochemistry. Integration of massive data from multiple big data sources with complex models has to tackle Big Data-Big Model (BDBM) challenges. Those challenges include interoperability of multiple

  5. Comparison of models used for ecological risk assessment and human health risk assessment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ryti, R.T.; Gallegos, A.F.

    1994-01-01

    Models are used to derive action levels for site screening, or to estimate potential ecological or human health risks posed by potentially hazardous sites. At the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which is RCRA-regulated, the human-health screening action levels are based on hazardous constituents described in RCRA Subpart S and RESRAD-derived soil guidelines (based on 10 mRem/year) for radiological constituents. Also, an ecological risk screening model was developed for a former firing site, where the primary constituents include depleted uranium, beryllium and lead. Sites that fail the screening models are evaluated with site-specific human risk assessment (using RESRAD and other approaches) and a detailed ecological effect model (ECOTRAN). ECOTRAN is based on pharmacokinetics transport modeling within a multitrophic-level biological-growth dynamics model. ECOTRAN provides detailed temporal records of contaminant concentrations in biota, and annual averages of these body burdens are compared to equivalent site-specific runs of the RESRAD model. The results show that thoughtful interpretation of the results of these models must be applied before they can be used for evaluation of current risk posed by sites and the benefits of various remedial options. This presentation compares the concentrations of biological media in the RESRAD screening runs to the concentrations in ecological endpoints predicted by the ecological screening model. The assumptions and limitations of these screening models and the decision process where these are screening models are applied are discussed

  6. Vital affordances, occupying niches

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dokumaci, Arseli

    2017-01-01

    This article proposes a new conceptual approach to disability and performance through a contribution that comes entirely from outside the disciplines; a re-theorisation of Gibson’s [1979. The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates] theory of affordances....... Drawing on three visual ethnographies with differently disabled individuals, and building upon my previous consideration of performance as ‘affordance creation’ in itself [Dokumaci, A. 2013. “On Falling Ill.” Performance Research 18 (4): 107–115], the article conceptualises affordances as a form of micro......-activism–one that can allow us to unpack the entanglements of disability, performance, and matter. Putting Gibson’s theory in conversation with Canguilhem’s philosophy of life, it proposes the concept ‘vital affordances’ as a new way to think through this micro-activism, and the way disabled individuals might transform...

  7. Ecological-economic modeling for biodiversity management: potential, pitfalls, and prospects

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wätzold, F.; Drechsler, M.; Armstrong, C.W.; Baumgärtner, S.; Grimm, V.; Huth, A.; Perrings, C.; Possingham, H.P.; Shogren, J.F.; Skonhoft, A.; Verboom-Vasiljev, J.; Wissel, C.

    2006-01-01

    Ecologists and economists both use models to help develop strategies for biodiversity management. The practical use of disciplinary models, however, can be limited because ecological models tend not to address the socioeconomic dimension of biodiversity management, whereas economic models tend to

  8. Mammalian niche conservation through deep time.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Larisa R G DeSantis

    Full Text Available Climate change alters species distributions, causing plants and animals to move north or to higher elevations with current warming. Bioclimatic models predict species distributions based on extant realized niches and assume niche conservation. Here, we evaluate if proxies for niches (i.e., range areas are conserved at the family level through deep time, from the Eocene to the Pleistocene. We analyze the occurrence of all mammalian families in the continental USA, calculating range area, percent range area occupied, range area rank, and range polygon centroids during each epoch. Percent range area occupied significantly increases from the Oligocene to the Miocene and again from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene; however, mammalian families maintain statistical concordance between rank orders across time. Families with greater taxonomic diversity occupy a greater percent of available range area during each epoch and net changes in taxonomic diversity are significantly positively related to changes in percent range area occupied from the Eocene to the Pleistocene. Furthermore, gains and losses in generic and species diversity are remarkably consistent with ~2.3 species gained per generic increase. Centroids demonstrate southeastern shifts from the Eocene through the Pleistocene that may correspond to major environmental events and/or climate changes during the Cenozoic. These results demonstrate range conservation at the family level and support the idea that niche conservation at higher taxonomic levels operates over deep time and may be controlled by life history traits. Furthermore, families containing megafauna and/or terminal Pleistocene extinction victims do not incur significantly greater declines in range area rank than families containing only smaller taxa and/or only survivors, from the Pliocene to Pleistocene. Collectively, these data evince the resilience of families to climate and/or environmental change in deep time, the absence of

  9. Integration of research infrastructures and ecosystem models toward development of predictive ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Luo, Y.; Huang, Y.; Jiang, J.; MA, S.; Saruta, V.; Liang, G.; Hanson, P. J.; Ricciuto, D. M.; Milcu, A.; Roy, J.

    2017-12-01

    The past two decades have witnessed rapid development in sensor technology. Built upon the sensor development, large research infrastructure facilities, such as National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) and FLUXNET, have been established. Through networking different kinds of sensors and other data collections at many locations all over the world, those facilities generate large volumes of ecological data every day. The big data from those facilities offer an unprecedented opportunity for advancing our understanding of ecological processes, educating teachers and students, supporting decision-making, and testing ecological theory. The big data from the major research infrastructure facilities also provides foundation for developing predictive ecology. Indeed, the capability to predict future changes in our living environment and natural resources is critical to decision making in a world where the past is no longer a clear guide to the future. We are living in a period marked by rapid climate change, profound alteration of biogeochemical cycles, unsustainable depletion of natural resources, and deterioration of air and water quality. Projecting changes in future ecosystem services to the society becomes essential not only for science but also for policy making. We will use this panel format to outline major opportunities and challenges in integrating research infrastructure and ecosystem models toward developing predictive ecology. Meanwhile, we will also show results from an interactive model-experiment System - Ecological Platform for Assimilating Data into models (EcoPAD) - that have been implemented at the Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental change (SPRUCE) experiment in Northern Minnesota and Montpellier Ecotron, France. EcoPAD is developed by integrating web technology, eco-informatics, data assimilation techniques, and ecosystem modeling. EcoPAD is designed to streamline data transfer seamlessly from research infrastructure

  10. Advancing population ecology with integral projection models: a practical guide

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Merow, Cory; Dahlgren, Johan; Metcall, C. Jessica E.

    2014-01-01

    (e.g., environment). By combining regressions of vital rates, an IPM provides mechanistic insight into emergent ecological patterns such as population dynamics, species geographic distributions, or life history strategies. Here, we review important resources for building IPMs and provide...... a comprehensive guide, with extensive R code, for their construction. IPMs can be applied to any stage-structured population; here we illustrate IPMs for a series of plant life histories of increasing complexity and biological realism, highlighting the utility of various regression methods for capturing...

  11. Triatominae as a model of morphological plasticity under ecological pressure

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dujardin JP

    1999-01-01

    Full Text Available The use of biochemical and genetic characters to explore species or population relationships has been applied to taxonomic questions since the 60s. In responding to the central question of the evolutionary history of Triatominae, i.e. their monophyletic or polyphyletic origin, two important questions arise (i to what extent is the morphologically-based classification valid for assessing phylogenetic relationships? and (ii what are the main mechanisms underlying speciation in Triatominae? Phenetic and genetic studies so far developed suggest that speciation in Triatominae may be a rapid process mainly driven by ecological factors.

  12. [Assessment on the ecological suitability in Zhuhai City, Guangdong, China, based on minimum cumulative resistance model].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Jian-fei; Li, Lin; Guo, Luo; Du, Shi-hong

    2016-01-01

    Urban landscape has the characteristics of spatial heterogeneity. Because the expansion process of urban constructive or ecological land has different resistance values, the land unit stimulates and promotes the expansion of ecological land with different intensity. To compare the effect of promoting and hindering functions in the same land unit, we firstly compared the minimum cumulative resistance value of promoting and hindering functions, and then looked for the balance of two landscape processes under the same standard. According to the ecology principle of minimum limit factor, taking the minimum cumulative resistance analysis method under two expansion processes as the evaluation method of urban land ecological suitability, this research took Zhuhai City as the study area to estimate urban ecological suitability by relative evaluation method with remote sensing image, field survey, and statistics data. With the support of ArcGIS, five types of indicators on landscape types, ecological value, soil erosion sensitivity, sensitivity of geological disasters, and ecological function were selected as input parameters in the minimum cumulative resistance model to compute urban ecological suitability. The results showed that the ecological suitability of the whole Zhuhai City was divided into five levels: constructive expansion prohibited zone (10.1%), constructive expansion restricted zone (32.9%), key construction zone (36.3%), priority development zone (2.3%), and basic cropland (18.4%). Ecological suitability of the central area of Zhuhai City was divided into four levels: constructive expansion prohibited zone (11.6%), constructive expansion restricted zone (25.6%), key construction zone (52.4%), priority development zone (10.4%). Finally, we put forward the sustainable development framework of Zhuhai City according to the research conclusion. On one hand, the government should strictly control the development of the urban center area. On the other hand, the

  13. Weak Evidence of Regeneration Habitat but Strong Evidence of Regeneration Niche for a Leguminous Shrub

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delerue, Florian; Gonzalez, Maya; Michalet, Richard; Pellerin, Sylvain; Augusto, Laurent

    2015-01-01

    The identification of an ecological niche specific to the regeneration phase has mobilised significant attention. However, the importance of the regeneration niche concept remains unclear. Our main objective was to study the existence of such a regeneration niche for a leguminous shrub, Ulex europaeus. This study was carried out in southwest France in the context of water and nutrient stresses (mainly phosphorus limitation) due to the presence of nutrient-poor sandy soils. We analysed the regeneration of the species from the germination of seeds and emergence of new seedlings until the seedlings reached young shrub size. Our design included a P fertilisation treatment. We also investigated microsite characteristics (micro-topography and vegetation development) as they can interact with meteorological conditions and determine water availability for seeds and seedlings. We found that P availability controlled seedling growth and the time necessary to reach young shrub size. Water availability appeared to impact the species germination and seedlings survival. We also found that P and water availability depended on the interactions between microsite characteristics and climatic variations. Finally we found evidence that P and water availability are important ecological factors shaping the regeneration niche of the species, but we found weak evidence that any microsite would be appropriate for the regeneration of the species in the long term. Future studies regarding regeneration niches need to distinguish more clearly the ecological factors important for regeneration (the regeneration niche per se) and the physical world where the seedlings appear and develop (the regeneration habitat). PMID:26098877

  14. Weak Evidence of Regeneration Habitat but Strong Evidence of Regeneration Niche for a Leguminous Shrub.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Florian Delerue

    Full Text Available The identification of an ecological niche specific to the regeneration phase has mobilised significant attention. However, the importance of the regeneration niche concept remains unclear. Our main objective was to study the existence of such a regeneration niche for a leguminous shrub, Ulex europaeus. This study was carried out in southwest France in the context of water and nutrient stresses (mainly phosphorus limitation due to the presence of nutrient-poor sandy soils. We analysed the regeneration of the species from the germination of seeds and emergence of new seedlings until the seedlings reached young shrub size. Our design included a P fertilisation treatment. We also investigated microsite characteristics (micro-topography and vegetation development as they can interact with meteorological conditions and determine water availability for seeds and seedlings. We found that P availability controlled seedling growth and the time necessary to reach young shrub size. Water availability appeared to impact the species germination and seedlings survival. We also found that P and water availability depended on the interactions between microsite characteristics and climatic variations. Finally we found evidence that P and water availability are important ecological factors shaping the regeneration niche of the species, but we found weak evidence that any microsite would be appropriate for the regeneration of the species in the long term. Future studies regarding regeneration niches need to distinguish more clearly the ecological factors important for regeneration (the regeneration niche per se and the physical world where the seedlings appear and develop (the regeneration habitat.

  15. Are species' responses to global change predicted by past niche evolution?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lavergne, Sébastien; Evans, Margaret E. K.; Burfield, Ian J.; Jiguet, Frederic; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2013-01-01

    Predicting how and when adaptive evolution might rescue species from global change, and integrating this process into tools of biodiversity forecasting, has now become an urgent task. Here, we explored whether recent population trends of species can be explained by their past rate of niche evolution, which can be inferred from increasingly available phylogenetic and niche data. We examined the assemblage of 409 European bird species for which estimates of demographic trends between 1970 and 2000 are available, along with a species-level phylogeny and data on climatic, habitat and trophic niches. We found that species' proneness to demographic decline is associated with slow evolution of the habitat niche in the past, in addition to certain current-day life-history and ecological traits. A similar result was found at a higher taxonomic level, where families prone to decline have had a history of slower evolution of climatic and habitat niches. Our results support the view that niche conservatism can prevent some species from coping with environmental change. Thus, linking patterns of past niche evolution and contemporary species dynamics for large species samples may provide insights into how niche evolution may rescue certain lineages in the face of global change. PMID:23209172

  16. Of Models and Meanings: Cultural Resilience in Social–Ecological Systems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Crane, T.A.

    2010-01-01

    Modeling has emerged as a key technology in analysis of social–ecological systems. However, the tendency for modeling to focus on the mechanistic materiality of biophysical systems obscures the diversity of performative social behaviors and normative cultural positions of actors within the modeled

  17. Leishmaniasis transmission: distribution and coarse-resolution ecology of two vectors and two parasites in Egypt

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abdallah M. Samy

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Introduction: In past decades, leishmaniasis burden has been low across Egypt; however, changing environment and land use has placed several parts of the country at risk. As a consequence, leishmaniasis has become a particularly difficult health problem, both for local inhabitants and for multinational military personnel. Methods: To evaluate coarse-resolution aspects of the ecology of leishmaniasis transmission, collection records for sandflies and Leishmania species were obtained from diverse sources. To characterize environmental variation across the country, we used multitemporal Land Surface Temperature (LST and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS for 2005-2011. Ecological niche models were generated using MaxEnt, and results were analyzed using background similarity tests to assess whether associations among vectors and parasites (i.e., niche similarity can be detected across broad geographic regions. Results: We found niche similarity only between one vector species and its corresponding parasite species (i.e., Phlebotomus papatasi with Leishmania major, suggesting that geographic ranges of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis and its potential vector may overlap, but under distinct environmental associations. Other associations (e.g., P. sergenti with L. major were not supported. Mapping suitable areas for each species suggested that northeastern Egypt is particularly at risk because both parasites have potential to circulate. Conclusions: Ecological niche modeling approaches can be used as a first-pass assessment of vector-parasite interactions, offering useful insights into constraints on the geography of transmission patterns of leishmaniasis.

  18. Exploring climate niches of ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson) haplotypes in the western United States: Implications for evolutionary history and conservation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, Douglas; Means, Robert E.; Potter, Kevin M.; Hipkins, Valerie D.

    2016-01-01

    Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson) occupies montane environments throughout western North America, where it is both an ecologically and economically important tree species. A recent study using mitochondrial DNA analysis demonstrated substantial genetic variation among ponderosa pine populations in the western U.S., identifying 10 haplotypes with unique evolutionary lineages that generally correspond spatially with distributions of the Pacific (P. p. var. ponderosa) and Rocky Mountain (P. p. var. scopulorum) varieties. To elucidate the role of climate in shaping the phylogeographic history of ponderosa pine, we used nonparametric multiplicative regression to develop predictive climate niche models for two varieties and 10 haplotypes and to hindcast potential distribution of the varieties during the last glacial maximum (LGM), ~22,000 yr BP. Our climate niche models performed well for the varieties, but haplotype models were constrained in some cases by small datasets and unmeasured microclimate influences. The models suggest strong relationships between genetic lineages and climate. Particularly evident was the role of seasonal precipitation balance in most models, with winter- and summer-dominated precipitation regimes strongly associated with P. p. vars. ponderosa and scopulorum, respectively. Indeed, where present-day climate niches overlap between the varieties, introgression of two haplotypes also occurs along a steep clinal divide in western Montana. Reconstructed climate niches for the LGM suggest potentially suitable climate existed for the Pacific variety in the California Floristic province, the Great Basin, and Arizona highlands, while suitable climate for the Rocky Mountain variety may have existed across the southwestern interior highlands. These findings underscore potentially unique phylogeographic origins of modern ponderosa pine evolutionary lineages, including potential adaptations to Pleistocene climates associated with

  19. Exploring Climate Niches of Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson) Haplotypes in the Western United States: Implications for Evolutionary History and Conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shinneman, Douglas J; Means, Robert E; Potter, Kevin M; Hipkins, Valerie D

    2016-01-01

    Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson) occupies montane environments throughout western North America, where it is both an ecologically and economically important tree species. A recent study using mitochondrial DNA analysis demonstrated substantial genetic variation among ponderosa pine populations in the western U.S., identifying 10 haplotypes with unique evolutionary lineages that generally correspond spatially with distributions of the Pacific (P. p. var. ponderosa) and Rocky Mountain (P. p. var. scopulorum) varieties. To elucidate the role of climate in shaping the phylogeographic history of ponderosa pine, we used nonparametric multiplicative regression to develop predictive climate niche models for two varieties and 10 haplotypes and to hindcast potential distribution of the varieties during the last glacial maximum (LGM), ~22,000 yr BP. Our climate niche models performed well for the varieties, but haplotype models were constrained in some cases by small datasets and unmeasured microclimate influences. The models suggest strong relationships between genetic lineages and climate. Particularly evident was the role of seasonal precipitation balance in most models, with winter- and summer-dominated precipitation regimes strongly associated with P. p. vars. ponderosa and scopulorum, respectively. Indeed, where present-day climate niches overlap between the varieties, introgression of two haplotypes also occurs along a steep clinal divide in western Montana. Reconstructed climate niches for the LGM suggest potentially suitable climate existed for the Pacific variety in the California Floristic province, the Great Basin, and Arizona highlands, while suitable climate for the Rocky Mountain variety may have existed across the southwestern interior highlands. These findings underscore potentially unique phylogeographic origins of modern ponderosa pine evolutionary lineages, including potential adaptations to Pleistocene climates associated with discrete

  20. Exploring Climate Niches of Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson Haplotypes in the Western United States: Implications for Evolutionary History and Conservation.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Douglas J Shinneman

    Full Text Available Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Douglas ex Lawson occupies montane environments throughout western North America, where it is both an ecologically and economically important tree species. A recent study using mitochondrial DNA analysis demonstrated substantial genetic variation among ponderosa pine populations in the western U.S., identifying 10 haplotypes with unique evolutionary lineages that generally correspond spatially with distributions of the Pacific (P. p. var. ponderosa and Rocky Mountain (P. p. var. scopulorum varieties. To elucidate the role of climate in shaping the phylogeographic history of ponderosa pine, we used nonparametric multiplicative regression to develop predictive climate niche models for two varieties and 10 haplotypes and to hindcast potential distribution of the varieties during the last glacial maximum (LGM, ~22,000 yr BP. Our climate niche models performed well for the varieties, but haplotype models were constrained in some cases by small datasets and unmeasured microclimate influences. The models suggest strong relationships between genetic lineages and climate. Particularly evident was the role of seasonal precipitation balance in most models, with winter- and summer-dominated precipitation regimes strongly associated with P. p. vars. ponderosa and scopulorum, respectively. Indeed, where present-day climate niches overlap between the varieties, introgression of two haplotypes also occurs along a steep clinal divide in western Montana. Reconstructed climate niches for the LGM suggest potentially suitable climate existed for the Pacific variety in the California Floristic province, the Great Basin, and Arizona highlands, while suitable climate for the Rocky Mountain variety may have existed across the southwestern interior highlands. These findings underscore potentially unique phylogeographic origins of modern ponderosa pine evolutionary lineages, including potential adaptations to Pleistocene climates associated

  1. An ecological assessment of pasturelands in the Balkhash area of Kazakhstan with remote sensing and models

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lebed, L; Qi, J; Heilman, P

    2012-01-01

    The 187 million hectares of pasturelands in Kazakhstan play a key role in the nation’s economy, as livestock production accounted for 54% of total agricultural production in 2010. However, more than half of these lands have been degraded as a result of unregulated grazing practices. Therefore, effective long term ecological monitoring of pasturelands in Kazakhstan is imperative to ensure sustainable pastureland management. As a case study in this research, we demonstrated how the ecological conditions could be assessed with remote sensing technologies and pastureland models. The example focuses on the southern Balkhash area with study sites on a foothill plain with Artemisia-ephemeral plants and a sandy plain with psammophilic vegetation in the Turan Desert. The assessment was based on remotely sensed imagery and meteorological data, a geobotanical archive and periodic ground sampling. The Pasture agrometeorological model was used to calculate biological, ecological and economic indicators to assess pastureland condition. The results showed that field surveys, meteorological observations, remote sensing and ecological models, such as Pasture, could be combined to effectively assess the ecological conditions of pasturelands and provide information about forage production that is critically important for balancing grazing and ecological conservation. (letter)

  2. Transcriptional reprogramming and phenotypic switching associated with the adaptation of Lactobacillus plantarum C2 to plant niches

    Science.gov (United States)

    Filannino, Pasquale; Di Cagno, Raffaella; Crecchio, Carmine; De Virgilio, Caterina; De Angelis, Maria; Gobbetti, Marco

    2016-01-01

    Lactobacillus plantarum has been isolated from a large variety of ecological niches, thus highlighting its remarkable environmental adaptability as a generalist. Plant fermentation conditions markedly affect the functional features of L. plantarum strains. We investigated the plant niche-specific traits of L. plantarum through whole-transcriptome and phenotypic microarray profiles. Carrot (CJ) and pineapple (PJ) juices were chosen as model systems, and MRS broth was used as a control. A set of 3,122 genes was expressed, and 21 to 31% of genes were differentially expressed depending on the plant niche and cell physiological state. L. plantarum C2 seemed to specifically respond to plant media conditions. When L. plantarum was cultured in CJ, useful pathways were activated, which were aimed to sense the environment, save energy and adopt alternative routes for NAD+ regeneration. In PJ the acidic environment caused a transcriptional switching, which was network-linked to an acid tolerance response involving carbohydrate flow, amino acid and protein metabolism, pH homeostasis and membrane fluidity. The most prominent phenotypic dissimilarities observed in cells grown in CJ and PJ were related to carbon and nitrogen metabolism, respectively. Summarising, a snapshot of a carrot and pineapple sensing and adaptive regulation model for L. plantarum C2 was proposed. PMID:27273017

  3. Integrating human and natural systems in community psychology: an ecological model of stewardship behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moskell, Christine; Allred, Shorna Broussard

    2013-03-01

    Community psychology (CP) research on the natural environment lacks a theoretical framework for analyzing the complex relationship between human systems and the natural world. We introduce other academic fields concerned with the interactions between humans and the natural environment, including environmental sociology and coupled human and natural systems. To demonstrate how the natural environment can be included within CP's ecological framework, we propose an ecological model of urban forest stewardship action. Although ecological models of behavior in CP have previously modeled health behaviors, we argue that these frameworks are also applicable to actions that positively influence the natural environment. We chose the environmental action of urban forest stewardship because cities across the United States are planting millions of trees and increased citizen participation in urban tree planting and stewardship will be needed to sustain the benefits provided by urban trees. We used the framework of an ecological model of behavior to illustrate multiple levels of factors that may promote or hinder involvement in urban forest stewardship actions. The implications of our model for the development of multi-level ecological interventions to foster stewardship actions are discussed, as well as directions for future research to further test and refine the model.

  4. Automated Techniques for the Qualitative Analysis of Ecological Models: Continuous Models

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lynn van Coller

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available The mathematics required for a detailed analysis of the behavior of a model can be formidable. In this paper, I demonstrate how various computer packages can aid qualitative analyses by implementing techniques from dynamical systems theory. Because computer software is used to obtain the results, the techniques can be used by nonmathematicians as well as mathematicians. In-depth analyses of complicated models that were previously very difficult to study can now be done. Because the paper is intended as an introduction to applying the techniques to ecological models, I have included an appendix describing some of the ideas and terminology. A second appendix shows how the techniques can be applied to a fairly simple predator-prey model and establishes the reliability of the computer software. The main body of the paper discusses a ratio-dependent model. The new techniques highlight some limitations of isocline analyses in this three-dimensional setting and show that the model is structurally unstable. Another appendix describes a larger model of a sheep-pasture-hyrax-lynx system. Dynamical systems techniques are compared with a traditional sensitivity analysis and are found to give more information. As a result, an incomplete relationship in the model is highlighted. I also discuss the resilience of these models to both parameter and population perturbations.

  5. Individual and species-specific traits explain niche size and functional role in spiders as generalist predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sanders, Dirk; Vogel, Esther; Knop, Eva

    2015-01-01

    The function of a predator within a community is greatly based on its trophic niche, that is the number and the strength of feeding links. In generalist predators, which feed on a wide range of prey, the size and position of the trophic niche is likely determined by traits such as hunting mode, the stratum they occur in, their body size and age. We used stable isotope analyses ((13)C and (15)N) to measure the trophic niche size of nine spider species within a forest hedge community and tested for species traits and individual traits that influence stable isotope enrichment, niche size and resource use. The spiders Enoplognatha, Philodromus, Floronia, and Heliophanus had large isotopic niches, which correspond to a more generalistic feeding behaviour. In contrast, Araneus, Metellina and Agelena, as top predators in the system, had rather narrow niches. We found a negative correlation between trophic position and niche size. Differences in trophic position in spiders were explained by body size, hunting modes and stratum, while niche size was influenced by hunting mode. In Philodromus, the size of the trophic niche increased significantly with age. Fitting spiders to functional groups according to their mean body size, hunting mode and their habitat domain resulted in largely separated niches, which indicates that these traits are meaningful for separating functional entities in spiders. Functional groups based on habitat domain (stratum) caught the essential functional differences between the species with species higher up in the vegetation feeding on flying insects and herb and ground species also preying on forest floor decomposers. Interestingly, we found a gradient from large species using a higher habitat domain and having a smaller niche to smaller species foraging closer to the ground and having a larger niche. This shows that even within generalist predators, such as spiders, there is a gradient of specialism that can be predicted by functional traits.

  6. The niche party concept and its measurement

    OpenAIRE

    Meyer, Thomas M; Miller, Bernhard

    2015-01-01

    The concept of the niche party has become increasingly popular in analyses of party competition. Yet, existing approaches vary in their definitions and their measurement approaches. We propose using a minimal definition that allows us to compare political parties in terms of their ?nicheness?. We argue that the conceptual core of the niche party concept is based on issue emphasis and that a niche party emphasizes policy areas neglected by its rivals. Based on this definition, we propose a con...

  7. Ecological forecasting under climatic data uncertainty: a case study in phenological modeling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cook, Benjamin I; Terando, Adam; Steiner, Allison

    2010-01-01

    Forecasting ecological responses to climate change represents a challenge to the ecological community because models are often site-specific and climate data are lacking at appropriate spatial and temporal resolutions. We use a case study approach to demonstrate uncertainties in ecological predictions related to the driving climatic input data. We use observational records, derived observational datasets (e.g. interpolated observations from local weather stations and gridded data products) and output from general circulation models (GCM) in conjunction with site based phenology models to estimate the first flowering date (FFD) for three woody flowering species. Using derived observations over the modern time period, we find that cold biases and temperature trends lead to biased FFD simulations for all three species. Observational datasets resolved at the daily time step result in better FFD predictions compared to simulations using monthly resolution. Simulations using output from an ensemble of GCM and regional climate models over modern and future time periods have large intra-ensemble spreads and tend to underestimate observed FFD trends for the modern period. These results indicate that certain forcing datasets may be missing key features needed to generate accurate hindcasts at the local scale (e.g. trends, temporal resolution), and that standard modeling techniques (e.g. downscaling, ensemble mean, etc) may not necessarily improve the prediction of the ecological response. Studies attempting to simulate local ecological processes under modern and future climate forcing therefore need to quantify and propagate the climate data uncertainties in their simulations.

  8. Using circuit theory to model connectivity in ecology, evolution, and conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McRae, Brad H; Dickson, Brett G; Keitt, Timothy H; Shah, Viral B

    2008-10-01

    Connectivity among populations and habitats is important for a wide range of ecological processes. Understanding, preserving, and restoring connectivity in complex landscapes requires connectivity models and metrics that are reliable, efficient, and process based. We introduce a new class of ecological connectivity models based in electrical circuit theory. Although they have been applied in other disciplines, circuit-theoretic connectivity models are new to ecology. They offer distinct advantages over common analytic connectivity models, including a theoretical basis in random walk theory and an ability to evaluate contributions of multiple dispersal pathways. Resistance, current, and voltage calculated across graphs or raster grids can be related to ecological processes (such as individual movement and gene flow) that occur across large population networks or landscapes. Efficient algorithms can quickly solve networks with millions of nodes, or landscapes with millions of raster cells. Here we review basic circuit theory, discuss relationships between circuit and random walk theories, and describe applications in ecology, evolution, and conservation. We provide examples of how circuit models can be used to predict movement patterns and fates of random walkers in complex landscapes and to identify important habitat patches and movement corridors for conservation planning.

  9. The Effect of Learning Cycle Model on Students’ Reducing Ecological Footprints

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Özgül Keleş

    2011-12-01

    Full Text Available The objective of this study is to investigate effect of ecological footprint education, in which 5E learning cycle model is used, in reducing primary school students’ ecological footprints. The working group of the study is composed of 124 primary school students studying in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th classes. In this study, 5E learning model is used in teaching a course in order to increase the participating students’ knowledge about ecological footprints and to calculate ecological footprints. Experimental method is used in this study. In data analysis, the paired samples t-test is used in for relevant samplings. The findings gathered indicate that ecological footprints of the participating students to the study decreased at the end of the study. It is determined that the mean of primary students’ ecological footprints differ from meaningfully according to level of the class and sex. Prospective solution offers are developed by handling the prospective effects of conclusions of the study on sustainable life and environmental education and conclusions’ importance in terms of learning and developing learning programmes with a critical point of view

  10. Developing predictive systems models to address complexity and relevance for ecological risk assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forbes, Valery E; Calow, Peter

    2013-07-01

    Ecological risk assessments (ERAs) are not used as well as they could be in risk management. Part of the problem is that they often lack ecological relevance; that is, they fail to grasp necessary ecological complexities. Adding realism and complexity can be difficult and costly. We argue that predictive systems models (PSMs) can provide a way of capturing complexity and ecological relevance cost-effectively. However, addressing complexity and ecological relevance is only part of the problem. Ecological risk assessments often fail to meet the needs of risk managers by not providing assessments that relate to protection goals and by expressing risk in ratios that cannot be weighed against the costs of interventions. Once more, PSMs can be designed to provide outputs in terms of value-relevant effects that are modulated against exposure and that can provide a better basis for decision making than arbitrary ratios or threshold values. Recent developments in the modeling and its potential for implementation by risk assessors and risk managers are beginning to demonstrate how PSMs can be practically applied in risk assessment and the advantages that doing so could have. Copyright © 2013 SETAC.

  11. Evolution of niche preference in Sphagnum peat mosses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Matthew G; Granath, Gustaf; Tahvanainen, Teemu; Pouliot, Remy; Stenøien, Hans K; Rochefort, Line; Rydin, Håkan; Shaw, A Jonathan

    2015-01-01

    Peat mosses (Sphagnum) are ecosystem engineers-species in boreal peatlands simultaneously create and inhabit narrow habitat preferences along two microhabitat gradients: an ionic gradient and a hydrological hummock-hollow gradient. In this article, we demonstrate the connections between microhabitat preference and phylogeny in Sphagnum. Using a dataset of 39 species of Sphagnum, with an 18-locus DNA alignment and an ecological dataset encompassing three large published studies, we tested for phylogenetic signal and within-genus changes in evolutionary rate of eight niche descriptors and two multivariate niche gradients. We find little to no evidence for phylogenetic signal in most component descriptors of the ionic gradient, but interspecific variation along the hummock-hollow gradient shows considerable phylogenetic signal. We find support for a change in the rate of niche evolution within the genus-the hummock-forming subgenus Acutifolia has evolved along the multivariate hummock-hollow gradient faster than the hollow-inhabiting subgenus Cuspidata. Because peat mosses themselves create some of the ecological gradients constituting their own habitats, the classic microtopography of Sphagnum-dominated peatlands is maintained by evolutionary constraints and the biological properties of related Sphagnum species. The patterns of phylogenetic signal observed here will instruct future study on the role of functional traits in peatland growth and reconstruction. © 2014 The Author(s). Evolution © 2014 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  12. Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) as a model system in community, landscape and ecosystem ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Eldridge, David; Belnap, Jayne; Castillo-Monroy, Andrea; Escolar, Cristina; Soliveres, Santiago

    2014-01-01

    Model systems have had a profound influence on the development of ecological theory and general principles. Compared to alternatives, the most effective models share some combination of the following characteristics: simpler, smaller, faster, general, idiosyncratic or manipulable. We argue that biological soil crusts (biocrusts) have unique combinations of these features that should be more widely exploited in community, landscape and ecosystem ecology. In community ecology, biocrusts are elucidating the importance of biodiversity and spatial pattern for maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality due to their manipulability in experiments. Due to idiosyncrasies in their modes of facilitation and competition, biocrusts have led to new models on the interplay between environmental stress and biotic interactions and on the maintenance of biodiversity by competitive processes. Biocrusts are perhaps one of the best examples of micro-landscapes—real landscapes that are small in size. Although they exhibit varying patch heterogeneity, aggregation, connectivity and fragmentation, like macro-landscapes, they are also compatible with well-replicated experiments (unlike macro-landscapes). In ecosystem ecology, a number of studies are imposing small-scale, low cost manipulations of global change or state factors in biocrust micro-landscapes. The versatility of biocrusts to inform such disparate lines of inquiry suggests that they are an especially useful model system that can enable researchers to see ecological principles more clearly and quickly.

  13. Guidelines for developing and updating Bayesian belief networks applied to ecological modeling and conservation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    B.G. Marcot; J.D. Steventon; G.D. Sutherland; R.K. McCann

    2006-01-01

    We provide practical guidelines for developing, testing, and revising Bayesian belief networks (BBNs). Primary steps in this process include creating influence diagrams of the hypothesized "causal web" of key factors affecting a species or ecological outcome of interest; developing a first, alpha-level BBN model from the influence diagram; revising the model...

  14. A Synergistic Approach for Evaluating Climate Model Output for Ecological Applications

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel D. Cavanagh

    2017-09-01