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Sample records for herbivores facilitate savanna

  1. The importance of herbivore interactions for the dynamics of African savanna woodlands : an hypothesis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Van de Koppel, J; Prins, HHT

    Current hypotheses to explain dynamic transitions between savanna grasslands and woodlands in Africa focus on grazing by elephant or the influence of fire. Using a simple mathematical model, this paper argues that interactions between small herbivores such as impala or buffalo and large herbivores

  2. Indirect effects of domestic and wild herbivores on butterflies in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkerson, Marit L; Roche, Leslie M; Young, Truman P

    2013-10-01

    Indirect interactions driven by livestock and wild herbivores are increasingly recognized as important aspects of community dynamics in savannas and rangelands. Large ungulate herbivores can both directly and indirectly impact the reproductive structures of plants, which in turn can affect the pollinators of those plants. We examined how wild herbivores and cattle each indirectly affect the abundance of a common pollinator butterfly taxon, Colotis spp., at a set of long-term, large herbivore exclosure plots in a semiarid savanna in central Kenya. We also examined effects of herbivore exclusion on the main food plant of Colotis spp., which was also the most common flowering species in our plots: the shrub Cadaba farinosa. The study was conducted in four types of experimental plots: cattle-only, wildlife-only, cattle and wildlife (all large herbivores), and no large herbivores. Across all plots, Colotis spp. abundances were positively correlated with both Cadaba flower numbers (adult food resources) and total Cadaba canopy area (larval food resources). Structural equation modeling (SEM) revealed that floral resources drove the abundance of Colotis butterflies. Excluding browsing wildlife increased the abundances of both Cadaba flowers and Colotis butterflies. However, flower numbers and Colotis spp. abundances were greater in plots with cattle herbivory than in plots that excluded all large herbivores. Our results suggest that wild browsing herbivores can suppress pollinator species whereas well-managed cattle use may benefit important pollinators and the plants that depend on them. This study documents a novel set of ecological interactions that demonstrate how both conservation and livelihood goals can be met in a working landscape with abundant wildlife and livestock.

  3. Termites and large herbivores influence seed removal rates in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Acanakwo, Erik Francis; Sheil, Douglas; Moe, Stein R

    2017-12-01

    Seed removal can influence plant community dynamics, composition, and resulting vegetation characteristics. In the African savanna, termites and large herbivores influence vegetation in various ways, likely including indirect effects on seed predators and secondary dispersers. However, the intensity and variation of seed removal rates in African savannas has seldom been studied. We experimentally investigated whether termites and large herbivores were important factors in the mechanisms contributing to observed patterns in tree species composition on and off mounds, in Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda. Within fenced (excluding large herbivores) and unfenced termite mound and adjacent savanna plots, we placed seeds of nine native tree species within small open "cages," accessed by all animals, roofed cages that only allowed access to small vertebrates and invertebrates, and closed cages that permitted access by smaller invertebrates only (5 mm wire mesh). We found that mean seed removal rate was high (up to 87.3% per 3 d). Mound habitats experienced significantly higher removal rates than off-mound habitats. The mean removal rate of native seeds from closed cages was 11.1% per 3 d compared with 19.4% and 23.3% removed per 3 d in the roofed and open cages, respectively. Smaller seeds experienced higher removal rates than larger seeds. Large herbivore exclusion on mounds reduced native seed removal rates by a mean of 8.8% in the open cages, but increased removal rates by 1.7% in the open cages when off-mound habitats were fenced. While removal rates from open cages were higher on active mounds (30.9%) than on inactive mounds (26.7%), the removal rates from closed cages were lower on active vs. inactive mounds (6.1% vs. 11.6%, respectively). Thus, we conclude that large herbivores and Macrotermes mounds influence seed removal rates, though these effects appear indirect. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  4. Within-population isotopic niche variability in savanna mammals: disparity between carnivores and herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daryl eCodron

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available Large mammal ecosystems have relatively simple food webs, usually comprising three – and sometimes only two – trophic links. Since many syntopic species from the same trophic level therefore share resources, dietary niche partitioning features prominently within these systems. In African and other subtropical savannas, stable carbon isotopes readily distinguish between herbivore species for which foliage and other parts of dicot plants (13C-depleted C3 vegetation are the primary resource (browsers and those for which grasses (13C-enriched C4 vegetation are staples (grazers. Similarly, carbon isotopes distinguish between carnivore diets that may be richer in either browser, grazer, or intermediate-feeding prey. Here, we investigate levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopic niche variation and niche partitioning within populations (or species of carnivores and herbivores from South African savannas. We emphasize predictable differences in within-population trends across trophic levels: we expect that herbivore populations, which require more foraging effort due to higher intake requirements, are far less likely to display within-population resource partitioning than carnivore populations. Our results reveal generally narrower isotopic niche breadths in herbivore than carnivore populations, but more importantly we find lower levels of isotopic differentiation across individuals within herbivore species. While these results offer some support for our general hypothesis, the current paucity of isotopic data for African carnivores limits our ability to test the complete set of predictions arising from our hypothesis. Nevertheless, given the different ecological and ecophysiological constraints to foraging behaviour within each trophic level, comparisons across carnivores and herbivores, which are possible within such simplified foodwebs, make these systems ideal for developing a process-based understanding of conditions underlying the evolution of

  5. Large herbivore population performance and climate in a South African semi-arid savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Armin H. Seydack

    2012-02-01

    Interpretation according to a climate–vegetation response model suggested that acclimation of forage plants to increasing temperature had resulted in temperature-enhanced plant productivity, initially increasing food availability and supporting transient synchronous increases in population abundance of both blue wildebeest and zebra, and selective grazers. As acclimation of plants to concurrently rising minimum (nocturnal temperature (Tmin took effect, adjustments in metabolic functionality occurred involving accelerated growth activity at the cost of storage-based metabolism. Growth-linked nitrogen dilution and reduced carbon-nutrient quality of forage then resulted in phases of subsequently declining herbivore populations. Over the long term (1910–2010, progressive plant functionality shifts towards accelerated metabolic growth rather than storage priority occurred in response to Tmin rising faster than maximum temperature (Tmax, thereby cumulatively compromising the carbon-nutrient quality of forage, a key resource for selective grazers. The results of analyses thus revealed consistency between herbivore population trends and levels of forage quantity and quality congruent with expected plant metabolic responses to climate effects. Thus, according to the climate-vegetation response model, climate effects were implicated as the ultimate cause of large herbivore population performance in space and over time. Conservation implications: In its broadest sense, the objective of this study was to contribute towards the enhanced understanding of landscape-scale functioning of savanna systems with regard to the interplay between climate, vegetation and herbivore population dynamics.

  6. Habitat Heterogeneity Variably Influences Habitat Selection by Wild Herbivores in a Semi-Arid Tropical Savanna Ecosystem.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victor K Muposhi

    Full Text Available An understanding of the habitat selection patterns by wild herbivores is critical for adaptive management, particularly towards ecosystem management and wildlife conservation in semi arid savanna ecosystems. We tested the following predictions: (i surface water availability, habitat quality and human presence have a strong influence on the spatial distribution of wild herbivores in the dry season, (ii habitat suitability for large herbivores would be higher compared to medium-sized herbivores in the dry season, and (iii spatial extent of suitable habitats for wild herbivores will be different between years, i.e., 2006 and 2010, in Matetsi Safari Area, Zimbabwe. MaxEnt modeling was done to determine the habitat suitability of large herbivores and medium-sized herbivores. MaxEnt modeling of habitat suitability for large herbivores using the environmental variables was successful for the selected species in 2006 and 2010, except for elephant (Loxodonta africana for the year 2010. Overall, large herbivores probability of occurrence was mostly influenced by distance from rivers. Distance from roads influenced much of the variability in the probability of occurrence of medium-sized herbivores. The overall predicted area for large and medium-sized herbivores was not different. Large herbivores may not necessarily utilize larger habitat patches over medium-sized herbivores due to the habitat homogenizing effect of water provisioning. Effect of surface water availability, proximity to riverine ecosystems and roads on habitat suitability of large and medium-sized herbivores in the dry season was highly variable thus could change from one year to another. We recommend adaptive management initiatives aimed at ensuring dynamic water supply in protected areas through temporal closure and or opening of water points to promote heterogeneity of wildlife habitats.

  7. Herbaceous forage and selection patterns by ungulates across varying herbivore assemblages in a South African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Treydte, A.C.; Baumgartner, S.; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Grant, C.C.; Getz, W.M.

    2013-01-01

    Herbivores generally have strong structural and compositional effects on vegetation, which in turn determines the plant forage species available. We investigated how selected large mammalian herbivore assemblages use and alter herbaceous vegetation structure and composition in a southern African

  8. Facilitation between bovids and equids on an African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Odadi, W.O.; Jain, M.; Wieren, van S.E.; Prins, H.H.T.; Rubenstein, D.I.

    2011-01-01

    Background: Equids, especially zebras and donkeys, and cattle (bovids) share habitats in many savanna ecosystems in Africa. The issue of competition for food between these ungulate guilds remains largely unresolved. Resolving it will provide insights into how wild zebra are likely to interact with

  9. Breakdown of an ant-plant mutualism follows the loss of large herbivores from an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palmer, Todd M; Stanton, Maureen L; Young, Truman P; Goheen, Jacob R; Pringle, Robert M; Karban, Richard

    2008-01-11

    Mutualisms are key components of biodiversity and ecosystem function, yet the forces maintaining them are poorly understood. We investigated the effects of removing large mammals on an ant-Acacia mutualism in an African savanna. Ten years of large-herbivore exclusion reduced the nectar and housing provided by plants to ants, increasing antagonistic behavior by a mutualistic ant associate and shifting competitive dominance within the plant-ant community from this nectar-dependent mutualist to an antagonistic species that does not depend on plant rewards. Trees occupied by this antagonist suffered increased attack by stem-boring beetles, grew more slowly, and experienced doubled mortality relative to trees occupied by the mutualistic ant. These results show that large mammals maintain cooperation within a widespread symbiosis and suggest complex cascading effects of megafaunal extinction.

  10. Interacting effects of grass height and herbivores on the establishment of an encroaching savanna shrub

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hagenah, N.; Munkert, H.; Gerhardt, K.; Olff, H.

    2009-01-01

    Shrub encroachment is a widely observed problem in Southern African savannas. Although the effects of herbivory and grass height on woody species recruitment have been studied individually, little information exists about how these factors interact. In this study seeds and seedlings of the

  11. Assessing diet in savanna herbivores using stable carbon isotope ratios of faeces

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Codron

    2005-06-01

    Full Text Available In African savannas, browse-based resources (@3 plants are isotopically distinct from grasses (@4 plants. The carbon isotopic composition of the basic plant diet is recorded in animal tissues. Mammal faeces are a readily accessible, non-invasive, sample material for temporally resolved dietary reconstructions. Faeces, however, include both undigested plant matter and waste, hence accuracy of dietary calculations could potentially be compromised by shifts in plant isotopic values related to seasonal or spatial differences, or by variability in the isotopic differences between faeces and diet. A controlled feeding study of four ungulate species showed a small, consistent difference between diet and faeces of-0.9 o, irrespective of whether the diet was @3 or C4-based. Results from faeces oftaxa known to be pure grazers, pure browsers, and mixed-feeders from the Kruger National Park were entirely consistent with their diets, but the accuracy of dietary reconstructions is enhanced with data from local plant communities.

  12. Aquatic herbivores facilitate the emission of methane from wetlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dingemans, B.J.J.; Bakker, E.S.; Bodelier, P.L.E.

    2011-01-01

    Wetlands are significant sources of atmospheric methane. Methane produced by microbes enters roots and escapes to the atmosphere through the shoots of emergent wetland plants. Herbivorous birds graze on helophytes, but their effect on methane emission remains unknown. We hypothesized that grazing on

  13. Fire feedbacks facilitate invasion of pine savannas by Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stevens, Jens T; Beckage, Brian

    2009-10-01

    * Fire disturbance can mediate the invasion of ecological communities by nonnative species. Nonnative plants that modify existing fire regimes may initiate a positive feedback that can facilitate their continued invasion. Fire-sensitive plants may successfully invade pyrogenic landscapes if they can inhibit fire in the landscape. * Here, we investigated whether the invasive shrub Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) can initiate a fire-suppression feedback in a fire-dependent pine savanna ecosystem in the southeastern USA. * We found that prescribed burns caused significant (30-45%) mortality of Brazilian pepper at low densities and that savannas with more frequent fires contained less Brazilian pepper. However, high densities of Brazilian pepper reduced fire temperature by up to 200 degrees C, and experienced as much as 80% lower mortality. * A cellular automaton model was used to demonstrate that frequent fire may control low-density populations, but that Brazilian pepper may reach a sufficient density during fire-free periods to initiate a positive feedback that reduces the frequency of fire and converts the savanna to an invasive-dominated forest.

  14. Nutrient and secondary metabolite concentrations in a savanna are independently affected by large herbivores and shoot growth rate

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Scogings, PF

    2014-01-01

    Full Text Available Carbon-based secondary metabolites (CBSMs) such as tannins are assumed to function as plant defences against herbivores. CBSMs are thought to be inversely related to growth rate and nutrient concentrations because a physiological trade-off exists...

  15. Reduction of herbivorous fish pressure can facilitate focal algal species forestation on artificial structures.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gianni, Fabrizio; Bartolini, Fabrizio; Airoldi, Laura; Mangialajo, Luisa

    2018-07-01

    Coastal areas have been transformed worldwide by urbanization, so that artificial structures are now widespread. Current coastal development locally depletes many native marine species, while offering limited possibilities for their expansion. Eco-engineering interventions intend to identify ways to facilitate the presence of focal species and their associated functions on artificial habitats. An important but overlooked factor controlling restoration operations is overgrazing by herbivores. The aim of this study was to quantify the effects of different potential feeders on Cystoseira amentacea, a native canopy-forming alga of the Mediterranean infralittoral fringe, and test whether manipulation of grazing pressure can facilitate the human-guided installation of this focal species on coastal structures. Results of laboratory tests and field experiments revealed that Sarpa salpa, the only strictly native herbivorous fish in the Western Mediterranean Sea, can be a very effective grazer of C. amentacea in artificial habitats, up to as far as the infralittoral fringe, which is generally considered less accessible to fishes. S. salpa can limit the success of forestation operations in artificial novel habitats, causing up to 90% of Cystoseira loss after a few days. Other grazers, such as limpets and crabs, had only a moderate impact. Future engineering operations,intended to perform forestation of canopy-forming algae on artificial structures, should consider relevant biotic factors, such as fish overgrazing, identifying cost-effective techniques to limit their impact, as is the usual practice in restoration programmes on land. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Detecting predators and locating competitors while foraging: an experimental study of a medium-sized herbivore in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pays, Olivier; Blanchard, Pierrick; Valeix, Marion; Chamaillé-Jammes, Simon; Duncan, Patrick; Périquet, Stéphanie; Lombard, Marion; Ncube, Gugulethu; Tarakini, Tawanda; Makuwe, Edwin; Fritz, Hervé

    2012-06-01

    Vigilance allows individuals to escape from predators, but it also reduces time for other activities which determine fitness, in particular resource acquisition. The principles determining how prey trade time between the detection of predators and food acquisition are not fully understood, particularly in herbivores because of many potential confounding factors (such as group size), and the ability of these animals to be vigilant while handling food. We designed a fertilization experiment to manipulate the quality of resources, and compared awareness (distinguishing apprehensive foraging and vigilance) of wild impalas (Aepyceros melampus) foraging on patches of different grass height and quality in a wilderness area with a full community of predators. While handling food, these animals can allocate time to other functions. The impalas were aware of their environment less often when on good food patches and when the grass was short. The animals spent more time in apprehensive foraging when grass was tall, and no other variable affected apprehensive behavior. The probability of exhibiting a vigilance posture decreased with group size. The interaction between grass height and patch enrichment also affected the time spent in vigilance, suggesting that resource quality was the main driver when visibility is good, and the risk of predation the main driver when the risk is high. We discuss various possible mechanisms underlying the perception of predation risk: foraging strategy, opportunities for scrounging, and inter-individual interference. Overall, this experiment shows that improving patch quality modifies the trade-off between vigilance and foraging in favor of feeding, but vigilance remains ultimately driven by the visibility of predators by foragers within their feeding patches.

  17. Prioritizing plant defence over growth through WRKY regulation facilitates infestation by non-target herbivores

    OpenAIRE

    Li, Ran; Zhang, Jin; Li, Jiancai; Zhou, Guoxin; Wang, Qi; Bian, Wenbo; Erb, Matthias; Lou, Yonggen

    2015-01-01

    eLife digest Many different animals feed on plants, including almost half of all known insect species. Some herbivores?like caterpillars for example?feed by chewing. Others, such as aphids and planthoppers, use syringe-like mouthparts to pierce plants and then feed on the fluids within. To minimize the damage caused by these herbivores, plants activate specific defenses upon attack, including proteins that can inhibit the insect's digestive enzymes. The inhibitors are effective against chewin...

  18. Climate and vegetation in a semi-arid savanna: Development of a climate–vegetation response model linking plant metabolic performance to climate and the effects on forage availability for large herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Armin H. Seydack

    2012-02-01

    Developing the climate–vegetation response model involved three main components, namely (1 defining indicators of forage availability to herbivores (nitrogen productivity, nitrogen quality, carbon-nutrient quality, (2 identifying herbivore species guilds of similar nutritional requirements with respect to these indicators [bulk feeders with tolerance to fibrous herbage (buffalo, waterbuck, bulk feeders with preference for high nitrogen quality forage (short grass preference grazers: blue wildebeest and zebra and selective feeders where dietary items of relatively high carbon-nutrient quality represented key forage resources (selective grazers: sable antelope, roan antelope, tsessebe, eland] and (3 developing a process model where the expected effects of plant metabolic responses to climate on key forage resources were made explicit. According to the climate–vegetation response model both shorter-term transient temperature acclimation pulses and longer-term shifts in plant metabolic functionality settings were predicted to have occurred in response to temperature trends over the past century. These temperature acclimation responses were expected to have resulted in transient pulses of increased forage availability (increased nitrogen- and carbon-nutrient quality, as well as the progressive long-term decline of the carbon-nutrient quality of forage. Conservation implications: The climate–vegetation response model represents a research framework for further studies contributing towards the enhanced understanding of landscape-scale functioning of savanna systems with reference to the interplay between climate, vegetation and herbivore population dynamics. Gains in such understanding can support sound conservation management.

  19. Prioritizing plant defence over growth through WRKY regulation facilitates infestation by non-target herbivores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Ran; Zhang, Jin; Li, Jiancai; Zhou, Guoxin; Wang, Qi; Bian, Wenbo; Erb, Matthias; Lou, Yonggen

    2015-01-01

    Plants generally respond to herbivore attack by increasing resistance and decreasing growth. This prioritization is achieved through the regulation of phytohormonal signaling networks. However, it remains unknown how this prioritization affects resistance against non-target herbivores. In this study, we identify WRKY70 as a specific herbivore-induced, mitogen-activated protein kinase-regulated rice transcription factor that physically interacts with W-box motifs and prioritizes defence over growth by positively regulating jasmonic acid (JA) and negatively regulating gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis upon attack by the chewing herbivore Chilo suppressalis. WRKY70-dependent JA biosynthesis is required for proteinase inhibitor activation and resistance against C. suppressalis. In contrast, WRKY70 induction increases plant susceptibility against the rice brown planthopper Nilaparvata lugens. Experiments with GA-deficient rice lines identify WRKY70-dependent GA signaling as the causal factor in N. lugens susceptibility. Our study shows that prioritizing defence over growth leads to a significant resistance trade-off with important implications for the evolution and agricultural exploitation of plant immunity. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.04805.001 PMID:26083713

  20. Herbivore removal reduces influence of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi on plant growth and tolerance in an East African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    González, Jonathan B; Petipas, Renee H; Franken, Oscar; Kiers, E Toby; Veblen, Kari E; Brody, Alison K

    2018-05-01

    The functional relationship between arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and their hosts is variable on small spatial scales. Here, we hypothesized that herbivore exclusion changes the AMF community and alters the ability of AMF to enhance plant tolerance to grazing. We grew the perennial bunchgrass, Themeda triandra Forssk in inoculum from soils collected in the Kenya Long-term Exclosure Experiment where treatments representing different levels of herbivory have been in place since 1995. We assessed AMF diversity in the field, using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism and compared fungal diversity among treatments. We conducted clipping experiments in the greenhouse and field and assessed regrowth. Plants inoculated with AMF from areas accessed by wild herbivores and cattle had greater biomass than non-inoculated controls, while plants inoculated with AMF from where large herbivores were excluded did not benefit from AMF in terms of biomass production. However, only the inoculation with AMF from areas with wild herbivores and no cattle had a positive effect on regrowth, relative to clipped plants grown without AMF. Similarly, in the field, regrowth of plants after clipping in areas with only native herbivores was higher than other treatments. Functional differences in AMF were evident despite little difference in AMF species richness or community composition. Our findings suggest that differences in large herbivore communities over nearly two decades has resulted in localized, functional changes in AMF communities. Our results add to the accumulating evidence that mycorrhizae are locally adapted and that functional differences can evolve within small geographical areas.

  1. Effects of herbivore exclosures on variation in quality and quantity of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Effects of herbivore exclosures on variation in quality and quantity of plants among ... commercial and game) and among habitat types (open savanna, rocky and pan) in a semiarid savanna in South Africa. ... AJOL African Journals Online.

  2. Tree-grass interactions on an East African savanna : the effects of facilitation, competition, and hydraulic lift

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ludwig, F.

    2001-01-01

    Keywords: Rangelands, Semi-arid areas, stable isotopes, Acacia, C 4- grasses, plant nutrients, soil nutrients, soil water, plant water relations

    Savanna trees can either increase or decrease the productivity of understorey grasses. Trees reduce grass

  3. Competition and facilitation between a native and a domestic herbivore: trade-offs between forage quantity and quality.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augustine, David J; Springer, Tim L

    2013-06-01

    Potential competition between native and domestic herbivores is a major consideration influencing the management and conservation of native herbivores in rangeland ecosystems. In grasslands of the North American Great Plains, black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are widely viewed as competitors with cattle but are also important for biodiversity conservation due to their role in creating habitat for other native species. We examined spatiotemporal variation in prairie dog effects on growing-season forage quality and quantity using measurements from three colony complexes in Colorado and South Dakota and from a previous study of a fourth complex in Montana. At two complexes experiencing below-average precipitation, forage availability both on and off colonies was so low (12-54 g/m2) that daily forage intake rates of cattle were likely constrained by instantaneous intake rates and daily foraging time. Under these dry conditions, prairie dogs (1) substantially reduced forage availability, thus further limiting cattle daily intake rates, and (2) had either no or a small positive effect on forage digestibility. Under such conditions, prairie dogs are likely to compete with cattle in direct proportion to their abundance. For two complexes experiencing above-average precipitation, forage quantity on and off colonies (77-208 g/m2) was sufficient for daily forage intake of cattle to be limited by digestion rather than instantaneous forage intake. At one complex where prairie dogs enhanced forage digestibility and [N] while having no effect on forage quantity, prairie dogs are predicted to facilitate cattle mass gains regardless of prairie dog abundance. At the second complex where prairie dogs enhanced digestibility and [N] but reduced forage quantity, effects on cattle can vary from competition to facilitation depending on prairie dog abundance. Our findings show that the high spatiotemporal variation in vegetation dynamics characteristic of semiarid grasslands

  4. On facilitation between herbivores : How Brent Geese profit from brown hares

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Wal, R; van Wijnen, H; van Wieren, S.E.; Beucher, O; Bos, D

    Brown hares (Lepus europaeus) are shown to facilitate grazing by Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) in a temperate salt marsh in the Netherlands by retarding vegetation succession for >25 yr. Winter grazing by hares prevented the shrub Atriplex portulacoides from spreading in younger parts nf thp salt

  5. On facilitation between herbivores : how brent geese profit from brown hares

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Wal, van der R.; Wijnen, van H.; Wieren, van S.E.; Beucher, O.; Bos, D.

    2000-01-01

    Brown hares (Lepus europaeus) are shown to facilitate grazing by Brent Geese (Branta bernicla) in a temperate salt marsh in the Netherlands by retarding vegetation succession for >25 yr. Winter grazing by hares prevented the shrub Atriplex portulacoides from spreading in younger parts of the salt

  6. Large herbivores maintain termite-caused differences in herbaceous species diversity patterns.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Okullo, Paul; Moe, Stein R

    2012-09-01

    Termites and large herbivores affect African savanna plant communities. Both functional groups are also important for nutrient redistribution across the landscape. We conducted an experiment to study how termites and large herbivores, alone and in combination, affect herbaceous species diversity patterns in an African savanna. Herbaceous vegetation on large vegetated Macrotermes mounds (with and without large herbivores) and on adjacent savanna areas (with and without large herbivores) was monitored over three years in Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda. We found substantial differences in species richness, alpha diversity, evenness, and stability between termite mound herbaceous vegetation and adjacent savanna vegetation. Within months of fencing, levels of species richness, evenness, and stability were no longer significantly different between savanna and mounds. However, fencing reduced the cumulative number of species, particularly for forbs, of which 48% of the species were lost. Fencing increased the beta diversity (dissimilarity among plots) on the resource-poor (in terms of both nutrients and soil moisture) savanna areas, while it did not significantly affect beta diversity on the resource-rich termite mounds. While termites cause substantial heterogeneity in savanna vegetation, large herbivores further amplify these differences by reducing beta diversity on the savanna areas. Large herbivores are, however, responsible for the maintenance of a large number of forbs at the landscape level. These findings suggest that the mechanisms underlying the effects of termites and large herbivores on savanna plant communities scale up to shape community structure and dynamics at a landscape level.

  7. Response of different-sized herbivores to fire history

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hagenah, N.; Cromsigt, J.P.G.M.; Olff, H.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2006-01-01

    Retrieve original file from: http://edepot.wur.nl/121801 High herbivore densities and re-occurring fires are natural phenomenons that determine the structure and functioning of African savannas. Traditional burning practices have been intensified over the past years due to increased herbivore

  8. Tree-grass interactions in savannas

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Scholes, RJ

    1997-01-01

    Full Text Available Savannas occur where trees and grasses interact to create a biome that is neither grassland nor forest. Woody and gramineous plants interact by many mechanisms, some negative (competition) and some positive (facilitation). The strength and sign...

  9. Facilitation by a Spiny Shrub on a Rhizomatous Clonal Herbaceous in Thicketization-Grassland in Northern China: Increased Soil Resources or Shelter from Herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Saixiyala

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The formation of fertility islands by shrubs increases soil resources heterogeneity in thicketization-grasslands. Clonal plants, especially rhizomatous or stoloniferous clonal plants, can form large clonal networks and use heterogeneously distributed resources effectively. In addition, shrubs, especially spiny shrubs, may also provide herbaceous plants with protection from herbivores, acting as ‘shelters’. The interaction between pre-dominated clonal herbaceous plants and encroaching shrubs remains unclear in thicketization-grassland under grazing pressure. We hypothesized that clonal herbaceous plants can be facilitated by encroached shrubs as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ and/or as an ‘increased soil resources’ under grazing pressure. To test this hypothesis, a total of 60 quadrats were chosen in a thicket-grassland in northern China that was previously dominated by Leymus chinensis and was encroached upon by the spiny leguminous plant Caragana intermedia. The soil and plant traits beneath and outside the shrub canopies were sampled, investigated and contrasted with an enclosure. The soil organic matter, soil total nitrogen and soil water content were significantly higher in the soil beneath the shrub canopies than in the soil outside the canopies. L. chinensis beneath the shrub canopies had significantly higher plant height, single shoot biomass, leaf length and width than outside the shrub canopies. There were no significantly differences between plant growth in enclosure and outside the shrub canopies. These results suggested that under grazing pressure in a grassland undergoing thicketization, the growth of the rhizomatous clonal herbaceous plant L. chinensis was facilitated by the spiny shrub C. intermedia as a ‘shelter from herbivores’ more than through ‘increased soil resources’. We propose that future studies should focus on the community- and ecosystem-level impacts of plant clonality.

  10. Competition between a Lawn-Forming Cynodon dactylon and a Tufted Grass Species Hyparrhenia hirta on a South-African Dystrophic Savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zwerts, J.A.; Prins, H.H.T.; Bomhoff, D.; Verhagen, I.; Swart, J.M.; Boer, de W.F.

    2015-01-01

    South African savanna grasslands are often characterised by indigestible tufted grass species whereas lawn grasses are far more desirable in terms of herbivore sustenance. We aimed to investigate the role of nutrients and/or the disturbance (grazing, trampling) by herbivores on the formation of

  11. Dry season mapping of savanna forage quality, using the hyperspectral Carnegie

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Knox, N.; Skidmore, A.K.; Prins, H.H.T.; Asner, P.; Werff, van der H.M.A.; Boer, de W.F.; Waal, van der C.; Knegt, de H.J.; Kohi, E.; Slotow, R.; Grant, R.C.

    2011-01-01

    Forage quality within an African savanna depends upon limiting nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and nutrients that constrain the intake rates (non-digestible fibre) of herbivores. These forage quality nutrients are particularly crucial in the dry season when concentrations of limiting nutrients

  12. Unlocking resources in savannas: how goats and other mixed feeders overcome the negative effects of tannins

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mkhize, N.R.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract

    This thesis contributes insights on how condensed tannins might mediate the interactions between woody plants and large herbivores in the African savannas. Current understanding in this regard is still based on data from short-term laboratory experiments, mostly

  13. Connecting above and below: the impacts of large wildlife loss and pastoralism on savanna carbon dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forbes, E. S.; Young, H. S.; Young, T.; Schimel, J.

    2016-12-01

    There is widespread evidence that large wildlife species contribute to ecosystem carbon efflux; however, their influence is not incorporated into traditional carbon models. As large wildlife loss continues in the Anthropocene and in the face of climate change, it becomes increasingly important to understand the impacts of their loss on ecosystem carbon. The charismatic, threatened wildlife in central Kenya's savanna provide an ideal framework for these questions. We compared differences in carbon efflux in the presence or absence of native herbivores and/or cattle, as a proxy for wildlife loss and the interaction of pastoralism. We measured carbon dynamics in situ with a closed-chamber system and microbial respiration rates in lab by incubating sampled soil. We discovered a significant effect of herbivore presence/absence on carbon efflux: incubated soils collected from plots with cattle only exhibit greater carbon accumulation and faster initial respiration rates than soils collected from plots with native herbivores and no cattle, native herbivores and cattle, and neither native herbivores nor cattle. When measured in situ, plots with no herbivores show higher efflux than plots with only native herbivores, and plots with both. The data also suggest that grazing pressure results in successively lower efflux. The differences in these studies imply that the impacts of large wildlife loss differ on microbial respiration as an isolated mechanism in ecosystem carbon exchange, and total carbon efflux. This is most likely because in situ efflux measurements encompass environmental variables as well as soil microbial respiration. The lab data suggest that cattle as the only herbivore causes greater soil microbial efflux compared to native herbivores alone, native herbivores with cattle, or no herbivores. The in situ data show that no herbivores results in increased carbon efflux, and suggest that increasing numbers of herbivores lowers efflux.These studies demonstrate

  14. Human impacts in African savannas are mediated by plant functional traits.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osborne, Colin P; Charles-Dominique, Tristan; Stevens, Nicola; Bond, William J; Midgley, Guy; Lehmann, Caroline E R

    2018-05-28

    Tropical savannas have a ground cover dominated by C 4 grasses, with fire and herbivory constraining woody cover below a rainfall-based potential. The savanna biome covers 50% of the African continent, encompassing diverse ecosystems that include densely wooded Miombo woodlands and Serengeti grasslands with scattered trees. African savannas provide water, grazing and browsing, food and fuel for tens of millions of people, and have a unique biodiversity that supports wildlife tourism. However, human impacts are causing widespread and accelerating degradation of savannas. The primary threats are land cover-change and transformation, landscape fragmentation that disrupts herbivore communities and fire regimes, climate change and rising atmospheric CO 2 . The interactions among these threats are poorly understood, with unknown consequences for ecosystem health and human livelihoods. We argue that the unique combinations of plant functional traits characterizing the major floristic assemblages of African savannas make them differentially susceptible and resilient to anthropogenic drivers of ecosystem change. Research must address how this functional diversity among African savannas differentially influences their vulnerability to global change and elucidate the mechanisms responsible. This knowledge will permit appropriate management strategies to be developed to maintain ecosystem integrity, biodiversity and livelihoods. © 2018 The Authors New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.

  15. Facilitative Effect of a Generalist Herbivore on the Recovery of a Perennial Alga: Consequences for Persistence at the Edge of Their Geographic Range.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguilera, Moisés A; Valdivia, Nelson; Broitman, Bernardo R

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the impacts of consumers on the abundance, growth rate, recovery and persistence of their resources across their distributional range can shed light on the role of trophic interactions in determining species range shifts. Here, we examined if consumptive effects of the intertidal grazer Scurria viridula positively influences the abundance and recovery from disturbances of the alga Mazzaella laminarioides at the edge of its geographic distributions in northern-central Chilean rocky shores. Through field experiments conducted at a site in the region where M. laminarioides overlaps with the polar range edge of S. viridula, we estimated the effects of grazing on different life stages of M. laminarioides. We also used long-term abundance surveys conducted across ~700 km of the shore to evaluate co-occurrence patterns of the study species across their range overlap. We found that S. viridula had positive net effects on M. laminarioides by increasing its cover and re-growth from perennial basal crusts. Probability of occurrence of M. laminarioides increased significantly with increasing density of S. viridula across the range overlap. The negative effect of S. viridula on the percentage cover of opportunistic green algae-shown to compete for space with corticated algae-suggests that competitive release may be part of the mechanism driving the positive effect of the limpet on the abundance and recovery from disturbance of M. laminarioides. We suggest that grazer populations contribute to enhance the abundance of M. laminarioides, facilitating its recolonization and persistence at its distributional range edge. Our study highlights that indirect facilitation can determine the recovery and persistence of a resource at the limit of its distribution, and may well contribute to the ecological mechanisms governing species distributions and range shifts.

  16. Facilitative Effect of a Generalist Herbivore on the Recovery of a Perennial Alga: Consequences for Persistence at the Edge of Their Geographic Range.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Moisés A Aguilera

    Full Text Available Understanding the impacts of consumers on the abundance, growth rate, recovery and persistence of their resources across their distributional range can shed light on the role of trophic interactions in determining species range shifts. Here, we examined if consumptive effects of the intertidal grazer Scurria viridula positively influences the abundance and recovery from disturbances of the alga Mazzaella laminarioides at the edge of its geographic distributions in northern-central Chilean rocky shores. Through field experiments conducted at a site in the region where M. laminarioides overlaps with the polar range edge of S. viridula, we estimated the effects of grazing on different life stages of M. laminarioides. We also used long-term abundance surveys conducted across ~700 km of the shore to evaluate co-occurrence patterns of the study species across their range overlap. We found that S. viridula had positive net effects on M. laminarioides by increasing its cover and re-growth from perennial basal crusts. Probability of occurrence of M. laminarioides increased significantly with increasing density of S. viridula across the range overlap. The negative effect of S. viridula on the percentage cover of opportunistic green algae-shown to compete for space with corticated algae-suggests that competitive release may be part of the mechanism driving the positive effect of the limpet on the abundance and recovery from disturbance of M. laminarioides. We suggest that grazer populations contribute to enhance the abundance of M. laminarioides, facilitating its recolonization and persistence at its distributional range edge. Our study highlights that indirect facilitation can determine the recovery and persistence of a resource at the limit of its distribution, and may well contribute to the ecological mechanisms governing species distributions and range shifts.

  17. Herbivore effects on productivity vary by guild: cattle increase mean productivity while wildlife reduce variability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles, Grace K; Porensky, Lauren M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2017-01-01

    Wild herbivores and livestock share the majority of rangelands worldwide, yet few controlled experiments have addressed their individual, additive, and interactive impacts on ecosystem function. While ungulate herbivores generally reduce standing biomass, their effects on aboveground net primary production (ANPP) can vary by spatial and temporal context, intensity of herbivory, and herbivore identity and species richness. Some evidence indicates that moderate levels of herbivory can stimulate aboveground productivity, but few studies have explicitly tested the relationships among herbivore identity, grazing intensity, and ANPP. We used a long-term exclosure experiment to examine the effects of three groups of wild and domestic ungulate herbivores (megaherbivores, mesoherbivore wildlife, and cattle) on herbaceous productivity in an African savanna. Using both field measurements (productivity cages) and satellite imagery, we measured the effects of different herbivore guilds, separately and in different combinations, on herbaceous productivity across both space and time. Results from both productivity cage measurements and satellite normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) demonstrated a positive relationship between mean productivity and total ungulate herbivore pressure, driven in particular by the presence of cattle. In contrast, we found that variation in herbaceous productivity across space and time was driven by the presence of wild herbivores (primarily mesoherbivore wildlife), which significantly reduced heterogeneity in ANPP and NDVI across both space and time. Our results indicate that replacing wildlife with cattle (at moderate densities) could lead to similarly productive but more heterogeneous herbaceous plant communities in rangelands. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  18. Termites, vertebrate herbivores, and the fruiting success of Acacia drepanolobium.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brody, Alison K; Palmer, Todd M; Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Doak, Dan F

    2010-02-01

    In African savannas, vertebrate herbivores are often identified as key determinants of plant growth, survivorship, and reproduction. However, plant reproduction is likely to be the product of responses to a suite of abiotic and biotic factors, including nutrient availability and interactions with antagonists and mutualists. In a relatively simple system, we examined the role of termites (which act as ecosystem engineers--modifying physical habitat and creating islands of high soil fertility), vertebrate herbivores, and symbiotic ants, on the fruiting success of a dominant plant, Acacia drepanolobium, in East African savannas. Using observational data, large-scale experimental manipulations, and analysis of foliar N, we found that Acacia drepanolobium trees growing at the edge of termite mounds were more likely to reproduce than those growing farther away, in off-mound soils. Although vertebrate herbivores preferentially used termite mounds as demonstrated by dung deposits, long-term exclusion of mammalian grazers did not significantly reduce A. drepanolobium fruit production. Leaf N was significantly greater in trees growing next to mounds than in those growing farther away, and this pattern was unaffected by exclusion of vertebrates. Thus, soil enrichment by termites, rather than through dung and urine deposition by large herbivores, is of primary importance to fruit production near mounds. Across all mound-herbivore treatment combinations, trees that harbored Crematogaster sjostedti were more likely to fruit than those that harbored one of the other three ant species. Although C. sjostedti is less aggressive than the other ants, it tends to inhabit large, old trees near termite mounds which are more likely to fruit than smaller ones. Termites play a key role in generating patches of nutrient-rich habitat important to the reproductive success of A. drepanolobium in East African savannas. Enhanced nutrient acquisition from termite mounds appears to allow plants to

  19. Deciphering the distribution of the savanna biome

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Lehmann, CER

    2011-07-01

    Full Text Available to rainfall. We identified three continental divergences in the limits of savanna that could not be explained by environment. Climate and soils do not have a deterministic effect on the distribution of savanna. Over the range of savanna, some proportion...

  20. Tropical savannas and dry forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pennington, R Toby; Lehmann, Caroline E R; Rowland, Lucy M

    2018-05-07

    In the tropics, research, conservation and public attention focus on rain forests, but this neglects that half of the global tropics have a seasonally dry climate. These regions are home to dry forests and savannas (Figures 1 and 2), and are the focus of this Primer. The attention given to rain forests is understandable. Their high species diversity, sheer stature and luxuriance thrill biologists today as much as they did the first explorers in the Age of Discovery. Although dry forest and savanna may make less of a first impression, they support a fascinating diversity of plant strategies to cope with stress and disturbance including fire, drought and herbivory. Savannas played a fundamental role in human evolution, and across Africa and India they support iconic megafauna. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  1. Synergistic effects of fire and elephants on arboreal animals in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Robert M; Kimuyu, Duncan M; Sensenig, Ryan L; Palmer, Todd M; Riginos, Corinna; Veblen, Kari E; Young, Truman P

    2015-11-01

    findings confirm the importance of fire × elephant interactions in structuring arboreal wildlife populations. Where habitat modification by megaherbivores facilitates co-occurring species, fire may amplify these effects in the short term by increasing the frequency or intensity of herbivory, leading to synergy. In the longer term, tree mortality due to both top kill by fire and toppling by large herbivores may reduce overall microhabitat availability, eliminating the synergy. © 2015 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2015 British Ecological Society.

  2. Spatial vegetation patterns and neighborhood competition among woody plants in an East African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dohn, Justin; Augustine, David J; Hanan, Niall P; Ratnam, Jayashree; Sankaran, Mahesh

    2017-02-01

    The majority of research on savanna vegetation dynamics has focused on the coexistence of woody and herbaceous vegetation. Interactions among woody plants in savannas are relatively poorly understood. We present data from a 10-yr longitudinal study of spatially explicit growth patterns of woody vegetation in an East African savanna following exclusion of large herbivores and in the absence of fire. We examined plant spatial patterns and quantified the degree of competition among woody individuals. Woody plants in this semiarid savanna exhibit strongly clumped spatial distributions at scales of 1-5 m. However, analysis of woody plant growth rates relative to their conspecific and heterospecific neighbors revealed evidence for strong competitive interactions at neighborhood scales of up to 5 m for most woody plant species. Thus, woody plants were aggregated in clumps despite significantly decreased growth rates in close proximity to neighbors, indicating that the spatial distribution of woody plants in this region depends on dispersal and establishment processes rather than on competitive, density-dependent mortality. However, our documentation of suppressive effects of woody plants on neighbors also suggests a potentially important role for tree-tree competition in controlling vegetation structure and indicates that the balanced-competition hypothesis may contribute to well-known patterns in maximum tree cover across rainfall gradients in Africa. © 2016 by the Ecological Society of America.

  3. Topo-edaphic controls over woody plant biomass in South African savannas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. S. Colgan

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available The distribution of woody biomass in savannas reflects spatial patterns fundamental to ecosystem processes, such as water flow, competition, and herbivory, and is a key contributor to savanna ecosystem services, such as fuelwood supply. While total precipitation sets an upper bound on savanna woody biomass, the extent to which substrate and terrain constrain trees and shrubs below this maximum remains poorly understood, often occluded by local-scale disturbances such as fire and trampling. Here we investigate the role of hillslope topography and soil properties in controlling woody plant aboveground biomass (AGB in Kruger National Park, South Africa. Large-area sampling with airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR provided a means to average across local-scale disturbances, revealing an unexpectedly linear relationship between AGB and hillslope-position on basalts, where biomass levels were lowest on crests, and linearly increased toward streams (R2 = 0.91. The observed pattern was different on granite substrates, where AGB exhibited a strongly non-linear relationship with hillslope position: AGB was high on crests, decreased midslope, and then increased near stream channels (R2 = 0.87. Overall, we observed 5-to-8-fold lower AGB on clayey, basalt-derived soil than on granites, and we suggest this is due to herbivore-fire interactions rather than lower hydraulic conductivity or clay shrinkage/swelling, as previously hypothesized. By mapping AGB within and outside fire and herbivore exclosures, we found that basalt-derived soils support tenfold higher AGB in the absence of fire and herbivory, suggesting high clay content alone is not a proximal limitation on AGB. Understanding how fire and herbivory contribute to AGB heterogeneity is critical to predicting future savanna carbon storage under a changing climate.

  4. Greenhouse gas emissions from Savanna ( Miombo ) woodlands ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Natural vegetation represents an important sink for greenhouse gases (GHGs); however, there is relatively little information available on emissions from southern African savannas. The effects of clearing savanna woodlands for crop production on soil fluxes of N2O, CO2 and CH4 were studied on clay (Chromic luvisol) and ...

  5. Insect-plant interactions: new pathways to a better comprehension of ecological communities in Neotropical savannas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Del-Claro, Kleber; Torezan-Silingardi, Helena M

    2009-01-01

    The causal mechanisms shaping and structuring ecological communities are among the most important themes in ecology. The study of insect-plant interactions in trophic nets is pointed out as basic to improve our knowledge on this issue. The cerrado tropical savanna, although extremely diverse, distributed in more than 20% of the Brazilian territory and filled up with rich examples of multitrophic interactions, is underexplored in terms of biodiversity interaction. Here, this ecosystem is suggested as valuable to the study of insect-plant interactions whose understanding can throw a new light at the ecological communities' theory. Three distinct systems: extrafloral nectary plants or trophobiont herbivores and the associated ant fauna; floral herbivores-predators-pollinators; and plants-forest engineers and associated fauna, will serve as examples to illustrate promising new pathways in cerrado. The aim of this brief text is to instigate young researchers, mainly entomologists, to initiate more elaborated field work, including experimental manipulations in multitrophic systems, to explore in an interactive way the structure that maintain preserved viable communities in the Neotropical savanna.

  6. Analysis of the Spatial Relationship between Cattle and Wild Ungulates across Different Land-Use Systems in a Tropical Savanna Landscape

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Geoffrey W. Kinga

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available In many African savanna landscapes, domestic and wild herbivores cooccur across different land-use systems, but the role of land-use in shaping their spatial relationship is poorly understood. We evaluated the spatial relationship between cattle and wild herbivores categorized by body sizes and feeding habits across different land-use types, namely, private ranches (PR, transitional lands (TRL, and pastoral grazing areas (PGA, in Laikipia County, Kenya. Cattle and wild herbivores spatial distribution data were obtained from Kenya’s Department of Resources Survey and Remote Sensing (DRSRS. Spatial relationships between cattle and different wild herbivore guilds were analyzed using Ripley’s bivariate K12 function. In PR, wild herbivore guilds showed significant attraction to cattle at short distances. In TRL, wild grazers, mixed feeders, megaherbivores, and medium-sized ungulates exhibited significant attraction to cattle. Additionally, repulsion was observed between cattle and browsers at short distances under this land-use system. In PGA, wild grazers, mixed feeders, and megaherbivores repelled strongly with cattle at short distances while browsers and medium-sized ungulates were significantly attracted to cattle. Cattle and wild herbivores were more randomly and independently distributed in PR than in TRL and PGA. These spatial relationships imply better coexistence between cattle and wild herbivores in PR than in TRL and PGA.

  7. Competition between a Lawn-Forming Cynodon dactylon and a Tufted Grass Species Hyparrhenia hirta on a South-African Dystrophic Savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zwerts, J A; Prins, H H T; Bomhoff, D; Verhagen, I; Swart, J M; de Boer, W F

    2015-01-01

    South African savanna grasslands are often characterised by indigestible tufted grass species whereas lawn grasses are far more desirable in terms of herbivore sustenance. We aimed to investigate the role of nutrients and/or the disturbance (grazing, trampling) by herbivores on the formation of grazing lawns. We conducted a series of common garden experiments to test the effect of nutrients on interspecific competition between a typical lawn-forming grass species (Cynodon dactylon) and a species that is frequently found outside grazing lawns (Hyparrhenia hirta), and tested for the effect of herbivore disturbance in the form of trampling and clipping. We also performed a vegetation and herbivore survey to apply experimentally derived insights to field observations. Our results showed that interspecific competition was not affected by soil nutrient concentrations. C. dactylon did show much more resilience to disturbance than H. hirta, presumably due to the regenerative capacity of its rhizomes. Results from the field survey were in line with these findings, describing a correlation between herbivore pressure and C. dactylon abundance. We conclude that herbivore disturbance, and not soil nutrients, provide C. dactylon with a competitive advantage over H. hirta, due to vegetative regeneration from its rhizomes. This provides evidence for the importance of concentrated, high herbivore densities for the creation and maintenance of grazing lawns.

  8. Combined effects of arthropod herbivores and phytopathogens on plant performance

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hauser, Thure Pavlo; Christensen, Stina; Heimes, Christine

    2013-01-01

    1. Many plants are simultaneously attacked by arthropod herbivores and phytopathogens. These may affect each other directly and indirectly, enhancing or reducing the amount of plant resources they each consume. Ultimately, this may reduce or enhance plant performance relative to what should...... be expected from the added impacts of herbivore and pathogen when they attack alone. 2. Previous studies have suggested synergistic and antagonistic impacts on plant performance from certain combinations of arthropods and pathogens, for example, synergistic impacts from necrotrophic pathogens together...... with wounding arthropods because of facilitated infection and antagonistic impacts from induction of pathogen resistance by sucking herbivores. 3. We compiled published studies on the impact of plant–herbivore–pathogen interactions on plant performance and used meta-analysis to search for consistent patterns...

  9. Leaf anatomical traits of non-arboreal savanna species along a gradient of tree encroachment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luiz Felipe Souza Pinheiro

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT In the Brazilian savanna (Cerrado of Brazil, fire suppression has transformed typical savanna formations (TS into forested savanna (FS due to the phenomenon of encroachment. Under encroachment, non-arboreal plants begin to receive less light due to greater tree density and canopy closure. Here we aim to evaluate if leaf anatomical traits of non-arboreal species differ according to the degree of tree encroachment at the Assis Ecological Station - São Paulo, Brazil. To this end, we evaluated leaf tissue thickness and specific leaf area (SLA in representative non-arboreal species occurring along a gradient of tree encroachment. Leaves of TS species showed a trend towards xeromorphism, with traits reported to facilitate survival under high luminosity, such as thick leaves, thick epidermis and mesophyll, and low SLA. In contrast, FS species exhibited mesomorphic leaves, with thin mesophyll and high SLA, which are able to capture diffuse light in denser environments. Thus, non-arboreal understory species with mesomorphic leaf traits should be favored in environments with denser vegetation in contrast to typical savanna species. The results suggest that typical non-arboreal savanna species would not survive under tree encroachment due to the low competitiveness of their leaf anatomical strategies in shady environments.

  10. Herbivore preference for native vs. exotic plants: generalist herbivores from multiple continents prefer exotic plants that are evolutionarily naïve.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Wendy E Morrison

    2011-03-01

    Full Text Available Enemy release and biotic resistance are competing, but not mutually exclusive, hypotheses addressing the success or failure of non-native plants entering a new region. Enemy release predicts that exotic plants become invasive by escaping their co-adapted herbivores and by being unrecognized or unpalatable to native herbivores that have not been selected to consume them. In contrast, biotic resistance predicts that native generalist herbivores will suppress exotic plants that will not have been selected to deter these herbivores. We tested these hypotheses using five generalist herbivores from North or South America and nine confamilial pairs of native and exotic aquatic plants. Four of five herbivores showed 2.4-17.3 fold preferences for exotic over native plants. Three species of South American apple snails (Pomacea sp. preferred North American over South American macrophytes, while a North American crayfish Procambarus spiculifer preferred South American, Asian, and Australian macrophytes over North American relatives. Apple snails have their center of diversity in South America, but a single species (Pomacea paludosa occurs in North America. This species, with a South American lineage but a North American distribution, did not differentiate between South American and North American plants. Its preferences correlated with preferences of its South American relatives rather than with preferences of the North American crayfish, consistent with evolutionary inertia due to its South American lineage. Tests of plant traits indicated that the crayfish responded primarily to plant structure, the apple snails primarily to plant chemistry, and that plant protein concentration played no detectable role. Generalist herbivores preferred non-native plants, suggesting that intact guilds of native, generalist herbivores may provide biotic resistance to plant invasions. Past invasions may have been facilitated by removal of native herbivores, introduction of

  11. Behavioral adjustments of African herbivores to predation risk by lions: spatiotemporal variations influence habitat use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valeix, M; Loveridge, A J; Chamaillé-Jammes, S; Davidson, Z; Murindagomo, F; Fritz, H; Macdonald, D W

    2009-01-01

    Predators may influence their prey populations not only through direct lethal effects, but also through indirect behavioral changes. Here, we combined spatiotemporal fine-scale data from GPS radio collars on lions with habitat use information on 11 African herbivores in Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe) to test whether the risk of predation by lions influenced the distribution of herbivores in the landscape. Effects of long-term risk of predation (likelihood of lion presence calculated over four months) and short-term risk of predation (actual presence of lions in the vicinity in the preceding 24 hours) were contrasted. The long-term risk of predation by lions appeared to influence the distributions of all browsers across the landscape, but not of grazers. This result strongly suggests that browsers and grazers, which face different ecological constraints, are influenced at different spatial and temporal scales in the variation of the risk of predation by lions. The results also show that all herbivores tend to use more open habitats preferentially when lions are in their vicinity, probably an effective anti-predator behavior against such an ambush predator. Behaviorally induced effects of lions may therefore contribute significantly to structuring African herbivore communities, and hence possibly their effects on savanna ecosystems.

  12. Determinants of woody cover in African savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sankaran, M.; Hanan, N.P.; Scholes, Robert J.; Ratnam, J.; Augustine, D.J.; Cade, B.S.; Gignoux, J.; Higgins, S.I.; Le, Roux X.; Ludwig, F.; Ardo, J.; Banyikwa, F.; Bronn, A.; Bucini, G.; Caylor, K.K.; Coughenour, M.B.; Diouf, A.; Ekaya, W.; Feral, C.J.; February, E.C.; Frost, P.G.H.; Hiernaux, P.; Hrabar, H.; Metzger, K.L.; Prins, H.H.T.; Ringrose, S.; Sea, W.; Tews, J.; Worden, J.; Zambatis, N.

    2005-01-01

    Savannas are globally important ecosystems of great significance to human economies. In these biomes, which are characterized by the co-dominance of trees and grasses, woody cover is a chief determinant of ecosystem properties 1-3. The availability of resources (water, nutrients) and disturbance regimes (fire, herbivory) are thought to be important in regulating woody cover1,2,4,5, but perceptions differ on which of these are the primary drivers of savanna structure. Here we show, using data from 854 sites across Africa, that maximum woody cover in savannas receiving a mean annual precipitation (MAP) of less than ???650 mm is constrained by, and increases linearly with, MAP. These arid and semi-arid savannas may be considered 'stable' systems in which water constrains woody cover and permits grasses to coexist, while fire, herbivory and soil properties interact to reduce woody cover below the MAP-controlled upper bound. Above a MAP of ???650 mm, savannas are 'unstable' systems in which MAP is sufficient for woody canopy closure, and disturbances (fire, herbivory) are required for the coexistence of trees and grass. These results provide insights into the nature of African savannas and suggest that future changes in precipitation 6 may considerably affect their distribution and dynamics. ?? 2005 Nature Publishing Group.

  13. The effect of fire on habitat selection of mammalian herbivores: the role of body size and vegetation characteristics.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Eby, Stephanie L; Anderson, T Michael; Mayemba, Emilian P; Ritchie, Mark E

    2014-09-01

    Given the role of fire in shaping ecosystems, especially grasslands and savannas, it is important to understand its broader impact on these systems. Post-fire stimulation of plant nutrients is thought to benefit grazing mammals and explain their preference for burned areas. However, fire also reduces vegetation height and increases visibility, thereby potentially reducing predation risk. Consequently, fire may be more beneficial to smaller herbivores, with higher nutritional needs and greater risks of predation. We tested the impacts of burning on different sized herbivores' habitat preference in Serengeti National Park, as mediated by burning's effects on vegetation height, live : dead biomass ratio and leaf nutrients. Burning caused a less than 4 month increase in leaf nitrogen (N), and leaf non-N nutrients [copper (Cu), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg)] and a decrease in vegetation height and live : dead biomass. During this period, total herbivore counts were higher on burned areas. Generally, smaller herbivores preferred burned areas more strongly than larger herbivores. Unfortunately, it was not possible to determine the vegetation characteristics that explained burned area preference for each of the herbivore species observed. However, total herbivore abundance and impala (Aepyceros melampus) preference for burned areas was due to the increases in non-N nutrients caused by burning. These findings suggest that burned area attractiveness to herbivores is mainly driven by changes to forage quality and not potential decreases in predation risk caused by reductions in vegetation height. © 2014 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2014 British Ecological Society.

  14. Plant defense against insect herbivores

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Fürstenberg-Hägg, Joel; Zagrobelny, Mika; Bak, Søren

    2013-01-01

    , defense compounds. These bioactive specialized plant defense compounds may repel or intoxicate insects, while defense proteins often interfere with their digestion. Volatiles are released upon herbivory to repel herbivores, attract predators or for communication between leaves or plants, and to induce......Plants have been interacting with insects for several hundred million years, leading to complex defense approaches against various insect feeding strategies. Some defenses are constitutive while others are induced, although the insecticidal defense compound or protein classes are often similar...... defense responses. Plants also apply morphological features like waxes, trichomes and latices to make the feeding more difficult for the insects. Extrafloral nectar, food bodies and nesting or refuge sites are produced to accommodate and feed the predators of the herbivores. Meanwhile, herbivorous insects...

  15. The effects of gap size and disturbance type on invasion of wet pine savanna by cogongrass, Imperata cylindrica (Poaceae)

    Science.gov (United States)

    King, S.E.; Grace, J.B.

    2000-01-01

    Cogongrass is a nonindigenous species perceived to threaten native communities of the southeastern United States through modification of species composition and alteration of community processes. To examine how gap size and disturbance type influence the invasion of wet pine savannas by cogongrass, we performed three field experiments to evaluate the response of cogongrass seeds and transplanted seedlings to four different gap sizes, four types of site disturbance, and recent burning of savanna vegetation. Cogongrass germinated, survived, and grew in all gap sizes, from 0 to 100 cm in diameter. Similarly, disturbance type had no effect on germination or seedling and transplant survival. Tilling, however, significantly enhanced transplanted seedling growth, resulting in a tenfold increase in biomass over the other disturbance types. Seedling survival to 1 and 2 mo was greater in burned savanna than unburned savanna, although transplant survival and growth were not affected by burning. Results of this study suggest that cogongrass can germinate, survive, and grow in wet pine savanna communities regardless of gap size or type of disturbance, including burning. Burning of savanna vegetation may enhance establishment by improving early seedling survival, and soil disturbance can facilitate invasion of cogongrass by enhancing plant growth.

  16. Seasonal regulation of condensed tannin consumption by free-ranging goats in a semi-arid savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Heitkӧnig, Ignas M. A.; Scogings, Peter F.; Hattas, Dawood; Dziba, Luthando E.; Prins, Herbert H. T.; de Boer, Willem F.

    2018-01-01

    Although condensed tannins (CTs) are known to reduce forage intake by mammalian herbivores in controlled experiments, few studies have tested these effects in the field. Thus the role of CTs on foraging ecology of free-ranging herbivores is inadequately understood. To investigate the effects of CTs under natural savanna conditions, we pre-dosed groups of goats with polyethylene glycol (PEG, a CT-neutralising chemical), CT powder or water before observing their foraging behaviour. While accounting for the effects of season and time of the day, we tested the hypothesis that herbivores forage in ways that reduce the intake rate (g DM per minute) of CTs. We expected pre-dosing goats with CTs to reduce CT intake rates by (1) consuming diets low in CTs, (2) reducing bite rates, (3) increasing the number of foraging bouts, or (4) reducing the length of foraging bouts. Lastly, (5) expected CT to have no influence the number of dietary forage species. In both wet and dry seasons, pre-dosing goats with CTs resulted in lower CT consumption rates compared to PEG goats which seemed relieved from the stress associated with CT consumption. During dry season, the number of dietary forage species was similar across treatments, although goats that were dosed with PEG significantly increased this number in the wet season. Dosing goats with PEG increased the number and length of browsing bouts compared to goats from the other treatments. Pre-loading goats with PEG also tended to increase bite rates on browse forages, which contributed to increased consumption rates of CTs. Based on the behavioural adjustments made by goats in this study and within the constraints imposed by chemical complexity in savanna systems, we concluded that herbivores under natural conditions foraged in ways that minimised CTs consumption. More research should further elucidate the mechanism through which CTs regulated feeding behaviour. PMID:29293513

  17. Large herbivores in space : Resource partitioning among savanna grazers in a heterogeneous environment

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cromsigt, Joris Petrus Gerardus Marinus

    2006-01-01

    Large mammalian grazers are among the most conspicuous species groups of the animal kingdom. The richest assemblages of large grazers can be found on the African continent. Diverse large grazer assemblages and the grazing systems they live in have been ascribed great socio-economic as well as

  18. Large herbivores in space: Resource partitioning among savanna grazers in a heterogeneous environment

    OpenAIRE

    Cromsigt, Joris Petrus Gerardus Marinus

    2006-01-01

    Large mammalian grazers are among the most conspicuous species groups of the animal kingdom. The richest assemblages of large grazers can be found on the African continent. Diverse large grazer assemblages and the grazing systems they live in have been ascribed great socio-economic as well as ecological value. The impact of wild large grazers on humans has been enormous throughout the evolutionary history of mankind. Domesticated grazers have taken over most of the socio-economic role of thei...

  19. Biomass burning in West African savannas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Menaut, J.C.; Abbadie, L.; Lavenu, F.; Loudjani, P.; Podaire, A.

    1991-01-01

    This chapter approaches the influence of West African savanna ecosystems on the regional climate by giving, as precisely as possible, the amount of volatilized elements (e.g., carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur) annually released by bush fires into the atmosphere. In spite of the relative functional similarity of West African savannas, fire behavior and effects vary with the different bioclimatic and phytogeographic zones of the region: Guinea or humid zone; Sudan or mesic zone; and, Sahel or arid zone. In order to reach an acceptable accuracy, results are given for each of the zones described and summarized for West Africa

  20. Ant-caterpillar antagonism at the community level: interhabitat variation of tritrophic interactions in a neotropical savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sendoya, Sebastián F; Oliveira, Paulo S

    2015-03-01

    Ant foraging on foliage can substantially affect how phytophagous insects use host plants and represents a high predation risk for caterpillars, which are important folivores. Ant-plant-herbivore interactions are especially pervasive in cerrado savanna due to continuous ant visitation to liquid food sources on foliage (extrafloral nectaries, insect honeydew). While searching for liquid rewards on plants, aggressive ants frequently attack or kill insect herbivores, decreasing their numbers. Because ants vary in diet and aggressiveness, their effect on herbivores also varies. Additionally, the differential occurrence of ant attractants (plant and insect exudates) on foliage produces variable levels of ant foraging within local floras and among localities. Here, we investigate how variation of ant communities and of traits among host plant species (presence or absence of ant attractants) can change the effect of carnivores (predatory ants) on herbivore communities (caterpillars) in a cerrado savanna landscape. We sampled caterpillars and foliage-foraging ants in four cerrado localities (70-460 km apart). We found that: (i) caterpillar infestation was negatively related with ant visitation to plants; (ii) this relationship depended on local ant abundance and species composition, and on local preference by ants for plants with liquid attractants; (iii) this was not related to local plant richness or plant size; (iv) the relationship between the presence of ant attractants and caterpillar abundance varied among sites from negative to neutral; and (v) caterpillars feeding on plants with ant attractants are more resistant to ant predation than those feeding on plants lacking attractants. Liquid food on foliage mediates host plant quality for lepidopterans by promoting generalized ant-caterpillar antagonism. Our study in cerrado shows that the negative effects of generalist predatory ants on herbivores are detectable at a community level, affecting patterns of abundance and

  1. Determinants of woody cover in African savannas

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Sankaran, M

    2005-12-08

    Full Text Available workshop on savanna complexity funded by the NSF. We thank R. Boone, I. McHugh, R. Grant, H. Biggs, W. T. Starmer, P. M. Barbosa, D. Ruess, J. Rettenmayer, C. Williams, J. Klein, M. T. Anderson, W. J. Parton, J. C. Neff, N. Govender and the Kruger Park...

  2. Savanna browse production. 2: Prediction | Penderis | African ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Our study was initiated with the aim of modelling browse production rates of key savanna tree species in the northern Zululand region of KwaZulu-Natal, with the assumption that browse production equates to utilised browse biomass. Predictive models for the production of browse, at different game feeding levels, ...

  3. Restoration of midwestern oak woodlands and savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dan C. Dey; John M. Kabrick

    2015-01-01

    There are various definitions for savanna and woodland in the ecological literature. Characteristic elements of each community are broadly defined and often overlap according to the authorities (Curtis 1959; Nuzzo 1986; Nelson 2010). Some confusion is inevitable when categorizing what is in reality a continuum of states from prairie to forest in which there can be much...

  4. Variation in plant defense suppresses herbivore performance

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pearse, Ian; Paul, Ryan; Ode, Paul J.

    2018-01-01

    Defensive variability of crops and natural systems can alter herbivore communities and reduce herbivory. However, it is still unknown how defense variability translates into herbivore suppression. Nonlinear averaging and constraints in physiological tracking (also more generally called time-dependent effects) are the two mechanisms by which defense variability might impact herbivores. We conducted a set of experiments manipulating the mean and variability of a plant defense, showing that defense variability does suppress herbivore performance and that it does so through physiological tracking effects that cannot be explained by nonlinear averaging. While nonlinear averaging predicted higher or the same herbivore performance on a variable defense than on an invariable defense, we show that variability actually decreased herbivore performance and population growth rate. Defense variability reduces herbivore performance in a way that is more than the average of its parts. This is consistent with constraints in physiological matching of detoxification systems for herbivores experiencing variable toxin levels in their diet and represents a more generalizable way of understanding the impacts of variability on herbivory. Increasing defense variability in croplands at a scale encountered by individual herbivores can suppress herbivory, even if that is not anticipated by nonlinear averaging.

  5. Can alien plants support generalist insect herbivores?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Douglas Tallamy; Meg Ballard; Vincent D' Amico

    2009-01-01

    Rearing experiments were conducted to address two questions relevant to understanding how generalist lepidopteran herbivores interact with alien plants. We reared 10 yellow-striped armyworms (Spodoptera ornithogalli),...

  6. Birds exploit herbivore-induced plant volatiles to locate herbivorous prey

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Amo, L.; Jansen, J.J.; Dam, van N.M.; Dicke, M.; Visser, M.E.

    2013-01-01

    Arthropod herbivory induces plant volatiles that can be used by natural enemies of the herbivores to find their prey. This has been studied mainly for arthropods that prey upon or parasitise herbivorous arthropods but rarely for insectivorous birds, one of the main groups of predators of herbivorous

  7. Feeding niches of four large herbivores in the Hluhluwe Game ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Feeding niches of four large herbivores in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve, Natal. ... equus burchelli burchelli; feeding; grass; grasses; habitat; herbivores; hluhluwe game reserve; kwazulu-natal; large herbivores; ... AJOL African Journals Online.

  8. Multiple Scales of Control on the Structure and Spatial Distribution of Woody Vegetation in African Savanna Watersheds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nicholas R Vaughn

    Full Text Available Factors controlling savanna woody vegetation structure vary at multiple spatial and temporal scales, and as a consequence, unraveling their combined effects has proven to be a classic challenge in savanna ecology. We used airborne LiDAR (light detection and ranging to map three-dimensional woody vegetation structure throughout four savanna watersheds, each contrasting in geologic substrate and climate, in Kruger National Park, South Africa. By comparison of the four watersheds, we found that geologic substrate had a stronger effect than climate in determining watershed-scale differences in vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density. Generalized Linear Models were used to assess the spatial distribution of woody vegetation structural properties, including cover, height and crown density, in relation to mapped hydrologic, topographic and fire history traits. For each substrate and climate combination, models incorporating topography, hydrology and fire history explained up to 30% of the remaining variation in woody canopy structure, but inclusion of a spatial autocovariate term further improved model performance. Both crown density and the cover of shorter woody canopies were determined more by unknown factors likely to be changing on smaller spatial scales, such as soil texture, herbivore abundance or fire behavior, than by our mapped regional-scale changes in topography and hydrology. We also detected patterns in spatial covariance at distances up to 50-450 m, depending on watershed and structural metric. Our results suggest that large-scale environmental factors play a smaller role than is often attributed to them in determining woody vegetation structure in southern African savannas. This highlights the need for more spatially-explicit, wide-area analyses using high resolution remote sensing techniques.

  9. Early season herbivore differentially affects plant defence responses to subsequently colonizing herbivores and their abundance in the field

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poelman, E.H.; Broekgaarden, C.; Loon, van J.J.A.; Dicke, M.

    2008-01-01

    Induction of plant defences by early season herbivores can mediate interspecific herbivore competition. We have investigated plant-mediated competition between three herbivorous insects through studies at different levels of biological integration. We have addressed (i) gene expression; (ii) insect

  10. Asian Eden : large herbivore ecology in India

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ahrestani, F.S.

    2009-01-01

    The study of large mammalian herbivore ecology has a strong allometric tradition. The
    majority of studies that have helped better understand how body mass affects large herbivore
    ecology in the tropics, from a biological, functional, and ecological perspective, are from
    Africa.

  11. Fungal Endophytes: Beyond Herbivore Management

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bamisope S. Bamisile

    2018-03-01

    Full Text Available The incorporation of entomopathogenic fungi as biocontrol agents into Integrated Pest Management (IPM programs without doubt, has been highly effective. The ability of these fungal pathogens such as Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae to exist as endophytes in plants and protect their colonized host plants against the primary herbivore pests has widely been reported. Aside this sole role of pest management that has been traditionally ascribed to fungal endophytes, recent findings provided evidence of other possible functions as plant yield promoter, soil nutrient distributor, abiotic stress and drought tolerance enhancer in plants. However, reports on these additional important effects of fungal endophytes on the colonized plants remain scanty. In this review, we discussed the various beneficial effects of endophytic fungi on the host plants and their primary herbivore pests; as well as some negative effects that are relatively unknown. We also highlighted the prospects of our findings in further increasing the acceptance of fungal endophytes as an integral part of pest management programs for optimized crop production.

  12. Light hydrocarbon emissions from African savanna burnings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bonsang, B.; Lambert, G.; Boissard, C.C.

    1991-01-01

    A study was undertaken in West Africa to determine the background mixing ratio of nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHC) during the dry season and to measure the composition of savanna burnings. The experiment was conducted from 13 to 22 January 1989 in the experimental station located at the border of the tropical rainforest and savanna. Samples were collected during aircraft flights at 2,400 m in the free troposphere, at 400 m in the haze layer and in a smoke plume at 200 m altitude. Samples representing the ground-level evolution of the local background were collected at 10 m altitude. Fire samples were collected at a short distance from the fires during the intensive experiments. Results are presented in tables and indicate that the effect of NMHC produced by biomass burning on the tropospheric photochemistry is limited to a few species, namely, C 2 -C 4 alkenes

  13. Beneficial Effects of Ants and Spiders on the Reproductive Value of Eriotheca gracilipes (Malvaceae) in a Tropical Savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefani, Vanessa; Pires, Tayna Lopes; Torezan-Silingardi, Helena Maura; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2015-01-01

    Predators affect plant fitness when they forage on them and reduce the action of herbivores. Our study evaluates the complementary effects of spiders and ants that visit the extrafloral nectaries of Eriotheca gracilipes (Malvaceae) on the production of fruits and viable seeds of these savanna trees. Four experimental groups were established: control group - with free access of spiders and ants; exclusion group - spiders and ants excluded; ant group - absence of spiders; and spider group - absence of ants. The presence of ants reduced the spider richness; however, the presence of spiders did not affect the ant richness. A significantly higher number of fruits per buds were found in the presence of spiders alone or spiders and ants together (control group) compared with the absence of both predators (exclusion group). The number of seeds per fruits and seed viability were higher in the control group. This is the first study showing that spiders and ants may exert a positive and complementary effect on the reproductive value of an extrafloral nectaried plant. Mostly the impact of ants and/or spiders on herbivores is considered, whereas our study reinforces the importance of evaluating the effect of multiple predators simultaneously, exploring how the interactions among predators with distinct skills may affect the herbivores and the plants on which they forage.

  14. Unsustainable fuelwood extraction from South African savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wessels, K. J.; Colgan, M. S.; Erasmus, B. F. N.; Asner, G. P.; Twine, W. C.; Mathieu, R.; van Aardt, J. A. N.; Fisher, J. T.; Smit, I. P. J.

    2013-03-01

    Wood and charcoal supply the majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural energy needs. The long-term supply of fuelwood is in jeopardy given high consumption rates. Using airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), we mapped and investigated savanna aboveground biomass across contrasting land uses, ranging from densely populated communal areas to highly protected areas in the Lowveld savannas of South Africa. We combined the LiDAR observations with socio-economic data, biomass production rates and fuelwood consumption rates in a supply-demand model to predict future fuelwood availability. LiDAR-based biomass maps revealed disturbance gradients around settlements up to 1.5 km, corresponding to the maximum distance walked to collect fuelwood. At current levels of fuelwood consumption (67% of households use fuelwood exclusively, with a 2% annual reduction), we calculate that biomass in the study area will be exhausted within thirteen years. We also show that it will require a 15% annual reduction in consumption for eight years to a level of 20% of households using fuelwood before the reduction in biomass appears to stabilize to sustainable levels. The severity of dwindling fuelwood reserves in African savannas underscores the importance of providing affordable energy for rural economic development.

  15. Unsustainable fuelwood extraction from South African savannas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wessels, K J; Colgan, M S; Asner, G P; Erasmus, B F N; Twine, W C; Fisher, J T; Mathieu, R; Van Aardt, J A N; Smit, I P J

    2013-01-01

    Wood and charcoal supply the majority of sub-Saharan Africa’s rural energy needs. The long-term supply of fuelwood is in jeopardy given high consumption rates. Using airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR), we mapped and investigated savanna aboveground biomass across contrasting land uses, ranging from densely populated communal areas to highly protected areas in the Lowveld savannas of South Africa. We combined the LiDAR observations with socio-economic data, biomass production rates and fuelwood consumption rates in a supply–demand model to predict future fuelwood availability. LiDAR-based biomass maps revealed disturbance gradients around settlements up to 1.5 km, corresponding to the maximum distance walked to collect fuelwood. At current levels of fuelwood consumption (67% of households use fuelwood exclusively, with a 2% annual reduction), we calculate that biomass in the study area will be exhausted within thirteen years. We also show that it will require a 15% annual reduction in consumption for eight years to a level of 20% of households using fuelwood before the reduction in biomass appears to stabilize to sustainable levels. The severity of dwindling fuelwood reserves in African savannas underscores the importance of providing affordable energy for rural economic development. (letter)

  16. Large herbivores that strive mightily but eat and drink as friends.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Boer, W F; Prins, H H T

    1990-02-01

    Grazing in patches of Cynodon dactylon and of Sporobolus spicatus by four large herbivores, and the interaction between these sedentary herbivores was studied in Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania. The herbivores were the African buffalo, Syncerus caffer; the African elephan, Loxodonta africana; the Burchell's zebra, Equus burchelli; and the wildebeest, Connochaetus taurinus. Four different hypotheses of the interactions between the herbivores were tested, viz., increased predator detection/protection through association of species, facilitation of the food intake through the influence of other species, use by other species of the food manipulation strategy of buffalo, and interspecific competition for food. On the level of a single day, zebra and wildebeest were symbiotic, which could have been caused by an increased chance of predator detection. A similar association between buffalo and wildebeest or zebra was also detected on C. dactylon grasslands. There was no indication of facilitation between any of the herbivores. Buffalo had a despotic relationship with elephant, that is the elephant's consumption was lowered when buffalo had visited a patch prior to their arrival. When elephant and buffalo arrived at the same time there appeared to be scramble competition between them.Habitat overlap was calculated for four pairs of species. In conjunction with the analyses of the patch visits, it was concluded that a small overlap was associated with interspecific competition and a large habitat overlap was associated with symbiosis.

  17. Experimental infection of plants with an herbivore-associated bacterial endosymbiont influences herbivore host selection behavior.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Thomas Seth Davis

    Full Text Available Although bacterial endosymbioses are common among phloeophagous herbivores, little is known regarding the effects of symbionts on herbivore host selection and population dynamics. We tested the hypothesis that plant selection and reproductive performance by a phloem-feeding herbivore (potato psyllid, Bactericera cockerelli is mediated by infection of plants with a bacterial endosymbiont. We controlled for the effects of herbivory and endosymbiont infection by exposing potato plants (Solanum tuberosum to psyllids infected with "Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum" or to uninfected psyllids. We used these treatments as a basis to experimentally test plant volatile emissions, herbivore settling and oviposition preferences, and herbivore population growth. Three important findings emerged: (1 plant volatile profiles differed with respect to both herbivory and herbivory plus endosymbiont infection when compared to undamaged control plants; (2 herbivores initially settled on plants exposed to endosymbiont-infected psyllids but later defected and oviposited primarily on plants exposed only to uninfected psyllids; and (3 plant infection status had little effect on herbivore reproduction, though plant flowering was associated with a 39% reduction in herbivore density on average. Our experiments support the hypothesis that plant infection with endosymbionts alters plant volatile profiles, and infected plants initially recruited herbivores but later repelled them. Also, our findings suggest that the endosymbiont may not place negative selection pressure on its host herbivore in this system, but plant flowering phenology appears correlated with psyllid population performance.

  18. Mathematical models for plant-herbivore interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Zhilan; DeAngelis, Donald L.

    2017-01-01

    Mathematical Models of Plant-Herbivore Interactions addresses mathematical models in the study of practical questions in ecology, particularly factors that affect herbivory, including plant defense, herbivore natural enemies, and adaptive herbivory, as well as the effects of these on plant community dynamics. The result of extensive research on the use of mathematical modeling to investigate the effects of plant defenses on plant-herbivore dynamics, this book describes a toxin-determined functional response model (TDFRM) that helps explains field observations of these interactions. This book is intended for graduate students and researchers interested in mathematical biology and ecology.

  19. Can savannas help balance the South African greenhouse gas budget?

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Scholes, RJ

    1996-02-01

    Full Text Available This article discusses the South African Greenhouse Experiment on Savannas (SAGES) study conducted by the CSIR' Division of Forest Science and Technology (Foretek) on the role of savannas in the balance of the greenhouse gas budget of South Africa...

  20. Fire in Australian savannas: from leaf to landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beringer, Jason; Hutley, Lindsay B; Abramson, David; Arndt, Stefan K; Briggs, Peter; Bristow, Mila; Canadell, Josep G; Cernusak, Lucas A; Eamus, Derek; Edwards, Andrew C; Evans, Bradley J; Fest, Benedikt; Goergen, Klaus; Grover, Samantha P; Hacker, Jorg; Haverd, Vanessa; Kanniah, Kasturi; Livesley, Stephen J; Lynch, Amanda; Maier, Stefan; Moore, Caitlin; Raupach, Michael; Russell-Smith, Jeremy; Scheiter, Simon; Tapper, Nigel J; Uotila, Petteri

    2015-01-01

    Savanna ecosystems comprise 22% of the global terrestrial surface and 25% of Australia (almost 1.9 million km2) and provide significant ecosystem services through carbon and water cycles and the maintenance of biodiversity. The current structure, composition and distribution of Australian savannas have coevolved with fire, yet remain driven by the dynamic constraints of their bioclimatic niche. Fire in Australian savannas influences both the biophysical and biogeochemical processes at multiple scales from leaf to landscape. Here, we present the latest emission estimates from Australian savanna biomass burning and their contribution to global greenhouse gas budgets. We then review our understanding of the impacts of fire on ecosystem function and local surface water and heat balances, which in turn influence regional climate. We show how savanna fires are coupled to the global climate through the carbon cycle and fire regimes. We present new research that climate change is likely to alter the structure and function of savannas through shifts in moisture availability and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, in turn altering fire regimes with further feedbacks to climate. We explore opportunities to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from savanna ecosystems through changes in savanna fire management. PMID:25044767

  1. Rooting strategies in a subtropical savanna: a landscape-scale three-dimensional assessment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Yong; Boutton, Thomas W; Wu, X Ben; Wright, Cynthia L; Dion, Anais L

    2018-04-01

    In resource-limited savannas, the distribution and abundance of fine roots play an important role in acquiring essential resources and structuring vegetation patterns and dynamics. However, little is known regarding the three-dimensional distribution of fine roots in savanna ecosystems at the landscape scale. We quantified spatial patterns of fine root density to a depth of 1.2 m in a subtropical savanna landscape using spatially specific sampling. Kriged maps revealed that fine root density was highest at the centers of woody patches, decreased towards the canopy edges, and reached lowest values within the grassland matrix throughout the entire soil profile. Lacunarity analyses indicated that spatial heterogeneities of fine root density decreased continuously to a depth of 50 cm and then increased in deeper portions of the soil profile across this landscape. This vertical pattern might be related to inherent differences in root distribution between trees/shrubs and herbaceous species, and the presence/absence of an argillic horizon across this landscape. The greater density of fine roots beneath woody patches in both upper and lower portions of the soil profile suggests an ability to acquire disproportionately more resources than herbaceous species, which may facilitate the development and persistence of woody patches across this landscape.

  2. Mechanisms and ecological consequences of plant defence induction and suppression in herbivore communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kant, M R; Jonckheere, W; Knegt, B; Lemos, F; Liu, J; Schimmel, B C J; Villarroel, C A; Ataide, L M S; Dermauw, W; Glas, J J; Egas, M; Janssen, A; Van Leeuwen, T; Schuurink, R C; Sabelis, M W; Alba, J M

    2015-06-01

    exploitative competition and facilitation within ecological communities "inhabiting" a plant. Herbivores have evolved diverse strategies, which are not mutually exclusive, to decrease the negative effects of plant defences in order to maximize the conversion of plant material into offspring. Numerous adaptations have been found in herbivores, enabling them to dismantle or bypass defensive barriers, to avoid tissues with relatively high levels of defensive chemicals or to metabolize these chemicals once ingested. In addition, some herbivores interfere with the onset or completion of induced plant defences, resulting in the plant's resistance being partly or fully suppressed. The ability to suppress induced plant defences appears to occur across plant parasites from different kingdoms, including herbivorous arthropods, and there is remarkable diversity in suppression mechanisms. Suppression may strongly affect the structure of the food web, because the ability to suppress the activation of defences of a communal host may facilitate competitors, whereas the ability of a herbivore to cope with activated plant defences will not. Further characterization of the mechanisms and traits that give rise to suppression of plant defences will enable us to determine their role in shaping direct and indirect interactions in food webs and the extent to which these determine the coexistence and persistence of species. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Annals of Botany Company. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  3. Mechanisms and ecological consequences of plant defence induction and suppression in herbivore communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kant, M. R.; Jonckheere, W.; Knegt, B.; Lemos, F.; Liu, J.; Schimmel, B. C. J.; Villarroel, C. A.; Ataide, L. M. S.; Dermauw, W.; Glas, J. J.; Egas, M.; Janssen, A.; Van Leeuwen, T.; Schuurink, R. C.; Sabelis, M. W.; Alba, J. M.

    2015-01-01

    give rise to exploitative competition and facilitation within ecological communities “inhabiting” a plant. Conclusions Herbivores have evolved diverse strategies, which are not mutually exclusive, to decrease the negative effects of plant defences in order to maximize the conversion of plant material into offspring. Numerous adaptations have been found in herbivores, enabling them to dismantle or bypass defensive barriers, to avoid tissues with relatively high levels of defensive chemicals or to metabolize these chemicals once ingested. In addition, some herbivores interfere with the onset or completion of induced plant defences, resulting in the plant’s resistance being partly or fully suppressed. The ability to suppress induced plant defences appears to occur across plant parasites from different kingdoms, including herbivorous arthropods, and there is remarkable diversity in suppression mechanisms. Suppression may strongly affect the structure of the food web, because the ability to suppress the activation of defences of a communal host may facilitate competitors, whereas the ability of a herbivore to cope with activated plant defences will not. Further characterization of the mechanisms and traits that give rise to suppression of plant defences will enable us to determine their role in shaping direct and indirect interactions in food webs and the extent to which these determine the coexistence and persistence of species. PMID:26019168

  4. Learning in Insect Pollinators and Herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, Patricia L; Agrawal, Anurag A

    2017-01-31

    The relationship between plants and insects is influenced by insects' behavioral decisions during foraging and oviposition. In mutualistic pollinators and antagonistic herbivores, past experience (learning) affects such decisions, which ultimately can impact plant fitness. The higher levels of dietary generalism in pollinators than in herbivores may be an explanation for the differences in learning seen between these two groups. Generalist pollinators experience a high level of environmental variation, which we suggest favors associative learning. Larval herbivores employ habituation and sensitization-strategies useful in their less variable environments. Exceptions to these patterns based on habitats, mobility, and life history provide critical tests of current theory. Relevant plant traits should be under selection to be easily learned and remembered in pollinators and difficult to learn in herbivores. Insect learning thereby has the potential to have an important, yet largely unexplored, role in plant-insect coevolution.

  5. Fire-free land use in pre-1492 Amazonian savannas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iriarte, José; Power, Mitchell J; Rostain, Stéphen; Mayle, Francis E; Jones, Huw; Watling, Jennifer; Whitney, Bronwen S; McKey, Doyle B

    2012-04-24

    The nature and scale of pre-Columbian land use and the consequences of the 1492 "Columbian Encounter" (CE) on Amazonia are among the more debated topics in New World archaeology and paleoecology. However, pre-Columbian human impact in Amazonian savannas remains poorly understood. Most paleoecological studies have been conducted in neotropical forest contexts. Of studies done in Amazonian savannas, none has the temporal resolution needed to detect changes induced by either climate or humans before and after A.D. 1492, and only a few closely integrate paleoecological and archaeological data. We report a high-resolution 2,150-y paleoecological record from a French Guianan coastal savanna that forces reconsideration of how pre-Columbian savanna peoples practiced raised-field agriculture and how the CE impacted these societies and environments. Our combined pollen, phytolith, and charcoal analyses reveal unexpectedly low levels of biomass burning associated with pre-A.D. 1492 savanna raised-field agriculture and a sharp increase in fires following the arrival of Europeans. We show that pre-Columbian raised-field farmers limited burning to improve agricultural production, contrasting with extensive use of fire in pre-Columbian tropical forest and Central American savanna environments, as well as in present-day savannas. The charcoal record indicates that extensive fires in the seasonally flooded savannas of French Guiana are a post-Columbian phenomenon, postdating the collapse of indigenous populations. The discovery that pre-Columbian farmers practiced fire-free savanna management calls into question the widely held assumption that pre-Columbian Amazonian farmers pervasively used fire to manage and alter ecosystems and offers fresh perspectives on an emerging alternative approach to savanna land use and conservation that can help reduce carbon emissions.

  6. A continental analysis of correlations between tree patterns in African savannas and human and environmental variables

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Groen, T.A.; Langevelde, van F.; Vijver, van de C.A.D.M.; Raad, de A.L.; Leeuw, de J.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2011-01-01

    This study analyses possible relationships between natural processes taking place in savannas and the tree patterns found in savannas. This can lead to new hypotheses about which processes are driving savanna physiognomy. To do so tree patterns were quantified for African savannas from historical

  7. Modeling soil moisture memory in savanna ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gou, S.; Miller, G. R.

    2011-12-01

    Antecedent soil conditions create an ecosystem's "memory" of past rainfall events. Such soil moisture memory effects may be observed over a range of timescales, from daily to yearly, and lead to feedbacks between hydrological and ecosystem processes. In this study, we modeled the soil moisture memory effect on savanna ecosystems in California, Arizona, and Africa, using a system dynamics model created to simulate the ecohydrological processes at the plot-scale. The model was carefully calibrated using soil moisture and evapotranspiration data collected at three study sites. The model was then used to simulate scenarios with various initial soil moisture conditions and antecedent precipitation regimes, in order to study the soil moisture memory effects on the evapotranspiration of understory and overstory species. Based on the model results, soil texture and antecedent precipitation regime impact the redistribution of water within soil layers, potentially causing deeper soil layers to influence the ecosystem for a longer time. Of all the study areas modeled, soil moisture memory of California savanna ecosystem site is replenished and dries out most rapidly. Thus soil moisture memory could not maintain the high rate evapotranspiration for more than a few days without incoming rainfall event. On the contrary, soil moisture memory of Arizona savanna ecosystem site lasts the longest time. The plants with different root depths respond to different memory effects; shallow-rooted species mainly respond to the soil moisture memory in the shallow soil. The growing season of grass is largely depended on the soil moisture memory of the top 25cm soil layer. Grass transpiration is sensitive to the antecedent precipitation events within daily to weekly timescale. Deep-rooted plants have different responses since these species can access to the deeper soil moisture memory with longer time duration Soil moisture memory does not have obvious impacts on the phenology of woody plants

  8. Trophic Interactions during Primary Succession: Herbivores Slow a Plant Reinvasion at Mount St. Helens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fagan, William F; Bishop, John G

    2000-02-01

    Lupines (Lupinus lepidus var. lobbii), the earliest plant colonists of primary successional habitats at Mount St. Helens, were expected to strongly affect successional trajectories through facilitative effects. However, their effects remain localized because initially high rates of reinvasive spread were short lived, despite widespread habitat availability. We experimentally tested whether insect herbivores, by reducing plant growth and fecundity at the edge of the expanding lupine population, could curtail the rate of reinvasion and whether those herbivores had comparable impacts in the older, more successionally advanced core region. We found that removing insect herbivores increased both the areal growth of individual lupine plants and the production of new plants in the edge region, thereby accelerating the lupine's intrinsic rate of increase at the front of the lupine reinvasion. We found no such impacts of herbivory in the core region, where low plant quality or a complex of recently arrived natural enemies may hold herbivores in check. In the context of invasion theory, herbivore-mediated decreases in lupine population growth rate in the edge region translate into decreased rates of lupine spread, which we quantify here using diffusion models. In the Mount St. Helens system, decreased rate of lupine reinvasion will result in reductions in rates of soil formation, nitrogen input, and entrapment of seeds and detritus that are likely to postpone or alter trajectories of primary succession. If the type of spatial subtleties in herbivore effects we found here are common, with herbivory focused on the edge of an expanding plant population and suppressed or ineffective in the larger, denser central region (where the plants might be more readily noticed and studied), then insect herbivores may have stronger impacts on the dynamics of primary succession and plant invasions than previously recognized.

  9. Tritrophic Interactions Mediated by Herbivore-Induced Plant Volatiles: Mechanisms, Ecological Relevance, and Application Potential.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turlings, Ted C J; Erb, Matthias

    2018-01-07

    Tritrophic interactions between plants, herbivores, and their natural enemies are an integral part of all terrestrial ecosystems. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) play a key role in these interactions, as they can attract predators and parasitoids to herbivore-attacked plants. Thirty years after this discovery, the ecological importance of the phenomena is widely recognized. However, the primary function of HIPVs is still subject to much debate, as is the possibility of using these plant-produced cues in crop protection. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on the role of HIPVs in tritrophic interactions from an ecological as well as a mechanistic perspective. This overview focuses on the main gaps in our knowledge of tritrophic interactions, and we argue that filling these gaps will greatly facilitate efforts to exploit HIPVs for pest control.

  10. Contrasting effects of land use intensity and exotic host plants on the specialization of interactions in plant-herbivore networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Araújo, Walter Santos; Vieira, Marcos Costa; Lewinsohn, Thomas M; Almeida-Neto, Mário

    2015-01-01

    Human land use tends to decrease the diversity of native plant species and facilitate the invasion and establishment of exotic ones. Such changes in land use and plant community composition usually have negative impacts on the assemblages of native herbivorous insects. Highly specialized herbivores are expected to be especially sensitive to land use intensification and the presence of exotic plant species because they are neither capable of consuming alternative plant species of the native flora nor exotic plant species. Therefore, higher levels of land use intensity might reduce the proportion of highly specialized herbivores, which ultimately would lead to changes in the specialization of interactions in plant-herbivore networks. This study investigates the community-wide effects of land use intensity on the degree of specialization of 72 plant-herbivore networks, including effects mediated by the increase in the proportion of exotic plant species. Contrary to our expectation, the net effect of land use intensity on network specialization was positive. However, this positive effect of land use intensity was partially canceled by an opposite effect of the proportion of exotic plant species on network specialization. When we analyzed networks composed exclusively of endophagous herbivores separately from those composed exclusively of exophagous herbivores, we found that only endophages showed a consistent change in network specialization at higher land use levels. Altogether, these results indicate that land use intensity is an important ecological driver of network specialization, by way of reducing the local host range of herbivore guilds with highly specialized feeding habits. However, because the effect of land use intensity is offset by an opposite effect owing to the proportion of exotic host species, the net effect of land use in a given herbivore assemblage will likely depend on the extent of the replacement of native host species with exotic ones.

  11. Challenges and opportunities in land surface modelling of savanna ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Whitley

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available The savanna complex is a highly diverse global biome that occurs within the seasonally dry tropical to sub-tropical equatorial latitudes and are structurally and functionally distinct from grasslands and forests. Savannas are open-canopy environments that encompass a broad demographic continuum, often characterised by a changing dominance between C3-tree and C4-grass vegetation, where frequent environmental disturbances such as fire modulates the balance between ephemeral and perennial life forms. Climate change is projected to result in significant changes to the savanna floristic structure, with increases to woody biomass expected through CO2 fertilisation in mesic savannas and increased tree mortality expected through increased rainfall interannual variability in xeric savannas. The complex interaction between vegetation and climate that occurs in savannas has traditionally challenged terrestrial biosphere models (TBMs, which aim to simulate the interaction between the atmosphere and the land surface to predict responses of vegetation to changing in environmental forcing. In this review, we examine whether TBMs are able to adequately represent savanna fluxes and what implications potential deficiencies may have for climate change projection scenarios that rely on these models. We start by highlighting the defining characteristic traits and behaviours of savannas, how these differ across continents and how this information is (or is not represented in the structural framework of many TBMs. We highlight three dynamic processes that we believe directly affect the water use and productivity of the savanna system: phenology, root-water access and fire dynamics. Following this, we discuss how these processes are represented in many current-generation TBMs and whether they are suitable for simulating savanna fluxes.Finally, we give an overview of how eddy-covariance observations in combination with other data sources can be used in model

  12. Description of the savanna ecosystem project, Nylsvley, South Africa

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    CSIR National Scientific Programmes Unit, CSIR

    1975-12-01

    Full Text Available practices. These savannas stretch in a broad belt across southern Africa and have been greatly affected by increasing exploitation during the past hundred years. Increases in useful productivity have been accompanied by such problems as bush encroachment...

  13. African savanna-forest boundary dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cuni Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J. T.; Calders, Kim

    2016-01-01

    -term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4...... substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst...... the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multidecadal monitoring...

  14. Environmental RNAi in herbivorous insects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ivashuta, Sergey; Zhang, Yuanji; Wiggins, B Elizabeth; Ramaseshadri, Partha; Segers, Gerrit C; Johnson, Steven; Meyer, Steve E; Kerstetter, Randy A; McNulty, Brian C; Bolognesi, Renata; Heck, Gregory R

    2015-05-01

    Environmental RNAi (eRNAi) is a sequence-specific regulation of endogenous gene expression in a receptive organism by exogenous double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Although demonstrated under artificial dietary conditions and via transgenic plant presentations in several herbivorous insects, the magnitude and consequence of exogenous dsRNA uptake and the role of eRNAi remains unknown under natural insect living conditions. Our analysis of coleopteran insects sensitive to eRNAi fed on wild-type plants revealed uptake of plant endogenous long dsRNAs, but not small RNAs. Subsequently, the dsRNAs were processed into 21 nt siRNAs by insects and accumulated in high quantities in insect cells. No accumulation of host plant-derived siRNAs was observed in lepidopteran larvae that are recalcitrant to eRNAi. Stability of ingested dsRNA in coleopteran larval gut followed by uptake and transport from the gut to distal tissues appeared to be enabling factors for eRNAi. Although a relatively large number of distinct coleopteran insect-processed plant-derived siRNAs had sequence complementarity to insect transcripts, the vast majority of the siRNAs were present in relatively low abundance, and RNA-seq analysis did not detect a significant effect of plant-derived siRNAs on insect transcriptome. In summary, we observed a broad genome-wide uptake of plant endogenous dsRNA and subsequent processing of ingested dsRNA into 21 nt siRNAs in eRNAi-sensitive insects under natural feeding conditions. In addition to dsRNA stability in gut lumen and uptake, dosage of siRNAs targeting a given insect transcript is likely an important factor in order to achieve measurable eRNAi-based regulation in eRNAi-competent insects that lack an apparent silencing amplification mechanism. © 2015 Ivashuta et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press for the RNA Society.

  15. Predators induce interspecific herbivore competition for food in refuge space

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pallini, A.; Janssen, A.; Sabelis, M.W.

    1998-01-01

    Resource competition among herbivorous arthropods has long been viewed as unimportant because herbivore populations are controlled by predators. Although recently resurrected as an organizing force in arthropod communities on plants, there is still general agreement that resource competition among

  16. The biodiversity cost of carbon sequestration in tropical savanna

    OpenAIRE

    Abreu, Rodolfo C. R.; Hoffmann, William A.; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L.; Pilon, Natashi A.; Rossatto, Davi R.; Durigan, Giselda

    2017-01-01

    Tropical savannas have been increasingly viewed as an opportunity for carbon sequestration through fire suppression and afforestation, but insufficient attention has been given to the consequences for biodiversity. To evaluate the biodiversity costs of increasing carbon sequestration, we quantified changes in ecosystem carbon stocks and the associated changes in communities of plants and ants resulting from fire suppression in savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado, a global biodiversity hotspot. ...

  17. Characteristics of African Savanna Biomes for Determining Woody Cover

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — ABSTRACT: This data set includes the soil and vegetation characteristics, herbivore estimates, and precipitation measurement data for the 854 sites described and...

  18. Mammalian herbivores confer resilience of Arctic shrub-dominated ecosystems to changing climate.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaarlejärvi, Elina; Hoset, Katrine S; Olofsson, Johan

    2015-09-01

    Climate change is resulting in a rapid expansion of shrubs in the Arctic. This expansion has been shown to be reinforced by positive feedbacks, and it could thus set the ecosystem on a trajectory toward an alternate, more productive regime. Herbivores, on the other hand, are known to counteract the effects of simultaneous climate warming on shrub biomass. However, little is known about the impact of herbivores on resilience of these ecosystems, that is, the capacity of a system to absorb disturbance and still remain in the same regime, retaining the same function, structure, and feedbacks. Here, we investigated how herbivores affect resilience of shrub-dominated systems to warming by studying the change of shrub biomass after a cessation of long-term experimental warming in a forest-tundra ecotone. As predicted, warming increased the biomass of shrubs, and in the absence of herbivores, shrub biomass in tundra continued to increase 4 years after cessation of the artificial warming, indicating that positive effects of warming on plant growth may persist even over a subsequent colder period. Herbivores contributed to the resilience of these systems by returning them back to the original low-biomass regime in both forest and tundra habitats. These results support the prediction that higher shrub biomass triggers positive feedbacks on soil processes and microclimate, which enable maintaining the rapid shrub growth even in colder climates. Furthermore, the results show that in our system, herbivores facilitate the resilience of shrub-dominated ecosystems to climate warming. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Predators induce interspecific herbivore competition for food in refuge space

    OpenAIRE

    Pallini, A.; Janssen, A.; Sabelis, M.W.

    1998-01-01

    Resource competition among herbivorous arthropods has long been viewed as unimportant because herbivore populations are controlled by predators. Although recently resurrected as an organizing force in arthropod communities on plants, there is still general agreement that resource competition among herbivores is reduced by predators. Here we show the reverse: predators induce interspecific resource competi-tion among herbivores. We found that thrips larvae (Frankliniella occidentalis) use the ...

  20. The role of herbivore- and plant-related experiences in intraspecific host preference of a relatively specialized parasitoid.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morawo, Tolulope; Fadamiro, Henry

    2017-09-06

    Parasitoids use odor cues from infested plants and herbivore hosts to locate their hosts. Specialist parasitoids of generalist herbivores are predicted to rely more on herbivore-derived cues than plant-derived cues. Microplitis croceipes (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a relatively specialized larval endoparasitoid of Heliothis virescens (F.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), which is a generalist herbivore on several crops including cotton and soybean. Using M. croceipes/H. virescens as a model system, we tested the following predictions about specialist parasitoids of generalist herbivores: (i) naive parasitoids will show innate responses to herbivore-emitted kairomones, regardless of host plant identity and (ii) herbivore-related experience will have a greater influence on intraspecific oviposition preference than plant-related experience. Inexperienced (naive) female M. croceipes did not discriminate between cotton-fed and soybean-fed H. virescens in oviposition choice tests, supporting our first prediction. Oviposition experience alone with either host group influenced subsequent oviposition preference while experience with infested plants alone did not elicit preference in M. croceipes, supporting our second prediction. Furthermore, associative learning of oviposition with host-damaged plants facilitated host location. Interestingly, naive parasitoids attacked more soybean-fed than cotton-fed host larvae in two-choice tests when a background of host-infested cotton odor was supplied, and vice versa. This suggests that plant volatiles may have created an olfactory contrast effect. We discussed ecological significance of the results and concluded that both plant- and herbivore-related experiences play important role in parasitoid host foraging. © 2017 Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

  1. Global grass (Poaceae) success underpinned by traits facilitating colonization, persistence and habitat transformation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linder, H P; Lehmann, Caroline E R; Archibald, Sally; Osborne, Colin P; Richardson, David M

    2018-05-01

    , fostering high biomass and diversity of mammalian herbivores. Many grasses have a suite of architectural and functional traits that facilitate frequent fire, including a tufted growth form, and tannin-like substances in leaves which slow decomposition. We mapped these traits over the phylogeny of the Poales, spanning the grasses and their relatives, and demonstrated the accumulation of traits since monocots originated in the mid-Cretaceous. Although the sympodial growth form is a monocot trait, tillering resulting in the tufted growth form most likely evolved within the grasses. Similarly, although an ovary apparently constructed of a single carpel evolved in the most recent grass ancestor, spikelets and the awned lemma dispersal units evolved within the grasses. Frost tolerance and C 4 photosynthesis evolved relatively late (late Palaeogene), and the last significant trait to evolve was probably the production of tannins, associated with pyrophytic savannas. This fits palaeobotanical data, suggesting several phases in the grass success story: from a late Cretaceous origin, to occasional tropical grassland patches in the later Palaeogene, to extensive C 3 grassy woodlands in the early-middle Miocene, to the dramatic expansion of the tropical C 4 grass savannas and grasslands in the Pliocene, and the C 3 steppe grasslands during the Pleistocene glacial periods. Modern grasslands depend heavily on strongly seasonal climates, making them sensitive to climate change. © 2017 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  2. Evaluating herbivore extinction probabilities in Addo Elephant ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Abstract. Population extinction evaluations, based on the model developed by Dennis et al. (1991) that did not take density dependence into account and that were based on census data, suggest that many of the herbivore species in Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) are vulnerable to local extinction. As a result of low ...

  3. Natal Host Plants Can Alter Herbivore Competition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pan, Huipeng; Preisser, Evan L; Su, Qi; Jiao, Xiaoguo; Xie, Wen; Wang, Shaoli; Wu, Qingjun; Zhang, Youjun

    2016-01-01

    Interspecific competition between herbivores is widely recognized as an important determinant of community structure. Although researchers have identified a number of factors capable of altering competitive interactions, few studies have addressed the influence of neighboring plant species. If adaptation to/ epigenetic effects of an herbivore's natal host plant alter its performance on other host plants, then interspecific herbivore interactions may play out differently in heterogeneous and homogenous plant communities. We tested wether the natal host plant of a whitefly population affected interactions between the Middle-east Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED) cryptic species of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci by rearing the offspring of a cabbage-derived MEAM1 population and a poinsettia-derived MED population together on three different host plants: cotton, poinsettia, and cabbage. We found that MED dominated on poinsettia and that MEAM1 dominated on cabbage, results consistent with previous research. MED also dominated when reared with MEAM1 on cotton, however, a result at odds with multiple otherwise-similar studies that reared both species on the same natal plant. Our work provides evidence that natal plants affect competitive interactions on another plant species, and highlights the potential importance of neighboring plant species on herbivore community composition in agricultral systems.

  4. Assessing the consequences of global change for forest disturbance from herbivores and pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ayres, M P; Lombardero, M J

    2000-11-15

    Herbivores and pathogens impact the species composition, ecosystem function, and socioeconomic value of forests. Herbivores and pathogens are an integral part of forests, but sometimes produce undesirable effects and a degradation of forest resources. In the United States, a few species of forest pests routinely have significant impacts on up to 20 million ha of forest with economic costs that probably exceed $1 billion/year. Climatic change could alter patterns of disturbance from herbivores and pathogens through: (1) direct effects on the development and survival of herbivores and pathogens; (2) physiological changes in tree defenses; and (3) indirect effects from changes in the abundance of natural enemies (e.g. parasitoids of insect herbivores), mutualists (e.g. insect vectors of tree pathogens), and competitors. Because of their short life cycles, mobility, reproductive potential, and physiological sensitivity to temperature, even modest climate change will have rapid impacts on the distribution and abundance of many forest insects and pathogens. We identify 32 syndromes of biotic disturbance in North American forests that should be carefully evaluated for their responses to climate change: 15 insect herbivores, browsing mammals; 12 pathogens; 1 plant parasite; and 3 undiagnosed patterns of forest decline. It is probable that climatic effects on some herbivores and pathogens will impact on biodiversity, recreation, property value, forest industry, and even water quality. Some scenarios are beneficial (e.g. decreased snow cover may increase winter mortality of some insect pests), but many are detrimental (e.g. warming tends to accelerate insect development rate and facilitate range expansions of pests and climate change tends to produce a mismatch between mature trees and their environment, which can increase vulnerability to herbivores and pathogens). Changes in forest disturbance can produce feedback to climate through affects on water and carbon flux in

  5. Herbivores shape woody plant communities in the Kruger National Park: Lessons from three long-term exclosures

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Benjamin J. Wigley

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The role of grazers in determining vegetation community compositions and structuring plant communities is well recognised in grassy systems. The role of browsers in affecting savanna woody plant communities is less clear. We used three long-term exclosures in the Kruger National Park to determine the effect of browsers on species compositions and population structures of woody communities. Species assemblages, plant traits relating to browsing and soil nutrients were compared inside and outside of the exclosures. Our results showed that browsers directly impact plant species distributions, densities and population structures by actively selecting for species with traits which make them desirable to browsers. Species with high leaf nitrogen, low total phenolic content and low acid detergent lignin appeared to be favoured by herbivores and therefore tend to be rare outside of the exclosures. This study also suggested that browsers have important indirect effects on savanna functioning, as the reduction of woody cover can result in less litter of lower quality, which in turn can result in lower soil fertility. However, the magnitude of browser effects appeared to depend on inherent soil fertility and climate. Conservation implications: Browsers were shown to have significant impacts on plant communities. They have noticeable effects on local species diversity and population structure, as well as soil nutrients. These impacts are shown to be related to the underlying geology and climate. The effects of browsers on woody communities were shown to be greater in low rainfall, fertile areas compared to high rainfall, infertile soils.

  6. The development of savanna afforestation in northern Nigeria

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kadeba, O. (Forestry Research Institute, Ibadan (Nigeria))

    1978-06-01

    The savanna woodland which covers over 80% of the land area of Nigeria is not capable of meeting the requirements of its population for wood and wood products. Since its inception in 1964, the Savanna Forestry Research Project has been concerned mainly with the problems of wood production in this region. The major constraints to tree planting, which include seasonal deficiencies of soil and atmospheric moisture, low levels of soil fertility, selection of suitable exotic tree species and competition in the early stages of tree growth with grasses, have been identified. References are made to some of the major problems that have been solved and those that are being tackled. Some species of exotic trees have proven adaptive to the savanna conditions and are known to be superior to the native savanna trees in terms of growth rates, yields and utility values. The exotic trees which can grown well in the different savanna climatic zones include several species of Eucalyptus and Pinus in addition to teak (Tectona grandis), Gmelina arborea, and neem (Azadirachta indica).

  7. The biodiversity cost of carbon sequestration in tropical savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Abreu, Rodolfo C R; Hoffmann, William A; Vasconcelos, Heraldo L; Pilon, Natashi A; Rossatto, Davi R; Durigan, Giselda

    2017-08-01

    Tropical savannas have been increasingly viewed as an opportunity for carbon sequestration through fire suppression and afforestation, but insufficient attention has been given to the consequences for biodiversity. To evaluate the biodiversity costs of increasing carbon sequestration, we quantified changes in ecosystem carbon stocks and the associated changes in communities of plants and ants resulting from fire suppression in savannas of the Brazilian Cerrado, a global biodiversity hotspot. Fire suppression resulted in increased carbon stocks of 1.2 Mg ha -1 year -1 since 1986 but was associated with acute species loss. In sites fully encroached by forest, plant species richness declined by 27%, and ant richness declined by 35%. Richness of savanna specialists, the species most at risk of local extinction due to forest encroachment, declined by 67% for plants and 86% for ants. This loss highlights the important role of fire in maintaining biodiversity in tropical savannas, a role that is not reflected in current policies of fire suppression throughout the Brazilian Cerrado. In tropical grasslands and savannas throughout the tropics, carbon mitigation programs that promote forest cover cannot be assumed to provide net benefits for conservation.

  8. Geographic mosaic of plant evolution: extrafloral nectary variation mediated by ant and herbivore assemblages.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anselmo Nogueira

    Full Text Available Herbivory is an ecological process that is known to generate different patterns of selection on defensive plant traits across populations. Studies on this topic could greatly benefit from the general framework of the Geographic Mosaic Theory of Coevolution (GMT. Here, we hypothesize that herbivory represents a strong pressure for extrafloral nectary (EFN bearing plants, with differences in herbivore and ant visitor assemblages leading to different evolutionary pressures among localities and ultimately to differences in EFN abundance and function. In this study, we investigate this hypothesis by analyzing 10 populations of Anemopaegma album (30 individuals per population distributed through ca. 600 km of Neotropical savanna and covering most of the geographic range of this plant species. A common garden experiment revealed a phenotypic differentiation in EFN abundance, in which field and experimental plants showed a similar pattern of EFN variation among populations. We also did not find significant correlations between EFN traits and ant abundance, herbivory and plant performance across localities. Instead, a more complex pattern of ant-EFN variation, a geographic mosaic, emerged throughout the geographical range of A. album. We modeled the functional relationship between EFNs and ant traits across ant species and extended this phenotypic interface to characterize local situations of phenotypic matching and mismatching at the population level. Two distinct types of phenotypic matching emerged throughout populations: (1 a population with smaller ants (Crematogaster crinosa matched with low abundance of EFNs; and (2 seven populations with bigger ants (Camponotus species matched with higher EFN abundances. Three matched populations showed the highest plant performance and narrower variance of EFN abundance, representing potential plant evolutionary hotspots. Cases of mismatched and matched populations with the lowest performance were associated

  9. DUST-BATHING BEHAVIORS OF AFRICAN HERBIVORES AND THE POTENTIAL RISK OF INHALATIONAL ANTHRAX.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barandongo, Zoe R; Mfune, John K E; Turner, Wendy C

    2018-01-01

    :  Anthrax in herbivorous wildlife and livestock is generally assumed to be transmitted via ingestion or inhalation of Bacillus anthracis spores. Although recent studies have highlighted the importance of the ingestion route for anthrax transmission, little is known about the inhalational route in natural systems. Dust bathing could aerosolize soilborne pathogens such as B. anthracis, exposing dust-bathing individuals to inhalational infections. We investigated the potential role of dust bathing in the transmission of inhalational anthrax to herbivorous wildlife in Etosha National Park, Namibia, an area with endemic seasonal anthrax outbreaks. We 1) cultured soils from dust-bathing sites for the presence and concentration of B. anthracis spores, 2) monitored anthrax carcass sites, the locations with the highest B. anthracis concentrations, for evidence of dust bathing, including a site where a zebra died of anthrax on a large dust bath, and 3) characterized the ecology and seasonality of dust bathing in plains zebra ( Equus quagga), blue wildebeest ( Connochaetes taurinus), and African savanna elephant ( Loxodonta africana) using a combination of motion-sensing camera traps and direct observations. Only two out of 83 dust-bath soils were positive for B. anthracis, both with low spore concentrations (≤20 colony-forming units per gram). We also detected no evidence of dust baths occurring at anthrax carcass sites, perhaps due to carcass-induced changes in soil composition that may deter dust bathing. Finally, despite observing some seasonal variation in dust bathing, preliminary evidence suggests that the seasonality of dust bathing and anthrax mortalities are not correlated. Thus, although dust bathing creates a dramatic cloud of aerosolized soil around an individual, our microbiologic, ecologic, and behavioral results in concert demonstrate that dust bathing is highly unlikely to transmit inhalational anthrax infections.

  10. Preferential production and transport of grass-derived pyrogenic carbon in NE-Australian savanna ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saiz, Gustavo; Goodrick, Iain; Wurster, Christopher; Nelson, Paul N.; Wynn, Jonathan; Bird, Michael

    2017-12-01

    Understanding the main factors driving fire regimes in grasslands and savannas is critical to better manage their biodiversity and functions. Moreover, improving our knowledge on pyrogenic carbon (PyC) dynamics, including formation, transport and deposition, is fundamental to better understand a significant slow-cycling component of the global carbon cycle, particularly as these ecosystems account for a substantial proportion of the area globally burnt. However, a thorough assessment of past fire regimes in grass-dominated ecosystems is problematic due to challenges in interpreting the charcoal record of sediments. It is therefore critical to adopt appropriate sampling and analytical methods to allow the acquisition of reliable data and information on savanna fire dynamics. This study uses hydrogen pyrolysis (HyPy) to quantify PyC abundance and stable isotope composition (δ13C) in recent sediments across 38 micro-catchments covering a wide range of mixed C3/C4 vegetation in north Queensland, Australia. We exploited the contrasting δ13C values of grasses (i.e. C4; δ13C >-15‰) and woody vegetation (i.e. C3; δ13C <-24‰) to assess the preferential production and transport of grass-derived PyC in savanna ecosystems. Analyses were conducted on bulk and size-fractionated samples to determine the fractions into which PyC preferentially accumulates. Our data show that the δ13C value of PyC in the sediments is decoupled from the δ13C value of total organic carbon, which suggests that a significant component of PyC may be derived from incomplete grass combustion, even when the proportion of C4 grass biomass in the catchment was relatively small. Furthermore, we conducted 16 experimental burns that indicate that there is a comminution of PyC produced in-situ to smaller particles, which facilitates the transport of this material, potentially affecting its preservation potential. Savanna fires preferentially burn the grass understory rather than large trees, leading to

  11. Monitoring the Distribution and Dynamics of an Invasive Grass in Tropical Savanna Using Airborne LiDAR

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Shaun R. Levick

    2015-04-01

    Full Text Available The spread of an alien invasive grass (gamba grass—Andropogon gayanus in the tropical savannas of Northern Australia is a major threat to habitat quality and biodiversity in the region, primarily through its influence on fire intensity. Effective control and eradication of this invader requires better insight into its spatial distribution and rate of spread to inform management actions. We used full-waveform airborne LiDAR to map areas of known A. gayanus invasion in the Batchelor region of the Northern Territory, Australia. Our stratified sampling campaign included wooded savanna areas with differing degrees of A. gayanus invasion and adjacent areas of native grass and woody tree mixtures. We used height and spatial contiguity based metrics to classify returns from A. gayanus and developed spatial representations of A. gayanus occurrence (1 m resolution and canopy cover (10 m resolution. The cover classification proved robust against two independent field-based investigations at 500 m2 (R2 = 0.87, RMSE = 12.53 and 100 m2 (R2 = 0.79, RMSE = 14.13 scale. Our mapping results provide a solid benchmark for evaluating the rate and pattern of A. gayanus spread from future LiDAR campaigns. In addition, this high-resolution mapping can be used to inform satellite image analysis for the evaluation of A. gayanus invasion over broader regional scales. Our research highlights the huge potential that airborne LiDAR holds for facilitating the monitoring and management of savanna habitat condition.

  12. Preferential Production and Transport of Grass-Derived Pyrogenic Carbon in NE-Australian Savanna Ecosystems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gustavo Saiz

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Understanding the main factors driving fire regimes in grasslands and savannas is critical to better manage their biodiversity and functions. Moreover, improving our knowledge on pyrogenic carbon (PyC dynamics, including formation, transport and deposition, is fundamental to better understand a significant slow-cycling component of the global carbon cycle, particularly as these ecosystems account for a substantial proportion of the area globally burnt. However, a thorough assessment of past fire regimes in grass-dominated ecosystems is problematic due to challenges in interpreting the charcoal record of sediments. It is therefore critical to adopt appropriate sampling and analytical methods to allow the acquisition of reliable data and information on savanna fire dynamics. This study uses hydrogen pyrolysis (HyPy to quantify PyC abundance and stable isotope composition (δ13C in recent sediments across 38 micro-catchments covering a wide range of mixed C3/C4 vegetation in north Queensland, Australia. We exploited the contrasting δ13C values of grasses (i.e., C4; δ13C > −15‰ and woody vegetation (i.e., C3; δ13C < −24‰ to assess the preferential production and transport of grass-derived PyC in savanna ecosystems. Analyses were conducted on bulk and size-fractionated samples to determine the fractions into which PyC preferentially accumulates. Our data show that the δ13C value of PyC in the sediments is decoupled from the δ13C value of total organic carbon, which suggests that a significant component of PyC may be derived from incomplete grass combustion, even when the proportion of C4 grass biomass in the catchment was relatively small. Furthermore, we conducted 16 experimental burns that indicate that there is a comminution of PyC produced in-situ to smaller particles, which facilitates the transport of this material, potentially affecting its preservation potential. Savanna fires preferentially burn the grass understory rather than

  13. Interactions between large herbivores and litter removal by termites across a rainfall gradient in a South African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Buitenwerf, Robert; Stevens, Nicola; Gosling, Cleo M.; Anderson, T. Michael; Olff, Han

    Litter-feeding termites influence key aspects of the structure and functioning of semi-arid ecosystems around the world by altering nutrient and material fluxes, affecting primary production, foodweb dynamics and modifying vegetation composition. Understanding these complex effects depends on

  14. Interactions between large herbivores and litter removal by termites across a rainfall gradient in a South African savanna

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Buitenwerf, R

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available per plot) was measured in Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park (HiP) South Africa. These data were used to quantify variation in litter removal at two spatial scales: the local scale (within 450-m2 plots) and the landscape scale (among sites separated by 8–25 km...

  15. Soil physical conditions in Nigerian savannas and biomass production

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Salako, F.K.

    2004-01-01

    Nigeria is located in the tropical zone, with a vast area having savanna vegetation. This is a region that is itself diverse, necessitating a classification into derived savanna, southern Guinea savanna and northern Guinea savanna. These classifications reflect environmental characteristics such as length of growing period, which for instance is 151-180 days for the northern Guinea savanna, 181-210 days for the southern Guinea savanna and 211-270 days for the derived savanna/coastal savanna. The major soils found in the various agro-ecological zones have coarse-textured surface soil, and are low in organic matter and chemical fertility. Although, yields can be improved by addition of inorganic and organic fertilizer, this can only be sustained and assured with high soil physical qualities. Soil physical qualities can be sustained at a high level with conservation tillage and soil conservation measures. Tillage is physical manipulation of the soil. Thus, the most profound effect of tillage is in relation to soil physical properties. For socio-economic and cultural reasons, manual tillage is still widely practiced in Africa as farming is largely at subsistence level. However, there are now a number of commercial farms especially for cash crop production in many parts of Africa. Many of these are located in locations which were hitherto reserved as forest and a need for sustainable production in pertinent to maintain ecological balance. Soils with coarse texture are not often sensitive to some physical parameters while some physical parameters are more relevant in a given study than others. Sustainable crop production researches in the tropics have focused on the role of planted fallows and their spatial arrangement (e.g., as in alley cropping) for many decades. Application of soil physics in the area of food production and environmental management still lags behind other sub-disciplines of soil science, particularly soil fertility in the tropics. A great challenge is

  16. Characteristics of African Savanna Biomes for Determining Woody Cover

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This data set includes the soil and vegetation characteristics, herbivore estimates, and precipitation measurement data for the 854 sites described and analyzed in...

  17. Influence of Fire Mosaics, Habitat Characteristics and Cattle Disturbance on Mammals in Fire-Prone Savanna Landscapes of the Northern Kimberley.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radford, Ian J; Gibson, Lesley A; Corey, Ben; Carnes, Karin; Fairman, Richard

    2015-01-01

    Patch mosaic burning, in which fire is used to produce a mosaic of habitat patches representative of a range of fire histories ('pyrodiversity'), has been widely advocated to promote greater biodiversity. However, the details of desired fire mosaics for prescribed burning programs are often unspecified. Threatened small to medium-sized mammals (35 g to 5.5 kg) in the fire-prone tropical savannas of Australia appear to be particularly fire-sensitive. Consequently, a clear understanding of which properties of fire mosaics are most instrumental in influencing savanna mammal populations is critical. Here we use mammal capture data, remotely sensed fire information (i.e. time since last fire, fire frequency, frequency of late dry season fires, diversity of post-fire ages in 3 km radius, and spatial extent of recently burnt, intermediate and long unburnt habitat) and structural habitat attributes (including an index of cattle disturbance) to examine which characteristics of fire mosaics most influence mammals in the north-west Kimberley. We used general linear models to examine the relationship between fire mosaic and habitat attributes on total mammal abundance and richness, and the abundance of the most commonly detected species. Strong negative associations of mammal abundance and richness with frequency of late dry season fires, the spatial extent of recently burnt habitat (post-fire age fire age classes in the models. Our results indicate that both a high frequency of intense late dry season fires and extensive, recently burnt vegetation are likely to be detrimental to mammals in the north Kimberley. A managed fire mosaic that reduces large scale and intense fires, including the retention of ≥4 years unburnt patches, will clearly benefit savanna mammals. We also highlighted the importance of fire mosaics that retain sufficient shelter for mammals. Along with fire, it is clear that grazing by introduced herbivores also needs to be reduced so that habitat quality is

  18. The Influence of Cattle Wastes on Degraded Savanna Soils of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    This paper examines the effects of cattle wastes on degraded savanna soils of Kwara State, Nigeria. A total of 40 soil samples were systematically collected from five quadrats of 12m x 12m. In 4 identified cattle sheds and 1 in adjacent fallow land (control field) on the same soil, climatic type and ecological zone. Standard ...

  19. Modelling annual evapotranspiration in a semi-arid, African savanna ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Accurately measuring evapotranspiration (ET) is essential if we are to derive reasonable estimates of production and water use for semi-arid savannas. Estimates of ET are also important in defining the health of an ecosystem and the quantity of water used by the vegetation when preparing a catchment-scale water balance.

  20. Transformation of a savanna grassland by drought and grazing | O ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The relative effects of drought and heavy grazing on the floristic composition, population size and and structure, and basal cover of an African savanna grassland were differentiated by comparing changes over eight years over eight years, which included a severe drought year, across a gradient of grazing history. Drought ...

  1. Restoring a disappearing ecosystem: the Longleaf Pine Savanna.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Harrington, Timothy B. [USFS; Miller, Karl V. [University of Georgia; Park, Noreen

    2013-05-01

    Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savannas of the southeastern United States contain some of the worlds most diverse plant communities, along with a unique complement of wildlife. Their traditionally open canopy structure and rich understory of grasses and herbs were critical to their vigor. However, a long history of land-use practices such as logging, farming, and fire exclusion have reduced this once-widespread ecosystem to only 3 percent of its original range. At six longleaf pine plantations in South Carolina, Tim Harrington with the Pacific Northwest Research Station and collaborators with the Southern Research Station used various treatments (including prescribed burns, tree thinning, and herbicide applications) to alter the forest structure and tracked how successful each one was in advancing savanna restoration over a 14-year period. They found that typical planting densities for wood production in plantations create dense understory shade that excludes many native herbaceous species important to savannas and associated wildlife. The scientists found that although tree thinning alone did not result in sustained gains, a combination of controlled burning, thinning, and herbicide treatments to reduce woody plants was an effective strategy for recovering the savanna ecosystem. The scientists also found that these efforts must be repeated periodically for enduring benefits.

  2. Nitrogen inputs by precipitation in the Nigerian Savanna | Adeniyi ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Inorganic nitrogen input via direct bulk precipitation was measured, and the relation between the different nitrogen species and rainfall characteristics determined over three rainy seasons at Shagunu, a remote, sparsely populated, non-industrialized site in the northern Guinea savanna of Nigeria. Nitrogen concentration per ...

  3. Savanna ecosystem project: phase I summary and phase II progress

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Huntely, BJ

    1978-07-01

    Full Text Available A summary of the results of the first phase (mid 1974 to mid 1976) of the South African Savanna Ecosystem Project being undertaken at Nylsvley in the northern Transvaal is presented. Phase I of this ten year study of the structure and functioning...

  4. Termites of the Savanna ecosystem project study area, Nylsvley

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Ferrar, P

    1982-09-01

    Full Text Available This report describes the termite fauna of the Savanna Ecosystem Project study area at the Nylsvley Nature Reserve, with an illustrated key for identification of species. Twenty-one species of fifteen genera and two families are recorded, and notes...

  5. Erratum: Vascular epiphyte vegetation in rocky savannas of southeastern Brazil

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Alves, R. J. V.; Kolbek, Jiří; Becker, J.

    2009-01-01

    Roč. 27, č. 4 (2009), s. 351-352 ISSN 0107-055X Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : epiphytes * Brazil * rocky savannas Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 0.868, year: 2009

  6. Feeding height stratification among the herbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Herbivore coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has been a topic of great interest, stemming from the paradoxically high diversity and biomass of these animals in relation to the relatively small landmass available to them. Various hypotheses have been advanced to account for these facts, of which niche partitioning is among the most frequently invoked. However, despite its wide acceptance, this hypothesis has not been rigorously tested. This study uses the fossil assemblage from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta as a model to investigate whether niche partitioning facilitated herbivorous dinosaur coexistence on Laramidia. Specifically, the question of feeding height stratification is examined in light of the role it plays in facilitating modern ungulate coexistence. Results Most herbivorous dinosaur species from the Dinosaur Park Formation were restricted to feeding no higher than approximately 1 m above the ground. There is minimal evidence for feeding height partitioning at this level, with ceratopsids capable of feeding slightly higher than ankylosaurs, but the ecological significance of this is ambiguous. Hadrosaurids were uniquely capable of feeding up to 2 m quadrupedally, or up to 5 m bipedally. There is no evidence for either feeding height stratification within any of these clades, or for change in these ecological relationships through the approximately 1.5 Ma record of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Conclusions Although we cannot reject the possibility, we find no good evidence that feeding height stratification, as revealed by reconstructed maximum feeding heights, played an important role in facilitating niche partitioning among the herbivorous dinosaurs of Laramidia. Most browsing pressure was concentrated in the herb layer, although hadrosaurids were capable of reaching shrubs and low-growing trees that were out of reach from ceratopsids, ankylosaurs, and other small herbivores, effectively dividing the

  7. Feeding height stratification among the herbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mallon, Jordan C; Evans, David C; Ryan, Michael J; Anderson, Jason S

    2013-04-04

    Herbivore coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has been a topic of great interest, stemming from the paradoxically high diversity and biomass of these animals in relation to the relatively small landmass available to them. Various hypotheses have been advanced to account for these facts, of which niche partitioning is among the most frequently invoked. However, despite its wide acceptance, this hypothesis has not been rigorously tested. This study uses the fossil assemblage from the Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta as a model to investigate whether niche partitioning facilitated herbivorous dinosaur coexistence on Laramidia. Specifically, the question of feeding height stratification is examined in light of the role it plays in facilitating modern ungulate coexistence. Most herbivorous dinosaur species from the Dinosaur Park Formation were restricted to feeding no higher than approximately 1 m above the ground. There is minimal evidence for feeding height partitioning at this level, with ceratopsids capable of feeding slightly higher than ankylosaurs, but the ecological significance of this is ambiguous. Hadrosaurids were uniquely capable of feeding up to 2 m quadrupedally, or up to 5 m bipedally. There is no evidence for either feeding height stratification within any of these clades, or for change in these ecological relationships through the approximately 1.5 Ma record of the Dinosaur Park Formation. Although we cannot reject the possibility, we find no good evidence that feeding height stratification, as revealed by reconstructed maximum feeding heights, played an important role in facilitating niche partitioning among the herbivorous dinosaurs of Laramidia. Most browsing pressure was concentrated in the herb layer, although hadrosaurids were capable of reaching shrubs and low-growing trees that were out of reach from ceratopsids, ankylosaurs, and other small herbivores, effectively dividing the herbivores in terms of relative

  8. A test of genotypic variation in specificity of herbivore-induced responses in Solidago altissima L. (Asteraceae)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Uesugi, A.; Poelman, E.H.; Kessler, A.

    2013-01-01

    Plant-induced responses to multiple herbivores can mediate ecological interactions among herbivore species, thereby influencing herbivore community composition in nature. Several studies have indicated high specificity of induced responses to different herbivore species. In addition, there may be

  9. Disentangling how landscape spatial and temporal heterogeneity affects Savanna birds.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bronwyn Price

    Full Text Available In highly seasonal tropical environments, temporal changes in habitat and resources are a significant determinant of the spatial distribution of species. This study disentangles the effects of spatial and mid to long-term temporal heterogeneity in habitat on the diversity and abundance of savanna birds by testing four competing conceptual models of varying complexity. Focussing on sites in northeast Australia over a 20 year time period, we used ground cover and foliage projected cover surfaces derived from a time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, rainfall data and site-level vegetation surveys to derive measures of habitat structure at local (1-100 ha and landscape (100-1000s ha scales. We used generalised linear models and an information theoretic approach to test the independent effects of spatial and temporal influences on savanna bird diversity and the abundance of eight species with different life-history behaviours. Of four competing models defining influences on assemblages of savanna birds, the most parsimonious included temporal and spatial variability in vegetation cover and site-scale vegetation structure, suggesting savanna bird species respond to spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity at both the broader landscape scale and at the fine-scale. The relative weight, strength and direction of the explanatory variables changed with each of the eight species, reflecting their different ecology and behavioural traits. This study demonstrates that variations in the spatial pattern of savanna vegetation over periods of 10 to 20 years at the local and landscape scale strongly affect bird diversity and abundance. Thus, it is essential to monitor and manage both spatial and temporal variability in avian habitat to achieve long-term biodiversity outcomes.

  10. Disentangling how landscape spatial and temporal heterogeneity affects Savanna birds.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Price, Bronwyn; McAlpine, Clive A; Kutt, Alex S; Ward, Doug; Phinn, Stuart R; Ludwig, John A

    2013-01-01

    In highly seasonal tropical environments, temporal changes in habitat and resources are a significant determinant of the spatial distribution of species. This study disentangles the effects of spatial and mid to long-term temporal heterogeneity in habitat on the diversity and abundance of savanna birds by testing four competing conceptual models of varying complexity. Focussing on sites in northeast Australia over a 20 year time period, we used ground cover and foliage projected cover surfaces derived from a time series of Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery, rainfall data and site-level vegetation surveys to derive measures of habitat structure at local (1-100 ha) and landscape (100-1000s ha) scales. We used generalised linear models and an information theoretic approach to test the independent effects of spatial and temporal influences on savanna bird diversity and the abundance of eight species with different life-history behaviours. Of four competing models defining influences on assemblages of savanna birds, the most parsimonious included temporal and spatial variability in vegetation cover and site-scale vegetation structure, suggesting savanna bird species respond to spatial and temporal habitat heterogeneity at both the broader landscape scale and at the fine-scale. The relative weight, strength and direction of the explanatory variables changed with each of the eight species, reflecting their different ecology and behavioural traits. This study demonstrates that variations in the spatial pattern of savanna vegetation over periods of 10 to 20 years at the local and landscape scale strongly affect bird diversity and abundance. Thus, it is essential to monitor and manage both spatial and temporal variability in avian habitat to achieve long-term biodiversity outcomes.

  11. Seasonal diet and prey preference of the African lion in a waterhole-driven semi-arid savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davidson, Zeke; Valeix, Marion; Van Kesteren, Freya; Loveridge, Andrew J; Hunt, Jane E; Murindagomo, Felix; Macdonald, David W

    2013-01-01

    Large carnivores inhabiting ecosystems with heterogeneously distributed environmental resources with strong seasonal variations frequently employ opportunistic foraging strategies, often typified by seasonal switches in diet. In semi-arid ecosystems, herbivore distribution is generally more homogeneous in the wet season, when surface water is abundant, than in the dry season when only permanent sources remain. Here, we investigate the seasonal contribution of the different herbivore species, prey preference and distribution of kills (i.e. feeding locations) of African lions in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, a semi-arid African savanna structured by artificial waterholes. We used data from 245 kills and 74 faecal samples. Buffalo consistently emerged as the most frequently utilised prey in all seasons by both male (56%) and female (33%) lions, contributing the most to lion dietary biomass. Jacobs' index also revealed that buffalo was the most intensively selected species throughout the year. For female lions, kudu and to a lesser extent the group "medium Bovidae" are the most important secondary prey. This study revealed seasonal patterns in secondary prey consumption by female lions partly based on prey ecology with browsers, such as giraffe and kudu, mainly consumed in the early dry season, and grazers, such as zebra and suids, contributing more to female diet in the late dry season. Further, it revealed the opportunistic hunting behaviour of lions for prey as diverse as elephants and mice, with elephants taken mostly as juveniles at the end of the dry season during droughts. Jacobs' index finally revealed a very strong preference for kills within 2 km from a waterhole for all prey species, except small antelopes, in all seasons. This suggested that surface-water resources form passive traps and contribute to the structuring of lion foraging behaviour.

  12. Seasonal diet and prey preference of the African lion in a waterhole-driven semi-arid savanna.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zeke Davidson

    Full Text Available Large carnivores inhabiting ecosystems with heterogeneously distributed environmental resources with strong seasonal variations frequently employ opportunistic foraging strategies, often typified by seasonal switches in diet. In semi-arid ecosystems, herbivore distribution is generally more homogeneous in the wet season, when surface water is abundant, than in the dry season when only permanent sources remain. Here, we investigate the seasonal contribution of the different herbivore species, prey preference and distribution of kills (i.e. feeding locations of African lions in Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, a semi-arid African savanna structured by artificial waterholes. We used data from 245 kills and 74 faecal samples. Buffalo consistently emerged as the most frequently utilised prey in all seasons by both male (56% and female (33% lions, contributing the most to lion dietary biomass. Jacobs' index also revealed that buffalo was the most intensively selected species throughout the year. For female lions, kudu and to a lesser extent the group "medium Bovidae" are the most important secondary prey. This study revealed seasonal patterns in secondary prey consumption by female lions partly based on prey ecology with browsers, such as giraffe and kudu, mainly consumed in the early dry season, and grazers, such as zebra and suids, contributing more to female diet in the late dry season. Further, it revealed the opportunistic hunting behaviour of lions for prey as diverse as elephants and mice, with elephants taken mostly as juveniles at the end of the dry season during droughts. Jacobs' index finally revealed a very strong preference for kills within 2 km from a waterhole for all prey species, except small antelopes, in all seasons. This suggested that surface-water resources form passive traps and contribute to the structuring of lion foraging behaviour.

  13. Termites create spatial structure and govern ecosystem function by affecting N2 fixation in an East African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox-Dobbs, Kena; Doak, Daniel F; Brody, Alison K; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-05-01

    The mechanisms by which even the clearest of keystone or dominant species exert community-wide effects are only partially understood in most ecosystems. This is especially true when a species or guild influences community-wide interactions via changes in the abiotic landscape. Using stable isotope analyses, we show that subterranean termites in an East African savanna strongly influence a key ecosystem process: atmospheric nitrogen fixation by a monodominant tree species and its bacterial symbionts. Specifically, we applied the 15N natural abundance method in combination with other biogeochemical analyses to assess levels of nitrogen fixation by Acacia drepanolobium and its effects on co-occurring grasses and forbs in areas near and far from mounds and where ungulates were or were not excluded. We find that termites exert far stronger effects than do herbivores on nitrogen fixation. The percentage of nitrogen derived from fixation in Acacia drepanolobium trees is higher (55-80%) away from mounds vs. near mounds (40-50%). Mound soils have higher levels of plant available nitrogen, and Acacia drepanolobium may preferentially utilize soil-based nitrogen sources in lieu of fixed nitrogen when these sources are readily available near termite mounds. At the scale of the landscape, our models predict that termite/soil derived nitrogen sources influence >50% of the Acacia drepanolobium trees in our system. Further, the spatial extent of these effects combine with the spacing of termite mounds to create highly regular patterning in nitrogen fixation rates, resulting in marked habitat heterogeneity in an otherwise uniform landscape. In summary, we show that termite-associated effects on nitrogen processes are not only stronger than those of more apparent large herbivores in the same system, but also occur in a highly regular spatial pattern, potentially adding to their importance as drivers of community and ecosystem structure.

  14. Insect herbivores should follow plants escaping their relatives

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Yguel, B.; Bailey, R.I.; Villemant, C.; Brault, A.; Jactel, H.; Prinzing, A.

    2014-01-01

    Neighboring plants within a local community may be separated by many millions of years of evolutionary history, potentially reducing enemy pressure by insect herbivores. However, it is not known how the evolutionary isolation of a plant affects the fitness of an insect herbivore living on such a

  15. Global environmental controls of diversity in large herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Olff, Han; Ritchie, Mark E.; Prins, Herbert H.T.

    2002-01-01

    Large mammalian herbivores occupy half of the earth's land surface and are important both ecologically and economically, but their diversity is threatened by human activities. We investigated how the diversity of large herbivores changes across gradients of global precipitation and soil fertility.

  16. The global distribution of diet breadth in insect herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forister, Matthew L; Novotny, Vojtech; Panorska, Anna K; Baje, Leontine; Basset, Yves; Butterill, Philip T; Cizek, Lukas; Coley, Phyllis D; Dem, Francesca; Diniz, Ivone R; Drozd, Pavel; Fox, Mark; Glassmire, Andrea E; Hazen, Rebecca; Hrcek, Jan; Jahner, Joshua P; Kaman, Ondrej; Kozubowski, Tomasz J; Kursar, Thomas A; Lewis, Owen T; Lill, John; Marquis, Robert J; Miller, Scott E; Morais, Helena C; Murakami, Masashi; Nickel, Herbert; Pardikes, Nicholas A; Ricklefs, Robert E; Singer, Michael S; Smilanich, Angela M; Stireman, John O; Villamarín-Cortez, Santiago; Vodka, Stepan; Volf, Martin; Wagner, David L; Walla, Thomas; Weiblen, George D; Dyer, Lee A

    2015-01-13

    Understanding variation in resource specialization is important for progress on issues that include coevolution, community assembly, ecosystem processes, and the latitudinal gradient of species richness. Herbivorous insects are useful models for studying resource specialization, and the interaction between plants and herbivorous insects is one of the most common and consequential ecological associations on the planet. However, uncertainty persists regarding fundamental features of herbivore diet breadth, including its relationship to latitude and plant species richness. Here, we use a global dataset to investigate host range for over 7,500 insect herbivore species covering a wide taxonomic breadth and interacting with more than 2,000 species of plants in 165 families. We ask whether relatively specialized and generalized herbivores represent a dichotomy rather than a continuum from few to many host families and species attacked and whether diet breadth changes with increasing plant species richness toward the tropics. Across geographic regions and taxonomic subsets of the data, we find that the distribution of diet breadth is fit well by a discrete, truncated Pareto power law characterized by the predominance of specialized herbivores and a long, thin tail of more generalized species. Both the taxonomic and phylogenetic distributions of diet breadth shift globally with latitude, consistent with a higher frequency of specialized insects in tropical regions. We also find that more diverse lineages of plants support assemblages of relatively more specialized herbivores and that the global distribution of plant diversity contributes to but does not fully explain the latitudinal gradient in insect herbivore specialization.

  17. Avoidance and tolerance to avian herbivores in aquatic plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hidding, A.

    2009-01-01

    Tolerance and avoidance are the two contrasting strategies that plants may adopt to cope with herbivores. Tolerance traits define the degree to which communities remain unaffected by herbivory. Trade-offs between herbivore avoidance and competitive strength and between avoidance and colonization

  18. Evaluating herbivore management outcomes and associated vegetation impacts

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rina C.C. Grant

    2011-05-01

    Conservation implications: In rangeland, optimising herbivore numbers to achieve the management objectives without causing unacceptable or irreversible change in the vegetation is challenging. This manuscript explores different avenues to evaluate herbivore impact and the outcomes of management approaches that may affect vegetation.

  19. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van Klink, R.; van der Plas, F.; van Noordwijk, C. G. E. (Toos); WallisDeVries, M. F.; Olff, H.

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141

  20. Mining the plant-herbivore interface with a leafmining Drosophila of Arabidopsis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Whiteman, Noah K.; Groen, Simon C.; Chevasco, Daniela; Bear, Ashley; Beckwith, Noor; Gregory, T. Ryan; Denoux, Carine; Mammarella, Nicole; Ausubel, Frederick M.; Pierce, Naomi E.

    2010-01-01

    Experimental infections of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) with genomically characterized plant pathogens such as Pseudomonas syringae have facilitated dissection of canonical eukaryotic defense pathways and parasite virulence factors. Plants are also attacked by herbivorous insects, and the development of an ecologically relevant genetic model herbivore that feeds on Arabidopsis will enable the parallel dissection of host defense and reciprocal resistance pathways such as those involved in xenobiotic metabolism. An ideal candidate is Scaptomyza flava, a drosophilid fly whose leafmining larvae are true herbivores that can be found in nature feeding on Arabidopsis and other crucifers. Here we describe the eukaryotic life cycle of S. flava on Arabidopsis, and use multiple approaches to characterize the response of Arabidopsis to S. flava attack. Oviposition choice tests and growth performance assays on different Arabidopsis ecotypes, defense-related mutants, and hormone and chitin-treated plants revealed significant differences in host preference and variation in larval performance across Arabidopsis accessions. The jasmonate (JA) and glucosinolate pathways in Arabidopsis are important in mediating quantitative resistance against S. flava, and priming with JA or chitin resulted in increased resistance. Expression of xenobiotic detoxification genes was reduced in S. flava larvae reared on Arabidopsis JA signaling mutants, and increased in plants pre-treated with chitin. These results and future research directions are discussed in the context of developing a genetic model system to analyze insect/plant interactions. PMID:21073583

  1. Mapping Forage Resources Using Earth Observation Data: A Case Study to Assess the Relationship Between Herbaceous and Woody Cover Components as Determinants of Large Herbivore Distribution in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hanan, N. P.; Kahiu, M. N.

    2016-12-01

    Grazing systems are important for survival of humans, livestock and wildlife in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). They are mainly found in the arid and semi-arid regions and are characterized by naturally occurring tree-grass vegetation mixtures ("savannas"), low and erratic rainfall, low human populations, and scanty water resources. Due to the scarce population and perceived low resource base they have been marginalized for decades, if not centuries. However, their economic and environmental significance, particularly their role as foraging lands for livestock and wildlife cannot be underrated. SSA natural grazing systems comprise a significant source of livelihood, where millions of people depend on pastoralism as a source of food and income. Further, the African savannas support diverse flora and charismatic large herbivore and carnivore guilds. The above considerations motivate a more detailed study of the composition, temporal and spatial variability of foraging resources in SSA arid and semi-arid regions. We have therefore embarked on a research to map Africa foraging resources by partitioning MODIS total leaf area index (LAIA) time series into its woody (LAIW) and herbaceous (LAIH) constituents as proxies for grazing and browsing resources, respectively. Using the portioned LAI estimates we will develop a case study to assess how forage resources affect distribution and abundance of large herbivores in Africa. In our case study we explore two separate but related hypothesis: i) small and medium sized mammalian herbivore numbers will peak at intermediate biomass (LAIH for grazers and LAIW for browsers), since they optimize on forage quantity and quality. Conversely, large-body mammalian herbivores have the ability to process high quantity-low quality food, hence, we hypothesize that ii) larger herbivores will tend to be more common in high forage areas irrespective of forage quality. We will use LAIH and LAIW retrievals to compute annual average leaf area duration

  2. Herbivore-induced plant responses in Brassica oleracea prevail over effects of constitutive resistance and result in enhanced herbivore attack

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poelman, E.H.; Loon, van J.J.A.; Dam, van N.M.; Vet, L.E.M.; Dicke, M.

    2010-01-01

    2. Here we studied the effect of early-season herbivory by caterpillars of Pieris rapae on the composition of the insect herbivore community on domesticated Brassica oleracea plants. We compared the effect of herbivory on two cultivars that differ in the degree of susceptibility to herbivores to

  3. Herbivore-induced plant responses in Brassica oleracea prevail over effects of constitutive resistance and result in enhanced herbivore attack

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poelman, E.H.; van Loon, J.J.A.; Van Dam, N.M.; Dicke, M.; Vet, L.E.M.

    2010-01-01

    1. Plant responses to herbivore attack may have community-wide effects on the composition of the plant-associated insect community. Thereby, plant responses to an early-season herbivore may have profound consequences for the amount and type of future attack. 2. Here we studied the effect of

  4. Lima bean leaves exposed to herbivore-induced conspecific plant volatiles attract herbivores in addition to carnivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Horiuchi, J.I.; Arimura, G.I.; Ozawa, R.; Shimoda, T.; Dicke, M.; Takabayashi, J.; Nishioka, T.

    2003-01-01

    We tested the response of the herbivorous mite Tetranychus urticae to uninfested lima bean leaves exposed to herbivore-induced conspecific plant volatiles by using a Y-tube olfactometer. First, we confirmed that exposed uninfested leaves next to infested leaves were more attractive to carnivorous

  5. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles accurately predict history of coexistence, diet breadth, and feeding mode of herbivores.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Danner, H.; Desurmont, G.A.; Cristescu, S.M.; Dam, N.M. van

    2017-01-01

    Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) serve as specific cues to higher trophic levels. Novel, exotic herbivores entering native foodwebs may disrupt the infochemical network as a result of changes in HIPV profiles. Here, we analysed HIPV blends of native Brassica rapa plants infested with one of

  6. Spatial-temporal distribution of fire-protected savanna physiognomies in Southeastern Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marcelo H.O. Pinheiro

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The analysis of the influence of edaphic finer textures, as a facilitating factor for the expansion of forest formations in the absence of fire, was possible thanks to rare characteristics found in a savanna fragment located in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. The total suppression of fire for over four decades, and the occurrence of two savanna physiognomies, cerrado sensu stricto and cerradão, allowed the conduction of this study based on the hypothesis that cerradão, a physiognomy of forest aspect consisting of fire-sensitive tree and shrubs species, is favored by fire absence and higher soil hydric retention capacity. Edaphic samples were collected from a regular grid of 200 m² for the production of isopletic maps of the distribution of clay, fine sand, coarse sand and silt edaphic textures by the geostatistic method of ordinary kriging. Changes in the areas occupied by both savanna physiognomies, defined on the basis of aerial photographs taken over a period of 43 years, were assessed through mean variation rates. Besides corroborating the hypothesis of edaphic hydric retention as a facilitating factor for the expansion of forest physiognomies in savanna areas, we were able to infer the positive influence of higher precipitation on the increase in cerradão expansion rates.A influência de texturas edáficas finas, como fator de facilitação para a expansão de formações florestais sobre áreas savânicas, através da maior retenção hídrica edáfica, na ausência de incêndios, foi possível ser estudada graças às características encontradas em um fragmento savânico com 38,8 ha, situado em Corumbataí (SP. A supressão total do fogo por quatro décadas, e a ocorrência de duas fisionomias, cerrado sensu stricto e cerradão, permitiram a condução deste estudo. Amostras de solo foram coletadas em uma grade regular de 200 m², abrangendo toda a área do fragmento. Foram produzidos mapas iso-pléticos, com a distribuição das

  7. Disaggregating tree and grass phenology in tropical savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Qiang

    Savannas are mixed tree-grass systems and as one of the world's largest biomes represent an important component of the Earth system affecting water and energy balances, carbon sequestration and biodiversity as well as supporting large human populations. Savanna vegetation structure and its distribution, however, may change because of major anthropogenic disturbances from climate change, wildfire, agriculture, and livestock production. The overstory and understory may have different water use strategies, different nutrient requirements and have different responses to fire and climate variation. The accurate measurement of the spatial distribution and structure of the overstory and understory are essential for understanding the savanna ecosystem. This project developed a workflow for separating the dynamics of the overstory and understory fractional cover in savannas at the continental scale (Australia, South America, and Africa). Previous studies have successfully separated the phenology of Australian savanna vegetation into persistent and seasonal greenness using time series decomposition, and into fractions of photosynthetic vegetation (PV), non-photosynthetic vegetation (NPV) and bare soil (BS) using linear unmixing. This study combined these methods to separate the understory and overstory signal in both the green and senescent phenological stages using remotely sensed imagery from the MODIS (MODerate resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer) sensor. The methods and parameters were adjusted based on the vegetation variation. The workflow was first tested at the Australian site. Here the PV estimates for overstory and understory showed best performance, however NPV estimates exhibited spatial variation in validation relationships. At the South American site (Cerrado), an additional method based on frequency unmixing was developed to separate green vegetation components with similar phenology. When the decomposition and frequency methods were compared, the frequency

  8. Effects of vegetation burning on the atmospheric chemistry of the Venezuelan savanna

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sanhueza, E.

    1991-01-01

    Biomass burning in tropical savanna and rainforest regions is an important factor in the chemical composition of the atmosphere. On the global scale, burning of savanna grass procedures three to four times greater emission of trace gases than deforestation processes of tropical rainforest. As part of a comprehensive study of the Venezuelan savanna atmosphere, measurements of gases and particles, chemical composition of rain, and biogenic soil emission were made during burning and nonburning periods at several rural savanna sites. A review of the most significant findings is presented in this chapter, and their regional and global implications are discussed

  9. Assessment of Aboveground Woody Biomass Dynamics Using Terrestrial Laser Scanner and L-Band ALOS PALSAR Data in South African Savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victor Onyango Odipo

    2016-11-01

    volume scattering of woody vegetation along river valleys and streams. The AGB change analysis showed 32 ha (3.5% of the 900 ha experienced AGB loses above an average of 5 t/ha per annum, which can mainly be attributed to the falling of trees by mega herbivores such as elephants. The study concludes that SAR data, especially L-band SAR, can be used in the detection of small changes in savanna vegetation over time.

  10. Seasonality of fire weather strongly influences fire regimes in South Florida savanna-grassland landscapes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    William J Platt

    Full Text Available Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature. We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993-2009 data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires over a 13-year period with fire records (1997-2009. Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with

  11. Seasonality of Fire Weather Strongly Influences Fire Regimes in South Florida Savanna-Grassland Landscapes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Platt, William J.; Orzell, Steve L.; Slocum, Matthew G.

    2015-01-01

    Fire seasonality, an important characteristic of fire regimes, commonly is delineated using seasons based on single weather variables (rainfall or temperature). We used nonparametric cluster analyses of a 17-year (1993–2009) data set of weather variables that influence likelihoods and spread of fires (relative humidity, air temperature, solar radiation, wind speed, soil moisture) to explore seasonality of fire in pine savanna-grassland landscapes at the Avon Park Air Force Range in southern Florida. A four-variable, three-season model explained more variation within fire weather variables than models with more seasons. The three-season model also delineated intra-annual timing of fire more accurately than a conventional rainfall-based two-season model. Two seasons coincided roughly with dry and wet seasons based on rainfall. The third season, which we labeled the fire season, occurred between dry and wet seasons and was characterized by fire-promoting conditions present annually: drought, intense solar radiation, low humidity, and warm air temperatures. Fine fuels consisting of variable combinations of pyrogenic pine needles, abundant C4 grasses, and flammable shrubs, coupled with low soil moisture, and lightning ignitions early in the fire season facilitate natural landscape-scale wildfires that burn uplands and across wetlands. We related our three season model to fires with different ignition sources (lightning, military missions, and prescribed fires) over a 13-year period with fire records (1997–2009). Largest wildfires originate from lightning and military ignitions that occur within the early fire season substantially prior to the peak of lightning strikes in the wet season. Prescribed ignitions, in contrast, largely occur outside the fire season. Our delineation of a pronounced fire season provides insight into the extent to which different human-derived fire regimes mimic lightning fire regimes. Delineation of a fire season associated with timing of

  12. African Savanna-Forest Boundary Dynamics: A 20-Year Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuni-Sanchez, Aida; White, Lee J. T.; Calders, Kim; Jeffery, Kathryn J.; Abernethy, Katharine; Burt, Andrew; Disney, Mathias; Gilpin, Martin; Gomez-Dans, Jose L.; Lewis, Simon L.

    2016-01-01

    Recent studies show widespread encroachment of forest into savannas with important consequences for the global carbon cycle and land-atmosphere interactions. However, little research has focused on in situ measurements of the successional sequence of savanna to forest in Africa. Using long-term inventory plots we quantify changes in vegetation structure, above-ground biomass (AGB) and biodiversity of trees ≥10 cm diameter over 20 years for five vegetation types: savanna; colonising forest (F1), monodominant Okoume forest (F2); young Marantaceae forest (F3); and mixed Marantaceae forest (F4) in Lopé National Park, central Gabon, plus novel 3D terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) measurements to assess forest structure differences. Over 20 years no plot changed to a new stage in the putative succession, but F1 forests strongly moved towards the structure, AGB and diversity of F2 forests. Overall, savanna plots showed no detectable change in structure, AGB or diversity using this method, with zero trees ≥10 cm diameter in 1993 and 2013. F1 and F2 forests increased in AGB, mainly as a result of adding recruited stems (F1) and increased Basal Area (F2), whereas F3 and F4 forests did not change substantially in structure, AGB or diversity. Critically, the stability of the F3 stage implies that this stage may be maintained for long periods. Soil carbon was low, and did not show a successional gradient as for AGB and diversity. TLS vertical plant profiles showed distinctive differences amongst the vegetation types, indicating that this technique can improve ecological understanding. We highlight two points: (i) as forest colonises, changes in biodiversity are much slower than changes in forest structure or AGB; and (ii) all forest types store substantial quantities of carbon. Multi-decadal monitoring is likely to be required to assess the speed of transition between vegetation types. PMID:27336632

  13. Detecting changes in insect herbivore communities along a pollution gradient

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Eatough Jones, Michele; Paine, Timothy D.

    2006-01-01

    The forests surrounding the urban areas of the Los Angeles basin are impacted by ozone and nitrogen pollutants arising from urban areas. We examined changes in the herbivore communities of three prominent plant species (ponderosa pine, California black oak and bracken fern) at six sites along an air pollution gradient. Insects were extracted from foliage samples collected in spring, as foliage reached full expansion. Community differences were evaluated using total herbivore abundance, richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity, and discriminant function analysis. Even without conspicuous changes in total numbers, diversity or richness of herbivores, herbivore groups showed patterns of change that followed the air pollution gradient that were apparent through discriminant function analysis. For bracken fern and oak, chewing insects were more dominant at high pollution sites. Oak herbivore communities showed the strongest effect. These changes in herbivore communities may affect nutrient cycling in forest systems. - Differences in insect herbivore communities were associated with an ambient air pollution gradient in the mixed conifer forest outside the Los Angeles area

  14. Detecting changes in insect herbivore communities along a pollution gradient

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Eatough Jones, Michele [Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States)]. E-mail: michele.eatough@ucr.edu; Paine, Timothy D. [Department of Entomology, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521 (United States)]. E-mail: timothy.paine@ucr.edu

    2006-10-15

    The forests surrounding the urban areas of the Los Angeles basin are impacted by ozone and nitrogen pollutants arising from urban areas. We examined changes in the herbivore communities of three prominent plant species (ponderosa pine, California black oak and bracken fern) at six sites along an air pollution gradient. Insects were extracted from foliage samples collected in spring, as foliage reached full expansion. Community differences were evaluated using total herbivore abundance, richness, Shannon-Weiner diversity, and discriminant function analysis. Even without conspicuous changes in total numbers, diversity or richness of herbivores, herbivore groups showed patterns of change that followed the air pollution gradient that were apparent through discriminant function analysis. For bracken fern and oak, chewing insects were more dominant at high pollution sites. Oak herbivore communities showed the strongest effect. These changes in herbivore communities may affect nutrient cycling in forest systems. - Differences in insect herbivore communities were associated with an ambient air pollution gradient in the mixed conifer forest outside the Los Angeles area.

  15. Ecological release in lizard assemblages of neotropical savannas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mesquita, Daniel Oliveira; Colli, Guarino Rinaldi; Vitt, Laurie J

    2007-08-01

    We compare lizard assemblages of Cerrado and Amazonian savannas to test the ecological release hypothesis, which predicts that niche dimensions and abundance should be greater in species inhabiting isolated habitat patches with low species richness (Amazonian savannas and isolated Cerrado patches) when compared with nonisolated areas in central Cerrado with greater species richness. We calculated microhabitat and diet niche breadths with data from 14 isolated Cerrado patches and Amazon savanna areas and six central Cerrado populations. Morphological data were compared using average Euclidean distances, and lizard abundance was estimated using the number of lizards captured in pitfall traps over an extended time period. We found no evidence of ecological release with respect to microhabitat use, suggesting that historical factors are better microhabitat predictors than ecological factors. However, data from individual stomachs indicate that ecological release occurs in these areas for one species (Tropidurus) but not others (Ameiva ameiva, Anolis, Cnemidophorus, and Micrablepharus), suggesting that evolutionary lineages respond differently to environmental pressures, with tropidurids being more affected by ecological factors than polychrotids, teiids, and gymnophthalmids. We found no evidence that ecological release occurs in these areas using morphological data. Based on abundance data, our results indicate that the ecological release (density compensation) hypothesis is not supported: lizard species are not more abundant in isolated areas than in nonisolated areas. The ecology of species is highly conservative, varying little from assemblage to assemblage. Nevertheless, increases in niche breadth for some species indicate that ecological release occurs as well.

  16. Microbial Diversity in Cerrado Biome (Neotropical Savanna Soils.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alinne Pereira de Castro

    Full Text Available The Cerrado, the largest savanna region in South America, is located in central Brazil. Cerrado physiognomies, which range from savanna grasslands to forest formations, combined with the highly weathered, acidic clay Cerrado soils form a unique ecoregion. In this study, high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA genes was combined with shotgun metagenomic analysis to explore the taxonomic composition and potential functions of soil microbial communities in four different vegetation physiognomies during both dry and rainy seasons. Our results showed that changes in bacterial, archaeal, and fungal community structures in cerrado denso, cerrado sensu stricto, campo sujo, and gallery forest soils strongly correlated with seasonal patterns of soil water uptake. The relative abundance of AD3, WPS-2, Planctomycetes, Thermoprotei, and Glomeromycota typically decreased in the rainy season, whereas the relative abundance of Proteobacteria and Ascomycota increased. In addition, analysis of shotgun metagenomic data revealed a significant increase in the relative abundance of genes associated with iron acquisition and metabolism, dormancy, and sporulation during the dry season, and an increase in the relative abundance of genes related to respiration and DNA and protein metabolism during the rainy season. These gene functional categories are associated with adaptation to water stress. Our results further the understanding of how tropical savanna soil microbial communities may be influenced by vegetation covering and temporal variations in soil moisture.

  17. Impact of herbivores on nitrogen cycling : contrasting effects of small and large species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, ES; Olff, H; Boekhoff, M; Gleichman, JM; Berendse, F

    Herbivores are reported to slow down as well as enhance nutrient cycling in grasslands. These conflicting results may be explained by differences in herbivore type. In this study we focus on herbivore body size as a factor that causes differences in herbivore effects on N cycling. We used an

  18. Impact of herbivores on nitrogen cycling: contrasting effects of small and large species

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, E.S.; Olff, H.; Boekhoff, M.; Gleichman, J.M.; Berendse, F.

    2004-01-01

    Herbivores are reported to slow down as well as enhance nutrient cycling in grasslands. These conflicting results may be explained by differences in herbivore type. In this study we focus on herbivore body size as a factor that causes differences in herbivore effects on N cycling. We used an

  19. Interactions between aboveground herbivores and the mycorrhizal mutualists of plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gehring, C A; Whitham, T G

    1994-07-01

    Plant growth, reproduction and survival can be affected both by mycorrhizal fungi and aboveground herbivores, but few studies have examined the interactive effects of these factors on plants. Most of the available data suggest that severe herbivory reduces root colonization by vesicular-arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi. However, the reverse interaction has also been documented - mycorrhizal fungi deter herbivores and interact with fungal endophytes to influence herbivory. Although consistent patterns and mechanistic explanations are yet to emerge, it is likely that aboveground herbivore-mycorrhiza interactions have important implications for plant populations and communities. Copyright © 1994. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  20. Spatial and temporal soil moisture resource partitioning by trees and grasses in a temperate savanna, Arizona, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weltzin, Jake F; McPherson, Guy R

    1997-10-01

    Stable isotope analysis was used to determine sources of water used by coexisting trees and grasses in a temperate savanna dominated by Quercus emoryi Torr. We predicted that (1) tree seedlings and bunchgrasses utilize shallow sources of soil water, (2) mature savanna trees use deeper sources of water, and (3) trees switch from shallow to deep water sources within 1 year of germination. We found that Q. emoryi trees, saplings, and seedlings (about 2 months, 1 year, and 2 years old), and the dominant bunchgrass [Trachypogon montufari (H.B.K.) Nees.] utilized seasonally available moisture from different depths within the soil profile depending on size/age relationships. Sapling and mature Q. emoryi acquired water from >50 cm deep, 2-month-old seedlings utilized water from emoryi within extant stands of native grasses. The potential for subsequent interaction between Q. emoryi and native grasses was evidenced by similar patterns of soil water use by 1- and 2-year-old seedlings and grasses. Q. emoryi seedlings did not switch from shallow to deep sources of soil water within 2 years of germination: water use by these seedlings apparently becomes independent of water use by grasses after 2 years of age. Finally, older trees (saplings, mature trees) use water from deeper soil layers than grasses, which may facilitate the stable coexistence of mature trees and grasses. Potential shifts in the seasonality of precipitation may alter interactions between woody plants and grasses within temperate savannas characterized by bimodal precipitation regimes: reductions in summer precipitation or soil moisture may be particularly detrimental to warm-season grasses and seedlings of Q. emoryi.

  1. Morphological and functional diversity of primary producers group in savannas

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Medina, E.

    1996-01-01

    The meaning of biological diversity for the operation and stability of natural ecosystems is matter of great theoretical and practical interest. The appearance and permanency of species in a given atmosphere indicates its capacity to compete with other species with similar habit and requirements, and to accumulate the resources that allow its reproduction. On the other hand, the coexistence of similar species in the same ecosystem allows to wonder if ever biological redundancy exists, that is to say, if several species coexist with the same function inside the ecosystem, so that the disappearance of one of them would not have biological significant consequences. A strategy to simplify the analysis of relationships between biodiversity and ecosystems operation is by grouping species with similar function, called functional groups. In this work the the primary producers functional group is analyzed, essentially superiors plants, in a savannas ecosystems. The analysis establishes that the gives the primary producers group is heterogeneous and complex, so much morphological as functionally: 1) the structural complexity and diversity forms of life in an savannas ecosystem are associated with the stratified exploitation of resources over (light) and under the floor (nourishment and water). Changes in diversity that affect the system structure will probably also affect its operations. 2 )Very similar morphological species can differ physiologically up to constitute production units with contrasting nutritional requirements. The echo-physiologic analysis of this differentiation can explain the habitat preferences that are naturally observed. 3) The long-time permanency of rare species, of low frequency, show the inability of dominant species to capture all the available resources. 4) The primary producers and the floor microorganisms have strong interactions. Changes in the community composition can generate significant changes in other community. These biotic interactions

  2. Determinants of patchiness of woody vegetation in an African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Veldhuis, Michiel P.; Rozen-Rechels, David; le Roux, Elizabeth; Cromsigt, Joris P.G.M.; Berg, Matheus P.; Olff, Han

    2016-01-01

    How is woody vegetation patchiness affected by rainfall, fire and large herbivore biomass? Can we predict woody patchiness and cover over large-scale environmental gradients? We quantified variation in local patchiness as the lacunarity of woody cover on satellite-derived images. Using Random Forest

  3. Effect of post-fire resprouting on leaf fluctuating asymmetry, extrafloral nectar quality, and ant-plant-herbivore interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alves-Silva, Estevão; Del-Claro, Kleber

    2013-06-01

    Fires in the Cerrado savanna are a severe form of disturbance, but some species are capable of resprouting afterwards. It is unknown, however, how and whether post-fire resprouting represents a stressful condition to plants and how their rapid re-growth influences both the production of biochemical compounds, and interactions with mutualistic ants. In this study, we examined the influence of post-fire resprouting on biotic interactions (ant-plant-herbivore relationships) and on plant stress. The study was performed on two groups of the extrafloral nectaried shrub Banisteriopsis campestris (Malpighiaceae); one group was recovering from fire while the other acted as control. With respect to biotic interactions, we examined whether resprouting influenced extrafloral nectar concentration (milligrams per microliter), the abundance of the ant Camponotus crassus and leaf herbivory rates. Plant stress was assessed via fluctuating asymmetry (FA) analysis, which refers to deviations from perfect symmetry in bilaterally symmetrical traits (e.g., leaves) and indicates whether species are under stress. Results revealed that FA, sugar concentration, and ant abundance were 51.7 %, 35.7 % and 21.7 % higher in resprouting plants. Furthermore, C. crassus was significantly associated with low herbivory rates, but only in resprouting plants. This study showed that post-fire resprouting induced high levels of plant stress and influenced extrafloral nectar quality and ant-herbivore relationships in B. campestris. Therefore, despite being a stressful condition to the plant, post-fire resprouting individuals had concentrated extrafloral nectar and sustained more ants, thus strengthening the outcomes of ant-plant mutualism.

  4. Phytohormone mediation of interactions between herbivores and plant pathogens

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lazebnik, J.; Frago, E.; Dicke, M.; Loon, van J.J.A.

    2014-01-01

    Induced plant defenses against either pathogens or herbivore attackers are regulated by phytohormones. These phytohormones are increasingly recognized as important mediators of interactions between organisms associated with plants. In this review, we discuss the role of plant defense hormones in

  5. Biomass and Abundance of Herbivorous Fishes on Coral Reefs off ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    effects of fishing intensity, reef geomorphology and benthic cover. Distance from the .... on herbivorous fish communities relevant to the proposed ... fragments, nearshore coastal fringing reefs ..... Over-fishing and coral bleaching pose the most ...

  6. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Borer, Elizabeth T.; Seabloom, Eric W.; Gruner, Daniel S.; Harpole, W. Stanley; Hillebrand, Helmut; Lind, Eric M.; Alder, Peter B.; Alberti, Juan; Anderson, T. Michael; Bakker, Jonathan D.; Biederman, Lori; Blumenthal, Dana; Brown, Cynthia S.; Brudvig, Lars A.; Buckley, Yvonne M.; Cadotte, Marc; Chu, Cheng-Jin; Cleland, Elsa E.; Crawley, Michael J.; Daleo, Pedro; Damschen, Ellen Ingman; Davies, Kendi F.; DeCrappeo, Nicole M.; Du, Guozhen; Firn, Jennifer; Hautier, Yann; Heckman, Robert W.; Hector, Andy; HilleRisLambers, Janneke; Iribarne, Oscar; Klein, Julia A.; Knops, Johannes M.H.; La Pierre, Kimberly J.; Leakey, Andrew D.B.; Li, Wei; MacDougall, Andrew S.; McCulley, Rebecca L.; Melbourne, Brett A.; Mitchell, Charles E.; Moore, Joslin L.; Mortensen, Brent; O'Halloran, Lydia R.; Orrock, John L.; Pascual, Jesús; Prober, Suzanne M.; Pyke, David A.; Risch, Anita C.; Schuetz, Martin; Smith, Melinda D.; Stevens, Carly J.; Sullivan, Lauren L.; Williams, Ryan J.; Wragg, Peter D.; Wright, Justin P.; Yang, Louie H.

    2014-01-01

    Human alterations to nutrient cycles and herbivore communities are affecting global biodiversity dramatically. Ecological theory predicts these changes should be strongly counteractive: nutrient addition drives plant species loss through intensified competition for light, whereas herbivores prevent competitive exclusion by increasing ground-level light, particularly in productive systems. Here we use experimental data spanning a globally relevant range of conditions to test the hypothesis that herbaceous plant species losses caused by eutrophication may be offset by increased light availability due to herbivory. This experiment, replicated in 40 grasslands on 6 continents, demonstrates that nutrients and herbivores can serve as counteracting forces to control local plant diversity through light limitation, independent of site productivity, soil nitrogen, herbivore type and climate. Nutrient addition consistently reduced local diversity through light limitation, and herbivory rescued diversity at sites where it alleviated light limitation. Thus, species loss from anthropogenic eutrophication can be ameliorated in grasslands where herbivory increases ground-level light.

  7. assimilation efficiency in two herbivores, oreochromis niloticus and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Preferred Customer

    ABSTRACT: The abilities of two herbivorous animals (Oreochromis niloticus and the larva ... improved lyses of algal cells. ... Thus, more studies to understand how these and other factors affect ... as plant cells are surrounded by cell wall, and.

  8. Intrinsic and extrinsic factors influencing large African herbivore movements

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Venter, J.A.; Prins, H.H.T.; Mashanova, A.; Boer, de W.F.; Slotow, R.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding environmental as well as anthropogenic factors that influence large herbivore ecological patterns and processes should underpin their conservation and management. We assessed the influence of intrinsic, extrinsic environmental and extrinsic anthropogenic factors on movement behaviour

  9. A conserved pattern in plant-mediated interactions between herbivores

    OpenAIRE

    Lu Jing; Robert Christelle A. M.; Lou Yonggen; Erb Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Abstract Plant?mediated interactions between herbivores are important determinants of community structure and plant performance in natural and agricultural systems. Current research suggests that the outcome of the interactions is determined by herbivore and plant identity, which may result in stochastic patterns that impede adaptive evolution and agricultural exploitation. However, few studies have systemically investigated specificity versus general patterns in a given plant system by varyi...

  10. Herbivore-induced blueberry volatiles and intra-plant signaling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar R

    2011-12-18

    Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are commonly emitted from plants after herbivore attack. These HIPVs are mainly regulated by the defensive plant hormone jasmonic acid (JA) and its volatile derivative methyl jasmonate (MeJA). Over the past 3 decades researchers have documented that HIPVs can repel or attract herbivores, attract the natural enemies of herbivores, and in some cases they can induce or prime plant defenses prior to herbivore attack. In a recent paper, I reported that feeding by gypsy moth caterpillars, exogenous MeJA application, and mechanical damage induce the emissions of volatiles from blueberry plants, albeit differently. In addition, blueberry branches respond to HIPVs emitted from neighboring branches of the same plant by increasing the levels of JA and resistance to herbivores (i.e., direct plant defenses), and by priming volatile emissions (i.e., indirect plant defenses). Similar findings have been reported recently for sagebrush, poplar, and lima beans. Here, I describe a push-pull method for collecting blueberry volatiles induced by herbivore (gypsy moth) feeding, exogenous MeJA application, and mechanical damage. The volatile collection unit consists of a 4 L volatile collection chamber, a 2-piece guillotine, an air delivery system that purifies incoming air, and a vacuum system connected to a trap filled with Super-Q adsorbent to collect volatiles. Volatiles collected in Super-Q traps are eluted with dichloromethane and then separated and quantified using Gas Chromatography (GC). This volatile collection method was used in my study to investigate the volatile response of undamaged branches to exposure to volatiles from herbivore-damaged branches within blueberry plants. These methods are described here. Briefly, undamaged blueberry branches are exposed to HIPVs from neighboring branches within the same plant. Using the same techniques described above, volatiles emitted from branches after exposure to HIPVs are collected and

  11. Bistability, Spatial Interaction, and the Distribution of Tropical Forests and Savannas

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Staal, Arie; Dekker, Stefan C.; Xu, Chi; Nes, van Egbert H.

    2016-01-01

    Recent work has indicated that tropical forest and savanna can be alternative stable states under a range of climatic conditions. However, dynamical systems theory suggests that in case of strong spatial interactions between patches of forest and savanna, a boundary between both states is only

  12. Plant composition in oak savanna and woodland restoration at Prairie Fork Conservation Area in Missouri

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nadia E. Navarrete-Tindall; J.W. Van Sambeek; Jamie Coe; Warren Taylor

    2007-01-01

    The wooded areas of the Prairie Fork Conservation Area in central Missouri are typical of the oak/hickory forest/prairie transition zone that will require active management to restore pre-settlement, grass dominated savannas and open woodlands to improve habitat for wildlife. We initiated a management program to restore savannas and woodlands by reducing the midstory (...

  13. Frequent burning promotes invasions of alien plants into a mesic African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Masocha, M.; Skidmore, A.K.; Poshiwa, X.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2011-01-01

    Fire is both inevitable and necessary for maintaining the structure and functioning of mesic savannas. Without disturbances such as fire and herbivory, tree cover can increase at the expense of grass cover and over time dominate mesic savannas. Consequently, repeated burning is widely used to

  14. Tree invasion in a semi-arid savanna in Zimbabwe : seedling recruitment of Acacia karroo

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chirara, C. (Chipangura)

    2001-01-01

    In this thesis Chirara reports on his study on the competitive interaction between savanna grasses and young tree seedlings of Acacia karroo, from hereon indicated as ' Acacia seedlings' . Acacia is one of the tree species that dominates savanna grassland in situations of overgrazing (bush

  15. Pattern of invasion by Adhatoda vasica in savannas of Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, Western India

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bhatt, Priyanka; Rawat, G.S.; Sankar, K.; Tomlinson, K.W.; Langevelde, van F.

    2015-01-01

    As part of global experiments on Savanna vegetation, we examined the ecological characteristics of an important
    semiarid savanna in the Indian sub-continent i.e Sariska Tiger Reserve, Rajasthan, Western India during April 2009 to
    May 2011. 149 plots across five line transects were sampled

  16. Heaths and forests of the western hills of Chia, Bogota savanna, Colombia

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cortes S, Sandra P.; Van der Hammen, Thomas; Rangel Ch, J Orlando

    2000-01-01

    The authors make a study of the heaths and forests of the western hills of the population of Chia, located in the savanna of Bogota and the presence or absences of these in the same Bogota savanna; the authors treat topics like their physiognomy and composition, distribution and ecology among other topics

  17. Niche partitioning of feeding microhabitats produces a unique function for herbivorous rabbitfishes (Perciformes, Siganidae) on coral reefs

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fox, R. J.; Bellwood, D. R.

    2013-03-01

    Niche theory predicts that coexisting species minimise competition by evolving morphological or behavioural specialisations that allow them to spread out along resource axes such as space, diet and temporal activity. These specialisations define how a species interacts with its environment and, by extension, determine its functional role. Here, we examine the feeding niche of three species of coral reef-dwelling rabbitfishes (Siganidae, Siganus). By comparing aspects of their feeding behaviour (bite location, bite rate, foraging distance) with that of representative species from two other abundant herbivorous fish families, the parrotfishes (Labridae, Scarus) and surgeonfishes (Acanthuridae, Acanthurus), we examine whether rabbitfishes have a feeding niche distinct from other members of the herbivore guild. Measurements of the penetration of the fishes' snouts and bodies into reef concavities when feeding revealed that rabbitfish fed to a greater degree from reef crevices and interstices than other herbivores. There was just a 40 % overlap in the penetration-depth niche between rabbitfish and surgeonfish and a 45 % overlap between rabbitfish and parrotfish, compared with the almost complete niche overlap (95 %) recorded for parrotfish and surgeonfish along this spatial niche axis. Aspects of the morphology of rabbitfish which may contribute to this niche segregation include a comparatively longer, narrower snout and narrower head. Our results suggest that sympatric coexistence of rabbitfish and other reef herbivores is facilitated by segregation along a spatial (and potentially dietary) axis. This segregation results in a unique functional role for rabbitfishes among roving herbivores that of "crevice-browser": a group that specifically feeds on crevice-dwelling algal or benthic organisms. This functional trait may have implications for reef ecosystem processes in terms of controlling the successional development of crevice-based algal communities, reducing their

  18. Impacts of Human Activities on Tree Species Composition Along the Forest Savanna Boundary in Nigeria

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Christiana Ndidi Egbinola

    2016-02-01

    Full Text Available The study investigated the tree species composition along the forest-savanna boundary in Oyo state of Nigeria with the aim of assessing the impact of human activities on the floristic composition. A transect was placed along the study area and species data was collected from quadrats placed in study plots within different study sites. Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA was used to determine vegetation assemblages, while both correlation and the analysis of variance (ANOVA were used to show the relationship between species in the different study sites. Results of the DCA revealed three species assemblages, an area with only forest species, another with only savanna species and a third with both forest/savanna species. ANOVA results further revealed that within the forest and savanna assemblages, species in mature and successional sites were alike. The study therefore revealed that human activities’ within the region is leading to the establishment of savanna species and an elimination of forest species.

  19. A rule of thumb in mammalian herbivores?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Augner; Provenza; Villalba

    1998-08-01

    In two experiments on appetitive learning we conditioned lambs, Ovis aries, to particular concentrations of a flavour by mixing the flavour with an energy-rich food that complemented their energy-poor diet. The lambs were subsequently offered energy-rich food with five different concentrations of the flavour (the concentration to which they were conditioned, two higher concentrations, and two lower concentrations). At these tests, the lambs consistently preferred the weaker flavours. This finding stands in contrast to earlier results on generalization gradients. In a third experiment, similarly designed to the other two, we tested for effects of a strong flavour on the behaviour of lambs when they were offered a novel nutritious food. Half of the lambs were offered unadulterated wheat, and the others strongly flavoured wheat. We found that the flavour in itself was initially aversive. We propose that the lambs' avoidance of foods with strong flavours may be an expression of a rule of thumb of the type 'given a choice, avoid food with strong flavours'. Such a rule could be part of a risk-averse foraging strategy displayed by mammalian herbivores, and which could be of particular importance when they encounter unfamiliar foods. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour

  20. Evolution of resistance to a multiple-herbivore community: genetic correlations, diffuse coevolution, and constraints on the plant's response to selection.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wise, Michael J; Rausher, Mark D

    2013-06-01

    Although plants are generally attacked by a community of several species of herbivores, relatively little is known about the strength of natural selection for resistance in multiple-herbivore communities-particularly how the strength of selection differs among herbivores that feed on different plant organs or how strongly genetic correlations in resistance affect the evolutionary responses of the plant. Here, we report on a field study measuring natural selection for resistance in a diverse community of herbivores of Solanum carolinense. Using linear phenotypic-selection analyses, we found that directional selection acted to increase resistance to seven species. Selection was strongest to increase resistance to fruit feeders, followed by flower feeders, then leaf feeders. Selection favored a decrease in resistance to a stem borer. Bootstrapping analyses showed that the plant population contained significant genetic variation for each of 14 measured resistance traits and significant covariances in one-third of the pairwise combinations of resistance traits. These genetic covariances reduced the plant's overall predicted evolutionary response for resistance against the herbivore community by about 60%. Diffuse (co)evolution was widespread in this community, and the diffuse interactions had an overwhelmingly constraining (rather than facilitative) effect on the plant's evolution of resistance. © 2013 The Author(s). Evolution © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.

  1. Horizontal and vertical variability of soil moisture in savanna ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Caylor, K.; D'Odorico, P.; Rodriguez-Iturbe, I.

    2004-12-01

    Soil moisture is a key hydrological variable that mediates the interactions between climate, soil, and vegetation dynamics in water-limited ecosystems. Because of the importance of water limitation in savannas, a number of theoretical models of tree-grass coexistence have been developed which differ in their underlying assumptions about the ways in which trees and grasses access and use soil moisture. However, clarification of the mechanisms that allow savanna vegetation to persist as a mixture of grasses and trees remains a vexing problem in both hydrological and vegetation science. A particular challenge is the fact that the spatial pattern of vegetation is both a cause and effect of variation in water availability in semiarid ecosystems. At landscape to regional scales, climatic and geologic constraints on soil moisture availability are primary determinants of vegetation structural pattern. However, at local to landscape scales the patchy vegetation structural mosaic serves to redistribute the availability of soil moisture in ways that have important consequences for structural dynamics and community composition. In this regard, the emerging field of ecohydrology is well suited to investigate questions concerning couplings between the patchy structural mosaic of savanna vegetation and the kinds self-organizing dynamics known to exist in other light and nutrient-limited vegetation systems. Here we address the role of patchy vegetation structure through the use of a lumped model of soil moisture dynamics that accounts for the effect of tree canopy on the lateral and vertical distribution of soil moisture. The model includes mechanisms for the drying of the ground surface due to soil evaporation in the sites with no tree cover, and for the lateral water uptake due to root invading areas with no canopy cover located in the proximity of trees. The model, when applied to a series of sites along a rainfall gradient in southern Africa, is able to explain the cover

  2. Patterns in woody vegetation structure across African savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Axelsson, Christoffer R.; Hanan, Niall P.

    2017-07-01

    Vegetation structure in water-limited systems is to a large degree controlled by ecohydrological processes, including mean annual precipitation (MAP) modulated by the characteristics of precipitation and geomorphology that collectively determine how rainfall is distributed vertically into soils or horizontally in the landscape. We anticipate that woody canopy cover, crown density, crown size, and the level of spatial aggregation among woody plants in the landscape will vary across environmental gradients. A high level of woody plant aggregation is most distinct in periodic vegetation patterns (PVPs), which emerge as a result of ecohydrological processes such as runoff generation and increased infiltration close to plants. Similar, albeit weaker, forces may influence the spatial distribution of woody plants elsewhere in savannas. Exploring these trends can extend our knowledge of how semi-arid vegetation structure is constrained by rainfall regime, soil type, topography, and disturbance processes such as fire. Using high-spatial-resolution imagery, a flexible classification framework, and a crown delineation method, we extracted woody vegetation properties from 876 sites spread over African savannas. At each site, we estimated woody cover, mean crown size, crown density, and the degree of aggregation among woody plants. This enabled us to elucidate the effects of rainfall regimes (MAP and seasonality), soil texture, slope, and fire frequency on woody vegetation properties. We found that previously documented increases in woody cover with rainfall is more consistently a result of increasing crown size than increasing density of woody plants. Along a gradient of mean annual precipitation from the driest (< 200 mm yr-1) to the wettest (1200-1400 mm yr-1) end, mean estimates of crown size, crown density, and woody cover increased by 233, 73, and 491 % respectively. We also found a unimodal relationship between mean crown size and sand content suggesting that maximal

  3. Patterns in woody vegetation structure across African savannas

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    C. R. Axelsson

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Vegetation structure in water-limited systems is to a large degree controlled by ecohydrological processes, including mean annual precipitation (MAP modulated by the characteristics of precipitation and geomorphology that collectively determine how rainfall is distributed vertically into soils or horizontally in the landscape. We anticipate that woody canopy cover, crown density, crown size, and the level of spatial aggregation among woody plants in the landscape will vary across environmental gradients. A high level of woody plant aggregation is most distinct in periodic vegetation patterns (PVPs, which emerge as a result of ecohydrological processes such as runoff generation and increased infiltration close to plants. Similar, albeit weaker, forces may influence the spatial distribution of woody plants elsewhere in savannas. Exploring these trends can extend our knowledge of how semi-arid vegetation structure is constrained by rainfall regime, soil type, topography, and disturbance processes such as fire. Using high-spatial-resolution imagery, a flexible classification framework, and a crown delineation method, we extracted woody vegetation properties from 876 sites spread over African savannas. At each site, we estimated woody cover, mean crown size, crown density, and the degree of aggregation among woody plants. This enabled us to elucidate the effects of rainfall regimes (MAP and seasonality, soil texture, slope, and fire frequency on woody vegetation properties. We found that previously documented increases in woody cover with rainfall is more consistently a result of increasing crown size than increasing density of woody plants. Along a gradient of mean annual precipitation from the driest (< 200 mm yr−1 to the wettest (1200–1400 mm yr−1 end, mean estimates of crown size, crown density, and woody cover increased by 233, 73, and 491 % respectively. We also found a unimodal relationship between mean crown size and sand

  4. Taxonomy Icon Data: African savanna elephant [Taxonomy Icon

    Lifescience Database Archive (English)

    Full Text Available African savanna elephant Loxodonta africana Chordata/Vertebrata/Mammalia/Theria/Eutheria/etc. Loxodonta_afri...cana_L.png Loxodonta_africana_NL.png Loxodonta_africana_S.png Loxodonta_africana_NS....png http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=L http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonom...y_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=NL http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+afric...ana&t=S http://biosciencedbc.jp/taxonomy_icon/icon.cgi?i=Loxodonta+africana&t=NS ...

  5. MARKET OF NON-WOOD FOREST PRODUCTS FROM BRAZILIAN SAVANNA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sandra Regina Afonso

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available In this article, we analyze the main non-wood forest products from Brazilian savanna. We studied the behavior and the growth rates of production and prices of almond of babaçu, oil of copaiba, fiber of buriti, leaf of jaborandi, bark of barbatimão, bark of angico, fruit of mangaba, almonds of pequi, from 1982 to 2005. All the products exhibited decreasing production, with exception of the oil of copaiba and almonds of pequi, which showed positive growth rates: 12.9% and 8.5%, respectively. The analysis of prices for most products was not significant, except for barks of barbatimão and angico, and almonds of pequi, which showed positive trends: 10.9%, 6.7%, and 4.6%, respectively. We believe that results were not significant due to the severe variations of the Brazilian currency in the period. We conclude that pequi is the main product from savanna and that oil of copaiba has the biggest increase in the production because most of the production comes from the whole Brazilian Amazon region.

  6. Seasonal variation of ground spiders in a Brazilian Savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marina Farcic Mineo

    2010-06-01

    Full Text Available The Brazilian Savanna Ecoregion (Cerrado is one of the richest biomes in the world, with a characteristic highly seasonal climate a dry season between May and September and a rainy season from October through April. Ground-dwelling spiders from three Cerrado phytophysiognomies, "campo cerrado", "cerrado" and "cerrad��o", were sampled using pitfall traps during two years, totaling 111 species and 3,529 individuals. The abundance of individuals and species richness was higher during the wet season. Fifty-eight species were captured exclusively during that period, whereas only nineteen were restricted to the dry season. Only two species were found in all samples. The number of juveniles was higher than the number of adults in all phytophysiognomies and in all species during both seasons. The highest abundance was registered in October and the lowest in April. Overall sex ratio was male-biased in all vegetation types sampled. Distinct climate variables affected the abundance of spiders depending on sex, age and vegetal physiognomy where they were sampled. This study involved the longest sampling of spider abundance and diversity on the ground of a Brazilian Savanna.

  7. Environmental determinants of tropical forest and savanna distribution: A quantitative model evaluation and its implication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zeng, Zhenzhong; Chen, Anping; Piao, Shilong; Rabin, Sam; Shen, Zehao

    2014-07-01

    The distributions of tropical ecosystems are rapidly being altered by climate change and anthropogenic activities. One possible trend—the loss of tropical forests and replacement by savannas—could result in significant shifts in ecosystem services and biodiversity loss. However, the influence and the relative importance of environmental factors in regulating the distribution of tropical forest and savanna biomes are still poorly understood, which makes it difficult to predict future tropical forest and savanna distributions in the context of climate change. Here we use boosted regression trees to quantitatively evaluate the importance of environmental predictors—mainly climatic, edaphic, and fire factors—for the tropical forest-savanna distribution at a mesoscale across the tropics (between 15°N and 35°S). Our results demonstrate that climate alone can explain most of the distribution of tropical forest and savanna at the scale considered; dry season average precipitation is the single most important determinant across tropical Asia-Australia, Africa, and South America. Given the strong tendency of increased seasonality and decreased dry season precipitation predicted by global climate models, we estimate that about 28% of what is now tropical forest would likely be lost to savanna by the late 21st century under the future scenario considered. This study highlights the importance of climate seasonality and interannual variability in predicting the distribution of tropical forest and savanna, supporting the climate as the primary driver in the savanna biogeography.

  8. Using Paleoecology to Inform Land Management as Climates Change: An Example from an Oak Savanna Ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Spencer, Jessica D.; Brunelle, Andrea; Hepola, Tim

    2017-12-01

    Oak savanna, a transitional ecosystem between open prairie and dense oak forest, was once widespread in Minnesota. Upon European settlement much of the oak savanna was destroyed. Recently, efforts to restore this ecosystem have increased and often include the reintroduction of fire. Though fire is known to serve an important role within oak savannas, there are currently few studies which address fire regimes on timescales longer than the last century. This research presents a paleoecological history of Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) in MN, USA, spanning the last 8000 years. The objectives of this study were to use charcoal, pollen, and magnetic susceptibility of lake sediments collected from Johnson Slough (JS) within the refuge to evaluate the natural range of variability and disturbance history of the oak savanna within the refuge, assess the success of current restoration strategies, and add to the regional paleoecological history. The mid/late Holocene period of the JS record shows a period of high fire activity from ca. 6500 to 2600 cal year BP, with a shift from prairie to oak savanna occurring over this same period. A (possibly agricultural) disturbance to JS sediments affected the period from ca. 2600 cal year BP to 1963 AD, which includes the time of Euro-American settlement. However, the destruction and subsequent restoration of the oak savanna is evident in a pollen ratio of Quercus:Poaceae, indicating that current restoration efforts have been successful at restoring the oak savanna to within the natural range of variability seen just prior to destruction.

  9. Macroevolution of plant defenses against herbivores in the evening primroses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Marc T J; Ives, Anthony R; Ahern, Jeffrey; Salminen, Juha-Pekka

    2014-07-01

    Plant species vary greatly in defenses against herbivores, but existing theory has struggled to explain this variation. Here, we test how phylogenetic relatedness, tradeoffs, trait syndromes, and sexual reproduction affect the macroevolution of defense. To examine the macroevolution of defenses, we studied 26 Oenothera (Onagraceae) species, combining chemistry, comparative phylogenetics and experimental assays of resistance against generalist and specialist herbivores. We detected dozens of phenolic metabolites within leaves, including ellagitannins (ETs), flavonoids, and caffeic acid derivatives (CAs). The concentration and composition of phenolics exhibited low to moderate phylogenetic signal. There were clear negative correlations between multiple traits, supporting the prediction of allocation tradeoffs. There were also positively covarying suites of traits, but these suites did not strongly predict resistance to herbivores and thus did not act as defensive syndromes. By contrast, specific metabolites did correlate with the performance of generalist and specialist herbivores. Finally, that repeated losses of sex in Oenothera was associated with the evolution of increased flavonoid diversity and altered phenolic composition. These results show that secondary chemistry has evolved rapidly during the diversification of Oenothera. This evolution has been marked by allocation tradeoffs between traits, some of which are related to herbivore performance. The repeated loss of sex appears also to have constrained the evolution of plant secondary chemistry, which may help to explain variation in defense among plants. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  10. Increased tree densities in South African savannas: >50 years of data suggests CO2 as driver

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Buitenwerf, R

    2012-02-01

    Full Text Available EC et al. (2007) Effects of four decades of fire manipulation on woody vegetation structure in savanna. Ecology, 88, 1119-1125. Hoffman MT, O'Connor TG (1999) Vegetation change over 40 years in the Weenen/Muden area, KwaZulu-Natal: evidence from... response of savanna woody plant species following harvesting: the value of persistence. Forest Ecology and Management, 232, 114-123. O'Connor TG (1985) A synthesis of field experiments concerning the grass layer in the savanna regions of southern...

  11. Influence of Fire Mosaics, Habitat Characteristics and Cattle Disturbance on Mammals in Fire-Prone Savanna Landscapes of the Northern Kimberley.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ian J Radford

    mammals in the north Kimberley. A managed fire mosaic that reduces large scale and intense fires, including the retention of ≥4 years unburnt patches, will clearly benefit savanna mammals. We also highlighted the importance of fire mosaics that retain sufficient shelter for mammals. Along with fire, it is clear that grazing by introduced herbivores also needs to be reduced so that habitat quality is maintained.

  12. High-Arctic Plant-Herbivore Interactions under Climate Influence

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Berg, Thomas B.; Schmidt, Niels M.; Høye, Toke Thomas

    This chapter focuses on a 10-year data series from Zackenberg on the trophic interactions between two characteristic arctic plant species, arctic willow Salix arctica and mountain avens Dryas octopetala, and three herbivore species covering the very scale of size present at Zackenberg, namely......, the moth Sympistis zetterstedtii, the collared lemming Dicrostonyx groenlandicus and the musk ox Ovibos moschatus. Data from Zackenberg show that timing of snowmelt, the length of the growing season and summer temperature are the basic variables that determine the phenology of flowering and primary...... production upon which the herbivores depend, and snow may be the most important climatic factor affecting the different trophic levels and the interactions between them. Hence, the spatio-temporal distribution of snow, as well as thawing events during winter, may have considerable effects on the herbivores...

  13. Multi-factor climate change effects on insect herbivore performance

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Scherber, Christoph; Gladbach, David J; Stevnbak, Karen

    2013-01-01

    The impact of climate change on herbivorous insects can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem processes. However, experiments investigating the combined effects of multiple climate change drivers on herbivorous insects are scarce. We independently manipulated three climate change drivers (CO...... suturalis Thomson), an important herbivore on heather, to ambient versus elevated drought, temperature, and CO2 (plus all combinations) for 5 weeks. Larval weight and survival were highest under ambient conditions and decreased significantly with the number of climate change drivers. Weight was lowest under...... the drought treatment, and there was a three-way interaction between time, CO2, and drought. Survival was lowest when drought, warming, and elevated CO2 were combined. Effects of climate change drivers depended on other co-acting factors and were mediated by changes in plant secondary compounds, nitrogen...

  14. Distance and sex determine host plant choice by herbivorous beetles.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Daniel J Ballhorn

    Full Text Available Plants respond to herbivore damage with the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs. This indirect defense can cause ecological costs when herbivores themselves use VOCs as cues to localize suitable host plants. Can VOCs reliably indicate food plant quality to herbivores?We determined the choice behavior of herbivorous beetles (Chrysomelidae: Gynandrobrotica guerreroensis and Cerotoma ruficornis when facing lima bean plants (Fabaceae: Phaseolus lunatus with different cyanogenic potential, which is an important constitutive direct defense. Expression of inducible indirect defenses was experimentally manipulated by jasmonic acid treatment at different concentrations. The long-distance responses of male and female beetles to the resulting induced plant volatiles were investigated in olfactometer and free-flight experiments and compared to the short-distance decisions of the same beetles in feeding trials.Female beetles of both species were repelled by VOCs released from all induced plants independent of the level of induction. In contrast, male beetles were repelled by strongly induced plants, showed no significant differences in choice behavior towards moderately induced plants, but responded positively to VOCs released from little induced plants. Thus, beetle sex and plant VOCs had a significant effect on host searching behavior. By contrast, feeding behavior of both sexes was strongly determined by the cyanogenic potential of leaves, although females again responded more sensitively than males. Apparently, VOCs mainly provide information to these beetles that are not directly related to food quality. Being induced by herbivory and involved in indirect plant defense, such VOCs might indicate the presence of competitors and predators to herbivores. We conclude that plant quality as a food source and finding a potentially enemy-free space is more important for female than for male insect herbivores, whereas the presence of a slightly damaged

  15. Do herbivores eavesdrop on ant chemical communication to avoid predation?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    David J Gonthier

    Full Text Available Strong effects of predator chemical cues on prey are common in aquatic and marine ecosystems, but are thought to be rare in terrestrial systems and specifically for arthropods. For ants, herbivores are hypothesized to eavesdrop on ant chemical communication and thereby avoid predation or confrontation. Here I tested the effect of ant chemical cues on herbivore choice and herbivory. Using Margaridisa sp. flea beetles and leaves from the host tree (Conostegia xalapensis, I performed paired-leaf choice feeding experiments. Coating leaves with crushed ant liquids (Azteca instabilis, exposing leaves to ant patrolling prior to choice tests (A. instabilis and Camponotus textor and comparing leaves from trees with and without A. instabilis nests resulted in more herbivores and herbivory on control (no ant-treatment relative to ant-treatment leaves. In contrast to A. instabilis and C. textor, leaves previously patrolled by Solenopsis geminata had no difference in beetle number and damage compared to control leaves. Altering the time A. instabilis patrolled treatment leaves prior to choice tests (0-, 5-, 30-, 90-, 180-min. revealed treatment effects were only statistically significant after 90- and 180-min. of prior leaf exposure. This study suggests, for two ecologically important and taxonomically diverse genera (Azteca and Camponotus, ant chemical cues have important effects on herbivores and that these effects may be widespread across the ant family. It suggests that the effect of chemical cues on herbivores may only appear after substantial previous ant activity has occurred on plant tissues. Furthermore, it supports the hypothesis that herbivores use ant chemical communication to avoid predation or confrontation with ants.

  16. Combined effects of patch size and plant nutritional quality on local densities of insect herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bukovinszky, T.; Gols, R.; Kamp, A.; De Oliveira-Domingues, F.; Hambäck, P.A.; Jongema, Y.; Bezemer, T.M.; Dicke, M.; Van Dam, N.M.; Harvey, J.A.

    2010-01-01

    Plant–insect interactions occur in spatially heterogeneous habitats. Understanding how such interactions shape density distributions of herbivores requires knowledge on how variation in plant traits (e.g. nutritional quality) affects herbivore abundance through, for example, affecting movement rates

  17. Fish, Benthic and Urchin Survey Data from Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (HFMA), Maui since 2008

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — In 2009, the state of Hawaii established the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA) in West Maui. Fishing for herbivores (parrotfishes, surgeonfishes,...

  18. The Spatial Pattern and Interactions of Woody Plants on the Temperate Savanna of Inner Mongolia, China: The Effects of Alternating Seasonal Grazing-Mowing Regimes.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiao Wang

    Full Text Available Ulmus pumila tree-dominated temperate savanna, which is distributed widely throughout the forest-steppe ecotone on the Mongolian Plateau, is a relatively stable woody-herbaceous complex ecosystem in northern China. Relatively more attention has been paid to the degradation of typical steppe areas, whereas less focus has been placed on the succession of this typical temperate savanna under the present management regime. In this study, we established 3 sample plots 100 m×100 m in size along a gradient of fixed distances from one herder's stationary site and then surveyed all the woody plants in these plots. A spatial point pattern analysis was employed to clarify the spatial distribution and interaction of these woody plants. The results indicated that old U. pumila trees (DBH ≥ 20 cm showed a random distribution and that medium U. pumila trees (5 cm ≤ DBH < 20 cm showed an aggregated distribution at a smaller scale and a random distribution at a larger scale; few or no juvenile trees (DBH < 5 cm were present, and seedlings (without DBH formed aggregations in all 3 plots. These findings can be explained by an alternate seasonal grazing-mowing regime (exclosure in summer, mowing in autumn and grazing in winter and spring; the shrubs in all 3 plots exist along a grazing gradient that harbors xerophytic and mesophytic shrubs. Of these shrubs, xerophytic shrubs show significant aggregation at a smaller scale (0-5.5 m, whereas mesophytic shrubs show significant aggregation at a larger scale (0-25 m, which may be the result of the dual effects of grazing pressure and climate change. Medium trees and seedlings significantly facilitate the distributions of xerophytic shrubs and compete significantly with mesophytic shrubs due to differences in water use strategies. We conclude that the implementation of an alternative grazing-mowing regime results in xerophytic shrub encroachment or existence, breaking the chain of normal succession in a U. pumila

  19. Inferences of Present and Past Changes at Isolated Enclaves and Matrix of Savannas by Carbon Isotopes in a Transitional Forest-Savanna Area in Northern Amazonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Couto-Santos, F. R.; Luizao, F. J.; Camargo, P. B.

    2013-12-01

    The evolutionary history of savannas influenced by short term climate cycles, during the Quaternary Period, could prompt variations in forest cover often related to movements of the forest-savanna boundary. In this study we investigated current and past changes in the structure of vegetation and the origins of savannas of different natures in a biogeographically and climatic transitional forest-savanna area in northern Amazonia. Variations in the isotopic composition of soil organic matter (δ13C) from surface soils (0-10 cm) along forest-savanna boundaries, detected by a sigmoidal non-linear function, were used to identify current changes in vegetation, while past changes were inferred by discontinuities in the evolution of δ13C with soil depth using piecewise regression associated with radiocarbon dating (14C). By comparing small isolated savanna enclaves inside a strictly protected nature reserve (ESEC Maracá) with its outskirts unprotected continuous savanna matrix, we found that origins and the patterns of dynamics were distinct between these areas and did not respond in the same way to climate change and fire events, either in the last decades or during the Holocene. The stability of the present boundaries of the surrounding savanna matrix reflects the resilience of the transitional forests under a recent intensified fire regime and favorable climate, while the deep forest soil isotopic signal indicated a forest shrinkage of at least 70 m occurring since its origin in early Holocene until 780 years BP associated with a climate drier than the current one. Contrarily, the protected enclaves inside ESEC Maracá, remained stable since the middle Holocene, suggesting a non-anthropogenic origin related to soil edaphic conditions, but with recent dynamics of advancing forest by 8 m century-1 favored by current climate and lacking fire events. A detailed understanding of the origins of savannas of distinct natures and the way they are affected by climate and fire

  20. Selenium hyperaccumulation offers protection from cell disruptor herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Quinn Colin F

    2010-08-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Hyperaccumulation, the rare capacity of certain plant species to accumulate toxic trace elements to levels several orders of magnitude higher than other species growing on the same site, is thought to be an elemental defense mechanism against herbivores and pathogens. Previous research has shown that selenium (Se hyperaccumulation protects plants from a variety of herbivores and pathogens. Selenium hyperaccumulating plants sequester Se in discrete locations in the leaf periphery, making them potentially more susceptible to some herbivore feeding modes than others. In this study we investigate the protective function of Se in the Se hyperaccumulators Stanleya pinnata and Astragalus bisulcatus against two cell disrupting herbivores, the western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis and the two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae. Results Astragalus bisulcatus and S. pinnata with high Se concentrations (greater than 650 mg Se kg-1 were less subject to thrips herbivory than plants with low Se levels (less than 150 mg Se kg-1. Furthermore, in plants containing elevated Se levels, leaves with higher concentrations of Se suffered less herbivory than leaves with less Se. Spider mites also preferred to feed on low-Se A. bisulcatus and S. pinnata plants rather than high-Se plants. Spider mite populations on A. bisulcatus decreased after plants were given a higher concentration of Se. Interestingly, spider mites could colonize A. bisulcatus plants containing up to 200 mg Se kg-1 dry weight, concentrations which are toxic to many other herbivores. Selenium distribution and speciation studies using micro-focused X-ray fluorescence (μXRF mapping and Se K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy revealed that the spider mites accumulated primarily methylselenocysteine, the relatively non-toxic form of Se that is also the predominant form of Se in hyperaccumulators. Conclusions This is the first reported study investigating the

  1. Effects of large herbivores on grassland arthropod diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Klink, R; van der Plas, F; van Noordwijk, C G E Toos; WallisDeVries, M F; Olff, H

    2015-05-01

    Both arthropods and large grazing herbivores are important components and drivers of biodiversity in grassland ecosystems, but a synthesis of how arthropod diversity is affected by large herbivores has been largely missing. To fill this gap, we conducted a literature search, which yielded 141 studies on this topic of which 24 simultaneously investigated plant and arthropod diversity. Using the data from these 24 studies, we compared the responses of plant and arthropod diversity to an increase in grazing intensity. This quantitative assessment showed no overall significant effect of increasing grazing intensity on plant diversity, while arthropod diversity was generally negatively affected. To understand these negative effects, we explored the mechanisms by which large herbivores affect arthropod communities: direct effects, changes in vegetation structure, changes in plant community composition, changes in soil conditions, and cascading effects within the arthropod interaction web. We identify three main factors determining the effects of large herbivores on arthropod diversity: (i) unintentional predation and increased disturbance, (ii) decreases in total resource abundance for arthropods (biomass) and (iii) changes in plant diversity, vegetation structure and abiotic conditions. In general, heterogeneity in vegetation structure and abiotic conditions increases at intermediate grazing intensity, but declines at both low and high grazing intensity. We conclude that large herbivores can only increase arthropod diversity if they cause an increase in (a)biotic heterogeneity, and then only if this increase is large enough to compensate for the loss of total resource abundance and the increased mortality rate. This is expected to occur only at low herbivore densities or with spatio-temporal variation in herbivore densities. As we demonstrate that arthropod diversity is often more negatively affected by grazing than plant diversity, we strongly recommend considering the

  2. Facilitating Transfers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjær, Poul F.

    to specific logics of temporalisation and spatial expansion of a diverse set of social processes in relation to, for example, the economy, politics, science and the mass media. On this background, the paper will more concretely develop a conceptual framework for classifying different contextual orders...... that the essential functional and normative purpose of regulatory governance is to facilitate, stabilise and justify the transfer of condensed social components (such as economic capital and products, political decisions, legal judgements, religious beliefs and scientific knowledge) from one social contexts...

  3. New evidence for a multi-functional role of herbivore-induced plant volatiles in defense against herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriguez-Saona, Cesar R; Frost, Christopher J

    2010-01-01

    A diverse, often species-specific, array of herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are commonly emitted from plants after herbivore attack. Although research in the last 3 decades indicates a multi-functional role of these HIPVs, the evolutionary rationale underpinning HIPV emissions remains an open question. Many studies have documented that HIPVs can attract natural enemies, and some studies indicate that neighboring plants may eavesdrop their undamaged neighbors and induce or prime their own defenses prior to herbivore attack. Both of these ecological roles for HIPVs are risky strategies for the emitting plant. In a recent paper, we reported that most branches within a blueberry bush share limited vascular connectivity, which restricts the systemic movement of internal signals. Blueberry branches circumvent this limitation by responding to HIPVs emitted from neighboring branches of the same plant: exposure to HIPVs increases levels of defensive signaling hormones, changes their defensive status, and makes undamaged branches more resistant to herbivores. Similar findings have been reported recently for sagebrush, poplar and lima beans, where intra-plant communication played a role in activating or priming defenses against herbivores. Thus, there is increasing evidence that intra-plant communication occurs in a wide range of taxonomically unrelated plant species. While the degree to which this phenomenon increases a plant's fitness remains to be determined in most cases, we here argue that within-plant signaling provides more adaptive benefit for HIPV emissions than does between-plant signaling or attraction of predators. That is, the emission of HIPVs might have evolved primarily to protect undamaged parts of the plant against potential enemies, and neighboring plants and predators of herbivores later co-opted such HIPV signals for their own benefit.

  4. Herbivore benefits from vectoring plant virus through reduction of period of vulnerability to predation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Belliure, B.; Janssen, A.; Sabelis, M.W.

    2008-01-01

    Herbivores can profit from vectoring plant pathogens because the induced defence of plants against pathogens sometimes interferes with the induced defence of plants against herbivores. Plants can also defend themselves indirectly by the action of the natural enemies of the herbivores. It is unknown

  5. Coevolutionary arms race versus host defense chase in a tropical herbivore-plant system.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Endara, María-José; Coley, Phyllis D; Ghabash, Gabrielle; Nicholls, James A; Dexter, Kyle G; Donoso, David A; Stone, Graham N; Pennington, R Toby; Kursar, Thomas A

    2017-09-05

    Coevolutionary models suggest that herbivores drive diversification and community composition in plants. For herbivores, many questions remain regarding how plant defenses shape host choice and community structure. We addressed these questions using the tree genus Inga and its lepidopteran herbivores in the Amazon. We constructed phylogenies for both plants and insects and quantified host associations and plant defenses. We found that similarity in herbivore assemblages between Inga species was correlated with similarity in defenses. There was no correlation with phylogeny, a result consistent with our observations that the expression of defenses in Inga is independent of phylogeny. Furthermore, host defensive traits explained 40% of herbivore community similarity. Analyses at finer taxonomic scales showed that different lepidopteran clades select hosts based on different defenses, suggesting taxon-specific histories of herbivore-host plant interactions. Finally, we compared the phylogeny and defenses of Inga to phylogenies for the major lepidopteran clades. We found that closely related herbivores fed on Inga with similar defenses rather than on closely related plants. Together, these results suggest that plant defenses might be more evolutionarily labile than the herbivore traits related to host association. Hence, there is an apparent asymmetry in the evolutionary interactions between Inga and its herbivores. Although plants may evolve under selection by herbivores, we hypothesize that herbivores may not show coevolutionary adaptations, but instead "chase" hosts based on the herbivore's own traits at the time that they encounter a new host, a pattern more consistent with resource tracking than with the arms race model of coevolution.

  6. Large herbivores as a driving force of woodland-grassland cycles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Cornelissen, Perry

    2017-01-01

    This thesis examines the mutual interactions between the population dynamics of large herbivores and wood-pasture cycles in eutrophic wetlands. Therefore, habitat use and population dynamics of large herbivores, the effects of large herbivores on vegetation development, and the mutual

  7. Large herbivores that strive mightily but eat and drink as friends

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de W.F.; Prins, H.H.T.

    1990-01-01

    Grazing in patches of Cynodon dactylon and of Sporobolus spicatus by four large herbivores, and the interaction between these sedentary herbivores was studied in Lake Manyara National Park, northern Tanzania. The herbivores were the African buffalo, Syncerus caffer; the African elephan, Loxodonta

  8. The importance of phenology in studies of plant-herbivore-parasitoid interactions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Fei, Minghui

    2016-01-01

    Thesis title: The importance of phenology in studies of plant-herbivore-parasitoid interactions Author: Minghui Fei Abstract As food resources of herbivorous insects, the quality and quantity of plants can directly affect the performance of herbivorous insects and indirectly affect

  9. Management of Herbaceous Seeps and Wet Savannas for Threatened and Endangered Species

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Harper, Mary

    1998-01-01

    Wetland communities such as herbaceous seeps and wet savannas occur on military installations throughout the southeastern United States, usually as pockets of wet habitat within a matrix of drier longleaf pine woodlands...

  10. Hyper-temporal c-band SAR for baseline woody structural assessments in deciduous savannas

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mathieu, Renaud SA

    2016-08-01

    Full Text Available deciduous savanna environment. Results showed that: the temporal filter reduced image variance; the random forest model out-performed the linear model; while the TCV metric consistently showed marginally higher accuracies than the TCC metric. Combinations...

  11. Nylsvley - South African Savanna ecosystem project: objectives, organisation and research programme

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Huntley, BJ

    1978-03-01

    Full Text Available A description of the objectives, organization and research programme of the Savanna Ecosystem Project being undertaken at Nylsvley in the northern Transvaal is presented. The project is a cooperative multi-disciplinary study of the structure...

  12. Mapping big tree presence in open savanna, using tree shadow and high resolution multispectral imagery

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mathieu, Renaud SA

    2012-10-01

    Full Text Available Large scattered trees play an important role in the functioning of savanna landscapes. They act as focal points for various organism activities, which influence the distribution of nutrients and water within the landscape, which in turn influences...

  13. Global extent and determinants of savanna and forest as alternative biome states

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Staver, C

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Theoretically, fire–tree cover feedbacks can maintain savanna and forest as alternative stable states. However, the global extent of fire- driven discontinuities in tree cover is unknown, especially accounting for seasonality and soils. The authors...

  14. Impact of savanna conversion to oil palm plantations on C stocks dynamics and soil fertility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quezada, Juan Carlos; Guillaume, Thomas; Buttler, Alexandre; Ruegg, Johanna

    2017-04-01

    Large-scale expansion of oil palm cultivation on forested land in South-East Asia during the last decades lead to high negative environmental impacts. Because rainforests store high amount of C, their conversion to oil palm plantations results in large net CO2 emissions. Oil palm cultivation in tropical ecosystems such as savanna that store less C than forests is seen as an alternative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of future oil palm development. While this option is more and more frequently mentioned, few data are available on the effective gain in C storage. Furthermore negative impact on soil organic carbon and soil fertility could offset gains of C storage in oil palm biomass. Here, we present results on aboveground and belowground C stocks and soil nutrient dynamics over a full rotation cycle of oil palm plantations established on tropical savanna grasslands. Three natural savanna grasslands as reference sites and 9 oil palm plantations ranging from two to twenty-seven years old were selected in the Llanos in Colombia. Oxisols were sampled down to 70 cm in each management zones of oil palm plantations (weeded circle, interrow, frond piles and harvesting path). Taking advantages of a shift from C4 to C3 vegetation, we quantified savanna-derived soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition and oil palm-derived SOC stabilization rates and how they were affected by management practices (mineral fertilization, organic amendments, etc.). Results show that, in opposite to forest conversion, C storage increases when savannas are converted to oil palm plantations. Because soil C storage was very low in natural conditions, SOC changes had little effects on overall C storage. Substitution of savanna-derived SOC by oil palm-derived SOC was very fast in the topsoil and highest under frond pile and weeded circle where C and nutrients inputs are highest. However, stabilization of oil palm-derived SOC compensated loss of savanna-derived SOC rather than increased SOC stocks

  15. Impacts of landuse and climate change on the dynamics and biodiversity in the Thornbush Savanna Biome

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Jeltsch, F

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available pressure on dryland ecosystem services takes place in regions of intermediate aridity and not, as might be expected, in dry subhumid ar- eas where population density is highest, or in hyperarid areas, where population is lowest. The high... of households (Ericson & Watson 2009). They can function as a model-region for a broad range of dry- lands, especially non-humid savannas, worldwide?in particular as projected climatic changes for most subhumid and semiarid savanna regions indicate major...

  16. Is the Performance of a Specialist Herbivore Affected by Female Choices and the Adaptability of the Offspring?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tarcísio Visintin da Silva Galdino

    Full Text Available The performance of herbivorous insects is related to the locations of defenses and nutrients found in the different plant organs on which they feed. In this context, the females of herbivorous insect species select certain parts of the plant where their offspring can develop well. In addition, their offspring can adapt to plant defenses. A system where these ecological relationships can be studied occurs in the specialist herbivore, Tuta absoluta, on tomato plants. In our experiments we evaluated: (i the performance of the herbivore T. absoluta in relation to the tomato plant parts on which their offspring had fed, (ii the spatial distribution of the insect stages on the plant canopy and (iii the larval resistance to starvation and their walking speed at different instar stages. We found that the T. absoluta females preferred to lay their eggs in the tomato plant parts where their offspring had greater chances of success. We verified that the T. absoluta females laid their eggs on both sides of the leaves to better exploit resources. We also observed that the older larvae (3rd and 4th instars moved to the most nutritious parts of the plant, thus increasing their performance. The T. absoluta females and offspring (larvae were capable of identifying plant sites where their chances of better performance were higher. Additionally, their offspring (larvae spread across the plant to better exploit the available plant nutrients. These behavioral strategies of T. absoluta facilitate improvement in their performance after acquiring better resources, which help reduce their mortality by preventing the stimulation of plant defense compounds and the action of natural enemies.

  17. Reduced herbivore pressure under rainy ENSO conditions could facilitate dryland reforestation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gutierrez, J.R.; Holmgren, M.; Manrique, R.; Squeo, F.A.

    2007-01-01

    Most semi-arid and arid regions around the world have lost a major part of their original vegetation. Restoration of once shrublands and woodlands is often challenged by low seedling establishment success due to water stress and herbivory. In some regions, increased rainfall during El Niño Southern

  18. Facilitating participation

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Skøtt, Bo

    2018-01-01

    the resulting need for a redefinition of library competence. In doing this, I primarily address the first two questions from Chapter 1 and how they relate to the public’s informal, leisure-time activities in a networked society. In particular, I focus on the skills of reflexive self-perception and informed...... opinion formation. Further, I point out the significance which these informal leisure-time activities have for public library staff’s cultural dissemination skills. In this way, I take on the question of the skills required for facilitating the learning of a participatory public (cf. Chapter 1......), exemplifying with the competence required of library staff. My discussion will proceed by way of a literature review. In the next section, I shall explain how and what sources were chosen and section three and four present the theoretical framework and how the applied theories are related. In the fifth section...

  19. Facilitating Transfers

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjær, Poul F.

    2018-01-01

    Departing from the paradox that globalisation has implied an increase, rather than a decrease, in contextual diversity, this paper re-assesses the function, normative purpose and location of Regulatory Governance Frameworks in world society. Drawing on insights from sociology of law and world...... society studies, the argument advanced is that Regulatory Governance Frameworks are oriented towards facilitating transfers of condensed social components, such as economic capital and products, legal acts, political decisions and scientific knowledge, from one legally-constituted normative order, i.......e. contextual setting, to another. Against this background, it is suggested that Regulatory Governance Frameworks can be understood as schemes which act as ‘rites of passage’ aimed at providing legal stabilisation to social processes characterised by liminality, i.e ambiguity, hybridity and in-betweenness....

  20. Herbivore-induced resistance against microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vos, de M.; Zaanen, van W.; Koornneef, A.; Korzelius, J.P.; Dicke, M.; Loon, van L.C.; Pieterse, C.M.J.

    2006-01-01

    Caterpillars of the herbivore Pieris rapae stimulate the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and trigger a defense response that affects insect performance on systemic tissues. To investigate the spectrum of effectiveness of P. rapae-induced

  1. Herbivore-induced resistance against microbial pathogens in Arabidopsis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vos, M. de; Zaanen, W. van; Koornneef, A.; Korzelius, J.P.; Dicke, M.; Loon, L.C. van; Pieterse, C.M.J.

    2006-01-01

    Caterpillars of the herbivore Pieris rapae stimulate the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and ethylene (ET) in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and trigger a defense response that affects insect performance on systemic tissues. To investigate the sspectrum of effectiveness of P. rapae-induced

  2. Experimental evidence for herbivore limitation of the treeline.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Speed, James D M; Austrheim, Gunnar; Hester, Alison J; Mysterud, Atle

    2010-11-01

    The treeline ecotone divides forest from open alpine or arctic vegetation states. Treelines are generally perceived to be temperature limited. The role of herbivores in limiting the treeline is more controversial, as experimental evidence from relevant large scales is lacking. Here we quantify the impact of different experimentally controlled herbivore densities on the recruitment and survival of birch Betula pubescens tortuosa along an altitudinal gradient in the mountains of southern Norway. After eight years of summer grazing in large-scale enclosures at densities of 0, 25, and 80 sheep/km2, birch recruited within the whole altitudinal range of ungrazed enclosures, but recruitment was rarer in enclosures with low-density sheep and was largely limited to within the treeline in enclosures with high-density sheep. In contrast, the distribution of saplings (birch older than the experiment) did not differ between grazing treatments, suggesting that grazing sheep primarily limit the establishment of new tree recruits rather than decrease the survival of existing individuals. This study provides direct experimental evidence that herbivores can limit the treeline below its potential at the landscape scale and even at low herbivore densities in this climatic zone. Land use changes should thus be considered in addition to climatic changes as potential drivers of ecotone shifts.

  3. Resilience in plant-herbivore networks during secondary succession.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Edith Villa-Galaviz

    Full Text Available Extensive land-use change in the tropics has produced a mosaic of successional forests within an agricultural and cattle-pasture matrix. Post-disturbance biodiversity assessments have found that regeneration speed depends upon propagule availability and the intensity and duration of disturbance. However, reestablishment of species interactions is still poorly understood and this limits our understanding of the anthropogenic impacts upon ecosystem resilience. This is the first investigation that evaluates plant-herbivore interaction networks during secondary succession. In particular we investigated succession in a Mexican tropical dry forest using data of caterpillar associations with plants during 2007-2010. Plant-herbivore networks showed high resilience. We found no differences in most network descriptors between secondary and mature forest and only recently abandoned fields were found to be different. No significant nestedness or modularity network structure was found. Plant-herbivore network properties appear to quickly reestablish after perturbation, despite differences in species richness and composition. This study provides some valuable guidelines for the implement of restoration efforts that can enhance ecological processes such as the interaction between plants and their herbivores.

  4. Immune defence strategies of generalist and specialist insect herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Barthel, A.; Kopka, I.; Vogel, H.; Zipfel, P.; Heckel, D.G.; Groot, A.T.

    2014-01-01

    Ecological immunology examines the adaptive responses of animals to pathogens in relation to other environmental factors and explores the consequences of trade-offs between investment in immune function and other life-history traits. Among species of herbivorous insects, diet breadth may vary

  5. Asymmetric impacts of two herbivore ecotypes on similar host plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ecotypes may arise following allopatric separation from source populations. The simultaneous transfer of an exotic plant to a novel environment, along with its stenophagous herbivore, may complicate more traditional patterns of divergence from the plant and insect source populations. We evaluated ...

  6. Dietary patterns of two herbivorous rodents: and Parotomys brantsii ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Frequency of occurrence of plant species in the diets were compared with availability of the plants in the rodents' habitats. Both rodents are generalist herbivores, eating plants species in proportion to the availability in their habitats. Dietary patterns, diversity of diet and degree of overlap between rodent's diets are a function ...

  7. The relation between herbivore density and relative resource ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The relation between kudu density and the relative density of habitat patches in each landscape was significant, with exponential models producing more significant statistics than linear models. Regressions of resource density against animal density are useful to understand 'carrying capacity' for wild herbivores, and ...

  8. Ecology of Arabidopsis thaliana : local adaptation and interaction with herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mosleh Arany, A.

    2006-01-01

    As first step the impact of herbivory and abiotic factors on population dynamics of Arabidopsis thaliana were studied. Ceutorhynchus atomus and C. contractus were identified as the major insect herbivores on A. thaliana population, reducing seed production by more than 40%. Mortality from February

  9. Resource partitioning between large herbivores in Hustai National Park, Mongolia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Sietses, D.J.; Faupin, G.; Boer, de W.F.; Jong, de C.B.; Henkens, R.J.H.G.; Usukhjargal, D.; Batbaatar, T.

    2009-01-01

    Re-introduced Przewalski horses in Hustai National Park, Mongolia could suffer from food competition with other herbivore species through food resource depletion. Diet composition of the Przewalski horse (Equus ferus przewalskii), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and four livestock species (sheep, goat,

  10. Are exotic herbivores better competitors? A meta-analysis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Radville, Laura; Gonda-King, Liahna; Gómez, Sara; Kaplan, Ian; Preisser, Evan L

    2014-01-01

    Competition plays an important role in structuring the community dynamics of phytophagous insects. As the number and impact of biological invasions increase, it has become increasingly important to determine whether competitive differences exist between native and exotic insects. We conducted a meta-analysis to test the hypothesis that native/ exotic status affects the outcome of herbivore competition. Specifically, we used data from 160 published studies to assess plant-mediated competition in phytophagous insects. For each pair of competing herbivores, we determined the native range and coevolutionary history of each herbivore and host plant. Plant-mediated competition occurred frequently, but neither native nor exotic insects were consistently better competitors. Spatial separation reduced competition in native insects but showed little effect on exotics. Temporal separation negatively impacted native insects but did not affect competition in exotics. Insects that coevolved with their host plant were more affected by interspecific competition than herbivores that lacked a coevolutionary history. Insects that have not coevolved with their host plant may be at a competitive advantage if they overcome plant defenses. As native/exotic status does not consistently predict outcomes of competitive interactions, plant-insect coevolutionary history should be considered in studies of competition.

  11. The individual and interactive effects of tree-tree establishment competition and fire on savanna structure and dynamics

    OpenAIRE

    Calabrese, Justin; Vázquez, Federico; López, Cristóbal; San Miguel, Maxi; Grimm, Volker

    2010-01-01

    The mechanisms regulating savanna tree populations are still not well understood. Recent empirical work suggests that both tree-tree competition and fire are key factors in semi-arid to mesic savannas. However, the potential for competition to structure savannas, particularly in interaction with fire, has received little theoretical attention. We develop a minimalistic and analytically tractable stochastic cellular automaton to study the individual and combined effects of competition and fire...

  12. ASSESSING OF HERBIVOROUS AND BENEFICIAL INSECTS ON SWITCHGRASS IN UKRAINE.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stefanovska, T; Kucherovska, S; Pisdlisnyuk, V

    2014-01-01

    A perennial switchgrass, (Panicum virgatum L.), (C4) that is native to North America has good potential for biomass production because of its wide geographic distribution and adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. Insects can significantly impact the yield and quality of biofuel crops. If switchgrass are to be grown on marginally arable land or in monoculture, it are likely to be plagued with herbivore pests and plant diseases at a rate that exceeds what would be expected if the plants were not stressed in this manner. This biofuel crop has been under evaluation for commercial growing in Ukraine for eight years. However, insect diversity and the potential impact of pests on biomass production of this feedstock have not been accessed yet. The objective of our study, started in 2011, is a survey of switch grass insects by trophic groups and determine species that have pest status at two sites in the Central part of Ukraine (Kiev and Poltava regions). In Poltava site we investigated the effect of nine varieties of switchgrass (lowland and upland) to insects' diversity. We assessed changes over time in the densities of major insects' trophic groups, identifying potential pests and natural enemies. Obtained results indicates that different life stages of herbivorous insects from Hymenoptera, Homoptera, Diptera and Coleoptera orders were present on switchgrass during the growing season. Our study results suggests that choice of variety has an impact on trophic groups' structure and number of insects from different orders on swicthgrass. Herbivores and beneficial insects were the only groups that showed significant differences across sampling dates. The highest population of herbivores insects we recorded on 'Alamo' variety for studied years, although herbivore diversity tended to increase on 'Shelter', 'Alamo' and 'Cave-in-Rock' during 2012 and 2013. 'Dacotah', 'Nebraska', 'Sunburst', 'Forestburg' and 'Carthage' showed the highest level of beneficial insects

  13. Positive interactions between large herbivores and grasshoppers, and their consequences for grassland plant diversity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhong, Zhiwei; Wang, Deli; Zhu, Hui; Wang, Ling; Feng, Chao; Wang, Zhongnan

    2014-04-01

    Although the influence of positive interactions on plant and sessile communities has been well documented, surprisingly little is known about their role in structuring terrestrial animal communities. We evaluated beneficial interactions between two distantly related herbivore taxa, large vertebrate grazers (sheep) and smaller insect grazers (grasshoppers), using a set of field experiments in eastern Eurasian steppe of China. Grazing by large herbivores caused significantly higher grasshopper density, and this pattern persisted until the end of the experiment. Grasshoppers, in turn, increased the foraging time of larger herbivores, but such response occurred only during the peak of growing season (August). These reciprocal interactions were driven by differential herbivore foraging preferences for plant resources; namely, large herbivores preferred Artemisia forbs, whereas grasshoppers preferred Leymus grass. The enhancement of grasshopper density in areas grazed by large herbivores likely resulted from the selective consumption of Artemisia forbs by vertebrate grazers, which may potentially improve the host finding of grasshoppers. Likewise, grasshoppers appeared to benefit large herbivores by decreasing the cover and density of the dominant grass Leymus chinensis, which hampers large herbivores' access to palatable forbs. Moreover, we found that large herbivores grazing alone may significantly decrease plant diversity, yet grasshoppers appeared to mediate such negative effects when they grazed with large herbivores. Our results suggest that the positive, reciprocal interactions in terrestrial herbivore communities may be more prevalent and complex than previously thought.

  14. Leaf green-up in a semi-arid African savanna - separating tree and grass responses to environmental cues

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Archibald, S

    2007-01-01

    Full Text Available -arid African savanna - 583 Journal of Vegetation Science 18: 583-594, 2007 © IAVS; Opulus Press Uppsala. Leaf green-up in a semi-arid African savanna – separating tree and grass responses to environmental cues Archibald, S.1* & Scholes, R.J.1,2 1Natural... to identify tree and grass green-up dates in a semi-arid savanna system, and are there predictable environmental cues for green-up for each life form? Location: Acacia nigrescens/Combretum apiculatum savanna, Kruger National Park, South Africa (25° S, 31...

  15. Responses of Herbivorous Fishes and Benthos to 6 Years of Protection at the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area, Maui.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ivor D Williams

    Full Text Available In response to concerns about declining coral cover and recurring macroalgal blooms, in 2009 the State of Hawaii established the Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA. Within the KHFMA, herbivorous fishes and sea urchins are protected, but other fishing is allowed. As part of a multi-agency monitoring effort, we conducted surveys at KHFMA and comparison sites around Maui starting 19 months before closure, and over the six years since implementation of herbivore protection. Mean parrotfish and surgeonfish biomass both increased within the KHFMA (by 139% [95%QR (quantile range: 98-181%] and 28% [95%QR: 3-52%] respectively. Most of those gains were of small-to-medium sized species, whereas large-bodied species have not recovered, likely due to low levels of poaching on what are preferred fishery targets in Hawaii. Nevertheless, coincident with greater biomass of herbivores within the KHFMA, cover of crustose coralline algae (CCA has increased from ~2% before closure to ~ 15% in 2015, and macroalgal cover has remained low throughout the monitoring period. Strong evidence that changes in the KHFMA were a consequence of herbivore management are that (i there were no changes in biomass of unprotected fish families within the KHFMA; and that (ii there were no similar changes in parrotfish or CCA at comparison sites around Maui. It is not yet clear how effective herbivore protection might eventually be for the KHFMA's ultimate goal of coral recovery. Coral cover declined over the first few years of surveys-from 39.6% (SE 1.4% in 2008, to 32.9% (SE 0.8% in 2012, with almost all of that loss occurring by 2010 (1 year after closure, i.e. before meaningful herbivore recovery had occurred. Coral cover subsequently stabilized and may have slightly increased from 2012 through early 2015. However, a region-wide bleaching event in 2015 had already led to some coral mortality by the time surveys were conducted in late 2015, at which time cover had

  16. Insect herbivores change the outcome of plant competition through both inter- and intraspecific processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Tania N; Underwood, Nora; Inouye, Brian D

    2013-08-01

    Insect herbivores can affect plant abundance and community composition, and theory suggests that herbivores influence plant communities by altering interspecific interactions among plants. Because the outcome of interspecific interactions is influenced by the per capita competitive ability of plants, density dependence, and intrinsic rates of increase, measuring herbivore effects on all these processes is necessary to understand the mechanisms by which herbivores influence plant communities. We fit alternative competition models to data from a response surface experiment conducted over four years to examine how herbivores affected the outcome of competition between two perennial plants, Solidago altissima and Solanum carolinense. Within a growing season, herbivores reduced S. carolinense plant size but did not affect the size of S. altissima, which exhibited compensatory growth. Across seasons, herbivores did not affect S. carolinense density or biomass but reduced both the density and population growth of S. altissima. The best-fit models indicated that the effects of herbivores varied with year. In some years, herbivores increased the per capita competitive effect of S. altissima on S. carolinense; in other years, herbivores influenced the intrinsic rate of increase of S. altissima. We examined possible herbivore effects on the longer-term outcome of competition (over the time scale of a typical old-field habitat), using simulations based on the best-fit models. In the absence of herbivores, plant coexistence was observed. In the presence of herbivores, S. carolinense was excluded by S. altissima in 72.3% of the simulations. We demonstrate that herbivores can influence the outcome of competition through changes in both per capita competitive effects and intrinsic rates of increase. We discuss the implications of these results for ecological succession and biocontrol.

  17. Seasonal regulation of condensed tannin consumption by free-ranging goats in a semiarid savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mkhize, Ntuthuko R.; Heitkönig, Ignas M.A.; Scogings, Peter F.; Hattas, Dawood; Dziba, Luthando E.; Prins, Herbert H.T.; Boer, De Willem F.

    2018-01-01

    Although condensed tannins (CTs) are known to reduce forage intake by mammalian herbivores in controlled experiments, few studies have tested these effects in the field. Thus the role of CTs on foraging ecology of free-ranging herbivores is inadequately understood. To investigate the effects of CTs

  18. Recovery of rangelands : the functioning of soil seed banks in a semi-arid African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tessema, Z.K.

    2011-01-01

    Rangelands in Africa provide important forage resources for herbivores; particularly perennial grasses provide grazing for domestic and wild herbivores. However, semi-arid African rangelands experience severe vegetation and soil degradation due to heavy grazing, causing negative impacts

  19. Nutrient and Light Limitations on Grass Productivity in a Southern African Savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ries, L. P.; Shugart, H. H.; Caylor, K. K.; Okin, G. S.; Kgope, B.

    2006-12-01

    Despite the ubiquity of sub-tropical savannas throughout the earth, limitations of savanna productivity are understudied relative to other terrestrial systems. In particular, there has been little attention on the role of phosphorus (P) in savanna productivity and structure. This study examined the role of increased nitrogen (N) and P in grass productivity in a woodland savanna in Botswana. We added aqueous forms of N and P individually and together to selected grasses. During the following growing season we measured foliar nutrient concentrations, aboveground biomass productivity and photosynthetic response at various levels of incident photosynthetically active radiation to estimate the productivity response. As expected, we observed an increase in foliar P concentrations in P and N+P treatments. However, there was no increase in foliar N for any treatments. We also observed a significant increase in net carbon assimilation and Amax for all treatments relative to the control grasses. Despite a higher rate of leaf level carbon assimilation in the N treatment, the aboveground biomass production was smaller than that of the N+P treatment. These results suggest that the aboveground productivity of these woodland savanna grasses is limited by both N and P. Additionally, under constant CO2 availability, photosynthesis appears to be limited by nutrients for light levels greater than 500 μmol m-2s-1. This research will help broaden our understanding of the biogeochemical processes that govern savanna productivity. Ultimately, these data can be used to model canopy productivity and ecological succession of savannas under scenarios in which bush encroachment and desertification may alter light and nutrients availability.

  20. Mycorrhizae Alter Toxin Sequestration and Performance of Two Specialist Herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Amanda R. Meier

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Multitrophic species interactions are shaped by both top-down and bottom-up factors. Belowground symbionts of plants, such as arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF, can alter the strength of these forces by altering plant phenotype. For example, AMF-mediated changes in foliar toxin and nutrient concentrations may influence herbivore growth and fecundity. In addition, many specialist herbivores sequester toxins from their host plants to resist natural enemies, and the extent of sequestration varies with host plant secondary chemistry. Therefore, by altering plant phenotype, AMF may affect both herbivore performance and their resistance to natural enemies. We examined how inoculation of plants with AMF influences toxin sequestration and performance of two specialist herbivores feeding upon four milkweed species (Asclepias incarnata, A. curassavica, A. latifolia, A. syriaca. We raised aphids (Aphis nerii and caterpillars (Danaus plexippus on plants for 6 days in a fully factorial manipulation of milkweed species and level of AMF inoculation (zero, medium, and high. We then assessed aphid and caterpillar sequestration of toxins (cardenolides and performance, and measured defensive and nutritive traits of control plants. Aphids and caterpillars sequestered higher concentrations of cardenolides from plants inoculated with AMF across all milkweed species. Aphid per capita growth rates and aphid body mass varied non-linearly with increasing AMF inoculum availability; across all milkweed species, aphids had the lowest performance under medium levels of AMF availability and highest performance under high AMF availability. In contrast, caterpillar survival varied strongly with AMF availability in a plant species-specific manner, and caterpillar growth was unaffected by AMF. Inoculation with AMF increased foliar cardenolide concentrations consistently among milkweed species, but altered aboveground biomasses and foliar phosphorous concentrations in a plant

  1. Pollination syndromes ignored: importance of non-ornithophilous flowers to Neotropical savanna hummingbirds

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maruyama, Pietro K.; Oliveira, Genilda M.; Ferreira, Carolina; Dalsgaard, Bo; Oliveira, Paulo E.

    2013-11-01

    Generalization prevails in flower-animal interactions, and although animal visitors are not equally effective pollinators, most interactions likely represent an important energy intake for the animal visitor. Hummingbirds are nectar-feeding specialists, and many tropical plants are specialized toward hummingbird-pollination. In spite of this, especially in dry and seasonal tropical habitats, hummingbirds may often rely on non-ornithophilous plants to meet their energy requirements. However, quantitative studies evaluating the relative importance of ornithophilous vs. non-ornithophilous plants for hummingbirds in these areas are scarce. We here studied the availability and use of floral resources by hummingbirds in two different areas of the Cerrado, the seasonal savannas in Central Brazil. Roughly half the hummingbird visited plant species were non-ornithophilous, and these contributed greatly to increase the overall nectar availability. We showed that mean nectar offer, at the transect scale, was the only parameter related to hummingbird visitation frequency, more so than nectar offer at single flowers and at the plant scale, or pollination syndrome. Centrality indices, calculated using hummingbird-plant networks, showed that ornithophilous and non-ornithophilous plants have similar importance for network cohesion. How this foraging behaviour affects reproduction of non-ornithophilous plants remains largely unexplored and is probably case specific, however, we suggest that the additional energy provided by non-ornithophilous plants may facilitate reproduction of truly ornithophilous flowers by attracting and maintaining hummingbirds in the area. This may promote asymmetric hummingbird-plant associations, i.e., pollination depends on floral traits adapted to hummingbird morphology, but hummingbird visitation is determined more by the energetic "reward" than by pollination syndromes.

  2. Global climate change and above- belowground insect herbivore interactions.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott Wesley McKenzie

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Predicted changes to the Earth’s climate are likely to affect above-belowground interactions. Our understanding is limited, however, by past focus on two-species aboveground interactions mostly ignoring belowground influences. Despite their importance to ecosystem processes, there remains a dearth of empirical evidence showing how climate change will affect above-belowground interactions. The responses of above- and belowground organisms to climate change are likely to differ given the fundamentally different niches they inhabit. Yet there are few studies that address the biological and ecological reactions of belowground herbivores to environmental conditions in current and future climates. Even fewer studies investigate the consequences of climate change for above-belowground interactions between herbivores and other organisms; those that do provide no evidence of a directed response. This paper highlights the importance of considering the belowground fauna when making predictions on the effects of climate change on plant-mediated interspecific interactions.

  3. High-Arctic Plant-Herbivore Interactions under Climate Influence

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Berg, Thomas B.; Schmidt, Niels M.; Høye, Toke Thomas

    production upon which the herbivores depend, and snow may be the most important climatic factor affecting the different trophic levels and the interactions between them. Hence, the spatio-temporal distribution of snow, as well as thawing events during winter, may have considerable effects on the herbivores...... by both the timing of onset and the duration of winter snow-cover. Musk oxen significantly reduced the productivity of arctic willow, while high densities of collared lemmings during winter reduced the production of mountain averts flowers in the following summer. Under a deep snow-layer scenario, climate...... and the previous year's density of musk oxen had a negative effect on the present year's production of arctic willow. Previous year's primary production of arctic willow, in turn, significantly affected the present year's density of musk oxen positively. Climatic factors that affect primary production of plants...

  4. Distribution, behavior, and condition of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs track algal resources.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tootell, Jesse S; Steele, Mark A

    2016-05-01

    Herbivore distribution can impact community structure and ecosystem function. On coral reefs, herbivores are thought to play an important role in promoting coral dominance, but how they are distributed relative to algae is not well known. Here, we evaluated whether the distribution, behavior, and condition of herbivorous fishes correlated with algal resource availability at six sites in the back reef environment of Moorea, French Polynesia. Specifically, we tested the hypotheses that increased algal turf availability would coincide with (1) increased biomass, (2) altered foraging behavior, and (3) increased energy reserves of herbivorous fishes. Fish biomass and algal cover were visually estimated along underwater transects; behavior of herbivorous fishes was quantified by observations of focal individuals; fish were collected to assess their condition; and algal turf production rates were measured on standardized tiles. The best predictor of herbivorous fish biomass was algal turf production, with fish biomass increasing with algal production. Biomass of herbivorous fishes was also negatively related to sea urchin density, suggesting competition for limited resources. Regression models including both algal turf production and urchin density explained 94 % of the variation in herbivorous fish biomass among sites spread over ~20 km. Behavioral observations of the parrotfish Chlorurus sordidus revealed that foraging area increased as algal turf cover decreased. Additionally, energy reserves increased with algal turf production, but declined with herbivorous fish density, implying that algal turf is a limited resource for this species. Our findings support the hypothesis that herbivorous fishes can spatially track algal resources on coral reefs.

  5. Contrasting effects of specialist and generalist herbivores on resistance evolution in invasive plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Zhijie; Pan, Xiaoyun; Blumenthal, Dana; van Kleunen, Mark; Liu, Mu; Li, Bo

    2018-04-01

    Invasive alien plants are likely to be released from specialist herbivores and at the same time encounter biotic resistance from resident generalist herbivores in their new ranges. The Shifting Defense hypothesis predicts that this will result in evolution of decreased defense against specialist herbivores and increased defense against generalist herbivores. To test this, we performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of 61 common garden studies that provide data on resistance and/or tolerance for both introduced and native populations of 32 invasive plant species. We demonstrate that introduced populations, relative to native populations, decreased their resistance against specialists, and increased their resistance against generalists. These differences were significant when resistance was measured in terms of damage caused by the herbivore, but not in terms of performance of the herbivore. Furthermore, we found the first evidence that the magnitude of resistance differences between introduced and native populations depended significantly on herbivore origin (i.e., whether the test herbivore was collected from the native or non-native range of the invasive plant). Finally, tolerance to generalists was found to be higher in introduced populations, while neither tolerance to specialists nor that to simulated herbivory differed between introduced and native plant populations. We conclude that enemy release from specialist herbivores and biotic resistance from generalist herbivores have contrasting effects on resistance evolution in invasive plants. Our results thus provide strong support for the Shifting Defense hypothesis. © 2018 by the Ecological Society of America.

  6. Changes in Carbon Emissions in Colombian Savannas Derived From Recent Land use and Land Cover Change

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etter, A.; Sarmiento, A.

    2007-12-01

    The global contribution of carbon emissions from land use dynamics and change to the global carbon (C) cycle is still uncertain, a major concern in global change modeling. Carbon emission from fires in the tropics is significant and represents 9% of the net primary production, and 50% of worldwide C emissions from fires are attributable to savanna fires. Such emissions may vary significantly due to differences in ecosystem types. Most savanna areas are devoted to grazing land uses making methane emissions also important in savanna ecosystems. Land use change driven by intensification of grazing and cropping has become a major factor affecting C emission dynamics from savanna regions. Colombia has some 17 MHa of mesic savannas which have been historically burned. Due to changes in market demands and improved accessibility during the last 20 years, important areas of savannas changed land use from predominantly extensive grazing to crops and intensive grazing systems. This research models and evaluates the impacts of such land use changes on the spatial and temporal burning patterns and C emissions in the Orinoco savannas of Colombia. We address the effects of land use change patterns using remote sensing data from MODIS and Landsat, ecosystem mapping products, and spatial GIS analysis. First we map the expansion of the agricultural frontier from the 1980s-2000s. We then model the changes in land use from the 1980s using a statistical modeling approach to analyze and quantify the impact of accessibility, ecosystem type and land tenure. We calculate the effects on C emissions from fire regimes and other sources of C based on patterns and extent of burned areas in the 2000s for different savanna ecosystem types and land uses. In the Llanos the fire regime exhibits a marked seasonal variability with most fire events occurring during the dry season between December-March. Our analysis shows that fire frequencies vary consistently between 0.6 and 2.8 fires.yr-1 per 2

  7. Community-Weighted Mean Plant Traits Predict Small Scale Distribution of Insect Root Herbivore Abundance.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ilja Sonnemann

    Full Text Available Small scale distribution of insect root herbivores may promote plant species diversity by creating patches of different herbivore pressure. However, determinants of small scale distribution of insect root herbivores, and impact of land use intensity on their small scale distribution are largely unknown. We sampled insect root herbivores and measured vegetation parameters and soil water content along transects in grasslands of different management intensity in three regions in Germany. We calculated community-weighted mean plant traits to test whether the functional plant community composition determines the small scale distribution of insect root herbivores. To analyze spatial patterns in plant species and trait composition and insect root herbivore abundance we computed Mantel correlograms. Insect root herbivores mainly comprised click beetle (Coleoptera, Elateridae larvae (43% in the investigated grasslands. Total insect root herbivore numbers were positively related to community-weighted mean traits indicating high plant growth rates and biomass (specific leaf area, reproductive- and vegetative plant height, and negatively related to plant traits indicating poor tissue quality (leaf C/N ratio. Generalist Elaterid larvae, when analyzed independently, were also positively related to high plant growth rates and furthermore to root dry mass, but were not related to tissue quality. Insect root herbivore numbers were not related to plant cover, plant species richness and soil water content. Plant species composition and to a lesser extent plant trait composition displayed spatial autocorrelation, which was not influenced by land use intensity. Insect root herbivore abundance was not spatially autocorrelated. We conclude that in semi-natural grasslands with a high share of generalist insect root herbivores, insect root herbivores affiliate with large, fast growing plants, presumably because of availability of high quantities of food. Affiliation of

  8. A Latex Metabolite Benefits Plant Fitness under Root Herbivore Attack.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Meret Huber

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg. decrease the performance of its major native insect root herbivore, the larvae of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha, and benefit plant vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Across 17 T. officinale genotypes screened by gas and liquid chromatography, latex concentrations of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G were negatively associated with M. melolontha larval growth. Adding purified TA-G to artificial diet at ecologically relevant concentrations reduced larval feeding. Silencing the germacrene A synthase ToGAS1, an enzyme that was identified to catalyze the first committed step of TA-G biosynthesis, resulted in a 90% reduction of TA-G levels and a pronounced increase in M. melolontha feeding. Transgenic, TA-G-deficient lines were preferred by M. melolontha and suffered three times more root biomass reduction than control lines. In a common garden experiment involving over 2,000 T. officinale individuals belonging to 17 different genotypes, high TA-G concentrations were associated with the maintenance of high vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Taken together, our study demonstrates that a latex secondary metabolite benefits plants under herbivore attack, a result that provides a mechanistic framework for root herbivore driven natural selection and evolution of plant defenses below ground.

  9. A Latex Metabolite Benefits Plant Fitness under Root Herbivore Attack.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Huber, Meret; Epping, Janina; Schulze Gronover, Christian; Fricke, Julia; Aziz, Zohra; Brillatz, Théo; Swyers, Michael; Köllner, Tobias G; Vogel, Heiko; Hammerbacher, Almuth; Triebwasser-Freese, Daniella; Robert, Christelle A M; Verhoeven, Koen; Preite, Veronica; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) decrease the performance of its major native insect root herbivore, the larvae of the common cockchafer (Melolontha melolontha), and benefit plant vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Across 17 T. officinale genotypes screened by gas and liquid chromatography, latex concentrations of the sesquiterpene lactone taraxinic acid β-D-glucopyranosyl ester (TA-G) were negatively associated with M. melolontha larval growth. Adding purified TA-G to artificial diet at ecologically relevant concentrations reduced larval feeding. Silencing the germacrene A synthase ToGAS1, an enzyme that was identified to catalyze the first committed step of TA-G biosynthesis, resulted in a 90% reduction of TA-G levels and a pronounced increase in M. melolontha feeding. Transgenic, TA-G-deficient lines were preferred by M. melolontha and suffered three times more root biomass reduction than control lines. In a common garden experiment involving over 2,000 T. officinale individuals belonging to 17 different genotypes, high TA-G concentrations were associated with the maintenance of high vegetative and reproductive fitness under M. melolontha attack. Taken together, our study demonstrates that a latex secondary metabolite benefits plants under herbivore attack, a result that provides a mechanistic framework for root herbivore driven natural selection and evolution of plant defenses below ground.

  10. A latex metabolite benefits plant fitness under root herbivore attack

    OpenAIRE

    Huber, M.; Epping, J.; Gronover, C.S.; Fricke, J.; Aziz, Z.; Brillatz, T.; Swyers, M.; Köllner, T.G.; Vogel, H.; Hammerbacher, A.; Triebwasser-Freese, D.; Robert, C.A.M.; Verhoeven, K.; Preite, V.; Gershenzon, J.

    2016-01-01

    Plants produce large amounts of secondary metabolites in their shoots and roots and store them in specialized secretory structures. Although secondary metabolites and their secretory structures are commonly assumed to have a defensive function, evidence that they benefit plant fitness under herbivore attack is scarce, especially below ground. Here, we tested whether latex secondary metabolites produced by the common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale agg.) decrease the performance of its major n...

  11. Lateral diffusion of nutrients by mammalian herbivores in terrestrial ecosystems.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Wolf

    Full Text Available Animals translocate nutrients by consuming nutrients at one point and excreting them or dying at another location. Such lateral fluxes may be an important mechanism of nutrient supply in many ecosystems, but lack quantification and a systematic theoretical framework for their evaluation. This paper presents a mathematical framework for quantifying such fluxes in the context of mammalian herbivores. We develop an expression for lateral diffusion of a nutrient, where the diffusivity is a biologically determined parameter depending on the characteristics of mammals occupying the domain, including size-dependent phenomena such as day range, metabolic demand, food passage time, and population size. Three findings stand out: (a Scaling law-derived estimates of diffusion parameters are comparable to estimates calculated from estimates of each coefficient gathered from primary literature. (b The diffusion term due to transport of nutrients in dung is orders of magnitude large than the coefficient representing nutrients in bodymass. (c The scaling coefficients show that large herbivores make a disproportionate contribution to lateral nutrient transfer. We apply the diffusion equation to a case study of Kruger National Park to estimate the conditions under which mammal-driven nutrient transport is comparable in magnitude to other (abiotic nutrient fluxes (inputs and losses. Finally, a global analysis of mammalian herbivore transport is presented, using a comprehensive database of contemporary animal distributions. We show that continents vary greatly in terms of the importance of animal-driven nutrient fluxes, and also that perturbations to nutrient cycles are potentially quite large if threatened large herbivores are driven to extinction.

  12. Quantitative effects of cyanogenesis on an adapted herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ballhorn, D J; Heil, M; Pietrowski, A; Lieberei, R

    2007-12-01

    Plant cyanogenesis means the release of gaseous hydrogen cyanide (HCN) in response to cell damage and is considered as an effective defense against generalist herbivores. In contrast, specialists are generally believed not to be affected negatively by this trait. However, quantitative data on long-term effects of cyanogenesis on specialists are rare. In this study, we used lima bean accessions (Fabaceae: Phaseolus lunatus L.) with high quantitative variability of cyanogenic features comprising cyanogenic potential (HCNp; concentration of cyanogenic precursors) and cyanogenic capacities (HCNc; release of gaseous HCN per unit time). In feeding trials, we analyzed performance of herbivorous Mexican bean beetle (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae: Epilachna varivestis Mulsant) on selected lines characterized by high (HC-plants) and low HCNp (LC-plants). Larval and adult stages of this herbivore feed on a narrow range of legumes and prefer cyanogenic lima bean as host plant. Nevertheless, we found that performance of beetles (larval weight gain per time and body mass of adult beetles) was significantly affected by lima bean HCNp: Body weight decreased and developmental period of larvae and pupae increased on HC-plants during the first generation of beetles and then remained constant for four consecutive generations. In addition, we found continuously decreasing numbers of eggs and larval hatching as inter-generational effects on HC-plants. In contrast to HC-plants, constantly high performance was observed among four generations on LC-plants. Our results demonstrate that Mexican bean beetle, although preferentially feeding on lima bean, is quantitatively affected by the HCNp of its host plant. Effects can only be detected when considering more than one generation. Thus, cyanide-containing precursors can have negative effects even on herbivores adapted to feed on cyanogenic plants.

  13. Distribution of herbivorous fish is frozen by low temperature

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Vejříková, Ivana; Vejřík, Lukáš; Syväranta, J.; Kiljunen, M.; Čech, Martin; Blabolil, Petr; Vašek, Mojmír; Sajdlová, Zuzana; Chung, S.H.T.; Šmejkal, Marek; Frouzová, Jaroslava; Peterka, Jiří

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 6, December (2016), č. článku 39600. ISSN 2045-2322 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) EE2.3.20.0204; GA MŠk(CZ) 7F14316 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : herbivorous ectotherms * latitudinal gradient * macrophytes * Scardinius erythrophthalmus * global warming Subject RIV: EG - Zoology Impact factor: 4.259, year: 2016

  14. Migratory herbivorous waterfowl track satellite-derived green wave index.

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    Mitra Shariatinajafabadi

    Full Text Available Many migrating herbivores rely on plant biomass to fuel their life cycles and have adapted to following changes in plant quality through time. The green wave hypothesis predicts that herbivorous waterfowl will follow the wave of food availability and quality during their spring migration. However, testing this hypothesis is hampered by the large geographical range these birds cover. The satellite-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI time series is an ideal proxy indicator for the development of plant biomass and quality across a broad spatial area. A derived index, the green wave index (GWI, has been successfully used to link altitudinal and latitudinal migration of mammals to spatio-temporal variations in food quality and quantity. To date, this index has not been used to test the green wave hypothesis for individual avian herbivores. Here, we use the satellite-derived GWI to examine the green wave hypothesis with respect to GPS-tracked individual barnacle geese from three flyway populations (Russian n = 12, Svalbard n = 8, and Greenland n = 7. Data were collected over three years (2008-2010. Our results showed that the Russian and Svalbard barnacle geese followed the middle stage of the green wave (GWI 40-60%, while the Greenland geese followed an earlier stage (GWI 20-40%. Despite these differences among geese populations, the phase of vegetation greenness encountered by the GPS-tracked geese was close to the 50% GWI (i.e. the assumed date of peak nitrogen concentration, thereby implying that barnacle geese track high quality food during their spring migration. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the migration of individual avian herbivores has been successfully studied with respect to vegetation phenology using the satellite-derived GWI. Our results offer further support for the green wave hypothesis applying to long-distance migrants on a larger scale.

  15. Latitudinal Gradients in Induced and Constitutive Resistance against Herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anstett, Daniel N; Chen, Wen; Johnson, Marc T J

    2016-08-01

    Plants are hypothesized to evolve increased defense against herbivores at lower latitudes, but an increasing number of studies report evidence that contradicts this hypothesis. Few studies have examined the evolution of constitutive and induced resistance along latitudinal gradients. When induction is not considered, underlying patterns of latitudinal clines in resistance can be obscured because plant resistance represents a combination of induced and constitutive resistance, which may show contrasting patterns with latitude. Here, we asked if there are latitudinal gradients in constitutive versus induced resistance by using genotypes of Oenothera biennis (Onagraceae) sampled along an 18° latitudinal gradient. We conducted two bioassay experiments to compare the resistance of plant genotypes against one generalist (Spodoptera exigua) and one specialist (Acanthoscelidius acephalus) herbivore. These insects were assayed on: i) undamaged control plants, ii) plants that had been induced with jasmonic acid, and iii) plants induced with herbivore damage. Additionally, we examined latitudinal gradients of constitutive and induced chemical resistance by measuring the concentrations of total phenolics, the concentration of oxidized phenolics, and the percentage of phenolics that were oxidized. Spodoptera exigua showed lower performance on plants from lower latitudes, whereas A. acephalus showed no latitudinal pattern. Constitutive total phenolics were greater in plants from lower latitudes, but induced plants showed higher total phenolics at higher latitudes. Oxidative activity was greatest at higher latitudes regardless of induction. Overall, both latitude and induction have an impact on different metrics of plant resistance to herbivory. Further studies should consider the effect of induction and herbivore specialization more explicitly, which may help to resolve the controversy in latitudinal gradients in herbivory and defense.

  16. Western equatorial African forest-savanna mosaics: a legacy of late Holocene climatic change?

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    A. Ngomanda

    2009-10-01

    Full Text Available Past vegetation and climate changes reconstructed using two pollen records from Lakes Maridor and Nguène, located in the coastal savannas and inland rainforest of Gabon, respectively, provide new insights into the environmental history of western equatorial African rainforests during the last 4500 cal yr BP. These pollen records indicate that the coastal savannas of western equatorial Africa did not exist during the mid-Holocene and instead the region was covered by evergreen rainforests. From ca. 4000 cal yr BP a progressive decline of inland evergreen rainforest, accompanied by the expansion of semi-deciduous rainforest, occurred synchronously with grassland colonisation in the coastal region of Gabon. The contraction of moist evergreen rainforest and the establishment of coastal savannas in Gabon suggest decreasing humidity from ca. 4000 cal yr BP. The marked reduction in evergreen rainforest and subsequent savanna expansion was followed from 2700 cal yr BP by the colonization of secondary forests dominated by the palm, Elaeis guineensis, and the shrub, Alchornea cordifolia (Euphorbiaceae. A return to wetter climatic conditions from about 1400 cal yr BP led to the renewed spread of evergreen rainforest inland, whereas a forest-savanna mosaic still persists in the coastal region. There is no evidence to suggest that the major environmental changes observed were driven by human impact.

  17. Implications of the spatial dynamics of fire spread for the bistability of savanna and forest.

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    Schertzer, E; Staver, A C; Levin, S A

    2015-01-01

    The role of fire in expanding the global distribution of savanna is well recognized. Empirical observations and modeling suggest that fire spread has a threshold response to fuel-layer continuity, which sets up a positive feedback that maintains savanna-forest bistability. However, modeling has so far failed to examine fire spread as a spatial process that interacts with vegetation. Here, we use simple, well-supported assumptions about fire spread as an infection process and its effects on trees to ask whether spatial dynamics qualitatively change the potential for savanna-forest bistability. We show that the spatial effects of fire spread are the fundamental reason that bistability is possible: because fire spread is an infection process, it exhibits a threshold response to fuel continuity followed by a rapid increase in fire size. Other ecological processes affecting fire spread may also contribute including temporal variability in demography or fire spread. Finally, including the potential for spatial aggregation increases the potential both for savanna-forest bistability and for savanna and forest to coexist in a landscape mosaic.

  18. IDESSA: An Integrative Decision Support System for Sustainable Rangeland Management in Southern African Savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, Hanna; Authmann, Christian; Dreber, Niels; Hess, Bastian; Kellner, Klaus; Morgenthal, Theunis; Nauss, Thomas; Seeger, Bernhard; Tsvuura, Zivanai; Wiegand, Kerstin

    2017-04-01

    Bush encroachment is a syndrome of land degradation that occurs in many savannas including those of southern Africa. The increase in density, cover or biomass of woody vegetation often has negative effects on a range of ecosystem functions and services, which are hardly reversible. However, despite its importance, neither the causes of bush encroachment, nor the consequences of different resource management strategies to combat or mitigate related shifts in savanna states are fully understood. The project "IDESSA" (An Integrative Decision Support System for Sustainable Rangeland Management in Southern African Savannas) aims to improve the understanding of the complex interplays between land use, climate patterns and vegetation dynamics and to implement an integrative monitoring and decision-support system for the sustainable management of different savanna types. For this purpose, IDESSA follows an innovative approach that integrates local knowledge, botanical surveys, remote-sensing and machine-learning based time-series of atmospheric and land-cover dynamics, spatially explicit simulation modeling and analytical database management. The integration of the heterogeneous data will be implemented in a user oriented database infrastructure and scientific workflow system. Accessible via web-based interfaces, this database and analysis system will allow scientists to manage and analyze monitoring data and scenario computations, as well as allow stakeholders (e. g. land users, policy makers) to retrieve current ecosystem information and seasonal outlooks. We present the concept of the project and show preliminary results of the realization steps towards the integrative savanna management and decision-support system.

  19. Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem functioning in an African savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pringle, Robert M; Doak, Daniel F; Brody, Alison K; Jocqué, Rudy; Palmer, Todd M

    2010-05-25

    The finding that regular spatial patterns can emerge in nature from local interactions between organisms has prompted a search for the ecological importance of these patterns. Theoretical models have predicted that patterning may have positive emergent effects on fundamental ecosystem functions, such as productivity. We provide empirical support for this prediction. In dryland ecosystems, termite mounds are often hotspots of plant growth (primary productivity). Using detailed observations and manipulative experiments in an African savanna, we show that these mounds are also local hotspots of animal abundance (secondary and tertiary productivity): insect abundance and biomass decreased with distance from the nearest termite mound, as did the abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of insect-eating predators. Null-model analyses indicated that at the landscape scale, the evenly spaced distribution of termite mounds produced dramatically greater abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of consumers across trophic levels than would be obtained in landscapes with randomly distributed mounds. These emergent properties of spatial pattern arose because the average distance from an arbitrarily chosen point to the nearest feature in a landscape is minimized in landscapes where the features are hyper-dispersed (i.e., uniformly spaced). This suggests that the linkage between patterning and ecosystem functioning will be common to systems spanning the range of human management intensities. The centrality of spatial pattern to system-wide biomass accumulation underscores the need to conserve pattern-generating organisms and mechanisms, and to incorporate landscape patterning in efforts to restore degraded habitats and maximize the delivery of ecosystem services.

  20. Herbivorous ecomorphology and specialization patterns in theropod dinosaur evolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zanno, Lindsay E; Makovicky, Peter J

    2011-01-04

    Interpreting key ecological parameters, such as diet, of extinct organisms without the benefit of direct observation or explicit fossil evidence poses a formidable challenge for paleobiological studies. To date, dietary categorizations of extinct taxa are largely generated by means of modern analogs; however, for many species the method is subject to considerable ambiguity. Here we present a refined approach for assessing trophic habits in fossil taxa and apply the method to coelurosaurian dinosaurs--a clade for which diet is particularly controversial. Our findings detect 21 morphological features that exhibit statistically significant correlations with extrinsic fossil evidence of coelurosaurian herbivory, such as stomach contents and a gastric mill. These traits represent quantitative, extrinsically founded proxies for identifying herbivorous ecomorphology in fossils and are robust despite uncertainty in phylogenetic relationships among major coelurosaurian subclades. The distribution of these features suggests that herbivory was widespread among coelurosaurians, with six major subclades displaying morphological evidence of the diet, and that contrary to previous thought, hypercarnivory was relatively rare and potentially secondarily derived. Given the potential for repeated, independent evolution of herbivory in Coelurosauria, we also test for repetitive patterns in the appearance of herbivorous traits within sublineages using rank concordance analysis. We find evidence for a common succession of increasing specialization to herbivory in the subclades Ornithomimosauria and Oviraptorosauria, perhaps underlain by intrinsic functional and/or developmental constraints, as well as evidence indicating that the early evolution of a beak in coelurosaurians correlates with an herbivorous diet.

  1. Large herbivores surf waves of green-up during spring

    Science.gov (United States)

    Merkle, Jerod A.; Monteith, Kevin L.; Aikens, Ellen O.; Hayes, Matthew M.; Hersey, Kent R.; Middleton, Arthur D.; Oates, Brendan A.; Sawyer, Hall; Scurlock, Brandon M.; Kauffman, Matthew J.

    2016-01-01

    The green wave hypothesis (GWH) states that migrating animals should track or ‘surf’ high-quality forage at the leading edge of spring green-up. To index such high-quality forage, recent work proposed the instantaneous rate of green-up (IRG), i.e. rate of change in the normalized difference vegetation index over time. Despite this important advancement, no study has tested the assumption that herbivores select habitat patches at peak IRG. We evaluated this assumption using step selection functions parametrized with movement data during the green-up period from two populations each of bighorn sheep, mule deer, elk, moose and bison, totalling 463 individuals monitored 1–3 years from 2004 to 2014. Accounting for variables that typically influence habitat selection for each species, we found seven of 10 populations selected patches exhibiting high IRG—supporting the GWH. Nonetheless, large herbivores selected for the leading edge, trailing edge and crest of the IRG wave, indicating that other mechanisms (e.g. ruminant physiology) or measurement error inherent with satellite data affect selection for IRG. Our evaluation indicates that IRG is a useful tool for linking herbivore movement with plant phenology, paving the way for significant advancements in understanding how animals track resource quality that varies both spatially and temporally.

  2. Trophy Hunting and Sustainability: Temporal Dynamics in Trophy Quality and Harvesting Patterns of Wild Herbivores in a Tropical Semi-Arid Savanna Ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muposhi, Victor K; Gandiwa, Edson; Bartels, Paul; Makuza, Stanley M; Madiri, Tinaapi H

    2016-01-01

    The selective nature of trophy hunting may cause changes in desirable phenotypic traits in harvested species. A decline in trophy size of preferred species may reduce hunting destination competitiveness thus compromising the sustainability of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. We explored the trophy quality and trends in harvesting patterns (i.e., 2004-2015) of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer), African elephant (Loxodonta africana), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros) and sable (Hippotragus niger) in Matetsi Safari Area, northwest Zimbabwe. We used long-term data on horn and tusk size, age, quota size allocation and offtake levels of selected species. To analyse the effect of year, area and age on the trophy size, quota size and offtake levels, we used linear mixed models. One sample t-test was used to compare observed trophy size with Safari Club International (SCI) minimum score. Trophy sizes for Cape buffalo and African elephant were below the SCI minimum score. Greater kudu trophy sizes were within the minimum score threshold whereas sable trophy sizes were above the SCI minimum score between 2004 and 2015. Age at harvest for Cape buffalo, kudu and sable increased whilst that of elephant remained constant between 2004 and 2015. Quota size allocated for buffalo and the corresponding offtake levels declined over time. Offtake levels of African elephant and Greater kudu declined whilst the quota size did not change between 2004 and 2015. The quota size for sable increased whilst the offtake levels fluctuated without changing for the period 2004-2015. The trophy size and harvesting patterns in these species pose a conservation and management dilemma on the sustainability of trophy hunting in this area. We recommend: (1) temporal and spatial rotational resting of hunting areas to create refuge to improve trophy quality and maintenance of genetic diversity, and (2) introduction of variable trophy fee pricing system based on trophy size.

  3. Trophy Hunting and Sustainability: Temporal Dynamics in Trophy Quality and Harvesting Patterns of Wild Herbivores in a Tropical Semi-Arid Savanna Ecosystem.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victor K Muposhi

    Full Text Available The selective nature of trophy hunting may cause changes in desirable phenotypic traits in harvested species. A decline in trophy size of preferred species may reduce hunting destination competitiveness thus compromising the sustainability of trophy hunting as a conservation tool. We explored the trophy quality and trends in harvesting patterns (i.e., 2004-2015 of Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer, African elephant (Loxodonta africana, greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros and sable (Hippotragus niger in Matetsi Safari Area, northwest Zimbabwe. We used long-term data on horn and tusk size, age, quota size allocation and offtake levels of selected species. To analyse the effect of year, area and age on the trophy size, quota size and offtake levels, we used linear mixed models. One sample t-test was used to compare observed trophy size with Safari Club International (SCI minimum score. Trophy sizes for Cape buffalo and African elephant were below the SCI minimum score. Greater kudu trophy sizes were within the minimum score threshold whereas sable trophy sizes were above the SCI minimum score between 2004 and 2015. Age at harvest for Cape buffalo, kudu and sable increased whilst that of elephant remained constant between 2004 and 2015. Quota size allocated for buffalo and the corresponding offtake levels declined over time. Offtake levels of African elephant and Greater kudu declined whilst the quota size did not change between 2004 and 2015. The quota size for sable increased whilst the offtake levels fluctuated without changing for the period 2004-2015. The trophy size and harvesting patterns in these species pose a conservation and management dilemma on the sustainability of trophy hunting in this area. We recommend: (1 temporal and spatial rotational resting of hunting areas to create refuge to improve trophy quality and maintenance of genetic diversity, and (2 introduction of variable trophy fee pricing system based on trophy size.

  4. Surviving and growing amidst others : the effect of environmental factors on germination and establishment of savanna trees

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Moribe Barbosa, E.R.

    2013-01-01

    Savanna ecosystems are characterized by a continuous grass layer intermixed with a discontinuous layer of trees and shrubs. A complex set of environmental drivers, such as water, soil nutrients, solar radiance, fire and herbivory, determines vegetation structure and composition in savannas.Such

  5. Microbial properties and litter and soil nutrients after two prescribed fires in developing savannas in an upland Missouri Ozark Forest

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felix, Jr. Ponder; Mahasin Tadros; Edward F. Loewenstein

    2009-01-01

    On some landscapes periodic fire may be necessary to develop and maintain oak-dominated savannas. We studied the effects of two annual prescribed burns to determine their effect on microbial activity and soil and litter nutrients 1 year after the last burn. Surface litter and soil from the upper 0?5 cm soil layer in three developing savannas (oak-hickory, ...

  6. Overlap in nitrogen sources and redistribution of nitrogen between trees and grasses in a semi-arid savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Priyadarshini, K.V.R.; Prins, H.H.T.; Bie, de S.; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Woodborne, S.; Gort, G.; Kirkman, K.; Fry, B.; Kroon, de H.

    2014-01-01

    A key question in savanna ecology is how trees and grasses coexist under N limitation. We used N stable isotopes and N content to study N source partitioning across seasons from trees and associated grasses in a semi-arid savanna. We also used 15N tracer additions to investigate possible

  7. Bird species and numbers of birds in oak savannas of the Southwestern Borderlands region including effects of burning

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peter F. Ffolliott; Hui Chen; Gerald J. Gottfried

    2011-01-01

    Oak savannas of the Southwestern Borderlands region provide food, cover, and sites for nesting, roosting, and perching for a diversity of bird species. The results of a five-year (2003-2007) study of bird species, numbers of birds, and their diversities in the naturally occurring (unburned) oak savannas of the region are reported in this paper. Effects of cool-season...

  8. Eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens) breeding demography across a gradient of savanna, woodland, and forest in the Missouri Ozarks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sarah W. Kendrick; Frank R. Thompson; Jennifer L. Reidy

    2013-01-01

    Better knowledge of bird response to savanna and woodland restoration is needed to inform management of these communities. We related temporal and habitat variables to breeding demography and densities of the Eastern Wood-Pewee (Contopus virens) across a gradient of savanna, woodland, and forest. We determined nest success, clutch size, young fledged...

  9. Reciprocal diversification in a complex plant-herbivore-parasitoid food web

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    Bokma Folmer

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Plants, plant-feeding insects, and insect parasitoids form some of the most complex and species-rich food webs. According to the classic escape-and-radiate (EAR hypothesis, these hyperdiverse communities result from coevolutionary arms races consisting of successive cycles of enemy escape, radiation, and colonization by new enemy lineages. It has also been suggested that "enemy-free space" provided by novel host plants could promote host shifts by herbivores, and that parasitoids could similarly drive diversification of gall form in insects that induce galls on plants. Because these central coevolutionary hypotheses have never been tested in a phylogenetic framework, we combined phylogenetic information on willow-galling sawflies with data on their host plants, gall types, and enemy communities. Results We found that evolutionary shifts in host plant use and habitat have led to dramatic prunings of parasitoid communities, and that changes in gall phenotype can provide "enemy-free morphospace" for millions of years even in the absence of host plant shifts. Some parasites have nevertheless managed to colonize recently-evolved gall types, and this has apparently led to adaptive speciation in several enemy groups. However, having fewer enemies does not in itself increase speciation probabilities in individual sawfly lineages, partly because the high diversity of the enemy community facilitates compensatory attack by remaining parasite taxa. Conclusion Taken together, our results indicate that niche-dependent parasitism is a major force promoting ecological divergence in herbivorous insects, and that prey divergence can cause speciation in parasite lineages. However, the results also show that the EAR hypothesis is too simplistic for species-rich food webs: instead, diversification seems to be spurred by a continuous stepwise process, in which ecological and phenotypic shifts in prey lineages are followed by a lagged evolutionary

  10. Intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants correlates positively with plant size and herbivore load but negatively with herbivore damage.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bustos-Segura, Carlos; Poelman, Erik H; Reichelt, Michael; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Gols, Rieta

    2017-01-01

    Intraspecific plant diversity can modify the properties of associated arthropod communities and plant fitness. However, it is not well understood which plant traits determine these ecological effects. We explored the effect of intraspecific chemical diversity among neighbouring plants on the associated invertebrate community and plant traits. In a common garden experiment, intraspecific diversity among neighbouring plants was manipulated using three plant populations of wild cabbage that differ in foliar glucosinolates. Plants were larger, harboured more herbivores, but were less damaged when plant diversity was increased. Glucosinolate concentration differentially correlated with generalist and specialist herbivore abundance. Glucosinolate composition correlated with plant damage, while in polycultures, variation in glucosinolate concentrations among neighbouring plants correlated positively with herbivore diversity and negatively with plant damage levels. The results suggest that intraspecific variation in secondary chemistry among neighbouring plants is important in determining the structure of the associated insect community and positively affects plant performance. © 2016 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. A probabilistic analysis of fire-induced tree-grass coexistence in savannas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    D'Odorico, Paolo; Laio, Francesco; Ridolfi, Luca

    2006-03-01

    Fires play an important role in determining the composition and structure of vegetation in semiarid ecosystems. The study of the interactions between fire and vegetation requires a stochastic approach because of the random and unpredictable nature of fire occurrences. To this end, this article develops a minimalist probabilistic framework to investigate the impact of intermittent fire occurrences on the temporal dynamics of vegetation. This framework is used to analyze the emergence of statistically stable conditions favorable to tree-grass coexistence in savannas. It is found that these conditions can be induced and stabilized by the stochastic fire regime. A decrease in fire frequency leads to bush encroachment, while more frequent and intense fires favor savanna-to-grassland conversions. The positive feedback between fires and vegetation can convert states of tree-grass coexistence in semiarid savannas into bistable conditions, with both woodland and grassland as possible, though mutually exclusive, stable states of the system.

  12. The global extent and determinants of savanna and forest as alternative biome states.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Staver, A Carla; Archibald, Sally; Levin, Simon A

    2011-10-14

    Theoretically, fire-tree cover feedbacks can maintain savanna and forest as alternative stable states. However, the global extent of fire-driven discontinuities in tree cover is unknown, especially accounting for seasonality and soils. We use tree cover, climate, fire, and soils data sets to show that tree cover is globally discontinuous. Climate influences tree cover globally but, at intermediate rainfall (1000 to 2500 millimeters) with mild seasonality (less than 7 months), tree cover is bimodal, and only fire differentiates between savanna and forest. These may be alternative states over large areas, including parts of Amazonia and the Congo. Changes in biome distributions, whether at the cost of savanna (due to fragmentation) or forest (due to climate), will be neither smooth nor easily reversible.

  13. Biodiversity, threats and conservation challenges in the Cerrado of Amapá, an Amazonian savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Karen Mustin

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available An Amazonian savanna in northern Brazil known as the Cerrado of Amapá is under imminent threat from poor land-use planning, the expansion of large-scale agriculture and other anthropogenic pressures. These savannas house a rich and unique flora and fauna, including endemic plants and animals. However, the area remains under-sampled for most taxa, and better sampling may uncover new species. We estimate that only ~9.16% of these habitats have any kind of protection, and legislative changes threaten to further weaken or remove this protection. Here we present the status of knowledge concerning the biodiversity of the Cerrado of Amapá, its conservation status, and the main threats to the conservation of this Amazonian savanna. To secure the future of these unique and imperilled habitats, we suggest urgent expansion of protected areas, as well as measures that would promote less-damaging land uses to support the local population.

  14. Experimental effects of herbivore density on above-ground plant biomass in an alpine grassland ecosystem

    OpenAIRE

    Austrheim, Gunnar; Speed, James David Mervyn; Martinsen, Vegard; Mulder, Jan; Mysterud, Atle

    2014-01-01

    Herbivores may increase or decrease aboveground plant productivity depending on factors such as herbivore density and habitat productivity. The grazing optimization hypothesis predicts a peak in plant production at intermediate herbivore densities, but has rarely been tested experimentally in an alpine field setting. In an experimental design with three densities of sheep (high, low, and no sheep), we harvested aboveground plant biomass in alpine grasslands prior to treatment and after five y...

  15. The Stoichiometry of Nutrient Release by Terrestrial Herbivores and Its Ecosystem Consequences

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    Judith Sitters

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available It is widely recognized that the release of nutrients by herbivores via their waste products strongly impacts nutrient availability for autotrophs. The ratios of nitrogen (N and phosphorus (P recycled through herbivore release (i.e., waste N:P are mainly determined by the stoichiometric composition of the herbivore's food (food N:P and its body nutrient content (body N:P. Waste N:P can in turn impact autotroph nutrient limitation and productivity. Herbivore-driven nutrient recycling based on stoichiometric principles is dominated by theoretical and experimental research in freshwater systems, in particular interactions between algae and invertebrate herbivores. In terrestrial ecosystems, the impact of herbivores on nutrient cycling and availability is often limited to studying carbon (C:N and C:P ratios, while the role of terrestrial herbivores in mediating N:P ratios is also likely to influence herbivore-driven nutrient recycling. In this review, we use rules and predictions on the stoichiometry of nutrient release originating from algal-based aquatic systems to identify the factors that determine the stoichiometry of nutrient release by herbivores. We then explore how these rules can be used to understand the stoichiometry of nutrient release by terrestrial herbivores, ranging from invertebrates to mammals, and its impact on plant nutrient limitation and productivity. Future studies should focus on measuring both N and P when investigating herbivore-driven nutrient recycling in terrestrial ecosystems, while also taking the form of waste product (urine or feces and other pathways by which herbivores change nutrients into account, to be able to quantify the impact of waste stoichiometry on plant communities.

  16. Herbivore grazing—or trampling? Trampling effects by a large ungulate in cold high- latitude ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Heggenes, Jan; Odland, Arvid; Chevalier, Tomas; Ahlberg, Jörgen; Berg, Amanda; Larsson, Håkan; Bjerketvedt, Dag Kjartan

    2017-01-01

    Mammalian herbivores have important top-down effects on ecological processes and landscapes by generating vegetation changes through grazing and trampling. For free-ranging herbivores on large landscapes, trampling is an important ecological factor. However, whereas grazing is widely studied, low-intensity trampling is rarely studied and quantified. The cold-adapted northern tundra reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is a wide-ranging keystone herbivore in large open alpine and Arctic ecosystems. Re...

  17. Fuel biomass and combustion factors associated with fires in savanna ecosystems of South Africa and Zambia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shea, Ronald W.; Shea, Barbara W.; Kauffman, J. Boone; Ward, Darold E.; Haskins, Craig I.; Scholes, Mary C.

    1996-10-01

    Fires are dominant factors in shaping the structure and composition of vegetation in African savanna ecosystems. Emissions such as CO2, NOx, CH4, and other compounds originating from these fires are suspected to contribute substantially to changes in global biogeochemical processes. Limited quantitative data exist detailing characteristics of biomass, burning conditions, and the postfire environment in African savannas. Fourteen test sites, differentiated by distinct burn frequency histories and land-use patterns, were established and burned during August and September 1992 in savanna parklands of South Africa and savanna woodlands of Zambia. Vegetation physiognomy, available fuel loads, the levels of biomass consumed by fire, environmental conditions, and fire behavior are described. In the South African sites, total aboveground fuel loads ranged from 2218 to 5492 kg ha-1 where fire return intervals were 1-4 years and exceeded 7000 kg ha-1 at a site subjected to 38 years of fire exclusion. However, fireline intensity was only 1419 kW m-1 at the fire exclusion site, while ranging from 480 to 6130 kW m-1 among the frequent fire sites. In Zambia, total aboveground fuel loads ranged from 3164 kg ha-1 in a hydromorphic grassland to 7343 kg ha-1 in a fallow shifting cultivation site. Dormant grass and litter constituted 70-98% of the total fuel load among all sites. Although downed woody debris was a relatively minor fuel component at most sites, it constituted 43-57% of the total fuel load in the fire exclusion and shifting cultivation sites. Fire line intensity ranged between 1734 and 4061 kW m-1 among all Zambian sites. Mean grass consumption generally exceeded 95%, while downed woody debris consumption ranged from 3 to 73% at all sites. In tropical savannas and savanna woodlands of southern Africa, differences in environmental conditions, land- use patterns, and fire regimes influence vegetation characteristics and thus influence fire behavior and biomass

  18. Competition between trees and grasses for both soil water and mineral nitrogen in dry savannas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donzelli, D; De Michele, C; Scholes, R J

    2013-09-07

    The co-existence of trees and grasses in savannas in general can be the result of processes involving competition for resources (e.g. water and nutrients) or differential response to disturbances such as fire, animals and human activities; or a combination of both broad mechanisms. In moist savannas, the tree-grass coexistence is mainly attributed to of disturbances, while in dry savannas, limiting resources are considered the principal mechanism of co-existence. Virtually all theoretical explorations of tree-grass dynamics in dry savannas consider only competition for soil water. Here we investigate whether coexistence could result from a balanced competition for two resources, namely soil water and mineral nitrogen. We introduce a simple dynamical resource-competition model for trees and grasses. We consider two alternative hypotheses: (1) trees are the superior competitors for nitrogen while grasses are superior competitors for water, and (2) vice-versa. We study the model properties under the two hypotheses and test each hypothesis against data from 132 dry savannas in Africa using Kendall's test of independence. We find that Hypothesis 1 gets much more support than Hypothesis 2, and more support than the null hypothesis that neither is operative. We further consider gradients of rainfall and nitrogen availability and find that the Hypothesis 1 model reproduces the observed patterns in nature. We do not consider our results to definitively show that tree-grass coexistence in dry savannas is due to balanced competition for water and nitrogen, but show that this mechanism is a possibility, which cannot be a priori excluded and should thus be considered along with the more traditional explanations. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Nutrient dynamics and plant assemblages of Macrotermes falciger mounds in a savanna ecosystem

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muvengwi, Justice; Ndagurwa, Hilton G. T.; Nyenda, Tatenda; Mbiba, Monicah

    2016-10-01

    Termites through mound construction and foraging activities contribute significantly to carbon and nutrient fluxes in nutrient-poor savannas. Despite this recognition, studies on the influence of termite mounds on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in sub-tropical savannas are limited. In this regard, we examined soil nutrient concentrations, organic carbon and nitrogen mineralization in incubation experiments in mounds of Macrotermes falciger and surrounding soils of sub-tropical savanna, northeast Zimbabwe. We also addressed whether termite mounds altered the plant community and if effects were similar across functional groups i.e. grasses, forbs or woody plants. Mound soils had significantly higher silt and clay content, pH and concentrations of calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), organic carbon (C), ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3-) than surrounding soils, with marginal differences in phosphorus (P) and sodium (Na) between mounds and matrix soils. Nutrient enrichment increased by a factor ranging from 1.5 for C, 4.9 for Mg up to 10.3 for Ca. Although C mineralization, nitrification and nitrification fraction were similar between mounds and matrix soils, nitrogen mineralization was elevated on mounds relative to surrounding matrix soils. As a result, termite mounds supported unique plant communities rich and abundant in woody species but less diverse in grasses and forbs than the surrounding savanna matrix in response to mound-induced shifts in soil parameters specifically increased clay content, drainage and water availability, nutrient status and base cation (mainly Ca, Mg and Na) concentration. In conclusion, by altering soil properties such as texture, moisture content and nutrient status, termite mounds can alter the structure and composition of sub-tropical savanna plant communities, and these results are consistent with findings in other savanna systems suggesting that increase in soil clay content, nutrient status and associated changes in the plant

  20. The impact of plant chemical diversity on plant-herbivore interactions at the community level.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salazar, Diego; Jaramillo, Alejandra; Marquis, Robert J

    2016-08-01

    Understanding the role of diversity in ecosystem processes and species interactions is a central goal of ecology. For plant-herbivore interactions, it has been hypothesized that when plant species diversity is reduced, loss of plant biomass to herbivores increases. Although long-standing, this hypothesis has received mixed support. Increasing plant chemical diversity with increasing plant taxonomic diversity is likely to be important for plant-herbivore interactions at the community level, but the role of chemical diversity is unexplored. Here we assess the effect of volatile chemical diversity on patterns of herbivore damage in naturally occurring patches of Piper (Piperaceae) shrubs in a Costa Rican lowland wet forest. Volatile chemical diversity negatively affected total, specialist, and generalist herbivore damage. Furthermore, there were differences between the effects of high-volatility and low-volatility chemical diversity on herbivore damage. High-volatility diversity reduced specialist herbivory, while low-volatility diversity reduced generalist herbivory. Our data suggest that, although increased plant diversity is expected to reduce average herbivore damage, this pattern is likely mediated by the diversity of defensive compounds and general classes of anti-herbivore traits, as well as the degree of specialization of the herbivores attacking those plants.

  1. Spatial pattern enhances ecosystem functioning in an African savanna.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Robert M Pringle

    2010-05-01

    Full Text Available The finding that regular spatial patterns can emerge in nature from local interactions between organisms has prompted a search for the ecological importance of these patterns. Theoretical models have predicted that patterning may have positive emergent effects on fundamental ecosystem functions, such as productivity. We provide empirical support for this prediction. In dryland ecosystems, termite mounds are often hotspots of plant growth (primary productivity. Using detailed observations and manipulative experiments in an African savanna, we show that these mounds are also local hotspots of animal abundance (secondary and tertiary productivity: insect abundance and biomass decreased with distance from the nearest termite mound, as did the abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of insect-eating predators. Null-model analyses indicated that at the landscape scale, the evenly spaced distribution of termite mounds produced dramatically greater abundance, biomass, and reproductive output of consumers across trophic levels than would be obtained in landscapes with randomly distributed mounds. These emergent properties of spatial pattern arose because the average distance from an arbitrarily chosen point to the nearest feature in a landscape is minimized in landscapes where the features are hyper-dispersed (i.e., uniformly spaced. This suggests that the linkage between patterning and ecosystem functioning will be common to systems spanning the range of human management intensities. The centrality of spatial pattern to system-wide biomass accumulation underscores the need to conserve pattern-generating organisms and mechanisms, and to incorporate landscape patterning in efforts to restore degraded habitats and maximize the delivery of ecosystem services.

  2. Differences in Nicotine Metabolism of Two Nicotiana attenuata Herbivores Render Them Differentially Susceptible to a Common Native Predator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kumar, Pavan; Rathi, Preeti; Schöttner, Matthias; Baldwin, Ian T.; Pandit, Sagar

    2014-01-01

    Background Nicotiana attenuata is attacked by larvae of both specialist (Manduca sexta) and generalist (Spodoptera exigua) lepidopteran herbivores in its native habitat. Nicotine is one of N. attenuata's important defenses. M. sexta is highly nicotine tolerant; whether cytochrome P450 (CYP)-mediated oxidative detoxification and/or rapid excretion is responsible for its exceptional tolerance remains unknown despite five decades of study. Recently, we demonstrated that M. sexta uses its nicotine-induced CYP6B46 to efflux midgut-nicotine into the hemolymph, facilitating nicotine exhalation that deters predatory wolf spiders (Camptocosa parallela). S. exigua's nicotine metabolism is uninvestigated. Methodology/Principal Findings We compared the ability of these two herbivores to metabolize, tolerate and co-opt ingested nicotine for defense against the wolf spider. In addition, we analyzed the spider's excretion to gain insights into its nicotine metabolism. Contrary to previous reports, we found that M. sexta larvae neither accumulate the common nicotine oxides (cotinine, cotinine N-oxide and nicotine N-oxide) nor excrete them faster than nicotine. In M. sexta larvae, ingestion of nicotine as well as its oxides increases the accumulation of CYP6B46 transcripts. In contrast, S. exigua accumulates nicotine oxides and exhales less (66%) nicotine than does M. sexta. Spiders prefer nicotine-fed S. exigua over M. sexta, a preference reversed by topical or headspace nicotine supplementation, but not ingested or topically-coated nicotine oxides, suggesting that externalized nicotine but not the nicotine detoxification products deter spider predation. The spiders also do not accumulate nicotine oxides. Conclusions Nicotine oxidation reduces S. exigua's headspace-nicotine and renders it more susceptible to predation by spiders than M. sexta, which exhales unmetabolized nicotine. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that generalist herbivores incur costs of

  3. Elucidating the interaction between light competition and herbivore feeding patterns using functional–structural plant modelling

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vries, Jorad; Poelman, Erik H; Anten, Niels; Evers, Jochem B

    2018-01-01

    Abstract Background and Aims Plants usually compete with neighbouring plants for resources such as light as well as defend themselves against herbivorous insects. This requires investment of limiting resources, resulting in optimal resource distribution patterns and trade-offs between growth- and defence-related traits. A plant’s competitive success is determined by the spatial distribution of its resources in the canopy. The spatial distribution of herbivory in the canopy in turn differs between herbivore species as the level of herbivore specialization determines their response to the distribution of resources and defences in the canopy. Here, we investigated to what extent competition for light affects plant susceptibility to herbivores with different feeding preferences. Methods To quantify interactions between herbivory and competition, we developed and evaluated a 3-D spatially explicit functional–structural plant model for Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates competition in a dynamic light environment, and also explicitly models leaf area removal by herbivores with different feeding preferences. With this novel approach, we can quantitatively explore the extent to which herbivore feeding location and light competition interact in their effect on plant performance. Key Results Our results indicate that there is indeed a strong interaction between levels of plant–plant competition and herbivore feeding preference. When plants did not compete, herbivory had relatively small effects irrespective of feeding preference. Conversely, when plants competed, herbivores with a preference for young leaves had a strong negative effect on the competitiveness and subsequent performance of the plant, whereas herbivores with a preference for old leaves did not. Conclusions Our study predicts how plant susceptibility to herbivory depends on the composition of the herbivore community and the level of plant competition, and highlights the importance of considering

  4. Elucidating the interaction between light competition and herbivore feeding patterns using functional-structural plant modelling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Vries, Jorad; Poelman, Erik H; Anten, Niels; Evers, Jochem B

    2018-01-24

    Plants usually compete with neighbouring plants for resources such as light as well as defend themselves against herbivorous insects. This requires investment of limiting resources, resulting in optimal resource distribution patterns and trade-offs between growth- and defence-related traits. A plant's competitive success is determined by the spatial distribution of its resources in the canopy. The spatial distribution of herbivory in the canopy in turn differs between herbivore species as the level of herbivore specialization determines their response to the distribution of resources and defences in the canopy. Here, we investigated to what extent competition for light affects plant susceptibility to herbivores with different feeding preferences. To quantify interactions between herbivory and competition, we developed and evaluated a 3-D spatially explicit functional-structural plant model for Brassica nigra that mechanistically simulates competition in a dynamic light environment, and also explicitly models leaf area removal by herbivores with different feeding preferences. With this novel approach, we can quantitatively explore the extent to which herbivore feeding location and light competition interact in their effect on plant performance. Our results indicate that there is indeed a strong interaction between levels of plant-plant competition and herbivore feeding preference. When plants did not compete, herbivory had relatively small effects irrespective of feeding preference. Conversely, when plants competed, herbivores with a preference for young leaves had a strong negative effect on the competitiveness and subsequent performance of the plant, whereas herbivores with a preference for old leaves did not. Our study predicts how plant susceptibility to herbivory depends on the composition of the herbivore community and the level of plant competition, and highlights the importance of considering the full range of dynamics in plant-plant-herbivore interactions

  5. Review - Host specificity of insect herbivores in tropical forests

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Novotný, Vojtěch; Basset, Y.

    2005-01-01

    Roč. 272, č. 1568 (2005), s. 1083-1090 ISSN 0962-8452 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR(CZ) IAA6007106; GA ČR(CZ) GD206/03/H034; GA ČR(CZ) GA206/04/0725; GA MŠk(CZ) ME 646 Grant - others:US Nationals Science Foundation(US) DEB-02-11591; Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species(US) 162/10/030 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z50070508 Keywords : food web * herbivore guild * host plant range Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 3.510, year: 2005

  6. Multiple endmember spectral-angle-mapper (SAM) analysis improves discrimination of Savanna tree species

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Cho, Moses A

    2009-08-01

    Full Text Available of this paper was to evaluate the classification performance of a multiple-endmember spectral angle mapper (SAM) classification approach in discriminating seven common African savanna tree species and to compare the results with the traditional SAM classifier...

  7. Soil erosion and deposition before and after fire in oak savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peter F. Ffolliott; Gerald J. Gottfried; Hui Chen; Aaron T. Kauffman; Cody L. Stropki; Daniel G. Neary

    2013-01-01

    Effects of low severity prescribed burning treatments and a wildfire on soil erosion and deposition in the oak savannas in the Southwestern Borderlands are reported. Measurements in the spring and fall, respectively, characterize soil movements following winter rains and high-intensity summer rainstorms. Annual values are also presented. Relationships between soil...

  8. Biomass partitioning and root morphology of savanna trees across a water gradient

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tomlinson, K.W.; Sterck, F.J.; Bongers, F.; Silva, da D.A.; Barbosa, E.R.; Ward, D.; Bakker, F.T.; Kaauwen, van M.P.W.; Prins, H.H.T.; Bie, de S.; Langevelde, van F.

    2012-01-01

    1. Plant organ biomass partitioning has been hypothesized to be driven by resources, such that species from drier environments allocate more biomass to roots than species from wetter environments to access water at greater soil depths. In savanna systems, fire may select for greater allocation to

  9. Changing forest-woodland-savanna mosaics in Uganda: with implications for conservation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nangendo, G.

    2005-01-01

    Forest-Woodland-Savanna (FWS) mosaics are complex, highly varied and dynamic landscapes.Until recently, they were considered poor in terms of biodiversity. Consequently, only few scientific studies have been done on them and little attention has been paid to their

  10. Alien plant invasions in tropical and sub-tropical savannas: patterns, processes and prospects

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Foxcroft, L. C.; Richardson, D. M.; Rejmánek, M.; Pyšek, Petr

    2010-01-01

    Roč. 12, č. 12 (2010), s. 3913-3933 ISSN 1387-3547 R&D Projects: GA MŠk LC06073 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : savannas * plant invasions * world Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.474, year: 2010

  11. Trophic interactions among invertebrates in termitaria in the African savanna : a stable isotope approach

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    De Visser, Sarah N.; Freymann, Bernd P.; Schnyder, Hans

    2008-01-01

    1. Termites (Isoptera) in tropical savannas are known as ecosystem engineers, affecting the spatial and temporal distribution of water, carbon, cations, and nutrients through their mound structures. Their mounds, however, also offer habitation to diverse taxa and feeding guilds of other

  12. Synthesis of field experiments concerning the grass layer in the savanna regions of southern Africa

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    O'Connor, TG

    1985-10-01

    Full Text Available The purpose of this synthesis of long term experiments was to develop an account of how the principal determinants (rainfall, soil type, woody/grass ratio, herbivory, fire) influence the dynamics of the grass layer of southern African savannas...

  13. Improved quality of beneath-canopy grass in South African savannas: Local and seasonal variation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Treydte, A.C.; Looringh van Beeck, F.A.; Ludwig, F.; Heitkonig, I.M.A.

    2008-01-01

    Questions: Do large trees improve the nutrient content and the structure of the grass layer in savannas? Does the magnitude of this improvement differ with locality ( soil nutrients) and season ( water availability)? Are grass structure and species composition beneath tree canopies influenced by

  14. Composition and species diversity of pine-wiregrass savannas of the Green Swamp, North Carolina

    Science.gov (United States)

    Joan Walker; Robert K. Peet

    1983-01-01

    Fire-maintained, species-rich pines wiregrass savannas in the Green Swamp, North Carolina were sampled over their natural range of environmental conditions and fire frequencies. Species composition, species richness, diversity (Exp H', I/ C), and aboveground production were documented and fertilization experiments conducted to assess possible mechanisms for the...

  15. SEASONAL SOIL FLUXES OF CARBON MONOXIDE IN BURNED AND UNBURNED BRAZILIAN SAVANNAS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soil-atmosphere fluxes of carbon monoxide (CO) were measured from September 1999 through November 2000 in savanna areas in central Brazil (Cerrado) under different fire regimes using transparent and opaque static chambers. Studies focused on two vegetation types, cerrado stricto...

  16. Trophic ecology of Lepidoptera larvae associated with woody vegetation in a savanna ecosystem

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Scholtz, CH

    1982-06-01

    Full Text Available This study represents a quantitative survey of a Lepidoptera community and deals with the trophic ecology of the 27 species of foliage-feeding Lepidoptera on the eight dominant woody plants in the Burkea africana-Eragrostis pallens savanna...

  17. Ethno-management of plinthic and ironpan soils in the savanna ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Ethno-management of plinthic and ironpan soils in the savanna regions of West Africa. ... Ghana Journal of Agricultural Science ... tracts of land, the Zaï method of chiselling into the pan and growing crops in the pits is adopted These indigenous farmers' practices need scientific improvement to make them more effective.

  18. Impact of goat browsing on Aloe ferox in a South African savanna ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The extent and impact of the utilisation of Aloe ferox by Boer goats during winter in a South African savanna was determined using a plant-based approach. All Aloe plants rooted within the transects were eaten by goats, with small plants utilised more frequently than tall plants. The density of dying and dead Aloe plants was ...

  19. Long range lateral root activity by neo-tropical savanna trees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Leonel da S. L. Sternberg; Sandra Bucci; Augusto Franco; Guillermo Goldstein; William A. Hoffman; Frederick C. Meinzer; Marcelo Z. Moreira; Fabian. Scholz

    2004-01-01

    The extent of water uptake by lateral roots of savanna trees in the Brazilian highlands was measured by irrigating two 2 by 2 m plots with deuterium-enriched water and assaying for the abundance of deuterium in stem water from trees inside and at several distances from the irrigation plots. Stem water of trees inside the irrigation plots was highly enriched compared to...

  20. Estimating and mapping grass phosphorus concentration in an African savanna using hyperspectral image data

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mutanga, O.; Kumar, L.

    2007-01-01

    We tested the utility of imaging spectroscopy and neural networks to map phosphorus concentration in savanna grass using airborne HyMAP image data. We also sought to ascertain the key wavelengths for phosphorus prediction using hyperspectral remote sensing. The remote sensing of foliar phosphorus

  1. Ecology and management of oak woodlands and savannas in the southwestern Borderlands Region

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gerald J. Gottfried; Peter F. Ffolliott

    2013-01-01

    Management of the Madrean oak woodlands and the less dense and ecologically different oak savannas must be based on sound ecological information. However, relatively little is known about the Madrean oak ecosystems in spite of the fact that they cover about 80,000 km2 in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Emory oak (Quercus emoryi), the dominant tree...

  2. Recent shift from forest to savanna burning in the Amazon Basin observed by satellite

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ten Hoeve, J E; Jacobson, M Z; Remer, L A; Correia, A L

    2012-01-01

    The numbers of fires detected on forest, savanna and transition lands during the 2002–10 biomass burning seasons in Amazonia are shown using fire count data and co-located land cover classifications from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The ratio of forest fires to savanna fires has varied substantially over the study period, with a maximum ratio of 0.65:1 in 2005 and a minimum ratio of 0.27:1 in 2009, with the four lowest years occurring in 2007–10. The burning during the droughts of 2007 and 2010 is attributed to a higher number of savanna fires relative to the drought of 2005. A decrease in the regional mean single scattering albedo of biomass burning aerosols, consistent with the shift from forest to savanna burning, is also shown. During the severe drought of 2010, forest fire detections were lower in many areas compared with 2005, even though the drought was more severe in 2010. This result suggests that improved fire management practices, including stricter burning regulations as well as lower deforestation burning, may have reduced forest fires in 2010 relative to 2005 in some areas of the Amazon Basin. (letter)

  3. Impacts of communal fuelwood extraction on lidar-estimated biomass patterns of savanna woodlands

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Wessels, Konrad J

    2012-07-01

    Full Text Available Approximately 54% of rural households in South Africa continue to use wood as their main source of energy, mainly for cooking and heating. The provision of biomass by savanna woodlands is thus of considerable value to rural households and therefore...

  4. Characterization of habitat preferences for selected wildlife species in encinal savannas of the Southwest [Poster

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wendy D. Jones; Carlton M. Jones; Peter F. Ffolliott; Gerald J. Gottfried

    2005-01-01

    The encinal savannas of the sub-mogollon southwestern United States are important for livestock grazing and wildlife habitat. Little data have been collected on the ecology of these Sierra Madrean types of woodland land areas, which makes management difficult. Obtaining information such as habitat preferences for selected wildlife species and livestock can be an...

  5. Abundance of birds in the oak savannas of the southwestern United States

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wendy D. Jones; Carlton M. Jones; Peter F. Ffolliott; Gerald J. Gottfried

    2005-01-01

    Oak ecosystems of the Southwestern United States are important habitats for a variety of wildlife species. Information is available on the abundance and habitat preferences of some species inhabiting the more densely structured oak woodlands, but little information is available on these topics for the comparatively open oak savannas. Studies are underway to alleviate...

  6. Assessing effect of rainfall on rate of alien shrub expansion in a southern African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Masocha, Mhosisi; Dube, Timothy; Skidmore, A.K.; Holmgren, Milena; Prins, Herbert

    2017-01-01

    Understanding the environmental factors governing the spread of alien shrubs is crucial for conserving biodiversity. In the semi-arid savannas of Africa, alien shrub invasion often occurs simultaneously with native shrub encroachment but climate-dependent differences in encroachments of native and

  7. Soil properties in fire-consumed log burnout openings in a Missouri oak savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Charles C. Rhoades; A. J. Meier; A. J. Rebertus

    2004-01-01

    Downed logs are known to increase species diversity in many forest ecosystems by increasing resource and structural complexity and by altering fire behavior in fire-prone ecosystems. In a frequently burned oak savanna in central Missouri, combustion of downed logs formed patches that have remained free of herbaceous vegetation for more than 3 years. To assess the...

  8. STRUCTURE OF MICROBIAL COMMUNITIES IN NATIVE AND CONVERTED SAVANNA AREAS OF CENTRAL BRAZIL

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brazilian savannas (Cerrado) have suffered drastic changes in land use with major conversion of native areas to agriculture since 1960. Burning, both due to natural conditions and as a human-induced practice, is a common event during the dry season (April to September) and plays ...

  9. Hydraulic lift in a neotropical savanna: experimental manipulation and model simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fabian G. Scholz; Sandra J. Bucci; William A. Hoffmann; Frederick C. Meinzer; Guillermo Goldstein

    2010-01-01

    The objective of this study was to assess the magnitude of hydraulic lift in Brazilian savannas (Cerrado) and to test the hypothesis that hydraulic lift by herbaceous plants contributes substantially to slowing the decline of water potential and water storage in the upper soil layers during the dry season. To this effect, field observations of soil water content and...

  10. From savanna to campus woodlot: the historical ecology of farm woodlots in southern Illinois

    Science.gov (United States)

    C. M. Ruffner; A. Trieu; S. Chandy; M. D. Davis; D. Fishel; G. Gipson; J. Lhotka; K. Lynch; P. Perkins; S. van de Gevel; W. Watson; E. White

    2003-01-01

    The historical ecology of Thompson Woods, a 4.1 ha forest remnant on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, was investigated through stand structure analysis, dendroecology, and historical records. Historical records indicate the area was a savanna ecosystem prior to European settlement dominated by large, open grown mixed oak-hickory trees. No trees in...

  11. The influence of savanna trees on nutrient, water and light availability and the understorey vegetation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ludwig, F.; Kroon, de H.; Berendse, F.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2004-01-01

    In an East African savanna herbaceous layer productivity and species composition were studied around Acacia tortilis trees of three different age classes, as well as around dead trees and in open grassland patches. The effects of trees on nutrient, light and water availability were measured to

  12. Application of Object Based Classification and High Resolution Satellite Imagery for Savanna Ecosystem Analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jane Southworth

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available Savanna ecosystems are an important component of dryland regions and yet are exceedingly difficult to study using satellite imagery. Savannas are composed are varying amounts of trees, shrubs and grasses and typically traditional classification schemes or vegetation indices cannot differentiate across class type. This research utilizes object based classification (OBC for a region in Namibia, using IKONOS imagery, to help differentiate tree canopies and therefore woodland savanna, from shrub or grasslands. The methodology involved the identification and isolation of tree canopies within the imagery and the creation of tree polygon layers had an overall accuracy of 84%. In addition, the results were scaled up to a corresponding Landsat image of the same region, and the OBC results compared to corresponding pixel values of NDVI. The results were not compelling, indicating once more the problems of these traditional image analysis techniques for savanna ecosystems. Overall, the use of the OBC holds great promise for this ecosystem and could be utilized more frequently in studies of vegetation structure.

  13. Mapping Cropland in Smallholder-Dominated Savannas: Integrating Remote Sensing Techniques and Probabilistic Modeling

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sean Sweeney

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Traditional smallholder farming systems dominate the savanna range countries of sub-Saharan Africa and provide the foundation for the region’s food security. Despite continued expansion of smallholder farming into the surrounding savanna landscapes, food insecurity in the region persists. Central to the monitoring of food security in these countries, and to understanding the processes behind it, are reliable, high-quality datasets of cultivated land. Remote sensing has been frequently used for this purpose but distinguishing crops under certain stages of growth from savanna woodlands has remained a major challenge. Yet, crop production in dryland ecosystems is most vulnerable to seasonal climate variability, amplifying the need for high quality products showing the distribution and extent of cropland. The key objective in this analysis is the development of a classification protocol for African savanna landscapes, emphasizing the delineation of cropland. We integrate remote sensing techniques with probabilistic modeling into an innovative workflow. We present summary results for this methodology applied to a land cover classification of Zambia’s Southern Province. Five primary land cover categories are classified for the study area, producing an overall map accuracy of 88.18%. Omission error within the cropland class is 12.11% and commission error 9.76%.

  14. Structure, root systems and periodicity of savanna plants and vegetations in Northern Surinam

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Donselaar-ten Bokkel Huinink, van W.A.E.

    1966-01-01

    From July 1958 to May 1959 an investigation was carried out of the relation between physiognomic characteristics of the vegetation and the habitat on some savannas in the vicinity of Zanderij, Surinam. Root systems, structure, periodicity and characteristics of the leaves were considered, both of

  15. Dynamics of woody vegetation in a semi-arid savanna, with a focus ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Increases in the tree:grass ratio with accompanying changes in herbaceous composition, called bush or shrub encroachment, is a worldwide phenomenon in ... Acacia mellifera-dominated savannas in the Northern Cape, South Africa, were investigated by means of vegetation classification and analyses of sequential aerial ...

  16. Long-term trends and interannual variability of forest, savanna and agricultural fires in South America

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Chen, Y.; Morton, D. C.; Yin, Y. F.; Collatz, G. J.; Kasibhatla, P. S.; van der Werf, G.R.; DeFries, R. S.; Randerson, J. T.

    2013-01-01

    Background: Landscape fires in South America have considerable impacts on ecosystems, air quality and the climate system. We examined long-term trends and interannual variability of forest, savanna and agricultural fires for the continent during 2001-2012 using multiple satellite-derived fire

  17. Elephant distribution around a volcanic shield dominated by a mosaic of forest and savanna (Marsabit, Kenya)

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ngene, S.M.; Skidmore, A.K.; Gils, H.; Douglas-Hamilton, I.; Omondi, P.

    2009-01-01

    We investigated the factors that influenced the distribution of the African elephant around a volcanic shield dominated by a mosaic of forest and savanna in northern Kenya. Data on elephant distribution were acquired from four female and five bull elephants, collared with satellite-linked

  18. Gastrointestinal Parasites of Savanna Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Ugalla, Tanzania

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kalousová, B.; Piel, A. K.; Pomajbíková, Kateřina; Modrý, David; Stewart, F.A.; Petrželková, Klára Judita

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 35, č. 2 (2014), s. 463-475 ISSN 0164-0291 Institutional support: RVO:60077344 Keywords : hominoid * Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii * gastrointestinal parasites * savanna * Spirurids * transmission * Ugalla * Tanzania Subject RIV: GJ - Animal Vermins ; Diseases, Veterinary Medicine Impact factor: 1.993, year: 2014

  19. Gastrointestinal parasites of savanna chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) in Ugalla, Tanzania

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kalousová, B.; Piel, A. K.; Pomajbíková, K.; Modrý, D.; Stewart, F. A.; Petrželková, Klára Judita

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 35, č. 2 (2014), s. 436-475 ISSN 0164-0291 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/0927 Institutional support: RVO:68081766 Keywords : Hominoid * Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii * Gastrointestinal parasites * Savanna * Spirurids * Transmission * Ugalla * Tanzania Subject RIV: EG - Zoology Impact factor: 1.993, year: 2014

  20. Water-removed spectra increase the retrieval accuracy when estimating savanna grass nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Ramoelo, Abel

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available . Ritchie and H. H. T. Prins (2002). Global enviromental controls of diversity of large hervivores. Nature 415: 901-904. 26 Owen-Smith, N. and S. M. Cooper (1987). Palatabilty of woody plants to browsing ruminants in a South African savanna. In...

  1. Fire and life in Tarangire : effects of burning and herbivory on an East African Savanna system

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vijver, van de C.A.D.M.

    1999-01-01

    This thesis investigates the effects of fire on quality and quantity of forage for grazers in the savannas of East Africa where fire has been used as a tool in pasture management for centuries. Hereby the mechanisms that cause the effects, as well as the manner in which the effects are

  2. Coral Reef Ecosystem Data from the 2010-2011 Kahekili Herbivore Fisheries Management Area, West Maui, Herbivore Enhancement as a Tool for Reef Restoration Project (NODC Accession 0082869)

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce — This research targets the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative (HCRI) Priority Area A: Kahekili, Maui: Herbivore Fisheries Management Area (KHFMA). The project goal was to...

  3. The distribution of large herbivore hotspots in relation to environmental and anthropogenic correlates in the Mara region of Kenya

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bhola, Nina; Ogutu, Joseph O.; Said, Mohamed Y.; Piepho, Hans-Peter; Olff, Han; Fryxell, John

    2012-01-01

    1. The distributions of large herbivores in protected areas and their surroundings are becoming increasingly restricted by changing land use, with adverse consequences for wildlife populations. 2. We analyse changes in distributions of herbivore hotspots to understand their environmental and

  4. Does plant trait diversity reduce the ability of herbivores to defend against predators? The plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wetzel, William C; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2016-04-01

    Variability in plant chemistry has long been believed to suppress populations of insect herbivores by constraining herbivore resource selection behavior in ways that make herbivores more vulnerable to predation. The focus on behavior, however, overlooks the pervasive physiological effects of plant variability on herbivores. Here we propose the plant variability-gut acclimation hypothesis, which posits that plant chemical variability constrains herbivore anti-predator defenses by frequently requiring herbivores to acclimate their guts to changing plant defenses and nutrients. Gut acclimation, including changes to morphology and detoxification enzymes, requires time and nutrients, and we argue these costs will constrain how and when herbivores can mount anti-predator defenses. A consequence of this hypothesis is stronger top-down control of herbivores in heterogeneous plant populations. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  5. Getting prepared for future attack : induction of plant defences by herbivore egg deposition and consequences for the insect community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pashalidou, F.G.

    2015-01-01

    Plants have evolved intriguing defences against insect herbivores. Compared to constitutive Plants have evolved intriguing defences against insect herbivores. Compared to constitutive defences that are always present, plants can respond with inducible defences when they are attacked. Insect

  6. Contrasting patterns of herbivore and predator pressure on invasive and native plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Engelkes, T.; Wouters, B.; Bezemer, T.M.; Harvey, J.A.; Van der Putten, W.H.

    2012-01-01

    Invasive non-nativeplant species often harbor fewer herbivorous insects than related nativeplant species. However, little is known about how herbivorous insects on non-nativeplants are exposed to carnivorous insects, and even less is known on plants that have recently expanded their ranges within

  7. Contrasting patterns of herbivore and predator pressure on invasive and native plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Engelkes, T.; Wouters, B.; Bezemer, T.M.; Harvey, J.A.; Putten, van der W.H.

    2012-01-01

    Invasive non-native plant species often harbor fewer herbivorous insects than related native plant species. However, little is known about how herbivorous insects on non-native plants are exposed to carnivorous insects, and even less is known on plants that have recently expanded their ranges within

  8. Plant-herbivore interactions along elevational gradient: Comparison of field and common garden data

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Rokaya, Maan Bahadur; Dostálek, T.; Münzbergová, Z.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 77, nov (2016), s. 168-175 ISSN 1146-609X Institutional support: RVO:67179843 Keywords : Anti-herbivore defence * Altitude * Herbivore damage * Himalayan region * Lamiaceae Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 1.652, year: 2016

  9. Herbivore-induced plant volatiles and tritrophic interactions across spatial scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Aartsma, Y.S.Y.; Bianchi, F.J.J.A.; Werf, van der W.; Poelman, E.H.; Dicke, M.

    2017-01-01

    Herbivore-induced plant volatiles (HIPVs) are an important cue used in herbivore location by carnivorous arthropods such as parasitoids. The effects of plant volatiles on parasitoids have been well characterised at small spatial scales, but little research has been done on their effects at larger

  10. Plant defenses against parasitic plants show similarities to those induced by herbivores and pathogens

    Science.gov (United States)

    Justin B. Runyon; Mark C. Mescher; Consuelo M. De Moraes

    2010-01-01

    Herbivores and pathogens come quickly to mind when one thinks of the biotic challenges faced by plants. Important but less appreciated enemies are parasitic plants, which can have important consequences for the fitness and survival of their hosts. Our knowledge of plant perception, signaling and response to herbivores and pathogens has expanded rapidly in recent years...

  11. Integrating Studies on Plant-Pollinator and Plant-Herbivore Interactions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Lucas-Barbosa, Dani

    2016-01-01

    Research on herbivore-induced plant defence and research on pollination ecology have had a long history of separation. Plant reproduction of most angiosperm species is mediated by pollinators, and the effects of herbivore-induced plant defences on pollinator behaviour have been largely neglected.

  12. Plant traits and plant biogeography control the biotic resistance provided by generalist herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Grutters, B.M.C.; Roijendijk, Yvonne; Verberk, W.C.E.P.; Bakker, E.S.

    2017-01-01

    1.Globalization and climate change trigger species invasions and range shifts, which reshuffle communities at an exceptional rate and expose plant migrants to unfamiliar herbivores. Dominant hypotheses to predict plant success are based on evolutionary novelty: either herbivores are maladapted to

  13. Native herbivore exerts contrasting effects on fire regime and vegetation structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jose L. Hierro; Kenneth L. Clark; Lyn C. Branch; Diego Villarreal

    2011-01-01

    Although native herbivores can alter fire regimes by consuming herbaceous vegetation that serves as fine fuel and, less commonly, accumulating fuel as nest material and other structures, simultaneous considerations of contrasting effects of herbivores on fire have scarcely been addressed. We proposed that a colonial rodent, vizcacha (Lagostomus maximus...

  14. Mechanisms and ecological consequences of plant defence induction and suppression in herbivore communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kant, M.R.; Jonckheere, W.; Knegt, B.; Lemos, F.; Liu, J.; Schimmel, B.C.J.; Villarroel, C.A.; Ataide, L.M.S.; Dermauw, W.; Glas, J.J.; Egas, M.; Janssen, A.; Van Leeuwen, T.; Schuurink, R.C.; Sabelis, M.W.; Alba, J.M.

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND: Plants are hotbeds for parasites such as arthropod herbivores, which acquire nutrients and energy from their hosts in order to grow and reproduce. Hence plants are selected to evolve resistance, which in turn selects for herbivores that can cope with this resistance. To preserve their

  15. Plant genotypes affect aboveground and belowground herbivore interactions by changing chemical defense.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiaoqiong; Guo, Wenfeng; Siemann, Evan; Wen, Yuanguang; Huang, Wei; Ding, Jianqing

    2016-12-01

    Spatially separated aboveground (AG) and belowground (BG) herbivores are closely linked through shared host plants, and both patterns of AG-BG interactions and plant responses may vary among plant genotypes. We subjected invasive (USA) and native (China) genotypes of tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) to herbivory by the AG specialist leaf-rolling weevil Heterapoderopsis bicallosicollis and/or the root-feeding larvae of flea beetle Bikasha collaris. We measured leaf damage and leaves rolled by weevils, quantified beetle survival, and analyzed flavonoid and tannin concentrations in leaves and roots. AG and BG herbivores formed negative feedbacks on both native and invasive genotypes. Leaf damage by weevils and the number of beetle larvae emerging as adults were higher on invasive genotypes. Beetles reduced weevil damage and weevils reduced beetle larval emergence more strongly for invasive genotypes. Invasive genotypes had lower leaf and root tannins than native genotypes. BG beetles decreased leaf tannins of native genotypes but increased root tannins of invasive genotypes. AG herbivory increased root flavonoids of invasive genotypes while BG herbivory decreased leaf flavonoids. Invasive genotypes had lower AG and BG herbivore resistance, and negative AG-BG herbivore feedbacks were much stronger for invasive genotypes. Lower tannin concentrations explained overall better AG and BG herbivore performances on invasive genotypes. However, changes in tannins and flavonoids affected AG and BG herbivores differently. These results suggest that divergent selection on chemical production in invasive plants may be critical in regulating herbivore performances and novel AG and BG herbivore communities in new environments.

  16. Herbivore species and density affect vegetation-structure patchiness in salt marshes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Nolte, Stefanie; Esselink, Peter; Smit, Christian; Bakker, Jan P.

    2014-01-01

    The importance of spatial patterns for ecosystem functioning and biodiversity has long been recognized in ecology. Grazing by herbivores is an important mechanism leading to spatial patterns in the vegetation structure. How different herbivore species and their densities affect vegetation-structure

  17. Jasmonate-deficient plants have reduced direct and indirect defences against herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thaler, J.S.; Farag, M.A.; Paré, P.W.; Dicke, M.

    2002-01-01

    Plants employ a variety of defence mechanisms, some of which act directly by having a negative effect on herbivores and others that act indirectly by attracting natural enemies of herbivores. In this study we asked if a common jasmonate-signalling pathway links the regulation of direct and indirect

  18. Troublesome toxins: time to re-think plant-herbivore interactions in vertebrate ecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Feng Zhilan

    2009-02-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Earlier models of plant-herbivore interactions relied on forms of functional response that related rates of ingestion by herbivores to mechanical or physical attributes such as bite size and rate. These models fail to predict a growing number of findings that implicate chemical toxins as important determinants of plant-herbivore dynamics. Specifically, considerable evidence suggests that toxins set upper limits on food intake for many species of herbivorous vertebrates. Herbivores feeding on toxin-containing plants must avoid saturating their detoxification systems, which often occurs before ingestion rates are limited by mechanical handling of food items. In light of the importance of plant toxins, a new approach is needed to link herbivores to their food base. We discuss necessary features of such an approach, note recent advances in herbivore functional response models that incorporate effects of plant toxins, and mention predictions that are consistent with observations in natural systems. Future ecological studies will need to address explicitly the importance of plant toxins in shaping plant and herbivore communities.

  19. Troublesome toxins: Time to re-think plant-herbivore interactions in vertebrate ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Swihart, R.K.; DeAngelis, D.L.; Feng, Z.; Bryant, J.P.

    2009-01-01

    Earlier models of plant-herbivore interactions relied on forms of functional response that related rates of ingestion by herbivores to mechanical or physical attributes such as bite size and rate. These models fail to predict a growing number of findings that implicate chemical toxins as important determinants of plant-herbivore dynamics. Specifically, considerable evidence suggests that toxins set upper limits on food intake for many species of herbivorous vertebrates. Herbivores feeding on toxin-containing plants must avoid saturating their detoxification systems, which often occurs before ingestion rates are limited by mechanical handling of food items. In light of the importance of plant toxins, a new approach is needed to link herbivores to their food base. We discuss necessary features of such an approach, note recent advances in herbivore functional response models that incorporate effects of plant toxins, and mention predictions that are consistent with observations in natural systems. Future ecological studies will need to address explicitly the importance of plant toxins in shaping plant and herbivore communities.

  20. Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impacts on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anita C. Risch; Martin Schutz; Martijn L. Vandegehuchte; Wim H. van der Putten; Henk Duyts; Ursina Raschein; Dariusz J. Gwiazdowicz; Matt D. Busse; Deborah S. Page-Dumroese; Stephan Zimmerman

    2015-01-01

    Aboveground herbivores have strong effects on grassland nitrogen (N) cycling. They can accelerate or slow down soil net N mineralization depending on ecosystem productivity and grazing intensity. Yet, most studies only consider either ungulates or invertebrate herbivores, but not the combined effect of several functionally different vertebrate and invertebrate...

  1. Distributional congruence of mammalian herbivores in the Trans-Himalayan Mountains

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Namgail, T.; Wieren, van S.E.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2013-01-01

    Large-scale distribution and diversity patterns of mammalian herbivores, especially less charismatic species in alpine environments remain little understood. We studied distributional congruence of mammalian herbivores in the Trans-Himalayan region of Ladakh to see if the distributions of less

  2. Challenges in the nutrition and management of herbivores in the temperate zone

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Vuuren, van A.M.; Chilibroste, P.

    2013-01-01

    The expected higher global demand for animal proteins and the competition for starch and sugars between food, fuel and feed seem to favour herbivores that convert solar energy captured in fibrous plants into animal products. However, the required higher production level of herbivores questions the

  3. Aboveground and belowground mammalian herbivores regulate the demography of deciduous woody species in conifer forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bryan A. Endress; Bridgett J. Naylor; Burak K. Pekin; Michael J. Wisdom

    2016-01-01

    Mammalian herbivory can have profound impacts on plant population and community dynamics. However, our understanding of specific herbivore effects remains limited, even in regions with high densities of domestic and wild herbivores, such as the semiarid conifer forests of western North America. We conducted a seven-year manipulative experiment to evaluate the effects...

  4. Mechanisms and ecological implications of plant-mediated interactions between belowground and aboveground insect herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Papadopoulou, G.V.; Dam, N.M. van

    2017-01-01

    Plant-mediated interactions between belowground (BG) and aboveground (AG) herbivores have received increasing interest recently. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying ecological consequences of BG–AG interactions are not fully clear yet. Herbivore-induced plant defenses are complex and

  5. Copper Contamination Impairs Herbivore Initiation of Seaweed Inducible Defenses and Decreases Their Effectiveness.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alexandria M Warneke

    Full Text Available Seaweed-herbivore interactions are often mediated by environmental conditions, yet the roles of emerging anthropogenic stressors on these interactions are poorly understood. For example, chemical contaminants have unknown consequences on seaweed inducible resistance and herbivore response to these defenses despite known deleterious effects of contaminants on animal inducible defenses. Here, we investigated the effect of copper contamination on the interactions between a snail herbivore and a brown seaweed that displays inducible resistance to grazing. We examined seaweed inducible resistance and its effectiveness for organisms exposed to copper at two time points, either during induction or after herbivores had already induced seaweed defenses. Under ambient conditions, non-grazed tissues were more palatable than grazed tissues. However, copper additions negated the preference for non-grazed tissues regardless of the timing of copper exposure, suggesting that copper decreased both how herbivores initiated these inducible defenses and their subsequent effectiveness. Copper decreased stimulation of defenses, at least in part, by suppressing snail grazing pressure-the cue that turns inducible defenses on. Copper decreased effectiveness of defenses by preventing snails from preferentially consuming non-grazed seaweed. Thus, contaminants can potentially stress communities by changing seaweed-herbivore interactions mediated via inducible defenses. Given the ubiquity of seaweed inducible resistance and their potential influence on herbivores, we hypothesize that copper contamination may change the impact of these resistant traits on herbivores.

  6. Leaf Colour as a Signal of Chemical Defence to Insect Herbivores in Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathan P Green

    Full Text Available Leaf colour has been proposed to signal levels of host defence to insect herbivores, but we lack data on herbivory, leaf colour and levels of defence for wild host populations necessary to test this hypothesis. Such a test requires measurements of leaf spectra as they would be sensed by herbivore visual systems, as well as simultaneous measurements of chemical defences and herbivore responses to leaf colour in natural host-herbivore populations. In a large-scale field survey of wild cabbage (Brassica oleracea populations, we show that variation in leaf colour and brightness, measured according to herbivore spectral sensitivities, predicts both levels of chemical defences (glucosinolates and abundance of specialist lepidopteran (Pieris rapae and hemipteran (Brevicoryne brassicae herbivores. In subsequent experiments, P. rapae larvae achieved faster growth and greater pupal mass when feeding on plants with bluer leaves, which contained lower levels of aliphatic glucosinolates. Glucosinolate-mediated effects on larval performance may thus contribute to the association between P. rapae herbivory and leaf colour observed in the field. However, preference tests found no evidence that adult butterflies selected host plants based on leaf coloration. In the field, B. brassicae abundance varied with leaf brightness but greenhouse experiments were unable to identify any effects of brightness on aphid preference or performance. Our findings suggest that although leaf colour reflects both levels of host defences and herbivore abundance in the field, the ability of herbivores to respond to colour signals may be limited, even in species where performance is correlated with leaf colour.

  7. Landscape-scale analyses suggest both nutrient and antipredator advantages to Serengeti herbivore hotspots

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Anderson, T. Michael; Hopcraft, J. Grant C.; Eby, Stephanie; Ritchie, Mark; Grace, James B.; Olff, Han; Young, T.P.

    Mechanistic explanations of herbivore spatial distribution have focused largely on either resource-related (bottom-up) or predation-related (top-down) factors. We studied direct and indirect influences on the spatial distributions of Serengeti herbivore hotspots, defined as temporally stable areas

  8. Plant protein and secondary metabolites influence diet selection in a mammalian specialist herbivore

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amy C. Ulappa; Rick G. Kelsey; Graham G. Frye; Janet L. Rachlow; LIsa A. Shipley; Laura Bond; Xinzhu Pu; Jennifer Sorensen. Forbey

    2014-01-01

    For herbivores, nutrient intake is limited by the relatively low nutritional quality of plants and high concentrations of potentially toxic defensive compounds (plant secondary metabolites [PSMs]) produced by many plants. In response to phytochemical challenges, some herbivores selectively forage on plants with higher nutrient and lower PSM concentrations relative to...

  9. Direct and indirect plant defenses are not suppressed by endosymbionts of a specialist root herbivore

    Science.gov (United States)

    Insect endosymbionts influence many important metabolic and developmental processes of their host. It has been speculated that they may also help to manipulate and suppress plant defenses to the benefit of herbivores. Recently, endosymbionts of the root herbivore Diabrotica virgifera virgifera have ...

  10. Integrating Dendrochronology, Climate and Satellite Remote Sensing to Better Understand Savanna Landscape Dynamics in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jane Southworth

    2013-11-01

    Full Text Available This research examines the integration and potential uses of linkages between climate dynamics, savanna vegetation and landscape level processes within a highly vulnerable region, both in terms of climate variability and social systems. We explore the combined applications of two time-series methodologies: (1 climate signals detected in tree ring growth, from published literature, chronologies from the International Tree-Ring Data Bank, and minimal preliminary field data; and (2 new primary production (NPP data of vegetation cover over time derived from remotely sensed analyses. Both time-series are related to the regional patterns of precipitation, the principle driver of plant growth in the area. The approach is temporally and spatially multiscalar and examines the relationships between vegetation cover, type and amount, and precipitation shifts. We review literature linking dendrochronology, climate, and remotely sensed imagery, and, in addition, provide unique preliminary analyses from a dry study site located on the outer limit of the Okavango Delta. The work demonstrates integration across the different data sources, to provide a more holistic view of landscape level processes occurring in the last 30-50 years. These results corroborate the water-limited nature of the region and the dominance of precipitation in controlling vegetation growth. We present this integrative analysis of vegetation and climate change, as a prospective approach to facilitate the development of long-term climate/vegetation change records across multiple scales.

  11. Do multiple herbivores maintain chemical diversity of Scots pine monoterpenes?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iason, Glenn R.; O'Reilly-Wapstra, Julianne M.; Brewer, Mark J.; Summers, Ron W.; Moore, Ben D.

    2011-01-01

    A central issue in our understanding of the evolution of the diversity of plant secondary metabolites (PSMs) is whether or not compounds are functional, conferring an advantage to the plant, or non-functional. We examine the hypothesis that the diversity of monoterpene PSMs within a plant species (Scots pine Pinus sylvestris) may be explained by different compounds acting as defences against high-impact herbivores operating at different life stages. We also hypothesize that pairwise coevolution, with uncorrelated interactions, is more likely to result in greater PSM diversity, than diffuse coevolution. We tested whether up to 13 different monoterpenes in Scots pine were inhibitory to herbivory by slugs (Arion ater), bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), red deer (Cervus elaphus) and capercaillie (Tetrao urogallus), each of which attack trees at a different life stage. Plants containing more α-pinene were avoided by both slugs and capercaillie, which may act as reinforcing selective agents for this dominant defensive compound. Herbivory by red deer and capercaillie were, respectively, weakly negatively associated with δ3-carene, and strongly negatively correlated with the minor compound β-ocimene. Three of the four herbivores are probably contributory selective agents on some of the terpenes, and thus maintain some, but by no means all, of the phytochemical diversity in the species. The correlated defensive function of α-pinene against slugs and capercaillie is consistent with diffuse coevolutionary processes. PMID:21444308

  12. Adaptive divergence in resistance to herbivores in Datura stramonium

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Guillermo Castillo

    2015-11-01

    Full Text Available Defensive traits exhibited by plants vary widely across populations. Heritable phenotypic differentiation is likely to be produced by genetic drift and spatially restricted gene flow between populations. However, spatially variable selection exerted by herbivores may also give rise to differences among populations. To explore to what extent these factors promote the among-population differentiation of plant resistance of 13 populations of Datura stramonium, we compared the degree of phenotypic differentiation (PST of leaf resistance traits (trichome density, atropine and scopolamine concentration against neutral genetic differentiation (FST at microsatellite loci. Results showed that phenotypic differentiation in defensive traits among-population is not consistent with divergence promoted by genetic drift and restricted gene flow alone. Phenotypic differentiation in scopolamine concentration was significantly higher than FST across the range of trait heritability values. In contrast, genetic differentiation in trichome density was different from FST only when heritability was very low. On the other hand, differentiation in atropine concentration differed from the neutral expectation when heritability was less than or equal to 0.3. In addition, we did not find a significant correlation between pair-wise neutral genetic distances and distances of phenotypic resistance traits. Our findings reinforce previous evidence that divergent natural selection exerted by herbivores has promoted the among-population phenotypic differentiation of defensive traits in D. stramonium.

  13. Informed herbivore movement and interplant communication determine the effects of induced resistance in an individual-based model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rubin, Ilan N; Ellner, Stephen P; Kessler, André; Morrell, Kimberly A

    2015-09-01

    1. Plant induced resistance to herbivory affects the spatial distribution of herbivores, as well as their performance. In recent years, theories regarding the benefit to plants of induced resistance have shifted from ideas of optimal resource allocation towards a more eclectic set of theories that consider spatial and temporal plant variability and the spatial distribution of herbivores among plants. However, consensus is lacking on whether induced resistance causes increased herbivore aggregation or increased evenness, as both trends have been experimentally documented. 2. We created a spatial individual-based model that can describe many plant-herbivore systems with induced resistance, in order to analyse how different aspects of induced resistance might affect herbivore distribution, and the total damage to a plant population, during a growing season. 3. We analyse the specific effects on herbivore aggregation of informed herbivore movement (preferential movement to less-damaged plants) and of information transfer between plants about herbivore attacks, in order to identify mechanisms driving both aggregation and evenness. We also investigate how the resulting herbivore distributions affect the total damage to plants and aggregation of damage. 4. Even, random and aggregated herbivore distributions can all occur in our model with induced resistance. Highest levels of aggregation occurred in the models with informed herbivore movement, and the most even distributions occurred when the average number of herbivores per plant was low. With constitutive resistance, only random distributions occur. Damage to plants was spatially correlated, unless plants recover very quickly from damage; herbivore spatial autocorrelation was always weak. 5. Our model and results provide a simple explanation for the apparent conflict between experimental results, indicating that both increased aggregation and increased evenness of herbivores can result from induced resistance. We

  14. Anomalous dependence of population growth on the birth rate in the plant-herbivore system

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cui, Xue M.; Han, Seung K.; Chung, Jean S.

    2010-01-01

    We performed a simulation of the two-species plant-herbivore system by using the agent-based NetLogo program and constructed a dynamic model of populations consistent with the simulation results. The dynamic model is a three-dimensional system including the mean energy of the herbivore in addition to two variables denoting the populations of plants and herbivores. A steady-state analysis of the dynamic model shows that the dependence of the herbivore population on the birth and the death rates observed from the agent model is consistent with the prediction of the dynamic model. Especially, the anomalous dependence of the herbivore population on the birth rate, where the population decreases with the birth rate for small death rate, is consistently explained by a phase plane analysis of the dynamic model.

  15. Recent advances in plant-herbivore interactions [version 1; referees: 2 approved

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deron E. Burkepile

    2017-02-01

    Full Text Available Plant-herbivore interactions shape community dynamics across marine, freshwater, and terrestrial habitats. From amphipods to elephants and from algae to trees, plant-herbivore relationships are the crucial link generating animal biomass (and human societies from mere sunlight. These interactions are, thus, pivotal to understanding the ecology and evolution of virtually any ecosystem. Here, we briefly highlight recent advances in four areas of plant-herbivore interactions: (1 plant defense theory, (2 herbivore diversity and ecosystem function, (3 predation risk aversion and herbivory, and (4 how a changing climate impacts plant-herbivore interactions. Recent advances in plant defense theory, for example, highlight how plant life history and defense traits affect and are affected by multiple drivers, including enemy pressure, resource availability, and the local plant neighborhood, resulting in trait-mediated feedback loops linking trophic interactions with ecosystem nutrient dynamics. Similarly, although the positive effect of consumer diversity on ecosystem function has long been recognized, recent advances using DNA barcoding to elucidate diet, and Global Positioning System/remote sensing to determine habitat selection and impact, have shown that herbivore communities are probably even more functionally diverse than currently realized. Moreover, although most diversity-function studies continue to emphasize plant diversity, herbivore diversity may have even stronger impacts on ecosystem multifunctionality. Recent studies also highlight the role of risk in plant-herbivore interactions, and risk-driven trophic cascades have emerged as landscape-scale patterns in a variety of ecosystems. Perhaps not surprisingly, many plant-herbivore interactions are currently being altered by climate change, which affects plant growth rates and resource allocation, expression of chemical defenses, plant phenology, and herbivore metabolism and behavior. Finally

  16. Identification of volatiles that are used in discrimination between plants infested with prey or nonprey herbivores by a predatory mite

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de J.G.; Posthumus, M.A.; Dicke, M.

    2004-01-01

    Carnivorous arthropods can use herbivore-induced plant volatiles to locate their herbivorous prey. In the field, carnivores are confronted with information from plants infested with herbivores that may differ in their suitability as prey. Discrimination by the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis

  17. Information use by the predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis (Acari: Phytoseiidae), a specialised natural enemy of herbivorous spider mites

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de J.G.; Dicke, M.

    2005-01-01

    Plants can respond to infestation by herbivores with the emission of specific herbivore-induced plant volatiles. Many carnivorous arthropods that feed on herbivorous prey use these volatiles to locate their prey. Despite the growing amount of research papers on the interactions in tritrophic

  18. Overcompensation of herbivore reproduction through hyper-suppression of plant defenses in response to competition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schimmel, Bernardus C J; Ataide, Livia M S; Chafi, Rachid; Villarroel, Carlos A; Alba, Juan M; Schuurink, Robert C; Kant, Merijn R

    2017-06-01

    Spider mites are destructive arthropod pests on many crops. The generalist herbivorous mite Tetranychus urticae induces defenses in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and this constrains its fitness. By contrast, the Solanaceae-specialist Tetranychus evansi maintains a high reproductive performance by suppressing tomato defenses. Tetranychus evansi outcompetes T. urticae when infesting the same plant, but it is unknown whether this is facilitated by the defenses of the plant. We assessed the extent to which a secondary infestation by a competitor affects local plant defense responses (phytohormones and defense genes), mite gene expression and mite performance. We observed that T. evansi switches to hyper-suppression of defenses after its tomato host is also invaded by its natural competitor T. urticae. Jasmonate (JA) and salicylate (SA) defenses were suppressed more strongly, albeit only locally at the feeding site of T. evansi, upon introduction of T. urticae to the infested leaflet. The hyper-suppression of defenses coincided with increased expression of T. evansi genes coding for salivary defense-suppressing effector proteins and was paralleled by an increased reproductive performance. Together, these observations suggest that T. evansi overcompensates its reproduction through hyper-suppression of plant defenses in response to nearby competitors. We hypothesize that the competitor-induced overcompensation promotes competitive population growth of T. evansi on tomato. © 2017 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  19. Tree cover in sub-Saharan Africa: rainfall and fire constrain forest and savanna as alternative stable states

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Staver, AC

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Savannas are known as ecosystems with tree cover below climate-defined equilibrium values. However, a predictive framework for understanding constraints on tree cover is lacking. The authors present a) a spatially extensive analysis of tree cover...

  20. Aspects of a two-pasture — herbivore model

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Åge Riseth

    2004-04-01

    Full Text Available Pastures for reindeer can be divided into green pastures (mainly herbs and grasses of summer time and more or less snow-covered lichen pastures of winter. Fall and spring pastures have a composition in-between these extremes, but for model purposes bisection is sufficient. For the animals the green-pasture season is an anabolic phase with a physiological building-up of protein reserves, while winter is a catabolic phase where food-intake is reduced and the animals to a considerable extent survive on the accumulated reserves from summer. While protein reserves are stored from summer to winter, lichen pastures are stored from year to year. Grasses and herbs not being grazed are wilting by the end of the growing season, while lichens not grazed can live for many years. This corresponds with fundamental differences in both growth pattern and resilience. The implications of the different features, and their interconnections, are not easy to survey without formal modeling. The point of departure is a simple pasture-herbivore model, well known from the literature building on a set of differential equations. A new two-pasture-herbivore model is developed. The model includes as basic elements the Klein (1968 hypothesis and that a residual lichen biomass is kept ungrazed due to snow-cover protection. Further the annual cycle is divided into four stylized seasons with herd rates of winter survival, spring calving, summer physiological growth and fall slaughtering. Isoclines are derived for summer pasture, winter pasture and herbivores. Stability properties are discussed in relation to various situations of seasonal pasture balance. Empirical examples, particularly that of changes in pasture balance and vegetation cover in Western Finnmark, Norway, are discussed. The article finds that the two-pasture model provides important features of reality, such as the stability aspects of pasture balance, which cannot be displayed by a one-pasture model. It is

  1. Mediterranean savanna system: understanding and modeling of olive orchard.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brilli, Lorenzo; Moriondo, Marco; Bindi, Marco

    2013-04-01

    Nowadays most of the studies on C and N exchange were focused on forest ecosystems and crop systems, while only few studies have been focused on so called "savanna systems". They are long-term agro-ecosystems (fruit trees, grapevines and olive trees, etc.) usually characterized by two different layers (ground vegetation and trees). Generally, there is a lack of knowledge about these systems due to their intrinsic structural complexity (different eco-physiological characteristics so as agricultural practices). However, given their long-term carbon storage capacity, these systems can play a fundamental role in terms of global C cycle. Among all of them, the role that olive trees can play in C sequestration should not be neglected, especially in Mediterranean areas where they typify the rural landscape and are widely cultivated (Loumou and Giourga, 2003). It is therefore fundamental modelling the C-fluxes exchanges coming from these systems through a tool able to well reproduce these dynamics in one of the most exposed areas to the risk of climate change (IPCC, 2007). In this work, 2 years of Net CO2 Ecosystem Exchange (NEE) measures from eddy covariance were used to test the biogeochemistry model DayCent. The study was conducted in a rain-fed olive orchard situated in Follonica, South Tuscany, Italy (42 ° 55'N, 10 ° 45'E), in an agricultural area near the coast. The instrumentation for flux measurement was placed 1.9 m above the canopy top (6.5 m from the ground) so that the footprint area, expressed as the area containing 90% of the observed flux, was almost entirely contained within the olive orchard limits (Brilli et al., in press). Ancillary slow sensors have included soil temperature profiles, global radiation, air temperature and humidity, rain gauge. Fluxes of sensible heat, latent heat, momentum and CO2 as well as ancillary data were derived at half-hourly time resolution. Specific soil (texture, current and historical land use and vegetation cover) and

  2. Post-fire reproduction of herbs at a savanna-gallery forest boundary in Distrito Federal, Brazil

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    K. G. Massi

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract In Cerrado, studies of post-fire vegetation recovery show that some herbaceous species are able to flower shortly after fires. However, these were mainly short-term studies that focused on grasslands and savannas. Little is known about the effects of fire on ground layer of forests that border the savannas in Central Brazil. Thus, an accidental burning gave us the opportunity to describe the reproductive activity of the ground layer vegetation after a fire event along a savanna-forest boundary at the IBGE Ecological Reserve, Brasília, Brazil. During the 16-month of the inventory, we registered 170 herbaceous species flowering or fruiting, of which 52 species (31% may have been influenced by fire that changed their times of reproduction. In the savanna plots reproduction peaked at the end of the rainy season. Of the total number of reproducing species, 90 species occurred only in the savanna and four in the forest. Five herbs were recorded in the forest, savanna and border environments. Late dry season fire probably lead the majority of herbaceous species to have their reproduction spread throughout the study time.

  3. Post-fire reproduction of herbs at a savanna-gallery forest boundary in Distrito Federal, Brazil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Massi, K G; Eugênio, C U O; Franco, A C

    2017-11-01

    In Cerrado, studies of post-fire vegetation recovery show that some herbaceous species are able to flower shortly after fires. However, these were mainly short-term studies that focused on grasslands and savannas. Little is known about the effects of fire on ground layer of forests that border the savannas in Central Brazil. Thus, an accidental burning gave us the opportunity to describe the reproductive activity of the ground layer vegetation after a fire event along a savanna-forest boundary at the IBGE Ecological Reserve, Brasília, Brazil. During the 16-month of the inventory, we registered 170 herbaceous species flowering or fruiting, of which 52 species (31%) may have been influenced by fire that changed their times of reproduction. In the savanna plots reproduction peaked at the end of the rainy season. Of the total number of reproducing species, 90 species occurred only in the savanna and four in the forest. Five herbs were recorded in the forest, savanna and border environments. Late dry season fire probably lead the majority of herbaceous species to have their reproduction spread throughout the study time.

  4. Genetics-based interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores define arthropod community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Busby, Posy E; Lamit, Louis J; Keith, Arthur R; Newcombe, George; Gehring, Catherine A; Whitham, Thomas G; Dirzo, Rodolfo

    2015-07-01

    Plant resistance to pathogens or insect herbivores is common, but its potential for indirectly influencing plant-associated communities is poorly known. Here, we test whether pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and herbivory depend on plant resistance to pathogens and/or herbivores, and address the overarching interacting foundation species hypothesis that genetics-based interactions among a few highly interactive species can structure a much larger community. In a manipulative field experiment using replicated genotypes of two Populus species and their interspecific hybrids, we found that genetic variation in plant resistance to both pathogens and insect herbivores modulated the strength of pathogens' indirect effects on arthropod communities and insect herbivory. First, due in part to the pathogens' differential impacts on leaf biomass among the two Populus species and the hybrids, the pathogen most strongly impacted arthropod community composition, richness, and abundance on the pathogen-susceptible tree species. Second, we found similar patterns comparing pathogen-susceptible and pathogen-resistant genotypes within species. Third, within a plant species, pathogens caused a fivefold greater reduction in herbivory on insect-herbivore-susceptible plant genotypes than on herbivore-resistant genotypes, demonstrating that the pathogen-herbivore interaction is genotype dependent. We conclude that interactions among plants, pathogens, and herbivores can structure multitrophic communities, supporting the interacting foundation species hypothesis. Because these interactions are genetically based, evolutionary changes in genetic resistance could result in ecological changes in associated communities, which may in turn feed back to affect plant fitness.

  5. Botanical insecticides inspired by plant-herbivore chemical interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miresmailli, Saber; Isman, Murray B

    2014-01-01

    Plants have evolved a plethora of secondary chemicals to protect themselves against herbivores and pathogens, some of which have been used historically for pest management. The extraction methods used by industry render many phytochemicals ineffective as insecticides despite their bioactivity in the natural context. In this review, we examine how plants use their secondary chemicals in nature and compare this with how they are used as insecticides to understand why the efficacy of botanical insecticides can be so variable. If the commercial production of botanical insecticides is to become a viable pest management option, factors such as production cost, resource availability, and extraction and formulation techniques need be considered alongside innovative application technologies to ensure consistent efficacy of botanical insecticides. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  6. Urban warming trumps natural enemy regulation of herbivorous pests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dale, Adam G; Frank, Steven D

    Trees provide ecosystem services that counter negative effects of urban habitats on human and environmental health. Unfortunately, herbivorous arthropod pests are often more abundant on urban than rural trees, reducing tree growth, survival, and ecosystem services. Previous research where vegetation complexity was reduced has attributed elevated urban pest abundance to decreased regulation by natural enemies. However, reducing vegetation complexity, particularly the density of overstory trees, also makes cities hotter than natural habitats. We ask how urban habitat characteristics influence an abiotic factor, temperature, and a biotic factor, natural enemy abundance, in regulating the abundance of an urban forest pest, the gloomy scale, (Melanaspis tenebricosa). We used a map of surface temperature to select red maple trees (Acer rubrum) at warmer and cooler sites in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA. We quantified habitat complexity by measuring impervious surface cover, local vegetation structural complexity, and landscape scale vegetation cover around each tree. Using path analysis, we determined that impervious surface (the most important habitat variable) increased scale insect abundance by increasing tree canopy temperature, rather than by reducing natural enemy abundance or percent parasitism. As a mechanism for this response, we found that increasing temperature significantly increases scale insect fecundity and contributes to greater population increase. Specifically, adult female M. tenebricosa egg sets increased by approximately 14 eggs for every 1°C increase in temperature. Climate change models predict that the global climate will increase by 2–3°C in the next 50–100 years, which we found would increase scale insect abundance by three orders of magnitude. This result supports predictions that urban and natural forests will face greater herbivory in the future, and suggests that a primary cause could be direct, positive effects of warming on herbivore

  7. Impact of two specialist insect herbivores on reproduction of horse nettle, Solanum carolinense.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wise, Michael J; Sacchi, Christopher F

    1996-10-01

    The frequency of coevolution as a process of strong mutual interaction between a single plant and herbivore species has been questioned in light of more commonly observed, complex relationships between a plant and a suite of herbivore species. Despite recognition of the possibility of diffuse coevolution, relatively few studies have examined ecological responses of plants to herbivores in complex associations. We studied the impact of two specialist herbivores, the horse nettle beetle, Leptinotarsa juncta, and the eggplant flea beetle, Epitrix fuscula, on reproduction of their host, Solanum carolinense. Our study involved field and controlled-environment experimental tests of the impact on sexual and potential asexual reproduction of attack by individuals of the two herbivore species, individually and in combination. Field tests demonstrated that under normal levels of phytophagous insect attack, horse nettle plants experienced a reduction in fruit production of more than 75% compared with plants from which insects were excluded. In controlled-environment experiments using enclosure-exclosure cages, the horse nettle's two principal herbivores, the flea beetle and the horse nettle beetle, caused decreases in sexual reproduction similar to those observed in the field, and a reduction in potential asexual reproduction, represented by root biomass. Attack by each herbivore reduced the numbers of fruits produced, and root growth, when feeding in isolation. When both species were feeding together, fruit production, but not root growth, was lower than when either beetle species fed alone. Ecological interactions between horse nettle and its two primary herbivores necessary for diffuse coevolution to occur were evident from an overall analysis of the statistical interactions between the two herbivores for combined assessment of fruit and vegetative traits. For either of these traits alone, the interactions necessary to promote diffuse coevolution apparently were lacking.

  8. Describing a multitrophic plant-herbivore-parasitoid system at four spatial scales

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cuautle, M.; Parra-Tabla, V.

    2014-02-01

    Herbivore-parasitoid interactions must be studied using a multitrophic and multispecies approach. The strength and direction of multiple effects through trophic levels may change across spatial scales. In this work, we use the herbaceous plant Ruellia nudiflora, its moth herbivore Tripudia quadrifera, and several parasitoid morphospecies that feed on the herbivore to answer the following questions: Do herbivore and parasitoid attack levels vary depending on the spatial scale considered? With which plant characteristics are the parasitoid and the herbivore associated? Do parasitoid morphospecies vary in the magnitude of their positive indirect effect on plant reproduction? We evaluated three approximations of herbivore and parasitoid abundance (raw numbers, ratios, and attack rates) at four spatial scales: regional (three different regions which differ in terms of abiotic and biotic characteristics); population (i.e. four populations within each region); patch (four 1 m2 plots in each population); and plant level (using a number of plant characteristics). Finally, we determined whether parasitoids have a positive indirect effect on plant reproductive success (seed number). Herbivore and parasitoid numbers differed at three of the spatial scales considered. However, herbivore/fruit ratio and attack rates did not differ at the population level. Parasitoid/host ratio and attack rates did not differ at any scale, although there was a tendency of a higher attack in one region. At the plant level, herbivore and parasitoid abundances were related to different plant traits, varying the importance and the direction (positive or negative) of those traits. In addition, only one parasitoid species (Bracon sp.) had a positive effect on plant fitness saving up to 20% of the seeds in a fruit. These results underline the importance of knowing the scales that are relevant to organisms at different trophic levels and distinguish between the specific effects of species.

  9. Interactions among predators and plant specificity protect herbivores from top predators.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bosc, Christopher; Pauw, Anton; Roets, Francois; Hui, Cang

    2018-05-04

    The worldwide loss of top predators from natural and agricultural systems has heightened the need to understand how important they are in controlling herbivore abundance. The effect of top predators on herbivore species is likely to depend on 1) the importance of the consumption of intermediate predators by top predators (intra-guild predation; IGP), but also on 2) plant specificity by herbivores, because specialists may defend themselves better (enemy-free space; EFS). Insectivorous birds, as top predators, are generally known to effectively control herbivorous insects, despite also consuming intermediate predators such as spiders, but how this effect varies among herbivore species in relation to the cascading effects of IGP and EFS is not known. To explore this, we excluded birds from natural fynbos vegetation in South Africa using large netted cages and recorded changes in abundance relative to control plots for 199 plant-dwelling intermediate predator and 341 herbivore morpho-species that varied in their estimated plant specificity. We found a strong negative effect of birds on the total abundance of all intermediate predators, with especially clear effects on spiders (strong IGP). In contrast with previous studies, which document a negative effect of birds on herbivores, we found an overall neutral effect of birds on herbivore abundance, but the effect varied among species: some species were negatively affected by birds, suggesting that they were mainly consumed by birds, whereas others, likely released from spiders by IGP, were positively affected. Some species were also effectively neutrally affected by birds. These tended to be more specialized to plants compared to the other species, which may imply that some plant specialists benefited from protection provided by EFS from both birds and spiders. These results suggest that the response of herbivore species to top predators may depend on cascading effects of interactions among predators and on their degree

  10. Herbivore-specific, density-dependent induction of plant volatiles: honest or "cry wolf" signals?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kaori Shiojiri

    Full Text Available Plants release volatile chemicals upon attack by herbivorous arthropods. They do so commonly in a dose-dependent manner: the more herbivores, the more volatiles released. The volatiles attract predatory arthropods and the amount determines the probability of predator response. We show that seedlings of a cabbage variety (Brassica oleracea var. capitata, cv Shikidori also show such a response to the density of cabbage white (Pieris rapae larvae and attract more (naive parasitoids (Cotesia glomerata when there are more herbivores on the plant. However, when attacked by diamondback moth (Plutella xylostella larvae, seedlings of the same variety (cv Shikidori release volatiles, the total amount of which is high and constant and thus independent of caterpillar density, and naive parasitoids (Cotesia vestalis of diamondback moth larvae fail to discriminate herbivore-rich from herbivore-poor plants. In contrast, seedlings of another cabbage variety of B. oleracea (var. acephala: kale respond in a dose-dependent manner to the density of diamondback moth larvae and attract more parasitoids when there are more herbivores. Assuming these responses of the cabbage cultivars reflect behaviour of at least some genotypes of wild plants, we provide arguments why the behaviour of kale (B. oleracea var acephala is best interpreted as an honest signaling strategy and that of cabbage cv Shikidori (B. oleracea var capitata as a "cry wolf" signaling strategy, implying a conflict of interest between the plant and the enemies of its herbivores: the plant profits from being visited by the herbivore's enemies, but the latter would be better off by visiting other plants with more herbivores. If so, evolutionary theory on alarm signaling predicts consequences of major interest to students of plant protection, tritrophic systems and communication alike.

  11. Investigating functional redundancy versus complementarity in Hawaiian herbivorous coral reef fishes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kelly, Emily L A; Eynaud, Yoan; Clements, Samantha M; Gleason, Molly; Sparks, Russell T; Williams, Ivor D; Smith, Jennifer E

    2016-12-01

    Patterns of species resource use provide insight into the functional roles of species and thus their ecological significance within a community. The functional role of herbivorous fishes on coral reefs has been defined through a variety of methods, but from a grazing perspective, less is known about the species-specific preferences of herbivores on different groups of reef algae and the extent of dietary overlap across an herbivore community. Here, we quantified patterns of redundancy and complementarity in a highly diverse community of herbivores at a reef on Maui, Hawaii, USA. First, we tracked fish foraging behavior in situ to record bite rate and type of substrate bitten. Second, we examined gut contents of select herbivorous fishes to determine consumption at a finer scale. Finally, we placed foraging behavior in the context of resource availability to determine how fish selected substrate type. All species predominantly (73-100 %) foraged on turf algae, though there were differences among the types of macroalgae and other substrates bitten. Increased resolution via gut content analysis showed the composition of turf algae consumed by fishes differed across herbivore species. Consideration of foraging behavior by substrate availability revealed 50 % of herbivores selected for turf as opposed to other substrate types, but overall, there were variable foraging portfolios across all species. Through these three methods of investigation, we found higher complementarity among herbivorous fishes than would be revealed using a single metric. These results suggest differences across species in the herbivore "rain of bites" that graze and shape benthic community composition.

  12. Trace gas emissions to the atmosphere by biomass burning in the west African savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frouin, Robert J.; Iacobellis, Samuel F.; Razafimpanilo, Herisoa; Somerville, Richard C. J.

    1994-01-01

    Savanna fires and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) detection and estimating burned area using Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer_(AVHRR) reflectance data are investigated in this two part research project. The first part involves carbon dioxide flux estimates and a three-dimensional transport model to quantify the effect of north African savanna fires on atmospheric CO2 concentration, including CO2 spatial and temporal variability patterns and their significance to global emissions. The second article describes two methods used to determine burned area from AVHRR data. The article discusses the relationship between the percentage of burned area and AVHRR channel 2 reflectance (the linear method) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (the nonlinear method). A comparative performance analysis of each method is described.

  13. Dynamics in carbon exchange fluxes for a grazed semi-arid savanna ecosystem in West Africa

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Tagesson, Torbern; Fensholt, Rasmus; Cropley, Ford

    2015-01-01

    variable in scaling carbon fluxes from ground observations using earth observation data. The net ecosystem exchange of carbon dioxide (NEE) 2010-2013 was measured using the eddy covariance technique at a grazed semi-arid savanna site in Senegal, West Africa. Night-time NEE was not related to temperature......-arid savanna sites; half-hourly GPP and Reco peaked at -43μmol CO2m-2s-1 and 20μmol CO2m-2s-1, and daily GPP and Reco peaked at -15gCm-2 and 12gCm-2, respectively. Possible explanations for the high CO2 fluxes are a high fraction of C4 species, alleviated water stress conditions, and a strong grazing pressure...

  14. Varying Herbivore Population Structure Correlates with Lack of Local Adaptation in a Geographic Variable Plant-Herbivore Interaction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cogni, Rodrigo; Trigo, José R.; Futuyma, Douglas J.

    2011-01-01

    Local adaptation of parasites to their hosts due to coevolution is a central prediction of many theories in evolutionary biology. However, empirical studies looking for parasite local adaptation show great variation in outcomes, and the reasons for such variation are largely unknown. In a previous study, we showed adaptive differentiation in the arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix to its host plant, the pyrrolizidine alkaloid-bearing legume Crotalaria pallida, at the continental scale, but found no differentiation at the regional scale. In the present study, we sampled the same sites to investigate factors that may contribute to the lack of differentiation at the regional scale. We performed field observations that show that specialist and non-specialist polyphagous herbivore incidence varies among populations at both scales. With a series of common-garden experiments we show that some plant traits that may affect herbivory (pyrrolizidine alkaloids and extrafloral nectaries) vary at the regional scale, while other traits (trichomes and nitrogen content) just vary at the continental scale. These results, combined with our previous evidence for plant population differentiation based on larval performance on fresh fruits, suggest that U. ornatrix is subjected to divergent selection even at the regional scale. Finally, with a microsatellite study we investigated population structure of U. ornatrix. We found that population structure is not stable over time: we found population differentiation at the regional scale in the first year of sampling, but not in the second year. Unstable population structure of the herbivore is the most likely cause of the lack of regional adaptation. PMID:22220208

  15. Varying herbivore population structure correlates with lack of local adaptation in a geographic variable plant-herbivore interaction.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo Cogni

    Full Text Available Local adaptation of parasites to their hosts due to coevolution is a central prediction of many theories in evolutionary biology. However, empirical studies looking for parasite local adaptation show great variation in outcomes, and the reasons for such variation are largely unknown. In a previous study, we showed adaptive differentiation in the arctiid moth Utetheisa ornatrix to its host plant, the pyrrolizidine alkaloid-bearing legume Crotalaria pallida, at the continental scale, but found no differentiation at the regional scale. In the present study, we sampled the same sites to investigate factors that may contribute to the lack of differentiation at the regional scale. We performed field observations that show that specialist and non-specialist polyphagous herbivore incidence varies among populations at both scales. With a series of common-garden experiments we show that some plant traits that may affect herbivory (pyrrolizidine alkaloids and extrafloral nectaries vary at the regional scale, while other traits (trichomes and nitrogen content just vary at the continental scale. These results, combined with our previous evidence for plant population differentiation based on larval performance on fresh fruits, suggest that U. ornatrix is subjected to divergent selection even at the regional scale. Finally, with a microsatellite study we investigated population structure of U. ornatrix. We found that population structure is not stable over time: we found population differentiation at the regional scale in the first year of sampling, but not in the second year. Unstable population structure of the herbivore is the most likely cause of the lack of regional adaptation.

  16. Trait shifts associated with the subshrub life-history strategy in a tropical savanna.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giroldo, A B; Scariot, A; Hoffmann, W A

    2017-10-01

    Over the past 10 million years, tropical savanna environments have selected for small growth forms within woody plant lineages. The result has been the evolution of subshrubs (geoxyles), presumably as an adaptation to frequent fire. To evaluate the traits associated with the shift from tree to subshrub growth forms, we compared seed biomass, germination, survival, resprouting, biomass allocation, and photosynthesis between congeneric trees and subshrubs, and quantified phylogenetic conservatism. Despite large differences in adult morphology between trees and subshrub species, the differences are modest in seedlings, and most of the variation in traits was explained by genus, indicating considerable phylogenic conservatism. Regardless, tree seedlings invested more heavily in aboveground growth, compared to subshrubs, which is consistent with the adult strategy of savanna trees, which depend on a large resistant-fire stem. Subshrub seedlings also invest in greater non-structural carbohydrate reserves, likely as an adaptation to the high fire frequencies typical of tropical savannas. The modest differences as seedlings suggest that selective pressures during early development may not have contributed substantially to the evolution of the subshrub growth form and that the distinct allocation and life history must arise later in life. This is consistent with the interpretation that the subshrub growth form arose as a life-history strategy in which maturity is reached at a small stem size, allowing them to reproduce despite repeated fire-induced topkill. The convergent evolution of subshrubs within multiple tree lineages reaffirms the importance of fire in the origin and diversification of the flora of mesic savannas.

  17. Spatial Heterogeneity and Sources of Soil Carbon in Southern African Savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Macko, S.; Wang, L.; Okin, G.

    2007-12-01

    Soil organic carbon (SOC) is one of the largest and most dynamic reservoirs of C on Earth, with nearly twice as much C stored in SOC than in the biosphere and atmosphere combined. SOC storage in global tropical savannas constitutes approximately 56 Gt of C, which rises to 216 Gt of C (i.e., about 17% of the terrestrial non- agricultural SOC), when woodlands, shrublands, and desert scrub are included. Savannas cover about 20% of the global land surface, including about one-half of Africa, Australia and South America. The shared dominance of trees and grasses in savannas, the dominant physiognomy in southern Africa, add more complexity to soil C pool partitioning and dynamics than is found in landscapes with a single physiognomy. Here, the spatial variability of the soil C pool was investigated with particular emphasis on understanding the contribution to SOC from trees and grasses at two savanna sites of the Kalahari Transect, one wet and the other dry. Using a combination of stable isotope techniques and geostatistics, the results showed that spatial patterns of soil δ13 C exist and were related to the distributions of woody (C3) and herbaceous (C4) vegetation at both sites. Heterogeneity of the sources of SOC, as well as heterogeneity in the amount of SOC, was greater at the dry site relative to the wet site. At the dry site, the grasses were the major contributor to soil C whereas in the wet site, woody vegetation was the major contributor, regardless of the location with respect to woody canopies.

  18. Radiation absorption and use by humid savanna grassland: assessment using remote sensing and modelling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Roux, X. le; Gauthier, H.; Begue, A.; Sinoquet, H.

    1997-01-01

    The components of the canopy radiation balance in photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), phytomass and leaf area index (LAI) were measured during a complete annual cycle in an annually burned African humid savanna. Directional reflectances measured by a hand-held radiometer were used to compute the canopy normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). The fraction f APAR of PAR absorbed by the canopy (APAR) and canopy reflectances were simulated by the scattering from arbitrarily inclined leaves (SAIL) and the radiation interception in row intercropping (RIRI) models. The daily PAR to solar radiation ratio was linearly related to the daily fraction of diffuse solar radiation with an annual value around 0.47. The observed f APAR was non-linearly related to NDVI. The SAIL model simulated reasonably well directional reflectances but noticeably overestimated f APAR during most of the growing season. Comparison of simulations performed with the 1D and 3D versions of the RIRI model highlighted the weak influence of the heterogeneous structure of the canopy after fire and of the vertical distribution of dead and green leaves on total f APAR . Daily f APAR values simulated by the 3D-RIRI model were linearly related to and 9.8% higher than observed values. For sufficient soil water availability, the net production efficiency ϵ n of the savanna grass canopy was 1.92 and 1.28 g DM MJ −1 APAR (where DM stands for dry matter) during early regrowth and mature stage, respectively. In conclusion, the linear relationship between NDVI and f APAR used in most primary production models operating at large scales may slightly overestimate f APAR by green leaves for the humid savanna biome. Moreover, the net production efficiency of humid savannas is close to or higher than values reported for the other major natural biomes. (author)

  19. The influence of canopy strata on remotely sensed observations of savanna-woodlands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Fuller, D.O.; Prince, S.D.; Astle, W.L.

    1997-01-01

    Upwelling radiance from savanna woodlands may originate from two separate layers: (1) the field layer, which is a mixture of soil, litter and herbs, and (2) the tree layer composed of woody parts and leaves. Unless detailed field data are available for a particular savanna location, it is unknown how the individual layers may influence the red and near-infrared signals and whether radiative interactions between layers are important. We employed an existing radiative transfer model (SAIL) in conjunction with a simple, single-scattering model to analyse the variation in Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) channel 1 and 2 response as well as NDVI for savanna-woodland vegetation in eastern Zambia. Linear fits between predicted and observed values of reflectance and NDVI were significant ( p 0.05) in the red and in NDVI, however, the model failed to explain a high proportion of the variation in near-infrared. Red and NDVI in sites where tree cover was high were also poorly modelled, which suggests that multiple interactions between canopy layers make a single-scattering model unreliable, particularly in the near-infrared. Modelled results were also compared to aircraft radiometer measurements provided by the integrated camera and radiometer instrument (ICAR). Simulations parameterized with field data suggest that the model may be used to infer tree and field layer influences at different points during the seasonal cycle. Results also suggest that the field layer dominated the signal in our savanna woodland sites throughout most points of the seasonal cycle, which is consistent with other canopy radiative-transfer studies. Simulations indicated that the tree layer was a relatively more important component of NDVI during the dry season when the field layer was largely senescent, accounting for 20-40 per cent of the satellite signal. (author)

  20. Seasonality and Interannual Variability of Carbon Uptake and Respiration in a California Oak Savanna

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ma, S.; Baldocchi, D.; Xu, L.

    2005-12-01

    Estimating terrestrial carbon sink with large-scale modeling research requires understanding the physiological and ecological processes associated with the carbon uptake and respiration of ecosystems and their variability in seasons and years. This study was conducted in an oak/grass savanna ecosystem in California, USA. The savanna ecosystem consists of blue oak trees ( Quercus douglasii) in the overstory and annual C3 grasses in the understory. Fluxes of CO2 were measured above the canopy (overstory) and the grasses (understory) from 2001 to 2005 with two eddy covariance systems. Under typical Mediterranean Climate, net ecosystem exchange of CO2 (NEE), ecosystem respiration (Reco), and gross primary production (GPP) in this savanna ecosystem had a distinctive dry-wet seasonal pattern. Leaf area index, leaf nitrogen concentration, and leaf carbon stable isotope discrimination reflected the responses of leaf to the seasonality and interannual variability. Light- use efficiency, the ratio of GPP to absorbed photosynthetically active radiation (aPAR), was not consistent within a year or from year to year, indicating that photosynthesis process was constrained with low temperature during the beginning of the wet season and limited by precipitation during the summer drought. Annual NEE, Reco, and GPP above the canopy varied significantly between years, varying from -108 - 133 gC m-2, 780 - 988 gC m-2, and 646 - 963 gC m-2, respectively. The difference of interannual Reco was 1.2 times of that of interannual GPP. There was a tight relationship between annual NEE and the precipitation during the period with daily mean temperature varying between 10 - 20°C, equivalent to precipitation during March and April. The longer the period lasted, the higher carbon uptake occurred. Estimated annual NEE from 1949 - 2005 in the savanna ecosystem varied between ~-400 - 200 gC m-2.

  1. Implication of climate change for the persistence of raptors in arid savanna

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Wichmann, M.C.; Wissel, C. [UFZ-Center for Environmental Research, Dept. of Ecological Modelling, Leipzig (Germany); Jeltsch, F. [Univ. of Potsdam, Inst. for Biochemistry and Biology, Potsdam (Germany); Dean, W.R.J. [Univ. of Cape Town, Percy FitzPatrick Inst. of African Ornithology, Rondebosch (South Africa); Moloney, K.A. [Iowa State Univ., Dept. of Botany, Ames, IA (United States)

    2003-07-01

    Arid savannas are regarded as one of the ecosystems most likely to be affected by climate change. In these dry conditions, even top predators like raptors are affected by water availability and precipitation. However, few research initiatives have a adressed the question of how climate change will affect population dynamics and extinction risk of particular species in and ecosystems. Here, we use an individual-oriented modeling approach to conduct experiments on the population dynamics of long lived raptors. We investigate the potential impact of precipitation variation caused by climate change on raptors in and savanna using the tawny eagle (Aquila rapax) in the southern Kalahari as a case study. We simulated various modifications of precipitation scenarios predicted for climate change, such as lowered annual precipitation mean, increased inter-annual variation and increased auto-correlation in precipitation. We found a high impact of these modifications on extinction risk of tawny eagles, with reduced population persistence in most cases. Decreased mean annual precipitation and increased inter-annual variation both caused dramatic decreases in population persistence. Increased autocorrelation in precipitation led only to slightly accelerated extinction of simulated populations. Finally. for various patterns of periodically fluctuating precipitation, we found both increased and decreased population persistence. In summary, our results suggest that the impacts on raptor population dynamics and survival caused by climate change in and savannas will be great. We emphasize that even if under climate change the mean annual precipitation remains constant but the inter-annual variation increases the persistence of raptor populations in and savannas will decrease considerably. This suggests a new dimension, of climate change driven impacts on population persistence and consequently on biodiversity. However, more investigations on particular species and/or species groups

  2. Changes in soil organic carbon after burning in a forest-savanna edge

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Federico Sánchez Ojeda

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Soils are one of the largest terrestrial pools of carbon, yet there is still little understanding of spatial variability for ecosystems in the tropics. Fire plays an important role in neotropical savannas ecosystems and significantly contribute to global greenhouse gas (GHG fluxes. Nevertheless the impacts of burning on soil carbon is still uncertain in Latin America. We compared soil organic carbon (SOC in the first 20 cm depth in savannas in pre and post fire conditions along a forests-savanna edge typically present in these landscapes of the northern South America. We established 8 transects of 20 m longitude along the border with 1m2 plots sampled every 4 m. SOC pre-disturbance was on average 1.794 (±SE 0,043 and the minimum value found (1.08% was registered 6 months after the burning. Our results show that both the influence of the distance to the edge and the time of burning affect negatively the SOC and also there is a significant interaction between both variables. Our results provide improved estimates of the effect of fire on soil carbon stocks and its highly dynamic nature . We believe these finding will be a step to help better estimate GHG in this type of heterogeneous landscapes. Further it provides a tool for understanding C dynamics under a climate change context with predicted increased fire frequency, extent and severity.

  3. Estimating vegetation dryness to optimize fire risk assessment with spot vegetation satellite data in savanna ecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verbesselt, J.; Somers, B.; Lhermitte, S.; van Aardt, J.; Jonckheere, I.; Coppin, P.

    2005-10-01

    The lack of information on vegetation dryness prior to the use of fire as a management tool often leads to a significant deterioration of the savanna ecosystem. This paper therefore evaluated the capacity of SPOT VEGETATION time-series to monitor the vegetation dryness (i.e., vegetation moisture content per vegetation amount) in order to optimize fire risk assessment in the savanna ecosystem of Kruger National Park in South Africa. The integrated Relative Vegetation Index approach (iRVI) to quantify the amount of herbaceous biomass at the end of the rain season and the Accumulated Relative Normalized Difference vegetation index decrement (ARND) related to vegetation moisture content were selected. The iRVI and ARND related to vegetation amount and moisture content, respectively, were combined in order to monitor vegetation dryness and optimize fire risk assessment in the savanna ecosystems. In situ fire activity data was used to evaluate the significance of the iRVI and ARND to monitor vegetation dryness for fire risk assessment. Results from the binary logistic regression analysis confirmed that the assessment of fire risk was optimized by integration of both the vegetation quantity (iRVI) and vegetation moisture content (ARND) as statistically significant explanatory variables. Consequently, the integrated use of both iRVI and ARND to monitor vegetation dryness provides a more suitable tool for fire management and suppression compared to other traditional satellite-based fire risk assessment methods, only related to vegetation moisture content.

  4. Savanna fire and the origins of the 'underground forests' of Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maurin, Olivier; Davies, T Jonathan; Burrows, John E; Daru, Barnabas H; Yessoufou, Kowiyou; Muasya, A Muthama; van der Bank, Michelle; Bond, William J

    2014-10-01

    The origin of fire-adapted lineages is a long-standing question in ecology. Although phylogeny can provide a significant contribution to the ongoing debate, its use has been precluded by the lack of comprehensive DNA data. Here, we focus on the 'underground trees' (=geoxyles) of southern Africa, one of the most distinctive growth forms characteristic of fire-prone savannas. We placed geoxyles within the most comprehensive dated phylogeny for the regional flora comprising over 1400 woody species. Using this phylogeny, we tested whether African geoxyles evolved concomitantly with those of the South American cerrado and used their phylogenetic position to date the appearance of humid savannas. We found multiple independent origins of the geoxyle life-form mostly from the Pliocene, a period consistent with the origin of cerrado, with the majority of divergences occurring within the last 2 million yr. When contrasted with their tree relatives, geoxyles occur in regions characterized by higher rainfall and greater fire frequency. Our results indicate that the geoxylic growth form may have evolved in response to the interactive effects of frequent fires and high precipitation. As such, geoxyles may be regarded as markers of fire-maintained savannas occurring in climates suitable for forests. © 2014 The Authors New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  5. The effects of large herbivores on the landscape dynamics of a perennial herb

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hemrová, Lucie; Červenková, Z.; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 110, č. 7 (2012), s. 1411-1421 ISSN 0305-7364 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : herbivores * Scorzonera hispanica * landscape Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 3.449, year: 2012

  6. Forage patch use by grazing herbivores in a South African grazing ecosystem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Venter, J.A.; Nabe-Nielsen, J.; Prins, H.H.T.; Slotow, R.

    2014-01-01

    Understanding how different herbivores make forage patch use choices explains how they maintain an adequate nutritional status, which is important for effective conservation management of grazing ecosystems. Using telemetry data, we investigated nonruminant zebra (Equus burchelli) and ruminant red

  7. Seasonal grazing and food preference of herbivores in a Posidonia oceanica meadow

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrea Peirano

    2001-12-01

    Full Text Available Seasonal grazing of the fish Sarpa salpa (L., the urchin Paracentrotus lividus Lamarck and the isopods Idotea spp. was compared with the C/N ratio of adult and intermediate leaves and epiphytes of Posidonia oceanica (L. Delile, collected at three different depths. Despite seasonal differences in grazing, herbivores showed preferences throughout the year for adult leaves with more epiphyte and higher N contents. The maximum grazing on adult and intermediate leaves was observed in September and in June for fish and in March for urchins, whereas it was irregular for isopods. Grazing by the three herbivores was not related to their preference for leaves or epiphytes, notwithstanding the seasonal differences in their C and N contents. We concluded that herbivores show no preference for food type throughout the year and that seasonal consumption of P. oceanica is related mainly to herbivore behaviour.

  8. Core fecal microbiota of domesticated herbivorous ruminant, hindgut fermenters, and monogastric animals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    O' Donnell, Michelle M; Harris, Hugh M B; Ross, R Paul; O'Toole, Paul W

    2017-10-01

    In this pilot study, we determined the core fecal microbiota composition and overall microbiota diversity of domesticated herbivorous animals of three digestion types: hindgut fermenters, ruminants, and monogastrics. The 42 animals representing 10 animal species were housed on a single farm in Ireland and all the large herbivores consumed similar feed, harmonizing two of the environmental factors that influence the microbiota. Similar to other mammals, the fecal microbiota of all these animals was dominated by the Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes phyla. The fecal microbiota spanning all digestion types comprised 42% of the genera identified. Host phylogeny and, to a lesser extent, digestion type determined the microbiota diversity in these domesticated herbivores. This pilot study forms a platform for future studies into the microbiota of nonbovine and nonequine domesticated herbivorous animals. © 2017 The Authors. MicrobiologyOpen published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  9. Potential Use of Native and Naturalized Insect Herbivores and Fungal Pathogens of Aquatic and Wetland Plants

    National Research Council Canada - National Science Library

    Freedman, Jan E; Grodowitz, Michael J; Swindle, Robin; Nachtrieb, Julie G

    2007-01-01

    ...) scientists to identify naturalized and/or native herbivores of aquatic plants in an effort to develop alternative management strategies through an understanding of the agents' biology and ecology...

  10. A below-ground herbivore shapes root defensive chemistry in natural plant populations

    OpenAIRE

    Huber, Meret; Bont, Zoe; Fricke, Julia; Brillatz, Th?o; Aziz, Zohra; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2016-01-01

    Plants display extensive intraspecific variation in secondary metabolites. However, the selective forces shaping this diversity remain often unknown, especially below ground. Using Taraxacum officinale and its major native insect root herbivore Melolontha melolontha, we tested whether below-ground herbivores drive intraspecific variation in root secondary metabolites. We found that high M. melolontha infestation levels over recent decades are associated with high concentrations of major root ...

  11. Intra- and interspecific differences in diet quality and composition in a large herbivore community.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claire Redjadj

    Full Text Available Species diversity in large herbivore communities is often explained by niche segregation allowed by differences in body mass and digestive morphophysiological features. Based on large number of gut samples in fall and winter, we analysed the temporal dynamics of diet composition, quality and interspecific overlap of 4 coexisting mountain herbivores. We tested whether the relative consumption of grass and browse differed among species of different rumen types (moose-type and intermediate-type, whether diet was of lower quality for the largest species, whether we could identify plant species which determined diet quality, and whether these plants, which could be "key-food-resources" were similar for all herbivores. Our analyses revealed that (1 body mass and rumen types were overall poor predictors of diet composition and quality, although the roe deer, a species with a moose-type rumen was confirmed as an "obligatory non grazer", while red deer, the largest species, had the most lignified diet; (2 diet overlap among herbivores was well predicted by rumen type (high among species of intermediate types only, when measured over broad plant groups, (3 the relationship between diet composition and quality differed among herbivore species, and the actual plant species used during winter which determined the diet quality, was herbivore species-specific. Even if diets overlapped to a great extent, the species-specific relationships between diet composition and quality suggest that herbivores may select different plant species within similar plant group types, or different plant parts and that this, along with other behavioural mechanisms of ecological niche segregation, may contribute to the coexistence of large herbivores of relatively similar body mass, as observed in mountain ecosystems.

  12. Non-Host Plant Volatiles Disrupt Sex Pheromone Communication in a Specialist Herbivore

    OpenAIRE

    Wang, Fumin; Deng, Jianyu; Schal, Coby; Lou, Yonggen; Zhou, Guoxin; Ye, Bingbing; Yin, Xiaohui; Xu, Zhihong; Shen, Lize

    2016-01-01

    The ecological effects of plant volatiles on herbivores are manifold. Little is known, however, about the impacts of non-host plant volatiles on intersexual pheromonal communication in specialist herbivores. We tested the effects of several prominent constitutive terpenoids released by conifers and Eucalyptus trees on electrophysiological and behavioral responses of an oligophagous species, Plutella xylostella, which feeds on Brassicaceae. The non-host plant volatile terpenoids adversely affe...

  13. Indirect effects of predators control herbivore richness and abundance in a benthic eelgrass (Zostera marina) mesograzer community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Amundrud, Sarah L; Srivastava, Diane S; O'Connor, Mary I

    2015-07-01

    Herbivore communities can be sensitive to changes in predator pressure (top-down effects) and resource availability (bottom-up effects) in a wide range of systems. However, it remains unclear whether such top-down and bottom-up effects reflect direct impacts of predators and/or resources on herbivores, or are indirect, reflecting altered interactions among herbivore species. We quantified direct and indirect effects of bottom-up and top-down processes on an eelgrass (Zostera marina) herbivore assemblage. In a field experiment, we factorially manipulated water column nutrients (with Osmocote(™) slow-release fertilizer) and predation pressure (with predator exclusion cages) and measured the effects on herbivore abundance, richness and beta diversity. We examined likely mechanisms of community responses by statistically exploring the response of individual herbivore species to trophic manipulations. Predators increased herbivore richness and total abundance, in both cases through indirect shifts in community composition. Increases in richness occurred through predator suppression of common gammarid amphipod species (Monocorophium acherusicum and Photis brevipes), permitting the inclusion of rarer gammarid species (Aoroides columbiae and Pontogeneia rostrata). Increased total herbivore abundance reflected increased abundance of a caprellid amphipod species (Caprella sp.), concurrent with declines in the abundance of other common species. Furthermore, predators decreased beta diversity by decreasing variability in Caprella sp. abundance among habitat patches. Osmocote(™) fertilization increased nutrient concentrations locally, but nutrients dissipated to background levels within 3 m of the fertilizer. Nutrient addition weakly affected the herbivore assemblage, not affecting richness and increasing total abundance by increasing one herbivore species (Caprella sp.). Nutrient addition did not affect beta diversity. We demonstrated that assemblage-level effects of

  14. Effects of local tree diversity on herbivore communities diminish with increasing forest fragmentation on the landscape scale.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Franziska Peter

    Full Text Available Forest fragmentation and plant diversity have been shown to play a crucial role for herbivorous insects (herbivores, hereafter. In turn, herbivory-induced leaf area loss is known to have direct implications for plant growth and reproduction as well as long-term consequences for ecosystem functioning and forest regeneration. So far, previous studies determined diverging responses of herbivores to forest fragmentation and plant diversity. Those inconsistent results may be owed to complex interactive effects of both co-occurring environmental factors albeit they act on different spatial scales. In this study, we investigated whether forest fragmentation on the landscape scale and tree diversity on the local habitat scale show interactive effects on the herbivore community and leaf area loss in subtropical forests in South Africa. We applied standardized beating samples and a community-based approach to estimate changes in herbivore community composition, herbivore abundance, and the effective number of herbivore species on the tree species-level. We further monitored leaf area loss to link changes in the herbivore community to the associated process of herbivory. Forest fragmentation and tree diversity interactively affected the herbivore community composition, mainly by a species turnover within the family of Curculionidae. Furthermore, herbivore abundance increased and the number of herbivore species decreased with increasing tree diversity in slightly fragmented forests whereas the effects diminished with increasing forest fragmentation. Surprisingly, leaf area loss was neither affected by forest fragmentation or tree diversity, nor by changes in the herbivore community. Our study highlights the need to consider interactive effects of environmental changes across spatial scales in order to draw reliable conclusions for community and interaction patterns. Moreover, forest fragmentation seems to alter the effect of tree diversity on the herbivore

  15. Evolutionary dynamics of interactions between plants and their enemies: comparison of herbivorous insects and pathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wininger, Kerry; Rank, Nathan

    2017-11-01

    Plants colonized land over 400 million years ago. Shortly thereafter, organisms began to consume terrestrial plant tissue as a nutritional resource. Most plant enemies are plant pathogens or herbivores, and they impose natural selection for plants to evolve defenses. These traits generate selection pressures on enemies. Coevolution between terrestrial plants and their enemies is an important element of the evolutionary history of both groups. However, coevolutionary studies of plant-pathogen interactions have tended to focus on different research topics than plant-herbivore interactions. Specifically, studies of plant-pathogen interactions often adopt a "gene-for-gene" conceptual framework. In contrast, studies of plants and herbivores often investigate escalation or elaboration of plant defense and herbivore adaptations to overcome it. The main exceptions to the general pattern are studies that focus on small, sessile herbivores that share many features with plant pathogens, studies that incorporate both herbivores and pathogens into a single investigation, and studies that test aspects of Thompson's geographic mosaic theory for coevolution. We discuss the implications of these findings for future research. © 2017 New York Academy of Sciences.

  16. A pharm-ecological perspective of terrestrial and aquatic plant-herbivore interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forbey, Jennifer Sorensen; Dearing, M Denise; Gross, Elisabeth M; Orians, Colin M; Sotka, Erik E; Foley, William J

    2013-04-01

    We describe some recent themes in the nutritional and chemical ecology of herbivores and the importance of a broad pharmacological view of plant nutrients and chemical defenses that we integrate as "Pharm-ecology". The central role that dose, concentration, and response to plant components (nutrients and secondary metabolites) play in herbivore foraging behavior argues for broader application of approaches derived from pharmacology to both terrestrial and aquatic plant-herbivore systems. We describe how concepts of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics are used to better understand the foraging phenotype of herbivores relative to nutrient and secondary metabolites in food. Implementing these concepts into the field remains a challenge, but new modeling approaches that emphasize tradeoffs and the properties of individual animals show promise. Throughout, we highlight similarities and differences between the historic and future applications of pharm-ecological concepts in understanding the ecology and evolution of terrestrial and aquatic interactions between herbivores and plants. We offer several pharm-ecology related questions and hypotheses that could strengthen our understanding of the nutritional and chemical factors that modulate foraging behavior of herbivores across terrestrial and aquatic systems.

  17. Inter-varietal interactions among plants in genotypically diverse mixtures tend to decrease herbivore performance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grettenberger, Ian M; Tooker, John F

    2016-09-01

    Much research has explored the effects of plant species diversity on herbivore populations, but far less has considered effects of plant genotypic diversity, or how abiotic stressors, like drought, can modify effects. Mechanisms by which plant genotypic diversity affects herbivore populations remain largely unresolved. We used greenhouse studies with a model system of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) and bird cherry-oat aphid (Rhopalosiphum padi L.) to determine whether the genotypic diversity of a plant's neighborhood influences performance and fitness of herbivores on a focal plant and if drought changes the influence of neighborhood diversity. Taken across all varieties we tested, plant-plant interactions in diverse neighborhoods reduced aphid performance and generated associational resistance, although effects on aphids depended on variety identity. In diverse mixtures, drought stress greatly diminished the genotypic diversity-driven reduction in aphid performance. Neighborhood diversity influenced mother aphid size, and appeared to partially explain how plant-plant interactions reduced the number of offspring produced in mixtures. Plant size did not mediate effects on aphid performance, although neighborhood diversity reduced plant mass across varieties and watering treatments. Our results suggest inter-varietal interactions in genotypic mixtures can affect herbivore performance in the absence of herbivore movement and that abiotic stress may diminish any effects. Accounting for how neighborhood diversity influences resistance of an individual plant to herbivores will help aid development of mixtures of varieties for managing insect pests and clarify the role of plant genotypic diversity in ecosystems.

  18. Rapidly increasing macroalgal cover not related to herbivorous fishes on Mesoamerican reefs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Adam Suchley

    2016-05-01

    Full Text Available Long-term phase shifts from coral to macroalgal dominated reef systems are well documented in the Caribbean. Although the impact of coral diseases, climate change and other factors is acknowledged, major herbivore loss through disease and overfishing is often assigned a primary role. However, direct evidence for the link between herbivore abundance, macroalgal and coral cover is sparse, particularly over broad spatial scales. In this study we use a database of coral reef surveys performed at 85 sites along the Mesoamerican Reef of Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, to examine potential ecological links by tracking site trajectories over the period 2005–2014. Despite the long-term reduction of herbivory capacity reported across the Caribbean, the Mesoamerican Reef region displayed relatively low macroalgal cover at the onset of the study. Subsequently, increasing fleshy macroalgal cover was pervasive. Herbivorous fish populations were not responsible for this trend as fleshy macroalgal cover change was not correlated with initial herbivorous fish biomass or change, and the majority of sites experienced increases in macroalgae browser biomass. This contrasts the coral reef top-down herbivore control paradigm and suggests the role of external factors in making environmental conditions more favourable for algae. Increasing macroalgal cover typically suppresses ecosystem services and leads to degraded reef systems. Consequently, policy makers and local coral reef managers should reassess the focus on herbivorous fish protection and consider complementary measures such as watershed management in order to arrest this trend.

  19. Utility of stable isotope analysis in studying foraging ecology of herbivores: Examples from moose and caribou

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ben-David, Merav; Shochat, Einav; Adams, Layne G.

    2001-01-01

    Recently, researchers emphasized that patterns of stable isotope ratios observed at the individual level are a result of an interaction between ecological, physiological, and biochemical processes. Isotopic models for herbivores provide additional complications because those mammals consume foods that have high variability in nitrogen concentrations. In addition, distribution of amino acids in plants may differ greatly from that required by a herbivore. At northern latitudes, where the growing season of vegetation is short, isotope ratios in herbivore tissues are expected to differ between seasons. Summer ratios likely reflect diet composition, whereas winter ratios would reflect diet and nutrient recycling by the animals. We tested this hypothesis using data collected from blood samples of caribou (Rangifer tarandus) and moose (Alces alces) in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. Stable isotope ratios of moose and caribou were significantly different from each other in late summer-autumn and winter. Also, late summer-autumn and winter ratios differed significantly between seasons in both species. Nonetheless, we were unable to evaluate whether differences in seasonal isotopic ratios were a result of diet selection or a response to nutrient recycling. We believe that additional studies on plant isotopic ratios as related to ecological factors in conjunction with investigations of diet selection by the herbivores will enhance our understanding of those interactions. Also, controlled studies investigating the relation between diet and physiological responses in herbivores will increase the utility of isotopic analysis in studying foraging ecology of herbivores.

  20. Herbivore specificity and the chemical basis of plant-plant communication in Baccharis salicifolia (Asteraceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moreira, Xoaquín; Nell, Colleen S; Katsanis, Angelos; Rasmann, Sergio; Mooney, Kailen A

    2016-09-06

    It is well known that plant damage by leaf-chewing herbivores can induce resistance in neighbouring plants. It is unknown whether such communication occurs in response to sap-feeding herbivores, whether communication is specific to herbivore identity, and the chemical basis of communication, including specificity. We carried out glasshouse experiments using the California-native shrub Baccharis salicifolia and two ecologically distinct aphid species (one a dietary generalist and the other a specialist) to test for specificity of plant-plant communication and to document the underlying volatile organic compounds (VOCs). We show specificity of plant-plant communication to herbivore identity, as each aphid-damaged plant only induced resistance in neighbours against the same aphid species. The amount and composition of induced VOCs were markedly different between plants attacked by the two aphid species, providing a putative chemical mechanism for this specificity. Furthermore, a synthetic blend of the five major aphid-induced VOCs (ethanone, limonene, methyl salicylate, myrcene, ocimene) triggered resistance in receiving plants of comparable magnitude to aphid damage of neighbours, and the effects of the blend exceeded those of individual compounds. This study significantly advances our understanding of plant-plant communication by demonstrating the importance of sap-feeding herbivores and herbivore identity, as well as the chemical basis for such effects. © 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.

  1. Induced and constitutive responses of digestive enzymes to plant toxins in an herbivorous mammal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohl, Kevin D; Dearing, M Denise

    2011-12-15

    Many plants produce plant secondary compounds (PSCs) that bind and inhibit the digestive enzymes of herbivores, thus limiting digestibility for the herbivore. Herbivorous insects employ several physiological responses to overcome the anti-nutritive effects of PSCs. However, studies in vertebrates have not shown such responses, perhaps stemming from the fact that previously studied vertebrates were not herbivorous. The responses of the digestive system to dietary PSCs in populations of Bryant's woodrat (Neotoma bryanti) that vary in their ecological and evolutionary experience with the PSCs in creosote bush (Larrea tridentata) were compared. Individuals from naïve and experienced populations were fed diets with and without added creosote resin. Animals fed diets with creosote resin had higher activities of pancreatic amylase, as well as luminal amylase and chymotrypsin, regardless of prior experience with creosote. The experienced population showed constitutively higher activities of intestinal maltase and sucrase. Additionally, the naïve population produced an aminopeptidase-N enzyme that was less inhibited by creosote resin when feeding on the creosote resin diet, whereas the experienced population constitutively expressed this form of aminopeptidase-N. Thus, the digestive system of an herbivorous vertebrate responds significantly to dietary PSCs, which may be important for allowing herbivorous vertebrates to feed on PSC-rich diets.

  2. Study of the mobilization of pollutants in soils of the Bogota Savanna - phase 1, Heavy Metals

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gonzalez, Luz Myrian; Vargas Zarate, Orlando

    1997-01-01

    In this study the soils contamination of the Bogota Savanna was evaluated by heavy metals, that they have importance to be this the area of population's of the country bigger density, where the use of the soils has suffered changes in the last years that have affected its properties, as consequence of the not controlled growth of the urban area, of the industrialization and of the agricultural use not planned. As a first stage toward the risk evaluation for the presence of metals weighed in the soils of the Bogota Savanna, the concentrations of cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel, lead, zinc, molybdenum, arsenic and mercury were measured. It was also measured the movilizable fraction and the mobile fraction, that is to say, the quantity of metals that can be taken by the roots of the plants or that it can be leached toward the water bodies. Equally, the soils of the Savanna were characterized in an area of the plane part that covers 800 km 2 , as for the physical and chemical properties that can affect the retention and mobilization of heavy metals. The results obtained shows elements, that will allow in a future to develop mobilization and transport models, adapted for our specific conditions and to make an risks evaluation for the population's health, foods consumption on these soils or for the possibility of contamination of the underground waters. The obtained data of levels of heavy metals and other properties of the soils will serve as base for future studies of the conditions of the Savanna soils and for the establishment of standard of quality in our country. During 1997 it plans to enlarge the study area to 1200 km 2 and to begin the sampling and analysis of the soils. In the first phase of the study were found levels of heavy metals that overcome the world averages especially cadmium, cobalt, nickel, lead and zinc and in some cases chromium and mercury, levels that put in evidence the existence an ecological risk and for the population

  3. Precipitation chemistry and wet deposition in a remote wet savanna site in West Africa: Djougou (Benin)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Akpo, A. B.; Galy-Lacaux, C.; Laouali, D.; Delon, C.; Liousse, C.; Adon, M.; Gardrat, E.; Mariscal, A.; Darakpa, C.

    2015-08-01

    In the framework of the IDAF (IGAC/DEBITS/AFrica) international program, this study aims to study the chemical composition of precipitation and associated wet deposition at the rural site of Djougou in Benin, representative of a West and Central African wet savanna. Five hundred and thirty rainfall samples were collected at Djougou, Benin, from July 2005 to December 2009 to provide a unique database. The chemical composition of precipitation was analyzed for inorganic (Ca2+, Mg2+, Na+, NH4+, K+, NO3-, Cl-, SO42-) and organic (HCOO-, CH3COO-, C2H5COO-, C2O42-) ions, using ion chromatography. The 530 collected rain events represent a total of 5706.1 mm of rainfall compared to the measured pluviometry 6138.9 mm, indicating that the collection efficiency is about 93%. The order of total annual loading rates for soluble cations is NH4+ > Ca2+ > Mg2+ > K+. For soluble anions the order of loading is carbonates > HCOO- > NO3- > CH3COO- > SO42- > Cl- > C2O42- > C2H5COO-. In the wet savanna of Djougou, 86% of the measured pH values range between 4.7 and 5.7 with a median pH of 5.19, corresponding to a VWM (Volume Weighed Mean) H+ concentration of 6.46 μeq·L-1. This acidity results from a mixture of mineral and organic acids. The annual sea salt contribution was computed for K+, Mg2+, Ca2+ and SO42- and represents 4.2% of K+, 41% of Mg2+, 1.3% of Ca2+, and 7.4% of SO42-. These results show that K+, Ca2+, SO42-, and Mg2+ were mainly of non-marine origin. The marine contribution is estimated at 9%. The results of the chemical composition of rainwater of Djougou indicates that, except for the carbonates, ammonium has the highest VWM concentration (14.3 μeq·L-1) and nitrate concentration is 8.2 μeq·L-1. The distribution of monthly VWM concentration for all ions is computed and shows the highest values during the dry season, comparing to the wet season. Identified nitrogenous compound sources (NOx and NH3) are domestic animals, natural emissions from savanna soils, biomass

  4. Explaining grass-nutrient patterns in a savanna rangeland of southern Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mutanga, O.; Prins, H.H.T.; Skidmore, A.K.; Wieren, van S.E.; Huizing, H.; Grant, R.; Peel, M.J.S.; Biggs, H.

    2004-01-01

    Aim The search for possible factors influencing the spatial variation of grass quality is an important step towards understanding the distribution of herbivores, as well as a step towards identifying crucial areas for conservation and restoration. A number of studies have shown that grass quality at

  5. Allelopathic exudates of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica): implications for the performance of native pine savanna plant species in the southeastern US.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hagan, Donald L; Jose, Shibu; Lin, Chung-Ho

    2013-02-01

    We conducted a greenhouse study to assess the effects of cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica) rhizochemicals on a suite of plants native to southeastern US pine savanna ecosystems. Our results indicated a possible allelopathic effect, although it varied by species. A ruderal grass (Andropogon arctatus) and ericaceous shrub (Lyonia ferruginea) were unaffected by irrigation with cogongrass soil "leachate" (relative to leachate from mixed native species), while a mid-successional grass (Aristida stricta Michx. var. beyrichiana) and tree (Pinus elliottii) were negatively affected. For A. stricta, we observed a 35.7 % reduction in aboveground biomass, a 21.9 % reduction in total root length, a 24.6 % reduction in specific root length and a 23.5 % reduction in total mycorrhizal root length, relative to the native leachate treatment. For P. elliottii, there was a 19.5 % reduction in percent mycorrhizal colonization and a 20.1 % reduction in total mycorrhizal root length. Comparisons with a DI water control in year two support the possibility that the treatment effects were due to the negative effects of cogongrass leachate, rather than a facilitative effect from the mixed natives. Chemical analyses identified 12 putative allelopathic compounds (mostly phenolics) in cogongrass leachate. The concentrations of most compounds were significantly lower, if they were present at all, in the native leachate. One compound was an alkaloid with a speculated structure of hexadecahydro-1-azachrysen-8-yl ester (C23H33NO4). This compound was not found in the native leachate. We hypothesize that the observed treatment effects may be attributable, at least partially, to these qualitative and quantitative differences in leachate chemistry.

  6. The silent mass extinction of insect herbivores in biodiversity hotspots.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fonseca, Carlos Roberto

    2009-12-01

    Habitat loss is silently leading numerous insects to extinction. Conservation efforts, however, have not been designed specifically to protect these organisms, despite their ecological and evolutionary significance. On the basis of species-host area equations, parameterized with data from the literature and interviews with botanical experts, I estimated the number of specialized plant-feeding insects (i.e., monophages) that live in 34 biodiversity hotspots and the number committed to extinction because of habitat loss. I estimated that 795,971-1,602,423 monophagous insect species live in biodiversity hotspots on 150,371 endemic plant species, which is 5.3-10.6 monophages per plant species. I calculated that 213,830-547,500 monophagous species are committed to extinction in biodiversity hotspots because of reduction of the geographic range size of their endemic hosts. I provided rankings of biodiversity hotspots on the basis of estimated richness of monophagous insects and on estimated number of extinctions of monophagous species. Extinction rates were predicted to be higher in biodiversity hotspots located along strong environmental gradients and on archipelagos, where high spatial turnover of monophagous species along the geographic distribution of their endemic plants is likely. The results strongly support the overall strategy of selecting priority conservation areas worldwide primarily on the basis of richness of endemic plants. To face the global decline of insect herbivores, one must expand the coverage of the network of protected areas and improve the richness of native plants on private lands.

  7. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenschlager, Stephan; Brassey, Charlotte A.; Button, David J.; Barrett, Paul M.

    2016-05-01

    Convergent evolution, the acquisition of morphologically similar traits in unrelated taxa due to similar functional demands or environmental factors, is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Consequently, the occurrence of similar form is used routinely to address fundamental questions in morphofunctional research and to infer function in fossils. However, such qualitative assessments can be misleading and it is essential to test form/function relationships quantitatively. The parallel occurrence of a suite of morphologically convergent craniodental characteristics in three herbivorous, phylogenetically disparate dinosaur clades (Sauropodomorpha, Ornithischia, Theropoda) provides an ideal test case. A combination of computational biomechanical models (Finite Element Analysis, Multibody Dynamics Analysis) demonstrate that despite a high degree of morphological similarity between representative taxa (Plateosaurus engelhardti, Stegosaurus stenops, Erlikosaurus andrewsi) from these clades, their biomechanical behaviours are notably different and difficult to predict on the basis of form alone. These functional differences likely reflect dietary specialisations, demonstrating the value of quantitative biomechanical approaches when evaluating form/function relationships in extinct taxa.

  8. Decoupled form and function in disparate herbivorous dinosaur clades.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lautenschlager, Stephan; Brassey, Charlotte A; Button, David J; Barrett, Paul M

    2016-05-20

    Convergent evolution, the acquisition of morphologically similar traits in unrelated taxa due to similar functional demands or environmental factors, is a common phenomenon in the animal kingdom. Consequently, the occurrence of similar form is used routinely to address fundamental questions in morphofunctional research and to infer function in fossils. However, such qualitative assessments can be misleading and it is essential to test form/function relationships quantitatively. The parallel occurrence of a suite of morphologically convergent craniodental characteristics in three herbivorous, phylogenetically disparate dinosaur clades (Sauropodomorpha, Ornithischia, Theropoda) provides an ideal test case. A combination of computational biomechanical models (Finite Element Analysis, Multibody Dynamics Analysis) demonstrate that despite a high degree of morphological similarity between representative taxa (Plateosaurus engelhardti, Stegosaurus stenops, Erlikosaurus andrewsi) from these clades, their biomechanical behaviours are notably different and difficult to predict on the basis of form alone. These functional differences likely reflect dietary specialisations, demonstrating the value of quantitative biomechanical approaches when evaluating form/function relationships in extinct taxa.

  9. Nesting success of grassland and savanna birds on reclaimed surface coal mines of the midwestern United States

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Galligan, E.W.; DeVault, T.L.; Lima, S.L. [Indiana State University, Terre Haute, IN (United States)

    2006-12-15

    Reclaimed surface coal mines in southwestern Indiana support many grassland and shrub/savanna bird species of conservation concern. We examined the nesting success of birds on these reclaimed mines to assess whether such 'unnatural' places represent productive breeding habitats for such species. We established eight study sites on two large, grassland-dominated mines in southwestern Indiana and classified them into three categories (open grassland, shrub/savanna, and a mixture of grassland and shrub/savanna) based on broad vegetation and landscape characteristics. During the 1999 and 2000 breeding seasons, we found and monitored 911 nests of 31 species. Daily nest survival for the most commonly monitored grassland species ranged from 0.903 (Dickcissel, Spiza americana) to 0.961 (Grasshopper Sparrow, Ammodramus savannarum). Daily survival estimates for the dominant shrub/savanna nesting species ranged from 0.932 (Brown Thrasher, Toxostoma rufum) to 0.982 (Willow Flycatcher, Empidonax traillii). Vegetation and landscape effects on nesting success were minimal, and only Eastern Meadowlarks (Sturnella magna) showed a clear time-of-season effect, with greater nesting success in the first half of the breeding season. Rates of Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) parasitism were only 2.1% for grassland species and 12.0% for shrub/savanna species. The nesting success of birds on reclaimed mine sites was comparable to that in other habitats, indicating that reclaimed habitats on surface mines do not necessarily represent reproductive traps for birds.

  10. GULLY’S MONITORING: MORFOMETRIC AND SEDIMENTS STUDY AT BRAZIL’S SAVANNA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roberto Reis Alves

    2005-05-01

    Full Text Available The intense processes of the society development and the economy in the industrialist and agricultural scope had taken to an antropogenic raised in the environment having provoked a degradation sped up in exactly, factor this lot of due to form of disordered occupation in all the country and it was not different in the region of the Triângulo Mineiro in special in the region of the city of Uberlândia, which also felt the consequences of this occupation without planning. The place chosen for study is situated in a micro-basin, tributaryof the Mogi Stream that is direct affluent of the Lagoinha Stream, which is tributary of the Uberabinha River, which is the main reserve of water of the city of Uberlândia MG. The erosive processes that occur inside the Lagoinha Basin were very interesting, in special those of bigger intensity, which is called gullies. The gully in question is situated at cartographic coordinates (UTM 0788237 and 7903448 and the altitude is approximately 857m and was chosen by if dealing with an evolution unchained for Human kind action (Burnt, Tread of the cattle, etc and sped up by the intemperic action (rains mainly. The area presents relief with little inclined form (hills, which are intercalated by shallow valleys. Moreover, the ground are sandy, acid and little cohesive, with presence of peat bogs, and exist in the high source one strong hydromorfic influence. It is necessary to mention that, to the long of the stream, a waterfall was formed that catalyzed the force of consuming of the water and facilitating the begin of the erosive process, that resulted in gully. When the relief is analyzed, cannot be forgotten the question of index declivity of one determined area, therefore this index contributes to determines the conditions of the superficial draining, influencing directly in the draining speed. In the area of the basin the declivities vary since low indices 2%, what contributes to determine a draining with speed low

  11. Long-term effects of fire frequency and season on herbaceous vegetation in savannas of the Kruger National Park, South Africa

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Smith, MD

    2012-05-01

    Full Text Available in savannas, the experimental burn plots (EBPs), which is located in the Kruger National Park (South Africa) and encompasses four major savanna vegetation types that span broad spatial gradients of rainfall (450–700mm) and soil fertility....

  12. The magnitude and persistence of soil NO, N20, CH4, and C02 fluxes from burned tropical savanna in Brazil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark Poth; Iris Cofman Anderson; Heloisa Sinatora Miranda; Antonia Carlos Miranda; Philip J. Riggan

    1995-01-01

    Among all global ecosystems, tropical savannas are the most severely and extensively affected by anthropogenic burning. Frequency of fire in cerrado, a type of tropical savanna covering 25% of Brazil, is 2 to 4 years. In 1992 we measured soil fluxes of NO, N20, CH4, and C02 from cerrado sites that had...

  13. Biodiversity effects on ecosystem function due to land use: The case of buffel savannas in the Sky Islands Seas in the central region of Sonora

    Science.gov (United States)

    A. E. Castellanos; H. Celaya; C. Hinojo; A. Ibarra; J. R. Romo

    2013-01-01

    Buffel savannas have been an important landscape on cattle grazing ranches in Sonora over the past 50 years or more. Changes in land use result in biodiversity changes that may produce ecosystem functional changes; however, these are less well documented. Although fire driven processes have been proposed for Buffel savannas, this is not generally the case, and other...

  14. On the suitability of MODIS time series metrics to map vegetation types in dry savanna ecosystems: A case study in the Kalahari of NE Namibia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hüttich, C.; Gessner, U.; Herold, M.; Strohbach, B.; Schmidt, M.; Keil, M.; Dech, S.

    2009-01-01

    The characterization and evaluation of the recent status of biodiversity in Southern Africa’s Savannas is a major prerequisite for suitable and sustainable land management and conservation purposes. This paper presents an integrated concept for vegetation type mapping in a dry savanna ecosystem

  15. Variation in wood anatomy of species with a distribution covering both rain forest and savanna areas of the Ivory Coast, West-Africa

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Outer, den R.W.; Veenendaal, van W.L.H.

    1976-01-01

    The variation in wood anatomy within 30 hardwood species, each with a distribution covering both rain forest and savanna areas of the Ivory Coast, Africa, has been studied. Compared to specimens from the rain forest, material from the savanna tends to have more wood ray tissue (rays are higher,

  16. Gut microbes may facilitate insect herbivory of chemically defended plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hammer, Tobin J; Bowers, M Deane

    2015-09-01

    The majority of insect species consume plants, many of which produce chemical toxins that defend their tissues from attack. How then are herbivorous insects able to develop on a potentially poisonous diet? While numerous studies have focused on the biochemical counter-adaptations to plant toxins rooted in the insect genome, a separate body of research has recently emphasized the role of microbial symbionts, particularly those inhabiting the gut, in plant-insect interactions. Here we outline the "gut microbial facilitation hypothesis," which proposes that variation among herbivores in their ability to consume chemically defended plants can be due, in part, to variation in their associated microbial communities. More specifically, different microbes may be differentially able to detoxify compounds toxic to the insect, or be differentially resistant to the potential antimicrobial effects of some compounds. Studies directly addressing this hypothesis are relatively few, but microbe-plant allelochemical interactions have been frequently documented from non-insect systems-such as soil and the human gut-and thus illustrate their potential importance for insect herbivory. We discuss the implications of this hypothesis for insect diversification and coevolution with plants; for example, evolutionary transitions to host plant groups with novel allelochemicals could be initiated by heritable changes to the insect microbiome. Furthermore, the ecological implications extend beyond the plant and insect herbivore to higher trophic levels. Although the hidden nature of microbes and plant allelochemicals make their interactions difficult to detect, recent molecular and experimental techniques should enable research on this neglected, but likely important, aspect of insect-plant biology.

  17. Herbivore grazing?or trampling? Trampling effects by a large ungulate in cold high?latitude ecosystems

    OpenAIRE

    Heggenes, Jan; Odland, Arvid; Chevalier, Tomas; Ahlberg, J?rgen; Berg, Amanda; Larsson, H?kan; Bjerketvedt, Dag K.

    2017-01-01

    Mammalian herbivores have important top-down effects on ecological processes and landscapes by generating vegetation changes through grazing and trampling. For free-ranging herbivores on large landscapes, trampling is an important ecological factor. However, whereas grazing is widely studied, low-intensity trampling is rarely studied and quantified. The cold-adapted northern tundra reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) is a wide-ranging keystone herbivore in large open alpine and Arctic ecosystems. Re...

  18. Visual explorer facilitator's guide

    CERN Document Server

    Palus, Charles J

    2010-01-01

    Grounded in research and practice, the Visual Explorer™ Facilitator's Guide provides a method for supporting collaborative, creative conversations about complex issues through the power of images. The guide is available as a component in the Visual Explorer Facilitator's Letter-sized Set, Visual Explorer Facilitator's Post card-sized Set, Visual Explorer Playing Card-sized Set, and is also available as a stand-alone title for purchase to assist multiple tool users in an organization.

  19. Learning facilitating leadership

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Rasmussen, Lauge Baungaard; Hansen, Mette Sanne

    2016-01-01

    This paper explains how engineering students at a Danish university acquired the necessary skills to become emergent facilitators of organisational development. The implications of this approach are discussed and related to relevant viewpoints and findings in the literature. The methodology deplo....... By connecting the literature, the authors’ and engineering students’ reflections on facilitator skills, this paper adds value to existing academic and practical discussions on learning facilitating leadership....

  20. Biome-specific effects of nitrogen and phosphorus on the photosynthetic characteristics of trees at a forest-savanna boundary in Cameroon.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Domingues, Tomas Ferreira; Ishida, F Yoko; Feldpausch, Ted R; Grace, John; Meir, Patrick; Saiz, Gustavo; Sene, Olivier; Schrodt, Franziska; Sonké, Bonaventure; Taedoumg, Herman; Veenendaal, Elmar M; Lewis, Simon; Lloyd, Jon

    2015-07-01

    Photosynthesis/nutrient relationships of proximally growing forest and savanna trees were determined in an ecotonal region of Cameroon (Africa). Although area-based foliar N concentrations were typically lower for savanna trees, there was no difference in photosynthetic rates between the two vegetation formation types. Opposite to N, area-based P concentrations were-on average-slightly lower for forest trees; a dependency of photosynthetic characteristics on foliar P was only evident for savanna trees. Thus savanna trees use N more efficiently than their forest counterparts, but only in the presence of relatively high foliar P. Along with some other recent studies, these results suggest that both N and P are important modulators of woody tropical plant photosynthetic capacities, influencing photosynthetic metabolism in different ways that are also biome specific. Attempts to find simple unifying equations to describe woody tropical vegetation photosynthesis-nutrient relationships are likely to meet with failure, with ecophysiological distinctions between forest and savanna requiring acknowledgement.

  1. Bubble Curtains: Herbivore Exclusion Devices for Ecology and Restoration of Marine Ecosystems?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Scott Bennett

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Herbivorous fishes play a critical role in maintaining or disrupting the ecological resilience of many kelp forests, coral reefs and seagrass ecosystems, worldwide. The increasing rate and scale of benthic habitat loss under global change has magnified the importance of herbivores and highlights the need to study marine herbivory at ecologically relevant scales. Currently, underwater herbivore exclusions (or inclusions have been restricted to small scale experimental plots, in large part due to the challenges of designing structures that can withstand the physical forces of waves and currents, without drastically altering the physical environment inside the exclusion area. We tested the ability of bubble curtains to deter herbivorous fishes from feeding on seaweeds as an alternative to the use of rigid exclusion cages. Kelps (Ecklonia radiata were transplanted onto reefs with high browsing herbivore pressure into either unprotected plots, exclusion cages or plots protected by bubble curtains of 0.785 m2 and 3.14 m2. Remote underwater video was used to compare the behavioral response of fishes to kelps protected and unprotected by bubble curtains. Kelp biomass loss was significantly lower inside the bubble curtains compared to unprotected kelps and did not differ from kelp loss rates in traditional exclusion cages. Consistent with this finding, no herbivorous fishes were observed entering into the bubble curtain at any point during the experiment. In contrast, fish bite rates on unprotected kelps were 1,621 ± 702 bites h−1 (mean ± SE. Our study provides initial evidence that bubble curtains can exclude herbivorous fishes, paving the way for future studies to examine their application at larger spatial and temporal scales, beyond what has been previously feasible using traditional exclusion cages.

  2. Sesquiterpene lactone stereochemistry influences herbivore resistance and plant fitness in the field.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ahern, Jeffrey R; Whitney, Kenneth D

    2014-03-01

    Stereochemical variation is widely known to influence the bioactivity of compounds in the context of pharmacology and pesticide science, but our understanding of its importance in mediating plant-herbivore interactions is limited, particularly in field settings. Similarly, sesquiterpene lactones are a broadly distributed class of putative defensive compounds, but little is known about their activities in the field. Natural variation in sesquiterpene lactones of the common cocklebur, Xanthium strumarium (Asteraceae), was used in conjunction with a series of common garden experiments to examine relationships between stereochemical variation, herbivore damage and plant fitness. The stereochemistry of sesquiterpene lactone ring junctions helped to explain variation in plant herbivore resistance. Plants producing cis-fused sesquiterpene lactones experienced significantly higher damage than plants producing trans-fused sesquiterpene lactones. Experiments manipulating herbivore damage above and below ambient levels found that herbivore damage was negatively correlated with plant fitness. This pattern translated into significant fitness differences between chemotypes under ambient levels of herbivore attack, but not when attack was experimentally reduced via pesticide. To our knowledge, this work represents only the second study to examine sesquiterpene lactones as defensive compounds in the field, the first to document herbivore-mediated natural selection on sesquiterpene lactone variation and the first to investigate the ecological significance of the stereochemistry of the lactone ring junction. The results indicate that subtle differences in stereochemistry may be a major determinant of the protective role of secondary metabolites and thus of plant fitness. As stereochemical variation is widespread in many groups of secondary metabolites, these findings suggest the possibility of dynamic evolutionary histories within the Asteraceae and other plant families showing

  3. Induced Jasmonate Signaling Leads to Contrasting Effects on Root Damage and Herbivore Performance1

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lu, Jing; Robert, Christelle Aurélie Maud; Riemann, Michael; Cosme, Marco; Mène-Saffrané, Laurent; Massana, Josep; Stout, Michael Joseph; Lou, Yonggen; Gershenzon, Jonathan; Erb, Matthias

    2015-01-01

    Induced defenses play a key role in plant resistance against leaf feeders. However, very little is known about the signals that are involved in defending plants against root feeders and how they are influenced by abiotic factors. We investigated these aspects for the interaction between rice (Oryza sativa) and two root-feeding insects: the generalist cucumber beetle (Diabrotica balteata) and the more specialized rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus). Rice plants responded to root attack by increasing the production of jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid, whereas in contrast to in herbivore-attacked leaves, salicylic acid and ethylene levels remained unchanged. The JA response was decoupled from flooding and remained constant over different soil moisture levels. Exogenous application of methyl JA to the roots markedly decreased the performance of both root herbivores, whereas abscisic acid and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid did not have any effect. JA-deficient antisense 13-lipoxygenase (asLOX) and mutant allene oxide cyclase hebiba plants lost more root biomass under attack from both root herbivores. Surprisingly, herbivore weight gain was decreased markedly in asLOX but not hebiba mutant plants, despite the higher root biomass removal. This effect was correlated with a herbivore-induced reduction of sucrose pools in asLOX roots. Taken together, our experiments show that jasmonates are induced signals that protect rice roots from herbivores under varying abiotic conditions and that boosting jasmonate responses can strongly enhance rice resistance against root pests. Furthermore, we show that a rice 13-lipoxygenase regulates root primary metabolites and specifically improves root herbivore growth. PMID:25627217

  4. Structural breakdown of specialized plant-herbivore interaction networks in tropical forest edges

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bruno Ximenes Pinho

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available Plant-herbivore relationships are essential for ecosystem functioning, typically forming an ecological network with a compartmentalized (i.e. modular structure characterized by highly specialized interactions. Human disturbances can favor habitat generalist species and thus cause the collapse of this modular structure, but its effects are rarely assessed using a network-based approach. We investigate how edge proximity alters plant-insect herbivore networks by comparing forest edge and interior in a large remnant (3.500 ha of the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Given the typical dominance of pioneer plants and generalist herbivores in edge-affected habitats, we test the hypothesis that the specialized structure of plant-herbivore networks collapse in forest edges, resulting in lower modularity and herbivore specialization. Despite no differences in the number of species and interactions, the network structure presented marked differences between forest edges and interior. Herbivore specialization, modularity and number of modules were significantly higher in forest interior than edge-affected habitats. When compared to a random null model, two (22.2% and eight (88.8% networks were significantly modular in forest edge and interior, respectively. The loss of specificity and modularity in plant-herbivore networks in forest edges may be related to the loss of important functions, such as density-dependent control of superior plant competitors, which is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem functions. Our results support previous warnings that focusing on traditional community measures only (e.g. species diversity may overlook important modifications in species interactions and ecosystem functioning.

  5. Origin and dynamics of the northern South American coastal savanna belt during the Holocene - the role of climate, sea-level, fire and humans

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alizadeh, Kamaleddin; Cohen, Marcelo; Behling, Hermann

    2015-08-01

    Presence of a coastal savanna belt expanding from British Guiana to northeastern Brazil cannot be explained by present-day climate. Using pollen and charcoal analyses on an 11.6 k old sediment core from a coastal depression in the savanna belt near the mouth of the Amazon River we investigated the paleoenvironmental history to shed light on this question. Results indicate that small areas of savanna accompanied by a forest type composed primarily by the genus Micropholis (Sapotaceae) that has no modern analog existed at the beginning of the Holocene. After 11,200 cal yr BP, savanna accompanied by few trees replaced the forest. In depressions swamp forest developed and by ca 10,000 cal yr BP replaced by Mauritia swamps. Between 8500 and 5600 cal yr BP gallery forest (composed mainly of Euphorbiaceae) and swamp forest succeeded the treeless savanna. The modern vegetation with alternating gallery forest and savanna developed after 5600 cal yr BP. We suggest that the early Holocene no-analog forest is a relict of previously more extensive forest under cooler and moister Lateglacial conditions. The early Holocene savanna expansion indicates a drier phase probably related to the shift of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) towards its northernmost position. The mid-Holocene forest expansion is probably a result of the combined influence of equatorwards shift of ITCZ joining the South Atlantic Convergence Zone (SACZ). The ecosystem variability during the last 5600 cal yr BP, formed perhaps under influence of intensified ENSO condition. High charcoal concentrations, especially during the early Holocene, indicate that natural and/or anthropogenic fires may have maintained the savanna. However, our results propose that climate change is the main driving factor for the formation of the coastal savanna in this region. Our results also show that the early Holocene sea level rise established mangroves near the study site until 7500 cal yr BP and promoted swamp formation in

  6. Predation-related odours reduce oviposition in a herbivorous mite.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Choh, Yasuyuki; Uefune, Masayoshi; Takabayashi, Junji

    2010-01-01

    When adult females of the herbivorous mite, Tetranychus urticae, were exposed to the predatory mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, they laid fewer eggs than females that had not been exposed to P. persimilis when transferred onto a new leaf patch. However, when T. urticae females were exposed to either products of P. persimilis or artificially damaged conspecific eggs on a leaf patch, the number of T. urticae eggs on a new leaf patch did not differ significantly from the control. The reduced oviposition was neither due to the feeding activity on the leaf patch with P. persimilis nor to that on the new leaf patch. There was also no significant difference between the number of T. urticae eggs produced on a new leaf patch following exposure to the odours of a neighbouring leaf patch where there had previously been either P. persimilis or T. urticae adults. However, female T. urticae that had been exposed to odours from neighbouring leaf patches on which both T. urticae and P. persimilis had been placed produced significantly fewer eggs on a new leaf patch than those that had not been exposed to such odours. Neither odours from neighbouring intact leaf patches on which T. urticae eggs were preyed on by P. persimilis, nor odours from a neighbouring Parafilm patch on which T. urticae was preyed on by P. persimilis affected the oviposition of T. urticae. These data suggest that the presence of T. urticae, P. persimilis and a leaf patch are needed for the emission of odours to reduce oviposition in T. urticae.

  7. Strategies to mitigate nitrous oxide emissions from herbivore production systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schils, R L M; Eriksen, J; Ledgard, S F; Vellinga, Th V; Kuikman, P J; Luo, J; Petersen, S O; Velthof, G L

    2013-03-01

    Herbivores are a significant source of nitrous oxide (N(2)O) emissions. They account for a large share of manure-related N(2)O emissions, as well as soil-related N(2)O emissions through the use of grazing land, and land for feed and forage production. It is widely acknowledged that mitigation measures are necessary to avoid an increase in N(2)O emissions while meeting the growing global food demand. The production and emissions of N(2)O are closely linked to the efficiency of nitrogen (N) transfer between the major components of a livestock system, that is, animal, manure, soil and crop. Therefore, mitigation options in this paper have been structured along these N pathways. Mitigation technologies involving diet-based intervention include lowering the CP content or increasing the condensed tannin content of the diet. Animal-related mitigation options also include breeding for improved N conversion and high animal productivity. The main soil-based mitigation measures include efficient use of fertilizer and manure, including the use of nitrification inhibitors. In pasture-based systems with animal housing facilities, reducing grazing time is an effective option to reduce N(2)O losses. Crop-based options comprise breeding efforts for increased N-use efficiency and the use of pastures with N(2)-fixing clover. It is important to recognize that all N(2)O mitigation options affect the N and carbon cycles of livestock systems. Therefore, care should be taken that reductions in N(2)O emissions are not offset by unwanted increases in ammonia, methane or carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the abundant availability of mitigation options, implementation in practice is still lagging. Actual implementation will only follow after increased awareness among farmers and greenhouse gases targeted policies. So far, reductions in N(2)O emissions that have been achieved are mostly a positive side effect of other N-targeted policies.

  8. Sensitivity of woody carbon stocks to bark investment strategy in Neotropical savannas and forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trugman, Anna T.; Medvigy, David; Hoffmann, William A.; Pellegrini, Adam F. A.

    2018-01-01

    Fire frequencies are changing in Neotropical savannas and forests as a result of forest fragmentation and increasing drought. Such changes in fire regime and climate are hypothesized to destabilize tropical carbon storage, but there has been little consideration of the widespread variability in tree fire tolerance strategies. To test how aboveground carbon stocks change with fire frequency and composition of plants with different fire tolerance strategies, we update the Ecosystem Demography model 2 (ED2) with (i) a fire survivorship module based on tree bark thickness (a key fire-tolerance trait across woody plants in savannas and forests), and (ii) plant functional types representative of trees in the region. With these updates, the model is better able to predict how fire frequency affects population demography and aboveground woody carbon. Simulations illustrate that the high survival rate of thick-barked, large trees reduces carbon losses with increasing fire frequency, with high investment in bark being particularly important in reducing losses in the wettest sites. Additionally, in landscapes that frequently burn, bark investment can broaden the range of climate and fire conditions under which savannas occur by reducing the range of conditions leading to either complete tree loss or complete grass loss. These results highlight that tropical vegetation dynamics depend not only on rainfall and changing fire frequencies but also on tree fire survival strategy. Further, our results indicate that fire survival strategy is fundamentally important in regulating tree size demography in ecosystems exposed to fire, which increases the preservation of aboveground carbon stocks and the coexistence of different plant functional groups.

  9. The costs of living at the edge: Seasonal stress in wild savanna-dwelling chimpanzees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wessling, Erin G; Kühl, Hjalmar S; Mundry, Roger; Deschner, Tobias; Pruetz, Jill D

    2018-04-20

    Adaptations associated with shifting from a predominately forested habitat to a more open environment are considered a crucial step in hominin evolution. Understanding how chimpanzees, one of our closest-living relatives, are exposed to the selection pressures associated with living in a relatively sparse, hot, and dry environment can inform us about the relative importance of potential environmental stressors involved in adaptations to drier environments. We investigated the extent to which chimpanzees living in an extreme savanna habitat experience seasonal variability in either energy balance or thermoregulation (dehydration and heat exposure), as well as whether these potential environmental constraints are taxing to chimpanzee individuals. Specifically, we tested the hypothesis that savanna environments impose seasonally-relevant costs to chimpanzees. To this end, we collected 368 urine samples from one community of chimpanzees at Fongoli, Senegal, and measured c-peptide, creatinine, and cortisol as measures of physiological responses to environmental food, water, and heat constraints, respectively. We then evaluated the influence of climatic and phenological factors on these indicators. Results illustrated significant seasonal variation in all biomarkers, which corresponded to relevant ecological correlates. Furthermore, creatinine but not c-peptide correlated with cortisol levels, suggesting that chimpanzees in this environment endure periods of heat and dehydration stress, but are able to avoid stressful levels of negative energy balance. Using savanna chimpanzees as a referential model, our research lends support to the notion that thermoregulatory challenges were a significant factor in hominin evolution, and suggests these challenges may have overshadowed the challenges of maintaining adequate energetic balance during the expansion of the hominin range from wetter to drier environments. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  10. Carbon mapping of Argentine savannas: Using fractional tree cover to scale from field to region

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Roglich, M.; Swenson, J. J.

    2015-12-01

    Programs which intend to maintain or enhance carbon (C) stocks in natural ecosystems are promising, but require detailed and spatially explicit C distribution models to monitor the effectiveness of management interventions. Savanna ecosystems are significant components of the global C cycle, covering about one fifth of the global land mass, but they have received less attention in C monitoring protocols. Our goal was to estimate C storage across a broad savanna ecosystem using field surveys and freely available satellite images. We first mapped tree canopies at 2.5 m resolution with a spatial subset of high resolution panchromatic images to then predict regional wall-to-wall tree percent cover using 30-m Landsat imagery and the Random Forests algorithms. We found that a model with summer and winter spectral indices from Landsat, climate and topography performed best. Using a linear relationship between C and % tree cover, we then predicted tree C stocks across the gradient of tree cover, explaining 87 % of the variability. The spatially explicit validation of the tree C model with field-measured C-stocks revealed an RMSE of 8.2 tC/ha which represented ~30% of the mean C stock for areas with tree cover, comparable to studies based on more advanced remote sensing methods, such as LiDAR and RADAR. Sample spatial distribution highly affected the performance of the RF models in predicting tree cover, raising concerns regarding the predictive capabilities of the model in areas for which training data is not present. The 50,000 km2 has ~41 Tg C, which could be released to the atmosphere if agricultural pressure intensifies in this semiarid savanna.

  11. Evaporation from cultivated and semi-wild Sudanian Savanna in west Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ceperley, Natalie C.; Mande, Theophile; van de Giesen, Nick; Tyler, Scott; Yacouba, Hamma; Parlange, Marc B.

    2017-08-01

    Rain-fed farming is the primary livelihood of semi-arid west Africa. Changes in land cover have the potential to affect precipitation, the critical resource for production. Turbulent flux measurements from two eddy-covariance towers and additional observations from a dense network of small, wireless meteorological stations combine to relate land cover (savanna forest and agriculture) to evaporation in a small (3.5 km2) catchment in Burkina Faso, west Africa. We observe larger sensible and latent heat fluxes over the savanna forest in the headwater area relative to the agricultural section of the watershed all year. Higher fluxes above the savanna forest are attributed to the greater number of exposed rocks and trees and the higher productivity of the forest compared to rain-fed, hand-farmed agricultural fields. Vegetation cover and soil moisture are found to be primary controls of the evaporative fraction. Satellite-derived vegetation index (NDVI) and soil moisture are determined to be good predictors of evaporative fraction, as indicators of the physical basis of evaporation. Our measurements provide an estimator that can be used to derive evaporative fraction when only NDVI is available. Such large-scale estimates of evaporative fraction from remotely sensed data are valuable where ground-based measurements are lacking, which is the case across the African continent and many other semi-arid areas. Evaporative fraction estimates can be combined, for example, with sensible heat from measurements of temperature variance, to provide an estimate of evaporation when only minimal meteorological measurements are available in remote regions of the world. These findings reinforce local cultural beliefs of the importance of forest fragments for climate regulation and may provide support to local decision makers and rural farmers in the maintenance of the forest areas.

  12. Carbon dioxide fluxes from contrasting ecosystems in the Sudanian Savanna in West Africa.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quansah, Emmanuel; Mauder, Matthias; Balogun, Ahmed A; Amekudzi, Leonard K; Hingerl, Luitpold; Bliefernicht, Jan; Kunstmann, Harald

    2015-12-01

    The terrestrial land surface in West Africa is made up of several types of savanna ecosystems differing in land use changes which modulate gas exchanges between their vegetation and the overlying atmosphere. This study compares diurnal and seasonal estimates of CO 2 fluxes from three contrasting ecosystems, a grassland, a mixture of fallow and cropland, and nature reserve in the Sudanian Savanna and relate them to water availability and land use characteristics. Over the study period, and for the three study sites, low soil moisture availability, high vapour pressure deficit and low ecosystem respiration were prevalent during the dry season (November to March), but the contrary occurred during the rainy season (May to October). Carbon uptake predominantly took place in the rainy season, while net carbon efflux occurred in the dry season as well as the dry to wet and wet to dry transition periods (AM and ND) respectively. Carbon uptake decreased in the order of the nature reserve, a mixture of fallow and cropland, and grassland. Only the nature reserve ecosystem at the Nazinga Park served as a net sink of CO 2 , mostly by virtue of a several times larger carbon uptake and ecosystem water use efficiency during the rainy season than at the other sites. These differences were influenced by albedo, LAI, EWUE, PPFD and climatology during the period of study. These results suggest that land use characteristics affect plant physiological processes that lead to flux exchanges over the Sudanian Savanna ecosystems. It affects the diurnal, seasonal and annual changes in NEE and its composite signals, GPP and RE. GPP and NEE were generally related as NEE scaled with photosynthesis with higher CO 2 assimilation leading to higher GPP. However, CO 2 effluxes over the study period suggest that besides biomass regrowth, other processes, most likely from the soil might have also contributed to the enhancement of ecosystem respiration.

  13. The ghosts of trees past: savanna trees create enduring legacies in plant species composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stahlheber, Karen A; Crispin, Kimberly L; Anton, Cassidy; D'Antonio, Carla M

    2015-09-01

    Isolated trees in savannas worldwide are known to modify their local environment and interact directly with neighboring plants. Less is known about how related tree species differ in their impacts on surrounding communities, how the effects of trees vary between years, and how composition might change following loss of the tree. To address these knowledge gaps, we explored the following questions: How do savanna trees influence the surrounding composition of herbaceous plants? Is the influence of trees consistent across different species and years? How does this change following the death of the tree? We surveyed herbaceous species composition and environmental attributes surrounding living and dead evergreen and deciduous Quercus trees in California (USA) savannas across several years that differed in their total precipitation. Oak trees of all species created distinct, homogenous understory communities dominated by exotic grasses across several sites. The composition of the low-diversity understory communities showed less interannual variation than open grassland, despite a two-fold difference in precipitation between the driest and wettest year. Vegetation composition was correlated with variation in soil properties, which were strongly affected by trees. Oaks also influenced the communities beyond the edge of the crown, but this depended on site and oak species. Low-diversity understory communities persisted up to 43 years following the death of the tree. A gradual decline in the effect of trees on the physical, environment following death did not result in vegetation becoming more similar to open grassland over time. The presence of long-lasting legacies of past tree crowns highlights the difficulty of assigning control of the current distribution of herbaceous species in grassland to their contemporary environment.

  14. Beyond Precipitation: Physiographic Gradients Dictate the Relative Importance of Environmental Drivers on Savanna Vegetation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campo-Bescós, Miguel A.; Muñoz-Carpena, Rafael; Kaplan, David A.; Southworth, Jane; Zhu, Likai; Waylen, Peter R.

    2013-01-01

    Background Understanding the drivers of large-scale vegetation change is critical to managing landscapes and key to predicting how projected climate and land use changes will affect regional vegetation patterns. This study aimed to improve our understanding of the role, magnitude and spatial distribution of the key environmental factors driving vegetation change in southern African savanna, and how they vary across physiographic gradients. Methodology/Principal Findings We applied Dynamic Factor Analysis (DFA), a multivariate times series dimension reduction technique to ten years of monthly remote sensing data (MODIS-derived normalized difference vegetation index, NDVI) and a suite of environmental covariates: precipitation, mean and maximum temperature, soil moisture, relative humidity, fire and potential evapotranspiration. Monthly NDVI was described by cyclic seasonal variation with distinct spatiotemporal patterns in different physiographic regions. Results support existing work emphasizing the importance of precipitation, soil moisture and fire on NDVI, but also reveal overlooked effects of temperature and evapotranspiration, particularly in regions with higher mean annual precipitation. Critically, spatial distributions of the weights of environmental covariates point to a transition in the importance of precipitation and soil moisture (strongest in grass-dominated regions with precipitation950 mm). Conclusions/Significance We quantified the combined spatiotemporal effects of an available suite of environmental drivers on NDVI across a large and diverse savanna region. The analysis supports known drivers of savanna vegetation but also uncovers important roles of temperature and evapotranspiration. Results highlight the utility of applying the DFA approach to remote sensing products for regional analyses of landscape change in the context of global environmental change. With the dramatic increase in global change research, this methodology augurs well for

  15. Containers, facilitators, innovators?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Makkonen, Teemu; Merisalo, Maria; Inkinen, Tommi

    2018-01-01

    : are they containers, facilitators or innovators? This is investigated here through empirical material derived from 27 interviews with top departmental management in three Finnish cities (Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa). The results show that local city governments (LCGs) consider cities as facilitators of innovation...

  16. Training facilitators and supervisors

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjær, Louise Binow; O Connor, Maja; Krogh, Kristian

    At the Master’s program in Medicine at Aarhus University, Denmark, we have developed a faculty development program for facilitators and supervisors in 4 progressing student modules in communication, cooperation, and leadership. 1) A course for module 1 and 3 facilitators inspired by the apprentic...

  17. Climate alters response of an endemic island plant to removal of invasive herbivores

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kathryn, Mceachern A.; Thomson, D.M.; Chess, K.A.

    2009-01-01

    Islands experience higher rates of species extinction than mainland ecosystems, with biological invasions among the leading causes; they also serve as important model systems for testing ideas in basic and applied ecology. Invasive removal programs on islands are conservation efforts that can also be viewed as powerful manipulative experiments, but few data are available to evaluate their effects. We collected demographic and herbivore damage data for Castilleja mollis Pennell, an endangered plant endemic to Santa Rosa Island, California, over a 12-year period before, during, and after the implementation of control for introduced cattle, deer, and elk. We used these long-term data to explore mechanisms underlying herbivore effects, assess the results of herbivore reduction at the scales of both individual plants and populations, and determine how temporal variability in herbivory and plant demography influenced responses to herbivore removals. For individual plants, herbivore effects mediated by disturbance were greater than those of grazing. Deer and elk scraping of the ground substantially increased plant mortality and dormancy and reduced flowering and growth. Stem damage from browsing did not affect survivorship but significantly reduced plant growth and flower production. Herbivore control successfully lowered damage rates, which declined steeply between 1997 and 2000 and have remained relatively low. Castilleja mollis abundances rose sharply after 1997, suggesting a positive effect of herbivore control, but then began to decline steadily again after 2003. The recent decline appears to be driven by higher mean growing season temperatures; interestingly, not only reductions in scraping damage but a period of cooler conditions were significant in explaining increases in C. mollis populations between 1997 and 2002. Our results demonstrate strong effects of introduced herbivores on both plant demography and population dynamics and show that climate

  18. Climate alters response of an endemic island plant to removal of invasive herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McEachern, A Kathryn; Thomson, Diane M; Chess, Katherine A

    2009-09-01

    Islands experience higher rates of species extinction than mainland ecosystems, with biological invasions among the leading causes; they also serve as important model systems for testing ideas in basic and applied ecology. Invasive removal programs on islands are conservation efforts that can also be viewed as powerful manipulative experiments, but few data are available to evaluate their effects. We collected demographic and herbivore damage data for Castilleja mollis Pennell, an endangered plant endemic to Santa Rosa Island, California, over a 12-year period before, during, and after the implementation of control for introduced cattle, deer, and elk. We used these long-term data to explore mechanisms underlying herbivore effects, assess the results of herbivore reduction at the scales of both individual plants and populations, and determine how temporal variability in herbivory and plant demography influenced responses to herbivore removals. For individual plants, herbivore effects mediated by disturbance were greater than those of grazing. Deer and elk scraping of the ground substantially increased plant mortality and dormancy and reduced flowering and growth. Stem damage from browsing did not affect survivorship but significantly reduced plant growth and flower production. Herbivore control successfully lowered damage rates, which declined steeply between 1997 and 2000 and have remained relatively low. Castilleja mollis abundances rose sharply after 1997, suggesting a positive effect of herbivore control, but then began to decline steadily again after 2003. The recent decline appears to be driven by higher mean growing season temperatures; interestingly, not only reductions in scraping damage but a period of cooler conditions were significant in explaining increases in C. mollis populations between 1997 and 2002. Our results demonstrate strong effects of introduced herbivores on both plant demography and population dynamics and show that climate

  19. Rainfall and topo-edaphic influences on woody community phenology in South African savannas

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Shackleton, CM

    1999-03-01

    Full Text Available the limiting periods, i.e. at Stockholm. the start and cessation of the rainy season. This was Fatubarin, A. (1985) Observations on the phenology of not reflected in the data presented here with respect to the woody plants and grasses in a savanna ecosystem... of temperature on evaporative demand (Bate, Furniss & Pendle, 1982).∗ Current address: Environmentek, CSIR, P.O. Box At a gross scale, annual rainfall is a coarse index of395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa. e-mail: csh- ackle@csir.co.za. seasonal plant available...

  20. Vulnerability of native savanna trees and exotic Khaya senegalensis to seasonal drought.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arndt, Stefan K; Sanders, Gregor J; Bristow, Mila; Hutley, Lindsay B; Beringer, Jason; Livesley, Stephen J

    2015-07-01

    Seasonally dry ecosystems present a challenge to plants to maintain water relations. While native vegetation in seasonally dry ecosystems have evolved specific adaptations to the long dry season, there are risks to introduced exotic species. African mahogany, Khaya senegalensis Desr. (A. Juss.), is an exotic plantation species that has been introduced widely in Asia and northern Australia, but it is unknown if it has the physiological or phenotypic plasticity to cope with the strongly seasonal patterns of water availability in the tropical savanna climate of northern Australia. We investigated the gas exchange and water relations traits and adjustments to seasonal drought in K. senegalensis and native eucalypts (Eucalyptus tetrodonta F. Muell. and Corymbia latifolia F. Muell.) in a savanna ecosystem in northern Australia. The native eucalypts did not exhibit any signs of drought stress after 3 months of no rainfall and probably had access to deeper soil moisture late into the dry season. Leaf water potential, stomatal conductance, transpiration and photosynthesis all remained high in the dry season but osmotic adjustment was not observed. Overstorey leaf area index (LAI) was 0.6 in the native eucalypt savanna and did not change between wet and dry seasons. In contrast, the K. senegalensis plantation in the wet season was characterized by a high water potential, high stomatal conductance and transpiration and a high LAI of 2.4. In the dry season, K. senegalensis experienced mild drought stress with a predawn water potential -0.6 MPa. Overstorey LAI was halved, and stomatal conductance and transpiration drastically reduced, while minimum leaf water potentials did not change (-2 MPa) and no osmotic adjustment occurred. Khaya senegalensis exhibited an isohydric behaviour and also had a lower hydraulic vulnerability to cavitation in leaves, with a P50 of -2.3 MPa. The native eucalypts had twice the maximum leaf hydraulic conductance but a much higher P50 of -1.5 MPa

  1. Assessment of bird populations in a high quality savanna/woodland: a banding approach

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilmore, Sandra L.; Glowacki, Gary A.; Grundel, Ralph

    2005-01-01

    Between 1999 and 2004, Save the Dunes Conservation Fund's Miller Woods Bird Banding Program monitored migrating and breeding bird populations within a high quality black oak, dry-mesic sand savanna/woodland with ridge and swale topography. The objectives of this program were to collect consistent and reliable demographic and abundance data on the bird populations, to investigate long-term population trends, and to contribute to improved land management decisions at regional and national scales. The technique employed involved capturing birds in mist nets that were deployed for set periods of time at 17 net sites in two banding areas in Miller Woods.

  2. World climate patterns in grassland and savanna and their relation to growing seasons

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    R. Kirk Steinhorst

    1977-11-01

    Full Text Available The climate at eleven IBP savanna or grassland study sites from five continents are described and principal components analysis is used to compare them. A multivariate linear discriminant function based on mean monthly precipitation, mean monthly temperature, latitude and altitude, is used to predict the length of the growing season at each site. At most sites, the actual and predicted start and end of the growing season agreed closely. It is concluded that growing season on a world-wide basis may be predicted fairly reliably from a small number of abiotic variables by means of a multivariate discriminant function.

  3. Salicylic acid, a plant defense hormone, is specifically secreted by a molluscan herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kästner, Julia; von Knorre, Dietrich; Himanshu, Himanshu; Erb, Matthias; Baldwin, Ian T; Meldau, Stefan

    2014-01-01

    Slugs and snails are important herbivores in many ecosystems. They differ from other herbivores by their characteristic mucus trail. As the mucus is secreted at the interface between the plants and the herbivores, its chemical composition may play an essential role in plant responses to slug and snail attack. Based on our current knowledge about host-manipulation strategies employed by pathogens and insects, we hypothesized that mollusks may excrete phytohormone-like substances into their mucus. We therefore screened locomotion mucus from thirteen molluscan herbivores for the presence of the plant defense hormones jasmonic acid (JA), salicylic acid (SA) and abscisic acid (ABA). We found that the locomotion mucus of one slug, Deroceras reticulatum, contained significant amounts of SA, a plant hormone that is known to induce resistance to pathogens and to suppress plant immunity against herbivores. None of the other slugs and snails contained SA or any other hormone in their locomotion mucus. When the mucus of D. reticulatum was applied to wounded leaves of A. thaliana, the promotor of the SA-responsive gene pathogenesis related 1 (PR1) was activated, demonstrating the potential of the mucus to regulate plant defenses. We discuss the potential ecological, agricultural and medical implications of this finding.

  4. Salicylic acid, a plant defense hormone, is specifically secreted by a molluscan herbivore.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Julia Kästner

    Full Text Available Slugs and snails are important herbivores in many ecosystems. They differ from other herbivores by their characteristic mucus trail. As the mucus is secreted at the interface between the plants and the herbivores, its chemical composition may play an essential role in plant responses to slug and snail attack. Based on our current knowledge about host-manipulation strategies employed by pathogens and insects, we hypothesized that mollusks may excrete phytohormone-like substances into their mucus. We therefore screened locomotion mucus from thirteen molluscan herbivores for the presence of the plant defense hormones jasmonic acid (JA, salicylic acid (SA and abscisic acid (ABA. We found that the locomotion mucus of one slug, Deroceras reticulatum, contained significant amounts of SA, a plant hormone that is known to induce resistance to pathogens and to suppress plant immunity against herbivores. None of the other slugs and snails contained SA or any other hormone in their locomotion mucus. When the mucus of D. reticulatum was applied to wounded leaves of A. thaliana, the promotor of the SA-responsive gene pathogenesis related 1 (PR1 was activated, demonstrating the potential of the mucus to regulate plant defenses. We discuss the potential ecological, agricultural and medical implications of this finding.

  5. Herbivores modify selection on plant functional traits in a temperate rainforest understory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salgado-Luarte, Cristian; Gianoli, Ernesto

    2012-08-01

    There is limited evidence regarding the adaptive value of plant functional traits in contrasting light environments. It has been suggested that changes in these traits in response to light availability can increase herbivore susceptibility. We tested the adaptive value of plant functional traits linked with carbon gain in contrasting light environments and also evaluated whether herbivores can modify selection on these traits in each light environment. In a temperate rainforest, we examined phenotypic selection on functional traits in seedlings of the pioneer tree Aristotelia chilensis growing in sun (canopy gap) and shade (forest understory) and subjected to either natural herbivory or herbivore exclusion. We found differential selection on functional traits depending on light environment. In sun, there was positive directional selection on photosynthetic rate and relative growth rate (RGR), indicating that selection favors competitive ability in a high-resource environment. Seedlings with high specific leaf area (SLA) and intermediate RGR were selected in shade, suggesting that light capture and conservative resource use are favored in the understory. Herbivores reduced the strength of positive directional selection acting on SLA in shade. We provide the first demonstration that natural herbivory rates can change the strength of selection on plant ecophysiological traits, that is, attributes whose main function is resource uptake. Research addressing the evolution of shade tolerance should incorporate the selective role of herbivores.

  6. Impact of conservation areas on trophic interactions between apex predators and herbivores on coral reefs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rizzari, Justin R; Bergseth, Brock J; Frisch, Ashley J

    2015-04-01

    Apex predators are declining at alarming rates due to exploitation by humans, but we have yet to fully discern the impacts of apex predator loss on ecosystem function. In a management context, it is critically important to clarify the role apex predators play in structuring populations of lower trophic levels. Thus, we examined the top-down influence of reef sharks (an apex predator on coral reefs) and mesopredators on large-bodied herbivores. We measured the abundance, size structure, and biomass of apex predators, mesopredators, and herbivores across fished, no-take, and no-entry management zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Australia. Shark abundance and mesopredator size and biomass were higher in no-entry zones than in fished and no-take zones, which indicates the viability of strictly enforced human exclusion areas as tools for the conservation of predator communities. Changes in predator populations due to protection in no-entry zones did not have a discernible influence on the density, size, or biomass of different functional groups of herbivorous fishes. The lack of a relationship between predators and herbivores suggests that top-down forces may not play a strong role in regulating large-bodied herbivorous coral reef fish populations. Given this inconsistency with traditional ecological theories of trophic cascades, trophic structures on coral reefs may need to be reassessed to enable the establishment of appropriate and effective management regimes. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology.

  7. Herbivores rescue diversity in warming tundra by modulating trait-dependent species losses and gains.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kaarlejärvi, Elina; Eskelinen, Anu; Olofsson, Johan

    2017-09-04

    Climate warming is altering the diversity of plant communities but it remains unknown which species will be lost or gained under warming, especially considering interactions with other factors such as herbivory and nutrient availability. Here, we experimentally test effects of warming, mammalian herbivory and fertilization on tundra species richness and investigate how plant functional traits affect losses and gains. We show that herbivory reverses the impact of warming on diversity: in the presence of herbivores warming increases species richness through higher species gains and lower losses, while in the absence of herbivores warming causes higher species losses and thus decreases species richness. Herbivores promote gains of short-statured species under warming, while herbivore removal and fertilization increase losses of short-statured and resource-conservative species through light limitation. Our results demonstrate that both rarity and traits forecast species losses and gains, and mammalian herbivores are essential for preventing trait-dependent extinctions and mitigate diversity loss under warming and eutrophication.Warming can reduce plant diversity but it is unclear which species will be lost or gained under interacting global changes. Kaarlejärvi et al. manipulate temperature, herbivory and nutrients in a tundra system and find that herbivory maintains diversity under warming by reducing species losses and promoting gains.

  8. Effect of Phytoplankton Richness on Phytoplankton Biomass Is Weak Where the Distribution of Herbivores is Patchy.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weis, Jerome J

    2016-01-01

    Positive effects of competitor species richness on competitor productivity can be more pronounced at a scale that includes heterogeneity in 'bottom-up' environmental factors, such as the supply of limiting nutrients. The effect of species richness is not well understood in landscapes where variation in 'top-down' factors, such as the abundance of predators or herbivores, has a strong influence competitor communities. I asked how phytoplankton species richness directly influenced standing phytoplankton biomass in replicate microcosm regions where one patch had a population of herbivores (Daphnia pulicaria) and one patch did not have herbivores. The effect of phytoplankton richness on standing phytoplankton biomass was positive but weak and not statistically significant at this regional scale. Among no-Daphnia patches, there was a significant positive effect of phytoplankton richness that resulted from positive selection effects for two dominant and productive species in polycultures. Among with-Daphnia patches there was not a significant effect of phytoplankton richness. The same two species dominated species-rich polycultures in no- and with-Daphnia patches but both species were relatively vulnerable to consumption by Daphnia. Consistent with previous studies, this experiment shows a measurable positive influence of primary producer richness on biomass when herbivores were absent. It also shows that given the patchy distribution of herbivores at a regional scale, a regional positive effect was not detected.

  9. Adaptive evolution of threonine deaminase in plant defense against insect herbivores

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Gonzales-Vigil, Eliana; Bianchetti, Christopher M.; Phillips, Jr., George N.; Howe, Gregg A. (MSU); (UW)

    2011-11-07

    Gene duplication is a major source of plant chemical diversity that mediates plant-herbivore interactions. There is little direct evidence, however, that novel chemical traits arising from gene duplication reduce herbivory. Higher plants use threonine deaminase (TD) to catalyze the dehydration of threonine (Thr) to {alpha}-ketobutyrate and ammonia as the committed step in the biosynthesis of isoleucine (Ile). Cultivated tomato and related Solanum species contain a duplicated TD paralog (TD2) that is coexpressed with a suite of genes involved in herbivore resistance. Analysis of TD2-deficient tomato lines showed that TD2 has a defensive function related to Thr catabolism in the gut of lepidopteran herbivores. During herbivory, the regulatory domain of TD2 is removed by proteolysis to generate a truncated protein (pTD2) that efficiently degrades Thr without being inhibited by Ile. We show that this proteolytic activation step occurs in the gut of lepidopteran but not coleopteran herbivores, and is catalyzed by a chymotrypsin-like protease of insect origin. Analysis of purified recombinant enzymes showed that TD2 is remarkably more resistant to proteolysis and high temperature than the ancestral TD1 isoform. The crystal structure of pTD2 provided evidence that electrostatic interactions constitute a stabilizing feature associated with adaptation of TD2 to the extreme environment of the lepidopteran gut. These findings demonstrate a role for gene duplication in the evolution of a plant defense that targets and co-opts herbivore digestive physiology.

  10. Suppression of Plant Defenses by Herbivorous Mites Is Not Associated with Adaptation to Host Plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jéssica T. Paulo

    2018-06-01

    Full Text Available Some herbivores suppress plant defenses, which may be viewed as a result of the coevolutionary arms race between plants and herbivores. However, this ability is usually studied in a one-herbivore-one-plant system, which hampers comparative studies that could corroborate this hypothesis. Here, we extend this paradigm and ask whether the herbivorous spider-mite Tetranychus evansi, which suppresses the jasmonic-acid pathway in tomato plants, is also able to suppress defenses in other host plants at different phylogenetic distances from tomatoes. We test this using different plants from the Solanales order, namely tomato, jimsonweed, tobacco, and morning glory (three Solanaceae and one Convolvulaceae, and bean plants (Fabales. First, we compare the performance of T. evansi to that of the other two most-commonly found species of the same genus, T. urticae and T. ludeni, on several plants. We found that the performance of T. evansi is higher than that of the other species only on tomato plants. We then showed, by measuring trypsin inhibitor activity and life history traits of conspecific mites on either clean or pre-infested plants, that T. evansi can suppress plant defenses on all plants except tobacco. This study suggests that the suppression of plant defenses may occur on host plants other than those to which herbivores are adapted.

  11. Condensed tannins reduce browsing and increase grazing time of free-ranging goats in semi-arid savannas

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mkhize, NR

    2015-08-01

    Full Text Available Tannin concentrations fluctuate spatially and temporally within and among plant species, with con-sequences for forage quality of herbivores. The extent to which these fluctuations influence foraging activities of goats is not fully understood...

  12. Non-Host Plant Volatiles Disrupt Sex Pheromone Communication in a Specialist Herbivore

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Fumin; Deng, Jianyu; Schal, Coby; Lou, Yonggen; Zhou, Guoxin; Ye, Bingbing; Yin, Xiaohui; Xu, Zhihong; Shen, Lize

    2016-01-01

    The ecological effects of plant volatiles on herbivores are manifold. Little is known, however, about the impacts of non-host plant volatiles on intersexual pheromonal communication in specialist herbivores. We tested the effects of several prominent constitutive terpenoids released by conifers and Eucalyptus trees on electrophysiological and behavioral responses of an oligophagous species, Plutella xylostella, which feeds on Brassicaceae. The non-host plant volatile terpenoids adversely affected the calling behavior (pheromone emission) of adult females, and the orientation responses of adult males to sex pheromone were also significantly inhibited by these terpenoids in a wind tunnel and in the field. We suggest that disruption of both pheromone emission and orientation to sex pheromone may explain, at least in part, an observed reduction in herbivore attack in polyculture compared with monoculture plantings. We also propose that mating disruption of both male and female moths with non-host plant volatiles may be a promising alternative pest management strategy. PMID:27585907

  13. Effect of Nitrogen Fertilizer on Herbivores and Its Stimulation to Major Insect Pests in Rice

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Zhong-xian LU

    2007-03-01

    Full Text Available Nitrogen is one of the most important factors in development of herbivore populations. The application of nitrogen fertilizer in plants can normally increase herbivore feeding preference, food consumption, survival, growth, reproduction, and population density, except few examples that nitrogen fertilizer reduces the herbivore performances. In most of the rice growing areas in Asia, the great increases in populations of major insect pests of rice, including planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens and Sogatella furcifera, leaffolder (Cnaphalocrocis medinalis, and stem borers (Scirpophaga incertulas, Chilo suppressalis, S. innotata, C. polychrysus and Sesamia inferens were closely related to the long-term excessive application of nitrogen fertilizers. The optimal regime of nitrogen fertilizer in irrigated paddy fields is proposed to improve the fertilizer-nitrogen use efficiency and reduce the environmental pollution.

  14. Non-Host Plant Volatiles Disrupt Sex Pheromone Communication in a Specialist Herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Fumin; Deng, Jianyu; Schal, Coby; Lou, Yonggen; Zhou, Guoxin; Ye, Bingbing; Yin, Xiaohui; Xu, Zhihong; Shen, Lize

    2016-09-02

    The ecological effects of plant volatiles on herbivores are manifold. Little is known, however, about the impacts of non-host plant volatiles on intersexual pheromonal communication in specialist herbivores. We tested the effects of several prominent constitutive terpenoids released by conifers and Eucalyptus trees on electrophysiological and behavioral responses of an oligophagous species, Plutella xylostella, which feeds on Brassicaceae. The non-host plant volatile terpenoids adversely affected the calling behavior (pheromone emission) of adult females, and the orientation responses of adult males to sex pheromone were also significantly inhibited by these terpenoids in a wind tunnel and in the field. We suggest that disruption of both pheromone emission and orientation to sex pheromone may explain, at least in part, an observed reduction in herbivore attack in polyculture compared with monoculture plantings. We also propose that mating disruption of both male and female moths with non-host plant volatiles may be a promising alternative pest management strategy.

  15. Sequestration of plant secondary metabolites by insect herbivores: molecular mechanisms and ecological consequences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Erb, Matthias; Robert, Christelle Am

    2016-04-01

    Numerous insect herbivores can take up and store plant toxins as self-defense against their own natural enemies. Plant toxin sequestration is tightly linked with tolerance strategies that keep the toxins functional. Specific transporters have been identified that likely allow the herbivore to control the spatiotemporal dynamics of toxin accumulation. Certain herbivores furthermore possess specific enzymes to boost the bioactivity of the sequestered toxins. Ecologists have studied plant toxin sequestration for decades. The recently uncovered molecular mechanisms in combination with transient, non-transgenic systems to manipulate insect gene expression will help to understand the importance of toxin sequestration for food-web dynamics in nature. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  16. Density-dependent reduction and induction of milkweed cardenolides by a sucking insect herbivore.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martel, John W; Malcolm, Stephen B

    2004-03-01

    The effect of aphid population size on host-plant chemical defense expression and the effect of plant defense on aphid population dynamics were investigated in a milkweed-specialist herbivore system. Density effects of the aposematic oleander aphid, Aphis nerii, on cardenolide expression were measured in two milkweed species, Asclepias curassavica and A. incarnata. These plants vary in constitutive chemical investment with high mean cardenolide concentration in A. curassavica and low to zero in A. incarnata. The second objective was to determine whether cardenolide expression in these two host plants impacts mean A. nerii colony biomass (mg) and density. Cardenolide concentration (microgram/g) of A. curassavica in both aphid-treated leaves and opposite, herbivore-free leaves decreased initially in comparison with aphid-free controls, and then increased significantly with A. nerii density. Thus, A. curassavica responds to aphid herbivory initially with density-dependent phytochemical reduction, followed by induction of cardenolides to concentrations above aphid-free controls. In addition, mean cardenolide concentration of aphid-treated leaves was significantly higher than that of opposite, herbivore-free leaves. Therefore, A. curassavica induction is strongest in herbivore-damage tissue. Conversely, A. incarnata exhibited no such chemical response to aphid herbivory. Furthermore, neither host plant responded chemically to herbivore feeding duration time (days) or to the interaction between herbivore initial density and feeding duration time. There were also no significant differences in mean colony biomass or population density of A. nerii reared on high cardenolide (A. curassavica) and low cardenolide (A. incarnata) hosts.

  17. Are Tree Species Diversity and Genotypic Diversity Effects on Insect Herbivores Mediated by Ants?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María José Campos-Navarrete

    Full Text Available Plant diversity can influence predators and omnivores and such effects may in turn influence herbivores and plants. However, evidence for these ecological feedbacks is rare. We evaluated if the effects of tree species (SD and genotypic diversity (GD on the abundance of different guilds of insect herbivores associated with big-leaf mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla were contingent upon the protective effects of ants tending extra-floral nectaries of this species. This study was conducted within a larger experiment consisting of mahogany monocultures and species polycultures of four species and -within each of these two plot types- mahogany was represented by either one or four maternal families. We selected 24 plots spanning these treatment combinations, 10 mahogany plants/plot, and within each plot experimentally reduced ant abundance on half of the selected plants, and surveyed ant and herbivore abundance. There were positive effects of SD on generalist leaf-chewers and sap-feeders, but for the latter group this effect depended on the ant reduction treatment: SD positively influenced sap-feeders under ambient ant abundance but had no effect when ant abundance was reduced; at the same time, ants had negative effects on sap feeders in monoculture but no effect in polyculture. In contrast, SD did not influence specialist stem-borers or leaf-miners and this effect was not contingent upon ant reduction. Finally, GD did not influence any of the herbivore guilds studied, and such effects did not depend on the ant treatment. Overall, we show that tree species diversity influenced interactions between a focal plant species (mahogany and ants, and that such effects in turn mediated plant diversity effects on some (sap-feeders but not all the herbivores guilds studied. Our results suggest that the observed patterns are dependent on the combined effects of herbivore identity, diet breadth, and the source of plant diversity.

  18. Responses of tree and insect herbivores to elevated nitrogen inputs: A meta-analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Furong; Dudley, Tom L.; Chen, Baoming; Chang, Xiaoyu; Liang, Liyin; Peng, Shaolin

    2016-11-01

    Increasing atmospheric nitrogen (N) inputs have the potential to alter terrestrial ecosystem function through impacts on plant-herbivore interactions. The goal of our study is to search for a general pattern in responses of tree characteristics important for herbivores and insect herbivorous performance to elevated N inputs. We conducted a meta-analysis based on 109 papers describing impacts of nitrogen inputs on tree characteristics and 16 papers on insect performance. The differences in plant characteristics and insect performance between broadleaves and conifers were also explored. Tree aboveground biomass, leaf biomass and leaf N concentration significantly increased under elevated N inputs. Elevated N inputs had no significantly overall effect on concentrations of phenolic compounds and lignin but adversely affected tannin, as defensive chemicals for insect herbivores. Additionally, the overall effect of insect herbivore performance (including development time, insect biomass, relative growth rate, and so on) was significantly increased by elevated N inputs. According to the inconsistent responses between broadleaves and conifers, broadleaves would be more likely to increase growth by light interception and photosynthesis rather than producing more defensive chemicals to elevated N inputs by comparison with conifers. Moreover, the overall carbohydrate concentration was significantly reduced by 13.12% in broadleaves while increased slightly in conifers. The overall tannin concentration decreased significantly by 39.21% in broadleaves but a 5.8% decrease in conifers was not significant. The results of the analysis indicated that elevated N inputs would provide more food sources and ameliorate tree palatability for insects, while the resistance of trees against their insect herbivores was weakened, especially for broadleaves. Thus, global forest insect pest problems would be aggravated by elevated N inputs. As N inputs continue to rise in the future, forest

  19. Interactive effects of fire and large herbivores on web-building spiders.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foster, C N; Barton, P S; Wood, J T; Lindenmayer, D B

    2015-09-01

    Altered disturbance regimes are a major driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. Maintaining or re-creating natural disturbance regimes is therefore the focus of many conservation programmes. A key challenge, however, is to understand how co-occurring disturbances interact to affect biodiversity. We experimentally tested for the interactive effects of prescribed fire and large macropod herbivores on the web-building spider assemblage of a eucalypt forest understorey and investigated the role of vegetation in mediating these effects using path analysis. Fire had strong negative effects on the density of web-building spiders, which were partly mediated by effects on vegetation structure, while negative effects of large herbivores on web density were not related to changes in vegetation. Fire amplified the effects of large herbivores on spiders, both via vegetation-mediated pathways and by increasing herbivore activity. The importance of vegetation-mediated pathways and fire-herbivore interactions differed for web density and richness and also differed between web types. Our results demonstrate that for some groups of web-building spiders, the effects of co-occurring disturbance drivers may be mostly additive, whereas for other groups, interactions between drivers can amplify disturbance effects. In our study system, the use of prescribed fire in the presence of high densities of herbivores could lead to reduced densities and altered composition of web-building spiders, with potential cascading effects through the arthropod food web. Our study highlights the importance of considering both the independent and interactive effects of disturbances, as well as the mechanisms driving their effects, in the management of disturbance regimes.

  20. Impact of herbivore identity on algal succession and coral growth on a Caribbean reef.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Deron E Burkepile

    2010-01-01

    Full Text Available Herbivory is an important top-down force on coral reefs that regulates macroalgal abundance, mediates competitive interactions between macroalgae and corals, and provides resilience following disturbances such as hurricanes and coral bleaching. However, reductions in herbivore diversity and abundance via disease or over-fishing may harm corals directly and may indirectly increase coral susceptibility to other disturbances.In two experiments over two years, we enclosed equivalent densities and masses of either single-species or mixed-species of herbivorous fishes in replicate, 4 m(2 cages at a depth of 17 m on a reef in the Florida Keys, USA to evaluate the effects of herbivore identity and species richness on colonization and development of macroalgal communities and the cascading effects of algae on coral growth. In Year 1, we used the redband parrotfish (Sparisoma aurofrenatum and the ocean surgeonfish (Acanthurus bahianus; in Year 2, we used the redband parrotfish and the princess parrotfish (Scarus taeniopterus. On new substrates, rapid grazing by ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish kept communities in an early successional stage dominated by short, filamentous algae and crustose coralline algae that did not suppress coral growth. In contrast, feeding by redband parrotfish allowed an accumulation of tall filaments and later successional macroalgae that suppressed coral growth. These patterns contrast with patterns from established communities not undergoing primary succession; on established substrates redband parrotfish significantly reduced upright macroalgal cover while ocean surgeonfish and princess parrotfish allowed significant increases in late successional macroalgae.This study further highlights the importance of biodiversity in affecting ecosystem function in that different species of herbivorous fishes had very different impacts on reef communities depending on the developmental stage of the community. The species

  1. Herbivore-induced volatile production by Arabidopsis thaliana leads to attraction of the parasitoid Cotesia rubecula: chemical, behavioral, and gene-expression analysis

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poecke, R.M.P.; Posthumus, M.A.; Dicke, M.

    2001-01-01

    Many plant species defend themselves against herbivorous insects indirectly by producing volatiles in response to herbivory. These volatiles attract carnivorous enemies of the herbivores. Research on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. has contributed considerably to the unraveling of

  2. Satellite observations for describing fire patterns and climate-related fire drivers in the Brazilian savannas

    Science.gov (United States)

    Verola Mataveli, Guilherme Augusto; Siqueira Silva, Maria Elisa; Pereira, Gabriel; da Silva Cardozo, Francielle; Shinji Kawakubo, Fernando; Bertani, Gabriel; Cezar Costa, Julio; de Cássia Ramos, Raquel; Valéria da Silva, Viviane

    2018-01-01

    In the Brazilian savannas (Cerrado biome) fires are natural and a tool for shifting land use; therefore, temporal and spatial patterns result from the interaction of climate, vegetation condition and human activities. Moreover, orbital sensors are the most effective approach to establish patterns in the biome. We aimed to characterize fire, precipitation and vegetation condition regimes and to establish spatial patterns of fire occurrence and their correlation with precipitation and vegetation condition in the Cerrado. The Cerrado was first and second biome for the occurrence of burned areas (BA) and hotspots, respectively. Occurrences are higher during the dry season and in the savanna land use. Hotspots and BA tend to decrease, and concentrate in the north, but more intense hotspots are not necessarily located where concentration is higher. Spatial analysis showed that averaged and summed values can hide patterns, such as for precipitation, which has the lowest average in August, but minimum precipitation in August was found in 7 % of the Cerrado. Usually, there is a 2-3-month lag between minimum precipitation and maximum hotspots and BA, while minimum VCI and maximum hotspots and BA occur in the same month. Hotspots and BA are better correlated with VCI than precipitation, qualifying VCI as an indicator of the susceptibility of vegetation to ignition.

  3. Genomic DNA sequences from mastodon and woolly mammoth reveal deep speciation of forest and savanna elephants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nadin Rohland

    2010-12-01

    Full Text Available To elucidate the history of living and extinct elephantids, we generated 39,763 bp of aligned nuclear DNA sequence across 375 loci for African savanna elephant, African forest elephant, Asian elephant, the extinct American mastodon, and the woolly mammoth. Our data establish that the Asian elephant is the closest living relative of the extinct mammoth in the nuclear genome, extending previous findings from mitochondrial DNA analyses. We also find that savanna and forest elephants, which some have argued are the same species, are as or more divergent in the nuclear genome as mammoths and Asian elephants, which are considered to be distinct genera, thus resolving a long-standing debate about the appropriate taxonomic classification of the African elephants. Finally, we document a much larger effective population size in forest elephants compared with the other elephantid taxa, likely reflecting species differences in ancient geographic structure and range and differences in life history traits such as variance in male reproductive success.

  4. Temperature fluctuations inside savanna termite mounds: Do size and plant shade matter?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ndlovu, M; Pérez-Rodríguez, A

    2018-05-01

    Mound building termites are key ecosystem engineers of subtropical savanna regions. Mounds allow termites to maintain suitable conditions for termite reproduction and food cultivation ('fungus gardens'). We studied how the internal mound temperature of Macrotermes natalensis, a dominant mound-building termite of the subtropical savanna of southern Africa, responds to a number of environmental variables. We used general additive mixed models (GAMM) to determine how external temperature, mound size (volume) and the amount of vegetation shade affects mound internal temperature over a 24-h period. Internal mound temperature varied daily following changes of the external temperature, although the range of variation was much smaller. Active termite mounds maintained a higher internal temperature than inactive ones, and mound activity reinforced the positive effect of mound size and moderated the negative effect of vegetation shade on internal temperatures. In turn, external temperature fluctuations equally affected active and inactive mounds. Large mounds maintained near optimal internal temperatures compared to smaller sized mounds. We therefore conclude that termite mound size is a stronger determinant of internal mound temperature stability compared to plant shade cover. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Burned area detection based on Landsat time series in savannas of southern Burkina Faso

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Jinxiu; Heiskanen, Janne; Maeda, Eduardo Eiji; Pellikka, Petri K. E.

    2018-02-01

    West African savannas are subject to regular fires, which have impacts on vegetation structure, biodiversity and carbon balance. An efficient and accurate mapping of burned area associated with seasonal fires can greatly benefit decision making in land management. Since coarse resolution burned area products cannot meet the accuracy needed for fire management and climate modelling at local scales, the medium resolution Landsat data is a promising alternative for local scale studies. In this study, we developed an algorithm for continuous monitoring of annual burned areas using Landsat time series. The algorithm is based on burned pixel detection using harmonic model fitting with Landsat time series and breakpoint identification in the time series data. This approach was tested in a savanna area in southern Burkina Faso using 281 images acquired between October 2000 and April 2016. An overall accuracy of 79.2% was obtained with balanced omission and commission errors. This represents a significant improvement in comparison with MODIS burned area product (67.6%), which had more omission errors than commission errors, indicating underestimation of the total burned area. By observing the spatial distribution of burned areas, we found that the Landsat based method misclassified cropland and cloud shadows as burned areas due to the similar spectral response, and MODIS burned area product omitted small and fragmented burned areas. The proposed algorithm is flexible and robust against decreased data availability caused by clouds and Landsat 7 missing lines, therefore having a high potential for being applied in other landscapes in future studies.

  6. Age-related tooth wear differs between forest and savanna primates.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jordi Galbany

    Full Text Available Tooth wear in primates is caused by aging and ecological factors. However, comparative data that would allow us to delineate the contribution of each of these factors are lacking. Here, we contrast age-dependent molar tooth wear by scoring percent of dentine exposure (PDE in two wild African primate populations from Gabonese forest and Kenyan savanna habitats. We found that forest-dwelling mandrills exhibited significantly higher PDE with age than savanna yellow baboons. Mandrills mainly feed on large tough food items, such as hard-shell fruits, and inhabit an ecosystem with a high presence of mineral quartz. By contrast, baboons consume large amounts of exogenous grit that adheres to underground storage organs but the proportion of quartz in the soils where baboons live is low. Our results support the hypothesis that not only age but also physical food properties and soil composition, particularly quartz richness, are factors that significantly impact tooth wear. We further propose that the accelerated dental wear in mandrills resulting in flatter molars with old age may represent an adaptation to process hard food items present in their environment.

  7. Functional Connectivity of Precipitation Networks in the Brazilian Rainforest-Savanna Transition Zone

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adera, S.; Larsen, L.; Levy, M. C.; Thompson, S. E.

    2016-12-01

    In the Brazilian rainforest-savanna transition zone, vegetation change has the potential to significantly affect precipitation patterns. Deforestation, in particular, can affect precipitation patterns by increasing land surface albedo, increasing aerosol loading to the atmosphere, changing land surface roughness, and reducing transpiration. Understanding land surface-precipitation couplings in this region is important not only for sustaining Amazon and Cerrado ecosystems, but also for cattle ranching and agriculture, hydropower generation, and drinking water management. Simulations suggest complex, scale-dependent interactions between precipitation and land cover. For example, the size and distribution of deforested patches has been found to affect precipitation patterns. We take an empirical approach to ask: (1) what are the dominant spatial and temporal length scales of precipitation coupling in the Brazilian rainforest-savanna transition zone? (2) How do these length scales change over time? (3) How does the connectivity of precipitation change over time? The answers to these questions will help address fundamental questions about the impacts of deforestation on precipitation. We use rain gauge data from 1100 rain gauges intermittently covering the period 1980 - 2013, a period of intensive land cover change in the region. The dominant spatial and temporal length scales of precipitation coupling are resolved using transfer entropy, a metric from information theory. Connectivity of the emergent network of couplings is quantified using network statistics. Analyses using transfer entropy and network statistics reveal the spatial and temporal interdependencies of rainfall events occurring in different parts of the study domain.

  8. Spatial Distribution of Aboveground Carbon Stock of the Arboreal Vegetation in Brazilian Biomes of Savanna, Atlantic Forest and Semi-Arid Woodland.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scolforo, Henrique Ferraco; Scolforo, Jose Roberto Soares; Mello, Carlos Rogerio; Mello, Jose Marcio; Ferraz Filho, Antonio Carlos

    2015-01-01

    The objective of this study was to map the spatial distribution of aboveground carbon stock (using Regression-kriging) of arboreal plants in the Atlantic Forest, Semi-arid woodland, and Savanna Biomes in Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil. The database used in this study was obtained from 163 forest fragments, totaling 4,146 plots of 1,000 m2 distributed in these Biomes. A geographical model for carbon stock estimation was parameterized as a function of Biome, latitude and altitude. This model was applied over the samples and the residuals generated were mapped based on geostatistical procedures, selecting the exponential semivariogram theoretical model for conducting ordinary Kriging. The aboveground carbon stock was found to have a greater concentration in the north of the State, where the largest contingent of native vegetation is located, mainly the Savanna Biome, with Wooded Savanna and Shrub Savanna phytophysiognomes. The largest weighted averages of carbon stock per hectare were found in the south-center region (48.6 Mg/ha) and in the southern part of the eastern region (48.4 Mg/ha) of Minas Gerais State, due to the greatest predominance of Atlantic Forest Biome forest fragments. The smallest weighted averages per hectare were found in the central (21.2 Mg/ha), northern (20.4 Mg/ha), and northwestern (20.7 Mg/ha) regions of Minas Gerais State, where Savanna Biome fragments are predominant, in the phytophysiognomes Wooded Savanna and Shrub Savanna.

  9. The effect of nitrogen additions on bracken fern and its insect herbivores at sites with high and low atmospheric pollution

    Science.gov (United States)

    M.E. Jones; M.E. Fenn; T.D. Paine

    2011-01-01

    The impact of atmospheric pollution, including nitrogen deposition, on bracken fern herbivores has never been studied. Bracken fern is globally distributed and has a high potential to accumulate nitrogen in plant tissue. We examined the response of bracken fern and its herbivores to N fertilization at a high and low pollution site in forests downwind of Los Angeles,...

  10. Satellite- versus temperature-derived green wave indices for predicting the timing of spring migration of avian herbivores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Shariati Najafabadi, M.; Najafabadi, M.S.; Darvishzadeh, R.; Skidmore, A.K.; Kölzsch, Andrea; Vrieling, A.; Nolet, Bart A.; Exo, Klaus-Michael; Meratnia, Nirvana; Havinga, Paul J.M.; Stahl, Julia; Toxopeus, A.G.

    2015-01-01

    According to the green wave hypothesis, herbivores follow the flush of spring growth of forage plants during their spring migration to northern breeding grounds. In this study we compared two green wave indices for predicting the timing of the spring migration of avian herbivores: the

  11. Early herbivore alert matters: plant-mediated effects of egg deposition on higher trophic levels benefit plant fitness

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pashalidou, F.G.; Frago, E.; Griese, E.; Poelman, E.H.; Loon, van J.J.A.; Dicke, M.; Fatouros, N.E.

    2015-01-01

    Induction of plant defences, specifically in response to herbivore attack, can save costs that would otherwise be needed to maintain defences even in the absence of herbivores. However, plants may suffer considerable damage during the time required to mount these defences against an attacker. This

  12. Assessing the role of large herbivores in the structuring and functioning of freshwater and marine angiosperm ecosystems

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, Elisabeth S.; Pagès, Jordi F.; Arthur, Rohan; Alcoverro, Teresa

    2016-01-01

    While large herbivores can have strong impacts on terrestrial ecosystems, much less is known of their role in aquatic systems. We reviewed the literature to determine: (1) which large herbivores (>10 kg) have a (semi-)aquatic lifestyle and are important consumers of submerged vascular plants, (2)

  13. Diversity and impact of herbivorous insects on Brazilian peppertree in Florida prior to release of exotic biological control agents

    Science.gov (United States)

    The impact of insect herbivores on the performance of Brazilian peppertree, Schinus terebinthifolia Raddi (Anacardiaceae), was evaluated at two locations in Florida using an insecticide exclusion method. Although several species of insect herbivores were collected on the invasive tree, there was no...

  14. Quantification of population sizes of large herbivores and their long-term functional role in ecosystems using dung fungal spores

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Baker, Ambroise G.; Cornelissen, Perry; Bhagwat, Shonil A.; Vera, Frans M.W.; Willis, Katherine J.

    2016-01-01

    The relationship between large herbivore numbers and landscape cover over time is poorly understood. There are two schools of thought: one views large herbivores as relatively passive elements upon the landscape and the other as ecosystem engineers driving vegetation succession. The latter

  15. Effects of dietary nicotine on the development of an insect herbivore, its parasitoid and secondary hyperparasitoid over four trophic levels

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Harvey, J.A.; Dam, van N.M.; Witjes, L.M.A.; Soler, R.; Gols, R.

    2007-01-01

    1. Allelochemicals in herbivore diet are known to affect the development of higher trophic levels, such as parasitoids and predators. 2. This study examines how differing levels of nicotine affects the development of a herbivore, its parasitoid and secondary hyperparasitoid over four trophic levels.

  16. Diet and habitat-niche relationships within an assemblage of large herbivores in a seasonal tropical forest

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Ahrestani, F.S.; Heitkonig, I.M.A.; Prins, H.H.T.

    2012-01-01

    There is little understanding of how large mammalian herbivores in Asia partition habitat and forage resources, and vary their diet and habitat selection seasonally in order to coexist. We studied an assemblage of four large herbivores, chital (Axis axis), sambar (Cervus unicolor), gaur (Bos gaurus)

  17. Experience with methyl salicylate affects behavioural responses of a predatory mite to blends of herbivore-induced plant volatiles

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Boer, de J.G.; Dicke, M.

    2004-01-01

    Many natural enemies of herbivorous arthropods use herbivore-induced plant volatiles to locate their prey. These foraging cues consist of mixtures of compounds that show a considerable variation within and among plantherbivore combinations, a situation that favours a flexible approach in the

  18. A specialist root herbivore reduces plant resistance and uses an induced plant volatile to aggregate in a density dependent manner

    Science.gov (United States)

    1. Leaf-herbivore attack often triggers induced resistance in plants. However, certain specialist herbivores can also take advantage of the induced metabolic changes. In some cases, they even manipulate plant resistance, leading to a phenomenon called induced susceptibility. Compared to above-ground...

  19. Toxicity of a furanocoumarin to armyworms: a case of biosynthetic escape from insect herbivores.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berenbaum, M

    1978-08-11

    When the linear furanocoumarin xanthotoxin, found in many plants of the families Rutaceae and Umbelliferae, was administered to larvae of Spodoptera eridania, a generalist insect herbivore, it displayed toxic properties lacking in its biosynthetic precursor umbelliferone. Reduced toxicity observed in the absence of ultraviolet light is consistent with the known mechanism of photoinactivation of DNA by furanocoumarins through ultraviolet-catalyzed cross-linkage of strands. Thus, the ability of a plant to convert umbelliferone to linear furanocoumarins appears to confer broader protection against insect herbivores.

  20. Plants are not sitting ducks waiting for herbivores to eat them.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2016-05-03

    There is a common attitude toward plants, accordingly, plants are waiting around to be found and eaten by herbivores. This common approach toward plants is a great underestimation of the huge and variable arsenal of defensive plant strategies. Plants do everything evolution has allowed them to do in order not to be eaten. Therefore, plants are not sitting ducks and many plants outsmart and even exploit many invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores and carnivores for pollination and for seed dispersal, and even carnivores and parasitoids for defense.

  1. OsWRKY53, a versatile switch in regulating herbivore-induced defense responses in rice

    OpenAIRE

    Hu, Lingfei; Ye, Meng; Li, Ran; Lou, Yonggen

    2016-01-01

    ABSTRACT WRKY proteins, which belong to a large family of plant-specific transcription factors, play important roles in plant defenses against pathogens and herbivores by regulating defense-related signaling pathways. Recently, a rice WRKY transcription factor OsWRKY53 has been reported to function as a negative feedback modulator of OsMPK3/OsMPK6 and thereby to control the size of the investment a rice plant makes to defend against a chewing herbivore, the striped stem borer Chilo suppressal...

  2. Suppression of soil decomposers and promotion of long-lived, root herbivorous nematodes by climate change

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Stevnbak, Karen; Maraldo, Kristine; Georgieva, Slavka

    2012-01-01

    to climate change predictions for the coming decades. Removing precipitation for two summer months reduced all decomposer organisms assessed, i.e., microbial biomass, protozoa, bacteri- and fungivorous nematodes and enchytraeids, probably with negative effects on soil decomposition. Increasing temperature...... by about 1 °C reduced all nematodes including the dominant trophic group, the root herbivores, by almost 50% in the upper layer. The remaining assemblage of root herbivorous nematodes, however, shifted towards species with longer generation times, possibly because of an earlier start of plant growth...

  3. Herbivores sculpt leaf traits differently in grasslands depending on life form and land-use histories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Firn, Jennifer; Schütz, Martin; Nguyen, Huong; Risch, Anita C

    2017-01-01

    Vertebrate and invertebrate herbivores alter plant communities directly by selectively consuming plant species; and indirectly by inducing morphological and physiological changes to plant traits that provide competitive or survivorship advantages to some life forms over others. Progressively excluding aboveground herbivore communities (ungulates, medium and small sized mammals, invertebrates) over five growing seasons, we explored how leaf morphology (specific leaf area or SLA) and nutrition (nitrogen, carbon, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and calcium) of different plant life forms (forbs, legumes, grasses, sedges) correlated with their dominance. We experimented in two subalpine grassland types with different land-use histories: (1) heavily grazed, nutrient-rich, short-grass vegetation and (2) lightly grazed, lower nutrient tall-grass vegetation. We found differences in leaf traits between treatments where either all herbivores were excluded or all herbivores were present, showing the importance of considering the impacts of both vertebrates and invertebrates on the leaf traits of plant species. Life forms responses to the progressive exclusion of herbivores were captured by six possible combinations: (1) increased leaf size and resource use efficiency (leaf area/nutrients) where lower nutrient levels are invested in leaf construction, but a reduction in the number of leaves, for example, forbs in both vegetation types, (2) increased leaf size and resource use efficiency, for example, legumes in short grass, (3) increased leaf size but a reduction in the number of leaves, for example, legumes in the tall grass, (4) increased number of leaves produced and increased resource use efficiency, for example, grasses in the short grass, (5) increased resource use efficiency of leaves only, for example, grasses and sedges in the tall grass, and (6) no response in terms of leaf construction or dominance, for example, sedges in the short grass. Although we found multiple

  4. Effects of repeated burning on woody vegetation structure and composition in a semi-arid southern African savanna

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Gandiwa, E.

    2011-01-01

    The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of repeated dry season annual hot fires on woody plants in a semiarid southern African savanna in Zimbabwe. Parts of the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) research fields in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe have been burnt annually in

  5. Rapid Assessment of Key Structural Elements of Different Vegetation Types of West African Savannas in Burkina Faso

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Qasim Mohammad

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Estimations of Leaf Area Index (LAI have recently gained attention due to the sensitivity to the effects of climate change and its impact on forest ecosystems. Hence, a study was conducted on the LAI estimation of four vegetation types: (i gallery forests, (ii woodland savannas, (iii tree savannas, and (iv shrub savannas, at two protected areas of Nazinga Game Ranch and Bontioli Nature Reserve, Burkina Faso. A relationship between LAI and Crown Diameter was also investigated at these two sites. Digital hemispherical photography was used for the LAI estimation. Crown diameters (CD were determined perpendicular to each other and averaged for each tree and shrub. Overall results revealed that LAI ranged from 0-1.33 and the CD was recorded in the range of 0.46-11.01 m. The gallery forests recorded the highest mean LAI 1.33 ± 0.32 as well as the highest mean CD 7.69 ± 1.90 m. The LAI for the vegetation types were at their lower ends as the study was conducted in summer season, higher values are therefore expected in the wet season, as a significant correlation between LAI and precipitation has been emphasized by various studies. Continuous LAI monitoring and studies on various growth parameters of different vegetation types at the study sites are recommended towards enhanced monitoring and an ecologically feasible forest- and savanna-use and management to maintain essential ecosystem functions and services.

  6. Functional traits of trees on and off termite mounds : Understanding the origin of biotically-driven heterogeneity in savannas

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    van der Plas, F.; Howison, R.; Reinders, J.; Fokkema, W.; Olff, H.

    Questions In African savannas, Macrotermes termites contribute to small-scale heterogeneity by constructing large mounds. Operating as islands of high nutrient and water availability and low fire frequency, these mounds support distinct, diverse communities of trees that have been shown to be highly

  7. Habitat differences in dung beetle assemblages in an African savanna-forest ecotone: implications for secondary seed dispersal.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kunz, Britta K; Krell, Frank-Thorsten

    2011-06-01

    The probability and pattern of secondary seed dispersal by dung beetles (Scarabaeinae) depend on their community structure and composition at the site of primary deposition, which, in turn, seem to be strongly determined by vegetation. Consequently, we expected pronounced differences in secondary seed dispersal between forest and savanna in the northern Ivory Coast, West Africa. We found 99 dung beetle species at experimentally exposed dung piles of the olive baboon (Papio anubis (Lesson, 1827)), an important primary seed disperser in West Africa. Seventy-six species belonged to the roller and tunneler guilds, which are relevant for secondary seed dispersal. Most species showed a clear habitat preference. Contrary to the Neotropics, species number and abundance were much higher in the savanna than in the forest. Rollers and tunnelers each accounted for approximately 50% of the individuals in the savanna, but in the forest rollers made up only 4%. Seeds deposited into the savanna by an omnivorous primary disperser generally have a higher overall probability of being more rapidly dispersed secondarily by dung beetles than seeds in the forest. Also, rollers disperse seeds over larger distances. In contrast to other studies, small rollers were active in dispersal of large seeds, which were seemingly mistaken for dung balls. Our results suggest that rollers can remove seeds from any plant dispersed in primate dung in this ecosystem. © 2011 ISZS, Blackwell Publishing and IOZ/CAS.

  8. Relationships between bat occupancy and habitat and landscape structure along a savanna, woodland, forest gradient in the Missouri Ozarks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clarissa A. Starbuck; Sybill K. Amelon; Frank R. III. Thompson

    2015-01-01

    Many land-management agencies are restoring savannas and woodlands using prescribed fire and forest thinning, and information is needed on how wildlife species respond to these management activities. Our objectives were to evaluate support for relationships of bat site occupancy with vegetation structure and management and landscape composition and structure across a...

  9. Quantifying the relative importance of greenhouse gas emissions from current and future savanna land use change across northern Australia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    M. Bristow

    2016-11-01

    Full Text Available The clearing and burning of tropical savanna leads to globally significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs; however there is large uncertainty relating to the magnitude of this flux. Australia's tropical savannas occupy the northern quarter of the continent, a region of increasing interest for further exploitation of land and water resources. Land use decisions across this vast biome have the potential to influence the national greenhouse gas budget. To better quantify emissions from savanna deforestation and investigate the impact of deforestation on national GHG emissions, we undertook a paired site measurement campaign where emissions were quantified from two tropical savanna woodland sites; one that was deforested and prepared for agricultural land use and a second analogue site that remained uncleared for the duration of a 22-month campaign. At both sites, net ecosystem exchange of CO2 was measured using the eddy covariance method. Observations at the deforested site were continuous before, during and after the clearing event, providing high-resolution data that tracked CO2 emissions through nine phases of land use change. At the deforested site, post-clearing debris was allowed to cure for 6 months and was subsequently burnt, followed by extensive soil preparation for cropping. During the debris burning, fluxes of CO2 as measured by the eddy covariance tower were excluded. For this phase, emissions were estimated by quantifying on-site biomass prior to deforestation and applying savanna-specific emission factors to estimate a fire-derived GHG emission that included both CO2 and non-CO2 gases. The total fuel mass that was consumed during the debris burning was 40.9 Mg C ha−1 and included above- and below-ground woody biomass, course woody debris, twigs, leaf litter and C4 grass fuels. Emissions from the burning were added to the net CO2 fluxes as measured by the eddy covariance tower for other post-deforestation phases to

  10. History of fire and Douglas-fir establishment in a savanna and sagebrush-grassland mosaic, southwestern Montana, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Emily K. Heyerdahl; Richard F. Miller; Russell A. Parsons

    2006-01-01

    Over the past century, trees have encroached into grass- and shrublands across western North America. These include Douglas-fir trees (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco var. glauca (Beissn.) Franco) encroaching into mountain big sagebrush Nutt. ssp. vaseyana (Rydb.) Beetle) from stable islands of savanna in...

  11. Biomass and leaf-level gas exchange characteristics of three African savanna C4 grass species under optimum growth conditions

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mantlana, K.B.; Veenendaal, E.M.; Arneth, A.; Grispen, V.; Bonyongo, C.M.; Heitkönig, I.M.A.; Lloyd, J.

    2009-01-01

    C4 savanna grass species, Digitaria eriantha, Eragrostis lehmanniana and Panicum repens, were grown under optimum growth conditions with the aim of characterizing their above- and below-ground biomass allocation and the response of their gas exchange to changes in light intensity, CO2 concentration

  12. Opposing resonses to ecological gradients structure amphibian and reptile communities across a temperate grassland-savanna-forest landscape

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grundel, Ralph; Beamer, David; Glowacki, Gary A.; Frohnapple, Krystal; Pavlovic, Noel B.

    2014-01-01

    Temperate savannas are threatened across the globe. If we prioritize savanna restoration, we should ask how savanna animal communities differ from communities in related open habitats and forests. We documented distribution of amphibian and reptile species across an open-savanna–forest gradient in the Midwest U.S. to determine how fire history and habitat structure affected herpetofaunal community composition. The transition from open habitats to forests was a transition from higher reptile abundance to higher amphibian abundance and the intermediate savanna landscape supported the most species overall. These differences warn against assuming that amphibian and reptile communities will have similar ecological responses to habitat structure. Richness and abundance also often responded in opposite directions to some habitat characteristics, such as cover of bare ground or litter. Herpetofaunal community species composition changed along a fire gradient from infrequent and recent fires to frequent but less recent fires. Nearby (200-m) wetland cover was relatively unimportant in predicting overall herpetofaunal community composition while fire history and fire-related canopy and ground cover were more important predictors of composition, diversity, and abundance. Increased developed cover was negatively related to richness and abundance. This indicates the importance of fire history and fire related landscape characteristics, and the negative effects of development, in shaping the upland herpetofaunal community along the native grassland–forest continuum.

  13. An idealized model for tree-grass coexistence in savannas : The role of life stage structure and fire disturbances

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Baudena, Mara|info:eu-repo/dai/nl/340303867; D'Andrea, Fabio; Provenzale, A.

    2010-01-01

    1. We discuss a simple implicit-space model for the competition of trees and grasses in an idealized savanna environment. The model represents patch occupancy dynamics within the habitat and introduces life stage structure in the tree population, namely adults and seedlings. A tree can be

  14. BRS 369RF and BRS 370RF: Glyphosate tolerant, high-yielding upland cotton cultivars for central Brazilian savanna

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Camilo de Lelis Morello

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available BRS 369RF and BRS 370RF were developed by the EMBRAPA as a part of efforts to create high-yielding germplasm with combinations of transgenic traits. BRS 369RF and BRS 370RF are midseason cultivars and have yield stability, adaptation to the central Brazilian savanna, good fiber quality and tolerance to glyphosate herbicide.

  15. Quantifying the relative importance of greenhouse gas emissions from current and future savanna land use change across northern Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bristow, Mila; Hutley, Lindsay B.; Beringer, Jason; Livesley, Stephen J.; Edwards, Andrew C.; Arndt, Stefan K.

    2016-11-01

    The clearing and burning of tropical savanna leads to globally significant emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs); however there is large uncertainty relating to the magnitude of this flux. Australia's tropical savannas occupy the northern quarter of the continent, a region of increasing interest for further exploitation of land and water resources. Land use decisions across this vast biome have the potential to influence the national greenhouse gas budget. To better quantify emissions from savanna deforestation and investigate the impact of deforestation on national GHG emissions, we undertook a paired site measurement campaign where emissions were quantified from two tropical savanna woodland sites; one that was deforested and prepared for agricultural land use and a second analogue site that remained uncleared for the duration of a 22-month campaign. At both sites, net ecosystem exchange of CO2 was measured using the eddy covariance method. Observations at the deforested site were continuous before, during and after the clearing event, providing high-resolution data that tracked CO2 emissions through nine phases of land use change. At the deforested site, post-clearing debris was allowed to cure for 6 months and was subsequently burnt, followed by extensive soil preparation for cropping. During the debris burning, fluxes of CO2 as measured by the eddy covariance tower were excluded. For this phase, emissions were estimated by quantifying on-site biomass prior to deforestation and applying savanna-specific emission factors to estimate a fire-derived GHG emission that included both CO2 and non-CO2 gases. The total fuel mass that was consumed during the debris burning was 40.9 Mg C ha-1 and included above- and below-ground woody biomass, course woody debris, twigs, leaf litter and C4 grass fuels. Emissions from the burning were added to the net CO2 fluxes as measured by the eddy covariance tower for other post-deforestation phases to provide a total GHG emission from

  16. Analysis of the herbaceous undergrowth of the woody savanna in the Fathala reserve, Delta du Saloum National park (Senegal)

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hejcmanová, P.; Hejcman, M.; Camara, A. A.; Antonínová, M.; Pavlů, V.; Černý, Tomáš; Ba, A. T.

    2006-01-01

    Roč. 138, č. 2 (2006), s. 119-228 ISSN 0778-4031 R&D Projects: GA AV ČR IAA6093404 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516 Keywords : vegetation analysis * herb layer * woody savanna Subject RIV: EF - Botanics Impact factor: 0.208, year: 2006

  17. Eddy covariance and biometric measurements show that a savanna ecosystem in Southwest China is a carbon sink

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fei, Xuehai; Jin, Yanqiang; Zhang, Yiping; Sha, Liqing; Liu, Yuntong; Song, Qinghai; Zhou, Wenjun; Liang, Naishen; Yu, Guirui; Zhang, Leiming; Zhou, Ruiwu; Li, Jing; Zhang, Shubin; Li, Peiguang

    2017-02-01

    Savanna ecosystems play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. However, there is a gap in our understanding of carbon fluxes in the savanna ecosystems of Southeast Asia. In this study, the eddy covariance technique (EC) and the biometric-based method (BM) were used to determine carbon exchange in a savanna ecosystem in Southwest China. The BM-based net ecosystem production (NEP) was 0.96 tC ha-1 yr-1. The EC-based estimates of the average annual gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco), and net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) were 6.84, 5.54, and -1.30 tC ha-1 yr-1, respectively, from May 2013 to December 2015, indicating that this savanna ecosystem acted as an appreciable carbon sink. The ecosystem was more efficient during the wet season than the dry season, so that it represented a small carbon sink of 0.16 tC ha-1 yr-1 in the dry season and a considerable carbon sink of 1.14 tC ha-1 yr-1 in the wet season. However, it is noteworthy that the carbon sink capacity may decline in the future under rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall. Consequently, further studies should assess how environmental factors and climate change will influence carbon-water fluxes.

  18. Eddy covariance and biometric measurements show that a savanna ecosystem in Southwest China is a carbon sink

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fei, Xuehai; Jin, Yanqiang; Zhang, Yiping; Sha, Liqing; Liu, Yuntong; Song, Qinghai; Zhou, Wenjun; Liang, Naishen; Yu, Guirui; Zhang, Leiming; Zhou, Ruiwu; Li, Jing; Zhang, Shubin; Li, Peiguang

    2017-01-01

    Savanna ecosystems play a crucial role in the global carbon cycle. However, there is a gap in our understanding of carbon fluxes in the savanna ecosystems of Southeast Asia. In this study, the eddy covariance technique (EC) and the biometric-based method (BM) were used to determine carbon exchange in a savanna ecosystem in Southwest China. The BM-based net ecosystem production (NEP) was 0.96 tC ha−1 yr−1. The EC-based estimates of the average annual gross primary productivity (GPP), ecosystem respiration (Reco), and net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE) were 6.84, 5.54, and −1.30 tC ha−1 yr−1, respectively, from May 2013 to December 2015, indicating that this savanna ecosystem acted as an appreciable carbon sink. The ecosystem was more efficient during the wet season than the dry season, so that it represented a small carbon sink of 0.16 tC ha−1 yr−1 in the dry season and a considerable carbon sink of 1.14 tC ha−1 yr−1 in the wet season. However, it is noteworthy that the carbon sink capacity may decline in the future under rising temperatures and decreasing rainfall. Consequently, further studies should assess how environmental factors and climate change will influence carbon-water fluxes. PMID:28145459

  19. The tri-trophic interactions hypothesis: interactive effects of host plant quality, diet breadth and natural enemies on herbivores.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kailen A Mooney

    Full Text Available Several influential hypotheses in plant-herbivore and herbivore-predator interactions consider the interactive effects of plant quality, herbivore diet breadth, and predation on herbivore performance. Yet individually and collectively, these hypotheses fail to address the simultaneous influence of all three factors. Here we review existing hypotheses, and propose the tri-trophic interactions (TTI hypothesis to consolidate and integrate their predictions. The TTI hypothesis predicts that dietary specialist herbivores (as compared to generalists should escape predators and be competitively dominant due to faster growth rates, and that such differences should be greater on low quality (as compared to high quality host plants. To provide a preliminary test of these predictions, we conducted an empirical study comparing the effects of plant (Baccharis salicifolia quality and predators between a specialist (Uroleucon macolai and a generalist (Aphis gossypii aphid herbivore. Consistent with predictions, these three factors interactively determine herbivore performance in ways not addressed by existing hypotheses. Compared to the specialist, the generalist was less fecund, competitively inferior, and more sensitive to low plant quality. Correspondingly, predator effects were contingent upon plant quality only for the generalist. Contrary to predictions, predator effects were weaker for the generalist and on low-quality plants, likely due to density-dependent benefits provided to the generalist by mutualist ants. Because the TTI hypothesis predicts the superior performance of specialists, mutualist ants may be critical to A. gossypii persistence under competition from U. macolai. In summary, the integrative nature of the TTI hypothesis offers novel insight into the determinants of plant-herbivore and herbivore-predator interactions and the coexistence of specialist and generalist herbivores.

  20. Different intra- and interspecific facilitation mechanisms between two Mediterranean trees under a climate change scenario.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gimeno, Teresa E; Escudero, Adrián; Valladares, Fernando

    2015-01-01

    In harsh environments facilitation alleviates biotic and abiotic constraints on tree recruitment. Under ongoing drier climate change, we expect facilitation to increase as a driver of coexistence. However, this might not hold under extreme abiotic stress and when the outcome depends on the interaction with other drivers such as altered herbivore pressure due to land use change. We performed a field water-manipulation experiment to quantify the importance of facilitation in two coexisting Mediterranean trees (dominant Juniperus thurifera and coexisting Quercus ilex subsp. ballota) under a climate change scenario. Shifts in canopy dominance favouring Q. ilex could be based on the extension of heterospecific facilitation to the detriment of conspecific alleviation. We found that saplings of both species transplanted under the canopy of nurse trees had greater survival probability, growth and photochemical efficiency. Intra- and interspecific facilitation mechanisms differed: alleviation of abiotic stress benefited both species during summer and J. thurifera during winter, whereas browsing protection was relevant only for Q. ilex. Facilitation was greater under the dry treatment only for Q. ilex, which partially agreed with the predictions of the stress gradient hypothesis. We conclude that present rainfall availability limits neither J. thurifera nor Q. ilex establishment. Nevertheless, under current global change scenarios, imposing increasing abiotic stress together with altered herbivore browsing, nurse trees could differentially facilitate the establishment of Q. ilex due to species-specific traits, i.e. palatability; drought, heat and cold tolerance, underlying species differences in the facilitation mechanisms and eventually triggering a change from pure juniper woodlands to mixed formations.