WorldWideScience

Sample records for plant community ecology

  1. Evolution in plant populations as a driver of ecological changes in arthropod communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Marc T J; Vellend, Mark; Stinchcombe, John R

    2009-06-12

    Heritable variation in traits can have wide-ranging impacts on species interactions, but the effects that ongoing evolution has on the temporal ecological dynamics of communities are not well understood. Here, we identify three conditions that, if experimentally satisfied, support the hypothesis that evolution by natural selection can drive ecological changes in communities. These conditions are: (i) a focal population exhibits genetic variation in a trait(s), (ii) there is measurable directional selection on the trait(s), and (iii) the trait(s) under selection affects variation in a community variable(s). When these conditions are met, we expect evolution by natural selection to cause ecological changes in the community. We tested these conditions in a field experiment examining the interactions between a native plant (Oenothera biennis) and its associated arthropod community (more than 90 spp.). Oenothera biennis exhibited genetic variation in several plant traits and there was directional selection on plant biomass, life-history strategy (annual versus biennial reproduction) and herbivore resistance. Genetically based variation in biomass and life-history strategy consistently affected the abundance of common arthropod species, total arthropod abundance and arthropod species richness. Using two modelling approaches, we show that evolution by natural selection in large O. biennis populations is predicted to cause changes in the abundance of individual arthropod species, increases in the total abundance of arthropods and a decline in the number of arthropod species. In small O. biennis populations, genetic drift is predicted to swamp out the effects of selection, making the evolution of plant populations unpredictable. In short, evolution by natural selection can play an important role in affecting the dynamics of communities, but these effects depend on several ecological factors. The framework presented here is general and can be applied to other systems to

  2. Evolution in plant populations as a driver of ecological changes in arthropod communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Marc T.J.; Vellend, Mark; Stinchcombe, John R.

    2009-01-01

    Heritable variation in traits can have wide-ranging impacts on species interactions, but the effects that ongoing evolution has on the temporal ecological dynamics of communities are not well understood. Here, we identify three conditions that, if experimentally satisfied, support the hypothesis that evolution by natural selection can drive ecological changes in communities. These conditions are: (i) a focal population exhibits genetic variation in a trait(s), (ii) there is measurable directional selection on the trait(s), and (iii) the trait(s) under selection affects variation in a community variable(s). When these conditions are met, we expect evolution by natural selection to cause ecological changes in the community. We tested these conditions in a field experiment examining the interactions between a native plant (Oenothera biennis) and its associated arthropod community (more than 90 spp.). Oenothera biennis exhibited genetic variation in several plant traits and there was directional selection on plant biomass, life-history strategy (annual versus biennial reproduction) and herbivore resistance. Genetically based variation in biomass and life-history strategy consistently affected the abundance of common arthropod species, total arthropod abundance and arthropod species richness. Using two modelling approaches, we show that evolution by natural selection in large O. biennis populations is predicted to cause changes in the abundance of individual arthropod species, increases in the total abundance of arthropods and a decline in the number of arthropod species. In small O. biennis populations, genetic drift is predicted to swamp out the effects of selection, making the evolution of plant populations unpredictable. In short, evolution by natural selection can play an important role in affecting the dynamics of communities, but these effects depend on several ecological factors. The framework presented here is general and can be applied to other systems to

  3. The movement ecology and dynamics of plant communities in fragmented landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Damschen, Ellen I; Brudvig, Lars A; Haddad, Nick M; Levey, Douglas J; Orrock, John L; Tewksbury, Joshua J

    2008-12-09

    A conceptual model of movement ecology has recently been advanced to explain all movement by considering the interaction of four elements: internal state, motion capacity, navigation capacities, and external factors. We modified this framework to generate predictions for species richness dynamics of fragmented plant communities and tested them in experimental landscapes across a 7-year time series. We found that two external factors, dispersal vectors and habitat features, affected species colonization and recolonization in habitat fragments and their effects varied and depended on motion capacity. Bird-dispersed species richness showed connectivity effects that reached an asymptote over time, but no edge effects, whereas wind-dispersed species richness showed steadily accumulating edge and connectivity effects, with no indication of an asymptote. Unassisted species also showed increasing differences caused by connectivity over time, whereas edges had no effect. Our limited use of proxies for movement ecology (e.g., dispersal mode as a proxy for motion capacity) resulted in moderate predictive power for communities and, in some cases, highlighted the importance of a more complete understanding of movement ecology for predicting how landscape conservation actions affect plant community dynamics.

  4. Microbiomes: unifying animal and plant systems through the lens of community ecology theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christian, Natalie; Whitaker, Briana K; Clay, Keith

    2015-01-01

    The field of microbiome research is arguably one of the fastest growing in biology. Bacteria feature prominently in studies on animal health, but fungi appear to be the more prominent functional symbionts for plants. Despite the similarities in the ecological organization and evolutionary importance of animal-bacterial and plant-fungal microbiomes, there is a general failure across disciplines to integrate the advances made in each system. Researchers studying bacterial symbionts in animals benefit from greater access to efficient sequencing pipelines and taxonomic reference databases, perhaps due to high medical and veterinary interest. However, researchers studying plant-fungal symbionts benefit from the relative tractability of fungi under laboratory conditions and ease of cultivation. Thus each system has strengths to offer, but both suffer from the lack of a common conceptual framework. We argue that community ecology best illuminates complex species interactions across space and time. In this synthesis we compare and contrast the animal-bacterial and plant-fungal microbiomes using six core theories in community ecology (i.e., succession, community assembly, metacommunities, multi-trophic interactions, disturbance, restoration). The examples and questions raised are meant to spark discussion amongst biologists and lead to the integration of these two systems, as well as more informative, manipulatory experiments on microbiomes research.

  5. Microbiomes: unifying animal and plant systems through the lens of community ecology theory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Natalie eChristian

    2015-09-01

    Full Text Available The field of microbiome research is arguably one of the fastest growing in biology. Bacteria feature prominently in studies on animal health, but fungi appear to be the more prominent functional symbionts for plants. Despite the similarities in the ecological organization and evolutionary importance of animal-bacterial and plant-fungal microbiomes, there is a general failure across disciplines to integrate the advances made in each system. Researchers studying bacterial symbionts in animals benefit from greater access to efficient sequencing pipelines and taxonomic reference databases, perhaps due to high medical and veterinary interest. However, researchers studying plant-fungal symbionts benefit from the relative tractability of fungi under laboratory conditions and ease of cultivation. Thus each system has strengths to offer, but both suffer from the lack of a common conceptual framework. We argue that community ecology best illuminates complex species interactions across space and time. In this synthesis we compare and contrast the animal-bacterial and plant-fungal microbiomes using six core theories in community ecology (i.e., succession, community assembly, metacommunities, multi-trophic interactions, disturbance, restoration. The examples and questions raised are meant to spark discussion amongst biologists and lead to the integration of these two systems, as well as more informative, manipulatory experiments on microbiomes research.

  6. 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.

  7. Ecology of some mire and bog plant communities in the Western Italian Alps

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    Giorgio BUFFA

    2003-02-01

    Full Text Available During a mire vegetation study, conducted mainly in the subalpine-alpine sector of the Western Italian Alps, the ecology of several plant communities and numerous moss species of this kind of vegetation was evaluated. The study area covered the Piedmontese sector of the Graian Alps, the eastern sector of the Aosta Valley as well as certain localities of the Pennine Alps, the Canavese district and the Maritime Alps. They have a rocky substratum representative of the various regional lithologies and include the main sectors characterised by the highest precipitation. Three hundred and twenty two relevées were made using the phytosociological method and the pH and the conductivity of the water table and its depth were measured directly. Cluster Analysis allowed a classification of the samples and the identification of various groups of plant communities. Ordination performed by DCA and CCA allowed us to identify the ecological features of the various plant communities by using the values of the main environmental parameters, measured directly in the field, and certain climatic parameters (altitude and mean annual precipitation available. The use of climatic parameters is an important result for identifying communities which show greater oceanicity, something that is underlined also by the presence of indicator species such as Sphagnum papillosum and S. subnitens. Furthermore the communities are arranged in a "poor-rich" gradient, and are also profoundly influenced by depth to water table which is inversely correlated to the pH. Therefore we find certain kinds of communities all with a very low water table and which are little affected by its chemistry. Other groups share the fact that the water table is outcropping or near the surface and are distinguishable for their pH values and conductivity. We discuss the different response of the bryophytes and vascular plants of these communities to the environmental parameters considered, in light of their

  8. Plant selenium hyperaccumulation- Ecological effects and potential implications for selenium cycling and community structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reynolds, R Jason B; Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A H

    2018-04-25

    Selenium (Se) hyperaccumulation occurs in ~50 plant taxa native to seleniferous soils in Western USA. Hyperaccumulator tissue Se levels, 1000-15,000 mg/kg dry weight, are typically 100 times higher than surrounding vegetation. Relative to other species, hyperaccumulators also transform Se more into organic forms. We review abiotic and biotic factors influencing soil Se distribution and bioavailability, soil being the source of the Se in hyperaccumulators. Next, we summarize the fate of Se in plants, particularly hyperaccumulators. We then extensively review the impact of plant Se accumulation on ecological interactions. Finally, we discuss the potential impact of Se hyperaccumulators on local community composition and Se cycling. Selenium (hyper)accumulation offers ecological advantages: protection from herbivores and pathogens and competitive advantage over other plants. The extreme Se levels in and around hyperaccumulators create a toxic environment for Se-sensitive ecological partners, while offering a niche for Se-resistant partners. Through these dual effects, hyperaccumulators may influence species composition in their local environment, as well as Se cycling. The implied effects of Se hyperaccumulation on community assembly and local Se cycling warrant further investigations into the contribution of hyperaccumulators and general terrestrial vegetation to global Se cycling and may serve as a case study for how trace elements influence ecological processes. Furthermore, understanding ecological implications of plant Se accumulation are vital for safe implementation of biofortification and phytoremediation, technologies increasingly implemented to battle Se deficiency and toxicity. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier B.V.

  9. Plant Insecticidal Toxins in Ecological Networks

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sébastien Ibanez

    2012-04-01

    Full Text Available Plant secondary metabolites play a key role in plant-insect interactions, whether constitutive or induced, C- or N-based. Anti-herbivore defences against insects can act as repellents, deterrents, growth inhibitors or cause direct mortality. In turn, insects have evolved a variety of strategies to act against plant toxins, e.g., avoidance, excretion, sequestration and degradation of the toxin, eventually leading to a co-evolutionary arms race between insects and plants and to co-diversification. Anti-herbivore defences also negatively impact mutualistic partners, possibly leading to an ecological cost of toxin production. However, in other cases toxins can also be used by plants involved in mutualistic interactions to exclude inadequate partners and to modify the cost/benefit ratio of mutualism to their advantage. When considering the whole community, toxins have an effect at many trophic levels. Aposematic insects sequester toxins to defend themselves against predators. Depending on the ecological context, toxins can either increase insects’ vulnerability to parasitoids and entomopathogens or protect them, eventually leading to self-medication. We conclude that studying the community-level impacts of plant toxins can provide new insights into the synthesis between community and evolutionary ecology.

  10. Plant insecticidal toxins in ecological networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ibanez, Sébastien; Gallet, Christiane; Després, Laurence

    2012-04-01

    Plant secondary metabolites play a key role in plant-insect interactions, whether constitutive or induced, C- or N-based. Anti-herbivore defences against insects can act as repellents, deterrents, growth inhibitors or cause direct mortality. In turn, insects have evolved a variety of strategies to act against plant toxins, e.g., avoidance, excretion, sequestration and degradation of the toxin, eventually leading to a co-evolutionary arms race between insects and plants and to co-diversification. Anti-herbivore defences also negatively impact mutualistic partners, possibly leading to an ecological cost of toxin production. However, in other cases toxins can also be used by plants involved in mutualistic interactions to exclude inadequate partners and to modify the cost/benefit ratio of mutualism to their advantage. When considering the whole community, toxins have an effect at many trophic levels. Aposematic insects sequester toxins to defend themselves against predators. Depending on the ecological context, toxins can either increase insects' vulnerability to parasitoids and entomopathogens or protect them, eventually leading to self-medication. We conclude that studying the community-level impacts of plant toxins can provide new insights into the synthesis between community and evolutionary ecology.

  11. Ecological assembly rules in plant communities--approaches, patterns and prospects.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Götzenberger, Lars; de Bello, Francesco; Bråthen, Kari Anne; Davison, John; Dubuis, Anne; Guisan, Antoine; Lepš, Jan; Lindborg, Regina; Moora, Mari; Pärtel, Meelis; Pellissier, Loic; Pottier, Julien; Vittoz, Pascal; Zobel, Kristjan; Zobel, Martin

    2012-02-01

    Understanding how communities of living organisms assemble has been a central question in ecology since the early days of the discipline. Disentangling the different processes involved in community assembly is not only interesting in itself but also crucial for an understanding of how communities will behave under future environmental scenarios. The traditional concept of assembly rules reflects the notion that species do not co-occur randomly but are restricted in their co-occurrence by interspecific competition. This concept can be redefined in a more general framework where the co-occurrence of species is a product of chance, historical patterns of speciation and migration, dispersal, abiotic environmental factors, and biotic interactions, with none of these processes being mutually exclusive. Here we present a survey and meta-analyses of 59 papers that compare observed patterns in plant communities with null models simulating random patterns of species assembly. According to the type of data under study and the different methods that are applied to detect community assembly, we distinguish four main types of approach in the published literature: species co-occurrence, niche limitation, guild proportionality and limiting similarity. Results from our meta-analyses suggest that non-random co-occurrence of plant species is not a widespread phenomenon. However, whether this finding reflects the individualistic nature of plant communities or is caused by methodological shortcomings associated with the studies considered cannot be discerned from the available metadata. We advocate that more thorough surveys be conducted using a set of standardized methods to test for the existence of assembly rules in data sets spanning larger biological and geographical scales than have been considered until now. We underpin this general advice with guidelines that should be considered in future assembly rules research. This will enable us to draw more accurate and general

  12. Metagenomic analysis of an ecological wastewater treatment plant's microbial communities and their potential to metabolize pharmaceuticals.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Balcom, Ian N; Driscoll, Heather; Vincent, James; Leduc, Meagan

    2016-01-01

    Pharmaceuticals and other micropollutants have been detected in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, and soil around the world. Even in locations where wastewater treatment is required, they can be found in drinking water wells, municipal water supplies, and agricultural soils. It is clear conventional wastewater treatment technologies are not meeting the challenge of the mounting pressures on global freshwater supplies. Cost-effective ecological wastewater treatment technologies have been developed in response. To determine whether the removal of micropollutants in ecological wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) is promoted by the plant-microbe interactions, as has been reported for other recalcitrant xenobiotics, biofilm microbial communities growing on the surfaces of plant roots were profiled by whole metagenome sequencing and compared to the microbial communities residing in the wastewater. In this study, the concentrations of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) were quantified in each treatment tank of the ecological WWTP treating human wastewater at a highway rest stop and visitor center in Vermont. The concentrations of detected PPCPs were substantially greater than values reported for conventional WWTPs likely due to onsite recirculation of wastewater. The greatest reductions in PPCPs concentrations were observed in the anoxic treatment tank where Bacilli dominated the biofilm community. Benzoate degradation was the most abundant xenobiotic metabolic category identified throughout the system. Collectively, the microbial communities residing in the wastewater were taxonomically and metabolically more diverse than the immersed plant root biofilm. However, greater heterogeneity and higher relative abundances of xenobiotic metabolism genes was observed for the root biofilm.

  13. Precipitation alters interactions in a grassland ecological community.

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    Deguines, Nicolas; Brashares, Justin S; Prugh, Laura R

    2017-03-01

    Climate change is transforming precipitation regimes world-wide. Changes in precipitation regimes are known to have powerful effects on plant productivity, but the consequences of these shifts for the dynamics of ecological communities are poorly understood. This knowledge gap hinders our ability to anticipate and mitigate the impacts of climate change on biodiversity. Precipitation may affect fauna through direct effects on physiology, behaviour or demography, through plant-mediated indirect effects, or by modifying interactions among species. In this paper, we examined the response of a semi-arid ecological community to a fivefold change in precipitation over 7 years. We examined the effects of precipitation on the dynamics of a grassland ecosystem in central California from 2007 to 2013. We conducted vegetation surveys, pitfall trapping of invertebrates, visual surveys of lizards and capture-mark-recapture surveys of rodents on 30 plots each year. We used structural equation modelling to evaluate the direct, indirect and modifying effects of precipitation on plants, ants, beetles, orthopterans, kangaroo rats, ground squirrels and lizards. We found pervasive effects of precipitation on the ecological community. Although precipitation increased plant biomass, direct effects on fauna were often stronger than plant-mediated effects. In addition, precipitation altered the sign or strength of consumer-resource and facilitative interactions among the faunal community such that negative or neutral interactions became positive or vice versa with increasing precipitation. These findings indicate that precipitation influences ecological communities in multiple ways beyond its recognized effects on primary productivity. Stochastic variation in precipitation may weaken the average strength of biotic interactions over time, thereby increasing ecosystem stability and resilience to climate change. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological

  14. Population and community ecology of the rare plant amsinckia grandiflora

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Carlsen, T.M.

    1996-11-01

    Research was conducted between the fall of 1992 and the spring on the population and community ecology of the rare annual plant, Amsinckia glandiflora (Gray) Kleeb. ex Greene (Boraginaceae). The research goal was to investigate the causes of the species rarity, data useful to restorative efforts. The work focused on the examination of competitive suppression by exotic annual grasses; comparisons with common, weedy congener; and the role of litter cover and seed germination and seedling establishment. Annual exotic grasses reduced A. grandiflora reproductive output to a greater extent than did the native perennial bunch grass.

  15. Definition of sampling units begets conclusions in ecology: the case of habitats for plant communities

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    Martin A. Mörsdorf

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available In ecology, expert knowledge on habitat characteristics is often used to define sampling units such as study sites. Ecologists are especially prone to such approaches when prior sampling frames are not accessible. Here we ask to what extent can different approaches to the definition of sampling units influence the conclusions that are drawn from an ecological study? We do this by comparing a formal versus a subjective definition of sampling units within a study design which is based on well-articulated objectives and proper methodology. Both approaches are applied to tundra plant communities in mesic and snowbed habitats. For the formal approach, sampling units were first defined for each habitat in concave terrain of suitable slope using GIS. In the field, these units were only accepted as the targeted habitats if additional criteria for vegetation cover were fulfilled. For the subjective approach, sampling units were defined visually in the field, based on typical plant communities of mesic and snowbed habitats. For each approach, we collected information about plant community characteristics within a total of 11 mesic and seven snowbed units distributed between two herding districts of contrasting reindeer density. Results from the two approaches differed significantly in several plant community characteristics in both mesic and snowbed habitats. Furthermore, differences between the two approaches were not consistent because their magnitude and direction differed both between the two habitats and the two reindeer herding districts. Consequently, we could draw different conclusions on how plant diversity and relative abundance of functional groups are differentiated between the two habitats depending on the approach used. We therefore challenge ecologists to formalize the expert knowledge applied to define sampling units through a set of well-articulated rules, rather than applying it subjectively. We see this as instrumental for progress in

  16. Definition of sampling units begets conclusions in ecology: the case of habitats for plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mörsdorf, Martin A; Ravolainen, Virve T; Støvern, Leif Einar; Yoccoz, Nigel G; Jónsdóttir, Ingibjörg Svala; Bråthen, Kari Anne

    2015-01-01

    In ecology, expert knowledge on habitat characteristics is often used to define sampling units such as study sites. Ecologists are especially prone to such approaches when prior sampling frames are not accessible. Here we ask to what extent can different approaches to the definition of sampling units influence the conclusions that are drawn from an ecological study? We do this by comparing a formal versus a subjective definition of sampling units within a study design which is based on well-articulated objectives and proper methodology. Both approaches are applied to tundra plant communities in mesic and snowbed habitats. For the formal approach, sampling units were first defined for each habitat in concave terrain of suitable slope using GIS. In the field, these units were only accepted as the targeted habitats if additional criteria for vegetation cover were fulfilled. For the subjective approach, sampling units were defined visually in the field, based on typical plant communities of mesic and snowbed habitats. For each approach, we collected information about plant community characteristics within a total of 11 mesic and seven snowbed units distributed between two herding districts of contrasting reindeer density. Results from the two approaches differed significantly in several plant community characteristics in both mesic and snowbed habitats. Furthermore, differences between the two approaches were not consistent because their magnitude and direction differed both between the two habitats and the two reindeer herding districts. Consequently, we could draw different conclusions on how plant diversity and relative abundance of functional groups are differentiated between the two habitats depending on the approach used. We therefore challenge ecologists to formalize the expert knowledge applied to define sampling units through a set of well-articulated rules, rather than applying it subjectively. We see this as instrumental for progress in ecology as only rules

  17. Formation of higher plant component microbial community in closed ecological system

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    Tirranen, L. S.

    2001-07-01

    Closed ecological systems (CES) place at the disposal of a researcher unique possibilities to study the role of microbial communities in individual components and of the entire system. The microbial community of the higher plant component has been found to form depending on specific conditions of the closed ecosystem: length of time the solution is reused, introduction of intrasystem waste water into the nutrient medium, effect of other component of the system, and system closure in terms of gas exchange. The higher plant component formed its own microbial complex different from that formed prior to closure. The microbial complex of vegetable polyculture is more diverse and stable than the monoculture of wheat. The composition of the components' microflora changed, species diversity decreased, individual species of bacteria and fungi whose numbers were not so great before the closure prevailed. Special attention should be paid to phytopathogenic and conditionally pathogenic species of microorganisms potentially hazardous to man or plants and the least controlled in CES. This situation can endanger creation of CES and make conjectural existence of preplanned components, man, specifically, and consequently, of CES as it is.

  18. Microbiomes: unifying animal and plant systems through the lens of community ecology theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Christian, Natalie; Whitaker, Briana K.; Clay, Keith

    2015-01-01

    The field of microbiome research is arguably one of the fastest growing in biology. Bacteria feature prominently in studies on animal health, but fungi appear to be the more prominent functional symbionts for plants. Despite the similarities in the ecological organization and evolutionary importance of animal-bacterial and plant–fungal microbiomes, there is a general failure across disciplines to integrate the advances made in each system. Researchers studying bacterial symbionts in animals benefit from greater access to efficient sequencing pipelines and taxonomic reference databases, perhaps due to high medical and veterinary interest. However, researchers studying plant–fungal symbionts benefit from the relative tractability of fungi under laboratory conditions and ease of cultivation. Thus each system has strengths to offer, but both suffer from the lack of a common conceptual framework. We argue that community ecology best illuminates complex species interactions across space and time. In this synthesis we compare and contrast the animal-bacterial and plant–fungal microbiomes using six core theories in community ecology (i.e., succession, community assembly, metacommunities, multi-trophic interactions, disturbance, restoration). The examples and questions raised are meant to spark discussion amongst biologists and lead to the integration of these two systems, as well as more informative, manipulatory experiments on microbiomes research. PMID:26441846

  19. Plant community analysis and ecology of afromontane and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    The plant communities of the forests of southwestern Ethiopia were described based on floristic analysis of the data collected between February 1995 and May 1996. Floristic analysis is based on the cover-abundance values of both woody and herbaceous species. Plant community-environment relationship was assessed ...

  20. Community Ecology

    CERN Document Server

    1988-01-01

    This book presents the proceedings of a workshop on community ecology organized at Davis, in April, 1986, sponsored by the Sloan Foundation. There have been several recent symposia on community ecology (Strong et. al., 1984, Diamond and Case, 1987) which have covered a wide range of topics. The goal of the workshop at Davis was more narrow: to explore the role of scale in developing a theoretical approach to understanding communities. There are a number of aspects of scale that enter into attempts to understand ecological communities. One of the most basic is organizational scale. Should community ecology proceed by building up from population biology? This question and its ramifications are stressed throughout the book and explored in the first chapter by Simon Levin. Notions of scale have long been important in understanding physical systems. Thus, in understanding the interactions of organisms with their physical environment, questions of scale become paramount. These more physical questions illustrate the...

  1. Ecological restoration alters microbial communities in mine tailings profiles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yang; Jia, Zhongjun; Sun, Qingye; Zhan, Jing; Yang, Yang; Wang, Dan

    2016-04-29

    Ecological restoration of mine tailings have impact on soil physiochemical properties and microbial communities. The surface soil has been a primary concern in the past decades, however it remains poorly understood about the adaptive response of microbial communities along the profile during ecological restoration of the tailings. In this study, microbial communities along a 60-cm profile were investigated in a mine tailing pond during ecological restoration of the bare waste tailings (BW) with two vegetated soils of Imperata cylindrica (IC) and Chrysopogon zizanioides (CZ) plants. Revegetation of both IC and CZ could retard soil degradation of mine tailing by stimulation of soil pH at 0-30 cm soils and altered the bacterial communities at 0-20 cm depths of the mine tailings. Significant differences existed in the relative abundance of the phyla Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Nitrospira. Slight difference of bacterial communities were found at 30-60 cm depths of mine tailings. Abundance and activity analysis of nifH genes also explained the elevated soil nitrogen contents at the surface 0-20 cm of the vegetated soils. These results suggest that microbial succession occurred primarily at surface tailings and vegetation of pioneering plants might have promoted ecological restoration of mine tailings.

  2. Ecological restoration alters microbial communities in mine tailings profiles

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yang; Jia, Zhongjun; Sun, Qingye; Zhan, Jing; Yang, Yang; Wang, Dan

    2016-04-01

    Ecological restoration of mine tailings have impact on soil physiochemical properties and microbial communities. The surface soil has been a primary concern in the past decades, however it remains poorly understood about the adaptive response of microbial communities along the profile during ecological restoration of the tailings. In this study, microbial communities along a 60-cm profile were investigated in a mine tailing pond during ecological restoration of the bare waste tailings (BW) with two vegetated soils of Imperata cylindrica (IC) and Chrysopogon zizanioides (CZ) plants. Revegetation of both IC and CZ could retard soil degradation of mine tailing by stimulation of soil pH at 0-30 cm soils and altered the bacterial communities at 0-20 cm depths of the mine tailings. Significant differences existed in the relative abundance of the phyla Alphaproteobacteria, Deltaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Firmicutes and Nitrospira. Slight difference of bacterial communities were found at 30-60 cm depths of mine tailings. Abundance and activity analysis of nifH genes also explained the elevated soil nitrogen contents at the surface 0-20 cm of the vegetated soils. These results suggest that microbial succession occurred primarily at surface tailings and vegetation of pioneering plants might have promoted ecological restoration of mine tailings.

  3. Embracing community ecology in plant microbiome research

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Dini-Andreote, F.; Raaijmakers, J.M.

    2018-01-01

    Community assembly is mediated by selection, dispersal, drift, and speciation. Environmental selection is mostly used to date to explain patterns in plant microbiome assembly, whereas the influence of the other processes remains largely elusive. Recent studies highlight that adopting community

  4. What is microbial community ecology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Konopka, Allan

    2009-11-01

    The activities of complex communities of microbes affect biogeochemical transformations in natural, managed and engineered ecosystems. Meaningfully defining what constitutes a community of interacting microbial populations is not trivial, but is important for rigorous progress in the field. Important elements of research in microbial community ecology include the analysis of functional pathways for nutrient resource and energy flows, mechanistic understanding of interactions between microbial populations and their environment, and the emergent properties of the complex community. Some emergent properties mirror those analyzed by community ecologists who study plants and animals: biological diversity, functional redundancy and system stability. However, because microbes possess mechanisms for the horizontal transfer of genetic information, the metagenome may also be considered as a community property.

  5. The relative importance of rapid evolution for plant-microbe interactions depends on ecological context.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Terhorst, Casey P; Lennon, Jay T; Lau, Jennifer A

    2014-06-22

    Evolution can occur on ecological time-scales, affecting community and ecosystem processes. However, the importance of evolutionary change relative to ecological processes remains largely unknown. Here, we analyse data from a long-term experiment in which we allowed plant populations to evolve for three generations in dry or wet soils and used a reciprocal transplant to compare the ecological effect of drought and the effect of plant evolutionary responses to drought on soil microbial communities and nutrient availability. Plants that evolved under drought tended to support higher bacterial and fungal richness, and increased fungal : bacterial ratios in the soil. Overall, the magnitudes of ecological and evolutionary effects on microbial communities were similar; however, the strength and direction of these effects depended on the context in which they were measured. For example, plants that evolved in dry environments increased bacterial abundance in dry contemporary environments, but decreased bacterial abundance in wet contemporary environments. Our results suggest that interactions between recent evolutionary history and ecological context affect both the direction and magnitude of plant effects on soil microbes. Consequently, an eco-evolutionary perspective is required to fully understand plant-microbe interactions.

  6. Ancient ecology of 15-million-year-old browsing mammals within C3 plant communities from Panama.

    Science.gov (United States)

    MacFadden, Bruce J; Higgins, Pennilyn

    2004-06-01

    Middle Miocene mammals are known from approximately 15 million-year-old sediments exposed along the Panama Canal of Central America, a region that otherwise has an exceedingly poor terrestrial fossil record. These land mammals, which represent a part of the ancient terrestrial herbivore community, include an oreodont Merycochoerus matthewi, small camel-like protoceratid artiodactyl Paratoceras wardi, two horses Anchitherium clarencei and Archaeohippus sp., and two rhinos Menoceras barbouri and Floridaceras whitei. Bulk and serial carbon and oxygen isotope analyses of the tooth enamel carbonate allow reconstruction of the ancient climate and ecology of these fossil mammals. Ancient Panama had an equable climate with seasonal temperature and rainfall fluctuations less than those seen today. The middle Miocene terrestrial community consisted predominantly, or exclusively, of C3 plants, i.e., there is no evidence for C4 grasses. Statistically different mean carbon isotope values for the mammalian herbivores indicate niche partitioning of the C3 plant food resources. The range of individual carbon isotope analyses, i.e., delta13C from -15.9 to -10.1 per thousand, indicates herbivores feeding on diverse plants from different habitats with extrapolated delta13C values of -29.9 to -24.2 per thousand, possibly ranging from dense forest to more open country woodland. The ecological niches of individual mammalian herbivore species were differentiated either by diet or body size.

  7. Measuring competition in plant communities where it is difficult to distinguish individual plants

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Damgaard, Christian

    2011-01-01

    A novel method for measuring plant-plant interactions in undisturbed semi-natural and natural plant communities where it is difficult to distinguish individual plants is discussed. It is assumed that the ecological success of the different plant species in the plant community may be adequately...... measured by plant cover and vertical density (a measure that is correlated to the 3-dimensional space occupancy and biomass). Both plant cover and vertical density are measured in a standard pin-point analysis in the beginning and at the end of the growing season. In the outlined competition model....... The method allows direct measurements of the competitive effects of neighbouringzplants on plant performance and the estimation of parameters that describe the ecological processes of plantplant interactions during the growing season as well as the process of survival and recruitment between growing seasons...

  8. A systematic review of the recent ecological literature on cushion plants: champions of plant facilitation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A. M. Reid

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Cushion-forming plant species are found in alpine and polar environments around the world. They modify the microclimate, thereby facilitating other plant species. Similar to the effectiveness of shrubs as a means to study facilitation in arid and semi-arid environments, we explore the potential for cushion plant species to expand the generality of research on this contemporary ecological interaction. A systematic review was conducted to determine the number of publications and citation frequency on relevant ecological topics whilst using shrub literature as a baseline to assess relative importance of cushions as a focal point for future ecological research. Although there are forty times more shrub articles, mean citations per paper is comparable between cushion and shrub literature. Furthermore, the scope of ecological research topics studied using cushions is broad including facilitation, competition, environmental gradients, life history, genetics, reproduction, community, ecosystem and evolution. The preliminary ecological evidence to date also strongly suggests that cushion plants can be keystone species in their ecosystems. Hence, ecological research on net interactions including facilitation and patterns of diversity can be successfully examined using cushion plants, and this is particularly timely given expectations associated with a changing climate in these regions.

  9. Investigating Effects of Invasive Species on Plant Community Structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franklin, Wilfred

    2008-01-01

    In this article, the author presents a field study project that explores factors influencing forest community structure and lifts the veil off of "plant blindness." This ecological study consists of three laboratories: (1) preliminary field trip to the study site; (2) plant survey; and (3) analyzing plant community structure with descriptive…

  10. Integrating plant ecological responses to climate extremes from individual to ecosystem levels.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Felton, Andrew J; Smith, Melinda D

    2017-06-19

    Climate extremes will elicit responses from the individual to the ecosystem level. However, only recently have ecologists begun to synthetically assess responses to climate extremes across multiple levels of ecological organization. We review the literature to examine how plant responses vary and interact across levels of organization, focusing on how individual, population and community responses may inform ecosystem-level responses in herbaceous and forest plant communities. We report a high degree of variability at the individual level, and a consequential inconsistency in the translation of individual or population responses to directional changes in community- or ecosystem-level processes. The scaling of individual or population responses to community or ecosystem responses is often predicated upon the functional identity of the species in the community, in particular, the dominant species. Furthermore, the reported stability in plant community composition and functioning with respect to extremes is often driven by processes that operate at the community level, such as species niche partitioning and compensatory responses during or after the event. Future research efforts would benefit from assessing ecological responses across multiple levels of organization, as this will provide both a holistic and mechanistic understanding of ecosystem responses to increasing climatic variability.This article is part of the themed issue 'Behavioural, ecological and evolutionary responses to extreme climatic events'. © 2017 The Author(s).

  11. Ecological context of the evolution of self-pollination in Clarkia xantiana: population size, plant communities, and reproductive assurance.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moeller, David A; Geber, Monica A

    2005-04-01

    The repeated evolutionary transition from outcrossing to self-pollination in flowering plants has been suggested to occur because selfing provides reproductive assurance. Reports from biogeographical and ecological surveys indicate that selfing taxa are often associated with stressful and ephemeral environments, situations in which plant abundance is low (e.g., Baker's law) and with novel plant communities, however experimental tests of ecological hypotheses are few. In this study, we examined the ecological context of selection on mating system traits (herkogamy and protandry) in a California annual, Clarkia xantiana, where natural selfing populations differ from outcrossing populations in that they are often of small size or low density and occur mainly outside the range of pollinator-sharing congeners. We constructed artificial populations of plants with broad genetic variation in floral traits and manipulated two ecological factors, plant population size, and the presence versus absence of pollinator-sharing congeners, in the center of the geographic range of outcrossing populations. We found evidence for context-dependent selection on herkogamy and protandry via female fitness in which reduced traits, which promote autonomous selfing, were favored in small populations isolated from congeners whereas selection was comparatively weak in large populations or when congeners were present. In small, isolated populations, the fertility of plants with low herkogamy or protandry was elevated by 66% and 58%, respectively, compared to those with high herkogamy or protandry. The presence of pollinator-sharing congeners augmented bee visitation rates to C. xantiana flowers by 47% for all bees and by 93% for pollen specialists. By facilitating pollinator visitation, congeners mitigated selection on mating system traits in small populations, where outcross mating success is often low (the Allee effect). We also found support for the hypothesis that pollinator availability

  12. Plant species and communities assessment in interaction with edaphic and topographic factors; an ecological study of the mount Eelum District Swat, Pakistan

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Murad Khan

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The current analyses of vegetation were aimed to study the different effects of environmental variables and plant species and communities interaction to these variables, identified threats to local vegetation and suggestion for remedial measures in the Mount Eelum, Swat, Pakistan. For assessment of environmental variability quantitative ecological techniques were used through quadrats having sizes of 2 × 2, 5 × 5 and 10 × 10 m2 for herbs, shrubs and trees respectively. Result of the present study revealed 124 plant species in the study area. Canonical Correspondence Analysis (CCA was used to analyze the ecological gradient of vegetation. The environmental data and species abundance were used in CANOCO software version 4.5. The presence absence data of plant species were elaborated with Cluster and Two Way Cluster Analysis techniques using PC-ORD version 5 to show different species composition that resulted in five plant communities. Findings indicate that elevation, aspect and soil texture are the strongest variables that have significant effect on species composition and distribution of various communities shown with P value 0.0500. It is recommended to protect and use sensibly whole of the Flora normally and rare species particularly in the region.

  13. New Approaches to Ecologically Based, Designed Urban Plant Communities in Britain: Do These Have Any Relevance in the United States?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Hitchmough

    2008-01-01

    Full Text Available This paper discusses the reasoning behind the development of a new approach to designed urban planting with grasses, forbs and geophytes that has been undertaken at the University of Sheffield over the past 15 years. The resulting plant communities are the result of applying contemporary ecological science to planting design, to maximize their sustainability while at the same time meeting the aesthetic and functional needs of the users of urban public landscapes. The geographical origin of the plants used in these communities varies according to the physical, ecological, and cultural context in which they are to be used. In some cases species are entirely native, in others entirely non-native. In many cases, a mixture of both is used. In discussing the rationale for the development of this approach in the United Kingdom context, the paper raises important issues about increasing the capacity of urban landscapes to support a greater diversity of native animals and to engage ordinary citizens in these activities at a time of dramatic climatic and social change. The approach we outline addresses some of these issues in the United Kingdom context, but it is uncertain whether there is merit in these approaches in the context of American towns and cities.

  14. Influence of microbial community diversity and function on pollutant removal in ecological wastewater treatment.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Yaohui; Huo, Yang; Liao, Kailingli; Qu, Jiuhui

    2017-10-01

    Traditional wastewater treatments based on activated sludge often encounter the problems of bulking and foaming, as well as malodor. To solve these problems, new treatment technologies have emerged in recent decades, including the ecological wastewater treatment process, which introduces selected local plants into the treatment system. With a focus on the underlying mechanisms of the ecological treatment process, we explored the microbial community biomass, composition, and function in the treatment system to understand the microbial growth in this system and its role in pollutant removal. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that ecological treatment significantly decreased influent bacterial quantity, with around 80% removal. 16S rRNA gene sequencing showed that the ecological treatment also altered the bacterial community structure of the wastewater, leading to a significant change in Comamonadaceae in the effluent. In the internal ecological system, because most of microbes aggregate in the plant rhizosphere and the sludge under plant roots, we selected two plant species (Nerium oleander and Arundo donax) to study the characteristics of rhizosphere and sludge microbes. Metagenomic results showed that the microbial community composition and function differed between the two species, and the microbial communities of A. donax were more sensitive to seasonal effects. Combined with their greater biomass and abundance of metabolic genes, microbes associated with N. oleander showed a greater contribution to pollutant removal. Further, the biodegradation pathways of some micropollutants, e.g., atrazine, were estimated.

  15. Plant succession and approaches to community restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bruce A. Roundy

    2005-01-01

    The processes of vegetation change over time, or plant succession, are also the processes involved in plant community restoration. Restoration efforts attempt to use designed disturbance, seedbed preparation and sowing methods, and selection of adapted and compatible native plant materials to enhance ecological function. The large scale of wildfires and weed invasion...

  16. Communicative interactions involving plants: information, evolution, and ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mescher, Mark C; Pearse, Ian S

    2016-08-01

    The role of information obtained via sensory cues and signals in mediating the interactions of organisms with their biotic and abiotic environments has been a major focus of work on sensory and behavioral ecology. Information-mediated interactions also have important implications for broader ecological patterns emerging at the community and ecosystem levels that are only now beginning to be explored. Given the extent to which plants dominate the sensory landscapes of terrestrial ecosystems, information-mediated interactions involving plants should be a major focus of efforts to elucidate these broader patterns. Here we explore how such efforts might be enhanced by a clear understanding of information itself-a central and potentially unifying concept in biology that has nevertheless been the subject of considerable confusion-and of its relationship to adaptive evolution and ecology. We suggest that information-mediated interactions should be a key focus of efforts to more fully integrate evolutionary biology and ecology. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Mountain Plant Community Sentinels: AWOL

    Science.gov (United States)

    Malanson, G. P.

    2017-12-01

    Mountain plant communities are thought to be sensitive to climate change. Because climatic gradients are steep on mountain slopes, the spatial response of plant communities to climate change should be compressed and easier to detect. These expectations have led to identifying mountain plant communities as sentinels for climate change. This idea has, however, been criticized. Two critiques, for alpine treeline and alpine tundra, are rehearsed and supplemented. The critique of alpine treeline as sentinel is bolstered with new model results on the confounding role of dispersal mechanisms and sensitivity to climatic volatility. In alpine tundra, for which background turnover rates have yet to be established, community composition may reflect environmental gradients only for extremes where effects of climate are most indirect. Both plant communities, while primarily determined by energy at broad scales, may respond to water as a proximate driver at local scales. These plant communities may not be in equilibrium with climate, and differently scaled time lags may mean that ongoing vegetation change may not signal ongoing climate change (or lack thereof). In both cases a double-whammy is created by scale dependence for time lags and for drivers leading to confusion, but these cases present opportunities for insights into basic ecology.

  18. Quantitative plant ecology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Damgaard, Christian

    2014-01-01

    This e-book is written in the Wolfram' CDF format (download free CDF player from Wolfram.com) The objective of this e-book is to introduce the population ecological concepts for measuring and predicting the ecological success of plant species. This will be done by focusing on the measurement...... and statistical modelling of plant species abundance and the relevant ecological processes that control species abundance. The focus on statistical modelling and likelihood function based methods also means that more algorithm based methods, e.g. ordination techniques and boosted regression tress...

  19. Revisiting the Holy Grail: using plant functional traits to understand ecological processes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Funk, Jennifer L; Larson, Julie E; Ames, Gregory M; Butterfield, Bradley J; Cavender-Bares, Jeannine; Firn, Jennifer; Laughlin, Daniel C; Sutton-Grier, Ariana E; Williams, Laura; Wright, Justin

    2017-05-01

    One of ecology's grand challenges is developing general rules to explain and predict highly complex systems. Understanding and predicting ecological processes from species' traits has been considered a 'Holy Grail' in ecology. Plant functional traits are increasingly being used to develop mechanistic models that can predict how ecological communities will respond to abiotic and biotic perturbations and how species will affect ecosystem function and services in a rapidly changing world; however, significant challenges remain. In this review, we highlight recent work and outstanding questions in three areas: (i) selecting relevant traits; (ii) describing intraspecific trait variation and incorporating this variation into models; and (iii) scaling trait data to community- and ecosystem-level processes. Over the past decade, there have been significant advances in the characterization of plant strategies based on traits and trait relationships, and the integration of traits into multivariate indices and models of community and ecosystem function. However, the utility of trait-based approaches in ecology will benefit from efforts that demonstrate how these traits and indices influence organismal, community, and ecosystem processes across vegetation types, which may be achieved through meta-analysis and enhancement of trait databases. Additionally, intraspecific trait variation and species interactions need to be incorporated into predictive models using tools such as Bayesian hierarchical modelling. Finally, existing models linking traits to community and ecosystem processes need to be empirically tested for their applicability to be realized. © 2016 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  20. Plant-insect interactions under bacterial influence: ecological implications and underlying mechanisms.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sugio, Akiko; Dubreuil, Géraldine; Giron, David; Simon, Jean-Christophe

    2015-02-01

    Plants and insects have been co-existing for more than 400 million years, leading to intimate and complex relationships. Throughout their own evolutionary history, plants and insects have also established intricate and very diverse relationships with microbial associates. Studies in recent years have revealed plant- or insect-associated microbes to be instrumental in plant-insect interactions, with important implications for plant defences and plant utilization by insects. Microbial communities associated with plants are rich in diversity, and their structure greatly differs between below- and above-ground levels. Microbial communities associated with insect herbivores generally present a lower diversity and can reside in different body parts of their hosts including bacteriocytes, haemolymph, gut, and salivary glands. Acquisition of microbial communities by vertical or horizontal transmission and possible genetic exchanges through lateral transfer could strongly impact on the host insect or plant fitness by conferring adaptations to new habitats. Recent developments in sequencing technologies and molecular tools have dramatically enhanced opportunities to characterize the microbial diversity associated with plants and insects and have unveiled some of the mechanisms by which symbionts modulate plant-insect interactions. Here, we focus on the diversity and ecological consequences of bacterial communities associated with plants and herbivorous insects. We also highlight the known mechanisms by which these microbes interfere with plant-insect interactions. Revealing such mechanisms in model systems under controlled environments but also in more natural ecological settings will help us to understand the evolution of complex multitrophic interactions in which plants, herbivorous insects, and micro-organisms are inserted. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions

  1. Management of plant communities on set-aside land and its effects on earthworm communities

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Gormsen, D.; Hedlund, K.; Korthals, G. W.; Mortimer, S. R.; Pižl, Václav; Šmilauerová, M.; Sugg, E.

    2004-01-01

    Roč. 40, 3-4 (2004), s. 123-128 ISSN 1164-5563 Grant - others:Evropská unie(XE) ENV4-CT95-0002 Keywords : earthworm community * plant community * land use Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 0.776, year: 2004

  2. Ecological assembly rules in plant communities-approaches, patterns and prospects

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Götzenberger, L.; de Bello, Francesco; Brathen, K. A.; Davison, J.; Dubuis, A.; Guisan, A.; Lepš, Jan; Lindborg, R.; Moora, M.; Partel, M.; Pellissier, L.; Pottier, J.; Vittoz, P.; Zobel, K.; Zobel, M.

    2012-01-01

    Roč. 87, č. 1 (2012), s. 111-127 ISSN 1464-7931 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA206/09/1471 Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z60050516; CEZ:AV0Z50070508 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 ; RVO:60077344 Keywords : community assembly * competition * meta - analysis Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 10.256, year: 2012

  3. The community ecology of pathogens: coinfection, coexistence and community composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Seabloom, Eric W; Borer, Elizabeth T; Gross, Kevin; Kendig, Amy E; Lacroix, Christelle; Mitchell, Charles E; Mordecai, Erin A; Power, Alison G

    2015-04-01

    Disease and community ecology share conceptual and theoretical lineages, and there has been a resurgence of interest in strengthening links between these fields. Building on recent syntheses focused on the effects of host community composition on single pathogen systems, we examine pathogen (microparasite) communities using a stochastic metacommunity model as a starting point to bridge community and disease ecology perspectives. Such models incorporate the effects of core community processes, such as ecological drift, selection and dispersal, but have not been extended to incorporate host-pathogen interactions, such as immunosuppression or synergistic mortality, that are central to disease ecology. We use a two-pathogen susceptible-infected (SI) model to fill these gaps in the metacommunity approach; however, SI models can be intractable for examining species-diverse, spatially structured systems. By placing disease into a framework developed for community ecology, our synthesis highlights areas ripe for progress, including a theoretical framework that incorporates host dynamics, spatial structuring and evolutionary processes, as well as the data needed to test the predictions of such a model. Our synthesis points the way for this framework and demonstrates that a deeper understanding of pathogen community dynamics will emerge from approaches working at the interface of disease and community ecology. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd/CNRS.

  4. Ethnomedicinal and ecological status of plants in Garhwal Himalaya, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    2011-01-01

    Background The northern part of India harbours a great diversity of medicinal plants due to its distinct geography and ecological marginal conditions. The traditional medical systems of northern India are part of a time tested culture and honored still by people today. These traditional systems have been curing complex disease for more than 3,000 years. With rapidly growing demand for these medicinal plants, most of the plant populations have been depleted, indicating a lack of ecological knowledge among communities using the plants. Thus, an attempt was made in this study to focus on the ecological status of ethnomedicinal plants, to determine their availability in the growing sites, and to inform the communities about the sustainable exploitation of medicinal plants in the wild. Methods The ecological information regarding ethnomedicinal plants was collected in three different climatic regions (tropical, sub-tropical and temperate) for species composition in different forest layers. The ecological information was assessed using the quadrate sampling method. A total of 25 quadrats, 10 × 10 m were laid out at random in order to sample trees and shrubs, and 40 quadrats of 1 × 1 m for herbaceous plants. In each climatic region, three vegetation sites were selected for ecological information; the mean values of density, basal cover, and the importance value index from all sites of each region were used to interpret the final data. Ethnomedicinal uses were collected from informants of adjacent villages. About 10% of inhabitants (older, experienced men and women) were interviewed about their use of medicinal plants. A consensus analysis of medicinal plant use between the different populations was conducted. Results Across the different climatic regions a total of 57 species of plants were reported: 14 tree species, 10 shrub species, and 33 herb species. In the tropical and sub-tropical regions, Acacia catechu was the dominant tree while Ougeinia oojeinensis in the

  5. Ethnomedicinal and ecological status of plants in Garhwal Himalaya, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Sheikh Mehraj A

    2011-10-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background The northern part of India harbours a great diversity of medicinal plants due to its distinct geography and ecological marginal conditions. The traditional medical systems of northern India are part of a time tested culture and honored still by people today. These traditional systems have been curing complex disease for more than 3,000 years. With rapidly growing demand for these medicinal plants, most of the plant populations have been depleted, indicating a lack of ecological knowledge among communities using the plants. Thus, an attempt was made in this study to focus on the ecological status of ethnomedicinal plants, to determine their availability in the growing sites, and to inform the communities about the sustainable exploitation of medicinal plants in the wild. Methods The ecological information regarding ethnomedicinal plants was collected in three different climatic regions (tropical, sub-tropical and temperate for species composition in different forest layers. The ecological information was assessed using the quadrate sampling method. A total of 25 quadrats, 10 × 10 m were laid out at random in order to sample trees and shrubs, and 40 quadrats of 1 × 1 m for herbaceous plants. In each climatic region, three vegetation sites were selected for ecological information; the mean values of density, basal cover, and the importance value index from all sites of each region were used to interpret the final data. Ethnomedicinal uses were collected from informants of adjacent villages. About 10% of inhabitants (older, experienced men and women were interviewed about their use of medicinal plants. A consensus analysis of medicinal plant use between the different populations was conducted. Results Across the different climatic regions a total of 57 species of plants were reported: 14 tree species, 10 shrub species, and 33 herb species. In the tropical and sub-tropical regions, Acacia catechu was the dominant tree while

  6. Plant reproduction is altered by simulated herbicide drift to constructed plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herbicide drift may have unintended impacts on native vegetation, adversely affecting structure and function of plant communities. However, these potential effects have been rarely studied or quantified. To determine potential ecological effects of herbicide drift, we construct...

  7. Plant pathogens structure arthropod communities across multiple spatial and temporal scales

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Tack, A.J.M.; Dicke, M.

    2013-01-01

    Plant pathogens and herbivores frequently co-occur on the same host plants. Despite this, little is known about the impact of their interactions on the structure of plant-based ecological communities. Here, we synthesize evidence that indicates that plant pathogens may profoundly impact arthropod

  8. Revitalizing traditional ecological knowledge: a study in an Alpine rural community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ianni, Elena; Geneletti, Davide; Ciolli, Marco

    2015-07-01

    This study aims to contribute to the debate on the value and the role of ecological knowledge in modern conservation strategies, with reference to the results of a case study conducted in the community of Montagne, located within a World Heritage site in the Italian Alps. This community is a paradigmatic example of the multiple transformations experienced by cultural landscapes in Alpine areas under the influence of global change. This study seeks to understand whether ecological knowledge is still in place in the community, and what the relationship is between the knowledge transmission and land use and social changes that have occurred in recent decades. To that end, the community is described by identifying the key variables (social, institutional, and ecological) that have historically shaped the landscape and the future priorities of the residents. Forest expansion, the most significant change in land use in the last 60 years, is analyzed using aerial photos; changes in biodiversity-related knowledge in the community are quantified by analyzing the inter-generational differences in plant species recognition. Results are discussed in the context of the current situation of the Montagne community, and the recommendation is made that policies and actions to promote traditional ecological knowledge protection or recovery in Europe be viewed as an important part of the recovery of community sovereignty and vitality. Lastly, concrete actions that can be implemented in our case study are proposed.

  9. Revitalizing Traditional Ecological Knowledge: A Study in an Alpine Rural Community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ianni, Elena; Geneletti, Davide; Ciolli, Marco

    2015-07-01

    This study aims to contribute to the debate on the value and the role of ecological knowledge in modern conservation strategies, with reference to the results of a case study conducted in the community of Montagne, located within a World Heritage site in the Italian Alps. This community is a paradigmatic example of the multiple transformations experienced by cultural landscapes in Alpine areas under the influence of global change. This study seeks to understand whether ecological knowledge is still in place in the community, and what the relationship is between the knowledge transmission and land use and social changes that have occurred in recent decades. To that end, the community is described by identifying the key variables (social, institutional, and ecological) that have historically shaped the landscape and the future priorities of the residents. Forest expansion, the most significant change in land use in the last 60 years, is analyzed using aerial photos; changes in biodiversity-related knowledge in the community are quantified by analyzing the inter-generational differences in plant species recognition. Results are discussed in the context of the current situation of the Montagne community, and the recommendation is made that policies and actions to promote traditional ecological knowledge protection or recovery in Europe be viewed as an important part of the recovery of community sovereignty and vitality. Lastly, concrete actions that can be implemented in our case study are proposed.

  10. On the Use of the Guild Concept in Plant Ecology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kroon, Hans de; Olff, Han

    1995-01-01

    The original defmition of the guild is reiterated and the concept discussed and placed in the context of related concepts such as resources and competition. From this conceptual framework the current use of guilds in studies of plant community ecology is evaluated. We discuss the criteria with which

  11. Between Design and Ecology

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Bjørn, Mona Chor

    such vegetation, based on concepts and theories in plant community ecology. If these communities are based on local forbs there is a continuum in anthropogenic intervention from designed and intensively maintained to semi-natural herbaceous vegetation. Results from a large field experiment show that, after three...... colonised by grasses and eventually woody species. This thesis adds useful basic knowledge in plant community ecology and species-specific growth, which are relevant to research and planning in landscape architecture and ecology....

  12. Non-linear effects of drought under shade: reconciling physiological and ecological models in plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Holmgren, M.; Gomez-Aparicio, L.; Quero, J.L.; Valladares, F.

    2012-01-01

    The combined effects of shade and drought on plant performance and the implications for species interactions are highly debated in plant ecology. Empirical evidence for positive and negative effects of shade on the performance of plants under dry conditions supports two contrasting theoretical

  13. Ordination of self-organizing feature map neural networks and its application to the study of plant communities

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Jintun ZHANG; Dongping MENG; Yuexiang XI

    2009-01-01

    A self-organizing feature map (SOFM) neural network is a powerful tool in analyzing and solving complex, non-linear problems. According to its features, a SOFM is entirely compatible with ordination studies of plant communities. In our present work, mathematical principles, and ordination techniques and procedures are introduced. A SOFM ordination was applied to the study of plant communities in the middle of the Taihang mountains. The ordination was carried out by using the NNTool box in MATLAB. The results of 68 quadrats of plant communities were distributed in SOFM space. The ordination axes showed the ecological gradients clearly and provided the relationships between communities with ecological meaning. The results are consistent with the reality of vegetation in the study area. This suggests that SOFM ordination is an effective technique in plant ecology. During ordination procedures, it is easy to carry out clustering of communities and so it is beneficial for combining classification and ordination in vegetation studies.

  14. Land-Use History and Contemporary Management Inform an Ecological Reference Model for Longleaf Pine Woodland Understory Plant Communities.

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brudvig, Lars A. [Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University; Orrock, John L. [Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin; Damschen, Ellen I. [Department of Zoology, University of Wisconsin; et al, et al

    2014-01-23

    Ecological restoration is frequently guided by reference conditions describing a successfully restored ecosystem; however, the causes and magnitude of ecosystem degradation vary, making simple knowledge of reference conditions insufficient for prioritizing and guiding restoration. Ecological reference models provide further guidance by quantifying reference conditions, as well as conditions at degraded states that deviate from reference conditions. Many reference models remain qualitative, however, limiting their utility. We quantified and evaluated a reference model for southeastern U.S. longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities. We used regression trees to classify 232 longleaf pine woodland sites at three locations along the Atlantic coastal plain based on relationships between understory plant community composition, soils lol(which broadly structure these communities), and factors associated with understory degradation, including fire frequency, agricultural history, and tree basal area. To understand the spatial generality of this model, we classified all sites together. and for each of three study locations separately. Both the regional and location-specific models produced quantifiable degradation gradients–i.e., progressive deviation from conditions at 38 reference sites, based on understory species composition, diversity and total cover, litter depth, and other attributes. Regionally, fire suppression was the most important degrading factor, followed by agricultural history, but at individual locations, agricultural history or tree basal area was most important. At one location, the influence of a degrading factor depended on soil attributes. We suggest that our regional model can help prioritize longleaf pine woodland restoration across our study region; however, due to substantial landscape-to-landscape variation, local management decisions should take into account additional factors (e.g., soil attributes). Our study demonstrates the utility

  15. Land-Use History and Contemporary Management Inform an Ecological Reference Model for Longleaf Pine Woodland Understory Plant Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brudvig, Lars A.; Orrock, John L.; Damschen, Ellen I.; Collins, Cathy D.; Hahn, Philip G.; Mattingly, W. Brett; Veldman, Joseph W.; Walker, Joan L.

    2014-01-01

    Ecological restoration is frequently guided by reference conditions describing a successfully restored ecosystem; however, the causes and magnitude of ecosystem degradation vary, making simple knowledge of reference conditions insufficient for prioritizing and guiding restoration. Ecological reference models provide further guidance by quantifying reference conditions, as well as conditions at degraded states that deviate from reference conditions. Many reference models remain qualitative, however, limiting their utility. We quantified and evaluated a reference model for southeastern U.S. longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities. We used regression trees to classify 232 longleaf pine woodland sites at three locations along the Atlantic coastal plain based on relationships between understory plant community composition, soils (which broadly structure these communities), and factors associated with understory degradation, including fire frequency, agricultural history, and tree basal area. To understand the spatial generality of this model, we classified all sites together and for each of three study locations separately. Both the regional and location-specific models produced quantifiable degradation gradients–i.e., progressive deviation from conditions at 38 reference sites, based on understory species composition, diversity and total cover, litter depth, and other attributes. Regionally, fire suppression was the most important degrading factor, followed by agricultural history, but at individual locations, agricultural history or tree basal area was most important. At one location, the influence of a degrading factor depended on soil attributes. We suggest that our regional model can help prioritize longleaf pine woodland restoration across our study region; however, due to substantial landscape-to-landscape variation, local management decisions should take into account additional factors (e.g., soil attributes). Our study demonstrates the utility of

  16. Land-use history and contemporary management inform an ecological reference model for longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lars A Brudvig

    Full Text Available Ecological restoration is frequently guided by reference conditions describing a successfully restored ecosystem; however, the causes and magnitude of ecosystem degradation vary, making simple knowledge of reference conditions insufficient for prioritizing and guiding restoration. Ecological reference models provide further guidance by quantifying reference conditions, as well as conditions at degraded states that deviate from reference conditions. Many reference models remain qualitative, however, limiting their utility. We quantified and evaluated a reference model for southeastern U.S. longleaf pine woodland understory plant communities. We used regression trees to classify 232 longleaf pine woodland sites at three locations along the Atlantic coastal plain based on relationships between understory plant community composition, soils (which broadly structure these communities, and factors associated with understory degradation, including fire frequency, agricultural history, and tree basal area. To understand the spatial generality of this model, we classified all sites together and for each of three study locations separately. Both the regional and location-specific models produced quantifiable degradation gradients-i.e., progressive deviation from conditions at 38 reference sites, based on understory species composition, diversity and total cover, litter depth, and other attributes. Regionally, fire suppression was the most important degrading factor, followed by agricultural history, but at individual locations, agricultural history or tree basal area was most important. At one location, the influence of a degrading factor depended on soil attributes. We suggest that our regional model can help prioritize longleaf pine woodland restoration across our study region; however, due to substantial landscape-to-landscape variation, local management decisions should take into account additional factors (e.g., soil attributes. Our study demonstrates

  17. On the Use of the Guild Concept in Plant Ecology

    OpenAIRE

    Kroon, Hans de; Olff, Han

    1995-01-01

    The original defmition of the guild is reiterated and the concept discussed and placed in the context of related concepts such as resources and competition. From this conceptual framework the current use of guilds in studies of plant community ecology is evaluated. We discuss the criteria with which species are assigned to guilds, the association of guilds with specific communities, the resource classes on which guilds are based, and the competitive relationships between species of a guild. W...

  18. HOW ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES ARE STRUCTURED: A REVIEW ON ECOLOGICAL ASSEMBLY RULES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gabriel Jaime Colorado Zuluaga

    Full Text Available Whether biological communities are deterministic or stochastic assemblages of species has long been a central topic of ecology. The widely demonstrated presence of structural patterns in nature may imply the existence of rules that regulate the organization of ecological communities. In this review, I present a compilation of major assembly rules that fundament, in a great proportion, the community assembly theory. Initially, I present a general overview of key concepts associated to the assembly of communities, in particular the origin of assembly rules, definition, the problem of scale and underlying mechanisms in the structure of ecological communities. Subsequently, two major approaches or paradigms (i.e. species-based and trait-based for the assembly of communities are discussed. Finally, major tested assembly rules are explored and discussed under the light of available published literature.

  19. The evolution of ethylene signaling in plant chemical ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Groen, Simon C; Whiteman, Noah K

    2014-07-01

    Ethylene is a key hormone in plant development, mediating plant responses to abiotic environmental stress, and interactions with attackers and mutualists. Here, we provide a synthesis of the role of ethylene in the context of plant ecology and evolution, and a prospectus for future research in this area. We focus on the regulatory function of ethylene in multi-organismal interactions. In general, plant interactions with different types of organisms lead to reduced or enhanced levels of ethylene. This in turn affects not only the plant's response to the interacting organism at hand, but also to other organisms in the community. These community-level effects become observable as enhanced or diminished relationships with future commensals, and systemic resistance or susceptibility to secondary attackers. Ongoing comparative genomic and phenotypic analyses continue to shed light on these interactions. These studies have revealed that plants and interacting organisms from separate kingdoms of life have independently evolved the ability to produce, perceive, and respond to ethylene. This signature of convergent evolution of ethylene signaling at the phenotypic level highlights the central role ethylene metabolism and signaling plays in plant interactions with microbes and animals.

  20. Plant Communities Rather than Soil Properties Structure Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities along Primary Succession on a Mine Spoil

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Krüger, Claudia; Kohout, Petr; Janoušková, Martina; Püschel, David; Frouz, J.; Rydlová, Jana

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 8, APR 20 (2017), s. 1-16, č. článku 719. ISSN 1664-302X R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-10377S; GA ČR GA15-05466S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : biodiversity * community ecology * fungal and plant succession Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.076, year: 2016

  1. Turnover of plant lineages shapes herbivore phylogenetic beta diversity along ecological gradients.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pellissier, Loïc; Ndiribe, Charlotte; Dubuis, Anne; Pradervand, Jean-Nicolas; Salamin, Nicolas; Guisan, Antoine; Rasmann, Sergio

    2013-05-01

    Understanding drivers of biodiversity patterns is of prime importance in this era of severe environmental crisis. More diverse plant communities have been postulated to represent a larger functional trait-space, more likely to sustain a diverse assembly of herbivore species. Here, we expand this hypothesis to integrate environmental, functional and phylogenetic variation of plant communities as factors explaining the diversity of lepidopteran assemblages along elevation gradients in the Swiss Western Alps. According to expectations, we found that the association between butterflies and their host plants is highly phylogenetically structured. Multiple regression analyses showed the combined effect of climate, functional traits and phylogenetic diversity in structuring butterfly communities. Furthermore, we provide the first evidence that plant phylogenetic beta diversity is the major driver explaining butterfly phylogenetic beta diversity. Along ecological gradients, the bottom up control of herbivore diversity is thus driven by phylogenetically structured turnover of plant traits as well as environmental variables. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  2. Rapid plant evolution in the presence of an introduced species alters community composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Smith, David Solance; Lau, Matthew K; Jacobs, Ryan; Monroy, Jenna A; Shuster, Stephen M; Whitham, Thomas G

    2015-10-01

    Because introduced species may strongly interact with native species and thus affect their fitness, it is important to examine how these interactions can cascade to have ecological and evolutionary consequences for whole communities. Here, we examine the interactions among introduced Rocky Mountain elk, Cervus canadensis nelsoni, a common native plant, Solidago velutina, and the diverse plant-associated community of arthropods. While introduced species are recognized as one of the biggest threats to native ecosystems, relatively few studies have investigated an evolutionary mechanism by which introduced species alter native communities. Here, we use a common garden design that addresses and supports two hypotheses. First, native S. velutina has rapidly evolved in the presence of introduced elk. We found that plants originating from sites with introduced elk flowered nearly 3 weeks before plants originating from sites without elk. Second, evolution of S. velutina results in a change to the plant-associated arthropod community. We found that plants originating from sites with introduced elk supported an arthropod community that had ~35 % fewer total individuals and a different species composition. Our results show that the impacts of introduced species can have both ecological and evolutionary consequences for strongly interacting species that subsequently cascade to affect a much larger community. Such evolutionary consequences are likely to be long-term and difficult to remediate.

  3. Constraints imposed by pollinator behaviour on the ecology and evolution of plant mating systems.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Devaux, C; Lepers, C; Porcher, E

    2014-07-01

    Most flowering plants rely on pollinators for their reproduction. Plant-pollinator interactions, although mutualistic, involve an inherent conflict of interest between both partners and may constrain plant mating systems at multiple levels: the immediate ecological plant selfing rates, their distribution in and contribution to pollination networks, and their evolution. Here, we review experimental evidence that pollinator behaviour influences plant selfing rates in pairs of interacting species, and that plants can modify pollinator behaviour through plastic and evolutionary changes in floral traits. We also examine how theoretical studies include pollinators, implicitly or explicitly, to investigate the role of their foraging behaviour in plant mating system evolution. In doing so, we call for more evolutionary models combining ecological and genetic factors, and additional experimental data, particularly to describe pollinator foraging behaviour. Finally, we show that recent developments in ecological network theory help clarify the impact of community-level interactions on plant selfing rates and their evolution and suggest new research avenues to expand the study of mating systems of animal-pollinated plant species to the level of the plant-pollinator networks. © 2014 The Authors. Journal of Evolutionary Biology © 2014 European Society For Evolutionary Biology.

  4. Towards a concept of community artifact ecology in HCI?

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Saad-Sulonen, Joanna; Korsgaard, Henrik

    or workplaces do. This has implications on understanding how to research and design HCI for communities but also on refining the ecological perspective in HCI. We look in particular at examples from preliminary research on a local self-organised urban community and discuss what existing concepts in the ecology......In this paper we introduce the concept of community artifact ecology. We argue that taking a community perspective on the concept of artifact ecologies is relevant in HCI because communities are also dealing with multitudes of artifacts, in ways di↵erent that individuals, organizations...

  5. Andean shrublands of Moquegua, South Peru: Prepuna plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Montesinos, D.B.; Cleef, A.M.; Sykora, K.V.

    2012-01-01

    A syntaxonomic overview of shrubland vegetation in the southern Andean regions of Peru is presented. For each plant community, information is given on physiognomy, floristic diversity, ecology and geographical distribution. The shrub vegetation on the slopes of the upper Tambo river valley includes

  6. Native plant community response to alien plant invasion and removal

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jara ANDREU

    2011-01-01

    Full Text Available Given the potential ecological impacts of invasive species, removal of alien plants has become an important management challenge and a high priority for environmental managers. To consider that a removal effort has been successful requires both, the effective elimination of alien plants and the restoration of the native plant community back to its historical composition and function. We present a conceptual framework based on observational and experimental data that compares invaded, non-invaded and removal sites to quantify invaders’ impacts and native plant recover after their removal. We also conduct a meta-analysis to quantitatively evaluate the impacts of plant invaders and the consequences of their removal on the native plant community, across a variety of ecosystems around the world. Our results that invasion by alien plants is responsible for a local decline in native species richness and abundance. Our analysis also provides evidence that after removal, the native vegetation has the potential to recover to a pre-invasion target state. Our review reveal that observational and experimental approaches are rarely used in concert, and that reference sites are scarcely employed to assess native species recovery after removal. However, we believe that comparing invaded, non-invaded and removal sites offer the opportunity to obtain scientific information with relevance for management.

  7. Functional diversity in plant communities: Theory and analysis ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Plant functional diversity in community has become a key point in ecology studies recently. The development of species functional diversity was reviewed in the present work. Based on the former original research papers and reviews, we discussed the concept and connotation and put forward a new definition of functional ...

  8. Inoculation effects on root-colonizing arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities spread beyond directly inoculated plants

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Janoušková, Martina; Krak, Karol; Vosátka, Miroslav; Püschel, David; Štorchová, Helena

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 12, č. 7 (2017), s. 1-21, č. článku e0181525. E-ISSN 1932-6203 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) LH14285 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 ; RVO:61389030 Keywords : inoculation * arbuscular mycorrhiza * community Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EH - Ecology, Behaviour (UEB-Q) OBOR OECD: Plant sciences, botany; Plant sciences, botany (UEB-Q) Impact factor: 2.806, year: 2016

  9. Is a community still a community? Reviewing definitions of key terms in community ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stroud, James T; Bush, Michael R; Ladd, Mark C; Nowicki, Robert J; Shantz, Andrew A; Sweatman, Jennifer

    2015-11-01

    Community ecology is an inherently complicated field, confounded by the conflicting use of fundamental terms. Nearly two decades ago, Fauth et al. (1996) demonstrated that imprecise language led to the virtual synonymy of important terms and so attempted to clearly define four keywords in community ecology; "community," "assemblage," "guild," and "ensemble". We revisit Fauth et al.'s conclusion and discuss how the use of these terms has changed over time since their review. An updated analysis of term definition from a selection of popular ecological textbooks suggests that definitions have drifted away from those encountered pre-1996, and slightly disagreed with results from a survey of 100 ecology professionals (comprising of academic professors, nonacademic PhDs, graduate and undergraduate biology students). Results suggest that confusion about these terms is still widespread in ecology. We conclude with clear suggestions for definitions of each term to be adopted hereafter to provide greater cohesion among research groups.

  10. Stochastic Community Assembly: Does It Matter in Microbial Ecology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhou, Jizhong; Ning, Daliang

    2017-12-01

    Understanding the mechanisms controlling community diversity, functions, succession, and biogeography is a central, but poorly understood, topic in ecology, particularly in microbial ecology. Although stochastic processes are believed to play nonnegligible roles in shaping community structure, their importance relative to deterministic processes is hotly debated. The importance of ecological stochasticity in shaping microbial community structure is far less appreciated. Some of the main reasons for such heavy debates are the difficulty in defining stochasticity and the diverse methods used for delineating stochasticity. Here, we provide a critical review and synthesis of data from the most recent studies on stochastic community assembly in microbial ecology. We then describe both stochastic and deterministic components embedded in various ecological processes, including selection, dispersal, diversification, and drift. We also describe different approaches for inferring stochasticity from observational diversity patterns and highlight experimental approaches for delineating ecological stochasticity in microbial communities. In addition, we highlight research challenges, gaps, and future directions for microbial community assembly research. Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.

  11. Resurvey of historical vegetation plots: a tool for understanding long-term dynamics of plant communities

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Hédl, Radim; Brnhardt-Römermann, M.; Grytnes, J.-A.; Jurasinski, G.; Ewald, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 20, č. 2 (2017), s. 161-163 ISSN 1402-2001 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : global change * plant communities * plot resurveys Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 2.474, year: 2016

  12. Principles for ecologically based invasive plant management

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeremy J. James; Brenda S. Smith; Edward A. Vasquez; Roger L. Sheley

    2010-01-01

    Land managers have long identified a critical need for a practical and effective framework for designing restoration strategies, especially where invasive plants dominate. A holistic, ecologically based, invasive plant management (EBIPM) framework that integrates ecosystem health assessment, knowledge of ecological processes, and adaptive management into a successional...

  13. Ecological and evolutionary effects of stickleback on community structure.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Simone Des Roches

    Full Text Available Species' ecology and evolution can have strong effects on communities. Both may change concurrently when species colonize a new ecosystem. We know little, however, about the combined effects of ecological and evolutionary change on community structure. We simultaneously examined the effects of top-predator ecology and evolution on freshwater community parameters using recently evolved generalist and specialist ecotypes of three-spine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus. We used a mesocosm experiment to directly examine the effects of ecological (fish presence and density and evolutionary (phenotypic diversity and specialization factors on community structure at lower trophic levels. We evaluated zooplankton biomass and composition, periphyton and phytoplankton chlorophyll-a concentration, and net primary production among treatments containing different densities and diversities of stickleback. Our results showed that both ecological and evolutionary differences in the top-predator affect different aspects of community structure and composition. Community structure, specifically the abundance of organisms at each trophic level, was affected by stickleback presence and density, whereas composition of zooplankton was influenced by stickleback diversity and specialization. Primary productivity, in terms of chlorophyll-a concentration and net primary production was affected by ecological but not evolutionary factors. Our results stress the importance of concurrently evaluating both changes in density and phenotypic diversity on the structure and composition of communities.

  14. Chemical ecology of insect-plant interactions: ecological significance of plant secondary metabolites.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nishida, Ritsuo

    2014-01-01

    Plants produce a diverse array of secondary metabolites as chemical barriers against herbivores. Many phytophagous insects are highly adapted to these allelochemicals and use such unique substances as the specific host-finding cues, defensive substances of their own, and even as sex pheromones or their precursors by selectively sensing, incorporating, and/or processing these phytochemicals. Insects also serve as pollinators often effectively guided by specific floral fragrances. This review demonstrates the ecological significance of such plant secondary metabolites in the highly diverse interactions between insects and plants.

  15. Is a community still a community? Reviewing definitions of key terms in community ecology

    OpenAIRE

    Stroud, James T.; Bush, Michael R.; Ladd, Mark C.; Nowicki, Robert J.; Shantz, Andrew A.; Sweatman, Jennifer

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Community ecology is an inherently complicated field, confounded by the conflicting use of fundamental terms. Nearly two decades ago, Fauth et?al. (1996) demonstrated that imprecise language led to the virtual synonymy of important terms and so attempted to clearly define four keywords in community ecology; ?community,? ?assemblage,? ?guild,? and ?ensemble?. We revisit Fauth et?al.'s conclusion and discuss how the use of these terms has changed over time since their review. An update...

  16. Community ecology in a changing environment: Perspectives from the Quaternary.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jackson, Stephen T; Blois, Jessica L

    2015-04-21

    Community ecology and paleoecology are both concerned with the composition and structure of biotic assemblages but are largely disconnected. Community ecology focuses on existing species assemblages and recently has begun to integrate history (phylogeny and continental or intercontinental dispersal) to constrain community processes. This division has left a "missing middle": Ecological and environmental processes occurring on timescales from decades to millennia are not yet fully incorporated into community ecology. Quaternary paleoecology has a wealth of data documenting ecological dynamics at these timescales, and both fields can benefit from greater interaction and articulation. We discuss ecological insights revealed by Quaternary terrestrial records, suggest foundations for bridging between the disciplines, and identify topics where the disciplines can engage to mutual benefit.

  17. How plants connect pollination and herbivory networks and their contribution to community stability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauve, Alix M C; Thébault, Elisa; Pocock, Michael J O; Fontaine, Colin

    2016-04-01

    Pollination and herbivory networks have mainly been studied separately, highlighting their distinct structural characteristics and the related processes and dynamics. However, most plants interact with both pollinators and herbivores, and there is evidence that both types of interaction affect each other. Here we investigated the way plants connect these mutualistic and antagonistic networks together, and the consequences for community stability. Using an empirical data set, we show that the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks is not random and promotes community stability. Analyses of the structure of binary and quantitative networks show different results: the plants' generalism with regard to pollinators is positively correlated to their generalism with regard to herbivores when considering binary interactions, but not when considering quantitative interactions. We also show that plants that share the same pollinators do not share the same herbivores. However, the way plants connect pollination and herbivory networks promotes stability for both binary and quantitative networks. Our results highlight the relevance of considering the diversity of interaction types in ecological communities, and stress the need to better quantify the costs and benefits of interactions, as well as to develop new metrics characterizing the way different interaction types are combined within ecological networks.

  18. Ecological communities with Lotka-Volterra dynamics

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bunin, Guy

    2017-04-01

    Ecological communities in heterogeneous environments assemble through the combined effect of species interaction and migration. Understanding the effect of these processes on the community properties is central to ecology. Here we study these processes for a single community subject to migration from a pool of species, with population dynamics described by the generalized Lotka-Volterra equations. We derive exact results for the phase diagram describing the dynamical behaviors, and for the diversity and species abundance distributions. A phase transition is found from a phase where a unique globally attractive fixed point exists to a phase where multiple dynamical attractors exist, leading to history-dependent community properties. The model is shown to possess a symmetry that also establishes a connection with other well-known models.

  19. Unique ecological impacts associated with offshore floating nuclear power plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Adams, S.M.; McLean, R.B.

    1979-01-01

    The ecological impacts that could occur as a result of site construction and operation of an offshore floating nuclear power plant are identified by comparing the principal ecological features associated with offshore siting with those associated with the siting of onshore estuarine plants. In general, the ecological impacts of offshore nuclear plants should be relatively smaller than those of estuarine plants. Possible factors that could increase the relative impacts of offshore plants are high frequency of contact with schools of fish, siting near inlets to estuaries or other ecologically important areas, and the persistence of halogen residuals. Identifying the potential ecological impacts associated with the siting of offshore plants permits the development of various monitoring programs and measures to minimize these impacts

  20. Non-linear effects of drought under shade: reconciling physiological and ecological models in plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Holmgren, Milena; Gómez-Aparicio, Lorena; Quero, José Luis; Valladares, Fernando

    2012-06-01

    The combined effects of shade and drought on plant performance and the implications for species interactions are highly debated in plant ecology. Empirical evidence for positive and negative effects of shade on the performance of plants under dry conditions supports two contrasting theoretical models about the role of shade under dry conditions: the trade-off and the facilitation hypotheses. We performed a meta-analysis of field and greenhouse studies evaluating the effects of drought at two or more irradiance levels on nine response variables describing plant physiological condition, growth, and survival. We explored differences in plant response across plant functional types, ecosystem types and methodological approaches. The data were best fit using quadratic models indicating a humped-back shape response to drought along an irradiance gradient for survival, whole plant biomass, maximum photosynthetic capacity, stomatal conductance and maximal photochemical efficiency. Drought effects were ameliorated at intermediate irradiance, becoming more severe at higher or lower light levels. This general pattern was maintained when controlling for potential variations in the strength of the drought treatment among light levels. Our quantitative meta-analysis indicates that dense shade ameliorates drought especially among drought-intolerant and shade-tolerant species. Wet tropical species showed larger negative effects of drought with increasing irradiance than semiarid and cold temperate species. Non-linear responses to irradiance were stronger under field conditions than under controlled greenhouse conditions. Non-linear responses to drought along the irradiance gradient reconciliate opposing views in plant ecology, indicating that facilitation is more likely within certain range of environmental conditions, fading under deep shade, especially for drought-tolerant species.

  1. Do seedling functional groups reflect ecological strategies of woody plant species in Caatinga?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tatiane Gomes Calaça Menezes

    2017-11-01

    Full Text Available ABSTRACT It is assumed that morphological traits of seedlings reflect different strategies in response to environmental conditions. The ecological significance of this has been widely documented in rainforests, where habitat structure and species interactions play an important role in community assembly. However, in seasonally dry ecosystems, where environmental filtering is expected to strongly influence community structure, this relationship is poorly understood. We investigated this relationship between functional groups of seedlings and life history traits and tested whether functional group predicts the ecological strategies employed by woody species to deal with the stressful conditions in seasonally dry ecosystems. Seedling functional groups, life history traits and traits that reflect ecological strategies for occupying seasonally dry environments were described for twenty-six plant species. Seedlings of species from the Caatinga vegetation exhibited a functional profile different from that observed in rainforests ecosystems. Phanerocotylar-epigeal seedlings were the most frequently observed groups, and had the largest range of ecological strategies related to dealing with seasonally dry environments, while phanerocotylar-hypogeal-reserve seedlings exhibited an increase in frequency with seasonality. We discuss these results in relation to those observed in other tropical forests and their ecological significance in seasonally dry environments.

  2. [Succession pattern of artificial vegetation community and its ecological mechanism in an arid desert region].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xu, Cailin; Li, Zizhen

    2003-09-01

    Focusing on the artificial vegetation protection system of the Shapotou section of Baotou-Lanzhou railway in the arid desert region of China, this paper examined the dynamics of dominant plant species and the succession pattern of artificial plant community in the process of establishing and developing regional artificial vegetation. It also studied the driving force and the ecologically intrinsic mechanism of the community succession. The results demonstrated that the species composition of the artificial vegetation dramatically changed after 40 years of succession, from original artificial plant community of shrub and semi-shrub to artificial-natural desert plant community with annual herb dominated. During the process of succession, the importance values of artificial shrubs, such as Caragana korshinskii and Hedysarum scoparius, decreased and gradually retreated from the artificial plant community, while the naturally multiplied annual herb, such as Eragrostis poaeoides, Bassia dasyphylla, Salsola ruthenica, Chloris virgata and etc., were presented one after another and gradually became dominant. Besides, Artemisia ordosica always played a key role in the community due to its ability of naturally sowing and self-replacement. This type of succession pattern was closely related to the shortage of precipitation resource in this region and the formation of soil crust which inhibited the reproduction of shrub and perennial herb with deep root systems. This study provided a theoretical ground for realizing persistent development of artificial plant community.

  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. High specificity but contrasting biodiversity of Sphagnum-associated bacterial and plant communities in bog ecosystems independent of the geographical region.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Opelt, Katja; Berg, Christian; Schönmann, Susan; Eberl, Leo; Berg, Gabriele

    2007-10-01

    Mosses represent ecological niches that harbor a hitherto largely uncharacterized microbial diversity. To investigate which factors affect the biodiversity of bryophyte-associated bacteria, we analyzed the bacterial communities associated with two moss species, which exhibit different ecological behaviors and importance in bog ecosystems, Sphagnum magellanicum and Sphagnum fallax, from six temperate and boreal bogs in Germany and Norway. Furthermore, their surrounding plant communities were studied. Molecular analysis of bacterial communities was determined by single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analysis using eubacterial and genus-specific primers for the dominant genera Burkholderia and Serratia as well as by sequence analysis of a Burkholderia 16S rRNA gene clone library. Plant communities were analyzed by monitoring the abundance and composition of bryophyte and vascular plant species, and by determining ecological indicator values. Interestingly, we found a high degree of host specificity for associated bacterial and plant communities of both Sphagnum species independent of the geographical region. Calculation of diversity indices on the basis of SSCP gels showed that the S. fallax-associated communities displayed a statistically significant higher degree of diversity than those associated with S. magellanicum. In contrast, analyses of plant communities of Sphagnum-specific habitats resulted in a higher diversity of S. magellanicum-specific habitats for all six sites. The higher content of nutrients in the S. fallax-associated ecosystems can explain higher diversity of microorganisms.

  5. Diversity spurs diversification in ecological communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calcagno, Vincent; Jarne, Philippe; Loreau, Michel; Mouquet, Nicolas; David, Patrice

    2017-06-01

    Diversity is a fundamental, yet threatened, property of ecological systems. The idea that diversity can itself favour diversification, in an autocatalytic process, is very appealing but remains controversial. Here, we study a generalized model of ecological communities and investigate how the level of initial diversity influences the possibility of evolutionary diversification. We show that even simple models of intra- and inter-specific ecological interactions can predict a positive effect of diversity on diversification: adaptive radiations may require a threshold number of species before kicking-off. We call this phenomenon DDAR (diversity-dependent adaptive radiations) and identify mathematically two distinct pathways connecting diversity to diversification, involving character displacement and the positive diversity-productivity relationship. Our results may explain observed delays in adaptive radiations at the macroscale and diversification patterns reported in experimental microbial communities, and shed new light on the dynamics of ecological diversity, the diversity-dependence of diversification rates, and the consequences of biodiversity loss.

  6. Diversity spurs diversification in ecological communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Calcagno, Vincent; Jarne, Philippe; Loreau, Michel; Mouquet, Nicolas; David, Patrice

    2017-06-09

    Diversity is a fundamental, yet threatened, property of ecological systems. The idea that diversity can itself favour diversification, in an autocatalytic process, is very appealing but remains controversial. Here, we study a generalized model of ecological communities and investigate how the level of initial diversity influences the possibility of evolutionary diversification. We show that even simple models of intra- and inter-specific ecological interactions can predict a positive effect of diversity on diversification: adaptive radiations may require a threshold number of species before kicking-off. We call this phenomenon DDAR (diversity-dependent adaptive radiations) and identify mathematically two distinct pathways connecting diversity to diversification, involving character displacement and the positive diversity-productivity relationship. Our results may explain observed delays in adaptive radiations at the macroscale and diversification patterns reported in experimental microbial communities, and shed new light on the dynamics of ecological diversity, the diversity-dependence of diversification rates, and the consequences of biodiversity loss.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

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

  8. Ecology and evolution of plant-pollinator interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mitchell, Randall J; Irwin, Rebecca E; Flanagan, Rebecca J; Karron, Jeffrey D

    2009-06-01

    Some of the most exciting advances in pollination biology have resulted from interdisciplinary research combining ecological and evolutionary perspectives. For example, these two approaches have been essential for understanding the functional ecology of floral traits, the dynamics of pollen transport, competition for pollinator services, and patterns of specialization and generalization in plant-pollinator interactions. However, as research in these and other areas has progressed, many pollination biologists have become more specialized in their research interests, focusing their attention on either evolutionary or ecological questions. We believe that the continuing vigour of a synthetic and interdisciplinary field like pollination biology depends on renewed connections between ecological and evolutionary approaches. In this Viewpoint paper we highlight the application of ecological and evolutionary approaches to two themes in pollination biology: (1) links between pollinator behaviour and plant mating systems, and (2) generalization and specialization in pollination systems. We also describe how mathematical models and synthetic analyses have broadened our understanding of pollination biology, especially in human-modified landscapes. We conclude with several suggestions that we hope will stimulate future research. This Viewpoint also serves as the introduction to this Special Issue on the Ecology and Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Interactions. These papers provide inspiring examples of the synergy between evolutionary and ecological approaches, and offer glimpses of great accomplishments yet to come.

  9. The ecological risks of transgenic plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giovannetti, Manuela

    2003-01-01

    Biotechnologies have been utilized "ante litteram" for thousands of years to produce food and drink and genetic engineering techniques have been widely applied to produce many compounds for human use, from insulin to other medicines. The debate on genetically modified (GM) organisms broke out all over the world only when GM crops were released into the field. Plant ecologists, microbiologists and population geneticists carried out experiments aimed at evaluating the environmental impact of GM crops. The most significant findings concern: the spread of transgenes through GM pollen diffusion and its environmental impact after hybridisation with closely related wild species or subspecies; horizontal gene transfer from transgenic plants to soil microbes; the impact of insecticide proteins released into the soil by transformed plants on non-target microbial soil communities. Recent developments in genetic engineering produced a technology, dubbed "Terminator", which protects patented genes introduced in transgenic plants by killing the seeds in the second generation. This genetic construct, which interferes so heavily with fundamental life processes, is considered dangerous and should be ex-ante evaluated taking into account the data on "unexpected events", as here discussed, instead of relying on the "safe until proven otherwise" claim. Awareness that scientists, biotechnologists and genetic engineers cannot answer the fundamental question "how likely is that transgenes will be transferred from cultivated plants into the natural environment?" should foster long-term studies on the ecological risks and benefits of transgenic crops.

  10. 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.

  11. Ecological niche of plant pathogens

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ecaterina Fodor

    2011-06-01

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

  12. Ecological niche of plant pathogens

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ecaterina Fodor

    2011-02-01

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

  13. Ecological Networks and Community Attachment and Support Among Recently Resettled Refugees.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soller, Brian; Goodkind, Jessica R; Greene, R Neil; Browning, Christopher R; Shantzek, Cece

    2018-03-25

    Interventions aimed at enhancing mental health are increasingly centered around promoting community attachment and support. However, few have examined and tested the specific ecological factors that give rise to these key community processes. Drawing from insights from the ecological network perspective, we tested whether spatial and social overlap in routine activity settings (e.g., work, school, childcare) with fellow ethnic community members is associated with individuals' attachment to their ethnic communities and access to social resources embedded in their communities. Data on routine activity locations drawn from the Refugee Well-Being Project (based in a city in the Southwestern United States) were used to reconstruct the ecological networks of recently resettled refugee communities, which were two-mode networks that comprise individuals and their routine activity locations. Results indicated that respondents' community attachment and support increased with their ecological network extensity-which taps the extent to which respondents share routine activity locations with other community members. Our study highlights a key ecological process that potentially enhances individuals' ethnic community attachment that extends beyond residential neighborhoods. © Society for Community Research and Action 2018.

  14. Plant Communities Rather than Soil Properties Structure Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities along Primary Succession on a Mine Spoil

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Krüger, C.; Kohout, Petr; Janoušková, M.; Püschel, D.; Frouz, J.; Rydlová, J.

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 8, APR 20 (2017), s. 1-16, č. článku 719. ISSN 1664-302X Institutional support: RVO:61388971 Keywords : biodiversity * community ecology * fungal and plant succession Subject RIV: EE - Microbiology, Virology OBOR OECD: Microbiology Impact factor: 4.076, year: 2016

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-12-02

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

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Marianne Elias

    2008-12-01

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

  17. Game theory and plant ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McNickle, Gordon G; Dybzinski, Ray

    2013-04-01

    The fixed and plastic traits possessed by a plant, which may be collectively thought of as its strategy, are commonly modelled as density-independent adaptations to its environment. However, plant strategies may also represent density- or frequency-dependent adaptations to the strategies used by neighbours. Game theory provides the tools to characterise such density- and frequency-dependent interactions. Here, we review the contributions of game theory to plant ecology. After briefly reviewing game theory from the perspective of plant ecology, we divide our review into three sections. First, game theoretical models of allocation to shoots and roots often predict investment in those organs beyond what would be optimal in the absence of competition. Second, game theoretical models of enemy defence suggest that an individual's investment in defence is not only a means of reducing its own tissue damage but also a means of deflecting enemies onto competitors. Finally, game theoretical models of trade with mutualistic partners suggest that the optimal trade may reflect competition for access to mutualistic partners among plants. In short, our review provides an accessible entrance to game theory that will help plant ecologists enrich their research with its worldview and existing predictions. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.

  18. 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.

  19. Spatial point process analysis for a plant community with high biodiversity

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Illian, Janine; Møller, Jesper; Waagepetersen, Rasmus Plenge

    A complex multivariate spatial point pattern for a plant community with high biodiversity is modelled using a hierarchical multivariate point process model. In the model, interactions between plants with different post-fire regeneration strategies are of key interest. We consider initially...... a maximum likelihood approach to inference where problems arise due to unknown interaction radii for the plants. We next demonstrate that a Bayesian approach provides a flexible framework for incorporating prior information concerning the interaction radii. From an ecological perspective, we are able both...

  20. Ecological Risk Assessment of Genetically Modified Higher Plants (GMHP)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kjær, C.; Damgaard, C.; Kjellsson, G.

    Preface This publication is a first version of a manual identifying the data needs for ecological risk assessment of genetically modified higher plants (GMHP). It is the intention of the authors to stimulate further discussion of what data are needed in order to conduct a proper ecological risk...... of the project Biotechnology: elements in environmental risk assessment of genetically modified plants. December 1999 Christian Kjær Introduction In ecological risk assessment of transgenic plants, information on a wide range of subjects is needed for an effective and reliable assessment procedure...... in the amendment to the directive. This report suggests a structured way to identify the type of data needed to perform a sound ecological risk assessment for genetically modified higher plants (GMHP). The identified data types are intended to support the evaluation of the following risks: risk of invasion...

  1. The genetics of indirect ecological effects - plant parasites and aphid herbivores

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jennifer K Rowntree

    2014-04-01

    Full Text Available When parasitic plants and aphid herbivores share a host, both direct and indirect ecological effects (IEEs can influence evolutionary processes. We used a hemiparasitic plant (Rhinanthus minor, a grass host (Hordeum vulgare and a cereal aphid (Sitobion avenae to investigate the genetics of IEEs between the aphid and the parasitic plant, and looked to see how these might affect or be influenced by the genetic diversity of the host plants. Survival of R. minor depended on the parasite’s population of origin, the genotypes of the aphids sharing the host and the genetic diversity in the host plant community. Hence the indirect effects of the aphids on the parasitic plants depended on the genetic environment of the system. Here, we show that genetic variation can be important in determining the outcome of IEEs. Therefore, IEEs have the potential to influence evolutionary processes and the continuity of species interactions over time.

  2. Estimating and mapping ecological processes influencing microbial community assembly.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stegen, James C; Lin, Xueju; Fredrickson, Jim K; Konopka, Allan E

    2015-01-01

    Ecological community assembly is governed by a combination of (i) selection resulting from among-taxa differences in performance; (ii) dispersal resulting from organismal movement; and (iii) ecological drift resulting from stochastic changes in population sizes. The relative importance and nature of these processes can vary across environments. Selection can be homogeneous or variable, and while dispersal is a rate, we conceptualize extreme dispersal rates as two categories; dispersal limitation results from limited exchange of organisms among communities, and homogenizing dispersal results from high levels of organism exchange. To estimate the influence and spatial variation of each process we extend a recently developed statistical framework, use a simulation model to evaluate the accuracy of the extended framework, and use the framework to examine subsurface microbial communities over two geologic formations. For each subsurface community we estimate the degree to which it is influenced by homogeneous selection, variable selection, dispersal limitation, and homogenizing dispersal. Our analyses revealed that the relative influences of these ecological processes vary substantially across communities even within a geologic formation. We further identify environmental and spatial features associated with each ecological process, which allowed mapping of spatial variation in ecological-process-influences. The resulting maps provide a new lens through which ecological systems can be understood; in the subsurface system investigated here they revealed that the influence of variable selection was associated with the rate at which redox conditions change with subsurface depth.

  3. Estimating and Mapping Ecological Processes Influencing Microbial Community Assembly

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James C Stegen

    2015-05-01

    Full Text Available Ecological community assembly is governed by a combination of (i selection resulting from among-taxa differences in performance; (ii dispersal resulting from organismal movement; and (iii ecological drift resulting from stochastic changes in population sizes. The relative importance and nature of these processes can vary across environments. Selection can be homogeneous or variable, and while dispersal is a rate, we conceptualize extreme dispersal rates as two categories; dispersal limitation results from limited exchange of organisms among communities, and homogenizing dispersal results from high levels of organism exchange. To estimate the influence and spatial variation of each process we extend a recently developed statistical framework, use a simulation model to evaluate the accuracy of the extended framework, and use the framework to examine subsurface microbial communities over two geologic formations. For each subsurface community we estimate the degree to which it is influenced by homogeneous selection, variable selection, dispersal limitation, and homogenizing dispersal. Our analyses revealed that the relative influences of these ecological processes vary substantially across communities even within a geologic formation. We further identify environmental and spatial features associated with each ecological process, which allowed mapping of spatial variation in ecological-process-influences. The resulting maps provide a new lens through which ecological systems can be understood; in the subsurface system investigated here they revealed that the influence of variable selection was associated with the rate at which redox conditions change with subsurface depth.

  4. Integrating human and natural systems in community psychology: an ecological model of stewardship behavior.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moskell, Christine; Allred, Shorna Broussard

    2013-03-01

    Community psychology (CP) research on the natural environment lacks a theoretical framework for analyzing the complex relationship between human systems and the natural world. We introduce other academic fields concerned with the interactions between humans and the natural environment, including environmental sociology and coupled human and natural systems. To demonstrate how the natural environment can be included within CP's ecological framework, we propose an ecological model of urban forest stewardship action. Although ecological models of behavior in CP have previously modeled health behaviors, we argue that these frameworks are also applicable to actions that positively influence the natural environment. We chose the environmental action of urban forest stewardship because cities across the United States are planting millions of trees and increased citizen participation in urban tree planting and stewardship will be needed to sustain the benefits provided by urban trees. We used the framework of an ecological model of behavior to illustrate multiple levels of factors that may promote or hinder involvement in urban forest stewardship actions. The implications of our model for the development of multi-level ecological interventions to foster stewardship actions are discussed, as well as directions for future research to further test and refine the model.

  5. ECOLOGICAL INTELLIGENCE OF COASTAL COMMUNITY ON BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION (Case Study of Bajau Coastal Communities, Gorontalo

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ramli Utina

    2017-04-01

    Full Text Available Human behavior is a part of the ecological system, therefore overcoming the ecological crisis and living resources need to explore human traditions, way of life and human behavior toward natural resources. Understanding and translation of human harmonious relationship with all elements along with other living beings is a form of human ecological intelligence. The objective of this study was to describe the traditions and coastal communities behavior that contains the value of ecological intelligence in coastal biodiversity conservation. The study was based on observation, focus group discussion and identification of Bajau coastal community tradition in their lives and livelihoods on fishing, as well as the behavior toward biological resources. Bajau coastal communities settled in three villages in Pohuwato regency, Gorontalo. There are two themes that contains the value of ecological intelligence of  Bajau communities in the conservation of biodiversity, namely; mamia kadialo in tradition of fishing, and fishing behavior. The prohibition in the tradition of mamia kadialo contains the value of conservation of biodiversity. Usage of simple equipment on fishing activities provide a positive ecological consequences for the conservation of coastal biodiversity.

  6. Moving forward on facilitation research: response to changing environments and effects on the diversity, functioning and evolution of plant communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Soliveres, Santiago; Smit, Christian; Maestre, Fernando T.

    2015-01-01

    Once seen as anomalous, facilitative interactions among plants and their importance for community structure and functioning are now widely recognized. The growing body of modelling, descriptive and experimental studies on facilitation covers a wide variety of terrestrial and aquatic systems throughout the globe. However, the lack of a general body of theory linking facilitation among different types of organisms and biomes and their responses to environmental changes prevents further advances in our knowledge regarding the evolutionary and ecological implications of facilitation in plant communities. Moreover, insights gathered from alternative lines of inquiry may substantially improve our understanding of facilitation, but these have been largely neglected thus far. Despite over 15 years of research and debate on this topic, there is no consensus on the degree to which plant–plant interactions change predictably along environmental gradients (i.e. the stress-gradient hypothesis), and this hinders our ability to predict how plant–plant interactions may affect the response of plant communities to ongoing global environmental change. The existing controversies regarding the response of plant–plant interactions across environmental gradients can be reconciled when clearly considering and determining the species-specificity of the response, the functional or individual stress type, and the scale of interest (pairwise interactions or community-level response). Here, we introduce a theoretical framework to do this, supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence. We also discuss current gaps in our knowledge regarding how plant–plant interactions change along environmental gradients. These include the existence of thresholds in the amount of species-specific stress that a benefactor can alleviate, the linearity or non-linearity of the response of pairwise interactions across distance from the ecological optimum of the beneficiary, and the need to explore

  7. Challenges in microbial ecology: Building predictive understanding of community function and dynamics

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Widder, Stefanie; Allen, Rosalind J.; Pfeiffer, Thomas

    2016-01-01

    The importance of microbial communities (MCs) cannot be overstated. MCs underpin the biogeochemical cycles of the earth's soil, oceans and the atmosphere, and perform ecosystem functions that impact plants, animals and humans. Yet our ability to predict and manage the function of these highly...... complex, dynamically changing communities is limited. Building predictive models that link MC composition to function is a key emerging challenge in microbial ecology. Here, we argue that addressing this challenge requires close coordination of experimental data collection and method development...... is needed to achieve significant progress in our understanding of MC dynamics and function, and we make specific practical suggestions as to how this could be achieved....

  8. Ecological Insights into the Dynamics of Plant Biomass-Degrading Microbial Consortia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiménez, Diego Javier; Dini-Andreote, Francisco; DeAngelis, Kristen M; Singer, Steven W; Salles, Joana Falcão; van Elsas, Jan Dirk

    2017-10-01

    Plant biomass (PB) is an important resource for biofuel production. However, the frequent lack of efficiency of PB saccharification is still an industrial bottleneck. The use of enzyme cocktails produced from PB-degrading microbial consortia (PB-dmc) is a promising approach to optimize this process. Nevertheless, the proper use and manipulation of PB-dmc depends on a sound understanding of the ecological processes and mechanisms that exist in these communities. This Opinion article provides an overview of arguments as to how spatiotemporal nutritional fluxes influence the successional dynamics and ecological interactions (synergism versus competition) between populations in PB-dmc. The themes of niche occupancy, 'sugar cheaters', minimal effective consortium, and the Black Queen Hypothesis are raised as key subjects that foster our appraisal of such systems. Here we provide a conceptual framework that describes the critical topics underpinning the ecological basis of PB-dmc, giving a solid foundation upon which further prospective experimentation can be developed. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  9. 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.

  10. Toward Gleasonian landscape ecology: From communities to species, from patches to pixels

    Science.gov (United States)

    Samuel A. Cushman; Jeffrey S. Evans; Kevin McGarigal; Joseph M. Kiesecker

    2010-01-01

    The fusion of individualistic community ecology with the Hutchinsonian niche concept enabled a broad integration of ecological theory, spanning all the way from the niche characteristics of individual species, to the composition, structure, and dynamics of ecological communities. Landscape ecology has been variously described as the study of the structure, function,...

  11. How common is ecological speciation in plant-feeding insects? A 'Higher' Nematinae perspective

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nyman Tommi

    2010-09-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Ecological speciation is a process in which a transiently resource-polymorphic species divides into two specialized sister lineages as a result of divergent selection pressures caused by the use of multiple niches or environments. Ecology-based speciation has been studied intensively in plant-feeding insects, in which both sympatric and allopatric shifts onto novel host plants could speed up diversification. However, while numerous examples of species pairs likely to have originated by resource shifts have been found, the overall importance of ecological speciation in relation to other, non-ecological speciation modes remains unknown. Here, we apply phylogenetic information on sawflies belonging to the 'Higher' Nematinae (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae to infer the frequency of niche shifts in relation to speciation events. Results Phylogenetic trees reconstructed on the basis of DNA sequence data show that the diversification of higher nematines has involved frequent shifts in larval feeding habits and in the use of plant taxa. However, the inferred number of resource shifts is considerably lower than the number of past speciation events, indicating that the majority of divergences have occurred by non-ecological allopatric speciation; based on a time-corrected analysis of sister species, we estimate that a maximum of c. 20% of lineage splits have been triggered by a change in resource use. In addition, we find that postspeciational changes in geographic distributions have led to broad sympatry in many species having identical host-plant ranges. Conclusion Our analysis indicates that the importance of niche shifts for the diversification of herbivorous insects is at present implicitly and explicitly overestimated. In the case of the Higher Nematinae, employing a time correction for sister-species comparisons lowered the proportion of apparent ecology-based speciation events from c. 50-60% to around 20%, but such corrections are

  12. Phytosociology and plant community utilisation by vervet monkeys of the Blydeberg Conservancy, Limpopo Province

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    A.S. Barret

    2006-12-01

    Full Text Available The plant communities of the Blydeberg Conservancy were investigated as part of a research project on the foraging ecology of vervet monkeys Cercopithecus aethiops pygerythrus (senso lato in mixed lowveld bushveld and sour lowveld bushveld areas. To date there are no formal management plans for vervet monkeys. This is attributed to the limited knowledge of vervets and their utilisation of and impacts on ecosystems. From a TWINSPAN classification refined by Braun-Blanquet procedures, ten plant communities that can be placed into four major groups were identified. A classification and description of these communities, including a vegetation map are presented. Diagnostic species as well as prominent and less conspicuous species of tree, shrub, herb and grass strata are outlined. Of the ten available plant communities, the vervets utilised only six during the study period. There was an abundant supply of various food sources throughout the year, with movement patterns mostly coinciding with the fruiting times of several tree and other plant species.

  13. Carbon dioxide and submersed macrophytes in lakes: linking functional ecology to community composition.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Titus, John E; Pagano, Angela M

    2017-12-01

    Evaluating plant community response to atmospheric CO 2 rise is critical to predicting ecosystem level change. Freshwater lakes offer a model system for examining CO 2 effects as submersed macrophyte species differ greatly in their growth responses to CO 2 enrichment, and free CO 2 concentrations among these habitats show a wide range of natural, spatial variation. We determined free CO 2 concentrations in the water column and sediment porewater in littoral zones with pH macrophyte communities coupled with greenhouse-derived growth responses to CO 2 enrichment of constituent species to test two hypotheses: (1) CCRI, which is higher for communities dominated by species with greater growth responses to CO 2 enrichment, is positively correlated to free [CO 2 ] in the water column, and (2) in natural communities, the percent of sediment CO 2 -using species, which are relatively unresponsive to CO 2 enrichment, is negatively correlated to free [CO 2 ]. A significant positive correlation (P = 0.003) between our physiologically based CCRI and the concentration of free CO 2 in the water column supported our primary hypothesis that sites with higher levels of free CO 2 are dominated by species with greater growth responses to CO 2 enrichment. Our CCRI is also highly significantly correlated (P macrophyte community composition. Further, we demonstrate the utility of a physiologically-based index of community composition, our CCRI, as an ecologically valid measure of community response to CO 2 . © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  14. Revisiting the evolution of ecological specialization, with emphasis on insect-plant interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forister, M L; Dyer, L A; Singer, M S; Stireman, J O; Lill, J T

    2012-05-01

    Ecological specialization is a fundamental and well-studied concept, yet its great reach and complexity limit current understanding in important ways. More than 20 years after the publication of D. J. Futuyma and G. Moreno's oft-cited, major review of the topic, we synthesize new developments in the evolution of ecological specialization. Using insect-plant interactions as a model, we focus on important developments in four critical areas: genetic architecture, behavior, interaction complexity, and macroevolution. We find that theory based on simple genetic trade-offs in host use is being replaced by more subtle and complex pictures of genetic architecture, and multitrophic interactions have risen as a necessary framework for understanding specialization. A wealth of phylogenetic data has made possible a more detailed consideration of the macroevolutionary dimension of specialization, revealing (among other things) bidirectionality in transitions between generalist and specialist lineages. Technological advances, including genomic sequencing and analytical techniques at the community level, raise the possibility that the next decade will see research on specialization spanning multiple levels of biological organization in non-model organisms, from genes to populations to networks of interactions in natural communities. Finally, we offer a set of research questions that we find to be particularly pressing and fruitful for future research on ecological specialization.

  15. [A phylogenetic analysis of plant communities of Teberda Biosphere Reserve].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shulakov, A A; Egorov, A V; Onipchenko, V G

    2016-01-01

    Phylogenetic analysis of communities is based on the comparison of distances on the phylogenetic tree between species of a community under study and those distances in random samples taken out of local flora. It makes it possible to determine to what extent a community composition is formed by more closely related species (i.e., "clustered") or, on the opposite, it is more even and includes species that are less related with each other. The first case is usually interpreted as a result of strong influence caused by abiotic factors, due to which species with similar ecology, a priori more closely related, would remain: In the second case, biotic factors, such as competition, may come to the fore and lead to forming a community out of distant clades due to divergence of their ecological niches: The aim of this' study Was Ad explore the phylogenetic structure in communities of the northwestern Caucasus at two spatial scales - the scale of area from 4 to 100 m2 and the smaller scale within a community. The list of local flora of the alpine belt has been composed using the database of geobotanic descriptions carried out in Teberda Biosphere Reserve at true altitudes exceeding.1800 m. It includes 585 species of flowering plants belonging to 57 families. Basal groups of flowering plants are.not represented in the list. At the scale of communities of three classes, namely Thlaspietea rotundifolii - commumties formed on screes and pebbles, Calluno-Ulicetea - alpine meadow, and Mulgedio-Aconitetea subalpine meadows, have not demonstrated significant distinction of phylogenetic structure. At intra level, for alpine meadows the larger share of closely related species. (clustered community) is detected. Significantly clustered happen to be those communities developing on rocks (class Asplenietea trichomanis) and alpine (class Juncetea trifidi). At the same time, alpine lichen proved to have even phylogenetic structure at the small scale. Alpine (class Salicetea herbaceae) that

  16. Nematode community shifts in response to experimental warming and canopy conditions are associated with plant community changes in the temperate-boreal forest ecotone.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thakur, Madhav Prakash; Reich, Peter B; Fisichelli, Nicholas A; Stefanski, Artur; Cesarz, Simone; Dobies, Tomasz; Rich, Roy L; Hobbie, Sarah E; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2014-06-01

    Global climate warming is one of the key forces driving plant community shifts, such as range shifts of temperate species into boreal forests. As plant community shifts are slow to observe, ecotones, boundaries between two ecosystems, are target areas for providing early evidence of ecological responses to warming. The role of soil fauna is poorly explored in ecotones, although their positive and negative effects on plant species can influence plant community structure. We studied nematode communities in response to experimental warming (ambient, +1.7, +3.4 °C) in soils of closed and open canopy forest in the temperate-boreal ecotone of Minnesota, USA and calculated various established nematode indices. We estimated species-specific coverage of understory herbaceous and shrub plant species from the same experimental plots and tested if changes in the nematode community are associated with plant cover and composition. Individual nematode trophic groups did not differ among warming treatments, but the ratio between microbial-feeding and plant-feeding nematodes increased significantly and consistently with warming in both closed and open canopy areas and at both experimental field sites. The increase in this ratio was positively correlated with total cover of understory plant species, perhaps due to increased predation pressure on soil microorganisms causing higher nutrient availability for plants. Multivariate analyses revealed that temperature treatment, canopy conditions and nematode density consistently shaped understory plant communities across experimental sites. Our findings suggest that warming-induced changes in nematode community structure are associated with shifts in plant community composition and productivity in the temperate-boreal forest ecotones.

  17. Macrophytes: Ecology of aquatic plants

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bornette, G.; Puijalon, S.

    2009-01-01

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

  18. Importance of earthworm-seed interactions for the composition and structure of plant communities: A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Forey, Estelle; Barot, Sébastien; Decaëns, Thibaud; Langlois, Estelle; Laossi, Kam-Rigne; Margerie, Pierre; Scheu, Stefan; Eisenhauer, Nico

    2011-11-01

    Soil seed bank composition and dynamics are crucial elements for the understanding of plant population and community ecology. Earthworms are increasingly recognized as important dispersers and predators of seeds. Through direct and indirect effects they influence either positively or negatively the establishment and survival of seeds and seedlings. Seedling establishment is affected by a variety of earthworm-mediated mechanisms, such as selective seed ingestion and digestion, acceleration or deceleration of germination, and seed transport. Earthworm casts deposited on the soil surface and the entrance of earthworm burrows often contain viable seeds and constitute important regeneration niches for plant seedlings and therefore likely favour specific seed traits. However, the role of earthworms as seed dispersers, mediators of seed bank dynamics and seed predators has not been considered in concert. The overall effect of earthworms on plant communities remains little understood. Most knowledge is based on laboratory studies on temperate species and future work has to explore the biological significance of earthworm-seed interactions under more natural conditions. In this review we summarize the current knowledge on earthworm-seed interactions and discuss factors determining these interactions. We highlight that this interaction may be an underappreciated, yet major driving force for the dynamics of soil seed banks and plant communities which most likely have experienced co-evolutionary processes. Despite the experimental bias, we hypothesize that the knowledge gathered in the present review is of crucial relevance for restoration and conservation ecology. For instance, as earthworms emerge as successful and ubiquitous invaders in various ecosystems, the summarized information might serve as a basis for realistic estimations and modelling of consequences on native plant communities. We depict promising directions of future research and point to the need to consider

  19. Influence of cooling water discharges from Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant on aquatic ecology of the Kadra reservoir

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ghosh, T.K.; Zargar, S.; Kulkarni, A.V.

    2007-01-01

    The alterations induced in the ambient temperature can lead to wide manifestations in species distribution and community structure. In general, elevated water temperature causes changes in species composition, species dominance, standing crop and productivity of biota including phytoplankton communities in any aquatic ecosystem. Thus warm water discharges from power plants into the receiving water bodies may adversely affect aquatic ecology. In the absence of exhaustive data on the response of aquatic organisms and ecosystems in the tropics to elevated temperatures, the only option is to draw inferences, from the experiences in the subtropical and temperature areas. Since, sufficient data on similar line are not available in tropical environment, present paper delineates certain aspects of aquatic ecology of the Kadra reservoir where cooling water is discharged. The study suggests the heated effluents from Kaiga Nuclear Power plant caused changes in dissolved oxygen and pH of water, heterotrophic bacterial population, sediment biogeochemical cycles related biochemical processes, species composition, species dominance, standing crop and productivity of biota including phytoplankton communities within 500 m from End of Discharge Canal point of Kadra reservoir when two units are running in full capacity. (author)

  20. Species-driven phases and increasing structure in early-successional plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zaplata, Markus K; Winter, Susanne; Fischer, Anton; Kollmann, Johannes; Ulrich, Werner

    2013-01-01

    Successional phases describe changes in ecological communities that proceed in steps rather than continuously. Despite their importance for the understanding of ecosystem development, there still exists no reliable definition of phases and no quantitative measure of phase transitions. In order to obtain these data, we investigated primary succession in an artificial catchment (6 ha) in eastern Germany over a period of 6 years. The data set consists of records of plant species and their cover values, and initial substrate properties, both from plots in a regular grid (20 m × 20 m) suitable for spatial data analysis. Community assembly was studied by analyses of species co-occurrence and nestedness. Additionally, we correlated lognormal and log series distributions of species abundance to each community. We here introduce a new general method for detection of successional phases based on the degree of transient spatial homogeneity in the study system. Spatially coherent vegetation patterns revealed nonoverlapping partitions within this sequence of primary succession and were characterized as two distinct ecological phases. Patterns of species co-occurrence were increasingly less random, and hence the importance of demographic stochasticity and neutral community assembly decreased during the study period. Our findings highlight the spatial dimension of successional phases and quantify the degree of change between these steps. They are an element for advancing a more reliable terminology of ecological successions.

  1. Diagnosing Disaster Resilience of Communities as Multi-scale Complex Socio-ecological Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Liu, Wei; Mochizuki, Junko; Keating, Adriana; Mechler, Reinhard; Williges, Keith; Hochrainer, Stefan

    2014-05-01

    Global environmental change, growing anthropogenic influence, and increasing globalisation of society have made it clear that disaster vulnerability and resilience of communities cannot be understood without knowledge on the broader social-ecological system in which they are embedded. We propose a framework for diagnosing community resilience to disasters, as a form of disturbance to social-ecological systems, with feedbacks from the local to the global scale. Inspired by iterative multi-scale analysis employed by Resilience Alliance, the related socio-ecological systems framework of Ostrom, and the sustainable livelihood framework, we developed a multi-tier framework for thinking of communities as multi-scale social-ecological systems and analyzing communities' disaster resilience and also general resilience. We highlight the cross-scale influences and feedbacks on communities that exist from lower (e.g., household) to higher (e.g., regional, national) scales. The conceptual framework is then applied to a real-world resilience assessment situation, to illustrate how key components of socio-ecological systems, including natural hazards, natural and man-made environment, and community capacities can be delineated and analyzed.

  2. 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.

  3. Promoting community socio-ecological sustainability through technology: A case study from Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguayo, Claudio; Eames, Chris

    2017-12-01

    The importance of community learning in effecting social change towards ecological sustainability has been recognised for some time. More recently, the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to promote socio-ecological sustainability has been shown to have potential in community education for sustainable development (ESD). The effective design and use of technology for community learning implies an understanding of a range of cross-dimensional factors including: socio-cultural characteristics and needs of the target audience; considerations of available and culturally responsive types of technology; and non-formal pedagogical ESD strategies for community empowerment. In addition, both technology itself and social communities are dynamically evolving and complex entities. This article presents a case study which evaluated the potential of ICT for promoting ecological literacy and action competence amongst community members in southern Chile. The case study addressed the ecological deterioration of a lake, which is having deep social, economic, recreational and cultural implications locally. The authors' research involved developing a theoretical framework for the design, implementation and use of ICT for community learning for sustainability. The framework was based on key ideas from ESD, ICT and community education, and was underpinned by a systems thinking approach to account for the dynamism and complexity of such settings. Activity theory provided a frame to address overarching socio-cultural elements when using technology as a mediating tool for community learning. The authors' findings suggest that the use of an ICT tool, such as a website, can enhance ecological literacy in relation to a local socio-ecological issue.

  4. Automated experimentation in ecological networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lurgi, Miguel; Robertson, David

    2011-05-09

    In ecological networks, natural communities are studied from a complex systems perspective by representing interactions among species within them in the form of a graph, which is in turn analysed using mathematical tools. Topological features encountered in complex networks have been proved to provide the systems they represent with interesting attributes such as robustness and stability, which in ecological systems translates into the ability of communities to resist perturbations of different kinds. A focus of research in community ecology is on understanding the mechanisms by which these complex networks of interactions among species in a community arise. We employ an agent-based approach to model ecological processes operating at the species' interaction level for the study of the emergence of organisation in ecological networks. We have designed protocols of interaction among agents in a multi-agent system based on ecological processes occurring at the interaction level between species in plant-animal mutualistic communities. Interaction models for agents coordination thus engineered facilitate the emergence of network features such as those found in ecological networks of interacting species, in our artificial societies of agents. Agent based models developed in this way facilitate the automation of the design an execution of simulation experiments that allow for the exploration of diverse behavioural mechanisms believed to be responsible for community organisation in ecological communities. This automated way of conducting experiments empowers the study of ecological networks by exploiting the expressive power of interaction models specification in agent systems.

  5. [Interrelations between plant communities and environmental factors of wetlands and surrounding lands in mid- and lower reaches of Tarim River].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhao, Ruifeng; Zhou, Huarong; Qian, Yibing; Zhang, Jianjun

    2006-06-01

    A total of 16 quadrants of wetlands and surrounding lands in the mid- and lower reaches of Tarim River were surveyed, and the data about the characteristics of plant communities and environmental factors were collected and counted. By using PCA (principal component analysis) ordination and regression procedure, the distribution patterns of plant communities and the relationships between the characteristics of plant community structure and environmental factors were analyzed. The results showed that the distribution of the plant communities was closely related to soil moisture, salt, and nutrient contents. The accumulative contribution rate of soil moisture and salt contents in the first principal component accounted for 35.70%, and that of soil nutrient content in the second principal component reached 25.97%. There were 4 types of habitats for the plant community distribution, i. e., fenny--light salt--medium nutrient, moist--medium salt--medium nutrient, mesophytic--medium salt--low nutrient, and medium xerophytic-heavy salt--low nutrient. Along these habitats, swamp vegetation, meadow vegetation, riparian sparse forest, halophytic desert, and salinized shrub were distributed. In the wetlands and surrounding lands of mid- and lower reaches of Tarim River, the ecological dominance of the plant communities was markedly and unitary-linearly correlated with the compound gradient of soil moisture and salt contents. The relationships between species diversity, ecological dominance, and compound gradient of soil moisture and salt contents were significantly accorded to binary-linear regression model.

  6. Chemicals on plant surfaces as a heretofore unrecognized, but ecologically informative, class for investigations into plant defence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LoPresti, Eric F

    2016-11-01

    Plants produce and utilize a great diversity of chemicals for a variety of physiological and ecological purposes. Many of these chemicals defend plants against herbivores, pathogens and competitors. The location of these chemicals varies within the plant, some are located entirely within plant tissues, others exist in the air- (or water-) space around plants, and still others are secreted onto plant surfaces as exudates. I argue herein that the location of a given defensive chemical has profound implications for its ecological function; specifically, I focus on the characteristics of chemical defences secreted onto plant surfaces. Drawing from a broad literature encompassing ecology, evolution, taxonomy and physiology, I found that these external chemical defences (ECDs) are common and widespread in plants and algae; hundreds of examples have been detailed, yet they are not delineated as a separate class from internal chemical defences (ICDs). I propose a novel typology for ECDs and, using existing literature, explore the ecological consequences of the hypothesized unique characteristics of ECDs. The axis of total or proportional investment in ECDs versus ICDs should be considered as one axis of investment by a plant, in the same way as quantitative versus qualitative chemical defences or induced versus constitutive defences is considered. The ease of manipulating ECDs in many plant systems presents a powerful tool to help test plant defence theory (e.g. optimal defence). The framework outlined here integrates various disciplines of botany and ecology and suggests a need for further examinations of exudates in a variety of contexts, as well as recognition of the effects of within-plant localization of defences. © 2015 Cambridge Philosophical Society.

  7. Does the edge effect influence plant community structure in a tropical dry forest?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Diogo Gallo Oliveira

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available Edge effects are considered a key factor in regulating the structure of plant communities in different ecosystems. However, regardless to few studies, edge influence does not seem to be decisive in semiarid regions such as the Brazilian tropical dry forest known as Caatinga but this issue remains inconclusive. The present study tests the null hypothesis that the plant community of shrubs and trees does not change in its structure due to edge effects. Twenty-four plots (20 x 20 m were set up in a fragment of Caatinga, in which 12 plots were in the forest edges and 12 plots were inside the fragment. Tree richness, abundance and species composition did not differ between edge and interior plots. The results of this study are in agreement with the pattern previously found for semiarid environments and contrasts with previous results obtained in different environments such as Rainforests, Savanna and Forest of Araucaria, which indicate abrupt differences between the border and interior of the plant communities in these ecosystems, and suggest that the community of woody plants of the Caatinga is not ecologically affected by the presence of edges.

  8. Plant-plant competition outcomes are modulated by plant effects on the soil bacterial community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hortal, S; Lozano, Y M; Bastida, F; Armas, C; Moreno, J L; Garcia, C; Pugnaire, F I

    2017-12-19

    Competition is a key process that determines plant community structure and dynamics, often mediated by nutrients and water availability. However, the role of soil microorganisms on plant competition, and the links between above- and belowground processes, are not well understood. Here we show that the effects of interspecific plant competition on plant performance are mediated by feedbacks between plants and soil bacterial communities. Each plant species selects a singular community of soil microorganisms in its rhizosphere with a specific species composition, abundance and activity. When two plant species interact, the resulting soil bacterial community matches that of the most competitive plant species, suggesting strong competitive interactions between soil bacterial communities as well. We propose a novel mechanism by which changes in belowground bacterial communities promoted by the most competitive plant species influence plant performance and competition outcome. These findings emphasise the strong links between plant and soil communities, paving the way to a better understanding of plant community dynamics and the effects of soil bacterial communities on ecosystem functioning and services.

  9. Ecological modules and roles of species in heathland plant-insect flower visitor networks

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Dupont, Yoko; Olesen, Jens Mogens

    2009-01-01

    1.  Co-existing plants and flower-visiting animals often form complex interaction networks. A long-standing question in ecology and evolutionary biology is how to detect nonrandom subsets (compartments, blocks, modules) of strongly interacting species within such networks. Here we use a network...... analytical approach to (i) detect modularity in pollination networks, (ii) investigate species composition of modules, and (iii) assess the stability of modules across sites. 2.  Interactions between entomophilous plants and their flower-visitors were recorded throughout the flowering season at three...... heathland sites in Denmark, separated by ≥ 10 km. Among sites, plant communities were similar, but composition of flower-visiting insect faunas differed. Visitation frequencies of visitor species were recorded as a measure of insect abundance. 3.  Qualitative (presence-absence) interaction networks were...

  10. Seasonal Variations in the Structure of Phytoplankton Communities near Nuclear Power Plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lee, S.-K.; Choi, H.-C.; Moon, H.-T.

    2015-01-01

    To investigate effects of thermal discharge effluent from nuclear power plants on the surrounding marine environment, especially on the phytoplankton community, environmental data gained by seasonal survey around Hanbit and Hanul nuclear power plants during the periods of 11 years from 1999 to 2009 were analysed. The data used were from environmental survey and assessment around Hanbit and Hanul nuclear power plants of Korea during the period of 11 years from 1999 to 2009. The purposes of this study are (1) to evaluate the effect of operation of nuclear power plants on phytoplankton community, (2) to find out whether the thermal discharge affected negatively phytoplankton community, and (3) to evaluate the difference of thermal discharge influence on phytoplankton community between West and East coastal area, Korea. Through this study, (1) quantitative evaluation of the effect of thermal discharge effluent on marine ecology, especially on abundance and biomass of phytoplankton were performed, (2) found that depending on the season, the effect of thermal discharge effluent from nuclear power plant on the marine environment is not always negative (i.e. warm water may increase or prevent decline of abundance in seasons with low temperature such as winter in Hanbit area), and (3) found that same thermal discharge effluent rate to different marine environments, such as west and east coast of Korea, does not result in same effect on the marine ecosystem. (author)

  11. 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.

  12. Plant community responses to simultaneous changes in temperature, nitrogen availability, and invasion.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Elise S Gornish

    Full Text Available Increasing rates of change in climate have been observed across the planet and have contributed to the ongoing range shifts observed for many species. Although ecologists are now using a variety of approaches to study how much and through what mechanisms increasing temperature and nutrient pollution may influence the invasions inherent in range shifts, accurate predictions are still lacking.In this study, we conducted a factorial experiment, simultaneously manipulating warming, nitrogen addition and introduction of Pityopsis aspera, to determine how range-shifting species affect a plant community. We quantified the resident community using ordination scores, then used structural equation modeling to examine hypotheses related to how plants respond to a network of experimental treatments and environmental variables. Variation in soil pH explained plant community response to nitrogen addition in the absence of invasion. However, in the presence of invasion, the direct effect of nitrogen on the community was negligible and soil moisture was important for explaining nitrogen effects. We did not find effects of warming on the native plant community in the absence of invasion. In the presence of invasion, however, warming had negative effects on functional richness directly and invasion and herbivory explained the overall positive effect of warming on the plant community.This work highlights the variation in the biotic and abiotic factors responsible for explaining independent and collective climate change effects over a short time scale. Future work should consider the complex and non-additive relationships among factors of climate change and invasion in order to capture more ecologically relevant features of our changing environment.

  13. Interactions between plant and rhizosphere microbial communities in a metalliferous soil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Epelde, Lur; Becerril, Jose M.; Barrutia, Oihana; Gonzalez-Oreja, Jose A.; Garbisu, Carlos

    2010-01-01

    In the present work, the relationships between plant consortia, consisting of 1-4 metallicolous pseudometallophytes with different metal-tolerance strategies (Thlaspi caerulescens: hyperaccumulator; Jasione montana: accumulator; Rumex acetosa: indicator; Festuca rubra: excluder), and their rhizosphere microbial communities were studied in a mine soil polluted with high levels of Cd, Pb and Zn. Physiological response and phytoremediation potential of the studied pseudometallophytes were also investigated. The studied metallicolous populations are tolerant to metal pollution and offer potential for the development of phytoextraction and phytostabilization technologies. T. caerulescens appears very tolerant to metal stress and most suitable for metal phytoextraction; the other three species enhance soil functionality. Soil microbial properties had a stronger effect on plant biomass rather than the other way around (35.2% versus 14.9%). An ecological understanding of how contaminants, ecosystem functions and biological communities interact in the long-term is needed for proper management of these fragile metalliferous ecosystems. - Rhizosphere microbial communities in highly polluted mine soils are determinant for the growth of pseudometallophytes.

  14. Interactions between plant and rhizosphere microbial communities in a metalliferous soil

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Epelde, Lur [NEIKER-Tecnalia, Department of Ecosystems, c/Berreaga 1, E-48160 Derio (Spain); Becerril, Jose M.; Barrutia, Oihana [Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of the Basque Country, UPV/EHU, P.O. Box 644, E-48080 Bilbao (Spain); Gonzalez-Oreja, Jose A. [NEIKER-Tecnalia, Department of Ecosystems, c/Berreaga 1, E-48160 Derio (Spain); Garbisu, Carlos, E-mail: cgarbisu@neiker.ne [NEIKER-Tecnalia, Department of Ecosystems, c/Berreaga 1, E-48160 Derio (Spain)

    2010-05-15

    In the present work, the relationships between plant consortia, consisting of 1-4 metallicolous pseudometallophytes with different metal-tolerance strategies (Thlaspi caerulescens: hyperaccumulator; Jasione montana: accumulator; Rumex acetosa: indicator; Festuca rubra: excluder), and their rhizosphere microbial communities were studied in a mine soil polluted with high levels of Cd, Pb and Zn. Physiological response and phytoremediation potential of the studied pseudometallophytes were also investigated. The studied metallicolous populations are tolerant to metal pollution and offer potential for the development of phytoextraction and phytostabilization technologies. T. caerulescens appears very tolerant to metal stress and most suitable for metal phytoextraction; the other three species enhance soil functionality. Soil microbial properties had a stronger effect on plant biomass rather than the other way around (35.2% versus 14.9%). An ecological understanding of how contaminants, ecosystem functions and biological communities interact in the long-term is needed for proper management of these fragile metalliferous ecosystems. - Rhizosphere microbial communities in highly polluted mine soils are determinant for the growth of pseudometallophytes.

  15. Plant diversity and plant identity influence Fusarium communities in soil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    LeBlanc, Nicholas; Kinkel, Linda; Kistler, H Corby

    2017-01-01

    Fusarium communities play important functional roles in soil and in plants as pathogens, endophytes, and saprotrophs. This study tests how rhizosphere Fusarium communities may vary with plant species, changes in the diversity of the surrounding plant community, and soil physiochemical characteristics. Fusarium communities in soil associated with the roots of two perennial prairie plant species maintained as monocultures or growing within polyculture plant communities were characterized using targeted metagenomics. Amplicon libraries targeting the RPB2 locus were generated from rhizosphere soil DNAs and sequenced using pyrosequencing. Sequences were clustered into operational taxonomic units (OTUs) and assigned a taxonomy using the Evolutionary Placement Algorithm. Fusarium community composition was differentiated between monoculture and polyculture plant communities, and by plant species in monoculture, but not in polyculture. Taxonomic classification of the Fusarium OTUs showed a predominance of F. tricinctum and F. oxysporum as well of the presence of a clade previously only found in the Southern Hemisphere. Total Fusarium richness was not affected by changes in plant community richness or correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics. However, OTU richness within two predominant phylogenetic lineages within the genus was positively or negatively correlated with soil physiochemical characteristics among samples within each lineage. This work shows that plant species, plant community richness, and soil physiochemical characteristics may all influence the composition and richness of Fusarium communities in soil.

  16. Plant Invasions Associated with Change in Root-Zone Microbial Community Structure and Diversity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Richard R Rodrigues

    Full Text Available The importance of plant-microbe associations for the invasion of plant species have not been often tested under field conditions. The research sought to determine patterns of change in microbial communities associated with the establishment of invasive plants with different taxonomic and phenetic traits. Three independent locations in Virginia, USA were selected. One site was invaded by a grass (Microstegium vimineum, another by a shrub (Rhamnus davurica, and the third by a tree (Ailanthus altissima. The native vegetation from these sites was used as reference. 16S rRNA and ITS regions were sequenced to study root-zone bacterial and fungal communities, respectively, in invaded and non-invaded samples and analyzed using Quantitative Insights Into Microbial Ecology (QIIME. Though root-zone microbial community structure initially differed across locations, plant invasion shifted communities in similar ways. Indicator species analysis revealed that Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs closely related to Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Ascomycota increased in abundance due to plant invasions. The Hyphomonadaceae family in the Rhodobacterales order and ammonia-oxidizing Nitrospirae phylum showed greater relative abundance in the invaded root-zone soils. Hyphomicrobiaceae, another bacterial family within the phyla Proteobacteria increased as a result of plant invasion, but the effect associated most strongly with root-zones of M. vimineum and R. davurica. Functional analysis using Phylogenetic Investigation of Communities by Reconstruction of Unobserved States (PICRUSt showed bacteria responsible for nitrogen cycling in soil increased in relative abundance in association with plant invasion. In agreement with phylogenetic and functional analyses, greater turnover of ammonium and nitrate was associated with plant invasion. Overall, bacterial and fungal communities changed congruently across plant invaders, and support the hypothesis that

  17. Ecological impacts and damage - comparison of selected components for nuclear and conventional power plants (example of Mochovce nuclear power plant)

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bucek, M.

    1984-01-01

    A comparison is given of ecological damage for the nuclear power plant in Mochovce and a conventional power plant with the same power. Ecological effects and damage are divided into three groups: comparable damage, ecological damage caused only by conventional power plants and ecological damage caused only by nuclear power plants. In the first group the factors compared are land requisition, consumption of utility water and air consumption. In the second group are enumerated losses of crops (cereals, sugar beet, potatoes, oleaginous plants) and losses caused by increased disease rate owing to polluted environment by conventional power plants. In the third group health hazards are assessed linked with ionizing radiation. Also considered are vent stack escapes. (E.S.)

  18. 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.

  19. Natural Length Scales of Ecological Systems: Applications at Community and Ecosystem Levels

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Craig R. Johnson

    2009-06-01

    Full Text Available The characteristic, or natural, length scales of a spatially dynamic ecological landscape are the spatial scales at which the deterministic trends in the dynamic are most sharply in focus. Given recent development of techniques to determine the characteristic length scales (CLSs of real ecological systems, I explore the potential for using CLSs to address three important and vexing issues in applied ecology, viz. (i determining the optimum scales to monitor ecological systems, (ii interpreting change in ecological communities, and (iii ascertaining connectivity between species in complex ecologies. In summarizing the concept of characteristic length scales as system-level scaling thresholds, I emphasize that the primary CLS is, by definition, the optimum scale at which to monitor a system if the objective is to observe its deterministic dynamics at a system level. Using several different spatially explicit individual-based models, I then explore predictions of the underlying theory of CLSs in the context of interpreting change and ascertaining connectivity among species in ecological systems. Analysis of these models support predictions that systems with strongly fluctuating community structure, but an otherwise stable long-term dynamic defined by a stationary attractor, indicate an invariant length scale irrespective of community structure at the time of analysis, and irrespective of the species analyzed. In contrast, if changes in the underlying dynamic are forcibly induced, the shift in dynamics is reflected by a change in the primary length scale. Thus, consideration of the magnitude of the CLS through time enables distinguishing between circumstances where there are temporal changes in community structure but not in the long-term dynamic, from that where changes in community structure reflect some kind of fundamental shift in dynamics. In this context, CLSs emerge as a diagnostic tool to identify phase shifts to alternative stable states

  20. HOW ECOLOGICAL ENGINEERING HELPED TO CONTINUE BUILDING AND UPGRADE OF THE OPOLE POWER PLANT

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jan Siuta

    2016-09-01

    Full Text Available Principles of ecological engineering were applied for upgrading the Opole Power Plant under construction, complete with modern installation to protect the environment. The modernized project was a subject of „Integrated environmental impact assessment of the Opole Power Plant” developed by the Institute of Environmental Protection in 1981. The main issues covered by the impact assessment were presented and discussed at the national scientific conference attended, among others, by the representatives of local community from Opole. The conference was organized by the Polish Society of Ecological Engineering on June 5 and 6, 1992. The main aim of the conference was to identify and deliver as broad as possible analysis of environmental conditions for designing, building and operating coal fired power plants. A secondary goal, though of main concern for the Opole agglomeration, was to evaluate many-sided environmental risks resulting from the construction and operation of the Power Plant. The feasibility of continuing the construction of a power generating facility that meets the requirements of the 21st century was demonstrated by the fact that the Opole Power Plant S.A. was awarded the ISO 14001 - Environmental Management System certificate by the British Standards Institution. Advanced construction of the two consecutive blocks of a combined power of 1800 MW in the Opole Power Plant substantiates the validity and effectiveness of the conference organized in 1992.

  1. Plant genetic variation mediates an indirect ecological effect between belowground earthworms and aboveground aphids.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Singh, Akanksha; Braun, Julia; Decker, Emilia; Hans, Sarah; Wagner, Agnes; Weisser, Wolfgang W; Zytynska, Sharon E

    2014-10-21

    Interactions between aboveground and belowground terrestrial communities are often mediated by plants, with soil organisms interacting via the roots and aboveground organisms via the shoots and leaves. Many studies now show that plant genetics can drive changes in the structure of both above and belowground communities; however, the role of plant genetic variation in mediating aboveground-belowground interactions is still unclear. We used an earthworm-plant-aphid model system with two aphid species (Aphis fabae and Acyrthosiphon pisum) to test the effect of host-plant (Vicia faba) genetic variation on the indirect interaction between the belowground earthworms (Eisenia veneta) on the aboveground aphid populations. Our data shows that host-plant variety mediated an indirect ecological effect of earthworms on generalist black bean aphids (A. fabae), with earthworms increasing aphid growth rate in three plant varieties but decreasing it in another variety. We found no effect of earthworms on the second aphid species, the pea aphid (A. pisum), and no effect of competition between the aphid species. Plant biomass was increased when earthworms were present, and decreased when A. pisum was feeding on the plant (mediated by plant variety). Although A. fabae aphids were influenced by the plants and worms, they did not, in turn, alter plant biomass. Previous work has shown inconsistent effects of earthworms on aphids, but we suggest these differences could be explained by plant genetic variation and variation among aphid species. This study demonstrates that the outcome of belowground-aboveground interactions can be mediated by genetic variation in the host-plant, but depends on the identity of the species involved.

  2. Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN): toward standardized evaluation of the ecological impacts of invasive plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Barney, Jacob N; Tekiela, Daniel R; Barrios-Garcia, Maria Noelia; Dimarco, Romina D; Hufbauer, Ruth A; Leipzig-Scott, Peter; Nuñez, Martin A; Pauchard, Aníbal; Pyšek, Petr; Vítková, Michaela; Maxwell, Bruce D

    2015-07-01

    Terrestrial invasive plants are a global problem and are becoming ubiquitous components of most ecosystems. They are implicated in altering disturbance regimes, reducing biodiversity, and changing ecosystem function, sometimes in profound and irreversible ways. However, the ecological impacts of most invasive plants have not been studied experimentally, and most research to date focuses on few types of impacts, which can vary greatly among studies. Thus, our knowledge of existing ecological impacts ascribed to invasive plants is surprisingly limited in both breadth and depth. Our aim was to propose a standard methodology for quantifying baseline ecological impact that, in theory, is scalable to any terrestrial plant invader (e.g., annual grasses to trees) and any invaded system (e.g., grassland to forest). The Global Invader Impact Network (GIIN) is a coordinated distributed experiment composed of an observational and manipulative methodology. The protocol consists of a series of plots located in (1) an invaded area; (2) an adjacent removal treatment within the invaded area; and (3) a spatially separate uninvaded area thought to be similar to pre-invasion conditions of the invaded area. A standardized and inexpensive suite of community, soil, and ecosystem metrics are collected allowing broad comparisons among measurements, populations, and species. The method allows for one-time comparisons and for long-term monitoring enabling one to derive information about change due to invasion over time. Invader removal plots will also allow for quantification of legacy effects and their return rates, which will be monitored for several years. GIIN uses a nested hierarchical scale approach encompassing multiple sites, regions, and continents. Currently, GIIN has network members in six countries, with new members encouraged. To date, study species include representatives of annual and perennial grasses; annual and perennial forbs; shrubs; and trees. The goal of the GIIN

  3. Evolutionary Ecology of Multitrophic Interactions between Plants, Insect Herbivores and Entomopathogens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shikano, Ikkei

    2017-06-01

    Plants play an important role in the interactions between insect herbivores and their pathogens. Since the seminal review by Cory and Hoover (2006) on plant-mediated effects on insect-pathogen interactions, considerable progress has been made in understanding the complexity of these tritrophic interactions. Increasing interest in the areas of nutritional and ecological immunology over the last decade have revealed that plant primary and secondary metabolites can influence the outcomes of insect-pathogen interactions by altering insect immune functioning and physical barriers to pathogen entry. Some insects use plant secondary chemicals and nutrients to prevent infections (prophylactic medication) and medicate to limit the severity of infections (therapeutic medication). Recent findings suggest that there may be selectable plant traits that enhance entomopathogen efficacy, suggesting that entomopathogens could potentially impose selection pressure on plant traits that improve both pathogen and plant fitness. Moreover, plants in nature are inhabited by diverse communities of microbes, in addition to entomopathogens, some of which can trigger immune responses in insect herbivores. Plants are also shared by numerous other herbivorous arthropods with different modes of feeding that can trigger different defensive responses in plants. Some insect symbionts and gut microbes can degrade ingested defensive phytochemicals and be orally secreted onto wounded plant tissue during herbivory to alter plant defenses. Since non-entomopathogenic microbes and other arthropods are likely to influence the outcomes of plant-insect-entomopathogen interactions, I discuss a need to consider these multitrophic interactions within the greater web of species interactions.

  4. Pesticides from wastewater treatment plant effluents affect invertebrate communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Münze, Ronald; Hannemann, Christin; Orlinskiy, Polina; Gunold, Roman; Paschke, Albrecht; Foit, Kaarina; Becker, Jeremias; Kaske, Oliver; Paulsson, Elin; Peterson, Märit; Jernstedt, Henrik; Kreuger, Jenny; Schüürmann, Gerrit; Liess, Matthias

    2017-12-01

    We quantified pesticide contamination and its ecological impact up- and downstream of seven wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in rural and suburban areas of central Germany. During two sampling campaigns, time-weighted average pesticide concentrations (c TWA ) were obtained using Chemcatcher® passive samplers; pesticide peak concentrations were quantified with event-driven samplers. At downstream sites, receiving waters were additionally grab sampled for five selected pharmaceuticals. Ecological effects on macroinvertebrate structure and ecosystem function were assessed using the biological indicator system SPEAR pesticides (SPEcies At Risk) and leaf litter breakdown rates, respectively. WWTP effluents substantially increased insecticide and fungicide concentrations in receiving waters; in many cases, treated wastewater was the exclusive source for the neonicotinoid insecticides acetamiprid and imidacloprid in the investigated streams. During the ten weeks of the investigation, five out of the seven WWTPs increased in-stream pesticide toxicity by a factor of three. As a consequence, at downstream sites, SPEAR values and leaf litter degradation rates were reduced by 40% and 53%, respectively. The reduced leaf litter breakdown was related to changes in the macroinvertebrate communities described by SPEAR pesticides and not to altered microbial activity. Neonicotinoids showed the highest ecological relevance for the composition of invertebrate communities, occasionally exceeding the Regulatory Acceptable Concentrations (RACs). In general, considerable ecological effects of insecticides were observed above and below regulatory thresholds. Fungicides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals contributed only marginally to acute toxicity. We conclude that pesticide retention of WWTPs needs to be improved. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  5. The direct and ecological costs of an ant-plant symbiosis.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Frederickson, Megan E; Ravenscraft, Alison; Miller, Gabriel A; Arcila Hernández, Lina M; Booth, Gregory; Pierce, Naomi E

    2012-06-01

    How strong is selection for cheating in mutualisms? The answer depends on the type and magnitude of the costs of the mutualism. Here we investigated the direct and ecological costs of plant defense by ants in the association between Cordia nodosa, a myrmecophytic plant, and Allomerus octoarticulatus, a phytoecious ant. Cordia nodosa trees produce food and housing to reward ants that protect them against herbivores. For nearly 1 year, we manipulated the presence of A. octoarticulatus ants and most insect herbivores on C. nodosa in a full-factorial experiment. Ants increased plant growth when herbivores were present but decreased plant growth when herbivores were absent, indicating that hosting ants can be costly to plants. However, we did not detect a cost to ant colonies of defending host plants against herbivores. Although this asymmetry in costs suggests that the plants may be under stronger selection than the ants to cheat by withholding investment in their partner, the costs to C. nodosa are probably at least partly ecological, arising because ants tend scale insects on their host plants. We argue that ecological costs should favor resistance or traits other than cheating and thus that neither partner may face much temptation to cheat.

  6. Phylogenetic composition of host plant communities drives plant-herbivore food web structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Volf, Martin; Pyszko, Petr; Abe, Tomokazu; Libra, Martin; Kotásková, Nela; Šigut, Martin; Kumar, Rajesh; Kaman, Ondřej; Butterill, Philip T; Šipoš, Jan; Abe, Haruka; Fukushima, Hiroaki; Drozd, Pavel; Kamata, Naoto; Murakami, Masashi; Novotny, Vojtech

    2017-05-01

    Insects tend to feed on related hosts. The phylogenetic composition of host plant communities thus plays a prominent role in determining insect specialization, food web structure, and diversity. Previous studies showed a high preference of insect herbivores for congeneric and confamilial hosts suggesting that some levels of host plant relationships may play more prominent role that others. We aim to quantify the effects of host phylogeny on the structure of quantitative plant-herbivore food webs. Further, we identify specific patterns in three insect guilds with different life histories and discuss the role of host plant phylogeny in maintaining their diversity. We studied herbivore assemblages in three temperate forests in Japan and the Czech Republic. Sampling from a canopy crane, a cherry picker and felled trees allowed a complete census of plant-herbivore interactions within three 0·1 ha plots for leaf chewing larvae, miners, and gallers. We analyzed the effects of host phylogeny by comparing the observed food webs with randomized models of host selection. Larval leaf chewers exhibited high generality at all three sites, whereas gallers and miners were almost exclusively monophagous. Leaf chewer generality dropped rapidly when older host lineages (5-80 myr) were collated into a single lineage but only decreased slightly when the most closely related congeneric hosts were collated. This shows that leaf chewer generality has been maintained by feeding on confamilial hosts while only a few herbivores were shared between more distant plant lineages and, surprisingly, between some congeneric hosts. In contrast, miner and galler generality was maintained mainly by the terminal nodes of the host phylogeny and dropped immediately after collating congeneric hosts into single lineages. We show that not all levels of host plant phylogeny are equal in their effect on structuring plant-herbivore food webs. In the case of generalist guilds, it is the phylogeny of deeper

  7. Environmental and community controls on plant canopy chemistry in a Mediterranean-type ecosystem.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dahlin, Kyla M; Asner, Gregory P; Field, Christopher B

    2013-04-23

    Understanding how and why plant communities vary across space has long been a goal of ecology, yet parsing the relative importance of different influences has remained a challenge. Species-specific models are not generalizable, whereas broad plant functional type models lack important detail. Here we consider plant trait patterns at the local scale and ask whether plant chemical traits are more closely linked to environmental gradients or to changes in species composition. We used the visible-to-shortwave infrared (VSWIR) spectrometer of the Carnegie Airborne Observatory to develop maps of four plant chemical traits--leaf nitrogen per mass, leaf carbon per mass, leaf water concentration, and canopy water content--across a diverse Mediterranean-type ecosystem (Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, CA). For all four traits, plant community alone was the strongest predictor of trait variation (explaining 46-61% of the heterogeneity), whereas environmental gradients accounted for just one fourth of the variation in the traits. This result emphasizes the critical role that species composition plays in mediating nutrient and carbon cycling within and among different communities. Environmental filtering and limits to similarity can act strongly, simultaneously, in a spatially heterogeneous environment, but the local-scale environmental gradients alone cannot account for the variation across this landscape.

  8. Two-way plant mediated interactions between root-associated microbes and insects: from ecology to mechanisms

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nurmi ePangesti

    2013-10-01

    Full Text Available Plants are members of complex communities and function as a link between above- and below-ground organisms. Associations between plants and soil-borne microbes commonly occur and have often been found beneficial for plant fitness. Root-associated microbes may trigger physiological changes in the host plant that influence interactions between plants and aboveground insects at several trophic levels. Aboveground, plants are under continuous attack by insect herbivores and mount multiple responses that also have systemic effects on belowground microbes. Until recently, both ecological and mechanistic studies have mostly focused on exploring these below- and above-ground interactions using simplified systems involving both single microbe and herbivore species, which is far from the naturally occurring interactions. Increasing the complexity of the systems studied is required to increase our understanding of microbe - plant - insect interactions and to gain more benefit from the use of non-pathogenic microbes in agriculture. In this review, we explore how colonization by either single non-pathogenic microbe species or a community of such microbes belowground affects plant growth and defense and how this affects the interactions of plants with aboveground insects at different trophic levels. Moreover, we review how plant responses to foliar herbivory by insects belonging to different feeding guilds affect interactions of plants with non-pathogenic soil-borne microbes. The role of phytohormones in coordinating plant growth, plant defenses against foliar herbivores while simultaneously establishing associations with non-pathogenic soil microbes is discussed.

  9. Habitat Fragmentation Drives Plant Community Assembly Processes across Life Stages

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hu, Guang; Feeley, Kenneth J.; Yu, Mingjian

    2016-01-01

    Habitat fragmentation is one of the principal causes of biodiversity loss and hence understanding its impacts on community assembly and disassembly is an important topic in ecology. We studied the relationships between fragmentation and community assembly processes in the land-bridge island system of Thousand Island Lake in East China. We focused on the changes in species diversity and phylogenetic diversity that occurred between life stages of woody plants growing on these islands. The observed diversities were compared with the expected diversities from random null models to characterize assembly processes. Regression tree analysis was used to illustrate the relationships between island attributes and community assembly processes. We found that different assembly processes predominate in the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition (SS) vs. the saplings-to-trees transition (ST). Island area was the main attribute driving the assembly process in SS. In ST, island isolation was more important. Within a fragmented landscape, the factors driving community assembly processes were found to differ between life stage transitions. Environmental filtering had a strong effect on the seedlings-to-saplings life-stage transition. Habitat isolation and dispersal limitation influenced all plant life stages, but had a weaker effect on communities than area. These findings add to our understanding of the processes driving community assembly and species coexistence in the context of pervasive and widespread habitat loss and fragmentation. PMID:27427960

  10. Introduction to the Special Issue: Beyond traits: integrating behaviour into plant ecology and biology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cahill, James F

    2015-10-26

    The way that plants are conceptualized in the context of ecological understanding is changing. In one direction, a reductionist school is pulling plants apart into a list of measured 'traits', from which ecological function and outcomes of species interactions may be inferred. This special issue offers an alternative, and more holistic, view: that the ecological functions performed by a plant will be a consequence not only of their complement of traits but also of the ways in which their component parts are used in response to environmental and social conditions. This is the realm of behavioural ecology, a field that has greatly advanced our understanding of animal biology, ecology and evolution. Included in this special issue are 10 articles focussing not on the tried and true metaphor that plant growth is similar to animal movement, but instead on how application of principles from animal behaviour can improve our ability to understand plant biology and ecology. The goals are not to draw false parallels, nor to anthropomorphize plant biology, but instead to demonstrate how existing and robust theory based on fundamental principles can provide novel understanding for plants. Key to this approach is the recognition that behaviour and intelligence are not the same. Many organisms display complex behaviours despite a lack of cognition (as it is traditionally understood) or any hint of a nervous system. The applicability of behavioural concepts to plants is further enhanced with the realization that all organisms face the same harsh forces of natural selection in the context of finding resources, mates and coping with neighbours. As these ecological realities are often highly variable in space and time, it is not surprising that all organisms-even plants-exhibit complex behaviours to handle this variability. The articles included here address diverse topics in behavioural ecology, as applied to plants: general conceptual understanding, plant nutrient foraging, root

  11. Effect of livestock grazing in the partitions of a semiarid plant-plant spatial signed network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saiz, Hugo; Alados, Concepción L.

    2014-08-01

    In recent times, network theory has become a useful tool to study the structure of the interactions in ecological communities. However, typically, these approaches focus on a particular kind of interaction while neglecting other possible interactions present in the ecosystem. Here, we present an ecological network for plant communities that consider simultaneously positive and negative interactions, which were derived from the spatial association and segregation between plant species. We employed this network to study the structure and the association strategies in a semiarid plant community of Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park, SE Spain, and how they changed in 4 sites that differed in stocking rate. Association strategies were obtained from the partitions of the network, built based on a relaxed structural balance criterion. We found that grazing simplified the structure of the plant community. With increasing stocking rate species with no significant associations became dominant and the number of partitions decreased in the plant community. Independently of stocking rate, many species presented an associative strategy in the plant community because they benefit from the association to certain ‘nurse’ plants. These ‘nurses’ together with species that developed a segregating strategy, intervened in most of the interactions in the community. Ecological networks that combine links with different signs provide a new insight to analyze the structure of natural communities and identify the species which play a central role in them.

  12. Soil-covered strategy for ecological restoration alters the bacterial community structure and predictive energy metabolic functions in mine tailings profiles.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yang; Sun, Qingye; Zhan, Jing; Yang, Yang; Wang, Dan

    2017-03-01

    Native soil amendment has been widely used to stabilize mine tailings and speed up the development of soil biogeochemical functions before revegetation; however, it remains poorly understood about the response of microbial communities to ecological restoration of mine tailings with soil-covered strategy. In this study, microbial communities along a 60-cm profile were investigated in mine tailings during ecological restoration of two revegetation strategies (directly revegetation and native soil covered) with different plant species. The mine tailings were covered by native soils as thick as 40 cm for more than 10 years, and the total nitrogen, total organic carbon, water content, and heavy metal (Fe, Cu, and Zn) contents in the 0-40 cm intervals of profiles were changed. In addition, increased microbial diversity and changed microbial community structure were also found in the 10-40 cm intervals of profiles in soil-covered area. Soil-covered strategy rather than plant species and soil depth was the main factor influencing the bacterial community, which explained the largest portion (29.96%) of the observed variation. Compared directly to revegetation, soil-covered strategy exhibited the higher relative abundance of Acidobacteria and Deltaproteobacteria and the lower relative abundance of Bacteroidetes, Gemmatimonadetes, Betaproteobacteria, and Gammaproteobacteria. PICRUSt analysis further demonstrated that soil-covered caused energy metabolic functional changes in carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur metabolism. Given all these, the soil-covered strategy may be used to fast-track the establishment of native microbial communities and is conducive to the rehabilitation of biogeochemical processes for establishing native plant species.

  13. Allocation, stress tolerance and carbon transport in plants: how does phloem physiology affect plant ecology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Savage, Jessica A; Clearwater, Michael J; Haines, Dustin F; Klein, Tamir; Mencuccini, Maurizio; Sevanto, Sanna; Turgeon, Robert; Zhang, Cankui

    2016-04-01

    Despite the crucial role of carbon transport in whole plant physiology and its impact on plant-environment interactions and ecosystem function, relatively little research has tried to examine how phloem physiology impacts plant ecology. In this review, we highlight several areas of active research where inquiry into phloem physiology has increased our understanding of whole plant function and ecological processes. We consider how xylem-phloem interactions impact plant drought tolerance and reproduction, how phloem transport influences carbon allocation in trees and carbon cycling in ecosystems and how phloem function mediates plant relations with insects, pests, microbes and symbiotes. We argue that in spite of challenges that exist in studying phloem physiology, it is critical that we consider the role of this dynamic vascular system when examining the relationship between plants and their biotic and abiotic environment. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  14. Plant Communities Suitable for Green Roofs in Arid Regions

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel Gioannini

    2018-05-01

    Full Text Available In extensive green roof settings, plant communities can be more robust than monocultures. In addition, native plants might be hardier and more ecologically sound choices than non-native plants in green roof systems. The objectives of this research were to (1 compare the performance of plant communities with that of monocultures and (2 compare the growth of natives to non-natives in a simulated green roof setting. We conducted a two-year experiment at an outdoor site in a desert environment using four plant morphological types (groundcover, forb, succulent and grass. Native plants selected were Chrysactinia mexicana, Melampodium leucanthum, Euphorbia antisyphilitica, and Nassella tenuissima, and non-natives were Delosperma nubigenum, Stachys byzantina, Sedum kamtschiaticum and Festuca glauca. Plants were assigned randomly to either monoculture or community and grown in 1 m × 1 m custom-built trays filled with 15 cm of a proprietary blend of 50/20/30 lightweight aggregate/sand/compost (by volume. Native forb, Melampodium, in community had greater coverage for four of the five measurements in the first year over native forb in monoculture and non-native forb regardless of setting. Native forb coverage was also greater than non-native forb for three of the four measurements in year 2, regardless of setting. Coverage of native grass was significantly greater than non-native grasses throughout the experiment. Coverage was also greater for eight of nine measurements for native succulent over non-natives succulent. However, non-native groundcover coverage was significantly greater than native groundcover for seven of nine measurements. On 1 November 2016, relative water content (RWC for succulents (p = 0.0424 was greatest for native Euphorbia in monoculture at 88%. Native Euphorbia also had greater RWC than non-native Sedum on 4 April 2017 (78% and 4 July 2017 (80%. However, non-native Sedum had greater root length (6548 cm, root dry weight (12.1 g

  15. Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ke, Po-Ju; Miki, Takeshi

    2015-01-01

    Plants affect microbial communities and abiotic properties of nearby soils, which in turn influence plant growth and interspecific interaction, forming a plant-soil feedback (PSF). PSF is a key determinant influencing plant population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem functions. Despite accumulating evidence for the importance of PSF and development of specific PSF models, different models are not yet fully integrated. Here, we review the theoretical progress in understanding PSF. When first proposed, PSF was integrated with various mathematical frameworks to discuss its influence on plant competition. Recent theoretical models have advanced PSF research at different levels of ecological organizations by considering multiple species, applying spatially explicit simulations to examine how local-scale predictions apply to larger scales, and assessing the effect of PSF on plant temporal dynamics over the course of succession. We then review two foundational models for microbial- and litter-mediated PSF. We present a theoretical framework to illustrate that although the two models are typically presented separately, their behavior can be understood together by invasibility analysis. We conclude with suggestions for future directions in PSF theoretical studies, which include specifically addressing microbial diversity to integrate litter- and microbial-mediated PSF, and apply PSF to general coexistence theory through a trait-based approach.

  16. Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ke, Po-Ju; Miki, Takeshi

    2015-01-01

    Plants affect microbial communities and abiotic properties of nearby soils, which in turn influence plant growth and interspecific interaction, forming a plant-soil feedback (PSF). PSF is a key determinant influencing plant population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem functions. Despite accumulating evidence for the importance of PSF and development of specific PSF models, different models are not yet fully integrated. Here, we review the theoretical progress in understanding PSF. When first proposed, PSF was integrated with various mathematical frameworks to discuss its influence on plant competition. Recent theoretical models have advanced PSF research at different levels of ecological organizations by considering multiple species, applying spatially explicit simulations to examine how local-scale predictions apply to larger scales, and assessing the effect of PSF on plant temporal dynamics over the course of succession. We then review two foundational models for microbial- and litter-mediated PSF. We present a theoretical framework to illustrate that although the two models are typically presented separately, their behavior can be understood together by invasibility analysis. We conclude with suggestions for future directions in PSF theoretical studies, which include specifically addressing microbial diversity to integrate litter- and microbial-mediated PSF, and apply PSF to general coexistence theory through a trait-based approach. PMID:26500621

  17. Incorporating the soil environment and microbial community into plant competition theory

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Po-Ju eKe

    2015-10-01

    Full Text Available Plants affect microbial communities and abiotic properties of nearby soils, which in turn influence plant growth and interspecific interaction, forming a plant-soil feedback (PSF. PSF is a key determinant influencing plant population dynamics, community structure, and ecosystem functions. Despite accumulating evidence for the importance of PSF and development of specific PSF models, different models are not yet fully integrated. Here, we review the theoretical progress in understanding PSF. When first proposed, PSF was integrated with various mathematical frameworks to discuss its influence on plant competition. Recent theoretical models have advanced PSF research at different levels of ecological organizations by considering multiple species, applying spatially explicit simulations to examine how local-scale predictions apply to larger scales, and assessing the effect of PSF on plant temporal dynamics over the course of succession. We then review two foundational models for microbial- and litter-mediated PSF. We present a theoretical framework to illustrate that although the two models are typically presented separately, their behavior can be understood together by invasibility analysis. We conclude with suggestions for future directions in PSF theoretical studies, which include specifically addressing microbial diversity to integrate litter- and microbial-mediated PSF, and apply PSF to general coexistence theory through a trait-based approach.

  18. Selenium accumulation in plants--phytotechnological applications and ecological implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Valdez Barillas, José Rodolfo; Quinn, Colin F; Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A H

    2011-01-01

    Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for many organisms including humans, yet toxic at higher levels. Both Se deficiency and toxicity are problems worldwide. Since plants readily accumulate and volatilize Se, they may be used both as a source of dietary Se and for removing excess Se from the environment. Plant species differ in their capacity to metabolize and accumulate Se, from non-Se accumulators ( 1,000 mg Se/kg DW). Here we review plant mechanisms of Se metabolism in these various plant types. We also summarize results from genetic engineering that have led to enhanced plant Se accumulation, volatilization, and/or tolerance, including field studies. Before using Se-accumulating plants at a large scale we need to evaluate the ecological implications. Research so far indicates that plant Se accumulation significantly affects the plant's ecological interactions below and above ground. Selenium canprotect plants from fungal pathogens and from a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate herbivores, due to both deterrence and toxicity. However, specialist (Se-tolerant herbivores), detritivores and endophytes appear to utilize Se hyperaccumulator plants as a resource. These findings are relevant for managing phytoremediation of Se and similar elements.

  19. Identifying Social-ecological Linkages to Develop a Community Fire Plan in Mexico

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rachel A.S Sheridan

    2015-01-01

    Full Text Available Community forestry in rural Mexico presents a unique opportunity to study the linkages and feedback within coupled social-ecological systems due to the fact that agrarian or indigenous communities control approximately half of the national territory of Mexico. We used social and ecological diagnostic tools to develop a fire management strategy for a communal forest containing an endemic piñón pine species, Pinus cembroides subs. orizabensis, in the state of Tlaxcala, Mexico. The ecological diagnostic was done through fuel inventory, forest structure sampling, and fire behaviour modelling. The social assessment was conducted through household interviews, community workshops, and direct participant observation. The ecological fire hazard was quantified and coupled with the social assessment to develop a fire management plan. Vertical fuel continuity and flashy surface fuels created a high fire hazard. Modelled fire behaviour showed a rapid rate of spread and high flame lengths under multiple scenarios. Relative impunity for starting forest fires, poor community and inter-agency organisation, and lack of project continuity across organisational sectors appear to be the most significant social limiting factors for wildfire management. Combining both social and ecological diagnostic tools provides a comprehensive understanding of the actual risks to forests, and identifies realistic community-supported options for conservation on cooperatively managed lands.

  20. Assessment of traditional ecological knowledge and beliefs in the utilisation of important plant species: The case of Buhanga sacred forest, Rwanda

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Runyambo Irakiza

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Traditional ecological knowledge is an integrated part of the African people and indeed the Rwandese for cultural purpose. Buhanga sacred forest is a relict forest of tremendous ecological importance to Rwandan society located in Musanze District. The aim of this study was to assess the traditional ecological knowledge and belief in the utilisation of some important plant species for the conservation of Buhanga sacred forest. Ecological information about ethnomedicinal and traditional practices were collected following structured questionnaire through interview involving eight traditional healers and three focus group discussions. Data were collected from the natural habitats, home gardens, farmlands and roadsides of Buhanga sacred forest. A total of 45 botanical taxa belonging to 28 families were reported to be used by the local community. Species such as Brillantaisia cicatricosa and Senna septemtrionalis were the popular species cited by traditional healers to treat human and animal diseases and ailments, respectively. The results of the study indicated that because of the cultural norms and values associated with the sacred forest, this has led to non-exploitation. The study presents key sites and plant species in which their use and belief can lead to their conservation. However, not only is it imperative to conserve traditional local knowledge for biocultural conservation motives but there is also need to train traditional healers on how to domesticate indigenous species as conservation measure because some species have become susceptible to extinction. Conservation implications: Highlighting indigenous species investigated in this research will provide a powerful tool for ensuring biodiversity conservation through community participation in a country of high population density in Africa. Some plant species that provided satisfactory Local Health Traditions among communities surrounding Buhanga can contribute as good material for further

  1. Ecological aspects of nuclear power plants in coastal environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lebreton, P.

    1976-01-01

    A review is presented about ecological effects of giant nuclear Power Plants (ca. 5,000 MWe) on coastal environment. From short to long time, the problems concern the following points of view: - physical: (sitology; necessity of ecological mapping); - mechanical: (the cooling systems. 'Courantology'. Disturbance of marine micro- and macro-organisms); - thermal: (the heated discharges; thermal pollution. Effects on dissolved chemicals and marine organisms. Acquaculture and its limits); - chemical and radiochemical: (synergistic pollutions. Chlorine vs. fouling. Acute or chronic radioactive effluents; concentration by food chains). The conclusions emphasize the necessity of 'pluridisciplinarity' and 'zero-point' definition. Three ecological categories can be distinguished on the basis of water physical turn-over; to this categories correspond various standards and recommandations for management of nuclear Power Plants in coastal zones [fr

  2. Plant-aphid interactions: molecular and ecological perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Goggin, Fiona L

    2007-08-01

    Many aphids are major agricultural pests because of their unparalleled reproductive capacity and their ability to manipulate host plant physiology. Aphid population growth and its impact on plant fitness are strongly influenced by interactions with other organisms, including plant pathogens, endophytes, aphid endosymbionts, predators, parasitoids, ants, and other herbivores. Numerous molecular and genomic resources have recently been developed to identify sources of aphid resistance in plants, as well as potentially novel targets for control in aphids. Moreover, the same model systems that are used to explore direct molecular interactions between plants and aphids can be utilized to study the ecological context in which they occur.

  3. Climate impacts on bird and plant communities from altered animal-plant interactions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Martin, Thomas E.; Maron, John L.

    2012-01-01

    The contribution of climate change to declining populations of organisms remains a question of outstanding concern. Much attention to declining populations has focused on how changing climate drives phenological mismatches between animals and their food. Effects of climate on plant communities may provide an alternative, but particularly powerful, influence on animal populations because plants provide their habitats. Here, we show that abundances of deciduous trees and associated songbirds have declined with decreasing snowfall over 22 years of study in montane Arizona, USA. We experimentally tested the hypothesis that declining snowfall indirectly influences plants and associated birds by allowing greater over-winter herbivory by elk (Cervus canadensis). We excluded elk from one of two paired snowmelt drainages (10 ha per drainage), and replicated this paired experiment across three distant canyons. Over six years, we reversed multi-decade declines in plant and bird populations by experimentally inhibiting heavy winter herbivory associated with declining snowfall. Moreover, predation rates on songbird nests decreased in exclosures, despite higher abundances of nest predators, demonstrating the over-riding importance of habitat quality to avian recruitment. Thus, our results suggest that climate impacts on plant–animal interactions can have forceful ramifying effects on plants, birds, and ecological interactions.

  4. Cultivating Bakhtin in the garden: Children's ecological narratives on becoming community gardeners

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grugel, Annie H.

    2009-12-01

    This dissertation illustrates how a children's community garden, designed specifically to promote intergenerational, multi-sociocultural relationships, is an "ideological environment" linking individuals and their community and connecting people with nature, in order to promote feelings of belonging, social connection, and encourage a sense of stewardship and identification with the environment (Bakhtin, 1978). By spending time in a community garden, responding to the natural ecosystems which exist on this land, and reflecting, through image and story about our childhood experience, the participants and I engaged in the dialogic process of what Thomashow (1996) refers to as "doing ecological identity work." Throughout this study I question how our past experiences with nature in ideological environments shape our ecological epistemologies, and how the dialogic process of becoming a gardener within the context of a community garden shapes a person's ecological identity. To frame this exploration of ecological identity work as a dialogic process and its role in the development of an ecological identity, I draw from sociocultural theory (Holland, et al., 1998), Bakhtin's theory of dialogism, and ecological identity studies (Clayton and Opotow, 2003; Cobb, 1993; Orr, 1994, 2006; Sobel, 1996, 2008; Thomashow, 1996). A large body of scholarly writing done by environmental researchers is devoted to examining and describing how adults, who self-identify as environmentalists, developed an ecological worldview. However, only a fraction of research is devoted to theorizing how children develop an environmental epistemology. In this study, I focus on how community gardens are dialogic spaces that provide a place for elementary-aged children to "experience" the discourse of gardening. Here, I describe the discourses that shape the garden and describe how gardeners, as a result of their collaborative experiences between human and non-human actors, take up social and dialogical

  5. Microbial community dynamics and transformation of vascular plant detritus in two wetland ecosystems

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Moran, M.A.

    1987-01-01

    The microbial ecology of two wetland ecosystems in southeastern Georgia, USA, was studied with respect to microbial community dynamics and microbially-mediated transformations of vascular plant detritus. In the Okefenokee Swamp, biomass of microorganisms in the water column and sediments was generally lower in winter months and higher during spring and summer. Biomass and activity (measured as 14 C-lignocellulose mineralization) differed significantly among five habitats within the Okefenokee, and also among locations within each habitat. Significant heterogeneity in the structure of Okefenokee microbial communities was found at scales from 30 cm to 150 m. In field and laboratory studies of vascular plant decomposition in the Okefenokee and a salt marsh on Sapelo Island, the mathematical model which best describes decomposition kinetics is the decaying coefficient model

  6. Promoting Community Socio-Ecological Sustainability through Technology: A Case Study from Chile

    Science.gov (United States)

    Aguayo, Claudio; Eames, Chris

    2017-01-01

    The importance of community learning in effecting social change towards ecological sustainability has been recognised for some time. More recently, the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools to promote socio-ecological sustainability has been shown to have potential in community education for sustainable development (ESD). The…

  7. Using Ants as bioindicators: Multiscale Issues in Ant Community Ecology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Alan Andersen

    1997-06-01

    Full Text Available Ecological patterns and processes are characteristically scale dependent, and research findings often cannot be translated easily from one scale to another. Conservation biology is challenged by a lack of congruence between the spatial scales of ecological research (typically involving small plots and land management (typically involving whole landscapes. Here, I discuss spatial scaling issues as they relate to an understanding of ant communities and, consequently, their use as bioindicators in land management. Our perceptions of fundamental patterns and processes in ant communities depend on scale: taxa that are behaviorally dominant at one scale are not necessarily so at others, functional groups recognized at one scale are often inappropriate for others, and the role of competition in community structure depends on the scale of analysis. Patterns of species richness and composition, and the ability of total richness to be estimated by surrogates, are all also scale dependent. Ant community ecology has a tradition of detailed studies in small plots, but the use of ants as bioindicators requires a predictive understanding of community structure and dynamics at a range of spatial scales. Such an appreciation of ant communities and their most effective use as bioindicators is best served by studies integrating results from plot-scale research with the broad-scale paradigms of biogeography, systematics, and evolutionary biology.

  8. Blue oak plant communities of southern San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara Counties, California

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mark I. Borchert; Nancy D. Cunha; Patricia C. Krosse; Marcee L. Lawrence

    1993-01-01

    An ecological classification system has been developed for the Pacific Southwest Region of the Forest Service. As part of that classification effort, blue oak (Quercus douglasii) woodlands and forests of southern San Luis Obispo and northern Santa Barbara Counties in Los Padres National Forest were classified into I3 plant communities using...

  9. Determinants of plant community assembly in a mosaic of landscape units in central Amazonia: ecological and phylogenetic perspectives.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    María Natalia Umaña

    Full Text Available The Amazon harbours one of the richest ecosystems on Earth. Such diversity is likely to be promoted by plant specialization, associated with the occurrence of a mosaic of landscape units. Here, we integrate ecological and phylogenetic data at different spatial scales to assess the importance of habitat specialization in driving compositional and phylogenetic variation across the Amazonian forest. To do so, we evaluated patterns of floristic dissimilarity and phylogenetic turnover, habitat association and phylogenetic structure in three different landscape units occurring in terra firme (Hilly and Terrace and flooded forests (Igapó. We established two 1-ha tree plots in each of these landscape units at the Caparú Biological Station, SW Colombia, and measured edaphic, topographic and light variables. At large spatial scales, terra firme forests exhibited higher levels of species diversity and phylodiversity than flooded forests. These two types of forests showed conspicuous differences in species and phylogenetic composition, suggesting that environmental sorting due to flood is important, and can go beyond the species level. At a local level, landscape units showed floristic divergence, driven both by geographical distance and by edaphic specialization. In terms of phylogenetic structure, Igapó forests showed phylogenetic clustering, whereas Hilly and Terrace forests showed phylogenetic evenness. Within plots, however, local communities did not show any particular trend. Overall, our findings suggest that flooded forests, characterized by stressful environments, impose limits to species occurrence, whereas terra firme forests, more environmentally heterogeneous, are likely to provide a wider range of ecological conditions and therefore to bear higher diversity. Thus, Amazonia should be considered as a mosaic of landscape units, where the strength of habitat association depends upon their environmental properties.

  10. Determinants of Plant Community Assembly in a Mosaic of Landscape Units in Central Amazonia: Ecological and Phylogenetic Perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Umaña, María Natalia; Norden, Natalia; Cano, Ángela; Stevenson, Pablo R.

    2012-01-01

    The Amazon harbours one of the richest ecosystems on Earth. Such diversity is likely to be promoted by plant specialization, associated with the occurrence of a mosaic of landscape units. Here, we integrate ecological and phylogenetic data at different spatial scales to assess the importance of habitat specialization in driving compositional and phylogenetic variation across the Amazonian forest. To do so, we evaluated patterns of floristic dissimilarity and phylogenetic turnover, habitat association and phylogenetic structure in three different landscape units occurring in terra firme (Hilly and Terrace) and flooded forests (Igapó). We established two 1-ha tree plots in each of these landscape units at the Caparú Biological Station, SW Colombia, and measured edaphic, topographic and light variables. At large spatial scales, terra firme forests exhibited higher levels of species diversity and phylodiversity than flooded forests. These two types of forests showed conspicuous differences in species and phylogenetic composition, suggesting that environmental sorting due to flood is important, and can go beyond the species level. At a local level, landscape units showed floristic divergence, driven both by geographical distance and by edaphic specialization. In terms of phylogenetic structure, Igapó forests showed phylogenetic clustering, whereas Hilly and Terrace forests showed phylogenetic evenness. Within plots, however, local communities did not show any particular trend. Overall, our findings suggest that flooded forests, characterized by stressful environments, impose limits to species occurrence, whereas terra firme forests, more environmentally heterogeneous, are likely to provide a wider range of ecological conditions and therefore to bear higher diversity. Thus, Amazonia should be considered as a mosaic of landscape units, where the strength of habitat association depends upon their environmental properties. PMID:23028844

  11. Terrestrial ecology. Comprehensive study of the grassland biome

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Anon.

    1976-01-01

    Terrestrial ecology and grassland biome studies are designed to characterize the biota of the Hanford Reservation, elucidate seasonal dynamics of plant productivity, decomposition and mineral behavior patterns of important plant communities, and, to study the response of these communities to important natural environmental stresses, such as weather, wildfire and man-induced alterations of communities (influenced by grazing cattle and severe mechanical disturbance of the soil, such as affected by plowing or burial of waste materials or construction activities). A detailed account of the important findings of a 5-yr study is currently being prepared by the terrestrial ecology section staff for publication as a contribution to the International Biological Program Grassland Biome project

  12. Determining patterns of variability in ecological communities: time lag analysis revisited

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Kampichler, C.; Van der Jeugd, H.P.

    2013-01-01

    All ecological communities experience change over time. One method to quantify temporal variation in the patterns of relative abundance of communities is time lag analysis (TLA). It uses a distance-based approach to study temporal community dynamics by regressing community dissimilarity over

  13. Forest Plant community changes during 1989-2007 in response to climate warming in the Jura Mountains (France and Switzerland)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lenoir, Jonathan; Gégout, J.C.; Dupouey, J.L.

    2010-01-01

    Question: How strong are climate warming-driven changes within mid-elevation forest communities? Observations of plant community change within temperate mountain forest ecosystems in response to recent warming are scarce in comparison to high-elevation alpine and nival ecosystems, perhaps...... reflecting the confounding influence of forest stand dynamics. Location: Jura Mountains (France and Switzerland). Methods: We assessed changes in plant community composition by surveying 154 Abies alba forest vegetation relevés (550-1,350 m a.s.l.) in 1989 and 2007. Over this period, temperatures increased...... while precipitation did not change. Correspondence analysis (CA) and ecological indicator values were used to measure changes in plant community composition. Relevés in even- and uneven-aged stands were analysed separately to determine the influence of forest stand dynamics. We also analysed changes...

  14. Fragmentation alters stream fish community structure in dendritic ecological networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perkin, Joshuah S; Gido, Keith B

    2012-12-01

    Effects of fragmentation on the ecology of organisms occupying dendritic ecological networks (DENs) have recently been described through both conceptual and mathematical models, but few hypotheses have been tested in complex, real-world ecosystems. Stream fishes provide a model system for assessing effects of fragmentation on the structure of communities occurring within DENs, including how fragmentation alters metacommunity dynamics and biodiversity. A recently developed habitat-availability measure, the "dendritic connectivity index" (DCI), allows for assigning quantitative measures of connectivity in DENs regardless of network extent or complexity, and might be used to predict fish community response to fragmentation. We characterized stream fish community structure in 12 DENs in the Great Plains, USA, during periods of dynamic (summer) and muted (fall) discharge regimes to test the DCI as a predictive model of fish community response to fragmentation imposed by road crossings. Results indicated that fish communities in stream segments isolated by road crossings had reduced species richness (alpha diversity) relative to communities that maintained connectivity with the surrounding DEN during summer and fall. Furthermore, isolated communities had greater dissimilarity (beta diversity) to downstream sites notisolated by road crossings during summer and fall. Finally, dissimilarity among communities within DENs decreased as a function of increased habitat connectivity (measured using the DCI) for summer and fall, suggesting that communities within highly connected DENs tend to be more homogeneous. Our results indicate that the DCI is sensitive to community effects of fragmentation in riverscapes and might be used by managers to predict ecological responses to changes in habitat connectivity. Moreover, our findings illustrate that relating structural connectivity of riverscapes to functional connectivity among communities might aid in maintaining metacommunity

  15. Introduction to special issue on the ecology of clonal plants

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Gross, K. L.; Herben, T.; Klimešová, Jitka

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 52, 3-4 (2017), s. 265-267 ISSN 1211-9520 Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : Introduction to special issue * clonal plants * clonal meeting Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 1.017, year: 2016

  16. Are trade-offs among species' ecological interactions scale dependent? A test using pitcher-plant inquiline species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kneitel, Jamie M

    2012-01-01

    Trade-offs among species' ecological interactions is a pervasive explanation for species coexistence. The traits associated with trade-offs are typically measured to mechanistically explain species coexistence at a single spatial scale. However, species potentially interact at multiple scales and this may be reflected in the traits among coexisting species. I quantified species' ecological traits associated with the trade-offs expected at both local (competitive ability and predator tolerance) and regional (competitive ability and colonization rate) community scales. The most common species (four protozoa and a rotifer) from the middle trophic level of a pitcher plant (Sarracenia purpurea) inquiline community were used to link species traits to previously observed patterns of species diversity and abundance. Traits associated with trade-offs (competitive ability, predator tolerance, and colonization rate) and other ecological traits (size, growth rate, and carrying capacity) were measured for each of the focal species. Traits were correlated with one another with a negative relationship indicative of a trade-off. Protozoan and rotifer species exhibited a negative relationship between competitive ability and predator tolerance, indicative of coexistence at the local community scale. There was no relationship between competitive ability and colonization rate. Size, growth rate, and carrying capacity were correlated with each other and the trade-off traits: Size was related to both competitive ability and predator tolerance, but growth rate and carrying capacity were correlated with predator tolerance. When partial correlations were conducted controlling for size, growth rate and carrying capacity, the trade-offs largely disappeared. These results imply that body size is the trait that provides the basis for ecological interactions and trade-offs. Altogether, this study showed that the examination of species' traits in the context of coexistence at different scales

  17. Taxonomic and Functional Responses of Soil Microbial Communities to Annual Removal of Aboveground Plant Biomass

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guo, Xue; Zhou, Xishu; Hale, Lauren; Yuan, Mengting; Feng, Jiajie; Ning, Daliang; Shi, Zhou; Qin, Yujia; Liu, Feifei; Wu, Liyou; He, Zhili; Van Nostrand, Joy D.; Liu, Xueduan; Luo, Yiqi; Tiedje, James M.; Zhou, Jizhong

    2018-01-01

    Clipping, removal of aboveground plant biomass, is an important issue in grassland ecology. However, few studies have focused on the effect of clipping on belowground microbial communities. Using integrated metagenomic technologies, we examined the taxonomic and functional responses of soil microbial communities to annual clipping (2010–2014) in a grassland ecosystem of the Great Plains of North America. Our results indicated that clipping significantly (P microbial respiration rates. Annual temporal variation within the microbial communities was much greater than the significant changes introduced by clipping, but cumulative effects of clipping were still observed in the long-term scale. The abundances of some bacterial and fungal lineages including Actinobacteria and Bacteroidetes were significantly (P microbial communities were significantly correlated with soil respiration and plant productivity. Intriguingly, clipping effects on microbial function may be highly regulated by precipitation at the interannual scale. Altogether, our results illustrated the potential of soil microbial communities for increased soil organic matter decomposition under clipping land-use practices. PMID:29904372

  18. Succession Stages of Tundra Plant Communities Following Wildfire Disturbance in Arctic Alaska

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breen, A. L.; Hollingsworth, T. N.; Mack, M. C.; Jones, B. M.

    2015-12-01

    Rapid climate change is affecting climate-sensitive disturbance regimes throughout the world. In particular, the impacts of climate change on Arctic disturbance regimes are poorly understood because landscape-scale disturbances are infrequent or occur in remote localities. Wildfire in Arctic Alaska is presently limited by ignition source and favorable burn weather. With rapid climate change, a lengthening growing season, and subsequent increase in plant biomass and productivity, wildfire frequency and annual area burned in tundra ecosystems is expected to increase over the next century. Yet, post-fire tundra vegetation succession is inadequately characterized except at a few point locations. We identify succession stages of tussock tundra communities following wildfire using a chronosequence of 65 relevés in 10 tundra fire scars (1971-2011) and nearby unburned tundra from sites on the Seward Peninsula and northern foothills of the Brooks Range. We used the Braun-Blanquét approach to classify plant communities, and applied nonmetric multidimentional scaling (NMDS) to identify ecological gradients underlying community differentiation. The ordination revealed a clear differentiation between unburned and burned tundra communities. Ecological gradients, reflected by ordination axes, correspond to fire history (e.g., time since last fire, number of times burned, burn severity) and a complex productivity gradient. Post-fire species richness is less than unburned tundra; primarily reflected as a decrease in lichen species and turnover of bryophyte species immediately post-fire. Species richness of grasses increases post-fire and is greatest in communities that burned more than once in the past 30 years. Shrub cover and total aboveground biomass are greatest in repeat burn sites. We review and discuss our results focusing on the implications of a changing tundra fire regime, its effect on vegetation succession trajectories, and subsequent rates of carbon sequestration and

  19. State of the science and challenges of breeding landscape plants with ecological function

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilde, H Dayton; Gandhi, Kamal J K; Colson, Gregory

    2015-01-01

    Exotic plants dominate esthetically-managed landscapes, which cover 30–40 million hectares in the United States alone. Recent ecological studies have found that landscaping with exotic plant species can reduce biodiversity on multiple trophic levels. To support biodiversity in urbanized areas, the increased use of native landscaping plants has been advocated by conservation groups and US federal and state agencies. A major challenge to scaling up the use of native species in landscaping is providing ornamental plants that are both ecologically functional and economically viable. Depending on ecological and economic constraints, accelerated breeding approaches could be applied to ornamental trait development in native plants. This review examines the impact of landscaping choices on biodiversity, the current status of breeding and selection of native ornamental plants, and the interdisciplinary research needed to scale up landscaping plants that can support native biodiversity. PMID:26504560

  20. Medicinal plants used by the Tamang community in the Makawanpur district of central Nepal

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Luitel, D. R.; Rokaya, Maan Bahadur; Timsina, Binu; Münzbergová, Zuzana

    2014-01-01

    Roč. 10, č. 5 (2014), s. 1-11 ISSN 1746-4269 R&D Projects: GA MŠk(CZ) ED1.1.00/02.0073; GA ČR GP13-10850P Institutional support: RVO:67179843 ; RVO:67985939 Keywords : Makawanpur district * Medicinal plants * Pharmacology * Phytochemistry * Tamang community Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour; EF - Botanics (BU-J) Impact factor: 2.000, year: 2014

  1. Study on remote sensing method for drawing up and utilizing ecological and natural map II; concentrated on drawing up a plant ecological classification map

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Jeon, Seong Woo; Chung, Hwui Chul [Korea Environment Institute, Seoul (Korea)

    1999-12-01

    Following with the flows of the environmental conservation, Korea has revised the law of natural environmental conservation. In this law, it has suggested to draw up an ecological nature figure for efficient preservation and utilization of a country. To draw up an ecological nature figure, it requires several evaluating factors. Among them, a plant ecological classification is a very important evaluating factor since it can evaluate a habitation area of natural organisms. This study investigated a drawing up method of plant ecological classification using satellite image data. However the limit of satellite image data and the quality of required plant ecological classification are not quite matched but if the satellite image data and the infrared color aerial photograph are mixed, it can be expected to have an excellent quality of plant ecological classification. 85 refs., 86 figs., 45 tabs.

  2. Temperate Snake Community in South America: Is Diet Determined by Phylogeny or Ecology?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Etchepare, Eduardo G.

    2015-01-01

    Communities are complex and dynamic systems that change with time. The first attempts to explain how they were structured involve contemporary phenomena like ecological interactions between species (e.g., competition and predation) and led to the competition-predation hypothesis. Recently, the deep history hypothesis has emerged, which suggests that profound differences in the evolutionary history of organisms resulted in a number of ecological features that remain largely on species that are part of existing communities. Nevertheless, both phylogenetic structure and ecological interactions can act together to determine the structure of a community. Because diet is one of the main niche axes, in this study we evaluated, for the first time, the impact of ecological and phylogenetic factors on the diet of Neotropical snakes from the subtropical-temperate region of South America. Additionally, we studied their relationship with morphological and environmental aspects to understand the natural history and ecology of this community. A canonical phylogenetical ordination analysis showed that phylogeny explained most of the variation in diet, whereas ecological characters explained very little of this variation. Furthermore, some snakes that shared the habitat showed some degree of diet convergence, in accordance with the competition-predation hypothesis, although phylogeny remained the major determinant in structuring this community. The clade with the greatest variability was the subfamily Dipsadinae, whose members had a very different type of diet, based on soft-bodied invertebrates. Our results are consistent with the deep history hypothesis, and we suggest that the community under study has a deep phylogenetic effect that explains most of the variation in the diet. PMID:25945501

  3. Temperate snake community in South America: is diet determined by phylogeny or ecology?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Gisela P Bellini

    Full Text Available Communities are complex and dynamic systems that change with time. The first attempts to explain how they were structured involve contemporary phenomena like ecological interactions between species (e.g., competition and predation and led to the competition-predation hypothesis. Recently, the deep history hypothesis has emerged, which suggests that profound differences in the evolutionary history of organisms resulted in a number of ecological features that remain largely on species that are part of existing communities. Nevertheless, both phylogenetic structure and ecological interactions can act together to determine the structure of a community. Because diet is one of the main niche axes, in this study we evaluated, for the first time, the impact of ecological and phylogenetic factors on the diet of Neotropical snakes from the subtropical-temperate region of South America. Additionally, we studied their relationship with morphological and environmental aspects to understand the natural history and ecology of this community. A canonical phylogenetical ordination analysis showed that phylogeny explained most of the variation in diet, whereas ecological characters explained very little of this variation. Furthermore, some snakes that shared the habitat showed some degree of diet convergence, in accordance with the competition-predation hypothesis, although phylogeny remained the major determinant in structuring this community. The clade with the greatest variability was the subfamily Dipsadinae, whose members had a very different type of diet, based on soft-bodied invertebrates. Our results are consistent with the deep history hypothesis, and we suggest that the community under study has a deep phylogenetic effect that explains most of the variation in the diet.

  4. Evolution in a Community Context: On Integrating Ecological Interactions and Macroevolution.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Weber, Marjorie G; Wagner, Catherine E; Best, Rebecca J; Harmon, Luke J; Matthews, Blake

    2017-04-01

    Despite a conceptual understanding that evolution and species interactions are inextricably linked, it remains challenging to study ecological and evolutionary dynamics together over long temporal scales. In this review, we argue that, despite inherent challenges associated with reconstructing historical processes, the interplay of ecology and evolution is central to our understanding of macroevolution and community coexistence, and cannot be safely ignored in community and comparative phylogenetic studies. We highlight new research avenues that foster greater consideration of both ecological and evolutionary dynamics as processes that occur along branches of phylogenetic trees. By promoting new ways forward using this perspective, we hope to inspire further integration that creatively co-utilizes phylogenies and ecological data to study eco-evolutionary dynamics over time and space. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Community Based Ecological Monitoring of Non Timber Forest ...

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

    Community Based Ecological Monitoring of Non Timber Forest Products in the Nilgiri ... This project will allow Keystone Foundation to design, implement and test a ... traders, forest department officials and other stakeholders in the process.

  6. Implications of ecological and social characteristics to community ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Implications of ecological and social characteristics to community livelihoods in the coastal ... African Journal of Environmental Science and Technology ... This will further address conflicts over resource uses that may arise due to livelihood ...

  7. Understory Plant Community Composition Is Associated with Fine-Scale Above- and Below-Ground Resource Heterogeneity in Mature Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Forests

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIntosh, Anne C. S.; Macdonald, S. Ellen; Quideau, Sylvie A.

    2016-01-01

    Understory plant communities play critical ecological roles in forest ecosystems. Both above- and below-ground ecosystem properties and processes influence these communities but relatively little is known about such effects at fine (i.e., one to several meters within-stand) scales, particularly for forests in which the canopy is dominated by a single species. An improved understanding of these effects is critical for understanding how understory biodiversity is regulated in such forests and for anticipating impacts of changing disturbance regimes. Our primary objective was to examine the patterns of fine-scale variation in understory plant communities and their relationships to above- and below-ground resource and environmental heterogeneity within mature lodgepole pine forests. We assessed composition and diversity of understory vegetation in relation to heterogeneity of both the above-ground (canopy tree density, canopy and tall shrub basal area and cover, downed wood biomass, litter cover) and below-ground (soil nutrient availability, decomposition, forest floor thickness, pH, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and multiple carbon-source substrate-induced respiration (MSIR) of the forest floor microbial community) environment. There was notable variation in fine-scale plant community composition; cluster and indicator species analyses of the 24 most commonly occurring understory species distinguished four assemblages, one for which a pioneer forb species had the highest cover levels, and three others that were characterized by different bryophyte species having the highest cover. Constrained ordination (distance-based redundancy analysis) showed that two above-ground (mean tree diameter, litter cover) and eight below-ground (forest floor pH, plant available boron, microbial community composition and function as indicated by MSIR and PLFAs) properties were associated with variation in understory plant community composition. These results provide novel insights

  8. Understory Plant Community Composition Is Associated with Fine-Scale Above- and Below-Ground Resource Heterogeneity in Mature Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta Forests.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Anne C S McIntosh

    Full Text Available Understory plant communities play critical ecological roles in forest ecosystems. Both above- and below-ground ecosystem properties and processes influence these communities but relatively little is known about such effects at fine (i.e., one to several meters within-stand scales, particularly for forests in which the canopy is dominated by a single species. An improved understanding of these effects is critical for understanding how understory biodiversity is regulated in such forests and for anticipating impacts of changing disturbance regimes. Our primary objective was to examine the patterns of fine-scale variation in understory plant communities and their relationships to above- and below-ground resource and environmental heterogeneity within mature lodgepole pine forests. We assessed composition and diversity of understory vegetation in relation to heterogeneity of both the above-ground (canopy tree density, canopy and tall shrub basal area and cover, downed wood biomass, litter cover and below-ground (soil nutrient availability, decomposition, forest floor thickness, pH, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs and multiple carbon-source substrate-induced respiration (MSIR of the forest floor microbial community environment. There was notable variation in fine-scale plant community composition; cluster and indicator species analyses of the 24 most commonly occurring understory species distinguished four assemblages, one for which a pioneer forb species had the highest cover levels, and three others that were characterized by different bryophyte species having the highest cover. Constrained ordination (distance-based redundancy analysis showed that two above-ground (mean tree diameter, litter cover and eight below-ground (forest floor pH, plant available boron, microbial community composition and function as indicated by MSIR and PLFAs properties were associated with variation in understory plant community composition. These results provide

  9. Understory Plant Community Composition Is Associated with Fine-Scale Above- and Below-Ground Resource Heterogeneity in Mature Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta) Forests.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McIntosh, Anne C S; Macdonald, S Ellen; Quideau, Sylvie A

    2016-01-01

    Understory plant communities play critical ecological roles in forest ecosystems. Both above- and below-ground ecosystem properties and processes influence these communities but relatively little is known about such effects at fine (i.e., one to several meters within-stand) scales, particularly for forests in which the canopy is dominated by a single species. An improved understanding of these effects is critical for understanding how understory biodiversity is regulated in such forests and for anticipating impacts of changing disturbance regimes. Our primary objective was to examine the patterns of fine-scale variation in understory plant communities and their relationships to above- and below-ground resource and environmental heterogeneity within mature lodgepole pine forests. We assessed composition and diversity of understory vegetation in relation to heterogeneity of both the above-ground (canopy tree density, canopy and tall shrub basal area and cover, downed wood biomass, litter cover) and below-ground (soil nutrient availability, decomposition, forest floor thickness, pH, and phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) and multiple carbon-source substrate-induced respiration (MSIR) of the forest floor microbial community) environment. There was notable variation in fine-scale plant community composition; cluster and indicator species analyses of the 24 most commonly occurring understory species distinguished four assemblages, one for which a pioneer forb species had the highest cover levels, and three others that were characterized by different bryophyte species having the highest cover. Constrained ordination (distance-based redundancy analysis) showed that two above-ground (mean tree diameter, litter cover) and eight below-ground (forest floor pH, plant available boron, microbial community composition and function as indicated by MSIR and PLFAs) properties were associated with variation in understory plant community composition. These results provide novel insights

  10. When do plant radiations influence community assembly? The importance of historical contingency in the race for niche space.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanentzap, Andrew J; Brandt, Angela J; Smissen, Rob D; Heenan, Peter B; Fukami, Tadashi; Lee, William G

    2015-07-01

    Plant radiations are widespread but their influence on community assembly has rarely been investigated. Theory and some evidence suggest that radiations can allow lineages to monopolize niche space when founding species arrive early into new bioclimatic regions and exploit ecological opportunities. These early radiations may subsequently reduce niche availability and dampen diversification of later arrivals. We tested this hypothesis of time-dependent lineage diversification and community dominance using the alpine flora of New Zealand. We estimated ages of 16 genera from published phylogenies and determined their relative occurrence across climatic and physical gradients in the alpine zone. We used these data to reconstruct occupancy of environmental space through time, integrating palaeoclimatic and palaeogeological changes. Our analysis suggested that earlier-colonizing lineages encountered a greater availability of environmental space, which promoted greater species diversity and occupancy of niche space. Genera that occupied broader niches were subsequently more dominant in local communities. An earlier time of arrival also contributed to greater diversity independently of its influence in accessing niche space. We suggest that plant radiations influence community assembly when they arise early in the occupancy of environmental space, allowing them to exclude later-arriving colonists from ecological communities by niche preemption. © 2015 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2015 New Phytologist Trust.

  11. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Payne, Richard J., E-mail: r.payne@mmu.ac.uk [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Geography, School of Environment and Development, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL (United Kingdom); Stevens, Carly J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Bailrigg, Lancaster LA1 4YQ (United Kingdom); Dise, Nancy B. [School of Science and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester St., Manchester M1 5GD (United Kingdom); Gowing, David J. [Faculty of Science, Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA (United Kingdom); Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K. [Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, Alfred Denny Building, University of Sheffield, Sheffield S10 2TN (United Kingdom); Emmett, Bridget A. [Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Environment Centre Wales, Deiniol Road, Bangor, Gwynedd LL57 2UW (United Kingdom); Ashmore, Michael R. [Environment Department, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD (United Kingdom)

    2011-10-15

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: > Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. > Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. > Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. > Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  12. Impacts of atmospheric pollution on the plant communities of British acid grasslands

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Payne, Richard J.; Stevens, Carly J.; Dise, Nancy B.; Gowing, David J.; Pilkington, Michael G.; Phoenix, Gareth K.; Emmett, Bridget A.; Ashmore, Michael R.

    2011-01-01

    Air pollutants are recognised as important agents of ecosystem change but few studies consider the effects of multiple pollutants and their interactions. Here we use ordination, constrained cluster analysis and indicator value analyses to identify potential environmental controls on species composition, ecological groupings and indicator species in a gradient study of UK acid grasslands. The community composition of these grasslands is related to climate, grazing, ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition, with evidence for an interaction between the ecological impacts of base cation and nitrogen deposition. Ozone is a key agent in species compositional change but is not associated with a reduction in species richness or diversity indices, showing the subtly different drivers on these two aspects of ecosystem degradation. Our results demonstrate the effects of multiple interacting pollutants, which may collectively have a greater impact than any individual agent. - Highlights: → Ozone exposure, N and base cation deposition modify UK acid grassland composition. → Ozone influences community composition without reducing species richness. → Nitrogen and base cation deposition have interacting impacts. → Distinct species responses to pollutants suggest potential for bioindication. - Ozone exposure and nitrogen deposition have distinct but additive impacts on the plant communities of British acid grasslands.

  13. Zooming-in on floral nectar: a first exploration of nectar-associated bacteria in wild plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Alvarez-Pérez, Sergio; Herrera, Carlos M; de Vega, Clara

    2012-06-01

    Floral nectar of some animal-pollinated plants usually harbours highly adapted yeast communities which can profoundly alter nectar characteristics and, therefore, potentially have significant impacts on plant reproduction through their effects on insect foraging behaviour. Bacteria have also been occasionally observed in floral nectar, but their prevalence, phylogenetic diversity and ecological role within plant-pollinator-yeast systems remains unclear. Here we present the first reported survey of bacteria in floral nectar from a natural plant community. Culturable bacteria occurring in a total of 71 nectar samples collected from 27 South African plant species were isolated and identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Rarefaction-based analyses were used to assess operational taxonomic units (OTUs) richness at the plant community level using nectar drops as sampling units. Our results showed that bacteria are common inhabitants of floral nectar of South African plants (53.5% of samples yielded growth), and their communities are characterized by low species richness (18 OTUs at a 16S rRNA gene sequence dissimilarity cut-off of 3%) and moderate phylogenetic diversity, with most isolates belonging to the Gammaproteobacteria. Furthermore, isolates showed osmotolerance, catalase activity and the ability to grow under microaerobiosis, three traits that might help bacteria to overcome important factors limiting their survival and/or growth in nectar. © 2012 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.

  14. The importance of ecological costs for the evolution of plant defense against herbivory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    van Velzen, Ellen; Etienne, Rampal S

    2015-05-07

    Plant defense against herbivory comes at a cost, which can be either direct (reducing resources available for growth and reproduction) or indirect (through reducing ecological performance, for example intraspecific competitiveness). While direct costs have been well studied in theoretical models, ecological costs have received almost no attention. In this study we compare models with a direct trade-off (reduced growth rate) to models with an ecological trade-off (reduced competitive ability), using a combination of adaptive dynamics and simulations. In addition, we study the dependence of the level of defense that can evolve on the type of defense (directly by reducing consumption, or indirectly by inducing herbivore mortality (toxicity)), and on the type of herbivore against which the plant is defending itself (generalists or specialists). We find three major results: First, for both direct and ecological costs, defense only evolves if the benefit to the plant is direct (through reducing consumption). Second, the type of cost has a major effect on the evolutionary dynamics: direct costs always lead to a single optimal strategy against herbivores, but ecological costs can lead to branching and the coexistence of non-defending and defending plants; however, coexistence is only possible when defending against generalist herbivores. Finally, we find that fast-growing plants invest less than slow-growing plants when defending against generalist herbivores, as predicted by the Resource Availability Hypothesis, but invest more than slow-growing plants when defending against specialists. Our results clearly show that assumptions about ecological interactions are crucial for understanding the evolution of defense against herbivores. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Ecological effects of transgene persistence on plant communities in the presence and absence of drift levels of glyphosate herbicide

    Science.gov (United States)

    In 2005, plant communities were constructed in outdoor sunlit chambers that contained 3 round tubs having a surface area of 1.2 m2 and a depth of 0.6 m. Six plant types were planted in triplicate using the same spatial arrangement in each tub. Three of the six plant types were se...

  16. Relationships between vital rates and ecological traits in an avian community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bellier, Edwige; Kéry, Marc; Schaub, Michael

    2018-03-30

    Comparative studies about the relationships between vital rates and ecological traits at the community level are conspicuously lacking for most taxa because estimating vital rates requires detailed demographic data. Identifying relationships between vital rates and ecological traits could help to better understand ecological and evolutionary demographic mechanisms that lead to interspecific differences in vital rates. We use novel dynamic N-mixture models for counts to achieve this for a whole avian community comprising 53 passerine species, while simultaneously accounting for density dependence and environmental stochasticity in recruitment and survival and, importantly, correcting our inferences for imperfect detection. Demographic stochasticity is taken into account in the form of the binomial and Poisson distributions describing survival events and number of recruits. We then explore relationships between estimated demographic parameters (i.e., vital rates) and ecological traits related to migration patterns, diet, habitat and nesting location of each species. The relative importance of recruitment and adult survival as contributors to population growth varied greatly among species, and interspecific differences in vital rates partly reflected differences in ecological traits. Migratory mode was associated with interspecific differences in population growth and density dependence. Resident species had higher population growth rates than long- and short-distance migrants. We found no relationships between diet and population growth rate. Habitat differences were associated with different growth rates: alpine, wetland and farmland species had lower population growth rates than forest species. Differences in population growth rates among nesting locations showed that breeding habitat is essential for population dynamics. Our study reveals relationships between ecological traits and contributions of vital rates to population growth and suggests ways in which

  17. Time is honey: circadian clocks of bees and flowers and how their interactions may influence ecological communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bloch, Guy; Bar-Shai, Noam; Cytter, Yotam; Green, Rachel

    2017-11-19

    The interactions between flowering plants and insect pollinators shape ecological communities and provide one of the best examples of coevolution. Although these interactions have received much attention in both ecology and evolution, their temporal aspects are little explored. Here we review studies on the circadian organization of pollination-related traits in bees and flowers. Research, mostly with the honeybee, Apis mellifera , has implicated the circadian clock in key aspects of their foraging for flower rewards. These include anticipation, timing of visits to flowers at specified locations and time-compensated sun-compass orientation. Floral rhythms in traits such as petal opening, scent release and reward availability also show robust daily rhythms. However, in only few studies was it possible to adequately determine whether these oscillations are driven by external time givers such as light and temperature cycles, or endogenous circadian clocks. The interplay between the timing of flower and pollinator rhythms may be ecologically significant. Circadian regulation of pollination-related traits in only few species may influence the entire pollination network and thus affect community structure and local biodiversity. We speculate that these intricate chronobiological interactions may be vulnerable to anthropogenic effects such as the introduction of alien invasive species, pesticides or environmental pollutants.This article is part of the themed issue 'Wild clocks: integrating chronobiology and ecology to understand timekeeping in free-living animals'. © 2017 The Author(s).

  18. Soil ecology of a rock outcrop ecosystem: Abiotic stresses, soil respiration, and microbial community profiles in limestone cedar glades

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cartwright, Jennifer M.; Advised by Dzantor, E. Kudjo

    2015-01-01

    Limestone cedar glades are a type of rock outcrop ecosystem characterized by shallow soil and extreme hydrologic conditions—seasonally ranging from xeric to saturated—that support a number of plant species of conservation concern. Although a rich botanical literature exists on cedar glades, soil biochemical processes and the ecology of soil microbial communities in limestone cedar glades have largely been ignored. This investigation documents the abiotic stress regime of this ecosystem (shallow soil, extreme hydrologic fluctuations and seasonally high soil surface temperatures) as well as soil physical and chemical characteristics, and relates both types of information to ecological structures and functions including vegetation, soil respiration, and soil microbial community metabolic profiles and diversity. Methods used in this investigation include field observations and measurements of soil physical and chemical properties and processes, laboratory analyses, and microbiological assays of soil samples.

  19. Termite hindguts and the ecology of microbial communities in the sequencing age.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tai, Vera; Keeling, Patrick J

    2013-01-01

    Advances in high-throughput nucleic acid sequencing have improved our understanding of microbial communities in a number of ways. Deeper sequence coverage provides the means to assess diversity at the resolution necessary to recover ecological and biogeographic patterns, and at the same time single-cell genomics provides detailed information about the interactions between members of a microbial community. Given the vastness and complexity of microbial ecosystems, such analyses remain challenging for most environments, so greater insight can also be drawn from analysing less dynamic ecosystems. Here, we outline the advantages of one such environment, the wood-digesting hindgut communities of termites and cockroaches, and how it is a model to examine and compare both protist and bacterial communities. Beyond the analysis of diversity, our understanding of protist community ecology will depend on using statistically sound sampling regimes at biologically relevant scales, transitioning from discovery-based to experimental ecology, incorporating single-cell microbiology and other data sources, and continued development of analytical tools. © 2013 The Author(s) Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology © 2013 International Society of Protistologists.

  20. ECOLOGICAL ETHICS. VALUES AND NORMS IN LOCAL RURAL COMMUNITIES

    OpenAIRE

    Włodzimierz Kaczocha; Jan Sikora

    2016-01-01

    An important role in sustainable rural development, involving economy, local communities and nature, should be played by ethics. This paper presents a theoretical and empirical characterization of basic problems of ecological ethics. First and foremost, the study characterizes the philosophical fundamentals of this ethics, with emphasis on ontological and anthropological views of selected thinkers. A universal concept of ecological ethics was proposed, containing values and moral norms that p...

  1. Herbivore-mediated ecological costs of reproduction shape the life history of an iteroparous plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miller, Tom E X; Tenhumberg, Brigitte; Louda, Svata M

    2008-02-01

    Plant reproduction yields immediate fitness benefits but can be costly in terms of survival, growth, and future fecundity. Life-history theory posits that reproductive strategies are shaped by trade-offs between current and future fitness that result from these direct costs of reproduction. Plant reproduction may also incur indirect ecological costs if it increases susceptibility to herbivores. Yet ecological costs of reproduction have received little empirical attention and remain poorly integrated into life-history theory. Here, we provide evidence for herbivore-mediated ecological costs of reproduction, and we develop theory to examine how these costs influence plant life-history strategies. Field experiments with an iteroparous cactus (Opuntia imbricata) indicated that greater reproductive effort (proportion of meristems allocated to reproduction) led to greater attack by a cactus-feeding insect (Narnia pallidicornis) and that damage by this herbivore reduced reproductive success. A dynamic programming model predicted strongly divergent optimal reproductive strategies when ecological costs were included, compared with when these costs were ignored. Meristem allocation by cacti in the field matched the optimal strategy expected under ecological costs of reproduction. The results indicate that plant reproductive allocation can strongly influence the intensity of interactions with herbivores and that associated ecological costs can play an important selective role in the evolution of plant life histories.

  2. Ecological and population genetics of locally rare plants: A review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon A. Lei

    2001-01-01

    Plant species with limited dispersal ability, narrow geographical and physiological tolerance ranges, as well as with specific habitat and ecological requirements are likely to be rare. Small and isolated populations and species contain low levels of within-population genetic variation in many plant species. The gene pool of plants is a product of phenotype-environment...

  3. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species – the roles of community attributes, Bromus Interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chambers, Jeanne; Germino, Matthew; Belnap, Jayne; Brown, Cynthia; Schupp, Eugene W.; St. Clair, Samuel B

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromushereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in particular ambient and soil temperatures, have significant effects on the ability of Bromus to establish and spread. Seasonality of precipitation relative to temperature influences plant community resistance toBromus through effects on soil water storage, timing of water and nutrient availability, and dominant plant life forms. Differences among plant communities in how well soil resource use by the plant community matches resource supply rates can influence the magnitude of resource fluctuations due to either climate or disturbance and thus the opportunities for invasion. The spatial and temporal patterns of resource availability and acquisition of growth resources by Bromus versus native species strongly influence resistance to invasion. Traits of Bromus that confer a “priority advantage” for resource use in many communities include early-season germination and high growth and reproductive rates. Resistance to Bromus can be overwhelmed by high propagule supply, low innate seed dormancy, and large, if short-lived, seed banks. Biological crusts can inhibit germination and establishment of invasive annual plants, including several annual Bromus species, but are effective only in the absence of disturbance. Herbivores can have negative direct effects on Bromus, but positive indirect effects through decreases in competitors. Management strategies can be improved through increased understanding of community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species.

  4. 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.

  5. Plant Ecological Strategies Shift Across the Cretaceous–Paleogene Boundary

    Science.gov (United States)

    Blonder, Benjamin; Royer, Dana L.; Johnson, Kirk R.; Miller, Ian; Enquist, Brian J.

    2014-01-01

    The Chicxulub bolide impact caused the end-Cretaceous mass extinction of plants, but the associated selectivity and ecological effects are poorly known. Using a unique set of North Dakota leaf fossil assemblages spanning 2.2 Myr across the event, we show among angiosperms a reduction of ecological strategies and selection for fast-growth strategies consistent with a hypothesized recovery from an impact winter. Leaf mass per area (carbon investment) decreased in both mean and variance, while vein density (carbon assimilation rate) increased in mean, consistent with a shift towards “fast” growth strategies. Plant extinction from the bolide impact resulted in a shift in functional trait space that likely had broad consequences for ecosystem functioning. PMID:25225914

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

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

  7. Frontiers for research on the ecology of plant-pathogenic bacteria: fundamentals for sustainability: Challenges in Bacterial Molecular Plant Pathology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Morris, Cindy E; Barny, Marie-Anne; Berge, Odile; Kinkel, Linda L; Lacroix, Christelle

    2017-02-01

    Methods to ensure the health of crops owe their efficacy to the extent to which we understand the ecology and biology of environmental microorganisms and the conditions under which their interactions with plants lead to losses in crop quality or yield. However, in the pursuit of this knowledge, notions of the ecology of plant-pathogenic microorganisms have been reduced to a plant-centric and agro-centric focus. With increasing global change, i.e. changes that encompass not only climate, but also biodiversity, the geographical distribution of biomes, human demographic and socio-economic adaptations and land use, new plant health problems will emerge via a range of processes influenced by these changes. Hence, knowledge of the ecology of plant pathogens will play an increasingly important role in the anticipation and response to disease emergence. Here, we present our opinion on the major challenges facing the study of the ecology of plant-pathogenic bacteria. We argue that the discovery of markedly novel insights into the ecology of plant-pathogenic bacteria is most likely to happen within a framework of more extensive scales of space, time and biotic interactions than those that currently guide much of the research on these bacteria. This will set a context that is more propitious for the discovery of unsuspected drivers of the survival and diversification of plant-pathogenic bacteria and of the factors most critical for disease emergence, and will set the foundation for new approaches to the sustainable management of plant health. We describe the contextual background of, justification for and specific research questions with regard to the following challenges: Development of terminology to describe plant-bacterial relationships in terms of bacterial fitness. Definition of the full scope of the environments in which plant-pathogenic bacteria reside or survive. Delineation of pertinent phylogenetic contours of plant-pathogenic bacteria and naming of strains

  8. Ecological anachronisms in the recruitment of temperate light-demanding tree species in wooded pastures

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bakker, ES; Olff, H; Vandenberghe, C; De Maeyer, K; Smit, R; Gleichman, JM; Vera, FWM

    1. Light-demanding trees and thorny shrubs in temperate plant communities may reflect adaptations to now-extinct large grazers, such as aurochs and tarpans, rendering these adaptations ecological anachronisms. 2. We explored the ecological functions of plant traits of Quercus robur and Prunus

  9. Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism, and susceptibility to herbivory: consequences for fungi and host plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gehring, Catherine A; Mueller, Rebecca C; Haskins, Kristin E; Rubow, Tine K; Whitham, Thomas G

    2014-01-01

    Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other's abundance, diversity, and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of plant parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis), and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors, and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future.

  10. Community ecology in 3D: Tensor decomposition reveals spatio-temporal dynamics of large ecological communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Frelat, Romain; Lindegren, Martin; Dencker, Tim Spaanheden

    2017-01-01

    it to multiple dimensions. This extension allows for the synchronized study of multiple ecological variables measured repeatedly in time and space. We applied this comprehensive approach to explore the spatio-temporal dynamics of 65 demersal fish species in the North Sea, a marine ecosystem strongly altered...... by human activities and climate change. Our case study demonstrates how tensor decomposition can successfully (i) characterize the main spatio-temporal patterns and trends in species abundances, (ii) identify sub-communities of species that share similar spatial distribution and temporal dynamics, and (iii...

  11. Forest climbing plants of West Africa: diversity, ecology and management

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bongers, F.J.J.M.; Parren, M.P.E.; Traoré, D.

    2005-01-01

    Climbing plants, including lianas, represent a fascinating component of the ecology of tropical forests. This book focuses on the climbing plants of West African forests. Based on original research, it presents information on the flora (including a checklist), diversity (with overviews at several

  12. Ecological aspects in civil engineering and physical planning

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Engelhardt, W.

    1983-01-01

    This book presents an introduction to aspects of ecology and has been quite purposefully restricted to the aspects of interest in connection with civil engineering and physical planning. The various chapters deal with soil, water bodies, air, plants and plant communities, trees in towns, animal life, noise and health, as well as high-energy radiation and its impact on man and environment. The book is intended to make engineers and other interested readers working in the technical professions familiar with ecologic principles and ecologically minded thinking in order to pave the way for ecology-mindedness in civil engineering and physical planning, hopefully contributing to avoiding mistakes and their harmful consequences. (orig.) [de

  13. The Analysis of Sustainable Development Content in the Syllabus of Environmental Knowledge and Plants Ecology Lecture

    Science.gov (United States)

    Putra, A.; Rahmat, A.; Redjeki, S.

    2017-09-01

    This research aims to find out how much the content of sustainable development exist in the content of environmental knowledge and plant ecology courses. The focus indicators of sustainable development indicators is the environment. This research is a qualitative research type with qualitative descriptive approach. The analyzed variables are only 2 courses, which are environmental knowledge and plants ecology. The results showed that the syllabus contents analysis of environmental knowledge and plants ecology courses in private Lembaga Pendidikan Tenaga Kependidikan (LPTK) in the province of Nusa Tenggara Barat is already good enough and the sustainable development contents is very large, almost all syllabus contents has already prioritize the sustainable development load of both the subject of environmental knowledge and plants ecology, although there are still some syllabus contents that was not includes sustainable development load, but the percentage is quite small, especially in the course of Plant Ecology.

  14. The fascinating facets of plant selenium accumulation - biochemistry, physiology, evolution and ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schiavon, Michela; Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A H

    2017-03-01

    Contents 1582 I. 1582 II. 1583 III. 1588 IV. 1590 V. 1592 1592 References 1592 SUMMARY: The importance of selenium (Se) for medicine, industry and the environment is increasingly apparent. Se is essential for many species, including humans, but toxic at elevated concentrations. Plant Se accumulation and volatilization may be applied in crop biofortification and phytoremediation. Topics covered here include beneficial and toxic effects of Se on plants, mechanisms of Se accumulation and tolerance in plants and algae, Se hyperaccumulation, and ecological and evolutionary aspects of these processes. Plant species differ in the concentration and forms of Se accumulated, Se partitioning at the whole-plant and tissue levels, and the capacity to distinguish Se from sulfur. Mechanisms of Se hyperaccumulation and its adaptive significance appear to involve constitutive up-regulation of sulfate/selenate uptake and assimilation, associated with elevated concentrations of defense-related hormones. Hyperaccumulation has evolved independently in at least three plant families, probably as an elemental defense mechanism and perhaps mediating elemental allelopathy. Elevated plant Se protects plants from generalist herbivores and pathogens, but also gives rise to the evolution of Se-resistant specialists. Plant Se accumulation affects ecological interactions with herbivores, pollinators, neighboring plants, and microbes. Hyperaccumulation tends to negatively affect Se-sensitive ecological partners while facilitating Se-resistant partners, potentially affecting species composition and Se cycling in seleniferous ecosystems. © 2016 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2016 New Phytologist Trust.

  15. Ecological investigations at the Pantex Plant Site, 1992

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cushing, C.E.; Mazaika, R.R.; Phillips, R.C.

    1993-09-01

    In 1992, Pantex requested that Pacific Northwest Laboratory (PNL) conduct a series of ecological surveys to provide baseline information for designing detailed ecological studies on the various ecosystems present at the Pantex plant site near Amarillo, Texas. To this end, PNL scientist and technicians visited the site at different times to conduct investigations and collect samples: July 6--13: birds, small mammals, general habitat assessment; August 10--14: wetland vegetation, birds, small mammals, Playa invertebrates; and September 7--11: birds, small mammals. This report presents the results of these three surveys

  16. Mirid (Hemiptera: Heteroptera) specialists of sticky plants: adaptations, interactions, and ecological implications.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wheeler, Alfred G; Krimmel, Billy A

    2015-01-07

    Sticky plants-those having glandular trichomes (hairs) that produce adhesive, viscous exudates-can impede the movement of, and entrap, generalist insects. Disparate arthropod groups have adapted to these widespread and taxonomically diverse plants, yet their interactions with glandular hosts rarely are incorporated into broad ecological theory. Ecologists and entomologists might be unaware of even well-documented examples of insects that are sticky-plant specialists. The hemipteran family Miridae (more specifically, the omnivorous Dicyphini: Dicyphina) is the best-known group of arthropods that specializes on sticky plants. In the first synthesis of relationships with glandular plants for any insect family, we review mirid interactions with sticky hosts, including their adaptations (behavioral, morphological, and physiological) and mutualisms with carnivorous plants, and the ecological and agricultural implications of mirid-sticky plant systems. We propose that mirid research applies generally to tritrophic interactions on trichome-defended plants, enhances an understanding of insect-plant interactions, and provides information useful in managing crop pests.

  17. Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional assessment—Volume I. Ecological communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reese, Gordon C.; Burris, Lucy; Carr, Natasha B.; Leinwand, Ian I.F.; Melcher, Cynthia P.

    2017-10-19

    The Southern Great Plains Rapid Ecoregional Assessment was conducted in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Great Plains Landscape Conservation Cooperative. The overall goal of the Rapid Ecoregional Assessments (REAs) is to compile and synthesize regional datasets to facilitate evaluation of the cumulative effects of change agents on priority ecological communities and species. In particular, the REAs identify and map the distribution of communities and wildlife habitats at broad spatial extents and provide assessments of ecological conditions. The REAs also identify where and to what degree ecological resources are currently at risk from change agents, such as development, fire, invasive species, and climate change. The REAs can help managers identify and prioritize potential areas for conservation or restoration, assess cumulative effects as required by the National Environmental Policy Act, and inform landscape-level planning and management decisions for multiple uses of public lands.Management questions form the basis for the REA framework and were developed in conjunction with the BLM and other stakeholders. Conservation elements are communities and species that are of regional management concern. Core management questions relate to the key ecological attributes and change agents associated with each conservation element. Integrated management questions synthesize the results of the primary core management questions into overall landscape-level ranks for each conservation element.The ecological communities evaluated as conservation elements are shortgrass, mixed-grass, and sand prairies; all grasslands; riparian and nonplaya wetlands; playa wetlands and saline lakes; and prairie streams and rivers. Species and species assemblages evaluated are the freshwater mussel assemblage, Arkansas River shiner (Notropis girardi), ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), lesser prairie chicken (Tympanuchus pallidicinctus), snowy plover (Charadrius

  18. Wetland management strategies lead to tradeoffs in ecological structure and function

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ariane L. Peralta

    2017-12-01

    Full Text Available Anthropogenic legacy effects often occur as a consequence of land use change or land management and can leave behind long-lasting changes to ecosystem structure and function. This legacy is described as a memory in the form of ecological structure or ecological interactions that remains at a location from a previous condition. We examined how forested floodplain restoration strategy, based on planting intensity, influenced wetland community structure and soil chemical and physical factors after 15 years. The site was divided into 15 strips, and strips were assigned to one of five restoration treatments: plantings of acorns, 2-year-old seedlings, 5-ft bareroot trees, balled and burlapped trees, and natural seed bank regeneration. Our community composition survey revealed that plots planted with bareroot or balled and burlapped trees developed closed tree canopies with little herbaceous understory, while acorn plantings and natural colonization plots developed into dense stands of the invasive species reed canary grass (RCG; 'Phalaris arundinacea'. Restoration strategy influenced bacterial community composition but to a lesser degree compared to the plant community response, and riverine hydrology and restoration strategy influenced wetland soil conditions. Soil ammonium concentrations and pH were similar across all wetland restoration treatments, while total organic carbon was highest in forest and RCG-dominated plots compared to mixed patches of trees and open areas. The differences in restoration strategy and associated economic investment resulted in ecological tradeoffs. The upfront investment in larger, more mature trees (i.e., bareroot, balled and burlapped led to floodplain forested communities, while cheaper, more passive planting strategies (i.e., seedlings, seedbank, or acorns resulted in dense stands of invasive RCG, despite the similar floodplain hydrology across all sites. Therefore, recovery of multiple ecosystem services that

  19. Quantifying the effects of ecological constraints on trait expression using novel trait-gradient analysis parameters.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ottaviani, Gianluigi; Tsakalos, James L; Keppel, Gunnar; Mucina, Ladislav

    2018-01-01

    Complex processes related to biotic and abiotic forces can impose limitations to assembly and composition of plant communities. Quantifying the effects of these constraints on plant functional traits across environmental gradients, and among communities, remains challenging. We define ecological constraint ( C i ) as the combined, limiting effect of biotic interactions and environmental filtering on trait expression (i.e., the mean value and range of functional traits). Here, we propose a set of novel parameters to quantify this constraint by extending the trait-gradient analysis (TGA) methodology. The key parameter is ecological constraint, which is dimensionless and can be measured at various scales, for example, on population and community levels. It facilitates comparing the effects of ecological constraints on trait expressions across environmental gradients, as well as within and among communities. We illustrate the implementation of the proposed parameters using the bark thickness of 14 woody species along an aridity gradient on granite outcrops in southwestern Australia. We found a positive correlation between increasing environmental stress and strength of ecological constraint on bark thickness expression. Also, plants from more stressful habitats (shrublands on shallow soils and in sun-exposed locations) displayed higher ecological constraint for bark thickness than plants in more benign habitats (woodlands on deep soils and in sheltered locations). The relative ease of calculation and dimensionless nature of C i allow it to be readily implemented at various scales and make it widely applicable. It therefore has the potential to advance the mechanistic understanding of the ecological processes shaping trait expression. Some future applications of the new parameters could be investigating the patterns of ecological constraints (1) among communities from different regions, (2) on different traits across similar environmental gradients, and (3) for the same

  20. Long-term lunar stations: Some ecological considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Maguire, Bassett, Jr.; Scott, Kelly W.

    1992-01-01

    A major factor for long-term success of a lunar station is the ability to keep an agroecosystem functioning at a desirable, stable steady-state with ecological stability and reliability. Design for a long-lived extraterrestrial manned station must take into account interactions among its subsystems to insure that overall functionality is enhanced (or at least not compromised). Physical isolation of feed production, human living areas, recycling, and other systems may be straightforward, however, microbiological isolation will be very difficult. While it is possible to eliminate plant-associated microbiological communities by growing the plants asepticallly, it is not practical to keep plants germ-free on a large scale if humans are working with them. Ecological theory strongly suggests that some kinds of communities or organisms effectively increase the stability of ecosystems and will protect the plants from potential pathogens. A carefully designed and maintained (lunar-derived) soil can provide a variety of habitats for effective microbial buffers while adding structure to the agroecosystem. A soil can also increase ecosystem reliability through buffering otherwise large element and compound fluctuations (of nutrients, wastes, etc.) as well as buffering temperature level and atmosphere composition. We are doing experiments in ecological dynamics and attempting to extend the relevant theories.

  1. Isolated and Community Contexts Produce Distinct Responses by Host Plants to the Presence of Ant-Aphid Interaction: Plant Productivity and Seed Viability

    Science.gov (United States)

    Santiago, Graziele Silva; Zurlo, Luana Fonseca; Ribas, Carla Rodrigues; Carvalho, Rafaela Pereira; Alves, Guilherme Pereira; Carvalho, Mariana Comanucci Silva; Souza, Brígida

    2017-01-01

    Ant-aphid interactions may affect host plants in several ways, however, most studies measure only the amount of fruit and seed produced, and do not test seed viability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effects of the presence of ant-aphid interactions upon host plant productivity and seed viability in two different contexts: isolated and within an arthropod community. For this purpose we tested the hypothesis that in both isolated and community contexts, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction will have a positive effect on fruit and seed production, seed biomass and rate of seed germination, and a negative effect on abnormal seedling rates, in comparison to plants without ants. We performed a field mesocosm experiment containing five treatments: Ant-aphid, Aphid, Community, Ant-free community and Control. We counted fruits and seeds produced by each treatment, and conducted experiments for seed biomass and germinability. We found that in the community context the presence of an ant-aphid interaction negatively affected fruit and seed production. We think this may be because aphid attendance by tending-ants promotes aphid damage to the host plant, but without an affect on seed weight and viability. On the other hand, when isolated, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction positively affected fruit and seed production. These positive effects are related to the cleaning services offered to aphids by tending-ants, which prevent the development of saprophytic fungi on the surface of leaves, which would cause a decrease in photosynthetic rates. Our study is important because we evaluated some parameters of plant fitness that have not been addressed very well by other studies involving the effects of ant-aphid interactions mainly on plants with short life cycles. Lastly, our context dependent approach sheds new light on how ecological interactions can vary among different methods of crop management. PMID:28141849

  2. Isolated and Community Contexts Produce Distinct Responses by Host Plants to the Presence of Ant-Aphid Interaction: Plant Productivity and Seed Viability.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ernesto Oliveira Canedo-Júnior

    Full Text Available Ant-aphid interactions may affect host plants in several ways, however, most studies measure only the amount of fruit and seed produced, and do not test seed viability. Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess the effects of the presence of ant-aphid interactions upon host plant productivity and seed viability in two different contexts: isolated and within an arthropod community. For this purpose we tested the hypothesis that in both isolated and community contexts, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction will have a positive effect on fruit and seed production, seed biomass and rate of seed germination, and a negative effect on abnormal seedling rates, in comparison to plants without ants. We performed a field mesocosm experiment containing five treatments: Ant-aphid, Aphid, Community, Ant-free community and Control. We counted fruits and seeds produced by each treatment, and conducted experiments for seed biomass and germinability. We found that in the community context the presence of an ant-aphid interaction negatively affected fruit and seed production. We think this may be because aphid attendance by tending-ants promotes aphid damage to the host plant, but without an affect on seed weight and viability. On the other hand, when isolated, the presence of an ant-aphid interaction positively affected fruit and seed production. These positive effects are related to the cleaning services offered to aphids by tending-ants, which prevent the development of saprophytic fungi on the surface of leaves, which would cause a decrease in photosynthetic rates. Our study is important because we evaluated some parameters of plant fitness that have not been addressed very well by other studies involving the effects of ant-aphid interactions mainly on plants with short life cycles. Lastly, our context dependent approach sheds new light on how ecological interactions can vary among different methods of crop management.

  3. Annual glyphosate treatments alter growth of unaffected bentgrass (Agrostis weeds and plant community composition.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Collin W Ahrens

    Full Text Available Herbicide resistance is becoming more common in weed ecotypes and crop species including turfgrasses, but current gaps in knowledge limit predictive ecological risk assessments and risk management plans. This project examined the effect of annual glyphosate applications on the vegetative growth and reproductive potential of two weedy bentgrasses, creeping bentgrass (CB and redtop (RT, where the glyphosate resistance (GR trait was mimicked by covering the bentgrass plants during glyphosate application. Five field plots were studied in habitats commonly inhabited by weedy bentgrasses including an agricultural hayfield, natural meadow, and wasteland. Results showed that annual glyphosate treatment improved bentgrass survivorship, vegetative growth, and reproductive potential compared with bentgrass in unsprayed subplots. In the second year of growth, RT plants had an 86-fold increase in flower number in glyphosate-treated subplots versus controls, while CB plants had a 20-fold increase. At the end of the three year study, plant community composition had changed in glyphosate-treated subplots in hayfield and meadow plots compared to controls. Soils in subplots receiving glyphosate had higher nitrate concentrations than controls. This is the first study to mimic the GR trait in bentgrass plants with the goal of quantifying bentgrass response to glyphosate selection pressure and understanding the impacts on surrounding plant communities.

  4. The Upper Mississippi River floodscape: spatial patterns of flood inundation and associated plant community distributions

    Science.gov (United States)

    DeJager, Nathan R.; Rohweder, Jason J.; Yin, Yao; Hoy, Erin E.

    2016-01-01

    Questions How is the distribution of different plant communities associated with patterns of flood inundation across a large floodplain landscape? Location Thirty-eight thousand nine hundred and seventy hectare of floodplain, spanning 320 km of the Upper Mississippi River (UMR). Methods High-resolution elevation data (Lidar) and 30 yr of daily river stage data were integrated to produce a ‘floodscape’ map of growing season flood inundation duration. The distributions of 16 different remotely sensed plant communities were quantified along the gradient of flood duration. Results Models fitted to the cumulative frequency of occurrence of different vegetation types as a function of flood duration showed that most types exist along a continuum of flood-related occurrence. The diversity of community types was greatest at high elevations (0–10 d of flooding), where both upland and lowland community types were found, as well as at very low elevations (70–180 d of flooding), where a variety of lowland herbaceous communities were found. Intermediate elevations (20–60 d of flooding) tended to be dominated by floodplain forest and had the lowest diversity of community types. Conclusions Although variation in flood inundation is often considered to be the main driver of spatial patterns in floodplain plant communities, few studies have quantified flood–vegetation relationships at broad scales. Our results can be used to identify targets for restoration of historical hydrological regimes or better anticipate hydro-ecological effects of climate change at broad scales.

  5. Demography and ecology of nuclear power plant location

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Stefanescu, P.; Ghitescu, P.

    1997-01-01

    To select and licence a NPP site, as well as, once built, to run it, both demography and ecology of the geographical zone are crucial factors to take into account. On the other side the location and running of a NPP is a major factor in the economic and social development of NPP site surroundings. Meanwhile the population distribution around the NPP site has a determining role on intervention and rehabilitation plans. Risk and danger studies should be done for initial situation as well as during NPP running. The character of radioactive risks and the importance of possible consequences of a hypothetical nuclear accident which could affect a big Nuclear Power Plant request a special attention to population distribution around the plant site and surroundings. Therefore safety studies to locate and licence a site should refer to demography and ecology. Available data examination will permit to locate NPP in less-populated and ecologically not-concerning zones. On-site investigation should identify the population groups to watch for in order to estimate the results of a normal evaluation. The inquires will give reference primary data before NPP construction starts. Also they evaluate the possibility of short term population retain on location in case of an accident. (authors)

  6. Adaptive evolution in ecological communities.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Martin M Turcotte

    Full Text Available Understanding how natural selection drives evolution is a key challenge in evolutionary biology. Most studies of adaptation focus on how a single environmental factor, such as increased temperature, affects evolution within a single species. The biological relevance of these experiments is limited because nature is infinitely more complex. Most species are embedded within communities containing many species that interact with one another and the physical environment. To understand the evolutionary significance of such ecological complexity, experiments must test the evolutionary impact of interactions among multiple species during adaptation. Here we highlight an experiment that manipulates species composition and tracks evolutionary responses within each species, while testing for the mechanisms by which species interact and adapt to their environment. We also discuss limitations of previous studies of adaptive evolution and emphasize how an experimental evolution approach can circumvent such shortcomings. Understanding how community composition acts as a selective force will improve our ability to predict how species adapt to natural and human-induced environmental change.

  7. Ecological analysis of plant cover of the permanent grassland ecosystem located in the vicinity of Novi Kneževac, Serbia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Knežević Aleksa

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available A total of 205 taxa and stands of 12 plant communities were found to comprise the plant cover of the permanent grassland on the solonetz and solonchakic solonetz soils located in the vicinity of the town of Novi Kneževac (Vojvodina Province, Serbia. The registered taxa included 177 plant species, six subspecies, eight varieties, 13 forms and one lusus. The ecological analysis of the flora involved 191 taxa. That group consisted of 177 species, six subspecies, three varieties and five forms. The three varieties, Aster tripolium L. var. pannonicus ( Jacq. Beck, Chenopodium rubrum L. subsp. botryoides Sm. var. crassifolium (Hornem Kov. and Sonchus arvensis L. var. uliginosus (M.B. Grec. were used for analysis because their higher taxonomic categories were not recorded in the studied flora. The five forms, Aster sedifolius L. f. subsquamosus Soy, Bromus commutatus Schrad. f. violaceus Podp., Mentha aquatica L. f. erromera Top., Poa bulbosa L. f. vivipara Koel. and Scleranthus annus L. f. minimus Schur., were used for the same reason. The ecological analysis encompassed stands of all 12 recorded communities, i.e. ass. Scirpo-Phragmitetum W. Koch 1926, ass. Bolboschoenetum maritimi continentale Soy (1927 1957, ass. Acorelletum pannonici Soy (1939 1947, ass. Puccinelletum limosae (Rapcs. 1927 Soy 1930, ass. Pholiuro-Plantaginetum tenuiflorae (Rapcs. 1927 Wendel. 1943, ass. Hordeetum histricis (Soy 1933 Wendel. 1943, ass. Camphorosmetum annuae (Rapcs. 1916 Soy 1933 corr. Soy 1938, ass. Agrostio-Alopecuretum pratensis Soy (1933 1947, ass. Agrostio-Eleochariti-Alopecuretu geniculati (Magyar1928 Soy (1939 1947, ass. Artemisio-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945, ass. Achilleo-Festucetum pseudovinae (Magyar 1928 Soy 1945 and ass. Festuco-Andropogonetum ischaemi Vučk. 1985. The ecological analysis of the plant cover indicated that halophytes made 30.37% of the flora of the permanent grassland near the town of Novi Kneževac, and that the stands of

  8. Fungal Communities in Rhizosphere Soil under Conservation Tillage Shift in Response to Plant Growth

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ziting Wang

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Conservation tillage is an extensively used agricultural practice in northern China that alters soil texture and nutrient conditions, causing changes in the soil microbial community. However, how conservation tillage affects rhizosphere and bulk soil fungal communities during plant growth remains unclear. The present study investigated the effect of long-term (6 years conservation (chisel plow, zero and conventional (plow tillage during wheat growth on the rhizosphere fungal community, using high-throughput sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS gene and quantitative PCR. During tillering, fungal alpha diversity in both rhizosphere and bulk soil were significantly higher under zero tillage compared to other methods. Although tillage had no significant effect during the flowering stage, fungal alpha diversity at this stage was significantly different between rhizosphere and bulk soils, with bulk soil presenting the highest diversity. This was also reflected in the phylogenetic structure of the communities, as rhizosphere soil communities underwent a greater shift from tillering to flowering compared to bulk soil communities. In general, less variation in community structure was observed under zero tillage compared to plow and chisel plow treatments. Changes in the relative abundance of the fungal orders Capnodiales, Pleosporales, and Xylariales contributed the highest to the dissimilarities observed. Structural equation models revealed that the soil fungal communities under the three tillage regimes were likely influenced by the changes in soil properties associated with plant growth. This study suggested that: (1 differences in nutrient resources between rhizosphere and bulk soils can select for different types of fungi thereby increasing community variation during plant growth; (2 tillage can alter fungal communities' variability, with zero tillage promoting more stable communities. This work suggests that long-term changes in

  9. An ecological interface design for BWR nuclear power plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Monta, K.; Itoh, J.

    1992-01-01

    An ecological interface design was applied to realize the support function for the operator's direct perception and analytical reasoning in the development of an intelligent man-machine system for BWR nuclear power plants. The abstraction-aggregation functional hierarchy representation of the work domain is a base of the ecological interface design. Another base is the concept of the level of cognitive control. The former was mapped into the interface to externalize the operator's normative mental model of the plants, which will reduce his/her cognitive work load and support knowledge-based problem solving. In addition, the same framework can be used for the analytical evaluation of man-machine interfaces. The information content and structure of a prototype interface were evaluated. This approach seems promising from these experiences. (author)

  10. Community-level plant-soil feedbacks explain landscape distribution of native and non-native plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kulmatiski, Andrew

    2018-02-01

    Plant-soil feedbacks (PSFs) have gained attention for their potential role in explaining plant growth and invasion. While promising, most PSF research has measured plant monoculture growth on different soils in short-term, greenhouse experiments. Here, five soil types were conditioned by growing one native species, three non-native species, or a mixed plant community in different plots in a common-garden experiment. After 4 years, plants were removed and one native and one non-native plant community were planted into replicate plots of each soil type. After three additional years, the percentage cover of each of the three target species in each community was measured. These data were used to parameterize a plant community growth model. Model predictions were compared to native and non-native abundance on the landscape. Native community cover was lowest on soil conditioned by the dominant non-native, Centaurea diffusa , and non-native community cover was lowest on soil cultivated by the dominant native, Pseudoroegneria spicata . Consistent with plant growth on the landscape, the plant growth model predicted that the positive PSFs observed in the common-garden experiment would result in two distinct communities on the landscape: a native plant community on native soils and a non-native plant community on non-native soils. In contrast, when PSF effects were removed, the model predicted that non-native plants would dominate all soils, which was not consistent with plant growth on the landscape. Results provide an example where PSF effects were large enough to change the rank-order abundance of native and non-native plant communities and to explain plant distributions on the landscape. The positive PSFs that contributed to this effect reflected the ability of the two dominant plant species to suppress each other's growth. Results suggest that plant dominance, at least in this system, reflects the ability of a species to suppress the growth of dominant competitors

  11. Ecology of root colonizing Massilia (Oxalobacteraceae.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maya Ofek

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Ecologically meaningful classification of bacterial populations is essential for understanding the structure and function of bacterial communities. As in soils, the ecological strategy of the majority of root-colonizing bacteria is mostly unknown. Among those are Massilia (Oxalobacteraceae, a major group of rhizosphere and root colonizing bacteria of many plant species. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The ecology of Massilia was explored in cucumber root and seed, and compared to that of Agrobacterium population, using culture-independent tools, including DNA-based pyrosequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time PCR. Seed- and root-colonizing Massilia were primarily affiliated with other members of the genus described in soil and rhizosphere. Massilia colonized and proliferated on the seed coat, radicle, roots, and also on hyphae of phytopathogenic Pythium aphanidermatum infecting seeds. High variation in Massilia abundance was found in relation to plant developmental stage, along with sensitivity to plant growth medium modification (amendment with organic matter and potential competitors. Massilia absolute abundance and relative abundance (dominance were positively related, and peaked (up to 85% at early stages of succession of the root microbiome. In comparison, variation in abundance of Agrobacterium was moderate and their dominance increased at later stages of succession. CONCLUSIONS: In accordance with contemporary models for microbial ecology classification, copiotrophic and competition-sensitive root colonization by Massilia is suggested. These bacteria exploit, in a transient way, a window of opportunity within the succession of communities within this niche.

  12. Ecology of root colonizing Massilia (Oxalobacteraceae).

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ofek, Maya; Hadar, Yitzhak; Minz, Dror

    2012-01-01

    Ecologically meaningful classification of bacterial populations is essential for understanding the structure and function of bacterial communities. As in soils, the ecological strategy of the majority of root-colonizing bacteria is mostly unknown. Among those are Massilia (Oxalobacteraceae), a major group of rhizosphere and root colonizing bacteria of many plant species. The ecology of Massilia was explored in cucumber root and seed, and compared to that of Agrobacterium population, using culture-independent tools, including DNA-based pyrosequencing, fluorescence in situ hybridization and quantitative real-time PCR. Seed- and root-colonizing Massilia were primarily affiliated with other members of the genus described in soil and rhizosphere. Massilia colonized and proliferated on the seed coat, radicle, roots, and also on hyphae of phytopathogenic Pythium aphanidermatum infecting seeds. High variation in Massilia abundance was found in relation to plant developmental stage, along with sensitivity to plant growth medium modification (amendment with organic matter) and potential competitors. Massilia absolute abundance and relative abundance (dominance) were positively related, and peaked (up to 85%) at early stages of succession of the root microbiome. In comparison, variation in abundance of Agrobacterium was moderate and their dominance increased at later stages of succession. In accordance with contemporary models for microbial ecology classification, copiotrophic and competition-sensitive root colonization by Massilia is suggested. These bacteria exploit, in a transient way, a window of opportunity within the succession of communities within this niche.

  13. Plant community resistance to invasion by Bromus species: The roles of community attributes, Bromus interactions with plant communities, and Bromus traits [Chapter 10

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jeanne C. Chambers; Matthew J. Germino; Jayne Belnap; Cynthia S. Brown; Eugene W. Schupp; Samuel B. St. Clair

    2016-01-01

    The factors that determine plant community resistance to exotic annual Bromus species (Bromus hereafter) are diverse and context specific. They are influenced by the environmental characteristics and attributes of the community, the traits of Bromus species, and the direct and indirect interactions of Bromus with the plant community. Environmental factors, in...

  14. Recent breakthroughs in metabolomics promise to reveal the cryptic chemical traits that mediate plant community composition, character evolution and lineage diversification.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sedio, Brian E

    2017-05-01

    Contents 952 I. 952 II. 953 III. 955 IV. 956 V. 957 957 References 957 SUMMARY: Much of our understanding of the mechanisms by which biotic interactions shape plant communities has been constrained by the methods available to study the diverse secondary chemistry that defines plant relationships with other organisms. Recent innovations in analytical chemistry and bioinformatics promise to reveal the cryptic chemical traits that mediate plant ecology and evolution by facilitating simultaneous structural comparisons of hundreds of unknown molecules to each other and to libraries of known compounds. Here, I explore the potential for mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics to enable unprecedented tests of seminal, but largely untested hypotheses that propose a fundamental role for plant chemical defenses against herbivores and pathogens in the evolutionary origins and ecological coexistence of plant species diversity. © 2017 The Author. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  15. Multiplex social ecological network analysis reveals how social changes affect community robustness more than resource depletion.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baggio, Jacopo A; BurnSilver, Shauna B; Arenas, Alex; Magdanz, James S; Kofinas, Gary P; De Domenico, Manlio

    2016-11-29

    Network analysis provides a powerful tool to analyze complex influences of social and ecological structures on community and household dynamics. Most network studies of social-ecological systems use simple, undirected, unweighted networks. We analyze multiplex, directed, and weighted networks of subsistence food flows collected in three small indigenous communities in Arctic Alaska potentially facing substantial economic and ecological changes. Our analysis of plausible future scenarios suggests that changes to social relations and key households have greater effects on community robustness than changes to specific wild food resources.

  16. Interactions for pollinator visitation and their consequences for reproduction in a plant community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hegland, Stein Joar; Totland, Ørjan

    2012-08-01

    Competition and facilitation in species interactions attract much attention in ecology, but their relative importance has seldom been evaluated in a community context. We assessed competitive and facilitative interactions for pollinator visitation among co-flowering species in a plant community, investigated the subsequent consequences for plant reproduction, and investigated whether effects could be trait-based. We removed the flowers of two species attractive to pollinators, in two separate experiments and assessed the effects on pollinator visitation rates and components of reproductive success in 11 co-flowering focal herb species. Overall, most focal species appear not to interact with the removal species with respect to pollinator visitation and subsequent reproduction (neutral interactions). Three focal species in the community had significantly higher reproductive responses (fruit production and seed weight) in the presence of the attractive removal species (facilitative interactions), but species interaction effects were less pronounced in species' flower visitation rates. A community-wide meta-analysis demonstrated that the two experiments did not have a significant effect on either facilitation or competition, and that there was no overall correlation between effect sizes for visitation and reproduction. Based on species-specific responses, it seems likely that floral traits such as similar flower colors contribute to interspecific facilitation of pollinator visitation and, in particular, that high pollinator dependence for plant reproduction, and associated pollen limitation, may contribute to subsequent interaction effects on reproduction in the focal species.

  17. Nurse plant theory and its application in ecological restoration in lower subtropics of China

    Institute of Scientific and Technical Information of China (English)

    Hai Ren; Long Yang; Nan Liu

    2008-01-01

    Nurse plants are those that facilitate the growth and development of other plant species (target species) beneath their canopy because they offer benign microhabitats that are more favorable for seed germination and/or seedling recruitment than their surrounding envi-ronment. Nurse plants have been mainly used to restore vegetation in arid and sub-arid zones in recent years. Based on summarizing the definition of nurse plant and target plant, we review the nursing effect mechanisms, ecological factors that influence nursing effect, relationships between nurse plant and ecological restoration. This review also brings forward possible pairs of nurse and target species at lower subtropical areas. Furthermore, we provide the potential tendency in nurse plant research and application.

  18. Ecology of Malaria Vectors in a Rainforest Suburban Community of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    User

    2011-04-19

    Apr 19, 2011 ... Key words: Malaria, Mosquito, Vectors, Ecology, Suburban, Community. ... including host bloodmeal preferences, time and place of biting and resting .... Five species of mosquitoes namely Aedes albopictus, Culex tigripes,.

  19. Socio/economic/ecological impacts of nuclear power plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Golden, J.; Watson, J.

    1975-01-01

    A nuclear facility has both radiological and non-radiological effects on the environment. To minimize radiological effects, limits are set on releases of radioactive materials that will cause either direct or indirect exposure (such as the food chain). Exposure pathways for man and other organisms are described with comparisons of typical calculated doses and design objective doses. Non-radiological impacts of nuclear plants are classified as ecological-physical and socio/economic considerations, which include eighteen areas affected during each phase of the nuclear facility cycle. The ecological-physical environment is impacted in the areas of hydrology, terrestrial and aquatic ecology, and air and water quality. The socio-economic environment is impacted in areas of land use, tax base, employment, economic stimulus, relocation, lifestyle, demand for service, aesthetics, and power needs. Case studies of large construction projects are described in the appendix

  20. Phylogenetic Structure of Plant Communities: Are Polyploids Distantly Related to Co-occurring Diploids?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michelle L. Gaynor

    2018-04-01

    Full Text Available Polyploidy is widely acknowledged to have played an important role in the evolution and diversification of vascular plants. However, the influence of genome duplication on population-level dynamics and its cascading effects at the community level remain unclear. In part, this is due to persistent uncertainties over the extent of polyploid phenotypic variation, and the interactions between polyploids and co-occurring species, and highlights the need to integrate polyploid research at the population and community level. Here, we investigate how community-level patterns of phylogenetic relatedness might influence escape from minority cytotype exclusion, a classic population genetics hypothesis about polyploid establishment, and population-level species interactions. Focusing on two plant families in which polyploidy has evolved multiple times, Brassicaceae and Rosaceae, we build upon the hypothesis that the greater allelic and phenotypic diversity of polyploids allow them to successfully inhabit a different geographic range compared to their diploid progenitor and close relatives. Using a phylogenetic framework, we specifically test (1 whether polyploid species are more distantly related to diploids within the same community than co-occurring diploids are to one another, and (2 if polyploid species tend to exhibit greater ecological success than diploids, using species abundance in communities as an indicator of successful establishment. Overall, our results suggest that the effects of genome duplication on community structure are not clear-cut. We find that polyploid species tend to be more distantly related to co-occurring diploids than diploids are to each other. However, we do not find a consistent pattern of polyploid species being more abundant than diploid species, suggesting polyploids are not uniformly more ecologically successful than diploids. While polyploidy appears to have some important influences on species co-occurrence in

  1. [Ecological risk assessment of dam construction for terrestrial plant species in middle reach of Lancangjiang River, Southwest China].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Xiao-Yan; Dong, Shi-Kui; Liu, Shi-Liang; Peng, Ming-Chun; Li, Jin-Peng; Zhao, Qing-He; Zhang, Zhao-Ling

    2012-08-01

    Taking the surrounding areas of Xiaowan Reservoir in the middle reach of Lancangjiang River as study area, and based on the vegetation investigation at three sites including electricity transmission area (site 1), electricity-transfer substation and roadsides to the substation (site 2), and emigration area (site 3) in 1997 (before dam construction), another investigation was conducted on the vegetation composition, plant coverage, and dominant species at the same sites in 2010 (after dam construction), aimed to evaluate the ecological risk of the dam construction for the terrestrial plant species in middle reach of Lancangjiang River. There was an obvious difference in the summed dominance ratio of dominant species at the three sites before and after the dam construction. According the types of species (dominant and non-dominant species) and the changes of plant dominance, the ecological risk (ER) for the plant species was categorized into 0 to IV, i.e., no or extremely low ecological risk (0), low ecological risk (I), medium ecological risk (II), high ecological risk (III), and extremely high ecological risk (IV). As affected by the dam construction, the majority of the species were at ER III, and a few species were at ER IV. The percentage of the plant species at ER III and ER IV at site 3 was higher than that at sites 1 and 2. The decrease or loss of native plants and the increase of alien or invasive plants were the major ecological risks caused by the dam construction. Effective protection strategies should be adopted to mitigate the ecological risk of the dam construction for the terrestrial plants at species level.

  2. Prognoses of plant community changes in the territories not used for agriculture after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Timofeev, S.F.; Podolyak, A.G.; Avseenko, S.V.; Sapegin, L.M.; Dayneko, N.M.

    1997-01-01

    Science-research in the zones of eviction in the Bragin district of the Gomel region confirms interdependence between development of plants' communities and such factors as type of soil, kind of agricultural field, the term of nonuse. The study of vegetation change on the former fields, represented by turf-podsol soil, indicates that plant community has by now been formed on it, in which out of 100% projection cover prevail Artemisia absinthium L., - 40%, Artemisia campestris L. -20%, Artemisia vulgaris L. -5%, Elytrigia repens (L.) Nevski - 30%. On lower lots, represented by turf-podsol swampy soil, prevail Elytrigia repens - 60%, Artemisia absinthium -20%, Erigeron canadensis - 10%. So, on the unused arable land the tendency to form communities of Elytrigia repens is observed. In 10-15 years there may be a community here, consisting of bunch-grasses an densely turfed grasses. On the haymaking and pasture meadows, sowing plants are replaced by rhizome bunch-grasses (Poa pratensis L.) rhizome (Elytrigia repens) and diverse grasses (Artemisia absinthium, Achillea millefolium, Erigeron canadensis and others). On sowing meadows, situated on peat-swamp soil, Urtica dioica L. took root. It formed powerful herbage with 80-90% projection cover, which prevents the renewing of grasses. Only after gradual decrease of Urtica dioica there will appear different grasses, as well as rhisome grasses. In future this land can be used for haymaking. It is impossible to use this kind of soil without herbicides in large quantity, which may create additional problems of ecological character

  3. Identifying mechanisms that structure ecological communities by snapping model parameters to empirically observed tradeoffs.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas Clark, Adam; Lehman, Clarence; Tilman, David

    2018-04-01

    Theory predicts that interspecific tradeoffs are primary determinants of coexistence and community composition. Using information from empirically observed tradeoffs to augment the parametrisation of mechanism-based models should therefore improve model predictions, provided that tradeoffs and mechanisms are chosen correctly. We developed and tested such a model for 35 grassland plant species using monoculture measurements of three species characteristics related to nitrogen uptake and retention, which previous experiments indicate as important at our site. Matching classical theoretical expectations, these characteristics defined a distinct tradeoff surface, and models parameterised with these characteristics closely matched observations from experimental multi-species mixtures. Importantly, predictions improved significantly when we incorporated information from tradeoffs by 'snapping' characteristics to the nearest location on the tradeoff surface, suggesting that the tradeoffs and mechanisms we identify are important determinants of local community structure. This 'snapping' method could therefore constitute a broadly applicable test for identifying influential tradeoffs and mechanisms. © 2018 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by CNRS and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. The Ecological Dynamics of Natural Selection: Traits and the Coevolution of Community Structure.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McPeek, Mark A

    2017-05-01

    Natural selection has both genetic and ecological dynamics. The fitnesses of individuals change with their ecological context, and so the form and strength of selective agents change with abiotic factors and the phenotypes and abundances of interacting species. I use standard models of consumer-resource interactions to explore the ecological dynamics of natural selection and how various trait types influence these dynamics and the resulting structure of a community of coevolving species. Evolutionary optima favored by natural selection depend critically on the abundances of interacting species, and the traits of species can undergo dynamic cycling in limited areas of parameter space. The ecological dynamics of natural selection can also drive shifts from one adaptive peak to another, and these ecologically driven adaptive peak shifts are fundamental to the dynamics of niche differentiation. Moreover, this ecological differentiation is fostered in more productive and more benign environments where species interactions are stronger and where the selection gradients generated by species interactions are stronger. Finally, community structure resulting from coevolution depends fundamentally on the types of traits that underlie species interactions. The ecological dynamics of the process cannot be simplified, neglected, or ignored if we are to build a predictive theory of natural selection.

  5. Amchitka bioenvironmental program. Geomorphology and plant ecology: an assessment of the impact of AEC nuclear test on Amchitka

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Everett, K.R.; Amundsen, C.C.

    1975-03-01

    The U. S. Atomic Energy Commission's underground nuclear testing on Amchitka has included two nuclear detonations: Milrow (about 1-megaton) in October 1969, and Cannikin (a little less than 5-megatons) in November 1971. This report assesses the impact of these tests on the basis of information collected since 1967 and through the 1973 growing season. To make these assessments and predictions realistic it was necessary to develop general descriptions of Amchitka's geomorphology, terrestrial plant ecology, and physical environment; and to assess the effects of man's previous use of the Island through World War II and the DOD Long Shot test. Mapping methods and methods for plant-community and soil-type studies and definitions are described because they were used to predict vegetative recovery on disturbed areas which are shown to have their counterparts as a consequence of the Island's natural landscape dynamics. Four annotated plates, covering the study area (45 percent of the Island), show disturbances (1) before 1948, (2) 1948 to 1969 before Milrow, (3) Milrow to 1971 before Cannikin, and (4) during 1971 after Cannikin. A fifth plate shows the plant community distribution in the study area. While classic sequential plant succession cannot be demonstrated on Amchitka, revegetation in disturbed areas, more properly described as recovery, is described for the various disturbances of terrain and vegetation cover. The photographs are keyed to indicate recovery time from date indicated, type of disturbance, and expected plant-community shift, as well as type of newly exposed or flooded substrate, drainage shifts, and other shock-related phenomena. (U.S.)

  6. Climate Variability Structures Plant Community Dynamics in Mediterranean Restored and Reference Tidal Wetlands

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Dylan E. Chapple

    2017-03-01

    Full Text Available In Mediterranean regions and other areas with variable climates, interannual weather variability may impact ecosystem dynamics, and by extension ecological restoration projects. Conditions at reference sites, which are often used to evaluate restoration projects, may also be influenced by weather variability, confounding interpretations of restoration outcomes. To better understand the influence of weather variability on plant community dynamics, we explore change in a vegetation dataset collected between 1990 and 2005 at a historic tidal wetland reference site and a nearby tidal wetland restoration project initiated in 1976 in California’s San Francisco (SF Bay. To determine the factors influencing reference and restoration trajectories, we examine changes in plant community identity in relation to annual salinity levels in the SF Bay, annual rainfall, and tidal channel structure. Over the entire study period, both sites experienced significant directional change away from the 1990 community. Community change was accelerated following low salinity conditions that resulted from strong El Niño events in 1994–1995 and 1997–1998. Overall rates of change were greater at the restoration site and driven by a combination of dominant and sub-dominant species, whereas change at the reference site was driven by sub-dominant species. Sub-dominant species first appeared at the restoration site in 1996 and incrementally increased during each subsequent year, whereas sub-dominant species cover at the reference site peaked in 1999 and subsequently declined. Our results show that frequent, long-term monitoring is needed to adequately capture plant community dynamics in variable Mediterranean ecosystems and demonstrate the need for expanding restoration monitoring and timing restoration actions to match weather conditions.

  7. Does geography or ecology best explain 'cultural' variation among chimpanzee communities?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kamilar, Jason M; Marshack, Joshua L

    2012-02-01

    Much attention has been paid to geographic variation in chimpanzee behavior, but few studies have applied quantitative techniques to explain this variation. Here, we apply methods typically utilized in macroecology to explain variation in the putative cultural traits of chimpanzees. We analyzed published data containing 39 behavioral traits from nine chimpanzee communities. We used a canonical correspondence analysis to examine the relative importance of environmental characteristics and geography, which may be a proxy for inter-community gene flow and/or social transmission, for explaining geographic variation in chimpanzee behavior. We found that geography, and longitude in particular, was the best predictor of behavioral variation. Chimpanzee communities in close longitudinal proximity to each other exhibit similar behavioral repertoires, independent of local ecological factors. No ecological variables were significantly related to behavioral variation. These results support the idea that inter-community dispersal patterns have played a major role in structuring behavioral variation. We cannot be certain whether behavioral variation has a genetic basis, is the result of innovation and diffusion, or a combination of the two. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Water Source Utilization of Hammock and Pine Rockland Plant Communities in the Everglades, USA.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Saha, A. K.; Sternberg, L.; Miralles-Wilhelm, F.

    2007-12-01

    South Florida has a mosaic of plant communities resulting from topographical differences, spatially varying hydroperiods and fire. The only plant communities not flooded in the wet season are hardwood hammocks and often pine rocklands. Natural fires burn off litter accumulated in pine rocklands, with the exception of organic matter in sinkholes in the limestone bedrock. This relative lack of soil is thought to constrain pineland plants in the Everglades to depend upon groundwater that is typically low in nutrients. In contrast, adjoining hardwood hammocks have accumulated an organic soil layer that traps rainwater and nutrients. Plants in hammocks may be able to utilize this water and thereby access nutrients present in the litter. Hammocks are thus viewed as localized areas of high nutrients and instances of vegetation feedback upon the oligotrophic everglades landscape enabling establishment and survival of flood-intolerant tropical hardwood species. This study examines water source use and couples it to foliar nutrient concentrations of plants found in hammocks and pinelands. We examined the δ2H and δ18O of stem waters in plants in Everglades National Park and compared those with the δ2H and δ18O of potential water sources. In the wet season hammock plants accessed both groundwater and water in the surface organic soil layer while in the dry season they relied more on groundwater. A similar seasonal shift was observed in pineland plants; however groundwater constituted a much higher proportion of total water uptake throughout the year under observation. Concomitant with differential water utilization by hammock and pineland plant communities, we observed hammock plants having a significantly higher annual mean foliar N and P concentration than pineland plants. Most hammock species are intolerant of flooded soils and are thus constrained by the high water table in the wet season, yet access the lowered groundwater table in the dry season due to drying up of

  9. Academic inequality through the lens of community ecology: a meta-analysis

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Akira S. Mori

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Ecological assemblages are generally characterized by a few dominant species and numerous others. Such unequal distributions of dominance also emerge in human society, including in scientific communities. Here, based on formal community ecological analyses, we show the temporal trends in the number of scientific publication in the discipline of “ecology.” Based on this, we infer possible factors causing the imbalance of reputation and dominance among countries. We relied on 454 ecological meta-analysis papers published from 1998 to 2014, which sourced over 29,000 original publications. Formal meta-analyses are essential for synthesizing findings from individual studies and are critical for assessing issues and informing policy. We found that, despite the rapid expansion of outlets for ecology papers (analogous to an increase in carrying capacity, in ecological systems, country diversity as determined from first author affiliations (analogous to species diversity did not increase. Furthermore, a country identity was more powerful than the popularity of the scientific topic and affected the chance of publication in high-profile journals, independent of the potential novelty of findings and arguments of the papers, suggesting possible academic injustice. Consequently, a rank order and hierarchy has been gradually formed among countries. Notably, this country-dominance rank is not only specific to this scientific domain but also universal across different societal situations including sports and economics, further emphasizing that inequality and hierarchical structure exist even in modern human society. Our study demonstrates a need for having robust frameworks to facilitate equality and diversity in the scientific domain in order to better inform society and policy.

  10. Medicinal wild plant knowledge and gathering patterns in a Mapuche community from North-western Patagonia.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Estomba, Diego; Ladio, Ana; Lozada, Mariana

    2006-01-03

    Medicinal plant use has persisted as a long standing tradition in the Mapuche communities of Southern Argentina and Chile. An ethnobotanical survey was conducted in the rural Curruhuinca community located near the mountain city of San Martin de los Andes, Argentina. Semi-structured interviews were carried out on 22 families in order to examine the present use of medicinal plants and their reputed therapeutic effects. Ecological variables, such as distance to the gathering site and biogeographical origin were also analyzed. Our results showed that the Curruhuinca dwellers cited 89 plant species for medicinal purposes, both of native and exotic origin. They know about 47 native plants, of which they use 40, and they know of 42 exotic medicinal plants of which they use 34. A differential pattern was observed given that only native species, relevant for the traditional Mapuche medicine, were collected at more distant gathering sites. The interviewees mentioned 268 plant usages. Those most frequently reported had therapeutic value for treating digestive ailments (33%), as analgesic/anti-inflammatory (25%) and antitusive (13%). Native species were mainly cited as analgesics, and for gynecological, urinary and "cultural syndrome" effects, whereas exotic species were mainly cited for digestive ailments. The total number of medicinal plants known and used by the interviewees was positively correlated with people's age, indicating that this ancient knowledge tends to disappear in the younger generations.

  11. Convergence in mycorrhizal fungal communities due to drought, plant competition, parasitism and susceptibility to herbivory: Consequences for fungi and host plants

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Catherine A. Gehring

    2014-06-01

    Full Text Available Plants and mycorrhizal fungi influence each other’s abundance, diversity and distribution. How other biotic interactions affect the mycorrhizal symbiosis is less well understood. Likewise, we know little about the effects of climate change on the fungal component of the symbiosis or its function. We synthesized our long-term studies on the influence of mistletoe parasites, insect herbivores, competing trees, and drought on the ectomycorrhizal fungal communities associated with a foundation tree species of the southwestern United States, pinyon pine (Pinus edulis, and described how these changes feed back to affect host plant performance. We found that drought and all three of the biotic interactions studied resulted in similar shifts in ectomycorrhizal fungal community composition, demonstrating a convergence of the community towards dominance by a few closely related fungal taxa. Ectomycorrhizal fungi responded similarly to each of these stressors resulting in a predictable trajectory of community disassembly, consistent with ecological theory. Although we predicted that the fungal communities associated with trees stressed by drought, herbivory, competition, and parasitism would be poor mutualists, we found the opposite pattern in field studies. Our results suggest that climate change and the increased importance of herbivores, competitors and parasites that can be associated with it, may ultimately lead to reductions in ectomycorrhizal fungal diversity, but that the remaining fungal community may be beneficial to host trees under the current climate and the warmer, drier climate predicted for the future.

  12. Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India

    OpenAIRE

    Bhat Jahangeer A; Kumar Munesh; Bussmann Rainer W

    2013-01-01

    Abstract Background Himalayan forests are the most important source of medicinal plants and with useful species for the local people. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) is situated in the interior part of the Garhwal Himalayan region. The presented study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area of KWLS for the ecological status of medicinal plants and further focused on the ethnomedicinal uses of these plants in the study area. Methods Ecological information about ethnomedicinal plants were colle...

  13. Effects of invasive plants on arthropods.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Litt, Andrea R; Cord, Erin E; Fulbright, Timothy E; Schuster, Greta L

    2014-12-01

    Non-native plants have invaded nearly all ecosystems and represent a major component of global ecological change. Plant invasions frequently change the composition and structure of vegetation communities, which can alter animal communities and ecosystem processes. We reviewed 87 articles published in the peer-reviewed literature to evaluate responses of arthropod communities and functional groups to non-native invasive plants. Total abundance of arthropods decreased in 62% of studies and increased in 15%. Taxonomic richness decreased in 48% of studies and increased in 13%. Herbivorous arthropods decreased in response to plant invasions in 48% of studies and increased in 17%, likely due to direct effects of decreased plant diversity. Predaceous arthropods decreased in response to invasive plants in 44% of studies, which may reflect indirect effects due to reductions in prey. Twenty-two percent of studies documented increases in predators, which may reflect changes in vegetation structure that improved mobility, survival, or web-building for these species. Detritivores increased in 67% of studies, likely in response to increased litter and decaying vegetation; no studies documented decreased abundance in this functional group. Although many researchers have examined effects of plant invasions on arthropods, sizeable information gaps remain, specifically regarding how invasive plants influence habitat and dietary requirements. Beyond this, the ability to predict changes in arthropod populations and communities associated with plant invasions could be improved by adopting a more functional and mechanistic approach. Understanding responses of arthropods to invasive plants will critically inform conservation of virtually all biodiversity and ecological processes because so many organisms depend on arthropods as prey or for their functional roles, including pollination, seed dispersal, and decomposition. Given their short generation times and ability to respond rapidly to

  14. Psycho-Ecological Systems Model: A Systems Approach to Planning and Gauging the Community Impact of Community-Engaged Scholarship

    Science.gov (United States)

    Reeb, Roger N.; Snow-Hill, Nyssa L.; Folger, Susan F.; Steel, Anne L.; Stayton, Laura; Hunt, Charles A.; O'Koon, Bernadette; Glendening, Zachary

    2017-01-01

    This article presents the Psycho-Ecological Systems Model (PESM)--an integrative conceptual model rooted in General Systems Theory (GST). PESM was developed to inform and guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of transdisciplinary (and multilevel) community-engaged scholarship (e.g., a participatory community action research project…

  15. A global Fine-Root Ecology Database to address below-ground challenges in plant ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iversen, Colleen M; McCormack, M Luke; Powell, A Shafer; Blackwood, Christopher B; Freschet, Grégoire T; Kattge, Jens; Roumet, Catherine; Stover, Daniel B; Soudzilovskaia, Nadejda A; Valverde-Barrantes, Oscar J; van Bodegom, Peter M; Violle, Cyrille

    2017-07-01

    Variation and tradeoffs within and among plant traits are increasingly being harnessed by empiricists and modelers to understand and predict ecosystem processes under changing environmental conditions. While fine roots play an important role in ecosystem functioning, fine-root traits are underrepresented in global trait databases. This has hindered efforts to analyze fine-root trait variation and link it with plant function and environmental conditions at a global scale. This Viewpoint addresses the need for a centralized fine-root trait database, and introduces the Fine-Root Ecology Database (FRED, http://roots.ornl.gov) which so far includes > 70 000 observations encompassing a broad range of root traits and also includes associated environmental data. FRED represents a critical step toward improving our understanding of below-ground plant ecology. For example, FRED facilitates the quantification of variation in fine-root traits across root orders, species, biomes, and environmental gradients while also providing a platform for assessments of covariation among root, leaf, and wood traits, the role of fine roots in ecosystem functioning, and the representation of fine roots in terrestrial biosphere models. Continued input of observations into FRED to fill gaps in trait coverage will improve our understanding of changes in fine-root traits across space and time. © 2017 UT-Battelle LLC. New Phytologist © 2017 New Phytologist Trust.

  16. Modelling asymmetric growth in crowded plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Damgaard, Christian

    2010-01-01

    A class of models that may be used to quantify the effect of size-asymmetric competition in crowded plant communities by estimating a community specific degree of size-asymmetric growth for each species in the community is suggested. The model consists of two parts: an individual size......-asymmetric growth part, where growth is assumed to be proportional to a power function of the size of the individual, and a term that reduces the relative growth rate as a decreasing function of the individual plant size and the competitive interactions from other plants in the neighbourhood....

  17. Effects of Secondary Plant Metabolites on Microbial Populations: Changes in Community Structure and Metabolic Activity in Contaminated Environments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Lucie Musilova

    2016-07-01

    Full Text Available Secondary plant metabolites (SPMEs play an important role in plant survival in the environment and serve to establish ecological relationships between plants and other organisms. Communication between plants and microorganisms via SPMEs contained in root exudates or derived from litter decomposition is an example of this phenomenon. In this review, the general aspects of rhizodeposition together with the significance of terpenes and phenolic compounds are discussed in detail. We focus specifically on the effect of SPMEs on microbial community structure and metabolic activity in environments contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs. Furthermore, a section is devoted to a complex effect of plants and/or their metabolites contained in litter on bioremediation of contaminated sites. New insights are introduced from a study evaluating the effects of SPMEs derived during decomposition of grapefruit peel, lemon peel, and pears on bacterial communities and their ability to degrade PCBs in a long-term contaminated soil. The presented review supports the “secondary compound hypothesis” and demonstrates the potential of SPMEs for increasing the effectiveness of bioremediation processes.

  18. The COMPADRE Plant Matrix Database

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Salguero-Gomez, Roberto; Jones, Owen; Archer, C. Ruth

    2015-01-01

    growth or decline, such data furthermore help us understand how different biomes shape plant ecology, how plant populations and communities respond to global change, and how to develop successful management tools for endangered or invasive species. 2. Matrix population models summarize the life cycle......1. Schedules of survival, growth and reproduction are key life history traits. Data on how these traits vary among species and populations are fundamental to our understanding of the ecological conditions that have shaped plant evolution. Because these demographic schedules determine population...

  19. Ananke: temporal clustering reveals ecological dynamics of microbial communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Michael W. Hall

    2017-09-01

    Full Text Available Taxonomic markers such as the 16S ribosomal RNA gene are widely used in microbial community analysis. A common first step in marker-gene analysis is grouping genes into clusters to reduce data sets to a more manageable size and potentially mitigate the effects of sequencing error. Instead of clustering based on sequence identity, marker-gene data sets collected over time can be clustered based on temporal correlation to reveal ecologically meaningful associations. We present Ananke, a free and open-source algorithm and software package that complements existing sequence-identity-based clustering approaches by clustering marker-gene data based on time-series profiles and provides interactive visualization of clusters, including highlighting of internal OTU inconsistencies. Ananke is able to cluster distinct temporal patterns from simulations of multiple ecological patterns, such as periodic seasonal dynamics and organism appearances/disappearances. We apply our algorithm to two longitudinal marker gene data sets: faecal communities from the human gut of an individual sampled over one year, and communities from a freshwater lake sampled over eleven years. Within the gut, the segregation of the bacterial community around a food-poisoning event was immediately clear. In the freshwater lake, we found that high sequence identity between marker genes does not guarantee similar temporal dynamics, and Ananke time-series clusters revealed patterns obscured by clustering based on sequence identity or taxonomy. Ananke is free and open-source software available at https://github.com/beiko-lab/ananke.

  20. Ozone sensitivity of plants in natural communities

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Treshow, M; Stewart, D

    1973-07-01

    Field fumigation studies conducted in grassland, oak, aspen, and conifer, communities established the injury threshold of prevalent plant species to ozone. Several important species, including Bromus tectorum, Quercus gambelii, and Populus tremuloides, were injured by a single 2-hours exposure to 15 pphM ozone. Over half the perennial forbs and woody species studied were visibly injured at concentrations of 30 pphM ozone or less. It is postulated that lower concentrations at prolonged or repeated exposures to ozone may impair growth and affect community vigor and stability. Continued exposure of natural plant communities to ozone is expected to initiate major shifts in the plant composition of communities. 10 references, 4 figures, 1 table.

  1. Consumer trait variation influences tritrophic interactions in salt marsh communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hughes, Anne Randall; Hanley, Torrance C; Orozco, Nohelia P; Zerebecki, Robyn A

    2015-07-01

    The importance of intraspecific variation has emerged as a key question in community ecology, helping to bridge the gap between ecology and evolution. Although much of this work has focused on plant species, recent syntheses have highlighted the prevalence and potential importance of morphological, behavioral, and life history variation within animals for ecological and evolutionary processes. Many small-bodied consumers live on the plant that they consume, often resulting in host plant-associated trait variation within and across consumer species. Given the central position of consumer species within tritrophic food webs, such consumer trait variation may play a particularly important role in mediating trophic dynamics, including trophic cascades. In this study, we used a series of field surveys and laboratory experiments to document intraspecific trait variation in a key consumer species, the marsh periwinkle Littoraria irrorata, based on its host plant species (Spartina alterniflora or Juncus roemerianus) in a mixed species assemblage. We then conducted a 12-week mesocosm experiment to examine the effects of Littoraria trait variation on plant community structure and dynamics in a tritrophic salt marsh food web. Littoraria from different host plant species varied across a suite of morphological and behavioral traits. These consumer trait differences interacted with plant community composition and predator presence to affect overall plant stem height, as well as differentially alter the density and biomass of the two key plant species in this system. Whether due to genetic differences or phenotypic plasticity, trait differences between consumer types had significant ecological consequences for the tritrophic marsh food web over seasonal time scales. By altering the cascading effects of the top predator on plant community structure and dynamics, consumer differences may generate a feedback over longer time scales, which in turn influences the degree of trait

  2. Reinforcing loose foundation stones in trait-based plant ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shipley, Bill; De Bello, Francesco; Cornelissen, J Hans C; Laliberté, Etienne; Laughlin, Daniel C; Reich, Peter B

    2016-04-01

    The promise of "trait-based" plant ecology is one of generalized prediction across organizational and spatial scales, independent of taxonomy. This promise is a major reason for the increased popularity of this approach. Here, we argue that some important foundational assumptions of trait-based ecology have not received sufficient empirical evaluation. We identify three such assumptions and, where possible, suggest methods of improvement: (i) traits are functional to the degree that they determine individual fitness, (ii) intraspecific variation in functional traits can be largely ignored, and (iii) functional traits show general predictive relationships to measurable environmental gradients.

  3. ECOLOGICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL REPRESENTATION OF KABHANTI PERFORMED BY MUNA COMMUNITY IN MUNA REGENCY, SOUTH EAST SULAWESI

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hadirman -

    2013-12-01

    Full Text Available Kabhanti is one of the oral traditions performed by Muna community. It is performed as part of the traditional ceremony adhered to by Muna community as an amusement and a means of presenting ideas and ideologies, and bequeathing the values which are useful to human life. Specifically, this present study was intended to describe the forms of ecological representation of Kabhanti performed by Muna community, to reveal the ideology it contains, and to interpret the ecological meanings it contains. The theory of ecolingistics, the theory of ideology, and the theory of semiotics were eclectically used in the present study. Qualitative method was used and the data were descriptively and interpretatively analyzed.  The present study was conducted at Watumela Village and Latugho Village, Lawa District, Muna Regency. The data were collected through participatory observation, in-depth interview, the informants’ personal experience, and documentary study. The results of the study showed that ecologically the kabhanti performed by Muna community represented natural environment and human environment. All the ecological lexical items and the human ecological lexical items in such a performance reflected the existence of Muna people in their lives. It contained environmental, educational, social and developmental ideologies. The meanings of ecological representation in this present study included the meaning of environment, the meaning of cultural endurance, the meaning of identity, and the meaning of solidarity.

  4. Making big communities small: using network science to understand the ecological and behavioral requirements for community social capital.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neal, Zachary

    2015-06-01

    The concept of social capital is becoming increasingly common in community psychology and elsewhere. However, the multiple conceptual and operational definitions of social capital challenge its utility as a theoretical tool. The goals of this paper are to clarify two forms of social capital (bridging and bonding), explicitly link them to the structural characteristics of small world networks, and explore the behavioral and ecological prerequisites of its formation. First, I use the tools of network science and specifically the concept of small-world networks to clarify what patterns of social relationships are likely to facilitate social capital formation. Second, I use an agent-based model to explore how different ecological characteristics (diversity and segregation) and behavioral tendencies (homophily and proximity) impact communities' potential for developing social capital. The results suggest diverse communities have the greatest potential to develop community social capital, and that segregation moderates the effects that the behavioral tendencies of homophily and proximity have on community social capital. The discussion highlights how these findings provide community-based researchers with both a deeper understanding of the contextual constraints with which they must contend, and a useful tool for targeting their efforts in communities with the greatest need or greatest potential.

  5. Targeting Unknowns Just Underfoot: Microbial Ecology and Community Genomics of C Cycling in Soil Informed and Enabled with DNA-SIP

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pepe-Ranney, C. P.; Campbell, A.; Buckley, D. H.

    2015-12-01

    Microorganisms drive biogeochemical cycles and because soil is a large global carbon (C) reservoir (soil contains more C than plants and the atmosphere combined), soil microorganisms are important players in the global C-cycle. Frustratingly, however, many soil microorganisms resist cultivation and soil communities are astoundingly complex. This makes soil microbiology difficult to study and without a solid understanding of soil microbial ecology, models of soil C feedbacks to climate change are under-informed. Stable isotope probing (SIP) is a useful approach for establishing identity-function connections in microbial communities but has been challenging to employ in soil due to the inadequate resolution of microbial community fingerprinting techniques. High throughput DNA sequencing improves SIP resolving power transforming it into a powerful tool for studying the soil C cycle. We conducted a DNA-SIP experiment to track flow of xylose-C, a labile component of plant biomass, and cellulose-C, the most abundant global biopolymer, through a soil microbial community. We could track 13C into microbial DNA even when added 13C amounted to less than 5% of native C and found Spartobacteria, Chloroflexi, and Planctomycetes taxa were among those that assimilated 13C cellulose. These lineages are cosmopolitan in soil but little is known of their ecophysiology. By profiling SSU rRNA genes across entire DNA-SIP density gradients, we assessed relative DNA atom % 13C per taxon in 13C treatments and found cellulose degraders exhibited signal consistent with a specialist lifestyle with respect to C preference. Further, DNA-SIP enriches DNA of targeted microorganisms (Verrucomicrobia cellulose degraders were enriched by nearly two orders of magnitude) and this enriched DNA can serve as template for community genomics. We produced draft genomes from soil cellulose degraders including microorganisms belonging to Verrucomicrobia, Chloroflexi, and Planctomycetes from SIP enriched DNA

  6. Assessment of the ecological potential of mine-water treatment wetlands using a baseline survey of macroinvertebrate communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Batty, L.C.; Atkin, L.; Manning, D.A.C.

    2005-01-01

    A baseline survey of macroinvertebrate populations in two mine-water treatment wetlands, one treating a net acidic spoil heap discharge and one a net alkaline ferruginous pumped mine water, was undertaken to assess the potential of these systems to provide habitats for faunal communities. Both wetlands were found to be impoverished in comparison to natural wetlands but did sustain a macroinvertebrate community that could support higher organisms. Wetland size and water quality in terms of pH, conductivity and metal concentrations were found to be important factors in determining the quality of the populations supported. Direct toxicity to organisms was unlikely to be the main cause of lower diversity, but the smothering of organisms via the precipitation of iron hydroxides particularly in the early parts of the treatment systems affected macroinvertebrate communities. The presence of areas of open water within the planted systems was found to be important for providing habitats for macroinvertebrates and this should be both a future design and maintenance consideration for environmental managers. - Mine-water treatment wetlands can be engineered to provide habitats for ecological communities

  7. The use of traditional ecological knowledge in sustainable use and ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    management of plant resource through a community-based and participatory ... traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and scientific knowledge, with the aim of defining criteria for sustainable ...... resources. World Bank Technical Paper.

  8. MBS Native Plant Communities

    Data.gov (United States)

    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources — This data layer contains results of the Minnesota County Biological Survey (MCBS). It includes polygons representing the highest quality native plant communities...

  9. A guideline to study the feasibility domain of multi-trophic and changing ecological communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Song, Chuliang; Rohr, Rudolf P; Saavedra, Serguei

    2018-04-24

    The feasibility domain of an ecological community can be described by the set of environmental abiotic and biotic conditions under which all co-occurring and interacting species in a given site and time can have positive abundances. Mathematically, the feasibility domain corresponds to the parameter space compatible with positive (feasible) solutions at equilibrium for all the state variables in a system under a given model of population dynamics. Under specific dynamics, the existence of a feasible equilibrium is a necessary condition for species persistence regardless of whether the feasible equilibrium is dynamically stable or not. Thus, the size of the feasibility domain can also be used as an indicator of the tolerance of a community to random environmental variations. This has motivated a rich research agenda to estimate the feasibility domain of ecological communities. However, these methodologies typically assume that species interactions are static, or that input and output energy flows on each trophic level are unconstrained. Yet, this is different to how communities behave in nature. Here, we present a step-by-step quantitative guideline providing illustrative examples, computational code, and mathematical proofs to study systematically the feasibility domain of ecological communities under changes of interspecific interactions and subject to different constraints on the trophic energy flows. This guideline covers multi-trophic communities that can be formed by any type of interspecific interactions. Importantly, we show that the relative size of the feasibility domain can significantly change as a function of the biological information taken into consideration. We believe that the availability of these methods can allow us to increase our understanding about the limits at which ecological communities may no longer tolerate further environmental perturbations, and can facilitate a stronger integration of theoretical and empirical research. Copyright

  10. Phytophagous insects on native and non-native host plants: combining the community approach and the biogeographical approach.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Kim Meijer

    Full Text Available During the past centuries, humans have introduced many plant species in areas where they do not naturally occur. Some of these species establish populations and in some cases become invasive, causing economic and ecological damage. Which factors determine the success of non-native plants is still incompletely understood, but the absence of natural enemies in the invaded area (Enemy Release Hypothesis; ERH is one of the most popular explanations. One of the predictions of the ERH, a reduced herbivore load on non-native plants compared with native ones, has been repeatedly tested. However, many studies have either used a community approach (sampling from native and non-native species in the same community or a biogeographical approach (sampling from the same plant species in areas where it is native and where it is non-native. Either method can sometimes lead to inconclusive results. To resolve this, we here add to the small number of studies that combine both approaches. We do so in a single study of insect herbivory on 47 woody plant species (trees, shrubs, and vines in the Netherlands and Japan. We find higher herbivore diversity, higher herbivore load and more herbivory on native plants than on non-native plants, generating support for the enemy release hypothesis.

  11. 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.

  12. Invasive plant species in the West Indies: geographical, ecological, and floristic insights.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rojas-Sandoval, Julissa; Tremblay, Raymond L; Acevedo-Rodríguez, Pedro; Díaz-Soltero, Hilda

    2017-07-01

    The level of invasion (number or proportion of invasive species) in a given area depends on features of the invaded community, propagule pressure, and climate. In this study, we assess the invasive flora of nine islands in the West Indies to identify invasion patterns and evaluate whether invasive species diversity is related to geographical, ecological, and socioeconomic factors. We compiled a database of invasive plant species including information on their taxonomy, origin, pathways of introduction, habitats, and life history. This database was used to evaluate the similarity of invasive floras between islands and to identify invasion patterns at regional (West Indies) and local (island) scales. We found a total of 516 alien plant species that are invasive on at least one of the nine islands studied, with between 24 to 306 invasive species per island. The invasive flora on these islands includes a wide range of taxonomic groups, life forms, and habitats. We detected low similarity in invasive species diversity between islands, with most invasive species (>60%) occurring on a single island and 6% occurring on at least five islands. To assess the importance of different models in predicting patterns of invasive species diversity among islands, we used generalized linear models. Our analyses revealed that invasive species diversity was well predicted by a combination of island area and economic development (gross domestic product per capita and kilometers of paved roadways). Our results provide strong evidence for the roles of geographical, ecological, and socioeconomic factors in determining the distribution and spread of invasive species on these islands. Anthropogenic disturbance and economic development seem to be the major drivers facilitating the spread and predominance of invasive species over native species.

  13. Ecological drift and local exposures drive enteric bacterial community differences within species of Galápagos iguanas.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lankau, Emily W; Hong, Pei-Ying; Mackie, Roderick I

    2012-04-01

    Diet strongly influences the intestinal microbial communities through species sorting. Alternatively, these communicates may differ because of chance variation in local microbial exposures or species losses among allopatric host populations (i.e. ecological drift). We investigated how these forces shape enteric communities of Galápagos marine and land iguanas. Geographically proximate populations shared more similar communities within a host ecotype, suggesting a role for ecological drift during host colonization of the islands. Additionally, evidence of taxa sharing between proximate heterospecific host populations suggests that contemporary local exposures also influence the gut community assembly. While selective forces such as host-bacterial interactions or dietary differences are dominant drivers of intestinal community differences among hosts, historical and contemporary processes of ecological drift may lead to differences in bacterial composition within a host species. Whether such differences in community structure translate into geographic variation in benefits derived from these intimate microbial communities remains to be explored. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

  14. Integral Indicator of Ecological Footprint for Croatian Power Plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Strijov, V.; Granic, G.; Juric, Z.; Jelavic, B.; Antesevic Maricic, S.

    2009-01-01

    The main goal of this paper is to present the methodology of construction of the Integral Indicator for Croatian Thermal Power Plants and Combined Heat and Power Plants. The Integral Indicator is necessary to compare Power Plants selected according to a certain criterion. The criterion of the Ecological Footprint is chosen. The following features of the Power Plants are used: generated electricity and heat; consumed coal and liquid fuel; sulphur content in fuel; emitted CO 2 , SO 2 , NO x and particles. To construct the Integral Indicator the linear model is used. The model parameters are tuned by the Principal Component Analysis algorithm. The constructed Integral Indicator is compared with several others, such as Pareto-Optimal Slicing Indicator and Metric Indicator. The Integral Indicator keeps as much information about features of the Power Plants as possible; it is simple and robust.(author).

  15. Statistical power to detect change in a mangrove shoreline fish community adjacent to a nuclear power plant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dolan, T E; Lynch, P D; Karazsia, J L; Serafy, J E

    2016-03-01

    An expansion is underway of a nuclear power plant on the shoreline of Biscayne Bay, Florida, USA. While the precise effects of its construction and operation are unknown, impacts on surrounding marine habitats and biota are considered by experts to be likely. The objective of the present study was to determine the adequacy of an ongoing monitoring survey of fish communities associated with mangrove habitats directly adjacent to the power plant to detect fish community changes, should they occur, at three spatial scales. Using seasonally resolved data recorded during 532 fish surveys over an 8-year period, power analyses were performed for four mangrove fish metrics (fish diversity, fish density, and the occurrence of two ecologically important fish species: gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) and goldspotted killifish (Floridichthys carpio). Results indicated that the monitoring program at current sampling intensity allows for detection of <33% changes in fish density and diversity metrics in both the wet and the dry season in the two larger study areas. Sampling effort was found to be insufficient in either season to detect changes at this level (<33%) in species-specific occurrence metrics for the two fish species examined. The option of supplementing ongoing, biological monitoring programs for improved, focused change detection deserves consideration from both ecological and cost-benefit perspectives.

  16. The influence of ecology on chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) cultural behavior: a case study of five Ugandan chimpanzee communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gruber, Thibaud; Potts, Kevin B; Krupenye, Christopher; Byrne, Maisie-Rose; Mackworth-Young, Constance; McGrew, William C; Reynolds, Vernon; Zuberbühler, Klaus

    2012-11-01

    The influence of ecology on the development of behavioral traditions in animals is controversial, particularly for chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), for which it is difficult to rule out environmental influences as a cause of widely observed community-specific behavioral differences. Here, we investigated 3 potential scenarios that could explain the natural variation in a key extractive tool behavior, "fluid-dip," among several communities of chimpanzees of the Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii subspecies in Uganda. We compared data from previous behavioral ecological studies, field experiments, and long-term records of chimpanzee tool-using behavior. We focused on the quality of the available food, dietary preferences, and tool sets of 5 different communities, and carried out a standardized field experiment to test systematically for the presence of fluid-dip in 4 of these communities. Our results revealed major differences in habitat, available diet, and tool use behavior between geographically close communities. However, these differences in ecology and feeding behavior failed to explain the differences in tool use across communities. We conclude that ecological variables may lead both to innovation and loss of behavioral traditions, while contributing little to their transmission within the community. Instead, as soon as a behavioral tradition is established, sociocognitive factors likely play a key maintenance role as long as the ecological conditions do not change sufficiently for the tradition to be abandoned.

  17. Suppressive composts: microbial ecology links between abiotic environments and healthy plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hadar, Yitzhak; Papadopoulou, Kalliope K

    2012-01-01

    Suppressive compost provides an environment in which plant disease development is reduced, even in the presence of a pathogen and a susceptible host. Despite the numerous positive reports, its practical application is still limited. The main reason for this is the lack of reliable prediction and quality control tools for evaluation of the level and specificity of the suppression effect. Plant disease suppression is the direct result of the activity of consortia of antagonistic microorganisms that naturally recolonize the compost during the cooling phase of the process. Thus, it is imperative to increase the level of understanding of compost microbial ecology and population dynamics. This may lead to the development of an ecological theory for complex ecosystems as well as favor the establishment of hypothesis-driven studies.

  18. An assessment of a community-based, forest restoration programme in Durban (eThekwini), South Africa

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Mugwedi, LF

    2017-07-01

    Full Text Available Site Community Reforestation Project in Durban, South Africa, by assessing ecological attributes. Measures of plant richness, diversity, vegetation structure, invasive alien plants (IAPs) and ecological processes were contrasted across a chronosequence...

  19. Conservation and restoration of indigenous plants to improve community livelihoods: the Useful Plants Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ulian, Tiziana; Sacandé, Moctar; Mattana, Efisio

    2014-05-01

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership (MSBP) is one of the largest ex situ plant conservation initiatives, which is focused on saving plants in and from regions most at risk, particularly in drylands. Seeds are collected and stored in seed banks in the country of origin and duplicated in the Millennium Seed Bank in the UK. The MSBP also strengthens the capacity of local communities to successfully conserve and sustainably use indigenous plants, which are important for their wellbeing. Since 2007, high quality seed collections and research information have been gathered on ca. 700 useful indigenous plant species that were selected by communities in Botswana, Kenya, Mali, Mexico and South Africa through Project MGU - The Useful Plants Project. These communities range from various farmer's groups and organisations to traditional healers, organic cotton/crop producers and primary schools. The information on seed conservation and plant propagation was used to train communities and to propagate ca. 200 species that were then planted in local gardens, and as species reintroduced for reforestation programmes and enriching village forests. Experimental plots have also been established to further investigate the field performance (plant survival and growth rate) of indigenous species, using low cost procedures. In addition, the activities support revenue generation for local communities directly through the sustainable use of plant products or indirectly through wider environmental and cultural services. This project has confirmed the potential of biodiversity conservation to improve food security and human health, enhance community livelihoods and strengthen the resilience of land and people to the changing climate. This approach of using indigenous species and having local communities play a central role from the selection of species to their planting and establishment, supported by complementary research, may represent a model for other regions of the world, where

  20. The plant phenology monitoring design for the National Ecological Observatory Network

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elmendorf, Sarah C; Jones, Katherine D; Cook, Benjamin I.; Diez, Jeffrey M.; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.; Hufft, Rebecca A.; Jones, Matthew O.; Mazer, Susan J.; Miller-Rushing, Abraham J.; Moore, David J. P.; Schwartz, Mark D.; Weltzin, Jake F.

    2016-01-01

    Phenology is an integrative science that comprises the study of recurring biological activities or events. In an era of rapidly changing climate, the relationship between the timing of those events and environmental cues such as temperature, snowmelt, water availability or day length are of particular interest. This article provides an overview of the plant phenology sampling which will be conducted by the U.S. National Ecological Observatory Network NEON, the resulting data, and the rationale behind the design. Trained technicians will conduct regular in situ observations of plant phenology at all terrestrial NEON sites for the 30-year life of the observatory. Standardized and coordinated data across the network of sites can be used to quantify the direction and magnitude of the relationships between phenology and environmental forcings, as well as the degree to which these relationships vary among sites, among species, among phenophases, and through time. Vegetation at NEON sites will also be monitored with tower-based cameras, satellite remote sensing and annual high-resolution airborne remote sensing. Ground-based measurements can be used to calibrate and improve satellite-derived phenometrics. NEON’s phenology monitoring design is complementary to existing phenology research efforts and citizen science initiatives throughout the world and will produce interoperable data. By collocating plant phenology observations with a suite of additional meteorological, biophysical and ecological measurements (e.g., climate, carbon flux, plant productivity, population dynamics of consumers) at 47 terrestrial sites, the NEON design will enable continentalscale inference about the status, trends, causes and ecological consequences of phenological change.

  1. A modelling framework for improving plant establishment during ecological restoration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plants seeded during ecological restoration projects often perish en masse, and researchers are currently searching for traits promoting increased survival. In this study of a big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) ecosystem, we found survivorship rankings of seeded grass species varied across 3...

  2. The Genetics Underlying Natural Variation in the Biotic Interactions of Arabidopsis thaliana: The Challenges of Linking Evolutionary Genetics and Community Ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Roux, F; Bergelson, J

    2016-01-01

    In the context of global change, predicting the responses of plant communities in an ever-changing biotic environment calls for a multipronged approach at the interface of evolutionary genetics and community ecology. However, our understanding of the genetic basis of natural variation involved in mediating biotic interactions, and associated adaptive dynamics of focal plants in their natural communities, is still in its infancy. Here, we review the genetic and molecular bases of natural variation in the response to biotic interactions (viruses, bacteria, fungi, oomycetes, herbivores, and plants) in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana as well as the adaptive value of these bases. Among the 60 identified genes are a number that encode nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR)-type proteins, consistent with early examples of plant defense genes. However, recent studies have revealed an extensive diversity in the molecular mechanisms of defense. Many types of genetic variants associate with phenotypic variation in biotic interactions, even among the genes of large effect that tend to be identified. In general, we found that (i) balancing selection rather than directional selection explains the observed patterns of genetic diversity within A. thaliana and (ii) the cost/benefit tradeoffs of adaptive alleles can be strongly dependent on both genomic and environmental contexts. Finally, because A. thaliana rarely interacts with only one biotic partner in nature, we highlight the benefit of exploring diffuse biotic interactions rather than tightly associated host-enemy pairs. This challenge would help to improve our understanding of coevolutionary quantitative genetics within the context of realistic community complexity. © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  3. Hierarchical modeling and inference in ecology: The analysis of data from populations, metapopulations and communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Royle, J. Andrew; Dorazio, Robert M.

    2008-01-01

    A guide to data collection, modeling and inference strategies for biological survey data using Bayesian and classical statistical methods. This book describes a general and flexible framework for modeling and inference in ecological systems based on hierarchical models, with a strict focus on the use of probability models and parametric inference. Hierarchical models represent a paradigm shift in the application of statistics to ecological inference problems because they combine explicit models of ecological system structure or dynamics with models of how ecological systems are observed. The principles of hierarchical modeling are developed and applied to problems in population, metapopulation, community, and metacommunity systems. The book provides the first synthetic treatment of many recent methodological advances in ecological modeling and unifies disparate methods and procedures. The authors apply principles of hierarchical modeling to ecological problems, including * occurrence or occupancy models for estimating species distribution * abundance models based on many sampling protocols, including distance sampling * capture-recapture models with individual effects * spatial capture-recapture models based on camera trapping and related methods * population and metapopulation dynamic models * models of biodiversity, community structure and dynamics.

  4. Endozoochory by free-ranging, large herbivores : Ecological correlates and perspectives for restoration

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Mouissie, Albert; Vos, P; Verhagen, HMC; Bakker, JP

    2005-01-01

    Seed dispersal via ingestion and defecation by large herbivores provides a possible aid for ecological restoration of plant communities, by connecting source communities of target species with habitat restoration sites. It is also a possible threat due to invasion of weeds, grasses or exotic

  5. Rural Mental Health Ecology: A Framework for Engaging with Mental Health Social Capital in Rural Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilson, Rhonda L; Wilson, G Glenn; Usher, Kim

    2015-09-01

    The mental health of people in rural communities is influenced by the robustness of the mental health ecosystem within each community. Theoretical approaches such as social ecology and social capital are useful when applied to the practical context of promoting environmental conditions which maximise mental health helping capital to enhance resilience and reduce vulnerably as a buffer for mental illness. This paper explores the ecological conditions that affect the mental health and illness of people in rural communities. It proposes a new mental health social ecology framework that makes full use of the locally available unique social capital that is sufficiently flexible to facilitate mental health helping capital best suited to mental health service delivery for rural people in an Australian context.

  6. Exploring the nature of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish community: morphology, diet and foraging microhabitat use.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandl, Simon J; Robbins, William D; Bellwood, David R

    2015-09-22

    Patterns of ecological specialization offer invaluable information about ecosystems. Yet, specialization is rarely quantified across several ecological niche axes and variables beyond the link between morphological and dietary specialization have received little attention. Here, we provide a quantitative evaluation of ecological specialization in a coral reef fish assemblage (f. Acanthuridae) along one fundamental and two realized niche axes. Specifically, we examined ecological specialization in 10 surgeonfish species with regards to morphology and two realized niche axes associated with diet and foraging microhabitat utilization using a recently developed multidimensional framework. We then investigated the potential relationships between morphological and behavioural specialization. These relationships differed markedly from the traditional ecomorphological paradigm. While morphological specialization showed no relationship with dietary specialization, it exhibited a strong relationship with foraging microhabitat specialization. However, this relationship was inverted: species with specialized morphologies were microhabitat generalists, whereas generalized morphotypes were microhabitat specialists. Interestingly, this mirrors relationships found in plant-pollinator communities and may also be applicable to other ecosystems, highlighting the potential importance of including niche axes beyond dietary specialization into ecomorphological frameworks. On coral reefs, it appears that morphotypes commonly perceived as most generalized may, in fact, be specialized in exploiting flat and easily accessible microhabitats. © 2015 The Author(s).

  7. Baboquivari Mountain plants: Identification, ecology, and ethnobotany [Book Review

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosemary L. Pendleton

    2011-01-01

    The Sky Islands of southern Arizona and northwestern Mexico make up a region that is rich, both biologically and culturally. These isolated mountain ranges, separated by desert "seas," contain a unique and diverse flora and have long been home to indigenous peoples of the southwestern US. This book, Baboquivari Mountain Plants: Identification, Ecology, and...

  8. Plant-mediated Interactions Among Insects within a Community Ecological Perspective

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Poelman, E.H.; Dicke, M.

    2014-01-01

    Plants may be visited by many species of insects during their life-time. These insects include harmful herbivores above and belowground as well as beneficial natural enemies of herbivores and pollinators. Moreover, these interactions may take place sequentially or simultaneously. Responses of plants

  9. Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India

    Science.gov (United States)

    2013-01-01

    Background Himalayan forests are the most important source of medicinal plants and with useful species for the local people. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) is situated in the interior part of the Garhwal Himalayan region. The presented study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area of KWLS for the ecological status of medicinal plants and further focused on the ethnomedicinal uses of these plants in the study area. Methods Ecological information about ethnomedicinal plants were collected using random quadrats in a random sampling technique along an altitudinal gradient in the KWLS. Information on medicinal properties of plants encountered in the present study was generated by questionnaire survey and was also compared with relevant literature. Results A total of 152 medicinally important plant species were reported, in which 103 were found herbs, 32 shrubs and 17 were tree species which represented 123 genera of 61 families. A total of 18 plant species fell into the rare, endangered (critically endangered) and vulnerable status categories. Conclusion The present study documented the traditional uses of medicinal plants, their ecological status and importance of these plants in the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya. This study can serve as baseline information on medicinal plants and could be helpful to further strengthen the conservation of this important resource. PMID:23281594

  10. Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bhat, Jahangeer A; Kumar, Munesh; Bussmann, Rainer W

    2013-01-02

    Himalayan forests are the most important source of medicinal plants and with useful species for the local people. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS) is situated in the interior part of the Garhwal Himalayan region. The presented study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area of KWLS for the ecological status of medicinal plants and further focused on the ethnomedicinal uses of these plants in the study area. Ecological information about ethnomedicinal plants were collected using random quadrats in a random sampling technique along an altitudinal gradient in the KWLS. Information on medicinal properties of plants encountered in the present study was generated by questionnaire survey and was also compared with relevant literature. A total of 152 medicinally important plant species were reported, in which 103 were found herbs, 32 shrubs and 17 were tree species which represented 123 genera of 61 families. A total of 18 plant species fell into the rare, endangered (critically endangered) and vulnerable status categories. The present study documented the traditional uses of medicinal plants, their ecological status and importance of these plants in the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya. This study can serve as baseline information on medicinal plants and could be helpful to further strengthen the conservation of this important resource.

  11. Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bhat Jahangeer A

    2013-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Himalayan forests are the most important source of medicinal plants and with useful species for the local people. Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary (KWLS is situated in the interior part of the Garhwal Himalayan region. The presented study was carried out in Madhmeshwar area of KWLS for the ecological status of medicinal plants and further focused on the ethnomedicinal uses of these plants in the study area. Methods Ecological information about ethnomedicinal plants were collected using random quadrats in a random sampling technique along an altitudinal gradient in the KWLS. Information on medicinal properties of plants encountered in the present study was generated by questionnaire survey and was also compared with relevant literature. Results A total of 152 medicinally important plant species were reported, in which 103 were found herbs, 32 shrubs and 17 were tree species which represented 123 genera of 61 families. A total of 18 plant species fell into the rare, endangered (critically endangered and vulnerable status categories. Conclusion The present study documented the traditional uses of medicinal plants, their ecological status and importance of these plants in the largest protected area of Garhwal Himalaya. This study can serve as baseline information on medicinal plants and could be helpful to further strengthen the conservation of this important resource.

  12. Ecological study of the effects of nuclear power plants on benthic macroplant microcosms in subtropical and tropical estuaries. Annual progress report, 1974--1975

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thorhaug, A.

    1975-05-01

    Progress is reported on the following research projects: the dynamic ecology of Thalassia and studies of the Thalassia community; basic ecology of Thalassia growth and reproduction; red macroalgal ecology; green macroalgal ecology; transplantation of Thalassia; succession in a previously damaged Thalassia community at Turkey Point; and thermal ecology of the Thalassia community of Card Sound and Turkey Point. (U.S.)

  13. Community ecology of tropical forest snails: 30 years after Solem

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Schilthuizen, M.

    2011-01-01

    Since Solem’s provocative claim in the early 1980s that land snails in tropical forests are neither abundant nor diverse, at least 30 quantitative-ecological papers on tropical land snail communities have appeared. Jointly, these papers have shown that site diversity is, in fact, high in tropical

  14. Soil Microbial Communities and Gas Dynamics Contribute to Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Nitrogen Uptake and Transfer to Plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hestrin, R.; Harrison, M. J.; Lehmann, J.

    2016-12-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) associate with most terrestrial plants and influence ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry. There is evidence that AMF play a role in soil nitrogen cycling, in part by taking up nitrogen and transferring it to plants. However, many aspects of this process are poorly understood, including the factors that control fungal access to nitrogen stored in soil organic matter. In this study, we used stable isotopes and root exclusion to track nitrogen movement from organic matter into AMF and host plants. AMF significantly increased total plant biomass and nitrogen content, but both AMF and other soil microbes seemed to compete with plants for nitrogen. Surprisingly, gaseous nitrogen species also contributed significantly to plant nitrogen content under alkaline soil conditions. Our current experiments investigate whether free-living microbial communities that have evolved under a soil nitrogen gradient influence AMF access to soil organic nitrogen and subsequent nitrogen transfer to plants. This research links interactions between plants, mycorrhizal symbionts, and free-living microbes with terrestrial carbon and nitrogen dynamics.

  15. Molecular Ecological Basis of Grasshopper (Oedaleus asiaticus) Phenotypic Plasticity under Environmental Selection

    Science.gov (United States)

    Qin, Xinghu; Hao, Kun; Ma, Jingchuan; Huang, Xunbing; Tu, Xiongbing; Ali, Md. Panna; Pittendrigh, Barry R.; Cao, Guangchun; Wang, Guangjun; Nong, Xiangqun; Whitman, Douglas W.; Zhang, Zehua

    2017-01-01

    While ecological adaptation in insects can be reflected by plasticity of phenotype, determining the causes and molecular mechanisms for phenotypic plasticity (PP) remains a crucial and still difficult question in ecology, especially where control of insect pests is involved. Oedaleus asiaticus is one of the most dominant pests in the Inner Mongolia steppe and represents an excellent system to study phenotypic plasticity. To better understand ecological factors affecting grasshopper phenotypic plasticity and its molecular control, we conducted a full transcriptional screening of O. asiaticus grasshoppers reared in four different grassland patches in Inner Mongolia. Grasshoppers showed different degrees of PP associated with unique gene expressions and different habitat plant community compositions. Grasshopper performance variables were susceptible to habitat environment conditions and closely associated with plant architectures. Intriguingly, eco-transcriptome analysis revealed five potential candidate genes playing important roles in grasshopper performance, with gene expression closely relating to PP and plant community factors. By linking the grasshopper performances to gene profiles and ecological factors using canonical regression, we first demonstrated the eco-transcriptomic architecture (ETA) of grasshopper phenotypic traits (ETAGPTs). ETAGPTs revealed plant food type, plant density, coverage, and height were the main ecological factors influencing PP, while insect cuticle protein (ICP), negative elongation factor A (NELFA), and lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LCT) were the key genes associated with PP. Our study gives a clear picture of gene-environment interaction in the formation and maintenance of PP and enriches our understanding of the transcriptional events underlying molecular control of rapid phenotypic plasticity associated with environmental variability. The findings of this study may also provide new targets for pest control and highlight the

  16. Molecular Ecological Basis of Grasshopper (Oedaleus asiaticus Phenotypic Plasticity under Environmental Selection

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xinghu Qin

    2017-10-01

    Full Text Available While ecological adaptation in insects can be reflected by plasticity of phenotype, determining the causes and molecular mechanisms for phenotypic plasticity (PP remains a crucial and still difficult question in ecology, especially where control of insect pests is involved. Oedaleus asiaticus is one of the most dominant pests in the Inner Mongolia steppe and represents an excellent system to study phenotypic plasticity. To better understand ecological factors affecting grasshopper phenotypic plasticity and its molecular control, we conducted a full transcriptional screening of O. asiaticus grasshoppers reared in four different grassland patches in Inner Mongolia. Grasshoppers showed different degrees of PP associated with unique gene expressions and different habitat plant community compositions. Grasshopper performance variables were susceptible to habitat environment conditions and closely associated with plant architectures. Intriguingly, eco-transcriptome analysis revealed five potential candidate genes playing important roles in grasshopper performance, with gene expression closely relating to PP and plant community factors. By linking the grasshopper performances to gene profiles and ecological factors using canonical regression, we first demonstrated the eco-transcriptomic architecture (ETA of grasshopper phenotypic traits (ETAGPTs. ETAGPTs revealed plant food type, plant density, coverage, and height were the main ecological factors influencing PP, while insect cuticle protein (ICP, negative elongation factor A (NELFA, and lactase-phlorizin hydrolase (LCT were the key genes associated with PP. Our study gives a clear picture of gene-environment interaction in the formation and maintenance of PP and enriches our understanding of the transcriptional events underlying molecular control of rapid phenotypic plasticity associated with environmental variability. The findings of this study may also provide new targets for pest control and

  17. A method for under-sampled ecological network data analysis: plant-pollination as case study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Peter B. Sorensen

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available In this paper, we develop a method, termed the Interaction Distribution (ID method, for analysis of quantitative ecological network data. In many cases, quantitative network data sets are under-sampled, i.e. many interactions are poorly sampled or remain unobserved. Hence, the output of statistical analyses may fail to differentiate between patterns that are statistical artefacts and those which are real characteristics of ecological networks. The ID method can support assessment and inference of under-sampled ecological network data. In the current paper, we illustrate and discuss the ID method based on the properties of plant-animal pollination data sets of flower visitation frequencies. However, the ID method may be applied to other types of ecological networks. The method can supplement existing network analyses based on two definitions of the underlying probabilities for each combination of pollinator and plant species: (1, pi,j: the probability for a visit made by the i’th pollinator species to take place on the j’th plant species; (2, qi,j: the probability for a visit received by the j’th plant species to be made by the i’th pollinator. The method applies the Dirichlet distribution to estimate these two probabilities, based on a given empirical data set. The estimated mean values for pi,j and qi,j reflect the relative differences between recorded numbers of visits for different pollinator and plant species, and the estimated uncertainty of pi,j and qi,j decreases with higher numbers of recorded visits.

  18. Biochar increases plant growth and alters microbial communities via regulating the moisture and temperature of green roof substrates.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Haoming; Ma, Jinyi; Wei, Jiaxing; Gong, Xin; Yu, Xichen; Guo, Hui; Zhao, Yanwen

    2018-09-01

    Green roofs have increasingly been designed and applied to relieve environmental problems, such as water loss, air pollution as well as heat island effect. Substrate and vegetation are important components of green roofs providing ecosystem services and benefiting the urban development. Biochar made from sewage sludge could be potentially used as the substrate amendment for green roofs, however, the effects of biochar on substrate quality and plant performance in green roofs are still unclear. We evaluated the effects of adding sludge biochar (0, 5, 10, 15 and 20%, v/v) to natural soil planted with three types of plant species (ryegrass, Sedum lineare and cucumber) on soil properties, plant growth and microbial communities in both green roof and ground ecosystems. Our results showed that sludge biochar addition significantly increased substrate moisture, adjusted substrate temperature, altered microbial community structure and increased plant growth. The application rate of 10-15% sludge biochar on the green roof exerted the most significant effects on both microbial and plant biomass by 63.9-89.6% and 54.0-54.2% respectively. Path analysis showed that biochar addition had a strong effect on microbial biomass via changing the soil air-filled porosity, soil moisture and temperature, and promoted plant growth through the positive effects on microbial biomass. These results suggest that the applications of biochar at an appropriate rate can significantly alter plant growth and microbial community structure, and increase the ecological benefits of green roofs via exerting effects on the moisture, temperature and nutrients of roof substrates. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  19. Ecological impacts of small hydropower in China: Insights from an emergy analysis of a case plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pang, Mingyue; Zhang, Lixiao; Ulgiati, Sergio; Wang, Changbo

    2015-01-01

    The belief that small hydropower (SHP) systems are sources of clean energy with few or no ecological problems has been driving the rapid expansion of SHP plants in China and elsewhere. This paper presents an evaluation of the ecological impacts of SHP based on an emergy analysis of a plant located in Guizhou Province in southwest China. The results suggest that periodic downstream drying-up of the river is the largest contributor to the induced ecological impacts in terms of emergy cost. In 2010, the ecosystem service losses caused by downstream ecosystem degradation totaled 2.35E+18 seJ, which accounts for 38% of the total emergy utilized in the annual operation of this plant. If such losses could be avoided, i.e., if the SHP operated as designed, SHP projects would produce relatively modest impacts on the environment. When the reaches downstream of the SHP plant are not affected, the environmental loading ratio (ELR) is 2.20 and the emergy sustainability index (ESI) is 0.93; however, the ELR increases to 3.82 and ESI decreases to 0.38 when river drying-up occurs. These results indicate that China should rigorously investigate potential ecological problems of SHP development and proceed with caution rather than readily believing unjustified assumptions. - Highlights: • Ecological impacts of a SHP plant in China are analyzed using emergy synthesis. • The ecosystem degradation due to periodic drying-up was the largest emergy cost. • The eco-friendliness of SHP is questionable when it is intensively developed. • China should proceed with caution regarding the potential ecological impact of SHP

  20. Interactions between plants and primates shape community diversity in a rainforest in Madagascar.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Herrera, James P

    2016-07-01

    Models of ecological community assembly predict how communities of interacting organisms may be shaped by abiotic and biotic factors. Competition and environmental filtering are the predominant factors hypothesized to explain community assembly. This study tested the effects of habitat, phylogenetic and phenotypic trait predictors on species co-occurrence patterns and abundances, with the endemic primates of Madagascar as an empirical system. The abundance of 11 primate species was estimated along gradients of elevation, food resource abundance and anthropogenic habitat disturbance at local scales in south-east Madagascar. Community composition was compared to null models to test for phylogenetic and functional structure, and the effects of phylogenetic relatedness of co-occurring species, their trait similarity and environmental variables on species' abundances were tested using mixed models and quantile regressions. Resource abundance was the strongest predictor of community structure. Where food tree abundance was high, closely related species with similar traits dominated communities. High-elevation communities with lower food tree abundance consisted of species that were distantly related and had divergent traits. Closely related species had dissimilar abundances where they co-occurred, partially driven by trait dissimilarity, indicating character displacement. By integrating local-scale variation in primate community composition, evolutionary relatedness and functional diversity, this study found strong evidence that community assembly in this system can be explained by competition and character displacement along ecological gradients. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

  1. Interspecific nutrient transfer in a tallgrass prairie plant community

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Walter, L.E.F.; Hartnett, D.C.; Hetrick, B.A.D.; Schwab, A.P.

    1996-01-01

    Interplant nutrient transfer may be an important ecological process in grasslands, and may significantly influence plant neighborhood interactions. We investigated the potential for phosphorus transfer between the dominant grass Andropogon gerardii and several neighboring plant species in tallgrass prairie via a field 32PO4 labelling experiment. The mean amount of 32P received from donor shoots differed significantly among neighboring species and decreased with increasing distance from the donor. In general, forbs and cool-season C3 grasses received more labelled 32P than warm-season C4 grasses. Phosphorus transfer occurred over distances up to 0.5 m. The effects of species and distance on movement of phosphorus changed with increasing time after labelling. The relative mass of receiver and donor shoots did not affect amounts of 32P transfer. A benomyl fungicide treatment, applied to suppress mycorrhizal activity, likely did not affect existing vegetative hyphae and did not affect the amount of 32P transferred. These studies demonstrate that: (1) phosphorus is transferred among neighboring species in tallgrass prairie plant communities, (2) phosphorus may be transferred over significantly greater distances than reported in other grasslands, and (3) there is differential transfer among co-occurring species. Hypothesized mechanisms accounting for these patterns in tallgrass prairie include mycorrhizal hyphal interconnections and/or extensive and differential root and rhizosphere overlap among neighboring species

  2. Community leaders' perspectives on socio-economic impacts of power-plant development

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hastings, M.; Cawley, M.E.

    1981-01-01

    The primary focus of this research effort was to identify and measure the socioeconomic impacts of power plant development on non-metropolitan host communities. A mail survey, distributed to community leaders in 100 power plant communities east of the Mississippi River, was utilized to gather information from 713 respondents. Community leaders were questioned as to the plant's impact on (a) community groups, (b) aspects of community life, (c) overall community acceptance and (d) attitudes toward power plant development. Overall, the trends and patterns of plant impact on the host communities were found to be largely positive. Specifically, local employment opportunities were generally enhanced with the advent of the power plant. Directly related to power plant development was the overall improvement of the local economic situation. Off-shoots from such in the economic area included related general improvements in the community quality of life. While the vast majority of community leaders responded with positive comments on power plant presence, adverse impacts were also mentioned. Negative comments focused on environmental problems, deterioration of roads and traffic conditions, and the possibility of nuclear accidents. Despite these negative impacts, almost two-thirds of the community leaders would definitely support the reconstruction of the same energy facility. Power plant development, therefore, is generally perceived as both a positive and beneficial asset for the host area. (author)

  3. Plant signalling: the opportunities and dangers of chemical communication.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Adler, Frederick R

    2011-04-23

    The notion of chemical communication between plants and other organisms has gone from being viewed as a fringe idea to an accepted ecological phenomenon only recently. An Organized Oral Session at the August 2010 Ecological Society of America meeting in Pittsburgh examined the role of plant signalling both within and between plants, with speakers addressing the remarkably wide array of effects that plant signals have on plant physiology, species interactions and entire communities. In addition to the familiar way that plants communicate with mutualists like pollinators and fruit dispersers through both chemical and visual cues, speakers at this session described how plants communicate with themselves, with each other, with herbivores and with predators of those herbivores. These plant signals create a complex odour web superimposed upon the more classical food web itself, with its own dynamics in the face of exotic species and rapid community assembly and disassembly.

  4. [Ecological memory and its potential applications in ecology: a review].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sun, Zhong-yu; Ren, Hai

    2011-03-01

    Ecological memory (EM) is defined as the capability of the past states or experiences of a community to influence the present or future ecological responses of the community. As a relatively new concept, EM has received considerable attention in the study of ecosystem structure and function, such as community succession, ecological restoration, biological invasion, and natural resource management. This review summarized the definition, components, and categories of EM, and discussed the possible mechanisms and affecting factors of EM. Also, the potential applications of EM were proposed, in order to further understand the mechanisms of community succession and to guide ecological restoration.

  5. 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.

  6. Ammonia oxidizing bacteria community dynamics in a pilot-scale wastewater treatment plant.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiaohui Wang

    Full Text Available BACKGROUND: Chemoautotrophic ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB have the metabolic ability to oxidize ammonia to nitrite aerobically. This metabolic feature has been widely used, in combination with denitrification, to remove nitrogen from wastewater in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs. However, the relative influence of specific deterministic environmental factors to AOB community dynamics in WWTP is uncertain. The ecological principles underlying AOB community dynamics and nitrification stability and how they are related are also poorly understood. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The community dynamics of ammonia oxidizing bacteria (AOB in a pilot-scale WWTP were monitored over a one-year period by Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (T-RFLP. During the study period, the effluent ammonia concentrations were almost below 2 mg/L, except for the first 60 days, indicting stable nitrification. T-RFLP results showed that, during the test period with stable nitrification, the AOB community structures were not stable, and the average change rate (every 15 days of AOB community structures was 10% ± 8%. The correlations between T-RFLP profiles and 10 operational and environmental parameters were tested by Canonical Correlation Analysis (CCA and Mantel test. The results indicated that the dynamics of AOB community correlated most strongly with Dissolved Oxygen (DO, effluent ammonia, effluent Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD and temperature. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: This study suggests that nitrification stability is not necessarily accompanied by a stable AOB community, and provides insight into parameters controlling the AOB community dynamics within bioreactors with stable nitrification.

  7. Soil ecosystem functioning under climate change: plant species and community effects

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Kardol, Paul [ORNL; Cregger, Melissa [ORNL; Campany, Courtney E [ORNL; Classen, Aimee T [ORNL

    2010-01-01

    Feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems to climate change depend on soil ecosystem dynamics. Soil ecosystems can directly and indirectly respond to climate change. For example, warming directly alters microbial communities by increasing their activity. Climate change may also alter plant community composition, thus indirectly altering the microbial communities that feed on their inputs. To better understand how climate change may directly and indirectly alter soil ecosystem functioning, we investigated old-field plant community and soil ecosystem responses to single and combined effects of elevated [CO2], warming, and water availability. Specifically, we collected soils at the plot level (plant community soils), and beneath dominant plant species (plant-specific soils). We used microbial enzyme activities and soil nematodes as indicators for soil ecosystem functioning. Our study resulted in two main findings: 1) Overall, while there were some interactions, water, relative to increases in [CO2] and warming, had the largest impact on plant community composition, soil enzyme activities, and soil nematodes. Multiple climate change factors can interact to shape ecosystems, but in this case, those interactions were largely driven by changes in water availability. 2) Indirect effects of climate change, via changes in plant communities, had a significant impact on soil ecosystem functioning and this impact was not obvious when looking at plant community soils. Climate change effects on enzyme activities and soil nematode abundance and community structure strongly differed between plant community soils and plant-specific soils, but also within plant-specific soils. In sum, these results indicate that accurate assessments of climate change impacts on soil ecosystem functioning require incorporating the concurrent changes in plant function and plant community composition. Climate change-induced shifts in plant community composition will likely modify or counteract the direct

  8. Application of the Rangeland Hydrology and Erosion Model to Ecological Site Descriptions and Management

    Science.gov (United States)

    The utility of Ecological Site Descriptions (ESDs) and State-and-Transition Models (STMs) concepts in guiding rangeland management hinges on their ability to accurately describe and predict community dynamics and the associated consequences. For many rangeland ecosystems, plant community dynamics ar...

  9. Plant interactions with multiple insect herbivores: from community to genes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Stam, J.M.; Kroes, A.; Li, Y.; Gols, R.; Loon, van J.J.A.; Poelman, E.H.; Dicke, M.

    2014-01-01

    Every plant is a member of a complex insect community that consists of tens to hundreds of species that belong to different trophic levels. The dynamics of this community are critically influenced by the plant, which mediates interactions between community members that can occur on the plant

  10. Constraints imposed by pollinator behaviour on the ecology and evolution of plant mating systems

    OpenAIRE

    Devaux, Christian; Lepers, C.; Porcher, E.

    2014-01-01

    Most flowering plants rely on pollinators for their reproduction. Plant-pollinator interactions, although mutualistic, involve an inherent conflict of interest between both partners and may constrain plant mating systems at multiple levels: the immediate ecological plant selfing rates, their distribution in and contribution to pollination networks, and their evolution. Here, we review experimental evidence that pollinator behaviour influences plant selfing rates in pairs of interacting specie...

  11. Ecological drivers of community assembly across taxonomic groups and trophic levels

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Özkan, Korhan

    assembly is a complex phenomenon driven by the interplay between environmental species sorting, ecological interactions between species and dispersal, linking local communities with the surrounding communities as well as with their regional populations. Although the research on community assembly....... Local bird abundance was strongly linked with occupancy across the metacommunity (the bird communities in the Istranca landscape) as well as the species’ regional population and range size across the western Palearctic. Null model analyses showed that bird occupancy was non-randomly related to species...... environmental niche. Furthermore, species abundance and occupancy across both the metacommunity and the whole western Palearctic were significantly related to an independent species specialization index calculated for the French birds. Together these results indicated that forest bird community assembly...

  12. Disentangling the phylogenetic and ecological components of spider phenotypic variation.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gonçalves-Souza, Thiago; Diniz-Filho, José Alexandre Felizola; Romero, Gustavo Quevedo

    2014-01-01

    An understanding of how the degree of phylogenetic relatedness influences the ecological similarity among species is crucial to inferring the mechanisms governing the assembly of communities. We evaluated the relative importance of spider phylogenetic relationships and ecological niche (plant morphological variables) to the variation in spider body size and shape by comparing spiders at different scales: (i) between bromeliads and dicot plants (i.e., habitat scale) and (ii) among bromeliads with distinct architectural features (i.e., microhabitat scale). We partitioned the interspecific variation in body size and shape into phylogenetic (that express trait values as expected by phylogenetic relationships among species) and ecological components (that express trait values independent of phylogenetic relationships). At the habitat scale, bromeliad spiders were larger and flatter than spiders associated with the surrounding dicots. At this scale, plant morphology sorted out close related spiders. Our results showed that spider flatness is phylogenetically clustered at the habitat scale, whereas it is phylogenetically overdispersed at the microhabitat scale, although phylogenic signal is present in both scales. Taken together, these results suggest that whereas at the habitat scale selective colonization affect spider body size and shape, at fine scales both selective colonization and adaptive evolution determine spider body shape. By partitioning the phylogenetic and ecological components of phenotypic variation, we were able to disentangle the evolutionary history of distinct spider traits and show that plant architecture plays a role in the evolution of spider body size and shape. We also discussed the relevance in considering multiple scales when studying phylogenetic community structure.

  13. Herbivory and dominance shifts among exotic and congeneric native plant species during plant community establishment

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Engelkes, Tim; Meisner, Annelein; Morriën, Elly

    2016-01-01

    in a riparian ecosystem during early establishment of invaded communities. We planted ten plant communities each consisting of three individuals of each of six exotic plant species as well as six phylogenetically related natives. Exotic plant species were selected based on a rapid recent increase in regional...... abundance, the presence of a congeneric native species, and their co-occurrence in the riparian ecosystem. All plant communities were covered by tents with insect mesh. Five tents were open on the leeward side to allow herbivory. The other five tents were completely closed in order to exclude insects...... and vertebrates. Herbivory reduced aboveground biomass by half and influenced which of the plant species dominated the establishing communities. Exposure to herbivory did not reduce the total biomass of natives more than that of exotics, so aboveground herbivory did not selectively enhance exotics during...

  14. How Facilitation May Interfere with Ecological Speciation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    P. Liancourt

    2012-01-01

    Full Text Available Compared to the vast literature linking competitive interactions and speciation, attempts to understand the role of facilitation for evolutionary diversification remain scarce. Yet, community ecologists now recognize the importance of positive interactions within plant communities. Here, we examine how facilitation may interfere with the mechanisms of ecological speciation. We argue that facilitation is likely to (1 maintain gene flow among incipient species by enabling cooccurrence of adapted and maladapted forms in marginal habitats and (2 increase fitness of introgressed forms and limit reinforcement in secondary contact zones. Alternatively, we present how facilitation may favour colonization of marginal habitats and thus enhance local adaptation and ecological speciation. Therefore, facilitation may impede or pave the way for ecological speciation. Using a simple spatially and genetically explicit modelling framework, we illustrate and propose some first testable ideas about how, when, and where facilitation may act as a cohesive force for ecological speciation. These hypotheses and the modelling framework proposed should stimulate further empirical and theoretical research examining the role of both competitive and positive interactions in the formation of incipient species.

  15. Controlled ecological life support systems: Development of a plant growth module

    Science.gov (United States)

    Averner, Mel M.; Macelroy, Robert D.; Smernoff, David T.

    1987-01-01

    An effort was made to begin defining the scientific and technical requirements for the design and construction of a ground-based plant growth facility. In particular, science design criteria for the Plant Growth Module (PGM) of the Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) were determined in the following areas: (1) irradiation parameters and associated equipment affecting plant growth; (2) air flow; (3) planting, culture, and harvest techniques; (4) carbon dioxide; (5) temperature and relative humidity; (6) oxygen; (7) construction materials and access; (8) volatile compounds; (9) bacteria, sterilization, and filtration; (10) nutrient application systems; (11) nutrient monitoring; and (12) nutrient pH and conductivity.

  16. Southern marl prairies conceptual ecological model

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-01-01

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

  17. 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

  18. Habitat template approach for green roofs using a native rocky sea coast plant community in Japan.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagase, Ayako; Tashiro-Ishii, Yurika

    2018-01-15

    The present study examined whether it is possible to simulate a local herbaceous coastal plant community on a roof, by studying the natural habitats of rocky sea coast plants and their propagation and performance on a green roof. After studying the natural habitat of coastal areas in Izu peninsula, a germination and cutting transplant study was carried out using herbaceous plants from the Jogasaki sea coast. Many plant species did not germinate at all and the use of cuttings was a better method than direct seeding. The green roof was installed in the spring of 2012 in Chiba city. Thirteen plant species from the Jogasaki sea coast, which were successfully propagated, were planted in three kinds of substrate (15 cm depth): pumice, roof tile and commercial green roof substrate. The water drainage was restricted and a reservoir with 5 cm depth of water underlaid the substrate to simulate a similar growing environment to the sea coast. Volcanic rocks were placed as mulch to create a landscape similar to that on the Jogasaki sea coast. Plant coverage on the green roof was measured every month from June 2012 to October 2014. All plants were harvested and their dry shoot weight was measured in December 2014. The type of substrate did not cause significant differences in plant survival and dry shoot weight. Sea coast plant species were divided into four categories: vigorous growth; seasonal change; disappearing after a few years; limited growth. Understanding the ecology of natural habitats was important to simulating a local landscape using native plant communities on the green roof. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  19. Eight nonnative plants in western Oregon forests: associations with environment and management.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Andrew. Gray

    2005-01-01

    Nonnative plants have tremendous ecological and economic impacts on plant communities globally, but comprehensive data on the distribution and ecological relationships of individual species is often scarce or nonexistent. The objective of this study was to assess the influence of vegetation type, climate, topography, and management history on the distribution and...

  20. Mapping the ecological networks of microbial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Xiao, Yandong; Angulo, Marco Tulio; Friedman, Jonathan; Waldor, Matthew K; Weiss, Scott T; Liu, Yang-Yu

    2017-12-11

    Mapping the ecological networks of microbial communities is a necessary step toward understanding their assembly rules and predicting their temporal behavior. However, existing methods require assuming a particular population dynamics model, which is not known a priori. Moreover, those methods require fitting longitudinal abundance data, which are often not informative enough for reliable inference. To overcome these limitations, here we develop a new method based on steady-state abundance data. Our method can infer the network topology and inter-taxa interaction types without assuming any particular population dynamics model. Additionally, when the population dynamics is assumed to follow the classic Generalized Lotka-Volterra model, our method can infer the inter-taxa interaction strengths and intrinsic growth rates. We systematically validate our method using simulated data, and then apply it to four experimental data sets. Our method represents a key step towards reliable modeling of complex, real-world microbial communities, such as the human gut microbiota.

  1. Grazing exclusion, substrate type, and drought frequency affect plant community structure in rangelands of the arid unpredictable Arabian Deserts

    Science.gov (United States)

    El-Keblawy, Ali; El-Sheikh, Mohamed

    2017-04-01

    Grazing and drought can adversely affect the ecology and management of rangeland ecosystems. Several management actions have been applied to restore species diversity and community structure in degraded rangelands of the unpredictable arid environment. Protection from grazing is considered as a proper approach for restoration of degraded rangelands, but this depends on substrate type and sometime is hindered with water deficiency (drought). In this study, the effect of protection from grazing animals on species diversity and plant community structure was assessed after a dry and wet periods in both sandy and gravelly substrates in the Dubai Desert Conservation reserve (DDCR), United Arab Emirates. Two sites were selected during November 2012 on the two substrate types (fixed sandy flat and gravel plain) in the arid DDCR. An enclosure was established in each site. Plant community attributes (plant cover, density, frequency, species composition, and diversity indices) were assessed in a number of permanent plots laid inside and outside each enclosure during November 2012, April 2014 and April 2016. The results showed that protection improved clay content, but decreased the organic matters. Interestingly, the protection reduced the concentrations of most estimated nutrients, which could be attributed to the high turnover rate of nutrients associated grazing and low decomposition of accumulated dry plants of non-protected sites. Protection significantly increased all plant community attributes, but the only significant effect was for plant density. Plant density was almost twice greater inside than outside the enclosures. During the dry period, protection resulted in significantly greater deterioration in cover, density and all diversity indices in gravel, compared to sandy sites. Most of the grasses and shrubby plants had died in the gravel plains. However, plant community of the gravel plains was significantly restored after receiving considerable rainfalls. The

  2. Photosynthesis, environmental change, and plant adaptation: Research topics in plant molecular ecology. Summary report of a workshop

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    NONE

    1995-07-01

    As we approach the 21st Century, it is becoming increasingly clear that human activities, primarily related to energy extraction and use, will lead to marked environmental changes at the local, regional, and global levels. The realized and the potential photosynthetic performance of plants is determined by a combination of intrinsic genetic information and extrinsic environmental factors, especially climate. It is essential that the effects of environmental changes on the photosynthetic competence of individual species, communities, and ecosystems be accurately assessed. From October 24 to 26, 1993, a group of scientists specializing in various aspects of plant science met to discuss how our predictive capabilities could be improved by developing a more rational, mechanistic approach to relating photosynthetic processes to environmental factors. A consensus emerged that achieving this goal requires multidisciplinary research efforts that combine tools and techniques of genetics, molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, and physiology to understand the principles, mechanisms, and limitations of evolutional adaptation and physiological acclimation of photosynthetic processes. Many of these basic tools and techniques, often developed in other fields of science, already are available but have not been applied in a coherent, coordinated fashion to ecological research. The efforts of this research program are related to the broader efforts to develop more realistic prognostic models to forecast climate change that include photosynthetic responses and feedbacks at the regional and ecosystem levels.

  3. Plant traits determine the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    López-García, Álvaro; Varela-Cervero, Sara; Vasar, Martti; Öpik, Maarja; Barea, José M; Azcón-Aguilar, Concepción

    2017-12-01

    Functional diversity in ecosystems has traditionally been studied using aboveground plant traits. Despite the known effect of plant traits on the microbial community composition, their effects on the microbial functional diversity are only starting to be assessed. In this study, the phylogenetic structure of arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungal communities associated with plant species differing in life cycle and growth form, that is, plant life forms, was determined to unravel the effect of plant traits on the functional diversity of this fungal group. The results of the 454 pyrosequencing showed that the AM fungal community composition differed across plant life forms and this effect was dependent on the soil collection date. Plants with ruderal characteristics tended to associate with phylogenetically clustered AM fungal communities. By contrast, plants with resource-conservative traits associated with phylogenetically overdispersed AM fungal communities. Additionally, the soil collected in different seasons yielded AM fungal communities with different phylogenetic dispersion. In summary, we found that the phylogenetic structure, and hence the functional diversity, of AM fungal communities is dependent on plant traits. This finding adds value to the use of plant traits for the evaluation of belowground ecosystem diversity, functions and processes. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  4. Connectivity and Nestedness in Bipartite Networks from Community Ecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Corso, Gilberto; De Araujo, A I Levartoski; De Almeida, Adriana M

    2011-01-01

    Bipartite networks and the nestedness concept appear in two different contexts in theoretical ecology: community ecology and islands biogeography. From a mathematical perspective nestedness is a pattern in a bipartite network. There are several nestedness indices in the market, we used the index ν. The index ν is found using the relation ν = 1 - τ where τ is the temperature of the adjacency matrix of the bipartite network. By its turn τ is defined with help of the Manhattan distance of the occupied elements of the adjacency matrix of the bipartite network. We prove that the nestedness index ν is a function of the connectivities of the bipartite network. In addition we find a concise way to find ν which avoid cumbersome algorithm manupulation of the adjacency matrix.

  5. Connectivity and Nestedness in Bipartite Networks from Community Ecology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Corso, Gilberto [Departamento de Biofisica e Farmacologia, Centro de Biociencias, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, UFRN - Campus Universitario, Lagoa Nova, CEP 59078 972, Natal, RN (Brazil); De Araujo, A I Levartoski [Instituto Federal de Educacao, Ciencia e Tecnologia do Ceara Av. Treze de Maio, 2081 - Benfica CEP 60040-531 - Fortaleza, CE (Brazil); De Almeida, Adriana M, E-mail: corso@cb.ufrn.br [Departamento de Botanica, Ecologia e Zoologia, Centro de Biociencias, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte, UFRN - Campus Universitario, Lagoa Nova, CEP 59078 972, Natal, RN (Brazil)

    2011-03-01

    Bipartite networks and the nestedness concept appear in two different contexts in theoretical ecology: community ecology and islands biogeography. From a mathematical perspective nestedness is a pattern in a bipartite network. There are several nestedness indices in the market, we used the index {nu}. The index {nu} is found using the relation {nu} = 1 - {tau} where {tau} is the temperature of the adjacency matrix of the bipartite network. By its turn {tau} is defined with help of the Manhattan distance of the occupied elements of the adjacency matrix of the bipartite network. We prove that the nestedness index {nu} is a function of the connectivities of the bipartite network. In addition we find a concise way to find {nu} which avoid cumbersome algorithm manupulation of the adjacency matrix.

  6. Root-associated fungal communities along a primary succession on a mine spoil: Distinct ecological guilds assemble differently

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Kolaříková, Zuzana; Kohout, Petr; Krüger, Claudia; Janoušková, Martina; Mrnka, Libor; Rydlová, Jana

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 113, OCT 2017 (2017), s. 143-152 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-10377S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : community composition * ecological guilds * primary succession Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.857, year: 2016

  7. Genetic diversity within a dominant plant outweighs plant species diversity in structuring an arthropod community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crawford, Kerri M; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2013-05-01

    Plant biodiversity is being lost at a rapid rate. This has spurred much interest in elucidating the consequences of this loss for higher trophic levels. Experimental tests have shown that both plant species diversity and genetic diversity within a plant species can influence arthropod community structure. However, the majority of these studies have been conducted in separate systems, so their relative importance is currently unresolved. Furthermore, potential interactions between the two levels of diversity, which likely occur in natural systems, have not been investigated. To clarify these issues, we conducted three experiments in a freshwater sand dune ecosystem. We (1) independently manipulated plant species diversity, (2) independently manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, and (3) jointly manipulated genetic diversity within the dominant plant and species diversity. We found that genetic diversity within the dominant plant species, Ammophila breviligulata, more strongly influenced arthropod communities than plant species diversity, but this effect was dependent on the presence of other species. In species mixtures, A. breviligulata genetic diversity altered overall arthropod community composition, and arthropod richness and abundance peaked at the highest level of genetic diversity. Positive nonadditive effects of diversity were detected, suggesting that arthropods respond to emergent properties of diverse plant communities. However, in the independent manipulations where A. breviligulata was alone, effects of genetic diversity were weaker, with only arthropod richness responding. In contrast, plant species diversity only influenced arthropods when A. breviligulata was absent, and then only influenced herbivore abundance. In addition to showing that genetic diversity within a dominant plant species can have large effects on arthropod community composition, these results suggest that understanding how species

  8. Pollinator-driven ecological speciation in plants: new evidence and future perspectives.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van der Niet, Timotheüs; Peakall, Rod; Johnson, Steven D

    2014-01-01

    The hypothesis that pollinators have been important drivers of angiosperm diversity dates back to Darwin, and remains an important research topic today. Mounting evidence indicates that pollinators have the potential to drive diversification at several different stages of the evolutionary process. Microevolutionary studies have provided evidence for pollinator-mediated floral adaptation, while macroevolutionary evidence supports a general pattern of pollinator-driven diversification of angiosperms. However, the overarching issue of whether, and how, shifts in pollination system drive plant speciation represents a critical gap in knowledge. Bridging this gap is crucial to fully understand whether pollinator-driven microevolution accounts for the observed macroevolutionary patterns. Testable predictions about pollinator-driven speciation can be derived from the theory of ecological speciation, according to which adaptation (microevolution) and speciation (macroevolution) are directly linked. This theory is a particularly suitable framework for evaluating evidence for the processes underlying shifts in pollination systems and their potential consequences for the evolution of reproductive isolation and speciation. This Viewpoint paper focuses on evidence for the four components of ecological speciation in the context of plant-pollinator interactions, namely (1) the role of pollinators as selective agents, (2) floral trait divergence, including the evolution of 'pollination ecotypes', (3) the geographical context of selection on floral traits, and (4) the role of pollinators in the evolution of reproductive isolation. This Viewpoint also serves as the introduction to a Special Issue on Pollinator-Driven Speciation in Plants. The 13 papers in this Special Issue range from microevolutionary studies of ecotypes to macroevolutionary studies of historical ecological shifts, and span a wide range of geographical areas and plant families. These studies further illustrate

  9. Pollinator-driven ecological speciation in plants: new evidence and future perspectives

    Science.gov (United States)

    Van der Niet, Timotheüs; Peakall, Rod; Johnson, Steven D.

    2014-01-01

    Background The hypothesis that pollinators have been important drivers of angiosperm diversity dates back to Darwin, and remains an important research topic today. Mounting evidence indicates that pollinators have the potential to drive diversification at several different stages of the evolutionary process. Microevolutionary studies have provided evidence for pollinator-mediated floral adaptation, while macroevolutionary evidence supports a general pattern of pollinator-driven diversification of angiosperms. However, the overarching issue of whether, and how, shifts in pollination system drive plant speciation represents a critical gap in knowledge. Bridging this gap is crucial to fully understand whether pollinator-driven microevolution accounts for the observed macroevolutionary patterns. Testable predictions about pollinator-driven speciation can be derived from the theory of ecological speciation, according to which adaptation (microevolution) and speciation (macroevolution) are directly linked. This theory is a particularly suitable framework for evaluating evidence for the processes underlying shifts in pollination systems and their potential consequences for the evolution of reproductive isolation and speciation. Scope This Viewpoint paper focuses on evidence for the four components of ecological speciation in the context of plant-pollinator interactions, namely (1) the role of pollinators as selective agents, (2) floral trait divergence, including the evolution of ‘pollination ecotypes‘, (3) the geographical context of selection on floral traits, and (4) the role of pollinators in the evolution of reproductive isolation. This Viewpoint also serves as the introduction to a Special Issue on Pollinator-Driven Speciation in Plants. The 13 papers in this Special Issue range from microevolutionary studies of ecotypes to macroevolutionary studies of historical ecological shifts, and span a wide range of geographical areas and plant families. These studies

  10. Can partnerships and community-based conservation reverse the decline of coral reef social-ecological systems?

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James Barclay Frey

    2014-03-01

    Full Text Available The marine aquarium trade has played an important role in shaping the ecological state of coral reefs in Indonesia and much of the Asia-Pacific. The use of cyanide by ornamental fishers in Buleleng District, Bali, in the 1980s and 1990s has resulted in a precipitous decline in the ecological health of reefs. Cyanide-free harvesting techniques were introduced after 2000, along with reef restoration measures. This paper examines social and ecological processes in the fishing village of Les, Bali, in ending the use of cyanide and the resulting ecological restoration. An emphasis on conservation-development (with livelihood objectives was important in securing interest and cooperation across stakeholder groups. Adaptive approaches to governance and knowledge co-production were also important. The strategy used at Les is now being exported to other communities across Indonesia, and provides a promising example of a marine resources-based conservation-development initiative that may be implemented at other, similar communities.

  11. The ecology of plant secondary metabolites : from genes to global processes

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Iason, G.R.; Dicke, M.; Hartley, S.E.

    2012-01-01

    Plant secondary metabolites (PSM) such as terpenes and phenolic compounds are known to have numerous ecological roles, notably in defence against herbivores, pathogens and abiotic stresses and in interactions with competitors and mutualists. This book reviews recent developments in the field to

  12. Integrating an ecological approach into an Aboriginal community-based chronic disease prevention program: a longitudinal process evaluation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maypilama Elaine

    2011-05-01

    Full Text Available Abstract Background Public health promotes an ecological approach to chronic disease prevention, however, little research has been conducted to assess the integration of an ecological approach in community-based prevention programs. This study sought to contribute to the evidence base by assessing the extent to which an ecological approach was integrated into an Aboriginal community-based cardiovascular disease (CVD and type 2 diabetes prevention program, across three-intervention years. Methods Activity implementation forms were completed by interview with implementers and participant observation across three intervention years. A standardised ecological coding procedure was applied to assess participant recruitment settings, intervention targets, intervention strategy types, extent of ecologicalness and organisational partnering. Inter-rater reliability for two coders was assessed at Kappa = 0.76 (p Results 215 activities were implemented across three intervention years by the health program (HP with some activities implemented in multiple years. Participants were recruited most frequently through organisational settings in years 1 and 2, and organisational and community settings in year 3. The most commonly utilised intervention targets were the individual (IND as a direct target, and interpersonal (INT and organisational (ORG environments as indirect targets; policy (POL, and community (COM were targeted least. Direct (HP→ IND and indirect intervention strategies (i.e., HP→ INT→ IND, HP→ POL → IND were used most often; networking strategies, which link at least two targets (i.e., HP→[ORG-ORG]→IND, were used the least. The program did not become more ecological over time. Conclusions The quantity of activities with IND, INT and ORG targets and the proportion of participants recruited through informal cultural networking demonstrate community commitment to prevention. Integration of an ecological approach would have been

  13. Modeling plant composition as community continua in a forest landscape with LiDAR and hyperspectral remote sensing.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hakkenberg, C R; Peet, R K; Urban, D L; Song, C

    2018-01-01

    In light of the need to operationalize the mapping of forest composition at landscape scales, this study uses multi-scale nested vegetation sampling in conjunction with LiDAR-hyperspectral remotely sensed data from the G-LiHT airborne sensor to map vascular plant compositional turnover in a compositionally and structurally complex North Carolina Piedmont forest. Reflecting a shift in emphasis from remotely sensing individual crowns to detecting aggregate optical-structural properties of forest stands, predictive maps reflect the composition of entire vascular plant communities, inclusive of those species smaller than the resolution of the remotely sensed imagery, intertwined with proximate taxa, or otherwise obscured from optical sensors by dense upper canopies. Stand-scale vascular plant composition is modeled as community continua: where discrete community-unit classes at different compositional resolutions provide interpretable context for continuous gradient maps that depict n-dimensional compositional complexity as a single, consistent RGB color combination. In total, derived remotely sensed predictors explain 71%, 54%, and 48% of the variation in the first three components of vascular plant composition, respectively. Among all remotely sensed environmental gradients, topography derived from LiDAR ground returns, forest structure estimated from LiDAR all returns, and morphological-biochemical traits determined from hyperspectral imagery each significantly correspond to the three primary axes of floristic composition in the study site. Results confirm the complementarity of LiDAR and hyperspectral sensors for modeling the environmental gradients constraining landscape turnover in vascular plant composition and hold promise for predictive mapping applications spanning local land management to global ecosystem modeling. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  14. Site and plant species are important determinants of the Methylobacterium community composition in the plant phyllosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Knief, Claudia; Ramette, Alban; Frances, Lisa; Alonso-Blanco, Carlos; Vorholt, Julia A

    2010-06-01

    The plant phyllosphere constitutes a habitat for numerous microorganisms; among them are members of the genus Methylobacterium. Owing to the ubiquitous occurrence of methylobacteria on plant leaves, they represent a suitable target for studying plant colonization patterns. The influence of the factor site, host plant species, time and the presence of other phyllosphere bacteria on Methylobacterium community composition and population size were evaluated in this study. Leaf samples were collected from Arabidopsis thaliana or Medicago truncatula plants and from the surrounding plant species at several sites. The abundance of cultivable Methylobacterium clearly correlated with the abundance of other phyllosphere bacteria, suggesting that methylobacteria constitute a considerable and rather stable fraction of the phyllosphere microbiota under varying environmental conditions. Automated ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (ARISA) was applied to characterize the Methylobacterium community composition and showed the presence of similar communities on A. thaliana plants at most sites in 2 consecutive years of sampling. A substantial part of the observed variation in the community composition was explained by site and plant species, especially in the case of the plants collected at the Arabidopsis sites (50%). The dominating ARISA peaks that were detected on A. thaliana plants were found on other plant species grown at the same site, whereas some different peaks were detected on A. thaliana plants from other sites. This indicates that site-specific factors had a stronger impact on the Methylobacterium community composition than did plant-specific factors and that the Methylobacterium-plant association is not highly host plant species specific.

  15. The role of plant mycorrhizal type and status in modulating the relationship between plant and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Neuenkamp, Lena; Moora, Mari; Öpik, Maarja; Davison, John; Gerz, Maret; Männistö, Minna; Jairus, Teele; Vasar, Martti; Zobel, Martin

    2018-01-25

    Interactions between communities of plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi shape fundamental ecosystem properties. Experimental evidence suggests that compositional changes in plant and AM fungal communities should be correlated, but empirical data from natural ecosystems are scarce. We investigated the dynamics of covariation between plant and AM fungal communities during three stages of grassland succession, and the biotic and abiotic factors shaping these dynamics. Plant communities were characterised using vegetation surveys. AM fungal communities were characterised by 454-sequencing of the small subunit rRNA gene and identification against the AM fungal reference database MaarjAM. AM fungal abundance was estimated using neutral-lipid fatty acids (NLFAs). Multivariate correlation analysis (Procrustes) revealed a significant relationship between plant and AM fungal community composition. The strength of plant-AM fungal correlation weakened during succession following cessation of grassland management, reflecting changes in the proportion of plants exhibiting different AM status. Plant-AM fungal correlation was strong when the abundance of obligate AM plants was high, and declined as the proportion of facultative AM plants increased. We conclude that the extent to which plants rely on AM symbiosis can determine how tightly communities of plants and AM fungi are interlinked, regulating community assembly of both symbiotic partners. © 2018 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2018 New Phytologist Trust.

  16. Ecological effects of aphid abundance, genotypic variation, and contemporary evolution on plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Turley, Nash E; Johnson, Marc T J

    2015-07-01

    Genetic variation and contemporary evolution within populations can shape the strength and nature of species interactions, but the relative importance of these forces compared to other ecological factors is unclear. We conducted a field experiment testing the effects of genotypic variation, abundance, and presence/absence of green peach aphids (Myzus persicae) on the growth, leaf nitrogen, and carbon of two plant species (Brassica napus and Solanum nigrum). Aphid genotype affected B. napus but not S. nigrum biomass explaining 20 and 7% of the total variation, respectively. Averaging across both plant species, the presence/absence of aphids had a 1.6× larger effect size (Cohen's d) than aphid genotype, and aphid abundance had the strongest negative effects on plant biomass explaining 29% of the total variation. On B. napus, aphid genotypes had different effects on leaf nitrogen depending on their abundance. Aphids did not influence leaf nitrogen in S. nigrum nor leaf carbon in either species. We conducted a second experiment in the field to test whether contemporary evolution could affect plant performance. Aphid populations evolved in as little as five generations, but the rate and direction of this evolution did not consistently vary between plant species. On one host species (B. napus), faster evolving populations had greater negative effects on host plant biomass, with aphid evolutionary rate explaining 23% of the variation in host plant biomass. Together, these results show that genetic variation and evolution in an insect herbivore can play important roles in shaping host plant ecology.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-10-01

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

  18. Ecological turmoil in evolutionary dynamics of plant-insect interactions: defense to offence.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mishra, Manasi; Lomate, Purushottam R; Joshi, Rakesh S; Punekar, Sachin A; Gupta, Vidya S; Giri, Ashok P

    2015-10-01

    Available history manifests contemporary diversity that exists in plant-insect interactions. A radical thinking is necessary for developing strategies that can co-opt natural insect-plant mutualism, ecology and environmental safety for crop protection since current agricultural practices can reduce species richness and evenness. The global environmental changes, such as increased temperature, CO₂ and ozone levels, biological invasions, land-use change and habitat fragmentation together play a significant role in re-shaping the plant-insect multi-trophic interactions. Diverse natural products need to be studied and explored for their biological functions as insect pest control agents. In order to assure the success of an integrated pest management strategy, human activities need to be harmonized to minimize the global climate changes. Plant-insect interaction is one of the most primitive and co-evolved associations, often influenced by surrounding changes. In this review, we account the persistence and evolution of plant-insect interactions, with particular focus on the effect of climate change and human interference on these interactions. Plants and insects have been maintaining their existence through a mutual service-resource relationship while defending themselves. We provide a comprehensive catalog of various defense strategies employed by the plants and/or insects. Furthermore, several important factors such as accelerated diversification, imbalance in the mutualism, and chemical arms race between plants and insects as indirect consequences of human practices are highlighted. Inappropriate implementation of several modern agricultural practices has resulted in (i) endangered mutualisms, (ii) pest status and resistance in insects and (iii) ecological instability. Moreover, altered environmental conditions eventually triggered the resetting of plant-insect interactions. Hence, multitrophic approaches that can harmonize human activities and minimize their

  19. Fish community-based measures of estuarine ecological quality and pressure-impact relationships

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fonseca, Vanessa F.; Vasconcelos, Rita P.; Gamito, Rita; Pasquaud, Stéphanie; Gonçalves, Catarina I.; Costa, José L.; Costa, Maria J.; Cabral, Henrique N.

    2013-12-01

    Community-based responses of fish fauna to anthropogenic pressures have been extensively used to assess the ecological quality of estuarine ecosystems. Several methodologies have been developed recently combining metrics reflecting community structure and function. A fish community facing significant environmental disturbances will be characterized by a simplified structure, with lower diversity and complexity. However, estuaries are naturally dynamic ecosystems exposed to numerous human pressures, making it difficult to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic-induced changes to the biological community. In the present work, the variability of several fish metrics was assessed in relation to different pressures in estuarine sites. The response of a multimetric index (Estuarine Fish Assessment Index) was also analysed. Overall, fish metrics and the multimetric index signalled anthropogenic stress, particularly environmental chemical pollution. The fish assemblage associated with this type of pressure was characterized by lower species diversity, lower number of functional guilds, lower abundance of marine migrants and of piscivorous individuals, and higher abundance of estuarine resident species. A decreased ecological quality status, based on the EFAI, was also determined for sites associated with this pressure group. Ultimately, the definition of each pressure groups favoured a stressor-specific analysis, evidencing pressure patterns and accounting for multiple factors in a highly dynamic environment.

  20. The effects of black-tailed prairie dogs on plant communities within a complex urban landscape: an ecological surprise?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beals, Stower C; Hartley, Laurel M; Prevéy, Janet S; Seastedt, Timothy R

    2014-05-01

    Historically, prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been considered essential keystone species of western United States grassland ecosystems because they provide unique services and increase vegetation community richness, evenness, and diversity. However, the effects of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on lands adjacent to or surrounded by urban areas may not result in the same ecosystem benefits historically associated with their presence. An urban landscape presents prairie dogs with movement challenges unparalleled in natural landscapes, as well as suites of nonnative plant species that are more common in disturbed areas. This study examined a complex ecosystem where vegetation communities are being influenced by directional environmental change, and quantified the synergistic effects resulting from the protective management of a native keystone species. The data set for this analysis was comprised of 71 paired (occupied by prairie dogs vs. unoccupied) vegetation surveys and 156 additional unpaired surveys collected from around the city of Boulder, Colorado, USA for 14 yr. Linear mixed models were used to compare data from transects occupied and unoccupied by prairie dogs, as well as to evaluate the effect of prairie dog occupation duration. In the absence of prairie dogs, vegetation in this region exhibited declines in native grasses, no changes in introduced grasses, and increases in native and nonnative forbs and bare soil over the study interval. In the presence of prairie dogs, these observed directional changes were nearly all amplified at rates four to 10 times greater than when prairie dogs were absent. Areas in Boulder occupied by prairie dogs also had significantly lower richness, evenness, and diversity of plant species, compared to unoccupied areas. Analysis of plant functional groups revealed the significant reduction of perennial native grasses, as well as a significantly higher cover of introduced forbs in occupied areas. Prairie dogs

  1. Integration of Local Ecological Knowledge and Conventional Science: a Study of Seven Community-Based Forestry Organizations in the USA

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Heidi L. Ballard

    2008-12-01

    Full Text Available Natural resource management decisions can be based on incomplete knowledge when they lack scientific research, monitoring, and assessment and/or simultaneously fail to draw on local ecological knowledge. Many community-based forestry organizations in the United States attempt to address these knowledge gaps with an integrated ecological stewardship approach that balances ecological, social, and economic goals. This paper examines the use and integration of local knowledge and conventional science in ecological stewardship and monitoring by seven community-based forestry demonstration projects. Through document reviews and interviews with both participants and partners of all of these community-based organizations, we found that all the community-based forestry groups incorporated local ecological knowledge into many aspects of their management or monitoring activities, such as collaboratively designing monitoring programs with local ranchers, forest workers, and residents; involving local people in collecting data and interpreting results; and documenting the local ecological knowledge of private forest landowners, long-time residents, and harvesters of nontimber forest products. We found that all the groups also used conventional science to design or conduct ecological assessments, monitoring, or research. We also found evidence, in the form of changes in attitudes on the part of local people and conventional scientists and jointly produced reports, that the two types of knowledge were integrated by all groups. These findings imply that community-based forestry groups are redistributing the power of conventional science through the use of diverse knowledge sources. Still, several obstacles prevented some local, traditionally under-represented groups from being significantly involved in monitoring and management decisions, and their knowledge has not yet been consistently incorporated.

  2. Harry Smith — recipient of the 2008 Molecular Ecology Prize

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harry Smith is a scholar, mentor, internationally renowned researcher, eloquent speaker and author, pioneering journal editor and highly valued colleague who has contributed greatly in multiple ways to plant science and the community. He richly deserves the honour of the Molecular Ecology Prize....

  3. Nutritional and cultural aspects of plant species selection for a controlled ecological life support system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoff, J. E.; Howe, J. M.; Mitchell, C. A.

    1982-01-01

    The feasibility of using higher plants in a controlled ecological life support system is discussed. Aspects of this system considered important in the use of higher plants include: limited energy, space, and mass, and problems relating to cultivation and management of plants, food processing, the psychological impact of vegetarian diets, and plant propagation. A total of 115 higher plant species are compared based on 21 selection criteria.

  4. Genes, communities & invasive species: understanding the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of host-pathogen interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burdon, J J; Thrall, P H; Ericson, L

    2013-08-01

    Reciprocal interactions between hosts and pathogens drive ecological, epidemiological and co-evolutionary trajectories, resulting in complex patterns of diversity at population, species and community levels. Recent results confirm the importance of negative frequency-dependent rather than 'arms-race' processes in the evolution of individual host-pathogen associations. At the community level, complex relationships between species abundance and diversity dampen or alter pathogen impacts. Invasive pathogens challenge these controls reflecting the earliest stages of evolutionary associations (akin to arms-race) where disease effects may be so great that they overwhelm the host's and community's ability to respond. Viewing these different stabilization/destabilization phases as a continuum provides a valuable perspective to assessment of the role of genetics and ecology in the dynamics of both natural and invasive host-pathogen associations. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  5. Mechanisms of selenium hyperaccumulation in plants: A survey of molecular, biochemical and ecological cues.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lima, Leonardo Warzea; Pilon-Smits, Elizabeth A H; Schiavon, Michela

    2018-04-04

    Selenium (Se) is a micronutrient required for many life forms, but toxic at higher concentration. Plants do not have a Se requirement, but can benefit from Se via enhanced antioxidant activity. Some plant species can accumulate Se to concentrations above 0.1% of dry weight and seem to possess mechanisms that distinguish Se from its analog sulfur (S). Research on these so-called Se hyperaccumulators aims to identify key genes for this remarkable trait and to understand ecological implications. This review gives a broad overview of the current knowledge about Se uptake and metabolism in plants, with a special emphasis on hypothesized mechanisms of Se hyperaccumulation. The role of Se in plant defense responses and the associated ecological implications are discussed. Hyperaccumulators have enhanced expression of S transport and assimilation genes, and may possess transporters with higher specificity for selenate over sulfate. Genes involved in antioxidant reactions and biotic stress resistance are also upregulated. Key regulators in these processes appear to be the growth regulators jasmonic acid, salicylic acid and ethylene. Hyperaccumulation may have evolved owing to associated ecological benefits, particularly protection against pathogens and herbivores, and as a form of elemental allelopathy. Understanding plant Se uptake and metabolism in hyperaccumulators has broad relevance for the environment, agriculture and human and animal nutrition and may help generate crops with selenate-specific uptake and high capacity to convert selenate to less toxic, anticarcinogenic, organic Se compounds. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Ecological impacts of the late Quaternary megaherbivore extinctions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, Jacquelyn L

    2014-03-01

    As a result of the late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions (50,000-10,000 before present (BP)), most continents today are depauperate of megaherbivores. These extinctions were time-transgressive, size- and taxonomically selective, and were caused by climate change, human hunting, or both. The surviving megaherbivores often act as ecological keystones, which was likely true in the past. In spite of this and extensive research on the causes of the Late Quaternary Extinctions, the long-term ecological consequences of the loss of the Pleistocene megafauna remained unknown until recently, due to difficulties in linking changes in flora and fauna in paleorecords. The quantification of Sporormiella and other dung fungi have recently allowed for explicit tests of the ecological consequences of megafaunal extirpations in the fossil pollen record. In this paper, I review the impacts of the loss of keystone megaherbivores on vegetation in several paleorecords. A growing number of studies support the hypothesis that the loss of the Pleistocene megafauna resulted in cascading effects on plant community composition, vegetation structure and ecosystem function, including increased fire activity, novel communities and shifts in biomes. Holocene biota thus exist outside the broader evolutionary context of the Cenozoic, and the Late Quaternary Extinctions represent a regime shift for surviving plant and animal species.

  7. Measures of precision for dissimilarity-based multivariate analysis of ecological communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, Marti J; Santana-Garcon, Julia

    2015-01-01

    Ecological studies require key decisions regarding the appropriate size and number of sampling units. No methods currently exist to measure precision for multivariate assemblage data when dissimilarity-based analyses are intended to follow. Here, we propose a pseudo multivariate dissimilarity-based standard error (MultSE) as a useful quantity for assessing sample-size adequacy in studies of ecological communities. Based on sums of squared dissimilarities, MultSE measures variability in the position of the centroid in the space of a chosen dissimilarity measure under repeated sampling for a given sample size. We describe a novel double resampling method to quantify uncertainty in MultSE values with increasing sample size. For more complex designs, values of MultSE can be calculated from the pseudo residual mean square of a permanova model, with the double resampling done within appropriate cells in the design. R code functions for implementing these techniques, along with ecological examples, are provided. © 2014 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and CNRS.

  8. Ecological surveys of certain plant communities around urban areas ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    It was also observed that certain edaphic and human activity, discharge of pollutants with out any pretreatment was found responsible for variation in the nature, structure and composition of vegetation. The plant growth and their continuity was in danger in many disturb areas, especially in some coastal areas where salinity ...

  9. THE EUROPEAN POSITION OF DUTCH PLANT COMMUNITIES

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J.A.M. JANSSEN

    2007-04-01

    Full Text Available In this paper it is analyzed for which plant communities (alliances the Netherlands has an international responsibility. Data has been brought together on the range and distribution of alliances in Europe, the area of plant communities in the Netherlands and surrounding countries and the occurrence of endemic associations in the Netherlands. The analysis resulted in a list of 34 out of 93 alliances in the Netherlands which are important from an international point of view.

  10. Plant interactions with microbes and insects: from molecular mechanisms to ecology

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Pieterse, C.M.J.; Dicke, M.

    2007-01-01

    Plants are members of complex communities and interact both with antagonists and beneficial organisms. An important question in plant defense-signaling research is how plants integrate signals induced by pathogens, beneficial microbes and insects into the most appropriate adaptive response.

  11. Local perceptions on social-ecological dynamics in Latin America in three community-based natural resource management systems

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria del Mar Delgado-Serrano

    2015-12-01

    Full Text Available Several examples of community-based natural resource management in Latin American social-ecological systems exist in which communities control the management of common-pool resources. Understanding community perceptions of the performance of these systems is essential to involve communities in sustainable management strategies. In this analysis of three areas in Colombia, Mexico, and Argentina, we analyzed the local perceptions of the social and environmental challenges faced by these social-ecological systems and how these challenges and drivers affect their resilience. To do this, we combined prospective structural analysis to unravel stakeholders' perceptions of each system's functioning along with network analysis to assess resilience. We identified external variables as the most influential variables in the Colombian and Argentine cases. In the Mexican case, larger influence is exerted by internal variables, particularly those linked to the governance system. The case study analysis revealed that the community-based natural resource management approach needs external support and recognition to work effectively. In the Argentine and Colombian cases, megaprojects were perceived as controllers with medium or strong influence but low dependence. The use of ancestral knowledge (Colombia, the history of land use (Mexico, and the history of the artisanal fishery (Argentina were all perceived as common challenges to community-based natural resource management. In terms of social-ecological resilience, framed within the three-dimensional model of the adaptive cycle, all three social-ecological systems were considered to be highly connected and resilient but with different degrees of capacity or cumulative potential.

  12. Utilization and control of ecological interactions in polymicrobial infections and community-based microbial cell factories

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Wigneswaran, Vinoth; Amador Hierro, Cristina Isabel; Jelsbak, Lotte

    2016-01-01

    Microbial activities are most often shaped by interactions between co-existing microbes within mixed-species communities. Dissection of the molecular mechanisms of species interactions within communities is a central issue in microbial ecology, and our ability to engineer and control microbial co...

  13. Central receiver power plant: an environmental, ecological, and socioeconomic analysis

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Davison, M.; Grether, D.

    1977-06-01

    The technical details of the central receiver design are reviewed. Socio-economic questions are considered including: market penetration, air industrial sector model, demands on industry, employment, effluents associated with manufacture of components, strains due to intensive construction, water requirements, and land requirements. The ecological effects in the vicinity of the central receiver plant site are dealt with, with emphasis on effects on land surface, mammals, and reptiles and amphibians. Climatological considerations are reviewed including: desert types, effects of surface albedo modification, effects of aerosols, effects on evaporation rates, the heliostat canopy, effects on turbulent transfer rates, effects on the wind profile, a model of convection about a central receiver plant, and a global scenario. Drawings of heliostat and plant design are included in appendices. (MHR)

  14. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ding, Tao; Melcher, Ulrich

    2016-01-01

    Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant's growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species.

  15. Influences of Plant Species, Season and Location on Leaf Endophytic Bacterial Communities of Non-Cultivated Plants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Tao Ding

    Full Text Available Bacteria are known to be associated endophytically with plants. Research on endophytic bacteria has identified their importance in food safety, agricultural production and phytoremediation. However, the diversity of endophytic bacterial communities and the forces that shape their compositions in non-cultivated plants are largely uncharacterized. In this study, we explored the diversity, community structure, and dynamics of endophytic bacteria in different plant species in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve of northern Oklahoma, USA. High throughput sequencing of amplified segments of bacterial rDNA from 81 samples collected at four sampling times from five plant species at four locations identified 335 distinct OTUs at 97% sequence similarity, representing 16 phyla. Proteobacteria was the dominant phylum in the communities, followed by the phyla Bacteriodetes and Actinobacteria. Bacteria from four classes of Proteobacteria were detected with Alphaproteobacteria as the dominant class. Analysis of molecular variance revealed that host plant species and collecting date had significant influences on the compositions of the leaf endophytic bacterial communities. The proportion of Alphaproteobacteria was much higher in the communities from Asclepias viridis than from other plant species and differed from month to month. The most dominant bacterial groups identified in LDA Effect Size analysis showed host-specific patterns, indicating mutual selection between host plants and endophytic bacteria and that leaf endophytic bacterial compositions were dynamic, varying with the host plant's growing season in three distinct patterns. In summary, next generation sequencing has revealed variations in the taxonomic compositions of leaf endophytic bacterial communities dependent primarily on the nature of the plant host species.

  16. Insect herbivores drive real-time ecological and evolutionary change in plant populations.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agrawal, Anurag A; Hastings, Amy P; Johnson, Marc T J; Maron, John L; Salminen, Juha-Pekka

    2012-10-05

    Insect herbivores are hypothesized to be major factors affecting the ecology and evolution of plants. We tested this prediction by suppressing insects in replicated field populations of a native plant, Oenothera biennis, which reduced seed predation, altered interspecific competitive dynamics, and resulted in rapid evolutionary divergence. Comparative genotyping and phenotyping of nearly 12,000 O. biennis individuals revealed that in plots protected from insects, resistance to herbivores declined through time owing to changes in flowering time and lower defensive ellagitannins in fruits, whereas plant competitive ability increased. This independent real-time evolution of plant resistance and competitive ability in the field resulted from the relaxation of direct selective effects of insects on plant defense and through indirect effects due to reduced herbivory on plant competitors.

  17. Trade-off between early emergence and herbivore susceptibility mediates exotic success in an experimental California plant community.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Waterton, Joseph; Cleland, Elsa E

    2016-12-01

    Ecological trade-offs are fundamental to theory in community ecology; critical for understanding species coexistence in diverse plant communities, as well as the evolution of diverse life-history strategies. Invasions by exotic species can provide insights into the importance of trade-offs in community assembly, because the ecological strategies of invading species often differ from those present in the native species pool. Exotic annual species have invaded many Mediterranean-climate areas around the globe, and often germinate and emerge earlier in the growing season than native species. Early-season growth can enable exotic annual species to preempt space and resources, competitively suppressing later-emerging native species; however, early-emerging individuals may also be more apparent to herbivores. This suggests a potential trade-off between seasonal phenology and susceptibility to herbivory. To evaluate this hypothesis, we monitored the emergence and growth of 12 focal species (six each native and exotic) in monoculture and polyculture, while experimentally excluding generalist herbivores both early and later in the growing season. Consistent with past studies, the exotic species emerged earlier than native species. Regardless of species origin, earlier-emerging species achieved greater biomass by the end of the experiment, but were more negatively impacted by herbivory, particularly in the early part of the growing season. This greater impact of early-season herbivory on early-active species led to a reduction in the competitive advantage of exotic species growing in polyculture, and improved the performance of later-emerging natives. Such a trade-off between early growth and susceptibility to herbivores could be an important force in community assembly in seasonal herbaceous-dominated ecosystems. These results also show how herbivore exclusion favors early-active exotic species in this system, with important implications for management in many areas invaded

  18. Biological soil crusts (biocrusts) as a model system in community, landscape and ecosystem ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bowker, Matthew A.; Maestre, Fernando T.; Eldridge, David; Belnap, Jayne; Castillo-Monroy, Andrea; Escolar, Cristina; Soliveres, Santiago

    2014-01-01

    Model systems have had a profound influence on the development of ecological theory and general principles. Compared to alternatives, the most effective models share some combination of the following characteristics: simpler, smaller, faster, general, idiosyncratic or manipulable. We argue that biological soil crusts (biocrusts) have unique combinations of these features that should be more widely exploited in community, landscape and ecosystem ecology. In community ecology, biocrusts are elucidating the importance of biodiversity and spatial pattern for maintaining ecosystem multifunctionality due to their manipulability in experiments. Due to idiosyncrasies in their modes of facilitation and competition, biocrusts have led to new models on the interplay between environmental stress and biotic interactions and on the maintenance of biodiversity by competitive processes. Biocrusts are perhaps one of the best examples of micro-landscapes—real landscapes that are small in size. Although they exhibit varying patch heterogeneity, aggregation, connectivity and fragmentation, like macro-landscapes, they are also compatible with well-replicated experiments (unlike macro-landscapes). In ecosystem ecology, a number of studies are imposing small-scale, low cost manipulations of global change or state factors in biocrust micro-landscapes. The versatility of biocrusts to inform such disparate lines of inquiry suggests that they are an especially useful model system that can enable researchers to see ecological principles more clearly and quickly.

  19. Microbiota of radish plants, cultivated in closed and open ecological systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tirranen, L. S.

    It is common knowledge that microorganisms respond to environmental changes faster than other representatives of the living world. The major aim of this work was to examine and analyze the characteristics of the microbiota of radish culture, cultivated in the closed ecological system of human life-support Bios-3 and in an open system in different experiments. Microbial community of near-root, root zone and phyllosphere of radish were studied at the phases of seedlings, root formation, technical ripeness—by washing-off method—like microbiota of the substrate (expanded clay aggregate) and of the seeds of radish culture. Inoculation on appropriate media was made to count total quantity of anaerobic and aerobic bacteria, bacteria of coliform group, spore-forming, Proteus group, fluorescent, phytopathogenic bacteria, growing on Fermi medium, yeasts, microscopic fungi, Actinomyces. It was revealed that formation of the microbiota of radish plants depends on the age, plant cultivation technology and the specific conditions of the closed system. Composition of microbial conveyor-cultivated in phytotrons varied in quality and in quantity with plant growth phases—in the same manner as cultivation of even-aged soil and hydroponics monocultures which was determined by different qualitative and quantitative composition of root emissions in the course of plant vegetation. The higher plant component formed its own microbial complex different from that formed prior to closure. The microbial complex of vegetable polyculture is more diverse and stable than the monoculture of radish. We registered the changes in the species composition and microorganism quantity during plant cultivation in the closed system on a long-used solution. It was demonstrated that during the short-term (7 days) use of the nutrient solution in the experiments without system closing, the species composition of the microbiota of radish plants was more diverse in a multiple-aged vegetable polyculture (61

  20. Current issues in the evolutionary ecology of ant-plant symbioses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mayer, Veronika E; Frederickson, Megan E; McKey, Doyle; Blatrix, Rumsaïs

    2014-05-01

    Ant-plant symbioses involve plants that provide hollow structures specialized for housing ants and often food to ants. In return, the inhabiting ants protect plants against herbivores and sometimes provide them with nutrients. Here, we review recent advances in ant-plant symbioses, focusing on three areas. First, the nutritional ecology of plant-ants, which is based not only on plant-derived food rewards, but also on inputs from other symbiotic partners, in particular fungi and possibly bacteria. Food and protection are the most important 'currencies' exchanged between partners and they drive the nature and evolution of the relationships. Secondly, studies of conflict and cooperation in ant-plant symbioses have contributed key insights into the evolution and maintenance of mutualism, particularly how partner-mediated feedbacks affect the specificity and stability of mutualisms. There is little evidence that mutualistic ants or plants are under selection to cheat, but the costs and benefits of ant-plant interactions do vary with environmental factors, making them vulnerable to natural or anthropogenic environmental change. Thus, thirdly, ant-plant symbioses should be considered good models for investigating the effects of global change on the outcome of mutualistic interactions. © 2014 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.

  1. Microbial Interactions and the Ecology and Evolution of Hawaiian Drosophilidae

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Timothy eO'Connor

    2014-12-01

    Full Text Available Adaptive radiations are characterized by an increased rate of speciation and expanded range of habitats and ecological niches exploited by those species. The Hawaiian Drosophilidae is a classic adaptive radiation; a single ancestral species colonized Hawaii approximately 25 million years ago and gave rise to two monophyletic lineages, the Hawaiian Drosophila and the genus Scaptomyza. The Hawaiian Drosophila are largely saprophagous and rely on approximately 40 endemic plant families and their associated microbes to complete development. Scaptomyza are even more diverse in host breadth. While many species of Scaptomyza utilize decomposing plant substrates, some species have evolved to become herbivores, parasites on spider egg masses, and exploit microbes on living plant tissue. Understanding the origin of the ecological diversity encompassed by these nearly 700 described species has been a challenge. The central role of microbes in drosophilid ecology suggests bacterial and fungal associates may have played a role in the diversification of the Hawaiian Drosophilidae. Here we synthesize recent ecological and microbial community data from the Hawaiian Drosophilidae to examine the forces that may have led to this adaptive radiation. We propose that the evolutionary success of the Hawaiian Drosophilidae is due to a combination of factors, including adaptation to novel ecological niches facilitated by microbes.

  2. The role of biotic interactions in plant community assembly: What is the community species pool?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Švamberková, Eva; Vítová, Alena; Lepš, Jan

    2017-11-01

    Differences in plant species composition between a community and its species pool are considered to reflect the effect of community filters. If we define the species pool as a set of species able to reach a site and form a viable population in a given abiotic environment (i.e. to pass the dispersal and abiotic filter), the difference in species composition should correspond to the effect of biotic interactions. However, most of the operational definitions of the species pool are based on co-occurrence patterns and thus also reflect the effect of biotic relationships, including definitions based on functional plant traits, Ellenberg indicator values or Beals index. We conducted two seed introduction experiments in an oligotrophic wet meadow with the aim of demonstrating that many species excluded, according to the above definitions, from a species pool are in fact able to establish there successfully if competition is removed. In sowing experiments, we studied the establishment and survival of species after the removal of competition (i.e. in artificial gaps) and in intact vegetation. We also investigated inter-annual variability of seed germination and seedling establishment and competitive exclusion of sown species. The investigated species also included those from very different habitats (i.e. species with very low corresponding Beals index or Ellenberg indicator values that were different from the target community weighted mean). Many of these species were able to grow in the focal wet meadow if competition was removed, but they did not establish and survive in the intact community. These species are thus not limited by abiotic conditions, but by the biotic filter. We also recorded a great inter-annual variability in seed germination and seedling establishment. Competitive exclusion of species with different ecological requirements could be quite fast (one and half seasons) in some species, but some non-resident species were able to survive several seasons; the

  3. Creating one planet communities

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilts, R.

    2010-01-01

    This presentation discussed low carbon communities that used a variety of sustainable energy technologies to reduce energy consumption and waste. The presentation was given by a company who has adopted a One Planet framework to ensure the development of zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable communities.The Dockside Green project was awarded North America's highest leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) score. The community includes a waste biomass plant and an on-site wastewater treatment plant. Excess heat produced by the community's greenhouse gas (GHG) neutral biomass district heating system is sold to neighbouring communities. The BedZED project in the United Kingdom uses a high-density format to support a community living and workspace environment that uses rainwater harvesting, passive solar heating, high performance envelopes, and green roofs. The site includes 40 electric car charging stations. A combined heat and power (CHP) biomass plant provides electricity and hot water to all buildings. Neighbourhood-scale sustainable development is expected to have a significant impact on the ecological footprint of North American cities. Carbon neutral projects in Canada were also listed. tabs., figs.

  4. Phytoremediation potential and ecological and phenological changes of native pioneer plants from weathered oil spill-impacted sites at tropical wetlands.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Palma-Cruz, Felipe de J; Pérez-Vargas, Josefina; Rivera Casado, Noemí Araceli; Gómez Guzmán, Octavio; Calva-Calva, Graciano

    2016-08-01

    Pioneer native plant species from weathered oil spill-affected sites were selected to study their potential for phytoremediation on the basis of their ecological and phenological changes during the phytoremediation process. Experiments were conducted in field and in greenhouse. In field, native plants from aged oil spill-impacted sites with up 400 g of weathered petroleum hydrocarbons per kilogram soil were selected. In the impacted sites, the principal dominant plant species with potential for hydrocarbons removal were Cyperus laxus, Cyperus esculentus, and Ludwigia peploides. In greenhouse, the phenology of the selected plant species was drastically affected by the hydrocarbons level above 325 g total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) per kilogram soil after 2 years of phytoremediation of soils from the aged oil spill-impacted sites. From the phytoremediation treatments, a mix-culture of C. laxus, C. esculentus, and L. peploides in soil containing 325 g TPH/kg soil, from which 20.3 % were polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and 34.2 % were asphaltenes (ASF), was able to remove up 93 % of the TPH, while in unvegetated soil the TPH removal was 12.6 %. Furthermore, evaluation of the biodiversity and life forms of plant species in the impacted sites showed that phytoremediation with C. esculentus, alone or in a mix-culture with C. laxus and L. peploides, reduces the TPH to such extent that the native plant community was progressively reestablished by replacing the cultivated species resulting in the ecological recovery of the affected soil. These results demonstrate that native Cyperus species from weathered oil spill-affected sites, specifically C. esculentus and C. laxus, alone or in a mix-culture, have particular potential for phytoremediation of soils from tropical wetlands contaminated with weathered oil hydrocarbons.

  5. Stability of Ecological Communities and the Architecture of Mutualistic and Trophic Networks

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Thebault, E.M.C.; Fontaine, C.

    2010-01-01

    Research on the relationship between the architecture of ecological networks and community stability has mainly focused on one type of interaction at a time, making difficult any comparison between different network types. We used a theoretical approach to show that the network architecture favoring

  6. Phylogenetic trait-based analyses of ecological networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rafferty, Nicole E; Ives, Anthony R

    2013-10-01

    Ecological networks of two interacting guilds of species, such as flowering plants and pollinators, are common in nature, and studying their structure can yield insights into their resilience to environmental disturbances. Here we develop analytical methods for exploring the strengths of interactions within bipartite networks consisting of two guilds of phylogenetically related species. We then apply these methods to investigate the resilience of a plant-pollinator community to anticipated climate change. The methods allow the statistical assessment of, for example, whether closely related pollinators are more likely to visit plants with similar relative frequencies, and whether closely related pollinators tend to visit closely related plants. The methods can also incorporate trait information, allowing us to identify which plant traits are likely responsible for attracting different pollinators. These questions are important for our study of 14 prairie plants and their 22 insect pollinators. Over the last 70 years, six of the plants have advanced their flowering, while eight have not. When we experimentally forced earlier flowering times, five of the six advanced-flowering species experienced higher pollinator visitation rates, whereas only one of the eight other species had more visits; this network thus appears resilient to climate change, because those species with advanced flowering have ample pollinators earlier in the season. Using the methods developed here, we show that advanced-flowering plants did not have a distinct pollinator community from the other eight species. Furthermore, pollinator phylogeny did not explain pollinator community composition; closely related pollinators were not more likely to visit the same plant species. However, differences among pollinator communities visiting different plants were explained by plant height, floral color, and symmetry. As a result, closely related plants attracted similar numbers of pollinators. By parsing out

  7. Reconstructing past ecological networks: the reconfiguration of seed-dispersal interactions after megafaunal extinction.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pires, Mathias M; Galetti, Mauro; Donatti, Camila I; Pizo, Marco A; Dirzo, Rodolfo; Guimarães, Paulo R

    2014-08-01

    The late Quaternary megafaunal extinction impacted ecological communities worldwide, and affected key ecological processes such as seed dispersal. The traits of several species of large-seeded plants are thought to have evolved in response to interactions with extinct megafauna, but how these extinctions affected the organization of interactions in seed-dispersal systems is poorly understood. Here, we combined ecological and paleontological data and network analyses to investigate how the structure of a species-rich seed-dispersal network could have changed from the Pleistocene to the present and examine the possible consequences of such changes. Our results indicate that the seed-dispersal network was organized into modules across the different time periods but has been reconfigured in different ways over time. The episode of megafaunal extinction and the arrival of humans changed how seed dispersers were distributed among network modules. However, the recent introduction of livestock into the seed-dispersal system partially restored the original network organization by strengthening the modular configuration. Moreover, after megafaunal extinctions, introduced species and some smaller native mammals became key components for the structure of the seed-dispersal network. We hypothesize that such changes in network structure affected both animal and plant assemblages, potentially contributing to the shaping of modern ecological communities. The ongoing extinction of key large vertebrates will lead to a variety of context-dependent rearranged ecological networks, most certainly affecting ecological and evolutionary processes.

  8. The raison d'être of chemical ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Raguso, Robert A; Agrawal, Anurag A; Douglas, Angela E; Jander, Georg; Kessler, André; Poveda, Katja; Thaler, Jennifer S

    2015-03-01

    Chemical ecology is a mechanistic approach to understanding the causes and consequences of species interactions, distribution, abundance, and diversity. The promise of chemical ecology stems from its potential to provide causal mechanisms that further our understanding of ecological interactions and allow us to more effectively manipulate managed systems. Founded on the notion that all organisms use endogenous hormones and chemical compounds that mediate interactions, chemical ecology has flourished over the past 50 years since its origin. In this essay we highlight the breadth of chemical ecology, from its historical focus on pheromonal communication, plant-insect interactions, and coevolution to frontier themes including community and ecosystem effects of chemically mediated species interactions. Emerging approaches including the -omics, phylogenetic ecology, the form and function of microbiomes, and network analysis, as well as emerging challenges (e.g., sustainable agriculture and public health) are guiding current growth of this field. Nonetheless, the directions and approaches we advocate for the future are grounded in classic ecological theories and hypotheses that continue to motivate our broader discipline.

  9. Ecological theory in practice: illustrations from a community-based intervention to promote the health of recent mothers.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hawe, Penelope; Riley, Therese

    2005-09-01

    We present a qualitative case study where we used four principles of ecological theory from community psychology as a template to assess the dynamics about how a preventive community intervention was transacted in eight communities in Victoria, Australia. The principles were cycling of resources, interdependence, adaptation, and succession. Ecological thinking focuses on key resources in communities. That is, the people, events, and settings that are the foundations of thinking about communities as systems. The data set consists of field diaries kept by and serial interviews with nine community development workers over a 2-year period. We found that the analysis highlighted a process-oriented way of representing the intervention, one that sees beyond the intervention's technical components (or packaged elements) to the complexities of the cultural and political change processes occurring beneath. The value of this is the attention focussed on likely project sustainability.

  10. Differential responses of soil bacteria, fungi, archaea and protists to plant species richness and plant functional group identity.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dassen, Sigrid; Cortois, Roeland; Martens, Henk; de Hollander, Mattias; Kowalchuk, George A; van der Putten, Wim H; De Deyn, Gerlinde B

    2017-08-01

    Plants are known to influence belowground microbial community structure along their roots, but the impacts of plant species richness and plant functional group (FG) identity on microbial communities in the bulk soil are still not well understood. Here, we used 454-pyrosequencing to analyse the soil microbial community composition in a long-term biodiversity experiment at Jena, Germany. We examined responses of bacteria, fungi, archaea, and protists to plant species richness (communities varying from 1 to 60 sown species) and plant FG identity (grasses, legumes, small herbs, tall herbs) in bulk soil. We hypothesized that plant species richness and FG identity would alter microbial community composition and have a positive impact on microbial species richness. Plant species richness had a marginal positive effect on the richness of fungi, but we observed no such effect on bacteria, archaea and protists. Plant species richness also did not have a large impact on microbial community composition. Rather, abiotic soil properties partially explained the community composition of bacteria, fungi, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), archaea and protists. Plant FG richness did not impact microbial community composition; however, plant FG identity was more effective. Bacterial richness was highest in legume plots and lowest in small herb plots, and AMF and archaeal community composition in legume plant communities was distinct from that in communities composed of other plant FGs. We conclude that soil microbial community composition in bulk soil is influenced more by changes in plant FG composition and abiotic soil properties, than by changes in plant species richness per se. © 2017 The Authors. Molecular Ecology Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  11. Functional diversity of microbial decomposers facilitates plant coexistence in a plant-microbe-soil feedback model.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miki, Takeshi; Ushio, Masayuki; Fukui, Shin; Kondoh, Michio

    2010-08-10

    Theory and empirical evidence suggest that plant-soil feedback (PSF) determines the structure of a plant community and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. The plant community alters the nutrient pool size in soil by affecting litter decomposition processes, which in turn shapes the plant community, forming a PSF system. However, the role of microbial decomposers in PSF function is often overlooked, and it remains unclear whether decomposers reinforce or weaken litter-mediated plant control over nutrient cycling. Here, we present a theoretical model incorporating the functional diversity of both plants and microbial decomposers. Two fundamental microbial processes are included that control nutrient mineralization from plant litter: (i) assimilation of mineralized nutrient into the microbial biomass (microbial immobilization), and (ii) release of the microbial nutrients into the inorganic nutrient pool (net mineralization). With this model, we show that microbial diversity may act as a buffer that weakens plant control over the soil nutrient pool, reversing the sign of PSF from positive to negative and facilitating plant coexistence. This is explained by the decoupling of litter decomposability and nutrient pool size arising from a flexible change in the microbial community composition and decomposition processes in response to variations in plant litter decomposability. Our results suggest that the microbial community plays a central role in PSF function and the plant community structure. Furthermore, the results strongly imply that the plant-centered view of nutrient cycling should be changed to a plant-microbe-soil feedback system, by incorporating the community ecology of microbial decomposers and their functional diversity.

  12. Small unmanned aerial vehicles (micro-UAVs, drones) in plant ecology.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cruzan, Mitchell B; Weinstein, Ben G; Grasty, Monica R; Kohrn, Brendan F; Hendrickson, Elizabeth C; Arredondo, Tina M; Thompson, Pamela G

    2016-09-01

    Low-elevation surveys with small aerial drones (micro-unmanned aerial vehicles [UAVs]) may be used for a wide variety of applications in plant ecology, including mapping vegetation over small- to medium-sized regions. We provide an overview of methods and procedures for conducting surveys and illustrate some of these applications. Aerial images were obtained by flying a small drone along transects over the area of interest. Images were used to create a composite image (orthomosaic) and a digital surface model (DSM). Vegetation classification was conducted manually and using an automated routine. Coverage of an individual species was estimated from aerial images. We created a vegetation map for the entire region from the orthomosaic and DSM, and mapped the density of one species. Comparison of our manual and automated habitat classification confirmed that our mapping methods were accurate. A species with high contrast to the background matrix allowed adequate estimate of its coverage. The example surveys demonstrate that small aerial drones are capable of gathering large amounts of information on the distribution of vegetation and individual species with minimal impact to sensitive habitats. Low-elevation aerial surveys have potential for a wide range of applications in plant ecology.

  13. Cophylogenetic signal is detectable in pollination interactions across ecological scales.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hutchinson, Matthew C; Cagua, Edgar Fernando; Stouffer, Daniel B

    2017-10-01

    That evolutionary history can influence the way that species interact is a basic tenet of evolutionary ecology. However, when the role of evolution in determining ecological interactions is investigated, focus typically centers on just one side of the interaction. A cophylogenetic signal, the congruence of evolutionary history across both sides of an ecological interaction, extends these previous explorations and provides a more complete picture of how evolutionary patterns influence the way species interact. To date, cophylogenetic signal has most typically been studied in interactions that occur between fine taxonomic clades that show high intimacy. In this study, we took an alternative approach and made an exhaustive assessment of cophylogeny in pollination interactions. To do so, we assessed the strength of cophylogenetic signal at four distinct scales of pollination interaction: (1) across plant-pollinator associations globally, (2) in local pollination communities, (3) within the modular structure of those communities, and (4) in individual modules. We did so using a globally distributed dataset comprised of 54 pollination networks, over 4000 species, and over 12,000 interactions. Within these data, we detected cophylogenetic signal at all four scales. Cophylogenetic signal was found at the level of plant-pollinator interactions on a global scale and in the majority of pollination communities. At the scale defined by the modular structure within those communities, however, we observed a much weaker cophylogenetic signal. Cophylogenetic signal was detectable in a significant proportion of individual modules and most typically when within-module phylogenetic diversity was low. In sum, the detection of cophylogenetic signal in pollination interactions across scales provides a new dimension to the story of how past evolution shapes extant pollinator-angiosperm interactions. © 2017 by the Ecological Society of America.

  14. Civic Ecology: Linking Social and Ecological Approaches in Extension

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krasny, Marianne E.; Tidball, Keith G.

    2010-01-01

    Civic ecology refers to the philosophy and science of community forestry, community gardening, watershed enhancement, and other volunteer-driven restoration practices in cities and elsewhere. Such practices, although often viewed as initiatives to improve a degraded environment, also foster social attributes of resilient social-ecological systems,…

  15. Ecological distribution and population physiology defined by proteomics in a natural microbial community

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Ryan S.; Denef, Vincent J.; Kalnejais, Linda H.; Suttle, K. Blake; Thomas, Brian C.; Wilmes, Paul; Smith, Richard L.; Nordstrom, D. Kirk; McCleskey, R. Blaine; Shah, Menesh B.; VerBekmoes, Nathan C.; Hettich, Robert L.; Banfield, Jillian F.

    2010-01-01

    An important challenge in microbial ecology is developing methods that simultaneously examine the physiology of organisms at the molecular level and their ecosystem level interactions in complex natural systems. We integrated extensive proteomic, geochemical, and biological information from 28 microbial communities collected from an acid mine drainage environment and representing a range of biofilm development stages and geochemical conditions to evaluate how the physiologies of the dominant and less abundant organisms change along environmental gradients. The initial colonist dominates across all environments, but its proteome changes between two stable states as communities diversify, implying that interspecies interactions affect this organism's metabolism. Its overall physiology is robust to abiotic environmental factors, but strong correlations exist between these factors and certain subsets of proteins, possibly accounting for its wide environmental distribution. Lower abundance populations are patchier in their distribution, and proteomic data indicate that their environmental niches may be constrained by specific sets of abiotic environmental factors. This research establishes an effective strategy to investigate ecological relationships between microbial physiology and the environment for whole communities in situ.

  16. Prediction of community mental health service utilization by individual and ecological level socio-economic factors.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Donisi, Valeria; Tedeschi, Federico; Percudani, Mauro; Fiorillo, Andrea; Confalonieri, Linda; De Rosa, Corrado; Salazzari, Damiano; Tansella, Michele; Thornicroft, Graham; Amaddeo, Francesco

    2013-10-30

    Individuals with a more deprived socioeconomic status (SES) are more likely to have higher rates of psychiatric morbidity and use of psychiatric services. Such service use is also influenced by socioeconomic factors at the ecological level. The aim of this article is to investigate the influence of these variables on service utilization. All patients in contact with three Italian community psychiatric services (CPS) were included. Community and hospital contacts over 6 months were investigated. Socio-economic characteristics were described using a SES Index and two new Resources Accessibility Indexes. Low SES was found to be associated with more community service contacts. When other individual and ecological variables were controlled for, SES was negatively associated only with the number of home visits, which was about half the rate in deprived areas. An association between service utilization and the resources of the catchment area was also detected. The economic crisis in Europe is increasing inequality of access, so paying attention to SES characteristics at both the individual and the ecological levels is likely to become increasingly important in understanding patterns of psychiatric service utilization and planning care accordingly. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  17. Interaction of historical and nonhistorical disturbances maintains native plant communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, K W; Svejcar, T J; Bates, J D

    2009-09-01

    Historical disturbance regimes are often considered a critical element in maintaining native plant communities. However, the response of plant communities to disturbance may be fundamentally altered as a consequence of invasive plants, climate change, or prior disturbances. The appropriateness of historical disturbance patterns under modern conditions and the interactions among disturbances are issues that ecologists must address to protect and restore native plant communities. We evaluated the response of Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis (Beetle & A. Young) S.L. Welsh plant communities to their historical disturbance regime compared to other disturbance regimes. The historical disturbance regime of these plant communities was periodic fires with minimal grazing by large herbivores. We also investigated the influence of prior disturbance (grazing) on the response of these communities to subsequent disturbance (burning). Treatments were: (1) ungrazed (livestock grazing excluded since 1936) and unburned, (2) grazed and unburned, (3) ungrazed and burned (burned in 1993), and (4) grazed and burned. The ungrazed-burned treatment emulated the historical disturbance regime. Vegetation cover, density, and biomass production were measured the 12th, 13th, and 14th year post-burning. Prior to burning the presence of Bromus tectorum L., an exotic annual grass, was minimal (resilience to more severe disturbances. Modern deviations from historical conditions can alter ecosystem response to disturbances, thus restoring the historical disturbance regime may not be an appropriate strategy for all ecosystems.

  18. EVOLUTIONARY AND ECOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PLANT STRESS TOLERANCE

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Abdulmalik G. Yusufov

    2018-01-01

    Full Text Available Abstract. Aim. The aim is to study the threshold sensitivity to salinization of the environment of individual isolated structures for evaluating the salt tolerance of plants. Methods. Comparison of the reaction to salinization of seeds, sprouts, epicotyls, leaves, cotyledons and flowers in species of cultural and natural flora. The following parameters were taken into account in the work: the life span, the time and capacity of for mation of roots and buds, and the wet and dry biomass of species. The results were processed by Statara version 3.0 Shareware (Statistic 5.0 by the parameters of the interaction of roots and shoots. Results. Plant individuals are characterized by the presence of structures that differ in specialization and life span. The question of the correspondence of reactions of structures with the salt tolerance of plants needs to be studied. The stability of the individual as an integral system is determined by the interaction of organs and structures with each other and with other components of the complex community. It evolves in the course of evolution by selecting individuals in the formation of stable plant communities. Quantitative methods of autoecology and genetics of populations are used to understand its mechanisms and role. Conclusion. The structure of an individual plant in an isolated culture is characterized by the specific reaction to salinization of the environment. In this case, the reaction of seeds, sprouts and isolated epicotyls corresponds most closely to the stability of the individual under the stress.

  19. The plant in between: Analogism and entanglement in an Italian community of anthroposophists

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Nadia Breda

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available The article analyses the special relationship with the world of plants developed by anthroposophy from the framework of a new perspective called the “plant turn” (Myers 2015. Anthroposophy (AS is analysed as a peculiar form of Analogism (Descola 2005, historically derived from the philosophy of Rudolf Steiner and subsequently evolved into contemporary AS practices that the author encountered during her fieldwork in a community of North-Eastern Italy. Both Steiner’s texts and the analysis of contemporary practices of AS reveal a relationship with the world of plants that the author reads in light of Ingold’s categories of “interweaving” of the world, the interpenetration of elements, and their ceaseless becoming (Ingold 2011. The result is a representation of the vegetal world involving the whole cosmos, humans and non-humans, terrestrial and celestial, in a cosmic expansion of the relations between beings typical of Analogisms. The practices referring to the vegetal world enacted by anthroposophists are intense, engaging, dialogue-based and provocative in their ability to uproot many elements of naturalism and deal with a contemporary world characterised by ecological crisis.

  20. Reclamation after oil and gas development does not speed up succession or plant community recovery in big sagebrush ecosystems in Wyoming

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rottler, Caitlin M.; Burke, Ingrid C.; Palmquist, Kyle A.; Bradford, John B.; Lauenroth, William K.

    2018-01-01

    Article for intended outlet: Restoration Ecology. Abstract: Reclamation is an application of treatment(s) following a disturbance to promote succession and accelerate the return of target conditions. Previous studies have framed reclamation in the context of succession by studying its effectiveness in re-establishing late-successional plant communities. Re-establishment of these plant communities is especially important and potentially challenging in regions such as drylands and shrub steppe ecosystems where succession proceeds slowly. Dryland shrub steppe ecosystems are frequently associated with areas rich in fossil-fuel energy sources, and as such the need for effective reclamation after disturbance from fossil-fuel-related energy development is great. Past research in this field has focused primarily on coal mines; few researchers have studied reclamation after oil and gas development. To address this research gap and to better understand the effect of reclamation on rates of succession in dryland shrub steppe ecosystems, we sampled oil and gas wellpads and adjacent undisturbed big sagebrush plant communities in Wyoming, USA and quantified the extent of recovery for major functional groups on reclaimed and unreclaimed (recovered via natural succession) wellpads relative to the undisturbed plant community. Reclamation increased the rate of recovery for all forb and grass species as a group and for perennial grasses, but did not affect other functional groups. Rather, analyses comparing recovery to environmental variables and time since wellpad abandonment showed that recovery of other groups were affected primarily by soil texture and time since wellpad abandonment. This is consistent with studies in other ecosystems where reclamation has been implemented, suggesting that reclamation may not help re-establish late-successional plant communities more quickly than they would re-establish naturally.

  1. Contrasting species-environment relationships in communities of testate amoebae, bryophytes and vascular plants along the fen-bog gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lamentowicz, Mariusz; Lamentowicz, Lukasz; van der Knaap, Willem O; Gabka, Maciej; Mitchell, Edward A D

    2010-04-01

    We studied the vegetation, testate amoebae and abiotic variables (depth of the water table, pH, electrical conductivity, Ca and Mg concentrations of water extracted from mosses) along the bog to extremely rich fen gradient in sub-alpine peatlands of the Upper Engadine (Swiss Alps). Testate amoeba diversity was correlated to that of mosses but not of vascular plants. Diversity peaked in rich fen for testate amoebae and in extremely rich fen for mosses, while for testate amoebae and mosses it was lowest in bog but for vascular plants in extremely rich fen. Multiple factor and redundancy analyses (RDA) revealed a stronger correlation of testate amoebae than of vegetation to water table and hydrochemical variables and relatively strong correlation between testate amoeba and moss community data. In RDA, hydrochemical variables explained a higher proportion of the testate amoeba and moss data than water table depth. Abiotic variables explained a higher percentage of the species data for testate amoebae (30.3% or 19.5% for binary data) than for mosses (13.4%) and vascular plants (10%). These results show that (1) vascular plant, moss and testate amoeba communities respond differently to ecological gradients in peatlands and (2) testate amoebae are more strongly related than vascular plants to the abiotic factors at the mire surface. These differences are related to vertical trophic gradients and associated niche differentiation.

  2. Genome-Wide Association Studies In Plant Pathosystems: Toward an Ecological Genomics Approach

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Claudia Bartoli

    2017-05-01

    Full Text Available The emergence and re-emergence of plant pathogenic microorganisms are processes that imply perturbations in both host and pathogen ecological niches. Global change is largely assumed to drive the emergence of new etiological agents by altering the equilibrium of the ecological habitats which in turn places hosts more in contact with pathogen reservoirs. In this context, the number of epidemics is expected to increase dramatically in the next coming decades both in wild and crop plants. Under these considerations, the identification of the genetic variants underlying natural variation of resistance is a pre-requisite to estimate the adaptive potential of wild plant populations and to develop new breeding resistant cultivars. On the other hand, the prediction of pathogen's genetic determinants underlying disease emergence can help to identify plant resistance alleles. In the genomic era, whole genome sequencing combined with the development of statistical methods led to the emergence of Genome Wide Association (GWA mapping, a powerful tool for detecting genomic regions associated with natural variation of disease resistance in both wild and cultivated plants. However, GWA mapping has been less employed for the detection of genetic variants associated with pathogenicity in microbes. Here, we reviewed GWA studies performed either in plants or in pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, fungi and oomycetes. In addition, we highlighted the benefits and caveats of the emerging joint GWA mapping approach that allows for the simultaneous identification of genes interacting between genomes of both partners. Finally, based on co-evolutionary processes in wild populations, we highlighted a phenotyping-free joint GWA mapping approach as a promising tool for describing the molecular landscape underlying plant - microbe interactions.

  3. Towards an agro-ecological village at the Flora Community : reducing greenhouse gas emissions through organic based farming and energy self reliance

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Samson, R.; Mulkins, L. [Resource Efficient Agricultural Production-Canada, Ste. Anne de Bellevue, PQ (Canada); Amongo, L.; Yap, E. [MASIPAG, Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines); Mendoza, T. [Univ. of the Philippines Los Banos, Laguna (Philippines). Dept of Agronomy

    2000-07-01

    A former haciendero owned sugarcane plantation in Negros Occidental, Philippines was transformed into a diversified, self-reliant, agro-ecological village, and its transition is documented in this paper. In 1995, through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the Philippine Government awarded 87 hectares of land to 76 hacienda workers. Community organizing, farm planning, training in organic farming, and loan support from a number of social welfare agencies were all areas where the community received assistance. The sugarcane production has been reduced at Flora since the land transition, and the community diversified into the growing of organic rice, corn and vegetables. Through its transition into an agro-ecological village, the Flora community has become more self-reliant in the areas of food and energy. Most individual farms and communally farmed areas have adopted organic based farming practices. The main products sold off the farm are sugarcane and high value vegetables. The MASIPAG rice farming system is being adhered to in the production of rice, the community's staple food. Nitrogen fixed during straw decomposition and the use of azolla, a nitrogen-fixing plant, represent some of the sources of nitrogen for the rice production. Other nutrient sources used are the mudpress from sugarcane processing and rice hull ash. To encourage nitrogen fixation and soil carbon accumulation from cane litter, a system of continuous trash farming was implemented for the production of sugarcane. In excess of 140 water buffaloes (carabaos) are employed for tillage and on-farm hauling, which minimizes the requirements for fossil fuels. Liquid propane gas (LPG), kerosene and wood fuel use in home cooking are being minimized by the efficient rice hull cookers. The local environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions are minimized, and the Flora community largely meets its requirements in terms of food security, on-farm energy and income. refs., 1 tab., 12 figs.

  4. Bottom-up and top-down effects on plant communities

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Souza, Lara; Zelikova, Tamara Jane; Sanders, Nate

    2016-01-01

    -down) and soil nitrogen (bottom-up) were manipulated over six years in an existing old-field community. We tracked plant α and β diversity - within plot richness and among plot biodiversity- and aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) over the course of the experiment. We found that bottom-up factors...... affected ANPP while top-down factors influenced plant community structure. Across years, while N reduction lowered ANPP by 10%, N reduction did not alter ANPP relative to control plots. Further, N reduction lowered ANPP by 20% relative to N addition plots. On the other hand, the reduction of insect...... community composition via shifts in plant dominance....

  5. Integrated metagenomics and molecular ecological network analysis of bacterial community composition during the phytoremediation of cadmium-contaminated soils by bioenergy crops.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chen, Zhaojin; Zheng, Yuan; Ding, Chuanyu; Ren, Xuemin; Yuan, Jian; Sun, Feng; Li, Yuying

    2017-11-01

    Two energy crops (maize and soybean) were used in the remediation of cadmium-contaminated soils. These crops were used because they are fast growing, have a large biomass and are good sources for bioenergy production. The total accumulation of cadmium in maize and soybean plants was 393.01 and 263.24μg pot -1 , respectively. The rhizosphere bacterial community composition was studied by MiSeq sequencing. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using 16S rRNA gene sequences. The rhizosphere bacteria were divided into 33 major phylogenetic groups according to phyla. The dominant phylogenetic groups included Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, Gemmatimonadetes, and Bacteroidetes. Based on principal component analysis (PCA) and unweighted pair group with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) analysis, we found that the bacterial community was influenced by cadmium addition and bioenergy cropping. Three molecular ecological networks were constructed for the unplanted, soybean- and maize-planted bacterial communities grown in 50mgkg -1 cadmium-contaminated soils. The results indicated that bioenergy cropping increased the complexity of the bacterial community network as evidenced by a higher total number of nodes, the average geodesic distance (GD), the modularity and a shorter geodesic distance. Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were the keystone bacteria connecting different co-expressed operational taxonomic units (OTUs). The results showed that bioenergy cropping altered the topological roles of individual OTUs and keystone populations. This is the first study to reveal the effects of bioenergy cropping on microbial interactions in the phytoremediation of cadmium-contaminated soils by network reconstruction. This method can greatly enhance our understanding of the mechanisms of plant-microbe-metal interactions in metal-polluted ecosystems. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  6. Using plant functional traits to guide restoration: A case study in California coastal grassland

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Sandel, Brody Steven; Corbin, Jeffrey; Krupa, Monica

    2011-01-01

    Restoration ecology can benefit greatly from developments in trait-based ecology that enable improved predictions of how the composition of plant communities will respond to changes in environmental conditions. Plant functional traits can be used to guide the restoration of degraded habitats...... generally from the treatments. Carbon addition led to large intraspecific trait shifts, with individuals in C addition plots having smaller, denser leaves and shorter stature. Species' trait plasticity, however, was not related to the community composition response to C addition.   Our study indicates...

  7. Nuclear power plant and the host community

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Olsson, G

    1978-10-27

    A councillor from a small Swedish community (Kaevlinge) in the vicinity of the Barsebaeck nuclear power plant describes the effects which the plant has had on neighbouring communities. The effect on the labour market has been small at Kaevlinge, both during routine operation and construction phases. This is however, a fairly densely populated area with a population of half a million in a radius of 30 km. The situation is different at Oskarshamn or Oesthammar. Neither has there been any special economic benefit, due to Swedish taxation laws. There has been little local anxiety due to the proximity of the nuclear power plant. Certain local planning problems have been caused by restricted zones and power cables. Cooperation between the local authorities and the utility has been good.

  8. CASE STUDY: Community Based Ecological Mangrove Rehabilitation (CBEMR) in Indonesia

    OpenAIRE

    Brown, Ben; Fadillah, Ratna; Nurdin, Yusran; Soulsby, Iona; Ahmad, Rio

    2014-01-01

    While successful examples of large-scale (5 000-10 000 ha) ecological wetland/mangrove rehabilitation projects exist worldwide, mangrove rehabilitation efforts in Indonesia, both large and small, have mainly failed. The majority of projects (both government programs and non-government initiatives) have oversimplified the technical processes of mangrove rehabilitation, favouring the direct planting of a restricted subset of mangrove species (from the family Rhizophoracea), commonly in the lowe...

  9. Social Ecology of Child Soldiers: Child, Family, and Community Determinants of Mental Health, Psychosocial Wellbeing, and Reintegration in Nepal

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kohrt, Brandon A.; Jordans, Mark J.D.; Tol, Wietse A.; Perera, Em; Karki, Rohit; Koirala, Suraj; Upadhaya, Nawaraj

    2013-01-01

    This study employs social ecology to evaluate psychosocial wellbeing in a cross-sectional sample of 142 former child soldiers in Nepal. Outcome measures included the Depression Self Rating Scale (DSRS), Child Posttraumatic Stress Scale (CPSS), and locally developed measures of function impairment and reintegration. At the child level, traumatic exposures, especially torture, predicted poor outcomes, while education improved outcomes. At the family level, conflict-related death of a relative, physical abuse in the household, and loss of wealth during the conflict predicted poor outcomes. At the community level, living in high caste Hindu communities predicted fewer reintegration supports. Ultimately, social ecology is well-suited to identify intervention foci across ecological levels, based on community differences in vulnerability and protective factors. PMID:21088102

  10. Changing contributions of stochastic and deterministic processes in community assembly over a successional gradient.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Måren, Inger Elisabeth; Kapfer, Jutta; Aarrestad, Per Arild; Grytnes, John-Arvid; Vandvik, Vigdis

    2018-01-01

    Successional dynamics in plant community assembly may result from both deterministic and stochastic ecological processes. The relative importance of different ecological processes is expected to vary over the successional sequence, between different plant functional groups, and with the disturbance levels and land-use management regimes of the successional systems. We evaluate the relative importance of stochastic and deterministic processes in bryophyte and vascular plant community assembly after fire in grazed and ungrazed anthropogenic coastal heathlands in Northern Europe. A replicated series of post-fire successions (n = 12) were initiated under grazed and ungrazed conditions, and vegetation data were recorded in permanent plots over 13 years. We used redundancy analysis (RDA) to test for deterministic successional patterns in species composition repeated across the replicate successional series and analyses of co-occurrence to evaluate to what extent species respond synchronously along the successional gradient. Change in species co-occurrences over succession indicates stochastic successional dynamics at the species level (i.e., species equivalence), whereas constancy in co-occurrence indicates deterministic dynamics (successional niche differentiation). The RDA shows high and deterministic vascular plant community compositional change, especially early in succession. Co-occurrence analyses indicate stochastic species-level dynamics the first two years, which then give way to more deterministic replacements. Grazed and ungrazed successions are similar, but the early stage stochasticity is higher in ungrazed areas. Bryophyte communities in ungrazed successions resemble vascular plant communities. In contrast, bryophytes in grazed successions showed consistently high stochasticity and low determinism in both community composition and species co-occurrence. In conclusion, stochastic and individualistic species responses early in succession give way to more

  11. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory radioecology and ecology programs. 1983 progress report

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Markham, O.D.

    1983-06-01

    Progress is reported in research on: the baseline ecology of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), the effects of disturbance on animal and plant communities, and the behavior of radionuclides in the environment surrounding radioactive waste sites. Separate abstracts have been prepared for individual reports

  12. Plant community mediation of ecosystem responses to global change factors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Churchill, A. C.

    2017-12-01

    Human alteration of the numerous environmental drivers affecting ecosystem processes is unprecedented in the last century, including changes in climate regimes and rapid increases in the availability of biologically active nitrogen (N). Plant communities may offer stabilizing or amplifying feedbacks mediating potential ecosystem responses to these alterations, and my research seeks to examine the conditions associated with when plant feedbacks are important for ecosystem change. My dissertation research focused on the unintended consequences of N deposition into natural landscapes, including alpine ecosystems which are particularly susceptible to adverse environmental impacts. In particular, I examined alpine plant and soil responses to N deposition 1) across multiple spatial scales throughout the Southern Rocky Mountains, 2) among diverse plant communities associated with unique environmental conditions common in the alpine of this region, and 3) among ecosystem pools of N contributing to stabilization of N inputs within those communities. I found that communities responded to inputs of N differently, often associated with traits of dominant plant species but these responses were intimately linked with the abiotic conditions of each independent community. Even so, statistical models predicting metrics of N processing in the alpine were improved by encompassing both abiotic and biotic components of the main community types.

  13. Effects of soil substrate quality, microbial diversity and community composition on the plant community during primary succession

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Frouz, Jan; Toyota, Ayu; Mudrák, Ondřej; Jílková, Veronika; Filipová, A.; Cajthaml, T.

    2016-01-01

    Roč. 99, August (2016), s. 75-84 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA ČR(CZ) GA15-11635S Institutional support: RVO:60077344 ; RVO:67985939 Keywords : AMF * forbs * grass * plant- soil (below-ground) interactions * plant- soil feedback Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour Impact factor: 4.857, year: 2016

  14. Using stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon to study seabird ecology: applications in the Mediterranean seabird community

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Manuela G. Forero

    2003-07-01

    Full Text Available The application of the stable isotope technique to ecological studies is becoming increasingly widespread. In the case of seabirds, stable isotopes of nitrogen and carbon have been mainly used as dietary tracers. This approach relieson the fact that food web isotopic signatures are reflected in the tissues of the consumer. In addition to the study of trophic ecology, stable isotopes have been used to track the movement of seabirds across isotopic gradients, as individuals moving between isotopically distinct foodwebs can carry with them information on the location of previous feeding areas. Studies applying the stable isotope methodology to the study of seabird ecology show a clear evolution from broad and descriptive approaches to detailed and individual-based analyses. The purpose of this article is to show the different fields of application of stable isotopes to the study of the seabird ecology. Finally, we illustrate the utility of this technique by considering the particularities of the Mediterranean seabird community, suggesting different ecological questions and conservation problems that could be addressed by using the stable isotope approach in this community.

  15. Ecological data in support of an analysis of Guinea-Bissau׳s medicinal flora

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Luís Catarino

    2016-06-01

    Full Text Available This dataset presents an annotated list of medicinal plants used by local communities in Guinea-Bissau (West Africa, in a total of 218 species. Data was gathered by means of herbarium and bibliographic research, as well as fieldwork. Biological and ecological information is provided for each species, including in-country distribution, geographical range, growth form and main vegetation types. The dataset was used to prepare a paper on the medicinal plants of Guinea-Bissau “Medicinal plants of Guinea-Bissau: therapeutic applications, ethnic diversity and knowledge transfer” (Catarino et al., 2016 [1]. The table and figures provide a unique database for Guinea-Bissau in support of ethno-medical and ethno-pharmacological research, and their ecological dimensions.

  16. Ecological land classification and terrestrial environment effects assessment for the Port Hope and Port Granby projects

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Taylor, M.; Wittkugel, U.; Kleb, H.

    2006-01-01

    The Ecological Land Classification system was developed to provide a standardized methodology for describing plant communities and wildlife habitat in southern Ontario. The method employs a hierarchical classification system. It can be applied at different levels of accuracy, i.e., at regional, sub-regional, and local scales with an increasing differentiation of vegetation communities. The standardization of the approach permits a comparison of vegetation communities from different sites and an evaluation of the rarity of these communities within the province. Further, the approach facilitates the monitoring of changes in terrestrial communities with time. These characteristics make Ecological Land Classification mapping a useful tool for environmental assessment such as the ones undertaken for the Port Hope and Port Granby Long-Term Waste Management Projects, which were conducted pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 1992. In the context of the Environmental Assessment for the Port Hope and Port Granby Projects, an Ecological Land Classification study was undertaken to characterize the terrestrial environment at regional, local and site levels. Vegetation patches (polygons) were delineated on the basis of air photo interpretation. The individual polygons were then visited for detailed inventory and classified to the most detailed level; that is to the vegetation type. Plant communities were then compared with those listed in the Ontario Natural Heritage Information Centre database to determine their rarity and to determine where they rank as Valued Ecosystem Components. Ecological Land Classification mapping results were used in the assessment of effects to Valued Ecosystem Components. A spatial analysis of the digitized vegetation maps showed the geographic extent of habitat losses and impairments due to various project works and activities. Landscape rehabilitation strategies and concepts were subsequently developed based on Ecological Land

  17. Dung beetle community and functions along a habitat-disturbance gradient in the Amazon: a rapid assessment of ecological functions associated to biodiversity.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Rodrigo F Braga

    Full Text Available Although there is increasing interest in the effects of habitat disturbance on community attributes and the potential consequences for ecosystem functioning, objective approaches linking biodiversity loss to functional loss are uncommon. The objectives of this study were to implement simultaneous assessment of community attributes (richness, abundance and biomass, each calculated for total-beetle assemblages as well as small- and large-beetle assemblages and three ecological functions of dung beetles (dung removal, soil perturbation and secondary seed dispersal, to compare the effects of habitat disturbance on both sets of response variables, and their relations. We studied dung beetle community attributes and functions in five land-use systems representing a disturbance gradient in the Brazilian Amazon: primary forest, secondary forest, agroforestry, agriculture and pasture. All response variables were affected negatively by the intensification of habitat disturbance regimes, but community attributes and ecological functions did not follow the same pattern of decline. A hierarchical partitioning analysis showed that, although all community attributes had a significant effect on the three ecological functions (except the abundance of small beetles on all three ecological functions and the biomass of small beetles on secondary dispersal of large seed mimics, species richness and abundance of large beetles were the community attributes with the highest explanatory value. Our results show the importance of measuring ecological function empirically instead of deducing it from community metrics.

  18. Plant Communities Rather than Soil Properties Structure Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungal Communities along Primary Succession on a Mine Spoil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Krüger, Claudia; Kohout, Petr; Janoušková, Martina; Püschel, David; Frouz, Jan; Rydlová, Jana

    2017-01-01

    Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) community assembly during primary succession has so far received little attention. It remains therefore unclear, which of the factors, driving AMF community composition, are important during ecosystem development. We addressed this question on a large spoil heap, which provides a mosaic of sites in different successional stages under different managements. We selected 24 sites of c. 12, 20, 30, or 50 years in age, including sites with spontaneously developing vegetation and sites reclaimed by alder plantations. On each site, we sampled twice a year roots of the perennial rhizomatous grass Calamagrostis epigejos (Poaceae) to determine AMF root colonization and diversity (using 454-sequencing), determined the soil chemical properties and composition of plant communities. AMF taxa richness was unaffected by site age, but AMF composition variation increased along the chronosequences. AMF communities were unaffected by soil chemistry, but related to the composition of neighboring plant communities of the sampled C. epigejos plants. In contrast, the plant communities of the sites were more distinctively structured than the AMF communities along the four successional stages. We conclude that AMF and plant community successions respond to different factors. AMF communities seem to be influenced by biotic rather than by abiotic factors and to diverge with successional age. PMID:28473828

  19. Ecological principles relevant to nuclear war

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hutchinson, T.C.; Cropper, W.P. Jr.; Grover, H.D.

    1985-01-01

    The ecological principles outlined are very basic ones; the authors anticipate a readership trained in a broad range of disciplines, including those unfamiliar with the academic discipline of ecology. The authors include substantial discussion on ecophysiology (i.e., the responses of organisms to their environment) because this is relevant to the new understanding of the potential climatic consequences of nuclear war. In particular, the physiological sensitivity of organisms to reduced levels of light and temperature are a key part of the analysis of the potential ecological effects and agricultural effects of nuclear war. Much of the ecological analysis has been organized around major biological units called biomes. The authors describe the biome concept and discuss some of the environmental-climatic factors that are believed to control biome distribution. Emphasis is given to plants because of their controlling influence on ecosystem functions through their role as primary producers. Future reports are needed to address more fully the potential effects on animals. Much more research needs to be done on both plant and animal responses to the types of perturbations possible for the aftermath of a nuclear war. Another important element for analysis of the potential ecological consequences of nuclear war concerns recovery processes. As the post-nuclear war environmental extremes ameliorate, ecological communities in devastated regions would begin to reorganize. It is not possible to predict the course of such a succession precisely, but some principles concerning post-perturbation replacement (such as seed banks and germination), relevant successional patterns, and organism strategies are discussed

  20. Response of native insect communities to invasive plants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bezemer, T Martijn; Harvey, Jeffrey A; Cronin, James T

    2014-01-01

    Invasive plants can disrupt a range of trophic interactions in native communities. As a novel resource they can affect the performance of native insect herbivores and their natural enemies such as parasitoids and predators, and this can lead to host shifts of these herbivores and natural enemies. Through the release of volatile compounds, and by changing the chemical complexity of the habitat, invasive plants can also affect the behavior of native insects such as herbivores, parasitoids, and pollinators. Studies that compare insects on related native and invasive plants in invaded habitats show that the abundance of insect herbivores is often lower on invasive plants, but that damage levels are similar. The impact of invasive plants on the population dynamics of resident insect species has been rarely examined, but invasive plants can influence the spatial and temporal dynamics of native insect (meta)populations and communities, ultimately leading to changes at the landscape level.

  1. [Darwinism as a constraint of ecological pluralism].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Giliarov, A M

    2003-01-01

    In his respond to critical remarks of Mirkin (2003), the author claims that pluralism in ecology is not only its strength but also a weakness. Contemporary ecology became less pluralistic and this can be considered as good sign of maturing science. Ecological pluralism can be exemplified by the coexistence in 1920-30s of two different approaches to plant community: that of Frederic Clements in USA and that of Josias Braun-Blanquet in France. However the way to progress in this branch of ecology was paved rather by heretical ideas of Henry Gleason in USA and Ramensky in Russia (both authors independently developed non-holistic view of community as an assemblage of individualistically distributed species) than by "peaceful" coexistence of well-established schools, representatives of which tried not to interfere into argumentation of each other. Notable success in ecology of last decades was connected with several new methodologies, e.g. macroecology that concerned large scale of space and time. However Darwinism in its attempt to explain the order of nature referring to its origin remains the most universal and fruitful methodology of ecology. The success of Darwinism in ecology is understandable because this generalizing theory is based on the same universal principles that underlie the survival of any population. Ecologists and evolutionary biologists trying to understand various natural patterns actually deal with the same fundamental laws, i.e. exponential population growth, limitation of this growth by resource shortage and/or press of predators, the existence of individual variability in survival, etc.

  2. Statistical Physics Approaches to Microbial Ecology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mehta, Pankaj

    The unprecedented ability to quantitatively measure and probe complex microbial communities has renewed interest in identifying the fundamental ecological principles governing community ecology in microbial ecosystems. Here, we present work from our group and others showing how ideas from statistical physics can help us uncover these ecological principles. Two major lessons emerge from this work. First, large, ecosystems with many species often display new, emergent ecological behaviors that are absent in small ecosystems with just a few species. To paraphrase Nobel laureate Phil Anderson, ''More is Different'', especially in community ecology. Second, the lack of trophic layer separation in microbial ecology fundamentally distinguishes microbial ecology from classical paradigms of community ecology and leads to qualitative different rules for community assembly in microbes. I illustrate these ideas using both theoretical modeling and novel new experiments on large microbial ecosystems performed by our collaborators (Joshua Goldford and Alvaro Sanchez). Work supported by Simons Investigator in MMLS and NIH R35 R35 GM119461.

  3. Evolution of specialization and ecological character displacement along a gradient of plant quality.

    OpenAIRE

    Egas, C.J.M.; Sabelis, M.W.; Dieckmann, U.

    2005-01-01

    We study the combined evolutionary dynamics of herbivore specialization and eco-logical character displacement, taking into account foraging behavior of the herbivores, and a quality gradient of plant types. Herbivores can adapt by changing two adaptive traits: their level of specialization in feeding efficiency and their point of maximum feeding efficiency along the plant gradient. The number of herbivore phenotypes, their levels of specialization, and the amount of character displacement am...

  4. Management, use and ecology of medicinal plants in the degraded dry lands of Tigray, Northern Ethiopia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Hizikias, E.B.; Aynekulu, E.; Mekuria, W.; Endale, D.

    2011-01-01

    An ethnomedicinal study was conducted to document the indigenous medicinal plant knowledge on the management, use, and ecology of locally important medicinal plants in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Ethnobotanical data were collected from 250 people, using semi-structured questionnaires, field

  5. Idaho National Engineering Laboratory radioecology and ecology programs. 1983 progress report

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Markham, O. D. [ed.

    1983-06-01

    Progress is reported in research on: the baseline ecology of the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (INEL), the effects of disturbance on animal and plant communities, and the behavior of radionuclides in the environment surrounding radioactive waste sites. Separate abstracts have been prepared for individual reports. (ACR)

  6. Community attitudes toward nuclear plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Peelle, E.

    1982-01-01

    Among the many effects of the accident at Three Mile Island are impacts upon other communities that currently host nuclear-power reactors. Because studies on communities' reactions not immediately available, this chapter reviews existing studies and speculates about possible effects. The patterns and variations in impacts on and responses of nuclear host communities have been the subject of studies at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) since 1972. This essay presents results from four post-licensing studies of host communities - Plymouth, Massachusetts, and Waterford, Connecticut (PL-1), and Brunswick, North Carolina, and Appling-Toombs counties, Georgia (PL-2) - along with case study and attitude survey information from two additional communities in which reactors are under construction: Hartsville, Tennessee, and Cherokee County, South Carolina. Differences and similarities between the sites have been assessed in terms of differences in input and social structure; factors affecting the generally favorable attitudes toward local nuclear plants are discussed

  7. The influence of e-waste recycling on the molecular ecological network of soil microbial communities in Pakistan and China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jiang, Longfei; Cheng, Zhineng; Zhang, Dayi; Song, Mengke; Wang, Yujie; Luo, Chunling; Yin, Hua; Li, Jun; Zhang, Gan

    2017-12-01

    Primitive electronic waste (e-waste) recycling releases large amounts of organic pollutants and heavy metals into the environment. As crucial moderators of geochemical cycling processes and pollutant remediation, soil microbes may be affected by these contaminants. We collected soil samples heavily contaminated by e-waste recycling in China and Pakistan, and analyzed the indigenous microbial communities. The results of this work revealed that the microbial community composition and diversity, at both whole and core community levels, were affected significantly by polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and heavy metals (e.g., Cu, Zn, and Pb). The geographical distance showed limited impacts on microbial communities compared with geochemical factors. The constructed ecological network of soil microbial communities illustrated microbial co-occurrence, competition and antagonism across soils, revealing the response of microbes to soil properties and pollutants. Two of the three main modules constructed with core operational taxonomic units (OTUs) were sensitive to nutrition (total organic carbon and total nitrogen) and pollutants. Five key OTUs assigned to Acidobacteria, Proteobacteria, and Nitrospirae in ecological network were identified. This is the first study to report the effects of e-waste pollutants on soil microbial network, providing a deeper understanding of the ecological influence of crude e-waste recycling activities on soil ecological functions. Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  8. Advanced ecological and economical power plant technology based on CFB combustion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Samant, G.; Hirschfelder, H.

    1993-01-01

    The scenario of the power plant industry is worldwide affected by one important issue, namely the stringent and steadily increasing environment regulations. Fluidized bed boilers, based on Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology with in-situ emission control, and improved economics as well as with proven record of high efficiency and reliability meets the ecological, economical and technical requirements. It should be noted that in addition to their attractive performance, regarding efficiency and pollution control, coal fired CFB boilers have been successfully introduced not only in power plant industry, but also in other industrial units such as chemical plants, automobile industry, paper mills, cement, etc. The experience gained to date confirms the advantages and also the reliability of this technology. (author)

  9. Microbial genome-enabled insights into plant-microorganism interactions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guttman, David S; McHardy, Alice C; Schulze-Lefert, Paul

    2014-12-01

    Advances in genome-based studies on plant-associated microorganisms have transformed our understanding of many plant pathogens and are beginning to greatly widen our knowledge of plant interactions with mutualistic and commensal microorganisms. Pathogenomics has revealed how pathogenic microorganisms adapt to particular hosts, subvert innate immune responses and change host range, as well as how new pathogen species emerge. Similarly, culture-independent community profiling methods, coupled with metagenomic and metatranscriptomic studies, have provided the first insights into the emerging field of research on plant-associated microbial communities. Together, these approaches have the potential to bridge the gap between plant microbial ecology and plant pathology, which have traditionally been two distinct research fields.

  10. Interactions between soil phototrophs and vascular plants in Himalayan cold deserts

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Řeháková, Klára; Čapková, Kateřina; Dvorský, Miroslav; Kopecký, Martin; Altman, Jan; Šmilauer, P.; Doležal, Jiří

    2017-01-01

    Roč. 115, dec 2017 (2017), s. 568-578 ISSN 0038-0717 R&D Projects: GA ČR GA13-13368S Institutional support: RVO:67985939 Keywords : microbial communities * vascular plants * interactions Subject RIV: EH - Ecology, Behaviour OBOR OECD: Ecology Impact factor: 4.857, year: 2016

  11. Between-year changes in community composition shape species’ roles in an Arctic plant–pollinator network

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Cirtwill, Alyssa R.; Roslin, Tomas; Rasmussen, Claus

    2018-01-01

    Inter-annual turnover in community composition can affect the richness and functioning of ecological communities. If incoming and outgoing species do not interact with the same partners, ecological functions such as pollination may be disrupted. Here, we explore the extent to which turnover affects...... in species’ roles between networks. Variation in the roles of plants and pollinators tended to increase with the amount of community turnover, although a negative interaction between turnover in the plant and pollinator assemblages complicated this trend for the roles of pollinators. This suggests...... species’ roles – as defined based on their participation in different motifs positions – in a series of temporally replicated plant–pollinator networks from high-Arctic Zackenberg, Greenland. We observed substantial turnover in the plant and pollinator assemblages, combined with significant variation...

  12. Petroleum Contamination and Plant Identity Influence Soil and Root Microbial Communities While AMF Spores Retrieved from the Same Plants Possess Markedly Different Communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iffis, Bachir; St-Arnaud, Marc; Hijri, Mohamed

    2017-01-01

    Phytoremediation is a promising in situ green technology based on the use of plants to cleanup soils from organic and inorganic pollutants. Microbes, particularly bacteria and fungi, that closely interact with plant roots play key roles in phytoremediation processes. In polluted soils, the root-associated microbes contribute to alleviation of plant stress, improve nutrient uptake and may either degrade or sequester a large range of soil pollutants. Therefore, improving the efficiency of phytoremediation requires a thorough knowledge of the microbial diversity living in the rhizosphere and in close association with plant roots in both the surface and the endosphere. This study aims to assess fungal ITS and bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity using high-throughput sequencing in rhizospheric soils and roots of three plant species ( Solidago canadensis, Populus balsamifera , and Lycopus europaeus ) growing spontaneously in three petroleum hydrocarbon polluted sedimentation basins. Microbial community structures of rhizospheric soils and roots were compared with those of microbes associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) spores to determine the links between the root and rhizosphere communities and those associated with AMF. Our results showed a difference in OTU richness and community structure composition between soils and roots for both bacteria and fungi. We found that petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant (PHP) concentrations have a significant effect on fungal and bacterial community structures in both soils and roots, whereas plant species identity showed a significant effect only on the roots for bacteria and fungi. Our results also showed that the community composition of bacteria and fungi in soil and roots varied from those associated with AMF spores harvested from the same plants. This let us to speculate that in petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils, AMF may release chemical compounds by which they recruit beneficial microbes to tolerate or degrade the

  13. Petroleum Contamination and Plant Identity Influence Soil and Root Microbial Communities While AMF Spores Retrieved from the Same Plants Possess Markedly Different Communities

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bachir Iffis

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available Phytoremediation is a promising in situ green technology based on the use of plants to cleanup soils from organic and inorganic pollutants. Microbes, particularly bacteria and fungi, that closely interact with plant roots play key roles in phytoremediation processes. In polluted soils, the root-associated microbes contribute to alleviation of plant stress, improve nutrient uptake and may either degrade or sequester a large range of soil pollutants. Therefore, improving the efficiency of phytoremediation requires a thorough knowledge of the microbial diversity living in the rhizosphere and in close association with plant roots in both the surface and the endosphere. This study aims to assess fungal ITS and bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity using high-throughput sequencing in rhizospheric soils and roots of three plant species (Solidago canadensis, Populus balsamifera, and Lycopus europaeus growing spontaneously in three petroleum hydrocarbon polluted sedimentation basins. Microbial community structures of rhizospheric soils and roots were compared with those of microbes associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF spores to determine the links between the root and rhizosphere communities and those associated with AMF. Our results showed a difference in OTU richness and community structure composition between soils and roots for both bacteria and fungi. We found that petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant (PHP concentrations have a significant effect on fungal and bacterial community structures in both soils and roots, whereas plant species identity showed a significant effect only on the roots for bacteria and fungi. Our results also showed that the community composition of bacteria and fungi in soil and roots varied from those associated with AMF spores harvested from the same plants. This let us to speculate that in petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils, AMF may release chemical compounds by which they recruit beneficial microbes to tolerate

  14. Petroleum Contamination and Plant Identity Influence Soil and Root Microbial Communities While AMF Spores Retrieved from the Same Plants Possess Markedly Different Communities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Iffis, Bachir; St-Arnaud, Marc; Hijri, Mohamed

    2017-01-01

    Phytoremediation is a promising in situ green technology based on the use of plants to cleanup soils from organic and inorganic pollutants. Microbes, particularly bacteria and fungi, that closely interact with plant roots play key roles in phytoremediation processes. In polluted soils, the root-associated microbes contribute to alleviation of plant stress, improve nutrient uptake and may either degrade or sequester a large range of soil pollutants. Therefore, improving the efficiency of phytoremediation requires a thorough knowledge of the microbial diversity living in the rhizosphere and in close association with plant roots in both the surface and the endosphere. This study aims to assess fungal ITS and bacterial 16S rRNA gene diversity using high-throughput sequencing in rhizospheric soils and roots of three plant species (Solidago canadensis, Populus balsamifera, and Lycopus europaeus) growing spontaneously in three petroleum hydrocarbon polluted sedimentation basins. Microbial community structures of rhizospheric soils and roots were compared with those of microbes associated with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal (AMF) spores to determine the links between the root and rhizosphere communities and those associated with AMF. Our results showed a difference in OTU richness and community structure composition between soils and roots for both bacteria and fungi. We found that petroleum hydrocarbon pollutant (PHP) concentrations have a significant effect on fungal and bacterial community structures in both soils and roots, whereas plant species identity showed a significant effect only on the roots for bacteria and fungi. Our results also showed that the community composition of bacteria and fungi in soil and roots varied from those associated with AMF spores harvested from the same plants. This let us to speculate that in petroleum hydrocarbon contaminated soils, AMF may release chemical compounds by which they recruit beneficial microbes to tolerate or degrade the

  15. 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...

  16. Heavy metal contamination and ecological risk of farmland soils adjoining steel plants in Tangshan, Hebei, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Liyun; Yang, Maomao; Wang, Liping; Peng, Fei; Li, Yuan; Bai, Hao

    2018-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to determine the heavy metal concentrations and ecological risks to farmland soils caused by atmospheric deposition adjoining five industrial steel districts in Tangshan, Hebei, China. A total of 39 topsoil samples from adjoining these plants were collected and analyzed for Pb, Zn, Cu, Cr, and As. The geo-accumulation index (Igeo) and potential ecological risk index (PERI) were calculated to assess the heavy metal pollution level in soils. The results showed that the levels of Pb and As in farmland soils adjoining all steel plants were more than the background value, with the As content being excessively high. The Cr and Cu contents of some samples were over the background values, but the Zn content was not. In all the research areas, the largest Igeo value of the heavy metals was for As, followed by Pb, and the largest monomial PERI ([Formula: see text]) was As, which showed that the pollution of As in farmland soils was significant and had considerable ecological risk. Additionally, the heavy metal sequential extraction experiments showed that Pb and Cr, which exceeded the background value, were present in about 20% of the exchangeable and carbonate-bound fractions in the soils surrounding some steel plants. This would imply the risk of these heavy metals being absorbed and accumulated by the crops. Therefore, the local government needs to control the pollution of heavy metals in the farmland soils adjoining the steel plant as soon as possible, in order to avoid possible ecological and food safety risks.

  17. Definition of sampling units begets conclusions in ecology: the case of habitats for plant communities

    OpenAIRE

    M?rsdorf, Martin A.; Ravolainen, Virve T.; St?vern, Leif Einar; Yoccoz, Nigel G.; J?nsd?ttir, Ingibj?rg Svala; Br?then, Kari Anne

    2015-01-01

    In ecology, expert knowledge on habitat characteristics is often used to define sampling units such as study sites. Ecologists are especially prone to such approaches when prior sampling frames are not accessible. Here we ask to what extent can different approaches to the definition of sampling units influence the conclusions that are drawn from an ecological study? We do this by comparing a formal versus a subjective definition of sampling units within a study design which is ...

  18. Applying ecological models to communities of genetic elements: the case of neutral theory.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linquist, Stefan; Cottenie, Karl; Elliott, Tyler A; Saylor, Brent; Kremer, Stefan C; Gregory, T Ryan

    2015-07-01

    A promising recent development in molecular biology involves viewing the genome as a mini-ecosystem, where genetic elements are compared to organisms and the surrounding cellular and genomic structures are regarded as the local environment. Here, we critically evaluate the prospects of ecological neutral theory (ENT), a popular model in ecology, as it applies at the genomic level. This assessment requires an overview of the controversy surrounding neutral models in community ecology. In particular, we discuss the limitations of using ENT both as an explanation of community dynamics and as a null hypothesis. We then analyse a case study in which ENT has been applied to genomic data. Our central finding is that genetic elements do not conform to the requirements of ENT once its assumptions and limitations are made explicit. We further compare this genome-level application of ENT to two other, more familiar approaches in genomics that rely on neutral mechanisms: Kimura's molecular neutral theory and Lynch's mutational-hazard model. Interestingly, this comparison reveals that there are two distinct concepts of neutrality associated with these models, which we dub 'fitness neutrality' and 'competitive neutrality'. This distinction helps to clarify the various roles for neutral models in genomics, for example in explaining the evolution of genome size. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

  19. Inferring local ecological processes amid species pool influences

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Lessard, Jean-Philippe; Belmaker, Jonathan; Myers, Jonathan A.

    2012-01-01

    studies, null models of community structure, and ecologically explicit definitions of the species pool as a means to compare predominant ecological processes among regions. By uniting concepts and tools from community ecology and macroecology, this approach might facilitate synthesis and resolve many......Resolving contingencies in community ecology requires comparative studies of local communities along broad-scale environmental gradients and in different biogeographic regions. However, comparisons of local ecological processes among regions require a synthetic understanding of how the species pool...... of potential community members influences the structure of ecological communities. Here, we outline an integrative approach for quantifying local ecological processes while explicitly accounting for species pool influences. Specifically, we highlight the utility of combining geographically replicated local...

  20. Biodiversity Conservation in Rice Paddies in China: Toward Ecological Sustainability

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yufeng Luo

    2014-09-01

    Full Text Available Rice paddies are artificial wetlands that supply people with food and provide wildlife with habitats, breeding areas, shelters, feeding grounds and other services, and rice paddies play an important part in agricultural ecological systems. However, modern agricultural practices with large-scale intensive farming have significantly accelerated the homogenization of the paddy field ecosystem. Modern agriculture mostly relies on chemically-driven modern varieties and irrigation to ensure high production, resulting in the deterioration and imbalance of the ecosystem. Consequently, outbreaks of diseases, insects and weeds have become more frequent in paddy fields. This paper describes the current situation of rice paddy biodiversity in China and analyzes the community characteristics of arthropods and weedy plants. Meanwhile, we discuss how biodiversity was affected by modern agriculture changes, which have brought about a mounting crisis threatening to animals and plants once common in rice paddies. Measures should be focused to firstly preventing further deterioration and, then, also, promoting restoration processes. Ecological sustainability can be achieved by restoring paddy field biodiversity through protecting the ecological environment surrounding the paddy fields, improving paddy cropping patterns, growing rice with less agricultural chemicals and chemical fertilizers, constructing paddy systems with animals and plants and promoting ecological education and public awareness.

  1. Microbial Ecology of Soil Aggregation in Agroecosystems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hofmockel, K. S.; Bell, S.; Tfailly, M.; Thompson, A.; Callister, S.

    2017-12-01

    Crop selection and soil texture influence the physicochemical attributes of the soil, which structures microbial communities and influences soil C cycling storage. At the molecular scale, microbial metabolites and necromass alter the soil environment, which creates feedbacks that influence ecosystem functions, including soil C accumulation. By integrating lab to field studies we aim to identify the molecules, organisms and metabolic pathways that control carbon cycling and stabilization in bioenergy soils. We investigated the relative influence of plants, microbes, and minerals on soil aggregate ecology at the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research experiment. Sites in WI and MI, USA have been in corn and switchgrass cropping systems for a decade. By comparing soil aggregate ecology across sites and cropping systems we are able to test the relative importance of plant, microbe, mineral influences on soil aggregate dynamics. Soil microbial communities (16S) differ in diversity and phylogeny among sites and cropping systems. FT-ICR MS revealed differences in the molecular composition of water-soluble fraction of soil organic matter for cropping systems and soil origin for both relative abundance of assigned formulas and biogeochemical classes of compounds. We found the degree of aggregation, measured by mean weighted diameter of aggregate fractions, is influenced by plant-soil interactions. Similarly, the proportion of soil aggregate fractions varied by both soil and plant factors. Differences in aggregation were reflected in differences in bacterial, but not fungal community composition across aggregate fractions, within each soil. Scanning electron microscopy revealed stark differences in mineral-organic interactions that influence the microbial niche and the accessibility of substrates within the soil. The clay soils show greater surface heterogeneity, enabling interactions with organic fraction of the soil. This is consistent with molecular data that reveal differences

  2. An Integrated Insight into the Relationship between Soil Microbial Community and Tobacco Bacterial Wilt Disease

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yang, Hongwu; Li, Juan; Xiao, Yunhua; Gu, Yabing; Liu, Hongwei; Liang, Yili; Liu, Xueduan; Hu, Jin; Meng, Delong; Yin, Huaqun

    2017-01-01

    The soil microbial communities play an important role in plant health, however, the relationship between the below-ground microbiome and above-ground plant health remains unclear. To reveal such a relationship, we analyzed soil microbial communities through sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons from 15 different tobacco fields with different levels of wilt disease in the central south part of China. We found that plant health was related to the soil microbial diversity as plants may benefit from the diverse microbial communities. Also, those 15 fields were grouped into ‘healthy’ and ‘infected’ samples based upon soil microbial community composition analyses such as unweighted paired-group method with arithmetic means (UPGMA) and principle component analysis, and furthermore, molecular ecological network analysis indicated that some potential plant-beneficial microbial groups, e.g., Bacillus and Actinobacteria could act as network key taxa, thus reducing the chance of plant soil-borne pathogen invasion. In addition, we propose that a more complex soil ecology network may help suppress tobacco wilt, which was also consistent with highly diversity and composition with plant-beneficial microbial groups. This study provides new insights into our understanding the relationship between the soil microbiome and plant health. PMID:29163453

  3. Ecological Fitness of Non-vector Planthopper Sogatella furcifera on Rice Plants Infected with Rice Black Streaked Dwarf Virus

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Xiao-chan HE

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available We evaluated the effects of rice black streak dwarf virus (RBSDV-infested rice plants on the ecological parameters and its relevant defensive and detoxification enzymes of white-backed planthopper (WBPH in laboratory for exploring the relationship between RBSDV and the non-vector planthopper. The results showed that nymph survival rate, female adult weight and fecundity, and egg hatchability of WBPH fed on RBSDV-infested rice plants did not markedly differ from those on healthy plants, whereas the female adult longevity and egg duration significantly shortened on diseased plants. Furthermore, significantly higher activities of defensive enzymes (dismutase, catalase and peroxidase and detoxification enzymes (acetylcholinesterase, carboxylesterase and glutathione S-transferase were found in WBPH adults fed on infected plants. Results implied that infestation by RBSDV increased the ecological fitness of non-vector planthopper population.

  4. Field response of aboveground non-target arthropod community to transgenic Bt-Cry1Ab rice plant residues in postharvest seasons.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bai, Yao-Yu; Yan, Rui-Hong; Ye, Gong-Yin; Huang, Fangneng; Wangila, David S; Wang, Jin-Jun; Cheng, Jia-An

    2012-10-01

    Risk assessments of ecological effects of transgenic rice expressing lepidoptera-Cry proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) on non-target arthropods have primarily focused on rice plants during cropping season, whereas few studies have investigated the effects in postharvest periods. Harvested rice fallow fields provide a critical over-wintering habitat for arthropods in the Chinese rice ecosystems, particularly in the southern region of the country. During 2006-08, two independent field trials were conducted in Chongqing, China to investigate the effects of transgenic Cry1Ab rice residues on non-target arthropod communities. In each trial, pitfall traps were used to sample arthropods in field plots planted with one non-Bt variety and two Bt rice lines expressing the Cry1Ab protein. Aboveground arthropods in the trial plots during the postharvest season were abundant, while community densities varied significantly between the two trials. A total of 52,386 individual insects and spiders, representing 93 families, was captured in the two trials. Predominant arthropods sampled were detritivores, which accounted for 91.9% of the total captures. Other arthropods sampled included predators (4.2%), herbivores (3.2%), and parasitoids (0.7%). In general, there were no significant differences among non-Bt and Bt rice plots in all arthropod community-specific parameters for both trials, suggesting no adverse impact of the Bt rice plant residues on the aboveground non-target arthropod communities during the postharvest season. The results of this study provide additional evidence that Bt rice is safe to non-target arthropod communities in the Chinese rice ecosystems.

  5. Seed bank characteristics of Dutch plant communities

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bekker, RM; Schaminee, JHJ; Bakker, JP; Thompson, K

    With the recent appearances of a new and well-documented classification of the Dutch plant communities (Schaminee et al 1995a,b; 1996) and a database on the seed longevity of plant species of North West Europe (Thompson ct al. 1997a) it was possible to investigate patterns of seed longevity in Dutch

  6. Utilization and control of ecological interactions in polymicrobial infections and community-based microbial cell factories.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wigneswaran, Vinoth; Amador, Cristina Isabel; Jelsbak, Lotte; Sternberg, Claus; Jelsbak, Lars

    2016-01-01

    Microbial activities are most often shaped by interactions between co-existing microbes within mixed-species communities. Dissection of the molecular mechanisms of species interactions within communities is a central issue in microbial ecology, and our ability to engineer and control microbial communities depends, to a large extent, on our knowledge of these interactions. This review highlights the recent advances regarding molecular characterization of microbe-microbe interactions that modulate community structure, activity, and stability, and aims to illustrate how these findings have helped us reach an engineering-level understanding of microbial communities in relation to both human health and industrial biotechnology.

  7. Phylogenetic and Functional Structure of Wintering Waterbird Communities Associated with Ecological Differences.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Che, Xianli; Zhang, Min; Zhao, Yanyan; Zhang, Qiang; Quan, Qing; Møller, Anders; Zou, Fasheng

    2018-01-19

    Ecological differences may be related to community component divisions between Oriental (west) and Sino-Japanese (east) realms, and such differences may result in weak geographical breaks in migratory species that are highly mobile. Here, we conducted comparative phylogenetic and functional structure analyses of wintering waterbird communities in southern China across two realms and subsequently examined possible climate drivers of the observed patterns. An analysis based on such highly migratory species is particularly telling because migration is bound to reduce or completely eliminate any divergence between communities. Phylogenetic and functional structure of eastern communities showed over-dispersion while western communities were clustered. Basal phylogenetic and functional turnover of western communities was significant lower than that of eastern communities. The break between eastern and western communities was masked by these two realms. Geographic patterns were related to mean temperature changes and temperature fluctuations, suggesting that temperature may filter waterbird lineages and traits, thus underlying geographical community divisions. These results suggest phylogenetic and functional divisions in southern China, coinciding with biogeography. This study shows that temperature fluctuations constitute an essential mechanism shaping geographical divisions that have largely gone undetected previously, even under climate change.

  8. Habitat Re-Creation (Ecological Restoration) as a Strategy for Conserving Insect Communities in Highly Fragmented Landscapes.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Shuey, John A

    2013-12-05

    Because of their vast diversity, measured by both numbers of species as well as life history traits, insects defy comprehensive conservation planning. Thus, almost all insect conservation efforts target individual species. However, serious insect conservation requires goals that are set at the faunal level and conservation success requires strategies that conserve intact communities. This task is complicated in agricultural landscapes by high levels of habitat fragmentation and isolation. In many regions, once widespread insect communities are now functionally trapped on islands of ecosystem remnants and subject to a variety of stressors associated with isolation, small population sizes and artificial population fragmentation. In fragmented landscapes ecological restoration can be an effective strategy for reducing localized insect extinction rates, but insects are seldom included in restoration design criteria. It is possible to incorporate a few simple conservation criteria into restoration designs that enhance impacts to entire insect communities. Restoration can be used as a strategy to address fragmentation threats to isolated insect communities if insect communities are incorporated at the onset of restoration planning. Fully incorporating insect communities into restoration designs may increase the cost of restoration two- to three-fold, but the benefits to biodiversity conservation and the ecological services provided by intact insect communities justify the cost.

  9. Litter Accumulation and Nutrient Content of Roadside Plant Communities in Sichuan Basin, China.

    Science.gov (United States)

    He, Huiqin; Monaco, Thomas

    2017-08-30

    It is widely recognized that feedbacks exist between plant litter and plant community species composition, but this relationship is difficult to interpret over heterogeneous conditions typical of modified environments such as roadways. Given the need to expedite natural recovery of disturbed areas through restoration interventions, we characterized litter accumulation and nutrient content (i.e., organic carbon, total N, and P) and quantified their association with key plant species. Plant species cover and litter characteristics were sampled at 18 successional forest plant communities along major roadways in Sichuan Basin, western China. Variation in litter across communities was assessed with principal component analysis (PCA) and species with the highest correlation to PCA axes were determined with Pearson's r coefficients. Plant communities with the longest time since road construction (i.e., 70 years) were distinctly different in litter total N and organic carbon compared to plant communities with a shorter disturbance history. We encountered 59 plant species across sampling plots, but only four rare species (i.e., frequency plant litter across heavily disturbed landscapes and how litter characteristics and rare plant species are correlated.

  10. Identifying plant traits: a key aspect for suitable species selection in ecological restoration of semiarid slopes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bochet, Esther; García-Fayos, Patricio

    2017-04-01

    In the context of ecological restoration, one of the greatest challenges for practitioners and scientists is to select suitable species for revegetation purposes. In semiarid environments where restoration projects often fail, little attention has been paid so far to the contribution of plant traits to species success. The objective of this study was to (1) identify plant traits associated with species success on four roadside situations along an erosion-productivity gradient, and (2) to provide an ecological framework for selecting suitable species on the basis of their morphological and functional traits, applied to semiarid environments. We analyzed the association of 10 different plant traits with species success of 296 species surveyed on the four roadside situations in a semiarid region (Valencia, Spain). Plant traits included general plant traits (longevity, woodiness) and more specific root-, seed- and leaf-related traits (root type, sprouting ability, seed mucilage, seed mass, seed susceptibility to removal, specific leaf area and leaf dry matter content). All of them were selected according to the prevailing limiting ecogeomorphological processes acting along the erosion-productivity gradient. We observed strong shifts along the erosion-productivity gradient in the traits associated to species success. At the harshest end of the gradient, the most intensely eroded and driest one, species success was mainly associated to seed resistance to removal by runoff and to resistance to drought. At the opposite end of the gradient, the most productive one, species success was associated to a competitive-ruderal plant strategy (herbaceous successful species with high specific leaf area and low leaf dry matter content). Our study provides an ecologically-based approach for selecting suitable native species on the basis or their morphological and functional traits and supports a differential trait-based selection of species as regards roadslope type and aspect. In

  11. Non-indigenous plant species and their ecological range in Central European pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests

    OpenAIRE

    Zerbe , Stefan; Wirth , Petra

    2006-01-01

    International audience; In this study, forest ecosystems were analysed with regard to the occurrence and ecological range of non-indigenous plant species. Pine forests in the NE German lowland, which naturally and anthropogenically occur on a broad range of different sites, were taken as an example. The analysis is based on a data set of about 2 300 vegetation plots. The ecological range was assessed applying Ellenberg's ecological indicator values. Out of a total of 362 taxa recorded in the ...

  12. Evolution of specialization and ecological character displacement along a gradient of plant quality.

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Egas, C.J.M.; Sabelis, M.W.; Dieckmann, U.

    2005-01-01

    We study the combined evolutionary dynamics of herbivore specialization and eco-logical character displacement, taking into account foraging behavior of the herbivores, and a quality gradient of plant types. Herbivores can adapt by changing two adaptive traits: their level of specialization in

  13. Evidence for Ecological Flexibility in the Cosmopolitan Genus Curtobacterium.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chase, Alexander B; Arevalo, Philip; Polz, Martin F; Berlemont, Renaud; Martiny, Jennifer B H

    2016-01-01

    Assigning ecological roles to bacterial taxa remains imperative to understanding how microbial communities will respond to changing environmental conditions. Here we analyze the genus Curtobacterium , as it was found to be the most abundant taxon in a leaf litter community in southern California. Traditional characterization of this taxon predominantly associates it as the causal pathogen in the agricultural crops of dry beans. Therefore, we sought to investigate whether the abundance of this genus was because of its role as a plant pathogen or another ecological role. By collating >24,000 16S rRNA sequences with 120 genomes across the Microbacteriaceae family, we show that Curtobacterium has a global distribution with a predominant presence in soil ecosystems. Moreover, this genus harbors a high diversity of genomic potential for the degradation of carbohydrates, specifically with regards to structural polysaccharides. We conclude that Curtobacterium may be responsible for the degradation of organic matter within litter communities.

  14. Ecological periodic tables for nekton and benthic macrofaunal community usage of estuarine habitats Slides

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ecological periodic tables for nekton and benthic macrofaunal community usage of estuarine habitats Steven P. Ferraro, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Newport, OR Background/Questions/Methods The chemical periodic table, the Linnaean system of classification, and the Her...

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Advani, Madhu; Bunin, Guy; Mehta, Pankaj

    2018-03-01

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

  16. Assessing plant community composition fails to capture impacts of white-tailed deer on native and invasive plant species.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nuzzo, Victoria; Dávalos, Andrea; Blossey, Bernd

    2017-07-01

    Excessive herbivory can have transformative effects on forest understory vegetation, converting diverse communities into depauperate ones, often with increased abundance of non-native plants. White-tailed deer are a problematic herbivore throughout much of eastern North America and alter forest understory community structure. Reducing (by culling) or eliminating (by fencing) deer herbivory is expected to return understory vegetation to a previously diverse condition. We examined this assumption from 1992 to 2006 at Fermilab (Batavia, IL) where a cull reduced white-tailed deer ( Odocoileus virginianus ) abundance in 1998/1999 by 90 % from 24.6 to 2.5/km 2 , and at West Point, NY, where we assessed interactive effects of deer, earthworms, and invasive plants using 30 × 30 m paired fenced and open plots in 12 different forests from 2009 to 2012. We recorded not only plant community responses (species presence and cover) within 1 m 2 quadrats, but also responses of select individual species (growth, reproduction). At Fermilab, introduced Alliaria petiolata abundance initially increased as deer density increased, but then declined after deer reduction. The understory community responded to the deer cull by increased cover, species richness and height, and community composition changed but was dominated by early successional native forbs. At West Point plant community composition was affected by introduced earthworm density but not deer exclusion. Native plant cover increased and non-native plant cover decreased in fenced plots, thus keeping overall plant cover similar. At both sites native forb cover increased in response to deer reduction, but the anticipated response of understory vegetation failed to materialize at the community level. Deer-favoured forbs ( Eurybia divaricata , Maianthemum racemosum , Polygonatum pubescens and Trillium recurvatum ) grew taller and flowering probability increased in the absence of deer. Plant community monitoring fails to capture

  17. [Ecological relationships among artificial vegetations during their restoration in Antaibao mining area].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Guilian; Zhang, Jintun; Guo, Xiaoyu

    2005-01-01

    By the methods of TWINSPAN, DCA and DCCA, and from the aspects of the relations between plant species, communities and environmental factors, this paper studied the ecological relationships among artificial vegetations during their restoration in Antaibao mining area. 63 collected quadrates were classified into 12 community types by TWINSPAN, and the distribution of the communities could comprehensively reflect the influence of environmental factors. DCA ordination indicated that soil water content, which was increased with restoration time, was the main factor restricting the distribution of the communities. DCCA ordination showed that soil organic matter content was the decisive factor to the development of communities.

  18. Beyond neutral and forbidden links: morphological matches and the assembly of mutualistic hawkmoth-plant networks.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sazatornil, Federico D; Moré, Marcela; Benitez-Vieyra, Santiago; Cocucci, Andrea A; Kitching, Ian J; Schlumpberger, Boris O; Oliveira, Paulo E; Sazima, Marlies; Amorim, Felipe W

    2016-11-01

    A major challenge in evolutionary ecology is to understand how co-evolutionary processes shape patterns of interactions between species at community level. Pollination of flowers with long corolla tubes by long-tongued hawkmoths has been invoked as a showcase model of co-evolution. Recently, optimal foraging models have predicted that there might be a close association between mouthparts' length and the corolla depth of the visited flowers, thus favouring trait convergence and specialization at community level. Here, we assessed whether hawkmoths more frequently pollinate plants with floral tube lengths similar to their proboscis lengths (morphological match hypothesis) against abundance-based processes (neutral hypothesis) and ecological trait mismatches constraints (forbidden links hypothesis), and how these processes structure hawkmoth-plant mutualistic networks from five communities in four biogeographical regions of South America. We found convergence in morphological traits across the five communities and that the distribution of morphological differences between hawkmoths and plants is consistent with expectations under the morphological match hypothesis in three of the five communities. In the two remaining communities, which are ecotones between two distinct biogeographical areas, interactions are better predicted by the neutral hypothesis. Our findings are consistent with the idea that diffuse co-evolution drives the evolution of extremely long proboscises and flower tubes, and highlight the importance of morphological traits, beyond the forbidden links hypothesis, in structuring interactions between mutualistic partners, revealing that the role of niche-based processes can be much more complex than previously known. © 2016 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2016 British Ecological Society.

  19. Plants of the fynbos biome harbour host species-specific bacterial communities.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miyambo, Tsakani; Makhalanyane, Thulani P; Cowan, Don A; Valverde, Angel

    2016-08-01

    The fynbos biome in South Africa is globally recognised as a plant biodiversity hotspot. However, very little is known about the bacterial communities associated with fynbos plants, despite interactions between primary producers and bacteria having an impact on the physiology of both partners and shaping ecosystem diversity. This study reports on the structure, phylogenetic composition and potential roles of the endophytic bacterial communities located in the stems of three fynbos plants (Erepsia anceps, Phaenocoma prolifera and Leucadendron laureolum). Using Illumina MiSeq 16S rRNA sequencing we found that different subpopulations of Deinococcus-Thermus, Alphaproteobacteria, Acidobacteria and Firmicutes dominated the endophytic bacterial communities. Alphaproteobacteria and Actinobacteria were prevalent in P. prolifera, whereas Deinococcus-Thermus dominated in L. laureolum, revealing species-specific host-bacteria associations. Although a high degree of variability in the endophytic bacterial communities within hosts was observed, we also detected a core microbiome across the stems of the three plant species, which accounted for 72% of the sequences. Altogether, it seems that both deterministic and stochastic processes shaped microbial communities. Endophytic bacterial communities harboured putative plant growth-promoting bacteria, thus having the potential to influence host health and growth. © FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

  20. Ecological and economic interests in design process of thermal power plant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sander, M.

    1996-01-01

    In design process of thermal power plant various ecological and economic contradictory interests are brought in focus. Requests on environmental protection written in laws, standards and international treaties are increasing investment costs and energy production costs. In a design phase there is a task to reconcile these contradictory requests. The paper presents relationship between technology and environmental protection with a focus on air pollution. Air pollution and human health is considered taking in account the role of design phase in thermal power plants project and human health problems. International laws and standards are presented with moral dilemmas concerning low investment costs and high environmental standards. (author)

  1. Ecological implications of plants ability to tell the time.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Resco, Víctor; Hartwell, James; Hall, Anthony

    2009-06-01

    The circadian clock (the endogenous mechanism that anticipates diurnal cycles) acts as a central coordinator of plant activity. At the molecular and organism level, it regulates key traits for plant fitness, including seed germination, gas exchange, growth and flowering, among others. In this article, we explore current evidence on the effect of the clock for the scales of interest to ecologists. We begin by synthesizing available knowledge on the effect of the clock on biosphere-atmosphere interactions and observe that, at least in the systems where it has been tested, the clock regulates gas exchange from the leaf to the ecosystem level, and we discuss its implications for estimates of the carbon balance. Then, we analyse whether incorporating the action of the clock may help in elucidating the effects of climate change on plant distributions. Circadian rhythms are involved in regulating the range of temperatures a species can survive and affects plant interactions. Finally, we review the involvement of the clock in key phenological events, such as flowering time and seed germination. Because the clock may act as a common mechanism affecting many of the diverse branches of ecology, our ultimate goal is to stimulate further research into this pressing, yet unexplored, topic.

  2. Social and ecological factors in the formation of population health in surveillance zone of nuclear power plants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Prilipko, V.A.; Petrichenko, O.O.

    2014-01-01

    Most people of radiation-control area estimated ecological state as safe. Respondents pointed to such ecological factors as radionuclide pollutions, irresponsible ecological behavior of people, Rivne Nuclear Power Plant functioning consequences. The last one affects changes of water sanitation and ecological parameters.There is no significant difference between mental state of people of radiation-control area and control group of people by GHQ-28 indices, by somatization scale, anxiety, social disfunction and reactive anxiety. The living life peculiarities are grounded by double risk: life in conditions of radioactive polluted territory and life in radiation-control area. Authors defined the correlation between mental state and factors that characterize ecological living conditions

  3. SOIL ECOLOGY AS KEY TO SUSTAINABLE CROP PRODUCTION.

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Deyn, G B

    2015-01-01

    Sustainable production of food, feed and fiberwarrants sustainable soil management and crop protection. The tools available to achieve this are both in the realm of the plants and of the soil, with a key role for plant-soil interactions. At the plant level we have vast knowledge of variation within plant species with respect to pests and diseases, based on which we can breed for resistance. However, given that systems evolve this resistance is bound to be temporarily, hence also other strategies are needed. Here I plea for an integrative approach for sustainable production using ecological principles. Ecology, the study of how organisms interact with their environment, teaches us that diversity promotes productivity and yield stability. These effects are thought to be governed through resource use complementarity and reduced build-up of pests and diseases both above- and belowground. In recent years especially the role of soil biotic interactions has revealed new insights in how plant diversity and productivity are related to soil biodiversity and the functions soil biota govern. In our grassland biodiversity studies we found that root feeders can promote plant diversity and succession without reducing plant community productivity, this illustrates the role of diversity to maintain productivity. Also diversity within species offers scope for sustainable production, for example through awareness of differences between plant genotypes in chemical defense compounds that can attract natural enemies of pests aboveground- and belowground thereby providing plant protection. Plant breeding can also benefit from using complementarity between plant species in the selection for new varieties, as our work demonstrated that when growing in species mixtures plant species adapt to each other over time such that their resource acquisition traits become more complementing. Finally, in a recent meta-analysis we show that earthworms can stimulate crop yield with on average 25%, but

  4. Negative Plant-Soil Feedback and Positive Species Interaction in a Herbaceous Plant Community

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Bonanomi, G.; Rietkerk, M.; Dekker, S.C.; Mazzoleni, S.

    2005-01-01

    Increasing evidence shows that facilitative interaction and negative plant¿soil feedback are driving factors of plant population dynamics and community processes. We studied the intensity and the relative impact of negative feedback on clonal growth and seed germination of Scirpus holoschoenus, a

  5. A guide to statistical analysis in microbial ecology: a community-focused, living review of multivariate data analyses.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buttigieg, Pier Luigi; Ramette, Alban

    2014-12-01

    The application of multivariate statistical analyses has become a consistent feature in microbial ecology. However, many microbial ecologists are still in the process of developing a deep understanding of these methods and appreciating their limitations. As a consequence, staying abreast of progress and debate in this arena poses an additional challenge to many microbial ecologists. To address these issues, we present the GUide to STatistical Analysis in Microbial Ecology (GUSTA ME): a dynamic, web-based resource providing accessible descriptions of numerous multivariate techniques relevant to microbial ecologists. A combination of interactive elements allows users to discover and navigate between methods relevant to their needs and examine how they have been used by others in the field. We have designed GUSTA ME to become a community-led and -curated service, which we hope will provide a common reference and forum to discuss and disseminate analytical techniques relevant to the microbial ecology community. © 2014 The Authors. FEMS Microbiology Ecology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

  6. Radioactive cesium in a boreal forest ecosystem. Ecological concepts in radioecology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Palo, R.T.

    1991-01-01

    Radioecology is traditionally viewing ecosystems as process functional units while modern ecology focus more on interactions among populations and communities. Taken separately they may lead to incomplete conclusion about radionuclide behaviour and give a too simplified view of the system. I adopt an hierarchical approach by focusing on the forest ecosystem, populations and individuals. I present a theoretical framework commonly used in analysis of herbivore- plant interactions and give an example on how individual behaviour perturbate to higher levels of ecological organizations. (au) (20 refs.)

  7. Diverse urban plantings managed with sufficient resource availability can increase plant productivity and arthropod diversity

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jonathon eMuller

    2014-10-01

    Full Text Available Buildings structures and surfaces are explicitly being used to grow plants, and these ‘urban plantings’ are typically designed for aesthetic value. Urban plantings also have the potential to contribute significant ‘ecological values’ by increasing urban habitat for animals such as arthropods and by increasing plant productivity. In this study, we evaluated how the provision of these additional ecological values is affected by plant species richness; the availability of essential resources for plants, such as water, light, space; and soil characteristics. We sampled 33 plantings located on the exterior of three buildings in the urban centre of Brisbane, Australia (subtropical climatic region over two, six week sampling periods characterised by different temperature and rainfall conditions. Plant cover was estimated as a surrogate for productivity as destructive sampling of biomass was not possible. We measured weekly light levels (photosynthetically active radiation, plant CO2 assimilation, soil CO2 efflux, and arthropod diversity.Differences in plant cover were best explained by a three-way interaction of plant species richness, management water regime and sampling period. As the richness of plant species increased in a planter, productivity and total arthropod richness also increased significantly - likely due to greater habitat heterogeneity and quality. Overall we found urban plantings can provide additional ecological values if essential resources are maintained within a planter such as water, light and soil temperature. Diverse urban plantings that are managed with these principles in mind can contribute to the attraction of diverse arthropod communities, and lead to increased plant productivity within a dense urban context.

  8. Getting the ecology into interactions between plants and the plant growth-promoting bacterium Pseudomonas fluorescens.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hol, W H Gera; Bezemer, T Martijn; Biere, Arjen

    2013-01-01

    Plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) are increasingly appreciated for their contributions to primary productivity through promotion of growth and triggering of induced systemic resistance in plants. Here we focus on the beneficial effects of one particular species of PGPR (Pseudomonas fluorescens) on plants through induced plant defense. This model organism has provided much understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of PGPR-induced plant defense. However, this knowledge can only be appreciated at full value once we know to what extent these mechanisms also occur under more realistic, species-diverse conditions as are occurring in the plant rhizosphere. To provide the necessary ecological context, we review the literature to compare the effect of P. fluorescens on induced plant defense when it is present as a single species or in combination with other soil dwelling species. Specifically, we discuss combinations with other plant mutualists (bacterial or fungal), plant pathogens (bacterial or fungal), bacterivores (nematode or protozoa), and decomposers. Synergistic interactions between P. fluorescens and other plant mutualists are much more commonly reported than antagonistic interactions. Recent developments have enabled screenings of P. fluorescens genomes for defense traits and this could help with selection of strains with likely positive interactions on biocontrol. However, studies that examine the effects of multiple herbivores, pathogens, or herbivores and pathogens together on the effectiveness of PGPR to induce plant defenses are underrepresented and we are not aware of any study that has examined interactions between P. fluorescens and bacterivores or decomposers. As co-occurring soil organisms can enhance but also reduce the effectiveness of PGPR, a better understanding of the biotic factors modulating P. fluorescens-plant interactions will improve the effectiveness of introducing P. fluorescens to enhance plant production and defense.

  9. Agro-ecological potential of the cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.) from a biodiversity perspective

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schrader, Stefan; Schorpp, Quentin; Lena Müller, Anna; Dauber, Jens

    2017-04-01

    The cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum L.) is an alternative bioenergy crop that may contribute to a more environmentally friendly production of renewable resources. The potential benefits of the cup plant are the perennial cultivation without tillage and its flowering-characteristics. Hence it can be hypothesized that beneficial organisms are promoted which in turn improves the provision of ecosystem services like soil fertility and pollination. To date biomass production in Germany is based mainly on cropping systems like intensive maize cultivation that bear a risk for biodiversity and ecosystem services. The importance to counteract this development increases considering the large land requirements for significant generation of energy from biomass. To what extent cropping of the cup plant meets the expectations of a sustainable biomass production was investigated within a comprehensive assessment of soil fauna communities (earthworms, collembolans, nematodes) including their functional groups as well as pollinating insects (bees and hoverflies) including the quantification of pollen and nectar in cup-plant cultivation systems with a crop management close to agricultural practice. From the results it became obvious that the cup plant as a bioenergy crop has got the necessary potential to mitigate the negative development of biodiversity and ecosystem services, especially in regions with a large share of maize monocultures. This agro-ecological potential can only be reached if certain agronomic requirements are met, i.e. a late harvest and cultivation periods of at least five years. Under these conditions the landscape context has to be considered. Semi-natural habitats in the surrounding landscape are required for nesting and larval development of wild pollinator groups. The development of biological functions in soil is tied to the land use history i.e. previous land use: Positive developments are expected for conversion of intensively managed crop fields to the

  10. Plant community variability on a small area in southeastern Montana

    Science.gov (United States)

    James G. MacCracken; Daniel W. Uresk; Richard M. Hansen

    1984-01-01

    Plant communities are inherently variable due to a number of environmental and biological forces. Canopy cover and aboveground biomass were determined for understory vegetation in plant communities of a prairie grassland-forest ecotone in southeastern Montana. Vegetation units were described using polar ordination and stepwise discriminant analysis. Nine of a total of...

  11. Planting increases the abundance and structure complexity of soil core functional genes relevant to carbon and nitrogen cycling.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Feng; Liang, Yuting; Jiang, Yuji; Yang, Yunfeng; Xue, Kai; Xiong, Jinbo; Zhou, Jizhong; Sun, Bo

    2015-09-23

    Plants have an important impact on soil micr