Science.gov

Sample records for animal ecosystem engineers

  1. Engineering Ecosystems and Synthetic Ecologies#

    PubMed Central

    Mee, Michael T; Wang, Harris H

    2012-01-01

    Microbial ecosystems play an important role in nature. Engineering these systems for industrial, medical, or biotechnological purposes are important pursuits for synthetic biologists and biological engineers moving forward. Here, we provide a review of recent progress in engineering natural and synthetic microbial ecosystems. We highlight important forward engineering design principles, theoretical and quantitative models, new experimental and manipulation tools, and possible applications of microbial ecosystem engineering. We argue that simply engineering individual microbes will lead to fragile homogenous populations that are difficult to sustain, especially in highly heterogeneous and unpredictable environments. Instead, engineered microbial ecosystems are likely to be more robust and able to achieve complex tasks at the spatial and temporal resolution needed for truly programmable biology. PMID:22722235

  2. Deep Time Ecosystem Engineers: The Correlation between Palaeozoic Vegetation, Evolution of Physical Riverine Habitats, and Plant and Animal Terrestrialization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, N. S.; Gibling, M. R.

    2012-04-01

    Evidence from the deep time geological record attests to the fundamental importance of plant life to the construction of physical habitats within fluvial environments. Data from an extensive literature review and original fieldwork has demonstrated that many landforms and geomorphic features present in modern river systems do not appear in the deep time stratigraphic record until terrestrial vegetation had adopted certain evolutionary advances that enabled them: for example, stable point bars are associated with the development of deep rooting in the Siluro-Devonian and avulsive anabranching fluvial systems appear at the same time as extensive arborescent vegetation in the Carboniferous. In this presentation, we demonstrate a correlation between the diversification of physical fluvial sedimentary environments and the expansion of terrestrial fauna and flora throughout the Cambrian to Carboniferous, and offer an explanation for this observation that considers plants as ecosystem engineers on an evolutionary timescale. Many extrinsic factors have been considered when attempting to identify controls on the evolutionary timelines of terrestrialization for various different organisms. Factors such as O2 and CO2 levels in the atmosphere, climatic events, global tectonic organisation, sea-level changes, extinction events, weathering rates and nutrient supply are all known to have played a role. However, another factor is likely to have been a fundamental prerequisite for achieving terrestrial biodiversity: the variety of physical habitats available for newly evolved organisms. In fluvial environments, this is a function of the diversity of hydrodynamic regimes (both temporal and spatial) within the world's river systems. In a world where only sheet-like ephemeral braided rivers existed, such as appears to be the case in pre-vegetation settings, both the geographic extent of riparian margins and the diversity of hydrodynamic regimes would be minimal. However, as fluvial

  3. Engineering approaches to ecosystem restoration

    SciTech Connect

    Hayes, D.F.

    1998-07-01

    This proceedings CD ROM contains 127 papers on developing and evaluating engineering approaches to wetlands and river restoration. The latest engineering developments are discussed, providing valuable insights to successful approaches for river restoration, wetlands restoration, watershed management, and constructed wetlands for stormwater and wastewater treatment. Potential solutions to a wide variety of ecosystem concerns in urban, suburban, and coastal environments are presented.

  4. Engineering visualization utilizing advanced animation

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sabionski, Gunter R.; Robinson, Thomas L., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Engineering visualization is the use of computer graphics to depict engineering analysis and simulation in visual form from project planning through documentation. Graphics displays let engineers see data represented dynamically which permits the quick evaluation of results. The current state of graphics hardware and software generally allows the creation of two types of 3D graphics. The use of animated video as an engineering visualization tool is presented. The engineering, animation, and videography aspects of animated video production are each discussed. Specific issues include the integration of staffing expertise, hardware, software, and the various production processes. A detailed explanation of the animation process reveals the capabilities of this unique engineering visualization method. Automation of animation and video production processes are covered and future directions are proposed.

  5. Early terrestrial ecosystems: the animal evidence

    SciTech Connect

    Gray, J.

    1985-01-01

    Work on fossil spores indicates that plants at a level of vegetative organization comparable to bryophytes and vascular plants existed on land in the Early Silurian. Vascular plants, limnetic fishes, and probable Ascomycetes have Late Silurian records. Charophytes are known in the Late Silurian but may have been marine. The presence of microarthropods in the Ludlovian has been hypothesized from fungal masses in the Burgsvik Sandstone that closely resemble microarthropod frass. A number of microarthropods such as collembolans and mites are microphagous; these animals are among the earliest known from the Early Devonian. These fungal masses as animal traces have been given added credibility by the recovery of animal body fossils from basal Llandovery age fluvial deposits of the Central Appalachians that yield abundant plant spores but that lack marine invertebrates, phytoplankton or chitinozoans. The remains are abundant and sufficiently varied to suggest that they may represent a variety of organisms. Some are eurypterid-like, others grossly arthropod-like, although they may represent an unknown phylum or phyla. Many small invertebrates are associated with extant bryophytes, which have been viewed as stepping stones or halfway houses for them as they emerged from water onto land. The occurrence of these Early Silurian invertebrate remains with abundant spore tetrads, which Gray has hypothesized represent land plants at a bryophyte or hepatic grade of organization, is of great interest in trying to understand the early development of nonmarine ecosystems.

  6. Avian ecosystem functions are influenced by small mammal ecosystem engineering

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Birds are important mobile link species that contribute to landscape-scale patterns by means of pollination, seed dispersal, and predation. Birds are often associated with habitats modified by small mammal ecosystem engineers. We investigated whether birds prefer to forage on degu (Octodon degus) runways by comparing their foraging effort across sites with a range of runway densities, including sites without runways. We measured granivory by granivorous and omnivorous birds at Rinconada de Maipú, central Chile. As a measure of potential bird foraging on insects, we sampled invertebrate prey richness and abundance across the same sites. We then quantified an index of plot-scale functional diversity due to avian foraging at the patch scale. Results We recorded that birds found food sources sooner and ate more at sites with higher densities of degu runways, cururo mounds, trees, and fewer shrubs. These sites also had higher invertebrate prey richness but lower invertebrate prey abundance. This implies that omnivorous birds, and possibly insectivorous birds, forage for invertebrates in the same plots with high degu runway densities where granivory takes place. In an exploratory analysis we also found that plot-scale functional diversity for four avian ecosystem functions were moderately to weakly correllated to expected ecosystem function outcomes at the plot scale. Conclusions Degu ecosystem engineering affects the behavior of avian mobile link species and is thus correlated with ecosystem functioning at relatively small spatial scales. PMID:24359802

  7. Large animal grazing and temporal patterns in ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The shortgrass steppe ecosystem has a long evolutionary history of large animal grazing by bison, which were replaced by domesticated livestock in the mid 1800s. In addition, this ecosystem is characterized by a semi-arid environment with low annual precipitation amounts, but high inter- and intra-a...

  8. Ecosystem engineers and geomorphological signatures in landscapes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jones, Clive G.

    2012-07-01

    Biogeomorphologists study the roles of biota in landscape formation and decay. Ecologists interested in ecosystem engineering study environmental change caused by biota and the consequences for the engineer, other organisms, and ecological processes. The interface is geomorphological change, an interface both are aware of but study somewhat independently and differently. Interaction and integration among the two fields is the goal of this special issue. Here I take an ecological perspective of geomorphological change caused by ecosystem engineers in patches within landscapes that I hope can help facilitate this goal. I ask the following general questions: When will an ecosystem engineering species create a geomorphological signature in a landscape? What, in qualitative terms, is such a signature? How can the signature be estimated and how long will it last? What engineer attributes and ecological factors will determine signature change? What creates complications? How do the answers inform whether or not life leaves a geomorphological signature? To attempt answers, I develop a provisional, general theory of ecosystem engineering signatures that draws on and integrates a geomorphological foundation of balance between formation and decay; landscape patch dynamics; a general framework for ecosystem engineering; and empirical studies. I treat a landscape engineering signature as the balance of rates of formation (F) and rates of decay (D) across patches whose ratio value (F/D) can be transformed (> 1), intermediate (1) or untransformed (< 1). I suggest amenable systems for study. I describe how the signature can be estimated and evaluated for potential persistence, and how to identify when decay or engineer density and per capita engineering activity control the signature. I examine the influences on shifts from transformed to untransformed signatures, and vice versa, at constant and changing rates of decay. I show how the likelihood of signature shifts depends on: 1

  9. Does competition among ecosystem engineering species result in tradeoffs in the production of ecosystem services?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Production of ecosystem services depends on the ecological community structure at a given location. Ecosystem engineering species (EES) can strongly determine community structure, but do they consequently determine the production of ecosystem services? We explore this question ...

  10. Animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to air emissions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newman, James R.; Schreiber, R. Kent

    1984-07-01

    With existing and proposed air-quality regulations, ecological disasters resulting from air emissions such as those observed at Copperhill, Tennessee, and Sudbury, Ontario, are unlikely. Current air-quality standards, however, may not protect ecosystems from subacute and chronic exposure to air emissions. The encouragement of the use of coal for energy production and the development of the fossil-fuel industries, including oil shales, tar sands, and coal liquification, point to an increase and spread of fossil-fuel emissions and the potential to influence a number of natural ecosystems. This paper reviews the reported responses of ecosystems to air-borne pollutants and discusses the use of animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to these pollutants. Animal species and populations can act as important indicators of biotic and abiotic responses of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These responses can indicate long-term trends in ecosystem health and productivity, chemical cycling, genetics, and regulation. For short-term trends, fish and wildlife also serve as monitors of changes in community structure, signaling food-web contamination, as well as providing a measure of ecosystem vitality. Information is presented to show not only the importance of animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to air-quality degradation, but also their value as air-pollution indices, that is, as air-quality-related values (AQRV), required in current air-pollution regulation.

  11. Animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to air emissions

    SciTech Connect

    Newman, J.R.; Schreiber, R.K.

    1984-07-01

    With existing and proposed air-quality regulations, ecological disasters resulting from air emissions such as those observed at Copperhill, Tennessee, and Sudbury, Ontario, are unlikely. Current air-quality standards, however, may not protect ecosystems from subacute and chronic exposure to air emissions. The encouragement of the use of coal for energy production and the development of the fossil-fuel industries, including oil shales, tar sands, and coal liquification, point to an increase and spread of fossil-fuel emissions and the potential to influence a number of natural ecosystems. This paper reviews the reported responses of ecosystems to airborne pollutants and discusses the use of animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to these pollutants. Animal species and populations can act as important indicators of biotic and abiotic responses of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. These responses can indicate long-term trends in ecosystem health and productivity, chemical cycling, genetics, and regulation. For short-term trends, fish and wildlife also serve as monitors of changes in community structure, signaling food-web contamination, as well as providing a measure of ecosystem vitality. Information is presented to show not only the importance of animals as indicators of ecosystem responses to air-quality degradation, but also their value as air-pollution indices, that is, as air-quality-related values (AQRV), required in current air-pollution regulation.

  12. Mangrove crabs as ecosystem engineers; with emphasis on sediment processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kristensen, Erik

    2008-02-01

    The benthic fauna in mangrove forests is usually dominated by burrowing sesarmid (Grapsidae) and fiddler crabs (Ocypodidae). They are herbivores that retain, bury, macerate and ingest litter and microalgal mats. Most species within these two groups actively dig and maintain burrows in the sediment as a refuge from predation and environmental extremes. Based on the current knowledge on the biology and ecology of these crabs, it seems obvious that their activities have considerable impact on ecosystem functioning. However, no convincing conceptual framework has yet been defined into which the role of these crabs can be identified and characterized. The attributes by which these abundant animals affect the microbial and biogeochemical functional diversity fit well into the concept of ecosystem engineering. The conceptualization of mangrove benthic communities within this framework is distinguished and documented by examples provided from the most recent literature on mangrove ecosystem functioning. It appears that the features and processes driving the engineering effects on distribution and activity of associated organisms operate differently for sesarmid and fiddler crabs. The most obvious and well-documented difference between engineering effects of the two types of crab seems to be associated with foraging. More attention must be devoted in the future to elucidate engineering aspects related to crab burrows in mangrove environments. Particularly comparative work on the burrow-dwelling life styles of the two types of crab is needed.

  13. Mammoth ecosystem: Climatic areal, animal's density and cause of extinctions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimov, S.; Zimov, N.; Zimova, G.; Chapin, S. F.

    2008-12-01

    During the last glaciations Mammoth Ecosystem (ME) occupied territory from present-day France to Canada and from the Arctic islands to China. This ecosystem played major role in global carbon cycle and human settling around the planet. Causes of extinction of this ecosystem are debatable. Analyses of hundreds of radiocarbon dates of ME animal fossil remains showed that warming and moistening of climate wasn't accompanied by animal extinction. On the opposite, on the north right after the warming rise of herbivore population was observed. Reconstruction of ME climatic areal showed that its climatic optimum lies within range of annual precipitation of 200-350 mm and average summer temperatures of +8-+12oC which corresponds with modern climate of Northern Siberia. Analyses of bones and skeletons concentrations in permafrost of Northern Siberia showed that animal density in ME was similar to African savannah. That was a high productive ecosystem that could sustain in wide variety of climates because numerous herbivores maintained there pastures themselves.

  14. Animal Models for Adipose Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Uthamanthil, Rajesh; Beahm, Elisabeth; Frye, Cindy

    2008-01-01

    Abstract There is a critical need for adequate reconstruction of soft tissue defects resulting from tumor resection, trauma, and congenital abnormalities. To be sure, adipose tissue engineering strategies offer promising solutions. However, before clinical translation can occur, efficacy must be proven in animal studies. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of animal models currently employed for adipose tissue engineering. PMID:18544014

  15. Macrophytes: ecosystem engineers in UK urban rivers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gibbs, H.; Gurnell, A.; Heppell, K.; Spencer, K.

    2012-04-01

    Macrophytes act as ecosystem engineers within river channels in that they have the ability to cause geomorphological and ecological change. They induce reductions in flow velocity and associated sediment accumulation, and their system of underground roots and rhizomes also reinforces the accumulated sediment reducing sediment erosion and resuspension and creating habitats. As sediments, particularly finer-grained, store contaminants including metals, this engineering means that in the specific context of urban rivers where sediments are more likely to be contaminated, macrophytes trap and hold contaminated sediments creating a potentially important sink of metals. However, depending on the ability for the macrophyte to reinforce the sediment and reduce erosion and resuspension, there is the potential for the sink to turn in to a source and metals to be released in to the overlying water. This research therefore looks at the ecosystem engineering ability of common macrophytes in UK urban rivers by looking at: (i) the effect upon flow velocity and sediment accumulation of Sparganium erectum (branched bur-reed); (ii) the sediment reinforcement ability of both S. erectum, Typha latifolia (bulrush) and Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass); and, (iii) the storage of metals within the sediment, overlying water and the macrophytes. Research was undertaken on the River Blackwater, an urban river in Surrey, UK which has extensive macrophyte growth. Flow velocity measurements and fine sediment depths were recorded both within and outside of dense stands of S. erectum. The uprooting resistance (as an indicator of sediment reinforcement) was measured for three species: S. erectum, T. latifolia and P. arundinacea. Additionally, some preliminary sampling was undertaken of the sediment, overlying water and the macrophytes to determine metal storage. Lower flow velocities and greater volumes of fine sediment were recorded within the stands of S. erectum as opposed to the

  16. Ecosystem engineering and biodiversity in coastal sediments: posing hypotheses

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Olenin, Sergej; Reise, Karsten; Ysebaert, Tom

    2009-03-01

    Coastal sediments in sheltered temperate locations are strongly modified by ecosystem engineering species such as marsh plants, seagrass, and algae as well as by epibenthic and endobenthic invertebrates. These ecosystem engineers are shaping the coastal sea and landscape, control particulate and dissolved material fluxes between the land and sea, and between the benthos and the passing water or air. Above all, habitat engineering exerts facilitating and inhibiting effects on biodiversity. Despite a strongly growing interest in the functional role of ecosystem engineering over the recent years, compared to food web analyses, the conceptual understanding of engineering-mediated species interactions is still in its infancy. In the present paper, we provide a concise overview on current insights and propose two hypotheses on the general mechanisms by which ecosystem engineering may affect biodiversity in coastal sediments. We hypothesise that autogenic and allogenic ecosystem engineers have inverse effects on epibenthic and endobenthic biodiversity in coastal sediments. The primarily autogenic structures of the epibenthos achieve high diversity at the expense of endobenthos, whilst allogenic sediment reworking by infauna may facilitate other infauna and inhibits epibenthos. On a larger scale, these antagonistic processes generate patchiness and habitat diversity. Due to such interaction, anthropogenic influences can strongly modify the engineering community by removing autogenic ecosystem engineers through coastal engineering or bottom trawling. Another source of anthropogenic influences comes from introducing invasive engineers, from which the impact is often hard to predict. We hypothesise that the local biodiversity effects of invasive ecosystem engineers will depend on the engineering strength of the invasive species, with engineering strength defined as the number of habitats it can invade and the extent of modification. At a larger scale of an entire shore

  17. Organisms as cooperative ecosystem engineers in intertidal flats

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Passarelli, Claire; Olivier, Frédéric; Paterson, David M.; Meziane, Tarik; Hubas, Cédric

    2014-09-01

    The importance of facilitative interactions and organismal ecosystem engineering for establishing the structure of communities is increasingly being recognised for many different ecosystems. For example, soft-bottom tidal flats host a wide range of ecosystem engineers, probably because the harsh physico-chemical environmental conditions render these species of particular importance for community structure and function. These environments are therefore interesting when focusing on how ecosystem engineers interact and the consequences of these interactions on community dynamics. In this review, we initially detail the influence on benthic systems of two kinds of ecosystem engineers that are particularly common in tidal flats. Firstly, we examine species providing biogenic structures, which are often the only source of habitat complexity in these environments. Secondly, we focus on species whose activities alter sediment stability, which is a crucial feature structuring the dynamics of communities in tidal flats. The impacts of these engineers on both environment and communities were assessed but in addition the interaction between ecosystem engineers was examined. Habitat cascades occur when one engineer favours the development of another, which in turn creates or modifies and improves habitat for other species. Non-hierarchical interactions have often been shown to display non-additive effects, so that the effects of the association cannot be predicted from the effects of individual organisms. Here we propose the term of “cooperative ecosystem engineering” when two species interact in a way which enhances habitat suitability as a result of a combined engineering effect. Finally, we conclude by describing the potential threats for ecosystem engineers in intertidal areas, potential effects on their interactions and their influence on communities and ecosystem function.

  18. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Matthew C; Henk, Daniel A; Briggs, Cheryl J; Brownstein, John S; Madoff, Lawrence C; McCraw, Sarah L; Gurr, Sarah J

    2012-04-12

    The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to tighten biosecurity worldwide. PMID:22498624

  19. Emerging fungal threats to animal, plant and ecosystem health

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Matthew C.; Henk, Daniel. A.; Briggs, Cheryl J.; Brownstein, John S.; Madoff, Lawrence C.; McCraw, Sarah L.; Gurr, Sarah J.

    2013-01-01

    The past two decades have seen an increasing number of virulent infectious diseases in natural populations and managed landscapes. In both animals and plants, an unprecedented number of fungal and fungal-like diseases have recently caused some of the most severe die-offs and extinctions ever witnessed in wild species, and are jeopardizing food security. Human activity is intensifying fungal disease dispersal by modifying natural environments and thus creating new opportunities for evolution. We argue that nascent fungal infections will cause increasing attrition of biodiversity, with wider implications for human and ecosystem health, unless steps are taken to tighten biosecurity worldwide. PMID:22498624

  20. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Li, Chao; Planavsky, Noah J.; Shi, Wei; Zhang, Zihu; Zhou, Chuanming; Cheng, Meng; Tarhan, Lidya G.; Luo, Genming; Xie, Shucheng

    2015-11-01

    Oxygenation has widely been viewed as a major factor driving the emergence and diversification of animals. However, links between early animal evolution and shifts in surface oxygen levels have largely been limited to extrapolation of paleoredox conditions reconstructed from unfossiliferous strata to settings in which contemporaneous fossils were preserved. Herein, we present a multi-proxy paleoredox study of late Ediacaran (ca. 560-551 Ma) shales hosting the Miaohe Konservat-Lagerstätte of South China and, for comparison, equivalent non-fossil-bearing shales at adjacent sections. For the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe there is geochemical evidence for anoxic conditions, but paleontological evidence for at least episodically oxic conditions. An oxygen-stressed environment is consistent with the low diversity and simple morphology of Miaohe Biota macrofossils. However, there is no evidence for euxinic (anoxic and sulphidic) conditions for the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe, in contrast to adjacent unfossiliferous sections. Our results indicate that Ediacaran marine redox chemistry was highly heterogeneous, even at the kilometre-scale. Therefore, our study provides direct—rather than inferred—evidence that anoxia played a role in shaping a landmark Ediacaran ecosystem. If the anoxic conditions characteristic of the studied sections were widespread in the late Neoproterozoic, environmental stress would have hindered the development of complex ecosystems.

  1. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Li, Chao; Planavsky, Noah J.; Shi, Wei; Zhang, Zihu; Zhou, Chuanming; Cheng, Meng; Tarhan, Lidya G.; Luo, Genming; Xie, Shucheng

    2015-01-01

    Oxygenation has widely been viewed as a major factor driving the emergence and diversification of animals. However, links between early animal evolution and shifts in surface oxygen levels have largely been limited to extrapolation of paleoredox conditions reconstructed from unfossiliferous strata to settings in which contemporaneous fossils were preserved. Herein, we present a multi-proxy paleoredox study of late Ediacaran (ca. 560-551 Ma) shales hosting the Miaohe Konservat-Lagerstätte of South China and, for comparison, equivalent non-fossil-bearing shales at adjacent sections. For the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe there is geochemical evidence for anoxic conditions, but paleontological evidence for at least episodically oxic conditions. An oxygen-stressed environment is consistent with the low diversity and simple morphology of Miaohe Biota macrofossils. However, there is no evidence for euxinic (anoxic and sulphidic) conditions for the fossiliferous strata at Miaohe, in contrast to adjacent unfossiliferous sections. Our results indicate that Ediacaran marine redox chemistry was highly heterogeneous, even at the kilometre-scale. Therefore, our study provides direct—rather than inferred—evidence that anoxia played a role in shaping a landmark Ediacaran ecosystem. If the anoxic conditions characteristic of the studied sections were widespread in the late Neoproterozoic, environmental stress would have hindered the development of complex ecosystems. PMID:26597559

  2. How-to-Do-It. A Demonstration on the Role of Animals in Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kangas, Patrick C.

    1990-01-01

    Presented is a demonstration in which students are shown an objective view of the role of animals through the analysis of books about ecosystems. The book analysis method and lists of books about wetlands and terrestrial ecosystems are included. (CW)

  3. Habitat creation and biodiversity maintenance in mangrove forests: teredinid bivalves as ecosystem engineers

    PubMed Central

    Michie, Laura; Taylor, Ben W.

    2014-01-01

    Substantial amounts of dead wood in the intertidal zone of mature mangrove forests are tunnelled by teredinid bivalves. When the tunnels are exposed, animals are able to use tunnels as refuges. In this study, the effect of teredinid tunnelling upon mangrove forest faunal diversity was investigated. Mangrove forests exposed to long emersion times had fewer teredinid tunnels in wood and wood not containing teredinid tunnels had very few species and abundance of animals. However, with a greater cross-sectional percentage surface area of teredinid tunnels, the numbers of species and abundance of animals was significantly higher. Temperatures within teredinid-attacked wood were significantly cooler compared with air temperatures, and animal abundance was greater in wood with cooler temperatures. Animals inside the tunnels within the wood may avoid desiccation by escaping the higher temperatures. Animals co-existing in teredinid tunnelled wood ranged from animals found in terrestrial ecosystems including centipedes, crickets and spiders, and animals found in subtidal marine ecosystems such as fish, octopods and polychaetes. There was also evidence of breeding within teredinid-attacked wood, as many juvenile individuals were found, and they may also benefit from the cooler wood temperatures. Teredinid tunnelled wood is a key low-tide refuge for cryptic animals, which would otherwise be exposed to fishes and birds, and higher external temperatures. This study provides evidence that teredinids are ecosystem engineers and also provides an example of a mechanism whereby mangrove forests support intertidal biodiversity and nurseries through the wood-boring activity of teredinids. PMID:25276505

  4. Habitat creation and biodiversity maintenance in mangrove forests: teredinid bivalves as ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Hendy, Ian W; Michie, Laura; Taylor, Ben W

    2014-01-01

    Substantial amounts of dead wood in the intertidal zone of mature mangrove forests are tunnelled by teredinid bivalves. When the tunnels are exposed, animals are able to use tunnels as refuges. In this study, the effect of teredinid tunnelling upon mangrove forest faunal diversity was investigated. Mangrove forests exposed to long emersion times had fewer teredinid tunnels in wood and wood not containing teredinid tunnels had very few species and abundance of animals. However, with a greater cross-sectional percentage surface area of teredinid tunnels, the numbers of species and abundance of animals was significantly higher. Temperatures within teredinid-attacked wood were significantly cooler compared with air temperatures, and animal abundance was greater in wood with cooler temperatures. Animals inside the tunnels within the wood may avoid desiccation by escaping the higher temperatures. Animals co-existing in teredinid tunnelled wood ranged from animals found in terrestrial ecosystems including centipedes, crickets and spiders, and animals found in subtidal marine ecosystems such as fish, octopods and polychaetes. There was also evidence of breeding within teredinid-attacked wood, as many juvenile individuals were found, and they may also benefit from the cooler wood temperatures. Teredinid tunnelled wood is a key low-tide refuge for cryptic animals, which would otherwise be exposed to fishes and birds, and higher external temperatures. This study provides evidence that teredinids are ecosystem engineers and also provides an example of a mechanism whereby mangrove forests support intertidal biodiversity and nurseries through the wood-boring activity of teredinids. PMID:25276505

  5. Geomorphological implications of engineering bed sediments by lotic animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Statzner, Bernhard

    2012-07-01

    Recent developments in zoogeomorphology in combination with the increasing interest of ecologists in ecosystem engineering by organisms initiated considerable research on the impact of running water (i.e., lotic) animals (and other organisms) on fluvial bed sediments and the transport of solids. This research provided multiple evidence from field and laboratory observations and experiments that many species among mammals, amphibians, fish, insects, crustaceans, mollusks, and worms engineer bed sediments of running waters with diverse mechanistic "tools", thereby perturbing or consolidating the sediments in many types of running waters across continents, seasons, habitat types, particle sizes, and discharge levels (baseflow vs. flood). Furthermore, many animals modify the bed-sediment engineering by plants (algae, larger macrophytes, riparian vegetation). Modeling effects of bioturbating lotic animals across species and relatively simple environmental conditions (in mesocosms) provided highly significant results (P-range: < 10- 6- < 10- 15) for nine sediment variables describing baseflow and flood-induced sediment transport as well as sediment surface modifications. For example, bioturbator biomass and/or algal abundance in combination with physical variables, such as baseflow shear stress or gravel size, explained between ~ 70 and ~ 90% of the variability in sediment responses such as the overall baseflow sediment transport and, as a result of the baseflow sediment-surface engineering by the animals, the flood-induced gravel or sand transport. Confronting these seemingly encouraging experimental results with real world conditions, however, illustrates considerable problems to unravel the complexity of biotic and physical factors that vary temporally and interfere/interact non-linearly in a patchy pattern in small parts of real river beds, where baseflow bed-sediment engineering by lotic animals prevents or fosters mass erosion during subsequent floods. Despite

  6. Latitudinal gradients in ecosystem engineering by oysters vary across habitats.

    PubMed

    McAfee, Dominic; Cole, Victoria J; Bishop, Melanie J

    2016-04-01

    Ecological theory predicts that positive interactions among organisms will increase across gradients of increasing abiotic stress or consumer pressure. This theory has been supported by empirical studies examining the magnitude of ecosystem engineering across environmental gradients and between habitat settings at local scale. Predictions that habitat setting, by modifying both biotic and abiotic factors, will determine large-scale gradients in ecosystem engineering have not been tested, however. A combination of manipulative experiments and field surveys assessed whether along the east Australian coastline: (1) facilitation of invertebrates by the oyster Saccostrea glomerata increased across a latitudinal gradient in temperature; and (2) the magnitude of this effect varied between intertidal rocky shores and mangrove forests. It was expected that on rocky shores, where oysters are the primary ecosystem engineer, they would play a greater role in ameliorating latitudinal gradients in temperature than in mangroves, where they are a secondary ecosystem engineer living under the mangrove canopy. On rocky shores, the enhancement of invertebrate abundance in oysters as compared to bare microhabitat decreased with latitude, as the maximum temperatures experienced by intertidal organisms diminished. By contrast, in mangrove forests, where the mangrove canopy resulted in maximum temperatures that were cooler and of greater humidity than on rocky shores, we found no evidence of latitudinal gradients of oyster effects on invertebrate abundance. Contrary to predictions, the magnitude by which oysters enhanced biodiversity was in many instances similar between mangroves and rocky shores. Whether habitat-context modifies patterns of spatial variation in the effects of ecosystem engineers on community structure will depend, in part, on the extent to which the environmental amelioration provided by an ecosystem engineer replicates that of other co-occurring ecosystem engineers

  7. Effects of two antagonistic ecosystem engineers on infaunal diversity

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    González-Ortiz, V.; Alcazar, P.; Vergara, J. J.; Pérez-Lloréns, J. L.; Brun, F. G.

    2014-02-01

    The role of ecosystem engineers has been highlighted in recent decades because of their importance for ecosystem functioning, although the interaction between different antagonistic engineer species and their effects on ecosystems have been so far poorly investigated. Coastal areas are good natural laboratories to explore such interactions, since they are often inhabited by macrophyte beds (autogenic engineers) and bioturbator species (allogenic engineers) with antagonistic effects on ecosystem properties and processes (e.g. species diversity, nutrient fluxes, etc.). The main goal of this study was to determine how coexisting antagonistic ecosystem engineers could influence benthic diversity and available resources in soft-bottom areas. To achieve this goal, a two-month experiment was carried out in situ by introducing artificial seagrass patches in a soft-bottom area inhabited by the fiddler crab Uca tangeri. Both the experimental exclusion of burrows as well as the presence of artificial seagrass-like structures (mimics) resulted in higher macrobenthic density and species richness in the benthic community. Resource availability for organisms (sediment chlorophyll a and epiphytes) was also favoured by the presence of mimics. Therefore, the higher structural complexity (above- and below-ground) associated with seagrass mimics promoted positive effects for infauna such as creation of a new habitat ready to colonize, reduction of the crab burrowing activity and the enhancement of resource availability, which resulted in increased diversity in the benthic community.

  8. Engineering to support wellbeing of dairy animals.

    PubMed

    Caja, Gerardo; Castro-Costa, Andreia; Knight, Christopher H

    2016-05-01

    Current trends in the global milk market and the recent abolition of milk quotas have accelerated the trend of the European dairy industry towards larger farm sizes and higher-yielding animals. Dairy cows remain in focus, but there is a growing interest in other dairy species, whose milk is often directed to traditional and protected designation of origin and gourmet dairy products. The challenge for dairy farms in general is to achieve the best possible standards of animal health and welfare, together with high lactational performance and minimal environmental impact. For larger farms, this may need to be done with a much lower ratio of husbandry staff to animals. Recent engineering advances and the decreasing cost of electronic technologies has allowed the development of 'sensing solutions' that automatically collect data, such as physiological parameters, production measures and behavioural traits. Such data can potentially help the decision making process, enabling early detection of health or wellbeing problems in individual animals and hence the application of appropriate corrective husbandry practices. This review focuses on new knowledge and emerging developments in welfare biomarkers (e.g. stress and metabolic diseases), activity-based welfare assessment (e.g. oestrus and lameness detection) and sensors of temperature and pH (e.g. calving alert and rumen function) and their combination and integration into 'smart' husbandry support systems that will ensure optimum wellbeing for dairy animals and thereby maximise farm profitability. Use of novel sensors combined with new technologies for information handling and communication are expected to produce dramatic changes in traditional dairy farming systems. PMID:27210489

  9. Behavioural interactions between ecosystem engineers control community species richness.

    PubMed

    Gribben, Paul E; Byers, James E; Clements, Michael; McKenzie, Louise A; Steinberg, Peter D; Wright, Jeffrey T

    2009-11-01

    Behavioural interactions between ecosystem engineers may strongly influence community structure. We tested whether an invasive ecosystem engineer, the alga Caulerpa taxifolia, indirectly facilitated community diversity by modifying the behaviour of a native ecosystem engineer, the clam Anadara trapezia, in southeastern Australia. In this study, clams in Caulerpa-invaded sediments partially unburied themselves, extending >30% of their shell surface above the sediment, providing rare, hard substrata for colonization. Consequently, clams in Caulerpa had significantly higher diversity and abundance of epibiota compared with clams in unvegetated sediments. To isolate the role of clam burial depth from direct habitat influences or differential predation by habitat, we manipulated clam burial depth, predator exposure and habitat (Caulerpa or unvegetated) in an orthogonal experiment. Burial depth overwhelmingly influenced epibiont species richness and abundance, resulting in a behaviourally mediated facilitation cascade. That Caulerpa controls epibiont communities by altering Anadara burial depths illustrates that even subtle behavioural responses of one ecosystem engineer to another can drive extensive community-wide facilitation. PMID:19702633

  10. Impacts of invasive plants on resident animals across ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types: a global assessment.

    PubMed

    Schirmel, Jens; Bundschuh, Mirco; Entling, Martin H; Kowarik, Ingo; Buchholz, Sascha

    2016-02-01

    As drivers of global change, biological invasions have fundamental ecological consequences. However, it remains unclear how invasive plant effects on resident animals vary across ecosystems, animal classes, and functional groups. We performed a comprehensive meta-analysis covering 198 field and laboratory studies reporting a total of 3624 observations of invasive plant effects on animals. Invasive plants had reducing (56%) or neutral (44%) effects on animal abundance, diversity, fitness, and ecosystem function across different ecosystems, animal classes, and feeding types while we could not find any increasing effect. Most importantly, we found that invasive plants reduced overall animal abundance, diversity and fitness. However, this significant overall effect was contingent on ecosystems, taxa, and feeding types of animals. Decreasing effects of invasive plants were most evident in riparian ecosystems, possibly because frequent disturbance facilitates more intense plant invasions compared to other ecosystem types. In accordance with their immediate reliance on plants for food, invasive plant effects were strongest on herbivores. Regarding taxonomic groups, birds and insects were most strongly affected. In insects, this may be explained by their high frequency of herbivory, while birds demonstrate that invasive plant effects can also cascade up to secondary consumers. Since data on impacts of invasive plants are rather limited for many animal groups in most ecosystems, we argue for overcoming gaps in knowledge and for a more differentiated discussion on effects of invasive plant on native fauna. PMID:26390918

  11. Longer Food Chains in Pelagic Ecosystems: Trophic Energetics of Animal Body Size and Metabolic Efficiency.

    PubMed

    McGarvey, Richard; Dowling, Natalie; Cohen, Joel E

    2016-07-01

    Factors constraining the structure of food webs can be investigated by comparing classes of ecosystems. We find that pelagic ecosystems, those based on one-celled primary producers, have longer food chains than terrestrial ecosystems. Yet pelagic ecosystems have lower primary productivity, contrary to the hypothesis that greater energy flows permit higher trophic levels. We hypothesize that longer food chain length in pelagic ecosystems, compared with terrestrial ecosystems, is associated with smaller pelagic animal body size permitting more rapid trophic energy transfer. Assuming negative allometric dependence of biomass production rate on body mass at each trophic level, the lowest three pelagic animal trophic levels are estimated to add biomass more rapidly than their terrestrial counterparts by factors of 12, 4.8, and 2.6. Pelagic animals consequently transport primary production to a fifth trophic level 50-190 times more rapidly than animals in terrestrial webs. This difference overcomes the approximately fivefold slower pelagic basal productivity, energetically explaining longer pelagic food chains. In addition, ectotherms, dominant at lower pelagic animal trophic levels, have high metabolic efficiency, also favoring higher rates of trophic energy transfer in pelagic ecosystems. These two animal trophic flow mechanisms imply longer pelagic food chains, reestablishing an important role for energetics in food web structure. PMID:27322123

  12. Effects of mud sedimentation on lugworm ecosystem engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Montserrat, F.; Suykerbuyk, W.; Al-Busaidi, R.; Bouma, T. J.; van der Wal, D.; Herman, P. M. J.

    2011-01-01

    Benthic ecosystem engineering organisms attenuate hydrodynamic or biogeochemical stress to ameliorate living conditions. Bioturbating infauna, like the lugworm Arenicola marina, determine intertidal process dynamics by maintaining the sediment oxygenated and sandy. Maintaining the permeability of the surrounding sediment enables them to pump water through the interstitial spaces, greatly increasing the oxygen availability. In a field experiment, both lugworm presence and siltation regime were manipulated to investigate to what extent lugworms are able to cope with sedimentation of increasing mud percentage and how this would affect its ecosystem engineering. Fluorescent tracers were added to experimentally deposited mud to visualise bioturbation effects on fine sediment fractions. Lugworm densities were not affected by an increasing mud percentage in experimentally deposited sediment. Negative effects are expected to occur under deposition with significantly higher mud percentages. Surface chlorophyll a content was a function of experimental mud percentage, with no effect of lugworm bioturbation. Surface roughness and sediment permeability clearly increased by lugworm presence, whereas sediment erosion threshold was not significantly affected by lugworms. The general idea that A. marina removes fine sediment fractions from the bed could not be confirmed. Rather, the main ecosystem engineering effect of A. marina is hydraulic destabilisation of the sediment matrix.

  13. Potency of Animal Models in KANSEI Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ozaki, Shigeru; Hisano, Setsuji; Iwamoto, Yoshiki

    Various species of animals have been used as animal models for neuroscience and provided critical information about the brain functions. Although it seems difficult to elucidate a highly advanced function of the human brain, animal models have potency to clarify the fundamental mechanisms of emotion, decision-making and social behavior. In this review, we will pick up common animal models and point to both the merits and demerits caused by the characteristics. We will also mention that wide-ranging approaches from animal models are advantageous to understand KANSEI as well as mind in humans.

  14. Complex Effects of Ecosystem Engineer Loss on Benthic Ecosystem Response to Detrital Macroalgae

    PubMed Central

    Rossi, Francesca; Gribsholt, Britta; Gazeau, Frederic; Di Santo, Valentina; Middelburg, Jack J.

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers change abiotic conditions, community assembly and ecosystem functioning. Consequently, their loss may modify thresholds of ecosystem response to disturbance and undermine ecosystem stability. This study investigates how loss of the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina modifies the response to macroalgal detrital enrichment of sediment biogeochemical properties, microphytobenthos and macrofauna assemblages. A field manipulative experiment was done on an intertidal sandflat (Oosterschelde estuary, The Netherlands). Lugworms were deliberately excluded from 1× m sediment plots and different amounts of detrital Ulva (0, 200 or 600 g Wet Weight) were added twice. Sediment biogeochemistry changes were evaluated through benthic respiration, sediment organic carbon content and porewater inorganic carbon as well as detrital macroalgae remaining in the sediment one month after enrichment. Microalgal biomass and macrofauna composition were measured at the same time. Macroalgal carbon mineralization and transfer to the benthic consumers were also investigated during decomposition at low enrichment level (200 g WW). The interaction between lugworm exclusion and detrital enrichment did not modify sediment organic carbon or benthic respiration. Weak but significant changes were instead found for porewater inorganic carbon and microalgal biomass. Lugworm exclusion caused an increase of porewater carbon and a decrease of microalgal biomass, while detrital enrichment drove these values back to values typical of lugworm-dominated sediments. Lugworm exclusion also decreased the amount of macroalgae remaining into the sediment and accelerated detrital carbon mineralization and CO2 release to the water column. Eventually, the interaction between lugworm exclusion and detrital enrichment affected macrofauna abundance and diversity, which collapsed at high level of enrichment only when the lugworms were present. This study reveals that in nature the role of this

  15. Genetic Engineering of Animals for Medical Research: Students' Views.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hill, Ruaraidh; Stanisstreet, Martin; O'Sullivan, Helen; Boyes, Edward

    1999-01-01

    Reports on the results of a survey meant to ascertain the views of 16- to 18-year-old students (n=778) on using animals in medical research. Suggests that students have no greater objection to the use of genetically engineered animals over naturally bred animals in medical research. Contains 16 references. (Author/WRM)

  16. Engineering large animal models of human disease.

    PubMed

    Whitelaw, C Bruce A; Sheets, Timothy P; Lillico, Simon G; Telugu, Bhanu P

    2016-01-01

    The recent development of gene editing tools and methodology for use in livestock enables the production of new animal disease models. These tools facilitate site-specific mutation of the genome, allowing animals carrying known human disease mutations to be produced. In this review, we describe the various gene editing tools and how they can be used for a range of large animal models of diseases. This genomic technology is in its infancy but the expectation is that through the use of gene editing tools we will see a dramatic increase in animal model resources available for both the study of human disease and the translation of this knowledge into the clinic. Comparative pathology will be central to the productive use of these animal models and the successful translation of new therapeutic strategies. PMID:26414877

  17. Invertebrates control metals and arsenic sequestration as ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Schaller, Jörg; Weiske, Arndt; Mkandawire, Martin; Dudel, E Gert

    2010-03-01

    Organic sediments are known to be a significant sink of inorganic elements in polluted freshwater ecosystems. Hence, we investigated the role of invertebrate shredders (the freshwater shrimp Gammarus pulex L.) in metal and arsenic enrichment into organic partitions of sediments in a wetland stream at former uranium mining site. Metal and metalloid content in leaf litter increased significantly during decomposition, while at the same time the carbon content decreased. During decomposition, G. pulex as a ecosystem engineer facilitated significantly the enrichment of magnesium (250%), manganese (560%), cobalt (310%), copper (200%), zinc (43%), arsenic (670%), cadmium (100%) and lead (1340%) into small particle sizes. The enrichments occur under very high concentrations of dissolved organic carbon. Small particles have high surface area that results in high biofilm development. Further, the highest amounts of elements were observed in biofilms. Therefore, invertebrate shredder like G. pulex can enhance retention of large amounts of metal and arsenic in wetlands. PMID:20132960

  18. Effects of an Ecosystem Engineer on Belowground Movement of Microarthropods

    PubMed Central

    Cameron, Erin K.; Proctor, Heather C.; Bayne, Erin M.

    2013-01-01

    Ecosystem engineers affect other species by changing physical environments. Such changes may influence movement of organisms, particularly belowground where soil permeability can restrict dispersal. We investigated whether earthworms, iconic ecosystem engineers, influence microarthropod movement. Our experiment tested whether movement is affected by tunnels (i.e., burrows), earthworm excreta (mucus, castings), or earthworms themselves. Earthworm burrows form tunnel networks that may facilitate movement. This effect may be enhanced by excreta, which could provide resources for microarthropods moving along the network. Earthworms may also promote movement via phoresy. Conversely, negative effects could occur if earthworms alter predator-prey relationships or change competitive interactions between microarthropods. We used microcosms consisting of a box connecting a “source” container in which microarthropods were present and a “destination” container filled with autoclaved soil. Treatments were set up within the boxes, which also contained autoclaved soil, as follows: 1) control with no burrows; 2) artificial burrows with no excreta; 3) abandoned burrows with excreta but no earthworms; and 4) earthworms (Lumbricus rubellus) present in burrows. Half of the replicates were sampled once after eight days, while the other half were sampled repeatedly to examine movement over time. Rather than performing classical pairwise comparisons to test our hypotheses, we used AICc to assess support for three competing models (presence of tunnels, excreta, and earthworms). More individuals of Collembola, Mesostigmata, and all microarthropods together dispersed when tunnels were present. Models that included excreta and earthworms were less well supported. Total numbers of dispersing Oribatida and Prostigmata+Astigmata were not well explained by any models tested. Further research is needed to examine the impact of soil structure and ecosystem engineering on movement

  19. THE EDIACARA BIOTA: Neoproterozoic Origin of Animals and Their Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Narbonne, Guy M.

    2005-01-01

    The Ediacara biota (575-542 Ma) marks the first appearance of large, architecturally complex organisms in Earth history. Present evidence suggests that the Ediacara biota included a mixture of stem- and crown-group radial animals, stem-group bilaterian animals, "failed experiments" in animal evolution, and perhaps representatives of other eukaryotic kingdoms. These soft-bodied organisms were preserved under (or rarely within) event beds of sand or volcanic ash, and four distinct preservational styles (Flinders-, Fermeuse-, Conception-, and Nama-style) profoundly affected the types of organisms and features that could be preserved. Even the earliest Ediacaran communities (575-565 Ma) show vertical and lateral niche subdivision of the sessile, benthic, filter-feeding organisms, which is strikingly like that of Phanerozoic and modern communities. Later biological and ecological innovations include mobility (>555 Ma), calcification (550 Ma), and predation (<549 Ma). The Ediacara biota abruptly disappeared 542 million years ago, probably as a consequence of mass extinction andor biological interactions with the rapidly evolving animals of the Cambrian explosio

  20. Plants as ecosystem engineers in subsurface-flow treatment wetlands.

    PubMed

    Tanner, C C

    2001-01-01

    Mass balance performance data from side by side studies of planted and unplanted gravel-bed treatment wetlands with horizontal subsurface-flow are compared. Planted systems showed enhanced nitrogen and initial phosphorus removal, but only small improvements in disinfection, BOD, COD and suspended solids removal. Direct nutrient uptake by plants was insufficient to account for more than a fraction of the improved removal shown by planted systems. Roles of plants as ecosystem engineers are summarised, with organic matter production and root-zone oxygen release identified as key factors influencing nutrient transformation and sequestration. PMID:11804163

  1. Ecosystem engineers modulate exotic invasions in riparian plant communities

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Corenblit, D.; Tabacchi, E.; Steiger, J.; Gonzales, E.; Planty-Tabacchi, A. M.

    2012-04-01

    The relationship between biodiversity and invasibility of exotic plant species within different environments and at different spatial scales is still being discussed amongst scientists. In this study, patterns of native and exotic plant species richness and cover were examined in relation with ecosystem engineer effects of pioneer vegetation within the active tract of the Mediterranean gravel bed river Tech, South France. The floristic composition was characterized according to two distinct vegetation types corresponding to two habitats with contrasted conditions: (i) open and exposed alluvial bars dominated by herbaceous communities and (ii) islands and river margins partly stabilized by ecosystem engineer plants, disconnected from annual hydrogeomorphic disturbances, and covered by woody vegetation. A significant positive correlation between exotic and native plant species richness and cover was observed for the herbaceous and the woody types, indicating that both native and exotic richness benefit from the prevailing environmental conditions. However, significant differences in native and exotic specific richness and cover were found between these two vegetation types. Higher values of total species richness and Shannon diversity of native and exotic species were attained within the herbaceous vegetation type compared to the woody type. These differences may be related to changes in local exposure to hydrogeomorphic disturbances driven by engineer plant species, and to vegetation succession. A lower exotic cover within the woody vegetation type compared to the herbaceous type suggested an increase of resistance to invasion by exotic species during the biogeomorphic succession. The engineer effects of woody vegetation resulted in a decrease of alpha (α) diversity at patch scale but, in parallel, caused an increase in gamma (γ) diversity at the scale of the studied river segment. Our study corroborates recent investigations that support the theory of biotic

  2. The use of genetically-engineered animals in science: perspectives of Canadian Animal Care Committee members.

    PubMed

    Ormandy, Elisabeth H; Dale, Julie; Griffin, Gilly

    2013-05-01

    The genetic engineering of animals for their use in science challenges the implementation of refinement and reduction in several areas, including the invasiveness of the procedures involved, unanticipated welfare concerns, and the numbers of animals required. Additionally, the creation of genetically-engineered animals raises problems with the Canadian system of reporting animal numbers per Category of Invasiveness, as well as raising issues of whether ethical limits can, or should, be placed on genetic engineering. A workshop was held with the aim of bringing together Canadian animal care committee members to discuss these issues, to reflect on progress that has been made in addressing them, and to propose ways of overcoming any challenges. Although previous literature has made recommendations with regard to refinement and reduction when creating new genetically-engineered animals, the perception of the workshop participants was that some key opportunities are being missed. The participants identified the main roadblocks to the implementation of refinement and reduction alternatives as confidentiality, cost and competition. If the scientific community is to make progress concerning the implementation of refinement and reduction, particularly in the creation and use of genetically-engineered animals, addressing these roadblocks needs to be a priority. PMID:23781934

  3. Advances in animal ecology from 3D-LiDAR ecosystem mapping.

    PubMed

    Davies, Andrew B; Asner, Gregory P

    2014-12-01

    The advent and recent advances of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) have enabled accurate measurement of 3D ecosystem structure. Here, we review insights gained through the application of LiDAR to animal ecology studies, revealing the fundamental importance of structure for animals. Structural heterogeneity is most conducive to increased animal richness and abundance, and increased complexity of vertical vegetation structure is more positively influential compared with traditionally measured canopy cover, which produces mixed results. However, different taxonomic groups interact with a variety of 3D canopy traits and some groups with 3D topography. To develop a better understanding of animal dynamics, future studies will benefit from considering 3D habitat effects in a wider variety of ecosystems and with more taxa. PMID:25457158

  4. Functional identity and diversity of animals predict ecosystem functioning better than species-based indices

    PubMed Central

    Gagic, Vesna; Bartomeus, Ignasi; Jonsson, Tomas; Taylor, Astrid; Winqvist, Camilla; Fischer, Christina; Slade, Eleanor M.; Steffan-Dewenter, Ingolf; Emmerson, Mark; Potts, Simon G.; Tscharntke, Teja; Weisser, Wolfgang; Bommarco, Riccardo

    2015-01-01

    Drastic biodiversity declines have raised concerns about the deterioration of ecosystem functions and have motivated much recent research on the relationship between species diversity and ecosystem functioning. A functional trait framework has been proposed to improve the mechanistic understanding of this relationship, but this has rarely been tested for organisms other than plants. We analysed eight datasets, including five animal groups, to examine how well a trait-based approach, compared with a more traditional taxonomic approach, predicts seven ecosystem functions below- and above-ground. Trait-based indices consistently provided greater explanatory power than species richness or abundance. The frequency distributions of single or multiple traits in the community were the best predictors of ecosystem functioning. This implies that the ecosystem functions we investigated were underpinned by the combination of trait identities (i.e. single-trait indices) and trait complementarity (i.e. multi-trait indices) in the communities. Our study provides new insights into the general mechanisms that link biodiversity to ecosystem functioning in natural animal communities and suggests that the observed responses were due to the identity and dominance patterns of the trait composition rather than the number or abundance of species per se. PMID:25567651

  5. Trait selection and welfare of genetically engineered animals in agriculture.

    PubMed

    Greger, M

    2010-02-01

    The release of the Final Guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration on the commercialization of genetically engineered animals has sparked renewed discussion over the ethical, consumer, and regulatory implications of transgenesis in animal agriculture. Animal welfare critiques have focused on unexpected phenotypic effects in animals used in transgenic research, rather than on the health and welfare implications of the intended productivity enhancement. Unless breeding goals are redefined to reflect social concerns, the occurrence and magnitude of undesirable side effects may increase and consumer confidence in the nascent technology may be undermined. PMID:19820044

  6. Advances in animal ecology from 3D ecosystem mapping with LiDAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davies, A.; Asner, G. P.

    2015-12-01

    The advent and recent advances of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) have enabled accurate measurement of 3D ecosystem structure. Although the use of LiDAR data is widespread in vegetation science, it has only recently (< 14 years) been applied to animal ecology. Despite such recent application, LiDAR has enabled new insights in the field and revealed the fundamental importance of 3D ecosystem structure for animals. We reviewed the studies to date that have used LiDAR in animal ecology, synthesising the insights gained. Structural heterogeneity is most conducive to increased animal richness and abundance, and increased complexity of vertical vegetation structure is more positively influential than traditionally measured canopy cover, which produces mixed results. However, different taxonomic groups interact with a variety of 3D canopy traits and some groups with 3D topography. LiDAR technology can be applied to animal ecology studies in a wide variety of environments to answer an impressive array of questions. Drawing on case studies from vastly different groups, termites and lions, we further demonstrate the applicability of LiDAR and highlight new understanding, ranging from habitat preference to predator-prey interactions, that would not have been possible from studies restricted to field based methods. We conclude with discussion of how future studies will benefit by using LiDAR to consider 3D habitat effects in a wider variety of ecosystems and with more taxa to develop a better understanding of animal dynamics.

  7. Adapting to extreme climates: raising animals in hot and arid ecosystems in Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seo, S. Niggol

    2015-05-01

    This paper provides an analysis of adaptation to extreme climate changes using the Australian animal husbandry data. The paper finds that farmers have adapted to a hot and arid climate regime through animal husbandry. The number of sheep vastly increases into arid ecosystems while the number of beef cattle does not decline in high temperatures. In the future climate system in which Australia becomes hotter and more arid, we predict that farmers will increase by large percentages the numbers of beef cattle and/or sheep owned in order to adapt to a highly unfavorable climate condition, especially into the arid ecosystems. This paper shows how humanity has adapted to climate extremes taking into account changing ecosystems.

  8. Tabizi Pythons and Clendro Hawks: Using Imaginary Animals to Achieve Real Knowledge about Ecosystems

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rockow, Michael

    2007-01-01

    The author describes how he used to teach a unit on food webs and ecosystems using actual food webs as models. However, the models used by the author tend to be either too simplistic or too complicated for his students. A few years ago, he solved these problems by making up his own food web, complete with invented plants and animals. The model has…

  9. Summertime CO2 fluxes and ecosystem respiration from marine animal colony tundra in maritime Antarctica

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zhu, Renbin; Bao, Tao; Wang, Qing; Xu, Hua; Liu, Yashu

    2014-12-01

    Net ecosystem CO2 exchange (NEE) and ecosystem respiration (ER) were investigated at penguin, seal and skua colony tundra and the adjacent animal-lacking tundra sites in maritime Antarctica. Net CO2 fluxes showed a large difference between marine animal colonies and animal-lacking tundra sites. The mean NEE from penguin, seal and skua colony tundra sites ranged from -37.2 to 5.2 mg CO2 m-2 h-1, whereas animal-lacking tundra sites experienced a larger net gain of CO2 with the mean flux range from -85.6 to -23.9 mg CO2 m-2 h-1. Ecosystem respiration rates at penguin colony tundra sites (mean 201.3 ± 31.4 mg CO2 m-2 h-1) were significantly higher (P < 0.01) than those at penguin-lacking tundra sites (64.0-87.1 mg CO2 m-2 h-1). The gross photosynthesis (Pg) showed a consistent trend to ER with the highest mean Pg (219.7 ± 34.5 mg CO2 m-2 h-1) at penguin colony tundra sites. When all the data were combined from different types of tundra ecosystems, summertime tundra NEE showed a weak or strong positive correlation with air temperature, 0-10 cm soil temperature or precipitation. The NEE from marine animal colony and animal-lacking tundra was significantly positively correlated (P < 0.001) with soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) contents and C:N ratios. The ER showed a significant exponential correlation (P < 0.01) with mean 0-15 cm soil temperature, and much higher Q10 value (9.97) was obtained compared with other terrestrial ecosystems, indicating greater temperature sensitivity of tundra ecosystem respiration. Our results indicate that marine animals and the deposition of their excreta might have an important effect on tundra CO2 exchanges and ecosystem respiration, and current climate warming will further decrease tundra CO2 sink in maritime Antarctica.

  10. Ecosystem engineering of harvester ants: effects on vegetation in a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gosselin, Elyce N; Holbrook, Joseph D.; Huggler, Katey; Brown, Emily; Vierling, Kerri T.; Arkle, Robert; Pilliod, David

    2016-01-01

    Harvester ants are influential in many ecosystems because they distribute and consume seeds, remove vegetation, and redistribute soil particles and nutrients. Understanding the interaction between harvester ants and plant communities is important for management and restoration efforts, particularly in systems altered by fire and invasive species such as the sagebrush-steppe. Our objective was to evaluate how vegetation cover changed as a function of distance from Owyhee harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex salinus) nests within a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. We sampled 105 harvester ant nests within southern Idaho, USA, that occurred in different habitats: annual grassland, perennial grassland, and native shrubland. The influence of Owyhee harvester ants on vegetation was larger at the edge of ant nests, but the relationship was inconsistent among plant species. Percent cover was positively associated with distance from harvester ant nests for plant species that were considered undesirable food sources and were densely distributed. However, percent cover was negatively associated with distance-from-nests for patchily distributed and desirable plant species. For some plant species, there was no change in cover associated with distance-from-nests. Total vegetation cover was associated with distance-from-nests in the shrubland habitat but not in the 2 grasslands. The dominant plant species in the shrubland habitat was a densely distributed shrub (winterfat, Krascheninnikovia lanata) that was defoliated by harvester ants. Our results suggest that Owyhee harvester ants increase spatial heterogeneity in plant communities through plant clearing, but the direction and magnitude of effect will likely be contingent on the dominant vegetation groups. This information may inform future management and plant restoration efforts in sagebrush-steppe by directly considering the islands of influence associated with harvester ant engineering.

  11. Ecosystem engineering by invasive exotic beavers reduces in-stream diversity and enhances ecosystem function in Cape Horn, Chile.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Christopher B; Rosemond, Amy D

    2007-11-01

    Species invasions are of global significance, but predicting their impacts can be difficult. Introduced ecosystem engineers, however, provide an opportunity to test the underlying mechanisms that may be common to all invasive engineers and link relationships between changes in diversity and ecosystem function, thereby providing explanatory power for observed ecological patterns. Here we test specific predictions for an invasive ecosystem engineer by quantifying the impacts of habitat and resource modifications caused by North American beavers (Castor canadensis) on aquatic macroinvertebrate community structure and stream ecosystem function in the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, Chile. We compared responses to beavers in three habitat types: (1) forested (unimpacted) stream reaches, (2) beaver ponds, and (3) sites immediately downstream of beaver dams in four streams. We found that beaver engineering in ponds created taxonomically simplified, but more productive, benthic macroinvertebrate assemblages. Specifically, macroinvertebrate richness, diversity and number of functional feeding groups were reduced by half, while abundance, biomass and secondary production increased three- to fivefold in beaver ponds compared to forested sites. Reaches downstream of beaver ponds were very similar to natural forested sections. Beaver invasion effects on both community and ecosystem parameters occurred predominantly via increased retention of fine particulate organic matter, which was associated with reduced macroinvertebrate richness and diversity (via homogenization of benthic microhabitat) and increased macroinvertebrate biomass and production (via greater food availability). Beaver modifications to macroinvertebrate community structure were largely confined to ponds, but increased benthic production in beaver-modified habitats adds to energy retention and flow for the entire stream ecosystem. Furthermore, the effects of beavers on taxa richness (negative) and measures of

  12. Engineering Large Animal Species to Model Human Diseases.

    PubMed

    Rogers, Christopher S

    2016-01-01

    Animal models are an important resource for studying human diseases. Genetically engineered mice are the most commonly used species and have made significant contributions to our understanding of basic biology, disease mechanisms, and drug development. However, they often fail to recreate important aspects of human diseases and thus can have limited utility as translational research tools. Developing disease models in species more similar to humans may provide a better setting in which to study disease pathogenesis and test new treatments. This unit provides an overview of the history of genetically engineered large animals and the techniques that have made their development possible. Factors to consider when planning a large animal model, including choice of species, type of modification and methodology, characterization, production methods, and regulatory compliance, are also covered. © 2016 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. PMID:27367161

  13. Shelter-Building Insects and Their Role as Ecosystem Engineers.

    PubMed

    Cornelissen, T; Cintra, F; Santos, J C

    2016-02-01

    Amelioration of harsh conditions, manipulation of host plant quality, and protection from natural enemies have all been suggested as potential forces in the evolution and maintenance of concealed feeding in insects. The construction of shelters--either in the form of mines, galls, and leaf rolls--are expected to increase larval survivorship and might influence other organisms of the community through non-trophic direct and indirect effects when shelters are co-occupied or occupied after abandonment, placing leaf and stem shelter-builders within the context of ecosystem engineering. In this review, we evaluate the potential of shelter built by insects to reduce pressure exerted by natural enemies, increase tissue quality, and provide shelter against abiotic conditions experienced during insect development. Through a quantitative analysis, we also examined the effects of insect shelters on patterns of richness and abundance of local communities, reviewing the data published in the last 15 years. We demonstrate strong effects of shelters on several arthropods, with increased richness and abundance when shelters are present in the host plants. These results reinforce the importance of the physical structures created by insects that although subtle, might have important roles in facilitative interactions. PMID:26631227

  14. Climate change impacts on potential recruitment in an ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Morgan, Emer; O' Riordan, Ruth M; Culloty, Sarah C

    2013-03-01

    Climate variability and the rapid warming of seas undoubtedly have huge ramifications for biological processes such as reproduction. As such, gametogenesis and spawning were investigated at two sites over 200 km apart on the south coast of Ireland in an ecosystem engineer, the common cockle, Cerastoderma edule. Both sites are classed as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), but are of different water quality. Cerastoderma edule plays a significant biological role by recycling nutrients and affecting sediment structure, with impacts upon assemblage biomass and functional diversity. It plays a key role in food webs, being a common foodstuff for a number of marine birds including the oystercatcher. Both before and during the study (early 2010-mid 2011), Ireland experienced its two coldest winters for 50 years. As the research demonstrated only slight variation in the spawning period between sites, despite site differences in water and environmental quality, temperature and variable climatic conditions were the dominant factor controlling gametogenesis. The most significant finding was that the spawning period in the cockle extended over a greater number of months compared with previous studies and that gametogenesis commenced over winter rather than in spring. Extremely cold winters may impact on the cockle by accelerating and extending the onset and development of gametogenesis. Whether this impact is positive or negative would depend on the associated events occurring on which the cockle depends, that is, presence of primary producers and spring blooms, which would facilitate conversion of this extended gametogenesis into successful recruitment. PMID:23532482

  15. Climate change impacts on potential recruitment in an ecosystem engineer

    PubMed Central

    Morgan, Emer; O' Riordan, Ruth M; Culloty, Sarah C

    2013-01-01

    Climate variability and the rapid warming of seas undoubtedly have huge ramifications for biological processes such as reproduction. As such, gametogenesis and spawning were investigated at two sites over 200 km apart on the south coast of Ireland in an ecosystem engineer, the common cockle, Cerastoderma edule. Both sites are classed as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), but are of different water quality. Cerastoderma edule plays a significant biological role by recycling nutrients and affecting sediment structure, with impacts upon assemblage biomass and functional diversity. It plays a key role in food webs, being a common foodstuff for a number of marine birds including the oystercatcher. Both before and during the study (early 2010–mid 2011), Ireland experienced its two coldest winters for 50 years. As the research demonstrated only slight variation in the spawning period between sites, despite site differences in water and environmental quality, temperature and variable climatic conditions were the dominant factor controlling gametogenesis. The most significant finding was that the spawning period in the cockle extended over a greater number of months compared with previous studies and that gametogenesis commenced over winter rather than in spring. Extremely cold winters may impact on the cockle by accelerating and extending the onset and development of gametogenesis. Whether this impact is positive or negative would depend on the associated events occurring on which the cockle depends, that is, presence of primary producers and spring blooms, which would facilitate conversion of this extended gametogenesis into successful recruitment. PMID:23532482

  16. Predicting effects of ecosystem engineering on species richness along primary productivity gradients

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Badano, Ernesto Iván; Marquet, Pablo Angel; Cavieres, Lohengrin Alexis

    2010-01-01

    Physical ecosystem engineering is the process by which some species change the distribution of materials and energy in ecosystems. Although several studies have shown that this process is a driver of local species diversity, the current challenge is predicting when and where ecosystem engineering will have large or small impacts on communities, while also explaining why impacts vary in magnitude across engineer species and environments. This study addresses this issue and proposes a series of predictions for these effects at the three spatial scales (the patch, the habitat and the landscape) along environmental gradients of physical stress. The integrative prediction of this study was that the difference in species diversity between engineered and unmodified situations (patches, habitats or landscapes) will increase as the difference in physical stress between engineered and unmodified patches becomes larger. To test the prediction, the effects of two well known high-Andean ecosystem engineers, the cushion plants Azorella madreporica and Laretia acaulis, were assessed on plant species richness in central Chile. The results support the main prediction, showing that ecosystem engineers have negative effects on species diversity at sites when the environmental modifications they perform increase physical stress for other species, while they have positive effects at sites where these habitat changes mitigate physical stress. Then, the effects of the ecosystem engineers on species diversity seem to depend on the environmental context, where larger environmental modifications are reflected in greater impacts, either positive or negative, on species diversity.

  17. Fungal symbiosis and precipitation alter traits and dune building by the ecosystem engineer, Ammophila breviligulata.

    PubMed

    Emery, Sarah M; Bell-Dereske, Lukas; Rudgers, Jennifer A

    2015-04-01

    Ecosystem engineer species influence their community and ecosystem by creating or altering the physical structure of habitats. The function of ecosystem engineers is variable and can depend on both abiotic and biotic factors. Here we make use of a primary successional system to evaluate the direct and interactive effects of climate change (precipitation) and fungal endophyte symbiosis on population traits and ecosystem function of the ecosystem engineering grass species, Ammophila breviligulata. We manipulated endophyte presence in A. breviligulata in combination with rain-out shelters and rainfall additions in a factorial field experiment established in 2010 on Lake Michigan sand dunes. We monitored plant traits, survival, growth, and sexual reproduction of A. breviligulata from 2010-2013, and quantified ecosystem engineering as the sand accumulation rate. Presence of the endophyte in A. breviligulata increased vegetative growth by up to 19%, and reduced sexual reproduction by up to 46% across all precipitation treatments. Precipitation was a less significant factor than endophyte colonization for A. breviligulata growth. Reduced precipitation increased average leaf number per tiller but had no other effects on plant traits. Changes in A. breviligulata traits corresponded to increases in sand accumulation in plots with the endophyte as well as in plots with reduced precipitation. Sand accumulation is a key ecosystem function in these primary successional habitats, and so microbial symbiosis in this ecosystem engineer could lead to direct effects on the value of these dune habitats for humans. PMID:26230014

  18. Small ecosystem engineers as important regulators of lake's sediment respiration.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baranov, Victor; Lewandowski, Joerg; Krause, Stefan; Romeijn, Paul

    2016-04-01

    Although shallow lakes are covering only about 1.5% of the land surface of the Earth, they are responsible for sequestration of carbon amounts similar or even larger than those sequestered in all marine sediments. One of the most important drivers of the carbon sequestration in lakes is sediment respiration. Especially in shallow lakes, bioturbation, i.e. the biogenic reworking of the sediment matrix and the transport of fluids within the sediment, severely impacts on sediment respiration. Widespread freshwater bioturbators such as chironomid larvae (Diptera, Chironomidae) are building tubes in the sediment and actively pump water through their burrows (ventilation). In the present work we study how different organism densities and temperatures (5-30°C) impact on respiration rates. In a microcosm experiment the bioreactive resazurin/resorufin smart tracer system was applied for quantifying the impacts of different densities of Chironomidae (Diptera) larvae (0, 1000, 2000 larvae/m2) on sediment respiration. Tracer transformation rates (and sediment respiration) were correlated with larval densities with highest transformation rates occurring in microcosms with highest larval densities. Respiration differences between defaunated sediment and sediment with 1000 and 2000 larvae per m2 was insignificant at 5 °C, and was progressively increasing with rising temperatures. At 30 °C respiration rates of sediment with 2000 larvae per m2 was 4.8 times higher than those of defaunated sediment. We interpret this as an effect of temperature on larval metabolic and locomotory activity. Furthermore, bacterial communities are benefiting from the combination of the high water temperatures and bioirrigation as bacterial community are able to maintain high metabolic rates due to oxygen supplied by bioirrigation. In the context of global climate change that means that chironomid ecosystem engineering activity will have a profound and increasing impact on lake sediment respiration

  19. Exogenous enzymes upgrade transgenesis and genetic engineering of farm animals.

    PubMed

    Bosch, Pablo; Forcato, Diego O; Alustiza, Fabrisio E; Alessio, Ana P; Fili, Alejandro E; Olmos Nicotra, María F; Liaudat, Ana C; Rodríguez, Nancy; Talluri, Thirumala R; Kues, Wilfried A

    2015-05-01

    Transgenic farm animals are attractive alternative mammalian models to rodents for the study of developmental, genetic, reproductive and disease-related biological questions, as well for the production of recombinant proteins, or the assessment of xenotransplants for human patients. Until recently, the ability to generate transgenic farm animals relied on methods of passive transgenesis. In recent years, significant improvements have been made to introduce and apply active techniques of transgenesis and genetic engineering in these species. These new approaches dramatically enhance the ease and speed with which livestock species can be genetically modified, and allow to performing precise genetic modifications. This paper provides a synopsis of enzyme-mediated genetic engineering in livestock species covering the early attempts employing naturally occurring DNA-modifying proteins to recent approaches working with tailored enzymatic systems. PMID:25636347

  20. Phosphorus-mobilization ecosystem engineering: the roles of cluster roots and carboxylate exudation in young P-limited ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Lambers, Hans; Bishop, John G.; Hopper, Stephen D.; Laliberté, Etienne; Zúñiga-Feest, Alejandra

    2012-01-01

    Background Carboxylate-releasing cluster roots of Proteaceae play a key role in acquiring phosphorus (P) from ancient nutrient-impoverished soils in Australia. However, cluster roots are also found in Proteaceae on young, P-rich soils in Chile where they allow P acquisition from soils that strongly sorb P. Scope Unlike Proteaceae in Australia that tend to proficiently remobilize P from senescent leaves, Chilean Proteaceae produce leaf litter rich in P. Consequently, they may act as ecosystem engineers, providing P for plants without specialized roots to access sorbed P. We propose a similar ecosystem-engineering role for species that release large amounts of carboxylates in other relatively young, strongly P-sorbing substrates, e.g. young acidic volcanic deposits and calcareous dunes. Many of these species also fix atmospheric nitrogen and release nutrient-rich litter, but their role as ecosystem engineers is commonly ascribed only to their diazotrophic nature. Conclusions We propose that the P-mobilizing capacity of Proteaceae on young soils, which contain an abundance of P, but where P is poorly available, in combination with inefficient nutrient remobilization from senescing leaves allows these species to function as ecosystem engineers. We suggest that diazotrophic species that colonize young soils with strong P-sorption potential should be considered for their positive effect on P availability, as well as their widely accepted role in nitrogen fixation. Their P-mobilizing activity possibly also enhances their nitrogen-fixing capacity. These diazotrophic species may therefore facilitate the establishment and growth of species with less-efficient P-uptake strategies on more-developed soils with low P availability through similar mechanisms. We argue that the significance of cluster roots and high carboxylate exudation in the development of young ecosystems is probably far more important than has been envisaged thus far. PMID:22700940

  1. Brucellosis at the animal/ecosystem/human interface at the beginning of the 21st century.

    PubMed

    Godfroid, J; Scholz, H C; Barbier, T; Nicolas, C; Wattiau, P; Fretin, D; Whatmore, A M; Cloeckaert, A; Blasco, J M; Moriyon, I; Saegerman, C; Muma, J B; Al Dahouk, S; Neubauer, H; Letesson, J-J

    2011-11-01

    Following the recent discovery of new Brucella strains from different animal species and from the environment, ten Brucella species are nowadays included in the genus Brucella. Although the intracellular trafficking of Brucella is well described, the strategies developed by Brucella to survive and multiply in phagocytic and non-phagocytic cells, particularly to access nutriments during its intracellular journey, are still largely unknown. Metabolism and virulence of Brucella are now considered to be two sides of the same coin. Mechanisms presiding to the colonization of the pregnant uterus in different animal species are not known. Vaccination is the cornerstone of control programs in livestock and although the S19, RB51 (both in cattle) and Rev 1 (in sheep and goats) vaccines have been successfully used worldwide, they have drawbacks and thus the ideal brucellosis vaccine is still very much awaited. There is no vaccine available for pigs and wildlife. Animal brucellosis control strategies differ in the developed and the developing world. Most emphasis is put on eradication and on risk analysis to avoid the re-introduction of Brucella in the developed world. Information related to the prevalence of brucellosis is still scarce in the developing world and control programs are rarely implemented. Since there is no vaccine available for humans, prevention of human brucellosis relies on its control in the animal reservoir. Brucella is also considered to be an agent to be used in bio- and agroterrorism attacks. At the animal/ecosystem/human interface it is critical to reduce opportunities for Brucella to jump host species as already seen in livestock, wildlife and humans. This task is a challenge for the future in terms of veterinary public health, as for wildlife and ecosystem managers and will need a "One Health" approach to be successful. PMID:21571380

  2. Ecosystem engineering and manipulation of host plant tissues by the insect borer Oncideres albomarginata chamela.

    PubMed

    Calderón-Cortés, Nancy; Uribe-Mú, Claudia A; Martínez-Méndez, A Karen; Escalera-Vázquez, Luis H; Cristobal-Pérez, E Jacob; García-Oliva, Felipe; Quesada, Mauricio

    2016-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering by insect herbivores occurs as the result of structural modification of plants manipulated by insects. However, only few studies have evaluated the effect of these modifications on the plant responses induced by stem-borers that act as ecosystem engineers. In this study, we evaluated the responses induced by the herbivory of the twig-girdler beetle Oncideres albomarginata chamela (Cerambycidae: Lamiinae) on its host plant Spondias purpurea (Anacardiaceae), and its relationship with the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer. Our results demonstrated that O. albomarginata chamela branch removal induced the development of lateral branches increasing the resources needed for the development of future insect generations, of its own offspring and of many other insect species. Detached branches represent habitats with high content of nitrogen and phosphorous, which eventually can be incorporated into the ecosystem, increasing nutrient cycling efficiency. Consequently, branch removal and the subsequent plant tissue regeneration induced by O. albomarginata chamela represent key mechanisms underlying the ecosystem engineering process carried out by this stem-borer, which enhances arthropod diversity in the ecosystem. PMID:26654885

  3. The Dry Season Shuffle: Gorges Provide Refugia for Animal Communities in Tropical Savannah Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Doody, J. Sean; Clulow, Simon; Kay, Geoff; D’Amore, Domenic; Rhind, David; Wilson, Steve; Ellis, Ryan; Castellano, Christina; McHenry, Colin; Quayle, Michelle; Hands, Kim; Sawyer, Graeme; Bass, Michael

    2015-01-01

    In the wet-dry tropics, animal species face the major challenges of acquiring food, water or shelter during an extended dry season. Although large and conspicuous animals such as ungulates and waterfowl migrate to wetter areas during this time, little is known of how smaller and more cryptic animal species with less mobility meet these challenges. We fenced off the entire entrance of a gorge in the Australian tropical savanna, offering the unique opportunity to determine the composition and seasonal movement patterns of the small vertebrate community. The 1.7 km-long fence was converted to a trapline that was deployed for 18-21 days during the early dry season in each of two years, and paired traps on both sides of the fence allowed us to detect the direction of animal movements. We predicted that semi-aquatic species (e.g., frogs and turtles) would move upstream into the wetter gorge during the dry season, while more terrestrial species (e.g., lizards, snakes, mammals) would not. The trapline captured 1590 individual vertebrates comprising 60 species. There was a significant bias for captures on the outside of the fence compared to the inside for all species combined (outside/inside = 5.2, CI = 3.7-7.2), for all vertebrate classes, and for specific taxonomic groups. The opposite bias (inside/outside = 7.3, N= 25) for turtles during the early wet season suggested return migration heading into the wet season. Our study revealed that the small vertebrate community uses the gorge as a dry season refuge. The generality of this unreplicated finding could be tested by extending this type of survey to tropical savannahs worldwide. A better understanding of how small animals use the landscape is needed to reveal the size of buffer zones around wetlands required to protect both semi-aquatic and terrestrial fauna in gorges in tropical savannah woodland, and thus in ecosystems in general. PMID:26135472

  4. The Dry Season Shuffle: Gorges Provide Refugia for Animal Communities in Tropical Savannah Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Doody, J Sean; Clulow, Simon; Kay, Geoff; D'Amore, Domenic; Rhind, David; Wilson, Steve; Ellis, Ryan; Castellano, Christina; McHenry, Colin; Quayle, Michelle; Hands, Kim; Sawyer, Graeme; Bass, Michael

    2015-01-01

    In the wet-dry tropics, animal species face the major challenges of acquiring food, water or shelter during an extended dry season. Although large and conspicuous animals such as ungulates and waterfowl migrate to wetter areas during this time, little is known of how smaller and more cryptic animal species with less mobility meet these challenges. We fenced off the entire entrance of a gorge in the Australian tropical savanna, offering the unique opportunity to determine the composition and seasonal movement patterns of the small vertebrate community. The 1.7 km-long fence was converted to a trapline that was deployed for 18-21 days during the early dry season in each of two years, and paired traps on both sides of the fence allowed us to detect the direction of animal movements. We predicted that semi-aquatic species (e.g., frogs and turtles) would move upstream into the wetter gorge during the dry season, while more terrestrial species (e.g., lizards, snakes, mammals) would not. The trapline captured 1590 individual vertebrates comprising 60 species. There was a significant bias for captures on the outside of the fence compared to the inside for all species combined (outside/inside = 5.2, CI = 3.7-7.2), for all vertebrate classes, and for specific taxonomic groups. The opposite bias (inside/outside = 7.3, N= 25) for turtles during the early wet season suggested return migration heading into the wet season. Our study revealed that the small vertebrate community uses the gorge as a dry season refuge. The generality of this unreplicated finding could be tested by extending this type of survey to tropical savannahs worldwide. A better understanding of how small animals use the landscape is needed to reveal the size of buffer zones around wetlands required to protect both semi-aquatic and terrestrial fauna in gorges in tropical savannah woodland, and thus in ecosystems in general. PMID:26135472

  5. Can orchards help connect Mediterranean ecosystems? Animal movement data alter conservation priorities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Nogeire, Theresa M.; Davis, Frank W.; Crooks, Kevin R.; McRae, Brad H.; Lyren, Lisa M.; Boydston, Erin E.

    2015-01-01

    As natural habitats become fragmented by human activities, animals must increasingly move through human-dominated systems, particularly agricultural landscapes. Mapping areas important for animal movement has therefore become a key part of conservation planning. Models of landscape connectivity are often parameterized using expert opinion and seldom distinguish between the risks and barriers presented by different crop types. Recent research, however, suggests different crop types, such as row crops and orchards, differ in the degree to which they facilitate or impede species movements. Like many mammalian carnivores, bobcats (Lynx rufus) are sensitive to fragmentation and loss of connectivity between habitat patches. We investigated how distinguishing between different agricultural land covers might change conclusions about the relative conservation importance of different land uses in a Mediterranean ecosystem. Bobcats moved relatively quickly in row crops but relatively slowly in orchards, at rates similar to those in natural habitats of woodlands and scrub. We found that parameterizing a connectivity model using empirical data on bobcat movements in agricultural lands and other land covers, instead of parameterizing the model using habitat suitability indices based on expert opinion, altered locations of predicted animal movement routes. These results emphasize that differentiating between types of agriculture can alter conservation planning outcomes.

  6. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed

    Graham, Emily B; Knelman, Joseph E; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J M; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C; Glanville, Helen C; Jones, Davey L; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M P; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C; Lopes, Ana R; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth's biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: 'When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?' We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology. PMID:26941732

  7. Partitioning the effects of an ecosystem engineer: kangaroo rats control community structure via multiple pathways.

    PubMed

    Prugh, Laura R; Brashares, Justin S

    2012-05-01

    1. Ecosystem engineers impact communities by altering habitat conditions, but they can also have strong effects through consumptive, competitive and other non-engineering pathways. 2. Engineering effects can lead to fundamentally different community dynamics than non-engineering effects, but the relative strengths of these interactions are seldom quantified. 3. We combined structural equation modelling and exclosure experiments to partition the effects of a keystone engineer, the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens), on plants, invertebrates and vertebrates in a semi-arid California grassland. 4. We separated the effects of burrow creation from kangaroo rat density and found that kangaroo rats increased the diversity and abundance of other species via both engineering and non-engineering pathways. 5. Engineering was the primary factor structuring plant and small mammal communities, whereas non-engineering effects structured invertebrate communities and increased lizard abundance. 6. These results highlight the importance of the non-engineering effects of ecosystem engineers and shed new light on the multiple pathways by which strong-interactors shape communities. PMID:22098534

  8. Microbes as engines of ecosystem function: When does community structure enhance predictions of ecosystem processes?

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; et al

    2016-02-24

    In this study, microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of processmore » rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology.« less

  9. Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas; Siciliano, Steven; Breulmann, Marc; Yannarell, Anthony; Beman, J. M.; Abell, Guy; Philippot, Laurent; Prosser, James; Foulquier, Arnaud; Yuste, Jorge C.; Glanville, Helen C.; Jones, Davey L.; Angel, Roey; Salminen, Janne; Newton, Ryan J.; Bürgmann, Helmut; Ingram, Lachlan J.; Hamer, Ute; Siljanen, Henri M. P.; Peltoniemi, Krista; Potthast, Karin; Bañeras, Lluís; Hartmann, Martin; Banerjee, Samiran; Yu, Ri-Qing; Nogaro, Geraldine; Richter, Andreas; Koranda, Marianne; Castle, Sarah C.; Goberna, Marta; Song, Bongkeun; Chatterjee, Amitava; Nunes, Olga C.; Lopes, Ana R.; Cao, Yiping; Kaisermann, Aurore; Hallin, Sara; Strickland, Michael S.; Garcia-Pausas, Jordi; Barba, Josep; Kang, Hojeong; Isobe, Kazuo; Papaspyrou, Sokratis; Pastorelli, Roberta; Lagomarsino, Alessandra; Lindström, Eva S.; Basiliko, Nathan; Nemergut, Diana R.

    2016-01-01

    Microorganisms are vital in mediating the earth’s biogeochemical cycles; yet, despite our rapidly increasing ability to explore complex environmental microbial communities, the relationship between microbial community structure and ecosystem processes remains poorly understood. Here, we address a fundamental and unanswered question in microbial ecology: ‘When do we need to understand microbial community structure to accurately predict function?’ We present a statistical analysis investigating the value of environmental data and microbial community structure independently and in combination for explaining rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling processes within 82 global datasets. Environmental variables were the strongest predictors of process rates but left 44% of variation unexplained on average, suggesting the potential for microbial data to increase model accuracy. Although only 29% of our datasets were significantly improved by adding information on microbial community structure, we observed improvement in models of processes mediated by narrow phylogenetic guilds via functional gene data, and conversely, improvement in models of facultative microbial processes via community diversity metrics. Our results also suggest that microbial diversity can strengthen predictions of respiration rates beyond microbial biomass parameters, as 53% of models were improved by incorporating both sets of predictors compared to 35% by microbial biomass alone. Our analysis represents the first comprehensive analysis of research examining links between microbial community structure and ecosystem function. Taken together, our results indicate that a greater understanding of microbial communities informed by ecological principles may enhance our ability to predict ecosystem process rates relative to assessments based on environmental variables and microbial physiology. PMID:26941732

  10. Genetic Engineering of Dystroglycan in Animal Models of Muscular Dystrophy

    PubMed Central

    Sciandra, Francesca; Bigotti, Maria Giulia; Giardina, Bruno; Bozzi, Manuela; Brancaccio, Andrea

    2015-01-01

    In skeletal muscle, dystroglycan (DG) is the central component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC), a multimeric protein complex that ensures a strong mechanical link between the extracellular matrix and the cytoskeleton. Several muscular dystrophies arise from mutations hitting most of the components of the DGC. Mutations within the DG gene (DAG1) have been recently associated with two forms of muscular dystrophy, one displaying a milder and one a more severe phenotype. This review focuses specifically on the animal (murine and others) model systems that have been developed with the aim of directly engineering DAG1 in order to study the DG function in skeletal muscle as well as in other tissues. In the last years, conditional animal models overcoming the embryonic lethality of the DG knock-out in mouse have been generated and helped clarifying the crucial role of DG in skeletal muscle, while an increasing number of studies on knock-in mice are aimed at understanding the contribution of single amino acids to the stability of DG and to the possible development of muscular dystrophy. PMID:26380289

  11. Effects of antagonistic ecosystem engineers on macrofauna communities in a patchy, intertidal mudflat landscape

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Eklöf, J. S.; Donadi, S.; van der Heide, T.; van der Zee, E. M.; Eriksson, B. K.

    2015-03-01

    Ecosystem engineers are organisms that strongly modify abiotic conditions and in the process alter associated communities. Different types of benthic ecosystem engineers have been suggested to facilitate different communities in otherwise similar marine environments, partly because they alter sediment conditions in contrasting ways. However, most studies testing this hypothesis have either not manipulated the presence of engineers, or have transplanted engineers into areas already dominated by other engineers, which limits the ability to assess the relative engineering effects. Here we combined a field survey and a field experiment to investigate if two contrasting ecosystem engineers - the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltei and the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina - facilitate different macrofauna communities. The study was performed in a sheltered mudflat area of the eastern Dutch Wadden Sea, where seagrasses and lugworms form a mosaic of spatially alternating seagrass-dominated elevations (hummocks) and lugworm-dominated depressions (hollows). Results showed that seagrasses facilitated some organisms (mainly attached epifauna) while lugworms facilitated others (primarily burrowing infauna), generating distinctly different macrofauna communities in hummocks and hollows. However, seagrasses had a much stronger effect on the macrofauna communities than lugworms, and competitively excluded lugworms. This contrasts with results from similar studies in hydrodynamically more exposed sand flats, where lugworms instead dominate communities and exclude seagrass. We therefore propose that effects of ecosystem engineering (acting primarily on a local scale) and variation in abiotic conditions (acting on larger scales, e.g., hydrodynamic gradients along the Dutch coastline) strongly interact to dictate the distribution and fitness of engineering species, and indirectly, the diversity and structure of associated benthic communities.

  12. Perspective on Models in Theoretical and Practical Traditions of Knowledge: The Example of Otto Engine Animations

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haglund, Jesper; Stromdahl, Helge

    2012-01-01

    Nineteen informants (n = 19) were asked to study and comment two computer animations of the Otto combustion engine. One animation was non-interactive and realistic in the sense of depicting a physical engine. The other animation was more idealised, interactive and synchronised with a dynamic PV-graph. The informants represented practical and…

  13. Measuring the contribution of benthic ecosystem engineering species to the ecosystem services of an estuary: A case study of burrowing shrimps in Yaquina Estuary, Oregon

    EPA Science Inventory

    Burrowing shrimps are regarded as ecosystem engineering species in many coastal ecosystems worldwide, including numerous estuaries of the west coast of North America (Baja California to British Columbia). In estuaries of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, two species of large burrowing...

  14. Measuring the contribution of benthic ecosystem engineering species to the ecosystem services of an estuary: A case study of burrowing shrimps in Yaquina Estuary, Oregon - April 2009

    EPA Science Inventory

    Burrowing shrimps are regarded as ecosystem engineering species in many coastal ecosystems worldwide, including numerous estuaries of the west coast of North America (Baja California to British Columbia). In estuaries of the U.S. Pacific Northwest, two species of large burrowing...

  15. Forest Fragmentation and Selective Logging Have Inconsistent Effects on Multiple Animal-Mediated Ecosystem Processes in a Tropical Forest

    PubMed Central

    Schleuning, Matthias; Farwig, Nina; Peters, Marcell K.; Bergsdorf, Thomas; Bleher, Bärbel; Brandl, Roland; Dalitz, Helmut; Fischer, Georg; Freund, Wolfram; Gikungu, Mary W.; Hagen, Melanie; Garcia, Francisco Hita; Kagezi, Godfrey H.; Kaib, Manfred; Kraemer, Manfred; Lung, Tobias; Schaab, Gertrud; Templin, Mathias; Uster, Dana; Wägele, J. Wolfgang; Böhning-Gaese, Katrin

    2011-01-01

    Forest fragmentation and selective logging are two main drivers of global environmental change and modify biodiversity and environmental conditions in many tropical forests. The consequences of these changes for the functioning of tropical forest ecosystems have rarely been explored in a comprehensive approach. In a Kenyan rainforest, we studied six animal-mediated ecosystem processes and recorded species richness and community composition of all animal taxa involved in these processes. We used linear models and a formal meta-analysis to test whether forest fragmentation and selective logging affected ecosystem processes and biodiversity and used structural equation models to disentangle direct from biodiversity-related indirect effects of human disturbance on multiple ecosystem processes. Fragmentation increased decomposition and reduced antbird predation, while selective logging consistently increased pollination, seed dispersal and army-ant raiding. Fragmentation modified species richness or community composition of five taxa, whereas selective logging did not affect any component of biodiversity. Changes in the abundance of functionally important species were related to lower predation by antbirds and higher decomposition rates in small forest fragments. The positive effects of selective logging on bee pollination, bird seed dispersal and army-ant raiding were direct, i.e. not related to changes in biodiversity, and were probably due to behavioural changes of these highly mobile animal taxa. We conclude that animal-mediated ecosystem processes respond in distinct ways to different types of human disturbance in Kakamega Forest. Our findings suggest that forest fragmentation affects ecosystem processes indirectly by changes in biodiversity, whereas selective logging influences processes directly by modifying local environmental conditions and resource distributions. The positive to neutral effects of selective logging on ecosystem processes show that the

  16. Soil animal responses to moisture availability are largely scale, not ecosystem dependent: insight from a cross-site study.

    PubMed

    Sylvain, Zachary A; Wall, Diana H; Cherwin, Karie L; Peters, Debra P C; Reichmann, Lara G; Sala, Osvaldo E

    2014-08-01

    Climate change will result in reduced soil water availability in much of the world either due to changes in precipitation or increased temperature and evapotranspiration. How communities of mites and nematodes may respond to changes in moisture availability is not well known, yet these organisms play important roles in decomposition and nutrient cycling processes. We determined how communities of these organisms respond to changes in moisture availability and whether common patterns occur along fine-scale gradients of soil moisture within four individual ecosystem types (mesic, xeric and arid grasslands and a polar desert) located in the western United States and Antarctica, as well as across a cross-ecosystem moisture gradient (CEMG) of all four ecosystems considered together. An elevation transect of three sampling plots was monitored within each ecosystem and soil samples were collected from these plots and from existing experimental precipitation manipulations within each ecosystem once in fall of 2009 and three times each in 2010 and 2011. Mites and nematodes were sorted to trophic groups and analyzed to determine community responses to changes in soil moisture availability. We found that while both mites and nematodes increased with available soil moisture across the CEMG, within individual ecosystems, increases in soil moisture resulted in decreases to nematode communities at all but the arid grassland ecosystem; mites showed no responses at any ecosystem. In addition, we found changes in proportional abundances of mite and nematode trophic groups as soil moisture increased within individual ecosystems, which may result in shifts within soil food webs with important consequences for ecosystem functioning. We suggest that communities of soil animals at local scales may respond predictably to changes in moisture availability regardless of ecosystem type but that additional factors, such as climate variability, vegetation composition, and soil properties may

  17. Leptospirosis in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil: An Ecosystem Approach in the Animal-Human Interface

    PubMed Central

    Schneider, Maria Cristina; Najera, Patricia; Pereira, Martha M.; Machado, Gustavo; dos Anjos, Celso B.; Rodrigues, Rogério O.; Cavagni, Gabriela M.; Muñoz-Zanzi, Claudia; Corbellini, Luis G.; Leone, Mariana; Buss, Daniel F.; Aldighieri, Sylvain; Espinal, Marcos A.

    2015-01-01

    Background Leptospirosis is an epidemic-prone neglected disease that affects humans and animals, mostly in vulnerable populations. The One Health approach is a recommended strategy to identify drivers of the disease and plan for its prevention and control. In that context, the aim of this study was to analyze the distribution of human cases of leptospirosis in the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and to explore possible drivers. Additionally, it sought to provide further evidence to support interventions and to identify hypotheses for new research at the human-animal-ecosystem interface. Methodology and findings The risk for human infection was described in relation to environmental, socioeconomic, and livestock variables. This ecological study used aggregated data by municipality (all 496). Data were extracted from secondary, publicly available sources. Thematic maps were constructed and univariate analysis performed for all variables. Negative binomial regression was used for multivariable statistical analysis of leptospirosis cases. An annual average of 428 human cases of leptospirosis was reported in the state from 2008 to 2012. The cumulative incidence in rural populations was eight times higher than in urban populations. Variables significantly associated with leptospirosis cases in the final model were: Parana/Paraiba ecoregion (RR: 2.25; CI95%: 2.03–2.49); Neossolo Litolítico soil (RR: 1.93; CI95%: 1.26–2.96); and, to a lesser extent, the production of tobacco (RR: 1.10; CI95%: 1.09–1.11) and rice (RR: 1.003; CI95%: 1.002–1.04). Conclusion Urban cases were concentrated in the capital and rural cases in a specific ecoregion. The major drivers identified in this study were related to environmental and production processes that are permanent features of the state. This study contributes to the basic knowledge on leptospirosis distribution and drivers in the state and encourages a comprehensive approach to address the disease in the animal-human-ecosystem

  18. Interactions between ecosystem engineers: A native species indirectly facilitates a non-native one

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sueiro, María Cruz; Schwindt, Evangelina; Mendez, María Martha (Pitu); Bortolus, Alejandro

    2013-08-01

    The positive impact that native species have on the survival, persistence and/or range-expansion of invasive species, is receiving increasing attention from ecologists and land managers trying to better understand and predict future invasions worldwide. Ecosystem engineers are among the best-known model organisms for such studies. The austral cordgrass Spartina densiflora is an ecosystem engineer native to South America coast, where it colonizes rocky shores that were recently successfully invaded by the acorn barnacle Balanus glandula. We conducted a field experiment combining living Spartina transplants and artificial model plants in order to address the following questions: Does the native ecosystem engineer S. densiflora facilitate the invasion of rocky shores by B. glandula? If so, how much of this facilitation is caused by its physical structure alone? We found that S. densiflora had a positive effect on the invasive barnacle by trapping among its stems, the mussels, shells and gravels where B. glandula settles. Dislodged mussels, cobbles, and small shells covered and agglutinated by living barnacles were retained within the aboveground structures of S. densiflora while the control plots (without living or artificial plant structures) remained mostly bare throughout the experiment, showing how plant structures speed the colonization process. Moreover, transplanting living Spartina and artificial Spartina models led to a maximum increase in the area covered by barnacles of more than 1700% relative to the unvegetated control plots. Our study clearly shows how a native ecosystem engineers can enhance the success of invasive species and facilitate their local spread.

  19. Linking populations to landscapes: richness scenarios resulting from changes in the dynamics of an ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Wright, Justin P

    2009-12-01

    Predicting the effects of the loss of individual species on diversity represents one of the primary challenges facing community ecology. One pathway by which organisms of one species affect the distribution of species is ecosystem engineering. Changes in the dynamics of ecosystem engineers that lead to changes in the distribution of the patches of altered habitat are likely to lead to changes in diversity. I link data on the distribution of plant species found in the riparian zone of the Adirondacks (New York, USA) in patches modified by beaver and in unmodified forest patches to a model connecting the dynamics of ecosystem engineers to the dynamics of the patches that they create. These analyses demonstrate that changes in key parameters of the model, such as decreases in beaver colonization rates and rate of patch abandonment, lead to changes in species richness of up to 45% at the landscape scale, and that these changes are likely to occur over long time scales. This general approach of linking the population dynamics or behavior of a single species to changes in species richness at the landscape scale provides a means for both testing the importance of ecosystem engineering in different systems and developing scenarios to predict how changes in the dynamics of a single species are likely to affect species richness. PMID:20120810

  20. Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica: a malevolent, benevolent, or benign invasive ecosystem engineer?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Dwarf eelgrass, Zostera japonica, is an introduced ecosystem engineering species first reported on the US west coast in 1957. In some US Pacific Northwest estuaries its areal coverage now exceeds that of the native eelgrass species, Zostera marina. Natural resource management’s...

  1. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: A test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) can substantially modify aboveground and belowground structure of grassland and shrubland ecosystems, but generalizations about their engineering effect on aboveground vegetation structure are derived largely from intensive studies at a single site in the northern mixed p...

  2. Pre-Columbian agricultural landscapes, ecosystem engineers, and self-organized patchiness in Amazonia

    PubMed Central

    McKey, Doyle; Rostain, Stéphen; Iriarte, José; Glaser, Bruno; Birk, Jago Jonathan; Holst, Irene; Renard, Delphine

    2010-01-01

    The scale and nature of pre-Columbian human impacts in Amazonia are currently hotly debated. Whereas pre-Columbian people dramatically changed the distribution and abundance of species and habitats in some parts of Amazonia, their impact in other parts is less clear. Pioneer research asked whether their effects reached even further, changing how ecosystems function, but few in-depth studies have examined mechanisms underpinning the resilience of these modifications. Combining archeology, archeobotany, paleoecology, soil science, ecology, and aerial imagery, we show that pre-Columbian farmers of the Guianas coast constructed large raised-field complexes, growing on them crops including maize, manioc, and squash. Farmers created physical and biogeochemical heterogeneity in flat, marshy environments by constructing raised fields. When these fields were later abandoned, the mosaic of well-drained islands in the flooded matrix set in motion self-organizing processes driven by ecosystem engineers (ants, termites, earthworms, and woody plants) that occur preferentially on abandoned raised fields. Today, feedbacks generated by these ecosystem engineers maintain the human-initiated concentration of resources in these structures. Engineer organisms transport materials to abandoned raised fields and modify the structure and composition of their soils, reducing erodibility. The profound alteration of ecosystem functioning in these landscapes coconstructed by humans and nature has important implications for understanding Amazonian history and biodiversity. Furthermore, these landscapes show how sustainability of food-production systems can be enhanced by engineering into them fallows that maintain ecosystem services and biodiversity. Like anthropogenic dark earths in forested Amazonia, these self-organizing ecosystems illustrate the ecological complexity of the legacy of pre-Columbian land use. PMID:20385814

  3. Measuring Animal Movements in a Natural Ecosystem: A Mark-Recapture Investigation Using Stream-Dwelling Snails

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stewart, Timothy W.

    2007-01-01

    In this investigation, students measure and describe movements of animals in a natural ecosystem. Students mark stream-dwelling snails with nail polish, then search for these snails 1-7 days later. Distances and directions moved by recaptured snails are recorded. Simple statistical techniques are used to answer specific research questions and…

  4. Knowledge translation in rehabilitation engineering research and development: a knowledge ecosystem framework.

    PubMed

    Chau, Tom; Moghimi, Saba; Popovic, Milos R

    2013-01-01

    Rehabilitation engineering is concerned with technology innovations and technology-mediated treatments for the improvement of quality of care and quality of life of individuals with disability. Unlike many other fields of health research, the knowledge translation (KT) cycle of rehabilitation engineering research and development (R&D) is often considered incomplete until a technology product or technology-facilitated therapy is available to target clientele. As such, the KT journey of rehabilitation engineering R&D is extremely challenging, necessarily involving knowledge exchange among numerous players across multiple sectors. In this article, we draw on recent literature about the knowledge trichotomy in technology-based rehabilitation R&D and propose a knowledge ecosystem to frame the rehabilitation engineering KT process from need to product. Identifying the principal process of the ecosystem as one of knowledge flow, we elucidate the roles of repository and networked knowledge, identify key consumers and producers in a trinity of communities of practice, and draw on knowledge management literature to describe different knowledge flows. The article concludes with instantiations of this knowledge ecosystem for 2 local rehabilitation engineering research-development-commercialization endeavors. PMID:23260777

  5. Global change accelerates carbon assimilation by a wetland ecosystem engineer

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caplan, Joshua S.; Hager, Rachel N.; Megonigal, J. Patrick; Mozdzer, Thomas J.

    2015-11-01

    The primary productivity of coastal wetlands is changing dramatically in response to rising atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, nitrogen (N) enrichment, and invasions by novel species, potentially altering their ecosystem services and resilience to sea level rise. In order to determine how these interacting global change factors will affect coastal wetland productivity, we quantified growing-season carbon assimilation (≈gross primary productivity, or GPP) and carbon retained in living plant biomass (≈net primary productivity, or NPP) of North American mid-Atlantic saltmarshes invaded by Phragmites australis (common reed) under four treatment conditions: two levels of CO2 (ambient and +300 ppm) crossed with two levels of N (0 and 25 g N added m-2 yr-1). For GPP, we combined descriptions of canopy structure and leaf-level photosynthesis in a simulation model, using empirical data from an open-top chamber field study. Under ambient CO2 and low N loading (i.e., the Control), we determined GPP to be 1.66 ± 0.05 kg C m-2 yr-1 at a typical Phragmites stand density. Individually, elevated CO2 and N enrichment increased GPP by 44 and 60%, respectively. Changes under N enrichment came largely from stimulation to carbon assimilation early and late in the growing season, while changes from CO2 came from stimulation during the early and mid-growing season. In combination, elevated CO2 and N enrichment increased GPP by 95% over the Control, yielding 3.24 ± 0.08 kg C m-2 yr-1. We used biomass data to calculate NPP, and determined that it represented 44%-60% of GPP, with global change conditions decreasing carbon retention compared to the Control. Our results indicate that Phragmites invasions in eutrophied saltmarshes are driven, in part, by extended phenology yielding 3.1× greater NPP than native marsh. Further, we can expect elevated CO2 to amplify Phragmites productivity throughout the growing season, with potential implications including accelerated spread

  6. The effect of termites as ecosystem engineers in the humid tropics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martius, C.

    2001-12-01

    The effects of termites as "ecosystem engineers" in humid tropical ecosystems are manyfold and range from the modification of content and composition of organic matter in soils, changes of the soil structure, over effects on the composition of vegetation, to the enhancement of biodiversity of other organisms. An overview if given over findings of recent years with a focus on termites in Amazonian rain forests. Factors that determine termite distribution and diversity are then discussed, and the pests status of termites is shortly reviewed, on the basis of which management strategies for this particular group of soil organisms are outlined.

  7. The net return from animal activity in agro-ecosystems: trading off benefits from ecosystem services against costs from crop damage.

    PubMed

    Luck, Gary W

    2013-01-01

    Animals provide benefits to agriculture through the provision of ecosystem services, but also inflict costs such as damaging crops. These benefits and costs are mostly examined independently, rather than comparing the trade-offs of animal activity in the same system and quantifying the net return from beneficial minus detrimental activities. Here, I examine the net return associated with the activity of seed-eating birds in almond orchards by quantifying the economic costs and benefits of bird consumption of almonds. Pre-harvest, the consumption of harvestable almonds by birds cost growers AUD$57.50 ha (-1) when averaged across the entire plantation. Post-harvest, the same bird species provide an ecosystem service by removing mummified nuts from trees that growers otherwise need to remove to reduce threats from fungal infection or insect pest infestations. The value of this ecosystem service ranged from AUD$82.50 ha (-1)-$332.50 ha (-1) based on the replacement costs of mechanical or manual removal of mummified nuts, respectively. Hence, bird consumption of almonds yielded a positive net return of AUD$25-$275 ha (-1) averaged across the entire plantation. However, bird activity varied spatially resulting in positive net returns occurring primarily at the edges of crops where activity was higher, compared to negative net returns in crop interiors. Moreover, partial mummy nut removal by birds meant that bird activity may only reduce costs to growers rather than replace these costs completely. Similar cost-benefit trade-offs exist across nature, and quantifying net returns can better inform land management decisions such as when to control pests or promote ecosystem service provision. PMID:25285202

  8. The net return from animal activity in agro-ecosystems: trading off benefits from ecosystem services against costs from crop damage

    PubMed Central

    Luck, Gary W

    2014-01-01

    Animals provide benefits to agriculture through the provision of ecosystem services, but also inflict costs such as damaging crops. These benefits and costs are mostly examined independently, rather than comparing the trade-offs of animal activity in the same system and quantifying the net return from beneficial minus detrimental activities. Here, I examine the net return associated with the activity of seed-eating birds in almond orchards by quantifying the economic costs and benefits of bird consumption of almonds. Pre-harvest, the consumption of harvestable almonds by birds cost growers AUD$57.50 ha -1 when averaged across the entire plantation. Post-harvest, the same bird species provide an ecosystem service by removing mummified nuts from trees that growers otherwise need to remove to reduce threats from fungal infection or insect pest infestations. The value of this ecosystem service ranged from AUD$82.50 ha -1–$332.50 ha -1 based on the replacement costs of mechanical or manual removal of mummified nuts, respectively. Hence, bird consumption of almonds yielded a positive net return of AUD$25–$275 ha -1 averaged across the entire plantation. However, bird activity varied spatially resulting in positive net returns occurring primarily at the edges of crops where activity was higher, compared to negative net returns in crop interiors. Moreover, partial mummy nut removal by birds meant that bird activity may only reduce costs to growers rather than replace these costs completely. Similar cost-benefit trade-offs exist across nature, and quantifying net returns can better inform land management decisions such as when to control pests or promote ecosystem service provision. PMID:25285202

  9. The use of animal models in developing the discipline of cardiovascular tissue engineering: a review.

    PubMed

    Rashid, S Tawqeer; Salacinski, Henryk J; Hamilton, George; Seifalian, Alexander M

    2004-04-01

    Cardiovascular disease remains one of the major causes of death and disability in the Western world. Tissue engineering offers the prospect of being able to meet the demand for replacement of heart valves, vessels for coronary and lower limb bypass surgery and the generation of cardiac tissue for addition to the diseased heart. In order to test prospective tissue-engineered devices, these constructs must first be proven in animal models before receiving CE marking or FDA approval for a clinical trial. The choice of animal depends on the nature of the tissue-engineered construct being tested. Factors that need to be considered include technical requirements of implanting the construct, availability of the animal, cost and ethical considerations. In this paper, we review the history of animal studies in cardiovascular tissue engineering and the uses of animal tissue as sources for tissue engineering. PMID:14697864

  10. Demography of the ecosystem engineer Crassostrea gigas, related to vertical reef accretion and reef persistence

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Walles, Brenda; Mann, Roger; Ysebaert, Tom; Troost, Karin; Herman, Peter M. J.; Smaal, Aad C.

    2015-03-01

    Marine species characterized as structure building, autogenic ecosystem engineers are recognized worldwide as potential tools for coastal adaptation efforts in the face of sea level rise. Successful employment of ecosystem engineers in coastal protection largely depends on long-term persistence of their structure, which is in turn dependent on the population dynamics of the individual species. Oysters, such as the Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas), are recognized as ecosystem engineers with potential for use in coastal protection. Persistence of oyster reefs is strongly determined by recruitment and shell production (growth), processes facilitated by gregarious settlement on extant shell substrate. Although the Pacific oyster has been introduced world-wide, and has formed dense reefs in the receiving coastal waters, the population biology of live oysters and the quantitative mechanisms maintaining these reefs has rarely been studied, hence the aim of the present work. This study had two objectives: (1) to describe the demographics of extant C. gigas reefs, and (2) to estimate vertical reef accretion rates and carbonate production in these oyster reefs. Three long-living oyster reefs (>30 years old), which have not been exploited since their first occurrence, were examined in the Oosterschelde estuary in the Netherlands. A positive reef accretion rate (7.0-16.9 mm year-1 shell material) was observed, consistent with self-maintenance and persistent structure. We provide a framework to predict reef accretion and population persistence under varying recruitment, growth and mortality scenarios.

  11. Evidence for and geomorphologic consequences of a reptilian ecosystem engineer: The burrowing cascade initiated by the Gopher Tortoise

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kinlaw, A.; Grasmueck, M.

    2012-07-01

    Physical ecosystem engineers often make major, durable physical constructs that can provide living space for other species and can structure local animal communities over evolutionary time. In Florida, a medium sized chelonian, the Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) will excavate extensive subterranean chambers that can endure for long periods of time. The tortoise starts a 'burrowing cascade', by first excavating a larger burrow that may extend 10 m, which is then re-engineered by Florida Mice (Podomys floridanus) and other rodents that dig smaller side-burrows and pockets. This sequence is often followed by an invertebrate, the camel cricket (Ceuthophilus labibuli) which is reported to excavate even smaller chambers. Our first aim was to quantify the zoogeomorphic impact of this burrowing cascade by measuring the amount of soil excavated in a large sample of burrows in two communities. Secondly, we hypothesized that the high biodiversity reported for these structures might be related to the quasi-fractal nature of the geometry, following the work of Frontier (1987). To visualize this underground geometry, we used high-resolution 3D Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), which provided images and insights previously unobtainable using excavations or 2D GPR. Our images verified that the active tortoise burrow had a spiraling shape, but also showed splits in the larger burrow apparently dug by tortoises. For the first time, the smaller Florida Mouse burrows were imaged, showing side loops that exit and re-renter the tortoise burrow. This study also presents new information by making the discovery of numerous remnants of past tortoise burrows underground in the sampling grid surrounding the active burrow. Our third aim was to interpret our field results with previous ecological field studies to evaluate the strength of evidence that this species ranks as an ecosystem engineer.

  12. Habitat-Mediated Variation in the Importance of Ecosystem Engineers for Secondary Cavity Nesters in a Nest Web

    PubMed Central

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2014-01-01

    Through physical state changes in biotic or abiotic materials, ecosystem engineers modulate resource availability to other organisms and are major drivers of evolutionary and ecological dynamics. Understanding whether and how ecosystem engineers are interchangeable for resource users in different habitats is a largely neglected topic in ecosystem engineering research that can improve our understanding of the structure of communities. We addressed this issue in a cavity-nest web (1999–2011). In aspen groves, the presence of mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) and tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolour) nests was positively related to the density of cavities supplied by northern flickers (Colaptes auratus), which provided the most abundant cavities (1.61 cavities/ha). Flickers in aspen groves provided numerous nesting cavities to bluebirds (66%) and swallows (46%), despite previous research showing that flicker cavities are avoided by swallows. In continuous mixed forests, however, the presence of nesting swallows was mainly related to cavity density of red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicus nuchalis), which provided the most abundant cavities (0.52 cavities/ha), and to cavity density of hairy woodpeckers (Picoides villosus), which provided few (0.14 cavities/ha) but high-quality cavities. Overall, sapsuckers and hairy woodpeckers provided 86% of nesting cavities to swallows in continuous forests. In contrast, the presence of nesting bluebirds in continuous forests was associated with the density of cavities supplied by all the ecosystem engineers. These results suggest that (i) habitat type may mediate the associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users, and (ii) different ecosystem engineers may be interchangeable for resource users depending on the quantity and quality of resources that each engineer supplies in each habitat type. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of the variation in the quantity and quality of resources provided by ecosystem engineers

  13. Disturbance facilitates the coexistence of antagonistic ecosystem engineers in California estuaries.

    PubMed

    Castorani, Max C N; Hovel, Kevin A; Williams, Susan L; Baskett, Marissa L

    2014-08-01

    Ecological theory predicts that interactions between antagonistic ecosystem engineers can lead to local competitive exclusion, but disturbance can facilitate broader coexistence. However, few empirical studies have tested the potential for disturbance to mediate competition between engineers. We examined the capacity for disturbance and habitat modification to explain the disjunct distributions of two benthic ecosystem engineers, eelgrass Zostera marina and the burrowing ghost shrimp Neotrypaea californiensis, in two California estuaries. Sediment sampling in eelgrass and ghost shrimp patches revealed that ghost shrimp change benthic biogeochemistry over small scales (centimeters) but not patch scales (meters to tens of meters), suggesting a limited capacity for sediment modification to explain species distributions. To determine the relative competitive abilities of engineers, we conducted reciprocal transplantations of ghost shrimp and eelgrass. Local ghost shrimp densities declined rapidly following the addition of eelgrass, and transplanted eelgrass expanded laterally into the surrounding ghost shrimp-dominated areas. When transplanted into eelgrass patches, ghost shrimp failed to persist. Ghost shrimp were also displaced from plots with structural mimics of eelgrass rhizomes and roots, suggesting that autogenic habitat modification by eelgrass is an important mechanism determining ghost shrimp distributions. However, ghost shrimp were able to rapidly colonize experimental disturbances to eelgrass patch edges, which are common in shallow estuaries. We conclude that coexistence in this system is maintained by spatiotemporally asynchronous disturbances and a competition-colonization trade-off: eelgrass is a competitively superior ecosystem engineer, but benthic disturbances permit the coexistence of ghost shrimp at the landscape scale by modulating the availability of space. PMID:25230478

  14. Balkanized Research in Ecological Engineering Revealed by a Bibliometric Analysis of Earthworms and Ecosystem Services

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blouin, Manuel; Sery, Nicolas; Cluzeau, Daniel; Brun, Jean-Jacques; Bédécarrats, Alain

    2013-08-01

    Energy crisis, climate changes, and biodiversity losses have reinforced the drive for more ecologically-based approaches for environmental management. Such approaches are characterized by the use of organisms rather than energy-consuming technologies. Although earthworms are believed to be potentially useful organisms for managing ecosystem services, there is actually no quantification of such a trend in literature. This bibliometric analysis aimed to measure the evolution of the association of "earthworms" and other terms such as ecosystem services (primary production, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, soil structure, and pollution remediation), "ecological engineering" or "biodiversity," to assess their convergence or divergence through time. In this aim, we calculated the similarity index, an indicator of the paradigmatic proximity defined in applied epistemology, for each year between 1900 and 2009. We documented the scientific fields and the geographical origins of the studies, as well as the land uses, and compare these characteristics with a 25 years old review on earthworm management. The association of earthworm related keywords with ecosystem services related keywords was increasing with time, reflecting the growing interest in earthworm use in biodiversity and ecosystem services management. Conversely, no significant increase in the association between earthworms and disciplines such as ecological engineering or restoration ecology was observed. This demonstrated that general ecologically-based approaches have yet to emerge and that there is little exchange of knowledge, methods or concepts among balkanized application realms. Nevertheless, there is a strong need for crossing the frontiers between fields of application and for developing an umbrella discipline to provide a framework for the use of organisms to manage ecosystem services.

  15. Balkanized research in ecological engineering revealed by a bibliometric analysis of earthworms and ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Blouin, Manuel; Sery, Nicolas; Cluzeau, Daniel; Brun, Jean-Jacques; Bédécarrats, Alain

    2013-08-01

    Energy crisis, climate changes, and biodiversity losses have reinforced the drive for more ecologically-based approaches for environmental management. Such approaches are characterized by the use of organisms rather than energy-consuming technologies. Although earthworms are believed to be potentially useful organisms for managing ecosystem services, there is actually no quantification of such a trend in literature. This bibliometric analysis aimed to measure the evolution of the association of "earthworms" and other terms such as ecosystem services (primary production, nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration, soil structure, and pollution remediation), "ecological engineering" or "biodiversity," to assess their convergence or divergence through time. In this aim, we calculated the similarity index, an indicator of the paradigmatic proximity defined in applied epistemology, for each year between 1900 and 2009. We documented the scientific fields and the geographical origins of the studies, as well as the land uses, and compare these characteristics with a 25 years old review on earthworm management. The association of earthworm related keywords with ecosystem services related keywords was increasing with time, reflecting the growing interest in earthworm use in biodiversity and ecosystem services management. Conversely, no significant increase in the association between earthworms and disciplines such as ecological engineering or restoration ecology was observed. This demonstrated that general ecologically-based approaches have yet to emerge and that there is little exchange of knowledge, methods or concepts among balkanized application realms. Nevertheless, there is a strong need for crossing the frontiers between fields of application and for developing an umbrella discipline to provide a framework for the use of organisms to manage ecosystem services. PMID:23716007

  16. Recruitment dynamics of two ecosystem engineers could drive shellfish populations in U.S. west coast estuaries

    EPA Science Inventory

    Two species of burrowing shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis and Upogebia pugettensis are important members of intertidal mudflat communities in US West coast estuaries. Both species act as ecosystem engineers and influence the presence of other structured habitats and suspension ...

  17. FIELD CALIBRATION OF SOIL-CORE MICROCOSMS FOR EVALUATING FATE AND EFFECTS OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED MICROORGANISMS IN TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Pacific Northwest Laboratory compared intact soil-core microcosms and the field for ecosystem structural and functional properties after the introduction of a model genetically engineered microorganism (GEM). This project used two distinct microbial types as model GEMs, Gram nega...

  18. Non-linear density-dependent effects of an intertidal ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Harley, Christopher D G; O'Riley, Jaclyn L

    2011-06-01

    Ecosystem engineering is an important process in a variety of ecosystems. However, the relationship between engineer density and engineering impact remains poorly understood. We used experiments and a mathematical model to examine the role of engineer density in a rocky intertidal community in northern California. In this system, the whelk Nucella ostrina preys on barnacles (Balanus glandula and Chthamalus dalli), leaving empty barnacle tests as a resource (favorable microhabitat) for other species. Field experiments demonstrated that N. ostrina predation increased the availability of empty tests of both barnacle species, reduced the density of the competitively dominant B. glandula, and indirectly increased the density of the competitively inferior C. dalli. Empty barnacle tests altered microhabitat humidity, but not temperature, and presumably provided a refuge from wave action. The herbivorous snail Littorina plena was positively associated with empty test availability in both observational comparisons and experimental manipulations of empty test availability, and L. plena density was elevated in areas with foraging N. ostrina. To explore the effects of variation in N. ostrina predation, we constructed a demographic matrix model for barnacles in which we varied predation intensity. The model predicted that number of available empty tests increases with predation intensity to a point, but declines when predation pressure was strong enough to severely reduce adult barnacle densities. The modeled number of available empty tests therefore peaked at an intermediate level of N. ostrina predation. Non-linear relationships between engineer density and engineer impact may be a generally important attribute of systems in which engineers influence the population dynamics of the species that they manipulate. PMID:21170751

  19. Contrasting effects of ecosystem engineering by the cordgrass Spartina maritima and the sandprawn Callianassa kraussi in a marine-dominated lagoon

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pillay, D.; Branch, G. M.; Dawson, J.; Henry, D.

    2011-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering by plants and animals significantly influences community structure and the physico-chemical characteristics of marine habitats. In this paper we document the contrasting effects of ecosystem engineering by the cordgrass Spartina maritima and the burrowing sandprawn Callianassa kraussi on physico-chemical characteristics, microflora, macrofaunal community structure and morphological attributes in the high shore intertidal sandflats of Langebaan Lagoon, a marine-dominated system on the west coast of South Africa. Comparisons were made at six sites in the lagoon within Spartina and Callianassa beds, and in a "bare zone" of sandflat between these two habitats that lacks both sandprawns and cordgrass. Sediments in Spartina habitats were consolidated by the root-shoot systems of the cordgrass, leading to low sediment penetrability, while sediments in beds of C. kraussi were more penetrable, primarily due to the destabilising effects of sandprawn bioturbation. Sediments in the "bare zone" had intermediate to low values of penetrability. Sediment organic content was lowest in bare zones and greatest in Spartina beds, while sediment chl- a levels were greatest on bare sand, but were progressively reduced in the Spartina and Callianassa beds. These differences among habitats induced by ecosystem engineering in turn affected the macrofauna. Community structure was different between all three habitats sampled, with species richness being surprisingly greater in Callianassa beds than either the bare zone or Spartina beds. In general, the binding of surface sediments by the root systems of Spartina favoured rigid-bodied, surface-dwelling and tube-building species, while the destabilising effect of bioturbation by C. kraussi favoured burrowing species. The contrasting effects of these ecosystem engineers suggest that they play important roles in increasing habitat heterogeneity. Importantly, the role of bioturbation by C. kraussi in enhancing macrofaunal

  20. Biological modifiers of marine benthic seascapes: Their role as ecosystem engineers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Meadows, Peter S.; Meadows, Azra; Murray, John M. H.

    2012-07-01

    Benthic organisms in marine ecosystems modify the environment on different spatial and temporal scales. These modifications, many of which are initially at a microscale, are likely to have large scale effects on benthic seascapes. This is especially so if the species are ecosystem engineers. Most species of infaunal and epifaunal invertebrates and macrophytes contribute at a geophysical or geochemical level. Microorganisms also play a key but currently neglected role. In the intertidal and immediately sublittoral zone, algae and seagrasses, and mussels in mussel beds have received considerable attention. A substantial fossil record also exists. Mathematical modelling of these systems is still in its infancy, although several sophisticated mathematical tools have been applied. The effects of bioturbation and of microorganisms have been less studied, and little is known about the activities of benthic organisms in the deep sea. This paper addresses all these effects, and places them in the context of large scale benthic seascapes and of the extensive literature on species defined as ecosystem engineers in the sea.

  1. Biomechanical considerations of animal models used in tissue engineering of bone.

    PubMed

    Liebschner, Michael A K

    2004-04-01

    Tissue engineering combines the aspects of cell biology, engineering, material science, and surgery to generate new functional tissue, and provides an important approach to the repair of segmental defects and in restoring biomechanical function. The development of tissue-engineering strategies into clinical therapeutic protocols requires extensive, preclinical experimentation in appropriate animal models. The ultimate success of any treatment strategy must be established in these animal models before clinical application. It is clear that the demands of the biological and mechanical environment in the clinical repair of critical size defects with tissue-engineered materials is significantly different from those existing in experimental animals. The major considerations facing any tissue-engineering testing logic include the choice of the defect, the animal, the age of the animal, the anatomic site, the size of the lesion, and most importantly, the micro-mechanical environment. With respect to biomechanical considerations when selecting animals for tissue- engineering of bone, it is evident that no common criteria have been reported. While in smaller animals due to size constraint only structural properties of whole bones can be measured, in larger animals and humans both material properties and structural properties are of interest. Based on reported results, comparison between the tissue-engineered bone across species may be of importance in establishing better model selection criteria. It has already been found that the deformation of long bones is fairly constant across species, and that stress levels during gait are dependent on the weight of the animal and the material properties of the bone tissue. Future research should therefore be geared towards developing better biomechanical testing systems and then finding the right animal model for the existing equipment. PMID:14697871

  2. Habitat complexity and community composition: relationships between different ecosystem engineers and the associated macroinvertebrate assemblages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sueiro, María Cruz; Bortolus, Alejandro; Schwindt, Evangelina

    2011-12-01

    Several species of ecosystem engineers inhabiting coastal environments have been reported structuring different kinds of communities. The magnitude of this influence often depends on the habitat complexity introduced by the engineers. It is commonly accepted that an increase in habitat complexity will result in an increase in diversity and/or abundance in the associated fauna. The rocky salt marshes along the coast of Patagonia are dominated by cordgrasses, mussels, and barnacles forming a mosaic of engineered habitats with different complexity. This system allows us to address the following questions: how different is a macroinvertebrate assemblage when dominated by different ecosystem engineers? And, is there a positive relationship between increasing habitat complexity and the species richness, diversity and total density of the assemblages? To address these questions, we compared the three ecological scenarios with decreasing habitat complexity: cordgrass-mussel, mussel, and barnacle-engineered habitats. We found a total of 22 taxa mostly crustaceans and polychaetes common to all scenarios. The three engineered habitats showed different macroinvertebrate assemblages, mainly due to differences in individual abundances of some taxa. The cryptogenic amphipod Orchestia gammarella was found strictly associated with the cordgrass-mussel habitat. Species richness and diversity were positively related with habitat complexity while total density showed the opposite trend. Our study suggests that species vary their relative distribution and abundances in response to different habitat complexity. Nevertheless, the direction (i.e., neutral, positive or negative) and intensity of the community's response seem to depend on the physiological requirements of the different species and their efficiency to readjust their local spatial distribution in the short term.

  3. Bio-geomorphology of estuaries: the need for understanding the balance between ecosystem engineering, physical forcing and biomechanical species interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd; Balke, Thorsten; van Belzen, Jim; Cozzoli, Francesco; Suykerbuyk, Wouter; van Katwijk, Marieke; Temmerman, Stijn; Herman, Peter

    2013-04-01

    The estuarine environment is strongly affected by the hydrodynamic forces from currents and waves, which often form both a resource and a stress to the organisms inhabiting these areas. Organisms that inhabit these areas interact with these physical forces, and may thereby modify their abiotic environment. This is referred to as ecosystem engineering (EE), which may result in locally improved growing conditions for the organisms. By their activities, ecosystem engineers (EE's) can have major influence on sediment dynamics in the coastal ecosystems and may create self-organised bio-geomorphologic landscapes. However, the physical-driven sediment dynamics may also impose control over organism establishment and performance. And on top of that, ecosystem engineering organisms may affect the occurrence of each other via their effect on the environment (i.e., 'biomechanical warfare'). The combination of these 3 types of interactions makes the dynamics of biogeomorphic ecosystems complex to understand and model, and restoration of biogeomorphic ecosystems hard to accomplish. In our presentation we will highlight 3 aspects that we see as crucial to improve our understanding, modelling and restoration of biogeomorphic ecosystems: (1) the possibility to generalise EE-effects across species (2) identifying to which extent physical forcing may enable vs. restrict EE-effects (3) understanding the biological and physical thresholds to the establishment of EE's, and the long-term dynamics of biogemorphic ecosystems. Each of these aspects will be discussed based on experimental results.

  4. The potential of tissue engineering for developing alternatives to animal experiments: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    de Vries, Rob B M; Leenaars, Marlies; Tra, Joppe; Huijbregtse, Robbertjan; Bongers, Erik; Jansen, John A; Gordijn, Bert; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel

    2015-07-01

    An underexposed ethical issue raised by tissue engineering is the use of laboratory animals in tissue engineering research. Even though this research results in suffering and loss of life in animals, tissue engineering also has great potential for the development of alternatives to animal experiments. With the objective of promoting a joint effort of tissue engineers and alternative experts to fully realise this potential, this study provides the first comprehensive overview of the possibilities of using tissue-engineered constructs as a replacement of laboratory animals. Through searches in two large biomedical databases (PubMed, Embase) and several specialised 3R databases, 244 relevant primary scientific articles, published between 1991 and 2011, were identified. By far most articles reviewed related to the use of tissue-engineered skin/epidermis for toxicological applications such as testing for skin irritation. This review article demonstrates, however, that the potential for the development of alternatives also extends to other tissues such as other epithelia and the liver, as well as to other fields of application such as drug screening and basic physiology. This review discusses which impediments need to be overcome to maximise the contributions that the field of tissue engineering can make, through the development of alternative methods, to the reduction of the use and suffering of laboratory animals. PMID:23554402

  5. Niche inheritance: a cooperative pathway to enhance cancer cell fitness through ecosystem engineering.

    PubMed

    Yang, Kimberline R; Mooney, Steven M; Zarif, Jelani C; Coffey, Donald S; Taichman, Russell S; Pienta, Kenneth J

    2014-09-01

    Cancer cells can be described as an invasive species that is able to establish itself in a new environment. The concept of niche construction can be utilized to describe the process by which cancer cells terraform their environment, thereby engineering an ecosystem that promotes the genetic fitness of the species. Ecological dispersion theory can then be utilized to describe and model the steps and barriers involved in a successful diaspora as the cancer cells leave the original host organ and migrate to new host organs to successfully establish a new metastatic community. These ecological concepts can be further utilized to define new diagnostic and therapeutic areas for lethal cancers. PMID:24700698

  6. Telos, conservation of welfare, and ethical issues in genetic engineering of animals.

    PubMed

    Rollin, Bernard E

    2015-01-01

    The most long-lived metaphysics or view of reality in the history of Western thought is Aristotle's teleology, which reigned for almost 2,000 years. Biology was expressed in terms of function or telos, and accorded perfectly with common sense. The rise of mechanistic, Newtonian science vanquished teleological explanations. Understanding and accommodating animal telos was essential to success in animal husbandry, which involved respect for telos, and was presuppositional to our "ancient contract" with domestic animals. Telos was further abandoned with the rise of industrial agriculture, which utilized "technological fixes" to force animal into environments they were unsuited for, while continuing to be productive. Loss of husbandry and respect for telos created major issues for farm animal welfare, and forced the creation of a new ethic demanding respect for telos. As genetic engineering developed, the notion arose of modifying animals to fit their environment in order to avoid animal suffering, rather than fitting them into congenial environments. Most people do not favor changing the animals, rather than changing the conditions under which they are reared. Aesthetic appreciation of husbandry and virtue ethics militate in favor of restoring husbandry, rather than radically changing animal teloi. One, however, does not morally wrong teloi by changing them-one can only wrong individuals. In biomedical research, we do indeed inflict major pain, suffering and disease on animals. And genetic engineering seems to augment our ability to create animals to model diseases, particularly more than 3,000 known human genetic diseases. The disease, known as Lesch-Nyhan's syndrome or HPRT deficiency, which causes self-mutilation and mental retardation, provides us with a real possibility for genetically creating "animal models" of this disease, animals doomed to a life of great and unalleviable suffering. This of course creates a major moral dilemma. Perhaps one can use the very

  7. Ecosystem engineering varies spatially: a test of the vegetation modification paradigm for prairie dogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baker, Bruce W.; Augustine, David J.; Sedgwick, James A.; Lubow, Bruce C.

    2013-01-01

    Colonial, burrowing herbivores can be engineers of grassland and shrubland ecosystems worldwide. Spatial variation in landscapes suggests caution when extrapolating single-place studies of single species, but lack of data and the need to generalize often leads to ‘model system’ thinking and application of results beyond appropriate statistical inference. Generalizations about the engineering effects of prairie dogs (Cynomys sp.) developed largely from intensive study at a single complex of black-tailed prairie dogs C. ludovicianus in northern mixed prairie, but have been extrapolated to other ecoregions and prairie dog species in North America, and other colonial, burrowing herbivores. We tested the paradigm that prairie dogs decrease vegetation volume and the cover of grasses and tall shrubs, and increase bare ground and forb cover. We sampled vegetation on and off 279 colonies at 13 complexes of 3 prairie dog species widely distributed across 5 ecoregions in North America. The paradigm was generally supported at 7 black-tailed prairie dog complexes in northern mixed prairie, where vegetation volume, grass cover, and tall shrub cover were lower, and bare ground and forb cover were higher, on colonies than at paired off-colony sites. Outside the northern mixed prairie, all 3 prairie dog species consistently reduced vegetation volume, but their effects on cover of plant functional groups varied with prairie dog species and the grazing tolerance of dominant perennial grasses. White-tailed prairie dogs C. leucurus in sagebrush steppe did not reduce shrub cover, whereas black-tailed prairie dogs suppressed shrub cover at all complexes with tall shrubs in the surrounding habitat matrix. Black-tailed prairie dogs in shortgrass steppe and Gunnison's prairie dogs C. gunnisoni in Colorado Plateau grassland both had relatively minor effects on grass cover, which may reflect the dominance of grazing-tolerant shortgrasses at both complexes. Variation in modification of

  8. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens.

    PubMed

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D; Fafard, Paul M; Markham, John H

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ(15)N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  9. Populations, pools, and peccaries: simulating the impact of ecosystem engineers on rainforest frogs

    PubMed Central

    Hödl, Walter; Ringler, Eva

    2015-01-01

    Ecosystem engineering” describes habitat alteration by an organism that affects another organism; such nontrophic interactions between organisms are a current focus in ecological research. Our study quantifies the actual impact an ecosystem engineer can have on another species by using a previously identified model system—peccaries and rainforest frogs. In a 4-year experiment, we simulated the impact of peccaries on a population of Allobates femoralis (Dendrobatidae) by installing an array of artificial pools to mimic a forest patch modified by peccaries. The data were analyzed using a gradual before-after control-impact (gBACI) model. Following the supplementation, population size almost doubled as a result of increased autochthonous recruitment driven by a higher per-capita reproduction of males and a higher proportion of reproducing females. The effect was evenly distributed across the population. The differential response of males and females reflects the reproductive behavior of A. femoralis, as only the males use the aquatic sites for tadpole deposition. Our study shows that management and conservation must consider nontrophic relationships and that human “ecosystem engineering” can play a vital role in efforts against the “global amphibian decline.” PMID:25825586

  10. Arctic foxes as ecosystem engineers: increased soil nutrients lead to increased plant productivity on fox dens

    PubMed Central

    Gharajehdaghipour, Tazarve; Roth, James D.; Fafard, Paul M.; Markham, John H.

    2016-01-01

    Top predators can provide fundamental ecosystem services such as nutrient cycling, and their impact can be even greater in environments with low nutrients and productivity, such as Arctic tundra. We estimated the effects of Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) denning on soil nutrient dynamics and vegetation production near Churchill, Manitoba in June and August 2014. Soils from fox dens contained higher nutrient levels in June (71% more inorganic nitrogen, 1195% more extractable phosphorous) and in August (242% more inorganic nitrogen, 191% more extractable phosphorous) than adjacent control sites. Inorganic nitrogen levels decreased from June to August on both dens and controls, whereas extractable phosphorous increased. Pup production the previous year, which should enhance nutrient deposition (from urine, feces, and decomposing prey), did not affect soil nutrient concentrations, suggesting the impact of Arctic foxes persists >1 year. Dens supported 2.8 times greater vegetation biomass in August, but δ15N values in sea lyme grass (Leymus mollis) were unaffected by denning. By concentrating nutrients on dens Arctic foxes enhance nutrient cycling as an ecosystem service and thus engineer Arctic ecosystems on local scales. The enhanced productivity in patches on the landscape could subsequently affect plant diversity and the dispersion of herbivores on the tundra. PMID:27045973

  11. Local and latitudinal variation in abundance: the mechanisms shaping the distribution of an ecosystem engineer

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez, Angélica L.; Crawford, Kerri M.; Sanders, Nathan J.

    2013-01-01

    Ecological processes that determine the abundance of species within ecological communities vary across space and time. These scale-dependent processes are especially important when they affect key members of a community, such as ecosystem engineers that create shelter and food resources for other species. Yet, few studies have examined the suite of processes that shape the abundance of ecosystem engineers. Here, we evaluated the relative influence of temporal variation, local processes, and latitude on the abundance of an engineering insect—a rosette-galling midge, Rhopalomyia solidaginis (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae). Over a period of 3–5 years, we studied the density and size of galls across a suite of local experiments that manipulated genetic variation, soil nutrient availability, and the removal of other insects from the host plant, Solidago altissima (tall goldenrod). We also surveyed gall density within a single growing season across a 2,300 km latitudinal transect of goldenrod populations in the eastern United States. At the local scale, we found that host-plant genotypic variation was the best predictor of rosette gall density and size within a single year. We found that the removal of other insect herbivores resulted in an increase in gall density and size. The amendment of soil nutrients for four years had no effect on gall density, but galls were smaller in carbon-added plots compared to control and nitrogen additions. Finally, we observed that gall density varied several fold across years. At the biogeographic scale, we observed that the density of rosette gallers peaked at mid-latitudes. Using meta-analytic approaches, we found that the effect size of time, followed by host-plant genetic variation and latitude were the best predictors of gall density. Taken together, our study provides a unique comparison of multiple factors across different spatial and temporal scales that govern engineering insect herbivore density. PMID:23862102

  12. Selenium biotransformations in an engineered aquatic ecosystem for bioremediation of agricultural wastewater via brine shrimp production.

    PubMed

    Schmidt, Radomir; Tantoyotai, Prapakorn; Fakra, Sirine C; Marcus, Matthew A; Yang, Soo In; Pickering, Ingrid J; Bañuelos, Gary S; Hristova, Krassimira R; Freeman, John L

    2013-05-21

    An engineered aquatic ecosystem was specifically designed to bioremediate selenium (Se), occurring as oxidized inorganic selenate from hypersalinized agricultural drainage water while producing brine shrimp enriched in organic Se and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for use in value added nutraceutical food supplements. Selenate was successfully bioremediated by microalgal metabolism into organic Se (seleno-amino acids) and partially removed via gaseous volatile Se formation. Furthermore, filter-feeding brine shrimp that accumulated this organic Se were removed by net harvest. Thriving in this engineered pond system, brine shrimp ( Artemia franciscana Kellogg) and brine fly (Ephydridae sp.) have major ecological relevance as important food sources for large populations of waterfowl, breeding, and migratory shore birds. This aquatic ecosystem was an ideal model for study because it mimics trophic interactions in a Se polluted wetland. Inorganic selenate in drainage water was metabolized differently in microalgae, bacteria, and diatoms where it was accumulated and reduced into various inorganic forms (selenite, selenide, or elemental Se) or partially incorporated into organic Se mainly as selenomethionine. Brine shrimp and brine fly larva then bioaccumulated Se from ingesting aquatic microorganisms and further metabolized Se predominately into organic Se forms. Importantly, adult brine flies, which hatched from aquatic larva, bioaccumulated the highest Se concentrations of all organisms tested. PMID:23621086

  13. Analysis of integrated animal-fish production system under subtropical hill agro ecosystem in India: growth performance of animals, total biomass production and monetary benefit.

    PubMed

    Kumaresan, A; Pathak, K A; Bujarbaruah, K M; Vinod, K

    2009-03-01

    The present study assessed the benefits of integration of animals with fish production in optimizing the bio mass production from unit land in subtropical hill agro ecosystem. Hampshire pigs and Khaki Campbell ducks were integrated with composite fish culture. The pig and duck excreta were directly allowed into the pond and no supplementary feed was given to fish during the period of study. The average levels of N, P and K in dried pig and duck manure were 0.9, 0.7 and 0.6 per cent and 1.3, 0.6 and 0.5 per cent, respectively. The average body weight of pig and duck at 11 months age was 90 and 1.74 kg with an average daily weight gain of 333.33 and 6.44 g, respectively. The fish production in pig-fish and duck-fish systems were 2209 and 2964 kg/ha, respectively while the fish productivity in control pond was only 820 kg/ha. The total biomass (animal and fish) production was higher (p<0.05) in commercial feeding system compared to the traditional system, however the input/output ratio was 1:1.2 and 1:1.55 for commercial and traditional systems, respectively. It was inferred that the total biomass production per unit land was high (p<0.05) when animal and fish were integrated together. PMID:18622714

  14. The Role of Plants as Ecosystem Engineers in Resilience to Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shachak, Moshe; Arbel, Shmuel; Boeken, Bertrand; Segoli, Moran; Ungar, Eugene; Zaady, Eli

    2010-05-01

    In drylands landscape structure is controlled by two ecosystem engineers, soil microphytes and shrubs. Soil microphytes adhere the soil particles by secreting polysaccharides, thus forming biogenic soil crusts. Shrubs engineer the environment above and below ground. Above ground they can form soil mounds and below ground modulate the soil properties by their roots. The two engineering modes create shrub patches in the landscape. The two phase mosaic formed by the engineers creates a source-sink system where the crust is a source of soil, water, organic matter and nutrients while the shrub patch is the sink. Most of the productivity and diversity of the system is concentrated in the sink patches. Climate change such as the increase in frequency and severity of droughts may affect the function of the two phase mosaic by causing shrub dieback. This can transform a shrub land into crust land by increasing leakage of resources and decreasing productivity and diversity (desertification). Based on our long term research at LTER sites in the Northern Negev, Israel, we present two models depicting how climate change can cause state changes from shrub land to crust land and how the mode of shrub engineering can prevent this transition. Our main proposition is that the resilience of a two phase mosaic to drought depends on whether the engineering is by mound formation or by subsurface soil modulation. When the engineering mode is mound formation, shrubs dying due to drought expose the underlying mound to erosion by rainfall and runoff. The eroded patch is then colonized by microphytes which form soil crusts. This process takes between five to ten years. To rebuild the soil mound by a shrub takes hundreds of years. Therefore, once the soil mound is eroded the area will then be transformed from shrub land to crust land and the recovery time is long. When the engineering is through the roots the system is more resilient to drought. Even if the canopy dies back the shrub patch

  15. Comparison of direct, indirect, and ecosystem engineering effects of an earthworm on the red-backed salamander.

    PubMed

    Ransom, Tami S

    2012-10-01

    In addition to creating or modifying habitat, ecosystem engineers interact with other species as predators, prey, or competitors. The earthworm, Lumbricus terrestris, interacts with the common woodland salamander, Plethodon cinereus, via: (1) ecosystem engineering, by providing burrows that are used as a refuge, (2) direct effects as a prey item, and (3) indirectly, by competing with microinvertebrates, another prey item for P. cinereus. Using enclosures in the forest, I examined the relative strengths of these component pathways between seasons and salamander age classes. I found that the relative strength (partial eta2) of the positive direct (trophic) effect of L. terrestris on the change in mass of P. cineresus was greater than that of the negative indirect effect, but only in summer. Positive effects of ecosystem engineering were only evident over the winter as increased adult survival. This research has implications for how habitat provisioning complements more well-studied species interactions, such as competition and predation, within communities. PMID:23185881

  16. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J W; Aiken, Jim

    2013-12-01

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches. PMID:24132201

  17. Impacts of light shading and nutrient enrichment geo-engineering approaches on the productivity of a stratified, oligotrophic ocean ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Hardman-Mountford, Nick J.; Polimene, Luca; Hirata, Takafumi; Brewin, Robert J. W.; Aiken, Jim

    2013-01-01

    Geo-engineering proposals to mitigate global warming have focused either on methods of carbon dioxide removal, particularly nutrient fertilization of plant growth, or on cooling the Earth's surface by reducing incoming solar radiation (shading). Marine phytoplankton contribute half the Earth's biological carbon fixation and carbon export in the ocean is modulated by the actions of microbes and grazing communities in recycling nutrients. Both nutrients and light are essential for photosynthesis, so understanding the relative influence of both these geo-engineering approaches on ocean ecosystem production and processes is critical to the evaluation of their effectiveness. In this paper, we investigate the relationship between light and nutrient availability on productivity in a stratified, oligotrophic subtropical ocean ecosystem using a one-dimensional water column model coupled to a multi-plankton ecosystem model, with the goal of elucidating potential impacts of these geo-engineering approaches on ecosystem production. We find that solar shading approaches can redistribute productivity in the water column but do not change total production. Macronutrient enrichment is able to enhance the export of carbon, although heterotrophic recycling reduces the efficiency of carbon export substantially over time. Our results highlight the requirement for a fuller consideration of marine ecosystem interactions and feedbacks, beyond simply the stimulation of surface blooms, in the evaluation of putative geo-engineering approaches. PMID:24132201

  18. Mussels as ecosystem engineers: Their contribution to species richness in a rocky littoral community

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Borthagaray, Ana Inés; Carranza, Alvar

    Mussels are important ecosystem engineers in marine benthic systems because they aggregate into beds, thus modifying the nature and complexity of the substrate. In this study, we evaluated the contribution of mussels ( Brachidontes rodriguezii, Mytilus edulis platensis, and Perna perna) to the benthic species richness of intertidal and shallow subtidal communities at Cerro Verde (Uruguay). We compared the richness of macro-benthic species between mussel-engineered patches and patches without mussels but dominated by algae or barnacles at a landscape scale (all samples), between tidal levels, and between sites distributed along a wave exposition gradient. Overall, we found a net increase in species richness in samples with mussels (35 species), in contrast to samples where mussels were naturally absent or scarce (27 species). The positive trend of the effect did not depend upon tidal level or wave exposition, but its magnitude varied between sites. Within sites, a significant positive effect was detected only at the protected site. Within the mussel-engineered patches, the richness of all macro-faunal groups (total, sessile and mobile) was positively correlated with mussel abundance. This evidence indicates that the mussel beds studied here were important in maintaining species richness at the landscape-level, and highlights that beds of shelled bivalves should not be neglected as conservation targets in marine benthic environments.

  19. Earthworms as ecosystem engineers and the most important detritivors in forest soils.

    PubMed

    Kooch, Yahya; Jalilvand, Hamid

    2008-03-15

    Earthworms are considered as soil engineers because of their effects on soil properties and their influence on the availability of resources for other organisms, including microorganisms and plants. However, the links between their impacts on the soil environment and the resulting modification of natural selection pressures on engineer as well as on other organisms have received little attention. Earthworms are known to have a positive influence on the soil fabric and on the decomposition and mineralization of litter by breaking down organic matter and producing large amounts of fasces, thereby mixing litter with the mineral soil. Therefore, they play an important part in changes from one humus from to another according to forest succession patterns. Consequently, they are also expected to be good bio-indicators for forest site quality and are thus useful when planning forest production improvement. Earthworm's populations are as indicator that in exploited regions is destruction indicator and reclamation plans is nature return indicator. In this study we summarized the current knowledge in relation to earthworm's ecology in forest soils as ecosystem engineers. PMID:18814642

  20. How-To-Do-It: A Chess Analogy: Teaching the Role of Animals in Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kangas, Patrick

    1988-01-01

    Describes a teaching exercise used to demonstrate the importance of context in studying the ecology of animals. Uses the game of chess to examine the relationship between information and context and as an analogy with ecology. Discusses procedures, examples of results, and insights gained from this activity. (CW)

  1. Animal models of spinal cord injury for evaluation of tissue engineering treatment strategies.

    PubMed

    Talac, R; Friedman, J A; Moore, M J; Lu, L; Jabbari, E; Windebank, A J; Currier, B L; Yaszemski, M J

    2004-04-01

    Tissue engineering approaches to spinal cord injury (SCI) treatment are attractive because they allow for manipulation of native regeneration processes involved in restoration of the integrity and function of damaged tissue. A clinically relevant spinal cord regeneration animal model requires that the model mimics specific pathologic processes that occur in human SCI. This manuscript discusses issues related to preclinical testing of tissue engineering spinal cord regeneration strategies from a number of perspectives. This discussion includes diverse causes, pathology and functional consequences of human SCI, general and species related considerations, technical and animal care considerations, and data analysis methods. PMID:14697853

  2. Trichinella spiralis in an agricultural ecosystem. III. Epidemiological investigations of Trichinella spiralis in resident wild and feral animals.

    PubMed

    Leiby, D A; Schad, G A; Duffy, C H; Murrell, K D

    1988-10-01

    As part of a larger epidemiological study examining the transmission of Trichinella spiralis in an agricultural ecosystem, resident wild and feral animals were trapped to determine the extent of their involvement in the natural, on-farm cycling of the parasite among swine. During a 21-mo-study, seven of 15 skunks (Mephitis mephitis), one of three opossums (Didelphis virginiana), two of two feral domestic cats and a raccoon (Procyon lotor) were found to be infected, while five shrews (Blarina brevicauda) and 18 deer mice (Peromyscus spp.) were uninfected. Most of the former hosts probably became infected by scavenging dead infected swine or rats (Rattus norvegicus). However, infections obtained through predation of living rats, particularly with regard to the cats, cannot be excluded. Our observations do not suggest that there was transmission of T. spiralis from the wild animals to swine. Therefore, transmission of T. spiralis appeared to occur only from the farm's swine and rats to the associated wild and feral animals. PMID:3193554

  3. Stakeholder views on the creation and use of genetically-engineered animals in research.

    PubMed

    Ormandy, Elisabeth H

    2016-05-01

    This interview-based study examined the diversity of views relating to the creation and use of genetically-engineered (GE) animals in biomedical science. Twenty Canadian participants (eight researchers, five research technicians and seven members of the public) took part in the interviews, in which four main themes were discussed: a) how participants felt about the genetic engineering of animals as a practice; b) governance of the creation and use of GE animals in research, and whether current guidelines are sufficient; c) the Three Rs (Replacement, Reduction, Refinement) and how they are applied during the creation and use of GE animals in research; and d) whether public opinion should play a greater role in the creation and use of GE animals. Most of the participants felt that the creation and use of GE animals for biomedical research purposes (as opposed to food purposes) is acceptable, provided that tangible human health benefits are gained. However, obstacles to Three Rs implementation were identified, and the participants agreed that more effort should be placed on engaging the public on the use of GE animals in research. PMID:27256452

  4. Tissue engineering in animal models for urinary diversion: a systematic review.

    PubMed

    Sloff, Marije; de Vries, Rob; Geutjes, Paul; IntHout, Joanna; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel; Oosterwijk, Egbert; Feitz, Wout

    2014-01-01

    Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM) approaches may provide alternatives for gastrointestinal tissue in urinary diversion. To continue to clinically translatable studies, TERM alternatives need to be evaluated in (large) controlled and standardized animal studies. Here, we investigated all evidence for the efficacy of tissue engineered constructs in animal models for urinary diversion. Studies investigating this subject were identified through a systematic search of three different databases (PubMed, Embase and Web of Science). From each study, animal characteristics, study characteristics and experimental outcomes for meta-analyses were tabulated. Furthermore, the reporting of items vital for study replication was assessed. The retrieved studies (8 in total) showed extreme heterogeneity in study design, including animal models, biomaterials and type of urinary diversion. All studies were feasibility studies, indicating the novelty of this field. None of the studies included appropriate control groups, i.e. a comparison with the classical treatment using GI tissue. The meta-analysis showed a trend towards successful experimentation in larger animals although no specific animal species could be identified as the most suitable model. Larger animals appear to allow a better translation to the human situation, with respect to anatomy and surgical approaches. It was unclear whether the use of cells benefits the formation of a neo urinary conduit. The reporting of the methodology and data according to standardized guidelines was insufficient and should be improved to increase the value of such publications. In conclusion, animal models in the field of TERM for urinary diversion have probably been chosen for reasons other than their predictive value. Controlled and comparative long term animal studies, with adequate methodological reporting are needed to proceed to clinical translatable studies. This will aid in good quality research with the reduction in

  5. Building bridges using livestock as ecosystem engineers in semi-arid rangelands: Addressing conservation and livestock production goals

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Domestic livestock have the potential to function as ecosystem engineers in semi-arid rangelands, but their utility has been compromised by management practices that emphasize livestock production, homogeneous use of vegetation and removal/control of interacting disturbances of fire and prairie dogs...

  6. Designing an Accompanying Ecosystem to Foster Entrepreneurship among Agronomic and Forestry Engineering Students. Opinion and Commitment of University Lecturers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Ortiz-Medina, L.; Fernández-Ahumada, E.; Lara-Vélez, P.; Taguas, E. V.; Gallardo-Cobos, R.; del Campillo, M. C.; Guerrero-Ginel, J. E.

    2016-01-01

    In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a collective project conceived as an 'ecosystem to support and accompany entrepreneurs' has been proposed. The approach aims to spread and consolidate the entrepreneurial spirit and to respond to the demands of possible stakeholders involved in the whole…

  7. Teaching Habitat and Animal Classification to Fourth Graders Using an Engineering-Design Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marulcu, Ismail

    2014-01-01

    Background: The motivation for this work is built upon the premise that there is a need for research-based materials for design-based science instruction. In this paper, a small portion of our work investigating the impact of a LEGO[TM] engineering unit on fourth grade students' preconceptions and understanding of animals is presented.…

  8. Ecosystem Engineering by Plants on Wave-Exposed Intertidal Flats Is Governed by Relationships between Effect and Response Traits

    PubMed Central

    Schoelynck, Jonas; Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Puijalon, Sara; Troch, Peter; Fuchs, Elmar; Schröder, Boris; Schröder, Uwe; Meire, Patrick; Temmerman, Stijn

    2015-01-01

    In hydrodynamically stressful environments, some species—known as ecosystem engineers—are able to modify the environment for their own benefit. Little is known however, about the interaction between functional plant traits and ecosystem engineering. We studied the responses of Scirpus tabernaemontani and Scirpus maritimus to wave impact in full-scale flume experiments. Stem density and biomass were used to predict the ecosystem engineering effect of wave attenuation. Also the drag force on plants, their bending angle after wave impact and the stem biomechanical properties were quantified as both responses of stress experienced and effects on ecosystem engineering. We analyzed lignin, cellulose, and silica contents as traits likely effecting stress resistance (avoidance, tolerance). Stem density and biomass were strong predictors for wave attenuation, S. maritimus showing a higher effect than S. tabernaemontani. The drag force and drag force per wet frontal area both differed significantly between the species at shallow water depths (20 cm). At greater depths (35 cm), drag forces and bending angles were significantly higher for S. maritimus than for S. tabernaemontani. However, they do not differ in drag force per wet frontal area due to the larger plant surface of S. maritimus. Stem resistance to breaking and stem flexibility were significantly higher in S. tabernaemontani, having a higher cellulose concentration and a larger cross-section in its basal stem parts. S. maritimus had clearly more lignin and silica contents in the basal stem parts than S. tabernaemontani. We concluded that the effect of biomass seems more relevant for the engineering effect of emergent macrophytes with leaves than species morphology: S. tabernaemontani has avoiding traits with minor effects on wave attenuation; S. maritimus has tolerating traits with larger effects. This implies that ecosystem engineering effects are directly linked with traits affecting species stress resistance

  9. Ecosystem engineering potential of the gastropod Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus, 1767) in mangrove wastewater wetlands--a controlled mesocosm experiment.

    PubMed

    Penha-Lopes, Gil; Bartolini, Fabrizio; Limbu, Samwel; Cannicci, Stefano; Mgaya, Yunus; Kristensen, Erik; Paula, José

    2010-01-01

    The effect of different sewage concentrations (0, 20, 60 and 100%), vegetation (Bare, Avicennia marina or Rhizophora mucronata) and immersion periods (immersion/emersion period of 12/12 h or 3/3 days just for 100%) conditions were studied for 6 months on survival and growth rates of Terebralia palustris (Linnaeus, 1767). Gastropods' activity and ecosystem engineering preformed at bare and A. marina planted cells and 3 sewage conditions (0, 20 and 60%) were determined. Survival rates were higher than 70% in all treatments. Growth rate decreased significantly with increasing sewage concentrations (mainly at unplanted conditions) and longer immersion periods. A complete shift (from immersion to emersion periods) and a significant decrease in mobility and consequently its engineer potential, due to sewage contamination, lead to a 3-4 fold decrease in the amount of sediment disturbed. Sewage contamination, primary producers' abundance and environmental conditions may have influenced the gastropods survival, growth and its ecosystem engineering potential. PMID:19640623

  10. Epidemiology and molecular characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in humans, wild primates, and domesticated animals in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem, Tanzania.

    PubMed

    Parsons, Michele B; Travis, Dominic; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V; Lipende, Iddi; Roellig, Dawn M; Roellig, Dawn M Anthony; Collins, Anthony; Kamenya, Shadrack; Zhang, Hongwei; Xiao, Lihua; Gillespie, Thomas R

    2015-02-01

    Cryptosporidium is an important zoonotic parasite globally. Few studies have examined the ecology and epidemiology of this pathogen in rural tropical systems characterized by high rates of overlap among humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife. We investigated risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection and assessed cross-species transmission potential among people, non-human primates, and domestic animals in the Gombe Ecosystem, Kigoma District, Tanzania. A cross-sectional survey was designed to determine the occurrence and risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection in humans, domestic animals and wildlife living in and around Gombe National Park. Diagnostic PCR revealed Cryptosporidium infection rates of 4.3% in humans, 16.0% in non-human primates, and 9.6% in livestock. Local streams sampled were negative. DNA sequencing uncovered a complex epidemiology for Cryptosporidium in this system, with humans, baboons and a subset of chimpanzees infected with C. hominis subtype IfA12G2; another subset of chimpanzees infected with C. suis; and all positive goats and sheep infected with C. xiaoi. For humans, residence location was associated with increased risk of infection in Mwamgongo village compared to one camp (Kasekela), and there was an increased odds for infection when living in a household with another positive person. Fecal consistency and other gastrointestinal signs did not predict Cryptosporidium infection. Despite a high degree of habitat overlap between village people and livestock, our results suggest that there are distinct Cryptosporidium transmission dynamics for humans and livestock in this system. The dominance of C. hominis subtype IfA12G2 among humans and non-human primates suggest cross-species transmission. Interestingly, a subset of chimpanzees was infected with C. suis. We hypothesize that there is cross-species transmission from bush pigs (Potaochoerus larvatus) to chimpanzees in Gombe forest, since domesticated pigs are regionally absent. Our

  11. Epidemiology and Molecular Characterization of Cryptosporidium spp. in Humans, Wild Primates, and Domesticated Animals in the Greater Gombe Ecosystem, Tanzania

    PubMed Central

    Parsons, Michele B.; Travis, Dominic; Lonsdorf, Elizabeth V.; Lipende, Iddi; Roellig, Dawn M. Anthony; Kamenya, Shadrack; Zhang, Hongwei; Xiao, Lihua; Gillespie, Thomas R.

    2015-01-01

    Cryptosporidium is an important zoonotic parasite globally. Few studies have examined the ecology and epidemiology of this pathogen in rural tropical systems characterized by high rates of overlap among humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife. We investigated risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection and assessed cross-species transmission potential among people, non-human primates, and domestic animals in the Gombe Ecosystem, Kigoma District, Tanzania. A cross-sectional survey was designed to determine the occurrence and risk factors for Cryptosporidium infection in humans, domestic animals and wildlife living in and around Gombe National Park. Diagnostic PCR revealed Cryptosporidium infection rates of 4.3% in humans, 16.0% in non-human primates, and 9.6% in livestock. Local streams sampled were negative. DNA sequencing uncovered a complex epidemiology for Cryptosporidium in this system, with humans, baboons and a subset of chimpanzees infected with C. hominis subtype IfA12G2; another subset of chimpanzees infected with C. suis; and all positive goats and sheep infected with C. xiaoi. For humans, residence location was associated with increased risk of infection in Mwamgongo village compared to one camp (Kasekela), and there was an increased odds for infection when living in a household with another positive person. Fecal consistency and other gastrointestinal signs did not predict Cryptosporidium infection. Despite a high degree of habitat overlap between village people and livestock, our results suggest that there are distinct Cryptosporidium transmission dynamics for humans and livestock in this system. The dominance of C. hominis subtype IfA12G2 among humans and non-human primates suggest cross-species transmission. Interestingly, a subset of chimpanzees was infected with C. suis. We hypothesize that there is cross-species transmission from bush pigs (Potaochoerus larvatus) to chimpanzees in Gombe forest, since domesticated pigs are regionally absent. Our

  12. Transfer parameters for ICRP reference animals and plants collected from a forest ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Barnett, C L; Beresford, N A; Walker, L A; Baxter, M; Wells, C; Copplestone, D

    2014-03-01

    The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) have suggested the identification of a series of terrestrial, marine and freshwater sites from which samples of each Reference animal and plant (RAP) could be systematically collected and analysed. We describe the first such study in which six of the eight terrestrial RAPs, and associated soil samples, were collected from a site located in a managed coniferous forestry plantation in north-west England. Adult life stages of species representing six of the terrestrial RAPs (Wild grass, Pine tree, Deer, Rat, Earthworm and Bee) were sampled and analysed to determine concentrations of 60 elements and gamma-emitting radionuclides. The resultant data have been used to derive concentration ratios (CR(wo-soil)) relating element/radionuclide concentrations in the RAPs to those in soil. This paper presents the first-reported transfer parameters for a number of the RAP-element combinations. Where possible, the derived CR(wo-soil) values are compared with the ICRPs-recommended values and any appreciable differences discussed. PMID:24173444

  13. Teaching habitat and animal classification to fourth graders using an engineering-design model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marulcu, Ismail

    2014-05-01

    Background: The motivation for this work is built upon the premise that there is a need for research-based materials for design-based science instruction. In this paper, a small portion of our work investigating the impact of a LEGOTM engineering unit on fourth grade students' preconceptions and understanding of animals is presented. Purpose: The driving questions for our work are: (1) What is the impact of an engineering-design-based curricular module on students' understanding of habitat and animal classification? (2) What are students' misconceptions regarding animal classification and habitat? Sample: The study was conducted in an inner-city K-8 school in the northeastern region of the United States. There were two fourth grade classrooms in the school. The first classroom included seven girls and nine boys, whereas the other classroom included eight girls and eight boys. All fourth grade students participated in the study. Design and methods: In answering the research questions mixed-method approaches are used. Data collection methods included pre- and post-tests, pre- and post-interviews, student journals, and classroom observations. Identical pre- and post-tests were administered to measure students' understanding of animals. They included four multiple-choice and six open-ended questions. Identical pre- and post-interviews were administered to explore students' in-depth understanding of animals. Results: Our results show that students significantly increased their performance after instruction on both the multiple-choice questions (t = -3.586, p = .001) and the open-ended questions (t = -5.04, p = .000). They performed better on the post interviews as well. Also, it is found that design-based instruction helped students comprehend core concepts of a life science subject, animals. Conclusions: Based on these results, the main argument of the study is that engineering design is a useful framework for teaching not only physical science-related subjects, but

  14. Fe-oxidizing microbes are hydrothermal vent ecosystem engineers at the Loihi Seamount (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, C. S.; McAllister, S.; Leavitt, A.; Emerson, D.; Moyer, C. L.; Glazer, B. T.

    2013-12-01

    Microaerophilic Fe-oxidizing microorganisms (FeOM) colonize gradients of Fe(II) and oxygen, taking advantage of the available chemical energy. Vast communities of FeOM proliferate at deep sea hydrothermal vents, forming mineralized mats that range from centimeters to meters thick. Because these mats structure the environment for both FeOM and the entire microbial community, the Fe-oxidizers are acting as ecosystem engineers. What organisms are responsible for initiating these mats, and how does the physical structure and community composition develop as the mats mature? By connecting structure, function, and ecology, we can better interpret modern mat structures, as well as ancient fossilized mats. We have been studying Fe microbial mats at Loihi Seamount in Hawaii, a long-term study site that has become a model for Fe oxidation in marine hydrothermal systems. Recent improvements in ROV imaging systems allow us to see a great range of mat textures and colors, which may represent diverse habitats and/or different stages of mat development. With improved imaging and sampling techniques, we have been able to obtain discrete, intact samples of these delicate microbial mats. Previous bulk sampling methods showed that mats consist of a mixture of Fe-mineralized morphologies. Our analyses of intact mats show that mats are initiated by one type of structure-former (either a stalk-former like Mariprofundus ferrooxydans or a Zetaproteobacterial sheath-former). These microbes may be the vanguard organisms that stabilize chemical gradients in this dynamic environment, allowing colonization by other organisms (evidenced by branching tubes, fibrillar nests, and other morphologies). We will show evidence of the composition and development of these mats, and discuss parallels between these marine Fe mats and their freshwater counterparts, supporting the idea that FeOM engineer environments favorable for growth.

  15. Methane dependent denitrification- from ecosystem to laboratory-scale enrichment for engineering applications.

    PubMed

    Bhattacharjee, Ananda Shankar; Motlagh, Amir Mohaghegh; Jetten, Mike S M; Goel, Ramesh

    2016-08-01

    Managing nitrogen and carbon cycles in engineered and natural ecosystems is an environmental challenge. In this manuscript, we report a process which connects these two cycles with immense ecological and engineering significance. Sediments, collected from Jordan River in Salt Lake City, Utah were used as seed to start a laboratory-scale denitrification coupled to anaerobic methane oxidation (n-DAMO) reactor fed with methane (CH4) and nitrite (NO2(-)). Methane (CH4)-dependent denitrification in sediments of a nutrient-impaired river was found to be in the range of 40 nmol kg(-1) d(-1) to 70 nmol kg(-1) d(-1). Post 19 months of operation of the lab scale reactor, the n-DAMO reactor achieved nitrite removal rate of 2.88 mmol L(-1) d(-1). Enrichment of n-DAMO prokaryotes was evident from the increase in 16S rRNA gene copy number of bacteria belonging to the NC10 phylum in the reactor, corroborating with increase in the oxidation rates of CH4 coupled with NO2(-)-N removal from 21 μM to 190 μM of CH4 d(-1). Based on stable isotope experiments by other researchers, nitric oxide dismutase (nod) functional gene was hypothesized to be responsible for splitting nitric oxide to nitrogen and oxygen and this internally generated oxygen is utilized by n-DAMO prokaryotes to oxidize methane gas. Primers targeting the unique nitric oxide dismutase (nod) gene were developed and tested on the enrichment culture for the first time. This revealed that n-DAMO organisms are closely related yet distinct from, the M. oxyfera which had been enriched in earlier studies. The results emphasize tremendous future promise to use these novel organisms for wastewater treatment purposes, especially to take advantage of the dissolved methane present in anaerobic digester effluents. PMID:27176548

  16. Animator

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Tech Directions, 2008

    2008-01-01

    Art and animation work is the most significant part of electronic game development, but is also found in television commercials, computer programs, the Internet, comic books, and in just about every visual media imaginable. It is the part of the project that makes an abstract design idea concrete and visible. Animators create the motion of life in…

  17. Ecosystem engineering by a gall-forming wasp indirectly suppresses diversity and density of herbivores on oak trees.

    PubMed

    Wetzel, William C; Screen, Robyn M; Li, Ivana; McKenzie, Jennifer; Phillips, Kyle A; Cruz, Melissa; Zhang, Wenbo; Greene, Austin; Lee, Esther; Singh, Nuray; Tran, Carolyn; Yang, Louie H

    2016-02-01

    Ecosystem engineers, organisms that modify the physical environment, are generally thought to increase diversity by facilitating species that benefit from engineered habitats. Recent theoretical work, however, suggests that ecosystem engineering could initiate cascades of trophic interactions that shape community structure in unexpected ways, potentially having negative indirect effects on abundance and diversity in components of the community that do not directly interact with the habitat modifications. We tested the indirect effects of a gall-forming wasp on arthropod communities in surrounding unmodified foliage. We experimentally removed all senesced galls from entire trees during winter and sampled the arthropod community on foliage after budburst. Gall removal resulted in 59% greater herbivore density, 26% greater herbivore richness, and 27% greater arthropod density five weeks after budburst. Gall removal also reduced the differences in community composition among trees (i.e., reduced beta diversity), even when accounting for differences in richness. The community inside galls during winter and through the growing season was dominated by jumping spiders (Salticidae; 0.87 ± 0.12 spiders per gall). We suggest that senesced galls provided habitat for spiders, which suppressed herbivorous arthropods and increased beta diversity by facilitating assembly of unusual arthropod communities. Our results demonstrate that the effects of habitat modification by ecosystem engineers can extend beyond merely providing habitat for specialists; the effects can propagate far enough to influence the structure of communities that do not directly interact with habitat modifications. PMID:27145617

  18. Earthworms, as ecosystem engineers, influence multiple aspects of a salamander's ecology.

    PubMed

    Ransom, Tami S

    2011-03-01

    Ecosystem engineers create habitat that can be used by other species in multiple ways, such as refugees from predators, places to breed, or areas with increased prey resources. I conducted a series of enclosure experiments to: (1) determine if salamanders use earthworm burrows, and (2) examine the potential influence of earthworm burrow use and indirect effects on salamander intra- and interspecific competition, predator avoidance, and seasonal performance. I found that one species of woodland salamander, Plethodon cinereus, used earthworm burrows 50% of the time when burrows were present. Neither adults nor juveniles of the congeneric P. glutinosus used earthworm burrows. Intraspecific, but not interspecific, competition by P. cinereus affected salamander behavior when earthworms were absent, with P. cinereus found under cover objects >70% of the time when alone or with a P. glutinosus, but only 40% of the time when with another P. cinereus. When earthworms were present, the behavior of P. cinereus was similar across salamander treatments. Earthworms decreased the amount of leaf litter and microinvertebrates, although this did not affect salamander mass. In subsequent experiments using only P. cinereus, the refuge provided by earthworm burrows increased the survival of P. cinereus over the winter and allowed P. cinereus to avoid being consumed by the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis). Because earthworm burrows provide a refuge for P. cinereus during intraspecific encounters, in the presence of a predator and over the winter, they may serve as an important belowground-aboveground linkage in eastern forests where salamanders are common. PMID:20848134

  19. Are fiddler crabs potentially useful ecosystem engineers in mangrove wastewater wetlands?

    PubMed

    Penha-Lopes, Gil; Bartolini, Fabrizio; Limbu, Samwel; Cannicci, Stefano; Kristensen, Erik; Paula, José

    2009-11-01

    The effect of different organic-rich sewage concentration (0%, 20% and 60% diluted in seawater) and absence or presence of mangrove trees on the survival, bioturbation activities and burrow morphology of fiddler crabs species was assessed. After 6 months, males of both species always showed higher survival ( approximately 80%) when compared to females ( approximately 20%). Crabs inhabiting pristine conditions achieved higher survival (67-87%) than those living in sewage-exposed mesocosms (40-71%). At 60% sewage loading, fiddler crabs processed less sediment (34-46%) during feeding and excavated slightly more sediment (45-80%) than at pristine conditions. While percent volume of the burrow chambers increased (13-66%) at contaminated mesocosms for both vegetation conditions, burrows were shallower (approximately 33%) in bare cells loaded with sewage. The results show that fiddler crabs presented moderate mortality levels in these artificial mangrove wetlands, but mainly in sewage impacted cells. However, they still function as ecosystem engineers through bioturbation activities and burrow construction. PMID:19643448

  20. Seasonal zooplankton dynamics in Lake Michigan: disentangling impacts of resource limitation, ecosystem engineering, and predation during a critical ecosystem transition

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Vanderploeg, Henry A.; Pothoven, Steven A.; Fahnenstiel, Gary L.; Cavaletto, Joann F.; Liebig, James R.; Stow, Craig Stow; Nalepa, Thomas F.; Madenjian, Charles P.; Bunnell, David B.

    2012-01-01

    We examined seasonal dynamics of zooplankton at an offshore station in Lake Michigan from 1994 to 2003 and 2007 to 2008. This period saw variable weather, declines in planktivorous fish abundance, the introduction and expansion of dreissenid mussels, and a slow decline in total phosphorus concentrations. After the major expansion of mussels into deep water (2007–2008), chlorophyll in spring declined sharply, Secchi depth increased markedly in all seasons, and planktivorous fish biomass declined to record-low levels. Overlaying these dramatic ecosystem-level changes, the zooplankton community exhibited complex seasonal dynamics between 1994–2003 and 2007–2008. Phenology of the zooplankton maximum was affected by onset of thermal stratification, but there was no other discernable effect due to temperature. Interannual variability in zooplankton biomass during 1994 and 2003 was strongly driven by planktivorous fish abundance, particularly age-0 and age-1 alewives. In 2007–2008, there were large decreases in Diacyclops thomasi and Daphnia mendotae possibly caused by food limitation as well as increased predation and indirect negative effects from increases in Bythotrephes longimanus abundance and in foraging efficiency associated with increased light penetration. The Bythotrephes increase was likely driven in part by decreased predation from yearling and older alewife. While there was a major decrease in epilimnetic–metalimnetic herbivorous cladocerans in 2007–2008, there was an increase in large omnivorous and predacious calanoid copepods, especially those in the hypolimnion. Thus, changes to the zooplankton community are the result of cascading, synergistic interactions, including a shift from vertebrate to invertebrate planktivory and mussel ecosystem impacts on light climate and chlorophyll.

  1. A 3D character animation engine for multimodal interaction on mobile devices

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sandali, Enrico; Lavagetto, Fabio; Pisano, Paolo

    2005-03-01

    Talking virtual characters are graphical simulations of real or imaginary persons that enable natural and pleasant multimodal interaction with the user, by means of voice, eye gaze, facial expression and gestures. This paper presents an implementation of a 3D virtual character animation and rendering engine, compliant with the MPEG-4 standard, running on Symbian-based SmartPhones. Real-time animation of virtual characters on mobile devices represents a challenging task, since many limitations must be taken into account with respect to processing power, graphics capabilities, disk space and execution memory size. The proposed optimization techniques allow to overcome these issues, guaranteeing a smooth and synchronous animation of facial expressions and lip movements on mobile phones such as Sony-Ericsson's P800 and Nokia's 6600. The animation engine is specifically targeted to the development of new "Over The Air" services, based on embodied conversational agents, with applications in entertainment (interactive story tellers), navigation aid (virtual guides to web sites and mobile services), news casting (virtual newscasters) and education (interactive virtual teachers).

  2. Anadromous sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) are ecosystem engineers in a spawning tributary

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hogg, Robert S.; Coghlan Jr., Stephen M.; Zydlewski, Joseph; Simon, Kevin S.

    2014-01-01

    Sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) disturb the substratum during nest construction and alter the physical habitat, potentially affecting other stream organisms. We quantified differences in depth, velocity, fine-sediment coverage, embeddedness, intragravel permeability and benthic invertebrate assemblages (density and diversity) among nest mounds, nest pits and undisturbed reference locations over a 4-month period after June spawning. In 2010 and 2011, immediate and persistent effects of nest construction were assessed in summer (July) and in autumn (late September to early October), respectively. Randomly selected nests were sampled annually (25 each in summer and autumn). Nest construction increased stream-bed complexity by creating and juxtaposing shallow, swift, rocky habitat patches with deep, slow, sandy habitat patches. Mounds had a 50–143% less cover of fine sediment, and a 30–62% reduction in embeddedness, compared to pits and reference locations. These physical changes persisted into the autumn (almost 4 months). Five insect families contributed 74% of the benthic invertebrate abundance: Chironomidae (27%), Hydropsychidae (26%), Heptageniidae (8%), Philopotamidae (7%) and Ephemerellidae (6%). Densities of Hydropsychidae, Philopotamidae and Heptageniidae were up to 10 times greater in mounds than in pits and adjacent reference habitat. In summer, mounds had twice the density of Chironomidae than did pits, and 1.5 times more than reference habitats, but densities were similar among the habitats in autumn. These results suggest that spawning sea lampreys are ecosystem engineers. The physical disturbance caused by nest-building activity was significant and persistent, increasing habitat heterogeneity and favouring pollution-sensitive benthic invertebrates and, possibly, drift-feeding fish.

  3. Before the endless forms: embodied model of transition from single cells to aggregates to ecosystem engineering.

    PubMed

    Solé, Ricard V; Valverde, Sergi

    2013-01-01

    The emergence of complex multicellular systems and their associated developmental programs is one of the major problems of evolutionary biology. The advantages of cooperation over individuality seem well known but it is not clear yet how such increase of complexity emerged from unicellular life forms. Current multicellular systems display a complex cell-cell communication machinery, often tied to large-scale controls of body size or tissue homeostasis. Some unicellular life forms are simpler and involve groups of cells cooperating in a tissue-like fashion, as it occurs with biofilms. However, before true gene regulatory interactions were widespread and allowed for controlled changes in cell phenotypes, simple cellular colonies displaying adhesion and interacting with their environments were in place. In this context, models often ignore the physical embedding of evolving cells, thus leaving aside a key component. The potential for evolving pre-developmental patterns is a relevant issue: how far a colony of evolving cells can go? Here we study these pre-conditions for morphogenesis by using CHIMERA, a physically embodied computational model of evolving virtual organisms in a pre-Mendelian world. Starting from a population of identical, independent cells moving in a fluid, the system undergoes a series of changes, from spatial segregation, increased adhesion and the development of generalism. Eventually, a major transition occurs where a change in the flow of nutrients is triggered by a sub-population. This ecosystem engineering phenomenon leads to a subsequent separation of the ecological network into two well defined compartments. The relevance of these results for evodevo and its potential ecological triggers is discussed. PMID:23596506

  4. Indirect effects of a key ecosystem engineer alter survival and growth of foundation coral species.

    PubMed

    White, Jada-Simone S; O'Donnell, James L

    2010-12-01

    Stegastes nigricans, a "farmerfish" that cultivates algal turf and defends territories from grazers and other intruders, can affect coral indirectly due to increased competition with farmed algal turf and/or reduced predation resulting from territorial aggression directed at corallivores. To investigate the indirect effects of this key ecosystem engineer on coral mortality and growth, we transplanted caged and exposed fragments of four coral species to patch reefs in French Polynesia on which we manipulated the presence of S. nigricans and turf, and to reefs naturally devoid of S. nigricans. Reef access was two to four times higher for herbivorous fishes, and two times higher for corallivorous fishes, when S. nigricans was removed, indicating that reef access is reduced for two important guilds of fishes when S. nigricans is present. Stegastes' territoriality indirectly benefited delicate acroporids (Montipora floweri and Acropora striata), yielding a twofold to fivefold reduction in skeletal loss due to lower predation frequencies in the presence of S. nigricans. Three corals, A. striata, M. floweri, and especially Porites australiensis, suffered mortality due to overgrowth significantly more frequently in the presence of farmed turf, but Pocillopora verrucosa did not. Algal abundance predicted the frequency of overgrowth for only A. striata and P. australiensis. M. floweri were more likely to be overgrown when exposed (uncaged) in the presence of S. nigricans, suggesting an interaction modification, in this case that initial predation increased susceptibility to competition with turf. In this community, the presence of S. nigricans may increase algal overgrowth of massive Porites by facilitating its turf competitors and simultaneously reduce predation of branching corals through territorial exclusion of corallivores. These indirect interactions may underlie previously documented community transitions from disturbance-resistant massive coral to recovering

  5. The effect of sewage discharge on the ecosystem engineering activities of two East African fiddler crab species: consequences for mangrove ecosystem functioning.

    PubMed

    Bartolini, Fabrizio; Cimò, Filippo; Fusi, Marco; Dahdouh-Guebas, Farid; Lopes, Gil Penha; Cannicci, Stefano

    2011-02-01

    A number of studies have suggested that mangrove forests and their faunal components may be pre-adapted to the impact of organic waste discharge, making them possible natural wastewater treatment wetlands. However, the results from recent research are contradictory. Some studies have shown that negative effects, sometimes subtle and difficult to observe, can be detected on specific biotic components of forests subjected to organic pollution. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate possible alterations in the ecosystem engineering activities of a fiddler crab community dominating the landward belts of Kenyan mangrove forests. The total processed sediment produced by burrowing and foraging activities in a population from a peri-urban mangrove area receiving untreated domestic sewage was compared with that from a forest not affected by urban wastewater. The results showed how the peri-urban site hosted a higher biomass of crabs, which produced a significantly lower amount of processed sediment compared with the pristine site, resulting in a lower total top sediment mixing activity of the crabs. Thus, the present study showed a link between sewage exposure and top sediment reworking by crabs, which is potentially beneficial for mangrove growth and ecosystem functioning. This represents a possible example of cryptic ecological degradation in mangal systems. PMID:21047678

  6. N-acetylcysteineamide (NACA) prevents inflammation and oxidative stress in animals exposed to diesel engine exhaust.

    PubMed

    Banerjee, Atrayee; Trueblood, Max B; Zhang, Xinsheng; Manda, Kalyan Reddy; Lobo, Prem; Whitefield, Philip D; Hagen, Donald E; Ercal, Nuran

    2009-06-22

    Diesel exhaust particles (DEPs), a by-product of diesel engine exhaust (DEE), are one of the major components of air borne particulate matter (PM) in the urban environment. DEPs are composed of soot, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), redox active semi-quinones, and transition metals, which are known to produce pro-oxidative and pro-inflammatory effects, thereby leading to oxidative stress-induced damage in the lungs. The objective of this study was to determine if N-acetylcysteineamide (NACA), a novel thiol antioxidant, confers protection to animals exposed to DEPs from oxidative stress-induced damage to the lung. To study this, male C57BL/6 mice, pretreated with either NACA (250mg/kg body weight) or saline, were exposed to DEPs (15mg/m(3)) or filtered air (1.5-3h/day) for nine consecutive days. The animals were sacrificed 24h after the last exposure. NACA-treated animals exposed to DEP had significant decreases in the number of macrophages and the amount of mucus plug formation in the lungs, as compared to the DEP-only exposed animals. In addition, DEP-exposed animals, pretreated with NACA, also experienced significantly lower oxidative stress than the untreated group, as indicated by the glutathione (GSH), and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and catalase (CAT) activity. Further, DEP-induced toxicity in the lungs was reversed in NACA-treated animals, as indicated by the lactate dehydrogenase levels. Taken together, these data suggest that the thiol-antioxidant, NACA, can protect the lungs from DEP-induced inflammation and oxidative stress related damage. PMID:19429263

  7. History and future of genetically engineered food animal regulation: an open request.

    PubMed

    Wells, Kevin D

    2016-06-01

    Modern biotechnology resulted from of a series of incremental improvements in the understanding of DNA and the enzymes that nature evolved to manipulate it. As the potential impact of genetic engineering became apparent, scientists began the process of trying to identify the potential unintended consequences. Restrictions to recombinant DNA experimentation were at first self-imposed. Collaborative efforts between scientists and lawyers formalized an initial set of guidelines. These guidelines have been used to promulgate regulations around world. However, the initial guidelines were only intended as a starting point and were motivated by a specific set of concerns. As new data became available, the guidelines and regulations should have been adapted to the new knowledge. Instead, other social drivers drove the development of regulations. For most species and most applications, the framework that was established has slowly allowed some products to reach the market. However, genetically engineered livestock that are intended for food have been left in a regulatory state of limbo. To date, no genetically engineered food animal is available in the marketplace. A short history and a U.S.-based genetic engineer's perspective are presented. In addition, a request to regulatory agencies is presented for consideration as regulation continues to evolve. Regulators appear to have shown preference for the slow, random progression of evolution over the efficiency of intentional design. PMID:26924471

  8. Burrowing seabird effects on invertebrate communities in soil and litter are dominated by ecosystem engineering rather than nutrient addition.

    PubMed

    Orwin, Kate H; Wardle, David A; Towns, David R; St John, Mark G; Bellingham, Peter J; Jones, Chris; Fitzgerald, Brian M; Parrish, Richard G; Lyver, Phil O'B

    2016-01-01

    Vertebrate consumers can be important drivers of the structure and functioning of ecosystems, including the soil and litter invertebrate communities that drive many ecosystem processes. Burrowing seabirds, as prevalent vertebrate consumers, have the potential to impact consumptive effects via adding marine nutrients to soil (i.e. resource subsidies) and non-consumptive effects via soil disturbance associated with excavating burrows (i.e. ecosystem engineering). However, the exact mechanisms by which they influence invertebrates are poorly understood. We examined how soil chemistry and plant and invertebrate communities changed across a gradient of seabird burrow density on two islands in northern New Zealand. Increasing seabird burrow density was associated with increased soil nutrient availability and changes in plant community structure and the abundance of nearly all the measured invertebrate groups. Increasing seabird densities had a negative effect on invertebrates that were strongly influenced by soil-surface litter, a positive effect on fungal-feeding invertebrates, and variable effects on invertebrate groups with diverse feeding strategies. Gastropoda and Araneae species richness and composition were also influenced by seabird activity. Generalized multilevel path analysis revealed that invertebrate responses were strongly driven by seabird engineering effects, via increased soil disturbance, reduced soil-surface litter, and changes in trophic interactions. Almost no significant effects of resource subsidies were detected. Our results show that seabirds, and in particular their non-consumptive effects, were significant drivers of invertebrate food web structure. Reductions in seabird populations, due to predation and human activity, may therefore have far-reaching consequences for the functioning of these ecosystems. PMID:26410032

  9. Wheels, Cranks, and Cams: An Animated Spreadsheet-Based Mathematical Model of a Four-Stroke Engine.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Callender, J. T.; Jackson, R.

    1998-01-01

    Analyzes the mathematics of rotational and translational motion and how one can influence the other in the context of cams and cranks. Describes how the individual components can be brought together to simulate a four-stroke engine and how the engine animates again using the same simple macro. (Author/ASK)

  10. Measuring ecosystem functioning of soil mega-aggregates produced by soil/litter mix-feeding animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaneko, N.

    2009-04-01

    on their seed nutrient, and the canopy oak trees seem to be nutrient limited. Thus in this forest, the nutrient condition mediated by earthworm activity was a strong factor influencing plant species-specific growth and this correlation was clear when we used the cast abundance as an independent factor but it was not clear when we used the worm abundance or biomass for explanation variables. In laboratory incubations, fresh casts of earthworm Metaphire hilgendorfi contained higher NH4-N which was mostly nitrified within 4-weeks. The 4-weeks aged casts of the earthworm and millipede Parafontaria laminata emitted significantly more N2O whereas the modified soil had strong CH4 acidification capacity. Therefore the animal effects on greenhouse effect gas should be evaluated for CO2, N2O and CH4 at the same time. We then confirmed that megaaggregates, probably cast origin, tended to contain more carbon than fine soil. Combining our data from various study sites in Japan, the amount of carbon contained in megaaggregates (> 2 mm) in 0-5 cm layer ranged from 200 to 1000 g C per m2. Animal feeding activities maintained substantial amount of surface soil aggregates. Therefore, the activity of soil/litter mix feeders can be linked to the carbon dynamics by evaluating worm's soil engineering effect.

  11. Ecological Engineering of the City: The Urban Ecosystem. Urban Ecology Series, No. 8.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Department of the Interior, Washington, DC.

    The cities of the world are great engineering feats. From the earliest dwellings of man constructed out of the raw materials of the environment, man has used his ingenuity to work engineering wonders that improve the circumstances of human life. By engineering technological skills, human beings have altered the environment to suit varied…

  12. Genetically engineered livestock for agriculture: a generation after the first transgenic animal research conference.

    PubMed

    Murray, James D; Maga, Elizabeth A

    2016-06-01

    At the time of the first Transgenic Animal Research Conference, the lack of knowledge about promoter, enhancer and coding regions of genes of interest greatly hampered our efforts to create transgenes that would express appropriately in livestock. Additionally, we were limited to gene insertion by pronuclear microinjection. As predicted then, widespread genome sequencing efforts and technological advancements have profoundly altered what we can do. There have been many developments in technology to create transgenic animals since we first met at Granlibakken in 1997, including the advent of somatic cell nuclear transfer-based cloning and gene editing. We can now create new transgenes that will express when and where we want and can target precisely in the genome where we want to make a change or insert a transgene. With the large number of sequenced genomes, we have unprecedented access to sequence information including, control regions, coding regions, and known allelic variants. These technological developments have ushered in new and renewed enthusiasm for the production of transgenic animals among scientists and animal agriculturalists around the world, both for the production of more relevant biomedical research models as well as for agricultural applications. However, even though great advancements have been made in our ability to control gene expression and target genetic changes in our animals, there still are no genetically engineered animal products on the market for food. World-wide there has been a failure of the regulatory processes to effectively move forward. Estimates suggest the world will need to increase our current food production 70 % by 2050; that is we will have to produce the total amount of food each year that has been consumed by mankind over the past 500 years. The combination of transgenic animal technology and gene editing will become increasingly more important tools to help feed the world. However, to date the practical benefits of

  13. Role of stem cells in large animal genetic engineering in the TALENs-CRISPR era.

    PubMed

    Park, Ki-Eun; Telugu, Bhanu Prakash V L

    2013-01-01

    The establishment of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and gene targeting technologies in mice has revolutionised the field of genetics. The relative ease with which genes can be knocked out, and exogenous sequences introduced, has allowed the mouse to become the prime model for deciphering the genetic code. Not surprisingly, the lack of authentic ESCs has hampered the livestock genetics field and has forced animal scientists into adapting alternative technologies for genetic engineering. The recent discovery of the creation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by upregulation of a handful of reprogramming genes has offered renewed enthusiasm to animal geneticists. However, much like ESCs, establishing authentic iPSCs from the domestic animals is still beset with problems, including (but not limited to) the persistent expression of reprogramming genes and the lack of proven potential for differentiation into target cell types both in vitro and in vivo. Site-specific nucleases comprised of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs) and clustered regulated interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) emerged as powerful genetic tools for precisely editing the genome, usurping the need for ESC-based genetic modifications even in the mouse. In this article, in the aftermath of these powerful genome editing technologies, the role of pluripotent stem cells in livestock genetics is discussed. PMID:24305178

  14. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Bradley J; Fournier, Alexa M; Furman, Bradley T; Carroll, John M

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem. PMID:25071995

  15. Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Long Island salt marshes: experimental evaluation of the interactions between an invasive crab and resident ecosystem engineers

    PubMed Central

    Fournier, Alexa M.; Furman, Bradley T.; Carroll, John M.

    2014-01-01

    The invasive Asian shore crab, Hemigrapsus sanguineus, has recently been observed occupying salt marshes, a novel environment for this crab species. As it invades this new habitat, it is likely to interact with a number of important salt marsh species. To understand the potential effects of H. sanguineus on this ecosystem, interactions between this invasive crab and important salt marsh ecosystem engineers were examined. Laboratory experiments demonstrated competition for burrows between H. sanguineus and the native fiddler crab, Uca pugilator. Results indicate that H. sanguineus is able to displace an established fiddler crab from its burrow. Feeding experiments revealed that the presence of H. sanguineus has a significantly negative impact on the number as well as the biomass of ribbed mussels (Geukensia demissa) consumed by the green crab, Carcinus maenas, although this only occurred at high predator densities. In addition, when both crabs foraged together, there was a significant shift in the size of mussels consumed. These interactions suggests that H. sanguineus may have long-term impacts and wide-ranging negative effects on the saltmarsh ecosystem. PMID:25071995

  16. Animal Thermoregulation and the Operative Environmental (Equivalent) Temperature. Physical Processes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Transport Process.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stevenson, R. D.

    These materials were designed to be used by life science students for instruction in the application of physical theory to ecosystem operation. Most modules contain computer programs which are built around a particular application of a physical process. Thermoregulation is defined as the ability of an organism to modify its body temperature. This…

  17. Effects of tropical ecosystem engineers on soil quality and crop performance under different tillage and residue management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pulleman, Mirjam; Paul, Birthe; Fredrick, Ayuke; Hoogmoed, Marianne; Hurisso, Tunsisa; Ndabamenye, Telesphore; Saidou, Koala; Terano, Yusuke; Six, Johan; Vanlauwe, Bernard

    2014-05-01

    Feeding a future global population of 9 billion will require a 70-100% increase in food production, resulting in unprecedented challenges for agriculture and natural resources, especially in Sub-saharan Africa (SSA). Agricultural practices that contribute to sustainable intensification build on beneficial biological interactions and ecosystem services. Termites are the dominant soil ecosystem engineers in arid to sub-humid tropical agro-ecosystems. Various studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of termites for rehabilitation of degraded and crusted soils and plant growth in semi-arid and arid natural ecosystems. However, the contribution of termites to agricultural productivity has hardly been experimentally investigated, and their role in Conservation Agriculture (CA) systems remains especially unclear. Therefore, this study aimed to quantify the effects of termites and ants on soil physical quality and crop productivity under different tillage and residue management systems in the medium term. A randomized block trial was set up in sub-humid Western Kenya in 2003. Treatments included a factorial combination of residue retention and removal (+R/-R) and conventional and reduced tillage (+T/-T) under a maize (Zea mays L.) and soybean (Glyxine max. L.) rotation. A macrofauna exclusion experiment was superimposed in 2005 as a split-plot factor (exclusion +ins; inclusion -ins) by regular applications of pesticides (Dursban and Endosulfan) in half of the plots. Macrofauna abundance and diversity, soil aggregate fractions, soil carbon contents and crop yields were measured between 2005 and 2012 at 0-15 cm and 15-30 cm soil depths. Termites were the most important macrofauna species, constituting between 48-63% of all soil biota, while ants were 13-34%, whereas earthworms were present in very low numbers. Insecticide application was effective in reducing termites (85-56% exclusion efficacy) and earthworms (87%), and less so ants (49-81%) at 0-15 cm soil depth

  18. Field calibration of soil-core microcosms for evaluating fate and effects of genetically engineered microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Bolton, H Jr; Fredrickson, J K; Bentjen, S A; Workman, D J; Li, S W; Thomas, J M

    1991-04-01

    Pacific Northwest Laboratory compared intact soil-core microcosms and the field for ecosystem structural and functional properties after the introduction of a model genetically engineered microorganism (GEM). This project used two distinct microbial types as model GEMs, Gram-negative Pseudomonas sp. RC1, which was an aggressive root colonizer, and Gram-positive Streptomyces lividans TK24. The model GEMs were added to surface soil in separate studies, with RC1 studied throughout the growth of winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), while TK24 was studied throughout a ten month period. Also, RC1 was used in studies conducted during two consecutive field seasons (1988 to 1990) to determine how year-to-year field variability influenced the calibration of microcosms with the field. The main conclusions of this research were that intact soil-core microcosms can be useful to simulate the field for studies of microbial fate and effects on ecosystem structural and functional properties. In general, microcosms in the growth chamber, which simulated average field variations, were similar to the field for most parameters or differences could be attributed to the great extremes in temperature that occurred in the field compared to the microcosms. Better controls of environmental variables including temperature and moisture will be necessary to more closely simulate the field for future use of microcosms for risk assessment. 126 refs., 13 figs., 12 tabs.

  19. Designing an accompanying ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship among agronomic and forestry engineering students. Opinion and commitment of university lecturers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortiz-Medina, L.; Fernández-Ahumada, E.; Lara-Vélez, P.; Taguas, E. V.; Gallardo-Cobos, R.; del Campillo, M. C.; Guerrero-Ginel, J. E.

    2016-07-01

    In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a collective project conceived as an 'ecosystem to support and accompany entrepreneurs' has been proposed. The approach aims to spread and consolidate the entrepreneurial spirit and to respond to the demands of possible stakeholders involved in the whole process of training, as well as the subsequent integration of graduates into the labour market. Putting into practice this initiative, which involves multiple actors, is a complex and difficult task. For this reason, prior to its implementation, the authors considered it necessary to listen to main stakeholders' opinions and evaluate their degree of commitment and the requirements they consider important for the viability and sustainability of the initiative. This paper focuses on the faculty's opinions, gathered by means of a survey conducted with the entire faculty (N = 128, response rate = 45%) and semi-structured interviews held with 20 members of the School board. The results suggest that there is a general consensus on the suitability of this collective project and that there is a core of teachers willing to get involved. Evidently, guidelines need to be produced to facilitate taking on such tasks. However, the main drawbacks are related with the conflict between formal requirements of professor professional profile and the steps needed to establish the ecosystem.

  20. Designing an accompanying ecosystem for entrepreneurship students of agronomic and forestry engineering. Opinion and commitment of the faculty

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ortiz, Leovigilda; Fernández-Ahumada, Elvira; Lara-Vélez, Pablo; Taguas, Encarnación V.; Gallardo-Cobos, Rosa; Campillo, M. Carmen; Guerrero-Ginel, José E.

    2014-05-01

    The current context has called attention to the need of training engineers with new skills beyond the purely technical. Among others, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit has gained special prominence. In the Higher School of Agronomic and Forestry Engineering of the University of Cordoba, a 12-year-experience of an entrepreneurship program for undergraduate students concluded that, for an adequate consolidation and evolution of the program, is important to establish a robust network with active participation of all actors involved. With this antecedent, a collective project conceived as an "ecosystem of support and accompaniment for entrepreneurs" is the approach proposed. The objective is to perform an evaluation of this model in terms of viability, usefulness, actions to be taken and degree of commitment. The key actors identified (undergraduate students, faculty, alumni, local and regional entrepreneurs, enterprises, public administration) have been involved in the evaluation process. This study focuses on the academic staff. For that aim, a survey to the entire faculty (N=128, response rate = 45%) and semi-structured interviews to 20 members have been performed. Data have been treated by means of univariate and multivariate analysis. Results suggest that there exists an agreement concerning the appropriateness of a collective project; there is a critical mass of teachers willing to be engaged; guidelines need to be incorporated in order to facilitate taking on tasks; main restrictions concern the existing asymmetry between formal requirements and those necessary for establishing the ecosystem. ACKNOWLEDGMENT: This research work has been developed in the framework of the ALFA III programme financed by the European Union.

  1. Role of two contrasting ecosystem engineers ( Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) on the food intake rate of Cerastoderma edule

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Brun, Fernando G.; van Zetten, Elleke; Cacabelos, Eva; Bouma, Tjeerd J.

    2009-03-01

    Seagrasses are well known ecosystem engineers that can significantly influence local hydrodynamics and the abundance and biodiversity of macrobenthic organisms. This study focuses on the potential role of the seagrass canopy structure in altering the abundance of filter-feeding organisms by modifying the hydrodynamic driven food supply. We quantified the effect of two ecosystem engineers with contrasting canopy properties (i.e. Zostera noltii and Cymodocea nodosa) on the food intake rate of a suspension-feeding bivalve Cerastoderma edule living in these seagrass meadows. Field experiments were carried out in two seagrass beds ( Z. noltii and C. nodosa) and bare sediment, located on sandflat characterised by a relatively high hydrodynamic energy from waves and currents. Results demonstrated that the filter-feeding rate was almost twofold increased when C. edule was inhabiting Z. noltii meadows (1.10 ± 0.24 μg Chl g Fresh Weight-1) when compared to cockles living on the bare sediment (0.65 ± 0.14 μg Chl g FW-1). Intermediate values were found within C. nodosa canopy (0.97 ± 0.24 μg Chl g FW-1), but filter feeding rate showed no significant differences with values for Z. noltii meadows. There were no apparent correlations between canopy properties and filter-feeding rates. Our results imply that food refreshment within the seagrass canopies was enough to avoid food depletion. We therefore expect that the ameliorated environmental conditions within vegetated areas (i.e. lower hydrodynamic conditions, higher sediment stability, lower predation pressure…) in combination with sufficient food supply to prevent depletion within both canopies are the main factors underlying our observations.

  2. Engineering Macaca fascicularis cytochrome P450 2C20 to reduce animal testing for new drugs.

    PubMed

    Rua, Francesco; Sadeghi, Sheila J; Castrignanò, Silvia; Di Nardo, Giovanna; Gilardi, Gianfranco

    2012-12-01

    In order to develop in vitro methods as an alternative to P450 animal testing in the drug discovery process, two main requisites are necessary: 1) gathering of data on animal homologues of the human P450 enzymes, currently very limited, and 2) bypassing the requirement for both the P450 reductase and the expensive cofactor NADPH. In this work, P450 2C20 from Macaca fascicularis, homologue of the human P450 2C8 has been taken as a model system to develop such an alternative in vitro method by two different approaches. In the first approach called "molecular Lego", a soluble self-sufficient chimera was generated by fusing the P450 2C20 domain with the reductase domain of cytochrome P450 BM3 from Bacillus megaterium (P450 2C20/BMR). In the second approach, the need for the redox partner and also NADPH were both obviated by the direct immobilization of the P450 2C20 on glassy carbon and gold electrodes. Both systems were then compared to those obtained from the reconstituted P450 2C20 monooxygenase in presence of the human P450 reductase and NADPH using paclitaxel and amodiaquine, two typical drug substrates of the human P450 2C8. The K(M) values calculated for the 2C20 and 2C20/BMR in solution and for 2C20 immobilized on electrodes modified with gold nanoparticles were 1.9 ± 0.2, 5.9 ± 2.3, 3.0 ± 0.5 μM for paclitaxel and 1.2 ± 0.2, 1.6±0.2 and 1.4 ± 0.2 μM for amodiaquine, respectively. The data obtained not only show that the engineering of M. fascicularis did not affect its catalytic properties but also are consistent with K(M) values measured for the microsomal human P450 2C8 and therefore show the feasibility of developing alternative in vitro animal tests. PMID:22819650

  3. Design and engineering aspects of a high resolution positron tomograph for small animal imaging

    SciTech Connect

    Lecomte, R.; Cadorette, J.; Richard, P.; Rodrique, S.; Rouleau, D. . Dept. of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology)

    1994-08-01

    The authors describe the Sherbrooke positron emission tomograph, a very high resolution device dedicated to dynamic imaging of small laboratory animals. Its distinctive features are: small discrete scintillation detectors based on avalanche photodiodes (APD) to achieve uniform, isotropic, very high spatial resolution; parallel processing for low deadtime and high count rate capability; multispectral data acquisition hardware to improve sensitivity and scatter correction; modularity to allow design flexibility and upgradability. The system implements the clam-shell'' sampling scheme and a rotating rod transmission source. All acquisition parameters can be adjusted under computer control. Temperature stability at the detector site is ensured by the use of thermoelectric modules. The initial system consists of one layer of 256 modules (two rings of detectors) defining 3 image slices in a 118 mm diameter by 10.5 mm thick field. The axial field can be extended to 50 mm using 4 layers of modules (8 rings of detectors). The design constraints and engineering aspects of an APD-based PET scanner are reviewed and preliminary results are reported.

  4. Will the balance of power shift among native eastern Pacific estuary ecosystem engineers with the introduced bopyrid isopod parasite orthione griffenis?

    EPA Science Inventory

    The blue mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis, the bay ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis, and eelgrass, Zostera marina are endemic ecosystem engineers that define the ecological structure and function of estuaries along the Pacific coast of the US as significantly as do marshes...

  5. Process oriented thinking as a key for integration of ecohydrology, biotechnology and engineering for sustainable water resources management and ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zalewski, M.

    2015-04-01

    The recent high rate of environmental degradation due to unsustainable use of water and other natural resources and mismanagement, is, in many cases, the result of a dominant sectoral approach, limited communication between different users and agencies, and lack of knowledge transfer between different disciplines, and especially lack of dialogue between environmental scientists and engineers. There is no doubt that the genuine improvement of human well-being has to be based on understanding the complexity of interactions between abiotic, biotic and socio-economic systems. The major drivers of biogeosphere evolution and function have been the cycles of water and nutrients in a complex array of differing climates and catchment geomorphologies. In the face of global climate change and unequally distributed human populations, the recent sectoral mechanistic approach in natural resources management has to be replaced by an evolutionary systems approach based on well-integrated problem-solving and policy-oriented environmental science. Thus the principles of ecohydrology should be the basis for further integration of ecology, hydrology, engineering, biotechnology and other environmental sciences. Examples from UNESCO IHP VII show how the integration of these will not only increase the efficiency of measures to harmonize ecosystem potentials with societal needs, but also significantly reduce the costs of sustainable environmental management.

  6. Elephants (and extinct relatives) as earth-movers and ecosystem engineers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Haynes, Gary

    2012-07-01

    Modern African elephants affect habitats and ecosystems in significant ways. They push over trees to feed on upper branches and often peel large sections of bark to eat. These destructive habits sometimes transform woody vegetation into grasslands. Systems of elephant trails may be used and re-used for centuries, and create incised features that extend for many kilometers on migration routes. Elephants, digging in search of water or mineral sediments, may remove several cubic meters of sediments in each excavation. Wallowing elephants may remove up to a cubic meter of pond sediments each time they visit water sources. Accumulations of elephant dung on frequented land surfaces may be over 2 kg per square meter. Elephant trampling, digging, and dust-bathing may reverse stratigraphy at archeological localities. This paper summarizes these types of effects on biotic, geomorphic, and paleontological features in modern-day landscapes, and also describes several fossil sites that indicate extinct proboscideans had very similar effects, such as major sediment disturbances.

  7. Regional extent of an ecosystem engineer: earthworm invasion in northern hardwood forests.

    PubMed

    Holdsworth, Andrew R; Frelich, Lee E; Reich, Peter B

    2007-09-01

    The invasion of exotic earthworms into northern temperate and boreal forests previously devoid of earthworms is an important driver of ecosystem change. Earthworm invasion can cause significant changes in soil structure and communities, nutrient cycles, and the diversity and abundance of herbaceous plants. However, the regional extent and patterns of this invasion are poorly known. We conducted a regional survey in the Chippewa and Chequamegon National Forests, in Minnesota and Wisconsin, U.S.A., respectively, to measure the extent and patterns of earthworm invasion and their relationship to potential earthworm introduction sites. We sampled earthworms, soils, and vegetation in 20 mature, sugar maple-dominated forest stands in each national forest and analyzed the relationship between the presence of five earthworm taxonomic groups, habitat variables, and distance to the nearest potential introduction site. Earthworm invasion was extensive but incomplete in the two national forests. Four of the six earthworm taxonomic groups occurred in 55-95% of transects; however 20% of all transects were invaded by only one taxonomic group that has relatively minor ecological effects. Earthworm taxonomic groups exhibited a similar sequence of invasion found in other studies: Dendrobaena > Aporrectodea = Lumbricus juveniles > L. rubellus > L. terrestris. Distance to the nearest road was the best predictor of earthworm invasion in Wisconsin while distance to the nearest cabin was the best predictor in Minnesota. These data allow us to make preliminary assessments of landscape patterns of earthworm invasion. As an example, we estimate that 82% of upland mesic hardwood stands in the Wisconsin region are likely invaded by most taxonomic groups while only 3% are unlikely to be invaded at present. Distance to roads and cabins provides a coarse-scale predictor of earthworm invasion to focus stand-level assessments that will help forest managers better understand current and potential

  8. The influence of the biological pump on ocean chemistry: implications for long-term trends in marine redox chemistry, the global carbon cycle, and marine animal ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Meyer, K M; Ridgwell, A; Payne, J L

    2016-05-01

    The net export of organic matter from the surface ocean and its respiration at depth create vertical gradients in nutrient and oxygen availability that play a primary role in structuring marine ecosystems. Changes in the properties of this 'biological pump' have been hypothesized to account for important shifts in marine ecosystem structure, including the Cambrian explosion. However, the influence of variation in the behavior of the biological pump on ocean biogeochemistry remains poorly quantified, preventing any detailed exploration of how changes in the biological pump over geological time may have shaped long-term shifts in ocean chemistry, biogeochemical cycling, and ecosystem structure. Here, we use a 3-dimensional Earth system model of intermediate complexity to quantitatively explore the effects of the biological pump on marine chemistry. We find that when respiration of sinking organic matter is efficient, due to slower sinking or higher respiration rates, anoxia tends to be more prevalent and to occur in shallower waters. Consequently, the Phanerozoic trend toward less bottom-water anoxia in continental shelf settings can potentially be explained by a change in the spatial dynamics of nutrient cycling rather than by any change in the ocean phosphate inventory. The model results further suggest that the Phanerozoic decline in the prevalence ocean anoxia is, in part, a consequence of the evolution of larger phytoplankton, many of which produce mineralized tests. We hypothesize that the Phanerozoic trend toward greater animal abundance and metabolic demand was driven more by increased oxygen concentrations in shelf environments than by greater food (nutrient) availability. In fact, a lower-than-modern ocean phosphate inventory in our closed system model is unable to account for the Paleozoic prevalence of bottom-water anoxia. Overall, these model simulations suggest that the changing spatial distribution of photosynthesis and respiration in the oceans has

  9. Thermal impacts of engineering activities and vegetation layer on permafrost in different alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wu, Qingbai; Zhang, Zhongqiong; Gao, Siru; Ma, Wei

    2016-08-01

    Climate warming and engineering activities have various impacts on the thermal regime of permafrost in alpine ecosystems of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Using recent observations of permafrost thermal regimes along the Qinghai-Tibet highway and railway, the changes of such regimes beneath embankments constructed in alpine meadows and steppes are studied. The results show that alpine meadows on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau can have a controlling role among engineering construction effects on permafrost beneath embankments. As before railway construction, the artificial permafrost table (APT) beneath embankments is not only affected by climate change and engineering activities but is also controlled by alpine ecosystems. However, the change rate of APT is not dependent on ecosystem type, which is predominantly affected by climate change and engineering activities. Instead, the rate is mainly related to cooling effects of railway ballast and heat absorption effects of asphalt pavement. No large difference between alpine and steppe can be identified regarding the variation of soil temperature beneath embankments, but this difference is readily identified in the variation of mean annual soil temperature with depth. The vegetation layer in alpine meadows has an insulation role among engineering activity effects on permafrost beneath embankments, but this insulation gradually disappears because the layer decays and compresses over time. On the whole, this layer is advantageous for alleviating permafrost temperature rise in the short term, but its effect gradually weakens in the long term.

  10. Assessing health in agriculture--towards a common research framework for soils, plants, animals, humans and ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Vieweger, Anja; Döring, Thomas F

    2015-02-01

    In agriculture and food systems, health-related research includes a vast diversity of topics. Nutritional, toxicological, pharmacological, epidemiological, behavioural, sociological, economic and political methods are used to study health in the five domains of soils, plants, livestock, humans and ecosystems. An idea developed in the early founding days of organic agriculture stated that the health of all domains is one and indivisible. Here we show that recent research reveals the existence and complex nature of such health links among domains. However, studies of health aspects in agriculture are often separated by disciplinary boundaries. This restrains the understanding of health in agricultural systems. Therefore we explore the opportunities and limitations of bringing perspectives together from the different domains. We review current approaches to define and assess health in agricultural contexts, comparing the state of the art of commonly used approaches and bringing together the presently disconnected debates in soil science, plant science, veterinary science and human medicine. Based on a qualitative literature analysis, we suggest that many health criteria fall into two paradigms: (1) the Growth Paradigm, where terms are primarily oriented towards continued growth; (2) the Boundary Paradigm, where terms focus on maintaining or coming back to a status quo, recognising system boundaries. Scientific health assessments in agricultural and food systems need to be explicit in terms of their position on the continuum between Growth Paradigm and Boundary Paradigm. Finally, we identify areas and concepts for a future direction of health assessment and research in agricultural and food systems. PMID:24777948

  11. Stable hydrogen isotopic compositions in plants and animals can provide ecosystem-hydrology connections: Santeelah Creek watershed

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fogel, M. L.; Newsome, S.; Graves, G.

    2013-12-01

    Connecting a watershed to its ecosystem can be accomplished with stable isotope tracers of hydrogen and oxygen at the natural abundance level. We have concentrated our study on a watershed with a significant altitudinal gradient in North Carolina. The Santeelah Creek watershed extends from 700 to 1600 m and is host to a robust population of black-throated blue warblers (Setophaga caerulescens; BTBW), which feed almost exclusively on caterpillars and small insects during their breeding and molting periods in June and July. The forests in this watershed are composed of a rich flora, including Betula, Rhododendron, Acer, Quercus, along with shrubs, ferns, and mosses. The δD of plants and insects along with creek and spring water samples provided us with background information that we extrapolated to the landscape scale. In addition, we have 13 years of δD data of feathers collected from over 500 specimens of BTBW that were collected from specific territories throughout the watershed. Variations in δD of plants within the watershed was not correlated with altitude, however, specific plant species (e.g. Betula vs. ferns) provide a direct link to the within watershed hydrology, because the δD values of plants are dependent not only on the δD of source water, but also growth temperature and the amount of evaporative transpiration. The δD values of BTBW feathers also do not vary with altitude, but vary annually and correlate with the amount of growing season and annual precipitation from the previous year when feathers were grown. While the δD of avian feathers has become a proven technique for tracing the natal origins of birds, our dataset allows us to delve further into the connections between water-primary producers-consumers-predators that will provide insight into how these analyses are truly linked to the hydrology of their environment.

  12. Seeding cell approach for tissue-engineered urethral reconstruction in animal study: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

    PubMed

    Xue, Jing-Dong; Gao, Jing; Fu, Qiang; Feng, Chao; Xie, Hong

    2016-07-01

    We systematically reviewed published preclinical studies to evaluate the effectiveness of cell-seeded tissue engineering approach for urethral reconstruction in an animal model. The outcomes were summarized by success factors in the animal experiments, which evaluate the possibility and feasibility of a clinical application in the future. Preclinical studies of tissue engineering approaches for urethral reconstruction were identified through a systematic search in PubMed, Embase, and Biosis Previews (web of science SP) databases for studies published from 1 January 1980 to 23 November 2014. Primary studies were included if urethral reconstruction was performed using a tissue-engineered biomaterial in any animal species (with the experiment group being a cell-seeded scaffold and the control group being a cell-free scaffold) with histology and urethrography as the outcome measure. A total of 15 preclinical studies were included in our meta-analysis. The histology and urethrography outcome between the experimental and control groups were considered to be the most clinically relevant. Through this systematic approach, our outcomes suggested that applying the cell-seeded biomaterial in creating a neo-urethra was stable and effective. And multi-type cells including epithelial cells as well as smooth muscle cells or fibroblasts seemed to be a better strategy. Stem cells, especially after epithelial differentiation, could be a promising choice for future researches. PMID:27022134

  13. Native leaf-tying caterpillars influence host plant use by the invasive Asiatic oak weevil through ecosystem engineering.

    PubMed

    Baer, Christina S; Marquis, Robert J

    2014-06-01

    We tested the effect of leaf-tying caterpillars, native ecosystem engineers, on the abundance and host feeding of an invasive insect, the Asiatic oak weevil, Cyrtepistomus castaneus (Roelofs). Leaf quality was previously thought to be the sole factor determining host use by C. castaneus, but adult weevils congregate in leaf ties made by lepidopteran larvae (caterpillars). Adult weevil abundance was naturally higher on Quercus alba and Q. velutina compared to four other tree species tested (Acer rubrum, Carya ovata, Cornus florida, and Sassafras albidum). These differences were associated with more natural leaf ties on the two Quercus species. In the laboratory, weevils fed on all six species but again preferred Q. alba and Q. velutina. When artificial ties were added to all six tree species, controlling for differences in leaf-tie density, adult weevil density increased on all six tree species, damage increased on all species but A. rubrum, and host ranking changed based on both abundance and damage. We conclude that leaf ties increase the local abundance of C. castaneus adults and their feeding. Thus, these native leaf-tying caterpillars engender the success of an invasive species via structural modification of potential host plants, the first described example of this phenomenon. PMID:25039212

  14. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area

    PubMed Central

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  15. Integrating Ecosystem Engineering and Food Web Ecology: Testing the Effect of Biogenic Reefs on the Food Web of a Soft-Bottom Intertidal Area.

    PubMed

    De Smet, Bart; Fournier, Jérôme; De Troch, Marleen; Vincx, Magda; Vanaverbeke, Jan

    2015-01-01

    The potential of ecosystem engineers to modify the structure and dynamics of food webs has recently been hypothesised from a conceptual point of view. Empirical data on the integration of ecosystem engineers and food webs is however largely lacking. This paper investigates the hypothesised link based on a field sampling approach of intertidal biogenic aggregations created by the ecosystem engineer Lanice conchilega (Polychaeta, Terebellidae). The aggregations are known to have a considerable impact on the physical and biogeochemical characteristics of their environment and subsequently on the abundance and biomass of primary food sources and the macrofaunal (i.e. the macro-, hyper- and epibenthos) community. Therefore, we hypothesise that L. conchilega aggregations affect the structure, stability and isotopic niche of the consumer assemblage of a soft-bottom intertidal food web. Primary food sources and the bentho-pelagic consumer assemblage of a L. conchilega aggregation and a control area were sampled on two soft-bottom intertidal areas along the French coast and analysed for their stable isotopes. Despite the structural impacts of the ecosystem engineer on the associated macrofaunal community, the presence of L. conchilega aggregations only has a minor effect on the food web structure of soft-bottom intertidal areas. The isotopic niche width of the consumer communities of the L. conchilega aggregations and control areas are highly similar, implying that consumer taxa do not shift their diet when feeding in a L. conchilega aggregation. Besides, species packing and hence trophic redundancy were not affected, pointing to an unaltered stability of the food web in the presence of L. conchilega. PMID:26496349

  16. Stems to GEMs: impact of stem cell technology on engineered animal models.

    PubMed

    Halpern, Wendy; McArthur, Mark; Galbreath, Elizabeth; Uhl, Elizabeth; Buck, Wayne; Whitley, Elizabeth

    2011-09-01

    Collectively, these presentations introduced the audience to the roles of ES cells in generating phenotypes of transgenic animals,and they provided examples where the GEMs were used to define molecular mechanisms of disease or where ES cells were used as a therapeutic modality. Points of discussion among audience members reinforced the importance of strain-associated background lesions in animal models, technological advances in imaging functional biology, opportunities for stem cell therapies, and ubiquitination in regulation of cell proliferation. The 2012 American College of Veterinary Pathologists symposium ‘‘Evolutionary Aspects of Animal Models’’ will focus on the proper selection of a relevant animal model in biomedical research as critical to investigative success. Recent work characterizing rapid evolutionary changes and differences in physiology between species questions the validity of some comparative models. Dr. Robert Hamlin will be speaking on cardiovascular disease in ‘‘Animals as Models of Human Cardiovascular Disease: Or the Search to Overcome Outdated Evolutionary Homeostatic Mechanisms.’’ Dr. Stefan Niewiesk will discuss evolutionary factors that affect modeling the human immune system in ‘‘Of Mice and Men: Evolutionarily, What Are the Best Rodent Models of the Human Immune System for Infectious Disease Research?’’ Dr. Steven Austad will consider evolution in ‘‘Evolutionary Aspects of Animal Models of Aging.’’Finally, Dr. Elizabeth Uhl will conclude the session with ‘‘Modeling Disease Phenotypes: How an Evolutionary Perspective Enhances the Questions.’’ PMID:21865606

  17. The chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay for the study of human bone regeneration: a refinement animal model for tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Moreno-Jiménez, Inés; Hulsart-Billstrom, Gry; Lanham, Stuart A.; Janeczek, Agnieszka A.; Kontouli, Nasia; Kanczler, Janos M.; Evans, Nicholas D.; Oreffo, Richard OC

    2016-01-01

    Biomaterial development for tissue engineering applications is rapidly increasing but necessitates efficacy and safety testing prior to clinical application. Current in vitro and in vivo models hold a number of limitations, including expense, lack of correlation between animal models and human outcomes and the need to perform invasive procedures on animals; hence requiring new predictive screening methods. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) can be used as a bioreactor to culture and study the regeneration of human living bone. We extracted bone cylinders from human femoral heads, simulated an injury using a drill-hole defect, and implanted the bone on CAM or in vitro control-culture. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used to quantify the magnitude and location of bone volume changes followed by histological analyses to assess bone repair. CAM blood vessels were observed to infiltrate the human bone cylinder and maintain human cell viability. Histological evaluation revealed extensive extracellular matrix deposition in proximity to endochondral condensations (Sox9+) on the CAM-implanted bone cylinders, correlating with a significant increase in bone volume by μCT analysis (p < 0.01). This human-avian system offers a simple refinement model for animal research and a step towards a humanized in vivo model for tissue engineering. PMID:27577960

  18. The chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) assay for the study of human bone regeneration: a refinement animal model for tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Moreno-Jiménez, Inés; Hulsart-Billstrom, Gry; Lanham, Stuart A; Janeczek, Agnieszka A; Kontouli, Nasia; Kanczler, Janos M; Evans, Nicholas D; Oreffo, Richard Oc

    2016-01-01

    Biomaterial development for tissue engineering applications is rapidly increasing but necessitates efficacy and safety testing prior to clinical application. Current in vitro and in vivo models hold a number of limitations, including expense, lack of correlation between animal models and human outcomes and the need to perform invasive procedures on animals; hence requiring new predictive screening methods. In the present study we tested the hypothesis that the chick embryo chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) can be used as a bioreactor to culture and study the regeneration of human living bone. We extracted bone cylinders from human femoral heads, simulated an injury using a drill-hole defect, and implanted the bone on CAM or in vitro control-culture. Micro-computed tomography (μCT) was used to quantify the magnitude and location of bone volume changes followed by histological analyses to assess bone repair. CAM blood vessels were observed to infiltrate the human bone cylinder and maintain human cell viability. Histological evaluation revealed extensive extracellular matrix deposition in proximity to endochondral condensations (Sox9+) on the CAM-implanted bone cylinders, correlating with a significant increase in bone volume by μCT analysis (p < 0.01). This human-avian system offers a simple refinement model for animal research and a step towards a humanized in vivo model for tissue engineering. PMID:27577960

  19. Multidisciplinary Design Optimization for Aeropropulsion Engines and Solid Modeling/Animation via the Integrated Forced Methods

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The grant closure report is organized in the following four chapters: Chapter describes the two research areas Design optimization and Solid mechanics. Ten journal publications are listed in the second chapter. Five highlights is the subject matter of chapter three. CHAPTER 1. The Design Optimization Test Bed CometBoards. CHAPTER 2. Solid Mechanics: Integrated Force Method of Analysis. CHAPTER 3. Five Highlights: Neural Network and Regression Methods Demonstrated in the Design Optimization of a Subsonic Aircraft. Neural Network and Regression Soft Model Extended for PX-300 Aircraft Engine. Engine with Regression and Neural Network Approximators Designed. Cascade Optimization Strategy with Neural network and Regression Approximations Demonstrated on a Preliminary Aircraft Engine Design. Neural Network and Regression Approximations Used in Aircraft Design.

  20. Sequence-engineered mRNA Without Chemical Nucleoside Modifications Enables an Effective Protein Therapy in Large Animals

    PubMed Central

    Thess, Andreas; Grund, Stefanie; Mui, Barbara L; Hope, Michael J; Baumhof, Patrick; Fotin-Mleczek, Mariola; Schlake, Thomas

    2015-01-01

    Being a transient carrier of genetic information, mRNA could be a versatile, flexible, and safe means for protein therapies. While recent findings highlight the enormous therapeutic potential of mRNA, evidence that mRNA-based protein therapies are feasible beyond small animals such as mice is still lacking. Previous studies imply that mRNA therapeutics require chemical nucleoside modifications to obtain sufficient protein expression and avoid activation of the innate immune system. Here we show that chemically unmodified mRNA can achieve those goals as well by applying sequence-engineered molecules. Using erythropoietin (EPO) driven production of red blood cells as the biological model, engineered Epo mRNA elicited meaningful physiological responses from mice to nonhuman primates. Even in pigs of about 20 kg in weight, a single adequate dose of engineered mRNA encapsulated in lipid nanoparticles (LNPs) induced high systemic Epo levels and strong physiological effects. Our results demonstrate that sequence-engineered mRNA has the potential to revolutionize human protein therapies. PMID:26050989

  1. Ecosystem health: I. Measuring ecosystem health

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schaeffer, David J.; Herricks, Edwin E.; Kerster, Harold W.

    1988-07-01

    Ecosystem analysis has been advanced by an improved understanding of how ecosystems are structured and how they function. Ecology has advanced from an emphasis on natural history to consideration of energetics, the relationships and connections between species, hierarchies, and systems theory. Still, we consider ecosystems as entities with a distinctive character and individual characteristics. Ecosystem maintenance and preservation form the objective of impact analysis, hazard evaluation, and other management or regulation activities. In this article we explore an approach to ecosystem analysis which identifies and quantifies factors which define the condition or state of an ecosystem in terms of health criteria. We relate ecosystem health to human/nonhuman animal health and explore the difficulties of defining ecosystem health and suggest criteria which provide a functional definition of state and condition. We suggest that, as has been found in human/nonhuman animal health studies, disease states can be recognized before disease is of clinical magnitude. Example disease states for ecosystems are functionally defined and discussed, together with test systems for their early detection.

  2. Evaluating learning and attitudes on tissue engineering: a study of children viewing animated digital dome shows detailing the biomedicine of tissue engineering.

    PubMed

    Wilson, Anna C; Gonzalez, Laura L; Pollock, John A

    2012-03-01

    Informal science education creates opportunities for the general public to learn about complex health and science topics. Tissue engineering is a fast-growing field of medical science that combines advanced chemistries to create synthetic scaffolds, stem cells, and growth factors that individually or in combination can support the bodies own healing powers to remedy a range of maladies. Health literacy about this topic is increasingly important as our population ages and as treatments become more technologically advanced. We are using a science center planetarium as a projection space to engage and educate the public about the science and biomedical research that supports tissue engineering. The purpose of this study was to test the effectiveness of the films that we have produced for part of the science center planetarium demographic, specifically children ranging in age from 7 to 16 years. A two-group pre- and post-test design was used to compare children's learning and attitude changes in response to the two versions of the film. One version uses traditional voice-over narration; the other version uses dialog between two animated characters. The results of this study indicate that children demonstrated increases in knowledge of the topic with either film format, but preferred the animated character version. The percentage change in children's scores on the knowledge questions given before and after viewing the show exhibited an improvement from 23% correct to 61% correct on average. In addition, many of the things that the children reported liking were part of the design process of the art-science collaboration. Other results indicated that before viewing the shows 77% of the children had not even heard about tissue engineering and only 17% indicated that they were very interested in it, whereas after viewing the shows, 95% indicated that tissue engineering was a good idea. We also find that after viewing the show, 71% of the children reported that the show made

  3. Cell sheet-engineered bones used for the reconstruction of mandibular defects in an animal model

    PubMed Central

    DU, CHUNHUA; YAO, CHAO; LI, NINGYI; WANG, SHUANGYI; FENG, YUANYONG; YANG, XUECAI

    2015-01-01

    The aim of the present study was to investigate the generation of cell sheet-engineered bones used for the reconstruction of mandibular defects. Bone marrow stem cells (BMSCs) were cultured and induced to generate osteoblasts. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds were wrapped with or without cell sheets and then implanted into dogs with mandibular defects in the right side (experimental group) or the left side (control group), respectively. Subsequently, X-ray analyses, and hematoxylin and eosin staining were performed at various time points (at 4, 8, 12 or 16 weeks post-implantation; n=4 at each time point). The osteogenesis in the experimental group was significantly improved compared with that in the control group. At 16 weeks after implantation, numerous Haversian systems and a few lamellar bones were observed at the periphery. In the control group, the engineered bone (without BMSC sheets) presented fewer Haversian systems and no lamellar bones. The optical density of the fresh bone in the experimental group was significantly higher compared with that in the control group (P<0.05). In conclusion, tissue-engineered bone with the structure of lamellar bones can be generated using BMSC sheets and implantation of these bones had an improved effects compared with the control group. Cell sheet transplantation was found to enhance bone formation at the reconstruction site of the mandibular defects. PMID:26668619

  4. Dissolved Oxygen Sensor in Animal-Borne Instruments: An Innovation for Monitoring the Health of Oceans and Investigating the Functioning of Marine Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bailleul, Frederic; Vacquie-Garcia, Jade; Guinet, Christophe

    2015-01-01

    The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans is a sensitive indicator of the effect of climate change on marine environment. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems' health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining in situ data, especially in remote areas, like the Southern Ocean (SO). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) proved to be a relevant alternative to the traditional oceanographic platforms to measure physical and biogeochemical structure of oceanic regions rarely observed. In this study, we use a new stage of development in biologging technology to draw a picture of dissolved oxygen concentration in the SO. We present the first results obtained from a dissolved oxygen sensor added to Argos CTD-SRDL tags and deployed on 5 female elephant seals at Kerguelen. From October 2010 and October 2011, 742 oxygen profiles associated with temperature and salinity measurements were recorded. Whether a part of the data must be considered cautiously, especially because of offsets and temporal drifts of the sensors, the range of values recorded was consistent with a concomitant survey conducted from a research vessel (Keops-2 project). Once again, elephant seals reinforced the relationship between marine ecology and oceanography, delivering essential information about the water masses properties and the biological status of the Southern Ocean. But more than the presentation of a new stage of development in animal-borne instrumentation, this pilot study opens a new field of investigation in marine ecology and could be enlarged in a near future to other key marine predators, especially large fish species like swordfish, tuna or sharks, for which dissolved oxygen is expected to play a crucial role in distribution and behaviour. PMID:26200780

  5. A FIELD STUDY WITH GENETICALLY ENGINEERED ALFALFA INOCULATED WITH RECOMBINANT SINORHIZOBIUM MELILOTI: EFFECTS ON THE SOIL ECOSYSTEM

    EPA Science Inventory

    The agricultural use of genetically engineered plants and microorganisms has become increasingly common. Because genetically engineered plants and microorganisms can produce compounds foreign to their environment, there is concern that they may become established outside of thei...

  6. Governing the moral economy: Animal engineering, ethics and the liberal government of science

    PubMed Central

    Harvey, Alison; Salter, Brian

    2012-01-01

    The preferred Western model for science governance has come to involve attending to the perspectives of the public. In practice, however, this model has been criticised for failing to promote democracy along participatory lines. We argue that contemporary approaches to science policy making demonstrate less the failure of democracy and more the success of liberal modes of government in adapting to meet new governance challenges. Using a case study of recent UK policy debates on scientific work mixing human and animal biological material, we show first how a ‘moral economy’ is brought into being as a regulatory domain and second how this domain is governed to align cultural with scientific values. We suggest that it is through these practices that the state assures its aspirations for enhancing individual and collective prosperity through technological advance are met. PMID:22507952

  7. Stimulation of microbial nitrogen cycling in aquatic ecosystems by benthic macrofauna: mechanisms and environmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stief, P.

    2013-12-01

    Invertebrate animals that live at the bottom of aquatic ecosystems (i.e., benthic macrofauna) are important mediators between nutrients in the water column and microbes in the benthos. The presence of benthic macrofauna stimulates microbial nutrient dynamics through different types of animal-microbe interactions, which potentially affect the trophic status of aquatic ecosystems. This review contrasts three types of animal-microbe interactions in the benthos of aquatic ecosystems: (i) ecosystem engineering, (ii) grazing, and (iii) symbiosis. Their specific contributions to the turnover of fixed nitrogen (mainly nitrate and ammonium) and the emission of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide are evaluated. Published data indicate that ecosystem engineering by sediment-burrowing macrofauna stimulates benthic nitrification and denitrification, which together allows fixed nitrogen removal. However, the release of ammonium from sediments is enhanced more strongly than the sedimentary uptake of nitrate. Ecosystem engineering by reef-building macrofauna increases nitrogen retention and ammonium concentrations in shallow aquatic ecosystems, but allows organic nitrogen removal through harvesting. Grazing by macrofauna on benthic microbes apparently has small or neutral effects on nitrogen cycling. Animal-microbe symbioses provide abundant and distinct benthic compartments for a multitude of nitrogen-cycle pathways. Recent studies reveal that ecosystem engineering, grazing, and symbioses of benthic macrofauna significantly enhance nitrous oxide emission from shallow aquatic ecosystems. The beneficial effect of benthic macrofauna on fixed nitrogen removal through coupled nitrification-denitrification can thus be offset by the concurrent release of (i) ammonium that stimulates aquatic primary production and (ii) nitrous oxide that contributes to global warming. Overall, benthic macrofauna intensifies the coupling between benthos, pelagial, and atmosphere through enhanced turnover and

  8. Stimulation of microbial nitrogen cycling in aquatic ecosystems by benthic macrofauna: mechanisms and environmental implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stief, P.

    2013-07-01

    Invertebrate animals that live at the bottom of aquatic ecosystems (i.e., benthic macrofauna) are important mediators between nutrients in the water column and microbes in the benthos. The presence of benthic macrofauna stimulates microbial nutrient dynamics through different types of animal-microbe interactions, which potentially affect the trophic status of aquatic ecosystems. This review contrasts three types of animal-microbe interactions in the benthos of aquatic ecosystems: (i) ecosystem engineering, (ii) grazing, and (iii) symbiosis. Their specific contributions to the turnover of fixed nitrogen (mainly nitrate and ammonium) and the emission of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide are evaluated. Published data indicate that ecosystem engineering by sediment-burrowing macrofauna stimulates benthic nitrification and denitrification, which together allows fixed nitrogen removal. However, the release of ammonium from sediments often is enhanced even more than the sedimentary uptake of nitrate. Ecosystem engineering by reef-building macrofauna increases nitrogen retention and ammonium concentrations in shallow aquatic ecosystems, but allows organic nitrogen removal through harvesting. Grazing by macrofauna on benthic microbes apparently has small or neutral effects on nitrogen cycling. Animal-microbe symbioses provide abundant and distinct benthic compartments for a multitude of nitrogen-cycle pathways. Recent studies revealed that ecosystem engineering, grazing, and symbioses of benthic macrofauna significantly enhance nitrous oxide emission from shallow aquatic ecosystems. The beneficial effect of benthic macrofauna on fixed nitrogen removal through coupled nitrification-denitrification can thus be offset by the concurrent release of (i) ammonium that stimulates aquatic primary production and (ii) nitrous oxide that contributes to global warming. Overall, benthic macrofauna intensifies the coupling between benthos, pelagial, and atmosphere through enhanced turnover

  9. Self Contained Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1985-01-01

    A self contained ecosystem developed at Jet Propulsion Laboratory is manufactured by Engineering and Research Associates. It is essentially a no-care aquarium which requires only natural or fluorescent light.

  10. Electrophysiology for biomedical engineering students: a practical and theoretical course in animal electrocorticography.

    PubMed

    Albarracín, Ana L; Farfán, Fernando D; Coletti, Marcos A; Teruya, Pablo Y; Felice, Carmelo J

    2016-09-01

    The major challenge in laboratory teaching is the application of abstract concepts in simple and direct practical lessons. However, students rarely have the opportunity to participate in a laboratory that combines practical learning with a realistic research experience. In the Biomedical Engineering career, we offer short and optional courses to complement studies for students as they initiate their Graduation Project. The objective of these theoretical and practical courses is to introduce students to the topics of their projects. The present work describes an experience in electrophysiology to teach undergraduate students how to extract cortical information using electrocorticographic techniques. Students actively participate in some parts of the experience and then process and analyze the data obtained with different signal processing tools. In postlaboratory evaluations, students described the course as an exceptional opportunity for students interested in following a postgraduate science program and fully appreciated their contents. PMID:27503901

  11. Genetically engineered flavonol enriched tomato fruit modulates chondrogenesis to increase bone length in growing animals

    PubMed Central

    Choudhary, Dharmendra; Pandey, Ashutosh; Adhikary, Sulekha; Ahmad, Naseer; Bhatia, Chitra; Bhambhani, Sweta; Trivedi, Prabodh Kumar; Trivedi, Ritu

    2016-01-01

    Externally visible body and longitudinal bone growth is a result of proliferation of chondrocytes. In growth disorder, there is delay in the age associated increase in height. The present study evaluates the effect of extract from transgenic tomato fruit expressing AtMYB12 transcription factor on bone health including longitudinal growth. Constitutive expression of AtMYB12 in tomato led to a significantly enhanced biosynthesis of flavonoids in general and the flavonol biosynthesis in particular. Pre-pubertal ovary intact BALB/c mice received daily oral administration of vehicle and ethanolic extract of wild type (WT-TOM) and transgenic AtMYB12-tomato (MYB12-TOM) fruits for six weeks. Animal fed with MYB12-TOM showed no inflammation in hepatic tissues and normal sinusoidal Kupffer cell morphology. MYB12-TOM extract significantly increased tibial and femoral growth and subsequently improved the bone length as compared to vehicle and WT-TOM. Histomorphometry exhibited significantly wider distal femoral and proximal tibial growth plate, increased number and size of hypertrophic chondrocytes in MYB12-TOM which corroborated with micro-CT and expression of BMP-2 and COL-10, marker genes for hypertrophic cells. We conclude that metabolic reprogramming of tomato by AtMYB12 has the potential to improve longitudinal bone growth thus helping in achievement of greater peak bone mass during adolescence. PMID:26917158

  12. Genetically engineered flavonol enriched tomato fruit modulates chondrogenesis to increase bone length in growing animals.

    PubMed

    Choudhary, Dharmendra; Pandey, Ashutosh; Adhikary, Sulekha; Ahmad, Naseer; Bhatia, Chitra; Bhambhani, Sweta; Trivedi, Prabodh Kumar; Trivedi, Ritu

    2016-01-01

    Externally visible body and longitudinal bone growth is a result of proliferation of chondrocytes. In growth disorder, there is delay in the age associated increase in height. The present study evaluates the effect of extract from transgenic tomato fruit expressing AtMYB12 transcription factor on bone health including longitudinal growth. Constitutive expression of AtMYB12 in tomato led to a significantly enhanced biosynthesis of flavonoids in general and the flavonol biosynthesis in particular. Pre-pubertal ovary intact BALB/c mice received daily oral administration of vehicle and ethanolic extract of wild type (WT-TOM) and transgenic AtMYB12-tomato (MYB12-TOM) fruits for six weeks. Animal fed with MYB12-TOM showed no inflammation in hepatic tissues and normal sinusoidal Kupffer cell morphology. MYB12-TOM extract significantly increased tibial and femoral growth and subsequently improved the bone length as compared to vehicle and WT-TOM. Histomorphometry exhibited significantly wider distal femoral and proximal tibial growth plate, increased number and size of hypertrophic chondrocytes in MYB12-TOM which corroborated with micro-CT and expression of BMP-2 and COL-10, marker genes for hypertrophic cells. We conclude that metabolic reprogramming of tomato by AtMYB12 has the potential to improve longitudinal bone growth thus helping in achievement of greater peak bone mass during adolescence. PMID:26917158

  13. Investigating Ecosystems in a Biobottle

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Breene, Arnica; Gilewski, Donna

    2008-01-01

    Biobottles are miniature ecosystems made from 2-liter plastic soda bottles. They allow students to explore how organisms in an ecosystem are connected to each other, examine how biotic and abiotic factors influence plant and animal growth and development, and discover how important biodiversity is to an ecosystem. This activity was inspired by an…

  14. The Climate Space Concept: Analysis of the Steady State Heat Energy Budget of Animals. Physical Processes in Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecosystems, Transport Processes.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Stevenson, R. D.

    These materials were designed to be used by life science students for instruction in the application of physical theory to ecosystem operation. Most modules contain computer programs which are built around a particular application of a physical process. Several modules in the thermodynamic series considered the application of the First Law to…

  15. Effects of conventional and biodegradable microplastics on a marine ecosystem engineer (Arenicola marina) and sediment nutrient cycling.

    PubMed

    Green, Dannielle Senga; Boots, Bas; Sigwart, Julia; Jiang, Shan; Rocha, Carlos

    2016-01-01

    Effects of microplastic pollution on benthic organisms and ecosystem services provided by sedimentary habitats are largely unknown. An outdoor mesocosm experiment was done to realistically assess the effects of three different types of microplastic pollution (one biodegradable type; polylactic acid and two conventional types; polyethylene and polyvinylchloride) at increasing concentrations (0.02, 0.2 and 2% of wet sediment weight) on the health and biological activity of lugworms, Arenicola marina (Linnaeus, 1758), and on nitrogen cycling and primary productivity of the sediment they inhabit. After 31 days, A. marina produced less casts in sediments containing microplastics. Metabolic rates of A. marina increased, while microalgal biomass decreased at high concentrations, compared to sediments with low concentrations or without microplastics. Responses were strongest to polyvinylchloride, emphasising that different materials may have differential effects. Each material needs to be carefully evaluated in order to assess their risks as microplastic pollution. Overall, both conventional and biodegradable microplastics in sandy sediments can affect the health and behaviour of lugworms and directly or indirectly reduce primary productivity of these habitats. PMID:26552519

  16. Impact of typhoon disturbance on the diversity of key ecosystem engineers in a monoculture mangrove forest plantation, Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, Vietnam

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Diele, K.; Tran Ngoc, D. M.; Geist, S. J.; Meyer, F. W.; Pham, Q. H.; Saint-Paul, U.; Tran, T.; Berger, U.

    2013-11-01

    Mangrove crabs as key ecosystem engineers may play an important role in the recovery process of storm-damaged forests. Yet, their response to storm disturbance is largely unknown. Here we compare the ground-dwelling brachyuran crab community of intact mangrove stands with that of typhoon gaps having experienced 100% tree mortality. Field work was conducted in two adjacent areas in Can Gio Biosphere Reserve, southern Vietnam. In each area, an 18-20 yr old monoculture Rhizophora apiculata stand served as control and was compared with typhoon gaps where downed stems had been removed or left on-site. The gaps were 14 and 20 months old when studied in the dry and rainy season 2008, respectively. Time-based sampling of ground-dwelling crabs with hand or shovel was conducted by 4 persons inside 100 m2 plots for 30 min (7 replicate plots per area, treatment and month). Abiotic (sediment pH, salinity, temperature, grain size, water content, carbon and nitrogen content), and biotic measures (e.g. canopy coverage, woody debris, number of trees, leaf litter) were also taken. Despite complete canopy loss, total crab abundance has not changed significantly (in contrast to biomass) and all 12 species found in the forest were also found in the gaps, demonstrating their robustness. Another 9 gap-exclusive species were recorded and average species number and Shannon diversity were thus higher in the gaps. Perisesarma eumolpe was the most abundant species, both in the forest and in the gaps, and a shift from sesarmids (typical forest species) to ocypodids (generally more prominent in open areas) has not occurred. The persistence of litter-feeding sesarmid crabs prior to the re-establishment of a mangrove canopy is likely to depend on the availability of woody debris on the ground of the gaps, fuelling a mangrove detritus based food web, rather than one based on microphytobenthos and deposit-feeding ocypodids. The presence of burrowing crabs in the gaps suggests that important

  17. Acceleration of vascularized bone tissue-engineered constructs in a large animal model combining intrinsic and extrinsic vascularization.

    PubMed

    Weigand, Annika; Beier, Justus P; Hess, Andreas; Gerber, Thomas; Arkudas, Andreas; Horch, Raymund E; Boos, Anja M

    2015-05-01

    During the last decades, a range of excellent and promising strategies in Bone Tissue Engineering have been developed. However, the remaining major problem is the lack of vascularization. In this study, extrinsic and intrinsic vascularization strategies were combined for acceleration of vascularization. For optimal biomechanical stability of the defect site and simplifying future transition into clinical application, a primary stable and approved nanostructured bone substitute in clinically relevant size was used. An arteriovenous (AV) loop was microsurgically created in sheep and implanted, together with the bone substitute, in either perforated titanium chambers (intrinsic/extrinsic) for different time intervals of up to 18 weeks or isolated Teflon(®) chambers (intrinsic) for 18 weeks. Over time, magnetic resonance imaging and micro-computed tomography (CT) analyses illustrate the dense vascularization arising from the AV loop. The bone substitute was completely interspersed with newly formed tissue after 12 weeks of intrinsic/extrinsic vascularization and after 18 weeks of intrinsic/extrinsic and intrinsic vascularization. Successful matrix change from an inorganic to an organic scaffold could be demonstrated in vascularized areas with scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Using the intrinsic vascularization method only, the degradation of the scaffold and osteoclastic activity was significantly lower after 18 weeks, compared with 12 and 18 weeks in the combined intrinsic-extrinsic model. Immunohistochemical staining revealed an increase in bone tissue formation over time, without a difference between intrinsic/extrinsic and intrinsic vascularization after 18 weeks. This study presents the combination of extrinsic and intrinsic vascularization strategies for the generation of an axially vascularized bone substitute in clinically relevant size using a large animal model. The additional extrinsic vascularization promotes tissue

  18. Ecosystem Jenga!

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Umphlett, Natalie; Brosius, Tierney; Laungani, Ramesh; Rousseau, Joe; Leslie-Pelecky, Diandra L.

    2009-01-01

    To give students a tangible model of an ecosystem and have them experience what could happen if a component of that ecosystem were removed; the authors developed a hands-on, inquiry-based activity that visually demonstrates the concept of a delicately balanced ecosystem through a modification of the popular game Jenga. This activity can be…

  19. Ecosystem Journalism

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Robertson, Amy; Mahlin, Kathryn

    2005-01-01

    If the organisms in a prairie ecosystem created a newspaper, what would it look like? What important news topics of the ecosystem would the organisms want to discuss? Imaginative and enthusiastic third-grade students were busy pondering these questions as they tried their hands at "ecosystem journalism." The class had recently completed a study of…

  20. Impact of elevated levels of CO2 on animal mediated ecosystem function: the modification of sediment nutrient fluxes by burrowing urchins.

    PubMed

    Widdicombe, S; Beesley, A; Berge, J A; Dashfield, S L; McNeill, C L; Needham, H R; Øxnevad, S

    2013-08-30

    A mesocosm experiment was conducted to quantify the relationships between the presence and body size of two burrowing heart urchins (Brissopsis lyrifera and Echinocardium cordatum) and rates of sediment nutrient flux. Furthermore, the impact of seawater acidification on these relationships was determined during this 40-day exposure experiment. Using carbon dioxide (CO2) gas, seawater was acidified to pHNBS 7.6, 7.2 or 6.8. Control treatments were maintained in natural seawater (pH≈8.0). Under normocapnic conditions, burrowing urchins were seen to reduce the sediment uptake of nitrite or nitrate whilst enhancing the release of silicate and phosphate. In acidified (hypercapnic) treatments, the biological control of biogeochemical cycles by urchins was significantly affected, probably through the combined impacts of high CO2 on nitrifying bacteria, benthic algae and urchin behaviour. This study highlights the importance of considering biological interactions when predicting the consequences of seawater acidification on ecosystem function. PMID:23218873

  1. Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process.

    PubMed

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Volkenborn, Nils; Pilditch, Conrad A; Lohrer, Andrew M; Wethey, David S; Hewitt, Judi E; Thrush, Simon F

    2016-01-01

    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes. PMID:27230562

  2. Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Volkenborn, Nils; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Wethey, David S.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.

    2016-05-01

    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes.

  3. Same pattern, different mechanism: Locking onto the role of key species in seafloor ecosystem process

    PubMed Central

    Woodin, Sarah Ann; Volkenborn, Nils; Pilditch, Conrad A.; Lohrer, Andrew M.; Wethey, David S.; Hewitt, Judi E.; Thrush, Simon F.

    2016-01-01

    Seafloor biodiversity is a key mediator of ecosystem functioning, but its role is often excluded from global budgets or simplified to black boxes in models. New techniques allow quantification of the behavior of animals living below the sediment surface and assessment of the ecosystem consequences of complex interactions, yielding a better understanding of the role of seafloor animals in affecting key processes like primary productivity. Combining predictions based on natural history, behavior of key benthic species and environmental context allow assessment of differences in functioning and process, even when the measured ecosystem property in different systems is similar. Data from three sedimentary systems in New Zealand illustrate this. Analysis of the behaviors of the infaunal ecosystem engineers in each system revealed three very different mechanisms driving ecosystem function: density and excretion, sediment turnover and surface rugosity, and hydraulic activities and porewater bioadvection. Integrative metrics of ecosystem function in some cases differentiate among the systems (gross primary production) and in others do not (photosynthetic efficiency). Analyses based on behaviors and activities revealed important ecosystem functional differences and can dramatically improve our ability to model the impact of stressors on ecosystem and global processes. PMID:27230562

  4. Soil Food Web Changes during Spontaneous Succession at Post Mining Sites: A Possible Ecosystem Engineering Effect on Food Web Organization?

    PubMed Central

    Frouz, Jan; Thébault, Elisa; Pižl, Václav; Adl, Sina; Cajthaml, Tomáš; Baldrián, Petr; Háněl, Ladislav; Starý, Josef; Tajovský, Karel; Materna, Jan; Nováková, Alena; de Ruiter, Peter C.

    2013-01-01

    Parameters characterizing the structure of the decomposer food web, biomass of the soil microflora (bacteria and fungi) and soil micro-, meso- and macrofauna were studied at 14 non-reclaimed 1– 41-year-old post-mining sites near the town of Sokolov (Czech Republic). These observations on the decomposer food webs were compared with knowledge of vegetation and soil microstructure development from previous studies. The amount of carbon entering the food web increased with succession age in a similar way as the total amount of C in food web biomass and the number of functional groups in the food web. Connectance did not show any significant changes with succession age, however. In early stages of the succession, the bacterial channel dominated the food web. Later on, in shrub-dominated stands, the fungal channel took over. Even later, in the forest stage, the bacterial channel prevailed again. The best predictor of fungal bacterial ratio is thickness of fermentation layer. We argue that these changes correspond with changes in topsoil microstructure driven by a combination of plant organic matter input and engineering effects of earthworms. In early stages, soil is alkaline, and a discontinuous litter layer on the soil surface promotes bacterial biomass growth, so the bacterial food web channel can dominate. Litter accumulation on the soil surface supports the development of the fungal channel. In older stages, earthworms arrive, mix litter into the mineral soil and form an organo-mineral topsoil, which is beneficial for bacteria and enhances the bacterial food web channel. PMID:24260281

  5. Soil fauna, soil properties and geo-ecosystem functioning

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cammeraat, L. H.

    2012-04-01

    The impact of soil fauna on soil processes is of utmost importance, as the activity of soil fauna directly affects soil quality. This is expressed by the direct effects of soil fauna on soil physical and soil chemical properties that not only have great importance to food production and ecosystems services, but also on weathering and hydrological and geomorphological processes. Soil animals can be perceived as ecosystem engineers that directly affect the flow of water, sediments and nutrients through terrestrial ecosystems. The biodiversity of animals living in the soil is huge and shows a huge range in size, functions and effects. Most work has been focused on only a few species such as earthworms and termites, but in general the knowledge on the effect of soil biota on soil ecosystem functioning is limited as it is for their impact on processes in the soil and on the soil surface. In this presentation we would like to review some of the impacts of soil fauna on soil properties that have implications for geo-ecosystem functioning and soil formation processes.

  6. AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS,

    EPA Science Inventory

    Aquatic ecosystems are a vital part of the urban water cycle (and of urban areas more broadly), and, if healthy, provide a range of goods and services valued by humans (Meyer 1997). For example, aquatic ecosystems (e.g., rivers, lakes, wetlands) provide potable water, food resou...

  7. A Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) Approach Improves Science Process Skills in 4-H Animal Science Participants

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Clarke, Katie C.

    2010-01-01

    A new Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) approach was designed for youth who participated in the Minnesota State Fair Livestock interview process. The project and evaluation were designed to determine if the new SET approach increased content knowledge and science process skills in participants. Results revealed that youth participants not…

  8. Dissolved Oxygen Sensor in Animal-Borne Instruments: An Innovation for Monitoring the Health of Oceans and Investigating the Functioning of Marine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bailleul, Frederic; Vacquie-Garcia, Jade; Guinet, Christophe

    2015-01-01

    The current decline in dissolved oxygen concentration within the oceans is a sensitive indicator of the effect of climate change on marine environment. However the impact of its declining on marine life and ecosystems’ health is still quite unclear because of the difficulty in obtaining in situ data, especially in remote areas, like the Southern Ocean (SO). Southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) proved to be a relevant alternative to the traditional oceanographic platforms to measure physical and biogeochemical structure of oceanic regions rarely observed. In this study, we use a new stage of development in biologging technology to draw a picture of dissolved oxygen concentration in the SO. We present the first results obtained from a dissolved oxygen sensor added to Argos CTD-SRDL tags and deployed on 5 female elephant seals at Kerguelen. From October 2010 and October 2011, 742 oxygen profiles associated with temperature and salinity measurements were recorded. Whether a part of the data must be considered cautiously, especially because of offsets and temporal drifts of the sensors, the range of values recorded was consistent with a concomitant survey conducted from a research vessel (Keops-2 project). Once again, elephant seals reinforced the relationship between marine ecology and oceanography, delivering essential information about the water masses properties and the biological status of the Southern Ocean. But more than the presentation of a new stage of development in animal-borne instrumentation, this pilot study opens a new field of investigation in marine ecology and could be enlarged in a near future to other key marine predators, especially large fish species like swordfish, tuna or sharks, for which dissolved oxygen is expected to play a crucial role in distribution and behaviour. PMID:26200780

  9. Sea ice ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Arrigo, Kevin R

    2014-01-01

    Polar sea ice is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth. The liquid brine fraction of the ice matrix is home to a diverse array of organisms, ranging from tiny archaea to larger fish and invertebrates. These organisms can tolerate high brine salinity and low temperature but do best when conditions are milder. Thriving ice algal communities, generally dominated by diatoms, live at the ice/water interface and in recently flooded surface and interior layers, especially during spring, when temperatures begin to rise. Although protists dominate the sea ice biomass, heterotrophic bacteria are also abundant. The sea ice ecosystem provides food for a host of animals, with crustaceans being the most conspicuous. Uneaten organic matter from the ice sinks through the water column and feeds benthic ecosystems. As sea ice extent declines, ice algae likely contribute a shrinking fraction of the total amount of organic matter produced in polar waters. PMID:24015900

  10. Genetically engineered foods

    MedlinePlus

    ... plants or animals) inserted into their genetic codes. Genetic engineering can be done with plants, animals, or bacteria ... have been genetically engineering plants since the 1990s. Genetic engineering allows scientists to speed this process up by ...

  11. Animals and the invention of the Phanerozoic Earth system.

    PubMed

    Butterfield, Nicholas J

    2011-02-01

    Animals do not just occupy the modern biosphere, they permeate its structure and define how it works. Their unique combination of organ-grade multicellularity, motility and heterotrophic habit makes them powerful geobiological agents, imposing myriad feedbacks on nutrient cycling, productivity and environment. Most significantly, animals have 'engineered' the biosphere over evolutionary time, forcing the diversification of, for example, phytoplankton, land plants, trophic structure, large body size, bioturbation, biomineralization and indeed the evolutionary process itself. This review surveys how animals contribute to the modern world and provides a basis for reconstructing ancient ecosystems. Earlier, less animal-influenced biospheres worked quite differently from the one currently occupied, with the Ediacaran-Cambrian radiation of organ-grade animals marking a fundamental shift in macroecological and macroevolutionary expression. PMID:21190752

  12. Managing riverine landscapes as meta-ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tockner, K.

    2014-12-01

    Aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems are tightly linked through energy, material, information, and organism flows. At the landscape scale, these reciprocal flows are controlled by the composition, configuration, boundary conditions and linkage of individual ecosystem types, thereby forming so-called meta-ecosystems. The relative importance of individual ecosystem types depends on the intrinsic properties (so-called "ecosystem traits"), the setting within the landscape, and the characteristics of interfaces that control cross-system fluxes. For example, the juxtaposition of particular ecosystem types (i.e. their composition and configuration) may alter the magnitude of landscape processes as well as the directions of flow among ecosystem types. Therefore, the meta-ecosystem concept provides a framework to quantify ecosystem diversity, a neglected component of biodiversity, and to test its effects on genetic and species diversity as well as the functional performance in coupled ecosystems. Given their topographic position at the lowest point in the landscape, aquatic ecosystems are particularly susceptible to influences exerted by their surrounding terrestrial environment, both the immediately adjacent riparian zones and the entire catchment that they drain. Questions that need to be tackled may include: What are the consequences of exchange pulses between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on the functional performance of individual ecosystems? What are the mechanisms and processes underlying structural and functional biodiversity at aquatic-terrestrial interfaces? In this respect, the meta-ecosystem concept might be very helpful in landscape management and in ecosystem design and engineering.

  13. Engine

    SciTech Connect

    Shin, H.B.

    1984-02-28

    An internal combustion engine has a piston rack depending from each piston. This rack is connected to a power output shaft through a mechanical rectifier so that the power output shaft rotates in only one direction. A connecting rod is pivotally connected at one end to the rack and at the other end to the crank of a reduced function crankshaft so that the crankshaft rotates at the same angular velocity as the power output shaft and at the same frequency as the pistons. The crankshaft has a size, weight and shape sufficient to return the pistons back into the cylinders in position for the next power stroke.

  14. Translation of an Engineered Nanofibrous Disc-like Angle Ply Structure for Intervertebral Disc Replacement in a Small Animal Model

    PubMed Central

    Martin, John T.; Milby, Andrew H.; Chiaro, Joseph A.; Kim, Dong Hwa; Hebela, Nader M.; Smith, Lachlan J.; Elliott, Dawn M.; Mauck, Robert L.

    2015-01-01

    Intervertebral disc degeneration has been implicated in the etiology of low back pain; however the current surgical strategies for treating symptomatic disc disease are limited. A variety of materials have been developed to replace disc components, including the nucleus pulposus (NP), the annulus fibrosus (AF), and their combination into disc-like engineered constructs. We have previously shown that layers of electrospun poly(ε-caprolactone) scaffold, mimicking the hierarchical organization of the native AF, have functional parity with native tissue. Likewise, we have combined these structures with cell-seeded hydrogels (as an NP replacement) to form disc-like angle ply structures (DAPS). The objective of this study was to develop a model for the evaluation of DAPS in vivo. Through a series of studies, we developed a surgical approach to replace the rat caudal disc with an acellular DAPS and then stabilize the motion segment by external fixation. We then optimized cell infiltration into DAPS by including sacrificial poly(ethylene oxide) layers interspersed throughout the angle-ply structure. Our findings illustrate that DAPS are stable in the caudal spine, are infiltrated by cells from the peri-implant space, and that infiltration is expedited by providing additional routes for cell migration. These findings establish a new in vivo platform in which to evaluate and optimize the design of functional disc replacements. PMID:24560621

  15. Range Ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    After more than two hundred years, grazing remains California’s most extensive land use. The ‘Range Ecosystems’ chapter in the ‘Ecosystems of California’ sourcebook provides an integrated picture of the biophysical, social, and economic aspects of lands grazed by livestock in the state. Grazing mana...

  16. Changing Ecosystem Service Values Following Technological Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Honey-Rosés, Jordi; Schneider, Daniel W.; Brozović, Nicholas

    2014-06-01

    Research on ecosystem services has focused mostly on natural areas or remote places, with less attention given to urban ecosystem services and their relationship with technological change. However, recent work by urban ecologists and urban designers has more closely examined and appreciated the opportunities associated with integrating natural and built infrastructures. Nevertheless, a perception remains in the literature on ecosystem services that technology may easily and irreversibly substitute for services previously obtained from ecosystems, especially when the superiority of the engineered system motivated replacement in the first place. We emphasize that the expected tradeoff between natural and manufactured capital is false. Rather, as argued in other contexts, the adoption of new technologies is complementary to ecosystem management. The complementarity of ecosystem services and technology is illustrated with a case study in Barcelona, Spain where the installation of sophisticated water treatment technology increased the value of the ecosystem services found there. Interestingly, the complementarity between natural and built infrastructures may remain even for the very ecosystems that are affected by the technological change. This finding suggests that we can expect the value of ecosystem services to co-evolve with new technologies. Technological innovation can generate new opportunities to harness value from ecosystems, and the engineered structures found in cities may generate more reliance on ecosystem processes, not less.

  17. PERSISTENCE OF A SURROGATE FOR A GENETICALLY ENGINEERED CELLULOLYTIC MICROORGANISM AND EFFECTS ON AQUATIC COMMUNITY AND ECOSYSTEM PROPERTIES: MICROCOSM AND STREAM COMPARISONS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Our research objectives were to: (1) determine the persistence of an introduced surrogate (Cellulomonas sp NRC 2406) for a genetically engineered microorganism (GEM) in three streamlined habitats; sediments, growths of Cladophora (Chlorophyta), and leaf packs, (2) test ommunity a...

  18. Lightning safety of animals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomes, Chandima

    2012-11-01

    This paper addresses a concurrent multidisciplinary problem: animal safety against lightning hazards. In regions where lightning is prevalent, either seasonally or throughout the year, a considerable number of wild, captive and tame animals are injured due to lightning generated effects. The paper discusses all possible injury mechanisms, focusing mainly on animals with commercial value. A large number of cases from several countries have been analyzed. Economically and practically viable engineering solutions are proposed to address the issues related to the lightning threats discussed.

  19. Sagebrush Ecosystems Under Fire

    SciTech Connect

    Downs, Janelle L.

    2014-12-30

    Since settlement of the western United States began, sagebrush (Artemisia L. spp.) ecosystems have decreased both in quantity and quality. Originally encompassing up to 150 million acres in the West, the “interminable fields” of sage described by early explorers (Fremont 1845) have been degraded and often eliminated by conversion to agriculture, urbanization, livestock grazing, invasion by alien plants, and alteration of wildfire cycles (Hann et al. 1997; West 1999). More than half of the original sagebrush steppe ecosystems in Washington have been converted to agriculture and many of the remaining stands of sagebrush are degraded by invasion of exotic annuals such as cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum L.). Today, sagebrush ecosystems are considered to be one of the most imperiled in the United States (Noss, LeRoe and Scott 1995), and more than 350 sagebrush-associated plants and animals have been identified as species of conservation concern (Suring et al. 2005; Wisdom et al. 2005). The increasing frequency of wildfire in sagebrush-dominated landscapes is one of the greatest threats to these habitats and also presents one of the most difficult to control.

  20. Fort Collins Science Center: Ecosystem Dynamics

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowen, Zack

    2004-01-01

    Current studies fall into five general areas. Herbivore-Ecosystem Interactions examines the efficacy of multiple controls on selected herbivore populations and cascading effects through predator-herbivore-plant-soil linkages. Riparian Ecology is concerned with interactions among streamflow, fluvial geomorphology, and riparian vegetation. Integrated Fire Science focuses on the effects of fire on plant and animal communities at multiple scales, and on the interactions between post-fire plant, runoff, and erosion processes. Reference Ecosystems comprises long-term, place-based studies of ecosystem biogeochemistry. Finally, Integrated Assessments is investigating how to synthesize multiple ecosystem stressors and responses over complex landscapes in ways that are useful for management and planning.

  1. Human driven transitions in complex model ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Harfoot, Mike; Newbold, Tim; Tittinsor, Derek; Purves, Drew

    2015-04-01

    Human activities have been observed to be impacting ecosystems across the globe, leading to reduced ecosystem functioning, altered trophic and biomass structure and ultimately ecosystem collapse. Previous attempts to understand global human impacts on ecosystems have usually relied on statistical models, which do not explicitly model the processes underlying the functioning of ecosystems, represent only a small proportion of organisms and do not adequately capture complex non-linear and dynamic responses of ecosystems to perturbations. We use a mechanistic ecosystem model (1), which simulates the underlying processes structuring ecosystems and can thus capture complex and dynamic interactions, to investigate boundaries of complex ecosystems to human perturbation. We explore several drivers including human appropriation of net primary production and harvesting of animal biomass. We also present an analysis of the key interactions between biotic, societal and abiotic earth system components, considering why and how we might think about these couplings. References: M. B. J. Harfoot et al., Emergent global patterns of ecosystem structure and function from a mechanistic general ecosystem model., PLoS Biol. 12, e1001841 (2014).

  2. [Vaginal ecosystem].

    PubMed

    Kovachev, S

    2011-01-01

    Vaginal flora plays an important role in preventing genital and urinary tract infections in women. In fact every little movement of obligate and/or facultative vaginal micro flora over the normal limits for this ecosystem causes vaginal disbacteriosis. Vaginal disbacteriosis is a risk condition which can cause infection. Thus an accurate understanding of the composition and ecology of the ecosystem is important to understanding the etiology of urogenital diseases. The aim of this review is to update knowledge about vaginal micro biota, the Lactobacillus species that dominate normal vaginal flora and the way they suppressed infectivity and/or proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. A Medline (Pub med) and medical literature search from 1990-2010 for relevant articles was performed and the most informative articles were selected. Lactic acid bacteria determinate the most of defense mechanisms of women vagina by concurrent adhesion, producing lactic acid, antimicrobial products, hydrogen peroxide and by local interactions with the innate and cell-mediated immune systems and plasminogen-plasmin system. All this mechanisms promotes the stability of the normal vaginal micro flora. Every Lactobacillus species play a different role in host--defense vaginal system. The presence of different Lactobacillus species with the normal vaginal micro flora is a major determinant to the stability of this micro flora and for urogenital health. PMID:21916315

  3. Amazing Animals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Al-Kuwari, Najat Saad

    2007-01-01

    "Animals" is a three-part lesson plan for young learners with a zoo animal theme. The first lesson is full of activities to describe animals, with Simon Says, guessing games, and learning stations. The second lesson is about desert animals, but other types of animals could be chosen depending on student interest. This lesson teaches…

  4. ECOSYSTEM HEALTH: ENERGY INDICATORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    1. Ecosystem Health and Ecological Integrity
    2. Historical Background on Ecosystem Health
    3. Energy Systems Analysis, Health and Emergy
    4. Energy and Ecosystems
    5. Direct Measures of Ecosystem Health
    6. Indirect Measures of Ecosystem Health

  5. Astronomical Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Neuenschwander, D. E.; Finkenbinder, L. R.

    2004-05-01

    Just as quetzals and jaguars require specific ecological habitats to survive, so too must planets occupy a tightly constrained astronomical habitat to support life as we know it. With this theme in mind we relate the transferable features of our elementary astronomy course, "The Astronomical Basis of Life on Earth." Over the last five years, in a team-taught course that features a spring break field trip to Costa Rica, we have introduced astronomy through "astronomical ecosystems," emphasizing astronomical constraints on the prospects for life on Earth. Life requires energy, chemical elements, and long timescales, and we emphasize how cosmological, astrophysical, and geological realities, through stabilities and catastrophes, create and eliminate niches for biological life. The linkage between astronomy and biology gets immediate and personal: for example, studies in solar energy production are followed by hikes in the forest to examine the light-gathering strategies of photosynthetic organisms; a lesson on tides is conducted while standing up to our necks in one on a Pacific beach. Further linkages between astronomy and the human timescale concerns of biological diversity, cultural diversity, and environmental sustainability are natural and direct. Our experience of teaching "astronomy as habitat" strongly influences our "Astronomy 101" course in Oklahoma as well. This "inverted astrobiology" seems to transform our student's outlook, from the universe being something "out there" into something "we're in!" We thank the SNU Science Alumni support group "The Catalysts," and the SNU Quetzal Education and Research Center, San Gerardo de Dota, Costa Rica, for their support.

  6. Comparison of drug and cell-based delivery: engineered adult mesenchymal stem cells expressing soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II prevent arthritis in mouse and rat animal models.

    PubMed

    Liu, Linda N; Wang, Gang; Hendricks, Kyle; Lee, Keunmyoung; Bohnlein, Ernst; Junker, Uwe; Mosca, Joseph D

    2013-05-01

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease with unknown etiology where tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) plays a critical role. Etanercept, a recombinant fusion protein of human soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor II (hsTNFR) linked to the Fc portion of human IgG1, is used to treat RA based on the rationale that sTNFR binds TNFα and blocks TNFα-mediated inflammation. We compared hsTNFR protein delivery from genetically engineered human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with etanercept. Blocking TNFα-dependent intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on transduced hMSCs and inhibition of nitric oxide production from TNFα-treated bovine chondrocytes by conditioned culture media from transduced hMSCs demonstrated the functionality of the hsTNFR construction. Implanted hsTNFR-transduced mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) reduced mouse serum circulating TNFα generated from either implanted TNFα-expressing cells or lipopolysaccharide induction more effectively than etanercept (TNFα, 100%; interleukin [IL]-1α, 90%; and IL-6, 60% within 6 hours), suggesting faster clearance of the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (sTNFR)-TNFα complex from the animals. In vivo efficacy of sTNFR-transduced MSCs was illustrated in two (immune-deficient and immune-competent) arthritic rodent models. In the antibody-induced arthritis BalbC/SCID mouse model, intramuscular injection of hsTNFR-transduced hMSCs reduced joint inflammation by 90% compared with untransduced hMSCs; in the collagen-induced arthritis Fischer rat model, both sTNFR-transduced rat MSCs and etanercept inhibited joint inflammation by 30%. In vitro chondrogenesis assays showed the ability of TNFα and IL1α, but not interferon γ, to inhibit hMSC differentiation to chondrocytes, illustrating an additional negative role for inflammatory cytokines in joint repair. The data support the utility of hMSCs as therapeutic gene delivery vehicles and their potential to be used in alleviating inflammation

  7. Genetic Engineering

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Phillips, John

    1973-01-01

    Presents a review of genetic engineering, in which the genotypes of plants and animals (including human genotypes) may be manipulated for the benefit of the human species. Discusses associated problems and solutions and provides an extensive bibliography of literature relating to genetic engineering. (JR)

  8. Ecotoxicology of tropical marine ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Peters, E.C.; Gassman, N.J.; Firman, J.C.; Richmond, R.H.; Power, E.A.

    1997-01-01

    The negative effects of chemical contaminants on tropical marine ecosystems are of increasing concern as human populations expand adjacent to these communities. Watershed streams and ground water carry a variety of chemicals from agricultural, industrial, and domestic activities, while winds and currents transport pollutants from atmospheric and oceanic sources to these coastal ecosystems. The implications of the limited information available on impacts of chemical stressors on mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs are discussed in the context of ecosystem management and ecological risk assessment. Three classes of pollutants have received attention: heavy metals, petroleum, and synthetic organics. Heavy metals have been detected in all three ecosystems, causing physiological stress, reduced reproductive success, and outright mortality in associated invertebrates and fishes. Oil spills have been responsible for the destruction of entire coastal shallow-water communities, with recovery requiring years. Herbicides are particularly detrimental to mangroves and seagrasses and adversely affect the animal-algal symbioses in corals. Pesticides interfere with chemical cues responsible for key biological processes, including reproduction and recruitment of a variety of organisms. Information is lacking with regard to long-term recovery, indicator species, and biomarkers for tropical communities. Critical areas that are beginning to be addressed include the development of appropriate benchmarks for risk assessment, baseline monitoring criteria, and effective management strategies to protect tropical marine ecosystems in the face of mounting anthropogenic disturbance.

  9. Parallel ecological networks in ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Olff, Han; Alonso, David; Berg, Matty P.; Eriksson, B. Klemens; Loreau, Michel; Piersma, Theunis; Rooney, Neil

    2009-01-01

    In ecosystems, species interact with other species directly and through abiotic factors in multiple ways, often forming complex networks of various types of ecological interaction. Out of this suite of interactions, predator–prey interactions have received most attention. The resulting food webs, however, will always operate simultaneously with networks based on other types of ecological interaction, such as through the activities of ecosystem engineers or mutualistic interactions. Little is known about how to classify, organize and quantify these other ecological networks and their mutual interplay. The aim of this paper is to provide new and testable ideas on how to understand and model ecosystems in which many different types of ecological interaction operate simultaneously. We approach this problem by first identifying six main types of interaction that operate within ecosystems, of which food web interactions are one. Then, we propose that food webs are structured among two main axes of organization: a vertical (classic) axis representing trophic position and a new horizontal ‘ecological stoichiometry’ axis representing decreasing palatability of plant parts and detritus for herbivores and detrivores and slower turnover times. The usefulness of these new ideas is then explored with three very different ecosystems as test cases: temperate intertidal mudflats; temperate short grass prairie; and tropical savannah. PMID:19451126

  10. Consideration of Ecosystem for ICME

    SciTech Connect

    Ren, Weiju

    2013-01-01

    As the Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) emerges as a hot topic, computation, experimentation, and digital database are identified as its three major components. Efforts are being actively made from various aspects to bring ICME to reality. However, many factors that would affect ICEM development still remain vague. This paper is an attempt to discuss the needs for establishing a database centered ecosystem to facilitate ICEM development.

  11. Lightning safety of animals.

    PubMed

    Gomes, Chandima

    2012-11-01

    This paper addresses a concurrent multidisciplinary problem: animal safety against lightning hazards. In regions where lightning is prevalent, either seasonally or throughout the year, a considerable number of wild, captive and tame animals are injured due to lightning generated effects. The paper discusses all possible injury mechanisms, focusing mainly on animals with commercial value. A large number of cases from several countries have been analyzed. Economically and practically viable engineering solutions are proposed to address the issues related to the lightning threats discussed. PMID:22215021

  12. Landscape ecosystems of the University of Michigan Biological Station: Ecosystem diversity and ground-cover diversity

    SciTech Connect

    Pearsall, D.R.

    1995-12-31

    The aim of this research is to provide an understanding of the three-dimensional (air-earth-organism) units of the landscape of the University of Michigan Biological Station (UMBS) that the author calls landscape ecosystem types, or simply ecosystems. Specifically, he has focused on the kinds, spatial location and patterns, and composition (physiography, soil, vegetation) of the local landscape ecosystem types of UMBS and Colonial Point. Future research on the functioning of these ecosystems together with inventories of their plant and animal life will add significantly to the landscape ecology research that has been initiated. A major reason for this research is to provide the conceptual basis and baseline data for understanding ecosystem change. Although it is popular to speak of climate change, entire ecosystems change; some components change faster than others.

  13. Forest ecosystems in the Alaskan taiga

    SciTech Connect

    Van Cleve, K.; Chapin, F.S. III; Flanagan, P.W.; Viereck, L.A.

    1986-01-01

    This volume in the series ''Ecological Studies'' provides an overview and synthesis of research on the structure and function of taiga forest ecosystems of interior Alaska. The first section discusses the nature of the taiga environment and covers climate, forest ecosystem distribution, natural regeneration of vegetation, and the role of fire. The second edition focuses on environmental controls over organism activity with discussions on growth and nutrient use, nitrogen fixation, physiological ecology of mosses, and microbial activity and element availability. The final section considers environmental controls over ecosystem processes with discussions of processes, plant-animal interactions, and a model of forest growth and yield.

  14. AGATE animation - business theme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    Business jet 4 of 6. Advanced General Aviation Technology Experiment (AGATE). The AGATE program is complimented by a NASA Lewis-led program to develop safe, smooth, quiet and affordable propulsion systems for future four-to-six-seat general aviation airplanes. The General Aviation Propulsion (GAP) program is developing diesel prop and jet engines to be flight demonstrated at the year 2000 EAA AirVenture Air Show & Convention in Oshkosh, Wisc. Commericially produced engines based on these demonstrator engines and their manufacturing technologies will soon follow. Image from AGATE 'business jet' video animation.

  15. PRELIMINARY TESTING, EVALUATION, AND SENSITIVITY ANALYSIS FOR THE TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report documents an initial testing and sensitivity analysis of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Exposure Assessment Model (TEEAM). TEEAM calculates the exposure concentrations of contaminants in plants and animals in terrestrial ecosystems. he project was performed in two phases. ...

  16. Animal Bites

    MedlinePlus

    ... and complications from bites Never pet, handle, or feed unknown animals Leave snakes alone Watch your children closely around animals Vaccinate your cats, ferrets, and dogs against rabies Spay or neuter ...

  17. Animal Bites

    MedlinePlus

    Wild animals usually avoid people. They might attack, however, if they feel threatened, are sick, or are protecting their ... or territory. Attacks by pets are more common. Animal bites rarely are life-threatening, but if they ...

  18. Glacier Ecosystems of Himalaya

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kohshima, S.; Yoshimura, Y.; Takeuchi, N.; Segawa, T.; Uetake, J.

    2012-12-01

    Biological activity on glaciers has been believed to be extremely limited. However, we found various biotic communities specialized to the glacier environment in various part of the world, such as Himalaya, Patagonia and Alaska. Some of these glacier hosted biotic communities including various cold-tolerant insects, annelids and copepods that were living in the glacier by feeding on algae and bacteria growing in the snow and ice. Thus, the glaciers are simple and relatively closed ecosystems sustained by the primary production in the snow and ice. In this presentation, we will briefly introduce glacier ecosystems in Himalaya; ecology and behavior of glacier animals, altitudinal zonation of snow algal communities, and the structure of their habitats in the glacier. Since the microorganisms growing on the glacier surface are stored in the glacial strata every year, ice-core samples contain many layers with these microorganisms. We showed that the snow algae in the ice-core are useful for ice core dating and could be new environmental signals for the studies on past environment using ice cores. These microorganisms in the ice core will be important especially in the studies of ice core from the glaciers of warmer regions, in which chemical and isotopic contents are often heavily disturbed by melt water percolation. Blooms of algae and bacteria on the glacier can reduce the surface albedo and significantly affect the glacier melting. For example, the surface albedo of some Himalayan glaciers was significantly reduced by a large amount of dark-colored biogenic material (cryoconite) derived from snow algae and bacteria. It increased the melting rates of the surfaces by as much as three-fold. Thus, it was suggested that the microbial activity on the glacier could affect the mass balance and fluctuation of the glaciers.

  19. [Transgenic animals and animal welfare

    PubMed

    Reinhardt, Christoph

    1998-01-01

    Under the pressure of a public vote in Switzerland (7 June 1998) on an initiative to ban the production, use and patenting of transgenic animals, their value for biomedical research and development is intensely debated. In addition, the Swiss legislation has adopted (1992) a constitutional obligation to "take into account the dignity of creatures". The term "dignity of creatures", however, can be interpreted in anthropocentric or biocentric ways. The government has now formulated the legal implications of this term for transgenic animals and plants in various laws including the animal and environmental protection laws. This paper gives arguments for a fair evaluation of trangenic animals from an animal welfare point of view where not only the costs of animal suffering must be considered but also the probability of potential benefit for man. A self-confident research community should allow such an evaluation procedure even in view of an outcome which could ban many uses of transgenic animals PMID:11208266

  20. ECOSYSTEM GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Thermodynamically, ecosystem growth and development is the process by which energy throughflow and stored biomass increase. Several proposed hypotheses describe the natural tendencies that occur as an ecosystem matures, and here, we consider five: minimum entropy production, maxi...

  1. Valuation of rangeland ecosystem services

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gascoigne, W.R.

    2011-01-01

    Economic valuation lends itself well to the anthropocentric orientation of ecosystem services. An economic perspective on ecosystems portrays them as natural assets providing a flow of goods and services valuable to individuals and society collectively. A few examples include the purification of drinking water, reduced risk from flooding and other extreme events, pollination of agricultural crops, climate regulation, and recreation opportunities from plant and animal habitat maintenance, among many others. Once these goods and services are identified and quantified, they can be monetized to complete the valuation process. The monetization of ecosystem goods and services (in the form of dollars) provides a common metric that allows for cross-comparison of attributes and evaluation of differing ecological scenarios. Complicating the monetization process is the fact that most of these goods and services are public and non-market in nature; meaning they are non-rival and non-exclusive and are typically not sold in a traditional market setting where monetary values are revealed. Instead, one must employ non-market valuation techniques, with primary valuation methods typically being very time and resource consuming, intimidating to non-economists, and often impractical. For these reasons, benefit transfer methods have gained popularity. This methodology harnesses the primary collection results of existing studies to make inferences about the economic values of non-market goods and services at an alternative policy site (in place and/or in time). For instance, if a primary valuation study on oak reestablishment on rangelands in southern California yielded a value of $30 per-acre associated with water regulation, this result can be transferred, with some adjustments, to say something about the value of an acre of oaks on rangelands in northern portions of the state. The economic valuation of rangeland ecosystem services has many roles. Economic values may be used as input

  2. MEDLI Animation

    NASA Video Gallery

    Animation of MEDLI, the Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrument, which contains multiple sophisticated temperature sensors to measure atmospheric conditions and performance o...

  3. Animal cytomegaloviruses.

    PubMed Central

    Staczek, J

    1990-01-01

    Cytomegaloviruses are agents that infect a variety of animals. Human cytomegalovirus is associated with infections that may be inapparent or may result in severe body malformation. More recently, human cytomegalovirus infections have been recognized as causing severe complications in immunosuppressed individuals. In other animals, cytomegaloviruses are often associated with infections having relatively mild sequelae. Many of these sequelae parallel symptoms associated with human cytomegalovirus infections. Recent advances in biotechnology have permitted the study of many of the animal cytomegaloviruses in vitro. Consequently, animal cytomegaloviruses can be used as model systems for studying the pathogenesis, immunobiology, and molecular biology of cytomegalovirus-host and cytomegalovirus-cell interactions. PMID:2170830

  4. Plant functional traits predict green roof ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Lundholm, Jeremy; Tran, Stephanie; Gebert, Luke

    2015-02-17

    Plants make important contributions to the services provided by engineered ecosystems such as green roofs. Ecologists use plant species traits as generic predictors of geographical distribution, interactions with other species, and ecosystem functioning, but this approach has been little used to optimize engineered ecosystems. Four plant species traits (height, individual leaf area, specific leaf area, and leaf dry matter content) were evaluated as predictors of ecosystem properties and services in a modular green roof system planted with 21 species. Six indicators of ecosystem services, incorporating thermal, hydrological, water quality, and carbon sequestration functions, were predicted by the four plant traits directly or indirectly via their effects on aggregate ecosystem properties, including canopy density and albedo. Species average height and specific leaf area were the most useful traits, predicting several services via effects on canopy density or growth rate. This study demonstrates that easily measured plant traits can be used to select species to optimize green roof performance across multiple key services. PMID:25599106

  5. On Man and Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brookfield, Harold

    1982-01-01

    Distinctions between natural ecosystems and human ecosystems are misleading. Natural and social sciences can be integrated through the concept of a "human-use ecosystem," in which social scientists analyze the community, household, and individual, and natural scientists analyze the land. Includes a case study of St. Kitts. (KC)

  6. Ecosystem Health: Energy Indicators.

    EPA Science Inventory

    Just as for human beings health is a concept that applies to the condition of the whole organism, the health of an ecosystem refers to the condition of the ecosystem as a whole. For this reason, the study and characterization of ecosystems is fundamental to establishing accurate ...

  7. Estuarine Total Ecosystem Metabolism

    EPA Science Inventory

    Total ecosystem metabolism (TEM), both as discrete measurements and as a theoretical concept, has an important history in ecosystem ecology, particularly in estuaries. Some of the earliest ecological studies were developed to determine how energy flowed through an ecosystem and w...

  8. A Hierarchy Among Attitudes Toward Animals

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bart, William M.

    1972-01-01

    Changing attitudes of man toward many animal species are viewed as one aspect in stabilizing ecosystems. This research study attempts to indicate a hierarchy among attitudes toward animals, particularly for the purpose of developing positive attitudes toward rare and endangered species. (BL)

  9. ACID PRECIPITATION AND ITS EFFECTS ON TERRESTRIAL AND AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Man-induced change in the chemical climate of the earth has increased. Recent research has demonstrated that atmospheric deposition contains both beneficial nutrients and injurious substances; plants, animals, and ecosystems vary greatly in susceptibility; injury is most likely w...

  10. Metabolic theory predicts whole-ecosystem properties.

    PubMed

    Schramski, John R; Dell, Anthony I; Grady, John M; Sibly, Richard M; Brown, James H

    2015-02-24

    Understanding the effects of individual organisms on material cycles and energy fluxes within ecosystems is central to predicting the impacts of human-caused changes on climate, land use, and biodiversity. Here we present a theory that integrates metabolic (organism-based bottom-up) and systems (ecosystem-based top-down) approaches to characterize how the metabolism of individuals affects the flows and stores of materials and energy in ecosystems. The theory predicts how the average residence time of carbon molecules, total system throughflow (TST), and amount of recycling vary with the body size and temperature of the organisms and with trophic organization. We evaluate the theory by comparing theoretical predictions with outputs of numerical models designed to simulate diverse ecosystem types and with empirical data for real ecosystems. Although residence times within different ecosystems vary by orders of magnitude-from weeks in warm pelagic oceans with minute phytoplankton producers to centuries in cold forests with large tree producers-as predicted, all ecosystems fall along a single line: residence time increases linearly with slope = 1.0 with the ratio of whole-ecosystem biomass to primary productivity (B/P). TST was affected predominantly by primary productivity and recycling by the transfer of energy from microbial decomposers to animal consumers. The theory provides a robust basis for estimating the flux and storage of energy, carbon, and other materials in terrestrial, marine, and freshwater ecosystems and for quantifying the roles of different kinds of organisms and environments at scales from local ecosystems to the biosphere. PMID:25624499