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 corridors narrowed throughout the Ordovician and Silurian, the potential importance of riparian zones as a global biome would have increased as they became more extensive in continental environments. Furthermore, the move towards climatic controls on the ephemeral or perennial nature of streams would have boosted the diversity of temporally diverse hydrodynamic regimes. As single-thread meandering channels and extensive muddy floodplains, stabilised by vegetation, became significant components of the global suite of alluvial geomorphic components throughout the Siluro-Devonian, further diversification of the extent and diversity of physical habitats within the global riparian biome occurred. Into the Carboniferous, the evolution of the anabranching habit within alluvial systems created further new physical landforms for colonization and would have promoted increasingly complex hyporheic flow regimes. Furthermore the associated advent of arborescent vegetation and, specifically, the large woody debris supplied by this, would have created a wealth of new microhabitats for continental organisms. The expanding extent and diversity of physical alluvial niches during the Palaeozoic can be argued to be an underappreciated driver of the terrestrialization of early continental life. The study of the deep time fossil and stratigraphic record also illustrates that vegetation is a fundamental prerequisite for the creation of biogeomorphic alluvial landforms and physical habitats and microhabitats.

  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. Ecosystem engineering in space and time.

    PubMed

    Hastings, Alan; Byers, James E; Crooks, Jeffrey A; Cuddington, Kim; Jones, Clive G; Lambrinos, John G; Talley, Theresa S; Wilson, William G

    2007-02-01

    The ecosystem engineering concept focuses on how organisms physically change the abiotic environment and how this feeds back to the biota. While the concept was formally introduced a little more than 10 years ago, the underpinning of the concept can be traced back to more than a century to the early work of Darwin. The formal application of the idea is yielding new insights into the role of species in ecosystems and many other areas of basic and applied ecology. Here we focus on how temporal, spatial and organizational scales usefully inform the roles played by ecosystem engineers and their incorporation into broader ecological contexts. Two particular, distinguishing features of ecosystem engineers are that they affect the physical space in which other species live and their direct effects can last longer than the lifetime of the organism--engineering can in essence outlive the engineer. Together, these factors identify critical considerations that need to be included in models, experimental and observational work. The ecosystem engineering concept holds particular promise in the area of ecological applications, where influence over abiotic variables and their consequent effects on biotic communities may facilitate ecological restoration and counterbalance anthropogenic influences. PMID:17257103

  8. 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...

  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. 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.

  12. Migratory animals couple biodiversity and ecosystem functioning worldwide.

    PubMed

    Bauer, S; Hoye, B J

    2014-04-01

    Animal migrations span the globe, involving immense numbers of individuals from a wide range of taxa. Migrants transport nutrients, energy, and other organisms as they forage and are preyed upon throughout their journeys. These highly predictable, pulsed movements across large spatial scales render migration a potentially powerful yet underappreciated dimension of biodiversity that is intimately embedded within resident communities. We review examples from across the animal kingdom to distill fundamental processes by which migratory animals influence communities and ecosystems, demonstrating that they can uniquely alter energy flow, food-web topology and stability, trophic cascades, and the structure of metacommunities. Given the potential for migration to alter ecological networks worldwide, we suggest an integrative framework through which community dynamics and ecosystem functioning may explicitly consider animal migrations. PMID:24700862

  13. Commercialising genetically engineered animal biomedical products.

    PubMed

    Sullivan, Eddie J; Pommer, Jerry; Robl, James M

    2008-01-01

    Research over the past two decades has increased the quality and quantity of tools available to produce genetically engineered animals. The number of potentially viable biomedical products from genetically engineered animals is increasing. However, moving from cutting-edge research to development and commercialisation of a biomedical product that is useful and wanted by the public has significant challenges. Even early stage development of genetically engineered animal applications requires consideration of many steps, including quality assurance and quality control, risk management, gap analysis, founder animal establishment, cell banking, sourcing of animals and animal-derived material, animal facilities, product collection facilities and processing facilities. These steps are complicated and expensive. Biomedical applications of genetically engineered animals have had some recent successes and many applications are well into development. As researchers consider applications for their findings, having a realistic understanding of the steps involved in the development and commercialisation of a product, produced in genetically engineered animals, is useful in determining the risk of genetic modification to the animal nu. the potential public benefit of the application. PMID:18154699

  14. Commodifying animals: ethical issues in genetic engineering of animals.

    PubMed

    Almond, B

    2000-03-01

    The genetic modification of living beings raises special ethical concerns which go beyond general discussion of animal rights or welfare. Although the goals may be similar, biotechnology has accelerated the process of modification of types traditionally carried out by cross-breeding. These changes are discussed in relation to two areas: biomedicine, and animal husbandry. Alternative ethical approaches are reviewed, and it is argued that the teleological thesis underlying virtue ethics has special relevance here. The case for and the case against genetic engineering and patenting of life-forms are examined, and conclusions are drawn which favour regulation, caution and respect for animals and animal species. PMID:15080125

  15. Engineering animal models of dystonia

    PubMed Central

    Oleas, Janneth; Yokoi, Fumiaki; DeAndrade, Mark P.; Pisani, Antonio; Li, Yuqing

    2013-01-01

    Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal involuntary movements that are prolonged and often cause twisting and turning. Several genetically modified worms, fruit flies, and rodents have been generated as models of genetic dystonias, and in particular DYT1, DYT11, and DYT12 dystonias. Although these models do not show overt dystonic symptoms, the rodent models exhibit pronounced motor deficits in specialized behavioral tasks, such as the rotarod and beam-walking tests. For example, in a rodent model of DYT12 dystonia, which is generally stress triggered, motor deficits are observed only after the animal is stressed. Moreover, in a rodent model of DYT1 dystonia, the motor and electrophysiological deficits can be rescued by trihexyphenidyl, a common anticholinergic medication used to treat dystonic symptoms in human patients. Biochemically, the DYT1 and DYT11 animal models also share some similarities to patients, such as a reduction in striatal D2 dopamine receptor and binding activities. Additionally, conditional knockout mouse models for DYT1 and DYT11 dystonia show that the loss of the causal dystonia related proteins in the striatum lead to motor deficits. Interestingly, loss of the DYT1 dystonia causal protein in Purkinje cells shows an improvement in motor performance, suggesting that gene therapy targeting of the cerebellum or intervention in its downstream pathways may be useful. Finally, recent studies using DYT1 dystonia worm and mouse models led to a potential novel therapeutic agent, which is currently undergoing clinical trials. These results indicate that genetic animal models are an extremely powerful tool to elucidate the pathophysiology and to further develop new therapeutics for dystonia. PMID:23893455

  16. Engineering animal models of dystonia.

    PubMed

    Oleas, Janneth; Yokoi, Fumiaki; DeAndrade, Mark P; Pisani, Antonio; Li, Yuqing

    2013-06-15

    Dystonia is a neurological disorder characterized by abnormal involuntary movements that are prolonged and often cause twisting and turning. Several genetically modified worms, fruit flies, and rodents have been generated as models of genetic dystonias, in particular DYT1, DYT11, and DYT12 dystonias. Although these models do not show overt dystonic symptoms, the rodent models exhibit motor deficits in specialized behavioral tasks, such as the rotarod and beam-walking tests. For example, in a rodent model of DYT12 dystonia, which is generally stress triggered, motor deficits are observed only after the animal is stressed. Moreover, in a rodent model of DYT1 dystonia, the motor and electrophysiological deficits can be rescued by trihexyphenidyl, a common anticholinergic medication used to treat dystonic symptoms in human patients. Biochemically, the DYT1 and DYT11 animal models also share some similarities to patients, such as a reduction in striatal D2 dopamine receptor and binding activities. In addition, conditional knockout mouse models for DYT1 and DYT11 dystonia demonstrate that loss of the causal dystonia-related proteins in the striatum leads to motor deficits. Interestingly, loss of the DYT1 dystonia causal protein in Purkinje cells shows an improvement in motor performance, suggesting that gene therapy targeting of the cerebellum or intervention in its downstream pathways may be useful. Finally, recent studies using DYT1 dystonia worm and mouse models led to a potential novel therapeutic agent, which is currently undergoing clinical trials. These results indicate that genetic animal models are powerful tools to elucidate the pathophysiology and to further develop new therapeutics for dystonia. PMID:23893455

  17. 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, biodiversity need not be decreased by invasive engineers and may even increase. On a global scale, invasive engineers may cause shore biota to converge, especially visually due to the presence of epibenthic structures.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. Ediacaran Marine Redox Heterogeneity and Early Animal Ecosystems.

    PubMed

    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. 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.

  3. Importance of Resource Subsidies to Animals in Freshwater Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Koch, B. J.; Hall, R. O.

    2005-05-01

    Many streams receive large resource subsidies from adjacent ecosystems. These subsidies take a variety of forms including terrestrial organic matter, dissolved nutrients, or animals. Some subsidies can have important consequences for in-stream consumers in the recipient system, while in other systems they are unimportant. We present a framework for establishing the conditions under which food subsidies to streams are likely to be important to animal consumers. Importance of cross-system subsidies will vary as a function of the spatial/temporal scales of interest. Attributes of the subsidy (e.g., stoichiometric quality) or of the donor/recipient systems (e.g., productivity gradients) can be used to predict conditions under which subsidies are important to in-stream consumers. We propose a hypothesis that classifies the importance of subsidies to streams as high, intermediate, or low based on the subsidy's nutritive quality and its flux relative to autochthonous primary production. Thus, importance will be high when the flux of a highly nutritious subsidy is a large proportion of in-stream productivity. Importance will be low in the opposite case. We test this hypothesis using data from the literature. This framework is intended to facilitate cross-system comparisons that test the ecological conditions governing the importance of resource subsidies to freshwater ecosystems.

  4. Ecosystem engineering impact of Limnoperna fortunei in South America.

    PubMed

    Darrigran, Gustavo; Damborenea, Cristina

    2011-01-01

    Limnoperna fortunei, or golden mussel, has invaded aquatic ecosystems in the Americas following it introduction from Southeast Asia. It is not only an aggressive invasive species, it is also a very effective ecosystem engineer, altering both ecosystem structure and function, and causes great ecological and economic impacts. This paper describes its impact as an ecosystem engineer (on benthic communities and the water column). A review of the existing scientific literature is presented, and the impact and the mechanisms by which the golden mussel modifies, maintains, and creates new environmental conditions in the invaded South American inland freshwater environments are analyzed. Understanding the ecosystem engineering roles of L. fortunei is important for its management and/or control in the invaded areas, and in cases of future invasions. PMID:21186940

  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 these complications, these problems must be solved, as bioturbators such as crayfish and bioconsolidators such as silk-spinning caddisflies may locally modify (i) rates of transport of fluvial sediments over three orders of magnitude and (ii) frequencies of mass transport events over five orders of magnitude. The fastest way to identify promising subsequent research routes in this field would be through a variety of abundance manipulations of lotic organisms (animals and plants having different mechanistic sediment-engineering abilities) in real rivers in combination with a simple approach to assess the critical shear stress in situ for varying types of sediments. This would require joint research by fluvial geomorphologists, hydrologists, and ecologists.

  6. 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

  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. Non-native ecosystem engineer alters estuarine communities.

    PubMed

    Heiman, Kimberly W; Micheli, Fiorenza

    2010-08-01

    Many ecosystems are created by the presence of ecosystem engineers that play an important role in determining species' abundance and species composition. Additionally, a mosaic environment of engineered and non-engineered habitats has been shown to increase biodiversity. Non-native ecosystem engineers can be introduced into environments that do not contain or have lost species that form biogenic habitat, resulting in dramatic impacts upon native communities. Yet, little is known about how non-native ecosystem engineers interact with natives and other non-natives already present in the environment, specifically whether non-native ecosystem engineers facilitate other non-natives, and whether they increase habitat heterogeneity and alter the diversity, abundance, and distribution of benthic species. Through sampling and experimental removal of reefs, we examine the effects of a non-native reef-building tubeworm, Ficopomatus enigmaticus, on community composition in the central Californian estuary, Elkhorn Slough. Tubeworm reefs host significantly greater abundances of many non-native polychaetes and amphipods, particularly the amphipods Monocorophium insidiosum and Melita nitida, compared to nearby mudflats. Infaunal assemblages under F. enigmaticus reefs and around reef's edges show very low abundance and taxonomic diversity. Once reefs are removed, the newly exposed mudflat is colonized by opportunistic non-native species, such as M. insidiosum and the polychaete Streblospio benedicti, making removal of reefs a questionable strategy for control. These results show that provision of habitat by a non-native ecosystem engineer may be a mechanism for invasional meltdown in Elkhorn Slough, and that reefs increase spatial heterogeneity in the abundance and composition of benthic communities. PMID:21558201

  9. 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

  10. Habitat-Mediated Facilitation and Counteracting Ecosystem Engineering Interactively Influence Ecosystem Responses to Disturbance

    PubMed Central

    Eklöf, Johan S.; van der Heide, Tjisse; Donadi, Serena; van der Zee, Els M.; O'Hara, Robert; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2011-01-01

    Recovery of an ecosystem following disturbance can be severely hampered or even shift altogether when a point disturbance exceeds a certain spatial threshold. Such scale-dependent dynamics may be caused by preemptive competition, but may also result from diminished self-facilitation due to weakened ecosystem engineering. Moreover, disturbance can facilitate colonization by engineering species that alter abiotic conditions in ways that exacerbate stress on the original species. Consequently, establishment of such counteracting engineers might reduce the spatial threshold for the disturbance, by effectively slowing recovery and increasing the risk for ecosystem shifts to alternative states. We tested these predictions in an intertidal mudflat characterized by a two-state mosaic of hummocks (humps exposed during low tide) dominated by the sediment-stabilizing seagrass Zostera noltii) and hollows (low-tide waterlogged depressions dominated by the bioturbating lugworm Arenicola marina). In contrast to expectations, seagrass recolonized both natural and experimental clearings via lateral expansion and seemed unaffected by both clearing size and lugworm addition. Near the end of the growth season, however, an additional disturbance (most likely waterfowl grazing and/or strong hydrodynamics) selectively impacted recolonizing seagrass in the largest (1 m2) clearings (regardless of lugworm addition), and in those medium (0.25 m2) clearings where lugworms had been added nearly five months earlier. Further analyses showed that the risk for the disturbance increased with hollow size, with a threshold of 0.24 m2. Hollows of that size were caused by seagrass removal alone in the largest clearings, and by a weaker seagrass removal effect exacerbated by lugworm bioturbation in the medium clearings. Consequently, a sufficiently large disturbance increased the vulnerability of recolonizing seagrass to additional disturbance by weakening seagrass engineering effects (sediment stabilization). Meanwhile, the counteracting ecosystem engineering (lugworm bioturbation) reduced that threshold size. Therefore, scale-dependent interactions between habitat-mediated facilitation, competition and disturbance seem to maintain the spatial two-state mosaic in this ecosystem. PMID:21829719

  11. 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.

  12. 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)

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

    PubMed

    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 ecosystem engineer may be variable and sometimes have no or even negative effects on stability, conversely to what it should be expected based on current research knowledge. PMID:23805256

  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 ecosystem engineer may be variable and sometimes have no or even negative effects on stability, conversely to what it should be expected based on current research knowledge. PMID:23805256

  15. 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. © 2015 The Authors. The Journal of Pathology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. PMID:26414877

  16. Reef-forming polychaetes outcompetes ecosystem engineering mussels.

    PubMed

    Jaubet, María L; Garaffo, Griselda V; Sánchez, María A; Elías, Rodolfo

    2013-06-15

    In order to understand changes in the functioning and the community structure of intertidal ecosystem in sewage-impacted sites, a long-term monitoring coverage study (2004-2011) was carried out on abrasion platforms of the SW Atlantic. The intertidal zone is characterized by the mytilid Brachidontes rodriguezii, an ecosystem engineer. Since the austral spring of 2008, a demographic explosion of an invader polychaetes, Boccardia proboscidea, has produced massive biogenic structures around the sewage discharge outfall. Cover percentage of this polychaete reached almost 100% in sewage-impacted sites but low or no coverage at all in Reference Sites. The density of B. rodriguezii declined due to the biogenic reefs stifles these mytilids. The massive settlement of B. proboscidea among mussels, the rapid growth and the tube construction smothers the mussels in sewage-impacted sites. PMID:23601692

  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. 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

  19. Engineering a plant community to deliver multiple ecosystem services.

    PubMed

    Storkey, Jonathan; Döring, Thomas; Baddeley, John; Collins, Rosemary; Roderick, Stephen; Jones, Hannah; Watson, Christine

    2015-06-01

    The sustainable delivery of multiple ecosystem services requires the management of functionally diverse biological communities. In an agricultural context, an emphasis on food production has often led to a loss of biodiversity to the detriment of other ecosystem services such as the maintenance of soil health and pest regulation. In scenarios where multiple species can be grown together, it may be possible to better balance environmental and agronomic services through the targeted selection of companion species. We used the case study of legume-based cover crops to engineer a plant community that delivered the optimal balance of six ecosystem services: early productivity, regrowth following mowing, weed suppression, support of invertebrates, soil fertility building (measured as yield of following crop), and conservation of nutrients in the soil. An experimental species pool of 12 cultivated legume species was screened for a range of functional traits and ecosystem services at five sites across a geographical gradient in the United Kingdom. All possible species combinations were then analyzed, using a process-based model of plant competition, to identify the community that delivered the best balance of services at each site. In our system, low to intermediate levels of species richness (one to four species) that exploited functional contrasts in growth habit and phenology were identified as being optimal. The optimal solution was determined largely by the number of species and functional diversity represented by the starting species pool, emphasizing the importance of the initial selection of species for the screening experiments. The approach of using relationships between functional traits and ecosystem services to design multifunctional biological communities has the potential to inform the design of agricultural systems that better balance agronomic and environmental services and meet the current objective of European agricultural policy to maintain viable food production in the context of the sustainable management of natural resources. PMID:26465040

  20. 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 belowground, as the substantial increase in movement of some microarthropods when corridors were present suggests these factors can strongly affect colonization and community assembly. PMID:23646146

  1. Effects of an ecosystem engineer on belowground movement of microarthropods.

    PubMed

    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 AIC(c) 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 belowground, as the substantial increase in movement of some microarthropods when corridors were present suggests these factors can strongly affect colonization and community assembly. PMID:23646146

  2. 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 (?) diversity at patch scale but, in parallel, caused an increase in gamma (?) diversity at the scale of the studied river segment. Our study corroborates recent investigations that support the theory of biotic acceptance of exotic species by native species at the local scale within heterogeneous and disturbed environments.

  3. Management methods of reducing radionuclide contamination of animal food products in semi-natural ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Howard, B J

    1993-09-24

    Countermeasures involving changes in management practices which are suitable for use in semi-natural ecosystems are described. Most of the relevant information relates to radio-caesium, but the applicability for some other radionuclides has also been evaluated. Improved live-monitoring techniques for radiocaesium, developed since the Chernobyl accident, allow the identification of animals whose contamination levels exceed the intervention limits, so that countermeasures can be effectively chosen and targeted. Generally the most effective approach for domesticated and semi-domesticated animals is either to remove contaminated animals from the affected area or to provide uncontaminated feed. Uncontaminated feed is given continuously for dairy animals or in the final fattening stages for meat-producing animals. The introduction of other effective changes in management practices, such as changing hunting seasons for game, or slaughtering at a time of year when the animals have been grazing on less contaminated herbage, depends on a good understanding of the behaviour of radionuclides in these ecosystems. In practice, the most effective countermeasures which can used to reduce radionuclide contamination of animals in semi-natural ecosystems will be obtained by a combination of both management changes and the use of chemical binders to prevent gut absorption. PMID:8248771

  4. Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Mohanty, Anee; Wu, Yichao; Cao, Bin

    2014-10-01

    In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community. PMID:25109266

  5. Impacts of engineered nanomaterials on microbial community structure and function in natural and engineered ecosystems.

    TOXLINE Toxicology Bibliographic Information

    Mohanty A; Wu Y; Cao B

    2014-10-01

    In natural and engineered environments, microorganisms often exist as complex communities, which are key to the health of ecosystems and the success of bioprocesses in various engineering applications. With the rapid development of nanotechnology in recent years, engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) have been considered one type of emerging contaminants that pose great potential risks to the proper function of microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems. The impacts of ENMs on microorganisms have attracted increasing research attentions; however, most studies focused on the antimicrobial activities of ENMs at single cell and population level. Elucidating the influence of ENMs on microbial communities represents a critical step toward a comprehensive understanding of the ecotoxicity of ENMs. In this mini-review, we summarize and discuss recent research work on the impacts of ENMs on microbial communities in natural and engineered ecosystems, with an emphasis on their influences on the community structure and function. We also highlight several important research topics which may be of great interest to the research community.

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

    PubMed

    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

    2015-02-22

    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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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. PMID:25022609

  10. 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…

  11. 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…

  12. 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.

  13. The effect of a nematode parasite on feeding and dung-burying behavior of an ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Boze, Broox G V; Moore, Janice

    2014-07-01

    Dung beetles (genus Phanaeus) consume feces in both their larval and adults forms and because of their unique dietary niche, and behaviors associated with the burial of feces, are considered ecosystem engineers. In addition, because these insects subsist on a diet composed exclusively of feces, it is likely they encounter parasitic propagules more frequently than other animals do. Parasites often alter their host's behavior, so we set out to test whether Physocephalus sexalatus (a cosmopolitan nematode parasite of ungulates) does so in ways that affect the dung beetle's role as an ecosystem engineer and/or its predator-prey relationships (transmission of the parasite). Classic tests of anti-predator behavior did not reveal behavioral differences based on the beetles' infection status. However, this parasite did alter the beetles' behaviors in ways that could be critical for its role in fecal processing and therefore ecosystem engineering. Infected beetles exhibited anorexic behavior and consumed only half the amount of feces ingested by similar uninfected beetles. Infected beetles also buried less feces and did so in tunnels that were significantly shorter than those created by uninfected beetles. Fecal burial is naturally beneficial because it aerates the soil, incorporates nitrogenous compounds, and increases the flow of water thereby making soil and pastureland more productive. We showed that the nematode parasite P. sexalatus itself becomes an ecosystem engineer as it modifies the behavior of its already influential intermediate host. PMID:24737785

  14. 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 macroinvertebrate biomass (positive) were inversely related. Thus, while a generally positive relationship between diversity and ecosystem function has been found in a variety of systems, this work shows how they can be decoupled by responding to alterative mechanisms. PMID:17587063

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  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

    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 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

  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. Shrubs as ecosystem engineers across an environmental gradient: effects on species richness and exotic plant invasion.

    PubMed

    Kleinhesselink, Andrew R; Magnoli, Susan M; Cushman, J Hall

    2014-08-01

    Ecosystem-engineering plants modify the physical environment and can increase species diversity and exotic species invasion. At the individual level, the effects of ecosystem engineers on other plants often become more positive in stressful environments. In this study, we investigated whether the community-level effects of ecosystem engineers also become stronger in more stressful environments. Using comparative and experimental approaches, we assessed the ability of a native shrub (Ericameria ericoides) to act as an ecosystem engineer across a stress gradient in a coastal dune in northern California, USA. We found increased coarse organic matter and lower wind speeds within shrub patches. Growth of a dominant invasive grass (Bromus diandrus) was facilitated both by aboveground shrub biomass and by growing in soil taken from shrub patches. Experimental removal of shrubs negatively affected species most associated with shrubs and positively affected species most often found outside of shrubs. Counter to the stress-gradient hypothesis, the effects of shrubs on the physical environment and individual plant growth did not increase across the established stress gradient at this site. At the community level, shrub patches increased beta diversity, and contained greater rarified richness and exotic plant cover than shrub-free patches. Shrub effects on rarified richness increased with environmental stress, but effects on exotic cover and beta diversity did not. Our study provides evidence for the community-level effects of shrubs as ecosystem engineers in this system, but shows that these effects do not necessarily become stronger in more stressful environments. PMID:24871135

  7. 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

  8. 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

  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. 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 influence this relationship over larger scales. PMID:24399762

  12. Forest fragmentation and selective logging have inconsistent effects on multiple animal-mediated ecosystem processes in a tropical forest.

    PubMed

    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; Naumann, Clas M; 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 functionality of tropical forests can be maintained in moderately disturbed forest fragments. Conservation concepts for tropical forests should thus include not only remaining pristine forests but also functionally viable forest remnants. PMID:22114695

  13. 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 functionality of tropical forests can be maintained in moderately disturbed forest fragments. Conservation concepts for tropical forests should thus include not only remaining pristine forests but also functionally viable forest remnants. PMID:22114695

  14. 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 interface. PMID:26562157

  15. 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…

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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...

  19. 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...

  20. Sustainable exploitation and management of autogenic ecosystem engineers: application to oysters in Chesapeake Bay.

    PubMed

    Wilberg, Michael J; Wiedenmann, John R; Robinson, Jason M

    2013-06-01

    Autogenic ecosystem engineers are critically important parts of many marine and estuarine systems because of their substantial effect on ecosystem services. Oysters are of particular importance because of their capacity to modify coastal and estuarine habitats and the highly degraded status of their habitats worldwide. However, models to predict dynamics of ecosystem engineers have not previously included the effects of exploitation. We developed a linked population and habitat model for autogenic ecosystem engineers undergoing exploitation. We parameterized the model to represent eastern oyster (Crassostrea virginica) in upper Chesapeake Bay by selecting sets of parameter values that matched observed rates of change in abundance and habitat. We used the model to evaluate the effects of a range of management and restoration options including sustainability of historical fishing pressure, effectiveness of a newly enacted sanctuary program, and relative performance of two restoration approaches. In general, autogenic ecosystem engineers are expected to be substantially less resilient to fishing than an equivalent species that does not rely on itself for habitat. Historical fishing mortality rates in upper Chesapeake Bay for oysters were above the levels that would lead to extirpation. Reductions in fishing or closure of the fishery were projected to lead to long-term increases in abundance and habitat. For fisheries to become sustainable outside of sanctuaries, a substantial larval subsidy would be required from oysters within sanctuaries. Restoration efforts using high-relief reefs were predicted to allow recovery within a shorter period of time than low-relief reefs. Models such as ours, that allow for feedbacks between population and habitat dynamics, can be effective tools for guiding management and restoration of autogenic ecosystem engineers. PMID:23865228

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. 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...

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Comparing biodiversity effects among ecosystem engineers of contrasting strength: macrofauna diversity in Zostera noltii and Spartina anglica vegetations

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bouma, Tjeerd J.; Ortells, Victor; Ysebaert, Tom

    2009-03-01

    Whereas it is well known that ecosystem engineers can have a large influence on biodiversity, underlying mechanisms are still not fully clear. We try to enhance insight by comparing biodiversity effects of two neighboring intertidal, clonal, ecosystem engineering plant species that modify the physical environmental parameters in a similar way, but with a different magnitude. Macrobenthic assemblages were compared between meadows of the seagrass Zostera noltii, small patches (≤0.5 m Ø) and large areas (≫5 m Ø) of the emergent halophyte Spartina anglica and the surrounding bare tidal mudflat (control). Multivariate analyses revealed that the mudflat benthic assemblage and Zostera meadow assemblage showed highest similarities, whereas the Spartina marsh assemblage showed the highest dissimilarity with these two areas. Whereas the descriptive nature of our study limits interpretation of the data, some clear patterns were observed. For all vegetated areas, species diversity was lower compared to the unvegetated mudflat, and we observed a strong shift from endo- towards epibenthic species, suggesting that increased above-ground habitat complexity may be a main driving process in our system. As there were no clear patterns related to feeding types, food availability/productivity appeared to be of minor importance in structuring the benthic assemblages. Nevertheless, animals were in general smaller in vegetated areas. Patchiness had a distinct positive effect on biodiversity.

  9. 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 and greater carbon storage belowground.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Trait- and density-mediated indirect interactions initiated by an exotic invasive plant autogenic ecosystem engineer.

    PubMed

    Pearson, Dean E

    2010-10-01

    Indirect interactions are important for structuring ecological systems. However, research on indirect effects has been heavily biased toward top-down trophic interactions, and less is known about other indirect-interaction pathways. As autogenic ecosystem engineers, plants can serve as initiators of nontrophic indirect interactions that, like top-down pathways, can involve both trait-mediated indirect interactions (TMIIs) and density-mediated indirect interactions (DMIIs). Using microcosms, I examined a plant --> predator --> consumer interaction pathway involving the exotic autogenic ecosystem engineer Centaurea maculosa; native Dictyna spiders (which exhibit density and trait [web-building] responses to C. maculosa); Dictyna's insect prey, Urophora affinis; and Urophora's host plant (a secondary receiver species) to quantify DMIIs and TMIIs in an autogenic engineered pathway. Both DMIIs and TMIIs were strong enough to reduce Urophora populations, but only DMIIs, which were 4.3 times stronger than TMIIs, were strong enough to also reduce Urophora's fecundity and increase the fecundity of its host plant. Prior field studies support these results, suggesting that the differences between DMIIs and TMIIs are even stronger in nature. This study illustrates that autogenic ecosystem engineers can initiate powerful indirect interactions that generally parallel predator-initiated interactions but also differ in important functional ways. PMID:20715973

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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 across habitats into models that assess community dynamics to improve our understanding of the importance of ecosystem engineers in shaping ecological communities. PMID:24587211

  16. Habitat-mediated variation in the importance of ecosystem engineers for secondary cavity nesters in a nest web.

    PubMed

    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 across habitats into models that assess community dynamics to improve our understanding of the importance of ecosystem engineers in shaping ecological communities. PMID:24587211

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  20. 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...

  1. 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 ...

  2. 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

  3. 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 richness was unexpected. By loosening sediments, reducing anoxia and enhancing organic content, C. kraussi may engineer these high shore habitats to ameliorate environmental stresses or increase food availability.

  4. Ecosystem engineering by seagrasses interacts with grazing to shape an intertidal landscape.

    PubMed

    van der Heide, Tjisse; Eklöf, Johan S; van Nes, Egbert H; van der Zee, Els M; Donadi, Serena; Weerman, Ellen J; Olff, Han; Eriksson, Britas Klemens

    2012-01-01

    Self-facilitation through ecosystem engineering (i.e., organism modification of the abiotic environment) and consumer-resource interactions are both major determinants of spatial patchiness in ecosystems. However, interactive effects of these two mechanisms on spatial complexity have not been extensively studied. We investigated the mechanisms underlying a spatial mosaic of low-tide exposed hummocks and waterlogged hollows on an intertidal mudflat in the Wadden Sea dominated by the seagrass Zostera noltii. A combination of field measurements, an experiment and a spatially explicit model indicated that the mosaic resulted from localized sediment accretion by seagrass followed by selective waterfowl grazing. Hollows were bare in winter, but were rapidly colonized by seagrass during the growth season. Colonized hollows were heavily grazed by brent geese and widgeon in autumn, converting these patches to a bare state again and disrupting sediment accretion by seagrass. In contrast, hummocks were covered by seagrass throughout the year and were rarely grazed, most likely because the waterfowl were not able to employ their preferred but water requiring feeding strategy ('dabbling') here. Our study exemplifies that interactions between ecosystem engineering by a foundation species (seagrass) and consumption (waterfowl grazing) can increase spatial complexity at the landscape level. PMID:22905115

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Go3R - semantic Internet search engine for alternative methods to animal testing.

    PubMed

    Sauer, Ursula G; Wächter, Thomas; Grune, Barbara; Doms, Andreas; Alvers, Michael R; Spielmann, Horst; Schroeder, Michael

    2009-01-01

    Consideration and incorporation of all available scientific information is an important part of the planning of any scientific project. As regards research with sentient animals, EU Directive 86/609/EEC for the protection of laboratory animals requires scientists to consider whether any planned animal experiment can be substituted by other scientifically satisfactory methods not entailing the use of animals or entailing less animals or less animal suffering, before performing the experiment. Thus, collection of relevant information is indispensable in order to meet this legal obligation. However, no standard procedures or services exist to provide convenient access to the information required to reliably determine whether it is possible to replace, reduce or refine a planned animal experiment in accordance with the 3Rs principle. The search engine Go3R, which is available free of charge under http://Go3R.org, runs up to become such a standard service. Go3R is the world-wide first search engine on alternative methods building on new semantic technologies that use an expert-knowledge based ontology to identify relevant documents. Due to Go3R's concept and design, the search engine can be used without lengthy instructions. It enables all those involved in the planning, authorisation and performance of animal experiments to determine the availability of non-animal methodologies in a fast, comprehensive and transparent manner. Thereby, Go3R strives to significantly contribute to the avoidance and replacement of animal experiments. PMID:19326030

  8. 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

  9. "Nested" cryptic diversity in a widespread marine ecosystem engineer: a challenge for detecting biological invasions

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Ecosystem engineers facilitate habitat formation and enhance biodiversity, but when they become invasive, they present a critical threat to native communities because they can drastically alter the receiving habitat. Management of such species thus needs to be a priority, but the poorly resolved taxonomy of many ecosystem engineers represents a major obstacle to correctly identifying them as being either native or introduced. We address this dilemma by studying the sea squirt Pyura stolonifera, an important ecosystem engineer that dominates coastal communities particularly in the southern hemisphere. Using DNA sequence data from four independently evolving loci, we aimed to determine levels of cryptic diversity, the invasive or native status of each regional population, and the most appropriate sampling design for identifying the geographic ranges of each evolutionary unit. Results Extensive sampling in Africa, Australasia and South America revealed the existence of "nested" levels of cryptic diversity, in which at least five distinct species can be further subdivided into smaller-scale genetic lineages. The ranges of several evolutionary units are limited by well-documented biogeographic disjunctions. Evidence for both cryptic native diversity and the existence of invasive populations allows us to considerably refine our view of the native versus introduced status of the evolutionary units within Pyura stolonifera in the different coastal communities they dominate. Conclusions This study illustrates the degree of taxonomic complexity that can exist within widespread species for which there is little taxonomic expertise, and it highlights the challenges involved in distinguishing between indigenous and introduced populations. The fact that multiple genetic lineages can be native to a single geographic region indicates that it is imperative to obtain samples from as many different habitat types and biotic zones as possible when attempting to identify the source region of a putative invader. "Nested" cryptic diversity, and the difficulties in correctly identifying invasive species that arise from it, represent a major challenge for managing biodiversity. PMID:21693014

  10. 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 genetic engineering which creates this dilemma to ablate consciousness in such animal models, thereby escaping a moral impasse. PMID:24496650

  11. 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

  12. 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 vegetation structure may be understood in terms of the responses of different dominant perennial grasses to intense defoliation and differences in foraging behavior among prairie dog species. Spatial variation in the engineering role of prairie dogs suggests spatial variation in their keystone role, and spatial variation in the roles of other ecosystem engineers. Thus, ecosystem engineering can have a spatial component not evident from single-place studies.

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

    PubMed

    Crutsinger, Gregory M; 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

  14. 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

  15. Ecosystem engineers in the pelagic realm: alteration of habitat by species ranging from microbes to jellyfish.

    PubMed

    Breitburg, Denise L; Crump, Byron C; Dabiri, John O; Gallegos, Charles L

    2010-08-01

    Ecosystem engineers are species that alter the physical environment in ways that create new habitat or change the suitability of existing habitats for themselves or other organisms. In marine systems, much of the focus has been on species such as corals, oysters, and macrophytes that add physical structure to the environment, but organisms ranging from microbes to jellyfish and finfish that reside in the water column of oceans, estuaries, and coastal seas alter the chemical and physical environment both within the water column and on the benthos. By causing hypoxia, changing light regimes, and influencing physical mixing, these organisms may have as strong an effect as species that fall more clearly within the classical category of ecosystem engineer. In addition, planktonic species, such as jellyfish, may indirectly alter the physical environment through predator-mediated landscape structure. By creating spatial patterns of habitats that vary in their rates of mortality due to predation, planktonic predators may control spatial patterns and abundances of species that are the direct creators or modifiers of physical habitat. PMID:21558198

  16. 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

  17. Tuberculosis infection in wildlife from the Ruaha ecosystem Tanzania: implications for wildlife, domestic animals, and human health.

    PubMed

    Clifford, D L; Kazwala, R R; Sadiki, H; Roug, A; Muse, E A; Coppolillo, P C; Mazet, J A K

    2013-07-01

    Mycobacterium bovis, a pathogen of conservation, livestock, and public health concern, was detected in eight species of wildlife inhabiting protected areas bordering endemic livestock grazing lands. We tested tissues from 179 opportunistically sampled hunter-killed, depredation, road-killed, and live-captured wild animals, representing 30 species, in and adjacent to Ruaha National Park in south-central Tanzania. Tissue culture and PCR were used to detect 12 (8.1%) M. bovis-infected animals and 15 (10.1%) animals infected with non-tuberculosis complex mycobacteria. Kirk's dik-dik, vervet monkey, and yellow baboon were confirmed infected for the first time. The M. bovis spoligotype isolated from infected wildlife was identical to local livestock, providing evidence for livestock-wildlife pathogen transmission. Thus we advocate an ecosystem-based approach for bovine tuberculosis management that improves critical ecological functions in protected areas and grazing lands, reduces focal population density build-up along the edges of protected areas, and minimizes ecological stressors that increase animals' susceptibility to bovine tuberculosis. PMID:23601163

  18. 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 continues to function as a sink because the roots function as tubes that channel the water to deeper soil. The patch continues to function as a shrub patch even though the shrub has been decimated. The enriched patch prevents crust encroachment and stimulates regrowth of the shrub. In this case there isn't a transformation from shrub land to crust land and the recovery rate is rapid. Based on the two case studies we present a general model on state changes in shrub lands due to climate change. We demonstrate that a main factor in gauging state transition due to climate change is the mode by which plants engineer their environment.

  19. 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)

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Genetic variation changes the interactions between the parasitic plant-ecosystem engineer Rhinanthus and its hosts

    PubMed Central

    Rowntree, Jennifer K.; Cameron, Duncan D.; Preziosi, Richard F.

    2011-01-01

    Within-species genetic variation is a potent factor influencing between-species interactions and community-level structure. Species of the hemi-parasitic plant genus Rhinanthus act as ecosystem engineers, significantly altering above- and below-ground community structure in grasslands. Here, we show the importance of genotypic variation within a single host species (barley—Hordeum vulgare), and population-level variation among two species of parasite (Rhinanthus minor and Rhinanthus angustifolius) on the outcome of parasite infection for both partners. We measured host fitness (number of seeds) and calculated parasite virulence as the difference in seed set between infected and uninfected hosts (the inverse of host tolerance). Virulence was determined by genetic variation within the host species and among the parasite species, but R. angustifolius was consistently more virulent than R. minor. The most tolerant host had the lowest inherent fitness and did not gain a fitness advantage over other infected hosts. We measured parasite size as a proxy for transmission ability (ability to infect further hosts) and host resistance. Parasite size depended on the specific combination of host genotype, parasite species and parasite population, and no species was consistently larger. We demonstrate that the outcome of infection by Rhinanthus depends not only on the host species, but also on the underlying genetics of both host and parasite. Thus, genetic variations within host and parasite are probably essential components of the ecosystem-altering effects of Rhinanthus. PMID:21444312

  5. Animation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bregman, Gene

    1977-01-01

    Establishes the case for animation in projects in the art program, organized for upper elementary through the senior high school level. Describes three simple introductory activities to help students understand the basic theory of animation. (Editor/RK)

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

    PubMed

    Heuner, Maike; Silinski, Alexandra; 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 and responding to stress experienced. PMID:26367004

  7. Tissue Engineering in Animal Models for Urinary Diversion: A Systematic Review

    PubMed Central

    Sloff, Marije; de Vries, Rob; Geutjes, Paul; IntHout, Joanna; Ritskes-Hoitinga, Merel

    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 the use of animals and an increase in empirical evidence of biomedical research. PMID:24964011

  8. 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.…

  9. 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.…

  10. 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...

  11. 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

  12. 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 findings demonstrate a complex nature of Cryptosporidium in sympatric primates, including humans, and stress the need for further studies. PMID:25700265

  13. 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 findings demonstrate a complex nature of Cryptosporidium in sympatric primates, including humans, and stress the need for further studies. PMID:25700265

  14. 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 and responding to stress experienced. PMID:26367004

  15. 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…

  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. 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.

  18. Sponge epibionts on ecosystem-engineering ascidians: The case of Microcosmus sabatieri

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Voultsiadou, Eleni; Kyrodimou, Marianthi; Antoniadou, Chryssanthi; Vafidis, Dimitris

    2010-03-01

    The study of epibionts on habitat engineering ascidians is of increasing interest because changes in the population structure of the latter may affect associated communities, especially in the case of commercially exploited species. The solitary ascidian Microcosmus sabatieri lives on rocky cliffs in the Eastern Mediterranean and is harvested in certain Aegean areas. Its hard, wrinkled tunic is usually fouled by various epibionts both sessile and motile. Sponges are an important component of this complex and their biomass may be higher than that of the ascidian itself, strongly affecting diversity and abundance of the motile epifauna. The aim of this study was to examine in detail the structure of the epibiotic sponge assemblage on ascidians collected from their main fishing grounds in the South Aegean Sea. A rich (41 species) and taxonomically diverse sponge assemblage was found, while only eight species contributed 80% of the total sponge cover. Most of the epibiotic sponges commonly grow on the surrounding sublittoral cliffs. The encrusting sponge growth form prevailed in cover of the ascidian tunic, while two massive species dominated in terms of frequency of appearance and abundance. Ascidian dimensions, weight and volume were significantly correlated with sponge diversity, abundance and cover area, thus structuring the epibiotic sponge assemblage. Spatial patterns in sponge cover were not clear, but a general declining NW to SE trend in sponge richness, abundance and cover appeared in accordance with previous records. Sponge distribution on the ascidian tunic presented a clear pattern related with characteristic features of the ascidian: the posterior zone supported the richest and most expansive sponge fauna. The ecosystem-engineering process performed by the ascidian is enhanced by the diverse epibiotic sponge assemblage, thus further increasing habitat complexity in this space-limited, temperate, sublittoral, rocky environment.

  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. 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

  1. 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.

  2. 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).

  3. Before the Endless Forms: Embodied Model of Transition from Single Cells to Aggregates to Ecosystem Engineering

    PubMed Central

    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. 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

  5. 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

  6. The Iron Redox Engine Drives Carbon, Nitrogen, and Phosphorus Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Silver, W. L.; Hall, S. J.; Liptzin, D.; Yang, W. H.

    2011-12-01

    Iron (Fe) is the most abundant redox-active metal on earth and thus is a dominant driver of redox sensitive biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial and aquatic environments. In terrestrial ecosystems, coupled Fe-carbon (C) and Fe-nitrogen (N) cycling directly affect greenhouse gas production through fermentative and respiratory processes, and indirectly affect greenhouse gas dynamics through microbial competition for C and electron donors. Fe-phosphorus (P) cycling influences nutrient availability, particularly in highly weathered Fe-rich soils, and ultimately feeds back on net primary productivity and C storage. Recent research documenting rapid high magnitude fluctuations in soil oxygen and redox potential in upland soils highlights the relevance of Fe biogeochemistry. We review recent research on Fe redox biogeochemical cycling in relation to C, N, and P transformations. A significant amount of C oxidation can result from Fe reduction leading to the production and emission of CO2. In humid tropical forests with rapidly fluctuating redox potential, Fe reduction accounted for up to 44% of soil C oxidation, an amount equivalent to approximately one third of total annual litterfall C inputs to soils. Microorganisms capable of Fe reduction are extremely abundant in these soils (6% of total microbial cells), and likely drive the high rate of Fe associated C oxidation. However, abiotic Fe oxidation may indirectly oxidize C through the production of free radicals. This process has the potential to oxidize complex C molecules, previously thought to be degraded only by microbial enzymes. Iron redox reactions indirectly affect methane (CH4) emissions from soil. Competition for acetate between methanogens and Fe reducers may ultimately decrease the emissions of CH4 from soils. However, laboratory studies in slurries and intact cores suggest that Fe reducers and methanogens may be spatially segregated in soils. Iron directly interacts with N cycling in soils in a number of ways. Iron oxidation can be coupled with NO3- or NO2- reduction resulting in N2, N2O, or NH4+ production. Iron reduction can catalyze NH4+ oxidation to N2, NO2-, or NO3- through a newly described process call Feammox. Nitrite or NO3- produced via Feammox can be subsequently reduced to N2O via denitrification or to NH4+ via dissimilatory reduction. Iron interacts with P cycling through the effects of redox on Fe-P bonds. Evidence suggests that P sorbed to Fe oxides is liberated during Fe reduction, and can re-react with Fe(III) under oxidizing conditions. This results in short pulses of P availability in fluctuating redox environments such as humid, upland soils. Fe-P redox dynamics may facilitate P retention and higher P-use efficiency in high rainfall environments. Our results show that Fe is a key biogeochemical engine in soil systems, particularly under conditions of fluctuating redox. Biogeochemical cycles coupled with Fe result in greenhouse gas production and impact nutrient availability in terrestrial ecosystems. The redox sensitivity of these reactions suggests that they are likely to be particularly responsive to changes in precipitation, temperature, and other drivers of soil water dynamics associated with climate change.

  7. From microcarriers to hydrodynamics: introducing engineering science into animal cell culture.

    PubMed

    Croughan, Matthew S; Hu, Wei-Shou

    2006-10-01

    Professor Daniel I.C. Wang has conducted research in animal cell culture for approximately 40 years. Over that long time period and still to this day, he successfully addresses a multitude of engineering challenges, taking a unique, creative, systems-driven but still fundamental approach. As mammalian cell culture has become the predominant method of manufacturing therapeutic proteins, the impact of his leadership, not only in research but also student recruitment and education, has played a key role in the success of the bio/pharmaceutical industry. PMID:16933297

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaneko, N.

    2009-04-01

    Some soil animals are soil/litter mix-feeders. They are known to produce long-lasting soil structures (e.g. casts and molting chamber), and these structures will modify resource availability and environmental conditions for plants and soil organisms. Good examples are epigeic Megascolecid earthworms (Uchida et al., 2004) and Xystodesmid millipeds (Toyota et al., 2006), both found in Japan. In this study we examined chemical, physical and biological properties of soil focusing on multi-functioning of aggregates made by these animals. Since 2003, we manipulated densities of epigeic earthworms in a field encloser (35 m2) (three replications) at a cool temperate forest in Japan. At a no-worm (NW) treatment, all the worms have been collected every year by hand. At the same place, we prepared a control treatment in an encloser (Closed control; CC) and outside the encloser (Open control; OC). We examined surface soil and plant growth after 5-years field manipulation of oak dominated forest. Growth of two Liliaceae forest floor herbs; Smilacina japonica and Polygonatum odoratum, and oak (Quercus crispula) seedlings and canopy oak trees were recorded. Reduction of aggregates after elimination of earthworms was observed in a field condition. The manipulation site showed decreased soil pH, Ca, Mg, and P concentration and total carbon storage was also reduced. There was a negative significant correlation between casts abundance and soil NH4-N, and a positive significance was observed between casts abundance and growth of S. japonica, and oak seedlings. Radial growth of canopy oak trees was decreased at NW treatment compared to CC and OC. Leaf N contents of oak seedling at NW were significantly lower in NW, but canopy oak trees did not show any difference in leaf-N. Although S. japonica and P. odoratum were both found in a same forest floor, S. japonica is known as nutrient limited plants in spring, whereas P. odoratum is light limited. Oak seedlings are depending early growth 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.

  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. 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

  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. Engineering the rabbit digestive ecosystem to improve digestive health and efficacy.

    PubMed

    Combes, S; Fortun-Lamothe, L; Cauquil, L; Gidenne, T

    2013-09-01

    In rabbits, the bacterial and archaeal community of caecal ecosystem is composed mostly of species not yet described and very specific to that species. In mammals, the digestive ecosystem plays important physiological roles: hydrolysis and fermentation of nutrients, immune system regulation, angiogenesis, gut development and acting as a barrier against pathogens. Understanding the functioning of the digestive ecosystem and how to control its functional and specific diversity is a priority, as this could provide new strategies to improve the resistance of the young rabbit to digestive disorders and improve feed efficiency. This review first recalls some facts about the specificity of rabbit digestive microbiota composition in the main fermentation compartment, and its variability with some new insights based on recent molecular approaches. The main functions of the digestive microbiota will then be explained. Finally, some possible ways to control rabbit caecal microbiota will be proposed and a suitable timing for action will be defined. PMID:23769161

  13. Resource Quantity and Quality Determine the Inter-Specific Associations between Ecosystem Engineers and Resource Users in a Cavity-Nest Web

    PubMed Central

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2013-01-01

    While ecosystem engineering is a widespread structural force of ecological communities, the mechanisms underlying the inter-specific associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users are poorly understood. A proper knowledge of these mechanisms is, however, essential to understand how communities are structured. Previous studies suggest that increasing the quantity of resources provided by ecosystem engineers enhances populations of resource users. In a long-term study (1995-2011), we show that the quality of the resources (i.e. tree cavities) provided by ecosystem engineers is also a key feature that explains the inter-specific associations in a tree cavity-nest web. Red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicusnuchalis) provided the most abundant cavities (52% of cavities, 0.49 cavities/ha). These cavities were less likely to be used than other cavity types by mountain bluebirds (Sialiacurrucoides), but provided numerous nest-sites (41% of nesting cavities) to tree swallows (Tachycinetabicolour). Swallows experienced low reproductive outputs in northern flicker (Colaptesauratus) cavities compared to those in sapsucker cavities (1.1 vs. 2.1 fledglings/nest), but the highly abundant flickers (33% of cavities, 0.25 cavities/ha) provided numerous suitable nest-sites for bluebirds (58%). The relative shortage of cavities supplied by hairy woodpeckers (Picoidesvillosus) and fungal/insect decay (<10% of cavities each, <0.09 cavities/ha) provided fewer breeding opportunities (<15% of nests), but represented high quality nest-sites for both bluebirds and swallows. Because both the quantity and quality of resources supplied by different ecosystem engineers may explain the amount of resources used by each resource user, conservation strategies may require different management actions to be implemented for the key ecosystem engineer of each resource user. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of both resource quantity and quality into models that assess community dynamics to improve conservation actions and our understanding of ecological communities based on ecosystem engineering. PMID:24040324

  14. Resource quantity and quality determine the inter-specific associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users in a cavity-nest web.

    PubMed

    Robles, Hugo; Martin, Kathy

    2013-01-01

    While ecosystem engineering is a widespread structural force of ecological communities, the mechanisms underlying the inter-specific associations between ecosystem engineers and resource users are poorly understood. A proper knowledge of these mechanisms is, however, essential to understand how communities are structured. Previous studies suggest that increasing the quantity of resources provided by ecosystem engineers enhances populations of resource users. In a long-term study (1995-2011), we show that the quality of the resources (i.e. tree cavities) provided by ecosystem engineers is also a key feature that explains the inter-specific associations in a tree cavity-nest web. Red-naped sapsuckers (Sphyrapicusnuchalis) provided the most abundant cavities (52% of cavities, 0.49 cavities/ha). These cavities were less likely to be used than other cavity types by mountain bluebirds (Sialiacurrucoides), but provided numerous nest-sites (41% of nesting cavities) to tree swallows (Tachycinetabicolour). Swallows experienced low reproductive outputs in northern flicker (Colaptesauratus) cavities compared to those in sapsucker cavities (1.1 vs. 2.1 fledglings/nest), but the highly abundant flickers (33% of cavities, 0.25 cavities/ha) provided numerous suitable nest-sites for bluebirds (58%). The relative shortage of cavities supplied by hairy woodpeckers (Picoidesvillosus) and fungal/insect decay (<10% of cavities each, <0.09 cavities/ha) provided fewer breeding opportunities (<15% of nests), but represented high quality nest-sites for both bluebirds and swallows. Because both the quantity and quality of resources supplied by different ecosystem engineers may explain the amount of resources used by each resource user, conservation strategies may require different management actions to be implemented for the key ecosystem engineer of each resource user. We, therefore, urge the incorporation of both resource quantity and quality into models that assess community dynamics to improve conservation actions and our understanding of ecological communities based on ecosystem engineering. PMID:24040324

  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. 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

  17. 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…

  18. The feasibility of ureteral tissue engineering using autologous veins: an orthotopic animal model with long term results

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background In an earlier study we demonstrated the feasibility to create tissue engineered venous scaffolds in vitro and in vivo. In this study we investigated the use of tissue engineered constructs for ureteral replacement in a long term orthotopic minipig model. In many different projects well functional ureretal tissue was established using tissue engineering in animals with short-time follow up (12 weeks). Therefore urothelial cells were harvested from the bladder, cultured, expanded in vitro, labelled with fluorescence and seeded onto the autologous veins, which were harvested from animals during a second surgery. Three days after cell seeding the right ureter was replaced with the cell-seeded matrices in six animals, while further 6 animals received an unseeded vein for ureteral replacement. The animals were sacrificed 12, 24, and 48 weeks after implantation. Gross examination, intravenous pyelogram (IVP), H&E staining, Trichrome Masson’s Staining, and immunohistochemistry with pancytokeratin AE1/AE3, smooth muscle alpha actin, and von Willebrand factor were performed in retrieved specimens. Results The IVP and gross examination demonstrated that no animals with tissue engineered ureters and all animals of the control group presented with hydronephrosis after 12 weeks. In the 24-week group, one tissue engineered and one unseeded vein revealed hydronephrosis. After 48 weeks all tissue engineered animals and none of the control group showed hydronephrosis on the treated side. Histochemistry and immunohistochemistry revealed a multilayer of urothelial cells attached to the seeded venous grafts. Conclusions Venous grafts may be a potential source for ureteral reconstruction. The results of so far published ureteral tissue engineering projects reveal data up to 12 weeks after implantation. Even if the animal numbers of this study are small, there is an increasing rate of hydronephrosis revealing failure of ureteral tissue engineering with autologous matrices in time points longer than 3 months after implantation. Further investigations have to prove adequate clinical outcome and appropriate functional long-term results. PMID:25381044

  19. 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. Termite diversity was low - Pseudacanthotermes sp. (33%), Microtermes sp. (24%) and Pseudacanthotermes militaris (22%) were dominant. All three species belong to the family of Macrotermitianae who are feeding on litter, grass and wood from the soil surface. Macrofauna exclusion did not have a significant effect on soil aggregate stability or soil C at any soil depth which might be attributed to the low residue retention and the high spatial variability in termite foraging activity. Maize and soybean yields strongly increased with macrofauna exclusion (P<0.001). This may be explained by the fact that all three identified termite species are major crop pests which cause lodging of maize plans as observed in this experiment. This study underlines the importance of termite functional group for the effect on soil quality and crop productivity in agro-ecosystems. Future research should contribute to develop sustainable termite management strategies that control detrimental species while conserving beneficial soil ecosystem engineers based on ecological knowledge of termite traits.

  20. 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.

  1. 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 ?M for paclitaxel and 1.2 ± 0.2, 1.6±0.2 and 1.4 ± 0.2 ?M 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

  2. 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.

  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. Validation of a randomization procedure to assess animal habitat preferences: microhabitat use of tiger sharks in a seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Heithaus, Michael R; Hamilton, Ian M; Wirsing, Aaron J; Dill, Lawrence M

    2006-05-01

    1. Tiger sharks Galeocerdo cuvier are important predators in a variety of nearshore communities, including the seagrass ecosystem of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Because tiger sharks are known to influence spatial distributions of multiple prey species, it is important to understand how they use habitats at a variety of spatial scales. We used a combination of catch rates and acoustic tracking to determine tiger shark microhabitat use in Shark Bay. 2. Comparing habitat-use data from tracking against the null hypothesis of no habitat preference is hindered in Shark Bay, as elsewhere, by the difficulty of defining expected habitat use given random movement. We used randomization procedures to generate expected habitat use in the absence of habitat preference and expected habitat use differences among groups (e.g. males and females). We tested the performance of these protocols using simulated data sets with known habitat preferences. 3. The technique correctly classified sets of simulated tracks as displaying a preference or not and was a conservative test for differences in habitat preferences between subgroups of tracks (e.g. males vs. females). 4. Sharks preferred shallow habitats over deep ones, and preferred shallow edge microhabitats over shallow interior ones. The use of shallow edges likely increases encounter rates with potential prey and may have profound consequences for the dynamics of Shark Bay's seagrass ecosystem through indirect effects transmitted by grazers that are common prey of tiger sharks. 5. Females showed a greater tendency to use shallow edge microhabitats than did males; this pattern was not detected by traditional analysis techniques. 6. The randomization procedures presented here are applicable to many field studies that use tracking by allowing researchers both to determine overall habitat preferences and to identify differences in habitat use between groups within their sample. PMID:16689949

  5. 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...

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. 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 forest conditions and identify uninvaded areas that could serve as important refugia for plant species threatened by earthworm invasion. PMID:17913131

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. Reduction of Sample Size Requirements by Bilateral Versus Unilateral Research Designs in Animal Models for Cartilage Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Orth, Patrick; Zurakowski, David; Alini, Mauro; Cucchiarini, Magali

    2013-01-01

    Advanced tissue engineering approaches for articular cartilage repair in the knee joint rely on translational animal models. In these investigations, cartilage defects may be established either in one joint (unilateral design) or in both joints of the same animal (bilateral design). We hypothesized that a lower intraindividual variability following the bilateral strategy would reduce the number of required joints. Standardized osteochondral defects were created in the trochlear groove of 18 rabbits. In 12 animals, defects were produced unilaterally (unilateral design; n=12 defects), while defects were created bilaterally in 6 animals (bilateral design; n=12 defects). After 3 weeks, osteochondral repair was evaluated histologically applying an established grading system. Based on intra- and interindividual variabilities, required sample sizes for the detection of discrete differences in the histological score were determined for both study designs (?=0.05, ?=0.20). Coefficients of variation (%CV) of the total histological score values were 1.9-fold increased following the unilateral design when compared with the bilateral approach (26 versus 14%CV). The resulting numbers of joints needed to treat were always higher for the unilateral design, resulting in an up to 3.9-fold increase in the required number of experimental animals. This effect was most pronounced for the detection of small-effect sizes and estimating large standard deviations. The data underline the possible benefit of bilateral study designs for the decrease of sample size requirements for certain investigations in articular cartilage research. These findings might also be transferred to other scoring systems, defect types, or translational animal models in the field of cartilage tissue engineering. PMID:23510128

  13. Ear-Shaped Stable Auricular Cartilage Engineered from Extensively Expanded Chondrocytes in an Immunocompetent Experimental Animal Model.

    PubMed

    Pomerantseva, Irina; Bichara, David A; Tseng, Alan; Cronce, Michael J; Cervantes, Thomas M; Kimura, Anya M; Neville, Craig M; Roscioli, Nick; Vacanti, Joseph P; Randolph, Mark A; Sundback, Cathryn A

    2016-02-01

    Advancement of engineered ear in clinical practice is limited by several challenges. The complex, largely unsupported, three-dimensional auricular neocartilage structure is difficult to maintain. Neocartilage formation is challenging in an immunocompetent host due to active inflammatory and immunological responses. The large number of autologous chondrogenic cells required for engineering an adult human-sized ear presents an additional challenge because primary chondrocytes rapidly dedifferentiate during in vitro culture. The objective of this study was to engineer a stable, human ear-shaped cartilage in an immunocompetent animal model using expanded chondrocytes. The impact of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) supplementation on achieving clinically relevant expansion of primary sheep chondrocytes by in vitro culture was determined. Chondrocytes expanded in standard medium were either combined with cryopreserved, primary passage 0 chondrocytes at the time of scaffold seeding or used alone as control. Disk and human ear-shaped scaffolds were made from porous collagen; ear scaffolds had an embedded, supporting titanium wire framework. Autologous chondrocyte-seeded scaffolds were implanted subcutaneously in sheep after 2 weeks of in vitro incubation. The quality of the resulting neocartilage and its stability and retention of the original ear size and shape were evaluated at 6, 12, and 20 weeks postimplantation. Neocartilage produced from chondrocytes that were expanded in the presence of bFGF was superior, and its quality improved with increased implantation time. In addition to characteristic morphological cartilage features, its glycosaminoglycan content was high and marked elastin fiber formation was present. The overall shape of engineered ears was preserved at 20 weeks postimplantation, and the dimensional changes did not exceed 10%. The wire frame within the engineered ear was able to withstand mechanical forces during wound healing and neocartilage maturation and prevented shrinkage and distortion. This is the first demonstration of a stable, ear-shaped elastic cartilage engineered from auricular chondrocytes that underwent clinical-scale expansion in an immunocompetent animal over an extended period of time. PMID:26529401

  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. Terrestrial ecosystems. January 1980-February 1992 (Citations from the NTIS Data Base). Rept. for Jan 80-Feb 92

    SciTech Connect

    Not Available

    1992-01-01

    The bibliography contains citations concerning ecosystems on the earth. Topics include environmental effects, aquatic ecosystems, pollutions effects, food chains, forests, microorganisms, plants, radionuclides, and soils. Also covered are wetlands, animals, biomass, habitats, ozone, radiations, and genetic engineering. (Contains 200 citations with title list and subject index.)

  16. Academic Institutions and One Health: Building Capacity for Transdisciplinary Research Approaches to Address Complex Health Issues at the Animal-Human-Ecosystem Interface.

    PubMed

    Allen-Scott, Lisa K; Buntain, Bonnie; Hatfield, Jennifer M; Meisser, Andrea; Thomas, Christopher James

    2015-07-01

    To improve health at the human, animal, and ecosystem interface, defined as One Health, training of researchers must transcend individual disciplines to develop a new process of collaboration. The transdisciplinary research approach integrates frameworks and methodologies beyond academic disciplines and includes involvement of and input from policy makers and members of the community. The authors argue that there should be a significant shift in academic institutions' research capacity to achieve the added value of a transdisciplinary approach for addressing One Health problems. This Perspective is a call to action for academic institutions to provide the foundations for this salient shift. The authors begin by describing the transdisciplinary approach, propose methods for building transdisciplinary research capacity, and highlight three value propositions that support the case. Examples are provided to illustrate how the transdisciplinary approach to research adds value through improved sustainability of impact, increased cost-effectiveness, and enhanced abilities to mitigate potentially harmful unintended consequences. The authors conclude with three key recommendations for academic institutions: (1) a focus on creating enabling environments for One Health and transdisciplinary research, (2) the development of novel funding structures for transdisciplinary research, and (3) training of "transmitters" using real-world-oriented educational programs that break down research silos through collaboration across disciplines. PMID:25650827

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-09-01

    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

  19. 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.

  20. 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 them think, 75% enjoyed it, and 89% felt that they learned something. We discuss the potential impact the films might have on public knowledge, health literacy, and attitudes toward the science of tissue engineering. PMID:21943030

  1. Evaluating Learning and Attitudes on Tissue Engineering: A Study of Children Viewing Animated Digital Dome Shows Detailing the Biomedicine of Tissue Engineering

    PubMed Central

    Wilson, Anna C.; Gonzalez, Laura L.

    2012-01-01

    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 them think, 75% enjoyed it, and 89% felt that they learned something. We discuss the potential impact the films might have on public knowledge, health literacy, and attitudes toward the science of tissue engineering. PMID:21943030

  2. [Gentecnically engineered V79 cell lines in combination with analytical-chemical procedures for replacing and refining animal experimentations

    PubMed

    Doehmer, Johannes; Jacob, Jürgen

    1994-01-01

    Since 1986 V79 Chinese hamster cells are being genetically engineered for rat and human enzymes for studies on metabolism dependent effects in toxicology and pharmacology under defined conditions. The metabolic activation of potentially harmful chemicals is of interest in toxicology, because metabolites may have their own toxic potency. Anabolic and catabolic pathways of drugs are of interest in pharmacology, because metabolism has a decisive impact on the efficacy of drugs. As an example for the usefulness of V79 cells genetically engineered for metabolic competence, and their advantage over animal experimentation, metabolic activation of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons has been studied. Comparative studies using V79 cells expressing rat and human enzymes revealed striking differences in the metabolite profile, which made evident, that human beings are at more risk than the rat, when exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. This suggests at the same time, that results obtained from animal experimentation are to be treated with caution, if they form the basis for risk assessment. PMID:11178376

  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. 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.

  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 and transport of nitrogen.

  9. 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 transport of nitrogen.

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. Engineered tendon with decellularized xenotendon slices and bone marrow stromal cells: an in vivo animal study

    PubMed Central

    Omae, Hiromichi; Sun, Yu Long; An, Kai-Nan; Amadio, Peter C.; Zhao, Chunfeng

    2013-01-01

    The purpose of this study was to investigate an engineered composite of multilayer acellular tendon slices seeded with bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) as a possible solution for tendon reconstruction. BMSCs were harvested from 15 rabbits and infraspinatus tendons were harvested from 17 dogs. The decellularized tendons were sectioned in longitudinal slices with a thickness of 50 ?m. The BMSCs were seeded on the slices and then the slices were bundled into one composite. The composite was implanted into a rabbit patellar tendon defect. Tendon slices without BMSCs were implanted into the contralateral patellar tendon as a control. The composites were evaluated by histology and qRT–PCR. The viability of BMSCs was assessed using a fluorescent marker. Histology showed viable cells between the collagen fibres on the cell-seeded side. Analysis by qRT–PCR showed higher tenomodulin, collagen type III, MMP3 and MMP13 expressions and lower collagen type I expression in the cell-seeded composite than in the tendon slices without BMSCs. We conclude that BMSCs can survive in a multilayer composite, express a tendon phenotype and enhance the metabolism of tendon in vivo. This in vivo study suggests a potential utility of this composite in tendon reconstruction. PMID:21449044

  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. 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…

  15. 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…

  16. Classy non-wovens based on animate L. gasseri-inanimate poly(vinyl alcohol): upstream application in food engineering.

    PubMed

    Amna, Touseef; Hassan, M Shamshi; Pandeya, Dipendra Raj; Khil, Myung-Seob; Hwang, I H

    2013-05-01

    We explored electrospinning as a feasible and practicable mode for encapsulation and stabilization of Lactobacillus gasseri. The utilized nanocomposite was prepared using sol-gel composed of animate L. gasseri and inanimate PVA. The objective was to examine the ability of electrospinning method to protect functional properties of probiotic L. gasseri. The PVA was used as an encapsulation matrix as it is biocompatible and hydrophilic in nature thus facilitate an easy revival of bacteria. The characterization of as-spun bioproduct was done by energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer, SEM, and TEM, whereas thermal behavior was analyzed by thermogravimetry. The viability was confirmed by traditional pour plate method and fluorescence microscopy. Furthermore, to test whether the functionality of L. gasseri was affected, the encapsulated L. gasseri were fed to mouse for colonization. Our results pointed out that encapsulated bacteria were viable for months, and their metabolism was not affected by immobilization; thus, they could be used in food engineering and trade. PMID:23306644

  17. Abundance and fragmentation patterns of the ecosystem engineer Lithophyllum byssoides (Lamarck) Foslie along the Iberian Peninsula Atlantic coast. Conservation and management implications

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Veiga, Puri; Rubal, Marcos; Cacabelos, Eva; Moreira, Juan; Sousa-Pinto, Isabel

    2013-10-01

    The crustose calcareous red macroalgae Lithophyllum byssoides (Lamarck) Foslie is a common ecosystem engineer along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coast of the Iberian Peninsula. This species is threatened by several anthropogenic impacts acting at different spatial scales, such as pollution or global warming. The aim of this study is to identify scales of spatial variation in the abundance and fragmentation patterns of L. byssoides along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula. For this aim we used a hierarchical sampling design considering four spatial scales (from metres to 100s of kilometres). Results of the present study indicated no significant variability among regions investigated whereas significant variability was found at the scales of shore and site in spatial patterns of abundance and fragmentation of L. byssoides. Variance components were higher at the spatial scale of shore for abundance and fragmentation of L. byssoides with the only exception of percentage cover and thus, processes acting at the scale of 10s of kilometres seem to be more relevant in shaping the spatial variability both in abundance and fragmentation of L. byssoides. These results provided quantitative estimates of abundance and fragmentation of L. byssoides at the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula establishing the observational basis for future assessment, monitoring and experimental investigations to identify the processes and anthropogenic impacts affecting L. byssoides populations. Finally we have also identified percentage cover and patch density as the best variables for long-term monitoring programs aimed to detect future anthropogenic impacts on L. byssoides. Therefore, our results have important implications for conservation and management of this valuable ecosystem engineer along the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

  18. 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

  19. 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 ingrowth and remodeling processes of the bone substitute. Extrinsic vessels contribute to faster vascularization and finally anastomose with intrinsic vasculature, allowing microvascular transplantation of the bone substitute after a shorter prevascularization time than using the intrinsic method only. It can be reasonably assumed that the usage of perforated chambers can significantly reduce the time until transplantation of bone constructs. Finally, this study paves the way for further preclinical testing for proof of the concept as a basis for early clinical applicability. PMID:25760576

  20. 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 ecosystem engineering activities are still performed. However, bioturbation may be reduced as crab biomass and body size were smaller in the gaps. Follow-up assessments and field experiments are needed to understand the crabs' role in processing the woody debris, their long-term community dynamics and possible feed-backs between species shifts and gap regeneration.

  1. 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…

  2. 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…

  3. Natural ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fleishman, Erica; Belnap, Jayne; Cobb, Neil; Enquist, Carolyn A.F.; Ford, Karl; MacDonald, Glen; Pellant, Mike; Schoennagel, Tania; Schmit, Lara M.; Schwartz, Mark; van Drunick, Suzanne; Westerling, Anthony LeRoy; Keyser, Alisa; Lucas, Ryan

    2013-01-01

    Natural Ecosystems analyzes the association of observed changes in climate with changes in the geographic distributions and phenology (the timing of blossoms or migrations of birds) for Southwestern ecosystems and their species, portraying ecosystem disturbances—such as wildfires and outbreaks of forest pathogens—and carbon storage and release, in relation to climate change.

  4. 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…

  5. 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…

  6. Soil food web changes during spontaneous succession at post mining sites: a possible ecosystem engineering effect on food web organization?

    PubMed

    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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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...

  11. 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…

  12. Agricultural ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Kindscher, K.

    1984-01-01

    The agricultural ecosystem concept promotes a distinctive set of ecological principles that give diversity and stability to the food production process. This system allows people to work more closely with nature and to feel a spiritual connection with the earth. Agricultural ecosystems can be designed to provide numerous advantages. They can be energy conserving, more permanent, make better use of space, reduce and eliminate the need for pesticides, tillage, and chemical fertilizers, and provide food for the local community. The agricultural ecosystem model presented is most suitable for a small-scale farmer or market gardener, but the principles can also be applied on a larger or smaller acreage. The agricultural ecosystem concept is a model-building process that will go through successional stages to a more mature food-producing plant community. The agricultural ecosystem concept expresses permanence and ecology, and is a step toward sustainable agriculture. 55 references, 4 figures.

  13. Sea Ice Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    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.

  14. 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

  15. The new CRISPR-Cas system: RNA-guided genome engineering to efficiently produce any desired genetic alteration in animals.

    PubMed

    Seruggia, Davide; Montoliu, Lluis

    2014-10-01

    The CRISPR-Cas system is the newest targeted nuclease for genome engineering. In less than 1 year, the ease, robustness and efficiency of this method have facilitated an immense range of genetic modifications in most model organisms. Full and conditional gene knock-outs, knock-ins, large chromosomal deletions and subtle mutations can be obtained using combinations of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPRs) and DNA donors. In addition, with CRISPR-Cas compounds, multiple genetic modifications can be introduced seamlessly in a single step. CRISPR-Cas not only brings genome engineering capacities to species such as rodents and livestock in which the existing toolbox was already large, but has also enabled precise genetic engineering of organisms with difficult-to-edit genomes such as zebrafish, and of technically challenging species such as non-human primates. The CRISPR-Cas system allows generation of targeted mutations in mice, even in laboratories with limited or no access to the complex, time-consuming standard technology using mouse embryonic stem cells. Here we summarize the distinct applications of CRISPR-Cas technology for obtaining a variety of genetic modifications in different model organisms, underlining their advantages and limitations relative to other genome editing nucleases. We will guide the reader through the many publications that have seen the light in the first year of CRISPR-Cas technology. PMID:25092533

  16. 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.

  17. Engineering and design of vessels for sea transport of animals: the Australian design regulations for livestock carriers.

    PubMed

    Schultz-Altmann, Alexander G T

    2008-01-01

    The author outlines the principles underlying the standards employed by the Australian Marine Safety Authority to regulate live animal carriers, vessels used for sea transport of livestock, that operate from Australia. The standards are contained in regulations adopted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority known as Marine Orders. The Cargo and Cargo Handling-Livestock Marine Order has evolved over time with subsequent 'issues' of the order as a consequence of operational experience and specific research. Recent changes have focused on the need to have adequate redundancy in systems and equipment of ships. A history of the development of these regulations is given and is followed by a description of the principles employed to develop the provisions contained in the regulations. PMID:20405430

  18. Freshwater ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Straskraba, M.; Gnauck, A.H.

    1985-01-01

    Ecosystem analysis and ecological modelling is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary branch of science used in theoretical developments in ecology and having practical applications in environmental protection. In this book, the authors introduce new holistic, particularly cybernetic, concepts into ecosystem theory and modelling, and provide a concise treatment of mathematical modelling of freshwater ecosystems which covers methods, subsystem models, applications and theoretical developments. Part 1 begins with a brief introduction to the principles of systems theory and their applications to ecosystems, and provides a summary of various methods of systems analysis. In Part 11 emphasis is laid on the pelagic processes in standing water, characterised by relatively uninvolved structures from which models can be readily developed. Part 111 describes applications of the technique of modelling to solutions of theoretical and practical problems, with different modelling methods and objectives being used in the various chapters. More recent developments in the methods and theory of ecosystem modelling are covered in Part 1V which also includes a discussion of future trends.

  19. 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(?-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

  20. Changing Ecosystem Service Values Following Technological Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Honey-Rosés, Jordi; Schneider, Daniel W.; Brozovi?, 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.

  1. 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...

  2. Louisiana Coastal Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    U.S. Geological Survey

    2000-01-01

    Louisiana's coast and its degradation and restoration are major environmental issues being studied at the National Wetlands Research Center. Coastal ecosystems are vulnerable because of the tremendous amount of human activity that takes place along the coast. Information on ecological processes is essential to guide the development along the coast as well as to protect and restore wildlife habitat. Louisiana has about 40% of coastal wetlands in the lower 48 states; they support fish, waterfowl, and fur-bearing animals as well as unique cultures like that of the Acadians. The fish and wildlife resources of Louisiana's coast produce over $1 billion each year in revenues. But Louisiana has the highest coastal loss rate because of natural and human causes. Over the past three decades, Louisiana has lost as much as 35-40 mi2 (90-104 km2) of coastal wetlands a year. The National Wetlands Research Center is qualified to assess and monitor this ecosystem because of its proximity to the study area, a staff chosen for their expertise in the system, and a number of established partnerships with others who study the areas. The Center is often the lead group in partnerships with universities, other federal agencies, and private entities who study this ecosystem. Most of the Center's research and technology development performed for coastal wetlands are done at the Lafayette headquarters; some work is performed at the National Wetlands Research Center's project office in Baton Rouge, LA.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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-? (TNF?) 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 TNF? and blocks TNF?-mediated inflammation. We compared hsTNFR protein delivery from genetically engineered human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with etanercept. Blocking TNF?-dependent intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on transduced hMSCs and inhibition of nitric oxide production from TNF?-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 TNF? generated from either implanted TNF?-expressing cells or lipopolysaccharide induction more effectively than etanercept (TNF?, 100%; interleukin [IL]-1?, 90%; and IL-6, 60% within 6 hours), suggesting faster clearance of the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (sTNFR)-TNF? 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 TNF? and IL1?, but not interferon ?, 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 within the arthritic joint. PMID:23592838

  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 Central

    Liu, Linda N.; Wang, Gang; Hendricks, Kyle; Lee, Keunmyoung; Bohnlein, Ernst; Junker, Uwe

    2013-01-01

    Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic autoimmune disease with unknown etiology where tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF?) 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 TNF? and blocks TNF?-mediated inflammation. We compared hsTNFR protein delivery from genetically engineered human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with etanercept. Blocking TNF?-dependent intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression on transduced hMSCs and inhibition of nitric oxide production from TNF?-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 TNF? generated from either implanted TNF?-expressing cells or lipopolysaccharide induction more effectively than etanercept (TNF?, 100%; interleukin [IL]-1?, 90%; and IL-6, 60% within 6 hours), suggesting faster clearance of the soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor (sTNFR)-TNF? 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 TNF? and IL1?, but not interferon ?, 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 within the arthritic joint. PMID:23592838

  7. Farm Animals

    MedlinePLUS

    ... For many, interacting with live farm animals, including cattle; sheep; pigs; goats; llamas; alpacas; and poultry only ... animals that are most commonly infected include sheep; cattle; goats; pigs; and dogs, among others. Infected animals ...

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Glyphosate in northern ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Helander, Marjo; Saloniemi, Irma; Saikkonen, Kari

    2012-10-01

    Glyphosate is the main nonselective, systemic herbicide used against a wide range of weeds. Its worldwide use has expanded because of extensive use of certain agricultural practices such as no-till cropping, and widespread application of glyphosate-resistant genetically modified crops. Glyphosate has a reputation of being nontoxic to animals and rapidly inactivated in soils. However, recent evidence has cast doubts on its safety. Glyphosate may be retained and transported in soils, and there may be cascading effects on nontarget organisms. These processes may be especially detrimental in northern ecosystems because they are characterized by long biologically inactive winters and short growing seasons. In this opinion article, we discuss the potential ecological, environmental and agricultural risks of intensive glyphosate use in boreal regions. PMID:22677798

  11. Selection of animal models for pre-clinical strategies in evaluating the fracture healing, bone graft substitutes and bone tissue regeneration and engineering.

    PubMed

    Bigham-Sadegh, Amin; Oryan, Ahmad

    2015-06-01

    In vitro assays can be useful in determining biological mechanism and optimizing scaffold parameters, however translation of the in vitro results to clinics is generally hard. Animal experimentation is a better approximation than in vitro tests, and usage of animal models is often essential in extrapolating the experimental results and translating the information in a human clinical setting. In addition, usage of animal models to study fracture healing is useful to answer questions related to the most effective method to treat humans. There are several factors that should be considered when selecting an animal model. These include availability of the animal, cost, ease of handling and care, size of the animal, acceptability to society, resistance to surgery, infection and disease, biological properties analogous to humans, bone structure and composition, as well as bone modeling and remodeling characteristics. Animal experiments on bone healing have been conducted on small and large animals, including mice, rats, rabbits, dogs, pigs, goats and sheep. This review also describes the molecular events during various steps of fracture healing and explains different means of fracture healing evaluation including biomechanical, histopathological and radiological assessments. PMID:25803622

  12. Parallel ecological networks in ecosystems.

    PubMed

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

    2009-06-27

    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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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)

  16. 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.

  17. Animal Bites

    MedlinePLUS

    ... most likely to be bitten by strange or wild animals, but in fact most bites are inflicted ... and the circumstances surrounding the bite. Bites from wild animals, especially bats but also skunks, raccoons, coyotes, ...

  18. 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 ...

  19. 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.

  20. 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. ...

  1. Entry, Descent, Landing Animation (Animation)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Entry, Descent, Landing animation

    This animation illustrates the path the Stardust return capsule will follow once it enters Earth's atmosphere.

  2. Short tandem target mimic: a long journey to the engineered molecular landmine for selective destruction/blockage of microRNAs in plants and animals.

    PubMed

    Tang, Guiliang; Tang, Xiaoqing

    2013-06-20

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a population of highly conserved specific small ribo-regulators that negatively regulate gene expressions in both plants and animals. They play a key role in post-transcriptional gene regulation by destabilizing the target gene transcripts or blocking protein translation from them. Interestingly, these negative regulators are largely compromised by an upstream layer of negative regulators "target mimics" found in plants or "endogenous competing RNAs" revealed recently in animals. These endogenous regulatory mechanisms of "double negatives making a positive" have now been developed into a key strategy in the study of small RNA functions. This review presents some reflections on the long journey to the short tandem target mimic (STTM) for selective destruction/blockage of specific miRNAs in plants and animals, and the potential applications of STTM are discussed. PMID:23790628

  3. 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.

  4. Ecosystem services: Valuing ecosystems for climate

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hungate, Bruce A.; Hampton, Haydee M.

    2012-03-01

    Ecosystems regulate climate through biogeochemistry and biophysics, but current policies only recognize biogeochemical influences. A new proposal to include biophysical effects changes the climate value of ecosystems, and sets the stage to expand the suite of climate regulation services considered in global policies and carbon markets.

  5. 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

  6. Estuarine Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Estuarine Ecosystem Services research will develop the tools and approaches for estimating the effects of habitat alteration on important ecosystem services associated with tidal wetlands of the Pacific Northwest. Research will focus on highly valued services such as healthy fish...

  7. 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...

  8. 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 into analyzing the costs and benefits associated with policies being proposed, or possibly already implemented. For example, with monetized values acting as a common metric, one could compare the 'benefits' of converting a rangeland ecosystem for commercial development (perhaps estimated at the market value of the developed land) with the foregone ecosystem service values (in addition to any land income lost) resulting from that land conversion. Similarly, ecosystem service values can be used to determine the level of return on an investment. rhis is a primary objective for private land conservation organizations who typically have very limited resources. Ecosystem service valuation can also have a role in damage assessments from incidents that require compensation such as oil spills. Additionally, valuation can be very informative when investigating regulatory programs that trade ecological assets such as wetland mitigation programs. Typically these programs are based simply on an 'acre for acre' criterion, and do not take into consideration varying welfare values associated with that ecosystem. Lastly, and most fundamental, ecosystem service valuation serves as a recognition tool for people of all backgrounds. Identifying and valuing ecosystem goods and services on rangelands brings to light the value these natural assets have to human welfare that often remain hidden do to their public and non-market attributes. This type of recognition is vital to the preservation of rangeland ecosystems in the future and the many ecological benefits they provide.

  9. Ship canals and aquatic ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aron, William I.; Smith, Stanford H.

    1971-01-01

    Through a combination of ecosystem homeostasis and the perversity of man and nature, oftentimes the significant biological changes effected by environmental modifications are not detected until long after the initial change has taken place. The immediate impact, which may range from the spectacular to the undetectable, is a deceptive measure of the long-term and often more important changes in the ecosystem. Two major engineering achievements illustrate this premise: (i) construction of the Erie Canal, which provided access from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes, and the Welland Canal, which bypasses the block between Lakes Ontario and Erie created by Niagara Falls (Fig. 1), and (ii) construction of the Suez Canal between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

  10. 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)

  11. Kindergarten Animation

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinshaw, Craig

    2012-01-01

    Animation is one of the last lessons that come to mind when thinking of kindergarten art. The necessary understanding of sequencing, attention to small, often detailed drawings, and the use of technology all seem more suitable to upper elementary. With today's emphasis on condensing and integrating curriculum, consider developing animation lessons…

  12. Excelsior Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Steinkamp, Mary J.

    2001-01-01

    Describes an art project where students used excelsior, shredded wood used for packing, to create animals. Explains that excelsior can be found at furniture and grocery stores. Discusses in detail the process of making the animals and includes learning objectives. (CMK)

  13. Animal Halter

    USGS Multimedia Gallery

    This is one of many objects used by field scientists in the care of their animals. This type of halter was used to provide an easy way to hold on to animals that might otherwise become unruly or wander away. Object ID: USGS-000076...

  14. Animal Allies.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peterson, Brenda

    1999-01-01

    Discusses young teenagers' adoption of animal personas in their creative writing classes, and the way these classroom activities follow Montessori principles. Considers both the role of imagination in the animal identification and the psychological and pedagogical significance of the underlying development of unconscious kinship with Earth and its…

  15. 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

  16. 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 ...

  17. 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...

  18. Metabolic theory predicts whole-ecosystem properties

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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...

  1. Fort Collins Science Center Ecosystem Dynamics Branch

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, Jim; Melcher, C.; Bowen, Z.

    2009-01-01

    Complex natural resource issues require understanding a web of interactions among ecosystem components that are (1) interdisciplinary, encompassing physical, chemical, and biological processes; (2) spatially complex, involving movements of animals, water, and airborne materials across a range of landscapes and jurisdictions; and (3) temporally complex, occurring over days, weeks, or years, sometimes involving response lags to alteration or exhibiting large natural variation. Scientists in the Ecosystem Dynamics Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center, investigate a diversity of these complex natural resource questions at the landscape and systems levels. This Fact Sheet describes the work of the Ecosystems Dynamics Branch, which is focused on energy and land use, climate change and long-term integrated assessments, herbivore-ecosystem interactions, fire and post-fire restoration, and environmental flows and river restoration.

  2. Principles of ecosystem sustainability

    SciTech Connect

    Chapin, F.S. III; Torn, M.S.; Tateno, Masaki

    1996-12-01

    Many natural ecosystems are self-sustaining, maintaining an characteristic mosaic of vegetation types of hundreds to thousands of years. In this article we present a new framework for defining the conditions that sustain natural ecosystems and apply these principles to sustainability of managed ecosystems. A sustainable ecosystem is one that, over the normal cycle of disturbance events, maintains its characteristics diversity of major functional groups, productivity, and rates of biogeochemical cycling. These traits are determined by a set of four {open_quotes}interactive controls{close_quotes} (climate, soil resource supply, major functional groups of organisms, and disturbance regime) that both govern and respond to ecosystem processes. Ecosystems cannot be sustained unless the interactive controls oscillate within stable bounds. This occurs when negative feedbacks constrain changes in these controls. For example, negative feedbacks associated with food availability and predation often constrain changes in the population size of a species. Linkages among ecosystems in a landscape can contribute to sustainability by creating or extending the feedback network beyond a single patch. The sustainability of managed systems can be increased by maintaining interactive controls so that they form negative feedbacks within ecosystems and by using laws and regulations to create negative feedbacks between ecosystems and human activities, such as between ocean ecosystems and marine fisheries. Degraded ecosystems can be restored through practices that enhance positive feedbacks to bring the ecosystem to a state where the interactive controls are commensurate with desired ecosystem characteristics. The possible combinations of interactive controls that govern ecosystem traits are limited by the environment, constraining the extent to which ecosystems can be managed sustainably for human purposes. 111 refs., 3 figs., 2 tabs.

  3. Mercury in the ecosystem

    SciTech Connect

    Mitra, S.

    1986-01-01

    This treatise on the environmental dispersion of mercury emphasizes the importance of ''mercury-consciousness'' in the present-day world, where rapidly expanding metallurgical, chemical, and other industrial developments are causing widespread contamination of the atmosphere, soil, and water by this metal and its toxic organic derivatives. Concepts concerning the mechanism of mercury dispersion and methyl-mercury formation in the physico-biological ecosystem are discussed in detail and a substantial body of data on the degree and nature of the mercury contamination of various plants, fish, and land animals by industrial and urban effluents is presented. Various analytical methods for the estimation of mercury in inorganic and organic samples are presented. These serve as a ready guide to the selection of the correct method for analyzing environmental samples. This book is reference work in mercury-related studies. It is written to influence industrial policies of governments in their formulation of control measures to avoid the recurrence of human tragedies such as the well-known Minamata case in Japan, and the lesser known cases in Iraq, Pakistan, and Guatamala.

  4. Application of 34S analysis for elucidating terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems: Evidence of animal movement/husbandry practices in an early Viking community around Lake Mývatn, Iceland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sayle, Kerry L.; Cook, Gordon T.; Ascough, Philippa L.; Hastie, Helen R.; Einarsson, Árni; McGovern, Thomas H.; Hicks, Megan T.; Edwald, Ágústa; Friðriksson, Adolf

    2013-11-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios (δ13C and δ15N) have been used widely in archaeology to investigate palaeodiet. Sulphur stable isotope ratios (δ34S) have shown great promise in this regard but the potential of this technique within archaeological science has yet to be fully explored. Here we report δ34S, δ13C and δ15N values for 129 samples of animal bone collagen from Skútustaðir, an early Viking age (landnám) settlement in north-east Iceland. This dataset represents the most comprehensive study to date of its kind on archaeological material and the results show a clear offset in δ34S values between animals deriving their dietary resources from terrestrial (mean = +5.6 ± 2.8‰), freshwater (mean = -2.7 ± 1.4‰) or marine (mean = +15.9 ± 1.5‰) reservoirs (with the three food groups being significantly different at 2σ). This offset allows reconstruction of the dietary history of domesticated herbivores and demonstrates differences in husbandry practices and animal movement/trade, which would be otherwise impossible using only δ13C and δ15N values. For example, several terrestrial herbivores displayed enriched bone collagen δ34S values compared to the geology of the Lake Mývatn region, indicating they may have been affected by sea-spray whilst being pastured closer to the coast, before being traded inland. Additionally, the combination of heavy δ15N values coupled with light δ34S values within pig bone collagen suggests that these omnivores were consuming freshwater fish as a significant portion of their diet. Arctic foxes were also found to be consuming large quantities of freshwater resources and radiocarbon dating of both the pigs and foxes confirmed previous studies showing that a large freshwater radiocarbon (14C) reservoir effect exists within the lake. Overall, these stable isotope and 14C data have important implications for obtaining a fuller reconstruction of the diets of the early Viking settlers in Iceland, and may allow a clearer identification of the marine and/or freshwater 14C reservoir effects that are known to exist in human bone collagen.

  5. Wild Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Web Feet K-8, 2000

    2000-01-01

    This annotated subject guide to Web sites and other resources focuses on wild animals. Includes Web sites, CD-ROMs and software, videos, books, audios, magazines, and professional resources, as well as a class activity. (LRW)

  6. [Preindustrial man in earth's ecosystems].

    PubMed

    Remmert, H

    1985-12-01

    Preindustrial man influenced and changed the earth's ecosystems decisively. The disappearance of large animals from all continents (Eurasia, e.g., mammoth; America, e.g., the giant sloths and the giant armadillo) after the Pleistocene was most probably due to a large extent to the early hunters and collectors. Corn-growing and breeding of domestic animals led to the disappearance of their wild forms (e.g., the wild form of today's old world camel is unknown) and the cultivation of huge monocultures. The increasing need for wood resulted in the disappearance of forests almost all over Europe. Specific needs, such as pig-raising or bee-keeping, supported the formation of particular landscapes, e.g., sparsely wooded forests and extensive heathlands. All these factors resulted in extreme soil erosion and the disappearance of nutritionally important minerals from the soil, which was thus severely depleted. PMID:4088316

  7. Grant Patents on Animals? An Ethical and Legal Battle Looms.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wheeler, David L.

    1987-01-01

    Rulings on applications for animal patents being considered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office could profoundly influence university patent and research income. Many animal-rights advocates have expressed philosophical objections to genetic engineering of animals. (MLW)

  8. Brazilian minipig as a large-animal model for basic research and stem cell-based tissue engineering. Characterization and in vitro differentiation of bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells

    PubMed Central

    STRAMANDINOLI-ZANICOTTI, Roberta Targa; CARVALHO, André Lopes; REBELATTO, Carmen Lúcia Kuniyoshi; SASSI, Laurindo Moacir; TORRES, Maria Fernanda; SENEGAGLIA, Alexandra Cristina; BOLDRINILEITE, Lidiane Maria; CORREA-DOMINGUEZ, Alejandro; KULIGOVSKY, Crisciele; BROFMAN, Paulo Roberto Slud

    2014-01-01

    Stem cell-based regenerative medicine is one of the most intensively researched medical issues. Pre-clinical studies in a large-animal model, especially in swine or miniature pigs, are highly relevant to human applications. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have been isolated and expanded from different sources. Objective This study aimed at isolating and characterizing, for the first time, bone marrow-derived MSCs (BM-MSCs) from a Brazilian minipig (BR1). Also, this aimed to validate a new large-animal model for stem cell-based tissue engineering. Material and Methods Bone marrow (BM) was aspirated from the posterior iliac crest of twelve adult male BR1 under general anesthesia. MSCs were selected by plastic-adherence as originally described by Friedenstein. Cell morphology, surface marker expression, and cellular differentiation were examined. The immunophenotypic profile was determined by flow cytometry. The differentiation potential was assessed by cytological staining and by RT-PCR. Results MSCs were present in all minipig BM samples. These cells showed fibroblastic morphology and were positive for the surface markers CD90 (88.6%), CD29 (89.8%), CD44 (86.9%) and negative for CD34 (1.61%), CD45 (1.83%), CD14 (1.77%) and MHC-II (2.69%). MSCs were differentiated into adipocytes, osteoblasts, and chondroblasts as demonstrated by the presence of lipidic-rich vacuoles, the mineralized extracellular matrix, and the great presence of glycosaminoglycans, respectively. The higher gene expression of adipocyte fatty-acid binding protein (AP2), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and collagen type 2 (COLII) also confirmed the trilineage differentiation (p<0.001, p<0.001, p=0.031; respectively). Conclusions The isolation, cultivation, and differentiation of BM-MSCs from BR1 makes this animal eligible as a useful large-animal model for stem cell-based studies in Brazil. PMID:25025563

  9. Animal Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Neville H.

    Animals rely upon their acoustic and vibrational senses and abilities to detect the presence of both predators and prey and to communicate with members of the same species. This chapter surveys the physical bases of these abilities and their evolutionary optimization in insects, birds, and other land animals, and in a variety of aquatic animals other than cetaceans, which are treated in Chap. 20. While there are many individual variations, and some animals devote an immense fraction of their time and energy to acoustic communication, there are also many common features in their sound production and in the detection of sounds and vibrations. Excellent treatments of these matters from a biological viewpoint are given in several notable books [19.1,2] and collections of papers [19.3,4,5,6,7,8], together with other more specialized books to be mentioned in the following sections, but treatments from an acoustical viewpoint [19.9] are rare. The main difference between these two approaches is that biological books tend to concentrate on anatomical and physiological details and on behavioral outcomes, while acoustical books use simplified anatomical models and quantitative analysis to model vocalization frequency scaling in animals hearing sound production animal animal biological biological bioacoustics whole-system behavior. This latter is the approach to be adopted here.

  10. Small Animal Bone Biomechanics

    PubMed Central

    Vashishth, Deepak

    2008-01-01

    Animal models, in particular mice, offer the possibility of naturally achieving or genetically engineering a skeletal phenotype associated with disease and conducting destructive fracture tests on bone to determine the resulting change in bone’s mechanical properties. Several recent developments, including nano- and micro- indentation testing, microtensile and microcompressive testing, and bending tests on notched whole bone specimens, offer the possibility to mechanically probe small animal bone and investigate the effects of aging, therapeutic treatments, disease, and genetic variation. In contrast to traditional strength tests on small animal bones, fracture mechanics tests display smaller variation and therefore offer the possibility of reducing sample sizes. This article provides an analysis of what such tests measure and proposes methods to reduce errors associated with testing smaller than ideal specimens. PMID:18672104

  11. Transgenic Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jaenisch, Rudolf

    1988-01-01

    Describes three methods and their advantages and disadvantages for introducing genes into animals. Discusses the predictability and tissue-specificity of the injected genes. Outlines the applications of transgenic technology for studying gene expression, the early stages of mammalian development, mutations, and the molecular nature of chromosomes.…

  12. Transgenic Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jaenisch, Rudolf

    1988-01-01

    Describes three methods and their advantages and disadvantages for introducing genes into animals. Discusses the predictability and tissue-specificity of the injected genes. Outlines the applications of transgenic technology for studying gene expression, the early stages of mammalian development, mutations, and the molecular nature of chromosomes.…

  13. Animal Bioacoustics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fletcher, Neville

    Animals rely upon their acoustic and vibrational senses and abilities to detect the presence of both predators and prey and to communicate with members of the same species. This chapter surveys the physical bases of these abilities and their evolutionary optimization in insects, birds, and other land animals, and in a variety of aquatic animals other than cetaceans, which are treated in Chap. 20. While there are many individual variations, and some animals devote an immense fraction of their time and energy to acoustic communication, there are also many common features in their sound production and in the detection of sounds and vibrations. Excellent treatments of these matters from a biological viewpoint are given in several notable books [19.1,2] and collections of papers [19.3,4,5,6,7,8], together with other more specialized books to be mentioned in the following sections, but treatments from an acoustical viewpoint [19.9] are rare. The main difference between these two approaches is that biological books tend to concentrate on anatomical and physiological details and on behavioral outcomes, while acoustical books use simplified anatomical models and quantitative analysis to model whole-system behavior. This latter is the approach to be adopted here.

  14. Animal Science.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    VanCleave, Janice

    2001-01-01

    Presents a set of hands-on, outdoor science experiments designed to teach elementary school students about animal adaptation. The experiments focus on: how color camouflage affects an insect population; how spiderlings find a home; and how chameleons camouflage themselves by changing color. (SM)

  15. Where Will Ecosystems Go?

    SciTech Connect

    Janetos, Anthony C.

    2008-09-29

    Climate-induced changes in ecosystems have been both modeled and documented extensively over the past 15-20 years. Those changes occur in the context of many other stresses and interacting factors, but it is clear that many, if not most, ecosystems are sensitive to changing climate.

  16. Ecosystems, Teacher's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    California Univ., Berkeley. Science Curriculum Improvement Study.

    The Science Curriculum Improvement Study has developed this teacher's guide to "Ecosystems," the sixth part of a six unit life science curriculum sequence. The six basic units, emphasizing organism-environment interactions, are organisms, life cycles, populations, environments, communities, and ecosystems. They make use of scientific and…

  17. Ecosystems, Teacher's Guide.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    California Univ., Berkeley. Science Curriculum Improvement Study.

    The Science Curriculum Improvement Study has developed this teacher's guide to "Ecosystems," the sixth part of a six unit life science curriculum sequence. The six basic units, emphasizing organism-environment interactions, are organisms, life cycles, populations, environments, communities, and ecosystems. They make use of scientific and…

  18. Positive Bioluminescence Imaging of MicroRNA Expression in Small Animal Models Using an Engineered Genetic-Switch Expression System, RILES.

    PubMed

    Baril, Patrick; Pichon, Chantal

    2016-01-01

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a class of small, noncoding RNAs which regulate gene expression by directing their target mRNA for degradation or translational repression. Since their discovery in the early 1990s, miRNAs have emerged as key components in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene networks, shaping many biological processes from development, morphogenesis, differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis. Although understanding of the molecular basis of miRNA biology is improving, methods to monitor the dynamic and the spatiotemporal aspects of miRNA expression under physiopathological conditions are required. However, monitoring of miRNAs is difficult due to their small size, low abundance, high degree of sequence similarity, and their dynamic expression pattern which is subjected to tight transcriptional and post-transcriptional controls. Recently, we developed a miRNA monitoring system called RILES, standing for RNAi-inducible expression system, which relies on an engineered regulatable expression system, to switch on the expression of the luciferase gene when the targeted miRNA is expressed in cells. We demonstrated that RILES is a specific, sensitive, and robust method to determine the fine-tuning of miRNA expression during the development of an experimental pathological process in mice. Because RILES offers the possibility for longitudinal studies on individual subjects, sharper insights into miRNA regulation can be generated, with applications in physiology, pathophysiology and development of RNAi-based therapies. This chapter describes methods and protocols to monitor the expression of myomiR-206, -1, and -133 in the tibialis anterior muscle of mice. These protocols can be used and adapted to monitor the expression of other miRNAs in other biological processes. PMID:26530925

  19. Coso geothermal environmental overview study ecosystem quality

    SciTech Connect

    Leitner, P.

    1981-09-01

    The Coso Known Geothermal Resource Area is located just east of the Sierra Nevada, in the broad transition zone between the Mohave and Great Basin desert ecosystems. The prospect of large-scale geothermal energy development here in the near future has led to concern for the protection of biological resources. Objectives here are the identification of ecosystem issues, evaluation of the existing data base, and recommendation of additional studies needed to resolve key issues. High-priority issues include the need for (1) site-specific data on the occurrence of plant and animal species of special concern, (2) accurate and detailed information on the nature and extent of the geothermal resource, and (3) implementation of a comprehensive plan for ecosystem protection.

  20. Nutrient Controls on Biocomplexity of Mangrove Ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.

    2004-01-01

    Mangrove forests are important coastal ecosystems that provide a variety of ecological and societal services. These intertidal, tree-dominated communities along tropical coastlines are often described as 'simple systems,' compared to other tropical forests with larger numbers of plant species and multiple understory strata; however, mangrove ecosystems have complex trophic structures, and organisms exhibit unique physiological, morphological, and behavioral adaptations to environmental conditions characteristic of the land-sea interface. Biogeochemical functioning of mangrove forests is also controlled by interactions among the microbial, plant, and animal communities and feedback linkages mediated by hydrology and other forcing functions. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) at the National Wetlands Research Center are working to understand more fully the impact of nutrient variability on these delicate and important ecosystems.

  1. SEVEN PILLARS OF ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecosystem management is widely proposed in the popular and professional literature as the modern and preferred way of managing natural resources and ecosystems. Advocates glowingly describe ecosystem management as an approach that will protect the environment, maintain healthy ec...

  2. Animal Drug Safety FAQs

    MedlinePLUS

    ... Vaccines, Blood & Biologics Animal & Veterinary Cosmetics Tobacco Products Animal & Veterinary Home Animal & Veterinary Safety & Health Frequently Asked Questions Animal Drug Safety Frequently Asked Questions Share Tweet Linkedin ...

  3. Toward Understanding, Managing, and Protecting Microbial Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Bodelier, Paul L. E.

    2011-01-01

    Microbial communities are at the very basis of life on earth, catalyzing biogeochemical reactions driving global nutrient cycles. However, unlike for plants and animals, microbial diversity is not on the biodiversity–conservation agenda. The latter, however, would imply that microbial diversity is not under any threat by anthropogenic disturbance or climate change. This maybe a misconception caused by the rudimentary knowledge we have concerning microbial diversity and its role in ecosystem functioning. This perspective paper identifies major areas with knowledge gaps within the field of environmental microbiology that preclude a comprehension of microbial ecosystems on the level we have for plants and animals. Opportunities and challenges are pointed out to open the microbial black box and to go from descriptive to predictive microbial ecology. PMID:21747797

  4. Animal picobirnavirus.

    PubMed

    Ganesh, Balasubramanian; Masachessi, Gisela; Mladenova, Zornitsa

    2014-01-01

    Picobirnavirus (PBV) is a small, non-enveloped, bisegmented double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus of vertebrate hosts. The name 'Picobirnavirus' derives from the prefix 'pico' (latin for 'small') in reference to the small virion size, plus the prefix 'bi' (latin for 'two') and the word 'RNA' to indicate the nature of the viral genome. The serendipitous discovery of PBV dates back to 1988 from Brazil, when human fecal samples collected during the acute gastroenteritis outbreaks were subjected for routine rotavirus surveillance by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and silver straining (S/S). The PAGE gels after silver staining showed a typical 'two RNA band' pattern, and it was identified as Picobirnavirus. Likewise, the feces of wild black-footed pigmy rice rats (Oryzomys nigripes) subjected for PAGE assay by the same research group in Brazil reported the presence of PBV (Pereira et al., J Gen Virol 69:2749-2754, 1988). PBVs have been detected in faeces of humans and wide range of animal species with or without diarrhoea, worldwide. The probable role of PBV as either a 'primary diarrhoeal agent' in 'immunocompetent children'; or a 'potential pathogen' in 'immunocompromised individuals' or an 'innocuous virus' in the intestine remains elusive and needs to be investigated despite the numerous reports of the presence of PBV in fecal samples of various species of domestic mammals, wild animals, birds and snakes; our current knowledge of their biology, etiology, pathogenicity or their transmission characteristics remains subtle. This review aims to analyse the veterinary and zoonotic aspects of animal Picobirnavirus infections since its discovery. PMID:25674589

  5. Animal behavior and animal welfare.

    PubMed

    Houpt, K A

    1991-04-15

    The value of behavioral techniques in assessing animal welfare, and in particular assessing the psychological well being of animals, is reviewed. Using cats and horses as examples, 3 behavioral methods are presented: (1) comparison of behavior patterns and time budgets; (2) choice tests; and (3) operant conditioning. The behaviors of intact and declawed cats were compared in order to determine if declawing led to behavioral problems or to a change in personality. Apparently it did not. The behavior of free ranging horses was compared with that of stabled horses. Using two-choice preference tests, the preference of horses for visual contact with other horses and the preference for bedding were determined. Horses show no significant preference for locations from which they can make visual contact with other horses, but they do prefer bedding, especially when lying down. Horses will perform an operant response in order to obtain light in a darkened barn or heat in an outside shed. These same techniques can be used to answer a variety of questions about an animal's motivation for a particular attribute of its environment. PMID:2061151

  6. Animal Testing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Moretto, Johnny; Chauffert, Bruno; Bouyer, Florence

    The development of a new anticancer drug is a long, complex and multistep process which is supervised by regulatory authorities from the different countries all around the world [1]. Application of a new drug for admission to the market is supported by preclinical and clinical data, both including the determination of pharmacodynamics, toxicity, antitumour activity, therapeutic index, etc. As preclinical studies are associated with high cost, optimization of animal experiments is crucial for the overall development of a new anticancer agent. Moreover, in vivo efficacy studies remain a determinant panel for advancement of agents to human trials and thus, require cautious design and interpretation from experimental and ethical point of views.

  7. An animal welfare perspective on animal testing of GMO crops.

    PubMed

    Kolar, Roman; Rusche, Brigitte

    2008-01-01

    The public discussion on the introduction of agro-genetic engineering focuses mainly on economical, ecological and human health aspects. The fact is neglected that laboratory animals must suffer before either humans or the environment are affected. However, numerous animal experiments are conducted for toxicity testing and authorisation of genetically modified plants in the European Union. These are ethically questionable, because death and suffering of the animals for purely commercial purposes are accepted. Therefore, recent political initiatives to further increase animal testing for GMO crops must be regarded highly critically. Based on concrete examples this article demonstrates that animal experiments, on principle, cannot provide the expected protection of users and consumers despite all efforts to standardise, optimise or extend them. PMID:18551237

  8. ANIMAL COMMUNICATION.

    PubMed

    SEBEOK, T A

    1965-02-26

    Semiotics and ethology have converged in a new behavioral science, zoosemiotics. Those who are interested in the theoretical analysis of the complex problems of non-verbal behavior that arise where these two disciplines interact aim to treat comprehensively animal communication systems by the aid of representations that have proved illuminating in the study of sentences of human language. Students of zoosemiotics are concerned with codes and messages much as linguists are concerned with competence, or language, and performance, or speech. They thus face the twin tasks of constructing a model for the addresser to specify how a message is encoded and transformed into a signal carried by a variety of channels to the addressee; and of constructing a model for the addressee to specify the ways in which animals utilize their knowledge of their code to recognize the messages they receive. Finally, they assess the context of the communicative event in the hope of dissecting that which is relevant to the selection process from the rest of the background, a program for which there is as yet neither a procedural eliciting technique nor a satisfactory theoretical solution in sight. PMID:14245775

  9. Lakes Ecosystem Services Online

    EPA Science Inventory

    Northeastern lakes provide valuable ecosystem services that benefit residents and visitors and are increasingly important for provisioning of recreational opportunities and amenities. Concurrently, however, population growth threatens lakes by, for instance, increasing nutrient ...

  10. A Stable Urban Ecosystem

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Meier, Richard L.

    1976-01-01

    Describes a model for the future evolution of a stable ecosystem in a densely-populated society. Discusses designs for limiting population growth, resource-conserving settlements, and ways to feed growing cities. (MLH)

  11. List identifies threatened ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2012-09-01

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced on 9 September that it will develop a new Red List of Ecosystems that will identify which ecosystems are vulnerable or endangered. The list, which is modeled on the group's Red List of Threatened Species™, could help to guide conservation activities and influence policy processes such as the Convention on Biological Diversity, according to the group. “We will assess the status of marine, terrestrial, freshwater, and subterranean ecosystems at local, regional, and global levels,” stated Jon Paul Rodriguez, leader of IUCN's Ecosystems Red List Thematic Group. “The assessment can then form the basis for concerted implementation action so that we can manage them sustainably if their risk of collapse is low or restore them if they are threatened and then monitor their recovery.”

  12. PERSISTENCE IN MODEL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mathematical models aid in understanding environmental systems and in developing testable hypotheses relevant to the fate and ecological effects of toxic substances in such systems. Within the framework of microcosm or laboratory ecosystem modeling, some differential equation mod...

  13. Ecosystems in the Laboratory

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Madders, M.

    1975-01-01

    Describes the materials and laboratory techniques for the study of food chains and food webs, pyramids of numbers and biomass, energy pyramids, and oxygen gradients. Presents a procedure for investigating the effects of various pollutants on an entire ecosystem. (GS)

  14. Bioethical Problems: Animal Welfare, Animal Rights.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    March, B. E.

    1984-01-01

    Discusses various bioethical issues and problems related to animal welfare and animal rights. Areas examined include: Aristotelian views; animal welfare legislation; Darwin and evolutionary theory; animal and human behavior; and vegetarianism. A 14-point universal declaration of the rights of animals is included. (JN)

  15. Ecosystem growth and development.

    PubMed

    Fath, Brian D; Jørgensen, Sven E; Patten, Bernard C; Straskraba, Milan

    2004-11-01

    One of the most important features of biosystems is how they are able to maintain local order (low entropy) within their system boundaries. At the ecosystem scale, this organization can be observed in the thermodynamic parameters that describe it, such that these parameters can be used to track ecosystem growth and development during succession. Thermodynamically, ecosystem growth is the increase of energy throughflow and stored biomass, and ecosystem development is the internal reorganization of these energy mass stores, which affect transfers, transformations, and time lags within the system. Several proposed hypotheses describe thermodynamically the orientation or natural tendency that ecosystems follow during succession, and here, we consider five: minimize specific entropy production, maximize dissipation, maximize exergy storage (includes biomass and information), maximize energy throughflow, and maximize retention time. These thermodynamic orientors were previously all shown to occur to some degree during succession, and here we present a refinement by observing them during different stages of succession. We view ecosystem succession as a series of four growth and development stages: boundary, structural, network, and informational. We demonstrate how each of these ecological thermodynamic orientors behaves during the different growth and development stages, and show that while all apply during some stages only maximizing energy throughflow and maximizing exergy storage are applicable during all four stages. Therefore, we conclude that the movement away from thermodynamic equilibrium, and the subsequent increase in organization during ecosystem growth and development, is a result of system components and configurations that maximize the flux of useful energy and the amount of stored exergy. Empirical data and theoretical models support these conclusions. PMID:15527958

  16. Fantastic animals as an experimental model to teach animal adaptation

    PubMed Central

    Guidetti, Roberto; Baraldi, Laura; Calzolai, Caterina; Pini, Lorenza; Veronesi, Paola; Pederzoli, Aurora

    2007-01-01

    Background Science curricula and teachers should emphasize evolution in a manner commensurate with its importance as a unifying concept in science. The concept of adaptation represents a first step to understand the results of natural selection. We settled an experimental project of alternative didactic to improve knowledge of organism adaptation. Students were involved and stimulated in learning processes by creative activities. To set adaptation in a historic frame, fossil records as evidence of past life and evolution were considered. Results The experimental project is schematized in nine phases: review of previous knowledge; lesson on fossils; lesson on fantastic animals; planning an imaginary world; creation of an imaginary animal; revision of the imaginary animals; adaptations of real animals; adaptations of fossil animals; and public exposition. A rubric to evaluate the student's performances is reported. The project involved professors and students of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and of the "G. Marconi" Secondary School of First Degree (Modena, Italy). Conclusion The educational objectives of the project are in line with the National Indications of the Italian Ministry of Public Instruction: knowledge of the characteristics of living beings, the meanings of the term "adaptation", the meaning of fossils, the definition of ecosystem, and the particularity of the different biomes. At the end of the project, students will be able to grasp particular adaptations of real organisms and to deduce information about the environment in which the organism evolved. This project allows students to review previous knowledge and to form their personalities. PMID:17767729

  17. Animal welfare: an animal science approach.

    PubMed

    Koknaroglu, H; Akunal, T

    2013-12-01

    Increasing world population and demand for animal-derived protein puts pressure on animal production to meet this demand. For this purpose animal breeding efforts were conducted to obtain the maximum yield that the genetic makeup of the animals permits. Under the influence of economics which is the driving force behind animal production, animal farming became more concentrated and controlled which resulted in rearing animals under confinement. Since more attention was given on economics and yield per animal, animal welfare and behavior were neglected. Animal welfare which can be defined as providing environmental conditions in which animals can display all their natural behaviors in nature started gaining importance in recent years. This does not necessarily mean that animals provided with good management practices would have better welfare conditions as some animals may be distressed even though they are in good environmental conditions. Consumers are willing to pay more for welfare-friendly products (e.g.: free range vs caged egg) and this will change the animal production practices in the future. Thus animal scientists will have to adapt themselves for the changing animal welfare rules and regulations that differ for farm animal species and countries. In this review paper, animal welfare is discussed from an animal science standpoint. PMID:23664009

  18. Trophic cascades across ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Knight, Tiffany M; McCoy, Michael W; Chase, Jonathan M; McCoy, Krista A; Holt, Robert D

    2005-10-01

    Predation can be intense, creating strong direct and indirect effects throughout food webs. In addition, ecologists increasingly recognize that fluxes of organisms across ecosystem boundaries can have major consequences for community dynamics. Species with complex life histories often shift habitats during their life cycles and provide potent conduits coupling ecosystems. Thus, local interactions that affect predator abundance in one ecosystem (for example a larval habitat) may have reverberating effects in another (for example an adult habitat). Here we show that fish indirectly facilitate terrestrial plant reproduction through cascading trophic interactions across ecosystem boundaries. Fish reduce larval dragonfly abundances in ponds, leading to fewer adult dragonflies nearby. Adult dragonflies consume insect pollinators and alter their foraging behaviour. As a result, plants near ponds with fish receive more pollinator visits and are less pollen limited than plants near fish-free ponds. Our results confirm that strong species interactions can reverberate across ecosystems, and emphasize the importance of landscape-level processes in driving local species interactions. PMID:16208370

  19. Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification Ecosystem Complex

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cannon, Charles M.; Ramirez, Mary F.; Heatwole, Danelle W.; Burke, Jennifer L.; Simenstad, Charles A.; O'Connor, Jim E.; Marcoe, Keith Marcoe

    2012-01-01

    Estuarine ecosystems are controlled by a variety of processes that operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales. Understanding the hierarchical nature of these processes will aid in prioritization of restoration efforts. This hierarchical Columbia River Estuary Ecosystem Classification (henceforth "Classification") of the Columbia River estuary is a spatial database of the tidally-influenced reaches of the lower Columbia River, the tidally affected parts of its tributaries, and the landforms that make up their floodplains for the 230 kilometers between the Pacific Ocean and Bonneville Dam. This work is a collaborative effort between University of Washington School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences (henceforth "UW"), U.S. Geological Survey (henceforth "USGS"), and the Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership (henceforth "EP"). Consideration of geomorphologic processes will improve the understanding of controlling physical factors that drive ecosystem evolution along the tidal Columbia River. The Classification is organized around six hierarchical levels, progressing from the coarsest, regional scale to the finest, localized scale: (1) Ecosystem Province; (2) Ecoregion; (3) Hydrogeomorphic Reach; (4) Ecosystem Complex; (5) Geomorphic Catena; and (6) Primary Cover Class. For Levels 4 and 5, we mapped landforms within the Holocene floodplain primarily by visual interpretation of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) topography supplemented with aerial photographs, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) soils data, and historical maps. Mapped landforms are classified as to their current geomorphic function, the inferred process regime that formed them, and anthropogenic modification. Channels were classified primarily by a set of depth-based rules and geometric relationships. Classification Level 5 floodplain landforms ("geomorphic catenae") were further classified based on multivariate analysis of land-cover within the mapped landform area and attributed as "sub-catena". The extent of detailed mapping is the interpreted Holocene geologic floodplain of the tidal Columbia River and its tributaries to the estimated head of tide. The extent of this dataset also includes tributary valleys that are not mapped in detail. The upstream extents of tributary valleys are an estimation of the limit of Columbia River influence and are for use as containers in future analyses. The geologic floodplain is the geomorphic surface that is actively accumulating sediment through occasional overbank deposition. Most features within the geologic floodplain are considered to be formed during the recent (Holocene-epoch) climatic regime. There are bedrock and pre-Holocene sedimentary deposits included where they are surrounded by Holocene sediment accumulations or have been shaped by Holocene floods. In some places, Holocene landforms such as landslides, tributary fans, and coastal dunes are mapped that extend outside of the modern floodplain. This map is not a floodplain hazard map or delineation of actual flood boundaries. Although wetlands are included in the Classification, they are based on different criteria than jurisdictional wetlands. The extent of mapping may differ from the actual limit of tidal influence.

  20. Contrasting Ecosystem-Effects of Morphologically Similar Copepods

    PubMed Central

    Matthews, Blake; Hausch, Stephen; Winter, Christian; Suttle, Curtis A.; Shurin, Jonathan B.

    2011-01-01

    Organisms alter the biotic and abiotic conditions of ecosystems. They can modulate the availability of resources to other species (ecosystem engineering) and shape selection pressures on other organisms (niche construction). Very little is known about how the engineering effects of organisms vary among and within species, and, as a result, the ecosystem consequences of species diversification and phenotypic evolution are poorly understood. Here, using a common gardening experiment, we test whether morphologically similar species and populations of Diaptomidae copepods (Leptodiaptomus ashlandi, Hesperodiaptomus franciscanus, Skistodiaptomus oregonensis) have similar or different effects on the structure and function of freshwater ecosystems. We found that copepod species had contrasting effects on algal biomass, ammonium concentrations, and sedimentation rates, and that copepod populations had contrasting effects on prokaryote abundance, sedimentation rates, and gross primary productivity. The average size of ecosystem-effect contrasts between species was similar to those between populations, and was comparable to those between fish species and populations measured in previous common gardening experiments. Our results suggest that subtle morphological variation among and within species can cause multifarious and divergent ecosystem-effects. We conclude that using morphological trait variation to assess the functional similarity of organisms may underestimate the importance of species and population diversity for ecosystem functioning. PMID:22140432

  1. Microbes are trophic analogs of animals.

    PubMed

    Steffan, Shawn A; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Currie, Cameron R; Horn, Heidi; Gaines-Day, Hannah R; Pauli, Jonathan N; Zalapa, Juan E; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2015-12-01

    In most ecosystems, microbes are the dominant consumers, commandeering much of the heterotrophic biomass circulating through food webs. Characterizing functional diversity within the microbiome, therefore, is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, particularly in an era of global biodiversity loss. Using isotopic fingerprinting, we investigated the trophic positions of a broad diversity of heterotrophic organisms. Specifically, we examined the naturally occurring stable isotopes of nitrogen ((15)N:(14)N) within amino acids extracted from proteobacteria, actinomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, as well as from vertebrate and invertebrate macrofauna (crustaceans, fish, insects, and mammals). Here, we report that patterns of intertrophic (15)N-discrimination were remarkably similar among bacteria, fungi, and animals, which permitted unambiguous measurement of consumer trophic position, independent of phylogeny or ecosystem type. The observed similarities among bacterial, fungal, and animal consumers suggest that within a trophic hierarchy, microbiota are equivalent to, and can be interdigitated with, macrobiota. To further test the universality of this finding, we examined Neotropical fungus gardens, communities in which bacteria, fungi, and animals are entwined in an ancient, quadripartite symbiosis. We reveal that this symbiosis is a discrete four-level food chain, wherein bacteria function as the apex carnivores, animals and fungi are meso-consumers, and the sole herbivores are fungi. Together, our findings demonstrate that bacteria, fungi, and animals can be integrated within a food chain, effectively uniting the macro- and microbiome in food web ecology and facilitating greater inclusion of the microbiome in studies of functional diversity. PMID:26598691

  2. Microbes are trophic analogs of animals

    PubMed Central

    Steffan, Shawn A.; Chikaraishi, Yoshito; Currie, Cameron R.; Horn, Heidi; Gaines-Day, Hannah R.; Pauli, Jonathan N.; Zalapa, Juan E.; Ohkouchi, Naohiko

    2015-01-01

    In most ecosystems, microbes are the dominant consumers, commandeering much of the heterotrophic biomass circulating through food webs. Characterizing functional diversity within the microbiome, therefore, is critical to understanding ecosystem functioning, particularly in an era of global biodiversity loss. Using isotopic fingerprinting, we investigated the trophic positions of a broad diversity of heterotrophic organisms. Specifically, we examined the naturally occurring stable isotopes of nitrogen (15N:14N) within amino acids extracted from proteobacteria, actinomycetes, ascomycetes, and basidiomycetes, as well as from vertebrate and invertebrate macrofauna (crustaceans, fish, insects, and mammals). Here, we report that patterns of intertrophic 15N-discrimination were remarkably similar among bacteria, fungi, and animals, which permitted unambiguous measurement of consumer trophic position, independent of phylogeny or ecosystem type. The observed similarities among bacterial, fungal, and animal consumers suggest that within a trophic hierarchy, microbiota are equivalent to, and can be interdigitated with, macrobiota. To further test the universality of this finding, we examined Neotropical fungus gardens, communities in which bacteria, fungi, and animals are entwined in an ancient, quadripartite symbiosis. We reveal that this symbiosis is a discrete four-level food chain, wherein bacteria function as the apex carnivores, animals and fungi are meso-consumers, and the sole herbivores are fungi. Together, our findings demonstrate that bacteria, fungi, and animals can be integrated within a food chain, effectively uniting the macro- and microbiome in food web ecology and facilitating greater inclusion of the microbiome in studies of functional diversity. PMID:26598691

  3. Coastal Adaptation and Ecological Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cheong, S. M.

    2014-12-01

    Ecological engineering combines ecology and engineering to sustain coastal environment and facilitate adaptation to climate change. This paper discusses how the cases of mangroves, oyster reefs, and marshes help mainstream climate change with ecosystem conservation. It demonstrates the benefits of combining strategies to combat changing climate given the financial and political constraints.

  4. Genetically engineered foods

    MedlinePLUS

    ... animals Food with more desirable traits, such as potatoes that absorb less fat when fried Medicinal foods ... Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, corn, and soybeans have been genetically altered through biotechnology. Many more foods contain engineered ingredients and ...

  5. Ecosystems Vulnerability Challenge and Prize Competition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Smith, J. H.; Frame, M. T.; Ferriter, O.; Recker, J.

    2014-12-01

    Stimulating innovation and private sector entrepreneurship is an important way to advance the preparedness of communities, businesses and individuals for the impacts of climate change on certain aspects of ecosystems, such as: fire regimes; water availability; carbon sequestration; biodiversity conservation; weather-related hazards, and the spread of invasive species. The creation of tools is critical to help communities and natural resource managers better understand the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and the potential resulting implications for ecosystem services and conservation efforts. The Department of the Interior is leading an interagency effort to develop the Ecosystems Vulnerability theme as part of the President's Climate Action Plan. This effort will provide seamless access to relevant datasets that can help address such issues as: risk of wildfires to local communities and federal lands; water sensitivity to climate change; and understanding the role of ecosystems in a changing climate. This session will provide an overview of the proposed Ecosystem Vulnerability Challenge and Prize Competition, outlining the intended audience, scope, goals, and overall timeline. The session will provide an opportunity for participants to offer new ideas. Through the Challenge, access will be made available to critical datasets for software developers, engineers, scientists, students, and researchers to develop and submit applications addressing critical science issues facing our Nation today. Application submission criteria and guidelines will also be discussed. The Challenge will be open to all sectors and organizations (i.e. federal, non-federal, private sector, non-profits, and universities) within the United States. It is anticipated the Challenge will run from early January 2015 until spring of 2015.

  6. Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scheffer, Marten; Carpenter, Steve; Foley, Jonathan A.; Folke, Carl; Walker, Brian

    2001-10-01

    All ecosystems are exposed to gradual changes in climate, nutrient loading, habitat fragmentation or biotic exploitation. Nature is usually assumed to respond to gradual change in a smooth way. However, studies on lakes, coral reefs, oceans, forests and arid lands have shown that smooth change can be interrupted by sudden drastic switches to a contrasting state. Although diverse events can trigger such shifts, recent studies show that a loss of resilience usually paves the way for a switch to an alternative state. This suggests that strategies for sustainable management of such ecosystems should focus on maintaining resilience.

  7. Bioenergetics in ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Madenjian, Charles P.

    2011-01-01

    A bioenergetics model for a fish can be defined as a quantitative description of the fish’s energy budget. Bioenergetics modeling can be applied to a fish population in a lake, river, or ocean to estimate the annual consumption of food by the fish population; such applications have proved to be useful in managing fisheries. In addition, bioenergetics models have been used to better understand fish growth and consumption in ecosystems, to determine the importance of the role of fish in cycling nutrients within ecosystems, and to identify the important factors regulating contaminant accumulation in fish from lakes, rivers, and oceans.

  8. Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Walton, D.W.H.

    1987-01-01

    The Maritime and Continental Antarctic terrestrial ecosystems are considered in the context of environmental impacts - habitat destruction, alien introductions, and pollution. Four types of pollution are considered: nutrients, radionuclides, inert materials, and noxious chemicals. Their ability to recover from perturbation is discussed in the light of present scientific knowledge, and the methods used to control impacts are reviewed. It is concluded that techniques of waste disposal are still inadequate, adequate training in environmental and conservation principles for Antarctic personnel in many countries is lacking, and scientific investigations may be a much more serious threat than tourism to the integrity of these ecosystems. Some priorities crucial to future management are suggested.

  9. Extreme temperatures, foundation species, and abrupt ecosystem change: an example from an iconic seagrass ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Thomson, Jordan A; Burkholder, Derek A; Heithaus, Michael R; Fourqurean, James W; Fraser, Matthew W; Statton, John; Kendrick, Gary A

    2015-04-01

    Extreme climatic events can trigger abrupt and often lasting change in ecosystems via the reduction or elimination of foundation (i.e., habitat-forming) species. However, while the frequency/intensity of extreme events is predicted to increase under climate change, the impact of these events on many foundation species and the ecosystems they support remains poorly understood. Here, we use the iconic seagrass meadows of Shark Bay, Western Australia--a relatively pristine subtropical embayment whose dominant, canopy-forming seagrass, Amphibolis antarctica, is a temperate species growing near its low-latitude range limit--as a model system to investigate the impacts of extreme temperatures on ecosystems supported by thermally sensitive foundation species in a changing climate. Following an unprecedented marine heat wave in late summer 2010/11, A. antarctica experienced catastrophic (>90%) dieback in several regions of Shark Bay. Animal-borne video footage taken from the perspective of resident, seagrass-associated megafauna (sea turtles) revealed severe habitat degradation after the event compared with a decade earlier. This reduction in habitat quality corresponded with a decline in the health status of largely herbivorous green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the 2 years following the heat wave, providing evidence of long-term, community-level impacts of the event. Based on these findings, and similar examples from diverse ecosystems, we argue that a generalized framework for assessing the vulnerability of ecosystems to abrupt change associated with the loss of foundation species is needed to accurately predict ecosystem trajectories in a changing climate. This includes seagrass meadows, which have received relatively little attention in this context. Novel research and monitoring methods, such as the analysis of habitat and environmental data from animal-borne video and data-logging systems, can make an important contribution to this framework. PMID:25145694

  10. Environmental contamination in Antarctic ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Bargagli, R

    2008-08-01

    Although the remote continent of Antarctica is perceived as the symbol of the last great wilderness, the human presence in the Southern Ocean and the continent began in the early 1900s for hunting, fishing and exploration, and many invasive plant and animal species have been deliberately introduced in several sub-Antarctic islands. Over the last 50 years, the development of research and tourism have locally affected terrestrial and marine coastal ecosystems through fuel combustion (for transportation and energy production), accidental oil spills, waste incineration and sewage. Although natural "barriers" such as oceanic and atmospheric circulation protect Antarctica from lower latitude water and air masses, available data on concentrations of metals, pesticides and other persistent pollutants in air, snow, mosses, lichens and marine organisms show that most persistent contaminants in the Antarctic environment are transported from other continents in the Southern Hemisphere. At present, levels of most contaminants in Antarctic organisms are lower than those in related species from other remote regions, except for the natural accumulation of Cd and Hg in several marine organisms and especially in albatrosses and petrels. The concentrations of organic pollutants in the eggs of an opportunistic top predator such as the south polar skua are close to those that may cause adverse health effects. Population growth and industrial development in several countries of the Southern Hemisphere are changing the global pattern of persistent anthropogenic contaminants and new classes of chemicals have already been detected in the Antarctic environment. Although the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty provides strict guidelines for the protection of the Antarctic environment and establishes obligations for all human activity in the continent and the Southern Ocean, global warming, population growth and industrial development in countries of the Southern Hemisphere will likely increase the impact of anthropogenic contaminants on Antarctic ecosystems. PMID:18765160

  11. The Vehicle Ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kuschel, Jonas

    Ubiquitous computing in the vehicle industry has primarily focused on sensor data serving different ubiquitous on-board services (e.g., crash detection, antilock brake systems, or air conditioning). These services mainly address vehicle drivers while driving. However, in view of the role of vehicles in today's society, it goes without saying that vehicles relate to more than just the driver or occupants; they are part of a larger ecosystem, including traffic participants, authorities, customers and the like. To serve the ecosystem with ubiquitous services based on vehicle sensor data, there is a need for an open information infrastructure that enables service development close to the customer. This paper presents results from a research project on designing such an infrastructure at a major European vehicle manufacturer. Our empirical data shows how the vehicle manufacturer's conceptualization of services disagrees with the needs of vehicle stakeholders in a more comprehensive vehicle ecosystem. In light of this, we discuss the effect on information infrastructure design and introduce the distinction between information infrastructure as product feature and service facilitator. In a more general way, we highlight the importance of information infrastructure to contextualize the vehicle as part of a larger ecosystem and thus support open innovation.

  12. Shelf-sea ecosystems

    SciTech Connect

    Walsh, J J

    1980-01-01

    An analysis of the food chain dynamics of the Oregon, Alaskan, and New York shelves is made with respect to differences in physical forcing of these ecosystems. The world's shelves are 10% of the area of the ocean, yield 99% of the world's fish catch, and may be a major sink in the global CO/sub 2/ budget.

  13. Biocomplexity in mangrove ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Feller, I C; Lovelock, C E; Berger, U; McKee, K L; Joye, S B; Ball, M C

    2010-01-01

    Mangroves are an ecological assemblage of trees and shrubs adapted to grow in intertidal environments along tropical coasts. Despite repeated demonstration of their economic and societal value, more than 50% of the world's mangroves have been destroyed, 35% in the past two decades to aquaculture and coastal development, altered hydrology, sea-level rise, and nutrient overenrichment. Variations in the structure and function of mangrove ecosystems have generally been described solely on the basis of a hierarchical classification of the physical characteristics of the intertidal environment, including climate, geomorphology, topography, and hydrology. Here, we use the concept of emergent properties at multiple levels within a hierarchical framework to review how the interplay between specialized adaptations and extreme trait plasticity that characterizes mangroves and intertidal environments gives rise to the biocomplexity that distinguishes mangrove ecosystems. The traits that allow mangroves to tolerate variable salinity, flooding, and nutrient availability influence ecosystem processes and ultimately the services they provide. We conclude that an integrated research strategy using emergent properties in empirical and theoretical studies provides a holistic approach for understanding and managing mangrove ecosystems. PMID:21141670

  14. TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEM SIMULATOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Terrestrial Habitats Project at the Western Ecology Division (Corvallis, OR) is developing tools and databases to meet the needs of Program Office clients for assessing risks to wildlife and terrestrial ecosystems. Because habitat is a dynamic condition in real-world environm...

  15. Animal Models for Neural Diseases

    PubMed Central

    Gary, W. J; Demattos, Ronald B.; Weinstein, Edward J.; Philbert, Martin A.; Pardo, Ingrid D.; Brown, Tom P.

    2015-01-01

    “Animal Models of Neural Disease” was the focus of General Session 5 at a 2010 scientific symposium that was sponsored jointly by the Society of Toxicologic Pathology (STP) and the International Federation of Societies of Toxicologic Pathologists (IFSTP). The objective was to consider issues that dictate the choice of animal models for neuropathology-based studies used to investigate neurological diseases and novel therapeutic agents to treat them. In some cases, no animal model exists that recapitulates the attributes of the human disease (e.g., fibromyalgia syndrome). Alternatively, numerous animal models are available for other conditions, so an essential consideration is selecting the most appropriate experimental system (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease). New technologies (e.g., genetically engineered rodent models) promise the opportunity to generate suitable animal models for syndromes that currently lack any in vivo animal model, while in vitro models offer the opportunity to evaluate xenobiotic effects in specific neural cell populations. The complex nature of neurological disease requires regular reassessment of available and potential options to ensure that animal-derived data sets support translational medicine efforts to improve public health. PMID:21119053

  16. Bacteriophages: an underestimated role in human and animal health?

    PubMed Central

    De Paepe, Marianne; Leclerc, Marion; Tinsley, Colin R.; Petit, Marie-Agnès

    2014-01-01

    Metagenomic approaches applied to viruses have highlighted their prevalence in almost all microbial ecosystems investigated. In all ecosystems, notably those associated with humans or animals, the viral fraction is dominated by bacteriophages. Whether they contribute to dysbiosis, i.e., the departure from microbiota composition in symbiosis at equilibrium and entry into a state favoring human or animal disease is unknown at present. This review summarizes what has been learnt on phages associated with human and animal microbiota, and focuses on examples illustrating the several ways by which phages may contribute to a shift to pathogenesis, either by modifying population equilibrium, by horizontal transfer, or by modulating immunity. PMID:24734220

  17. Programs in Animal Agriculture.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Herring, Don R.; And Others

    1980-01-01

    Five topics relating to programs in animal agriculture are addressed: (1) the future of animal agriculture; (2) preparing teachers in animal agriculture; (3) how animal programs help young people; (4) a nontraditional animal agriculture program; and (5) developing competencies in animal agriculture. (LRA)

  18. Fog, Clouds and the Maintenance of Ecosystems: Mist Opportunities?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Weathers, K. C.

    2006-12-01

    What is the significance of occult precipitation-- otherwise known as fog or cloud water (terms used interchangeably here)--in the maintenance of ecosystems? More than a century of natural history observations and decades of research have demonstrated that occult precipitation does deliver water, nutrients, and pollutants to coastal and montane ecosystems, but that its ecological importance is likely to vary by ecosystem. Still, many key ecological questions about the role of fog in the maintenance of ecosystems remain unanswered: For example, what is the effect of fog water and nutrient inputs on annual productivity or rates of nutrient cycling? Are soil processes affected by fog water input to ecosystems? To what extent do plants or animals actually use cloud or fog-delivered nutrients, and if they do, what are the mechanisms? Does fog input control the distribution and abundance of plant and/or animal species? If so, are the mechanisms hydrologic, physical (i.e., influence on temperature or light) and/or nutrient based? Although many of the early observations and research suggested that the delivery of water was one of the more important roles of fog in ecosystem maintenance, we and others have demonstrated that nutrient, as well as pollutants in fog are often 3-10x more concentrated than rain water, and can range up to 100x more concentrated. In some ecosystems, such as old growth forests on Chiloe Island, Chile, we have shown that comparatively large nutrient (e.g., nitrogen) loads can be delivered to ecosystems via a small amount (10s of cms/year) of fog water deposition. Thus, a little fog water has the potential to influence ecosystem processes. In addition, we have hypothesized that "the ocean may be feeding the forest," i.e., the source of the nutrients in fog water may be the ocean. In contrast to this fog subsidy, the ecological function of some high-elevation forests in the northeastern United States has been shown to be negatively impacted, in part, by immersion in acidic clouds. In fog-enshrouded ecosystems such as these, it is of enormous ecological relevance to quantify how occult precipitation contributes to their maintenance or decline. Here I offer a brief review of the state-of-knowledge and summarize some of our recent results on occult precipitation and ecosystem function demonstrating that fog water inputs are spatially heterogeneous, controlled by canopy architecture and exposure, and, in many ecosystems, an order of magnitude lower than rain water inputs. Finally, I point to some of the mist opportunities-- the research needs in regard to where and how occult precipitation may be important in ecosystem processes.

  19. Ecosystem Restoration Research at GWERD

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ground Water and Ecosystems Restoration Division, Ada, OK Mission: Conduct research and technical assistance to provide the scientific basis to support the development of strategies and technologies to protect and restore ground water, surface water, and ecosystems impacted b...

  20. BIOGEOCHEMICAL INDICATORS IN AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Loadings of excess organic wastes and associated nutrients to aquatic systems has numerous deleterious consequences with respect to the ecosystem services provided by these important ecosystems including perturbation of organic matter and nutrient cycling rates, reduction in diss...

  1. POEM: PESTICIDE ORCHARD ECOSYSTEM MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

    The Pesticide Orchard Ecosystem Model (POEM) is a mathematical model of organophosphate pesticide movement in an apple orchard ecosystem. In addition submodels on invertebrate population dynamics are included. The fate model allows the user to select the pesticide, its applicatio...

  2. The WSRC Engineering Analyzer

    SciTech Connect

    Beckmeyer, R.R.; Buckner, M.R.

    1992-01-01

    This report describes a multi-platform, multi-program engineering analysis tool that runs in either real-time or post-process modes, providing the analyst with a consistent, adaptable interface for 2-d color animation of time-oriented engineering data on any X-terminal.

  3. Different cesium-137 transfers to forest and stream ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Sakai, Masaru; Gomi, Takashi; Negishi, Junjiro N; Iwamoto, Aimu; Okada, Kengo

    2016-02-01

    Understanding the mechanisms of (137)Cs movement across different ecosystems is crucial for projecting the environmental impact and management of nuclear contamination events. Here, we report differential movement of (137)Cs in adjacent forest and stream ecosystems. The food webs of the forest and stream ecosystems in our study were similar, in that they were both dominated by detrital-based food webs and the basal energy source was terrestrial litter. However, the concentration of (137)Cs in stream litter was significantly lower than in forest litter, the result of (137)Cs leaching from litter in stream water. The difference in (137)Cs concentrations between the two types of litter was reflected in the (137)Cs concentrations in the animal community. While the importance of (137)Cs fallout and the associated transfer to food webs has been well studied, research has been primarily limited to cases in a single ecosystem. Our results indicate that there are differences in the flow of (137)Cs through terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, and that (137)Cs concentrations are reduced in both basal food resources and higher trophic animals in aquatic systems, where primary production is subsidized by a neighboring terrestrial ecosystem. PMID:26629645

  4. Ecosystems in the Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Louviere, Gregory

    2011-01-01

    Habitats, ecology and evolution are a few of the many metaphors commonly associated with the domain of biological ecosystems. Surprisingly, these and other similar biological metaphors are proving to be equally associated with a phenomenon known as digital ecosystems. Digital ecosystems make a direct connection between biological properties and…

  5. Biogeochemical processes underpin ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Elemental cycling is critical to the function of ecosystems and delivery of key ecosystem services because many of these elements are essential nutrients or detrimental toxicants that directly affect the health of organisms and ecosystems. A team of authors from North Carolina State University and ...

  6. Ecosystems in the Learning Environment

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Louviere, Gregory

    2011-01-01

    Habitats, ecology and evolution are a few of the many metaphors commonly associated with the domain of biological ecosystems. Surprisingly, these and other similar biological metaphors are proving to be equally associated with a phenomenon known as digital ecosystems. Digital ecosystems make a direct connection between biological properties and…

  7. Teaching about Ecosystems. ERIC Digest.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Haury, David L.

    Ecosystems are available to educators as interactive units and as such the National Science Education Standards (NSES) and the Excellence in Environmental Education: Guidelines for Learning (EEE) put considerable emphasis on ecosystems. This ERIC Digest describes the NSES and EEE guidelines for grades 5-8 and 9-12 to provide a basic ecosystem…

  8. The state of the ecosystem on Anticosti Island, Québec.

    PubMed Central

    Silverstone, A M

    2001-01-01

    The state of the ecosystem of Anticosti Island, Québec, was studied by veterinary students (n = 17) and faculty (n = 4) in the summer of 1999. The field of ecosystem health is an integrative science requiring the expertise of professionals in several disciplines, including socioeconomic, ecological, biophysical, human health, and animal health (1). PMID:11519275

  9. AIR POLLUTION EFFECTS ON AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS: SUMMARY OF A SYMPOSIUM

    EPA Science Inventory

    Summarizing presentations at a symposium on air pollutant effects on aquatic ecosystems, this document includes an overview of U.S. research programs, atmospheric emissions and deposition, cycling processes, and effects on plants and animals. Current U.S. research addresses ecosy...

  10. How ecosystems organize their moisture storage requirement

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Savenije, H.

    2014-12-01

    The moisture storage capacity in the root zone of ecosystems acts as a buffer against climatic variability and is a critical factor controlling many physical, biogeochemical and biological processes including land-atmosphere exchanges, rainfall-runoff generation, carbon cycling and nutrient dynamics. Notwithstanding its importance this storage capacity cannot be directly observed at catchment scale. Approaching this problem from a different angle, we can try to understand how adaptive systems cope with the variability of essential inputs through the creation of buffers. Surprisingly, there appears to be a strong correspondence between how societies and ecosystems try to safeguard their water supply. People build reservoirs to buffer against periods of water shortage; ecosystems essentially do the same by creating sufficient moisture storage in their root zone. Both try to do this at minimum expense: people by optimizing the amount of storage at minimum costs; and ecosystems by creating an optimum root zone buffer at minimum biomass investment. A classical engineering way for designing the size of a reservoir is the Rippl (1883) diagram, where tangents to the accumulated inflow determine the required storage. It is a logical method for people to size the storage required to satisfy the long-term water demand. Using this principle, over time, many societies have tried to regulate their rivers, leveling out the natural dynamics of the system. But are people unique in trying to even out unwanted fluctuations or to bridge periods of water shortage? Like societies, ecosystems adjust their storage buffer to climatic variability. Similar to the way in which engineers design reservoirs, we can estimate the root zone storage capacity at catchment scale on the basis of observed climate and hydrological data. This approach was proven to be remarkably accurate not only in 11 catchments of the Ping river in Thailand but also in 413 catchments across the USA, with diverse climate and land surface conditions. The results illustrate that ecosystems adjust their root zone storage to periods of drought or wetness, and that the maximum root zone storage is essentially a function of climate and land cover.

  11. [Health assessment of river ecosystem in Haihe River Basin, China].

    PubMed

    Hao, Li-Xia; Sun, Ran-Hao; Chen, Li-Ding

    2014-10-01

    With the development of economy, the health of river ecosystem is severely threatened because of the increasing effects of human activities on river ecosystem. In this paper, the authors assessed the river ecosystem health in aspects of chemical integrity and biological integrity, using the criterion in water quality, nutrient, and benthic macroinvertebrates of 73 samples in Haihe River Basin. The research showed that the health condition of river ecosystem in Haihe River Basin was bad overall since the health situation of 72. 6% of the samples was "extremely bad". At the same time, the health situation in Haihe River Basin exhibited obvious regional gathering effect. We also found that the river water quality was closely related to human activities, and the eutrophication trend of water body was evident in Haihe River Basin. The biodiversity of the benthic animal was low and lack of clean species in the basin. The indicators such as ammonia nitrogen, total nitrogen and total phosphorus were the key factors that affected the river ecosystem health in Haihe River Basin, so the government should start to curb the deterioration of river ecosystem health by controlling these nutrients indicators. For river ecosystem health assessment, the multi-factors comprehensive evaluation method was superior to single-factor method. PMID:25693371

  12. An Ecosystem-Based Approach to Assess the Status of a Mediterranean Ecosystem, the Posidonia oceanica Seagrass Meadow

    PubMed Central

    Personnic, Sébastien; Boudouresque, Charles F.; Astruch, Patrick; Ballesteros, Enric; Blouet, Sylvain; Bellan-Santini, Denise; Bonhomme, Patrick; Thibault-Botha, Delphine; Feunteun, Eric; Harmelin-Vivien, Mireille; Pergent, Gérard; Pergent-Martini, Christine; Pastor, Jérémy; Poggiale, Jean-Christophe; Renaud, Florent; Thibaut, Thierry; Ruitton, Sandrine

    2014-01-01

    Biotic indices, which reflect the quality of the environment, are widely used in the marine realm. Sometimes, key species or ecosystem engineers are selected for this purpose. This is the case of the Mediterranean seagrass Posidonia oceanica, widely used as a biological quality element in the context of the European Union Water Framework Directive (WFD). The good quality of a water body and the apparent health of a species, whether or not an ecosystem engineer such as P. oceanica, is not always indicative of the good structure and functioning of the whole ecosystem. A key point of the recent Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) is the ecosystem-based approach. Here, on the basis of a simplified conceptual model of the P. oceanica ecosystem, we have proposed an ecosystem-based index of the quality of its functioning, compliant with the MSFD requirements. This index (EBQI) is based upon a set of representative functional compartments, the weighting of these compartments and the assessment of the quality of each compartment by comparison of a supposed baseline. The index well discriminated 17 sites in the north-western Mediterranean (French Riviera, Provence, Corsica, Catalonia and Balearic Islands) covering a wide range of human pressure levels. The strong points of the EBQI are that it is easy to implement, non-destructive, relatively robust, according to the selection of the compartments and to their weighting, and associated with confidence indices that indicate possible weakness and biases and therefore the need for further field data acquisition. PMID:24933020

  13. Pteropods in Southern Ocean ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hunt, B. P. V.; Pakhomov, E. A.; Hosie, G. W.; Siegel, V.; Ward, P.; Bernard, K.

    2008-09-01

    To date, little research has been carried out on pelagic gastropod molluscs (pteropods) in Southern Ocean ecosystems. However, recent predictions are that, due to acidification resulting from a business as usual approach to CO 2 emissions (IS92a), Southern Ocean surface waters may begin to become uninhabitable for aragonite shelled thecosome pteropods by 2050. To gain insight into the potential impact that this would have on Southern Ocean ecosystems, we have here synthesized available data on pteropod distributions and densities, assessed current knowledge of pteropod ecology, and highlighted knowledge gaps and directions for future research on this zooplankton group. Six species of pteropod are typical of the Southern Ocean south of the Sub-Tropical Convergence, including the four Thecosomes Limacina helicina antarctica, Limacina retroversa australis, Clio pyramidata, and Clio piatkowskii, and two Gymnosomes Clione limacina antarctica and Spongiobranchaea australis. Limacina retroversa australis dominated pteropod densities north of the Polar Front (PF), averaging 60 ind m -3 (max = 800 ind m -3) and 11% of total zooplankton at the Prince Edward Islands. South of the PF L. helicina antarctica predominated, averaging 165 ind m -3 (max = 2681 ind m -3) and up to >35% of total zooplankton at South Georgia, and up to 1397 ind m -3 and 63% of total zooplankton in the Ross Sea. Combined pteropods contributed <5% to total zooplankton in the Lazarev Sea, but 15% (max = 93%) to macrozooplankton in the East Antarctic. In addition to regional density distributions we have synthesized data on vertical distributions, seasonal cycles, and inter-annual density variation. Trophically, gymnosome are specialist predators on thecosomes, while thecosomes are considered predominantly herbivorous, capturing food with a mucous web. The ingestion rates of L. retroversa australis are in the upper range for sub-Antarctic mesozooplankton (31.2-4196.9 ng pig ind -1 d -1), while those of L. helicina antarctica and C. pyramidata are in the upper range for all Southern Ocean zooplankton, in the latter species reaching 27,757 ng pig ind -1 d -1 and >40% of community grazing impact. Further research is required to quantify diet selectivity, the effect of phytoplankton composition on growth and reproductive success, and the role of carnivory in thecosomes. Life histories are a significant knowledge gap for Southern Ocean pteropods, a single study having been completed for L. retroversa australis, making population studies a priority for this group. Pteropods appear to be important in biogeochemical cycling, thecosome shells contributing >50% to carbonate flux in the deep ocean south of the PF. Pteropods may also contribute significantly to organic carbon flux through the production of fast sinking faecal pellets and mucous flocs, and rapid sinking of dead animals ballasted by their aragonite shells. Quantification of these contributions requires data on mucous web production rates, egestion rates, assimilation efficiencies, metabolic rates, and faecal pellet morphology for application to sediment trap studies. Based on the available data, pteropods are regionally significant components of the Southern Ocean pelagic ecosystem. However, there is an urgent need for focused research on this group in order to quantify how a decline in pteropod densities may impact on Southern Ocean ecosystems.

  14. Predator-prey molecular ecosystems.

    PubMed

    Fujii, Teruo; Rondelez, Yannick

    2013-01-22

    Biological organisms use intricate networks of chemical reactions to control molecular processes and spatiotemporal organization. In turn, these living systems are embedded in self-organized structures of larger scales, for example, ecosystems. Synthetic in vitro efforts have reproduced the architectures and behaviors of simple cellular circuits. However, because all these systems share the same dynamic foundations, a generalized molecular programming strategy should also support complex collective behaviors, as seen, for example, in animal populations. We report here the bottom-up assembly of chemical systems that reproduce in vitro the specific dynamics of ecological communities. We experimentally observed unprecedented molecular behaviors, including predator-prey oscillations, competition-induced chaos, and symbiotic synchronization. These synthetic systems are tailored through a novel, compact, and versatile design strategy, leveraging the programmability of DNA interactions under the precise control of enzymatic catalysis. Such self-organizing assemblies will foster a better appreciation of the molecular origins of biological complexity and may also serve to orchestrate complex collective operations of molecular agents in technological applications. PMID:23176248

  15. [Animal experimentation, animal welfare and scientific research].

    PubMed

    Tal, H

    2013-10-01

    Hundreds of thousands of laboratory animals are being used every year for scientific experiments held in Israel, mostly mice, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and a few sheep, cattle, pigs, cats, dogs, and even a few dozen monkeys. In addition to the animals sacrificed to promote scientific research, millions of animals slain every year for other purposes such as meat and fine leather fashion industries. While opening a front against all is an impossible and perhaps an unjustified task, the state of Israel enacted the Animal Welfare (Animal Experimentation) Law (1994). The law aims to regulate scientific animal experiments and to find the appropriate balance between the need to continue to perform animal experiments for the advancement of research and medicine, and at the same time to avoid unnecessary trials and minimize animal suffering. Among other issues the law deals with the phylogenetic scale according to which experimental animals should be selected, experiments for teaching and practicing, and experiments for the cosmetic industry. This article discusses bioethics considerations in animal experiments as well as the criticism on the scientific validity of such experiments. It further deals with the vitality of animal studies and the moral and legal obligation to prevent suffering from laboratory animals. PMID:24660572

  16. Obscuring ecosystem function with application of the ecosystem services concept.

    PubMed

    Peterson, Markus J; Hall, Damon M; Feldpausch-Parker, Andrea M; Peterson, Tarla Rai

    2010-02-01

    Conservationists commonly have framed ecological concerns in economic terms to garner political support for conservation and to increase public interest in preserving global biodiversity. Beginning in the early 1980s, conservation biologists adapted neoliberal economics to reframe ecosystem functions and related biodiversity as ecosystem services to humanity. Despite the economic success of programs such as the Catskill/Delaware watershed management plan in the United States and the creation of global carbon exchanges, today's marketplace often fails to adequately protect biodiversity. We used a Marxist critique to explain one reason for this failure and to suggest a possible, if partial, response. Reframing ecosystem functions as economic services does not address the political problem of commodification. Just as it obscures the labor of human workers, commodification obscures the importance of the biota (ecosystem workers) and related abiotic factors that contribute to ecosystem functions. This erasure of work done by ecosystems impedes public understanding of biodiversity. Odum and Odum's radical suggestion to use the language of ecosystems (i.e., emergy or energy memory) to describe economies, rather than using the language of economics (i.e., services) to describe ecosystems, reverses this erasure of the ecosystem worker. Considering the current dominance of economic forces, however, implementing such solutions would require social changes similar in magnitude to those that occurred during the 1960s. Niklas Luhmann argues that such substantive, yet rapid, social change requires synergy among multiple societal function systems (i.e., economy, education, law, politics, religion, science), rather than reliance on a single social sphere, such as the economy. Explicitly presenting ecosystem services as discreet and incomplete aspects of ecosystem functions not only allows potential economic and environmental benefits associated with ecosystem services, but also enables the social and political changes required to ensure valuation of ecosystem functions and related biodiversity in ways beyond their measurement on an economic scale. PMID:19659684

  17. Animal Talk in Cocopa

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Langdon, Margaret

    1978-01-01

    This article discusses an abnormal type of speech in the Cocopa language called animal talk, which deals with how humans refer to the communication between humans and animals and between animals themselves. The derivation of animal talk from normal speech and speech of mythical animals is discussed. (NCR)

  18. An animal welfare view of wildlife contraception.

    PubMed

    Grandy, J W; Rutberg, A T

    2002-01-01

    Although there is some dissent, the animal protection community generally supports the concept of wildlife contraception. However, some contraceptive agents, delivery mechanisms and specific applications will be opposed by animal welfare advocates on environmental, humane or other ethical grounds, and some animal rights advocates may oppose wildlife contraception entirely. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has supported and conducted wildlife contraception studies for more than 10 years. In general, we have invested in contraceptive agents (such as porcine zona pellucida) that we believe will prove environmentally, physiologically and behaviourally benign, and in delivery mechanisms that are narrowly targeted. As we consider contraception to be a major intervention into natural processes, we believe that wildlife contraception should be applied judiciously, locally and in a manner that is sensitive to the needs of animals, humans and ecosystem function. PMID:12220149

  19. [Venomous and poisonous animals--I. Overview].

    PubMed

    Chippaux, J P; Goyffon, M

    2006-06-01

    Venomous animals that are able to innoculate or inject venom and poisonous animals that cannot inject venom but are toxic when ingested belong to all zoological groups. They can be encountered worldwide in any ecosystem on land and at sea but they are more common and more dangerous in tropical areas. This first article of a series to appear in the next issues of Medecine Tropicale presents an overview of species involved in envenomations and poisonings. In addition to a brief reviewing geographic risks and circumstances in which bites, stings or ingestion occur, some information is provided about antivenim therapy, the only etiological treatment. PMID:16924809

  20. Animation of Antimicrobial Resistance

    MedlinePLUS Videos and Cool Tools

    ... Home Food Drugs Medical Devices Radiation-Emitting Products Vaccines, Blood & Biologics Animal & Veterinary Cosmetics Tobacco Products Animal & ... back Food Drugs Medical Devices Radiation-Emitting Products Vaccines, Blood & Biologics Animal & Veterinary Cosmetics Tobacco Products

  1. Morris Animal Foundation

    MedlinePLUS

    ... Give Partners Become a Partner Meet Our Partners Animal Lovers Our Work Ways to Give Pet Health ... Research VetNews Canine Lifetime Health Project Researchers Small Animal Studies Large Animal Studies Wildlife Studies Vet Students ...

  2. Ecosystem approaches to human health.

    PubMed

    Nielsen, N O

    2001-01-01

    The promotion of human health must be embedded in the wider pursuit of ecosystem health. Interventions will be impaired if ecosystem-linked determinants of health are not taken into account. In the extreme case, if ecosystems lose their capacity for renewal, society will lose life support services. Essential features of ecosystem health are the capacity to maintain integrity and to achieve reasonable and sustainable human goals. An ecosystem approach to research and management must be transdisciplinary and assure participation of stakeholders. These requisites provide a means for science to better deal with the complexity of ecosystems, and for policy-makers and managers to establish and achieve reasonable societal goals. The ecosystem approach can determine links between human health and activities or events which disturb ecosystem state and function. Examples are: landscape disturbance in agriculture, mining, forestry, urbanization, and natural disasters. An understanding of these links can provide guidance for management interventions and policy options that promote human health. An ecosystem approach to management must be adaptive because of irreducible uncertainty in ecosystem function. PMID:11426267

  3. Carbon dioxide dynamics in an artificial ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hu, Enzhu; Hu, Dawei; Tong, Ling; Li, Ming; Fu, Yuming; He, Wenting; Liu, Hong

    An experimental artificial ecosystem was established as a tool to understand the behavior of closed ecosystem and to develop the technology for a future bioregenerative life support system for lunar or planetary exploration. Total effective volume of the system is 0.7 m3 . It consists of a higher plant chamber, an animal chamber and a photo-bioreactor which cultivated lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.), silkworm (Bombyx Mori L.) and microalgae (Chlorella), respectively. For uniform and sustained observations, lettuce and silkworms was cultivated using sequential cultivation method, and microalgae using continuous culture. Four researchers took turns breathing the system air through a tube for brief periods every few hours. A mathematic model, simulating the carbon dioxide dynamics was developed. The main biological parameters concerning photosynthesis of lettuce and microalgae, respiration of silkworms and human were validated by the experimental data. The model described the respiratory relationship between autotrophic and heterotrophic compartments. A control strategy was proposed as a tool for the atmosphere management of the artificial ecosystem.

  4. The parasite connection in ecosystems and macroevolution

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Seilacher, Adolf; Reif, Wolf-Ernst; Wenk, Peter

    2007-03-01

    In addition to their obvious negative effects (“pathogens”), endoparasites of various kinds play an important role in shaping and maintaining modern animal communities. In the long-term, parasites including pathogens are indispensable entities of any ecosystem. To understand this, it is essential that one changes the viewpoint from the host’s interests to that of the parasite. Together with geographic isolation, trophic arms race, symbiosis, and niche partitioning, all parasites (including balance strategists, i.e. seemingly non-pathogenic ones) modulate their hosts’ population densities. In addition, heteroxenic parasites control the balance between predator and prey species, particularly if final and intermediate hosts are vertebrates. Thereby, such parasites enhance the bonds in ecosystems and help maintain the status quo. As the links between eukaryotic parasites and their hosts are less flexible than trophic connections, parasite networks probably contributed to the observed stasis and incumbency of ecosystems over geologic time, in spite of continuous Darwinian innovation. Because heteroxenic parasites target taxonomic levels above that of the species (e.g. families), these taxa may have also become units of selection in global catastrophies. Macroevolutionary extrapolations, however, are difficult to verify because endoparasites cannot fossilize.

  5. Spacecraft -- Capsule Separation (Animation)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2005-01-01

    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on the image for Spacecraft -- Capsule Separation animation

    This animation shows the return capsule separating from the Stardust spacecraft.

  6. Animals in research.

    PubMed

    1985-05-25

    Britain's Home Office has issued a white paper, Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, which will--when enacted into law--revise the 1876 Cruelty to Animals Act. The proposed legislation addresses issues of licensing of research teams and projects, control of animal suffering, and registration and inspection of animal supply facilities. Also provided for are an advisory Animal Procedures Committee, government funding for research into alternatives to animal experimentation, and the authority to issue guidelines and codes of practice. The white paper, while welcomed by moderate animal welfare groups whose recommendations provided its framework, has been attacked by some animal rights advocates. PMID:11644485

  7. Animal rights, animal minds, and human mindreading.

    PubMed

    Mameli, M; Bortolotti, L

    2006-02-01

    Do non-human animals have rights? The answer to this question depends on whether animals have morally relevant mental properties. Mindreading is the human activity of ascribing mental states to other organisms. Current knowledge about the evolution and cognitive structure of mindreading indicates that human ascriptions of mental states to non-human animals are very inaccurate. The accuracy of human mindreading can be improved with the help of scientific studies of animal minds. However, the scientific studies do not by themselves solve the problem of how to map psychological similarities (and differences) between humans and animals onto a distinction between morally relevant and morally irrelevant mental properties. The current limitations of human mindreading-whether scientifically aided or not-have practical consequences for the rational justification of claims about which rights (if any) non-human animals should be accorded. PMID:16446412

  8. Assessing risks to ecosystem quality

    SciTech Connect

    Barnthouse, L.W.

    1995-12-31

    Ecosystems are not organisms. Because ecosystems do not reproduce, grow old or sick, and die, the term ecosystem health is somewhat misleading and perhaps should not be used. A more useful concept is ``ecosystem quality,`` which denotes a set of desirable ecosystem characteristics defined in terms of species composition, productivity, size/condition of specific populations, or other measurable properties. The desired quality of an ecosystem may be pristine, as in a nature preserve, or highly altered by man, as in a managed forest or navigational waterway. ``Sustainable development`` implies that human activities that influence ecosystem quality should be managed so that high-quality ecosystems are maintained for future generations. In sustainability-based environmental management, the focus is on maintaining or improving ecosystem quality, not on restricting discharges or requiring particular waste treatment technologies. This approach requires management of chemical impacts to be integrated with management of other sources of stress such as erosion, eutrophication, and direct human exploitation. Environmental scientists must (1) work with decision makers and the public to define ecosystem quality goals, (2) develop corresponding measures of ecosystem quality, (3) diagnose causes for departures from desired states, and (4) recommend appropriate restoration actions, if necessary. Environmental toxicology and chemical risk assessment are necessary for implementing the above framework, but they are clearly not sufficient. This paper reviews the state-of-the science relevant to sustaining the quality of aquatic ecosystems. Using the specific example of a reservoir in eastern Tennessee, the paper attempts to define roles for ecotoxicology and risk assessment in each step of the management process.

  9. Brominated Flame Retardants in North-East Atlantic Marine Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Jenssen, Bjørn Munro; Sørmo, Eugen G.; Bæk, Kine; Bytingsvik, Jenny; Gaustad, Hege; Ruus, Anders; Skaare, Janneche Utne

    2007-01-01

    Background Concentrations of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are reported to increase in marine ecosystems. Objectives Characterize exposure to BFRs in animals from different trophic levels in North-East Atlantic coastal marine ecosystems along a latitudinal gradient from southern Norway to Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in the Arctic. Calanoid species were collected from the Oslofjord (59°N), Froan (64°N), and Spitsbergen (> 78°N); Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) from the Oslofjord and Froan; polar cod (Boreogadus saida) from Bear Island (74°N) and Spitsbergen; harbor seal (Phoca vitulina) from the Oslofjord, Froan, and Spitsbergen; and ringed seal (Phoca vitulina) from Spitsbergen. Eggs of common tern (Sterna hirundo) were collected from the Oslofjord, and eggs of arctic terns (Sterna paradisaea) from Froan and Spitsbergen. Results Levels of polybrominated diphenylethers (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) generally decreased as a function of increasing latitude, reflecting distance from release sources. The clear latitudinal decrease in levels of BFRs was not pronounced in the two tern species, most likely because they are exposed during migration. The decabrominated compound BDE-209 was detected in animals from all three ecosystems, and the highest levels were found in arctic tern eggs from Spitsbergen. HBCD was found in animals from all trophic levels, except for in calanoids at Froan and Spitsbergen. Conclusions Even though the levels of PBDEs and HBCD are generally low in North-East Atlantic coastal marine ecosystems, there are concerns about the relatively high presence of BDE-209 and HBCD. PMID:18174948

  10. Recapitulating the Tumor Ecosystem Along the Metastatic Cascade Using 3D Culture Models

    PubMed Central

    Kim, Jiyun; Tanner, Kandice

    2015-01-01

    Advances in cancer research have shown that a tumor can be likened to a foreign species that disrupts delicately balanced ecological interactions, compromising the survival of normal tissue ecosystems. In efforts to mitigate tumor expansion and metastasis, experimental approaches from ecology are becoming more frequently and successfully applied by researchers from diverse disciplines to reverse engineer and re-engineer biological systems in order to normalize the tumor ecosystem. We present a review on the use of 3D biomimetic platforms to recapitulate biotic and abiotic components of the tumor ecosystem, in efforts to delineate the underlying mechanisms that drive evolution of tumor heterogeneity, tumor dissemination, and acquisition of drug resistance. PMID:26284194

  11. Physics for Animation Artists

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Chai, David; Garcia, Alejandro L.

    2011-01-01

    Animation has become enormously popular in feature films, television, and video games. Art departments and film schools at universities as well as animation programs at high schools have expanded in recent years to meet the growing demands for animation artists. Professional animators identify the technological facet as the most rapidly advancing…

  12. POLLUTION AND ECOSYSTEM HEALTH - ASSESSING ECOLOGICAL CONDITION OF COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Summers, Kevin. 2004. Pollution and Ecosystem Health - Assessing Ecological Condition of Coastal Ecosystems. Presented at the White Water to Blue Water (WW2BW) Miami Conference, 21-26 March 2004, Miami, FL. 1 p. (ERL,GB R973).

    Throughout the coastal regions and Large Mari...

  13. Ecosystem Services Research Program: LTG 4: Ecosystem specific studies: wetlands

    EPA Science Inventory

    Includes review of ecosystem services derived from marine coastal, Great Lakes coastal, and isolated wetlands. Of particular interest is the development of guidelines to implement the 2008 EPA and ACE rules which require, for the first time, that specific ecosystem services be c...

  14. Carotenoids in marine animals.

    PubMed

    Maoka, Takashi

    2011-01-01

    Marine animals contain various carotenoids that show structural diversity. These marine animals accumulate carotenoids from foods such as algae and other animals and modify them through metabolic reactions. Many of the carotenoids present in marine animals are metabolites of ?-carotene, fucoxanthin, peridinin, diatoxanthin, alloxanthin, and astaxanthin, etc. Carotenoids found in these animals provide the food chain as well as metabolic pathways. In the present review, I will describe marine animal carotenoids from natural product chemistry, metabolism, food chain, and chemosystematic viewpoints, and also describe new structural carotenoids isolated from marine animals over the last decade. PMID:21566799

  15. Debugging software with animated graphics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horn, Dawn; Scrip, Becky; Scrip, Bill

    1997-07-01

    The traditional use of graphics and animation in engineering software development has been to demonstrate the function and utility of individual engineering tools. This paper illustrates the use of graphical rendering and animation for debugging large integrated simulations. The tools presented are part of the THAAD integrated system effectiveness simulation (TISES). TISES has integrated different segment software models to be able to perform analysis of a full THAAD (theater high altitude area defense) battalion. Within each model are implicit coordinates, transformations, reference values (i.e. earth radius) used which may or may not match those of adjacent models. Each interface or integration between the models introduces a source of error. TISES also utilized many different input parameters from a variety of external sources that can be a source of error. The TISES development team has found graphics and animation to be extremely helpful in testing and debugging these interface problems. This paper includes examples of input data verification, model to model interface, and model versus model perceptions that have been utilized in TISES development.

  16. Dairy animal welfare. Introduction.

    PubMed

    Blosser, T H

    1987-12-01

    Organizations devoted to proper animal care have focused the attention of society on humane animal treatment. In recent years, some groups have raised questions as to what constitutes proper animal care on the farm and in the research laboratory. Philosophical questions about animal rights have been raised. Several groups are active in the animal welfare, animal rights arena and they vary widely in their objectives and methods of operation. Many of these groups are well-funded. Some resort to civil disobedience to achieve their ends. Farm animal commodity groups, animal-oriented research agencies, and animal-related industry groups have become increasingly aware of the public interest in animal welfare and are organizing programs and groups to better understand and educate the public on the issues. PMID:3448117

  17. "Pleistocene Park" - A Glacial Ecosystem in a Warming World

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimov, N.; Zimov, S. A.

    2011-12-01

    Most people if asked what association they have to the phrase - ice age, will answer - "Mammoth". But mammoths are not only big wooly elephants which went extinct in the beginning of Holocene. They were also part of a great ecosystem, the Northern Steppe or Mammoth Ecosystem, which was the world's largest ecosystem for hundreds thousand of years. This ecosystem, with extremely high rates of biocycling, could maintain animal densities which can be hardly found anywhere in the modern world. Northern steppe played an important role in shaping the glacial climate of the planet. High albedo grasslands reflected a much bigger portion of sun heat back to the atmosphere. Cold soils and permafrost served as sinks of carbon, helping to keep greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at low levels. In the beginning of Holocene, simultaneously with wave of human expansion, an extinction wave took place. Tens of megafauna species became extinct at that time worldwide, while ones that resisted the extinction substantially dropped in numbers. The Northern Steppe ecosystem became imbalanced. Without large numbers of herbivores grazing and trampling the pasture, trees, shrubs and moss invaded grasslands. Within just a few hundreds years the mammoth ecosystem was gone, replaced by much lower productivity ecosystems. Already 14 thousand year ago, by simply increasing hunting pressure, humans managed to dramatically change Earth's appearance. We propose that by artificially maintaining a high animal density and diversity on a limited territory for extended period of time, it will be possible to reverse the shift, reestablishing the productive Northern Steppe ecosystem. Moss, shrubs and tree sprouts are not able to resist grazing pressure so they will be quickly replaced by grasses and herbs. Animals digesting all aboveground biomass would accelerate nutrition cycling and consequently increase bioproductivity. Higher bioproductivity would increase evapotranspiration, keeping soils dry and runoff low. This would further increase nutrient availability in the soil. Water limitation would force roots grow deeper to cold soil horizons where these roots (carbon) will be sequestered for a long period of time. After high productivity and high diversity of animals in the ecosystem is reached, this ecosystem will once again be able to compete and to expand. To test this hypothesis, we have started the experiment named "Pleistocene Park". For over 15 years we have brought different herbivore species to the fenced area in the Kolyma river lowland, keep them at high density and see the ecosystem transformation. Now Pleistocene Park is size of 20 km2 and home for 7 big herbivores species. It is a small version of how the Mammoth Steppe ecosystem looked in the past and may look in the future. Pleistocene Park is a place where scientists can conduct in situ research and see how restoration of the ice age ecosystem may help mitigate future climatic changes. Arctic is a weakly populated region with no possibilities for agriculture. Modern civilization treats bigger part of the Arctic as wastelands. So why don't turn this "wasteland" into something that can strongly benefit our civilization in the future?

  18. Animal issues and society.

    PubMed

    Grabau, J H

    1993-05-01

    Animal use topics are sensitive issues today. Animal uses issues are often presented as black and white or 'we' are right and 'they' are wrong. This is clearly demonstrated in the available literature from most organizations. Topics presented will include: delineation of issues and concerned groups; examples of animal issues in education and agriculture; the terrorist issue; examples of animal issues/sportsman issues; examples of political and legislative impact; and examples of biomedical and toxicology animal use issues. PMID:8516774

  19. Animals in space

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    White, Angela

    1988-01-01

    Animals are indispensable to the space program. Their continued use could have many significant results. Those who are opposed to using animals in space should remember that space animals are treated humanely; they are necessary because results can be obtained from them that would be unobtainable from humans; and results from animal experiments can be applied to human systems. Therefore, NASA should continue to use animals in space research.

  20. Ecosystem Studies and Geographic Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Renner, John M.

    1970-01-01

    In shifting emphasis from accumulation of facts to methods of investigation and cognitive skills, the concept of ecosystem is a powerful organizing principle for geography. The connectivity of all things in an environment, the flow of energy through the system are stressed. The use of ecosystem as a framework for inquiry in the classroom is…

  1. National Atlas of Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    The nation’s ecosystems provide a vast array of services to humans from clean and abundant water to recreational opportunities. The benefits of nature or “ecosystem services” are often taken for granted and not considered in environmental decision-making. In some cases, decis...

  2. Filling Gaps in Ecosystem Data

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zielinski, Sarah

    2006-06-01

    Filling 10 key gaps in U.S. ecosystem data could double the number of indicators of ecosystem conditions in the nation and improve environmental decision-making, according to a report released 13 June by the nonprofit Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment.

  3. National Atlas of Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    The nation’s ecosystems provide a vast array of services to humans from clean and abundant water to recreational opportunities. The benefits of nature or “ecosystem services” are often taken for granted and not considered in environmental decision-making. In some cases, decis...

  4. Linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services for public policy

    PubMed Central

    Wong, Christina P; Jiang, Bo; Kinzig, Ann P; Lee, Kai N; Ouyang, Zhiyun

    2015-01-01

    Governments worldwide are recognising ecosystem services as an approach to address sustainability challenges. Decision-makers need credible and legitimate measurements of ecosystem services to evaluate decisions for trade-offs to make wise choices. Managers lack these measurements because of a data gap linking ecosystem characteristics to final ecosystem services. The dominant method to address the data gap is benefit transfer using ecological data from one location to estimate ecosystem services at other locations with similar land cover. However, benefit transfer is only valid once the data gap is adequately resolved. Disciplinary frames separating ecology from economics and policy have resulted in confusion on concepts and methods preventing progress on the data gap. In this study, we present a 10-step approach to unify concepts, methods and data from the disparate disciplines to offer guidance on overcoming the data gap. We suggest: (1) estimate ecosystem characteristics using biophysical models, (2) identify final ecosystem services using endpoints and (3) connect them using ecological production functions to quantify biophysical trade-offs. The guidance is strategic for public policy because analysts need to be: (1) realistic when setting priorities, (2) attentive to timelines to acquire relevant data, given resources and (3) responsive to the needs of decision-makers. PMID:25394857

  5. Animal models of subjective tinnitus.

    PubMed

    von der Behrens, Wolfger

    2014-01-01

    Tinnitus is one of the major audiological diseases, affecting a significant portion of the ageing society. Despite its huge personal and presumed economic impact there are only limited therapeutic options available. The reason for this deficiency lies in the very nature of the disease as it is deeply connected to elementary plasticity of auditory processing in the central nervous system. Understanding these mechanisms is essential for developing a therapy that reverses the plastic changes underlying the pathogenesis of tinnitus. This requires experiments that address individual neurons and small networks, something usually not feasible in human patients. However, in animals such invasive experiments on the level of single neurons with high spatial and temporal resolution are possible. Therefore, animal models are a very critical element in the combined efforts for engineering new therapies. This review provides an overview over the most important features of animal models of tinnitus: which laboratory species are suitable, how to induce tinnitus, and how to characterize the perceived tinnitus by behavioral means. In particular, these aspects of tinnitus animal models are discussed in the light of transferability to the human patients. PMID:24829805

  6. Animal Models of Subjective Tinnitus

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Tinnitus is one of the major audiological diseases, affecting a significant portion of the ageing society. Despite its huge personal and presumed economic impact there are only limited therapeutic options available. The reason for this deficiency lies in the very nature of the disease as it is deeply connected to elementary plasticity of auditory processing in the central nervous system. Understanding these mechanisms is essential for developing a therapy that reverses the plastic changes underlying the pathogenesis of tinnitus. This requires experiments that address individual neurons and small networks, something usually not feasible in human patients. However, in animals such invasive experiments on the level of single neurons with high spatial and temporal resolution are possible. Therefore, animal models are a very critical element in the combined efforts for engineering new therapies. This review provides an overview over the most important features of animal models of tinnitus: which laboratory species are suitable, how to induce tinnitus, and how to characterize the perceived tinnitus by behavioral means. In particular, these aspects of tinnitus animal models are discussed in the light of transferability to the human patients. PMID:24829805

  7. Spatial Data Analysis of Animal Feeding Operations and Water Quality in Iowa

    EPA Science Inventory

    Wastes from animal feeding operations (AFOs) contain nutrients, pathogens, and pharmaceuticals posing potential risks to ecosystems and community health. Runoff from AFOs may enter nearby surface waters, contributing to local and downstream impairments. Facility-scale analyses re...

  8. Prebiotic use in food animals to reduce foodborne pathogens and disease

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    As our understanding of the complexities of the gastrointestinal microbial ecosystem has grown in recent years, so has interest in utilizing the natural power contained within this ecosystem as a tool in our arsenal to improve both animal and human health. The diversity of the microbial population ...

  9. Long term flux ecosystem exchange over a Mediterranean shrubland ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Spano, D.; Sirca, C.; Marras, S.; Carta, M.; Zara, P.; Arca, A.; Duce, P.

    2011-12-01

    Only a few long-term studies on inter-annual variability in energy and mass exchanges of Mediterranean shrubland ecosystems have been recently published. Since maquis ecosystems experience a wide variation in inter-annual rainfall and temperature, inter-annual differences in CO2 fluxes are expected. Mediterranean-type ecosystems normally show two main peaks of growth (in spring and fall) and experience sometimes pronounced summer drought periods. Consequently, Mediterranean-type ecosystem behavior is even more complex and responds more dramatically to perturbations in water conditions. In this paper, six years of energy and mass fluxes measured using eddy covariance (EC) technique over a secondary succession shrubland ecosystem (maquis) located in Sardinia, Italy are reported. The main objectives are to understand dynamics of ecosystem carbon cycling and to identify the driving factors affecting ecosystem exchanges. Eddy flux and meteorological data are presented along with soil respiration information. Footprint analysis, friction velocity method, and other turbulent parameters were calculated to verify the accuracy of the eddy covariance CO2 measurements. The energy partitioning exhibited clear seasonal patterns with increasing Bowen ratio values during the drought season. Peak CO2 uptake occurred during spring and autumn showing an evident decrease in summer. The estimate of NEE showed differences among years depending on drought and temperature conditions. The surface conductance was clearly depressed during long-term drought period. In general, NEE was relatively low compared to other forest ecosystems. A good relationship was found between GPP and LE. Our data show that the inter-annual differences in NEE of the maquis ecosystem depend mainly on seasonal climate rather than on mean annual air temperature or precipitation. In addition, extreme weather events can also contribute to NEE inter-annual variability.

  10. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss.

    PubMed

    Oliver, Tom H; Isaac, Nick J B; August, Tom A; Woodcock, Ben A; Roy, David B; Bullock, James M

    2015-01-01

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions-specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience. PMID:26646209

  11. Declining resilience of ecosystem functions under biodiversity loss

    PubMed Central

    Oliver, Tom H.; Isaac, Nick J. B.; August, Tom A.; Woodcock, Ben A.; Roy, David B.; Bullock, James M.

    2015-01-01

    The composition of species communities is changing rapidly through drivers such as habitat loss and climate change, with potentially serious consequences for the resilience of ecosystem functions on which humans depend. To assess such changes in resilience, we analyse trends in the frequency of species in Great Britain that provide key ecosystem functions—specifically decomposition, carbon sequestration, pollination, pest control and cultural values. For 4,424 species over four decades, there have been significant net declines among animal species that provide pollination, pest control and cultural values. Groups providing decomposition and carbon sequestration remain relatively stable, as fewer species are in decline and these are offset by large numbers of new arrivals into Great Britain. While there is general concern about degradation of a wide range of ecosystem functions, our results suggest actions should focus on particular functions for which there is evidence of substantial erosion of their resilience. PMID:26646209

  12. Sensitivity and Thresholds of Ecosystems to Abrupt Climate Change

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peteet, D. M.; Peteet, D. M.

    2001-12-01

    Rapid vegetational change is a hallmark of past abrupt climate change, as evidenced from Younger Dryas records in Europe, eastern North America, and the Pacific North American rim. The potential response of future ecosystems to abrupt climate change is targeted, with a focus on particular changes in the hydrological cycle. The vulnerability of ecosystems is notable when particular shifts cross thresholds of precipitation and temperature, as many plants and animals are adapted to specific climatic "windows". Significant forest species compositional changes occur at ecotonal boundaries, which are often the first locations to record a climatic response. Historical forest declines have been linked to stress, and even Pleistocene extinctions have been associated with human interaction at times of rapid climatic shifts. Environmental extremes are risky for reproductive stages, and result in nonlinearities. The role of humans in association with abrupt climate change suggests that many ecosystems may cross thresholds from which they will find it difficult to recover. Sectors particularly vulnerable will be reviewed.

  13. Mechanisms maintaining grassland biodiversity and ecosystem stability

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecologists need to know how particular processes influence biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We demonstrate how data from biodiversity-ecosystem functioning experiments can be used to identify and quantify the classes of mechanisms maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem stability. We predicted...

  14. CARBON DIOXIDE SEQUESTRATION IN TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The terrestrial biosphere plays a prominent role in the global carbon (C) cycle. errestrial ecosystems are currently accumulating C and it appears feasible to manage existing terrestrial (forest, agronomic, desert) ecosystems to maintain or increase C storage. orest ecosystems ca...

  15. Animal Communication: What Do Animals Say?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Morton, Eugene S.

    1983-01-01

    Discusses the nature of animal communication, including possible relationships between the physical structure of vocalizations and their functions in communicating. Provides tables of mammalian and avian sounds (by species/family) used in hostile and friendly appeasing contexts. (JN)

  16. Small-animal research imaging devices.

    PubMed

    Fine, Eugene J; Herbst, Lawrence; Jelicks, Linda A; Koba, Wade; Theele, Daniel

    2014-01-01

    The scientific study of living animals may be dated to Aristotle's original dissections, but modern animal studies are perhaps a century in the making, and advanced animal imaging has emerged only during the past few decades. In vivo imaging now occupies a growing role in the scientific research paradigm. Imaging of small animals has been particularly useful to help understand human molecular biology and pathophysiology using rodents, especially using genetically engineered mice (GEM) with spontaneous diseases that closely mimic human diseases. Specific examples of GEM models of veterinary diseases exist, but in general, GEM for veterinary research has lagged behind human research applications. However, the development of spontaneous disease models from GEM may also hold potential for veterinary research. The imaging techniques most widely used in small-animal research are CT, PET, single-photon emission CT, MRI, and optical fluorescent and luminescent imaging. PMID:24314046

  17. Animals in Education.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Rowan, Andrew N.

    1981-01-01

    Summarizes viewpoints on the use of animals in science experiments in the biology classroom, including those of teachers, education researchers, biomedical scientists, science education administrators, and animal welfare advocates. (Author/CS)

  18. Retainer for laboratory animals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, R. W.

    1979-01-01

    Bio-retainer holds laboratory animals in fixed position for research and clinical experiments. Retainer allows full access to animals and can be rapidly opened and closed to admit and release specimens.

  19. "Name" that Animal

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Laird, Shirley

    2010-01-01

    In this article, the author describes a texture and pattern project. Students started by doing an outline contour drawing of an animal. With the outline drawn, the students then write one of their names to fit "inside" the animal.

  20. [Ecosystem health and human health].

    PubMed

    Cecchi, Giuliano; Mancini, Laura

    2005-01-01

    The study of ecosystem health is a relatively recent discipline that has already provided new insights into numerous aspects of environmental management. One of the most interesting fields of study is the one investigating the relationships between ecosystem and human heath. In this paper some basic terms of reference are given in order to help the understanding of this new approach. One definition of ecosystem health is given, possible causes of degradation are indicated and links with human health are addressed. The ecosystem approach to human health stresses the importance of cultural and social values in shaping the concept of health, both at human and at ecosystem level. Two case-studies showing man-ecosystem interactions are described: mining activities, that provide a suitable field of application of the ecosystem approach, and the case of malaria and DDT, that shows the risks of certain policies neglecting basic human expectations such as health. As a conclusion, some suggestions for possible research activities are given and a few recommendations for sound public health policies are indicated. PMID:16552117

  1. Coral Reef Ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yap, Helen T.

    Coral reefs are geological structures of significant dimensions, constructed over millions of years by calcifying organisms. The present day reef-builders are hard corals belonging to the order Scleractinia, phylum Cnidaria. The greatest concentrations of coral reefs are in the tropics, with highest levels of biodiversity situated in reefs of the Indo-West Pacific region. These ecosystems have provided coastal protection and livelihood to human populations over the millennia. Human activities have caused destruction of these habitats, the intensity of which has increased alarmingly since the latter decades of the twentieth century. The severity of this impact is directly related to exponential growth rates of human populations especially in the coastal areas of the developing world. However, a more recently recognized phenomenon concerns disturbances brought about by the changing climate, manifested mainly as rising sea surface temperatures, and increasing acidification of ocean waters due to greater drawdown of higher concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Management efforts have so far not kept pace with the rates of degradation, so that the spatial extent of damaged reefs and the incidences of localized extinction of reef species are increasing year after year. The major management efforts to date consist of establishing marine protected areas and promoting the active restoration of coral habitats.

  2. Flexible Animation Computer Program

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stallcup, Scott S.

    1990-01-01

    FLEXAN (Flexible Animation), computer program animating structural dynamics on Evans and Sutherland PS300-series graphics workstation with VAX/VMS host computer. Typical application is animation of spacecraft undergoing structural stresses caused by thermal and vibrational effects. Displays distortions in shape of spacecraft. Program displays single natural mode of vibration, mode history, or any general deformation of flexible structure. Written in FORTRAN 77.

  3. Animation. Factfile No. 9.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Elsas, Diana, Ed.; And Others

    The following sections are included in this guide: (1) organizations, (2) training programs, (3) animation courses and programs, (4) distributors of animation, (5) services and equipment useful to animators, and (6) U.S. and foreign film festivals. Descriptive information is included for each listing. The annotated bibliography deals with making…

  4. Animation. Factfile No. 9.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Elsas, Diana, Ed.; And Others

    The following sections are included in this guide: (1) organizations, (2) training programs, (3) animation courses and programs, (4) distributors of animation, (5) services and equipment useful to animators, and (6) U.S. and foreign film festivals. Descriptive information is included for each listing. The annotated bibliography deals with making…

  5. Animals in Disguise.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Burke, Mary C.

    2001-01-01

    Presents an activity in which first grade students learn why camouflage is important to an animal's survival. Students see living examples of animals who use camouflage for protection, then create their own camouflaged animals and hide them around the classroom. For assessment, students write and illustrate five things they learned from the study…

  6. Animals of the Desert.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    NatureScope, 1985

    1985-01-01

    Provides background information and student activities on how desert animals have adapted to dryness and heat, how and when animals move on the desert, and nocturnal/diurnal animals. Each activity includes objective(s), recommended age level(s), subject area(s), list of materials needed, and procedures. Ready-to-copy pages are included for a…

  7. Pixel Palette: Palm Animation.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hinshaw, Craig

    2003-01-01

    Describes a project used with fifth-grade students in which they learned about animation. Explains that the students learned about animation used in art. States that they received a personal data assistant to create their own animation of a flower that was growing and pollinated by a butterfly. (CMK)

  8. Engineering vascularized soft tissue flaps in an animal model using human adipose-derived stem cells and VEGF+PLGA/PEG microspheres on a collagen-chitosan scaffold with a flow-through vascular pedicle.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Qixu; Hubenak, Justin; Iyyanki, Tejaswi; Alred, Erik; Turza, Kristin C; Davis, Greg; Chang, Edward I; Branch-Brooks, Cynthia D; Beahm, Elisabeth K; Butler, Charles E

    2015-12-01

    Insufficient neovascularization is associated with high levels of resorption and necrosis in autologous and engineered fat grafts. We tested the hypothesis that incorporating angiogenic growth factor into a scaffold-stem cell construct and implanting this construct around a vascular pedicle improves neovascularization and adipogenesis for engineering soft tissue flaps. Poly(lactic-co-glycolic-acid/polyethylene glycol (PLGA/PEG) microspheres containing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) were impregnated into collagen-chitosan scaffolds seeded with human adipose-derived stem cells (hASCs). This setup was analyzed in vitro and then implanted into isolated chambers around a discrete vascular pedicle in nude rats. Engineered tissue samples within the chambers were harvested and analyzed for differences in vascularization and adipose tissue growth. In vitro testing showed that the collagen-chitosan scaffold provided a supportive environment for hASC integration and proliferation. PLGA/PEG microspheres with slow-release VEGF had no negative effect on cell survival in collagen-chitosan scaffolds. In vivo, the system resulted in a statistically significant increase in neovascularization that in turn led to a significant increase in adipose tissue persistence after 8 weeks versus control constructs. These data indicate that our model-hASCs integrated with a collagen-chitosan scaffold incorporated with VEGF-containing PLGA/PEG microspheres supported by a predominant vascular vessel inside a chamber-provides a promising, clinically translatable platform for engineering vascularized soft tissue flap. The engineered adipose tissue with a vascular pedicle could conceivably be transferred as a vascularized soft tissue pedicle flap or free flap to a recipient site for the repair of soft-tissue defects. PMID:26410787

  9. Science for managing ecosystem services: Beyond the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

    PubMed Central

    Carpenter, Stephen R.; Mooney, Harold A.; Agard, John; Capistrano, Doris; DeFries, Ruth S.; Díaz, Sandra; Dietz, Thomas; Duraiappah, Anantha K.; Oteng-Yeboah, Alfred; Pereira, Henrique Miguel; Perrings, Charles; Reid, Walter V.; Sarukhan, José; Scholes, Robert J.; Whyte, Anne

    2009-01-01

    The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) introduced a new framework for analyzing social–ecological systems that has had wide influence in the policy and scientific communities. Studies after the MA are taking up new challenges in the basic science needed to assess, project, and manage flows of ecosystem services and effects on human well-being. Yet, our ability to draw general conclusions remains limited by focus on discipline-bound sectors of the full social–ecological system. At the same time, some polices and practices intended to improve ecosystem services and human well-being are based on untested assumptions and sparse information. The people who are affected and those who provide resources are increasingly asking for evidence that interventions improve ecosystem services and human well-being. New research is needed that considers the full ensemble of processes and feedbacks, for a range of biophysical and social systems, to better understand and manage the dynamics of the relationship between humans and the ecosystems on which they rely. Such research will expand the capacity to address fundamental questions about complex social–ecological systems while evaluating assumptions of policies and practices intended to advance human well-being through improved ecosystem services. PMID:19179280

  10. Strategies to reduce nutrient losses from land applied animal manure

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Continued land application of animal manure to agriculture fields result in elevated soil N and P concentrations that exceed crop requirements and are lost to surface water bodies. Losses of N and P lead to accelerated eutrophication, seeing that in most freshwater ecosystems P is the most limited ...

  11. Ecology of Disease: The Intersection of Human and Animal Health

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Environmental ecosystems and climate are closely linked and they affect animal and human diseases. We describe (1) the effect of ecology on vector-borne disease, (2) the role of ecology and global climate in disease forecasting, and (3) the potential use of forecasting to reduce impact and limit sp...

  12. Tourist Opinions on Animal Culling: A South Australian Example

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moskwa, Emily C.

    2015-01-01

    Environmental education is commonly used to satisfy the natural curiosity of tourists, increase conservation awareness and strengthen pro-conservation values. Yet it does not always address the more sensitive ecosystem management issues such as animal culling as it may be seen to upset the balance of the positive tourist experience. For this…

  13. Tourist Opinions on Animal Culling: A South Australian Example

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Moskwa, Emily C.

    2015-01-01

    Environmental education is commonly used to satisfy the natural curiosity of tourists, increase conservation awareness and strengthen pro-conservation values. Yet it does not always address the more sensitive ecosystem management issues such as animal culling as it may be seen to upset the balance of the positive tourist experience. For this…

  14. Assessing the effects of large mobile predators on ecosystem connectivity.

    PubMed

    McCauley, Douglas J; Young, Hillary S; Dunbar, Robert B; Estes, James A; Semmens, Brice X; Micheli, Fiorenza

    2012-09-01

    Large predators are often highly mobile and can traverse and use multiple habitats. We know surprisingly little about how predator mobility determines important processes of ecosystem connectivity. Here we used a variety of data sources drawn from Palmyra Atoll, a remote tropical marine ecosystem where large predators remain in high abundance, to investigate how these animals foster connectivity. Our results indicate that three of Palmyra's most abundant large predators (e.g., two reef sharks and one snapper) use resources from different habitats creating important linkages across ecosystems. Observations of cross-system foraging such as this have important implications for the understanding of ecosystem functioning, the management of large-predator populations, and the design of conservation measures intended to protect whole ecosystems. In the face of widespread declines of large, mobile predators, it is important that resource managers, policy makers, and ecologists work to understand how these predators create connectivity and to determine the impact that their depletions may be having on the integrity of these linkages. PMID:23092009

  15. Avian wildlife as sentinels of ecosystem health.

    PubMed

    Smits, Judit E G; Fernie, Kimberly J

    2013-05-01

    Birds have been widely used as sentinels of ecosystem health reflecting changes in habitat quality, increased incidence of disease, and exposure to and effects of chemical contaminants. Numerous studies addressing these issues focus on the breeding period, since hormonal, behavioural, reproductive, and developmental aspects of the health can be observed over a relatively short time-span. Many body systems within individuals are tightly integrated and interdependent, and can be affected by contaminant chemicals, disease, and habitat changes in complex ways. Animals higher in the food web will reflect cumulative effects of multiple stressors. Such features make birds ideal indicators for assessing environmental health in areas of environmental concern. Five case studies are presented, highlighting the use of different species which have provided insight into ecosystem sustainability, including (i) the consequences of anthropogenic disturbances of sagebrush habitat on the greater northern sage grouse Centrocercus urophasianus; (ii) the high prevalence of disease in very specific passerine species in the Canary Islands closely paralleling deterioration of formerly productive desert habitat and ensuing interspecific stressors; (iii) fractures, abnormal bone structure, and associated biochemical aberrations in nestling storks exposed to acidic tailings mud from a dyke rupture at an iron pyrite mine near Sevilla, Spain; (iv) newly presented data demonstrating biochemical changes in nestling peregrine falcons Falco peregrinus and associations with exposure to major chemical classes in the Great Lakes Basin of Canada; and (v) the variability in responses of tree swallows Tachycineta bicolor to contaminants, biological and meteorological challenges when breeding in the Athabasca oil sands. PMID:23260372

  16. The ecosystem study on Rongelap Atoll

    SciTech Connect

    Walker, R.B.; Gessel, S.P.; Held, E.E.

    1997-07-01

    During the 1950`s and 1960`s, the Laboratory of Radiation Biology at the University of Washington carried out an intensive study of this Atoll, which was contaminated with radioactive fallout from the {open_quotes}Bravo shot{close_quotes} in 1954. This study involved many aspects of the environment and the plant and animal life: soils, land plants, marine life, birds, geology and hydrology, and human diets as well. In much of the research, the fortuitiously present radioactive isotopes, especially {sup 137}Cs and {sup 90}Sr, were tracers. Although the term {open_quotes}ecosystem study{close_quotes} was not in vogue at that time, it is clear that this was an early use of the ecosystem approach. Soil types and their development, the distribution of mineral elements in plants and soils, including predominant radionuclides, distribution and growth of native terrestrial plants in relation to topography and salinity, some aspects of the human diets, micronutrient nutrition of the coconut palm, island and islet development and stability, were given attention in the studies. Some of the findings in the various areas of study will be presented and discussed. 32 refs., 2 figs., 8 tabs.

  17. [Animal experimentation in Israel].

    PubMed

    Epstein, Yoram; Leshem, Micah

    2002-04-01

    In 1994 the Israeli parliament (Knesset) amended the Cruelty to Animals Act to regulate the use of experimental animals. Accordingly, animal experiments can only be carried out for the purposes of promoting health and medical science, reducing suffering, advancing scientific research, testing or production of materials and products (excluding cosmetics and cleaning products) and education. Animal experiments are only permitted if alternative methods are not possible. The National Board for Animal Experimentation was established to implement the law. Its members are drawn from government ministries, representatives of doctors, veterinarians, and industry organizations, animal rights groups, and academia. In order to carry out an animal experiment, the institution, researchers involved, and the specific experiment, all require approval by the Board. To date the Board has approved some 35 institutions, about half are public institutions (universities, hospitals and colleges) and the rest industrial firms in biotechnology and pharmaceutics. In 2000, 250,000 animals were used in research, 85% were rodents, 11% fowls, 1,000 other farm animals, 350 dogs and cats, and 39 monkeys. Academic institutions used 74% of the animals and industry the remainder. We also present summarized data on the use of animals in research in other countries. PMID:12017891

  18. ECOSYSTEM PROTECTION: DYNAMIC WATERSHED SIMULATOR

    EPA Science Inventory

    This research focuses on developing methods and models to determine how terrestrial ecosystem/habitats will respond to anthropogenic stress. The primary objective is to develop a comprehensive modeling framework for predicting the effects of multiple stressors on key hydrologic,...

  19. DROUGHT EFFECTS ON RANGELAND ECOSYSTEMS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Rangeland ecosystems are event-driven, and water events are typically considered most important. Thus, understanding the dimensions of drought (duration, severity, and extent) becomes pivotal to understanding rangelands. Strong relationships between precipitation and forage production have been dete...

  20. Geospatial tools for Ecosystem Services

    EPA Science Inventory

    Northeastern lakes provide valuable ecosystem services that benefit residents and visitors and are increasingly important for provisioning of recreational opportunities and amenities. Concurrently, population growth threatens lakes by, for instance, increasing nutrient loads. ...

  1. Rapid Recovery of Damaged Ecosystems

    PubMed Central

    Jones, Holly P.; Schmitz, Oswald J.

    2009-01-01

    Background Recent reports on the state of the global environment provide evidence that humankind is inflicting great damage to the very ecosystems that support human livelihoods. The reports further predict that ecosystems will take centuries to recover from damages if they recover at all. Accordingly, there is despair that we are passing on a legacy of irreparable damage to future generations which is entirely inconsistent with principles of sustainability. Methodology/Principal Findings We tested the prediction of irreparable harm using a synthesis of recovery times compiled from 240 independent studies reported in the scientific literature. We provide startling evidence that most ecosystems globally can, given human will, recover from very major perturbations on timescales of decades to half-centuries. Significance/Conclusions Accordingly, we find much hope that humankind can transition to more sustainable use of ecosystems. PMID:19471645

  2. Policy characterization of ecosystem management.

    PubMed

    Lamont, Averil

    2006-02-01

    This paper provides a comparison of ecosystem management (EM) to the traditional regulatory management approach and outlines the characteristics of EM from a policy perspective, defining the conditions under which this management tool can be successfully implemented. Ecosystem management is a collaborative and integrative tool focused on balancing societal needs, economic growth, and environmental protection to ensure the long-term ecological integrity of a particular ecosystem. The characteristics of this particular tool include: (1) its holistic approach to environmental problems; (2) its integration of values (economic, social, and environmental) through a collaborative, multi-partner, decision making structure; (3) its reliance on science to guide decisions and set boundaries; and (4) its ability to learn from the implementation of decisions (adaptive management). Examples are draw from Environment Canada's various regional ecosystem initiatives. PMID:16502036

  3. Aerial Explorers and Robotic Ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Young, Larry A.; Pisanich, Greg

    2004-01-01

    A unique bio-inspired approach to autonomous aerial vehicle, a.k.a. aerial explorer technology is discussed. The work is focused on defining and studying aerial explorer mission concepts, both as an individual robotic system and as a member of a small robotic "ecosystem." Members of this robotic ecosystem include the aerial explorer, air-deployed sensors and robotic symbiotes, and other assets such as rovers, landers, and orbiters.

  4. Conservation Planning for Ecosystem Services

    PubMed Central

    Chan, Kai M. A; Shaw, M. Rebecca; Cameron, David R; Underwood, Emma C; Daily, Gretchen C

    2006-01-01

    Despite increasing attention to the human dimension of conservation projects, a rigorous, systematic methodology for planning for ecosystem services has not been developed. This is in part because flows of ecosystem services remain poorly characterized at local-to-regional scales, and their protection has not generally been made a priority. We used a spatially explicit conservation planning framework to explore the trade-offs and opportunities for aligning conservation goals for biodiversity with six ecosystem services (carbon storage, flood control, forage production, outdoor recreation, crop pollination, and water provision) in the Central Coast ecoregion of California, United States. We found weak positive and some weak negative associations between the priority areas for biodiversity conservation and the flows of the six ecosystem services across the ecoregion. Excluding the two agriculture-focused services—crop pollination and forage production—eliminates all negative correlations. We compared the degree to which four contrasting conservation network designs protect biodiversity and the flow of the six services. We found that biodiversity conservation protects substantial collateral flows of services. Targeting ecosystem services directly can meet the multiple ecosystem services and biodiversity goals more efficiently but cannot substitute for targeted biodiversity protection (biodiversity losses of 44% relative to targeting biodiversity alone). Strategically targeting only biodiversity plus the four positively associated services offers much promise (relative biodiversity losses of 7%). Here we present an initial analytical framework for integrating biodiversity and ecosystem services in conservation planning and illustrate its application. We found that although there are important potential trade-offs between conservation for biodiversity and for ecosystem services, a systematic planning framework offers scope for identifying valuable synergies. PMID:17076586

  5. In Brief: Coral ecosystems plan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Showstack, Randy

    2007-08-01

    With climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and disease ``transforming coral communities at regional to global scales,'' a 30 July report from the U.S. Geological Survey outlines a strategy for conducting research on coral ecosystems. The report indicates that USGS coral ecosystem research will focus on three major themes during the next five years, as funding permits: reef structure, ecological integrity, and the role of marine reserves; land-based and local impacts; and responses to global change.

  6. Layered Systems Engineering Engines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Breidenthal, Julian C.; Overman, Marvin J.

    2009-01-01

    A notation is described for depicting the relationships between multiple, contemporaneous systems engineering efforts undertaken within a multi-layer system-of-systems hierarchy. We combined the concepts of remoteness of activity from the end customer, depiction of activity on a timeline, and data flow to create a new kind of diagram which we call a "Layered Vee Diagram." This notation is an advance over previous notations because it is able to be simultaneously precise about activity, level of granularity, product exchanges, and timing; these advances provide systems engineering managers a significantly improved ability to express and understand the relationships between many systems engineering efforts. Using the new notation, we obtain a key insight into the relationship between project duration and the strategy selected for chaining the systems engineering effort between layers, as well as insights into the costs, opportunities, and risks associated with alternate chaining strategies.

  7. Potential biomass in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nakamura, K.; Takai, K.

    2012-12-01

    Since the first discovery of black smoker vents hosting chemosynthetic macrofaunal communities (Spiess et al., 1980), submarine hydrothermal systems and associated biota have attracted interest of many researchers (e.g., Humphris et al., 1995; Van Dover, 2000; Wilcock et al., 2004). In the past couple of decades, particular attention has been paid to chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms that sustain the hydrothermal vent-endemic animal communities as the primary producer. This type of microorganisms obtains energy from inorganic substances (e.g., sulfur, hydrogen, and methane) derived from hydrothermal vent fluids, and is often considered as an important modern analogue to the early ecosystems of the Earth as well as the extraterrestrial life in other planets and moons (e.g., Jannasch and Mottl, 1985; Nealson et al., 2005; Takai et al., 2006). Even today, however, the size of this type of chemosynthetic deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is largely unknown. Here, we present geophysical and geochemical constraints on potential biomass in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem. The estimation of the potential biomass in the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is based on hydrothermal fluid flux calculated from heat flux (Elderfield and Schltz, 1996), maximum chemical energy available from metabolic reactions during mixing between hydrothermal vent fluids and seawater (McCollom, 2007), and maintenance energy requirements of the chemolithoautotrophic microorganisms (Hoehler, 2004). The result shows that the most of metabolic energy sustaining the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is produced by oxidation reaction of reduced sulfur, although some parts of the energy are derived from hydrogenotrophic and methanotrophic reactions. The overall total of the potential biomass in deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is calculated to be much smaller than that in terrestrial ecosystems including terrestrial plants. The big difference in biomass between the chemosynthetic deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem and the photosynthetic terrestrial ecosystems could reflect the difference between energy fluxes from the Sun and the Earth's interior. Based on the result, it can be concluded that the deep-sea hydrothermal vent ecosystem is quite minor (although interesting and important) component of the modern Earth's biosphere.

  8. Belowground Dynamics in Mangrove Ecosystems

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    McKee, Karen L.

    2004-01-01

    MANGROVE ECOSYSTEMS Mangrove ecosystems are tropical/subtropical communities of primarily tree species that grow in the intertidal zone. These tidal communities are important coastal ecosystems that are valued for a variety of ecological and societal goods and services (fig. 1). Mangrove wetlands are important filters of materials moving between the land and sea, trapping sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in runoff from uplands and preventing their direct introduction into sensitive marine ecosystems such as seagrass beds and coral reefs. Mangroves serve as nursery grounds and refuge for a variety of organisms and are consequently vital to the biological productivity of coastal waters. Furthermore, because mangroves are highly resilient to disturbances such as hurricanes, they represent a self-sustaining, protective barrier for human populations living in the coastal zone. Mangrove ecosystems also contribute to shoreline stabilization through consolidation of unstable mineral sediments and peat formation. In order to help conserve mangrove ecoystems, scientists with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at the National Wetlands Research Center are working to more fully understand the dynamics that impact these vital ecosystems.

  9. Thermal Acclimation and Adaptation of Net Ecosystem Carbon Exchange (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Luo, Y.; Niu, S.; Fei, S.; Yuan, W.; Zhang, Z.; Schimel, D.; Fluxnet Pis, .

    2010-12-01

    Ecosystem responses to temperature change are collectively determined by its constituents, which are plants, animals, microbes, and their interactions. It has been long documented that all plant, animals, and microbial carbon metabolism (photosynthesis, respiration) can acclimate and respond to changing temperatures, influencing the response of ecosystem carbon fluxes to climate change. Climate change also can induce competition between species with different thermal responses leading to changes in community composition. While a great deal of research has been done on species-level responses to temperature, it is yet to examine thermal acclimation of adaptation of ecosystem carbon processes to temperature change. With the advent of eddy flux measurements, it is possible to directly characterize the ecosystem-scale temperature response of carbon storage. In this study, we quantified the temperature response functions of net ecosystem carbon exchange (NEE), from which the responses of apparent optimal temperatures across broad spatial and temporal scales were examined. While temperature responses are normally parameterized in terms of the physiological variables describing photosynthesis and respiration, we focus on the apparent optimal behavior of NEE. Because the measurement integrated over multiple individuals and species within the footprint of the measurement (100s to 1000s of ha), it is challenging to interpret this measurement in terms of classical physiological variables such as the Q10. Rather we focus on the realized behavior of the ecosystem and its sensitivity to temperature. These empirical response functions can then be used as a benchmark for model evaluation and testing. Our synthesis of 656 site-years of eddy covariance data over the world shows that temperature response curves of NEE are parabolic, with their optima temperature strongly correlated with site growing season temperature across the globe and with annual mean temperature over years at individual sites. The differential response of photosynthesis and respiration to temperature may act to produce apparent optima, and an internannual adjustment of this optimum to within-year weather conditions. This phenomenon may influence the long-term response of ecosystem carbon storage and community composition to global temperature changes, and may contribute to the apparent higher sensitivity of global ecosystem carbon storage to rainfall anomalies than to temperature. Thermal responses on interannual time scales may dampen temperature-driven variability of NEE directly caused by temperature anomalies.

  10. Process-Based Thinking in Ecosystem Education

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Jordan, Rebecca C.; Gray, Steven A.; Brooks, Wesley R.; Honwad, Sameer; Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E.

    2013-01-01

    Understanding complex systems such as ecosystems is difficult for young K-12 students, and students' representations of ecosystems are often limited to nebulously defined relationships between macro-level structural components inherent to the ecosystem in focus (rainforest, desert, pond, etc.) instead of generalizing processes across ecosystems…

  11. Assessment and evaluation of soil ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecosystems are defined by the complex relationships that exist between living resources and habitats of an area - and how they function as a unit. When ecosystems are described in the context of the benefits that people obtain from them, they are defined as ecosystem services. An ecosystem service...

  12. The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem: Challenges for Regional Ecosystem Management

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lynch, Heather J.; Hodge, Stephanie; Albert, Christian; Dunham, Molly

    2008-06-01

    An adaptive management approach is necessary but not sufficient to address the long-term challenges of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). Adaptive management, in turn, has its own particular challenges, of which we focus on two: science input, and stakeholder engagement. In order to frame our discussion and subsequent recommendations, we place the current management difficulties into their historical context, with special emphasis on the 1990 Vision document, which attempted a broad synthesis of management goals for the ecosystem. After examining these two key challenges in the context of the GYE, we make several recommendations that would allow for more effective ecosystem management in the long term. First, we recommend adoption of the GYE as a site for long-term science research and monitoring with an emphasis on integrative research, long-term federal funding, and public dissemination of data. Second, we conclude that a clearer prioritization of legislative mandates would allow for more flexible ecosystem management in the GYE, a region where conflicting mandates have historically led to litigation antithetical to effective ecosystem management. Finally, we recommend a renewed attempt at an updated Vision for the Future that engages stakeholders (including local landholders) substantively from the outset.

  13. Conspicuous and aposematic spines in the animal kingdom

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Inbar, Moshe; Lev-Yadun, Simcha

    2005-04-01

    Spines serve as a common physical defence mechanism in both the plant and animal kingdoms. Here we argue that as in plants, defensive animal spines are often conspicuous (shape and colour) and should be considered aposematic. Conspicuous spines may evolve as signals or serve as a cue for potential predators. Spine conspicuousness in animals has evolved independently across and within phyla occupying aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, indicating that this convergent phenomenon is highly adaptive. Still, many spines are cryptic, suggesting that conspicuity is not simply constrained by developmental factors such as differences in the chemical composition of the integument. Aposematism does not preclude the signalling role of conspicuous spines in the sexual arena.

  14. Small Animal Retinal Imaging

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Choi, WooJhon; Drexler, Wolfgang; Fujimoto, James G.

    Developing and validating new techniques and methods for small animal imaging is an important research area because there are many small animal models of retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and glaucoma [1-6]. Because the retina is a multilayered structure with distinct abnormalities occurring in different intraretinal layers at different stages of disease progression, there is a need for imaging techniques that enable visualization of these layers individually at different time points. Although postmortem histology and ultrastructural analysis can be performed for investigating microscopic changes in the retina in small animal models, this requires sacrificing animals, which makes repeated assessment of the same animal at different time points impossible and increases the number of animals required. Furthermore, some retinal processes such as neurovascular coupling cannot be fully characterized postmortem.

  15. DECOMPOSTION OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED TOBACCO UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS: PERSISTENCE OF THE PROTEINASE INHIBITOR I PRODUCT AND EFFECTS OF SOIL MICROBIAL RESPIRATION AND PROTOZOA, NEMATODE AND MICROARTHR

    EPA Science Inventory

    1. To evaluate the potential effects of genetically engineered (transgenic) plants on soil ecosystems, litterbags containing leaves of non-engineered (parental) and transgenic tobacco plants were buried in field plots. The transgenic tobacco plants were genetically engineered to ...

  16. The Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dubayah, R.; Goetz, S. J.; Blair, J. B.; Fatoyinbo, T. E.; Hansen, M.; Healey, S. P.; Hofton, M. A.; Hurtt, G. C.; Kellner, J.; Luthcke, S. B.; Swatantran, A.

    2014-12-01

    Spaceborne lidar has been identified as a key technology by the international ecosystem science community because it enables accurate estimates of canopy structure and biomass and forms the basis for fusion approaches that extend the capabilities of existing and planned radar missions, such as the NASA-ISRO SAR and the ESA BIOMASS mission. The Global Ecosystems Dynamics Investigation Lidar (GEDI Lidar) was recently selected by NASA's Earth Ventures Instrument (EVI) program. From its vantage point on the International Space Station, GEDI Lidar provides high-resolution observations of forest vertical structure and addresses three, core science questions: What is the aboveground carbon balance of the land surface? What role will the land surface play in mitigating atmospheric CO2 in the coming decades? How does ecosystem structure affect habitat quality and biodiversity? GEDI informs these science questions by making billions of lidar waveform observations of canopy structure over its nominal one year mission length. The instrument uses three laser transmitters to produce 14 parallel tracks of 25 m footprints. These canopy measurements are then used to measure biomass and in fusion with radar and other remote sensing data to quantify changes in biomass resulting from disturbance and recovery. GEDI further marries ecosystem structure from lidar with ecosystem modeling to predict the sequestration potential of existing forests and to evaluate the impact of policy-driven afforestation and reforestation actions on sequestering additional carbon. Lastly, GEDI's observations of ecosystem structure provide a mapping of critical habitat metrics at the fine scales required for understanding the patterns, processes, and controls on biodiversity and habitat quality. The selection of GEDI Lidar, when combined with the rapid advancement of new radar missions and the availability of long-term land cover archives from passive optical sensors, ushers in an exciting new era of land surface imaging with far ranging consequences for ecosystem science.

  17. Animal Model of Dermatophytosis

    PubMed Central

    Shimamura, Tsuyoshi; Kubota, Nobuo; Shibuya, Kazutoshi

    2012-01-01

    Dermatophytosis is superficial fungal infection caused by dermatophytes that invade the keratinized tissue of humans and animals. Lesions from dermatophytosis exhibit an inflammatory reaction induced to eliminate the invading fungi by using the host's normal immune function. Many scientists have attempted to establish an experimental animal model to elucidate the pathogenesis of human dermatophytosis and evaluate drug efficacy. However, current animal models have several issues. In the present paper, we surveyed reports about the methodology of the dermatophytosis animal model for tinea corporis, tinea pedis, and tinea unguium and discussed future prospects. PMID:22619489

  18. Whole animal imaging

    PubMed Central

    Sandhu, Gurpreet Singh; Solorio, Luis; Broome, Ann-Marie; Salem, Nicolas; Kolthammer, Jeff; Shah, Tejas; Flask, Chris; Duerk, Jeffrey L.

    2015-01-01

    Translational research plays a vital role in understanding the underlying pathophysiology of human diseases, and hence development of new diagnostic and therapeutic options for their management. After creating an animal disease model, pathophysiologic changes and effects of a therapeutic intervention on them are often evaluated on the animals using immunohistologic or imaging techniques. In contrast to the immunohistologic techniques, the imaging techniques are noninvasive and hence can be used to investigate the whole animal, oftentimes in a single exam which provides opportunities to perform longitudinal studies and dynamic imaging of the same subject, and hence minimizes the experimental variability, requirement for the number of animals, and the time to perform a given experiment. Whole animal imaging can be performed by a number of techniques including x-ray computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound imaging, positron emission tomography, single photon emission computed tomography, fluorescence imaging, and bioluminescence imaging, among others. Individual imaging techniques provide different kinds of information regarding the structure, metabolism, and physiology of the animal. Each technique has its own strengths and weaknesses, and none serves every purpose of image acquisition from all regions of an animal. In this review, a broad overview of basic principles, available contrast mechanisms, applications, challenges, and future prospects of many imaging techniques employed for whole animal imaging is provided. Our main goal is to briefly describe the current state of art to researchers and advanced students with a strong background in the field of animal research. PMID:20836038

  19. The dying animal.

    PubMed

    Pierce, Jessica

    2013-12-01

    The study of animal death is poised to blossom into an exciting new interdisciplinary field-and one with profound relevance for bioethics. Areas of interest include the biology and evolution of death-related behavior in nonhuman animals, as well as human social, psychological, cultural, and moral attitudes toward and practices related to animal death. In this paper, I offer a brief overview of what we know about death-related behavior in animals. I will then sketch some of the bioethical implications of this emerging field of research. PMID:24092402

  20. Ecosystem Health Disorders - changing perspectives in clinical medicine and nutrition.

    PubMed

    Wahlqvist, Mark L

    2014-01-01

    The inseparability of people from their ecosystem without biological change is increasingly clear. The discrete species concept is becoming more an approximation as the interconnectedness of all things, animate and inanimate, becomes more apparent. Yet this was evident even to our earliest Homo Sapiens sapiens ancestors as they hunted and gathered from one locality to another and migrated across the globe. During a rather short 150-200,000 years of ancestral history, we have changed the aeons-old planet and our ecology with dubious sustainability. As we have changed the ecosystems of which we are a part, with their opportunities for shelter, rest, ambulation, discourse, food, recreation and their sensory inputs, we have changed our shared biology and our health prospects. The rate of ecosystem change has increased quantitatively and qualitatively and so will that of our health patterns, depending on our resilience and how linear, non-linear or fractal-like the linkage. Our health-associated ecosystem trajectories are uncertain. The interfaces between us and our environment are blurred, but comprise time, biorhythms, prokaryotic organisms, sensory (auditory, visual, tactile, taste and smell), conjoint movement, endocrine with various external hormonal through food and contaminants, the reflection of soil and rock composition in the microbes, plants, insects and animals that we eat (our biogeology) and much more. We have sought ways to optimise our health through highly anthropocentric means, which have proven inadequate. Accumulated ecosystem change may now overwhelm our health. On these accounts, more integrative approaches and partnerships for health care practice are required. PMID:24561967

  1. Ecosystem services provided by waterbirds.

    PubMed

    Green, Andy J; Elmberg, Johan

    2014-02-01

    Ecosystem services are ecosystem processes that directly or indirectly benefit human well-being. There has been much recent literature identifying different services and the communities and species that provide them. This is a vital first step towards management and maintenance of these services. In this review, we specifically address the waterbirds, which play key functional roles in many aquatic ecosystems, including as predators, herbivores and vectors of seeds, invertebrates and nutrients, although these roles have often been overlooked. Waterbirds can maintain the diversity of other organisms, control pests, be effective bioindicators of ecological conditions, and act as sentinels of potential disease outbreaks. They also provide important provisioning (meat, feathers, eggs, etc.) and cultural services to both indigenous and westernized societies. We identify key gaps in the understanding of ecosystem services provided by waterbirds and areas for future research required to clarify their functional role in ecosystems and the services they provide. We consider how the economic value of these services could be calculated, giving some examples. Such valuation will provide powerful arguments for waterbird conservation. PMID:23786594

  2. Assessing Dryland Ecosystem Services in Xinjiang, Northwest China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Siew, T. F.; Brauman, K. A.; Zuo, L.; Doll, P. M.

    2014-12-01

    Dryland ecosystems, including grassland, forest, and irrigated cropland, cover about 41% of earth's land area and are inhabited by over two billion people. In drylands, particularly arid and semiarid areas, the production of ecosystem services is primarily constrained by freshwater availability. Often, water allocated to production by one ecosystem or of one ecosystem service negatively impacts other ecosystems or ecosystem services (ESS). The challenge is to determine how much water should be allocated to which ecosystems (natural and manmade) such that multiple ESS are maximized, thus improving overall well-being. This strategic management decision must be supported by knowledge about spatial and temporal availability of water and its relationship to production (location and scale) of ESS that people receive. We assess the spatial and temporal relationships between water availability and ESS production in Xinjiang, Northwest China. We address four questions: (1) What services are produced by which ecosystems with water available? (2) Where are these services produced? (3) Who uses the services produced? (4) How the production of services changes with variability of water available? Using existing global, national, and regional spatial and statistical data, we assess food, fiber, livestock, and wood production as well as unique forest landscapes (as a proxy for aesthetic appreciation and habitats for unique animals and plants) and protection from dust storms. Irrigation is necessary for crop production in Xinjiang. The production of about 4.2 million tons of wheat and 500,000 tons of cotton requires more than 2 km3 of water each year. This is an important source of food and income for local residents, but the diverted water has negative and potentially costly impacts on downstream forests that potentially provide aesthetic services and protection from dust. Our analyses also show that cropland had increased by about 1.6 million ha from 1987 to 2010, while grassland and woodland had decreased by about 1.5 million ha and 33,000 ha, respectively. Cropland expansion had increased water need for irrigation and decreased services produced by other ecosystems. This assessment helps understand connections between water and ESS better and contributes to water and land management in dry regions, particularly China.

  3. Expanding exergy analysis to account for ecosystem products and services.

    PubMed

    Hau, Jorge L; Bakshi, Bhavik R

    2004-07-01

    Exergy analysis is a thermodynamic approach used for analyzing and improving the efficiency of chemical and thermal processes. It has also been extended for life cycle assessment and sustainability evaluation of industrial products and processes. Although these extensions recognize the importance of capital and labor inputs and environmental impact, most of them ignore the crucial role that ecosystems play in sustaining all industrial activity. Decisions based on approaches that take nature for granted continue to cause significant deterioration in the ability of ecosystems to provide goods and services that are essential for every human activity. Accounting for nature's contribution is also important for determining the impact and sustainablility of industrial activity. In contrast, emergy analysis, a thermodynamic method from systems ecology, does account for ecosystems, but has encountered a lot of resistance and criticism, particularly from economists, physicists, and engineers. This paper expands the engineering concept of Cumulative Exergy Consumption (CEC) analysis to include the contribution of ecosystems, which leads to the concept of Ecological Cumulative Exergy Consumption (ECEC). Practical challenges in computing ECEC for industrial processes are identified and a formal algorithm based on network algebra is proposed. ECEC is shown to be closely related to emergy, and both concepts become equivalent if the analysis boundary, allocation method, and approach for combining global energy inputs are identical. This insight permits combination of the best features of emergy and exergy analysis, and shows that most of the controversial aspects of emergy analysis need not hinder its use for including the exergetic contribution of ecosystems. Examples illustrate the approach and highlight the potential benefits of accounting for nature's contribution to industrial activity. PMID:15296331

  4. Plant & Animal Interdependency. Plant Life in Action[TM]. Schlessinger Science Library. [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    In every ecosystem, organisms rely on each other in unique relationships that ensure each other's survival. In Plant & Animal Interdependency, find out how plants and animals interact, cooperate and compete. All living things have basic needs and depend on other living things to meet those needs. Discover why the constant exchange of nutrients and…

  5. Plant & Animal Interdependency. Plant Life in Action[TM]. Schlessinger Science Library. [Videotape].

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    2000

    In every ecosystem, organisms rely on each other in unique relationships that ensure each other's survival. In Plant & Animal Interdependency, find out how plants and animals interact, cooperate and compete. All living things have basic needs and depend on other living things to meet those needs. Discover why the constant exchange of nutrients and…

  6. Springs as Ecosystems: Clarifying Groundwater Dependence and Wetland Status (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stevens, L.; Springer, A. E.; Ledbetter, J. D.

    2013-12-01

    Springs ecosystems are among the most productive, biologically diverse and culturally important ecosystems on Earth. Net annual productivity of some springs exceeds 5 kg/m^2/yr. Springs support an estimated 19% of the endangered species and numerous rare taxa in the United States. Springs serve as keystone ecosystems in arid regions, and as cornerstones of indigenous cultural well-being, history, economics, and aesthetics. Despite their significance, the ecosystem ecology and stewardship of springs have received scant scientific and public attention, resulting in loss or impairment of 50-90% of the springs in many regions, both arid and temperate. Six reasons contribute to the lack of attention to springs. Springs are poorly mapped because: 1) their generally small size is less than the pixel area of most remote sensing analyses and they are overlooked; and 2) springs detection is often limited by emergence on cliff faces, beneath heavy vegetation cover, or under water. In addition, 3) high levels of ecosystem complexity at springs require multidisciplinary team approaches for inventory, assessment, and research, but collaboration between the fields of hydrogeology and ecology has been limited. 4) Protectionism by land owners and organizations that manage springs limits the availability information, preventing regional assessment of status. 5) Prior to recent efforts, the absence of a descriptive lexicon of springs types has limited discussion about variation in ecological characteristics and processes. 6) Neither regarded entirely as groundwater or as surface water, springs fall 'between jurisdictional cracks' and are not subject to clear legal and regulatory oversight. With regards to the latter point, two jurisdictional phrases have reduced scientific understanding and stewardship of springs ecosystems: 'jurisdictional wetlands' and 'groundwater-dependent ecosystems' (GDEs). Most springs have insufficient monitoring data to establish perenniality or the range of natural variation in flow, and many of the 12 springs types do not develop hydric soils or wetland vegetation. These factors and their normally small size preclude springs as jurisdictional wetlands by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers criteria. Helocrenes (springfed wet meadows, cienegas, and some fens) are considered as wetlands, but the other 11 types of terrestrial springs often are not. The use of the phrase 'GDE' applies to any aquatic ecosystem supported by groundwater, and the utility of this phrase as a descriptor of springs is diluted by its application to all subterranean and surface aquatic habitats. The failure to recognize the importance of springs ecosystems has become a quiet but global crisis, in part due to inappropriate conceptual understanding and poor jurisdictional terminology. We clarify relationships between these concepts and terms to establish effective, consistent monitoring, assessment, restoration, management, and monitoring goals and protocols for improving springs stewardship.

  7. Functional traits, the phylogeny of function, and ecosystem service vulnerability

    PubMed Central

    Díaz, Sandra; Purvis, Andy; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Mace, Georgina M; Donoghue, Michael J; Ewers, Robert M; Jordano, Pedro; Pearse, William D

    2013-01-01

    People depend on benefits provided by ecological systems. Understanding how these ecosystem services – and the ecosystem properties underpinning them – respond to drivers of change is therefore an urgent priority. We address this challenge through developing a novel risk-assessment framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary perspectives on functional traits to determine species’ effects on ecosystems and their tolerance of environmental changes. We define Specific Effect Function (SEF) as the per-gram or per capita capacity of a species to affect an ecosystem property, and Specific Response Function (SRF) as the ability of a species to maintain or enhance its population as the environment changes. Our risk assessment is based on the idea that the security of ecosystem services depends on how effects (SEFs) and tolerances (SRFs) of organisms – which both depend on combinations of functional traits – correlate across species and how they are arranged on the species’ phylogeny. Four extreme situations are theoretically possible, from minimum concern when SEF and SRF are neither correlated nor show a phylogenetic signal, to maximum concern when they are negatively correlated (i.e., the most important species are the least tolerant) and phylogenetically patterned (lacking independent backup). We illustrate the assessment with five case studies, involving both plant and animal examples. However, the extent to which the frequency of the four plausible outcomes, or their intermediates, apply more widely in real-world ecological systems is an open question that needs empirical evidence, and suggests a research agenda at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. PMID:24101986

  8. Functional traits, the phylogeny of function, and ecosystem service vulnerability.

    PubMed

    Díaz, Sandra; Purvis, Andy; Cornelissen, Johannes H C; Mace, Georgina M; Donoghue, Michael J; Ewers, Robert M; Jordano, Pedro; Pearse, William D

    2013-09-01

    People depend on benefits provided by ecological systems. Understanding how these ecosystem services - and the ecosystem properties underpinning them - respond to drivers of change is therefore an urgent priority. We address this challenge through developing a novel risk-assessment framework that integrates ecological and evolutionary perspectives on functional traits to determine species' effects on ecosystems and their tolerance of environmental changes. We define Specific Effect Function (SEF) as the per-gram or per capita capacity of a species to affect an ecosystem property, and Specific Response Function (SRF) as the ability of a species to maintain or enhance its population as the environment changes. Our risk assessment is based on the idea that the security of ecosystem services depends on how effects (SEFs) and tolerances (SRFs) of organisms - which both depend on combinations of functional traits - correlate across species and how they are arranged on the species' phylogeny. Four extreme situations are theoretically possible, from minimum concern when SEF and SRF are neither correlated nor show a phylogenetic signal, to maximum concern when they are negatively correlated (i.e., the most important species are the least tolerant) and phylogenetically patterned (lacking independent backup). We illustrate the assessment with five case studies, involving both plant and animal examples. However, the extent to which the frequency of the four plausible outcomes, or their intermediates, apply more widely in real-world ecological systems is an open question that needs empirical evidence, and suggests a research agenda at the interface of evolutionary biology and ecosystem ecology. PMID:24101986

  9. The Role of Microbial Biofilms as Ecosystem Engineers in Streams

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Battin, T. I.; Battin, T. I.; Kaplan, L. A.; Newbold, J. D.

    2001-12-01

    Microbial biofilms growing on and through the surface of streambeds physically alter the interface between the water column and benthic zone and influence the biogeochemistry within the steambed and hyporheic zone. We monitored the development of biofilms within stream-side flumes, and were able to relate changes in biofilm structure to concomitant changes in hydrodynamics, particle deposition, and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) uptake. Biofilm development was assessed by measurements of ash free dry mass, bacterial density, concentrations of chlorophyll a and exopolysaccharides, and confocal microscopy of fluorescent-stained biotic and abiotic assemblages. The microbial biofilms were followed through an initial colonization period, the development of mm-thick mats that included streamers undulating in the current, and the eventual erosion and sloughing of these structural features. As the biofilms matured, hydrologic exchange rate, transient storage capacity, and particle deposition rates increased, reached a plateau, and eventually declined. The uptake of glucose and arabinose, added in nM concentrations to the flumes, showed a preferential uptake of glucose over arabinose. However, as the biofilms grew, the differences between the uptake of these two saccharides declined. This change is consistent with a shift in the rate-limiting step for DOC uptake from internal biofilm processes to greater diffusion-limitation as biofilm thickness, and thus the diffusion barrier, increased. We suggest that microscale processes, which alter biofilm structure, in turn alter large-scale physical and biogeochemical processes, including streamwater/subsurface hydrodynamics and organic matter fluxes.

  10. Inuit-Style Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Peterson, Rayma

    1999-01-01

    Presents an art activity where students create Inuit-style animals. Discusses the Inuit (Eskimo) artform in which the compositions utilize patterning and textures, such as small lines signifying fur. Explains that this project is well suited to a study of animals or to integrate with a social studies unit about Canada. (CMK)

  11. Animating Preservice Teachers' Noticing

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    de Araujo, Zandra; Amador, Julie; Estapa, Anne; Weston, Tracy; Aming-Attai, Rachael; Kosko, Karl W.

    2015-01-01

    The incorporation of animation in mathematics teacher education courses is one method for transforming practices and promoting practice-based education. Animation can be used as an approximation of practice that engages preservice teachers (PSTs) in creating classroom scenes in which they select characters, regulate movement, and construct…

  12. Plant or Animal?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bowman, Frank; Matthews, Catherine E.

    1996-01-01

    Presents activities that use marine organisms with plant-like appearances to help students build classification skills and illustrate some of the less obvious differences between plants and animals. Compares mechanisms by which sessile plants and animals deal with common problems such as obtaining energy, defending themselves, successfully…

  13. Exploring Animals, Glossopedia Style

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leveen, Lois

    2007-01-01

    It's the first day of the "Animals" unit for Tami Brester's third-grade class and the first day her students are using Glossopedia, a free online multimedia science encyclopedia. But you wouldn't know that from observing the kids, who are excitedly researching animals on the internet. This is inquiry-based learning of a special kind, incorporating…

  14. Companion Animals. [Information Packet.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Anti-Vivisection Society, Chicago, IL.

    This collection of articles reprinted from other National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) publications was compiled to educate the public on issues of importance to NAVS concerning companion animals. Topics covered include spaying and neutering, animal safety, pet theft, and the use of cats and dogs in research. The article on spaying and…

  15. Hazardous marine animals.

    PubMed

    Auerbach, P S

    1984-08-01

    Both traumatic injury and the damage inflicted by envenomating marine animals are considered in this article. Among the creatures causing traumatic injury are sharks, barracudas, moray eels, and needlefish. Envenomating animals include sponges, coelenterates, coral, various mollusks, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, stingrays, sea snakes, and others. PMID:6152553

  16. Ways Animals Communicate

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Curry, Kristen; Sumrall, William J.; Moore, Jerilou; Daniels, Anniece

    2008-01-01

    The authors describe a set of upper-elementary activities that focuses on how animals communicate. The activities describe procedures that students working in groups can use to investigate the topic of animal communication. An initial information sheet, resource list, and grading rubric are provided. The lesson plan was field-tested in an…

  17. Dreams of the Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Statman, Mark

    2000-01-01

    Describes how the author, when teaching dream poems and poem writing to older kids, uses Margaret Atwood's "Dreams of the Animals" to extend the discussion about dreaming and have the children think about dreams that have little to do with their own. Includes examples of students' poems about animal dreams. (SR)

  18. Cryptosporidiois in farmed animals

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The disease, cryptosporidiosis, has been identified in humans and animals in 106 countries and has been attributed to 26 species of Cryptosporidium and several additional genotypes. The specific farmed animals discussed in this chapter include cattle, sheep, goats, water buffaloes, deer, camels, lla...

  19. Small Animal Care.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Livesey, Dennis W.; Fong, Stephen

    This small animal care course guide is designed for students who will be seeking employment in veterinary hospitals, kennels, grooming shops, pet shops, and small-animal laboratories. The guide begins with an introductory section that gives the educational philosophy of the course, job categories and opportunities, units of instruction required…

  20. The Classroom Animal: Snails.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kramer, David S.

    1985-01-01

    Points out that snails are interesting and easily-managed classroom animals. One advantage of this animal is that it requires no special attention over weekends or holidays. Background information, anatomy, reproduction, and feeding are discussed, along with suggestions for housing aquatic and/or land snails. (DH)

  1. Exploring Animals, Glossopedia Style

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Leveen, Lois

    2007-01-01

    It's the first day of the "Animals" unit for Tami Brester's third-grade class and the first day her students are using Glossopedia, a free online multimedia science encyclopedia. But you wouldn't know that from observing the kids, who are excitedly researching animals on the internet. This is inquiry-based learning of a special kind, incorporating…

  2. Plant or Animal?

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Bowman, Frank; Matthews, Catherine E.

    1996-01-01

    Presents activities that use marine organisms with plant-like appearances to help students build classification skills and illustrate some of the less obvious differences between plants and animals. Compares mechanisms by which sessile plants and animals deal with common problems such as obtaining energy, defending themselves, successfully…

  3. Humane Treatment of Animals.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dawson, Joan Smithey

    This booklet is designed to give teachers resource information about the humane treatment of and care for animals. The topics are presented as springboards for discussion and class activity. Topics include the care of dogs, cats, birds, horses, and fish; wildlife and ecological relationships; and careers with animals. Illustrations on some pages…

  4. Small Animal Care.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Livesey, Dennis W.; Fong, Stephen

    This small animal care course guide is designed for students who will be seeking employment in veterinary hospitals, kennels, grooming shops, pet shops, and small-animal laboratories. The guide begins with an introductory section that gives the educational philosophy of the course, job categories and opportunities, units of instruction required…

  5. Endangered Animals. Second Grade.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Popp, Marcia

    This second grade teaching unit centers on endangered animal species around the world. Questions addressed are: What is an endangered species? Why do animals become extinct? How do I feel about the problem? and What can I do? Students study the definition of endangered species and investigate whether it is a natural process. They explore topics…

  6. Animals. Environmental Education Curriculum.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Topeka Public Schools, KS.

    The material in this unit is designed to provide upper elementary students with information and experiences to develop a better understanding and appreciation of the variety of animals living today. Unit goals include fostering a better understanding of animals' roles in nature, developing observational skills, facilitating understanding of man's…

  7. Animals in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roy, Ken

    2011-01-01

    Use of animals in middle school science classrooms is a curriculum component worthy of consideration, providing proper investigation and planning are addressed. A responsible approach to this action, including safety, must be adopted for success. In this month's column, the author provides some suggestions on incorporating animals into the…

  8. Endangered Animals. Second Grade.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Popp, Marcia

    This second grade teaching unit centers on endangered animal species around the world. Questions addressed are: What is an endangered species? Why do animals become extinct? How do I feel about the problem? and What can I do? Students study the definition of endangered species and investigate whether it is a natural process. They explore topics…

  9. Animals in the Classroom

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Roy, Ken

    2011-01-01

    Use of animals in middle school science classrooms is a curriculum component worthy of consideration, providing proper investigation and planning are addressed. A responsible approach to this action, including safety, must be adopted for success. In this month's column, the author provides some suggestions on incorporating animals into the…

  10. Conceiving Animal Futures.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Brauner, Charles J.

    1986-01-01

    Reviews "Ethics and Animals" (Miller & Williams, 1983). Maintains that this collection of essays is an excellent example of applied philosophy, showing a profile of philosophy as a force for enlightenment. Reviews the rights of animals and the bases of moral behavior toward them. (JDH)

  11. Terrestrial ecosystems and climatic change

    SciTech Connect

    Emanuel, W.R. ); Schimel, D.S. . Natural Resources Ecology Lab.)

    1990-01-01

    The structure and function of terrestrial ecosystems depend on climate, and in turn, ecosystems influence atmospheric composition and climate. A comprehensive, global model of terrestrial ecosystem dynamics is needed. A hierarchical approach appears advisable given currently available concepts, data, and formalisms. The organization of models can be based on the temporal scales involved. A rapidly responding model describes the processes associated with photosynthesis, including carbon, moisture, and heat exchange with the atmosphere. An intermediate model handles subannual variations that are closely associated with allocation and seasonal changes in productivity and decomposition. A slow response model describes plant growth and succession with associated element cycling over decades and centuries. These three levels of terrestrial models are linked through common specifications of environmental conditions and constrain each other. 58 refs.

  12. Stochastic simulations of a synthetic bacteria-yeast ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background The field of synthetic biology has greatly evolved and numerous functions can now be implemented by artificially engineered cells carrying the appropriate genetic information. However, in order for the cells to robustly perform complex or multiple tasks, co-operation between them may be necessary. Therefore, various synthetic biological systems whose functionality requires cell-cell communication are being designed. These systems, microbial consortia, are composed of engineered cells and exhibit a wide range of behaviors. These include yeast cells whose growth is dependent on one another, or bacteria that kill or rescue each other, synchronize, behave as predator-prey ecosystems or invade cancer cells. Results In this paper, we study a synthetic ecosystem comprising of bacteria and yeast that communicate with and benefit from each other using small diffusible molecules. We explore the behavior of this heterogeneous microbial consortium, composed of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Escherichia coli cells, using stochastic modeling. The stochastic model captures the relevant intra-cellular and inter-cellular interactions taking place in and between the eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. Integration of well-characterized molecular regulatory elements into these two microbes allows for communication through quorum sensing. A gene controlling growth in yeast is induced by bacteria via chemical signals and vice versa. Interesting dynamics that are common in natural ecosystems, such as obligatory and facultative mutualism, extinction, commensalism and predator-prey like dynamics are observed. We investigate and report on the conditions under which the two species can successfully communicate and rescue each other. Conclusions This study explores the various behaviors exhibited by the cohabitation of engineered yeast and bacterial cells. The way that the model is built allows for studying the dynamics of any system consisting of two species communicating with one another via chemical signals. Therefore, key information acquired by our model may potentially drive the experimental design of various synthetic heterogeneous ecosystems. PMID:22672814

  13. Toward ethical norms and institutions for climate engineering research

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morrow, David R.; Kopp, Robert E.; Oppenheimer, Michael

    2009-10-01

    Climate engineering (CE), the intentional modification of the climate in order to reduce the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, is sometimes touted as a potential response to climate change. Increasing interest in the topic has led to proposals for empirical tests of hypothesized CE techniques, which raise serious ethical concerns. We propose three ethical guidelines for CE researchers, derived from the ethics literature on research with human and animal subjects, applicable in the event that CE research progresses beyond computer modeling. The Principle of Respect requires that the scientific community secure the global public's consent, voiced through their governmental representatives, before beginning any empirical research. The Principle of Beneficence and Justice requires that researchers strive for a favorable risk-benefit ratio and a fair distribution of risks and anticipated benefits, all while protecting the basic rights of affected individuals. Finally, the Minimization Principle requires that researchers minimize the extent and intensity of each experiment by ensuring that no experiments last longer, cover a greater geographical extent, or have a greater impact on the climate, ecosystem, or human welfare than is necessary to test the specific hypotheses in question. Field experiments that might affect humans or ecosystems in significant ways should not proceed until a full discussion of the ethics of CE research occurs and appropriate institutions for regulating such experiments are established.

  14. General equilibrium of an ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Tschirhart, J

    2000-03-01

    Ecosystems and economies are inextricably linked: ecosystem models and economic models are not linked. Consequently, using either type of model to design policies for preserving ecosystems or improving economic performance omits important information. Improved policies would follow from a model that links the systems and accounts for the mutual feedbacks by recognizing how key ecosystem variables influence key economic variables, and vice versa. Because general equilibrium economic models already are widely used for policy making, the approach used here is to develop a general equilibrium ecosystem model which captures salient biological functions and which can be integrated with extant economic models. In the ecosystem model, each organism is assumed to be a net energy maximizer that must exert energy to capture biomass from other organisms. The exerted energies are the "prices" that are paid to biomass, and each organism takes the prices as signals over which it has no control. The maximization problem yields the organism's demand for and supply of biomass to other organisms as functions of the prices. The demands and supplies for each biomass are aggregated over all organisms in each species which establishes biomass markets wherein biomass prices are determined. A short-run equilibrium is established when all organisms are maximizing and demand equals supply in every biomass market. If a species exhibits positive (negative) net energy in equilibrium, its population increases (decreases) and a new equilibrium follows. The demand and supply forces in the biomass markets drive each species toward zero stored energy and a long-run equilibrium. Population adjustments are not based on typical Lotka-Volterra differential equations in which one entire population adjusts to another entire population thereby masking organism behavior; instead, individual organism behavior is central to population adjustments. Numerical simulations use a marine food web in Alaska to illustrate the model and to show several simultaneous predator/prey relationships, prey switching by the top predator, and energy flows through the web. PMID:10677274

  15. Ecosystem Services Research Program: LTG 2: Monitor, map, and model ecosystem services at multiple scales

    EPA Science Inventory

    Mapping ecosystem services is a high priority and an area of significant ORD expertise. Monitoring will be confined to designing a monitoring system for accounting for ecosystem service changes. This will move EMAP condition monitoring to ecosystem services monitoring, building...

  16. Engineering and Software Engineering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jackson, Michael

    The phrase ‘software engineering' has many meanings. One central meaning is the reliable development of dependable computer-based systems, especially those for critical applications. This is not a solved problem. Failures in software development have played a large part in many fatalities and in huge economic losses. While some of these failures may be attributable to programming errors in the narrowest sense—a program's failure to satisfy a given formal specification—there is good reason to think that most of them have other roots. These roots are located in the problem of software engineering rather than in the problem of program correctness. The famous 1968 conference was motivated by the belief that software development should be based on “the types of theoretical foundations and practical disciplines that are traditional in the established branches of engineering.” Yet after forty years of currency the phrase ‘software engineering' still denotes no more than a vague and largely unfulfilled aspiration. Two major causes of this disappointment are immediately clear. First, too many areas of software development are inadequately specialised, and consequently have not developed the repertoires of normal designs that are the indispensable basis of reliable engineering success. Second, the relationship between structural design and formal analytical techniques for software has rarely been one of fruitful synergy: too often it has defined a boundary between competing dogmas, at which mutual distrust and incomprehension deprive both sides of advantages that should be within their grasp. This paper discusses these causes and their effects. Whether the common practice of software development will eventually satisfy the broad aspiration of 1968 is hard to predict; but an understanding of past failure is surely a prerequisite of future success.

  17. Simulation modeling of estuarine ecosystems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Johnson, R. W.

    1980-01-01

    A simulation model has been developed of Galveston Bay, Texas ecosystem. Secondary productivity measured by harvestable species (such as shrimp and fish) is evaluated in terms of man-related and controllable factors, such as quantity and quality of inlet fresh-water and pollutants. This simulation model used information from an existing physical parameters model as well as pertinent biological measurements obtained by conventional sampling techniques. Predicted results from the model compared favorably with those from comparable investigations. In addition, this paper will discuss remotely sensed and conventional measurements in the framework of prospective models that may be used to study estuarine processes and ecosystem productivity.

  18. Microconchids from microbialite ecosystem immediately after end-Permian mass extinction: ecologic selectivity and implications for microbialite ecosystem structure

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yang, H.; Chen, Z.; Wang, Y. B.; Ou, W.; Liao, W.; Mei, X.

    2013-12-01

    The Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) carbonate successions are often characterized by the presence of microbialite buildups worldwide. The widespread microbialites are believed as indication of microbial proliferation immediately after the P-Tr mass extinction. The death of animals representing the primary consumer trophic structure of marine ecosystem in the P-Tr crisis allows the bloom of microbes as an important primary producer in marine trophic food web structure. Thus, the PTB microbialite builders have been regarded as disaster taxa of the P-Tr ecologic crisis. Microbialite ecosystems were suitable for most organisms to inhabit. However, increasing evidence show that microbialite dwellers are also considerably abundant and diverse, including mainly foraminifers Earlandia sp. and Rectocornuspira sp., lingulid brachiopods, ostrocods, gastropods, and microconchids. In particular, ostracods are extremely abundant in this special ecosystem. Microconchid-like calcareous tubes are also considerably abundant. Here, we have sampled systematically a PTB microbialite deposit from the Dajiang section, southern Guizhou Province, southwest China and have extracted abundant isolated specimens of calcareous worm tubes. Quantitative analysis enables to investigate stratigraphic and facies preferences of microconchids in the PTB microbialites. Our preliminary result indicates that three microconchid species Microconchus sp., Helicoconchus elongates and Microconchus aberrans inhabited in microbialite ecosystem. Most microconchilds occurred in the upper part of the microbialite buildup and the grainstone-packstone microfacies. Very few microconchilds were found in the rocks bearing well-developed microbialite structures. Their stratigraphic and environmental preferences indicate proliferation of those metazoan organisms is coupled with ebb of the microbialite development. They also proliferated in some local niches in which microbial activities were not very active even if those microconchids occur in the PTB microbialite buildups. In addition, the combination of previously published data and present studies indicates that the PTB microbialite ecosystem contained much higher biodiversity than previously expected. The PTB microbialite ecosystems provided habitable niches for some particular fossil groups to survive the P-Tr mass extinction.

  19. Animal models of adrenocortical tumorigenesis

    PubMed Central

    Beuschlein, Felix; Galac, Sara; Wilson, David B.

    2011-01-01

    Over the past decade, research on human adrenocortical neoplasia has been dominated by gene expression profiling of tumor specimens and by analysis of genetic disorders associated with a predisposition to these tumors. Although these studies have identified key genes and associated signaling pathways that are dysregulated in adrenocortical neoplasms, the molecular events accounting for the frequent occurrence of benign tumors and low rate of malignant transformation remain unknown. Moreover, the prognosis for patients with adrenocortical carcinoma remains poor, so new medical treatments are needed. Naturally occurring and genetically engineered animal models afford a means to investigate adrenocortical tumorigenesis and to develop novel therapeutics. This comparative review highlights adrenocortical tumor models useful for either mechanistic studies or preclinical testing. Three model species – mouse, ferret, and dog – are reviewed, and their relevance to adrenocortical tumors in humans is discussed. PMID:22100615

  20. Effects of ozone on ecosystems -- ecosystem indicators of concern

    SciTech Connect

    Innes, J.L.

    1998-12-31

    Ozone has been recognized as an important cause of damage to crops since the 1950s. Damage to trees was first identified in the 1960s and is now known to be widespread in both North America and Europe. Most impact studies have emphasized the importance of determining growth losses attributable to ozone and as a result have concentrated on species of commercial importance. This is illustrated by the critical loads approach to ozone risk assessment in Europe, which is currently based on the AOT40 -- 10 ppmh threshold. At higher levels, it has been argued that a 10% growth reduction occurs in European beech (Fagus sylvatica). Such an approach suffers from a number of serious limitations, not least the widespread impacts on ecosystems that may occur at lower ozone exposures and the very poor quantitative basis for setting this threshold. In Europe, there has been increasing emphasis on the conservation and management of species without any direct economic importance. This has arisen from a growing environmental awareness of the general public. The trend has been accelerated by the perceived environmental benefits of the large amounts of land that has been taken out of agricultural production (as a result of the ``set-aside`` policy of the European Union) and the public concern about the ecological and environmental impacts of industrial forestry. In agricultural landscapes, hedgerow species and weed species are being looked at as important parts of the agricultural ecosystem. In particular, weed species are an important part of the food chain for the wildlife present in such ecosystems. In forests, much greater emphasis is being given to the authenticity of the forest ecosystems. Particular emphasis is being given to ecosystem management techniques such as continuous cover forestry and the furthering of natural regeneration.

  1. Animal models of atherosclerosis

    PubMed Central

    Kapourchali, Fatemeh Ramezani; Surendiran, Gangadaran; Chen, Li; Uitz, Elisabeth; Bahadori, Babak; Moghadasian, Mohammed H

    2014-01-01

    In this mini-review several commonly used animal models of atherosclerosis have been discussed. Among them, emphasis has been made on mice, rabbits, pigs and non-human primates. Although these animal models have played a significant role in our understanding of induction of atherosclerotic lesions, we still lack a reliable animal model for regression of the disease. Researchers have reported several genetically modified and transgenic animal models that replicate human atherosclerosis, however each of current animal models have some limitations. Among these animal models, the apolipoprotein (apo) E-knockout (KO) mice have been used extensively because they develop spontaneous atherosclerosis. Furthermore, atherosclerotic lesions developed in this model depending on experimental design may resemble humans’ stable and unstable atherosclerotic lesions. This mouse model of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis has been also used to investigate the impact of oxidative stress and inflammation on atherogenesis. Low density lipoprotein (LDL)-r-KO mice are a model of human familial hypercholesterolemia. However, unlike apo E-KO mice, the LDL-r-KO mice do not develop spontaneous atherosclerosis. Both apo E-KO and LDL-r-KO mice have been employed to generate other relevant mouse models of cardiovascular disease through breeding strategies. In addition to mice, rabbits have been used extensively particularly to understand the mechanisms of cholesterol-induced atherosclerosis. The present review paper details the characteristics of animal models that are used in atherosclerosis research. PMID:24868511

  2. Environmentally friendly animal litter

    DOEpatents

    Chett, Boxley; McKelvie, Jessica

    2013-08-20

    A method of making an animal litter that includes geopolymerized ash, wherein, the animal litter is made from a quantity of a pozzolanic ash mixed with a sufficient quantity of water and an alkaline activator to initiate a geopolymerization reaction that forms geopolymerized ash. After the geopolymerized ash is formed, it is dried, broken into particulates, and sieved to a desired size. These geopolymerized ash particulates are used to make a non-clumping or clumping animal litter. Odor control may be accomplished with the addition of a urease inhibitor, pH buffer, an odor eliminating agent, and/or fragrance.

  3. [Regulation of animal experimentation].

    PubMed

    Glomot, R; Deltour, G

    1990-01-01

    Marketing authorization of numerous products: human and veterinary drugs, chemicals, agrochemicals and cosmetic products implies a minimum of animal testing. These trials are performed according to the Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) compulsory in France for drug registration. These guide lines are gradually extended to other products and tend to limit the number of animals to the strict necessity of providing a reliable information on the tolerance and possible toxicity of new products. The october 19-1987 decree of the Ministry of Agriculture as well as related decrees, complete and reinforce the previous legislation on animal experimental use in France. These texts comply with the EEC requirements and directives. PMID:2399518

  4. Animals Eponyms in Dermatology

    PubMed Central

    Jindal, Nidhi; Jindal, Pooja; Kumar, Jeevan; Gupta, Sanjeev; Jain, VK

    2014-01-01

    The world of Dermatology is flooded with inflexions among clinical conditions and signs and syndromes; making it interesting, but a tougher subject to remember. Signs and syndromes have always fascinated residents, but simultaneously burdened their minds, as these attractive names are difficult to remember. This work was undertaken to review dermatological conditions and signs based on commonly encountered daily words and objects like animals, etc. Fifty dermatological conditions were found to be based on animal eponyms. For example, the usage of animal terminology in dermatology like leonine facies is present in leprosy, sarcoidosis, mycosis fungoides (MF), and airborne contact dermatitis (ABCD). PMID:25484417

  5. Modelling fire affected ecosystem restoration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rulli, M.; Santini, M.; Rosso, R.

    2011-12-01

    Fire regime in Mediterranean ecosystems is usually ascribed to the seasonal climate, that is characterized by the alternation between mild temperatures and abundant rainfall in Spring and Autumn, and the high temperatures and scarce rainfall producing severe water deficit in Summer. Many factors influence watershed response altered by forest fire forcing: rainfall intensity, fire intensity, vegetation cover, soil properties and moisture content, the time interval between the fire and a rainfall episode and its associated rain rate. The fire changed soil propreties and the burned vegetation cover and the consequent soil surface exposition to high raindrops impacts are found to trigger increasing overland flow, so accelerating soil erosion. Post fire water erosion usually strongly increases in the time interval ranging from the fire extinction to the first year after it. Its persistence is strictly connected to the soil and vegetation restoration, the last occurring at different time scales. In this context, a new model aimed to analyse fire affected ecosystem restoration is presented. It is a spatially distributed model accounting of the hydrological fluxes generation and propagation, the water erosion and of the vegetation dynamic connected both to hydrological cycle and erosion. The model is able to take into account the diverse fire effects persistance of its various components (soil and vegetation) at different time scales. The application to the case study of Rio Mannu basin, a typical Mediterranean ecosystem site located in Sardinia, Italy, highlights modelling capability in studying ecosystem restoration.

  6. Plant materials for novel ecosystems

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The preservationist approach to restoration plant materials has 'local' as its centerpiece, emphasizing taxonomic and genetic patterns (in space). This view can be seen to be at odds with an alternative interventionist point of view that emphasizes the 'processes' (across time) of ecosystem functio...

  7. RESILIENCE OF ECOSYSTEMS TO DISTURBANCES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Resilience, in an ecological context, is one of several terms that characterize the response of an ecosystem to disturbance. Other such terms include persistence, resistance and stability. Two definitions of resilience have become prominent in the literature, both of which derive...

  8. SULFUR DYNAMICS OF FOREST ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    There has been considerable advancement in the understanding of the S biogeochemistry of forested ecosystems. any recent studies have focused on ascertaining the impacts of acidic deposition of forest vegetation, soils and surface waters. ulfur dynamics effects the flux of both H...

  9. ECOSYSTEM PROCESSES AND WATERSHED STRESSORS

    EPA Science Inventory

    The objective of the proposed study is to assess the responsiveness of indicators of ecosystem function to three intensities of watershed disturbance in four regions. An integrated assessment of abiotic and biotic condition of streams will be conducted to assess streams affected...

  10. Valuing ecosystem integrity and health

    SciTech Connect

    Rolston, H. III

    1995-12-31

    There is widespread concern for valuing ecosystem integrity and health, in Congressional legislation, in policy for ecosystem management, sustainable development, and environmental quality. Both integrity and health are combined fact-value words that significantly mix science and advocacy. Science orients policy, though policy also orients science. Recent ecological science raises questions about the mix of stability and historical change in ecosystems, about how structure and process combine to form biotic communities, about order and disorder in natural systems, and the scales on which these occur. Concern for sustainable development mixes the concern for a sustainable biosphere. Ecosystem integrity and health require much restoration of degraded environments, but restoration goals also mix science and values. A traditional attitude toward nature as resources to be for several centuries, is being challenged by an attitude toward nature as resources to be managed by sound scientific management, increasingly successful for several centuries, is being challenged by an attitude of responsibility for harmonizing culture with nature. This will require an unprecendented mix of science, ethics, and policy in the century ahead. It would be a tragic failure of human culture, especially of modern scientifically advanced culture, if it were further to degrade the integrity, health, and biodiversity achieved over many millennia, leaving a still more depauperate Earth. Homo sapiens, improverishing people and the planet, would not be the {open_quotes}wise{close_quotes} species at all.

  11. Global Status of Mangrove Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saenger, P., Ed.; And Others

    1983-01-01

    Mangroves are the characteristic littoral plant formations of tropical/subtropical sheltered coastlines. Presented is a detailed report which discusses uses made of mangrove ecosystems and attempts to resolve conflicts arising from these uses. Areas considered include cause/consequence of mangrove destruction, legislative/administrative aspects,…

  12. Tampa Bay Ecosystem Services webpage

    EPA Science Inventory

    Public website describing research on the large-scale physical, chemical, and biological dynamics of coastal wetlands and estuaries, with emphasis on the Gulf of Mexico. Hyperlinks direct users to mapped ecosystem services of interest and value to Tampa Bay area residents, and i...

  13. Global Status of Mangrove Ecosystems.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Saenger, P., Ed.; And Others

    1983-01-01

    Mangroves are the characteristic littoral plant formations of tropical/subtropical sheltered coastlines. Presented is a detailed report which discusses uses made of mangrove ecosystems and attempts to resolve conflicts arising from these uses. Areas considered include cause/consequence of mangrove destruction, legislative/administrative aspects,…

  14. Future directions of ecosystem science

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baron, Jill; Galvin, Kathleen A.

    1990-01-01

    Scientific knowledge about ecosystem structure and function has expanded greatly during the past few decades. Terrestrial and aquatic nutrient cycling, ecosystem energetics, population dynamics, belowground processes, and food webs have been studied at the plot, stand, watershed, and landscape levels at many locations around the globe. Ideas about terrestrial-atmospheric interactions and human interference in these processes have changed dramatically. There is new appreciation of the need to incorporate into ecosystem studies the interactions between human populations and the ecosystem, not only because humans affect ecosystem processes, but because these systems support human populations (Glantz 1988, Holden 1988, Parry et al. 1988, WCED 1987). Recent advances in ecosystem science are due, in part, to technological improvements in computing power, new laboratory and field physical and chemical analytical techniques, and satellite imagery for remote sensing of Earth's structure and dynamics. Modeling and geographic information systems have provided the capability for integrating multiple data sets with process simulations to generate hypotheses about regional ecosystem function. Concurrent with these scientific developments has been a growing concern about the links between the health of the environment and world-wide industrial, land, and resource-management practices. Environmental damage at the local level was widely recognized in the 1960s, prompting the environmental movement of that decade. Regional environmental problems with multiple effects and politically difficult solutions have been perceived more recently; the issue of acidic deposition provides an example of such a second-generation concern (Clark and Holling 1985). Today there is a growing awareness of global-scale environmental degradation brought about by the combined actions of all peoples on Earth (Clark 1989, Woodmansee et al. 1988). The three levels of environmental concern--local, regional, and global--have not replaced one another (Clark and Holling 1985). Instead, the effects are superimposed, creating what some perceive as impending global environmental crisis (Clark 1989, MacNeill 1989, WCED 1987). Public demands are developing for economic, political, social, and environmental efforts directed toward creating a state of global sustainability.

  15. Parathyroid diseases and animal models.

    PubMed

    Imanishi, Yasuo; Nagata, Yuki; Inaba, Masaaki

    2012-01-01

    CIRCULATING CALCIUM AND PHOSPHATE ARE TIGHTLY REGULATED BY THREE HORMONES: the active form of vitamin D (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D), fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-23, and parathyroid hormone (PTH). PTH acts to stimulate a rapid increment in serum calcium and has a crucial role in calcium homeostasis. Major target organs of PTH are kidney and bone. The oversecretion of the hormone results in hypercalcemia, caused by increased intestinal calcium absorption, reduced renal calcium clearance, and mobilization of calcium from bone in primary hyperparathyroidism. In chronic kidney disease, secondary hyperparathyroidism of uremia is observed in its early stages, and this finally develops into the autonomous secretion of PTH during maintenance hemodialysis. Receptors in parathyroid cells, such as the calcium-sensing receptor, vitamin D receptor, and FGF receptor (FGFR)-Klotho complex have crucial roles in the regulation of PTH secretion. Genes such as Cyclin D1, RET, MEN1, HRPT2, and CDKN1B have been identified in parathyroid diseases. Genetically engineered animals with these receptors and the associated genes have provided us with valuable information on the patho-physiology of parathyroid diseases. The application of these animal models is significant for the development of new therapies. PMID:22754549

  16. Urban ecosystem health assessment: a review.

    PubMed

    Su, Meirong; Fath, Brian D; Yang, Zhifeng

    2010-05-15

    Due to the important role of cities for regional, national, and international economic development and the concurrent degradation of the urban environmental quality under rapid urbanization, a systematic diagnosis of urban ecosystem health for sustainable ecological management is urgently needed. This paper reviews the related research on urban ecosystem health assessment, beginning from the inception of urban ecosystem health concerns propelled by the development needs of urban ecosystems and the advances in ecosystem health research. Concepts, standards, indicators, models, and case studies are introduced and discussed. Urban ecosystem health considers the integration of ecological, economic, social and human health factors, and as such it is a value-driven concept which is strongly influenced by human perceptions. There is not an absolute urban ecosystem standard because of the uncertainty caused by the changing human needs, targets, and expectation of urban ecosystem over time; thus, suitable approaches are still needed to establish health standards of urban ecosystems. Several conceptual models and suitable indicator frameworks have been proposed to organize the multiple factors to represent comprehensively the health characteristics of an urban ecosystem, while certain mathematical methods have been applied to deal with the indicator information to get a clear assessment of the urban ecosystem health status. Instead of perceiving the urban ecosystem assessment as an instantaneous measurement of the health state, it is suggested to conceptualize the urban ecosystem health as a process, which impels us to focus more studies on the dynamic trends of health status and projecting possible development scenarios. PMID:20346483

  17. Challenges in tissue engineering

    PubMed Central

    Ikada, Yoshito

    2006-01-01

    Almost 30 years have passed since a term ‘tissue engineering’ was created to represent a new concept that focuses on regeneration of neotissues from cells with the support of biomaterials and growth factors. This interdisciplinary engineering has attracted much attention as a new therapeutic means that may overcome the drawbacks involved in the current artificial organs and organ transplantation that have been also aiming at replacing lost or severely damaged tissues or organs. However, the tissues regenerated by this tissue engineering and widely applied to patients are still very limited, including skin, bone, cartilage, capillary and periodontal tissues. What are the reasons for such slow advances in clinical applications of tissue engineering? This article gives the brief overview on the current tissue engineering, covering the fundamentals and applications. The fundamentals of tissue engineering involve the cell sources, scaffolds for cell expansion and differentiation and carriers for growth factors. Animal and human trials are the major part of the applications. Based on these results, some critical problems to be resolved for the advances of tissue engineering are addressed from the engineering point of view, emphasizing the close collaboration between medical doctors and biomaterials scientists. PMID:16971328

  18. Physics for Animation Artists

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chai, David; Garcia, Alejandro L.

    2011-11-01

    Animation has become enormously popular in feature films, television, and video games. Art departments and film schools at universities as well as animation programs at high schools have expanded in recent years to meet the growing demands for animation artists. Professional animators identify the technological facet as the most rapidly advancing (and now indispensable) component of their industry. Art students are keenly aware of these trends and understand that their future careers require them to have a broader exposure to science than in the past. Unfortunately, at present there is little overlap between art and science in the typical high school or college curriculum. This article describes our experience in bridging this gap at San Jose State University, with the hope that readers will find ideas that can be used in their own schools.

  19. LISTERIOSIS IN ANIMALS

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    This manuscript reviews the role of Listeria monocytogenes in food and companion animals. The study examines the epidemiology, modes of transmission, and risk factors involved in listeriosis. It emphasizes the clinical manifestation of listeriosis in livestock: abortion, encephalitis, and septic...

  20. The Classroom Animal.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kramer, David C.

    1986-01-01

    Provides background information for teachers on the physical and physiological characteristics of fruit flies. Explains their role and function in the study of heredity. Upholds their value as a manageable and safe laboratory animal. (ML)

  1. Animal transportation networks

    PubMed Central

    Perna, Andrea; Latty, Tanya

    2014-01-01

    Many group-living animals construct transportation networks of trails, galleries and burrows by modifying the environment to facilitate faster, safer or more efficient movement. Animal transportation networks can have direct influences on the fitness of individuals, whereas the shape and structure of transportation networks can influence community dynamics by facilitating contacts between different individuals and species. In this review, we discuss three key areas in the study of animal transportation networks: the topological properties of networks, network morphogenesis and growth, and the behaviour of network users. We present a brief primer on elements of network theory, and then discuss the different ways in which animal groups deal with the fundamental trade-off between the competing network properties of travel efficiency, robustness and infrastructure cost. We consider how the behaviour of network users can impact network efficiency, and call for studies that integrate both network topology and user behaviour. We finish with a prospectus for future research. PMID:25165598

  2. [Alternatives to animal testing].

    PubMed

    Fabre, Isabelle

    2009-11-01

    The use of alternative methods to animal testing are an integral part of the 3Rs concept (refine, reduce, replace) defined by Russel & Burch in 1959. These approaches include in silico methods (databases and computer models), in vitro physicochemical analysis, biological methods using bacteria or isolated cells, reconstructed enzyme systems, and reconstructed tissues. Emerging "omic" methods used in integrated approaches further help to reduce animal use, while stem cells offer promising approaches to toxicologic and pathophysiologic studies, along with organotypic cultures and bio-artificial organs. Only a few alternative methods can so far be used in stand-alone tests as substitutes for animal testing. The best way to use these methods is to integrate them in tiered testing strategies (ITS), in which animals are only used as a last resort. PMID:20669543

  3. The Classroom Animal: Cryptozoa.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Science and Children, 1987

    1987-01-01

    Explains how to establish and maintain a woodland terrarium. Points out how this environment can be used to study animal interaction and can serve as a focal point for learning about a variety of elementary science concepts. (ML)

  4. AGATE animation - business theme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    Business jet 1 of 6. This composite image symbolizes how Advanced General Aviation Transports Experiment (AGATE) technology will contribute to a Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) early in the 21st century. Image from AGATE 'business' video animation.

  5. AGATE animation - business theme

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    1998-01-01

    Business jet 5 of 6. Advanced General Aviation Technology Experiment (AGATE). 'Smart airport' technologies are expected to be available in 5-10 years for both recreational and business transportation. Image from AGATE 'business jet' video animation.

  6. Animal transportation networks.

    PubMed

    Perna, Andrea; Latty, Tanya

    2014-11-01

    Many group-living animals construct transportation networks of trails, galleries and burrows by modifying the environment to facilitate faster, safer or more efficient movement. Animal transportation networks can have direct influences on the fitness of individuals, whereas the shape and structure of transportation networks can influence community dynamics by facilitating contacts between different individuals and species. In this review, we discuss three key areas in the study of animal transportation networks: the topological properties of networks, network morphogenesis and growth, and the behaviour of network users. We present a brief primer on elements of network theory, and then discuss the different ways in which animal groups deal with the fundamental trade-off between the competing network properties of travel efficiency, robustness and infrastructure cost. We consider how the behaviour of network users can impact network efficiency, and call for studies that integrate both network topology and user behaviour. We finish with a prospectus for future research. PMID:25165598

  7. Controls on winter ecosystem respiration in temperate and boreal ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, T.; Ciais, P.; Piao, S. L.; Ottlé, C.; Brender, P.; Maignan, F.; Arain, A.; Cescatti, A.; Gianelle, D.; Gough, C.; Gu, L.; Lafleur, P.; Laurila, T.; Marcolla, B.; Margolis, H.; Montagnani, L.; Moors, E.; Saigusa, N.; Vesala, T.; Wohlfahrt, G.; Koven, C.; Black, A.; Dellwik, E.; Don, A.; Hollinger, D.; Knohl, A.; Monson, R.; Munger, J.; Suyker, A.; Varlagin, A.; Verma, S.

    2011-07-01

    Winter CO2 fluxes represent an important component of the annual carbon budget in northern ecosystems. Understanding winter respiration processes and their responses to climate change is also central to our ability to assess terrestrial carbon cycle and climate feedbacks in the future. However, the factors influencing the spatial and temporal patterns of winter ecosystem respiration (Reco) of northern ecosystems are poorly understood. For this reason, we analyzed eddy covariance flux data from 57 ecosystem sites ranging from ~35° N to ~70° N. Deciduous forests were characterized by the highest winter Reco rates (0.90 ± 0.39 g C m-2 d-1), when winter is defined as the period during which daily air temperature remains below 0 °C. By contrast, arctic wetlands had the lowest winter Reco rates (0.02 ± 0.02 g C m-2 d-1). Mixed forests, evergreen needle-leaved forests, grasslands, croplands and boreal wetlands were characterized by intermediate winter Reco rates (g C m-2 d-1) of 0.70(±0.33), 0.60(±0.38), 0.62(±0.43), 0.49(±0.22) and 0.27(±0.08), respectively. Our cross site analysis showed that winter air (Tair) and soil (Tsoil) temperature played a dominating role in determining the spatial patterns of winter Reco in both forest and managed ecosystems (grasslands and croplands). Besides temperature, the seasonal amplitude of the leaf area index (LAI), inferred from satellite observation, or growing season gross primary productivity, which we use here as a proxy for the amount of recent carbon available for Reco in the subsequent winter, played a marginal role in winter CO2 emissions from forest ecosystems. We found that winter Reco sensitivity to temperature variation across space (QS) was higher than the one over time (interannual, QT). This can be expected because QS not only accounts for climate gradients across sites but also for (positively correlated) the spatial variability of substrate quantity. Thus, if the models estimate future warming impacts on Reco based on QS rather than QT, this could overestimate the impact of temperature changes.

  8. Computer animation of clouds

    SciTech Connect

    Max, N.

    1994-01-28

    Computer animation of outdoor scenes is enhanced by realistic clouds. I will discuss several different modeling and rendering schemes for clouds, and show how they evolved in my animation work. These include transparency-textured clouds on a 2-D plane, smooth shaded or textured 3-D clouds surfaces, and 3-D volume rendering. For the volume rendering, I will present various illumination schemes, including the density emitter, single scattering, and multiple scattering models.

  9. Stirling engines

    SciTech Connect

    Reader, G.T.; Hooper

    1983-01-01

    The Stirling engine was invented by a Scottish clergyman in 1816, but fell into disuse with the coming of the diesel engine. Advances in materials science and the energy crisis have made a hot air engine economically attractive. Explanations are full and understandable. Includes coverage of the underlying thermodynamics and an interesting historical section. Topics include: Introduction to Stirling engine technology, Theoretical concepts--practical realities, Analysis, simulation and design, Practical aspects, Some alternative energy sources, Present research and development, Stirling engine literature.

  10. Modelling Farm Animal Welfare

    PubMed Central

    Collins, Lisa M.; Part, Chérie E.

    2013-01-01

    Simple Summary In this review paper we discuss the different modeling techniques that have been used in animal welfare research to date. We look at what questions they have been used to answer, the advantages and pitfalls of the methods, and how future research can best use these approaches to answer some of the most important upcoming questions in farm animal welfare. Abstract The use of models in the life sciences has greatly expanded in scope and advanced in technique in recent decades. However, the range, type and complexity of models used in farm animal welfare is comparatively poor, despite the great scope for use of modeling in this field of research. In this paper, we review the different modeling approaches used in farm animal welfare science to date, discussing the types of questions they have been used to answer, the merits and problems associated with the method, and possible future applications of each technique. We find that the most frequently published types of model used in farm animal welfare are conceptual and assessment models; two types of model that are frequently (though not exclusively) based on expert opinion. Simulation, optimization, scenario, and systems modeling approaches are rarer in animal welfare, despite being commonly used in other related fields. Finally, common issues such as a lack of quantitative data to parameterize models, and model selection and validation are discussed throughout the review, with possible solutions and alternative approaches suggested. PMID:26487411

  11. Release, transport and toxicity of engineered nanoparticles.

    PubMed

    Soni, Deepika; Naoghare, Pravin K; Saravanadevi, Sivanesan; Pandey, Ram Avatar

    2015-01-01

    Recent developments in nanotechnology have facilitated the synthesis of novel engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) that possess new and different physicochemical properties. These ENPs have been ex tensive ly used in various commercial sectors to achieve both social and economic benefits. However. the increasing production and consumption of ENPs by many different industries has raised concerns about their possible release and accumulation in the environment. Released EN Ps may either remain suspended in the atmosphere for several years or may accumulate and eventually be modified int o other substances. Settled nanoparticles can he easily washed away during ra in s. and therefore may easily enter the food chain via water and so il. Thus. EN Ps can contaminate air. water and soil and can subsequently pose adverse risks to the health of different organisms. Studies to date indicate that ENP transport to and within the ecosystem depend on their chemical and physical properties (viz .. size. shape and solubility) . Therefore. the EN Ps display variable behavior in the environment because of their individual properties th at affect their tendency for adsorption, absorption, diffusional and colloidal interaction. The transport of EN Ps also influences their fate and chemical transformation in ecosystems. The adsorption, absorption and colloidal interaction of ENPs affect their capacity to be degraded or transformed, whereas the tendency of ENPs to agglomerate fosters their sedimentation. How widely ENPs are transported and their environmental fate influence how tox ic they may become to environmental organisms. One barrier to fully understanding how EN Ps are transformed in the environment and how best to characterize their toxicity, is related to the nature of their ultrafine structure. Experiments with different animals, pl ants, and cell lines have revealed that ENPs induce toxicity via several cellular pathways that is linked to the size. shape. surface area, agglomeration state. and sur face charge of the ENP involved. Future research is needed to elucidate the mechanisms by which nanoparticles act to induce their tox ic effects aft er they reach various ecosystems. Moreover. work is needed to develop a holistic approach for better understanding the effects that ENPs produce at the cellular and genetic level. PMID:25385512

  12. Animal and cellular models of human disease.

    PubMed

    Arends, Mark J; White, Eric S; Whitelaw, C Bruce A

    2016-01-01

    In this eighteenth (2016) Annual Review Issue of The Journal of Pathology, we present a collection of 19 invited review articles that cover different aspects of cellular and animal models of disease. These include genetically-engineered models, chemically-induced models, naturally-occurring models, and combinations thereof, with the focus on recent methodological and conceptual developments across a wide range of human diseases. Copyright © 2015 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:26482929

  13. INDICATORS OF ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY FOR ESTUARIES

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ideal indicators of ecosystem integrity integrate multiple structural and functional attributes of the ecosystem, have temporal and spatial dimensions, express real variability, are standardized with respect to reference conditions, societal goals, or both, and support prediction...

  14. GEOHYDROLOGY IN SUPPORT OF ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION

    EPA Science Inventory

    The practical framework for ecosystem restoration is the watershed. The structure and function of riparian and wetland areas within the watershed provide water quality services for healthy aquatic ecosystems. Urbanization, agriculture and other pressures can produce point and n...

  15. AIR POLLUTION EFFECTS ON TERRESTRIAL ECOSYSTEMS

    EPA Science Inventory

    This report presents information on the effects of ozone, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, and acidic disposition on terrestrial ecosystems. A brief explanation of ecosystem dynamics is presented to provide a framework for discussion of air pollutant effects. D...

  16. RADICALLY CONTESTED ASSERTIONS IN ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Ecosystem management is a magnet for controversy, in part because some of its formulations rest on questionable assertions that are radically contested. These assertions are important to understanding much of the conflict surrounding ecosystem management and, therrefore, deserve...

  17. Ecosystem Services in Risk Assessment and Management

    EPA Science Inventory

    The ecosystem services concept provides a comprehensive framework for considering ecosystems in decision making, for valuing the services they provide, and for ensuring that society can maintain a healthy and resilient natural environment now and for future generations. A global ...

  18. COUNTERACTING ECOSYSTEM LOSSES DUE TO DEVELOPMENT

    EPA Science Inventory

    Sustainability in any ecosystem is conditioned by properties established by nature. Intervention into ecosystems for the purposes of developing the built/socio-physical environment involves value judgments regarding human well-being. Therefore, if development is sustainable, it m...

  19. Anesthetizing animals: Similar to humans yet, peculiar?

    PubMed Central

    Kurdi, Madhuri S.; Ramaswamy, Ashwini H.

    2015-01-01

    From time immemorial, animals have served as models for humans. Like humans, animals too have to undergo several types of elective and emergency surgeries. Several anesthetic techniques and drugs used in humans are also used in animals. However, unlike humans, the animal kingdom includes a wide variety of species, breeds, and sizes. Different species have variable pharmacological responses, anatomy, temperament, behavior, and lifestyles. The anesthetic techniques and drugs have to suit different species and breeds. Nevertheless, there are several drugs and many peculiar anesthetic techniques used in animals but not in human beings. Keeping this in mind, literature was hand searched and electronically searched using the words “veterinary anesthesia,” “anesthetic drugs and techniques in animals” using Google search engine. The interesting information so collected is presented in this article which highlights some challenging and amazing aspects of anesthetizing animals including the preanesthetic assessment, preparation, premedication, monitoring, induction of general anesthesia, intubation, equipment, regional blocks, neuraxial block, and perioperative complications. PMID:26712963

  20. Balancing feedstock economics and ecosystem services

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The purpose of this analysis is to examine the economic balance between production of cellulosic biofuel feedstocks and ecosystem services at the farm level. A literature review of the economics of ecosystem services, ecosystem service impacts of biofuel production, and economic factors influencing ...