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Sample records for ecological niche modeling

  1. Ecological niche

    SciTech Connect

    Shugart, H.H.

    1980-01-01

    The ecological niche of an organism is the set of environmental conditions under which the particular functions of the organism could be expected to assure its survival. It comprises both the set of conditions where the organism lives (often termed the habitat of the organism) and the functional role of the organism in the ecosystem. Recent works in niche theory have enabled ecologists to develop predictions and actual applications. The history of the niche concept, applications of niche theory, and ecological differences between similar species are discussed.

  2. INVASIVE SPECIES: PREDICTING GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS USING ECOLOGICAL NICHE MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    Present approaches to species invasions are reactive in nature. This scenario results in management that perpetually lags behind the most recent invasion and makes control much more difficult. In contrast, spatially explicit ecological niche modeling provides an effective solut...

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

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Craft, Meggan E

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks. PMID:27547199

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

    PubMed Central

    Escobar, Luis E.; Craft, Meggan E.

    2016-01-01

    Mapping disease transmission risk is crucial in public and animal health for evidence based decision-making. Ecology and epidemiology are highly related disciplines that may contribute to improvements in mapping disease, which can be used to answer health related questions. Ecological niche modeling is increasingly used for understanding the biogeography of diseases in plants, animals, and humans. However, epidemiological applications of niche modeling approaches for disease mapping can fail to generate robust study designs, producing incomplete or incorrect inferences. This manuscript is an overview of the history and conceptual bases behind ecological niche modeling, specifically as applied to epidemiology and public health; it does not pretend to be an exhaustive and detailed description of ecological niche modeling literature and methods. Instead, this review includes selected state-of-the-science approaches and tools, providing a short guide to designing studies incorporating information on the type and quality of the input data (i.e., occurrences and environmental variables), identification and justification of the extent of the study area, and encourages users to explore and test diverse algorithms for more informed conclusions. We provide a friendly introduction to the field of disease biogeography presenting an updated guide for researchers looking to use ecological niche modeling for disease mapping. We anticipate that ecological niche modeling will soon be a critical tool for epidemiologists aiming to map disease transmission risk, forecast disease distribution under climate change scenarios, and identify landscape factors triggering outbreaks. PMID:27547199

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-02-01

    The bank vole (Myodes glareolus) is the natural host of Puumala virus (PUUV) in vast areas of Europe. PUUV is one of the hantaviruses which are transmitted to humans by infected rodents. PUUV causes a general mild form of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) called nephropathia epidemica (NE). Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases generally display clear spatial patterns due to different space-dependent factors. Land cover influences disease transmission by controlling both the spatial distribution of vectors or hosts, as well as by facilitating the human contact with them. In this study the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM) for predicting the geographical distribution of bank vole population on the basis of spatial climate information is tested. The Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction (GARP) is used to model the ecological niche of bank voles in Western Europe. The meteorological data, land cover types and geo-referenced points representing the locations of the bank voles (latitude/longitude) in the study area are used as the primary model input value. The predictive accuracy of the bank vole ecologic niche model was significant (training accuracy of 86%). The output of the GARP models based on the 50% subsets of points used for testing the model showed an accuracy of 75%. Compared with random models, the probability of such high predictivity was low (χ(2) tests, p < 10(-6)). As such, the GARP models were predictive and the used ecologic niche model indeed indicates the ecologic requirements of bank voles. This approach successfully identified the areas of infection risk across the study area. The result suggests that the niche modelling approach can be implemented in a next step towards the development of new tools for monitoring the bank vole's population. PMID:23358234

  6. Introducing BioSARN - an ecological niche model refinement tool.

    PubMed

    Heap, Marshall J

    2016-08-01

    Environmental niche modeling outputs a biological species' potential distribution. Further work is needed to arrive at a species' realized distribution. The Biological Species Approximate Realized Niche (BioSARN) application provides the ecological modeler with a toolset to refine Environmental niche models (ENMs). These tools include soil and land class filtering, niche area quantification and novelties like enhanced temporal corridor definition, and output to a high spatial resolution land class model. BioSARN is exemplified with a study on Fraser fir, a tree species with strong land class and edaphic correlations. Soil and land class filtering caused the potential distribution area to decline 17%. Enhanced temporal corridor definition permitted distinction of current, continuing, and future niches, and thus niche change and movement. Tile quantification analysis provided further corroboration of these trends. BioSARN does not substitute other established ENM methods. Rather, it allows the experimenter to work with their preferred ENM, refining it using their knowledge and experience. Output from lower spatial resolution ENMs to a high spatial resolution land class model is a pseudo high-resolution result. Still, it maybe the best that can be achieved until wide range high spatial resolution environmental data and accurate high precision species occurrence data become generally available. PMID:27547356

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klawonn, M.; Dow, E. M.

    2015-12-01

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

  8. Regional Variation Exaggerates Ecological Divergence in Niche Models

    PubMed Central

    Godsoe, William

    2010-01-01

    Traditionally, the goal of systematics has been to produce classifications that are both strongly supported and biologically meaningful. In recent years several authors have advocated complementing phylogenetic analyses with measures of another form of evolutionary change, ecological divergence. These analyses frequently rely on ecological niche models to determine if species have comparable environmental requirements, but it has heretofore been difficult to test the accuracy of these inferences. To address this problem, I simulate the geographic distributions of allopatric species with identical environmental requirements. I then test whether existing analyses based on geographic distributions will correctly infer that the 2 species' requirements are identical. This work demonstrates that when taxa disperse to different environments, many analyses can erroneously infer changes in environmental requirements, but the severity of the problem depends on the method used. As this could exaggerate the number of ecologically distinct taxa in a clade, I suggest diagnostics to mitigate this problem. PMID:20525637

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Biancalani, Tommaso; DeVille, Lee; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2015-05-01

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

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

    PubMed

    Biancalani, Tommaso; DeVille, Lee; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2015-05-01

    We develop a theoretical framework for analyzing ecological models with a multidimensional niche space. Our approach relies on the fact that ecological niches are described by sequences of symbols, which allows us to include multiple phenotypic traits. Ecological drivers, such as competitive exclusion, are modeled by introducing the Hamming distance between two sequences. We show that a suitable transform diagonalizes the community interaction matrix of these models, making it possible to predict the conditions for niche differentiation and, close to the instability onset, the asymptotically long time population distributions of niches. We exemplify our method using the Lotka-Volterra equations with an exponential competition kernel. PMID:26066119

  11. Are we overestimating the niche? Removing marginal localities helps ecological niche models detect environmental barriers.

    PubMed

    Soley-Guardia, Mariano; Gutiérrez, Eliécer E; Thomas, Darla M; Ochoa-G, José; Aguilera, Marisol; Anderson, Robert P

    2016-03-01

    Correlative ecological niche models (ENMs) estimate species niches using occurrence records and environmental data. These tools are valuable to the field of biogeography, where they are commonly used to infer potential connectivity among populations. However, a recent study showed that when locally relevant environmental data are not available, records from patches of suitable habitat protruding into otherwise unsuitable regions (e.g., gallery forests within dry areas) can lead to overestimations of species niches and their potential distributions. Here, we test whether this issue obfuscates detection of an obvious environmental barrier existing in northern Venezuela - that of the hot and xeric lowlands separating the Península de Paraguaná from mainland South America. These conditions most likely promote isolation between mainland and peninsular populations of three rodent lineages occurring in mesic habitat in this region. For each lineage, we calibrated optimally parameterized ENMs using mainland records only, and leveraged existing habitat descriptions to assess whether those assigned low suitability values corresponded to instances where the species was collected within locally mesic conditions amidst otherwise hot dry areas. When this was the case, we built an additional model excluding these records. We projected both models onto the peninsula and assessed whether they differed in their ability to detect the environmental barrier. For the two lineages in which we detected such problematic records, only the models built excluding them detected the barrier, while providing additional insights regarding peninsular populations. Overall, the study reveals how a simple procedure like the one applied here can deal with records problematic for ENMs, leading to better predictions regarding the potential effects of the environment on lineage divergence. PMID:26848385

  12. Using Ecological Niche Models and Niche Analyses to Understand Speciation Patterns: The Case of Sister Neotropical Orchid Bees

    PubMed Central

    Silva, Daniel P.; Vilela, Bruno; De Marco, Paulo; Nemésio, André

    2014-01-01

    The role of past connections between the two major South American forested biomes on current species distribution has been recognized a long time ago. Climatic oscillations that further separated these biomes have promoted parapatric speciation, in which many species had their continuous distribution split, giving rise to different but related species (i.e., different potential distributions and realized niche features). The distribution of many sister species of orchid bees follow this pattern. Here, using ecological niche models and niche analyses, we (1) tested the role of ecological niche differentiation on the divergence between sister orchid-bees (genera Eulaema and Eufriesea) from the Amazon and Atlantic forests, and (2) highlighted interesting areas for new surveys. Amazonian species occupied different realized niches than their Atlantic sister species. Conversely, species of sympatric but distantly related Eulaema bees occupied similar realized niches. Amazonian species had a wide potential distribution in South America, whereas Atlantic Forest species were more limited to the eastern coast of the continent. Additionally, we identified several areas in need of future surveys. Our results show that the realized niche of Atlantic-Amazonian sister species of orchid bees, which have been previously treated as allopatric populations of three species, had limited niche overlap and similarity. These findings agree with their current taxonomy, which treats each of those populations as distinct valid species. PMID:25422941

  13. Locating Pleistocene Refugia: Comparing Phylogeographic and Ecological Niche Model Predictions

    PubMed Central

    Waltari, Eric; Hijmans, Robert J.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Nyári, Árpád S.; Perkins, Susan L.; Guralnick, Robert P.

    2007-01-01

    Ecological niche models (ENMs) provide a means of characterizing the spatial distribution of suitable conditions for species, and have recently been applied to the challenge of locating potential distributional areas at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) when unfavorable climate conditions led to range contractions and fragmentation. Here, we compare and contrast ENM-based reconstructions of LGM refugial locations with those resulting from the more traditional molecular genetic and phylogeographic predictions. We examined 20 North American terrestrial vertebrate species from different regions and with different range sizes for which refugia have been identified based on phylogeographic analyses, using ENM tools to make parallel predictions. We then assessed the correspondence between the two approaches based on spatial overlap and areal extent of the predicted refugia. In 14 of the 20 species, the predictions from ENM and predictions based on phylogeographic studies were significantly spatially correlated, suggesting that the two approaches to development of refugial maps are converging on a similar result. Our results confirm that ENM scenario exploration can provide a useful complement to molecular studies, offering a less subjective, spatially explicit hypothesis of past geographic patterns of distribution. PMID:17622339

  14. A synthesis of transplant experiments and ecological niche models suggests that range limits are often niche limits.

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, Julie A; Kharouba, Heather M; Bontrager, Megan; Mahony, Colin; Csergő, Anna Mária; Noreen, Annika M E; Li, Qin; Schuster, Richard; Angert, Amy L

    2016-06-01

    Global change has made it important to understand the factors that shape species' distributions. Central to this area of research is the question of whether species' range limits primarily reflect the distribution of suitable habitat (i.e. niche limits) or arise as a result of dispersal limitation. Over-the-edge transplant experiments and ecological niche models are commonly used to address this question, yet few studies have taken advantage of a combined approach for inferring the causes of range limits. Here, we synthesise results from existing transplant experiments with new information on the predicted suitability of sites based on niche models. We found that individual performance and habitat suitability independently decline beyond range limits across multiple species. Furthermore, inferences from transplant experiments and niche models were generally concordant within species, with 31 out of 40 cases fully supporting the hypothesis that range limits are niche limits. These results suggest that range limits are often niche limits and that the factors constraining species' ranges operate at scales detectable by both transplant experiments and niche models. In light of these findings, we outline an integrative framework for addressing the causes of range limits in individual species. PMID:27111656

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

    PubMed Central

    Drake, John M.

    2015-01-01

    The ecological niche is the set of environments in which a population of a species can persist without introduction of individuals from other locations. A good mathematical or computational representation of the niche is a prerequisite to addressing many questions in ecology, biogeography, evolutionary biology and conservation. A particularly challenging question for ecological niche modelling is the problem of presence-only modelling. That is, can an ecological niche be identified from records drawn only from the set of niche environments without records from non-niche environments for comparison? Here, I introduce a new method for ecological niche modelling from presence-only data called range bagging. Range bagging draws on the concept of a species' environmental range, but was inspired by the empirical performance of ensemble learning algorithms in other areas of ecological research. This paper extends the concept of environmental range to multiple dimensions and shows that range bagging is computationally feasible even when the number of environmental dimensions is large. The target of the range bagging base learner is an environmental tolerance of the species in a projection of its niche and is therefore an ecologically interpretable property of a species' biological requirements. The computational complexity of range bagging is linear in the number of examples, which compares favourably with the main alternative, Qhull. In conclusion, range bagging appears to be a reasonable choice for niche modelling in applications in which a presence-only method is desired and may provide a solution to problems in other disciplines where one-class classification is required, such as outlier detection and concept learning. PMID:25948612

  16. Ecological niche modeling of sympatric krill predators around Marguerite Bay, Western Antarctic Peninsula

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Friedlaender, Ari S.; Johnston, David W.; Fraser, William R.; Burns, Jennifer; Halpin, Patrick N.; Costa, Daniel P.

    2011-07-01

    Adélie penguins ( Pygoscelis adeliae), carabeater seals ( Lobodon carcinophagus), humpback ( Megaptera novaeangliae), and minke whales ( Balaenoptera bonaernsis) are found in the waters surrounding the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Each species relies primarily on Antarctic krill ( Euphausia superba) and has physiological constraints and foraging behaviors that dictate their ecological niches. Understanding the degree of ecological overlap between sympatric krill predators is critical to understanding and predicting the impacts on climate-driven changes to the Antarctic marine ecosystem. To explore ecological relationships amongst sympatric krill predators, we developed ecological niche models using a maximum entropy modeling approach (Maxent) that allows the integration of data collected by a variety of means (e.g. satellite-based locations and visual observations). We created spatially explicit probability distributions for the four krill predators in fall 2001 and 2002 in conjunction with a suite of environmental variables. We find areas within Marguerite Bay with high krill predator occurrence rates or biological hot spots. We find the modeled ecological niches for Adélie penguins and crabeater seals may be affected by their physiological needs to haul-out on substrate. Thus, their distributions may be less dictated by proximity to prey and more so by physical features that over time provide adequate access to prey. Humpback and minke whales, being fully marine and having greater energetic demands, occupy ecological niches more directly proximate to prey. We also find evidence to suggest that the amount of overlap between modeled niches is relatively low, even for species with similar energetic requirements. In a rapidly changing and variable environment, our modeling work shows little indication that krill predators maintain similar ecological niches across years around Marguerite Bay. Given the amount of variability in the marine environment around the

  17. Ecological Niche Model used to examine the distribution of an invasive, non-indigenous coral.

    PubMed

    Carlos-Júnior, L A; Barbosa, N P U; Moulton, T P; Creed, J C

    2015-02-01

    All organisms have a set of ecological conditions (or niche) which they depend on to survive and establish in a given habitat. The ecological niche of a species limits its geographical distribution. In the particular case of non-indigenous species (NIS), the ecological requirements of the species impose boundaries on the potential distribution of the organism in the new receptor regions. This is a theoretical assumption implicit when Ecological Niche Models (ENMs) are used to assess the potential distribution of NIS. This assumption has been questioned, given that in some cases niche shift may occur during the process of invasion. We used ENMs to investigate whether the model fit with data from the native range of the coral Tubastraea coccinea Lesson, 1829 successfully predicts its invasion in the Atlantic. We also identified which factors best explain the distribution of this NIS. The broad native distributional range of T. coccinea predicted the invaded sites well, especially along the Brazilian coast, the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. The occurrence of T. coccinea was positively related to calcite levels and negatively to eutrophy, but was rather unaffected to other variables that often limit other marine organisms, suggesting that this NIS has wide ecological limits, a trait typical of invasive species. PMID:25465286

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

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

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

  19. Niche and neutral models predict asymptotically equivalent species abundance distributions in high-diversity ecological communities

    PubMed Central

    Chisholm, Ryan A.; Pacala, Stephen W.

    2010-01-01

    A fundamental challenge in ecology is to understand the mechanisms that govern patterns of relative species abundance. Previous numerical simulations have suggested that complex niche-structured models produce species abundance distributions (SADs) that are qualitatively similar to those of very simple neutral models that ignore differences between species. However, in the absence of an analytical treatment of niche models, one cannot tell whether the two classes of model produce the same patterns via similar or different mechanisms. We present an analytical proof that, in the limit as diversity becomes large, a strong niche model give rises to exactly the same asymptotic form of SAD as the neutral model, and we verify the analytical predictions for a Panamanian tropical forest data set. Our results strongly suggest that neutral processes drive patterns of relative species abundance in high-diversity ecological communities, even when strong niche structure exists. However, neutral theory cannot explain what generates high diversity in the first place, and it may not be valid in low-diversity communities. Our results also confirm that neutral theory cannot be used to infer an absence of niche structure or to explain ecosystem function. PMID:20733073

  20. Do Ecological Niche Models Accurately Identify Climatic Determinants of Species Ranges?

    PubMed

    Searcy, Christopher A; Shaffer, H Bradley

    2016-04-01

    Defining species' niches is central to understanding their distributions and is thus fundamental to basic ecology and climate change projections. Ecological niche models (ENMs) are a key component of making accurate projections and include descriptions of the niche in terms of both response curves and rankings of variable importance. In this study, we evaluate Maxent's ranking of environmental variables based on their importance in delimiting species' range boundaries by asking whether these same variables also govern annual recruitment based on long-term demographic studies. We found that Maxent-based assessments of variable importance in setting range boundaries in the California tiger salamander (Ambystoma californiense; CTS) correlate very well with how important those variables are in governing ongoing recruitment of CTS at the population level. This strong correlation suggests that Maxent's ranking of variable importance captures biologically realistic assessments of factors governing population persistence. However, this result holds only when Maxent models are built using best-practice procedures and variables are ranked based on permutation importance. Our study highlights the need for building high-quality niche models and provides encouraging evidence that when such models are built, they can reflect important aspects of a species' ecology. PMID:27028071

  1. Ecological niche modeling of Coccidioides spp. in western North American deserts.

    PubMed

    Baptista-Rosas, Raúl C; Hinojosa, Alejandro; Riquelme, Meritxell

    2007-09-01

    Coccidioidomycosis is an endemic infectious disease in western North American deserts caused by the dimorphic ascomycete Coccidioides spp. Even though there has been an increase in the number of reported cases in the last years, few positive isolations have been obtained from soil samples in endemic areas for the disease. This low correlation between epidemiological and environmental data prompted us to better characterize the fundamental ecological niche of this important fungal pathogen. By using a combination of environmental variables and geospatially referenced points, where positive isolations had been obtained in southern California and Arizona (USA) and Sonora (Mexico), we have applied Genetic Algorithm for Rule Set Production (GARP) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to characterize the most likely ecological conditions favorable for the presence of the fungus. This model, based on environmental variables, allowed us to identify hotspots for the presence of the fungus in areas of southern California, Arizona, Texas, Baja California, and northern Mexico, whereas an alternative model based on bioclimatic variables gave us much broader probable distribution areas. We have overlapped the hotspots obtained with the environmental model with the available epidemiological information and have found a high match. Our model suggests that the most probable fundamental ecological niche for Coccidioides spp. is found in the arid lands of the North American deserts and provides the methodological basis to further characterize the realized ecological niche of Coccidioides spp., which would ultimately contribute to design smart field-sampling strategies. PMID:17395734

  2. Cognitive Niches: An Ecological Model of Strategy Selection

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Marewski, Julian N.; Schooler, Lael J.

    2011-01-01

    How do people select among different strategies to accomplish a given task? Across disciplines, the strategy selection problem represents a major challenge. We propose a quantitative model that predicts how selection emerges through the interplay among strategies, cognitive capacities, and the environment. This interplay carves out for each…

  3. The fate of the Arctic seaweed Fucus distichus under climate change: an ecological niche modeling approach.

    PubMed

    Jueterbock, Alexander; Smolina, Irina; Coyer, James A; Hoarau, Galice

    2016-03-01

    Rising temperatures are predicted to melt all perennial ice cover in the Arctic by the end of this century, thus opening up suitable habitat for temperate and subarctic species. Canopy-forming seaweeds provide an ideal system to predict the potential impact of climate-change on rocky-shore ecosystems, given their direct dependence on temperature and their key role in the ecological system. Our primary objective was to predict the climate-change induced range-shift of Fucus distichus, the dominant canopy-forming macroalga in the Arctic and subarctic rocky intertidal. More specifically, we asked: which Arctic/subarctic and cold-temperate shores of the northern hemisphere will display the greatest distributional change of F. distichus and how will this affect niche overlap with seaweeds from temperate regions? We used the program MAXENT to develop correlative ecological niche models with dominant range-limiting factors and 169 occurrence records. Using three climate-change scenarios, we projected habitat suitability of F. distichus - and its niche overlap with three dominant temperate macroalgae - until year 2200. Maximum sea surface temperature was identified as the most important factor in limiting the fundamental niche of F. distichus. Rising temperatures were predicted to have low impact on the species' southern distribution limits, but to shift its northern distribution limits poleward into the high Arctic. In cold-temperate to subarctic regions, new areas of niche overlap were predicted between F. distichus and intertidal macroalgae immigrating from the south. While climate-change threatens intertidal seaweeds in warm-temperate regions, seaweed meadows will likely flourish in the Arctic intertidal. Although this enriches biodiversity and opens up new seaweed-harvesting grounds, it will also trigger unpredictable changes in the structure and functioning of the Arctic intertidal ecosystem. PMID:27087933

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  5. Ecological Niche Modeling to Estimate the Distribution of Japanese Encephalitis Virus in Asia

    PubMed Central

    Miller, Robin H.; Masuoka, Penny; Klein, Terry A.; Kim, Heung-Chul; Somer, Todd; Grieco, John

    2012-01-01

    Background Culex tritaeniorhynchus is the primary vector of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), a leading cause of encephalitis in Asia. JEV is transmitted in an enzootic cycle involving large wading birds as the reservoirs and swine as amplifying hosts. The development of a JEV vaccine reduced the number of JE cases in regions with comprehensive childhood vaccination programs, such as in Japan and the Republic of Korea. However, the lack of vaccine programs or insufficient coverage of populations in other endemic countries leaves many people susceptible to JEV. The aim of this study was to predict the distribution of Culex tritaeniorhynchus using ecological niche modeling. Methods/Principal Findings An ecological niche model was constructed using the Maxent program to map the areas with suitable environmental conditions for the Cx. tritaeniorhynchus vector. Program input consisted of environmental data (temperature, elevation, rainfall) and known locations of vector presence resulting from an extensive literature search and records from MosquitoMap. The statistically significant Maxent model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence showed that the mean temperatures of the wettest quarter had the greatest impact on the model. Further, the majority of human Japanese encephalitis (JE) cases were located in regions with higher estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence. Conclusions/Significance Our ecological niche model of the estimated probability of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus presence provides a framework for better allocation of vector control resources, particularly in locations where JEV vaccinations are unavailable. Furthermore, this model provides estimates of vector probability that could improve vector surveillance programs and JE control efforts. PMID:22724030

  6. Ecological Niche Modeling for the Prediction of the Geographic Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Tunisia.

    PubMed

    Chalghaf, Bilel; Chlif, Sadok; Mayala, Benjamin; Ghawar, Wissem; Bettaieb, Jihène; Harrabi, Myriam; Benie, Goze Bertin; Michael, Edwin; Salah, Afif Ben

    2016-04-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a very complex disease involving multiple factors that limit its emergence and spatial distribution. Prediction of cutaneous leishmaniasis epidemics in Tunisia remains difficult because most of the epidemiological tools used so far are descriptive in nature and mainly focus on a time dimension. The purpose of this work is to predict the potential geographic distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi and zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Tunisia using Grinnellian ecological niche modeling. We attempted to assess the importance of environmental factors influencing the potential distribution of P. papatasi and cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Vectors were trapped in central Tunisia during the transmission season using CDC light traps (John W. Hock Co., Gainesville, FL). A global positioning system was used to record the geographical coordinates of vector occurrence points and households tested positive for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Nine environmental layers were used as predictor variables to model the P. papatasi geographical distribution and five variables were used to model the L. major potential distribution. Ecological niche modeling was used to relate known species' occurrence points to values of environmental factors for these same points to predict the presence of the species in unsampled regions based on the value of the predictor variables. Rainfall and temperature contributed the most as predictors for sand flies and human case distributions. Ecological niche modeling anticipated the current distribution of P. papatasi with the highest suitability for species occurrence in the central and southeastern part of Tunisian. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that governorates of Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, and Kairouan are at highest epidemic risk. PMID:26856914

  7. Ecological Niche Modeling for the Prediction of the Geographic Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Tunisia

    PubMed Central

    Chalghaf, Bilel; Chlif, Sadok; Mayala, Benjamin; Ghawar, Wissem; Bettaieb, Jihène; Harrabi, Myriam; Benie, Goze Bertin; Michael, Edwin; Salah, Afif Ben

    2016-01-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a very complex disease involving multiple factors that limit its emergence and spatial distribution. Prediction of cutaneous leishmaniasis epidemics in Tunisia remains difficult because most of the epidemiological tools used so far are descriptive in nature and mainly focus on a time dimension. The purpose of this work is to predict the potential geographic distribution of Phlebotomus papatasi and zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania major in Tunisia using Grinnellian ecological niche modeling. We attempted to assess the importance of environmental factors influencing the potential distribution of P. papatasi and cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Vectors were trapped in central Tunisia during the transmission season using CDC light traps (John W. Hock Co., Gainesville, FL). A global positioning system was used to record the geographical coordinates of vector occurrence points and households tested positive for cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. major. Nine environmental layers were used as predictor variables to model the P. papatasi geographical distribution and five variables were used to model the L. major potential distribution. Ecological niche modeling was used to relate known species' occurrence points to values of environmental factors for these same points to predict the presence of the species in unsampled regions based on the value of the predictor variables. Rainfall and temperature contributed the most as predictors for sand flies and human case distributions. Ecological niche modeling anticipated the current distribution of P. papatasi with the highest suitability for species occurrence in the central and southeastern part of Tunisian. Furthermore, our study demonstrated that governorates of Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid, and Kairouan are at highest epidemic risk. PMID:26856914

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

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

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

  9. Coupling genetic and ecological-niche models to examine how past population distributions contribute to divergence.

    PubMed

    Knowles, L Lacey; Carstens, Bryan C; Keat, Marcia L

    2007-06-01

    Understanding the impact of climate-induced distributional shifts on species divergence, like those accompanying the Pleistocene glacial cycles [1, 2], requires tools that explicitly incorporate the geographic configuration of past distributions into analyses of genetic differentiation. Depending on the historical distribution of species, genetic differences may accumulate among ancestral source populations, but there is long-standing debate whether displacements into glacial refugia promoted divergence. Here we integrate coalescent-based genetic models [3, 4] with ecological-niche modeling [5, 6] to generate expectations for patterns of genetic variation based on an inferred past distribution of a species. Reconstruction of the distribution of a montane grasshopper species during the last glacial maximum suggests that Melanoplus marshalli populations from the sky islands of Colorado and Utah were likely colonized from multiple ancestral source populations. The genetic analyses provide compelling evidence that the historical distribution of M. marshalli-namely, spatial separation of multiple refugia-was conducive to genetic differentiation. The coupling of genetic and ecological-niche modeling provides a new and flexible tool for integrating paleoenvironmental details into species-specific predictions of population structure that can increase our understanding of why the glacial cycles promoted speciation in some taxa and yet inhibited diversification in others [7, 8]. PMID:17475496

  10. A NICHE FOR ISOTOPIC ECOLOGY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Fifty years ago, GE Hutchinson defined the ecological niche as a hypervolume in n-dimensional space with environmental variables as axes. Ecologists have recently developed renewed interest in the concept, and technological advances now allow us to use stable isotope analyses to ...

  11. Species diversity of sand flies and ecological niche model of Phlebotomus papatasi in central Iran.

    PubMed

    Abedi-Astaneh, Fatemeh; Akhavan, Amir Ahmad; Shirzadi, Mohammd Reza; Rassi, Yavar; Yaghoobi-Ershadi, Mohammad Reza; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Akbarzadeh, Kamran; Nafar-Shalamzari, Reza; Parsi, Sohbat; Abbasi, Ali; Raufi, Hedayatollah

    2015-09-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is the most important vector-borne disease in Iran. Qom Province is a very important area in the case of CL transmission, because of high traffic population from other parts of the country, or even other countries, as well as existence of confirmed foci of the disease. The aim of this study was to determine the ecology of sand flies in two different climates of this province and model the distribution of the main vector. Sand flies were collected monthly during April 2013-April 2014, at 22 urban/rural collection sites. Site selection was constrained by the geographical distribution of CL cases in recent years. Shannon-Weiner and Evenness indices were used to compare diversity in two studied climates. ArcGIS and MaxEnt were used to map and predict the appropriate ecological niches for sand flies. Totally, 5389 sand flies were collected and 12 species were identified. The most abundant species were Sergentomyia sintoni, P. papatasi, P. sergenti s.l. and Phlebotomus alexandri. Two peaks of activity were found in May and August in lowlands; while in mountainous areas they were observed in June and September. Species diversity in mountainous areas was found to be higher than in lowlands. The environmental variable with the highest gain in MaxEnt model was the monthly mean of (max temp-min temp). A big part of the lowland areas provides good ecological niches for P. papatasi and therefore higher transmission potential. These findings can be used in stratification of potential for CL transmission in Qom province. PMID:26071647

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

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Min; Cao, Chunxiang; Li, Qun; Jia, Peng; Zhao, Jian

    2016-01-01

    China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9) virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological niche modeling (ENM), this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM) that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC) values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data). The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area. PMID:27322296

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

    PubMed

    Xu, Min; Cao, Chunxiang; Li, Qun; Jia, Peng; Zhao, Jian

    2016-01-01

    China was attacked by a serious influenza A (H7N9) virus in 2013. The first human infection case was confirmed in Shanghai City and soon spread across most of eastern China. Using the methods of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological niche modeling (ENM), this research quantitatively analyzed the relationships between the H7N9 occurrence and the main environmental factors, including meteorological variables, human population density, bird migratory routes, wetland distribution, and live poultry farms, markets, and processing factories. Based on these relationships the probability of the presence of H7N9 was predicted. Results indicated that the distribution of live poultry processing factories, farms, and human population density were the top three most important determinants of the H7N9 human infection. The relative contributions to the model of live poultry processing factories, farms and human population density were 39.9%, 17.7% and 17.7%, respectively, while the maximum temperature of the warmest month and mean relative humidity had nearly no contribution to the model. The paper has developed an ecological niche model (ENM) that predicts the spatial distribution of H7N9 cases in China using environmental variables. The area under the curve (AUC) values of the model were greater than 0.9 (0.992 for the training samples and 0.961 for the test data). The findings indicated that most of the high risk areas were distributed in the Yangtze River Delta. These findings have important significance for the Chinese government to enhance the environmental surveillance at multiple human poultry interfaces in the high risk area. PMID:27322296

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

    PubMed

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

    2005-09-01

    Numerous human diseases-malaria, dengue, yellow fever and leishmaniasis, to name a few-are transmitted by insect vectors with brief life cycles and biting activity that varies in both space and time. Although the general geographic distributions of these epidemiologically important species are known, the spatiotemporal variation in their emergence and activity remains poorly understood. We used ecological niche modeling via a genetic algorithm to produce time-specific predictive models of monthly distributions of Aedes aegypti in Mexico in 1995. Significant predictions of monthly mosquito activity and distributions indicate that predicting spatiotemporal dynamics of disease vector species is feasible; significant coincidence with human cases of dengue indicate that these dynamics probably translate directly into transmission of dengue virus to humans. This approach provides new potential for optimizing use of resources for disease prevention and remediation via automated forecasting of disease transmission risk. PMID:15979656

  15. Mapping the Potential Risk of Mycetoma Infection in Sudan and South Sudan Using Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Samy, Abdallah M.; van de Sande, Wendy W. J.; Fahal, Ahmed Hassan; Peterson, A. Townsend

    2014-01-01

    In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized mycetoma as one of the neglected tropical conditions due to the efforts of the mycetoma consortium. This same consortium formulated knowledge gaps that require further research. One of these gaps was that very few data are available on the epidemiology and transmission cycle of the causative agents. Previous work suggested a soil-borne or Acacia thorn-prick-mediated origin of mycetoma infections, but no studies have investigated effects of soil type and Acacia geographic distribution on mycetoma case distributions. Here, we map risk of mycetoma infection across Sudan and South Sudan using ecological niche modeling (ENM). For this study, records of mycetoma cases were obtained from the scientific literature and GIDEON; Acacia records were obtained from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. We developed ENMs based on digital GIS data layers summarizing soil characteristics, land-surface temperature, and greenness indices to provide a rich picture of environmental variation across Sudan and South Sudan. ENMs were calibrated in known endemic districts and transferred countrywide; model results suggested that risk is greatest in an east-west belt across central Sudan. Visualizing ENMs in environmental dimensions, mycetoma occurs under diverse environmental conditions. We compared niches of mycetoma and Acacia trees, and could not reject the null hypothesis of niche similarity. This study revealed contributions of different environmental factors to mycetoma infection risk, identified suitable environments and regions for transmission, signaled a potential mycetoma-Acacia association, and provided steps towards a robust risk map for the disease. PMID:25330098

  16. Ecological Niche Modeling of main reservoir hosts of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Iran.

    PubMed

    Gholamrezaei, Mostafa; Mohebali, Mehdi; Hanafi-Bojd, Ahmad Ali; Sedaghat, Mohammad Mehdi; Shirzadi, Mohammad Reza

    2016-08-01

    Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL), caused by Leishmania major, is a common zoonotic vector-borne disease in Iran. Close contact with infected reservoir hosts increases the probability of transmission of Leishmania parasite infections to susceptible humans. Four gerbil species (Rodentia: Gerbillidae) serve as the main reservoir hosts for ZCL in different endemic foci of Iran. These species include Rhombomys opimus, Meriones libycus, Meriones hurrianae and Tatera indica; while notable infection has been reported in Nesokia indica as well. The purpose of this study is to model the distribution of these reservoirs to identify the risk areas of ZCL. A data bank was developed including all published data during the period of 1970-2015. Maximum entropy model was used to find the most appropriate ecological niches for each species. The areas under curve obtained were 0.961, 0.927, 0.922, 0.997 and 0.899, instead of 1, for training test in R. opimus, M. libycus, T. indica, M. hurrianae and N. indica, respectively. The environmental variable with the highest gain when used in isolation was slope for R. opimus and N. indica, annual mean temperature for M. libycus, and seasonal precipitation for T. indica and M. hurrianae. Summation of presence probabilities for three main species, i.e., R. opimus, M. libycus and T. indica revealed favorable ecological niches in wide areas of 16 provinces. This is the first study to predict the distribution of ZCL reservoir hosts in Iran. Climatology and topography variables had high contributions toward the prediction of potential distribution of the main reservoir species; therefore, as climate changes, the models should be updated periodically with novel data, and the results should be used in disease-monitoring programs. PMID:27150212

  17. Modelling of European hake nurseries in the Mediterranean Sea: An ecological niche approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Druon, Jean-Noël; Fiorentino, Fabio; Murenu, Matteo; Knittweis, Leyla; Colloca, Francesco; Osio, Chato; Mérigot, Bastien; Garofalo, Germana; Mannini, Alessandro; Jadaud, Angélique; Sbrana, Mario; Scarcella, Giuseppe; Tserpes, George; Peristeraki, Panagiota; Carlucci, Roberto; Heikkonen, Jukka

    2015-01-01

    An ecological niche modelling (ENM) approach was developed to model the suitable habitat for the 0-group European hake, Merluccius merluccius L., 1758, in the Mediterranean Sea. The ENM was built combining knowledge on biological traits of hake recruits (e.g. growth, settlement, mobility and feeding strategy) with patterns of selected ecological variables (chlorophyll-a fronts and concentration, bottom depth, sea bottom current and temperature) to highlight favourable nursery habitats. The results show that hake nurseries require stable bottom temperature (11.8-15.0 °C), low bottom currents (<0.034 m s-1) and a frequent occurrence of productive fronts in low chlorophyll-a areas (0.1-0.9 mg m-3) to support a successful recruitment. These conditions mostly occur recurrently in outer shelf and shelf break areas. The prediction explains the relative balance between biotic and abiotic drivers of hake recruitment in the Mediterranean Sea and the primary role of unfavourable environmental conditions on low recruitment in specific years (i.e. 2011). The ENM outputs particularly agree spatially with biomass data of recruits, although processes such as fishing and natural mortality are not accounted for. The seasonal mapping of suitable habitats provides information on potential nurseries and recruitment carrying capacity which are relevant for spatial fisheries management of hake in the Mediterranean Sea.

  18. Interpreting the Process behind Endemism in China by Integrating the Phylogeography and Ecological Niche Models of the Stachyridopsis ruficeps

    PubMed Central

    Liu, Huatao; Wang, Wenjuan; Song, Gang; Qu, Yanhua; Li, Shou-Hsien; Fjeldså, Jon; Lei, Fumin

    2012-01-01

    An area of endemism (AOE) is a complex expression of the ecological and evolutionary history of a species. Here we aim to address the principal drivers of avian diversification in shaping patterns of endemism in China by integrating genetic, ecological, and distributional data on the Red-headed Tree Babbler (Stachyridopsis ruficeps), which is distributed across the eastern Himalayas and south China. We sequenced two mtDNA markers from 182 individuals representing all three of the primary AOEs in China. Phylogenetic inferences were used to reconstruct intraspecific phylogenetic relationships. Divergence time and population demography were estimated to gain insight into the evolutionary history of the species. We used Ecological niche modeling to predict species’ distributions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and in the present. Finally, we also used two quantitative tests, an identity test and background test to assess the similarity of ecological niche preferences between adjacent lineages. We found five primary reciprocally monophyletic clades, typically separated approximately 0.2–2.27 MYA, of which three were deeply isolated endemic lineages located in the three AOEs. All phylogroups were detected to have undergone population expansion during the past 0.3 MY. Niche models showed discontinuous habitats, and there were three barriers of less suitable habitat during the LGM and in modern times. Ecoclimatic niches may diverge significantly even over recent timescales, as each phylogroup had a unique distribution, and unique niche characteristics. Vicariant events associated with geographical and ecological barriers, glacial refuges and ecological differentiation may be the main drivers forming the pattern of endemism in China. PMID:23056441

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

    PubMed Central

    Gurgel-Gonçalves, Rodrigo; Galvão, Cléber; Costa, Jane; Peterson, A. Townsend

    2012-01-01

    Although Brazil was declared free from Chagas disease transmission by the domestic vector Triatoma infestans, human acute cases are still being registered based on transmission by native triatomine species. For a better understanding of transmission risk, the geographic distribution of Brazilian triatomines was analyzed. Sixteen out of 62 Brazilian species that both occur in >20 municipalities and present synanthropic tendencies were modeled based on their ecological niches. Panstrongylus geniculatus and P. megistus showed broad ecological ranges, but most of the species sort out by the biome in which they are distributed: Rhodnius pictipes and R. robustus in the Amazon; R. neglectus, Triatoma sordida, and T. costalimai in the Cerrado; R. nasutus, P. lutzi, T. brasiliensis, T. pseudomaculata, T. melanocephala, and T. petrocchiae in the Caatinga; T. rubrovaria in the southern pampas; T. tibiamaculata and T. vitticeps in the Atlantic Forest. Although most occurrences were recorded in open areas (Cerrado and Caatinga), our results show that all environmental conditions in the country are favorable to one or more of the species analyzed, such that almost nowhere is Chagas transmission risk negligible. PMID:22523500

  20. Adding more ecology into species delimitation: ecological niche models and phylogeography help define cryptic species in the black salamander (Aneides flavipunctatus).

    PubMed

    Rissler, Leslie J; Apodaca, Joseph J

    2007-12-01

    Being able to efficiently and accurately delimit species is one of the most basic and important aspects of systematics because species are the fundamental unit of analysis in biogeography, ecology, and conservation. We present a rationale and approach for combining ecological niche modeling, spatially explicit analyses of environmental data, and phylogenetics in species delimitation, and we use our methodology in an empirical example focusing on Aneides flavipunctatus, the black salamander (Caudata: Plethodontidae), in California. We assess the relationships between genetic, environmental, and geographic distance among populations. We use 11 climatic variables and point locality data from public databases to create ecological niche models. The suitability of potential contact zones between parapatric lineages is also assessed using the data from ecological niche modeling. Phylogenetic analyses of portions of the mitochondrial genome reveal morphologically cryptic mitochondrial lineages in this species. In addition, we find that patterns of genetic divergence are strongly associated with divergence in the ecological niche. Our work demonstrates the ease and utility of using spatial analyses of environmental data and phylogenetics in species delimitation, especially for groups displaying fine-scaled endemism and cryptic species. PMID:18066928

  1. The Use of Ecological Niche Modeling to Infer Potential Risk Areas of Snakebite in the Mexican State of Veracruz

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Background Many authors have claimed that snakebite risk is associated with human population density, human activities, and snake behavior. Here we analyzed whether environmental suitability of vipers can be used as an indicator of snakebite risk. We tested several hypotheses to explain snakebite incidence, through the construction of models incorporating both environmental suitability and socioeconomic variables in Veracruz, Mexico. Methodology/Principal Findings Ecological niche modeling (ENM) was used to estimate potential geographic and ecological distributions of nine viper species' in Veracruz. We calculated the distance to the species' niche centroid (DNC); this distance may be associated with a prediction of abundance. We found significant inverse relationships between snakebites and DNCs of common vipers (Crotalus simus and Bothrops asper), explaining respectively 15% and almost 35% of variation in snakebite incidence. Additionally, DNCs for these two vipers, in combination with marginalization of human populations, accounted for 76% of variation in incidence. Conclusions/Significance Our results suggest that niche modeling and niche-centroid distance approaches can be used to mapping distributions of environmental suitability for venomous snakes; combining this ecological information with socioeconomic factors may help with inferring potential risk areas for snakebites, since hospital data are often biased (especially when incidences are low). PMID:24963989

  2. Quercus suber range dynamics by ecological niche modelling: from the Last Interglacial to present time

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vessella, Federico; Simeone, Marco Cosimo; Schirone, Bartolomeo

    2015-07-01

    Ecological Niche Modelling (ENM) is widely used to depict species potential occurrence according to environmental variables under different climatic scenarios. We tested the ENM approach to infer past range dynamics of cork oak, a keystone species of the Mediterranean Biome, from 130 ka to the present time. Hindcasting implications would deal with a better species risk assessment and conservation management for the future. We modelled present and past occurrence of cork oak using seven ENM algorithms, starting from 63,733 spatially unique presence points at 30 arc-second resolution. Fourteen environmental variables were used and four time slices were considered (Last Interglacial, Last Glacial Maximum, mid-Holocene and present time). A threshold-independent evaluation of the goodness-of-fit of the models was evaluated by means of ROC curve and fossil or historical evidences were used to validate the results. Four weighted average maps depicted the dynamics of area suitability for cork oak in the last 130 ka. The derived species autoecology allowed its long-term occurrence in the Mediterranean without striking range reduction or shifting. Fossil and historical post-processing validation support the modelled past spatial extension and a neglected species presence at Levantine until the recent time. Despite the severe climatic oscillation since the Last Glacial Maximum, cork oak potential distribution area experienced limited range changes, confirming its strong link with the Mediterranean Basin. The ecological amplitude of Quercus suber could be therefore adopted as a reference to trace the Mediterranean bioclimate area. A better knowledge of the past events of Mediterranean vegetation, a wider range of study species and environmental determinants are essential to inform us about its current state, its sensitivity to human impact and the potential responses to future changes.

  3. Predicting the potential geographical distribution of Rhodnius neglectus (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) based on ecological niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Gurgel-Goncalves, Rodrigo; Cuba, César Augusto Cuba

    2009-07-01

    Rhodnius neglectus is frequently found in palm trees and bird nests in sylvatic environments. However, adult specimens infected by Trypanosoma cruzi have been invading houses in central Brazil. Analyzing and predicting the geographical distribution of this species may improve vector surveillance strategies for Chagas disease. Ecological niche modeling using the genetic algorithm for rule-set production (GARP) was applied to predict the geographical distribution of R. neglectus from occurrence records and a set of 23 predictor variables (e.g., temperature, precipitation, altitude, and vegetation). Additionally, the geographical distribution of R. neglectus was compared with the geographical distribution of four species of palm trees and two species of birds from the study region. The models were able to predict, with high probability, the occurrence of R. neglectus as a regular (although nonendemic) species of the Cerrado biome in central Brazil. Caatinga, Amazonian savanna, Pantanal, and the Bolivian Chaco appear as areas with lower probabilities of potential occurrence for the species. A great overlap was observed between the distribution of R. neglectus, palm trees (Acrocomia aculeata and Syagrus oleracea), and birds (Phacellodomus ruber and Pseudoseisura cristata). By including new records for R. neglectus (from both sylvatic and domestic environments), our study showed a distribution increase toward the west and northeast areas of Brazil in the "diagonal of open/dry ecoregions of South America". These results should aid Chagas disease vector surveillance programs, given that household invasion by Rhodnius species maintains the risk of disease transmission and limits control strategies. PMID:19645302

  4. Tracking a medically important spider: climate change, ecological niche modeling, and the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa).

    PubMed

    Saupe, Erin E; Papes, Monica; Selden, Paul A; Vetter, Richard S

    2011-01-01

    Most spiders use venom to paralyze their prey and are commonly feared for their potential to cause injury to humans. In North America, one species in particular, Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider, Sicariidae), causes the majority of necrotic wounds induced by the Araneae. However, its distributional limitations are poorly understood and, as a result, medical professionals routinely misdiagnose brown recluse bites outside endemic areas, confusing putative spider bites for other serious conditions. To address the issue of brown recluse distribution, we employ ecological niche modeling to investigate the present and future distributional potential of this species. We delineate range boundaries and demonstrate that under future climate change scenarios, the spider's distribution may expand northward, invading previously unaffected regions of the USA. At present, the spider's range is centered in the USA, from Kansas east to Kentucky and from southern Iowa south to Louisiana. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These results illustrate a potential negative consequence of climate change on humans and will aid medical professionals in proper bite identification/treatment, potentially reducing bite misdiagnoses. PMID:21464985

  5. Tracking a Medically Important Spider: Climate Change, Ecological Niche Modeling, and the Brown Recluse (Loxosceles reclusa)

    PubMed Central

    Saupe, Erin E.; Papes, Monica; Selden, Paul A.; Vetter, Richard S.

    2011-01-01

    Most spiders use venom to paralyze their prey and are commonly feared for their potential to cause injury to humans. In North America, one species in particular, Loxosceles reclusa (brown recluse spider, Sicariidae), causes the majority of necrotic wounds induced by the Araneae. However, its distributional limitations are poorly understood and, as a result, medical professionals routinely misdiagnose brown recluse bites outside endemic areas, confusing putative spider bites for other serious conditions. To address the issue of brown recluse distribution, we employ ecological niche modeling to investigate the present and future distributional potential of this species. We delineate range boundaries and demonstrate that under future climate change scenarios, the spider's distribution may expand northward, invading previously unaffected regions of the USA. At present, the spider's range is centered in the USA, from Kansas east to Kentucky and from southern Iowa south to Louisiana. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These results illustrate a potential negative consequence of climate change on humans and will aid medical professionals in proper bite identification/treatment, potentially reducing bite misdiagnoses. PMID:21464985

  6. A Tale of Four “Carp”: Invasion Potential and Ecological Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    DeVaney, Shannon C.; McNyset, Kristina M.; Williams, Justin B.; Peterson, A. Townsend; Wiley, Edward O.

    2009-01-01

    Background Invasive species are a serious problem in ecosystems, but are difficult to eradicate once established. Predictive methods can be key in determining which areas are of concern regarding invasion by such species to prevent establishment [1]. We assessed the geographic potential of four Eurasian cyprinid fishes (common carp, tench, grass carp, black carp) as invaders in North America via ecological niche modeling (ENM). These “carp” represent four stages of invasion of the continent (a long-established invader with a wide distribution, a long-established invader with a limited distribution, a spreading invader whose distribution is expanding, and a newly introduced potential invader that is not yet established), and as such illustrate the progressive reduction of distributional disequilibrium over the history of species' invasions. Methodology/Principal Findings We used ENM to estimate the potential distributional area for each species in North America using models based on native range distribution data. Environmental data layers for native and introduced ranges were imported from state, national, and international climate and environmental databases. Models were evaluated using independent validation data on native and invaded areas. We calculated omission error for the independent validation data for each species: all native range tests were highly successful (all omission values <7%); invaded-range predictions were predictive for common and grass carp (omission values 8.8 and 19.8%, respectively). Model omission was high for introduced tench populations (54.7%), but the model correctly identified some areas where the species has been successful; distributional predictions for black carp show that large portions of eastern North America are at risk. Conclusions/Significance ENMs predicted potential ranges of carp species accurately even in regions where the species have not been present until recently. ENM can forecast species' potential geographic

  7. Using remote sensing, ecological niche modeling, and Geographic Information Systems for Rift Valley fever risk assessment in the United States

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tedrow, Christine Atkins

    The primary goal in this study was to explore remote sensing, ecological niche modeling, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as aids in predicting candidate Rift Valley fever (RVF) competent vector abundance and distribution in Virginia, and as means of estimating where risk of establishment in mosquitoes and risk of transmission to human populations would be greatest in Virginia. A second goal in this study was to determine whether the remotely-sensed Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) can be used as a proxy variable of local conditions for the development of mosquitoes to predict mosquito species distribution and abundance in Virginia. As part of this study, a mosquito surveillance database was compiled to archive the historical patterns of mosquito species abundance in Virginia. In addition, linkages between mosquito density and local environmental and climatic patterns were spatially and temporally examined. The present study affirms the potential role of remote sensing imagery for species distribution prediction, and it demonstrates that ecological niche modeling is a valuable predictive tool to analyze the distributions of populations. The MaxEnt ecological niche modeling program was used to model predicted ranges for potential RVF competent vectors in Virginia. The MaxEnt model was shown to be robust, and the candidate RVF competent vector predicted distribution map is presented. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was found to be the most useful environmental-climatic variable to predict mosquito species distribution and abundance in Virginia. However, these results indicate that a more robust prediction is obtained by including other environmental-climatic factors correlated to mosquito densities (e.g., temperature, precipitation, elevation) with NDVI. The present study demonstrates that remote sensing and GIS can be used with ecological niche and risk modeling methods to estimate risk of virus establishment in mosquitoes and

  8. Predicting the Current and Future Potential Distributions of Lymphatic Filariasis in Africa Using Maximum Entropy Ecological Niche Modelling

    PubMed Central

    Slater, Hannah; Michael, Edwin

    2012-01-01

    Modelling the spatial distributions of human parasite species is crucial to understanding the environmental determinants of infection as well as for guiding the planning of control programmes. Here, we use ecological niche modelling to map the current potential distribution of the macroparasitic disease, lymphatic filariasis (LF), in Africa, and to estimate how future changes in climate and population could affect its spread and burden across the continent. We used 508 community-specific infection presence data collated from the published literature in conjunction with five predictive environmental/climatic and demographic variables, and a maximum entropy niche modelling method to construct the first ecological niche maps describing potential distribution and burden of LF in Africa. We also ran the best-fit model against climate projections made by the HADCM3 and CCCMA models for 2050 under A2a and B2a scenarios to simulate the likely distribution of LF under future climate and population changes. We predict a broad geographic distribution of LF in Africa extending from the west to the east across the middle region of the continent, with high probabilities of occurrence in the Western Africa compared to large areas of medium probability interspersed with smaller areas of high probability in Central and Eastern Africa and in Madagascar. We uncovered complex relationships between predictor ecological niche variables and the probability of LF occurrence. We show for the first time that predicted climate change and population growth will expand both the range and risk of LF infection (and ultimately disease) in an endemic region. We estimate that populations at risk to LF may range from 543 and 804 million currently, and that this could rise to between 1.65 to 1.86 billion in the future depending on the climate scenario used and thresholds applied to signify infection presence. PMID:22359670

  9. Integrating Life Stages into Ecological Niche Models: A Case Study on Tiger Beetles

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  10. Coevolutionary motion and swarming in a niche space model of ecological species interactions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dommar, C. J.; Ryabov, A.; Blasius, B.

    2008-04-01

    Organisms are involved in coevolutionary relationships with their competitors, predators, preys and parasites. In this context, we present a simple model for the co-evolution of species in a common niche space, where the fitness of each species is defined via the network of interactions with all other species. In our model, the sign and type of the pairwise interactions (being either beneficial, harmful or neutral) is given by a pre-determined community matrix, while the interaction strength depends on the niche-overlap, i.e. the pairwise distances between species in niche space. The evolutionary process drives the species toward the places with the higher local fitness along the fitness gradient. This gives rise to a dynamic fitness landscape, since the evolutionary motion of a single species can change the landscape of the others (known as the Red Queen Principle). In the simplest case of only two-species we observe either a convergence/divergence equilibrium or a coevolutionary arms race. For a larger number of species our analysis concentrates on an antisymmetric interaction matrix, where we observe a large range of dynamic behaviour, from oscillations, quasiperiodic to chaotic dynamics. In dependence of the value of a first integral of motion we observe either quasiperiodic motion around a central region in niche space or unbounded movement, characterised by chaotic scattering of species pairs. Finally, in a linear food-chain we observe complex swarming behaviour in which the swarm moves as a whole only if the chain consists of an even number of species. Our results could be an important contribution to evolutionary niche theory.

  11. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis

    PubMed Central

    Barro, Alassane S.; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K.

    2016-01-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  12. Redefining the Australian Anthrax Belt: Modeling the Ecological Niche and Predicting the Geographic Distribution of Bacillus anthracis.

    PubMed

    Barro, Alassane S; Fegan, Mark; Moloney, Barbara; Porter, Kelly; Muller, Janine; Warner, Simone; Blackburn, Jason K

    2016-06-01

    The ecology and distribution of B. anthracis in Australia is not well understood, despite the continued occurrence of anthrax outbreaks in the eastern states of the country. Efforts to estimate the spatial extent of the risk of disease have been limited to a qualitative definition of an anthrax belt extending from southeast Queensland through the centre of New South Wales and into northern Victoria. This definition of the anthrax belt does not consider the role of environmental conditions in the distribution of B. anthracis. Here, we used the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction model system (GARP), historical anthrax outbreaks and environmental data to model the ecological niche of B. anthracis and predict its potential geographic distribution in Australia. Our models reveal the niche of B. anthracis in Australia is characterized by a narrow range of ecological conditions concentrated in two disjunct corridors. The most dominant corridor, used to redefine a new anthrax belt, parallels the Eastern Highlands and runs from north Victoria to central east Queensland through the centre of New South Wales. This study has redefined the anthrax belt in eastern Australia and provides insights about the ecological factors that limit the distribution of B. anthracis at the continental scale for Australia. The geographic distributions identified can help inform anthrax surveillance strategies by public and veterinary health agencies. PMID:27280981

  13. Ecological Niche Modelling and nDNA Sequencing Support a New, Morphologically Cryptic Beetle Species Unveiled by DNA Barcoding

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Background DNA sequencing techniques used to estimate biodiversity, such as DNA barcoding, may reveal cryptic species. However, disagreements between barcoding and morphological data have already led to controversy. Species delimitation should therefore not be based on mtDNA alone. Here, we explore the use of nDNA and bioclimatic modelling in a new species of aquatic beetle revealed by mtDNA sequence data. Methodology/Principal Findings The aquatic beetle fauna of Australia is characterised by high degrees of endemism, including local radiations such as the genus Antiporus. Antiporus femoralis was previously considered to exist in two disjunct, but morphologically indistinguishable populations in south-western and south-eastern Australia. We constructed a phylogeny of Antiporus and detected a deep split between these populations. Diagnostic characters from the highly variable nuclear protein encoding arginine kinase gene confirmed the presence of two isolated populations. We then used ecological niche modelling to examine the climatic niche characteristics of the two populations. All results support the status of the two populations as distinct species. We describe the south-western species as Antiporus occidentalis sp.n. Conclusion/Significance In addition to nDNA sequence data and extended use of mitochondrial sequences, ecological niche modelling has great potential for delineating morphologically cryptic species. PMID:21347370

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

    PubMed

    Fernández, Miguel; Hamilton, Healy

    2015-01-01

    Species distribution modeling is widely applied to predict invasive species distributions and species range shifts under climate change. Accurate predictions depend upon meeting the assumption that ecological niches are conserved, i.e., spatially or temporally transferable. Here we present a multi-taxon comparative analysis of niche conservatism using biological invasion events well documented in natural history museum collections. Our goal is to assess spatial transferability of the climatic niche of a range of noxious terrestrial invasive species using two complementary approaches. First we compare species' native versus invasive ranges in environmental space using two distinct methods, Principal Components Analysis and Mahalanobis distance. Second we compare species' native versus invaded ranges in geographic space as estimated using the species distribution modeling technique Maxent and the comparative index Hellinger's I. We find that species exhibit a range of responses, from almost complete transferability, in which the invaded niches completely overlap with the native niches, to a complete dissociation between native and invaded ranges. Intermediate responses included expansion of dimension attributable to either temperature or precipitation derived variables, as well as niche expansion in multiple dimensions. We conclude that the ecological niche in the native range is generally a poor predictor of invaded range and, by analogy, the ecological niche may be a poor predictor of range shifts under climate change. We suggest that assessing dimensions of niche transferability prior to standard species distribution modeling may improve the understanding of species' dynamics in the invaded range. PMID:25785858

  15. Ecological Niche Transferability Using Invasive Species as a Case Study

    PubMed Central

    Fernández, Miguel; Hamilton, Healy

    2015-01-01

    Species distribution modeling is widely applied to predict invasive species distributions and species range shifts under climate change. Accurate predictions depend upon meeting the assumption that ecological niches are conserved, i.e., spatially or temporally transferable. Here we present a multi-taxon comparative analysis of niche conservatism using biological invasion events well documented in natural history museum collections. Our goal is to assess spatial transferability of the climatic niche of a range of noxious terrestrial invasive species using two complementary approaches. First we compare species’ native versus invasive ranges in environmental space using two distinct methods, Principal Components Analysis and Mahalanobis distance. Second we compare species’ native versus invaded ranges in geographic space as estimated using the species distribution modeling technique Maxent and the comparative index Hellinger’s I. We find that species exhibit a range of responses, from almost complete transferability, in which the invaded niches completely overlap with the native niches, to a complete dissociation between native and invaded ranges. Intermediate responses included expansion of dimension attributable to either temperature or precipitation derived variables, as well as niche expansion in multiple dimensions. We conclude that the ecological niche in the native range is generally a poor predictor of invaded range and, by analogy, the ecological niche may be a poor predictor of range shifts under climate change. We suggest that assessing dimensions of niche transferability prior to standard species distribution modeling may improve the understanding of species’ dynamics in the invaded range. PMID:25785858

  16. Using kernels and ecological niche modeling to delineate conservation areas in an endangered patch-breeding phenotype.

    PubMed

    Denoël, Mathieu; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

    2015-10-01

    Efficient delineation of conservation areas is a great challenge in maintaining biodiversity. Kernel density estimators (KDEs) are a powerful tool in this perspective, but they have not been applied at the population level on patch-distributed organisms. This would be particularly worthy for species that need broad habitats beyond those where they can be sampled; such as terrestrial lands for pond-breeding amphibians. The aim of this study was to compare different approaches for the identification of suitable areas for conservation: KDE, ecological niche modelling, and a combination of KDE and niche models. Paedomorphosis was chosen as a model system because this is an important form of intraspecific variation that is present in numerous taxa, but geographically localized within species and globally endangered. 277 ponds were sampled in one of the hotspots of paedomorphosis to determine the abundance and distribution of paedomorphs (i.e., individuals retaining gills at the adult stage) of the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus), with emphasis on the connections between the most valuable populations. KDEs gave insights into the surface areas required to balance the maintenance of certain number of connected ponds and the respective number of disjoint areas in which the whole population is divided. The inclusion of barriers in the models helped in accurately designing the limits of the areas to protect. Alone, habitat models were not able to successfully delineate the area to protect, but the integration between terrestrial suitable areas or barriers and KDE allowed an objective identification of areas required for conservation. Overall, the best performance was observed by the KDE integrating ecological barriers, and by the combination between KDE and niche modelling. In a broader perspective, KDEs are thus a pertinent tool in providing quantitative spatial measurements to delineate conservation areas based on patch-abundance data with a specific focus to

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-06-01

    Sweet cherries, Prunus avium (L.) L., grown in the western United States are exported to many countries around the world. Some of these countries have enforced strict quarantine rules and trade restrictions owing to concerns about the potential establishment and subsequent spread of western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), a major quarantine pest of sweet cherry. We used 1) niche models (CLIMEX and MaxEnt) to map the climatic suitability, 2) North Carolina State University-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Pest Forecasting System to examine chilling requirement, and 3) host distribution and availability to assess the potential for establishment of R. indifferens in areas of western North America where it currently does not exist and eight current or potential fresh sweet cherry markets: Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Results from niche models conformed well to the current distribution of R. indifferens in western North America. MaxEnt and CLIMEX models had high performance and predicted climatic suitability in some of the countries (e.g., Andean range in Colombia and Venezuela, northern and northeastern India, central Taiwan, and parts of Vietnam). However, our results showed no potential for establishment of R. indifferens in Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam when the optimal chilling requirement to break diapause (minimum temperature < or = 3 degree C for at least 15 wk) was used as the criterion for whether establishment can occur. Furthermore, these countries have no host plant species available for R. indifferens. Our results can be used to make scientifically informed international trade decisions and negotiations by policy makers. PMID:25026662

  18. The distribution, dominance patterns and ecological niches of plankton functional types in Dynamic Green Ocean Models and satellite estimates

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Vogt, M.; Hashioka, T.; Payne, M. R.; Buitenhuis, E. T.; Le Quéré, C.; Alvain, S.; Aita, M. N.; Bopp, L.; Doney, S. C.; Hirata, T.; Lima, I.; Sailley, S.; Yamanaka, Y.

    2013-11-01

    We compare the spatial and temporal representation of phytoplankton functional types (pPFTs) in four different Dynamic Green Ocean Models (DGOMs; CCSM-BEC, NEMURO, PISCES and PlankTOM5) to derived phytoplankton distributions from two independent satellite estimates, with a particular focus on diatom distributions. Global annual mean surface biomass estimates for diatoms vary between 0.23 mmol C m-3 and 0.77 mmol C m-3 in the models, and are comparable to a satellite-derived estimate (0.41 mmol C m-3). All models consistently simulate a higher zonal mean diatom biomass contribution in the high latitudes than in the low latitudes, but the relative diatom contribution varies substantially between models with largest differences in the high latitudes (20% to 100% of total biomass). We investigate phytoplankton distribution in terms of annual and monthly mean dominance patterns, i.e. the distribution of locations where a given PFT contributes more than 50% to total biomass. In all models, diatoms tend to dominate large areas of the high latitudes of both hemispheres, and the area of the surface ocean dominated by diatoms is significantly higher in the models than in the satellite estimates. We estimate the realized ecological niches filled by the dominant pPFT at each location as a function of annual mean surface nitrate concentration (NO3), sea surface temperature (SST), and mixed layer depth. A general additive model (GAM) is used to map the probability of dominance of all pPFTs in niche and geographic space. Models tend to simulate diatom dominance over a wider temperature and nutrient range, whereas satellites confine diatom dominance to a narrower niche of low-intermediate annual mean temperatures (annual mean SST < 10 °C), but allow for niches in different ranges of surface NO3 concentrations. For annual mean diatom dominance, the statistically modelled probability of dominance explains the majority of the variance in the data (65.2-66.6%). For the satellite

  19. Ecological Niche Models and Coalescent Analysis of Gene Flow Support Recent Allopatric Isolation of Parasitoid Wasp Populations in the Mediterranean

    PubMed Central

    Lozier, Jeffrey D.; Mills, Nicholas J.

    2009-01-01

    Background The integration of multiple complementary approaches is a powerful way to understand the processes of diversification and speciation. The parasitoid wasp Aphidius transcaspicus Telenga (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is a parasitoid of Hyalopterus aphids across a wide geographic range. This species shows a remarkable degree of genetic structure among western, central, and eastern Mediterranean population clusters. In this paper we attempt to better characterize this genetic structure. Methodology/Principal Findings We use a Bayesian coalescent analysis of gene flow under the Isolation with Migration model using mitochondrial and microsatellite markers together with climate-based ecological niche models to better understand the genetic structure of A. transcaspicus in the Mediterranean. The coalescent analysis revealed low levels of migration among western and eastern Mediterranean populations (Nm<1) that were not statistically distinguishable from zero. Niche models showed that localities within population clusters each occupy areas of continuously high environmental suitability, but are separated from each other by large regions of completely unsuitable habitat that could limit dispersal. Overall, environmental characteristics were similar among the population clusters, though significant differences did emerge. Conclusions/Significance These results support contemporary allopatric isolation of Mediterranean populations of A. transcaspicus, which together with previous analyses indicating partial behaviorally mediated reproductive isolation, suggest that the early stages of cryptic speciation may be in progress. PMID:19521534

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  1. Evaluating the potential of ecological niche modelling as a component in marine non-indigenous species risk assessments.

    PubMed

    Leidenberger, Sonja; Obst, Matthias; Kulawik, Robert; Stelzer, Kerstin; Heyer, Karin; Hardisty, Alex; Bourlat, Sarah J

    2015-08-15

    Marine biological invasions have increased with the development of global trading, causing the homogenization of communities and the decline of biodiversity. A main vector is ballast water exchange from shipping. This study evaluates the use of ecological niche modelling (ENM) to predict the spread of 18 non-indigenous species (NIS) along shipping routes and their potential habitat suitability (hot/cold spots) in the Baltic Sea and Northeast Atlantic. Results show that, contrary to current risk assessment methods, temperature and sea ice concentration determine habitat suitability for 61% of species, rather than salinity (11%). We show high habitat suitability for NIS in the Skagerrak and Kattegat, a transitional area for NIS entering or leaving the Baltic Sea. As many cases of NIS introduction in the marine environment are associated with shipping pathways, we explore how ENM can be used to provide valuable information on the potential spread of NIS for ballast water risk assessment. PMID:26066862

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-08-01

    One of the most important tools in conservation biology is information on the geographic distribution of species and the variables determining those patterns. We used maximum-entropy niche modeling to run distribution models for 222 amphibian and 371 reptile species (49% endemics and 27% threatened) for which we had 34,619 single geographic records. The planning region is in southeastern Mexico, is 20% of the country's area, includes 80% of the country's herpetofauna, and lacks an adequate protected-area system. We used probabilistic data to build distribution models of herpetofauna for use in prioritizing conservation areas for three target groups (all species and threatened and endemic species). The accuracy of species-distribution models was better for endemic and threatened species than it was for all species. Forty-seven percent of the region has been deforested and additional conservation areas with 13.7% to 88.6% more native vegetation (76% to 96% of the areas are outside the current protected-area system) are needed. There was overlap in 26 of the main selected areas in the conservation-area network prioritized to preserve the target groups, and for all three target groups the proportion of vegetation types needed for their conservation was constant: 30% pine and oak forests, 22% tropical evergreen forest, 17% low deciduous forest, and 8% montane cloud forests. The fact that different groups of species require the same proportion of habitat types suggests that the pine and oak forests support the highest proportion of endemic and threatened species and should therefore be given priority over other types of vegetation for inclusion in the protected areas of southeastern Mexico. PMID:20345399

  3. Comparative analysis of remotely-sensed data products via ecological niche modeling of avian influenza case occurrences in Middle Eastern poultry

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Ecological niche modeling integrates known sites of occurrence of species or phenomena with data on environmental variation across landscapes to infer environmental spaces potentially inhabited (i.e., the ecological niche) to generate predictive maps of potential distributions in geographic space. Key inputs to this process include raster data layers characterizing spatial variation in environmental parameters, such as vegetation indices from remotely sensed satellite imagery. The extent to which ecological niche models reflect real-world distributions depends on a number of factors, but an obvious concern is the quality and content of the environmental data layers. Methods We assessed ecological niche model predictions of H5N1 avian flu presence quantitatively within and among four geographic regions, based on models incorporating two means of summarizing three vegetation indices derived from the MODIS satellite. We evaluated our models for predictive ability using partial ROC analysis and GLM ANOVA to compare performance among indices and regions. Results We found correlations between vegetation indices to be high, such that they contain information that overlaps broadly. Neither the type of vegetation index used nor method of summary affected model performance significantly. However, the degree to which model predictions had to be transferred (i.e., projected onto landscapes and conditions not represented on the landscape of training) impacted predictive strength greatly (within-region model predictions far out-performed models projected among regions). Conclusion Our results provide the first quantitative tests of most appropriate uses of different remotely sensed data sets in ecological niche modeling applications. While our testing did not result in a decisive "best" index product or means of summarizing indices, it emphasizes the need for careful evaluation of products used in modeling (e.g. matching temporal dimensions and spatial resolution) for

  4. Dangers of using global bioclimatic datasets for ecological niche modeling. Limitations for future climate projections

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bedia, Joaquín; Herrera, Sixto; Gutiérrez, José Manuel

    2013-08-01

    Global bioclimatic datasets are being widely used in ecological research to estimate the potential distribution of species using Climate Envelope Models (CEMs). These datasets are easily available and offer high resolution information for all land areas globally. However, they have not been tested rigorously in smaller regions, and their use in regional CEM studies may pose problems derived from their poor representation of local climate features. Moreover, these problems may be enhanced when using CEMs for future climate projections—a topic of current active research—due to the uncertainty derived from the future altered climate scenarios.

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

    PubMed Central

    Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola; Arnell, Andrew P.; Svensson, Magdalena S.

    2015-01-01

    Simple Summary Large “charismatic” animals (with widespread popular appeal) are often used as flagship species to raise awareness for conservation. Deforestation and forest fragmentation are among the main threats to biodiversity, and in many places such species are disappearing. In this paper we aim to find a suitable species among the less charismatic animal species left in the fragmented forests of South-western Sri Lanka. We selected ten candidates, using a questionnaire survey along with computer modelling of their distributions. The red slender loris and the fishing cat came out as finalists as they were both appealing to local people, and fulfilled selected ecological criteria. Abstract Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loris tardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective

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

    PubMed

    Nekaris, K Anne-Isola; Arnell, Andrew P; Svensson, Magdalena S

    2015-01-01

    Flagship species are traditionally large, charismatic animals used to rally conservation efforts. Accepted flagship definitions suggest they need only fulfil a strategic role, unlike umbrella species that are used to shelter cohabitant taxa. The criteria used to select both flagship and umbrella species may not stand up in the face of dramatic forest loss, where remaining fragments may only contain species that do not suit either set of criteria. The Cinderella species concept covers aesthetically pleasing and overlooked species that fulfil the criteria of flagships or umbrellas. Such species are also more likely to occur in fragmented habitats. We tested Cinderella criteria on mammals in the fragmented forests of the Sri Lankan Wet Zone. We selected taxa that fulfilled both strategic and ecological roles. We created a shortlist of ten species, and from a survey of local perceptions highlighted two finalists. We tested these for umbrella characteristics against the original shortlist, utilizing Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) modelling, and analysed distribution overlap using ArcGIS. The criteria highlighted Loris tardigradus tardigradus and Prionailurus viverrinus as finalists, with the former having highest flagship potential. We suggest Cinderella species can be effective conservation surrogates especially in habitats where traditional flagship species have been extirpated. PMID:26479135

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

    PubMed

    Signorini, Manuela; Cassini, Rudi; Drigo, Michele; Frangipane di Regalbono, Antonio; Pietrobelli, Mario; Montarsi, Fabrizio; Stensgaard, Anna-Sofie

    2014-11-01

    With respect to the epidemiology of leishmaniasis, it is crucial to take into account the ecoclimatic and environmental characteristics that influence the distribution patterns of the vector sand fly species. It is also important to consider the possible impact of on-going climate changes on the emergence of this disease. In order to map the potential distribution of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the main vector species of canine leishmaniasis in north-eastern Italy, geographical information systems tools, ecological niche models (ENM) and remotely sensed environmental data were applied for a retrospective analysis of an entomological survey conducted in north-eastern Italy over 12 years. Sand fly trapping was conducted from 2001 to 2012 in 175 sites in the provinces of Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige. We developed a predictive model of potential distribution of P. perniciosus using the maximum entropy algorithm software, based on seasonal normalized difference vegetation index, day and night land surface temperature, the Corine land cover 2006, a digital elevation model (GTOPO30) and climate layers obtained from the WorldClim database. The MaxEnt prediction found the more suitable habitat for P. perniciosus to be hilly areas (100-300 m above the mean sea level) characterised by temperate climate during the winter and summer seasons, high winter vegetation cover and moderate rainfall during the activity season of vector sand fly. ENM provided a greater understanding of the geographical distribution and ecological requirements of P. perniciosus in the study area, which can be applied for the development of future surveillance strategies. PMID:25545936

  8. Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach.

    PubMed

    Cáceres, Nilton Carlos; de Moraes Weber, Marcelo; Melo, Geruza Leal; Meloro, Carlo; Sponchiado, Jonas; Carvalho, Renan Dos Santos; Bubadué, Jamile de Moura

    2016-01-01

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita. PMID

  9. Which Factors Determine Spatial Segregation in the South American Opossums (Didelphis aurita and D. albiventris)? An Ecological Niche Modelling and Geometric Morphometrics Approach

    PubMed Central

    Cáceres, Nilton Carlos; de Moraes Weber, Marcelo; Melo, Geruza Leal; Meloro, Carlo; Sponchiado, Jonas; Carvalho, Renan dos Santos; Bubadué, Jamile de Moura

    2016-01-01

    Didelphis albiventris and D. aurita are Neotropical marsupials that share a unique evolutionary history and both are largely distributed throughout South America, being primarily allopatric throughout their ranges. In the Araucaria moist forest of Southern Brazil these species are sympatric and they might potentially compete having similar ecology. For this reason, they are ideal biological models to address questions about ecological character displacement and how closely related species might share their geographic space. Little is known about how two morphologically similar species of marsupials may affect each other through competition, if by competitive exclusion and competitive release. We combined ecological niche modeling and geometric morphometrics to explore the possible effects of competition on their distributional ranges and skull morphology. Ecological niche modeling was used to predict their potential distribution and this method enabled us to identify a case of biotic exclusion where the habit generalist D. albiventris is excluded by the presence of the specialist D. aurita. The morphometric analyses show that a degree of shape discrimination occurs between the species, strengthened by allometric differences, which possibly allowed them to occupy marginally different feeding niches supplemented by behavioral shift in contact areas. Overlap in skull morphology is shown between sympatric and allopatric specimens and a significant, but weak, shift in shape occurs only in D. aurita in sympatric areas. This could be a residual evidence of a higher past competition between both species, when contact zones were possibly larger than today. Therefore, the specialist D. aurita acts a biotic barrier to D. albiventris when niche diversity is not available for coexistence. On the other hand, when there is niche diversification (e.g. habitat mosaic), both species are capable to coexist with a minimal competitive effect on the morphology of D. aurita. PMID

  10. Modelling suitable estuarine habitats for Zostera noltii , using Ecological Niche Factor Analysis and Bathymetric LiDAR

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valle, Mireia; Borja, Ángel; Chust, Guillem; Galparsoro, Ibon; Garmendia, Joxe Mikel

    2011-08-01

    Predicting species distribution and habitat suitability is of considerable use in supporting the implementation of environmental legislation, protection and conservation of marine waters and ecosystem-based management. As other seagrasses, Zostera noltii has declined worldwide, mainly due to human pressures, such as eutrophication and habitat loss. In the case of the Basque Country (northern Spain), the species is present only in 3 out of 12 estuaries. From the literature, it is known that at least 6 of these estuaries were formerly vegetated by this seagrass. Consequently, efforts to monitor and restore (potential) habitats have been enhanced. Therefore, we aim: (i) to determine the main environmental variables explaining Zostera noltii distribution, within the Basque estuaries based upon the Oka estuary; (ii) to model habitat suitability for this species, as a wider applicable management-decision tool for seagrass restoration; and (iii) to assess the applicability and predicted accuracy of the model by using internal and external validation methods. For this purpose, Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) has been used to model habitat suitability, based upon topographical variables, obtained from bathymetric Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR); sediment characteristics variables; and hydrodynamic variables. The results obtained from the ecological factors of the ENFA (Marginality: 1.00; Specialization: 2.59) indicate that the species habitat differs considerably from the mean environmental conditions over the study area; likewise, that the species is restrictive in the selection of the range of conditions within which it dwells. The main environmental variables relating to the species distribution, in order of importance, are: mean grain size; redox potential; intertidal height; sediment sorting; slope of intertidal flat; percentage of gravels; and percentage of organic matter content. The model has a high predicted accuracy (Boyce index: 0.92). Model

  11. Prevalence, Distribution, and Development of an Ecological Niche Model of Dermacentor variabilis Ticks Positive for Rickettsia montanensis.

    PubMed

    St John, Heidi K; Adams, Melissa L; Masuoka, Penny M; Flyer-Adams, Johanna G; Jiang, Ju; Rozmajzl, Patrick J; Stromdahl, Ellen Y; Richards, Allen L

    2016-04-01

    Rickettsia montanensis has long been considered a nonpathogenic member of the spotted fever group rickettsiae. However, the infection potential of R. montanensis is being revisited in light of its recent association with a case of human infection in the United States and the possibility that additional cases may have been misdiagnosed as Rocky Mountain spotted fever. To this end, DNA was extracted from American dog ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) removed from Department of Defense (DoD) personnel and their dependents at DoD medical treatment facilities (MTFs) during 2002-2012 (n = 4792). These 4792 samples were analyzed for the presence of R. montanensis (n =  36; 2.84%) and all vector DNA was confirmed to be of D. variabilis origin using a novel Dermacentor genus-specific quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction procedure, Derm, and a novel Dermacentor species multilocus sequence typing assay. To assess the risk of R. montanensis infection, the positive and negative samples were geographically mapped utilizing MTF site locations. Tick localities were imported into a geographical information systems (GIS) program, ArcGIS, for mapping and analysis. The ecological niche modeling (ENM) program, Maxent, was used to estimate the probability of tick presence in eastern United States using locations of both R. montanensis-positive and -negative ticks, climate, and elevation data. The ENM for R. montanensis-positive D. variabilis estimated high probabilities of the positive ticks occurring in two main areas, including the northern Midwest and mid-Atlantic portions of the northeastern regions of United States, whereas the R. montanensis-negative D. variabilis tick model showed a wider estimated range. The results suggest that R. montanensis-positive and -negative D. variabilis have different ranges where humans may be at risk and are influenced by similar and different factors. PMID:26900673

  12. Refugia, colonization and diversification of an arid-adapted bird: coincident patterns between genetic data and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Barrientos, Rafael; Kvist, Laura; Barbosa, Andrés; Valera, Francisco; Khoury, Fares; Varela, Sara; Moreno, Eulalia

    2014-02-01

    Phylogeographical studies are common in boreal and temperate species from the Palaearctic, but scarce in arid-adapted species. We used nuclear and mitochondrial markers to investigate phylogeography and to estimate chronology of colonization events of the trumpeter finch Bucanetes githagineus, an arid-adapted bird. We used 271 samples from 16 populations, most of which were fresh samples but including some museum specimens. Microsatellite data showed no clear grouping according to the sampling locations. Microsatellite and mitochondrial data showed the clearest differentiation between Maghreb and Canary Islands and between Maghreb and Western Sahara. Mitochondrial data suggest differentiation between different Maghreb populations and among Maghreb and Near East populations, between Iberian Peninsula and Canary Islands, as well as between Western Sahara and Maghreb. Our coalescence analyses indicate that the trumpeter finch colonized North Africa during the humid Marine Isotope Stage 5 (MIS5) period of the Sahara region 125 000 years ago. We constructed an ecological niche model (ENM) to estimate the geographical distribution of climatically suitable habitats for the trumpeter finch. We tested whether changes in the species range in relation to glacial-interglacial cycles could be responsible for observed patterns of genetic diversity and structure. Modelling results matched with those from genetic data as the species' potential range increases in interglacial scenarios (in the present climatic scenario and during MIS5) and decreases in glacial climates (during the last glacial maximum, LGM, 21 000 years ago). Our results suggest that the trumpeter finch responded to Pleistocene climatic changes by expanding and contracting its range. PMID:24215522

  13. Climate Change and Risk of Leishmaniasis in North America: Predictions from Ecological Niche Models of Vector and Reservoir Species

    PubMed Central

    González, Camila; Wang, Ophelia; Strutz, Stavana E.; González-Salazar, Constantino; Sánchez-Cordero, Víctor; Sarkar, Sahotra

    2010-01-01

    Background Climate change is increasingly being implicated in species' range shifts throughout the world, including those of important vector and reservoir species for infectious diseases. In North America (México, United States, and Canada), leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease that is autochthonous in México and Texas and has begun to expand its range northward. Further expansion to the north may be facilitated by climate change as more habitat becomes suitable for vector and reservoir species for leishmaniasis. Methods and Findings The analysis began with the construction of ecological niche models using a maximum entropy algorithm for the distribution of two sand fly vector species (Lutzomyia anthophora and L. diabolica), three confirmed rodent reservoir species (Neotoma albigula, N. floridana, and N. micropus), and one potential rodent reservoir species (N. mexicana) for leishmaniasis in northern México and the United States. As input, these models used species' occurrence records with topographic and climatic parameters as explanatory variables. Models were tested for their ability to predict correctly both a specified fraction of occurrence points set aside for this purpose and occurrence points from an independently derived data set. These models were refined to obtain predicted species' geographical distributions under increasingly strict assumptions about the ability of a species to disperse to suitable habitat and to persist in it, as modulated by its ecological suitability. Models successful at predictions were fitted to the extreme A2 and relatively conservative B2 projected climate scenarios for 2020, 2050, and 2080 using publicly available interpolated climate data from the Third Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report. Further analyses included estimation of the projected human population that could potentially be exposed to leishmaniasis in 2020, 2050, and 2080 under the A2 and B2 scenarios. All confirmed vector and

  14. Ecological Niche Modelling using satellite data for assessing distribution of threatened species Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kumar, S.; Kulloli, R. N.; Tewari, J. C.; Singh, J. P.; Singh, A.

    2014-11-01

    Ceropegia bulbosa Roxb. is a narrow endemic, tuberous twiner of Asclepiadaceae family. It is medicinally important: tubers are nutritive and edible, leaves are digestive and a cure for dysentery and diarrhea. Exploitation for its tubers and poor regeneration of this species has shrunk its distribution. In order to know its present status, we report here the results of its appraisal in Rajasthan, using remote sensing and ground truthing in the past five years (2009-14). A base map of C. bulbosa was prepared using Geographical Information System (GIS), open source software Quantum GIS, SAGA. The Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) +Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), Global Digital Elevation Model (GDEM) Satellite Data were used in this study. ASTER and GDEM Data was clipped with district boundary and provided color range to get elevation information. A digital elevation model of Rajasthan physiography was developed from ASTER GDEM of 30-m resolution. GIS layers of Area of occurrences for C. bulbosa plant and elevation were created. This map along with topographic sheets of 1:50000 were used for field traversing and ground truthing as per GPS location inferred from map. Its geographic distribution was assessed using MaxEnt distribution modelling algorithm that employed 12 presence locality data, 19 bioclimatic variables, and elevation data. Results of this modelling predicted occurrence of C. bulbosa in the districts of Sirohi, Jalore, Barmer, Pali, Ajmer, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Banswara, Baran, Kota, Bundi and Chittorgarh. Ground validation in these districts revealed its presence only at four places in three districts confirming its rarity. Analysis of dominance at their sites of occurrence revealed their poor populations and sub dominant status (RIV = 20-32) and very low density (2-12 plants per tenth ha).

  15. Supercooled Water Brines Within Permafrost-An Unknown Ecological Niche for Microorganisms: A Model for Astrobiology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gilichinsky, D.; Rivkina, E.; Shcherbakova, V.; Laurinavichuis, K.; Tiedje, J.

    2003-06-01

    This study describes brine lenses (cryopegs) found in Siberian permafrost derived from ancient marine sediment layers of the Arctic Ocean. The cryopegs were formed and isolated from sediment ~100,000-120,000 years ago. They remain liquid at the in situ temperature of -10°C as a result of their high salt content (170-300 g/L). [14C] Glucose is taken up by the cryopeg biomass at -15°C, indicating microbial metabolism at low temperatures in this habitat. Furthermore, aerobic, anaerobic heterotrophs, sulfate reducers, acetogens, and methanogens were detected by most probable number analysis. Two psychrophilic microbes were isolated from the cryopegs, a Clostridium and a Psychrobacter. The closest relatives of each were previously isolated from Antarctica. The cryopeg econiche might serve as a model for extraterrestrial life, and hence is of particular interest to astrobiology.

  16. Niche dimensionality and the genetics of ecological speciation.

    PubMed

    Chevin, Luis-Miguel; Decorzent, Guillaume; Lenormand, Thomas

    2014-05-01

    Niche dimensionality is suggested to be a key determinant of ecological speciation ("multifarious selection" hypothesis), but genetic aspects of this process have not been investigated theoretically. We use Fisher's geometrical model to study how niche dimensionality influences the mean fitness of hybrids formed upon secondary contact between populations adapting in allopatry. Gaussian selection for an optimum generates two forms of reproductive isolation (RI): an extrinsic component due to maladaptation of the mean phenotype, and an intrinsic variance load resulting from what we term transgressive incompatibilities between mutations fixed in different populations. We show that after adaptation to a new environment, RI increases with (1) the mean initial maladaptation of diverging population, and (2) niche dimensionality, which increases the phenotypic variability of fixed mutations. Under mutation selection drift equilibrium in a constant environment, RI accumulates steadily with time, at a rate that also increases with niche dimensionality. A similar pattern can be produced by successive shifts in the optimum phenotype. Niche dimensionality thus has an effect per se on postzygotic isolation, beyond putative indirect effects (stronger selection, more genes). Our mechanism is consistent with empirical evidence about transgressive segregation in crosses between divergent populations, and with patterns of accumulation of RI with time in many taxa. PMID:24410181

  17. Korarchaeota diversity, biogeography, and abundance in Yellowstone and Great Basin hot springs and ecological niche modeling based on machine learning.

    PubMed

    Miller-Coleman, Robin L; Dodsworth, Jeremy A; Ross, Christian A; Shock, Everett L; Williams, Amanda J; Hartnett, Hilairy E; McDonald, Austin I; Havig, Jeff R; Hedlund, Brian P

    2012-01-01

    Over 100 hot spring sediment samples were collected from 28 sites in 12 areas/regions, while recording as many coincident geochemical properties as feasible (>60 analytes). PCR was used to screen samples for Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes. Over 500 Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes were screened by RFLP analysis and 90 were sequenced, resulting in identification of novel Korarchaeota phylotypes and exclusive geographical variants. Korarchaeota diversity was low, as in other terrestrial geothermal systems, suggesting a marine origin for Korarchaeota with subsequent niche-invasion into terrestrial systems. Korarchaeota endemism is consistent with endemism of other terrestrial thermophiles and supports the existence of dispersal barriers. Korarchaeota were found predominantly in >55°C springs at pH 4.7-8.5 at concentrations up to 6.6×10(6) 16S rRNA gene copies g(-1) wet sediment. In Yellowstone National Park (YNP), Korarchaeota were most abundant in springs with a pH range of 5.7 to 7.0. High sulfate concentrations suggest these fluids are influenced by contributions from hydrothermal vapors that may be neutralized to some extent by mixing with water from deep geothermal sources or meteoric water. In the Great Basin (GB), Korarchaeota were most abundant at spring sources of pH<7.2 with high particulate C content and high alkalinity, which are likely to be buffered by the carbonic acid system. It is therefore likely that at least two different geological mechanisms in YNP and GB springs create the neutral to mildly acidic pH that is optimal for Korarchaeota. A classification support vector machine (C-SVM) trained on single analytes, two analyte combinations, or vectors from non-metric multidimensional scaling models was able to predict springs as Korarchaeota-optimal or sub-optimal habitats with accuracies up to 95%. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive analysis of the geochemical habitat of any high-level microbial taxon and the first application of a C-SVM to

  18. Korarchaeota Diversity, Biogeography, and Abundance in Yellowstone and Great Basin Hot Springs and Ecological Niche Modeling Based on Machine Learning

    PubMed Central

    Miller-Coleman, Robin L.; Dodsworth, Jeremy A.; Ross, Christian A.; Shock, Everett L.; Williams, Amanda J.; Hartnett, Hilairy E.; McDonald, Austin I.; Havig, Jeff R.; Hedlund, Brian P.

    2012-01-01

    Over 100 hot spring sediment samples were collected from 28 sites in 12 areas/regions, while recording as many coincident geochemical properties as feasible (>60 analytes). PCR was used to screen samples for Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes. Over 500 Korarchaeota 16S rRNA genes were screened by RFLP analysis and 90 were sequenced, resulting in identification of novel Korarchaeota phylotypes and exclusive geographical variants. Korarchaeota diversity was low, as in other terrestrial geothermal systems, suggesting a marine origin for Korarchaeota with subsequent niche-invasion into terrestrial systems. Korarchaeota endemism is consistent with endemism of other terrestrial thermophiles and supports the existence of dispersal barriers. Korarchaeota were found predominantly in >55°C springs at pH 4.7–8.5 at concentrations up to 6.6×106 16S rRNA gene copies g−1 wet sediment. In Yellowstone National Park (YNP), Korarchaeota were most abundant in springs with a pH range of 5.7 to 7.0. High sulfate concentrations suggest these fluids are influenced by contributions from hydrothermal vapors that may be neutralized to some extent by mixing with water from deep geothermal sources or meteoric water. In the Great Basin (GB), Korarchaeota were most abundant at spring sources of pH<7.2 with high particulate C content and high alkalinity, which are likely to be buffered by the carbonic acid system. It is therefore likely that at least two different geological mechanisms in YNP and GB springs create the neutral to mildly acidic pH that is optimal for Korarchaeota. A classification support vector machine (C-SVM) trained on single analytes, two analyte combinations, or vectors from non-metric multidimensional scaling models was able to predict springs as Korarchaeota-optimal or sub-optimal habitats with accuracies up to 95%. To our knowledge, this is the most extensive analysis of the geochemical habitat of any high-level microbial taxon and the first application of a C-SVM to

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

    PubMed

    Walsh, Michael; Haseeb, M A

    2015-01-01

    Plague has been established in the western United States (US) since 1900 following the West Coast introduction of commensal rodents infected with Yersinia pestis via early industrial shipping. Over the last century, plague ecology has transitioned through cycles of widespread human transmission, urban domestic transmission among commensal rodents, and ultimately settled into the predominantly sylvan foci that remain today where it is maintained alternatively by enzootic and epizootic transmission. While zoonotic transmission to humans is much less common in modern times, significant plague risk remains in parts of the western US. Moreover, risk to some threatened species that are part of the epizootic cycle can be quite substantive. This investigation attempted to predict the risk of plague across the western US by modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animals identified between 2000 and 2015. A Maxent machine learning algorithm was used to predict this niche based on climate, altitude, land cover, and the presence of an important enzootic species, Peromyscus maniculatus. This model demonstrated good predictive ability (AUC = 86%) and identified areas of high risk in central Colorado, north-central New Mexico, and southwestern and northeastern California. The presence of P. maniculatus, altitude, precipitation during the driest and wettest quarters, and distance to artificial surfaces, all contributed substantively to maximizing the gain function. These findings add to the known landscape epidemiology and infection ecology of plague in the western US and may suggest locations of particular risk to be targeted for wild and domestic animal intervention. PMID:26713244

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

    PubMed Central

    Haseeb, MA

    2015-01-01

    Plague has been established in the western United States (US) since 1900 following the West Coast introduction of commensal rodents infected with Yersinia pestis via early industrial shipping. Over the last century, plague ecology has transitioned through cycles of widespread human transmission, urban domestic transmission among commensal rodents, and ultimately settled into the predominantly sylvan foci that remain today where it is maintained alternatively by enzootic and epizootic transmission. While zoonotic transmission to humans is much less common in modern times, significant plague risk remains in parts of the western US. Moreover, risk to some threatened species that are part of the epizootic cycle can be quite substantive. This investigation attempted to predict the risk of plague across the western US by modeling the ecologic niche of plague in sylvan and domestic animals identified between 2000 and 2015. A Maxent machine learning algorithm was used to predict this niche based on climate, altitude, land cover, and the presence of an important enzootic species, Peromyscus maniculatus. This model demonstrated good predictive ability (AUC = 86%) and identified areas of high risk in central Colorado, north-central New Mexico, and southwestern and northeastern California. The presence of P. maniculatus, altitude, precipitation during the driest and wettest quarters, and distance to artificial surfaces, all contributed substantively to maximizing the gain function. These findings add to the known landscape epidemiology and infection ecology of plague in the western US and may suggest locations of particular risk to be targeted for wild and domestic animal intervention. PMID:26713244

  1. Reconstructing ecological niches and geographic distributions of caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) and red deer ( Cervus elaphus) during the Last Glacial Maximum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Banks, William E.; d'Errico, Francesco; Peterson, A. Townsend; Kageyama, Masa; Colombeau, Guillaume

    2008-12-01

    A variety of approaches have been used to reconstruct glacial distributions of species, identify their environmental characteristics, and understand their influence on subsequent population expansions. Traditional methods, however, provide only rough estimates of past distributions, and are often unable to identify the ecological and geographic processes that shaped them. Recently, ecological niche modeling (ENM) methodologies have been applied to these questions in an effort to overcome such limitations. We apply ENM to the European faunal record of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to reconstruct ecological niches and potential ranges for caribou ( Rangifer tarandus) and red deer ( Cervus elaphus), and evaluate whether their LGM distributions resulted from tracking the geographic footprint of their ecological niches (niche conservatism) or if ecological niche shifts between the LGM and present might be implicated. Results indicate that the LGM geographic ranges of both species represent distributions characterized by niche conservatism, expressed through geographic contraction of the geographic footprints of their respective ecological niches.

  2. Phylogeographic analysis and environmental niche modeling of the plain-bellied watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) reveals low levels of genetic and ecological differentiation

    PubMed Central

    Makowsky, Robert; Marshall, John C.; McVay, John; Chippindale, Paul T.; Rissler, Leslie J.

    2012-01-01

    Species that exhibit geographically defined phenotypic variation traditionally have been divided into subspecies. Subspecies based on phenotypic features may not comprise monophyletic groups due to selection, gene flow, and/or convergent evolution. In many taxonomic groups the number of species once designated as widespread is dwindling rapidly, and many workers reject the concept of subspecies altogether. We tested whether currently recognized subspecies in the plain-bellied watersnake Nerodia erythrogaster are concordant with relationships based on mitochondrial markers, and whether it represents a single widespread species. The range of this taxon spans multiple potential biogeographic barriers (especially the Mississippi and Apalachicola Rivers) that correspond with lineage breaks in many species, including other snakes. We sequenced three mitochondrialgenes (NADH-II, Cyt-b, Cox-I) from 156 geo-referenced specimens and developed ecological niche models using Maxent and spatially-explicit climate data to examine historical and ecological factors affecting variation in N. erythrogaster across its range. Overall, we found little support for the recognized subspecies as either independent evolutionary lineages or geographically circumscribed units and conclude that although some genetic and niche differentiation has occurred, most populations assigned to N. erythrogaster appear to represent a single, widespread species. However, additional sampling and application of nuclear markers are necessary to clarify the status of the easternmost populations. PMID:20302955

  3. Phylogeographic analysis and environmental niche modeling of the plain-bellied watersnake (Nerodia erythrogaster) reveals low levels of genetic and ecological differentiation.

    PubMed

    Makowsky, Robert; Marshall, John C; McVay, John; Chippindale, Paul T; Rissler, Leslie J

    2010-06-01

    Species that exhibit geographically defined phenotypic variation traditionally have been divided into subspecies. Subspecies based on phenotypic features may not comprise monophyletic groups due to selection, gene flow, and/or convergent evolution. In many taxonomic groups the number of species once designated as widespread is dwindling rapidly, and many workers reject the concept of subspecies altogether. We tested whether currently recognized subspecies in the plain-bellied watersnake Nerodia erythrogaster are concordant with relationships based on mitochondrial markers, and whether it represents a single widespread species. The range of this taxon spans multiple potential biogeographic barriers (especially the Mississippi and Apalachicola Rivers) that correspond with lineage breaks in many species, including other snakes. We sequenced three mitochondrial genes (NADH-II, Cyt-b, Cox-I) from 156 geo-referenced specimens and developed ecological niche models using Maxent and spatially explicit climate data to examine historical and ecological factors affecting variation in N. erythrogaster across its range. Overall, we found little support for the recognized subspecies as either independent evolutionary lineages or geographically circumscribed units and conclude that although some genetic and niche differentiation has occurred, most populations assigned to N. erythrogaster appear to represent a single, widespread species. However, additional sampling and application of nuclear markers are necessary to clarify the status of the easternmost populations. PMID:20302955

  4. A new probabilistic method for quantifying n-dimensional ecological niches and niche overlap.

    PubMed

    Swanson, Heidi K; Lysy, Martin; Power, Michael; Stasko, Ashley D; Johnson, Jim D; Reist, James D

    2015-02-01

    Considerable progress has been made in the development of statistical tools to quantify trophic relationships using stable isotope ratios, including tools that address size and overlap of isotopic niches. We build upon recent progress and propose a new probabilistic method for determining niche region and pairwise niche overlap that can be extended beyond two dimensions, provides directional estimates of niche overlap, accounts for species-specific distributions in niche space, and, unlike geometric methods, produces consistent and unique bivariate projections of multivariate data. We define the niche region (NR) as a given 95% (or user-defined a) probability region in multivariate space. Overlap is calculated as the probability that an individual from species A is found in the N(R) of species B. Uncertainty is accounted for in a Bayesian framework, and is the only aspect of the methodology that depends on sample size. Application is illustrated with three-dimensional stable isotope data, but practitioners could use any continuous indicator of ecological niche in any number of dimensions. We suggest that this represents an advance in our ability to quantify and compare ecological niches in a way that is more consistent with Hutchinson's concept of an "n-dimensional hypervolume". PMID:26240852

  5. Do Ecological Niche Model Predictions Reflect the Adaptive Landscape of Species?: A Test Using Myristica malabarica Lam., an Endemic Tree in the Western Ghats, India

    PubMed Central

    Nagaraju, Shivaprakash K.; Gudasalamani, Ravikanth; Barve, Narayani; Ghazoul, Jaboury; Narayanagowda, Ganeshaiah Kotiganahalli; Ramanan, Uma Shaanker

    2013-01-01

    Ecological niche models (ENM) have become a popular tool to define and predict the “ecological niche” of a species. An implicit assumption of the ENMs is that the predicted ecological niche of a species actually reflects the adaptive landscape of the species. Thus in sites predicted to be highly suitable, species would have maximum fitness compared to in sites predicted to be poorly suitable. As yet there are very few attempts to address this assumption. Here we evaluate this assumption. We used Bioclim (DIVA GIS version 7.3) and Maxent (version 3.3.2) to predict the habitat suitability of Myristica malabarica Lam., an economically important tree occurring in the Western Ghats, India. We located populations of the trees naturally occurring in different habitat suitability regimes (from highly suitable to poorly suitable) and evaluated them for their regeneration ability and genetic diversity. We also evaluated them for two plant functional traits, fluctuating asymmetry – an index of genetic homeostasis, and specific leaf weight – an index of primary productivity, often assumed to be good surrogates of fitness. We show a significant positive correlation between the predicted habitat quality and plant functional traits, regeneration index and genetic diversity of populations. Populations at sites predicted to be highly suitable had a higher regeneration and gene diversity compared to populations in sites predicted to be poor or unsuitable. Further, individuals in the highly suitable sites exhibited significantly less fluctuating asymmetry and significantly higher specific leaf weight compared to individuals in the poorly suitable habitats. These results for the first time provide an explicit test of the ENM with respect to the plant functional traits, regeneration ability and genetic diversity of populations along a habitat suitability gradient. We discuss the implication of these resultsfor designing viable species conservation and restoration programs. PMID

  6. The ecological niche of Dermacentor marginatus in Germany.

    PubMed

    Walter, Melanie; Brugger, Katharina; Rubel, Franz

    2016-06-01

    The ixodid tick Dermacentor marginatus (Sulzer, 1776) is endemic throughout southern Europe in the range of 33-51 (°) N latitude. In Germany, however, D. marginatus was exclusively reported in the Rhine valley and adjacent areas. Its northern distribution limit near Giessen is located at the coordinates 8.32 (°) E/50.65 (°) N. Particularly with regard to the causative agents of rickettsioses, tularemia, and Q fever, the observed locations as well as the potential distribution of the vector D. marginatus in Germany are of special interest. Applying a dataset of 118 georeferenced tick locations, the ecological niche for D. marginatus was calculated. It is described by six climate parameters based on temperature and relative humidity and another six environmental parameters including land cover classes and altitude. The final ecological niche is determined by the frequency distributions of these 12 parameters at the tick locations. Main parameters are the mean annual temperature (frequency distribution characterized by the minimum, median, and maximum of 6.1, 9.9, and 12.2 (°)C), the mean annual relative humidity (73.7, 76.7, and 80.9 %), as well as the altitude (87, 240, 1108 m). The climate and environmental niche is used to estimate the habitat suitability of D. marginatus in Germany by applying the BIOCLIM model. Finally, the potential spatial distribution of D. marginatus was calculated and mapped by determining an optimal threshold value of the suitability index, i.e., the maximum of sensitivity and specificity (Youden index). The model performance is expressed by AUC = 0.91. PMID:26993325

  7. The transition between the niche and neutral regimes in ecology

    PubMed Central

    Fisher, Charles K.; Mehta, Pankaj

    2014-01-01

    An ongoing debate in ecology concerns the impacts of ecological drift and selection on community assembly. Here, we show that there is a transition in diverse ecological communities between a selection-dominated regime (the niche phase) and a drift-dominated regime (the neutral phase). Simulations and analytic arguments show that the niche phase is favored in communities with large population sizes and relatively constant environments, whereas the neutral phase is favored in communities with small population sizes and fluctuating environments. Our results demonstrate how apparently neutral populations may arise even in communities inhabited by species with varying traits. PMID:25157131

  8. Phylogeography of Arabidopsis halleri (Brassicaceae) in mountain regions of Central Europe inferred from cpDNA variation and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Wasowicz, Pawel; Pauwels, Maxime; Pasierbinski, Andrzej; Przedpelska-Wasowicz, Ewa M; Babst-Kostecka, Alicja A; Saumitou-Laprade, Pierre; Rostanski, Adam

    2016-01-01

    The present study aimed to investigate phylogeographical patterns present within A. halleri in Central Europe. 1,281 accessions sampled from 52 populations within the investigated area were used in the study of genetic variation based on chloroplast DNA. Over 500 high-quality species occurrence records were used in ecological niche modelling experiments. We evidenced the presence of a clear phylogeographic structure within A. halleri in Central Europe. Our results showed that two genetically different groups of populations are present in western and eastern part of the Carpathians. The hypothesis of the existence of a glacial refugium in the Western Carpathians adn the Bohemian Forest cannot be rejected from our data. It seems, however, that the evidence collected during the present study is not conclusive. The area of Sudetes was colonised after LGM probably by migrants from the Bohemian Forest. PMID:26835186

  9. Using ecological niche modelling to predict spatial and temporal distribution patterns in Chinese gibbons: lessons from the present and the past.

    PubMed

    Chatterjee, H J; Tse, J S Y; Turvey, S T

    2012-01-01

    Ecological niche modelling (ENM) is used to predict species' tolerance to changing environmental conditions. Understanding changes in the spatial distribution of species across time is essential in order to develop effective conservation strategies. Here we map the past and present distribution of gibbons across China, a country experiencing extensive anthropogenic habitat destruction and ongoing biodiversity loss. The distribution of gibbons across three time intervals is described based on fossil, historical and modern-day data, and ENM, implemented using DIVA-GIS, is used to predict how modern-day gibbon distributions might respond to future climate change. Predictions based on modern-day data alone fail to reveal patterns of environmental tolerance and geographical distribution shown by gibbons in the relatively recent historical period, emphasizing the need to incorporate past as well as present data in conservation analyses. PMID:23038160

  10. Phylogeography of Arabidopsis halleri (Brassicaceae) in mountain regions of Central Europe inferred from cpDNA variation and ecological niche modelling

    PubMed Central

    Pauwels, Maxime; Pasierbinski, Andrzej; Przedpelska-Wasowicz, Ewa M.; Babst-Kostecka, Alicja A.; Saumitou-Laprade, Pierre; Rostanski, Adam

    2016-01-01

    The present study aimed to investigate phylogeographical patterns present within A. halleri in Central Europe. 1,281 accessions sampled from 52 populations within the investigated area were used in the study of genetic variation based on chloroplast DNA. Over 500 high-quality species occurrence records were used in ecological niche modelling experiments. We evidenced the presence of a clear phylogeographic structure within A. halleri in Central Europe. Our results showed that two genetically different groups of populations are present in western and eastern part of the Carpathians. The hypothesis of the existence of a glacial refugium in the Western Carpathians adn the Bohemian Forest cannot be rejected from our data. It seems, however, that the evidence collected during the present study is not conclusive. The area of Sudetes was colonised after LGM probably by migrants from the Bohemian Forest. PMID:26835186

  11. Ecology and the ratchet of events: climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, Stephen T.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Booth, Robert K.; Gray, Stephen T.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change in the coming centuries will be characterized by interannual, decadal, and multidecadal fluctuations superimposed on anthropogenic trends. Predicting ecological and biogeographic responses to these changes constitutes an immense challenge for ecologists. Perspectives from climatic and ecological history indicate that responses will be laden with contingencies, resulting from episodic climatic events interacting with demographic and colonization events. This effect is compounded by the dependency of environmental sensitivity upon life-stage for many species. Climate variables often used in empirical niche models may become decoupled from the proximal variables that directly influence individuals and populations. Greater predictive capacity, and more-fundamental ecological and biogeographic understanding, will come from integration of correlational niche modeling with mechanistic niche modeling, dynamic ecological modeling, targeted experiments, and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics.

  12. Ecology and the ratchet of events: Climate variability, niche dimensions, and species distributions

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, S.T.; Betancourt, J.L.; Booth, R.K.; Gray, S.T.

    2009-01-01

    Climate change in the coming centuries will be characterized by interannual, decadal, and multidecadal fluctuations superimposed on anthropogenic trends. Predicting ecological and biogeographic responses to these changes constitutes an immense challenge for ecologists. Perspectives from climatic and ecological history indicate that responses will be laden with contingencies, resulting from episodic climatic events interacting with demographic and colonization events. This effect is compounded by the dependency of environmental sensitivity upon life-stage for many species. Climate variables often used in empirical niche models may become decoupled from the proximal variables that directly influence individuals and populations. Greater predictive capacity, and morefundamental ecological and biogeographic understanding, will come from integration of correlational niche modeling with mechanistic niche modeling, dynamic ecological modeling, targeted experiments, and systematic observations of past and present patterns and dynamics.

  13. Relaxed random walk model coupled with ecological niche modeling unravel the dispersal dynamics of a Neotropical savanna tree species in the deeper Quaternary

    PubMed Central

    Collevatti, Rosane G.; Terribile, Levi C.; Rabelo, Suelen G.; Lima-Ribeiro, Matheus S.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding the dispersal routes of Neotropical savanna tree species is an essential step to unravel the effects of past climate change on genetic patterns, species distribution and population demography. Here we reconstruct the demographic history and dispersal dynamics of the Neotropical savanna tree species Tabebuia aurea to understand the effects of Quaternary climate change on its current spatial patterns of genetic diversity. We sampled 285 individuals from 21 populations throughout Brazilian savannas and sequenced all individuals for three chloroplast intergenic spacers and ITS nrDNA. We analyzed data using a multi-model inference framework by coupling the relaxed random walk model (RRW), ecological niche modeling (ENM) and statistical phylogeography. The most recent common ancestor of T. aurea lineages dated from ~4.0 ± 2.5 Ma. T. aurea lineages cyclically dispersed from the West toward the Central-West Brazil, and from the Southeast toward the East and Northeast Brazil, following the paleodistribution dynamics shown by the ENMs through the last glacial cycle. A historical refugium through time may have allowed dispersal of lineages among populations of Central Brazil, overlapping with population expansion during interglacial periods and the diversification of new lineages. Range and population expansion through the Quaternary were, respectively, the most frequent prediction from ENMs and the most likely demographic scenario from coalescent simulations. Consistent phylogeographic patterns among multiple modeling inferences indicate a promising approach, allowing us to understand how cyclical climate changes through the Quaternary drove complex population dynamics and the current patterns of species distribution and genetic diversity. PMID:26379681

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Carvalho, Bruno M.; Ready, Paul D.

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors.

    PubMed

    Mau, Martin; Lovell, John T; Corral, José M; Kiefer, Christiane; Koch, Marcus A; Aliyu, Olawale M; Sharbel, Timothy F

    2015-05-01

    Asexual reproduction is expected to reduce the adaptive potential to novel or changing environmental conditions, restricting or altering the ecological niche of asexual lineages. Asexual lineages of plants and animals are typically polyploid, an attribute that may influence their genetic variation, plasticity, adaptive potential, and niche breadth. The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) represents an ideal model to test the relative ecological and biogeographic impacts of reproductive mode and ploidy because it is composed of diploid sexual and both diploid and polyploid asexual (i.e., apomictic) lineages. Here, we demonstrate a strong association between a transcriptionally conserved allele and apomictic seed formation. We then use this allele as a proxy apomixis marker in 1,649 accessions to demonstrate that apomixis is likely to be a common feature across the Boechera phylogeny. Phylogeographic analyses of these data demonstrate (i) species-specific niche differentiation in sexuals, (ii) extensive niche conservation between differing reproductive modes of the same species, (iii) ploidy-specific niche differentiation within and among species, and (iv) occasional niche drift between apomicts and their sexual ancestors. We conclude that ploidy is a substantially stronger and more common driver of niche divergence within and across Boechera species although variation in both traits may not necessarily lead to niche evolution on the species scale. PMID:25902513

  17. Hybrid apomicts trapped in the ecological niches of their sexual ancestors

    PubMed Central

    Mau, Martin; Lovell, John T.; Corral, José M.; Kiefer, Christiane; Koch, Marcus A.; Aliyu, Olawale M.; Sharbel, Timothy F.

    2015-01-01

    Asexual reproduction is expected to reduce the adaptive potential to novel or changing environmental conditions, restricting or altering the ecological niche of asexual lineages. Asexual lineages of plants and animals are typically polyploid, an attribute that may influence their genetic variation, plasticity, adaptive potential, and niche breadth. The genus Boechera (Brassicaceae) represents an ideal model to test the relative ecological and biogeographic impacts of reproductive mode and ploidy because it is composed of diploid sexual and both diploid and polyploid asexual (i.e., apomictic) lineages. Here, we demonstrate a strong association between a transcriptionally conserved allele and apomictic seed formation. We then use this allele as a proxy apomixis marker in 1,649 accessions to demonstrate that apomixis is likely to be a common feature across the Boechera phylogeny. Phylogeographic analyses of these data demonstrate (i) species-specific niche differentiation in sexuals, (ii) extensive niche conservation between differing reproductive modes of the same species, (iii) ploidy-specific niche differentiation within and among species, and (iv) occasional niche drift between apomicts and their sexual ancestors. We conclude that ploidy is a substantially stronger and more common driver of niche divergence within and across Boechera species although variation in both traits may not necessarily lead to niche evolution on the species scale. PMID:25902513

  18. Niche breadth predicts geographical range size: a general ecological pattern.

    PubMed

    Slatyer, Rachel A; Hirst, Megan; Sexton, Jason P

    2013-08-01

    The range of resources that a species uses (i.e. its niche breadth) might determine the geographical area it can occupy, but consensus on whether a niche breadth-range size relationship generally exists among species has been slow to emerge. The validity of this hypothesis is a key question in ecology in that it proposes a mechanism for commonness and rarity, and if true, may help predict species' vulnerability to extinction. We identified 64 studies that measured niche breadth and range size, and we used a meta-analytic approach to test for the presence of a niche breadth-range size relationship. We found a significant positive relationship between range size and environmental tolerance breadth (z = 0.49), habitat breadth (z = 0.45), and diet breadth (z = 0.28). The overall positive effect persisted even when incorporating sampling effects. Despite significant variability in the strength of the relationship among studies, the general positive relationship suggests that specialist species might be disproportionately vulnerable to habitat loss and climate change due to synergistic effects of a narrow niche and small range size. An understanding of the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms that drive and cause deviations from this niche breadth-range size pattern is an important future research goal. PMID:23773417

  19. A successful avian invasion occupies a marginal ecological niche

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Batalha, Helena R.; Ramos, Jaime A.; Cardoso, Gonçalo C.

    2013-05-01

    Biological invasions often threaten biodiversity, yet their ecological effects are unpredictable and in some cases may be neutral. Assessing potential interactions between invasive and native species is thus important to understand community functioning and prioritize conservation efforts. With this purpose, we compared the ecological niche and occurrence of a successful avian invader in SW Europe, the common waxbill (Estrildidae: Estrilda astrild), with those of co-occurring native passerine species. We found that common waxbills occupy a marginal niche relative to the community of native passerines, with a larger average ecological distance to the remaining species in the community compared to the native species amongst themselves, and a nearest-neighbour ecological distance identical to those of native species. Furthermore, ecological similarity did not predict co-occurrence of waxbills with other bird species. This is consistent with the invasion using a vacant niche in unsaturated communities, which is likely related to invading waxbills occupying partly human-modified habitats. Similar explanations may apply to other biological invasions of human-modified environments. Results also suggest that detrimental ecological effects due to interspecific competition with native passerines are unlikely. Notwithstanding, the ecological nearest-neighbour of common waxbills was the reed bunting (Emberiza schoeniclus), whose SW European subspecies are endangered, and may justify conservation attention regarding possible interactions between these two species.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

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

  1. Exploring the Realized Niche: Simulated Ecological Mapping with a Microcomputer.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Kent, J. W.

    1983-01-01

    Describes a computer program based upon field observations of littoral zonation modified by a small stream. The program employs user-defined color graphic characters to display simulated ecological maps representing the patterning of organisms in response to local values of niche limiting factors. (Author/JN)

  2. The zoophilic fruitfly Phortica variegata: morphology, ecology and biological niche.

    PubMed

    Otranto, D; Brianti, E; Cantacessi, C; Lia, R P; Máca, J

    2006-12-01

    Flies belonging to the subfamily Steganinae (Drosophilidae) display unusual zoophilic feeding habits at the adult and/or larval stage. Phortica variegata (Fallén) feeds on tears or eye liquid around the eyes of humans and carnivores. When feeding it is a potential vector of Thelazia callipaeda (Railliet and Henry) eyeworms. Adult and larval stages of this fly may be easily confused with other species belonging to the same genus, and little is known on the biology and ecology of P. variegata. In April-November 2005, a total of 969 P. variegata were collected in an area with a high prevalence of canine thelaziosis. The number of flies collected weekly was then related to climatic and environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, relative humidity and total rainfall) recorded daily at the collection site. The highest number of Phortica were collected during July-August. The sex ratio (number of males : females) rose from approximately 0.5 during May-July, to approximately 3.0 in August and 181 during September-October. Distributional data, representing 242 sites at which P. variegata has been collected in Europe, were analysed using a desktop implementation of the genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction (GARP) to model ecological requirements across Europe, as well as in Italy. P. variegata is shown to be mainly active at 20-25 degrees C and 50-75% RH. The ecological niche model suggests with a high degree of confidence that large areas of Europe are likely to represent suitable habitat for this species, mostly concentrated in central Europe. The results reported here contribute basic knowledge on the ecology and geographical distribution of P. variegata flies, which will be fundamental to gaining a better understanding of their role as vectors of human and animal pathogens. PMID:17199746

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  4. Genome-wide admixture and ecological niche modelling reveal the maintenance of species boundaries despite long history of interspecific gene flow

    PubMed Central

    De La Torre, Amanda R; Roberts, David R; Aitken, Sally N

    2014-01-01

    The maintenance of species boundaries despite interspecific gene flow has been a continuous source of interest in evolutionary biology. Many hybridizing species have porous genomes with regions impermeable to introgression, conferring reproductive barriers between species. We used ecological niche modelling to study the glacial and postglacial recolonization patterns between the widely hybridizing spruce species Picea glauca and P. engelmannii in western North America. Genome-wide estimates of admixture based on a panel of 311 candidate gene single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) from 290 genes were used to assess levels of admixture and introgression and to identify loci putatively involved in adaptive differences or reproductive barriers between species. Our palaeoclimatic modelling suggests that these two closely related species have a long history of hybridization and introgression, dating to at least 21 000 years ago, yet species integrity is maintained by a combination of strong environmental selection and reduced current interspecific gene flow. Twenty loci showed evidence of divergent selection, including six loci that were both Fst outliers and associated with climatic gradients, and fourteen loci that were either outliers or showed associations with climate. These included genes responsible for carbohydrate metabolism, signal transduction and transcription factors. PMID:24597663

  5. Genetic Diversity and Ecological Niche Modelling of Wild Barley: Refugia, Large-Scale Post-LGM Range Expansion and Limited Mid-Future Climate Threats?

    PubMed Central

    Russell, Joanne; van Zonneveld, Maarten; Dawson, Ian K.; Booth, Allan; Waugh, Robbie; Steffenson, Brian

    2014-01-01

    Describing genetic diversity in wild barley (Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum) in geographic and environmental space in the context of current, past and potential future climates is important for conservation and for breeding the domesticated crop (Hordeum vulgare ssp. vulgare). Spatial genetic diversity in wild barley was revealed by both nuclear- (2,505 SNP, 24 nSSR) and chloroplast-derived (5 cpSSR) markers in 256 widely-sampled geo-referenced accessions. Results were compared with MaxEnt-modelled geographic distributions under current, past (Last Glacial Maximum, LGM) and mid-term future (anthropogenic scenario A2, the 2080s) climates. Comparisons suggest large-scale post-LGM range expansion in Central Asia and relatively small, but statistically significant, reductions in range-wide genetic diversity under future climate. Our analyses support the utility of ecological niche modelling for locating genetic diversity hotspots and determine priority geographic areas for wild barley conservation under anthropogenic climate change. Similar research on other cereal crop progenitors could play an important role in tailoring conservation and crop improvement strategies to support future human food security. PMID:24505252

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

    Ontogenetic allometries in ecological habits and niche use are key responses by which individuals maximize lifetime fitness. Moreover, such allometries have significant implications for how individuals influence population and community dynamics. Here, we examined how body size variation in Komodo dragons (Varanus komodoensis) influenced ecological allometries in their: (1) prey size preference, (2) daily movement rates, (3) home range area, and (4) subsequent niche use across ontogeny. With increased body mass, Komodo dragons increased prey size with a dramatic switch from small (≤10 kg) to large prey (≥50 kg) in lizards heavier than 20 kg. Rates of foraging movement were described by a non-linear concave down response with lizard increasing hourly movement rates up until ∼20 kg body mass before decreasing daily movement suggesting reduced foraging effort in larger lizards. In contrast, home range area exhibited a sigmoid response with increased body mass. Intrapopulation ecological niche use and overlap were also strongly structured by body size. Thus, ontogenetic allometries suggest Komodo dragon's transition from a highly active foraging mode exploiting small prey through to a less active sit and wait feeding strategy focused on killing large ungulates. Further, our results suggest that as body size increases across ontogeny, the Komodo dragon exhibited marked ontogenetic niche shifts that enabled it to function as an entire vertebrate predator guild by exploiting prey across multiple trophic levels. PMID:26936625

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-04-01

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

  8. A mathematical synthesis of niche and neutral theories in community ecology.

    PubMed

    Haegeman, Bart; Loreau, Michel

    2011-01-21

    The debate between niche-based and neutral community theories centers around the question of which forces shape predominantly ecological communities. Niche theory attributes a central role to niche differences between species, which generate a difference between the strength of intra- and interspecific interactions. Neutral theory attributes a central role to migration processes and demographic stochasticity. One possibility to bridge these two theories is to combine them in a common mathematical framework. Here we propose a mathematical model that integrates the two perspectives. From a niche-based perspective, our model can be interpreted as a Lotka-Volterra model with symmetric interactions in which we introduce immigration and demographic stochasticity. From a neutral perspective, it can be interpreted as Hubbell's local community model in which we introduce a difference between intra- and interspecific interactions. We investigate the stationary species abundance distribution and other community properties as functions of the interaction coefficient, the immigration rate and the strength of demographic stochasticity. PMID:20946903

  9. Ecological niche of three teuthophageous odontocetes in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Praca, E.; Gannier, A.

    2007-10-01

    In the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, sperm whales, pilot whales and Risso's dolphins prey on cephalopods exclusively or preferentially. In order to evaluate their competition, we modelled their habitat suitability with the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) and compared their ecological niche using a discriminant analysis. We used a long term (1995-2005) small boat data set, with visual and acoustic (sperm whale) detections. Risso's dolphin had the shallowest and the more spatially restricted principal habitat, mainly located on the upper part of the continental slope (640 m mean depth). With a wider principal habitat, at 1750 m depth in average, the sperm whale used a deeper part of the slope as well as close offshore waters. Finally, the pilot whale has the most oceanic habitat (2500 m mean depth) mainly located in the central Ligurian Sea and Provençal basin. Therefore, potential competition for food between these species may be reduced by the differentiation of their ecological niches.

  10. Molecular phylogeography and ecological niche modelling of a widespread herbaceous climber, Tetrastigma hemsleyanum (Vitaceae): insights into Plio-Pleistocene range dynamics of evergreen forest in subtropical China.

    PubMed

    Wang, Yi-Han; Jiang, Wei-Mei; Comes, Hans Peter; Hu, Feng Sheng; Qiu, Ying-Xiong; Fu, Cheng-Xin

    2015-04-01

    Warm-temperate evergreen (WTE) forest represents the typical vegetation type of subtropical China, but how its component species responded to past environmental change remains largely unknown. Here, we reconstruct the evolutionary history of Tetrastigma hemsleyanum, an herbaceous climber restricted to the WTE forest. Twenty populations were genotyped using chloroplast DNA sequences and nuclear microsatellite loci to assess population structure and diversity, supplemented by phylogenetic dating, ancestral area reconstructions and ecological niche modeling (ENM) of the species distributions during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and at present. Lineages in Southwest vs Central-South-East China diverged through climate/tectonic-induced vicariance of an ancestral southern range during the early Pliocene. Long-term stability in the Southwest contrasts with latitudinal range shifts in the Central-South-East region during the early-to-mid-Pleistocene. Genetic and ENM data strongly suggest refugial persistence in situ at the LGM. Pre-Quaternary environmental changes appear to have had a persistent influence on the population genetic structure of this subtropical WTE forest species. Our findings suggest relative demographic stability of this biome in China over the last glacial-interglacial cycle, in contrast with palaeobiome reconstructions showing that this forest biome retreated to areas of today's tropical South China during the LGM. PMID:25639152

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

    PubMed Central

    Fort, Florian; Jouany, Claire; Cruz, Pablo

    2015-01-01

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

  12. Predicting the distribution and ecological niche of unexploited snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) populations in Alaskan waters: a first open-access ensemble model.

    PubMed

    Hardy, Sarah M; Lindgren, Michael; Konakanchi, Hanumantharao; Huettmann, Falk

    2011-10-01

    Populations of the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) are widely distributed on high-latitude continental shelves of the North Pacific and North Atlantic, and represent a valuable resource in both the United States and Canada. In US waters, snow crabs are found throughout the Arctic and sub-Arctic seas surrounding Alaska, north of the Aleutian Islands, yet commercial harvest currently focuses on the more southerly population in the Bering Sea. Population dynamics are well-monitored in exploited areas, but few data exist for populations further north where climate trends in the Arctic appear to be affecting species' distributions and community structure on multiple trophic levels. Moreover, increased shipping traffic, as well as fisheries and petroleum resource development, may add additional pressures in northern portions of the range as seasonal ice cover continues to decline. In the face of these pressures, we examined the ecological niche and population distribution of snow crabs in Alaskan waters using a GIS-based spatial modeling approach. We present the first quantitative open-access model predictions of snow-crab distribution, abundance, and biomass in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas. Multi-variate analysis of environmental drivers of species' distribution and community structure commonly rely on multiple linear regression methods. The spatial modeling approach employed here improves upon linear regression methods in allowing for exploration of nonlinear relationships and interactions between variables. Three machine-learning algorithms were used to evaluate relationships between snow-crab distribution and environmental parameters, including TreeNet, Random Forests, and MARS. An ensemble model was then generated by combining output from these three models to generate consensus predictions for presence-absence, abundance, and biomass of snow crabs. Each algorithm identified a suite of variables most important in predicting snow-crab distribution, including

  13. Ecological niche structure and rangewide abundance patterns of species

    PubMed Central

    Martínez-Meyer, Enrique; Díaz-Porras, Daniel; Peterson, A. Townsend; Yáñez-Arenas, Carlos

    2013-01-01

    Spatial abundance patterns across species' ranges have attracted intense attention in macroecology and biogeography. One key hypothesis has been that abundance declines with geographical distance from the range centre, but tests of this idea have shown that the effect may occur indeed only in a minority of cases. We explore an alternative hypothesis: that species' abundances decline with distance from the centroid of the species' habitable conditions in environmental space (the ecological niche). We demonstrate consistent negative abundance–ecological distance relationships across all 11 species analysed (turtles to wolves), and that relationships in environmental space are consistently stronger than relationships in geographical space. PMID:23134784

  14. Profound Climatic Effects on Two East Asian Black-Throated Tits (Ave: Aegithalidae), Revealed by Ecological Niche Models and Phylogeographic Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Wang, Wenjuan; Lin, Congtian; Gao, Bin; Yang, Xiaojun; Zhang, Zhengwang; Lei, Fumin

    2011-01-01

    Although a number of studies have assessed the effects of geological and climatic changes on species distributions in East Asian, we still have limited knowledge of how these changes have impacted avian species in south-western and southern China. Here, we aim to study paleo-climatic effects on an East Asian bird, two subspecies of black-throated tit (A. c. talifuensis–concinnus) with the combined analysis of phylogeography and Ecological Niche Models (ENMs). We sequenced three mitochondrial DNA markers from 32 populations (203 individuals) and used phylogenetic inferences to reconstruct the intra-specific relationships among haplotypes. Population genetic analyses were undertaken to gain insight into the demographic history of these populations. We used ENMs to predict the distribution of target species during three periods; last inter-glacial (LIG), last glacial maximum (LGM) and present. We found three highly supported, monophyletic MtDNA lineages and different historical demography among lineages in A. c. talifuensis–concinnus. These lineages formed a narrowly circumscribed intra-specific contact zone. The estimated times of lineage divergences were about 2.4 Ma and 0.32 Ma respectively. ENMs predictions were similar between present and LGM but substantially reduced during LIG. ENMs reconstructions and molecular dating suggest that Pleistocene climate changes had triggered and shaped the genetic structure of black-throated tit. Interestingly, in contrast to profound impacts of other glacial cycles, ENMs and phylogeographic analysis suggest that LGM had limited effect on these two subspecies. ENMs also suggest that Pleistocene climatic oscillations enabled the formation of the contact zone and thus support the refuge theory. PMID:22195047

  15. Microbial mats: an ecological niche for fungi

    PubMed Central

    Cantrell, Sharon A.; Duval-Pérez, Lisabeth

    2013-01-01

    Fungi were documented in tropical hypersaline microbial mats and their role in the degradation of complex carbohydrates (exopolymeric substance – EPS) was explored. Fungal diversity is higher during the wet season with Acremonium, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillium among the more common genera. Diversity is also higher in the oxic layer and in young and transient mats. Enrichments with xanthan (a model EPS) show that without antibiotics (full community) degradation is faster than enrichments with antibacterial (fungal community) and antifungal (bacterial community) agents, suggesting that degradation is performed by a consortium of organisms (bacteria and fungi). The combined evidence from all experiments indicates that bacteria carried out approximately two-third of the xanthan degradation. The pattern of degradation is similar between seasons and layers but degradation is faster in enrichments from the wet season. The research suggests that fungi thrive in these hypersaline consortia and may participate in the carbon cycle through the degradation of complex carbohydrates. PMID:23577004

  16. Population genetics and ecological niche of invasive Aedes albopictus in Mexico.

    PubMed

    Pech-May, Angélica; Moo-Llanes, David A; Puerto-Avila, María Belem; Casas, Mauricio; Danis-Lozano, Rogelio; Ponce, Gustavo; Tun-Ku, Ezequiel; Pinto-Castillo, José Francisco; Villegas, Alejandro; Ibáñez-Piñon, Clemente R; González, Cassandra; Ramsey, Janine M

    2016-05-01

    The Asian tiger mosquito Aedes albopictus (Skuse), is one of the most invasive mosquito species worldwide. In Mexico it is now recorded in 12 states and represents a serious public health problem, given the recent introduction of Chikungunya on the southern border. The aim of this study was to analyze the population genetics of A. albopictus from all major recorded foci, and model its ecological niche. Niche similarity with that from its autochthonous distribution in Asia and other invaded countries were analyzed and its potential future expansion and potential human exposure in climate change scenarios measured. We analyzed 125 sequences of a 317 bp fragment of the cyt b gene from seven A. albopictus populations across Mexico. The samples belong to 25 haplotypes with moderate population structuring (Fst=0.081, p<0.02) and population expansion. The most prevalent haplotype, found in all principal sites, was shared with the USA, Brazil, France, Madagascar, and Reunion Island. The ecological niche model using Mexican occurrence records covers 79.7% of the country, and has an 83% overlap with the Asian niche projected to Mexico. Both Neotropical and Nearctic regions are included in the Mexican niche model. Currently in Mexico, 38.6 million inhabitants are exposed to A. albopictus, which is expected to increase to 45.6 million by 2070. Genetic evidence supports collection information that A. albopictus was introduced to Mexico principally by land from the USA and Central and South America. Prevalent haplotypes from Mexico are shared with most invasive regions across the world, just as there was high niche similarity with both natural and invaded regions. The important overlap with the Asian niche model suggests a high potential for the species to disperse to sylvatic regions in Mexico. PMID:26814619

  17. Ecological Niche Modeling and Land Cover Risk Areas for Rift Valley Fever Vector, Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles in Jazan, Saudi Arabia

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Background The mosquito, Culex tritaeniorhynchus Giles is a prevalent and confirmed Rift Valley Fever virus (RVFV) vector. This vector, in association with Aedimorphus arabiensis (Patton), was responsible for causing the outbreak of 2000 in Jazan Province, Saudi Arabia. Methodology/Principal Findings Larval occurrence records and a total of 19 bioclimatic and three topographic layers imported from Worldclim Database were used to predict the larval suitable breeding habitats for this vector in Jazan Province using ArcGIS ver.10 and MaxEnt modeling program. Also, a supervised land cover classification from SPOT5 imagery was developed to assess the land cover distribution within the suitable predicted habitats. Eleven bioclimatic and slope attributes were found to be the significant predictors for this larval suitable breeding habitat. Precipitation and temperature were strong predictors of mosquito distribution. Among six land cover classes, the linear regression model (LM) indicated wet muddy substrate is significantly associated with high-very high suitable predicted habitats (R2 = 73.7%, P<0.05). Also, LM indicated that total dissolved salts (TDS) was a significant contributor (R2 = 23.9%, P<0.01) in determining mosquito larval abundance. Conclusion/Significance This model is a first step in understanding the spatial distribution of Cx. tritaeniorhynchus and consequently the risk of RVFV in Saudi Arabia and to assist in planning effective mosquito surveillance and control programs by public health personnel and researchers. PMID:23762424

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

    PubMed Central

    An, Miao; Zeng, Liyan; Zhang, Ticao; Zhong, Yang

    2015-01-01

    Thlaspi arvense is a well-known annual farmland weed with worldwide distribution, which can be found from sea level to above 4000 m high on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). In this paper, a phylogeographic history of T. arvense including 19 populations from China was inferred by using three chloroplast (cp) DNA segments (trnL-trnF, rpl32-trnL and rps16) and one nuclear (n) DNA segment (Fe-regulated transporter-like protein, ZIP). A total of 11 chloroplast haplotypes and six nuclear alleles were identified, and haplotypes unique to the QTP were recognized (C4, C5, C7 and N4). On the basis of molecular dating, haplotypes C4, C5 and C7 have separated from others around 1.58 Ma for cpDNA, which corresponds to the QTP uplift. In addition, this article suggests that the T. arvense populations in China are a mixture of diverged subpopulations as inferred by hT/vT test (hT ≤ vT, cpDNA) and positive Tajima’s D values (1.87, 0.05 < p < 0.10 for cpDNA and 3.37, p < 0.01 for nDNA). Multimodality mismatch distribution curves and a relatively large shared area of suitable environmental conditions between the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) as well as the present time recognized by MaxEnt software reject the sudden expansion population model. PMID:26110380

  19. Ecological niches in sequential generations of eastern North American monarch butterflies (Lepidoptera: Danaidae): the ecology of migration and likely climate change implications.

    PubMed

    Batalden, Rebecca V; Oberhauser, Karen; Peterson, A Townsend

    2007-12-01

    Eastern North American monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus L.) show a series of range shifts during their breeding season. Using ecological niche modeling, we studied the environmental context of these shifts by identifying the ecological conditions that monarchs use in successive summer months. Monarchs use a consistent ecological regimen through the summer, but these conditions contrast strikingly with those used during the winter. Hence, monarchs exhibit niche-following among sequential breeding generations but niche-switching between the breeding and overwintering stages of their annual cycle. We projected their breeding ecological niche onto monthly future climate scenarios, which indicated northward shifts, particularly at the northern extreme of their summer movements, over the next 50 yrs; if both monarchs and their milkweed host plants cannot track these changing climates, monarchs could lose distributional area during critical breeding months. PMID:18284764

  20. Marble Algorithm: a solution to estimating ecological niches from presence-only records

    PubMed Central

    Qiao, Huijie; Lin, Congtian; Jiang, Zhigang; Ji, Liqiang

    2015-01-01

    We describe an algorithm that helps to predict potential distributional areas for species using presence-only records. The Marble Algorithm is a density-based clustering program based on Hutchinson’s concept of ecological niches as multidimensional hypervolumes in environmental space. The algorithm characterizes this niche space using the density-based spatial clustering of applications with noise (DBSCAN) algorithm. When MA is provided with a set of occurrence points in environmental space, the algorithm determines two parameters that allow the points to be grouped into several clusters. These clusters are used as reference sets describing the ecological niche, which can then be mapped onto geographic space and used as the potential distribution of the species. We used both virtual species and ten empirical datasets to compare MA with other distribution-modeling tools, including Bioclimate Analysis and Prediction System, Environmental Niche Factor Analysis, the Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Production, Maximum Entropy Modeling, Artificial Neural Networks, Climate Space Models, Classification Tree Analysis, Generalised Additive Models, Generalised Boosted Models, Generalised Linear Models, Multivariate Adaptive Regression Splines and Random Forests. Results indicate that MA predicts potential distributional areas with high accuracy, moderate robustness, and above-average transferability on all datasets, particularly when dealing with small numbers of occurrences. PMID:26387771

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

    PubMed

    Paknia, Omid; Schierwater, Bernd

    2015-01-01

    The enigmatic placozoans, which hold a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life, have attracted substantial attention in many areas of biological and biomedical research. While placozoans have become an emerging model system, their ecology and particularly biogeography remain widely unknown. In this study, we use modelling approaches to explore habitat preferences, and distribution pattern of the placozoans phylum. We provide hypotheses for discrete ecological niche separation between genetic placozoan lineages, which may also help to understand biogeography patterns in other small marine invertebrates. We, here, used maximum entropy modelling to predict placozoan distribution using 20 environmental grids of 9.2 km2 resolution. In addition, we used recently developed metrics of niche overlap to compare habitat suitability models of three genetic clades. The predicted distributions range from 55°N to 44°S and are restricted to regions of intermediate to warm sea surface temperatures. High concentrations of salinity and low nutrient concentrations appear as secondary factors. Tests of niche equivalency reveal the largest differences between placozoan clades I and III. Interestingly, the genetically well-separated clades I and V appear to be ecologically very similar. Our habitat suitability models predict a wider latitudinal distribution for placozoans, than currently described, especially in the northern hemisphere. With respect to biogeography modelling, placozoans show patterns somewhere between higher metazoan taxa and marine microorganisms, with the first group usually showing complex biogeographies and the second usually showing "no biogeography." PMID:26580806

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

    PubMed Central

    Paknia, Omid; Schierwater, Bernd

    2015-01-01

    The enigmatic placozoans, which hold a key position in the metazoan Tree of Life, have attracted substantial attention in many areas of biological and biomedical research. While placozoans have become an emerging model system, their ecology and particularly biogeography remain widely unknown. In this study, we use modelling approaches to explore habitat preferences, and distribution pattern of the placozoans phylum. We provide hypotheses for discrete ecological niche separation between genetic placozoan lineages, which may also help to understand biogeography patterns in other small marine invertebrates. We, here, used maximum entropy modelling to predict placozoan distribution using 20 environmental grids of 9.2 km2 resolution. In addition, we used recently developed metrics of niche overlap to compare habitat suitability models of three genetic clades. The predicted distributions range from 55°N to 44°S and are restricted to regions of intermediate to warm sea surface temperatures. High concentrations of salinity and low nutrient concentrations appear as secondary factors. Tests of niche equivalency reveal the largest differences between placozoan clades I and III. Interestingly, the genetically well-separated clades I and V appear to be ecologically very similar. Our habitat suitability models predict a wider latitudinal distribution for placozoans, than currently described, especially in the northern hemisphere. With respect to biogeography modelling, placozoans show patterns somewhere between higher metazoan taxa and marine microorganisms, with the first group usually showing complex biogeographies and the second usually showing “no biogeography.” PMID:26580806

  3. Ecological niches of three teuthophageous odontocetes in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Praca, E.; Gannier, A.

    2008-02-01

    In the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, sperm whales, pilot whales and Risso's dolphins prey exclusively or preferentially on cephalopods. In order to evaluate their competition, we modelled their habitat suitability with the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) and compared their ecological niches using a discriminant analysis. We used a long term (1995-2005) small boat data set, with visual and acoustic (sperm whale) detections. Risso's dolphin had the shallowest and the more spatially restricted principal habitat, mainly located on the upper part of the continental slope (640 m mean depth). With a wider principal habitat, at 1750 m depth in average, the sperm whale used a deeper part of the slope as well as the closest offshore waters. Finally, the pilot whale has the most oceanic habitat (2500 m mean depth) mainly located in the central Ligurian Sea and Provençal basin. Therefore, potential competition for food between these species may be reduced by the differentiation of their habitats.

  4. Molecular data and ecological niche modeling reveal population dynamics of widespread shrub Forsythia suspensa (Oleaceae) in China’s warm-temperate zone in response to climate change during the Pleistocene

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Despite its high number of endemic deciduous broad-leaved species in China’s warm-temperate zone, far less attention has been paid to phylogeographic studies in this region. In this work, the phylogeographic history of Forsythia suspensa endemic to China’s warm-temperate zone was investigated to explore the effect of climate change during the Pleistocene on the distribution of this deciduous broad-leaved species in China. Results The cpDNA data revealed seven phylogeographical groups corresponding to geographical regions. By contrast, the nrDNA data supported the samples clustered into three groups, which was inconsistent with separate geographical regions supported by cpDNA data. Ecological niche modeling showed that the climatically suitable area during the cold period was larger than that during the warm period. Conclusions Both molecular data and ecological niche modeling indicated that F. suspensa expanded to nearby low-elevation plains in the glacial periods, and retreated to mountaintops during interglacial warmer stages. This study thus supported that F. suspensa persisted in situ during the glacial of the Pleistocene with enlarged distribution area, contrary to the hypothesis of long distance southward migration or large-scale range contraction. PMID:24885704

  5. Ecology of Enterococcus faecalis and niche adapted or non-niche-adapted Enterococcus faecium in continuous-flow anaerobic cultures

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Objectives: To study the survivability of niche adapted Enterococcus faecium I.3rif (I.3rif) vs. non-niche adapted Enterococcus faecium (GRE47) in cultures that contain Enterococcus faecalis I.2. Methods: An anaerobic continuous-flow culture of chicken microflora (CCF) that models the chicken gastr...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2013-04-01

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

  7. Bringing the Hutchinsonian niche into the 21st century: Ecological and evolutionary perspectives

    PubMed Central

    Holt, Robert D.

    2009-01-01

    G. Evelyn Hutchinson more than a half century ago proposed that one could characterize the ecological niche of a species as an abstract mapping of population dynamics onto an environmental space, the axes of which are abiotic and biotic factors that influence birth and death rates. If a habitat has conditions within a species' niche, a population should persist without immigration from external sources, whereas if conditions are outside the niche, it faces extinction. Analyses of species' niches are essential to understanding controls on species' geographical range limits and how these limits might shift in our rapidly changing world. Recent developments in ecology and evolutionary biology suggest it is time to revisit and refine Hutchinson's niche concept. After reviewing techniques for quantifying niches, I examine subtleties that arise because of impacts species have on their own environments, the density-dependent modulation of how individuals experience environments, and the interplay of dispersal and temporal heterogeneity in determining population persistence. Moreover, the evolutionary record over all time scales reveals a spectrum of rates of change in species' niches, from rapid niche evolution to profound niche conservatism. Substantial challenges revolving around the evolutionary dimension of the Hutchinsonian niche include quantifying the magnitude of evolved intraspecific and clade-level variation in niches and understanding the factors that govern where along the spectrum of potential evolutionary rates any given lineage lies. A growing body of theory provides elements of a conceptual framework for understanding niche conservatism and evolution, paving the way for an evolutionary theory of the niche. PMID:19903876

  8. Bringing the Hutchinsonian niche into the 21st century: ecological and evolutionary perspectives.

    PubMed

    Holt, Robert D

    2009-11-17

    G. Evelyn Hutchinson more than a half century ago proposed that one could characterize the ecological niche of a species as an abstract mapping of population dynamics onto an environmental space, the axes of which are abiotic and biotic factors that influence birth and death rates. If a habitat has conditions within a species' niche, a population should persist without immigration from external sources, whereas if conditions are outside the niche, it faces extinction. Analyses of species' niches are essential to understanding controls on species' geographical range limits and how these limits might shift in our rapidly changing world. Recent developments in ecology and evolutionary biology suggest it is time to revisit and refine Hutchinson's niche concept. After reviewing techniques for quantifying niches, I examine subtleties that arise because of impacts species have on their own environments, the density-dependent modulation of how individuals experience environments, and the interplay of dispersal and temporal heterogeneity in determining population persistence. Moreover, the evolutionary record over all time scales reveals a spectrum of rates of change in species' niches, from rapid niche evolution to profound niche conservatism. Substantial challenges revolving around the evolutionary dimension of the Hutchinsonian niche include quantifying the magnitude of evolved intraspecific and clade-level variation in niches and understanding the factors that govern where along the spectrum of potential evolutionary rates any given lineage lies. A growing body of theory provides elements of a conceptual framework for understanding niche conservatism and evolution, paving the way for an evolutionary theory of the niche. PMID:19903876

  9. Biodiversity patterns from an individual-based competition model on niche and physical spaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fort, H.; Inchausti, P.

    2012-02-01

    We formulate a microscopic (individual-based and spatially explicit) ecological model to assess whether key patterns of community structure, species-packing and the spatial distribution of species are robust to relaxing the mean-field approximation made in classical ecological models. In this model of community dynamics species compete both locally in physical space and along a niche axis and it includes just two free parameters, σ, controlling the extent of competition in niche space, and t, the simulation time. This minimalistic model (1) reproduces with considerable accuracy the dynamic sequence of relative species abundances, biodiversity indices and species-area relationships that are empirically found in censuses of trees in a well-studied tropical forest; (2) shows that the clumpy pattern of niches leading to long-lasting species coexistence obtained by classical competition models is robust to relaxing the mean-field assumption. Nevertheless species that are clumped in niche space are simultaneously spatially segregated.

  10. Cryptococcus neoformans Mates on Pigeon Guano: Implications for the Realized Ecological Niche and Globalization▿

    PubMed Central

    Nielsen, Kirsten; De Obaldia, Anna L.; Heitman, Joseph

    2007-01-01

    The ecological niche that a species can occupy is determined by its resource requirements and the physical conditions necessary for survival. The niche to which an organism is most highly adapted is the realized niche, whereas the complete range of habitats that an organism can occupy represents the fundamental niche. The growth and development of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii on pigeon guano were examined to determine whether these two species occupy the same or different ecological niches. C. neoformans is a cosmopolitan pathogenic yeast that infects predominantly immunocompromised individuals, exists in two varieties (grubii [serotype A] and neoformans [serotype D]), and is commonly isolated from pigeon guano worldwide. By contrast, C. gattii often infects immunocompetent individuals and is associated with geographically restricted environments, most notably, eucalyptus trees. Pigeon guano supported the growth of both species, and a brown pigment related to melanin, a key virulence factor, was produced. C. neoformans exhibited prolific mating on pigeon guano, whereas C. gattii did not. The observations that C. neoformans completes the life cycle on pigeon guano but that C. gattii does not indicates that pigeon guano could represent the realized ecological niche for C. neoformans. Because C. gattii grows on pigeon guano but cannot sexually reproduce, pigeon guano represents a fundamental but not a realized niche for C. gattii. Based on these studies, we hypothesize that an ancestral Cryptococcus strain gained the ability to sexually reproduce in pigeon guano and then swept the globe. PMID:17449657

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Tunas are highly specialized predators that have evolved numerous adaptations for a lifestyle that requires large amounts of energy consumption. Here we review our understanding of the bioenergetics and feeding dynamics of tunas on a global scale, with an emphasis on yellowfin, bigeye, skipjack, albacore, and Atlantic bluefin tunas. Food consumption balances bioenergetics expenditures for respiration, growth (including gonad production), specific dynamic action, egestion, and excretion. Tunas feed across the micronekton and some large zooplankton. Some tunas appear to time their life history to take advantage of ephemeral aggregations of crustacean, fish, and molluscan prey. Ontogenetic and spatial diet differences are substantial, and significant interdecadal changes in prey composition have been observed. Diet shifts from larger to smaller prey taxa highlight ecosystem-wide changes in prey availability and diversity and provide implications for changing bioenergetics requirements into the future. Where tunas overlap, we show evidence of niche separation between them; resources are divided largely by differences in diet percentages and size ranges of prey taxa. The lack of long-term data limits the ability to predict impacts of climate change on tuna feeding behaviour. We note the need for systematic collection of feeding data as part of routine monitoring of these species, and we highlight the advantages of using biochemical techniques for broad-scale analyses of trophic relations. We support the continued development of ecosystem models, which all too often lack the regional-specific trophic data needed to adequately investigate climate and fishing impacts. PMID:27573052

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

    2016-06-01

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

  13. Ecological opportunities and intraspecific competition alter trophic niche specialization in an opportunistic stream predator.

    PubMed

    Evangelista, Charlotte; Boiche, Anatole; Lecerf, Antoine; Cucherousset, Julien

    2014-09-01

    Many generalist populations are composed of specialized individuals that use a narrow part of the population's niche. Ecological theories predict that individual specialization and population trophic niche are determined by biotic interactions and resource diversity emerging from environmental variations (i.e. ecological opportunities). However, due to the paucity of empirical and experimental demonstrations, the genuine importance of each of these drivers in determining trophic niche attributes is not fully appreciated. The present study aimed at determining the population level and individual responses of brown trout (Salmo trutta) to variations in ecological opportunities (terrestrial prey inputs) and autochthonous prey communities among 10 stream reaches along a riparian condition gradient using individual longitudinal monitoring and stable isotope analyses. Our results suggested that trophic niche diversity varied along the environmental gradient, while individual trophic specialization was indirectly driven by ecological opportunities through strengthened intraspecific competition. Individual diet was repeatable over the study period, and the growth rate of juvenile brown trout increased with their specialization for aquatic predatory invertebrates. Our findings highlight the dual influences of intraspecific competition and ecological opportunities on individual trophic specialization and population trophic niche. PMID:24499451

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

    PubMed Central

    Neerinckx, Simon B; Peterson, Andrew T; Gulinck, Hubert; Deckers, Jozef; Leirs, Herwig

    2008-01-01

    Background Plague is a rapidly progressing, serious illness in humans that is likely to be fatal if not treated. It remains a public health threat, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. In spite of plague's highly focal nature, a thorough ecological understanding of the general distribution pattern of plague across sub-Saharan Africa has not been established to date. In this study, we used human plague data from sub-Saharan Africa for 1970–2007 in an ecological niche modeling framework to explore the potential geographic distribution of plague and its ecological requirements across Africa. Results We predict a broad potential distributional area of plague occurrences across sub-Saharan Africa. General tests of model's transferability suggest that our model can anticipate the potential distribution of plague occurrences in Madagascar and northern Africa. However, generality and predictive ability tests using regional subsets of occurrence points demonstrate the models to be unable to predict independent occurrence points outside the training region accurately. Visualizations show plague to occur in diverse landscapes under wide ranges of environmental conditions. Conclusion We conclude that the typical focality of plague, observed in sub-Saharan Africa, is not related to fragmented and insular environmental conditions manifested at a coarse continental scale. However, our approach provides a foundation for testing hypotheses concerning focal distribution areas of plague and their links with historical and environmental factors. PMID:18947399

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

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

  16. Genotypic and phenotypic characterization of Lactobacillus casei strains isolated from different ecological niches suggests frequent recombination and niche specificity.

    PubMed

    Cai, Hui; Rodríguez, Beatriz T; Zhang, Wei; Broadbent, Jeff R; Steele, James L

    2007-08-01

    Lactobacillus casei strains are lactic acid bacteria (LAB) that colonize diverse ecological niches, and have broad commercial applications. To probe their evolution and phylogeny, 40 L. casei strains were characterized; the strains included isolates from plant materials (n=9), human gastrointestinal tracts (n=7), human blood (n=1), cheeses from different geographical locations (n=22), and one strain of unknown origin. API biochemical testing identified niche-specific carbohydrate fermentation profiles. A multilocus sequence typing (MLST) scheme was developed for L. casei. Partial sequencing of six housekeeping genes (ftsZ, metRS, mutL, nrdD, pgm and polA) revealed between 11 (nrdD) and 20 (mutL) allelic types, as well as 36 sequence types. Phylogenetic analysis of MLST data by Reticulate and split decomposition analysis indicated frequent intra-species recombination. Purifying selection was detected, and is likely to have contributed to the evolution of certain L. casei genes. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) using SfiI was able to discriminate all the isolates, even those not differentiated by MLST. Phylogenetic trees reconstructed based on the MLST data using minimum evolution algorithm, and the SfiI-PFGE restriction patterns using the unweighted-pair group method with arithmetic mean (UPGMA), revealed consensus clusters of strains specific to cheese and silage. Topological discrepancies between the MLST and PFGE trees were also observed, suggesting that intragenic point mutations have accumulated at a slower rate than indels and genome rearrangements in L. casei. The L. casei population analysed in this study demonstrated both a high level of phenotypic and genotypic diversity, as well as specificity to different ecological niches. PMID:17660430

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

    PubMed

    Macho, Gabriele A

    2014-01-01

    Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%-80% of their tissues' δ(13)C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei's food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%-42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate) on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2-4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR) common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins), explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species' derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation. PMID:24416315

  18. Baboon Feeding Ecology Informs the Dietary Niche of Paranthropus boisei

    PubMed Central

    Macho, Gabriele A.

    2014-01-01

    Hominins are generally considered eclectic omnivores like baboons, but recent isotope studies call into question the generalist status of some hominins. Paranthropus boisei and Australopithecus bahrelghazali derived 75%–80% of their tissues’ δ13C from C4 sources, i.e. mainly low-quality foods like grasses and sedges. Here I consider the energetics of P. boisei and the nutritional value of C4 foods, taking into account scaling issues between the volume of food consumed and body mass, and P. boisei’s food preference as inferred from dento-cranial morphology. Underlying the models are empirical data for Papio cynocephalus dietary ecology. Paranthropus boisei only needed to spend some 37%–42% of its daily feeding time (conservative estimate) on C4 sources to meet 80% of its daily requirements of calories, and all its requirements for protein. The energetic requirements of 2–4 times the basal metabolic rate (BMR) common to mammals could therefore have been met within a 6-hour feeding/foraging day. The findings highlight the high nutritional yield of many C4 foods eaten by baboons (and presumably hominins), explain the evolutionary success of P. boisei, and indicate that P. boisei was probably a generalist like other hominins. The diet proposed is consistent with the species’ derived morphology and unique microwear textures. Finally, the results highlight the importance of baboon/hominin hand in food acquisition and preparation. PMID:24416315

  19. A strong ‘filter’ effect of the East China Sea land bridge for East Asia’s temperate plant species: inferences from molecular phylogeography and ecological niche modelling of Platycrater arguta (Hydrangeaceae)

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background In East Asia, an increasing number of studies on temperate forest tree species find evidence for migration and gene exchange across the East China Sea (ECS) land bridge up until the last glacial maximum (LGM). However, it is less clear when and how lineages diverged in this region, whether in full isolation or in the face of post-divergence gene flow. Here, we investigate the effects of Quaternary changes in climate and sea level on the evolutionary and demographic history of Platycrater arguta, a rare temperate understorey shrub with disjunct distributions in East China (var. sinensis) and South Japan (var. arguta). Molecular data were obtained from 14 P. arguta populations to infer current patterns of molecular structure and diversity in relation to past (Last Interglacial and Last Glacial Maximum) and present distributions based on ecological niche modelling (ENM). A coalescent-based isolation-with-migration (IM) model was used to estimate lineage divergence times and population demographic parameters. Results Combining information from nuclear/chloroplast sequence data with nuclear microsatellites, our IM analyses identify the two varieties as genetically distinct units that evolved in strict allopatry since the mid-Pleistocene, c. 0.89 (0.51–1.2) Ma. Together with Bayesian Skyeline Plots, our data further suggest that both lineages experienced post-divergence demographic growth, followed by refugial isolation, divergence, and in the case of var. arguta post-glacial admixture. However, past species distribution modelling indicates that the species’ overall distribution has not greatly changed over the last glacial cycles. Conclusions Our findings highlight the important influence of ancient sea-level changes on the diversification of East Asia’s temperate flora. Implicitly, they challenge the notion of general temperate forest expansion across the ECS land bridge, demonstrating instead its ‘filter’ effect owing to an unsuitable environment

  20. Respiration and ecological niche influence bacterial membrane lipid compositions.

    PubMed

    Bay, Denice C; Booth, Sean C; Turner, Raymond J

    2015-05-01

    Bacterial membrane compositions vary widely between phyla and within related species. The types of lipids within membranes are as diverse as the selective pressures that influence bacterial lifestyles such as their mode of respiration and habitat. This study has examined the extent that respiration and habitat affect bacterial fatty acid (FA) and polar lipid (PL) compositions. To accomplish this, over 300 FA and PL profiles from 380 previously characterized species were assembled and subjected to multivariate statistical analyses in order to determine lipid to habitat/respiration associations. It was revealed that PL profiles showed a slight advantage over FA profiles for discriminating taxonomic relationships between species. FA profiles showed greater correlation with respiration and habitat than PL. This study identified that respiration did not consistently favour uniform FA or PL changes when lipid profiles were compared between examined phyla. This suggests that although phyla may adopt similar respiration methods, it does not result in consistent lipid attributes within one respiration state. Examination of FA and PL compositions were useful to identify taxonomic relationships between related species and provides insight into lipid variations influenced by the niche of its host. PMID:25297716

  1. Evaluating correlative and mechanistic niche models for assessing the risk of pest establishment

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Ecological niche modeling was used to assess the risk of establishment of western cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), in sweet cherry, Prunus avium (L.) L., in the commercial cherry-growing areas of California. We integrated species occurrence records and spatial...

  2. Quaternary range and demographic expansion of Liolaemus darwinii (Squamata: Liolaemidae) in the Monte Desert of Central Argentina using Bayesian phylogeography and ecological niche modelling.

    PubMed

    Camargo, Arley; Werneck, Fernanda P; Morando, Mariana; Sites, Jack W; Avila, Luciano J

    2013-08-01

    Until recently, most phylogeographic approaches have been unable to distinguish between demographic and range expansion processes, making it difficult to test for the possibility of range expansion without population growth and vice versa. In this study, we applied a Bayesian phylogeographic approach to reconstruct both demographic and range expansion in the lizard Liolaemus darwinii of the Monte Desert in Central Argentina, during the Late Quaternary. Based on analysis of 14 anonymous nuclear loci and the cytochrome b mitochondrial DNA gene, we detected signals of demographic expansion starting at ~55 ka based on Bayesian Skyline and Skyride Plots. In contrast, Bayesian relaxed models of spatial diffusion suggested that range expansion occurred only between ~95 and 55 ka, and more recently, diffusion rates were very low during demographic expansion. The possibility of population growth without substantial range expansion could account for the shared patterns of demographic expansion during the Last Glacial Maxima (OIS 2 and 4) in fish, small mammals and other lizards of the Monte Desert. We found substantial variation in diffusion rates over time, and very high rates during the range expansion phase, consistent with a rapidly advancing expansion front towards the southeast shown by palaeo-distribution models. Furthermore, the estimated diffusion rates are congruent with observed dispersal rates of lizards in field conditions and therefore provide additional confidence to the temporal scale of inferred phylogeographic patterns. Our study highlights how the integration of phylogeography with palaeo-distribution models can shed light on both demographic and range expansion processes and their potential causes. PMID:23786355

  3. The evolutionary convergence of avian lifestyles and their constrained coevolution with species' ecological niche.

    PubMed

    Laiolo, Paola; Seoane, Javier; Illera, Juan Carlos; Bastianelli, Giulia; Carrascal, Luis María; Obeso, José Ramón

    2015-12-22

    The fit between life histories and ecological niche is a paradigm of phenotypic evolution, also widely used to explain patterns of species co-occurrence. By analysing the lifestyles of a sympatric avian assemblage, we show that species' solutions to environmental problems are not unbound. We identify a life-history continuum structured on the cost of reproduction along a temperature gradient, as well as habitat-driven parental behaviour. However, environmental fit and trait convergence are limited by niche filling and by within-species variability of niche traits, which is greater than variability of life histories. Phylogeny, allometry and trade-offs are other important constraints: lifetime reproductive investment is tightly bound to body size, and the optimal allocation to reproduction for a given size is not established by niche characteristics but by trade-offs with survival. Life histories thus keep pace with habitat and climate, but under the limitations imposed by metabolism, trade-offs among traits and species' realized niche. PMID:26674945

  4. Multi-omics analysis of niche specificity provides new insights into ecological adaptation in bacteria.

    PubMed

    Zhu, Bo; Ibrahim, Muhammad; Cui, Zhouqi; Xie, Guanlin; Jin, Gulei; Kube, Michael; Li, Bin; Zhou, Xueping

    2016-08-01

    Different lifestyles, ranging from a saprophyte to a pathogen, have been reported in bacteria of one species. Here, we performed genome-wide survey of the ecological adaptation in four Burkholderia seminalis strains, distinguished by their origin as part of the saprophytic microbial community of soil or water but also including human and plant pathogens. The results indicated that each strain is separated from the others by increased fitness in medium simulating its original niche corresponding to the difference between strains in metabolic capacities. Furthermore, strain-specific metabolism and niche survival was generally linked with genomic variants and niche-dependent differential expression of the corresponding genes. In particular, the importance of iron, trehalose and d-arabitol utilization was highlighted by the involvement of DNA-methylation and horizontal gene transfer in niche-adapted regulation of the corresponding operons based on the integrated analysis of our multi-omics data. Overall, our results provided insights of niche-specific adaptation in bacteria. PMID:26859773

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-05-01

    Climatic niche conservatism shapes patterns of diversity in many taxonomic groups, while ecological opportunity (EO) can trigger rapid speciation that is less constrained by the amount of time a lineage has occupied a given habitat. These two processes are well studied, but limited research has considered their joint and relative roles in shaping diversity patterns. We characterized climatic and biogeographic variables for 102 species of arvicoline rodents (Arvicolinae, Cricetidae), testing the effects of climatic niche conservatism and EO on arvicoline diversification as lineages transitioned between biogeographic regions. We found that the amount of time a lineage has occupied a precipitation niche is positively correlated with diversity along a precipitation gradient, suggesting climatic niche conservatism. In contrast, shift in diversification rate explained diversity patterns along a temperature gradient. Our results suggest that an indirect relationship exists between temperature and diversification that is associated with EO as arvicoline rodents colonized warm Palearctic environments. Climatic niche conservatism alone did not fully explain diversity patterns under density-dependence, highlighting the additional importance of EO-related processes in promoting the explosive radiation in arvicoline rodents and shaping diversity pattern among biogeographic regions and along climatic gradients. PMID:27061935

  6. GIS-based niche modeling for mapping species' habitats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rotenberry, J.T.; Preston, K.L.; Knick, S.

    2006-01-01

    Ecological a??niche modelinga?? using presence-only locality data and large-scale environmental variables provides a powerful tool for identifying and mapping suitable habitat for species over large spatial extents. We describe a niche modeling approach that identifies a minimum (rather than an optimum) set of basic habitat requirements for a species, based on the assumption that constant environmental relationships in a species' distribution (i.e., variables that maintain a consistent value where the species occurs) are most likely to be associated with limiting factors. Environmental variables that take on a wide range of values where a species occurs are less informative because they do not limit a species' distribution, at least over the range of variation sampled. This approach is operationalized by partitioning Mahalanobis D2 (standardized difference between values of a set of environmental variables for any point and mean values for those same variables calculated from all points at which a species was detected) into independent components. The smallest of these components represents the linear combination of variables with minimum variance; increasingly larger components represent larger variances and are increasingly less limiting. We illustrate this approach using the California Gnatcatcher (Polioptila californica Brewster) and provide SAS code to implement it.

  7. The different ecological niches of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli.

    PubMed

    Gonzales-Siles, Lucia; Sjöling, Åsa

    2016-03-01

    Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) is a water and food-borne pathogen that infects the small intestine of the human gut and causes diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli adheres to the epithelium by means of colonization factors and secretes two enterotoxins, the heat labile toxin and/or the heat stable toxin that both deregulate ion channels and cause secretory diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli as all E. coli, is a versatile organism able to survive and grow in different environments. During transmission and infection, ETEC is exposed to various environmental cues that have an impact on survivability and virulence. The ability to cope with exposure to different stressful habitats is probably shaping the pool of virulent ETEC strains that cause both endemic and epidemic infections. This review will focus on the ecology of ETEC in its different habitats and interactions with other organisms as well as abiotic factors. PMID:26522129

  8. The different ecological niches of enterotoxigenic E scherichia coli

    PubMed Central

    Gonzales‐Siles, Lucia

    2015-01-01

    Summary Enterotoxigenic E scherichia coli (ETEC) is a water and food‐borne pathogen that infects the small intestine of the human gut and causes diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli adheres to the epithelium by means of colonization factors and secretes two enterotoxins, the heat labile toxin and/or the heat stable toxin that both deregulate ion channels and cause secretory diarrhoea. Enterotoxigenic E. coli as all E. coli, is a versatile organism able to survive and grow in different environments. During transmission and infection, ETEC is exposed to various environmental cues that have an impact on survivability and virulence. The ability to cope with exposure to different stressful habitats is probably shaping the pool of virulent ETEC strains that cause both endemic and epidemic infections. This review will focus on the ecology of ETEC in its different habitats and interactions with other organisms as well as abiotic factors. PMID:26522129

  9. Anaerobic animals from an ancient, anoxic ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Tiny marine animals that complete their life cycle in the total absence of light and oxygen are reported by Roberto Danovaro and colleagues in this issue of BMC Biology. These fascinating animals are new members of the phylum Loricifera and possess mitochondria that in electron micrographs look very much like hydrogenosomes, the H2-producing mitochondria found among several unicellular eukaryotic lineages. The discovery of metazoan life in a permanently anoxic and sulphidic environment provides a glimpse of what a good part of Earth's past ecology might have been like in 'Canfield oceans', before the rise of deep marine oxygen levels and the appearance of the first large animals in the fossil record roughly 550-600 million years ago. The findings underscore the evolutionary significance of anaerobic deep sea environments and the anaerobic lifestyle among mitochondrion-bearing cells. They also testify that a fuller understanding of eukaryotic and metazoan evolution will come from the study of modern anoxic and hypoxic habitats. PMID:20370917

  10. Metabolic modelling reveals the specialization of secondary replicons for niche adaptation in Sinorhizobium meliloti.

    PubMed

    diCenzo, George C; Checcucci, Alice; Bazzicalupo, Marco; Mengoni, Alessio; Viti, Carlo; Dziewit, Lukasz; Finan, Turlough M; Galardini, Marco; Fondi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    The genome of about 10% of bacterial species is divided among two or more large chromosome-sized replicons. The contribution of each replicon to the microbial life cycle (for example, environmental adaptations and/or niche switching) remains unclear. Here we report a genome-scale metabolic model of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti that is integrated with carbon utilization data for 1,500 genes with 192 carbon substrates. Growth of S. meliloti is modelled in three ecological niches (bulk soil, rhizosphere and nodule) with a focus on the role of each of its three replicons. We observe clear metabolic differences during growth in the tested ecological niches and an overall reprogramming following niche switching. In silico examination of the inferred fitness of gene deletion mutants suggests that secondary replicons evolved to fulfil a specialized function, particularly host-associated niche adaptation. Thus, genes on secondary replicons might potentially be manipulated to promote or suppress host interactions for biotechnological purposes. PMID:27447951

  11. Metabolic modelling reveals the specialization of secondary replicons for niche adaptation in Sinorhizobium meliloti

    PubMed Central

    diCenzo, George C.; Checcucci, Alice; Bazzicalupo, Marco; Mengoni, Alessio; Viti, Carlo; Dziewit, Lukasz; Finan, Turlough M.; Galardini, Marco; Fondi, Marco

    2016-01-01

    The genome of about 10% of bacterial species is divided among two or more large chromosome-sized replicons. The contribution of each replicon to the microbial life cycle (for example, environmental adaptations and/or niche switching) remains unclear. Here we report a genome-scale metabolic model of the legume symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti that is integrated with carbon utilization data for 1,500 genes with 192 carbon substrates. Growth of S. meliloti is modelled in three ecological niches (bulk soil, rhizosphere and nodule) with a focus on the role of each of its three replicons. We observe clear metabolic differences during growth in the tested ecological niches and an overall reprogramming following niche switching. In silico examination of the inferred fitness of gene deletion mutants suggests that secondary replicons evolved to fulfil a specialized function, particularly host-associated niche adaptation. Thus, genes on secondary replicons might potentially be manipulated to promote or suppress host interactions for biotechnological purposes. PMID:27447951

  12. Consensus Forecasting of Species Distributions: The Effects of Niche Model Performance and Niche Properties

    PubMed Central

    Zhang, Lei; Liu, Shirong; Sun, Pengsen; Wang, Tongli; Wang, Guangyu; Zhang, Xudong; Wang, Linlin

    2015-01-01

    Ensemble forecasting is advocated as a way of reducing uncertainty in species distribution modeling (SDM). This is because it is expected to balance accuracy and robustness of SDM models. However, there are little available data regarding the spatial similarity of the combined distribution maps generated by different consensus approaches. Here, using eight niche-based models, nine split-sample calibration bouts (or nine random model-training subsets), and nine climate change scenarios, the distributions of 32 forest tree species in China were simulated under current and future climate conditions. The forecasting ensembles were combined to determine final consensual prediction maps for target species using three simple consensus approaches (average, frequency, and median [PCA]). Species’ geographic ranges changed (area change and shifting distance) in response to climate change, but the three consensual projections did not differ significantly with respect to how much or in which direction, but they did differ with respect to the spatial similarity of the three consensual predictions. Incongruent areas were observed primarily at the edges of species’ ranges. Multiple stepwise regression models showed the three factors (niche marginality and specialization, and niche model accuracy) to be related to the observed variations in consensual prediction maps among consensus approaches. Spatial correspondence among prediction maps was the highest when niche model accuracy was high and marginality and specialization were low. The difference in spatial predictions suggested that more attention should be paid to the range of spatial uncertainty before any decisions regarding specialist species can be made based on map outputs. The niche properties and single-model predictive performance provide promising insights that may further understanding of uncertainties in SDM. PMID:25786217

  13. Mutualistic Interactions Drive Ecological Niche Convergence in a Diverse Butterfly Community

    PubMed Central

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

    2008-01-01

    Ecological communities are structured in part by evolutionary interactions among their members. A number of recent studies incorporating phylogenetics into community ecology have upheld the paradigm that competition drives ecological divergence among species of the same guild. However, the role of other interspecific interactions, in particular positive interactions such as mutualism, remains poorly explored. We characterized the ecological niche and inferred phylogenetic relationships among members of a diverse community of neotropical Müllerian mimetic butterflies. Müllerian mimicry is one of the best studied examples of mutualism, in which unpalatable species converge in wing pattern locally to advertize their toxicity to predators. We provide evidence that mutualistic interactions can drive convergence along multiple ecological axes, outweighing both phylogeny and competition in shaping community structure. Our findings imply that ecological communities are adaptively assembled to a much greater degree than commonly suspected. In addition, our results show that phenotype and ecology are strongly linked and support the idea that mimicry can cause ecological speciation through multiple cascading effects on species' biology. PMID:19055316

  14. Impact of Mycobacterium ulcerans Biofilm on Transmissibility to Ecological Niches and Buruli Ulcer Pathogenesis

    PubMed Central

    Jackson, Mary; Korduláková, Jana; Tafelmeyer, Petra; Carbonnelle, Etienne; Aubry, Jacques; Milon, Geneviève; Legras, Pierre; André, Jean-Paul Saint; Leroy, Céline; Cottin, Jane; Guillou, Marie Laure Joly; Reysset, Gilles; Cole, Stewart T

    2007-01-01

    The role of biofilms in the pathogenesis of mycobacterial diseases remains largely unknown. Mycobacterium ulcerans, the etiological agent of Buruli ulcer, a disfiguring disease in humans, adopts a biofilm-like structure in vitro and in vivo, displaying an abundant extracellular matrix (ECM) that harbors vesicles. The composition and structure of the ECM differs from that of the classical matrix found in other bacterial biofilms. More than 80 proteins are present within this extracellular compartment and appear to be involved in stress responses, respiration, and intermediary metabolism. In addition to a large amount of carbohydrates and lipids, ECM is the reservoir of the polyketide toxin mycolactone, the sole virulence factor of M. ulcerans identified to date, and purified vesicles extracted from ECM are highly cytotoxic. ECM confers to the mycobacterium increased resistance to antimicrobial agents, and enhances colonization of insect vectors and mammalian hosts. The results of this study support a model whereby biofilm changes confer selective advantages to M. ulcerans in colonizing various ecological niches successfully, with repercussions for Buruli ulcer pathogenesis. PMID:17480118

  15. Ecological Segregation in Space, Time and Trophic Niche of Sympatric Planktivorous Petrels

    PubMed Central

    Navarro, Joan; Votier, Stephen C.; Aguzzi, Jacopo; Chiesa, Juan J.; Forero, Manuela G.; Phillips, Richard A.

    2013-01-01

    The principle of competitive exclusion postulates that ecologically-similar species are expected to partition their use of resources, leading to niche divergence. The most likely mechanisms allowing such coexistence are considered to be segregation in a horizontal, vertical or temporal dimension, or, where these overlap, a difference in trophic niche. Here, by combining information obtained from tracking devices (geolocator-immersion and time depth recorders), stable isotope analyses of blood, and conventional morphometry, we provide a detailed investigation of the ecological mechanisms that explain the coexistence of four species of abundant, zooplanktivorous seabirds in Southern Ocean ecosystems (blue petrel Halobaena caerulea, Antarctic prion Pachyptila desolata, common diving petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix and South Georgian diving petrel P. georgicus). The results revealed a combination of horizontal, vertical and temporal foraging segregation during the breeding season. The stable isotope and morphological analyses reinforced this conclusion, indicating that each species occupied a distinct trophic space, and that this appears to reflect adaptations in terms of flight performance. In conclusion, the present study indicated that although there was a degree of overlap in some measures of foraging behaviour, overall the four taxa operated in very different ecological space despite breeding in close proximity. We therefore provide important insight into the mechanisms allowing these very large populations of ecologically-similar predators to coexist. PMID:23646155

  16. Ecological segregation in space, time and trophic niche of sympatric planktivorous petrels.

    PubMed

    Navarro, Joan; Votier, Stephen C; Aguzzi, Jacopo; Chiesa, Juan J; Forero, Manuela G; Phillips, Richard A

    2013-01-01

    The principle of competitive exclusion postulates that ecologically-similar species are expected to partition their use of resources, leading to niche divergence. The most likely mechanisms allowing such coexistence are considered to be segregation in a horizontal, vertical or temporal dimension, or, where these overlap, a difference in trophic niche. Here, by combining information obtained from tracking devices (geolocator-immersion and time depth recorders), stable isotope analyses of blood, and conventional morphometry, we provide a detailed investigation of the ecological mechanisms that explain the coexistence of four species of abundant, zooplanktivorous seabirds in Southern Ocean ecosystems (blue petrel Halobaena caerulea, Antarctic prion Pachyptila desolata, common diving petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix and South Georgian diving petrel P. georgicus). The results revealed a combination of horizontal, vertical and temporal foraging segregation during the breeding season. The stable isotope and morphological analyses reinforced this conclusion, indicating that each species occupied a distinct trophic space, and that this appears to reflect adaptations in terms of flight performance. In conclusion, the present study indicated that although there was a degree of overlap in some measures of foraging behaviour, overall the four taxa operated in very different ecological space despite breeding in close proximity. We therefore provide important insight into the mechanisms allowing these very large populations of ecologically-similar predators to coexist. PMID:23646155

  17. Vacated niches, competitive release and the community ecology of pathogen eradication

    PubMed Central

    Lloyd-Smith, James O.

    2013-01-01

    A recurring theme in the epidemiological literature on disease eradication is that each pathogen occupies an ecological niche, and eradication of one pathogen leaves a vacant niche that favours the emergence of new pathogens to replace it. However, eminent figures have rejected this view unequivocally, stating that there is no basis to fear pathogen replacement and even that pathogen niches do not exist. After exploring the roots of this controversy, I propose resolutions to disputed issues by drawing on broader ecological theory, and advance a new consensus based on robust mechanistic principles. I argue that pathogen eradication (and cessation of vaccination) leads to a ‘vacated niche’, which could be re-invaded by the original pathogen if introduced. Consequences for other pathogens will vary, with the crucial mechanisms being competitive release, whereby the decline of one species allows its competitors to perform better, and evolutionary adaptation. Hence, eradication can cause a quantitative rise in the incidence of another infection, but whether this leads to emergence as an endemic pathogen depends on additional factors. I focus on the case study of human monkeypox and its rise following smallpox eradication, but also survey how these ideas apply to other pathogens and discuss implications for eradication policy. PMID:23798698

  18. Predicted Distribution of Major Malaria Vectors Belonging to the Anopheles dirus Complex in Asia: Ecological Niche and Environmental Influences

    PubMed Central

    Obsomer, Valerie; Defourny, Pierre; Coosemans, Marc

    2012-01-01

    Methods derived from ecological niche modeling allow to define species distribution based on presence-only data. This is particularly useful to develop models from literature records such as available for the Anopheles dirus complex, a major group of malaria mosquito vectors in Asia. This research defines an innovative modeling design based on presence-only model and hierarchical framework to define the distribution of the complex and attempt to delineate sibling species distribution and environmental preferences. At coarse resolution, the potential distribution was defined using slow changing abiotic factors such as topography and climate representative for the timescale covered by literature records of the species. The distribution area was then refined in a second step using a mask of current suitable land cover. Distribution area and ecological niche were compared between species and environmental factors tested for relevance. Alternatively, extreme values at occurrence points were used to delimit environmental envelopes. The spatial distribution for the complex was broadly consistent with its known distribution and influencing factors included temperature and rainfall. If maps developed from environmental envelopes gave similar results to modeling when the number of sites was high, the results were less similar for species with low number of recorded presences. Using presence-only models and hierarchical framework this study not only predicts the distribution of a major malaria vector, but also improved ecological modeling analysis design and proposed final products better adapted to malaria control decision makers. The resulting maps can help prioritizing areas which need further investigation and help simulate distribution under changing conditions such as climate change or reforestation. The hierarchical framework results in two products one abiotic based model describes the potential maximal distribution and remains valid for decades and the other

  19. A unique ecological niche fosters hybridization of oak-tree and vineyard isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

    PubMed

    Clowers, Katie J; Will, Jessica L; Gasch, Audrey P

    2015-12-01

    Differential adaptation to distinct niches can restrict gene flow and promote population differentiation within a species. However, in some cases the distinction between niches can collapse, forming a hybrid niche with features of both environments. We previously reported that distinctions between vineyards and oak soil present an ecological barrier that restricts gene flow between lineages of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Vineyard isolates are tolerant to stresses associated with grapes while North American oak strains are particularly tolerant to freeze-thaw cycles. Here, we report the isolation of S. cerevisiae strains from Wisconsin cherry trees, which display features common to vineyards (e.g. high sugar concentrations) and frequent freeze-thaw cycles. Genome sequencing revealed that the isolated strains are highly heterozygous and represent recent hybrids of the oak × vineyard lineages. We found that the hybrid strains are phenotypically similar to vineyard strains for some traits, but are more similar to oak strains for other traits. The cherry strains were exceptionally good at growing in cherry juice, raising the possibility that they have adapted to this niche. We performed transcriptome profiling in cherry, oak and vineyard strains and show that the cherry-tree hybrids display vineyard-like or oak-like expression, depending on the gene sets, and in some cases, the expression patterns linked back to shared stress tolerances. Allele-specific expression in these natural hybrids suggested concerted cis-regulatory evolution at sets of functionally regulated genes. Our results raise the possibility that hybridization of the two lineages provides a genetic solution to the thriving in this unique niche. PMID:26518477

  20. Genomic basis of ecological niche divergence among cryptic sister species of non-biting midges

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background There is a lack of understanding the evolutionary forces driving niche segregation of closely related organisms. In addition, pinpointing the genes driving ecological divergence is a key goal in molecular ecology. Here, larval transcriptome sequences obtained by next-generation-sequencing are used to address these issues in a morphologically cryptic sister species pair of non-biting midges (Chironomus riparius and C. piger). Results More than eight thousand orthologous open reading frames were screened for interspecific divergence and intraspecific polymorphisms. Despite a small mean sequence divergence of 1.53% between the sister species, 25.1% of 18,115 observed amino acid substitutions were inferred by α statistics to be driven by positive selection. Applying McDonald-Kreitman tests to 715 alignments of gene orthologues identified eleven (1.5%) genes driven by positive selection. Conclusions Three candidate genes were identified as potentially responsible for the observed niche segregation concerning nitrite concentration, habitat temperature and water conductivity. Additionally, signs of positive selection in the hydrogen sulfide detoxification pathway were detected, providing a new plausible hypothesis for the species’ ecological differentiation. Finally, a divergently selected, nuclear encoded mitochondrial ribosomal protein may contribute to reproductive isolation due to cytonuclear coevolution. PMID:23758757

  1. Habitat suitability of the Atlantic bluefin tuna by size class: An ecological niche approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Druon, Jean-Noël; Fromentin, Jean-Marc; Hanke, Alex R.; Arrizabalaga, Haritz; Damalas, Dimitrios; Tičina, Vjekoslav; Quílez-Badia, Gemma; Ramirez, Karina; Arregui, Igor; Tserpes, George; Reglero, Patricia; Deflorio, Michele; Oray, Isik; Saadet Karakulak, F.; Megalofonou, Persefoni; Ceyhan, Tevfik; Grubišić, Leon; MacKenzie, Brian R.; Lamkin, John; Afonso, Pedro; Addis, Piero

    2016-03-01

    An ecological niche modelling (ENM) approach was used to predict the potential feeding and spawning habitats of small (5-25 kg, only feeding) and large (>25 kg) Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT), Thunnus thynnus, in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. The ENM was built bridging knowledge on ecological traits of ABFT (e.g. temperature tolerance, mobility, feeding and spawning strategy) with patterns of selected environmental variables (chlorophyll-a fronts and concentration, sea surface current and temperature, sea surface height anomaly) that were identified using an extensive set of precisely geo-located presence data. The results highlight a wider temperature tolerance for larger fish allowing them to feed in the northern - high chlorophyll levels - latitudes up to the Norwegian Sea in the eastern Atlantic and to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in the western basin. Permanent suitable feeding habitat for small ABFT was predicted to be mostly located in temperate latitudes in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as in subtropical waters off north-west Africa, while summer potential habitat in the Gulf of Mexico was found to be unsuitable for both small and large ABFTs. Potential spawning grounds were found to occur in the Gulf of Mexico from March-April in the south-east to April-May in the north, while favourable conditions evolve in the Mediterranean Sea from mid-May in the eastern to mid-July in the western basin. Other secondary potential spawning grounds not supported by observations were predicted in the Azores area and off Morocco to Senegal during July and August when extrapolating the model settings from the Gulf of Mexico into the North Atlantic. The presence of large ABFT off Florida and the Bahamas in spring was not explained by the model as is, however the environmental variables other than the sea surface height anomaly appeared to be favourable for spawning in part of this area. Defining key spatial and

  2. Environmental Variables Shaping the Ecological Niche of Thaumarchaeota in Soil: Direct and Indirect Causal Effects

    PubMed Central

    Hong, Jin-Kyung; Cho, Jae-Chang

    2015-01-01

    To find environmental variables (EVs) shaping the ecological niche of the archaeal phylum Thaumarchaeota in terrestrial environments, we determined the abundance of Thaumarchaeota in various soil samples using real-time PCR targeting thaumarchaeotal 16S rRNA gene sequences. We employed our previously developed primer, THAUM-494, which had greater coverage for Thaumarchaeota and lower tolerance to nonthaumarchaeotal taxa than previous Thaumarchaeota-directed primers. The relative abundance estimates (RVs) of Thaumarchaeota (RTHAUM), Archaea (RARCH), and Bacteria (RBACT) were subjected to a series of statistical analyses. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed a significant (p < 0.05) canonical relationship between RVs and EVs. Negative causal relationships between RTHAUM and nutrient level–related EVs were observed in an RDA biplot. These negative relationships were further confirmed by correlation and regression analyses. Total nitrogen content (TN) appeared to be the EV that affected RTHAUM most strongly, and total carbon content (TC), which reflected the content of organic matter (OM), appeared to be the EV that affected it least. However, in the path analysis, a path model indicated that TN might be a mediator EV that could be controlled directly by the OM. Additionally, another path model implied that water content (WC) might also indirectly affect RTHAUM by controlling ammonium nitrogen (NH4+-N) level through ammonification. Thus, although most directly affected by NH4+-N, RTHAUM could be ultimately determined by OM content, suggesting that Thaumarchaeota could prefer low-OM or low-WC conditions, because either of these EVs could subsequently result in low levels of NH4+-N in soil. PMID:26241328

  3. [Ecological distribution and spatial niche of pheasants in the Karst mountains of southwest Guangxi Province, China].

    PubMed

    Yu, Chen-Xing; Yang, Gang; Li, Dong; Zhou, Fang

    2011-10-01

    The Karst mountain area along the Sino-Vietnam border of southwest Guangxi has been designated a "Global Biodiversity Hotspot" since 2003. We conducted a survey of pheasant species in this area, with seven species recorded, namely Chinese Francolin (Francolinus pintadeanus), Bar-backed Partridge (Arborophila brunneopectus), Mountain Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola fytchii), Chinese Bamboo Partridge (Bambusicola thoracica), Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus), Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) and Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus). Analysis and comparison of the distribution and spatial niche of these seven pheasant species revealed that Red Junglefowl had the widest spatial niche, while Chinese Francolin had the narrowest. The spatial niche overlap index was high between Chinese Francolin and the Common Pheasant, Chinese Bamboo Partridge, and Red Junglefowl. With narrow distribution range, small population, and lower ecological adaptability, it is likely that the Bar-backed Partridge is the most vulnerable pheasant species in this area. The results suggest more research and conservation measures are required for pheasant habitat protection in the Karst areas of southwest Guangxi. PMID:22006809

  4. Different Ecological Niches for Ticks of Public Health Significance in Canada

    PubMed Central

    Gabriele-Rivet, Vanessa; Arsenault, Julie; Badcock, Jacqueline; Cheng, Angela; Edsall, Jim; Goltz, Jim; Kennedy, Joe; Lindsay, L. Robbin; Pelcat, Yann; Ogden, Nicholas H.

    2015-01-01

    Tick-borne diseases are a growing public health concern as their incidence and range have increased in recent decades. Lyme disease is an emerging infectious disease in Canada due to northward expansion of the geographic range of Ixodes scapularis, the principal tick vector for the Lyme disease agent Borrelia burgdorferi, into central and eastern Canada. In this study the geographical distributions of Ixodid ticks, including I. scapularis, and environmental factors associated with their occurrence were investigated in New Brunswick, Canada, where few I. scapularis populations have been found to date. Density of host-seeking ticks was evaluated by drag sampling of woodland habitats in a total of 159 sites. Ixodes scapularis ticks (n = 5) were found on four sites, Ixodes muris (n = 1) on one site and Haemaphysalis leporispalustris (n = 243) on 41 sites. One of four adult I. scapularis ticks collected was PCR-positive for B. burgdorferi. No environmental variables were significantly associated with the presence of I. scapularis although comparisons with surveillance data in neighbouring provinces (Québec and Nova Scotia) suggested that temperature conditions may be too cold for I. scapularis (< 2800 annual degree days above 0°C [DD > 0°C]) across much of New Brunswick. In contrast, the presence of H. leporispalustris, which is a competent vector of tularaemia, was significantly (P < 0.05) associated with specific ranges of mean DD > 0°C, mean annual precipitation, percentage of clay in site soil, elevation and season in a multivariable logistic regression model. With the exception of some localized areas, temperature conditions and deer density may be too low for the establishment of I. scapularis and Lyme disease risk areas in New Brunswick, while environmental conditions were suitable for H. leporispalustris at many sites. These findings indicate differing ecological niches for two tick species of public health significance. PMID:26131550

  5. Doctoral Education in a Successful Ecological Niche: A Qualitative Exploratory Case Study of the Relationship between the Microclimate and Doctoral Students' Learning to Become a Researcher

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Christensen, Mette K.; Lund, Ole

    2014-01-01

    Scholarly communities are dependent on and often measured by their ability to attract and develop doctoral students. Recent literature suggests that most scholarly communities entail ecological niches in which the doctoral students learn the codes and practices of research. In this article, we explore the microclimate in an ecological niche of…

  6. Age-associated changes in the ecological niche: implications for mesenchymal stem cell aging

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Adult stem cells are critical for organ-specific regeneration and self-renewal with advancing age. The prospect of being able to reverse tissue-specific post-injury sequelae by harvesting, culturing and transplanting a patient’s own stem and progenitor cells is exciting. Mesenchymal stem cells have emerged as a reliable stem cell source for this treatment modality and are currently being tested in numerous ongoing clinical trials. Unfortunately, the fervor over mesenchymal stem cells is mitigated by several lines of evidence suggesting that their efficacy is limited by natural aging. This article discusses the mechanisms and manifestations of age-associated deficiencies in mesenchymal stem cell efficacy. A consideration of recent experimental findings suggests that the ecological niche might be responsible for mesenchymal stem cell aging. PMID:23673056

  7. Using environmental niche models to test the ‘everything is everywhere' hypothesis for Badhamia

    PubMed Central

    Aguilar, María; Fiore-Donno, Anna-Maria; Lado, Carlos; Cavalier-Smith, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    It is often discussed whether the biogeography of free-living protists is better explained by the ‘everything is everywhere'(EiE) hypothesis, which postulates that only ecology drives their distribution, or by the alternative hypothesis of ‘moderate endemicity' in which geographic barriers can limit their dispersal. To formally test this, it would be necessary not only to find organisms restricted to a geographical area but also to check for their presence in any other place with a similar ecology. We propose the use of environmental niche models to generate and test null EiE distributions. Here we have analysed the distribution of 18S rDNA variants (ribotypes) of the myxomycete Badhamia melanospora (belonging to the protozoan phylum Amoebozoa) using 125 specimens from 91 localities. Two geographically structured groups of ribotypes congruent with slight morphological differences in the spores can be distinguished. One group comprises all populations from Argentina and Chile, and the other is formed by populations from North America together with human-introduced populations from other parts of the world. Environmental climatic niche models constructed separately for the two groups have significant differences, but show several overlapping areas. However, only specimens from one group were found in an intensively surveyed area in South America where both niche models overlap. It can be concluded that everything is not everywhere for B. melanospora. This taxon constitutes a complex formed by at least two cryptic species that probably diverged allopatrically in North and South America. PMID:24132078

  8. Extracellular Fibrils of Pathogenic Yeast Cryptococcus gattii Are Important for Ecological Niche, Murine Virulence and Human Neutrophil Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Springer, Deborah J.; Ren, Ping; Raina, Ramesh; Dong, Yimin; Behr, Melissa J.; McEwen, Bruce F.; Bowser, Samuel S.; Samsonoff, William A.; Chaturvedi, Sudha; Chaturvedi, Vishnu

    2010-01-01

    Cryptococcus gattii, an emerging fungal pathogen of humans and animals, is found on a variety of trees in tropical and temperate regions. The ecological niche and virulence of this yeast remain poorly defined. We used Arabidopsis thaliana plants and plant-derived substrates to model C. gattii in its natural habitat. Yeast cells readily colonized scratch-wounded plant leaves and formed distinctive extracellular fibrils (40–100 nm diameter ×500–3000 nm length). Extracellular fibrils were observed on live plants and plant-derived substrates by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and by high voltage- EM (HVEM). Only encapsulated yeast cells formed extracellular fibrils as a capsule-deficient C. gattii mutant completely lacked fibrils. Cells deficient in environmental sensing only formed disorganized extracellular fibrils as apparent from experiments with a C. gattii STE12α mutant. C. gattii cells with extracellular fibrils were more virulent in murine model of pulmonary and systemic cryptococcosis than cells lacking fibrils. C. gattii cells with extracellular fibrils were also significantly more resistant to killing by human polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) in vitro even though these PMN produced elaborate neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). These observations suggest that extracellular fibril formation could be a structural adaptation of C. gattii for cell-to-cell, cell-to-substrate and/or cell-to- phagocyte communications. Such ecological adaptation of C. gattii could play roles in enhanced virulence in mammalian hosts at least initially via inhibition of host PMN– mediated killing. PMID:20539754

  9. Combining Niche and Dispersal in a Simple Model (NDM) of Species Distribution

    PubMed Central

    Génard, Michel; Lescourret, Françoise

    2013-01-01

    Predicting the distribution of species has become a crucial issue in biodiversity research. Two kinds of model address this question: niche models, which are usually based on static approaches linking species distribution to habitat characteristics, and dispersal models, which are usually dynamic and process-based. We propose a model (NDM: niche and dispersal model) that considers the local presence of a species to result from a dynamic balance between extinction (based on the niche concept) and immigration (based on the dispersal concept), at a given moment in time, in a spatially explicit context. We show that NDM correctly predicts observed bird species and community distributions at different scales. NDM helps to reconcile the contrasting paradigms of metacommunity theory. It shows that sorting and mass effects are the factors determining bird species distribution. One of the most interesting features of NDM is its ability to predict well known properties of communities, such as decreasing species richness with decreasing patch size and increasing distance to the mainland, and the mid-domain effect at the regional scale, contrasting with predictions of much smaller effects at the local scale. NDM shows that habitat destruction in the matrix around patches of forest can affect the forest bird community, principally by decreasing the occurrence of typical matrix birds within the forest. This model could be used as the starting point for applied ecological studies on the management of species and community distributions. PMID:24265788

  10. The inverse niche model for food webs with parasites

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  11. Latitudinal variation in ecological opportunity and intraspecific competition indicates differences in niche variability and diet specialization of Arctic marine predators.

    PubMed

    Yurkowski, David J; Ferguson, Steve; Choy, Emily S; Loseto, Lisa L; Brown, Tanya M; Muir, Derek C G; Semeniuk, Christina A D; Fisk, Aaron T

    2016-03-01

    Individual specialization (IS), where individuals within populations irrespective of age, sex, and body size are either specialized or generalized in terms of resource use, has implications on ecological niches and food web structure. Niche size and degree of IS of near-top trophic-level marine predators have been little studied in polar regions or with latitude. We quantified the large-scale latitudinal variation of population- and individual-level niche size and IS in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) using stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis on 379 paired ringed seal liver and muscle samples and 124 paired beluga skin and muscle samples from eight locations ranging from the low to high Arctic. We characterized both within- and between-individual variation in predator niche size at each location as well as accounting for spatial differences in the isotopic ranges of potential prey. Total isotopic niche width (TINW) for populations of ringed seals and beluga decreased with increasing latitude. Higher TINW values were associated with greater ecological opportunity (i.e., prey diversity) in the prey fish community which mainly consists of Capelin (Mallotus villosus) and Sand lance (Ammodytes sp.) at lower latitudes and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida) at high latitudes. In beluga, their dietary consistency between tissues also known as the within-individual component (WIC) increased in a near 1:1 ratio with TINW (slope = 0.84), suggesting dietary generalization, whereas the slope (0.18) of WIC relative to TINW in ringed seals indicated a high degree of individual specialization in ringed seal populations with higher TINWs. Our findings highlight the differences in TINW and level of IS for ringed seals and beluga relative to latitude as a likely response to large-scale spatial variation in ecological opportunity, suggesting species-specific variation in dietary plasticity to spatial differences in prey resources and

  12. [GROWTH OF MICROMYCETES FROM DIFFERENT ECOLOGICAL NICHES ON AGAR NUTRIENT MEDIA].

    PubMed

    Kurchenko, I M; Yurieva, E M; Voychuk, S I

    2015-01-01

    Radial growth rate of (K(r)) 153 strains 6 species of micromycetes from different ecological niches was studied on 7 agar media: three standard (malt extract agar, potato-dextrose agar, Czapek's agar), and on agar media with plant polymers (carboxymethylcellulose, xylan, soluble starch and apple pectin). Endophytic and plant pathogenic strains (biotrophs) of all studied species did not differ significantly in their ability to grow on nutrient media of different composition--average values of K(r) for these two groups were the same (0,200 and 0,199 mm/h, respectively). Soil micromycetes (saprophytes) characterized by the lowest average growth rate (0,169 mm/h) and significantly differed from the endophytic and plant pathogenic ones. Average of the radial growth rates of studied microscopic fungi were higher on standard nutrient media than with plant polymers ones. Growth parameters of endophytes and plant pathogens of all studied species on various agar media differed from the soil strains. High growth rate of endophytic and plant pathogenic strains of Fusarium poae, Alternaria alternata and Ceratocystis sp. provides them the rapid colonization of plants. Penicillium funiculosum strains equally can exist as saprophytes in soil and as endophytic plant symbionts. A wide range of K(r) variation of endophytic dark pigmented Mycelia sterilia indicates the presence in this group of different species of micromycetes, which have no sporulation. PMID:26638483

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-06-01

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity-the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences. PMID:27274046

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    The exhibition of increasingly intensive and complex niche construction behaviors through time is a key feature of human evolution, culminating in the advanced capacity for ecosystem engineering exhibited by Homo sapiens. A crucial outcome of such behaviors has been the dramatic reshaping of the global biosphere, a transformation whose early origins are increasingly apparent from cumulative archaeological and paleoecological datasets. Such data suggest that, by the Late Pleistocene, humans had begun to engage in activities that have led to alterations in the distributions of a vast array of species across most, if not all, taxonomic groups. Changes to biodiversity have included extinctions, extirpations, and shifts in species composition, diversity, and community structure. We outline key examples of these changes, highlighting findings from the study of new datasets, like ancient DNA (aDNA), stable isotopes, and microfossils, as well as the application of new statistical and computational methods to datasets that have accumulated significantly in recent decades. We focus on four major phases that witnessed broad anthropogenic alterations to biodiversity—the Late Pleistocene global human expansion, the Neolithic spread of agriculture, the era of island colonization, and the emergence of early urbanized societies and commercial networks. Archaeological evidence documents millennia of anthropogenic transformations that have created novel ecosystems around the world. This record has implications for ecological and evolutionary research, conservation strategies, and the maintenance of ecosystem services, pointing to a significant need for broader cross-disciplinary engagement between archaeology and the biological and environmental sciences. PMID:27274046

  15. Modelling the regenerative niche: a major challenge in biomaterials research.

    PubMed

    Kirkpatrick, C James

    2015-12-01

    By definition, biomaterials are developed for clinical application. In the field of regenerative medicine their principal function is to play a significant, and, if possible, an instructive role in tissue healing. In the last analysis the latter involves targeting the 'regenerative niche'. The present paper will address the problem of simulating this niche in the laboratory and adopts a life science approach involving the harnessing of heterotypic cellular communication to achieve this, that is, the ability of cells of different types to mutually influence cellular functions. Thus, co-culture systems using human cells are the methodological focus and will concern four exemplary fields of regeneration, namely, bone, soft tissue, lower respiratory tract and airway regeneration. The working hypothesis underlying this approach is that in vitro models of higher complexity will be more clinically relevant than simple monolayer cultures of transformed cell lines in testing innovative strategies with biomaterials for regeneration. PMID:26816650

  16. Predicted Distribution of Visceral Leishmaniasis Vectors (Diptera: Psychodidae; Phlebotominae) in Iran: A Niche Model Study.

    PubMed

    Hanafi-Bojd, A A; Rassi, Y; Yaghoobi-Ershadi, M R; Haghdoost, A A; Akhavan, A A; Charrahy, Z; Karimi, A

    2015-12-01

    Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important vector-borne disease in Iran. Till now, Leishmania infantum has been detected from five species of sand flies in the country including Phlebotomus kandelakii, Phlebotomus major s.l., Phlebotomus perfiliewi, Phlebotomus alexandri and Phlebotomus tobbi. Also, Phlebotomus keshishiani was found to be infected with Leishmania parasites. This study aimed at predicting the probable niches and distribution of vectors of visceral leishmaniasis in Iran. Data on spatial distribution studies of sand flies were obtained from Iranian database on sand flies. Sample points were included in data from faunistic studies on sand flies conducted during 1995-2013. MaxEnt software was used to predict the appropriate ecological niches for given species, using climatic and topographical data. Distribution maps were prepared and classified in ArcGIS to find main ecological niches of the vectors and hot spots for VL transmission in Iran. Phlebotomus kandelakii, Ph. major s.l. and Ph. alexandri seem to have played a more important role in VL transmission in Iran, so this study focuses on them. Representations of MaxEnt model for probability of distribution of the studied sand flies showed high contribution of climatological and topographical variables to predict the potential distribution of three vector species. Isothermality was found to be an environmental variable with the highest gain when used in isolation for Ph. kandelakii and Ph. major s.l., while for Ph. alexandri, the most effective variable was precipitation of the coldest quarter. The results of this study present the first prediction on distribution of sand fly vectors of VL in Iran. The predicted distributions were matched with the disease-endemic areas in the country, while it was found that there were some unaffected areas with the potential transmission. More comprehensive studies are recommended on the ecology and vector competence of VL vectors in the country. PMID:26032232

  17. Novel trophic niches drive variable progress towards ecological speciation within an adaptive radiation of pupfishes.

    PubMed

    Martin, Christopher H; Feinstein, Laura C

    2014-04-01

    Adaptive radiation is recognized by a rapid burst of phenotypic, ecological and species diversification. However, it is unknown whether different species within an adaptive radiation evolve reproductive isolation at different rates. We compared patterns of genetic differentiation between nascent species within an adaptive radiation of Cyprinodon pupfishes using genotyping by sequencing. Similar to classic adaptive radiations, this clade exhibits rapid morphological diversification rates and two species are novel trophic specialists, a scale-eater and hard-shelled prey specialist (durophage), yet the radiation is <10 000 years old. Both specialists and an abundant generalist species all coexist in the benthic zone of lakes on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Based on 13 912 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), we found consistent differences in genetic differentiation between each specialist species and the generalist across seven lakes. The scale-eater showed the greatest genetic differentiation and clustered by species across lakes, whereas durophage populations often clustered with sympatric generalist populations, consistent with parallel speciation across lakes. However, we found strong evidence of admixture between durophage populations in different lakes, supporting a single origin of this species and genome-wide introgression with sympatric generalist populations. We conclude that the scale-eater is further along the speciation-with-gene-flow continuum than the durophage and suggest that different adaptive landscapes underlying these two niche environments drive variable progress towards speciation within the same habitat. Our previous measurements of fitness surfaces in these lakes support this conclusion: the scale-eating fitness peak may be more distant than the durophage peak on the complex adaptive landscape driving adaptive radiation. PMID:24393262

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-10-23

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

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

    SciTech Connect

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

    2012-04-27

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

  20. Modelling the Meteorological Forest Fire Niche in Heterogeneous Pyrologic Conditions

    PubMed Central

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

    2015-01-01

    Fire regimes are strongly related to weather conditions that directly and indirectly influence fire ignition and propagation. Identifying the most important meteorological fire drivers is thus fundamental for daily fire risk forecasting. In this context, several fire weather indices have been developed focussing mainly on fire-related local weather conditions and fuel characteristics. The specificity of the conditions for which fire danger indices are developed makes its direct transfer and applicability problematic in different areas or with other fuel types. In this paper we used the low-to-intermediate fire-prone region of Canton Ticino as a case study to develop a new daily fire danger index by implementing a niche modelling approach (Maxent). In order to identify the most suitable weather conditions for fires, different combinations of input variables were tested (meteorological variables, existing fire danger indices or a combination of both). Our findings demonstrate that such combinations of input variables increase the predictive power of the resulting index and surprisingly even using meteorological variables only allows similar or better performances than using the complex Canadian Fire Weather Index (FWI). Furthermore, the niche modelling approach based on Maxent resulted in slightly improved model performance and in a reduced number of selected variables with respect to the classical logistic approach. Factors influencing final model robustness were the number of fire events considered and the specificity of the meteorological conditions leading to fire ignition. PMID:25679957

  1. No species is an island: testing the effects of biotic interactions on models of avian niche occupation.

    PubMed

    Morelli, Federico; Tryjanowski, Piotr

    2015-02-01

    Traditionally, the niche of a species is described as a hypothetical 3D space, constituted by well-known biotic interactions (e.g. predation, competition, trophic relationships, resource-consumer interactions, etc.) and various abiotic environmental factors. Species distribution models (SDMs), also called "niche models" and often used to predict wildlife distribution at landscape scale, are typically constructed using abiotic factors with biotic interactions generally been ignored. Here, we compared the goodness of fit of SDMs for red-backed shrike Lanius collurio in farmlands of Western Poland, using both the classical approach (modeled only on environmental variables) and the approach which included also other potentially associated bird species. The potential associations among species were derived from the relevant ecological literature and by a correlation matrix of occurrences. Our findings highlight the importance of including heterospecific interactions in improving our understanding of niche occupation for bird species. We suggest that suite of measures currently used to quantify realized species niches could be improved by also considering the occurrence of certain associated species. Then, an hypothetical "species 1" can use the occurrence of a successfully established individual of "species 2" as indicator or "trace" of the location of available suitable habitat to breed. We hypothesize this kind of biotic interaction as the "heterospecific trace effect" (HTE): an interaction based on the availability and use of "public information" provided by individuals from different species. Finally, we discuss about the incomes of biotic interactions for enhancing the predictive capacities on species distribution models. PMID:25691996

  2. Complexity in models of cultural niche construction with selection and homophily

    PubMed Central

    Creanza, Nicole; Feldman, Marcus W.

    2014-01-01

    Niche construction is the process by which organisms can alter the ecological environment for themselves, their descendants, and other species. As a result of niche construction, differences in selection pressures may be inherited across generations. Homophily, the tendency of like phenotypes to mate or preferentially associate, influences the evolutionary dynamics of these systems. Here we develop a model that includes selection and homophily as independent culturally transmitted traits that influence the fitness and mate choice determined by another focal cultural trait. We study the joint dynamics of a focal set of beliefs, a behavior that can differentially influence the fitness of those with certain beliefs, and a preference for partnering based on similar beliefs. Cultural transmission, selection, and homophily interact to produce complex evolutionary dynamics, including oscillations, stable polymorphisms of all cultural phenotypes, and simultaneous stability of oscillation and fixation, which have not previously been observed in models of cultural evolution or gene–culture interactions. We discuss applications of this model to the interaction of beliefs and behaviors regarding education, contraception, and animal domestication. PMID:25024189

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-03-27

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

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

  5. Modelling the regenerative niche: a major challenge in biomaterials research†

    PubMed Central

    Kirkpatrick, C. James

    2015-01-01

    By definition, biomaterials are developed for clinical application. In the field of regenerative medicine their principal function is to play a significant, and, if possible, an instructive role in tissue healing. In the last analysis the latter involves targeting the ‘regenerative niche’. The present paper will address the problem of simulating this niche in the laboratory and adopts a life science approach involving the harnessing of heterotypic cellular communication to achieve this, that is, the ability of cells of different types to mutually influence cellular functions. Thus, co-culture systems using human cells are the methodological focus and will concern four exemplary fields of regeneration, namely, bone, soft tissue, lower respiratory tract and airway regeneration. The working hypothesis underlying this approach is that in vitro models of higher complexity will be more clinically relevant than simple monolayer cultures of transformed cell lines in testing innovative strategies with biomaterials for regeneration. PMID:26816650

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-04-01

    This study provides a refined view on the diet and ecological niche of Neanderthals. The traditional view is that Neanderthals obtained most of their dietary protein from terrestrial animals, especially from large herbivores that roamed the open landscapes. Evidence based on the conventional carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of bulk collagen has supported this view, although recent findings based on plant remains in the tooth calculus, microwear analyses, and small game and marine animal remains from archaeological sites have raised some questions regarding this assumption. However, the lack of a protein source other than meat in the Neanderthal diet may be due to methodological difficulties in defining the isotopic composition of plants. Based on the nitrogen isotopic composition of glutamic acid and phenylalanine in collagen for Neanderthals from Spy Cave (Belgium), we show that i) there was an inter-individual dietary heterogeneity even within one archaeological site that has not been evident in bulk collagen isotopic compositions, ii) they occupied an ecological niche different from those of hyenas, and iii) they could rely on plants for up to ∼20% of their protein source. These results are consistent with the evidence found of plant consumption by the Spy Neanderthals, suggesting a broader subsistence strategy than previously considered. PMID:27086057

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    Although rapid evolution of body size on islands has long been known, the ecological mechanisms behind this island phenomenon remain poorly understood. Diet is an important selective pressure for morphological divergence. Here we investigate if selection for novel diets has contributed to the multiple independent cases of island gigantism in the Skyros wall lizard (Podarcis gaigeae) and if diet, predation, or both factors best explain island gigantism. We combined data on body size, shape, bite force, and realized and available diets to address this. Several lines of evidence suggest that diet has contributed to the island gigantism. The larger islet lizards have relatively wider heads and higher bite performance in relation to mainland lizards than would be expected from size differences alone. The proportions of consumed and available hard prey are higher on islets than mainland localities, and lizard body size is significantly correlated with the proportion of hard prey. Furthermore, the main axis of divergence in head shape is significantly correlated with dietary divergence. Finally, a model with only diet and one including diet and predation regime explain body size divergence equally well. Our results suggest that diet is an important ecological factor behind insular body size divergence, but could be consistent with an additional role for predation. PMID:26405734

  8. Modelling Niche Differentiation of Co-Existing, Elusive and Morphologically Similar Species: A Case Study of Four Macaque Species in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, Laos

    PubMed Central

    Coudrat, Camille N. Z.; Nekaris, K. Anne-Isola

    2013-01-01

    Simple Summary We investigated the niche separation of four macaque species (Macaca arctoides, M. assamensis, M. leonina, M. mulatta) occurring within Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area, central-eastern Laos using the environmental niche modelling software MaxEnt. The respective suitable habitat predicted for each species reveals niche segregation between the four species with a gradual geographical distribution following an environmental gradient of, notably, temperature, precipitation, elevation and slope within the study area. This means that the four species seem adapted to different ecological conditions within the area. This information has implications for future research on these species and for their management and conservation. Abstract Species misidentification often occurs when dealing with co-existing and morphologically similar species such as macaques, making the study of their ecology challenging. To overcome this issue, we use reliable occurrence data from camera-trap images and transect survey data to model their respective ecological niche and potential distribution locally in Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA), central-Eastern Laos. We investigate niche differentiation of morphologically similar species using four sympatric macaque species in NNT NPA, as our model species: rhesus Macaca mulatta (Taxonomic Serial Number, TSN 180099), Northern pig-tailed M. leonina (TSN not listed); Assamese M. assamensis (TSN 573018) and stump-tailed M. arctoides (TSN 573017). We examine the implications for their conservation. We obtained occurrence data of macaque species from systematic 2006–2011 camera-trapping surveys and 2011–2012 transect surveys and model their niche and potential distribution with MaxEnt software using 25 environmental and topographic variables. The respective suitable habitat predicted for each species reveals niche segregation between the four species with a gradual geographical distribution following an

  9. Predicting ecological roles in the rhizosphere using metabolome and transportome modeling

    SciTech Connect

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.

    2015-09-02

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. New algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter of plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data.

  10. Predicting Ecological Roles in the Rhizosphere Using Metabolome and Transportome Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang

    2015-01-01

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. However, new algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter of plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data. PMID:26332409

  11. Applying the concept of the ecological niche and a macroecological approach to understand how climate influences zooplankton: Advantages, assumptions, limitations and requirements

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beaugrand, Gregory; Mackas, Dave; Goberville, Eric

    2013-04-01

    Ecosystem effects of climate change have been detected in all components of the Earth System. In the marine biosphere, climate-change responses have caused large and well-documented biogeographical and phenological shifts, which have in turn altered local dominance hierarchies, and also the structure, diversity and functional linkages within regional marine ecosystems. There is an urgent need to improve both our knowledge of the global-scale effects of climate change on marine biodiversity and our capacity to project future impacts. But extrapolation of previously estimated changes to additional places and to future conditions is complicated by non-linear responses to environmental variables, and also by complexities of multivariate interaction that can lead to tipping-points. In this paper, we show how observations from widely-spaced locations can be combined to characterise the ecological niche of a species, and how the concept of the niche can be used to understand and project how climate-induced changes in temperatures will alter marine zooplankton both locally and globally. As an example to illustrate our view, we apply this framework to the relatively well-known copepod Calanus finmarchicus. Our results suggest that climate change will strongly affect the local abundance of this species in the North Atlantic Ocean by the end of this century. Predicted changes are large (e.g. increase by ±6-10-fold of the temporal changes in the abundance of C. finmarchicus) and vary as a function of the magnitude of warming and the local sign and steepness of the thermal niche. Substantial rates of change hold even under optimistic climatic scenarii. After reviewing the main limitations of the niche concept in bioclimatological research, we argue that the application of this concept in ecology and bioclimatology might nevertheless represent the best tool currently available to scientists to discern and anticipate the effect of global climate change on species and ecosystems

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

    PubMed

    Ramírez-Albores, Jorge E; Bustamante, Ramiro O; Badano, Ernesto I

    2016-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

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

  14. Spatial distribution and ecological niches of non-breeding planktivorous petrels

    PubMed Central

    Navarro, Joan; Cardador, Laura; Brown, Ruth; Phillips, Richard A.

    2015-01-01

    According to niche theory, mechanisms exist that allow co-existence of organisms that would otherwise compete for the same prey and other resources. How seabirds cope with potential competition during the non-breeding period is poorly documented, particularly for small species. Here we investigate for the first time the potential role of spatial, environmental (habitat) and trophic (isotopic) segregation as niche-partitioning mechanisms during the non-breeding season for four species of highly abundant, zooplanktivorous seabird that breed sympatrically in the Southern Ocean. Spatial segregation was found to be the main partitioning mechanism; even for the two sibling species of diving petrel, which spent the non-breeding period in overlapping areas, there was evidence from distribution and stable isotope ratios for differences in habitat use and diving depth. PMID:26165162

  15. Spatial distribution and ecological niches of non-breeding planktivorous petrels.

    PubMed

    Navarro, Joan; Cardador, Laura; Brown, Ruth; Phillips, Richard A

    2015-01-01

    According to niche theory, mechanisms exist that allow co-existence of organisms that would otherwise compete for the same prey and other resources. How seabirds cope with potential competition during the non-breeding period is poorly documented, particularly for small species. Here we investigate for the first time the potential role of spatial, environmental (habitat) and trophic (isotopic) segregation as niche-partitioning mechanisms during the non-breeding season for four species of highly abundant, zooplanktivorous seabird that breed sympatrically in the Southern Ocean. Spatial segregation was found to be the main partitioning mechanism; even for the two sibling species of diving petrel, which spent the non-breeding period in overlapping areas, there was evidence from distribution and stable isotope ratios for differences in habitat use and diving depth. PMID:26165162

  16. Persistence of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza H5N1 Virus Defined by Agro-Ecological Niche

    PubMed Central

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

    2010-01-01

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread across Eurasia and into Africa. Its persistence in a number of countries continues to disrupt poultry production, impairs smallholder livelihoods, and raises the risk a genotype adapted to human-to-human transmission may emerge. While previous studies identified domestic duck reservoirs as a primary risk factor associated with HPAI H5N1 persistence in poultry in Southeast Asia, little is known of such factors in countries with different agro-ecological conditions, and no study has investigated the impact of such conditions on HPAI H5N1 epidemiology at the global scale. This study explores the patterns of HPAI H5N1 persistence worldwide, and for China, Indonesia, and India includes individual provinces that have reported HPAI H5N1 presence during the 2004–2008 period. Multivariate analysis of a set of 14 agricultural, environmental, climatic, and socio-economic factors demonstrates in quantitative terms that a combination of six variables discriminates the areas with human cases and persistence: agricultural population density, duck density, duck by chicken density, chicken density, the product of agricultural population density and chicken output/input ratio, and purchasing power per capita. The analysis identifies five agro-ecological clusters, or niches, representing varying degrees of disease persistence. The agro-ecological distances of all study areas to the medoid of the niche with the greatest number of human cases are used to map HPAI H5N1 risk globally. The results indicate that few countries remain where HPAI H5N1 would likely persist should it be introduced. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10393-010-0324-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users. PMID:20585972

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

    PubMed

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

    2010-06-01

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 virus has spread across Eurasia and into Africa. Its persistence in a number of countries continues to disrupt poultry production, impairs smallholder livelihoods, and raises the risk a genotype adapted to human-to-human transmission may emerge. While previous studies identified domestic duck reservoirs as a primary risk factor associated with HPAI H5N1 persistence in poultry in Southeast Asia, little is known of such factors in countries with different agro-ecological conditions, and no study has investigated the impact of such conditions on HPAI H5N1 epidemiology at the global scale. This study explores the patterns of HPAI H5N1 persistence worldwide, and for China, Indonesia, and India includes individual provinces that have reported HPAI H5N1 presence during the 2004-2008 period. Multivariate analysis of a set of 14 agricultural, environmental, climatic, and socio-economic factors demonstrates in quantitative terms that a combination of six variables discriminates the areas with human cases and persistence: agricultural population density, duck density, duck by chicken density, chicken density, the product of agricultural population density and chicken output/input ratio, and purchasing power per capita. The analysis identifies five agro-ecological clusters, or niches, representing varying degrees of disease persistence. The agro-ecological distances of all study areas to the medoid of the niche with the greatest number of human cases are used to map HPAI H5N1 risk globally. The results indicate that few countries remain where HPAI H5N1 would likely persist should it be introduced. PMID:20585972

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2010-01-01

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

  19. Phylogenetic patterns of climatic, habitat and trophic niches in a European avian assemblage

    PubMed Central

    Pearman, Peter B; Lavergne, Sébastien; Roquet, Cristina; Wüest, Rafael; Zimmermann, Niklaus E; Thuiller, Wilfried

    2014-01-01

    Aim The origins of ecological diversity in continental species assemblages have long intrigued biogeographers. We apply phylogenetic comparative analyses to disentangle the evolutionary patterns of ecological niches in an assemblage of European birds. We compare phylogenetic patterns in trophic, habitat and climatic niche components. Location Europe. Methods From polygon range maps and handbook data we inferred the realized climatic, habitat and trophic niches of 405 species of breeding birds in Europe. We fitted Pagel's lambda and kappa statistics, and conducted analyses of disparity through time to compare temporal patterns of ecological diversification on all niche axes together. All observed patterns were compared with expectations based on neutral (Brownian) models of niche divergence. Results In this assemblage, patterns of phylogenetic signal (lambda) suggest that related species resemble each other less in regard to their climatic and habitat niches than they do in their trophic niche. Kappa estimates show that ecological divergence does not gradually increase with divergence time, and that this punctualism is stronger in climatic niches than in habitat and trophic niches. Observed niche disparity markedly exceeds levels expected from a Brownian model of ecological diversification, thus providing no evidence for past phylogenetic niche conservatism in these multivariate niches. Levels of multivariate disparity are greatest for the climatic niche, followed by disparity of the habitat and the trophic niches. Main conclusions Phylogenetic patterns in the three niche components differ within this avian assemblage. Variation in evolutionary rates (degree of gradualism, constancy through the tree) and/or non-random macroecological sampling probably lead here to differences in the phylogenetic structure of niche components. Testing hypotheses on the origin of these patterns requires more complete phylogenetic trees of the birds, and extended ecological data on

  20. Development of potential ecological niches in impact-induced hydrothermal systems: The small-to-medium size impacts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Versh, Evelin; Kirsimäe, Kalle; Jõeleht, Argo

    2006-12-01

    Effect of meteorite impact on the biological evolution is usually considered by its catastrophic consequences. However, the impacts can create opportunity for other organisms and the structures themselves can serve as suitable ecological niches (oases) for life. In this contribution we present results of modeling of an impact-induced hydrothermal (IHT) system in a small-to-medium sized impact crater, where the development of zones habitable for primitive hydrothermal thermophilic and hypethermophilic microorganisms was studied. The impact and geothermal modeling was verified against the 4-km diameter Kärdla complex structure, Hiiumaa Island, Estonia. If there is an sufficient amount of water present in the target (e.g., sea cover, groundwater or permafrost resources) then the differential temperature fields created by the impact initiate a hydrothermal circulation system within the crater. The results of transient fluid flow and heat transfer simulations in Kärdla suggest that immediately after impact the temperatures in the central area, which contains the most hydrothermal alteration, were well above the boiling point. However, due to efficient heat loss at the groundwater vaporization front, the vapor-dominated area disappears within a few decades. In the central uplift area, the conditions favorable for thermophilic microorganisms (temperatures <100 °C) were reached in 500-1000 years after the impact. The overall cooling to ambient temperatures in the deeper parts of the central uplift lasted for thousands of years. In the crater depression and rim area the initial temperatures, suggested by the impact modeling, were much lower - from 150 °C to ambient temperatures, except locally in fracture zones and suevite pockets. Our data suggest that in small-to-medium size impact craters with insignificant melting, the suitable conditions for hydrothermal microbial communities are established shortly (tens to few hundreds of years as maximum) after the impact in

  1. Ecological model of disaster management.

    PubMed

    Beaton, Randal; Bridges, Elizabeth; Salazar, Mary K; Oberle, Mark W; Stergachis, Andy; Thompson, Jack; Butterfield, Patricia

    2008-11-01

    The ecological model of disaster management provides a framework to guide occupational health nurses who are developing disaster management programs.This ecological model assumes that disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery occur at various levels of the organization. These nested, increasingly complex organizational levels include individual and family, workplace, community, state, tribal, federal, and global levels. The ecological model hypothesizes that these levels interact and these dynamic interactions determine disaster planning, preparedness, response, and recovery outcomes. In addition to the features of the hazard or disaster, it is also assumed that parallel disaster planning, preparedness, and response elements, logistical challenges, and flexibility, sustainability, and rehabilitation elements occur at each level of the ecological model. Finally, the model assumes that evaluation of response and recovery efforts should inform future planning and preparedness efforts. PMID:19051571

  2. The FORCLIM Eco-Physiological Growth Model for Planktic Foraminifera: a new Tool to Reconstruct Ecological Niches, Abundance and Potential Depth and Season of Growth for Fossil Foraminifera Species in Ocean Sediment Records

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lombard, F.; Labeyrie, L.; Michel, E.; Lea, D.; Spero, H. J.; Forclim, M. O.

    2007-12-01

    Paleocean hydrological reconstructions derived from planktic foraminifera isotopic ratios (δ18O and δ13C) or trace element ratio (Mg/Ca) are poorly constrained, for lack of precise knowledge on seasonality and water depth of test formation. This is particularly limiting for reconstruction of the thermocline characteristics. Various calibrations have been published, based on statistical correlation with core tops fossil fauna, sediment traps or plankton net collection. We present here what we think is the first eco-physiological model reproducing the growth of different foraminifera species in function of environmental parameter. By reproducing the main physiological rates of foraminifera (nutrition, respiration, symbiotic photosynthesis), this model estimates their growth in function of temperature, light availability and food concentration. The model is now calibrated for the species Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (dextral and sinistral forms), Neogloboquadrina dutertrei, Globigerina bulloides, Globigerinoides ruber, Globigerinoides sacculifer, Globigerinella siphonifera and Orbulina universa. Most of the model parameters are derived from newly performed experimental observations or from published data and only the influence of food concentration (in a Chl a basis) was calibrated with field observations. Using satellite data, the model predict the seasonal distribution of dominant foraminifer species over 576 field observations worldwide with efficiency higher than 60%. Moreover, the growth rate estimated for each foraminifera species can be used as an abundance indicator which allows prediction of the season and water depth at which most of the population has developed. This offers larges perspectives for both actual understanding of foraminifera role in the carbon/carbonate ocean cycle and for better quantification of paleoceanographic proxies. Forclim is a program supported by the Agence Nationale pour la Recherche and Institut National des Sciences de l

  3. Multisensory Integration and Behavioral Plasticity in Sharks from Different Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Gardiner, Jayne M.; Atema, Jelle; Hueter, Robert E.; Motta, Philip J.

    2014-01-01

    The underwater sensory world and the sensory systems of aquatic animals have become better understood in recent decades, but typically have been studied one sense at a time. A comprehensive analysis of multisensory interactions during complex behavioral tasks has remained a subject of discussion without experimental evidence. We set out to generate a general model of multisensory information extraction by aquatic animals. For our model we chose to analyze the hierarchical, integrative, and sometimes alternate use of various sensory systems during the feeding sequence in three species of sharks that differ in sensory anatomy and behavioral ecology. By blocking senses in different combinations, we show that when some of their normal sensory cues were unavailable, sharks were often still capable of successfully detecting, tracking and capturing prey by switching to alternate sensory modalities. While there were significant species differences, odor was generally the first signal detected, leading to upstream swimming and wake tracking. Closer to the prey, as more sensory cues became available, the preferred sensory modalities varied among species, with vision, hydrodynamic imaging, electroreception, and touch being important for orienting to, striking at, and capturing the prey. Experimental deprivation of senses showed how sharks exploit the many signals that comprise their sensory world, each sense coming into play as they provide more accurate information during the behavioral sequence of hunting. The results may be applicable to aquatic hunting in general and, with appropriate modification, to other types of animal behavior. PMID:24695492

  4. Multisensory integration and behavioral plasticity in sharks from different ecological niches.

    PubMed

    Gardiner, Jayne M; Atema, Jelle; Hueter, Robert E; Motta, Philip J

    2014-01-01

    The underwater sensory world and the sensory systems of aquatic animals have become better understood in recent decades, but typically have been studied one sense at a time. A comprehensive analysis of multisensory interactions during complex behavioral tasks has remained a subject of discussion without experimental evidence. We set out to generate a general model of multisensory information extraction by aquatic animals. For our model we chose to analyze the hierarchical, integrative, and sometimes alternate use of various sensory systems during the feeding sequence in three species of sharks that differ in sensory anatomy and behavioral ecology. By blocking senses in different combinations, we show that when some of their normal sensory cues were unavailable, sharks were often still capable of successfully detecting, tracking and capturing prey by switching to alternate sensory modalities. While there were significant species differences, odor was generally the first signal detected, leading to upstream swimming and wake tracking. Closer to the prey, as more sensory cues became available, the preferred sensory modalities varied among species, with vision, hydrodynamic imaging, electroreception, and touch being important for orienting to, striking at, and capturing the prey. Experimental deprivation of senses showed how sharks exploit the many signals that comprise their sensory world, each sense coming into play as they provide more accurate information during the behavioral sequence of hunting. The results may be applicable to aquatic hunting in general and, with appropriate modification, to other types of animal behavior. PMID:24695492

  5. To predict the niche, model colonization and extinction

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2015-01-01

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

  6. Explanative power of variables used in species distribution modelling: an issue of general model transferability or niche shift in the invasive Greenhouse frog ( Eleutherodactylus planirostris)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rödder, Dennis; Lötters, Stefan

    2010-09-01

    The use of species distribution models (SDMs) to predict potential distributions of species is steadily increasing. A necessary assumption when projecting models throughout space or time is that climatic niches are conservative, but recent findings of niche shifts during biological invasion of particular plant and animal species have indicated that this assumption is not categorically valid. One reason for observed shifts may relate to variable selection for modelling. In this study, we assess differences in climatic niches in the native and invasive ranges of the Greenhouse frog ( Eleutherodactylus planirostris). We analyze which variables are more ‘conserved’ in comparison to more ‘relaxed’ variables (i.e. subject to niche shift) and how they influence transferability of SDMs developed with Maxent on the basis of ten bioclimatic layers best describing the climatic requirements of the target species. We focus on degrees of niche similarity and conservatism using Schoener's index and Hellinger distance. Significance of results are tested with null models. Results indicate that the degrees of niche similarity and conservatism vary greatly among the predictive variables. Some shifts can be attributed to active habitat selection, whereas others apparently reflect variation in the availability of climate conditions or biotic interactions between the frogs' native and invasive ranges. Patterns suggesting active habitat selection also vary among variables. Our findings evoke considerable implications on the transferability of SDMs over space and time, which is strongly affected by the choice and number of predictors. The incorporation of ‘relaxed’ predictors not or only indirectly correlated with biologically meaningful predictors may lead to erroneous predictions when projecting SDMs. We recommend thorough assessments of invasive species' ecology for the identification biologically meaningful predictors facilitating transferability.

  7. Ecological reality and model validation

    SciTech Connect

    Cale, Jr, W. G.; Shugart, H. H.

    1980-01-01

    Definitions of model realism and model validation are developed. Ecological and mathematical arguments are then presented to show that model equations which explicitly treat ecosystem processes can be systematically improved such that greater realism is attained and the condition of validity is approached. Several examples are presented.

  8. The geography and ecology of plant speciation: range overlap and niche divergence in sister species

    PubMed Central

    Anacker, Brian L.; Strauss, Sharon Y.

    2014-01-01

    A goal of evolutionary biology is to understand the roles of geography and ecology in speciation. The recent shared ancestry of sister species can leave a major imprint on their geographical and ecological attributes, possibly revealing processes involved in speciation. We examined how ecological similarity, range overlap and range asymmetry are related to time since divergence of 71 sister species pairs in the California Floristic Province (CFP). We found that plants exhibit strikingly different age-range correlation patterns from those found for animals; the latter broadly support allopatric speciation as the primary mode of speciation. By contrast, plant sisters in the CFP were sympatric in 80% of cases and range sizes of sisters differed by a mean of 10-fold. Range overlap and range asymmetry were greatest in younger sisters. These results suggest that speciation mechanisms broadly grouped under ‘budding’ speciation, in which a larger ranged progenitor gives rise to a smaller ranged derivative species, are probably common. The ecological and reproductive similarity of sisters was significantly greater than that of sister–non-sister congeners for every trait assessed. However, shifts in at least one trait were present in 93% of the sister pairs; habitat and soil shifts were especially common. Ecological divergence did not increase with range overlap contrary to expectations under character displacement in sympatry. Our results suggest that vicariant speciation is more ubiquitous in animals than plants, perhaps owing to the sensitivity of plants to fine-scale environmental heterogeneity. Despite high levels of range overlap, ecological shifts in the process of budding speciation may result in low rates of fine-scale spatial co-occurrence. These results have implications for ecological studies of trait evolution and community assembly; despite high levels of sympatry, sister taxa and potentially other close relatives, may be missing from local communities

  9. Modelling the ecological-functional diversification of marine Metazoa on geological time scales.

    PubMed

    Bush, Andrew M; Novack-Gottshall, Philip M

    2012-02-23

    The ecological traits and functional capabilities of marine animals have changed significantly since their origin in the late Precambrian. These changes can be analysed quantitatively using multi-dimensional parameter spaces in which the ecological lifestyles of species are represented by particular combinations of parameter values. Here, we present models that describe the filling of this multi-dimensional 'ecospace' by ecological lifestyles during metazoan diversification. These models reflect varying assumptions about the processes that drove ecological diversification; they contrast diffusive expansion with driven expansion and niche conservatism with niche partitioning. Some models highlight the importance of interactions among organisms (ecosystem engineering and predator-prey escalation) in promoting new lifestyles or eliminating existing ones. These models reflect processes that were not mutually exclusive; rigorous analyses will continue to reveal their applicability to episodes in metazoan history. PMID:21813550

  10. Diverse capacity for 2-methylhopanoid production correlates with a specific ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Ricci, Jessica N; Coleman, Maureen L; Welander, Paula V; Sessions, Alex L; Summons, Roger E; Spear, John R; Newman, Dianne K

    2014-01-01

    Molecular fossils of 2-methylhopanoids are prominent biomarkers in modern and ancient sediments that have been used as proxies for cyanobacteria and their main metabolism, oxygenic photosynthesis. However, substantial culture and genomic-based evidence now indicates that organisms other than cyanobacteria can make 2-methylhopanoids. Because few data directly address which organisms produce 2-methylhopanoids in the environment, we used metagenomic and clone library methods to determine the environmental diversity of hpnP, the gene encoding the C-2 hopanoid methylase. Here we show that hpnP copies from alphaproteobacteria and as yet uncultured organisms are found in diverse modern environments, including some modern habitats representative of those preserved in the rock record. In contrast, cyanobacterial hpnP genes are rarer and tend to be localized to specific habitats. To move beyond understanding the taxonomic distribution of environmental 2-methylhopanoid producers, we asked whether hpnP presence might track with particular variables. We found hpnP to be significantly correlated with organisms, metabolisms and environments known to support plant–microbe interactions (P-value<10−6); in addition, we observed diverse hpnP types in closely packed microbial communities from other environments, including stromatolites, hot springs and hypersaline microbial mats. The common features of these niches indicate that 2-methylhopanoids are enriched in sessile microbial communities inhabiting environments low in oxygen and fixed nitrogen with high osmolarity. Our results support the earlier conclusion that 2-methylhopanoids are not reliable biomarkers for cyanobacteria or any other taxonomic group, and raise the new hypothesis that, instead, they are indicators of a specific environmental niche. PMID:24152713

  11. Ecological niches of major soil types in Russia: Geographical aspects of the new Russian soil classification system

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Tonkonogov, V. D.; Lebedeva, I. I.; Gerasimova, M. I.; Khokhlov, S. F.

    2009-09-01

    The factors of soil formation are not directly taken into account in the new profile-genetic Russian soil classification system; they are not reflected in the names and diagnostics of the soils. At the same time, as well as in many other modern soil classification systems, including the American Soil Taxonomy and the WRB system, the choice of the diagnostic criteria, the establishment of the relationships between them, and the setting of the quantitative boundaries between the soil taxa are based on our perception of soil geneses with due account for the factors of soil formation. In contrast to the ecological-genetic soil classification system of 1977, information on the factors of soil formation in the new system is encoded in the properties of the soil horizons. In some cases, this is insufficient for the definite geographic localization of soils and complicates the practical application of the new classification system. In this context, information on the ecological niches of soil types was included in the field manual on soil correlation-an abridged version of the soil classification system published in 2008—in the form of special tables developed for native and agrogenic soils. The analysis of these tables made it possible to outline certain geographic regularities in the distribution of soil types belonging to the trunk of postlithogenic soils.

  12. What explains patterns of species richness? The relative importance of climatic-niche evolution, morphological evolution, and ecological limits in salamanders.

    PubMed

    Kozak, Kenneth H; Wiens, John J

    2016-08-01

    A major goal of evolutionary biology and ecology is to understand why species richness varies among clades. Previous studies have suggested that variation in richness among clades might be related to variation in rates of morphological evolution among clades (e.g., body size and shape). Other studies have suggested that richness patterns might be related to variation in rates of climatic-niche evolution. However, few studies, if any, have tested the relative importance of these variables in explaining patterns of richness among clades. Here, we test their relative importance among major clades of Plethodontidae, the most species-rich family of salamanders. Earlier studies have suggested that climatic-niche evolution explains patterns of diversification among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. A subsequent study stated that rates of morphological evolution instead explained patterns of species richness among plethodontid clades (along with "ecological limits" on richness of clades, leading to saturation of clades with species, given limited resources). However, they did not consider climatic-niche evolution. Using phylogenetic multiple regression, we show that rates of climatic-niche evolution explain most variation in richness among plethodontid clades, whereas rates of morphological evolution do not. We find little evidence that ecological limits explain patterns of richness among plethodontid clades. We also test whether rates of morphological and climatic-niche evolution are correlated, and find that they are not. Overall, our results help explain richness patterns in a major amphibian group and provide possibly the first test of the relative importance of climatic niches and morphological evolution in explaining diversity patterns. PMID:27547367

  13. No species is an island: testing the effects of biotic interactions on models of avian niche occupation

    PubMed Central

    Morelli, Federico; Tryjanowski, Piotr

    2015-01-01

    Traditionally, the niche of a species is described as a hypothetical 3D space, constituted by well-known biotic interactions (e.g. predation, competition, trophic relationships, resource–consumer interactions, etc.) and various abiotic environmental factors. Species distribution models (SDMs), also called “niche models” and often used to predict wildlife distribution at landscape scale, are typically constructed using abiotic factors with biotic interactions generally been ignored. Here, we compared the goodness of fit of SDMs for red-backed shrike Lanius collurio in farmlands of Western Poland, using both the classical approach (modeled only on environmental variables) and the approach which included also other potentially associated bird species. The potential associations among species were derived from the relevant ecological literature and by a correlation matrix of occurrences. Our findings highlight the importance of including heterospecific interactions in improving our understanding of niche occupation for bird species. We suggest that suite of measures currently used to quantify realized species niches could be improved by also considering the occurrence of certain associated species. Then, an hypothetical “species 1” can use the occurrence of a successfully established individual of “species 2” as indicator or “trace” of the location of available suitable habitat to breed. We hypothesize this kind of biotic interaction as the “heterospecific trace effect” (HTE): an interaction based on the availability and use of “public information” provided by individuals from different species. Finally, we discuss about the incomes of biotic interactions for enhancing the predictive capacities on species distribution models. PMID:25691996

  14. Altered niche of an ecologically significant urchin species, Centrostephanus rodgersii, in its extended range revealed using an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Perkins, Nicholas R.; Hill, Nicole A.; Foster, Scott D.; Barrett, Neville S.

    2015-03-01

    Poleward range shifts of species as a result of global climate change are being increasingly documented. As species extend into new ranges their ecological impacts and the niches that they occupy may be unpredictable. We use benthic imagery obtained from the broad-scale deployment of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to quantify the depth distribution of barrens habitat formed by a recent range extension of the sea urchin species, Centrostephanus rodgersii, a known ecosystem engineer. AUV transects covering similar depths from both the historical range of New South Wales, Australia, and from the range extension area of the east coast of Tasmania were examined for the presence of barrens. We find that C. rodgersii occupies a different realised niche in its extended range, with barrens habitat occurring significantly deeper in Tasmanian waters (16-58 m) compared to NSW waters (7-27 m). The expansion of barrens habitat has devastating impacts on biodiversity, with flow-on effects to ecosystem services and local fisheries, and in Tasmania this threat extends to deeper, invertebrate-dominated habitats. This finding has important management implications, in particular the need to incorporate deeper reef systems into planning, with increased barrens expected under future climate change predictions. One conservation management approach is the use of no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to prevent barren establishment in representative habitats by rebuilding viable populations of urchin predators. We also examine the correlation between MPA status and the occurrence of barrens within a small, no-take Tasmanian reserve and adjacent control sites. We find that there is suggestive, but inconclusive, evidence for fewer barrens in the MPA (p = 0.07). Our study highlights the utility of a novel technology for conducting large-scale benthic surveys and monitoring the impacts of range extending species.

  15. Diversity and Habitat Niche Modeling of Candidate Archaeal Phylum Aigarchaeota

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alba, T. W.; Goertz, G.; Williams, A. J.; Cole, J. K.; Murugapiran, S. K.; Dodsworth, J. A.; Hedlund, B. P.

    2013-12-01

    ';Aigarchaeota' (formerly known as pSL4 and Hot Water Crenarchaeotic Group I (HWCGI)) is a candidate phylum of Archaea known only by 16S rRNA gene fragments from cultivation-independent microbial surveys and a single composite genome from Candidatus ';Caldiarchaeum subterraneum', an inhabitant of a subterranean gold mine in Japan. Sequences reported in various publications are found exclusively in geothermal settings, but a comprehensive assessment has not yet been performed. We mined public databases for 16S rRNA gene sequences related to known ';Aigarchaeota' and used a combination of approaches to rigorously define the phylogenetic boundaries of the phylum. The analyses supported the proposed relationship between ';Aigarchaeota', Thaumarchaeota, Crenarchaeota, and Korarchaeota in the so-called 'TACK superphylum' and identified ~200 16S rRNA genes and gene fragments belonging to ';Aigarchaeota', including those recovered from terrestrial geothermal systems on several continents (North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Oceania) and marine geothermal and subsurface samples in both the Atlantic and Pacific. ';Aigarchaeota' belonged to at least three family- to order-level groups and at least seven genus-level groups. All genus-level groups were recovered from geographically distant locations, suggesting a global distribution within amenable habitats. ';Aigarchaeota'-specific primers for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of 16S rRNA genes were designed using SP-Designer and reviewed using the Ribosomal Database Project Probe Match tool. The primers will be used to determine the presence and abundance of ';Aigarchaeota' in a wide variety of samples from terrestrial geothermal systems in the western U.S. and Asia. These phylogenetic data, along with a large geochemical database, will be analyzed using multivariate statistics to develop biogeographic and habitat niche models for ';Aigarchaeota'. This study offers the first coherent view of the

  16. The Multidimensional Nutritional Niche.

    PubMed

    Machovsky-Capuska, Gabriel E; Senior, Alistair M; Simpson, Stephen J; Raubenheimer, David

    2016-05-01

    The dietary generalist-specialist distinction plays a pivotal role in theoretical and applied ecology, conservation, invasion biology, and evolution and yet the concept remains poorly characterised. Diets, which are commonly used to define niche breadth, are almost exclusively considered in terms of foods, with little regard for the mixtures of nutrients and other compounds they contain. We use nutritional geometry (NG) to integrate nutrition with food-level approaches to the dietary niche and illustrate the application of our framework in the important context of invasion biology. We use an example that involves a model with four hypothetical nonexclusive scenarios. We additionally show how this approach can provide fresh theoretical insight into the ways nutrition and food choices impact trait evolution and trophic interactions. PMID:26993666

  17. Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community.

    PubMed

    Ellis, Crystal N; Traverse, Charles C; Mayo-Smith, Leslie; Buskirk, Sean W; Cooper, Vaughn S

    2015-02-01

    Colonization of vacant environments may catalyze adaptive diversification and be followed by competition within the nascent community. How these interactions ultimately stabilize and affect productivity are central problems in evolutionary ecology. Diversity can emerge by character displacement, in which selection favors phenotypes that exploit an alternative resource and reduce competition, or by facilitation, in which organisms change the environment and enable different genotypes or species to become established. We previously developed a model of long-term experimental evolution in which bacteria attach to a plastic bead, form a biofilm, and disperse to a new bead. Here, we focus on the evolution of coexisting mutants within a population of Burkholderia cenocepacia and how their interactions affected productivity. Adaptive mutants initially competed for space, but later competition declined, consistent with character displacement and the predicted effects of the evolved mutations. The community reached a stable equilibrium as each ecotype evolved to inhabit distinct, complementary regions of the biofilm. Interactions among ecotypes ultimately became facilitative and enhanced mixed productivity. Observing the succession of genotypes within niches illuminated changing selective forces within the community, including a fundamental role for genotypes producing small colony variants that underpin chronic infections caused by B. cenocepacia. PMID:25494960

  18. Character displacement and the evolution of niche complementarity in a model biofilm community

    PubMed Central

    Ellis, Crystal N; Traverse, Charles C; Mayo-Smith, Leslie; Buskirk, Sean W; Cooper, Vaughn S

    2015-01-01

    Colonization of vacant environments may catalyze adaptive diversification and be followed by competition within the nascent community. How these interactions ultimately stabilize and affect productivity are central problems in evolutionary ecology. Diversity can emerge by character displacement, in which selection favors phenotypes that exploit an alternative resource and reduce competition, or by facilitation, in which organisms change the environment and enable different genotypes or species to become established. We previously developed a model of long-term experimental evolution in which bacteria attach to a plastic bead, form a biofilm, and disperse to a new bead. Here, we focus on the evolution of coexisting mutants within a population of Burkholderia cenocepacia and how their interactions affected productivity. Adaptive mutants initially competed for space, but later competition declined, consistent with character displacement and the predicted effects of the evolved mutations. The community reached a stable equilibrium as each ecotype evolved to inhabit distinct, complementary regions of the biofilm. Interactions among ecotypes ultimately became facilitative and enhanced mixed productivity. Observing the succession of genotypes within niches illuminated changing selective forces within the community, including a fundamental role for genotypes producing small colony variants that underpin chronic infections caused by B. cenocepacia. PMID:25494960

  19. Mathematical model for two germline stem cells competing for niche occupancy.

    PubMed

    Tian, Jianjun Paul; Jin, Zhigang; Xie, Ting

    2012-05-01

    In the Drosophila germline stem cell ovary niche, two stem cells compete with each other for niche occupancy to maintain stem cell quality by ensuring that differentiated stem cells are rapidly pushed out the niche and replenished by normal ones (Jin et al. in Cell Stem Cell 2:39-49, 2008). To gain a deeper understanding of this biological phenomenon, we have derived a mathematical model for explaining the physical interactions between two stem cells. The model is a system of two nonlinear first order and one second order differential equations coupled with E-cadherins expression levels. The model can explain the dynamics of the competition process of two germline stem cells and may help to reveal missing information obtained from experimental results. The model predicts several qualitative features in the competition process, which may help to design rational experiments for a better understanding of the stem cell competition process. PMID:22231521

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

    PubMed Central

    Jansa, Jan; Bukovská, Petra; Gryndler, Milan

    2013-01-01

    Mycorrhizal fungi interconnect two different kinds of environments, namely the plant roots with the surrounding soil. This widespread coexistence of plants and fungi has important consequences for plant mineral nutrition, water acquisition, carbon allocation, tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses and interplant competition. Yet some current research indicates a number of important roles to be played by hyphae-associated microbes, in addition to the hyphae themselves, in foraging for and acquisition of soil resources and in transformation of organic carbon in the soil-plant systems. We critically review the available scientific evidence for the theory that the surface of mycorrhizal hyphae in soil is colonized by highly specialized microbial communities, and that these fulfill important functions in the ecology of mycorrhizal fungal hyphae such as accessing recalcitrant forms of mineral nutrients, and production of signaling and other compounds in the vicinity of the hyphae. The validity of another hypothesis will then be addressed, namely that the specific associative microbes are rewarded with exclusive access to fungal carbon, which would qualify them as hypersymbionts (i.e., symbionts of symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi). Thereafter, we ask whether recruitment of functionally different microbial assemblages by the hyphae is required under different soil conditions (questioning what evidence is available for such an effect), and we identify knowledge gaps requiring further attention. PMID:23720665

  1. Niche construction game cancer cells play

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bergman, Aviv; Gligorijevic, Bojana

    2015-10-01

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

  2. Predicting ecological roles in the rhizosphere using metabolome and transportome modeling

    DOE PAGESBeta

    Larsen, Peter E.; Collart, Frank R.; Dai, Yang; Blanchard, Jeffrey L.

    2015-09-02

    The ability to obtain complete genome sequences from bacteria in environmental samples, such as soil samples from the rhizosphere, has highlighted the microbial diversity and complexity of environmental communities. New algorithms to analyze genome sequence information in the context of community structure are needed to enhance our understanding of the specific ecological roles of these organisms in soil environments. We present a machine learning approach using sequenced Pseudomonad genomes coupled with outputs of metabolic and transportomic computational models for identifying the most predictive molecular mechanisms indicative of a Pseudomonad’s ecological role in the rhizosphere: a biofilm, biocontrol agent, promoter ofmore » plant growth, or plant pathogen. Computational predictions of ecological niche were highly accurate overall with models trained on transportomic model output being the most accurate (Leave One Out Validation F-scores between 0.82 and 0.89). The strongest predictive molecular mechanism features for rhizosphere ecological niche overlap with many previously reported analyses of Pseudomonad interactions in the rhizosphere, suggesting that this approach successfully informs a system-scale level understanding of how Pseudomonads sense and interact with their environments. The observation that an organism’s transportome is highly predictive of its ecological niche is a novel discovery and may have implications in our understanding microbial ecology. The framework developed here can be generalized to the analysis of any bacteria across a wide range of environments and ecological niches making this approach a powerful tool for providing insights into functional predictions from bacterial genomic data.« less

  3. Using Intact Iron Microbial Mats to Gain Insights Into Mat Ecology and Geochemical Niche at the Microbial Scale

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Glazer, B. T.; Chan, C. S. Y.; Mcallister, S.; Leavitt, A.; Emerson, D.

    2015-12-01

    Microbial mats are formed by microorganisms working in coordinated symbiosis, often benefitting the community by controlling the local geochemical or physical environment. Thus, the ecology of the mat depends on the individual roles of microbes organized into niches within a larger architecture. Chemolithotrophic Fe-oxidizing bacteria (FeOB) form distinctive Fe oxyhydroxide biominerals which constitute the building blocks of the mat. However, the majority of our progress has been in understanding the overall community structure. Understanding the physical mat structure on the microbial scale is important to unraveling FeOB evolution, the biogeochemistry and ecology of Fe-rich habitats, and ultimately interpreting FeOB biosignatures in the rock record. Mats in freshwater and marine environments contain strikingly similar biomineral morphologies, yet they are formed by phylogenetically distinct microorganisms. This suggests that the overall architecture and underlying genetics of freshwater and marine mats has evolved to serve particular roles specific to Fe oxidation. Thus, we conducted a comparative study of Fe seep freshwater mats and marine hydrothermal mats. We have developed a new approach to sampling Fe mats in order to preserve the delicate structure for analysis by confocal and scanning electron microscopy. Our analyses of these intact mats show that freshwater and marine mats are similarly initiated by a single type of structure-former. These ecosystem engineers form either a hollow sheath or a twisted stalk biomineral during mat formation, with a highly directional structure. These microbes appear to be the vanguard organisms that anchor the community within oxygen/Fe(II) gradients, further allowing for community succession in the mat interior as evidenced by other mineralized morphologies. Patterns in biomineral thickness and directionality were indicative of redox gradients and temporal changes in the geochemical environment. These observations show that

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

    PubMed Central

    Iriki, Atsushi; Taoka, Miki

    2012-01-01

    Hominin evolution has involved a continuous process of addition of new kinds of cognitive capacity, including those relating to manufacture and use of tools and to the establishment of linguistic faculties. The dramatic expansion of the brain that accompanied additions of new functional areas would have supported such continuous evolution. Extended brain functions would have driven rapid and drastic changes in the hominin ecological niche, which in turn demanded further brain resources to adapt to it. In this way, humans have constructed a novel niche in each of the ecological, cognitive and neural domains, whose interactions accelerated their individual evolution through a process of triadic niche construction. Human higher cognitive activity can therefore be viewed holistically as one component in a terrestrial ecosystem. The brain's functional characteristics seem to play a key role in this triadic interaction. We advance a speculative argument about the origins of its neurobiological mechanisms, as an extension (with wider scope) of the evolutionary principles of adaptive function in the animal nervous system. The brain mechanisms that subserve tool use may bridge the gap between gesture and language—the site of such integration seems to be the parietal and extending opercular cortices. PMID:22106423

  5. Range wide molecular data and niche modeling revealed the Pleistocene history of a global invader (Halyomorpha halys)

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Geng-Ping; Ye, Zhen; Du, Juan; Zhang, Dan-Li; Zhen, Ya-hui; Zheng, Chen-guang; Zhao, Li; Li, Min; Bu, Wen-Jun

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species’ Pleistocene history contains much information on its present population structure, dispersability and adaptability. In this study, the Pleistocene history of a global invasive pest (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB, Halyomorpha halys) was unveiled using the coupled approach of phylogeography and ecological niche modelling. Rangewide molecular data suggests that the Taiwan and other native populations had diverged in mid-Pleistocene. In mainland China, the native BMSB did not experience population contraction and divergence during last glacial, but persisted in interconnected populations. Combined Bayesian Skyline Plot (BSP) and niche modelling revealed a rapid expansion occurred during the transition of Last Inter Glacial (LIG) to Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). High genetic diversity and multi-reticular haplotypes network exist in the original sources populations of BMSB invasion in northern China. They were speculated to be colonized from the central China, with many derived haplotypes evolved to adapt the novel environment. The ENM future prediction suggest that BMSB may expand northward to higher latitudes in the US and Europe, because of its high invasive ability, together with the available suitable climate space there. PMID:26996353

  6. Range wide molecular data and niche modeling revealed the Pleistocene history of a global invader (Halyomorpha halys).

    PubMed

    Zhu, Geng-Ping; Ye, Zhen; Du, Juan; Zhang, Dan-Li; Zhen, Ya-hui; Zheng, Chen-guang; Zhao, Li; Li, Min; Bu, Wen-Jun

    2016-01-01

    Invasive species' Pleistocene history contains much information on its present population structure, dispersability and adaptability. In this study, the Pleistocene history of a global invasive pest (Brown Marmorated Stink Bug BMSB, Halyomorpha halys) was unveiled using the coupled approach of phylogeography and ecological niche modelling. Rangewide molecular data suggests that the Taiwan and other native populations had diverged in mid-Pleistocene. In mainland China, the native BMSB did not experience population contraction and divergence during last glacial, but persisted in interconnected populations. Combined Bayesian Skyline Plot (BSP) and niche modelling revealed a rapid expansion occurred during the transition of Last Inter Glacial (LIG) to Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). High genetic diversity and multi-reticular haplotypes network exist in the original sources populations of BMSB invasion in northern China. They were speculated to be colonized from the central China, with many derived haplotypes evolved to adapt the novel environment. The ENM future prediction suggest that BMSB may expand northward to higher latitudes in the US and Europe, because of its high invasive ability, together with the available suitable climate space there. PMID:26996353

  7. A framework for using niche models to estimate impacts of climate change on species distributions.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Robert P

    2013-09-01

    Predicting species geographic distributions in the future is an important yet exceptionally challenging endeavor. Overall, it requires a two-step process: (1) a niche model characterizing suitability, applied to projections of future conditions and linked to (2) a dispersal/demographic simulation estimating the species' future occupied distribution. Despite limitations, for the vast majority of species, correlative approaches are the most feasible avenue for building niche models. In addition to myriad technical issues regarding model building, researchers should follow critical principles for selecting predictor variables and occurrence data, demonstrating effective performance in prediction across space, and extrapolating into nonanalog conditions. Many of these principles relate directly to the niche space, dispersal/demographic noise, biotic noise, and human noise assumptions defined here. Issues requiring progress include modeling interactions between abiotic variables, integrating biotic variables, considering genetic heterogeneity, and quantifying uncertainty. Once built, the niche model identifying currently suitable conditions must be processed to approximate the areas that the species occupies. That estimate serves as a seed for the simulation of persistence, dispersal, and establishment in future suitable areas. The dispersal/demographic simulation also requires data regarding the species' dispersal ability and demography, scenarios for future land use, and the capability of considering multiple interacting species simultaneously. PMID:25098379

  8. The contribution of a niche-based approach to ecological risk assessment: using macroinvertebrate species under multiple stressors.

    PubMed

    Colas, Fanny; Vigneron, Amandine; Felten, Vincent; Devin, Simon

    2014-02-01

    We propose that a niche-based experimental approach at population level could be used to solve some uncertainties in traditional approaches in ecotoxicology. We tested this approach in the context of multiple stressors (i.e. chemical and physical) in a selection of six run-of-river reservoirs with different levels of sediment contamination and associated upstream and downstream river sites. A niche-based approach was tested using three functional traits (habitat, food preferences and body size) and discrepancy between the realized and theoretical niches. We first identified three groups of taxa and then recorded differences along the disturbance gradients, such as an increase in competition, a narrowing of spatial and trophic niche breadth (e.g. of Leuctra major and Gammarus pulex), a widening of spatial niche breadth (e.g. of Ephemerella ignita), a greater proportion of small individuals (e.g. of G. pulex) and a decreasing or an increasing (e.g. L. major) discrepancy between realized and theoretical niches. PMID:24212068

  9. Climate, niche, ticks, and models: what they are and how we should interpret them.

    PubMed

    Estrada-Peña, Agustín

    2008-12-01

    Ticks spend most of their life cycle in the environment, and all tick life cycle stages are dependent on a complex combination of climate variables. Furthermore, host availability and vegetation significantly modulate the dynamics of tick populations. Tick recruitment is dependent on successful reproduction, which in turn requires sufficient adult tick densities, available blood meal sources, and egg survival. Though many animals can serve as hosts, there are several determinants of host suitability. For example, host availability in time and space is an important determinant of tick bionomics. Shelter and protection from environmental extremes are critical to tick survival. Questing and diapausing ticks are vulnerable to extremes of temperature and humidity. There are concerns about how predicted climate change may alter several critical features of host-parasite relationships of ticks, the potential for invasion of new areas or alteration of patterns of pathogen transmission in particular. However, modeling approaches that relate known occurrences of tick species to climate (and/or landscape) features and predict geographic occurrences are not completely fulfilling our needs to understand how the "tick panorama" can change as a consequence of these climate trends. This is a short review about the concept of ecological niche as applied to ticks, as well as some raised concerns about its evaluation and strict definition, and its usefulness to map geographical suitability for ticks. Comments about how climate, hosts, and landscape configuration are briefly discussed regarding its applicability to tick mapping and with reference about their impact on tick abundance. I will further comment on already published observations about observed changes in the geographical range of ticks in parts of Europe. PMID:19030890

  10. Diatom Cooccurrence Shows Less Segregation than Predicted from Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Soininen, Janne; Alard, Didier; Rosebery, Juliette

    2016-01-01

    Species cooccurrence patterns give significant insights into the processes shaping communities. While biotic interactions have been widely studied using cooccurrence analyses in animals and larger plants, studies about cooccurrences among micro-organisms are still relatively rare. We examined stream diatom cooccurrences in France through a national database of samples. In order to test the relative influence of environmental, biotic and spatial constraints on species’ incidence distribution, cooccurrence and nestedness patterns of real communities were compared with the patterns generated from a set of standard and environmentally constrained null models. Real communities showed a higher level of segregation than the most conservative standard null models, but a general aggregation of cooccurrences when compared to environmentally constrained null models. We did not find any evidence of limiting similarity between cooccurring species. Aggregations of species cooccurrences were associated with the high levels of nestedness. Altogether, these results suggested that biotic interactions were not structuring cooccurrences of diatom species at our study scale. Instead, the patterns were more likely to be related with colonization patterns, mass effect, and local temporal dynamics of diatom biofilms. We further highlight that the association of standard and environmentally constrained null models may give realistic insight into the cooccurrence patterns of microbial communities. PMID:27128737

  11. Diatom Cooccurrence Shows Less Segregation than Predicted from Niche Modeling.

    PubMed

    Bottin, Marius; Soininen, Janne; Alard, Didier; Rosebery, Juliette

    2016-01-01

    Species cooccurrence patterns give significant insights into the processes shaping communities. While biotic interactions have been widely studied using cooccurrence analyses in animals and larger plants, studies about cooccurrences among micro-organisms are still relatively rare. We examined stream diatom cooccurrences in France through a national database of samples. In order to test the relative influence of environmental, biotic and spatial constraints on species' incidence distribution, cooccurrence and nestedness patterns of real communities were compared with the patterns generated from a set of standard and environmentally constrained null models. Real communities showed a higher level of segregation than the most conservative standard null models, but a general aggregation of cooccurrences when compared to environmentally constrained null models. We did not find any evidence of limiting similarity between cooccurring species. Aggregations of species cooccurrences were associated with the high levels of nestedness. Altogether, these results suggested that biotic interactions were not structuring cooccurrences of diatom species at our study scale. Instead, the patterns were more likely to be related with colonization patterns, mass effect, and local temporal dynamics of diatom biofilms. We further highlight that the association of standard and environmentally constrained null models may give realistic insight into the cooccurrence patterns of microbial communities. PMID:27128737

  12. Habitat suitability modelling reveals a strong niche overlap between two poorly known species, the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge, in the north of Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Acevedo, Pelayo; Alzaga, Vanesa; Cassinello, Jorge; Gortázar, Christian

    2007-03-01

    In the present work, we derive a habitat suitability model of the broom hare and the Pyrenean grey partridge in the Cantabrian Mountains by using the Ecological Niche Factor Analysis. Both species are endemic to the northern of Iberian mountains, and because of the vulnerability of the hare to endangerment or extinction and because of the great interest in the partridge, this habitat requires specific conservation measures. Literature on these animals' biology and ecology is practically nonexistent. Habitat suitability analyses show that the hare and partridge occupy very similar ecological niches, characterized by a high percentage of broom and heather scrublands, high altitude and slope, and limited human accessibility. We have identified differences in habitat selection between the Pyrenean grey partridge and other subspecies of partridge present in central-northern Europe. Our results indicate a probable metapopulation structure for both the hare and partridge; however, according to our predictive maps, there is a high connectivity between suitable habitats. Current decline of traditional rural activities, such as mountain livestock, are affecting the mosaic landscape. This, in turn, enhances biodiversity in the area and, particularly, the viability of these valuable animal populations.

  13. DYNAMIC LANDSCAPES, STABILITY AND ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    The image of a ball rolling along a series of hills and valleys is an effective heuristic by which to communicate stability concepts in ecology. However, the dynamics of this landscape model have little to do with ecological systems. Other landscape representations, however, are ...

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    The role of ecological niche in lineage diversification has been the subject of long-standing interest of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Gynandropaa frogs diversified into three independent clades endemic to the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, we address the question whether these clades kept the same niche after separation, and what it tells us about possible diversification processes. We applied predictions in geographical (G)-space and tests of niche conservatism in environmental (E)-space. Niche models in G-space indicate separate regions with high suitability for the different clades, with some potential areas of sympatry. While the pair of central and eastern clades displayed the largest niche overlap for most variables, and strict niche equivalency was rejected for all clade-pairs, we found no strong evidence for niche divergence, but rather the signature of niche conservatism compared to null models in E-space. These results suggest a common ancestral ecological niche, and as such give good support to divergence through allopatric speciation, but alternative explanations are also possible. Our findings illustrate how testing for niche conservatism in lineage diversification can provide insights into underlying speciation processes, and how this information may guide further research and conservation practices, as illustrated here for amphibians on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. PMID:27601098

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    The role of ecological niche in lineage diversification has been the subject of long-standing interest of ecologists and evolutionary biologists. Gynandropaa frogs diversified into three independent clades endemic to the southeastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Here, we address the question whether these clades kept the same niche after separation, and what it tells us about possible diversification processes. We applied predictions in geographical (G)-space and tests of niche conservatism in environmental (E)-space. Niche models in G-space indicate separate regions with high suitability for the different clades, with some potential areas of sympatry. While the pair of central and eastern clades displayed the largest niche overlap for most variables, and strict niche equivalency was rejected for all clade-pairs, we found no strong evidence for niche divergence, but rather the signature of niche conservatism compared to null models in E-space. These results suggest a common ancestral ecological niche, and as such give good support to divergence through allopatric speciation, but alternative explanations are also possible. Our findings illustrate how testing for niche conservatism in lineage diversification can provide insights into underlying speciation processes, and how this information may guide further research and conservation practices, as illustrated here for amphibians on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. PMID:27601098

  16. Modeling extreme risks in ecology.

    PubMed

    Burgman, Mark; Franklin, James; Hayes, Keith R; Hosack, Geoffrey R; Peters, Gareth W; Sisson, Scott A

    2012-11-01

    Extreme risks in ecology are typified by circumstances in which data are sporadic or unavailable, understanding is poor, and decisions are urgently needed. Expert judgments are pervasive and disagreements among experts are commonplace. We outline approaches to evaluating extreme risks in ecology that rely on stochastic simulation, with a particular focus on methods to evaluate the likelihood of extinction and quasi-extinction of threatened species, and the likelihood of establishment and spread of invasive pests. We evaluate the importance of assumptions in these assessments and the potential of some new approaches to account for these uncertainties, including hierarchical estimation procedures and generalized extreme value distributions. We conclude by examining the treatment of consequences in extreme risk analysis in ecology and how expert judgment may better be harnessed to evaluate extreme risks. PMID:22817845

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Niche construction has received increasing attention in recent years as a vital force in evolution and examples of niche construction have been identified in a wide variety of taxa, but viruses are conspicuously absent. In this study we explore how niche construction can lead to viruses engineering their hosts (including behavioural manipulation) with feedback on selective pressures for viral transmission and virulence. To illustrate this concept we focus on Baculoviridae, a family of invertebrate viruses that have evolved to modify the feeding behaviour of their lepidopteran hosts and liquefy their cadavers as part of the course of infection. Results We present a mathematical model showing how niche construction leads to feedback from the behavioural manipulation to the liquefaction of the host, linking the evolution of both of these traits, and show how this association arises from the action of niche construction. Model results show that niche construction is plausible in this system and delineates the conditions under which niche construction will occur. Niche construction in this system is also shown to be sensitive to parameter values that reflect ecological forces. Conclusions Our model demonstrates that niche construction can be a potent force in viral evolution and can lead to the acquisition and maintenance of the behavioural manipulation and liquefaction traits in Baculoviridae via the niche constructing effects on the host. These results show the potential for niche construction theory to provide new insights into viral evolution. PMID:23953199

  18. Life History Traits and Niche Instability Impact Accuracy and Temporal Transferability for Historically Calibrated Distribution Models of North American Birds

    PubMed Central

    Wogan, Guinevere O. U.

    2016-01-01

    A primary assumption of environmental niche models (ENMs) is that models are both accurate and transferable across geography or time; however, recent work has shown that models may be accurate but not highly transferable. While some of this is due to modeling technique, individual species ecologies may also underlie this phenomenon. Life history traits certainly influence the accuracy of predictive ENMs, but their impact on model transferability is less understood. This study investigated how life history traits influence the predictive accuracy and transferability of ENMs using historically calibrated models for birds. In this study I used historical occurrence and climate data (1950-1990s) to build models for a sample of birds, and then projected them forward to the ‘future’ (1960-1990s). The models were then validated against models generated from occurrence data at that ‘future’ time. Internal and external validation metrics, as well as metrics assessing transferability, and Generalized Linear Models were used to identify life history traits that were significant predictors of accuracy and transferability. This study found that the predictive ability of ENMs differs with regard to life history characteristics such as range, migration, and habitat, and that the rarity versus commonness of a species affects the predicted stability and overlap and hence the transferability of projected models. Projected ENMs with both high accuracy and transferability scores, still sometimes suffered from over- or under- predicted species ranges. Life history traits certainly influenced the accuracy of predictive ENMs for birds, but while aspects of geographic range impact model transferability, the mechanisms underlying this are less understood. PMID:26959979

  19. A model of ecological and evolutionary consequences of color polymorphism.

    PubMed

    Forsman, Anders; Ahnesjö, Jonas; Caesar, Sofia; Karlsson, Magnus

    2008-01-01

    We summarize direct and indirect effects on fitness components of animal color pattern and present a synthesis of theories concerning the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of chromatic multiple niche polymorphisms. Previous endeavors have aimed primarily at identifying conditions that promote the evolution and maintenance of polymorphisms. We consider in a conceptual model also the reciprocal influence of color polymorphism on population processes and propose that polymorphism entails selective advantages that may promote the ecological success of polymorphic species. The model begins with an evolutionary branching event from mono- to polymorphic condition that, under the influence of correlational selection, is predicted to promote the evolution of physical integration of coloration and other traits (cf. multi-trait coevolution and complex phenotypes). We propose that the coexistence within a population of alternative ecomorphs with coadapted gene complexes promotes utilization of diverse environmental resources, population stability and persistence, colonization success, and range expansions, and enhances the evolutionary potential and speciation. Conversely, we predict polymorphic populations to be less vulnerable to environmental change and at lower risk of range contractions and extinctions compared with monomorphic populations. We offer brief suggestions as to how these falsifiable predictions may be tested. PMID:18376544

  20. Modelling the multidimensional niche by linking functional traits to competitive performance.

    PubMed

    Maynard, Daniel S; Leonard, Kenneth E; Drake, John M; Hall, David W; Crowther, Thomas W; Bradford, Mark A

    2015-07-22

    Linking competitive outcomes to environmental conditions is necessary for understanding species' distributions and responses to environmental change. Despite this importance, generalizable approaches for predicting competitive outcomes across abiotic gradients are lacking, driven largely by the highly complex and context-dependent nature of biotic interactions. Here, we present and empirically test a novel niche model that uses functional traits to model the niche space of organisms and predict competitive outcomes of co-occurring populations across multiple resource gradients. The model makes no assumptions about the underlying mode of competition and instead applies to those settings where relative competitive ability across environments correlates with a quantifiable performance metric. To test the model, a series of controlled microcosm experiments were conducted using genetically related strains of a widespread microbe. The model identified trait microevolution and performance differences among strains, with the predicted competitive ability of each organism mapped across a two-dimensional carbon and nitrogen resource space. Areas of coexistence and competitive dominance between strains were identified,and the predicted competitive outcomes were validated in approximately 95% of the pairings. By linking trait variation to competitive ability, our work demonstrates a generalizable approach for predicting and modelling competitive outcomes across changing environmental contexts. PMID:26136444

  1. The Homo habitat niche: using the avian fossil record to depict ecological characteristics of Palaeolithic Eurasian hominins

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Finlayson, Clive; Carrión, José; Brown, Kimberly; Finlayson, Geraldine; Sánchez-Marco, Antonio; Fa, Darren; Rodríguez-Vidal, Joaquín; Fernández, Santiago; Fierro, Elena; Bernal-Gómez, Marco; Giles-Pacheco, Francisco

    2011-06-01

    Although hardly applied to human palaeoecology, bird fossils offer a unique opportunity for quantitative studies of the hominin habitat. Here we reconstruct the Homo habitat niche across a large area of the Palaearctic, based on a database of avian fauna for Pleistocene sites. Our results reveal a striking association between Homo and habitat mosaics. A mix of open savannah-type woodland, wetlands and rocky habitats emerges as the predominant combination occupied by Homo across a wide geographical area, from the earliest populations of the Lower Palaeolithic to the latest hunter-gatherer communities of the Upper Palaeolithic. This observation is in keeping with the view that such landscapes have had long standing selective value for hominins.

  2. An Interdisciplinary Model for Teaching Evolutionary Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Coletta, John

    1992-01-01

    Describes a general systems evolutionary model and demonstrates how a previously established ecological model is a function of its past development based on the evolution of the rock, nutrient, and water cycles. Discusses the applications of the model in environmental education. (MDH)

  3. Morphological and niche divergence of pinyon pines.

    PubMed

    Ortiz-Medrano, Alejandra; Scantlebury, Daniel Patrick; Vázquez-Lobo, Alejandra; Mastretta-Yanes, Alicia; Piñero, Daniel

    2016-05-01

    The environmental variables that define a species ecological niche should be associated with the evolutionary patterns present in the adaptations that resulted from living in these conditions. Thus, when comparing across species, we can expect to find an association between phylogenetically independent phenotypic characters and ecological niche evolution. Few studies have evaluated how organismal phenotypes might mirror patterns of niche evolution if these phenotypes reflect adaptations. Doing so could contribute on the understanding of the origin and maintenance of phenotypic diversity observed in nature. Here, we show the pattern of niche evolution of the pinyon pine lineage (Pinus subsection Cembroides); then, we suggest morphological adaptations possibly related to niche divergence, and finally, we test for correlation between ecological niche and morphology. We demonstrate that niche divergence is the general pattern within the clade and that it is positively correlated with adaptation. PMID:27092235

  4. Spatial and ecological population genetic structures within two island-endemic Aeonium species of different niche width.

    PubMed

    Harter, David E V; Thiv, Mike; Weig, Alfons; Jentsch, Anke; Beierkuhnlein, Carl

    2015-10-01

    The Crassulacean genus Aeonium is a well-known example for plant species radiation on oceanic archipelagos. However, while allopatric speciation among islands is documented for this genus, the role of intra-island speciation due to population divergence by topographical isolation or ecological heterogeneity has not yet been addressed. The aim of this study was to investigate intraspecific genetic structures and to identify spatial and ecological drivers of genetic population differentiation on the island scale. We analyzed inter simple sequence repeat variation within two island-endemic Aeonium species of La Palma: one widespread generalist that covers a large variety of different habitat types (Ae. davidbramwellii) and one narrow ecological specialist (Ae. nobile), in order to assess evolutionary potentials on this island. Gene pool differentiation and genetic diversity patterns were associated with major landscape structures in both species, with phylogeographic implications. However, overall levels of genetic differentiation were low. For the generalist species, outlier loci detection and loci-environment correlation approaches indicated moderate signatures of divergent selection pressures linked to temperature and precipitation variables, while the specialist species missed such patterns. Our data point to incipient differentiation among populations, emphasizing that ecological heterogeneity and topographical structuring within the small scales of an island can foster evolutionary processes. Very likely, such processes have contributed to the radiation of Aeonium on the Canary Islands. There is also support for different evolutionary mechanisms between generalist and specialist species. PMID:26664682

  5. Tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution in Primates.

    PubMed

    Duran, Andressa; Pie, Marcio R

    2015-09-01

    Climatic niches have increasingly become a nexus in our understanding of a variety of ecological and evolutionary phenomena, from species distributions to latitudinal diversity gradients. Despite the increasing availability of comprehensive datasets on species ranges, phylogenetic histories, and georeferenced environmental conditions, studies on the evolution of climate niches have only begun to understand how niches evolve over evolutionary timescales. Here, using primates as a model system, we integrate recently developed phylogenetic comparative methods, species distribution patterns, and climatic data to explore primate climatic niche evolution, both among clades and over time. In general, we found that simple, constant-rate models provide a poor representation of how climatic niches evolve. For instance, there have been shifts in the rate of climatic niche evolution in several independent clades, particularly in response to the increasingly cooler climates of the past 10 My. Interestingly, rate accelerations greatly outnumbered rate decelerations. These results highlight the importance of considering more realistic evolutionary models that allow for the detection of heterogeneity in the tempo and mode of climatic niche evolution, as well as to infer possible constraining factors for species distributions in geographical space. PMID:26178157

  6. Ecological Misconceptions.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Munson, Bruce H.

    1994-01-01

    Presents a summary of the research literature on students' ecological conceptions and the implications of misconceptions. Topics include food webs, ecological adaptation, carrying capacity, ecosystem, and niche. (Contains 35 references.) (MKR)

  7. Saccharomyces cerevisiae: a nomadic yeast with no niche?

    PubMed Central

    Goddard, Matthew R.; Greig, Duncan

    2015-01-01

    Different species are usually thought to have specific adaptations, which allow them to occupy different ecological niches. But recent neutral ecology theory suggests that species diversity can simply be the result of random sampling, due to finite population sizes and limited dispersal. Neutral models predict that species are not necessarily adapted to specific niches, but are functionally equivalent across a range of habitats. Here, we evaluate the ecology of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, one of the most important microbial species in human history. The artificial collection, concentration and fermentation of large volumes of fruit for alcohol production produce an environment in which S. cerevisiae thrives, and therefore it is assumed that fruit is the ecological niche that S. cerevisiae inhabits and has adapted to. We find very little direct evidence that S. cerevisiae is adapted to fruit, or indeed to any other specific niche. We propose instead a neutral nomad model for S. cerevisiae, which we believe should be used as the starting hypothesis in attempting to unravel the ecology of this important microbe. PMID:25725024

  8. Light and desiccation responses of some Hymenophyllaceae (filmy ferns) from Trinidad, Venezuela and New Zealand: poikilohydry in a light-limited but low evaporation ecological niche

    PubMed Central

    Proctor, Michael C. F.

    2012-01-01

    Background and Aims Hymenophyllaceae (filmy ferns) are typically plants of shady, constantly moist habitats. They attain greatest species diversity and biomass in humid tropical montane forests and temperate hyperoceanic climates. This paper presents ecophysiological data bearing on their worldwide ecological niche space and its limits. Methods Chlorophyll fluorescence was used to monitor recovery in desiccation experiments, and for measurements of 95 % saturating irradiance [photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD95 %)] of photosynthetic electron flow and other parameters, in the New Zealand Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum, and three species each of Hymenophyllum and Trichomanes from forests in Trinidad and Venezuela. Key Results Hymenophyllum sanguinolentum was comparable in desiccation tolerance and light responses with the European species. The more common species in the two tropical forests showed PPFD95 % >100 µmol m−2 s−1, and withstood moderate desiccation (–40 MPa) for several days. The four most shade-adapted species had PPFD95 % ≤51 µmol m−2 s−1, and were sensitive to even mild and brief desiccation (–22 MPa for 3 d). Conclusions Light and desiccation responses of filmy ferns can be seen as an integrated package. At low light and windspeed in humid forests, net radiation and saturation deficit are low, and diffusion resistance high. Water loss is slow and can be supported by modest conduction from the sub-stratum. With higher irradiance, selection pressure for desiccation tolerance increases progressively. With low light and high humidity, the filmy fern pattern of adaptation is probably optimal, and the vascular plant leaf with mesophyll and stomata offers no advantage in light capture, water economy or CO2 uptake. Trade-offs between light adaptation and desiccation tolerance, and between stem conduction and water absorption through the leaf surface, underlie adaptive radiation and niche differentiation of species within the family

  9. Cosmic emergy based ecological systems modelling

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chen, H.; Chen, G. Q.; Ji, X.

    2010-09-01

    Ecological systems modelling based on the unified biophysical measure of cosmic emergy in terms of embodied cosmic exergy is illustrated in this paper with ecological accounting, simulation and scenario analysis, by a case study for the regional socio-economic ecosystem associated with the municipality of Beijing. An urbanized regional ecosystem model with eight subsystems of natural support, agriculture, urban production, population, finance, land area, potential environmental impact, and culture is representatively presented in exergy circuit language with 12 state variables governing by corresponding ecodynamic equations, and 60 flows and auxiliary variables. To characterize the regional socio-economy as an ecosystem, a series of ecological indicators based on cosmic emergy are devised. For a systematic ecological account, cosmic exergy transformities are provided for various dimensions including climate flows, natural resources, industrial products, cultural products, population with educational hierarchy, and environmental emissions. For the urban ecosystem of Beijing in the period from 1990 to 2005, ecological accounting is carried out and characterized in full details. Taking 2000 as the starting point, systems modelling is realized to predict the urban evolution in a one hundred time horizon. For systems regulation, scenario analyses with essential policy-making implications are made to illustrate the long term systems effects of the expected water diversion and rise in energy price.

  10. Prevalence and Diversity of Leptospires in Different Ecological Niches of Urban and Rural Areas of South Andaman Island

    PubMed Central

    Lall, Chandan; Kumar, K. Vinod; Raj, R. Vimal; Vedhagiri, K.; Vijayachari, P.

    2016-01-01

    Leptospirosis is an emerging disease around the globe. South Andaman Island is an endemic region for leptospirosis. We herein compared the prevalence of leptospires in urban and rural areas of South Andaman Island. The PCR detection and isolation of Leptospira revealed that pathogenic leptospires were prevalent in sewage water and household drainage water in urban areas and in paddy fields, vegetable field water, and stream water in rural areas. These results demonstrate that intermediates are ubiquitously present in the environment and may be responsible for asymptomatic infections, and also provide an insight into disease ecology. PMID:26936796

  11. Prevalence and Diversity of Leptospires in Different Ecological Niches of Urban and Rural Areas of South Andaman Island.

    PubMed

    Lall, Chandan; Kumar, K Vinod; Raj, R Vimal; Vedhagiri, K; Vijayachari, P

    2016-03-26

    Leptospirosis is an emerging disease around the globe. South Andaman Island is an endemic region for leptospirosis. We herein compared the prevalence of leptospires in urban and rural areas of South Andaman Island. The PCR detection and isolation of Leptospira revealed that pathogenic leptospires were prevalent in sewage water and household drainage water in urban areas and in paddy fields, vegetable field water, and stream water in rural areas. These results demonstrate that intermediates are ubiquitously present in the environment and may be responsible for asymptomatic infections, and also provide an insight into disease ecology. PMID:26936796

  12. Estimating niche width using stable isotopes in the face of habitat variability: a modelling case study in the marine environment.

    PubMed

    Cummings, David O; Buhl, Jerome; Lee, Raymond W; Simpson, Stephen J; Holmes, Sebastian P

    2012-01-01

    Distributions of stable isotopes have been used to infer an organism's trophic niche width, the 'isotopic niche', and examine resource partitioning. Spatial variation in the isotopic composition of prey may however confound the interpretation of isotopic signatures especially when foragers exploit resources across numerous locations. In this study the isotopic compositions from marine assemblages are modelled to determine the role of variation in the signature of prey items and the effect of dietary breadth and foraging strategies on predator signatures. Outputs from the models reveal that isotopic niche widths can be greater for populations of dietary specialists rather than for generalists, which contravenes what is generally accepted in the literature. When a range of different mixing models are applied to determine if the conversion from δ to p-space can be used to improve model accuracy, predator signature variation is increased rather than model precision. Furthermore the mixing models applied failed to correctly identify dietary specialists and/or to accurately estimate diet contributions that may identify resource partitioning. The results presented illustrate the need to collect sufficiently large sample sizes, in excess of what is collected under most current studies, across the complete distribution of a species and its prey, before attempts to use stable isotopes to make inferences about niche width can be made. PMID:22876280

  13. Social Ecological Model Analysis for ICT Integration

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Zagami, Jason

    2013-01-01

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

  14. Crisis in Context Theory: An Ecological Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Myer, Rick A.; Moore, Holly B.

    2006-01-01

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

  15. Evaluating Habitat Suitability for the Establishment of Monochamus spp. through Climate-Based Niche Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Estay, Sergio A.; Labra, Fabio A.; Sepulveda, Roger D.; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D.

    2014-01-01

    Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species. PMID:25019408

  16. Evaluating habitat suitability for the establishment of Monochamus spp. through climate-based niche modeling.

    PubMed

    Estay, Sergio A; Labra, Fabio A; Sepulveda, Roger D; Bacigalupe, Leonardo D

    2014-01-01

    Pine sawyer beetle species of the genus Monochamus are vectors of the nematode pest Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. The introduction of these species into new habitats is a constant threat for those regions where the forestry industry depends on conifers, and especially on species of Pinus. To obtain information about the potential risk of establishment of these insects in Chile, we performed climate-based niche modeling using data for five North American and four Eurasian Monochamus species using a Maxent approach. The most important variables that account for current distribution of these species are total annual precipitation and annual and seasonal average temperatures, with some differences between North American and Eurasian species. Projections of potential geographic distribution in Chile show that all species could occupy at least 37% of the area between 30° and 53°S, where industrial plantations of P. radiata are concentrated. Our results indicated that Chile seems more suitable for Eurasian than for North American species. PMID:25019408

  17. Modelling macroevolutionary patterns: An ecological perspective

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Solé, R. V.

    Complex ecosystems display well-defined macroscopic regularities suggesting that some generic dynamical rules operate at the ecosystem level where the relevance of the single-species features is rather weak. Most evolutionary theory deals with genes/species as the units of selection operating on populations. However, the role of ecological networks and external perturbations seems to be at least as important as microevolutionary events based on natural selection operating at the smalle st levels. Here we review some of the recent theoretical approximations to ecosystem evolution based on network dynamics. It is suggested that the evolutionary dynamics of ecological networks underlie fundamental laws of ecology-level dynamics which naturally decouple micro from macroevolutionary dynamics. Using simple models of macroevolution, most of the available statistical information obtained from the fossil record is remarkably well reproduced and explained within a new theoretical framework.

  18. OVERVIEW OF CLIMATE INFORMATION NEEDS FOR ECOLOGICAL EFFECTS MODELS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Atmospheric scientists engaged in climate change research require a basic understanding of how ecological effects models incorporate climate. This report provides an overview of existing ecological models that might be used to model climate change effects on vegetation. ome agric...

  19. Step back! Niche dynamics in cave-dwelling predators

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mammola, Stefano; Piano, Elena; Isaia, Marco

    2016-08-01

    The geometry of the Hutchinson's hypervolume derives from multiple selective pressures defined, on one hand, by the physiological tolerance of the species, and on the other, by intra- and interspecific competition. The quantification of these evolutionary forces is essential for the understanding of the coexistence of predators in light of competitive exclusion dynamics. We address this topic by investigating the ecological niche of two medium-sized troglophile spiders (Meta menardi and Pimoa graphitica). Over one year, we surveyed several populations in four subterranean sites in the Western Italian Alps, monitoring monthly their spatial and temporal dynamics and the associated physical and ecological variables. We assessed competition between the two species by means of multi regression techniques and by evaluating the intersection between their multidimensional hypervolumes. We detected a remarkable overlap between the microclimatic and trophic niche of M. menardi and P. graphitica, however, the former -being larger in size- resulted the best competitor in proximity of the cave entrance, causing the latter to readjust its spatial niche towards the inner part, where prey availability is scarcer ("step back effect"). In parallel to the slight variations in the subterranean microclimatic condition, the niche of the two species was also found to be seasonal dependent, varying over the year. With this work, we aim at providing new insights about the relationships among predators, demonstrating that energy-poor environments such as caves maintain the potential for diversification of predators via niche differentiation and serve as useful models for theoretical ecological studies.

  20. Ecological niches of Arctic deep-sea copepods: Vertical partitioning, dietary preferences and different trophic levels minimize inter-specific competition

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Laakmann, Silke; Kochzius, Marc; Auel, Holger

    2009-05-01

    The biodiversity of pelagic deep-sea ecosystems has received growing scientific interest in the last decade, especially in the framework of international marine biodiversity initiatives, such as Census of Marine Life (CoML). While a growing number of deep-sea zooplankton species has been identified and genetically characterized, little information is available on the mechanisms minimizing inter-specific competition and thus allowing closely related species to co-occur in the deep-sea pelagic realm. Focussing on the two dominant calanoid copepod families Euchaetidae and Aetideidae in Fram Strait, Arctic Ocean, the present study strives to characterize ecological niches of co-occurring species, with regard to vertical distribution, dietary composition as derived from lipid biomarkers, and trophic level on the basis of stable isotope signatures. Closely related species were usually restricted to different depth layers, resulting in a multi-layered vertical distribution pattern. Thus, vertical partitioning was an important mechanism to avoid inter-specific competition. Species occurring in the same depth strata usually belonged to different genera. They differed in fatty acid composition and trophic level, indicating different food preferences. Herbivorous Calanus represent major prey items for many omnivorous and carnivorous species throughout the water column. The seasonal and ontogenetic vertical migration of Calanus acts as a short-cut in food supply for pelagic deep-sea ecosystems in the Arctic.

  1. Transfer of Multidrug-Resistant Bacteria between Intermingled Ecological Niches: The Interface between Humans, Animals and the Environment

    PubMed Central

    da Costa, Paulo Martins; Loureiro, Luís; Matos, Augusto J. F.

    2013-01-01

    The use of antimicrobial agents has been claimed to be the driving force for the emergence and spread of microbial resistance. However, several studies have reported the presence of multidrug-resistant bacteria in populations exposed to low levels of antimicrobial drugs or even never exposed. For many pathogens, especially those organisms for which asymptomatic colonization typically precedes infection (e.g., Enterococcus spp. and Escherichia coli), the selective effects of antimicrobial use can only be understood if we considerer all biological and environmental pathways which enable these bacteria, and the genes they carry, to spread between different biomes. This ecological framework provides an essential perspective for formulating antimicrobial use policies, precisely because it encompasses the root causes of these problems rather than merely their consequences. PMID:23343983

  2. Agent-based modeling in ecological economics.

    PubMed

    Heckbert, Scott; Baynes, Tim; Reeson, Andrew

    2010-01-01

    Interconnected social and environmental systems are the domain of ecological economics, and models can be used to explore feedbacks and adaptations inherent in these systems. Agent-based modeling (ABM) represents autonomous entities, each with dynamic behavior and heterogeneous characteristics. Agents interact with each other and their environment, resulting in emergent outcomes at the macroscale that can be used to quantitatively analyze complex systems. ABM is contributing to research questions in ecological economics in the areas of natural resource management and land-use change, urban systems modeling, market dynamics, changes in consumer attitudes, innovation, and diffusion of technology and management practices, commons dilemmas and self-governance, and psychological aspects to human decision making and behavior change. Frontiers for ABM research in ecological economics involve advancing the empirical calibration and validation of models through mixed methods, including surveys, interviews, participatory modeling, and, notably, experimental economics to test specific decision-making hypotheses. Linking ABM with other modeling techniques at the level of emergent properties will further advance efforts to understand dynamics of social-environmental systems. PMID:20146761

  3. A comparison of two global optimization algorithms with sequential niche technique for structural model updating

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shabbir, Faisal; Omenzetter, Piotr

    2014-04-01

    Much effort is devoted nowadays to derive accurate finite element (FE) models to be used for structural health monitoring, damage detection and assessment. However, formation of a FE model representative of the original structure is a difficult task. Model updating is a branch of optimization which calibrates the FE model by comparing the modal properties of the actual structure with these of the FE predictions. As the number of experimental measurements is usually much smaller than the number of uncertain parameters, and, consequently, not all uncertain parameters are selected for model updating, different local minima may exist in the solution space. Experimental noise further exacerbates the problem. The attainment of a global solution in a multi-dimensional search space is a challenging problem. Global optimization algorithms (GOAs) have received interest in the previous decade to solve this problem, but no GOA can ensure the detection of the global minimum either. To counter this problem, a combination of GOA with sequential niche technique (SNT) has been proposed in this research which systematically searches the whole solution space. A dynamically tested full scale pedestrian bridge is taken as a case study. Two different GOAs, namely particle swarm optimization (PSO) and genetic algorithm (GA), are investigated in combination with SNT. The results of these GOA are compared in terms of their efficiency in detecting global minima. The systematic search enables to find different solutions in the search space, thus increasing the confidence of finding the global minimum.

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  5. Predicting invasion risk using measures of introduction effort and environmental niche models.

    PubMed

    Herborg, Leif-Matthias; Jerde, Christopher L; Lodge, David M; Ruiz, Gregory M; MacIsaac, Hugh J

    2007-04-01

    The Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) is native to east Asia, is established throughout Europe, and is introduced but geographically restricted in North America. We developed and compared two separate environmental niche models using genetic algorithm for rule set prediction (GARP) and mitten crab occurrences in Asia and Europe to predict the species' potential distribution in North America. Since mitten crabs must reproduce in water with >15% per hundred salinity, we limited the potential North American range to freshwater habitats within the highest documented dispersal distance (1260 km) and a more restricted dispersal limit (354 km) from the sea. Applying the higher dispersal distance, both models predicted the lower Great Lakes, most of the eastern seaboard, the Gulf of Mexico and southern extent of the Mississippi River watershed, and the Pacific northwest as suitable environment for mitten crabs, but environmental match for southern states (below 35 degrees N) was much lower for the European model. Use of the lower range with both models reduced the expected range, especially in the Great Lakes, Mississippi drainage, and inland areas of the Pacific Northwest. To estimate the risk of introduction of mitten crabs, the amount of reported ballast water discharge into major United States ports from regions in Asia and Europe with established mitten crab populations was used as an index of introduction effort. Relative risk of invasion was estimated based on a combination of environmental match and volume of unexchanged ballast water received (July 1999-December 2003) for major ports. The ports of Norfolk and Baltimore were most vulnerable to invasion and establishment, making Chesapeake Bay the most likely location to be invaded by mitten crabs in the United States. The next highest risk was predicted for Portland, Oregon. Interestingly, the port of Los Angeles/Long Beach, which has a large shipping volume, had a low risk of invasion. Ports such as

  6. Alien Invasive Slider Turtle in Unpredicted Habitat: A Matter of Niche Shift or of Predictors Studied?

    PubMed Central

    Rödder, Dennis; Schmidtlein, Sebastian; Veith, Michael; Lötters, Stefan

    2009-01-01

    Background Species Distribution Models (SDMs) aim on the characterization of a species' ecological niche and project it into geographic space. The result is a map of the species' potential distribution, which is, for instance, helpful to predict the capability of alien invasive species. With regard to alien invasive species, recently several authors observed a mismatch between potential distributions of native and invasive ranges derived from SDMs and, as an explanation, ecological niche shift during biological invasion has been suggested. We studied the physiologically well known Slider turtle from North America which today is widely distributed over the globe and address the issue of ecological niche shift versus choice of ecological predictors used for model building, i.e., by deriving SDMs using multiple sets of climatic predictor. Principal Findings In one SDM, predictors were used aiming to mirror the physiological limits of the Slider turtle. It was compared to numerous other models based on various sets of ecological predictors or predictors aiming at comprehensiveness. The SDM focusing on the study species' physiological limits depicts the target species' worldwide potential distribution better than any of the other approaches. Conclusion These results suggest that a natural history-driven understanding is crucial in developing statistical models of ecological niches (as SDMs) while “comprehensive” or “standard” sets of ecological predictors may be of limited use. PMID:19956684

  7. The importance (or lack thereof) of niche divergence to the maintenance of a northern species complex: the case of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird).

    PubMed

    Lee-Yaw, J A; Irwin, D E

    2015-04-01

    The relative importance of ecological vs. non-ecological factors for the origin and maintenance of species is an open question in evolutionary biology. Young lineages--such as the distinct genetic groups that make up the ranges of many northern species--represent an opportunity to study the importance of ecological divergence during the early stages of diversification. Yet, few studies have examined the extent of niche divergence between lineages in previously glaciated regions and the role of ecology in maintaining the contact zones between them. In this study, we used tests of niche overlap in combination with ecological niche models to explore the extent of niche divergence between lineages of the long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum Baird) species complex and to determine whether contact zones correspond to (divergent) niche limits. We found limited evidence for niche divergence between the different long-toed salamander lineages, substantial overlap in the predicted distribution of suitable climatic space for all lineages and range limits that are independent of niche limits. These results raise questions as to the importance of ecological divergence to the development of this widespread species complex and highlight the potential for non-ecological factors to play a more important role in the maintenance of northern taxa. PMID:25777044

  8. Adaptive divergence in experimental populations of Pseudomonas fluorescens. V. Insight into the niche specialist fuzzy spreader compels revision of the model Pseudomonas radiation.

    PubMed

    Ferguson, Gayle C; Bertels, Frederic; Rainey, Paul B

    2013-12-01

    Pseudomonas fluorescens is a model for the study of adaptive radiation. When propagated in a spatially structured environment, the bacterium rapidly diversifies into a range of niche specialist genotypes. Here we present a genetic dissection and phenotypic characterization of the fuzzy spreader (FS) morphotype-a type that arises repeatedly during the course of the P. fluorescens radiation and appears to colonize the bottom of static broth microcosms. The causal mutation is located within gene fuzY (pflu0478)-the fourth gene of the five-gene fuzVWXYZ operon. fuzY encodes a β-glycosyltransferase that is predicted to modify lipopolysaccharide (LPS) O antigens. The effect of the mutation is to cause cell flocculation. Analysis of 92 independent FS genotypes showed each to have arisen as the result of a loss-of-function mutation in fuzY, although different mutations have subtly different phenotypic and fitness effects. Mutations within fuzY were previously shown to suppress the phenotype of mat-forming wrinkly spreader (WS) types. This prompted a reinvestigation of FS niche preference. Time-lapse photography showed that FS colonizes the meniscus of broth microcosms, forming cellular rafts that, being too flimsy to form a mat, collapse to the vial bottom and then repeatably reform only to collapse. This led to a reassessment of the ecology of the P. fluorescens radiation. Finally, we show that ecological interactions between the three dominant emergent types (smooth, WS, and FS), combined with the interdependence of FS and WS on fuzY, can, at least in part, underpin an evolutionary arms race with bacteriophage SBW25Φ2, to which mutation in fuzY confers resistance. PMID:24077305

  9. Recent trends in environmental and ecological modelling.

    PubMed

    Jørgensen, S E

    1999-01-01

    The paper outlines the history of modelling and presents a status of ecological modelling: what is the modelling effort of various ecosystem and various environmental problems. Typical validation results and prognosis validation results of a eutrophication model are applied as an illustration of what models can do in environmental management. Structural dynamic modelling which considers parameters that are changed currently by optimisation of a so-called goal function is presented as one of the recent development to overcome one of the most crucial problems in modelling, namely to consider adaptation. Two case studies are presented to illustrate this approach, namely application of biomanipulation and eutrophication of a shallow lake. Forecast on the directions of development is finally presented. PMID:10683676

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

    PubMed

    Kolář, Filip; Fuxová, Gabriela; Záveská, Eliška; Nagano, Atsushi J; Hyklová, Lucie; Lučanová, Magdalena; Kudoh, Hiroshi; Marhold, Karol

    2016-08-01

    Quaternary climatic oscillations profoundly impacted temperate biodiversity. For many diverse yet undersampled areas, however, the consequences of this impact are still poorly known. In Europe, particular uncertainty surrounds the role of Balkans, a major hotspot of European diversity, in postglacial recolonization of more northerly areas, and the Carpathians, a debatable candidate for a northern 'cryptic' glacial refugium. Using genome-wide SNPs and microsatellites, we examined how the interplay of historical processes and niche shifts structured genetic diversity of diploid Arabidopsis arenosa, a little-known member of the plant model genus that occupies a wide niche range from sea level to alpine peaks across eastern temperate Europe. While the northern Balkans hosted one isolated endemic lineage, most of the genetic diversity was concentrated further north in the Pannonian Basin and the Carpathians, where it likely survived the last glaciation in northern refugia. Finally, a distinct postglacial environment in northern Europe was colonized by populations of admixed origin from the two Carpathian lineages. Niche differentiation along altitude-related bioclimatic gradients was the main trend in the phylogeny of A. arenosa. The most prominent niche shifts, however, characterized genetically only slightly divergent populations that expanded into narrowly defined alpine and northern coastal postglacial environments. Our study highlights the role of eastern central European mountains not only as refugia for unique temperate diversity but also sources for postglacial expansion into novel high-altitude and high-latitude niches. Knowledge of distinct genetic substructure of diploid A. arenosa also opens new opportunities for follow-up studies of this emerging model of evolutionary biology. PMID:27288974

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

    PubMed Central

    Larson, Elizabeth; Miller-Bishoff, Thomas

    2014-01-01

    Using mixed methods, this study examined the relationship of caregivers of children with disabilities’ psychological well-being (PWB) and their orchestration of daily routines within their ecological niche. Thirty-nine U.S. caregivers completed in-depth interviews, PWB Scales, and Family Time and Routines Index (FTRI). We used a multi-step analysis. Interview data was coded and vignettes created without knowledge of PWB and FTRI ratings. Next, the relationship of quantitative measures was analyzed. Four groups were created using FTRI-extent and PWB means: (1) low routine-low PWB, (2) low routine-high PWB, (3) high routine-low PWB, and (4) high routine-high PWB. We examined qualitative differences in key features between groups. Findings: Total PWB and FTRI scores were not significantly correlated, PWB Purpose in Life and FTRI-extent scores were moderately positively correlated, and PWB Environmental Mastery and FTRI-extent correlation approached significance. Qualitative findings describe caregivers’ structuring of routines, intensity of oversight, support in routines, management of dinner, paid work, and needs for respite. The four groups differed in paid work, household support, degree the child could self-occupy, Environmental Mastery, and opportunities to recuperate. Caregivers with higher levels of well-being and more regular routines did paid work, had supportive spouses, had children who more often could follow routines, had higher Environmental Mastery, could orchestrate a family meal, and had breaks from care in either work or leisure. All Native American caregivers and Mexican American caregivers with spouses were in the high routine-high PWB group. Insight into this complex negotiation between family members within daily routines may provide practitioners a better understanding of how to work within family circles to foster therapeutic alliances, identify focused intervention targets, and promote positive family wide outcomes. PMID:24910625

  12. PREDICTIONS IN AN INVADED WORLD - PART II: USING NICHE MODELS TO PREDICT DISTRIBUTIONS OF MARINE/ESTUARINE SPECIES AT THE ESTUARY SCALE

    EPA Science Inventory

    To better understand the potential geographical distributions of nonindigenous species (NIS), we are evaluating the ability of niche models to predict the presence of existing native and NIS species within individual estuaries based on landscape characteristics. One model being ...

  13. Modelling ecological systems in a changing world

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Matthew R.

    2012-01-01

    The world is changing at an unprecedented rate. In such a situation, we need to understand the nature of the change and to make predictions about the way in which it might affect systems of interest; often we may also wish to understand what might be done to mitigate the predicted effects. In ecology, we usually make such predictions (or forecasts) by making use of mathematical models that describe the system and projecting them into the future, under changed conditions. Approaches emphasizing the desirability of simple models with analytical tractability and those that use assumed causal relationships derived statistically from data currently dominate ecological modelling. Although such models are excellent at describing the way in which a system has behaved, they are poor at predicting its future state, especially in novel conditions. In order to address questions about the impact of environmental change, and to understand what, if any, action might be taken to ameliorate it, ecologists need to develop the ability to project models into novel, future conditions. This will require the development of models based on understanding the processes that result in a system behaving the way it does, rather than relying on a description of the system, as a whole, remaining valid indefinitely. PMID:22144381

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

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

  15. Ecological Model to Predict Potential Habitats of Oncomelania hupensis, the Intermediate Host of Schistosoma japonicum in the Mountainous Regions, China

    PubMed Central

    Zhu, Hong-Ru; Liu, Lu; Zhou, Xiao-Nong; Yang, Guo-Jing

    2015-01-01

    Background Schistosomiasis japonica is a parasitic disease that remains endemic in seven provinces in the People’s Republic of China (P.R. China). One of the most important measures in the process of schistosomiasis elimination in P.R. China is control of Oncomelania hupensis, the unique intermediate host snail of Schistosoma japonicum. Compared with plains/swamp and lake regions, the hilly/mountainous regions of schistosomiasis endemic areas are more complicated, which makes the snail survey difficult to conduct precisely and efficiently. There is a pressing call to identify the snail habitats of mountainous regions in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Methods Twelve out of 56 administrative villages distributed with O. hupensis in Eryuan, Yunnan Province, were randomly selected to set up the ecological model. Thirty out of the rest of 78 villages (villages selected for building model were excluded from the villages for validation) in Eryuan and 30 out of 89 villages in Midu, Yunnan Province were selected via a chessboard method for model validation, respectively. Nine-year-average Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Land Surface Temperature (LST) as well as Digital Elevation Model (DEM) covering Eryuan and Midu were extracted from MODIS and ASTER satellite images, respectively. Slope, elevation and the distance from every village to its nearest stream were derived from DEM. Suitable survival environment conditions for snails were defined by comparing historical snail presence data and remote sensing derived images. According to the suitable conditions for snails, environment factors, i.e. NDVI, LST, elevation, slope and the distance from every village to its nearest stream, were integrated into an ecological niche model to predict O. hupensis potential habitats in Eryuan and Midu. The evaluation of the model was assessed by comparing the model prediction and field investigation. Then, the consistency rate of model validation was calculated

  16. Evolutionary Responses to a Constructed Niche: Ancient Mesoamericans as a Model of Gene-Culture Coevolution

    PubMed Central

    Hünemeier, Tábita; Amorim, Carlos Eduardo Guerra; Azevedo, Soledad; Contini, Veronica; Acuña-Alonzo, Víctor; Rothhammer, Francisco; Dugoujon, Jean-Michel; Mazières, Stephane; Barrantes, Ramiro; Villarreal-Molina, María Teresa; Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Salzano, Francisco M.; Canizales-Quinteros, Samuel; Ruiz-Linares, Andres; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-01-01

    Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905) to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the FST-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele. PMID:22768049

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

    PubMed

    Hünemeier, Tábita; Amorim, Carlos Eduardo Guerra; Azevedo, Soledad; Contini, Veronica; Acuña-Alonzo, Víctor; Rothhammer, Francisco; Dugoujon, Jean-Michel; Mazières, Stephane; Barrantes, Ramiro; Villarreal-Molina, María Teresa; Paixão-Côrtes, Vanessa Rodrigues; Salzano, Francisco M; Canizales-Quinteros, Samuel; Ruiz-Linares, Andres; Bortolini, Maria Cátira

    2012-01-01

    Culture and genetics rely on two distinct but not isolated transmission systems. Cultural processes may change the human selective environment and thereby affect which individuals survive and reproduce. Here, we evaluated whether the modes of subsistence in Native American populations and the frequencies of the ABCA1*Arg230Cys polymorphism were correlated. Further, we examined whether the evolutionary consequences of the agriculturally constructed niche in Mesoamerica could be considered as a gene-culture coevolution model. For this purpose, we genotyped 229 individuals affiliated with 19 Native American populations and added data for 41 other Native American groups (n = 1905) to the analysis. In combination with the SNP cluster of a neutral region, this dataset was then used to unravel the scenario involved in 230Cys evolutionary history. The estimated age of 230Cys is compatible with its origin occurring in the American continent. The correlation of its frequencies with the archeological data on Zea pollen in Mesoamerica/Central America, the neutral coalescent simulations, and the F(ST)-based natural selection analysis suggest that maize domestication was the driving force in the increase in the frequencies of 230Cys in this region. These results may represent the first example of a gene-culture coevolution involving an autochthonous American allele. PMID:22768049

  18. A privileged intraphagocyte niche is responsible for disseminated infection of Staphylococcus aureus in a zebrafish model

    PubMed Central

    Prajsnar, Tomasz K; Hamilton, Ruth; Garcia-Lara, Jorge; McVicker, Gareth; Williams, Alexander; Boots, Michael; Foster, Simon J; Renshaw, Stephen A

    2012-01-01

    The innate immune system is the primary defence against the versatile pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus. How this organism is able to avoid immune killing and cause infections is poorly understood. Using an established larval zebrafish infection model, we have shown that overwhelming infection is due to subversion of phagocytes by staphylococci, allowing bacteria to evade killing and found foci of disease. Larval zebrafish coinfected with two S. aureus strains carrying different fluorescent reporter gene fusions (but otherwise isogenic) had bacterial lesions, at the time of host death, containing predominantly one strain. Quantitative data using two marked strains revealed that the strain ratios, during overwhelming infection, were often skewed towards the extremes, with one strain predominating. Infection with passaged bacterial clones revealed the phenomenon not to bedue to adventitious mutations acquired by the pathogen. After infection of the host, all bacteria are internalized by phagocytes and the skewing of population ratios is absolutely dependent on the presence of phagocytes. Mathematical modelling of pathogen population dynamics revealed the data patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that a small number of infected phagocytes serve as an intracellular reservoir for S. aureus, which upon release leads to disseminated infection. Strategies to specifically alter neutrophil/macrophage numbers were used to map the potential subpopulation of phagocytes acting as a pathogen reservoir, revealing neutrophils as the likely ‘niche’. Subsequently in a murine sepsis model, S. aureus abscesses in kidneys were also found to be predominantly clonal, therefore likely founded by an individual cell, suggesting a potential mechanism analogous to the zebrafish model with few protected niches. These findings add credence to the argument that S. aureus control regimes should recognize both the intracellular as well as extracellular facets of the S. aureus life cycle

  19. Microencapsulation of Neuroblastoma Cells and Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Collagen Microspheres: A 3D Model for Cancer Cell Niche Study

    PubMed Central

    Yeung, Pan; Sin, Hoi Shun; Chan, Shing; Chan, Godfrey Chi Fung; Chan, Barbara Pui

    2015-01-01

    There is a growing trend for researchers to use in vitro 3D models in cancer studies, as they can better recapitulate the complex in vivo situation. And the fact that the progression and development of tumor are closely associated to its stromal microenvironment has been increasingly recognized. The establishment of such tumor supportive niche is vital in understanding tumor progress and metastasis. The mesenchymal origin of many cells residing in the cancer niche provides the rationale to include MSCs in mimicking the niche in neuroblastoma. Here we co-encapsulate and co-culture NBCs and MSCs in a 3D in vitro model and investigate the morphology, growth kinetics and matrix remodeling in the reconstituted stromal environment. Results showed that the incorporation of MSCs in the model lead to accelerated growth of cancer cells as well as recapitulation of at least partially the tumor microenvironment in vivo. The current study therefore demonstrates the feasibility for the collagen microsphere to act as a 3D in vitro cancer model for various topics in cancer studies. PMID:26657086

  20. Plant stem cell niches.

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-01

    Multicellular organisms possess pluripotent stem cells to form new organs, replenish the daily loss of cells, or regenerate organs after injury. Stem cells are maintained in specific environments, the stem cell niches, that provide signals to block differentiation. In plants, stem cell niches are situated in the shoot, root, and vascular meristems-self-perpetuating units of organ formation. Plants' lifelong activity-which, as in the case of trees, can extend over more than a thousand years-requires that a robust regulatory network keep the balance between pluripotent stem cells and differentiating descendants. In this review, we focus on current models in plant stem cell research elaborated during the past two decades, mainly in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We address the roles of mobile signals on transcriptional modules involved in balancing cell fates. In addition, we discuss shared features of and differences between the distinct stem cell niches of Arabidopsis. PMID:22404469

  1. A niche for neutrality.

    PubMed

    Adler, Peter B; Hillerislambers, Janneke; Levine, Jonathan M

    2007-02-01

    Ecologists now recognize that controversy over the relative importance of niches and neutrality cannot be resolved by analyzing species abundance patterns. Here, we use classical coexistence theory to reframe the debate in terms of stabilizing mechanisms (niches) and fitness equivalence (neutrality). The neutral model is a special case where stabilizing mechanisms are absent and species have equivalent fitness. Instead of asking whether niches or neutral processes structure communities, we advocate determining the degree to which observed diversity reflects strong stabilizing mechanisms overcoming large fitness differences or weak stabilization operating on species of similar fitness. To answer this question, we propose combining data on per capita growth rates with models to: (i) quantify the strength of stabilizing processes; (ii) quantify fitness inequality and compare it with stabilization; and (iii) manipulate frequency dependence in growth to test the consequences of stabilization and fitness equivalence for coexistence. PMID:17257097

  2. WASP TRANSPORT MODELING AND WASP ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    A combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on excercises will be used to introduce pollutant transport modeling with the U.S. EPA's general water quality model, WASP (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program). WASP features include a user-friendly Windows-based interfa...

  3. Activity Response to Climate Seasonality in Species with Fossorial Habits: A Niche Modeling Approach Using the Lowland Burrowing Treefrog (Smilisca fodiens)

    PubMed Central

    Encarnación-Luévano, Alondra; Rojas-Soto, Octavio R.; Sigala-Rodríguez, J. Jesús

    2013-01-01

    The importance of climatic conditions in shaping the geographic distribution of amphibian species is mainly associated to their high sensitivity to environmental conditions. How they cope with climate gradients through behavioral adaptations throughout their distribution is an important issue due to the ecological and evolutionary implications for population viability. Given their low dispersal abilities, the response to seasonal climate changes may not be migration, but behavioral and physiological adaptations. Here we tested whether shifts in climatic seasonality can predict the temporal variation of surface activity of the fossorial Lowland Burrowing Treefrog (Smilisca fodiens) across its geographical distribution. We employed Ecological Niche Modeling (ENM) to perform a monthly analysis of spatial variation of suitable climatic conditions (defined by the July conditions, the month of greatest activity), and then evaluated the geographical correspondence of monthly projections with the occurrence data per month. We found that the species activity, based on the species' occurrence data, corresponds with the latitudinal variation of suitable climatic conditions. Due to the behavioral response of this fossorial frog to seasonal climate variation, we suggest that precipitation and temperature have played a major role in the definition of geographical and temporal distribution patterns, as well as in shaping behavioral adaptations to local climatic conditions. This highlights the influence of macroclimate on shaping activity patterns and the important role of fossorials habits to meet the environmental requirements necessary for survival. PMID:24244301

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-12-01

    Among the animals of the Kingdom Animalia, insects are unparalleled for their widespread diffusion, diversity and number of occupied ecological niches. In recent years they have raised researcher interest not only because of their importance as human and agricultural pests, disease vectors and as useful breeding species (e.g. honeybee and silkworm), but also because of their suitability as animal models. It is now fully recognized that microorganisms form symbiotic relationships with insects, influencing their survival, fitness, development, mating habits and the immune system and other aspects of the biology and ecology of the insect host. Thus, any research aimed at deepening the knowledge of any given insect species (perhaps species of applied interest or species emerging as novel pests or vectors) must consider the characterization of the associated microbiome. The present review critically examines the microbiology and molecular ecology techniques that can be applied to the taxonomical and functional analysis of the microbiome of non-model insects. Our goal is to provide an overview of current approaches and methods addressing the ecology and functions of microorganisms and microbiomes associated with insects. Our focus is on operational details, aiming to provide a concise guide to currently available advanced techniques, in an effort to extend insect microbiome research beyond simple descriptions of microbial communities. PMID:26476138

  5. Size, shape, and the thermal niche of endotherms

    PubMed Central

    Porter, Warren P.; Kearney, Michael

    2009-01-01

    A key challenge in ecology is to define species' niches on the basis of functional traits. Size and shape are important determinants of a species' niche but their causal role is often difficult to interpret. For endotherms, size and shape define the thermal niche through their interaction with core temperature, insulation, and environmental conditions, determining the thermoneutral zone (TNZ) where energy and water costs are minimized. Laboratory measures of metabolic rate used to describe TNZs cannot be generalized to infer the capacity for terrestrial animals to find their TNZ in complex natural environments. Here, we derive an analytical model of the thermal niche of an ellipsoid furred endotherm that accurately predicts field and laboratory data. We use the model to illustrate the relative importance of size and shape on the location of the TNZ under different environmental conditions. The interaction between body shape and posture strongly influences the location of the TNZ and the expected scaling of metabolic rate with size at constant temperature. We demonstrate that the latter relationship has a slope of approximately ½ rather than the commonly expected surface area/volume scaling of ⅔. We show how such functional traits models can be integrated with spatial environmental datasets to calculate null expectations for body size clines from a thermal perspective, aiding mechanistic interpretation of empirical clines such as Bergmann's Rule. The combination of spatially explicit data with biophysical models of heat exchange provides a powerful means for studying the thermal niches of endotherms across climatic gradients. PMID:19846790

  6. Validation of a Mechanistic Model for Non-Invasive Study of Ecological Energetics in an Endangered Wading Bird with Counter-Current Heat Exchange in its Legs

    PubMed Central

    Fitzpatrick, Megan J.; Mathewson, Paul D.; Porter, Warren P.

    2015-01-01

    Mechanistic models provide a powerful, minimally invasive tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the ecology of animals across geographic space and time. In this paper, we modified and validated the accuracy of the mechanistic model Niche Mapper for simulating heat exchanges of animals with counter-current heat exchange mechanisms in their legs and animals that wade in water. We then used Niche Mapper to explore the effects of wading and counter-current heat exchange on the energy expenditures of Whooping Cranes, a long-legged wading bird. We validated model accuracy against the energy expenditure of two captive Whooping Cranes measured using the doubly-labeled water method and time energy budgets. Energy expenditure values modeled by Niche Mapper were similar to values measured by the doubly-labeled water method and values estimated from time-energy budgets. Future studies will be able to use Niche Mapper as a non-invasive tool to explore energy-based limits to the fundamental niche of Whooping Cranes and apply this knowledge to management decisions. Basic questions about the importance of counter-current exchange and wading to animal physiological tolerances can also now be explored with the model. PMID:26308207

  7. Validation of a Mechanistic Model for Non-Invasive Study of Ecological Energetics in an Endangered Wading Bird with Counter-Current Heat Exchange in its Legs.

    PubMed

    Fitzpatrick, Megan J; Mathewson, Paul D; Porter, Warren P

    2015-01-01

    Mechanistic models provide a powerful, minimally invasive tool for gaining a deeper understanding of the ecology of animals across geographic space and time. In this paper, we modified and validated the accuracy of the mechanistic model Niche Mapper for simulating heat exchanges of animals with counter-current heat exchange mechanisms in their legs and animals that wade in water. We then used Niche Mapper to explore the effects of wading and counter-current heat exchange on the energy expenditures of Whooping Cranes, a long-legged wading bird. We validated model accuracy against the energy expenditure of two captive Whooping Cranes measured using the doubly-labeled water method and time energy budgets. Energy expenditure values modeled by Niche Mapper were similar to values measured by the doubly-labeled water method and values estimated from time-energy budgets. Future studies will be able to use Niche Mapper as a non-invasive tool to explore energy-based limits to the fundamental niche of Whooping Cranes and apply this knowledge to management decisions. Basic questions about the importance of counter-current exchange and wading to animal physiological tolerances can also now be explored with the model. PMID:26308207

  8. Social niche specialization under constraints: personality, social interactions and environmental heterogeneity

    PubMed Central

    Montiglio, Pierre-Olivier; Ferrari, Caterina; Réale, Denis

    2013-01-01

    Several personality traits are mainly expressed in a social context, and others, which are not restricted to a social context, can be affected by the social interactions with conspecifics. In this paper, we focus on the recently proposed hypothesis that social niche specialization (i.e. individuals in a population occupy different social roles) can explain the maintenance of individual differences in personality. We first present ecological and social niche specialization hypotheses. In particular, we show how niche specialization can be quantified and highlight the link between personality differences and social niche specialization. We then review some ecological factors (e.g. competition and environmental heterogeneity) and the social mechanisms (e.g. frequency-dependent, state-dependent and social awareness) that may be associated with the evolution of social niche specialization and personality differences. Finally, we present a conceptual model and methods to quantify the contribution of ecological factors and social mechanisms to the dynamics between personality and social roles. In doing so, we suggest a series of research objectives to help empirical advances in this research area. Throughout this paper, we highlight empirical studies of social niche specialization in mammals, where available. PMID:23569291

  9. Evidence for large-scale effects of competition: niche displacement in Canada lynx and bobcat

    PubMed Central

    Peers, Michael J. L.; Thornton, Daniel H.; Murray, Dennis L.

    2013-01-01

    Determining the patterns, causes and consequences of character displacement is central to our understanding of competition in ecological communities. However, the majority of competition research has occurred over small spatial extents or focused on fine-scale differences in morphology or behaviour. The effects of competition on broad-scale distribution and niche characteristics of species remain poorly understood but critically important. Using range-wide species distribution models, we evaluated whether Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis) or bobcat (Lynx rufus) were displaced in regions of sympatry. Consistent with our prediction, we found that lynx niches were less similar to those of bobcat in areas of sympatry versus allopatry, with a stronger reliance on snow cover driving lynx niche divergence in the sympatric zone. By contrast, bobcat increased niche breadth in zones of sympatry, and bobcat niches were equally similar to those of lynx in zones of sympatry and allopatry. These findings suggest that competitively disadvantaged species avoid competition at large scales by restricting their niche to highly suitable conditions, while superior competitors expand the diversity of environments used. Our results indicate that competition can manifest within climatic niche space across species’ ranges, highlighting the importance of biotic interactions occurring at large spatial scales on niche dynamics. PMID:24174116

  10. Targeting the Biophysical Properties of the Myeloma Initiating Cell Niches: A Pharmaceutical Synergism Analysis Using Multi-Scale Agent-Based Modeling

    PubMed Central

    Su, Jing; Zhang, Le; Zhang, Wen; Choi, Dong Song; Wen, Jianguo; Jiang, Beini; Chang, Chung-Che; Zhou, Xiaobo

    2014-01-01

    Multiple myeloma, the second most common hematological cancer, is currently incurable due to refractory disease relapse and development of multiple drug resistance. We and others recently established the biophysical model that myeloma initiating (stem) cells (MICs) trigger the stiffening of their niches via SDF-1/CXCR4 paracrine; The stiffened niches then promote the colonogenesis of MICs and protect them from drug treatment. In this work we examined in silico the pharmaceutical potential of targeting MIC niche stiffness to facilitate cytotoxic chemotherapies. We first established a multi-scale agent-based model using the Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach to recapitulate the niche stiffness centric, pro-oncogenetic positive feedback loop between MICs and myeloma-associated bone marrow stromal cells (MBMSCs), and investigated the effects of such intercellular chemo-physical communications on myeloma development. Then we used AMD3100 (to interrupt the interactions between MICs and their stroma) and Bortezomib (a recently developed novel therapeutic agent) as representative drugs to examine if the biophysical properties of myeloma niches are drugable. Results showed that our model recaptured the key experimental observation that the MBMSCs were more sensitive to SDF-1 secreted by MICs, and provided stiffer niches for these initiating cells and promoted their proliferation and drug resistance. Drug synergism analysis suggested that AMD3100 treatment undermined the capability of MICs to modulate the bone marrow microenvironment, and thus re-sensitized myeloma to Bortezomib treatments. This work is also the first attempt to virtually visualize in 3D the dynamics of the bone marrow stiffness during myeloma development. In summary, we established a multi-scale model to facilitate the translation of the niche-stiffness centric myeloma model as well as experimental observations to possible clinical applications. We concluded that targeting the biophysical properties of stem

  11. Spatial Uncertainty Analysis of Ecological Models

    SciTech Connect

    Jager, H.I.; Ashwood, T.L.; Jackson, B.L.; King, A.W.

    2000-09-02

    The authors evaluated the sensitivity of a habitat model and a source-sink population model to spatial uncertainty in landscapes with different statistical properties and for hypothetical species with different habitat requirements. Sequential indicator simulation generated alternative landscapes from a source map. Their results showed that spatial uncertainty was highest for landscapes in which suitable habitat was rare and spatially uncorrelated. Although, they were able to exert some control over the degree of spatial uncertainty by varying the sampling density drawn from the source map, intrinsic spatial properties (i.e., average frequency and degree of spatial autocorrelation) played a dominant role in determining variation among realized maps. To evaluate the ecological significance of landscape variation, they compared the variation in predictions from a simple habitat model to variation among landscapes for three species types. Spatial uncertainty in predictions of the amount of source habitat depended on both the spatial life history characteristics of the species and the statistical attributes of the synthetic landscapes. Species differences were greatest when the landscape contained a high proportion of suitable habitat. The predicted amount of source habitat was greater for edge-dependent (interior) species in landscapes with spatially uncorrelated(correlated) suitable habitat. A source-sink model demonstrated that, although variation among landscapes resulted in relatively little variation in overall population growth rate, this spatial uncertainty was sufficient in some situations, to produce qualitatively different predictions about population viability (i.e., population decline vs. increase).

  12. High Resolution Niche Models of Malaria Vectors in Northern Tanzania: A New Capacity to Predict Malaria Risk?

    PubMed Central

    Kulkarni, Manisha A.; Desrochers, Rachelle E.; Kerr, Jeremy T.

    2010-01-01

    Background Malaria transmission rates in Africa can vary dramatically over the space of a few kilometres. This spatial heterogeneity reflects variation in vector mosquito habitat and presents an important obstacle to the efficient allocation of malaria control resources. Malaria control is further complicated by combinations of vector species that respond differently to control interventions. Recent modelling innovations make it possible to predict vector distributions and extrapolate malaria risk continentally, but these risk mapping efforts have not yet bridged the spatial gap to guide on-the-ground control efforts. Methodology/Principal Findings We used Maximum Entropy with purpose-built, high resolution land cover data and other environmental factors to model the spatial distributions of the three dominant malaria vector species in a 94,000 km2 region of east Africa. Remotely sensed land cover was necessary in each vector's niche model. Seasonality of precipitation and maximum annual temperature also contributed to niche models for Anopheles arabiensis and An. funestus s.l. (AUC 0.989 and 0.991, respectively), but cold season precipitation and elevation were important for An. gambiae s.s. (AUC 0.997). Although these niche models appear highly accurate, the critical test is whether they improve predictions of malaria prevalence in human populations. Vector habitat within 1.5 km of community-based malaria prevalence measurements interacts with elevation to substantially improve predictions of Plasmodium falciparum prevalence in children. The inclusion of the mechanistic link between malaria prevalence and vector habitat greatly improves the precision and accuracy of prevalence predictions (r2 = 0.83 including vector habitat, or r2 = 0.50 without vector habitat). Predictions including vector habitat are unbiased (observations vs. model predictions of prevalence: slope = 1.02). Using this model, we generate a high resolution map of predicted malaria

  13. Combining physiological threshold knowledge to species distribution models is key to improving forecasts of the future niche for macroalgae.

    PubMed

    Martínez, Brezo; Arenas, Francisco; Trilla, Alba; Viejo, Rosa M; Carreño, Francisco

    2015-04-01

    Species distribution models (SDM) are a useful tool for predicting species range shifts in response to global warming. However, they do not explore the mechanisms underlying biological processes, making it difficult to predict shifts outside the environmental gradient where the model was trained. In this study, we combine correlative SDMs and knowledge on physiological limits to provide more robust predictions. The thermal thresholds obtained in growth and survival experiments were used as proxies of the fundamental niches of two foundational marine macrophytes. The geographic projections of these species' distributions obtained using these thresholds and existing SDMs were similar in areas where the species are either absent-rare or frequent and where their potential and realized niches match, reaching consensus predictions. The cold-temperate foundational seaweed Himanthalia elongata was predicted to become extinct at its southern limit in northern Spain in response to global warming, whereas the occupancy of southern-lusitanic Bifurcaria bifurcata was expected to increase. Combined approaches such as this one may also highlight geographic areas where models disagree potentially due to biotic factors. Physiological thresholds alone tended to over-predict species prevalence, as they cannot identify absences in climatic conditions within the species' range of physiological tolerance or at the optima. Although SDMs tended to have higher sensitivity than threshold models, they may include regressions that do not reflect causal mechanisms, constraining their predictive power. We present a simple example of how combining correlative and mechanistic knowledge provides a rapid way to gain insight into a species' niche resulting in consistent predictions and highlighting potential sources of uncertainty in forecasted responses to climate change. PMID:24917488

  14. Land Suitability Modeling using a Geographic Socio-Environmental Niche-Based Approach: A Case Study from Northeastern Thailand

    PubMed Central

    Heumann, Benjamin W.; Walsh, Stephen J.; Verdery, Ashton M.; McDaniel, Phillip M.; Rindfuss, Ronald R.

    2012-01-01

    Understanding the pattern-process relations of land use/land cover change is an important area of research that provides key insights into human-environment interactions. The suitability or likelihood of occurrence of land use such as agricultural crop types across a human-managed landscape is a central consideration. Recent advances in niche-based, geographic species distribution modeling (SDM) offer a novel approach to understanding land suitability and land use decisions. SDM links species presence-location data with geospatial information and uses machine learning algorithms to develop non-linear and discontinuous species-environment relationships. Here, we apply the MaxEnt (Maximum Entropy) model for land suitability modeling by adapting niche theory to a human-managed landscape. In this article, we use data from an agricultural district in Northeastern Thailand as a case study for examining the relationships between the natural, built, and social environments and the likelihood of crop choice for the commonly grown crops that occur in the Nang Rong District – cassava, heavy rice, and jasmine rice, as well as an emerging crop, fruit trees. Our results indicate that while the natural environment (e.g., elevation and soils) is often the dominant factor in crop likelihood, the likelihood is also influenced by household characteristics, such as household assets and conditions of the neighborhood or built environment. Furthermore, the shape of the land use-environment curves illustrates the non-continuous and non-linear nature of these relationships. This approach demonstrates a novel method of understanding non-linear relationships between land and people. The article concludes with a proposed method for integrating the niche-based rules of land use allocation into a dynamic land use model that can address both allocation and quantity of agricultural crops. PMID:24187378

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

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sweet cherries, Prunus avium (L.) L., grown in the western United States are exported to many countries around the world. Some of these countries have enforced strict quarantine rules and trade restrictions due to concerns about the potential establishment and subsequent spread of western cherry fru...

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    Ecology is often said to lack general theories sufficiently predictive for applications. Here, we examine the concept of a periodic table of niches and feasibility of niche classification schemes from functional trait and performance data. Niche differences and their influence on ecological patterns and processes could be revealed effectively by first performing data reduction/ordination analyses separately on matrices of trait and performance data compiled according to logical associations with five basic niche 'dimensions', or aspects: habitat, life history, trophic, defence and metabolic. Resultant patterns then are integrated to produce interpretable niche gradients, ordinations and classifications. Degree of scheme periodicity would depend on degrees of niche conservatism and convergence causing species clustering across multiple niche dimensions. We analysed a sample data set containing trait and performance data to contrast two approaches for producing niche schemes: species ordination within niche gradient space, and niche categorisation according to trait-value thresholds. Creation of niche schemes useful for advancing ecological knowledge and its applications will depend on research that produces functional trait and performance datasets directly related to niche dimensions along with criteria for data standardisation and quality. As larger databases are compiled, opportunities will emerge to explore new methods for data reduction, ordination and classification. PMID:26096695

  17. AN INTRODUCTION TO THE PRACTICE OF ECOLOGICAL MODELING

    EPA Science Inventory

    No abstract. Modeling has become an important tool in the study of ecological systems, as a scan of the table of contents of any major ecological journal makes abundently clear. The development of a conceptual model can be an integral part of designing and carrying out any resear...

  18. Isotopic niche mirrors trophic niche in a vertebrate island invader.

    PubMed

    Rodríguez, Marlenne A M; Gerardo Herrera, L M

    2013-02-01

    Caution for the indiscriminate conversion of the isotopic niche into ecologic niche was recently advised. We tested the utility of the isotopic niche to answer ecological questions on oceanic islands. We compared the isotopic niches of black rats (Rattus rattus) on two islands in the Gulf of California, Mexico: Farrallón de San Ignacio (FSI) and San Pedro Mártir (SPM). Both islands maintained several species of marine birds, but FSI is devoid of terrestrial vegetation and SPM has several species of terrestrial plants. We tested the hypothesis that rats on FSI have a narrower trophic niche due to its lower diversity of food items. We predicted a smaller variance in δ(13)C and δ(15)N values of rat muscle on FSI, and a lower use of marine birds as food on SPM. We also examined stomach contents of rats on both islands to validate the isotopic information. Variances in δ(13)C and δ(15)N values of black rats were lower on FSI, and the contribution of marine birds to the diet of rats was smaller on SPM. Stomachs in most rats collected on FSI contained only one or two types of food items, mostly marine birds and terrestrial invertebrates. In contrast, stomachs with only one type of food item were rare on SPM, and in most cases they contained three or more food types. Our findings showed that isotopic variance is a good approximation for trophic niche when comparing populations with access to an assemblage of preys with contrasting biological and isotopic diversity. PMID:22886039

  19. The role of ecological models in linking ecological risk assessment to ecosystem services in agroecosystems.

    PubMed

    Galic, Nika; Schmolke, Amelie; Forbes, Valery; Baveco, Hans; van den Brink, Paul J

    2012-01-15

    Agricultural practices are essential for sustaining the human population, but at the same time they can directly disrupt ecosystem functioning. Ecological risk assessment (ERA) aims to estimate possible adverse effects of human activities on ecosystems and their parts. Current ERA practices, however, incorporate very little ecology and base the risk estimates on the results of standard tests with several standard species. The main obstacles for a more ecologically relevant ERA are the lack of clear protection goals and the inherent complexity of ecosystems that is hard to approach empirically. In this paper, we argue that the ecosystem services framework offers an opportunity to define clear and ecologically relevant protection goals. At the same time, ecological models provide the tools to address ecological complexity to the degree needed to link measurement endpoints and ecosystem services, and to quantify service provision and possible adverse effects from human activities. We focus on the ecosystem services relevant for agroecosystem functioning, including pollination, biocontrol and eutrophication effects and present modeling studies relevant for quantification of each of the services. The challenges of the ecosystem services approach are discussed as well as the limitations of ecological models in the context of ERA. A broad, multi-stakeholder dialog is necessary to aid the definition of protection goals in terms of services delivered by ecosystems and their parts. The need to capture spatio-temporal dynamics and possible interactions among service providers pose challenges for ecological models as a basis for decision making. However, we argue that both fields are advancing quickly and can prove very valuable in achieving more ecologically relevant ERA. PMID:21802704

  20. Spatial analysis of plague in California: niche modeling predictions of the current distribution and potential response to climate change

    PubMed Central

    Holt, Ashley C; Salkeld, Daniel J; Fritz, Curtis L; Tucker, James R; Gong, Peng

    2009-01-01

    Background Plague, caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, is a public and wildlife health concern in California and the western United States. This study explores the spatial characteristics of positive plague samples in California and tests Maxent, a machine-learning method that can be used to develop niche-based models from presence-only data, for mapping the potential distribution of plague foci. Maxent models were constructed using geocoded seroprevalence data from surveillance of California ground squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) as case points and Worldclim bioclimatic data as predictor variables, and compared and validated using area under the receiver operating curve (AUC) statistics. Additionally, model results were compared to locations of positive and negative coyote (Canis latrans) samples, in order to determine the correlation between Maxent model predictions and areas of plague risk as determined via wild carnivore surveillance. Results Models of plague activity in California ground squirrels, based on recent climate conditions, accurately identified case locations (AUC of 0.913 to 0.948) and were significantly correlated with coyote samples. The final models were used to identify potential plague risk areas based on an ensemble of six future climate scenarios. These models suggest that by 2050, climate conditions may reduce plague risk in the southern parts of California and increase risk along the northern coast and Sierras. Conclusion Because different modeling approaches can yield substantially different results, care should be taken when interpreting future model predictions. Nonetheless, niche modeling can be a useful tool for exploring and mapping the potential response of plague activity to climate change. The final models in this study were used to identify potential plague risk areas based on an ensemble of six future climate scenarios, which can help public managers decide where to allocate surveillance resources. In addition, Maxent

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

    PubMed

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-06-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    Matthews, Thomas J; Whittaker, Robert J

    2014-01-01

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

  3. Progress and Challenges in Coupled Hydrodynamic-Ecological Estuarine Modeling

    EPA Science Inventory

    Numerical modeling has emerged over the last several decades as a widely accepted tool for investigations in environmental sciences. In estuarine research, hydrodynamic and ecological models have moved along parallel tracks with regard to complexity, refinement, computational po...

  4. Transcriptome comparison of distinct osteolineage subsets in the hematopoietic stem cell niche using a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model

    PubMed Central

    Yu, Vionnie W.C.; Lymperi, Stefania; Ferraro, Francesca; Scadden, David T.

    2015-01-01

    The bone marrow niche is recognized as a central player in maintaining and regulating the behavior of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Specific gain-of and loss-of function experiments perturbing a range of osteolineage cells or their secreted proteins had been shown to affect stem cell maintenance (Calvi et al, 2003 [1]; Stier et al., 2005 [2]; Zhang et al., 2003 [3]; Nilsson et al., 2005 [4]; Greenbaum et al., 2013 [5]) and engraftment (Adam et al., 2006, 2009 [6], [7]). We used specific in vivo cell deletion approaches to dissect the niche cell-parenchymal cell dependency in a complex bone marrow microenvironment. Endogenous deletion of osteocalcin-expressing (Ocn+) cells led to a loss of T immune cells (Yu et al., 2015 [8]. Ocn+ cells express the Notch ligand DLL4 to communicate with T-competent progenitors, and thereby ensuring T precursor production and expression of chemotactic molecules on their cell surface for subsequent thymic seeding. In contrast, depletion of osterix-expressing (Osx+) osteoprogenitors led to reduced B immune cells. These distinct hematopoietic phenotypes suggest specific pairing of mesenchymal niche cells and parenchymal hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow to create unique functional units to support hematopoiesis. Here, we present the global gene expression profiles of these osteolineage subtypes utilizing a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model (OsxCre+;Rosa-mCh+;Ocn:Topaz+) that labels Osx+ cells red, Ocn+ cells green, and Osx+ Ocn+ cells yellow. This system allows isolation of distinct osteolineage subsets within the same animal by flow cytometry. Array data that have been described in our study [8] are also publically available from NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) with the accession number GSE66042. Differences in gene expression may correlate with functional difference in supporting hematopoiesis. PMID:26484277

  5. Transcriptome comparison of distinct osteolineage subsets in the hematopoietic stem cell niche using a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model.

    PubMed

    Yu, Vionnie W C; Lymperi, Stefania; Ferraro, Francesca; Scadden, David T

    2015-09-01

    The bone marrow niche is recognized as a central player in maintaining and regulating the behavior of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. Specific gain-of and loss-of function experiments perturbing a range of osteolineage cells or their secreted proteins had been shown to affect stem cell maintenance (Calvi et al, 2003 [1]; Stier et al., 2005 [2]; Zhang et al., 2003 [3]; Nilsson et al., 2005 [4]; Greenbaum et al., 2013 [5]) and engraftment (Adam et al., 2006, 2009 [6,7]). We used specific in vivo cell deletion approaches to dissect the niche cell-parenchymal cell dependency in a complex bone marrow microenvironment. Endogenous deletion of osteocalcin-expressing (Ocn(+)) cells led to a loss of T immune cells (Yu et al., 2015 [8]. Ocn(+) cells express the Notch ligand DLL4 to communicate with T-competent progenitors, and thereby ensuring T precursor production and expression of chemotactic molecules on their cell surface for subsequent thymic seeding. In contrast, depletion of osterix-expressing (Osx(+)) osteoprogenitors led to reduced B immune cells. These distinct hematopoietic phenotypes suggest specific pairing of mesenchymal niche cells and parenchymal hematopoietic cells in the bone marrow to create unique functional units to support hematopoiesis. Here, we present the global gene expression profiles of these osteolineage subtypes utilizing a triple fluorescent transgenic mouse model (OsxCre(+);Rosa-mCh(+);Ocn:Topaz(+)) that labels Osx(+) cells red, Ocn(+) cells green, and Osx(+) Ocn(+) cells yellow. This system allows isolation of distinct osteolineage subsets within the same animal by flow cytometry. Array data that have been described in our study [8] are also publically available from NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) with the accession number GSE66042. Differences in gene expression may correlate with functional difference in supporting hematopoiesis. PMID:26484277

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

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. Niche-habitat mechanisms and biotic interactions explain the coexistence and abundance of congeneric sandgrouse species.

    PubMed

    Benítez-López, Ana; Viñuela, Javier; Suárez, Francisco; Hervás, Israel; García, Jesús T

    2014-09-01

    Ascertaining which niche processes allow coexistence between closely related species is of special interest in ecology. We quantified variations in the environmental niches and densities of two congeneric species, the pin-tailed and the black-bellied sandgrouse (Pterocles alchata and Pterocles orientalis) in allopatry and sympatry under similar abiotic, habitat and dispersal contexts to understand their coexistence. Using principal component analysis, we defined environmental gradients (niche dimensions) including abiotic, habitat and anthropogenic variables, and calculated niche breadth, position and overlap of both species in sympatry and allopatry. Additionally, sandgrouse density was modelled as a function of the niche dimensions and the density of the other species. We found evidence that each species occupies distinct environmental niches in sympatry and in allopatry. The black-bellied sandgrouse exploits a broader range of environmental conditions (wider niche breadth) while the pin-tailed sandgrouse reaches high densities where conditions seem to match its optimum. In sympatry, both species shift their niches to intermediate positions, indicating the importance of abiotic factors in setting coexistence areas. Environmental conditions determine regional densities of pin-tailed sandgrouse whereas biotic interactions explain the density of the black-bellied sandgrouse in areas with abiotic conditions similarly conducive for both species. Highly suitable areas for the pin-tailed sandgrouse fall beyond the upper thermal limit of the black-bellied sandgrouse, leading to niche segregation and low densities for the latter. Finally, local niche shift and expansion plus possible heterospecific aggregation allow the pin-tailed sandgrouse to thrive in a priori less favourable environments. This work provides insight into how different mechanisms allow species coexistence and how species densities vary in sympatry compared to allopatry as a result of environmental

  8. Oral Lactobacilli and Dental Caries: A Model for Niche Adaptation in Humans.

    PubMed

    Caufield, P W; Schön, C N; Saraithong, P; Li, Y; Argimón, S

    2015-09-01

    Lactobacilli have been associated with dental caries for over a century. Here, we review the pertinent literature along with findings from our own study to formulate a working hypothesis about the natural history and role of lactobacilli. Unlike most indigenous microbes that stably colonize a host, lactobacilli appear to be planktonic, opportunistic settlers that can gather and multiply only in certain restrictive niches of the host, at least within the oral cavity. We postulate that the following essential requirements are necessary for sustained colonization of lactobacilli in humans: 1) a stagnant, retentive niche that is mostly anaerobic; 2) a low pH milieu; and 3) ready access to carbohydrates. Three sites on the human body meet these specifications: caries lesions, the stomach, and the vagina. Only a handful of Lactobacillus species is found in caries lesions, but they are largely absent in caries-free children. Lactobacilli present in caries lesions represent both a major contributor to caries progression and a major reservoir to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. We extend the assertion from other investigators that lactobacilli found in the GI tract originate in the oral cavity by proposing that lactobacilli in the oral cavity arise from caries lesions. This, in turn, leads us to reflect on the health implications of the lactobacilli in the mouth and downstream GI and to ponder whether these or any of the Lactobacillus species are truly indigenous to the human GI tract or the oral cavity. PMID:25758458

  9. A Complementary Ecological Model of the Coordinated School Health Program

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Lohrmann, David K.

    2010-01-01

    Background: A complementary ecological model of the coordinated school health program (CSHP) reflecting 20 years of evolved changes is proposed. Ecology refers to the complex interrelationship between intrapersonal factors, interpersonal processes and primary groups, institutional factors, community factors, and public policy. Methods: Public…

  10. Altruists Proliferate Even at a Selective Disadvantage within Their Own Niche

    PubMed Central

    Wilder, Bryan; Stanley, Kenneth O.

    2015-01-01

    The evolutionary origin of altruism is a long-standing puzzle. Numerous explanations have been proposed, most prominently based on inclusive fitness or group selection. One possibility that has not yet been considered is that new niches will be created disproportionately often when altruism appears, perhaps by chance, causing altruists to be over-represented in such new niches. This effect is a novel variant of group selection in which altruistic groups benefit by discovering unoccupied niches instead of by competing for the limited resources within a single niche. Both an analytical population genetics model and computational simulations support that altruism systematically arises due to this side effect of increased carrying capacity even when it is strongly selected against within any given niche. In fact, even when selection is very strongly negative and altruism does not develop in most populations, it can still be expected to be observed in a consistent fraction of species. The ecological structure provided by niches thereby may be sufficient for altruists to proliferate even if they are always at a disadvantage within each niche considered individually. PMID:26030734

  11. Exploring the Effect of Asymmetric Mitochondrial DNA Introgression on Estimating Niche Divergence in Morphologically Cryptic Species

    PubMed Central

    Wielstra, Ben; Arntzen, Jan W.

    2014-01-01

    If potential morphologically cryptic species, identified based on differentiated mitochondrial DNA, express ecological divergence, this increases support for their treatment as distinct species. However, mitochondrial DNA introgression hampers the correct estimation of ecological divergence. We test the hypothesis that estimated niche divergence differs when considering nuclear DNA composition or mitochondrial DNA type as representing the true species range. We use empirical data of two crested newt species (Amphibia: Triturus) which possess introgressed mitochondrial DNA from a third species in part of their ranges. We analyze the data in environmental space by determining Fisher distances in a principal component analysis and in geographical space by determining geographical overlap of species distribution models. We find that under mtDNA guidance in one of the two study cases niche divergence is overestimated, whereas in the other it is underestimated. In the light of our results we discuss the role of estimated niche divergence in species delineation. PMID:24743746

  12. Evolution of climate niches in European mammals?

    PubMed

    Dormann, Carsten F; Gruber, Bernd; Winter, Marten; Herrmann, Dirk

    2010-04-23

    Our ability to predict consequences of climate change is severely impaired by the lack of knowledge on the ability of species to adapt to changing environmental conditions. We used distribution data for 140 mammal species in Europe, together with data on climate, land cover and topography, to derive a statistical description of their realized climate niche. We then compared climate niche overlap of pairs of species, selected on the basis of phylogenetic information. In contrast to expectations, related species were not similar in their climate niche. Rather, even species pairs that had a common ancestor less than 1 Ma already display very high climate niche distances. We interpret our finding as a strong interspecific competitive constraint on the realized niche, rather than a rapid evolution of the fundamental niche. If correct, our results imply a very limited usefulness of climate niche models for the prediction of future mammal distributions. PMID:19828492

  13. Niche dynamics in space and time.

    PubMed

    Pearman, Peter B; Guisan, Antoine; Broennimann, Olivier; Randin, Christophe F

    2008-03-01

    Niche conservatism, the tendency of a species niche to remain unchanged over time, is often assumed when discussing, explaining or predicting biogeographical patterns. Unfortunately, there has been no basis for predicting niche dynamics over relevant timescales, from tens to a few hundreds of years. The recent application of species distribution models (SDMs) and phylogenetic methods to analysis of niche characteristics has provided insight to niche dynamics. Niche shifts and conservatism have both occurred within the last 100 years, with recent speciation events, and deep within clades of species. There is increasing evidence that coordinated application of these methods can help to identify species which likely fulfill one key assumption in the predictive application of SDMs: an unchanging niche. This will improve confidence in SDM-based predictions of the impacts of climate change and species invasions on species distributions and biodiversity. PMID:18289716

  14. Analytically tractable model for community ecology with many species.

    PubMed

    Dickens, Benjamin; Fisher, Charles K; Mehta, Pankaj

    2016-08-01

    A fundamental problem in community ecology is understanding how ecological processes such as selection, drift, and immigration give rise to observed patterns in species composition and diversity. Here, we analyze a recently introduced, analytically tractable, presence-absence (PA) model for community assembly, and we use it to ask how ecological traits such as the strength of competition, the amount of diversity, and demographic and environmental stochasticity affect species composition in a community. In the PA model, species are treated as stochastic binary variables that can either be present or absent in a community: species can immigrate into the community from a regional species pool and can go extinct due to competition and stochasticity. Building upon previous work, we show that, despite its simplicity, the PA model reproduces the qualitative features of more complicated models of community assembly. In agreement with recent studies of large, competitive Lotka-Volterra systems, the PA model exhibits distinct ecological behaviors organized around a special ("critical") point corresponding to Hubbell's neutral theory of biodiversity. These results suggest that the concepts of ecological "phases" and phase diagrams can provide a powerful framework for thinking about community ecology, and that the PA model captures the essential ecological dynamics of community assembly. PMID:27627348

  15. Boechera, a model system for ecological genomics

    PubMed Central

    Rushworth, Catherine A.; Song, Bao-Hua; Lee, Cheng-Ruei; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    The selection and development of a study system for evolutionary and ecological functional genomics (EEFG) depends on a variety of factors. Here we present the genus Boechera as an exemplary system with which to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Our focus on Boechera is based on several characteristics: 1) native populations in undisturbed habitats where current environments reflect historical conditions over several thousand years; 2) functional genomics benefitting from its close relationship to Arabidopsis thaliana; 3) inbreeding tolerance enabling development of recombinant inbred lines, near-isogenic lines, and positional cloning; 4) interspecific crosses permitting mapping for genetic analysis of speciation; 5) apomixis (asexual reproduction by seeds) in a genetically tractable diploid; and 6) broad geographic distribution in North America, permitting ecological genetics for a large research community. These characteristics, along with the current sequencing of three Boechera species by the Joint Genome Institute, position Boechera as a rapidly advancing system for EEFG studies. PMID:22059452

  16. Boechera, a model system for ecological genomics.

    PubMed

    Rushworth, Catherine A; Song, Bao-Hua; Lee, Cheng-Ruei; Mitchell-Olds, Thomas

    2011-12-01

    The selection and development of a study system for evolutionary and ecological functional genomics (EEFG) depend on a variety of factors. Here, we present the genus Boechera as an exemplary system with which to address ecological and evolutionary questions. Our focus on Boechera is based on several characteristics as follows: (i) native populations in undisturbed habitats where current environments reflect historical conditions over several thousand years; (ii) functional genomics benefitting from its close relationship to Arabidopsis thaliana; (iii) inbreeding tolerance enabling development of recombinant inbred lines, near-isogenic lines and positional cloning; (iv) interspecific crosses permitting mapping for genetic analysis of speciation; (v) apomixis (asexual reproduction by seeds) in a genetically tractable diploid; and (vi) broad geographic distribution in North America, permitting ecological genetics for a large research community. These characteristics, along with the current sequencing of three Boechera species by the Joint Genome Institute, position Boechera as a rapidly advancing system for EEFG studies. PMID:22059452

  17. Human niche construction in interdisciplinary focus

    PubMed Central

    Kendal, Jeremy; Tehrani, Jamshid J.; Odling-Smee, John

    2011-01-01

    Niche construction is an endogenous causal process in evolution, reciprocal to the causal process of natural selection. It works by adding ecological inheritance, comprising the inheritance of natural selection pressures previously modified by niche construction, to genetic inheritance in evolution. Human niche construction modifies selection pressures in environments in ways that affect both human evolution, and the evolution of other species. Human ecological inheritance is exceptionally potent because it includes the social transmission and inheritance of cultural knowledge, and material culture. Human genetic inheritance in combination with human cultural inheritance thus provides a basis for gene–culture coevolution, and multivariate dynamics in cultural evolution. Niche construction theory potentially integrates the biological and social aspects of the human sciences. We elaborate on these processes, and provide brief introductions to each of the papers published in this theme issue. PMID:21320894

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

    PubMed Central

    Cordeiro, Ingrid R.; Lopes, Daiana V.; Abreu, José G.; Carneiro, Katia; Rossi, Maria I. D.; Brito, José M.

    2015-01-01

    ABSTRACT Human adipose-derived stromal cells (hADSC) are a heterogeneous cell population that contains adult multipotent stem cells. Although it is well established that hADSC have skeletal potential in vivo in adult organisms, in vitro assays suggest further differentiation capacity, such as into glia. Thus, we propose that grafting hADSC into the embryo can provide them with a much more instructive microenvironment, allowing the human cells to adopt diverse fates or niches. Here, hADSC spheroids were grafted into either the presumptive presomitic mesoderm or the first branchial arch (BA1) regions of chick embryos. Cells were identified without previous manipulations via human-specific Alu probes, which allows efficient long-term tracing of heterogeneous primary cultures. When grafted into the trunk, in contrast to previous studies, hADSC were not found in chondrogenic or osteogenic territories up to E8. Surprisingly, 82.5% of the hADSC were associated with HNK1+ tissues, such as peripheral nerves. Human skin fibroblasts showed a smaller tropism for nerves. In line with other studies, hADSC also adopted perivascular locations. When grafted into the presumptive BA1, 74.6% of the cells were in the outflow tract, the final goal of cardiac neural crest cells, and were also associated with peripheral nerves. This is the first study showing that hADSC could adopt a perineural niche in vivo and were able to recognize cues for neural crest cell migration of the host. Therefore, we propose that xenografts of human cells into chick embryos can reveal novel behaviors of heterogeneous cell populations, such as response to migration cues. PMID:26319582

  19. Spatial distribution of sand fly species (Psychodidae: Phlebtominae), ecological niche, and climatic regionalization in zoonotic foci of cutaneous leishmaniasis, southwest of Iran.

    PubMed

    Ebrahimi, Sahar; Bordbar, Ali; Rastaghi, Ahmad R Esmaeili; Parvizi, Parviz

    2016-06-01

    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a complex vector-borne disease caused by Leishmania parasites that are transmitted by the bite of several species of infected female phlebotomine sand flies. Monthly factor analysis of climatic variables indicated fundamental variables. Principal component-based regionalization was used for recognition of climatic zones using a clustering integrated method that identified five climatic zones based on factor analysis. To investigate spatial distribution of the sand fly species, the kriging method was used as an advanced geostatistical procedure in the ArcGIS modeling system that is beneficial to design measurement plans and to predict the transmission cycle in various regions of Khuzestan province, southwest of Iran. However, more than an 80% probability of P. papatasi was observed in rainy and temperate bio-climatic zones with a high potential of CL transmission. Finding P. sergenti revealed the probability of transmission and distribution patterns of a non-native vector of CL in related zones. These findings could be used as models indicating climatic zones and environmental variables connected to sand fly presence and vector distribution. Furthermore, this information is appropriate for future research efforts into the ecology of Phlebotomine sand flies and for the prevention of CL vector transmission as a public health priority. PMID:27232131

  20. Rooting Theories of Plant Community Ecology in Microbial Interactions

    PubMed Central

    Bever, James D.; Dickie, Ian A.; Facelli, Evelina; Facelli, Jose M.; Klironomos, John; Moora, Mari; Rillig, Matthias C.; Stock, William D.; Tibbett, Mark; Zobel, Martin

    2010-01-01

    Predominant frameworks for understanding plant ecology have an aboveground bias that neglects soil micro-organisms. This is inconsistent with recent work illustrating the importance of soil microbes in terrestrial ecology. Microbial effects have been incorporated into plant community dynamics using ideas of niche modification and plant-soil community feedbacks. Here, we expand and integrate qualitative conceptual models of plant niche and feedback to explore implications of microbial interactions for understanding plant community ecology. At the same time we review the empirical evidence for these processes. We also consider common mycorrhizal networks, and suggest these are best interpreted within the feedback framework. Finally, we apply our integrated model of niche and feedback to understanding plant coexistence, monodominance, and invasion ecology. PMID:20557974

  1. Niche conservatism above the species level

    PubMed Central

    Hadly, Elizabeth A.; Spaeth, Paula A.; Li, Cheng

    2009-01-01

    Traits that enable species to persist in ecological environments are often maintained over time, a phenomenon known as niche conservatism. Here we argue that ecological niches function at levels above species, notably at the level of genus for mammals, and that niche conservatism is also evident above the species level. Using the proxy of geographic range size, we explore changes in the realized niche of North American mammalian genera and families across the major climatic transition represented by the last glacial–interglacial transition. We calculate the mean and variance of range size for extant mammalian genera and families, rank them by range size, and estimate the change in range size and rank during the late Pleistocene and late Holocene. We demonstrate that range size at the genus and family levels was surprisingly constant over this period despite range shifts and extinctions of species within the clades. We suggest that underlying controls on niche conservatism may be different at these higher taxonomic levels than at the species level. Niche conservatism at higher levels seems primarily controlled by intrinsic life history traits, whereas niche conservatism at the species level may reflect underlying environmental controls. These results highlight the critical importance of conserving the biodiversity of mammals at the genus level and of maintaining an adequate species pool within genera. PMID:19897730

  2. The niche construction perspective: a critical appraisal.

    PubMed

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

    2014-05-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

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

  4. Phylogeny and Niche Conservatism in North and Central American Triatomine Bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae), Vectors of Chagas' Disease

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    The niche conservatism hypothesis states that related species diverge in niche characteristics at lower rates than expected, given their lineage divergence. Here we analyze whether niche conservatism is a common pattern among vector species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) of Trypanosoma cruzi that inhabit North and Central America, a highly heterogeneous landmass in terms of environmental gradients. Mitochondrial and nuclear loci were used in a multi-locus phylogenetic framework to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships among species and estimate time of divergence of selected clades to draw biogeographic inferences. Then, we estimated similarity between the ecological niche of sister species and tested the niche conservatism hypothesis using our best estimate of phylogeny. Triatoma is not monophyletic. A primary clade with all North and Central American (NCA) triatomine species from the genera Triatoma, Dipetalogaster, and Panstrongylus, was consistently recovered. Nearctic species within the NCA clade (T. p. protracta, T. r. rubida) diverged during the Pliocene, whereas the Neotropical species (T. phyllosoma, T. longipennis, T. dimidiata complex) are estimated to have diverged more recently, during the Pleistocene. The hypothesis of niche conservatism could not be rejected for any of six sister species pairs. Niche similarity between sister species best fits a retention model. While this framework is used here to infer niche evolution, it has a direct impact on spatial vector dynamics driven by human population movements, expansion of transportation networks and climate change scenarios. PMID:25356550

  5. A global test of the niche dimension hypothesis for plant species diversity

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Niche dimensionality is the most general theoretical explanation for biodiversity: more niches allow for more ecological tradeoffs between species and thus greater opportunities for coexistence. Resource competition theory predicts that removing resource limitations, by increasing resource availabil...

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

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

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

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2013-01-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

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

    PubMed

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

    2013-10-01

    Niche variation owing to individual differences in ecology has been hypothesized to be an early stage of sympatric speciation. Yet to date, no study has tracked niche width over more than a few generations. In this study, we show the presence of isotopic niche variation over millennial timescales and investigate the evolutionary outcomes. Isotopic ratios were measured from tissue samples of sympatric killer whale Orcinus orca lineages from the North Sea, spanning over 10 000 years. Isotopic ratios spanned a range similar to the difference in isotopic values of two known prey items, herring Clupea harengus and harbour seal Phoca vitulina. Two proxies of the stage of speciation, lineage sorting of mitogenomes and genotypic clustering, were both weak to intermediate indicating that speciation has made little progress. Thus, our study confirms that even with the necessary ecological conditions, i.e. among-individual variation in ecology, it is difficult for sympatric speciation to progress in the face of gene flow. In contrast to some theoretical models, our empirical results suggest that sympatric speciation driven by among-individual differences in ecological niche is a slow process and may not reach completion. We argue that sympatric speciation is constrained in this system owing to the plastic nature of the behavioural traits under selection when hunting either mammals or fish. PMID:23945688

  9. Delineating Ecological Boundaries of Hanuman Langur Species Complex in Peninsular India Using MaxEnt Modeling Approach

    PubMed Central

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

    2014-01-01

    Hanuman langur is one of the widely distributed and extensively studied non-human diurnal primates in India. Until recently it was believed to be a single species - Semnopithecus entellus. Recent molecular and morphological studies suggest that the Hanuman langurs consists of at least three species S. entellus, S. hypoleucos and S. priam. Furthermore, morphological studies suggested that both S. hypoleucos and S. priam have at least three subspecies in each. We explored the use of ecological niche modeling (ENM) to confirm the validity of these seven taxa and an additional taxon S. johnii belonging to the same genus. MaxEnt modeling tool was used with 19 bioclimatic, 12 vegetation and 6 hydrological environmental layers. We reduced total environmental variables to 14 layers after testing for collinearity and an independent test for model prediction was done using ENMTools. A total of 196 non-overlapping data points from primary and secondary sources were used as inputs for ENM. Results showed eight distinct ecological boundaries, corroborating the eight taxa mentioned above thereby confirming validity of these eight taxa. The study, for the first time provided ecological variables that determined the ecological requirements and distribution of members of the Hanuman langur species complex in the Indian peninsula. PMID:24498377

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2006-01-01

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

  11. The niche, biogeography and species interactions

    PubMed Central

    Wiens, John J.

    2011-01-01

    In this paper, I review the relevance of the niche to biogeography, and what biogeography may tell us about the niche. The niche is defined as the combination of abiotic and biotic conditions where a species can persist. I argue that most biogeographic patterns are created by niche differences over space, and that even ‘geographic barriers’ must have an ecological basis. However, we know little about specific ecological factors underlying most biogeographic patterns. Some evidence supports the importance of abiotic factors, whereas few examples exist of large-scale patterns created by biotic interactions. I also show how incorporating biogeography may offer new perspectives on resource-related niches and species interactions. Several examples demonstrate that even after a major evolutionary radiation within a region, the region can still be invaded by ecologically similar species from another clade, countering the long-standing idea that communities and regions are generally ‘saturated’ with species. I also describe the somewhat paradoxical situation where competition seems to limit trait evolution in a group, but does not prevent co-occurrence of species with similar values for that trait (called here the ‘competition–divergence–co-occurrence conundrum’). In general, the interface of biogeography and ecology could be a major area for research in both fields. PMID:21768150

  12. Climatic suitability of Aedes albopictus in Europe referring to climate change projections: comparison of mechanistic and correlative niche modelling approaches.

    PubMed

    Fischer, D; Thomas, S M; Neteler, M; Tjaden, N B; Beierkuhnlein, C

    2014-01-01

    The Asian tiger mosquito, Aedes albopictus, is capable of transmitting a broad range of viruses to humans. Since its introduction at the end of the 20th century, it has become well established in large parts of southern Europe. As future expansion as a result of climate change can be expected, determining the current and projected future climatic suitability of this invasive mosquito in Europe is of interest. Several studies have tried to detect the potential habitats for this species, but differing data sources and modelling approaches must be considered when interpreting the findings. Here, various modelling methodologies are compared with special emphasis on model set-up and study design. Basic approaches and model algorithms for the projection of spatio-temporal trends within the 21st century differ substantially. Applied methods range from mechanistic models (e.g. overlay of climatic constraints based on geographic information systems or rather process-based approaches) to correlative niche models. We conclude that spatial characteristics such as introduction gateways and dispersal pathways need to be considered. Laboratory experiments addressing the climatic constraints of the mosquito are required for improved modelling results. However, the main source of uncertainty remains the insufficient knowledge about the species' ability to adapt to novel environments. PMID:24556349

  13. Pathogen evolution and the immunological niche

    PubMed Central

    Cobey, Sarah

    2014-01-01

    Host immunity is a major driver of pathogen evolution and thus a major determinant of pathogen diversity. Explanations for pathogen diversity traditionally assume simple interactions between pathogens and the immune system, a view encapsulated by the susceptible–infected–recovered (SIR) model. However, there is growing evidence that the complexity of many host–pathogen interactions is dynamically important. This revised perspective requires broadening the definition of a pathogen's immunological phenotype, or what can be thought of as its immunological niche. After reviewing evidence that interactions between pathogens and host immunity drive much of pathogen evolution, I introduce the concept of a pathogen's immunological phenotype. Models that depart from the SIR paradigm demonstrate the utility of this perspective and show that it is particularly useful in understanding vaccine-induced evolution. This paper highlights questions in immunology, evolution, and ecology that must be answered to advance theories of pathogen diversity. PMID:25040161

  14. Pathogen evolution and the immunological niche.

    PubMed

    Cobey, Sarah

    2014-07-01

    Host immunity is a major driver of pathogen evolution and thus a major determinant of pathogen diversity. Explanations for pathogen diversity traditionally assume simple interactions between pathogens and the immune system, a view encapsulated by the susceptible-infected-recovered (SIR) model. However, there is growing evidence that the complexity of many host-pathogen interactions is dynamically important. This revised perspective requires broadening the definition of a pathogen's immunological phenotype, or what can be thought of as its immunological niche. After reviewing evidence that interactions between pathogens and host immunity drive much of pathogen evolution, I introduce the concept of a pathogen's immunological phenotype. Models that depart from the SIR paradigm demonstrate the utility of this perspective and show that it is particularly useful in understanding vaccine-induced evolution. This paper highlights questions in immunology, evolution, and ecology that must be answered to advance theories of pathogen diversity. PMID:25040161

  15. PREDICTIONS IN AN INVADED WORLD - PART I: USING NICHE MODELS TO PREDICT DISTRIBUTIONS OF MARINE/ESTUARINE SPECIES AT THE HABITAT SCALE

    EPA Science Inventory

    Niche models can be used to predict the distributions of marine/estuarine nonindigenous species (NIS) over three spatial scales. The goal at the biogeographic scale is to predict whether a species is likely to invade a geographic region. At the regional scale, the goal is to pr...

  16. Helium preconditioning protects the brain against hypoxia/ischemia injury via improving the neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat model.

    PubMed

    Li, Yi; Zhang, Peixi; Liu, Ying; Liu, Wenwu; Yin, Na

    2016-11-01

    This study aimed to investigate whether helium preconditioning (He-PC) is able to exert neuroprotective effects via improving focal neurovascular niche in a neonatal rat hypoxia/ischemia (HI) brain injury model. Seven day old rat pups were divided into control group, HI group and He-PC group. HI was induced by exposure to 8% oxygen for 90min one day after preconditioning with 70% helium-30% oxygen for three 5-min periods. At 3 and 7 days, the brain was collected for the detection of inflammation related factors (tumor necrosis factor α [TNF-α], interleukin-1β [IL-1β], IL-10) and growth/neurotrophic factors (brain-derived neurotrophic factor [BDNF], basic fibroblast growth factor [bFGF] and nerve growth factor [NGF]); at 7 days, neurobehaviors were evaluated, and the brain was collected for the detection of mRNA expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) by PCR, protein expression of angiogenesis related molecules (VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1) by Western blotting and microvessel density (MCD) by immunohistochemistry for vWF. Results showed He-PC was able to reduce TNF-α and IL-1β, further increase IL-10, BDNF, bFGF and NGF, elevate the mRNA expression of VEGF and Ang-1, increase the protein expression of VEGF, Ang-1, Tie-2 and Flt-1, promote angiogenesis and improve neurobehaviors as compared to HI group. These findings suggest that He-PC may improve the post-stroke neurovascular niche to exert neuroprotective effects on neonatal HI brain injury. PMID:27515290

  17. Bacillus thuringiensis Is an Environmental Pathogen and Host-Specificity Has Developed as an Adaptation to Human-Generated Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Argôlo-Filho, Ronaldo Costa; Loguercio, Leandro Lopes

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used successfully as a biopesticide for more than 60 years. More recently, genes encoding their toxins have been used to transform plants and other organisms. Despite the large amount of research on this bacterium, its true ecology is still a matter of debate, with two major viewpoints dominating: while some understand Bt as an insect pathogen, others see it as a saprophytic bacteria from soil. In this context, Bt’s pathogenicity to other taxa and the possibility that insects may not be the primary targets of Bt are also ideas that further complicate this scenario. The existence of conflicting research results, the difficulty in developing broader ecological and genetics studies, and the great genetic plasticity of this species has cluttered a definitive concept. In this review, we gathered information on the aspects of Bt ecology that are often ignored, in the attempt to clarify the lifestyle, mechanisms of transmission and target host range of this bacterial species. As a result, we propose an integrated view to account for Bt ecology. Although Bt is indeed a pathogenic bacterium that possesses a broad arsenal for virulence and defense mechanisms, as well as a wide range of target hosts, this seems to be an adaptation to specific ecological changes acting on a versatile and cosmopolitan environmental bacterium. Bt pathogenicity and host-specificity was favored evolutionarily by increased populations of certain insect species (or other host animals), whose availability for colonization were mostly caused by anthropogenic activities. These have generated the conditions for ecological imbalances that favored dominance of specific populations of insects, arachnids, nematodes, etc., in certain areas, with narrower genetic backgrounds. These conditions provided the selective pressure for development of new hosts for pathogenic interactions, and so, host specificity of certain strains. PMID:26462580

  18. Comparison of Ecological Validity of Learning Disabilities Diagnostic Models

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Dean, Vincent J.; Burns, Matthew K.; Grialou, Tina; Varro, Patrick J.

    2006-01-01

    The purpose of this article is to examine models designed for the determination of a learning disability and compare them to specific criteria to determine whether the given diagnostic process is ecological in nature. The traditional child-centered deficit model (CCD), Relative Achievement Discrepancy model (RAD), and Responsiveness to…

  19. Guide for developing conceptual models for ecological risk assessments

    SciTech Connect

    Suter, G.W., II

    1996-05-01

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

  20. Ecology.

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    National Audubon Society, New York, NY.

    This set of teaching aids consists of nine Audubon Nature Bulletins, providing teachers and students with informational reading on various ecological topics. The bulletins have these titles: Schoolyard Laboratories, Owls and Predators, The Forest Community, Life in Freshwater Marshes, Camouflage in the Animal World, Life in the Desert, The…

  1. ECOLOGICAL MODEL TESTING: VERIFICATION, VALIDATION OR NEITHER?

    EPA Science Inventory

    Consider the need to make a management decision about a declining animal population. Two models are available to help. Before a decision is made based on model results, the astute manager or policy maker may ask, "Do the models work?" Or, "Have the models been verified or validat...

  2. Defining fundamental niche dimensions of corals: synergistic effects of colony size, light, and flow.

    PubMed

    Hoogenboom, Mia O; Connolly, Sean R

    2009-03-01

    The "fundamental niche" is the range of conditions under which an organism can survive and reproduce, measured in the absence of biotic interactions. Niche measurements are often based on statistical relationships between species presence and measured environmental variables, or inferred from measured responses of species along hypothesized niche axes. In this study, we use novel, process-based models of how irradiance and gas diffusion influence photosynthesis and respiration to predict niche dimensions for three coral species: Acropora nasuta, Montipora foliosa, and Leptoria phrygia. We use a combination of mathematical modeling, laboratory experiments, and field observations to establish the link between energy acquisition and the dominant environmental gradients on reefs: light intensity and water flow velocity. Our approach allows us to quantify how the shape of the niche varies in response to light and flow conditions. The model predicts that, due to its higher photosynthetic capacity, the branching coral A. nasuta has a positive energy balance over awider range of conditions than both a massive species (L. phrygia) and a foliose species (M. foliosa). Moreover, colony size influences niche width, with larger colonies of all three species achieving a positive energy balance over a broader range of conditions than small colonies. Comparison of model predictions with field data demonstrated that tissue biomass and reproductive output are significantly and positively correlated with predicted energy acquisition. These results show how interactions between light and flow determine organism performance along environmental gradients on coral reefs. In addition, this study demonstrates the utility of process-based models for quantifying how physiology influences ecology, and for predicting the ecological consequences of varying environmental conditions. PMID:19341146

  3. Individual-based models in ecology after four decades

    PubMed Central

    Grimm, Volker

    2014-01-01

    Individual-based models simulate populations and communities by following individuals and their properties. They have been used in ecology for more than four decades, with their use and ubiquity in ecology growing rapidly in the last two decades. Individual-based models have been used for many applied or “pragmatic” issues, such as informing the protection and management of particular populations in specific locations, but their use in addressing theoretical questions has also grown rapidly, recently helping us to understand how the sets of traits of individual organisms influence the assembly of communities and food webs. Individual-based models will play an increasingly important role in questions posed by complex ecological systems. PMID:24991416

  4. Untangling the fungal niche: the trait-based approach.

    PubMed

    Crowther, Thomas W; Maynard, Daniel S; Crowther, Terence R; Peccia, Jordan; Smith, Jeffrey R; Bradford, Mark A

    2014-01-01

    Fungi are prominent components of most terrestrial ecosystems, both in terms of biomass and ecosystem functioning, but the hyper-diverse nature of most communities has obscured the search for unifying principles governing community organization. In particular, unlike plants and animals, observational studies provide little evidence for the existence of niche processes in structuring fungal communities at broad spatial scales. This limits our capacity to predict how communities, and their functioning, vary across landscapes. We outline how a shift in focus, from taxonomy toward functional traits, might prove to be valuable in the search for general patterns in fungal ecology. We build on theoretical advances in plant and animal ecology to provide an empirical framework for a trait-based approach in fungal community ecology. Drawing upon specific characteristics of the fungal system, we highlight the significance of drought stress and combat in structuring free-living fungal communities. We propose a conceptual model to formalize how trade-offs between stress-tolerance and combative dominance are likely to organize communities across environmental gradients. Given that the survival of a fungus in a given environment is contingent on its ability to tolerate antagonistic competitors, measuring variation in combat trait expression along environmental gradients provides a means of elucidating realized, from fundamental niche spaces. We conclude that, using a trait-based understanding of how niche processes structure fungal communities across time and space, we can ultimately link communities with ecosystem functioning. Our trait-based framework highlights fundamental uncertainties that require testing in the fungal system, given their potential to uncover general mechanisms in fungal ecology. PMID:25400630

  5. Untangling the fungal niche: the trait-based approach

    PubMed Central

    Crowther, Thomas W.; Maynard, Daniel S.; Crowther, Terence R.; Peccia, Jordan; Smith, Jeffrey R.; Bradford, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Fungi are prominent components of most terrestrial ecosystems, both in terms of biomass and ecosystem functioning, but the hyper-diverse nature of most communities has obscured the search for unifying principles governing community organization. In particular, unlike plants and animals, observational studies provide little evidence for the existence of niche processes in structuring fungal communities at broad spatial scales. This limits our capacity to predict how communities, and their functioning, vary across landscapes. We outline how a shift in focus, from taxonomy toward functional traits, might prove to be valuable in the search for general patterns in fungal ecology. We build on theoretical advances in plant and animal ecology to provide an empirical framework for a trait-based approach in fungal community ecology. Drawing upon specific characteristics of the fungal system, we highlight the significance of drought stress and combat in structuring free-living fungal communities. We propose a conceptual model to formalize how trade-offs between stress-tolerance and combative dominance are likely to organize communities across environmental gradients. Given that the survival of a fungus in a given environment is contingent on its ability to tolerate antagonistic competitors, measuring variation in combat trait expression along environmental gradients provides a means of elucidating realized, from fundamental niche spaces. We conclude that, using a trait-based understanding of how niche processes structure fungal communities across time and space, we can ultimately link communities with ecosystem functioning. Our trait-based framework highlights fundamental uncertainties that require testing in the fungal system, given their potential to uncover general mechanisms in fungal ecology. PMID:25400630

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

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Li, Weidong; Rukavina, Paul

    2012-01-01

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

  7. Realized niche shift associated with the Eurasian charophyte Nitellopsis obtusa becoming invasive in North America

    PubMed Central

    Escobar, Luis E.; Qiao, Huijie; Phelps, Nicholas B. D.; Wagner, Carli K.; Larkin, Daniel J.

    2016-01-01

    Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort) is a dioecious green alga native to Europe and Asia that has emerged as an aquatic invasive species in North America. Nitellopsis obtusa is rare across large portions of its native range, but has spread rapidly in northern-tier lakes in the United States, where it can interfere with recreation and may displace native species. Little is known about the invasion ecology of N. obtusa, making it difficult to forecast future expansion. Using ecological niche modeling we investigated environmental variables associated with invasion risk. We used species records, climate data, and remotely sensed environmental variables to characterize the species’ multidimensional distribution. We found that N. obtusa is exploiting novel ecological niche space in its introduced range, which may help explain its invasiveness. While the fundamental niche of N. obtusa may be stable, there appears to have been a shift in its realized niche associated with invasion in North America. Large portions of the United States are predicted to constitute highly suitable habitat for N. obtusa. Our results can inform early detection and rapid response efforts targeting N. obtusa and provide testable estimates of the physiological tolerances of this species as a baseline for future empirical research. PMID:27363541

  8. Realized niche shift associated with the Eurasian charophyte Nitellopsis obtusa becoming invasive in North America.

    PubMed

    Escobar, Luis E; Qiao, Huijie; Phelps, Nicholas B D; Wagner, Carli K; Larkin, Daniel J

    2016-01-01

    Nitellopsis obtusa (starry stonewort) is a dioecious green alga native to Europe and Asia that has emerged as an aquatic invasive species in North America. Nitellopsis obtusa is rare across large portions of its native range, but has spread rapidly in northern-tier lakes in the United States, where it can interfere with recreation and may displace native species. Little is known about the invasion ecology of N. obtusa, making it difficult to forecast future expansion. Using ecological niche modeling we investigated environmental variables associated with invasion risk. We used species records, climate data, and remotely sensed environmental variables to characterize the species' multidimensional distribution. We found that N. obtusa is exploiting novel ecological niche space in its introduced range, which may help explain its invasiveness. While the fundamental niche of N. obtusa may be stable, there appears to have been a shift in its realized niche associated with invasion in North America. Large portions of the United States are predicted to constitute highly suitable habitat for N. obtusa. Our results can inform early detection and rapid response efforts targeting N. obtusa and provide testable estimates of the physiological tolerances of this species as a baseline for future empirical research. PMID:27363541

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-08-01

    Accurate assessment of insect pest establishment risk is needed by national plant protection organizations to negotiate international trade of horticultural commodities that can potentially carry the pests and result in inadvertent introductions in the importing countries. We used mechanistic and correlative niche models to quantify and map the global patterns of the potential for establishment of codling moth (Cydia pomonella L.), a major pest of apples, peaches, pears, and other pome and stone fruits, and a quarantine pest in countries where it currently does not occur. The mechanistic model CLIMEX was calibrated using species-specific physiological tolerance thresholds, whereas the correlative model MaxEnt used species occurrences and climatic spatial data. Projected potential distribution from both models conformed well to the current known distribution of codling moth. None of the models predicted suitable environmental conditions in countries located between 20°N and 20°S potentially because of shorter photoperiod, and lack of chilling requirement (<60 d at ≤10°C) in these areas for codling moth to break diapause. Models predicted suitable conditions in South Korea and Japan where codling moth currently does not occur but where its preferred host species (i.e., apple) is present. Average annual temperature and latitude were the main environmental variables associated with codling moth distribution at global level. The predictive models developed in this study present the global risk of establishment of codling moth, and can be used for monitoring potential introductions of codling moth in different countries and by policy makers and trade negotiators in making science-based decisions. PMID:26470312

  10. The bone marrow niche for haematopoietic stem cells

    PubMed Central

    Morrison, Sean J.; Scadden, David T.

    2015-01-01

    Preface Niches are local tissue microenvironments that maintain and regulate stem cells. Haematopoiesis provides a paradigm for understanding mammalian stem cells and their niches, yet the haematopoietic stem cell (HSC) niche remains incompletely defined and beset by competing models. Here we review progress in elucidating the location and cellular components of the HSC niche in the bone marrow. The niche is perivascular, created partly by mesenchymal stromal cells and endothelial cells and often, but not always, located near trabecular bone. Outstanding questions concern the cellular complexity of the niche, the role of the endosteum, and functional heterogeneity among perivascular microenvironments. PMID:24429631

  11. Model Organisms Retain an “Ecological Memory” of Complex Ecologically Relevant Environmental Variation

    PubMed Central

    Beer, Karlyn D.; Wurtmann, Elisabeth J.; Pinel, Nicolás

    2014-01-01

    Although tractable model organisms are essential to characterize the molecular mechanisms of evolution and adaptation, the ecological relevance of their behavior is not always clear because certain traits are easily lost during long-term laboratory culturing. Here, we demonstrate that despite their long tenure in the laboratory, model organisms retain “ecological memory” of complex environmental changes. We have discovered that Halobacterium salinarum NRC-1, a halophilic archaeon that dominates microbial communities in a dynamically changing hypersaline environment, simultaneously optimizes fitness to total salinity, NaCl concentration, and the [K]/[Mg] ratio. Despite being maintained under controlled conditions over the last 50 years, peaks in the three-dimensional fitness landscape occur in salinity and ionic compositions that are not replicated in laboratory culturing but are routinely observed in the natural hypersaline environment of this organism. Intriguingly, adaptation to variations in ion composition was associated with differential regulation of anaerobic metabolism genes, suggesting an intertwined relationship between responses to oxygen and salinity. Our results suggest that the ecological memory of complex environmental variations is imprinted in the networks for coordinating multiple cellular processes. These coordination networks are also essential for dealing with changes in other physicochemically linked factors present during routine laboratory culturing and, hence, retained in model organisms. PMID:24413600

  12. Individual-based modeling of ecological and evolutionary processes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeAngelis, Donald L.; Mooij, Wolf M.

    2005-01-01

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

  13. Migration and horizontal gene transfer divide microbial genomes into multiple niches.

    PubMed

    Niehus, Rene; Mitri, Sara; Fletcher, Alexander G; Foster, Kevin R

    2015-01-01

    Horizontal gene transfer is central to microbial evolution, because it enables genetic regions to spread horizontally through diverse communities. However, how gene transfer exerts such a strong effect is not understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model and show how genetic transfer, even when rare, can transform the evolution and ecology of microbes. We recapitulate existing models, which suggest that asexual reproduction will overpower horizontal transfer and greatly limit its effects. We then show that allowing immigration completely changes these predictions. With migration, the rates and impacts of horizontal transfer are greatly increased, and transfer is most frequent for loci under positive natural selection. Our analysis explains how ecologically important loci can sweep through competing strains and species. In this way, microbial genomes can evolve to become ecologically diverse where different genomic regions encode for partially overlapping, but distinct, ecologies. Under these conditions ecological species do not exist, because genes, not species, inhabit niches. PMID:26592443

  14. Migration and horizontal gene transfer divide microbial genomes into multiple niches

    PubMed Central

    Niehus, Rene; Mitri, Sara; Fletcher, Alexander G.; Foster, Kevin R.

    2015-01-01

    Horizontal gene transfer is central to microbial evolution, because it enables genetic regions to spread horizontally through diverse communities. However, how gene transfer exerts such a strong effect is not understood. Here we develop an eco-evolutionary model and show how genetic transfer, even when rare, can transform the evolution and ecology of microbes. We recapitulate existing models, which suggest that asexual reproduction will overpower horizontal transfer and greatly limit its effects. We then show that allowing immigration completely changes these predictions. With migration, the rates and impacts of horizontal transfer are greatly increased, and transfer is most frequent for loci under positive natural selection. Our analysis explains how ecologically important loci can sweep through competing strains and species. In this way, microbial genomes can evolve to become ecologically diverse where different genomic regions encode for partially overlapping, but distinct, ecologies. Under these conditions ecological species do not exist, because genes, not species, inhabit niches. PMID:26592443

  15. Phytoplankton niche generation by interspecific stoichiometric variation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    GöThlich, L.; Oschlies, A.

    2012-06-01

    For marine biogeochemical models used in simulations of climate change scenarios, the ability to account for adaptability of marine ecosystems to environmental change becomes a concern. The potential for adaptation is expected to be larger for a diverse ecosystem compared to a monoculture of a single type of (model) algae, such as typically included in biogeochemical models. Recent attempts to simulate phytoplankton diversity in global marine ecosystem models display remarkable qualitative agreement with observed patterns of species distributions. However, modeled species diversity tends to be systematically lower than observed and, in many regions, is smaller than the number of potentially limiting nutrients. According to resource competition theory, the maximum number of coexisting species at equilibrium equals the number of limiting resources. By simulating phytoplankton communities in a chemostat model and in a global circulation model, we show here that a systematic underestimate of phytoplankton diversity may result from the standard modeling assumption of identical stoichiometry for the different phytoplankton types. Implementing stoichiometric variation among the different marine algae types in the models allows species to generate different resource supply niches via their own ecological impact. This is shown to increase the level of phytoplankton coexistence both in a chemostat model and in a global self-assembling ecosystem model.

  16. Microcavity arrays as an in vitro model system of the bone marrow niche for hematopoietic stem cells.

    PubMed

    Wuchter, Patrick; Saffrich, Rainer; Giselbrecht, Stefan; Nies, Cordula; Lorig, Hanna; Kolb, Stephanie; Ho, Anthony D; Gottwald, Eric

    2016-06-01

    In previous studies human mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) maintained the "stemness" of human hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) through direct cell-cell contact in two-dimensional co-culture systems. We establish a three-dimensional (3D) co-culture system based on a custom-made chip, the 3(D)-KITChip, as an in vitro model system of the human hematopoietic stem cell niche. This array of up to 625 microcavities, with 300 μm size in each orientation, was inserted into a microfluidic bioreactor. The microcavities of the 3(D)-KITChip were inoculated with human bone marrow MSCs together with umbilical cord blood HPCs. MSCs used the microcavities as a scaffold to build a complex 3D mesh. HPCs were distributed three-dimensionally inside this MSC network and formed ß-catenin- and N-cadherin-based intercellular junctions to the surrounding MSCs. Using RT(2)-PCR and western blots, we demonstrate that a proportion of HPCs maintained the expression of CD34 throughout a culture period of 14 days. In colony-forming unit assays, the hematopoietic stem cell plasticity remained similar after 14 days of bioreactor co-culture, whereas monolayer co-cultures showed increasing signs of HPC differentiation and loss of stemness. These data support the notion that the 3D microenvironment created within the microcavity array preserves vital stem cell functions of HPCs more efficiently than conventional co-culture systems. PMID:26829941

  17. Worldwide niche and future potential distribution of Culicoides imicola, a major vector of bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses.

    PubMed

    Guichard, Sylvain; Guis, Hélène; Tran, Annelise; Garros, Claire; Balenghien, Thomas; Kriticos, Darren J

    2014-01-01

    We modelled the ecoclimatic niche of Culicoides imicola, a major arthropod vector of midge-borne viral pathogens affecting ruminants and equids, at fine scale and on a global extent, so as to provide insight into current and future risks of disease epizootics, and increase current knowledge of the species' ecology. Based on the known distribution and ecology of C. imicola, the species' response to monthly climatic conditions was characterised using CLIMEX with 10' spatial resolution climatic datasets. The species' climatic niche was projected worldwide and under future climatic scenarios. The validated model highlights the role of irrigation in supporting the occurrence of C. imicola in arid regions. In Europe, the modelled potential distribution of C. imicola extended further West than its reported distribution, raising questions regarding ongoing process of colonization and non-climatic habitat factors. The CLIMEX model highlighted similar ecological niches for C. imicola and the Australasian C. brevitarsis raising questions on biogeography and biosecurity. Under the climate change scenarios considered, its' modelled potential distribution could expand northward in the Northern hemisphere, whereas in Africa its range may contract in the future. The biosecurity risks from bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses need to be re-evaluated in regions where the vector's niche is suitable. Under a warmer climate, the risk of vector-borne epizootic pathogens such as bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses are likely to increase as the climate suitability for C. imicola shifts poleward, especially in Western Europe. PMID:25391148

  18. Worldwide Niche and Future Potential Distribution of Culicoides imicola, a Major Vector of Bluetongue and African Horse Sickness Viruses

    PubMed Central

    Guichard, Sylvain; Guis, Hélène; Tran, Annelise; Garros, Claire; Balenghien, Thomas; Kriticos, Darren J.

    2014-01-01

    We modelled the ecoclimatic niche of Culicoides imicola, a major arthropod vector of midge-borne viral pathogens affecting ruminants and equids, at fine scale and on a global extent, so as to provide insight into current and future risks of disease epizootics, and increase current knowledge of the species' ecology. Based on the known distribution and ecology of C. imicola, the species' response to monthly climatic conditions was characterised using CLIMEX with 10′ spatial resolution climatic datasets. The species' climatic niche was projected worldwide and under future climatic scenarios. The validated model highlights the role of irrigation in supporting the occurrence of C. imicola in arid regions. In Europe, the modelled potential distribution of C. imicola extended further West than its reported distribution, raising questions regarding ongoing process of colonization and non-climatic habitat factors. The CLIMEX model highlighted similar ecological niches for C. imicola and the Australasian C. brevitarsis raising questions on biogeography and biosecurity. Under the climate change scenarios considered, its' modelled potential distribution could expand northward in the Northern hemisphere, whereas in Africa its range may contract in the future. The biosecurity risks from bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses need to be re-evaluated in regions where the vector's niche is suitable. Under a warmer climate, the risk of vector-borne epizootic pathogens such as bluetongue and African horse sickness viruses are likely to increase as the climate suitability for C. imicola shifts poleward, especially in Western Europe. PMID:25391148

  19. Advances in Violence and Trauma: Toward Comprehensive Ecological Models

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hughes, Honore M.; Humphrey, Natalie N.; Weaver, Terri L.

    2005-01-01

    The most important things learned about violence and trauma in the past 20 years are that interpersonal violence is prevalent, with different forms co-occurring, and that victims' reactions are complex. Researchers are called to consider models that include the ecological context within which victims experience violence and trauma to gain a better…

  20. The Quality of Home Environment in Brazil: An Ecological Model

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    de Oliveira, Ebenezer A.; Barros, Fernando C.; Anselmi, Luciana D. da Silva; Piccinini, Cesar A.

    2006-01-01

    Based on Bronfenbrenner's (1999) ecological perspective, a longitudinal, prospective model of individual differences in the quality of home environment (Home Observation for Measurement of the Environment--HOME) was tested in a sample of 179 Brazilian children and their families. Perinatal measures of family socioeconomic status (SES) and child…

  1. Back-end Science Model Integration for Ecological Risk Assessment

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) relies on a number of ecological risk assessment models that have been developed over 30-plus years of regulating pesticide exposure and risks under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Spe...

  2. Back-end Science Model Integration for Ecological Risk Assessment.

    EPA Science Inventory

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) relies on a number of ecological risk assessment models that have been developed over 30-plus years of regulating pesticide exposure and risks under Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Spe...

  3. ASSESSMENT OF SPATIAL AUTOCORRELATION IN EMPIRICAL MODELS IN ECOLOGY

    EPA Science Inventory

    Statistically assessing ecological models is inherently difficult because data are autocorrelated and this autocorrelation varies in an unknown fashion. At a simple level, the linking of a single species to a habitat type is a straightforward analysis. With some investigation int...

  4. A Model of Practice in Special Education: Dynamic Ecological Analysis

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Hannant, Barbara; Lim, Eng Leong; McAllum, Ruth

    2010-01-01

    Dynamic Ecological Analysis (DEA) is a model of practice which increases a teams' efficacy by enabling the development of more effective interventions through collaboration and collective reflection. This process has proved to be useful in: a) clarifying thinking and problem-solving, b) transferring knowledge and thinking to significant parties,…

  5. Historical development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  6. INTEGRATION OF AN ECONOMIC WITH AN ECOLOGICAL MODEL

    EPA Science Inventory

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

  7. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Dublin

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  8. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Fremantle

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  9. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Sydney

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  10. A Novel Integrated Ecological Model for the study of Sustainability

    EPA Science Inventory

    In recent years, there has been a growing interest among various sections of the society in the study of sustainability. Recently, a generalized mathematical model depicting a combined economic-ecological-social system has been proposed to help in the formal study of sustainabili...

  11. Development of stable isotope mixing models in ecology - Perth

    EPA Science Inventory

    More than 40 years ago, stable isotope analysis methods used in geochemistry began to be applied to ecological studies. One common application is using mathematical mixing models to sort out the proportional contributions of various sources to a mixture. Examples include contri...

  12. MixSIAR: A Bayesian stable isotope mixing model for characterizing intrapopulation niche variation

    EPA Science Inventory

    Background/Question/Methods The science of stable isotope mixing models has tended towards the development of modeling products (e.g. IsoSource, MixSIR, SIAR), where methodological advances or syntheses of the current state of the art are published in parity with software packa...

  13. Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS) modeling

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Drysdale, Alan; Thomas, Mark; Fresa, Mark; Wheeler, Ray

    1992-01-01

    Attention is given to CELSS, a critical technology for the Space Exploration Initiative. OCAM (object-oriented CELSS analysis and modeling) models carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen recycling. Multiple crops and plant types can be simulated. Resource recovery options from inedible biomass include leaching, enzyme treatment, aerobic digestion, and mushroom and fish growth. The benefit of using many small crops overlapping in time, instead of a single large crop, is demonstrated. Unanticipated results include startup transients which reduce the benefit of multiple small crops. The relative contributions of mass, energy, and manpower to system cost are analyzed in order to determine appropriate research directions.

  14. Niche divergence accelerates evolution in Asian endemic Procapra gazelles

    PubMed Central

    Hu, Junhua; Jiang, Zhigang; Chen, Jing; Qiao, Huijie

    2015-01-01

    Ecological niche divergence and adaptation to new environments are thought to play important roles in driving speciation. Whether recently evolved species show evidence for niche divergence or conservation is vital towards understanding the role of ecology in the process of speciation. The genus Procapra is an ancient, monophyletic lineage endemic to Asia that contains three extant species (P. gutturosa, P. przewalskii and P. picticaudata). These species mainly inhabit the Qinghai-Tibetan and Mongolian Plateaus, and today have primarily allopatric distributions. We applied a series of geographic information system–based analyses to test for environmental variation and niche divergence among these three species. We found substantial evidence for niche divergence in species’ bioclimatic preferences, which supports the hypothesis that niche divergence accelerates diversification in Procapra. Our results provide important insight into the evolutionary history of ungulates in Asia and help to elucidate how environmental changes accelerate lineage diversification. PMID:25951051

  15. Global Carbon-Sink Sensitivity to Nitrogen: New Niches for Model-Data Symbiosis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muller, S. J.; Gerber, S.

    2011-12-01

    To predict global environmental change it is crucial to determine the response of primary production to "CO2 fertilization". Dynamic global land models (DGLMs) are used to predict this long-term carbon (C) sink, but considerable disparity exists between the results obtained from different models. Constraining this divergence is necessary to reduce the uncertainty in our projections. To this end, recent model refinements have attempted to account for the important role that nitrogen (N) limitation plays in primary productivity. However, DGLMs rely on vast amounts of data, and thus far the focus has been on C. There is consequentially a paucity of global N data to support model benchmarking and forcing. Ideally, we strive to use model simulations and data collection symbiotically; each benefiting the other, and reciprocating in turn. It would therefore be valuable to know which measurable N variables would support better benchmarking that also improves C-sink predictions. This work endeavors to identify the optimal choice of 1) benchmark data to better constrain long-term C-sink predictions, and 2) the variables that should be measured, or measured better, to support these benchmarks, with particular attention paid to N in both cases. Here we use LM3V, a state of the art DGLM with coupled C-N cycling, to determine which processes most strongly control long-term C-sink. Concurrent sensitivity analyses are being performed to identify which of the model variables commonly used in benchmarking, or under consideration for future benchmarking (i.e. N variables), exhibit sensitivities that correlate with those identified for C-sink. Preliminary results indicate that long-term C-sink is strongly affected by factors that determine input or retention of N, as well as stoichiometric relationships. This sensitivity is most apparent as a long-term cumulative effect. At shorter time-scales many of the model outputs commonly used in benchmarking show relative insensitivity to these

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

    PubMed

    Gatti, Roberto Cazzolla

    2011-01-01

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

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2016-01-01

    Potential distributions of endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos were poorly mapped, which hindered our implementation of proper conservation. Here we investigated the applicability of ecological niche modeling for endangered relic shrubs to detect areas of priority for biodiversity conservation and analyze differences in ecological niche spaces used by relic shrubs. We applied ordination and niche modeling techniques to assess main environmental drivers of five endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos, namely, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus, Amygdalus mongolica, Helianthemum songaricum, Potaninia mongolica, and Tetraena mongolica. We calculated niche overlap metrics in gridded environmental spaces and compared geographical projections of ecological niches to determine similarities and differences of niches occupied by relic shrubs. All studied taxa presented different responses to environmental factors, which resulted in a unique combination of niche conditions. Precipitation availability and soil quality characteristics play important roles in the distributions of most shrubs. Each relic shrub is constrained by a unique set of environmental conditions, the distribution of one species cannot be implied by the distribution of another, highlighting the inadequacy of one-fits-all type of conservation measure. Our stacked habitat suitability maps revealed regions around Yellow River, which are highly suitable for most species, thereby providing high conservation value. PMID:27199260

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

    Potential distributions of endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos were poorly mapped, which hindered our implementation of proper conservation. Here we investigated the applicability of ecological niche modeling for endangered relic shrubs to detect areas of priority for biodiversity conservation and analyze differences in ecological niche spaces used by relic shrubs. We applied ordination and niche modeling techniques to assess main environmental drivers of five endemic relic shrubs in western Ordos, namely, Ammopiptanthus mongolicus, Amygdalus mongolica, Helianthemum songaricum, Potaninia mongolica, and Tetraena mongolica. We calculated niche overlap metrics in gridded environmental spaces and compared geographical projections of ecological niches to determine similarities and differences of niches occupied by relic shrubs. All studied taxa presented different responses to environmental factors, which resulted in a unique combination of niche conditions. Precipitation availability and soil quality characteristics play important roles in the distributions of most shrubs. Each relic shrub is constrained by a unique set of environmental conditions, the distribution of one species cannot be implied by the distribution of another, highlighting the inadequacy of one-fits-all type of conservation measure. Our stacked habitat suitability maps revealed regions around Yellow River, which are highly suitable for most species, thereby providing high conservation value. PMID:27199260

  19. Quantification of the relative roles of niche and neutral processes in structuring gastrointestinal microbiomes

    PubMed Central

    Jeraldo, Patricio; Sipos, Maksim; Chia, Nicholas; Brulc, Jennifer M.; Dhillon, A. Singh; Konkel, Michael E.; Larson, Charles L.; Nelson, Karen E.; Qu, Ani; Schook, Lawrence B.; Yang, Fang; White, Bryan A.; Goldenfeld, Nigel

    2012-01-01

    The theoretical description of the forces that shape ecological communities focuses around two classes of models. In niche theory, deterministic interactions between species, individuals, and the environment are considered the dominant factor, whereas in neutral theory, stochastic forces, such as demographic noise, speciation, and immigration, are dominant. Species abundance distributions predicted by the two classes of theory are difficult to distinguish empirically, making it problematic to deduce ecological dynamics from typical measures of diversity and community structure. Here, we show that the fusion of species abundance data with genome-derived measures of evolutionary distance can provide a clear indication of ecological dynamics, capable of quantifying the relative roles played by niche and neutral forces. We apply this technique to six gastrointestinal microbiomes drawn from three different domesticated vertebrates, using high-resolution surveys of microbial species abundance obtained from carefully curated deep 16S rRNA hypervariable tag sequencing data. Although the species abundance patterns are seemingly well fit by the neutral theory of metacommunity assembly, we show that this theory cannot account for the evolutionary patterns in the genomic data; moreover, our analyses strongly suggest that these microbiomes have, in fact, been assembled through processes that involve a significant nonneutral (niche) contribution. Our results demonstrate that high-resolution genomics can remove the ambiguities of process inference inherent in classic ecological measures and permits quantification of the forces shaping complex microbial communities. PMID:22615407

  20. [New experimental models in microbial ecology].

    PubMed

    Liz'ko, N N

    1989-06-01

    Peculiar features of dysbiosis development in persons under extreme conditions were studied. It was shown that a number of extreme factors participated in formation of dysbiotic disorders in intestinal microflora. Of paramount importance was the neuro-emotional stress. Lability of bifido- and lactoflora was considered as the starting mechanism in dysbacteriosis under the extreme conditions. In the experimental models with rats SPF and Primates during flights of biosatellites of the Kosmos series the role of indigenous++ microflora in maintaining the microecological homeostasis, as well as the need for development of artificial and controlled intestinal microflora promising in prophylaxis of dysbacteriosis under extreme conditions was shown. The theoretical and experimentally grounded necessity of maintaining constant intestine microbiocenosis was confirmed by the practice of using the system of measures for recovery, stabilization and optimization of microflora in persons under extreme conditions. PMID:2802876

  1. Realized niche shift during a global biological invasion

    PubMed Central

    Tingley, Reid; Vallinoto, Marcelo; Sequeira, Fernando; Kearney, Michael R.

    2014-01-01

    Accurate forecasts of biological invasions are crucial for managing invasion risk but are hampered by niche shifts resulting from evolved environmental tolerances (fundamental niche shifts) or the presence of novel biotic and abiotic conditions in the invaded range (realized niche shifts). Distinguishing between these kinds of niche shifts is impossible with traditional, correlative approaches to invasion forecasts, which exclusively consider the realized niche. Here we overcome this challenge by combining a physiologically mechanistic model of the fundamental niche with correlative models based on the realized niche to study the global invasion of the cane toad Rhinella marina. We find strong evidence that the success of R. marina in Australia reflects a shift in the species’ realized niche, as opposed to evolutionary shifts in range-limiting traits. Our results demonstrate that R. marina does not fill its fundamental niche in its native South American range and that areas of niche unfilling coincide with the presence of a closely related species with which R. marina hybridizes. Conversely, in Australia, where coevolved taxa are absent, R. marina largely fills its fundamental niche in areas behind the invasion front. The general approach taken here of contrasting fundamental and realized niche models provides key insights into the role of biotic interactions in shaping range limits and can inform effective management strategies not only for invasive species but also for assisted colonization under climate change. PMID:24982155

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

    PubMed

    Rato, C; Carretero, M A

    2015-01-01

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

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

    PubMed

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

    2011-08-01

    Coccolithophores, especially the abundant, cosmopolitan species Emiliania huxleyi (Lohmann) W. W. Hay et H. P. Mohler, are one of the main driving forces of the oceanic carbonate pump and contribute significantly to global carbon cycling, due to their ability to calcify. A recent study indicates that termination of diploid blooms by viral infection induces life-cycle transition, and speculation has arisen about the role of the haploid, noncalcifying stage in coccolithophore ecology. To explore gene expression patterns in both life-cycle stages, haploid and diploid cells of E. huxleyi (RCC 1217 and RCC 1216) were acclimated to limiting and saturating photon flux densities. Transcriptome analyses were performed to assess differential genomic expression related to different ploidy levels and acclimation light intensities. Analyses indicated that life-cycle stages exhibit different properties of regulating genome expression (e.g., pronounced gene activation and gene silencing in the diploid stage), proteome maintenance (e.g., increased turnover of proteins in the haploid stage), as well as metabolic processing (e.g., pronounced primary metabolism and motility in the haploid stage and calcification in the diploid stage). Furthermore, higher abundances of transcripts related to endocytotic and digestive machinery were observed in the diploid stage. A qualitative feeding experiment indicated that both life-cycle stages are capable of particle uptake (0.5 μm diameter) in late-stationary growth phase. Results showed that the two life-cycle stages represent functionally distinct entities that are evolutionarily shaped to thrive in the environment they typically inhabit. PMID:27020019

  4. Gastrospheres of human gastric mucosa cells: an in vitro model of stromal and epithelial stem cell niche reconstruction.

    PubMed

    Santos, Carlos A N; Andrade, Leonardo R; Costa, Márcia H M; Souza, Heitor S P; Granjeiro, José M; Takiya, Christina M; Borojevic, Radovan; Nasciutti, Luiz E

    2016-08-01

    The molecular characterization of mechanisms involved in the gastrointestinal tract disorders needs an in vitro 3D culture model able to mimic the in vivo gastric microenvironment. Herein, we propose a 3D coculture system where gastric epithelial and stromal cells are grown together building spherical and solid structures using the NASA bioreactor - cell culture system (RCCS), a bioreactor. Epithelial and stromal cells from human antral gastric mucosa were isolated from endoscopic gastric biopsies. Thereafter, these cells were mechanically and enzymatically dispersed by treatment with dispase and collagenase, respectively. Using specific culture procedures, these cells formed 3D structures by using a RCCS, named "gastrospheres". Briefly, gastrospheres were obtained by initial seeding of 2.5x10⁴ cells/well in 96 well culture plates. At 24 h after their formation, they were transferred into RCCS, and maintained for 7, 14, 21, and 28 days. The gastrospheres were morphologically characterized by immunocytochemisty to evaluate extracellular matrix (ECM), and by electron microscopy. These analysis of gastrospheres revealed that the epithelial cells were cytokeratin (CK) and lectin reactive and were arranged in the outer layer; stromal cells presented long cytoplasmic processes and were localized inside the gastrosphere. They were vimentin (VIM) and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) positive and expressed ECM components such as laminin (LN), fibronectin (FN), and type IV collagen (CIV). Electron microscopy revealed groups of cohesive gastric cells surrounded by complex stromal structures, with multiple microvilli, and tight cellular junctions interspersed with extracellular matrix fibrils and fibers. The presence of some nestin-positive cells was observed in the inner region of the gastrospheres, suggesting an intermediary localization between epithelial and stromal cells. Altogether, our data suggest that in vitro gastrospheres recapitulate the in vivo gastric niche

  5. Correlated percolation models of structured habitat in ecology

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huth, Géraldine; Lesne, Annick; Munoz, François; Pitard, Estelle

    2014-12-01

    Percolation offers acknowledged models of random media when the relevant medium characteristics can be described as a binary feature. However, when considering habitat modeling in ecology, a natural constraint comes from nearest-neighbor correlations between the suitable/unsuitable states of the spatial units forming the habitat. Such constraints are also relevant in the physics of aggregation where underlying processes may lead to a form of correlated percolation. However, in ecology, the processes leading to habitat correlations are in general not known or very complex. As proposed by Hiebeler (2000), these correlations can be captured in a lattice model by an observable aggregation parameter q, supplementing the density p of suitable sites. We investigate this model as an instance of correlated percolation. We analyze the phase diagram of the percolation transition and compute the cluster size distribution, the pair-connectedness function C(r) and the correlation function g(r). We find that while g(r) displays a power-law decrease associated with long-range correlations in a wide domain of parameter values, critical properties are compatible with the universality class of uncorrelated percolation. We contrast the correlation structures obtained respectively for the correlated percolation model and for the Ising model, and show that the diversity of habitat configurations generated by the Hiebeler model is richer than the archetypal Ising model. We also find that emergent structural properties are peculiar to the implemented algorithm, leading to questioning the notion of a well-defined model of aggregated habitat. We conclude that the choice of model and algorithm has strong consequences on what insights ecological studies can get using such models of species habitat.

  6. Aberrant Lipid Metabolism in the Forebrain Niche Suppresses Adult Neural Stem Cell Proliferation in an Animal Model of Alzheimer's Disease.

    PubMed

    Hamilton, Laura K; Dufresne, Martin; Joppé, Sandra E; Petryszyn, Sarah; Aumont, Anne; Calon, Frédéric; Barnabé-Heider, Fanie; Furtos, Alexandra; Parent, Martin; Chaurand, Pierre; Fernandes, Karl J L

    2015-10-01

    Lipid metabolism is fundamental for brain development and function, but its roles in normal and pathological neural stem cell (NSC) regulation remain largely unexplored. Here, we uncover a fatty acid-mediated mechanism suppressing endogenous NSC activity in Alzheimer's disease (AD). We found that postmortem AD brains and triple-transgenic Alzheimer's disease (3xTg-AD) mice accumulate neutral lipids within ependymal cells, the main support cell of the forebrain NSC niche. Mass spectrometry and microarray analyses identified these lipids as oleic acid-enriched triglycerides that originate from niche-derived rather than peripheral lipid metabolism defects. In wild-type mice, locally increasing oleic acid was sufficient to recapitulate the AD-associated ependymal triglyceride phenotype and inhibit NSC proliferation. Moreover, inhibiting the rate-limiting enzyme of oleic acid synthesis rescued proliferative defects in both adult neurogenic niches of 3xTg-AD mice. These studies support a pathogenic mechanism whereby AD-induced perturbation of niche fatty acid metabolism suppresses the homeostatic and regenerative functions of NSCs. PMID:26321199

  7. Taxonomic utility of environmental niche models for species distinction: A case study in Anthophora (Heliophila) (Hymenoptera: Apidae)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Taxonomy has far-reaching effects throughout biology, and incorrect taxonomy can be detrimental in many ways. Polymorphic species complexes, many of which exist in the bee genus Anthophora Latreille, lend themselves to such difficulties. This study employs environmental niche mapping (ENM) and tradi...

  8. Ecological dynamic model of grassland and its practical verification.

    PubMed

    Zeng, Xiaodong; Wang, Aihui; Zhao, Gang; Shen, Samuel S P; Zeng, Xubin; Zeng, Qingcun

    2005-02-01

    Based on the physico-biophysical considerations, mathematical analysis and some approximate formulations generally adopted in meteorology and ecology, an ecological dynamic model of grassland is developed. The model consists of three interactive variables, i.e. the biomass of living grass, the biomass of wilted grass, and the soil wetness. The major biophysical processes are represented in parameterization formulas, and the model parameters can be determined inversely by using the observational climatological and ecological data. Some major parameters are adjusted by this method to fit the data (although incomplete) in the Inner Mongolia grassland, and other secondary parameters are estimated through sensitivity studies. The model results are well agreed with reality, e.g., (i) the maintenance of grassland requires a minimum amount of annual precipitation (approximately 300 mm); (ii) there is a significant relationship between the annual precipitation and the biomass of living grass; and (iii) the overgrazing will eventually result in desertification. A specific emphasis is put on the shading effect of the wilted grass accumulated on the soil surface. It effectively reduces the soil surface temperature and the evaporation, hence benefits the maintenance of grassland and the reduction of water loss in the soil. PMID:15844356

  9. Assessing niche width of endothermic fish from genes to ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Madigan, Daniel J; Carlisle, Aaron B; Gardner, Luke D; Jayasundara, Nishad; Micheli, Fiorenza; Schaefer, Kurt M; Fuller, Daniel W; Block, Barbara A

    2015-07-01

    Endothermy in vertebrates has been postulated to confer physiological and ecological advantages. In endothermic fish, niche expansion into cooler waters is correlated with specific physiological traits and is hypothesized to lead to greater foraging success and increased fitness. Using the seasonal co-occurrence of three tuna species in the eastern Pacific Ocean as a model system, we used cardiac gene expression data (as a proxy for thermal tolerance to low temperatures), archival tag data, and diet analyses to examine the vertical niche expansion hypothesis for endothermy in situ. Yellowfin, albacore, and Pacific bluefin tuna (PBFT) in the California Current system used more surface, mesopelagic, and deep waters, respectively. Expression of cardiac genes for calcium cycling increased in PBFT and coincided with broader vertical and thermal niche utilization. However, the PBFT diet was less diverse and focused on energy-rich forage fishes but did not show the greatest energy gains. Ecosystem-based management strategies for tunas should thus consider species-specific differences in physiology and foraging specialization. PMID:26100889

  10. Assessing niche width of endothermic fish from genes to ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Madigan, Daniel J.; Carlisle, Aaron B.; Gardner, Luke D.; Jayasundara, Nishad; Micheli, Fiorenza; Schaefer, Kurt M.; Fuller, Daniel W.; Block, Barbara A.

    2015-01-01

    Endothermy in vertebrates has been postulated to confer physiological and ecological advantages. In endothermic fish, niche expansion into cooler waters is correlated with specific physiological traits and is hypothesized to lead to greater foraging success and increased fitness. Using the seasonal co-occurrence of three tuna species in the eastern Pacific Ocean as a model system, we used cardiac gene expression data (as a proxy for thermal tolerance to low temperatures), archival tag data, and diet analyses to examine the vertical niche expansion hypothesis for endothermy in situ. Yellowfin, albacore, and Pacific bluefin tuna (PBFT) in the California Current system used more surface, mesopelagic, and deep waters, respectively. Expression of cardiac genes for calcium cycling increased in PBFT and coincided with broader vertical and thermal niche utilization. However, the PBFT diet was less diverse and focused on energy-rich forage fishes but did not show the greatest energy gains. Ecosystem-based management strategies for tunas should thus consider species-specific differences in physiology and foraging specialization. PMID:26100889

  11. Applying ecological modeling to parenting for Australian refugee families.

    PubMed

    Grant, Julian; Guerin, Pauline B

    2014-10-01

    Children in families with parents from refugee backgrounds are often viewed as a vulnerable group with increased risks of developing physical or psychological problems. However, there is very little research regarding the strategies that parents might use to parent their children in a new country while they also manage the interrelated challenges of poverty, social isolation, maternal stress, and mental ill health that often go along with resettlement. We explore the application of ecological modeling, specifically at individual, institutional, and policy levels, within an Australian context to critique the factors that shape the development of parenting capacity within refugee families settling in a new Western country. Ecological modeling enables examination of how public policy at local state and national levels influences the individual and family directly and through the organizations that are given the task of implementing many of the policy recommendations. Recommendations for health practice and research are made. PMID:24583875

  12. Protist taxonomy: an ecological perspective.

    PubMed Central

    Finlay, Bland J

    2004-01-01

    This is an exploration of contemporary protist taxonomy within an ecological perspective. As it currently stands, the 'morphospecies' does not accommodate the information that might support a truly ecological species concept for the protists. But the 'morphospecies' is merely a first step in erecting a taxonomy of the protists, and it is expected to become more meaningful in the light of genetic, physiological and ecological research in the near future. One possible way forward lies in the recognition that sexual and asexual protists may all be subject to forces of cohesion that result in (DNA) sequence-similarity clusters. A starting point would then be the detection of 'ecotypes'--where genotypic and phenotypic clusters correspond; but for that we need better information regarding the extent of clonality in protists, and better characterization of ecological niches and their boundaries. There is some progress with respect to the latter. Using the example of a community of ciliated protozoa living in the stratified water column of a freshwater pond, it is shown to be possible to gauge the potential of protists to partition their local environment into ecological niches. Around 40 morphospecies can coexist in the superimposed water layers, which presumably represent different ecological niches, but we have yet to discover if these are discrete or continuously variable. It is a myth that taxonomic problems are more severe for protists than for animals and plants. Most of the fundamental problems associated with species concepts (e.g. asexuals, sibling species, phenotypic variation) are distributed across biota in general. The recent history of the status of Pfiesteria provides a model example of an integrated approach to solving what are essentially taxonomic problems. PMID:15253347

  13. So Many Variables: Joint Modeling in Community Ecology.

    PubMed

    Warton, David I; Blanchet, F Guillaume; O'Hara, Robert B; Ovaskainen, Otso; Taskinen, Sara; Walker, Steven C; Hui, Francis K C

    2015-12-01

    Technological advances have enabled a new class of multivariate models for ecology, with the potential now to specify a statistical model for abundances jointly across many taxa, to simultaneously explore interactions across taxa and the response of abundance to environmental variables. Joint models can be used for several purposes of interest to ecologists, including estimating patterns of residual correlation across taxa, ordination, multivariate inference about environmental effects and environment-by-trait interactions, accounting for missing predictors, and improving predictions in situations where one can leverage knowledge of some species to predict others. We demonstrate this by example and discuss recent computation tools and future directions. PMID:26519235

  14. Structural Equation Modeling: Applications in ecological and evolutionary biology research

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pugesek, Bruce H.; von Eye, Alexander; Tomer, Adrian

    2003-01-01

    This book presents an introduction to the methodology of structural equation modeling, illustrates its use, and goes on to argue that it has revolutionary implications for the study of natural systems. A major theme of this book is that we have, up to this point, attempted to study systems primarily using methods (such as the univariate model) that were designed only for considering individual processes. Understanding systems requires the capacity to examine simultaneous influences and responses. Structural equation modeling (SEM) has such capabilities. It also possesses many other traits that add strength to its utility as a means of making scientific progress. In light of the capabilities of SEM, it can be argued that much of ecological theory is currently locked in an immature state that impairs its relevance. It is further argued that the principles of SEM are capable of leading to the development and evaluation of multivariate theories of the sort vitally needed for the conservation of natural systems. Supplementary information can be found at the authors website, http://www.jamesbgrace.com/. • Details why multivariate analyses should be used to study ecological systems • Exposes unappreciated weakness in many current popular analyses • Emphasizes the future methodological developments needed to advance our understanding of ecological systems.

  15. Advancing Ecological Models to Compare Scale in Multi-Level Educational Change

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Woo, David James

    2016-01-01

    Education systems as units of analysis have been metaphorically likened to ecologies to model change. However, ecological models to date have been ineffective in modelling educational change that is multi-scale and occurs across multiple levels of an education system. Thus, this paper advances two innovative, ecological frameworks that improve on…

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-07-01

    Acid mine drainage (AMD) is a unique ecological niche for acid- and toxic-metals-adapted microorganisms. These low-complexity systems offer a special opportunity for the ecological and evolutionary analyses of natural microbial assemblages. The last decade has witnessed an unprecedented interest in the study of AMD communities using 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing and community genomic and postgenomic methodologies, significantly advancing our understanding of microbial diversity, community function, and evolution in acidic environments. This review describes new data on AMD microbial ecology and evolution, especially dynamics of microbial diversity, community functions, and population genomes, and further identifies gaps in our current knowledge that future research, with integrated applications of meta-omics technologies, will fill. PMID:27050827

  17. Unifying wildfire models from ecology and statistical physics.

    PubMed

    Zinck, Richard D; Grimm, Volker

    2009-11-01

    Understanding the dynamics of wildfire regimes is crucial for both regional forest management and predicting global interactions between fire regimes and climate. Accordingly, spatially explicit modeling of forest fire ecosystems is a very active field of research, including both generic and highly specific models. There is, however, a second field in which wildfire has served as a metaphor for more than 20 years: statistical physics. So far, there has been only limited interaction between these two fields of wildfire modeling. Here we show that two typical generic wildfire models from ecology are structurally equivalent to the most commonly used model from statistical physics. All three models can be unified to a single model in which they appear as special cases of regrowth-dependent flammability. This local "ecological memory" of former fire events is key to self-organization in wildfire ecosystems. The unified model is able to reproduce three different patterns observed in real boreal forests: fire size distributions, fire shapes, and a hump-shaped relationship between disturbance intensity (average annual area burned) and diversity of succession stages. The unification enables us to bring together insights from both disciplines in a novel way and to identify limitations that provide starting points for further research. PMID:19799499

  18. Hutchinson's duality: The once and future niche

    PubMed Central

    Colwell, Robert K.; Rangel, Thiago F.

    2009-01-01

    The duality between “niche” and “biotope” proposed by G. Evelyn Hutchinson provides a powerful way to conceptualize and analyze biogeographical distributions in relation to spatial environmental patterns. Both Joseph Grinnell and Charles Elton had attributed niches to environments. Attributing niches, instead, to species, allowed Hutchinson's key innovation: the formal severing of physical place from environment that is expressed by the duality. In biogeography, the physical world (a spatial extension of what Hutchinson called the biotope) is conceived as a map, each point (or cell) of which is characterized by its geographical coordinates and the local values of n environmental attributes at a given time. Exactly the same n environmental attributes define the corresponding niche space, as niche axes, allowing reciprocal projections between the geographic distribution of a species, actual or potential, past or future, and its niche. In biogeographical terms, the realized niche has come to express not only the effects of species interactions (as Hutchinson intended), but also constraints of dispersal limitation and the lack of contemporary environments corresponding to parts of the fundamental niche. Hutchinson's duality has been used to classify and map environments; model potential species distributions under past, present, and future climates; study the distributions of invasive species; discover new species; and simulate increasingly more realistic worlds, leading to spatially explicit, stochastic models that encompass speciation, extinction, range expansion, and evolutionary adaptation to changing environments. PMID:19805163

  19. Niche partitioning in a sympatric cryptic species complex.

    PubMed

    Scriven, Jessica J; Whitehorn, Penelope R; Goulson, Dave; Tinsley, Matthew C

    2016-03-01

    Competition theory states that multiple species should not be able to occupy the same niche indefinitely. Morphologically, similar species are expected to be ecologically alike and exhibit little niche differentiation, which makes it difficult to explain the co-occurrence of cryptic species. Here, we investigated interspecific niche differentiation within a complex of cryptic bumblebee species that co-occur extensively in the United Kingdom. We compared the interspecific variation along different niche dimensions, to determine how they partition a niche to avoid competitive exclusion. We studied the species B. cryptarum, B. lucorum, and B. magnus at a single location in the northwest of Scotland throughout the flight season. Using mitochondrial DNA for species identification, we investigated differences in phenology, response to weather variables and forage use. We also estimated niche region and niche overlap between different castes of the three species. Our results show varying levels of niche partitioning between the bumblebee species along three niche dimensions. The species had contrasting phenologies: The phenology of B. magnus was delayed relative to the other two species, while B. cryptarum had a relatively extended phenology, with workers and males more common than B. lucorum early and late in the season. We found divergent thermal specialisation: In contrast to B. cryptarum and B. magnus, B. lucorum worker activity was skewed toward warmer, sunnier conditions, leading to interspecific temporal variation. Furthermore, the three species differentially exploited the available forage plants: In particular, unlike the other two species, B. magnus fed predominantly on species of heather. The results suggest that ecological divergence in different niche dimensions and spatio-temporal heterogeneity in the environment may contribute to the persistence of cryptic species in sympatry. Furthermore, our study suggests that cryptic species provide distinct

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-09-01

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

  1. Modelling the unpredictability of future biodiversity in ecological networks.

    PubMed

    Ingram, Travis; Steel, Mike

    2010-06-01

    We consider the question of how accurately we can hope to predict future biodiversity in a world in which many interacting species are at risk of extinction. Simple models assuming that species' extinctions occur independently are easily analysed, but do not account for the fact that many species depend on or otherwise interact with each other. In this paper we evaluate the effect of explicitly incorporating ecological dependencies on the predictive ability of models of extinction. In particular, we compare a model in which species' extinction rates increase because of the extinction of their prey to a model in which the same average rate increase takes place, but in which extinctions occur independently from species to species. One might expect that including this ecological information would make the prediction of future biodiversity more accurate, but instead we find that accounting for food web dependencies reveals greater uncertainty. The expected loss of biodiversity over time is similar between the two models, but the variance in future biodiversity is considerably higher in the model that includes species interactions. This increased uncertainty is because of the non-independence of species-the tendency of two species to respond similarly to the loss of a species on which both depend. We use simulations to show that this increase in variance is robust to many variations of the model, and that its magnitude should be largest in food webs that are highly dependent on a few basal species. Our results should hold whenever ecological dependencies cause most species' extinction risks to covary positively, and illustrate how more information does not necessarily improve our ability to predict future biodiversity loss. PMID:20211629

  2. Niche versus neutrality: a dynamical analysis.

    PubMed

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

    2014-10-01

    Understanding the forces shaping ecological communities is of crucial importance for basic science and conservation. After 50 years in which ecological theory has focused on either stable communities driven by niche-based forces or nonstable "neutral" communities driven by demographic stochasticity, contemporary theories suggest that ecological communities are driven by the simultaneous effects of both types of mechanisms. Here we examine this paradigm using the longest available records for the dynamics of tropical trees and breeding birds. Applying a macroecological approach and fluctuation analysis techniques borrowed from statistical physics, we show that both stabilizing mechanisms and demographic stochasticity fail to play a dominant role in shaping assemblages over time. Rather, community dynamics in these two very different systems is predominantly driven by environmental stochasticity. Clearly, the current melding of niche and neutral theories cannot account for such dynamics. Our results highlight the need for a new theory of community dynamics integrating environmental stochasticity with weak stabilizing forces and suggest that such theory may better describe the dynamics of ecological communities than current neutral theories, deterministic niche-based theories, or recent hybrids. PMID:25226179

  3. Evolution of climatic niche specialization: a phylogenetic analysis in amphibians

    PubMed Central

    Bonetti, Maria Fernanda; Wiens, John J.

    2014-01-01

    The evolution of climatic niche specialization has important implications for many topics in ecology, evolution and conservation. The climatic niche reflects the set of temperature and precipitation conditions where a species can occur. Thus, specialization to a limited set of climatic conditions can be important for understanding patterns of biogeography, species richness, community structure, allopatric speciation, spread of invasive species and responses to climate change. Nevertheless, the factors that determine climatic niche width (level of specialization) remain poorly explored. Here, we test whether species that occur in more extreme climates are more highly specialized for those conditions, and whether there are trade-offs between niche widths on different climatic niche axes (e.g. do species that tolerate a broad range of temperatures tolerate only a limited range of precipitation regimes?). We test these hypotheses in amphibians, using phylogenetic comparative methods and global-scale datasets, including 2712 species with both climatic and phylogenetic data. Our results do not support either hypothesis. Rather than finding narrower niches in more extreme environments, niches tend to be narrower on one end of a climatic gradient but wider on the other. We also find that temperature and precipitation niche breadths are positively related, rather than showing trade-offs. Finally, our results suggest that most amphibian species occur in relatively warm and dry environments and have relatively narrow climatic niche widths on both of these axes. Thus, they may be especially imperilled by anthropogenic climate change. PMID:25274369

  4. Photosynthetic innovation broadens the niche within a single species.

    PubMed

    Lundgren, Marjorie R; Besnard, Guillaume; Ripley, Brad S; Lehmann, Caroline E R; Chatelet, David S; Kynast, Ralf G; Namaganda, Mary; Vorontsova, Maria S; Hall, Russell C; Elia, John; Osborne, Colin P; Christin, Pascal-Antoine

    2015-10-01

    Adaptation to changing environments often requires novel traits, but how such traits directly affect the ecological niche remains poorly understood. Multiple plant lineages have evolved C4 photosynthesis, a combination of anatomical and biochemical novelties predicted to increase productivity in warm and arid conditions. Here, we infer the dispersal history across geographical and environmental space in the only known species with both C4 and non-C4 genotypes, the grass Alloteropsis semialata. While non-C4 individuals remained confined to a limited geographic area and restricted ecological conditions, C4 individuals dispersed across three continents and into an expanded range of environments, encompassing the ancestral one. This first intraspecific investigation of C4 evolutionary ecology shows that, in otherwise similar plants, C4 photosynthesis does not shift the ecological niche, but broadens it, allowing dispersal into diverse conditions and over long distances. Over macroevolutionary timescales, this immediate effect can be blurred by subsequent specialisation towards more extreme niches. PMID:26248677

  5. Absence of phylogenetic signal in the niche structure of meadow plant communities

    PubMed Central

    Silvertown, Jonathan; McConway, Kevin; Gowing, David; Dodd, Mike; Fay, Michael F; Joseph, Jeffrey A; Dolphin, Konrad

    2005-01-01

    A significant proportion of the global diversity of flowering plants has evolved in recent geological time, probably through adaptive radiation into new niches. However, rapid evolution is at odds with recent research which has suggested that plant ecological traits, including the β- (or habitat) niche, evolve only slowly. We have quantified traits that determine within-habitat α diversity (α niches) in two communities in which species segregate on hydrological gradients. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of these data shows practically no evidence of a correlation between the ecological and evolutionary distances separating species, indicating that hydrological α niches are evolutionarily labile. We propose that contrasting patterns of evolutionary conservatism for α- and β-niches is a general phenomenon necessitated by the hierarchical filtering of species during community assembly. This determines that species must have similar β niches in order to occupy the same habitat, but different α niches in order to coexist. PMID:16519232

  6. The Shared Preference Niche of Sympatric Asiatic Black Bears and Sun Bears in a Tropical Forest Mosaic

    PubMed Central

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

    2011-01-01

    Background Ecologically similar species often coexist by partitioning use of habitats or resources. Such partitioning can occur through divergent or shared niches. We investigated overlap in habitat use and spatial co-occurrence by sympatric Asiatic black bears and sun bears in three habitats in Thailand, and thereby assessed which niche model best accounts for their coexistence. Methods/Principal Findings We used density of species-specific signs to assess habitat use. Signs of both bear species occurred in all three habitats, and on >60% of sampling transects. Both species fed mostly on fruit; insect feeding signs were uncommon, and were mostly from sun bears. Significant differences in habitat use occurred only in montane forest, the habitat in which fruit was most abundant; incidence of black bear sign there was six times higher than that of sun bears. Habitat use was similar between the two species in the other habitats, which comprised 85% of the area. Of 10 habitat attributes examined, fruiting tree density was the best predictor of occurrence for both species. Models that included interspecific competition (fresh foraging activity of the other species) were less supported than the top models without competition. Conclusions/Significance Bear species co-occurrence at both coarse and fine spatial scales and use of the same resources (fruit trees) indicated common niche preferences. However, their habitat use differed in ways expected from their physical differences: larger black bears dominated in the most fruit-rich habitat, and smaller sun bears used less-preferred insects. These results indicate broadly overlapping fundamental niches combined with asymmetric competition—features consistent with the concept of shared preference niches. This model of the niche has received little attention in ecology, but appears to be relatively common in nature. PMID:21283792

  7. A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR MULTI-SCALAR ASSESSMENTS OF ESTUARINE ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY

    EPA Science Inventory

    A conceptual model was developed that relates an estuarine system's anthropogenic inputs to it's ecological integrity. Ecological integrity is operationally defined as an emergent property of an ecosystem that exists when the structural components are complete and the functional ...

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

    PubMed

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

    2012-01-19

    The ecosystem service concept has emphasized the role of people within socio-ecological systems (SESs). In this paper, we review and discuss alternative ways of representing people, their behaviour and decision-making processes in SES models using an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach. We also explore how ABM can be empirically grounded using information from social survey. The capacity for ABM to be generalized beyond case studies represents a crucial next step in modelling SESs, although this comes with considerable intellectual challenges. We propose the notion of human functional types, as an analogy of plant functional types, to support the expansion (scaling) of ABM to larger areas. The expansion of scope also implies the need to represent institutional agents in SES models in order to account for alternative governance structures and policy feedbacks. Further development in the coupling of human-environment systems would contribute considerably to better application and use of the ecosystem service concept. PMID:22144388

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

    PubMed Central

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

    2012-01-01

    The ecosystem service concept has emphasized the role of people within socio-ecological systems (SESs). In this paper, we review and discuss alternative ways of representing people, their behaviour and decision-making processes in SES models using an agent-based modelling (ABM) approach. We also explore how ABM can be empirically grounded using information from social survey. The capacity for ABM to be generalized beyond case studies represents a crucial next step in modelling SESs, although this comes with considerable intellectual challenges. We propose the notion of human functional types, as an analogy of plant functional types, to support the expansion (scaling) of ABM to larger areas. The expansion of scope also implies the need to represent institutional agents in SES models in order to account for alternative governance structures and policy feedbacks. Further development in the coupling of human-environment systems would contribute considerably to better application and use of the ecosystem service concept. PMID:22144388

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2014-01-01

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

  11. Modeling ecological traps for the control of feral pigs.

    PubMed

    Dexter, Nick; McLeod, Steven R

    2015-05-01

    Ecological traps are habitat sinks that are preferred by dispersing animals but have higher mortality or reduced fecundity compared to source habitats. Theory suggests that if mortality rates are sufficiently high, then ecological traps can result in extinction. An ecological trap may be created when pest animals are controlled in one area, but not in another area of equal habitat quality, and when there is density-dependent immigration from the high-density uncontrolled area to the low-density controlled area. We used a logistic population model to explore how varying the proportion of habitat controlled, control mortality rate, and strength of density-dependent immigration for feral pigs could affect the long-term population abundance and time to extinction. Increasing control mortality, the proportion of habitat controlled and the strength of density-dependent immigration decreased abundance both within and outside the area controlled. At higher levels of these parameters, extinction was achieved for feral pigs. We extended the analysis with a more complex stochastic, interactive model of feral pig dynamics in the Australian rangelands to examine how the same variables as the logistic model affected long-term abundance in the controlled and uncontrolled area and time to extinction. Compared to the logistic model of feral pig dynamics, the stochastic interactive model predicted lower abundances and extinction at lower control mortalities and proportions of habitat controlled. To improve the realism of the stochastic interactive model, we substituted fixed mortality rates with a density-dependent control mortality function, empirically derived from helicopter shooting exercises in Australia. Compared to the stochastic interactive model with fixed mortality rates, the model with the density-dependent control mortality function did not predict as substantial decline in abundance in controlled or uncontrolled areas or extinction for any combination of variables

  12. Modeling ecological traps for the control of feral pigs

    PubMed Central

    Dexter, Nick; McLeod, Steven R

    2015-01-01

    Ecological traps are habitat sinks that are preferred by dispersing animals but have higher mortality or reduced fecundity compared to source habitats. Theory suggests that if mortality rates are sufficiently high, then ecological traps can result in extinction. An ecological trap may be created when pest animals are controlled in one area, but not in another area of equal habitat quality, and when there is density-dependent immigration from the high-density uncontrolled area to the low-density controlled area. We used a logistic population model to explore how varying the proportion of habitat controlled, control mortality rate, and strength of density-dependent immigration for feral pigs could affect the long-term population abundance and time to extinction. Increasing control mortality, the proportion of habitat controlled and the strength of density-dependent immigration decreased abundance both within and outside the area controlled. At higher levels of these parameters, extinction was achieved for feral pigs. We extended the analysis with a more complex stochastic, interactive model of feral pig dynamics in the Australian rangelands to examine how the same variables as the logistic model affected long-term abundance in the controlled and uncontrolled area and time to extinction. Compared to the logistic model of feral pig dynamics, the stochastic interactive model predicted lower abundances and extinction at lower control mortalities and proportions of habitat controlled. To improve the realism of the stochastic interactive model, we substituted fixed mortality rates with a density-dependent control mortality function, empirically derived from helicopter shooting exercises in Australia. Compared to the stochastic interactive model with fixed mortality rates, the model with the density-dependent control mortality function did not predict as substantial decline in abundance in controlled or uncontrolled areas or extinction for any combination of variables

  13. Modelling dendritic ecological networks in space: anintegrated network perspective

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peterson, Erin E.; Ver Hoef, Jay M.; Isaak, Dan J.; Falke, Jeffrey A.; Fortin, Marie-Josée; Jordon, Chris E.; McNyset, Kristina; Monestiez, Pascal; Ruesch, Aaron S.; Sengupta, Aritra; Som, Nicholas; Steel, E. Ashley; Theobald, David M.; Torgersen, Christian E.; Wenger, Seth J.

    2013-01-01

    the context of stream ecology. Within this context, we summarise the key innovations of a new family of spatial statistical models that describe spatial relationships in DENs. Finally, we discuss how different network analyses may be combined to address more complex and novel research questions. While our main focus is streams, the taxonomy of network analyses is also relevant anywhere spatial patterns in both network and 2-D space can be used to explore the influence of multi-scale processes on biota and their habitat (e.g. plant morphology and pest infestation, or preferential migration along stream or road corridors).

  14. Homogenization of Large-Scale Movement Models in Ecology

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2011-01-01

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

  15. Aquilegia: a new model for plant development, ecology, and evolution.

    PubMed

    Kramer, Elena M

    2009-01-01

    The lower eudicot genus Aquilegia holds enormous potential for investigating aspects of development, ecology, and evolution that are otherwise unrepresented among existing model systems. Its evolutionary history is of particular interest because it represents a phylogenetic midpoint between models such as Arabidopsis and Oryza but, at the same time, has experienced a recent adaptive radiation within the genus. To take advantage of these features, a collaborative group has developed a number of genetic and genomic resources for Aquilegia that have facilitated the study of its distinct morphology. This work has demonstrated that although the petaloid sepals of Aquilegia do not depend on B-class genes for their identity, these loci do control development of the petals, stamens, and novel staminodium. Overall, Aquilegia stands as a key example of the potential utility and speed of developing new genetic model systems. PMID:19575583

  16. Neutral biogeography and the evolution of climatic niches.

    PubMed

    Boucher, Florian C; Thuiller, Wilfried; Davies, T Jonathan; Lavergne, Sébastien

    2014-05-01

    Recent debate on whether climatic niches are conserved through time has focused on how phylogenetic niche conservatism can be measured by deviations from a Brownian motion model of evolutionary change. However, there has been no evaluation of this methodological approach. In particular, the fact that climatic niches are usually obtained from distribution data and are thus heavily influenced by biogeographic factors has largely been overlooked. Our main objective here was to test whether patterns of climatic niche evolution that are frequently observed might arise from neutral dynamics rather than from adaptive scenarios. We developed a model inspired by neutral biodiversity theory, where individuals disperse, compete, and undergo speciation independently of climate. We then sampled the climatic niches of species according to their geographic position and showed that even when species evolve independently of climate, their niches can nonetheless exhibit evolutionary patterns strongly differing from Brownian motion. Indeed, climatic niche evolution is better captured by a model of punctuated evolution with constraints due to landscape boundaries, two features that are traditionally interpreted as evidence for selective processes acting on the niche. We therefore suggest that deviation from Brownian motion alone should not be used as evidence for phylogenetic niche conservatism but that information on phenotypic traits directly linked to physiology is required to demonstrate that climatic niches have been conserved through time. PMID:24739191

  17. Process-Driven Ecological Modeling for Landscape Change Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Altman, S.; Reif, M. K.; Swannack, T. M.

    2013-12-01

    can correlate to landscape pattern and that ecosystem function changes significantly as pattern changes. However, the number of links between landscape metrics and ecological processes are highly variable. Extensively studied processes such as biodiversity can be linked to numerous landscape metrics. In contrast, correlations between sediment cycling and landscape pattern have only been evaluated for a limited number of metrics. We are incorporating these data into a relational database linking landscape and ecological patterns, processes and metrics. The database will be used to parameterize site-specific landscape evolution models projecting how landscape pattern will change as a result of future ecosystem restoration projects. The model is a spatially-explicit, grid-based model that projects changes in community composition based on changes in soil elevations. To capture scalar differences in landscape change, local and regional landscape metrics are analyzed at each time step and correlated with ecological processes to determine how ecosystem function changes with scale over time.

  18. Simulation of socio-ecological impacts: Modeling a fishing village

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Miller, Philip C.

    1982-03-01

    The interrelationship of society and environment is addressed here through the study of a remote fishing village of 750 people. An interdisciplinary study evaluated demographic, economic, and social aspects of the community, and simulation modeling was used to integrate these societal characteristics with environmental factors. The population of the village had grown gradually until the 1960's, when a decline began. Out-migration correlated with declining fish harvests and with increased communications with urban centers. Fishing had provided the greatest economic opportunity, followed by logging. A survey was conducted to investigate the costs and revenues of village fishermen. Diversification characterized the local fleet, and analysis showed that rates of return on investment in the current year were equal between vessel types. The variable levels and rate parameters of the demographic, economic, and social components of the model were specified through static and time series data. Sensitivity analysis to assess the effects of uncertainty, and validation tests against known historical changes were also conducted. Forecast scenarios identified the development options under several levels of fish abundance and investment. The weight given to ecological versus economic resource management registered disproportionate effects due to the interaction between investment and migration rates and resource stochasticity. This finding argues against a “golden mean” rule for evaluating policy trade-offs and argues for the importance of using a dynamic, socio-ecological perspective in designing development policies for rural communities.

  19. Modeling socioeconomic and ecologic aspects of land-use change

    SciTech Connect

    Dale, V.H.; Pedlowski, M.A.; O'Neill, R.V.; Southworth, F.

    1992-01-01

    Land use change is one of the major factors affecting global environmental conditions. Prevalent types of land-use change include replacing forests with agriculture, mines or ranches; forest degradation from collection of firewood; and forest logging. A global effect of wide-scale deforestation is an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, which may affect climate. Regional effects include loss of biodiversity and disruption of hydrologic regimes. Local effects include soil erosion, siltation and decreases in soil fertility, loss of extractive reserves, and disruption of indigenous people. Modeling land use change requires combining socioeconomic and ecological factors because socioeconomic forces frequently initiate land-use change and are affected by the subsequent ecological degradation. This paper describes a modeling system that integrates submodels of human colonization and impacts to estimate patterns and rates of deforestation under different immigration and land use scenarios. Immigration which follows road building or paving is a major factor in the rapid deforestation of previously inaccessible areas. Roads facilitate colonization, allow access for large machines, and provide transportation routes for mort of raw materials and produce.

  20. Niche Overlap of Congeneric Invaders Supports a Single-Species Hypothesis and Provides Insight into Future Invasion Risk: Implications for Global Management of the Bactrocera dorsalis Complex

    PubMed Central

    Hill, Matthew P.; Terblanche, John S.

    2014-01-01

    Background The invasive fruit fly, Bactrocera invadens, has expanded its range rapidly over the past 10 years. Here we aimed to determine if the recent range expansion of Bactrocera invadens into southern Africa can be better understood through niche exploration tools, ecological niche models (ENMs), and through incorporating information about Bactrocera dorsalis s.s., a putative conspecific species from Asia. We test for niche overlap of environmental variables between Bactrocera invadens and Bactrocera dorsalis s.s. as well as two other putative conspecific species, Bactrocera philippinensis and B. papayae. We examine overlap and similarity in the geographical expression of each species’ realised niche through reciprocal distribution models between Africa and Asia. We explore different geographical backgrounds, environmental variables and model complexity with multiple and single Bactrocera species hypotheses in an attempt to predict the recent range expansion of B. invadens into northern parts of South Africa. Principal Findings Bactrocera invadens has a high degree of niche overlap with B. dorsalis s.s. (and B. philippinensis and B. papayae). Ecological niche models built for Bactrocera dorsalis s.s. have high transferability to describe the range of B. invadens, and B. invadens is able to project to the core range of B. dorsalis s.s. The ENMs of both Bactrocera dorsalis and B. dorsalis combined with B. philipenesis and B. papayae have significantly higher predictive ability to capture the distribution points in South Africa than for B. invadens alone. Conclusions/Significance Consistent with other studies proposing these Bactrocera species as conspecific, niche similarity and overlap between these species is high. Considering these other Bactrocera dorsalis complex species simultaneously better describes the range expansion and invasion potential of B. invadens in South Africa. We suggest that these species should be considered the same–at least

  1. Documentation of the Ecological Risk Assessment Computer Model ECORSK.5

    SciTech Connect

    Anthony F. Gallegos; Gilbert J. Gonzales

    1999-06-01

    The FORTRAN77 ecological risk computer model--ECORSK.5--has been used to estimate the potential toxicity of surficial deposits of radioactive and non-radioactive contaminants to several threatened and endangered (T and E) species at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). These analyses to date include preliminary toxicity estimates for the Mexican spotted owl, the American peregrine falcon, the bald eagle, and the southwestern willow flycatcher. This work has been performed as required for the Record of Decision for the construction of the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility at LANL as part of the Environmental Impact Statement. The model is dependent on the use of the geographic information system and associated software--ARC/INFO--and has been used in conjunction with LANL's Facility for Information Management and Display (FIMAD) contaminant database. The integration of FIMAD data and ARC/INFO using ECORSK.5 allows the generation of spatial information from a gridded area of potential exposure called an Ecological Exposure Unit. ECORSK.5 was used to simulate exposures using a modified Environmental Protection Agency Quotient Method. The model can handle a large number of contaminants within the home range of T and E species. This integration results in the production of hazard indices which, when compared to risk evaluation criteria, estimate the potential for impact from consumption of contaminants in food and ingestion of soil. The assessment is considered a Tier-2 type of analysis. This report summarizes and documents the ECORSK.5 code, the mathematical models used in the development of ECORSK.5, and the input and other requirements for its operation. Other auxiliary FORTRAN 77 codes used for processing and graphing output from ECORSK.5 are also discussed. The reader may refer to reports cited in the introduction to obtain greater detail on past applications of ECORSK.5 and assumptions used in deriving model parameters.

  2. Integrating fossils, phylogenies, and niche models into biogeography to reveal ancient evolutionary history: the case of Hypericum (hypericaceae).

    PubMed

    Meseguer, Andrea S; Lobo, Jorge M; Ree, Richard; Beerling, David J; Sanmartín, Isabel

    2015-03-01

    In disciplines such as macroevolution that are not amenable to experimentation, scientists usually rely on current observations to test hypotheses about historical events, assuming that "the present is the key to the past." Biogeographers, for example, used this assumption to reconstruct ancestral ranges from the distribution of extant species. Yet, under scenarios of high extinction rates, the biodiversity we observe today might not be representative of the historical diversity and this could result in incorrect biogeographic reconstructions. Here, we introduce a new approach to incorporate into biogeographic inference the temporal, spatial, and environmental information provided by the fossil record, as a direct evidence of the extinct biodiversity fraction. First, inferences of ancestral ranges for those nodes in the phylogeny calibrated with the fossil record are constrained to include the geographic distribution of the fossil. Second, we use fossil distribution and past climate data to reconstruct the climatic preferences and potential distribution of ancestral lineages over time, and use this information to build a biogeographic model that takes into account "ecological connectivity" through time. To show the power of this approach, we reconstruct the biogeographic history of the large angiosperm genus Hypericum, which has a fossil record extending back to the Early Cenozoic. Unlike previous reconstructions based on extant species distributions, our results reveal that Hypericum stem lineages were already distributed in the Holarctic before diversification of its crown-group, and that the geographic distribution of the genus has been relatively stable throughout the climatic oscillations of the Cenozoic. Geographical movement was mediated by the existence of climatic corridors, like Beringia, whereas the equatorial tropical belt acted as a climatic barrier, preventing Hypericum lineages to reach the southern temperate regions. Our study shows that an

  3. Integrating Fossils, Phylogenies, and Niche Models into Biogeography to Reveal Ancient Evolutionary History: The Case of Hypericum (Hypericaceae)

    PubMed Central

    Meseguer, Andrea S.; Lobo, Jorge M.; Ree, Richard; Beerling, David J.; Sanmartín, Isabel

    2015-01-01

    In disciplines such as macroevolution that are not amenable to experimentation, scientists usually rely on current observations to test hypotheses about historical events, assuming that “the present is the key to the past.” Biogeographers, for example, used this assumption to reconstruct ancestral ranges from the distribution of extant species. Yet, under scenarios of high extinction rates, the biodiversity we observe today might not be representative of the historical diversity and this could result in incorrect biogeographic reconstructions. Here, we introduce a new approach to incorporate into biogeographic inference the temporal, spatial, and environmental information provided by the fossil record, as a direct evidence of the extinct biodiversity fraction. First, inferences of ancestral ranges for those nodes in the phylogeny calibrated with the fossil record are constrained to include the geographic distribution of the fossil. Second, we use fossil distribution and past climate data to reconstruct the climatic preferences and potential distribution of ancestral lineages over time, and use this information to build a biogeographic model that takes into account “ecological connectivity” through time. To show the power of this approach, we reconstruct the biogeographic history of the large angiosperm genus Hypericum, which has a fossil record extending back to the Early Cenozoic. Unlike previous reconstructions based on extant species distributions, our results reveal that Hypericum stem lineages were already distributed in the Holarctic before diversification of its crown-group, and that the geographic distribution of the genus has been relatively stable throughout the climatic oscillations of the Cenozoic. Geographical movement was mediated by the existence of climatic corridors, like Beringia, whereas the equatorial tropical belt acted as a climatic barrier, preventing Hypericum lineages to reach the southern temperate regions. Our study shows that an

  4. Assessing the congruence of thermal niche estimations derived from distribution and physiological data. A test using diving beetles.

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Fernández, David; Aragón, Pedro; Bilton, David T; Lobo, Jorge M

    2012-01-01

    A basic aim of ecology is to understand the determinants of organismal distribution, the niche concept and species distribution models providing key frameworks to approach the problem. As temperature is one of the most important factors affecting species distribution, the estimation of thermal limits is crucially important for inferring range constraints. It is expectable that thermal physiology data derived from laboratory experiments and species' occurrences may express different aspects of the species' niche. However, there is no study systematically testing this prediction in a given taxonomic group while controlling by potential phylogenetic inertia. We estimate the thermal niches of twelve Palaearctic diving beetles species using physiological data derived from experimental analyses in order to examine the extent to which these coincided with those estimated from distribution models based on observed occurrences. We found that thermal niche estimates derived from both approaches lack general congruence, and these results were similar before and after controlling by phylogeny. The congruence between potential distributions obtained from the two different procedures was also explored, and we found again that the percentage of agreement were not very high (~60%). We confirm that both thermal niche estimates derived from geographical and physiological data are likely to misrepresent the true range of climatic variation that these diving beetles are able to tolerate, and so these procedures could be considered as incomplete but complementary estimations of an inaccessible reality. PMID:23133560

  5. Assessing the Congruence of Thermal Niche Estimations Derived from Distribution and Physiological Data. A Test Using Diving Beetles

    PubMed Central

    Sánchez-Fernández, David; Aragón, Pedro; Bilton, David T.; Lobo, Jorge M.

    2012-01-01

    A basic aim of ecology is to understand the determinants of organismal distribution, the niche concept and species distribution models providing key frameworks to approach the problem. As temperature is one of the most important factors affecting species distribution, the estimation of thermal limits is crucially important for inferring range constraints. It is expectable that thermal physiology data derived from laboratory experiments and species' occurrences may express different aspects of the species' niche. However, there is no study systematically testing this prediction in a given taxonomic group while controlling by potential phylogenetic inertia. We estimate the thermal niches of twelve Palaearctic diving beetles species using physiological data derived from experimental analyses in order to examine the extent to which these coincided with those estimated from distribution models based on observed occurrences. We found that thermal niche estimates derived from both approaches lack general congruence, and these results were similar before and after controlling by phylogeny. The congruence between potential distributions obtained from the two different procedures was also explored, and we found again that the percentage of agreement were not very high (∼60%). We confirm that both thermal niche estimates derived from geographical and physiological data are likely to misrepresent the true range of climatic variation that these diving beetles are able to tolerate, and so these procedures could be considered as incomplete but complementary estimations of an inaccessible reality. PMID:23133560

  6. Evolutionary model on market ecology of investors and investments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gao, Ya-Chun; Cai, Shi-Min; Lü, Linyuan; Wang, Bing-Hong

    2013-08-01

    The interactions between investors and investments are of significant importance to understand the dynamics of financial markets. An evolutionary model is proposed to investigate the dynamic behaviors of investors and investments in a market ecology. The investors are divided into two groups, active ones and passive ones, distinguished by different selection capabilities based on the partial information, while the investments are simply categorized as good ones and bad ones. Without external influence, the system consisting of both investors and investments can self-organize to a quasi-stationary state according to their own strategies associating with the gains of market information. The model suggests that the partial information asymmetry of investors and various qualities of investments commonly give rise to a diverse dynamic behavior of the system by quantifying the fraction of active investors and of good investment at the quasi-stationary state.

  7. Ecological Risk Model of Childhood Obesity in Chinese Immigrant Children

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Nan; Cheah, Charissa S. L.

    2015-01-01

    Chinese Americans are the largest and fastest growing Asian American subgroup, increasing about one-third during the 2000s. Despite the slender Asian stereotype, nearly one-third of 6-to-11 years old Chinese American children were found to be overweight (above the 85th percentile in BMI). Importantly, unique and severe health risks are associated with being overweight/obese in Chinese. Unfortunately, Chinese immigrant children have been neglected in the literature on obesity. This review aimed to identify factors at various levels of the ecological model that may place Chinese immigrant children at risk for being overweight/obese in the U.S. Key contextual factors at the micro-, meso-, exo-, macro- and chronosystem were identified guided by Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory. The corresponding mediating and moderating processes among the factors were also reviewed and proposed. By presenting a conceptual framework and relevant research, this review can provide a basic framework for directing future interdisciplinary research in seeking solutions to childhood obesity within this understudied population. PMID:25728887

  8. Ecological risk model of childhood obesity in Chinese immigrant children.

    PubMed

    Zhou, Nan; Cheah, Charissa S L

    2015-07-01

    Chinese Americans are the largest and fastest growing Asian American subgroup, increasing about one-third during the 2000s. Despite the slender Asian stereotype, nearly one-third of 6-to-11 year old Chinese American children were found to be overweight (above the 85th percentile in BMI). Importantly, unique and severe health risks are associated with being overweight/obese in Chinese. Unfortunately, Chinese immigrant children have been neglected in the literature on obesity. This review aimed to identify factors at various levels of the ecological model that may place Chinese immigrant children at risk for being overweight/obese in the U.S. Key contextual factors at the micro-, meso-, exo-, macro- and chronosystem were identified guided by Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory. The corresponding mediating and moderating processes among the factors were also reviewed and proposed. By presenting a conceptual framework and relevant research, this review can provide a basic framework for directing future interdisciplinary research in seeking solutions to childhood obesity within this understudied population. PMID:25728887

  9. An Ecological Perspective on Antimicrobial Resistance

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Bacteria are ubiquitous, covering every ecological niche known to man. Within these ecological niches bacterial populations adapt to ensure their survival and the development of antimicrobial resistance is an example of a bacterium's ability to adapt and survive. Resistance to antimicrobials often ...

  10. Hydrodynamic and Ecological Assessment of Nearshore Restoration: A Modeling Study

    SciTech Connect

    Yang, Zhaoqing; Sobocinski, Kathryn L.; Heatwole, Danelle W.; Khangaonkar, Tarang; Thom, Ronald M.; Fuller, Roger

    2010-04-10

    Along the Pacific Northwest coast, much of the estuarine habitat has been diked over the last century for agricultural land use, residential and commercial development, and transportation corridors. As a result, many of the ecological processes and functions have been disrupted. To protect coastal habitats that are vital to aquatic species, many restoration projects are currently underway to restore the estuarine and coastal ecosystems through dike breaches, setbacks, and removals. Information on physical processes and hydrodynamic conditions are critical for the assessment of the success of restoration actions. Restoration of a 160- acre property at the mouth of the Stillaguamish River in Puget Sound has been proposed. The goal is to restore native tidal habitats and estuary-scale ecological processes by removing the dike. In this study, a three-dimensional hydrodynamic model was developed for the Stillaguamish River estuary to simulate estuarine processes. The model was calibrated to observed tide, current, and salinity data for existing conditions and applied to simulate the hydrodynamic responses to two restoration alternatives. Responses were evaluated at the scale of the restoration footprint. Model data was combined with biophysical data to predict habitat responses at the site. Results showed that the proposed dike removal would result in desired tidal flushing and conditions that would support four habitat types on the restoration footprint. At the estuary scale, restoration would substantially increase the proportion of area flushed with freshwater (< 5 ppt) at flood tide. Potential implications of predicted changes in salinity and flow dynamics are discussed relative to the distribution of tidal marsh habitat.

  11. Meeting in Korea: WASP Transport Modeling and WASP Ecological Modeling

    EPA Science Inventory

    A combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on excercises will be used to introduce pollutant transport modeling with the U.S. EPA's general water quality model, WASP (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program). WASP features include a user-friendly Windows-based interfa...

  12. Meeting in Turkey: WASP Transport Modeling and WASP Ecological Modeling

    EPA Science Inventory

    A combination of lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on excercises will be used to introduce pollutant transport modeling with the U.S. EPA's general water quality model, WASP (Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program). WASP features include a user-friendly Windows-based interfa...

  13. Niche engineering reveals complementary resource use.

    PubMed

    Gable, Jacob T; Crowder, David W; Northfield, Tobin D; Steffan, Shawn A; Snyder, William E

    2012-09-01

    Greater resource use by diverse communities might result from species occupying complementary niches. Demonstrating niche complementarity among species is challenging, however, due to the difficulty in relating differences between species in particular traits to their use of complementary resources. Here, we overcame this obstacle by exploiting plastic foraging behavior in a community of predatory insects common on Brassica oleracea plants in Washington, USA. These predators complemented one another by partitioning foraging space, with some species foraging primarily along leaf edges and others at leaf centers. We hypothesized that emergent biodiversity effects would occur when predators partitioned foraging space on leaves, but not when spatial complementarity was dampened. Indeed, on intact leaves, edge- and center-foraging predators combined to kill more prey than any single predator species could by itself. These emergent diversity effects, however, disappeared on plants damaged by the caterpillar Plutella xylostella. Caterpillar chew-holes brought edge habitats to the center of leaves, so that all predator species could attack aphids anywhere on plants. With spatial niche differences diminished, there were no benefits of predator diversity; the most voracious single predator species killed the most aphids. Thus, caterpillar herbivory determined whether multi-predator-species effects reflected complementarity or species' individual impacts. Our study provides direct evidence for a causative relationship between niche differentiation and increased resource consumption by diverse communities, as revealed by ecological engineers that homogenize the foraging environment. PMID:23094370

  14. Combining a climatic niche model of an invasive fungus with its host species distributions to identify risks to natural assets: Puccinia psidii Sensu Lato in Australia.

    PubMed

    Kriticos, Darren J; Morin, Louise; Leriche, Agathe; Anderson, Robert C; Caley, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Puccinia psidii sensu lato (s.l.) is an invasive rust fungus threatening a wide range of plant species in the family Myrtaceae. Originating from Central and South America, it has invaded mainland USA and Hawai'i, parts of Asia and Australia. We used CLIMEX to develop a semi-mechanistic global climatic niche model based on new data on the distribution and biology of P. psidii s.l. The model was validated using independent distribution data from recently invaded areas in Australia, China and Japan. We combined this model with distribution data of its potential Myrtaceae host plant species present in Australia to identify areas and ecosystems most at risk. Myrtaceaeous species richness, threatened Myrtaceae and eucalypt plantations within the climatically suitable envelope for P. psidii s.l in Australia were mapped. Globally the model identifies climatically suitable areas for P. psidii s.l. throughout the wet tropics and sub-tropics where moist conditions with moderate temperatures prevail, and also into some cool regions with a mild Mediterranean climate. In Australia, the map of species richness of Myrtaceae within the P. psidii s.l. climatic envelope shows areas where epidemics are hypothetically more likely to be frequent and severe. These hotspots for epidemics are along the eastern coast of New South Wales, including the Sydney Basin, in the Brisbane and Cairns areas in Queensland, and in the coastal region from the south of Bunbury to Esperance in Western Australia. This new climatic niche model for P. psidii s.l. indicates a higher degree of cold tolerance; and hence a potential range that extends into higher altitudes and latitudes than has been indicated previously. The methods demonstrated here provide some insight into the impacts an invasive species might have within its climatically suited range, and can help inform biosecurity policies regarding the management of its spread and protection of valued threatened assets. PMID:23704988

  15. Combining a Climatic Niche Model of an Invasive Fungus with Its Host Species Distributions to Identify Risks to Natural Assets: Puccinia psidii Sensu Lato in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Kriticos, Darren J.; Morin, Louise; Leriche, Agathe; Anderson, Robert C.; Caley, Peter

    2013-01-01

    Puccinia psidii sensu lato (s.l.) is an invasive rust fungus threatening a wide range of plant species in the family Myrtaceae. Originating from Central and South America, it has invaded mainland USA and Hawai'i, parts of Asia and Australia. We used CLIMEX to develop a semi-mechanistic global climatic niche model based on new data on the distribution and biology of P. psidii s.l. The model was validated using independent distribution data from recently invaded areas in Australia, China and Japan. We combined this model with distribution data of its potential Myrtaceae host plant species present in Australia to identify areas and ecosystems most at risk. Myrtaceaeous species richness, threatened Myrtaceae and eucalypt plantations within the climatically suitable envelope for P. psidii s.l in Australia were mapped. Globally the model identifies climatically suitable areas for P. psidii s.l. throughout the wet tropics and sub-tropics where moist conditions with moderate temperatures prevail, and also into some cool regions with a mild Mediterranean climate. In Australia, the map of species richness of Myrtaceae within the P. psidii s.l. climatic envelope shows areas where epidemics are hypothetically more likely to be frequent and severe. These hotspots for epidemics are along the eastern coast of New South Wales, including the Sydney Basin, in the Brisbane and Cairns areas in Queensland, and in the coastal region from the south of Bunbury to Esperance in Western Australia. This new climatic niche model for P. psidii s.l. indicates a higher degree of cold tolerance; and hence a potential range that extends into higher altitudes and latitudes than has been indicated previously. The methods demonstrated here provide some insight into the impacts an invasive species might have within its climatically suited range, and can help inform biosecurity policies regarding the management of its spread and protection of valued threatened assets. PMID:23704988

  16. Stochastic Downscaling for Hydrodynamic and Ecological Modeling of Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schlabing, D.; Eder, M.; Frassl, M.; Rinke, K.; Bárdossy, A.

    2012-04-01

    Weather generators are of interest in climate impact studies, because they allow different modi operandi: (1) More realizations of the past, (2) possible futures as defined by the modeler and (3) possible futures according to the combination of greenhouse gas emission scenarios and their Global Circulation Model (GCM) consequences. Climate modeling has huge inherently unquantifiable uncertainties, yet the results present themselves as single point values without any measure of uncertainty. Given this reduction of risk-relevant information, stochastic downscaling offers itself as a tool to recover the variability present in local measurements. One should bear in mind that the lake models that are fed with downscaling results are themselves deterministic and single runs may prove to be misleading. Especially population dynamics simulated by ecological models are sensitive to very particular events in the input data. A way to handle this sensitivity is to perform Monte Carlo studies with varying meteorological driving forces using a weather generator. For these studies, the Vector-Autoregressive Weather generator (VG), which was first presented at the EGU 2011, was developed further. VG generates daily air temperature, humidity, long- and shortwave radiance and wind. Wind and shortwave radiation is subsequently disaggregated to hourly values, because their short term variability has proven important for the application. Changes relative to the long-term values are modeled as disturbances that act during the autoregressive generation of the synthetic time series. The method preserves the dependence structure between the variables, as changes in the disturbed variable, say temperature, are propagated to the other variables. The approach is flexible because the disturbances can be chosen freely. Changes in mean can be represented as constant disturbance, changes in variability as episodes of certain length and amplitude. The disturbances can also be extracted from GCMs

  17. Integrated Bayesian network framework for modeling complex ecological issues.

    PubMed

    Johnson, Sandra; Mengersen, Kerrie

    2012-07-01

    The management of environmental problems is multifaceted, requiring varied and sometimes conflicting objectives and perspectives to be considered. Bayesian network (BN) modeling facilitates the integration of information from diverse sources and is well suited to tackling the management challenges of complex environmental problems. However, combining several perspectives in one model can lead to large, unwieldy BNs that are difficult to maintain and understand. Conversely, an oversimplified model may lead to an unrealistic representation of the environmental problem. Environmental managers require the current research and available knowledge about an environmental problem of interest to be consolidated in a meaningful way, thereby enabling the assessment of potential impacts and different courses of action. Previous investigations of the environmental problem of interest may have already resulted in the construction of several disparate ecological models. On the other hand, the opportunity may exist to initiate this modeling. In the first instance, the challenge is to integrate existing models and to merge the information and perspectives from these models. In the second instance, the challenge is to include different aspects of the environmental problem incorporating both the scientific and management requirements. Although the paths leading to the combined model may differ for these 2 situations, the common objective is to design an integrated model that captures the available information and research, yet is simple to maintain, expand, and refine. BN modeling is typically an iterative process, and we describe a heuristic method, the iterative Bayesian network development cycle (IBNDC), for the development of integrated BN models that are suitable for both situations outlined above. The IBNDC approach facilitates object-oriented BN (OOBN) modeling, arguably viewed as the next logical step in adaptive management modeling, and that embraces iterative development

  18. Collective Philanthropy: Describing and Modeling the Ecology of Giving

    PubMed Central

    Gottesman, William L.; Reagan, Andrew James; Dodds, Peter Sheridan

    2014-01-01

    Reflective of income and wealth distributions, philanthropic gifting appears to follow an approximate power-law size distribution as measured by the size of gifts received by individual institutions. We explore the ecology of gifting by analysing data sets of individual gifts for a diverse group of institutions dedicated to education, medicine, art, public support, and religion. We find that the detailed forms of gift-size distributions differ across but are relatively constant within charity categories. We construct a model for how a donor's income affects their giving preferences in different charity categories, offering a mechanistic explanation for variations in institutional gift-size distributions. We discuss how knowledge of gift-sized distributions may be used to assess an institution's gift-giving profile, to help set fundraising goals, and to design an institution-specific giving pyramid. PMID:24983864

  19. Airborne castanea pollen forecasting model for ecological and allergological implementation.

    PubMed

    Astray, G; Fernández-González, M; Rodríguez-Rajo, F J; López, D; Mejuto, J C

    2016-04-01

    Castanea sativa Miller belongs to the natural vegetation of many European deciduous forests prompting impacts in the forestry, ecology, allergological and chestnut food industry fields. The study of the Castanea flowering represents an important tool for evaluating the ecological conservation of North-Western Spain woodland and the possible changes in the chestnut distribution due to recent climatic change. The Castanea pollen production and dispersal capacity may cause hypersensitivity reactions in the sensitive human population due to the relationship between patients with chestnut pollen allergy and a potential cross reactivity risk with other pollens or plant foods. In addition to Castanea pollen's importance as a pollinosis agent, its study is also essential in North-Western Spain due to the economic impact of the industry around the chestnut tree cultivation and its beekeeping interest. The aim of this research is to develop an Artificial Neural Networks for predict the Castanea pollen concentration in the atmosphere of the North-West Spain area by means a 20years data set. It was detected an increasing trend of the total annual Castanea pollen concentrations in the atmosphere during the study period. The Artificial Neural Networks (ANNs) implemented in this study show a great ability to predict Castanea pollen concentration one, two and three days ahead. The model to predict the Castanea pollen concentration one day ahead shows a high linear correlation coefficient of 0.784 (individual ANN) and 0.738 (multiple ANN). The results obtained improved those obtained by the classical methodology used to predict the airborne pollen concentrations such as time series analysis or other models based on the correlation of pollen levels with meteorological variables. PMID:26802339

  20. A new quantitative model of ecological compensation based on ecosystem capital in Zhejiang Province, China*

    PubMed Central

    Jin, Yan; Huang, Jing-feng; Peng, Dai-liang

    2009-01-01

    Ecological compensation is becoming one of key and multidiscipline issues in the field of resources and environmental management. Considering the change relation between gross domestic product (GDP) and ecological capital (EC) based on remote sensing estimation, we construct a new quantitative estimate model for ecological compensation, using county as study unit, and determine standard value so as to evaluate ecological compensation from 2001 to 2004 in Zhejiang Province, China. Spatial differences of the ecological compensation were significant among all the counties or districts. This model fills up the gap in the field of quantitative evaluation of regional ecological compensation and provides a feasible way to reconcile the conflicts among benefits in the economic, social, and ecological sectors. PMID:19353749

  1. Rethinking the linear regression model for spatial ecological data.

    PubMed

    Wagner, Helene H

    2013-11-01

    The linear regression model, with its numerous extensions including multivariate ordination, is fundamental to quantitative research in many disciplines. However, spatial or temporal structure in the data may invalidate the regression assumption of independent residuals. Spatial structure at any spatial scale can be modeled flexibly based on a set of uncorrelated component patterns (e.g., Moran's eigenvector maps, MEM) that is derived from the spatial relationships between sampling locations as defined in a spatial weight matrix. Spatial filtering thus addresses spatial autocorrelation in the residuals by adding such component patterns (spatial eigenvectors) as predictors to the regression model. However, space is not an ecologically meaningful predictor, and commonly used tests for selecting significant component patterns do not take into account the specific nature of these variables. This paper proposes "spatial component regression" (SCR) as a new way of integrating the linear regression model with Moran's eigenvector maps. In its unconditioned form, SCR decomposes the relationship between response and predictors by component patterns, whereas conditioned SCR provides an alternative method of spatial filtering, taking into account the statistical properties of component patterns in the design of statistical hypothesis tests. Application to the well-known multivariate mite data set illustrates how SCR may be used to condition for significant residual spatial structure and to identify additional predictors associated with residual spatial structure. Finally, I argue that all variance is spatially structured, hence spatial independence is best characterized by a lack of excess variance at any spatial scale, i.e., spatial white noise. PMID:24400490

  2. Social network models predict movement and connectivity in ecological landscapes

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fletcher, R.J., Jr.; Acevedo, M.A.; Reichert, Brian E.; Pias, Kyle E.; Kitchens, W.M.

    2011-01-01

    Network analysis is on the rise across scientific disciplines because of its ability to reveal complex, and often emergent, patterns and dynamics. Nonetheless, a growing concern in network analysis is the use of limited data for constructing networks. This concern is strikingly relevant to ecology and conservation biology, where network analysis is used to infer connectivity across landscapes. In this context, movement among patches is the crucial parameter for interpreting connectivity but because of the difficulty of collecting reliable movement data, most network analysis proceeds with only indirect information on movement across landscapes rather than using observed movement to construct networks. Statistical models developed for social networks provide promising alternatives for landscape network construction because they can leverage limited movement information to predict linkages. Using two mark-recapture datasets on individual movement and connectivity across landscapes, we test whether commonly used network constructions for interpreting connectivity can predict actual linkages and network structure, and we contrast these approaches to social network models. We find that currently applied network constructions for assessing connectivity consistently, and substantially, overpredict actual connectivity, resulting in considerable overestimation of metapopulation lifetime. Furthermore, social network models provide accurate predictions of network structure, and can do so with remarkably limited data on movement. Social network models offer a flexible and powerful way for not only understanding the factors influencing connectivity but also for providing more reliable estimates of connectivity and metapopulation persistence in the face of limited data.

  3. Modeling Channelization in Coastal Wetlands with Ecological Feedbacks

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hughes, Z. J.; Mahadevan, A.; Pennings, S.; FitzGerald, D.

    2014-12-01

    In coastal wetlands in Georgia and South Carolina, dendritic channel networks are actively incising headward at the rate of nearly 2 m/yr. The future geomorphic evolution of these marshes remains in question as rates of relative sea-level rise increase. Our objective is to understand the mechanisms that lead to the evolution of these channel networks through field observations and modeling. We model the geomorphological evolution of tidal creeks by viewing the wetland as a permeable medium. The porosity of the medium affects its hydraulic conductivity, which in turn is altered by erosion. Our multiphase model spontaneously generates channelization and branching networks through flow and erosion. In our field studies, we find that crabs play an active role in grazing vegetation and in the bioturbation of sediments. These effects are incorporated in our model based on field and laboratory observations of crab behavior and its effects on the marsh. We find the erosional patterns and channelization are significantly altered by the faunal feedback. Crabs enhance the growth of channels, inducing the headward erosion of creeks where flow-induced stresses are weakest. They are instrumental in generating high rates of creek extension, which channelize the marsh more effectively in response to sea-level rise. This indicates that the evolution of coastal wetlands is responding to interactions between physics and ecology and highlights the importance of the faunal contribution to these feedbacks.

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

    PubMed

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

    2016-01-01

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